How is the average of a bowler calculated?

In any sport, a player’s athletic abilities and consistency in performance can be reflected through statistics. In cricket, a bowler’s skill level can be determined by three statistics: bowling strike rate, economy, and bowling average.

Batting average is a statistic that is more commonly and popularly used for batters. A batter’s average is calculated by dividing the number of runs scored with the number of times he was dismissed. However, average is also a statistic for bowlers.

The average of a bowler is calculated by the number of runs conceded by the bowler divided by the number of wickets they have taken. This means that if a bowler has conceded 60 runs in their spell and taken two wickets, then average is 30. This infers that the bowler takes a wicket after conceding 30 runs.

A bowler’s career average given an exact idea of how quick they are in picking wickets. If a bowler has conceded 1000 runs in their career and picked up 58 wickets, then it means that for after every 17.24 runs conceded, the bowler has taken a wicket.

Most cricketing databases and statistics set a qualification bar after which the bowler’s career average is taken into consideration. For example, in order to include a bowler to procure a list for the best career bowling averages, they need to bowl a minimum number of balls. In test cricket, the qualification is most often set to 2000 balls.

Based on this, England’s George Lohmann, who played till 1896 is considered to have the best average (10.75) in test cricket. Among modern cricketers, as of 2024, out of the active players, Axar Patel’s average of 19.34 is regarded as the best.

In One Day Internationals, the threshold is 1000 balls. Based on this, Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane holds the record for the best bowling average of 18.06. Among the full-member nations of the International Cricket Council, West Indies’ Joel Garner has the best bowling average of 18.84. Among active players of test playing nations as of May 2024, Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan has the best bowling average of 20.48.

The threshold for T20 internationals decreases to 500 balls. Since associate nations of the International Cricket Council who play less frequently are also included for this statistics, the results can be partial. Out of the full member nations, India’s Kuldeep Yadav holds the current record for the best T20 bowling average of 14.10. This is also the existing record as of May 2024.

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