At first glance, it seems to be simple enough. Take a cutoff of 20 innings and find who has the lowest average in Tests.
This data is correct as on 5 Oct 2017. As usual, the match with the ICC World XI is not counted.
Lowest Test batting averages (raw): Min 20 innings, batting average < 5.00
Not CS Martin, though he is third on this list. No 2 is long forgotten and No 1 had a rather short career but became a commentator of some note.
Now these players are all those who were not in the team for their batting. If we want to isolate the specialist batsmen, we should tweak the conditions to:
Batting order 1 to 8, 20 innings. You could consider 1-7 or 1-6 as well.
Not more than two scores above 50.
Let us also eliminate the good bowlers by deleting anyone who bowled more than the standard cutoff of 2000 balls.
With these conditions we get these batsmen with an average below 20.00:
That looks a little more like it. Maybe we should also remove those who were wicket keepers for more than 20 innings, to remove those who were in the team as a keeper rather than a batsman:
Having removed the specialist keepers, we now have a final list of those who were the worst specialist batsmen, who batted from 1 to 8 and were not in the team for their bowling or keeping abilities. Only 23 here, with averages ranging from 12+ to 30+. There are some from recent years, headed by Jehan Mubarak (SL), MR Marsh (Aus) and HD Rutherford (NZ). Their “Gurus” were the old timers like Stricker of SA and the better known Midwinter who played for Aus and Eng.
One further adjustment would be to segregate the left-hand and right-hand batsmen from the above set:
Only 5 here.
20 here. Saleem Elahi and Maqsood Ahmed (both RH) have entered here to make the total 25.
If LA Stricker was indeed the worst specialist batsman of all time, we should know more about him:
And his left-handed counterpart, LSM Miller:
And the worst of the current batch, Jehan Mubarak:
A point of interest is that he is one of the few Test players to have been born in the US.
In the same vein, we can identify the worst specialist bowlers and wicketkeepers and alleged all-rounders, before we finally devise a “Worst-ever Test XI”