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Free hit is a cricket term, relevant in One Day Internationals and Twenty20 matches. When a bowler bowls a no-ball, in the immediate next ball the batsman cannot be ruled out in any dismissal modes other than those applicable for a no-ball, namely run out, hit the ball twice and obstructing the field. Additionally, if the ball is delivered full toss above the waist the batsman receives a free hit. It came into international cricket in October 2007.
The opportunity afforded by a free hit ball enables the batsman to play a more powerful shot without the fear of getting out by the most common methods (caught or leg before wicket). The suspension of these opportunities for being out result in the delivery immediately after a foot-fault no-ball being termed a free hit. The fault lies with the fielding side, and the advantage is to the batting side. Also,if the ball did hit the stumps, the batsman could afford to steal single runs (a bye) because the ball is normally considered a dead ball.
If the bowler delivers the ball without some part of his front foot (either grounded or raised) behind the popping crease, or if his back foot does not 'land within and not touching the return crease', this delivery is ruled a no-ball (Law 21.5 of The Laws of Cricket).
The fielding team is not allowed to change the field on the free hit ball, if the same batsman (who received the original no-ball) is on strike. However, for safety reasons, if the wicketkeeper is standing up at the stumps he is allowed to move back to a more traditional position.
The umpire at the bowler's end signals that the next ball is a free hit by making circular movements in the air with one raised hand. The free hit is carried over to the next ball if the original free hit ball is bowled wide or a no-ball; in this case the umpire is required to signal the free hit again.