August 5, 2011

Prior's rise, Dhoni's slump

MS Dhoni has a Test average of 25.72 in the last year, while Matt Prior has shone both as batsman and wicketkeeper
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For MS Dhoni, these are the most testing times he has had as an international cricketer. The World Cup brought unprecedented highs, but the England tour has so far been the other extreme: he has struggled for runs, he has struggled behind the stumps, and his strategies as captain have been questioned. The third is quite possibly an over-reaction, and inevitable given the results of the first two Tests, but there's no doubt that Dhoni the batsman and the wicketkeeper needs to lift his game. It looks even worse for him since his opposite number in England, Matt Prior, has made vital contributions, especially with the bat. In the two Tests so far, Prior has scored 199 more runs than Dhoni; he has two fifties and a hundred, while Dhoni doesn't even aggregate 50 runs in four innings put together.

At the moment, there's no doubt that Prior is the best wicketkeeper-batsman going around. Dhoni's Test average of 37.45 is anything but poor, but a break-up of his stats reveals that his spread of runs is more uneven than Prior's. In home conditions Dhoni has done superbly, averaging 43.20 and scoring three hundreds and 11 fifties in 39 innings. Overseas, though, that average drops by 10 runs, to 33.37, with one century and 10 fifties in 52 innings. His average has fallen away even further when batting outside the subcontinent: in conditions that are more favourable for fast bowling, Dhoni averages only 28.25 in 23 Tests, with a highest of 92. He does have a few memorable innings in those countries, most notably the unbeaten 76 at Lord's in 2007 which saved the Test and ultimately won India the series, and the 90 in Centurion last year, but there have also been plenty of low scores to pull down the average. And over the last year Dhoni's form has been wretched: since July 2010 he averages only 25.72 in 25 innings. During this period, only five out of 16 Tests have been played at home.

In fact, the year 2011 has been a terrible one for Dhoni the batsman in both Tests and ODIs: he averages 14.60 in Tests and 31.60 in ODIs (well below his career ODI average of 48.78). However, his only half-century in the 50-over format was in the biggest match of them all - the World Cup final.

MS Dhoni's Test stats
  Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s Strike rate
Overall 59 3071 37.45 4/ 21 59.18
Home 27 1469 43.20 3/ 11 58.20
Away 32 1602 33.37 1/ 10 60.11
Outside subcontinent 23 1102 28.25 0/ 7 55.88
Since July 2010 16 643 25.72 0/ 4 53.67

Prior's stats, on the other hand, are far more even: his average in each calendar year so far has been at least 40 (with the 2011 average going up to 70.85), his home average (46.37) is only marginally better than his overseas one (43.41), and he has done pretty well in the subcontinent too, averaging 40.25 from seven Tests. His only poor series was in South Africa in 2009-10, when seven innings fetched him only 158 runs.

Matt Prior's Test stats
  Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s Strike rate
Overall 45 2526 45.10 6/ 18 67.03
Home 25 1484 46.37 4/ 9 71.69
Away 20 1042 43.41 2/ 9 61.36
In subcontinent 7 322 40.25 0/ 4 48.64
In South Africa 4 158 22.57 0/ 2 56.83

Dhoni's bottom-handed technique has helped him play the big shots in the shorter version of the game, but that, and his tendency to play from the crease, have caused him problems against pace bowling in Tests. That technical flaw has caused him even more problems in the more seamer-friendly conditions outside the subcontinent: his overall average against pace is 32.01, but outside the subcontinent it drops by almost 10 runs, to 22.12. Against spin, on the other hand, his numbers look much better.

Dhoni v pace and spin
  Runs Balls faced Dismissals Average
Pace - overall 1633 2751 51 32.01
Spin - overall 1370 2311 27 50.74
Pace - outside subcontinent 730 1365 33 22.12
Spin - outside subcontinent 332 537 4 83.00

The two bowlers who have dismissed Dhoni most often in Tests are Dale Steyn and Muttiah Muralitharan. Both have nailed him four times each, but Steyn has the better average against him - 22.75, to Murali's 31. Five fast bowlers have dismissed him three times, of whom Corey Collymore and Fidel Edwards have the best averages - Collymore dismissed Dhoni three times on the 2006 tour, while Edwards had similar success earlier this year. Chris Tremlett has got him three times too, once in 2007 and twice at Lord's.

