February 22, 2012

An unworthy end to Ponting's stellar career

Ricky Ponting scored 18 runs at 3.60 in his last five ODI innings. There aren't many who have done worse than that
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Ricky Ponting did not say he was retiring from one-day cricket but accepted that his limited-overs career for Australia was over after he was axed from the squad during the ongoing Commonwealth Bank Series. For someone who scored 13,704 ODI runs and won every trophy worth winning, Ponting went quietly. Five failures in the triangular tournament had forced the selectors' decision. Ponting did not complain, and those who did weren't too loud either.

This week's column is about batsmen who averaged the least in the final few innings of their careers. Ponting scored 18 runs at 3.60 in his last five ODI innings. There aren't many who have done worse than that.

Ponting's ODI slump came soon after he made 221 and 60 not out in the fourth Test against India, in Adelaide. He has expressed his intention to continue playing Tests, but in the unlikely event he doesn't get picked again, he will have one of the highest run aggregates in a final Test.

Ponting also happened to be captain in his final ODI, as a stand-in for the injured Michael Clarke. The only other notable captain in our table to have an extremely poor run in his final few innings was New Zealand's Geoff Howarth. His last ODIs were against Pakistan at home, in the World Championship of Cricket in Australia, and on the tour of West Indies. Howarth scored 81 runs at an average of 9 in his last ten innings.

Tony Greig played only 22 ODIs and made 63 runs at an average of 6.30 in his last ten innings. His best score during that phase was 22 against Australia at Old Trafford. Greig's aggregate is the lowest for any batsman in his final ten one-day innings.

Mohammad Ashraful was dropped from Bangladesh's last ODI series, against Pakistan in December 2011, after a string of failures in the format. Ashraful's 262 runs at 13.10 get him a place in the table of batsmen with the lowest averages in their final 20 innings. His aggregate of 70 at an average of 7 in his last ten ODIs puts him third in that table, after Greig and former Bangladesh batsman Al Shahriar. It's likely that Ashraful will play for Bangladesh again, though, so he could take himself off this list with one good performance.

Worst batting average in the last five innings of a career - ODIs (qualification: minimum of 50% innings in top 7)
Player Span Career Inns Runs HS Ave 100 Runs Ave List
LJ Burger (Nam) 2003-2003 6 6 11 5 2.20 0 7 1.40 0, 5, 0, 1, 1
S Matsikenyeri (Zim) 2002-2012 112 109 2205 90 22.05 0 10 2.00 0, 1, 1, 3, 5
TR Ambrose (Eng) 2008-2008 5 5 10 6 2.50 0 10 2.50 1*, 1, 0, 6, 2
TM Dowlin (WI) 2009-2010 11 11 228 100* 25.33 1 11 2.75 1, 2, 0*, 8, 0
TE Blain (NZ) 1986-1994 38 38 442 49* 16.37 0 14 2.80 4, 5, 2, 3, 0
JWM Dalrymple (Eng) 2006-2007 27 26 487 67 19.48 0 14 2.80 3, 5, 3, 2, 1
MW Gatting (Eng) 1977-1993 92 88 2095 115* 29.50 1 16 3.20 0, 7, 6, 1, 2
B Zuiderent (Neth) 1996-2011 57 56 1097 77* 23.84 0 17 3.40 0, 1, 1, 15, 0
RT Ponting (Aus/ICC) 1995-2012 375 365 13704 164 42.03 30 18 3.60 2, 1, 6, 2, 7
MJ Smith (Scot) 1999-1999 5 5 19 13 3.80 0 19 3.80 13, 3, 1, 1, 1
SB Bangar (India) 2002-2004 15 15 180 57* 13.84 0 20 4.00 1, 7, 9, 3, 0
MA Ouma (Kenya) 2004-2011 72 69 1291 61 19.86 0 22 4.40 1, 16, 1, 0, 4
AL Logie (WI) 1981-1993 158 133 2809 109* 28.95 1 18 4.50 7, 1, 1*, 8, 1
J Arun Lal (India) 1982-1989 13 13 122 51 9.38 0 23 4.60 16, 0, 0, 1, 6
JJ Celestine (Ber) 2007-2008 8 8 60 20 7.50 0 23 4.60 1, 2, 12, 8, 0
ED Solkar (India) 1974-1976 7 6 27 13 4.50 0 24 4.80 0, 8, 13, 1, 2
UC Hathurusingha (SL) 1992-1999 35 33 669 66 20.90 0 24 4.80 3, 0, 14, 7, 0
HP Rinke (Zim) 2006-2006 18 18 317 72 17.61 0 25 5.00 10, 10, 3, 1, 1
Mohammad Ashraful (Asia/Ban) 2001-2011 171 164 3397 109 22.49 3 25 5.00 2, 6, 15, 2, 0
DC Thomas (WI) 2009-2011 9 7 70 29* 11.66 0 26 5.20 13, 2, 9, 2, 0

Ian Healy's ODI career ended in 1997 after he scored only 211 runs with a high score of 27 and an average of 13.18 in his final 20 innings. Adam Gilchrist replaced him. Healy kept Gilchrist out of Australia's Test team for longer, though, by the quality of his wicketkeeping, until his form tapered off in 1999. Healy managed only 170 runs in his last 20 Test innings, at an average of 8.94. It is the second-lowest average for any batsman in his final 20 Test innings.

Michael Bevan was a champion in one-day cricket. Not so in Tests. He played only 18 matches and was dropped after scoring 90 runs at 9.00 in his last ten innings. Bevan had scored three consecutive half-centuries against West Indies in 1996-97 but his form tapered off after that and he was dropped following poor tours of South Africa and England in the summer of 1997. Bevan was recalled for the SCG Test against South Africa in January 1998 in place of Michael Kasprowicz, but another failure ended his Test career for good.

Kim Hughes had an awful end to his career. He quit the captaincy in tears after Australia lost to West Indies at the Gabba in November 1984*, and then played only two more Tests as a batsman. Hughes made only six runs in his last five innings, and his average of 1.60 is the lowest in our table below.

There are a couple of current players whose recent performances have been so poor that the averages of their last five innings rank among the 20 lowest. India's Suresh Raina scored 1, 4, 10, 0 and 0 in his last five innings, which were on the tour of England. He was dropped for the home Tests against West Indies and the tour of Australia. Averaging 3.00 in his last five innings, Raina will have to wait until the space opens up in India's middle order for another go.

Australia's Shaun Marsh could also find himself out of the Test squad after scores of 0, 3, 0, 11, 3, 0 during the four-Test series against India. Marsh averaged 3.40 in his last five innings and needs strong Sheffield Shield performances to ensure he gets on the plane to the Caribbean in March.

Worst batting average in the last five innings of a career - Tests (qualification: minimum of 50% innings in top 7)
Player Span Career Inns Runs HS Ave 100 Runs Ave List
KJ Hughes (Aus) 1977-1984 70 124 4415 213 37.41 9 6 1.20 4, 0, 2, 0, 0
MK Mantri (India) 1951-1955 4 8 67 39 9.57 0 8 1.60 0, 1, 5, 0, 2
JR Murray (WI) 1993-2002 33 45 918 101* 22.39 1 8 1.60 0, 7, 0, 0, 1
NS Harford (NZ) 1955-1958 8 15 229 93 15.26 0 9 1.80 3, 0, 0, 2, 4
GA Lohmann (Eng) 1886-1896 18 26 213 62* 8.87 0 11 2.20 0, 0, 2, 8, 1
AJW McIntyre (Eng) 1950-1955 3 6 19 7 3.16 0 15 3.00 0, 1, 7, 3, 4
CJ Richards (Eng) 1986-1988 8 13 285 133 21.92 1 15 3.00 2, 2, 8, 0, 3
SK Raina (India) 2010-2011 15 26 710 120 29.58 1 15 3.00 1, 4, 10, 0, 0
RW Morgan (NZ) 1965-1972 20 34 734 97 22.24 0 16 3.20 0, 8, 2, 4, 2
AG Kripal Singh (India) 1955-1964 14 20 422 100* 28.13 1 13 3.25 2*, 10, 0, 0, 1
F Mitchell (Eng/SA) 1899-1912 5 10 116 41 11.60 0 17 3.40 0, 1, 1, 12, 3
EG Hayes (Eng) 1906-1912 5 9 86 35 10.75 0 17 3.40 0, 0, 4, 9, 4
KBJ Azad (India) 1981-1983 7 12 135 24 11.25 0 17 3.40 0, 5, 9, 0, 3
D Williams (WI) 1992-1998 11 19 242 65 13.44 0 17 3.40 0, 0, 0, 15, 2
PA Wallace (WI) 1997-1999 7 13 279 92 21.46 0 17 3.40 1, 8, 0, 4, 4
SE Marsh (Aus) 2011-2012 7 11 301 141 27.36 1 17 3.40 3, 0, 11, 3, 0
GJ Bonnor (Aus) 1880-1888 17 30 512 128 17.06 1 18 3.60 8, 0, 5, 5, 0
EFS Tylecote (Eng) 1882-1886 6 9 152 66 19.00 0 15 3.75 0, 5, 0, 0, 10*
AN Hornby (Eng) 1879-1884 3 6 21 9 3.50 0 19 3.80 4, 2, 9, 0, 4
JW Guy (NZ) 1955-1961 12 23 440 102 20.95 1 19 3.80 1, 8, 1, 9, 0

