In cricket, the term wicket has several meanings. Firstly, it is one of two bails at either end of the pitch; the wicket is guarded by a batsman who, with his bat, attempts to prevent the ball from hitting the wicket. Secondly, through metonymic usage, the dismissal of a batsman is known as the taking of a wicket, thirdly, the cricket pitch itself is sometimes called the wicket; the origin of the word is from a small gate. Cricket wickets had only two stumps and one bail and looked like a gate; the third stump was introduced in 1775. The size and shape of the wicket has changed several times during the last 300 years and its dimensions and placing is now determined by Law 8 in the Laws of Cricket, thus: Law 8: The wickets; the wicket consists of three wooden stumps. The stumps are placed along the batting crease with equal distances between each stump, they are positioned. Two wooden bails are placed in shallow grooves on top of the stumps; the bails must not project more than 0.5 inches above the stumps, must, for men's cricket, be 4.31 inches long.
There are specified lengths for the barrel and spigots of the bail. There are different specifications for the bails for junior cricket; the umpires may dispense with the bails. Further details on the specifications of the wickets are contained in Appendix D to the laws. For a batsman to be dismissed by being bowled, run out, stumped or hit wicket, his wicket needs to be put down. What this means is defined by Law 29. A wicket is put down if a bail is removed from the top of the stumps, or a stump is struck out of the grounds by the ball, the striker's bat, the striker's person, a fielder. A 2010 amendment to the Laws clarified the rare circumstance where a bat breaks during the course of a shot and the detached debris breaks the wicket; the wicket is put down if a fielder pulls a stump out of the ground in the same manner. If one bail is off, removing the remaining bail or striking or pulling any of the three stumps out of the ground is sufficient to put the wicket down. A fielder may remake the wicket, if necessary, in order to put it down to have an opportunity of running out a batsman.
If however both bails are off, a fielder must remove one of the three stumps out of the ground with the ball, or pull it out of the ground with a hand or arm, provided that the ball is held in the hand or hands so used, or in the hand of the arm so used. If the umpires have agreed to dispense with bails, for example, it is too windy for the bails to remain on the stumps, the decision as to whether the wicket has been put down is one for the umpire concerned to decide. After a decision to play without bails, the wicket has been put down if the umpire concerned is satisfied that the wicket has been struck by the ball, by the striker's bat, person, or items of his clothing or equipment separated from his person as described above, or by a fielder with the hand holding the ball or with the arm of the hand holding the ball; the dismissal of a batsman is known as the taking of a wicket. The batsman is said to have lost his wicket, the batting side is said to have lost a wicket, the fielding side to have taken a wicket, the bowler is said to have taken his wicket, if the dismissal is one of the types for which the bowler receives credit.
This language is used if the dismissal did not involve the stumps and bails in any way, for example, a catch. Though note that the other four of the five most common methods of dismissal do involve the stumps and bails being put down, or prevented from being put down by the batsman; the word wicket has this meaning in the following contexts: A team's score is described in terms of the total number of runs scored and the total number of wickets lost. The number of wickets taken is a primary measure of a individual bowler's ability, a key part of a bowling analysis; the sequence of time over which two particular batsmen bat together, a partnership, is referred to as a numbered wicket when discriminating it from other partnerships in the innings. The first wicket partnership is from the start of the innings until the team loses its first wicket, i.e. one of the first two batsmen is dismissed. The second wicket partnership is from when the third batsman starts batting until the team loses its second wicket, i.e. a second batsman is dismissed.
