- adjective large from side to side
- adjective referring to the distance of something measured from side to side
- adjective relatively far from an imaginary line separating the off and leg sides of the pitch in front of the batsman; the term is used especially to describe fielding positions in the area behind the bowler’s wicket, such as long-on or mid-offCitation ‘Dyson took two offside fours off Pringle before playing him wide of mid-on for the two runs which took Australia to an eight-wicket victory’ (Henry Blofeld, Cricketer February 1983)Citation ‘Maddy smote him for one wounding six over wide midwicket, then repeated the shot to just short of the boundary’ (Jamie Jackson, Observer 13 August 2006)
- noun a ball that passes out of reach of the batsman at the wicket, which is not ‘sufficiently within his reach for him to be able to hit it with his bat by means of a normal cricket stroke’ (Law 25 § 1). When a wide is bowled the umpire calls ‘wide’ and signals to the scorers by extending both arms horizontally. A wide appears as a cross in the bowling analysis and does not count as one of the six balls of the over. One run is credited to the batting side, unless the batsmen actually run more runs or the ball goes to the boundary, in which case any runs scored are credited to the extras as wides. In most limited-overs competitions a more stringent interpretation of the law is applied, and the umpires are instructed to discourage ‘negative bowling’ by calling as wides any balls bowled sufficiently far from the stumps ‘to make it virtually impossible for the striker to play a “normal cricket stroke”’.
Wides first appear in the Laws in 1810–11 and, as with many such developments (cf bat), the new regulations came in the wake of a notorious incident in which the absence of any ruling had been flagrantly exploited. In this case William Lambert had managed to retrieve a desperate situation to win a single wicket match at Lord’s in 1810, by bowling his opponent, Lord Frederick Beauclerk, a series of wides in order ‘to put him out of temper’. Initially wides were not treated separately, and any runs that resulted were ‘to be put down to the Byes’ (Laws c 1810). ‘The first mention of “wides” on the score sheet appears to be in a match at Brighton between Kent and Sussex’ (Box 1868), probably in 1827. There is a law of 1835 to the effect that the ball becomes dead as soon as ‘wide’ is called, so that no further runs could be taken, but this was reversed in 1844, and since then the batsmen have been allowed to take as many runs as they can get.See also extras
Origin & History of “wide”
Wide is a general Germanic word, with relatives in German weit, Dutch wijd, and Swedish and Danish vid. All are descended from prehistoric Germanic *wīdaz, which may go back ultimately to the Indo-European base *wi-‘apart, away’ (source also of Sanskrit vitarám ‘further’). Width was coined in the early 17th century, probably on the analogy of breadth.