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Unravelling cricket's lbw law
Around the Academy:

A graphic to explain the lbw law
The leg before wicket (lbw) law is to cricket what the offside rule is to football - confusing to plenty!

However, you don't need a PHD from Oxford University to work it out.

Here's the Academy's guide to make things a little simpler.

The umpire will consider an lbw decision if:

He believes the ball would have hit the stumps if it had not been obstructed by the batsman's pads.

But the umpire also has to take other factors into consideration.

The batsman cannot be given out if:

Ramnaresh Sarwan is hit on the pads
The ball must hit the batsmen in line with the stumps

  • The ball pitches outside the line of leg stump, regardless of whether or not the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps

  • The ball hits the bat before striking the pad

  • The batsman is struck on the pad outside the line of off stump having made a genuine attempt to hit the ball

  • The bowler bowls a no ball

    One of the most important rules when making an lbw decision is a batsman CANNOT be given out if the ball pitches outside leg stump.

    It doesn't matter if the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps, it can't be given out.

    Often an lbw decision looks out at first glance, but TV replays showed the ball pitched outside leg stump, even though it would've struck middle.

    But the batsman can be given out if:

  • The batsman is struck on the pad in front of the stumps and the ball pitched in line with the stumps

    Tatenda Taibu is trapped lbw playing no shot
    Playing no shot can be dangerous

  • The batsman is struck on the pad outside the line of off stump having not made an attempt to hit the ball

    This is an important part of the lbw law to remember as a batsman CAN be given out playing no stroke - even if they're struck outside the line of the off stump - as long as the ball is going on to hit the stumps.

    A batsman can still be given out lbw even if the ball hasn't hit their pads.

    For example, a batsman can be given out lbw if they've been hit on the helmet.

    But the ball MUST have pitched in line with the stumps and then go on to hit them.

    Hope this clears a few things up!

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  • Caught
    Handled the ball
    Timed out
    Double hit
    Hit wicket
    Obstructing the field

    Did you know?
    An umpire can only give an lbw decision if a player appeals for it

    Ways to avoid getting out LBW
    Try to get a good stride with your front foot to the ball
    This will cast doubts into the umpire's mind about how far the ball has to travel to hit the stumps
    However, make sure you get a big stride in outside of off-stump rather than going straight down the pitch

    :: England and Wales Cricket Board
    :: MCC laws of cricket

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