Dismissal (cricket)

In the sport of cricket, a dismissal occurs when the batsman is out (also known as the fielding side taking a wicket and/or the batting side losing a wicket). At this point a batsman must discontinue batting and leave the field permanently for the innings. A bowling team dismisses (or bowls out) the entire batting team by dismissing 10 of the 11 players (assuming player(s) from the batting team have not retired hurt or are absent). As the players bat in pairs, when only one person is undismissed, it is not possible for them to bat any longer.


Once dismissed, a batsman cannot score any more runs in that innings. Thus dismissal is often the best way to control the runs scored in an innings, and prevent the batting side from either achieving their target score or posting a large total for the fielding side to follow in the next innings.

Additionally, in Test cricket it is usually necessary for a side fielding last to have dismissed ten players of the opposing team in their final innings to achieve victory (unless one or more of the batsmen have retired hurt or absent and unable to take the field). A batsman can only score runs from an over.


By convention, dismissal decisions are handled primarily by the players – thus if the dismissal is obvious the batsman will voluntarily leave the field without the umpire needing to dismiss him. If the batsman and fielding side disagree about a dismissal then the fielding side must appeal to the umpire who will then decide whether the batsman is out. In competitive cricket, many difficult catching and LBW decisions will be left to the umpire; if a batsman acknowledges that he is out in such cases and departs without waiting for the umpire's decision it is known as "walking", and regarded as an honourable but controversial act.[1]

If the umpire believes he has incorrectly dismissed a batsman, he may recall him to the crease if he has not already left the field of play. An example of this was in the 2007 Lord's test match between England and India when Kevin Pietersen was initially given out caught behind, but was recalled when television replays showed that the ball had bounced before being taken by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.[2]

Methods of dismissal

A batsman can be dismissed in a number of ways, the most common being bowled, caught, leg before wicket (LBW), stumped and run out. Much rarer are hit wicket, hit the ball twice, handled the ball, obstructing the field and timed out.

The bowler is credited in the statistics with having taken a wicket if the batsman is out bowled, LBW, caught, stumped, or hit wicket. If the ball is a no ball then the batsman cannot be out in any of these ways. The bowler is not credited with having taken a wicket if the batsman is run out, handles the ball, hits the ball twice, or obstructs the field; these dismissals may occur even when the delivery is a no ball. The fieldsman is credited in the statistics with a dismissal if he takes a stumping (for a stumping this will necessarily be the wicket-keeper), and may be credited on scorecards for a run-out (although a run-out will not be credited to a player's statistics).

Len Hutton,[3] Desmond Haynes,[4] and Steve Waugh[5] were each dismissed in seven different ways over the course of their test careers.

Law 2. 9b: Retired

If any batsman leaves the field of play without the Umpire's consent for any reason other than injury or incapacity, he may resume the innings only with the consent of the opposing captain. If he fails to resume his innings, he is out. For the purposes of calculating a batting average, retired out is considered a dismissal.

Only two players in Test history have ever been given out in this manner: Marvan Atapattu (for 201) and Mahela Jayawardene (for 150), both in the same innings of the same match playing for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in September 2001. Apparently, this was done in order to give the other players batting practice, but was considered unsportsmanlike and drew criticism.[6] In May 1983, Gordon Greenidge of the West Indies retired out on 154 to visit his daughter, who was ill and who died two days later; he was subsequently judged to have retired not out, the only such decision in Test history.[7]

There are numerous other recorded instances of batsmen retiring out in first-class cricket, particularly in tour matches and warm-up matches; since these matches are generally treated as practice matches, retiring out in these matches is not considered unsportsmanlike. In 1993 Graham Gooch, immediately after completing his hundredth first-class century with a six, retired on 105.[8]

Law 30: Bowled

If a bowler's delivery hits the stumps and a bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, the striker (the batsman facing the bowler) is out (assuming the bail does not luckily land back in the stump's spigots). The ball can either have struck the stumps directly, or have been deflected off the bat or body of the batsman. However, the batsman is not bowled out if the ball is touched by a fielder or touched by a wicket-keeper or the umpire before hitting the stumps.

