High scoring and the law of leg-before wicket

1899

High scoring and the law of leg-before wicket

I was much struck by an article written by the Hon. E. V. Bligh in Baily's Magazine for September under the title "Cricket Centuries." It seemed to me that the point raised by Mr. Bligh, as to the present law in regard to leg-before-wicket would furnish food for a very interesting discussion, and having obtained permission from the editor of Baily to reprint the article, I sent copies of it to many of the most famous cricketers, past and present, asking them to favour me with their views on the subject for publication in "Wisden." The response has been all I could have wished, and I beg here to thank most heartily the writers who have let me enjoy the benefit of their experience and expert knowledge. The chief contention in Mr. Bligh's article is that the present law as to leg-before-wicket should be altered in the bowler's favour, and read thus:- "XXIV.-Or if, standing in the direct line between the two wickets, with any part of his person he stops the ball, which in the opinion of the umpire at the bowler's wicket would have hit the striker's wicket- leg-before-wicket."

As might have been expected there is a great diversity of opinion on this very debateable point, but it will be seen that among others Mr. V. E. Walker, Mr. R. A. H. Mitchell and the Hon. Alfred Lyttelton are in agreement in favouring the proposed change. The majority of my correspondents agree in thinking that the game is suffering from the abnormal scoring at the present day, and in their various letters they by no means confine their remarks to the discussion of the l. b. w.law, though they address themselves chiefly to that point. I have thought it best to print Mr. Bligh's article without alteration of any kind, and it will be noticed that an error he fell into in describing Tarrant as a leg-break bowler, has been corrected by Mr. E. M. Grace and Mr. Harvey Fellows. This is, of course, a mere detail and does not in any degree affect the general character of his argument. S.H.P.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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