Etc... The tenth wicket or last wicket partnership is from when the eleventh batsman starts batting until the team loses its tenth wicket, i.e. a tenth batsman is dismissed. A team can win a match by a certain number of wickets; this means that they were batting last, reached the winning target with a certain number of batsmen still not dismissed. For example, if the side scored the required number of runs to win with only three batsmen dismissed, they are said to have won by seven wickets; the word wicket is sometimes used to refer to the cricket pitch itself. According to the Laws of Cricket, this usage is incorrect, but it is in common usage and understood by cricket followers; the term sticky wicket refers to a situation in which the pitch has become damp due to rain or high humidity. This makes the path of the ball more unpredictable thus making the
Australia national cricket team
The Australia national cricket team is the joint oldest team in Test cricket history, having played in the first Test match in 1877. The team plays One-Day International and Twenty20 International cricket, participating in both the first ODI, against England in the 1970–71 season and the first T20I, against New Zealand in the 2004–05 season, winning both games; the team draws its players from teams playing in the Australian domestic competitions – the Sheffield Shield, the Australian domestic limited-overs cricket tournament and the Big Bash League. The national team has played 820 Test matches, winning 386, losing 222, drawing 210 and tying 2; as of March 2019, Australia is ranked fourth in the ICC Test Championship on 104 rating points. Australia is the most successful team in Test cricket history, in terms of overall wins, win-loss ratio and wins percentage; the Australian cricket team has played 932 ODI matches, winning 566, losing 323, tying 9 and with 34 ending in a no-result. As of March 2019, Australia is ranked fifth in the ICC ODI Championship on 102 rating points, though have been ranked first for 141 of 185 months since its introduction in 2002.
Australia have made a record seven World Cup final appearances and have won the World Cup a record five times in total. Australia is the first team to appear in four consecutive World Cup finals, surpassing the old record of three consecutive World Cup appearances by the West Indies and the first team to win 3 consecutive World Cups; the team was undefeated in 34 consecutive World Cup matches until 19 March at the 2011 Cricket World Cup where Pakistan beat them by 4 wickets. It is the second team to win a World Cup on home soil, after India. Australia have won the ICC Champions Trophy twice making them the first and the only team to become back to back winners in the Champions Trophy tournaments; the national team has played 116 Twenty20 International matches, winning 60, losing 52, tying 2 and with 2 ending in a no-result. As of March 2019, Australia is ranked third in the ICC T20I Championship on 120 rating points. Additionally, the team made the final of the 2010 ICC World Twenty20. On 12 January 2019, Australia won the first ODI against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground by 34 runs, to record their 1,000th win in international cricket.
The Australian cricket team participated in the first Test match at the MCG in 1877, defeating an English team by 45 runs, with Charles Bannerman making the first Test century, a score of 165 retired hurt. Test cricket, which only occurred between Australia and England at the time, was limited by the long distance between the two countries, which would take several months by sea. Despite Australia's much smaller population, the team was competitive in early games, producing stars such as Jack Blackham, Billy Murdoch, Fred "The Demon" Spofforth, George Bonnor, Percy McDonnell, George Giffen and Charles "The Terror" Turner. Most cricketers at the time were either from New South Wales or Victoria, with the notable exception of George Giffen, the star South Australian all-rounder. A highlight of Australia's early history was the 1882 Test match against England at The Oval. In this match, Fred Spofforth took 7/44 in the game's fourth innings to save the match by preventing England from making their 85-run target.
After this match The Sporting Times, a major newspaper in London at the time, printed a mock obituary in which the death of English cricket was proclaimed and the announcement made that "the body was cremated and the ashes taken to Australia." This was the start of the famous Ashes series in which Australia and England play a series of Test matches to decide the holder of the Ashes. To this day, the contest is one of the fiercest rivalries in sport; the so-called'Golden Age' of Australian Test cricket occurred around the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, with the team under the captaincy of Joe Darling, Monty Noble and Clem Hill winning eight of ten tours. It is considered to have lasted from the 1897–98 English tour of Australia and the 1910–11 South African tour of Australia. Outstanding batsmen such as Joe Darling, Clem Hill, Reggie Duff, Syd Gregory, Warren Bardsley and Victor Trumper, brilliant all-rounders including Monty Noble, George Giffen, Harry Trott and Warwick Armstrong and excellent bowlers including Ernie Jones, Hugh Trumble, Tibby Cotter, Bill Howell, Jack Saunders and Bill Whitty, all helped Australia to become the dominant cricketing nation for most of this period.
Victor Trumper became one of Australia's first sporting heroes, was considered Australia's greatest batsman before Bradman and one of the most popular players. He played a record number of Tests at 49 and scored 3163 runs at a high for the time average of 39.04. His early death in 1915 at the age of 37 from kidney disease caused national mourning; the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, in its obituary for him, called him Australia's greatest batsman: "Of all the great Australian batsmen Victor Trumper was by general consent the best and most brilliant."The years leading up to the start of World War I were marred by conflict between the players, led by Clem Hill, Victor Trumper and Frank Laver, the Australian Board of Control for International Cricket, led by Peter McAlister, attempting to gain more control of tours from the players. This led to six leading players walking out on the 1912 Triangular Tournament in England, with Australia fielding what was considered a second-rate side; this was the last series before the war, no more cricket was played by A
A delivery or ball in cricket is a single action of bowling a cricket ball toward the batsman. During play of the game, a member of the fielding team is designated as the bowler, bowls deliveries toward the batsman. Six legal balls in a row constitutes an over, after which a different member of the fielding side takes over the role of bowler for the next over; the bowler delivers the ball from his or her end of the pitch toward the batsman standing at the opposite wicket at the other end of the pitch. Bowlers can be either right-handed; this approach to their delivery, in addition to their decision of bowling around the wicket or over the wicket, is knowledge of which the umpire and the batsman are to be made aware. Deliveries can be made by spin bowlers. Fast bowlers tend to make the ball either move off the pitch or move through the air, while spinners make the ball "turn" either toward a right-handed batsman or away from him; the ball can bounce at different distances from the batsman, this is called the length of the delivery.
It can range from a bouncer to a yorker. There are many different types of delivery; these deliveries vary by: technique, the hand the bowler bowls with, use of the fingers, use of the seam, how the ball is positioned in the hand, where the ball is pitched on the wicket, the speed of the ball, the tactical intent of the bowler. Leg spin deliveries and mirror equivalents for left arm unorthodox spin: Leg break Googly Topspinner Flipper Slider Flicker ball Off spin deliveries and mirror equivalents for left arm orthodox spin: Off break Doosra Arm ball Topspinner Carrom ball Teesra Fast bowling deliveries: Bouncer Inswinger Reverse swing Leg cutter Off cutter Outswinger Yorker Beamer Knuckleball Slower ball The variations in different types of delivery, as well as variations caused by directing the ball with differing line and length, are key weapons in a bowler's arsenal. Throughout an over, the bowler will choose a sequence of deliveries designed to attack the batsman's concentration and technique, in an effort to get him out.
The bowler varies the amount of loop and pace imparted to various deliveries to try to cause the batsman to misjudge and make a mistake. As the crease has a width, the bowler can change the angle from which he delivers to the batsman in an attempt to induce a misjudgement; the bowler decides what type of delivery to bowl next, without consultation or informing any other member of his team. Sometimes, the team captain will offer advice or issue a direct order regarding what deliveries to bowl, based on his observations of the batsman and the strategic state of the game. Another player who offers advice to the bowler is the wicket-keeper, since he has a unique view of the batsman and may be able to spot weaknesses of technique. Another piece of information important for the bowlers to consider prior to their deliveries is the state of pitch; the pitch is a natural ground and its state is subjected to variation over the course of the cricket, some of which are multi-day events such as test matches.
Spinners find an old pitch, one, used, more suitable to their deliveries rather than a fresh pitch, one that hasn't come under use as much such as a pitch at the start of the match. While a bowler, with the use of variations in his/her delivery aims to target the concentration of batsmen as well as their skill and technique of batting, anticipation of the delivery is crucial for the batsman, as emphasised by Jodi Richardson. Richardson reveals the world class batsman's dilemma while facing fast bowlers, stating that the time between the batsmen's anticipation of the trajectory of the ball and positioning themselves for the appropriate shot can be twice as long as the interval between the ball leaving the bowler's hand and reaching the batsman's crease. Side by side, Richardson alludes to the research undertaken by Dr. Sean Müller in Australia, funded by Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence; the results of the research demonstrated the importance of anticipation of the delivery for batsmen in cricket.
They revealed that experienced batsmen possessed a unique ability which enabled them to adjust their feet as well as their positioning on the crease accordingly based upon their reading of the body language and movements enacted by the bowler prior to the release of the ball. This foresight that batsmen use while on the crease is referred to as'advance information' by Richardson. Moreover, Müller's research outlined that the presence of this'advance information' was not as evident among the lesser skilled batsmen in comparison to the experienced ones. Underarm or lob bowling was the original cricket delivery style,but had died out before the 20th century, although it was used until 1910 by George Simpson-Hayward, remained a legal delivery type. On 1 February 1981, when Australia was playing New Zealand in a One Day International cricket match, New Zealand needed six runs to tie the match from the final ball. Greg Chappell, the Australian captain, ordered the bowler to bowl underarm, rolling the ball along the ground to prevent the Number 10 New Zealand batsman any chance of hitting a six from the last ball to tie the match.
