Trivia - batting August 13, 2008

Richards the king, Tendulkar his heir

The ODI batting average is a single-dimensional measure incorporating only one part of the total measure needed to measure a batsman, viz, runs scored
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In view of the huge number of comments I have to resort to providing a generic response to the comments. This has been shown at the end of the article.

Martin Crowe, who needs no introduction, had sent in a very valuable comment and Kartik had requested whether Martin could comment on the changes in ODI game over the years. Martin kindly responded to this request and his perceptive comments are shown below. Martin, thanks a ton.

The basic fundamental of the change has been change itself - in the rules. The skill level over all generations has always been constant and consistent. But the framework of each era is determined by the rules of the day. E.g in general there were no 15 over restrictions or powerplays in the 80s, and rules for boundary length was determined by size of ground (inside fence) - but now its a standard 65m. A few examples - We started the exploitation of rules with Greatbatch as pinch hitter opening the batting, Patel opening the bowling Sri Lanka took it a step further in 96'. Personally, I used to practice chipping the ball 45-50m over the inner ring and way short of the boundary rider standing at 80-90m, to score 2 runs. I only ever used to attempt hitting a six over a fielder if there was a short boundary like at Eden Pk, 50-60m square of the wicket otherwise I never tried to clear a fielder 80-90m away. i.e. hitting 6's is so much easier now with standard length boundaries of 65m in place. In this aspect alone, there is a major difference between scoring 250 and 300. And yes the bats are bigger and lighter, but not in my opinion necessarily better for Tests. In the 80's I used a bat weighing 2'4"-2'6" to combat the 4 prong pace attack of the Windies.

With each change or addition to the rules brings an evolution of playing strategy, mainly in batting but also captaincy. T20 will only further encourage the evolution. In 5 years ODIs will be 4 x 20 overs each. In summary the rules will continue to evolve to excite the fan. As it should be. Test cricket on the other hand will rightly be left alone.

Martin Crowe

The ODI bowling average is a fantastic measure since it incorporates the two key components needed to measure a bowler's performance, viz, strike-rate and economy-rate, as shown in the following equation. If either of the economy-rate or strike-rate goes up the bowling average goes up and vice versa.

                  Runs scored off
Bowling Average = ----------------       & can be rewritten as
Wickets captured

Runs scored off Balls bowled Bowling Average = --------------- x --------------- Balls bowled Wickets captured Hence

Bowling Average = Economy Rate (R/B) x Bowling Strike Rate (B/W)

Unfortunately the batting average is a single-dimensional measure incorporating only one part of the total measure needed to measure a batsman, viz, runs scored. The batting strike-rate (runs per ball) is another independent measure and the two have to be considered together to determine the quality of a batsman. This article attempts to locate a single measure, somewhat equivalent to the bowling average.

Note the following players' figures.

                            M    Runs  Balls   St Rt  BatAvge
Turner G.M           Nzl   41    1598   2291   69.75   47.00
Greenidge C.G        Win  128    5134   7748   66.26   45.04
Javed Miandad        Pak  233    7381  10979   67.23   41.70
Haynes D.L           Win  238    8648  13566   63.75   41.38
Broad B.C            Eng   34    1361   2425   56.12   40.03
These are a set of high-average, low-strike rate batsmen who once ruled the roost in ODIs. There was a time when an ODI opener had to fall into this mould of a patient 150-ball-century person. Scores of 250-plus were eminently defendable and these batsmen fitted into the scheme of things.

                            M    Runs  Balls   St Rt  BatAvge
Ganguly S            Ind  300   11363  15416   73.71   41.02
Chanderpaul S        Win  230    7407  10473   70.72   40.26
Today the situation has changed. It is uncommon to see such a figure among current players who are playing ODIs. Even the opening batsmen have to have a higher strike-rate. If, in the bargain, their batting average drops, it is acceptable. The current batsmen who fit into the above group are, say, Ganguly and Chanderpaul. Both have reasonably high batting averages and not-too-high strike rates.

Now note the figures for the following batsmen.

                      M    Runs  Balls  St Rt  BatAvge
Shahid Afridi        248   5469   4911 111.36   23.47
Sehwag V             186   5867   5884  99.71   32.78
Powell R.L           100   2085   2157  96.66   24.82
Kapil Dev N          198   3783   4146  91.24   23.79
Jayasuriya S.T       404  12688  13931  91.08   32.87
McCullum B.B         111   2602   2874  90.54   29.24
These batsmen have very high-strike rates, above 90, but sub-35 batting averages. These are acceptable today, whether for opening batsmen or middle-order finishers. While everyone would like a Shahid Afridi or Sehwag to have higher batting averages, their very method of playing, attacking from the first ball, prevents them from having higher batting averages. Their role in today's ODI matches, however, cannot be denied.

However there is a need to look at things in perspective. Batsmen such as Chanderpaul and Ganguly, with averages of 40+ and strike rates of 70+ are still valuable in ODIs. How do they compare with, say, Andrew Flintoff, who only averages 31+ but has a strike rate of 87+. Similarly how do two middle-order batsmen of contrasting styles such as Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Yousuf compare.

To compare ODI batsmen, I have thought of a simple index, hereinafter called ODI Batting Index (OBI). Since there are two measures both of which have the characteristic of, the higher the better, we multiply the batting average by the strike-rate and arrive at the OBI. Because it is a product, both values have equal weightage. This OBI Index is used to compare the ODI batsmen.

Now let us look at a table of the top 20 ODI batsmen ever based on the OBI. The minimum criteria is 2000 ODI runs which represents between 50 and 60 ODI matches, a fair measure of a settled batsman. A total of 143 batsmen qualify under this criteria. The analysis is correct until match # 2739, Ireland vs Scotland, one of the many inconsequential matches.

SNo LH Batsman             Ctry Inns  NO   Runs    Avge   StRt   Idx1

1 ~ Hussey M.E.K Aus 68 26 2307 54.93 85.6 47.04 2 Dhoni M.S Ind 101 27 3536 47.78 91.9 43.93 3 Richards I.V.A Win 167 24 6721 47.00 88.7 41.67 4 Pietersen K.P Eng 70 13 2687 47.14 86.6 40.85 5 ~ Bevan M.G Aus 196 67 6914 53.60 74.4 39.85 6 Tendulkar S.R Ind 407 38 16361 44.34 85.5 37.90 7 Symonds A Aus 157 33 5006 40.37 92.8 37.46 8 Zaheer Abbas Pak 60 6 2572 47.63 78.6 37.44 9 ~ Klusener L Saf 137 50 3576 41.10 89.9 36.95 10 Clarke M.J Aus 121 28 4037 43.41 80.5 34.93 11 ~ Gilchrist A.C Aus 279 11 9619 35.89 96.9 34.79 12 Ponting R.T Aus 292 35 11112 43.24 80.3 34.72 13 ~ Hayden M.L Aus 155 15 6132 43.80 78.9 34.58 14 ~ Gambhir G Ind 56 7 2018 41.18 82.7 34.06 15 ~ Smith G.C Saf 131 9 5016 41.11 81.8 33.63 16 Sarwan R.R Win 123 25 4251 43.38 76.5 33.17 17 Sehwag V Ind 186 7 5867 32.78 99.7 32.68 18 Jones D.M Aus 161 25 6068 44.62 73.2 32.65 19 Mohammad Yousuf Pak 254 40 9243 43.19 75.4 32.55 20 ~ Lara B.C Win 289 32 10406 40.49 79.7 32.27

To view the full list, please click here.

This is a true measure of the greatness of an ODI batsman. The batsmen with very high batting averages such as Michael Hussey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Viv Richards and Kevin Pietersen are at the top because they also possess very good strike-rates, in excess of 85. Bevan drops off a little, because he does not have a very high strike-rate. Then come Sachin Tendulkar and Andrew Symonds, both with very good averages and eminently acceptable strike-rates. Zaheer Abbas has a very high batting average and an acceptable strike-rate. Lance Klusener is a surprise presence in the Top 10, mainly because people tend to think only of his explosive striking ability, forgetting that he has a batting average better than Adam Gilchrist or Brian Lara. There is no doubt his spat with Graeme Smith has deprived South Africa of an outstanding player. No one can deny Michael Clarke a place in the Top 10.

The batsman with the lowest batting average to make it the list of Top 20 is Sehwag and he has made to the Top 20 because of his near-100 strike-rate. Gilchrist is in with similar credentials. Similarly the batsman with the lowest strike-rate in this Top 20 is Dean Jones, again another deserving candidate with a very high average. It's a similar case with Mohammad Yousuf.

One can conclude that an OBI value of above 30 signifies a very good ODI batsman.

Alternative 1

Some people might question that the product is not a true measure to define the combined value of two diverse factors because of skews. A 10% increase in either of the measures, will increase the Index value by 10%. A 10% increase in both the measures will increase the Index value by 21%. This may not be acceptable and readers may be justified in suggesting that a sum, rather than a product, should be done. It can easily be achieved with the following, slightly more complex, method.

OBIdx2 = Batting Average + (50.0 * Strike-Rate).

This is an excellent way of measuring the batting qualities since a batting Average of 50.0 is almost the pinnacle and a strike-rate is 1.00 is almost the same lofty level. I personally prefer this index as the better balanced of the two.

SNo LH Batsman             Ctry Inns  NO   Runs    Avge   StRt   Idx2

1 ~ Hussey M.E.K Aus 68 26 2307 54.93 85.6 97.75 2 Dhoni M.S Ind 101 27 3536 47.78 91.9 93.75 3 Richards I.V.A Win 167 24 6721 47.00 88.7 91.33 4 ~ Bevan M.G Aus 196 67 6914 53.60 74.4 90.77 5 Pietersen K.P Eng 70 13 2687 47.14 86.6 90.47 6 Tendulkar S.R Ind 407 38 16361 44.34 85.5 87.08 7 Zaheer Abbas Pak 60 6 2572 47.63 78.6 86.93 8 Symonds A Aus 157 33 5006 40.37 92.8 86.77 9 ~ Klusener L Saf 137 50 3576 41.10 89.9 86.05 10 ~ Gilchrist A.C Aus 279 11 9619 35.89 96.9 84.36 11 Clarke M.J Aus 121 28 4037 43.41 80.5 83.64 12 Ponting R.T Aus 292 35 11112 43.24 80.3 83.39 13 ~ Hayden M.L Aus 155 15 6132 43.80 78.9 83.27 14 Sehwag V Ind 186 7 5867 32.78 99.7 82.63 15 ~ Gambhir G Ind 56 7 2018 41.18 82.7 82.54 16 ~ Smith G.C Saf 131 9 5016 41.11 81.8 82.01 17 Sarwan R.R Win 123 25 4251 43.38 76.5 81.61 18 Jones D.M Aus 161 25 6068 44.62 73.2 81.21 19 Kallis J.H Saf 260 49 9542 45.22 71.4 80.90 20 Mohammad Yousuf Pak 254 40 9243 43.19 75.4 80.87

To view the full list, please click here .

The reconstituted table is almost the same, barring minor moves indicating either of the measures can be used. An index value of or around 100.0 is the indication of a truly great ODI batsman.

Michael Bevan and Pietersen swap places, Clarke and Gilchrist also swap places. Gilchrist moves into the Top 10 at the expense of Clarke. The batsman who has benefited most is Sehwag, who moves up three places. Jacques Kallis comes into the Top 20 at the expense of Lara. This computation method, in general, will benefit the low average - high strike-rate batsmen since the multiplication method will not help them greatly.

Alternative 2

There is no denying that the impact of not-outs is too pronounced in the first two cases. While not denying Hussey's place in the top echelons of ODI batsmen, he is placed too high with a batting average of 54.93. He has 28 not-outs out of 68, a very high 41%. Similar cases exist with Dhoni, Bevan, Klusener et al.

Hence a third alternative is tried out. This time I have computed the OB Idx as follows.

