The worst batsmen in Tests and ODIs

You all know about Bradman’s batting average of 99.94.

Here, we look at the other end of the spectrum.

This data is updated to 27-5-2022. Matches involving the ICC XI are not counted.

As per the usual practice, a minimum of 20 innings is considered.

Lowest Test batting averages (below 5.00):

Heading this list is current Bangladesh player Ebadot Hossain with 0.72.

Next lowest is Zimbabwe’s “Pommie” Mbangwa with 2.00, and JV Saunders of Australia long ago with 2.29

Bangladesh has another candidate coming up with Khalid Ahmed with 7 Tests, 11 innings and batting average of 0.50.

Current players here include Ebadot Hossain, Abu Jayed, Lahiru Kumara, Shannon Gabriel, Lungi Ngidi, and “Fizz” Rehman.

The lowest by Indian players are 3.80 by Maninder Singh, 4.07 by BS Chandrasekhar and 4.65 by DR Doshi.

Now we look at the corresponding figures for ODIs.

As before, we take a minimum of 20 innings. Matches involving the ICC XI, Asia XI and Africa XI are not counted.

Lowest ODI batting averages (below 5.00):

Here, the figures are slightly better with the lowest by Zimbabwe players B Muzarabani (2.81) and CB Mpofu (2.85).

Current players include B Muzarabani and N Pradeep (4.37).

From India there are S Sreesanth (4.00) and Ishant Sharma (4.80).

Also note Mohammad Irfan, the only 7-footer to play in Tests.

Test cricket’s hall of shame

The suburb of Malad in Mumbai has an unofficial walk of the hall of shame, which commemorates notable people such as Kangana Ranaut and Arnab Goswami. Which set me thinking, how should we set about statistically identifying those who deserve to be in a similar hall of shame for cricketers?

One line of analysis would be to identify those who have played the most tests without achieving anything of note. So the criteria could be:

Who played the most Tests when they

Never scored a fifty or more

Never took a 4-for or more

Never was a designated wicketkeeper

AND never was a captain.

It is easy enough to do this with Statsguru. There are several who played 10 or more Tests and met these conditions.

As many as 18 players make the cut. They are all fairly lesser-known players, so you would not have heard of most of them.

The list is headed by Nixon Alexei McNamara McLean and Shujauddin with 19 Tests apiece. The latter was at least involved in administration:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/player/52430.html

https://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan/content/player/42660.html

But then, were this pair really the worst? At least they did bat and bowl. There are three who never bowled and survived as pure batsmen: LSM Miller, Jehan Mubarak and JMM Commaile. They came close to getting fifties.

India’s only representative here is CS Nayudu, whose difference in averages was -170.31 The next worst is -97.54 by AR Whittall.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/31813.html

https://www.espncricinfo.com/zimbabwe/content/player/55846.html

CS Nayudu had a famous elder brother who was India’s first Test captain. AR Whittall has a cousin GJ Whittall who was one of Zimbabwe’s main players in the early days.

Among those who may still play in the future, there are Alzarri Joseph of WI and Don Tiripano of Zimbabwe. The latter recently made a Test best of 49* and has a batting average of almost 20 so he may yet get off this list.

McLean did somewhat better in ODIs, but is remembered more for his string of names given by his family who hoped that he would emulate President Nixon, Premier Alexei Kosygin and the multitalented Robert McNamara.

Afterthought: I realized that setting the conditions in Statsguru as above will remove the Test figures for matches when someone was a keeper or a captain. Let is see what happens when we stick to the batting and bowling conditions.

We now get some wicket keepers who did not bat well enough to reach a fifty, which is rare nowadays. And BA Murphy captained his team for one Test, though it hardly makes a difference to his figures.

JJ Kelly, H Strudwick, G Duckworth and HB Taber all made over 50 dismissals as wicket keepers, so they did well enough in their field to retain their places.

So McLean and Shujauddin would retain their places, with special mention to CS Nayudu and AR Whittall.

One should also note those with the worst batting averages (Mbangwa with 2.00) and worst bowling averages (CS Nayudu with 179.50)

One last tweak is to consider only those who batted and bowled enough to have got a fair chance-a minimum of 20 innings batted and 2000 balls bowled. Then we get this:

Here, we are left only with McLean, Shujauddin and Mbangwa who were given enough chances both in batting and bowling.

We close with Mbangwa’s details, remembering that he was a regular commentator in recent years:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/zimbabwe/content/player/55584.html

We look at players from India in more detail here: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2020/09/05/test-crickets-hall-of-shame-india/

More about batting averages

Here is the table showing the batting averages for all 1105 players who batted in at least 20 innings up to 25 Oct 2019:

Averages Oct 2019-Complete

The averages range from 99.94 (DG Bradman) to 2.00 (M Mbangwa).

The mean of these averages is 27.07, and those closest to it are KR Rutherford, JJ Lyons and PA Strang.

Looking at other measures of central tendency:

First quartile: 36.16 (Wasim Raja)

Median: 26.52 (PR Reiffel, RW Marsh)

Third quartile: 16.28 (RW Taylor, BL Cairns)