Singapore v Bahrain at Singapore, ICC World Cricket League Division Five

Today, Kevin Pietersen hit a marvelous century for England to successfully lead their chase against Pakistan in Dubai.

It was his second ODI century in as many matches.

Over on Twitter, I opined that maybe, just maybe, KP was not a big game player. That in ODIs specifically, he didn’t come through when England needed him most: In the World Cup.

This is similar to the knock that most people had on Alex Rodriguez until 2010.

Great all season, but crap in October.

I have always thought it was a bit unfair to criticize players based on such small samples sizes, but I thought it might make for an interesting blog post.

KP’s career ODI average is 41.84 in 116 innings.  In World Cups, his average is 47.91 in 13 innings.

Again, a small sample size, but it looks as if my tweet might have been off base a bit.

However, I was referring more to the 2011 World Cup and its relation to the UAE One Day Interationals. In the former, he averaged just 32.75 in four innings; while in the latter he averaged 70.25 in the same number of innings.

So while my tweet was not incorrect, per se, it was off base, as KP had himself a monster World Cup in 2007.

And so I decided to look at more players in a similar manner.

The top ten World Cup batsmen based on average runs scored (minimum 10 innings) are as follows:

Player Innings Average
L Klusener 11 124
A Symonds 13 103
MJ Clarke 15 83.62
IVA Richards 21 63.31
SR Watson 12 62.14
R Dravid 21 61.42
GM Turner 14 61.2
SR Tendulkar 44 56.95
HH Gibbs 23 56.15
SC Ganguly 21 55.88

In all One Day Internationals, here are the best batsmen based on average (minimum 40 innings):

Player Innings Average
HM Amla 53 56.35
MG Bevan 196 53.58
MS Dhoni 180 51.44
MEK Hussey 142 50.52
IJL Trott 42 48.31
Zaheer Abbas 60 47.62
AB de Villiers 120 47.56
IVA Richards 167 47
GM Turner 40 47
V Kohli 77 45.95

Only one player shows up on both lists: the incomparable Sir Viv Richards, widely considered the best ODI batsman in history.

I then expanded it to a 100 innings minimum:

Player Innings Average
MG Bevan 196 56.58
MS Dhoni 180 51.44
AB de Villiers 120 47.56
IVA Richards 167 47
JH Kallis 305 45.55
MJ Clarke 191 45.14
CG Greenridge 127 45.03
SR Tendulkar 447 44.83
DM Jones 161 44.61
ML Hayden 155 43.8

Now three players appear on both lists: Michael Clarke, Viv Richards, and Sachin Tendulkar.

It is a bit of a stretch, and a bit meaningless, but those are three batsmen who best exemplify “clutch” batting as well as long term brilliance.

But I bet you could have told me that without spending 45 minutes with Statsguru.

Until next time.

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