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Cricket: Beamer Law Change

After the 2017 Northern Hemisphere cricket season, a completely rewritten Laws of Cricket was introduced. One of the Laws introduced was particularly disliked and was often overruled by league governing bodies. The Law in question is Law 41.7 which is about beamers (a ball which doesn’t bounce before reaching the batter and is above the waist height of the batter standing upright.)

Before October 2017

Before this Law was introduced, there was a different definition of a beamer depending on the pace of the bowler. Slow bowlers shouldn’t bowl above shoulder height, and faster bowlers shouldn’t bowl above waist height. In both cases, the bowler got two warnings, and then, if he or she bowled a third beamer, was taken off and not allowed to bowl again in the same innings. Any beamer is a No ball and carries an automatic warning.

October 2017 – April 2019

In October 2017, the Law was changed so that a beamer is any ball which is above waist height for all bowlers, with only one warning given instead of the two from the earlier Laws. This means a bowler would be taken off on the second occurance. Beamers are still No balls, and carry an automatic warning.

April 2019 –

This Law is now being changed again. The definition of a beamer stays the same, that is, above waist height, but a warning will only be given if the umpire decides that it is dangerous to the batter. This means that when a batter is hitting the bowler for 6 every beamer, the bowler is not taken off as the batter is clearly able to safely deal with the bowler and so is not penalised. There will still be one warning, and then if a second beamer is bowled, the bowler will be taken off. Beamers are always No balls, but they no longer carry an automatic warning.

Note that in all cases, if a bowler deliberately bowls a beamer, they will instantly be taken off with no warning.


Before October 2017 October 2017 – April 2019 April 2019 –
Definition Slow bowler: above shoulder height*, others: above waist height* Above waist height* for all Above waist height* for all
When a warning is given Always Always When considered dangerous to the batter
Bowler taken off On third occurrence, or immediately if deliberate On second occurrence, or immediately if deliberate On second dangerous occurrence, or immediately if deliberate
No ball Always Always Always

* Height when batter is standing upright at the popping crease

Find Out More

For full details see the official MCC pdfs below:

Laws before October 2017 (see Law 42.6 and 42.7)
Laws October 2017 – April 2019
Update to Law 41.7 and detailed explanation

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