While LBW was certainly introduced because of batsmen's deliberate use of the legs and feet to stop the ball hitting the wicket, early writers such as John Nyren seem to have placed most of the blame for this deliberate act on Tom Taylor and Joey Ring. However, their careers began after 1774 and, as Arthur Haygarth points out, it is "now impossible to reconcile these conflicting statements" .
LBW was not recorded as such for many years. In the Surrey versus England XIII match at Moulsey Hurst in August 1795, John Tufton was dismissed lbw by John Wells. According to Haygarth: In this match, "leg before wicket" is found scored for the first time. In Britcher's printed score-book, Mr J. Tufton is in this match put down as bowled merely, and the leg before wicket added in a note. At first, when any one was got out in this way, it was marked down as simply bowled, and the leg before wicket omitted .
If the ball hits the batsman (without first hitting his bat or a hand holding the bat) when it was otherwise going to hit the wicket, then it is judged out LBW, unless:
The conditions for a batsman to be given out LBW are:
There are three rules for the interpretation of these conditions: only the first interception of the ball by the body is considered; whether the ball would have pitched after interception is irrelevant; and the identities of the 'off side' and 'leg side' are to be determined by reference to the batsman's stance when the ball comes into play, this is when the bowler starts his run up or, if he has no run up, his bowling action.(law 23 of the Laws of Cricket).
The exception to the fifth condition (ball must impact in line) involves the judgment of the umpire on whether the batsman has attempted to play a shot at the ball. It is designed to prevent batsmen from merely kicking the ball away outside the off stump, which provides no chance of giving up a catch off the bat. A common defensive tactic against spin bowlers is to use the leg pad to defend against balls on the off side, but the LBW rule means they must either have the bat placed near the pad, thus providing a chance for edging a catch to the slip fielders, or risk being ruled out LBW. Some observers, such as Richie Benaud, have suggested that the LBW law be changed so that a batsman can be out if the ball pitches just outside the leg stump, thereby assisting legspinners and preventing negative pad-play.
The LBW rule is always judged by the umpire at the bowler's end. If the fielding team believes a batsman may be out LBW, they must appeal to that umpire for a decision.
All the LBW conditions must be assessed for the delivery, which takes around half a second to reach the batsman. As in other aspects of the rules, the batsman is always given the benefit of any doubt so, if an umpire is unsure, the appeal will be turned down. An example of this is if the batsman takes a step forward before the ball hits the batsman's leg. The ball might well have gone on to hit the wicket, but it is very difficult for the umpire to be certain of this, as the ball would have been 1.5-2 metres in front of the wicket as it hit the batsman's leg.
With the benefit of television replays it is common to show whether or not all of the LBW conditions were satisfied, and thus some people complain that an umpire wrongly allowed a batsman to continue or wrongly gave him out. However since the umpire should be certain that a batsman is out in order to give him out, and he has no benefit of television replay, the umpire's decision is usually appropriate. Most players and commentators acknowledge this and criticism of umpires is minimal.
The LBW decision is arguably the hardest the umpires have to make, and can be a source for commentary and controversy amongst the spectators. In recent years, with the increasing amounts of pressure and money at stake in cricket, several people have been campaigning for a larger role of cameras and simulation technology such as Hawk-Eye to aid the umpire in the uncertain cases. For the moment, LBW remains a decision that falls solely under the purview of the on-field umpire. Change is in the air, however: in September 2005, the International Cricket Council (ICC) authorized a trial run of the use by umpires of television replays to aid in making the call (see external link below).
It is worth noting that a batsman can be out LBW if the ball hits the pad first and then goes on to hit the bat (a so-called pad-bat), but not in the case where the batsman hits the ball with the bat but the ball then goes on to hit his pad (a bat-pad). However, in both cases, a batsman runs the risk of being out caught, as the ball may ricochet off at a relatively low speed for a close fielder (such as silly mid on) to catch.
Should the ball hit the batsman on the full (i.e., without hitting the pitch), then the umpire is to assume that the ball would have continued on its previous trajectory, ignoring any possible deviation as a result of the ball pitching.
Another good source of LBW information is http://www.blurtit.com/q598606.html
The alteration consisted of permitting a ball pitched outside off stump to produce an LBW wicket if the batsman stopped it with any part of his person in a straight line between wicket and wicket. Previously, only a ball pitched in a straight line between the bowler's and the striker's wickets could yield an LBW dismissal.
The term "LBW (N)" referred to the fact that from 1935 to 1937, wickets under the new leg before wicket rule were distinguished in scorecards published by Wisden from those under the pre-1935 rule.
It was clear to authorities that improved pad play by batsmen like Herbert Sutcliffe and Phil Mead were responsible for the high scores and excessive numbers of drawn games. Thus, the idea of preventing batsmen using their legs to pad away balls outside the off stump was seen as a means not only of countering pad play, but also to discouraging fast "bodyline" bowling outside leg stump through rewarding bowlers who attacked the off stump, thus encouraging attractive off-side strokes. Much deliberation took place in 1934, and it was generally agreed that an extension of the LBW law on the off-side might reduce defensive pad play. Some people, such as Harold Larwood, argued for the permission of an LBW wicket to any ball pitched outside off stump even if the batsman's legs were also outside off stump - which has been put into place in some measure since 1970.
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