Trivia - batting September 6, 2008

The best two ODI batsmen - Richards and Tendulkar

The large number of comments received and the very valid points mentioned in these have made me come out with a follow-up to my article on the best ODI batsman
115

The large number of comments received and the very valid points mentioned in these have made me come out with a follow-up to my article on the best ODI batsman. In the article itself I had mentioned the following points as worthy of consideration for possible tweaks. I see no additions to these now.

1. Avoidance of double weighting for "Wins".
2. Possible cap on runs scored weightage.
3. Adjust for the paucity of matches played during the early 10 years.
4. Giving weight to key tournament wins such as World Cup and Champion's Trophy.
5. The subjective nature of MOMs, already mentioned by me in the main post did not go well with readers.
6. Quite a few readers have, while accepting Tendulkar's position at no.1, have questioned the wide gap between Tendulkar and Richards. It worries some readers that this gap will keep on widening.

Let me deal with these one by one. The last point is automatically taken care of by the tweaks.

1. Wins weightage and avoiding double weightage:

Ultimately winning has to carry some weightage in any analysis. Why do we respect and admire the 1980s West Indian teams. Not just because they had great players but because they won more than a fair share of the matches played. The recent Australian team might not be as admired as the earlier West Indian teams. However they are certainly respected, by peer players and viewers alike. I have looked at this carefully and have decided not to do any changes. The Win% does not seem to have any problems. The actual Wins had some comments but that carries only 5% weightage.

2. Possible cap on runs scored weightage and adjusting for the paucity of matches played during the early 10 years.

I have combined these two points. First I considered putting a cap on the runs scored weightage. The problem is that whatever figure I choose as the cap, it will only affect the very few players above that cap. For instance if I fix the cap at 10.0 points, only the 7 batsmen who have scored above 10,000 runs will be affected. That seems too arbitrary and discriminatory to me. The purpose would only be to put down a few players which is wrong.

The better alternative would be to leave the runs scored weightage as it is and adjust the early players' runs scored points upwards by an acceptable factor. This also means that we would increase certain players' rating points, for a valid reason, and not penalise a few.

After a few trials and errors, I have come out with the following formula which, I feel, would be acceptable to most readers and critics. This is a linear and simple formula.

No. of years played by the batsman: YEARS

Total number of matches played during these years: MATCHES

YEARS x 75 Multiplying Factor = ---------- MATCHES

Runs scored Index points = Runs scored Index points x Multiplying Factor.

Note: 75 is the average number of matches played per year during the period 1971-2008. Taking the average over all the 38 years will be less beneficial to the earlier era batsmen than taking the average, say, over the recent 10 years, working to 140. I am ready to accept this since the last 10 years have seen the ridiculuous peak of 191 matches during 2007 and so on. We have to allow for the natural growth patterns being maintained.
Example of Richards' adjustment
-------------------------------
Career span: 16 years (1975 to 1991)
Matches during career: 657 (22:first to 678:last)
Adjusting Factor: (16 x 75) / 657 = 1.8264
Richards' Runs scored index value = 6721/1000 = 6.721
Adjusted Runs scored index value = 6.721 x 1.8264 = 12.28
This looks eminently fair and equitable. What this tweak says is that if there had been more matches played during Richards' career of 16 years, he would have played in 341 matches and scored 12,280 runs. The only assumption is that the batsmen would have maintained their average. This is a very fair assumption.

I have taken all the matches played as the basis instead of the matches played by the batsman's country since this is a better method over a long period of time. Also the matches skipped do not play any point.

There is no doubt that the readers will come out with simple and complex alternatives to this segment. No denying that these may also be better. However I have gone on a simple, easy-to-understand-and-implement algorithm. The objective of redressing the balance between today's batsmen and earlier batsmen has been achieved.

Care is taken that if the Multiplying Factor is < 1.0, the adjustment does not take place. In other words no current player is penalised.

3. Giving weight to World Cup and Champion's Trophy wins & avoiding the subjective weighting for MOMs:

Readers will note that the MOM issue was raised by me in the original article itself. I myself am concerned with the subjective nature of MOMs and the fact that for many years batsmen got the preference while assigning MOMs. I cannot also deny the validity of statements asking for weight to be given for World Cup successes. These are once-in-four-years grand events and doing well in these is very essential for all top batsmen. I have also considered the 5 ICC/Champion's Trophys, this being second only to the 9 World Cups. No other tournament has been considered. With one stroke I have taken care of these two points.

What I have done is to completely remove the MOM weightings. Indtead the 5 points are allocated for Major Cup wins in the following manner.

World Cup wins: 1.0 point.
World Cup finalists: 0.5 point.
ICC/Champions' Trophy wins: 0.5 point.

Both Sri Lanka and India which shared the 2002 ICC Trophy get 0.5 point each. Again there may be arguments. However let me say this. One can argue till the cows come home, go out and then come home again, there is no single perfect answer. With 5 points available for allocation, this seems to be very fair. The top point scorers are given below.

Ponting: 4.0 points (3 WC wins + 1 WC finalist + 1 ICT win).
Gilchrist: 3.50 points (3 WC wins + 1 ICT win).
Richards: 2.50 points (2 WC wins + 1 WC finalist)
...
Tendulkar: 1.00 points (1 WC finalist + 1 ICT win)
It can be seen that Richards and Tendulkar, each with a WC finalist tag, are not too far apart. Also Tendulkar could add to his silverware.

Let us now look at the revised table.

ODI : The best batsmen ever - upto match no 2759 (31 Aug 2008)

No Cty Batsman Total Runs Avge R/I S/R BwQty Wins Win% % TS WC/Icc

100.0 20.0 15.0 5.0 25.0 15.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0

1.Win Richards I.V.A 77.37 12.28 11.75 4.02 24.60 12.20 2.64 3.53 3.85 2.50 2.Ind Tendulkar S.R 75.96 16.36 11.08 4.02 21.16 12.13 4.12 2.47 3.61 1.00 3.Aus Ponting R.T 73.09 11.11 10.81 3.81 19.63 12.63 4.32 3.59 3.19 4.00 4.Aus Gilchrist A.C 71.73 9.62 8.97 3.45 23.59 12.12 4.04 3.52 2.93 3.50 5.Slk Jayasuriya S.T 70.61 12.80 8.18 3.13 22.52 12.01 4.44 2.64 2.89 2.00 6.Aus Bevan M.G 67.96 6.91 13.40 3.53 18.31 13.88 3.10 3.34 3.00 2.50 7.Win Haynes D.L 66.93 12.38 10.34 3.65 16.74 12.16 3.18 3.34 3.63 1.50 8.Pak Inzamam-ul-Haq 66.74 11.74 9.88 3.35 18.31 11.81 4.28 2.83 3.04 1.50 9.Pak Javed Miandad 65.21 11.04 10.43 3.39 17.98 13.04 2.38 2.55 3.40 1.00 10.Aus Symonds A 65.20 5.01 10.09 3.19 22.41 12.58 2.98 3.86 2.58 2.50 11.Win Lara B.C 65.19 10.40 10.12 3.60 19.64 12.38 2.78 2.33 3.43 0.50 12.Saf Kallis J.H 65.15 9.61 11.17 3.64 17.33 12.98 3.50 3.15 3.26 0.50 13.Win Greenidge C.G 64.65 9.45 11.26 4.04 17.70 10.49 1.80 3.52 3.88 2.50 14.Aus Waugh M.E 64.49 8.50 9.84 3.60 19.39 12.29 3.04 3.11 3.22 1.50 15.Aus Hayden M.L 64.08 6.13 10.95 3.96 19.36 12.26 2.38 3.70 3.34 2.00 16.Ind Dravid R 64.00 10.59 9.87 3.44 17.36 13.25 3.14 2.36 3.00 1.00 17.Ind Ganguly S.C 63.84 11.36 10.26 3.79 18.14 10.64 2.98 2.40 3.27 1.00 18.Slk de Silva P.A 63.47 9.28 8.73 3.14 20.61 12.52 2.56 2.08 3.06 1.50 19.Aus Waugh S.R 63.24 7.57 8.23 2.63 19.26 13.75 3.92 3.02 2.38 2.50 20.Pak Saeed Anwar 62.98 8.82 9.80 3.62 20.20 10.95 2.82 2.85 3.42 0.50 21.Win Lloyd C.H 62.88 5.74 9.77 2.83 22.05 12.17 1.32 3.79 2.71 2.50 22.Aus Chappell G.S 62.82 10.70 10.05 3.24 21.60 10.27 0.70 2.36 3.39 0.50 23.Aus Jones D.M 62.26 6.99 11.15 3.77 18.86 11.99 1.96 2.99 3.55 1.00 24.Pak Mohammad Yousuf 61.81 9.24 10.80 3.64 18.19 10.81 3.12 2.90 3.12 0.00 25.Saf Rhodes J.N 61.75 5.93 8.78 2.70 20.11 15.00 3.10 3.16 2.46 0.50 26.Aus Hussey M.E.K 61.61 2.39 13.91 3.47 20.54 12.26 1.30 3.57 2.68 1.50 27.Ind Sehwag V 61.36 5.81 8.11 3.12 23.82 12.41 1.90 2.49 2.70 1.00 28.Saf Gibbs H.H 61.31 7.59 9.12 3.39 20.24 11.95 2.88 3.12 3.03 0.00 29.Pak Zaheer Abbas 61.23 6.53 11.91 4.29 22.42 8.82 0.60 2.42 4.25 0.00 30.Ind Azharuddin M 61.21 9.38 9.23 3.04 18.97 12.09 3.20 2.40 2.90 0.00

Richards has gained on two indices, the run scored index and Cup wins index. These are sufficient to move him just ahead of Tendulkar. Tendulkar could catch up with Richards by scoring additional runs while maintaining his average and run-rate figures. He could also win the World Cup and/or Champions' Trophy.

Ponting, Gilchrist and Jayasuriya exchange places. Bevan, Haynes, Miandad and Symonds move up. Lara, Kallis and Ganguly move out of the Top 10.

What is important is that in the earlier top-10 group there was only one player from an earlier era, Richards. Now we have three players, all great ones worthy of this placing. These are Richards, Haynes and Javed Miandad.

To view the complete list, click here

A final note to the readers.

Richards was the uncrowned king of his era between 1975 and 1990. Tendulkar similarly was the greatest batsman of his era, between 1990 and now. These are the two greatest batsmen of all time. The top placement of either of these batsmen does not demean the other. To recognise Richards' greatness it is not necessary to put Tendulkar down. Similarly Tendulkar need not be deified by villifying Richards. You would honour your own favourite batsmen if you recognise the greatness of the other great batsmen. Neither of them needs nor deserves blind hero worship. Simply accept that they are the two greatest ODI batsmen ever.

Did Richards cause the loss of 1983 WC for West Indies. Did Tendulkar cause the loss of the 2003 WC for India. No way. It was the collective inability of the respective losing teams to rise to the occasion which lost them the matches. To be fair, it was the totally committed way India played in 1983 and Australia played in 2003 which made them deserved winners. Any other interpretation takes credit away from the winning teams' performances.

A similar situation exists with the 1992 and 1996 World Cups. Imran Khan, Inzamam, Miandad, Wasim Akram, Aaqib and Mushtaq all contributed to a great Pakistani win. Four years later, Aravinda D'Silva, Gurusinha and Ranatunga fashioned a wonderful victory. I suggest you savour these great moments instead of arguing about odd failures.

Let me also mention that I would not have gone ahead with these tweaks if I had not been convinced of the validity of such changes. It is difficult for me to acknowledge specific readers since there were many who sent in invaluable comments. My thanks to all these discerning readers.

There will be no follow-up to this follow-up article. Comments will be published only if they respect the writers, other readers and more importantly players, all of them great ones. And, please, positively none of these "XYZ IS THE GREATEST." type of messages.

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

  • Srisam on October 16, 2008, 19:39 GMT

    In my opinion, I think that Richards is by far the best one day player of all time. Considering the fact that he did not have any apparent weakness in his batting; many all time great bowlers wondered how to get him out, and many suggested that let him loose, don’t over attack, and wait for him to make a mistake etc because he was so dominant equally on spin and pace.

    Where as in Tendulkar, his inability handle quality quick bowling especially shot pitch stuff was very obvious weakness. One can contain Tendulkar by bowling a quick bouncer but no one would dare take a chance by bowling a bouncer to intimidate Richards for the bowler would see the ball sailing out of the grounds. The way he handled fearsome pace of Thomson and Len Pasco in Australia would vouch for this argument

  • eric on October 16, 2008, 18:31 GMT

    tendulkar and richards are no doubt the best but ponting is coming..l do not agree with guys like chris gayle being left out of the picture.those are the real one day player..would you coose a team with s.waugh leaving out gayle..but cheers the least stands out..my best bowler of all time is wasim akram..respect to pollock,mcgrath but guys watch out for Lee...

  • ARK. on October 13, 2008, 1:22 GMT

    [[ Ananth: In your anxiety to show off and get your comments published you have missed reading the follow-up article to this in which, I have done re-calculation of the parameters, based on reader inputs. This has put Richards comfortably ahead of Tendulkar. Kindly take the trouble of reading the follow-up article IN FULL and you will see that all comments such as yours have been incorporated. I suggest that next time you do not rush to mail in a half-baked manner. I will repeat, not that I need to, Tendulkar is not one of my favourite batsmen. ]]

    Haha well done Anantha .... 'Neutral' ppl like you should do more such 'unbiased' analysis. Very nicely you deleted several points that I had made in my posts and have put up only those that don't enlist the valid points that I made - points that show how much superior King Vivian was to Tendulkar - considering the absence of protective gear; of batsmen-protecting, bowler-crippling and scoring enhancing rules; of covered slower pitches; of superfast men hounding batsmen; factors that Richards had to negotiate and Tendulkar did not. You also left out the luminaries among fast bowlers that I named from the 70s and 80s; not to mention the two GREATEST innings ever played in ODI history - the 153* against Lillee-Thommo-Hogg and the 189* vs Willis-Botham-Foster. Keep it up Anantha .... we need Sachin fans and 'patriots' like yourself. Continue with your analysis. Good luck.

  • FISHBITE on October 12, 2008, 5:02 GMT

    I am sorry to reflect and the sooner you realise the better. The Indian prodigy Sachin Tendulkar is a spent force now. Also long as he was going we had a good time and were lucky to be in this world to have actually seen him in action but if he cannot bounce back from the form he going thru lately and actually wallop the Aussies then I am sure he will not feel upto it to motivate himself to go on in this game anymore. I sincerely believe he is stretching his career for the sole benefit of owning and sealing his current many records. But, unfortunately,if he cannot produce now or in 2009, he will watch himself, while still playing the game, his nemesis Ponting break and cross most, if not all, of his record. The attitude, concentration and strong will power that Ponting has got aided by his current form, does not auger well for Tendulkar and his collection of records. Alas,this supernova is fading away. Let's cherish this giant's memories and welcome another cricketing giant

  • ARK on October 8, 2008, 23:41 GMT

    To sum up, the King was simply the greatest ODI batsman ever, across all eras and all teams, and by many miles. He was besides that, the most devastating, the most entertaining, the most feared, the most innovative and the most majestic willow-wielder that ever played the game. He was the King if ever there was one.

  • ARK on October 8, 2008, 23:37 GMT

    Finally its high time we stopped talking of the 'Desert Storm' innings - that was on the flattest track ever against an attack consisting of club-level bowlers like Kasperowicz, Fleming, Moody and Reiffel and an injured Warne. Also his 98 against Pak in WC'03 was on a super-flat track and that was evident from that the Pakistanis always knew that 273 was going to be a low total on that pitch. As for the attack it had a 37-yr old Akram, a 34-yr old Waqar to back up Shoaib, indeed they were both in their primes just because Tendulkar played well in that match.

    Also his 150+ knocks have been against the worst attacks in the best batting conditions - eg. his 186* against a pathetic NZ attack on a superflat track. Opening in great batting conditions against C-grade attacks is the line reason that T'kar seems to stand up statistically, the only measure in which he can stand up to Sir Viv, who was otherwise a far, far superior batsman to him.

  • Ajay on September 18, 2008, 0:12 GMT

    Can you please do this type of analysis for tests. That will be very interesting.

  • Vimalan on September 13, 2008, 0:55 GMT

    @Ananth

    The above reply of yours to Santosh contradicts your earlier reply to Micheal Brown. This is what you have written.

    "I get the feeling that readers would have liked the World Cup weighting to be a more precise one based on the batsman's performance during the WC and not 1.0/0.5/0.0 as has been done. That would have required a lot more time and I was not sure whether I had the time to do that. The other point I myself have realized is that by any chance the best performer during the WC misses the Final owing to an injury, he would have no credit in the current methodology since only the 11 players who played in the Final get credit. Anyhow the point is well taken."

