The correct way to deal with BJ Watling stats

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BJ Watling (via Sky Sports)

If you take out all the Test matches involving New Zealand, BJ Watling’s Test record is actually nothing to write home about.

This is what you have to do though. This is what you have to do because otherwise BJ Watling appears really high up in all sorts of statistical lists that rank wicketkeeper-batsmen.

The idea that New Zealand’s current wicketkeeper is among the greatest of all time is jarring to say the least, because no-one’s really been paying any attention to him – yet only a handful average more than Watling and only Adam Gilchrist and Andy Flower have made more hundreds.

‘How can this be?’ people think. ‘What about, um, Dhoni?’

Well Test cricket wasn’t really Dhoni’s big format, was it?

‘What about Kumar Sangakkara then? Or Alec Stewart?

And here we get to the nub of things: a number of players who people think of as great wicketkeeper-batsmen made most of their runs playing as specialist batsmen.

Alec Stewart made 15 Test hundreds, but only six as a wicketkeeper. He averaged 46.70 as a specialist batsman and 34.92 as a wicketkeeper.

Kumar Sangakkara made (sweet mother of God) 38 Test hundreds, but only seven of these were when playing as a wicketkeeper. He averaged a highly impressive 40.48 as a wicketkeeper but an outright ludicrous 66.78 as a specialist batsman.

Moral of the story: combining batting and keeping is actually an extremely hard thing to do indeed.

So you’re left with two choices:

  1. Confront the fact that BJ Watling is an unusually productive wicketkeeper-batsman and come to terms with it
  2. Remove all of the matches involving New Zealand from his record


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  1. I can’t even be annoyed about last night. BJ Watling’s great. Maybe one day people will recognise him as such. Probably some ten years after he’s retired.

  2. Look, if removing BJ Watling was going to be easy, England would have stumbled across a solution yesterday. We’ll just have to write to the ICC, and explain that last night’s play didn’t count, and that the day ended with New Zealand 230 all out

  3. The way to deal with Watling’s 200 (and any future Watling runs) is for Root to no longer be captain. He’s not a particularly good captain (which is not the same as being a bad captain) and the added pressure is clearly telling on his batting.

    England need Root the batsman far more than they need Root the captain (has always been the case).

    1. It just shifts the problem though. Most players aren’t sure of a place in the side and those who are could be similarly affected – which England can ill afford.

      1. How do England find themselves in a place where (as you tweeted) England’s top seven have 26 hundreds between them and 24 of them have been scored by 2 players (neither of whom should be captain!)

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