Trivia - batting March 6, 2009

The worst specialist Test batsmen

A number of remarks raised in response to my last article on the worst Test batsmen suggested that I should also look at the specialist batsmen to determine who was the worst ever
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A number of remarks raised in response to my last article on the worst Test batsmen suggested that these poor "batsmen" were in reality bowlers and I should also look at the specialist batsmen to determine who was the worst ever. These comments, led by "Voyager", made a lot of sense and I have completed the study. I must say this is also a fascinating one and my thanks to all who suggested this. I will admit, this specific analysis completely escaped me.

As usual I have set some criteria for selection. Let me outline these first.

1. These should be specialist batsmen. Bowlers (even those who might only have averaged 1-2 wickets per Test) and wicketkeepers have been excluded.

2. A minimum of 25 Test innings should have been played.

3. The Batting Average should be below 20.00 for those who played their entire career before 1925 and below 25.00 for those who played afterwards.

4. The Batting Position Average for the batsman (already presented and discussed by me in these columns) should not be below 6.5. This is to make sure that only specialist batsmen are included. Otherwise bowlers like Kumble, Warne, Vaas et al would come in. The number 6.5 ensures a tilt towards no.6 position than no.7 position.

These entry constraints let 41 batsmen walk under the bar.

Now for the analysis.

I have considered the following three measures for analysis. These are all logical and make sense.

1. The Batting Average, the truest of all measures. The highest weight is given for this measure.

2. The % of single digit scores. This is an improvement on the number of Zeroes I considered earlier and was suggested by Karthik. The lower this % is, the greater credit to the batsman. The range is from 26.7% to 70.0%.

3. The quality of bowling faced. Just in case the less-performing specialist batsmen faced top quality bowling, they have to be given credit. I have also used the weighted bowling average faced, in other words, the exact quality of bowling faced. If Parker faced a Pakistani bowling attack sans Imran, playing, but only as a batsman, this is taken care of. The lower this Average Bowling Quality figure is, the greater credit to the batsman. The range is from 26.6 to 41.5.

The formula is given below.

Index =
(100.0 - Single digit inns %)   (60 - Avge Bowling Quality)
Batting Average +  ---------------------------  +  -------------------------
10                             5

The formula is self-evident. The division by 10 and 5 is to ensure appropriate weights.

Let us look at the tables.

Cty Batsman          Mats Inns NO Runs  HS BPA Batting Scores<10 Bow  Index
Avge    No   %   Qty

Nzl Miller L.S.M 13 25 0 346 47 3.96 13.84 12 48.0% 29.2 25.20 Aus Bonnor G.J 17 30 0 512 128 5.27 17.07 21 70.0% 26.6 26.75 Eng Read J.M 17 29 2 463 57 5.17 17.15 13 44.8% 31.0 28.47 Bng Alok Kapali 17 34 1 584 85 6.06 17.70 13 38.2% 35.8 28.71 Pak Maqsood Ahmed 16 27 1 507 99 4.67 19.50 13 48.1% 33.0 30.08 Nzl Chapple M.E 14 27 1 497 76 4.52 19.12 13 48.1% 31.0 30.11 Aus Horan T.P 15 27 2 471 124 4.00 18.84 12 44.4% 29.4 30.51 Bng Hannan Sarkar 17 33 0 662 76 2.03 20.06 14 42.4% 36.3 30.56 Eng Ikin J.T 18 31 2 606 60 4.81 20.90 12 38.7% 41.5 30.73 Nzl McGregor S.N 25 47 2 892 111 4.11 19.82 18 38.3% 31.6 31.67 Zim Ebrahim D.D 29 55 1 1230 94 2.69 22.78 27 49.1% 39.1 32.05 Zim Gripper T.R 20 38 1 809 112 2.18 21.86 17 44.7% 36.3 32.12 Bng Aminul Islam 13 26 1 530 145 4.31 21.20 10 38.5% 35.5 32.26 Nzl Morgan R.W 20 34 1 734 97 4.82 22.24 16 47.1% 36.3 32.28 Bng Aftab Ahmed 14 27 3 514 82 5.56 21.42 10 37.0% 35.8 32.56 Zim Wishart C.B 27 50 1 1098 114 5.20 22.41 24 48.0% 34.5 32.71 Bng Javed Omar 40 80 2 1720 119 2.12 22.05 33 41.2% 36.1 32.71 Eng Larkins W 13 25 1 493 64 2.72 20.54 10 40.0% 28.9 32.77 Win Morton R.S 15 27 1 573 70 3.89 22.04 13 48.1% 31.9 32.84 Win Simmons P.V 26 47 2 1002 110 2.40 22.27 16 34.0% 36.3 33.60 Nzl Morrison J.F.M 17 29 0 656 117 2.55 22.62 13 44.8% 31.6 33.81 Nzl Bell M.D 18 32 2 729 107 2.16 24.30 17 53.1% 35.6 33.86 Bng Mohammad Ashraful 48 93 4 2125 158 4.59 23.88 42 45.2% 35.1 34.35 Nzl Franklin T.J 21 37 1 828 101 2.00 23.00 10 27.0% 39.1 34.47 Aus Richardson V.Y 19 30 0 706 138 4.97 23.53 13 43.3% 33.5 34.51 Eng Athey C.W.J 23 41 1 919 123 3.22 22.98 16 39.0% 32.4 34.60 Zim Rennie G.J 23 46 1 1023 93 2.89 22.73 16 34.8% 32.9 34.68 Nzl How J.M 18 34 1 771 92 2.00 23.36 10 29.4% 38.7 34.68 Nzl Murray B.A.G 13 26 1 598 90 2.00 23.92 11 42.3% 34.4 34.81 Nzl Pocock B.A 15 29 0 665 85 2.00 22.93 10 34.5% 32.3 35.02 Eng Brearley J.M 39 66 3 1442 91 3.12 22.89 23 34.8% 31.7 35.06 Pak Asif Mujtaba 25 41 3 928 65 4.46 24.42 15 36.6% 37.7 35.23 Bng Al Sahariar 15 30 0 683 71 2.80 22.77 8 26.7% 34.3 35.25 Eng Knight N.V 17 30 0 719 113 3.70 23.97 11 36.7% 34.8 35.35 Win Griffith A.F.G 14 27 1 638 114 2.00 24.54 12 44.4% 32.2 35.64 Pak Mathias W 21 36 3 783 77 5.81 23.73 12 33.3% 32.8 35.83 Win Smith D.S 28 49 2 1165 108 2.31 24.79 16 32.7% 36.2 36.29 Saf Cheetham J.E 24 43 6 883 89 5.74 23.86 13 30.2% 32.2 36.41 Nzl Parker J.M 36 63 2 1498 121 3.67 24.56 24 38.1% 30.6 36.62 Win Williams S.C 31 52 3 1183 128 2.29 24.14 14 26.9% 33.0 36.84 Pak Kardar A.H 23 37 3 847 93 6.16 24.91 12 32.4% 32.8 37.12

