December 5, 2011

Five-wicket hauls in Tests: a look across and deep - part one

Part one of a detailed statistical analysis of five-wicket hauls in Tests
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Michael Holding: 14 wickets on a flat track at The Oval in 1976 Hulton Archive / © Getty Images

There is a tendency to ignore the bowlers in Test cricket. I myself am guilty of this and do not allocate equal time and effort for these forgotten species. This time I have decided to make amends by doing the article on fifers in Test cricket immediately after I finished the one on Test hundreds.

First, the term used. Let me reproduce the Wikipedia entry below.

Five-wicket haul (also Five-for, five-fer, fifer, or shortened to 5WI or FWI)


Five or more wickets taken by a bowler in an innings, considered a very good performance. The term fifer is an abbreviation of the usual form of writing bowling statistics, e.g. a bowler who takes 5 wickets and concedes 117 runs is said to have figures of "5 for 117" or "5-117". Sometimes called a "Michelle", after actress Michelle Pfeiffer.

I like the term "Fifer". However since that also refers to the foot-soldier who plays the "Fife", the Scottish flute, I am somewhat reluctant. "Pfeiffer" would be injudicious. I am not too comfortable with "Five-for", being slightly contrived and seemingly incomplete. So I will stick with "fifer", a single non-hyphenated (!!!) word and my favourite. Much better than "DLF maximum" or "Karbonn Kamaal Katch".

Some maxims have to be repeated in EVERY article since quite a few readers have a one-track mind and see what only they want to see. This is not a Bowling Ratings article. The ordering is based on an indicated measure and is visible to the reader clearly. Do not draw any unintended inferences and come out with comments based on those. There is no personal discretion involved other than setting up the parameters. In view of the size of the articles and number of tables, I have kept my narratives to a minimum.

Test Bowling is a fascinating subject. It is far more nuanced that Batting when it comes to analysis.

- The number of wickets in an innings is strictly limited to 10.
- Bowling successes are very clearly defined and measurable in terms of wickets (who and when) and accuracy.
- Bowling is three-dimensional: balls, runs and wickets. These three dimension-related values are available for all bowling spells. (Batting is also three-dimensional: runs, time, balls. Unfortunately only runs information is available for all matches.)
- Batsmen win and save matches. Bowlers, almost always, win matches. They rarely draw matches, a la Atherton, Hanif et al. But you will be surprised: wait for the next article !!! A great ODI team can be founded on top-class batting and average bowling, not a great Test team.
- 5 batsmen can score hundreds in an innings, and have done so. Only two bowlers can capture 5 wickets each in an innings.

All these nuances lead to a more exciting analysis of fifers.

It took me nearly a week to think of all possibilities, write the program, prepare the tables and then weave the article around the tables. I did so much work on the keyboard that my legs (yes, you read it correctly) started aching. This turned out to be the longest article I had ever done, barring none. So I decided to release this in two parts. This will also enable me to do some specialized requests and add those tables. At the end of the article, I have indicated the types of analysis which have been included in Part 2. Even now, the current article has been exceeded in size by only one article, the one published last, on Special hundreds.

A note on the tables. I have standardized the presentation to have the first 14 columns common. These are self-explanatory. I have shown Home/Away (H/A), Bowling Type (S for spinners), innings bowled in and Result (W for Win, = for draw and * for loss).

First the basic table. I did not do this for the hundreds. However it is necessary to start with this table in the bowling analysis since many readers may not be familiar with all these performances.

1. 9+ wicket bowling performances in Tests


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R

0428 1956 Eng Aus-205/10 H Laker J.C S 3 51.2-23- 53-10 W 1443 1999 Ind Pak-207/10 H Kumble A S 4 26.3- 9- 74-10 W 0048 1896 Eng Saf-151/10 A Lohmann G.A 2 12.0- 6- 28- 9 W 0428 1956 Eng Aus- 84/10 H Laker J.C S 2 16.4- 4- 37- 9 W 1583 2002 Slk Zim-236/10 H Muralitharan M S 1 40.0-19- 51- 9 W 1029 1985 Nzl Aus-179/10 A Hadlee R.J 1 23.4- 4- 52- 9 W 1081 1987 Pak Eng-175/10 H Abdul Qadir S 1 37.0-13- 56- 9 W 1266 1994 Eng Saf-175/10 H Malcolm D.E 3 16.3- 2- 57- 9 W 1423 1998 Slk Eng-181/10 A Muralitharan M S 3 54.2-27- 65- 9 W 0483 1959 Ind Aus-219/10 H Patel J.M S 2 35.5-16- 69- 9 W 0967 1983 Ind Win-201/10 H Kapil Dev N 3 30.3- 6- 83- 9 * 0849 1979 Pak Aus-310/10 A Sarfraz Nawaz 4 47.2- 7- 86- 9 W 0683 1971 Win Ind-352/10 H Noreiga J.M S 2 49.4-16- 95- 9 * 0461 1958 Ind Win-222/10 H Gupte S.P S 1 34.3-11-102- 9 * 0131 1913 Eng Saf-231/10 A Barnes S.F 3 38.4- 7-103- 9 W 0437 1957 Saf Eng-214/10 H Tayfield H.J S 4 49.2-11-113- 9 W 0138 1921 Aus Eng-315/10 H Mailey A.A S 3 47.0- 8-121- 9 W


I have limited this to bowling spells in which the bowler captured 9 or more wickets. Only twice have bowlers captured all 10 wickets. Jim Laker's feat came 79 years and 427 Tests after Alfred Shaw bowled the first ball to Charles Bannerman. Anil Kumble's feat came a further 1015 Tests and 43 years after Laker dismissed Len Maddocks. I wonder how many years would pass before this happens again: let me say, around 2050.

Laker had another 9-wicket haul, in the same match. Muttiah Muralitharan is the only other bowler to capture 9-wkts in an innings twice. Quite surprisingly, the three spinners, Muralitharan, Abdul Qadir and Subhash Gupte, captured 9 wickets on the first day. Another wonderful spinner, Hugh Tayfield's 9 for 113 was adjudged to be the best ever bowling performance in the Wisden-100 analysis. More of this performance later. Kapil Dev, Gupte and Jack Noreiga all captured 9-wickets in an innings, in vain. Surely let us all agree that no one, I repeat no one, in the next 1000 years, if Test cricket survives that far, would capture all 20 wickets in a match.

Now for something I think is very important, performance away from home.

2. Wonderful performances, away from home


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R

0048 1896 Eng Saf-151/10 A Lohmann G.A 2 12.0- 6- 28- 9 W 1029 1985 Nzl Aus-179/10 A Hadlee R.J 1 23.4- 4- 52- 9 W 1423 1998 Slk Eng-181/10 A Muralitharan M S 3 54.2-27- 65- 9 W 0849 1979 Pak Aus-310/10 A Sarfraz Nawaz 4 47.2- 7- 86- 9 W 0131 1913 Eng Saf-231/10 A Barnes S.F 3 38.4- 7-103- 9 W 0047 1896 Eng Saf- 30/10 A Lohmann G.A 4 8.1- 5- 7- 8 W 0032 1889 Eng Saf- 43/10 A Briggs J S 3 9.4- 5- 11- 8 W 0104 1909 Aus Eng-119/10 A Laver F 2 18.2- 7- 31- 8 = 0026 1887 Eng Aus- 84/10 A Lohmann G.A 2 16.4-12- 35- 8 W 1370 1997 Aus Eng- 77/10 A McGrath G.D 1 20.3- 8- 38- 8 = 1398 1998 Eng Win-191/10 A Fraser A.R.C 2 16.1- 2- 53- 8 * 0699 1972 Aus Eng-116/10 A Massie R.A.L 3 27.2- 9- 53- 8 W 0131 1913 Eng Saf-160/10 A Barnes S.F 1 26.5- 9- 56- 8 W 0036 1892 Eng Aus-145/10 A Lohmann G.A 1 43.2-18- 58- 8 * 1341 1996 Saf Ind-137/10 A Klusener L 4 21.3- 4- 64- 8 W 0074 1902 Aus Eng-183/10 A Trumble H S 2 31.0-13- 65- 8 * 0079 1904 Eng Aus-111/10 A Rhodes W S 4 15.0- 0- 68- 8 W 0863 1979 Pak Ind-126/10 A Sikander Bakht 2 21.0- 3- 69- 8 = 1804 2006 Slk Eng-190/10 A Muralitharan M S 4 30.0-11- 70- 8 W 1307 1995 Saf Zim-283/10 A Donald A.A 3 33.0-12- 71- 8 W 1258 1994 Eng Win-304/10 A Fraser A.R.C 2 28.5- 7- 75- 8 W 0769 1976 Ind Nzl-215/10 A Prasanna E.A.S S 3 30.4- 5- 76- 8 W 0082 1904 Eng Aus-247/10 A Braund L.C S 1 29.1- 6- 81- 8 * 1027 1985 Slk Pak-259/10 A Ratnayeke J.R 2 23.2- 5- 83- 8 * 0699 1972 Aus Eng-272/10 A Massie R.A.L 1 32.5- 7- 84- 8 W 0947 1983 Ind Pak-323/10 A Kapil Dev N 1 30.5- 7- 85- 8 = 0738 1974 Eng Win-305/10 A Greig A.W 2 36.1-10- 86- 8 W 0781 1976 Win Eng-435/10 A Holding M.A 2 33.0- 9- 92- 8 W 0057 1898 Eng Aus-239/10 A Richardson T 2 36.1- 7- 94- 8 * 0323 1950 Win Eng-312/10 A Valentine A.L S 1 50.0-14-104- 8 * 1032 1985 Ind Aus-381/10 A Kapil Dev N 1 38.0- 6-106- 8 = 1797 2006 Aus Bng-427/10 A MacGill S.C.G S 1 33.3- 2-108- 8 W 0179 1929 Eng Aus-336/10 A White J.C S 4 64.5-21-126- 8 W 1020 1985 Aus Eng-482/ 9 A McDermott C.J 2 36.0- 3-141- 8 = 1680 2004 Ind Aus-474/10 A Kumble A S 2 46.5- 7-141- 8 = 1892 2008 Aus Ind-441/10 A Krejza J.J 1 43.5- 1-215- 8 *


In view of the importance of this classification, I have lowered the cut-off to 8 wicket captures at the risk of going beyond my self-imposed limit of 25 table entries. The table is ordered by the bowling performance.

George Lohmann, on those uncovered pitches of yonder, crossed 8 wickets mark no fewer than four times. Quite a few achieved this twice. Barnes, Fraser, Kapil Dev, Massie (in the same match) and Muralitharan. The 9-wicket captures of Hadlee, Muralitharan and Sarfraz Nawaz are probably the pick of the lot, all resulting in winning matches. Sarfraz, to boot, in the last innings. The last time this was done, was by an off-spinner on a baptism debut of fire in India.

Now for some special selections. The bowlers who captured the top-six batsmen.

3. Bowling spells in which top six wickets are captured - 1


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R BA-T Avge

0235 1934 Aus Eng-627/ 9 A O'Reilly W.J S 1 59.0- 9-189- 7 = 297 49.5 0461 1958 Ind Win-222/10 H Gupte S.P S 1 34.3-11-102- 9 * 262 43.7 1804 2006 Slk Eng-190/10 A Muralitharan M S 4 30.0-11- 70- 8 W 258 43.1 0990 1984 Eng Win-245/10 H Botham I.T 2 27.4- 6-103- 8 * 256 42.6 0754 1975 Eng Aus-304/10 A Underwood D.L S 1 38.4- 3-113- 7 * 254 42.3 1110 1988 Aus Win-349/ 9 H Hughes M.G 3 37.0- 9- 87- 8 * 254 42.3 1443 1999 Ind Pak-207/10 H Kumble A S 4 26.3- 9- 74-10 W 250 41.7 0913 1981 Aus Pak-500/ 8 H Yardley B S 1 66.0-16-187- 7 * 248 41.3 1726 2004 Aus Pak- 72/10 H McGrath G.D 4 16.0- 8- 24- 8 W 244 40.7 1028 1985 Slk Pak-295/10 A de Mel A.L.F 2 22.0- 1-109- 6 * 240 40.0 0765 1975 Win Aus-169/10 A Roberts A.M.E 3 18.4- 3- 54- 7 W 235 39.2 1029 1985 Nzl Aus-179/10 A Hadlee R.J 1 23.4- 4- 52- 9 W 234 39.0 1513 2000 Pak Eng-480/ 8 H Saqlain Mushtaq S 1 74.0-20-164- 8 = 234 39.0 1377 1997 Aus Eng-180/10 A McGrath G.D 1 21.0- 4- 76- 7 * 221 36.8 0428 1956 Eng Aus-205/10 H Laker J.C S 3 51.2-23- 53-10 W 213 35.4 0975 1984 Nzl Eng-463/10 H Cairns B.L 2 45.0-10-143- 7 = 212 35.4 0788 1976 Eng Ind-122/10 A Lever J.K 2 23.0- 6- 46- 7 W 207 34.5 0083 1905 Eng Aus-188/10 H Bosanquet B.J.T S 4 32.4- 2-107- 8 W 197 32.8 1525 2000 Aus Win-109/10 H Gillespie J.N 4 17.0- 5- 40- 6 W 189 31.4 0323 1950 Win Eng-312/10 A Valentine A.L S 1 50.0-14-104- 8 * 185 30.8 1583 2002 Slk Zim-236/10 H Muralitharan M S 1 40.0-19- 51- 9 W 180 30.0 1878 2008 Eng Nzl-123/10 H Anderson J.M 2 21.3- 8- 43- 7 W 165 27.6 0131 1913 Eng Saf-160/10 A Barnes S.F 1 26.5- 9- 56- 8 W 157 26.2 0424 1956 Win Nzl-157/ 9 A Atkinson D.S.t.E S 3 40.0-21- 53- 7 * 145 24.1 0039 1893 Eng Aus-269/10 H Lockwood W.H 2 37.3-11-101- 6 = 133 22.2


This table is ordered by the average of the batting averages of the six batsmen dismissed. O'Reilly dismissed Walters, Sutcliffe, Wyatt, Hammond, Hendren and Leyland, two of these on either side of 60.0. An imposing collection indeed. Gupte accounted for Holt, Hunte, Sobers, Kanhai, OG Smith and Butcher. Muralitharan dismissed Trescothick, Strauss, Cook, Pietersen, Collingwood and Flintoff.

One cannot keep these two greats out. Muralitharan and McGrath are the only bowlers to do this twice in their career. Now for another view of the same group.

4. Bowling spells in which top six wickets are captured - 2


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R Runs

1525 2000 Aus Win-109/10 H Gillespie J.N 4 17.0- 5- 40- 6 W 14 1726 2004 Aus Pak- 72/10 H McGrath G.D 4 16.0- 8- 24- 8 W 55 0131 1913 Eng Saf-160/10 A Barnes S.F 1 26.5- 9- 56- 8 W 73 0461 1958 Ind Win-222/10 H Gupte S.P S 1 34.3-11-102- 9 * 86 1878 2008 Eng Nzl-123/10 H Anderson J.M 2 21.3- 8- 43- 7 W 86 0788 1976 Eng Ind-122/10 A Lever J.K 2 23.0- 6- 46- 7 W 94 0424 1956 Win Nzl-157/ 9 A Atkinson D.S.t.E S 3 40.0-21- 53- 7 * 95 1804 2006 Slk Eng-190/10 A Muralitharan M S 4 30.0-11- 70- 8 W 106 0323 1950 Win Eng-312/10 A Valentine A.L S 1 50.0-14-104- 8 * 110 0765 1975 Win Aus-169/10 A Roberts A.M.E 3 18.4- 3- 54- 7 W 115 1377 1997 Aus Eng-180/10 A McGrath G.D 1 21.0- 4- 76- 7 * 115 0039 1893 Eng Aus-269/10 H Lockwood W.H 2 37.3-11-101- 6 = 119 1443 1999 Ind Pak-207/10 H Kumble A S 4 26.3- 9- 74-10 W 119 0754 1975 Eng Aus-304/10 A Underwood D.L S 1 38.4- 3-113- 7 * 122 1583 2002 Slk Zim-236/10 H Muralitharan M S 1 40.0-19- 51- 9 W 130 0083 1905 Eng Aus-188/10 H Bosanquet B.J.T S 4 32.4- 2-107- 8 W 137 0990 1984 Eng Win-245/10 H Botham I.T 2 27.4- 6-103- 8 * 142 1029 1985 Nzl Aus-179/10 A Hadlee R.J 1 23.4- 4- 52- 9 W 144 1028 1985 Slk Pak-295/10 A de Mel A.L.F 2 22.0- 1-109- 6 * 156 0428 1956 Eng Aus-205/10 H Laker J.C S 3 51.2-23- 53-10 W 160 0975 1984 Nzl Eng-463/10 H Cairns B.L 2 45.0-10-143- 7 = 239 1110 1988 Aus Win-349/ 9 H Hughes M.G 3 37.0- 9- 87- 8 * 247 1513 2000 Pak Eng-480/ 8 H Saqlain Mushtaq S 1 74.0-20-164- 8 = 288 0913 1981 Aus Pak-500/ 8 H Yardley B S 1 66.0-16-187- 7 * 388 0235 1934 Aus Eng-627/ 9 A O'Reilly W.J S 1 59.0- 9-189- 7 = 404


This table has been ordered by the aggregate of runs scored by the top six batsmen dismissed by the bowler. This is an indication of the mayhem which was caused by the bowler.

