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    August 28, 2008

    Mushtaq Ahmed retires from county cricket after his right arm goes on strike

    For the past few years, the only competitive cricket Mushtaq Ahmed had been playing was while representing Sussex, the 2007 County Championship winners, in England's domestic tournaments. Hence, his retirement from county cricket also potentially means an end to his cricket career. It is unlikely that he will play in Pakistan's domestic tournaments for two reasons: his knee trouble is obviously troubling him, and he signed up for the ICL. Nevertheless, the book cricket league can use his skills!

    The Sussex CCC press release says
    Taking 598 wickets in all competitions and bowling over 26,000 overs, Mushtaq has bowled his way in to the record books and has become an integral part of the Sussex community.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but that amounts to a wicket every 43 overs. In my opinion, that is quite a pathetic strike rate (260+ balls per wicket). Admittedly it includes bowling in limited overs games where you could go 2-3 games without a wicket despite bowling 10 overs each time. Even then, a strike rate of 260 is abysmal. I know its probably unfair to compare it with test bowling strike rates, but Mushy would be at #2 in the all-time worst strike rate list! Funnily enough, #1 is Asoka de Silva, a very ordinary umpire who was in the wilderness for the past couple of years but is now #1 in the ICC's Elite Panel of umpires (#1 since the list is in alphabetical order!)

    But there seems to be something fundamentally totally wrong about that stat. Mushy's been playing for Sussex since 2003. Over 6 years, if he's bowled 26000 overs, it works out to 4300+ overs per season. That is one heck of a bowling effort! In the previous 3 seasons, for which I was able to dig up information on Cricinfo, he had bowled 1894 overs in first-class cricket, 334 overs in List A games & 70 overs in T20 games, amounting to a total of 2298 overs in those forms of the game across 3 seasons. How could he have bowled 4300 overs a season!?

    Then I suspected something. Could it have been 'over 26000 balls' instead of 'over 26000 overs'? That seemed a possibility, since it would have worked out to a strike rate of 40 or so. It was confirmed from CricketArchive's listing of Mushtaq Ahmed's bowling statistics for each team he represented in first-class, List A and Twenty20 games. He had bowled 26503 balls for Sussex, taking 598 wickets for them (strike rate of 44.32, avg. of 25.37).

    Needless to say, this was a stupid gaffe from Sussex! Even worse, every single news agency and website used the numbers without any sort of thought about whether it made sense!

    I didn't see too much of him, but whatever I did, convinced me that he would definitely be in my list of top 10 spinners over the last 15 years. He ends up with over 1400 first-class wickets.

    He was Pakistan's assistant coach during the 2007 World Cup.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:50 AM |
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