LBW, bowled, caught, run out – there are many ways a batsman can lose their wicket in cricket, 10 to be exact. However, some types of dismissal are a lot more common than others.
Each type of dismissal in the sport is covered in the official Laws of Cricket. These laws (numbered in different sections of the document) spell out exactly how a batsman can lose their wicket in cricket. They also highlight what is classed as not-out. These rules have governed decisions in the game for nearly 150 years – in fact little has changed in that time in terms of dismissals.
But there have been a few changes that have led to the ways of getting out in cricket today. In the past, 11 ways to be dismissed existed in the Laws of Cricket. But a recent change to the laws bound some of the rules together, leading to one type of dismissal in cricket becoming ‘the obsolete dismissal’.
5 Common types of dismissals in cricket
Below are the five most common types of dismissal in cricket. In any cricket match, it is almost certain that some of these dismissal types will lead to a batsman losing a wicket.
- Caught: A batsman is caught when they strike the ball in the air, and a fielder catches it before it hits the ground. There are various types of caught out dismissals. Caught and bowled is when the bowler delivers the ball and catches it from the subsequent shot. Caught behind is when the wicketkeeper catches the ball behind the stumps.
- Bowled: If a delivery hits the stumps and the bails dislodge, the batsman is out bowled. This form of dismissal still stands even if the batsman hits the ball onto their stumps or if the ball hits the batsman’s body before the stumps. However, there are certain cases where a bowled wicket will not stand. Firstly, the bowler’s delivery has to be legitimate (i.e. not a no-ball), and if a batsman can’t be bowled if the ball hits any other player or the umpire.
- Leg Before Wicket (LBW): A player is out LBW if their leg obstructs a ball that was in line with hitting the stumps. If a batsman hits the ball before it strikes their pads, they will not be given LBW. LBW decisions are left to the umpire’s discretion, and they decide whether the delivery was going to hit the stumps or not. Often, this leads to intervention from the third umpire, who uses technology, such as ball tracking and snickometer, to make a decision.
- Run out: Once the two batting players decide to make a run, they have to try and make it in one of the marked-out creases at either end of the wicket. If the fielding team retrieves the ball and hits the stumps, either with a throw or a stumping, and the batting player is not in their crease, they will be given out. To be in either crease, the batsman must have their bat grounded. Often, this leads to close calls where the third umpire will review a slow-motion replay to determine whether the batter was in or out when the ball hit the stumps.
- Stumped: When a batsman wants to play attacking shots, usually against a spin bowler or slower-paced bowler, they may shuffle forward before attempting to strike the ball. When attempting these shots, batsmen leave their crease, which presents an opportunity for the wicketkeeper to stump the batsman (dislodge the bails from the top of the stump). If the wicketkeeper does this successfully, and the batsman is out of their crease, they are given out. Like with runouts, batsman often scramble back to ground their bat in the crease if they miss their shot. This results in close calls, and the third umpire will often review stumped dismissal.
4 Uncommon ways of getting out in cricket
In addition to the more common dismissals in cricket, some laws are rarely seen.
The four uncommon ways of getting out in cricket are listed below. Some of the laws have only been used in exceptional circumstance in professional cricket. Others have never been used in some formats of cricket.
- Hit wicket: If a batsman removes his or her own bails accidentally by striking them whilst playing a shot, they will be given out. For this type of dismissal to stand, a bat or body part must have hit the stumps and dislodged the bails.
- Hit the ball twice/Double Hit: The double hit is when a batsman intentionally stops or touches the ball again after playing a shot. This rule is in place so batsmen don’t stop the ball from rolling towards the stumps after playing a shot. If the batsman strikes, picks up or touches the ball once the ball is still live, they can be given out for a double hit.
- Obstructing the field: Obstructing the field generally refers to intervention by the batsman to prevent the fielding team from completing a catch or a run-out. This is generally a physical act, i.e., stopping the ball with a bat. However, it also refers to the use of vocal actions to put off the fielding side when the ball is live, through shouting.
- Timed out: If a player takes three minutes or longer to be ready for the next delivery, or to be ready at the non-striker’s end, they can be given ‘timed out’ by the umpire. The three-minute time will start from the fall of the previous wicket. In T20 cricket, the turnaround time is quicker, with the incoming batsman given 90 seconds to be at the crease and ready for the next delivery. The next incoming batsman will often be seen in their pads, either sitting in the pavilion or on the bench (in T20) so they can get to the crease in good time.
The Obsolete Dismissal
Although most forms of dismissal in cricket have remained a part of the game for centuries, one way of getting out was removed from the rules in 2017. This is now referred to as ‘the obsolete dismissal’.
• Handled the ball: A batsman used to be given out if they intentionally picked up the ball with one or two hands and the ball was not ‘dead’. But, following the changes to the Laws of Cricket in 2017, this dismissal came under Obstructing the Field instead. Handling the ball was another very rare wicket in cricket, with only 10 recorded instances in the history of international cricket.
When a batsman retires from their innings in cricket, it is usually because of injury or illness – known as retired-not out. Alternatively, in exhibition matches, batsmen often retire on a high score to allow another batsman in to get game time. This is a legitimate action in cricket and permitted under the Laws of Cricket.
However, if a player has no reason to retire from their innings, i.e. due to illness or injury, they are given ‘retired-out.’
In the history of cricket, including all formats and the men and women’s professional game, only four batters have ever been retired out. The most high-profile retired out dismissal took place in 2001, when two Sri Lankan batsmen, Mahela Jayawardene and Marvan Atapattu, both retired against Bangladesh.
They were the first-ever professional batsmen to retire out in cricket after scoring 201 and 150 respectively against a poor Bangladesh side, allowing their teammates a chance to score runs in the match.
Although the Laws of Cricket highlights many ways of getting out in cricket, some are so infrequently used that they may also become obsolete in the future.
With professional standards in cricket rising over the past 30 to 40 years, players rarely give up their wickets. As a result, professionals rarely hit their own stumps or get timed out. There is often much more pressure on international cricket players in the modern game, and any slip up is magnified hugely.
The five most commons dismissals in cricket, however, remain a cornerstone of the game. Furthermore, getting a breakthrough by bowling out good batsmen, or trapping them LBW, are often a reflection of the skills of the bowler and fielding side.