A statistical tribute to Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Test cricket

Now that Mahendra Singh Dhoni has retired from Test cricket, we look back at his career statistics and the numerous Indian wicketkeeping records he holds. Here we are taking statistics for fielding as a whole for all countries, so that we can see where he stands both in Indian and world cricket. His ODI figures are another matter, but that deserves a separate post when he retires from that format. First, the overall figures:

Dhoni-career

You can see that he is in 5th place overall. He is followed by Dravid (who was never a designated keeper in Tests) and Kirmani (who just fell short of 200 dismissals with 198). While on this topic, I wonder if one should follow the practice of the late Bill Frindall and some other statisticians who ignore the ICC v Aus Test of 2005-06 in their records. Fortunately Statsguru give you the means to ignore it if you want.

Next we look at fielding records in a match:

Dhoni-match

Here we see that the match record is 11 by Russell and de Villiers, followed by 10 by Bob Taylor and Gilchrist. Dhoni is one of many keepers to dismiss 9 in a match, and ironically he achieved this in his last Test at Melbourne. The previous record was 8 by himself (thrice) and Mongia (twice). Dhoni naturally shares the Indian record of 8 catches. For non-keepers, the record is 7 catches by several including Yajurvindra Singh.

Looking at innings figures:

Dhoni-innings

Here we see that the record is 7 dismissals by four other keepers, while Dhoni and Kirmani are the only Indian keepers with 6 dismissals. Dhoni has 6 catches to Kirmani’s 5. (Several non-keepers including Yajurvindra Singh, K. Srikkanth and M. Azharuddin have taken 5 catches). This brings us to the topic of stumpings. Here is the table for stumpings:

Dhoni-career st

Here Dhoni and Kirmani are jointly third with 38, after Oldfield and Evans. It is interesting to see that Boucher’s stumpings amounted to only 23 out of 555. Gilchrist had a somewhat better ratio at 37 out of 416.

Now for stumpings in a match:

Match-st

Neither Dhoni nor Kirmani feature here, but the world record is held by Kiran More with 6 (Hirwani’s match) followed by the little-known P. K. Sen with 5. He might be the only Indian Test player to be born in a place which is now in Bangladesh (Comilla). Also note V. Rajindernath who took 4 stumpings and no catches in his only Test. He did not get to bat either.

And finally, stumpings in an innings:

Innings-st

More again has the record with 5 in the same match dominated by Hirwani. Oldfield and Sen follow with 4, while Dhoni did not manage even 3.

Then we look at the ratio of dismissals per innings, which might have some logic such as batting averages and bowling averages. Here we consider only those who have fielded for 20 or more innings. Both keepers and non-keepers are considered:

Dis per innings

Here the list is headed by the lesser known C.O. Browne (WI) and S. J. Rhodes (Eng). Dhoni has the highest ratio for India with 1.771. No one else from India has exceeded 1.500.

Much has been said about Dhoni’s captaincy by other writers, so I am not getting into that. I will conclude with a summary of his batting career:

Dhoni-batting runs

With 4876 runs he stands 11th among Indian batsmen, far ahead of other wicketkeepers.

Comparing batting averages of Indians (minimum 20 innings batted) we get:

Dhoni-batting avg

Oddly, Kambli leads this list followed by his old classmate Tendulkar. Dhoni is quite far down, though again far ahead of other keepers. Also R. Ashwin has a better batting average than some better-known specialist batsmen.

We conclude with a study of his batting against different opponents, in different countries and in different continents besides home and away:

Dhoni-batting summary

Bangladesh and Pakistan have been his favourite opponents, while West Indies, England and South Africa have not seen his best. His lack of success against West Indies has been particularly puzzling as it generally was a weak team during his playing days.

Looking at venues, Bangladesh and Pakistan are again his favourites while he has done better in New Zealand than in India. Australia and West Indies (again?) have not been too favourable for him.

As you would expect, he has done best in Asia and worst in the Americas (i.e. West Indies) and Oceania.

To sum up, he holds most of the wicketkeeping records for India. While not among India’s top batsmen, he was certainly a better batsman than any other Indian wicketkeeper.

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