5 great batsmen who never averaged 50 in Tests
Those who saw Alvin Kallicharran bat, recall him as being one of the best batsmen of the 1970s. In the most inspiring of all his performances, he bashed Dennis Lillee in a preliminary match of the 1975 World Cup. Lillee, in his prime, tested Kallicharran with all sorts of deliveries but Kallicharran was in a different zone altogether. Lillee was smashed for 35 runs in the 10 balls he bowled at Kallicharran during that brief run of play.
Kallicharran ended his career with 4399 runs in 66 Tests, at an average of 44.43. A respectable record no matter what lens it is looked at with, but Kallicharran is not given the appreciation that his talent and contribution to the game merits. To some extent, that is because he didn’t end up with a career average of 50; despite having averaged more than 50 in 38 of the 66 Tests that he played.
Attaining (and sustaining) a batting average of 50 is considered to be an important trait of a great batsman, but there are some great batsmen along with Kallicharran who did not achieve that milestone and may have missed out on their true stature in the game.
(Batsmen with a minimum of 5000 runs and an average greater than 45)
#1 Rohan Kanhai
The inventor of the Fall-Back Hook shot, Kanhai was offered fine praise by Sunil Gavaskar who wrote the following lines about him in his book Idols – ‘ To say that Rohan Kanhai is the best batsman I've ever seen is to put it mildly’.
Rohan Kanhai was widely considered to be amongst the best batsmen of the 1960s. Those who played with him considered his prowess to be at par with that of his great contemporary, Sir Garry Sobers.
Kanhai started off his career with a string of disappointing scores to his name. It was not until his 13th Test match that he scored his first century, and he made it count by converting it into a double (256) vs India at Kolkata. From then on, his career started scaling new heights. He scored consistently against all opposition and was equally effective on home and away surfaces (Home Avg: 48.63, Away Avg: 46.51).
Kanhai posessed all the characteristics of a great batsman, except for an average of 50, which eluded him throughout his career. The closest Kanhai got to attaining an average of 50 was in his 62nd Test, at the conclusion of which he averaged 49.71.