Saturday 24 October, 4.00am
|Papua New Guinea|
Our cricket correspondent reveals the favourites who are unbackable when it comes to the top wicket-taker market...
"It is no surprise that the bookmakers give nothing away for top bowler. After all, what does Rashid have to beat? And the opposition are often vastly inferior to his skill."
Rashid Khan is a superstar and the No 1-rated bowler in the world. A man who can transform a T20 franchise team from also-rans to title winners thanks to his variations, flight and tenacity.
So when he turns out for Afghanistan, who he has almost single-handedly turned into one of the best Associate nations, it is no surprise that the bookmakers give nothing away for top bowler. After all, what does he have to beat? And the opposition are often vastly inferior to his skill.
As is their wont, however, the layers price him prohibitively short, reckoning they are on a hiding to nothing. He is the only player punters are going to lump on so the incentive to give a fair price is non-existent.
We have seen odds of even money on Rashid in the last two years so although it seems harsh to call him overrated, by the letter of the value law he is a consistent bad bet.
Rashid has 12 wins in the last two years (47 matches). That is a win percentage of 25. He also has shared honours in 12. Even so, to £10-level stakes during the study period you would be down £110.
Jasprit Bumrah in Twenty20 is the epitome of the maxim: a great player does not always make for a great bet.
There is no doubting Bumrah's pace, skill or nerve in the short form. His awkward, slingy action has been difficult for batters to pick and his uncanny ability to land yorker after yorker has seen him named in Cricinfo's all-time India ODI team and the select Mumba Indians composite.
The death is where he is most effective. Those yorkers again. But despite a shrewd economy rate, he is not the big wicket-taker that the bookmakers would have you believe.
In his last 27 T20 international (or last two-and-a-bit years), Bumrah would have won you money only three times. That's slim pickings indeed for a man who goes off as market favourite at around the 5/2 mark.
It is true that he mopped up against New Zealand in his last outing - and the man of the match award to boot - but this merely guarantees his position at the head of affairs when we next see India in action.
Southee makes our list of underrated Test bowlers. So it should be no surprise to see him named here. It is rare for a player to thrive in the former and the latter.
The New Zealand's pacer's stock is low following a miserable time in the T20s against India. Lockdown has meant memories have been lost about the Kiwis consistently failing to get over the line. Of the seven Super Over losses in all formats, Southee has bowled four of them.
His record for top bowler is remarkably poor - just two wins in his last 30. With that win rate there is no reasonable price the bookmakers could offer that would tempt us to get involved. Southee is unbackable.
Rashid is rated as the eighth wonder of the T20 bowling world by the ICC. His economy rate of 7.6 and a strike rate of 21 means he has control and threat. He is a complete performer.
But despite often listed as favourite for top England bowler, he fails to justify the odds. Rashid has not won once in the last two-and-a-bit years. Rarely does he fail to take a wicket, it's just that others take more or the same amount, as borne out by the six shared honours in the study period.
Another spinner drawing a blank over the study period is Shamsi. He has five ties but no wins in his last 19 appearances for South Africa.
Shamsi is not underrated by the layers, either. Often he vies for favouritism with Kagiso Rabada, which is why Lungi Ngidi has emerged as one of the best wagers one can wish for in this market and format.
Like Rashid, Shamsi is not a poor bowler. Quite the opposite. He has control and consistency, which is why he is rated at No 5 on the ICC bowlers' list. Eventually, he could be as important as Imran Tahir but it is extremely unlikely we'll be wagering him in individual matches.
For analysis and insight on the Second Test, check out the latest episode of Cricket...Only Bettor
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Saturday 24 October, 4.00am
|Papua New Guinea|