Trivia - batting August 7, 2008

The new unbowlable

Although he is not the most dynamic batsman going around, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been carving himself a most unusual statistical place in recent years

Although he is not the most dynamic batsman going around, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been carving himself a most unusual statistical place in recent years. His career has been studded with extraordinary spells where he becomes near-impossible to dismiss. Since overcoming a foot problem and undergoing surgery in 2000, he has made a habit of stringing unbeaten innings together, so much so that he has batted for more than 1000 minutes between dismissals on four separate occasions, twice in the past year. His last four Test innings, in the series against Australia, spanned 1115 minutes before until at last he fell lbw to Stuart Clark.

For comparison, consider that only five other batsmen have ever gone unbeaten for over 1000 minutes, none of them more than once.

Longest batting between dismissals
Player Minutes Balls Runs Scores
S Chanderpaul (2001/02) 1513 1051 362 67*, 101*, 136*, 58
JH Kallis (2001/02) 1241 908 456 157*, 42*, 189*, 68
SR Tendulkar (2003/04) 1224 879 497 241*, 60*, 194*, 2
R Dravid (2000/01) 1145 791 473 41*, 200*, 70*, 162
S Chanderpaul (2007/08) 1115 689 313 107*, 77*, 79*, 50
S Chanderpaul (2007) 1074 677 322 116*, 136*, 70
S Chanderpaul (2004) 1031 698 371 101*, 128*, 97*, 45
N Hussain (1999/2000) 1023 744 231 70*, 146*, 15
Shoaib Mohammad (1990/91) 1007 634 308 203*, 105

These are all relatively recent events, thanks partly to the fact that over-rates are much slower than in olden days. But if we turn to balls faced, Chanderpaul still leads. He is the only batsman to ever face 1000 balls without getting out.

Most balls faced between dismissals
Player Balls Minutes Runs Scores
S Chanderpaul (2001/02) 1051 1513 362 67*, 101*, 136*, 58
WR Hammond (1928/29) 980 703 296 119*, 177
Hanif Mohammad* (1957/58) 930 973 337 337
JH Kallis (2001/02) 908 1241 456 157*, 42*, 189*, 68
SR Tendulkar (2003/04) 879 1224 497 241*, 60*, 194*, 2
L Hutton (1938) 847 797 364 364
GS Sobers (1957/58) 800 876 490 365*, 125
R Dravid (2000/01) 791 1145 473 41*, 200*, 70*, 162
KF Barrington (1964/65) 780 913 323 54*, 148*, 121
*Balls faced for Hanif is an estimate.

A striking feature is Chanderpaul’s highest score in these purple patches is only 136 not out. It is a sign of the general weakness of his team’s batting, as well as his defensive nature, that he so often is left unbeaten without making huge scores. It could certainly be argued West Indies are losing out on potential runs because of this; perhaps he should bat higher in the order.

Curiously, the 362 runs he scored in that 1000-ball sequence is not even in the Top 20 for most runs between dismissals, which is led by Tendulkar (497) and Sobers (490) in the tables above. Chanderpaul is in the Top 20 thanks to his 371 runs in 2004/05, but well down the list.

One reason for his success is that Chanderpaul has become the nearest thing to an unbowlable batsman seen in Test cricket. This has developed in recent years as his technique has changed. Even though he has been out bowled in 11% of his dismissals, not an especially low figure, many of these dismissals came earlier in his career. From 2004 to 2007, Chanderpaul played a sequence of 57 innings without being out bowled. He scored 2629 runs, faced 5693 balls, and batted over 138 hours without anyone hitting his wicket! Javed Miandad (2055) is the only other batsman to score over 2000 runs without being bowled, although Kumar Sangakkara is now right in the hunt for this record, having scored 1983 runs since he last heard the death rattle. Adam Parore of New Zealand batted 77 times before he was out bowled for the first time in a Test match, scoring 1937 runs.

One other curiosity: Chanderpaul is known for his caution, yet has made one of the fastest Test centuries of all time. His normal scoring rate is just over 43 runs/100 balls: among current batsmen, only Rahul Dravid has scored more runs at a slower rate. Yet Chanderpaul has to his credit the fastest century ever scored against Australia, and the fourth-fastest in all Tests, 69 balls in Georgetown (his home ground) in 2003. Has anyone ever batted quite so “out of character”? Perhaps not. The next fastest century by Chanderpaul, 140 balls (in the same series) is less than half as fast as his best, and the average of his other centuries is 212 balls. No other major batsman has a fastest century so unlike all his others.

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