After the game, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Rob Muldoon, described it as "the most disgusting incident I can recall in the history of cricket." At the time, underarm deliveries were legal, but as a direct result of the incident, underarm bowling was banned in limi
Zimbabwe national cricket team
The Zimbabwe national cricket team is administered by Zimbabwe Cricket. Zimbabwe is a full member of the International Cricket Council with Test and One Day International status; as of November 2018, Zimbabwe is ranked tenth in Tests, eleventh in ODIs and twelfth in Twenty20 Internationals by the ICC. Zimbabwe – known as Rhodesia until 1980 – had a national cricket team before it achieved Test status. A brief summary of key moments: Rhodesia was represented in the South African domestic cricket tournament, the Currie Cup, sporadically from 1904 to 1932, regularly from 1946 until independence. Following independence, the country began to play more international cricket. On 21 July 1981, Zimbabwe became an associate member of the ICC. Zimbabwe participated in the 1983 Cricket World Cup, as well as the 1992 events. Zimbabwe's first World Cup campaign in 1983 ended in the group stage, as they lost five of their six matches. However, they threw a surprise against Australia. Batting first, Zimbabwe reached a total of 239 for 6 in the allotted 60 overs, with skipper Duncan Fletcher top-scoring with 69 not out.
Fletcher produced career-best figures of 4 for 42 to restrict Australia to 226 for 7, thereby recording a stunning upset in cricket history. In the 1987 World Cup, Zimbabwe lost all six of their group-stage matches, though they came close to winning against New Zealand. Chasing 243 to win from 50 overs, wicketkeeper-batsman David Houghton scored 142, but Zimbabwe were all out for 239 in the final over, thus losing by three runs. In the 1992 tournament, Zimbabwe failed to progress beyond the round-robin stage, losing seven of their eight matches, though there were two notable achievements. Against Sri Lanka in their first match, Zimbabwe posted their then-highest total of 312 for 4, with wicketkeeper-batsman Andy Flower top-scoring with 115 not out. However, the Sri Lankans chased this total down with four balls to spare. In their final match, Zimbabwe faced England in an inconsequential encounter, England having made the semi-finals. Batting first, Zimbabwe were all out for 134. Eddo Brandes produced a stunning spell of 4 for 21, including dismissing Graham Gooch first ball, to help restrict England to 125 all out and thus give Zimbabwe a shock nine-run victory.
These twenty World Cup matches were Zimbabwe's only international games during this period. Zimbabwe was granted Test status by the ICC in July 1992 and played its first Test match in October that year, against India at Harare Sports Club, they became the ninth Test nation. Zimbabwe's early Test performances were weak, leading to suggestions that they had been granted Test status prematurely. Of their first 30 Test matches, they won just one, at home against Pakistan in early 1995. In the one-day arena, the team soon became competitive, if not strong. In particular, world respect was gained for their fielding ability. In spite of his team's difficulties, wicket-keeper/batsman Andy Flower was at one point rated the best batsman in world cricket. During this era, Zimbabwe produced such cricketers as Flower's brother Grant, allrounders Andy Blignaut and Heath Streak. Murray Goodwin was a world-class batsman. Another world-class batsman was David Houghton, who holds the record for the highest individual Test score for Zimbabwe of 266 against Sri Lanka in 1994/95.
Sometime captain and middle order batsman Alistair Campbell, leg-spinning all rounder Paul Strang, Eddo Brandes, pace bowler/opener Neil Johnson were other important contributors for Zimbabwe on the world stage at this time. With the appearance of these quality players, a breakthrough was achieved in levels of performance in the late 1990s where the Zimbabwean team began winning Tests against other nations, which included a series win against Pakistan; the political situation in Zimbabwe declined at around the same time, which had a detrimental effect on the national team's performances. Zimbabwe excelled at the 1999 Cricket World Cup, coming in fifth place in the Super Sixes and only missing out on a semi-final place due to having an inferior net run-rate than New Zealand. In the group stage, Zimbabwe beat India by three runs, before facing their neighbours South Africa the best team in the world. Batting first, Zimbabwe made 233 for 6, with a well-fought 76 by opening batsman Neil Johnson.
