Finer points about Test captaincy-Part 1

Here we look at

  1. Players who have played the most Tests
  2. Players who have captained in the most Tests
  3. Players who have been non-captains in the most Tests

Those who have played the most Tests (12 and more):

It is well known that Tendulkar has played the most Tests-200. The next few may not be that well remembered. Note that the number of Tests played as captain widely vary, starting from zero (see the entries for JM Anderson and his old comrade SCJ Broad) to 93 for Border-though even this is not a record, as we will see in the next section. JE Root has captained the most among current players, although he is not captain at the date of writing in late 2022.

Most Tests played as captain (50 or more):

Here we have the record by GC Smith of captaining the most times-108. The only 8 Tests he did not captain in were at the beginning of his career. Next are AR Border (93) and SP Fleming (80). Kohli is in 6th postion with 68 Tests (besides 34 not as captain).

Most Tests played not as captain (110 or more):

Tendulkar has played in 175 Tests not as captain, besides 25 as captain. Next is Kallis with 163 not as captain, and only 2 Tests as a captain. As you may guess, these were as a stand-in when the regular captain was unavailable. In third place is JM Anderson. who has played all his 160 Tests without ever being captain.

This leads us to other questions, such as:

Who have played the most Tests without ever being captain?

Is there anyone who has played all his Tests as captain?

The answers to these questions will be given in Part 2.

Actually, the #1 and #2 and the next few for the first question have already been identified, but there is no clue about the second question so far.

So please read Part 2 which will be put up within a day.

Review of India-South Africa ODIs-Oct 2022: Part 2

Continuing with the statistical summary of ODIs between India and South Africa.

Hope you have read Part 1: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2022/10/15/review-of-india-south-africa-odis-oct-2022-part-1/

Continuing with individual performances in

Bowling:

Most wickets (15 and above):

The most by current players is 24 by Kuldeep Yadav and 22 by YS Chahal.

No one has more than one 5wi.

3 players have 3 instances of 4wi.

Best innings bowling (including all instances of 4wi):

SB Joshi’s 5-6 was the best in his short ODI career.

Kuldeep Yadav’s 4-18 at Delhi in this series is the best for India against SA at home. The previous best was 4-25 by Kumble at Wankhede in 1996.

Best bowling averages (Minimum 1000 balls bowled, all instances):

Donald and Pollock have the best averages. But no current player has bowled enough.

Kumble and Pollock have the best economy rates

Donald and Pollock have the best strike rates.

Now for

Fielding:

Most dismissals (10 and above):

Boucher (42) is closely followed by Dhoni (41). Dhoni has the most stumpings (11).

The most catches by a fielder is 23 by Kohli. Also note the “hybrid” de Villiers with 9 dismissals as keeper and 8 as fielder, totalling 17.

de Kock (25) has the most for current players.

Most innings dismissals (4 and above):

Boucher is the only one with 5 dismissals. GC Smith and Bavuma have taken 4 catches as fielders.

Best dismissal rate (Minimum 20 innings and 0.500):

Headed by Boucher. Kohli has the best rate by a fielder.

Finally, all-round performance:

Career performance (see criteria in table):

Cronje’s occasional bowling puts him at the top here, far ahead of Tendulkar. Strangely, Kallis does not qualify here.

Match performance (Minimum 30 runs and 3 wickets):

There are several instances here, but the best would clearly be by Kallis (Nov 2006) followed by Kallis again (Feb 2010). Honourable mention to Klusener.

Review of Tests between England and South Africa-Sep 2022-Part 1

England won the 3-test series 2-1, with all three Tests finishing within 3 days of play. The 3rd Test at the Oval lost the first day due to the weather and the second day to the queen’s demise, but still finished soon after the start of what was the scheduled 5th day. Stokes was the last English captain of the Elizabethan era. Earlier, SA won by an innings in the first Test and England won by an innings in the second Test.

A summary of Tests between these teams:

The upper table is for all tests since the beginning. England leads by a large margin both at home and abroad. This is not surprising as SA was a weak team for many of its earlier Tests, when they only played against England and Australia.

I thought it would be more useful to look at the record after SA returned to Tests in the 1990s. Here, England still leads at home and abroad but with a narrower margin.

We now look at individual performances, starting with

Batting:

Most runs (1200 and above):

As we will see in the later tables, many of the aggregate records are from the pre-1990 period. Thus Kallis has the most runs of the post-1990 batsmen but is fifth overall. Next is GC Smith (6th overall).