Fast bowlers who've dismissed Dhoni most often in Tests
Bowler Runs Balls Dismissals Average
Dale Steyn 91 162 4 22.75
Corey Collymore 22 49 3 7.33
Fidel Edwards 31 56 3 10.33
Chris Tremlett 51 97 3 17.00
Mitchell Johnson 62 156 3 20.67
Morne Morkel 120 178 3 40.00

Prior's stats suggest he is fairly comfortable playing both pace and spin - his overall average against pace is a handy 44.11, while he has done even better against spin.

Prior v pace and spin
  Runs Balls faced Dismissals Average
Pace - overall 1588 2278 36 44.11
Spin - overall 938 1484 15 62.53

Only three bowlers have dismissed Prior three or more times in Tests. One of them is playing in the current series: Sreesanth's ability to swing the ball has helped him account for Prior thrice in only 75 deliveries. All three dismissals were very early in Prior's innings, which suggests Dhoni should have Sreesanth at the bowling crease as soon as Prior walks in to bat.

Bowlers who've dismissed Prior at least three times in Tests
Bowler Runs Balls Dismissals Average
Peter Siddle 109 147 5 21.80
Sreesanth 37 75 3 12.33
Shakib Al Hasan 39 97 3 13.00

After 45 Tests, Prior averages 45.10 at an excellent strike rate and conversion rate of fifties to hundreds, which makes him the best batsman among wicketkeepers going around today. Dhoni and Brad Haddin are next on the list, with averages of around 40. The difference in averages isn't that much, but over this period Prior, more than any other wicketkeeper-batsman, has looked capable of playing match-changing innings more often than the others in the table below.

Highest averages for wicketkeeper-batsmen in Tests since Jan 2007 (Qual: 1000 runs)
Player Tests Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Matt Prior 45 2526 45.10 67.03 6/ 18
MS Dhoni 44 2365 40.08 56.14 3/ 18
Brad Haddin 32 1905 39.68 58.74 3/ 8
Brendon McCullum 26 1625 36.93 61.36 3/ 9
Prasanna Jayawardene 30 1227 36.08 51.83 3/ 3
Mark Boucher 41 1641 32.82 48.99 1/ 10
Kamran Akmal 23 1267 31.67 63.79 2/ 8
Mushfiqur Rahim 22 1116 29.36 44.39 1/ 6

Dhoni obviously has a lot more on his plate than just batting and keeping wicket, but considering these two factors alone, there's little doubt as to who's the best at the moment in Test cricket. (Click here to see the all-time list of best averages for wicketkeeper-batsmen.)

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SLOGOUTSLOGOUTSLOGOUT on August 7, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    India Always Cry When They Lose ... They Make Silly Excuses When They Lose...1 Guy Said That " Its Unfair India is Losing Bcoz They Dont Have Full Strenght Side"Just Think For Sometime With Common Sense You Will Get The Answer.(If You Dont Get It Still) Whatever Who Cares About Your Team Its In Your BOARD's Hand And Your Management.

  • on August 7, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    What I like about both players is that they both bat like they are playing in the park. I think Prior just has the physique to pull it off while Dhoni really looks like he is way out of shape. I really do think that this is the big difference between the two players.

