The List The ListRSS FeedFeeds  | Archives
George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

When averaging 300 isn't good

Bowlers with the worst averages in their last few innings. Like RP Singh, who hasn't taken a Test wicket since 2008

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

February 29, 2012

Text size: A | A

RP Singh has a stretch during a warm-up session, The Oval, August 16, 2011
RP Singh hasn't taken a Test wicket in four years © Getty Images
Enlarge

Last week's column was about batsmen with the lowest average in their last few international innings, after Ricky Ponting's ODI career was ended following 18 runs in five CB Series matches. This week's is the bowling equivalent, bowlers with the worst averages in the last few innings of their careers.

RP Singh could still play Test cricket for India; he's only 26 after all. But if he doesn't, his performances in his last five innings are the worst among all bowlers, ever. His last five Test innings were spread over more than three years. He bowled only four overs during the Adelaide Test in January 2008 because of a hamstring injury, and took 0 for 14. His next appearances were at home against South Africa a couple of months later. He took 0 for 111 and 0 for 43 in Chennai, and 0 for 81 in Ahmedabad. It was the last the world saw of RP Singh for quite a while.

And then, in the summer of 2011, when injuries had struck down more bowlers than India's selectors seemed to know of, he was called to duty in England, with India plumbing new depths with every defeat. He had been out of the side for more than three years, and he had just been in Miami. He was pudgy, far from being match-fit, and struggled to hit 120kph. RP Singh finished with 0 for 118 at The Oval, and hasn't played a Test since. So in his last five innings, he has gone for 367 runs without a wicket.

Worst bowling average in the last five innings of a career - Tests (qualification: career minimum of 90 balls per match)
Player Career Mat Wkts BBI Ave 5 Balls Runs Wkts Ave List
RP Singh (India) 2006-2011 14 40 5/59 42.05 1 546 367 0 - 0/14, 0/111, 0/43, 0/81, 0/118
MF Maharoof (SL) 2004-2011 22 25 4/52 65.24 0 654 362 1 362.00 0/107, 0/82, 1/92, 0/57, 0/24
Shahadat Hossain (Ban) 2005-2011 33 68 6/27 49.79 4 444 354 1 354.00 0/76, 0/57, 1/113, 0/82, 0/26
RGCE Wijesuriya (SL) 1982-1985 4 1 1/68 294.00 0 586 294 1 294.00 0/105, 0/102, 0/10, 1/68, 0/9
AH Kardar (India/Pak) 1946-1958 26 21 3/35 45.42 0 516 265 1 265.00 1/71, 0/19, 0/141, 0/24, 0/10
Rubel Hossain (Ban) 2009-2011 12 17 5/166 83.23 1 468 259 1 259.00 0/52, 0/3, 1/71, 0/36, 0/97
AL Mann (Aus) 1977-1978 4 4 3/12 79.00 0 384 252 1 252.00 0/63, 0/49, 0/15, 1/24, 0/101
AR Whittall (Zim) 1996-1999 10 7 3/73 105.14 0 396 229 1 229.00 0/37, 0/29, 0/28, 0/30, 1/105
CN McCarthy (SA) 1948-1951 15 36 6/43 41.94 2 588 225 1 225.00 0/36, 0/46, 0/81, 1/45, 0/17
Arshad Ayub (India) 1987-1989 13 41 5/50 35.07 3 863 449 2 224.50 0/50, 2/99, 0/81, 0/37, 0/182
TE Bailey (Eng) 1949-1959 61 132 7/34 29.21 5 496 224 1 224.00 0/21, 0/50, 0/19, 1/91, 0/43
GJ Whittall (Zim) 1993-2002 46 51 4/18 40.94 0 472 222 1 222.00 0/2, 0/34, 0/80, 1/44, 0/62
W Voce (Eng) 1930-1947 27 98 7/70 27.88 3 508 207 1 207.00 1/44, 0/2, 0/92, 0/40, 0/29
TR Veivers (Aus) 1963-1967 21 33 4/68 41.66 0 373 203 1 203.00 0/78, 0/13, 0/59, 1/32, 0/21
BE Congdon (NZ) 1965-1978 61 59 5/65 36.50 1 610 194 0 - 0/68, 0/38, 0/5, 0/71, 0/12
SP O'Donnell (Aus) 1985-1985 6 6 3/37 84.00 0 348 194 0 - 0/26, 0/82, 0/69, 0/13, 0/4
BM McMillan (SA) 1992-1998 38 75 4/65 33.82 0 444 194 1 194.00 1/55, 0/60, 0/33, 0/24, 0/22
JEC Franklin (NZ) 2001-2011 27 80 6/119 33.10 3 390 194 1 194.00 0/48, 1/38, 0/72, 0/30, 0/6
IDK Salisbury (Eng) 1992-2000 15 20 4/163 76.95 0 414 193 1 193.00 0/71, 0/29, 1/32, 0/49, 0/12
SB Doull (NZ) 1992-2000 32 98 7/65 29.30 6 330 190 1 190.00 0/48, 0/21, 0/8, 1/78, 0/35

