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Are bowler averages really a good guide to ability?

Bowling News


Are bowler averages a good guide to a bowler's capability or can they be misleading?

I am grateful to Alan Hobson of Thorpe Green for bringing this topic to our attention to which he adds his own opinion. Do you agree with Alan or not?


Many bowlers seem very concerned with averages and use the figure as a guide to their own ability and the ability of their opponents. I find this to be very odd. Averages are typically calculated by taking the difference between points scored and points conceded and dividing that number by the number of games played.


Let us consider a hypothetical situation where there are two bowlers A and B. Bowler A wins his/her first nine matches 21-20. This gives him/her an average of +1.

Bowler B loses his/her first 9 matches 20-21.

This gives him/her an average of -1.

In his/her tenth match Bowler A loses 2-21.

This now gives him/her an average of -1.

Bowler B wins his/her match 21-2.

This now gives him/her an average of +1.


So, after ten matches Bowler A has an average of -1 and Bowler B has an average of +1. Which bowler is the better bowler? If we look just at the average it is Bowler B. I am not convinced by this.


I would suggest that a much better way of looking at this would be to look at the percentage of games played that each bowler has won. Bowler A has won 90% (nine out of ten) of the matches he/she has played whereas Bowler B has won 10% (one out of ten) of the matches he/she has played. Give me Bowler A rather than Bowler B in my team. I just do not see what useful information the present system of bowler averages is giving anyone and think a win percentage figure would be much more useful.

Alan Hobson, Thorpe Green


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Paul Rushworth
Paul Rushworth
Jul 15, 2021

unless you have a captain who drops you even if you are winning games,averages does not come into it then.ive seen bowlers put up against a poor bowler so he can win the averages,and look good for the club

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Chris Squires
Chris Squires
Jun 28, 2021

If it ain't bust..........

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paw4647
paw4647
Jun 27, 2021

The above is hypothetical and so I tend to discount the points made.

Whether you use the current method or change to percentage of games won, they both are influenced by the number of games played against poor opposition.

However the more games played will statistically even out the influence of playing and winning against poor opposition. None of us are consistently drawn against poor players or the best players - although I try to convince my colleagues that I’ve drawn the best player yet again !!

I think there’s little to chose based on logical pros and cons but if I have to chose I still prefer the current averages system.

If you look at the averages at the…


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richardpearcey
richardpearcey
Jun 27, 2021

Suggested this several years ago but got shot down

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Also depends on who each bowler has played. Luck of the draw.

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