Tag Archives: lbw

Dissecting the LBW theory

The other day, I was talking to an avid cricket enthusiast about the ongoing T20 world cup. We ended up discussing about a controversial LBW decision. After the heated discussion, I realized the fact that I know “nothing” about MCC’s Law 36( The LBW Law) and updating my knowledge on  the same would be good. 😀

Sachin was victim of some really bad decisions, when India toured Srilanka in 2009. See the video.

If you take a survey among the billions of people in our cricket-frenzy nation, I’m certain that more than 50% of the people won’t be having an idea about how LBW really works. Most people would say that the batsman can be given out if the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps, had it not been obstructed by the pads. Is that the real definition? Not really; There are many other factors to be taken into consideration before giving the decision.

So What is LBW? Here it goes.

Ball pitches outside the leg-stump:

If the ball pitches outside the leg-stump, the batsman can’t be given out, even if the ball goes on to hit the stumps.

See the picture below

Pitches outside leg

Impact outside the off-stump:

If the ball strikes batsman’s pad outside the line of off-stump, he can’t be given out, even if the ball goes on to hit the stumps.

But, this law holds invalid, if the batsman deliberately ducks/offers no shot to the delivery. In that case, he is OUT. See the pics below.

Impact outside offOffers no shot


 Plumb in front:

You might have heard the commentators saying this more often than not. Obviously  it means the ball has struck in line and on to the pads in front of the wicket. The batsman is OUT in this case. See the picture below.

Struck in line

Miscellaneous factors:

      • The batsman cannot be given out if the bowler bowls a no-ball.
      • The batsman cannot be given out if the ball hits the bat/glove, before hitting the pads.
      • Most umpires give the benefit of doubt to the batsmen, if they find the ball hitting the pads somewhere near/above the knee roll. Some clever batsmen lean forward, so as to make the distance between the impact and the stumps more. In those cases also, they might get away. Again, it’s up to the discretion of the umpire.
LBW- Leg Before Wicket does not necessarily mean that the batsmen can obstruct the ball with any other part of their body. See this video. Sachin misjudged the bounce of the delivery and ducked. The ball went onto hit his shoulder. He was adjudged OUT.

Earlier we saw how Sachin became victim of a series of really bad decisions. But, we can’t really blame the umpires. Can we? Because, they are under tremendous pressure, each time the fielding team appeals.

See this video. Billy Bowden takes a hell lot of time to take the decision. No wonder they are wearing those big hats. Those are the so called “Thinking Caps“, i guess… 🙂


Now that you know the rules, try to guess the umpire’s decision next time you see the bowler appealing. Cheers!! 🙂


–Rahul Ashok

Reference and Image courtesy: BBC Sport-Cricket