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January 14, 2008

Trivia - batting

The best batsmen at each position

Anantha Narayanan
Jacques Kallis goes on the pull, South Africa v West Indies, 3rd Test, Durban, January 11, 2008
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My blog post from January 9 has received a fair number of comments. Some of the readers have raised relevant queries and points which deserve a response. Here is my attempt to answer them, and also check out the best batsmen at each position.

The opening-position conundrum

A couple of readers have suggested that the two openers be allotted a number other than 1.00. The two suggestions offered are 1.5 or 2.0 for both openers. Both suggestions have their merits. 1.5 is more correct since the total for the two batsmen comes to 3.0 which is the sum of 1 and 2. However it does not look good as 1.0 or 2.0 would do. Allotting 2.0 to both batsmen is probably the better solution since it allows one to maintain continuity in numbers from 2.0 to 11.0. The other major benefit is that when an opener bats at 3.0, the variance will be a more correct 1.0 than the somewhat bloated 2.0 as is currently the case. Hence I have decided to allot both openers 2.0 and re-do the tables.

There will be no changes for the batsmen who have never opened. There will be no changes (other than a mean value of 2.0 as against the current 1.0) for the omni-present openers. For batsmen such as Boycott and Gavaskar there will be very little change. The change is significant only for those batsmen like Alec Stewart who have moved up and down the order quite frequently. Some of the key batsmen are compared below.

These are current up to the recently concluded second Test between New Zealand and Bangladesh.

Batsman            L Cty  Tests Inns BPTot  BPIdx MeanDev  Freq Batpos (%)
Revised
Stewart A.J          Eng   133  235    919   3.91   1.56    77 @  1( 32.8)
Previous
Stewart A.J          Eng   133  235    842   3.58   1.97    77 @  1( 32.8)
Revised
Jayasuriya S.T     ~ Slk   110  188    519   2.76   1.44   152 @  1( 80.9)
Previous
Jayasuriya S.T     ~ Slk   110  188    367   1.95   1.77   152 @  1( 80.9)
Revised
Langer J.L         ~ Aus   105  182    440   2.42   0.55   115 @  1( 63.2)
Previous
Langer J.L         ~ Aus   105  182    325   1.79   0.90   115 @  1 (63.2) 
It can be seen that the BP Index values are higher because the opening positions are assigned values of 2.0 instead of 1.0. However, more significantly, the Mean Variance values are significantly lower for all these players. These are probably the correct values. Alec Stewart remains the one who has been most tossed around, but he can derive some comfort from a mean variance value of around 1.5.

Just for the record, the top 25 batsmen in the revised table are listed in order of innings played. As per Steve Procter's suggestion, the Standard Deviation has been calculated and shown.

