Trivia - batting August 1, 2008

# The highest peaks and lowest troughs for batsmen

Brian Lara finished his career with a batting average of more than 50
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Brian Lara finished his career with a batting average of more than 50. It is certain that during his illustrious career he would have gone through a few peaks and troughs. Not necessarily a sine-wave pattern but certainly up and down. It is also certain that a few of these would have been way outside his career average of 52.89. This article looks at such peaks and troughs occurring in the careers of Test batsmen.

This analysis will be in two parts. The first looks at the batsman's career in fixed segments. The second is to look at batting sequences, both outstanding and abysmal.

As usual, we have to set some criteria and parameters. As also is normally done, these are common-sense based and will meet expectations of most discerning readers.

1. The number of innings played should be 50 or more. This is a fair requirement since otherwise we will not have sufficient data to analyse. The limit of 50 innings means that an average of 30 Tests would have been played by the batsman. Also the batting average should be greater than 25.0. We are certainly not interested in analysing the batting exploits of Curtly Ambrose, Shane Warne, Harbhajan Singh et al who have played well over 50 innings. I know this will exclude players such as JM Parker (NZl), Nick Knight (Eng), Asif Mujtaba (Pak), Mohammad Ashraful (Bng) et al, all with sub-25.0 averages. In order to complete the analysis properly I have included batsmen whose batting average is less than 25.0 but whose BPA (Batting Position Average) is less than 6.0. Twelve batsmen, including all four mentioned above, have now been included. With this criteria, a total of 299 batsmen get selected for analysis.

2. I will consider a unit of 10 innings [or more], hereinafter called a stretch, as a unit for measuring the average and variation from average. This represents between five and eight Tests, normally spanning across two or more series and is a good measure. We will consider the batting average during this period as that is the most accepted unit of batting measure. Runs per inns and Run aggregate both suffer from significant shortcomings.

3. In the first part, each batsman's peak and trough will be measured against his own career batting average. The need for this method of measuring is best proved by considering the batting averages of two opening batsmen of different eras, of totally diverse temperament, skills and application levels. Herbert Sutcliffe had an average of 60.73 and Kris Srikkanth weighed in with 29.88. If Sutcliffe had a stretch average of 20, he would consider it as a very low period while Srikkanth would find it quite acceptable. Sutcliffe would have to have a stretch average of 75+ to think that he had a very good run, while Srikkanth would be over the moon with a stretch average of 45.0.

4. What is a peak? What is a trough? I have defined a peak or a trough to be 50% on either side of the career batting average. In other words, if a batsman has got a batting average which is above 150% of his batting average, it is considered a peak. If a batsman has got a batting average which is below 50% of his batting average, it is considered a trough. Looks subjective, but has been done based on lot of research.

5. The analysis will be done in two distinct parts. The first is an easier and more understandable method where the batsman's career is split into as many fixed stretches as required (1-10, 11-20, 21-30 et al until career-end) and then the peaks and troughs are determined. The last stretch, if below 10 innings, will be ignored. Because of the fixed interval, it is possible that a run such as Mohinder Amarnath's sequence of 4, 7, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0 might be split into two different stretches. It so happens that Amarnath bookended this horrible run with scores of 91, 81, 54, 116 and 36, 101*, 37, 49 on either side. This is a simple exercise.

6. This is a simple (okay, not so simple) analysis of a player's career performance. No allowance has been made for the quality of opposition, bowling quality, home or away Tests, match results et al. The purpose is not to determine the quality of innings but just to determine deviations away from the mean values. I also personally think that failures against stronger teams cannot be justified nor can successes against weaker teams be derided.

Now let us take a look at the tables for Part 1. The analysis is current upto and including the Colombo match in which the vaunted Indian batsmen were found wanting.

1. Table of Peaks, by % of Batting Average

```No  Cty Batsman          Stretch Ins No Runs Avge CarAvge  %
St End
1. Slk Tillakaratne H.P  91 100 10  6  641 160.25 42.88 373.74
2. Saf Kallis J.H        81  90 10  6  711 177.75 56.28 315.80
3. Slk Sangakkara K.C   101 110 10  4 1036 172.67 54.81 315.01
4. Ind Vengsarkar D.B   141 150 10  4  788 131.33 42.13 311.70
5. Saf Pollock S.M       91 100 10  6  398  99.50 32.32 307.89
6. Slk de Silva P.A     101 110 10  2  961 120.12 42.98 279.49
7. Eng Gatting M.W       61  70 10  4  568  94.67 35.56 266.24
8. Saf Pollock S.M       71  80 10  5  421  84.20 32.32 260.55
9. Aus Trumper V.T       71  80 10  2  774  96.75 39.05 247.76
10. Pak Mudassar Nazar    51  60 10  2  716  89.50 38.09 234.95
```
There is no doubt that the high averages for most of the stretches in the top 10 have been because of the high number of not-outs. That is a parameter we have laid down and there is nothing fundamentally wrong with that. One has to admire Hashan Tillakaratne for his stretch of 55*, 11, 10, 16, 136*, 10*, 105*, 87, 7* and 204* and Kumar Sangakkara for his stretch of 287, 14, 39, 4, 100*, 156*, 8, 6, 200* and 222*.especially for their determination in scoring big centuries and remaining unbeaten. Also Sangakkara exceeded 1000 runs. Jacques Kallis, the unsung South African batsman, has a few impressive runs such as this stretch consisting of 51, 157*, 42*, 189*, 68, 21*, 24, 89*, 5 and 65*.

2. Runs scored by batsman in a stretch

Mohammad Yousuf (1070), Sangakkara (1037) and Viv Richards (1036) are the only batsmen to exceed 1000 runs during any stretch. The year 2006 was a golden year for both Mohammad Yousuf and Sangakkara as was 1976 for the great Richards. As with Lara, Richards has few not-outs, as showed in this sequence. Surprisingly, Mohammad Yousuf also had no not-outs, probably explaining why they dropped down in the previous tables.

At the other end Ian Healy (59), AC Bannerman (72) and Marvan Atapattu (73) have scored the least number of runs during a stretch.

3. Table of Troughs, by % of Batting Average

```No  Cty Batsman          Stretch Ins No Runs Avge CarAvge  %
St End
1. Aus Ponting R.T       61  70 10  1   74   8.22 58.35 14.09
2. Slk Atapattu M.S       1  10 10  0   73   7.30 39.02 18.71
3. Aus Healy I.A        171 180 10  0   59   5.90 27.40 21.54
4. Eng Edrich W.J         1  10 10  0   87   8.70 40.00 21.75
5. Eng Compton D.C.S     61  70 10  1  108  12.00 50.06 23.97
6. Eng Flintoff A        11  20 10  0   86   8.60 32.42 26.53
7. Ind Jaisimha M.L      61  70 10  1   75   8.33 30.69 27.16
8. Aus Waugh S.R          1  10 10  1  125  13.89 51.06 27.20
9. Zim Flower G.W        71  80 10  0   84   8.40 29.55 28.43
10. Nzl Rutherford K.R     1  10 10  0   77   7.70 27.09 28.43
```

During the subject stretch Ponting averaged only 14.09% of his high career average. His miserable run consisting of 14*, 0, 6, 0, 0, 11, 11, 14, 4 and 14 was caused by the Indian spinners in India during 2001 and Darren Gough in England during the unforgettable Ashes tour. Atapattu's "bit pattern" run of 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 25, 22, 0 and 25 was at the start of his career. Who would have imagined that he would finish with a career average of nearly 40 and score six double-hundreds. Ian Healy's run of 0, 6, 10, 0, 3, 6, 16, 11, 3 and 4 was at the end of his career and hastened his departure. He needed to make this average ten-fold to keep Gilchrist out.

4. Summary of selected players' peaks and troughs

```Cty Batsman             Mats Ins    Stretches
Tot  P  T  A  B
Aus Border A.R           156 265  26  2  0 11 13
Aus Waugh S.R            168 260  26  5  3  8 10
Ind Tendulkar S.R        148 240  24  2  2 10 10
Win Lara B.C             131 232  23  1  0 10 12
Ind Gavaskar S.M         125 214  21  2  2  8  9
Eng Atherton M.A         115 212  21  1  1 11  8
Saf Kallis J.H           121 205  20  4  3  7  6
Pak Inzamam-ul-Haq       120 200  20  0  3 11  6
Nzl Fleming S.P          111 189  19  1  0  7 10
Win Richards I.V.A       121 182  18  2  1  5 10
Slk Jayawardene D.P.M.D   96 156  15  0  0  8  7
Aus Bradman D.G           52  80   8  0  0  4  4

Legend: P-Peaks (above 150%), T-Troughs(below 50%),
A-Above Batting avg (100-150%), B-Below Batting avg (50-100%).
```

Border was consistency personified with two peaks and no troughs. Steve Waugh was just the opposite. Quite a few peaks and troughs. Sachin Tendulkar was somewhat more predictable than Steve Waugh. The surprise is Lara - only one peak and no trough. It shows a facet of his batting which has not been appreciated. Surprisingly Gavaskar's and Tendulkar's distributions are identical. Michael Atherton is somewhat like Lara, with no great variations.

Kallis is similar to Steve Waugh, lots of variations. Surprisingly Inzamam is prone to more losses of form. However this is made up by a very high number of stretches which are above average. Richards has twice as many below-average stretches as above average. Possibly a reflection of the carefree batting he practised.

Finally note Mahela Jayawardene's distribution. He has no peak and no trough. He and Don Bradman are the only batsmen in this list with such consistent batting records.

Part 2: Analysis of high stretch averages and low stretch averages

This analysis is totally different to the first one. The methodology is briefly explained below.

1. The batsmen are selected on the same basis. This time also 299 batsmen are selected.

2. Each innings played by the qualifying batsman is taken as the base and the rest of the career analysed. For each of these innings, the best stretch average is determined. With a minimum of ten innings as a valid stretch, the running averages are computed and the selection is done. Averages above 100.00 and below 10.00 are tabulated.

3. These tables are studied and because of overlapping stretches, appropriate non-overlapping stretches selected and sequenced.

5. Table of high average run scoring stretches

```1.Sangakkara K.C  105 114 10 4 1185 197.50
{100*,156*,8,6, 200*,222*,57,192,92,152}
2.Sobers G.St.A    29  38 10 4 1115 185.83
{365*,125,109*,14, 27,25,142*,4,198,106*}
3.Tillakaratne H.P 95 105 11 7  721 180.25
{136*,10*,105*,87, 7*,204*,96,37,3,19*,17*}
4.Kallis J.H       81  90 10 6  711 177.75
{51,157*,42*,189*, 68,21*,24,89*,5,65*}
5.Bradman D.G      50  59 10 2 1236 154.50
{212,169,51,144*, 18,102*,103,16,187,234}
6.Kallis J.H      118 127 10 3 1065 152.14
{158,44,177,73, 130*,130*,92,150*,40,71}
7.Hammond W.R      88  97 10 4  889 148.17
{87*,29,63*,65, 167,217,5*,0,25,231*}
8.Bradman D.G      18  28 11 2 1327 147.44
{223,152,43,0, 226,112,2,167,299*,0,103*}
9.Vengsarkar D.B  133 142 10 6  584 146.00
{1*,37*,126*,33,61, 102*,38,0,22*,164*}
10.Bradman D.G      63  72 10 3  984 140.57
{56*,12,63,185, 13,132,127*,201,57*,138}
```

Sangakkara's phenomenal run is the best ever and is of recent vintage. Sobers blossomed once he scored his first Test century, which turned to be the world-record breaking one. Tillakaratne had the benefit of quite a few not-outs. But his run was wonderful for a journeyman batsman. Bradman has three distinct stretches. With a career average of 99.96 it is not surprising to see him exceeding 140 three times in his career. There are many overlapping stretches during which Bradman has exceeded averages of 120. Kallis is the only other batsman who has had two separate 140-plus stretch averages. Dilip Vengsarkar is the only Indian batsman in this elite list.

6. The career-best best stretch averages for a few other famous batsmen is given below.

```Lara B.C       164 173 10 1  851  94.56
{68,60,209,10, 80*,29,1,191,1,202}
Tendulkar S.R  105 114 10 3  736 105.14
{124*,18,126*,15, 44*,217,15,61,0,116}
Ponting R.T     10 119 10 2  928 116.00
{169,53*,54,50, 242,0,257,31*,25,47}
Dravid R        65  74 10 3  835 119.29
{28,41*,200*,70*, 162,9,39,25,180,81}
Gavaskar S.M     1  10 10 3  831 118.71
{65,67*,116,64*, 1,117*,124,220,4,53}
Richards I.V.A  27  36 10 0 1093 109.30
{177,23,64,232, 63,4,135,66,38,291}
Javed Miandad   23  32 10 5  654 130.80
{154*,6*,35,100, 62*,81,160*,26,30,0*}
Gilchrist A.C   35  45 11 5  715 119.17
{83*,7,22,30*, 34,204*,138*,24,91,16,66*}
Flower A        82  94 13 4 1243 138.11
{183*,70,55,232*, 79,73,23,51,83,45,8*,142,199*}
```

Lara is the only one who has not exceeded 100. Primarily because he remains not out very few times. Gavaskar's is his debut stretch. Andy Flower has a 13-innings stretch in which he averages 138+. Playing in a weak team, this is a remarkable achievement. Richards has exceeded 100 even though he was dismissed in all 10 of the innings.

