# Bowling average

### Bowling average

Of bowlers who have bowled at least 600 balls in [1]

The bowling average is one of a number of statistics used to compare Test cricket, having claimed 112 wickets at an average of 10.75.

## 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]

\mathrm{Bowling~average} = \frac{\mathrm{Runs~conceded}}{\mathrm{Wickets~taken}}

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 there 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.[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. 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.[12] The bowlers competing in the Howa Bowl, a competition played in South African during the apartheid-era, restricted to non-white players,[13] during which time, according to Vincent Barnes: "Most of the wickets we played on were underprepared. For me, as a bowler, it was great."[14]

## Records

A. N. Hornby is one of three players to have a bowling average of zero in Test cricket.

Due to the varying restrictions placed on the records by different statisticians, the record for the lowest career bowling average can be different from publication to publication. In 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 one just one wicket in Test matches, without conceding any runs, thus averaging zero.[15]

In Andre Botha being listed as the superior, averaging 8.76.[10][17] The variations continue in women's international cricket; ESPNcricinfo list Betty Wilson as having the best Test average with 11.80,[18] while CricketArchive accept Mary Spear's average of 5.78.[19] In women's One Day International cricket, Caroline Barrs tops the CricketArchive list with an average of 9.52,[20] but by ESPNcricinfo's stricter guidelines, the record is instead held by Gill Smith's 12.53.[21]

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]

## References

1. ^ a b "Test Lowest Career Bowling Average".
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)".
5. ^ "The Laws of Cricket (2000 Code 4th Edition – 2010)". Marylebone Cricket Club. 2010. pp. 42–49. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
6. ^ a b van Staden (2008), p. 3.
7. ^ a b
8. ^ a b "Records / Test matches / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
9. ^ a b "Records / One-Day Internationals / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
10. ^ a b "Records / Twenty20 Internationals / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
11. ^ a b "Records / First-class matches / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
12. ^
13. ^ "Player Profile: Vincent Barnes". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
14. ^ Odendaal, Andre; Reddy, Krish; Samson, Andrew (2012). The Blue Book: History of Western Province Cricket: 1890–2011. Johannesburg: Fanele. p. 185.
15. ^ "Records / Test matches / Bowling records / Best career bowling average (without qualification)". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
16. ^ "ODI Lowest Career Bowling Average". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
17. ^ "International Twenty20 Lowest Career Bowling Average". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
18. ^ "Records / Women's Test matches / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
19. ^ "Women's Test Lowest Career Bowling Average". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
20. ^ "Women's ODI Lowest Career Bowling Average". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
21. ^ "Records / Women's One-Day Internationals / Bowling records / Best career bowling average". ESPNcricinfo. 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

• van Staden, Paul J. (January 2008). "Comparison of bowlers, batsmen and all-rounders in cricket using graphical displays". Pretoria: