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New Zealand v Pakistan

The best in 121 years: Kyle Jamieson’s extraordinary start to Test cricket

Kyle Jamieson
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

New Zealand quick Kyle Jamieson has had a mightily impressive start to his Test career – here are the numbers behind his meteoric rise over the last year.

It’s rare that a batsman isn’t named Player of the Match after scoring 238 and leading their team to an innings win, but Kane Williamson was pipped by Kyle Jamieson to the award after New Zealand’s victory over Pakistan in Christchurch. The 6’8” quick capped off another brilliant series in his burgeoning career with a six-wicket haul, his figures of 6-48 the best of a career that seems to be improving with each passing Test.

“I still feel like I’m a long way off the cricketer I want to be,” Jamieson said after helping New Zealand reach the top of the ICC Test rankings for the first time.

While it’s been less than a year since Jamieson made his Test debut, the numbers suggest that a start that could hardly have gone better.

Best in 121 years

In his six-Test career so far, Jamieson currently has the third-best bowling average (13.27) among all bowlers (minimum 12 innings) in Test history, bettered only by George Lohmann and John Ferris, both of whom players in the late 1800s. Among all bowlers since 1900 (with the same qualification), Jamieson has the best bowling average so far, followed by Morice Bird and Mike Proctor.

In terms of strike-rate, Jamieson is one among only five bowlers to have a sub-40 figure since 1900, bettered only by Duanne Olivier and Bird. Shane Bond, the former NZ quick, stands fifth at 38.7 and is followed by Kagiso Rabada at 40.6.

The numbers might even out as Jamieson plays more Tests, but it’s difficult to overlook the impact he has created in the last one year. A remarkable element about his career thus far is that he hasn’t taken the new ball yet, and has only been brought on as first or second change, usually behind New Zealand’s existing battery of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner. Among all bowlers with at least ten innings without the new ball, Jamieson has the best bowling average so far at 13.3.

An unusual hat-trick

Barring two innings, one of which saw him bowl just eight overs, Jamieson has taken at least two wickets every time he has bowled in a Test innings. In each of the Test series he has featured in so far – against India, West Indies and Pakistan, Jamieson has picked up at least one five-wicket haul.

What’s next?

While it’s still early in his career, Jamieson is on the verge of some impressive milestones. He is currently the leading wicket-taker in the 2019/21 World Test Championship and is likely to become just the fourth Test bowler to claim 50 Test wickets in less than 10 Tests. So far, only Vernon Philander, Yasir Shah and Ravichandran Ashwin have taken fewer than ten Tests to reach 50 wickets; among New Zealand bowlers, Shane Bond is the best at 12 Tests.

“I’m 12 months into my international career and it’s a long process,” Jamieson said after the Christchurch game. “Hopefully I’ve got another 9-10 years in this group and if that happens there could be a wee bit more to come.”

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