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September 4, 2009

Test cricket

Comparing the two halves of players' careers

Anantha Narayanan
Younis Khan drives through the off side, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Colombo, 2nd day, July 13, 2009
 © Associated Press
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In the past few posts, we have compared Test batsmen (and bowlers) with their peers; with batsmen batting at specific batting positions; with one's own team members. Now we will be looking inward. Let us compare a Test batsman/bowler with himself. I will look at the two halves of the player careers and do a comparison between these two (mostly dissimilar) periods.

The usual criteria apply. This is just to ensure that the career is sufficiently long. I have taken 4000 runs and 45 Tests as the cut-off for batsmen and 150 wickets and 45 Tests as cut-off for bowlers. These two sets of twin conditions ensure that bowlers such as Barnes do not get into the picture. Most of the top keepers get in.

Only the batting average and bowling average are used for comparison. These two are the most trusted of all measures and will provide a very good platform for a clear understanding of a Test players' career.

Test Batsmen: Analysing the two career halves

SNo Cty Batsman         |<----Career---->|<--1st Half->|<-2nd Half>| % Chg
|Tests Runs  Avge|Mt Runs  Avge|Runs   Avge|
|                |             |           |
1.Pak Younis Khan     |  63  5260 50.10|32-2033 39.10|3227  60.89| 55.7%
2.Zim Flower A        |  63  4794 51.55|32-2013 41.94|2781  61.80| 47.4%
3.Aus Redpath I.R     |  66  4737 43.46|33-1813 35.55|2924  50.41| 41.8%
4.Nzl Wright J.G      |  82  5334 37.83|41-2123 31.22|3211  43.99| 40.9%
5.Aus Chappell I.M    |  75  5345 42.42|38-2219 35.22|3126  49.62| 40.9%
...
53.Eng Hobbs J.B       |  61  5410 56.95|31-2733 56.94|2677  56.96|  0.0%
...
97.Aus Hayden M.L      | 103  8626 50.74|52-4714 58.92|3912  43.47|-26.2%
98.Eng Smith R.A       |  62  4236 43.67|31-2255 51.25|1981  37.38|-27.1%
99.Win Kallicharran A.I|  66  4399 44.43|33-2582 52.69|1817  36.34|-31.0%
100.Aus Gilchrist A.C   |  96  5570 47.61|48-3073 59.10|2497  38.42|-35.0%
101.Aus Harvey R.N      |  79  6149 48.42|40-3830 61.77|2319  35.68|-42.2%
Younis Khan has achieved the highest jump from the first half to second half, an astounding 55.7%. His average has improved from 39.10 to 60.89. Note that in his last 31 Tests he has scored at higher than 100 runs per Test.

Andy Flower has improved from 41.94 to 61.80, an increase of 47.4%, that too playing in a weak team. Ian Redpath, John Wright and Ian Chappell have also finished their careers very strongly.

For consistency one need not look beyond Jack Hobbs. He has only a second decimal difference in his second half average to the first half. Steve Waugh and Andrew Strauss are close to achieving this perfection.

Gilchrist's huge fall, from 59.10 to 38.42 is understandable considering that he had an explosive start and fell off drastically towards the end. What is surprising is the fall of Neil Harvey, who dropped his average from 60+ to 35. This is quite inexplicable. He scored 15 of his 21 hundreds in the first half of his career. Gilchrist, on the other hand, scored 9 of his 17 hundreds in the first half of his career. However he was dismissed for many single digit scores, quite a few 0s included, during the second half.

Note how Hayden, R Smith and Kallicharan have also fallen off.

To view the complete list, please click here.