Lawrence Miller is an unknown name but is going to become quite well-known, one suspects. He barely gets in having played 25 innings. He played between 1953 and 1958. To boot, he batted in the middle order to start with but opened in the last six Tests. I am amazed that New Zealand cricket was at such a low ebb that they could not replace a batsmen who did not go past 50 in 13 Tests, had a single digit score in half the innings he played (and bowled a total of 2 balls). However I must mention that his top score of 47 helped New Zealand secure their first ever Test win against West Indies. Also that Miller faced good quality bowling almost always.

George Bonnor and John Read played duriing the first few years of Test cricket. Bonnor was more successful with a century and two 50s. Their averages of around 17 should be considered to be slightly higher in view of the time they played in. I have not done any average adjustment.

Now comes the interesting part. Couple of average Bangladeshi batsmen follow them. Some reader mentioned Jack Ikin. He finds a place in the top 10. It can be seen that the bowling he faced was very average quality, the post-war Indians, New Zealanders and West Indian bowlers.

Note how high Mohammad Ashraful and Javed Omar are in the table. They have also played a huge number of Tests. To be the premier batsmen of a modern team and average around 23 reflects the state of Bangladeshi cricket. What is also galling is the high % of single digit dismissals by both these batsmen, both above 40%.

As expected, Mike Brearley takes his place in this table in the lower half. That too because he crossed 10 a few times more than other batsmen and also faced very good bowling almost always.

What surprises me is the presence of Jamie How in this table. For How to be given 18 Tests in today's situation is quite surprising.

New Zealand has most entries in this table, 11. Bangladesh follows with 7. Surprisingly England has a few recent batsmen, viz., Athey, Brearley, Knight and Larkins in this list. Similarly West Indies has Morton, Simmons, D.S.Smith and Williams present. Pakistan has four players incluyding Asif Mujtaba. A.H.Kardar just about makes the list. He captained Pakistan during the difficult early days.

How, along with Pollard, Franklin, Murray are the New Zealanders in this list who have opened, quite unsuccessfully, in all the Tests they have played. The only other ever-present opener is Griffith of West Indies. Martin Bell should also have been there. However he played once in the no.7 position.

Note the absence of a single Indian in this list. For the record, the worst Indian specialist batsman is Eknath Solkar, with an average of just over 25, since his tally 18 wickets in 27 Tests is quite low. But his extraordinary fileding should give him the all-rounder status. As such the crown should go to Ashok Mankad, with an average of around 26, followed by Arun Lal.

For that matter the only Australians are the pre-1930. The nearest a modern Australian comes in is John Dyson, with an average just over 26.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bill Bartmann on September 5, 2009, 0:15 GMT

    Great site...keep up the good work.

  • Bill Bartmann on September 3, 2009, 14:59 GMT

    Great site...keep up the good work.

  • Fraser on March 28, 2009, 11:45 GMT

    I still think Daren Ganga is pretty awful, though Ananth, why don't you make a list of the best tailenders ie Vaas?

