Trivia - bowling February 15, 2008

# Bowler consistency analysis - a follow-up

My previous post on bowler consistency has attracted plenty of comments
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The post on "Bowler Consistency" received many comments, some silly, some sceptical, some dismissive, some appreciative and some happy at the thinking process it initiated. There were many relevant comments, which warrant a follow-up post.

First of all, an apology to the readers. I used "spell" when I really meant "innings spell". A spell is an uninterrupted stint of bowling. What I really meant was the bowling done during an innings. So I have coined an alternate term called "innspell" which is exactly what it means, the complete bowling effort during an innings, often consisting of multiple spells. Many thanks to the readers who took me to task on this issue.

There were many relevant comments on bowler strike-rates and other pertinent measures such as bowling support, pressure situations, bowling accuracy etc. I do not want to mix up the criteria. Bowler strike-rate is not to be confused with the ability of bowlers to be more consistent. That is one of the most important of bowler measures and warrants a separate post. A similar situation exists with the other measures as well.

I am also determined that I will keep the analysis as simple as when the post started. Finally, one factor should not be forgotten: what I have stated is that if a spin bowler bowls 11 overs or above and takes at least a wicket, this innspell is considered to be a success as compared to a bowler who bowls a similar innspell and comes out wicketless. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this statement.

However the one comment which also impressed me a lot was the suggestion to reward bowlers for taking more than one wicket in an innsspell. Hence I have added a simple linear weightage factor to a successful innsspell. For each wicket captured, a weightage of 10% is given. Thus a 1-wkt capture makes this value as 1.1, 2-wkt capture as 1.2 and so on upto the two 10-wicket captures of Laker and Kumble as 2.0. This tweak should satisfy most readers. The Bowler Consistency Index value is computed as a % of "number of relevant spells x 2.0".

Readers will note that this method will increase the consistency ratings of bowlers who have captured more wickets in their career. An alternative would have been to consider a one-wickett haul to have a value of 1.0 and anything more as 1.1. This would still have left the disparity between insspells which fetched two wickets, and those that fetched more than two.

The most significant comment was that 30 innspells are not sufficient. The lowering of the bar has allowed quite a few relatively insignificant bowlers to walk through at the expense of bowlers who have served for longer periods. Hence I have raised the bar, and considered only the bowlers who have bowled a minimum of 50 innspells, which translates to around 30 Tests, possibly 4-5 years of Test cricket. A total of 143 bowlers have qualified under this criteria compared to 276 bowlers with the lower cut-off.

There were a few (mostly unwarranted) comments on Mervyn Dillon. He has taken 131 wickets in 38 Tests, not a bad haul. Just taking a "wickets per Test" criterion, he is ahead of more well-known bowlers such as Derek Underwood, Kapil Dev, Vaas, Zaheer Khan, Daniel Vettori, Sarfraz Nawaz, Michael Kasprowicz and S Venkataraghavan. Comments should be made only after verifying facts and making allowance for his playing in a weak West Indies team all his career.

