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).