Sunday, 28 December 2008

How Good Might JP Duminy Be?

Duminy's heroic stand for 166 in Melbourne yesterday, following his earlier heroics in Perth, had me wondering who might have amassed between 50 and 200 runs in a Test match debut. Is Duminy laying down a marker to be a great batsman?

Now, I'm not interested in the score, because my explorations of what wins cricket matches suggests to me that the kind of batsmen one wants are those who are consistently hard to get out, not necessarily 'Sydney or the Bush' merchants who rack up centuries now and then. Bowlers who take wickets at a high rate and batsmen who don't get out are the players who keep a side in the match. So instead of ranking people by score, I used CricInfo StatsGuru to rank them by balls faced. Note that I was only interested in debutants whose side batted second, in order to reduce the consideration set to as close a parallel as possible to Duminy.

Focusing on all those players within one standard deviation of Duminy's strike rate, we get a broad mix of talent, ranging from Tapash Baisya of Bangladesh, a bowler whose innings average doesn't even top ten*, to the late Taslim Arif, who managed to average just over 50 in a mere six Test matches. (A wicketkeeper, he gave way to Wasim Bari. You'd think they'd still have wanted his bat in the order somewhere.) Meanwhile, there's a couple of significant batsmen for whom we don't have complete Balls Faced statistics, in Lloyd and Gavaskar, and a couple of interesting might-have-beens in Amaranth and Baichan.

Overall, the standard deviation shortlist averages 34.60. The median belongs to Chandika Hathurusinga, at 28.95. It's too early to say more than Duminy has the potential to be a useful batsmen, and with a chance at being an all-time great. But it's most likely that he'll do well for a few years, until someone better comes along.

*Makes you wonder if they've heard of Babe Ruth, converted from pitcher to Hall of Fame slugger, in Bangladesh.

No comments:

Post a Comment