When Rahul Dravid set the record for the most deliveries faced in Test cricket this summer, it brought to mind a quote from Bob Woolmer's majesterial The Art And Science Of Cricket.
'To review the split-second data of what happens when a batter executes a shot,' he wrote, 'is to wonder how any batsman survives more than one delivery'. Woolmer was considering the complex physiological process that the body goes through when facing an individual ball, but it did pose a simple question: what is the percentage chance of any one delivery dismissing a great player?
It's a blunt stat, as blunt as a batting average, but it is revealing too. By adding together the number of deliveries faced in Tests and ODIs, and then subtracting the number of completed innings, it's possible to produce a percentage figure.
Jacques Kallis balls faced: 41,664 dis'd: 455 % chance per ball: 1.09
Rahul Dravid b/f: 45,374 dis: 519 % chance: 1.14
Sachin Tendulkar b/f: 48559 dis: 667 % chance: 1.37
Ricky Ponting b/f: 37,966 dis: 553 % chance: 1.46
Brian Lara b/f: 32,839 dis: 483 % chance: 1.47
The number of not outs offer another expression of the value a batter might put on his wicket:
Jacques Kallis inns: 546 not outs: 91 % chance of a not out: 16.6
Rahul Dravid: inns: 591 not outs: 72 % chance: 12.18
Ricky Ponting: inns: 620 not outs: 67 % chance: 10.80
Sachin Tendulkar: inns: 740 not outs: 73 % chance: 9.86
Brian Lara inns: 521 not outs 38 % chance: 7.29
Jacques still king of the red-inkers, then...