In our continuing effort to uncover the worst performers to have played the gentleman’s game, we probed the Cricinfo database to identify the absolute bottom of the pile. While the previous one was based on subjectivity, and required a democratic resolution (go vote if you haven’t still, every vote counts!), this one hurls out some numbers and statistics at you to leave little doubt about the conclusion.
We evaluated the three integral parameters that define a bowler’s performance: Bowling Average, Strike Rate and Economy Rate. Next, we went through the list of the worst bowlers according to each of the three categories, and compared the lists to expose the serial offenders.
Let’s start with the worst of the lot in the Test Matches first.
Our first filtering criteria was bowling averages. So here is a list of all the bowlers who feature in list of worst bowling averages AND also have worst strike rates. We have limited the list to players who were active after the 90′s, to have at least some familiarity as far as the names are concerned.
Table: Test Players with worst averages+worst strike rates
|Shoaib Malik (Pak)||2001-2010||61.47||106.9|
|MF Maharoof (SL)||2004-2007||60.75||109.5|
|GW Flower (Zim)||1992-2004||61.48||135.1|
|Manjural Islam (Ban)||2001-2004||57.32||106|
|Enamul Haque (Ban)||2001-2003||57.05||123.8|
|CL Hooper (WI)||1987-2002||49.42||121|
|CZ Harris (NZ)||1992-2002||73.12||160|
|BA Murphy (Zim)||2000-2001||61.83||119.6|
|GA Hick (Eng)||1991-2001||56.78||132.9|
|JC Adams (WI)||1992-2001||49.48||105.6|
|A Ranatunga (SL)||1982-2000||65||148.3|
|IDK Salisbury (Eng)||1992-2000||76.95||124.6|
|GI Allott (NZ)||1996-1999||58.47||106.4|
|GA Gooch (Eng)||1975-1995||46.47||115.4|
|MN Hart (NZ)||1994-1995||49.58||106.4|
|EAR de Silva (SL)||1985-1991||129||291|
|IVA Richards (WI)||1974-1991||61.37||161.5|
|EJ Gray (NZ)||1983-1988||52.11||122.1|
|M Amarnath (India)||1969-1988||55.68||114.8|
Then we took it one notch higher (or lower?). We compared this list with the players having worst economy rate. The following list emerged – the kind of bowlers you would keep a million miles away if you are a team captain (or absolutely embrace if you are an opposition batsman!)
Table: Test Bowlers with worst average+worst strike rate+worst economy rate
|Shoaib Malik (Pak)||2001-2010||61.47||106.9||3.45|
|MF Maharoof (SL)||2004-2007||60.75||109.5||3.32|
|IDK Salisbury (Eng)||1992-2000||76.95||124.6||3.7|
Ian Salisbury is widely regarded as the worst bowler ever to have played cricket. We have valid reasons to know why!
We did a similar analysis for the ODI bowlers, but considering that the non test playing nations are the favorite whipping boys, the bowlers from these teams dominated the ratings. But, for the sake of completeness, here is a similar table for ODI bowlers.
Table: ODI players with worst average+worst strike rate+worst economy
|A Jadeja (India)||1992-2000||54.7||62.4||5.25|
|AO Suji (Kenya)||1996-2008||55.95||61.6||5.44|
|AP Gurusinha (SL)||1985-1996||52.07||60.9||5.12|
|Enamul Haque (Ban)||1990-2002||57||65.1||5.24|
|ML Nkala (Zim)||1998-2006||71.36||71.9||5.95|
|MV Nagamootoo (WI)||2000-2002||55.44||66||5.03|
There is at least one person in this list, whose poor bowling may have been more that a matter of chance.
We are being too harsh on the bowlers lately, aren’t we? Very soon it will be the turn of the batsmen. None shall be spared!