Howzat! Expert umpires use a gaze anchor to overcome the processing demands of leg before wicket decisions

Pravinath Ramachandran, Matt Watts, Robin C. Jackson, Spencer J. Hayes, Joe Causer

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Cricket umpires are required to make high-pressure, match-changing decisions based on multiple complex information sources under severe temporal constraints. The aim of this study was to examine the decision-making and perceptual-cognitive differences between expert and novice cricket umpires when judging leg before wicket (LBW) decisions. Twelve expert umpires and 19 novice umpires were fitted with an eye-tracker before viewing video-based LBW appeals. Dependent variables were radial error (cm), number of fixations, average fixation duration (ms), final fixation duration (ms), and final fixation location (%). Expert umpires were significantly more accurate at adjudicating on all aspects of the LBW law, compared to the novice umpires (p < .05). The expert umpires’ final fixation prior to ball-pad contact was directed significantly more towards the stumps (p < .05), whereas the novice umpires directed their final fixation significantly more towards a good length (p < .05). These data suggest that expert umpires utilize specialized perceptual-cognitive skills, consisting of a gaze anchor on the stumps in order to overcome the processing demands of the task. These data have implications for the training of current and aspiring umpires in order to enhance the accuracy of LBW decision-making across all levels of the cricketing pyramid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1936-1943
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (,
which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


  • perceptual-cognitive skill
  • expertise
  • gaze behaviours
  • decision making
  • gaze anchor


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