|Pitbull - ready to bite|
So David Warner has been called up to replace Shaun Marsh in the second Test against the Saffas. Judging from the reactions, it still comes as a huge surprise to many. Obviously the broad public can't help associating him with T20, but the elders have long attested Pitbull his capabilities in First Class cricket, where he averages 59.66 (!) at a strike rate of 70.75, albeit from ten matches only.
Warner has always insisted that his goal is Test cricket, and has consequently worked on his game. Smart, patient and skilful are not the first attributes that come to your mind when you think of his brutal outings in the shortest format.
But let figures speak. His high average originates from 16 innings incl. one not out, in which he scored 895 runs altogether. His strike rate seems to suggest that he runs his top of the back of the legs off. But out of these 895 runs he scored a whopping 518 (almost 58%) in fours and sixes. I actually thought that was really much. Until I looked at.... but more on that later.
Now if you subtract these runs and the respective number of deliveries from his total of balls faced and runs scored, you will see that from the remaining 1143 deliveries he made 377 'run' runs (in singles and twos or threes). So minus his boundaries he has a strike rate of 33 (2 runs/over) that gets upped to about 71 by the fact that he hits nearly every 10th ball (9.6%) for four or six.
To put this into perspective here are Rahul Dravid's Test figures: average 52.92, SR 42.43. Over half of his runs come in boundaries as well (50.9%), but he only strikes it big off about every 20th delivery (5.37%). Off the remaining (non-boundary) deliveries he scores at a strike rate of 22! Dravid makes a hundred in more than every 8th innings, and a 50 in over 25% of the rest, so altogether he makes a big score in over one third (34.91%) of his innings. Ahh The Wall. Excuse me while I pause to grin blissfully with eyes turned inwards.
OKAYYYY I know. We should rather look at Virender Sehwag for comparison. Sehwag strikes 64.07% (!!!) off his runs in boundaries. That means he strikes boundaries off 12.68% of the balls he faces, or in other words, more than every 8th ball. Off the remaining deliveries he makes one run every third ball on average (like Warner). Sehwag's overall Test average is 52.30, which is remarkable if you look at his monstrous strike rate of 81.98. Sehwag makes a hundred in about 14% of his innings, which is about every 7th innings (!), and scores fifties in 21.64% of the remaining ones. Overall, he converts 32.69% of his innings into big scores.
David Warner has so far scored hundreds in 18.75% of his innings (about every 5th innings), and converted 15.38% of the remaining innings into fifties, which is an overall big score conversion of 31.25, i.e. nearly one third. Of course you cannot read too much, perhaps nothing at all, into ten four dayers against largely non-international attack. But I am not the only one who is keen to see Warner prove his point. Go Pitbull!
Very unfortunately for injured Shaun Marsh it is him who is returning home, and not little Phil Hughesless* .
I hope Marsh recovers quickly. However, since Warner and Hughes have played at least a few matches together at NSW, perhaps something productive can emerge from this new opening partnership. Here is a post on Ian's Baggy Green Blog that contains some more in-depth views on the possibilities at the top of the Australian batting order.
PS. I'd like to apologise for any mistakes made in the frenzy, but my brain kept racing and I couldn't stop. Sachin is only missing because the respective numbers are not provided in his Cricinfo profile. Generally the figures given above should be okay, though. Feel free to leave me a comment, or give me a pasting for my blasphemous comparisons on Twitter or Facebook ;)