How MS Dhoni statistically stands against other wicketkeeper-batsmen

Suvajit Mustafi
Tuesday, 7 July 2020

On MS Dhoni’s 39th birth anniversary, let’s look at some unusual stat-facts

All-time XIs are a fashion these. MS Dhoni will be one of the first names in many of the all-time ODI sides. The journey of Dhoni is well-known and well documented in many features, books and even a movie. Over the decade-and-half, he has piled up records, some of which will be difficult to conquer.

India had produced some great glove-men, but their batting remained a handicap which impacted the side's climb. In the age where players couldn't just be picked on their keeping skills, India had made a makeshift arrangement in ODIs with Rahul Dravid volunteering for the keeper's role. Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik showed enough promise, but Dhoni would completely change the game.

On Dhoni’s 39th birth anniversary, let’s look at some unusual stat-facts.

Wicketkeepers with most ODI runs

Players

ODIs

Innings

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

SR

100s

50s

Kumar Sangakkara

360

340

35

13,341

169

43.7

80.2

23

91

MS Dhoni

350

297

84

10,773

183*

50.6

87.6

10

73

Adam Gilchrist

282

274

10

9,410

172

35.6

96.9

16

53

Just like the fans, Dhoni has many critics. It may be argued that Dhoni’s average [Runs/(Innings – Not Outs)] is boosted by the number of not outs. Sangakkara has batted the most at No.3 where he averaged almost 45 at an 80+ strike rate. Dhoni has batted mostly at No.6. At No.3 and 4, he has batted 46 times, averages over 65 at a strike rate of over 95. Early in his career, he was at his destructive best at the top. The fact that he pushed himself down the order to provide batting depth and ended up being a remarkable finisher is another testimony to his greatness.

Dhoni’s 183 not out that came against Sri Lanka in 2005 remains the highest ODI score by a wicketkeeper-batsman in ODIs.

Highest batting averages by wicketkeeper batsmen in ODIs (cut-off 1,000 runs)

Players

ODIs

Innings

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

SR

100s

50s

AB de Villiers

59

55

13

2,963

149

70.5

100.7

10

17

Shai Hope

77

72

9

3,283

170

52.1

74.4

9

17

MS Dhoni

350

297

84

10,773

183*

50.6

87.6

10

73

Quinton de Kock

120

120

6

5,132

178

45

95

15

25

Rahul Dravid

73

64

12

2,300

145

44.2

72.6

4

14

Kumar Sangakkara

360

340

35

13,341

169

43.7

80.2

23

91

Interpreting the numbers, the South Africans are ruling the roost. AB de Villiers is arguably the greatest ODI batsman of all time. Quinton de Kock has evolved into the role of a modern-day Adam Gilchrist. Not only the southpaw scores runs, but he also gets them at a brisk pace.

To Dhoni’s defence, he doesn’t enjoy the luxury of batting at a specific number. From No.3 to No.7, he has used himself as a floater prioritising the team’s requirements and adapting to them.

The fact is well captured in the following quote.

"Probably world cricket has missed one thing, and that is MS didn't bat at No.3. Had MS not captained India and batted at No.3, probably world cricket would have seen a completely different player; probably he could have got many more runs, he would have broken many more records. He would have been the most exciting cricketer in the world, had he not captained India and had he batted at No.3," Gautam Gambhir recently said.

Dhoni is the only wicketkeeper-batsman with over 3,500 runs to average over 50. In fact, only two keeper-batsmen average over 45 with that many runs in ODIs – Dhoni and de Kock.

Highest Strike Rate among wicketkeepers in ODIs

Players

ODIs

Inngs

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

SR

100s

50s

I/50+

Jos Buttler

141

116

23

3,843

150

41.3

119.9

9

20

4

AB de Villiers

59

55

13

2,963

149

70.5

100.7

10

17

2

Adam Gilchrist

282

274

10

9,410

172

35.6

96.9

16

53

4

Quinton de Kock

120

120

6

5,132

178

45

95

15

25

3

Brendon McCullum

184

157

25

4,057

131

30.7

90.4

3

20

6.8

Mohammad Shahzad

83

83

3

2,670

131*

33.4

88.3

6

13

4.4

Sarfaraz Ahmed

116

90

22

2,302

105

33.9

87.8

2

11

6.9

MS Dhoni

350

297

84

10,773

183*

50.6

87.6

10

73

3.6

Brad Haddin

117

108

15

2,901

110

31.2

85.4

2

14

6.8

 

Buttler at the top doesn’t come as a surprise. He has been instrumental in England’s rise in limited-overs cricket. When we move down the table, we notice that some of the power-hitting keeper-batters average in the early-30s, which projects either inconsistency or quick-fire cameos. De Kock is certainly an exception.

There’s a column at the end I have added to show after how many innings the player scores 50+ at an average. Considering the fact that Dhoni has often played the role of a floater, his consistency is remarkable.

Highest ODI batting averages in successful run-chases

Players

Innings batted in chases

Innings batted in wins while chasing

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

SR

100s

50s

MS Dhoni

145

75

47

2,876

183*

102.7

88

2

20

Virat Kohli

134

89

30

5,388

183

96.2

97.8

22

22

Michael Bevan

81

45

25

1,725

107

86.3

66.4

3

12

AB de Villiers

103

59

28

2,566

136*

82.8

96.9

5

18

Joe Root

68

41

16

1,942

133*

77.7

88

6

8

Michael Clarke

75

53

24

2,142

105*

73.9

77.7

3

17

No cricketer has finished ODIs better than Virat Kohli. However, Dhoni is the only cricketer to average over 100 in successful ODI chases.

In addition to all of that, Dhoni has won all the ICC trophies, has led most ODIs (332) as a captain, and also has most wins for any IPL captain.

Most dismissals as wicketkeeper in international cricket

Players

Innings

Catches

Stumpings

Dismissals

Mark Boucher

596

952

46

998

Adam Gilchrist

485

813

92

905

MS Dhoni

608

634

195

829

Kumar Sangakkara

499

532

139

671

Ian Healy

392

560

68

628

 

MS Dhoni has the most stumpings for any wicketkeeper in international cricket. He’s arguably the greatest wicketkeeper against spin bowling.

Dhoni hasn’t really replicated his ODI success in Test cricket. However, if we see the batting and wicketkeeping numbers since Dhoni’s Test debut (December 2005), they will provide a clearer picture. Let's sort by averages and cut-off of 1,500 runs.

Players

Tests

Innings

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

SR

100s

50s

AB de Villiers

22

35

2

1,970

169

59.7

52.7

7

6

Dinesh Chandimal

24

43

4

1,602

162*

41.1

58

5

7

Quinton de Kock

45

76

5

2,884

129*

40.6

71.2

5

21

BJ Watling

62

94

13

3,226

205

40.3

42

7

17

Matt Prior

79

123

21

4,099

131*

40.2

61.7

7

28

MS Dhoni

90

144

16

4,876

224

38.1

59.1

6

33

Jonny Bairstow

48

85

5

3,028

167*

37.9

56.6

5

15

Mushfiqur Rahim

55

104

9

3,515

219*

37

47

6

16

Dhoni retired in 2014. He continues to be the leading run-getter from the time he debuted till date. He has achieved the numbers while leading India in the 60 of the 90 Tests that he has played. Dhoni also leads the roost when it comes to dismissals with 294 scalps.

Dhoni has third-most runs for a keeper-batsman in Test cricket behind Adam Gilchrist (5,570) and Mark Boucher (5,515). Boucher has played 62 more innings than Dhoni in Tests. Only eight wicketkeepers have amassed over 4,000 runs in Test cricket, Only Andy Flower (53.7), Gilchrist (47.6) and Matt Prior (40.2) average more than him. Dhoni also stands fifth among most dismissals in Test cricket behind Boucher, Gilchrist, Ian Healy and Rod Marsh.

 

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