What is strike rate in cricket? Everything you wanted to know (but were too afraid to ask)

What is strike rate in cricket? Even the most die hard cricket fan will have had to ask themselves this question at some stage, because let’s be honest, there’s a lot of terminology floating around in this game.

Never fear, because we’re here to explain all there is to know about strike rate in cricket. We look at what it means for a batter, how it’s calculated, and also what a strike rate means in the context of bowling as well. For good measure, we break it all down with a few helpful examples, just to make sure you’re able to wrap your head around this critical aspect of the sport once and for all.

Strike rate in cricket: the basics

To provide you with an overview, the strike rate for a batter is the rate at which he or she scores runs. On the other hand, the strike rate for a bowler is the rate at which he or she takes wickets.

Now, here is an important point: For batters, this rate is calculated in terms of the number of balls they face to score XYZ runs. On the other hand, a bowler’s strike rate is figured in terms of the number of balls they deliver to take XYZ wickets.

Batting and bowling strike rates can be calculated for teams as well. It considers the whole team rather than an individual player by calculating the pertinent figures or numbers of the cricketers in question.

Too tough to understand in one go? Repeat it again? Still confusing? No problem. An example will paint a clear picture.

An example of different strike rates

Let's say a batter takes 90 deliveries to score 80 runs. His strike rate in that inning will be 88.8. How? To calculate the strike rate of a batter, one must divide the runs he scored by the balls he faced and multiply the result by 100.

Now when we say the batting strike rate is calculated in terms of the number of balls a batter faces to score XYZ runs, the hypothetical above is used to most simply comprehend the statement.

Suppose a bowler bags three wickets, giving away 45 runs in his or her 10 overs (60 deliveries). In this case, the strike rate would be 20. The calculation here includes dividing the number of balls a bowler has delivered by the number of wickets he or she took in the innings.

Notably, runs do not matter on this side of the strike rate. Runs are counted in a bowler's average, which is a vastly different term.

Remember when we mentioned a bowler’s strike rate is calculated in terms of the number of balls they take to take XYZ wickets? This is what was meant.

How is the strike rate in cricket different for a batter and bowler?

Although it may already be clear by now, let’s go over it one more time for clarity’s sake:

The significance of strike rate in cricket

As it is, cricket has different formats, with Test, one-dayers, and T20 being recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Different formats offer different degrees of outlook towards the significance of strike rate for a batter as well as a bowler.

Strike rate in Test cricket

In the scenario of a batter playing Test cricket, it's the average rather than the strike rate that implies the impact of that batter's performance. If a batter has a career strike rate of 45 in Tests but averages 55, one must not even pay heed to the former as his or her average, particularly in the longest format of the game, covers up the slowish run-scoring rate.

There is also a view that strike rates are only crucial for bowlers in the red-ball format. That being said, with the Test cricket environment transforming, the strike rates of batters sometimes become a subject of debate. However, this is mostly in the situation of a batter not doing so well in the average department.

T20 and ODI strike rates

The strike rates of batters are given far greater weight when it comes to white-ball formats, as there are a fixed number of deliveries in an inning. Especially in T20s, strike rates of batters come to the extremes, as sometimes their averages are also neglected when it is about judging their statistics.

India batter Virat Kohli can serve as an exemplar of this. His batting strike rate is 55.34, 93.62, and 137.96 in Tests, ODIs, and T20Is, respectively.

In the world of a bowler, strike rate is as important in Test cricket as it is in one-dayers and T20s. Unlike the batters, bowlers' strike rates have to be in an acceptable range in every format. A bowler's Test strike rate in cricket would be generally higher as there is no run-scoring pressure on the batters.

Take India's Jasprit Bumrah as an example. His bowling strike rate is 48.9, 31.4, and 18.3 in Tests, ODIs, and T20Is, respectively.

The platitude that scalping wickets is the key to winning a match is widely discussed. Therefore, strike rate is one of the primary parameters for judging bowlers' prowess in every format, as it tells how often a bowler takes wickets.

Read also: What is Powerplay in cricket? Powerplay rules explained

Bren GrayBren Gray

Bren is our resident Kiwi, and has been playing or watching sports down under in New Zealand for the better part of three decades. With 12+ years' experience as a professional writer, Bren loves to dive deep into all things cricket to bring the best betting analysis, predictions and news here at CricNerds.com.