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Law 19 in Action

Tree within the boundary


What is the situation if there is a tree 10 metres inside the boundary and the ball hits this tree?


Law 19.1 (a) requires the umpires and captains, before the toss, to agree the boundary of the field of play. Section (c) of the same Law indicates that it is the umpires’ responsibility to decide, also before the toss, whether or not an obstacle within the boundary, such as the tree you describe, is to be regarded as a boundary. It may be worth mentioning that no such decision can be made about a sight-screen. It has to be outside the boundary.

If the umpires have decided that the tree is to be regarded as a boundary then all the provisions regarding boundaries will apply. As soon as the ball in play, or a fielder in contact with the ball touches any part of the tree, a boundary will be scored and the ball will become dead. The allowance will depend on what was decided before the toss and whether the conditions for a boundary 6 apply or not. If the umpires have not decided that the tree is to be regarded as a boundary, then the ball touching it will remain in play.

[Law reference: 19.1]

Large curved object as boundary marking

If a large object with a curved surface marks part of the boundary, the line joining its innermost points may be high enough for the ball to travel under this line, passing it before touching the object itself. This is not to be regarded as coming into contact with the ground beyond the boundary edge.

field in play

Take as example a roller. For a boundary to be scored, it will be necessary to touch the surface of the roller, or the ground on the far side of the roller, or an object grounded on the far side of the roller. In this diagram, the ball has not yet touched the roller. A boundary has not been scored.

[Law reference: 19.2(c)(i)]

Boundary fence collapsing while ball is in play


A boundary fence collapses into the field of play and comes to rest face down, flat on the ground partly within the field of play, straddling the original base line of the fence. The ball is hit by the striker and touches a part of the fence that is within the field of play. The ball remains inside the field and does not travel past the original base line. Is the boundary the original base line?


There is an inference that Law 19.2 (e) will only apply when the fence has been removed from the field of play altogether.

It is correct to infer that the boundary becomes the original base line only after the collapsed fence has been removed. This removal is to be done as soon as the ball is dead. For the short period until the ball becomes dead it has to be considered that the fence still marks the boundary. As soon as the ball touches any part of the fence a boundary has been scored. In the case quoted, as the fence had not been removed, it must be assumed that the collapse occurred after the ball had come into play and that therefore the statements above apply. A boundary would be scored when the ball touched the fence, no matter which part of the fence it was.

[Law reference: 19.2(e)]

Interpretation of ‘6 runs’ in Law 19.4(c) – runs allowed for boundaries


The Law instructs that captains and umpires are to agree not only what constitutes the boundary of the field of play but also the allowances for boundaries. If there is such an agreement that the normal 4 and 6 are to be replaced with other values, e.g. 3 and 5, should the award of 6 runs in this Law be interpreted as the agreed value, that is 5 in example?


No. It is intended that this should be an award to the batting side for an error by the fielder, rather than a normal boundary. The award should be 6 runs whatever may have been agreed about allowances.

[Law reference: 19.4(c)]

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