RIP Bob Willis-some notes on his career

Basic details can be seen here: http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/22462.html

He captained England in 18 Tests in 1982-84, when the team won 7, lost 5 and drew 6.

There are relatively few “pure” bowlers who had extended runs as captains. This is an attempt to list them:

Bowler captain (Willis)

Botham did not do well as a batsman or bowler (or indeed as a captain) during his tenure.

Willis also holds a record of taking the most wickets (325) without ever taking a 10-for. These are the bowlers with this distinction with 200 or more wickets:

Most wkts with out 10WM

While Siddle may play a few more Tests, he is unlikely to come close to 325 wickets. Morne Morkel and Brett Lee may have surpassed this after a few more Tests if they had not retired.

For comparison, we see who has taken the most wickets without ever taking a five-for:

Most wickets without 5wi

While Hendrick was certainly a specialist bowler, most of the others here were considered all-rounders. Some were batsmen who bowled occasionally. We can see that NJ Astle has the most wickets without a 4-for.

And finally, he may be one of the few cricketers who legally changed their name to that of someone whom he admired. However, Bob Dylan outlived him. (He is only 8 years older than Willis).

Willis was not much of a batsman, with a top score of 28* and  career Test average of less than 12. He normally batted at No 10 or 11. However, he normally did stay long enough to help other batsmen to add more runs. The best such instance was in this Test in 1980:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17053/scorecard/63269/england-vs-west-indies-4th-test-west-indies-tour-of-england-1980

England made 370 and the West Indies 265 in reply. In the 3rd innings, England collapsed to 92/9 when Willis came in to join Willey (who was not considered to be an established batsman at that time; he had two fifties with a top score of 62* at that time). So England led by 197 with 3:30 hours left, and surely the West Indies would make light work of a target of around 200. But this did not happen. Wisden 1981 had this to say:

“At The Oval, July 24, 25, 26, 28, 29. Drawn. Considering a complete day was lost to the weather, that only 29 wickets fell, and that West Indies averaged 12.3 overs an hour, the fourth Test was a much better match than it might have been. Its main features were Gooch’s tremendous attacking 83 which inspired England’s best batting of the summer, a West Indian collapse that put them in momentary danger of a follow-on, and an unbroken last-wicket stand of 117 between Willey and Willis that saved England from defeat.

How England came to be 92 for nine in their second innings after making 370 in the first is something that requires no explanation to anyone familiar with the brittleness of their batting, or with the potency of Holding, Croft and Garner. When Willey and Willis came together a West Indian victory looked likely with England only 197 ahead and with three and a half hours left. Yet they played with exemplary coolness and courage, and after a surprisingly short time showed no sign of being parted.

West Indies were badly handicapped by injuries to Croft and Garner, but Holding and Marshall were still relatively fresh when the ninth wicket fell twenty-five minutes after lunch. Willis’s 24 not out equalled his highest score in 80 innings for England and followed a sequence of ten innings in which he had only once reached double figures. Sadly, because of his lost bowling form, it proved to be his last Test innings of the season.

For all that was owed to the ungainly effectiveness of Willis’s lunging forward stroke, it was to Willey that England were mainly indebted for survival. Ironically, he would not even have been playing had Greenidge caught him at 13 in the Old Trafford Test a fortnight earlier – an escape which enabled him to add 62 not out to an aggregate of 90 in his ten previous innings for England. It was to his reputation as a fighter that Willey owed his continued presence in the side, and at The Oval he justified the selectors’ faith in him. Arriving at 67 for six, thirty-five minutes before lunch, he showed the full face of the bat to the West Indian fast bowlers from the moment he came in. He held concentration and resolve as Botham, Knott and Dilley were briskly swept aside, resourcefully protected Willis from the strike and, when the West Indian effort faded, availed himself of a well-deserved first hundred.”

While this was not noticed at the time, it was the first time that a 10th-wicket pair succeeded in doubling the score (from 92/9 to 209/9). This happened after over a hundred years of Tests, and has indeed happened only on 6 occasions from 1980 to 2019 as detailed here:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/11/13/batting-recoveries-1-doubling-the-score-by-the-10th-wicket-partners/

So the West Indies held on to their 1-0 lead going into the final Test which was also drawn. Later that decade they beat England 5-0 in England in 1984, 5-0 in the West Indies in 1985-86 and 4-0 again in England in 1988. Hence the wisecracks about the “blackwash” being followed by a “dark grey wash” in 1988.