OBIdx2 = (Runs/Innings) + (40.0 * Strike Rate).

The multiplying factor is 40.0 (as against 50.0) since the highest runs per innings value is 42.87 and only four batsmen exceed a RPI value of 40.0. Similarly only one batsman exceeds a Strike Rate of 100.0.

This takes care of all anomalies. Only the middle-order batsmen might complain. But it is now fair across the board. Now let us look at the table.

SNo LH Batsman             Ctry Mat Inns   Runs    Avge   StRt   Idx3

1 Richards I.V.A Win 187 167 6721 40.25 88.7 75.71 2 Tendulkar S.R Ind 417 407 16361 40.20 85.5 74.39 3 Zaheer Abbas Pak 62 60 2572 42.87 78.6 74.31 4 ~ Gilchrist A.C Aus 287 279 9619 34.48 96.9 73.25 5 Pietersen K.P Eng 76 70 2687 38.39 86.6 73.05 6 Dhoni M.S Ind 115 101 3536 35.01 91.9 71.79 7 Sehwag V Ind 191 186 5867 31.54 99.7 71.43 8 ~ Hayden M.L Aus 161 155 6132 39.56 78.9 71.14 9 ~ Smith G.C Saf 133 131 5016 38.29 81.8 71.00 10 Ponting R.T Aus 301 292 11112 38.05 80.3 70.18 11 ~ Trescothick M.E Eng 123 122 4335 35.53 85.2 69.63 12 ~ Gambhir G Ind 56 56 2018 36.04 82.7 69.12 13 Symonds A Aus 193 157 5006 31.89 92.8 69.00 14 ~ Saeed Anwar Pak 247 244 8823 36.16 80.7 68.45 15 ~ Gayle C.H Win 183 179 6488 36.25 80.3 68.35 16 ~ Hussey M.E.K Aus 90 68 2307 33.93 85.6 68.18 17 ~ Lara B.C Win 298 289 10406 36.01 79.7 67.89 18 ~ Jayasuriya S.T Slk 415 404 12688 31.41 91.1 67.84 19 de Villiers A.B Saf 67 64 2147 33.55 85.3 67.65 20 ~ Ganguly S.C Ind 311 300 11363 37.88 73.7 67.36

Ah, now we see the real quality. Richards at the top, followed by Tendulkar, two ODI masters nonpareil. The only surprise in the top 10 is Zaheer Abbas in third position. The other nine will be in anybody's list of top ODI batsmen of all time. Richards, Tendulkar and Gilchrist gain at the expense of Dhoni, Hussey and Bevan, the later two move way down the field. Now about Zaheer Abbas. One of only four batsmen to average over 40 runs per innings (Richards, Tendulkar and Greenidge the other three) and a strike-rate of nearly 80. His RPI value is 42+, two above Richards and Tendulkar. He was and is one of the most under-rated players of all time.

An Idx3 value of 80 is the pinnacle, 70+ signifies greatness, 60+ signifies an outstanding batsman and 55+, a very good batsman. Shahid Afridi, despite his low average, gets an excellent value of 66.60 and is at no. 26.

To view the full list, please click here

I can anticipate a common reader observation. "How did you determine the career balls played for older players such as Richards, Greenidge, Zaheer Abbas et al". The following method is used.

  1. Even for some early matches the balls played is available straight off in the Cricinfo archive scorecards.
  2. Non-Cricinfo archives have been searched for some important innings.
  3. Bill Frindall's excellent ODI scorecards book contains the balls played for a number of key innings.
  4. Where nothing is available, the individual batsman strike-rate is extrapolated from the team rate. This method is not complete but gives us a fair idea of the balls faced. It might also be unfair to the more attacking players such as Richards, Kapil Dev et al and would benefit players such as Desmond Haynes, Sunil Gavaskar et al. I can assure readers that this method has only been resorted to when all other avenues have been investigated.
The most acceptable index value is the third one (Idx3) since it negates the impact of not-outs very effectively.

This method treats batsman Nos 1-5 in a fair manner and is possibly slightly unfair to positions 6-7, which is quite acceptable. The addition method is also devoid of statistical imperfections. Hence the third index method is the one I would recommend for consideration.

Based on this index, Viv Richards is at the top, closely followed by Tendulkar and Zaheer Abbas.

Unlike the Extended Batting Average [for Test batsmen], which was a substitute for batting average, this is a new measure which encompasses two of the existing measures. It would be a very useful tool for ranking batsmen and determining the strength of the team. I will be using this measure in the ODI Team Strength Analysis, which will be done sometime in the future.

This concept was first used and explained by me during the Wisden 20-20 Television shows broadcast on Doordarshan during 2001-02. These ideas have since been refined considerably.

Response to user comments

1. This is not an overall "Who is the greatest ODI Batsman" analysis. That has been done by me for Wisden a couple of years back and I will do it again in this column later. In that analysis I will take ino account factors such as Runs scored, Wins, % of Team runs, MOM awards, Quality of opposition et al.

This is a list of top ODI batsmen using only the two relevant factors, viz., Runs scored (Avge or RPI) and Scoring Rate. This should only be compared to "Listing the best ODI bowler by Bowling Average".

2. David Barry has correctly mentioned the Cricinfo Statsguru figures. However let me mention that my need is not an overall "Richards scored xxx runs in yyy balls" information. That will only help a Career analysis. I need information by match and I have resorted to the method shown. May not be perfect. But in this particular case, nothing will be perfect. My Database methodology does not permit (correctly) a career sum, different to the sum of individual innings values.

3. Unlike what some people have implied, I have no intention or desire to push one batsman or other up or down. I do the analysis and leave the readers to judge for themselves. If in the bargain the readers' favourite batsman is not shown where he should be (in their perception), my apologies. Only thing is, don't be rude to me or other readers (your comment will go the trash then, even if it is a good one) nor ascribe the variation to deliberate intention. After all these are only analyses.

4. If the limit of 2000 runs is too low, one could increase it to, say 2500. Maybe then Gambhir would not get in. Then people should accept that Hussey, Botham, Greg Chappell et al would also not get in.

5. David (Barry) has since pointed out that the revised Cricinfo scorecards have complete balls faced data. It is possible that I have used the older version with incomplete scorecards and had to resort to extrapolation. It will take me some time to convert to the newer version since it involves downloading, parsing and updating the database. I will immediately start work on this. Many thanks to David.

6. There has been an excellent suggestion to do some equalizing of Strike Rates between the early years and recent years. Let me look into that. That will at least enable olden greats such as Greenidge, who certainly is not a career strike rate of 66.3 into something more acceptable, say 75.0. In this case a case should be made for equalizing averages or RPI also.

7. Abhijeet Dongre has made a good suggestion. To consider the not out innings as not an innings if the runs scored falls below the average is a novel idea and is worth considering. Let me work on it.

8. Jayasuriya's somewhat low position seems to have offended quite a few people, especially from the lovely little emarald isle. My own take on this is that he would certainly in the Top 10 when I do a comprehensive analysis of ODI Batsmen considering all facts mentioned in point 1 above. Until then my Sri Lankan brethren, please bear with me. At least you don't abuse me. You even make your protests in a gentle manner.

9. Jeff Grimshaw's Balls per dismissal suggestion has a very authentic and solid feel about it and I am seriously looking at incorporating the same. Same as with Abhijeet's suggestion.

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

  • John Sydney on September 20, 2008, 19:16 GMT

    This is just stats comparison, stats will never show how foreign crowd cheers for tendulkar and lara's batting; how the world was stunned when jayasuria tore the bowlers apart, how bevan won the match off the last over or last ball with a boundary, or how when windies used to play with viv, greenige, haynes and all the other greats in their team; how gilly could change the course of any match in few overs; how klusener won so many matches for south africa and lost a few.

  • jitender on September 8, 2008, 10:23 GMT

    i think lance klusener will be remembered as one of the greats of one day cricket because of the amount of matches he won fro SA single handedly.

  • butun on September 2, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    Hi,

    Looks like the one you missed is how the strike rate & quality of bowler faced changed over the years. You probably need to normalize the yearly scores by using a central tendency of those two measures (Strike rate & average run scored per innings). Kind of Z-score. So if Richards scored @ a strike rate of 88 vs 70 (e.g.) of his contemporaries then he has done lot better than Sachin who scored 84 vs 80 (e.g.) of his contemporaries.

    Also, excluding not outs may not be a good idea but you can't count it as a full innings. You may want to estimate a fractional innings based on the average runs scored in that innings. So if Dhoni scored 20* where others scored on an average 40 then he has played half innings. But if Dhoni scored 20* when others scored 25* it is 0.8 innings. You need to cap it at 1 though. I can already see disadvantage of this method and can be further refined. However, all relevant info needs to be used if we really want to find who is at the top. Many thanks

  • Abhijit Kulkarni on August 30, 2008, 3:00 GMT

    @ Rosh :

    The statement that sachin is not a match-winner is more ridiculous than anything else.

    Thommo was worse than a part-time bowler in ODIs,Gilmour only played 5 ODIs overall, 2 of them against WI with viv in the WI team .

    Also viv came in at no3/no4, so he would have to face less of lillee/imran/hadlee/sarfaraz/willis etc whereas since sachin opened in ODIs he had to face more of the likes of mcgrath/lee/donald/pollock/waqar/wasim/walsh/ambrose.

    300+ runs was never a regular feature at sharjah, and 300 wasn't crossed many times in Ind/Pak before 2001-2002 as well .

  • Rosh on August 28, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    The 3rd analysis is wonderful work, Ananth. Meanwhile I just cannot control my laughter at Karthik's suggestion that Jayasuriya is a mere Srikkanth. Why can't this 'expert' understand that Jayasuriya , when he hit sixes, did so by clearing THE BOUNDARY LINE SET, and he did not think of the distances. After all it does not matter whether the shot went 100 m or 80 m as long as it cleared the rope.

    By the way I see some comments saying that Sachin faced sterner bowling than did Viv. RIDICULOUS!! Lillee, Thomson, Gilmour, Hadlee, Imran, Safraz, Qadir, Willis, Underwood&Emburey combo, Kapil were much bigger opposition when considering that Sachin faced McGrath,Warne, Wasim, Waqar, Ambrose & Walsh (only a few times)more than 50% at home on flat Indian tracks and the Pakistani's in those run fest filled tracks. Er, 300+ has been a regular feature in India, Pakistan and earlier at Sharjah. Sachin is a great run getter but sadly (he is very much more likable than most) not a match winner.

  • HLANGL on August 24, 2008, 10:13 GMT

    In Jayasuriya's case, yes, as Ananth Iyer had pointed out, it's mainly due to his initial 40-50 matched where he WAS batted at the very low, at no.6-7-8, with only the tail behind him. That really spoiled his stats. He's not the type of player who would try to remain not out by scoring 40-ball 30, rather would go out with a 10-ball 15-20 runs when batted at 6-7-8. I can remeber him averaging single digits in most part of his initial 50 matches. It's really the senior players & the team management should have understood it much earlier, lucky that they had the brains to do so even a bit later, in '93 Sarjah tournament where he'was promoted to no. 3 against the Pakistan, mainly in view of lifting the run rate which he did successfully far bettering all other top order players (may be except De Silva, who didn't quite match but did fairly well). It was under the team management of T.B. Kehelgamuwa, 2 years before Watmore arrived in '95. Then shifted to the opening slot in '94 NOT in '95.

  • Ricky on August 24, 2008, 0:36 GMT

    Comparing Viv to Sachin is like comparing Warne to Murali, though both of the latter ones are great they can never be in the same league as the formers, just by considering the low quality of the oppositions that they hav performed well against!!!!

  • Vansh on August 23, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    I really want number of innings played to be considered, its a well known fact that the way current players are playing day in day out, its not easy to maintain a career spanning 10 15 years so a Sachin or Sanath who played well for 400+ matches cant be compared with say Viv with lesser matches ( mind u not degrading viv in anyway, he is a great, no doubt) who knows how his body would have played had he tried to play 400 matches and not to mention the hunger for cricket, this is another important factor, a Sachin or jayasurya who played so many matches and still had that hunger in them a brilliant example for this factor is gilchrist, who was a fantastic batman, quit at a relativly younger age. Also I dont think runs in victories should be considerd as a factor, its a team game and a player cant win it alone.. in that case Viv had a much easier time than Sachin.

  • vansh on August 23, 2008, 16:35 GMT

    I think not counting notouts perfectly makes sense, generally a top order batsman gets more time to bat so he scores more but because he is trying to pace his innings ends with a lower strike rate, where as a lower middle order batmen has lesser time to bat but scores faster because of slog overs thus end with high strike rate. If a batman like sehwag scores a hundred @ a strike rate of 120 then u really have to it to him as a brilliant inning and similarly if dhoni or hussey scores a 80 batting with the tail again you have to consider it as a top innings. Thus any player who have more of such innings in his respective batting order is better. thats why we have Sachin and VIV at the top ( batted in top order ) and similarly a batman like dhoni who bats lower down but still scores good number of runs is in top 10.

  • Jeff on August 22, 2008, 7:49 GMT

    Kartik said:

    "Maybe another good ranking measure would be Balls-per-dismissal X strike rate"

    Actually, this is the standard "batting average" measure - which can be misleading for ODIs - a batsman who lasts 100 balls per dismissal at a strike rate of 50, will have an average of 50.

    Another batsman can last 50 BPD with a SR of 100 and have the same average of 50.

    On the surface they are the same, it's not until you look at the compenent parts that you realise that batsman 2 is the better ODI batsman.

    On Kartik's final point about Tendulkar - I believe that the main reason why his totals for runs and 100's will never be beaten is the emergence of 20/20 cricket. We will surely see a large fall in the number of 50 over matches played as 20 over cricket becomes the dominant form of the game

  • John Sydney on September 20, 2008, 19:16 GMT

    This is just stats comparison, stats will never show how foreign crowd cheers for tendulkar and lara's batting; how the world was stunned when jayasuria tore the bowlers apart, how bevan won the match off the last over or last ball with a boundary, or how when windies used to play with viv, greenige, haynes and all the other greats in their team; how gilly could change the course of any match in few overs; how klusener won so many matches for south africa and lost a few.

  • jitender on September 8, 2008, 10:23 GMT

    i think lance klusener will be remembered as one of the greats of one day cricket because of the amount of matches he won fro SA single handedly.

  • butun on September 2, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    Hi,

    Looks like the one you missed is how the strike rate & quality of bowler faced changed over the years. You probably need to normalize the yearly scores by using a central tendency of those two measures (Strike rate & average run scored per innings). Kind of Z-score. So if Richards scored @ a strike rate of 88 vs 70 (e.g.) of his contemporaries then he has done lot better than Sachin who scored 84 vs 80 (e.g.) of his contemporaries.

    Also, excluding not outs may not be a good idea but you can't count it as a full innings. You may want to estimate a fractional innings based on the average runs scored in that innings. So if Dhoni scored 20* where others scored on an average 40 then he has played half innings. But if Dhoni scored 20* when others scored 25* it is 0.8 innings. You need to cap it at 1 though. I can already see disadvantage of this method and can be further refined. However, all relevant info needs to be used if we really want to find who is at the top. Many thanks

  • Abhijit Kulkarni on August 30, 2008, 3:00 GMT

    @ Rosh :

    The statement that sachin is not a match-winner is more ridiculous than anything else.

    Thommo was worse than a part-time bowler in ODIs,Gilmour only played 5 ODIs overall, 2 of them against WI with viv in the WI team .

    Also viv came in at no3/no4, so he would have to face less of lillee/imran/hadlee/sarfaraz/willis etc whereas since sachin opened in ODIs he had to face more of the likes of mcgrath/lee/donald/pollock/waqar/wasim/walsh/ambrose.

    300+ runs was never a regular feature at sharjah, and 300 wasn't crossed many times in Ind/Pak before 2001-2002 as well .

  • Rosh on August 28, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    The 3rd analysis is wonderful work, Ananth. Meanwhile I just cannot control my laughter at Karthik's suggestion that Jayasuriya is a mere Srikkanth. Why can't this 'expert' understand that Jayasuriya , when he hit sixes, did so by clearing THE BOUNDARY LINE SET, and he did not think of the distances. After all it does not matter whether the shot went 100 m or 80 m as long as it cleared the rope.

    By the way I see some comments saying that Sachin faced sterner bowling than did Viv. RIDICULOUS!! Lillee, Thomson, Gilmour, Hadlee, Imran, Safraz, Qadir, Willis, Underwood&Emburey combo, Kapil were much bigger opposition when considering that Sachin faced McGrath,Warne, Wasim, Waqar, Ambrose & Walsh (only a few times)more than 50% at home on flat Indian tracks and the Pakistani's in those run fest filled tracks. Er, 300+ has been a regular feature in India, Pakistan and earlier at Sharjah. Sachin is a great run getter but sadly (he is very much more likable than most) not a match winner.

  • HLANGL on August 24, 2008, 10:13 GMT

    In Jayasuriya's case, yes, as Ananth Iyer had pointed out, it's mainly due to his initial 40-50 matched where he WAS batted at the very low, at no.6-7-8, with only the tail behind him. That really spoiled his stats. He's not the type of player who would try to remain not out by scoring 40-ball 30, rather would go out with a 10-ball 15-20 runs when batted at 6-7-8. I can remeber him averaging single digits in most part of his initial 50 matches. It's really the senior players & the team management should have understood it much earlier, lucky that they had the brains to do so even a bit later, in '93 Sarjah tournament where he'was promoted to no. 3 against the Pakistan, mainly in view of lifting the run rate which he did successfully far bettering all other top order players (may be except De Silva, who didn't quite match but did fairly well). It was under the team management of T.B. Kehelgamuwa, 2 years before Watmore arrived in '95. Then shifted to the opening slot in '94 NOT in '95.

  • Ricky on August 24, 2008, 0:36 GMT

    Comparing Viv to Sachin is like comparing Warne to Murali, though both of the latter ones are great they can never be in the same league as the formers, just by considering the low quality of the oppositions that they hav performed well against!!!!

  • Vansh on August 23, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    I really want number of innings played to be considered, its a well known fact that the way current players are playing day in day out, its not easy to maintain a career spanning 10 15 years so a Sachin or Sanath who played well for 400+ matches cant be compared with say Viv with lesser matches ( mind u not degrading viv in anyway, he is a great, no doubt) who knows how his body would have played had he tried to play 400 matches and not to mention the hunger for cricket, this is another important factor, a Sachin or jayasurya who played so many matches and still had that hunger in them a brilliant example for this factor is gilchrist, who was a fantastic batman, quit at a relativly younger age. Also I dont think runs in victories should be considerd as a factor, its a team game and a player cant win it alone.. in that case Viv had a much easier time than Sachin.

  • vansh on August 23, 2008, 16:35 GMT

    I think not counting notouts perfectly makes sense, generally a top order batsman gets more time to bat so he scores more but because he is trying to pace his innings ends with a lower strike rate, where as a lower middle order batmen has lesser time to bat but scores faster because of slog overs thus end with high strike rate. If a batman like sehwag scores a hundred @ a strike rate of 120 then u really have to it to him as a brilliant inning and similarly if dhoni or hussey scores a 80 batting with the tail again you have to consider it as a top innings. Thus any player who have more of such innings in his respective batting order is better. thats why we have Sachin and VIV at the top ( batted in top order ) and similarly a batman like dhoni who bats lower down but still scores good number of runs is in top 10.

  • Jeff on August 22, 2008, 7:49 GMT

    Kartik said:

    "Maybe another good ranking measure would be Balls-per-dismissal X strike rate"

    Actually, this is the standard "batting average" measure - which can be misleading for ODIs - a batsman who lasts 100 balls per dismissal at a strike rate of 50, will have an average of 50.

    Another batsman can last 50 BPD with a SR of 100 and have the same average of 50.

    On the surface they are the same, it's not until you look at the compenent parts that you realise that batsman 2 is the better ODI batsman.

    On Kartik's final point about Tendulkar - I believe that the main reason why his totals for runs and 100's will never be beaten is the emergence of 20/20 cricket. We will surely see a large fall in the number of 50 over matches played as 20 over cricket becomes the dominant form of the game

  • AJAX on August 22, 2008, 4:56 GMT

    How about this; If I know for all batsman batting at No.6 between 2003-2008, the average number of balls faced is 32 and the average strike rate is 87, and I then know at No.6 Hussey has faced 43 balls per dismissal at a strike rate of 93, I can take the differentials and multiply them with constants, derive to equalize the effect of position in an ODI line-up, to achieve true realized batting potential. I can then calculate Hussey's score over every batting position he has used and average that result. For batsmen like Ponting or Tendulkar, I could average his true potential across different time periods. This to me would finally give a true measure of just how a batsman has maximized his resources irrespective of position in the batting line-up as well as the era in which he played. A lot of work maybe, but then cricket does not provide one or two simple measures by which you can fairly judge who has maximized their resources within constraints.

  • Kartik on August 22, 2008, 4:55 GMT

    "If Australia put Hussey up the order, they gain runs from the top order but lose some from the lower-middle order. "

    Not necessarily. Quite often, he would come in early (10th over) and still last until the end. That is the point. When a batsman has such a high average AND so many innings are not out, there are many potential 100+ scores that are sawn off because he didn't get enough balls.

    Which also means that #6 and #7 would have less work to do, enabling Australia to play 5 specialist bowlers. Remember that Clarke and Symonds also have high averages, so rarely will 6 be down before the 45th over.

    Australia wins almost all their ODIs anyway, so they may not see the need to experiment at all. But in India's case, Dhoni higher up is a necessity.

  • AJAX on August 22, 2008, 4:37 GMT

    "...additional factor in Batting is that there are Not Out innings as against Bowling which is a straight forward one. If we take Balls per Innings as against Balls per Dismissal, we are using RPI..." It is inconsequential whether there are Not Outs or not by using balls per dismissal. Why would we consider Balls per innings, in the case of bowling do we consider wickets per spell or per innings rather than overall career stats? While I like Jeff's idea of balls per dismissal, I've never been a fan of averaging rankings. I also think the situational considerations play an important role, as an opener while I have the potential to play the majority of 150 balls in one go, I am far less likely to score at a strike rate of 200 for all 150 balls. As a batsman at No.6 I have a much lower probability of facing 150 balls in a single innings, but a greater probability of scoring at a strike rate of 200 over 150 balls in 10 innings. Again we have situations like power plays to factor in.

  • David Barry on August 22, 2008, 1:41 GMT

    Kartik, balls-per-dismissal times runs-per-ball is just the regular batting average.

    On Hussey and his position in the batting order, it's not quite as simple as it looks (though I would also have him batting in the top order). He is exceptional at coming in late and immediately scoring quickly. If Australia put Hussey up the order, they gain runs from the top order but lose some from the lower-middle order. It's not obvious what the net result would be. [[ That is true. We have suddenly found a way to split Batting Average into two components, a la Bowling Average. However the additional factor in Batting is that there are Not Out innings as against Bowling which is a straight forward one. If we take Balls per Innings as against Balls per Dismissal, we are using RPI and Strike Rate. Jeff interprets resources primarily as balls played. Runs are what come out of using these resources. From that point it is possible to give some weight to this factor. ]]

  • Kartik on August 21, 2008, 20:13 GMT

    "The more you think about it, the more amazing it is that Hussey is able to get out so infrequently whilst batting as quickly as he does"

    Which is why it is a waste to have him bat any lower than #4. He should have a chance to play a completed innings, not just be restricted to the last 10-15 overs. He could probably outperform even Ponting if Hussey was at #4, and had the chance to face 100 balls.

