Home is where the heart lies! The saying not only applies to the bond that we share with our loved ones but also to the sport of cricket indicating the love affair batsmen have with the home conditions. Given they have grown up playing cricket on these surfaces and understand its dynamics in and out, it isn’t a surprise to see them do so well operating on these wickets. Opposition bowlers obviously didn’t have any answers to the fabulous stroke play and domination by these batsmen. As a result of all this, the batters chronicled plenty of runs in their home conditions and had an excellent average when compared with the other great batsmen to play the sport. The cricketing world has and will keep witnessing many prolific batsmen, but none would come closer to being and achieving what these great gentlemen have done. In the below piece, we look at 5 batsmen to have the highest Test average at home (min 1000 runs):
1. Donald Bradman – 98
The greatest batsman to have ever graced the field of cricket, Bradman tops the list averaging 98 at home. Given his passion for the sport and appetite for runs, the batsman smashed plenty of runs and seldom did we not see him, converting a good start into a score in excess of 250 or so.
Bradman got runs almost everywhere and dismissing him for a low score was one heck of a task for opposition bowlers. Though not the attractive and elegant of batsmen going around, Bradman’s batsmanship had a wow factor in it which was enough to get the better of the opposition and secure a comfortable win.
The legendary batsman scored 6996 runs from 52 Tests at an average of 99.94, including 29 centuries and 13 fifties.
2. Rohit Sharma – 88
Having ruled the white-ball formats for a couple of years now, Rohit is scaling new heights in the tough red-ball format after his promotion as an opener. The Mumbai batsman averages 79.52 ~ 88 at home and this is just the start of a phenomenal career to follow.
Contrary to how he bats in the limited-overs cricket, Rohit likes to take his time initially, negotiating the moving red ball and tries to make it as old as he can. Once the shine on the ball wears off, it becomes easier for Rohit to shift his gears and reflect the pressure back on the opposition.
His style of play is exactly what India needed at the top of the order, balancing the phlegmatic and gradual progression of a batsman like Pujara. The man has already scored a few hefty centuries in his short Test career so far and the way he is progressing, a fourth Indian triple century is surely on the cards.
Rohit has stroked 2615 runs from 38 Tests at an average of 46.69, including 7 centuries and 12 fifties.
3. George Headley – 78
With direct comparisons made to the great Don Bradman, Headley was another prominent batsman in the West Indian circuit. The right-hander had a Test average of 78 at home which shows his inclination to bat for longer periods of time and muster daddy hundreds.
Headley was a strong on-side player and unlike other Windies batsmen, played the ball late and into vacant spaces. The batsman was indeed meant for playing Test cricket as he possessed all the qualities asked of an ideal batsman, be it batting for long, playing the ball on its merit or nimble foot movement.
In a country known for its attacking batsmen, Headley came as a pleasant surprise for the Caribbean nation, achieving grand success with the ideal Test match batting approach and acting as a source of inspiration for batters, who wish to do the hard grind.
Headley blasted 2190 runs from 22 Tests at an average of 60.83, including 10 centuries and 5 fifties.
4. Bob Cowper – 76
A left-handed batsman from Australia, Cowper had a Test average of 76 on the bouncy and pacy tracks at home. Cowper didn’t play for much longer but till the time he was around, there was a sort of assurance and reliability in the Australian batting line-up.
The southpaw was a technically astute player, who was always ready to do the hard grind and play a long innings for the team. He possessed the left-hander’s elegance and power in the shots that he played and like most other batsmen, was fluent on both the off-side and on-side.
Apart from his batting, the cricketer bowled right-arm finger spin, adding another dimension to his immaculate play. It was Australia’s loss that they couldn’t avail his services for the longest time they could but his short stay has still left plenty for the younger generation to learn and grow from.
Cowper amassed 2061 runs from 27 Tests at an average of 46.84, including 5 centuries and 10 fifties.
5. Marnus Labuschagne – 73
A rising cricketer from Australia, Labuschagne averages 73 at home in Test cricket. Coming into the team as a batting all-rounder, it was Labuschagne’s canny leg-spin that worked it’s magic and came out as a better suit for the player at the international level.
Selected for his batting, Labuschagne waited for that one good innings which will put him in better stead as a classical batsman in the illustrious Australian top order. Smith’s mid-match injury came as a blessing in disguise for Labuschagne, who sealed the deal and secured his place at the deemed no.3 spot.
At the moment, he looks the most assured player in the Aussie line-up along with Smith, shouldering the responsibility of posting a daunting first innings total. If the duo can receive help from the other chosen batters, it can certainly help to change the dwindling fortunes of Australia and establish them as no.1 yet again.
The unorthodox batsman has carted 1885 runs from 18 Tests at an average of 60.80, including 5 centuries and 10 fifties.