Batting average (cricket)

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In cricket, a players' batting average is the total number of runs they have scored divided by the number of times they have been out, usually given to two decimal places. Since the number of runs a player scores and how often they get out are primarily measures of their own playing ability, and largely independent of their teammates, batting average is a good metric for an individual player's skill as a batter (although the practice of drawing comparisons between players on this basis is not without criticism [1] ). The number is also simple to interpret intuitively. If all the batter's innings were completed (i.e. they were out every innings), this is the average number of runs they score per innings. If they did not complete all their innings (i.e. some innings they finished not out), this number is an estimate of the unknown average number of runs they score per innings.


Each player normally has several batting averages, with a different figure calculated for each type of match they play (first-class, one-day, Test matches, List A, T20, etc.), and a player's batting averages may be calculated for individual seasons or series, or at particular grounds, or against particular opponents, or across their whole career.

Batting average has been used to gauge cricket players' relative skills since the 18th century.


International cricket career batting averages (as of 14 September 2019). Note Bradman's Test average of 99.94. CricketBattingAverageHistogram.png
International cricket career batting averages (as of 14 September 2019). Note Bradman's Test average of 99.94.

Most players have career batting averages in the range of 20 to 40. This is also the desirable range for wicket-keepers, though some fall short and make up for it with keeping skill. Until a substantial increase in scores in the 21st century due to improved bats and smaller grounds among other factors, players who sustained an average above 50 through a career were considered exceptional, and before the development of the heavy roller in the 1870s (which allowed for a flatter, safer cricket pitch) an average of 25 was considered very good. [2]

Career records for batting average are usually subject to a minimum qualification of 20 innings played or completed, in order to exclude batsmen who have not played enough games for their skill to be reliably assessed. Under this qualification, the highest Test batting average belongs to Australia's Sir Donald Bradman, with 99.94. Given that a career batting average over 50 is exceptional, and that only 4 other players have averages over 60, this is an outstanding statistic. The fact that Bradman's average is so far above that of any other cricketer has led several statisticians to argue that, statistically at least, he was the greatest athlete in any sport. [3]

Disregarding this 20 innings qualification, the highest career Test batting average is 144 by Kurtis Patterson, who scored 144 runs and was dismissed once in his two Test innings. He then fell out of the Australian squad due to a loss of form and injury.

Batting averages in One Day International (ODI) and T20 International (T20I) cricket tend to be lower than in Test cricket because of the need to score runs more quickly. Consequently, batters tend to play riskier strokes and less emphasis is placed on building an innings in order to amass a high individual score. It should also be remembered, especially in relation to the ODI and T20I histograms above, that there were no ODI or T20I matches when Bradman played.


If a batter has been dismissed in every single innings, then this statistic gives exactly the average number of runs they score per innings.

However, for a batter with one or more innings which finished not out, the true mean or average number of runs they score per innings is unknown as it is not known how many runs they would have scored if they could have completed all their not out innings. In this case, this statistic is an estimate of the average number of runs they score per innings. If their scores have a geometric distribution, then this statistic is the maximum likelihood estimate of their true unknown average. [4]

Batting averages can be strongly affected by the number of not outs. For example, Phil Tufnell, who was noted for his poor batting, [5] has an apparently respectable ODI average of 15 (from 20 games), despite a highest score of only 5 not out, as he scored an overall total of 15 runs from 10 innings, but was out only once. [6]

A batter who has not been dismissed in any of the innings over which their average is being calculated does not have a batting average, as division by zero does not give a result. [7]

Leading male batting averages


Highest career batting averages in first-class cricket as follows:

RankBatterMatchesInningsN.O.RunsHighestAveFirst Class career dates
1 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Don Bradman 2343384328,067452*95.141927–49
2 Flag of India.svg Vijay Merchant 1502344613,470359*71.641929–51
3 WestIndiesCricketFlagPre1999.svg George Headley 103164229,921344*69.861927–54
4 Flag of India.svg Sarfaraz Khan 4871114,112301*68.532014–24
5 Flag of India.svg Ajay Sharma 1291661610,120259*67.461984–2001
6 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Bill Ponsford 1622352313,81943765.181920–34
7 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Bill Woodfull 1742453913,38828464.991921–34
8 Flag of Sri Lanka.svg Kamindu Mendis 467164,164200*64.012018–24
9 Flag of India.svg Shantanu Sugwekar 85122186,563299*63.101987–2002
10 Flag of India.svg KC Ibrahim 6089124,71625061.241938–50
Qualification for inclusion: 50 innings. Names in bold text are current players whose figures are likely to change. * denotes not out. Source: ESPNcricinfo. Last updated: 27 April 2024.