Gillespie's decimation of the West Indian top order, including Brian Lara, reads like this: 6, 0, 4, 0, 4, 0. Looks like a telephone number or a T20 over. See how far ahead Gillespie is of McGrath, whose numbers are 9, 1, 17, 27, 1, 0. Spare a thought for O'Reilly, who was first in the previous classification and is now last. The top six English batsmen scored 52, 63, 0, 4, 132, 153.

Now the bowlers who out-performed their compatriots hundreds of times, okay by more than 12.5 times.

5. Bowling out-performers: many times the rest of the team


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R BAvg TAvg Ratio

1630 2002 Win Bng- 87/10 A Lawson J.J.C 3 6.5- 4- 3- 6 W 0.5 18.2 36.5 1720 2004 Aus Ind-205/10 A Clarke M.J S 3 6.2- 0- 9- 6 * 1.5 48.0 32.0 0290 1947 Aus Ind- 58/10 H Toshack E.R.H 2 3.1- 1- 2- 5 W 0.4 10.8 27.0 0799 1977 Win Pak-180/10 H Croft C.E.H 1 18.5- 7- 29- 8 W 3.6 68.0 18.8 0348 1952 Ind Eng-266/10 H Mankad M.H S 1 38.5-15- 55- 8 W 6.9 100.0 14.5 0527 1962 Win Ind-187/10 H Gibbs L.R S 3 53.3-37- 38- 8 W 4.8 67.5 14.2 1210 1993 Aus Win-146/10 H May T.B.A S 3 6.5- 3- 9- 5 * 1.8 24.6 13.7 0294 1948 Aus Ind-277/10 H Lindwall R.R 3 22.1- 4- 38- 7 W 5.4 72.3 13.3 1899 2008 Aus Saf-281/10 H Johnson M.G 2 24.0- 4- 61- 8 * 7.6 101.5 13.3 0781 1976 Win Eng-435/10 A Holding M.A 2 33.0- 9- 92- 8 W 11.5 151.5 13.2 0047 1896 Eng Saf- 30/10 A Lohmann G.A 4 8.1- 5- 7- 8 W 0.9 11.5 13.1 0823 1978 Win Aus-290/10 H Holder V.A 2 13.0- 4- 28- 6 W 4.7 61.2 13.1 1275 1994 Aus Eng-323/10 H Warne S.K S 4 50.2-22- 71- 8 W 8.9 113.0 12.7 0129 1912 Aus Eng-175/10 A Hazlitt G.R S 3 21.4- 8- 25- 7 * 3.6 45.0 12.6 0743 1974 Eng Pak-226/10 H Underwood D.L S 3 34.5-17- 51- 8 = 6.4 80.0 12.5


Jermaine Lawson's 6 for 3 had an average of 0.5. His fellow bowlers captured 4 for 73 and the out-performance ratio is a whopping 36.5. Clarke's equally amazing 6 for 9 had an out-performer ratio of 32.0 and Ernie Toshack's unbelievable spell of 5 for 2 against India, ended with a ratio of 27.0. These three are bizarre performances.

Colin Croft's is a genuine case of out-performance. 8 for 29 against 2 for 136, resulting in a ratio of 18.8. Mankad, the peerless Indian all-rounder captured 8 for 55 against 2 for 200. Shane Warne's 8 for 71 against 2 for 226 is an all-time classic. One would have expected Muralitharan present in this table. However he appears quite a few times in earlier tables but not in this one.

Please note that this table should be looked in conjunction with the 17 bowlers in Table 1. Those 14 bowlers who capture 10 and 9 wickets almost always become out-performers.

Next is an important variation of the top order wicket captures.

6. Based on difference between batting average and runs scored


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R T7W Diff Avg

1906 2009 Win Eng- 51/10 H Taylor J.E 3 9.0- 4- 11- 5 W 5 216 43.3 1756 2005 Aus Eng-155/10 A McGrath G.D 2 18.0- 5- 53- 5 W 5 193 38.6 1971 2010 Pak Eng-446/10 A Mohammad Aamer 1 28.0- 6- 84- 6 * 5 190 38.0 1974 2010 Nzl Ind-266/10 A Martin C.S 3 27.0- 8- 63- 5 = 5 190 38.0 2016 2011 Aus Saf- 96/10 A Watson S.R 2 5.0- 2- 17- 5 * 5 183 36.6 1931 2009 Eng Aus-160/10 H Broad S.C.J 2 12.0- 1- 37- 5 W 5 179 35.8 0652 1969 Nzl Win-417/10 H Motz R.C 1 36.0- 3-113- 5 = 5 177 35.3 1615 2002 Pak Aus-127/10 A Shoaib Akhtar 3 8.0- 2- 21- 5 * 4 181 45.3 0755 1975 Eng Aus-152/10 A Lever P 1 14.4- 2- 38- 6 W 4 175 43.8 1278 1994 Win Ind-114/10 A Benjamin K.C.G 4 17.0- 3- 65- 5 W 4 171 42.8 1104 1988 Pak Aus-165/10 H Iqbal Qasim S 2 39.0-24- 35- 5 W 4 166 41.6 0303 1948 Eng Aus-389/10 H Hollies W.E S 2 56.0-14-131- 5 * 4 165 41.3 0255 1936 Eng Aus- 58/10 A Allen G.O.B 4 8.0- 0- 36- 5 W 4 164 41.0 1823 2006 Ind Saf- 84/10 A Sreesanth S 2 10.0- 3- 40- 5 W 4 163 40.7


This is based on the dismissals of top-7 batsmen. The bowlers who captured at least 4 wickets are considered. For each such bowler, I have compiled the sum of the difference between the batting average and the runs scored by the batsman. This has been averaged and we get the notional runs saved. This table lists the bowlers whose average runs saved value is greater than 35/40 depending on whether the bowler captured 5/4 wickets.

Jerome Taylor's once-in-a-lifetime effort of 5 for 15 is on top. He dismissed Strauss (9), Cook (0), Pietersen (1), Collingwood (1) and Prior (0). The total batting average of these five batsmen was 227.5 and the saved runs average worked out to 43.3.

McGrath captured the wickets of Trescothick (4), Strauss (2), Vaughan (3), Bell (6) and Flintoff (0). The total of batting averages for these five comes to 208, leading to a runs saved value of 38.6. Shoaib Akhtar dismissed Ponting (7), M.Waugh( (0), S.Waugh (0) and Gilchrist (5). The total batting average was 192.5, leading to a runs saved value of 45.3. Shoaib Akhtar's and McGrath's performances were also away.

Martin's was during the 15 for 5 debacle of India and Watson's was on that manic November Thursday at Newlands.

Let us now look at bowling performances in bat-fests. The match RpW value here applies to the top-7 batsmen only.

7. Bowling performances in matches with high RpW values: > 50.0


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R MatRpW

0781 1976 Win Eng-435/10 A Holding M.A 2 33.0- 9- 92- 8 W 50.2 1680 2004 Ind Aus-474/10 A Kumble A S 2 46.5- 7-141- 8 = 60.2 0416 1955 Ind Nzl-326/10 H Gupte S.P S 2 76.4-35-128- 7 = 54.5 0564 1964 Aus Eng-611/10 A McKenzie G.D 2 60.0-15-153- 7 = 66.9 0235 1934 Aus Eng-627/ 9 A O'Reilly W.J S 1 59.0- 9-189- 7 = 54.5 1981 2010 Aus Eng-260/10 H Siddle P.M S 1 16.0- 3- 54- 6 = 52.5 0781 1976 Win Eng-203/10 A Holding M.A 4 20.4- 6- 57- 6 W 50.2 0404 1955 Aus Win-382/10 A Lindwall R.R 1 24.5- 3- 95- 6 = 52.3 1981 2010 Eng Aus-481/10 A Finn S.T 2 33.4- 1-125- 6 = 52.5 1831 2007 Eng Win-437/10 H Panesar M.S S 2 36.1- 3-129- 6 = 50.5 1810 2006 Slk Saf-434/10 H Muralitharan M S 3 64.0-11-131- 6 W 52.3 1912 2009 Pak Slk-606/10 H Umar Gul 1 37.0- 2-135- 6 = 59.7 0450 1958 Win Pak-328/10 H Atkinson E.S.t.E 1 21.0- 7- 42- 5 W 56.2 0274 1939 Win Eng-352/10 A Constantine L.N 1 23.1- 2- 75- 5 = 50.7 1681 2004 Saf Win-427/10 H Nel A 2 28.1- 8- 87- 5 = 53.2 1816 2006 Win Pak-357/10 A Taylor J.E 1 26.0- 6- 91- 5 = 50.3 1303 1995 Win Eng-454/10 A Ambrose C.E.L 1 42.0-10- 96- 5 = 59.5 1034 1986 Ind Aus-396/10 A Yadav N.S S 2 62.3-21- 99- 5 = 53.1 0271 1939 Eng Saf-530/10 A Perks R.T.D 1 54.4- 5-100- 5 = 56.6 1891 2008 Ind Aus-577/10 H Sehwag V S 2 40.0- 9-104- 5 = 52.9 1148 1990 Eng Ind-454/10 H Fraser A.R.C 2 39.1- 9-104- 5 W 51.7 1614 2002 Ind Eng-515/10 A Harbhajan Singh S 1 38.4- 6-115- 5 = 51.7 0744 1974 Pak Eng-545/10 A Intikhab Alam S 2 51.4-14-116- 5 = 53.9 1850 2007 Ind Pak-456/10 H Harbhajan Singh S 2 45.5- 9-122- 5 = 54.4 1911 2009 Eng Win-749/ 9 A Swann G.P 2 50.4- 8-165- 5 = 81.4


These are heart-breakers. However most of these performances have been in drawn matches, as the qualification criteria suggests. The stand-out performance is Michael Holding's 8 for 92 and 6 for 57 on an Oval shirt-front pitch, possibly the greatest match bowling performance ever. He, almost certainly more than Viv Richards, was responsible for the fine West Indian win. Harbhajan Singh has held his own on the flat wickets twice, the only bowler to do so, other than Holding. Virender Sehwag is an unlikely name in this table.

Now for a unique table. I would not spoil the fun. Pl see the table.

8. They captured 5 and only 5 wickets: but nos 7 to 11


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R

1508 2000 Eng Win- 61/10 H Caddick A.R 3 11.2- 5- 14- 5 W 1432 1998 Pak Zim-183/10 H Saqlain Mushtaq S 1 13.5- 3- 32- 5 = 1431 1998 Aus Eng-191/10 H Gillespie J.N 3 15.2- 2- 88- 5 W 0949 1983 Win Ind-174/10 H Roberts A.M.E 3 24.3- 9- 39- 5 W 0608 1966 Win Eng-240/10 A Sobers G.St.A 2 19.3- 4- 41- 5 W Other fifers 1755 2005 Slk Win-113/10 H Muralitharan M S 3 21.0- 8- 36- 6 W 1504 2000 Slk Saf-269/10 H Muralitharan M S 3 35.0- 5- 84- 7 W 1423 1998 Slk Eng-445/10 A Muralitharan M S 1 59.3-14-155- 7 W 1175 1991 Eng Win-176/10 H Tufnell P.C.R S 2 14.3- 3- 25- 6 W 1058 1986 Pak Win-211/10 H Imran Khan 3 22.3- 2- 46- 6 = 1040 1986 Nzl Aus-103/10 H Bracewell J.G S 3 22.0- 8- 32- 6 W 0986 1984 Aus Win-509/10 A Hogg R.M 2 32.4- 4- 77- 6 * 0947 1983 Ind Pak-323/10 A Kapil Dev N 1 30.5- 7- 85- 8 = 0877 1980 Win Nzl-305/10 A Garner J 2 36.2-15- 56- 6 = 0725 1973 Win Eng-255/10 A Boyce K.D 4 21.1- 4- 77- 6 W 0703 1972 Ind Eng-200/10 H Chandrasekhar B. S 2 41.5-18- 79- 8 * 0463 1959 Win Ind-154/10 A Gilchrist R 3 21.0- 7- 55- 6 W 0436 1957 Saf Eng-254/10 H Tayfield H.J S 3 50.3-14- 69- 8 = 0250 1936 Aus Saf- 98/10 A Grimmett C.V S 3 19.5- 9- 40- 7 W 0075 1902 Saf Aus-296/10 H Llewellyn C.B 2 22.0- 3- 92- 6 =


These bowlers captured fifers, no doubt. But they also captured the LAST five wickets. And, to boot, these were the ONLY 5 wickets captured by the first five them. Don't think it is easy to do that. Some other bowler could spoil the fun. One batsman could remain not out. Everything has to work. This leaves us with just 5 bowlers, almost all of recent vintage. It is ironic that Gillespie appears at the top of the top-6 wickets list and also here.

If I did not have the ONLY 5 wickets criteria, there are quite a few, 20 in all, who fit in. However these other 13 bowlers have had the satisfaction of capturing one or more top order wickets. Muralitharan appears thrice here indicating the way he dominated the late order batting.

Now for those who toiled for hours on end. These are fifers in innings of 600+ runs.

9. Bowling on and on and on ... in 600+ innings


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R

0193 1930 Win Eng-849/10 H Scott O.C S 1 80.2-13-266- 5 = 0198 1930 Eng Aus-695/10 H Peebles I.A.R S 2 71.0- 8-204- 6 * 0740 1974 Ind Eng-629/10 A Bedi B.S S 1 64.2- 8-226- 6 * 0564 1964 Aus Eng-611/10 A McKenzie G.D 2 60.0-15-153- 7 = 0235 1934 Aus Eng-627/ 9 A O'Reilly W.J S 1 59.0- 9-189- 7 = 0279 1946 Eng Aus-645/10 A Wright D.V.P S 1 58.2- 4-167- 5 * 1911 2009 Eng Win-749/ 9 A Swann G.P 2 50.4- 8-165- 5 = 0970 1983 Aus Pak-624/10 H Lillee D.K 2 50.2- 8-171- 6 = 0851 1979 Ind Eng-633/ 5 A Kapil Dev N 1 48.0-15-146- 5 * 1079 1987 Eng Pak-708/10 H Dilley G.R 1 47.3-10-154- 6 = 0645 1969 Aus Win-616/10 H Connolly A.N 3 45.2- 7-122- 5 = 1852 2007 Pak Ind-626/10 A Yasir Arafat 1 39.0- 5-161- 5 = 0945 1983 Ind Pak-652/10 A Kapil Dev N 2 38.4- 3-220- 7 * 0259 1937 Eng Aus-604/10 A Farnes K 1 38.1- 5- 96- 6 * 1912 2009 Pak Slk-606/10 H Umar Gul 1 37.0- 2-135- 6 = 1935 2009 Slk Ind-642/10 A Herath HMRKB S 1 33.0- 2-121- 5 * 0989 1984 Eng Win-606/10 H Pringle D.R 2 31.0- 5-108- 5 * 0304 1948 Ind Win-631/10 H Rangachari C.R 1 29.4- 4-107- 5 =


This table is ordered by balls bowled. Scott bowled a third of the team overs. Lucky he got a couple of wickets in the end. Peculiar match. A timeless Test, which was drawn, by agreement. West Indies fall behind by 577 runs and England bat again. Then Headley's famous 223 saves the match. 9 days, and no result. A follow-on and they might very well have won by an innings. I know Shri might have something to say: but strange captaincy by Hon.FSG Calthorpe, the lone "gentleman" in the team. Over 9 days, he scored 13, bowled 4 overs and batted when he should have bowled.

Commendable are McKenzie and Kapil Dev who captured 7 wickets amongst the batting mayhem although Kapil went for nearly 6 runs per over, thanks to four Pakistani centuries. Also noteworthy is Farnes' capturing 6 for 96 out of a 600+ total.

Now for some nice alternate tables. First is the one where the bowlers have been very economical.

10. 5-wkt bowling performances with RpO less than 1.0


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R  RpO

0527 1962 Win Ind-187/10 H Gibbs L.R S 3 53.3-37- 38- 8 W 0.71 0212 1931 Aus Saf-170/10 H Ironmonger H 2 47.0-29- 42- 5 W 0.89 0413 1955 Pak Nzl-124/10 H Zulfiqar Ahmed S 3 46.3-21- 42- 6 W 0.90 0479 1959 Aus Pak-134/10 A Mackay K.D 3 45.0-27- 42- 6 W 0.93 1104 1988 Pak Aus-165/10 H Iqbal Qasim S 2 39.0-24- 35- 5 W 0.90 0413 1955 Pak Nzl-164/10 H Zulfiqar Ahmed S 1 37.2-19- 37- 5 W 0.99 0785 1976 Ind Nzl-141/10 H Bedi B.S S 4 33.0-18- 27- 5 W 0.82 1113 1989 Win Aus-401/10 A Marshall M.D 2 31.0-16- 29- 5 * 0.94 0025 1887 Eng Aus- 97/10 A Barnes W 4 30.4-29- 28- 6 W 0.91 1394 1998 Slk Zim-140/10 H Muralitharan M S 2 29.0-18- 23- 5 W 0.79 0277 1946 Eng Ind-170/10 H Pollard R 2 27.0-16- 24- 5 = 0.89 0593 1965 Eng Nzl-166/10 H Titmus F.J S 3 26.0-17- 19- 5 W 0.73 0456 1958 Eng Nzl- 67/10 H Laker J.C S 1 22.0-11- 17- 5 W 0.77 0707 1973 Aus Pak-106/10 H Walker M.H.N 4 21.2- 8- 15- 6 W 0.70 0250 1936 Aus Saf-157/10 A O'Reilly W.J S 1 21.0-11- 20- 5 W 0.95 0434 1956 Eng Saf- 72/10 A Bailey T.E 4 20.4- 6- 20- 5 W 0.97 0009 1882 Eng Aus- 63/10 H Barlow R.G 1 20.4-22- 19- 5 * 0.92 1516 2000 Aus Win- 82/10 H McGrath G.D 1 20.0-12- 17- 6 W 0.85 0381 1954 Saf Nzl- 79/10 H Tayfield H.J S 2 18.4- 7- 13- 6 W 0.70 1156 1990 Ind Slk- 82/10 H Raju S.L.V S 2 17.5-13- 12- 6 W 0.67 0681 1971 Eng Nzl- 65/10 A Underwood D.L S 1 15.4- 7- 12- 6 W 0.77 0212 1931 Aus Saf-117/10 H Wall T.W 3 15.1- 7- 14- 5 W 0.92 0906 1981 Eng Aus-121/10 H Botham I.T 4 14.0- 9- 11- 5 W 0.79 1687 2004 Eng Win- 47/10 A Harmison S.J 3 12.3- 8- 12- 7 W 0.96 0047 1896 Eng Saf- 30/10 A Lohmann G.A 4 8.1- 5- 7- 8 W 0.86 0216 1932 Aus Saf- 36/10 H Ironmonger H 1 7.2- 5- 6- 5 W 0.82 1630 2002 Win Bng- 87/10 A Lawson J.J.C 3 6.5- 4- 3- 6 W 0.44 0290 1947 Aus Ind- 58/10 H Toshack E.R.H 2 3.1- 1- 2- 5 W 0.63


These are matches in which the number of overs bowled are greater than the number of runs conceded. This is ordered by the number of overs bowled. The table is led by Gibbs who had a RpO value of 0.71 while bowling 53 overs and capturing 8 wickets. Is it is possible today ? Look at Marshall's performance, the stand-out one amongst this lot. Out of an Australian total of 401, he captures 5 for 29, at an RpO of 0.94, while his compatriots capture 5 for 338, at an RpO figure of 2.1. In fact he just misses out on the out-performer table, with a ratio of 11.7. Lohmann's 8 for 7 has appeared in various tables. Only point of question would be the dicey quality of South African batting and the minefields he bowled on.

Now for the final table in this first part article. The two extreme sets of fifers.

11. The two extremes of 5-wkt bowling performances


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R

0193 1930 Win Eng-849/10 H Scott O.C S 1 80.2-13-266- 5 = 0371 1953 Ind Win-576/10 A Mankad M.H S 2 82.0-17-228- 5 = 0740 1974 Ind Eng-629/10 A Bedi B.S S 1 64.2- 8-226- 6 * 0945 1983 Ind Pak-652/10 A Kapil Dev N 2 38.4- 3-220- 7 * 1892 2008 Aus Ind-441/10 A Krejza J.J 1 43.5- 1-215- 8 * 1336 1996 Zim Pak-553/10 A Strang P.A S 2 69.0-12-212- 5 = 0198 1930 Eng Aus-695/10 H Peebles I.A.R S 2 71.0- 8-204- 6 * 0503 1961 Pak Ind-539/ 9 A Haseeb Ahsan S 2 84.0-19-202- 6 = ... ... ... 1720 2004 Aus Ind-205/10 A Clarke M.J S 3 6.2- 0- 9- 6 * 1210 1993 Aus Win-146/10 H May T.B.A S 3 6.5- 3- 9- 5 * 0047 1896 Eng Saf- 30/10 A Lohmann G.A 4 8.1- 5- 7- 8 W 0153 1924 Eng Saf- 30/10 H Gilligan A.E.R 2 6.3- 4- 7- 6 W 0216 1932 Aus Saf- 36/10 H Ironmonger H 1 7.2- 5- 6- 5 W 1630 2002 Win Bng- 87/10 A Lawson J.J.C 3 6.5- 4- 3- 6 W 0290 1947 Aus Ind- 58/10 H Toshack E.R.H 2 3.1- 1- 2- 5 W


This is the one table which contains the two ends of the bowling spectrum. Fifers for 200 runs and above and fifers for 10 runs and below. Most of these bowlers have already appeared in the earlier tables and this is just a different classification. Spare a thought for poor Krejza. On debut he toils hard with a 8-for-million performance and then is forgotten.

Barring table 8, which points to a slightly negative aspect of bowlers, in which Muralitharan appears three times, he has appeared 10 times in the other 11 tables. This may not be conclusive but is a pointer to the range and depth of his bowling achievements. Lohmann, no surprise, appears 8 times. Signs of the times he bowled in. Two bowlers, contrasting in their teams' strengths, McGrath and Kapil, appear 7 times each. Wasim and Waqar appear very few times. That is a sign of the way they shared the spoils.

Let me give a preview of what is covered in Part 2. To these will be added analysis based any readers' good ideas. The Readers' selection will appear there since the analysis is still incomplete.

1. Fifers instrumental in dismissing teams for sub-100 scores in first innings.
2. Fifers instrumental in dismissing teams for low scores in second innings, while defending similar low scores.
3. Match-winning fifers dismissing teams for low scores in third innings, with the team in substantial arrears.
4. Fifers in fourth innings, responsible for winning matches by low-run margins.
and surprisingly, 5. Fifers in fourth innings, responsible for drawing matches narrowly.
6. Fifers in lost matches, with suitable cut-offs.
7. Two fifers in matches by bowlers
8. Two bowlers running through sides with a fifer each and
9. Types of dismissals - all bowled/lbw.

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

  • Aniruddha on December 15, 2011, 16:29 GMT

    @Ranga, Thanks, Yes I did and enjoyed it thoroughly. Right now I am struggling to think of 5 most memorable bowling performances that I have watched live for Anantha's second part. Maybe since the time I started watching live cricket (1987) there haven't been too many or I might have a fresher mind around the weekend.

  • Ranga on December 15, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    @ Aniruddha: I hope you would have done it already, but if you havent, by any chance, I urge that you go through Rahul Dravid's speech in the War Memorial.

    Like his innings, this was top class, politically correct, empathetic to a fault and of course, conveyed the right message, not missing any point. He was talking what we spoke, in different verbiage and without raising the eyebrows. In a way, he had summarized that BCCI has a lot to achieve, but he was a bit more subtle in his emphasis. [[ In fact almost all the points Dravid has made are ones which we have discussed often in these columns recently. Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha on December 14, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    Thanks Ananth for allowing us to continue our "pow-wow". @Ranga - Since the second part is already out, let us take our discussion to that forum. Overall, yes I totally agree with you. BCCI is nothing more than an opportunist group of corporate bigwigs and politicians. They hardly have any interest for the betterment of the game or the country as a whole. Why else would Kumble not be able to survive there as the head of NCA. I cannot stop myself from making one final point though - Politicians/BCCI are known/expected to look after just their own well being. After all they haven't played the game - so what else can we expect. BUT what about Gavaskar and Shastri? BCCI mouth piece? I loved to hear them both and even still do, but it is no longer the same. To blindly proclaim BCCI is the "best" blah blah blah. Now BCCI won't pay Gavaskar 5 crore - at least I have got some sadistic pleasure out of it.

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    Guess Ananth would have been exhausted to read these fans clash over administration in a cricket centric blog!!! [[ No problems, Ranga. It is a great pow-wow. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    @ Aniruddha: Thanks for bringing IPL Into this discussion :) IPL, though condemned by many, is not a bad thing at all. It has done a lot of good to our cricket. It has gotten us fielders who are on par with some of the best fielders across the globe. It has helped India to stamp its authority in world cricket. But if someone tells me IPL was done to achieve all this, I wouldnt take it seriously. IPL encashed our cricket craze. It made hay while the sun shone. That it was beneficial was a by-product. I am a passionate Indian cricket fan who wants India to do well. And if I read your "perspective", I echo the same sentiments that you have, when I read cricinfo fans put down some of our legends. But as I see it, the problem in the system is "allowed" to continue for 80+ years now. The system wasnt perfect. Now we have a chance to redeem. We havent, sadly made efforts. [[ I am not a great fan of IPL. However I must accept that what IPL has done is to give us Ashwins and Rahul Sharmas and strengthened Jadejas amd Tiwaris. It has also given quality players like Badrinath and Jakati a very good break, at least in monetary terms. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    @ Aniruddha: As you rightly said, it is not an ideal word. But my only worry is constructive work is not going in the direction of equipping India to be a world beater. England or Aus may have been high handed in the past (may be they are jealous of India now). It doesnt matter. Saying Eng/Oz were ugly in the past is no excuse for me being so today. Ultimately, someone else would become more powerful tomorrow to upstage you. Like India did to Eng/Oz. Fine. Being powerful is no problem. I am happy that we are a powerful board. But what we do with that? To me, power game is not helping cricket in India. That saying someone else is worse may not be an answer. Yes - Ch9 is partisan. Boycott is Partisan. But I am not worried about that. I am more worried about the state of cricket in my country. The world is not perfect. But the situation is not getting remarkably better. And IMHO, at this age of technological advancements, I cant say I am better than my past generation. I am bound to be.

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    @ Anirudha: "How many Indian teams of the past won even "matches" overseas?" . . . So should we be just satisfied with winning matches? We all know Indians were poor travellers in the past. It was the past. How much was paid Gavaskar when he played for his country at Port of Spain? How much were Indian teams who lost in the past were trained? what were the facilities? What was the academy that trained them? Who was the mental conditioning coach? WHo was the fielding trainer? Who was the technical analyst? Who was the media relations manager? Who was the support staff? Yes - That Indians were losing is past. But with all the infrastructure that is supporting India, facilities that given to them, we still are having a situation where we are not taken seriously as a sporting entity. Again, Losing is not bad. It is a part of the game. I agree. I dont want a winning Indian side. My worry is that we are NOT doing what we have with our resources.

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    @ Aniruddha: BCCI CLout: Yes in the past Eng & Aus had clout and they exercised it badly. Does that answer what BCCI is doing to Indian cricket today? What is the fun in saying, Oz is bad, Eng is bad, so I will be bad. We have a chance to be better. Ultimately, I am not sure if Indian cricket benefitted from any of BCCI's moves. I still feel it is good that BCCI has the clout, it has to be used in the right direction.

    "The out of form Hughes cant even find a first class game to play right now (all BBL), so what chance does a foreign board have to conduct such tours?" - That is where again, BCCI Can come into picture. You would be aware that VVS, Dravid were all parts of India U-19 and A Teams that faced similar emerging talents from Oz, Eng, etc. Yes, I agree that getting the right mix is a challenge, but that is where we have to get a solution. If it wasnt a challenge, it would have been happening now, which is not.

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    @ Anirudha: I agree to most things that you told, of course to your fact but not perspective. Grooming: Yes Pitches are not the entire solution but it is the first step. My view is that when we have the resources, we have to use it for OUR good. We havent made efforts in that. Tell me Aniruddha one effort made to take the first step? I am not saying bouncy pitches are the only pitches. I am saying in India, with the amount of grounds and climatic expanse that we have, we can prepare conditions that are decent representation of the global cricketing conditions - pitches, outfields, climates, etc.

    And I wasnt blaming BCCI - It was a pointer to them . . . (cotd) . .

  • Aniruddha on December 14, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    Continued - @Ranga "BCCI meddling with rules" Which country introduced colored clothing, 15 overs powerplay rule and 12 players a side? Not BCCI. "SRT is the best, why not others" - Just switch on to channel 9 and you will hear the alternative. Yes Indian commentators are biased but so are the rest. Mark Nicholas, Tony Greig and Bill Lawry - are they not biased? Finally - If IPL was invented by ENG/AUS criket board would there still be the same level of criticism and vile? England had T20 since 2004, then why has suddenly T20 become the ugly cousin? If IPL is such a negative influence, why is the Aus board promoting BBL as the next best thing? For them is it justified to be part of the capitalist world but not for India? All said and done this is not an ideal world. My point is - it never WAS either. Hence if the current system/BCCI/SRT stink for whatever reasons, the past was not as golden as is being made out to be.

  • Aniruddha on December 15, 2011, 16:29 GMT

    @Ranga, Thanks, Yes I did and enjoyed it thoroughly. Right now I am struggling to think of 5 most memorable bowling performances that I have watched live for Anantha's second part. Maybe since the time I started watching live cricket (1987) there haven't been too many or I might have a fresher mind around the weekend.

  • Ranga on December 15, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    @ Aniruddha: I hope you would have done it already, but if you havent, by any chance, I urge that you go through Rahul Dravid's speech in the War Memorial.

    Like his innings, this was top class, politically correct, empathetic to a fault and of course, conveyed the right message, not missing any point. He was talking what we spoke, in different verbiage and without raising the eyebrows. In a way, he had summarized that BCCI has a lot to achieve, but he was a bit more subtle in his emphasis. [[ In fact almost all the points Dravid has made are ones which we have discussed often in these columns recently. Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha on December 14, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    Thanks Ananth for allowing us to continue our "pow-wow". @Ranga - Since the second part is already out, let us take our discussion to that forum. Overall, yes I totally agree with you. BCCI is nothing more than an opportunist group of corporate bigwigs and politicians. They hardly have any interest for the betterment of the game or the country as a whole. Why else would Kumble not be able to survive there as the head of NCA. I cannot stop myself from making one final point though - Politicians/BCCI are known/expected to look after just their own well being. After all they haven't played the game - so what else can we expect. BUT what about Gavaskar and Shastri? BCCI mouth piece? I loved to hear them both and even still do, but it is no longer the same. To blindly proclaim BCCI is the "best" blah blah blah. Now BCCI won't pay Gavaskar 5 crore - at least I have got some sadistic pleasure out of it.

