Fast short bowling on the leg side, 1935

The settlement of the bowling controversy

The following communication was issued by the M.C.C. Committee from Lord's Cricket Ground on Wednesday, November 21, 1934, after the meetings of the Advisory County Cricket Committee and the Board of Control of Test Matches at Home:--


In 1933 the M.C.C. Committee passed the following resolution:--

That any form of bowling which is obviously a direct attack by the bowler upon the batsman would be an offence against the spirit of the game.

On November 23rd, 1933, at a joint meeting of the Board of Control of Test Matches at Home and the Advisory County Cricket Committee, at which 14 of the 17 Captains of the first-class cricketing Counties were present and the remaining three represented, this resolution was accepted and an understanding was arrived at to the effect that the County Captains would not permit or countenance bowling of such type.

This principle was also affirmed by the Imperial Cricket Conference on July 25th, 1934, and it was urged that the controlling bodies of cricket should not permit or countenance such form of bowling.

In June 1933 the M.C.C. Committee cabled to the Australian Board of Control to say that they would watch carefully for anything which might be regarded as unfair or prejudicial to the best interests of the game.

As a result of their own observations and from the reports received the M.C.C. Committee consider that there is evidence that cases of the bowler making a direct attack upon the batsman have on occasions taken place during the past cricket season. Bowling of this kind was not unknown in the past, but has developed and may continue to develop if left unchecked.

In order to eliminate this type of bowling from the game and to ensure in future that there shall be no misunderstanding as to what exactly constitutes a direct attack by the bowler upon the batsman, the M.C.C. Committee have ruled:--

That the type of bowling regarded as a direct attack by the bowler upon the batsman and therefore unfair consists in persistent and systematic bowling of fast short-pitched balls at the batsman standing clear of his wicket.

The M.C.C. Committee have further ruled that Umpires in the 1st and 2nd Class County Competitions be instructed that they will be strongly supported by the M.C.C. Committee in any action which they may take under Law 43 to prevent this type of bowling as now defined being practised.

At a meeting of the Advisory County Cricket Committee held to-day the Counties represented endorsed the above definition of a direct attack by the bowler on the batsman and it was resolved that the County Committees and the County Captains would take the strongest possible steps to see that the type of bowling as now defined be in future eliminated from the game.

The M.C.C. Committee hope that these steps will suffice and that it will not be found necessary to take further action.


In conjunction with the foregoing, the M.C.C. Committee on the same day issued the following statement:--

It has been decided by a very large majority that throughout the season 1935 a trial be given in the 1st and 2nd class County Competitions to an amended l. b. w. Law reading as follows:--

The striker is out l. b. w. if with any part of his person (except his hand) which is between wicket and wicket he intercept a ball which, in the opinion of the umpire at the bowler's wicket, shall have been pitched in a straight line from the bowlers' wicket to the striker's wicket or shall have been pitched on the off-side of the striker's wicket and would have hit it.

© John Wisden & Co