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Shocking Declines

GuyFromLancs

State Vice-Captain
Does Ian Botham represent one of the worst declines among test cricketers in the past 50 years?

Test Matches played = 102

First 51

Batting- Average 38.8.
11 Centuries

Bowling- 231 wickets @ 23.06

Second 51

Batting - Average = 28.86
3 Centuries

Bowling- 152 wickets @ 36.50


Admittedly, there have been many players who have become worse and worse as time passes- but as Botham was a genuine allrounder, and a great one at that, is his decline among the most shocking in test cricket?
 

Zinzan

Request Your Custom Title Now!
Hard to go past Beefy, be interesting to look at Richards career split into halves
 

0RI0N

State 12th Man
The Colonel Dulip Vengsarkar
Between 86 and 88 the best batsman in the world.
Hundred's at Leeds and Lords in 86 on green seamers.
Some say it was a text book performance on how to play on seaming wickets.
A couple of hundred's against the WI followed.
I think he averaged > 90 between 86 and 88 incl. 8 hundreds.
Unfortunately after `88 it went pear shaped for the next 4 years.
Ended his test career in Aus 91/92 after a nightmare series.
Last 18 tests 612@ 22.67 incl 5 half centuries.
=
He did play an innings of utter brilliance in the Ranji Trophy Final for Bombay vs Kapil Dev's Haryana in 1990/91 season.
139* off 137 balls incl 5 sixes and 9 fours.
But that match deserves it's own thread.
 

Zinzan

Request Your Custom Title Now!
The Colonel Dulip Vengsarkar
Between 86 and 88 the best batsman in the world.
.
Yeah, I vaguely remember that because Crowe seemed to always be no 2 to Vengsarkar accordingly to the ratings in that period
 

Dissector

International Debutant
Jimmy Adams is a dramatic case whose decline started exactly at the half-way mark of his career; he averaged 61 in his first 27 tests and 26 in his last 27 tests. Possibly an injury from a bouncer in 1995 played a major role.
 

Dissector

International Debutant
Neil Harvey is another well-known case though not as dramatic as Adams. He averaged 62 after his first 39 tests and 36 in his last 40. You have to feel a bit sorry for the guy. How intimidating it must have been to burst on the scene just when Bradman retired. After 9 tests and at just 21 Harvey averaged an incredible 106. The expectations would have been enormous and despite a few remarkable series in later years he couldn't live up to them.
 
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social

Hall of Fame Member
Kim Hughes

Started his final year in test cricket with a batting average of 41 and his career averaging 37 - a ridiculously low figure for someone that is generally considered to have played at least 2 of the best innings of all time
 

nexxus

U19 Debutant
Makhaya Ntini gotta be there, just a couple years ago he took more wickets than anyone else that calendar year, now he's all but written off.
 

HeathDavisSpeed

Hall of Fame Member
I forget the guy's name, but wasn't there an Indian spinner in the late 80s who burst onto the scene, tore a few people apart and then disappeared as quickly as he'd arrived.

And maybe, like Uppercut, Mendis could fit in this category ;)
 

GuyFromLancs

State Vice-Captain
Jimmy Adams is a dramatic case whose decline started exactly at the half-way mark of his career; he averaged 61 in his first 27 tests and 26 in his last 27 tests. Possibly an injury from a bouncer in 1995 played a major role.
Unbelievable. I knew Jimmy faded away somewhat but I just ran him though Statsguru and as you say-

First 27 tests = 61 with 5 centuries

Last 27 tests = 25.58 with 1 century

......cricinfo also notes that after 12 tests only Don Bradman had better stats than Adams.
 

The Sean

Cricketer Of The Year
Arthur Morris would fall into this category too. He scored 10 centuries in his first 36 Test innings, and just 2 in the 43 that followed. His average in that time fell from the 60-70 zone down to its final point of 46.48.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Jimmy Adams is a dramatic case whose decline started exactly at the half-way mark of his career; he averaged 61 in his first 27 tests and 26 in his last 27 tests. Possibly an injury from a bouncer in 1995 played a major role.
Maybe that might be believable if he'd not already begun to decline before that smack on the cheek. Personally I don't believe it made any significant impact because in his 2nd game after coming back from said blow he made a double-century. It was only thereafter that the problems really started. And even then, it was only his last 9 Tests that were truly diabolical.

But yeah, he did make a rapid decline.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Hard to go past Beefy, be interesting to look at Richards career split into halves
With Richards it's more a case of 2 short periods of superlativeness (1977 and 1979/80-1981 - he averaged 90-odd and ~80, from memory, respectively) amongst what was mostly (1974/75-1988/89) a career where he failed to reach the heights his many admirers expected.

And the truth is that Botham's case was no rapid decline, not in all-round terms and not any more than the usual stages of a player's career. Botham was still easily a Test-class cricketer until 1987 - he only played a few games in 1989 and another few (very ill-advisedly) in 1991, 1991/92 and 1992.

He was superlative beyond superlative 1977/78-1982, especially when not captain; he was still good (much more so as batsman than bowler) when not playing West Indies 1982/83-1987 (was diabolical against WI) and as I say, way below Test-class from 1989 onwards. It wasn't a case of an overnight decline from sensational to awful.

For an example of something like that, look at Allan Donald. Though he was at the stage of his career when that sort of thing can happen, especially to cricketers like him - seam-bowlers who rely heavily on physical power. But it was amazing to see a bowler who'd been sensational for his entire career 1992-2001 turn-up in 2001/02 so badly a shadow of his former self. I've rarely wished that a cricketer hadn't attempted to play more than I did there.

Those who suffered a comparable decline mid-career are rare, but one example is the relatively little-known Trinidadian Tony Gray. In his first ~4 years he took about 600 First-Class wickets at 20, including 5 Tests where he averaged 17. Then he suffered a serious injury and for the rest of his career averaged 29.

And almost all such declines can be put down to a serious injury, really. To see one with no apparent obvious cause is exceedingly rare.
 
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Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Michael Vaughan comes to mind from recent times.
But again, not really any more than any player at comparable stage of careers. Vaughan has always had a weak body and by 2009 it was no longer up to requirements, and he gave-up the ghost before he embarrassed himself, wisely.
 

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