Retiring Voges an unsung hero of Australian cricket

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

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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    To quote ESPNCricinfo, “Voges had originally made his name with a 62-ball century in 2004-05, which was then the fastest in Australia’s domestic one-day history.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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