Performers in one form of the game December 6, 2005

The Jacks of one trade

During the 1990s, cricket witnessed an increasing trend of players who featured prominently in one form of the game

Some statistics, like Bradman's average and the number of centuries Gavaskar made, are known to pretty much every cricket buff. But The List will bring you facts and figures that aren't so obvious, adding fuel to those fiery debates about the most valuable middle-order bat, and the most useless tailender. If there's a particular List that you would like to see, e-mail us with your comments and suggestions.



Chris Harris was not endowed with extraordinary talent but used his skills effectively with good results in the one-day game © Getty Images

During the 1990s, cricket witnessed an increasing trend of players who featured prominently in one form of the game. These 'specialists' played a crucial role for their teams: be it Gavin Larsen choking the run-flow in the middle overs or Michael Slater getting Australia off to a galloping start in Tests.

If the specialists need a poster-boy, they wouldn't have to look much further than Chris Harris. A veteran of 250 ODIs, Harris has played in only 23 Tests. His worker bee-like middle-order batting in the one-day game earned him an average of 29 but his touch-nudge-and-push method wasn't successful in Tests where he averaged just 20.44. Similarly, his economical wicket-to-wicket bowling in the limited-overs format resulted in 203 wickets, a New Zealand record, but the lack of a natural wicket-taking ability hampered his Test prospects.

New Zealand spawned several such players who were proficient in one form of the game but mediocre in the other. Roger Twose was a handy one-day bat but never made his mark on the Test circuit. Geoff Allot, the highest wicket-taker in the 1999 World Cup, averaged a very impressive 23.21 in ODIs but leaked 58.47 per wicket in Tests and Chris Pringle's career stats tell a similar tale. Dion Nash, Simon Doull and James Franklin all have respectable Test records that are let down by expensive one-day figures. And now Jacob Oram scores at 43.56 in Tests but his one-day equivalent is a meagre 17.61.

When Michael Bevan burst on to the international ODI stage, he was an instant success. He made an impressive start to his Test career as well but his sensational one-day success tagged him as a limited-overs specialist. Growing concerns about Bevan's ability to counter a short-ball barrage led to his eventual axeing from the Test side. After he played his last game, Bevan had a one-day average of 53.58 and a Test average of 29.07. He now has a first-class average of 58.30 but, at 35, he's unlikely to make a return. Neil Fairbrother, the original Bevan, was a busy middle-order bat and averaged an impressive 39.47 in 75 ODIs. He, however, was a woeful failure in the Test format, making just over 15 runs per innings in ten Tests.

ODI specialists - Batting (qualification: 20 innings in both)
Player Tests Runs Ave HS 100 ODIs Runs Ave HS 100 Diff
MG Bevan (Aust) 18 785 29.07 91 0 232 6912 53.58 108* 6 -24.50
Saleem Elahi (Pak) 13 436 18.95 72 0 48 1579 36.72 135 4 -17.76
NV Knight (Eng) 17 719 23.96 113 1 100 3637 40.41 125* 5 -16.44
RG Twose (NZ) 16 628 25.12 94 0 87 2717 38.81 103 1 -13.69
NC Johnson (Zimb) 13 532 24.18 107 1 48 1679 36.50 132* 4 -12.31
HH Dippenaar (SAf) 33 1511 31.47 177* 3 86 2693 43.43 123 2 -11.95
A Jadeja (India) 15 576 26.18 96 0 196 5359 37.47 119 6 -11.29
CZ Harris (NZ) 23 777 20.44 71 0 250 4379 29.00 130 1 -8.55
DR Pringle (Eng) 30 695 15.10 63 0 44 425 23.61 49* 0 -8.50
CWJ Athey (Eng) 23 919 22.97 123 1 31 848 31.40 142* 2 -8.43



Michael Slater was a shadow of his explosive self in ODIs © Getty Images

Take an explosive batsman with an unorthodox technique, add a penchant for hitting over the top along with an enviable hand-eye co-ordination and the concoction should result in a one-day giant. But most of Virender Sehwag's exploits have come when clothed in white. Perhaps it's because there are more gaps and fewer boundary riders in a Test field that Sehwag averages 55.32 in Tests and a comparatively pedestrian 32.15 in ODIs when most would have expected his successes to have been reversed. Indian fans must hope that he is not following in the footsteps of one Michael Slater.

Slater was, perhaps, one of the first to influence the pace at which Test cricket was played. His cavalier approach at an average of 42.83 helped produce results in high-scoring contests. But after 42 ODIs, Slater averaged just 24.07 and, with a set opening pair in Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh, his failures ensured a short ODI career.

