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Law 26 in Action

Pad-bat strikes (1)


If the ball first hits the pad and then the bat, the striker can be out Caught. If the ball is not caught can he score runs?


If No ball is called, the penalty for it will stand in every case. Apart from this one penalty, when the first contact with the striker is on his person, no runs or penalties will be scored in any situation unless the umpire is satisfied that the striker either attempted to play the ball with his bat, or attempted to avoid being hit by the ball. What follows is based on the assumption that one or other of these conditions has been met.

Law 26.2 limits the scoring of Leg byes to cases where there is no contact with the striker’s bat, after the initial contact with his person. If the ball does hit the bat subsequently and the contact is inadvertent,

then runs scored (or a boundary allowance) are credited to the striker.

the contact is wilful and not in defence of his wicket, then he is out Hit the ball twice

the contact is wilful but in defence of his wicket, then runs can be scored but only if there is an overthrow.

If there is an overthrow, then the first strike determines the nature of any runs that may be scored. If the first strike was on the bat they are runs to the striker. If the first contact was on the person the requirement for an attempt to play the ball with the bat or to avoid being hit by the ball still stands. Law 34 lays down categorically, however, that in this case if runs are permitted they will be Leg byes.

[Law reference: 26.2, 32.3 (d)]

Pad-bat strikes (2)


If the ball first hits the pad, then the ground and then the bat, the striker cannot be out Caught. Can he score runs?


The fact that the ball has been grounded between the two strikes does not affect the scoring of runs. Law 26.2 will apply. The answer to question 26-A will apply.

To allow runs the umpire must be satisfied both that the second strike on the bat was inadvertent and that before the first strike on the pad the striker had either attempted to play the ball with his bat or tried to avoid being hit by the ball. Even if the striker had attempted to play the ball with his bat before being hit on the pad, if the strike on the bat was wilful then the right to score runs would depend on the conditions of Law 34 being satisfied.

[Law reference: 26.2, 32.3 (d)]

Ball hitting the bat after deflection by the person


A batsman makes no attempt to play the ball with his bat, nor does he try to avoid being hit by the ball. It is clear that, under Law 26, Leg byes will not be allowed. Can the striker be credited with runs, however, if the ball after hitting the pad then comes into contact with his bat?


No. Law 26 does not state that, unless the umpire is satisfied that the conditions have been met, no runs shall be scored from that deflection. It states unequivocally that no runs shall be credited to the batting side from that delivery. It also specifically excludes even the awarding of any penalties, except the 1 run penalty if No ball has been called. Both parts of this embargo are reinforced in Law 34.4 for a ball lawfully struck more than once and again in Law 41.4 for a ball striking a fielder’s helmet not being worn.

It should be noted, however, that in the circumstances described the striker could be out Caught if the ball is not grounded between first hitting his pad and being held by a fielder.

[Law reference: Law 26.3, 34.4, 41.4.]

Reporting even though penalty runs not awarded


If Leg byes are not allowed, penalty runs are not to be awarded either. This appears to mean the fielding side suffer no penalty where otherwise they would have caused 5 penalty runs to be awarded to the batting side. Surely this cannot be correct?


It is true that debarring the batting side from the award of any runs, except a 1 run penalty if No ball has been called, is the most stringent penalty in the Laws against the batting side. However, it should be remembered that when penalties are to be awarded, giving away 5 runs is not the only retribution against the fielding side. In many cases the Law also prescribes that the matter be reported and in some cases that the delivery is not to count in the over. Both these requirements will apply. For example, when Leg byes are attempted, a previously absent player returns without permission and comes into contact with the ball as it nears the boundary. The striker may have failed to satisfy the conditions for runs to be valid, so that the boundary is to be disallowed, and the penalty runs withheld. Nevertheless, the delivery will not count in the over and, as laid down in Law 2.6, the fielder and his captain are to be reported to higher authority for the offence. That authority is required to take action. The severity of the action for any particular offence meriting the penalty runs will depend on the severity of that offence.

The same situation arises in two other Laws, if ball is deflected off the striker’s person without his having tried either to hit the ball with his bat or avoid being hit by the ball. No runs are allowed (except 1 run if No ball has been called) and the 5 run penalty is withheld when the ball, although runs would otherwise have been permitted. These two situations are Runs after a second strike in defence of his wicket, even after an overthrow. (Law 34.4)

Penalty for the ball in play hitting a fielder’s helmet on he ground (Law 41.5)

[Law reference: 26.3, 34.4 (d), 41.4]

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