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MCC clarify Law following hit-wicket incident

Posted: 27 July 2023


Toby Roland-Jones hit Ed Barnard’s delivery over the boundary, before dislodging a bail as he lowered his bat. The umpire signalled six, after which there was an appeal. On appeal, Roland-Jones was then given out.


Law 35.1.1 explains the ways that a batter can be out Hit Wicket. The relevant parts state:

35.1.1 The striker is out Hit wicket if, after the bowler has entered the delivery stride and while the ball is in play, his/her wicket is broken by either the striker's bat or person as described in Laws to (Breaking the wicket fairly) in any of the following circumstances: in the course of any action taken by him/her in preparing to receive or in receiving a delivery,

This is then augmented by Law 35.2:

The striker is not out under this Law should his/her wicket be put down in any of the ways referred to in 35.1 if any of the following applies:

- it occurs after the striker has completed any action in receiving the delivery, other than in to

Given that the ball was not a No ball, and Roland-Jones was clearly not attempting a run, the relevant sections of the Law are and the first bullet-point of 35.2. Was the striker taking action in receiving the delivery, or had he completed that action?

Tom Smith’s Cricket Umpiring and Scoring, MCC’s Official Interpretation of the Laws of Cricket, adds the following:

“It (the time a batter can be Hit Wicket) includes any ‘follow-through’ swing of the bat after hitting or trying to hit the ball. It also includes any body movement to recover balance after making the stroke – which may go on for some time, and is usually the hardest part of this Law to judge. During all this time, the striker can be out Hit wicket if he/she breaks the wicket.”

An incident occurred in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, when Oshane Thomas was given Not out by the TV umpire Paul Wilson in very similar circumstances. See here:

Wilson stated that Thomas had clearly finished his shot and that it should be Not out.  At the time, MCC agreed with the decision. 

Returning to the recent dismissal, it is understandable that the umpires gave Roland-Jones Out – whether or not the act of receiving the ball is complete is a judgement call. 

Roland-Jones could, however, count himself unlucky; he had finished the shot with a brief hold of the bat over his shoulder in the follow-through and was fully in control of his balance – the subsequent downward trajectory of the bat can be deemed to be after he has completed his action in receiving the delivery. On balance, he should probably not have been given Out.

However, batters should try to ensure that they are more deliberate in their movements if they don’t want to run the risk of being out Hit Wicket.

Laws of Cricket