The revised table is given below.

```Bowler Consistency Analysis (Revised with weightage) - Min 50 relevant spells
<----Innspells---->
SNo Bowler            Bow Ctry  Mat Relevant Successful BCIdx  Wkts Wkt/IS
Total
1.Muralitharan M    ROB  Slk  118    201     267.3    66.49   723  3.60
2.Grimmett C.V      RLB  Aus   37     66      84.6    64.09   216  3.27
3.Kumble A          RLB  Ind  125    215     262.4    61.02   604  2.81
4.Hadlee R.J        RFM  Nzl   86    138     168.1    60.91   431  3.12
5.Bedi B.S          LSP  Ind   67    107     129.6    60.56   266  2.49
6.Warne S.K         RLB  Aus  145    250     302.8    60.56   708  2.83
7.Donald A.A        RF   Saf   72    124     150.0    60.48   330  2.66
8.Trueman F.S       RF   Eng   67    115     138.7    60.30   307  2.67
9.Lillee D.K        RF   Aus   70    124     149.5    60.28   355  2.86
10.Gupte S.P         RLB  Ind   36     54      64.9    60.09   149  2.76
11.Dillon M          RFM  Win   38     55      66.1    60.09   131  2.38
12.Imran Khan        RF   Pak   88    125     150.2    60.08   362  2.90
13.MacGill S.C.G     RLB  Aus   42     76      91.3    60.07   203  2.67
14.Wasim Akram       LFM  Pak  104    161     192.4    59.75   414  2.57
15.Danish Kaneria    RLB  Pak   51     84     100.0    59.52   220  2.62
16.Croft C.E.H       RF   Win   27     50      59.5    59.50   125  2.50
17.Chandrasekhar B.S RLB  Ind   58     87     103.2    59.31   242  2.78
18.Saqlain Mushtaq   ROB  Pak   49     78      91.8    58.85   208  2.67
19.Gough D           RF   Eng   58     91     106.9    58.74   229  2.52
20.Laker J.C         ROB  Eng   46     77      90.3    58.64   193  2.51
21.Trumble H         ROB  Aus   32     53      62.1    58.58   141  2.66
22.Ambrose C.E.L     RF   Win   98    164     191.5    58.38   405  2.47
23.Marshall M.D      RF   Win   81    147     171.6    58.37   376  2.56
24.Bishop I.R        RF   Win   43     67      78.1    58.28   161  2.40
25.Cork D.G          RFM  Eng   37     57      66.1    57.98   131  2.30
```

Muralitharan is on top, followed by Grimmett, Kumble, Hadlee and Bedi. This is not a bad quintet. The next five bowlers are Warne, Donald, Trueman, Lillee and Subash Gupte. There should be no complaints there either. The top 25 table now includes most bowling stalwarts, which should satisfy most readers. The weightage of values and raising the cut-off bar has taken away most of the lesser, shorter-duration bowlers.

I have added another variable, the average wickets per innspell, which is indicative of the bowler performance. Muralitharan is way ahead of the other bowlers, having taken 3.6 wickets per innspell. Compare the numbers for some of the other greats. Donald - 2.66, Kumble - 2.81, Pollock - 2.30, Warne - 2.83, Lillee - 2.86 and Ambrose - 2.47. It shows what a wonderful wicket-taking bowler Muralitharan is, even if you concede that the bowler at the other end was not always competing with him in taking wickets. Note also that Flintoff is the only bowler in the top-50 whose wickets per innsspell figure is less than two.

The unfortunate aspect of increasing the cut-off is that this has excluded the pre-World War I all-time greats such as Sydney Barnes, George Lohmann etc. In order to be fair to these great bowlers I have given below a list of five such pre-WW I bowlers.

```Barnes S.F          RFM  Eng   27     48     64.9     67.60   189  3.94
Lohmann G.A         RFM  Eng   18     32     40.2     62.81   112  3.50
Giffen G            ROB  Aus   31     35     43.3     61.86   103  2.94
Briggs J            LSP  Eng   33     42     51.8     61.67   118  2.81
Blythe C            LSP  Eng   19     35     43.0     61.43   100  2.86
```
Look at Barnes' wickets per innspell figure - it is higher than Muralitharan's.

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

• Ash on April 20, 2008, 20:40 GMT

Murali is better, technology has salvaged his reputation and he is no doubt a modern great.

• Dave on March 28, 2008, 1:28 GMT

As an Australian, I would have to rate Muralitharan higher than Shane Warne. Murali is a phenomenal bowler and although the Australians may have got the better of him, the fact was that he did not have anyone putting pressure at the other end. Obviously, everyone has their own opinion about who was the greater bowler but statistically and going by what many of the greatest batsman have said, Murali is the greatest bowler of all time. He is the Bradman of bowling. By the time he retires, he probably will have a 1000 Test wickets to his name and 500+ ODI wickets. What is to stop him from being the highest wicket taker in ODIs and Tests.

