The scorers have no say in whether runs or extras are scored, wickets taken or overs bowled. This is the job of the umpires on the field of play, who signal to the scorers in cases of ambiguity such as when runs are to be given as extras rather than credited to the batsmen, or when the batsman is to be awarded a boundary 4 or 6. So that the umpire knows that they have seen each signal, the scorers are required to immediately acknowledge it.
While it is possible to keep score using a pencil and plain paper, scorers often use per-printed scoring books, and these are commercially available in many different styles. Simple score books allow the recording of each batsman's runs, their scores and mode of dismissal, the bowlers' analyses, the team score and the score at the fall of each wicket. More sophisticated score books allow for the recording of more detail, and other statistics such as the number of balls faced by each batsman. Scorers also sometimes produce their own scoring sheets to suit their technique, and some use colored pens to highlight events such as wickets, or differentiate the actions of different batsmen or bowlers. It is often possible to tell from a modern scorecard the time at which everything occurred, who bowled each delivery, which batsman faced it, whether the batsman left the ball or played and missed, or which direction the batsman hit the ball and whether runs were scored. Sometimes details of occurrences between deliveries, or incidental details like the weather, are recorded.
In early times runs scored were sometimes simply recorded by carving notches on a stick - this root of the use of the slang term "notches" for "runs". In contrast, scoring in the modern game has become a specialism, particularly for international and national cricket competitions. While the scorers' role is clearly defined under the Laws of Cricket to be merely the recording of runs, wickets and overs, and the constant checking of the accuracy of their records with each other and with the umpires, in practice a modern scorer's role is complicated by other requirements. For instance, cricket authorities often require information about matters such as the rate at which teams bowled their overs. The media also ask to be notified of records, statistics and averages. For many important matches, unofficial scorers keep tally for the broadcast commentators and newspaper journalists allowing the official scorers to concentrate undisturbed. In the English county game, the scorers also keep score on a computer that updates a central server, to meet the demands of the online press that scores should be as up-to-date as possible.
The official scorers occasionally make mistakes, but unlike umpires' mistakes these may be corrected after the event.
Some cricket statisticians who keep score unofficially for the printed and broadcast media have become quite famous, for instance Bill Frindall who scored for the BBC radio commentary team from 1966 to 2008, Wendy Wimbush, and Jo King.
As at March 2008 the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials provides no training for scorers, although courses are planned.
Methods of scoringThere are predominantly two methods that scorers use to record a game: manually and computerized.
The manual method uses a scorecard and a pen. The scorecard is colloquially known as The Book. Using the book, the scorer fills out two main sections per ball, the bowling analysis and the batting analysis. Each section helps track the amount of balls bowled in an over, any extras (such as Wide Balls and No Balls) and also any wickets (or dismissals). At the end of each over, the scorer may fill out an over analysis with the score at the end of the over, the amount of wickets that have fallen, any penalties incurred and the number of the bowler in the analysis.
Most software used for cricket scoring uses a form at the front end with buttons for the scorer to press to record ball by ball events. Additional functions include being able to draw a line denoting where the ball went from the batting crease and where the ball pitched. This gives additional charts tracking bowling placement and shot selection which can then be used at the coaching level. This additional information, however, does not form part of the critical role of a scorer, which is to keep track of the score of the game. It has been known for scorers to use both methods in conjunction with one another, in case the computer goes down or runs out of battery