    What Santosh has written is, it is not fair to give points to ICC tournament wins while rating a batsman. You also have accepted the same. But your above statement really contradict your earlier statement. Please clarify what is your stand on giving points to the ICC championship wins. [[ You have not understood what I have written. Because Santosh commented on Tendulkar losing a point or two for winning WCs and his statement on this rating being unfair, I brought out Richards also losing out by not winning 1983 WC. I have not contradicted myself at all. To Michael I have written that the WC points could have been more accurately determined instead of being given as 0.0 or 1.0. ]]

  • Santosh on September 12, 2008, 12:45 GMT

    It is unfortunate to see that sachin lost more than 1.5 point just because india couldnt make to and/or win WC finals. Similarly 1 more point he lost due to india's winning percentage. This way I feel SRT is unlucky to be 2nd OR it might be unfair rating scheme. [[ A West Indian supporter might say that Richards was unlucky not to get the 0.5 point extra for winning the 1983 WC, that he did not have Champions' Trophy in his time etc. Just because Tendulkar is not on top does it become an unfair Rating scheme. ]]

  • mayank on September 11, 2008, 13:59 GMT

    how come shahi afridi is better odi batsman than jaywardane, sangarkara , yuvraj,astle, hooper, cairns,izaz ahmed etc

    and points on matches/tournaments should be ommited coz cricket is a team game...and no player performs in all the matches he won..so why should he be awarded points on those matches... i think more wheightage should be given on MOMs... centuries and half centuries should also be awarded some points..

  • Srisam on October 16, 2008, 19:39 GMT

    In my opinion, I think that Richards is by far the best one day player of all time. Considering the fact that he did not have any apparent weakness in his batting; many all time great bowlers wondered how to get him out, and many suggested that let him loose, don’t over attack, and wait for him to make a mistake etc because he was so dominant equally on spin and pace.

    Where as in Tendulkar, his inability handle quality quick bowling especially shot pitch stuff was very obvious weakness. One can contain Tendulkar by bowling a quick bouncer but no one would dare take a chance by bowling a bouncer to intimidate Richards for the bowler would see the ball sailing out of the grounds. The way he handled fearsome pace of Thomson and Len Pasco in Australia would vouch for this argument

  • eric on October 16, 2008, 18:31 GMT

    tendulkar and richards are no doubt the best but ponting is coming..l do not agree with guys like chris gayle being left out of the picture.those are the real one day player..would you coose a team with s.waugh leaving out gayle..but cheers the least stands out..my best bowler of all time is wasim akram..respect to pollock,mcgrath but guys watch out for Lee...

  • ARK. on October 13, 2008, 1:22 GMT

    [[ Ananth: In your anxiety to show off and get your comments published you have missed reading the follow-up article to this in which, I have done re-calculation of the parameters, based on reader inputs. This has put Richards comfortably ahead of Tendulkar. Kindly take the trouble of reading the follow-up article IN FULL and you will see that all comments such as yours have been incorporated. I suggest that next time you do not rush to mail in a half-baked manner. I will repeat, not that I need to, Tendulkar is not one of my favourite batsmen. ]]

    Haha well done Anantha .... 'Neutral' ppl like you should do more such 'unbiased' analysis. Very nicely you deleted several points that I had made in my posts and have put up only those that don't enlist the valid points that I made - points that show how much superior King Vivian was to Tendulkar - considering the absence of protective gear; of batsmen-protecting, bowler-crippling and scoring enhancing rules; of covered slower pitches; of superfast men hounding batsmen; factors that Richards had to negotiate and Tendulkar did not. You also left out the luminaries among fast bowlers that I named from the 70s and 80s; not to mention the two GREATEST innings ever played in ODI history - the 153* against Lillee-Thommo-Hogg and the 189* vs Willis-Botham-Foster. Keep it up Anantha .... we need Sachin fans and 'patriots' like yourself. Continue with your analysis. Good luck.

  • FISHBITE on October 12, 2008, 5:02 GMT

    I am sorry to reflect and the sooner you realise the better. The Indian prodigy Sachin Tendulkar is a spent force now. Also long as he was going we had a good time and were lucky to be in this world to have actually seen him in action but if he cannot bounce back from the form he going thru lately and actually wallop the Aussies then I am sure he will not feel upto it to motivate himself to go on in this game anymore. I sincerely believe he is stretching his career for the sole benefit of owning and sealing his current many records. But, unfortunately,if he cannot produce now or in 2009, he will watch himself, while still playing the game, his nemesis Ponting break and cross most, if not all, of his record. The attitude, concentration and strong will power that Ponting has got aided by his current form, does not auger well for Tendulkar and his collection of records. Alas,this supernova is fading away. Let's cherish this giant's memories and welcome another cricketing giant

  • ARK on October 8, 2008, 23:41 GMT

    To sum up, the King was simply the greatest ODI batsman ever, across all eras and all teams, and by many miles. He was besides that, the most devastating, the most entertaining, the most feared, the most innovative and the most majestic willow-wielder that ever played the game. He was the King if ever there was one.

  • ARK on October 8, 2008, 23:37 GMT

    Finally its high time we stopped talking of the 'Desert Storm' innings - that was on the flattest track ever against an attack consisting of club-level bowlers like Kasperowicz, Fleming, Moody and Reiffel and an injured Warne. Also his 98 against Pak in WC'03 was on a super-flat track and that was evident from that the Pakistanis always knew that 273 was going to be a low total on that pitch. As for the attack it had a 37-yr old Akram, a 34-yr old Waqar to back up Shoaib, indeed they were both in their primes just because Tendulkar played well in that match.

    Also his 150+ knocks have been against the worst attacks in the best batting conditions - eg. his 186* against a pathetic NZ attack on a superflat track. Opening in great batting conditions against C-grade attacks is the line reason that T'kar seems to stand up statistically, the only measure in which he can stand up to Sir Viv, who was otherwise a far, far superior batsman to him.

  • Ajay on September 18, 2008, 0:12 GMT

    Can you please do this type of analysis for tests. That will be very interesting.

  • Vimalan on September 13, 2008, 0:55 GMT

    @Ananth

    The above reply of yours to Santosh contradicts your earlier reply to Micheal Brown. This is what you have written.

