In the latest Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast, Phil Walker, the Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief, Jo Harman, the magazine editor, and wisden.com managing editor Ben Gardner join host Yas Rana in attempting to pick a ‘when the stats do lie’ XI.
The idea was to pick an all-time XI of batsmen with final career averages of under 40 and bowlers who retired with averages of over 30. However, there was debate on the criteria itself, with the question rising whether averaging 40 with the bat was equal to averaging 30 with the ball.
“I would say probably not, based on what I’ve gone through over the last hour or so,” said Walker. “I think it’s probably more weighted in favour of the batsman than it is the bowlers. There’s quite a few reasonably average cricketers who have averaged over 40 over a reasonable amount of time.
“There are categories within these categories as well. One thing that struck me when I was going through the list was how many broadly top quality, match-winning spinners, who deserve their place in the overall story of Test cricket, whose averages are tottering around that 30-mark.
“[There are] some really, really great spinners, who average over 30. I would say the mark of 40 versus the mark of 30, for batsmen versus bowlers, is weighted in favour of batsmen. It’s been an interesting gig this one.”