Kallis has the most centuries (8), followed by several others with 7.

B Mitchell has the most 50+ scores (23), followed by Hammond and HW Taylor with 20. The most by a recent player is 16 by Kallis.

Highest individual scores (180 and above):

Here, the top few scores are from recent players. None from this low-scoring series.

Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings and 40.00):

GC Smith has the highest average among recent players, followed by Amla. However, the highest averages are by Hammond and Hobbs from the early days.

Highest strike rates (Minimum 1000 balls faced and 45.00):

Here Stokes leads by a good margin over de Kock. None of the pre-1990 players are here.

To be continued:

New Zealand-South Africa Tests, 2022 (Part 1)

The series was drawn 1-1 after NZ’s unexpected win in the first Test. It was only the second Test win for them at home. The previous win was in March 2004 at Auckland. They have never won a Test series against SA, though some have been drawn. Their best performance was probably the 2-2 draw in SA in 1961-62.

Summary of all Tests between these teams:

We can see that SA has historically done better.

Now for individual performances, starting with

Batting:

Most runs (750 and above):

Led by Kallis, while Williamson is the only current player here.

Kallis has the most centuries-6

Kallis also has the most 50+ scores (12) followed by Amla (11).

Highest innings (125 and above):

While there are several large scores from the past, the highest from this series was 136* by SA newcomer K Verreynne. Williamson is also in this list although he did not play in this series.

Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings, all instances):

Headed by DJ McGlew from the past. No current players here.

Highest strike rates (Minimum 1000 balls faced, all instances):

Headed by GC Smith. This list also includes Williamson and Elgar.

To be continued at https://abn397.wordpress.com/2022/03/06/new-zealand-south-africa-tests-2022-part-2/

Review of Tests between India and South Africa-1

The series in 2021-22 resulted in a 2-1 win for South Africa, after India won the first Test. India has failed to win a Test series in SA, although they have won at least one series in all other countries. The best India has done there is an 1-1 draw in 2010-11. The 2021-22 series followed the pattern of 2006-07 where India won the first Test but lost the next two.

Here is an overall summary of Tests between these two countries:

SA leads India 17-15 overall. Both sides appear to have strong home advantages.

We now look at individual performances, starting with

Batting:

Most runs (500 or more):

Led by Tendulkar and Kallis.

These two have the most centuries (7)

Amla, Kallis and Tendulkar have the most 50+ scores (12).

From the above table, the best by current players is 1236 by Kohli, followed by Rahane, Pujara and Elgar with 800+. RG Sharma is further down.

Highest innings (125 or more):

The highest by current players are 254* by Kohli, followed by double centuries by MA Agarwal and RG Sharma. But no one crossed 125 in this series.

Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings, all instances):

Kallis has the highest average, followed by Kohli at some distance. Other current players here are Rahane, Elgar and Pujara.

Highest strike rates (Minimum 1000 balls faced, all instances):

Sehwag and Azharuddin lead here. Among current players there are RG Sharma (in 3rd place), Kohli and Rahane. Also note Dravid at the bottom of this list.

Bowling performances:

Most wickets (12 or more):

Led Kumble, followed by Steyn and Srinath at a distance. Ashwin (56) has the most by a current player, followed by Shami, Rabada and Jadeja. Also note M Jansen with 19 in his debut series.

The most 5-fors are 5 by Steyn and Ashwin. No one has taken more than one 10-for.

Best innings bowling (includes all 6wi and more):

The best performance was an 8-for by Klusener on his debut.

Current players here include SN Thakur, Ashwin and Ngidi.

Thakur’s 7-61 in this series is the best for India against SA, surpassing the earlier record of 7-66 by Ashwin (Nagpur, 2015) and 7-120 by Harbhajan (Cape Town, 2011) which was India’s best in SA.

Best match performances (includes all 8wm and more):

Led by Ashwin and Donald with 12-fors, and 10-fors by Steyn, Pollock and V Prasad.

Current players here include Ashwin, Jadeja and Ngidi.

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

Headed by Donald and Jadeja (!) Current players here include Jadeja, Shami, Ashwin and Rabada.

The best economy rates are by Pollock and Jadeja.

The best strike rates are by Steyn and Shami.

To be continued.

Centuries in the first innings of Tests

Here we see the table of those who scored the most centuries in the first innings:

Ponting (21) is followed by Kallis and Tendulkar with 20. Next are the two Steves, Smith and Waugh with 17. From India, others with 10+ centuries are Dravid (15), Gavaskar (11), Pujara (10) and Sehwag (10).

