By the numbers: Comparing Kiwi skippers

With Ross Taylor being stripped of the New Zealand captaincy under controversial, and rather unpleasant circumstances, we thought we'd have a look and see if it was warranted.

With Ross Taylor being stripped of the New Zealand captaincy under controversial, and rather unpleasant, circumstances, we thought we'd have a look and see if it was warranted. What will new skipper Brendon McCullum have to live up to, and how does Taylor compare to the two skippers before him?

Only four captains in New Zealand's Test history have had a winning percentage above 30, of which Taylor is one. Stephen Fleming did, and was the most capped skipper in Black Caps history by quite a long way. Dan Vettori, the leader prior to Taylor, did not, though he managed to get more draws out of his side.

Let's take a closer look at the stats behind Taylor's tenure as skipper, in all formats, as well as those of Vettori and Fleming before him. Keep in mind that New Zealand's winning percentage spanning the past decade is 30.69.

<b>Ross Taylor (June 2011 – December 2012)</b>

<b>Tests</b> played: 43<br>Tests as capt: 13 (W: 4 L: 7 D: 2)<br>Win percentage: 30.76

Overall batting average: 43.57<br>Highest score: 154 not out

Average as skipper: 49.85<br>Highest score: 142

<b>ODIs</b> played: 116<br>ODIs as capt: 20 (W: 6 L: 12 NR: 2)<br>Win percentage: 33.33

Overall batting average: 37.86<br>Highest score: 131 not out

Average as skipper: 46.76<br>Highest score: 119

<b>T20s</b> played: 47<br>T20s as capt: 12 (W: 6 L: 4 T: 2)<br>Win percentage: 58.33

Overall batting average: 24.37<br>Highest score: 63

Average as skipper: 43.83<br>Highest score: 62 not out

Test series wins out of seven: 2 – Both vs Zimbabwe (Home: 1 Away: 1)

Key players at his disposal: Brendon McCullum

So, as we can see, Taylor is one of those players who thrives under pressure, and leads from the front more often than not. Unfortunately, his nearly two years as skipper saw his players fail to follow his example, especially against spin bowling.

Also, given the initial reports that he was being sacked at limited-overs skipper only, he has a better record in T20s than in any other format, and his average is nearly double when he is leading the side than when he isn't.

<b>Daniel Vettori (2007 – June 2011)</b>

<b>Tests</b> played: 112<br>Tests as capt: 32 (W: 6 L: 16 D: 10)<br>Win percentage: 18.75

Overall bowling average: 34.42<br>Best figures: 7/87

Average as skipper: 33.38<br>Best figures: 6/56

<b>ODIs</b> played: 272<br>ODIs as capt: 82 (W: 41 L: 33 NR: 7, T: 1)<br>Win percentage: 55.33

Overall bowling average: 31.48<br>Best figures: 5/7

Average as skipper: 26.63<br>Best figures: 5/7

<b>T20s</b> played: 33<br>T20s as capt: 28 (W: 13 L: 13 T: 2)<br>Win percentage: 50

Overall bowling average: 19.45<br>Best figures: 4/20

Average as skipper: 16.57<br>Best figures: 4/20

Test series wins out of 14: Three (Home: 1 Away: 2)

Key players at his disposal: Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram

Vettori's forte was clearly one-day cricket, and he could get the best out of his players during that time span, while also performing superbly himself. He was also the skipper during various ICC tournaments, where the Black Caps often exceeded expectations.

But Vettori's Test record is not to be envied, with those six wins out of 32 coming against sides like Bangladesh, a poor West Indies side and Pakistan.

<b>Stephen Fleming (1997 – 2007)</b>

<b>Tests</b> played: 111<br>Tests as capt: 80 (W: 28 L: 27 D: 25)<br>Win percentage: 35.00

Overall batting average: 40.06<br>Highest score: 274 not out

Average as skipper: 40.59<br>Highest score: 274 not out

<b>ODIs</b> played: 280<br>ODIs as capt: 218 (W: 98 L: 106 NR: 13)<br>Win percentage: 48.04

Overall batting average: 32.40<br>Highest score: 134 not out

Average as skipper: 32.78<br>Highest score: 132 not out

<b>T20s</b> played: 5<br>T20s as capt: 5 (W: 2 L: 2 T: 1)<br>Loss percentage: 50

Overall batting average: 22<br>Highest score: 38

Average as skipper: 22<br>Highest score: 38

Test series wins out of 36: 13 (Home: 8 Away: 5)

Stars at his disposal: Dan Vettori, Brendon MCullum

While you can't really count Fleming's T20 record, it was too new back then, his Test statistics are the best of all skippers to lead the Kiwis. He captained them for more than double the matches anyone else has to date, and was consistent with the bat in both Tests and ODIs.

Taylor has a better batting average, but Fleming was consistently good, whether he was leading the side or not. He has two of the top five highest scores in Tests for the Black Caps, and was popular with both players and fans for his 10 years at the top.


So, we can see that while Taylor wasn't a great captain, and had a pretty shoddy 2012, he wasn't the worst, and his personal form benefited from his leadership role. So, one has to ponder, would he have kept his job if John Wright had stayed in charge, or did his relationship with Mike Hesson have less to do with it than we've been made to believe?

What do you reckon?