Who is a night watchman in the sport of cricket?

Test cricket is a format of the sport wherein one match lasts for five days. The two teams facing each other bat for two innings alternatively. The team with most runs wins.

One day of a test match lasts for approximately six hours. A night watchman is a batter who is a tail-ender with a batting skill enough to help him or her stay on the crease till the scheduled match time ends. Here are three scenarios that one should take into consideration in order to understand the concept of night watchman.

  1. The batting side has lost three or less wickets and has batted nearly the entire day. However, the latest wicket fell a few minutes before the day’s play could end.
  2. A team is dismissed all out and the innings come to an end. The second innings is about to start, however, only a few minutes are left for the day to end.
  3. Similar to the second scenario, but with a little modification. The second innings has started, there are a few minutes left for the day’s play to end, however one of the opening batters is dismissed.

All three scenarios are indications for the next incoming batter to be a night watchman. In the second scenario, a night watchman can also be an opener. By sending in the night watchman, a team ensures that their best batters are reserved for the next day. The main role of the night watchman is to ensure that the team ends the day without any further loss of wickets. By remaining not out, the score of the team overnight is without any further loss of wickets. This is why this batter is called a night watchman.

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