Dhoni and Sehwag’s Conflicting Averages

M.S. Dhoni just joined Rahul Dravid at the crease on the first day of the final Test between India and New Zealand. No one doubts that Dhoni is both a commanding and shrewd batsman, able to tinker his “game” to the prevailing match situation.

I do have one question, though, and this applies to Virender Sehwag as well: why do these batsmen have widely varying averages in the ODI and Test formats? Dhoni averages around 36 in Tests, a respectable number, though not that great when one considers the rest of the Indian batting line-up and Adam Gilchrist’s 47. But in one-days, Dhoni averages 49 (and for a long time, he was way over the 50-mark).

For Sehwag, the converse applies: he averages a remarkable 50 in Tests, but only 34 in ODIs. What explains this discrepancy? Dhoni and Sehwag both bat at roughy similar positions in both formats, and Sehwag’s strike-rates are roughly similar in both (high 70s in Tests; 100 in ODIs).

Isn’t this strange? Now contrast these figures with Yuvraj Singh’s, which are basically the same in both formats (36 and 37), even though Singh is widely held unsuitable for Tests but a key figure in India’s ODI side. Are mind games to blame here? Any ideas?

2 thoughts on “Dhoni and Sehwag’s Conflicting Averages

  1. Peter Della Penna says:

    It’s really easy actually. Dhoni accumulates a ton of not outs batting lower down the order in ODIs. In ODIs, a team finishes with a score 5 or 6 wickets down quite often, vs. a test match where the team bats out the innings until everyone is out 9 times out of 10. Dhoni has been not out 32 times in ODIs, with seven of those instances batting at #3 or #4. But it is easy to boost the average, coming in at #6 or #7 and scoring a quick 30 not out in the last five overs in one day cricket. Sehwag can never do that in ODIs since he is opening.

    But in tests, Sehwag has a chance to last as long as he wants, which is why he has two triple centuries and was able to hit a masterful 201 not out against Sri Lanka last year.

  2. […] a comment » Over at Kridaya, Krishna raises a question I once posed about Sehwag’s conflicting ODI (30s) and Test (50s) averages. He has charts and wunderkind stuff; I have mere […]

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