Shaun Pollock's Test career in numbers January 11, 2008

South Africa's untiring champion

A statistical look at Shaun Pollock's Test career

Shaun Pollock's retirement announcement may have come as a shock, but over the years he has quietly moved his way up to eighth on the list of leading wicket-takers in Test cricket. Add to it his 3781 Test runs, and he surely ranks as one of the game's leading allrounders.

Pollock's one among four players who have taken 400 wickets and scored over 3000 runs in Tests - Shane Warne, Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee are the others. Pollock is the only one among them with a bowling average below 25 and a batting average over 30.

Players with over 3000 runs and 400 wickets in Tests
Players Matches Runs scored Average Wickets taken Average
Shane Warne 145 3154 17.32 708 25.41
Kapil Dev 131 5248 31.05 434 29.64
Shaun Pollock 108 3781 32.31 420 23.06
Richard Hadlee 86 3124 27.16 431 22.29

Although Pollock has been overlooked in favour of younger quick bowlers during South Africa's recent Test series, he's been the mainstay of their bowling attack for most of his career. He has been a consistent performer for the team, and barring Australia, he possesses an enviable record against all other opposition. He averages 36.85 against the Australians, but that a minor blip for a bowler whose wickets come at less than 24 against the rest. (For Pollock's career bowling summary, click here.)

More than half of Pollock's wickets have come in wins - with 218 wickets at 18.33 apiece. His bowling average drops to above 28 in draws and losses.

Shaun Pollock's record by result
Result Matches Wickets Average Strike-rate
Won 48 218 18.33 47.8
Lost 27 100 28.36 64.9
Drawn 32 98 28.73 74.0

Pollock's consistency is also reflected by his near-similar figures in both innings for his team - he averages 23.05 in the first bowling innings for his team in a match and 23.07 in the second. Pollock is best in the first and third innings of a match, and does significantly worse in the final innings.

Shaun Pollock's record by match innings
Match innings Matches Wickets Average Strike-rate
1st 51 131 19.80 54.2
2nd 57 124 26.49 62.3
3rd 55 112 20.76 52.1
4th 42 53 27.94 67.7

Pollock's pinpoint accuracy also makes him a difficult prospect for batsmen to score off; he has an economy-rate of 2.39 per over, only bettered by Lance Gibbs and Curtley Ambrose among 21 bowlers with over 300 Test victims.

The last few years have seen a decline in his performance. Pollock's last five-for came in October 2003, against Pakistan in Faisalabad. His career bowling average is 23.06, but the numbers the latter half of his career wasn't as remarkable; in fact, he averaged an astounding 19.86 per wicket after his first 50 Tests.

Pollock's bowling record over the years
Matches played Wickets Average Strike-rate
25 91 23.89 58.9
50 210 19.86 51.9
75 303 20.87 54.7
100 391 23.25 58.4

Pollock's record overseas is not as good as in home Tests; his 234 wickets in South Africa cost him 20.97 apiece while 186 wickets away have come at an average of 25.68. However, he's one of the leading wicket-takers among overseas fast bowlers in the subcontinent.

Best overseas fast bowlers in the subcontinent
Player Matches played Wickets Average Strike-rate
Courtney Walsh 17 77 20.53 45.2
Malcolm Marshall 1971 23.05 48.7
Richard Hadlee13 68 21.58 42.7
Shaun Pollock 17 60 23.18 56.8
Glenn McGrath 16 58 25.96 60.3

Stats till the end of the second day's play in Durban.

Mathew Varghese is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo