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Are too few lbws given in club cricket?

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

On the first Wisden Club Cricket Podcast in association with Natwest, the panel discussed whether or not there are too few lbws given in club cricket.

Unsurprisingly given their respective playing roles – Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief Phil Walker is a top-order batsman and Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast host Yas Rana a medium pace bowler – the two vehemently disagreed with each another. Yas argued too few are given while Phil adamantly tried to explain that, if anything, too many are given.

Here is how the ‘debate’ played out:

Yas Rana: I’m of the opinion that there are way too few lbws given in club cricket.

Phil Walker: I’m not.

YR: I had a look at my Play-Cricket stats. Before the year 2017, I took just one league lbw. As somebody who bowls 60 miles per hour at the height of 5ft 9 with no jump, that’s mental. One league lbw! At my height, there’s no way the ball is ever going above stump height yet quite regularly you’ll get balls that hit the batsmen on the pad and the umpire will say “that’s going over.” No way is that going over.

PW: You are speaking nonsense. When I was growing up in the 90s, I wasn’t out lbw for about five years. Not winding you up, I went five seasons without having one lbw against me. I had a few years off cricket for one reason or another and went back to it and was playing first team cricket at a level that was probably too beyond me to be honest.

The first three innings that I played that year, I was out lbw three times. The first one was a joke, frankly. Big booming in-swinger, the first two balls had been wides down the leg-side, and I was given out lbw trying to flick one through midwicket, it was blatantly going down.

The key difference between the two eras is Hawk-Eye. What Hawk-Eye has shown amateur umpires is that what used to be deemed no chance of hitting the stumps, is invariably be shown to be hitting the stumps. There has been a change in attitude to lbws that has been filtered down to club level. Go and look at the percentage in County Championship cricket of lbws given since 1990 and I can guarantee that the percentage of lbws has hugely increased.

YR: I’m sure that is the case but there is a significant lag time in that being the case win club cricket because of the age of most of the umpires. My club’s second XI umpire is quite an old man, wonderful umpire, but he’s proper old school. If a batsman’s got a stride in, it’s going over no matter who’s bowling. It could be a 30 miles per hour off-spinner, if the batsman’s got a stride in he’s fine.

You can listen to the full episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast on Spotify or the Podcast App.

Brought to you in association with NatWest  Wisden’s Club Cricket Partner, supporting cricket at all levels for almost 40 years and a proud partner of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Chance to Shine. NatWest CricketForce helps local cricket clubs to make more from their money through free online advice and toolkits.

Follow @NatWest_Cricket and #NoBoundaries on Twitter to find out more.

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