I was disappointed to learn last week that Chris Martin (avg. 2.17, high score 12) is not the worst ever test batsman, the honour for which goes to Pommie Mbangwa (avg. 2, high score 8).
However, NZ really cleans up in the list of worst ever specialist test batsmen. NZ owns the list. Of 41 specialist batsmen with averages under 25, there are 11 NZers, including the batsmen rated the worst, Lawrie Miller (avg. 13.84, high score 47).
There are several names in the list from the 50s and 60s, when NZ cricket was completely out if its depth internationally. However, there are several more recent names, including test incumbent Jamie How.
They are all heroes and we salute their efforts. Also, if you look a bit deeper, there are stories that sit alongside the stats that change the context of their “achievements” somewhat. For example, Lawrie Miller had his best match (aggregate of 72) in the NZ’s first ever test victory. Similarly John Parker featured in our first win over Australia. Trevor Franklin, while not achieving much himself, was half of one of the best opening pairings we’ve had; his partnerships with John Wright averaged 55. It’s interesting to note actaully how many of the players are specialist openers, starkly demonstrating the problems we’ve had in that position. A couple of the players also have reputations as bowlers (perhaps because their batting reputations are so poor), such as John Morrison. I also note Bruce Murray bowled only one over in his career, but gave away no runs and took a wicket, perhaps making him one of the best ever test bowlers.