Monday, November 24, 2008

The Downfall of the Big 3 - Can They Bounce Back?

I'm not talking about Bear, Lehmann, and Merill.

I'm referring to Ponting, Kallis, and Dravid - arguably the top 3 batsmen of this decade.

Two of them have over 10,000 test runs, while one of them is approaching the landmark.

All three have over 25 test centuries, two have more than 30.

All three average over 50 in tests, two of them above 55.

Since the turn of the milennium, I haven't seen either of these 3 in a rough patch. They have knocked 100 after 100 after 100, piled on the runs, and frustrated the opposition no end.

Not anymore though.

All three seem like fading stars at the moment.

Ricky Ponting had a very lacklustre test against New Zealand that followed a below par series in India. Rahul Dravid had a poor series against Australia, while Kallis is being troubled by the Bangladeshis.

Can they bounce back or is this the start of a decline leading to the end of glorious careers?

Since the century in the 1st innings of the 1st test against the West Indies earlier this year, Ponting has averaged only 32.28 in 14 innings.

That's 25 runs below his career average, which sits just above 57.

Rough patch it maybe but only 1 century and 2 fifties in those 14 innings, and as many as 8 scores below 20 is a worrying sign.

The last time Ponting hit a rough patch like this was in 2000-01 when Australia played the West Indies at home, toured India, and then went to England for the Ashes, at the end of which he bounced back.

Back then he was under Steve Waugh and part of a record breaking team.

Now, he is the leader of a sinking ship.

Can he bounce back?

Like Ponting, Kallis has been off color as well, for a longer period though.

Since the tour of West Indies at the end of last year, Kallis has averaged a mediocre 30.50 in 21 innings.

Like Ponting, that too is 25 runs below his career average.

Kallis, who has 30 test centuries to his credit, has scored just 1 in these 21 innings in addition to only 3 half centuries.

With 14 scores of below 20 in this period, Kallis should be worried for he has never experienced such a dry patch in his career. For a man who kicked off his career with a first test century in his 7th test match against Australia in Australia, this is his leanest period ever.

The series against England this summer, where he barely managed just over a 100 runs in 7 innings at an average of 14.5, was by far his worst ever.

His troubles continued in his only innings against Bangladesh.

Will he be able to bounce back after this?

Dravid would be more worried than either of Ponting and Kallis for his woes date back to the series against South Africa at the end of 2006.

Dravid entered that series with a career average of 58.75, which has dropped to 52.61 today.

Since that series, he has averaged a mere 30.62 in 47 test innings, in which he has scored only 2 centuries, with 1 of them coming against Bangladesh.

His form has dipped further this year with his 18 innings since the start of the series against South Africa in March producing an average of only 26.23, half that of his career average.

While Kallis and Ponting are going through a recent slump, for Dravid it has been a longer period of decine.

Will he be able to come out of this or will he be the first out of the big 3 to fall?

I don't think much of the ICC Cricket Ratings but a look at how these 3 have fared is a fair indication of the low they are experiencing right now.

Ponting had made the number 1 spot his own for all of 2006 and 2007 and he entered 2008 at number 3. Today he sits at number 8.

Before Ponting took over the number 1 spot, it was Kallis who was at the top for all of 2005. Even after Ponting took over, Kallis remained a part of the top 5 till this year's England series, after which he fell out of the top 10 for the first time since 2003. Today he sits at 11.

Dravid was the first out of the big 3 to the number 1 spot, getting their first in 1999 and then later in 2004. He remained a part of the top 5 and later the top 10 up until last year's series against Pakistan, during which he for the first time in a decade fell out of the top 10. Today he sits at number 28.

The question though remains - can they bounce back?

Make your pitch on this post...

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18 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...

    Dont know abt Ponting or Kallis. But Dravid wud bounce back soon....Watch out for the England series.......

    And Ponting's time is up...He horribly runs close to match ref for slow over rates and poor form continues....

    And if Kallis is not good enuf to score against BD , then he isnt worth to be on the plane to Australia

  2. Anonymous said...

    Dravid and Kallis are done,Ponting has a good chance to bounce back.

  3. Gaurav Sethi said...

    Good one q.

    ponting can't keep shut, while the other two look like they're gonna explode.

    the rise of t20, odi has undermined rd and jk, while ipl has done all 3 in.

    rd and jk in one team. rp devalued in another.

  4. Som said...

    Q, liked the theme. As for prediction part, Ponting is too good a bat to lie low for so long. Dravid, by the time he gets among runs, would near his retirement and SA hardly has options but to stick to Kallis, he shines or flops.

  5. straight point said...

    in oz they see ponting getting 'average'...and sigh pup...

    in SA they all see kallis avg and take comfort in that...

    in india they see dravid avg and wait for his retirement...

  6. Q said...

    Thats a diverse set of views on the subject... interesting to note how we have different feelings abt each one of them..

  7. Q said...

    Lets hope so for Dravid Sam, however like Wasim I feel Dravid's end is near..

  8. Q said...

    Wasim, I think Ponting will be back in Adelaide.

  9. Q said...

    Thanks NC.

    RD was actually pretty good in the IPL. Played some amazing knocks. I never thought that could cause his downfall in tests. What worries me as to how long this decline has gone on for.

  10. Q said...

    Thanks Som.

    I believe South Africa have plenty of options back home. Lots of people trying to break into the team. JP Duminy for one.

  11. Q said...

    SP such is the story of our lives!

  12. Gaurav Sethi said...

    Q, yes, RD did fine in the IPL. But Mallaya n co undermined him. The overall perception was, RD's a loser. And that has stuck since WC 07.

    when you speak of that 58 avg, he was way beyond srt as a test batsmen. now, while srt somehow reinvented himself, and even his cricket to some degree, rd's stuck with an identity crisis. and in indian cricket, no number of runs can save a player without an identity.

  13. Anonymous said...

    Dravid and kallis - the end of the road.

    Ponting... It is just starting.

  14. Damith S. said...

    out of those 3 the one id bet my house on is ponting. he is a class act and just going through some tough times. i think the media issues is messing with his head.

    dravid will be gone after the end of the eng series.

    kallis- no one really cares about kallis do they ? :P

  15. Q said...

    NC, I think the "identity crisis" u talk abt is spot on. So true.

  16. Q said...

    Ur right abt Kallis Damith ;-)

    I think the general perception is that Ponting will bounce back soon. Lets wait and watch.

  17. Anonymous said...

    All those predicting end of Dravid, mind it he is getting ready for return to the form...he s got in groove in the domestic games with 2 50s :P

    so like in past, critics might need to eat back their words !!

    Kallis is gone and finished...Ponting would be banned soon!!

  18. Q said...

    Ponting is back I guess...

    For Dravid, we'll have to wait longer than we thought..

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