• Madhu on March 21, 2008, 12:11 GMT

A quick suggestion around here to fill the gaps in too many people thoughts. Ananth may have to generate a similar analysis on batsmen, so allignment on analysis will shapen more better

• Naganada Kodituwakku on March 20, 2008, 14:22 GMT

I think those who love the game of cricket should not let their personal feelings or views about one particular bowler to dominate over another whose skills and talent is unmistakably proved with hard evidence. Let the statistics speak for themselves.

• Zaheer on March 17, 2008, 3:21 GMT

It is understandable that this analysis doesn't try to give an idea of who is the best ever bowler. However, since alot was spoken about Warne & Murali i would also like to comment on the fact. As many have raised the point i too am interested to know on what grounds a person can rank Warne ahead of Murali??? Its mere jealousy! Warne was a great bowler no doubt, and definetely you won't find any one else to compare against Murali. But just because you have a comparison it doesn't mean you become the best, it only suggests that you are near there. Sorry for Warne lovers. Murali is THE best.

• Alan Robertson on March 15, 2008, 20:52 GMT

I know you have made 100 wickets the cut off, but out of interest where would Shane Bond feature in this table?

thanks.

• Theena on March 11, 2008, 7:28 GMT

Being mathematically retarded, I'll venture away from the arguments on the statistical model used and add my two cents on the fringe, albeit predictable, issue of Shane Warne vs. Murali.

I am yet to get a proper answer on why a comparison is even warranted just as I find comparing Lara and Tendulkar absolutely pointless. Both players were great, geniuses of their respective crafts, and nothing you lot say will take anything away from that. Naysayers of Murali or Warne need to have their heads examined if they truly think that either player isn't worthy of greatness.

Who you prefer is a different, and subjective, matter all together. I prefer watching Warne for the psychological mind games just as I prefer watching Murali for the sheer delight he exudes in his craft. At the end of the day, I am just thankful that in the space of 15 years we had two supremely gifted spinners out-performing fast bowlers to the extend that these two have.

• BigO on March 7, 2008, 3:23 GMT

Superb analysis of how effective a bowler has been when called upon by his skipper! This is a dependability analysis. In my view, it is somewhat relevant to the on-going argument on who’s been the 'best ever', simply because no bowler could ever claim the title if he was not dependable on taking a wicket when needed. As a Sri Lankan, my feelings are a bit mixed. Murali has a record that no sane person could prove second to any bowler in the history of the game. His 62 5-fers in 118 tests in itself can only be compared with Bradman's 29 100's in 52 tests. But he lacks something that Warne showed in abundance! As Chari said in the earlier post 'make batsmen do something stupid'. Warne was great in creating something out of nothing where Murali kept to his armory. Granted! That Warne's methods were at times questionable. But if Murali can master that art he would undoubted be the best spinner ever. As for best bowler ever.. thru sheer fear & respect of batsmen of his era.. Wasim Akram!

• Chari on February 17, 2008, 15:39 GMT

Can anybody who says Warne is the "greatest" give me at least one quantitative yardstick that puts him above Murali?? Wickets, average, strike rate??? If he trumps Murali in anything, it's the fact that he was a master at getting under the skin of some batsmen and making them do something stupid. But of course he couldn't do it to the best of them like Lara and Sachin. He also used this ability to intimidate umpires and got dozens of wickets through bad decisions. Apart from that, Murali trumps him in everything. Murali didn't have big scores to bowl at, no real support from the other bowlers or fielders, not many matches vs England, he never took performance enhancing drugs etc etc. I haven't even got to text messages yet! Also, unlike Warne, Murali was just a big spinner of the ball in his early days. But he has adapted (Doosra, top spinner etc) after batsman started to catch on to him to become the greatest bowler the world has ever known.

• Ahmed on February 17, 2008, 13:37 GMT

Whatever the analysis say, but one thing is for sure that as far as class is concerned Wasim Akram, Shane Warne and Murli top the list. Bowlers like Waqar and McGrath however, were quality bowlers.

