In cricket, a wide is one of two things:
- An illegal delivery to a batsman that is judged by the umpire to be too wide or (in international cricket) high to be hit by the batsman by means of a normal cricket shot.
- The extra run awarded to the batting team as a consequence of such an illegal delivery.
A delivery is a wide if it is not sufficiently within reach for the batter to be able to hit it with the bat by means of a normal cricket stroke from where the batter is standing, and also would not have been sufficiently within reach for the batter to be able to hit it with the bat by means of a normal cricket stroke if the batter were standing in a normal guard position.
Therefore a delivery is not a wide if the ball hits the bat or batsman, or if the batsman, by moving, causes the ball to be out of reach.
A batsman cannot, by definition, be given out bowled, leg before wicket, caught, or hit the ball twice off a wide, as a ball cannot be ruled as a wide if the ball strikes the batter's bat or person or hits the wicket. They may however be out hit wicket, obstructing the field, run out, or stumped.
When a wide is bowled, one extra run is added to the team's total, but not added to a batter's total.
If the wicket-keeper fumbles or misses the ball, the batters may attempt additional runs. Any runs scored thus are recorded as wides, not byes. If the wicket-keeper misses the ball and it travels all the way to the boundary, the batting team is awarded five wides, just as if the ball had been hit to the boundary for a four off a no-ball. If a wide ball crosses the boundary without touching the ground, only five wides (not seven) are scored - according to Law 19.7, a boundary six can only be scored if the ball has touched the bat.
Wide balls are considered to be the fault of the bowler, and all wide runs conceded are recorded against the bowler in the bowler's bowling analysis. However, this has only been the case since the early 1980s - the first Test to record wides (and no-balls) against the bowler's analyses was India vs Pakistan in September 1983.
Wide balls used to be relatively rare, but regulations have been added in many competitions to enforce a much stricter interpretation in order to deter defensive bowling, and the number of wide balls has increased sharply. In one-day cricket, most deliveries that pass the batter on the leg side without hitting the stumps are now called as wides. In the semi-finals and final of the first World Cup in 1975, there were 79 extras, of which 9 were wides (11.4%); in the semi-finals and final of the World Cup in 2011, there were 77 extras, of which 46 were wides (59.7%). In the six Tests of the 1970-71 Ashes series there were 9 wides; in the five Tests of the Ashes series of 2010-11 there were 52 wides.[original research?]
An umpire straightens both arms to form a horizontal straight line to signal a wide.
The conventional scoring notation for a wide is an equal cross (likened to the umpire standing with arms outstretched signalling a wide).
If the batters run byes on a wide ball or the ball runs to the boundary for 4, a dot is added in each corner for each bye that is run, typically top left, then top right, then bottom left and finally all 4 corners.
If the batter hits the stumps with the bat, or the wicket-keeper stumps the batter, the batter would be out and a ‘W’ is added to the WIDE ‘cross’ symbol.
If a batter is run out while taking byes on a wide delivery then the number of completed runs are shown as dots and an 'R' is added in the corner for the incomplete run.
Interpretation with batter switching sides
- "Law 22 – Wide ball". MCC. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- "Law 21.13 No ball to over-ride Wide". MCC. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
- Statistics derived from score sheets in Wisden, editions of 1972, 1976, 2011 and 2012.