RIP Bob Willis-some notes on his career

Basic details can be seen here: http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/22462.html

He captained England in 18 Tests in 1982-84, when the team won 7, lost 5 and drew 6.

There are relatively few “pure” bowlers who had extended runs as captains. This is an attempt to list them:

Bowler captain (Willis)

Botham did not do well as a batsman or bowler (or indeed as a captain) during his tenure.

Willis also holds a record of taking the most wickets (325) without ever taking a 10-for. These are the bowlers with this distinction with 200 or more wickets:

Most wkts with out 10WM

While Siddle may play a few more Tests, he is unlikely to come close to 325 wickets. Morne Morkel and Brett Lee may have surpassed this after a few more Tests if they had not retired.

For comparison, we see who has taken the most wickets without ever taking a five-for:

Most wickets without 5wi

While Hendrick was certainly a specialist bowler, most of the others here were considered all-rounders. Some were batsmen who bowled occasionally. We can see that NJ Astle has the most wickets without a 4-for.

And finally, he may be one of the few cricketers who legally changed their name to that of someone whom he admired. However, Bob Dylan outlived him. (He is only 8 years older than Willis).

Willis was not much of a batsman, with a top score of 28* and  career Test average of less than 12. He normally batted at No 10 or 11. However, he normally did stay long enough to help other batsmen to add more runs. The best such instance was in this Test in 1980:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17053/scorecard/63269/england-vs-west-indies-4th-test-west-indies-tour-of-england-1980

England made 370 and the West Indies 265 in reply. In the 3rd innings, England collapsed to 92/9 when Willis came in to join Willey (who was not considered to be an established batsman at that time; he had two fifties with a top score of 62* at that time). So England led by 197 with 3:30 hours left, and surely the West Indies would make light work of a target of around 200. But this did not happen. Wisden 1981 had this to say:

“At The Oval, July 24, 25, 26, 28, 29. Drawn. Considering a complete day was lost to the weather, that only 29 wickets fell, and that West Indies averaged 12.3 overs an hour, the fourth Test was a much better match than it might have been. Its main features were Gooch’s tremendous attacking 83 which inspired England’s best batting of the summer, a West Indian collapse that put them in momentary danger of a follow-on, and an unbroken last-wicket stand of 117 between Willey and Willis that saved England from defeat.

How England came to be 92 for nine in their second innings after making 370 in the first is something that requires no explanation to anyone familiar with the brittleness of their batting, or with the potency of Holding, Croft and Garner. When Willey and Willis came together a West Indian victory looked likely with England only 197 ahead and with three and a half hours left. Yet they played with exemplary coolness and courage, and after a surprisingly short time showed no sign of being parted.

West Indies were badly handicapped by injuries to Croft and Garner, but Holding and Marshall were still relatively fresh when the ninth wicket fell twenty-five minutes after lunch. Willis’s 24 not out equalled his highest score in 80 innings for England and followed a sequence of ten innings in which he had only once reached double figures. Sadly, because of his lost bowling form, it proved to be his last Test innings of the season.

For all that was owed to the ungainly effectiveness of Willis’s lunging forward stroke, it was to Willey that England were mainly indebted for survival. Ironically, he would not even have been playing had Greenidge caught him at 13 in the Old Trafford Test a fortnight earlier – an escape which enabled him to add 62 not out to an aggregate of 90 in his ten previous innings for England. It was to his reputation as a fighter that Willey owed his continued presence in the side, and at The Oval he justified the selectors’ faith in him. Arriving at 67 for six, thirty-five minutes before lunch, he showed the full face of the bat to the West Indian fast bowlers from the moment he came in. He held concentration and resolve as Botham, Knott and Dilley were briskly swept aside, resourcefully protected Willis from the strike and, when the West Indian effort faded, availed himself of a well-deserved first hundred.”

While this was not noticed at the time, it was the first time that a 10th-wicket pair succeeded in doubling the score (from 92/9 to 209/9). This happened after over a hundred years of Tests, and has indeed happened only on 6 occasions from 1980 to 2019 as detailed here:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/11/13/batting-recoveries-1-doubling-the-score-by-the-10th-wicket-partners/

So the West Indies held on to their 1-0 lead going into the final Test which was also drawn. Later that decade they beat England 5-0 in England in 1984, 5-0 in the West Indies in 1985-86 and 4-0 again in England in 1988. Hence the wisecracks about the “blackwash” being followed by a “dark grey wash” in 1988.

