Hit wicket

Hit wicket

Hit wicket is a method of dismissal in the sport of cricket. This method of dismissal is governed by Law 35 of the Laws of cricket. The striker is out Hit-wicket if, after the bowler has entered his delivery stride and while the ball is in play, his wicket is put down by his bat or his person. The striker may do this whilst preparing to receive or receiving a delivery or in setting off for his first run after playing the delivery. In simple language if the striking batsman knocks the bails off the stumps or uproots the stumps, while attempting to hit the ball or take off for a run, he is out hit wicket.

This method is the sixth most common method of dismissal after caught, bowled, leg before wicket, run out and stumped. It is significantly rarer than any of these, which constitute the five conventional methods, but still much more common than the other four (timed out, handled the ball, obstructing the field and hit the ball twice), which are extremely rare.

Although a bowler is given credit for the wicket, it is not a method of dismissal that a bowler actively seeks. A batsman may not be given out Hit wicket if the ball is not actually delivered by the bowler or if the delivery is a no ball.

Notable dismissals

Due to the rarity of this method of dismissal, most occurrences in international cricket are notable.

Commentary gaff

On 9 August 1991 at the Oval in London, England. Ian Botham, whilst playing for England fell over his stumps whilst attempting to hook Curtly Ambrose of the West Indies and so was dismissed Hit wicket. Later in the day, Brian Johnston of BBC radio's Test Match Special read out the details of the scorecard as normal. When he came to Ian Botham's dismissal, his fellow presenter Jonathan Agnew commented that Botham 'just didn't quite get his leg over'. This was a double entendre meaning that he was not able to avoid hitting his stumps by getting his leg higher than the stumps, and also a reference to sex. Johnston slowly started laughing until he could commentate no more, leaving about a minute of broadcasting being just him in a fit of giggles. His reaction has made Botham's dismissal probably the most famous dismissal "Hit wicket". A link to the broadcast is below.

Disintegrating bat

In the first innings of the 3rd Test in the 1921 Ashes series, at Headingley, Andy Ducat, playing in his only Test for England, fended at a fast ball bowled by against Australia's Ted McDonald. Ducat's bat broke, and a splinter flew back and dislodged a bail. The ball was caught by a slip fielder, and Ducat was given out, caught, although it seems likely that he could also have been given out "hit wicket".

Later in 1921, in the 2nd Test against South Africa at Old Wanderers in Johannesburg, McDonald dismissed Billy Zulch in a similar fashion, breaking the batsman's bat so that fragments flew back to dislodge a bail, and the Zulch was given out, "hit wicket".

The MCC have clarified this situation though, and in fact nowadays a batsman should not be given out if a splinter, or part of his bat, breaks the wicket, as it must be his whole bat that breaks the wicket.

Flying gloves

Playing for Surrey against Derbyshire at The Oval in 1953, Alan Revill's hand was hit by a lifting delivery from Alec Bedser. Revill shook his hand in pain, and his glove flew off, hit the stumps, and dislodged a bail. The umpire considered that Revill was still "playing at the ball", and he was dismissed, "hit wicket".

Falling headgear

In Test cricket, four batsmen have been out "hit wicket" as a result of headgear falling onto the stumps.

In the 2nd Test between Australia and West Indies, at the MCG in 1960-61, the Test immediately after the famous Tied Test at Brisbane, Joe Solomon was first out in the second innings, following on. Playing back to a topspinner bowled by Richie Benaud, his cap fell off and dislodged a bail, so he was out "hit wicket". Somewhat unusually, the Australian crowd thought the dismissal was unsporting, and booed their own side.

Two other Test dismissals involve Indians. In July 1974, Ashok Mankad was dismissed by Chris Old in similar fashion in the second innings of 3rd Test at Edgbaston, the only match that Mankad played on that tour, and Dilip Vengsarkar was similarly dismissed by Jeff Thomson in December 1977, in the first innings of the 1st Test at Brisbane, in Vengsarkar's 12th Test innings and his seventh Test match.

In the 3rd nPower Test between England and West Indies on 9 June 2007, Kevin Pietersen was out hit wicket when his helmet fell onto the stumps. The match took place at Old Trafford Cricket Ground and the bowler was Dwayne Bravo, who bowled a good bouncer that dislodged the helmet. Replays suggested that the force of the ball broke the chinstrap, freeing the lid to strike the stumps.

In the 3rd One Day International against Australia in Dunedin in February 2000, New Zealand's Adam Parore's helmet was knocked off by a short-pitched delivery from Brett Lee. The helmet fell into the stumps, and Parore was also out "hit wicket", causing some disturbance in the crowd.

Playing for Warwickshire at Edgbaston, M. J. K. Smith was once dismissed when a gust of wind blew his cap on to his wicket.

Recent dismissals

Inzamam-ul-Haq was also out hit wicket in the 3rd Test against England at Headingley on the 6 August 2006 as he attempted to sweep England spinner Monty Panesar and in doing so lost his balance before falling backwards onto his stumps. He attempted to jump over the stumps, however completely fell on top of them.

On 9 June 2007 in the third test at Old Trafford Kevin Pietersen was dismissed Hit Wicket by Dwayne Bravo when a bouncer hit him on the helmet and caught the fastening for the chin strap. This allowed the helmet to be dislodged and it fell onto his wicket dislodging the bails.

David Obuya is the only cricketer to be dismissed Hit wicket in International Twenty20, on 12 September 2007 ICC World Twenty20 the 2nd match of Group C, Mark Gillespie pitched the ball just short of a length and the ball swings back into Obuya from outside off stump, the ball arrives quicker than Obuya expects and he gets pushed back in his crease, he loses balance and treads on his stumps.

Controversial non-dismissal

In January 1998, South Africa played Australia in the Third Test at the Adelaide Oval with Australia leading the series 1–0. South Africa was pushing for victory on the final day in an attempt to square the series. Mark Waugh was attempting to hold off the South African bowlers for a draw with only tail-end support remaining. He was hit in the arm by a short ball from Shaun Pollock, and upon walking away from the wicket between deliveries, dislodged the bails with his bat. The South African appeal for hit wicket was turned down. South African captain Hansie Cronje later speared the umpires' dressing room door with a stump after Waugh and his partner held on for a draw which clinched Australia the series victory. The decision is considered correct because the laws of cricket say hit wicket can only occur while the ball is live (from when the bowler starts his run up until such time it is dead). The ball is always deemed dead between deliveries.


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