Decadal Records


Compiled by Pelham Barton

Given the decision by the ACS some years ago to adopt 1772 as the starting date for first-class cricket, the year 2021 brings the total duration of first-class cricket to 250 years. This span of 250 years can be divided into 25 decades. Note that starting in 1772 makes it natural that cricketing decades should start in years ending with the figure 2, thus avoiding the repeated squabble about the “correct”definition of calendar decades which surfaces every ten years.

The work shown here consists of nine sets of records, three team records, three individual players’ records relating to performances in a single match, and three sets of aggregate records. For reasons of convenience, these have been compiled in the first instance with regard to cricket in England and Wales only, excluding matches in Scotland and Ireland. It is my intention to produce worldwide figures to appear as soon as possible after the close of the calendar year 2021.

Each of the nine tables contains at least 25 rows of results, one for each decade.Apart from the opening columns giving the ordinal number of the decade from1st to 25th, and the years in which the decade started and ended, the relevant record performance for that decade is given in the usual way. In a small number of cases, there were ties for the record performance.

A note about the bowling records. In the earliest years covered here, bowlers were not given credit for catches and stumpings (and sometimes other forms of dismissal as well). Wickets counted here are wickets credited to the bowler, a consistent form of wording whose meaning has changed over time. Also, runs were not originally counted against individual bowlers. I have given batting and bowling averages for the aggregate wickets records where possible. In the case of bowling averages, these are calculated only using the figures for innings where runs were recorded against the bowler.

One set of figures which surprised me relate to the very low number of stumpings in the first two decades.

If any of the facts and figures quoted require correction, please let me know, giving evidence for the suggested alternative.

Pelham Barton
October 2021