Batsman         L Cty  Tests Inns  BPIdx  M Dev   Freq Batpos (%) StdDev

Border A.R ~ Aus 156 265 4.70 0.98 89 @ 4( 33.6) 1.14 Waugh S.R Aus 168 260 5.42 0.74 142 @ 5( 54.6) 0.95 Stewart A.J Eng 133 235 3.91 1.56 77 @ 1( 32.8) 1.79 Tendulkar S.R Ind 144 233 4.29 0.60 189 @ 4( 81.1) 0.71 Lara B.C ~ Win 131 232 3.78 0.51 148 @ 4( 63.8) 0.65 Gooch G.A Eng 118 215 2.31 0.57 184 @ 1( 85.6) 0.80 Gavaskar S.M Ind 125 214 2.21 0.44 203 @ 1( 94.9) 1.42 Atherton M.A Eng 115 212 2.10 0.25 197 @ 1( 92.9) 0.49 Waugh M.E Aus 128 209 4.24 0.56 170 @ 4( 81.3) 0.67 Gower D.I ~ Eng 117 204 4.00 0.71 91 @ 4( 44.6) 0.87 Haynes D.L Win 116 202 2.03 0.03 201 @ 1( 99.5) 0.42 Dravid R Ind 117 201 3.29 0.78 146 @ 3( 72.6) 1.00 Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 120 200 4.66 0.91 98 @ 4( 49.0) 1.15 Warne S.K Aus 145 199 8.29 0.82 113 @ 8( 56.8) 1.18 Kallis J.H Saf 114 194 3.77 0.61 96 @ 4( 49.5) 0.79 Boycott G Eng 108 193 2.02 0.13 191 @ 1( 99.0) 0.80 Boon D.C Aus 107 190 2.85 0.61 111 @ 3( 58.4) 0.84 Ponting R.T Aus 114 190 4.02 1.34 125 @ 3( 65.8) 1.46 Javed Miandad Pak 124 189 4.24 0.57 140 @ 4( 74.1) 0.71 Jayasuriya S.T ~ Slk 110 188 2.76 1.44 152 @ 1( 80.9) 1.72 Cowdrey M.C Eng 114 188 3.84 1.09 54 @ 5( 28.7) 1.28 Taylor M.A ~ Aus 104 186 2.00 0.00 186 @ 1(100.0) 0.00 Walsh C.A Win 132 185 10.62 0.65 122 @ 11( 65.9) 0.63 Greenidge C.G Win 108 185 2.03 0.13 182 @ 1( 98.4) 0.72 Vengsarkar D.B Ind 116 185 3.67 0.81 74 @ 3( 40.0) 1.03

Highest averages at different batting positions

This is another interesting request. It would be of considerable interest to see the highest averages at different batting positions, with a qualification of at least 1000 runs at that position. Some surprises are in store for us.

Opening: Sutcliffe H        Eng  4522      61.11
No surprise to see Herbert Sutcliffe at the top. He was amongst the best three openers of all time. He is followed by Bruce Mitchell with 2390 runs @ 56.90.

No.3:    Bradman D.G        Aus  5078     103.63
Again no one should be surprised to see the greatest ever batsman at this position, with a 100+ average, the only instance of a such an average. He is followed by Ken Barrington with 2626 runs at 77.24.

No.4:    Kallis J.H         Saf  5675      71.84
Jacques Kallis' consistency at this position is well-known and this accounts for his overall average of high 50s. Surprisingly he is followed by Sourav Ganguly with 1143 runs @ 71.44. Have the Indian selectors/captains missed a trick there?

No.5:    Worrell F.M.M      Win  1189      59.45
This is a proof of the domination of the famous Ws. They occupy the first three places. Frank Worrell is followed by Clyde Walcott with 1599 runs @ 59.22.

No.6:    Chanderpaul S    ~ Win  2087      63.24
Another surprise, or perhaps not. The difficulty opposing bowlers have in dismissing Shivnarine Chanderpaul is shown by his outstanding average at this pivotal position. He is followed by Salim Malik with 1591 runs @ 56.82.

No.7:    McMillan B.M       Saf  1051      58.39
Brian McMillan has outdone quite a few fancied others at this position. He is followed by the mercurial Gilchrist with 3864 runs @ 49.62.

No.8:    Vettori          ~ Nzl  1136      42.07
Can anyone deny Vettori's claims to an allrounder position when he bats like this at No. 8. He improved his No. 8 position average in the recently concluded Test with an aggressive 94. He is followed by Mark Boucher with 1034 runs at 34.47.

No batsman has scored 1000 runs at Nos.9, 10 and 11. Just for the record, Shaun Pollock has scored 534 runs @ 41.08 at No. 9 (min 500 runs). W. Oldfield has scored 263 runs at 26.30 at No.10 (min 250 runs). Brian Statham has scored 348 runs @ 13.92 at the No.11 position (min 250 runs).

Just to complete the analysis and in anticipation of reader demands, I have given below the best batting position, runs and average for a few key batsmen, with the proviso that a minimum of 1000 runs should have been scored in that position.

