What is strike rate in cricket?

What is strike rate in cricket?
Pakistan's Azhr Ali batting during the ICC Champions Trophy final at The Oval, London on 18th June 2017 Photo : Avalon / Icon Sport

Strike rate in cricket is a statistical term that is used in two different contexts.

It is used to describe how quickly a batter has scored his or her runs, and it is also used to denote how regularly a bowler has picked up his or her wickets.

For a sport first played internationally in 1877, strike rate as a concept was introduced relatively recently. Earlier, batting and bowling statistics relied on averages.

Still, it was the advent of limited-overs cricket that forced the stakeholders of cricket to look at other options to differentiate between the players.

First things first then, we look at the concept of cricketing averages.

What is an average in cricket?

Batting averages are calculated by dividing the number of runs scored by a batter by the number of innings he or she has dismissed in that period. So, a batter who has made 4000 runs in a format across 80 completed or dismissed innings will have a batting average of 50 (4000 divided by 80).

Typically, the higher the batting average, the better the batter is.

On the other hand, bowling averages are calculated by dividing the number of runs conceded by a bowler by the number of wickets he or she has taken in that same period. For instance, a bowler who has given away 3000 runs and taken 100 wickets will have a bowling average of 30 (3000 divided by 100).

Typically, the lower the bowling average, the better the bowler is.

What is strike rate in cricket?

A batting strike rate is calculated on a per 100 balls basis while a bowling strike rate is the number of balls a bowler has taken to pick up one wicket.

So, if a batter has made 800 runs in a particular time frame and taken 1000 balls to do that, he/she has a batting strike rate of 80 (calculated by dividing 800 by 1000 and then multiplying that by 100).

The higher the strike rate, the faster a batsman is scoring.

Similarly, a bowling strike rate is calculated by dividing the number of balls a bowler has taken to pick up his/her wickets in a particular time frame. So if a bowler has bowled 600 deliveries and picked up 25 wickets, his/her bowling strike rate is 24 (calculated by dividing 600 by 25).

Typically, lower the strike rate, the better the bowler.

How is strike rate in cricket different from average?

A bowler’s strike rate takes into account the number of balls taken by the batter to score his/her runs or the number of balls taken by the bowler to take his/her wickets. This is different from a batter or bowler’s average which takes into account the number of innings taken or the number of runs conceded respectively for its calculation.

So a batter with a moderate average could still be a useful limited overs cricketer if he/she possesses a very high number. Similarly, a bowler who concedes a lot of runs but picks up wickets very regularly could find a place in the team as well depending on what a captain is looking at from his/her players.

The best batters in the world in limited-overs cricket have a combination of high averages and high strike rates while excellent bowlers have lower averages and low strike rates.

Real-life examples of batters & bowlers with excellent strike rates

strike rate in cricket
Photo by Icon Sport

Batting and bowling strike rates change with every ball, so we will show examples of retired cricketers below.

Among retired Test match batters who have scored at least 1000 runs in their career, Shahid Afridi has the highest rate of 86.97 while George Lohmann leads the bowling rates among those who have picked up at least 20 wickets with a strike rate of 34.1 in Tests.

In ODIs, it’s Afridi yet again among those who have retired with a rate of 117 but this record is likely to be broken by the time the likes of Andre Russell and Jos Buttler are done with their ODI careers. Among bowlers who have picked up at least 40 ODI wickets, it’s Ryan Harris who holds the best rate at 23.4.

T20I cricket is the latest format and we might have not have a lot of players who are retired, so we include current cricketers with at least 1000 runs here. Suryakumar Yadav leads the charts here with a batting rate of 172 while among bowlers with at least 25 T20I wickets, it’s Nalin Nipiko who has the best rate of 10.1.

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