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    Guess Ananth would have been exhausted to read these fans clash over administration in a cricket centric blog!!! [[ No problems, Ranga. It is a great pow-wow. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    @ Aniruddha: Thanks for bringing IPL Into this discussion :) IPL, though condemned by many, is not a bad thing at all. It has done a lot of good to our cricket. It has gotten us fielders who are on par with some of the best fielders across the globe. It has helped India to stamp its authority in world cricket. But if someone tells me IPL was done to achieve all this, I wouldnt take it seriously. IPL encashed our cricket craze. It made hay while the sun shone. That it was beneficial was a by-product. I am a passionate Indian cricket fan who wants India to do well. And if I read your "perspective", I echo the same sentiments that you have, when I read cricinfo fans put down some of our legends. But as I see it, the problem in the system is "allowed" to continue for 80+ years now. The system wasnt perfect. Now we have a chance to redeem. We havent, sadly made efforts. [[ I am not a great fan of IPL. However I must accept that what IPL has done is to give us Ashwins and Rahul Sharmas and strengthened Jadejas amd Tiwaris. It has also given quality players like Badrinath and Jakati a very good break, at least in monetary terms. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    @ Aniruddha: As you rightly said, it is not an ideal word. But my only worry is constructive work is not going in the direction of equipping India to be a world beater. England or Aus may have been high handed in the past (may be they are jealous of India now). It doesnt matter. Saying Eng/Oz were ugly in the past is no excuse for me being so today. Ultimately, someone else would become more powerful tomorrow to upstage you. Like India did to Eng/Oz. Fine. Being powerful is no problem. I am happy that we are a powerful board. But what we do with that? To me, power game is not helping cricket in India. That saying someone else is worse may not be an answer. Yes - Ch9 is partisan. Boycott is Partisan. But I am not worried about that. I am more worried about the state of cricket in my country. The world is not perfect. But the situation is not getting remarkably better. And IMHO, at this age of technological advancements, I cant say I am better than my past generation. I am bound to be.

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    @ Anirudha: "How many Indian teams of the past won even "matches" overseas?" . . . So should we be just satisfied with winning matches? We all know Indians were poor travellers in the past. It was the past. How much was paid Gavaskar when he played for his country at Port of Spain? How much were Indian teams who lost in the past were trained? what were the facilities? What was the academy that trained them? Who was the mental conditioning coach? WHo was the fielding trainer? Who was the technical analyst? Who was the media relations manager? Who was the support staff? Yes - That Indians were losing is past. But with all the infrastructure that is supporting India, facilities that given to them, we still are having a situation where we are not taken seriously as a sporting entity. Again, Losing is not bad. It is a part of the game. I agree. I dont want a winning Indian side. My worry is that we are NOT doing what we have with our resources.

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    @ Aniruddha: BCCI CLout: Yes in the past Eng & Aus had clout and they exercised it badly. Does that answer what BCCI is doing to Indian cricket today? What is the fun in saying, Oz is bad, Eng is bad, so I will be bad. We have a chance to be better. Ultimately, I am not sure if Indian cricket benefitted from any of BCCI's moves. I still feel it is good that BCCI has the clout, it has to be used in the right direction.

    "The out of form Hughes cant even find a first class game to play right now (all BBL), so what chance does a foreign board have to conduct such tours?" - That is where again, BCCI Can come into picture. You would be aware that VVS, Dravid were all parts of India U-19 and A Teams that faced similar emerging talents from Oz, Eng, etc. Yes, I agree that getting the right mix is a challenge, but that is where we have to get a solution. If it wasnt a challenge, it would have been happening now, which is not.

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    @ Anirudha: I agree to most things that you told, of course to your fact but not perspective. Grooming: Yes Pitches are not the entire solution but it is the first step. My view is that when we have the resources, we have to use it for OUR good. We havent made efforts in that. Tell me Aniruddha one effort made to take the first step? I am not saying bouncy pitches are the only pitches. I am saying in India, with the amount of grounds and climatic expanse that we have, we can prepare conditions that are decent representation of the global cricketing conditions - pitches, outfields, climates, etc.

    And I wasnt blaming BCCI - It was a pointer to them . . . (cotd) . .

  • Aniruddha on December 14, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    Continued - @Ranga "BCCI meddling with rules" Which country introduced colored clothing, 15 overs powerplay rule and 12 players a side? Not BCCI. "SRT is the best, why not others" - Just switch on to channel 9 and you will hear the alternative. Yes Indian commentators are biased but so are the rest. Mark Nicholas, Tony Greig and Bill Lawry - are they not biased? Finally - If IPL was invented by ENG/AUS criket board would there still be the same level of criticism and vile? England had T20 since 2004, then why has suddenly T20 become the ugly cousin? If IPL is such a negative influence, why is the Aus board promoting BBL as the next best thing? For them is it justified to be part of the capitalist world but not for India? All said and done this is not an ideal world. My point is - it never WAS either. Hence if the current system/BCCI/SRT stink for whatever reasons, the past was not as golden as is being made out to be.

  • Aniruddha on December 14, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    Continued - @Ranga - "BCCI uses its clout for wrong reasons". Let us put to test Boll's theory of looking at present things through "a contemporary lens". When ECB was the dominant board (60s and 70s) both England and Australia had two votes each (I heard this in the SwitchHit podcast. Compared to that is BCCI that bad? A lot of commentators here would have been witness to Kerry Packer's ODI revolution... were they as critical of them as they are now of BCCI? Gavaskar was not allowed to enter the "Lords" cricket ground when he was the opposing team's captain. Right now Strauss is practicing at the NCA in preparation of the subcontinent tours ahead. Should not be credit due to BCCI? "Compulsary A team tour to Eng/AUS"? The out of form Hughes cant even find a first class game to play right now (all BBL), so what chance does a foreign board have to conduct such tours? "India winning only matches and not series overseas" How many Indian teams of the past won even "matches" overseas?

  • Aniruddha on December 14, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    @Boll - my apologies are due if my comments came across as insinuating the greats from yesteryears(chickening out from tough tours). I also admire the way you express your thoughts on this forum. @Ranga - I agree that a lot of blame lies with the BCCI and the Indian cricket followers in general. No doubts it is "India India India" everywhere in the media. "Grooming young generation to cope with world class bowling" - Just preparing pitches wont help. Eg. - Philip Hughes - his coach says going back to the domestic circuit wont help as he has shown he can score heaps against them. He needs to play quality international cricket to master this art. Point is to cope with world class bowling, you need those bowlers to practice against. Just preparing pitches is not the answer - England throughout 1990s - how many world class bowlers did they throw up?

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    ^Cotd: I am in no way against commercialization of the game, but it shouldnt remove the sheen out of it. Now, every TV interview, we are bound to hear, "India is a top country" whether the person means it or not. If India did play well abroad and won more SERIES(Not matches), it is only enhancing the commercial value of the game. On the contrary, BCCI is trying other means, like meddling with the rules, trying to influence boards(Shane Bond), etc. BCCI is not using its clout constructively.

    When they hear "SRT is the best", I do empathize with non-Indians who'd feel, "What the heck? Why not Ponting? why not Lara?". They are justified in laying him low. I see a larger problem, which is harming the health and harmony of global cricket. I'm sure any true cricket fan would appreciate credit given when it is deserved, whether it comes from SRT or BCL or RTP.

    Answer is with BCCI.

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    1934 1954,1994 - Doubts raised about India's ability to face top quality bowling 1996 - BCCI becomes the richest board 2004 - Doubts raised about India's ability to face top quality bowling,2011 - Ditto

    I empathize with our cricket fans from other countries, who rightly feel that Indians are being overhyped. A 100 from SRT in a lost cause gets TV coverage for being 50th 100 while a 200 that enabled SAFFers to win from Kallis goes into oblivion.

    We had good enough time to groom a young generation to cope up with world class bowling. Sadly, it didnt happen. Conditions in India are blamed. But wait - Dont we have money to simulate conditions? Dont we have locations that simulate climates? Cant a hill station be chosen for cold countries? Cant we get a bouncy wicket in Dharmasala? BCCI uses its clout for wrong reasons. Why cant it mandate a compulsory A Team tour of 4 day games for INdians abroad? Why dont they force NZ/Eng/Aus to host a zonal team for their FC cricket?

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    @ Gerry: I am not an SRT devotee. That Indian pitches are flat is a well known fact and anyone can score in India(and I dont know if it was you who pointed out that Ponting scored 5 centuries in India). So while we say SRT scored more in India, everyone else also did so. Therefore I dont think it reflects his inabilities. It is a reflection of the ease of sub-continental wickets. And yes - 34 as an average is lower compared to 45. But I do think 34 is what everyone else would have scored on bouncy wickets as well (you have to exclude home team players). If we can have a reflection of average scores by foreign players (10+ matches/country) in all those alient conditions, we may realize 34 is a par score, if not great. In Durban you can defend 225/7 in 50 overs. You cant do so in Chennai. But yes. I am against deifying of SRT by Indians. In fact there have been better performances from others and even from Indians. SRT is among the best but not necessarily the best.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 13, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    Ranga, lest you think that i am being breezily judgemental, here is the stats: Tendulkar in ODIs against pedigreed non-subcontinent opposition in their homeland: 128 matches, average 34. This includes Australia, England, West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand. HS 163* v/s NZ. 1 century each against Eng, Aus, NZ. Decent at best...

    I am puzzled on how this discussion on test bowling has become one on Tendulkar in ODI.

    On the original topic, 9 straight wickets is (I think) only Laker's 10 wickets, Kumble's 10 wickets, and Hadlee 9/52. Some of the greatest bowlers Holding, Lillee, Ambrose, McGrath, Roberts, Marshall, Imran, Akram etc. never took 9 wickets! In fact, Lillee and Marshall not even 8. But Kapil Dev took 7 three times, 8 two times, and 9 once. He was not bad at all... His stats @ 60 tests, 250 wickets look quite good on all counts. The pitches in the 80s in India killed bowlers. [[ No, Gerry, quite a few others. Including Murali who captured the first 9 against Zimbabwe and then Vaas took the tenth. Lohmann took 2-10 and so on. But Murali's is unique. He captured the first 9. And in his second capture of 9-wkts, Stewart was run out. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on December 13, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    Among bowlers, Murali was someone who could just visualize the entire scene of batsman getting out to a particular delivery and was able to achieve his visualizations. The batsman who did this was Lara. Of course, Lara was extremely moody to be consistent, but Murali, on the other hand, apart from his innate abilities, was motivated due to the underdog status of SL. Everytime Murali went in to bowl, he knew exactly where he was going to bowl, what the batsman would play, etc. Yes, he would also get it wrong many times, when he lost his concentration while bowling. Of modern batsmen (80's +), S Waugh, Lara & Smith (dhoni as a captain) could do it at will. Of bowlers, Murali, Warne & McGrath could do it at will. Apart from their abilities, it is their vision to succeed at a micro level, every ball, that helped them achieve results when they wanted. Others were talented, but these were special kinds of people who were monk-like in their approach to the game.

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 13, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    Need to standardize the minimum length for boundaries. No arguments on that. The problem is the inference "it is easier to score runs in one country over another". I have seen very unfriendly low bounce slow ODI wickets in India & in SL, not fit for any shot making. The beauty of this game is to perform under different conditions. Take Kallis & Ponting. They have done very well in their home countries in tests. Look at their performance dip in SA,Aus, England & NZL(taken together in so called bowler friendly conditions) discounting their home runs. I'd presume that they can replicate performance on familiar conditions atleast Kallis in Aus & Ponting in SA. Unfortunately it does not work out like that. I feel any generalisations don't do justice to players esp to great players and the game. As Ananth points out, players having a long career, many factors get evened out.

  • Boll on December 13, 2011, 2:54 GMT

    @Ananth/Aniruddha - no worries. Perhaps the stress of a loss to the Kiwis (and sharing an office with a New Zealander) has made me touchier than usual. I've spent most of the morning trolling through scorecards from the mid-eighties, including a memorable innings loss to the Kiwis at 'fortress' 'Gabba - suddenly a close loss in Hobart seems a vast improvement.

    Just on the subject of bowlers taking 9 wickets in an innings (or indeed 19 in a match) - it's an interesting list, somewhat comparable to the batting table for highest percentage of runs in an innings. Both tend to beg the question...'what in hell were the blokes at the other end doing?'

  • jayanth on December 12, 2011, 19:07 GMT

    I could not complete my comment hence this contination.Sarfarz 9 for 86 with the remaining one batsman run out,the bowling figures shows only Sarfaraz 9 for 86 and other bowlers no wicket.This was a dramatic performence in the 9 plus wickets list.

  • jayanth on December 12, 2011, 18:59 GMT

    I liked the 9+ wickets table.It includes the most awesome performences of the last 55 years of cricket,i praise Mr.Annanth for this list .Of the 17 performers in the list i have followed or seen ,10 of the performences live .Each one is a sttuning performence ,which cannot be forgotten.They are Jasu patel,S.P.Gupte,Kumble,Kapil Dev,R.Hadlee,Noriga,Muralidharan,A.Quadir and Sarfaraz Nawaz.The greatest of this list has to be Jim laker twice in the list, whom i have not seen.Next Muralitharan twice in the list.4 Indians in this list all great peformers,only Kumble to have equalled 10 wickets in an innings by Laker.Equally great performences by Hadlee,Noriga and A.Quadir.I vividly remember the test between Aus vs Pak.1979.Aus need 382 to win. At end of day 4 Aus were comfortably 104 for 1.Next day Surfaraz took all the remaining 8 wickets as one batsman was run out. Aus allout 310 and Pak. winning the test.This was one of the most dramatic peformence in this list.

  • arijit on December 12, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    "None of the Australian WSC players toured India at that time - not the Chappells, not Marsh, not Thomson, Walker, Pascoe, Laird, Hookes et al." A very very minor point: Jeff Thomson wasn't contracted to Packer but did not tour India in 1979. He may have been injured, though. Just a detail (something that a 40-plus like me would remember). Completely agree with the rest of what Boll wrote.

  • Aniruddha on December 12, 2011, 14:55 GMT

    @Boll - have to completely agree with your views here. In defense of my point (and probably my final point on this topic), cricketers across the world are bound to do well in their home countries. Reason being they grow up practicing in that type of environment and hence most comfortable in home conditions. Probably one might agree that it is easier to adapt from higher bounce to lower bounce than vice versa (as per Ian Chappell at least). THEREFORE batsman from the subcontinent (with lower bounce) should be given that much more credit for scoring runs in Australia (higher bounce). Alternatively - the difference that you have rightly pointed out (in ODIs) between Ponting and Sachin might just be highlighting this very difference. At a personal level, this discussion has been most enjoyable and I am happy I have joined this forum. Long live Dev Sahab.

  • Boll on December 12, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    @Aniruddha. I have heard some of this ridiculous idea of players `chickening out` of tours to India before. Not only is it insulting to the players involved, it has absolutely no basis in fact.

    As has been pointed out, Hadlee toured India twice and took 31 wickets at 22. I.Chappell toured in 1969 and averaged 46.

    During the test careers of G.Chappell (1970-1984) and D.Lillee (1970-1984), Australia toured India only once - in 1979. At this time, both players were contracted to, and starring in, World Series Cricket. None of the Australian WSC players toured India at that time - not the Chappells, not Marsh, not Thomson, Walker, Pascoe, Laird, Hookes et al. and for reasons which had nothing to do with disrespect for India or a disinclination to bowl in `difficult bowling conditions`. [[ I think both Anirudha and I were hasty. Sincere apologies. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 12, 2011, 13:48 GMT

    @Gerry, re. `I think in the subcontinent every effort has been made to increase runflow and kill bowlers`. In the context of ODIS in particular, it`s difficult not to agree. Nor is it surprising that 8 of the 10 highest individual scores ever have been scored in Asia in the past 15 years.

