Who is the Night Watchman in Cricket?

In cricket, “night watchman in cricket” refers to a lower-order batsman brought in towards the end of the day’s play to protect the wicket of a more capable batsman or a lower-order batsman who comes into bat when the light is fading late in the day.

The night watchman’s job is to protect the wicket and see off the remaining overs of the day.

What is a Night Watchman in Cricket?

In cricket, teams use a lower-order batter to bat ahead of the recognized batsmen towards the end of a day’s play, usually when only a few overs are left to be bowled. This player is known as a night watchman. The idea behind this strategy is to protect the wicket of the more capable batters by sending in a batsman who is expendable.

Why is a Night Watchman Used?

If a recognized batsman were to come in towards the end of the day’s play and get out, it would put his team in a precarious position, especially if the wicket is a key one.

When is a Night Watchman Used?

However, there are exceptions to this rule. The team can use a night watchman when they try to save the game and the recognized batters feel uncomfortable facing the bowling. In such cases, they can send in a night watchman to do the job.

The Role of the Night Watchman

The primary role of the night watchman is to protect the wicket and see off the remaining overs of the day.

In other words, the team sends him in to bat to prevent the top-order batters from facing the new ball in the tricky light conditions at the end of the day.

Who is Eligible to be a Night Watchman?

Any lower-order batsman can be used as a night guard. However, the captain usually selects a not a regular top-order batter. This is because the night watchman’s primary role is to protect the wicket and see off the remaining overs of the day.

When it comes to cricket, teams often rely on a night watchman to prevent the top-order batsmen from facing the new ball towards the end of the day’s play. However, the question arises as to who is eligible to be a night watchman?

Advantages of Using a Night Watchman

The advantages of using a night guard are as follows:

  • The more capable batters can rest and conserve energy for the next day’s play.
  • The night watchman can face the last few overs of the day’s play, which are typically challenging to negotiate.
  • It prevents the top-order batsmen from facing the new ball in challenging light conditions.
  • Demoralizes the opposition if the night watchman manages to survive until the end of the day’s play.

Disadvantages of Using a Night Watchman

The disadvantages of using a night watchman are as follows:

  • The night watchman is typically a lower-order batsman who is not expected to score many runs. Hence, he may waste valuable time that a more capable batsman could use.
  • If the night watchman scores run, the more capable batsman may have to come in and face the bowling under challenging conditions the next day.
  • If the night watchman fails to see off the remaining overs of the day, it can put additional pressure on the top-order batsmen.

Who are Some Famous Night Watchmen in Cricket?

There have been several famous night watchmen in cricket over the years. Some of the most notable ones include:

  • Jason Gillespie: The former Australian cricketer was famously used as a night watchman in a test match against Bangladesh in 2006. He scored an unbeaten 201, which is still the highest score by a night watchman in test cricket.
  • Shaun Pollock: The former South African cricketer was used as a night watchman in a test match against England in 1998. He scored 66 runs, which helped South Africa win the match.
  • Anil Kumble played a crucial role as a night watchman in a 2007 test match against England, scoring an unbeaten 110 to secure a draw for India.

Best innings played as Night Till Now

Brian Lara, 153* vs Australia, Bridgetown, 1999

Brian Lara’s innings against Australia in 1999 are among the most famous in cricket history. Facing a formidable Australian attack, Lara played one of the great Test innings, scoring an unbeaten 153 in just 232 balls. What makes these innings even more remarkable is that Lara came to the crease with West Indies struggling at 105/5, and he had to battle hard to get his team back into the match.

Herschelle Gibbs, 175 vs Australia, Johannesburg, 2006

Herschelle Gibbs’ 175 against Australia in Johannesburg in 2006 is one of the most remarkable one-day innings ever. Gibbs’ innings were a masterclass in attacking batting, as he smashed the Australian bowlers all over the park, hitting 21 fours and 7 sixes.

Rohit Sharma, 118 vs Sri Lanka, Mumbai, 2017

Rohit Sharma’s 118 against Sri Lanka in 2017 is one of the most excellent T20 innings ever. In a must-win match for India, Sharma played one of the most breathtaking innings ever seen in T20 cricket, smashing 12 fours and 10 sixes in his 43-ball knock.

The Unforgettable Moments of Nighttime Cricket

From the heroics of Adam Gilchrist in the 2007 World Cup final to the unforgettable drama of the 2019 World Cup final, nighttime cricket has provided some of the most iconic moments in the game’s history. 

Whether it’s a packed stadium in India or a quiet ground in England, the magic of nighttime cricket is something that every cricket fan should experience.

  • The first-ever IPL match in 2008, where Brendon McCullum scored a blistering 158* off just 73 balls for Kolkata Knight Riders against Royal Challengers Bangalore
  • India’s historic win against Pakistan in the 2007 World T20, where MS Dhoni hit the winning six under the lights.
  • Australia’s incredible run-chase of 359 against India in 2013, with James Faulkner smashing 64 off just 29 ballss.
  • Carlos Brathwaite’s match-winning over with four consecutive sixes. of the 2016 World T20 helped West Indies secure a historic victory over England.

The Most Dramatic Finishes in Nighttime Cricket

Nighttime cricket has also given us some of the most dramatic finishes in history. Here are some of the most memorable ones:

  • The 2005 Ashes Test at Trent Bridge – England chase down 129 in the final session with just two wickets remaining.
  • The 2019 World Cup final – England win the match and the World Cup on boundary count after a tie in the super over.
  • The 2013 Champions Trophy final – India beat England by 5 runs in a rain-affected match.
  • In the 2010 IPL final – Chennai Super Kings beat Mumbai Indians by 22 runs in a high-scoring thriller.


What makes nighttime cricket different from day-time cricket?

Nighttime cricket presents unique challenges for both batsmen and bowlers. The ball can swing more under the lights, making it harder to play for batsmen, while bowlers must adjust their lengths and lines to take advantage of the conditions.

Are there any particular players who excel in nighttime cricket?

Many players have excelled in nighttime cricket over the years. Brian Lara, Herschelle Gibbs, and Yuvraj Singh have played unforgettable innings under the floodlights.

How do ground conditions affect nighttime cricket?

Ground conditions can play a significant role in nighttime cricket, with some pitches offering more swing or bounce under the lights. In addition, dew can form on the ground, making the ball wet and difficult to grip for bowlers.

Which moments in night cricket are the most unforgettable?

There have been countless moments in nighttime cricket, from Adam Gilchrist’s heroics in the 2007 World Cup final to the unforgettable 2019 World Cup last drama.

Why is nighttime cricket so popular?

Nighttime cricket is famous for various reasons, including the electric atmosphere of a packed stadium, the unique challenges posed by playing under the lights, and the opportunity for players to showcase their skills in a high-pressure environment.

What is the impact of technology on nighttime cricket?

Technology has significantly impacted nighttime cricket, with innovations like floodlights and ball-tracking technology making the game safer and more enjoyable for players and fans.


In the game of cricket, a night watchman is a lower-order batsman who comes in to bat near the end of the day’s play to protect the wicket of a higher-order, more valuable batsman. The night watchman’s role is to bat defensively and see off the remaining overs of the day, so that the top-order batsmen can start afresh the next day.

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