The 10 Ways a Batsman Can Be Given Out Playing Cricket

There are ten ways you can be given out as a batsman in the game of cricket! Some of these are incredibly common, while some of them have barely ever happened throughout the entire history of the game. In this post I’ll give simple explanations of what each type of dismissal involves and try to give you some interesting facts along the way!


Being ‘bowled’ indicates that a legal ball (not a no ball) delivered by the bowler has gone on to strike the stumps, dislodging one or both of the bails completely from the grooves that they rest in. The ball doesn’t have to hit the stumps directly for a batsman to be given out bowled, it can also deflect off a different part of his body as well as his bat!

However, if the ball happens to touch a fielder, wicketkeeper or umpire before dislodging the bails, then the batsman would not be given out bowled.

A 2013 study found that in the entire history of test match cricket, being bowled accounted for 21% of all dismissals. In the late 1800’s this figure was 36%, dropping significantly to 17% in the early 2000’s. In my opinion, the drop in percentage will mainly have come about due to the change in the quality of pitches over the years. Before pitches were covered and protected from the elements they were a lot more unpredictable in terms of their pace and bounce, which would definitely have led to more misjudgements from the batsmen. Statistics like this really help to put the achievements of Sir Donald Bradman into perspective…

Over my years watching cricket I can recall many times where the ball has struck the stumps and even though the bails moved momentarily, they were not dislodged. I guess that’s the moment you know it’s your lucky day!

LBW (Leg Before Wicket)

To the casual observer the concept of being out LBW can be quite a complicated one to grasp as it comes with a set of mini rules, but once you know what to look for its really not that difficult!

The basic premise is that if a legal delivery strikes any part of the batsman’s body (yes, it doesn’t just have to be the leg!) and the umpire believes that the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps had its path not been obstructed, then this delivery has the potential to be given out. I say potential to be given out because there are a number of other factors that the umpire needs to look at before making his final decision. These are as follows:

  • Assuming the ball bounces before it reaches the batsman and doesn’t hit him on the full, the batsman can only be given out if the ball pitches in line between both wickets or on the off-side of the wickets depending on whether the batsman is left or right handed. The batsman cannot be given out if the ball pitches outside the line of his leg stump.
  • In order for the batsman to be given out LBW, the umpire must be sure that his bat did not make contact with the ball prior to the ball making contact with his body.
  • If the batsman was attempting to play a shot at the ball, misses, and subsequently ends up getting hit on the pad, the only way he can be given out is if the point at which the ball strikes his pad lies between the lines of both wickets. However, if the batsman was not attempting to play a shot and gets hit on the pad/body, the batsman can still be given out even if it hits him outside the line of the wickets.

LBW had accounted for 14% of all test match dismissals as of 2013, and the proportion of LBW’s rose significantly from 6% in the late 1800’s to 17.5% in the early 2000’s. I think a lot of this can be put down to improvements in modern technology such as hawkeye and hotspot, and also better standards of umpiring.


You’ll be glad to know that this one is as simple as it sounds…

The batsman is out caught if a legal delivery strikes his bat and is then caught by any fielder before it touches the ground. The ball must not have been interfered with or touched by a member of the fielding side before it hits the bat.

This is the most common mode of dismissal in the game of cricket, accounting for around 57% of all dismissals in test cricket up to 2013. The proportion of catches taken by the wicketkeepers rose steadily throughout the 1900’s from 8-17% which was probably due to a combination of improvements in their technique & athletic ability as well as a result of having better equipment. The proportion of catches taken by other fielders has seen no correlation over the time that test cricket has been played, with it usually accounting for around 39-42% of dismissals in each time period analysed.

Run Out

There are a few different aspects of the run out rule that players need to be aware of. At its simplest, being run out means that a fielder has used the ball (either by throwing it or holding it in his hands) to dislodge the bails completely from either set of stumps when a batsman is out of his crease. To be classed as being ‘in his crease’, a batsman must have any part of his body grounded behind the line of the crease. Having a part of the body on the line of the crease doesn’t mean that the batsman has regained his ground. To give a batsman not out when a run out is being appealed for; the umpire must be able to clearly identify a part of the body that has crossed the line of the crease. If he is holding on to his bat, then this counts as an extension of his body, and merely having your bat behind the line of the crease means that you cannot be run out.

Another thing to note as part of this is that the ball must be ‘live’ in order to be run out. There is usually a point after which a batsman has played a shot in which the ball will be classed as ‘dead’, especially if the batsmen don’t attempt to run a single after this shot. This means that beyond this point, the batsmen could theoretically walk down the pitch towards each other to have a chat and not be run out by the fielding side.

Also, a batsman cannot be run out unless a fielder has made contact with the ball beforehand. Consider a batsman playing a straight drive back in the direction of the bowler. If the ball dislodges the bails at the non-strikers end and the non-striker is not in his crease, then the non-striker would not be given out. The only way this batsman could be given out is if the ball deflects off of a fielder on the way to the stumps.

