- noun a close leg-side fielding position (or the player occupying it) anywhere in an arc between leg slip and silly mid-on:
See fielding positions. As the MCC coaching book observes, ‘it is impossible to lay down any fixed rule as to the “normal” position of short-leg’ (MCC 1952), since, like slip, it is not a single position but a general area that may be occupied by a ring of fielders. While a forward short leg is used in a variety of attacks, the use of a ring of short legs ‘can only be justified for a bowler who, whether by swing or spin, is bringing the ball into the batsman’ (MCC 1952) – e.g., an off-break bowler on a turning wicket. Harold Larwood’s fast leg-theory attack was based on a packed leg-side field that included up to four short legs and a silly mid-on, but the more extreme form of ‘bodyline’ field is now outlawed by fielding restrictions which state that ‘at the instant of the bowler’s delivery there shall not be more than two fielders, other than the wicket-keeper, behind the popping crease on the on side’ (Law 41 § 5).
- noun a condition in which one leg is shorter than the other, either because of a difference in bone length (anatomical short leg), or because of pelvic misalignment or other postural problems (functional short leg)