Is 50 the new 40?

My colleague and I were watching Kevin Pietersen crash his way to yet another hundred today when a thought popped into my head. Is the new benchmark for batsman to average 50, rather than 40 as it was a decade ago? He disagreed so we settled on the conclusion that, to be considered a “pretty damn good” batsman you’ll be averaging 45 as a minimum.

And it got us thinking back to the dark old days in the 1990s when none (Alec Stewart apart, briefly, I think) of England’s top-order averaged 40, while some lurked in the dismal gloom of the low-thirties. But these days, they’re all over 40 and two – Matt Prior and Kevin Pietersen – are averaging over 50.

On a similar line, if batsmen’s averages are increasing – and I have no evidence with which to support this claim as I’m rambling like a loon – are bowlers’ also inflating? A decade ago, a really decent bowler was said to be averaging under 25. But with batsmen enjoying such shorter boundaries, and the game’s frenetic pace spiralling upwards with each year, is 30 the new 25?

Thoughts welcome.

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