In cricket, a scorer is someone appointed to record all runs scored, all wickets taken and, where appropriate, the number of overs bowled. In professional games, in compliance with Law 3 of the Laws of Cricket, two scorers are appointed, most often one provided by each team.
The scorers have no say in whether runs 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 pre-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 techniques, and some use coloured 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, and Jo King.
The ECB's Association of Cricket Officials provides training for scorers.