- The event of a ball being delivered by a bowler too wide or (in international cricket) high to be hit by the batsman by means of a normal cricket shot, and ruled so by the umpire.
- The run scored by the batting team as a penalty to the bowling team, when this occurs.
A wide does not count as one of the six balls in an over, nor as a ball faced by the batsman. When a wide is bowled, one run is added to the runs scored off that ball, and is scored as extras and are added to the team's total, but are not added to a batsman's total.
A batsman cannot, by definition, be 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 batsman's bat or person or hits the wicket. He may however be out hit wicket, obstructing the field, run out, or stumped.
If the wicket-keeper fumbles or misses the ball, the batsmen may attempt additional runs. Any runs scored thus are recorded as wides, not byes, and are added to the bowler's record. If the wicket-keeper misses the ball and it travels all the way to the boundary, the batting team scores five wides, similarly 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. If a ball qualifies as a no-ball as well as a wide, the umpire will call it a no-ball, and all the rules for a no-ball apply.
Wides are considered to be the fault of the bowler, and are recorded as a negative statistic in a bowler's record. 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.
Wides 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 wides has increased sharply. In one-day cricket, most deliveries that pass the batsman 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 his arms to form 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 batsmen 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 batsman hits the stumps with his bat, or the wicket-keeper stumps him, the batsman would be out and a ‘W’ is added to the WIDE ‘cross’ symbol.
If a batsman 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.