Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Butting in with Boundaries

There was something I noticed about Salman Butt's 3 innings in the ongoing Pentangular Trophy:
290 (318) - 50 Fours
72 (96) - 13 Fours
117 (157) - 18 Fours
In the 3 innings, he got 69%, 72%, and 61% of his runs through 4s - a collective amount of 68%.
Thats quite a high percentage. I checked his international record and this is how that looks:

ODIs - 52.9% runs from 4s
Tests - 58.5% runs from 4s
Typically in test matches one would expect that the good batsmen get majority of their runs through boundaries, however in ODIs the percentage is usually lower considering the sharp singles, 2s, and 3s. Salman Butt gets a very high percentage of runs in boundaries in ODIs as well.
I then went on to compare these percentages with other international greats. I couldn't find a database that lists the batsmen in order of highest percentage of runs from 4s, however I did find many that list the batsmen with the most number of 4s in their careers. Maybe David Barry or Charles Davis can come up with the accurate database to be used or they may have already, but here's my list:

NOTE 1: 6s not taken into account; only 4s
NOTE 2: List of batsmen with highest number of 4s in career sorted by highest percentage of runs through 4s

What surprises me is that 2 wicketkeepers top each of the lists. Adam Gilchrist can be expected to be at the top, but Alec Stewart? Does anyone even remember him?

I know this not an accurate reflection so I randomly picked some players whom I thought would have a high percentage of runs in boundaries. Here's what I found:

Considering these, Salman Butts 58.5% in test matches is not as remarkable as his 52.9% in ODIs. Virender Sehwag was the only other batsman I found who scores more than half his runs in boundaries (excluding 6s) in ODIs. Even Salman's 58.5% is on the very high side when looking at the other percentages above.

More runs through boundaries in ODIs could also be termed as a weakness of not taking the quick singles or converting 1s into 2s and 2s into 3s, which probably explains why the Australians (apart from Gilchrist) have low perentages of runs in 4s - Hayden (41%), Ponting (35%), Symonds (35%), M. Clarke (34%), MEK Hussey (32%).

This fact about Salman Butt was just an observation that led me to do this post - maybe I've missed out some big 4 hitters in these lists, but if Salman can go on to become even half as good as the names above, Pakistan wouldn't have to worry about who to open their innings with.

Who else comes to your mind when you think of batsmen who seem to hit a 4 of every ball?

Make your pitch on this post...

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12 Pitched:

  1. Soulberry said...

    Interesting Q.

    How do players in opening slots fare in ODIs as compared to later order batsmen in terms of percentage of runs in boundaries?

    By the way, that 290 he scored must be a huge boost for him. Would you say, with that sequence of scores this season, he's getting to the point where he will now begin to fulfill his destiny?

  2. Anonymous said...

    One thing that probably works against the 'Strayans, is the size of the grounds.

    A lot of shots there, would be 4's anywhere else in the world.

    It's probably responsible for the way the Strayans run, too. They run hard and better than any team in world cricket, because they have too.

  3. Q said...

    That will be an interesting analysis SB, will take me some time to do that though. However, if you take a look at the top 10 batsmen in terms of most 4s in a career in ODIs - 6 of them are openers with the rest (Lara, Dravid, Inzy, Ponting) being those who have either opened or played at 3 for a good part of their career.

    For late order batsmen I would think their % would be on the higher side. But I will run a check.

    Salman's 290 was his highest ever first class score and he did it against an attack that included Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir, and Yasir Arafat. It is definitely a good boost but its only up to him to translate this into international form. Butt is a product of the age-group cricket - he's come through U-15s, U-17s, and U-19s and captained all of those teams. He was the most talented out of the lot of his time in those age groups. He's a hard worker but he hasn't been as successful thus far as he was expected to be.

    Lets hope the future is brighter SB :-)

  4. Q said...

    Thats true Suave, I completely agree. Now we know the secret behind how to make the batsmen run harder - make the boundaries longer!

  5. straight point said...

    its good that salman is coming up nicely...thats half the opening problem solved for pak...

    any word on his off side play which i think was loose for an opener...??

  6. Q said...

    SP - That has been the problem with all the opening bats Pakistan has tried in the last half a decade - Imran Nazir, Imran Farhat, Yasir Hameed - the offside play was their strength as well as their weakness.

    If u note, all these players along with Salman have flowing drives and cuts but thatalso makes them fallable in the slips and gullies. What they all lack is making the choice of ball outside off to drive / cut.

    If either them could buckle down to applying themselves more they would have been good for Pak. Hopefully Salman will come through.

    The new opener tried, Nasir Jamshed is also very similar.

  7. NAzhar said...

    Great analysis and some interesting findings. I think size of the boundary is an important factor. It would also be interesting to see how many boundaries were hit with the fielding restrictions and how many without.

    For me a more telling stat would be percentage of boundaries hit based on deliveries faced.

  8. Viswanathan said...

    Apologise for butting in, to answer your question, "Who else comes to your mind when you think of batsmen who seem to hit a 4 of every ball?" I would say Muralitharan. He is one who seems to hit a 4 of every ball but rarely connects.


  9. Q said...

    That would be a telling analyis NAzhar - I'll do that soon along with what SB mentioned, a comparison between openers and late order batsmen.

    Ott - Good one. Just for the record Murali has got 26.4% of his runs in ODIs and 45.8% in tests through 4s.

  10. Anonymous said...

    salman is a superb stroke player.. a bit like a gambhir... can be very rash at the start... if he can weather those instincts, he should do extremely well for Pakistan.

  11. NAzhar said...

    Salman Butt's biggest weakness is his weakness against spin - that will be major in test cricket!

  12. Q said...

    Yeah thats right NAzhar. Against India he got to 50s several times and easily but then fell to Kumble.

    He's a hard worker though from what I hear from some people who play in Model Town in Lahore with him - he practices against spin on the grass in the outfield - hopefully that practice will come to use soon.

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