What happens if the ball hits the umpire in cricket?

Have you ever wondered if the cricket ball hits the umpire when a batsman usually smashes the ball hard in a straight direction? Astonishingly, the delivery isn’t considered a dead ball when it hits the umpires.

Moreover, if the ball touches the umpires without pitching on the ground and any fielder catches it, then the batsman will be dismissed as “caught out”. Such a type of dismissal is valid only if a bowler bowls a legal delivery.

The role of the umpires in cricket is to execute the rules, make decisions, and supervise the play on the field. Despite having a higher authority, umpires can unintentionally interfere with the play by accidentally coming in contact with the ball’s path.

During any match innings, one umpire stands straight opposite the striker’s side or behind the non-striker’s end. The other umpire stands about 20 yards to the leg side of the striker’s end.

Both on-field umpires provide their judgements in any cricket match. Once the umpire’s decision becomes final, a player cannot question or indulge themselves in any argument with the umpire.

Also, technological advancements such as the Decision Review System (DRS), added another layer to the decision-making process of on-field incidents, particularly involving with umpire. The DRS provides flexibility to review and change the umpire’s decision with enhanced accuracy.

Both the umpires swap their roles after every over. The swapping process continues until the teams have completed both innings. An umpire can opt for a break or replacement due to an injury or unavoidable circumstances.

What happens next when the cricket ball hits the umpire?

It is a rare occasion when a ball strikes the umpires. As a result, to ensure fair game play these measures are taken if the cricket ball hits the umpire:

1. Halted Play:

Based on the circumstances of the incident, the play is momentarily halted if the ball hits the umpire.

2. Runs Awarded:

The runs can be awarded if the ball hits the umpires and the batsman completes a run before the ball reaches the fielding side.

3. Boundary:

If the cricket ball hits the umpire and passes over the ropes, a player can still score the boundary runs. Even after the ball completely hits the umpires and touches the boundary a batsman will score four runs.

On the other side, if the umpire accidentally stops the boundary when a batsman hits a ball. A batsman can still manage to score runs even if the ball hits umpires, by picking up singles or if the ball still manages to touch the boundary with reduced speed.

4. Re-Bowling or Dead Ball:

If the ball hits the umpire’s clothing or catches the ball to protect themselves from injury, it is a “Dead Ball” and, a bowler needs to re-bowl the delivery to the batsman. Also, the batting side cannot score any runs.

Sometimes the umpires can declare the ball as dead if it hardly hits on their body depending upon the severity of the injury.

5. Dismissal:

A batsman’s dismissal is valid in the following cases:

  • If a cricket ball hits the umpire and a fielder catches it, the dismissal would be “caught out”.
  • The ball strikes the stumps after hitting the umpires, particularly when a batsman is out of the crease and experiences a “run-out” Dismissal.

However, the batsman could survive the dismissal in case of misfield even after the cricket ball hits the umpire.

Rare scenarios if the cricket ball hits the umpire

There are rare scenarios if the cricket ball hits the umpire and still the game continues as “live-play”:

1. Double Hitting:

A batsman undergoes dismissal through the double-hitting concept which rarely occurs in any cricket match. It happens when the cricket ball hits the umpire and again hits the stumps or fielder.

2. Decision Review System (DRS):

If a batsman attempts a risky shot and the ball hits the wickets by deflecting onto the umpire’s body, then the match umpires consult a third umpire for a Decision Review System (DRS).

The ball tracking technology helps to determine the original trajectory of the ball if it had hit the wickets without the umpire’s body deflection.

3. A No-ball hits the umpire:

If a ball hits the umpire which is deemed as a no ball, the batsman’s dismissal is invalid even, if the ball hits the stumps due to body deflection. Rather, the umpires award an extra run as well as a free hit to the batting side.

Umpire Safety in Cricket

Umpires should undergo rigorous training before cricket matches to sharpen their judgement and decision-making skills. It helps them to stay alert and react spontaneously to avoid any severe injuries.

Also, a batsman should play responsibly to ensure the umpire’s safety by avoiding aggressive or dangerous shots.

Overall, if the cricket ball hits the umpire, the delivery is still counted as a live ball. However, the cricket boards and governing bodies globally have introduced various safety measures. As a result, umpires started wearing various protective equipment like helmets, shin guards, and chest guards to ensure the smooth flow of the game and minimize injuries.

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