Saturday, November 25, 2006

How About Hiren

In my last post, I commented on Thomas Odoyo getting into the top 100 for strike rate for bowlers in ODIs. Looking a bit further at the stats, there is a second Kenyan bowler who could well get onto this list in the next year or so. Young left arm spinner, Hiren Varaiya certainly entered the international scene with a bang when he took 3/24 on debut against Canada, but his impact is not really put in perspective until compared with the best:
At the top of the all time most economical bowlers list is Joel Garner with 3.09. Second is R.Willis of England with 3.28. Hiren Varaiya is currently sitting on an economy rate of 3.15 which would put him just behind Garner. True, Varaiya has only played 6 matches and is yet to face the much tougher opposition of the Test nations, but this is a fantastic start from the youngster. To get on the top 100 list, he needs to bowl a minimum of 1500 balls. At the moment, he is about a fifth of the way there with 308. Bowling an average of 8 and a half overs per match so far, he needs to play another 23 at this rate before he has enough to qualify.
Regards strike rate, he also has a little way to go, needing 50 wickets to get into the top 100. To date, he has taken 12 wickets at an average of 2 per match. Continuing at this rate will take him 19 matches before he qualifies. This assumes of course that his strike rate continues to rank him amongst the best. So far, his 12 wickets have come at a strike rate of 25.66. Compare this with the best ever: Shane bond (NZ) with 26.85.
I am not for one moment saying Varaiya is one of the best bowlers ever. To claim that, he will have to prove himself against quality opposition over a long period of time. What I am saying is: Watch this space! Depending on the performance in the World Cup, Kenya can expect to play somewhere in the region of 20 ODIs over the next 12 months. During the next year and a half, it is therefore likely that Hiren will have bowled enough overs and hopefully taken enough wickets to qualify for both top 100 lists. How far up he will slot in and where he will end up at the end of his career will depend on how he improves and who Kenya play as they progress. Whatever happens, it will be a fascinating story to follow as it unfolds. Doubtless there will be many great players to come out of the Associate nations over the next 10 years, but Hiren Varaiya is certainly the one I will watch with the most interest in the near future.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Odoyo in top 100 for Strike Rate

Caught up in the euphoria of belting Bermuda 3-0 and all the personal milestones that came with it, I missed perhaps the most significant of all for the Associates. Thomas Odoyo took his ODI wicket tally to 86 in 82 matches to take him into the top 100 in terms of strike rate in One Day Internationals. Bowling wise, he is now the first Associate player to make this step, hopefully the vanguard of a whole host who are going to join him from all of the Associate countries in the years ahead. In terms of batting, Kennedy Otieno's 144 against Bangladesh has him on joint 58th place in highest individual totals. While Odoyo makes it into the top 100 in terms of strike rate, he still has a little way to go in terms of overall wickets taken. Currently the 100th spot is held by Azhar Mahmood of Pakistan with 122 wicket, a target that is drawing ever closer.
Getting into the top 100 bowlers by strike rate is great achievement from a player who is currently in the best form of his life. Tim Brooks, whose article on Cricket Europe brought this to my attention looks forward to seeing him take his 100th wicket during the World Cup. I look forward to seeing him take it a lot earlier than that: in Kenya this January during the WCL. Maybe he can look to be taking his 120th wicket in the World Cup and getting on that top 100 list as well. Go Thomas!