One poor game against West Indies on a flat batting track in St Lucia was enough for the knives to be sharpened against Darren Gough, with comments flying around that it was time for him to be replaced by a younger bowler. Unfair? The numbers certainly suggest so. The St Lucia match - when Gough returned unflattering figures of 1 for 67 in 8.1 overs - was only the 13th time in his career of 126 matches that his economy rate went past six, and the first time that he leaked more than eight an over. It's easy to forget, but less than a year back, in the NatWest Series in England, Gough returned figures of 1 for 29 from 10 overs and 2 for 9 in seven, in consecutive matches against South Africa.
The news that South Africa are likely to play only seven one-dayers and no Tests on their tour to India later this year once again raised the issue of India's lopsided international calendar - they tend to play far more one-dayers than Tests. Over the last seven years, India have played a whopping 243 ODIs and just 67 Tests, a ratio of 3.6 one-dayers per Test. Contrast that to England, for whom the corresponding figure is just 1.5. In fact, in 1998, England ended up playing more Tests (16) than one-day internationals (12); the same year, India played 40 ODIs and five Tests. Not surprisingly, India have the lowest Test-per-ODI ratio (excluding Zimbabwe and Bangladesh), with the two other subcontinent teams following closely.
|Test-ODI ratio since 1997|
|Had they played as many Tests as Australia ...|
|Runs/Test||Runs missed out on||Total aggregate|
|Aravinda de Silva||82.47||1484||7845|
Their Test record might be in a shambles, but West Indies have certainly learnt the art of chasing huge totals in one-day internationals: on their tour to South Africa, they successfully went past a target of 298, while England were at the receiving end in the recently concluded series, when West Indies overhauled targets of 282 and 281 in successive games.