    The same goes for Dhoni (who is slowly creeping up the order). If Dhoni has the best average and 2nd best strike rate, he should be no lower than #4, and India should play 5 specialist bowlers.

    Maybe another good ranking measure would be Balls-per-dismissal X strike rate.

    That is also why Sachin's records of ODI runs and centuries will not be broken before 2020. Only an opener or maybe #3 even has a chance of contending for these records. #4 or lower simply does not, even with an average of 50+. Who is even a contender? Smith? Ponting? I doubt it.

  • Jeff on August 21, 2008, 14:54 GMT

    Now if we look at the other factor (SR) then it's no surprise to see Afridi at the top, but Hussey ranks a very creditable 17th (out of 143 in the list).

    The more you think about it, the more amazing it is that Hussey is able to get out so infrequently whilst batting as quickly as he does.

    Maybe he is the best?

    Let's look at a combined ranking - add the BPD rank to the SR rank and divide by 2.

    This puts Hussey way out in front (combined score of 11) ahead of Pietersen in 2nd on 23, followed by Dhoni and Richards on 24.

    Tendulkar is 6th on 31.

    Bevan, with the 2nd highest average, ranks 10th reflecting the fact that, while he lasted a long time between dismissals, he didn't score very quickly.

    Jayasuriya ranks 58th and Sehwag 59th as they both get out too quickly - maybe if they would score a bit slower, they would last longer and be of more value to their teams?

    I present the above simply as food for thought and not as the definitive way of ranking ODI batsmen...

  • Jeff on August 21, 2008, 14:29 GMT

    I agree with AJAX that discounting the not outs unfairly penalises the middle order batsmen. Take Hussey - sure he has lots of not outs but he's usually batting at the end when there's less time to play yourself in and you go after balls that maybe an opener would leave.

    Sorry to keep banging on about it, but ODIs (as Duckworth-Lewis so brilliantly determined)is all about maximising available resources - wickets and balls. The 2 stats I would show for ODI batsmen are "balls per dismissal" and "runs per ball (SR)" Of course, these 2 factors combine to produce a batting average, but unlike in test matches, it's the 2 components that are more important than the overall product. Using Ananth's complete list above, Hussey actually ranks 5th in balls per dismissal (64) - a remarkable achievement given he's batting at the end. In fact, the top 5 is an interesting mix of openers (Marsh, Greenidge & Haynes) plus Hussey and Bevan (best of all at 72BPD)

  • AJAX on August 21, 2008, 6:02 GMT

    Can I ask, do all batsman get the same opportunity with regard to the two measures by which you are conducting this analysis? In other words, do batsmen at different positions get the same opportunity to score higher scores and do they all get the same opportunity to score as quickly? The answer is NO, not today and it never has been the case in ODIs. It has become worse today with the top 3-4 positions given overwhelming advantages because of powerplays. How then can you measure all batsman on the basis of applying these two measures equally... where is the normalization that would help us understand who really does the most he can using these two measures within the constraints of his position in an ODI? What I'm getting at is perhaps the formula has to be tweaked for each position in the batting order, varying the value of strike rate multiple and average. I would assume you could arrive at this by comparative analysis among batsmen at a position and factor in effect of time (era).

  • Kartik on August 20, 2008, 17:58 GMT

    Indeed. For a young cricketer, choosing to be a batsman is overwhelmingly more probable to yield a successful career.

    Even before the modern era, a team would have room for 6 batsmen, but only one WK or Spinner. The 4th best batsman of any country could expect a long and lucrative international career, but the 4th best spinner or WK would be unknown, lucky to ever play a single Test.

    Furthermore, a batsman's career lasts for more years than a fast bowler. Waqar and Sachin started in the same test, Waqar ended in 2003. Furthermore, a batsman who is injured can use a runner, while a fast bowler injured in a match cannot contribute at all.

    All this was even before the modern television era determined that 4s and 6s are essential for a TV audience, and changed the rules/boundary length accordingly.

    Truly, batsmen have it so much better than bowlers that it is shocking. I think Sachin has earned more career income than all bowlers combined, who ever bowled to him. [[ Very well put. Anul Kumble, who has probably done more for Indian cricket than any one else, stands nowhere in this endorsement scale as Yuvraj. Every new law seems to aid batsmen. Even the referrals law, because it helps the bowlers, might die a natural death. Kartik..Can you please do a comment using a mailable id. ]]

  • David Barry on August 20, 2008, 5:31 GMT

    Kartik, though you were mostly correct, the bulk of the increase in scoring rates is due to 4's rather than 6's (even though the rate of the latter has increased by a greater percentage). If 6's have go from an average of 1.5 per innings to 3, that is worth about 9 runs. But if the number of 4's goes from 15 to 21, it's worth 24 runs. [[ Although the free hit has yet to make the expected impact, I strongly feel that is one more nail in the bowlers' coffin. (More nails are expected). Once the batsmen get their umpteenth video view of the bowlers, these deliveries could be despatched anywhere. Even mishits would go for 6s/4s. ]]

  • Kartik on August 19, 2008, 19:20 GMT

    David Barry,

    Your data confirms exactly what I have been saying. Non-boundary balls are constant. 4s have increased 50%, and 6s have incrased 100%.

    A shorter boundary helps 6s even more than 4s, because to hit a 4, even though the boundary is nearer, the fielders are also 'denser', meaning each fielder can cover a greater percentage of the field.

    Thus, I repeat : 1) Since it was twice as hard to hit a six before 1992 than today, Jayasuria and Afridi would not have been able to carve out the niches they currently enjoy. Afridi would be an Akram, and Jayasuria would be a Srikkanth.

    2) Those who were good at 6 hitting in the 80s (Richards, Kapil, Greenidge, Miandad, and even Akram/Qadir) would have done better today. I estimate the avgs/strike rates of certain great 80s players as :

    1) Richards : 55/105 2) Greenidge : 50/80 3) Kapil : 32/105 4) Akram : 23/105

    Of course, part-time bowlers like Richards or Border would be shut out of bowling altogether, today. [[ And Yuvraj Singh will be ... ]]

  • Parimal on August 19, 2008, 9:47 GMT

    Great article, and great thinking. I think the third method is the best. I dont think there is any value added by staying not out in ODIs since it is "limited overs cricket". What I like even more is the pains you have taken up to answer some stubborn souls. I also think that the sessions won concept is really great. It is not only used by the commentrators but the players & coaches also. I used to think it was a very old concept, but I am proud to have found out its innovator. Keep up the good work.

  • David Barry on August 19, 2008, 2:01 GMT

    Kartik, the overall batting strike rate on balls not hit to the boundary has been pretty much flat since the late 1980's, hovering around 0.45 to 0.48 runs per ball.

    The big increase has come mostly in 4's, but partly in 6's. In 1993, there was about one four hit per 20 balls. That has since steadily decreased to a boundary every 14 balls today. Similarly, in the early 90's there was a six every 200 balls, now it is a six every 100.

  • Kartik on August 18, 2008, 23:20 GMT

    Also, doesn't the Idx3 data point to something else : That Dhoni, Hussey, etc. should bat higher up the order, rather than be not-out so often that they either a) didn't score their full potential, or b) ran out of partners? I know that they are not out often because they 'managed a successful chase', so why not increase their success rate by having them work their magic for more balls.

    Dhoni has the highest average snd 2nd highest strike rate in the Indian team. He should be no lower than #4. This could even allow India to play 5 specialist bowlers. Hussey, with a higher average than Clarke or Symonds, could score many centuries if allowed to bat at #4. [[ That is a perceptive point. Dhoni has already started doing that, easier since he has the reins. Unfortunately, Australia is somewhat dogmatic and Hussey has still not settled into a higher spot. ]]

  • Kartik on August 18, 2008, 23:09 GMT

    More on six-hitting.

    As RPO/decade has risen, I think that the bulk of the rise comprises of sixes. I don't think the percentage of dots+1s/match/decade has dropped (how can it?), but rather that sixes is where the bulk of the difference between 250 in the 80s vs. 300+ today arises. Martin Crowe's note supports this.

    Ananth - can you, at some point, put together a sixes/match/decade table? We may be surprised with what we see.

    Thus, batsmen with low avgs but a high percentage of runs scored via sixes (Afridi, Jayasuria), may not have managed to play many ODIs at all in the 80s. Their most potent value to their teams today would not have been possible in the 80s. Afridi's batting might only have been as useful as Akram's or Marshall's, if Afridi had played in the 80s.

    Similarly, those who were good at six-hitting even in the 80s would be stunning today. Richards would have an avg of 55 and SR of 100. Kapil might have an avg of 32 and SR of 105. Imagine. [[ Kartik That is a good idea. Infortunately my sixes/fours data, especially for the first few hundred matches, is somewhat incomplete and I will do it after plugging the gaps. ]]

  • Kartik on August 18, 2008, 17:34 GMT

    Thanks, Ananth and Martin. It seems that Martin's practice of hitting such that the balls lands somewhere between 55 and 70m, to score 2 runs, today would have yielded sixes.

    I have suddenly become somewhat less awestruck with Afridi and Jayasuriya. In the 80s, their most potent skill may not have been fruitful, and they may not have made the ODI teams of their countries. Indeed, Jayasuriya only started to become a big hitter around 1995, after 5 years of playing ODIs. Lucky for him that he wasn't born a decade earlier - he would barely have been a Srikkanth.

  • Anonymous on August 18, 2008, 10:15 GMT

    Apologies for the multiple posts, but 1000 characters really isn't much (oh for the luxury of spcace that the orginal bloggers have!)

    Maybe this method can be refined further to penalise the slow scoring batsmen who last more than their "fair share" of balls?

    btw - for what it's worth, subjectively I think Richards is the best ODI batsman ever, heaven knows what he would have done in this modern age of power plays, fielding restrictions & poorer oppostion bowling attacks.

  • Jeff on August 18, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    But, I hear you ask, teams have 11 players who can potentially bat, therefore shouldn’t we “expect” each batsmen to face on average 27 balls per match (300 balls/11)?

    Ok, if we do this, then we rank players only on SR, as long as they average more than 27 balls per dismissal (and adjust down batters who don’t last this long on average.) Doing this gives a Top 5 of Sehwag, Gilchrist, Symons, Dhoni, Jayasuriya. Clearly this method favours the higher SR, lower average players more.

    Maybe there is a mid point here somewhere? Maybe realistically we would expect 8 of the 11 to contribute with the bat (with 3 rabbits only there for their bowling) This gives a benchmark of balls faced as 37.5 and provides a top 5 of Gilchrist, Symonds, Dhoni, Klusener, Richards.

    I’m not saying this a perfect method, but using balls per dismissal rather than runs per innings avoids penalising middle order players. It doesn’t help in normalising for different generations though.

  • Jeff on August 18, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    As ODIs have limited resources, it’s all a case of trying to maximise those.

    What would you rather have – 2 openers who each average 75 and have a SR of 50 or a team of 11, each of whom average 13.64 and have a SR of 150?

    The answer is either, as, on average, they will both produce the same score in 50 overs.

    Maybe we can try and look at this in a slightly different way?

    Say we pick 6 batsmen and expect them to get all our runs – they would therefore each have a resource of 50 balls (300 balls/6 batters) & be expected to maximise them. Therefore, as long as a batsman lasts at least 50 balls, then we should rank him only on SR – any balls he lasts over 50 are “wasted” as he’s taking resources away from his teammates. If he doesn’t last 50 balls, then his SR is adjusted down proportionately (eg. a batsmen who averages 25 balls per dismissal with a SR 100, will score 50 “points”.)

    Using this method, the top 5 ODI batsmen are: Dhoni, Richards, Pietersen, Hussey, Tendulkar

  • Kartik on August 18, 2008, 6:28 GMT

    "How I wish you had scored that single run at Basin reserve."