• Ash on April 20, 2008, 20:40 GMT

Murali is better, technology has salvaged his reputation and he is no doubt a modern great.

• Dave on March 28, 2008, 1:28 GMT

As an Australian, I would have to rate Muralitharan higher than Shane Warne. Murali is a phenomenal bowler and although the Australians may have got the better of him, the fact was that he did not have anyone putting pressure at the other end. Obviously, everyone has their own opinion about who was the greater bowler but statistically and going by what many of the greatest batsman have said, Murali is the greatest bowler of all time. He is the Bradman of bowling. By the time he retires, he probably will have a 1000 Test wickets to his name and 500+ ODI wickets. What is to stop him from being the highest wicket taker in ODIs and Tests.

• Madhu on March 21, 2008, 12:11 GMT

A quick suggestion around here to fill the gaps in too many people thoughts. Ananth may have to generate a similar analysis on batsmen, so allignment on analysis will shapen more better

• Naganada Kodituwakku on March 20, 2008, 14:22 GMT

I think those who love the game of cricket should not let their personal feelings or views about one particular bowler to dominate over another whose skills and talent is unmistakably proved with hard evidence. Let the statistics speak for themselves.

• Zaheer on March 17, 2008, 3:21 GMT

It is understandable that this analysis doesn't try to give an idea of who is the best ever bowler. However, since alot was spoken about Warne & Murali i would also like to comment on the fact. As many have raised the point i too am interested to know on what grounds a person can rank Warne ahead of Murali??? Its mere jealousy! Warne was a great bowler no doubt, and definetely you won't find any one else to compare against Murali. But just because you have a comparison it doesn't mean you become the best, it only suggests that you are near there. Sorry for Warne lovers. Murali is THE best.

• Alan Robertson on March 15, 2008, 20:52 GMT

I know you have made 100 wickets the cut off, but out of interest where would Shane Bond feature in this table?

thanks.

• Theena on March 11, 2008, 7:28 GMT

Being mathematically retarded, I'll venture away from the arguments on the statistical model used and add my two cents on the fringe, albeit predictable, issue of Shane Warne vs. Murali.

I am yet to get a proper answer on why a comparison is even warranted just as I find comparing Lara and Tendulkar absolutely pointless. Both players were great, geniuses of their respective crafts, and nothing you lot say will take anything away from that. Naysayers of Murali or Warne need to have their heads examined if they truly think that either player isn't worthy of greatness.

Who you prefer is a different, and subjective, matter all together. I prefer watching Warne for the psychological mind games just as I prefer watching Murali for the sheer delight he exudes in his craft. At the end of the day, I am just thankful that in the space of 15 years we had two supremely gifted spinners out-performing fast bowlers to the extend that these two have.

• BigO on March 7, 2008, 3:23 GMT

Superb analysis of how effective a bowler has been when called upon by his skipper! This is a dependability analysis. In my view, it is somewhat relevant to the on-going argument on who’s been the 'best ever', simply because no bowler could ever claim the title if he was not dependable on taking a wicket when needed. As a Sri Lankan, my feelings are a bit mixed. Murali has a record that no sane person could prove second to any bowler in the history of the game. His 62 5-fers in 118 tests in itself can only be compared with Bradman's 29 100's in 52 tests. But he lacks something that Warne showed in abundance! As Chari said in the earlier post 'make batsmen do something stupid'. Warne was great in creating something out of nothing where Murali kept to his armory. Granted! That Warne's methods were at times questionable. But if Murali can master that art he would undoubted be the best spinner ever. As for best bowler ever.. thru sheer fear & respect of batsmen of his era.. Wasim Akram!

