Trivia - batting May 23, 2008

Why Australia's 2001 line-up is the best ODI side

How strong is an ODI team and how do the teams compare over the 37 years of ODI cricket
109

Post-Note:

"I urge readers to read and understand the reasoning behind the analysis. It is NOT to determine the best ODI team across years or teams. Rather it is to determine the best team that walked on to the field, as 11 players. Many comments have been made ignoring this fact. So much so, no comment which lists the readers' favourite team will be published. Let me add that over 50 comments have gone unpublished because of this."

For my next post, I wanted to stay away from Test cricket, on which most of the recent It Figures posts have been. At the other extreme we have Twenty20, which has had an all-pervading presence on almost all the channels on television, and the web and print media as well. That leaves the often-ridiculed form of cricket, one-day internationals. I never thought I would say this, but I have already started longing for ODI cricket.

This time I have taken for analysis a topic which I had looked at for Tests, and am now adapting to ODIs: how strong is an ODI team and how do the teams compare over the 37 years of ODI cricket? Where does the 2007 Australian team stand when compared to the West Indian teams of early 1980s, or for that matter the Australian teams of the late 1990s? It has turned out to be a fascinating study.

The one significant advantage we have when comparing ODI teams is that even the 1975 West Indies team had players most of us [barring those below 30, who would anyhow be familiar with them] have seen. It is not very difficult to identify with Viv Richards, Ian Chappell, Clive Lloyd, Michael Holding etc. unlike in Test cricket, where George Lohmann, with a Test bowliing average of 10.76, was born nearly 143 years ago. It isn't easy to relate to either fact.

A team is as strong as its batsmen, bowlers and fielders are. If we consider fielding as part of the bowling, these two main areas have to be given equal weightage. ODI laws might be tilted towards the batsmen, but the role of bowlers can never be underestimated. This happens even in the Twenty20 game.

Hence I have given a weightage of 50 for batting and 50 for bowling (further split as 45 for bowling and 5 for fielding). Because there is no quantified data for fielding per se, the weightage for fielding is in reality for catching/stumping. This also explains the low weightage.

The one thing I want to ensure is that this analysis will comprise only of measurable, objective parameters. The other areas such as captaincy, recent form, home advantage etc. are intangibles and subjective. A captain is only as good as his team is. Recent form has more relevance in Test matches. Home advantage is a mirage. The non-Australian strokemakers would love to play on the bouncy Australian pitches and the non-New Zealand seam/swing bowlers would love to bowl in Auckland or Hamilton.

Readers might be tempted to send the usual comments that these are obvious and why should there be a need to do analysis. Let me remind such readers that their conclusions would be based on error-prone subjective inferences and also not indicate how much a team is better than another. My results are based on objective analysis and indicate the quantitative differentials between teams.

Batting
ODI batting consists of two distinctly measurable and independent factors: how many runs are scored and how fast they are scored. In other words, the batting average and the strike-rate. No one can question the decision to treat these two parameters equally.

The average is taken rather than the lesser known and acceptable runs per innings or my own development, the extended batting average. The average is a widely accepted measure and presents the best method of measuring runs scored. Only two batsmen in ODI history, Michael Bevan and Michael Hussey, have averages higher than 50 (among those with a minimum of 20 innings), mainly because of their number of not-outs. However this is partly rectified by limiting the average to 50.0 for these two batsmen.

There is no problem with strike-rate. That is available as a straight computation of runs scored / balls faced. The averages and strike-rates of the top seven batsmen in the team's batting order are summed. The averages and strike-rates for batsmen nos. 8 to 11 are given a 25% weightage each. The arrived total is divided by eight and the Team Batting Average and Team Strike-Rate are arrived at.

The batting average index points are determined by dividing the team batting average by two. The maximum value for this is 25.0.

The strike-rate index points are determined by multiplying the team strike-rate (runs per ball) by 25.0. The maximum value for this is just over 25.0. Only one batsman in ODI history, Shahid Afridi, has a career strike rate of over 1.00.

Care is taken that these full values are applied only for career aggregates of 1000 runs and above. Otherwise Arvind Kandappah of Canada and Alex Obanda of Kenya will single-handedly make their team's batting averages huge. These two have Bradmanesque career batting averages of 97.0, although scoring only 97 and 194 runs respectively.

SNo. Year MtNo I Team   vs     AvIdx  SRIdx  Bat

1. 2005 2257 2 AUS (vs Bng) 19.89 20.99 40.87 (Gilchrist, Hayden, Ponting, Martyn, Clarke M,
Symonds, Hussey). 2. 2005 2261 2 AUS (vs Eng) 19.91 20.90 40.81 3. 2005 2259 1 AUS (vs Eng) 19.67 20.78 40.45

Next 105 teams are Australian, followed by

109. 2005 2282 2 ICC (vs Aus) 18.15 20.47 38.62 (Sangakkara, Sehwag, Kallis, Lara, Dravid, Pietersen, Flintoff, Afridi)

Next 16 teams are Australian, then

126. 2004 2202 1 IND (vs Bng) 18.06 20.43 38.49 (Sehwag, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni).

Then another 5273 teams

5400. 2004 2172 1 USA (vs Aus) 3.27 9.73 13.00 5401. 1979 0067 1 CAN (vs Eng) 5.05 7.85 12.91 5402. 1979 0070 1 CAN (vs Aus) 4.76 6.98 11.74

Note: Out of the 2703 matches considered, two matches were abandoned without even the team information being available.

The first 108 teams in the batting list are Australian. These 108 matches have come over a nine-year period, from 1999 to 2008, a period of total Australian domination, punctuated by three World Cup wins. The three batsmen who have been part of almost all these matches are Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds.

Bowling
Like batting, bowling also has two components, the bowling strike-rate and accuracy. However, unlike batting, the bowling average is a fantastic measure since it encompasses both these key measures in a single value. Consider the following.

Runs Conceded
Bowling Average = -------------
Wickets Taken

Rewriting this as

Runs Conceded Balls Bowled Bowling Average = ------------- x ------------- Balls Bowled Wickets Taken

This can be written as

Bowling Average = Bowling Accuracy x Bowling Strike-Rate.

There is no need to measure these two factors independently. It is sufficient to take the single composite measure, bowling average and work on it.

Unlike the batting computation, the bowling averages of the best five bowlers is taken and divided by five. This is because it is expected the team would use their best five bowlers. Even if Jacques Kallis bats at No. 3, he is likely to be used as a bowler if he is one of the best five. Whether he bowls in the concerned match or not is outside the scope of this analysis since this study only measures how strong a team potentially is, not how strong the team actually was.

Here also care is taken that bowlers with less than 50 wickets have their figures scaled down suiitably. Otherwise Gary Gilmour, with 16 career wickets at 10.31, will completely tilt the figures of the late-1970s Australian teams.

The bowling index is determined by subtracting the Team Bowling Average from 60.0. Since the best bowling average for qualifying bowlers [minimum 50 wickets] is 18.85 by Garner, the highest value will not exceed the maximum weightage given to bowlers, of 45.

For both batting and bowling, I have also taken the full career figures rather than the career-to-date figures in view of the complexity of calculation and the fact that we are averaging and the minor differences tend to get ironed out.

Fielding
Only catches and stumpings are considered. The values for all 11 players are added, divided by 11, and multiplied by two to get a team fielding average. The highest value is 1.95 and the maximum index value is 3.90. It is obvious that this figure will be strongly influenced by the wicketkeeper's figures. A per match average rather than catches/stumpings aggregate is taken to be fair to weaker teams.

SNo. Year MtNo I Team   vs    Fld   Bow   Tot

1. 1981 0116 2 WIN (vs Eng) 1.55 38.65 40.20 (Roberts, Holding, Croft, Garner) 2. 1982 0134 2 WIN (vs Pak) 2.25 37.79 40.03 3. 1982 0135 2 WIN (vs Aus) 2.25 37.79 40.03

Next 21 teams are West Indian, then

25. 2001 1670 2 AUS (vs Win) 2.44 35.95 38.38

Then another 5374 teams

5400. 1979 0070 1 CAN (vs Aus) 0.17 10.00 10.17 5401. 1979 0067 1 CAN (vs Eng) 0.17 10.00 10.17 5402. 1979 0064 1 CAN (vs Pak) 0.17 10.00 10.17

The first 24 teams in the batting list are West Indian teams. These 24 matches have come over a six-year period, from 1981 to 1987. The two bowlers who have been part of almost all these matches are Holding and Garner.

Final Team Strength
This arrived by adding the batting, bowling and fielding indices. The maximum is 100, making it easier to see things in perspective.

SNo. Year MtNo I Team   vs     Bat   Bow  Fld  Team

1. 2001 1670 2 AUS (vs Win) 38.95 35.95 2.44 77.34 (Gilchrist, Waugh M, Ponting, Bevan, Lehmann, Symonds, Martyn, Warne, Lee, Bracken, McGrath). 2. 2004 2180 1 AUS (vs Eng) 39.28 35.39 2.56 77.23 (Gilchrist, Hayden, Ponting, Martyn, Lehmann, Clarke M, Symonds, Lee, Gillespie, Kasprowicz, McGrath). 3. 2004 2172 2 AUS (vs Usa) 39.28 35.39 2.56 77.23 (Same as previous team) 4. 2004 2131 2 AUS (vs Zim) 39.10 35.30 2.69 77.09 5. 2003 1951 2 AUS (vs Ind) 39.47 35.02 2.43 76.91

Next 140 teams are Australian, then

146. 1982 0139 2 WIN (vs Aus) 33.82 37.79 2.25 73.86 (Greenidge, Haynes, Richards, Gomes, Lloyd, Bachhus, Dujon, Roberts, Holding, Clarke ST, Garner).

