The Al-Jazeera Report Analyzed-1

Anyone who follows cricket (even the Test purists) should watch the report. Numerous bits and pieces can be seen on Youtube and directly on various news sites. But to get a full idea of the extent of the match-fixing industry it is well worth watching the hour-long report:

Some of the key takeaways:

How is it that a key man of the D company is freely functioning in Mumbai apparently without interference from the Mumbai police or anyone else? (One is struck with his quiet confidence and thorough knowledge of the “business”).

A relatively minor domestic player like Robin Morris seems to have made a lot more money from fixing than in his regular cricket career. Even if he had somehow got into IPL he would not have earned much. And he seems to have a particularly dumb sidekick who, unlike him, did play in a few Tests and ODIs.

Then there is the Morris – Rajkumar plan to organize T20 tournaments all over the world-whose only purpose is to make money through fixing. Almost like a never-ending Ponzi scheme or perpetual motion machine.

Although Al-Jazeera did not mention this, someone has already made a start in a “fraudulent” tournament in the UAE earlier this year. This was so blatantly a fixed tournament that the UAE authorities had to throw them out. A sample report:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-31/bizarre-scenes-uae-t20-league-icc-match-fixing-investigation/9377680

Other reports from that period can be found through Google. Not sure what ultimately happened there. But it sounds quite similar to what Morris (mainly) and Rajkumar were talking about. Clearly the players in this tournament had not been “trained” properly.

The allegations regarding Test matches pertain to

1) India vs England at Chennai in Dec 2016, the 5th Test which India won by an innings to take the 5-Test series 4-0: three English players (presumably specialist batsmen) are alleged to have manipulated the scoring rate. They have denied the charges. (Any guesses?) Here is the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/10732/scorecard/1034817/india-vs-england-5th-test-england-tour-of-india-2016-17/

Those who followed the match closely on TV or the net may be able to figure out who the guilty trio are. I am not hazarding any guess, except that they would probably be 1-7 in the batting order.

Afterthought: Was even the bowling fixed? Did that allow Karun Nair to make a triple hundred (which is still the ONLY score he has made above 50 in a Test)?

2) India vs Australia at Ranchi in March 2017. This was the third of 4 Tests, the only drawn Test of the series. India won 2-1. Here two Australian players (presumably specialist batsmen) similarly manipulated the scoring rate. Al-Jazeera said that there was no reply from them so far. Here, too we can try to guess who they may be, batting at 1 to 7. Here is the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/10839/scorecard/1062575/india-vs-australia-3rd-test-ind-v-aus-2016-17/

3) Sri Lanka vs India at Galle in July 2017. This was the first Test of the series, in which India won all three Tests by heavy margins. This time no players were involved, but merely manipulation of the pitch by the curator (?) and others. (But what was the bet? Merely that the match would be high-scoring). It was, in the sense that India made 600 batting first. But the Sri Lankan batsmen did so badly that they lost by over 300 runs in what was effectively an innings defeat, as India would have won by an innings if they had imposed the follow-on.

Galle has a history of pitch manipulation. The former curator, Test bowler J. Warnaweera, was suspended for 3 years by the ICC in early 2016 for non-cooperation with ICC investigators. This is with reference to earlier matches at Galle.

Here is the scorecard, for what it is worth:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17891/scorecard/1109602/sri-lanka-vs-india-1st-test-sl-v-ind-2017/

The Sri Lankan leg needs a little more study as most of the characters are quite unknown even in neighboring countries.

To be continued.

Review of SA-Aus Test series, 2017-18 (II)

Continued from Part 1.

Another new record in this series was the margin of victory in the 4th Test:

Highest margins of victory in all Tests:

Margins of victory

South Africa recorded its highest margin of victory by runs, surpassing the 358-run win against New Zealand in 2007-08. Australia still holds the record for the heaviest defeat by 675 runs in 1928-29. That marked the debut of DG Bradman (18 and 1) who was made 12th man for the next Test (but ended up fielding most of the time) and then made 79 and 112 in the third Test.

South Africa’s heaviest defeat of Australia until now was by 309 runs in 2012-13.

Now we return to individual records-bowling:

Most wickets (40 and above):

Most wickets

Steyn and Johnson have the highest among contemporary players, while Morkel retired a little behind them. It is possible that Steyn will not play in Tests against Australia again, so it remains to be seen if Philander can catch up.

Innings bowling (including all instances of 7wi and better):

Innings bowling

A lot of entries by Grimmett, though Philander’s 6-21 in the final Test just gets in.

Match bowling (including all instances of 10wm and better):

Match bowling

Rabada’s 11-150 is the best for SA v Aus at home, surpassing the century-old 10-116 by CB Llewellyn in 1902-03. SA’s best against Aus remains Tayfield’s 13-165 at Melbourne in 1952-53.

Best bowling averages (Minimum 2000 balls, all instances):

Bowling average

Philander, MG Johnson, Steyn, Morkel and Lyon all find their place here.

The best average is by Grimmett followed by the lesser-known WJ Whitty.

The best economy rate is that of TL Goddard (1.72) followed by Grimmett.

The best strike rate is that of WJ Whitty (41.1) followed by Steyn.

Now for fielding records:

Most dismissals (25 and above):

Most dismissals

AB de Villiers is in second place with a combination of keeping and fielding dismissals. He might have a chance of displacing Boucher. de Kock is still working his way up. Ponting has the most catches by a fielder (35), just ahead of de Villiers (34, plus 16 as keeper). Kallis and GC Smith (33) are just behind.

Most innings dismissals (5 and above):

Innings fielding

While Grout and Lindsay have made 6 dismissals each, 3 others are among several who share the world record of 5 catches by a non-fielder. VY Richardson, maternal grandfather of the Chappells, was the first to do this in any Test back in 1935-36. The next to do this was Indian debutant Yajurvindra Singh in 1976-77. SPD Smith achieved this in what will be his last Test for some time.

Most match dismissals (7 and above):

Match dismissals

de Kock equalled the record of 8 dismissals in this series, while Paine took 7. No fielder has taken more than 6 catches in a match.

Best dismissal rate (minimum 20 innings, minimum 0.650):

Dismissal avg

Haddin has the best average among contemporary players. Simpson and MA Taylor have the best averages among non-fielders, though the “hybrid” ABD has a higher average.

All-round overall performances (see criteria below):

AR overall

Johnson, Goddard and Benaud lead Philander and others. Although Tayfield was not a recognized batsman, he did well enough to qualify for this list. Oddly enough Shaun Pollock and Kallis did not do too well against Australia.

All-round match performances (fifty-plus and 5wi-plus):

AR-match

A number of good performances with PJ Cummins  standing amidst the ruins of Australia’s collapse in the last Test. There are instances of 100/5wi by Kelleway (in one of the neutral Tests) and Benaud. And Steyn achieved the less common feat of 50/10wm, making his highest Test score.

 

Review of SA-Aus Test series, 2017-18 (I)

The 4-Test series was won by South Africa 3-1, after Australia had won the first Test. This series will be long remembered for the happenings in the 3rd Test at Cape Town. However it was of historical interest as well, as will be apparent from this table:

Results of Australia-South Africa Test series since 1966-67:

Aus-SA series history

While South Africa had won several series in Australia since their readmission in 1991-92, they had not won any series at home since the pre-exile ones in 1966-67 and their swan song in 1970-71 until now. In the mean time they had won in Australia in 2008-09, 2012-13 and 2016-17. SA’s best performances at home were draws in 1993-94 and 2011-12.

Here is a summary of all Tests between the two teams:

Overall results

The neutral series was held as part of the Triangular series in England in 1912, not long after the Titanic sank. The experiment was not repeated in Tests afterwards.

We can see that Australia enjoys a healthy 52-26 lead overall. Unlike in many other series, South Africa did not seem to have much of a home advantage in the past.

We now move to individual performances in batting.

Most runs (750 and above):

Batting-runs

During this series AB de Villiers became the highest scorer for SA v Aus, overtaking Kallis. And he is only 64 runs behind Ponting’s overall record. Among current players, Amla and Warner have also made over 1000 runs, with others such as du Plessis catching up.

Highest innings (175 and above):

Highest innings

This includes the only unbeaten 299 in Tests. But bowlers have been dominant in the last few years, with only Amla’s and Clarke’s efforts in 2012-13 featuring here.

Highest averages (Minimum 20 innings and minimum 35.00)

Batting average

The upper range has RN Harvey far ahead of the next two, Graeme Pollock and Clarke. Then there is another long gap before Warner, de Villiers and the rest including current players du Plessis and Amla.

To be continued.

 

Wicket-keepers who captained in Tests (Revised in May 2021)

Note: This will be revised at least once a year. Probably the next revision will be in May 2022.

Updated basic statistics can be seen here: https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283404.html

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 15 May 2021):

Relatively few keepers have had extended runs as captains. However the top three on this list are current players, even though MS Dhoni retired from Tests a few years ago and from the captaincy of ODIs and T20Is more recently. Paine recently crossed 100 dismissals as captain and now has 101.

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.

The only current WK-captains are TD Paine (23 Tests as captain) and Q de Kock (4). Sarfaraz Ahmed (13) was replaced after his last Test as captain in January 2019.

It remains to be seen how long Paine continues as captain. But he should be around for a few more Tests.

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 has 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:

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.

When Test captains are sacked

The ill-starred Test at Cape Town might well be the first one in which a captain was dismissed in the middle of a match and a replacement named immediately. Statisticians will record Smith as captain  since he was “appointed captain” for the match even if he did not end the match as captain. There have been numerous cases when a captain was absent from part of the match due to injury or illness and someone else acted as captain for the remainder-perhaps as much as 4 days out of 5.

One such Test was this one in 2009: http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/13604/scorecard/401071/west-indies-vs-bangladesh-1st-test-bangladesh-tour-of-west-indies-2009

The appointed captain Mashrafe Mortaza missed over half the match due to injury, and Shakib al Hasan substituted for him. Admittedly this was a third XI of the West Indies, but this was still a landmark for Bangladesh as it was only their second Test win (and the first away from home). Shakib was the appointed captain for the second Test, which led to Bangladesh gaining their third Test victory as well as their first series win abroad.

Mortaza never captained Bangladesh in a Test again, and thus the tables show him with one Test as captain and a 100% success rate. Similar examples include Shastri and Rahane, though Rahane may again captain India soon if Kohli is absent for the proposed Test against Afghanistan. And one cannot help wondering if India’s Test performance in the late 80s and early 90s would have been better if Shastri had been the regular captain rather than his contemporaries Vengsarkar, Srikkanth and Azharuddin.

There have been captains sacked in the middle of a series (Gatting in 1988 for off-field activities, and Denness in 1975 for generally poor results capped by an alleged wrong decision after winning the toss at Birmingham). He was replaced by Greig who seemed to have done a better job in ensuring three draws in the next three Tests against Lillee and Thomson in their prime. Later, when Greig was firmly in place as captain he lost his position in early 1977 following the advent of World Series Cricket.

The 1988 home series against the West Indies saw England with four captains in five Tests (Gatting, Emburey, Emburey, Chris Cowdrey and Gooch). So did India in the 1958-59 home series against the West Indies although that story is more complicated.

Review of Australia-Bangladesh Tests

The story of Tests between these countries is simply told:

Full history

Australia have won 5 of the 6 Tests against Bangladesh, 3 of them by an innings. But the last series was drawn 1-1. Bangladesh’s last venture was a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka.

This series saw Bangladesh’s first Test victory against Australia, and they had a chance of winning the series.

With such a small sample, it is not worthwhile to look at the aggregates and averages. But we can look at innings and match performances.

Highest innings (100 and above):

Innings scores

The highest score here is by a tailender playing as a nightwatchman. It was his only Test century, which came in his last Test.

Lehmann, Steve Waugh and Warner scored 2 centuries. S Nafees is still the only BD player to score a century against Australia. Warner scored centuries in successive innings in this series.

