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County Championship 2023

Watch: Toby Roland-Jones smashes six, knocks off bails in follow through to cap off extraordinary 22-wicket County Championship day

Toby Roland-Jones was out hit wicket in the County Championship
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: On a day that saw 22 wickets fall at the Middlesex-Warwickshire County Championship fixture, Toby Roland-Jones was out hit wicket despite hitting a six, leading to considerable debate over the decision.

Middlesex captain Toby Roland-Jones fell prey to a bizarre dismissal in Middlesex’s innings of 199, which followed Warwickshire’s record capitulation for 60. Looking for quick runs to extend their lead, No.9 Roland-Jones – then on 21 off 14 – clubbed Ed Barnard over cow corner in the 50th over.

Or so it seemed. The on-field umpire signalled six before the attention shifted towards wicketkeeper Michael Burgess, who was pointing at the disturbed stumps. Replays revealed that Roland-Jones had accidentally knocked the bails off with the toe end of his bat as it oscillated back from his initial swing.


The score was amended, and Roland-Jones was deemed out, much to his disbelief.

According to Law 35.1 (Hit Wicket), a batter is out if “after the bowler has entered the delivery stride and while the ball is in play, his/her wicket is broken by either the striker’s bat or person as described in Laws to (Breaking the wicket fairly) in any of the following circumstances: in the course of any action taken by him/her in preparing to receive or in receiving a delivery, in setting off for the first run immediately after playing or playing at the ball

According to Law 35.2, a player is not out Hit Wicket, if – “it occurs after the striker has completed any action in receiving the delivery, other than in to”

The debate arises over the umpire’s interpretation of the first sub-point. According to the umpire, Roland-Jones’ swing of the bat after playing the stroke fell under the category of “course of any action taken by him in preparing to receive or receiving a delivery”.

Those questioning the dismissal pointed out that Roland-Jones had completed his stroke, with the subsequent oscillation of the bat corresponding to the wording of Law 35.2.

The wording of the Hit Wicket Law once saved Mark Waugh, during the 1997/98 Adelaide Test against South Africa, though it was different from the Roland-Jones dismissal. Hit by a bouncer, Waugh walked away, breaking the stumps accidentally with his bat in the process. However, since he was neither preparing to receive nor receiving the ball, nor was he setting off for his first run, Waugh survived.

Middlesex eventually folded for 199, with Warwickshire on 53-2 at stumps, trailing by 86 runs on a wicket-filled day.

Watch Toby Roland-Jones out hit wicket despite hitting a six

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