    I'm sure he loves being reminded of that.

    But now that we potentially have Martin Crowe in the discussion, I want to ask him :

    Martin,

    What are your views on scoring rates in the 80s vs. now? What is the main reason that the typical innings now is 50 runs more than the average in the 1980s? Were pitches tougher? Was the boundary longer? Or have batsmen evolved their strategies faster than bowlers?

    Please enlighten us.

    [[ While Martin may not necessarily like to be reminded of the elusive run, as he mentioned in his reply, he has been bracketed with Sir Donald Bradman with that score. A 300 would not have earned that distinction. In a serious vein, I have requested Martin to answer your query. I have also taken the liberty of forwarding your mail to him directly. ]]

  • Martin Crowe on August 18, 2008, 1:14 GMT

    An interesting exercise and well thought through although I have one query. As a player listed I'm convinced your qualification should not be runs but always the amount of times you take guard - runs, ave, SR become a by-product of inns played. It is the innings record you are analysing ultimately. In this case I firmly believe that 150 innings is the minimum qualification to assess players over a number of generations. Yes it excludes Greg Chappell (my favourite of all) but longevity in the modern era, where you play in all counties on all surfaces in a demanding Int calendar, is really where you get a true reflection of the best ODI players ever. 150 inns qualification also excludes Gambhir, Hussey, Pieterson, Butt, Dhoni etc and rightly so. Their time on the list, if they are good enough over a long time, will come. Having done the exercise of listing only those with 150 or more inns played I think your list is perfect. 2000-2500 runs is inappropriate in this sort of assessment.

    Martin It was a privilege for me to receive a mail from someone who I consider the best New Zealand batsman ever. Your batting exploits are still cherished memories for not just the New Zealanders but other followers and admirers around the globe. Your point is well made. I might do a follow-up post incorporating some of the suggestions including yours. Alternatively I am looking at doing a post, this time incorporating lot more parameters including Runs scored, Quality of opposition, Wins achieved et al. Then there will be a proper closure. Many thanks once again and all the best. How I wish you had scored that single run at Basin reserve. Ananth

  • Sorcerer on August 17, 2008, 9:37 GMT

    An average of 47 with a S/R of 90 in that era of bowler-friendly pitches and no rules stacked against bowlers, of less powerful bats and not-so-carpeted outfields, Viv's record is truly astonishing. The days when 250 was a sure winning score. Mind boggles how he would would have toyed with the bowlers of this era in ODI set-up! Viv is the original Master Blaster and the King.

  • RavBalkish on August 17, 2008, 2:33 GMT

    I would rate Mike Vaughn and Andy Strauss higher than Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar - On his best day Bradman can equal Andy Struass and Vaughn

  • markc on August 17, 2008, 1:41 GMT

    Zaheer Abbas easily deserves his spot at number 3 and his 60 games would equate to about 200 if he was playing today. My only knock on him is that he scored a lot of his big runs against sri lanka, but then somebody has to.

  • Dunga on August 17, 2008, 1:05 GMT

    Great article mate. I've seen so many comments stating that 'x is better than y' and so forth, makes for interesting reading but makes me wonder about the intellegence and maturity about some of the posters.

    Otherwise, I agree with you. I would have thought that Zaheer would have been down a bit further, but I guess his statistics manage to push him up there.

    I had a feeling, after reading the first list, that good old Mike Bevan would go down a bit in further lists, as he has.

    I think keeping it at 2000 runs is probably a good idea. 2000 signifies that the player has played their fair share of matches, rather than 3000 or 4000.

    Anyway, excellent list. Please keep going with your work, makes for great reading!

  • Neil on August 16, 2008, 20:39 GMT

    looking at the list, sachin clearly jumps out as the best of the best looking at number of innings he has played. Zaheer abbas only played 60 matches. I don't think he deserves a spot.

  • Ananth Iyer on August 16, 2008, 20:13 GMT

    Well done. Vary fair analysis. The only injustice seems to be Sanath Jayasuriya figuring so low in the indices. I guess this because in his first 60 or 70 ODIs he batted way down (at 6 or 7). It will be interesing to see if you leave out those innings and take only those since he started opening, whether he will finish at Nos. 1,2,3!

    Another interesting thought - Sachin comes out in the top 5 (say) in all kinds of statistics. But he has never come to the party in a Semi-final or Finals of a World Cup or other big tournaments involving all major teams, a la Viv, Sanath, Gilchrist, Steve... IS THERE A WAY to quantify performance in BIG matches? [[ I myself strongly feel that Jayasuriya has lost the most in this analysis. This has been referred to in the main article's "Response to comments" section. As and when I do a comprehensive "Best Batsman" analysis all these comments would be looked into. In the meanwhile, I hope Jayasuriya gets the Sri Lankans going, with a bang, on Monday. ]]

  • sesh on August 16, 2008, 19:15 GMT

    at the risk of repeating some of the comments let me suggest that the number of innings over which some one has demonstrated a certain potential needs to be factored in -- all the complaints typically seem to fall into that bucket -- dravid, jayasuriya etc. everything else being equal the longer period over which this has been maintained is indeed important. However, considering the statistic for the last 2000 runs of some ones career may be a good selection metric! So dravid may not figure in todays team by that metric but no one can take away his life time contributions..

  • Sachin Lokhande on August 16, 2008, 18:06 GMT

    Great cricket mind...! Even gteater than me...

  • Bilal on August 16, 2008, 15:43 GMT

    @ Rahul Imran khan has always said that there is no better batsman than Viv Richards

  • Girish on August 16, 2008, 15:38 GMT

    What is missing from this analysis is how well did the players perform in big match situations. There should be some weightage given to players who were part of a World Cup winning team. The standouts would be Richards, Hussey and Bevan. [[ See point no. 1 of "Responses to comments". ]]

  • ASif on August 16, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    what you need to factor is the average scores over the years and then adjust the strike rate according to that. So a strike of 75 in the 1990s would be equal to something aroud 95 now days.

  • Santhosh on August 16, 2008, 14:03 GMT

    Jayasuriya is at 33rd place according to your chart.But is their any best ODI batsman to compare with Records held by JAYASURIYA.

    Fastest ODI 50 Fastest ODI 100

    Most Sixes in and innings Most Sixes in career. Most sixes in an over ( 32) First ever batsman to take300 wickets and score 12000 runs. Most consecetive ODI 150s. Highest 1st wicket partnership in ODI. Top scorer for highest ODI team Record ( 447 by Sri lanka and jayasuriya was top scorer in the match). 1996 WILLS worldcup MAN of the SERIES. 2nd oldest player to score 100. 2nd Most 100s in ODI. Fastest 100 by a OLDEST player.

  • Eranga Abeygunawardane on August 16, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    By looking at your chart one may mislead that about Top oneday batsman comparison.It’s amazing that Jayasuriya is at 33rd place according to your calculations.Even he is after the Saurav Ganguly( he is 32nd ). What you have considered here to rate ODI Batsman is their multipication of the batting average by the strike-rate. According to your calculation,If One’s batting average is high and even his strike rate is low ,still there is a chance to becoming best batsman. Normally when we consider ONE DAY SELFISH BATSMAN their batting averages are very high as they only consider and worried about their individual runs and performance. But when we consider about match winning Batsmans like Jayasuriya ,their batting averages are not good but just enougt to WIN a Match.As their batting averages are low according to your calculation they don’t have a chance to become Best ODI Batsman. There is saying that if jayasuriya makes 50 or Hundread it is enough to win his side. That is because of his wining thinking. So when you rates the best batsman please don’t consider about their individual performance but DO CONSIDER about their contribution to win their TEAM.

  • Karthik on August 16, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    Ananth,

    analysis assumes that players can be compared over time without any normalization. This may be incorrect because the complexion of the game has changed over time (avg inning 1 scores would suggest that). It may make sense to have avg/strike rate bands for time periods and index to those in order to normalize.

    other factors to weed out could be - what has enabled modern day batsmen to score more than their senior counterparts i.e., any change in rules, smaller grounds, faster outfields, avg quality of bowling attacks, # of opposition teams in the mix & their quality (e.g., zimbabwe, bangladesh, UAE, scotland etc), avg. strike rate and/or economy of bowlers in opposition over time.

    Would be interesting to get your thoughts on whether for each match a batsman analysis must necessarily consider the opposition bowling analysis. Or can we conclude that a match with 300 runs scored is better than one with 250? Its a sum of parts - a holistic analysis would be good.

    ur thoughts?

  • Abhijeet Dongre on August 16, 2008, 12:44 GMT

    Great analysis Anantha,

    I think considering following two points may make the analysis more complete though it may be difficult to calculate.

    1) The total number of runs scored should matter. For example, if a player makes 2000 runs at 45 average/80 strike-rate and other player makes 10,000 run at same average and strike-rate, current analysis will deem them equal which would be a bit unfair to the second player. Statistical methods like 'Bayesian estimate' can ensure that he gets rightfully better rank.

    2) Also Runs/innings is a bit unfair to players like Dhoni & Bevan. It is not their fault that they made a score like 20 not out. I think better would be to consider their average in such cases. So if Dhoni's average is 45 and he make 20 notout, 20 should be considered without counting that innings but if he makes 50 not out that should be counted as a completed innings.

    Regards

    [[ That is a good suggestion. To consider the not out innings as not an innings if the runs scored falls below the average is a novel idea and is worth considering. Let me work on it.

  • Preedeep on August 16, 2008, 11:52 GMT

    Hi All

    Is that means, a legend call Dravid is no where ranked in top 20's of all time ODI list.Dravid is the backbone of many highest partnerships..to mention he is the only man who has 300 partnership in ODI's twice.The stablility he offers,floater who bats at any down and very dependable when the chips are down.Fine,he cant be rated as the best of greats...but he deserves to be in the list of top 20's,may be in top 10's considering 10,000 runs at a strike rate of morethan 70.

    How come guys with less than 5,000 runs are considered to be alltime greats,do really clarke,gambhir,dhoni's,hussey's,abba,kevin deservers the place in alltime 20's ahead of Dravid,kallis,gambhir.

    I always believe openers can score runs heavily and quickly in ODI's...look at the middle orders like bevan,dravid,yuvraj,yusuf,inzi these are real gr8 ones.

    Thank you

  • matt on August 16, 2008, 11:45 GMT

    furthermore to my analysis, I feel many of the Aussies mentioned should be on the list. Not to say I don't like the Aussies (I'm a passionate Australian), though Symonds, Clarke, Hussey, Hayden have really cashed in on pretty ordinary bowling thoughout the 2000's, which is no fault of their own. This would be the same for Dhoni, Pieterson. Sehwag and the any of the others who have seemed to excelled in the 2000's. I agree with everyone mentioned who played in the 80's & 90's and definitely KING VIV to be number 1!

  • marcus on August 16, 2008, 11:42 GMT

    Are you seriously claiming that you invented (runs^2/(balls*wickets)? That is amazingly arrogant. I'm pretty sure this has been used for decades, and independently derived by millions of fans. Anyway, analysis 1 comes some way to address the errors in the first one, and is a fine measure of an ODI batsman, a good predictive statistic. Analysis 2 says nothing about an individual players skill, but works very well as a descriptive statistic. [[ There is no doubt that the said measure would have been used by millions of cricket fans from 5 January 1971 onwards. My only claim is that the 20-20 show I was part of was the first one where this analysis was presented to the public as a definable measure. If you can point out a public instance before 2001 when this was done, my apologies , in advance, to the concerned analyst, are already there on offer. Thank you for the perceptive views of Options 1 and 2. Very well summarized. ]]

  • Matt on August 16, 2008, 11:38 GMT

    To use statistics to purely base judgement on which are the 20 best ODI batsmen of all time is definitely naive, though I thoroughly did enjoy the analysis by Ananth.Man of The Match performances I think should be incorporated in this,many of the above players mentioned have outstanding statistics, but some you would barely call someone who would single handedly change the state of a match or purely win a match based on their performances. E.g. Michael Clarke Vs Jayasuria. Clarke does sit pretty towards the top of most of your table, but I'm sure everyone would agree the Jayasuria would be chosen instantly over Clarke.To stay with these 2 players, different era's should definitely be addressed in such an analysis.Clarke would've faced the likes of Harmison, Bond, Pollock where Jayasuria throughout his career would've faced Ambrose, Akram, Walsh,Donald,Waqar.Alot of the batsmen on these list have face fairly ordinary bowling in comparison to the bowlers that were around in the 80/90's..