 

Review of Eng-NZ Tests-Dec 2019-2

Hope you have read Part 1

Continuing with individual performances-Fielding:

Most dismissals (20 and above):

Eng v NZ dismissalsParore is just ahead of RW Taylor overall. Watling and R Taylor have the most dismissals among current players. Fleming has the most among non-keepers.

Most innings dismissals (5 and above):

Eng v NZ innings fielding

Only Bairstow from recent series. Headed by the lesser-known CMW Read.

Most match dismissals (6 and above):

Eng v NZ match fielding

Again, hardly anything from recent series. Note that Lamb and Cook have the best among non-keepers.

Best dismissal rate (Min 20 innings, 0.600):

Eng v NZ dismissal rate

Taylor and Cook from recent years, with Fleming having the best figures among non-keepers.

All-round overall (see criteria below):

Eng v NZ AR overall

Not much debate here for the top two. Vettori’s figures are lower than what one would expect. Even CL Cairns did better.

All-round match performance (50 and 5wi):

Eng v NZ AR match

A long list here, with Southee with two instances from recent years. This list has three instances of the comparatively rare 50/10wm (Greig, Hadlee and Nash) besides the more usual 100/5wi (Botham twice).

 

Review of Eng-NZ Tests-Dec 2019-1

New Zealand won the 2-Test series 1-0. as they had in 2017-2018. This series was not part of the World Test Championship.

The overall summary of Tests between these countries:

Overall summary

New Zealand is slowly beginning to show better performances at home.

Looking at individual performances:

Batting

Most Runs (1000 and above):

Eng v NZ runs-1000

MD Crowe has the most centuries (5) while several others have 4. The most scores of 50+ are 11 by JG Wright while several other have 10. R Taylor (1145) has the most runs among current players.

Highest innings (150 and above):

Eng v NZ innings-150

Root and Watling scored double centuries in this series.

Best batting average (Min 20 innings, all instances):

Eng v NZ bat avg

Cowdrey has the highest average here. Root and Taylor have the highest averages among current players. Williamson has not played enough against England.

Best strike rate (Min 1000 balls faced, 45.00):

Eng v NZ bat SR

McCullum leads by a large margin. Taylor, Root and Watling represent current players.

Bowling

Most wickets (25 and more):

Eng v NZ wkts

Sir Richard leads by a large margin, although current player Broad is next. Southee, Boult and Wagner are also moving up.

Best innings bowling (includes all instances of 7wi):

Eng V NZ innings bowl

No instances from the last few years.

Best match bowling (includes all instances of 10wm):

Eng v NZ match bowl

Note the duopoly at the top from Underwood and Lock who have the 5 best performances. Nothing from recent years.

Best bowling average (Min 2000 balls bowled, all instances):

Eng v NZ bowl avg

Underwood and Willis have the best bowling averages, Underwood and Illingworth the best economy while Underwood and Anderson have the best strike rates. Boult and Wagner have the best averages among current players.

To be continued.

World War 2 snippets-Hitler’s personal train

A relatively unknown story from World War 2.

The basic information is here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%BChrersonderzug\

More details here, including a 50-minute documentary:

https://www.wearethemighty.com/history/hitler-train-amerika-ww2?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

 

Review of Aus-Pak Test series: Dec 2019: 2

Hope that you have seen part 1: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/12/03/review-of-aus-pak-test-series-dec-2019-1/

Continuing our study of individual performances:

Bowling:

Most wickets (20 and above):

Aus v Pak-most wkts-25

Warne and McGrath lead here by a large margin. Warne (6) and Lillee (5) have the most 5ers, while Warne is the only one with two 10ers. Starc (34) and Lyon (33) have the most wickets among current players.

Best innings bowling (including all instances of 7wi):

Aus v Pak-innings bowling 7wi

Nothing from recent years.

Best match bowling (including all instances of 10wm):

Aus v Pak-match bowling-10wm

Only one recent instances, Mohammad Abbas’s 10-95 in Abu Dhabi in 2018. Fazal Mahmood’s record goes back to the earliest days of Tests between these teams.

