What are the Wide Ball Rules in Cricket?

Bowlers immediately feel the heat when batters start smashing them all around the park. Thus, they start using defensive tactics such as bowling out of the reach of the batter to get some respite.

However, sometimes bowlers might miss their lines and length completely, delivering wide balls and conceding extra runs. Bowling wide balls can cost the bowling side dearly.

But what are the wide ball rules? And when can an umpire signal a wide ball?

In this article, we’ll delve into the wide ball laws used in cricket.

Wide Ball Laws in Cricket

A wide ball is an illegal delivery, which doesn’t count among the 6 legitimate deliveries bowled in an over. So if a bowler bowls a wide ball, they have to bowl the delivery again to complete the over.

Now, let’s understand the wide ball rules.

According to MCC Law 22, umpires can adjudge a ball wide if the delivery bowled by the bowler is out of the reach of the batter. However, the batter needs to be in their normal batting position when the ball comes into play.

If the batter tries to move across and is well within reach of the ball, then umpires won’t signal it as a wide.

How do Umpires Judge a Wide Ball?

In limited-overs cricket, umpires take into consideration the wide lines marked on the batting crease to call wide balls. If the ball passes outside of the wide guideline, then the umpire will signal it as a wide delivery, unless the batter makes any moves.

In Test cricket or First-Class cricket, wide lines are not marked on the crease. This is because the wide ball rules are not too strict in the longer formats. However, if the umpires feel that a particular delivery passes way outside, then only that will be signalled as wide. 

Moreover, umpires also judge a short-pitched delivery as wide if the ball passes above the head of the batter in an upright batting position. This rule applies to all formats.

Also Read | How Many Short-Pitched Deliveries Are Allowed Per Over?

Is there a Penalty for Bowling Wide Balls?

Yes. Once an umpire signals a delivery as a wide ball, one extra run is added to the batting team’s scorecard. 

The runs will be added even if a batter gets out on a wide delivery. Moreover, if the ball reaches the boundary or any runs completed by batters will also be clubbed together under wide extra runs.

Can a Batter be Dismissed on a Wide Ball?

Even though a wide is not a legal delivery, there are a few exceptions when a batter can be given out. A batter will be adjudged out if they obstruct the field, hit the wicket, get stumped out, and run out.

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