    However, administrators are just as much to blame - fielding restrictions, bouncer restrictions, harsh legside wides, free hits, powerplays, boundary ropes brought in 25 yards etc. have completely changed the power balance in one-day cricket. Pitches which offer the bowlers nothing are just another nail in the coffin for bat vs ball competition.

    For these reasons, individual ODI performances/careers, can only be clearly assessed through a contemporary lens. This certainly doesn`t undermine the wonderful records of a player such as Tendulkar - a walkup for the opening position in an all-time ODI XI, but it does place in context the records of a player such as IVA Richards.

  • Boll on December 12, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    If we look at the comaparable home/away record for Aus vs India in ODIs, the significant differences in runscoring becomes apparent.

    In Aus, Australia lead overall by 26-9 - massive dominance. In those matches they have averaged 32.2 per wicket at 4.7 an over.

    In India, Australia lead overall by 23-18 - significantly closer. And yet in those matches they have averaged 38.3 per wicket at 5.4 per over.

    So, in India in ODIs, Australia have averaged 6 runs more per wicket, 0.7 runs more per over, and still lost twice as many games - hard not to argue that scoring more runs, more quickly, is a far easier proposition in one place than the other.

  • Boll on December 12, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    @Aniruudha (re.Gerry`s comments). The reference to Tendulkar`s record in Australia - 1 century in 40 matches - is of course for ODIs, although he still averages a more than respectable then 37. For all the talk about Ponting`s woeful record in India, he has scored 5 centuries in 46 matches there. Neither Sehwag (15 matches) nor Dravid (22 matches) have managed to score a century in Australia (in fact, between them they`ve played 71 matches vs Aus without a century at an average of about 23).

    I think it`s fairly clear that ODI runs in particular, are more difficult to come by in Australia than India, although I`m not sure I share Gerry`s confidence that Sehwag will struggle to make an impact this time.

  • arijit on December 12, 2011, 11:30 GMT

    Actually, Australia toured India only once during Greg Chappell's international career -- in 1979-80 --- when he was with Packer. So, no question of him backing out of any India tour. Aus toured India just once during Ian's career (1969-70) and, as Srikkanth has pointed out, he did come and do well. [[ Probably I was too quick on the keys. Ananth: ]]

    Lara, in contrast to Warner (and SRT, Dravid, Laxman, Vengsarkar, Clarke, etc in many last-wicket stands I have seen), farmed the strike and refused singles early in the over whenever he batted with the tail (not just the 153*). Not only that, he hit out in an old-fashioned way to get quick runs while the innings lasted, and often got out as wicket No. 9 or 10. This is why --- despite WI having a collapse-prone tail from No. 7 or 8 during most of his career, and Lara's penchant for long innings -- he has so few not outs, which affected his average. Contrast this with how Zaheer scored 75 out of last-wkt stand of 129 with SRT, who remained 248*, his highest score, against Bangla.

  • Ranga on December 12, 2011, 11:18 GMT

    @ Warner's inns: Thanks to Aus being ahead of Ind in time zones, I was able to watch the match live. Australia earned every run of their chase and NZ rarely gave free runs. BQI for NZ may be poor but NZ has rarely produced world beaters. However, they make it up through sheer hard work and determination.The thing they lack is world class top order. McCullum, Taylor & Ryder have the making but are far too temperamental to the team's liking. Maybe they are unable to stitch long innings. Historically, most tests involving NZ (win or loss) end in 3-4 days. The most glorious days of Kiwi cricket that I saw was when Fleming was at the helm -Fleming, Astle & McMillan, Cairns, Oram & Styris and a more than capable bowling unit (Bond, Martin, Vettori, Cairns & backed up by allrounders Styris & Oram. For the betterment of Cricket, Kiwis and Windies should get back to winning ways. These are two extremes: One a gifted team (WIN) while the other, a gritted team (NZL) [[ I myself agree that Nzl looked much better than a Grp 2 team. But there is nothing which can be done on that. However the top-7 RpW seems to be a very important under-used measure. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on December 12, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    @ Gerry: While India's batting strength is inflated due to thier subcontinental records, their batting weakness against moving ball is exagerrted due to history. While I agree that Indians are not the best players of high quality pace bowling, their record post 2000 has not been that bad outside. Barring Eng 2011, where I question the fitness of the XI fielded, India has done wll across. Yes, in 2003-04, McGrath & Warne were not there. But that wasnt India's fault. I however tend to agree that 1-1 might have become 2-1 for Australia, had these 2 played. Compare Australia's record in India and India's record in Australia.

    By the way, Sachin's record in Australia is better than many of Australian champions in Aus. I think he has 1 century at least every tour; 2 in 92, 1 apiece in 99 & 04 and 2 in 2007/8, tallying to 6 in Aus. Yes, SRT's Godlike status is unnecessary, but pulling him down with unnecessary facts (you mentioned ODI records) isnt either. [[ Yes, I agree. There is no point in bringging in a player's records in one country across 20 years during which there might have been at least 3 bowling generations. Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha on December 12, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    I am not sure if boundaries in India are pulled in for TEST matches too. Overall I agree with Gerry. Indian grounds have become so small (with boundaries being pulled in for IPL fours and sixes) in recent times that the game is no longer the same. 5% might be too less a penalty for scoring runs in India. Another facet to this is that it also hampers spin bowlers in India as the field can be cleared relatively easily. The truth is ICC has bent backwards again (similar to the 15 degree rule to accommodate Murali) under BCCI/IPL pressure to such an extent that doubts are being raised by even learned commentators of the game around the credibility of scoring runs in India. 70-75 yards should be taken as par. I don't mind ground sizes differing across the world (only natural) but to pull in boundaries especially for test matches (is it true?) is unacceptable. [[ I am with you, Aniruddha. ICC must insist that the distance to ropes must be a minimum of 70 yards and no pushing in the ropes. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 12, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    Perhaps Ananth, you can consider analyzing whether 100 runs in Australia is the same as 100 runs in India. There would be differences in tests / ODI. In 1970s/80s/90/s/2000. I suppose this India Australia delta has got exaggerated in India as we play on really small grounds. Even Delhi had a 55 yard boundary in the World Cup WI SA match. Hence putting 5% for away and -5% may not be sufficient, i feel...

  • Arjun on December 12, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    Had Aus won today by 1 wicket, where would have warner's innngs stood ? Perhaps in Top-10 of alltime, ever greater than Lara's 153* possibly since it was such a low scoring test. [[ If Australia had won today, Warner's innings would have received substantial extra credit and would have comfortably walked into the top-10 of all time innings. Now it merely becomes a fantastic effort, similar to Tendulkar's Chennai innings. The fact that the other batsmen had failed does not mean anything. The cynic would say, why did not Warner try to hit a boundary. The fact is Lyon had batted very well and Warner took the percentage effort of taking a single. And no discredit to Lyon also. He batted very well. And the failure of the other batsmen, like the failure of the Indian tail at Chennai, would have a bearing on Warner's innings. That is an inescapable fact. Ratings are based on many factors with Result being an important factor. The match RpW was only 19.5. The Bridgetown RpW was 31. The problem was that the New Zealand attack was fair, at best, only one bowler with greater than 50 wickets. It stands at 43.86 and Group 2. Australia then was sub-25, the top attack. The target was lower. Warner's innings would have moved into top-10, as per the current Ratings code. However I must admit that as of now I take the target at its face value. As and when I re-do this, I would consider the target in relation to the match RpW. That would make this 240 target look like 300+ and my feeling is that this would move into the top-5, even. 130* out of 241 for 9, opening the batting, a top-10 is a certainty. Don't forget that the loss would become a win, a double-whammy. And finally, to put this to rest. If Lara had perished at 145 and Australia were all out for 303, the sheen would have gone off Lara's innings and it would not have featured in anyone's list of top-10 innings, leave alone Wisden top-2. Finally let us agree. Martin has won a match for New Zealand with his batting. 2 runs, 9 balls and a last wicket stand of 14, in a win by 7 runs. Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha on December 12, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    Absolutely agree. Blaming pitches for batting collapses - NO. But by the same token pitches should NOT be "blamed" for batting records either. I for one definitely believe international cricket (excluding Bangladesh) is of very high standard by itself and any run scored for your country comes under immense pressure. Just as captaincy is not just about tactics (i.e. includes other types of pressure), same goes for the game as a whole.

    Chappell bros - I have watched their footage (GS against the mighty WI and Ian against both pace and spin) and agree that they had no fear of failure. Again my point was it is NOT JUST the modern greats who have inflated records in home conditions.

    One point I would disagree with you Ananth is on Ian Chappell considering India as B grade. He played at a time when the spin quartet was at their peak and have heard him acknowledge their prowess many times. Maybe it was the Indian infrastructure at that time (or the lack of it)like travelleing, hotels [[ Shri has already pointed my error and my apologies to Ian (as if he would ever read this blog, or at least to you). Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 12, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    On Chappell, I agree, he and his brother skipped India deliberately

    Not sure about deliberate skipping. By the way, Ian Chappell did tour India in 1969. And also made a fair number of runs if I'm not mistaken. One of the best players of spin of his generation. [[ Yes, you are correct. That was a good series for Australia, which sent a strong team to India and won 3-1. We won at Delhi, despite a wonderful 138 from Ian. The second innings of this is featured in my second part of the Bowler article. Bedi and Prasanna ran through Australia for 107, capturing 5 wickets each. My apologies. I swung at the ball without checking that Shrikkanth was fielding at long on.

    Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha on December 12, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    Thanks Ananth for the correction - I think it should have been GS Chappel instead of Hadlee (again not sure). Yes I never watched them play live and don't intend to pass judgment on the greats of bygone era. My simple point to everyone here is to enjoy the current players from any country without trying to always bring their records down. Any world record worth its value will stand the test of time and conditions (Bradman's average). [[ On Chappell, I agree, he and his brother skipped India deliberately. I don't think it was fear of failure, they were, especially Greg, top class batsman. It was the tendency to skip the B tours as Tendulkar nowadays does. Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha on December 12, 2011, 5:36 GMT

    Continued - @Gerry - Indian flat tracks killing bowlers - perhaps there is some sense in the conventional wisdom to be aware of your limts. The Indian team acknowledges that they play best in Batting friendly conditions and hence such tracks. I am not too sure what kind of contribution the Aussies are making by preparing "spicy" tracks and getting budled out time and again (like today against NZ). No matter what kind of pitch you have now, 47 all out kills cricket as a game and not just the bowlers. [[ 47 not out, following 98 all out had nothing to do with the pitch, as evidenced by the two innings before and after this disaster day. It was rank bad batting by both teams. And all teams, including India have had their awful days. Do not blame the pitch for that. Why should India be all out for 76 on the first morning at Ahmedabad. Awful batting especially as the following two scores were 494 and 328. Even today, how can you blame the pitch for the poor batting by Aussies. They went from 159 for 2 to 199 for 9 and had a last wicket stand of 34. Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha on December 12, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    My two cents of jingoism (if it sees the light of day on this blog)- [[ It will, despite your misplaced reading of the blog policies. Do not cross the line, that is all. Ananth: ]] @Gerry - You have proudly pointed out Tendulkar's record in Australia - I say proudly because it is still better than his contemporary counterparts (Ponting, etc) in India. Not to mention the greats like Hadlee and DK Lillie who never visited India. Both featured in the discussions of all time great team and it was conveniently forgotten that they chose not to (chicken out) playing in tougher fast bowling conditions. [[ Hadlee visited India and performed magnificantly. Ananth: ]]

    All batting records should be with Indians - Indian pitches/grounds etc have been like this since ages, but no Indian held any record (bar Gavaskar) till the current crop of batsmen came along. Therefore credit goes to them. By the same token all bowling records should be with England/Australia but we all know that is not the case. Impact of Sehwag in Australia - Probably you missed the last series, though I hope you will be switched on for this one.

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 11, 2011, 3:09 GMT

    Ananth,

    Reference to your "C" programming experience makes me refer to demise of Dennis Ritchie, father of "C" who died in October and not covered well due to demise of other icon, Steve Jobs. Long live C for Ananth to give many more analysis. [[ Even though I was beyond the proverbial 6 hand-shakes from Ritchie, I felt a sense of profound loss at the news. He was the unsung hero of modern programming. C is a tough language to crack, but once mastered, the best development tool ever. Ananth: ]]

    I suppose you do strong documentation on your programming. Else how are you able to go back and make so many modifications and extensions to the programs? A bit of digression, but thought would refer to the tool behind the analysis, creator & practitioner. [[ I am not great at documentation.It is not easy going back something I did a few years away. Like the ODI simulation work I undertook for Castrol during last year's WC. The programs were 10 years old. However I managed to do that quite well. My strength is a very strong database created and maintained by me, through the years, through thick and thin. And I backup five times a day, into multiple media. Also I have a massive single program for display and retrieval of about 40 tables, for each of the formats. A lot of my needs are generated through this program. Finally I have my own Editor, developed 20 years back and used by me even today. Still works wonderfully after 10 versions of Windows platform changes. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on December 10, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    @Ananth: Holding's 14 for 149 is arguably the greatest ever match performance. Difficulty of scoring 100's in bowler-friendly situations gets highlighted but taking 6+ wkts/innings in batsman-friendly situations is difficult too. [[ Holding's double performances are highlighted in Table 7. To capture hige fifers in each innings in a match in which the RpW > 50 is something. Ananth: ]] On average, a top-order batsman lasts 90 balls/innings ... i.e., an innings is supposed to last about 120 overs (90 overs for top 6 and 30 for the other 4). If every innings innings lasts < 110 overs, a 5-day match gives a result. So, we can classify situations as:

    1. Batsman-friendly ... at least *one* innings lasting >130 overs; 2. Bowler-friendly ... at least *two* innings lasting <90 overs.

    Minor tweaks may be done to account for batting/bowling strengths. Now, interesting questions can be answered. E.g.: What is the probability of someone taking X wkts/innings if the innings lasts > Y overs (or < Z overs). Likewise for batting.

  • Aniruddha on December 10, 2011, 12:22 GMT

    Hi Anantha, while I have been a reader of your blogs for the past 2 years, I have never commented before. This is partly because I dont feel I can match the learned commentators here and also since I fall in the category of people who promote jingoism. I enjoy your blogs thoroughly and am pleasantly surprised to see the mention of Dev sahab both by you and some of the readers here. I did pick up the mention of Rafi sahab, SD Burman, Kishore da etc in one of your previous posts. Needless to say I find it amazing that given your age and experience you write C codes even though your engineering must have been in some other field. Thank you and wish you a healthy life as we look forward to many more such blogs from you. There is still a lot to be answered. [[ Thank you for the nice words which keep me going. I wrote my first line of 'C' code, 20 years back, when I was past 40. It is only the mastery I have over 'C' which makes me think that there is no reader query, subject to data being available, which I cannot answer. Ananth: ]]

  • Harsh Thakor on December 10, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    My greatest in order are 1.Michael Holding's 16-149 at the Oval in 1976 2.Bob Massie's 16 wickets at Lords in 1972 3.Dennis Lillee's 11-164 wicket haul in 1977 centenary test 4.Imran Khan's 12-165 at Sydney in 1976-77 5.Richard Hadlee's 15-109 at Brisbane in 1985-86 6.Imran Khan's 11 wickets at Karachi v India in 1982-83 7.Ian Botham's 13-107 at Mumbai in 1980 8.Anil Kumble's 19 wickets at Delhi 9.Jim Laker's 19 at the Oval 10.Abdul Qadir's 15 wickets v.England at Faisalbad in 1987. [[ Again, one surprise omission. Once you go to 12, would not you be tempted to push in Murali's 16 wickets, away in England and a match-winning one. Ananth: ]]

    I have placed the efforts of Holding,Lillee and Imran so high because of the docile nature of the wickets in the case of Holding and Lillee and the strength of opposition in the case of Imran.

  • shrikanthk on December 10, 2011, 2:45 GMT

    it might be a tad pre-mature to downright reject a 20% increase in runrates as being a significant change to the game, without looking at its impact in helping achieve more outright results

    I never said it isn't significant. But not as much as people think.

    Yes, it has contributed to more results.

