What Are Extras In Cricket?

Alex Youbg

2023-04-24 • 2 min read time
What Are Extras In Cricket?

In the game of cricket, “extras” refer to runs that are scored through means other than the batsman striking the ball. These extras are credited to the batting team’s total score. Some common examples of extras include wides, no balls, byes, and leg byes. While not resulting directly from the batsman’s shot, extras can still play an important strategic role in cricket matches.


Extras Reward Disciplined Bowling

Extras provide a crucial incentive for disciplined bowling. Wides and no balls, in particular, are penalties assessed against the fielding team for wayward deliveries. The possibility of conceding extra runs encourages bowlers to hone their accuracy and avoid overstepping the crease. This helps maintain a high standard of bowling that challenges the batting side. Conceding too many extras can allow opponents easy runs and let batsmen off the hook. The extras system rewards bowlers who can consistently bowl legal deliveries directing at the stumps.

Extras Can Add Valuable Runs

Though not from batsmen striking the ball, extras still contribute runs to the batting team’s total. These extra runs can end up being the difference between winning and losing. Byes, for example, come from deliveries that evade both batter and wicketkeeper. Quick running by batters can convert these into runs. Similarly, wides and no balls provide a free extra ball to score from. Extras rewards batters who are alert and put pressure on the fielding team. In close contests, those extra runs gained can tilt the game in one team’s favor.

Extras Test Wicketkeeper Skills

The ability to minimize extras is also a good test of the wicketkeeper’s skill. Byes result from balls that get past the keeper. On deliveries passing down the leg side, a skilled keeper can swiftly move and stop the ball, preventing extra runs. This is especially important when facing spinners who may turn the ball away from the batter. A top-class keeper will concede few byes even against bowling that moves sharply. Extras thus incentivize keepers to be agile and attentive.

Overall, extras play an integral part in cricket. They encourage disciplined bowling, can yield valuable runs, and test a wicketkeeper’s abilities. Though not from batsmen’s shots, extras add an extra layer of strategy and nuance to the game of cricket. Their inclusion in the rules has served the game well.

The Different Types of Extras in Cricket

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players each. While the main objective is to score runs by hitting the ball and running between wickets, there are also several ways to score ’extras’ according to the rules of cricket. These extras add additional runs to the batting team’s score without the batsman hitting the ball.

No Balls

A no ball is an illegal delivery by the bowler, usually when they overstep the popping crease. When a no ball is bowled, an extra run is immediately awarded to the batting team. The delivery is still bowled to the batsman but does not count as one of the 6 legal deliveries in an over. No balls are also called when the bowler’s arm is not straight during the delivery stride. They allow the batsman an extra scoring opportunity but penalize the bowling team.


A wide is called when the bowler delivers a ball too far from the batsman’s reach, passing wide of the striker’s wicket. Wides result in a one run penalty for the bowling team. The batsman is unable to play shots off such deliveries so the extra run compensates. Wides do not count as one of the 6 legitimate balls in an over either. Along with no balls, wides help restrict bowlers from bowling negatively outside off stump.


Byes are runs scored when the batsman fails to make contact with the ball but the fielding team also cannot stop it. Usually, the wicketkeeper is unable to collect the ball and it reaches the boundary, scoring runs as extras. Byes are credited to the team’s total but not to the batsman’s score. The batting team benefits from the bowling side’s mistake.

Leg Byes

Leg byes work similarly to byes but come off the batsman’s body or equipment instead of missing the ball completely. When the ball deflects off the batsman’s body and eludes the fielders, any runs scored count as leg byes. They are credited as extras in the team’s score and not counted in the batsman’s individual tally. Only the batting side benefits.

Extras are an important feature in cricket that allows teams to score runs without having to hit boundaries. They keep the game moving forward and penalize sloppy bowling, adding unpredictability and drama to the match. The different extras all have specific circumstances but ultimately give the batting side an added advantage.

The Complex History of Cricket Extras

Cricket is a complex sport with a long history and intricate rules. One aspect that can be confusing for new fans is the topic of extras - additional runs awarded to the batting team that are not credited to any individual batsman. Extras come in several forms and have evolved over time as the laws of cricket have been updated.

Byes and Leg Byes Reward Fielding Mistakes

Byes occur when the batting team scores runs from a delivery without the ball touching the bat. Typically this happens when the wicketkeeper fails to stop a wide delivery. Leg byes work similarly, with the ball glancing off the batter’s body. These extras reward the batting team for errors by the fielding team.