  • Ravi.Ajay on August 7, 2011, 0:32 GMT

    No county team will select Dhoni as a wicket keeper batsman. For that matter, no associate team will select him for longer format of the game. Matt Prior is an excellent player. For people who says Dhoni earns so much compare to Matt Prior, 2nd division county teams also will not select Dhoni even he is ready to play them for free. lol

  • Ravi.Ajay on August 7, 2011, 0:25 GMT

    No county team will select Dhoni as a wicket keeper batsman. For that matter, no associate team will select him for longer format of the game. Matt Prior is an excellent player. For people who says Dhoni earns so much compare to Matt Prior, 2nd division county teams also will not select Dhoni even he is ready to play them for free. lol

  • Nampally on August 6, 2011, 20:36 GMT

    Yes, Prior has led England into recovery mode out of bad situations in each of the 2 tests. Dhoni was unable to finish England off from a poor situation at least 3 times. This has resulted in resounding wins for England. Dhoni has failed both as a captain, batsman & WK Prior won on 2 counts. The failure of England finished off India from a commanding position when Yuvraj & Dravid placed India in an excellent position and then India lost their last 6 wkts. for a record low. This has been the difference so far between the 2 teams. England bowlers & their WK led them to victories in batting as well as in bowling. India's poor batting from #6 onwards and inability to finish the England batting from #7. Now can India do better replacing Harbhajan with Mishra in the next 2 tests + Sehwag & Gambhir opening the innings? India hopes Mishra to finish England's # 7 to # 11 & Sehwag & Gambhir to blunt the England pace attack to let the rest of the batting to show up..Can this happen?

  • SDHM on August 6, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    @Sitanshu - Prior only has four half centuries?! He's got six hundreds for god's sake!

  • on August 6, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    And yeah.... forget to mention that stats suggest he is a sheer flat track bully..... Parthiv is better choice then him in all circumstances!!!

  • on August 6, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    Dhoni is the most overrated player India have had in recent times.... People cannot digest the fact that he lack technique, doesn't have Sehwag-esque hand-eye coordination and moreover in every pressure situation (apart from WC final) he seems to hide behind others batsmen....... I even have felt it during IPL.... but one thing of his is quite outstanding.... He is VERY lucky......

  • tjsimonsen on August 6, 2011, 9:51 GMT

    @zico123: NO, IT IS NOT UNFAIR! India are fielding the strongest side they can. They could have prepared better, they could have had better reserves (as England have), Sehwag could have had his surgery earlier. England have had injuries too, but due to their strength they have absorbed them - so far at any rate. That is another argument why England at the moment is the better team. I don't see you claiming that it was unfair that England only drew the 2006 series in India bacause they could only field approximately 2/3 of their settled 2004-2005 team, nor that it was unfair when India beat an injury depleted England in 2007. But now, when an ageing Indian team are starting to fall apart, it is suddenly unfair. What's next? Is it unfair that Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman can't stay 29 for ever?

  • on August 6, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    what the article does not mention is the camparision in earlings of Dhoni and Prior. Then you will see Prior is no match ti Dhoni.

  • SLOGOUTSLOGOUTSLOGOUT on August 7, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    India Always Cry When They Lose ... They Make Silly Excuses When They Lose...1 Guy Said That " Its Unfair India is Losing Bcoz They Dont Have Full Strenght Side"Just Think For Sometime With Common Sense You Will Get The Answer.(If You Dont Get It Still) Whatever Who Cares About Your Team Its In Your BOARD's Hand And Your Management.

  • on August 7, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    What I like about both players is that they both bat like they are playing in the park. I think Prior just has the physique to pull it off while Dhoni really looks like he is way out of shape. I really do think that this is the big difference between the two players.

  • Ravi.Ajay on August 7, 2011, 0:32 GMT

    No county team will select Dhoni as a wicket keeper batsman. For that matter, no associate team will select him for longer format of the game. Matt Prior is an excellent player. For people who says Dhoni earns so much compare to Matt Prior, 2nd division county teams also will not select Dhoni even he is ready to play them for free. lol

  • Ravi.Ajay on August 7, 2011, 0:25 GMT

    No county team will select Dhoni as a wicket keeper batsman. For that matter, no associate team will select him for longer format of the game. Matt Prior is an excellent player. For people who says Dhoni earns so much compare to Matt Prior, 2nd division county teams also will not select Dhoni even he is ready to play them for free. lol

