# ESPNcricinfo Awards 2010: Top honours for de Villiers, Amla and Swann

The Statsguru Awards are based purely on numbers, from international matches in 2010. However, they go beyond the usual stats - runs scored, wickets taken, batting averages and such - and are based instead on detailed data analyses of performances. Which batsman played more consistently than any other over the entire year? Which batting pair was the most prolific through the year? Which bowler was at his best in the third and fourth innings of Tests? Read on to find out.

## Main awards

**Batsman of the year**

(cut-off: 700 runs each in Tests and ODIs)

**AB de Villiers**

Test average 76.61, ODI index 82.02, Total 158.63

At the outset, it'll have to be mentioned that there was nothing to separate AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla in Tests and ODIs in 2010. De Villiers averaged 76.61 in Tests, while in ODIs he averaged 80.33 at a strike rate of 102.11. Amla, on the other hand, averaged 78.06 in Tests, and 75.57 in ODIs at a strike rate of 104.23. The ODI index (average multiplied by strike rate) was higher for de Villiers, while Amla had a slightly higher Test average. Add up the two, though, and de Villiers sneaks ahead by less than two points - 158.63 to 156.83.

Obviously both players had exceptional years in both formats. De Villiers' three hundreds in 18 Test innings included a monumental unbeaten 278 - his highest Test score - against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. In ODIs he topped 50 nine times in 16 innings and scored centuries in three successive innings against India and West Indies. Amla had an equally sensational year, making his highest Test score of 253 not out and four more hundreds in 19 innings, while he was the only one to top 1000 ODI runs in the year. Virat Kohli, the second-highest run-getter, played nine innings more than Amla but scored 63 fewer runs.

**Bowler of the year**

(cut-off: 25 Test wickets and 20 ODI wickets)

**Graeme Swann**

**Test average 25.96, ODI index 13.84, Total 39.80**

Swann finished as the highest wicket-taker in Tests with 64, and he also did superbly in ODIs, taking 26 wickets in
13 matches at an average of 19 and an economy rate of 4.37. His ODI index (the product of his average and the runs conceded per ball) was thus an excellent 13.84, and that, added to his Test bowling average of 25.96, gave him an overall score of 39.80. No other bowler even came close to these numbers. Swann's best moments came as a Test bowler, with six five-wicket hauls, and a ten-for against Bangladesh in Chittagong.

**Best Test batsman**

(cut-off: 700 runs)

**Jacques Kallis - average 79.86**

There were four batsmen who scored more than 700 runs at averages between 75 and 80, but Kallis just about managed to pip Sachin Tendulkar, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers. That's largely because of an outstanding last two months for him: in four Tests against Pakistan and India in November and December, Kallis' scores read 73*, 135*, 105, 10, 201*, 10, 17. That double-century was his first in Tests, and his blistering form helped his average rise from 64.70 to almost 80 in a mere seven innings.

**Most consistent Test batsman**

(cut-off: 800 runs)

**VVS Laxman - Consistency index 1.71**

In the 18 innings Laxman played in 2010, he topped 50 nine times, with two centuries and seven half-centuries. He also had only four single-digit scores, and went past 20 on 13 occasions. The relatively few hundreds he scored meant his standard deviation - which measures the average distance from the mean - was a comparatively low 39.28. That, combined with his high average of 67.07 in 2010 gave him a high consistency index (average divided by standard deviation) of 1.71.

The second-best was a big surprise: in 14 innings, Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal had nine 50-plus scores and only two sub-ten scores, for an index of 1.42. The worst consistency index among batsmen who scored 800 Test runs in 2010 belonged to Ricky Ponting: out of 23 innings he played in 2010, 11 were sub-15 ones, while he also scored one double-century and six fifties. His index was 0.79.

**Best Test bowler**

(cut-off: 25 wickets)

**Dale Steyn - 60 wickets at 21.41**

Along with being the most exciting bowler to watch in 2010, Steyn was also the one with the best bowling average. In just 11 Tests he took 60 wickets at 21.41, and a strike rate of 39 balls per wicket. He tormented the Indians more than he did any other team, taking 26 wickets in four Tests at 18.15, including his career-best haul of 7 for 51 in Nagpur.

**Best ODI batsman**

(cut-off: 700 runs)

**AB de Villiers - ODI batting index 78.77**

In 16 ODIs, de Villiers hit five hundreds, averaging 80.33 at a strike rate of 102.11, for an ODI index of 82.02. Amla was the only one who ran him close, averaging 75.57 at a strike rate of 104.23, for an index of 78.77.

**Best ODI bowler**

(cut-off: 20 wickets)

**Ryan Harris - ODI bowling index 11.36**

Harris averaged 2.53 wickets per ODI, 38 in 15 at an outstanding average of 14.92 and an acceptable economy rate of 4.57. His ODI bowling index (product of bowling average and runs conceded per ball) of 11.36 was the best, with Swann's 13.84 coming in next.

