Thursday, 2 June 2011

How Out

The mournful heading on the scorebook column.  As every cricketer knows, there are 11 ways that this column can be completed; 11 modes of dismissal.

The most common are Run Out, Bowled, LBW,Caught, and Stumped although not in that order.  It is rare for a scorecard to show other than these 5. 

Hit Wicket also occurs from time to time, but rarely.  The most famous recent incident of that dismissal was of Ian Botham in 1991 against W Indies.  But this incident is celebrated for other reasons. In a review of the day, Brian Johnston told of Botham's dismissal and how he had overbalanced and tried, but failed, to step over his stumps. Jonathan Agnew commented  "He just couldn't quite get his leg over."  End of sensible commentary.  Well worth another listen here.

Some scorers will incorrectly record played on as a mode of dismissal although this should be recorded bowled.  FB rather shares the incorrect view - the thing about bowled is that the ball was straight - played on can result from a batter chasing a wide one, so there is another factor at play.  Yes, it should be a bowler's wicket because he has induced a false stroke, but it is different from bowled.
Gooch handling
The other modes of dismissal are exceedingly rare.  Indeed FB has never witnessed them in any game he has played.  A batter is out if he handles the ball - most famously this happened to Graham Gooch in 1993.  It was clear that Gooch handled attempting to stop the ball spinning onto his stumps, but there have been more controversial dismissals involving Michael Vaughan and Steve Waugh where there was no such threat.  Andrew Hilditch was even given out at the non striker's end when he intercepted a throw.  This is why a batter will ask permission of the fielders to pick the ball up and lob it to them when he just drops it on the crease.  Maybe because of his own experience, or maybe becasue he's just like that, the Steve Waugh attitude is never to do this - make the fielders pick up their own ******* ball. 

Len Hutton is the only player to be given out for obstructing the field in Test cricket, when he interfered with a catcher's attempt.  More recently Inzaman was gven out in a ODI when he put his bat to a fielder's return throw.

Hitting the ball twice, not the accidental double hit of a mistimed shot which gets the juniors all excited, but the deliberate stopping of the ball, extraction of a tee from the backpocket and blasting the ball into the middle distance has never featured in international cricket.  (Of course FB's example is poor - the batter doing this would be out handling the ball before they hit it).  Kicking the ball away from a fielder might also count as hitting the ball twice - unless it is obstructing the field.  Only the highest court in the land can decide.

Timed out - a batter has 3 minutes to get to the crease after the fall of the wicket.  There has been no such dismissal in international cricket.

Right, that's 10 which is often where the list stops.  But keen swots such as FB know there is one more - retired out.
Some commentators speculate whether an umpire could forcibly retire a player who showed dissent to an umpire's decision or behaved offensively.  FB suspects this cannot happen - tempting though it must be.
But in lower league cricket there are a host of other ways of getting out which are rarely if ever fully recorded in the scorebook - these include:

  • triggered as an act of personal revenge by the umpire who is sick to the back teeth of his team mate the batter and his continual bragging about his 3-series BMW;
  • triggered in the cause of the team and the need to up the run rate from the painful 1 and over being achieved; 
  • incompetence;
  • drunk;
  • failed to open eyes after bowler started run up;
  • facing wrong way;
  • talking while batting;
  • preoccupied by young lady sunbathing on boundary;
  • bladder pressure;
  • temporary insanity having creamed the previous ball for 4 through extra cover;
  • identity theft - very similar to the above but batter has temporary but unshakeable belief that he is Michael Vaughan;
  • wondering whether you turned the gas off and locked the back door;
  • suddenly remembering embarassing conversation with young lady at party last night involving extended references to Mars Bars;
  • sneezing coughing or otherwise expectorating;
  • extreme youth or senility (or both at the same time and generally speaking Alzheimer's Disease is not of assistance to batting - sufferers should bat down the order and retain a note with them of their place in the order);
  • out of breath.
None of these modes of dismissal should be credited to the bowler.


  1. There was once a well known Carlton player - now a coach - who was given out timed out. It was a bit of a set up in that the opposition only agreed to appeal if the umpires (who were Carlton players) gave an undertaking to allow the appeal to be withdrawn. The wheeze worked beautifully in that the player concerned went ballistic when adjudged out.

  2. Excellent - that is fully within the spirit of cricket.