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Where does Ravindra Jadeja stand as a bowler in Tests on various parameters?

Where does Ravindra Jadeja stand as a bowler in Tests on various parameters?

Ravindra Jadeja claimed 24 wickets in four Tests against Australia © PTI

Ravindra Jadeja has been one of the sculptors of the Indian brownwash of Australia in 2012-13. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at Jadeja’s stature in the history of the sport.

Several eyebrows were raised when MS Dhoni had opted for Ravindra Jadeja as the Test all-rounder in the fourth Test against England. Jadeja didn’t exactly take the world by storm in the Test, but he did a decent containing job with the ball. In the Australia series that followed, though, he was a revelation.

The series has propelled Jadeja’s numbers to 27 wickets from five Tests. He averages a spectacular 19.85, has a strike rate of 58.5 balls per wicket, and has conceded only 2.03 runs per over. His series numbers (4 Tests, 24 wickets at 17.45, a strike rate of 48.3, and an economy rate of 2.16) have been matched by few in the history of Indian cricket.

But where does Jadeja stand in Indian history?

Indian bowlers by average

If we put a 25-wicket cut-off, Jadeja actually leads the bowling averages in the history of Indian cricket. In fact, along with Jasu Patel, he is the only one who averages below 25.

Table 1    All-time Indian bowlers by bowling average, cut-off 25 Test wickets
Player M Balls R W Ave SR Econ 5WI 10WM
Ravindra Jadeja 5 1,580 536 27 19.85 58.5 2.03 1 -
Jasu Patel 7 1,725 637 29 21.96 59.4 2.21 2 1
Praveen Kumar 6 1,611 697 27 25.81 59.6 2.59 1 -
Mohammad Nissar 6 1,211 707 25 28.28 48.4 3.5 3 -
Ravi Ashwin 16 5,433 2,625 92 28.53 59 2.89 9 2
Bishan Bedi 67 21,364 7,637 266 28.71 80.3 2.14 14 1
Bapu Nadkarni 41 9,165 2,559 88 29.07 104.1 1.67 4 1
Subhash Gupte 36 11,284 4,403 149 29.55 75.7 2.34 12 1
Kapil Dev 131 27,740 12,867 434 29.64 63.9 2.78 23 2
Anil Kumble 132 40,850 18,355 619 29.65 65.9 2.69 35 8

Using the same cut-off, Jadeja ranks fourth among all Indian bowlers. However, it must be remembered that seamers have historically had a better strike-rate than spinners, and the three bowlers above Jadeja — Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Nissar and Chetan Sharma — are all seamers.

Table 2    All-time Indian bowlers by strike rate, cut-off 25 Test wickets
Player M Balls R W Ave SR Econ 5WI 10WM
Umesh Yadav 9 1,485 1,040 32 32.5 46.4 4.2 1 -
Mohammad Nissar 6 1,211 707 25 28.28 48.4 3.5 3 -
Chetan Sharma 23 3,470 2,163 61 35.45 56.8 3.74 4 1
Ravindra Jadeja 5 1,580 536 27 19.85 58.5 2.03 1 -
Irfan Pathan 29 5,884 3,226 100 32.26 58.8 3.28 7 2
Ravi Ashwin 16 5,433 2,625 92 28.53 59 2.89 9 2
Jasu Patel 7 1,725 637 29 21.96 59.4 2.21 2 1
Praveen Kumar 6 1,611 697 27 25.81 59.6 2.59 1 -
Zaheer Khan 88 17,612 9,545 295 32.35 59.7 3.25 10 1
Roger Binny 27 2,870 1,534 47 32.63 61 3.2 2 0

Indian bowlers by economy rate

Jadeja ranks third in terms of economy rate with a cut-off of 25 Test wickets.  The leader, as expected, is Bapu Nadkarni, and the only other person above him is Polly Umrigar. Among the others in the top 10, almost none (other than Venkathapaty Raju, who had made a brief appearance) has played cricket in the high-scoring 21st century.

Table 3    All-time Indian bowlers by economy rate, cut-off 25 Test wickets

 


Player M Balls R W Ave SR Econ 5WI 10WM
Bapu Nadkarni 41 9,165 2,559 88 29.07 104.1 1.67 4 1
Polly Umrigar 59 4,725 1,473 35 42.08 135 1.87 2 -
Ravindra Jadeja 5 1,580 536 27 19.85 58.5 2.03 1 -
Lala Amarnath 24 4,241 1,481 45 32.91 94.2 2.09 2 -
Vinoo Mankad 44 14,686 5,236 162 32.32 90.6 2.13 8 2
Bishan Bedi 67 21,364 7,637 266 28.71 80.3 2.14 14 1
Ghulam Ahmed 22 5,650 2,052 68 30.17 83 2.17 4 1
Jasu Patel 7 1,725 637 29 21.96 59.4 2.21 2 1
Dilip Doshi 33 9,322 3,502 114 30.71 81.7 2.25 6 -
Venkathapaty Raju 28 7,602 2,857 93 30.72 81.7 2.25 5 1

Post-1990 bowlers by average

Let us now stretch to the world. Since the advent of 15-over powerplays has revolutionised One-Day International batting, and hence batting all over, it has obviously affected the runs scored — and hence the averages and economy rates of bowlers. If we consider a 25-wicket cut-off on post-1990 bowlers, Jadeja actually comes third after Vernon Philander and Bruce Reid.