  • rajib on March 20, 2009, 9:22 GMT

    yeah! feeling 'proud' to see the name of Ashraful

  • prasanth on March 18, 2009, 18:34 GMT

    we should gratefully remember V.B.Chandrashekhar, Gagan Khoda, Sujit Somasundar, Devang Gandhi, Vijay Bharadwaj etc for not serving indian cricket for long. I still can't believe India had the audacity of letting some of these gentlemen open the first test in away series in aus, NZ, SA etc. I needn't go into the results of these matches. Of course they didn't play 25 tests to make the list, but still we shouldn't forget them

  • Aloke Mondkar on March 18, 2009, 17:26 GMT

    I have to agree with a few of the posts above - any list of the worst batsmen in Tests is incomplete without Vikram Rathore. After a point, it was just funny how bad he was. Also, worth considering is the fact that like Rathore, there are many batsmen who were so bad that they were not even allowed 25 innings (rightly so). It would be interesting to see that list too - say 5 test matches or more. I am sure you will find Rahores brother from another mother - Rizan Uz Zaman of Pakistan on that list as well. As for WK - I will go with Drop DasGupta. I have never felt more nervous about a potential caught behind than when he was keeping wickets - all this while I was sitting on my couch watching :)

  • Ash Zed on March 17, 2009, 17:20 GMT

    Great research work - as always. However, I felt you are a bit biased in case of Mongia. He is a keeper but he is/was always considered as wicketkeeper batsman. It is like Gilchrist who is an specialist keeper but any list of explosive openers will not be completed without Adam Gilchrist. Therefore, you need to consider Mongia in this list. [[ Ash I have no bias for or against Mongia. It is just that I felt it would be unfair to consider ANY keeper in this list since the keepers have a specialist task to do. There have been quite a few keepers who have batting average inferior to Mongia (24.03). Ananth: ]]

  • Arvind on March 17, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    Dear Ananth I am trying to reach you, as I would like to suggest a new analysis to study the process of fall of wicket. This would involve measuring bowlers figures before and after he took a wicket. Similarly, one can also calculate average performance of a batsman just before he got out. I think these two averages for both batsmen and bowler, would give important information about the style of bowlers in setting up the batsmen and so on...

    Many Thanks Arvind [[ Arvind The type of analysis you have mentioned will be possible only with complete ball-by-ball data which is either not available at all for 75% of Tests or are not available to the public (meaning me) for the later tests. Ananth: ]]

  • Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui on March 14, 2009, 6:55 GMT

    Nice article about worst batsmen. In my opinion min. criteria should be 1000 runs. As we know that Bradman, Lara, Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Sobers, Viv. Richard and others are the best batsmen but here your article is about worst is something which is improving our knowlegde. I think Ashraful is worst specialist batsman of today's test cricket. His batting average is only 23.88 only. In my opinion batting average should be 35 or more for any specialist batsman in test cricket, although statistic is not only criteria like Victor Trumper batting average is less than 40 but he is the most elegant player that cricket history ever produced as he was also master in playing on sticky pitches. Kindly arrange research for those players also who are one day specialist but ordinary in test cricket like Bevan or test cricket specialist batsman but ordinary in one day cricket like Sehwag although he is improving in one cricket also day by day. One more list may be for worst test specialist bolwers.

  • Jeff on March 12, 2009, 13:57 GMT

    I realise we are getting slightly off-topic here, but I think Shah deserved his chance, it's just so frustrating that he hasn't taken it (shades of Ramprakash from 10-15 years ago) Pietersen will never bat three - his ego won't allow it. I don't think Prior is good enough to make it as a specialist batsman (even I could have scored runs on those WI pitches!!) and his keeping is a joke.

    England have a real problem, especially if they insist on playing Flintoff at 6 - he never has been good enough to bat 6 and is getting worse.

    Getting back on topic - how about analysing the worst bowlers (and keepers)? We could then build the worst ever test team.

    We have the top order (i've ignored the 19th century players because of the shocking pitches back then):

    1. Hannan Sarkar 2. Miller 3. Chapple 4. Maqsood Ahmed 5. Ikin 6. Alok Kapali

    We need 4 bowlers and a keeper (Kapali is the all-rounder) I'm nominating Ian Salisbury as one of the bowlers ! [[ Jeff your idea of the worst test bowlers and a classic team comprising of the worst amongst the worst is quite appealing. I liked the look of Bopara. However cannot England find couple of good quality batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Bill Bartmann on September 5, 2009, 0:15 GMT

    Great site...keep up the good work.

  • Bill Bartmann on September 3, 2009, 14:59 GMT

    Great site...keep up the good work.

  • Fraser on March 28, 2009, 11:45 GMT

    I still think Daren Ganga is pretty awful, though Ananth, why don't you make a list of the best tailenders ie Vaas?