 

The Ashes since 1970

So the 2019 series was drawn 2-2, and Australia retained the Ashes which they held since winning the 2017-18 series.

Here we look at the history of the Ashes since the 1970-71 series, when England won the Ashes after a long gap-Australia had held them since 1958-59 so they were away from England throughout the 1960s. There were also longish droughts for England in the early 1920s and from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s.

Similarly, Australia had held the Ashes from 1989 to 2005, so the 1990s also passed without England getting hold of them. However, Australia has had the better of the contests since then (especially in Australia).

Ashes from 1970

A quick look at the list shows some captains who won the Ashes on two or more occasions, including Ian Chappell (2), Brearley (3), Border (3), Taylor (3), S Waugh (2), Strauss (2) and Cook (2).

Those who have lost the Ashes on two or more occasions are Border (3), Gooch (2), Atherton (2), Hussain (2), Ponting (3), Clarke (2) and Root (2).

More on cricketing knights (Sep 2019)

Geoff Boycott and Andrew Strauss are the latest additions to the cricketing knights of England:

https://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/49641823

Which was not without controversy in Boycott’s case.

More on this topic in my earlier post in 2017:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/sir-geoffrey-and-the-real-knights/

Most 6s in an ODI innings

In the World Cup match against Afghanistan on June 18, EJG Morgan made 148 off 71 balls with 17 6s and (only) 4 4s.

This is the listing for the most 6s in an ODI innings (10 or more) after England’s innings:

Most 6s in ODI innings

The live link for future reference:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283127.html

Morgan overtook these 3 who shared the ODI record:

RG Sharma, 16 6s in 209, I v A, Bengaluru, 02/11/2013

AB de Villiers, 16 in 149, SA v WI, Jo’burg, 18/01/2015

CH Gayle, 16 in 215, WI v Zim, Canberra, 24/202/2015.

(So Gayle held the previous World Cup record).

No one else has scored 10 or more 6s in an innings so far in the 2019 World Cup. The best is 5 by JJ Roy for Eng v BD and AJ Finch for Aus v SL.

While on this topic, let us see the records for the most 4s in all ODIs (20 or more):

Most 4s in ODI innings

Live link:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/284017.html

The runaway winner is RG Sharma with his 33 4s and 9 6s in the ODI record score of 264 for I v SL at Kolkata on 13/11/2014.

The next two positions are also held by India’s SR Tendulkar and V Sehwag (25 each), followed by ST Jayasuriya and several others with 24, i.e. far behind RG Sharma’s outlier.

The World Cup record is held by MJ Guptill with his 24 4s and 11 6s for NZ v WI at Wellington on 21/03/2015.

During this World Cup, no one else has crossed 20 4s. The best is 16 by these:

Most 4s in World Cup 2019 innings

 

Review of West Indies-England Tests-2

Hope that you have read Part 1.

Continuing with individual performances:

Bowling:

Most wickets (30 and more):

Bowling-30

The most fivers were by Ambrose (8) and Gibbs (7). And the most tenners were 2 by Ambrose, Gibbs and Trueman.

The contemporaries Ambrose and Walsh have the most wickets, with Trueman’s 86 for England far behind. Among current players there are Anderson (82), Broad (57) and Roach (42).

Best innings bowling (including all 7wi and above):

Bowling-7wi

RL Chase’s freakish 8-60 in this series is the best for a WI spinner against England, surpassing Valentine’s 8-104 back in 1950. No other major performance in this series, though Anderson and Stokes combined at Lord’s in 2017. Note ARC Fraser’s efforts in 1994 and 1998.

Best match bowling (including all 10wm and above):

Bowling-10wm

No outstanding performance in this series, while there is one by Anderson in 2017.

CS Marriott is the only one in all Tests to take a tenner in his only Test. Greig’s 13-wicket performance was his only 10-for and the best for England in these matches.

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

Bowling avg

Garner and Ambrose at the top, Anderson, Roach and Broad from the present.

Ramadhin and Valentine are together in this table.

While Garner and Ambrose have the best average, Valentine and Ramadhin have the best economy rate while Marshall and Holding have the best strike rate.

