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Career Impact - the Next 500

Dave Wilson | 4:20am gmt 30 Mar 2014
Career Impact - the Next 500
Sunil Gavaskar - massive impact over his Test career
Earlier this year I posted this feature, which outlined my initial investigations in terms of career impact on win probability. That feature covered the first 1,000 players to have been reviewed, in which we found that 40 players had so far achieved a career impact of 500% or more, and of those players six had gone on to top 1000%. The six were, in chronological order, Walter Hammond, Don Bradman, Len Hutton, Neil Harvey, Garry Sobers and Colin Cowdrey, four of whom felt the queen's sword, as it were.

As the number of Test matches played has continued to rise, a cut-off of 500% would see many more players listed than we had in the previous article, therefore the limit has been increased to 700%. This time we are looking at the next 500 Test players, that is players 1000-1499 as numbered in CricketArchive, or if you prefer Len Maddocks to Chris Balderstone (which is probably the last time those two will be mentioned in this feature). Sadly the 700% career impact limit means we won't be discussing the likes of Wes Hall, Eddie Barlow, John Snow, Roy Fredericks, Zaheer Abbas and Andy Roberts, however some of those who don't qualify will get a mention at the end, when I'll look at the impact on a per-Test basis.

Here is the first group, listed chronologically based on each player's final Test.

1064KF Barrington (Eng)8212.98
794ER Dexter (Eng)6212.80
737TL Goddard (SA)4117.98
827GD McKenzie (Aus)6013.78
810WM Lawry (Aus)6712.09

Ken Barrington and Ted Dexter, in their very different ways, end up with almost exactly the same impact on a per-Test basis, Barrington becoming our seventh player to pass 1000%. My various analyses of Test cricket have thrown up the name Trevor Goddard before, the great all-rounder from that late 1960s South Africa team which we were sadly denied enjoyment of, and here we can see what a massive influence he was in the Test matches in which he played, with almost 18% impact per Test, a phenomenal value which is equal to the great Alan Davidson (though not quite up to the level of Garry Sobers).

1005RB Kanhai (WI)7912.72
763LR Gibbs (WI)799.66
787IR Redpath (Aus)6611.93
722JH Edrich (Eng)779.38
1100RB Simpson (Aus)6217.75

Rohan Kanhai also surpasses 1000% for his career, as does Bobby Simpson - I must admit to being somewhat surprised to see Simpson's very high per-Test impact. Looking more closely at Simpson's impact, his fielding and bowling takes him to this higher level. Simpson also had some very big impact matches, with twenty at more than 20%, no fewer than four of which were over 50%, which compares favourably for example with Davidson, who had two, albeit in fewer Tests.

1002AW Greig (Eng)5817.28
736BE Congdon (NZ)6112.07
836BS Chandrasekar (Ind)5814.42
848BS Bedi (Ind)6712.65
748Asif Iqbal (Pak)5812.90
806IM Chappell (Aus)7510.75

Two great Indian spinners are featured in this group, Chandra and Bedi, though it's interesting that Chandra outpoints Bedi quite a bit in impact per Test, which also bears further discussion. Considering that Bedi took more wickets at a lower average than Chandra, clearly Chandra took the more impactful wickets. Looking at their high-impact matches in more detail, Bedi achieved 12 matches with more than 20% impact, while Chandra achieved five more such games in eleven fewer Tests; though Bedi had two matches with over 50% of impact, Chandra managed a massive 73% impact when he spun out England at Calcutta in December 1972. Tony Greig exceeded 1000% and is the tenth to do so, as well posting the very high per-Test average of 17.28% .

861KD Walters (Aus)7411.64
959APE Knott (Eng)9510.10
1203G Boycott (Eng)10811.13
924DL Underwood (Eng)8610.75
1155CH Lloyd (WI)11010.50

Our first wicket keeper and one of the finest ever to pull on gloves in Allan Knott, who falls just short of the 1000% milestone. Geoff Boycott was examined in detail in this feature, and he and Clive Lloyd both had more than 1000% career impact, taking us to twelve so far.

