When you break it down, cricket can be quite a simple game. In any given innings, the batting team is trying to score as many runs as possible, and the bowling team is trying to get all of the batters out. Highest score wins.
That’s cricket in its most simplistic form, and there is, of course, more to it than that alone. There are many ways to get out in cricket, and in this guide we’re exploring the 10 ways that you can get dismissed.
Just starting to play cricket and understand the rules? Trust us, once you’ve got out by any of the methods in this guide, you won’t forget about it.
In each delivery, there is a chance for the bowler to get the batter “out”. This can also be referred to as a “wicket”. This means they have to go back to the pavilion and don’t face another delivery. When the 10 batters have all succumbed to this fate, then the team is “all out” and their total score is completed for that innings.
A Note on No Balls
Before we dive into the ways to get given out in cricket, it is a good idea to understand what a “no ball” is. It is possible that it might appear that the batter is out, and one of the methods below might see the batter fearing the worst.
However, if a no ball is called, meaning it was an unfair delivery within the laws of the game, the batter will get a stay of execution. This is often seen when the bowler has overstepped the mark.
For the purposes of this guide, we’ve assumed that there aren’t any no ball deliveries.
Ways to Get Out in Cricket
Right, let’s get into the different ways wickets are taken in the game of cricket. The vast majority of wickets you will see will fit into the first few categories below.
We’ll start with the simplest. Law 32 of cricket outlines when a batter is “bowled”. If a legal delivery hits the wicket and at least one of the bails is dislodged from the top of the stumps then the batter is out.
It doesn’t matter if the delivery hits the wicket without anything getting in the way, or if the batter manages to nick the ball on the way. Also, if it hits the batter’s body and then hits the stumps, this still classifies as out.
Over half of the wickets taken in modern cricket are caught. This is true of the professional game, at least.
A catch is when the fielder or wicket keeper catches the ball, without it hitting the ground, after it comes from the batter’s bat.
The fielder is only deemed to have made a successful catch if they are in full control of the ball. Also, they can’t be in contact with any of the boundary markers, otherwise runs are given instead. This is why we see some of those incredible juggling catches as fielders try to avoid carrying the ball out or onto the ropes for a six.
LBW – Leg Before Wicket
Explaining this is a little bit like explaining the offside rule in football. Sometimes, it might not totally click until you see this type of dismissal in person or on the television, and it is still a subject of debate.
LBW is a law that basically prevents the batters from being able to block the ball with their pads or other parts of their body, or kicking the ball away.
If a legal delivery hits the body and is adjudged by the umpire to have been on its way to hit the stumps then this will be given as out (with some exceptions).
Whether it is a deliberate attempt to block the ball or just a missed shot and the ball cannons onto the pads, it doesn’t matter, it is given as out.
To meet the criteria to be given as LBW, the ball must:
- Be a legal delivery
- Made impact with the batter in line with the stumps
- Not be going over the stumps
- Not have hit the bat or gloves on its way to hitting their body or pads
In the event of the ball making impact outside of off stump and the batter is playing a shot then LBW shouldn’t be given. If they are not playing a shot then LBW is allowed.
In village cricket, and before the days of technology, the decision would be down to the umpire. Now, teams get reviews which can be used to check the decision using the Decision Review System (DRS).
Still confused? This video should help to clear things up a little.
Law 38 of the game outlines the run out. While running between the creases to complete a run, the batter must make it all the way to the opposing popping crease. This means either a part of their body, or their bat, must be grounded behind the line.
If any of the fielding team manages to break the wicket and dislodge the stumps with the ball before the batter gets to the other end and completes the run, they are out.
There are some pretty comical examples of run outs. For instance, if a batter has just walked out of their crease and not noticed, they can be run out by the fielder.
In professional cricket this is relatively rare, with less than 5% of dismissals in test cricket coming from this method, but in village cricket there are far more examples of people not making their ground in time.