• Chari on February 17, 2008, 15:39 GMT

Can anybody who says Warne is the "greatest" give me at least one quantitative yardstick that puts him above Murali?? Wickets, average, strike rate??? If he trumps Murali in anything, it's the fact that he was a master at getting under the skin of some batsmen and making them do something stupid. But of course he couldn't do it to the best of them like Lara and Sachin. He also used this ability to intimidate umpires and got dozens of wickets through bad decisions. Apart from that, Murali trumps him in everything. Murali didn't have big scores to bowl at, no real support from the other bowlers or fielders, not many matches vs England, he never took performance enhancing drugs etc etc. I haven't even got to text messages yet! Also, unlike Warne, Murali was just a big spinner of the ball in his early days. But he has adapted (Doosra, top spinner etc) after batsman started to catch on to him to become the greatest bowler the world has ever known.

• Ahmed on February 17, 2008, 13:37 GMT

Whatever the analysis say, but one thing is for sure that as far as class is concerned Wasim Akram, Shane Warne and Murli top the list. Bowlers like Waqar and McGrath however, were quality bowlers.

• tejjy on February 17, 2008, 9:08 GMT

I'm with Ritwit. On this definition and analysis, "consistency" is a trivial concept. About on a par with the analysis of a broken clock being consistently right twice a day.

• kay on February 16, 2008, 21:11 GMT

I think it may be good idea to factor the strenght of the oppossition at the time of bowling. For example.. if the opposition is ranked 10th.. the bawler gets less points and if the opposition is ranked 1st.. then the bawler gets more points. But for that you would have to devise a method to rank all the teams from the ancient times.

• jack on February 16, 2008, 15:42 GMT

Thank god for Aditya and Tommy P. How people can say things like 'the list doesn't include two of my favorite bowlers, so the analysis is hollow cause it doesn't represent universal facts' is ridiculous. The stats ARE the facts, opinions are NOT no matter how many people share them. Wasim and McGrath were not as consistent at taking wickets as other GREAT bowlers. It doesn't mean they were great bowlers, or even that they weren't consistent in other areas.

Personally McGrath wouldn't be in my top ten OF ALL TIME, better than Garner, Marshal, Holding, Ambrose, Lillie, Hadlee, Akram, just to name a few greats from my time and thats not including spinners. Cricket has been played for more than 100 years after all.

I also agree with someone who mentioed that the first analysis was valuable because it showed the POTENTIAL of Bond and Jones had they not been injury prone. If the analysis reflected what the majority believe it would have been worthless, added nothing new. Great work Ananth

• jeeva on February 16, 2008, 15:37 GMT

there's no argument with your chart.murali is the best,chapter closed

• Vivek on February 16, 2008, 15:28 GMT

Why cant we agree to the simple fact that Murali is the BEST bowler in the world.Keep the LIONS ROARING!!!

• Arun on February 16, 2008, 13:49 GMT

Ananth:The list looks very good now.I think any more parameters should go in as a different analysis.Will be nice to see some more analysis done on bowlers.My suggestions: Strike rate and Economy Longest spells without a wicket/Shortest spells with most wickets Weightage added to wickets based on countries.In my opinion, a wicket to a spinner in Australian pitches should be given more weightage than one in the subcontinent pitches. Achievements of bowlers in Foreign pitches. Toughest bowlers in their home country who are totally ineffective in foreign pitches. Just like we analyse batsmen and Partnerships between batsmen, we could do that for bowlers as well.Eg: Akram/Younis,Walsh/Ambrose,Mcgrath/Warne,Vaas/Murali etc. Match winning/turning spells(with or without wickets), not sure how that can be done though. I think this list enough to give you enough headache :)!! Thanks again for the interesting analysis!!

• Tommy P on February 16, 2008, 12:12 GMT

So many of these people posting don't get the point. This isn't representing the 'greatest ever' bowlers. It's about wicket-taking consistency. A guy who only gets big hauls or goes wicketless may be a great bowler, but he's not consistent. I think that there are a few kinks in this analysis, but Mr Narayanan has improved it... I still think more emphasis could be placed on the number of wickets - could we see a similar list of bowlers who have taken 2 wickets per innsspell (or 3, etc). But it's consistency, not greatness.

