Dismissals play a major role in any cricket match and they are pivotal to the overall result. The fielding side needs to claim dismissals in order to progress towards a win while the batting team has to avoid them.
The laws have changed in this regard over the years and, as of 2021, there are ten ways in which to be dismissed in cricket.
What is a Dismissal in Cricket?
Dismissals are also referred to as ‘ways of getting out’. They are methods in which to claim the batsman’s wicket by getting him or her ‘out’ and to end their innings. The batting side starts their innings with ten wickets in hand so the fielding side needs to achieve ten dismissals to end that innings.
Sides will now change and the fielding side will bat. The process continues with the new batsmen having ten wickets in place. This is, essentially, the whole objective in cricket and this is why a dismissal is so critical to the game. By taking ten wickets for a low score, fielding teams gain an advantage. Similarly, by keeping those wickets intact and scoring as many runs as possible, that advantage switches to the batting side.
On the other hand, in the rare case of the batsman not scoring even a single run before getting dismissed, he or she risks scoring a duck, which makes for a questionable reputation.
All Ten Ways of Getting Out in Cricket
These are the ten methods of dismissal in cricket as of 2021
This dismissal is covered by law number 33 and it relates to the bat hitting the ball and being caught by a fielder before touching the ground. This catch needs to be judged as fair and the delivery must be a legal one.
Catches claimed by outfielders are usually obvious and the umpire does not need to make a decision. The general exception to that rule relates to catches claimed by the wicketkeeper where the ball strikes the edge of the bat. The batsman has the right to stand their ground and allow the umpire to adjudicate as to whether the batter is out or not.
There are some points to the law which need to be kept in mind. In order for a catch to be fair, the ball must not hit the ground before it reaches the fielder or be in contact with the ground as the catch is claimed. The fielder must be in full control of the ball before they release it and they must not be in contact with the boundary markers.
If all of those points are met, the catch is deemed to be fair and the bowler is dismissed.
Law 32 covers this particular dismissal. The batsman is deemed to have been bowled if a legal delivery strikes their wicket and puts it down. In order for that wicket to be deemed as ‘put down’ at least one of the bails must be dislodged and fall to the ground.
The delivery can strike the wicket unimpeded or it can hit the bat or any part of the batsman’s body before hitting the stumps.
The dismissal, once it has occurred, should be obvious and would not usually require the umpire to adjudicate.
Leg Before Wicket (LBW)
LBW dismissals are governed by law 36 and this was introduced to prevent batsmen from deliberately blocking the wicket with their legs or any other part of their body. A batsman can, therefore, be dismissed if a legal delivery strikes any part of their body and is adjudged to have been hitting the stumps. That delivery does not necessarily need to hit the legs and the batsman’s act does not have to be deliberate.
There are certain caveats regarding the LBW law which makes it the most complex of all dismissals. Firstly, the ball cannot pitch outside of the leg stump and if it’s judged to have been the case, the batsman should not be given out.
The delivery must also hit in line with the stumps. If the ball is deemed to have struck the batsman outside of off stump and he or she is playing a shot, lbw should not be upheld. However, if the batsman is not playing a shot, LBW is permissible. Finally, LBW should not be given if the ball hits the bat or the batsman’s glove before striking their body.
LBW dismissals are entirely down to the judgement of the umpire. A fielding side will appeal and it’s down to the umpire to make the decision.
Governed by Law 38, a batsman is deemed to be run out if a member of the fielding team puts down the wicket while that batsman is out of their ground. In order to be within their ground, the batter should have some part of the bat or their body behind the popping crease before the wicket is broken.
The point at which that wicket is put down is defined as the moment that the bail is dislodged from the stumps and subsequently falls to the ground. In most cases, a run out dismissal takes place when the batsmen are attempting a run. However, a run out can occur if the batter simply falls or wanders out of their crease and the wicket is put down by a fielder.
Run outs are often tight calls and the adjudication, in the majority of cases, is undertaken by the umpire.
Stumped is a form of dismissal that is carried out specifically by the wicket keeper. This is covered by law 39 and it starts when a batsman leaves their crease in order to play a delivery. If the ball passes the stumps and the wicket is put down by the wicket keeper, the batter is deemed to be out if no part of their bat or body is behind the popping crease.
If a batsman is attempting a run, the dismissal is marked down as run out but if they have simply left the crease to play the ball, the batter is ‘stumped.’
Hit Wicket dismissals are covered by cricket’s law 36. A batsman is deemed to be out hit wicket if they break the wicket with their bat or any part of their body while playing a shot or attempting their first run. A dismissal can also be affected if a part of their equipment, most notably the helmet, is dislodged and breaks the wicket as a result of that delivery.
The delivery must be a legal one and, once again, the wicket is deemed to be put down if the bail is dislodged and subsequently falls to the ground.
Obstructing the Field
Obstructing the Field covers the now defunct dismissal of ‘handled the ball.’ It is covered by law 37 which states that the batsman can be given out if he wilfully obstructs the fielding side either with their body or with words or other actions.
Typically, an appeal for obstructing the field will be upheld if a batsman deliberately prevents a fielder from taking a clean catch. Another common dismissal occurs when a batter changes their course to prevent a run out. The fielding side is required to appeal and both umpires can consult before coming to a decision.
Hit the Ball Twice
Governed by Law 34, Hit the Ball Twice is an exceptionally rare dismissal. As the name indicates, a batsman can be given out if they wilfully hit the ball a second time after it has initially hit the bat or a part of their body / clothing.
There is an exception to this rule as batsmen can use their bat, or any part of their body other than their hands, to prevent the ball from hitting the stumps. If this is the case, the second hit is deemed to be lawful but if the strike is wilful for any other reason, the umpire can uphold an appeal for Hit the Ball Twice.
Once a batsman has been dismissed for any reason, the incoming batter has three minutes in which to take to the field and assume their position at the crease. If they wilfully do not comply with this limit, the fielding side can appeal and the umpire should uphold the dismissal as ‘timed out’.
This comes under law 40 of the laws of cricket and timed out is another exceptionally rare dismissal.
During their innings, a batsman can leave the field of play for a legitimate reason – usually injury or some other form of incapacity. This should be done with the umpire’s consent but if the reason is obvious and admissible, they are clearly going to allow it.
However, if the batter leaves the field without permission or for a reason that is not justified, they can be dismissed as retired out. This has happened on rare occasions and it usually occurs when a batsman leaves the field with a view to giving their colleagues some time at the crease. Therefore, it’s often the case that ‘retired out’ will sometimes appear on a scorecard for practise games.
Dismissals are an essential part of the game and it’s important to understand them. The laws of cricket can be complex but these are pivotal to gameplay and will enhance a viewer’s understanding and enjoyment if they are studied.
Cricket continues to evolve and we may see subtle changes to those laws in the future but the ten dismissals are well-established and should remain so for the time being.