Monday, October 29, 2007

A list of all-rounders

After the embarrrassment that was never having heard of Aubrey Faulkner, I decided to rank all players by (batting average - bowling average), and see what turned up. I put no qualifications on, so that I could look for any interesting stories. It's no surprise who comes in at number one, but number two was new to me.

The number indicates the player's rank.

2. Arthur Hill: He played three Tests for England in South Africa in 1895/6. He did well with the bat, averaging 62.75, and then took 4/8 to wrap up South Africa's second innings in the third Test, giving England an innings victory. His only spell of bowling in Test cricket went 8-4-8-4, giving him a bowling average of 2. (Edit added much later: what makes that spell more remarkable was that he was the wicket-keeper, and didn't bother taking his pads off to bowl.)

7. Mick Malone (!): In his one Test before joining World Series Cricket, he made 46 and took 6 wickets, including 5/63 in the first innings. His bowling average finished at 12.83. He was not usually such a good batsman - that 46 was his highest first-class score.

8. Ken Hough: He played two Tests for New Zealand against England in 1958/9. In his first Test innings, coming in at number eleven, he slogged 31 runs in 28 balls without being dismissed, dominating the 40-run tenth wicket stand. Unfortunately for him, this only brought NZ to 142, in reply to England's 374. Hough finished his short Test career with 62 runs for once out, and six wickets at 29.16. I don't know why he didn't play more Tests - he averaged less than 21 with the ball in first-class cricket. (Edit: Thanks to Fiery of the Cricket Fans' Forum, who tells me that Hough also played international soccer.)

10. Allen Hill: Hill was the outstanding all-rounder of the first Test series, scoring 101 runs at 50.5 and taking 7 wickets at 18.57. In the first Test, he batted at 9 and made 35 not out. In what is reminiscent of some club matches, he was promoted to open the batting in the second innings, where he was promptly dismissed second ball. His batting was not usually as good as it was in this series - his first class average was 8.94. This must surely be one of the lowest averages for an opening batsman in Test history. (I'll do a thorough search later for this record. The lowest I've been able to find is Chuck Fleetwood-Smith, whose first-class average was 7.34.)

13. Anthony McGrath (!): I was shocked to see this name here: 40.2 and 14 are his averages. But they're inflated by two of his four Tests coming against Zimbabwe.

16. Jacques Kallis

17. Basil Butcher: He was a solid middle-order bat for the West Indies from 1958 to 1969. In 44 Tests, he bowled in only six innings. In one of those, he took 5/34. Batting average: 43.11; bowling average: 18.

18. Mark Boucher: Yes, he's taken a Test wicket. He got his wicket (for 6 runs) in this tame draw.

22. Garry Sobers

23. Albert Trott: He played five Tests for Australia in the 1890's. He didn't get dismissed until his fourth innings in Test cricket, and when he did get out his batting average was 205, and his bowling average was 6.5, him having taken 8/43 on debut. For some reason, he was overlooked for the next England tour, but he came back in South Africa for his two last Tests, doing very little with the bat but taking lots of cheap wickets. 228 runs at 38; 26 wickets at 15.

34. Wally Hammond: We all know that he was one of the greatest batsmen in history, but he was also a useful partnership breaker. In 85 Tests, he took 83 wickest at 37.8. Not bad when it goes with a batting average of 58.45.

35. Alan Fairfax: His career was a lot shorter than I thought it was. He played just 10 Tests for Australia, being extremely consistent with the bat - his lowest score was 9, his highest 65, and his average was 51.25. (His first class average was only 29.) He also took 21 wickets at 30.71.

37. Doug Walters: He didn't take many wickets, but his averages get him onto this list. In 74 Tests, he averaged 48.26 with the bat, but he was a handy part-time bowler, taking 49 wickets at just 29.08.

47. Stanley Jackson: He played 20 Tests for England around the turn of the century. He scored 1415 runs at 48.79, and took 24 wickets at 33.83.

48. Bob Cowper: I didn't know he bowled. He took 36 wickets in 27 Tests at an average of 31.63, to go with the batting average of 46.84 and the first Test triple-century in Australia.

49. Zulfiqar Ahmed: He started his career as a specialist batsman, but he took 11 wickets in his sixth Test (albeit against New Zealand in 1955/6). Three of his nine Tests were against NZ, which helped his stats a bit. 200 runs at 33.33; 20 wickets at 18.3.

52. Imran Khan

54. Allan Steel: He was the outstanding all-rounder for England in the 1880's, out-performing WG Grace at Test level, though his batting was weaker than Grace's at county level. He played 13 Tests, scored 600 runs at 35.29, and took 29 wickets at 20.86.

56. Charles Macartney: As well as being a great attacking batsman (2131 runs at 41.78), he was a useful, if somewhat occasional, left-arm finger spinner, taking 45 wickets in his 35 Tests at an average of 27.55. His best bowling came in the 1909 Ashes series, in which he took 11 wickets in the third Test.

57. Aubrey Faulkner: 25 Tests, 1754 runs at 40.79; 82 wickets at 26.58.

59. Keith Miller

61. Steve Waugh

67. Ted Dexter: He's another one I didn't know bowled. 62 Tests, 4502 runs at 47.89; 66 wickets at 34.93.

73. Eddie Barlow: His career was cut short by Apartheid, but he still managed 30 Tests, scoring 2516 runs at 45.74, and taking 40 wickets at 34.05.

77. Billy Bates: Another great all-rounder for England in the 1880's, his career ended when a straight drive hit him in the eye. 15 Tests, 656 runs at 27.33; 50 wickets with his off-spin at 16.42.

79. Frank Worrell: His record with the ball wasn't great, but he did open the bowling at times for the West Indies, as Stuart informs us in his profile on Roy Gilchrist. 51 Tests, 3860 runs at 49.48; 69 wickets at 38.72.

80. Asif Iqbal: His Test career came in two parts - he played his first few Test series as a bowling all-rounder, before concentrating on his batting for the latter part. 58 Tests, 3575 runs at 38.85; 53 wickets at 28.33.

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