  • Nampally on August 6, 2011, 20:36 GMT

    Yes, Prior has led England into recovery mode out of bad situations in each of the 2 tests. Dhoni was unable to finish England off from a poor situation at least 3 times. This has resulted in resounding wins for England. Dhoni has failed both as a captain, batsman & WK Prior won on 2 counts. The failure of England finished off India from a commanding position when Yuvraj & Dravid placed India in an excellent position and then India lost their last 6 wkts. for a record low. This has been the difference so far between the 2 teams. England bowlers & their WK led them to victories in batting as well as in bowling. India's poor batting from #6 onwards and inability to finish the England batting from #7. Now can India do better replacing Harbhajan with Mishra in the next 2 tests + Sehwag & Gambhir opening the innings? India hopes Mishra to finish England's # 7 to # 11 & Sehwag & Gambhir to blunt the England pace attack to let the rest of the batting to show up..Can this happen?

  • SDHM on August 6, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    @Sitanshu - Prior only has four half centuries?! He's got six hundreds for god's sake!

  • on August 6, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    And yeah.... forget to mention that stats suggest he is a sheer flat track bully..... Parthiv is better choice then him in all circumstances!!!

  • on August 6, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    Dhoni is the most overrated player India have had in recent times.... People cannot digest the fact that he lack technique, doesn't have Sehwag-esque hand-eye coordination and moreover in every pressure situation (apart from WC final) he seems to hide behind others batsmen....... I even have felt it during IPL.... but one thing of his is quite outstanding.... He is VERY lucky......

  • tjsimonsen on August 6, 2011, 9:51 GMT

    @zico123: NO, IT IS NOT UNFAIR! India are fielding the strongest side they can. They could have prepared better, they could have had better reserves (as England have), Sehwag could have had his surgery earlier. England have had injuries too, but due to their strength they have absorbed them - so far at any rate. That is another argument why England at the moment is the better team. I don't see you claiming that it was unfair that England only drew the 2006 series in India bacause they could only field approximately 2/3 of their settled 2004-2005 team, nor that it was unfair when India beat an injury depleted England in 2007. But now, when an ageing Indian team are starting to fall apart, it is suddenly unfair. What's next? Is it unfair that Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman can't stay 29 for ever?

  • on August 6, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    what the article does not mention is the camparision in earlings of Dhoni and Prior. Then you will see Prior is no match ti Dhoni.

  • Dhutugemunu on August 6, 2011, 2:19 GMT

    Somebody commented that "it is unfair that India is loosing #1 without their full strength side" What? Guys remember that, this is the full strength side India has at this moment. If players are injured then they are not in full strength. Win or loose, numbers count against India. Who cares India is playing with their star players or not. Guys do not make excuses when India loose, like the captain Dhoni. Ok. Lets talk about Sachin, Laxman, Dhoni and Harbajan. They are also star players. How much they contributed during this series? Sachin 118, Laxman 124, Dhoni 49 Harbajan 58 and 2 wickets. So can we expect something like a magic from Shewag or Gambhir or Zaheer. I doubt.

  • on August 6, 2011, 0:33 GMT

    Comparing Dhoni to Prior is like comparing India to England. Pointless because this series already demonstrates who is better.

  • on August 5, 2011, 22:59 GMT

    I think everyone is reading too much into this 1 series. Yes, India might lose their no.1 status, and if they do then England will deserve the no. 1 spot, having played better cricket. But, the Indian team has done a great job of being no.1 for more than 2 and a half years. We should take a lot of pride in that.

    Just 4 months back Dhoni was the toast of the nation, and could have done nothing wrong. Well, he is human and is bound to make mistakes. And he has made some batting, keeping and captaincy mistakes this series. One should not judge Dhoni's performance only based on tests where it swings much. Yes, Prior might be an excellent keeper-bats but he too only has 4 half centuries in 7 tests (2 of which were against Bangladesh).

    Dhoni is the sort of player who cannot be judged purely by numbers. What he adds to the team, extremely few players in this world do. After all, he is the only captain to have won the world cup at home.

  • ms.arjun on August 5, 2011, 19:30 GMT

    Dhoni is unorthodox and a powerful hitter as he is always, so skip the Dravid and turn into Sehwag...go up the order and try to play strokes positively. Just ignore the criticizers, statistics, facts and all other crap, and be a winner as you always were, Bring back the unpredictability and fear factor in the bowler's mind, things would definitely go in your way then.