Next 19 teams are Australian/West Indian, then

166. 2005 2282 2 ICC (vs Aus) 38.62 32.75 2.28 73.65 (Sangakkara, Sehwag, Kallis, Lara, Dravid, Pietersen, Flintoff, Shahid Afridi, Pollock S, Vettori, Shoaib Akhtar, Muralitharan).

Then another 5233 teams

5400. 1975 0024 1 EAF (vs Ind) 13.06 10.00 0.52 23.58 5401. 1979 0067 1 CAN (vs Eng) 12.91 10.00 0.17 23.07 5402. 1979 0070 1 CAN (vs Aus) 11.74 10.00 0.17 21.91

The first 145 teams in the list are Australian. These 145 matches have come over a nine-year period, from 1999 to 2008, a period of total Australian domination, punctuated by three World Cup wins. The five players who have been part of almost all these matches are Gilchrist, Ponting, Symonds, Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath.

Finally I have done another "fourth dimension" formation. Australia have had the best batting teams ever and West Indies, the best bowling teams ever. Let us combine the two into one all-time great ODI team. Take the first seven players from the Australian 2005 team [Match no. 2257] and add to it the best four bowlers from the 1981 West Indies side [Match no. 116]. Given below is the final squad.

Just to round up the analysis, this all-time great team has an index value of 77.05, which is lower than the Australia 2005 figure. This has been caused no doubt by the loss of batting and fielding points of the Australian team (Watson/Lee/Gillespie/Kasprowicz are much better batsmen and fielders than the West Indian bowling quartet). However, the team listed below is an outstanding one with a superb bowling attack.

Adam Gilchrist
Matthew Hayden
Ricky Ponting
Damien Martyn
Michael Clarke
Andrew Symonds
Michael Hussey
Andy Roberts
Michael Holding
Colin Croft
Joel Garner.
Readers should not forget that this not necessarily the best ODI Team of all time, It has been formed by merely taking the first 7 players from the best ever Batting line-up and adding the 4 bowlers from the best ever Bowling line-up.

Theoretically this team can be further improved by taking in Tendulkar, Richards, Dhoni, Wasim Akram, Shane Warne et al. That is a different day and different motivation. For the present let us enjoy the combination of two different eras.

If we tamper with this team, the charm would be lost. The Australia-West Indies combination would be missing. After all, these two countries have dominated the ODI scene during these 37 years, West Indies during the first ten years and Australia, the last 20.

ODI Analysis - by decade
Batting AllMats 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
Matches played 2703 82 516 933 1172
Runs scored 1119374 30292 202284 386508 499690
balls bowled 1445956 46208 277516 505727 616505
Batsmen innings 46968 1418 8838 16266 20446

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Danny on June 28, 2008, 9:35 GMT

    Dear Ananth,

    More Brilliant work!

    Your analysis always provides a great starting point for discussion. I am sorry there are so many who fail to read the articles properly, understand the purpose or simply resist the temptation to thrust their favourite player forward.

    My only comment is that the higher scores and strike rates in the modern game benefits the batting index more than the bowling index suffers because there are always more batsmen than bowlers in a team. So it is no surprise that a modern Aussie team will win.

    People have said that modern Aussie bowlers have had to contend with higher scoring, but the effect on team scores is less than older Windies batsmen contending with lower scoring environments...

    I do believe there needs to be scaling of team performances against changing averages for scoring rates since the 1970s

    Finally, if you post any composite team, you are inviting a thousand back! i wont bother you with mine...

  • jeremy on June 6, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    to anyone even comparing Dhoni to Adam Gilchrist do you even know anything about cricket? Gilly has changed the way that teams select a wicket keeper. No longer is his job to simply stand behind the stumps and catch the ball he now must also be able to score runs at a very quick rate. Dhoni altho being a very good player is no near the same calibre as Adam Gilchrist who has proved over many years against the strongest attacks in the world that he is a master whereas Dhoni has been playing for only couple of years against poor bowling attacks on completely batsman friendly pitches and grounds where a mis hit doesn't only go for 6 but it goes 15 rows back and you would be caught in Australia.Does nobody realise that Australia were the favourites for the 1996 world cup in Australia and New Zealand and had been the dominant team in the year leading up so if my maths are correct then Australia has been the dominant teeam for the last 23 years so well done to Ananth for getting it correct

  • Reghu A on June 4, 2008, 13:12 GMT

    Great job and a wonderful analysis, good thoughts and well laid out. However, the way i see it is just how statistics can be so misleading. Just the very fact that your final team has all batsmen from post 1990 era and the bowlers from the pre 1990 era shows how the paradigm of cricket has changed into being batsmen-oriented in these two eras. Honestly I love statistics but the way of interpretation is something I have not found appealing especially showing hypothetical teams, the very fact that you have assumed that players from the 1975 can be related to current unlike in test cricket where comparisons go more than a century is in itself a big flaw I would say. [[Please note I do not have a final team. I merely put together the 7 Australian batsmen and 4 West Indian bowlers to do a "what if" situation. These are not to be taken too seriously since Hayden and Holding can only play together in fantasy teams.]]

  • Kudos on May 30, 2008, 17:38 GMT

    Good analysis. But this statement may not be correct: No one can question the decision to treat these two parameters(the batting average and the strike-rate) equally.

    There are match-winning performances with low averages but high strike rates and in some case high average with lower strike rates. How can these two parameters can be equal?

  • Anjo on May 30, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    You have missed the point. I have clearly demonstrated a case (4-5 highly erratic but extremely attacking bowlers) where a "best" team, picked on the sole "composite" criterion - bowling average, would consistently concede 265+, well above what you would expect on average from the best ODI bowling attack (38.0 on your index vs 38.65 for your uncorrected best side - EPIC FAIL!) Note that you are implicitly using the economy rate (i.e, it's independent effect is masked). By using the composite you are relying on the synergy of the two variables which as I have shown can produce misleading results. You must consider each effect independently with appropriate weights. You could also explain the process a little better; why is the team bowling average subtracted from 60, how did you arrive at 60, did it conveniently satisfy the best case? How will this analysis then stand the test of time if we get a better bowling team in the future? You also seem to have missed my previous follow-up : Response [1. 60-Avge was taken since it allowed me to contain the Bowling Index within the limits. There is no great need for this algorithm to stand the test of time. The purpose is to let people think and participate in useful and friendly discussions. 2. If there are 5 Joel Garners in a team, the Bowling Index will be 41.15 (out of a maximum of 45.0). I cannot even comprehend a bowling attack better than this. 3. I seriously thought of considering the two factors Bowling Strike Rate and Bowling Accuracy separately. However because of the evolution of the game into a more-batting dominant one and also the change in emphasis on bowling requirements, I felt it would be fair to consider the Bowling Average as a single composite entry across years. I could still do separate weighting of the two factors.]

  • Jarrod on May 29, 2008, 22:34 GMT

    "Keep Gilchrist, and have Dhoni replace Ponting at No. 3"

    Oh my, I'm so glad you're joking.

    I enjoyed this analysis, keep up the good work.

  • Deepak on May 29, 2008, 18:57 GMT

    Great analysis. I have a interesting analysis. If you did the same kind of analysis on individuals rather than teams, would it look like this: (Assuming a team needs at least 1 wk, and 2 spinners)

    Adam Gilchrist Niel Johnson Jacques Kallis Chris Cairns Andrew Flintoff Kapil Dev Imran Khan Lance Klusner Shaun Pollock Shane Warne Daniel Vettori

  • bryan on May 29, 2008, 13:21 GMT

    i think everyone who played before the introduction of boundary ropes should have an increase in their average. however, a better statistical analysis would involve changing to a weighting of the "normal" average for the year. ie, take the 100th best player in the world for the year, and set him to 1.00 rating, then make everyone a rating based on that.

    this type of rating will show domination far more easily, and will mean that the "lower bowling" abilities of 1995+ will show up less in the batting averages. this will decrease the domination of the windies attack and improve the batting of the early 1980s against such an attack.

  • Jeff on May 29, 2008, 10:12 GMT

    You've really got me thinking here (the sign of a good blog :-)

    If I take your No. 1 team - their AvIdx is 19.89, meaning that their predicted score based on this would be 318 (19.89 x 2 x 8).

    But as their Strike Rate is 0.84 (20.99 / 25) then they would only be able to score 252 in 50 overs - so this is actually their predicted average score.

    So for this team, Strike Rate is clearly more important (in fact their AvIdx could be as low as 15.75 and they would still be predicted to score 252)

    I'm sure there is a calculation that could be made to determine what would be the predicted score based on Ave & SR (with the 300 balls the limiting factor)and the team with the highest score would be the best batting team.

    Maybe something similar could be done with bowling (I haven't had time to look at this) and then the best team would be the one with the biggest difference between predicted batting & bowling scores?

    I assume it will still put those pesky Aussies first...

  • Anjo on May 29, 2008, 8:34 GMT

    The problem with only considering the bowling average, is it can mask the economy rate. As the strike rate approaches the bowling average, the economy rate increases. Consider a bowler with a bowling average of 22 (which is right up there with the top averages, if a correction is made accounting for the average team scores across the years, which imho is only fair if you truly want to compare teams across eras.) and a strike rate of 25 (which is also brilliant). This bowler would have an economy rate of 5.3. You can expect his usual bowling figures would be 10-X-53-2. Take four such bowlers, and off 40 overs, they would have conceded 212-8. If the fifth bowler is at least as good, you can expect a normal score of 265 all out, though I would suspect the score might range from 270-280. Would you expect the best bowling team to concede this score on a consistent basis? By masking the economy rate, your analysis has no mechanism to address this, lucky the WI team had high strike rates, eh? Response [The Economy rate is not masked. It is an integral part of the Bowling Average. If the reader re-reads the article carefully, he will understand this. The algorithms are clearly explained there. A Bowling Average of 24 could be achieved by a combination of Strike Rate of 36 and Economy Rate of 0.666(rpo-4.0) (a very attacking but erratic strike bowler). Alternately it could be through a Strike Rate of 48 and Economy Rate of 0.5(rpo-3.0) (an accurate and steady bowler). Thus it can be seen that both Strike Rate and Economy Rate have equal importance and one is not masked.]

