Index

LBW (Leg Before Wicket)



LBW - Leg before wicket - is a dismissal that occurs when some part of the striker's person or equipment - other than his bat - prevents a fair delivery from hitting the stumps. It is also the cause of more debate in pavilion bars after a match than almost any other happening on the field. Was there ever a batsman who believed he had been correctly given out LBW? Was there ever a bowler who did not believe that every one of his loud appeals for it was justified and that umpires are much too kind to batsmen? They cannot both be right and probably neither is. It is just as well the game does have umpires!
For most dismissals, umpires make decisions based on observable facts. LBW is not quite like that. Sure, there are facts to be established, such as where the ball actually pitched, but the critical, final judgement is one of estimation. Where was the ball going? Would it have hit the wicket? We can never know; all an umpire can do is use his experience and make his best judgement. He should ask himself these questions... Was the ball a No ball? If it was, the striker cannot be out LBW. Where did the ball pitch? If it was outside the line of leg stump, the striker cannot be out LBW.
What was the first thing the ball hit? Was it the striker's bat? If it was, he cannot be out LBW.
So, if it wasn't the bat it hit, where was that first impact with the striker's person? If it was outside the line of leg stump, he cannot be out LBW. If it was outside the line of the off stump and the striker genuinely tried to hit the ball, he cannot be out LBW. But, if he had not been trying to make a genuine attempt to hit the ball with the bat (what commentators are referring to when they say, 'no stroke' or 'not playing a shot'), he could be out LBW in those circumstances. At least he could if the answer to the next question is yes...
Would the ball have gone on to hit the wicket? If not, the striker cannot be out LBW.
All of which may go some way towards explaining why so many LBW appeals are turned down and why umpires benefit from thorough training!