Hit the ball twice
Hit the ball twice, also known as double-hit, or double hit, is one of the reasons for removing a player in modern cricket. It is extremely rare; however, there is a separate paragraph on this in the set of rules:
34.1.1. The striker shall be sent off if the ball in play touches any part of his / her body or bat, after which the player strikes a second without waiting for it to touch an outfield player. The only exception is wicket protection.
34.1.2. In this case, hitting means contact with the player who is kicking the ball. At the end of the episode, bowlers do not receive any additional benefits.
A player can hit the ball twice if it helps protect the hand, but not the one in contact with the bat, and not to prevent the opponent from catching the ball.
At first glance, this restriction may seem excessive and even strange because modern cricket is known as a low-risk sport in which players rarely get serious injuries that could put their careers into question. Nevertheless, Hit the ball twice was included in the rulebook because in the days when cricket was not yet a full-fledged sport, but was primarily a game that was gaining popularity, batsmen were ready to do anything just to avoid deletion. Often they hit the ball a lot to protect the wicket, which sometimes resulted in injury to opponents, so it was decided to draw up a basic ban list that would help reduce the risks for the outfield players in the end.
There are several known cases when Hit the ball twice led to serious injury and even death. For example, several parishioners of the Church in Boxgrove (West Sussex) were prosecuted for playing cricket in the parish cemetery on May 5, 1622. According to the surviving case file, the charge consisted of three points:
- The behavior of the participants was contrary to local law;
- Playing near the church building could damage valuable stained-glass windows;
- One of the young spectators accidentally got hit by a bat, which literally “blew his brains out”.
Two years later, another tragic episode occurred in the eastern part of the county, resulting in Jasper Vinall’s fielder. The batsman, named Edward Ty, tried to hit the ball with a bat a second time and hit an opponent in the head, the first documented death of a fielder on the court. The case was referred to the coroner, who delivered the verdict “accident.” In 1647, another fielder, Henry Brand, was killed, which eventually prompted cricketers to consider introducing a special rule that would help prevent similar incidents in the future.
Unfortunately, the exact date of its execution is unknown (it is assumed that the first edition of the “Rules of Cricket” in 1744 was based on an earlier version of the code, which was later lost), but already in 1786 the first deletion was recorded for Hit the ball twice, which happened in the match between the Hampshire and the Kent. First-team player Tom Suter was punished.
It is worth emphasizing that Hit the ball twice is used extremely rarely these days, so all cases are known to a lesser extent. One of the most famous dates back to 1906, when Lester’s player John King tried to execute an injury in a match against Surrey after a double hit.
Connoisseurs of the game note that King could have stayed on the field if not for this misconduct and add that the ineffectiveness of such a method made Hit the ball twice about as unpopular as Timed out.
It is interesting: even modern technologies do not always make it possible to prove that the double blow was inflicted deliberately. For example, in the 2002-2003 season in the Barbados match against the Remaining Leeward Islands (Red Stripe Bowl), first-team player Kurt Wilkinson was sent off, although his intentions remained unclear to the judges.
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