Batting averages more relevant than runs scored in a year

Newspapers in England, especially The Telegraph made a huge hype about the most runs scored by batters in 2012. The hysteria clearly hinges on the fact that Alistair Cook, KP Pietersen and Jonathan Trott are amongst the top 5.

The Ausies should rightfully be jubilant because their captain Michael Clarke scored 1595 runs in 11 games to top the list. More significantly is the fact that Clarke also tops the average runs per innings with a brilliant 106.

Cook scored his 1249 runs in 15 games at an average of 48. KP scored 1053 in 14 games at an average of 44. Trott scored 1005 in 15 games at an average of 39.

The reality of all this is that some countries seem to play more tests than others and that their batters have more opportunities to accumulate runs. The result is that players of one country can end up topping the run list but completely falls away when it comes to averages.

This is exactly the case with England who does not have one batter, yes, Alistair Cook included, in the top 12 averages.

Hashim Amla, the only Protea to pass the 1000 mark scored 1064 runs in 10 games at an average of 71. If one extrapolates Amla’s average to the same number of innings’ Cook played; i.e. 29 the Protea would come very close to 1800.

The same applies to Kallis who scored 944 runs in 9 games and 15 innings’ at an average of 67.

Given the variables in the numbers of test played by countries the number’s game becomes fairly irrelevant when it comes to most runs scored in a calendar year. For instance Cook batted 29 times and Kallis 15 – the discrepancy is quite obvious.

Even at this early stage The Telegraph and its columnists speculate that Cook could end his career with more runs and 100’s than Kallis and, dare I say, also Sachin Tendulkar. Cook is good but not that good and if he does get near 14 000 and more runs in his career he will need the tendency, that England plays 4 to 5 more tests than the other countries, to continue.

Of more relevance is the average which suggests an all different batting performance (Note: At least 3 tests):

Batter

Country

Average

Games

Runs

100’s

Ranking

MJ   Clarke

Aus

106

11

1595

5

1

S   Chanderpaul

WI

99

9

987

3

2

JP   Duminy

SA

90

5

271

1

55

MN   Samuels

WI

87

7

866

3

18

CA   Pujara

Ind

82

6

654

3

26

H   Amla

SA

71

10

1064

4

3

JH   Kallis

SA

67

9

944

4

6

MEK   Hussey

Aus

60

11

898

4

9

AB   de Villiers

SA

58

10

815

2

7

Azhar   Ali

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