  • Sanket on August 16, 2008, 11:14 GMT

    I would suggest this index: Runs/innings + difference of strike-rate from the average strike-rate of batsmen at similar positions at the same span of time. If x has played 100 matches (50 at position 3 and 50 at position 4). His strike rate is 70.00. We will find the average strike-rate of players playing at position 3 and 4 during his player years, multiply each by 0.5 and then add them up.

  • RAVI on August 16, 2008, 11:05 GMT

    I think Matty has the best suggestion. Scale down to 150 innings and then let's see how much gap Richards & Tendulkar have....maybe Tendulkar might overtake SIR

    You cannot compare 400+ innings wuth 100+

  • Sanket on August 16, 2008, 10:59 GMT

    Good write-up. Calculating strike-rate difference from the average strike-rate in that position for that era,and adding that number would have been better. A batsmen is supposed to play for the team and hence his scores can only be seen in perspective of his position. @mfin Tendulkar scored 3 times more than Richards because he played 3 times the no. of ODI's than Richards. And Richards played less ODI's because the frequency of ODI's was only 1/3rd the frequency during Sachin's time. Can't blame him for that.

  • AJAX on August 16, 2008, 10:13 GMT

    @Hawke... You would include "S Waugh" in your top ODI list... The same Steven Rodger Waugh with perhaps a most mediocre ODI batting average 32.9 and a strike rate of 75... Stevo might fight for a spot as one of the better allrounders but definitely has no place among the best ODI batsmen... you make this corny analysis look half decent... leave you patriotism at home retard

  • S.V.K.Sunil Kumar on August 16, 2008, 10:10 GMT

    Thanq Very Much Mr.Ananth for the analysis.But, I would like to answer Mr.Hawkes mail dated 15th August'08. He has written that " The title makes me laugh". And he did not mention Mr.Sachins name anywhere. I would like to clarify onething Hawke. viv had batted in the same position in both forms of the game. There was no pressure on him coz, then the WI team was doing great. All the top class bowlers except for a few were in the WI team.For Lara Consistency was the problem.so far it is ok. But you have mentioned Waugh a head of Sachin. This is eigth wonder in the world. In the other hand Sachin has carried the Indian team on his shoulders single handedly for so many years. He has faced very quality bowlers like Murali,Warn,Akram,Younis,McGrath,Donald,pollock and so on.. There has been a lot of burden on his shoulders. Billion of expectations. He has performed well in both form of the games scored 16000 in ODIs and alomst 12000 in Tests.Do not be jealous about his records.ok

  • Raj on August 16, 2008, 8:22 GMT

    ignoring not outs in ODIs as done in 3rd method is a big mistake and also unfair to many batsmen...is it fault of players like dhoni,bevan,klusner,hussey that they batted at 6,7 for 80% of their matches.Staying n.o. in an innings shud be credited to a batsman as better finisher.In Some innings even openers remain n.o. for 50ovr like sachin's h.s.186*.U shud give credit to such innings for playing thru full ovrs and in the time scoring 186 huge amont of runs. While many time no. 6 7 comes in when 20 runs r needed for victory.He remains n.o. on 12.Now if u ignore this n.o. then its really unfair. Also players shud be classified in diff. groups based on career length like 2000 to 5000 runs,5000 to 8000 and 8000+ runs...that will reveal real stats and will place viv,sehwag(180+ matches) in diff. group than sachin, jayasuriya(400+ matches) and ponting,ganguly,dravid(300+ matches) and gilchrist,afridi(250+ matches)

  • Richard on August 16, 2008, 6:03 GMT

    A very goos analysis and I always thaught that Zaheer and Richards were the bes ODI players in the history of the game and this proves it.

    Till the time Zaheer was playing he was the highest rungetter and the one who made most centuries in the ODIs and truly the Asian Bradman.

    And I would not agree with Kartik that teams with heavy hitters will always win against the likes of Hyden, Zaheer etc as these people surely knew how to pace their innings and play according to the situation than Afridi, Dhoni & co and the 1983 World Cup is a perfect example of that where India won against the likes of Fredrick, Greenidge, Richards, Lloyd etc

  • madhusudan on August 16, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    despite being a sachin fan i agree that viv is the best odi batsman ever easily but not because of quality of bowling as vvi has only 1odi 100 vs lillie , none vs haedlly but because that he vaerages 47+ with a strike rate of 90 when 220 waspar for the course , tendulkar ,zaheer abbas , ponting r other 3 top odi basman ever

  • Lew on August 16, 2008, 3:02 GMT

    This really does seem like a case of statistics telling you exactly what you ask them as opposed to actually answering the question. The third method weights the top five far too heavily, whilst the other two methods struggle with giving the top three any room for error.

    I can certainly understand the issue with not-outs, they are one of the frustrating idiosyncrasies with cricket statistics, but they are there to assist those who come lower down the order.

    Having only skimmed your other columns I am unsure if this has been brought up, but would there be a case for linking in the availability of balls remaining when considering things like strike rate and not-outs? I say this because it seems unfair to punish players who often come in with only a handful of deliveries remaining by counting their not-out as an innings.

    Perhaps even some kind of 'innings of relevance' stat? So as to do away, in a way, with those innings of 2* off 3, or 4* off 2. But also counting how many occur

  • rushied on August 16, 2008, 2:11 GMT

    You must be short sighted. where is chandrapaul?

  • Alim on August 16, 2008, 2:00 GMT

    A little off the topic but I always felt: "Richards was the King,Tendulkar is the Emperor!"

  • Faraaz on August 16, 2008, 1:43 GMT

    u kno this is not a true reflection when you see Sarwan are rated higher than Inzamam, Kallis, Aravinda De Silva..

  • dru on August 16, 2008, 1:42 GMT

    Sanath Jayasuriya is the greatest ODI batsman ever. Period. End of discussion.

  • Sach on August 16, 2008, 0:59 GMT

    your 3rd option is good but that should take into account the general scoring rates in respective era.Richards played in a slower scoring rate than Sehwag did etc,Hence something like OBIdx2 = (Runs/Innings) + (40.0 * Strike Rate * Decade strike rate average) where the decade strike rate avg is the generall average amond all those who played more than 50 matches in the decade(or for that matter two decades for those played longer) I think then yo'll find that VIV wold reign even higher and push an over-rated afridi lower as it should

  • Dan on August 16, 2008, 0:51 GMT

    I find the 'correcting for not outs' issue amusing. Before Bevan came along, it was widely considered impossible for late middle-order batsmen to ever have a decent average because they always had to come in and slog.

    Bevan comes along with an alternative approach (since emulated by Hussey and others) and now the issue is how unfair it is (in statistical comparison terms) that these batsmen accumulate too many not outs.

    As I said, amusing.

  • NZ Fan on August 16, 2008, 0:38 GMT

    I think the 3rd system is pretty good. NZ's best 3 ranked are Twose, Crowe, Astle. Twose is initially surprising, but then I realised he had an extended purple patch and his career was relaively short. I do agree that comparing the different eras is problematic. Richards' SR of 88 back then is probably worth 108 now. Maybe the only way to get a true rating is comparing the avg and SR of the player with the average avg and SR of all the batsmen (1-6) either in just the games he played, or maybe in his career span (eg. 1976-89 or whatever). Either way would be very cumbersome though.

  • David Barry on August 15, 2008, 23:21 GMT

    I'm puzzled about what you said on the lack of balls-faced data for Richards and Zaheer. Statsguru gives the balls faced for all of their ODI innings, and as far as I know has no gaps at all in balls-faced for ODI's.

  • Kartik on August 15, 2008, 21:58 GMT

    "The argument for this is typical, Viv faced more ferocious bowlers (Thommo, Lillie, than Sachin..."

    I am not sure Viv faced better bowlers. The best ODI bowlers in Viv's time were on Viv's own team. Most of his opponents had 1 good bowler and 4 other mediocre bowlers. Only 20-40%% of Viv's balls were from Imran, Lillee, Hadlee, Akram, etc. The other 80% were from easy bowlers (including Botham, who was not good in ODIs). Teams like India, England, and SL had no top-class bowler at all in Viv's time.

    Sachin, on the other hand, never had the best bowlers on his own team, and played in an era when most teams have 3 good bowlers. Think Wasim/Waqar/Saqlain, or McGrath/Warne/Lee, or Ambrose/Walsh/Bishop, or Donald/Pollock/Ntini. At least 60% of Sachin's balls were from top-class bowlers, unlike 20-40% for Richards.

    Actually, the only ODI bowler who bowled a lot to both Richards and Tendulkar, is Wasim Akram. Odd that no other bowler really spans both eras.

  • Peter Browne on August 15, 2008, 21:39 GMT

    Excellent analysis and a very good study in numbers. My worry is this is all to complex an exercise to arrive at a generally accepted, common knowledge. i.e. Richards is the king of them all. On a side note, I would love to see an indepth analysis on player contributions towards victories for their countries, not towards their own coffers. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  • Kartik on August 15, 2008, 21:38 GMT

    "it lead me to think about whether these top batsmen would make the greatest ODI team?"

    Excellent point by Jeff. It shows how a high strike rate can trump a high average in many cases, since not all batsmen are used in an ODI (unlike Tests).

    "Afridi, Gilchrist, Richards, Sehwag, Symonds, Dhoni, Kapil Dev plus the 4 bowlers above...."

    YES. A team with a Top-7 like that will almost always WIN against a team with Zaheer, Hayden, Tendulkar, Hussey, Bevan, Pietersen, because in the first team, only 1 or 2 out of 7 have to fire for the match to be won. The first team can only lose IF at least 6, if not all 7 of the top 7 fail.

    The second team would have high averages, but would run out of balls. They would end up like Boycott/England in the 1979 WC Final.

    In other words, the first team will set a score of 330 for 9. The second team, in chasing 331, will manage to be 221 for 2 after 40 overs, but will fail to score 110 off the last 10, despite having 8 wkts in hand.

  • Kartik on August 15, 2008, 21:26 GMT

    Tendulkar's Idx3 score will dip below Zaheer's by the time Tendulkar retires. That is, unless, Tendulkar has already played his last ODI (which is quite possible, given how he now misses more games than he plays).

  • mfin27 on August 15, 2008, 21:24 GMT

    Ananth, Great job here. Allow me to point out the most fundamental flaw in your analysis. If I had two hens & one gave 45 eggs everyday for 16 years and another gave 47 eggs everyday 6 years, which one would you pick? If you picked the second one, you picked a bad hen. The first one gave more eggs in a lifetime and hence is more valuable! Unless the second hen gave you a replacement hen after 6 years. But Richards did not leave another Richards, now did he? You are fundamentally ignoring the sheer volume of 16000 runs compared to 6000 runs by Richards. Essentially, you are picking a batsman who made 2 runs more per innings at a strike rate of 5 runs more per 100 balls in front of a batter who scored almost three times more runs! Seeing your strong IT background, in your past, you must have done an NPV( Net Present Value) analysis of some project. Whose NPV would be higher if you were valuing Richards and Tendulkar as a project? Needless to say, Sachin Tendulkar's. You got it.

