Ken Higgs R.I.P.

Ken Higgs, who played 15 Tests for England in the mid-1960s, died on September 7 aged 79. Highlights of his career can be seen here:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/14189.html

He played a role in what may be called one of the greatest fightbacks in Test cricket.

In 1966 the all-conquering West Indies team captained by Gary Sobers had won 3 of the first 4 Tests (two by an innings, another by over a hundred runs). When Brian Close was pulled out of near-oblivion as captain, the 5th Test started predictably.

In reply to WI’s 268, England got to 166/7. Then followed one of the greatest tail-end recoveries in all Tests:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62995.html

Graveney and JT Murray put on 217 for the 8th wicket, while the no 10 and 11 (K Higgs and JA Snow) scored fifties apiece in a stand for 128 for the 10th wicket, bringing the total up to 527. Stung by this unexpected resistance, West Indies made 225 and lost by an innings and 34 runs.

Higgs also held the record for the best 4-wicket analysis in Tests jointly with Pervez Sajjad from the mid-60s onwards. Their 4-5 was surpassed by Graeme Cremer’s 4-4 a few years ago. Here are the best 4-wicket innings analyses in all Tests:

best-4-wkt-hauls

Anyway, Higgs could enjoy his joint world record for over 47 years.

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Test captains-quantitative studies (1)

It is T20 season, and the IPL juggernaut starts moving practically the day after the World Championship gets over and ends on May 29. In the mean time the break in Tests ends with the start of the England-Sri Lanka series in mid-May.

This gap makes it a good time to update some Test statistics, since we are now confident that they won’t need to be updated for a few weeks.

Here is a table of the wins, losses and draws of everyone who captained in at least 10 Tests:

Captaincy-all over 10 Tests

In this Excel sheet we have ranked the captains by

  1. Tests in decreasing order, then
  2. Wins in decreasing order, then
  3. Losses in increasing order, and then
  4. Draws in decreasing order.

There are also columns for percentages of wins, losses and draws as well as the win-loss ratio, for those who would like to play around further.

I am now giving a few more spreadsheets for some other indices of performance. Hereafter we are considering all Test captains, even if they have captained in only one Test.

Highest win-loss ratio:

Win-loss ratio

The first 50 positions are for those who have either zero wins or zero losses. The highest win-loss ratio is 9.0 for Jardine, followed by Bradman, Steve Waugh, Brearley and Chapman.

Highest win percentage:

Highest win percentage

There are as many as 16 captains who have an 100 percent win record-but none of them captained more than 4 Tests. This list is headed by the unlikely pair of Ali Bacher and Lord Hawke. Moving downwards, the highest for at least 5 Tests is Close (6 wins out of 7 or 85.71 %). For at least 10, it is Warwick Armstrong (8 on 10 or 80%) and for at least 50  it is Steve Waugh (41 on 57 or 71.93%)

To be continued.

Cricket obituaries of 2015

Here we tabulate the prominent cricketers who passed away in 2015 with brief notes about some of them. All Test players are covered, as well as a few others who played ODIs or were prominent domestic players, Test umpires and administrators. Naturally,the choice of players here would be somewhat subjective depending on the compiler’s knowledge. Obits-2015

You can also see it here:

Obits-2015-1 (1)

Obits-2015-2

Brian Close R.I.P.

Much has been written about Brian Close, a name which may not be remembered by the present generation of cricket fans. Admittedly his individual performances were not that impressive-no centuries or fivers in Tests. But he did provide effective leadership as captain in 1966-67 when the morale of England’s Test team was quite low. His captaincy record was 6 wins and a draw out of 7 Tests, probably surpassed only by one-offs like Ravi Shastri who won the only Test he captained. More than his statistical record, it was his typical Yorkshire doggedness which he is remembered for.

He remains the only England player to make his Test debut before his 19th birthday, being 18 year and 149 days old in his debut against New Zealand in 1949. He played his last Test 27 years later, in a career spanning four decades.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/10754.html

A little more about the circumstances in which he became captain. In 1966 the all-conquering West Indies team captained by Gary Sobers had won 3 of the first 4 Tests (two by an innings, another by over a hundred runs). When Close was pulled out of near-oblivion as captain, the 5th Test started predictably.

In reply to WI’s 268, England got to 166/7 with Close run out for single figures. Then followed one of the greatest tail-end recoveries in all Tests:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62995.html

Graveney and JT Murray put on 217 for the 8th wicket, while the no 10 and 11 (K Higgs and JA Snow) scored fifties apiece in a stand for 128 for the 10th wicket, bringing the total up to 527. Stung by this unexpected resistance, West Indies made 225 and lost by an innings and 34 runs.

In 1967, he oversaw a 3-0 sweep of India which had its moments in the first Test, remembered by Boycott being dropped for an over-cautious double century and Pataudi’s fightback of 64 and 148. India collapsed abjectly in the next two Tests. The only blemish of the summer was a draw against Pakistan, which Pakistan saved with some difficulty thanks mainly to Hanif Mohammed’s 187 not out.

It was equally typical of Close that he got into a quarrel with a spectator in a county match later in the season. This led to him losing the England captaincy as well as his exit from the team. It was thought that was the last international cricket had seen of him, until he was recalled to play 3 Tests against Clive Lloyd’s team of 1976. Here is a typical picture of that series (when helmets were not in common use).

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/image/632388.html?object=10754;dir=next