With regard to cases of run out, whenever the batsman is holding the bat at the time it is grounded within the poppingcrease he is of course not out. If, however, in running towards the wicket and attempting to ground his bat, he stumbles and falls and lets the bat slip from his hand, he is out. The bat no longer belongs to him. He can only be in by grounding some part of his body behind the popping-crease. A batsman is out even though he be past the wicket, if at the time when the bails are knocked off no part of his body or bat be touching the ground—that is to say, he is out if the wicket be broken while he is in the middle of a jump. There is a story of a certain batsman who attempted a very short run, and finding himself rather put to it to bring it off, took a kind of long Jump from about 2 yards outside the popping-crease into the bowler's heap of sawdust. He was given out, and came back to the pavilion very indignant, declaring that he was past the wicket when it was broken. So he was; but unfortunately he was in the air.
It should be understood that the wicket is not validly broken unless the man who knocks off the bails has the ball in his hands.
In the case of a hit-wicket, some part of the batsman's body or his bat must knock down the wicket while he is in the act of playing the stroke. If the batsman slips backwards in starting to run and breaks the wicket, he is no more out than if he had not done so.
An umpire should be on his guard against all kinds of tricks. There are stories of smart wicket-keepers taking the ball so close to the stumps, and at the same time unshipping one of the bails so cleverly, that apparently the man is bowled out. Personally I have never seen this done. And such cases are rather unlikely to occur in school cricket. Still, an umpire should be armed and well prepared. One never knows what may happen.
There are innumerable small points which it would take too long to enumerate in this short chapter, which is intended especially for boys. A little common-sense and discretion will usually lead an umpire to a fair decision. In cricket, as in everything else, in the absence of distinct rules all points are decided by equity, and by equity we mean the dictates of common-sense and fairness.
The little I have said about umpires and umpiring is sufficient to show that an intimate knowledge of the rules is absolutely necessary. The sooner a boy who hopes to become a cricketer makes himself familiar with the rules of the game, the better it