Here we look at the Test players with the highest dismissal rates, subject to a minimum of 20 innings fielded. These are correct as of Aug 31, 2020 and do not include the ICC XI Test of 2005.
Naturally, this will be headed by wicket-keepers who invariably get more catches than other fielders. But you would not have guessed that the highest average is by Rishabh Pant, who is generally not considered to be India’s best keeper at the moment.
The #2 is also not what you would expect. While Tim Paine did a good job as stopgap captain of Australia, you would not expect him to be so high up.
At #3 there is another current player in Quintun de Kock, who is likely to be SA’s next Test captain.
Going further down, we see NZ’s BJ Watling with 241 dismissals including 231 catches as a keeper, 10 catches as a keeper and 8 stumpings. But there is no non-keeper in the above list which goes down to a dismissal rate of 1.500.
Going still further down, the highest dismissal rate by a non-keeper is 1.060 by India’s ED Solkar (53 catches at 1.060). He is just ahead of AB de Villiers at 1.046, with 121 as a fielder and 106 as a keeper.
And Australia’s captain TD Paine is presently the only Test captain who is a wicketkeeper. His Pakistani counterpart has been dropped since January 2019:
NZ set an unwanted record during this series-their 256 in the first innings of the 3rd Test is the lowest top score by a team in a Test series of 3 or more matches:
The previous record was set by South Africa in their tour of Australia in 1993-94. That was a somewhat less one-sided series than this and was drawn 1-1.
A summary of New Zealand’s totals:
Even the top score of 256 included a 5-run penalty after DA Warner was found to be running on the pitch during Australia’s second innings.
And the World Test Championship saw Australia getting a full 120 points and New Zealand none. Here is the WTC points table on 06 Jan 2020 which included this series as well as the first Test between South Africa vs England, which was won by the former giving them 30 points.
See how Australia is creeping up towards India’s total.
Prior to this tour of the West Indies, he had played in 10 Tests without a century, He made 152 in the first Test, and rounded this up with 325 and 50 in what was to be his last Test. England made 849 and later set WI over 800 to win. As in the better-known timeless Test at Durban a decade later, the match was called off as England had to catch their ship home.
This record of 325 only lasted for a little over 7 months, as Bradman made 334 at Leeds during the 1930 tour. (His only other triple (304) also came at Leeds in 1934).
Another of Sandham’s records was more durable; his 375 in the match was not surpassed until Greg Chappell made 380 (247* and 133) in 1973-74.
In England’s customary add-on series with New Zealand after the bodyline series of 1932-33, Hammond made 336*. The captain (RES Wyatt) appears to have declared once he crossed Bradman’s record of 334. Even so, there was not enough time to win the Test.
So the record was back with England. Bradman got up to 304 at Leeds in 1934.
At the Oval in 1938, Hutton made sure it remained with England with 364. England’s total of 903/7 dec was the record until the Sri Lankans made 952/6 in 1997.
That record of 364 lasted a little less than 20 years, when a relatively unknown all-rounder named Garfield Sobers marked his first Test century with 365*. There was, expectedly, a crowd disturbance when he passed the old mark. But the captain Gerry Alexander declared after this, correctly guessing that there was enough time to bowl out Pakistan twice.
A more detailed account of this innings can be seen here:
The West Indies won the series 3-1 with this final Test drawn.
In the second half of the 1990s, there were two determined efforts, with Sri Lanka’s Jayasuriya making 340 in what is still a Test record total of 952/6, and the puzzling score of 334* by Australian captain Mark Taylor who declared at this point. The official story then was that he did not want to go past Bradman’s Australian record. Both these Tests ended in dull draws.
By late 2003, Matthew Hayden got a chance against Zimbabwe. Admittedly its bowling was somewhat better than what it was later, but he did not stop at crossing 375 and made 380 at Perth, still a record for Australia and in Australia. Steve Waugh declared as soon as Hayden was out at 735/6.
As in 1994, this score was not enough for West Indies to win the Test even though England had to follow on. However, England had won the first 3 Tests and thus won the series 3-0. Lara’s 400* was therefore relatively unimportant to the result.
Since then, the closest anyone got was 374 by M Jayawardene in 2006. Warner might well have come close to the record except that rain was forecast for the remainder of the Test. It is yet unclear whether the captain TD Paine attached any special significance to 335 which was Warner’s score when the captain declared. There was enough time to dismiss Pakistan twice with over a day to spare.
JJ Bumrah took 48 wickets in the calendar year of his debut, coming 3rd after Alderman (54 in 1981) and Ambrose (49 in 1988). The previous record for India was 40 by Doshi in 1979. A Dananjaya took 27 wickets in his debut calendar year.
The most fivers were 4 by Taijul and Miraz of Bangladesh and Holder of the West Indies. No one took more than one tenner.
