Saturday, November 04, 2006


What Does It Take To Become A Match-Winner


I'm not really sure. I'm asking you what you think. We often talk of star players being match-winners. Some players tend to play many big innings, but that doesn't always guarantee their team a victory. Other players chip in with valuable knocks that always seem to matter. From the latter group, Yuvraj Singh comes to mind. A couple of seasons ago, TV commentators were at pains to highlight the fact that of the 18 half-centuries he had made, 17 had contributed to India winning. That sort of statistic would qualify him for "match-winner" status, in anyone's book.

S Rajesh has come up with a list of players who have the "least percentage of 50-plus scores in defeats". Surprisingly, for me anyway, Yuvraj Singh does not feature in this list. At least not in the top 10, implying that at least 17.24% of his half-century efforts have not helped his team to win. According to Rajesh's list, however, Andrew Symonds has the secret answer to my question.

It is also interesting to note that the majority of the batsman are from Australia and South Africa, with one each from the West Indies and Pakistan (Gordon Greenidge and Saeed Anwar). These teams have typically had the stronger bowling attacks in world cricket. For mine, these observations reinforce the sentiment that bowlers win matches, not batsmen. Not as much anyway, because, if this was not the case then we would see many more batsmen from this list who play for teams that have not traditionally possessed cut-throat bowling attacks.

A possible reason as to why we may not see the likes of Tendulkar, Ganguly, Steve Waugh, Lara, Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Inzimam and other prolific one-day batsmen on this list, could be that these players have played many more matches than most of the players on Rajesh's list. Hence, the law of averages will tell you that these players are more likely to play in matches where they score half-centuries and their team loses.

What other reasons could there be that these "prolific" players are not on this list? Does that mean their value and utility to the team is any less than the players on the list? Should we celebrate these players less simply because they do not rank well according to this list's criteria? I'm full of questions today, so I'll stop there and hand it over to you. What are your thoughts?


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