Law 31: Timed out

An incoming batsman is “timed out” if he willfully takes more than three minutes to be ready to face the next delivery (or be at the other end if not on strike).[9] If a not out batsman is not ready after a break in play, they can also be given out Timed Out on appeal. In the case of extremely long delays, the umpires may forfeit the match to either team. So far this method of taking a wicket has never been employed in the history of Test cricket.

There have been only five occasions in all forms of First-Class cricket where a batsman has been given out Timed Out.[10] These are:

Law 32: Caught

If the batsman hits the ball with the bat (or with the glove when the glove is in contact with the bat) and the ball is caught by the bowler or a fielder before it hits the ground, then the batsman is out. The batsman cannot be given out caught if the ball strikes a helmet (or other external protective equipment excluding a keeper wearing gloves or pads) worn by a member of the fielding side prior to being caught, regardless of whether it touches the ground or not.

In an extraordinary dismissal during the VB ODI series against Sri Lanka on 13 January 2006, Andrew Symonds was given out caught when the ball ricocheted (on the full) off the pad of the non-striker (Michael Clarke) into the hands of Tillakaratne Dilshan at mid-wicket.

"Caught behind" (an unofficial term) indicates that a player was caught by the wicket-keeper, or less commonly by the slips. "Caught and bowled" (another unofficial term) indicates the player who bowled the ball also took the catch.

Law 33: Handled the ball

If the batsman touches the ball with his hand not in contact with the bat for any purpose other than, with the approval of the fielder(s), to return the ball to the bowler, he is out on appeal. It is considered etiquette for the fielding team not to appeal if the handling of the ball does not affect the play of the game, although there are occasions when this etiquette has been ignored.

Only seven batsmen have been out handled the ball in the history of Test cricket: Russell Endean, Andrew Hilditch, Mohsin Khan, Desmond Haynes, Graham Gooch, Steve Waugh and Michael Vaughan.[11] Two batsmen have been given out in this fashion in One Day Internationals:[12]

Law 34: Hit the ball twice

If the batsman "hits" the ball twice, he is out. The first hit is considered to be if the ball has struck the batsman or his bat, whilst the second "hit" has to be an intentional and separate contact with the ball – again not necessarily using the bat. The batsman may hit the ball a second time with his bat or body (not a hand not in contact with the bat) if it is performed to stop the ball from hitting the stumps. It is therefore possible to be out hitting the ball twice, whilst not actually hitting the ball with the bat at all. A batsmen can hit the ball with any part of his body and bat except his hands.

No batsman has been out hitting the ball twice in Test cricket.

Law 35: Hit wicket

If the batsman dislodges his own stumps with his body or bat, while in the process of taking a shot or beginning his first run, then he is out. This law does not apply if he avoided a ball thrown back to the wicket by a fielder, or broke the wicket in avoiding a run out.

This law also applies if part of the batsman's equipment is dislodged and hits the stumps: Dwayne Bravo hit Kevin Pietersen in the head with a bouncer and his helmet hit the stumps during the 2007 England vs West Indies Test match at Old Trafford; a topspinner from Richie Benaud once knocked off Joe Solomon's cap, and the cap landed on Solomon's stumps.

Being out hit-wicket is often seen as a comic method of dismissal. In 1991 Jonathan Agnew and Brian Johnston, commentators on BBC Radio's Test Match Special, got themselves into difficulty while commentating on Ian Botham's dismissal (Botham dislodged his leg bail whilst trying to step over the stumps, having lost his balance in missing a hook shot against Curtly Ambrose), Agnew commenting that he "couldn't quite get his leg over".[15]

The most crucial hit-wicket dismissal in Test history was arguably that of Graeme Smith at Trent Bridge in 2003: Smith had made 277 (South Africa's second highest ever Test innings) and 85 from 70 balls at Edgbaston, and 259 at Lord's, as South Africa dominated the first two Tests of the series. In the third, Smith was on 35 when he played back to Andrew Flintoff and trod on his stumps. His form shattered, he did not reach 20 again in the series as England fought back for a morale-boosting 2–2 series draw, a result which marked the start of a resurgence which would ultimately lead to the 2005 Ashes victory.