Test specialists - Batting (qualification: 20 innings in both)
Player Tests Runs Ave HS 100 ODIs Runs Ave HS 100 Diff
JDP Oram (NZ) 17 1002 43.56 126* 2 79 951 17.61 81 0 25.95
GRJ Matthews (Aust) 33 1849 41.08 130 4 59 619 16.72 54 0 24.35
V Sehwag (ICC/India) 38 3300 55.00 309 10 139 4148 32.15 130 7 22.84
GR Viswanath (India) 91 6080 41.93 222 14 25 439 19.95 75 0 21.97
VG Kambli (India) 17 1084 54.20 227 4 104 2477 32.59 106 2 21.60
Shoaib Mohammad (Pak) 45 2705 44.34 203* 7 63 1269 24.40 126* 1 19.94
AR Border (Aust) 156 11174 50.56 205 27 273 6524 30.62 127* 3 19.93
KD Walters (Aust) 74 5357 48.26 250 15 28 513 28.50 59 0 19.76
MJ Slater (Aust) 74 5312 42.83 219 14 42 987 24.07 73 0 18.76
JF Reid (NZ) 19 1296 46.28 180 6 25 633 27.52 88 0 18.76

A bowling attack capable of taking 20 wickets is a bleeding obvious necessity to win a Test but India's opening bowlers in recent years all appear on the ODI specialist list due to their mediocrity in Tests. Ajit Agarkar has an average of 27.26 at a strike rate thats better than Glenn McGrath's in ODIs but goes for 47.20 in Tests, taking a wicket every 14 overs. Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan, both not in India's current Test plans, average 42.40 and 36.25 in Tests while going nearly ten runs lesser in the one-day game. Irfan Pathan, India's present spearhead, takes wickets at nearly 25 apiece in both forms of the game. But since most of his Test exploits have come against minnows, it remains to be seen whether he will impress against tougher opposition.

Jeff Thomson, that speedy scourge of batsmen, reveled in times when he wasn't restricted to just two attempts at the batsman's skull. He wasn't so hot in the one-day format, managing just 55 wickets in 50 games at 35.30 while he took wickets at 28 apiece in Tests. Brett Lee appears as a one-day specialist because of a fantastic average of 21.64 and a more generous 31.82 in Tests. But if his performances against West Indies in the recent Test series are an indication of change, he might soon drop off the list.

ODI specialists - Bowling (qualification: 3000 balls in Tests, 1500 in ODIs)
Player Tests Wkts Ave BBI 5 ODIs Wkts Ave BBI 5 Diff
IVA Richards (WI) 121 32 61.37 2/17 0 187 118 35.83 6/41 2 25.54
GW Flower (Zimb) 67 25 61.47 4/41 0 219 104 40.25 4/32 0 21.22
AB Agarkar (India) 23 53 47.20 6/41 1 150 232 27.26 6/42 2 19.94
Tapash Baisya (Bang) 21 36 59.36 4/72 0 51 56 39.71 4/16 0 19.64
Mohammad Sami (Pak) 24 65 46.12 5/36 2 70 102 28.00 5/10 1 18.12
CL Hooper (WI) 102 114 49.42 5/26 4 227 193 36.05 4/34 0 13.37
GRJ Matthews (Aust) 33 61 48.22 5/103 2 59 57 35.15 3/27 0 13.07
M Amarnath (India) 69 32 55.68 4/63 0 85 46 42.84 3/12 0 12.83
CPH Ramanayake (SL) 18 44 42.72 5/82 1 62 68 30.13 4/17 0 12.59
GS Chappell (Aust) 87 47 40.70 5/61 1 74 72 29.12 5/15 2 11.57

Test specialists - Bowling (qualification: 3000 balls in Tests, 1500 in ODIs)
Player Tests Wkts Ave BBI 5 ODIs Wkts Ave BBI 5 Diff
JG Bracewell (NZ) 41 102 35.81 6/32 4 53 33 57.09 2/3 0 -21.27
DJ Nash (NZ) 32 93 28.48 6/27 3 81 64 40.96 4/38 0 -12.48
DS de Silva (SL) 12 37 36.40 5/59 1 41 32 48.65 3/29 0 -12.25
SB Doull (NZ) 32 98 29.30 7/65 6 42 36 40.52 4/25 0 -11.22
TBA May (Aust) 24 75 34.74 5/9 3 47 39 45.43 3/19 0 -10.68
BA Reid (Aust) 27 113 24.63 7/51 5 61 63 34.96 5/53 1 -10.33
Tauseef Ahmed (Pak) 34 93 31.72 6/45 3 70 55 40.85 4/38 0 -9.13
Mohammad Rafique (Bang) 22 73 36.42 6/77 6 82 71 44.70 4/33 0 -8.27
DN Patel (NZ) 37 75 42.05 6/50 3 75 45 50.24 3/22 0 -8.19
SD Anurasiri (SL) 18 41 37.75 4/71 0 45 32 45.75 3/40 0 -7.99

Trivia

  • Ian Harvey has played 73 ODIs without playing a Test - a record.

  • Mark Butcher has played 71 Tests without an ODI - a record for players since 1971, when ODIs began.

  • Robin Singh, Andy Symonds, Chris Harris and Paul Collingwood have all scored a hundred and also taken five wickets in ODIs, but have done neither in Tests.

  • Click here for a full list of the specialists in either version of the game.

    If there's a particular List that you would like to see, e-mail us with your comments and suggestions.

    George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo