Captain Morgan

AP

Eoin Morgan has made 13 scores of 50 or more in his first 29 matches (27 innings) as captain of England’s ODI team, which means that he has made a 50-plus score in 48% of all his innings as captain. Among captains who have led their side in at least 25 ODIs, this is the highest percentage of 50-plus scores, ahead of AB de Villiers (44%, 30 fifty-plus scores in 67 innings as captain), Rahul Dravid (36%, 27 in 75), Kumar Sangakkara (35%, 15 in 43) and Ricky Ponting (33%, 73 in 220). Morgan averages 51.7 when captaining England’s ODI side. The only batsmen with better averages when captaining their side (min. 25 ODIs as captain) are AB de Villiers and M.S. Dhoni, who average 67.7 and 56.4 respectively.

Hard evidence

We constantly hear commentators and experts talking about how cricket is becoming more and more of a batsman's game as the years roll on. While this is largely a subjective analysis, comparing statistics through each decade of ODI cricket will give us a good idea of how the game has been changing in favour of the batsmen. In the 1970s, batsmen posted a 50-plus once every nine innings or so, but in the 2010s they have been doing so at the rate of one 50-plus score every six innings. The accompanying table gives statistical proof of this while also showing us how averages and strike rates have gone up over the years.

Q & A

How many batsmen have scored a century in ODI cricket when batting at No. 8 or below?

- Albin Thomas, Bombay, Maharashtra

Interestingly, there have been zero instances in ODI cricket of a batsman scoring a century when batting at No. 8 or below. However, this has happened 97 times in Test cricket, with Daniel Vettori alone scoring five centuries when batting at No. 8 or below. There have been 13 instances of a batsman scoring a century when batting at No. 7 in ODIs, but nobody has done so at No. 8, with the highest score being Andre Russell's 92 not out in a losing cause against India, in Antigua in 2011.

Sri Lanka's Kusal Perera recently made two fifties on Test debut. How many wicketkeepers have done this in the past?

- Aravind Anandan, Dehradun, Uttarakhand

Kusal Perera made 55 and 70 in his debut Test in Colombo (SSC), during the third Test of the recent series against India. He is the third 'keeper to post two 50-plus scores on debut, with one of the other two also being a Sri Lankan. Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal made 58 and 54 against South Africa in Durban in 2011, while India's Dilawar Hussain achieved this when he made scores of 59 and 57 against England in Calcutta, more than 80 years ago, in 1934. Perera's effort is the only one that came in a loss, as Chandimal and Hussain finished on the winning side.

Which batsman has hit the fewest boundaries during an ODI innings where he has scored a century?

- Dhananjai Hari, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

The answer to this question excludes early ODIs where details about boundaries scored by each batsman were not accurately recorded. In matches where complete data is available, Rameez Raja holds the record for hitting the fewest boundaries (three fours) during a 100-plus knock. He did this during his innings of 107 not out off 154 balls against Sri Lanka in Adelaide in 1990. Sachin Tendulkar once posted a century (101 off 140 balls) with only four boundary hits (three fours, one six), also against Sri Lanka, in Sharjah in 2000.

Ricky Ponting once scored 108 not out off 103 balls against India in Bangalore in 2003 with only one four, but he hit seven sixes during that knock.

Has it ever happened in a first-class match that the ball has passed through the batsman's stumps without dislodging the bails?

- Dr. V. Ramaprasad, India

While this question is not strictly statistical, it has been included in this week's column for its novelty. There is no exhaustive list of instances where the ball has passed through the stumps without dislodging the bail, but it can be said with certainty that there has been at least one instance in Test cricket (which is a sub-set of first-class cricket) when this has happened - Pakistan's Mushtaq Ahmed was bowling to South Africa's Pat Symcox in Faisalabad in 1997 when a googly that Mushtaq delivered slipped between the middle and off stumps with disturbing the bails.