The suburb of Malad in Mumbai has an unofficial walk of the hall of shame, which commemorates notable people such as Kangana Ranaut and Arnab Goswami. Which set me thinking, how should we set about statistically identifying those who deserve to be in a similar hall of shame for cricketers?
One line of analysis would be to identify those who have played the most tests without achieving anything of note. So the criteria could be:
Who played the most Tests when they
Never scored a fifty or more
Never took a 4-for or more
Never was a designated wicketkeeper
AND never was a captain.
It is easy enough to do this with Statsguru. There are several who played 10 or more Tests and met these conditions.
As many as 18 players make the cut. They are all fairly lesser-known players, so you would not have heard of most of them.
The list is headed by Nixon Alexei McNamara McLean and Shujauddin with 19 Tests apiece. The latter was at least involved in administration:
But then, were this pair really the worst? At least they did bat and bowl. There are three who never bowled and survived as pure batsmen: LSM Miller, Jehan Mubarak and JMM Commaile. They came close to getting fifties.
India’s only representative here is CS Nayudu, whose difference in averages was -170.31 The next worst is -97.54 by AR Whittall.
CS Nayudu had a famous elder brother who was India’s first Test captain. AR Whittall has a cousin GJ Whittall who was one of Zimbabwe’s main players in the early days.
Among those who may still play in the future, there are Alzarri Joseph of WI and Don Tiripano of Zimbabwe. The latter recently made a Test best of 49* and has a batting average of almost 20 so he may yet get off this list.
McLean did somewhat better in ODIs, but is remembered more for his string of names given by his family who hoped that he would emulate President Nixon, Premier Alexei Kosygin and the multitalented Robert McNamara.
Afterthought: I realized that setting the conditions in Statsguru as above will remove the Test figures for matches when someone was a keeper or a captain. Let is see what happens when we stick to the batting and bowling conditions.
We now get some wicket keepers who did not bat well enough to reach a fifty, which is rare nowadays. And BA Murphy captained his team for one Test, though it hardly makes a difference to his figures.
JJ Kelly, H Strudwick, G Duckworth and HB Taber all made over 50 dismissals as wicket keepers, so they did well enough in their field to retain their places.
So McLean and Shujauddin would retain their places, with special mention to CS Nayudu and AR Whittall.
One should also note those with the worst batting averages (Mbangwa with 2.00) and worst bowling averages (CS Nayudu with 179.50)
One last tweak is to consider only those who batted and bowled enough to have got a fair chance-a minimum of 20 innings batted and 2000 balls bowled. Then we get this:
Here, we are left only with McLean, Shujauddin and Mbangwa who were given enough chances both in batting and bowling.
We close with Mbangwa’s details, remembering that he was a regular commentator in recent years:
We look at players from India in more detail here: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2020/09/05/test-crickets-hall-of-shame-india/