In cricket, knowing who holds the various records is like knowing the capitals of the world in geography: if you cannot name the main ones, then you are bound to look a bit silly; if you don’t know the other ones, it does not matter one iota. As such, QuickStat is just an effort to include the blue chip records in an easy to digest list. In the categories, where the records are aggregated over the history of cricket, I’ll also include (where possible) the highest current player along with their age: usually with the constant cycle of retirements, it’s difficult to keep track of who might be able to overtake the record holder. Continue reading
[Minimum qualification: 30 Tests or less in a career or (if currently playing) little chance of exceeding 30 Tests]
- Nick Knight (England) – The stylish opener with a certain flair deserves to be remembered as one of England’s best one-day players, playing at a time when the English were struggling to make an impact. However, his reputation seems destined to be marred by his stuttering Test career.
- Upul Tharanga (Sri Lanka) – Tharanga, an aggressive opener, has formed successful partnerships with both Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan. At the age of 31, he has managed to already play nearly 200 ODI’s but has flitted in and out of the Test side for a career of just 23 Tests.
- Darren Lehmann (Australia) – Given his marked impact as the coach-saviour of the Australian national side, people might forget one day that he was an excellent strokemaker in the one-day format. Blocked from the Test side during Australia’s dominant reign in the 1990s, Lehmann could only establish himself in the side after the age of 33.
- Andrew Symonds (Australia) – After being barred from the national set-up after a series of off-field issues and falling out of love with cricket, Symonds’ international cricket career ended in 2009 at a time when he was producing peak performances in all formats. However, he left the one-day arena with a formidable record as a belligerent batsman, electric fielder and handy bowler.
- Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe) (wicketkeeper) – Putting his county duties above his international duties for Zimbabwe due to financial reasons, Taylor looks unlikely to add to his tally of 23 Tests, which would have been more if Zimbabwe had been available for Test cricket. However, he is likely his country’s best batsman since the Flower brothers.
- Michael Bevan (Australia) – Regarded as the best finisher in the history of one-day cricket, Bevan had the ability to both save an innings after an initial collapse and force the issue at the end of an innings with a boundary blitz. While you might point towards MS Dhoni and Michael Hussey as possible betters, it should be noted that Bevan was the one who invented the style these two would later adopt.
- Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) (captain) – The ballistic batsman in Shahid Afridi – in his first ODI innings, he swung his way to a hundred off thirty-seven balls – often overshadows the cunning legspinner in him. With nearly 400 wickets in 398 matches, his cricketing brains were much more evident in his bowling than his batting.
- Ajit Agarkar (India) – A Indian bowling all-rounder with serious batting talent – in his brief Test career, he hit a Lord’s Test century – will always draw comparisons to the great Kapil Dev. While he didn’t quite live up to these standards, he enjoyed an extensive one-day career with nearly 300 wickets in less than 200 matches.
- Brad Hogg (Australia) – The wily left-arm unorthodox spinner had big shoes to fill after the unexpected omission of Warne for the 2003 World Cup. With his tongue sticking out and a ball thrust into his hyper-active hands, Hogg ended up starring in two unbeaten World Cup campaigns for the green and gold.
- Nathan Bracken (Australia) – It was unfortunate that the left-arm swing bowler’s career ended right when the modern Twenty20 phenomenon was taking off with the IPL: his control over his variations would have outfoxed many a heaving batsman, providing him with T20 riches and fame.
- Shane Bond (New Zealand) – In an injury-stunted career, Bond’s fragile body could only really withstand the strains of one-day internationals. When he could get on the park, his bowling was destructive: against the top-ranked Australians, he took 44 wickets in 17 matches at an average of just 16.
Bill Lawry once floated the idea that Watson should retire from Test matches and instead focus on the short forms: since he’s a ‘superstar’ in limited overs cricket, why does he bother with a format that puts such a strain on his brittle body? While this might have just been a throwaway line during the commentary of an ODI, it does illustrate this disparity between his achievements in the Test arena and the shorter forms.
His Test record – although not as bad as public sentiment would have it, as I have discussed previously – jumps out as one of underachievement for Australia’s next “Keith Miller”. However, in one-day internationals, he ranks as one of the greatest all-rounders in the format: across his 190 matches, he has aggregated 5757 runs at 40.54 and 168 wickets at 31.79. Among batting all-rounders, only Jacques Kallis and Viv Richards have comparable records. In Twenty20 Internationals, he motored along at a strike-rate of 145 and was miserly with his mediums, which went at an economy rate 7.5. But his true value as a limited overs players is fully depicted by his performances in global ICC tournaments.
While it might seem early to start thinking about the 2019 ODI World Cup, it’s interesting to note how little thought it takes to select a future Australian side, which could viably triumph again. While, of course, plenty of things such as loss of form and injury can happen in between, the fact that it is possible to do this is testament to both the strength of Australia’s short form stocks and the careful planning of the selection board.