****

## Other awards

**Test batting**

(Cut-off: 700 runs, unless mentioned otherwise)

**Batting pair of the year: openers**

(Cut-off: eight innings)

**Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag**

A big reason for India's superb performances in Test cricket in 2010 was the display of their openers. In 18 innings, Gambhir and Sehwag put together 1001 runs at an average of 62.56 per completed partnership, with four century and six half-century stands. Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan and Tharanga Paranavitana were next with an average of 57.77 from ten innings. On the other hand, Pakistan's opening pair of Imran Farhat and Salman Butt had the poorest stats among the pairs who played at least eight innings: they averaged 34.08, with only one century stand in 12 innings.

**Batting pair of the year: others**

(Cut-off: eight innings)

**Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis**

In 10 innings Amla and Kallis put together 1050 runs at an average of 116.66. They were the only pair to add more than 1000 partnership runs in the year, which included four century stands. Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott were next, with an average of 89.44, while Kallis and de Villiers averaged 73.58, with four century stands in 14 innings. Trott was also one half of the worst pair of the year, but that's largely due to the poor form of his partner, Paul Collingwood: in the eight innings they batted together, they averaged 7.25 runs per dismissal.

**Highest percentage of team runs**

**Kumar Sangakkara**

Sri Lanka played only six Tests in 2010, but those provided enough opportunities for Sangakkara to make a huge impact. In those six games he scored 695 runs, which was 23.58% of the total bat runs scored by Sri Lanka in the year. Two others who ran Sangakkara close were Brendon McCullum, who scored 22.41% of New Zealand's runs, and Chris Gayle, whose contribution was 22.27%.

**Most runs in wins**

**Jonathan Trott**

Trott scored 1325 Test runs in 2010, of which 1003 were in wins. He was the only one to top 1000 in this category, and averaged 91.18, with three hundreds and four fifties in 14 innings. Tendulkar was next, with 948 runs at 86.18. Among those with at least 500 runs in wins, VVS Laxman had the highest average: he scored 599 runs at 99.83.

**Best strike rate**

**Virender Sehwag**

India didn't play enough Tests last year for Sehwag to score the cut-off runs, but there was no stopping him this time: in 25 innings he scored 1422 runs in 1566 balls for a strike rate of 90.80 runs per 100 balls. The only batsman to come close to this mark was Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal, with a strike rate of 80.71.

**Highest percentage of runs in boundaries**

**Virender Sehwag**

Out of the 1422 runs Sehwag scored, 64.70% were in fours and sixes - he struck 215 fours and 10 sixes, which means 920 runs came in boundaries. Tamim was second again, with a percentage of 60.45, while Kevin Pietersen (60.41) was the only other batsman with a percentage of more than 60.

**Test bowling**

(cut-off: 25 wickets)

**Best strike rate**

**Dale Steyn**

The second-highest wicket-taker of the year also had the best strike rate: Steyn's 60 wickets came in 390.1 overs, a strike rate of a wicket every 39 deliveries. Two other bowlers had a sub-40 strike rate: England's Steve Finn took 46 wickets at a frequency of 39.7 deliveries per strike, while Zaheer Khan had an outstanding year too, with 47 at an average of 21.97 and a strike rate of 39.8.

**Best spinner**

**Graeme Swann**

Five spinners made the 25-wicket cut, but four of them were clubbed at the bottom of the averages list. The only exception was Swann, who took 64 wickets at 25.96. The next best, in terms of averages, was Daniel Vettori, with 38.42. Harbhajan Singh averaged 40.69 for his 43 wickets.

**Best third- and fourth-innings bowler**

(cut-off: 15 wickets)

**Zaheer Khan**

Third and fourth innings are usually the time for spinners to prosper, but in 2010 the most effective one was Zaheer, who averaged 19.89 for his 19 wickets, at a strike rate of 31 balls per wicket. Swann was easily the leading wicket-taker in this period with 32, but he averaged 26.65, which was marginally higher than his overall average for the year.

**ODI batting**

(cut-off: 700 runs unless mentioned otherwise)

**Best strike rate**

**Hashim Amla**

While de Villiers pipped Amla to the position of best ODI batsman, Amla made it to the top of the list of batsmen with the best strike rate. He scored his 1058 runs off 1015 balls at a strike rate of 104.23 runs per 100 balls, the highest among all batsmen in 2010. De Villiers (102.11) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (98.92) were second and third on the list.

**Lowest strike rate**

**Imrul Kayes**

Keyes forged a good opening combination with Tamim Iqbal and played an ideal foil to his more aggressive partner. His strike rate of 65.76 in 2010 is only marginally better than his overall ODI strike rate of 65.35. Upul Tharanga (strike rate 73.79) came next, while Michael Clarke, who had the lowest strike rate in 2009, finished third lowest with a strike rate of 79.77.

