Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Putting the Aussies in a Web

The Sri Lanka - Australia series gets underway in 2 days. While reading one of the previews, I read that Muralitharan has played 3 tests in Australia, in which he took 8 wickets at an average of 63.12 - this is 40 runs higher than his career average of 21.33!!! Thats some pressure the Aussies have put on the second highest test wicket taker in the world.

This got me wondering about how the other spinners have fared in tests played in Australia. See below for yourself. (NOTE: These figures are for the period 1995 onwards, considering that was the time the Aussies' path of invincibility began)
Mushtaq Ahmed turns out to be the only spinner whose average in tests played in Australia is slightly better than his overall career average. Averages of all other leading spinners go higher by a few notches than their career averages. I am as surprised as you might be by the glaring statistics that show that Pakistani spinners, since 1995, have fared relatively better than other spinners in Australia.
When I was writing this I had Daniel Vettori and Anil Kumble in mind, but I was pleasantly surprised by the time I finished compiling the stats.
Murali ranks well below majority of the spinners. Will he be able to turn the tables this series? Or will the Aussies deny him the honour of taking the 9 wickets he needs to go past Shane Warne to become the highest wicket taker in test matches? The first of the two tests gets underway on Thursday and my bet is on Murali shining through, getting those 9 wickets in the 1st test itself, and helping the Lankans win their first ever test match on Aussie soil!

Make your pitch on this post...

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11 Pitched:

  1. obaid said...

    Great analysis. Murali will be under tremendous pressure considering the entire picture. I think it is unfair to raise chucking and other type of issues - there is a separate forum for these and the ICC should manage them. For the time being a great like murali should be allowed to perform. Lets see if he takes up the challenge and delivers!

  2. Anonymous said...


    Unrelated to your stats, but any idea how Qadir performed in Oz?

    He must be the best leggie by a mile.

  3. Q said...

    Obaid - I agree its unfair to raise chucking issues. The umpires and referees should not get into that. But besides that, Murali has been put under immense pressure in Australia by the Aussie players as well as the fans in the stands who shout 'No Ball' every time he delivers. Most fans probably do it for the fun of it, but my point is that Murali should be able to handle it and not turn into a cry baby like symonds who went complaining to the board when some Indian fans called him a monkey. LOL! Anyhow, my best on Murali coming out on top...

    Ottayan - I also thought Qadir would have been one of the best against the Aussies, but I was shocked to see his figures. Abdul Qadir has played 5 tests in Australia and has taken 12 wickets at an average of 61.00, which is 30 more than his career average.

    I hadn't considered him in the analysis because he retired in 1991 and the period I have taken into account is 1995 onwards.

  4. Viswanathan said...


    It a shocker.

    BTW, what is he upto nowadays?

  5. Q said...

    No idea what he's up to Ottayan. But his two sons, Imran Qadir (named after Imran Khan) and Suleman Qadir have both played domestic cricket for Lahore in Pakistan.

    The elder one, Imran (24), featured in the U-15 world cup in 1996 where India played Pakistan in the final - Rettinder Sodhi, Faisal Iqbal, Shoaib Malik were among the others to feature in that world cup.

    Imran is a leg spinner just like his father and a decent batsman as well but he's been out of the domestic scene since 2005, no idea why.

    Suleman is an upper order batsman and off spinner - he's played for Pakistan U-17 and U-19, but he also has been missing in action for 1-2 years. He's only 22.

  6. Viswanathan said...


    Mucho thanks.

    I dont know which series, but it was series where the (Indo-Pak)test mactches were played for a draw.

    The final day invariably, if Pakistan was batting, ended with Gavaskar imitating Qadir's run up and follow through quiet accurately.

    Even though I had seen B.S.Chandrasekahar bowl, Qadir was the first leggie I watched with awe.

    Hmm.... miss that maverick.

  7. Q said...

    I remember the test match your talking about. Remember Gavaskar...

    Qadir was a magician! No one like him.

    I remember another interesting match - I think Pak vs Ind but not sure. It was supposed to be an ODI but rains washed the game out and both teams decided to play a friendly 10 over game in the evening. Mushtaq Ahmed bowled imitating Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Imran Khan, and some others. Watched this on Star Sports ages ages ago...

  8. Obaid said...

    From what I remember, Qadir has a cricket academy in Lahore. I also remember this one day international Qadir played (prob in Sharjah) when Qadir was batting and we needed a few runs of the last overs, Qadir hit some wonderful straight hits and won Pakistan the match. Anybody remember the game?

    I have two more Qadir stories. Once when playing the West Indies, in Pakistan (Lahore or somewhere else in Punjab), Qadir got hit on teh head with a bouncer... after medical treatment and recovering to stand his ground again, Qadir tried to charge the bowler and took a big swipe. I still vividly remember the commentator saying something like "Looks like Qadir has lost his mental balance after that bouncer" in Urdu.

    Also the other funny thing is Imran Khan asking Qadir to keep a goatee, so that he would be even more mysteriously intimidation in a eastern worldly type of way. Funny how fast bowlers use the same tactic by having long hair like Malinga or Shoaib.

  9. Viswanathan said...


    This is the first time I am hearing the story behind his goatee.

    As for Qadir hitting sixes against India... I dont.. ahem... anything liked that happened.

    Surely, Obaid, you must be joking. :)

  10. NAzhar said...

    I think its even debatable if Abdul Qadir is our best leg spinner...Warne definitely is head and shoulders above others as far as being the best leggie.

    Very interesting and insightful stats Q...as always! I too was thinking Vettori and Kumble would be the best there, if not Murali...though I did think of Saqlain, who is our best spinner ever!

  11. Q said...

    Saqlain Mushtaq - definitely Pakistans best spinner. As for leggies - I think Qadir was better than Mushy and Kaneria. But i think Qadir's claim to fame is the googly. He was the first one to bowl it in cricket. Warne couldn't bowl it in his entire career.

    As for those sixes that u talk about Obaid - I think it was a game against Sri Lanka. He hit two 6s in the 2nd last over. I think Pak won by 2 wkts. So Ottayan u dont need to worry, it wasnt India.

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