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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 the batsman nor to the runs conceded by the bowler.
The only part of the batsman's body to which the rule does not apply is the hand or hands (that is, the batsman's gloves) holding the bat, which are deemed for the sake of the rules to be a part of the bat. If the ball strikes a hand which for whatever reason is not holding the bat, then leg byes may be scored. However, if the batsman deliberately allows the ball to hit a hand which is not holding the bat no leg byes can be scored, and he may on appeal be given out handled the ball.
Leg byes may only be scored if the ball hits the batsman while the batsman was either:
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 signals dead ball, the run is not scored, and the batsmen must return to their wickets as before the run attempt. If it appears that the ball would have hit the stumps were it not for the batsman's legs, the batsman may be dismissed leg before wicket.
Leg byes are relatively common. A typical number of leg byes scored in a Limited Overs match is 10 or fewer, in a Test match may be 10–20. The most leg byes in a single Test innings is 35, conceded by England against South Africa in the Proteas' tour of England, on 1 August 2008.
Umpires signal a leg bye with a hand touching their raised knee.