Not out on 90 still after Day Two of the First Test against Australia was washed out, South Africa’s Hashim “well-oiled” Amla has been out 99 times in Test cricket.
He is a seriously good player; he has over 5000 runs to his name and (obviously thus) an average topping 50. He battered England over the summer, and appears to be taking that form Down Under. Amla has been out ‘caught’ 56 times and bowled 17, LBW 20 (being out 99 times makes the percentages easy here, 57%C, 17%B, 20%LBW). Obviously run-outs are less useful to examine; although Amla does not appear to be the best running between the wickets it is not something that a fielding side can particularly plan for – they just need to take their opportunities when they come.
Looking at other players with similar averages and stats across the world is tough – there aren’t many of them.
Alastair Cook averages a fraction under 48 and has 6500 runs to his name. Cook has been dismissed 137 times. Of these, he’s been caught 96 times (70%), bowled 10 times (7%) and been LBW on 30 occasions (22% – these last two are skewed slightly by the fact he is left-handed?). Like Amla, Jonathan Trott averages just over 50 but he has a shorter Test career, only being out 53 times. He has been caught 27 times (51% of his dismissals), bowled 13 times (25%) and been LBW 10 times (19%). Jacque Kallis has been a beast of a player, averaging over 56, being dismissed 222 times (61%C, 20%B, 15%LBW).
I think my survey and statistical outlook is too limited to gain anything meaningful and perhaps someone less lazy could certainly come up with a bigger data field to gain a more meaningful comparison.
The simple answer is, and I knew this before looking up percentages, really good players don’t often let things through their gates and however you bowl, fielders have to be on their game to support your bowlers. England dropped Amla six times during the three summer Tests (more than that in the ODI series), whilst Australia have already dropped him once on the first day. He will remorselessly make you pay.
As ever, the wrong ‘un loves a cliché. So here’s two: 1) Catches win matches. 2) Dropping means flopping. I made up the second one about 5 minutes ago. I can’t decide whether I’m proud of it.