* 10:10 GMT Feb 22: This article originally stated that Kim Hughes ended his career in 1986. This has been corrected

Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for ESPNcricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY LakC on | February 25, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    I would like to see who had the worst starts of less than 5 runs in each bat inns. to their TEST or ODI career before they scored their first best highest score.

  • POSTED BY on | February 24, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    Its a very sad to heard that Ricky is quitting the ODI,I just want to request to Cricket Board of Australia not to drop such a great player just for a failure in a series,i m for sure no one could replace him.he is such wonderful player i luv2 see him in the ground. Ricky,plz reconsider ur decision to quit the ODI in such manner,Yaar u are fighter, u have ability and talent to change a game to ur side.All this things r happenings in every great cricketers,but it doesnt mean that u wil quit a game.Plz plz dont be disheartened,soon u will be back.INSHAALLAH.FAISAL SHAIKH

  • POSTED BY fataquie on | February 24, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    Australia should have had a better send off to Ponting. Waugh started the invincibility and Ponting mastered it. So sad to see him leave without the proper respect he deserves.

  • POSTED BY dharme999 on | February 24, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    He was a legendary captain and we will never forget his work for his team and in cricket's aura ...its end of an era the Ricky Thomas Ponting's Era...We miss u..

  • POSTED BY golgo_85 on | February 23, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    Marsh has no chance with Watson fit again. Cowan will be batting at one down, I think

  • POSTED BY Go_F.Alonso on | February 23, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    @Ahmer: No offense but that's cos nobody knows why your players are dropped even when they're in good form or whether they've actually retired. Who knows tomorrow Inzi might "un-retire" and start playing for your "country"!! Your team selection was never based on merit.

  • POSTED BY on | February 23, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    its a huge loss for all cricket lovers..... i dont think that there is still any replacement for puter....dont forget him as a brilliant fielder....13k+ runs...r u kiddin me....:( literally grieved to hear that!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Yes both Inzamam and Mohammad Yousuf (apparently) ended their careers on a disappointing note. They both ended with single figure scores in tests and ODIs

  • POSTED BY Al.Muthu on | February 22, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    It really is uncanny. Spread the game over five days and the man scores century after century. Shorten it and hand him captaincy and he has the worst run of his career and eventually its end. Christ, Cricket, Thou art cruel!

    The man's worth remembering for better things though. He did deserve a very different kind of farewell, but then again so did the Don. Hopefully Punter will be remembered the way he should be.

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    not a single Pakistani there :D wow grea

  • POSTED BY LakC on | February 25, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    I would like to see who had the worst starts of less than 5 runs in each bat inns. to their TEST or ODI career before they scored their first best highest score.

  • POSTED BY on | February 24, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    Its a very sad to heard that Ricky is quitting the ODI,I just want to request to Cricket Board of Australia not to drop such a great player just for a failure in a series,i m for sure no one could replace him.he is such wonderful player i luv2 see him in the ground. Ricky,plz reconsider ur decision to quit the ODI in such manner,Yaar u are fighter, u have ability and talent to change a game to ur side.All this things r happenings in every great cricketers,but it doesnt mean that u wil quit a game.Plz plz dont be disheartened,soon u will be back.INSHAALLAH.FAISAL SHAIKH

  • POSTED BY fataquie on | February 24, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    Australia should have had a better send off to Ponting. Waugh started the invincibility and Ponting mastered it. So sad to see him leave without the proper respect he deserves.