  • cricchic on August 5, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    @ zico123 I am happy to see Zaheer,Sehwag and Gambhi back...now if England wins the next test..what will be your excuse..ohh yea..Sehwag did not have enough practice match as well as Zaheer, or Gambghi has not fully recovered..or We did not get to bat when the pitch flattened out or England got to bowl when it swung alot..or maybe the English condition....PLEASE enough of the damn excuses...

  • on August 5, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    zico123

    your point is well pointless. We have been hearing about how the Indian side won in England in 2007. It is never mentioned that England had Hoggy Flintoff Jones and Harmison injured.Tthe reality was that India beat the team that England where able to put on the field in 2007. Now in 2011 the England side is beating the side that India is able to put on the pitch.

    Test series is not just a test of the first choice players but their understudies as well and currently India's squad is not competeing with the England squad.

  • NaniIndCri on August 5, 2011, 17:53 GMT

    I don't think Dhoni even qualifies as test batsman. And he even lost his keeping capability. He is still in the squad only because he is the captain. If anyone else has been the captain with this kinda form he will be absolutely bashed and thrashed by now. Not to mention Dhoni's field placings in this series, he can get away with those against west indies but not against this England side that too in England.

  • Navin84 on August 5, 2011, 17:00 GMT

    @zico123 - why it is unfar that India is loosing the no. 1 ranking? U are no. 1 and that means the entire team has to perform like they were b4 to be no. 1. You can depend on 2 or 3 players alone. Only Dravid has done something so far this series, what abt Dhoni, Tendulkar, Bhaji, Laxman and the others. England are playing like a team, Cook is not performing but other batsmen are standing up, when Anderson is not performing others are filling his shoes. So bottom line is, it's a true contest for the no. 1 ranking whether been full strenght or not, you have to play your best and India are not doing that. The other problem is that most Indians can't handle the swing bowling and bouncer resulting in their down fall.

  • on August 5, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    How can you forget THE KING::: His Highness SIR PARTHIV PATEL

  • guesswhoitsmeabhi on August 5, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    accepted that currently prior is in better form than dhoni,both batting & keeping wise.but i don't quite understand the reason behind some of the venom spewing against dhoni.i think if his average during 2008-2010 is taken,it would be in the high 40s.let prior sustain this form for a couple of years before anointing him the best.those who say dhoni cant face seam bowling,look what he did to akhtar in faisalabad,2006 & england at lord's,2007.plus,he is unquestionably the best keeper batsman india has ever produced.those who credit flat indian pitches for his record,i guess i only have to remind them that mongia,mask prasad,sameer dighe,ajay ratra et al too played on the same pitches.give the poor man a break guys...he has just won a WC for us.give him some credit.not to forget the world t 20,nd india's much maligned no.1 test status...

  • zico123 on August 5, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    it is unfair that India is losing their no. 1 ranking in a series where they are without their best bowler Zaheer and 2 best batsman Sehwag and Gambhir, it is unfair to judge a depleted Indian side against a full strength England side. i am sure the result would have been other way round if India was at full strength and England was without Peterson, Bell and Anderson. so bottom line it would have been true contest if India at full strengh was playing against a full strength England team.

  • newporttiger on August 5, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    Hilarious to see Kamran Akmal in any tabulation of top averages. LOL

  • Proteas123 on August 5, 2011, 14:05 GMT

    Boucher is a legend on that list. In the modern game more emphasis is placed on a keepers batting. Prior is the best keeper batman at the moment but it is strange that he can't do the same in ODIs.

  • eomer17 on August 5, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    Dunno why this point is being debated,dhoni doesn't know how to bat ,in these two tests just his duper dtrong luck has run out,that's it!statistics here are not at all important if you've seen how he bats,& his dismissals in this series have shown his true technique.Every other batsmen's technique is being examined and said to be unfit for test cricket,if India loses their ranking,love to see dhoni kicked out of the test team!