Test Bowlers: Analysing the two career halves

No Cty Batsman          |<----Career---->|<-1st Half-->|<2nd Half>| % Chg
|Tests Wkts  Avge|Mt Wkts  Avge|Wkts  Avge|
|                |             |          |
1.Eng Laker J.C        |   46  193 21.25|23-  78 29.95| 115 15.35| 48.8%
2.Eng Bedser A.V       |   51  236 24.90|26- 100 33.87| 136 18.30| 46.0%
3.Pak Iqbal Qasim      |   50  171 28.11|25-  65 35.78| 106 23.41| 34.6%
4.Nzl Hadlee R.J       |   86  431 22.30|43- 192 26.17| 239 19.19| 26.7%
5.Nzl Morrison D.K     |   48  160 34.68|24-  73 39.53|  87 30.61| 22.6%
6.Slk Muralitharan M   |  129  783 22.22|65- 337 25.48| 446 19.76| 22.5%
...
38.Aus McKenzie G.D     |   60  246 29.79|30- 126 29.81| 120 29.77|  0.1%
...
66.Win Gibbs L.R        |   79  309 29.09|40- 176 24.56| 133 35.09|-42.9%
67.Pak Mushtaq Ahmed    |   52  185 32.97|26- 105 27.51|  80 40.14|-45.9%
68.Win Hall W.W         |   48  192 26.39|24- 119 22.15|  73 33.29|-50.3%
69.Eng Botham I.T       |  102  383 28.40|51- 231 23.46| 152 35.91|-53.1%
70.Eng Lock G.A.R       |   49  174 25.58|25- 104 20.13|  70 33.67|-67.2%
Laker moved from an average spinner to Lohmannish figures in the second half, no doubt aided by the 19 for 90 at Manchester. That is nearly 50% improvement. Similar with Alec Bedser, who had totally different career halves. What about Richard Hadllee, with sub-20 average in the second half of his career. Again Muralitharan's last 64 Tests have had sub-20 average and an average of 7, yes, you read it correctly, 7 wickets per Test.

McKenzie was like Hobbs, averaging almost the same figure in his two halves. Saqlain Mushtaq and McDermott are in the middle group.

Look at the last five, especially Ian Botham. He was a shadow of himself, increasing his average by over 50%. Lock's figures are still more astounding. An average of 20.13 moving to 33.67 and below 3 wickets per Test. Possibly he played the supporting role to Laker quite often as happened at Manchester in 1956.

To view the complete list, please click here.

This blog is going nowhere with readers following a single agenda, whatever be the subject matter of the article. I have had complaints from serious readers that the purpose of the articles is lost. Hence a firm reminder that only relevant comments will be published. Henceforth I will not and readers should not forget that the purpose of the blog is to come out with new analytical efforts. I myself have been guilty of side-tracking into irrelevant and/or non-cricketing issues. Remind me, gently or otherwise, to remove the offending comment or response.

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

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Posted by Bhaskar on (September 21, 2009, 15:17 GMT)

Ponting's Career into 2 halves:-

Dec 1995 - Jul 2003 M I NO R HS Avg 100 50 0 68 107 13 4797 206 51.03 17 17 6

Aug 2003 - Till now M I NO R HS Avg 100 50 0 68 122 13 6548 257 60.07 21 31 5

Posted by Bhaskar on (September 21, 2009, 14:28 GMT)

Sachin's Career split into 2 halves:-

Nov 1989 - Feb 2001 M I NO R HS Avg 100 50 0 79 125 13 6416 217 57.28 24 24 7

Mar 2001 - Till Now M I NO R HS Avg 100 50 0 80 136 14 6357 248* 52.10 18 29 7

This is amazing consistency.....

Posted by a133936 on (September 6, 2009, 16:43 GMT)

Split Sachin's career three ways:

Period T I NO Runs HS Ave 100s 50s 0s 1989-1996 46 70 7 3106 179 49.30 10 15 4 1997-2002 59 99 9 5705 217 63.38 21 20 6 2003-2009 54 92 11 3962 248* 48.91 11 18 4

Posted by Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui on (September 6, 2009, 11:11 GMT)

Dear Ananth, Nice article once again!

Brian Lara's career has three segments 1. In first 31 test matches in 52 innings, he scored 3048 runs with the help of 7 centuries and 16 half centuries with batting average 60.96.

2. Then in 49 test matches he scored 3485 runs with help of 8 centuries and 17 half centuries with batting average 40.05.

So in first 80 test matches he scored 6533 runs with the help of 15 centuries and 33 half centuries with batting average 47.68.

3. In his last 51 test matches in 91 innings, he scored 5420 runs with the help of 19 centuries and 15 half centuries with batting average 60.89.

Totally he scored 11953 runs with help of 34 centuries and 48 half centuries with batting average 52.88. He is excellent up to .24 of his test matches and then his career is below to his standard from .24 to .61 and then from .61 to onward excellent again.