7. Table of low average run scoring stretches

```1.Reid J.R          8  17 10 0   36   3.60
{0,3,6,1,9,7,6,0,3,1}
2.Bannerman A.C    27  39 13 1   57   4.75
{8,5,2,15*,4,2,2,0,0,13,5,1,0}
3.Wishart C.B       6  15 10 0   52   5.20
{3,2,25,0,10,0,7,3,0,2}
4.Healy I.A       167 176 10 0   56   5.60
{0,14,5,12,0,6,10,0,3,6}
5.Vettori D.L      13  23 11 1   57   5.70
{0,14*,1,3,16,0,20,0,0,0,3}
6.Kapil Dev N      38  47 10 0   60   6.00
{19,2,7,5,0,0,9,0,4,14}
7.Fletcher K.W.R   19  29 11 1   64   6.40
{4,2,1,28*,1,0,5,2,0,16,5}
8.Knott A.P.E      69  78 10 1   65   7.22
{2,0,0,21,4*,5,0,21,5,7}
9.Atapattu M.S      1  10 10 0   73   7.30
{0,0,0,1,0,0,25,22,0,25}
10.Nadkarni R.G     52  62 11 1   73   7.30
{0,7,14*,9,0,3,15,17,2,0,6}
```

John Reid's stretch is the worst by any batsman in Test history. Ten consecutive single-digit scores is something, a record no recognised batsman has achieved. Ian Healy's poor scoring stretch is towards the end of his career. He has averaged 8.12 in a 17-innings stretch. Atapattu's stretch is on his debut. Fletcher, with an average of 6.40 early in his career, is one of the three recognised Test batsman to have had very low stretches.

I have implemented Daniel Cotton's suggestion of 10 dismissals instead of 10 innings and the results are tabulated below.

```Table of Peaks, based on 10 consecutive dismissals, by % of Batting Average

Batsman          Stretch Ins No Runs StrAvge
St End

Based on running average
Sobers G.St.A      29  42 14  4 1774 177.40
{365*,125,109*,14,27,25,142*,4,198,106*,29,9,44,0}
Flower A           85  99 15  5 1561 156.10
{232*,79,73,23,51,83,45,8*,142,199*,67,14*,28,114*,42}
Bradman D.G        18  29 12  2 1523 152.30
{223,152,43,0,226,112,2,167,299*,0,103*,8}
Kallis J.H         81  96 16  6 1481 148.10
{51,157*,42*,189*,68,21*,24,89*,5,65*,38,99,4,34,3,8}
Sangakkara K.C    109 120 12  2 1433 143.30
{200*,222*,57,192,92,152,1,46,50,21,10,14}

Based on innings played
Tillakaratne H.P   95 113 19  9 1186 118.60
{136*,10*,105*,87,7*,204*,96,37,3,19*,17*,20,
39,20,32*,18,5*,24,27}
Chanderpaul S     176 193 18  8 1044 104.40
{116*,136*,70,104,8,65*,70*,0,23,3,18,86*,118,
11,107*,77*,79*,50}
Kallis J.H         79  95 17  7 1259 125.90
{30*,17,51,157*,42*,189*,68,21*,24,89*,5,
65*,38,99,4,34,3}
Javed Miandad      23  39 17  7 1204 120.40
{154*,6*,35,100,62*,81,160*,26,30,0*,19,16,
129*,19,76,30*,34}
Chappell G.S       59  74 16  6 1031 103.10
{4*,123,109*,13,43,52,182*,6*,4,48*,68,54*,
52,70,121,67}
```
In response to the requests of the readers to do an analysis, not limiting to 10 innings and having a stretch anywhere, not just at 1, 11, 21 etc., I have given below the top 10 entries in this table.

Table of Peaks, with stretches > 10 innings, by % of Batting Average

```Cty Batsman              Stretch Ins No Runs Avge CarAvge  %
St End

1. Pak Mudassar Nazar    42  54 13  4  959 106.56 38.09 279.73
2. Ind Vengsarkar D.B   136 145 10  3  796 113.71 42.13 269.88
3. Slk Tillakaratne H.P  89 100 12  6  665 110.83 42.88 258.49
4. Nzl Greatbatch M.J     1  13 13  4  693  77.00 30.62 251.46
5. Ind Nadkarni R.G      35  45 11  5  378  63.00 25.71 245.05
6. Win Adams J.C         11  21 11  3  781  97.62 41.23 236.76
7. Eng Boycott G         71  82 12  4  890 111.25 47.73 233.08
8. Ind Gavaskar S.M       1  10 10  3  831 118.71 51.12 232.22
9. Aus Taylor M.A       164 173 10  3  701 100.14 43.50 230.23
10. Eng Hick G.A          56  67 12  3  642  71.33 31.32 227.73
```

1. Apologise for mixing up Kallis and Sangakkara sequences. Has been corrected.

2. Very good suggestion on taking 10 consecutive dismissals rather than 10 consecutive innings. Will take it up.

3. A few people have questioned the need for fixed 10-innings stretches (1-10, 11-20, ...) and have suggested variable duration stretches. Let me say that I did all the work in completing the analysis for variable lenth of stretches and my first cut of the article was with 6 tables with these two variations. Then I found that there was not much variation between the two, the article was too long and I was missing an analysis completely excluding the Batting average. Hence I re-did the second part as it stands today. The tables are displayed in the main part of the article.

4. David (Barry) has raised a valid comment on the fact that the number of Peaks outnumber number of Troughs by 2 to 1. My response is set out below.

a. This is not an analysis either side of a a single mean measure (Batting Average), It is based on 10-innings stretches and hence the normal statistical conclusions may not be applicable.

b. Only the Peaks outnumber the Troughs (330 vs 171). However the number of Above-average stretches actually trail the Below-average stretches (1043 to 1334).

c. So the conclusion is that the 50% on either side is probably not equitable. It is possible that a more correct cut-off pair might be 140% and 40%.

5. Every article of mine gets converted into a Lara vs Tendulkar one so much that I will probably do an article analyzing Lara and Tendulkar WITHOUT COMING TO ANY SPECIFIC CONCLUSION. Let readers draw their own conclusions.

6. A valid question has been raised on the methodology in determining the variable stretches. One method is to keep on going until the cumulative average falls below the limit of 150%. In this case the emphasis is on the length of the stretch. The other method is to keep on going until the highest % value is reached. In other words, close the stretch once the % figure drops off. In this case the emphasis is on the % value rather than length.

Both tables were craeted. However what has been presented is the value based one, in other wirds, the highest %. 7. Shishir and Peter have made valid points on the 'point' nature of the stretches. I accept this comment. However it must be remembered that this was only the starting point of the exercise. Please look at the other analytical tables. This problem will disappear since there is no artificial limit of 10 innings in these analysis.

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

• n.srinivas on September 2, 2008, 9:39 GMT

Lara is far more superior player than all the players in world today.i even cant dare to compare sachin and ponting with him..he is true genius after Don. no one come near him.he is sheer delight to watch and millions watched this greatest to play.his stance and his sheer timing is elegant and its god own game.all are mortal before him.

• nanda srinivas on September 2, 2008, 9:29 GMT

lara and sachin are far better players in their era compare to others.But lara superior to sachin.sachin enjoyed the support of other great batsmen in team.But lara has no one.He single handedly won matches for his country.he played in immense pressure and delivered as per his genius.Lara is genius in his own right and iconic as Don.Lara entered the scene when westindies is in downfall.ponting and sachin played in different sides with men of huge talents.comparing sachin and ponting with lara is like no sense.watching lara bat is like god's delight and his talent is precious and natural as his sheer timing of flash.He is the only true genius after mighty Don Bradman.He is far more superior to the rest of world batsmen in terms of playing spin as well as pace .