Tendulkar       4  9573  57.32
Dravid          3  7444  57.26
Laxman          6  2130  48.41
Ponting         3  7062  66.00
S.R.Waugh       5  6754  56.28
Lara            3  3749  60.47
Richards        3  3508  61.54
Sangakkara      3  5557  61.07
Inzamam-ul-haq  4  4867  52.90
...
Warne           8  2005  19.10
Vaas            8  1703  24.33
Kumble          7  1087  20.13
and
CS Martin      11    64   2.46

Chris Martin had an average of 2.00 (that is the BPI of an opener) until his last innings against Bangladesh when he reached his best ever score of 12 not out, increasing the average to 2.46. In the current Test he remained unbeaten on 0, thus remaining at the majestic figure of 2.46. The million-dollar question is if he will ever get 100 Test runs and reach a double-digit score again.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

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Posted by buy online prescription propecia on (April 10, 2009, 7:28 GMT)

[... - Good day! cool post -wery interesting.[... -

Posted by Perry on (April 10, 2008, 17:43 GMT)

The cricket pundits say's Lara's not as consistent as Tendulkar.Brian Charles Lara has played less test innings and has scored more runs.Who is more consistent?

Posted by R.Muralidharan on (March 29, 2008, 14:27 GMT)

Gavaskar should be rated as the best ever batsman of all time. Reasons - His era was having the quickest bowlers in the world with the very best - WI, pak, Eng, Australia all having the best in the era. Also to be noted that India had the weakest fast bowling attack during the era. Even Richards had quoted once that Gavsakar was the best batsman - reason being even he was not sure how he would have fared against the dreaded 4 man attack. The averages and other parameters will never take into consideration, the playing condition, bowling attack etc. Also we need to look into all aspects like 4 innings batting average, no. of matches saved from losing etc. all the all time greats have been middle order - Sir Bradman, Richards, Lara, Chappel brothers, Tendulkars, Dravids etc. However one man who scored more than 13 centuries against the quickest attack of all time (W.Indies) would always be / should be rated as the best of all. Even Sir Gerry would agree to it. Thanx

Posted by sarath on (January 17, 2008, 0:58 GMT)

The only advantage of starting from index 2 is that is results in the indexes lower down the batting line up matching the batting positions, which I think is important.

Posted by sajid on (January 15, 2008, 15:52 GMT)

I would suggest about the opening position, which according to my opinion, the batsman who face the first ball should be 1 and the batsman at the bowler end should be 2 and so on. thanks

Posted by Steve Procter on (January 15, 2008, 13:38 GMT)

As an alternative solution to the opening position conundrum, how about defining the batting position index as the distance from opening. Thus the opening positions have index zero, no. 3 has index 1, etc. I think this is mathematically more appealing than starting at 2.

This also enables us to address the Chris Martin problem in a symmetrical manner - the "rabbit index" could be based on the distance from last batting position. Chris's rabbit index would be zero since he has never batted outside last position (and his standard deviation around this position would be zero too, of course).

Incidentally, I see no reason for using mean absolute deviation in preference to standard deviation - a distribution need not be Gaussian for the standard deviation to be meaningful.

Ananth: The Std Deviation has since been included.

Posted by Dean on (January 15, 2008, 0:24 GMT)

Using this analysis you should be able to pick (on batting strength alone) all time teams for each country. It may be interesting to see of you get modern balanced teams (6 bats, WK, 3 fast 1 spin)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anantha Narayanan
Anantha spent the first half of his four-decade working career with corporates like IBM, Shaw Wallace, NCR, Sime Darby and the Spinneys group in IT-related positions. In the second half, he has worked on cricket simulation, ratings, data mining, analysis and writing, amongst other things. He was the creator of the Wisden 100 lists, released in 2001. He has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket, and worked extensively with Maruti Motors, Idea Cellular and Castrol on their performance ratings-related systems. He is an armchair connoisseur of most sports. His other passion is tennis, and he thinks Roger Federer is the greatest sportsman to have walked on earth.

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