A TLA from the game of cricket which stands for 'Leg Before Wicket'. The full wording of the law as given in the 2000 Code hand book is given below:

  • The striker is out LBW in the circumstances set out below.
  • The bowler delivers a ball, not being a No ball and
  • the ball, if it is not intercepted full pitch, pitches in line between wicket and wicket or on the off side of the striker’s wicket and
  • the ball not having previously touched his bat, the striker intercepts the ball, either full-pitch or after pitching, with any part of his person and
  • the point of impact, even if above the level of the bails either
    • is between wicket and wicket or
    • is either between wicket and wicket or outside the line of the off stump if the striker has made no genuine attempt to play the ball with his bat and
  • but for the interception, the ball would have hit the wicket.

For a batsman to be given out LBW, the ball must have pitched in line with, or to the off side of the stumps prior to hitting the batsman on the pad or any part of his body or clothing, without having touched his bat or bat hand, ultimately causing the ball which would have hit his wicket to be deflected away.

The law has existed since its inception in 1774, when it was decided that the practice of 'deliberately defending the wicket with the person instead of the bat is contrary to the spirit of the game and inconsistent with strict fairness' and has undergone many revisions since, mostly concerning whether or not a ball pitched on the leg side can be given out LBW.

Being given out LBW used to be a very rare occurance. In 1870, only 1 in 40 batsmen were dismissed in this manner, but due to law changes, and an change in bowling style, the numbers had reached 1 in 6 by 1980.

To give a batsman out LBW in the modern game is a potential minefield for an umpire since the decision is based purely on his opinion based on the split second position of a ball which can be travelling at up to 100 mph. The pressure has increased on umpires to make the right call has increased since the introduction of 'Hawkeye', a device which commentators use to analyze the flight of the ball from TV footage Whether the M.C.C. decides to take advantage of this new technology remains to be seen.

Sources include
www.cricket4.com
www.cricket.org
www.ecb.co.uk

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