Table 4    Bowlers since 1990 by bowling average, cut-off 25 Test wickets
 


Player M Balls R W Ave SR Econ 5WI 10WM
Vernon Philander 16 3,279 1,525 89 17.13 36.8 2.79 9 2
Bruce Reid 9 2,193 948 51 18.58 43 2.59 5 2
Ravindra Jadeja 5 1,580 536 27 19.85 58.5 2.03 1 -
Curtly Ambrose 81 18,408 6,860 345 19.88 53.3 2.23 21 3
Brett Schultz 9 1,733 749 37 20.24 46.8 2.59 2 -
Glenn McGrath 124 29,248 12,186 563 21.64 51.9 2.49 29 3
Shane Bond 18 3,372 1,922 87 22.09 38.7 3.41 5 1
Allan Donald 72 15,519 7,344 330 22.25 47 2.83 20 3
Wasim Akram 75 16,424 7,130 320 22.28 51.3 2.6 20 4
Dale Steyn 65 13,666 7,523 332 22.65 41.1 3.3 21 5

Post-1990 bowlers by economy rate

Alternatively, if we consider the economy rates of bowlers since 1990, once again Jadeja is up there at the second spot — after Hansie Cronje. The way he has taken wickets and put a stranglehold on batsmen is remarkable.

Table 5    Bowlers since 1990 by economy rate, cut-off 25 Test wickets
 


Player M Balls R W Ave SR Econ 5WI 10WM
Hansie Cronje 68 3,800 1,288 43 29.95 88.3 2.03 - -
Ravindra Jadeja 5 1,580 536 27 19.85 58.5 2.03 1 -
Curtly Ambrose 81 18,408 6,860 345 19.88 53.3 2.23 21 3
Tim May 17 4,580 1,711 50 34.22 91.6 2.24 3 -
Venkathapaty Raju 28 7,602 2,857 93 30.72 81.7 2.25 5 1
Nathan Astle 81 5,688 2,143 51 42.01 111.5 2.26 - -
Craig Matthews 18 3,980 1,502 52 28.88 76.5 2.26 2 -
Arshad Khan 9 2,538 960 32 30 79.3 2.26 1 -
Willie Watson 12 2,827 1,073 36 29.8 78.5 2.27 1 -

Left-arm spinners, all time

After I went up to this, I wondered — should we go back in time, and check for all-time bowlers? Let us begin with left-arm spinners. Jadeja is fourth — after Bobby Peel, Johnny Briggs, and Colin Blythe — none of whom played cricket after 1910.

Table 6    All left-arm spinners, cut-off 25 Test wickets            
 


Player M Balls R W Ave SR Econ 5WI 10WM
Bobby Peel 20 5,216 1,715 101 16.98 51.6 1.97 5 1
Johnny Briggs 33 5,332 2,095 118 17.75 45.1 2.35 9 4
Colin Blythe 19 4,546 1,863 100 18.63 45.4 2.45 9 4
Ravindra Jadeja 5 1,580 536 27 19.85 58.5 2.03 1 -
Johnny Wardle 28 6,597 2,080 102 20.39 64.6 1.89 5 1
Ted Peate 9 2,096 683 31 22.03 67.6 1.95 2 -
Lindsay Kline 13 2,373 776 34 22.82 69.7 1.96 1 -
Pervez Sajjad 19 4,145 1,410 59 23.89 70.2 2.04 3 -
Michael Bevan 18 1,285 703 29 24.24 44.3 3.28 1 1
Hedley Verity 40 11,173 3,510 144 24.37 77.5 1.88 5 2

Spinners, all time

What if remove the left-arm criterion, then? Amazingly, only one more bowler comes in above Jadeja — Billy Bates — along with Peel, Briggs, and Blythe.

