June 9, 2011


Over the hill and climbing

Andy Zaltzman


The age at which Sri Lankan batsmen start reaching their prime. Five of the Sri Lankan top six in the current series are over 30 years of age - and they have higher Test averages, and faster scoring rates, since they turned 30 than they did in their 20s. Skipper Dilshan leads the way - in his 20s he averaged 36 with a strike rate of 56; the older, wiser Dilshan averages 53 with a strike rate of 79. Sangakkara in his twenties had figures of 54 and 55; in his 30s, these rise to 59 and 56; for Mahela Jayawardene the numbers are 48 and 52, inflating with age and experience to 65 and 53; the twentysomething Thilan Samaraweera's 41 average and 41 strike rate have shot up like a 1950s Russian spacedog to 70 and 55; whilst the younger Prasanna Jayawardene's figures of 24 and 45 are frankly ashamed to be seen on the same page as the 49 average and 59 strike rate he has registered since entering his fourth decade. The future looks very rosy indeed for the 29-year-old Tharanga Paranavitana, who is excitedly counting down the days until his next birthday.

Also: The number of times the average Pakistan captain resigns over the course of his career.

Also: The average elevation, in centimetres, by which MCC members' eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that next year's West Indies tour of England will not feature a Lord's Test, and will instead be played in, and (on this year's evidence) barely noticed by, Cardiff.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

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Andy Zaltzman
Andy Zaltzman was born in obscurity in 1974. He has been a sporadically-acclaimed stand-up comedian since 1999, and has appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4. He is currently one half of TimesOnline's hit satirical podcast The Bugle, alongside John Oliver. Zaltzman's love of cricket outshone his aptitude for the game by a humiliating margin. He once scored 6 in 75 minutes in an Under-15 match, and failed to hit a six between the ages of 9 and 23. He would have been ideally suited to Tests, had not a congenital defect left him unable to play the game to anything above genuine village standard. He writes the Confectionery Stall blog on Cricinfo.

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