  • rajib on March 20, 2009, 9:22 GMT

    yeah! feeling 'proud' to see the name of Ashraful

  • prasanth on March 18, 2009, 18:34 GMT

    we should gratefully remember V.B.Chandrashekhar, Gagan Khoda, Sujit Somasundar, Devang Gandhi, Vijay Bharadwaj etc for not serving indian cricket for long. I still can't believe India had the audacity of letting some of these gentlemen open the first test in away series in aus, NZ, SA etc. I needn't go into the results of these matches. Of course they didn't play 25 tests to make the list, but still we shouldn't forget them

  • Aloke Mondkar on March 18, 2009, 17:26 GMT

    I have to agree with a few of the posts above - any list of the worst batsmen in Tests is incomplete without Vikram Rathore. After a point, it was just funny how bad he was. Also, worth considering is the fact that like Rathore, there are many batsmen who were so bad that they were not even allowed 25 innings (rightly so). It would be interesting to see that list too - say 5 test matches or more. I am sure you will find Rahores brother from another mother - Rizan Uz Zaman of Pakistan on that list as well. As for WK - I will go with Drop DasGupta. I have never felt more nervous about a potential caught behind than when he was keeping wickets - all this while I was sitting on my couch watching :)

  • Ash Zed on March 17, 2009, 17:20 GMT

    Great research work - as always. However, I felt you are a bit biased in case of Mongia. He is a keeper but he is/was always considered as wicketkeeper batsman. It is like Gilchrist who is an specialist keeper but any list of explosive openers will not be completed without Adam Gilchrist. Therefore, you need to consider Mongia in this list. [[ Ash I have no bias for or against Mongia. It is just that I felt it would be unfair to consider ANY keeper in this list since the keepers have a specialist task to do. There have been quite a few keepers who have batting average inferior to Mongia (24.03). Ananth: ]]

  • Arvind on March 17, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    Dear Ananth I am trying to reach you, as I would like to suggest a new analysis to study the process of fall of wicket. This would involve measuring bowlers figures before and after he took a wicket. Similarly, one can also calculate average performance of a batsman just before he got out. I think these two averages for both batsmen and bowler, would give important information about the style of bowlers in setting up the batsmen and so on...

    Many Thanks Arvind [[ Arvind The type of analysis you have mentioned will be possible only with complete ball-by-ball data which is either not available at all for 75% of Tests or are not available to the public (meaning me) for the later tests. Ananth: ]]

  • Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui on March 14, 2009, 6:55 GMT

    Nice article about worst batsmen. In my opinion min. criteria should be 1000 runs. As we know that Bradman, Lara, Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Sobers, Viv. Richard and others are the best batsmen but here your article is about worst is something which is improving our knowlegde. I think Ashraful is worst specialist batsman of today's test cricket. His batting average is only 23.88 only. In my opinion batting average should be 35 or more for any specialist batsman in test cricket, although statistic is not only criteria like Victor Trumper batting average is less than 40 but he is the most elegant player that cricket history ever produced as he was also master in playing on sticky pitches. Kindly arrange research for those players also who are one day specialist but ordinary in test cricket like Bevan or test cricket specialist batsman but ordinary in one day cricket like Sehwag although he is improving in one cricket also day by day. One more list may be for worst test specialist bolwers.

  • Jeff on March 12, 2009, 13:57 GMT

    I realise we are getting slightly off-topic here, but I think Shah deserved his chance, it's just so frustrating that he hasn't taken it (shades of Ramprakash from 10-15 years ago) Pietersen will never bat three - his ego won't allow it. I don't think Prior is good enough to make it as a specialist batsman (even I could have scored runs on those WI pitches!!) and his keeping is a joke.

    England have a real problem, especially if they insist on playing Flintoff at 6 - he never has been good enough to bat 6 and is getting worse.

    Getting back on topic - how about analysing the worst bowlers (and keepers)? We could then build the worst ever test team.

    We have the top order (i've ignored the 19th century players because of the shocking pitches back then):

    1. Hannan Sarkar 2. Miller 3. Chapple 4. Maqsood Ahmed 5. Ikin 6. Alok Kapali

    We need 4 bowlers and a keeper (Kapali is the all-rounder) I'm nominating Ian Salisbury as one of the bowlers ! [[ Jeff your idea of the worst test bowlers and a classic team comprising of the worst amongst the worst is quite appealing. I liked the look of Bopara. However cannot England find couple of good quality batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajay pratap Singh on March 11, 2009, 21:56 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Thanks for this great work. I was looking this kind of thing from years .It is not a wonder that no Indian make his name in the list. There are many reasons behind this; like batting friendly pitches ,impatient selectors , most of all, availability of huge amount of players always waiting for their chances into the team (Remember the case of Vinod Kambli who had just played 17 matches with batting avg of 54.20 after that he lost his place from the team because batter replacement was available) . In my view if you reduce the criteria from min 25 innings to 10 innings some Indians will come to this list. Like Jayasinghrao Ghorpade his batting avg. is 15.26 in 15 inns and he never took a single wicket in test, Khokhan Sen record is matches -14,runs-156,HS-25 ,avg- 11.78 but mind you he was a wicketkeeper .His record is quite poor. Many people will surprise by name of Akash Chopra who couldn’t find his name in your list because he played only 19 innings otherwise he may present this list. Here you have taken a criteria of batting position .It really doesn’t matter at all! Because there may be very some good allrounder in the team who could bat up in the order even before a pure batsman .So this criteria doesn’t make any sense . [[ Ajay The BPA criteria is the most significant one in this analysis. Without that the bowlers would get in. What I was looking for the batsmen who, almost always, batted at no.6 and above and averaged less than 25 etc. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff on March 11, 2009, 17:25 GMT

    I think I was more run out going for a ridiculous single, rather than stumped ;-)

    I must have spent too much time watching Owais Shah recently...