• Amit on August 24, 2008, 2:20 GMT

Lara ratio of 150+ century scores is far above Tendulkar's. In the end with the long length of test careers they both share every other factor would be accounted in the mix and hence one can safely say Lara was slightly better. No contest in terms of aesthetic beauty as a long Lara innings is a gift from the Gods. Tendy is merely mortal!

• Prashant on August 16, 2008, 6:26 GMT

@vimalan My point was that you expect at least some decent contributions during a stretch of say three Test matches from the best batsmen. As I mentioned if Lara scored “8 “50s”” (to the one 400 in the dead rubber) he would probably have helped his team much more (If your main two/three batsmen consistently contribute with decent scores it becomes extremely difficult to lose Test matches)…..

Instead of the one huge score after a string of flops. Essentially “making hay” when “in” and the going was good. The thing is though, that this perversely actually helped Lara’s reputation as then the odd big scores were forever worshipped by his fans as great “match winning innings” or some such. Whereas a superior batsman who can actually master all conditions, bowlers etc.almost all of the time with say the “8 50+” scores would hardly receive similar worship from the fans.

From batsmen of the quality of Tendulkar and Lara one certainly doesn’t expect longish stretches without a decent contribution to the team. Whichever way you see it, it is undoubtedly a “trough”, especially considering the fact that we are talking about the two greatest batsmen of the modern era.

• Daya on August 16, 2008, 4:51 GMT

Everybody knows Viv was certainly best( in terms of quality of runs-when it mattered, run close by Tendulkar in ODI(in terms of bulk of runs- compare fat Vs muscle) -and this without the numbers. So what does this article prove? Setting up a method to a known conclusion. Probably the worst use of number wizardy (not statistics) to prove a point. Is there a method which can enlighten why with the 'famed four middle order', 'all in mid 50's average' India never have been 'consistent' - there should be just some correlation. Or is it already a known fact- like batting in dead situations and losing it all when it matters? I guess there is no formula for mental makeup- the only innings with balls was recent Dhoni's Lords innings( note not the century but possbily altered history of 20 years worth ie., impact)and Laxman's/Dravids monument. The rest should be expected of batsmen- instead of eulogised as if they were expected to score a zero!

• Vimalan on August 15, 2008, 19:41 GMT

so Mr Prashant, what according to you is consistency? a batsman should score only his average score in every innings, no less and no more, is it? If Tendulkar scores another century in his next match, he is indeed consistent..just because he failed in a single series doesn't mean that he is not consistent. if you say he is not consistent, then almost all top batsmen are not consistent according to your criteria except maybe Bradman

• Vimalan on August 15, 2008, 19:37 GMT

your statistics is wrong..Lara indeed had some troughs..just a sample. Starting from test against India at Georgetown till the first innings of Karachi test against Pak in 1997 30,0,4,1,115,3,37,15,1,36 = 242/10 = 24.2 2nd trough Against Eng at Lords till against Aus in Brisbane in 2000 6,5,13,112,4,2,0,47,0,4 = 193/10 = 19.3

don't give wrong stats in the name of analysis..i respect cricinfo and i don't accept these kind of mistakes

• Prashant on August 14, 2008, 6:20 GMT

Your analysis, though seemingly detailed, just “felt” wrong. In my opinion the fundamental flaw is the length of the “stretch”. You have taken: 1) The best batsmen around for the analysis. 2) And then you immediately use a “stretch” of 10 innings. Points 1 and 2 are contradictory in themselves!

A stretch of 10 innings implies at “least” 5 test matches. If any of the top players continually failed for that long a stretch one doubts if they would even be up for selection any longer. Most of the top batsmen average a hundred every 6 innings or so. So given a lengthy stretch of 10 innings it is almost a foregone conclusion that you will get a hundred in there somewhere to even things out. Also, there are hardly any 5 test series played anymore. So over a course of 2 or more series a quality batsman is sure to find his form (of course assuming he is injury free). An example would be Tendulkar’s recent outing in Sri Lanka where he scored about hundred runs in 6 innings (as some persons mention Lara’s similar stat in 2004). Lara then “averaged” that out in the 4th test. (This also begs the question as to whether 8 “50s” are more useful than the one 400, as someone has mentioned. It may have helped the team more in that series. Also Lara is well known to make sure he filled his boots when the going was good to make up for any prior or future happenings.) But Tendulkar had a hundred in the last test before the Sri Lanka series in Adelaide. He may well get another hundred in the next test. So if you take this “stretch” it will apparently show that Tendulkar has been “consistent”!!! But just try telling the Indian cricket fans that!

• Shane on August 11, 2008, 23:52 GMT

This is good stuff: PWC had an innings rating system that was the underpinning of their batsman ranking.Each inning was then discounted by a timing factor and added together to give the batsman's present rating. I would like to see the raw individual innings ratings compared so we can compare maybe the best 50 innings...or just rate & rank all. Wouldn't this be a great discussion. If the information is good enough for batsman rating it should work for individual innings comparason.

• Steven on August 9, 2008, 22:11 GMT

I have derived a simple formula which I hope will be at least considered in determining how consistent a player is. First of all calculate the number of times a player has made at least 40 during his cricket career. Now divide that number by the total number of innings he has played and multiply that answer by 100. The higher the percentage the more consistent a player is. For instance someone who has played 100 innings and has gotten past 40 ten times would be at 10 % which wouldn't be very consistent compared to a player who has gotten past 40 twenty times over a 100 innings span.

N.B I chose 40 as the run benchmark but it could be changed if necessary. In addition , a criteria of having played at least 50 innings should be applied.

• n.srinivas on September 2, 2008, 9:39 GMT

Lara is far more superior player than all the players in world today.i even cant dare to compare sachin and ponting with him..he is true genius after Don. no one come near him.he is sheer delight to watch and millions watched this greatest to play.his stance and his sheer timing is elegant and its god own game.all are mortal before him.

• nanda srinivas on September 2, 2008, 9:29 GMT

lara and sachin are far better players in their era compare to others.But lara superior to sachin.sachin enjoyed the support of other great batsmen in team.But lara has no one.He single handedly won matches for his country.he played in immense pressure and delivered as per his genius.Lara is genius in his own right and iconic as Don.Lara entered the scene when westindies is in downfall.ponting and sachin played in different sides with men of huge talents.comparing sachin and ponting with lara is like no sense.watching lara bat is like god's delight and his talent is precious and natural as his sheer timing of flash.He is the only true genius after mighty Don Bradman.He is far more superior to the rest of world batsmen in terms of playing spin as well as pace .

• Amit on August 24, 2008, 2:20 GMT

Lara ratio of 150+ century scores is far above Tendulkar's. In the end with the long length of test careers they both share every other factor would be accounted in the mix and hence one can safely say Lara was slightly better. No contest in terms of aesthetic beauty as a long Lara innings is a gift from the Gods. Tendy is merely mortal!

• Prashant on August 16, 2008, 6:26 GMT

@vimalan My point was that you expect at least some decent contributions during a stretch of say three Test matches from the best batsmen. As I mentioned if Lara scored “8 “50s”” (to the one 400 in the dead rubber) he would probably have helped his team much more (If your main two/three batsmen consistently contribute with decent scores it becomes extremely difficult to lose Test matches)…..

