In the latest episode of Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast, the panel of Phil Walker and Jo Harman, the Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief and magazine editor, and Ben Gardner, the wisden.com managing editor, join host Yas Rana to pick an all-time ‘when the stats do lie’ Test 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. Former England captain Alec Stewart was picked as one of the two openers in the side by the panel, alongside compatriot Michael Atherton.
Stewart finished with an average of 39.54 in a 13-year Test career, which Gardner said didn’t tell the whole story. As highlighted in the podcast, the wicketkeeper-batsman was the highest Test run-scorer in the Nineties with 6,407 runs and was one of the world’s best batsmen during that period.
Happy birthday, @StewieCricket!
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) April 8, 2020
“The reason why he averages less than 40 is a bit of a peculiar one,” Gardner said. “But I think there’ll be generations to come who will look back at Stewart’s average and sort of not realise just how good he was.
“The stat that no one has scored more runs in the Nineties, which was obviously a bowler-dominated decade but as a specialist batsman, he had one of the best averages in that decade as well when it was so hard to score runs.
“I think he was properly one of the world’s best batsmen for a 10-year period and yet he’s ended with an average of less than 40.”