    On a lighter note, I feel a bit sorry for Alok Kapali. I'm pretty sure he was picked as an all-rounder, at least for the first half of his career.

    It's only the fact that his bowling was so awful (average of 118) that it makes him seem like a specialist batsman !!!

    [[ Jeff England has the unenviable task of selecting from two average cricketers, Bell or Shah for the pivotal no.3 position. Instead they should move Pietersen up and find a good number 5 or 6, even Prior to play as a batsman (and save the team 35 byes). Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff on March 11, 2009, 11:15 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Thanks for this - not surprised to see the list dominated by Bangladeshis, Zimbabweans and old-time Kiwis - these have been amongst the worst teams in history, so makes sense to see their batsmen here. A bit surprised at so few players from the early days, but probably reflected by the fact that they didn't play enough matches to make the cut off.

    One question - you mention that Matthew Bell is excluded because he played one innings at number 7.

    Not sure why you would do this - he's clearly a batsman and there are any number of reasons for a one-off appearance lower down the order (eg Chris Gayle yesterday.) This shouldn't exclude him.

    Of note, Don Bradman batted 3 times at number 7 in his career - would you exclude him from an analysis of the best batsmen because of this? [[ Jeff This one time you are out stumped. What I have mentioned in the article is that Mathew Bell missed being a all-times at opening bat because he batted at no.7 once. He has certainly not been excluded. He is very much there in the middle, sandwiched between Morrison and Ashraful. By now you know my methods clearly that I would not exclude players on such grounds. However if there is a list of always-at-the-opening-position batsmen, Mathew Bell would have to be excluded because of the single blemish. Ananth: ]]

  • andrew on March 10, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    Another good article. What it also does is to let the current generation know about so many things of the past. For instance Lawrie Taylor's figures, the NZL win over West Indies, Solkar's 2+ catches per test et al. [[ For me also Lawrie Taylor was a revelation. Also shows the problems faced by teams such as New Zealand because of scarcity of resources. Ananth: ]]

  • Tim on March 9, 2009, 4:45 GMT

    Well, there's a good reason there are no Indians in the list - the BCCI has enough of a revolving door policy with good players, let alone under-performing players. It would be almost impossible for someone in a specialist batsman position in India to reach an average of 25, over 25 innings. Dravid's recent term average excepted.

  • Vinod Dhar on March 7, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    well i am going a bit off board here. but i do remember chetan chauhan who was a decent batsman as his batting average surely would be in excess of 30. but he did not score even a single test hundred. that is a bit of surprise.

    well coming back to the original topic, may be there is a possibility of a certain batsman starting his career with a bang and then getting dropped after a string of failures. So your point of taking into account only the 'batting average' may not be 100% correct way to find them. May be case for Vinod Kambli here who i believe was dumped though his batting average stands at more than 50 in test cricket. if we divide his test career into 2 halves, i am sure he would not be averaging more than 20 in the 2nd part. [[ Vinod You are spot on. Given below are the two contrasting half figures of Kambli. 10-1-798-97.78 (2x200s & 2x100s) 11-0-204-18.55 (1x50). I do not think there exists one batsman with such contrasting figures. But the fact is that his glorious first half has helped him finish with a batting average of 54.20. I also firmly believe that the captain and selectors were ready to dump him quickly. Today we see many a batsman given new leases of life with even worse "run"s. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik on March 7, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    Virtually all the batsmen here are from weak teams, and played enough games to qualify because their countries didn't have any better batsmen.

    Brearley is a special case due to his captaincy. A 'specialist captain'.

    Two huge exceptions to this are Asif Mujtaba and Phil Simmons. Both were part of very strong teams. Simmons would have had to compete for a place in a lineup already containing Lara, Richardson, Chanderpaul, Adams, Hooper, and earlier, Haynes. Mujtaba played at a time when Pakistan had Rameez Raja, Aamer Sohail, Saeed Anwar, Shoaib Mohammed, Saleem Malik, Miandad, Ijaz, Imran, and later Inzamam as occupants in the top 6. Yet, they managed to play enough to qualify somehow.

    Ananth, you have the 'innings' and 'matches' column headers reversed.

  • Harish V S on March 7, 2009, 4:59 GMT

    Great analysis that helps to know that the likes of Harbajan, Zaheer or Kumble are better than Ashraful, Simmons, Morton and such others. Also, missing is the time period that they all played in. I think this column would be adding more weight to this stats. I would like to have an analysis of bowlers who averaged near 20 and scored more than 1000 runs. Example, Kumble or Harbajan, who can't be all rounders but accomplished lower order batsmen. An effort to list the bowlers who played atleast 20 tests, got 2 (or lesser) wickets per match, (with a batting average less than 15 to exclude batsmen who often bowl and take 1 or 2 wickets per match). Thanks. [[ Harish am not saying that Harbajan, Zaheer or Kumble are better than Ashraful, Simmons, Morton and such others. I am only saying is that the first three are bowlers who need not me measured against specialist batsmen such as the later for their batting efforts. Also Ashraful, Simmons, Morton et al are compared against Habibul Bashar, Chanderpaul and other specialist batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Visal on March 7, 2009, 2:14 GMT

    The reason why there are no SL batsmen is because the selectors are wise enough to discard them before they notch up 25 innings to even be eligible for this list. The closest I can remember in recent times would be Upul Tharanga with an average of 28.52 from 26 innings.