In reply, South Africa collapsed to 40 for 6, before Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock scored half-centuries to reduce the margin of defeat to 48 runs. This was one of Zimbabwe's most famous wins. Neil Johnson excelled with the ball, taking three wickets and claiming the Man of the Match award. Johnson quit playing for Zimbabwe after this tournament. During this period, Zimbabwe beat all Test-playing nations regularly. Zimbabwe beat New Zealand both home and away in 2000–2001; the team reached finals of many multi-national one day tournaments. Increasing politicisation of cricket, including selectorial policy, along with the declining situation in Zimbabwe disrupted the 2003 Cricket World Cup, jointly hosted by Zimbabwe and South Africa. England forfeited a match scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe, risking their own progress through the competition, citing "security concerns" as their reason. Zimbabwean players Andy Flower and fast bowler Henry Olonga wore black armbands, for "mourning the death of democracy" in Zimbabwe.
Both were dismissed from the team and applied for political asylum overseas. This public political protest caused considerable embarrassment to the co-h
Batting average (cricket)
In cricket, a player's batting average is the total number of runs they have scored divided by the number of times they have been out. Since the number of runs a player scores and how they get out are measures of their own playing ability, independent of their teammates, batting average is a good metric for an individual player's skill as a batter; the number is simple to interpret intuitively. If all the batter's innings were completed, this is the average number of runs they score per innings. If they did not complete all their innings, this number is an estimate of the unknown average number of runs they score per innings; each player has several batting averages, with a different figure calculated for each type of match they play, a player's batting averages may be calculated for individual seasons or series, or at particular grounds, or against particular opponents, or across their whole career. Batting average has been used to gauge cricket players' relative skills since the 18th century.
Most players have career batting averages in the range of 20 to 40. This is the desirable range for wicket-keepers, though some fall short and make up for it with keeping skill; until a substantial increase in scores in the 21st century due to improved bats and smaller grounds among other factors, players who sustained an average above 50 through a career were considered exceptional, before the development of the heavy roller in the 1870s an average of 25 was considered good. All-rounders who are more prominent bowlers than batsmen average something between 20 and 30. 15 and under is typical for specialist bowlers. A small number of players have averaged less than 5 for a complete career, though a player with such an average is a liability unless an exceptional bowler as Alf Valentine, B. S. Chandrasekhar or Glenn McGrath were. Career records for batting average are subject to a minimum qualification of 20 innings played or completed, in order to exclude batsmen who have not played enough games for their skill to be reliably assessed.
Under this qualification, the highest Test batting average belongs to Australia's Sir Donald Bradman, with 99.94. Given that a career batting average over 50 is exceptional, that only five other players have averages over 60, this is an outstanding statistic; the fact that Bradman's average is so far above that of any other cricketer has led several statisticians to argue that, statistically at least, he was the greatest athlete in any sport. Disregarding this 20 innings qualification, the highest career test batting average is 112, by Andy Ganteaume, a Trinidadian Keeper-batsman, dismissed for 112 in his only test innings. Batting averages in One Day International cricket tend to be lower than in Test cricket, because of the need to score runs more and take riskier strokes and the lesser emphasis on building a large innings, it should be remembered in relation to the ODI histogram above, that there were no ODI competitions when Bradman played. If a batter has been dismissed in every single innings this statistic gives the average number of runs they score per innings.
However, for a batter with innings which finished not out, the true average number of runs they score per innings is unknown as it is not known how many runs they would have scored if they could have completed all their not out innings. This statistic is an estimate of the average number of runs. If their scores have a geometric distribution this statistic is the maximum likelihood estimate of their true unknown average. Batting averages can be affected by the number of not outs. For example, Phil Tufnell, noted for his poor batting, has an respectable ODI average of 15, despite a highest score of only 5 not out, as he scored an overall total of 15 runs from 10 innings, but was out only once. A batter who has not been dismissed in any of the innings over which their average is being calculated does not have a batting average, as dividing by zero does not give a result. Highest career batting averages in Test matches. Table shows players with at least 20 innings completed. * denotes not out. Last updated: 14 October 2018.