  • voma on August 5, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    Well from what i have seen so far , there is no way that Dhoni is a better batsman than Prior . It strikes me that Dhoni is allmost a walking wicket against decent seam bowling ! . As for wicket keeping , it is no contest . Matt Prior is far superior glovesman .

  • Clive_Dunn on August 5, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    I guess Prior is also helped by batting with by far the best tail in world cricket, as opposed to Dhoni who bats with one of the worst.

  • Deuce03 on August 5, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    For me, Andy Flower is by some distance the best wicketkeeper-batsman of all time. Comparing his stats to those of Gilchrist (assuredly an all-time great) they are superior in almost every respect. He scored more runs per innings, more centuries and half-centuries per innings, with more not outs per innings, a superior HS, and an average better not only than Gilchrist but also (eg) Dravid, Ponting and Steve Waugh. That's before you take into account that Flower played for a very average team, while Gilchristwas part of one of the greatest batting lineups of all time. Flower also played against better bowlers. Gilchrist's caught/stumped figures are a little better, but he was keeping to Warne, McGrath and Gillespie rather than Olonga and Streak. The question of the greatest batsman to have kept wicket is of course a different one (Sanga or Dravid, almost certainly) and likewise that of the best pure keeper (Evans or Knott, most probably). But as keeper-batsmen, Flower for me all the way

  • BellCurve on August 5, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    Prior only has to keep this up for another 5 years before people start to mention him alongside the great Adam Gilchrist and the living legend which is Andy Flower.

  • Ellis on August 5, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Prior deserves credit for his performance in Tests. However, the Indians have not been smart in their field settings for him. He is extremely strong on shots into the covers and point region. If these are blocked he tends to take chances, and gets out. What are the Indian coaches planning for Prior? The overall approach and planning of the Indian team has been way below expectations from the No. 1 team in the world.England have not only out thought India so far, they have also out planned and out played them. When you play in the major leagues, you have to believe you belong, and prepare to remain one.

  • chin-music on August 5, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    Interesting numbers - but though it is easier to focus on batting comparisons , the real problem for India may well be the decline in Dhoni's keeping. He was never technically sound - but by & large, till recently managed to do a workman-like job behnd the stumps. Lately between him & an ageing Dravid at first slip, plenty of edges seem to travel to 3rd man without anyone even attempting. A poor bowling side like India cannot afford that - unlike the English , our bowlers don't create so many chances that a few misses can be glossed over.

  • stormy16 on August 5, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    Almost all teams at the top have a strong wickey who can bat well as is the case with Ind and Eng. Dhoni to me has some issues and I am sure there are better wicket keeper batsman in India. Dhoni looks average behind the stumps which is the biggest problem. You would assume such a strong batting order doesnt really need a strong batsman at #7 but his keeping must be 100% for a bowling attack with limited options and that's where Dhoni is found wanting. Prior has been amazing and to think his place was uncertain not so long ago. His keeping has been great but his batting has got Eng out of many a hole in the recent past and his game doesnt change regardless of the situation of the game.

  • on August 5, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    @Herath-UK, I'm afraid Kumar Sangakkara averaged only 40 whilst he was keeping wicket, hence he gave up with job to concentrate on his batting. Would he have sustained that for a long period of time? He averages better when he is not WK, so if he did that since his debut, his average would only be second to Bradman. Whoever chose Sangakkara as wicket keeper didn't realise how good he was when he gave up the gloves. Without the gloves, he would be averaging 60 to 70.

  • Schops on August 5, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    @Herath-UK:

    Not sure where you got your figures from but Sangakkara only averages 40.48 from 48 matches when playing as a wicketkeeper in tests.

    Check the link below:

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/50710.html?class=1;filter=advanced;keeper=1;orderby=default;template=results;type=batting

  • Thegreatgame on August 5, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    If a mind is free of encumbrances it will automatically enable a player to perform. The selection woes for MSD given the host of injuries to his team mates is affecting his performance. That said Matt Prior's work-load certainly has been less and he has hit a rich vein of form, possibly the form of his life. It is all a matter of time. The moment the composition of the team is stable MSD's performance will pick up, both with the bat and the gloves.

  • PTtheAxis on August 5, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    'the third an over-reaction' - what match are you watching ? if he had put a forward-shortleg to pieterson at the begining of his first innings in lords test there would be no double hundred, no big 1st innings score, no momentum going englands way for the rest of the series. and with ishant bringing the ball in at hip height which other fielder can be needed more ? pieterson was shaky and was allowed to settle in lobbing balls in air towards forward shortleg. dhoni just doesn't care about atking wickets-winning etc. he is making his laxness known very clearly fumbling even simplest of balls. only india can tolerate such stuff.

  • chilled_avenger on August 5, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    @Herath-UK First get your stats right dude! Sangakkara's batting average,when he played as a Wicket-keeper was 40.48,much behind Prior's average! Learn to give credit where its due,there's no need to jump in and praise your countrymen everywhere,even when someone else deserves that praise. I too aint an Englishman,in fact I am an Indian.But still,I have no qualms in saying that Prior is an excellent Wicketkeper Batsman,and quite possibly the best WK/Batsman in the World today!

  • Polle on August 5, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    Sanghakkara the keeper averages 40.48 from 48 matches with 7 centuries. Not particularly better than Prior. While not keeping he averages a whopping 72.75 from 49 matches with 18 hundreds.

    Gilchrist's numbers are 47.60 from 96 matches with 17 hundreds. He always kept wicket when playing.

  • Bilal_Choudry on August 5, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    dhoni has always had a problem with the moving ball

  • olicollett on August 5, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    Herath-UK - I think you'll find Sangakkara's batting average when keeping is well short of priors, and his average when keeping against most of the big teams is pretty poor. Gilchrist is of course another matter, but not really relevant - we don't really need to see Bradman's stats every time we're looking at averages.

  • Herath-UK on August 5, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    Sangakkara would have easily topped the group,had he continued to keep the wickets.His averages during wicket keeping too was in 50/60s.I would have liked if Rajesh gave his and Gilchrist's stats too,both of whom are above this lot,as a comparison. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • allblue on August 5, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Of course stats can only ever tell part of the story, and in the case of keepers/batsmen they're less definitive than others, for two reasons. Because no.7, a pivotal position, is where most of them bat, the score at the fall of the 5th wicket, and the match significance of that score is crucial in determining the value of their innings to the team. At Lords recently for example, England were 62 for 5 when Prior came in, and the game was back in the balance, so his 100 there was critical in shaping the game. However, a pretty 50 from 400 for 5 is helpful but not necessarily game-changing. Also, as keepers, what they do with the gloves matters as much as what they do with the bat. Drop someone on 0 who then goes on to make 100 they need to match that score just to get out of deficit. For me the most impressive thing about Prior has been his improvement with the gloves. At first he simply wasn't good enough, now his keeping is excellent. Testament to his attitude and work ethic.

  • pradeep_dealwis on August 5, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    Dhoni is a better batsman than Prior. But his application is abysmal. Take Prasaanna Jayawardena for example, who is also the best keeper out there right now, who has little talent but really committed and works very hard. And in the SLs tour of ENG he was the best SL batsman because of hard work. Dhoni really has to work hard on his technique, which is the real issue. Don't see why Kamran Akmal is in that list. don't think you can consider him a keeper at all!

  • on August 5, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    If you don't consider NOT OUTS in the average calculations, dhoni's average is even less and miserable.

  • on August 5, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    Rajesh these are fantastically put across. Excellent Job. BTW Matt P as a batsman is more sound technically. MSD is more of a stoke maker. Hope MSD comes back with a win at least. I do not care much about MSD's batting performance as a batter, but his captaincy has worked mostly for India. He is a great leader overall and perfect diplomat who can strike healthy balance, on and off the field.

