Tests - bowling October 26, 2009

Analysing bowlers in Test wins

A few days back I posted an article on the runs scored by batsmen in winning cause

A few days back I posted an article on the runs scored by batsmen in winning cause. A number of comments were received which indicated that the batting averages in winning Tests is a very important indicator. I have done the work but will post the tables in a later article since I want to do justice to the bowlers. In fact the bowlers' analysis is as different from the batsmen analysis as chalk and cheese.

The reason is very simple and fundamental. Look at the following two Tests.

In 1932, Australia scored 153 runs in the match and WON.

South Africa:36 & 45.
Australia: 153.

In 1921, England scored 817 runs in the match and LOST.

Australia: 354 & 582.
England: 447 & 370.

The common thread running through these two extreme matches is that the winning team captured 20 wickets. This is the mandatory requirement of all wins, barring a few matches in which there might have been declarations or retired-hurt situations.

So I am going to take a somewhat different look at the bowlers' analysis. I have also been influenced by Unnikrishnan's excellent suggestion that the % runs should be calculated for each match, summed and averaged. I applied that to the bowler analysis. However let me inform Unni that there is almost no difference at all in the two ways of calculations since the team wickets is 20 for over 99% of the matches. There would obviously be a difference in batting because the total team runs in won matches vary a lot. I have also compared the bowling averages of bowlers, in winning causes, to the bowling averages of the other bowlers.

This time I have done a table of the top 25 for each of these analysis and a single team-based table, listing only the top-10 for each team. The full table is available through a link.

The criteria is simple. The bowler should have been involved in a minimum of 10 wins and captured over 100 wickets in their career.

1. Top 25 bowlers based on % of team wickets in wins

No Cty  Bowler            Mat Wins  Wkts  Wkts %-of-Wkts
Own  Team

1.Eng Barnes S.F 27 13 115 260 44.23 2.Slk Muralitharan M 129 53 430 1060 40.57 3.Nzl Hadlee R.J 86 22 173 440 39.32 4.Aus Grimmett C.V 37 20 143 400 35.75 5.Ind Chandrasekhar B.S 58 14 98 276 35.71 6.Saf Steyn D.W 33 18 124 360 34.44 7.Saf Tayfield H.J 37 11 74 220 33.64 8.Ind Kumble A 132 43 284 860 33.02 9.Aus Lillee D.K 70 31 203 618 32.80 10.Aus O'Reilly W.J 27 14 91 279 32.61 11.Eng Fraser A.R.C 46 12 78 240 32.50 12.Eng Peel R 20 12 78 240 32.50 13.Eng Lohmann G.A 18 15 94 300 31.33 14.Aus McKenzie G.D 60 18 112 360 31.11 15.Eng Gough D 58 18 105 342 30.83 16.Pak Imran Khan 88 26 155 520 29.81 17.Win Marshall M.D 81 43 254 857 29.62 18.Win Ramadhin S 43 13 76 260 29.23 19.Ind Bedi B.S 67 17 97 336 28.90 20.Win Croft C.E.H 27 10 57 200 28.50 21.Pak Waqar Younis 87 39 222 780 28.46 22.Saf Donald A.A 72 33 187 660 28.33 23.Eng Caddick A.R 62 21 114 402 28.27 24.Aus Davidson A.K 44 16 89 320 27.81 25.Aus Trumble H 32 14 77 280 27.50

Let us give Barnes his place at the top. That is to be expected, considering that he captured 7 wickets per Test which became nearly 9 per Test in won matches. Muralitharan and Hadlee's high +-40% is to be expected considering that they were the leading bowlers for their respectiove teams, by a wide margin. Grimmett is also to be expected. This single position is also enough to show the contribution that Chandrasekhar has made for Indian cricket. Steyn is fast emerging as one of the great bowlers. Then come the two great spinners, Tayfield and Kumble. Lillee's 6.5 wickets per Test for a strong Australia is a revelation. The top-10 is rounded off by O'Reilly, the other great leg spinner of the 1920s.

The top-10 has 6 spinners. Also 6 modern bowlers appear in these positions.

To view the complete list, please click here.

