By this time, you should know that Australia, who are batting, have scored 110 runs and have lost two wickets. It’s the end of the Second Powerplay. Now, let us look at the ODI (one-day international) career of Australian captain, Michael Clarke, whose stats are on the screen. He has batted 178 times (innings) and has amassed 6153 runs. If you divide the number of runs he’s scored by the number of times he’s lost his wicket (a fancy way of getting out), you arrive at his average, 44.59, which reveals him to be world-class in the one-day format of the game. In effect, each time he arrives at bat he scores nearly 45 runs. In baseball parlance, he’s batting .351.
Unlike five-day cricket (or Test cricket, as it’s called when nations play one another) one-day games restrict the number of balls that any batsman can face, simply because the game is fixed at 300 legal deliveries per side. As you might imagine, how quickly you score runs is important. Michael Clarke’s strike rate is a respectable 78 runs per 100 balls. (Remember, in cricket you don’t have to run each time you hit the ball.) In the course of his one-day career, he has scored between 50 and 99 runs in an innings 47 times, and has scored over 100 runs (a century) on five occasions, with a best score of 130. All in all, you’re seeing a very, very classy player.
Just how classy is he? Well, as we write these words, Michael Clarke has just scored a humungous 329 not out against the Indians in the Second Test Match at Sydney. Unlike in the ODI game featured above, also against the Indians, Michael Clarke didn’t have to worry about strike rate or facing a limited number of balls. He could just bat and bat and bat—grinding the Indian team into dust (along with Ricky Ponting, who scored 134, and Michael Hussey, who scored 150 without being dismissed). Clarke’s is the 14th highest innings score in a Test match ever, and he could have continued: he was only 71 more runs from the highest total. But he decided his team had scored enough runs to beat the Indians without even having to bat again, so as the captain he decided to “declare.” It was more important to give his team as much time to take the remaining ten Indian wickets to win the game than to reach such a milestone. As we say, a very, very classy player.