Lord of the Debut

11 12 2011

Young Aussie quicks Pat Cummins and James Pattinson both had sterling Test debuts recently, each claiming a 5 wicket haul. Admittedly I never got to watch Pattinson’s performance but I can vouch for Cummins being a huge prospect. He (possibly along with Pattinson) is the future of Australian fast bowling.

The exploits of the above two youngsters got me wondering: How do their debuts rate in cricket’s history? Thanks to the statsguru tool on cricinfo I discovered the following information:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;debut_or_last=1;filter=advanced;orderby=wickets;size=10;template=results;type=bowling

Interestingly, neither is close to getting onto the list – Cummins is way behind with 7 wickets, and Pattinson has one less “debut-wicket” to his name. Narendra Hirwani and Bob Massie claimed more than double either Aussie could manage. Interestingly, only two all time greats are on the list – Sir Alec Bedser and Clarrie Grimmet.

The equivalent batting information is below:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;debut_or_last=1;filter=advanced;orderby=runs;size=10;template=results;type=batting

Only 2 names stand out (Gordon Greenidge and Kepler Wessels) although 2 interesting players of old make it in too ( Ranji and Tip Foster). Again, many players who dominated their debuts found it tough to maintain world class levels. Does this mean that doing well in ones debut is going to hamper ones career?

The simple answer is no. The saying goes “lies, damn lies and statistics,” and it applies perfectly in this case. There are way too many variables in a debut match to allow us to draw conclusions. Batsmen can be in brilliant touch but be dismissed by something as trivial as a run-out; bowlers can be given “free wickets” against minnows; or above-average domestic players can be called up in the middle of a run of sparkling form, only to fade into mediocrity as the form lessens into a standard level.

We can, however, make conclusions based on the actual performances of players. Cummins and Pattinson showed tremendous potential in their debuts and, regardless of the amount of wickets they took, performed at a level that makes one feel confident that they can be two of the best cricketers of their generation.

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3 responses

16 12 2011
Geoff Smith

The mighty Matt Sinclair deserves a mention 😉

16 12 2011
Eagerbrad

Heh, not quite :p

Although what does deserve a mention is that he scored what could end up being his highest Test score on his debut. I say “could” because he has scored centuries in his last two fc matches – who knows?

16 12 2011
Geoff Smith

He could make another 5 and still wouldn’t get back in the NZ side tbh

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