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What is strike rate in cricket? Understand the terms

“What is strike rate in cricket” is a frequent question amongst cricket viewers, given the significance of the metric in the game. Strike rate has a different meaning for both bowlers and batsmen.

Since cricket is a technical sport, statistics are often relied on to understand the importance of a bowler or a batsmen. The average and strike rate statistics often paint a pretty clear picture about the careers of cricketers and they are employed most frequently.

Both batting and bowling strike rates are actually relatively new statistics in cricket which were invented after the inception of One Day International Cricket around five decades ago.

But before we can discuss the career strike rate of cricketers and what it means, we must first understand the terms individually.

What is strike rate in cricket for batsmen? How to calculate batting strike rate?

The batsman’s strike rate refers to the average number of runs scored by a batsman after every 100 balls faced in a match. The higher the strike rate at which the batsman scores during an innings, the more aggressive and lethal their approach is while facing opposition bowlers.

Powerful batsmen who love to hit the big shots and score boundaries generally have a higher strike rate than the rest. It must also be mentioned here that the context of batting strike rate is very different in Tests and when it comes to limited overs cricket (ODI cricket and T20I cricket) as scoring runs is quite difficult in a Test match.

Usually, in Test cricket, the temperament and technique of a batsman is tested and they often have to be patient and face a number of balls before trying to play strokes. However, there are some maverick batsmen like Virender Sehwag, Brendon McCullum and Rishabh Pant who stick to their guns even in Test cricket and score runs at a high strike rate.

In ODI and T20I cricket, batsmen with higher strike rates are more valued. This factor is also used to compare a batter’s ability to score runs against differing forms of bowling (i.e. spin bowling or fast bowling) to give us an indication of how comfortable he is against a specific type of bowling.

Now that we know what a batter’s strike rate means, let’s find out how to calculate strike rate for batsmen in international cricket:

Mathematically, batting strike rate is simply the ratio of runs scored to the number of balls faced and it will usually be measured over an average of 100 deliveries. It is a measure that tells us how frequently a batsman achieves his primary goal of batting, which is to say how easily a batter scores runs.

In order to calculate batting strike rate, we must divide the total number of runs scored in an innings by the number of deliveries faced by a batsman. This ratio is then multiplied by 100 and it is called the batting strike rate.

The formula for batting strike rate is (Number of runs scored in an innings)/(Number of balls faced) x 100

Batsmen with the best career batting strike rates

We’ll divide this section into two parts to respect the format – ODI or T20I – that we are talking about:

Highest career strike rate in ODI

PlayerCountryMatchesCareer SpanRunsBalls FacedAverageBatting Strike Rate
Andre RussellWest Indies562011-19103479427.21130.22
Glenn MaxwellAustralia1212012-present3390268934.59126.06
Jos ButtlerEngland1522012-present4150342941.08121.02
Lionel CannBermuda262006-0959050426.81117.06
Shahid AfridiPakistan3981996-158064689223.57117

West Indies batting monster Andre Russell tops this list quite easily. He has a phenomenal strike rate of 130.22. Russell is one of the most powerful hitters to ever grace limited overs cricket and he can use his sheer brutal power and timing to launch balls into the stands easily.

Although he has played the least number of matches among the top three batsmen in their entire career which also includes Australia’s Glenn Maxwell and England’s Jos Buttler, Russell’s over 1000 runs from 50+ matches are a healthy enough sample to warrant him the top spot.

As a middle-order batter, he has never scored a century in 50-over cricket but has four half-centuries to his name. Andre Russell also holds the record for the highest strike rate in the Indian Premier League.

Highest career strike rate in T20I

PlayerCountryCareer SpanMatchesRunsBalls FacedAverageBatting Strike Rate
Ramesh SatheesanRomania2019-present1665436046.71181.66
Ravija SandaruwanKuwait2019-present2578743641.42180.5
Suryakumar YadavIndia2021-present1953730338.35177.22
Zeeshan KuhikhelHungary2021-present1149828345.27175.97
Saber ZakhilBelgium2019-present2357933234.05174.39

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has opened up the T20 format to also include smaller countries, which includes nations in Europe, North America as well as several gulf countries. While the quality of cricket played here may not be exactly professional, often some top-notch performances are found here.

Romania’s Ramesh Satheesan currently leads the charts when it comes to T20 batting strike rates with a fantastic strike rate of 181.66 having played 16 matches. He is joined by Kuwait’s Ravija Sandaruwan and India’s own Suryakumar Yadav who has taken to the T20i format like a fish does to water.

What is strike rate in cricket for bowlers? 

Bowling strike rate is also an important statistic that allows us to measure the metric of success of a particular bowler, especially in the longer formats. Bowling strike rate is the average number of balls bowled to dismiss a particular batter. In the case of bowlers, a lower strike rate equals to success as the bowler takes less delivered to get rid of the batsman.

In contrast to batting strike rate, which measures the average runs scored by a batsman after facing 100 deliveries (the quickness of an innings), the bowling strike rate measures how quickly a bowler can get rid of a batsman (the quickness of the dismissal).

Bowling strike rate also shares a major difference with batting strike rate. In contrast to how batting strike rate is more important in limited overs cricket (T20 and One Day cricket) rather than in Tests, bowling strike rate is the exact opposite.

In Test cricket, a bowler taking a wicket takes priority over conceding runs while, on the contrary, a T20I or ODI bowler must maintain a strong economy rate – concede less runs per ball – even if they take less or no wickets.

How to calculate bowling strike rate?

In order to calculate a bowler’s strike rate in cricket, we have to divide the number of balls bowled in an innings by the number of wickets they have taken. The formula to calculate bowling strike rate is (Balls bowled in an innings) / (Wickets taken)

Bowlers with the best career bowling strike rates (in Tests)

RankPlayerTeamBalls BowledWicketsBowling Strike Rate
1Duanne OlivierSouth Africa14404830
2Kyle JamiesonNew Zealand12023633.3
3Kuldeep YadavIndia10632640.8
4Kagiso RabadaSouth Africa843120241.7
5Pat CumminsAustralia773416447.1

It must be mentioned here that the above list is made up of players who are active currently.

South African pace bowler Duanne Olivier holds the record for the best strike rate in his relatively short career in Test cricket so far. Olivier has also troubled India recently on the tour of South African and he knows perfectly well how to best utilize the bouncy and pacey conditions on home pitches.

India’s Kuldeep Yadav is the only spin bowler on this list. Duanne Olivier’s fellow South African teammate Kagiso Rabada is also in the top five list as are Australian and New Zealand stalwarts, Pat Cummins and Kyle Jamieson.

FAQs

What is a good strike rate in Test cricket?

Strike rate isn’t an important statistic in Test cricket as the competition between bat and ball is higher and more often that not, it’s a game of patience. However, generally a strike rate of over 40 for batsmen is considered to be good in Test cricket.

Who has the highest batting strike rate in T20?

Romania’s Ramesh Satheesan currently holds the highest strike rate in T20I cricket. He has a strike rate of 188 after his first 17 matches.

Who has the best strike rate in IPL?

Among players who have played more than 25 IPL matches, West Indian and Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Andre Russell has the highest Indian Premier League career strike rate of 181.26.

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