**Batting pair of the year: openers**

(cut-off: minimum eight innings)

**Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith**

Amla and Graeme Smith aggregated 596 runs in 11 innings at an average of 59.60 and scoring rate of 6.41 runs per over, giving them a partnership index (product of average and runs per ball) of 63.67. The Sri Lankan pair of Dilshan and Tharanga came second, with an index of 44.65 (average 44.88, scoring rate 5.97).

**Batting pair of the year: others**

(cut-off: minimum eight innings)

**AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis**

This was another instance of the batting records being dominated by South African batsmen. De Villers and Jacques Kallis were prolific, aggregating 560 runs with two century stands, at an average of 80 and scoring rate of 6.46. This gave them a partnership index score of 86.13. Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal came second, with an index of 59.81 (average 46.55 and scoring rate 7.71) and were closely followed by Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli, who had a partnership index of 59.55 (average 67.42 and scoring rate 5.30).

**Highest percentage of runs in boundaries**

**Tillakaratne Dilshan**

Dilshan took the honours here, scoring 538 of his 921 runs in boundaries (124 fours and seven sixes), which gave him a boundary percentage of 58.41. Shane Watson was second, scoring 426 of his total of 758 runs in boundaries, with a boundary percentage of 56.20. At the other end of the table is Clarke, with a boundary percentage of 26.25. He hit just 45 fours and four sixes in his total of 777 runs. Michael Hussey was the next lowest, with a boundary percentage of 30.84.

**Lowest dot-ball percentage**

**AB de Villiers**

De Villiers leads the way in this category too, facing just 360 dot-balls out of a total of 944 balls faced, a dot-ball percentage of 38.13. Amla is second, with a dot-ball percentage of 40.98, which is quite superb for an opener. Hussey is third, with a dot-ball percentage of 41.41. Keyes and Tharanga, who had the lowest strike rates, also have the highest dot-ball percentage, of 64.29 and 62.42 respectively.

**Highest percentage of team runs**

**Hashim Amla**

Amla scored 1064 of South Africa's total of 4608 runs in 2010, which was a percentage of 22.96. De Villiers is next, with a percentage of 20.92 (964 out of 4608). The five lowest positions in the list are all Australian batsmen, ranging from Ricky Ponting (12.40) to Hussey (13.73), which is an indication that no single batsman dominated Australia's batting performances in 2010.

**Highest percentage of team runs in wins**

**Hashim Amla**

Amla scored 949 of the team total of 3503 runs in wins in 2010 at an average of 86.27 and strike rate of 103.26, a percentage of 27.09. De Villiers, who is second with a percentage of 21.32, scored 747 runs at a superb average of 83 and strike rate of 105.65. Dilshan, with a percentage of 19.06, is third.

**ODI bowling**

(cut-off: min 100 overs)

**Best economy rate**

**Daniel Vettori**

In 15 innings Daniel Vettori bowled 140 overs and conceded just 537 runs at an economy rate of 3.86. Zimbabwe's Ray Price picked up only 11 wickets in 14 innings, but was extremely thrifty, conceding just 3.87 runs per over.

**Worst economy rate**

**Shafiul Islam**

Shafiul, who conceded 120 fours and 16 sixes, had the highest economy rate of 6.29. Bangladesh's Rubel Hossain was next, with an economy rate of 5.94.

**Best dot-ball percentage**

**Doug Bollinger**

Bollinger leads the way with a dot-ball percentage of 64.44 (580 dot-balls out of a total of 900 balls bowled). Praveen Kumar is next, with a dot-ball percentage of 63.81 (425 dots out of 666 balls bowled).

**Lowest boundary percentage**

**Daniel Vettori**

In 834 deliveries, Vettori, who had the best economy rate, conceded only 28 fours and eight sixes, a boundary percentage of 4.31. Afridi and Swann came closest, with boundary percentages of 4.34 and 4.47.

**Team**

**Most dominant: Tests**

**England**

England pipped India in this one, winning nine and losing three Tests in 2010, compared to India's eight wins and three defeats. South Africa had the third-best win-loss ratio, with five wins and two defeats. These three teams were clearly ahead of the rest: Australia, in fourth place, had a ratio of 1.20 (six wins, five losses).

**Most dominant: ODIs**

**South Africa**

South Africa won 12 of their 16 ODIs in 2010, giving them a win-loss ratio of three. Sri Lanka were next at 2.50, with England at 2.2. South Africa had the best differential between the batting index (batting average multiplied by runs scored per ball) and bowling index (bowling average multiplied by runs conceded per ball). Their differential of 18.50 is more than five points ahead of Australia, who are second, with a differential of 13.04.

**Most disciplined: ODIs**

**New Zealand**

New Zealand, who were the most disciplined team in 2009, once again conceded the fewest extras per match. They averaged just 10.90 extras per match (229 in 21 matches). England were next, with 199 extras in 16 matches (12.43 per match). New Zealand also gained 60 extras, the highest among all teams (229 conceded and 289 gained while batting).

All ODI stats include only performances against Test-playing sides plus Zimbabwe.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats