Cricket's finest careers

  • Gareth Lawson
  • Tuesday, Mar 3, 2020
  • Tags: Analysis


Here at CAST many of us have a strong sporting background, both playing and spectating. We also love numbers and cricket is a numbers game. This analysis shows how some of the best players performed throughout their careers.

Data Gathering has a huge amount of match data going back to the first test match played in Melbourne in 1887. We made use of this rich data source for the examples below.

High Score over Career

A players highest score is always a highlight of their resume. The chart below shows the highest scores of players at 10 innings intervals of theior career. Impressively, Len Hutton scored a then world record 364 in his 10th innings.

Note: this only includes batsmen with an average of 48.00 or higher over at least 20 innings as of 20 February 2020.

Batting Ave vs High Score

Probably the most important metric for a test batsman is his batting average. The chart below shows how each batsmen’s average changed throughout his career compared to his high score. This chart has one clear anomaly, the incomparable Sir Don Bradman with an average of 99.94.

Note: this only includes batsmen with an average of 48.00 or higher as of 20 February 2020.

Runs vs Wickets of Long-Serving Players

Only 89 players have played 90 or more test matches. The next two charts show how the majority of these players fit into either the batsmen or bowler mould with limited number of “all rounders”.

There are a few extreme points:

The lower scoring players that also didn’t take wickets are all wicketkeepers.

Batting Ave vs Bowling Ave of Long-Serving Players

When looking at averages rather than absolutes runs and wickets for players that played at least 90 tests and took at least 100 wickets, Jacques Kallis and Sir Garfield Sobers are heads and shoulders above the rest with batting averages of over 55 and respectable bowling averages of less than 35. Carl Hooper’s bowling average is comfortably the worse in this selection of players - in his defence, Ambrose and Walsh were probably taking the best of the bowling conditions leaving him with a relatively tougher job.

Photo by Alessandro Bogliari on Unsplash