Best innings bowling (including all instances of 6wi and above):
The best effort by Maharaj was in a losing cause.
Best match bowling (including all instances of 9wm and above):
Maharaj also figures here with a 12-wicket haul when his side lost. Yasir Shah’s 14-wicket haul was the best in the UAE. He and Imran Khan are the only Pakistani bowlers to have taken 14 wickets in a match.
Bowling averages (Minimum 2000 balls, all instances):
Bumrah has the best average and strike rate, while Anderson has the best economy.
Most dismissals (15 or more):
de Kock and Paine lead, although Dickwella has the most stumpings. Kusal Mendis has the most catches by a non-keeper.
Most innings dismissals (5 or more):
Newcomer Pant is the only one with 6 dismissals. SPD Smith has the most catches by a non-fielder, making him one of several to share this record in all Tests. Saha took 5 catches in each innings of a match.
Most match dismissals (6 or more):
Pant with 11 dismissals shared the world record with Russell and de Villiers. Earlier in the year Saha had an Indian record with 10 dismissals.
The most by a non-keeper was 7 by Rahul, in the only Test which India won on that series. Smith made 6 catches before being disgraced.
Dismissal rate (Minimum 20 innings, 0.500):
de Kock and Paine at the top, leading the others by a large margin. Kusal Mendis has the best by a non-keeper.
Overall (see criteria in table):
Not a good year for all-rounders, as Cummins is the only one to make the cut with these relatively modest standards.
Match (50 and 5wi):
More good performances, with Cummins’ last-gasp performance at the end. Holder also has two entries here.
Q de Kock and Mohammad Rizwan became the latest of the relatively few wicket-keepers to have captained in a Test. Here is the full list (as on 20 Oct 2022):
Relatively few keepers have had extended runs as captains, although the first 3 were playing after 2000.
There are some like Gilchrist, Boucher and Jacobs who captained only when the regular captain was temporarily unavailable. Some, like DL Murray and IDS Smith, had long Test careers but captained their side in precisely one Test.
Sarfaraz Ahmed (13) was replaced after his last Test as captain in January 2019, and TD Paine (23) was replaced for non-cricketing reasons in late 2021.
Dhoni has the most dismissals, followed by Paine and Alexander at a long distance.
Dhoni has the most stumpings (24) and is followed by PM Sherwell with 16.
Lee Germon is a special case as he captained his side in all his 12 Tests. He is the only player from an established side to have captained in a Test on his debut in recent years. The last before him was Tony Lewis in 1972. (Obviously we do not count Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ireland, Afghanistan and the returning South Africa).
Germon is second on the list of those who captained their side in all their Tests.
The leader in this category was also a keeper:
Long ago PM Sherwell led South Africa in all his 13 Tests, a record for all countries. He was keeper in all these 13 Tests.
A few such as AJ Stewart played numerous Tests as keeper and non-keeper. The above list only includes the Tests where he was keeper. He also opened the batting in some of these matches. He captained England a total of 15 times, 12 as keeper and 3 as non-keeper. BB McCullum captained New Zealand 31 times, but was keeper in only 1 of them.
Other examples include KC Sangakkara (captained in 15 Tests, never as a keeper), AB de Villiers (captained in 3 Tests, none as keeper), R Dravid (25 Tests, none as keeper) and LD Chandimal (captained in 10 Tests, none as keeper). But they have captained in ODIs and T20Is as keepers.
Note that Taibu somehow took one catch as a fielder when he temporarily relinquished his keeping duties. He has also bowled and taken a wicket while a designated keeper.
Here we summarize the batting performance of these captains. The batting average is for those who batted for 20 innings:
The highest batting average for long-term captains is Andy Flower’s 49.28, followed by Mushfiqur and Dhoni in the low 40s. Paine and Sarfaraz are in the middle, while Moin Khan did not play enough to reach 20 innings.
Note the double centuries by Mushfiqur and Dhoni.
The dismissal rate, for those who fielded in at least 20 innings:
While Sarfaraz is no longer captain, his dismissal rate as captain is second only to that of Paine’s. But he and Paine have been dropped altogether from the team. Moin Khan and Mushfiqur are at the bottom, while Dhoni is in the middle.
Flower is the only one here who never made a stumping, while Dhoni has the most.
And finally we look at their performance as captains, considering the win/loss ratio. This is for those keepers who captained for at least 10 Tests:
(This table is still valid on 20 Oct 2022).
Interesting. We saw that Moin Khan performed worst as a keeper, but he did best as a captain. Similarly for FCM Alexander who did not do too well as a batsman. Next are Dhoni and Paine.
Taibu and Khaled Mashud failed to win a Test as captain, while Germon and Flower were just ahead with one Test win apiece.