Why are 5 runs awarded if the ball hits the helmet behind the wicket-keeper? Is it mandatory to keep helmet in ground? To avoid 5 extra runs, can fielding team keep the helmet outside the ground?

  • 1
    I'll not post this as an answer until I can confirm it is as fact but I will speculate the following: The ball has been obstructed so a penalty is given. 5 runs is between the 4 and 6 that can be awarded for reaching the boundary so 5 fits nicely as an "arbitary" amount. Like I say, I need to confirm this.
    – Ste
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 9:42
  • To clarify, if the batsman hits the ball first onto the helmet (that is on the ground behind the keeper) is that 5 penalty runs or 5 runs to the batsman who may have reached the boundary?
    – user1665
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 11:04
  • @John It is 5 penalty runs, scored as extras, which do not go towards the batsman's personal score. The ball is then dead, so no boundary can then be scored from it. However, any runs completed before it hits the helmet would be counted, as well as any run in progress.
    – Spinner
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 14:31

4 Answers 4


It is given as a penalty for stopping or obstructing the course of the ball.

  • 3
    This doesn't really answer the question. The question is "Why?" and you say "Because it is." Commented May 30, 2012 at 17:22
  • 5
    But why five and not, say, eight or twelve?
    – Aarthi
    Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 21:34
  • 2
    Why "five"..? All penalty runs are 5. Eg. if a batsman runs on the danger area of the pitch five runs is awarded to the opposition team.
    – gout
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 6:54
  • 2
    But why did the ruling body choose five runs? They could have picked eight! Or twelve! Or seventeen! What significance is 5? Is 5 the average number of runs a person can make in the same bowl? Is 5 just easier for a ref to count?
    – Aarthi
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 15:05
  • 10
    I think these are strange objections. If you want a 'why' then the question has no answer. Why is hitting the ball the boundary given 4 runs, and hitting it over given 6? It just is. Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 23:55

The 5 run penalty was first introduced in 1798: Penalty of 5 runs if a fielder stopped the ball with his hat. Why 5 and not some other number? We can only assume the law makers felt that 6 was too harsh and 4 too lenient.


I rekon its because A 6 has to be over the rope on the full without touching the field. So if the ball hits the helmet on the ground it was never gunna make the rope without touching. So 5 is the highest it can be, 4 for a boundry u could of scored plus an extra 1 for the obstruction.


It is regarded as a penalty. And has been approved as the law of game.

  • 2
    This doesn't give any more information than the other answer, and neither answers the actual question: why five runs? Commented May 30, 2012 at 17:23

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