Instead of the one huge score after a string of flops. Essentially “making hay” when “in” and the going was good. The thing is though, that this perversely actually helped Lara’s reputation as then the odd big scores were forever worshipped by his fans as great “match winning innings” or some such. Whereas a superior batsman who can actually master all conditions, bowlers etc.almost all of the time with say the “8 50+” scores would hardly receive similar worship from the fans.

From batsmen of the quality of Tendulkar and Lara one certainly doesn’t expect longish stretches without a decent contribution to the team. Whichever way you see it, it is undoubtedly a “trough”, especially considering the fact that we are talking about the two greatest batsmen of the modern era.

• Daya on August 16, 2008, 4:51 GMT

Everybody knows Viv was certainly best( in terms of quality of runs-when it mattered, run close by Tendulkar in ODI(in terms of bulk of runs- compare fat Vs muscle) -and this without the numbers. So what does this article prove? Setting up a method to a known conclusion. Probably the worst use of number wizardy (not statistics) to prove a point. Is there a method which can enlighten why with the 'famed four middle order', 'all in mid 50's average' India never have been 'consistent' - there should be just some correlation. Or is it already a known fact- like batting in dead situations and losing it all when it matters? I guess there is no formula for mental makeup- the only innings with balls was recent Dhoni's Lords innings( note not the century but possbily altered history of 20 years worth ie., impact)and Laxman's/Dravids monument. The rest should be expected of batsmen- instead of eulogised as if they were expected to score a zero!

• Vimalan on August 15, 2008, 19:41 GMT

so Mr Prashant, what according to you is consistency? a batsman should score only his average score in every innings, no less and no more, is it? If Tendulkar scores another century in his next match, he is indeed consistent..just because he failed in a single series doesn't mean that he is not consistent. if you say he is not consistent, then almost all top batsmen are not consistent according to your criteria except maybe Bradman

• Vimalan on August 15, 2008, 19:37 GMT

your statistics is wrong..Lara indeed had some troughs..just a sample. Starting from test against India at Georgetown till the first innings of Karachi test against Pak in 1997 30,0,4,1,115,3,37,15,1,36 = 242/10 = 24.2 2nd trough Against Eng at Lords till against Aus in Brisbane in 2000 6,5,13,112,4,2,0,47,0,4 = 193/10 = 19.3

don't give wrong stats in the name of analysis..i respect cricinfo and i don't accept these kind of mistakes

• Prashant on August 14, 2008, 6:20 GMT

Your analysis, though seemingly detailed, just “felt” wrong. In my opinion the fundamental flaw is the length of the “stretch”. You have taken: 1) The best batsmen around for the analysis. 2) And then you immediately use a “stretch” of 10 innings. Points 1 and 2 are contradictory in themselves!

A stretch of 10 innings implies at “least” 5 test matches. If any of the top players continually failed for that long a stretch one doubts if they would even be up for selection any longer. Most of the top batsmen average a hundred every 6 innings or so. So given a lengthy stretch of 10 innings it is almost a foregone conclusion that you will get a hundred in there somewhere to even things out. Also, there are hardly any 5 test series played anymore. So over a course of 2 or more series a quality batsman is sure to find his form (of course assuming he is injury free). An example would be Tendulkar’s recent outing in Sri Lanka where he scored about hundred runs in 6 innings (as some persons mention Lara’s similar stat in 2004). Lara then “averaged” that out in the 4th test. (This also begs the question as to whether 8 “50s” are more useful than the one 400, as someone has mentioned. It may have helped the team more in that series. Also Lara is well known to make sure he filled his boots when the going was good to make up for any prior or future happenings.) But Tendulkar had a hundred in the last test before the Sri Lanka series in Adelaide. He may well get another hundred in the next test. So if you take this “stretch” it will apparently show that Tendulkar has been “consistent”!!! But just try telling the Indian cricket fans that!

• Shane on August 11, 2008, 23:52 GMT

This is good stuff: PWC had an innings rating system that was the underpinning of their batsman ranking.Each inning was then discounted by a timing factor and added together to give the batsman's present rating. I would like to see the raw individual innings ratings compared so we can compare maybe the best 50 innings...or just rate & rank all. Wouldn't this be a great discussion. If the information is good enough for batsman rating it should work for individual innings comparason.

• Steven on August 9, 2008, 22:11 GMT

I have derived a simple formula which I hope will be at least considered in determining how consistent a player is. First of all calculate the number of times a player has made at least 40 during his cricket career. Now divide that number by the total number of innings he has played and multiply that answer by 100. The higher the percentage the more consistent a player is. For instance someone who has played 100 innings and has gotten past 40 ten times would be at 10 % which wouldn't be very consistent compared to a player who has gotten past 40 twenty times over a 100 innings span.

N.B I chose 40 as the run benchmark but it could be changed if necessary. In addition , a criteria of having played at least 50 innings should be applied.

• no_quiero on August 9, 2008, 17:51 GMT

One have to remember lara's 400* is not equivalent to combined total of 400 runs from 10 not outs innings by other batsman.

If say lara made 400* not in one innnings but in 8 not out innings ( say 8 fiftees) his average would have been 55.6 and not 52.88 as he has now.

• Steven on August 8, 2008, 21:53 GMT

To Eddy Let's compare two Batsmen , A and B respectively. Batsman A, scores 40, 45, 50 ,40, 30 and 45 during the course of 6 innings whilst Batsman B scores 12, 23, 2,19 ,18, 210. Batsman A 's average would be 41.66 whilst batsman B's would be 47.33. Now tell me who would you consider to be the more consistent batsman A or B.It's true that B has a higher average over the 6 innings than A.However, this average is mainly due to that one big score;whereas batsman A has contributed throughout the entire series rather than just one innings.Similarly,during England's last tour of the West-Indies, Brian Lara after a consistent number of low scores managed to score 400 not out to propel his average for the series to a little above 80.Brian Lara was not a consistent run scorer during that series. However, according to his average he scored at least 80 runs during each innings in that series which is false. This just shows that averages will not tell the true story of a batsman's consistency. [[ That is true of everything. If any of the four Indian middle-order batsmen come out with a big innings in the last innings against Sri Lanka and have an average of 50.0 for the series, no one can take away from the fact that they have an average of 50.0. You would have to qualify that with a consistency clause. The purpose is not to find consistency in innings terms, but variations from the mean on a "stretch" basis. ]]

• Nana on August 8, 2008, 17:42 GMT

Completely skewed up statistics. I would have appreciated if you had not pegged the stretches from 1-10, 11-20, etc but a stretch of 10 innings. So if a batsman has had a phenomenal run from innings 5-15, I don't think it will show up in your analysis. Can you include a stretch of 10 innings and put some tables. [[ It is amazing how people only do a cursory glance of the article and come out with quick comments. What you want has already been done and is in the later part of the article. Please re-read the article, this time more carefully. ]]

• Jignesh on August 8, 2008, 16:43 GMT

The point i was trying to make is that highs and lows are more easily determined by some sort of "graph". Taking sections of the same "graph" and averaging them out serves little meaning. As with the Lara example by peter above, if you draw a graph it will look like going from a valley to the top of Everest. But if you average it out you barely get an idea.