Former New Zealand fast bowler Simon Doull played 32 Tests and took 98 wickets at an average of 29. Acceptable figures for the 1990s. His career, however, ended prematurely and poorly due to back and knee injuries. After New Zealand's home Tests against India in 1998-99, in which Doull was the leading wicket-taker, with 12 at 16 apiece, he had a career average of 25.78 after 26 Tests. His next three series were poor - one wicket at home against South Africa, one in England, and one more against Australia at home. Doull averaged 146 for three wickets in his last ten Test innings, which is the third-highest average for bowlers in their final ten innings.

There has been talk about how the India fast bowler Ishant Sharma is unlucky because he bowls well but gets ordinary results. Even India's outgoing bowling coach, Eric Simons, called Ishant "one of the unluckiest bowlers". That is debatable, but Ishant's average of 58.55 in his last 12 Tests - against West Indies, England and Australia - is among the highest for bowlers in their last 20 innings.

Who is the only West Indian to have bowled at least 100 balls in one-day internationals and not taken a wicket? He played four ODIs against Australia and Zimbabwe during the triangular series in Australia in 2000-01, and another match against Zimbabwe in Sri Lanka in December 2001. He also played six Tests - three against Australia, one each against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and India - and took 12 wickets between 2000 and 2002.

The answer is Marlon Black. He is also one of three bowlers to have bowled more than 200 deliveries in ODIs without a wicket.

Worst bowling average in the last five innings of a career - ODIs (qualification: career minimum of 30 balls per match)
Player Career Mat Wkts BBI Ave 5 Balls Runs Wkts Ave List
ALF de Mel (SL) 1982-1987 57 59 5/32 37.91 2 212 265 1 265.00 0/36, 0/45, 1/97, 0/53, 0/34
BE Young (Aus) 1998-1999 6 1 1/26 251.00 0 234 251 1 251.00 0/49, 0/64, 0/66, 1/26, 0/46
S Venkataraghavan (India) 1974-1983 15 5 2/34 108.40 0 306 213 1 213.00 0/34, 0/44, 0/48, 0/63, 1/24
GB Brent (Zim) 1996-2008 70 75 4/22 37.01 0 270 213 1 213.00 0/46, 0/46, 1/33, 0/53, 0/35
Syed Rasel (Ban) 2005-2010 52 61 4/22 33.62 0 210 213 1 213.00 0/37, 0/37, 0/25, 0/61, 1/53
SV Bahutule (India) 1997-2003 8 2 1/31 141.50 0 180 204 1 204.00 0/43, 0/53, 1/31, 0/53, 0/24
AJ Penn (NZ) 1997-2001 5 1 1/50 201.00 0 159 201 1 201.00 0/14, 1/50, 0/59, 0/49, 0/29
Adeel Raja (Neth) 2002-2011 21 17 4/42 40.58 0 192 198 0 - 0/46, 0/51, 0/26, 0/31, 0/44
MI Black (WI) 2001-2001 5 0 - - 0 228 196 0 - 0/55, 0/49, 0/30, 0/19, 0/43
JS Patel (NZ) 2005-2009 39 42 3/11 36.02 0 188 191 1 191.00 1/47, 0/38, 0/25, 0/37, 0/44
VB John (SL) 1982-1987 45 34 3/28 48.67 0 234 189 1 189.00 0/48, 0/44, 0/25, 1/53, 0/19
Zakir Khan (Pak) 1984-1990 17 16 4/19 30.87 0 214 189 1 189.00 0/54, 0/49, 1/41, 0/19, 0/26
SJ Harmison (Eng) 2002-2009 58 76 5/33 32.64 1 210 189 1 189.00 1/50, 0/51, 0/29, 0/42, 0/17
Shahadat Hossain (Ban) 2006-2010 46 42 3/34 43.42 0 185 186 1 186.00 0/41, 0/12, 1/56, 0/38, 0/39
EAE Baptiste (WI) 1983-1990 43 36 2/10 41.97 0 288 185 0 - 0/49, 0/36, 0/48, 0/21, 0/31
MAWR Madurasinghe (SL) 1988-1992 12 5 1/11 71.60 0 222 185 1 185.00 1/32, 0/29, 0/34, 0/36, 0/54
PJC Hoffmann (Scot) 2006-2007 18 16 3/22 34.68 0 216 184 1 184.00 1/57, 0/21, 0/26, 0/37, 0/43
VD Philander (SA) 2007-2012 8 7 4/12 35.42 0 180 184 1 184.00 0/18, 0/47, 0/50, 0/30, 1/39
EJ Chatfield (NZ) 1979-1989 114 140 5/34 25.84 1 264 181 0 - 0/38, 0/23, 0/23, 0/61, 0/36
PL Symcox (SA) 1993-1999 80 72 4/28 38.36 0 235 180 1 180.00 1/20, 0/20, 0/38, 0/38, 0/64

