MCC issues clarification on Hit-Wicket incident during Kent vs Somerset County Championship match

The Hit-Wicket which made everyone's head turn has got nod from MCC, as they have come up with a statement

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County Cricket.
County Cricket. (Photo Source: Twitter/@SomersetCCC)

Somerset's Lewis Goldsworthy found himself at the center of an extraordinary moment when his bat broke while attempting a shot against Jaskaran Singh and went onto hit the stumps in a match between Kent and Somerset in the 2023 County Championship on September 22. What followed was a series of events that had the cricketing world abuzz.

At the time of this peculiar occurrence, Goldsworthy was showcasing his batting prowess at 79 runs when Jaskaran unleashed a thunderous yorker, perfectly targeting the off-stump line. In his attempt to counter the searing delivery, Goldsworthy's bat took a brutal beating, disintegrating into fragment upon impact with the rocketing delivery. 

To everyone's astonishment, the broken portion of Goldsworthy's bat ricocheted backward and crashed into the stumps. The batter was left disheartened, fearing that he might be declared 'Hit Wicket', a dismissal as rare as they come.

However, the drama didn't end there as on-field umpire signalled a no ball, much to the relief of Goldsworthy. The reason? Jaskaran had overstepped, making it an illegal delivery according to the rules of cricket. The MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), the custodian of cricket's laws, has since provided clarity on this astonishing Goldsworthy "Hit Wicket" incident, citing substantial support from the cricketing rulebook.

What did MCC have to say regarding the incident?

MCC clarified that, according to Law 35.2 (Hit wicket), "The striker is not out under this Law… [if] the delivery is a No ball." Therefore, Goldsworthy's survival was indeed in accordance with the laws of the game.

But what if it had been a legitimate delivery? In that scenario, Goldsworthy would have faced the ignominious fate of being dismissed. Law 35.1 states: "The striker is out Hit wicket 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”.

Reading the aforementioned provision with Law, which says that the wicket can be fairly broken, clarifies the legal position: 

“ for the purpose of this law only, by the striker’s bat not in hand, or by any part of the bat which has become detached”.

Crucially, this law includes any part of the bat that may have become detached, as well as any other equipment or clothing worn by the striker. Notably, the only exception to this rule is the striker's helmet or any part of the helmet that becomes detached. This exception was introduced in 2022 to address concerns of certain batters regarding helmets with neck protectors potentially dislodging and hitting the wicket.

In the end, Goldsworthy not only dodged a bullet but went on to achieve a milestone by securing his first century of the season, ensuring that this extraordinary incident will be forever etched in the annals of cricketing history.

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