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Utseya vs Razzak, Who is the better bowler? (2006)

 
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Zimbabwe's Utseya & Bangladesh's Razzak started their career almost at the same time. Yet Utseya is seen as world class with a buzz of praise around him in the media. We take this opportunity to show that sometimes less hyped players can show much better performance.

Utseya vs Razzak, Who is the better bowler?

Published: 9th November, 2006

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In recent times there had been a buzz surrounding Prosper Utseya, The Zimbabwe captain, about his efficiency in bowling, about how he is world class, etc. But don't we have someone far better than him? I take this opportunity to show that sometimes less hyped players show much better performance, and I shall take our own Abdur Razzak for this. I took him because he had his Debut at almost the same time, and played almost same number of First Class and List-A matches.

Razzak's Bowling averages
Class Mat Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ Sr 4 5 10
Tests 1 180 99 0 - - - 3.30 - 0 0 0
ODIs 25 1307 824 34 3/17 3/17 24.23 3.78 38.44 0 0 0
F-class 35 7916 3412 117 7/11 29.16 2.58 67.65 2 4 1
List A 65 3280 2027 104 7/17 7/17 19.49 3.70 31.53 1 2 0


Utseya's Bowling averages
Class Mat Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ Sr 4 5 10
Tests 1 72 55 0 - - - 4.58 - 0 0 0
ODIs 50 2507 1687 34 3/35 3/35 49.61 4.03 73.73 0 0 0
F-class 28 3966 2231 44 5/32 50.70 3.37 90.13 2 1 0
List A 66 3317 2174 50 4/16 4/16 43.48 3.93 66.34 1 0 0


Both played one test match, so there is not much room for comparison. However, while both of them are wicket less, Razzak has the better economy, however this is an ignorable fact.

Next we look to the List A matches, and this is a hugely important fact as both of them played almost the same amount of matches. Here Raj has a huge performance advantage. While he captured 104 wickets, Utseya has captured only 50, and has almost double the strike rate. The average of Raj is also less than half of Utseya, 19.49, which is a world class one.

We now look at the point where Utseya is praised most, the economy rate. Here, Raj has an economy of 3.7 and Utseya 3.9 and although the difference is minimal, Raj maintains his supremacy.

In First-class matches Raj is also clearly the leader. He got 117 wickets with an average of 29 and Utseya lag far, far behind with an unacceptable average of 50. Raj has two 4 wickets in a match, equal with Utseya. 5 in a match, Raj got 4 times, Utseya once. Raj also got 10 wickets in a match once.

If taking wickets is an indication of a match winner, Utseya is simply no match for Raj. You can always say, Utseya actually helps his team by chocking the runs, then the bowler at other end takes the wickets, this may be true, as he has got an economy of 3.37.World class, isn't it? But wait for Raj's answer, an economy of 2.58 after 35 matches and almost 8000 balls. You got to praise this boy!

Then to where it matters most, the ODI's. Raj played half the number of ODI's Utseya had played. So the comparison will not be faultless, but I compared the First Class and List-A matches first for a reason, to show that Raj got the ability to continue and retain his performance for a longer span of matches. So we can safely assume that Raj will have the same performance level after he has played 50 matches.

Raj had double the wickets of Utseya in previous types, and this is no different, while Raj captured 34 wickets in 25 matches, it took Utseya 50 matches to do so. Therefore the strike rate of Utseya is double that of Raj. I believe this is a place where Raj still has to improve, he takes a wicket every 40 balls or so, I'd like to watch it get down to around 25,For Utseya, it's around 70,you can hardly call that convincing for the main spin bowler of a country.

I have always talked about the economy last, and he is behind Raj in this prospect too. While Raj has an economy of 3.78, Utseya has 4.03, both of them are good rates with regard to the ODI version.

You can certainly see who the better bowler is, Raj outperformed Utseya in each and every department that one can consider about bowling. This difference gets more prominent when we consider the factor that Utseya had more shots at Associate countries than Raj. Now lets look at one parameter where Utseya prospered over Raj, ODI rankings. This is there ODI rankings graph:


Razzak & Utseya performance graph.


Now, Let's look at it more closely, Utseya's graph is much more steep than that of Raj, or is it? Both the players had Debut at almost the same time, but Utseya played double the amount of matches Raj Played, therefore, per match increase of Ratings of Raj is much better than that of Utseya. I manipulated the previous graphs and horizontally halved Raj's graph, so the graph will represent per match rating instead of per month. Here it is:


Razzak & Utseya performance graph.


So, whose rise is more phenomenal?

Another point to note is Utseya has already reached a peak and started declining, while Raj had a kind of a dip in his curve, but he is rising after that. The dip, in fact was not because Raj played worse, but because of the forced retirement he had due to suspected action.

Raj is always improving and I believe he will touch the rating of 750 some day and will be in the top 5. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Utseya. I suspect the peak in Utseya's graph is also his career peak, although this is too early to forecast.

Now lets look at Razzak against Zimbabwe and Utseya against Bangladesh


(6 ball overs)       Mat    O       R   W   BB1    BB2     Ave   Econ   SR  4w 5w

Razzak                7     62.4   242   9  2/12   2/24   26.88  3.86  41.7  0  0

Utseya               11    108     373  10  2/25   2/31   37.30  3.45  64.8  0  0


This is one place where you might say Utseya has outperformed Raj, but did he really? He got only one more wicket than Raj, playing 4 extra matches. Even the second best Bowling figure of Razzak is better than his best figure. On average and strike rate, Razzak beats him straight away.

