Bowling average

George Lohmann
The bowling average is one of a number of statistics used to compare bowlers in the sport of cricket. It is the ratio of runs conceded per wickets taken, meaning that the lower the bowling average is, the better the bowler is performing. The bowling average is commonly used alongside the economy rate and the strike rate to judge the overall performance of a bowler. Where a bowler has taken only a small number of wickets, their average can be artificially low, and an increase in wickets taken can result in large changes in their bowling average. Due to this, qualification caveats are generally applied to determine career records for 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.

A cricketer's bowling average is calculated by dividing the numbers of runs they have conceded by the number of wickets they have taken. 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, or penalty runs. The bowler receives credit for any wickets taken during their bowling that are either bowled, caught, hit wicket, leg before wicket or stumped.

A number of flaws have been identified for the statistic, most notable among these the fact that a bowler who has taken no wickets can not have a bowling average, as dividing by zero does not give a result. The effect of this is that the bowling average can not 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. 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.. 30. If the bowler takes a wicket with the next ball bowled (no runs obviously conceded), then 20.

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, while ESPNcricinfo requires 2,000 deliveries. Similar restrictions are set for one-day cricket.

This page was last edited on 3 April 2018, at 08:55 (UTC).
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_average under CC BY-SA license.

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