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Making merry against Pakistan

Published Jun 26, 2012 04:28pm


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Nuwan Kulsekara made his Test debut in 2005. He has been in and out of the Sri Lankan side in the five-day format since then, preferred more for his tight, attacking lines in shorter versions of the game.

That he is back and striking in whites once again is largely due to his track record against Pakistan. It could be psychological, technical or just plain luck, but Pakistan’s batsmen just don’t seem to have an answer against the whippy right-arm seamer. He took care of their top order with ease in the first Test in Galle, which Pakistan eventually lost by a whopping 209 runs on Monday.

"Kulasekara exists only because Pakistan does," cricket writer Osman Samiuddin had tweeted as the bowler wrecked the Pakistan batting lineup in Galle.

Kulasekara, however, is not the only bowler to have enjoyed such lopsided success against Pakistan. There have been a few others, including the likes of Lakshmipati Balaji and Daryl Tuffey, who seem to struggle against most teams but make or have made life difficult for Pakistani batsmen.

In this statistics-based analysis, we take a look at bowlers whose average against Pakistan is considerably lower than other teams.

In an effort to reflect the performances of the recent era, only Test performances since January 1990 have been taken into account.

It goes without saying that Kulasekara cuts in the most astonishing figures in the list below. His average is a whopping 90.66 in the six Tests he has played against the rest of the world. But when it comes to Pakistan, he has never hesitated to pull the socks up.

India’s Balaji sits at top of the list. However, the mammoth difference of 151.43 average runs conceded between his wickets against Pakistan and the other teams is simply because he played only two Tests against teams other than Pakistan.

South Africans may have struggled to find a decent spinner but not against Pakistan. With 25 wickets in seven Tests at an average of 24.52, Paul Harris clearly took a liking for the Pakistani team. For some other spinner, such figures could be a run-of-the-mill but going by South African standards of spin, they are nothing short of brilliant.

Then there are the four Englishmen – Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Monty Panesar – queued up together. Apart from Panesar, all of them have often played together against Pakistan. Not to mention, the last seven Tests between these two teams have seen Pakistan get dismissed for a sub-100 total four times.

Tuffey’s Test career has seen him play Pakistan quite frequently. Eight out of his 26 Tests have come against the Pakistanis. If it wasn’t for Tuffey’s seven wickets and man-of-the-match performance in the Hamilton Test in 2001, the Kiwis may have struggled to win the game which eventually levelled the series 1-1.

The list ends with Sri Lankan Wickramasinghe and Zimbabwean Heath Streak, both of whom were part of the teams with limited resources in the 90s. It isn’t surprising though that Streak’s six-wicket haul and nine wickets in the match against Pakistan were the reasons of Zimbabwe’s first ever Test win.

Difference of Bowling averages between ROW & Pakistan since January 1990 [Qualification: 25 wickets vs PAK ]
Name (Team) Against Pakistan Against Rest of the World (ROW)
Matches Wickets Avg. (A1) Matches Wickets Avg.(A2) Difference (A2-A1)
01. Lakshmi Balaji (IND) 06 26 31.57 02 01 183.00 151.43
02. N Kulasekara (SL) 05 25 16.40 08 06 90.66 74.26
03. Paul Harris (SA) 07 25 24.52 30 78 42.15 17.63
04. GM Swann (ENG) 07 35 17.00 37 153 31.22 14.22
05. JM Anderson (ENG) 07 32 17.65 63 235 31.74 14.09
06. Stuart Broad (ENG) 07 27 21.96 40 134 32.14 10.17
07. MS Panesar (ENG) 06 31 26.35 36 111 35.28 8.93
08. Daryl Tuffey (NZ) 08 32 26.81 18 45 35.26 8.45
09. Wickramasinghe (SL) 12 30 36.80 28 55 44.63 7.83
10. Heath Streak (ZIM) 10 44 22.90 55 172 29.48 6.58
There are some more nuggets in the table below where I randomly handpicked some bowlers, who have not bowled much against Pakistan but whenever they did, it proved fruitful and fetched them honourable averages.

Two bowlers of below-par teams, Henry Olonga of Zimbabwe and Mohammad Rafique of Bangladesh enjoyed bowling against Pakistan as the difference of their averages depicts.

Punjab’s mind-boggling foggy weather in 1998 and Olonga’s fours wickets in 2nd innings of the Peshawar Test earned Zimbabwe their first ever Test series win away from home whereas Rafique, with his five-wicket haul, nearly won Bangladesh a Test at Multan in 2003.

In the two-Test series, Australia’s Shane Watson threw a monkey wrench in the works as he grabbed five-fors in back to back Tests against Pakistan in 2010.

As for Nathan Haurtiz, Pakistan fans do not need to be reminded of what he did in Sydney 2010.

Some randomly picked bowlers, who couldn’t make in the bowling list above due to less matches played against Pakistan but have impressive averages.Difference of Bowling averages between ROW & Pakistan since January 1990
Name (Team) Against Pakistan Against Rest of the World (ROW)
Matches Wickets Avg. (A1) Matches Wickets Avg.(A2) Difference (A2-A1)
1.Henry Olonga (ZIM) 6 20 24.10 24 48 44.54 20.44
2. Mohammad Rafique 3 17 23.82 30 83 44.22 20.40
3. MS Kasprowicz (AUS) 3 16 17.12 35 97 34.48 17.36
4. Nathan Hauritz (AUS) 3 18 23.05 14 45 39.75 16.70
5. Shane Watson (AUS) 6 17 17.76 29 42 33.42 15.66

Mazher Arshad is a Cricket buff based in Islamabad who considers watching Cricket and giving insights of it as his foremost priority on social media. He tweets @cricket_U

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (31) Closed

Jawwad Jun 26, 2012 04:57pm
All it proves that our batting is and has been the weakest link. Thanks for compiling the analysis. It's a handy work.
anas Jun 26, 2012 06:03pm
but bhai! there is also some gr8 bowler how sttrugle against pakistan
Waqar Jun 26, 2012 05:12pm
Like your analysis, and the comments you have provided on Cricinfo recently. Nice to see someone from Pakistan showing analytical abilities and commenting with facts! All the best
fawad Jun 26, 2012 05:06pm
it's a good article but i disagree in 1 respect only,guys like broad,swann and anderson have messed up every team in this planet,not in particular pakistan.
nomi Jun 26, 2012 02:54pm
veryy nyccc analysisss realyy truee
Siham Jun 26, 2012 01:43pm
Hahaha! For some reason this makes me laugh. It's funny how our team manages to make the oddest of records. I like itt!
Ahmed Jun 26, 2012 01:40pm
The fact is that Pakistani batsmen are the worst in terms of skills, talent, experience and mental toughness in the whole test playing nations. Any bowler will fancy his chances against this bunch of incompetent batsmen.
Umair Q Jun 26, 2012 01:48pm
I think we're missing a table here... Interesting analysis..
@YouTeeee Jun 26, 2012 02:40pm
awla bro ............... keep it up :)
Tahir Khan Jun 26, 2012 03:38pm
Excellent analysis. However I wish you had used more the 15 randomly picked bowlers in the second table, to make your point stronger.
cha Jun 27, 2012 08:16am
i think after saeed and aamir we couldn't get any reasonable opening batsmen for test and ODI's.
Naseema Perveen Jun 28, 2012 10:44pm
gud 1 i like it...
omer siddiqui Jun 27, 2012 10:39am
omer siddiqui Jun 27, 2012 10:37am
Mazhar arshad its amazing.....i like u.......that is proof that our batting is just like a water........after all people knows,Nomi,Fawad Capt Mansur,all guys......i hope u all watched the hattrick of thisara was not amazingly bowled by thisara parera it was just like a mistake from pak batsman...becauz all 3 balls were straight,no seam,no swing,no reverse swing........just straight.....and younis and sarfarazz played like they were playing magGrah or any bowler like him......and the hattrick ball by thisara to sarfaraaz ahmed....and sarfaraz knows that there was a slip,so why he plays that shot,to 3rd man.....Thanks Mazhar Arshad......thanks aloT for providing us some cricket knowledge .....and history of pakistani batsman....
Waqas Naseer Jun 29, 2012 09:30am
gud one mazher beta keep it up :)
Waqas Naseer Jun 29, 2012 09:28am
gud one mazhar beta :)
cha Jun 27, 2012 08:22am
Sohaib Furqan Jun 26, 2012 03:49pm
Awesome analysis Mazher bhai!
hameed uddin Jun 26, 2012 07:51pm
Mazhar sorry 2 say..not faire..this is reality....
saadgadit Jun 26, 2012 08:43pm
nice post. I was looking for this record the other day.
Bilal Jun 26, 2012 09:00pm
What can I say, Pakistanis are helpful when it comes to support someone's career, but not at home, this offer is valid for international players only !!!
Capt Mansur Jun 26, 2012 09:29pm
Excellent...the writer is no 1. Our openers have been the weakest link since the past 30 years except for a few. No selector or critic have been able able to point out why?????
raj krishnan Jun 26, 2012 09:51pm
How could you forget Marcus( Muralitharan) North?
haris Jun 27, 2012 09:37am
In case of Kulesekra and Balagai, I am 100% agree with the author. Few days ago, I am and my friends were discussing the same thing. Though we didn't gather any facts or checked the records but we were pretty sure that these guys will surely be thankful to our foolish batsmen for giving them career boost to such magnitude. Thank you Mazhar, at least I and my friends are happy to read your post, because our analysis proved Right here .-)
Baba Sidni Jun 27, 2012 12:19am
Very good analysis. Now what does it prove, as I think it is not complete yet. Do we have a comparative list of some other bowlers who had made some difference against some other teams? Do we know the bowler, who has made the most dot balls on his second delivery of his send over in the second inning, on the second day. Do we know the batsman, who has cracked a six, in his first over, most of the times? Do we know the number of test matches, in which more than half of the seats were empty. Do we know the number of crows or seagulls, depending on the venue, versus the number of spectators, on a given day in any test match. There are still too many records to be compiled you know.
butseriouslyok Jun 27, 2012 12:25am
Pakistan batting has also seemed to collapse much more often than any other country in last 10-12 years. An analysis might help. But I would suspect it has more to do with off-the field incentives than the quality of players...that would explain the above discussed phenomenon.
Owais Jun 27, 2012 04:33am
Mazhar bhai do check the records of Paul Strang, Neil Johnson and Ashley Giles against us :)
Ishfaq Jun 27, 2012 04:55am
Going the other way around,Rana Naveed has the biggest share in making Indian captain MS Dhoni's career,as much as he should be getting half of dhoni's annual income.
Stephen Pramod Jun 27, 2012 06:33am
It's OK that some players play very well against some countries.. It is just that feel good factor.. For example, Sanath Jayasurya's statistics against Indian bowling line up is mind-boggling..Now you can't blame the bowlers for that..I think it is unfair to target the pakistani batting line-up...
Zeeshan Jun 28, 2012 06:27pm
Appropriate analysis!!! I hope PCB gets some sensible lead out of this
Javid Shirazi Jun 28, 2012 09:22am
The team is mediocre because facts and figures don't lie. All hype no substance. Failed players keep getting selected all the time. The promising ones are either not picked or dropped without being persevered with. As long as this state of affairs continues, others will be making merry all along.