Current players with 10+ centuries are SPD Smith (17) and Pujara (10).

Those who loved the first innings:

JM Bairstow (Eng) made all his 6 centuries in the first innings.

AF Rae (WI) and Wasim Raja (Pak) made all 4 of their centuries in the first innings.

Also note SP Fleming (NZ) who made 8 of his 9 centuries in the first innings. And KC Wessels (Aus/SA) made 5 of his 6 centuries in the first innings.

Those who hated the first innings:

Taufeeq Umar (Pak) made 7 centuries but none in the first innings.

WW Armstrong (Aus) similarly had 6 centuries, and MG Burgess (NZ) had 5.

To be continued.

Batting averages in the third and fourth innings of Tests-September 2021

Hope you have seen these:

abn397.wordpress.com/2021/09/20/batting-averages-in-the-first-and-second-innings-of-tests-september-2021/

We now proceed to the third innings:

The cutoff here is 50.00

The first surprise here is that Bradman does not appear. Perhaps he did not bat enough in the third innings.

The leading batsman PBH May is a bit of a surprise. He is followed by JH Kallis and DCS Compton.

No current player appears in the top 10. The only players from recent times are K Sangakkara who retired in 2015 and HM Amla (2017). Batting in the third innings must have become more difficult in recent times.

From India there are M Amarnath and VVS Laxman.

Now for the fourth innings:

The cutoff here is 40.00.

Headed by Boycott, Gavaskar and Hobbs.

Current players here are KS Williamson (at 7), Kohli (at 8) besides recent player Younis Khan (at 9).

Other current players include AD Mathews (has he retired from Tests?), DA Warner, DM Bravo, Shakib Al Hasan, Asad Shafiq and R Taylor.

From India there are Gavaskar and Kohli in the top 10, followed by Dravid and Laxman.

It would seem that recent players have coped better with the fourth innings than with the third innings.

Another interesting topic to study would be the batters and bowlers who have done best in the fourth innings.

Tests between South Africa and the West Indies (2021)-1

South Africa defeated the West Indies 2-0. Ironically this series was part of the World Test Championship, even though the final between India and New Zealand was happening at the same time. This is the final WTC points table:

Finally South Africa finished 5th and the West Indies 8th (just below Sri Lanka).

A total of 30 Tests have been played between these teams, evenly divided into 15 in each country.

Overall, South Africa lead 20-3 with 7 draws.

In South Africa, they lead 12-1 with 2 draws.

In West Indies, they lead 8-2 with 5 draws.

We now look at individual performances, starting with Batting:

It will be seen that hardly any of the leading performances in batting and other departments are from current players.

Most runs (750 and more):

Highest innings (150 and above):

Highest batting average (Min 20 innings, all instances):

Highest strike rate (Min 1000 balls faced, 40.00):

So far we have not come across any current players. Let us see if bowling is any better.

To be continued.

The “double” of a century and 5wi in the same Test.

This has been achieved 33 times, although some players have done it more than once. This will be apparent from this table:

From this we can identify the “multibaggers” as

IT Botham 5 times (1978, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1984)

R Ashwin 3 times (2011, 2016, 2021)

JH Kallis 2 times (1999, 2002)

Mushtaq Mohammad 2 times (1973, 1977)

Shakib Al Hasan 2 times (2011, 2014)

GS Sobers 2 times (1962, 1966).

We can also see that Botham (1980), Imran (1983) and Shakib (2014) went a step further by scoring a century and taking 10 wickets in the match.

BR Taylor (1965) was the only one to score a century and take 5wi on his Test debut. This was his first first-class century.

Review of Pakistan-South Africa Test series-1

After this series was won 2-0 by Pakistan, this is the summary of the 28 Tests played between these teams:

This is only the second time Pakistan has won a Test series against South Africa. The previous occasion was in 2003-04, where the captains were Md Yousuf (win) and Inzamam (draw) vs Graeme Smith.

And Pakistan lost 3-0 when they last toured SA in 2018-19. Sarfraraz Ahmed was then the captain.

Babar Azam’s Test captaincy started with two wins.

The overall record:

Next we look at individual records.

Most runs (500 and above):

Azhar Ali is the only current player here.

The most centuries are 6 by Kallis and 4 each by de Villiers, Smith and Younis Khan. And the most 50+ scores are 14 by Kallis and 12 by Amla.

Highest individual scores (125 and above):

de Villiers has the best performance here. No one from the current series.