Highest career batting averages in First-class cricket as follows: Source: Cricinfo Statsguru. Table shows players with at least 50 innings batted, note this table has no requirement for minimum number of runs scored. * denotes not out. Last updated: 10 November 2018. Alternative measures of batting effectiveness have been developed, including: Strike rate measures a different concept to batting average – how the batter scores – so it does not supplant the role of batting average, it is used in limited overs matches, where the speed at which a batter scores is more important than it is in first-class cricket. A system of player rankings was developed to produce a better indication of players' current standings than is provided by comparing their averages. Cricket statistics Batting average Bowling average
In cricket, a player's bowling average is the number of runs they have conceded per wicket taken. The lower the bowling average is, the better the bowler is performing, it is one of a number of statistics used to compare bowlers used alongside the economy rate and the strike rate to judge the overall performance of a bowler. When a bowler has taken only a small number of wickets, their bowling average can be artificially high or low, unstable, with further wickets taken or runs conceded resulting in large changes to their bowling average. Due to this, qualification restrictions are applied when determining which players have the best bowling averages. After applying these criteria, George Lohmann holds the record for the lowest average in Test cricket, having claimed 112 wickets at an average of 10.75 runs per wicket. A cricketer's bowling average is calculated by dividing the numbers of runs they have conceded by the number of wickets they have taken; the number of runs conceded by a bowler is determined as the total number of runs that the opposing side have scored while the bowler was bowling, excluding any byes, leg byes, or penalty runs.
The bowler receives credit for any wickets taken during their bowling that are either bowled, hit wicket, leg before wicket or stumped. B o w l i n g a v e r a g e = R u n s c o n c e d e d W i c k e t s t a k e n A number of flaws have been identified for the statistic, most notable among these the fact that a bowler who has taken no wickets can not have a bowling average, as dividing by zero does not give a result; the effect of this is that the bowling average can not distinguish between a bowler who has taken no wickets and conceded one run, a bowler who has taken no wickets and conceded one hundred runs. The bowling average does not tend to give a true reflection of the bowler's ability when the number of wickets they have taken is small in comparison to the number of runs they have conceded. In his paper proposing an alternative method of judging batsmen and bowlers, Paul van Staden gives an example of this: Suppose a bowler has bowled a total of 80 balls, conceded 60 runs and has taken only 2 wickets so that..
30. If the bowler takes a wicket with the next ball bowled 20. Due to this, when establishing records for bowling averages, qualification criteria are set. For Test cricket, the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack sets this as 75 wickets, while ESPNcricinfo requires 2,000 deliveries. Similar restrictions are set for one-day cricket. A number of factors other than purely the ability level of the bowler have an effect on a player's bowling average. Most significant among these are the different eras; the bowling average tables in Test and first-class cricket are headed by players who competed in the nineteenth century, a period when pitches were uncovered and some were so badly looked after that they had rocks on them. The bowlers competing in the Howa Bowl, a competition played in South African during the apartheid-era, restricted to non-white players, during which time, according to Vincent Barnes: "Most of the wickets we played on were underprepared. For me, as a bowler, it was great." Other factors which provided an advantage to bowlers in that era was the lack of significant safety equipment.
Other variations are caused by frequent matches against stronger or weaker opposition, changes in the laws of cricket and the length of matches. Due to the varying qualifying restrictions placed on the records by different statisticians, the record for the lowest career bowling average can be different from publication to publication. In Test cricket, George Lohmann is listed as having the superior average by each of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, ESPNcricinfo and CricketArchive. Though all three use different restrictions, Lohmann's average of 10.75 is considered the best. If no qualification criteria were applied at all, three players—Wilf Barber, A. N. Hornby and Bruce Murray—would tie for the best average, all having claimed just one wicket in Test matches, without conceding any runs, thus averaging zero. ESPNcricinfo list Betty Wilson as having the best Women's Test cricket average with 11.80, while CricketArchive accept Mary Spear's average of 5.78. In One Day Internationals, the varying criteria set by ESPNcricinfo and CricketArchive result in different players being listed as holding the record.
