Sri Lanka are better than Australia

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< 1 minute read

It’s funny how you can rely on the guys who’ve played 300-and-odd one-day internationals in these major tournaments. And by ‘funny’ we of course mean ‘predictable’.

Mahela Jayawardene has played so many one-dayers that his average (33.40) is meaningless. What you actually need to do is split his career into several manageable sized careers in order to be able to compare him to others. His efforts span so many rule changes and so many different Jayawardenes, it’s pointless to try and comprehend his efforts as one whole.

Australia, by way of contrast, are best evaluated cumulatively, as if all eleven components comprised just one all-rounder. Looked upon that way, they’re a decent player – not earth-shattering, but pretty consistent.


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  1. What should the unit of career be? Some options:

    A Rob Key (15 tests; 5 ODIs; 1 intl T20 (I’ll leave you to decide whether or not I needed to look that up))
    A Nasser Hussain (96; 88; 0)
    An Andrew Strauss (100; 127; 4)
    A Chris Lewis (32; 53; 0. Special mention: 13 yrs in the Big House)

    1. I don’t see a reason to extend the sample beyond this.

      I’d go for a Chris Lewis, actually. Without the jail time. If a player is not dropped for 2-3 years, that’s about the number of each type of match they’ll probably play.

    2. I’m going to propose Pat Symcox.

      Neither here nor there at anything, providing a nice mediocre yardstick of moderate length. Plus, exactly 100 international appearances, making a one-cap wonder a centi-Symcox.

  2. Imagine if all those different Jayawardene’s batted together in the same team. Thats pornography right there.

    Although, judging by that career average, a couple of them are probably really, really shit.

  3. Jayawardene’s ODI strike rate is just a smidgeon over that of Jonathan Trott, who is averaging significantly north of 50 in ODIs.

    Many of those who call for England to drop Trott because he is, allegedly, unsuited to ODIs, would no doubt laud Jayawardene as an example of the sort of ODI player England should be seeking instead of Trott.

    It makes me want to shake those Trott ODI naysayers ever so gently by the throat, if only to emphasise my point a little.

    1. We also have no time for the ‘drop Trott’ position, but we’re not sure quite how many people hold it any more. All we seem to be hearing is people raging against the ‘drop Trott’ brigade who actually seem fairly quiet.

      Also, you can’t compare strike-rates. As we say above, Jayawardene has played through many different one-day eras, while Trott is still a relative newcomer.

    2. There is no “drop Trott” brigade. There is only a “change the channel while Trott bats” brigade.

    3. According to Paul Nixon, he’s in the “drop Trott” camp along with Botham and Warne. He’s also in the “drop Cook” camp.

      Draw your own conclusions.

    4. Lol Ritesh.

      KC, I think I disagree with your premise regarding the rule changes. Those might affect the pinch hitters, finishers and the like, but I think the ODI game has remained effectively the same for the guys whose job it is to really bat for as many of the overs as possible.

      The most recent change, with two new balls and only four men outside the circle is the most profound change in living memory and might increase the average scores a noticeable amount.

      It is probably a bit unfair to compare players from different countries, as they tend to play 40% or so of their ODIs in home conditions, whatever they might be, but even then I think most countries provide a mix of belters and trickier pitches – it is just the nature of those belters and trickiers that varies.

      It is just interesting that Trott fills the bar (or induces Ritesh’s channel change) when he comes out to bat, while Jayawardene is not perceived to be a dull batsman in that way. Nor Sangakkkara, another mid to high 70s strike rate proper ODI batsman.

      It’s probably all that Trott farting around scratching at the crease and stuff that irritates and bores folks. His actual batting is fine and goes at a reasonable lick.

    5. I hate it when cricketers retire and you find out their opinions. I used to love Paul Nixon as a player, but now he seems like just another loon with a twitter account.

      Maybe this is why all this media training happens, lest we find out that Luke Wright wants England to pick Ben Stokes to open the bowling instead of James Anderson.

    6. There isn’t much in it, but there have been changes. Pitches are smaller these days, bats are better and any change has an impact in terms of how a team goes about making its total.

      But we broadly agree with you. It ain’t much of owt. It’s just that a lot of people are comparing Trott’s strike rate to others’ at the minute.

    7. Is it possible that men like Jayawardane and Sanga got to bat with/after exciting stroke-makers like Jayasuriya and lil’Kalu, so their own above-average-while-not-Afridi strike rate wasn’t a big deal in terms of team progress? While poor Jonathan gets to bat with Alistair, himself not exactly a white Virender?

      But then again, one could make the argument that precisely for the same reason, the Sri Lankan’s “slow” batting should’ve stood out even more, so one doesn’t really know……

    8. Kaluwitharana?

      Now there’s a man who was over-rated. Same strike rate as Trott, with 40% of the runs. I’d take Trott over him even if he had to keep wicket.

