lost ball



  • noun an instance of the ball becoming lost or impossible to recover. If such a case arises, any member of the fielding side may call ‘lost ball’, whereupon the ball becomes dead and six runs are added to the score of the batsman who hit it (unless of course the ball has become lost without being struck from the bat, in which case the runs are credited to the appropriate category of extras). If, however, the batsmen have already taken more than six runs before ‘lost ball’ is called, they are allowed all the runs they have completed. The lost ball is then replaced by a ball that has had a similar amount of wear. Though rarely (if ever) invoked in first-class cricket, the lost ball law still has a job to do in the lower reaches of the game. It was introduced in 1809 – at a time when a lot of cricket was still played in sheep meadows and lost balls were a regular occurrence – and has remained more or less unchanged, except that the original allowance of four runs for a lost ball was increased to six in 1822/3.