If the bails have already been dislodged from the stumps for some reason, then a batsman can still be run out. This would occur by a fielder either removing a stump from the ground fully whilst holding on to the ball, or replacing the bails on top of the stumps before removing them again with the ball.

Run outs accounted for 3.5% of all test match dismissals prior to 2013. I imagine that this number would be quite a bit higher in the shorter formats of the game due to an increased pressure to score and batsmen being more likely to take quick risky singles.


The main difference between being stumped and being run out is that only the keeper can cause you to be out stumped, whereas all members of the fielding side can run you out. Other than that the principle is basically the same. During most stumpings a batsman will usually attempt to play a shot, but as he does so he will come out of his crease. The keeper will then catch the ball and quickly dislodge the bails from the top of the stumps before the batsman can get a part of his body grounded back behind the line of the crease. This kind of dismissal will usually occur when a slower bowler is bowling, be that a medium pacer or spinner, as the slower speed of those bowlers allow the wicketkeeper to move himself closer to the stumps.

A lot of stumping decisions come down to extremely fine margins and that is why a lot of the decisions made will come down to a 3rd umpire review.

Stumpings accounted for 2% of all dismissals in tests up to 2013, and as with run outs I imagine this would be significantly higher in one day internationals and T20 games. Batsmen are far more likely to advance down the wicket against spinners in the shorter formats of the game and try to smash them out of the park!

Hit Wicket

Being out ‘hit wicket’ is another very simple one to understand, and this covers the types of dismissal where the batsman will accidentally dislodge the bails from the stumps himself by using a part of his body or his bat. With these types of decisions a batsman’s equipment is seen as an extension of his body, and for this reason any item of equipment causing the bails to be removed would also cause the batsman to be given out. Hit wicket dismissals do not include hitting the ball onto your own stumps because as mentioned earlier in this post, that would fall under the category of a ‘bowled’ dismissal.

Imagine building an innings for hours against some of the toughest bowlers in the world only to get out like this! Well, you’ll be interested to know it’s happened to many players over the years…click here to check out Inzamam Ul-Haq’s hit wicket dismissal against England! I remember finding it hilarious at the time!

Obstructing the Field

Now we move on to the significantly more rare types of dismissals. I’ve been watching cricket intently since 2005 (I just realised that is now THIRTEEN years ago! Way to make myself feel old…), and I can honestly say I’ve never witnessed any of the following dismissals live.

The first one is obstructing the field. The rule states that a batsman will be given out in this manner if he deliberately tries to distract or stop the fielding side doing their job by using words or actions.

In the history of test match cricket, only one player has been given out for this reason; Len Hutton of England. He was dismissed because he tried to hit a ball away from his stumps, but in doing so he prevented the wicketkeeper any opportunity that he would have had to catch the ball.

Seven batsmen have been dismissed under this rule in one day internationals, and most of these are because the batsman was out of his crease and tried to block the ball after one of the fielders attempted to run him out by throwing the ball at the stumps.

Hitting the Ball Twice

This is another one where the clue is in the name! And it is also another incredibly rare way of getting out. There has never been an instance where this has actually happened in the game of test cricket.

In order for a player to be given out like this the he must first hit the ball with his bat, or be struck on the body by the ball. Then, before a member of the fielding side comes in to retrieve the ball, he must deliberately strike the ball again with his bat or a different part of his body. The only way the batsman is protected from being given out in this scenario is if he hits the ball for the second time to stop it from going on to hit his stumps. If this happens, then he should be given not out.

This dismissal would be entirely down to the umpire to determine what counts as actually hitting the ball twice, and what counts as protecting your wicket.

Timed Out

Being timed out is another very rare occurrence in the sport of cricket, having happened less than ten times in all tests, one day internationals and first class matches (HINT: That is a hell of a lot of games).

The laws of cricket state that after a batsman has been given out, the following batsman has 3 minutes to make it to the crease in order to be ready to face the next ball, or for his partner to face the next ball. If the batsman does not make it to the crease in time, then he will be timed out.

If the batting side fails to send anyone out to bat for a significant amount of time then the umpires can choose to award the match to the other team.

Retired Out

A batsman who leaves the field of play without the consent of the umpire and for any reason other than illness or other unavoidable causes, has the potential to be marked as ‘Retired out’ in the final scorecard. The only way a batsman can resume his innings under this scenario is by asking the permission of the opposing captain.

To give you an insight into how likely this is to happen, I have discovered that in test cricket history it has only occurred twice, and remarkably they both happened in the same innings. During Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh in 2001 both Marvan Atapattu and the great Mahela Jayawardene retired out, apparently to give other players more match practice.

Now What?

So now you know all of the things you have to avoid in order to have a long stay at the crease…how about having a look at one some of my other batting related posts? If you’re a newcomer to the game of cricket, I’d start with this one!

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