  • DVS on August 15, 2008, 21:23 GMT

    @ Hawke...... "Sachin is nowhere close to Viv" Well, is there anyone? I guess Sachin is the closest. He is second only to Viv.

  • Kartik on August 15, 2008, 21:19 GMT

    I think it is fair to point out that Richards and Zaheer played when scores above 250 were rare, and 55/60 over matches made strike rates lower. I usually am not one to penalize modern batsmen for having it easy, but in this case, that factor is just too big.

    That Richards and Zaheer are the only 2 players on the list who played before 1992 shows how much better they were than their contemporaries. Notice how no other pre-1992 batsman makes it. None among Greenidge, Haynes, GS Chappell, Miandad, Jones, etc, makes it.

    At the same time, no post-1990 Batsman is overwhelmingly superior to his peers.

    Thus, the Idx3 measure should incorporate another dimension : what percentage of the runs in the match (the sum of both teams) was made by the batsman? Richards will clearly widen his lead over Tendulkar with this measure. There were many cases when Richards scored over TWICE as much as the top score on the opposing side. Tendulkar has not done this often.

  • iftekhar on August 15, 2008, 21:19 GMT

    Thanks for the excellent article. But 17 out of the top 20 are recent batsmen (played after year 2005). It's surely because the game has changed. I think ODI greats like GChappell, Miandad, Haynes, Greenidge, Turner deserve to be in the top 20 but didn't make it because it was a different game then (as you mentioned, 250 was a very good score, almost like 300 today).

  • Kartik on August 15, 2008, 21:05 GMT

    So the current Indian team has 3 of the 7 greatest batsmen of all time. One is even a wicketkeeper.

    Yet, the Indian team was never one of the very best teams, and certainly not in the last few years.

    Maybe it is because the other 8 players are weak. Maybe it is because Dhoni arrived after Tendulkar was already past his best (and missing half of India's matches). The Tendulkar of 1998-2003 combined with the Dhoni of today would be something.

    But clearly, 3 of the top 7 batsmen of all time can still make a mediocre team.

  • GG on August 15, 2008, 20:41 GMT

    you must also take the number of ODIs into consideration when you take strike rate, batting avg, the number of runs etc. How can you compare 187 ODIs to 417 ODIs... can a batsman who played 187 ODIs be able to maintain the same strike rate and batting avg when he reaches 417 ODIs ? I would think their Avg and strike rate will drop ATLEAST a few points if not more. You should give more credit/ weigh in # of ODIs to batsmen who ve plaed so many ODIs .. I also feel jayasuriya is too low on the list. The man has played 400 + ODIs

  • GG on August 15, 2008, 20:38 GMT

    you must also take the number of ODIs into consideration when you take strike rate, batting avg, the number of runs etc. How can you compare 187 ODIs to 417 ODIs... can a batsman who played 187 ODIs be able to maintain the same strike rate and batting avg when he reaches 417 ODIs ? I would think their Avg and strike rate will drop ATLEAST a few points if not more. You should give more credit/ weigh in # of ODIs to batsmen who ve plaed so many ODIs .. I also feel jayasuriya is too low on the list. The man has played 400 + ODIs

  • Marty on August 15, 2008, 20:31 GMT

    Fascinating summary, well done. My only question is what about longevity? It's surely much easier to fashion a record over say 75 inns than 150 or even 400? Why is there no qualification? May I suggest 150 inns and then do a list?

  • Nalin on August 15, 2008, 19:43 GMT

    IT IS FAIRLY A GOOD METHOD TO FIND WHO IS GOOD IN ODI's BUT THIS IN NOT THE BEST AS IT DID NOT CONSIDER THE ERA, THE RULE, GENERAL STRIKE RATES AT THE ERA, PINCH HITTING, NO. OF MATCHING WINNING PERFORMANCES, 15 OVER RULE, 20 OVER RULE, FIELD RETRICTIONS, MATCH CONDITION, PITCH CONDITION AND SO ON.... IN LATE 80's AND EARLY 90's RICHARDS, MIANDAD & DEAN JONES WERE THE BEST WHEN THERE ARE NO BATTING FAVOURED RULES. SO THIS IS NOT A GOOD WAY TO MEASURE WHO IS THE BEST IN ODI'S ONE THING IS CORRECT WHEN 95% OF THE PLAYERS AVERAGE S/RATES UNDER 75, RICHARDS HAD IT 88.7 AND HE BATTED DOWN THE ORDER TOO. SO HE IS THE BEST. WELL LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE THIER OPINION ON WHO IS THE NEXT ONE... WELL IS IS DIFFICULT TO TELL...

  • sanjeev on August 15, 2008, 19:38 GMT

    has anyone done an analysis of who has most frequently scored a 50 in tests? (100s..its likely Bradman...and so it might be the same for 50s too.) However, who are in the top 10 most consistent batsmen; scoring a 50 every x innings. Minimum of 50 test innings may be the criteria.

  • V.S.S.SARMA on August 15, 2008, 19:25 GMT

    I feel that judging a batsman's performance has got to be relative to the other batsmen in the same series. If everybody scores well, a century may not be very important but in a low scoring match, if a batsman scores even a 50 it should be valuable. Absolute numbers do not matter. We got to see (a) Runs per Match (b) Runs per Innings (c) The percentage of a batsman's runs in the runs made by all the batsmen in a series and determine the domination index of a batsman in a series. If you do the same for his entire career, you get a domination index for each batsman which is representative of the domination tendency of a batsman. This number can be scaled to 1000. We can have a minimum qualification of about 40 ODIs. I get names like: Dean Jones, Zaheer Abbas, Geoff Marsh, Haynes, Greenidge, Richards, Gary Kirsten, Kallis, Nick Knight, David Boon, Mark Waugh, Sachin, Hayden, Peter Kirsten, Turner, Pietersen, Wessels, Miandad, Robin Smith, Martin Crowe, Neil Johnson, Ponting, etc.

  • mohanlal on August 15, 2008, 19:13 GMT

    Cannot fully agree with this analysis.There are a lot of other chalk and cheese factors that need to be taken into account and evaluated.For eg: Sachin(16361)at 2 and Saheer at 3(2574).Total Runs scored have no value? opening bats have adv of filed restrictions & dis adv of moving ball.not outs ..it is the batsmans credit to remain not out.cannot neglect.these are some. like wise several factors...

  • crickic on August 15, 2008, 19:06 GMT

    Your article has indeed brought out some interesting comparisons.

    However, I feel this is a very simplistic view of batting performance. e.g. - How can one compare Tendulkar to Bevan when in fact their role in the game is so different?

    How are the foll. factors taken into account in such statistics - Batting position - Quality of opposition - Keeping an eye on required run rate when chasing - Changing batting strategy at the sudden loss of crucial wickets - Motivating your partner at the crease - Playing well inspite of injuries - Demoralizing opposition by sheer quality of batting

  • Kumar on August 15, 2008, 18:57 GMT

    There seems to be a typo in there. Michael Hussey is Left Handed , but the ~ sign is missing for him in your tables

  • Faisal on August 15, 2008, 18:47 GMT

    I would also through another factor to judge the greatness of an ODI batsman. His contribution, leading to the victories for his team. If these batsmen have scored good but the teams lost, then there is something wrong about it.

  • Vivek Mohite on August 15, 2008, 18:46 GMT

    Previous article by same author used BQI to list top 10 bowlers of all times and Curtly Ambrose was on top of that list. 5 of those 10 (Ambrose, Hadlee, Donald, McGrath and Pollock) have bowled to Tendular while NONE repeat NONE bowled to Bradman. So Bradman being best is a myth perpetuated without solid evidence or thought. Moreover, fielding wasn't good at that time neither was third empire used to give runouts. Tendulkar on top of this list only reaffirms his supremacy. Thanks Ananth!!

  • Ullas on August 15, 2008, 18:43 GMT

    I was wondering why you added the left-hand batsman column to the tables. Also, you missed Michael Hussey as a leftie in all the tables. Very interesting analysis though :) I wonder if there is an ideal way to quantify not-outs in ODIs. I think it's nature's way to even out batting averages since middle order batsmen like Dhoni and Hussey often have to throw their bats at everything and otherwise see a chase through to the end.

  • Kalyan on August 15, 2008, 18:42 GMT

    Hey Ananth, you forgot one more important thing, the lower down you bat not only the lower your chances of getting out, but also the lesser you score runs. So I do not think the runs/innings is a good criteria by itself.

  • Kay Arr on August 15, 2008, 18:14 GMT

    Great article/analysis. Just wondering how one factors in something like sustained performance - under 200 ODIs for most batsman vs. over 400 for Jayasuriya & Tendulkar? We know that for most sportsman there is a natural decline that sets in. Ignoring that factor would be akin to how revised targets were set in rain curtailed ODIs many years ago - simply based on the run rate of the first team.

  • Karthik Ramakrishnan on August 15, 2008, 18:14 GMT

    Great article/analysis. Just wondering how one factors in something like sustained performance - under 200 ODIs for most batsman vs. over 400 for Jayasuriya & Tendulkar? We know that for most sportsman there is a natural decline that sets in. Ignoring that factor would be akin to how revised targets were set in rain curtailed ODIs many years ago - simply based on the run rate of the first team.

  • Anand Kumar on August 15, 2008, 18:11 GMT

    Brilliant!!

  • shax on August 15, 2008, 17:18 GMT

    lol dude wheres Jayasuriya? he has to be among d top 3, d stats may not say it but common fear among his opponents says it doesn't it?? [[ Jayasuriya is in the top 20. You could say Jayasuriya should be in the top 3, another might say Lara should be in the top 3, another might say Dhoni should be in the top 3, another might say Hayden should be in the top 3, another might say Gilchrist should be in the top 3, another might say Smith should be in the top 3 and so on. The point is that we all have our favourite players. Not all of them, howeve, could come in the top 3. ]]

  • Swapnil on August 15, 2008, 15:59 GMT

    I am a new fan of this Excellent Blog. Can you please tell me what the ~ next to some players names in the tables are supposed to mean? [[ I apologize for not explaining the same. '~' means a left handed batsman. ]]

  • Henry on August 15, 2008, 15:19 GMT

    I think the last analysis is slightly biased towards opening batsmen, but I agree with the aim to reduce the impact of 'not-outs'. I guess, without not-outs, your stat becomes closer to a measure of the absolute impact of the player on the game...

  • amit on August 15, 2008, 15:19 GMT

    ananth the article makes good reading but it only proves your self indulgence. Unfortunately, the last statement in the article is a big put off (it really sounds a bit pompous praising yourself - I talked abt it way back in 2001 - in your own article). [[ It is certainly not self-indulgence. Way back in 2002 I was the first analyst who ever presented the ODI Batting Index in a measurable form. Similarly I was the first one to analyze and come out with the concept of "Sessions won or lost" This concept is today freely discussed. These are not copyright ideas. But let me at least get the credit for thinking about these ideas first.Also if I do not mention about this in my own posting who else will. ]]

  • Engle on August 15, 2008, 15:08 GMT

    Bevan who ranked very high in the 1st two lists does not make the top 20 of the 3rd list. Quite a drop. Agree that not-out's mean little if anything in ODI's.

    And Zaheer Abbas, the earliest batsman of the lot, ranks a very high #3 in the last list. Quite telling since batting in those ODI days were more sedate than today, yet against stronger opposition.

    As always, stats tell only a part of the story and have to be married with public perception.

  • sandeep on August 15, 2008, 15:05 GMT

    One should be able to weight the different innings of a batsmen based on circumstances (quality of opposition, pressure of situation, finals/semi finals and so on. Would you rather have Javed Mianded or Zaheer Abbas batting for you when you really need it? Hussey or Trescothick?