  • POSTED BY dharme999 on | February 24, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    He was a legendary captain and we will never forget his work for his team and in cricket's aura ...its end of an era the Ricky Thomas Ponting's Era...We miss u..

  • POSTED BY golgo_85 on | February 23, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    Marsh has no chance with Watson fit again. Cowan will be batting at one down, I think

  • POSTED BY Go_F.Alonso on | February 23, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    @Ahmer: No offense but that's cos nobody knows why your players are dropped even when they're in good form or whether they've actually retired. Who knows tomorrow Inzi might "un-retire" and start playing for your "country"!! Your team selection was never based on merit.

  • POSTED BY on | February 23, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    its a huge loss for all cricket lovers..... i dont think that there is still any replacement for puter....dont forget him as a brilliant fielder....13k+ runs...r u kiddin me....:( literally grieved to hear that!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Yes both Inzamam and Mohammad Yousuf (apparently) ended their careers on a disappointing note. They both ended with single figure scores in tests and ODIs

  • POSTED BY Al.Muthu on | February 22, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    It really is uncanny. Spread the game over five days and the man scores century after century. Shorten it and hand him captaincy and he has the worst run of his career and eventually its end. Christ, Cricket, Thou art cruel!

    The man's worth remembering for better things though. He did deserve a very different kind of farewell, but then again so did the Don. Hopefully Punter will be remembered the way he should be.

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    not a single Pakistani there :D wow grea

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    Ricky should have gone out with a bang .

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    What a bad ending to such a wonderful player. So sad!

  • POSTED BY BnH1985Fan on | February 22, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    Ah -- so now we understand why Indian seniors like SRT and Sehwag are not quitting ODI or Test arenas -- they don't want to be on this list! See, they are smarter than you think! The punter should have talked to them and refused to be axed. Or, just move to India and he can play for ever

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    @Thomas - but Phantom hasn't restired yet...has he?

  • POSTED BY Nabeel47 on | February 22, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    Well Where the hack is Inzimam ul Haq in Both list cuz as far as i remember he had worst last 2years of his Career in Both Test and Odis...

  • POSTED BY hakapuu on | February 22, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    This has to be the most irrelevant article ever!

  • POSTED BY sherishahmir on | February 22, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    Wonderful work of compiling stats by ESPN CricInfo, appreciate the great work for serving crcicket. After looking the above stats gets the feeling that game is bit cruel with its stars players, that at times players are at height and and at some stage touching the lowest levels, that the limitation of cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    Kim Hughes career ended in November 1984

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    On this analysis of Test batsman, Chris Martin can be said to be a better batsman than the likes of Shaun Marsh and Suresh Raina! Ha!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    On this analysis of Test batsman, Chris Martin can be said to be a better batsman than the likes of Shaun Marsh and Suresh Raina! Ha!

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    Kim Hughes career ended in November 1984

  • POSTED BY sherishahmir on | February 22, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    Wonderful work of compiling stats by ESPN CricInfo, appreciate the great work for serving crcicket. After looking the above stats gets the feeling that game is bit cruel with its stars players, that at times players are at height and and at some stage touching the lowest levels, that the limitation of cricket.

  • POSTED BY hakapuu on | February 22, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    This has to be the most irrelevant article ever!

  • POSTED BY Nabeel47 on | February 22, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    Well Where the hack is Inzimam ul Haq in Both list cuz as far as i remember he had worst last 2years of his Career in Both Test and Odis...

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    @Thomas - but Phantom hasn't restired yet...has he?

  • POSTED BY BnH1985Fan on | February 22, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    Ah -- so now we understand why Indian seniors like SRT and Sehwag are not quitting ODI or Test arenas -- they don't want to be on this list! See, they are smarter than you think! The punter should have talked to them and refused to be axed. Or, just move to India and he can play for ever

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    What a bad ending to such a wonderful player. So sad!

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    Ricky should have gone out with a bang .

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    not a single Pakistani there :D wow grea