The Rise of the Bowler

During high-scoring one-day games, it’s not uncommon for commentators to say something like, “Well, the fans here [camera shot shows happy crowd] have had their share of entertainment today! They got their money’s worth!” The idea is that cricket fans particularly enjoy runs, and that has been one of T20’s supposed draws — more sixes, more fours, and more runs than you thought possible in a shorter amount of time. But is this right? Am I alone in thinking that ODI games with 600 runs on the board are actually a complete waste of time?

To me, the ideal match involves a flurry of runs in the first overs, followed by wickets, then consolidation, then an attempt to ratchet up the run rate in overs 40-50. In other words, an alternating contest between bat and ball. If there must be a rout of either side, however, I’d much prefer to see a bowler of Dale Steyn’s caliber just run through the opposition, as he did against the Pakistanis (and as South Africans did to the Kiwis earlier). To see an international Test side collapse for under 100 runs is a beautiful thing to behold; it’s like watching a ragtag, dismissed band of worker revolutionaries take control of the capital. Because bowlers are the oppressed of cricket — they often toil for hours, with only a few wickets (if that) to show for the effort. Batsmen, on the other hand, can usually score runs easier, or simply hang around and get brownie points for “occupying the crease.”

Can someone add statistical rigor to my suspicion that bowlers are increasingly ascendant? There is a theory that, after the retirements of so many batting greats, cricket’s Golden Batting Era will now cede to the bowlers. (This is obviously a stylized argument; the last 15 years also yielded Warne and Murali, two of the greatest bowlers ever.) I tried to find total Test runs scored by year on Cricinfo, but failed. Any ideas on how to measure this?


5 thoughts on “The Rise of the Bowler

  1. awbraae says:

    Two points: Firstly, I care not for games in which absurd numbers of runs are scored, after a while it devolves into boundary porn. The making of a great game is entirely in how competitive it is going into the final stages of the match, especially if the advantage has fluctuated throughout.

    Secondly, you should use Statsguru. For the record in 2012, over 42 tests, 44409 runs were scored with Michael Clarke and Hashim Amla combining for about 40000 of them.

    But seriously, just go tests/ aggregate and then type the dates you want to search into the right section, and you can get the aggregates for any year you so choose. Would love to read a statistical analysis of it if you can be bothered doing the donkey work of searching for every year.

  2. livescores says:

    You’re completley right I also haven’t able to figure out that why the fans today want more runs on the board while it is always better to watch good bowling rather good batting I mean do you remember even a single high scoring match which was very worth watching and interesting, it is always upto the bowlers to show a good spirit and it is always that most of the good matches are low scoring ones.So you’re damn right!

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