• Jignesh on August 8, 2008, 7:46 GMT

I agree with some recent comments. "Averaging" out highs and lows is inherently contradictory. [[ There is no averaging of highs and lows. A stretch of 10 (or more) innings is taken and the average is determined. If readers are questioning that averaging of highs and lows is wrong, then what is the purpose of doing Series averages. ]]

• Shishir on August 8, 2008, 6:34 GMT

Valid point by "Peter". The "peaks" and "troughs" are by definition almost "point" states. Using a lengthy period of time averages out any meaning of such points. More useful would be the worst and best performances over the years. Not the average at the end of a particular year or some such selected period.

• Paddy on August 8, 2008, 5:39 GMT

How about a "series wise" list of peaks and troughs. That would give a much better idea.

• Peter on August 8, 2008, 5:26 GMT

Lot of assumptions in the analysis. Primary being the length of time considered for the averages. The peaks and troughs obviously even out over a length of time. As and eg. say lara scoring 100 runs in 6 innings at an average of 16 in the first 3 tests against england in 2004. And then scoring 400* in the dead rubber at Antigua easily eradicated what would by any stretch of imagination be a serious "trough" for a player of Lara's calibre. As with any stats ,the use of a pinch(or bucket) of salt is a critical requirement.

• Andy on August 6, 2008, 3:29 GMT

The variable stretches could be done in two ways. One is to concentrate on the length of the stretch and the other to concentrate on the highest % component. May I know which option has been taken. [[ Pl see response in main post. ]]

• eddy on August 4, 2008, 14:16 GMT

@ CHA... S. Tendulkar has scored 0-30 in a 115 seperate test match innings, thats 115 out of 242 innings, or in other words 47.52%

B.Lara has scored 0-30 in 113 separate test match innings, thats 113 out of 232 innings, or in other words 48.70%. i guess that makes Tendulkar about 1% more consistent(0-30 that is).i wonder about 30-70, or 70-100 or 150+ or 200+. I guess the higher we search the better the figures look for Lara than Tendulkar?

• David Barry on August 4, 2008, 1:08 GMT

From the table of all batsmen's peaks and troughs, it is curious to see that peaks outnumber troughs by almost 2 to 1. I would have expected them to be about equal. I'm going to have a think about this. [[ David Pl see response in the main article itself. Thanks. ]]

• no_quiero on August 3, 2008, 20:41 GMT

For about last three years for 24 tests sachin have only scored 4 centuries. Half of it coming against Bangladesh.India played 2 test against Bangladesh and he didn't missed an easy opportunity to score 2 hundreds against them. That means he have only scored 2 hundred in 22 test against strong opposition. May be sachin isn't as consistent as many Indian claim him to be.

• Jake on August 3, 2008, 17:59 GMT

Love this article, thanks. Re. Lara, I've always thought him the best of his generation due to the paucity of the W.Indies team. He always seemed to have to carry them. What would be interesting would be a) average score when he went into bat versus other number 4s. You could even take the average score per wicket when a batsman goes in versus their average. For example, if ponting is used to going it at 100-1 but Lara at 40-2, I think Lara's runs are worth a lot more than Pontings. Pressure is pressure.

• CHA on August 3, 2008, 15:00 GMT

nice article, interesting stats... another way to look at consistancy wud be to consider a breakdown of dissmissals and runs.. example, how many times a batsmen was dismissed for less than 20(0-20), 21-30, 31-50, 51-60, 61-80, 81-100, 100-150, 151-200, 200+

i cant be certain but im sur Brian Lara has a high % of dismissals btwn 0-30 (he s known to be a poor starter) Tendulkar wil prob have a lower %, which makes him more consistent... EDDY this maybe y some ppl say Sachin is more consistent, he fails less often.. however personally i think Lara is the greatest

• Ranjiith on August 3, 2008, 10:10 GMT

Danny,See the comment abt yours for why this analysis is not exactly "the be-all and end-all" of consistency analysis.

Indian - oh,the analysis on Lara's dead rubber average is very pertinent to any rating of him.It shows how he has been able to cash in on situations where the opposition very obviously dont have the same intensity as in "live" games.

• jumbo on August 3, 2008, 9:46 GMT

Great job. Yep maybe if possible could you just get VVS & Viru into this comparative ? Maybe both these guys wouldnt be doing too badly!!

• RV Subramanyan on August 3, 2008, 6:47 GMT

This is a nice piece of analysis!

Couple of suggestions: 1. Definition of stretches as 1-10, 11-20 etc. seems a little arbitrary. To cite the first case that comes to my mind, if Mohinder Amarnath's golden run of 11 tests starts around his say, 30th test, then he has a peak; if it is around his 35th test, then he probably has 2 above average stretches. Wouldn't it be better picture if we say that he had a 11 match peak stretch, followed by a 10 match average stretch.

2. Citing this analysis, one could say that Bradman as well as say Mushtaq Mohd are very consistent players. But as you illustrated with Srikkanth & Sutcliffe, they are consistent at different levels. I wonder whether we could do a different comparison - let us say the average test score of batsmen in positions 1-7 is 35 runs. If we define a threshold of 20%, (above 42 is a peak, below 28 is a trough), then it would help us compare all batsmen against a fixed base. Even 1-10, 11-20 etc. stretches would be great!

• Sorcerer on August 3, 2008, 5:55 GMT

Miandad was the epitome of sustained consistency and it gets further corroborated by your insightful analysis.

• Don on August 3, 2008, 5:12 GMT

Interesting, but can be taken further. By using the actual stretches as units, the consistency of batsmen can be better understood. Instead of using innings (or tests) as units, and tabulating when a batsmen is overperforming or underperforming (according to his own averages) you can use the stratches for this. So, if Ponting is in an "above average" stretch, followed by a "trough" on a a regular basis throughout his career, we can expect that a high scoring run will end in a fall (and not necessarily in a "peak"). I always dislike when commentators assume that one good match signifies anything. Take Collingwood's century in the second innings on this last test. I would still bet money that he will fail in the next one and this innings counts for little. It would be interesting to see whether the stats back this up or contradict it. The use of larger units allows for better understanding of trends.

• Indian on August 3, 2008, 1:52 GMT

Maybe off-topic.. The comment about Lara firing in dead test's is kind of silly. I have seen this comment many times.

In West Indies's case, out of a 5 match series, after the 3rd match, it was a dead rubber as they were already 0-3 down (which is 40% of the games). and in a 3 match series, the 3rd game (33%) was a dead rubber.

Remember, most batsmen in other countries could fail but the series would still be alive till the last test because of their team. So, others would have played lesser dead tests than Lara mainly because they played in better teams.

Also, note, there was lots of pressure on Lara to prevent this dead rubber situation and later prevent a white wash.

• alternative on August 3, 2008, 1:03 GMT

One alternative is to calculated the moving average across 10 innings and then calculate the standard deviation based on the moving average and the career average.