    "I get the feeling that readers would have liked the World Cup weighting to be a more precise one based on the batsman's performance during the WC and not 1.0/0.5/0.0 as has been done. That would have required a lot more time and I was not sure whether I had the time to do that. The other point I myself have realized is that by any chance the best performer during the WC misses the Final owing to an injury, he would have no credit in the current methodology since only the 11 players who played in the Final get credit. Anyhow the point is well taken."

    What Santosh has written is, it is not fair to give points to ICC tournament wins while rating a batsman. You also have accepted the same. But your above statement really contradict your earlier statement. Please clarify what is your stand on giving points to the ICC championship wins. [[ You have not understood what I have written. Because Santosh commented on Tendulkar losing a point or two for winning WCs and his statement on this rating being unfair, I brought out Richards also losing out by not winning 1983 WC. I have not contradicted myself at all. To Michael I have written that the WC points could have been more accurately determined instead of being given as 0.0 or 1.0. ]]

  • Santosh on September 12, 2008, 12:45 GMT

    It is unfortunate to see that sachin lost more than 1.5 point just because india couldnt make to and/or win WC finals. Similarly 1 more point he lost due to india's winning percentage. This way I feel SRT is unlucky to be 2nd OR it might be unfair rating scheme. [[ A West Indian supporter might say that Richards was unlucky not to get the 0.5 point extra for winning the 1983 WC, that he did not have Champions' Trophy in his time etc. Just because Tendulkar is not on top does it become an unfair Rating scheme. ]]

  • mayank on September 11, 2008, 13:59 GMT

    how come shahi afridi is better odi batsman than jaywardane, sangarkara , yuvraj,astle, hooper, cairns,izaz ahmed etc

    and points on matches/tournaments should be ommited coz cricket is a team game...and no player performs in all the matches he won..so why should he be awarded points on those matches... i think more wheightage should be given on MOMs... centuries and half centuries should also be awarded some points..

  • Ayon on September 11, 2008, 13:22 GMT

    A bit late in the day, but somehow I have always reckoned that wins in chases in one-dayers deserve more credit. Each era/pitch/ground has its benchmark that defines the hardness of the chase. Chasing over, say 275 runs from circa 1995-2005 should have 1.25-1.5 times more credit than "normal" wins.

  • CricketFan on September 10, 2008, 17:40 GMT

    To Crookie - Couples of things to correct. Your assumption that I am a Pakistan Fan is incorrect. I am truly a cricketfan with no bias towards any country. As an aside, by nationality I am Indian and from Tendulkar's hometown. I give credit when due but to me the greatness of a player is to come good when your country needs you the most. Tendulkar fails miserably on that count. I mentioned Akram in last post and Aravinda in previous post because they came good in the final and changed the course of the match. So leave aside nationalities and focus on facts. I will correct your other error in a later post.

  • Ananth on September 10, 2008, 5:39 GMT

    [[ I had worked with Wisden earlier and we jointly came out with the Wisden-100 Innings for Tests and ODIs. In these analyses no less than a dozen parameters were considered. All the points David has mentioned were more or less taken care of. One day I will post that piece, suitably modified by the treasure house of readers' comments received so far, in this blog (and risk another 200 mails from xyz/pqr/abc fans). Incidentally, in that list, Gilchrist's explosive century in the 2007 WC Final against Sri Lanka was the best. It edged out Richards' Manchester classic, 189* which remained at the top for 2 years. Ananth ]]

  • Ananth on September 10, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    [[ David has made some interesting points which deserved a special look-in.Unfortunately I was awake almost the whole of last night waiting for the US Open Final and could only do justice to the complex point today. Anyhow the wait was worth it. Federer won a most-deserved slam, although I was a bit sad for Murray, who would have had my support against anyone else. David's points on the relevance of average for the top order batsmen as against strike rate for the lower order batsmen are very correct and astute. Similarly the importance of strike rate in the first innings when the target is unknown as against the second innings when the target is known is again to the point. These considerations deserve a separate look-in at a later date. What I started with was a way to combine the two relevant batting parameters into a single index value. It then telescoped into other parameters. However all these are at career level and not individual innings levels. Contd... ]]

  • Zach Kramer on September 10, 2008, 3:02 GMT

    Agreed, Sachin is such a beautiful and complete batsman and definitely the second best ODI batsman ever.

  • Zach Kramer on September 9, 2008, 23:18 GMT

    One clear indicator that demonstrates how well a player performs in the context of his time, is to compare his average and strike rate with the average overall team scores for the time.

    In this light we see just how far ahead of the contenders Viv Richards is. For not only is his average and strike rate in excess of Sachin's; this occured when overall teams averaged far less runs per innings.

    Sir Viv is like the Pele, Jordan, Ali of modern batsmen. Tendulkar is like the Beckham, Bryant and Bowe - the best of his time who wears the champion belt.

    But the Master Blaster wears the all time super heavyweight champions belt. Check the salient statistics.

    Everyone outside of mother India accepts that truth. [[ Zach There would be quite a few Indians who think that Richards is the greatest ODI player. Similarly there might be quite a few non-Indians who are ready to think that Tendulkar is on top. The point is that these two are a class apart as far as ODIs are concerned. ]]

  • Crookie on September 9, 2008, 15:22 GMT

    @Cricket Fan I fail to see the facts backing up your argument against Tendulkar. Sachin has 16 hundreds in Asia outside Asia he has 26. You cannot classify innings as irrelevant because the team did not win. No one is doubting Akrams class but no one should be doubting Tendulkar's class either. I think what we have here is a Pakistan fan not keen to give credit where credit is due. I am an England fan but can still appreciate all quality players for what they have achieved. Your argument holds no credence. Sachins stats speak for themselves and the fact that most of his hundreds have come against the 2 best one-day teams of his era Australia and Sri Lanka that says it all.

  • Anonymous on September 9, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    Contd ... You could argue that a batsman who out-shines his world class team mates should be given more credit than one who outshines his more slightly more modest team mates.

