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June 25, 2014



"Charles Davis has argued that they don't on the grounds that tailenders used as nightwatchmen average as much as they do when they go in as tailenders."

Wrong measure. First, the nightwatchman role takes away a tailender's main scoring stroke, the wild swipe. Second, a nightwatchman's job is not to score runs but to stay there.

So balls faced without dismissal might be a better measure. But that's not perfect. A 50 ball overnight nought from a nightwatchmen is perfect. At other times you want your no11 to demoralise tired bowlers with a five ball cameo involving two sixes and and a couple of edges through the slips, before running himself out to prevent the bowlers getting any credit.

It is, as you say, hard to prove one way or another.


I haven't done a deep statistical analysis to prove this, but if I was going to send in a nightwatchman, I'd always send in a bowler who's had a poor outing with the ball. Chances are, he's hungrier to contribute to the team's cause than the bloke who's just taken 5 and already feels like he's done enough. Broad or Jordan would've been a better bet in the context than Plunkett.

Jeremy Norton

Great article you have here. I like your point of view. I agree with your closing remarks. More people should think this way.

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