Tests: The top and bottom of the batting average totem pole
Here’s an analysis of Test batting averages from either end of the spectrum.
In the previous articles, I did some analysis in which I tabled the top and bottom of scoring rates. This seems to be a good idea to do that, covering various facets of Tests and ODIs. First, the fascinating matter of Test batting averages.
Let us look at the Top-20 batting averages of all time. The cut-off is 2000 Test runs and more.
Don Bradman is on top with 99.94, just a single shot away from having a batting average of 100. The next batsman is nearly 40 runs, just over 40% behind. That indicates how much of daylight is between Bradman and the rest of the batsmen.
Only three other batsmen have batting averages of above 60. Headley and Sutcliffe belong to the 1920s while Graeme Pollock is of recent vintage. Who knows what levels he would have achieved if South Africa had not been ostracized because of apartheid! Then come the batsmen from 1950s and 1960s, Barrington, Weekes and Sobers, sandwiching another great from the 1920s, Hammond. Hobbs completes the Top-10.
The only batsman in the top-10 from the current generation is the wonderful Jacques Kallis who has averaged over 57. What does one say of Kallis? Only the fact that he has also captured 274 Test wickets, scored 11481 ODI runs and captured 267 ODI wickets. Only the imposing presence of Gary Sobers prevents me from anointing Kallis as the second best Test cricketer ever.
Now for the bottom of the table.
Chris Martin is as much of a batting legend as Bradman was. People stop whatever they are doing to watch Martin bat. He is the only bowler with a batting average of 2.38 who people pay the gate money to enter the ground and watch. He has more zeroes (32) than Bradman has hundreds (29).
Maninder Singh has pipped Chandrasekhar with a batting average of 3.81. However Chandrasekhar holds his own with 23 ducks. India has the proud place of honour with 3 places in the Top-5. Not one of the Top-10 has reached 200 Test runs. A few of these batsmen, Martin, Chandrasekhar and Reid have captured more wickets than the runs they have scored.