Covers sport across NZME's print, digital and radio brands.

Cricket: Could Kane Williamson achieve the highest man-of-the-match percentage?

Cricket scientists studying the annals of the game believe they have made a rare discovery: an individual statistic Kane Williamson might be tempted to pursue.

The chances are speculative at this stage, given the New Zealand captain has a knack for basing everything on the performance of team over self.

However, this statistic will be hard to ignore: the highest man-of-the-match percentage.

If Williamson tops these figures by the end of his career he will have guaranteed success for his team as much as himself.

MotM awards tend to be skewed in favour of batsmen in limited overs cricket, because the chances of the ball triumphing over bat are so minimised in the modern era of bigger bats, shorter boundaries and fielding restrictions.

Still, the awards at least highlight players who make the most of circumstances on any given day(s) rather than rewarding simplistic numbers. Williamson is already easing his way up the MotM scale after being a pivotal figure in numerous Black Caps performances across all formats.

The latest example came with his 73 from 55 balls to lead New Zealand to their six-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the opening Twenty20 international at Napier.

Williamson has two MotMs from 36 T20Is (5.56 per cent), 10 from 104 ODIs (9.62 per cent) and four from 56 tests (7.14 per cent).

In T20s, he ranks fourth behind Martin Guptill (11.48 per cent), Brendon McCullum (9.86 per cent) and Daniel Vettori (8.82 per cent) from those to play more than 30 matches.

In ODIs, Martin Crowe (13.29 per cent), Nathan Astle (11.21 per cent) and Martin Guptill (10.71 per cent) are ahead among those selected for at least 100 games.

In tests, he slots in sixth behind Sir Richard Hadlee (10.47 per cent), Vettori (9.73 per cent), Chris Cairns (9.68 per cent), John Wright (8.54 per cent) and Ross Taylor (7.69 per cent).

Statistics tend to extend back only to the 1980s, so that might handicap Hadlee's record.

Pakistan's Wasim Akram, who debuted against New Zealand in 1985, tops the test table with 17 MotMs from 104 tests (16.35 per cent). The West Indies' Sir Vivian Richards has had the most success in ODIs with 31 awards in 187 games (16.58 per cent).

Twenty20 is still building its sample size but India's Virat Kohli leads at present, deemed the best player in nine of his 45 appearances (20 per cent).

The international table is not skewed by any Bradman-outlier effect, but it's a relative constant for comparing the impact and value of greats across different eras.

As players mature and accumulate self-belief, they tend to gather more MotMs.

Expect Williamson's numbers to condense from here; just don't bank on him trumpeting about those feats any time soon.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 30 Apr 2017 14:50:43 Processing Time: 844ms