Retiring Voges an unsung hero of Australian cricket

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Expert

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    Adam Voges retired from international cricket on Wednesday as one of the most underrated men to play Test cricket.

    Few realise that his Test batting average of 61.87 is second only to Sir Don Bradman’s of 99.94 of those who played a minimum of 20 Tests.

    Voges scored 1487 runs, hitting five centuries, two double hundreds, and four fifties, in 20 Tests (31 innings).

    Third on the list is South Africa’s elegant batsman Graeme Pollock, who averaged 60.97 in 23 Tests (41 innings) notching seven hundreds and 13 fifties.

    However, Voges achieved which neither Bradman nor Pollock could, hitting a century on debut – an unbeaten 130 against West Indies at Roseau in June 2015. He was over 35 then, the age most cricketers would consider retirement.

    Born on October 4, 1979, he became the oldest man in Test history to score a century on debut.

    Voges retained his place for the 2015-16 season and piled up mountains of runs, including an unbeaten 269 off only 285 balls against the West Indies at Hobart in December 2015, and 239 against New Zealand at Hamilton in February 2016. His average shot up to over 100 during the tour of New Zealand.

    More recently he struggled against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, and after failures in the first two Tests against South Africa in Australia he was dropped, never to be picked again.

    It may be remembered that practically every Australian batsman had failed in those Tests, but Voges was the victim.

    He was among the most consistent batsmen in all forms of cricket, averaging over 45 in Tests, ODIs, T20 internationals and first-class matches.

    He also took 54 wickets as a slow left-arm orthodox bowler and 268 catches in first-class cricket.

    Australia cricketer Adam Voges

    His promotion to the Test XI came after the 2014-15 Sheffield Shield season, when he scored 1358 at 104.46, including six centuries from 11 matches.

    To quote ESPNCricinfo, “Voges had originally made his name with a 62-ball century in 2004-05, which was then the fastest in Australia’s domestic one-day history. Not only did he break a record, he also clattered a sponsor’s sign with one of seven sixes. Voges collected many plaudits for the innings and a $50,000 bonus for superb aim.”

    He captained Western Australia with flair and was close to captain his country.

    “Adam has made an outstanding contribution to Australian cricket and we congratulate him on his achievements with both Australia and Western Australia,” said Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland.

    “An exceptional batsman and leader, Adam has represented his country in exemplary fashion not only with his run-scoring feats, but also in the manner with which he conducts himself both on and off the field…

    “Adam leaves a lasting legacy and we thank him for the pride with which he has represented his country.”

    If only the national selectors had recognised his talent earlier on.

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (22)

    • March 16th 2017 @ 5:32am
      Zozza said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:32am | ! Report

      “…..and 239 against New Zealand at Hamilton in February 2016. His average shot up to over 100 during the tour of New Zealand”.

      Voges..bowled neck and crock in NZ when he had not got to double figures in that innings above, then given not out to a no ball that wasn’t. Give most half decent players a second chance and they will score some runs. Average player, soon forgotten,.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 10:09am
        Vissie said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        That’s ungracious. And it’s neck and “crop”

    • March 16th 2017 @ 6:08am
      Swanny said | March 16th 2017 @ 6:08am | ! Report

      Didn’t Voges fail badly on the ashes tour in England also. Runs against the windiest or n z don’t count for a lot

      • March 16th 2017 @ 5:30pm
        John Erichsen said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

        Not on that WACA pitch for the NZ test. I mean Ross Taylor made 290 for God sakes. How flat was it?

    • Roar Rookie

      March 16th 2017 @ 8:06am
      El Loco said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      Rather generous Kersi, and you’ll find that people are all too aware of where he sits in the all-time averages, a fact that irks many (though it shouldn’t).

      He had some talent but his first class record never demanded test selection earlier than he got it. Better players have never played a test match.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 5:38pm
        John Erichsen said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

        Well said. It is why we are very thankful that, for serious stats, a minimum of 2000 test runs is the measure, not 20 tests. With the increased amount of cricket played now, 20 tests simply isn’t a relevant point of reference. A 20 month test career for Voges was 20 tests. Edward Paynter played 20 tests in his 8 year career, with 4 tons, 7 fifties, a high score of 243 and an average of 59.23. Fair to say, with those figures he wasn’t dropped often.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:33am
          ChrisB said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          Paynter was a hugely controversial non-selection for England’s 1936/37 Ashes tour, on which a number of younger batsmen (Arthur Fagg, Laurie Fishlock for example) failed to fire.
          England in those days generally liked to only select one left-hander in the top 6, and it usually came down to he or Morris Leyland, who had a fantastic record against Australia

    • March 16th 2017 @ 10:17am
      AA said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Voges had a better first class avg than every batsmen to debut before him bar Phillip Hughes… Even before him, the only person with a better FC avg at debut was Brad Hodge/Phil Jaques.

      It is not Voges fault that he didn’t get a run at an earlier time and it isn’t his fault who his opposition was.

      Enjoy retirement bud.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 2:45pm
        Maroon Kev said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

        Take out his test career and it’s only 41 buddy!

    • March 16th 2017 @ 10:43am
      Brian said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

      Well said. 2nd best batsman ever, some like Ponting, Tendulker or Lara had thier moments but Voges stands alone post Bradman.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 1:10pm
        Kersi Meher-Homji said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

        Brian, I know you wrote this tongue-in-toe! To be serious, averages have to be taken with a pinch of pepper!
        Voges was certainly not in the Bradman, Hammond, Richards (Barry and Viv), Border, Tendulkar, Ponting, Lara… class. But his batsmanship has to be acknowledged on his retirement. He was better than what the selectors and some Roarers thought.

    • March 16th 2017 @ 11:35am
      Andy said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

      Few realise? Are you kidding? I think literally everyone who follows cricket knows he has an incredible average. He isnt as good as his average says but he is alot better than we joke about him being. Well done Voges.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 1:12pm
        Kersi Meher-Homji said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

        I agree with you, Andy.

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