Bowling averages (Min 2000 balls bowled, all instances):

Aus v Pak bowling average-all

Includes only Lyon and Yasir Shah from current players, and they are at the bottom of this list.

Warne and McGrath have the best average, Tauseef and Qasim the best economy, and Warne and MGrath again the best strike rate.

Fielding:

Most dismissals (15 and above):

Aus v Pak-dismissals

Old-timers RW Marsh and Wasim Bari lead here. Paine, Sarfaraz and Steve Smith represent current players. Bari has the most stumpings and ME Waugh the most catches by non-keepers, closely followed by Border and Greg Chappell.

Most innings dismissals (5 and above):

Aus v Pak-innings dismissals

Most match dismissals (7 and above):

Aus v Pak match fielding

Haddin leads here, with only Paine from recent times.

Best dismissal rate (Minimum 20 innings and 0.500):

Aus v Pak dismissal rate

RW Marsh and Wasim Bari lead here. No one from recent years. The best by non-keepers is by MA Taylor.

All-round performance (see criteria below):

Aus v Pak AR overall

Only Imran and Akram meet these criteria.

All-round match performance (50+ and 5+wi):

Aus v Pak match AR

Only Akram and Hauritz, with no one from recent times.

 

 

Review of Aus-Pak Test series: Dec 2019: 1

Australia won the series 2-0, which resulted in this table for WTC points:

WTC Dec 02 2019

Australia moved into second place with a large lead over the next-placed New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

It was also the 14th successive loss for Pakistan in Australia, starting with a 3-0 loss in 1999/2000 and extending over 5 series:

Aus v Pak-results since 1999

Scattered among these 14 losses. there are 9 Tests in neutral venues (one in SL, 6 in the UAE and 2 in England) where the teams are matched 4-4 with 1 draw. That one draw in Dubai in October 2018 is the only one without a result since 1999, as you can see above.

The overall history of Tests between these teams:

Overall result

We now look at individual performances.

Separate posts concerning the performances of David Warner and Yasir Shah:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/12/01/warners-triple-century-and-others/

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/12/02/yasir-shah-the-batsman/

Batting:

Most runs (750 runs and above):

Aus v Pak-most runs 750

Miandad, Border and Greg Chappell have the most centuries (6 each). Border and Zaheer Abbas have the most 50+ scores (14 each).

Among current players, Warner has the most runs (1084) followed by Steve Smith (755).

Highest innings (150 and above):

Aus v Pak all ings above 150

Warner now has the highest score in Tests between these countries, surpassing Mark Taylor’s 334* in Pakistan in 1998. The previous highest for Australia in Australia was Yallop’s 268 in 1983.

Other high scores in recent years include Labuschagne’s 185, Renshaw’s 184 in 2017 and Younis Khan’s 175* also in 2017.

Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings, all instances):

Aus v Pak bat average

Mark Taylor has a much higher batting average than the next batsman Ponting. Warner is not here as he has not played enough against Pakistan.

Highest strike rates (Minimum 1000 balls faced, 50.00 and above):

Aus v Pak-strike rate

Warner clearly has the best strike rate here. Ponting is a distant second.

To be continued: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/12/03/review-of-aus-pak-test-series-dec-2019-2/

 

 

 

Yasir Shah the batsman

It is not often that one scores a century at No 8 (or below) against Australia. Yasir Shah is now one of them:

no 8+ vs Aus

Of these 7, Parore was at no 9 and Read at no 10. Yasir has the second highest score IN Australia, after Prior’s 118. India is represented by current player Saha.

Those who have scored a century at No 8 (or below) for Pakistan:

Centuries by Pak No 8 and above

Asif Iqbal’s 146 was at No 9 and the remaining 12 were at no 8. And Yasir has the highest against and in Australia.

Another interesting point is found when we look at the career batting averages of all who scored at least one century:

Lowest average by century maker

(This was before Pakistan’s second innings). The lowest is by the recent West Indian bowler JE Taylor at 12.96, while Yasir Shah is second lowest at 14.06.

Going further down. Harbhajan Singh has the lowest average of 18.22 by those who made at least 2 centuries. And Wasim Akram (22.64) has the lowest by those who made at least 3 centuries.

And Yasir also joins the somewhat longer list of those who scored one or more centuries but no other scores above 50. Here is an earlier list:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/08/30/test-centuries-but-no-fifties-aug-2019/