Extras in Cricket: All You Need To Know

extras in cricket

No, we’re not talking about people paid to bumble around in the background like a movie extra.

Cricket is a game of numbers. Every run counts, every wicket matters.

Extras in cricket have an important role, they play a part in the scoring and statistics, and they can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match. In this article, we will explore world of cricket extras, what they mean, and how extras are scored in different forms of the game.

Understanding the Concept of Extras in Cricket

The term “extras” in cricket refers to runs that aren’t scored by the batsman, but are credited to the team’s total score nonetheless. An extra is sometimes referred to as a “sundry” but this is seen as something of an old-fashioned term by many. There are ways to score these extras that do not involve the ball ever making contact with the bat in order to be awarded as “runs”.

Definition and Types of Extras

Extras in cricket can be classified into two types: penalty runs and byes.

Penalty runs are awarded to the batting team due to a breach of rules by the fielding team. Byes, on the other hand, are runs that are conceded by the fielding team due to the ball not being touched by the batsman’s bat or body. Byes can further be classified into leg byes and orthodox byes.

Penalty runs can be awarded for a variety of reasons. For example, if a fielder obstructs the batsman’s view of the ball, or if a fielder deliberately stops the ball with their body instead of their hands, the batting team may be awarded penalty runs.

Similarly, if a fielder damages the pitch intentionally, the batting team may be awarded penalty runs.

The rules of the game explain the circumstances when runs are not awarded to the batter:

If the ball is struck by the bat, all runs scored by the batting side shall be credited to the striker, except for the following:

  • an award of 5 Penalty runs, which shall be scored as Penalty runs
  • the one run penalty for a No ball, which shall be scored as a No balls extra

Byes, on the other hand, are awarded when the ball misses the bat and the wicketkeeper fails to stop it, or the ball deflects off the batsman’s body or bat and the fielder fails to stop it.

Leg byes are awarded when the ball hits the batsman’s body or pad and then goes on to hit a fielder. Orthodox byes are awarded when the ball misses the bat and goes on to hit a part of the field that is not a fielder. These are not recorded against the bowler like wides would be.

How Extras are Awarded

Extras are awarded by the umpire, who signals them to the scorers. Penalty runs are awarded based on specific rules.

On the scorecard, you’ll see these recorded as: no-ball (nb), wide (w or wd), bye (b), leg bye (lb), and penalty run/s (pen).

The scorer keeps track of the number of extras that are awarded during a match, and these are added to the team’s total score. If a team is awarded a large number of extras, it can have a significant impact on the outcome of the match.

Though batsmen do not get the extras attributed to them, the bowler does get the runs added to their figures. So, a bowler that continually bowls wides will potentially have some very poor figures.

The Impact of Extras on a Team’s Score

Extras can have a significant impact on a team’s score. In a test match, a team’s total score over five days can run into hundreds of runs, and extras can add up to a substantial amount. Even in limited-overs cricket, extras can make a difference in close matches.

Though they are not recorded as extras, we all saw the difference that a few runs can make when the ball deflected off Ben Stokes’ bat in the 2019 World Cup Final, providing England with crucial runs that were recorded as overthrows.

For a more relevant example of extras, if a team is chasing a target of 250 runs in a limited-overs match, and they are awarded 20 extras, this can make a big difference to their chances of winning.

Extras are an important part of the game of cricket, and they can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match. Whether they are awarded as penalty runs or byes, extras can add to a team’s total score and help them to achieve victory.

How Extras Affect Bowlers’ Confidence

Bowlers can become demotivated if they concede too many extras. It can dent their confidence and lead to them losing focus, which can ultimately result in more runs being scored by the opposition.

It can happen to anybody. Here, we see an all-time great, Curtly Ambrose, completely lose rhythm and bowl a 17-ball over, as Australia racked up a huge score.

In some formats such as One Day Internationals, some extras off no balls can also result in free hits. This gives the batter the opportunity to add more runs without the fear of being caught out or bowled.

The Role of Extras in a Batsman’s Strategy

Batsmen can also use extras to their advantage. For example, they can try and get runs through byes if they are struggling to score runs through legitimate shots. They can also use byes as a signal to run aggressively between the wickets and put pressure on the fielding team.


Extras are an integral part of cricket and can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match. From their definition and types to their tactical and psychological significance, we have explored every aspect of extras and how they play a part in the game and its scoring. You’ll certainly see a lot of extras scored if you start playing local village cricket, where bowlers may not be as good as the pros (but the umpires may also be more lenient).

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