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Damned lies and Dizzy statistics

Sadly but almost inevitably, Jason Gillespie's World Cup bowling display for Australia against India is doomed to sink without trace.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2003 12:36 IST

Sadly but almost inevitably, Jason Gillespie's World Cup bowling display for Australia against India is doomed to sink without trace.

Cricket's statistical record books are merciless.

You need to take at least five wickets to feature in the list of best bowling analyses, and you need to concede barely a run an over to impress in terms of economy.

As always, however, there are lies, damned lies and statistics.

Gillespie's figures of 10-2-13-3 at Centurion at the weekend, put simply, should stand among the greatest of all displays since the first World Cup 28 years ago.

First of all, it came against a batting line-up boasting the best batsman in the world in Sachin Tendulkar, as well as such names as Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag.

Secondly, it was on a good batting strip.

If Gillespie bowled a bad ball, it was probably his first. Dravid helpfully chopped his wide, short, rising delivery straight into his stumps off an inside edge.


Gillespie's line and length barely wavered thereafter. After three overs, he had two wickets for two runs.

'Dizzy', as he is nicknamed, then took the

wicket-of-all-wickets as Tendulkar fell lbw for 36. With Tendulkar went India's hopes of a salvage operation.

For the rest of the game, Ganguly's batsmen simply couldn't get him off the square.

An unlikely name tops the World Cup economy table.

Dermot Reeve, an England 'bits-and-pieces' slow-medium swinger, conceded just 0.40 runs an over against Pakistan in Adelaide in taking one wicket for two runs in five overs.

Winston Davis is not a household name either but his seven for 51 for West Indies against Australia at Leeds in 1983 has never been matched.

Few people, however, have ever matched Gillespie's overall display.

If there was a combined 'wicket-taking and economy' statistic, he would be close to the top.


Nearly all the most miserly performances in World Cup history have been made against minor teams -- India spinner Bishan Bedi's one wicket for six runs off 12 overs against East Africa in 1975, Chris Old's four for eight off 10 overs against Canada in 1979 and Curtly Ambrose's two for eight off 10 overs against Scotland four years ago.

England's Derek Pringle, while not exactly an electrifying performer, would be worth a mention in dispatches for his 8.2-5-8-3 against Pakistan, in the same rain-affected match in Adelaide that saw Reeve's once-in-a-lifetime performance.

Sri Lanka left-armer Chaminda Vaas would also be right up there, with his six for 25 off 9.1 overs, including an unprecedented hat-trick off the first three balls of the game, against Bangladesh only 24 hours before Gillespie's display.

Bangladesh, though, are not quite India.

For the very best of the World Cup bowling best, you probably have to go back to that inaugural tournament.

Gum-chewing Gary Gilmour, another left-arm quick and built like a boxer, only ever played five one-dayers for Australia.

But he carved his name in history in June 1975 by swinging the ball prodigiously from over the wicket to take six for 14 off 12 overs against England in the semi-finals at Headingley.

First Published: Feb 16, 2003 12:36 IST