  • Youvi on March 7, 2009, 1:40 GMT

    This was interesting analysis. However, sometimes statistics can be deceptive especially in case of utility players such as Solkar who had some very good innings as a batsman against top-class bowling and in trying conditions (though Solkar did not make the list here). Plus it is hard to quantify his contribution as a bowler. Of course, his fielding was brilliant. Allrounder is a term used loosely sometimes, I think it should be applied for players such as Vinoo Mankad, Imran Khan, Kaplil Dev, Richard Hadlee, and of course, Gary Sobers, among a few other true allrounders. Also, I was wondering if there is a way to measure the most boring batsmen and I mean overall not based on one or a few innings.

  • Anand on March 6, 2009, 22:47 GMT

    Hi Ananth:

    I was also expecting Vikram Rathore like Bishal. Infact when I opened the article I was expecing Vikram Rathore, W. V. Raman, Nayan Mongia (dont think he did much in the top order except for a 150 against Aus). Imagine, we once had a tour (and that too against South Africa!!) in which all 3 featured. No wonder we got bowled out for 66!!. Am also suprised that Srikanth does not feature in this list. I thought he had one of the worst averages for an opener. I was a great fan of his in my childhood days and still am for many reasons, but always felt statistically atleast he never performed to his potential. Very surprising to see Nick Knight given that he was a consistent performer for England in the ODIs. I am looking forward to such a list for ODI batsmen as well. Also please consider presenting a similar list for bowlers. Bowling does not have "positions" to identify specialists but why not assume that someone who bats No. 8 or below has to be a specialist bowler? [[ Raman's average is 24.89 but he has played only 19 innings. Whatever be Mongia's average (it is24.03 ) he is not considered because he is a specialist keeper. Ananth: ]]

  • Krish on March 6, 2009, 22:28 GMT

    It's interesting to note there are no Indian and Sri Lankan in the list. Thanks.

    After seeing the comment from Mr.DT, it would be interesting to see the most prolific opening pair in test and one day cricket.

  • unclepauly on March 6, 2009, 20:53 GMT

    Fascinating study - well done! Rowdy - How is still (at the time of writing) the incumbent NZ test opener, he and McIntosh opened together against the West Indies recently, and McIntosh didn't score a century on debut, it was in the Second Test. Agree that hopefully we have found a solution to our opening woes! The high number of Kiwis from the 50s and 60s reflects the poor standard of our cricket at that time, where heavy domestic runscorers couldn't buy a run at international level. Also note the number of century makers in the list, obviously managed a big score just in time to buy some more time in the side!

  • Engle on March 6, 2009, 19:02 GMT

    Gad, what a bunch of losers !

    Would be interesting if another follow-up could show the worst batsmen to achieve 2000 runs, 3000 runs and so on.

    Or the greatest batting failures in Test cricket, showing those that have the greatest differences between the FC and Test performances.

    Methinks you're on to something fascinating about players who fail, yet paradoxically find themselves gaining notoriety amongst readers who revel in their reduced run-making reliabilities.

  • Anonymous on March 6, 2009, 18:54 GMT

    Another thing is that, in the early years of Sri Lankan cricket, they often simply didn't play enough tests for their batsmen to get into this list. Their best batsmen were decent, too: the likes of Gurusinha, Dias, LRD Mendis, R Madugalle, A Ranatunga, PA De Silva all had respectable averages. And while the support batsmen were not so good, they either averaged better than this list allows for (S Wettimuny, R Mahanama, C Hathurusinghe), or were all-rounder types (JR Ratnayeke) or simply did not play enough tests to be included on it.

  • Mikeindex on March 6, 2009, 18:45 GMT

    How ironic that the officially worst specialist Test batsman ever should be one remembered for his vital part in his country's first-ever Test win, and for one of the most courageous little innings ever - his 14 returning after injury against Adcock in Jo'burg on Boxing Day 1953. Goes to show figures don't tell the whole story.

    I don't remember Rathod at all. How did he get to bat 13 times in 6 tests? Did they let him bat twice on one occasion - a sort of handicap system? [[ My mistake. Rathod had 10 innings not 13. Not that letting him bat another time in 3 tests would have added many to his meagre kitty. I can certainly admire the courage shown by some of these batsmen. Your example of Miller's gutsy effort in 1953 escapes the scoreboard, but not his 47 which helped New Zealand to their first ever test win. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on March 6, 2009, 18:00 GMT

    A common response: 1. I apologize for missing the fact that there are no Sri Lankans in the list. The nearest to make the list is Vaas who has an average of just over 26. 2. Darren Ganga just goes over the bar with an average of 25.71. 3. I thank the readers who clarified the situation on Franklin (and Wright). Let me assure everyone that I bear no malice in my tongue-in-cheek comments. I love the Kiwis for what they have achieved with such scarce human resources. 4. Vikram Rathod is as bad as Bishal says. However he did not play sufficiently long to get in. In 6 tests and 13 innings he averaged 13.10 (less than Miller). 5. Longmemory should note that I talked about Solkar but instantly took him off the list. The value of players such as Solkar does not lie in their batting. He is a true all-rounder.

