He might be giving England nightmares, but the group of people most pissed with Steve Smith should be cricket statisticians. With records being broken every other game, Smith is giving these data geeks some sleepless nights. While it is well known that his average is second only to the ‘Don’ himself in Test cricket, a debate that should be settled fairly easily is his supremacy as a No. 4 batsmen.
Test cricket has seen some exceptional No. 4 batsmen in Sachin Tendulkar – proud owner of the record for most runs at the position in Tests, Mahela Jayawardena, Jacques Kallis, Brian Lara, Javed Miandad, Kevin Pietersen and of late, Virat Kohli.
But trumping them all in terms of his average is Smith. For batsmen with a minimum of 10 innings at No. 4, Smith has the best average – a whopping 81.56 with 13 hundreds and 12 half-centuries.
Batsmen with best Test averages at No. 4
SPD Smith (AUS)
FMM Worrell (WI)
DM Jones (AUS)
SC Ganguly (IND)
GS Sobers (WI)
ED Weekes (WI)
RG Pollock (SA)
JH Kallis (SA)
Mominul Haque (BAN)
V Kohli (IND)
While quite a few prominent names including Kohli make the top 10 list, none of them even comes close to Smith. Only two – Kohli and Kallis – have far more runs than Smith at the position while averaging close to or above 60. Smith’s longevity claim might be skewed but with 48 innings at the position, there is enough sample size to declare Smith as the best beast.
What’s interesting is that Sachin Tendulkar does not figure in the list. The Indian Master Blaster, though he tops the run-scoring list at the position, averages only 54.4. Smith is some way away from equalling Tendulkar’s tally of runs and most likely would never do it, but in terms of average, it seems unlikely that anyone can even come close to Smith.
Steve Smith’s average in each batting position
While he averages pretty well in No. 3 and No. 5, Smith’s career numbers are the best at No 4. Smith has an average of 81.56 in that position, while his average at No. 3 is 67.07 and at No. 5 is 61.8. He has batted in all positions from No. 3 to No. 9 but his credentials have received a serious boost since moving to No. 4.
With his exceptional run of form since return, Smith is quickly staking claims for an all-time great tag. While Bradman might be invincible, you wouldn’t put it past Smith to do it.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis