Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saeed Ajmal is as good or better than Shane Warne

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Warne: 4.9 wickets per Test Match; average 25; economy rate 2.7.

Ajmal: 5.3 wickets per Test Match; average 27; economy rate 2.7

So Ajmal takes significantly more wickets per test than Warne, but at a slightly higher average per wicket.

However, if adjustment is made for the generally higher batting and bowling averages of modern cricket compared with Warne's era, this probably leaves Ajmal ahead. 

Ajmal is a really, really good bowler! In the same league as Warne and better than any other spinner in the modern game except of course the best of all: Murali.

This means that , from statistics, currently - now - playing each other in the same Test series - we have one of the very greatest ten or so spin bowlers of all time, and probably the greatest ever pace bowler of all time.

(I mean Dale Steyn.)

Why isn't more of a fuss made about this?

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7 Comments:

Anonymous dearieme said...

i) Why haven't you told us how many tests each has played, and against whom?

ii) Warne had the advantage of not having to bowl at some impressive Australian batting line-ups.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Charlton said...

@d -

i) I figured anybody who wants to know more and is interested would know about Cricinfo - http://www.espncricinfo.com/

ii) I agree - this is a very neglected point. When Warne was up against some serious batting - i.e. India (who were the other great batting side of Warne's era) - he was not all that impressive: 3.1 wickets per match av. 47.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Listen, I'm Australian, and this blog post has nearly turned me off your writings forever.

;)

12:17 PM  
Blogger Bruce Charlton said...

@Jack - I would be happy to acknowledge that in my time watching cricket (20 years) Warne was the best bowler *against England*. In the extraordinary 2005 Ashes he averaged EIGHT wickets per match for five of the hardest fought matches in the history of the game, and even though his side lost. That was greatness.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Cameron said...

I always thought the New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond had Steyne like talent. A shame injuries ruined his career.

re Warne vs England in 2005, from memory the runs per over scored off his bowling was significantly higher than his career average. England must have made a strategic decision to not let him dictate to them but realising he may take more wickets.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Bruce Charlton said...

@Cameron - wrt Shane Bond - entirely agree. He was skittling the great Australian batting lineups in a way nobody else of that era seemed able to do. Would probably have been one of the all-time greats...

9:46 PM  
Blogger The22YardStare said...


1. Warne would have gotten more wickets with DRS. Huge advantage for Ajmal.

2. Warne's Indian record isn't great. Ajmal has as yet never played Test cricket against India. When he does, then we can start making comparisons.

3. If you say that Australia, South Africa, and England are the best teams Ajmal has played in Tests, then his figures read thus:

13 Tests, 64 wickets, 1775 runs conceeded = average of 27.73.

A very fine performance but Ajmal isn't great outside of wickets that suit him. Look at his record against those same teams at their home venues:

1 Test in Australia, 3 in England, 3 in South Africa:

7 Tests, 25 wickets @ 37.64.

Ajmal is a fine spinner, no doubt about it, but he's not up to Warne or Murali.

4:40 PM  

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