Best innings bowling (including all cases of 5wi or better):

Innings bowling

While MacGill still holds the overall record, Lyon has the three next best performances which were all recorded in the current series. Shakib also recorded two five-fors.

Best match bowling (8wm and above):

Match bowling

Lyon recorded the best match figures for this series with 13-154 in the second Test, besides 9-161 in the first. His 22 wickets is the second highest in a 2-Test series, surpassed only by Herath’s 23 vs Pakistan in 2014. Muralitharan has also taken 22 in 2 Tests. Shakib also recorded the best match figures for BD v Aus.

The best series bowling performances for those playing 2 Tests are given here:

2 Test series

Best innings fielding (3 dismissals):

Innings fielding

The much-maligned Wade appears here.

Best match fielding (4 or more dismissals):

Match fielding

Gilchrist and Wade share the record, with Wade making 3 stumpings. Handscomb has the most (4) by a non-keeper.

All-round match performances (50 and 5wm):

AR match

Shakib Al Hasan is the only one to record this. It is in fact one of the best all-round performances in all Tests as he scored a fifty (coming close to a hundred) besides two five-fors. Relatively few all-rounders have achieved this:

Fifty plus two fivers

A small series, but with more than its share of points of statistical interest.

Shakib Al Hasan’s all round feat

Bangladesh’s first Test victory against Australia came in their fifth attempt, having lost all four of the previous Tests. Two were in Australia and two were at home.

The main architect of this victory was Shakib Al Hasan with a fine all-round performance, which we will look at in more detail:

While the feat of a century + fiver is well documented, the “converse” of a fifty and ten wickets is not. But it can easily be got from Statsguru.

Fifty and ten wickets in a Test:

50 +10wm

Only 28 such instances in all Tests. The only ones who have done this on more than one occasion are Sir Richard Hadlee (3 times) and now Shakib Al Hasan (twice). Kapil and India’s false knight also make appearances (while R. Ashwin does not). Moeen Ali was the last entry before Shakib.

Kapil and Jadeja are the only ones from India.

If you take the still rarer feat of a fifty and two five-fors:

Fifty plus two fivers

Only 14 instances-including two by Sir Richard and two by Shakib. None from India.

While we are at it, let us take the analogous case of two fifties and one five-for:

2 fifties and fiver

Only 14 instances, including four from India. Mankad, Umrigar and Surti could not save their team from defeat, while B. Kumar’s neglected batting helped in a draw.

No one has achieved this more than once.

No one has scored two fifties AND two five-fors in a Test. From the above we see that the nearest approaches were by Davidson in 1960 (44, 80, 5wi and 6wi) and Vettori in 2008 (55*, 76, 5wi and 4wi).

There have, however been four instances of 100 runs and 10 wickets in a match-in which Shakib figures again:

100 runs and 10 wickets

Best performances in “No Result” ODIs

Anyone who was following the Australia-New Zealand ODI on Jun 2 would have been frustrated with the rain delays-particularly when the rain ended play at an intriguing stage. However, you would have witnessed a couple of new records for No-Result ODIs.

Williamson’s 100 was, however, not a record. It is one of 17 centuries made in these ODIs.

Here you can see all scores of 90+ in No-Result ODIs:

High score in NR

The highest is 140 by Jayasuriya back in 1994. A number of current players as well as Indian players have also scored centuries in these matches. For scores in the 90s, we have Maxwell as well as PA Patel. Also note Vengsarkar’s 94* on 31 Oct 1984. If you see the date you should remember what event caused the match to be abandoned.

However, there was a new record in bowling in no-result ODIs.

5wi in No Result ODIs:

BB in NR

Hazlewood’s 6-52 (including the last 3 wickets in one over) are the best bowling in a no-result ODI. The previous record was 5-22 by MN Hart in a tri-series in India in 1994. This was only the 4th instance of a five-wicket haul in these ODIs.

There was also a fielding record.

3 dismissals in an innings in No Result ODIs:

BF in NR

GJ Maxwell became the first non-keeper to take 4 catches in an innings of a no-result ODI. The earlier record was 3 by several players. The record for dismissals by a keeper is 5, shared by Parore and Jones.

