This week’s Ask Steven column on CricInfo looked at one of the poorer sides of Virat Kohli’s game. The question and the answer was:
Q : Does Virat Kohli have the worst average for anyone who has bowled more than 100 overs in ODIs?
A : Virat Kohli has so far taken four wickets in one-day internationals, for an average of 166.25. That is indeed the highest average for anyone who has bowled more than 100 overs. Next comes an Indian captain of a much earlier vintage, S Venkataraghavan, whose five ODI wickets cost him 108.40 apiece. Pommie Mbwangwa of Zimbabwe, (11 wickets at 103.63), also ended up with a three-figure average.
However, if you remove the 100-over qualification, there are ten bowlers with worse averages than Kohli. Top of the pile is the Australian slow left-armer Brad Young who took one wicket, (Moin Khan of Pakistan in Peshawar in 1998-99), in six matches for an average of 251.00. Next come Kyle Coetzer of Scotland, (203.00), the New Zealander Andrew Penn, (201.00), and India’s Yashpal Sharma (199.00.)
It has to be said that all Kohli’s victims were proper batsmen – Alastair Cook and Craig Kieswetter of England, South Africa’s Quinton de Kock, and Brendon McCullum of New Zealand – so maybe he should bring himself on more often!
So are the Stokers better or worse than Kohli?
Let’s start with the worst bowling averages of players with the same number of wickets for the Club as Virat has in ODIs…
Currently 42 bowlers have taken four wickets:
Only two of them have averages of over 40…
Andrew Dickinson 40.25
Bennett Andrews 40.75
Himesh Patel, (34-5-108-4 – he bowled in six of his seven appearances for the Club), has a better average but has bowled, (jointly with Andrews), the most overs for his four poles.
Further down the scale, of those to have taken three wickets or fewer, those with worse averages than the above include some surprise names:
Marcus Mahne 48.3-2-268-2 (Average 134.00)
Cameron Blackshaw-Thomas 26-1-177-2 (88.50)
Jon O’Neill 28-0-147-2 (73.50)
Gary Khangura 31-6-140-2 (70.00)
Dave Milne 28-4-123-2 (61.50)
M.McDonald 52-7-180-3 (60.00)
Matt Mustill 42-7-150-3 (50.00) – he now plays Premier League cricket in Kent
Teague Clarke 31.2-3-147-3 (49.00) – this will surely come down as he gets older
Shane Thomson 27.5-2-138-3 (46.00)
Brad Swan 26-4-84-2 (42.00)
Four other bowlers currently have an average of over 100 having taken just one wicket; Mark Christie, Simon Whitham, Andrew Howorth, Ian Lipscombe and David Lee.
Merv Kickbush, (27-4-99-0), has bowled the most overs and conceded the most runs without ever taking a wicket; although Carel Ferreira took his first wickets for the Club this year, having ended the 2017 season with career figures of 18.5-2-99-0.
228 Stokers have bowled more than 100 overs for the Club. Thirteen of them have taken fewer than 20 wickets so far:
Stuart Riley 13
Ryan Williams 14
Adam De Swardt 16
Cyril Viney 16
Josh Howe 17
Ollie John 17
Ian Wellman 17
Jay Atwal 18
LF Dodson 18
Saud Hassan 18
Billy Salkeld 18
Andrew Furze 19
Peter Phipps 19
Again some stellar names there! Billy Salkeld bowled 147.5 overs for his wickets and currently has the worst strike rate in the above list.
In contrast F.A.Sach took 19 wickets in just 39 overs in 1940, and has the highest strike rate for bowlers with 19 wickets or more, nine places further down that partucilar list is Bob Willis who needed just 167.1 overs to take his 62 wickets for the Club.
So there you have it. You be the judge of whether these guys have any bragging rights over Virat whenever he comes to watch or play for Stoke!