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The last frontier (of underperformance)

February 24, 2009

Fred Trueman, Malcolm Marshall, Richard Hadlee, Jeff Thompson, Michael Holding, Wasim Akram


Long run-ups, thundering strides, aerodynamic actions, whiplash releases, searing pace….


Fred Trueman, Simon Doull, Shane Bond, Daryl Tuffey, Jacob Oram, Malcolm Marshall, Richard Hadlee, Jeff Thompson, Michael Holding, Wasim Akram


Surprise, Befuddlement, Confusion…laughter even….what gives?


The first is a list, with no particular selection criteria, except for having been the cause for many a sleepless night for opening and middle-order batsmen. Note that the rationale for these specific names and not many others is simply the first few names that associate themselves with “fearsome fast bowling”…in my mind.


The second is the same list, with four more bowlers, who have donned the ‘baggy black’, or simply, played test cricket for New Zealand. Oh, and yes, the list is in descending order of test bowling average against India.


Bowler Against India in Tests Career Overall
Matches Wickets Average
Fred Trueman   9  53   14.84   21.57
Simon Doull   2  12   16.25   29.30
Shane Bond   2  12   16.33   22.39
Daryl Tuffey   4  21   16.38   31.16
Jacob Oram   3  13   20.30   31.18
Malcolm Marshall  17  76   21.98   20.94
Richard Hadlee  14  65   22.96   22.29
Jeff Thompson   5  22   23.45   28.00
Michael Holding  15  61   25.29   23.68
Wasim Akram  12  45   28.86   23.62

 Source: cricinfo statsguru

Ok, so, there are a few immediate highlights of the table above:

  1. New Zealand and India just don’t play much cricket. The number of games played by the additional four (this is over their career) is too small a sample for serious comparison
  2. While all of the added four have remarkable figures against India, only Shane Bond has a career average in the vicinity (22.39) which only confirms his class and highlights the extent of loss to international cricket when he was banned idiotically by the New Zealand Board at the behest of the BCCI
  3. That the averages against India for the other six are fairly close to their career averages underlines their potency. Four of them in fact have worse averages against India than their career averages
  4. While it is possible that the three other than Bond were in the form of their lives in those specific games against India, its likelier that a combination of very helpful wickets and poor technique did the Indians in

India have won four out of 18 tests and seven out of 24 ODI’s played against New Zealand in their backyard and the flattering figures shown by far-from-world-beating but journeymen kiwi bowlers (Bond being the obvious exception) shows why.


Fact that the test matches this time have been scheduled at the back of the T20s and the ODIs mean that the batsmen will have very few excuses for not coming to terms with the seaming conditions. Southee and Co. will in turn hope that they’re the ones who are the beneficiaries of largesse on the part of the Indian batsmen.

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