Cricket is more than just a game and is almost a religion in the country. One of the most popular games by far in India, the game of cricket is followed by both old and young.

Not an easy game to get a full understanding of, cricket comes with plenty of complicated rules and regulations which can leave those unfamiliar with the game a bit flustered.

Whether it is the types of dismissals in the game or what the meaning of LBW is in the sport, cricket has its fair share of complicated rules that can bewilder the uninitiated.

Interestingly, even those who regard themselves well versed with all the details and intricacies of the sport, sometimes come across a new term from the game that they are unfamiliar with.

One such new term that cricket fans the world over is just happening to stumble across is reserve player in cricket.

After India announced their 15-member squad for the 2024 T20 World Cup, the addition of the four extra players such as Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed, and Avesh Khan as travelling reserves has got cricket fans asking what the role of these players are.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at what reserve player meaning in cricket stands.

Reserve player meaning in cricket 

Put simply, a reserve player in cricket means a player who is on standby to replace a member of the original squad if they pick up an injury or are deemed to have lost form and as a result produces poor performances.

While this is the most obvious and standard definition of what the reserve player meaning in cricket stands for, it’s worth noting that there can also be other interpretations of the term in sport.

Reserve players, in fact, can have versatile roles in the squad. When travelling with a squad and even if he’s not roped into the main team, reserve players can perform the role of net bowlers and aid the overall practice of the team.

In essence, cricket is a game for two teams of 14 players each when considering both sides have three additional reserve players who can replace players from the playing XI in the fielding department.

These reserve players though are generally a part of the squad, unlike the case of Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed, and Avesh Khan who are travelling reserves in India’s T20 World Cup 2024 squad.

The type of reserve players that are a part of different T20 World Cup 2024 squads are different from the standard reserve player mentioned above.

The travelling reserve players can do more than just be fielders and be roped in as replacements for members of the original playing squad if management decides to do so.

These types of reserve players are also known as standby players and can be expected to be summoned to perform a specific job for the team if the chance arises. 

If a player from the main squad is injured during any tournament, one of the reserves or standbys can be called to the main squad on the basis of the team’s requirement following the approval and permission of a designated International Cricket Council (ICC) committee.

A couple of past examples of Indian players being used as reserve players during tournaments includes all-rounder Axar Patel and pace bowlers Deepak Chahar playing Asia Cup 2022 as replacements for the injured duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Avesh Khan.

Another example of a standby player being used by India was during the ODI World Cup 2019 in England when Rishabh Pant was drafted into the squad.

Photo credit: Alamy