ESPNcricinfo has the stricter restriction, requiring 1,000 deliveries: by this measure, Joel Garner is the record-holder, having claimed his wickets at an average of 18.84. By CricketArchive's more relaxed requirement of 400 deliveries, John Snow leads the way, with an average of 16.57. In women's One Day International cricket, Caroline Barrs tops the CricketArchive list with an average of 9.52, but by ESPNcricinfo's stricter guidelines, the record is instead held by Gill Smith's 12.53. The record is again split for the two websites for Twenty20 International cricket. George O'Brien's average of 8.20 holds the record using those criteri
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of, a 20-metre pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each player. Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, by the fielding side catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground; when ten players have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches, they communicate with two off-field scorers. There are various formats ranging from Twenty20, played over a few hours with each team batting for a single innings of 20 overs, to Test matches, played over five days with unlimited overs and the teams each batting for two innings of unlimited length.
Traditionally cricketers play in all-white kit, but in limited overs cricket they wear club or team colours. In addition to the basic kit, some players wear protective gear to prevent injury caused by the ball, a hard, solid spheroid made of compressed leather with a raised sewn seam enclosing a cork core, layered with wound string. Cricket's origins are uncertain and the earliest definite reference is in south-east England in the middle of the 16th century, it spread globally with the expansion of the British Empire, leading to the first international matches in the second half of the 19th century. The game's governing body is the International Cricket Council, which has over 100 members, twelve of which are full members who play Test matches; the game's rules are held in a code called the Laws of Cricket, owned and maintained by Marylebone Cricket Club in London. The sport is followed in the Indian subcontinent, the United Kingdom, southern Africa and the West Indies, its globalisation occurring during the expansion of the British Empire and remaining popular into the 21st century.
Women's cricket, organised and played separately, has achieved international standard. The most successful side playing international cricket is Australia, having won seven One Day International trophies, including five World Cups, more than any other country, having been the top-rated Test side more than any other country. Cricket is one of many games in the "club ball" sphere that involve hitting a ball with a hand-held implement. In cricket's case, a key difference is the existence of a solid target structure, the wicket, that the batsman must defend; the cricket historian Harry Altham identified three "groups" of "club ball" games: the "hockey group", in which the ball is driven to and fro between two targets. It is believed that cricket originated as a children's game in the south-eastern counties of England, sometime during the medieval period. Although there are claims for prior dates, the earliest definite reference to cricket being played comes from evidence given at a court case in Guildford on Monday, 17 January 1597.
The case concerned ownership of a certain plot of land and the court heard the testimony of a 59-year-old coroner, John Derrick, who gave witness that: "Being a scholler in the ffree schoole of Guldeford hee and diverse of his fellows did runne and play there at creckett and other plaies". Given Derrick's age, it was about half a century earlier when he was at school and so it is certain that cricket was being played c. 1550 by boys in Surrey. The view that it was a children's game is reinforced by Randle Cotgrave's 1611 English-French dictionary in which he defined the noun "crosse" as "the crooked staff wherewith boys play at cricket" and the verb form "crosser" as "to play at cricket". One possible source for the sport's name is the Old English word "cryce" meaning a staff. In Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, he derived cricket from "cryce, Saxon, a stick". In Old French, the word "criquet" seems to have meant a kind of stick. Given the strong medieval trade connections between south-east England and the County of Flanders when the latter belonged to the Duchy of Burgundy, the name may have been derived from the Middle Dutch "krick", meaning a stick.
Another possible source is the Middle Dutch word "krickstoel", meaning a long low stool used for kneeling in church and which resembled the long low wicket with two stumps used in early cricket. According to Heiner Gillmeister, a European language expert of Bonn University, "cricket" derives from the Middle Dutch phrase for hockey, met de sen. Gillmeister has suggested that not only the name but the sport itself may be of Flemish origin. Although the main object of the game has always been to score the most runs, the early form of cricket differed from the modern game in certain key technical aspects; the ball was bowled underarm by the bowler and all along the ground towards a batsman armed with a bat that, in shape, resembled a hockey stick.