    Having said that, we get more results also because more games involve poor teams these days. It's a hard ask to expect teams like B'desh and Zim to draw games without weather intervention. Back in the 60s, teams like India were the "minnows". A team that could boast of batsmen of the calibre of Sardesai, Manjrekar, Pataudi, Borde among others. Some very fine defensive batsmen on that list. The quality of the "minnows" has diminished over the years contributing to greater number of results.

    Compare those Indian "minnows" with the present Windies "minnows" for instance which contrived to nearly produce a result out of what was a dead game in Mumbai some weeks ago!

  • shrikanthk on December 10, 2011, 2:36 GMT

    if I have sufficient runs to play with, but not a large number of overs to get the opposition out in, for the same average, I'd pick the guy with the better strike rate

    Fair enough. But that's a BIG IF. One doesn't always have sufficient runs to play with.

    Moreover, these days, one rarely sees a draw if we get full 5 days of play in. Most draws happen because of weather/bad light playing spoilsport. Lack of time is seldom an issue given fair weather.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 9, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    I think in the subcontinent every effort has been made to increase runflow and kill bowlers. Tendulkar's 48 centuries include only 1 in 40 matches in Australia (though that was memorable) and 4 in 40 matches in South Africa (where the grounds are slightly smaller). His other centuries are largely in subcontinent/NZ/Malaysia etc. I dont think too many Indian batsmen have made centuries in Australia etc where the grounds are bigger. By definition, all one-day records should be with Indian batsmen. I would be surprised if Sehwag made an impact in Australia.

  • Alex on December 8, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    @Ananth: I don't know which deity you prayed to (if at all) but Lord Sehwag answered with a defining innings you asked for, not in Australia though. I always felt that 250 is possible in ODI's, even a 300 in the perfect conditions ... Watson's trajectory was headed towards a 300. However, cannot draw meaningful predictions for the tour down under: people who couldn't score a run over the entire tour of England became tigers after returning back to India. Anyway, the WR is now with its rightful owner. [[ I am sorry to say, Alex, this will do very little to the overall situation. 1.It is in ODIs. 2. The record was already by an Indian batsman. And belonged to the holiest cow of all. So the feat will receive only grudging recognition. 3. At one point, the batting took a back seat and I was left with the possibilities of ratings. As I expected this innings certainly moved comfortably into the top-10, that is all. How do you touch Richards or Gilchrist or Jayasuriya. Those were against top quality attacks. I concede, this was not a bad one, Group 3. Finally what one has to admire is the unflappable temperament, cool at all stages, ability to forget the catches dropped or run outs a minute after and the audacious strokeplay. But against Pattinson, Johnson, Siddle, Starc, Harris..., we have to wait and see. If anyone can do it, it is Sehwag. Ananth: ]]

  • IG on December 8, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    @ Shrikanth.."It's all very well to come up with scenarios. But as Ananth said, bowling average is easily the best metric. If two people have the same bowling average, they you may want to choose between them based on either Strike rate or Economy rate. But that would be a value judgment. Not an objective judgment." ------------------------------------------------------------- And what is your objective judgment? Yes, average is paramout, we've already established that. Next? I think the discussion was about how and when a better strike rate might be more useful, given the averages are similar. I am not sure if you have contributed anything to that regard. You may have taken it out of context. In any case, would love to see your objective judgement.

  • IG on December 8, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    @Shrikanth.. the whole premise of my argument was to choose a bowler with a better strike rate when given a choice of 2 bowlers with similar (+-2.50) averages. It'll be silly to pick a Patterson Thompson (played a couple of tests for the WI in 1996 and 97)who has a strike rate of 46.5 but an average of 43, over O'Reilly or McGrath or Steyn. I'm sure you know that the average is a function of both strike rate and economy rate. Once again, I repeat, if I have sufficient runs to play with, but not a large number of overs to get the opposition out in, for the same average, I'd pick the guy with the better strike rate. contd...

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 8, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    On SR related issue—I think the spinners take more balls to take wickets given the nature of their art and the time in which they come to bowl. If wickets fall quickly, the fast bowlers continue the spell. The captain also would like the fast bowlers to have better SR as they may not be able to do longer spells compared to a spinner. SR should be a very important criteria to compare bowlers in general as wickets win matches. But when it comes to comparing greats during a long career, it evens out and hence bowling average would do. Steyn does in the way a great fast bowler should do and Murali did it as per his role in the team where he had to check the runs and take wickets. [[ The key factor is that the Bowling average does full justice to a bowler's quality. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 8, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    Just re. O`Reilly and timeless tests again. I just noticed that his SR in Aus, where the vast majority of those timeless tests were played, was 81, his SR away was 61. Interesting.

  • anshu_n_jain on December 8, 2011, 11:30 GMT

    @shrikanthk - it might be a tad pre-mature to downright reject a 20% increase in runrates as being a significant change to the game (and i am not even commenting on the influence of ODIs on test cricket, which is an altogether different matter), without looking at its impact in helping achieve more outright results (fewer draws).

    Though the runrate wouldnt explain it all, the 80s and 90s with runrate of 2.86 had 40% draws (80s - 2.86, 46%; 90s - 2.86, 36%). The 2000s with runrate 3.2 had 25% draws. And though there have only been 76 test played in the 2010s, the runrate is 3.25, and 30% draws. The 90s and 2000s had a rampaging Australian team contributing handsomely to a low draw %.

    Am sure some detailed number-digging would throw more light. [[ Let me see what can be done. Ananth: ]]

    Ananth: Well done again!

  • Boll on December 8, 2011, 11:23 GMT

    Of course, another very important thing to remember when discussing the SR of someone such as O`Reilly, or Grimmett, is the large number of timeless tests in which they played.

    I would guess that O`Reilly played between 15-20 tests of this nature in his 27 test career. Naturally this has a significant impact on statistics, both in terms of SR and ER. He was regarded as a very attacking bowler, perhaps less than keen to `buy` a wicket than some, with the aggression and temperament of a paceman.

    Regardless, his average innings performance was 35 overs, 3-68. Simply stunning.

  • Ranga on December 8, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    @ Ananth (Off the track): In fact Sammy can hold his head high for his captaincy, commitment and outperforming his own self. All said and done, by far, he seems to be one of the most tactical captains of recent times (probably in the Fleming league, with fewer resources). Fleming carried himself manly. Sammy is still boyish. [[ I have rarely seen a captain who enjoys the game, irresective of the reaults, as Sammy. During 2011 their performances have been fair to good. The absence of the prima donnas has not hurt them as much as expected mainly because of Sammy's leadership. Ananth: ]]

    Contrasting that to Indians - Not to put the team down, but in other teams those who have played for 100 matches become veterans and they are looked at for carrying the team through in crisis and they are the ones who take responsibility. In India, 150+ match players are still kiddish, not having the responsibility to see the team through in tough chases. We all play "natural games" with scant respect for match situation. India is there simply because of BCCI's arm twisting tactics in every aspect. Bring on the DRS in 2011-12 Oz series. We would know men from boys. [[ But I must say that the less experienced Indian players are certainly making a statement. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 8, 2011, 2:43 GMT

    At my disposal are - Dale Steyn who takes a wicket every 6.5 overs or a Bill O'Reilly, who while economical, gets me a wicket only once every 11.4 overs

    It's all very well to come up with scenarios. But as Ananth said, bowling average is easily the best metric. If two people have the same bowling average, they you may want to choose between them based on either Strike rate or Economy rate. But that would be a value judgment. Not an objective judgment.

    By the way, the other reason why I prefer Bowling average when it comes to historical analysis is because averages have been more stable over the years than Strike rates. Throughout history, a bowling average of under 25 has been a measure of greatness. This hasn't changed.

    For SRs, we have no such benchmarks. In the 60s, NOBODY had SRs under 50. Very few managed SRs under 60 even! For the simple reason that attitudes towards run-making were a little different in that era, as shown by Ananth's run-rate analysis for the 60s. [[ In my opinion, the Bowling Average is the most valuable of all cricketing measures. It encompasses the two key areas of bowler measures, Runs per Ball and Balls per Wicket, beautifully. There is no weakness, other than contrived ones. If Murali takes 62 balls to capture a wicket, it does not matter since he concedes only 2.39 runs per over. If Steyn requires ONLY 42 balls, he concedes 3.30 runs per over. However both are equally effective in this measure with averages of 22.73 and 23.16. Silly to say, but 4 clones of both can dismiss the opposition for either side of 230. One would take longer, that is all. For every argument, based on a notional scenario where Steyn would be better, I can produce another scenario where Murali would be better. But the key undisputed fact is that both are great bowlers because of a single figure, their bowling average. The bowling average table is headed by 6 bowlers who played in the late 1800s-early 1900s. All these 6 bowlers have sub-20 bowling averages. Out of this, SF Barnes is an all-time great. The seventh is Wardle who started his career in 1948. Wardle's average of 20.39 sets the standard. The next 35 have bowling averages below 25 and all these bowlers could be called "great" with no hesitation. Yes, I know Mohd Asif is in this group. But he was a wonderful fast bowler, that must be acknowledged. Batting does not have this type of measure. We have only one measure, the Runs per dismissed innings. Nothing is available on how quicky they scored. Did they benefit because they batted late. How many balls they faced and so on. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 7, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    Ananth: I wasn't contesting your claim that sub 100 scores were more in the 19th century. All I was saying was that it was not necessarily due to poor batting conditions, but also because batting technique was still evolving. Which is why I took the examples of WG, Ranji and Hobbs to show how these legends gave a new twist to technique. By the 1920s, batting was roughly the same as we know it today. Hence, averages got standardized.

    Run rates : 1877-1899 2.49 1900-1914 2.91 WW1-WW2 2.70 40s-50s 2.37 1960s 2.50 1970s 2.69 1980s 2.87 1990s 2.87 2000-2004 3.1 2005-2011 3.31

    This deserves an article by itself! Fascinating. Thanks a lot for this! It goes to show how little the game has changed over the years. Run rates were roughly 2.9 in the 80s. Today, it's 3.3. So much for the so-called massive influence of ODIs on Test run rates! Even this, half-a-run increase you see may be partly attributed to better bats, smaller boundaries, helmets etc and not necessarily ODI cricket.

  • Ananth on December 7, 2011, 16:07 GMT

    This is slightly off-track. West Indies were 0-2 down. What do they do. They do not go defensive. They drop a batsman and play an additional bowler. What happens. They have a batsman less. Bravo retires hurt. They are against the wall. There is nowhere to run. The last 3 batsen who bat rise to the occasion and post a competitive score. The absence of a batsman has worked well. And when they defend the total, the extra bowler delivers. As much as Rampaul, it is Sunil Narine who bowls tightly and captures two key wickets. Irrespective of what happens in the next two matches, West Indies can hold their head high. The much-maligned Sammy has shown leadership and character. They could easily have won the last four matches. India has kept Rahul Sharma on the benche for so many days the bench has gone concave/convex depending on the direction of view.

  • IG on December 7, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    @Gerry - thats a tad unfair, isn't it? You said I could choose between Steyn and O'Reilly only, you never said I could choose McGrath :p Besides I just wanted to present a situation where a higher strike rate could be more effective. There have been instances where Steyn has taken wickets at a strike rate of lesser than 39 as well. Of course, we all know it wouldn't happen EXACTLY like that. Coming to McGrath, believe me...McGrath will be the 1st name in my XI, if I ever had the authority to choose one. Probably the most under-rated bowler of our times. I would still rate him as a greater game-breaker than Shane Warne. [[ With Steyn, you have a fleeting suspicion that the game may go out of hand. With McGrath that is very unlikey to happen. Ananth: ]]

  • Chris on December 7, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    Where is SK Warne in these tables? seems to be the biggest absentee in some of these tables.

  • D P Rangan on December 7, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    No mention of a fantastic feat of bowling by Ambrose in getting seven Australian wickets for just one run and winning the match for Australia. [[ Can you yourself tell me in which of these 12 tables would Ambrose's 7 for 25 fit in. Ananth: ]]

    Another analysis could be maximum number of wickets by bowlers based on their efforts only i.e. bowled or lbw. [[ If you re-read the article, you will find that this is one of the tables planned in Part 2. Ananth: ]]

    What about hat tricks, 3 wickets in 4 balls and 4 wickets in a over. [[ All these information is not available in the scorecards. Certainly not in the first 1500 scorecards or so. Possibly in the recent ones. Anyhow better to go to Statsguru for these type of tables. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on December 7, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    Fantastic article Ananth: Glad to see the effort you put to bring out the efforts of bowlers. I am wondering why Simon Doull's 7 for against India in 1998 did not appear He picked the top 6 wickets and then picked one more later. Am I missing something when I suggest this performance? [[ Doull picked up wickets 1-5 and 7-8. Azharuddin remained not out. Ananth: ]]

  • Bull on December 7, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    In the event you plan more articles on bowlers here is a suggestion. Can you do a run on the best bowling attacks of all time? it would have to be based on a series to series basis since the same set may not play all tests over a span of a year. I also dont understand why the game has been loaded against bowlers - limiting bouncers, limiting overs in the shorter format etcetera. The fact is no matter how great a batting performance given by a team it cannot win a test unless bowlers take 20 wickets. We never seem to salivate over bowling match ups anymore like lillee and thommo versus holding Roberts to name just one, unlike baseball where the pitchers still are believed to hold the key to the game and pitching match ups discussed avidly before a series. Would be interesting to see if bedi and Chandra were a better tandem than Kumble and harbhajan or lilee and thommo better than Wasim and waqar and so on. More bowler analysis please [[ The bowling group article published during May 2011 covers this in depth. Pl also see reply to vaidya. Ananth: ]]

  • Vaidya on December 7, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    Wonder how interesting it would be about partnerships in bowling. That is two bowlers who have appeared together in a number of test matches like say McGrath and Warne, or Srinath-Kumble, can be pace partners or just two bowlers together. Basically fifers when another fifer taking bowler is in the team. Might be related to table 5, but would like to know if there were any common fifer takers that were out-shined. (Don't know if I've put it completely the way I am thinking about it, but am guessing you'll be able to get what I'm trying to say here) [[ A fifer automatically means that there can be at most one more fifer and that too only if the third, fourth bowlers do not take a wicket and there are no run-outs. So this is a restricive measue, in a way. Ananth: ]]

    When it comes to Murali things can get skewed as there was virtually no competition for taking wickets in the team (except for maybe Vaas at times). Warne had to contend with McGrath most of the time! [[ I did this bowlers bowling together work quite some time back. It is worth re-visiting that theme. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 7, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    IG et al: My point is that it is a question of the throttle. Steyn bowls a full length, is an attacking bowler, and concedes runs faster and strikes faster. Sam with Waqar Younus. Everyone who does not follow that formula is not relatively ineffective. I would pick McGrath over Steyn as there is a 2 run average advantage. Spread over 20 wickets, it is a 40 run difference in a test match, equal to an extra batsman. The matter of finishing off the match quickly with Steyn's superior strike rate assumes that this delta of strike rate between Steyn and McGrath is uniform across all innings, but that may not be.

    Now can steyn bowl economically and still strike once in 39 balls? Would make for stunning stats. But it would show up in his average immediately.

  • shrikanthk on December 7, 2011, 2:42 GMT

    However if you look at scores before 1902, there were so many sub-100 scores that I cannot but help thinking that these were very friendly to bowlers. [[ Shrikanth/Sanchez) The following tables will confirm what I am saying.

    Match analysis 2 (Runs/Wkt, Runs/Over) Period RpO RpW BpW 1877-1899 2.49 22.2 53.5 1900-1914 2.91 26.0 53.7 WW1-WW2 2.70 32.7 72.7 40s-50s 2.37 29.9 75.7 1960s 2.50 32.2 77.4 1970s 2.69 32.7 72.8 1980s 2.87 32.5 68.1 1990s 2.87 31.6 66.1 2000-2004 3.10 33.4 64.6 2005-2011 3.31 34.9 63.2

    All Tests 2.82 31.9 68.0

    Inns Analysis - Runs, Low and High scores) Period R/CI %sub100 %500plus 1877-1899 215 17.33 2.55 1900-1914 245 8.37 2.70 WW1-WW2 289 3.14 6.68 40s-50s 256 6.46 6.79 1960s 284 1.93 5.80 1970s 276 2.62 5.24 1980s 278 2.23 5.64 1990s 269 1.71 5.47 2000-2004 281 4.07 9.86 2005-2011 289 2.85 9.96

    All Tests 274 3.81 6.72

    In the first period 35 out of 235 innings were below 100. That is about 5 times more than the overall Test %. Ananth: ]]

    I am not sure. Even back in the 1890s, we had teams often piling up totals of 400/500+ in test/county cricket. So, obviously not all wickets were bad.

