Saturday 17 August 2013

Another first innings spinner

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about Daniel Vettori, showing that he was much more effective in the first innings than in the second innings.

Among spin bowlers who have taken more than 250 wickets, Vettori is alone in this, but among bowlers who have taken less wickets there are a few others. Here's the list of regular spin bowlers who started their careers post 1978 and who have a second innings average higher than their first innings average.

NameFirst innings wicketsFirst innings averageSecond innings wicketsSecond innings averagedifference
Shakib Al Hasan (Ban) 7830.742838.50-7.76
SLV Raju (India) 5728.503634.22-5.72
DL Vettori (ICC/NZ) 22633.0713436.70-3.63
Abdul Qadir (Pak) 15132.198533.88-1.69
NM Lyon (Aus) 5232.233232.69-0.46

It's a fairly short list, but the interesting thing is the last three names on it. Vettori and Qadir are two outstanding bowlers. But they both have quite similar records to Nathan Lyon.

I thought it would be interesting to look at the three bowlers together, after they had all played the same number of matches as Nathan Lyon has:

1st innings (24 matches)DeliveriesRunsWicketsAvgS/RE/R
DL Vettori303913173537.6386.82.6
Abdul Qadir389518535037.0677.92.85
NM Lyon323916765232.2362.33.1

2nd innings (24 matches)DeliveriesRunsWicketsAvgS/RE/R
DL Vettori359214524730.8976.42.43
Abdul Qadir333815064235.8679.52.71
NM Lyon208210463232.6965.13.01

We can see that Vettori started off his career more conventionally, being more effective in the second innings. But the thing that stands out to me is how much more effective Lyon is at taking wickets than either of the other two. His strike rate is remarkable. (To put his strike rate in context: at the same stage of his career Warne had a strike rate of 67.4) Lyon's overall average and strike rate is also better than Vettori's or Abdul Qadir's was after 24 matches.

It seems that the Australian selectors and public are still somewhat unconvinced by Lyon, but I think that if he can hold his own in a comparison with Vettori and Abdul Qadir, then he is probably a bowler worth persevering with.

1 comment:

  1. I find it unfathomable that Lyon was dropped at all during this Ashes, he is quite clearly (and to almost all observers outside of the Australian selector's bubble) the best spinner they have produced since the Warne/Macgill era. He might not fit their idea of what a spinner should be, but he gets the job done consistently, often in challenging conditions.