2. Top 5 bowlers for each country based on % of team wickets in wins

Cty  Bowler            Mat Wins  Wkts  Wkts %-of-Wkts
Own  Team

Aus Grimmett C.V 37 20 143 400 35.75 Aus Lillee D.K 70 31 203 618 32.80 Aus O'Reilly W.J 27 14 91 279 32.61 Aus McKenzie G.D 60 18 112 360 31.11 Aus Davidson A.K 44 16 89 320 27.81 ... Eng Barnes S.F 27 13 115 260 44.23 Eng Fraser A.R.C 46 12 78 240 32.50 Eng Peel R 20 12 78 240 32.50 Eng Lohmann G.A 18 15 94 300 31.33 Eng Gough D 58 18 105 342 30.83 ... Ind Chandrasekhar B.S 58 14 98 276 35.71 Ind Kumble A 132 43 284 860 33.02 Ind Bedi B.S 67 17 97 336 28.90 Ind Harbhajan Singh 77 31 168 619 27.13 Ind Prasanna E.A.S 49 15 81 300 27.00 ... Nzl Hadlee R.J 86 22 173 440 39.32 Nzl Martin C.S 50 12 59 240 24.58 Nzl Cairns C.L 62 16 76 320 23.75 Nzl Chatfield E.J 43 12 52 240 21.67 Nzl Cairns B.L 43 12 48 240 20.00 ... Pak Imran Khan 88 26 155 520 29.81 Pak Waqar Younis 87 39 222 780 28.46 Pak Wasim Akram 104 41 211 820 25.73 Pak Danish Kaneria 54 21 108 420 25.71 Pak Shoaib Akhtar 46 20 99 400 24.75 ... Saf Steyn D.W 33 18 124 360 34.44 Saf Tayfield H.J 37 11 74 220 33.64 Saf Donald A.A 72 33 187 660 28.33 Saf Ntini M 99 50 233 1000 23.30 Saf Pollock P.M 28 10 46 200 23.00 ... Slk Muralitharan M 129 53 430 1060 40.57 Slk Vaas WPUJC 111 43 166 860 19.30 ... Win Marshall M.D 81 43 254 857 29.62 Win Ramadhin S 43 13 76 260 29.23 Win Croft C.E.H 27 10 57 200 28.50 Win Roberts A.M.E 47 21 110 420 26.19 Win Ambrose C.E.L 98 44 229 878 26.12

The list is elf-explanatory. The Indian top-5 are all spinners. Quite surprising is the presence of Ramadhin amongst great West Indian fast bowlers and the very high placing of Fraser, McKenzie and Kaneria.

To view the complete list, please click here.

3. Top 25 bowlers based on Ratio of bowling average in wins

No Cty  Bowler           Wkts  <-Wins Bow Avge-> Ratio
Team   Own Others

1.Eng Fraser A.R.C 78 24.20 16.53 27.90 1.69 2.Nzl Hadlee R.J 173 18.38 13.07 21.82 1.67 3.Pak Imran Khan 155 20.16 14.50 22.56 1.56 4.Eng Barnes S.F 115 17.71 13.58 20.98 1.54 5.Slk Muralitharan M 430 20.57 16.04 23.66 1.47 6.Saf Steyn D.W 124 21.33 16.68 23.77 1.43 7.Pak Shoaib Akhtar 99 21.78 17.52 23.19 1.32 8.Eng Briggs J 84 16.01 13.01 16.86 1.30 9.Aus Davidson A.K 89 19.52 16.04 20.86 1.30 10.Aus McKenzie G.D 112 23.47 19.49 25.27 1.30 11.Eng Underwood D.L 123 18.65 15.19 19.67 1.30 12.Aus O'Reilly W.J 91 17.84 14.96 19.23 1.29 13.Aus Lillee D.K 203 21.56 18.27 23.18 1.27 14.Win Gibbs L.R 154 22.93 19.17 24.23 1.26 15.Saf Goddard T.L 47 23.03 19.09 24.10 1.26 16.Eng Verity H 71 20.01 16.65 20.97 1.26 17.Eng Lohmann G.A 94 11.21 9.67 11.91 1.23 18.Ind Pathan I.K 66 23.70 20.26 24.88 1.23 19.Eng Peel R 78 16.97 14.67 18.07 1.23 20.Aus Grimmett C.V 143 19.99 17.60 21.32 1.21 21.Aus Trumble H 77 20.79 18.00 21.85 1.21 22.Eng Bedser A.V 74 20.09 17.54 21.04 1.20 23.Ind Kumble A 284 21.18 18.71 22.40 1.20 24.Saf Pollock P.M 46 22.86 19.83 23.77 1.20 25.Win Croft C.E.H 57 19.39 17.12 20.29 1.18