  • BeCalmAndSupportEngland on August 5, 2011, 3:00 GMT

    Yes one thing to say if the world cup final venue was in outside india then that 50 also will not come from this guy's bat.Matt prior is far better than dhoni.If we concern wicket keeping only then srilanka's prasanna is the number 1.but if we take both then prior is da best.Most of the Indians are over rated crickerters.but they have lights of sachin dravid vvs vireder all are good players.Other than that all are over rated crickerters.If cricket plays in only india then yes India are number 1.But opposite of that they can't even play against bangladesh.

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  • BeCalmAndSupportEngland on August 5, 2011, 3:00 GMT

    Yes one thing to say if the world cup final venue was in outside india then that 50 also will not come from this guy's bat.Matt prior is far better than dhoni.If we concern wicket keeping only then srilanka's prasanna is the number 1.but if we take both then prior is da best.Most of the Indians are over rated crickerters.but they have lights of sachin dravid vvs vireder all are good players.Other than that all are over rated crickerters.If cricket plays in only india then yes India are number 1.But opposite of that they can't even play against bangladesh.

  • on August 5, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    Rajesh these are fantastically put across. Excellent Job. BTW Matt P as a batsman is more sound technically. MSD is more of a stoke maker. Hope MSD comes back with a win at least. I do not care much about MSD's batting performance as a batter, but his captaincy has worked mostly for India. He is a great leader overall and perfect diplomat who can strike healthy balance, on and off the field.

  • on August 5, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    If you don't consider NOT OUTS in the average calculations, dhoni's average is even less and miserable.

  • pradeep_dealwis on August 5, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    Dhoni is a better batsman than Prior. But his application is abysmal. Take Prasaanna Jayawardena for example, who is also the best keeper out there right now, who has little talent but really committed and works very hard. And in the SLs tour of ENG he was the best SL batsman because of hard work. Dhoni really has to work hard on his technique, which is the real issue. Don't see why Kamran Akmal is in that list. don't think you can consider him a keeper at all!

  • allblue on August 5, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Of course stats can only ever tell part of the story, and in the case of keepers/batsmen they're less definitive than others, for two reasons. Because no.7, a pivotal position, is where most of them bat, the score at the fall of the 5th wicket, and the match significance of that score is crucial in determining the value of their innings to the team. At Lords recently for example, England were 62 for 5 when Prior came in, and the game was back in the balance, so his 100 there was critical in shaping the game. However, a pretty 50 from 400 for 5 is helpful but not necessarily game-changing. Also, as keepers, what they do with the gloves matters as much as what they do with the bat. Drop someone on 0 who then goes on to make 100 they need to match that score just to get out of deficit. For me the most impressive thing about Prior has been his improvement with the gloves. At first he simply wasn't good enough, now his keeping is excellent. Testament to his attitude and work ethic.

  • Herath-UK on August 5, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    Sangakkara would have easily topped the group,had he continued to keep the wickets.His averages during wicket keeping too was in 50/60s.I would have liked if Rajesh gave his and Gilchrist's stats too,both of whom are above this lot,as a comparison. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • olicollett on August 5, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    Herath-UK - I think you'll find Sangakkara's batting average when keeping is well short of priors, and his average when keeping against most of the big teams is pretty poor. Gilchrist is of course another matter, but not really relevant - we don't really need to see Bradman's stats every time we're looking at averages.

  • Bilal_Choudry on August 5, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    dhoni has always had a problem with the moving ball

  • Polle on August 5, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    Sanghakkara the keeper averages 40.48 from 48 matches with 7 centuries. Not particularly better than Prior. While not keeping he averages a whopping 72.75 from 49 matches with 18 hundreds.

    Gilchrist's numbers are 47.60 from 96 matches with 17 hundreds. He always kept wicket when playing.

  • chilled_avenger on August 5, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    @Herath-UK First get your stats right dude! Sangakkara's batting average,when he played as a Wicket-keeper was 40.48,much behind Prior's average! Learn to give credit where its due,there's no need to jump in and praise your countrymen everywhere,even when someone else deserves that praise. I too aint an Englishman,in fact I am an Indian.But still,I have no qualms in saying that Prior is an excellent Wicketkeper Batsman,and quite possibly the best WK/Batsman in the World today!