It means that his career has two peaks and one decline and his .37 career is not up to his standard.

Posted by Arjun on (September 5, 2009, 14:50 GMT)

Dilip Vengsarkar has had longest sequence of 28 test innings during which he averaged over 100. From his 132nd inn upto 159th inn. he scored 1819 runs at an average of 101.05 (28 inn. 10 notouts). This is best after Bradman. Considering he averaged only 42.0 over his entire career that is a remarkable achievement.

Posted by Mradul on (September 5, 2009, 14:16 GMT)

Great Work Done! Really good analysis. One more idea coming to my mind was the batting average of some of our great Subcontinent batsmen outside the Subcontinent. I did a small analysis and found some interesting facts. Overall Average for M. Jayawardhene is around 53 which drops to 38 outside the subcontinent(28% drop) and similarly for Younis Khan it drops to around 40 (abt 21% drop). Similarly Mohd Yusuf's avg shoots upto 64 and Rahul Dravid avg goes around 57. We can do some similar analysis for players from Aus, Eng, SA and WI with their performances inside Subcontinent.

Posted by Venkat on (September 5, 2009, 14:09 GMT)

Anath: As a follow-up to my earlier query, I decided to try out statsguru for the first time on 3 players with results thus: Imran Khan - First 44 Tests 1651 runs @ 27.98 vs. next 44 Tests 2156 runs @ 51.33; in Bowling 195 wkts @ 24.74 vs 167 @ 20.55 (he became a part-time bowler from the mid-80s onwards)

Jimmy Adams: First 27 Tests 1963 runs @ 61.34 vs. IInd half 1049 runs @ 25.58

Lawrence Rowe: First 14 Tests: 1285 runs @ 67.63 vs last 16 762 runs @ 27.21.

Cheers, Venkat

Posted by Peter McCallum on (September 5, 2009, 13:53 GMT)

I know it was a little out of the qualification but Vettori has quite the split in his batting career. 1st half P 47 I 68 NO 10 Runs 1000 HS 90 Ave 17.24 2nd half P 47 I 73 NO 13 Runs 2492 HS 140 Av 41.53 [[ Peter This analysis was inspired by, I think, Deon's comments on Vettori. Unfortunately he falls far short of the qualification criteria. Maybe I will find a way to include batsmen like Vettori in my follow-up. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Venkat on (September 5, 2009, 13:36 GMT)

Ananth, this is a good analysis and I was surprised to see one notable exception in both batting and bowling - Imran Khan's statistics through about 1982 and after in both batting and bowling - I believe he averaged over 50 post-82, almost twice his pre-82 average and likewise his bowling average may be around 20 post-82 - would appreciate if you can analyze and give us your thoughts. Also, so long as this is not a disscetion into equal halves, Gary Sobers and Rohan Kanhai pre-1957 vs. post 1957. Thanks. [[ Venkat Imtran falls short in the runs criteria. However pl see my response to Peter on Vettori. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Arjun on (September 5, 2009, 12:56 GMT)

Instead of 52 tests consecutive strech, strech of 80 innings will be lot better. Only one batsman has scored more than 5000 runs in consectuive 80 innings other than Don bradman. Ricky ponting has scored 5052 runs in 80 innings from his 102nd test inning upto 181st. This is best after Bradman.

Kallis has best average of 76.41 in 80-innings strech. he has scored 4661 runs from his 82nd upto 161st innings. This is best after bradman. [[ Arjun If you have already created a table, as against putting in one-off queries, pl send me the table, in .txt format, for publication a la Jeff. Else I will do the work myself after couple of days. Thanks Ananth: ]]

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anantha Narayanan
Anantha spent the first half of his four-decade working career with corporates like IBM, Shaw Wallace, NCR, Sime Darby and the Spinneys group in IT-related positions. In the second half, he has worked on cricket simulation, ratings, data mining, analysis and writing, amongst other things. He was the creator of the Wisden 100 lists, released in 2001. He has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket, and worked extensively with Maruti Motors, Idea Cellular and Castrol on their performance ratings-related systems. He is an armchair connoisseur of most sports. His other passion is tennis, and he thinks Roger Federer is the greatest sportsman to have walked on earth.

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