I have ordered this table on the ratio of own wickets average to other bowlers wicket average in won matches. Fraser is on top having outr=performed his peers in won matches by 69%. I am not able to expplain this other than possibly the relatively weaker English attacks. Hadlee is next. However note the stunning contributions made by Imran Khan in their wins, over 55% better. Muralitharan, is next. Shoaib Akhtar comes into the top-10 as also the great left arm fast bowler, davidson.

Note the low averages by the concerned bowlers in wins. No doubt these figures would be influenced, partly, by the outstanding analysis against weaker teams. But neither Fraser nor Hadlee had one easy match in their careers.

To view the complete list, please click here.

4. Top 5 bowlers for each country based on Ratio of bowling average in wins

Cty  Bowler           Wkts  <-Wins Bow Avge-> Ratio
Wins  Team   Own Others

Aus Davidson A.K 89 19.52 16.04 20.86 1.30 Aus McKenzie G.D 112 23.47 19.49 25.27 1.30 Aus O'Reilly W.J 91 17.84 14.96 19.23 1.29 Aus Lillee D.K 203 21.56 18.27 23.18 1.27 Aus Grimmett C.V 143 19.99 17.60 21.32 1.21 ... Eng Fraser A.R.C 78 24.20 16.53 27.90 1.69 Eng Barnes S.F 115 17.71 13.58 20.98 1.54 Eng Briggs J 84 16.01 13.01 16.86 1.30 Eng Underwood D.L 123 18.65 15.19 19.67 1.30 Eng Verity H 71 20.01 16.65 20.97 1.26 ... Ind Pathan I.K 66 23.70 20.26 24.88 1.23 Ind Kumble A 284 21.18 18.71 22.40 1.20 Ind Bedi B.S 97 19.43 17.66 20.14 1.14 Ind Chandrasekhar B.S 98 20.83 19.28 21.69 1.13 Ind Prasanna E.A.S 81 19.04 17.62 19.57 1.11 ... Nzl Hadlee R.J 173 18.38 13.07 21.82 1.67 Nzl Cairns C.L 76 21.35 20.20 21.70 1.07 Nzl Bracewell J.G 35 19.54 19.29 19.59 1.02 Nzl Chatfield E.J 52 18.39 19.00 18.22 0.96 Nzl Vettori D.L 109 19.07 21.40 18.52 0.87 ... Pak Imran Khan 155 20.16 14.50 22.56 1.56 Pak Shoaib Akhtar 99 21.78 17.52 23.19 1.32 Pak Waqar Younis 222 19.84 18.21 20.49 1.13 Pak Sarfraz Nawaz 75 21.47 20.52 21.76 1.06 Pak Wasim Akram 211 18.63 18.49 18.68 1.01 ... Saf Steyn D.W 124 21.33 16.68 23.77 1.43 Saf Goddard T.L 47 23.03 19.09 24.10 1.26 Saf Pollock P.M 46 22.86 19.83 23.77 1.20 Saf Tayfield H.J 74 20.98 18.85 22.05 1.17 Saf Donald A.A 187 18.77 16.80 19.56 1.16 ... Slk Muralitharan M 430 20.57 16.04 23.66 1.47 Slk Vaas WPUJC 166 20.20 22.64 19.62 0.87 ... Win Gibbs L.R 154 22.93 19.17 24.23 1.26 Win Croft C.E.H 57 19.39 17.12 20.29 1.18 Win Marshall M.D 254 18.70 16.79 19.50 1.16 Win Ambrose C.E.L 229 18.66 16.86 19.29 1.14 Win Ramadhin S 76 19.08 17.80 19.61 1.10

The table is self-explanatory. Note the vast difference between Muralitharan, Hadlee and their support bowlers. Also Gibbs leads the West Indian list.

To view the complete list, please click here.

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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