Bowling average

Last updated

Of bowlers who have bowled at least 600 balls in Test cricket, George Lohmann has the lowest career bowling average, 10.75. George Lohmann 1895b.jpg
Of bowlers who have bowled at least 600 balls in Test cricket, George Lohmann has the lowest career bowling average, 10.75.

In cricket, a player's bowling average is the number of runs they have conceded per wicket taken. The lower the bowling average is, the better the bowler is performing. It is one of a number of statistics used to compare bowlers, commonly used alongside the economy rate and the strike rate to judge the overall performance of a bowler.

Contents

When a bowler has taken only a small number of wickets, their bowling average can be artificially high or low, and unstable, with further wickets taken or runs conceded resulting in large changes to their bowling average. Due to this, qualification restrictions are generally applied when determining which players have the best bowling averages. After applying these criteria, George Lohmann holds the record for the lowest average in Test cricket, having claimed 112 wickets at an average of 10.75 runs per wicket.

Calculation

A cricketer's bowling average is calculated by dividing the numbers of runs they have conceded by the number of wickets they have taken. [2] The number of runs conceded by a bowler is determined as the total number of runs that the opposing side have scored while the bowler was bowling, excluding any byes, leg byes, [3] or penalty runs. [4] The bowler receives credit for any wickets taken during their bowling that are either bowled, caught, hit wicket, leg before wicket or stumped. [5]

A number of flaws have been identified for the statistic, most notable among these the fact that a bowler who has taken no wickets cannot have a bowling average, as dividing by zero does not give a result. The effect of this is that the bowling average cannot distinguish between a bowler who has taken no wickets and conceded one run, and a bowler who has taken no wickets and conceded one hundred runs. The bowling average also does not tend to give a true reflection of the bowler's ability when the number of wickets they have taken is small, especially in comparison to the number of runs they have conceded. [6] In his paper proposing an alternative method of judging batsmen and bowlers, Paul van Staden gives an example of this:

Suppose a bowler has bowled a total of 80 balls, conceded 60 runs and has taken only 2 wickets so that.. [their average is] 30. If the bowler takes a wicket with the next ball bowled (no runs obviously conceded), then [their average is] 20. [6]

Due to this, when establishing records for bowling averages, qualification criteria are generally set. For Test cricket, the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack sets this as 75 wickets, [7] while ESPNcricinfo requires 2,000 deliveries. [8] Similar restrictions are set for one-day cricket. [9] [10]

Variations

A number of factors other than purely the ability level of the bowler have an effect on a player's bowling average. Most significant among these are the different eras in which cricket has been played. The bowling average tables in Test and first-class cricket are headed by players who competed in the nineteenth century, [11] a period when pitches were uncovered and some were so badly looked after that they had rocks on them. The bowlers competing in the Howa Bowl, a competition played in South African during the apartheid-era, restricted to non-white players, [12] during which time, according to Vincent Barnes: "Most of the wickets we played on were underprepared. For me, as a bowler, it was great." [13] Other factors which provided an advantage to bowlers in that era was the lack of significant safety equipment; batting gloves and helmets were not worn, and batsmen had to be warier. Other variations are caused by frequent matches against stronger or weaker opposition, changes in the laws of cricket and the length of matches. [14]

Records

Completed Test career bowling averages
Charles Marriott (ENG)
8.72
Frederick Martin (ENG)
10.07
George Lohmann (ENG)
10.75
Laurie Nash (AUS)
12.60
John Ferris (AUS/ENG)
12.70
Tom Horan (AUS)
13.00
Harry Dean (ENG)
13.90
Albert Trott (AUS/ENG)
15.00
Mike Procter (SA)
15.02
Jack Iverson (AUS)
15.23
Tom Kendall (AUS)
15.35
Alec Hurwood (AUS)
15.45
Billy Barnes (ENG)
15.54
John Trim (WI)
16.16
Billy Bates (ENG)
16.42

Source: Cricinfo
Qualification: 10 wickets, career completed.
A. N. Hornby is one of three players to have a bowling average of zero in Test cricket. AN Hornby c1895.jpg
A. N. Hornby is one of three players to have a bowling average of zero in Test cricket.

Due to the varying qualifying restrictions placed on the records by different statisticians, the record for the lowest career bowling average can be different from publication to publication.

