Batting average

Batting average

Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball measuring the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters, respectively. The two statistics are related, in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averagescite web |url= |title=Baseball Statistics |accessdate=2007-10-29 |publisher=Cosmic Baseball Association ] .


frame|right|International_cricket_career_batting_averages_(Jan_2004)._Note_Bradman's Test average of 99.94.
In cricket, a player's batting average is the total number of runs he has scored divided by the number of times he has been out. Since the number of runs a player scores and how often he gets out are primarily measures of his own playing ability, and largely independent of his team mates, batting average is a good statistic for describing an individual player's skill as a batsman. The number is also simple to interpret intuitively, being approximately the average number of runs the batsman scores per innings. Batting average has been used to gauge cricket players' relative skills since the 18th century.

Most players have career batting averages in the range 5 to 50:
*Between 30 and 50 is typical for specialist batsmen and genuine all-rounders. This is also the desirable range for wicket-keepers, though some fall short and make up for it with keeping skill. Players who can sustain an average above 50 through a career are considered exceptional.
*All-rounders who are in practice more prominent bowlers than batsmen typically average something between 20 and 30.
*15 and under is typical for specialist bowlers.

Career records for batting average are usually subject to a minimum qualification of 20 innings played, in order to exclude batsmen who have not played enough games for their skill to be reliably assessed. Under this qualification, the highest Test batting average belongs to Australia's Sir Donald Bradman, with 99.94. Given that a career batting average over 50 is exceptional, and that only four other players have averages over 60, this is an outstanding statistic. The fact that Bradman's average is so far above that of "any" other cricketer has led several statisticians to argue that, statistically at least, he was the greatest sportsman in any sport. [cite web|url= | |work=Players and Officials |title=Sir Donald Bradman |accessdate=2006-04-27]

Batting averages in One Day International (ODI) cricket tend to be lower than in Test cricket, because of the need to score runs more quickly and take riskier strokes and the lesser emphasis on building a large innings.

Batting averages are affected by the number of not-outs (innings in which the batsman has not been dismissed). For example Phil Tufnell, who was noted for his poor batting [ [ Cricinfo - The Jack of all rabbits ] ] , has an apparently respectable ODI average of 15 (from 20 games), despite a highest score of only 5* and an overall run total of 15.

A different, and more recently developed, statistic which is also used to gauge the effectiveness of batsmen is the strike rate. It measures a different concept however - how quickly the batsman scores - so it does not supplant the role of batting average. It is used particularly in limited overs matches, where the speed at which a batsman scores is more important than it is in first-class cricket.

Leading Test batting averages (retired batsmen) ranked in order of average

(Source: Cricinfo Statsguru 1 March 2008)

Table shows retired players only, with at least 20 innings completed. * denotes not out.

Leading Test batting averages ranked by career total runs scored

An alternative measure of the status of batsmen is to rank them according to the number of Test runs scored in their career (Source: Cricinfo Statsguru 10 August 2008) (1886 Tests).

Other contexts

Following from usage in cricket and baseball, batting average has come to be used for other statistical measures of performance.

An example is the Internet Archive, which uses the term in ranking downloads. Its "batting average" indicates the correlation between views of a description page of a downloadable item, and the number of actual downloads of the item. This avoids the effect of popular downloads by volume swamping potentially more focused and useful downloads, producing an arguably more useful ranking.


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