  • Danny on June 28, 2008, 9:35 GMT

    Dear Ananth,

    More Brilliant work!

    Your analysis always provides a great starting point for discussion. I am sorry there are so many who fail to read the articles properly, understand the purpose or simply resist the temptation to thrust their favourite player forward.

    My only comment is that the higher scores and strike rates in the modern game benefits the batting index more than the bowling index suffers because there are always more batsmen than bowlers in a team. So it is no surprise that a modern Aussie team will win.

    People have said that modern Aussie bowlers have had to contend with higher scoring, but the effect on team scores is less than older Windies batsmen contending with lower scoring environments...

    I do believe there needs to be scaling of team performances against changing averages for scoring rates since the 1970s

    Finally, if you post any composite team, you are inviting a thousand back! i wont bother you with mine...

  • jeremy on June 6, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    to anyone even comparing Dhoni to Adam Gilchrist do you even know anything about cricket? Gilly has changed the way that teams select a wicket keeper. No longer is his job to simply stand behind the stumps and catch the ball he now must also be able to score runs at a very quick rate. Dhoni altho being a very good player is no near the same calibre as Adam Gilchrist who has proved over many years against the strongest attacks in the world that he is a master whereas Dhoni has been playing for only couple of years against poor bowling attacks on completely batsman friendly pitches and grounds where a mis hit doesn't only go for 6 but it goes 15 rows back and you would be caught in Australia.Does nobody realise that Australia were the favourites for the 1996 world cup in Australia and New Zealand and had been the dominant team in the year leading up so if my maths are correct then Australia has been the dominant teeam for the last 23 years so well done to Ananth for getting it correct

  • Reghu A on June 4, 2008, 13:12 GMT

    Great job and a wonderful analysis, good thoughts and well laid out. However, the way i see it is just how statistics can be so misleading. Just the very fact that your final team has all batsmen from post 1990 era and the bowlers from the pre 1990 era shows how the paradigm of cricket has changed into being batsmen-oriented in these two eras. Honestly I love statistics but the way of interpretation is something I have not found appealing especially showing hypothetical teams, the very fact that you have assumed that players from the 1975 can be related to current unlike in test cricket where comparisons go more than a century is in itself a big flaw I would say. [[Please note I do not have a final team. I merely put together the 7 Australian batsmen and 4 West Indian bowlers to do a "what if" situation. These are not to be taken too seriously since Hayden and Holding can only play together in fantasy teams.]]

  • Kudos on May 30, 2008, 17:38 GMT

    Good analysis. But this statement may not be correct: No one can question the decision to treat these two parameters(the batting average and the strike-rate) equally.

    There are match-winning performances with low averages but high strike rates and in some case high average with lower strike rates. How can these two parameters can be equal?

  • Anjo on May 30, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    You have missed the point. I have clearly demonstrated a case (4-5 highly erratic but extremely attacking bowlers) where a "best" team, picked on the sole "composite" criterion - bowling average, would consistently concede 265+, well above what you would expect on average from the best ODI bowling attack (38.0 on your index vs 38.65 for your uncorrected best side - EPIC FAIL!) Note that you are implicitly using the economy rate (i.e, it's independent effect is masked). By using the composite you are relying on the synergy of the two variables which as I have shown can produce misleading results. You must consider each effect independently with appropriate weights. You could also explain the process a little better; why is the team bowling average subtracted from 60, how did you arrive at 60, did it conveniently satisfy the best case? How will this analysis then stand the test of time if we get a better bowling team in the future? You also seem to have missed my previous follow-up : Response [1. 60-Avge was taken since it allowed me to contain the Bowling Index within the limits. There is no great need for this algorithm to stand the test of time. The purpose is to let people think and participate in useful and friendly discussions. 2. If there are 5 Joel Garners in a team, the Bowling Index will be 41.15 (out of a maximum of 45.0). I cannot even comprehend a bowling attack better than this. 3. I seriously thought of considering the two factors Bowling Strike Rate and Bowling Accuracy separately. However because of the evolution of the game into a more-batting dominant one and also the change in emphasis on bowling requirements, I felt it would be fair to consider the Bowling Average as a single composite entry across years. I could still do separate weighting of the two factors.]

  • Jarrod on May 29, 2008, 22:34 GMT

    "Keep Gilchrist, and have Dhoni replace Ponting at No. 3"

    Oh my, I'm so glad you're joking.

    I enjoyed this analysis, keep up the good work.

  • Deepak on May 29, 2008, 18:57 GMT

    Great analysis. I have a interesting analysis. If you did the same kind of analysis on individuals rather than teams, would it look like this: (Assuming a team needs at least 1 wk, and 2 spinners)

    Adam Gilchrist Niel Johnson Jacques Kallis Chris Cairns Andrew Flintoff Kapil Dev Imran Khan Lance Klusner Shaun Pollock Shane Warne Daniel Vettori

  • bryan on May 29, 2008, 13:21 GMT

    i think everyone who played before the introduction of boundary ropes should have an increase in their average. however, a better statistical analysis would involve changing to a weighting of the "normal" average for the year. ie, take the 100th best player in the world for the year, and set him to 1.00 rating, then make everyone a rating based on that.

    this type of rating will show domination far more easily, and will mean that the "lower bowling" abilities of 1995+ will show up less in the batting averages. this will decrease the domination of the windies attack and improve the batting of the early 1980s against such an attack.

  • Jeff on May 29, 2008, 10:12 GMT

    You've really got me thinking here (the sign of a good blog :-)

    If I take your No. 1 team - their AvIdx is 19.89, meaning that their predicted score based on this would be 318 (19.89 x 2 x 8).

    But as their Strike Rate is 0.84 (20.99 / 25) then they would only be able to score 252 in 50 overs - so this is actually their predicted average score.

    So for this team, Strike Rate is clearly more important (in fact their AvIdx could be as low as 15.75 and they would still be predicted to score 252)

    I'm sure there is a calculation that could be made to determine what would be the predicted score based on Ave & SR (with the 300 balls the limiting factor)and the team with the highest score would be the best batting team.

    Maybe something similar could be done with bowling (I haven't had time to look at this) and then the best team would be the one with the biggest difference between predicted batting & bowling scores?

    I assume it will still put those pesky Aussies first...

  • Anjo on May 29, 2008, 8:34 GMT

    The problem with only considering the bowling average, is it can mask the economy rate. As the strike rate approaches the bowling average, the economy rate increases. Consider a bowler with a bowling average of 22 (which is right up there with the top averages, if a correction is made accounting for the average team scores across the years, which imho is only fair if you truly want to compare teams across eras.) and a strike rate of 25 (which is also brilliant). This bowler would have an economy rate of 5.3. You can expect his usual bowling figures would be 10-X-53-2. Take four such bowlers, and off 40 overs, they would have conceded 212-8. If the fifth bowler is at least as good, you can expect a normal score of 265 all out, though I would suspect the score might range from 270-280. Would you expect the best bowling team to concede this score on a consistent basis? By masking the economy rate, your analysis has no mechanism to address this, lucky the WI team had high strike rates, eh? Response [The Economy rate is not masked. It is an integral part of the Bowling Average. If the reader re-reads the article carefully, he will understand this. The algorithms are clearly explained there. A Bowling Average of 24 could be achieved by a combination of Strike Rate of 36 and Economy Rate of 0.666(rpo-4.0) (a very attacking but erratic strike bowler). Alternately it could be through a Strike Rate of 48 and Economy Rate of 0.5(rpo-3.0) (an accurate and steady bowler). Thus it can be seen that both Strike Rate and Economy Rate have equal importance and one is not masked.]

  • courtney on May 29, 2008, 8:00 GMT

    Meaningless analysis. First, it doesnt look at the quality of opposition. Second, it would be more interesting (although it still wouldnt make much sense) to get together the best players from all countries on different aspects: batting, bowling, keeping wickets and fielding. It would be more useful to grade team performances on results against quality opposition (removing Bangladesh, Kenya etc from the analysis) and seeing which team did well, rather than mixing two teams from different eras, and seeing some great virtue in looking at only two teams. Response [It is obvious that the reader has not understood what I sent out to do. I wanted to find the best team which took the field, as 11 players, irrespective of the ground, quality of opposition, recent form, result et al. What the team did on the field is completely irrelevant to this particular analysis.]

  • AD on May 29, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    The only comments I have to offer over & above this analysis is: 1) Pick both team players for each match.Tough matches bring out best from tough guys. 2) Provide a little more weightage to crunch matches, may be 1.1 to a normal 1. 3)Your analysis gets more weightage as it is same ground, same conditions and then people who figure most no of times in all this should form the best team.

  • anon on May 29, 2008, 6:02 GMT

    Can we have the best teams per country? That'd be fun to know. Response [In the follow-up post.]

  • Atul on May 29, 2008, 2:32 GMT

    Part II

    Data could be normalized by comparing team stats to a moving 5 year average. Theory being that a superior team will outperform its opponents by x% and that difference is comparable across eras etc..

    Keep going Ananth, more power to you......

  • Atul on May 29, 2008, 2:28 GMT

    Ananth,

    Excellent idea and a fair attempt. Of course there are many variables, one of the biggest being the casting of batting/bowling as 50% each.