Test cricket

In Test cricket, George Lohmann is listed as having the superior average by each of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack , ESPNcricinfo and CricketArchive. Though all three use different restrictions, Lohmann's average of 10.75 is considered the best. [1] [7] [8] If no qualification criteria were applied at all, three players—Wilf Barber, A. N. Hornby and Bruce Murray—would tie for the best average, all having claimed just one wicket in Test matches, without conceding any runs, thus averaging zero. [15]

ESPNcricinfo list Betty Wilson as having the best Women's Test cricket average with 11.80, [16] while CricketArchive accept Mary Spear's average of 5.78. [17]

One Day Internationals

In One Day Internationals, the varying criteria set by ESPNcricinfo and CricketArchive result in different players being listed as holding the record. ESPNcricinfo has the stricter restriction, requiring 1,000 deliveries: by this measure, Joel Garner is the record-holder, having claimed his wickets at an average of 18.84. [9] By CricketArchive's more relaxed requirement of 400 deliveries, John Snow leads the way, with an average of 16.57. [18]

In women's One Day International cricket, Caroline Barrs tops the CricketArchive list with an average of 9.52, [19] but by ESPNcricinfo's stricter guidelines, the record is instead held by Gill Smith's 12.53. [20]

T20 Internationals

The record is again split for the two websites for Twenty20 International cricket; in this situation ESPNcricinfo has the lower boundary, requiring just 30 balls to have been bowled. George O'Brien's average of 8.20 holds the record using those criteria, but the stricter 200 deliveries required by CricketArchive results in Andre Botha being listed as the superior, averaging 8.76. [10] [21]

First Class cricket

Domestically, the records for first-class cricket are dominated by players from the nineteenth century, who make up sixteen of the top twenty by ESPNcricinfo's criteria of 5,000 deliveries. William Lillywhite, who was active from 1825 to 1853 has the lowest average, claiming his 1,576 wickets at an average of just 1.54. The leading players from the twentieth century are Stephen Draai and Vincent Barnes with averages of just under twelve, [11] both of whom claimed the majority of their wickets in the South African Howa Bowl tournament during the apartheid era. [22] [23]

See also

Related Research Articles

Courtney Walsh Jamaican cricketer

Courtney Andrew Walsh OJ is a former Jamaican cricketer who represented the West Indies from 1984 to 2001, captaining the West Indies in 22 Test matches. He is a fast bowler, and best known for a remarkable opening bowling partnership along with fellow West Indian Curtly Ambrose for several years. Walsh played 132 Tests and 205 ODIs for the West Indies and took 519 and 227 wickets respectively. He shared 421 Test wickets with Ambrose in 49 matches. He held the record of most Test wickets from 2000, after he broke the record of Kapil Dev. This record was later broken in 2004 by Shane Warne. He was the first bowler to reach 500 wickets in Test cricket. His autobiography is entitled "Heart of the Lion". Walsh was named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1987, and one of the Indian Cricket Cricketer of the Year a year later. In October 2010, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. He was appointed as the Specialist Bowling Coach of Bangladesh Cricket Team in August 2016.

Anil Kumble former Indian cricketer

Anil Kumble is a former Indian cricketer, coach, commentator, who played Tests and ODIs for 18 years. A right-arm leg spin bowler, he took 619 wickets in Test cricket and remains the third-highest wicket taker of all time. In 1999 while playing against Pakistan, Kumble dismissed all ten batsmen in a Test match innings, joining England's Jim Laker as the only players to achieve the feat. Unlike his contemporaries, Kumble was not a big turner of the ball, but relied primarily on pace, bounce, and accuracy. He was nicknamed "Jumbo". Kumble was selected as the Cricketer of the Year in 1993 Indian Cricket, and one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year three years later.

All-rounder cricket role

An all-rounder is a cricketer who regularly performs well at both batting and bowling. Although all bowlers must bat and quite a few batsmen do bowl occasionally, most players are skilled in only one of the two disciplines and are considered specialists. Some wicket-keepers have the skills of a specialist batsman and have been referred to as all-rounders, but the term wicketkeeper-batsman is more commonly applied to them, even if they are substitute wicketkeepers who also bowl.