Highest batting average (Minimum 20 innings, all instances):

As in the earlier table, de Villiers leads by a distance. Azhar Ali is the only current player.

Highest strike rate (Minimum 1000 balls faced, all instances):

Similarly, led by de Villiers with Azhar Ali the only current player.

To be continued.

All-round records-batting and fielding-1

When all-round records are tabulated in statistical articles, they invariably refer to feats of batting and bowling.

Here we look at feats of batting and fielding in the same match.

First, for wicket-keepers:

Century and 5 dismissals in an innings:

This did not occur in Tests until 1966. The best match performance would appear to be by de Villiers with a century and 11 dismissals in a match. Also consider Lindsay and Prior.

Watling appears here 3 times (twice in Wellington) along with Prior and Bairstow (twice each).

India has been on the receiving end twice: SAR Silva in 1985 and BJ Watling in 2014.

For non-keepers:

Century and 4 dismissals in an innings:

Bowling efforts have also been added where relevant.

We can see that Kallis’s feat in 2012 is clearly the best here, as he is the only double centurion here. Next would be Woolley.

Weekes did this against India in 1953, and was followed by fellow West Indian Viv Richards in 1989. Rahane did this for India against Sri Lanka in the course of the 3-0 sweep in Sri Lanka in 2017.

Next, we will look at career all-round performance for batting and fielding.

(To be continued)

Ben Stokes and the three dimensions

Not long ago, the BCCI was trying to justify the selection of at least one relatively undistinguished player for the World Cup on the grounds that he was a “3-dimensional player”.

It is true that being a good fielder is an asset to any player (whether they are batsmen or bowlers or both). Fielding, unlike batting and bowling, does not lend itself ready to numerical measures. One can count the catches taken by a fielder, but it is not so easy to evaluate the runs saved in the field or even the pressure put on the opposing batsmen by a good outfielder.

The case of a three-dimensional performance in a Test win comes up with Ben Stokes at the second SA v Eng Test at Cape Town, which was won by England by a large margin.

Stokes contributed 47, 0-34, 5c, 72, 3-35 and 1c in England’s 189-run victory:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/19430/scorecard/1185305/south-africa-vs-england-2nd-test-icc-world-test-championship-2019-2021

That is 119 runs, 3 wickets and 6 catches.

We first look at the catching records for non-keepers

5 or more catches in an innings:

5 catches in innings by non keeper

The record of 5 catches in an innings is shared by 13 players, Stokes being the latest. Many of these performances have come in recent years.

6 or more catches in a match:

6+ catches in match as non keeper

The record is 8 by AM Rahane. de Villiers took 8 catches as a keeper when the regular keeper de Kock was injured at the beginning of the match. A total of 43 players (or 42 if you remove de Villiers) have made 6 or more catches as a non-keeper in a match.

AM Rahane and KL Rahul are the only current players with 7 or more catches in a match.

Some other current players (notably SPD Smith) have taken 6 catches in a match.

Coming back to Ben Stokes, we can round off and say that he scored 100, took 3 wickets and made 6 catches.

Who else has done this in Tests?

100 runs, 3 wickets and 6 catches in Tests:

100 runs 3 wickets 6 catches

Only two other players. Stokes is in good company here.

Suppose we consider only two “dimensions”. Who else has Stokes emulated?

100 runs and 3 wickets:

This has happened on 338 occasions, with several players doing this on multiple occasions. Stokes himself has done so on 6 occasions.

Sobers did this on 16 occasions, followed by Kallis with 13, Botham (10) and Shakib Al Hasan (9). Ashwin and Stokes (6 apiece) are the only current players.

So that is not a particularly rare achievement.

Now we try

3 wickets and 6 catches:

3 wkts and 6 catches

Only 5 times. Apart from Woolley, Kallis and Stokes there are Vogler and Jack Gregory from long ago.

Another permutation is

100 runs and 6 catches:

100 runs 6 catches

This has been done only on 10 occasions, including twice by SPD Smith. Also note that Hayden is the only one to make a century AND take 7 catches. Kallis is the only one with a double century AND 6 catches.

So Stokes has achieved a rare all-round feat of 100/3/6 which had been done only twice before, by Woolley and Kallis.

Parting shots:

Who is the only non-keeper to take 5 catches in an innings on debut?

And who is the only non-keeper to take 7 catches in a match on debut?

Finally:

Which current keeper took 5 catches in an innings and 7 in the match on debut?