the wrong 'un

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sometimes, Injuries Are Your Friend.

Scyld Berry on Monty Panesar:

"It may not be much of a title with Daniel Vettori and Ashley Giles on the treatment table and Harbhajan Singh wicketless save for one dream spell in the West Indies, but Panesar can claim to be the best finger-spinner currently in Test cricket."

Giles MBE 52 matches, 140 wkts, 39.60 avg, 2.84 econ, 83.48 s/r
Vettori 71/219/34.96/2.66/78.69
Harbhajan 57/238/29.86/2.81/63.70
Panesar 8/25/30.72/2.51/73.40

What can we extrapolate from the figures? Obviously, Monty hasn't played anywhere near enough Tests, so we must be wary of the small sample size. But it is worth bearing in mind that, unlike batsmen, who often start with a bang until bowlers find their weak spot, spin bowlers do not generally become masters of their craft until about the age of 30, and Panesar is 24.

What certainly stands out is that Giles is outclassed by all of the others named in every category. In fact, there are many others around the world whose figures rank much higher than the King of Spain (far more likely that, than the intended King of Spin). A brief search throws up such luminaries of the finger-spinning game as Mohammed Rafique 26/87/36.59/2.64/83.13, Ray Price 18/69/35.86/2.89/74.42 and Sanath Jayasuriya 103/95/32.90/2.44/80.82 (1279 overs vs Giles 1948), all of whom have appreciably better numbers than our thankfully injured 'star'.

(As usual, the nominal point of the post gets lost as I turn it into another anti-Giles rant.)

As for the winter, if Flintoff doesn't make it, it's a disaster. Jones, a worry. Vaughan a disappointment. Giles, fan-bloody-tastic.


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