Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
If the ball deflects off the batsman's body and needs to be gathered by a fielder, the batsmen may have the opportunity to score runs safely, and may choose to do so. The number of runs scored are scored as leg byes - they are added to the team's total, but not to the number of runs scored by either batsman.
Leg byes may only be scored if the ball hit the batsman while the batsman was in the process of either:
- attempting to hit the ball with his bat, or
- attempting to evade being hit by the ball.
If the batsman was attempting neither of these, and the ball hits his body, it is a dead ball and runs may not be scored. The batsmen may, however, attempt to score runs and may be run out. If they complete such a "run" when the ball is dead, the umpire will signal dead ball, the run is not scored, and the batsmen must return to their wickets as before the run attempt.
Leg byes are relatively common, being the commonest form of extras in a cricket score. A typical number scored in a game might be in the range 10-40.
Validity of leg byes
In recent years, there has been a growing movement to change the Laws of Cricket to eliminate leg byes from the sport. Noted international umpire Darrell Hair has been a particular critic of leg byes, stating that if a batsman is not skilled enough to hit a ball with his bat, he should not be allowed to score runs off it.
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