Leg Before Wicket mode of dismissal – All you need to know

In the interesting world of cricket, batsmen do their best to score runs, while bowlers do their best to dismiss them. One of the most talked-about ways a batsman can be out is through LBW (Leg Before Wicket). However, this type of dismissal can be confusing, even for long-time cricket fans. But don’t worry! In this article, we will talk about the term LBW, the main points to consider, its technological developments and controversies.

What is Leg Before Wicket?

LBW is the short form of “Leg Before Wicket”. In simple terms, before the ball hits the wicket, if the ball hits their body (which does not include the hands holding the bat) a batsman is called out LBW. As a result, the umpire decides that the ball would have hit the stumps if it had not hit the batsman’s body.

The Main Points for considering an Leg Before Wicket Dismissal

The umpire considers many factors before deciding on an LBW appeal from the fielding side. Here is a brief overview of the most important things:

  • Pitch: After the ball bounces, it must land within the line or towards the off side of the wickets. It simply means near the three stumps and the ball being hit outside the leg stump. Although this is far away from the batsman and does not result in an LBW.
  • Impact: The ball should not touch the bat first, and it must hit some part of the batsman’s body ((but not his hands).
  • The Line of the Wickets: The point of contact between the ball and the batsman’s body must be “in line” with the wickets. It means that approximately in line with the three stumps. Also, imagine a line that goes upwards from the stumps. As a result, the ball hitting the batsman on this particular line is considered as LBW.
  • Ball’s Direction and Tracking: The umpire believes that if the ball had not hit the batsman’s body, it would have hit the wicket. Therefore, this involves factors like the ball’s spin, swing, and bounce.

Possible Situations Which Lead to Leg Before Wicket

Just imagine a batsman trying to play a shot but misses the ball. If that ball hit their leg pads while still in line with the wickets. At that moment, when the umpire strongly felt that the ball was going to hit the stumps, that is LBW!

Another kind of situation is when a batsman defensively uses their leg pads for a sharply coming, swinging delivery. As a result, the ball hits the pads in line as if it were about to hit the stumps, and this is an LBW!

The LBW Debate of “Contact vs. Intention”.

Leg Before Wicket is an umpire’s judgmental decision. However, even the batsman’s willingness to play the ball is subject to debate. If the batsman is trying to defend or play a shot and the ball hits the bat and on pads, they might be given “not out”.

It is declared not out, even if the ball was on its way to the stumps. However, this is a point of controversy and disagreement.

Hence, the commentators and fans debate about which holds more weightage — the impact, or the batsman’s intent.

LBW for Varying Deliveries

The LBW rule can be applied to a variety of deliveries which include — fast bowling, spin bowling, and swing bowling.

However, you need to keep in mind that for slower deliveries like bouncers, the batsman will have more chances to avoid the ball with their body.

Therefore, a short-pitched ball rising high hitting the body would not necessarily be LBW.

LBW Technological Development and Matters of Controversy

Advancements in LBW technology like “Ball Tracking” are helpful for umpires to make accurate LBW decisions. As a result, this technology accurately predicts the ball’s path if it hasn’t hit the batsman.

Despite these improved technologies, sometimes the LBW decisions are controversial, with heated discussions coming up about the accuracy of ball tracking and the umpire’s final judgment.

How can you understand LBW in a better way?

You can understand LBW in a better way by watching cricket matches and focusing on LBW appeals. However, the commentators will usually explain the reasons behind their decisions.

Also, you need to look for online websites that explain LBW along with easily understandable video examples. Above all, do not hesitate to ask other cricket fans, enthusiasts, or players and clarify your doubts.


At first, the LBW concept might seem to be a confusing dismissal. But after you understand the major points and the thought process behind this rule, you will start appreciating this interesting aspect of the game.

So, the next time you see an LBW appeal, you will be able to analyse the situation and come up with your own valid opinion!