Table 7    All spinners, cut-off 25 Test wickets
 


Player M Balls R W Ave SR Econ 5WI 10WM
Billy Bates 15 2,364 821 50 16.42 47.2 2.08 4 1
Bobby Peel 20 5,216 1,715 101 16.98 51.6 1.97 5 1
Johnny Briggs 33 5,332 2,095 118 17.75 45.1 2.35 9 4
Colin Blythe 19 4,546 1,863 100 18.63 45.4 2.45 9 4
Ravindra Jadeja 5 1,580 536 27 19.85 58.5 2.03 1 -
Johnny Wardle 28 6,597 2,080 102 20.39 64.6 1.89 5 1
Jim Laker 46 12,027 4,101 193 21.24 62.3 2.04 9 3
Joey Palmer 17 4,517 1,678 78 21.51 57.9 2.22 6 2
H Trumble 32 8,099 3,072 141 21.78 57.4 2.27 9 3
Jasu Patel 7 1,725 637 29 21.96 59.4 2.21 2 1

  

Left-arm bowlers, all time

Comparing seamers and spinners is almost like comparing chalk and cheese, but why not compare Jadeja with the all-time left-arm bowlers? Jadeja comes sixth this time — with John Ferris and Bert Ironmonger making appearances along with Peel, Briggs, and Blythe.

Table 8    All left-arm bowlers, cut-off 25 Test wickets
 


Player M Balls R W Ave SR Econ 5WI 10WM
John Ferris 9 2,302 775 61 12.7 37.7 2.01 6 1
Bobby Peel 20 5,216 1,715 101 16.98 51.6 1.97 5 1
Johnny Briggs 33 5,332 2,095 118 17.75 45.1 2.35 9 4
Bert Ironmonger 14 4,695 1,330 74 17.97 63.4 1.69 4 2
Colin Blythe 19 4,546 1,863 100 18.63 45.4 2.45 9 4
Ravindra Jadeja 5 1,580 536 27 19.85 58.5 2.03 1 -
Brett Schultz 9 1,733 749 37 20.24 46.8 2.59 2 -
Johnny Wardle 28 6,597 2,080 102 20.39 64.6 1.89 5 1
Alan Davidson 44 11,587 3,819 186 20.53 62.2 1.97 14 2
Frank Foster 11 2,447 926 45 20.57 54.3 2.27 4 -

  

All bowlers, all time

Okay, so what about all bowlers? Where does Jadeja stand in the all-time history, for bowlers with 25 or more wickets? As expected, he drops out of the top ten, but does make it to a very respectable 16th position. Mind you, of these bowlers, only Mike Procter, Philander, Bob Appleyard, Goofy Lawrence, and Frank Tyson have played after the Second World War.

Table 9    All bowlers, cut-off 25 Test wickets
                


Player M Balls R W Ave SR Econ 5WI 10WM
George Lohmann 18 3,830 1,205 112 10.75 34.1 1.88 9 5
John Ferris 9 2,302 775 61 12.7 37.7 2.01 6 1
Albert Trott 5 948 390 26 15 36.4 2.46 2 -
Mike Procter 7 1,514 616 41 15.02 36.9 2.44 1 -
Billy Barnes 21 2,289 793 51 15.54 44.8 2.07 3 -
Billy Bates 15 2,364 821 50 16.42 47.2 2.08 4 1
Syd Barnes 27 7,873 3,106 189 16.43 41.6 2.36 24 7
Charlie Turner 17 5,179 1,670 101 16.53 51.2 1.93 11 2
Bobby Peel 20 5,216 1,715 101 16.98 51.6 1.97 5 1
Vernon Philander 16 3,279 1,525 89 17.13 36.8 2.79 9 2
Johnny Briggs 33 5,332 2,095 118 17.75 45.1 2.35 9 4
Bob Appleyard 9 1,596 554 31 17.87 51.4 2.08 1 -
Walter Lees 5 1,256 467 26 17.96 48.3 2.23 2 -
Bert Ironmonger 14 4,695 1,330 74 17.97 63.4 1.69 4 2
Goofy Lawrence 5 1,334 512 28 18.28 47.6 2.3 2 -
Fred Spofforth 18 4,185 1,731 94 18.41 44.5 2.48 7 4
Frank Tyson 17 3,452 1,411 76 18.56 45.4 2.45 4 1
Colin Blythe 19 4,546 1,863 100 18.63 45.4 2.45 9 4
George Finley-Bissett 4 989 469 25 18.76 39.5 2.84 2 -
Alex Kennedy 5 1,683 599 31 19.32 54.2 2.13 2 -
Ravindra Jadeja 5 1,580 536 27 19.85 58.5 2.03 1 -
Harry Boyle 12 1,743 641 32 20.03 54.4 2.2 1 -
Tip Snooke 26 1,620 702 35 20.05 46.2 2.6 1 1
Brett Schultz 9 1,733 749 37 20.24 46.8 2.59 2 -
Johnny Wardle 28 6,597 2,080 102 20.39 64.6 1.89 5 1

All in all, Jadeja has made an excellent start to his career. Let us not forget that he has three First-Class triple-hundreds — and if he makes it big with the bat at Test level and keeps up the good work with the ball, an extraordinary future lies ahead of him.
 
(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ovshake and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42

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