Two allrounders involved in the ongoing ODI series between New Zealand and South Africa haven't been in good bowling form of late. Albie Morkel bowled 108.5 overs in the last 20 innings (in which he has bowled) and took only nine wickets at 72.66 apiece. His economy rate is a fraction over 6.00 an over as well. Morkel was not called upon to bowl by AB de Villiers in the first ODI in Wellington.

New Zealand's James Franklin was asked to bowl by Brendon McCullum at Westpac Stadium, but only for one over. Franklin has sent down 98.3 overs in his previous 20 ODIs and taken only eight wickets, including three in one innings, at an average of 66.25. Both Morkel and Franklin are among the bowlers in the table of worst averages in the last 20 innings.

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

RSS Feeds: George Binoy

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
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

    Top dog of the underdogs

My Favourite Cricketer: Jack Russell brought a neatness to the keeper's art that was matched by his meticulous scruffiness in other regards. By Scott Oliver

    Rewarding times for Hashim Amla

Numbers Game: The rate at which he has accumulated ODI hundreds and MoM awards is among the fastest in history

'Ponting was an instinctive, aggressive player'

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Ricky Ponting's technique

    MacLeod spells hope for Scotland

Allrounder Calum MacLeod's return from a faulty action is key to Scotland's World Cup hopes. By Tim Wigmore

How boring is boring cricket?

Probably not as much as boring periods in the likes of rugby, football and tennis, Russell Jackson thinks

News | Features Last 7 days

Manic one-day chases, and daddy partnerships

Also, most brothers in a Test XI, and the fastest to 20 ODI centuries

Has international cricket begun to break up?

The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider, and the disenchantment is forcing a devaluation of Test cricket among weaker teams

Well worth the wait

Zulfiqar Babar missed five seasons between his first two first-class matches, and was 34 when he finally made his Test debut, but he is quickly making up for all the lost time with his artful left-arm spin

Younis Khan and the art of scoring hundreds

Out of 70 batsmen who've scored 15 or more Test hundreds only five are from Pakistan, but Younis Khan's appetite for hundreds matches that of some of the top contemporary batsmen

Australia outdone in every way

Surviving into the final session of the last day cannot disguise the fact that Australia's continued inability to play spin contributed to an all-round thrashing

News | Features Last 7 days

    Has international cricket begun to break up? (83)

    The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider, and the disenchantment is forcing a devaluation of Test cricket among weaker teams

    Lyon low after high of 2013 (51)

    The offspinner was Australia's highest wicket-taker in 2013, but his form has dipped sharply this year

    Australia outdone in every way (51)

    Surviving into the final session of the last day cannot disguise the fact that Australia's continued inability to play spin contributed to an all-round thrashing

    Rewarding times for Hashim Amla (49)

    The rate at which Amla has accumulated ODI hundreds and MoM awards is among the fastest in history. And his runs-per-innings figure is easily the best of the lot

    Well worth the wait (36)

    Zulfiqar Babar missed five seasons between his first two first-class matches, and was 34 when he finally made his Test debut, but he is quickly making up for all the lost time with his artful left-arm spin