    In ODIs, context is everything. And that, finally, is why I think the whole project is far too complicated for Ananth's analysis. While it is commendable that he has tried to introduce contextual elements (MOM, WCF, etc), there are many more contextual variables that I would say are just as important in judging the quality of each performance and therefore of each batsman.

    But it is fun to speculate!

    Regards, David.

  • David on September 9, 2008, 13:00 GMT

    Hi Abhijeet,

    I guess I'm saying that despite Ananth's great work, ODIs have too many variables to be able to devise a fair comparison - short of doing an innings-by-innings analysis for every player!

    Your comments re Bevan "only" scoring 40% of the total are a case in point. According to a previous IT blog (June 3rd), the Aus team for ODI#1799 was very close to the best ODI team ever. With a line-up including Gilchrist, M Waugh, Ponting, Martyn & S Waugh, it's phenomenal that one player should score as much as 40%! In any other team he would have scored much more. Or would he? That's one of the intangibles of cricket - would, eg, Gilchrist have been as destructive in a different team without the other guys to fall back on if he got out? It's impossible to say - Jayasurija and Pietersen haven't been held back by mediocre team mates. That's why %TS is problematic. Cont ...

  • VJF on September 9, 2008, 8:31 GMT

    As Ananth mentioned earlier the two purest measures of great batsmanship are the average and strike rate. I think, for ranking purposes, the average should be calculated ignoring not-outs.

    Comparing batsmen across different eras should be done carefully as bowling, fielding and umpiring skills have improved over time and we should never under-estimate the skill of modern batsmen

  • Ram on September 9, 2008, 6:54 GMT

    People come up with hundreds of excuses for Sachin "He played in a poor team", "He shoulders the responsibility of billions", etc. but one fact that everyone's conveniently forgotten is that from 1976-1979 , when Viv was at his peak, he was playing unofficial ODIs and super tests for Kerry Packer's world series and none of those are considered in his "official" statistics.

    My mind boggles when I think of Sir Viv's records had those 3 PRIME years of his cricketing career been considered. Combine that with the sheer influence that he's had on the game worldwide, and as a symbol of black pride and power, and you don't need any statistics to tell you that Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards stands far and above mere mortals and pretenders to the "master blaster" tag :)

  • Abhijeet Dongre on September 9, 2008, 4:40 GMT

    Hi David, Thank you for your insight about different roles of top order versus middle order player. I really never thought about the relative importance of runs/notouts/strikerate while chasing versus setting the target. It would be an interesting analysis in itself with different parameters for chasing and setting target and also for top order and middle order. Probably the model which you shared with some of us earlier can help.

    I agree with you on the %TS helping great players in ordinary teams. The question is whether they deserve it or not. I think they do because the analysis is about the outputs not about potentials. However I don't think it penalizes good players in strong teams. It stays neutral towards them because in my opinion, thats the best it can do.

    To be continued -

  • Abhijeet Dongre on September 9, 2008, 4:38 GMT

    cntnd -

    Regarding my comments about Bevan, I was not at all saying that he wasn't a great finisher. If one has to choose an alltime best ODI XI, what better No 5 can he get than Bevan. I was merely trying to say that no matter how good an innings is, other team can always put good enough collective effort to overcome it (or teammates can do enough damage to ensure a loss). Even in Bevan's master innings which you mentioned (a breath-taking innings indeed), he made 'only' about 40% of runs required. It would be unfair to penalize him if one of Australia's bowlers would have given 5 more runs or had he run out of partners.

    I compared ODI # 1799 (Bevan's 102) and ODI # 2114 (Sachin's 141) but I couldn't decide which innings was better. Two things I do know for sure though

    1) if one was better, it was only by a bit. 2) the quality of Sachin's innings does not reduce because India lost the match. It was a failure of may be 7 or 8 of remaining 10 people.

    Regards, Abhijeet

  • Abhijeet Dongre on September 9, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    Hi David, Thank you for your insight about different roles of top order versus middle order player. I really never thought about the relative importance of runs/notouts/strikerate while chasing versus setting the target. It would be an interesting analysis in itself with different parameters for chasing and setting target and also for top order and middle order. Probably the model which you shared with some of us earlier can help.

    I agree with you on the %TS helping great players in ordinary teams. The question is whether they deserve it or not. I think they do because the analysis is about the outputs not about potentials. However I don't think it penalizes good players in strong teams. It stays neutral towards them because in my opinion, thats the best it can do.

    To be continued -

  • SP on September 9, 2008, 3:15 GMT

    Well, if the Sharjah pitch wasnt very easy to bat on, can we say that the Centurion pitch where he made 98 of 75 balls was a very easy pitch to bat on? Purely based on numbers, your analysis is flawless. But if you take into account subjective factors, I guess the list would turn out to be different. Numbers can only indicate the greatness of a player to a certain degree. You cant rely on numbers alone to prove how good a player was over his lifetime.

    I have one suggestion, though it might seem out of place. Why dont you reduce your sample size a bit and consider the same analysis for the last 5 years alone? That way, you will be comparing only players from the same era, and it looks to me as if the data will also be consisten, in the sense that the playing conditions will be more or less the same for these players (Helmets, field restriction, etc). On the flip side, the list wont be comprehensive. Richards and other greats will not make the list.

  • SP on September 9, 2008, 2:02 GMT

    Ananth, consider ODI # 1640. Tendulkat scored 101 of 140 balls. A most laborious innings, to say the least. The way he ate up balls while getting from 90 to 100 was most pathetic, and resulted in India not reaching a competitive score.

    India scored 224/8 in 50 overs. Srilanka reached the target in 43.5 overs with 5 wickets remaining. None of their batsmen crossed 60.

