Is The LBW Rule Too Tough For Amateurs?

As an addendum to my previous post, I want to know: is it too difficult to enforce the LBW rule in pick-up cricket games? In my on-and-off amateur cricket career (highlights: playing on the college quad; in my Bombay compound; on my high school basketball court), I have never, ever played in a game that allowed LBW appeals. But why? And what does it say about cricket as a game if it can’t be played properly?

A few off-the-cuff answers: 1) LBW rules are simple enough, even though I’ve argued for a more flexible approach. The problem, I suspect, is that in a pick-up game, you can’t create the Hobbesian umpire figure. That’s because the person chosen to umpire often comes from one of the teams, and is thus liable to accusations of bias. So, in this case the umpire may call wides or boundaries and keep score, but he may not make any interpretation of the future path of a ball. 1A) Many pick-up cricket games don’t employ actual stumps. We used oversized garbage cans. It’d be unfair to base any LBW on that.

2) Is it a big deal that cricket’s rules are often ignored/changed/edited at the lowest level? This doesn’t happen with other major sports — not soccer, or basketball, or tennis, right? Cricket is a Roman Catholic game: it has plenty of rules, but they are mostly ignored by its followers. But I think an optimistic spin can be used here. Isn’t there something exciting about the creative adaptation of cricket to local settings? Isn’t that precisely one of the game’s attractions — that West Indians play it differently from Indians who play it differently from some Pacific islanders? Thoughts?


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