Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Roy Black's 'googly'

Published:Tuesday | January 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I disagree with the contributor Roy Black's article in The Gleaner of the interpretation of an off-break or a leg break.

Mr Black's article says it is dependent on the bowler, he is incorrect. It is dependent on the batsman's original standing position as the bowler begins his run-up. His reference to the interpretation of the Oxford Dictionary is correct, which, as quoted ... 'focuses on the ball's movement in relation to the two sides of the field, which, in turn, is determined by the batsman on strike'.

The batsman's original position as the bowler runs in to bowl is a very important factor, because that determines the leg side and the off side. This plays a critical determining role in applying the lbw rule, which states that a batsman cannot be given out lbw if the ball is pitched outside his leg stump, even if the ball was going to hit the wicket.

Once the batsman takes his position as the bowler runs in, the leg (on) side and off sides are determined and remain fixed. Therefore, a ball by definition that turns from leg to off is called a leg break and, conversely, the ball that turns from off to leg is called an off break.

Batsman's stance

Therefore, it is dependent on the batsman's stance, not the bowler.

An interesting situation can occur if a batsman switches position after the bowler starts his run-up but before, during or after delivery, the batsman switches his position from left to right or vice-versa. His original stance will determine his leg or off stump and this is a critical factor in determining the lbw rule if he happens to be hit prior to the ball hitting his bat, and the umpire determines the ball would have hit the wicket. Again, the decisive factor would be if the ball was pitched outside his leg stump or off stump, in which different applications of the LBW rule would apply and his leg/off stump would be determined, based upon his original stance taken as the bowler starts his run-up.

Furthermore, if Mr Black's interpretation is used as he claims, is based upon the bowler, not the batsman's stance, then a left-handed batsman who gets bowled 'behind' his back would be impossible to describe. To be bowled 'behind' your back could only be possible with a leg break, not an off-break.

Brian Walks