Fielding:

Most dismissals (20 and above):

Dismissals-20

DL Murray and Dujon are far ahead of the others. Ames of the 1930s has the most stumpings, Murray the most catches by a keeper and Lara the most by a non-keeper.

Best innings fielding (5 dismissals and above):

Innings fielding-5wi

The best by a non-keeper is 4.

Best match fielding (7 dismissals and above):

Match fielding-7wm

The most stumpings are 3 by the occasional keeper Walcott, the most catches by a keeper are 9 by Browne and the most catches by a non-keeper are 6 by Cowdrey, Sobers and Adams.

Best dismissal rate (Minimum 20 innings, 0.600):

Dismissal rate-0.6

Here Jacobs and Dujon have the best rate, while Hammond has the best by a non-keeper.

All-round performance (see criteria in table):

AR-overall

It is not surprising to see Sobers at the top, but Holding at no 2 is surprising. He seems to have reserved his best batting and bowling efforts for England. No one from recent years.

All-round match performance (50 and 5wi):

AR-match

The best performances here would be by Sobers, Greig and Boyce. Here we do have Chase from this series and Stokes from the previous one. Sadly, Boyce and Marshall died young.

 

 

 

Review of West Indies-England Tests-1

The 3-Test series was won 2-1 by the West Indies, with all three matches ending in decisive results. West Indies won their first series against England since early 2009. They have not won a series in England since 1988, and did not win a Test in England between 2000 and 2017.

The overall results are:

Overall summary

The West Indies still enjoy an overall lead and at home, while England leads them in matches played in England.

We now come to individual performances:

Batting:

Most runs (1000 runs and more):

Batting-1000

A long list without much contribution from recent years. The only name from the past few years is AN Cook.

The most centuries are 10 by Sobers and 8 by Richards and Headley. The most from England is 6 by several players. The most scores of 50+ are 23 by Richards and Sobers, followed by 21 by Chanderpaul. The most by England is 20 by Boycott.

Highest innings scores (175 and above):

Innings-175

This list is led by Lara’s world records and is followed by Sandham’s score which was the first Test triple century. The only such score from this series is captain Holder’s 202*, while Cook scored 243 in the last series in 2017.

Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings and 35.00):

Batting avg-35

Yet again, Cook is the only representative in recent years with his 57.96. Hutton and Headley are far ahead of others, and they both played their last Test in this series in 1954.

Highest strike rate (Minimum 1000 balls faced, 50.00):

Batting SR-50

Here we have the recent player MJ Prior at the top, followed by Richards and Pietersen. Root is the only recent player here.

To be continued.

Review of England-India series, 2018-2

Hope you have read the first part.

Continuing with fielding:

Most dismissals (20 or more):

Eng-India 20 dis

Dhoni is ahead by a large margin, with the most dismissals and catches by a keeper. However Kirmani has the most stumpings. Cook has the most catches by a non-keeper. With 13 catches in this series, he overtook Dravid and Gavaskar.

Meanwhile, Bairstow and Buttler are rapidly moving up the table.

Most innings dismissals (5 or more):

Eng-Ind inngs dism-5

While the top two performances were long ago, Bairstow and Pant both took 5 in an innings during this series. Yajurvindra’s 5 (on debut) remains the best for a non-keeper.

Most match dismissals (7 or more):

Eng-Ind match dis-7

Pant and Rahul both took 7 catches in the course of India’s sole win of the series. Bairstow followed up with 7 in the last Test. Yajurvindra and Rahul have the best performances by non-keepers, while Bob Taylor is far ahead of everyone else.

Best dismissal rate (Minimum 20 innings, 0.600):

Eng-Ind field avg

As you may expect, Taylor and Dhoni have the top two positions. Solkar has the best rate for non-keepers, far ahead of Dravid. Bairstow and Buttler are also here.

All-round performances:

Overall (see criteria in table):

Eng-Ind AR

Kapil and Ashwin lead, with surprise entries such as the occasional bowler Borde, besides Kumble who made his only Test century here.

Some obvious candidates such as Botham and Mankad are not here as they did not play enough in this series. However, they do appear in :

Best all-round performance in match (fifty+ and 5+wi):

Eng-Ind AR match

The best performances are by Botham (1980) and Mankad, while the long-forgotten JK Lever’s debut performance is also noteworthy. Pandya is the only appearance from this series, though we can also see B Kumar achieving this twice in 2014. Then there is the old firm of Ashwin and Jadeja.