• eddy on August 2, 2008, 22:03 GMT

Forgive me Ananth, but to have it in black and white (Lara WAS a consistent player) did make me bring up the whole Lara V Tender's debate which was not part of the analysis. It is however the ammunition Tendulkar fans have beaten me over the head with for years i.e. Lara wasnt as consistent as Tendulkar. The facts suggest otherwise.

• skoembs on August 2, 2008, 20:33 GMT

Taking fixed stretches eg. 1-10, 11-20 etc doesn't make much sense. There should be overlap, the more the better. Taking stretches 1-10, 2-11, 3-12 etc will provide a much better resolution. I also agree that only dismissals should count. If a batsman has an average of 50 and scores 0, 0, 0 0, 0, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 it will not show up as him having a prolific streak using the current method.

• Vickram Suri on August 2, 2008, 19:26 GMT

second what joe strummer has said about calculating the mean and standard deviation and then grouping them by mean.

So for example we look at batsmen with averages between 50 and 55 and then the lower standard deviations are more consistent for that range

skew and kurtosis would also be interesting numbers to look at SKEW- almost all should be left skewed because the minimum score is limited to zero but more left skewed for the same average implies that the greater than average scores tend to be really high- Sehwag perhaps KURTOSIS- more really low AND really high scores - Lara perhaps

• Stanley A George III on August 2, 2008, 15:22 GMT

Sir, one other person agrees with me on this and that one other person is enough for me. He is Sir Everton Weekes, and he agrees with me that Sir Garfield Sobers is the greatest batsman in the history of the game, Bradman notwithstanding, statistics notwithstanding. End of story. SAGIII [[ Pray what is the relevance to this particular analysis. ]]

• arun p on August 2, 2008, 13:30 GMT

can you please include VVS Laxman also into the anlsysis.going by the way he played against the best bowling attack of his times,he should be counted among the legends,the all time greats in batting in test match cricket.he had also played .arguably the greatest test match innings ever against a bowling attack comprising two of the all time great bowlers.and what more,he repeats and repeats that performance may be of lesser extent compared to the untouchable heights he touched in 2001,every time he plays against the best bowling attack of his time.interestingly his performance against teams of lesser caliber is below average!to me VVS Laxman is up there along with Tendulkar and Lara. [[ Who has not included Laxman. Pl peruse the full batsman list. You will see Laxman there. First try to understand the idea behind the analysis. ]]

• David Max on August 2, 2008, 12:16 GMT

Hardly a "nonsense analysis" and an interesting piece of work. Joe Strummer says provide the standard deviation. However the raw standard deviation (s.d.) is probably not very useful -- better would be s.d. divided by the mean (expressed as a percentage), i.e. the coefficient of variation. It's pretty clear though that Lara was a remarkably consistent performer and in my view Test cricket has lost a lot of its appeal without him. [[ The last sentence hits the nail on the dot. Lara was hounded out of West Indian cricket by people, better to remain unnamed. He had already announced his retirement from ODI cricket. He would have played two years of Test cricket at the highest level. However West Indian cricket officials, as if they had better replacements, made Lara announce his retirement from Test cricket also by being mean to him. ]]

• Danny on August 2, 2008, 9:48 GMT

great stuff, i love this blog, saves me doing my own (less rigorous) analysis.

interesting to see Sunil Gavaskar had a peak (his famous debut) stretch, followed by a trough, in his first 20 innings.

I also agree Kallis is the most underrated allrounder in test history.

i used to be a big believer that Sachin was better than Lara, but this analysis and others in recent years have told a clear picture that Lara was a slightly superior player...though neither of them get my heart racing like VVS Laxman in full flow at the SCG [[ Any analysis I do, people do seem to change the analysis to Lara vs Tendulkar although in more strident tones than you have employed. As and when I sit down to do such an analysis I will cover every aspect and maybe not come to any conclusion. Let the readers draw their own conclusion. ]]

• Ranjiith on August 2, 2008, 5:46 GMT

Lara possibly made his consistency stick by scoring heavily in dead rubbers(which was another statistical analysis posted earlier).

If there is a way to compute that,it would be fair comparison between him and Sachin.Looking at this stat in isolation proves nothing.As for Lara being in the top 10 all through,Sachin went through a period where he didnt play much test cricket due to his injuries unlike Lara.

• Nouzer on August 2, 2008, 4:58 GMT

You should have included Mohamed Yousuf & Rahul Dravid as they are among the greatest test batsmen [[ The two batsmen you have mentioned can be viewed by clicking on the link. Data for all 299 batsmen is displayed in the table. ]]

• Ed Menzies on August 2, 2008, 3:07 GMT

You refer to Kallis as SA's unsung batsman! Only once Kallis has stopped playing International Cricket or has passed away will people realise what a great cricketer he was. To score close to 10000 in both test & one-day cricket is one helluva feat! yeah? Combine that with over 200 wickets in both forms of the game! Oh! and he has taken a couple of catches along the way! If you still have any doubt look at his bowling average it is a reasonable +-31/wk and his batting average is an outstanding +56! Perhaps you would like to see how many man-of-match awards he has one - it's not surpising that it's more than most in both forms of the game as well! Many accuse Kallis of batting slowly! Generally he has been the one to keep the South African batting unit together over the last ten years, but he has a batting strike rate higher that guys like Boon (aus) & Dravid (ind).

My point-it's good to see someone giving Kallis some credit for a change! Kallis&Sobers r the greatest all-rounders ever

• Y GURU on August 2, 2008, 1:50 GMT

Following on my previous comment, In the entire period between 93-2003, only two years does Sachin average less than 50. One year he averages 41+ and another year the average is 29+ but he played only three tests that year, basically one bad series. Look at the same for Lara. There are couple of years he is in early 40s and few he is in 30s & 20s too.

When you take Lara or Sachin having a trough it means that he should average around 25 which surely is a bad classification. A trough for him should be 35+. Thats why i think you should classify based on 15 runs deviation from the career average.

• Y Guru on August 2, 2008, 1:41 GMT

I guess a more reasonable way of measuring peaks is to set a limit for the period he averages say 10/15+ is career average and similarly for troughs. Two batsmen scoring as many hundreds as other but one has so many double hundreds and not to mention a triple hundred and a four hundred. The other has just 4 double hundreds but averages well ahead of former. Surely, the former should have had more lower scores than the latter. Else, how can he average less ? The two batsmen, i mention are Lara & Sachin Tendulkar. I just looked at the season-wise statistics for Sachin & Lara. This perfectly reflects what i said above. You can see many seasons Lara averaging around 30 which is not a trough by your standards but surely is. While in the entire period sachin averages around 30 in only a couple of seasons and those seasons he played only 3 matches in each season.

• Marcus on August 1, 2008, 23:53 GMT

How could Kallis' best stretch include scores of 287, 200* and 222*, when he's notorious for never having scored a Test double century? Otherwise another interesting analysis. I'd have expected Javed Miandad to feature more than he did, because I think he's one of only two batsmen to average over 50 for his entire career.

