Night-watchman – Jagte Raho – To Do or Not to Do

Did India not get the lead in the third day due to Night-Watchman? Was one end of wicket held up and runs dried up?

BBC sports mentions; the night-watchman is a bowler who has a decent-defensive technique. So our Sharma-ji defense is sound. Let us see… In 41 matches he has faced 1303 balls till now, at strike rate of 29.39. This is almost similar to his first class stats.  An argument been given that the night-watchman should be not only have decent defensive technique but also have an ability to make runs or rotate the strike.

Some records of night-watchman (who were bowlers)

  • 1962: Pakistani Nasim-ul-Ghani is the first night-watchman to hit a ton, scoring 101 against England at Lord’s in 1962.
  • 1977: Australia’s Tony Mann was the second when he scored 108 against India at Perth in 1977.
  • 2006: Australia’s Jason Gillespie joined the exclusive group when he notched his maiden Test century (201*) against Bangladesh in Chittagong (which ironically was his last test match for his country)
  • 1999: England fast bowler Alex Tudor almost reached three figures against New Zealand in 1999, getting out at 99
  • Others : Syed Kirmani, Mark Boucher

But is using a night watch-man, a good idea? According to a study done it is not

Teams Using Night-watchman:
Wkts Scored   Higher than Expected Scored   Lower than Expected
1 12 22
2 5 33
3 12 23
Totals 29 78

Six other cases were too close to call. The graphical representation for the study:

The study proves that the night-watchman tactic is a failure. The rate of failure is twice more than a success.

So maybe next time we do not send in a night watchman or send someone like Ashwin up the order. An old anecdote when West-Indies was playing against Australia (I think), to protect Brian Lara, a night-watchman was sent. He got out, then another was sent he also got out. Finally Lara came out and survived the day.

Tomorrows game…wow going to wake up in 4 hours now…and see if we can break a taboo. And Dada, great insights 🙂

And I could not help sharing the following photo. Our own MMS, doing a night-watchman role for our young Prince 😉 (No pun intended Mr. Kapil S)


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