  • Rowdy on March 6, 2009, 17:49 GMT

    Good analysis. Being a kiwi it is a not that surprising that we are over represented here. You haven't accounted for per capita, or total player base to choose from. Not sure what the exact figures are but likely batsmen are given much longer runs in tests (e.g. Jamie How) because there is actually a limited pool of replacements due to the population, therefore your comment re: not being able to find a replacement is not that amazing at all. You say India have no players on the list but when you have 1 Billion cricket mad people to choose from, versus NZ with only 4 Million and cricket being the 3rd or 4th most popular sport, then you can see the difference. It is interesting to note that Jamie How was eventually replaced by Tim Mackintosh, who scored a century on debut versus the West Indies recently. Hopefully we have found an opener at long last!

  • Longmemory on March 6, 2009, 17:31 GMT

    Besides the surprising fact that not a single Indian makes the list is that there are no Sri Lankans on it either! I would never have guessed that ever. Of course, someone like Solkar making the list tells you that statistics can hide as much as they reveal. In the 1970s, there were few men as reliable as Ekky in a crisis. Even out of our pathetic 42 all out at Lords, he stood out with an unbeaten 18. If it weren't for that, we might have bested the all-time low of 24 in a test by NZL. Now, let's find out who the worst "all-rounder" of all time was please. Thanks Ananth for a fascinating list.

  • Aaron on March 6, 2009, 17:12 GMT

    Good analysis. Again, good to see so many fellow Kiwis making these lists! A couple of things - I think you mean Matthew Bell, not Martin Bell in your third last paragraph?

    And a note on Franklin: with John Wright he formed one of New Zealands most reliable opening partnerships. Franklin didn't score many, many he stuck around and together he and Wright averaged over 50 runs for the first wicket, if my memory serves. It just goes to show that the game is big enough for all kinds of players.

    Cheers

  • slfan on March 6, 2009, 16:31 GMT

    Note also no Sri Lankans

  • Bishal Sinha on March 6, 2009, 16:26 GMT

    I opened this article with the hope of seeing one of the ultimate walking wickets in Indian cricket, but the criteria set for consideration dashed my hopes. Who can forget the one and only Vikram Rathode who opened the innings in the early 90s for India. I'm 30 years old and for my generation I dont believe there was another batsman who instilled as little confidence as Rathode did opening the innings. Who can forget him walking on a LBW appeal of all things against SA. I remember reading in the lates 90s and early 2000's period about how Rathode was planning a comeback as a WK-batsman, how my heart pounded with the hope of seeing good old Vicky back in the team. The selectors had other ideas though, bunch of jokers thats what they are. cheers. Please write a analysis to include Vicky and his band of no-hopers in the future

  • Yajuvender chauhan on March 6, 2009, 16:25 GMT

    Bravo!!! Ananth this is exactly what we were looking for in your previous post...now we know who were the tailenders in the guise of batsmen. Hats off to you for doing this on our requests.

    Just one question though...before even I saw this list i always had the impression that Daren Ganga of west indies is worst ever batsmen but he somehow skipped, wud you please tell us something how he managed a miracle of skipping this list?

    I am also little disappointed to see Aftab ahmed of bangladesh as he is has some ability with the bat, asraful is a wasted talent we all know...

    I am very happy to see no Indian featuring this list...great job again...thanks!!

  • DT on March 6, 2009, 16:09 GMT

    Trevor Franklin is an interesting case. His average and strike rate (26.44!!!) are poor but he had a great record in partnership with John Wright, hence why he kept getting picked. They averaged 55 over 28 innings.

    To put that into perspective, it it higher than Langer & Hayden, and Haynes & Greenidge.

    Only 10 other opening pairs, who batted at least 25 times, average more than them.

  • Tushar on March 6, 2009, 16:01 GMT

    Interestingly no Indians on this list or I am Blind :),,, When I saw the article my first reaction was oh great another list that will be full of Indian that did not do too well,, pleasently surprised though

  • Manny on March 6, 2009, 15:40 GMT

    Great Job!!! That feels like more of what we need. Continuing on this trend, would another set of lists be: 1) Minnow Bashers - Specialist batsmen who have been in the team by virtue of scoring bulk of runs against weaker teams

    2) Flat track bullies - This is what really differentiates a good batsman. I know classification of the pitches might be hard, but may be a worth while try.

  • Brahminy Kite on March 6, 2009, 15:02 GMT

    Great article, as always, Ananth.

    As a SL cricket first thing I noticed was that there are NO Sri Lankan players in the list (in addition to the Indians). I wonder why this is. Could this be because of the flat tracks that were prevalent in the subcontinent? (Even though that seems to be changing for the better now). There's one way we could figure it out: divide the list into two parts viz. home & away.