• Adhitya on February 16, 2008, 12:10 GMT

Just wanted to say a couple of things.

Firstly, a great list compiled here, giving a relatively clear understanding of consistent bowlers to the readers.

What must be understood is that this is not a list that reflects Ananth's opinion but a list that just reflects the facts, which is why this blog is called It Figures.

Many from the current generation might not be able to understand why Wasim Akram and Glenn McGrath are not in the top 15, but likewise, many from previous generations might not understand why they should be in the top 15. That is due to certain levels of subjectivity that cannot be avoided when picking a list of the top players.

Therefore, this list should not just be slammed easily as it merely reflects facts (figures) and not opinions. This way, subjectivity is prevented and the figures are left to do the talking.

Readers have just got to accept that however good certain bowlers are, they may just not be as consistent (figures wise) as some other bowlers

• V.S.S.Sarma on February 16, 2008, 11:54 GMT

Test match bowlers on a scale of 0-1,000 as per a Computer programme amongst bowlers who have played atleast 20 test matches are:

Sydney F Barnes (1000), Murali (976), Grimmett (955), O'Relly (950), Croft (911), Kumble (911), Tayfield (909), Marshall (902), Garner (890), Richard Hadlee (881), Trueman (875), McKenzie (872), Lillee (858), Warne (855), Donald (852), Andy Roberts (851), Bill Johnston (849), Alec Bedser (845), Lance Gibbs (836), Stuart MacGill (823), Holding (815), Dilip Doshi (814), Chandrasekhar (811), Bishen Bedi (811), Robert Peel (803), Ambrose (800), Ramadhin (800), McGrath (800), Subhash Gupte (796), Kaneria (793), Arthur Mailey (793), Imran Khan (790), Alan Davidson (787), Peter Pollock (786), John Snow (782), Neil Hawke (779), Alf Valentine (777), Richard Benaud (767), Prasanna (761), Brett Lee (759), Ray Lindwall (758), Wes Hall (756), Ian Bishop (755), Max Walker (753), ETC.

Now, you can take your pick from the above list.

• Karthick on February 16, 2008, 9:45 GMT

Hi Ananth, Nice modification to the previous analysis. But I still liked the first one better. It is safe to say that you have been pressurized into creating a list which includes the greats. If people need to see their greats, let them have a look at most wickets,etc and be happy with that. The last list provided a great insight on cases like Bond and Jones who were on par with the best but havent enjoyed a longish career due to injuries. It is not fair to want to see your favourite bowlers always in the lists. Please grow up.

• Reza on February 16, 2008, 9:17 GMT

Muralitharan is the greatest, there's no doubt abt it. whoever says he's not are hypocrats. They cant digest that a bowler from a country once was a minnow & within span of 3 years became the champs & started broke records one after another & has achieved that something nobody can ever think of doin it. So it's pure jealousy. If warne had played for a team like sri lanka he wud have half of what he has achived. How can u say warne is the greatest when he was hammered by the best team & the best batsmen against spin. Lara has admitted that murali is the best he has ever faced. Warne was mere mediocre bowler against the indians & lara. Now how can you say he;s the greatest. I would say Mcgrath is the greatest fast bowler bcas he performed brilliantly against all teams & all conditions. Muralitharan strugled in Aus due to the pressure of controversy. but he tormented Aus in SL in 2004 with 27 wickets in 3 tests. He took 20 wickets against in india against them. Now who's the best.

• Rahul Bhatia on February 16, 2008, 7:59 GMT

Interesting analysis, Ananth. I have an addition to this. Could their figures be broken into home and away components? Since a majority of the top ten bowlers are spinners, surely which region they play in affects their figures. ================================================== Possible, but at a later date. Ananth

• sckma on February 16, 2008, 6:35 GMT

I thought this was great! Especially since the ranks have changed to show a more conventional list, ie Dennis lillee is now in the top ten, when previously was in the 40's. Well done on an impressive list!

