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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dravid's Form Check

RD's average has gone down by 5 since 2007..!!

Not only have Dravid and Ponting struggled when compared to the best in the world, they've also failed to keep pace with the best in their own teams. There used to be a time when Ponting was unquestionably the best batsman in Australia, but now that mantle has been taken over by Michael Clarke, while Simon Katich too has scored far more consistently than Ponting. It's not as if runs have completely eluded Ponting - among his six hundreds was a memorable 123 against India in Bangalore, his first century in the country, 101 and 99 in the Boxing Day Test against South Africa in 2008, and 150 in the first Ashes Test in Cardiff - but those high scores have been offset by too many low ones.

For Dravid, the situation is worse.

In a line-up of heavyweight batsmen, his average is the poorest among the regular players; while three batsmen have averages of more than 60, Dravid's barely touches 40.

What's also been worrying is the spread of those runs: Dravid used to be India's best bet overseas, but four of his six hundreds during this period have come in India, and the other two were scored in Bangladesh. His one good series abroad was in New Zealand, but he failed to convert his half-centuries into something more substantial: he made four fifties in six innings, but none exceeded 83. Excluding his innings in Bangladesh, his overseas average during this period drops to 33.20, with no centuries in 33 innings. That doesn't augur well for a team who have a tour to South Africa coming up.

he drop in form over the last four years has meant that almost five runs have been lopped off the career averages of both players - Ponting's has dropped from nearly 60 to less than 55, while Dravid's has come down to less than 53 from a high of 57.58. For Ponting, what's noticeable is his poor conversion rate: during his prime he used to convert one out of two 50-plus scores into a hundred, but since 2007 that rate has fallen to one in nearly four (six out of 22). For Dravid, surprisingly, the ratio remains exactly the same before and during these four years.


For both batsmen, the tendency to get out early in the innings is more marked: Ponting and Dravid used to get out for less than 20 once every three innings, roughly, when they were in form; now that percentage has increased considerably. Of the 60 innings Dravid has played since 2007 (excluding unbeaten sub-20 innings), he has been dismissed for less than 20 on 27 occasions, which is a whopping 45%. Five of those 27 dismissals were in the four Tests when Australia toured India in 2008: of the seven times he batted in that series, only twice did he top 15.


And finally, here's a comparison of the performances of the two at No. 3, sorted by the score at which they've come in to bat. Again, the numbers don't flatter Dravid. Ponting has averaged more or less the same regardless of the score at which he has come in, but Dravid has clearly preferred situations when the openers have put together a substantial first-wicket partnership, which is another indication that his level has dropped - when he was at his peak, he relished situations that required him to repair the damage of an early setback.

Since 2007, Dravid has come in to bat 22 times when the openers have been separated with less than 20 on the board, and he has only scored two centuries - 136 against England in Mohali when the first wicket fell at 6, and 177 against Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad, when the opening pair was separated at 14. On the other hand, he has failed to touch 20 on 10 of those 22 innings.

When the openers have added between 20 and 75, Dravid's average has increased to almost 41, but his conversion rate has been abysmal in these instances, with seven fifties and no hundred. And when the openers have laid a good platform, Dravid has helped himself to an average score of more than 52. In fact, all four of his hundreds have come when the openers have added more than 100 - two of those were against Bangladesh, while the other two followed double-century opening stands, in Kanpur and Ahmedabad.

For Ponting, the numbers are far more consistent, but then he has failed to take advantage of good starts. Clearly, over the next few months both batsmen need to raise their game. Given their past record, there's no reason to suggest they can't.

Stats :

Current Indian batsmen in Tests since Jan 2007

1) Gambhir 2116 @ 62.23 in 19 tests
2) Sehwag 2928 @ 61 in 28 tests
3) Tendulkar 3247 @ 60.12 in 35 tests
4) Laxman 2521 @ 57.97 in 34 tests
5) Dhoni 1850 @ 48.68 in 31 tests
6) Dravid 2392 @ 40.54 in 36 tests

Dravid, before and since Jan 2007

Till Dec 2006 : 9098 runs at 57.58
After Jan 07 : 2392 runs at 40.54


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