One of the important indicators for attacking cricketers is the bowling average. It means the number of runs scored for one wicket taken. If you are a good cricketer, then this figure should be as small as possible. Of course, based on the bowling average, the team management selects new players for their team.
Bowling average: the basic meaning
An attacking cricketer needs to have as little bowling average as possible. For defenders, on the contrary, the higher the batting average, the better. The bowling average is calculated using the following formula:
Bowling average = Runs conceded/Wickets taken.
Usually, the bowling average is taken together with the economy rate and the strike rate. As with the batting average, restrictions are applied to determine the best players. But if the number of innings is strictly prescribed for defenders (from 20), then there are no such conditions for attacking players. However, there are still certain limits that specialized agencies sometimes change.
How is the number of runs conceded by a bowler determined? This is the total number of runs scored by the opponent while the bowler was attacking. Exceptions occur in the following cases:
- Any byes.
- Leg byes or penalty runs.
The bowler gets credit for any wickets taken during the attack that were either bowled, caught, hit wicket, leg before wicket or stumped. The current rules for the distribution of the bowling average have a lot of skeptics. For example, not everyone agrees that a player who has not taken a wicket cannot have a bowling average. As a result, a strange situation arises: the bowling average will not differ for a player who missed a wicket and one run from another player who missed a wicket and more than 20 runs. If a cricketer, say, scores 100 runs and 2 wickets per match, then his bowling average will be 50. If a player takes 6 wickets with the same number of runs, his indicator will be much better — 16.7. When registering records, other circumstances are also taken into account.
Bowling average: what factors influence?
The bowling average is influenced by external factors, not just the player’s level. For example, in the 18th century, cricketers had to play on bad fields, which could contain pits and stones. This was because cricket was unpopular, and the fields were very poorly treated. In the second half of the 20th century, South Africa was banned from international matches for more than 20 years because of the apartheid policy that was carried out in the country. The Africans decided to organize a Howa Bowl tournament in South Africa, where players did not have enough conditions. For example, wickets were not fixed very well, which gave the bowlers an advantage.
Cricket experts note that in the 20th century, players were not provided with sufficient safety equipment (helmets, gloves). Because of this, the batsmen hit the balls more carefully than they are now. In the 21st century, teams often play with different opponents, which also affects the bowling average.
Bowling average: the best cricketers
Due to the frequently changing evaluation criteria of the bowling average, record indicators are considered worthy of attention only in the Test format. If we collect the opinions of three leading cricket agencies in the world (Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, ESPNcricinfo and CricketArchiv), then George Lohmann from England is leading here. He played in the late 19th century and achieved the lowest bowling average among players who scored at least 15 wickets. George Lohmann also had the second highest rank among bowlers in the International Cricket Council ranking in the entire history of the classification.
ESPNcricinfo agency has compiled a rating of the best bowlers in history, indicating a limit of 10 wickets taken. Charles Marriott from England headed the list of the top 10. Between 1919 and 1938, he was considered one of the leading bowlers in the world. In 1933, Marriott played for the national team at the age of 37, taking 11 wickets.
Test matches (top-10)
Cricketer Bowling average
- Charles Marriott (England) 8,72
- Frederick Martin (England) 10,07
- George Lohmann (England) 10,75
- Laurie Nash (Australian) 12,60
- John Ferris (Australia/England) 12,70
- Tom Horan (Australia) 13,00
- Harry Dean (England) 13,90
- Albert Trott (Australia/England) 15,00
- Mike Procter (Southern Africa) 15,02
- Jack Iverson (Australia) 15,23
In the One Day International format, the ESPNcricinfo rating is the most trusted, according to the terms of which you need to have 1000 deliveries. Joel Garner, who played for the West Indies national team, leads the classification. He has a score of 18.84. ESPNcricinfo considers Gill Smith to be the best women bowler (12.53).
In the Twenty20 format, ESPNcricinfo sets the requirement of just 30 balls to have been bowled and considers George O’Brien to be the leader (8.20).