Byes and leg byes have always been a part of cricket’s rules. Originally extras were not recorded or restricted. This led to excessive byes being deliberately aimed at by bowlers. The no ball rule was introduced in the 18th century to discourage this unsporting tactic. Over several decades, extras were more precisely defined and limited.

Wides and No Balls Penalize Poor Bowling

Extras are also given when the bowler sends down an illegal delivery. Wides are awarded when the ball passes too far from the batter to strike the wicket. No balls are called if the bowler oversteps the crease or bowls above the waist height of the batsman.

These extras punish loose bowling and help ensure fair conditions for the batter. The rules about what constitutes a wide or no ball have been frequently updated. For example, there is now a limit of two bouncers per over above shoulder height. The details vary between formats and competitions.

Extras Track Unfair Play

Part of the value of recording extras is to identify illegitimate deliveries and play. During early cricket underarm bowling often crossed into unfair throwing. Tracking wides and no balls helped expose problem bowlers. Even when bowling is legal, frequent extras can signal issues like inconsistent swing or seam bowling, or pitch conditions that distort bounce.

Extras serve administrative purposes too. Scorecards must reconcile balls bowled with runs scored. Extras bridge any gap between runs scored off the bat and deliveries sent down. They help ensure the validity of statistics and records.

Other Types of Extras - Not considered extras, runs scored this way credited to the batsman’s individual score. But some debate over whether they should count as extras.

This examination of the history and function of extras illuminates a complex but important aspect of the sport of cricket. Extras both reward and penalize teams while enforcing rules and fair play. For new cricket fans, understanding extras helps unlock the full picture of this nuanced game.

Conceding Extras in Cricket: Records and Statistics

Cricket is a game of fine margins, and conceding extras can often be the difference between winning and losing. While giving away a few extras per innings is normal, some team bowling performances have been defined by particularly high extras totals. Let’s examine the records and key statistics around teams conceding extras across Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals.

Notable Instances of Teams Conceding High Extras Totals

In Test cricket, the record for the most extras conceded in a single innings belongs to Bangladesh - they gave away a staggering 68 extras against Sri Lanka in 2005. Their lack of discipline helped Sri Lanka amass over 700 runs.

In ODIs, the Pakistan team conceded 63 extras (including 20 wides) against England in 1992. This remains the record for the highest extras conceded by a team in an ODI innings.

When it comes to T20Is, Netherlands hold the unwanted record of having conceded 36 extras against Ireland in 2019. On top of their bowling maladies, the Dutch side was also docked an additional 5 penalty runs during Ireland’s chase.

Highest Extras Totals in Test, ODI and T20I Cricket

The Test match record for most extras in a match is the 123 conceded during Pakistan’s 2000 encounter against Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankans contributed 73 of those extras.

In the ODI format, the most extras in a single match occurred during South Africa’s bout with the West Indies in the 2015 World Cup. An astonishing 92 extras were leaked between both sides, with South Africa conceding 59 of them.

As for T20 international cricket, Netherlands and Ireland hold the record for most combined extras. Their 2019 clash saw a total of 67 extras being conceded, headlined by Netherlands’ 36-extra over.

So while giving away some extras is inevitable, the most disciplined bowling teams ensure these are kept to a minimum. Conceding swathes of extra runs through wides, no balls and byes can easily change the outcome of a cricket match. The teams mentioned certainly learned this lesson the hard way.


In summary, extras play an important strategic role in the game of cricket. Though not resulting from shots by the batsmen, extras reward disciplined bowling, allow batters to score valuable runs, and test wicketkeeping skills. The main types of extras - wides, no balls, byes, and leg byes - each have specific criteria and serve to penalize loose deliveries and fielding errors. The complex history of extras shows how they help enforce fair play and the laws of cricket. While some extras are inevitable in cricket, the best bowling teams try to minimize extras through accuracy, consistency and attentive wicketkeeping. Conceding high extras totals can change the outcome of matches, as highlighted by infamous record-setting performances. Ultimately, extras add nuance and unpredictability to cricket. Understanding how to leverage and limit extras as part of gameplay and strategy is a key skill of elite cricket teams and players around the world. Their careful balance continues to shape many pivotal moments in the sport’s history.

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