    I think it has also got to do with the evolution of batting technique.

    Back in the 1870s/80s, the great WG first taught the world the art of playing overarm fast bowling. A fixed right foot and a forward stretch of the left foot was his mantra.

    In the 1890s, there was a revolution, kickstarted by a brown man named Ranji. This guy defied the WG orthodoxy. The progenitor of back foot play. "Play back or drive" was Ranji's mantra.

    Then came Hobbs in the early 1900s. He had enough of WG's classical virtues. But he also carried forward Ranji's tradition of back play. So, he effectively combined WG's classicism and Ranji's modernism. No wonder he averaged 50+!

  • Longmemory on December 7, 2011, 1:51 GMT

    The best thing about Ananth's analyses and the readers' responses that follow is the high quality of the exchanges. Cricinfo's reader response sections are normally a swamp of jingoism, very limited intellect and plain noise. Its so refreshing to know that there are so many well-informed and balanced fans out there. Beam me down Scotty - there is intelligent life here after all! [[ Thank you. It is a reflection of the mutual respect the readers have for each other and me. I think I have also been successful in removing jingoism almost completely, at times ruthlessly. Ananth: ]]

  • Mekongalong on December 6, 2011, 23:21 GMT

    @Gerry_the_Merry

    The value of strike rate vs average depends to a large degree on the quality of the other bowlers. If all other bowlers have a great average, strike rate can be meaningless. However, if the other bowlers have a significantly higher average, strike rate can be more important due to better compensating for the average difference.

    Take, for example, a team of only 2 bowlers A- Bowler1 av 20, sr 60 B2 av 30 sr 60 B- B1 av 22 sr 30 B2 av 30 sr 60

    A will bowl a team out for 250, 5 wickets each. B- out for 234, 7/3 wickets

    Simplified to the extreme, but it does demonstrate the point.

    Perhaps percentage of overs bowled needs to be considered in conjunction with SR to fully validate this analysis.

    Plus, the simple- high SR= result, low SR= draw.

    Anantha- Great stuff, as always. [[ Pl see recent responses. Ideally we want bowlers with strike rates below 40 and RpB of less than 0.4. That is Lohmann territory. But practically, an average below 25 indicates an outstanding bowler, however differently this might be constructed. 70 and 0.33 or 50 and 0.5 or 40 and 0.6. There is no need to put one above or below the other. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on December 6, 2011, 23:09 GMT

    @Ananth: Is it possible for you to do a decade-wise analysis of partnerships for each wicket? Compute the mean & variance for each. I wonder if such analysis has ever been done for innings-wise team scores (much less partnerships). Playing conditions change from one test to another but this might be a good exercise. [[ Can be done without coming down to specific batsmen involved. Ananth: ]]

    Dev Anand's "Guide" may well be the best Hindi movie ever. I well remember the day in 1990's when he visited a run down "Lucky" restaurant in Pune. Back in 40's, it was a trendy place where he used to eat "brun maska" (a buttered bun) with tea, the only dish he could afford. That day, a prosperous nostalgic "Dev Saab" walked in, talked to people, and had brun maska & tea to his heart's content. This gentleman was the VVS of his time: not the greatest star/actor like Ashok Kumar or Dilip Kumar but simply gave some of the finest Hindi movies.

  • IG on December 6, 2011, 21:04 GMT

    @Gerry - if I may, present a situation where strike rate might be more useful than average per se. Imagine a situation where the opposition needs 330 in 90 overs (5th day), and I as a captain, need to win this match to level/win the series. At my disposal are - Dale Steyn who takes a wicket every 6.5 overs or a Bill O'Reilly, who while economical, gets me a wicket only once every 11.4 overs. Assuming the other bowlers have a strike rate of 10 overs per wicket, with Steyn, in theory I'd be able to get the opposition out in 82.3 overs (assuming Styen bowls 32.3 overs). However, if I were to bowl O'Reilly for 32.3 overs, I'd be able to take less than 8 wickets in 90 overs. Now this was a very rough example,but I hope it gives us an idea how a good strike rate can make a difference between victory and draw/defeat. So yes, I would give credit to Steyn for his strike rate. Besides, the difference between their averages isn't much. [[ One can always derive examples to prove one's point. Do I have 100 overs to get 10 wickets or 50 overs. Am I defending 120 or 400. I can certainly prove one bowler would work better than the other and so on. That is the reason why I will go with Batting average as the all-encompassing measure since it incorporates both aspects of the bowler skills. Ananth: ]]

  • Bull on December 6, 2011, 18:32 GMT

    Nice article. Sarfaraz might have got ten but for Andy hilditch handling the ball. Also I think jasu Patel should be knocked off this list given that he was clearly a chucker. [[ I myself am not sure about Patel's action. However I am not going top pass judgement 50 years on. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on December 6, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    Gerry, Its pretty self-serving to compare Garner and Steyn and then use the pace of the game in their eras to conclude that strike rates do not matter

    I agree that strike rate is secondary to average in test cricket but it does matter. Take Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald for example. Pollock : avg = 23, SR = 57 Donald : avg = 22, SR = 47

    Their averages are almost identical but Donald is going to be your choice if you are looking for quick wickets [[ I think Gerry should have made a general statement and stopped at that. Also you should not make these out be either/or situations.Also in your example Pollock has the better average. I know you can take two identical averages also. Because of the wonderful nature of the beast, I am very comfortable with the Bowling average. If a team has an average BQi (based on Bowling average) of below 25, that is a devastating attack, 25-30, a very good bowling attack and so on. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit on December 6, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    Ananth, why not a list on five or more wickets in a single, match-winning spell that scythed through the Opposition? That will get in Ambrose’s 7 wkts for one run and six against England (46 all out), Imran’s 1982-83 heroics in Karachi (India 102 for 1 to 114 for seven) and similar feats. I know you are going to say you don’t do lists to fit in this or that performance, but it still seems a shame that these sublime performances somehow slip through all the lists you have created. Why not one more? BTW, Ambrose’s Perth spell is so great because it came before tea on Day 1 and virtually settled the match. Regards [[ No, I will not give a lame excuse like that. My problem is that for the first 1500 Tests or so I am not able to determine "who got out when" since the FoW information, say, for match no 1000, was a bland FoW: 1-30, 2-30, 3-74, 4-88, 5-150,... type of line. I think I have mentioned this quite a few times already. Because of this I am not able to do a partnership analysis also. Contrast this with today's scorecards which show, say, for match no 2000, FoW: 1-19 (Cook, 10.6 ov), 2-62 (Strauss, 24.4 ov), 3-160 (Trott, 61.2 ov),... I can do opening partnerships, that is all. I can, of course, work out most situations but that is wrong since it is not foolproof Alex also to note this. I feel I should ask you guys to help me out and get this huge gap filled. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 6, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    Warne: 708 wickets at 25.41 Benaud: 248 wickets at 27.03 Grimmett: 216 wickets at 24.21 MacGill: 208 wickets at 29.02 O`Reilly: 144 wickets at 22.59

    I wouldn't even mention Benaud and MacGill in the same breath. Fine bowlers, but not great by any stretch of imagination. Benaud's poor show in 1956 will always be held against him - in a series when Laker and co went berserk, Benaud had nowhere near the same level of impact notwithstanding the favourable wickets!

    Warne at his best is probably the finest of the lot. But judging the careers as a whole, he must finish 2nd if not 3rd with O'Reilly at the top.

  • Ruchir on December 6, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    @Boll, Post WW2, India has a rich tradition of wrist spin. Gupte: 149 wickets at 29 Chandrasekhar: 242 at 29 Kumble: 619 at 29

    But i agree that the great leg spinners from Aus are a surprise since Aus has not produced great spinners of other varieties. Ashley Mallett is probably their best off spinner and I can't think of a left armer from AUS. That probably explains why they struggle against off spin more than wrist spinners(Laker/Harbhajan). Ian Chappell rated PRasanna to be more dangerous than Bedi/Chandra. And there was the famous Kanpur test where Lala Amarnath picked an unknown offspinner Jasu Patel who took 9 wickets to give India their first win over Aus

  • Sancho on December 6, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    (cont'd) I think many of us who have followed cricket would generally agree that batting has become easier in the post 2000 era. The number of people averaging over 50 is far higher than at any time in cricket But I don’t think we make comments of the sort that a 50 batting average has no meaning any more – that a perhaps general metric of avg>40: good player and avg>50: great player should be replaced by 45 and 55. Why are we so willing to qualify bowling performances of pre WW1? Admittedly, batting averages were lower, perhaps till the advent of Jack Hobbs (pre WW1 incidentally) but in such an environment with multiple bowlers in a team it should have been difficult for any one bowler to outperform (much like the WI team of the 80’s where I think Marshall was the only one to cross 300 career wickets). Lohman and Barnes’ record in such an environment could be said to be even more praiseworthy. [[ These statement are only qualifying statements and are not meant to put down any bowler. However if you look at scores before 1902, there were so many sub-100 scores that I cannot but help thinking that these were very friendly to bowlers. If you look at the 8 for 7 innings, there was one acceptable batsmen (Sinclair 1069 at 23.24) and the total of the other 6 at the top was 570 career runs and the next best average was 16.80. England were nothing great but much better. This is similar to my talking about Nzl bowling of the 30s. And I myself have said that the past 20 years have been batting-friendly and 50 is minimum. These have all been mentined in my Test summary analysis earlier this year. Ananth: ]]

  • Sancho on December 6, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    I noticed you mentioned Lohman’s name a few times in your write up (not tables but in the commentary to them) and each time qualified his presence by the era he played in (“Signs of the times he bowled in”, “on those uncovered pitches of yonder”, “the dicey quality of South African batting and the minefields he bowled on”). I feel that is a bit unfair. He could only play in the era he was in.

    And it’s not as if all the bowlers of that era had such figures. Look at the tables – 9 wickets plus – Barnes and Lohman are the only pre WWI players in it. Performances away from home – definitely more of pre WW1 but by no means a preponderance, the top 6 wickets I think has only Barnes and Lockwood from pre WW1. As you go through the list you realize that Barnes and Lohman had simply far better figures than everyone else in their period – which is reflected in the 2 of them being still having the highest wickets per test of all time. (cont'd)

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 6, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    Ananth,

    Very nice work, thank you.

    Requests for some information.

    1. Do we have toss information for all matches-It will be interesting to look at situation" lose toss, bowl first, bundle out the team, score high runs to gain substantial lead. They will be standout performances in presumably good batting conditions. [[ I will do the innings-wise analysis. Toss can be mentioned there. Ananth: ]]

    2. Can we look at performance across two innings with respect to dismissing top 6 batsmen?--this will be comprehensive match winning performance [[ Will do this in the second part. Something like 10 top order (1-6) batsmen in the two iinnings combined. Ananth: ]]

    3. Who will be the consistent fifer performers across their careers? [[ Let me see how this can be done. Ananth: ]]

    Boll....spot on Aussie spinners.very impressive figures. Strangely spinners from other countries haven't done very well in Australia. Something to do with not able to adjust on line & length due to bounce?

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 6, 2011, 15:05 GMT

    Ananth, got it. I interpreted it mistakenly as the top 6 batsmen to fall.

    Boll, i am surprised that someone would have criticised O'Reilly for SR of 70. What matters is his average. ONLY average. I am not a big fan of strike rate. I can explain by comparing Joel Garner and Dale Steyn. Steyn has a strike rate of 39, compared to Garner's 50. But is that a credit to him? I dont think so, since his average is 23, compared to Garner's 21.

    While Steyn is knocking the batsmen over faster, they are also scoring quicker off him. So in a sense, everything is happening faster, the tempo of the game is quicker, and i cant see why then Steyn is given credit. If he is, fine, but for contributing to a faster paced game. In which case, it would mean that Steyn and all his contemporaries are superior to O'Reilly and all his contemporaries, since the latter group playey the game slower. That is about as silly as it can get. So i feel that the true measure can only be the average.

  • charith on December 6, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    statistically murali seems to be the king of fifers, him not appearing in the 5th table is surprising to say the least.oh Vaasy what did you doo.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 6, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    Ananth, but which cut off does Ambrose's 6-52 not qualify for in table 3 and 4 please? [[ Gerry, one of your off-days when you miss the obvious like Edgar Allan Poe's letter which is in the open so everybody misses it. Clue: Gooch. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 6, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    While on the subject of great leg-spinners (recent posts mentioning O`Reilly, Kumble etc.), any chance of an article dedicated to these great entertainers Ananth? Yes, I know your request box must be full to overflowing...

    For a country sometimes derided for its inability to play spin, or indeed to produce world-class spin bowlers, I would imagine the Rest of the World would seriously struggle to match the Australian greats;

    Warne: 708 wickets at 25.41 Benaud: 248 wickets at 27.03 Grimmett: 216 wickets at 24.21 MacGill: 208 wickets at 29.02 O`Reilly: 144 wickets at 22.59 [[ This is something which I have never done. Just leg-spinners or off-spinners or left arm fast etc. Has already been moved to the list. Should be fascinating. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 6, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    @shrikanthk. Great work there old chap, managing to slip in the 1st class average of the mighty WJ O`R. No less than 774 wickets at that incredible average too.

    Further to your discussion of his great stamina, remembering that many of his overs were 8-ballers, O`Reilly averaged about 209 balls per test innings - the equivalent of 35 x 6-ball overs. In an era of timeless tests, his SR of slightly under 70 was excellent, his economy rate and average, as you mention, simply world class.

    I remember someone on these pages citing his SR as evidence that he was second-rate (an argument described by Ananth as `a full-toss outside leg stump`). His appearance in the ESPN Australian all-time XI, World 2nd XI, and many mentions here (and I`m sure in Part 2) are testament to his greatness. Did I mention we went to the same high-school?

  • SARWAR on December 6, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    just wondering why those figures that johny briggs,george lohmann,or michael clarke produced are nowhere to be seen today.they too had to bowl to great batsmen,on flat tracks and when they were more cautious then batters are today due to advent of t20. is there any software or database programmes with which we too can do indepth analysis of this sorts? [[ Briggs, Lohmann bowled a hundred years back while Clarke is today. Ananth: ]]

  • Santosh Sequeira on December 6, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    Ananth

    With regards to table 5 (or any table for that matter) where does Agarkars solitary tour de force against Australia stand? [[ I am not sure whether Agarkar's spell qualifies under the third innings criteria. Let us see. Ananth: ]]

    May be a mention here might bring about a thaw in his tiff with the Mumbai selectors :P

    On a different note I know how much you would be mourning the death of the one and only...Dev Anand......some of his classics will always be definitive of the 50s and the 60s era....may his soul Rest In Peace. [[ Yes, I fet as if part of my growing up disappeared. While I was in the Engineering college, it was Dev Anand all the way. Paying Guest, Kala Bazaar, Jab Pyar kisise..., Guide, Tere Ghar ke saamne, Hum Dono, Jewel Thief: Ah what days. And to boot, the first fim I saw with my wife-to-be was Hare Rama Hare Krishna. What a man. With a seemingly laid-back attitude, he was a gentleman to the core. Was totally honest. Was always open about his relationship with Suraiya. Ananth: ]]

    Cheers

    Santosh

  • Pranav on December 6, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    Good article, but the near-absence of Wasim, Waqar, Ambrose and Walsh was surprising. They have become what Sachin was to your previous article - greats beyond any reasonable doubt (esp. Wasim and Ambrose)and yet hardly figure anywhere in analysis of extraordinary performances. I for one used to think that Ambrose = destruction. Perhaps his spell of 7 for 1 against Australia and humiliations of England have clouded other aspects of his bowling.

