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The Fab Four

Imran Khan. Richard Hadlee. Kapil Dev. Ian Botham


The 1980's featured arguably the greatest cricketers ever, and part of that was down to these four all rounders. In this piece, I will name the best of the four, and why using a series of graphs and stats.



The winner of this graph is clearly Pakistani all rounder Imran Khan, whose average of 38 with the bat and 23 with the ball is way better than all of the others. Richard Hadlee has the lowest bowling average of the group of 22.29, 0.52 better than Imran's, but the worst batting average by a distsnce. Ian Botham's career average of 33 with the bat and 28 with the ball are decent, but not phenomenal, while Dev's figures are fairly standard, averaging 31 with the bat and 29 with the ball.


1st - Imran Khan (batting - bowling average of 14.88)

2nd - Sir Ian Botham (B-BA of 5.14)

3rd - Sir Richard Hadlee (B-BA of 4.87)

4th - Kapil Dev (B-BA of 1.41)


Imran 4 pts

Botham 3pts

Hadlee 2pts

Kapil 1pt

This graph doesn't show the better player, rather where each player was at certain points throughout their career. Probably the most significant change was that of Imran Khan, especially with the bat, his average soaring from 20, to 30 after 60 games and up to nearly 38 by the end of his 88 test career. Another interesting stat is the upward spiral of Ian Botham's bowling average, from a mere 19 at the start of his career, to 28 by the end. His batting average also took hits, with two major dips, one at 45 tests and one after about 75. Both of Kapil's averages were high to begin with, but they both decreased rapidly, before plateauing out after about 60 games. Hadlee, like most of the other players started with their averages the wrong way round, but quickly got them right againand after 60 games, his average with the ball stayed much the same.

Botham won the highest percentage of matches of any of the four, and also lost the second most games. This was due to England's much more 'live by the sword' method of plying test cricket, and they drew far less often than the subcontinental sides of India and Pakistan.

Hadlee lost the most games, and won the least, but at least his winning percentage was reasonable, just 1% of Imran's. The New Zealander also drew the lowest percentage of games, but his Pie was, like Botham's very evenly split.

Kapil Dev's pie chart is quite fascinating, being apart of the very defensive Indian side, who drew 75 games while Kapil was playing, well over 50% of the games he took part in. Dev was also involved in one of two tied games, against Australia at Madras in 1985. Dev's win percentage was, however the worst, but had the second lowest lose percentage.

Imran lost just 19% of the games he played for Pakistan, the lowest of the four, and had a good win percentage as well. With plenty of draws in there too, Imran had the most rounded chart of any of them.


Imran 4pts (8)

Botham 3pts (6)

Kapil 2pts (3)

Hadlee 1pt (3)


Richard Hadlee once again was at opposite ends of the spectrum with batting and bowling, the highest wicket percentage of all of them, but marginally the lowest batting percentage. Surprisingly, Botham had the highest Batting percentage, but the lowest bowling score. Kapil and Imran took the middle ground, Imran 2nd in both of them, and Kapil third.


Imran 4pts (12)

Botham and Hadlee 3pts (9 and 6 respectively)

Kapil 1pt (4)

The last graph to see is their away game figures, and once again, it's Imran Khan who reigns supreme, 1st in the batting and second in the bowling, behind only the metronomic Hadlee. Botham's stats are fairly similar to his regular ones, averaging 34 and 31, with the bat and ball respectively. Kapil really struggled in away conditions, surprising for an Indian seamer, averaging 34 with the ball and just 28 with the bat.


Imran 4pts (16)

Hadlee and Botham 3pts (9 and 12 respectively)

Kapil 1pt (5)


Hadlee never actually captained the Blackcaps, so his figures are obviously nil in this round. But one player excels, Kapil Dev. Both of his averages are significantly better whilst being captain, the complete opposite to Botham, who has shocking statistics in this field. Averaging just 13 with the bat and 33 with ball, his figures are abysmal, as is his win percentage - zero. Imran has some of the greatest captaincy stats ever, a 29% win percentage, the highest, and an average of 52 and 20, figures that butt out like a sore thumb.


Imran 4pts (20)

Kapil 3pts (8)

Botham 2pts (14)

Hadlee 1pt (10)




Overall:


Kapil Dev, by no means a poor cricketer is last, with 8 points. An inspirational leader, Dev was also India's finest ever pace bowler, but his career average of 29.64 is nowhere near as good as Hadlee and Imran. Like Botham and Hadlee, Kapil Dev could be thoroughly entertaining, and an extremely destructive hitter on his day, he struggled to find consistency.


Ian Botham is well adrift in second place, with 14 points, and coming routinely second across most disciplines, bar bowling. His captaincy really let him down, as did his bowling, not quite keeping it intact with the outstanding figures of Imran and Hadlee. His batting, while destructive was also inconsistent, and it left him with averages that, to be honest, didn't leave him with a true reflection of his career. Up until around the 50 test mark, Botham had the best average of all of the four, before really tailing off in the last half of his career.


Richard Hadlee comes home in third place, with 10 points. The best bowler of the group bar no one, but also the worst batsman, and this is where he let himself down. Another area of his game we never saw was the captaincy side, letting him down in the last round. Hadlee's calling card, nevertheless was his bowling, and in that part of his game, his right up there with the best ever.


Ian Botham is well adrift in second place, with 14 points, and coming routinely second across most disciplines, bar bowling. His captaincy really let him down, as did his bowling, not quite keeping it intact with the outstanding figures of Imran and Hadlee. His batting, while destructive was also inconsistent, and it left him with averages that, to be honest, didn't leave him with a true reflection of his career. Up until around the 50 test mark, Botham had the best average of all of the four, before really tailing off in the last half of his career.

However, of all the all rounders of the 1980s, one player is far and away the greatest: Imran Khan. With the best score across all the 5 rounds, Imran stands out from the pack. He is the best batsman of the four, and the second best bowler. He is unrivalled at the top, and no one of that generation can touch him.





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