Wasim Akram Former Pakistani professional cricketer

Wasim Akram is a Pakistani cricket commentator, coach and former cricketer, captain of Pakistan national cricket team. He is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest bowlers of all time.He is also known as "Sultan of Swing" A left-arm fast bowler who could bowl with significant pace, he represented the Pakistan cricket team in Test cricket and One Day International (ODI) matches. In October 2013, Wasim Akram was the only Pakistani cricketer to be named in an all-time Test World XI to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.

Cricket is a sport that generates a variety of statistics.

Abdul Qadir (cricketer) Pakistani cricketer

Abdul Qadir Khan was an international cricketer who bowled leg spin for Pakistan. Qadir is widely regarded as the best leg spinner of the 1970s and 1980s and was a role model for up and coming leg spinners. Later he was a commentator and Chief Selector of the Pakistan Cricket Board, from which he resigned due to differences of opinion with leading Pakistan cricket administrators.

Bowling analysis Cricket analysis

In cricket, a bowling analysis usually refers to a notation summarising a bowler's performance in terms of overs bowled, how many of those overs are maidens, total runs conceded and number of wickets taken. Bowling analyses are generally given for each innings in cricket scoreboards printed in Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, newspapers and so on, but they are also sometimes quoted for other periods of time, such as a single spell of bowling. Typically, the analysis is given in the following format: Overs – Maidens – Runs conceded – Wickets.

Vernon Philander South African cricketer

Vernon Darryl Philander is a South African former international cricketer. He was a right-handed bowling all-rounder; he had previously represented his country at under 19 level. He played for the South Africa national cricket team and Cape Cobras in South African domestic cricket. In December 2019, ahead of a Test series against England, Philander announced that the series would be his last series before retiring from international cricket.

Saeed Ajmal Pakistani cricketer

Saeed Ajmal is a Pakistani cricket coach and former cricketer, who played all forms of the game. He is a right-arm off-spin bowler who bats right handed. Regarded as one of the best spinners in the world of his era, Ajmal was rated the best ODI and T20I bowler in the world and second in Tests at various times between 2011 and 2014.

Umesh Yadav Indian cricketer

Umeshkumar Tilak Yadav is an Indian cricketer who currently plays for Vidarbha cricket team, Indian national team and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. A right-arm fast bowler, Yadav has played for Vidarbha at domestic level since 2008 and is the first player from the team to have played Test cricket. He made his One Day International (ODI) debut against Zimbabwe in May 2010. The following year, in November, Yadav made his Test debut against the West Indies. He was the highest wicket-taker for India in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.

References

  1. 1 2 "Test Lowest Career Bowling Average". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  2. van Staden (2008), p. 2.
  3. "Understanding byes and leg byes". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  4. "Law 42 (Fair and unfair play)". Marylebone Cricket Club. 2010. Archived from the original on 5 January 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  5. "The Laws of Cricket (2000 Code 4th Edition – 2010)" (PDF). Marylebone Cricket Club. 2010. pp. 42–49. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  6. 1 2 van Staden (2008), p. 3.
  7. 1 2 Berry, Scyld, ed. (2011). Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2011 (148 ed.). Alton, Hampshire: John Wisden & Co. Ltd. p. 1358. ISBN   978-1-4081-3130-5.
  8. 1 2 "Records / Test matches / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  9. 1 2 "Records / One-Day Internationals / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  10. 1 2 "Records / Twenty20 Internationals / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  11. 1 2 "Records / First-class matches / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  12. "Player Profile: Vincent Barnes". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  13. Odendaal, Andre; Reddy, Krish; Samson, Andrew (2012). The Blue Book: History of Western Province Cricket: 1890–2011. Johannesburg: Fanele. p. 185. ISBN   978-1-920196-40-0 . Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  14. Boycott, Geoffrey (19 July 2011). "Geoffrey Boycott: ICC's Dream XI is a joke – it has no credibility". The Daily Telegraph . London: Telegraph Media Group . Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  15. "Records / Test matches / Bowling records / Best career bowling average (without qualification)". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  16. "Records / Women's Test matches / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  17. "Women's Test Lowest Career Bowling Average". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  18. "ODI Lowest Career Bowling Average". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  19. "Women's ODI Lowest Career Bowling Average". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  20. "Records / Women's One-Day Internationals / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  21. "International Twenty20 Lowest Career Bowling Average". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  22. "First-Class Matches played by Stephen Draai (48)". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  23. "First-Class Matches played by Vince Barnes (68)". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.

Bibliography