    Tendulkar was named man of the match. In your analysis, Tendulkar would come out with flying colours in this match. Now, where is the justice in this? Reality says otherwise. [[ I think you are quite confused. Who says he would come out with flying colours. His century was too slow and his team lost the match. Where does he come out with flying colours. However it would be true that but for his 100, albiet a slow one, India would have been all out for 150. Also it was not a very easy pitch, unlike the normal Sharjah pitches. How about allotting some blame to Kumble and Prasad who bowled poorly. Anyhow the bottom line is that we are not analyzing individual innings but career. These things even out. The same Tendulkar scored 98 off 75 against one of the most feared bowling attacks ever during the 2003 WC. ]]

  • David on September 9, 2008, 1:11 GMT

    ...contd. So, both Tendulkar and Bevan did their particular jobs equally well AND neither could have done the other's job as well.

    In other words, your ranking rates the best batsmen at fulfilling the role of a 1-4, but doesn't take into account the particular skills required for a great finisher, especially considering the vastly different contexts that arise depending whether you're setting a total or chasing, and what size total you're chasing.

    BTW Abhijeet, regarding Bevan's "easy" match-winning innings, he actually got his reputation as a great finisher for consistently winning games from impossible positions - I've listed two of them in a previous post, the 2nd of which is IMO the greatest ODI innings ever. Chasing 245 (not a low target) he came in at 4/53. With 13 overs to go Aus still needed 103 at 7.73 R/O, yet Bevan won the game with 102*, being the only Aus batsman to score more than 30. That's pressure no opener has ever faced, not even in WCF 2003.

  • David on September 9, 2008, 0:56 GMT

    2 Things in response to Abhijeet (and Anand):

    1. %TS rewards outstanding members of ordinary teams & penalises good batsmen in strong teams. So you fix one problem but create another.

    2. Ave + S/R are easy figures to obtain, but not so easy to compare. Given that ODI is a LIMITED OVERS game, the normal ways we judge batsmen (based on test cricket) don't apply. So S/R is crucial when batting first, but when chasing, it's the target that counts; how quickly you get there is largely irrelevant. Secondly, Ave. is more important for certain batting positions (1-4) than others (5-11), because the batsmen's jobs are different. A top order player's job is to score a 50 at a decent rate; a lower order player isn't so interested in the no. of runs/Ave, but the scoring rate, & MORE IMPORTANTLY, keeping wickets in hand (ie, N/O). Again, if we compare Tendulkar & Bevan, Tendulkar as opener scored 50+ in 36% of innings; Bevan in positions 5-7 was N/O in 36% of innings (with a good ave. + S/R) cont

  • Arun Pavithran on September 9, 2008, 0:17 GMT

    Ananth's statistical analysis only seems to get better - perhaps an analysis of % positive comments, minus % of negative comments - will bear this out.

    The simplest and most logical analysis to apply to questions like who is the greatest batsmen - is to compare that player's stature with that of his contemporaries. This gives us a clean and sure indication of a player's greatness and makes redundant inexact arguments like - Sir Viv was the greatest batsmen because he had to play against better bowlers like - Lillee, Botham, Imran, Hadlee etc.

    Based on this analysis Sir Viv towers over all ODI batsmen in the same way Sir Don does over all Test batsmen. For who in that era could compare to Smokin Joe? No-one.

    Sachin on the other hand is more closely trailed by the likes of Bevan, Ponting, Inzi, Lara et al. The little Master is the best ODI batsman of this era - the last ODI series in Australia makes that clear.

    But the Master Blaster stands alone on the podium. No contest.

  • Abhijeet Dongre on September 8, 2008, 17:55 GMT

    Contnd- Considering only the Runs, Avge, R/I, S/R, BwQty & %TS with Ananth's weightage, below is the result out of 85 1 Richards I.V.A 68.7 2 Tendulkar S.R 68.36 3 Jayasuriya S.T 61.53 4 Ponting R.T 61.18 5 Gilchrist A.C 60.68 6 Lara B.C 59.57 7 Javed Miandad 59.28 8 Chappell G.S 59.25 9 Bevan M.G 59.03 10 Haynes D.L 58.9 11 Zaheer Abbas 58.22 12 Inzamam-ul-Haq 58.13 13 Kallis J.H 57.99 14 Dravid R 57.51 15 Ganguly S.C 57.46 16 de Silva P.A 57.34 17 Waugh M.E 56.84 18 Greenidge C.G 56.82 19 Saeed Anwar 56.81 20 Jones D.M 56.31 21 Hayden M.L 56 22 Sehwag V 55.97 23 Symonds A 55.86 24 Mohammad Yousuf 55.8 25 Azharuddin M 55.61

    I think a good addition might be %SR. Just like %TS is the %age of team runs scored, relative strike rate of a player to the team's overall strike rate is important too. These two factors seem much more emprical to me than a very simplistic approach like team wins. I hope to add it in my list when I find some time.

    Regards Abhijeet [[ Probably Abhijeet's excellent simplification mirrors what I started with in my first article when I considered the two purest of individual measures, the Averege and Strike Rate. At the end these two are what matter most. Everything else is only supportive in nature. Whatever happens we cannot escape the fact that the pair at the top are Sir Viv and "Sir" Sachin. ]]

  • Abhijeet Dongre on September 8, 2008, 17:44 GMT

    This is what I love about statistical analysis. It can't ever be perfect but it keeps getting better with every iteration. I think the normalization of Total runs scored is fantastic.

    I wonder what happens if we remove 'team related' factors, ie win, win%, mom or wc/icc. My reasoning is that these factors rarely have a very high correlation with an individual batting performance as discussed in Ananth's previous blog "The best performance in a single Test" which is dominated by bowlers. A team wins because of its collective effort being better than the other team. So many of Bevan's 'match-winning' knocks were possible only because the Australian bowlers had not given too many runs earlier. At the risk of sounding crazy, Sachin's run-a-ball 137 against Pakistan while needing 330 odd to win and nobody else reaching even 40 stays a match-winning innings though the match was not won. I tried to remove these parameters and got following results.

