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Thread: What Is A Good Test Average For A Spinner?

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    International Debutant a massive zebra's Avatar
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    What Is A Good Test Average For A Spinner?

    Spinners almost always have higher strike rates than fast bowlers. This means they have to bowl for longer to take a wicket - which almost inevitably means they will concede more runs per wicket.

    A fast bowler who normally opens the bowling has more things in his favour - when it comes to taking wickets - than a spin bowler. First of all, he always gets to bowl to batters who are new to the crease, a spin bowler often comes on to bowl when the batsmen have been in for quite a while. An opening bowler gets to bowl with the new ball, often on a pitch that may offer a little help for the first few overs at least. A new ball is of little value to a spinner, even if he gets to use it. Furthermore, if a team is bowled out for a low score, the spinner often doesnt get much of a bowl. When a team gets a big score, the spinners get more of a bowl. This is why, over the last 40 years, a top quality fast bowler usually has a lower average than a top quality spinner, IMO.

    Up until the 1950s, top class spinners could achieve career records similar to fast bowlers (O'Reilly, Grimmett, Verity, Laker, Tayfield). However, since the implementation of covered pitches, and possibly an improvement in defensive technique against spinners, 30 has been the benchmark for a world class spinner (Gibbs, Bedi, Chandresekhar, Qadir). Anyhow, given the shockwaves Murali and Warne have created in their brilliant careers, has the benchmark for a quality spinner moved back to pre 1960s levels?
    Last edited by a massive zebra; 05-10-2004 at 10:58 AM.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    It comes back to the fingerspinner/wristspinner distinction. For a top-drawer wristie (and I'm putting Murali into this category as he's not an orthodox fingerspinner), the 23-25 category has always been the high watermark in recent time.

    Orthodox fingerspinners however (and we have a legion of equally matched ones around at the moment) should be looking around the mid-20s on conducive pitches and mid-30s outside.
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    International Debutant iamdavid's Avatar
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    For a test quality wrist spin bowler Id say 26 and below in helpful conditions (subcontinent , Australia) and anything under 30 anywhere else.

    add 3-5 to that for a finger spinner.

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    As I rule, I'd say 25 and under for sub-continent, for any spinner.

    For a wrist-spinner outside the subcontinent, say 27-28. A finger-spinner outside the sub-continent - under 33, IMO.
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    U19 Cricketer Tony Blade's Avatar
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    Under 30, definately, like Saqlain. Though, he bowled exceptionally well in the few tests that he played in India.
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    International Captain Deja moo's Avatar
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    Shouldnt Strike rate count for more than the Average, even for a spinner ?
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    No.

    As far as I'm concerned, it's not how quick they get their wickets thats important, but how many runs they cost per wicket.

    For example, I wouldn't like a spinner who averaged 40, but had a S/R of 40 too much.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Mr Casson's Avatar
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    Well that's where the average comes into it; it's a combination of the economy rate and the strike rate.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Mr Casson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a massive zebra
    Spinners almost always have higher strike rates than fast bowlers. This means they have to bowl for longer to take a wicket - which almost inevitably means they will concede more runs per wicket.
    I wouldn't say 'inevitably'. Spinners can have lower economy rates because the ball doesn't come onto the bat as much, and they are often used to tie-up one end, keeping the runs down. So even though they might take longer to get a wicket, they might have only conceded the same amount of runs as a fast bowler in that time.

    Unless of course they are Brett Lee, in which case they are well and truly ahead.

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    Tim
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    I think it also depends on what Country you come from...for example, you'd expect Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani & to some extent Australian spinners to have better averages than those from countries like NZ & England where there is little need to use a spinner.

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    International Debutant a massive zebra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deja moo
    Shouldnt Strike rate count for more than the Average, even for a spinner ?
    No.

    Isn't it better to bowl a team out for 220 in 110 overs rather than 360 in 90? Afterall, the team that scores the most runs wins, not the team that bats for the most overs.

    Take this example:

    M Balls Runs Wkts Avge Best 5i 10m SR
    H Verity 40 11173 3510 144 24.37 8-43 5 2 77.5
    DE Malcolm 40 8480 4748 128 37.09 9-57 5 2 66.2

    Malcolm has a considerably better strike rate but only the most ignorant person ever would rank him as a better bowler than Hedley Verity.