Test matches

Don Bradman Donald Bradman australian cricket player pic.JPG
Don Bradman

A batting average of above 50 is considered by many as a benchmark to distinguish between a good and a great batsman. [8] Highest male career batting averages in Test matches as follows:

AverageTest career
1 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Don Bradman 5280106,99633499.941928–48
2 Flag of England.svg Harry Brook 122011,18118662.152022-2023
3 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Adam Voges 203171,485269*61.872015–16
4 Flag of South Africa.svg Graeme Pollock 234142,25627460.971963–70
5 WestIndiesCricketFlagPre1999.svg George Headley 224042,190270*60.831930–54
6 Flag of England.svg Herbert Sutcliffe 548494,55519460.731924–35
7 Flag of England.svg Eddie Paynter 203151,54024359.231931–39
8 Flag of England.svg Ken Barrington 82131156,80625658.671955–68
9 WestIndiesCricketFlagPre1999.svg Everton Weekes 488154,45520758.611948–58
10 Flag of England.svg Wally Hammond 85140167,249336*58.451927–47
Qualification for inclusion: 20 innings. Names in bold text are current players whose figures are likely to change. * denotes not out. Source: ESPNcricinfo. Last updated: 8 January 2024.

One Day Internationals

Highest career batting averages in One Day International cricket as follows:

RankBatterODIsInningsN.O.RunsHighestAveODI career dates
1 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Ryan ten Doeschate 333291,54111967.002006–11
2 Flag of India.svg Shubhman Gill 444472,27120861.372019–23
3 Flag of India.svg Virat Kohli 2922804413,84818358.672008–23
4 Flag of Pakistan.svg Babar Azam 117114135,72915856.722015–23
5 Flag of England.svg Dawid Malan 303041,45014055.762019–23
6 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Michael Bevan 232196676,912108*53.581994–2004
7 Flag of South Africa.svg AB de Villiers 228218399,57717653.502005–18
8 Flag of New Zealand.svg Daryl Mitchell 393551,57713452.562021–23
9 Flag of South Africa.svg Rassie van der Dussen 6256112,36013452.442019–23
10 Flag of England.svg Jonathan Trott 6865102,81913751.252009–13
Qualification for inclusion: 20 innings. Names in bold text are current players whose figures are likely to change. * denotes not out. Source: ESPNcricinfo. Last updated: 21 March 2024

T20 Internationals

RankBatsmenT20IsInningsN.O.RunsHighestAveT20I career dates
1 Flag of Malawi.svg Sami Sohail 31271383294*59.422019–23
2 Flag of India.svg Virat Kohli 117109314,037122*51.752010–24
3 Flag of Bahrain.svg Sohail Ahmed 28271085780*50.412022–24
4 Flag of Pakistan.svg Muhammad Rizwan 9784203,180104*49.682015–24
5 Flag of India.svg Suryakumar Yadav 6057102,14111745.552021–23
6 Flag of Qatar.svg Muhammad Tanveer 5046131,49988*45.422019–24
7 Flag of India.svg Manish Pandey 39331770979*44.312015–20
8 Flag of Japan.svg Kendel Kadowaki-Fleming 27272108911443.562022–24
9 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Dillon Heyliger 3622152983042.572009–24
10 Flag of Serbia.svg Leslie Dunbar2322667811742.372019–23
Qualification for inclusion: 20 innings. Names in bold text are current players whose figures are likely to change. * denotes not out. Source: ESPNcricinfo. Last updated: 25 May 2024.

