What is handling the ball in cricket?

Handling the Ball in Cricket

What is handling the ball in cricket?
What is handling the ball in cricket?

Handled the ball was a law in the Laws of Cricket, established by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). A batsman could be given out for handling the ball if, while playing a delivery, the batsman intentionally touched the ball with one or both of their hands not holding the bat.

The only exception to the rule was that the batsman could touch the ball to avoid injury. It was governed by the Law 33 of the 2000 Edition of the Laws. It was a rare way of dismissing the batsman.

In the history of the game, a total of 61 instances have been recorded in first-class cricket matches and 5 occasions in List A games. This mostly happened when the batsman tried to knock the ball away to prevent the ball from hitting the wicket. Bowler did not receive the credit for such dismissals.

Handling the ball law existed since the beginning of the game. It was included in the Laws of Cricket from the original code in 1744.

In 2017 when the Laws of Cricket were rewritten, it was subsumed into the Law on obstructing the field. The change means that the batsman will still be dismissed for the act of handling the ball, but will be recorded as obstructing the field.

Law 33- Handled the ball


1. Out Handled the ball
(a) Either batsman is out Handled the ball if he wilfully touches the ball while in play with a hand or hands not holding the bat unless he does so with the consent of a fielder. (b) Either batsman is out under this Law if, while the ball is in play, and without the consent of a fielder, he uses his hand or hands not holding the bat to return the ball to any fielder.
2. Not out Handled the ball
Notwithstanding 1(a) above, a batsman will not be out under this Law if he handles the ball to avoid injury.
3. Runs scored
If either batsman is dismissed Handled the ball, runs completed by the batsmen before the offence shall be scored, together with any runs for penalties awarded to either side. See Laws 18.6 (Runs awarded for penalties) and 18.9 (Runs scored when a batsman is dismissed).
4. Bowler does not get credit
The bowler does not get credit for the wicket.

Handling the ball dismissals in international cricket

Russell Endean – (England) in 1957

Andrew Hilditch – (Australia) in 1979

Mohsin Khan – (Pakistan) in 1982

Desmond Haynes – (West Indies) in 1983

Mohinder Amarnath - (India) in 1986

Graham Gooch – (England) in 1993

Daryll Cullinan -  (South Africa) in 1999

Steve Waugh – (Australia) in 2001

Michael Vaughan – (England) in 2001

Chamu Chibhabha -  (Zimbabwe) in 2015

Latest Updates on Handling the Ball in Cricket

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