• Yajuvender on February 16, 2008, 5:44 GMT

Mr. Ananth I posted my views on your earlier anlysis which you didnt like & decided not to post...I reiterate...If your analysis ignores a bowler like Mcgrath & puts an all time great left armer Wasim akram at no. 15 then I think its hollow. Any wise person who has ever played cricket cant remove these 2 bowlers from his top 10 even in wildest of his dreams. I am not against a technical analysis but if your technical analysis defy universal facts then I think its only better for technocrats. Just an example if i manage to fly a balloon on hot air I cant defy the existence of gravity! Food for thought?

• JUNIUS on February 16, 2008, 5:09 GMT

"PRODUCT OF SRI LANKA" MURALI IS THE BEST,AND NO ONE CAN CHALENGE HIM,HE IS THE ALL TIME BEST BOWLER,SO DONT MESS WITH THE BEST!!!!

• Rob on February 16, 2008, 4:20 GMT

Ananth is the same guy who came up with the Wisden top 100 all time Test Innings.

• Viswanadh on February 15, 2008, 23:03 GMT

Excellent modifications to the last post. Now I get the exact picture of consistency. Thank you very much for this lovely piece of work

• Dave Jeremy on February 15, 2008, 21:28 GMT

Well anyone with any knowledge in cricket knows that Muralitharan is the best ever. End of - Case Closed.

• Ritwik on February 15, 2008, 20:11 GMT

Anantha,

A simple question. What is the cricketing logic behind considering the ability to take at least one wicket in an innings as measure of consistency - especially a measure so skewed that first a -wicket haul was indistinguishable from a 10 wicket haul, and now it is worth as much as 55% of 10-wicket haul?

I have in front of me a list of bowlers who are most likely to take at least one wicket in an innings. Why exactly am I supposed to infer anything from this?

• sumit on February 15, 2008, 18:53 GMT

While this minor modification does remove some inconsistencies, I think it still suffers from the same problem. You are completely ignoring the strike rate in an innings.

I think one of the methods could be to do a percentile analysis which goes like this:

i) What % of innspells corresponded to a strike rate of less than 20? (These would be the truly great spells)

And similarly what % of innspells produced a SR of 40 (great), 60 (very good), 80 (good), 300 (the consistent definition you used in the first post). Thus, we would know the characteristic of the bowlers, i.e. whether they produced great spells or whether they were consistent or both.

• ajit on February 15, 2008, 16:33 GMT

sad to see Kapil Dev down at 51st place with a BCIdx of 56.16 ..with 2.28 strike rate ..

• Akash on February 15, 2008, 16:32 GMT

These figures show what a raw deal Dillon (11. on this all time list) is getting with the West Indies team

• Mustafa on February 15, 2008, 15:46 GMT

I understand how consistent Murali has been, and I understand that he has taken many wickets, but I would not call him the greatest by any stretch of the imagination.

Warne's always better, just Like Wasim was always better then McGrath.

• dev pieris on February 15, 2008, 15:31 GMT

Sydney Barnes certainly has awesome figures by many standards but the fact it is widely known that his efforts were largely due to reverse-swing bowling there will always be a question mark in my mind as to how he achieved that in that particular era when ball tampering was not such a controversial issue!

• zae on February 15, 2008, 15:08 GMT

Great post Ananth, but lets keep things simple.. Wasim Akram and Shane Warne are the greatest bowlers of all time....nuff said

• ted on February 15, 2008, 13:34 GMT

I do not think spinners and seamers should have a different measure of a qualifying spell. Yes seamers generally have a better strike rate but that is not a reason to discount that fact. if we are looking for a measure of consistency then that measure should itself be consistent