A more recent example of a comic hit-wicket dismissal was during the Headingley Test match in the 2006 test series between England and Pakistan, when Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq missed a sweep against Monty Panesar, was hit in the midriff by the ball, lost his balance and collapsed on to his stumps (and nearly into wicket-keeper Chris Read).[16]

Law 36: Leg before wicket (LBW)

If the ball strikes any part of the batsman's person (not necessarily the leg), and, in the umpire's judgement, the ball would have hit the batsman's stumps but for this interception, then the batsman is out. The point of impact must be within line with the batsman's stumps and the bowler's stumps if the batsman is playing a stroke. The batsman can be given out if the ball strikes him outside the off stump, if the ball would have hit the stumps and if the batsman is playing no stroke. The ball must not pitch outside the line of leg stump. Also, the ball cannot have made contact with the bat or glove that is touching the bat before hitting the batsman. If the ball hits the batsman either on the full or immediately after bouncing, the umpire is required to assume that the ball is travelling straight on, ignoring any spin, swing or other hard to predict movement that may have changed the direction of the ball if it had not hit the batsman.

Law 37: Obstructing the field

If the batsman, by action or by words, obstructs a fielder, then he is out. However, a batsman is allowed to obstruct the view of a fielder by standing in front of him. He may also stand in between the fielder and the stumps. The rule intends to prevent batsman from interfering with a fielder by, for instance, pushing him. Also, a player may be given out if they deliberately hit a ball being thrown back to the keeper whilst being out of their crease, as happened to Inzamam-ul-Haq (see below).

Only one individual has ever been out obstructing the field in a Test match: England's Len Hutton, playing against South Africa at The Oval in London in 1951, knocked a ball away from his stumps, but in doing so prevented the South African wicket-keeper Russell Endean from completing a catch.[17] By coincidence, Endean was one of the few people to be given out handled the ball in a Test match (see above).

In One Day International cricket, six batsmen have been given out obstructing the field:[12]

Law 38: Run out

If a fielder uses the ball to remove the bails from either set of stumps whilst the batsmen are running between the wickets (or otherwise away from the crease during the course of play), then the batsman (striker or non-striker) is out. The batsman nearest the set of stumps from which the bails were removed, but not actually in safe territory, is given out. If the batsman has any part of his body or his bat (if he's holding it) on the ground behind the line of the crease, then he cannot be run out (except if both batsmen are on the same side of a crease) i.e. on the line is considered as out; frequently it is a close call whether or not a batsman gained his ground in this way before the bails were removed. (The difference between stumped and run out is that the wicketkeeper may stump a batsman who goes too far forward to play the ball (assuming he isn't attempting a run), whilst any fielder, including the keeper, may run out a batsman who goes too far for any other purpose, including for taking a run.) If the bails have already been removed, a fielder can remove a remaining stump by pulling it out or hit out the stump (ensure that the stump is fully out of ground) from the ground with the ball in their hands. A fielder can also "remake" the stumps and remove a stump/bail to effect a runout.

If a batsman has a runner due to injury/illness there is the danger of being runout due to confusion between the three (or four in very rare circumstances) batsmens/runners on the field, all of whom must be safe in their crease when the wicket is broken and also at the correct end of the wicket. For example, a batsman who is batting with a runner should always be behind the crease at the striker's end whilst the ball is live. If he forgets that he has a runner a quick minded fielder is able to break the stumps at the striker's end to run him out—even if he finds himself safely behind the crease at the bowler's end.