So we see that even a rain-ruined game can see new records being made.

Afterthought: there was also one record equalled for all ODIs:

4 catches by non-keepers in all ODIs:

4wi fielder in ODI

The record for all ODIs is 5 catches by Jonty Rhodes. It has been achieved several times in Tests.

Until yesterday, Younis Khan was the only one to take 4 catches twice. Now he has been joined by GJ Maxwell, as shown above.

 

 

 

The real Knights of cricket

We have grown accustomed to hearing jokes about Sir Ravindra Jadeja. Let us see who are the genuine Knights of cricket.

Firstly, the British sovereign proclaims someone a knight based on the recommendations of the government of the day. The gentleman concerned would be a citizen of the U.K. or one of the other countries which presently regard the British sovereign (presently Queen Elizabeth II) as their head of state. The countries of interest here are Australia, New Zealand and some (but not all) of the countries of the West Indies. Canada is also included, although it has not produced any famous cricketers yet. Those countries who do not regard the  Queen as the Head of State include many Commonwealth countries such as India and its neighbours, besides South Africa. This should make it clear:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_headed_by_Elizabeth_II

So here is a list of those who were knighted for their services to cricket, besides some cricketers who were knighted for other reasons:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cricketers_who_were_knighted

Another article on cricketing knights from the West Indies:

http://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/26392726

Another general article which summarizes the topic:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/60096.html

 

Steve O’Keefe’s records

Here are some of the unusual statistical achievements of Steve O’Keefe . He and Lall Singh may be the only Test players born in Malaysia. He does not seem to be related to Kerry O’Keeffe  who played 24 Tests in the 1970s. Anyway their names are spelt differently.

This was Steve’s 5th Test, and his best innings analysis up to this Test was 3-53.

He now has the best match figures for Australia vs India:

ausindmb

The previous best was Alan Davidson’s 12-124 in 1959-60; unfortunately for Australia that was also Jasu Patel’s match.

His innings bowling is, however, not very near the top performances in Aus-Ind matches:

ausindib

The unfortunate JJ Krejza continues to hold the record of 8-215 which came on his debut. He only played one Test after that.

Finally, one curiosity is that his 6-35 in each innings is the best performance where the two innings are identical. The previous “record” was held by India’s BS Chandrashekhar with two 6-52s against Australia in 1977-78. This topic is covered in more depth here (in this post from 2016):

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/same-bowling-figures-in-both-innings/

 

Hazlewood’s lost record

In the exciting finish to the Auckland ODI on January 30, commentators mentioned  Hazlewood’s durability as a batsman-as he had never been dismissed in 33 ODIs. Unfortunately, his luck ran out when Australia needed 7 runs for victory:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/new-zealand-v-australia-2016-17/engine/match/1020013.html

Note that he was dismissed for a diamond duck, as he did not face a single ball in a partnership of 24 balls and 54 runs, and was run out as a non-striker.

We look at the relevant records as they were on Jan 29:

Most ODIs without a dismissal:

hazlewood1

Most ODI innings without a dismissal:

hazlewood2

Hazlewood had played in 33 ODIs, more than twice the tally of the next in line. He shared the record for 6 innings without dismissal with the little-known Bermudan player SKW Kelly.

After today’s match (January 30):

Most ODIs without a dismissal:

hazlewood3

The record now passes to Ahsan Malik and Dhawal Kulkarni.

Most ODI innings without a dismissal:

hazlewood4

And so Bermuda has this record to itself. (Some say they had a record in Dwayne Leverock being the heaviest international cricketer in recent times. He was a popular figure during the 2007 World Cup, the only time Bermuda reached that level).

http://www.espncricinfo.com/bermuda/content/player/23742.html

We also look at the corresponding records for T20Is, as on Jan 30, 2017:

Most T20I matches without dismissal:

hazlewood5

The top 3 led by Steve Finn are still likely to play in international matches, so the record may change hands.

Most T20I innings without dismissal:

hazlewood6

AF Milne has the record for the moment.