hit the ball twice

Definition

Cricket

  • adverb a mode of dismissal in which the batsman is given out ‘if, while the ball is in play, it strikes any part of his person or is struck by his bat and, before the ball has been touched by a fielder, he wilfully strikes it again with his bat or person, other than a hand not holding the bat, except for the sole purpose of guarding his wicket’ (Law 34 § 1); the dismissal is entered in the scorebook as ‘hit the ball twice’ and is not credited to the bowler. If the batsman ‘lawfully’ hits the ball a second time (i.e. to prevent it hitting his stumps) he is not allowed to take any runs from the shot. ‘Hit the ball twice’ is one of the modes of dismissal that remain valid even in the case of a no-ball. The rule dates back to the earliest (1744) code of Laws: ‘If a Ball is nipp’d up, and he strikes it again wilfully, before it came to the wicket, it’s out’. Allowing for changes in wording, the rule has remained in force throughout the history of the game. It has, however, been very sparingly invoked: with only 21 instances since 1864 of batsmen being out in this way at first-class level, ‘hit the ball twice’ is one of the rarest of all forms of dismissal.
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