We watched a bunch of sixes today. Well, we say ‘watched’. What we actually mean is that we heard commentators overreacting to sixes while writing something. We didn’t look up once.
We live in a different world, nowadays. We’ve tried to take you back to the old one in our All Out Cricket piece about Shahid Afridi, but like the £5 base layer we use for winter cycling, it’s not an easy thing to pull off.
Either way, it’s received some positive feedback. One commenter claimed: “You actually wrote my mind out.”1 Appeal
We’re thinking about getting more into uninspired, derivative headlines. This is what we’d have gone with for our latest Cricinfo piece.
And while we’re linking, it’s also just occurred to us that we never pointed you towards the latest king added to our pantheon over at All Out Cricket. This one is – to misunderstand and then adapt a common phrase – straight out of rightfield. It’s that bell-end Warnie.45 Appeals
Our latest Cricinfo piece has been a huge hit. Here’s what the critics are saying about it.
“Assume someone eats 10 apples per day and wants to reduce the number of apples he eats per day. He decides to counts two apples as one(or one as half) and claims that he has reduced the amount of apples he eats by half. This is total nonsense.”
To have half an idea what the bloody hell he’s on about, start by reading the article.18 Appeals
We appear to have been struck down by lack-of-altitude sickness or summat, so here’s a perfunctory ticking-the-boxes, phoning-it-in update linking to something we wrote for someone else.
Aggression and aggressive batting – we covered it here on King Cricket fairly comprehensively, but yet still felt moved to write something for Cricinfo. This is that thing.
If you really want to entertain yourselves, why not try adding some Cricinfo-style missing-the-point comments below because the ones on that article are disappointingly sensible. The best effort will earn a weary ‘heh’ from us. It’ll seem sarcastic, but it isn’t. It’s just tired and lifeless.26 Appeals
We come back from a week away and it’s all kicking off. Cricinfo’s changed so that you can’t tell what’s going on in the world; Nick Knight’s photographing Victoria’s Secret models (“Should be an innovative, eye-catching shot suitable for an ultra-glossy magazine cover… Is an innovative, eye-catching shot suitable for an ultra-glossy magazine cover.”); and Bishan Bedi’s tweeting links to your articles.
Old Bish-Bed was drawing attention to our latest Kings of Cricket piece in which we make a somewhat futile attempt to put Sachin Tendulkar’s achievements into some sort of perspective. Have a read while we go through our emails and just generally try and catch up on everything.12 Appeals
Stats. Stats! #Stats
But not weird, complicated stats. Big, bold, lumpen stats. They probably won’t change your thinking, but they’ll allow you to put a value to your opinions so that you can make them sound more credible and scientific.
This article stems from a series of predictions we made five years ago. We’ve already looked at how those went (mixed), but we thought it would also be interesting to see which players really did have most success in that period.
Let’s not get too fancy with this. Highest averages from a minimum of 20 Tests. For reference, the time period is from when we wrote our original article, so it’s not five years exactly.
- Kumar Sangakkara – 65.87
- Hashim Amla – 64.13
- Shivnarine Chanderpaul – 62.72
- AB de Villiers – 62.27
- Younus Khan – 60.13
So we basically got one right – De Villiers.
It’s interesting to note the age of these players: 37, 31, 40, 30 and 37. While three of these players are clearly towards the ends of their careers, Amla and De Villiers can legitimately expect to remain near the top of the pile in the next five-year period as well. Don’t listen next time someone tells you that a 32-year-old batsman’s on the slide.
Not quite sure how to balance this. Let’s do wicketkeepers first because that’s a bit simpler. Criteria: at least 20 Tests with the gloves. Sounds a lot, but we’re talking about a five-year period here so we can afford to be strict.
- AB de Villiers – 60.77
- BJ Watling – 44.00
- Mushfiqur Rahim – 39.82
- Matt Prior – 38.51
- MS Dhoni – 36.48
Good on BJ Watling and Mushfiqur Rahim, but it’s hard not to comment on De Villiers cropping up again. His average is different to the one given above because he only kept wicket in 21 Tests. For what it’s worth, our two selections – Prior and Dhoni – were the top two run-scorers out of that lot.
As for batting-bowling all-rounders, let’s say at least 20 matches, at least 30 wickets. Given those criteria, these guys are the only ones whose batting average exceeds their bowling average.
- Jacques Kallis – 57.92 and 44.52
- Shakib al Hasan – 43.19 and 33.10
- Mohammad Hafeez – 39.26 and 30.66
- Shane Watson – 37.93 and 32.05
- R Ashwin – 35.96 and 30.67
- Vernon Philander – 26.80 and 21.95
We got Shakib out of those. It’s hard to compare them properly though. For example, it’s worth noting that Ashwin and Philander both have over a hundred wickets to their name during this period, wheras Kallis took just 34 in 35 matches.
Pretty strict again, but best averages with a minimum of 100 wickets.
- Dale Steyn – 21.69
- Vernon Philander – 21.95
- Ryan Harris – 23.52
- James Anderson – 26.71
- Rangana Herath – 26.95
We got Steyn. Unsurprisingly, we didn’t get Herath. He comfortably meets the criteria as well. He’s actually taken more wickets (191) than both Philander (121) and Harris (113).
Damn straight.14 Appeals
Five years ago, we picked out five batsmen, four all-rounders and five bowlers who we thought would be the best over the next five-year period. Let’s have a look at how wrong we were.
Here’s who we picked. Let’s look at their records at the point at which we picked them and how they’ve fared since then. We’ll stick to Tests so that this doesn’t become too much of a statsfest.
Ross Taylor: 1,496 runs at 41.55 when we picked him. 3,135 runs at 47.50 since then.
JP Duminy: 389 runs at 48.62 when we picked him. 891 runs at 33.00 since then.
AB de Villiers: 3,558 runs at 43.92 when we picked him. 4,048 runs at 62.27 since then.
Michael Clarke: 3,693 runs at 49.24 when we picked him. 4,780 runs at 51.95 since then.
Gautam Gambhir: 2,553 runs at 56.73 when we picked him. 1,493 runs at 29.86 since then.
Three reasonable calls and two wrong ones you’d say. It’s notable that the two failures are the two who’d been in a particularly rich vein of form at the time of writing.
Duminy isn’t such a great surprise in that even at that early stage he looked a bit wobbly against the short ball, but we did expect more from Gambhir. He seemed to be a player who had to work hard to succeed so we thought he’d still be going well while those to whom batting came more easily might have grown complacent. However, if he was a fighter, he was a fairweather fighter and fairly or unfairly he’ll probably always be remembered for his ‘wait until you come to India’ type comments during a chastening tour of Australia.
Shakib Al Hasan: 715 runs at 29.79 and 48 wickets at 28.27 when we picked him. 1,814 runs at 43.19 and 92 wickets at 33.10 since then.
Dwayne Bravo: 1,856 runs at 32.00 and 73 wickets at 39.57 when we picked him. 344 runs at 28.66 and 13 wickets at 41.30 since then.
MS Dhoni: 2,176 runs at 40.29 when we picked him. 2,700 runs at 36.48 since then.
Matt Prior: 1,326 runs at 44.20 when we picked him. 2,773 runs at 38.51 since then.
Stuart Broad: 767 runs at 30.68 and 64 wickets at 35.78 when we picked him. 1,426 runs at 21.60 and 200 wickets at 28.02 since then.
Shakib Al Hasan’s pretty much held up his side of the bargain and that was quite a leftfield call back then. Dhoni and Matt Prior were actually the top-scoring wicketkeepers in that five-year period, even if their records seem nothing to write home about.
If Stuart Broad now seems a ridiculous selection, his bowling did at least improve, even if his batting means he shouldn’t be in this section. Dwayne Bravo, however, was an exceptionally bad selection. His Test career seemed to finish moments after we clicked ‘publish’.
Dale Steyn: 170 wickets at 23.70 when we picked him. 226 wickets at 21.69 since then.
Mohammad Asif: 70 wickets at 22.22 when we picked him. 36 wickets at 28.52 since then.
Ajantha Mendis: 44 wickets at 29.50 when we picked him. 26 wickets at 43.69 since then.
Ishant Sharma: 54 wickets at 34.42 when we picked him. 133 wickets at 38.47 since then.
Not for the first time, we’ll thank the cricket gods for Dale Steyn. Reading the original article again, we think we knew there was a bit of wishful thinking going on with these selections even at the time. Sad, bad and infuriating.
A mixed bag, but it strikes us that these results would make more sense when set alongside those who really did perform best over this five-year period. So let’s do that. Meet you back here tomorrow.23 Appeals
There’s definitely an opening for an opportunistic side to play a negative, attritional brand of cricket during this World Cup. That approach is so rare, the opposition won’t know what has limply and boringly hit them.
More about this in the form of a satirical news report over at Cricinfo.8 Appeals
There’s going to be relatively little news coverage on here next week. And by ‘relatively little’ we actually mean none. We’ve decided we need to graze in the outfield for a few days so that we can come back and hit the deck hard come the World Cup.
Clearly you’re worried about this. You’re not sure what to do. You’re not sure how you’ll cope. But it’s okay, the site isn’t going dead. Posts will be published and we’ll check in on the comments every chance we get. There’ll be a few links to articles we’ve written elsewhere recently; there’ll be a review of some predictions we made several years ago; there’ll be a statistical thing inspired by that review; and there’ll be a match report.
Hope you enjoy it all. And stop slagging us off.9 Appeals
We know that you’re all looking forward to hearing the official World Cup song, even if it’s inevitable that it will fall some way short of this masterpiece.
We’ve looked back on some of the other great official cricket songs from down the years for All Out Cricket.
They include The Ashes Song from 1971. These lyrics must have taken them months.
When we arrived people said
The Aussies would leave us for dead
But we knew we would prove them wrong
And that’s why we’re singing this song
Oh! The feeling is great
For losing is something we hate
You can read more about this and other classics here.6 Appeals