England’s bowling captain

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< 1 minute read

Mike Selvey made an interesting point in his third Test match report cum series review.

“No captain of any consequence does so in isolation. Instead he is a facilitator relying heavily on the sort of input of ideas from his bowlers that cannot come from elsewhere.”

When he isn’t scoring runs, much is made of Strauss’s influence as a captain, but what of other players’ influence on captaincy decisions? The impact of that is even less measurable.

Selvey points out that Tim Bresnan was the senior bowler in the last Test with all of 14 caps to his name and it is notable that when England were in the field, the wheels came off, rolled away and spontaneously combusted. Jimmy Anderson’s presence as a bowler may or may not have helped, as might his presence as a smart bloke with a few ideas floating round his head.

This got us wondering just how much impact the latter has on Test results. In an attempt to investigate, we checked Strauss’s captaincy record with and without James Anderson in the side. This excludes earlier Tests where he was a stand-in captain.

  • Total record: 21 wins, 12 draws, nine losses
  • With Anderson: 21 wins, 10 draws, eight losses

So since being made England’s permanent Test captain, Strauss has never won a Test without Jimmy Anderson, but has drawn two and lost one when he’s been out of the side. Being as one of those draws was Edgbaston Rainfest 2012, there’s nothing too conclusive in that, but it is something to ponder.

In conclusion: cricket is still a team game and statistics don’t really tell you a right lot.


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  1. Are you sure that’s correct?

    “Without Anderson: 21 wins, 12 draws, nine losses.
    So since being made England’s permanent Test captain, Strauss has never won a Test without Jimmy Anderson.”


    1. You watch, Sam. In a short while that bit, and thus time itself, will be “corrected”, leaving your comment alone in splendid nonsensical isolation that scholars will puzzle over way into the future. That is the power of the man – he can change history at a whim.

    2. On second thoughts, I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t some sort of post-modern comment on the nature of statistics.

      “So since being made England’s permanent Test captain, Strauss has never won a Test without Jimmy Anderson (or won 21), but has drawn two (or twelve) and lost one (or nine) when he’s been out of the side.”

      Either that or the “Without Anderson” bit should actually read “WITH OR Without Anderson”.

    3. This is what happens when we try and do things before 8am. The other day we tried to make a cup of tea at 7.42am and it ended up too milky.


    4. While you’re at it KC, how about adding that “s” to the front of “cholars” in my first post? Or is it one rule for us, one rule for you?

    5. Okay, done.

      Now, do you want us to amend your most recent comment to remove the request to add the ‘s’ to ‘cholars’ and Sam, do you want us to remove your comment querying the inclusion of the word ‘cholars’?

    6. What’s the matter, McBert? Chicken?

      In three years time, the ‘present day’ in BTTF will be as far in the past as 1955 was when the film was made.

    7. In three years’ time, we will be in ‘the future’.

      Actually, reading that statement back, it’s always true, isn’t it? (But for the fact that when we get there, the future has by definition become the present).

    8. “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shit. “

    9. I just want a hoverboard. Or a DeLorean.

      I went to a Maggie Philbin lecture while I was at Uni, which was about the predictions made in BTTF 2. She mostly complained about the lack of weather control.

  2. I’m in complete agreement with her, this being my first ‘summer’ in England.

  3. Tino Best runs in so fast to bowl that every time he completes a spell, he is noticeably younger.

  4. Is this the geekiest KC posting/comments section ever?

    Sadly, I suspect not.

    I could up the geek content by talking about sample sizes required for statistical significance…

    …but that would potentially dignify the undignifyable.

    1. From my huge sample size of 6 England fast bowlers over the last couple of years, Finn, Onions and Tremlett have been the most injured and also played the least games, proving that Jimmy & broad will almost certainly get injured now that they have had a rest.

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