Leading female batting averages

Test matches

RankBatterTestsInningsNot outRunsHigh ScoreAverageTest career dates
1 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Denise Annetts 1013381919381.901987-1992
2 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Lorraine Hill 7102499118*62.371975-1977
3 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ellyse Perry 13227928213*61.862008-2023
4 Flag of England.svg Enid Bakewell 122241,07812459.881968-1979
5 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Belinda Haggett 1015276214458.611987-1992
6 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Betty Wilson 1116186212757.461948-1958
7 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Karen Rolton 142241,002209*55.661995-2009
8 Flag of New Zealand.svg Debbie Hockley 192941,301126*52.041979-1996
9 Flag of India.svg Sandhya Agarwal 132311,11019050.451984-1995
10 Flag of India.svg Hemlata Kala 710050311050.301999-2006
Qualification for inclusion: 10 innings. Names in bold text are current players whose figures are likely to change. * denotes not out. Source: ESPNcricinfo. Last updated: 21 March 2024.

One Day Internationals

RankBatterODIsInningsN.O.RunsHighestAve.ODI Career Dates
1 Flag of England.svg Rachael Heyhoe Flint 2320964311458.451973-1982
2 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Lindsay Reeler 232351,034143*57.441984-1988
3 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Meg Lanning 103102164,602152*53.512011-2023
4 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Bronwyn Calver 34211153481*53.401991-1998
5 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Beth Mooney 7467212,38013351.732016-2024
6 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ellyse Perry 147120423,948112*50.742007-2024
7 Flag of India.svg Mithali Raj 232211577,805125*50.681999-2022
8 Flag of South Africa.svg Laura Wolvaardt 9594124,814154*48.142016-2024
9 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Karen Rolton 141132323,948184*48.141995-2009
10 Flag of England.svg Wendy Watson 23226768107*48.001987-1993
Qualification for inclusion: 20 innings. Names in bold text are current players whose figures are likely to change. * denotes not out. Source: ESPNcricinfo. Last updated: 27 April 2024.

T20 Internationals

RankBatterT20IsInningsN.O.RunsHighestAve.T20I Career Dates
1 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Tahlia McGrath 42321096291*43.722021-2024
2 Flag of Germany.svg Christina Gough 3836121,030101*42.912019-2023
3 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Beth Mooney 9892232,829117*41.002016-2024
4 Flag of Scotland.svg Kathryn Bryce 4543131,19773*39.902018-2024
5 Flag of Indonesia.svg Ni Putu Ayu Nanda Sakarini3632988795*38.562018-2024
6 Flag of India.svg Mithali Raj 8984212,36497*37.522006-2019
7 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Meg Lanning 132121283,405133*36.612010-2023
8 Flag of South Africa.svg Laura Wolvaardt 6660161,60910236.562016-2024
9 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Sterre Kalis 343441,088126*36.262018-2024
10 Flag of Tanzania.svg Fatuma Kibasu 454491,245127*35.572019-2023
Qualification for inclusion: 20 innings. Names in bold text are current players whose figures are likely to change. * denotes not out. Source: ESPNcricinfo. Last updated: 27 April 2024.


Alternative measures of batting effectiveness have been developed, including:

Strike rate

Strike rate measures a different concept to batting average – how quickly the batsman scores (i.e. average number of runs from 100 balls) – so it does not supplant the role of batting average. It is used particularly in limited overs matches, where the speed at which a batter scores is more important than it is in first-class cricket. Strike rate may also be used to compare a player's ability to score runs against differing types of bowling (i.e. spin, fast bowling).

Player rankings

A system of player rankings was developed to produce a better indication of players' current standings than is provided by comparing their averages.

See also

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  7. "Why did Stuart Law only play one Test for Australia?". Wisden. 28 March 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2022. However, only 54 of those runs came in Australian Test whites, with Law making an unbeaten half-century in his only Test innings, meaning he finished his career without a Test average.
  8. Varghese, Mathew (12 October 2007). "A genuine matchwinner – A statistical look at Inzamam-ul-Haq's Test career". ESPNcricinfo.