In cricket, batting is the act or skill of hitting the ball with a bat to score runs and prevent the loss of one's wicket. Any player who is currently batting is, since September 2021, officially referred to as a batter (historically, the terms "batsman" and "batswoman" were used)—regardless of whether batting is their particular area of expertise. Batters have to adapt to various conditions when playing on different cricket pitches, especially in different countries; therefore, as well as having outstanding physical batting skills, top-level batters will have quick reflexes, excellent decision-making skills, and be good strategists.
During an innings two members of the batting side are on the pitch at any time: the one facing the current delivery from the bowler is called the striker, while the other is the non-striker. When a batter is out, he is replaced by a teammate. This continues until the end of the innings, which in most cases is when 10 of the team members are out, whereupon the other team gets a turn to bat.
Batting tactics and strategy vary depending on the type of match being played as well as the current state of play. The main concerns for the batters are not to lose their wicket and to score as many runs as quickly as possible. These objectives generally conflict—to score quickly, risky shots must be played, increasing the chance that the batter will be dismissed, while the batter's safest choice with a careful wicket-guarding stroke may be not to attempt any runs at all. Depending on the situation, batters may abandon attempts at run-scoring in an effort to preserve their wicket, or may attempt to score runs as quickly as possible with scant concern for the possibility of being dismissed. Unlike various other bat-and-ball sports, cricket batters may hit the ball in any direction to score runs, and can use creative shots to do so.
As with all other cricket statistics, batting statistics and records are given much attention and provide a measure of a player's effectiveness. The main statistic for batting is a player's batting average. This is calculated by dividing the number of runs they have scored by the number of times they have been dismissed (not by the number of innings they have played).
Don Bradman is widely regarded as the greatest batter of all time, and he set many batting records during his career in the 1930s and 1940s which remain unbeaten. He achieved a career Test average of 99.94, 38 more than any other batter. Sachin Tendulkar set many modern-day batting records, including being the first player to score 100 international centuries across all three formats of the game. Brian Lara holds the record for the highest individual score in a first-class match (501 not out), and in a Test innings, with 400 not out. Mithali Raj is widely regarded as the greatest batter of all time in women's cricket. She set many modern-day records, including being the highest run-scorer in women's international cricket.