Only in Economy rate, Utseya does have an advantage. However, please remember that Razzak played only 1 match in Bangladesh, 5 in Zimbabwe and the other in India. Compared to that, Utseya played 4 extra matches in Bangladesh. Utseya's Economy in Bangladesh is 3.5 compared to 3.02 in Zim. When Raj will play more matches in his home ground, Bangladesh, later this year; we will be able to see who get's the better Economy here. This is the only factor where Utseya challenges Raj.

Then there comes recent matches. Let's shed some light on their recent performances.

Razzak
(6 ball overs)       Mat    O       R   W   BB1    BB2     Ave  Econ    SR 4w 5w

filtered              10   89.2   292  16  3/31   2/12   18.25  3.26  33.5  0  0

v Kenya                3   25      72   6  3/31   2/21   12.00  2.88  25.0  0  0

v Sri Lanka            1   10      49   2  2/49    -     24.50  4.90  30.0  0  0

v West Indies          1    9.4    30   0   -      -       -    3.10    -   0  0

v Zimbabwe             5   44.4   141   8  2/12   2/24   17.62  3.15  33.5  0  0

in Africa              7   63     201  12  3/31   2/21   16.75  3.19  31.5  0  0

in Asia                3   26.2    91   4  2/12   2/49   22.75  3.45  39.5  0  0
Utseya
(6 ball overs)       Mat    O       R   W   BB1    BB2     Ave  Econ    SR 4w 5w

filtered              10   85.2   391   7  2/25   2/31   55.85  4.58  73.1  0  0

v Bangladesh           5   49     167   4  2/25   2/31   41.75  3.40  73.5  0  0

v South Africa         3   24     147   2  2/77    -     73.50  6.12  72.0  0  0

v Sri Lanka            1   10      58   1  1/58    -     58.00  5.80  60.0  0  0

v West Indies          1    2.2    19   0   -      -       -    8.14    -   0  0

in Africa              7   64     264   6  2/25   2/31   44.00  4.12  64.0  0  0

in Asia                3   21.2   127   1  1/58    -    127.00  5.95 128.0  0  0


Here, Raj simply outperformed Utseya in each and every aspect. A player getting 7 wickets at an average of 56 is no match for one getting 16 wickets at a superb average of 18.25. Both played 7 matches in Africa, 3 in Asia, notice that while Raj's Econ is below 3.5 in both the occasions, Utseya has an economy of 4 in Africa and 6 in Asia. If we take Economy as the only factor, Utseya is now even losing his descent economy, the only factor he can boast about.

Last, I get a short comparison of their batting abilities:

Razzak's Batting and fielding averages
Class   Mat Inns  No  Runs  Hs  Ave   BF   SR      100  50  4s  6s

Tests    1    2    0   15   15  7.50  26   57.69    0   0   2   0

ODIs     25   17   9   120  21  15.00 160  75.00    0   0   6   2

F-class  35   55   7   943  83  19.64 1677 56.23    0   5

List A   65   48   16  411  35* 12.84  535 76.82    0   0	  	  


Utseya's Batting and fielding averages
Class      Mat Inns No Runs HS   Ave   BF    SR  100 50 4s 6s

Tests       1   2   0   45  45  22.50  58  77.58  0  0  5  1

ODIs       50  39  14  277  31  11.08  502 55.17  0  0 22  2

F-class    28  52  4  955   89* 19.89             0  6    

List A     66  53  19  405  41  11.91             0  0    


So the average of Raj is better than Utseya in all versions except test, but they played only one test. Both have good first class knocks over 80,And Raj's SR in ODI is better. Both can be turned into an efficient all-rounder with proper polishing.

So, I would Label Raj as a wicket taking run-checking spinner, while Utseya had been a run-checking off spinner with moderate wicket taking abilities, but is losing his run checking effect too. And both have moderate batting abilities, with Razzak having the lead slightly.

In recent times, a lot of members and commentators described Utseya as an World class off spinner. I will not object this. We do not have a good press from international media which supports and builds images of players. Do not get fooled by that and it certainly does not mean that we do not have world class players.

We should also take into consideration the fact that while Utseya is the premier spinner, Raj is subordinate to Rafique, which further gives credit to his lead.

Bangladesh recently have been the premier SLA provider to world cricket. Unfortunately, many of our new talents and their achievements go unnoticed because we do not have the media power to get these into notice.

Positive twist in this is, the lack of press might actually be good. We have seen in an inconsistent Ashraful the harmful side effects of too much press and media. Our SLA factory will churn out more wold class SLAs. Media support or not, they are performing, and this is the prime point. Carry on, boys, recognition will certainly come. We should be proud of what we have instead of just clapping hands of being jealous of others when we read great reports about them.

Data from:
CricInfo StatsGuru and LG ICC rankings


 

About the author(s): An ardent cricket fan, Mahdee Jameel is a regular and active member of the BanglaCricket forums where he is known as Shafin. In forums he is known for competing with other members to be the first one to start match threads during Bangladesh matches. With his never ending enthusiasm for Bangladesh cricket, we hope for many more analytical articles in the future.

 

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