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Statistical comparison between Michael Clarke and Kevin Pietersen

Statistical analysis between two great careers.

Kevin Pietersen and Michael Clarke - Two contrasting careers

Cricket is hardly a game of blacks and whites. There were players who were born for greatness, players who came back strongly after a poor start, players who sparkled only for a small amount of time and players who faded into obscurity.

It is the cricketer who grits his teeth and works every step of the way that will reach the top. While some prefer to become media darlings and soak in their fame, others prefer to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons and wear their criticisms like armor on the field.

With respect to the last couple of years, it would not be far off to say that no two cricketers have made waves in the cricketing world as Kevin Pietersen and Michael Clarke. While Pietersen was in the eye of the storm over fallouts between him and the team management, Clarke was being lauded for his positive captaincy and his repossession of the Ashes. Fast forward to the present, Pietersen is now a respected Cricket pundit who constantly gives his views on the game while Clarke’s career has officially come to an end with a humbling Ashes loss in England.

Two players, who ruled the cricket world in their prime, now sit away from the action, never to play international cricket again. A quick look at their styles would prove that the two batsmen never resembled each other when they were on the crease.

Pietersen loved to swipe at balls outside the off stump and drag them over to the leg side often overbalancing in the process. He was known for his booming off drives and incredible power-hitting, showing his ability to clear even the biggest of grounds. Clarke, on the other hand, oozed ease and grace whenever he met the ball with his bat. A steady head, watchful eyes, and careful wrists were what made Clarke special, completely in contrast to the brash, almost barbaric Pietersen.

Overall career - Very similar numbers

Clarke’s and Pietersen’s initial Test career could not have been more different. Clarke - the typical rich kid from New South Wales - dazzled on debut with a 151 against India in Bangalore, and then a 6-9 later in the series, combined with his movie-star good looks and impressive technique. On the other hand was Pietersen, who had moved from South Africa to England due to lack of opportunity, and had angered the ICC with talks of South Africa’s alleged racial-quota. He had to live in a single room above a squash court and work at a club to make ends meet.

When he finally made his Test debut in the 2005 Ashes, the focus was mainly on his unorthodox style of play and his two-tone hair, instead of the steady 57 he made in the first Test. Pietersen was marked down as a firebrand, and this would mark the start of his love-hate relationship with the media. Here’s a look at their overall stats:

In Tests

Player

Matches

Innings

Runs

Average

100/50s

Highest

Michael Clarke

115

198

8643

49.10

28/27

329*

Kevin Pietersen

104

181

8181

47.28

23/35

227

 

In Test cricket, while both Clarke and Pietersen have similar numbers, Clarke’s are a shade better. He has a slightly better average than Pietersen and has scored almost 5000 more runs than him. True to Clarke’s sedate run-accumulating mentality, he has scored a triple century in addition to his three double centuries, while Pietersen has never attained the triple-century mark. Clarke also leads the hundreds category, while Pietersen has more fifties.

Home Tests

Player

Matches

Runs

Average

100s

Highest

Michael Clarke

53

4654

62.05

17

329*

Kevin Pietersen

53

4537

52.75

15

226

 

Away Tests

Player

Matches

Runs

Average

100s

Highest

Michael Clarke

58

3793

40.78

11

187

Kevin Pietersen

51

3644

41.88

8

227

 

At home, Clarke’s average is miles ahead of Pietersen’s, with more than ten runs separating the two. But it should be remembered that Clarke started his career batting at number 8, and then gradually moved up to number 5 while Pietersen has spent most of his career playing at number 4. This means that Clarke’s early innings saw a lot of not-outs which would have led to his average being increased.

In away Tests, Clarke’s average decreases drastically as it falls almost 22 runs behind his average at home. Pietersen’s average also shows a decrease, but it is not as steep as Clarke’s, which leads to their average away from home being more or less similar. It is interesting to note that Clarke does not have a double-century away from home while Pietersen has made one outside England. 

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