Within the runout it is worth mentioning “Mankading”. This is a type of dismissal that causes some debate in the cricketing world, where the bowler removes the stumps of the batter at the non-striker’s end if they have moved out of the crease before they have delivered the ball. It is within the rules of the game, but many consider it a bit of a dishonest practice. We won’t get into that debate today.
This is closely linked to being run out. Law 39 covers this way to get out in cricket. Being stumped is when the batter leaves their crease to try and make a shot. This happens a lot when advancing down the wicket to try and play a big shot. If the ball then passes the stumps, and the wicket keeper catches it and breaks the stumps, the batter is out if no part of their body is grounded behind the line of their crease.
If they are running then it will class as a run out. If they aren’t running, and they have left their ground in an attempt to play a shot then they will be given out as stumped.
Interestingly, this is the fifth most common way to get dismissed, but it still only accounts for a few percent of all the dismissals in professional cricket. This shows that the vast majority of dismissals are through catching, bowling, and LBW, but with the odd rarity thrown in.
If a batter breaks their wicket with the bat or with their body while they are trying to play a shot, or take off for their first run, they will be given out in this method.
It can also be given if their equipment should break or fall onto the wicket. It may seem harsh, but if the batter’s helmet were to come off while they were trying to play a shot, and then break the wicket, they would be given out.
The bail must be dislodged from the top of the stumps for this type of wicket to be given.
Hit the Ball Twice
No, you can’t do a juggling act before you hit the ball away to score some runs, and this is the rule that protects bowlers from this.
It’s a really unusual way to get out. This law means the batter can’t hit the ball a second time (or any subsequent times) after the ball hits their bat or a part of their body or clothing. This can lead to them being given out, but there are exceptions:
- The second contact is not willful and happens by accident. We’ve seen sweep shots where a batter happens to hit the ball twice
- The contact is in order to prevent the ball from hitting the stumps.
Simply put, this can’t be used as a deliberate way to score more runs. However, if the batter hits the ball once, and then again to stop it rolling onto the stumps, this is not a dismissal.
Obstructing the Field
Rare, but not unheard of. This is a method of dismissal for batters who are obstructing the fielding side in some way.
On the odd occasion this causes someone to get out if often causes debate. The fielding team has to appeal for the decision.
A couple of examples of obstructing the field could include:
- A batter using their hand or leg to stop the ball from hitting the stumps for a run out.
- A batter shouting or trying to put the fielder off from taking a catch
Uncommon though it is, there are some high-profile examples of batters being given out for this. Check out the controversial decision below.
If you’re a batter and you are given out for this then expect to get some serious pelters from your teammates afterward.
Once a batter has been dismissed, the next batter on the list has three minutes to take to their position on the pitch. This is why they must be padded up and ready to go, even before there is any sign of the previous batter being given out.
Law 40 of the game says that if it takes longer than three minutes, the fielding side can appeal for the wicket to be given, and the umpire is able to time the batter out.
This is incredibly rare. In test cricket, for instance, whoever is the next batter to come in will be padded up and ready to go when a wicket is given, and often, batters choose to get their pads on well before they’ll be called upon to stay safe. Whether the law would actually be enforced is another matter, and would depend on the fielding team appealing for an out decision to be made.
If a batter has an injury or illness, with the umpire’s permission and with a reason, they are able to leave the field. They can even come back and complete their innings later.
If a batter doesn’t have permission or any reason to leave the field, but decides they are going to anyway, then they will be “retired out”. This means that without the umpire’s permission, they’ve called it a day and gone back to the pavilion.
We don’t see this at the top level of cricket. There is simply too much at stake for batters to decide they’re going to leave the field by choice.
Finally, you can see how an umpire earns their corn. Having said right at the outset of this guide that cricket is a simple game, you can see how all the laws quickly start to get confusing.
If you’re going to start batting for your local team, there’s every chance that you’ll quickly start to experience the ways to get out in cricket, and there’s no shame in that. Just make sure you don’t lose your wicket to something as silly as stepping back onto the stumps or not being ready when it comes to your turn to have a bat, or you might be the butt of some jokes for the remainder of the day.