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Why is it necessary to appeal for an LBW dismissal when sometimes it is clear that the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps?

It is the duty of an umpire to give the decision as OUT when the ball running to the stumps, hits any part of the batsman other his bat. If the bowler or any of the player of the fielding side did not appeal for the dismissal, what can the umpire do in this situation?

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1 Answer 1

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Leg Before Wicket (LBW) is never as straight forward as other forms of dismissals like Caught or Bowled. More often than not, there is that element of doubt as to whether

  1. The ball would have gone to hit the wicket or

  2. The ball hit in line with the wicket or

  3. The ball pitched outside leg stump or

  4. If there was an inside edge before the ball hit the stumps.

The full rules to give the batsman out LBW can be found here.

The decision making for the above can neither be given to the batsman nor the bowler as their decision could be biased towards their own team. Therefore, the only neutral person who would be in a position to judge without bias would be the umpire, and this is why the bowler/fielding team needs to appeal to get an LBW decision.

The umpire, however, cannot give a batsman out LBW, even if were to be plumb, if there is no appeal from the fielding team for the dismissal.(Law)

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"Neither umpire shall give a batsman out, even though he may be out under the Laws, unless appealed to by a fielder." lords.org/laws-and-spirit/laws-of-cricket/laws/… –  Orangecrush Jan 9 '13 at 15:00
    
The difficulty of judging LBW is really becoming apparent with the DRS system now (usually) in use. On a number of occasions an LBW shout has been clearly and completely plumb when seen on TV using ball tracker and pitch map etc, however the Umpire hasn't given it and then, crucially, the bowler has NOT referred it even with referrals still available. For the players and Umpires really judging LBW is actually really hard, much harder than is looks from the couch. Hence the appeal is always required because it is never ever as obvious as it might look. –  Bogdanovist Jan 10 '13 at 3:03
    
I have umpired games where the batsman has been plum but the bowler hasn't appealed. I never thought to myself "if only the laws were changed so I could give this batsman out" :-) –  chimp Jan 13 '13 at 1:44
    
hmm... I have seen many umpires raise their fingers straightaway. And good umpires too. –  xylon97 May 21 '13 at 16:21

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