    9. Not so much a bias as an utter lack of interest in ODI results. I see them purely as recorded practice sessions. The only reason to play them is to bolster individual statistics and Trott is pretty good at that. The team result is utterly irrelevant because almost nobody remembers.

      If you like Kaluwitharana, you must love Kieswetter.

    10. Well, it’s not like I particularly like Kalu as a player. And ODIs were actually pretty good back in the 90s and even in the early noughties till the ICC decided that they needed to throw one in our face everyday.

      My larger point was that perhaps we tend to form our opinion of players based on our own (at times, faulty) recollection of their abilities, often based on a couple of crucial innings/tourneys. In the last post, I clearly only associated Kaluwithara with some matches in World Cup ’96 when his quick batting caught the eye. That’s probably why most cricket discussions are just judgment biases. Till one of us looks up Statsguru, of course 🙂

    11. Yeah, I think the only time I ever saw Kalu was in that tournament and I remember people getting very excited about pinch hitting in the first 15 overs.

      Then off to Statsguru and to be honest I can’t believe he played almost 200 games with a batting record that looks like Luke Wright’s.

    12. KC — That’s next on my list. Currently reading “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg – a fascinating read.

    13. Sounds fascinating, although sometimes we wonder whether these dissections of thinking are particularly good for us. There’s something faintly depressing about seeing yourself as a defective machine which relies on those defects in order to protect itself from its own inadequacies.

      Or maybe it’s the way we interpret these things.

    14. I had been wondering about You are Not So Smart, as it is currently number 2 on the list of “People who bought [Ged’s latest] also bought…” on Amazon.

      Any use? I read Thinking Fast and Slow in the last year and loved it.

      Perhaps someone should bring out a book on the batting conumdrum we are discussing right here and call it “Batting Fast and Slow”.

    15. I absolutely adored Kaluwitharna. He was a man of almost no talent utterly convinced of his importance to his side. An earnest Afridi if you will. A man who never let go the notion that being spoken of in the same breath as Jayasuriya made him his equal. The Manoj Prabhakar to Sanath’s Kapil Dev; the Kambli to his Tendulkar.

      Such stories rarely end well, and that is apparent to everyone but the protagonist. But before the fall there is drama in the swagger-by-association, and drama is entertaining.

  4. No complaints about Trott or Cook or Bell at the top of the order. The problem is having all three of them at the same time. Two of them would be fine preferably with a later-day Trescothick. Carberry seem closest at present.

    1. Drop Bell or Cook or Trott is cunningly similar to a “drop Trott” position.

      Especially cunning as KC is known to have a position of indifference regarding Ian Ronald Bell.

  5. My issue with Trott, insofar as I have one, is the suspicion that he wouldn’t change his style for anyone or anything.

    Indian bookmakers, specific match situations, you-need-to-hit-a-boundary-an-over-or-we-kill-your-wife – none of it has the slightest impact, he just chugs along.

    I know this, because I did have his wife in my cellar, and it made no odds. (I let her go.)

    All that said, he’s brilliant and I’m very glad he didn’t choose Australia, Ashes-wise.

  6. IMO, this anti-Trott bias is just to do with how much he bores us, not his actual run making abilities or his strike rate.

    If its bad ball, he will put it away, if its a good ball, he will defend, if its an ok ball, he will work it for a couple, in each case with an efficient but not particularly attractive shot.

    He isnt even blessed with a flawed technique, a funny face, or an exciting name. Worse still, he seems to have based his entire batting personality on his name.

    Now if he was called Jonthan Runn, he would have none of these problems.

    1. Peter Bowler. Archetypal county stalwart. Scored a lot of debut centuries, I believe.

  7. ah yes, that’s the chap. played for somerset which is why i remember his name… and according to his cricinfo profile, he was a “batsman much maligned because for his slow scoring”, whatever that means 🙂

    ah, slow scoring. isn’t that where we came in?

    1. Indeed.

      But in some ways the Peter Bowler example supports the point Antryg made above, as Bowler partnered Trescothick at Somerset for some time as an opening pair. Right- hander/left-hander, accumulator/aggresor, bar-filler/bar-emptier.

      There is a case for England sticking with the same top five but promoting Root to open with Cook and having Bell bat at four or five. I wouldn’t suggest this as a last minute change for this tournament, but as planning over the next year or two towards the World Cup.

      Especially sensible, not only for the ODIs but because Cook/Root is seen as the way forward for the test side opening pair. What better way to prepare for that?

  8. good point(s) ged. one dasher and one blocker makes a natural combination for openers as we know.

    the whole trott saga just makes think how spoilt the modern cricket audience has become. i started taking an interest in cricket round about 1979-1980, so i remember boycott playing, and more to the point i remember chris tavare. trott may not be the most exciting batsman to watch, but he’s practically boom-boom afridi compared to some of those older guys…

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