  • Rangarajan on December 6, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    This, in Indian terms, is like watching a soap opera . . . when the most important part comes, you have a "To be continued" to wait for another day!! Waiting for Part 2. Having said that, an interesting reading indeed, is that in the first cut off, Warne rarely figures. And just a few Aussies of the great 1995-2008 era. May be, they shared the spoils. Or they may figure in Part 2! [[ I can clearly see that Part 2 has more interesting tables. Certainly the West Indians of 1980s and Aussies 1990s-2000s shared the spoile. I also think that is the hallmark of a successful team. If your fourth bowler is Croft or Gillespie the other teams take notice. Ananth: ]]

    The presence of Kumble in the away table (excluding his 10-74 effort) also delights, for till 2000, he was still a back up bowler for India abroad. However, Eng trip 2002, WIN trips subsequently and the 2004 & 2008 Aus trip enhanced his stature abroad (though doing nothing to stamp his authority). A point to note was that the real Indian successes overseas came after he started finding his form on foreign soil (and almost all those victories have Kumble taking 5+ wkts in the match). The underrated leggie showed that aggression need not come through monkeygates and obsence gestures against dismissed batsman

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 6, 2011, 4:09 GMT

    Ananth, very nice.

    Surprised to note that Curtly Ambrose, 6-52, 1991, Headingley is not there. The rest of the attack was a tired attack, with Bishop missing, Patterson lacking rhythm, Marshall a pale shadow and Walsh a bit off colour that day. But Ambrose nearly finished off England all by himself, and only when he tired was Gooch able to get going.

    Ambrose took the top six. Average of top six 36.6. So not sure why it does not qualify. [[ Don't forget that this is the Test of the Gooch innings, recently the most discussed innings in this blogspace. Even Ambrose could not dismiss Gooch !!! Probably the Ambrose spell enhances the value of Gooch innings. Ananth: ]]

    This was a special series, as 1) it was held 3 years after the previous series, not the usual 4. 2) farewell of Richards 3) WI went down 0-1 then up 2-1 then 2-2.

  • Iain on December 5, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    In table 6 have you used batsmens career average or average at the time? If you have used career average then it is an error, for exmple getting Steve Waugh out cheaply in 1987 is not the same as getting him out cheaply in 2001. His average would have changed by 20 runs. Hollies and Allen appear in this table by virtue of Bradmans high average, I am surprised there are not more from this period. [[ Iain, You are correct. Ctd is the most accurate basis. However I used career figures mainly because it would enable readers to get the average value of a bowling spell almost instantly. On Boxing day, if Cummins dismisses Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Kohli, it would take you a minute to compute the average. Okay in this case the career is the same as Ctd. But you could take a 2003 spell and do it. Ctd values are just not available. Let me also say that there is very little difference whether we use Ctd or career. For instance O'Reilly's fifer has a total of 297 based on career and 298 based on Ctd. Other than someone like Hussey, who had a Ctd value of 80 after 20 innings, most batsmen tend to reach their career averages around third-to-midpoint of their career and plateau thereafter. Steve Waugh is an exception, the other way. He reached his creer figure only around two-thirds of his career. However these variations get evened out. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghuraman on December 5, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    Way to go dude. Good work on the neglected lot of Cricket. That too when there's been so much emphasis on batting statistics like Sachin's 100th 100. Being a Coimbatorean myself, i actually kinda admire your painstaking yet a wonderful work Ananth. Keep it up.

  • shrikanthk on December 5, 2011, 17:41 GMT

    Another article that coaxes me further to believe why Bill O'Reilly ranks among the greatest of all bowlers, if not THE greatest.

    No bowler worked harder than O'Reilly. Out of the 46 innings in which he bowled, he churned out over 50 overs 8 times! 40+ overs in an innings 14 times! Most of these marathon efforts were against England. Assembled against him were some of the greatest batsmen in the game - Sutcliffe, Hendren, Hammond, Leyland, Paynter, Ames...

    Invariably, the marathon spells were on shirtfront wickets offering bowlers next to nothing. And YET, the guy averaged 22 in test cricket, with an economy rate of under 2. He also had to contend with the old LBW law till 1935 which probably rendered his googly less dangerous.

    His first-class achievements are too astounding for words. The man averaged 16.6 in first-class cricket despite not being a regular county player.

    I fear to contemplate what he might've achieved on more favourable wickets with DRS around to assist him!

  • Engle on December 5, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    How about a table showing highest fifer percentages of total Test wickets [[ Yes will be done. I have avoided the first hundreds type of articles. Hence there has been no mention of number of fifers etc. Ananth: ]]

    FWIW, Basil Butcher, only captured 5 wickets in his Test career and they came as a result of a fifer. [[ Very nice bit of info. This was the famous (or infamous, based on which way you look at it) 1968 match of Sobers declaration. West Indies: 526/7 & 92/2 decl. England: 404 and 215/3 off 52 overs at around 4 rpo. Butcher captured 5 for 34 in England innings, including last 4 wickets. Those were the only wickets he captured in his career. Ananth: ]]

  • taemoor on December 5, 2011, 15:55 GMT

    I couldn't find out the reason why Imran Khan didn't make any list. He is the one who reached at the highest ever ICC Bowling Rating 922 (Post WWII) which was also the third highest in history after Barnes and Lohmann, which can not be a matter of chance. He also bowled on Flat tracks. I mean Home series in his case was more like a disadvantage. What do you say/ [[ I can only say one thing. Show me ONE TABLE where the computer could have selected Imran but did not. Why do you people not read the article properly. Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on December 5, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    Dear Anantha,

    One immediate observation - both, by the traditional measure of bowling average and by the modern measure of strike rate, spinners have tended to be on the mid/lower rungs of the ladder. Finally, from these tables one can see the importance and value of the spinners (beyond murali and warne).

    Thanks Aditya

  • akshat on December 5, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    ANANTH I know this is seriously out of context , but why is Chris Martin targeted for his batting . Are Amla,gambhir etc criticized for not bowling? [[ Because Martin has come to bat 92 times, remained not out 46 times, scored 110 runs at an average of 1.20 runs per innings and was dismissed at zero 31 times. Just as you cannot argue with 52-80-10-6996-99.94, you cannot argue with this. As far as Gambhir are concerned he probably does not know how to bowl. I will ignore Amla since he has bowled 7 overs. But Darren Bravo has not bowled a single ball. So we should never compare a batsman who never ever bowls and a batsman (???) who , with some difficulty, has crossed 100 runs in 90+ innings. And the New Zealanders, with their wonderful sense of humour, love to discuss Martin's batting. Incidentally I have covered this aspect in an article titled "Okay, Bradman is at No.1... but who is last?". Given below is the link. It is a very different and humorous piece. http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2009/02/ Ananth: ]]

  • ww on December 5, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    Batsmen Highest score is called their best score.Really?Sachin's 200+ is better than his 60 NOT OUT to save a test?VVS 280 IS better than his 70 (with injury) to beat Australia?Bradman's 334 better than his hundred on a treacherous track? A Bowler gets 3 for 28(ave 9),6for 217(ave 36),4 for 65(16 ave),5 for 100 ave 20).Why is 6 for 217 his best bowling?Why not his 3 for 28?Stats for all bowlers give Best bowling figures eg Laker's 10 for 53 (ave 5.3)If Laker came on late to bowl in another match, got 1 for 3(ave 3),isnt this (ave 3) his Best Bowling in an innings? [[ The real reason is that the bowler has only one job in Tests. That is to capture wickets. If the bowlers do not take wickets, Tests cannot be won. Imagine a team is chasing 300, two bowlers with analysis of 20-0-100-5 and 20-0-100-5 will win while two bowlers with analysis of 50-30-30-4 and 50-30-30-4 will not win. Extreme example but wickets are paramount. Having said that I fail to understand why the same method is used in ODIs. To me the greatest ODI bowling perormance is Gilmour's 12-5-14-6 because it combines wicket-taking and bowling accuracy. I would anyday take this over 7 for 51. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on December 5, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    One more table could be added that is fifer in both the innings.

    Could not get the same interest as the 100's list. Once again your first sentence is proven right that bowlers are forgotten heroes. For me the standout performance have been.(India centric) [[ I think we all have to develop the interest in bowling performances. Ananth: ]]

    Kumble 10-74 Srinath 8-85 and 5-??? against Pakistan in Kolkata,1999 Srinath 6-21 vs SA at Ahmedabad 1996 Harbhajan (All four performance against Australia at Kolkata & Chennai in 2001)

    Saqlain 4 fifer in Delhi and Chennai against India in 1999.

    Harmison 7 for against West Indies. [[ If you had seen the last section outlining the contents of the second part, you will see that this has been scheduled there. Ananth: ]]

  • akshat on December 5, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    ananth: great analysis can you arrange for a reader"s list for bowlers also ? [[ You will see at the end of the article that I have mentioned that I will have the Readers' List attached to the second part since many wonderful performances are going to appear in part 2. Ananth: ]]

  • Naveen on December 5, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    Hi Anantha

    i am a big fan of your articles on statistics and really look forward to next article. i dont go much into details but these analysis give great pleasure. i dont have any comment but can you do any analysis on

    who top scored in an innings maximum no. of time or who top scored in both innnings maximum or say in consicutive tests.

    regards [[ Will look at this. Ananth: ]]

  • Sunil on December 5, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    Great analysis as usual. Comments and suggestions: 1. Table 5 excludes the 10 wicket hauls of Laker and Kumble. They should actually head the table as the rest of the bowlers average is mathematically Infinity. 2. For part 2, will be interesting to look at Fifers on debut - many in the last few months, but not so common an event in the longer term. 3. Also, percentage of Fifers to total career wickets - the ones at the top should be the match winners throughout their career. Look forward to part 2 of the analysis. [[ Thank you, Sunil. I wanted to make a reference to the Table 1 performances in Table 5, but just missed it. Have since updated the article. Ananth: ]]

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Sunil on December 5, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    Great analysis as usual. Comments and suggestions: 1. Table 5 excludes the 10 wicket hauls of Laker and Kumble. They should actually head the table as the rest of the bowlers average is mathematically Infinity. 2. For part 2, will be interesting to look at Fifers on debut - many in the last few months, but not so common an event in the longer term. 3. Also, percentage of Fifers to total career wickets - the ones at the top should be the match winners throughout their career. Look forward to part 2 of the analysis. [[ Thank you, Sunil. I wanted to make a reference to the Table 1 performances in Table 5, but just missed it. Have since updated the article. Ananth: ]]

  • Naveen on December 5, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    Hi Anantha

    i am a big fan of your articles on statistics and really look forward to next article. i dont go much into details but these analysis give great pleasure. i dont have any comment but can you do any analysis on

    who top scored in an innings maximum no. of time or who top scored in both innnings maximum or say in consicutive tests.

    regards [[ Will look at this. Ananth: ]]

  • akshat on December 5, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    ananth: great analysis can you arrange for a reader"s list for bowlers also ? [[ You will see at the end of the article that I have mentioned that I will have the Readers' List attached to the second part since many wonderful performances are going to appear in part 2. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on December 5, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    One more table could be added that is fifer in both the innings.

    Could not get the same interest as the 100's list. Once again your first sentence is proven right that bowlers are forgotten heroes. For me the standout performance have been.(India centric) [[ I think we all have to develop the interest in bowling performances. Ananth: ]]

    Kumble 10-74 Srinath 8-85 and 5-??? against Pakistan in Kolkata,1999 Srinath 6-21 vs SA at Ahmedabad 1996 Harbhajan (All four performance against Australia at Kolkata & Chennai in 2001)

    Saqlain 4 fifer in Delhi and Chennai against India in 1999.

    Harmison 7 for against West Indies. [[ If you had seen the last section outlining the contents of the second part, you will see that this has been scheduled there. Ananth: ]]

  • ww on December 5, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    Batsmen Highest score is called their best score.Really?Sachin's 200+ is better than his 60 NOT OUT to save a test?VVS 280 IS better than his 70 (with injury) to beat Australia?Bradman's 334 better than his hundred on a treacherous track? A Bowler gets 3 for 28(ave 9),6for 217(ave 36),4 for 65(16 ave),5 for 100 ave 20).Why is 6 for 217 his best bowling?Why not his 3 for 28?Stats for all bowlers give Best bowling figures eg Laker's 10 for 53 (ave 5.3)If Laker came on late to bowl in another match, got 1 for 3(ave 3),isnt this (ave 3) his Best Bowling in an innings? [[ The real reason is that the bowler has only one job in Tests. That is to capture wickets. If the bowlers do not take wickets, Tests cannot be won. Imagine a team is chasing 300, two bowlers with analysis of 20-0-100-5 and 20-0-100-5 will win while two bowlers with analysis of 50-30-30-4 and 50-30-30-4 will not win. Extreme example but wickets are paramount. Having said that I fail to understand why the same method is used in ODIs. To me the greatest ODI bowling perormance is Gilmour's 12-5-14-6 because it combines wicket-taking and bowling accuracy. I would anyday take this over 7 for 51. Ananth: ]]

  • akshat on December 5, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    ANANTH I know this is seriously out of context , but why is Chris Martin targeted for his batting . Are Amla,gambhir etc criticized for not bowling? [[ Because Martin has come to bat 92 times, remained not out 46 times, scored 110 runs at an average of 1.20 runs per innings and was dismissed at zero 31 times. Just as you cannot argue with 52-80-10-6996-99.94, you cannot argue with this. As far as Gambhir are concerned he probably does not know how to bowl. I will ignore Amla since he has bowled 7 overs. But Darren Bravo has not bowled a single ball. So we should never compare a batsman who never ever bowls and a batsman (???) who , with some difficulty, has crossed 100 runs in 90+ innings. And the New Zealanders, with their wonderful sense of humour, love to discuss Martin's batting. Incidentally I have covered this aspect in an article titled "Okay, Bradman is at No.1... but who is last?". Given below is the link. It is a very different and humorous piece. http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2009/02/ Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on December 5, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    Dear Anantha,

    One immediate observation - both, by the traditional measure of bowling average and by the modern measure of strike rate, spinners have tended to be on the mid/lower rungs of the ladder. Finally, from these tables one can see the importance and value of the spinners (beyond murali and warne).

    Thanks Aditya

  • taemoor on December 5, 2011, 15:55 GMT

    I couldn't find out the reason why Imran Khan didn't make any list. He is the one who reached at the highest ever ICC Bowling Rating 922 (Post WWII) which was also the third highest in history after Barnes and Lohmann, which can not be a matter of chance. He also bowled on Flat tracks. I mean Home series in his case was more like a disadvantage. What do you say/ [[ I can only say one thing. Show me ONE TABLE where the computer could have selected Imran but did not. Why do you people not read the article properly. Ananth: ]]

  • Engle on December 5, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    How about a table showing highest fifer percentages of total Test wickets [[ Yes will be done. I have avoided the first hundreds type of articles. Hence there has been no mention of number of fifers etc. Ananth: ]]

    FWIW, Basil Butcher, only captured 5 wickets in his Test career and they came as a result of a fifer. [[ Very nice bit of info. This was the famous (or infamous, based on which way you look at it) 1968 match of Sobers declaration. West Indies: 526/7 & 92/2 decl. England: 404 and 215/3 off 52 overs at around 4 rpo. Butcher captured 5 for 34 in England innings, including last 4 wickets. Those were the only wickets he captured in his career. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 5, 2011, 17:41 GMT

    Another article that coaxes me further to believe why Bill O'Reilly ranks among the greatest of all bowlers, if not THE greatest.

    No bowler worked harder than O'Reilly. Out of the 46 innings in which he bowled, he churned out over 50 overs 8 times! 40+ overs in an innings 14 times! Most of these marathon efforts were against England. Assembled against him were some of the greatest batsmen in the game - Sutcliffe, Hendren, Hammond, Leyland, Paynter, Ames...

    Invariably, the marathon spells were on shirtfront wickets offering bowlers next to nothing. And YET, the guy averaged 22 in test cricket, with an economy rate of under 2. He also had to contend with the old LBW law till 1935 which probably rendered his googly less dangerous.

    His first-class achievements are too astounding for words. The man averaged 16.6 in first-class cricket despite not being a regular county player.

    I fear to contemplate what he might've achieved on more favourable wickets with DRS around to assist him!