    Strike rate, while important, should not be the defining factor in selecting bowlers. If the selection is based purely on statistics, average and wickets per match should be the criteria.
    Last edited by a massive zebra; 06-10-2004 at 03:28 AM.

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a massive zebra
    No.

    Isn't it better to bowl a team out for 220 in 110 overs rather than 360 in 90? Afterall, the team that scores the most runs wins, not the team that bats for the most overs.

    Take this example:

    M Balls Runs Wkts Avge Best 5i 10m SR
    H Verity 40 11173 3510 144 24.37 8-43 5 2 77.5
    DE Malcolm 40 8480 4748 128 37.09 9-57 5 2 66.2

    Malcolm has a considerably better strike rate but only the most ignorant person ever would rank him as a better bowler than Hedley Verity.

    Strike rate, while important, should not be the defining factor in selecting bowlers. If the selection is based purely on statistics, average and wickets per match should be the criteria.
    Yes, but it can be highly relevant, I think, when comparing bowlers from different generations. I'm not talking about Verity & Malcolm of course, but if you look at the figures of guys like Titmus, Illingworth & Brown, their average of 30ish suggest they were pretty good - certainly much better than Giles. Then you look at how their averages were obtained and begin to wonder. The 1960's guys had incredible economy rates (about 2.0) but awful strike rates (about 90-100). Whilst I'm prepared to believe they were accurate, I reckon that also reflects the more negative attitude of test batsmen (WI excepted) in those days. I wonder if they'd have been as eonomical bowling at today's guys on today's wickets, and I reckon not. Giles, OTOH, is not as economical, which you would expect given today's more aggressive approach and today's wickets. However, his strike rate is much better than those guys and I think a serious rethink about where he stands in our evaluation of post WW2 England spinners is in order.

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    International Debutant a massive zebra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid
    Yes, but it can be highly relevant, I think, when comparing bowlers from different generations. I'm not talking about Verity & Malcolm of course, but if you look at the figures of guys like Titmus, Illingworth & Brown, their average of 30ish suggest they were pretty good - certainly much better than Giles. Then you look at how their averages were obtained and begin to wonder. The 1960's guys had incredible economy rates (about 2.0) but awful strike rates (about 90-100). Whilst I'm prepared to believe they were accurate, I reckon that also reflects the more negative attitude of test batsmen (WI excepted) in those days. I wonder if they'd have been as eonomical bowling at today's guys on today's wickets, and I reckon not. Giles, OTOH, is not as economical, which you would expect given today's more aggressive approach and today's wickets. However, his strike rate is much better than those guys and I think a serious rethink about where he stands in our evaluation of post WW2 England spinners is in order.
    Yes I agree with you. Titmus, Illingworth & Brown all had better economy rates than Murali but I struggle to believe they are more accurate. Giles has a superior strike rate to Lance Gibbs, but practically everyone would say the latter is the more dangerous of the two. As you say, this can be explained by the influence of one-day cricket in changing the attitudes of batsmen. In the 60s, most batsman followed the principle of 'I still want to be here in 30 mins, and will hit them for runs if they bowl me a bad ball.' Now the majority of batsman take a more positive attitude 'im going to try and score off this ball, and its only if he bowls me a ball thats good enough to stop me scoring off it, that I don't try.'

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a massive zebra
    However, since the implementation of covered pitches, and possibly an improvement in defensive technique against spinners, 30 has been the benchmark for a world class spinner (Gibbs, Bedi, Chandresekhar, Qadir).
    Lance Gibbs averaged just over 23.5 for the first 10 years of his Test-career. He dropped-off terribly after that, but in the days when he really made the impression, he was taking wickets at a brilliant average.
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    Cricketer Of The Year Arjun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Lance Gibbs averaged just over 23.5 for the first 10 years of his Test-career. He dropped-off terribly after that, but in the days when he really made the impression, he was taking wickets at a brilliant average.
    Cricketers today have such a short shelf life, so it's amazing that Lance Gibbs bowled very well for 10 years. How long did he actually play?
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