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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

New Zealand's 'Most Consistent' Run Scorers 

Well here's another go at crunching the numbers that get spat out by NZ's cricketers at test level (A couple of weeks back dc_red and myself made quite the effort to analyse McMillan, Richardson, Fleming and Astle and we reckon we did a pretty good job so check it out).

Anyhow this time I decided to try and find the top batting averages for NZ in test matches and then I decided to remove the highest score from each batsman for every 30 innings they have played and then recalculate their average. The reason being that often a player gets a couple of massive (or merely medium to large) scores in an otherwise mediocre (or bollocks as some of us with foul mouths and too much beer in us like to say) career that completely blows their average out and thus makes them look like they were almost a long serving, faithful, toiling contributor to our batting tallies.

The classic example is Matthew Sinclair who currently has the eleventh highest average in NZ history at 38.54 but if you remove his two double centuries (214 and 204*) you end up with an average of 25.9. Good on him for knocking up those scores, but getting a million runs once in a blue moon is hardly good enough for the team in the half a dozen tests in between where you get scores like 8, 6, 4, 0, 19, 24, 12, 43*, 44, 35*, 1 and 20 which Sinclair scored between the 214 and 150. It was more of the same following the 150 up until the 204 and it's been more of the same since then as well.

So anyway, to get on with it, here's the averages of the top 25 NZ batsmen after they have had their highest totals removed. Also if you click on the comments button at the bottom of the post I'll put their real averages there out of interest.

The figures in brackets in the list below are their ranking without extracting high scores. Basically if the bracketed figure is higher than the new ranking figure it means they were, or have been, more consistent relatively to those other batsmen around them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the cream of NZ cricket batting history stripped bare and placed in their rightful position ...

1 (1) MH Richardson 44.39
2 (3) MD Crowe 38.71
3 (5) AH Jones 37.75
4 (6) SB Styris 37.58
5 (4) GM Turner 36.8
6 (8) CD McMillan 36.52
7 (2) JF Reid 35.48
8 (13) JG Wright 33.98
9 (9) JDP Oram 33.47
10 (10) SP Fleming 33.01
11 (7) B Sutcliffe 32.49
12 (12) NJ Astle 32.48
13 (14) JV Coney 32.14
14 (15) CL Cairns 29.7
15 (16) JR Reid 29.32
16 (17) GP Howarth 27.94
17 (21) MG Burgess 27.05
18 (18) BE Congdon 26.91
19 (20) GO Rabone 26.76
20 (26) BF Hastings 26.18
21 (29) L Vincent 25.92
22 (11) MS Sinclair 25.9
23 (22) GT Dowling 25.28
24 (25) BA Edgar 25.26
25 (24) MJ Greatbatch 25.15

So Sinclair goes from 11th to 22nd. By far the biggest mover in the wrong direction.

Amazingly six of the top 25 are in the current team which was pole-axed by the Poms. And none of the top 25 are still currently playing. It shows just how NZ cricket has improved in the last two decades.

And here are their real averages. Just 25 in total averaging over 30 which was a bit of a surprise to me.

Test Career Highest Batting Averages (Qualification: 20 innings)

MH Richardson 47.46
JF Reid 46.28
MD Crowe 45.36
GM Turner 44.64
AH Jones 44.27
JDP Oram 43.58
CD McMillan 40.75
SB Styris 40.21
B Sutcliffe 40.10
NJ Astle 38.69
MS Sinclair 38.54
SP Fleming 38.03
JG Wright 37.82
JV Coney 37.57
CL Cairns 34.09
JR Reid 33.28
GP Howarth 32.44
BE Congdon 32.22
BA Young 31.78
GO Rabone 31.22
MG Burgess 31.20
GT Dowling 31.16
SA Thomson 30.90
MJ Greatbatch 30.62
BA Edgar 30.59
BF Hastings 30.20
Just as a comparison, consider the case of Michael Slater, who just announced his retirement from cricket at the ripe old age of 34.

He was dropped from the Australian test team for the second and final time in 2001, having played 74 tests and 131 innings at an average of 42.83.

If you take out his three best innings he averages 39.24, which would put him in third place in the all-time New Zealand list.

Australia can (seemingly) cast guys like this aside, while New Zealand is currently searching the counties of England for anyone with a Kiwi passport and the ability to hold a bat.
Interesting to read these averages without the distortions of the high scores, but I wonder if, in removing the three top scores, you should also remove the bottom three scores. Otherwise, you're tending to weight your sample towards the bottom end, and perhaps being a little unfair on our boys. There's got to be a few points in it for them there. (Of course, with a lot of those guys, the three bottom scores would be 0, so what are you gonna do?)
yeah that's a good point but I came to the same conclusion as you. I imgine that almost every single batsmans lowest three scores would add up to nothing more than 5 or 6 at the absolute maximum so it would make no difference.

I could have easily removed the top 1, 2, 3,... 5 or whatever scores but three seemed about the right number to go for. Oram and Styris have the chance to really show their stuff today so here's hoping.
Removing the top three scores also favours players with longer careers. Maybe you should remove a score for each 30 innings or something like that.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
right, I've made the changes. It makes much more sense now.

Thanks for pointing out the flaw. I should have turned my brain on and allowed it time to warm up properly before leaping into it after a day at work.

There's no way to get it completely perfect short of taking their top score off them for every 10th innings or so, which would take twice as long as forever but I think it's quite revealing now all the same.
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