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Peakiest Peaks


International Vice-Captain
I was going through a statsguru query and checked the batsman since 2016 -

VK averages 72.16 @ 86.80 in the 3 formats combined(90 innings), has got 4907 runs with 16 hundreds and 22 fifties, no other batsman with more than 2K runs averages more than 55, no one has more hundreds or 50+ scores. Has the best average in all 3 formats individually as well.

Question is, is this the best peak for a batsman over a significant duration of time that has ever been? If not, what others will you put as better or equal?
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The normal awards that everyone else has
They tell me Bradman averaged 99 over his career. I find it hard to believe.


International Regular
Gatting had a 3 year spell (late 1984-late 1987) in which he averaged 62 in 28 Tests. In the rest of his career he averaged 23.


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Ponting averaged 70 through his best 52 tests and was around 60 odd after 100


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Nah, look who wrote the seminal tribute to him when he retired and included those stats in the masterpiece.


Obviously a tongue-in-cheek piece but still interesting.....


By Andy Zaltzman

How good was Ian Botham? Overall he averaged 28.40 with the ball, 33.54 with the bat. In the first 25 Tests of his 102-Test career, those figures are 18.52 and 40.48; in the final 25, 42.00 bowling, 23.45 batting. Overall-Botham was very good. Late-slump-Botham, scuttled by injury and time, did not merit selection. Peak-Botham was one of the greatest Test cricketers of all time. Peak-Waqar took 19 five-fors in his first 31 Tests; Increasing-Back-Trouble-Waqar took only three more in his final 56 games.

Cricket needs a measure of how good a player was in his best years. There are, evidently, greater priorities on this often-malfunctioning planet, and in this often-malfunctioning sport, but the career average, at best, needs considerable prodding to reveal its truths, and, at worst, is wilfully misleading. I therefore unveil: Peak-33 - a player's numbers in the best 33-Test phase of their careers.

Peak-33 is based on the 33 matches in which batsmen scored most runs and bowlers took most wickets, rather than the 33 in which they returned the best average.

I could have chosen another mathematically convenient number: Peak-50, for example, the length of the high plateau period of Donald Bradman's Test career; in other words, his entire career excluding his debut (18 and 1), and his final-Test duck. I could have chosen Peak-25, the number of Tests in which SF Barnes bowled a significant number of overs during his legendary 189-wickets-at-16 England career. While no one has come close to Barnes' career average since then - an average itself skewed by a deluge of late-career wickets against a relatively underpowered South Africa - Imran Khan's Peak-25 (from 1981 to 1986, excluding two Tests in Australia in which he did not bowl due to injury) produced 154 wickets at 14.85. Or I could have chosen Peak-200, to appeal to the Tendulkar fans.

I chose Peak-33, however, for the following reasons:

1. It is long enough to require prolonged consistency, even in the modern age of hyper-hectic golden-goose-squeezing schedules.
2. It is short enough to encompass the careers of far more of the pre-war titans of cricket than Peak-50.
3. It sounds better.
4. It could be the sequel to Catch-22.
5. It is the length of the Test career of naughty, naughty Salman Butt, who, with an average of 30.46, does not emerge well from the statistic.
6. It is the atomic number of arsenic. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
7. It is the number of vertebrae in the normal human spine (coccyx included). (Ditto.)
8. It was the average number of different mystery balls announced by Shane Warne before an Ashes series. If I remember correctly.
9. It is the number of tracer bullets fired by Ravi Shastri in his special commentary research laboratory, in order to ascertain the average speed of a tracer bullet, against which to compare the speed of cricket balls........

01. Don Bradman (1928) = 102.87
02. Viv Richards (1976) = 72.56
03. Rahul Dravid (2002) = 72.37
04. Steve Waugh (1993) = 71.90
05. Mahela Jaywardene (2006) = 71.42
06. AB de Villiers (2010) = 71.31
07. Walter Hammond (1928) = 71.04
08. Garry Sobers (1957) = 71.04
09. Sachin Tendulkar (1997) = 70.19
10. Jacques Kallis (2003) = 70.16

01. Imran Khan (1980) = 171 at 15.90
02. Muttiah Muralithran (2003) = 250 at 17.32
03. Johnny Briggs (1884) = 118 at 17.75
04. Malcolm Marshall (1984) = 196 at 17.65
05. Jim Laker (1951) = 146 at 17.73
06. Richard Hadlee (1982) = 196 at 18.47
07. Curtly Ambrose (1990) = 164 at 18.84
08. Shaun Pollock (1997) = 153 at 19.31
09. Alan Davidson (1956) = 171 at 19.39
10. Waqar Younis (1990) = 191 at 19.56

The best stats measure | The Cricket Monthly | ESPN Cricinfo

Bit surprised that Viv Richards and Steve Waugh’s peaks started as early as they did as the bowling would have been a bit easier later in their careers. More power to them both I guess.

Also, Briggs out-peaked Barnes which is a pretty good effort even allowing for the dodgy wickets that Briggs bowled on.

Imran and Murali (just) both out-muscled Marshall!
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Hall of Fame Member
After providing such interesting arguments for 50 and 25, it seems like a better choice would have been 37/38, the halfway point of these numbers

but whatever, its a cool little stat. I see Dravid had an awesome peak


International Captain
The list contains real ATGs and only ABDV is the current player in this list. But he usually doesn't feature in test ATG discussions. Isn't he underrated?


International Regular
Also, Briggs out-peaked Barnes which is a pretty good effort even allowing for the dodgy wickets that Briggs bowled on.
Barnes only played 27 Tests so doesn't qualify for the list.
Briggs played exactly 33, so that's his whole career.


U19 Debutant
A mate of mine developed a programme around Zaltzman's Peak 33 idea

Instructions are there on how to use it. It's fairly straightforward. You can adjust the "peak" period

This attachment also has a number of tsv files from different players (that you need to create to do use the app..consider it an early Christmas gift :) )
View attachment Player tsv Files.zip

Here are some I ran a while ago using this
Batting - sorted by average

Bowling - Sorted by average