Home > Features > Facts and figures >

Numbers prove why VVS Laxman was master at shepherding the tail

Numbers prove why VVS Laxman was master at shepherding the tail

VVS Laxman (R) and Ishant Sharma during their match winning partnership against Australia at Mohali in 2010 © AFP

VVS Laxman was known to be a batsman who excelled in shepherding the tail and making it wag. Arunabha Sengupta puts his record with the lower order under statistical focus.

 

 

Immediately after the magician of Indian cricket bowed out of the international stage, cricketcountry.com carried out a statistical retrospective of his career.

 

And eventually, the art of VVS Laxman’s batting did withstand close scrutiny of science, and he emerged from the numerical drill without losing any colour from the masterpieces painted along the way.

 

In this article we take a detailed look at another facet of his career that has shone through as spectacular. In our memory, he rests as someone who has batted with the tail umpteen times, holding it together, making it wag, and gently guiding it onward. Let us see how this is reflected in figures.

 

When we put this perception under statistical focus, the difference between him and the other middle order batsmen of India of recent times do seem significant.

 

# To do this analysis, we have taken into account all the times the five middle-order batsmen in the comparison have batted with numbers 9, 10 and 11 in the line-up.

 

# We have kept Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag out of this comparison, because it is a bit unreasonable to expect opening batsmen to bat regularly with the tail.

 

# Only one partnership in this regard has been ignored – between Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir at The Oval in 2011. Though Gambhir did come in at No 9 in the first innings, he obviously cannot be considered a tailender.

 

The statistics are revealing. We find that Laxman had as many as 71 partnerships with the tailenders – way ahead of the others. That makes it one partnership with a tailender in every 3.17 times he batted. Only MS Dhoni – perhaps because he comes in lower in the order – has a more frequent rate of one every 2.74 innings.

 

For the rest it is less than one occasion of batting with a tail-ender in every 5.5 innings.

 

Laxman’s stands with the tail also yielded significantly more runs than the rest. He collaborated in as many as 10 half-century partnerships – including three with Anil Kumble and two apiece with Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. The highest partnership he had with a tailender was the pivotal 81-run association with Ishant Sharma against Australia at Mohali, 2010.

 

Batting

with

Nos. 9/10/11

 

Nos. of

P’ships

 

Unbeaten P’ships

 

Partnership

 Total

 

Highest

P’ship

 

Average

P’Ship

 

100

P’ships

 

50

P’ships

 

VVS Laxman

71

5

1369

81

20.74

0

10

R Dravid

49

1

1077

144

22.44

2

5

SR Tendulkar

41

1

947

133

23.68

2

1

MS Dhoni

39

3

758

84

21.06

0

5

SC Ganguly

34

0

664

100

19.53

1

4

 

Among others, Sachin Tendulkar ends up with the highest average partnership score with numbers 9, 10 and 11, helped along by century stands with Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh.

 

Rahul Dravid did surprisingly well for a regular No 3. Somewhat strangely, the most fruitful partnerships he enjoyed were with his Bangalore teammates, Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad – a 144 run stand with the former being the highest.

 

Every batting position brings with it unique challenges. Facing the opening bowlers at zero for one or 11 for two is perhaps as demanding as being stranded with a rabbit at 177 for eight. And for the greater opportunity of a hundred at the top of the order, one does enjoy the higher probability of unbeaten innings while batting lower down.

 

It is a question of making the best use of the situation. VVS Laxman, spurred on by his immense creative imagination while accompanying lesser men, frequently managed to excel in the final stages.

 

(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)

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Sep 13, 2014 (19:30 IST)   at Gros Islet, St Lucia

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Mumbai Indians won by 9 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 72 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 13, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 13, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 7 wkts

Scotland tour of Ireland, 2014

Sep 12, 2014  at Dublin

Scotland won by 8 wkts

Photos

India tour of England 2014: Highlights

Videos

Ajmal addresses media after being suspended

Live Cricket Score Southern Express vs Lahore Lions CLT20 2014: Lions close in on win

Perth Scorchers in CLT20 2014 Preview: BBL champions start as underdogs

Jonty Rhodes — what if the famous leap to run-out Inzamam-ul-Haq hadn’t come off

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Lahore Lions’ fate mimics that of Pakistan

CLT20 2014 Qualifier Match 6: Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights — Key battles

Bangladesh Bangladesh vs West Indies 2014 Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Lahore Lions Lahore Lions vs Mumbai Indians Lahore vs MI Mumbai Indians Mumbai Indians vs Lahore Lions Northern Knights Southern Express West Indies West Indies vs Bangladesh 2014

Goa Cricket Association gets more time to reply to notice

Southern Express vs Lahore Lions, 5th Qualification Match in CLT20: Jehan Mubarak, Farveez Maharoof dismissed by Adnan Rasool

CLT20 2014 Live Scorecard: Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights

Southern Express vs Lahore Lions, 5th Qualification Match in CLT20: Southern Express in deep trouble

Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights Live Cricket Score CLT20 2014 6th Qualifying Match at Raipur

Hobart Hurricanes in CLT20 2014, Preview: Underdogs, who have their task cut out

Test Cricket: Then and Now

Dolphins in CLT20 2014 Preview: South African champions can be a surprise package

Perth Scorchers in CLT20 2014 Preview: BBL champions start as underdogs

Jonty Rhodes — what if the famous leap to run-out Inzamam-ul-Haq hadn’t come off

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

635 Posts | 7 Fans

Yuvraj Singh in Anupam Kher show

PayPal takes a swing at Apple Pay security over “iCloud hack”

Bigg Boss pair Tanishaa Mukerji and Armaan Kohli getting married!

Is Shahid Kapoor taking a dig at Kareena Kapoor Khan?

International programme in Animal Husbandry

K.K. Paul takes oath as acting Mizoram governor

‘Global selfie’ to send Earth’s self-portrait into space

George Clooney to be honoured at Golden Globes

How do I style curly hair? (Male Grooming Query)

Southern Express vs Lahore Lions, 5th Qualification Match in CLT20: Southern Express in deep trouble

CLT20 2014 Live Scorecard: Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here