  • Tanzeel ur Rehman on August 15, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    You find Zaheer Abbas' presence in the top 10 surprising? I find it surprising that a batsman who has elicited comparisons with the greatest batsman in the history of the game *cough* Asian Bradman *cough* is not good enough according to you to be in the top 3 of ODI batsmen. Secondly, I want to draw your attention to the fact that some of the statistical figures you have used are incorrect. Viv Richards' strike rate is 90.2 not 88.7 and Zaheer Abass' SR is 84.8 not 78. Im sure there must be other mistakes as well but these two figures stand out because most people are familiar with them. [[First Zaheer Abbas. The surprise was that Zaheer was found in higher position thanr to Lara, Gilchrist, Hayden, Dhoni, Ponting et al. Looks like even if I compliment a player, people will find fault with me. On strike rates, please see comments since made in the main article. I have also mentioned that the attacking players mighl lose out. It is possible that Zaheer has lost out. He might very well be in second place. ]]

  • Suman on August 15, 2008, 14:24 GMT

    I agree with your rating.But who is the greatest batsman of all time.Viv Richards is the greatest ODI batsman and sir Don Bradman, the greatest test batsman.But considering both the forms there's no denying that Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest cricket batsman the world have ever seen.

  • Roger on August 15, 2008, 14:01 GMT

    I don't see Desmond Haynes in the list. This must be a mistake. [[ Desmond Haynes is placed somewhat low because his RPI is 36.49, his strike rate is only 63.7 leading to a Batting Index of 61.99. Compare this with Greenidge whose RPI and strike rate both are higher. ]]

  • Andymc on August 15, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    It cannot be a good formula if an ODI player as great as Michael Bevan is so far down. To put it in context, at 33rd on the list, if you put out teams with 7 batsmen in each (assuming there's enough keepers and part-time bowlers around), the best 'finisher' who ever played would be in the '5th XI'. [[ Nothing to prevent you from adopting the FIRST table in which Bevan is placed at no.5 and will be in the First XI. ]]

  • Rahul on August 15, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    Imarn Khan once said that he rates Zaheer Abbas hugher than Viv Richards!!

  • Hawke on August 15, 2008, 13:35 GMT

    The title makes me laugh.Tendulkar is no where near Sir Richards in any form of the game.Viv was a terror for anyone. Sir Vib tore apart many of the best bowling cricket ever saw,though I would have loved to see him play against the wisest of all fast bolwers i.e.M A Holding. Anyways,for me the top would be in Tests:Bradman,Richards,Lara.In ODIs Richards,Lara & S Waugh.

  • Osmal on August 15, 2008, 13:22 GMT

    From a quantitative perspective this analysis is relatively robust. However, as with most indicators in cricket there is no consideration of the quality of the opposing bowlers against whom these runs were scored. I guess for this to happen we will have to dig deeper and make an analysis of the net bowling average of all bowlers that a given batsman faced over his career and then find the product of this value and Idx3. The argument for this is typical, Viv faced more ferocious bowlers (Thommo, Lillie, than Sachin...however it can be argued that Sachin faced more arguably more economical and destructive bowlers (Mgrath, Warne, Murali) than Viv. But how does one begin to quantify ferocity?

  • anirudh on August 15, 2008, 13:08 GMT

    can we also see median scores for batsman instead of just averages. Whether its for tests or ODIs. Thanks

  • Manish Modi on August 15, 2008, 13:00 GMT

    Fantastic! I think Index 3 is perfect. Very well thought out. Please devise something to check the true worth of test performances as well!

    For tests, I have two measures: A Runs per test B Test per century

    For me, a very good top order batsman consistently scores over 80 runs per test and takes 4 or less than four tests to score a century.

    Both Gavaskar and G Chappell easily fit into this category.

    Bradman tops with nearly 138 runs per test and 1.8 tests per century.

    What do you think of these two criteria? For me, criteria A is number one. There have been great batsmen, stupendously consistent, who have score centuries less frequently than the others, but have scored even more heavily than Gavaskar and G. Chappell. Both Sir Jack Hobbs and Ken Barrington fall into this category.

    best wishes, Manish

  • terry on August 15, 2008, 12:11 GMT

    Viv Richards is perhaps the greatest batsman ever, and taking into account his Test and ODI record, his record breaking batting, and his fearlessness(cap wearing) and the fear he put into bowlers your findings here don't surprise me. Bradman's feats are untouchable in Tests, but could he have ripped into attacks and hit mulitple sixes that are required in modern limited-overs cricket? We will never know. I'd pick Bradman,VIV,Lara for Tests 1,2,3 and for ODIs Viv, Tendulkar,(any number of players) at 1,2,3.

  • Jeff on August 15, 2008, 12:03 GMT

    Another great blog Ananth!

    While I don't disagree with your conclusions around who is the greatest individual ODI batsman - it lead me to think about whether these top batsmen would make the greatest ODI team?

    Based on average & SR, your top 7 would score score an average of 263 runs and take an average of 297 balls to do it, leaving the tail to bat 3 balls and giving a probable ave score of around 265. Given that Sehwag, Richards & Tendulkar could fiddle 10 overs, then 4 top bowlers added to this would make a good team (how about Hadlee, Holding, Garner, & Ambrose?)

    However, you could get a higher score using other players - a line up of Afridi, Gilchrist, Richards, Sehwag, Symonds, Dhoni, Kapil Dev plus the 4 bowlers above would score an average of 277 from 300 balls. They would also be a better bowling team, with more options.

    Sorry for the slight tangent, but I guess that I would rather have Afridi & Symonds in my team, despite Abbas & Tendulkar being "better" batsmen.

  • Samantak on August 15, 2008, 11:30 GMT

    Older players have low strike rate simply because they played at a different age. Just look at the last table. Do you really believe Chris Gayle is a better player than Daisy Haynes or for that matter Gautam Gambhir a better ODI batsman than Sourav Ganguly? [[ Once we fix and accept all players who have scored 2000 runs, how can Gambhir who has scored 2018 runs at an RPI of 36.04 and Strike rate of 82.7 and an Index value of 69.12 be considered inferior to Ganguly who has scored 11363 runs at a RPI of 37.88 and a Strike rate of 73.7 and an Index value of 67.36. Because he has not scored so many runs. In that case do Graeme Pollock's and George Headley 60+ averages (at around 2000+ runs) get devalued because they did not get opportunity to score 10000 runs. Once the base criteria has been set up, all batsmen who get in get equal opportunity. Gayle and Haynes have the SAME Rpi s and Gayle has a Strike rate which is 27% more than Haynes. Maybe Haynes did not need to score fast. That does not mean we devalue Gayle who has scored as demanded by the situation. ]]

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  • Samantak on August 15, 2008, 11:30 GMT

    Older players have low strike rate simply because they played at a different age. Just look at the last table. Do you really believe Chris Gayle is a better player than Daisy Haynes or for that matter Gautam Gambhir a better ODI batsman than Sourav Ganguly? [[ Once we fix and accept all players who have scored 2000 runs, how can Gambhir who has scored 2018 runs at an RPI of 36.04 and Strike rate of 82.7 and an Index value of 69.12 be considered inferior to Ganguly who has scored 11363 runs at a RPI of 37.88 and a Strike rate of 73.7 and an Index value of 67.36. Because he has not scored so many runs. In that case do Graeme Pollock's and George Headley 60+ averages (at around 2000+ runs) get devalued because they did not get opportunity to score 10000 runs. Once the base criteria has been set up, all batsmen who get in get equal opportunity. Gayle and Haynes have the SAME Rpi s and Gayle has a Strike rate which is 27% more than Haynes. Maybe Haynes did not need to score fast. That does not mean we devalue Gayle who has scored as demanded by the situation. ]]

  • Jeff on August 15, 2008, 12:03 GMT

    Another great blog Ananth!

    While I don't disagree with your conclusions around who is the greatest individual ODI batsman - it lead me to think about whether these top batsmen would make the greatest ODI team?

    Based on average & SR, your top 7 would score score an average of 263 runs and take an average of 297 balls to do it, leaving the tail to bat 3 balls and giving a probable ave score of around 265. Given that Sehwag, Richards & Tendulkar could fiddle 10 overs, then 4 top bowlers added to this would make a good team (how about Hadlee, Holding, Garner, & Ambrose?)

    However, you could get a higher score using other players - a line up of Afridi, Gilchrist, Richards, Sehwag, Symonds, Dhoni, Kapil Dev plus the 4 bowlers above would score an average of 277 from 300 balls. They would also be a better bowling team, with more options.

    Sorry for the slight tangent, but I guess that I would rather have Afridi & Symonds in my team, despite Abbas & Tendulkar being "better" batsmen.

  • terry on August 15, 2008, 12:11 GMT

    Viv Richards is perhaps the greatest batsman ever, and taking into account his Test and ODI record, his record breaking batting, and his fearlessness(cap wearing) and the fear he put into bowlers your findings here don't surprise me. Bradman's feats are untouchable in Tests, but could he have ripped into attacks and hit mulitple sixes that are required in modern limited-overs cricket? We will never know. I'd pick Bradman,VIV,Lara for Tests 1,2,3 and for ODIs Viv, Tendulkar,(any number of players) at 1,2,3.

  • Manish Modi on August 15, 2008, 13:00 GMT

    Fantastic! I think Index 3 is perfect. Very well thought out. Please devise something to check the true worth of test performances as well!

    For tests, I have two measures: A Runs per test B Test per century

    For me, a very good top order batsman consistently scores over 80 runs per test and takes 4 or less than four tests to score a century.

    Both Gavaskar and G Chappell easily fit into this category.

    Bradman tops with nearly 138 runs per test and 1.8 tests per century.

    What do you think of these two criteria? For me, criteria A is number one. There have been great batsmen, stupendously consistent, who have score centuries less frequently than the others, but have scored even more heavily than Gavaskar and G. Chappell. Both Sir Jack Hobbs and Ken Barrington fall into this category.

    best wishes, Manish

  • anirudh on August 15, 2008, 13:08 GMT

    can we also see median scores for batsman instead of just averages. Whether its for tests or ODIs. Thanks

  • Osmal on August 15, 2008, 13:22 GMT

    From a quantitative perspective this analysis is relatively robust. However, as with most indicators in cricket there is no consideration of the quality of the opposing bowlers against whom these runs were scored. I guess for this to happen we will have to dig deeper and make an analysis of the net bowling average of all bowlers that a given batsman faced over his career and then find the product of this value and Idx3. The argument for this is typical, Viv faced more ferocious bowlers (Thommo, Lillie, than Sachin...however it can be argued that Sachin faced more arguably more economical and destructive bowlers (Mgrath, Warne, Murali) than Viv. But how does one begin to quantify ferocity?

  • Hawke on August 15, 2008, 13:35 GMT

    The title makes me laugh.Tendulkar is no where near Sir Richards in any form of the game.Viv was a terror for anyone. Sir Vib tore apart many of the best bowling cricket ever saw,though I would have loved to see him play against the wisest of all fast bolwers i.e.M A Holding. Anyways,for me the top would be in Tests:Bradman,Richards,Lara.In ODIs Richards,Lara & S Waugh.

  • Rahul on August 15, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    Imarn Khan once said that he rates Zaheer Abbas hugher than Viv Richards!!

  • Andymc on August 15, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    It cannot be a good formula if an ODI player as great as Michael Bevan is so far down. To put it in context, at 33rd on the list, if you put out teams with 7 batsmen in each (assuming there's enough keepers and part-time bowlers around), the best 'finisher' who ever played would be in the '5th XI'. [[ Nothing to prevent you from adopting the FIRST table in which Bevan is placed at no.5 and will be in the First XI. ]]

  • Roger on August 15, 2008, 14:01 GMT

    I don't see Desmond Haynes in the list. This must be a mistake. [[ Desmond Haynes is placed somewhat low because his RPI is 36.49, his strike rate is only 63.7 leading to a Batting Index of 61.99. Compare this with Greenidge whose RPI and strike rate both are higher. ]]