• Tommy P on February 15, 2008, 13:23 GMT

Mr Narayanan... thankyou for incorporating a few of our suggestions - it has certainly increased the usefulness of your model. I think this is a very useful tool now that we can see the impact of consistently 'good' bowling, and by increasing the cut-off you have removed a number of peculiarities. Looking at the complete tables, it was fascinating to note how relatively 'inconsistent' certain players have been. For example, we often think of McGrath (49), Roberts (67), Holding (68), Gibbs (77), Lindwall (88) and Vaas (93) as very consistent wicket-taking bowlers. However, these stats suggest otherwise - there are plenty ahead of them. Also, there are 6 spinners in the top 10 despite the fact that far more pace bowlers have played Test cricket. That highlights that quality spin can consistently be relied upon to yield wickets, regardless of conditions.

Thanks - this has been most informative.

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• Tommy P on February 15, 2008, 13:23 GMT

Mr Narayanan... thankyou for incorporating a few of our suggestions - it has certainly increased the usefulness of your model. I think this is a very useful tool now that we can see the impact of consistently 'good' bowling, and by increasing the cut-off you have removed a number of peculiarities. Looking at the complete tables, it was fascinating to note how relatively 'inconsistent' certain players have been. For example, we often think of McGrath (49), Roberts (67), Holding (68), Gibbs (77), Lindwall (88) and Vaas (93) as very consistent wicket-taking bowlers. However, these stats suggest otherwise - there are plenty ahead of them. Also, there are 6 spinners in the top 10 despite the fact that far more pace bowlers have played Test cricket. That highlights that quality spin can consistently be relied upon to yield wickets, regardless of conditions.

Thanks - this has been most informative.

• ted on February 15, 2008, 13:34 GMT

I do not think spinners and seamers should have a different measure of a qualifying spell. Yes seamers generally have a better strike rate but that is not a reason to discount that fact. if we are looking for a measure of consistency then that measure should itself be consistent

• zae on February 15, 2008, 15:08 GMT

Great post Ananth, but lets keep things simple.. Wasim Akram and Shane Warne are the greatest bowlers of all time....nuff said

• dev pieris on February 15, 2008, 15:31 GMT

Sydney Barnes certainly has awesome figures by many standards but the fact it is widely known that his efforts were largely due to reverse-swing bowling there will always be a question mark in my mind as to how he achieved that in that particular era when ball tampering was not such a controversial issue!

• Mustafa on February 15, 2008, 15:46 GMT

I understand how consistent Murali has been, and I understand that he has taken many wickets, but I would not call him the greatest by any stretch of the imagination.

Warne's always better, just Like Wasim was always better then McGrath.

• Akash on February 15, 2008, 16:32 GMT

These figures show what a raw deal Dillon (11. on this all time list) is getting with the West Indies team

• ajit on February 15, 2008, 16:33 GMT

sad to see Kapil Dev down at 51st place with a BCIdx of 56.16 ..with 2.28 strike rate ..

• sumit on February 15, 2008, 18:53 GMT

While this minor modification does remove some inconsistencies, I think it still suffers from the same problem. You are completely ignoring the strike rate in an innings.

I think one of the methods could be to do a percentile analysis which goes like this:

i) What % of innspells corresponded to a strike rate of less than 20? (These would be the truly great spells)

And similarly what % of innspells produced a SR of 40 (great), 60 (very good), 80 (good), 300 (the consistent definition you used in the first post). Thus, we would know the characteristic of the bowlers, i.e. whether they produced great spells or whether they were consistent or both.

• Ritwik on February 15, 2008, 20:11 GMT

Anantha,

A simple question. What is the cricketing logic behind considering the ability to take at least one wicket in an innings as measure of consistency - especially a measure so skewed that first a -wicket haul was indistinguishable from a 10 wicket haul, and now it is worth as much as 55% of 10-wicket haul?

I have in front of me a list of bowlers who are most likely to take at least one wicket in an innings. Why exactly am I supposed to infer anything from this?

• Dave Jeremy on February 15, 2008, 21:28 GMT

Well anyone with any knowledge in cricket knows that Muralitharan is the best ever. End of - Case Closed.