A special form of run-out is when the batsman at the non-striker's end attempts to gain an advantage by leaving the crease before the next ball has been bowled (a common practice known as "backing up", but against the laws of cricket if the non-striker leaves his crease before the bowler has released the ball). The bowler may then dislodge the bails at his/her end without completing the run-up and dismiss the batsman. This form of run-out is called the Mankad (the dismissed batsman is said to have been "Mankaded"), in reference to Vinoo Mankad, the first bowler to dismiss a batsman in this manner in a Test match, running out Bill Brown in 1947. With the changes in the Laws of Cricket relatively recently, a bowler cannot Mankad a batsman once they enter their delivery stride. However, the ICC playing conditions for international cricket permit the bowler to remove the bails at any time prior to the point in their delivery swing where they would normally release the ball.[20] It is considered good etiquette to warn a batsman that he is leaving his crease early, before attempting a Mankad run out on a subsequent ball.

A run out cannot occur if no fielder has touched the ball. As such, if a batsman plays a straight drive which breaks the non-striker's stumps whilst he is outside his crease, he is not out. However, if a fielder (usually the bowler, in this case) touches the ball at all before it breaks the stumps at the non-striker's end, then it is a run out, even if the fielder never has any control of the ball. Also, if the ball is kicked onto the stumps to dismiss the batsman, the batsman is then not out because you have to use your hands to throw the ball or your gloves to stump the batsman so all dismissals have to be through hand movements

Law 39: Stumped

If the striker steps in front of the crease to play the ball, leaving no part of his anatomy or the bat on the ground behind the crease, and the wicket-keeper is able to remove the bails from the wicket with the ball, then the striker is out. A stumping is most likely to be effected off slow bowling, or (less frequently) medium-paced bowling when the wicketkeeper is standing directly behind the stumps. A stumping is the only method of dismissal, from a wide delivery that the bowler gets credit for on the scoreboard. As wicket-keepers stand several yards back from the stumps to fast bowlers, stumpings are hardly ever effected off fast bowlers. But a keeper may throw down the stumps and the batsman is still out stumped if he is out of his ground, but not attempting a run. Similarly, the ball can bounce off a keeper (but not external non-usual wicketkeeping protective equipment, like a helmet) and break the stumps and still be considered a stumping.

See also


  1. Derriman, Philip (6 October 2004). "To walk, or not to walk, that is the question". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  2. England fight back after collapse, BBC Sport, 20 July 2007
  3. "HowSTAT! Test Cricket - Leonard Hutton - Analysis of Batting Dismissals". howstat.com.
  4. "HowSTAT! Test Cricket - Desmond Haynes - Analysis of Batting Dismissals". howstat.com.
  5. "HowSTAT! Test Cricket - Stephen Waugh - Analysis of Batting Dismissals". howstat.com.
  6. "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Sport". tribuneindia.com.
  7. "5th Test: West Indies v India at St John's, Apr 28-May 3, 1983 - Cricket Scorecard - ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo.
  8. "Join the club". Cricinfo.
  9. "cricket - sport". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  10. "Out of time". Cricinfo.
  11. "Test matches – Unusual dismissals". Cricinfo.com. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  12. 1 2 "One-Day Internationals – Unusual dismissals". Cricinfo.com. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  13. "Australia v India 1985–86". Cricinfo.com. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  14. "South Africa v West Indies 1998–99". Cricinfo.com. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  15. "Leg over" BBC Radio Five Live
  16. "Pakistan gain slender lead after record stand". Cricinfo.
  17. "Ten controversial dismissals". Cricinfo.com. 6 December 2005.
  18. "Pakistan win a thriller by D/L rule". Cricinfo.com. 6 February 2006.
  19. "Australia tour of England and Ireland, 2nd ODI: England v Australia at Lord's, Sep 5, 2015". ESPNcricinfo.com. 5 September 2015.
  20. ICC Playing Conditions http://icc-live.s3.amazonaws.com/cms/media/about_docs/524ac4ae08b48-04%20Standard%20ODI_2013_19%2009%2013.pdf

External links

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