More about Wides by PLOH - October 2015.
With time running out at the AGM meeting last week, I thought that this article would be a useful addition to our web site.
1-day Wides in limited overs cricket.
It is important that we all apply a consistent interpretation of Wides, which is what we see on TV in all limited overs cricket. The instruction is very straightforward but not absolute.
Leg side :-
If the ball is angled across the striker - regardless of where it pitches - and passes the wicket without touching the bat or person of the striker, it will be called & signalled Wide ball. (Of course, if the striker backs away and the ball passes between him and the wicket, it cannot be a Wide). The danger is that this can be carelessly and wrongly described as "anything down leg side is a Wide". Not so. It is a statistical fact that more than 75% of cricket is a right arm over bowler bowling to a right handed batsman, so if that delivery goes down the leg side, the natural angle takes the ball wider. But imagine the opposite situation - for example, right arm over to a leftie, or left arm over to a right hander. Here the opposite angle applies. The delivery could pitch outside leg stump, with the striker moving across his stumps to play a leg glance - he misses and the ball misses the stumps by the proverbial 'coat of varnish'. Certainly not a Wide. However it needs to be as close as I describe. If this sort of delivery misses by several inches or more, then it is a Wide.
Off side :-
Here the umpires have the Wide line marker - 17" from the return crease. This is just a guide. If the ball passes outside this line and the striker makes no effort to move towards the ball, then it is a Wide. But if the striker moves towards the ball, then the Wide line moves with the striker`s movement. If in the umpire`s opinion he could have played the ball with a normal stroke, or indeed did play a normal stroke, but missed, it will not be a Wide. Remember the judgement is made when the ball passes the striker and not called & signalled until it passes his wicket.
So, for both sides of the wicket the umpire still has a judgement to make.
It is worth remembering that the striker can be Stumped off a Wide and that the 1 run penalty also applies. There is one exception to this. If the scores are tied and a Wide is bowled, then the Wide wins the match and the stumping would not stand. This is why the Law states that "…the ball is considered to be a Wide from the instant of deliver, but cannot be called Wide until it has passed the striker`s wicket".
When umpires are faced with the increasingly popular switch hit scenario, they are now required to 'think outside the box' a little. If the striker moves into the switch hit stance as the ball is delivered, the umpire will regard both sides of the wicket as the off side and make his judgement for a Wide ball accordingly. It must be emphasised that this is purely for Wides only, and not for any other aspect of the game - like LBW or fielding restrictions.