Today Ed Clark has some amusing (and also pretty interesting) stats about England’s Test batsmen. Who’s occupying the crease like Boycott? And whose Test innings have all the permanence of a fart in the wind?
Whether it’s genuine curiosity, or the beginnings of a lockdown-induced breakdown, I recently calculated how long, in minutes, each England Test batsman spent at the crease in 2019.
More specifically, I looked from January 31st 2019. The date when Joe Denly made his debut.
I had in mind that Denly was an ‘occupier’ – someone who spent a lot of time at the crease while making his runs – thus allowing the team build an innings around him. It was, and is, one of the main reason’s he’s in the side.
I wanted to see how accurate that impression was, and also see who would fall into the ‘timely’ or ‘time-waster’ camps of the 20-odd players who have represented England since Denly first appeared on the team sheet.
Here, if you’ve nothing better to do (and let’s face it, this is quite likely right now), are six of the ‘best’ findings:
Since Denly’s Test debut in January 2019, no player except Joe Root has spent more time in the middle for England.
In the year following his debut, Denly batted for 2890 minutes, second only to Root’s 3349. Ben Stokes (2424) and Rory Burns (2634) are the only other two players in touching distance.
In fact, players called Joe are responsible for 30% of all the time spent batting by England players since Denly’s debut.
Joe R and Joe D have 6,239 of England’s 21,108 combined minutes at the crease since January 2019. No player has more than Denly’s 13 innings of 100+ minutes.
Dom Sibley leads the way since Jan’19 in terms of longest AVERAGE innings.
His 140-minute average is just ahead of Ollie Pope (137), followed by Root (128).
Of bowlers who have batted ten times or more since Jan 2019, Jack Leach (avg. 60 minutes per innings) is comfortably ahead of the pack.
Woakes (40), Curran (30), Archer (25), and Broad (19), are others in contention. Personally I’m amazed that Archer and Broad made double figures here.
Leach’s innings tend to last longer than some of England’s specialist batsmen.
England’s bald-headed hero bats longer than both Johnny Bairstow (58 minutes) and Jason Roy (54 minutes).
Joe Root’s 636-minute double century v NZ was the longest innings at over ten hours.
This one should come as no surprise.
Conversely, just one ‘1-minute’ innings was recorded over the time period in question. The unlucky man? Sam Curran.
Other first-ball ducks did occur but took longer.
What does all this tell us? Not much, some of the cynical amongst you will cry, and head for the kettle. For me, there are three things:
Firstly, Denly really is a sticker, someone who brings long-missing grit to the England top order.
Secondly, the ‘new boys’ of the side – Pope, Burns and Sibley – are finally providing some much needed stickability. With these guys in the XI (plus Denly of course) England’s top order are finally capable of occupying the crease.
Lastly, Jack Leach should probably bat a bit higher up the order. Nothing silly of course, I’m not saying he should open …although the last time he did that, he scored 92.
When cricket returns, let’s hope it’s with the same stickability as the bespectacled hero of Headingley.