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George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

Domestic giants who didn't make the next step

Flying first class

Michael Hussey and Brad Hodge were domestic giants, having played 176 and 167 first-class matches respectively and scored buckets of runs, before making deserved and belated Test debuts. But there have been others who have played more than 400 games and s

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

May 3, 2006

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Alan Jones: once a Test player, not any more © Glamorgan County Cricket Club
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Michael Hussey and Brad Hodge were domestic giants, having played 176 and 167 first-class matches respectively and scored buckets of runs, before making deserved and belated Test debuts. But there have been others who have played more than 400 games and scored in excess of 20,000 runs but never won that coveted Test cap. This week's List is about them.

Had it not been for a backtrack by the authorities, Glamorgan's Alan Jones wouldn't be holding the record for most first-class runs, a whopping 36,049, without playing a Test. For three years he was very much a Test cricketer by virtue of having represented England against the Rest of the World in 1970, a series accorded Tests at the time. He scored 5 and 0 on debut at Lord's, nicking Mike Procter to Farokh Engineer both times, and never played for England again. However, he was stripped of the Test-cricketer tag when the matches versus Rest of the World were later downgraded to just first-class.

Between August 1954 and July 1969, Sussex's Ken Suttle played 423 consecutive County Championship matches - a record that, probably, will never be broken. The closest he came to winning an England cap was when he was picked for the tour of the West Indies in 1953-54 but still couldn't break into the Test side.

Most First-class runs without playing a Test
Player Span Mat Runs HS Ave 100
A Jones 1957-1983 645 36049 204* 32.89 56
JG Langridge 1928-1955 574 34378 250* 37.44 76
GL Berry 1924-1951 609 30225 232 30.25 45
KG Suttle 1949-1971 612 30225 204* 31.09 49
PA Perrin 1896-1902 538 29709 343* 35.92 66
BF Davison 1967/68-1987/88 467 27453 189 39.96 53
J Seymour 1900-1926 553 27237 218* 32.08 53
KS McEwan 1972/73-1991/92 428 26628 218 41.73 74
DE Davies 1924-1954 621 26564 287* 27.90 32
CEB Rice 1969/70-1993/94 482 26331 246 40.95 48

  • Click here for the full tables

    South Africa's isolation ruined the Test careers of many cricketers but it ensured that Clive Rice, who made his first-class debut a year before their ban, never had one. When South Africa were readmitted, Rice, 42 at the time, captained South Africa in three ODIs in India. He never got to play a Test and was considered too old for the 1992 World Cup.

    The first eleven spots on the list of batsmen with best first-class averages without playing a Test are monopolised by Indians. Victoria's David Hussey, at No. 12, is the first batsman from outside the subcontinent on it. Figures of 4569 runs at 50.76 after 68 games suggests he is an exciting prospect but considering how formidable the Australian middle order is, he might still not get a chance.

    Best career First-class batting average without playing a Test (qualification: 50 First-class matches)
    Player Span Mat Runs HS Ave 100
    SS Sugwekar 1987/88-2001/02 85 6563 299* 63.10 19
    SS Bhave 1986/87-2000/01 97 7971 292 58.18 28
    AV Kale 1993/94-2005/06 89 7004 248* 56.03 25
    S Sriram 1993/94-2005/06 109 8279 288 55.19 28
    PM Mullick 1996/97-2005/06 68 4989 207* 54.22 17
    K Bhaskar Pillai 1982/83-1994/95 95 5443 222* 52.84 18
    S Sharath 1992/93-2005/06 127 8080 224 52.81 26
    A Kaypee 1980/81-1999/00 117 7894 210* 52.27 27
    AA Muzumdar 1993/94-2005/06 117 8035 260 51.83 20
    P Dharmani 1992/93-2005/06 113 7327 305* 51.23 20

  • Click here for the full tables

    A first-class record of 15,313 runs at 52.80 ensured that David's brother, Michael, entered Test cricket with some reputation to live up to. Eleven Tests later, he has ticked off 1139 runs at 75.93 giving him the second-highest difference between a Test average and first-class average.

    Biggest difference between Test average and first-class average (qualification: 10 Tests)
    Player Span FC Runs Ave Tests Runs Ave Diff
    AG Fairfax 1928/29-1934 56 1910 28.93 10 410 51.25 22.310
    MEK Hussey 1994/95-2005/06 187 16452 53.94 11 1139 75.93 21.992
    CF Walters 1923-1935 245 12145 30.74 11 784 52.26 21.519
    CS Dempster 1921/22-1947/48 184 12145 44.98 10 723 65.72 20.745
    E Paynter 1926-1945 352 20075 42.26 20 1540 59.23 16.967
    PJ Sharpe 1956-1976 493 22530 30.73 12 786 46.23 15.498
    CAG Russell 1908-1930 437 27354 41.57 10 910 56.87 15.303
    FS Jackson 1890-1893 309 15901 33.83 20 1415 48.79 14.961
    A Melville 1928/29-1948/49 190 10598 37.85 11 894 52.58 14.738
    KF Barrington 1953-1968 533 31714 45.63 82 6806 58.67 13.040

  • Click here for the full tables

    Hussey's success in both Tests and one-dayers is because he adapts superbly to different situations. A point to be noted is that the top four batsmen with the highest difference between first-class and Test average are those who were tagged as one-day specialists.

    Biggest difference between first-class average and Test average (qualification: 10 Tests)
    Player Span FC Runs Ave Tests Runs Ave Diff
    A Jadeja 1988/89-2005/06 105 7871 56.22 15 576 26.18 30.039
    MG Bevan 1989/90-2005/06 234 18943 57.75 18 785 29.07 28.678
    NH Fairbrother 1982-2002 366 20612 41.22 10 219 15.64 25.581
    CZ Harris 1989/90-2005/06 119 6801 45.95 23 777 20.44 25.505
    AV Mankad 1963/64-1982/83 218 12980 50.90 22 991 25.41 25.491
    Asif Mujtaba 1984/85-2005/06 290 17931 49.67 25 928 24.42 25.249
    W Jaffer 1996/97-2005/06 121 9110 51.46 10 511 26.89 24.574
    Rizwan-uz-Zaman 1976/77-1999/00 205 14452 43.53 11 345 19.16 24.363
    VM Merchant 1929/30-1950/51 150 13470 71.64 10 859 47.72 23.926
    LSM Miller 1950/51-1959/60 82 4777 37.61 13 346 13.83 23.774

  • Click here for the full tables

    If there's a particular List that you would like to see, e-mail us with your comments and suggestions. Next week: The same lists for bowlers.

  • George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo

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    George BinoyClose
    George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket

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