Monday 31 December 2012

1000 test runs in a year.

Michael Clarke had a fantastic year in 2012. He scored 1596 runs at an average over 100. It brought up the question, how often do players score 1000 runs in a calendar year, and who has done it the most?

So I put together some data for all you trivia buffs out there

First the batsmen who have done it the most:

We can see that most of the players are from the modern era. The only players who are in this list who didn't play post 2000 are Taylor (retired '99), Border (retired '94) and Gavaskar (retired '87).

Interestingly Hayden managed the feat in 5 consecutive years, from 2001 to 2005, which is particularly impressive consistency. Mark Taylor is also quite impressive, because he only played test cricket in 11 years, so to score 1000 runs 3 times is outstanding.

The top few names are as we would expect for this sort of statistic. Tendulkar at the top, then Lara, Kallis, Hayden and Ponting. For me they are/were 5 of the 6 best batsmen of this era (along with Sangakkara).

The next list to look at is what countries have done the best.

Some countries play a lot more test matches than others. Of the 128 times that a player has scored 1000 runs in a year, only 11 times did that player play less than 10 test matches, and never less than 8. England have played 10 or more tests in a year 40 times, while Bangladesh have never played 10 tests in a year, so we would expect more English batsmen to have achieved the feat more often than Bangladeshi batsmen.

We would also expect batsmen from countries with easier conditions to do it more often than players who play half their matches on bowler friendly pitches. Since 1990, there have been more than 1.95 hundreds per match in India, Australia, England and Pakistan, but less than 1.7 in New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe. As a result it's fair to expect there to be less South Africans, New Zealanders and Zimbabweans in the list than players from the India, Pakistan, Australia or England.

The surprise is that there are so many South Africans on the list. It is a clear example of their outstanding batting strength in recent years. Andy Flower managed it against the odds, having to play half of his cricket in Zimbabwe, and his team only playing 9 matches in 2000 when he achieved it. He was also keeping wickets that year, making him the only keeper to achieve the feat. He also lies second on the list for most runs in a year as keeper, with 899 in 2001, when he also only payed 9 matches.

The final thing to look at is how many times 1000 runs has been scored in any particular decade.

The trend towards bigger bats, shorter boundaries (except in the West Indies and New Zealand where cricket is being played more on single purpose stadia rather than rectangular ones) and more tests should lead to more players scoring 1000 runs in a year, and it has.

When Clem Hill scored 1060 runs in 1902 it was remarkable. Then Compton and Bradman joined the club in 1947 and 1948 respectively, with amazing years. However I don't think that Jonathan Trott scoring 1005 runs in 15 tests at 38.65 this year is quite as impressive an achievement.

It is another record who's significance has diminished somewhat in the age of the batsman, but that does not diminish from Michael Clarke's achievement. By any standard he has had a fantastic year.

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