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Is it fair to target Tendulkar: Analysis of over 38 batsmen in Test history?

Is it fair to target Tendulkar: Analysis of over 38 batsmen in Test history?

A nation debate raged after Sachin Tendulkar (above) got bowled three successive times in the recently-concluded Test series against New Zealand. The dismissals were attributed to his advancing age as it brought memories of Rahul Dravid (picture below) repeatedly getting out in similar fashion and making his exit from the international stage © PTI

Three times on the trot the ball has crashed into Sachin Tendulkar’s stumps and we are reminded of the similar dismissals of Rahul Dravid not too long ago. Arunabha Sengupta does a statistical study if batsmen are more prone to getting bowled as they age.

 

Sachin Tendulkar’s stumps being struck by the cherry once too often – three times out of three in the New Zealand series – makes one wonder if one is hearing the death rattle of a noble career.

 

After all, fresh in our immediate memory are the 11 times Rahul Dravid was bowled after turning 38. Although not many will remember the exact figure, the repeated sound of the ball finding a fissure in the wall and its way to strike timber still makes us wince. And that heart stopping clatter is being echoed innings after innings for Sachin Tendulkar.

 

Is it a sign of ageing reflexes? Do batsmen tend to get bowled more as they age?

 

Let us take a look at what the figures tell us.

 

If we take all cricketers into consideration from the very beginning of Test cricket, we find that bowled constitutes 21.49% of the total dismissals. If we consider all the innings played by those under the age of 38, this figure is 21.37%. For men over 38, this jumps to 25.65%.

 

Statistically, this deviation is significant – we can say that the proportion of bowled dismissals becomes considerably more after the age of 38 with 99.98% confidence.

 

All Batsmen

 

Under 38

 

Over 38

 

Total

 

Other dismissals

61081

1879

62960

Bowled

13054

482

13536

Total

74135

2361

76496

Percentage bowled

17.61

20.42

17.70

p-value

0.9997

   

 

If we consider only the top order batsmen, leaving out tailenders who are prone to get bowled anyway – by taking only the ones who batted at numbers 1 to 7 – the results are similar. The percentage leaps from 16.43 for the under-38 to 19.29 for over-38, which, again, is statistically significant. We can say so with 99.92% confidence.  

 

Batting at 1-7

 

Under 38

 

Over 38

 

Total

 

Other dismissals

44140

1393

45533

Bowled

8675

333

9008

Total

52815

1726

54541

Percentage bowled

16.43

19.29

16.52

pvalue

0.9992

   
Is it fair to target Tendulkar: Analysis of over 38 batsmen in Test history?

© Getty Images

 

However, the curious fact is that the batsmen at batting orders 1-7 have an overall average of 35.91, which shoots up to 37.80 for the 38-plus group. The reason is obviously that to bat at this level when over 38, one has to be very, very good – a Jack Hobbs, a Don Bradman or a Rahul Dravid.

 

However, is getting bowled linked to the way a batsman performs after 38?

 

If we look at a sample of individual batsmen across time who have played past 38, we find that not everyone gets bowled more often. In fact, for Hobbs, Geoff Boycott and Clive Lloyd, the percentage decreases drastically. And if we consider that Bradman was bowled 44% of the times he was dismissed post-38, we do find it has little to do with quality or performance.

 

 

Overall Dismissals

 

Before 38

 

After 38

 

Percentage Bowled

 

 

All

 

Bowled

 

All

 

Bowled

 

All

 

Bowled

 

Overall

 

Before 38

 

After 38

 

J Hobbs

95

24

43

14

52

10

25.26

32.56

19.23

P Hendren

74

26

28

10

46

16

35.14

35.71

34.78

D Bradman

70

23

52

15

18

8

32.86

28.85

44.44

T Graveney

110

26

74

16

36

10

23.64

21.62

27.78

C Cowdrey

173

31

162

28

14

3

18.13

17.28

21.43

G Boycott

170

30

111

22

59

8

17.65

19.82

13.56

C Lloyd

161

27

134

24

27

3

16.77

17.91

11.11

V Richards

170

36

154

34

16

2

21.18

22.08

12.50

G Gooch

209

36

154

27

55

9

17.22

17.53

16.36

S Waugh

224

39

216

38

8

1

17.41

17.59

12.50

R Dravid

254

55

230

44

24

11

21.65

19.13

45.83

S Tendulkar

282

51

258

46

24

5

18.09

17.83

20.83

 

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

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