    A more complex & tedious way to dampen the effects of flat tracks would be to take either normalized average (each inning normalized w.r.t. either team average or match average) or sum of deviation of individual score from the team average. That would be lot of number crunching. Just a thought!

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  • Brahminy Kite on March 6, 2009, 15:02 GMT

    Great article, as always, Ananth.

    As a SL cricket first thing I noticed was that there are NO Sri Lankan players in the list (in addition to the Indians). I wonder why this is. Could this be because of the flat tracks that were prevalent in the subcontinent? (Even though that seems to be changing for the better now). There's one way we could figure it out: divide the list into two parts viz. home & away.

    A more complex & tedious way to dampen the effects of flat tracks would be to take either normalized average (each inning normalized w.r.t. either team average or match average) or sum of deviation of individual score from the team average. That would be lot of number crunching. Just a thought!

  • Manny on March 6, 2009, 15:40 GMT

    Great Job!!! That feels like more of what we need. Continuing on this trend, would another set of lists be: 1) Minnow Bashers - Specialist batsmen who have been in the team by virtue of scoring bulk of runs against weaker teams

    2) Flat track bullies - This is what really differentiates a good batsman. I know classification of the pitches might be hard, but may be a worth while try.

  • Tushar on March 6, 2009, 16:01 GMT

    Interestingly no Indians on this list or I am Blind :),,, When I saw the article my first reaction was oh great another list that will be full of Indian that did not do too well,, pleasently surprised though

  • DT on March 6, 2009, 16:09 GMT

    Trevor Franklin is an interesting case. His average and strike rate (26.44!!!) are poor but he had a great record in partnership with John Wright, hence why he kept getting picked. They averaged 55 over 28 innings.

    To put that into perspective, it it higher than Langer & Hayden, and Haynes & Greenidge.

    Only 10 other opening pairs, who batted at least 25 times, average more than them.

  • Yajuvender chauhan on March 6, 2009, 16:25 GMT

    Bravo!!! Ananth this is exactly what we were looking for in your previous post...now we know who were the tailenders in the guise of batsmen. Hats off to you for doing this on our requests.

    Just one question though...before even I saw this list i always had the impression that Daren Ganga of west indies is worst ever batsmen but he somehow skipped, wud you please tell us something how he managed a miracle of skipping this list?

    I am also little disappointed to see Aftab ahmed of bangladesh as he is has some ability with the bat, asraful is a wasted talent we all know...

    I am very happy to see no Indian featuring this list...great job again...thanks!!

  • Bishal Sinha on March 6, 2009, 16:26 GMT

    I opened this article with the hope of seeing one of the ultimate walking wickets in Indian cricket, but the criteria set for consideration dashed my hopes. Who can forget the one and only Vikram Rathode who opened the innings in the early 90s for India. I'm 30 years old and for my generation I dont believe there was another batsman who instilled as little confidence as Rathode did opening the innings. Who can forget him walking on a LBW appeal of all things against SA. I remember reading in the lates 90s and early 2000's period about how Rathode was planning a comeback as a WK-batsman, how my heart pounded with the hope of seeing good old Vicky back in the team. The selectors had other ideas though, bunch of jokers thats what they are. cheers. Please write a analysis to include Vicky and his band of no-hopers in the future

  • slfan on March 6, 2009, 16:31 GMT

    Note also no Sri Lankans

  • Aaron on March 6, 2009, 17:12 GMT

    Good analysis. Again, good to see so many fellow Kiwis making these lists! A couple of things - I think you mean Matthew Bell, not Martin Bell in your third last paragraph?

    And a note on Franklin: with John Wright he formed one of New Zealands most reliable opening partnerships. Franklin didn't score many, many he stuck around and together he and Wright averaged over 50 runs for the first wicket, if my memory serves. It just goes to show that the game is big enough for all kinds of players.

    Cheers

  • Longmemory on March 6, 2009, 17:31 GMT

    Besides the surprising fact that not a single Indian makes the list is that there are no Sri Lankans on it either! I would never have guessed that ever. Of course, someone like Solkar making the list tells you that statistics can hide as much as they reveal. In the 1970s, there were few men as reliable as Ekky in a crisis. Even out of our pathetic 42 all out at Lords, he stood out with an unbeaten 18. If it weren't for that, we might have bested the all-time low of 24 in a test by NZL. Now, let's find out who the worst "all-rounder" of all time was please. Thanks Ananth for a fascinating list.

  • Rowdy on March 6, 2009, 17:49 GMT

    Good analysis. Being a kiwi it is a not that surprising that we are over represented here. You haven't accounted for per capita, or total player base to choose from. Not sure what the exact figures are but likely batsmen are given much longer runs in tests (e.g. Jamie How) because there is actually a limited pool of replacements due to the population, therefore your comment re: not being able to find a replacement is not that amazing at all. You say India have no players on the list but when you have 1 Billion cricket mad people to choose from, versus NZ with only 4 Million and cricket being the 3rd or 4th most popular sport, then you can see the difference. It is interesting to note that Jamie How was eventually replaced by Tim Mackintosh, who scored a century on debut versus the West Indies recently. Hopefully we have found an opener at long last!