1239GS Chappell (Aus)8714.24
997RW Marsh (Aus)9610.39
1267DK Lillee (Aus)7018.10
729Sarfraz Nawaz (Pak)5513.26
1354RGD Willis (Eng)9015.04

Three all-time Australian greats retired after the same Test and are featured in this next group - Rodney Marsh shows as being exceptionally close to Allan Knott in terms of aggregate and average impact. Chappell and Lillee both exceeded 1000%, Lillee with an exceptionally high average, as did Bob Willis, making fifteen. Only three players in Test history had by this time exceeded 1,000% in career impact while also enjoying a per-Test average of at least 18 - Bradman, Sobers and now Dennis Lillee.

754SMH Kirmani (Ind)888.57
843MA Holding (WI)6014.04
1846SM Gavaskar (Ind)12514.77
1549RJ Hadlee (NZ)8618.13
1276CG Greenidge (WI)10811.82

Sunil Gavaskar had a massive impact over his career, his 1846% in career impact being the highest I've seen so far, overtaking Sobers on 1786). Richard Hadlee also had huge impact, and with a very high average, making four players now with 1000% at over 18 per Test. As Gordon Greenidge also achieved more than 1000% career impact, we now have 18.

1380IVA Richards (WI)12111.41
1518Imran Khan (Pak)8817.25
906DB Vengsarkar (Ind)1167.81
1220DI Gower (Eng)11710.42
1287GA Gooch (Eng)11810.91

Four of our final group passed the 1000% barrier, taking us now to 22 so far. Gooch shades Gower in aggregate in almost the same number of Tests, and therefore has a slightly higher average too. As all 500 players have been investigated and summarised, we can now list the highest scoring of the 1,500 performers which we've looked at so far in terms of career impact are as follows:-

1846SM Gavaskar (Ind)12514.77
1786GS Sobers (WI)9319.21
1549RJ Hadlee (NZ)8618.13
1518Imran Khan (Pak)8817.25
1439GA Gooch (Eng)11810.91
1399WR Hammond (Eng)8516.46
1380IVA Richards (WI)12111.41
1354RGD Willis (Eng)9015.04
1328MC Cowdrey (Eng)11411.65

The highest placed Australian player so far is Dennis Lillee with 1267% at 18.10; the highest placed South African is Trevor Goddard with 737 at 17.98. Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh had not yet begun playing Test cricket.

Let's now look at those who, for various reasons, didn't make the cut at 700% for their careers. Here are the highest ratings on a per-Test for players in this group who scored 500-700% in career impact.

16.78EJ Barlow (SA)30503
14.81BL Cairns (NZ)43637
13.65EAS Prasanna (Ind)49669
13.53WW Hall (WI)48649
13.09JA Snow (Eng)49641
13.08KD Ghavri (Ind)39510
12.99AME Roberts (WI)47611
12.78PH Edmonds (Eng)51652
12.58GM Turner (NZ)41516

Large contributors all in a relatively low number of Tests, particular Eddie Barlow and Lance Cairns. Roy Fredericks was the most unfortunate as regards the 700% cut-off, registering 699 at 11.84 per Test. Here are the highest per-Test ratings for all 500.

18.13RJ Hadlee (NZ)861549
18.10DK Lillee (Aus)701267
17.98TL Goddard (SA)41737
17.75RB Simpson (Aus)621100
17.28AW Greig (Eng)581002
17.25Imran Khan (Pak)881518
16.78EJ Barlow (SA)30503

All-rounders all, including Simpson who surely qualifies as such, but with one exception. What this shows is how much more the great all-rounders contribute in terms of impact than those who specialise in one discipline. Except Dennis Lillee - Lillee is here shown to have possessed transcendent skill primarily in terms of impact bowling.

Finally, here are the highest ranking players on a per-Test basis so far, i.e. the first 1500 players.

20.69DG Bradman (Aus)
20.08GA Faulkner (SA)
19.21GS Sobers (WI)
18.10DK Lillee (Aus)
18.04AK Davidson (Aus)
18.01RJ Hadlee (NZ)

While no Australians featured in the aggregate rankings above, three of the top five all-time on a per-Test basis turn out to have been great Aussies. While I did apply a number of Tests limit to the above list, it's worth noting that Bert Vogler managed a whopping 20.97 per Test, though he only played in 15 matches in total.

The Four Great All-rounders

We now have career figures for two of the four great all-rounders of the 1980s, Hadlee and Imran, so next time I'm going to add in Botham and Kapil Dev and look at the four of them in detail, followed by the rankings of the next 500 players.

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