Chanderpaul, Gayle, and little else

West Indies have struggled though two of their batsmen have been the best in the world over the last 18 months S Rajesh

January 16, 2009

Chris Gayle: nine hundreds in ODI defeats, just two away from equalling the world record © Getty Images

West Indies’ recent tour of New Zealand was largely about two batsmen doing the bulk of the work in both forms of the game, with erratic support from the rest. Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul were immense throughout: both averaged more than 100 in the Test series, and in the rain-hit one-dayers they were again the leading run-scorers, almost clinching the series for the team with a 170-run stand in the fifth match.

Over the last year and a half in ODIs, the story for West Indies has been the consistency of these two left-handers. What they did in New Zealand was hardly an aberration: in the three-match series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi a couple of months back, they were the only ones to score centuries for West Indies – Gayle got two and Chanderpaul one. Not surprisingly, they topped the averages chart in that series. In the home series against Australia earlier last year, they were again West Indies’ leading run-getters. Their styles may be vastly different, but Gayle and Chanderpaul have remarkably similar numbers in ODIs over the last 18 months.

Not only have they been West Indies’ best, they’ve also topped the list for all batsmen who’ve scored more than 750 ODI runs during this period. Chanderpaul has an exceptional average, and coupled with his strike-rate of nearly 76, it gives him a batting index (average multiplied by strike-rate) of 63.36. Gayle’s index of 56.17 is a combination of a superb strike-rate of almost 90 and an average of 62. Both are well clear of Mohammad Yousuf and Virender Sehwag, the only others with a 50-plus index.

Best ODI batsmen since June 2007 (at least 750 runs)
Batsman ODIs Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s Ave x SR
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 24 1085 83.46 75.92 3/ 7 63.36
Chris Gayle 26 1187 62.47 89.92 4/ 7 56.17
Mohammad Yousuf 30 1280 64.00 83.60 3/ 10 53.50
Virender Sehwag 24 1076 44.83 116.32 1/ 9 52.15
Younis Khan 27 1290 51.60 90.97 4/ 9 46.94
Brendon McCullum 29 1087 43.48 104.72 1/ 7 45.53
Andrew Symonds 23 780 45.88 95.47 1/ 7 43.80
Salman Butt 24 1113 50.59 85.15 4/ 5 43.08
Misbah-ul-Haq 31 918 43.71 95.32 0/ 5 41.66
Mahendra Singh Dhoni 54 1821 47.92 84.61 2/ 12 40.55

Despite those numbers by West Indies’ two leading batsmen, though, the team itself has struggled during this period, winning 13 out of 34 matches, with a win-loss ratio of 0.76. Sides with fewer individual stars have done much better – Australia have a win-loss ratio of 3.16 with just one batsman in the top ten. (Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Matthew Hayden miss the 750-run cut, but even their numbers aren’t as good as Gayle and Chanderpaul’s: Hussey averages 52, while Ponting and Hayden only average 42. Click here for a full list.)

Gayle has scored four centuries during this period, but three of those have been in losing causes, including his 135 against New Zealand in Napier. In 12 losses during this period, he averages 48, at a strike-rate of 91.57. The numbers are even more stark for Chanderpaul – he averages more than 71 in the 15 losses that he has been a part of during this period, with two centuries and five fifties.

All this points to the dire state of the rest of the West Indies batting, and their generally lacklustre bowling – it hasn’t helped either that Ramnaresh Sarwan missed much of the 2007-08 season due to injury. The table below points to the overall poor figures of West Indies’ batting, despite their two stalwarts. (For numbers of individual West Indian batsmen, click here.) Gayle and Chanderpaul have contributed 36.55% of the total runs scored by the team (2272 out of 6216), which is another indicator of how spineless the rest of the batting has been.

Team-wise batting stats in ODIs since Jun 2007
Team ODIs Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s Ave x SR
Pakistan 31 7590 38.14 88.93 13/ 45 33.92
New Zealand 29 5461 34.78 84.58 5/ 30 29.42
South Africa 32 6607 35.33 81.56 9/ 39 28.82
Australia 28 6052 33.25 82.29 7/ 41 27.36
India 53 11,729 32.67 83.32 11/ 75 27.22
England 36 7012 27.93 79.65 5/ 36 2.25
West Indies 34 6216 28.00 78.04 8/ 31 21.85
Sri Lanka 37 6675 24.36 72.38 6/ 34 17.63
Zimbabwe 21 3782 20.22 67.87 1/ 22 13.72
Bangladesh 34 5770 19.76 65.50 4/ 28 12.94

Gayle’s 135 was his ninth century in a defeat, which puts him in second place – next only to Sachin Tendulkar – in the list of batsmen who have scored the highest number of hundreds in defeats, while Chanderpaul is in joint sixth place. Brian Lara leads the corresponding Test table; the way the West Indian team is going, Gayle has a good chance of going on to top the ODI list.

Most hundreds in ODI defeats
Batsman ODIs Runs Average Strike rate 100s
Sachin Tendulkar 186 5995 32.58 79.13 11
Chris Gayle 96 3207 33.75 80.88 9
Marcus Trescothick 62 2036 32.82 80.06 6
Alistair Campbell 126 3118 25.55 62.92 5
Herschelle Gibbs 77 1992 26.91 77.41 5
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 130 4097 33.30 67.02 4

Another area of concern for West Indies has been the performance of their wicketkeeper with the bat: Denesh Ramdin played a large part in the team’s only ODI win in New Zealand, but his overall displays with the bat have been anything but satisfactory: in 18 innings over the last year and a half, Ramdin averages 12.75, with a highest of 31. And if the argument is that the West Indian wicketkeeper bats much lower down the order than his counterparts in other teams, check out the numbers for the No. 7 – a position Ramdin usually occupies – from each team. West Indies’ No. 7 averages 9.36, lower than all other Test-playing teams.

Team-wise batting performances of wicketkeepers in ODIs since June 2007
Team Matches Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
South Africa 32 719 47.93 84.19 1/ 4
India 53 1666 45.02 82.35 1/ 12
New Zealand 29 840 35.00 96.77 0/ 6
Sri Lanka 37 1137 33.44 71.01 4/ 3
Zimbabwe 21 622 32.73 73.52 1/ 3
Australia 28 752 32.69 103.15 1/ 7
Pakistan 31 484 26.88 89.46 1/ 0
England 36 640 21.33 79.11 0/ 2
West Indies 34 240 12.63 74.53 0/ 0
Bangladesh 34 344 12.28 55.93 0/ 0

None of that has stopped the Chanderpaul-Gayle run-machine, though: in 61 innings they have put together 2729 partnership runs, which is third in the all-time list for West Indies, next only to Greenidge-Haynes and Haynes-Richardson. Expect the pair to move up to at least second spot by the time they are done. For the team, though, the journey upwards looks far more arduous.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

Source: Cricinfo

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