• D.V.C. on August 1, 2008, 22:15 GMT

It would be interesting to see what would happen if you changed the definition of a stretch to 10 dismissals instead of 10 innings. Obviously this would reduce the importance of large not outs but not significantly I wouldn't think. The advantage is that a score like 2* where the batsman hasn't really played an innings would be less significant.

I also think the moving average (after 10 innings) would be interesting for the 1st analysis also. You could then count the total number of innings where the box-car last-10 innings moving average of the batsman was 150% or 50% of their career average. This would also be fun to plot for some batsmen.

I also have a request. Could you please put column headings on each of the tables. Flicking up and down the page until I've memorised then detracts from your fine work here.

• Kingfisher on August 1, 2008, 21:53 GMT

I always felt Brian lara as a very consistent batsman in test match cricket. I happen to watch the ranking graph of the career of Brian Lara in ICC cricket ratings and it is remarkable how consistently he remained in top ten in all of his career which is an indication of his consistency. Even when he retired from test cricket he was ranked 6th in the world. Compared that to tendulkar , I can't remember when he was in the top 10 in the ranking. It seems like ages.

I didn't see the name of Chanderpaul. The fact that it is so difficult to get him out nowadays means his name deserves to be there somewhere in the list.

• eddy on August 1, 2008, 21:50 GMT

A very interesting piece Ananth. Its something ive known and been telling people for years. In the great Tendulkar V Lara debate Tendulkar fans ALWAYS mention Lara's inconsistant form and dips in run making. Tendulkar is seen as the more consistant player. Your anaylsis and the simple facts have shown that Lara really did make close to 52 runs per inning, thats not 52.88 average, im talking 51.52 runs per inning. Thats consistant! If Lara was such an inconsitant batsman why is he still sitting on top of the highest run scoring table having played 9 less innings than Tendulkar,33 innnings less than Border and 28 less than S Waugh????

• sanjeev parmar on August 1, 2008, 20:50 GMT

this is really superb... u must have really worked very hard 4 this but then the thesis is really worth it... pls keep ur efforts goin. n i hope 2 see many more from u in future.. gr8 work well done

• Yasar on August 1, 2008, 20:43 GMT

Ananth, I think you might have gotten Sangakarra's and Kallis' stretch mixed up. Kumar Sangakkara for his stretch of 51, 157*, 42*, 189*, 68, 21*, 24, 89*, 5 and 65*, is actually Kallis'stretch.

• Tim on August 1, 2008, 19:52 GMT

You may want to have another look at the description following table 1. I believe you have the stretch figures of Kallis and Sangakkara swapped around...

• Joe strummer on August 1, 2008, 18:29 GMT

what a nonsense analysis. a little basic statistics would tell us who the most reliable batsmen are, simply by calculating the standard deviation around their averages and ranking them. could we see this please.

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• Joe strummer on August 1, 2008, 18:29 GMT

what a nonsense analysis. a little basic statistics would tell us who the most reliable batsmen are, simply by calculating the standard deviation around their averages and ranking them. could we see this please.

• Tim on August 1, 2008, 19:52 GMT

You may want to have another look at the description following table 1. I believe you have the stretch figures of Kallis and Sangakkara swapped around...

• Yasar on August 1, 2008, 20:43 GMT

Ananth, I think you might have gotten Sangakarra's and Kallis' stretch mixed up. Kumar Sangakkara for his stretch of 51, 157*, 42*, 189*, 68, 21*, 24, 89*, 5 and 65*, is actually Kallis'stretch.

• sanjeev parmar on August 1, 2008, 20:50 GMT

this is really superb... u must have really worked very hard 4 this but then the thesis is really worth it... pls keep ur efforts goin. n i hope 2 see many more from u in future.. gr8 work well done

• eddy on August 1, 2008, 21:50 GMT

A very interesting piece Ananth. Its something ive known and been telling people for years. In the great Tendulkar V Lara debate Tendulkar fans ALWAYS mention Lara's inconsistant form and dips in run making. Tendulkar is seen as the more consistant player. Your anaylsis and the simple facts have shown that Lara really did make close to 52 runs per inning, thats not 52.88 average, im talking 51.52 runs per inning. Thats consistant! If Lara was such an inconsitant batsman why is he still sitting on top of the highest run scoring table having played 9 less innings than Tendulkar,33 innnings less than Border and 28 less than S Waugh????

• Kingfisher on August 1, 2008, 21:53 GMT

I always felt Brian lara as a very consistent batsman in test match cricket. I happen to watch the ranking graph of the career of Brian Lara in ICC cricket ratings and it is remarkable how consistently he remained in top ten in all of his career which is an indication of his consistency. Even when he retired from test cricket he was ranked 6th in the world. Compared that to tendulkar , I can't remember when he was in the top 10 in the ranking. It seems like ages.

I didn't see the name of Chanderpaul. The fact that it is so difficult to get him out nowadays means his name deserves to be there somewhere in the list.

• D.V.C. on August 1, 2008, 22:15 GMT

It would be interesting to see what would happen if you changed the definition of a stretch to 10 dismissals instead of 10 innings. Obviously this would reduce the importance of large not outs but not significantly I wouldn't think. The advantage is that a score like 2* where the batsman hasn't really played an innings would be less significant.

I also think the moving average (after 10 innings) would be interesting for the 1st analysis also. You could then count the total number of innings where the box-car last-10 innings moving average of the batsman was 150% or 50% of their career average. This would also be fun to plot for some batsmen.

I also have a request. Could you please put column headings on each of the tables. Flicking up and down the page until I've memorised then detracts from your fine work here.

• Marcus on August 1, 2008, 23:53 GMT

How could Kallis' best stretch include scores of 287, 200* and 222*, when he's notorious for never having scored a Test double century? Otherwise another interesting analysis. I'd have expected Javed Miandad to feature more than he did, because I think he's one of only two batsmen to average over 50 for his entire career.

• Y Guru on August 2, 2008, 1:41 GMT

I guess a more reasonable way of measuring peaks is to set a limit for the period he averages say 10/15+ is career average and similarly for troughs. Two batsmen scoring as many hundreds as other but one has so many double hundreds and not to mention a triple hundred and a four hundred. The other has just 4 double hundreds but averages well ahead of former. Surely, the former should have had more lower scores than the latter. Else, how can he average less ? The two batsmen, i mention are Lara & Sachin Tendulkar. I just looked at the season-wise statistics for Sachin & Lara. This perfectly reflects what i said above. You can see many seasons Lara averaging around 30 which is not a trough by your standards but surely is. While in the entire period sachin averages around 30 in only a couple of seasons and those seasons he played only 3 matches in each season.

• Y GURU on August 2, 2008, 1:50 GMT

Following on my previous comment, In the entire period between 93-2003, only two years does Sachin average less than 50. One year he averages 41+ and another year the average is 29+ but he played only three tests that year, basically one bad series. Look at the same for Lara. There are couple of years he is in early 40s and few he is in 30s & 20s too.

When you take Lara or Sachin having a trough it means that he should average around 25 which surely is a bad classification. A trough for him should be 35+. Thats why i think you should classify based on 15 runs deviation from the career average.