    Two ways of spending lazy afternoons -

    a. run simulations changing the 50-50 split to a 70-30; 60-40; for batting and see what happens. I assume here that batting is more critical than bowling, though you could run the simulation other ways as well

    b. another way of determining relative importance of batting vs. bowling is to look at Man of Match awards and segregate them for batting/bowling. The difficulty here is in segregating all rounders, but over a large enough sample, the inefficiencies may iron out ( e.g. Classify Kapil Dev as a bowler, even though his 175 in WC 83 got him MOM as a batsman; classify Tendulkar as a batsman, even though he got a few wickets in his time)

    Other thoughts: there is merit that cricket has changed over the years and if possible in further editions, we could normalize the data.....

  • Steve Brown on May 29, 2008, 2:23 GMT

    Not sure using stats regarding number of games won against lost. You would then have to consider the ranking and strength of the opposition in those games. For example a team who has played Bangladesh or Zimbabwe more often would have a higher ranking. As the sub continant teams have done. Games against these lessor ranked teams have also flattered sub continant batting and bowling averages over the last few years.

    Ananth, you have provided an interesting piece made more interesting by the responses.

  • Ryan on May 29, 2008, 2:00 GMT

    Great analysis Ananth! Dont let the **********s get you down. I wont go into the areas scewing the results slightly as they have been mentioned too many times (amount of cricket played, batting 'improvements' in modern times etc) however I dont think there is too much doubt the 2 greatest TEAMS (!!) came out top. I am a fan of cricket and the huge part statistics play within it. Your analytical approach adds a different dimension to the standard figures we see normally. I just wish people would 'get it'...these postings come from an idea he has about how to view figures in a different way, many times, in ways I hadn't thought about. See it for what it is people, a new way to enjoy the game we love. If you dont like 'complicated' calculations that produce results you dont like, dont read them. Out of interest Ananth, how many of the top 100 teams actually lost the games in question? Also,which game involved the highest placed teams to have played against eachother? Aus v SA 2001? Thanks Response [I have plans to do a "Greatest upsets in ODIs", later, using such an Index as the basis. Will also do the combined Index values in the follow-up post]

  • Orville D'Silva on May 29, 2008, 0:19 GMT

    Dear Ananth,

    The analysis you have completed is certainly appreciable! The 2001 Australian team is certainly one of the best ever (if not the best) one day team. However, just to put the other teams into perspective, is it worth incoporating a previous success factor? i.e. Take the percentage of wins each player has been part of (Matches Won / Matches Played) and compute the average for the team, perhaps giving more weight to players having played more games and thus being more influential. This factor could then be multiplied by the teams score as you computed in your article. Although, I dont expect the Australian 2001 team to be affected by this change, other teams like the Indian team of say 2003 which won a fair few matches would be scaled down as the players have been part of fewer victories thus having less confidence and to some extent, having put in less match-winning performances.

  • Nikhil Joshi on May 28, 2008, 22:28 GMT

    Ananth, This is a good analysis of evaluating a team's strength based on parameters for which data is avilable. Unfortunately, there is no data avilable for fielding (runs saved, catches taken and the degree of difficulty of catches etc.) Moreover, there should be data reflecting a team's weaknesses (Ex- no of dropped catches, misfields etc). Only then can we get a better picture of a team's strength. I am just comparing your analysis to baseball and I must say that you did a very good task of taking avilable parameters to draw a picture of a team's strength. My only suggestion would be to give a higher weightage to an allrounder's wickets or runs as presence of an allrounder gives the team an extra bowler or batsman.

    Good work overall.

  • jigar on May 28, 2008, 21:36 GMT

    i have only one thing to say. if selection was objective then computers would have been selecting teams rather than human beings. selection has to be subjective.

    Nevertheless good analysis by Mr. Narayanan. he made the parameters very clear for his 'objective' analysis.

  • Khurram on May 28, 2008, 18:13 GMT

    Hi Ananth, good analysis! .. Just wondering what was the best team in the 90's ?

  • Damien on May 28, 2008, 13:14 GMT

    I can't argue with the analysis. Obviously a lot of thought and research has gone into it. But let us not forget that some of the best teams on paper have also given the worst performances as in the IPL. Everyone has a bad day on the field even the greats. Numbers only tell us what has been done, not what will be. Given that the team is comprised of 11 players, the opposition has an abundance of talent to chose from like Waqar Younis, Arvinda Dsilva, Saeed Anwar and Ian Botham to mention a few. Which team has more match winners now?

  • Luke on May 28, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    I'm quite appalled that an article of this quality has been published. The statistics are brilliant and the work to be put into it must be commended. But "computation" and "weightage"? "Words" (for they are not actually words) like these dumb down the article and make the website appear infantile.

  • Marcus on May 28, 2008, 12:31 GMT

    I think a good balance between average and strike rate is a 60-40 split. I don't have anything scientific to support these particular figures, but it strikes me as odd how Shahid Afridi and David Boon would theorically be about as valuable as each other to their teams.

  • sridhar on May 28, 2008, 12:11 GMT

    just curious. which Indian team has the highest final index? Response [Will be answered in the follow-up post]

  • Shashi on May 28, 2008, 10:46 GMT

    Best team must be selected based on results - matches won v team played against (weak team lower marks etc.) rather than as a combination of the individuals concerned. It may just be that this still puts the Aussies on top. Response [Is there a problem with putting a truly great team which has won 3 consecutive World Cups in its place. Why do people not want to accept and appreciate greatness.]

  • Jeff on May 28, 2008, 8:29 GMT

    Ananth - i'm sorry for posting such a negative sounding message earlier - I did enjoy the analysis and understand that you've made some generalisations to make the model easier to work and understand. No problems with that, only with bold comments that aren't backed up with explanations ;-)

    It seems to me that the length of the match is the main variable that should be considered when deciding on how to weight average vs strike rate: in a 5 day test match, average is much more important than strike rate given the number of balls available to batsmen (although strike rate is a factor if you want to force a result) However in a Twenty20 match, the situation is reversed and strike rate is by far the most important of the two parameters. ODI’s fall somewhere in between - but whether a 50:50 split is right is debatable (however I feel it's probably close enough to give broadly the "right" results.)

    It might be interesting to find out what IS the optimal split between the two...

  • Rahul on May 28, 2008, 7:58 GMT

    Dear Ananth,

    That was an amazing analysis.But very disappointing to know most dint get your thoughts.But the matches played must be taken into account,since the number of matches played nowadays are far more.With the recent advancements the game has also changed a lot. Well truly the Australian team of 2000s were a great team.But even they would have struggled against a West Indian attack of late 70s and early 80s. And what other people need to know is this was to find the Best XI that have been fielded.Not a dream team or all time great team. The Pakistani attack always had 2 great bowlers and 2 more supporting.When Akram and Waqar were at their peak,they dint have a third great bowler[except Saqlain for some time].So maybe that is why their attack does not figure in the list.

  • Asim on May 28, 2008, 6:48 GMT

    What about the Pakistani bowling attack of the early or mid 90's .... Akram, Waqar, Imran, Mushtaq and Aqib .... or Akram, Waqar, Aqib, Saqlain and Mushtaq? .... I faid to understand why fielding has been included with the bowling statistics because more then half the dismissal are bowled or LBW?

  • Asef Ali on May 28, 2008, 5:20 GMT

    Excellent Analysis. I have no objection with the list you came up with but I cannot think of any all time best ODI team without Wasim Akram, Sachin Tendulker, Brian Lara & Imran Khan (Capt)

  • Kartik on May 27, 2008, 20:16 GMT

    Dear Ananth,

    Thanks for an interesting analysis. It is too bad that 90% of the readers don't grasp what you have written.

    A few points :

    1) It sounds impressive when 'the first 125 teams are Australian' in batting, while only the first 24 teams are West Indian. This may give many the impression that Australia's batting was more dominant than WI bowling, but the larger number is merely a function of more matches played now vs. the early 80s. Joel Garner, after all, played just 98 ODIs.

    2. It is quite surprising that the second best international batting line-up (not counting the world XI) is India at #126. Really? Better than the West Indies batting of 1984? Better than any South African 90s or Pakistan 80s lineup? Better than the SL 1996-97 era? That, really, is the biggest surprise here.

    3) Australia's era of dominance has, indeed, passed. Most of the key players in the topmost teams in your ranking are past or near retirement (except Symonds, Clarke, Lee).

  • Vaseem Akbar on May 27, 2008, 16:49 GMT

    As ever, interesting statistical analysis (albeit most people seemto have missed the point that it is not about identifying the best players but the best actual team).

    Howeve, it is slightly invalidated by the fact that the eras that the players played in were different. In particular, it would be more relevant to see how far ahead (batting & bowling averages) each team was of the others in it's era.

    In any case, as Australia reel under the pace of fidel edwards. it's all academic - it's pretty obvious even the best aussie team would never win against the best wi 4-man attack

  • Amit Nayyar on May 27, 2008, 15:55 GMT

    Ananth

    Very interesting.

    Could you let us have a country by country list - i.e. we obviously know the strongest ever aussie line-up but could you let us know which were the strongest ever English, Indian, Pakistani etc XI's to take the park please.

    Would be interested to see where the WC Pak '99 or the WC India 2003 squads come. Both runner's up to the conquering aussies but exciting teams nonetheless.

    Enjoyed the anlaysis.

    Amit

  • NQ on May 27, 2008, 14:55 GMT

    Interesting Analysis. Definitely a new take on an old theme. I was just discussing with someone how good the West Indies were as a team of bowlers. About 1000 wickets at 20 (in tests) between those 4 I think. They were so good at bowling together that by taking any one of them out would weaken the line up.

    It causes me great pain that so many people are unable to read some pretty explicit statements about how the anlysis was done. I guess all the stats you read about illiteracy are true.

    Most of you need to get your Mum to read you the whole article next time and not just the heading and team list. Response [One such mail compensates for 100 brickbats.]

  • Jeff on May 27, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    You state early on that "No one can question the decision to treat these two parameters equally" when talking about batting average and strike rate.

    A bold statement that, because I, for one, absolutely question this ! Here's why:

    In a 50 over match, there are 300 balls, so if, for example, Team A's strike rate is 0.75 then they would score 225 runs in 50 overs. To do this, the top 7 would need to average 32.1 and so their batting index would be 34.8

    If another team (say Team B) had a batting average of 25 and a strike rate of 0.90 then it would have a batting index of 35 - higher than Team A - but are they a better batting team?

    Not if you consider that Team B's top 7 would only score 175 runs between them (in 32.2 overs) - leaving the tail to survive 17.4 overs - AND needing to make another 50 runs to equal the score of Team A.

    ODI batting success IS dependent on a combination of batting ave and strike rate, but i'd argue that they are NOT equally important... Response [I sincerely apologize for the strong "No one can question...". Maybe it should be changed to "Very few people can question...". Also your dissection of the batting parameters is very good. I will look at it more in depth.]

  • david on May 27, 2008, 12:49 GMT

    Using the same mathematic rating, what would the best WORLD XI be that could realistically have been picked at any point in history. (For instance the above team could not realistically have been selected due to the WI players having retired.)

    It would be nice to see what the best XI is for each country too!

  • Andy White on May 27, 2008, 10:17 GMT

    Not sure I entirely buy the use of bowling average for ODIs (I would for tests). Surely ODIs from a bowler's perspective are mostly about economy: even the best bowling teams don't have strike rates that mean they would bowl sides out in 50 overs. So the weighting in selecting the best bowling sides should to me be on economy rate (accuracy).

  • googly on May 27, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    LOL! With nothing to take into account for the difference between the average scores and strike rates in the earlier days of ODI cricket and today, it's not surprising your best bowling attack was from the dominant team of the early 80s and best batting unit from the dominant team of present.

  • Andrew on May 27, 2008, 5:03 GMT

    I would like to emphasise a point very few seem to consider when comparing different eras. The justification of older batsmen into these teams is based on the belief that the averages and strike rates of modern players are a result of friendly pitches and games changes. If that is the case then why dont you consider that the bowlers of earlier eras, like the west indian greats bowling, averages and strike rates were also assisted by bowler friendly pitches and fielding restrictions.

  • Nathan on May 27, 2008, 4:06 GMT

    An interesting and thought provoking analysis!

    What is also interesting is the number of people who are apparently unable to read or comprehend simple statements. Ananth, you are doing well to maintain your patience with some of the respondents here!

  • Richard on May 26, 2008, 22:09 GMT

    Where is Shaun Pollock?Unbelievable economy rate at a time when 5 an over is the average,one of the best ball strikers at the end of an innings,and a very good outfielder.The number 8 spot in any one day side should be reserved for him.With Jonty at 6 and Zulu at 7.And don't forget Allan Donald at 11.South Africa may not have won the world cup yet,but they have always been in the top 2 one day sides since they came back into international cricket. Response [For the simple reason they were not part of either the 2001 Australian team or the 1981 West Indian team. You will understand if you read the article carefully]

  • Paully on May 26, 2008, 20:54 GMT

    Oh dear. Interesting reference to "error-prone subjective inferences" from possible critics. I suspect what we've seen here is a an error-prone subjective statistical model. There's no point being precise with the mathematics when your model is flawed.

    Where is the mathematical requirement for a wicket-keeper? A 5% weighting for fielding isn't enough to ensure there will be one. A team who picked a strong batting and bowling lineup and some hack behind the stumps would fare very well under your model. How many Australian teams with Ian Healy featured near the top of the list?

    You've only included four bowlers in your model. Who is going to bowl the other 10 overs?

    What about all-rounders. They're almost indispensable in one-day cricket. In your model batters bat and bowlers bowl (and noone keeps wickets).

    And your hybrid Aus/WI team is a disaster. When batting, it would be six out, all out. And you're relying on Symonds and Clarke to bowl out 10 overs. Response [This is a "fourth dimension" team composed only of the 7 best batsmen and 4 best bowlers. If I had to select my own best XI, I would do it differently. As far as weightages are concerned, who can say that I am wrong and you are right. And, pray, where is the fileding data. Other than everyone's visual inferences, is there a single available, verifiable objective measure to say how good Jonty Rhodes was. I was the one who initiated "Runs saved" methodology in match recording software. That was only 5 years ago. Take the analysis with a pinch of salt. Do not comment only with the view of finding fault.]

  • Nalin on May 26, 2008, 18:41 GMT

    I have few thoughts about the analysis..

    1. It is difficult to find the best team considering few parameters. 2. In 2000s you can not find many exceptional bowlers outside Australia like in 80s & 90s. 3. 15 over rule, 20 over power play, bouncer rule, increasingly batting friendly wickets will obfuscate the analysis 4. The best team always get the benefit of doubt from the umpires also. 5. % of victories against lower rated teams and higher rated teams must also be considered. 6. Most batsmen have higher averages and strike rates after 1995 due to field restrictions and batting friendly wickets. 7. So I think the best team must be selected considering all these facts. 8. Before 15 over rule and after 15 over rule would be a good way to find the best team in each era. 9. So few guesses.. 1979 WI team,1988 Pak team, 1992 Pak team, 1999 Aus team, 1999 SA team, 2001 AUS team, 2003 AUS team, 2004 SL team, 2007 Aus team.. ?????

  • Ismail Moola on May 26, 2008, 18:01 GMT

    All nice - and very intersting - but what about the ommission of pollock, rhodes and jayasuriya - 3 match winners irrespective of situation Response [For the simple reason they were not part of either the 2001 Australian team or the 1981 West Indian team. You will understand if you read the article carefully]

  • Amer - Canada on May 26, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    Ananth,

    I am surprised not to see Marshall in the all time combined team. What has caused his exclusion? Response [Marshall was not part of the West Indies quartet in the best ever bowling team.]

  • kamran khalid on May 26, 2008, 17:31 GMT

    Waqar Younis Anyone? And a good way to judge the teams. Still a point by one of the commentors about quality opposition bowling is good too. Further to that playing conditions could be given a point. 2001-2002 pakistan beat ausies in a three match one day series, what do you say about that. I mean we cannot take anything away from the ausies but just a point. they were given a good run for their money by SA and Pakistan during that time in the One day arena. Other than that Windies were not even touched by anything cause there was no quality one day opposition at their time. Just a point to ponder id say.

  • Basil James on May 26, 2008, 15:19 GMT

    Brilliant analysis.Lot of heady math. You would do well to look into the performance of the South African team of 1999 over that year year.

  • Karthik Venkatesh on May 26, 2008, 14:04 GMT

    Brilliant work! The analysis has clearly brought out the best batting 'team' and the best bolwing 'team' from the history of cricket. That was the question asked and the answer is precise. It is evident that the method has worked because it has brought out expected results. Looking back, there has been only 2 teams that has dominated International cricket. One were the Windies in 1980s and the other were the Aussies in 2000s. This analysis has brought out a possible explanation that the windies ruled because of their bowling and the aussies because of their batting. Atleast, one can say that the windies bowling squad is still to be challenged and the Aussies have set up a landmark in their batting performance.

    Good analytical work.. Keep it up.

  • anant on May 26, 2008, 13:32 GMT

    nice team raghuvir except your decision to include Dhoni.I dont think Dhoni is better than Sangakarra or Ian Healy or even Mark Boucher. I feel they are much better than him. Dhoni is no doubt an amazing player but he still needs to improve a bit.

  • Michael Jones on May 26, 2008, 13:30 GMT

    Interesting analysis, as ever - although I'd suggest that maybe fielding should be given a 10 percent weighting rather than 5, given how a game can so often turn on one catch or run out. I'd agree with Walter that run outs ought to be taken into account, although I can understand that this would be difficult to implement since the identity of the fielder making the run out is not always recorded, and sometimes when it is the credit goes to two or three players - although in such instances it would be easy just to count the first, since the fielder getting the throw in has obviously made a greater contribution to the dismissal than the keeper or bowler who just breaks the wicket.

    Could we possibly have some analysis on the best team from each country? I'd be interested to see how, for instance, the England or India teams which have won the last two CB Series would match up to the South Africans who almost won the 1999 World Cup semi.

  • Walter on May 26, 2008, 10:34 GMT

    Pretty interesting stuff, but I don't see how you can evaluate a teams fielding performance without taking run-outs into account! By including catches/stumpings as the fielding component, these actions are essentially included in the analysis twice. This is because they are already reflected in the bowling statistics. If you could somehow find statistics on dropped catches/missed stumpings it would be a different story...

  • raghuvir on May 26, 2008, 10:18 GMT

    my top XI a)Sachin Tendulkar b)Desmond Haynes c)IVA Richards d)Javed Miandad e) M Bevan f)M S Dhoni g)Kapil Dev h)Shane Warne i)Wasim Akram j)Michael holding k)Glen McGrath

    and my 2nd best a)Jayasuriya b)Gilchrist c)Ponting d)Azharuddin e)A Border f)S waugh g)Imran Khan h)Cairns i)Marshall j)Ambrose k)Murlitharan

  • Revan on May 26, 2008, 10:11 GMT

    I understand the method and rules used. However I must say the analysis should then rather be labeled Teams with best batting/bowling averages rather than best ODI teams. My reason is that when you compare actual team results with the list it becomes a bit silly. Remember rankings are based on results and the simple fact that no South African team is featured, even though being consistently ranked 2nd and occasionally (as now) 1st in the world, justifies my point.

  • Satyajit on May 26, 2008, 8:43 GMT

    Just like Warne has his list of top 50 (actually 53) players he saw playing, this is Ananth's list of best ODI team. Warne used qualitative analysis (his own gut feeling) while Ananth used quantitative analysis. It's amazing to note that both the list's are interesting yet flawed due to different reasons. One request to you, add one word at the end of your heading. You can call it "Why Australia's 2001 line-up is the best ODI side - Statistically" and a lot of controversy will be taken away. Personally (this is gut feeling) I consider WI team of 80's as the best ODI team and Aus team of 2000 till 2007 a close second. If you forget about statistics, any all time best ODI team has to include Richards, Sachin, Akram and Warne but then this is not a all time best player's list rather a best team list.

  • Sukanya on May 26, 2008, 8:33 GMT

    Dhoni in an all time BEST ODI 11 is ridiculous. Shane Warne should be included in ALL TIME BEST 11 in any form of cricket.Damien Martyn should be replaced with Viv.Richards.Michael Clark should be replaced with Sachin Tendulkar.My ODI 11 would be Adam Gilchrist (wk) Matthew Hayden Sachin Tendulkar Viv Richards Ricky Ponting Andrew Symmonds Michael Bevan Shane Warne (c) Wasim Akram Glenn McGrath Joel Garner

  • Jordan on May 26, 2008, 8:27 GMT

    Thanks for the analysis, it was a great read. I do have one request, which may or may not be too difficult: is it possible for you to determine the best ODI team that each country has put forward. For example, the best ever Australian team would be the 2001 vintage. But which is the best, say, New Zealand team? The mid-80s team with Hadlee? The 1992 team with Crowe at the World Cup? The team that won the 2000 ICC KnockOut Tournament? And so on for all of the countries.

  • Kutch on May 26, 2008, 7:41 GMT

    Interesting analysis. Is it possible to use the Final Team Strength figures to compare teams that did not play to their potential, or when a team played way above its potential and caused a great upset?

  • Mohammed on May 26, 2008, 7:02 GMT

    Phew. One of the most complicated cricket "analyses" i have ever seen. So much for stats. I went straight down to the bottom of the blog to check out the actual team composition and skipped right through the statistical analysis. But,i guess what is finally proved more than anything is that:

    "STATS do lie after all!!"

  • aswin on May 26, 2008, 6:40 GMT

    Nice article with lot of statistics which never account for truth. Let me put a point an average of 40 today is decent, but just think of those olden days when you had pitches that were pacy, sportive, and sometimes deadly for batsmen. A batsman who averaged 35 on such wickets against the greatest of fast bowlers such as Holding, Thompson, Lillee, Malcolm Marsh and of course people like Garner and Roberts.

    Do you think that the current Aussie batsmen such as Clarke, Ponting, and co would have scored as much as against these attacks?????? The answer is no. The simple reason for why the Australian team of 2001 cannot be the greatest ODI side is because they seldom played against the great bowling attacks. When West Indies were at their prime, their opponents such as Australia, England and even India were also at their peak. So West Indians had the talent and firepower to knock over In-form teams. A batsman like Viv Richards could walk in any time and thrash the life out of the bowlers.

  • shakil on May 26, 2008, 6:16 GMT

    i think u have omitted a significant player who changed the way ODIs are played...Sanath jayasuriya and Johnty Rhodes for making fielding as important as bowling and batting

  • criconaut on May 26, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    Presumably - the higher ranked team is favourite to win. It would be interesting to actually see an analysis of what % of higher ranked teams actually won vs lower ranked teams. Also, given the importance of fielding in today's game (every version) - is there any corelation between consistently higher fielding index and wins?

  • Jigar on May 26, 2008, 4:45 GMT

    These names sounds good on paper having all great players for a single side but I would still like to discuss the best one time single team (not a combination of great players from around the world) which did the best. We can say Steve Waugh's team which won the world cup or West Indian team when they had Walsh Ambrose Lara Richardson and all playing for their side or Indian team which won the world cup in 1983 or the Indian team which won the Benson & Hedges series in Australia when Shastri won the Audi Car

  • mark on May 26, 2008, 0:09 GMT

    A very interesting analysis, though I think it is, by necessity, a little simplistic. For example, there have been some law changes over 30 years that have had a major impact on ODIs, as well as a general tendency towards flatter pitches; both of these will skew the results.

    That being said, I would still bet that the 2001 Australian side would be the one to beat.

  • Rayhan on May 25, 2008, 20:34 GMT

    its a nice and accurate analysis keeping in mind dat d author has clearly mentionhor d rules and criteria on which he was gonna present his article! therefore, i think d comments consistingting of their own choice of best XI shud give statistical proofs (taking d whole team, not just d records of individuals coz d whole article is on team analysis) to show dat their team is superior.

  • Terry on May 25, 2008, 14:04 GMT

    Good work, however the analysis is ultimately flawed because there is no consideration given to the evolution of limited overs cricket. It's naive to suggest bowlers in the last 10 years have been sub-standard and that the same was the case for batsmen in the first 20 years. Scores are simply bigger now for a variety of reasons. Without factoring for this, of course the best bowling and best batting teams will be from two starkly different eras.

    So basically it would be a much better analysis if the figures were moderated to account for trend of batting scores and run rates have been increasing with time. The statistics are there to do it.

  • Don on May 25, 2008, 11:26 GMT

    As ever, well researched and informative. I will try to avoid the usual "my favourite XI" and concentrate on the formula you used. I do not agree with your division of "effort" (50% batting, 45% bowling, 5% fielding). Fielding is far more important, although I do accept that it's a very tough part of the game to quantify. To me (both as a spectator and an active cricketer), the most important part of winning is the tempo (or momentum) of the game. Fielding is a major way to disrupt or establish this. A runout, a spectacular catch or even a great save in the field can all contribute to this. Lacking the statistics, but from vast personal experience, the various South African teams of the late 90s and 00s would score far higher then they did under your analysis, merely because of outstanding fielding (backed by more then decent batting and bowling). Win/loss ratios against the Australians in this period backs this up. Because of this I feel your work is incomplete.

  • Mangesh on May 25, 2008, 11:20 GMT

    That was a nice analysis and I do completely agree. The author has also explained his assumptions and come up with the team. Even then there are a lot of comments why a cretain player does not figure in the list. Mind you Tendulkar, Richards, Akram, are indeed all great players, no denying the fact. But a player alone doesn't make a team, whereas the above analysis is of a Team and not an individual player. The author is therefore quite correct at coming up with the above conclusions. For instance Tendulkar, during most part of his career didn't have any support at the other end, so even though he is one of the best ODI palyers ever, India was't a best ever ODI team.

  • Anjo on May 25, 2008, 11:04 GMT

    Here's a thought; Why don't you compare the top 7 batsmen from all Test teams against the top 7 batsmen from all Twenty20 teams using your current formula, maybe after a year or two when you'll have sufficient data (and probably when most top 7 batsmen have strike rates over 200!). After all, we have now asserted that this is an objective, quantifiable measure, right? I like your fancy bowling average formula... of course, no captain in his right mind would factor a bowler's economy rate in team selection, especially for an ODI. And to top it all, you've posted your most "charming" team mixing the "best" bowling and batting line-ups using this skewed analysis but wait, if someone else wants to post their best team, they must use your method of analysis. "Oh don't bring up your subjective variables including power-plays, home advantage, I did it this way, and this is "best"! Fayez, Marcus and Ken are spot on... and this analysis, particularly the subjective weightages are a load of tosh

  • Charindra on May 25, 2008, 10:57 GMT

    Why isn't Muralidaran, one of the greatest bowlers of all time, not even mentioned here?? Response [Because this is a Team Analysis not an individual Player Analysis]

  • Manas on May 25, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    Very good analysis. I always thought that the Pakistan team of 99 world cup had some great individuals. Where does that team stand in your analysis? Response [Quite high up. They were in the top 15% of all teams with 68.55 index points. However, Australia were decidedly superior with 72.99 index points. I am referring to the teams which played the final (mis) match.]

  • Sriram on May 25, 2008, 4:48 GMT

    The average and strike rates of a batsman are pretty much indicative of the potential of a player. But one problem I find is this - wouldn't you rate sachin's average of 44 odd and a strike rate of 86 ranging over a period of more than 400 matches, much higher than dhoni's average of 46 odd and strike rate of 92 over some 100 odd matches?

    Is there a way to give weightage for matches played which can be included in this analysis? This would give more credit to the better known names like sachin, lara, ponting and others.

    The same would apply for bowlers too. This is why I called my previous team ridiculous, as it doesn't include many of the great names with the exception of Sir Viv and Garner.

    Sometime back, there was an article in this blog, which compared the speed of few innings using 'z-score'. Could something similar be applied to this as well?

    Response [If we do not work on the premise that once we set a minimum number of qualifying matches, the averages are comparable, we will run into major minefields. Where do we draw the line. What about Greenidge who has played 128 matches at an outstanding average of 45+. Also do we then say that Bradman's average should be considered to be less than 99.96 because he played in only a third of Test matches Steve Waugh or Tendulkar played. I feel 50 matches are good enough to give full weightage of the average. Hussey, Pietersen and Dhoni are fully worthy of their high averages. Finally, why should you think of Zaheer Abbas' selection as ridiculous. At a time when runs were at a premium he averaged 47 over 62 matches and averaged 42 runs per match. ]

  • Ahmed Faran on May 25, 2008, 1:31 GMT

    hmmm!cool analysis.but i think there are lot of other players which can be part of this team!but one thing it is not possible!

  • Ken on May 24, 2008, 23:40 GMT

    The real flaw in your presentation is that it attempts to select a team based on statistical analysis,which is never enough and which is always skewed by the assumptions made behind the weights given.A different analysis,using different variables,could produce an entirely different team.Interesting exercise,but ultimately of provocative value only.

  • Monty on May 24, 2008, 18:52 GMT

    If you purely look at win / loss records, then South Africa has the best record, even above the mighty Australia and West Indies. Therefore, I am surprised that they do not feature in the discussion. May I suggest it is due to them having the best balanced side over time rather than a strong batting line-up line the Aussies, or a strong bowling line-up like the Windies. If they had won a World Cup yet, then maybe you would be speaking about them and not the Aussies!

  • Radha Krishnan on May 24, 2008, 17:27 GMT

    I take exception to the very last statement of your article : " After all, these two countries have dominated the ODI scene during these 37 years, West Indies during the first ten years and Australia, the last 20." The last 20?!!? My perception has been that Australia has 'dominated' only since the 1999 world cup. Their 1987 cup win was considered an upset, or at least a 'come from behind', and while they kept improving, they never went into any ODI series as the dominating favorites, not even the world cups. The period from 1985 to 1999 was one of general equality among the top teams, where even India and Sri Lanka figured, though Australia, England and Pakistan were stronger.

  • pangodas on May 24, 2008, 16:32 GMT

    Amazing! Ananth states that he is taking the top 7 batsmen from the team, which has the best batting record and the top 4 bowlers from the team with the best bowling record. All of you assume nevertheless that he's talking about a team composed of the top 7 individual batsmen and top 4 individual bowlers. Even though he's explicitly said he's not using that methodology. And you cheerfully diss him for the results thrown up by a mechanical exercise with no room for bias? Read the rules the guy has set and don't crib that Dhoni or Wasim or (insert name) are not included in it.

  • David C on May 24, 2008, 12:15 GMT

    As the Super Series showed, a good team on paper doesn't necessarily equate to a good one on the field. (What was the Australians' rating for the same match?) [It so happened that Australia was the superior team in this match clocking in at 74.75 Index pts as against ICC's 73.65]

  • xrt on May 24, 2008, 7:54 GMT

    The problem with this kind of analysis is that scores have higher in recent times so the batting today looks much better that earlier and the bowling of yesteryears looks better thus explaining the best batting side being australia of 2000's and best bowling west indies of 80's .

  • Radha Krishnan on May 24, 2008, 6:38 GMT

    I take exception to the very last statement of your article : " After all, these two countries have dominated the ODI scene during these 37 years, West Indies during the first ten years and Australia, the last 20." The last 20?!!? My perception has been that Australia has 'dominated' only since the 1999 world cup. Their 1987 cup win was considered an upset, or at least a 'come from behind', and while they kept improving, they never went into any ODI series as the dominating favorites, not even the world cups. The period from 1985 to 1999 was one of general equality among the top teams, where even India and Sri Lanka figured, though Australia, England and Pakistan were stronger.

  • R.Narayan on May 24, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    Interesting analysis.It would be possible to quibble with some of the finer points of the methodology, but it wouldn't alter the end result materially. What is truly interesting is that you could take the same players and with the odd exception(eg, Bevan) and you would get the best available Test team for the time!!

  • John on May 24, 2008, 5:38 GMT

    (cont) games won 4. Bowling averages could be affected by home/away advantage/disadvantage 5. On another note, if there indeed is a home advantage, players who perform well (average) against such teams away make the team which can be considered 'best'. This is a very interesting analysis though.

  • John on May 24, 2008, 5:33 GMT

    Some more factors that can be analysed (some have been mentioned in the comments) 1. To account for increased scoring rates in recent times, the strike rate and averages should be normalised against say the yearly average and strike rate. 2. "Home advantage is a mirage" is true only when you can prove that there's no correlation in % of victories, strike rate, batting averages and bowling averages for teams, bowlers and batsmen. I am not entirely certain that such a correlation does not exist (a quick statsguru search indicates tendulkar's average varies from 36,44 and 50 in away, home and neutral venues) - the difference is significant in this case to warrant factoring in home advantage (of course this might not be true in all cases) 3. You have dismissed captaincy, form etc stating its all subjective. I agree with you but this would have some bearing on the results. Since a 'victory' by itself takes into account some of these aspects- you could attribute say 5% to actual % of games

  • amit patil on May 24, 2008, 5:24 GMT

    The different playing conditions & batsman's & bowler's avg. in those conditions should be given advantage. The opposit teams weitage also matters. There are lot many record which are against weaker teams. scoring 325 against Aus is always tough than scoring 400 against zim, etc. The consistancy of a player in his carrier also matters. The factor of time matters. in 1980 250 is a match winning score but now its just avg. So economy rates of bowlers & strike rate of batsmen in those ages are low as compare to now. importance of fielding in now a days is a lot more than 20 years ago. As I think every indivisual player is being calculated on all the departments of batting, bowling, fielding cosidering his all carrier record. considering his role in team, his contribution in different playing conditions & situations. Then it will give real picture. Only stat & avg. never tells the story. Its unbelievable that india, pak & srilanka's worldcup winning sqads are not in top 100.

  • Sriram on May 24, 2008, 4:28 GMT

    Is the 2001 Australian squad right? I was surprised to see names like hussey and watson in that team, so I checked it up in cricinfo stats. In match number 1670 the Australian squad was - Gilchrist, Mark Waugh, Ponting, Lehmann, Martyn, Bevan, Symonds, Warne, Brett Lee, Bracken, Mcgrath. This brings down their batting index to 18.73 + 20.25 = 38.98 and the bowling index to 34.6 + .87 = 35.47 which brings the final index to 74.45! Won't that be way down below at 100 odd?? I'm not sure if you are talking about the same squad. Kindly clarify.

    The task of forming a team with best final index would be really difficult one. Even if you take 7 batsman with best averages and four bowlers with awesome bowling averages it wouldn't do the trick, as the strike rate of the batsman counts for as much as the batting average in a ODI whereas it wouldnt have mattered so much in a test match.

    [Thanks Sriram. My mistake. I cut and pasted the wrong Australian team, very close to the best team in many ways, but a different team. The correction has since been made in the article.]

  • Sriram on May 24, 2008, 4:28 GMT

    Going purely by statistics, consider a team comprising Hussey, Bevan, Pietersen, Zaheer Abbas, Viv Richards, Glenn Turner, Dhoni, Joel Garner, Tony Gray, Shane Bond and Mike Hendrick. This team has a batting index of 22.04 + 20.03 = 42.07 and a bowling index of 37.52 + 0.83 = 38.35, which takes the final index to 80.42!!! (I am not sure if I am calculating the fielding index properly, could you please explain it again?)

    Ridiculous isn't it???

    [Why ridiculous. This team will beat most teams hollow. And Tony Gray has not taken sufficient wickets. If you replace Tony Gray with Roberts, which captain would not want to have this team.]

  • Ben on May 24, 2008, 2:01 GMT

    Can people stop missing the point of this article. It is solely mathematical. It is a statistical analysis only of the best side on a park at one given time. Comments like "Home side advantage should be given more weight" are just stupid - how is this meant to be mathematically measured with exactitude?

    One other thing, while I agree that batting st/r's have increased in recent times, this will be counterbalanced in the statistics by the fact that, in older times, bowling economies were less (which means bowling rankings will be higher). You might argue, on this basis, that the "All-time" West Indies bowling attack has an unfair advantage - whereas champions like Warne v McGrath have had to bowl against higher striking batsman. And, yes, this might equally apply to the reason why recent Aust batting lineups have advantages over older batting line ups.

  • David Barry on May 24, 2008, 0:33 GMT

    I'm very surprised to hear you say that home advantage is a mirage. It most assuredly is not. In ODI's between the top eight nations since 1990, the home side has won 516 matches and lost only 323.

    Anyway, that is not so important to the analysis. More important is the treatment of average and strike rate. Obviously batting has developed tremendously in recent years, in part because of batsmen becoming cleverer in their aggression, and in part because of shrinking boundaries and superbats. This means that without doing any adjustments, the best batting sides will be recent and the best bowling sides will be old.

    You can adjust each player's average and strike/economy rate for the years over which he played (using yearly overall averages), to even this out. It doesn't work perfectly - big hitters from the 1980's who were ahead of their time do disproportionately well in such an analysis, but at a team level these artefacts are not so important.

  • godof86 on May 24, 2008, 0:13 GMT

    Whoa! Tough to fit in entire thoughts within 1000 syllables! Can I suggest something, Ananth?Have been thinking on this, and possibly the best way to distinguish between the teams will be to keep your scoring, but rather than absolutes, you can use differences, in this manner- A team’s (Say Australia 2001) batting score = (Average score of all the teams they had fielded during that time) minus (Average of the averages of the next four countries during the same time frame (you might choose 1 year as the time frame)).Similarly bowling Ignore non-test playing teams. Or these mickey-mouse World XIs. Could you do such a calculation? Positives– not heavily affected by the changing patterns of the game. Good to indicate how dominant a team was during its pomp Negatives– A great team among doom and gloom elsewhere will stand out. (Few chances of that...) Possibly the WI team of 83 will be fabulous in the rankings.Remember Aussies were Packered then. - Godof86 (sportspam.wordpress.com)

  • Marcus on May 24, 2008, 0:06 GMT

    Also, this just occured to me- are the figures you've taken their overall career figures, or their figures at that point in time? Because if I remember right, Hayden only played in that 2001 match as a replacement for the injured Mark Waugh, and didn't become a regular until he retired two years later. So I doubt he'd have averaged 44 up 'till that game.

  • Marcus on May 24, 2008, 0:00 GMT

    Interesting study, but I think modern teams are going to have an advantage in that their strike rates are generally going to be considerably higher than their counterparts from the past. For instance, Dean Jones has a strike rate of 70, and Gordon Greenidge one of 65- pedestrian by today's standards. Also, with easier pitches and bowling attacks, I wouldn't be surprised if overall averages went up too.

    For the record- Gilchrist, M. Waugh, Tendulkar, Richards, Lara, Hussey, Klusener, Warne, Garner, Lillee, Donald looks pretty good to me.

