Posts Tagged ‘dhoni’

A look at Dhoni’s overseas performance and the Indian tail

December 29, 2013

One of the common complaint against Dhoni from cricket fans in social media is that he has not performed well as a batsman outside the sub-continent. One might think that there might be a bit of truth in that because, he has not scored a single Test hundred outside the sub-continent. I tried to dig up some statistics.

Here is the record of wicket-keeper batsmen from the sub-continent who have played 10 or more Tests outside the sub-continent.

Sub-Continent wicket-keepers overseas

The highest batting average achieved by a wicket-keeper from the sub-continent outside of it is 37. Dhoni who averages a touch under 29 is about 25% off, but he is fourth on that list and Sangakkaara who is such a fine batsman averages less than Dhoni. ( Sangakkara has not kept wickets in all matches overseas. These stats only include those in which he did). What these stats indicate is that sub-continent wicket keepers have generally found it difficult overseas and by those standards Dhoni’s is by no means a poor performance. People are simply expecting too much from Dhoni after his stellar performances in ODIs.  Dhoni plays the short fast ball really well. He either takes it on his body or pulls without fear.His only problem is a full outswinging ball to which he has got out many times.

Here is also a look of the performances of keepers from outside the sub-continent in the sub-continent. This reveals a pretty much similar story except for Andy Flower and Matt Prior who have done exceptionally well in the sub-continent.

Wicket-keepers from Aus, Eng, NA, WI, SA  and Zim in the sub-continent

People generally take things for granted.  Many are praising Kallis that South Africa would need two people to replace him. When Dhoni goes India would need three men to do his job.

Another contributing thing to Dhoni’s low average might be the pathetic lower order India has got. In the last four years India’s No.9., 10 and 11 average less than 10 . This is the worst from any team including Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. The Australian tail has done really well in this period and averages just under 20.  If one looks at the last five years, things improve slightly to over 10, but they are pretty much at the bottom of the list.

Batting performance of 9,10 and 11 over last 4 years

One might argue are five more runs more a tailend batman going to win you a game ?  If three tailenders  score five rune each ( on average ), that is 15 runs and the batsman at other end would get around 25 ( this is a fair assumption as a specialist/wicket-keeper batsman is expected to outscore tailenders). That is 40 runs for an innings and 80 for a match. That is more than 10% of the runs that get scored on average in a Test which is a huge.

On the contrary, an inept tail has put a lot of pressure on the lower middle order. At stages where the match is on a balance, a No.6 would like to play aggressively to put some pressure on the opposition, is hugely handicapped if he knows on the back of his mind that one wicket would fold the innings within 10 more runs. Some of the Indian tail play as if they don’t care and slog at everything (Zaheer Khan), some simply block everything and can’t get the ball of the square (Ishant Sharma) and some can;t even hold a bat properly (Pragyan Ojha).

Some would say the bowlers are there to take wickets and not score runs. I think most people would agree with me if I say that the Indian bowlers are not doing their primary job either. The Indian attack is perhaps better only to Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.Rahul Dravid mentioned this on commentary and his voice seemed so painful that I felt he had a lump in his throat. What has been really disappointing and surprising is that it has been like this for a while and nobody has taken the Indian bowlers to task and made them a bit more accountable.