Test Mediocre cricketers to play 100 tests

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Oct 17, 2022
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With Johnny Bairstow aka The Human Couch gearing up for this 100th test, it’s got me thinking - where does his rank in terms of absolute mediocrity to reach this coveted milestone?

Originally a keeper but no longer good enough to keep so they got someone else in but somehow he’s still in the team as a number 5 batsman averaging 36.

Doesn’t bowl. No longer keeps. And as a keeper his technique is diabolical. I can’t think of many worse keepers.

Staggering he’s made it to 100 tests. Epitomises how the English persist with mediocrity I spose.
 
With Johnny Bairstow aka The Human Couch gearing up for this 100th test, it’s got me thinking - where does his rank in terms of absolute mediocrity to reach this coveted milestone?

Originally a keeper but no longer good enough to keep so they got someone else in but somehow he’s still in the team as a number 5 batsman averaging 36.

Doesn’t bowl. No longer keeps. And as a keeper his technique is diabolical. I can’t think of many worse keepers.

Staggering he’s made it to 100 tests. Epitomises how the English persist with mediocrity I spose.


Not too many on that list TBH.

Harbajan Singh maybe? Same as Bairstow, one amazing series.
 

Not too many on that list TBH.

Harbajan Singh maybe? Same as Bairstow, one amazing series.
Interesting list. Ishant Sharma is definitely a candidate. 105 tests averaging 32.40. I remember every time I saw him bowling he seemed to always have figures of not many wickets for a lot of runs. Never seemed to do anything. I remember he was cannon fodder during Clarke's 300 at Sydney.

Ganguly averaged 42, famously written off by Geoffrey Boycott on air. Social status selection.

I'm surprised Vettori only averaged 34 with the ball.
 

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Interesting list. Ishant Sharma is definitely a candidate. 105 tests averaging 32.40. I remember every time I saw him bowling he seemed to always have figures of not many wickets for a lot of runs. Never seemed to do anything. I remember he was cannon fodder during Clarke's 300 at Sydney.

Ganguly averaged 42, famously written off by Geoffrey Boycott on air. Social status selection.

I'm surprised Vettori only averaged 34 with the ball.

Given how unfriendly Indian pitches are to fast bowlers an average of 32 is not what it would be for an Aussie or English bowler. It isn't great but IMO better than averaging mid 30s as a batsman.

Vettori again did not have best of conditions to work with, plus he was a decent bat and a good tactician. Not saying he was amazing but Nathan Lyon averages around 30 and everyone thinks that's pretty good for an offie in mostly unfriendly conditions.
 
Mediocre has to be considered relatively here and the above names are all candidates, Bairstow included... It goes without saying, it would take some peculiar situation for Australia to stick with a batsmen for 100 tests with that little return.

What's annoying me this week is we have four players bringing up their 100th test - Ravi Ashwin, Kane Williamson, Tim Southee and of course Jonny Bairstow... The former two are all time greats, Southee a very good international career but based on the online media hype train you might as well forget about those two because somehow it's all about Bairstow, a clear fourth in that quartet.
 
The thing with a lot of these players that you need to remember - Hooper and Bairstow are prime examples - is that in times when they’ve been picked as they’ve neared 100 tests - their returns have actually befitted players worthy of the mark.

Hooper’s last 3 years were actually worthy of a player of his undoubted gifts.

Bairstow has, despite his mediocre output in his last half dozen or so matches, been outstanding since his injury.

So while a lot of their career numbers you can look at and say ‘well they aren’t worthy of 100 tests’ you can look at their block of say 25-30 tests as they got close to it and say well they undoubtedly deserved to keep getting picked closer to the landmark
 
Shade under 6000 runs at 40 odd suggests that there was a bit of style over substance.

Perhaps, though his average is very mark Waugh and David boon esque

Had some interesting metrics.
Did pretty well in most places he played: fared well in England and NZ and did reasonably in Australia for a Pakistani player, struggled in the West Indies which wasn’t unusual.

Did well AGAINST India, but was awful IN India. Likewise when Pakistan HOSTED the West Indies.
 
Saw the title and thought it would be a bit harsh to call anyway that has played 100 tests mediocre. Bairstow and Sharma both fair calls though. India and England play some amount of tests. Pujara better than mediocre obviously but surprised he has played over 100 tests already.
That was one of the first things I noticed too. Didn't think he'd be close to 100 yet!
 

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But to answer OP's question, Mike Atherton is the one that stands out to me. To be honest, even his average of a touch under 38 seems to flatter him, but that's probably due to me only watching him against Australia and him being so utterly inept against McGrath.
 
But to answer OP's question, Mike Atherton is the one that stands out to me. To be honest, even his average of a touch under 38 seems to flatter him, but that's probably due to me only watching him against Australia and him being so utterly inept against McGrath.
It's between him and Mark Waugh, who despite his better average didn't have to captain the (not very good) side or open the batting.
Waugh's best was a lot better but he had some very poor spells that were papered over by the team always winning.
 
But to answer OP's question, Mike Atherton is the one that stands out to me. To be honest, even his average of a touch under 38 seems to flatter him, but that's probably due to me only watching him against Australia and him being so utterly inept against McGrath.

Atherton’s was still 40 at 84 tests. He didn’t cover himself in glory immediately after that: he went 16 innings where he passed 50 once, 5 ducks and 2 scores of 1 in that sequence.

He did actually make a few hundreds after that, but following an absurdly painful one - 125 off 430 which oddly enough was a major contributing factor to them actually coming from behind and winning in Karachi - he went his last 20 test innings with 3 half centuries and none of them were any higher than 57.
 
Hooper is probably the best all rounder since Sobers

As Founder and President of the Australian chapter of the Jacques Kallis fan club, I am FUMING at that comment 😤
 
As Founder and President of the Australian chapter of the Jacques Kallis fan club, I am FUMING at that comment 😤

Please know that I’m taking the piss.

Though he does share one achievement that to date only Kallis has matched as far as I’m aware:

Triple figures in wickets, catches, and matches across both formats.
 
Please know that I’m taking the piss.

Though he does share one achievement that to date only Kallis has matched as far as I’m aware:

Triple figures in wickets, catches, and matches across both formats.

I know mate 😀

But the guys you posted are underrated in their all round capacities; I never thought that Chris Gayle's bowling got quite the recognition it should.
 
I know mate 😀

But the guys you posted are underrated in their all round capacities; I never thought that Chris Gayle's bowling got quite the recognition it should.

He was very very cagey and underused - 167 ODI wickets says he was incredibly capable and really could have had a Jayasuriya type career with the ball (another bowler who’s exploits at the bowling crease are often forgotten by virtue of his explosiveness with the bat)
 
You have to wonder when you think about bowlers like Gayle and Hooper and Jayasuriya who took as many wickets as they did with such little effort - so basically based on a little bit of nous and some accuracy - what they could have done if they actually worked on having some energy at the crease and putting some overspin on the ball and creating some flight
 
You have to wonder when you think about bowlers like Gayle and Hooper and Jayasuriya who took as many wickets as they did with such little effort - so basically based on a little bit of nous and some accuracy - what they could have done if they actually worked on having some energy at the crease and putting some overspin on the ball and creating some flight

A bit like Travis Head now, who has the potential to turn his bowling into a legitimate weapon, and become more than a part-timer if he learns more of the theory of off-spin and works to put it into practice.

I think of what I've read about Keith Miller. Very different era, obviously, but even for the time he had a reputation for being somewhat lackadaisical in his preparation and succeeded on pure talent. If he'd really dived into the theory of pace bowling and put more effort in, he could have been even greater.
 
A bit like Travis Head now, who has the potential to turn his bowling into a legitimate weapon, and become more than a part-timer if he learns more of the theory of off-spin and works to put it into practice.

I think of what I've read about Keith Miller. Very different era, obviously, but even for the time he had a reputation for being somewhat lackadaisical in his preparation and succeeded on pure talent. If he'd really dived into the theory of pace bowling and put more effort in, he could have been even greater.

I think with those players it sort of matches their personalities

Yes they are leg spinners so I guess they are going to look a bit more intense anyway but when you watch Marnus and Smith bowl, they look like they genuinely take it seriously (Warner for example maybe doesn’t, as leggies go) and you’re right about Head. It reflects their personalities as cricketers - they’re so intense and dedicated.

Whereas a player like, say, a Nicholas Pooran if he were to ever take up bowling: well I can’t imagine him ever going beyond a two step run up bowling darts with the most minimal level of rotation on them
 

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