  • Asrar on May 23, 2008, 23:31 GMT

    A very well explained analysis but unfortunately its not always about numbers so i'll try to give my best ODI team of all time. 1)Mathew Hayden 2)Sachin Tendulkar 3)Ricky Ponting 4)Viv Richards 5)Michael Hussey 6)Adam Gilchrist(WK) 7)Imran Khan (Captain) 8)Wasim Akram 9)Shane Warne 10)Curtley Ambrose 11)Glenn McGrath

    Let me also explain the way i'd like those bowlers to operate. Wasim Akram and Glenn McGrath to open the bowling Followed by Curtley Ambrose and Imran Khan Followed by the great Legspinner Shane Warne. We do have Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar as backups.The above bowling attack has two bowlers who bowls immaculate line and length and are economical for ODI's i.e McGrath and Ambrose and then we have two bowlers who are great exponents of reverse swing i.e Imran khan and Wasim Akram and then we have shane warne and i dont need to mention what he does with a ball in his hand. And about the batting lineup i guess it speaks for itself.

  • fayez on May 23, 2008, 22:08 GMT

    (contd.)...whenever Australians come up against a quality attack, they struggle)

    Also, you yourself submit a composite team in the last 1/10th of your article. This prompted others to submit dream 11's, thinking it was fair game. I doubt there would be such comments otherwise. Lastly, a totally unscientific opinion of mine is that the West Indian bowling attack of the late 70's would overpower the Australian batting of the 2000's, whereas only today's Warne could be said to unsettle the WI batting of that time. A 5 or 7 ODI series between these two sides (or even a five-test series) held in Australia, and the West Indians would prevail. If held in West Indies, there would be no contest.

  • fayez on May 23, 2008, 22:07 GMT

    The analysis is valid and worth understanding. And I applaud your considerable efforts in coming to it. But you see Ananth, you have conducted an analysis according to which the 2001 Australians are the best team of all time. Ok, accepted. No one doubts that the Aussies were (and are) the best over the past 10 years, and they mostly deserve to be since they bat, bowl and field better than any other team. But we are neglecting a few things here: 1. More cricket played in modern times, so a modern team will be overrepresented 2. As other commenters said, these stats cannot be used to support a particular opinion, because the style of cricket has changed (i.e. fewer bouncers, heavier bats, hitting in 1st 15ovs, etc.) So again it is hard to say 3. Global decline of bowling talent outside of Australia. In the one series that England had a full strength attack, they beat Australia (ashes 2005, a test series, but still it underscores my point that...

  • Chris on May 23, 2008, 21:16 GMT

    So many people have managed to completely miss the point. This isn't about picking a perfect XI. It's about seeing what the statistics indicate.

  • Dimuthu Ratnayake on May 23, 2008, 20:44 GMT

    very interesting analysis. I always thought the choking South Africans were a good ODI side except when it counts. Could I please know where their team of the mid-ninties falls into this list of 5000+ teams? Also, it would be fantastic if you could give the positions of the WorldCup winning (finals' XI) sides of 1975 - 2007 as well! I think that's a fair request :) Cheers

  • Hussain on May 23, 2008, 20:32 GMT

    Australia only dominated starting 1999. Before that they were a mediocre side with wins on and off. West Indies dominated since the beginning till the late 80s. So I would say WI dominated for about 15 years and AU for 10 years

  • kumar on May 23, 2008, 20:22 GMT

    The author should take " Match winning performance" as a measure. Doesnot make sence taking jayasurya or bevan away from the one day team just because of statistics...

  • Ash on May 23, 2008, 19:57 GMT

    Fantastic article, I thoroughly admire the time it must have taken to compile this. The limiting of Bevan and Hussey's average to 50.0...why did you pick 50? Is it because it is a round milestone, because that's roughly fair if you were to simply divide their career aggregate by innings not taking into account not outs, or because that's the average threshold that signifies a quality batsman? Or indeed none of the above?! Many thanks, and keep up the good work!!

  • Tejaswi on May 23, 2008, 19:33 GMT

    Because of the changing playing conditions, mean scores and mean averages over the years, I think you should take the measures relative to the average over the period the respective team played. This should give a better idea.

  • Kumar on May 23, 2008, 17:23 GMT

    Just wondering. How did the 1996 Sri Lankan team do in this comparison? I am Surprised that they didn't make it in the top 100 atleast. [I am afraid the Sri Lankan team comes way down the list, in fact around halfway mark, with a Batting index of 32.02 and Bowling index of 27.8. This is expected considering that the players did not possess startling figures. That does not make their victory any less important. Makes it all the more greater. Similarly the 1983 Indian team. Still way down.]

  • Daya on May 23, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    These figures are misleading, like statistics is for this reason. The overall limited over performance has improved with experience. The firsts ODI could be won by about 240 runs; now some T20 matches have similar scores. Remember India winning the world cup scoring 183; just compute what percentage of T20 have scored less. 50 as batting average is the norm expected now but 20 years ago only Gasvaskar, Miandad and Viv Richards had this percentage across the world. The mathematical calculation is genius; but statistics is only as good as the one who interprets the numbers. Thanks

  • Naeem Khan on May 23, 2008, 16:16 GMT

    Amazing Analysis. My all time best one day side would look like this Adam Gilchrist Matthew Hayden Sachin Tendulkar Kevin Pietersen Viv Richards Ricky Ponting Michael Bevan Shane Warne Wasim Akram Glenn McGrath Allan Donald

  • RocketFire12 on May 23, 2008, 15:17 GMT

    Dhoni to replace Gilly....you must be joking!

    and yes Akram for Croft would be right choice.

  • fayez on May 23, 2008, 14:48 GMT

    Tendulkar Gilchrist Richards Lara Ponting Miandad Imran Warne Akram Holding Garner There you go. Problem solved. The analysis is logically valid but any ODI analysis that excludes Tendulkar, Richards and Akram is unfortunately a flawed analysis :)

    [No comments received on the first 9/10th of the article indicating that the readers have missed the point of the analysis completely] Ananth

  • Historicus on May 23, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    Keep Gilchrist, and have Dhoni replace Ponting at No. 3

  • Raza on May 23, 2008, 14:21 GMT

    Where is greatest left arm bowler of all time and greatest bowler in the history of ODIs Wasim Akram? I think Shane Warne should be in all teams regardless of ODIs,T20 or Tests.

  • Arun B on May 23, 2008, 13:52 GMT

    "Theoretically this team can be further improved by taking in Shane Bond instead of Holding". You sound like someone who never watched Michael Holding bowl. Also, how can any intelligent person explain ML Clarke in this team. He is very good against spin and mediocre medium pacers but looks very uncomfortable when facing a decent pace attack. He would have struggled a lot against the West Indians. He can never be included in an outstanding team.

  • Chris on May 23, 2008, 13:17 GMT

    Given that bowlers hunt in packs and batsmen bat in pairs, it wouldn't surprise me if that team (with all players at their peak) would be able to beat any team composed from the remaining players. That's truly stunning.

  • Himad on May 23, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    Dhoni for Gilly..no way....How about Wasim Akram for Croft or any other bowler that has played ODI cricket?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Himad on May 23, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    Dhoni for Gilly..no way....How about Wasim Akram for Croft or any other bowler that has played ODI cricket?

  • Chris on May 23, 2008, 13:17 GMT

    Given that bowlers hunt in packs and batsmen bat in pairs, it wouldn't surprise me if that team (with all players at their peak) would be able to beat any team composed from the remaining players. That's truly stunning.

  • Arun B on May 23, 2008, 13:52 GMT

    "Theoretically this team can be further improved by taking in Shane Bond instead of Holding". You sound like someone who never watched Michael Holding bowl. Also, how can any intelligent person explain ML Clarke in this team. He is very good against spin and mediocre medium pacers but looks very uncomfortable when facing a decent pace attack. He would have struggled a lot against the West Indians. He can never be included in an outstanding team.

  • Raza on May 23, 2008, 14:21 GMT

    Where is greatest left arm bowler of all time and greatest bowler in the history of ODIs Wasim Akram? I think Shane Warne should be in all teams regardless of ODIs,T20 or Tests.

  • Historicus on May 23, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    Keep Gilchrist, and have Dhoni replace Ponting at No. 3

  • fayez on May 23, 2008, 14:48 GMT

    Tendulkar Gilchrist Richards Lara Ponting Miandad Imran Warne Akram Holding Garner There you go. Problem solved. The analysis is logically valid but any ODI analysis that excludes Tendulkar, Richards and Akram is unfortunately a flawed analysis :)

    [No comments received on the first 9/10th of the article indicating that the readers have missed the point of the analysis completely] Ananth

  • RocketFire12 on May 23, 2008, 15:17 GMT

    Dhoni to replace Gilly....you must be joking!

    and yes Akram for Croft would be right choice.

  • Naeem Khan on May 23, 2008, 16:16 GMT

    Amazing Analysis. My all time best one day side would look like this Adam Gilchrist Matthew Hayden Sachin Tendulkar Kevin Pietersen Viv Richards Ricky Ponting Michael Bevan Shane Warne Wasim Akram Glenn McGrath Allan Donald

  • Daya on May 23, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    These figures are misleading, like statistics is for this reason. The overall limited over performance has improved with experience. The firsts ODI could be won by about 240 runs; now some T20 matches have similar scores. Remember India winning the world cup scoring 183; just compute what percentage of T20 have scored less. 50 as batting average is the norm expected now but 20 years ago only Gasvaskar, Miandad and Viv Richards had this percentage across the world. The mathematical calculation is genius; but statistics is only as good as the one who interprets the numbers. Thanks

  • Kumar on May 23, 2008, 17:23 GMT

    Just wondering. How did the 1996 Sri Lankan team do in this comparison? I am Surprised that they didn't make it in the top 100 atleast. [I am afraid the Sri Lankan team comes way down the list, in fact around halfway mark, with a Batting index of 32.02 and Bowling index of 27.8. This is expected considering that the players did not possess startling figures. That does not make their victory any less important. Makes it all the more greater. Similarly the 1983 Indian team. Still way down.]