And today's Man of the Match is ...
"I'm extremely pleased with my performance in today's match. It's always a great feeling to help win the game for the team. It wasn't an easy wicket, so once you settled in, you had to ensure you made it count and I'm happy I was able to do that." That's routine and boring Man-of-the-Match spiel that's often spouted after a scintillating performance. Which players have won the award the most times? Who wins it most frequently? And who's never won it? Read on ...
Wasim Akram, known more for his prowess in the one-day format, leads the list of players with most Man-of-the-Match awards in Tests having won it 17 times stretching back to 1979-80, when awards were given in the majority of Test matches. He won't be hanging on to that record for much longer though, because Muttiah Muralitharan, Jacques Kallis and Shane Warne are tied on 16 awards. The Test list is more evenly balanced between bat and ball with bowlers occupying four of the top five spots and Kallis at No. 3. In one-day internationals, however, Wasim Akram at No. 15 with 22 awards, is the only bowler in a batsman-dominated list.
|Wasim Akram (Pak)||1985-2002||17||100||5.88|
|M Muralitharan (ICC/SL)||1992-2006||16||98||6.12|
|JH Kallis (ICC/SAf)||1995-2006||16||101||6.31|
|SK Warne (Aust)||1992-2006||16||140||8.75|
|CEL Ambrose (WI)||1988-2000||14||95||6.79|
|SR Waugh (Aust)||1985-2004||14||166||11.86|
|RT Ponting (Aust)||1995-2006||12||105||8.75|
|BC Lara (ICC/WI)||1990-2006||12||125||10.42|
|Imran Khan (Pak)||1980-1992||11||57||5.18|
|PA de Silva (SL)||1984-2002||11||82||7.45|
Frequent injuries delayed Richard Johnson's England debut by a few years and when he finally did win an England cap, against Zimbabwe in 2003, he was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his six-wicket haul in the first innings. Further injuries hampered his progress and Johnson played his second Test when Steve Harmison was crocked for the second Test against Bangladesh in November 2003. Johnson picked up 9 for 93 in that match and was Man-of-the-Match again. But because of injuries, Harmison's recovery and James Anderson's emergence, Johnson played just one more Test before fading away.
Sachin Tendulkar's record of 51 Man-of-the-Match awards in ODIs will take a while to beat because his closest contenders are Sanath Jayasuriya with 40 awards, and Brian Lara on 30. Tendulkar wins the award once out of every seven matches on average, a frequency bettered only by Vivian Richards, 31 awards in 173 matches , and Gordon Greenidge, 20 awards in 120 matches, among batsmen to have played over 100 ODIs.
|SR Tendulkar (India)||1989-2006||51||345||6.76|
|ST Jayasuriya (Asia/SL)||1989-2006||40||350||8.75|
|IVA Richards (WI)||1975-1991||31||173||5.58|
|PA de Silva (SL)||1984-2003||31||294||9.48|
|BC Lara (ICC/WI)||1990-2006||30||253||8.43|
|SC Ganguly (Asia/India)||1992-2005||30||265||8.83|
|Saeed Anwar (Pak)||1989-2003||28||240||8.57|
|NJ Astle (NZ)||1995-2006||25||202||8.08|
|DL Haynes (WI)||1978-1994||25||221||8.84|
|JH Kallis (Afr/ICC/SAf)||1996-2006||24||225||9.38|
Predictably, wicketkeepers - Adam Gilchrist is a worthy exception - have played the most ODIs without ever being the Man-of-the-Match. Nayan Mongia is on top with 133 ODIs without an award, followed by Dave Richardson, Khaled Mashud and Ian Smith. Nasser Hussain is the first non-wicketkeeper to feature in the list having played 87 games.
Rahul Dravid has the highest score in ODIs not to win a Man-of-the-Match award. His run-a-ball 153 against New Zealand in 1999 was overshadowed by Tendulkar's unbeaten 186 during a 331-run stand for the second wicket. A few months earlier, Dravid's 145 off 129 balls was again second fiddle to Sourav Ganguly's 183 against Sri Lanka at Taunton.
|R Dravid (India)||153||v New Zealand||Hyderabad (Decc)||1999/00||ODI 1523|
|CH Gayle (WI)||152*||v South Africa||Johannesburg||2003/04||ODI 2096|
|AJ Strauss (Eng)||152||v Bangladesh||Nottingham||2005||ODI 2252|
|SR Tendulkar (India)||146||v Zimbabwe||Jodhpur||2000/01||ODI 1658|
|R Dravid (India)||145||v Sri Lanka||Taunton||1999||ODI 1463|
|A Flower (Zimb)||145||v India||Colombo (RPS)||2002/03||ODI 1876|
|Younis Khan (Pak)||144||v Hong Kong||Colombo (SSC)||2004||ODI 2147|
|HH Gibbs (SAf)||143||v New Zealand||Johannesburg||2002/03||ODI 1955|
|SB Styris (NZ)||141||v Sri Lanka||Bloemfontein||2002/03||ODI 1944|
|Saeed Anwar (Pak)||140||v India||Dhaka||1997/98||ODI 1279|
Only once in the history of one-day cricket have two team-mates taken five wickets each to dismiss the opposition. It would have been hard to pick between Greg Chappell's 5 for 20 and Gary Cosier's 5 for 18 for Man-of-the-Match had Australia won at Birmingham in June 1977. However, England blew Australia away for just 70 and John Lever picked up the award for his hand in the 101-run win.
As for the other side of the coin, there's no doubt that Viv Richards was the adjudicator's darling during the 1980s. Four times he received the award without even passing 50 (or having a noteworthy bowling spell), and many times more for routine 50s or 60s. But no award baffled more than in the Nehru Cup semi-final against India when he received the gong from adjudicator Asif Iqbal despite not taking a wicket and not batting. We can only assume from a distance that it was for his fielding, despite two of his three catches coming off lower-order batsmen.
Note: The stats include only those games in which the Man-of-the-Match award was given and therefore excludes some no-result matches etc.
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Travis Basevi is the man who built Statsguru. George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo