Monday 23 January 2012

Big Occasion Bates

Yesterday the (mighty) Auckland Aces were playing in their third consecutive HRV Cup final. Auckland won convincingly. During the time between their first and third final they have also played Pakistan in a tour T20 match and played 2 Champions League matches.

Throughout these 6 big occasion matches one player has really been extraordinary: left arm quick bowler Michael Bates.

Here are his results:
2009/10 HRV Cup finalCentral DistrictsLoss4-0-61-3
Tour matchPakistanWin3-0-11-4
2010/11 HRV Cup FinalCentral DistrictsWin4-1-18-4
2011 Champions League T20Kolkata Knight RidersLoss4-0-13-1
2011 Champions League T20SomersetLoss4-1-13-2
2011/12 HRV Cup FinalCanterburyWin3-0-18-3
Overall 22-2-134-17

This gives him an average of 7.88, an economy rate of 6.09 and a strike rate of 7.64. If we just look at the last 2 years, removing the first final at the postage stamp sized Pukekura Park, his figures become 18-2-73-14. That is a breath-takingly low economy rate of 4.06, average of 5.2 and strike rate of 7.71.

How good are those numbers? Here are some comparisons: The best averaging bowler in the world is Krishmar Santoki from Jamaica who averages 8.56; the best economy rate is Samuel Badree from Trinidad and Tobago who's economy rate is 4.43; the best strike rate is also Santoki at 9.3. Bates's figures in the last 5 finals are better than all of these. Now it is true that 5 matches is a small sample size, but the results are still outstanding.

Given these numbers it is staggering that he hasn't been picked up by an overseas team of some variety. He hasn't even been picked for New Zealand A.

Now sometimes a bowler can get good figures by getting bad batsmen out. Not the case with Bates, here is the list of his dismissals:
Ross Taylor*
Kieran Noema-Barnett
Jacob Oram*
Mohammad Hafeez*
Shahid Afridi*
Ahmed Shezad*
Wahab Riaz
Peter Ingram*
Jamie How*
Ian Blackwell*
Doug Bracewell
Manvinder Bisla
Peter Trego
Nick Compton
Rob Nichol*
Andrew Ellis
Reece Young*
* - has batted in the top 6 in International Cricket

In his other T20 matches, when the stage is not so big, he has preformed reasonably well, but not nearly as well as he has on the big stage. Here are his stats excluding these matches: 86.5-1-755-25 Average 30.2, Economy Rate 8.73, Strike Rate 20.76.

Teams need consistent performers. But they also need players that can step up on the big occasions. So far Michael Bates has proved that he can do just that.


  1. Good post ... hope the powers that be are somehow made aware of it as it gives some good cause for a rethink at the very least.

  2. The New Zealand selectors have a thing called the PIE that they use to help them pick players. It gives a weighting for a number of different things that the selectors look at. The biggest piece of the pie is "significant performance" Hopefully this means performance in significant matches.

    If so then Bates should certainly be knocking on the door for New Zealand selection.

  3. Hear hear! I have been banging on about Batesy to anyone who will listen at Colin Maiden for the past two years. The old codgers probably all think I am soft on him. Hey, what's not to like? But he has been consistently good, and a quiet achiever, but lethal when we need him most. And I loved his cameo at Eden Park with the bat!