    To be continued in next post.

  • Kartik on September 8, 2008, 16:20 GMT

    'Kartik' and 'Karthik' are two different people, BTW. Kartik (me) is the longer-term commenter.

  • Gaurav on September 8, 2008, 15:34 GMT

    Viv Richards batted at number 4 and 5. Haynes and Greenidge took pressure off by great starts. Also, he knew he had the pace quartet to demoslish any opposition batting line up.

    Sachin from 1994 to 2003 almost singlehandedly gave India great starts. Ganguly, Dravid, Sehwag assisted him but we all knew the result if he got out cheaply in the first few overs. Such was the dependency and expectation that he was supposed to score in every game.

    Ponting has had great openers like Mark Waugh, Gilchrist and Hayden and he knows he had McGrath, Warne to rip apart the opposition batting, so no pressure there.

    We need to consider match-by-match rankings of Indian bowlers vs opposition bowlers. Then compare with Viv and Ponting. That will show true pressure.

    Hayden facing Zaheer is not same pressure as Sachin facing McGrath.

    If we reverse it, Sachin facing Zaheer and Hayden facing Mcgrath, we'll see the difference.

    CAN ANYONE DEVISE this FORMULA please???????

  • john on September 8, 2008, 15:09 GMT

    Since when does the team a player plays in effect their ranking viv clearly had a better team to play in than tendulkar as did ponting its stupid and very bias to penalise tendulkar just because his team was poor up until recently,its should be about individual performances not a teams. Also are people really serious telling me a player who has 42 odi hundreds never played a real match winning innings,its interesting how most people who critisise tendulkar are from pakistan isnt it? Tendulkar has played against all the leading wicket takers in odi cricket and thats a fact more runs than anyone in world cups are we comparing viv and sachin or windies in thier prime and india over the past 16 years? Also ganguly has a better record than jaysuria and more runs against better teams and that is a fact also how is symonds considered better than lara? These analysis really need looking into because its about the individual not the team

  • Alim on September 8, 2008, 14:07 GMT

    @prashant that was the general trend of what i meant although your version was perhaps a bit extreme.

    @kartik whichever way you see it tendulkar has had more pressure than any other modern batsman. there is no doubt about it whatsoever.so again as "prashant" says there is no way you can quite quantify the effect of this pressure as compared to the much "cooler" caribean attitude and culture.

    @barry i partly agree with you. once you get over the initial goosebumps the "pressure" can convert into "support".however,as we know batting is one of the most unique sporting ventures ,as in one single mistake ,a little tense jerk and you are gone.no second chances. also the pressure is most intense at the beginning well before the batsman is "in'...so as far as batting is concerned it is probably more of a detriment to performance than many other sports. as rgds. the bowlers ,tendulkar has been hammering them for several occasions spanning years.that innings was simply another occasion

  • Eranga Abeygunawardane on September 8, 2008, 11:43 GMT

    Whoever whatever says I cant find any ODI batsman better than Jayasuriya.To become a good ODI batsman scoring runs is just not enough.He should be able to maintain a good attack during his batting so that if incase he got out his followers will be able to settle keaping their wicket safe otherwise they will loss by going to increase run rate. when we analyze Jayasuriya's batting his 30 or 40 has a value than others 100,because he scores 30 from 20 balls or 40 from 25 balls ect. ODI batsman can be filtered by considering ODI records like fastest 50,fastest 100,most runs in an over,most sixes in career,most runs from first 10 overs,most runs from first 15 overs ect.Jayasuriya held all these records which good oneday bats man should have rather than highet batting average or most runs in career.

  • Michael Brown on September 8, 2008, 11:30 GMT

    With the new analysis it seems to me that you have but to much importance on the team and not enough on the batsman. With wins, % wins and world cup victories then if you play for a dominant team then you have many more points. Also I like MOM's as they are subjective and hence will take into account performing under pressure, and style, which are worthy of inclusion but very hard to measure objectively. I would change the world cup value to some weighting on how the actual player performed during the world cup, i.e. It is them stepping up to the big occasion and not just the team. [[ I get the feeling that readers would have liked the World Cup weighting to be a more precise one based on the batsman's performance during the WC and not 1.0/0.5/0.0 as has been done. That would have required a lot more time and I was not sure whether I had the time to do that. The other point I myself have realized is that by any chance the best performer during the WC misses the Final owing to an injury, he would have no credit in the current methodology since only the 11 players who played in the Final get credit. Anyhow the point is well taken. ]]

  • sumit on September 8, 2008, 11:28 GMT

    Its a shame that such hard and precise analysis has to be trivialized by a nationalist and prejudiced sentiments! But do not get demoralized my friend... we are all looking forward to the next piece from you. Just one input - most of the arguments by readers stem from either the quality of opposition faced by each batsman, or the pitches and playing conditions prevalent during the different eras. Both these skews can be bypassed in a single stroke - Ascribe suitable weightage to percentage of runs scored by each player out of the total runs scored by the team. As I know this is the last piece in the series, could you do this analysis on only these two players and post it separately under my own post? I would be grateful for your efforts.

  • Tushar on September 8, 2008, 11:06 GMT

    1. Runs - Put cap or not, no of runs are directly proportional to the length of career. 2. Average - A true indicator of scoring runs consistently - should be given more weightage. 3. S/R - 25%!!!!! - should really apply a correction factor based on era and ground/country or even average team score for the ground for the decade. 4. Wins and Wins % - make up your mind here. what do you want? do you want to consider performance in wins? like average in winning games * no of wins 5. Cup wins - why not categorize 'knock out games' as pressure games and apply some factor to the average/performance in those games. Just being present there does not earn you 'the greatest batsman' award.

    All in all the ground looks shaky here, one can get a feeling that these numbers are the shortest route between point A (stats) and point B (who I want at the top of the pile). Readers are also happy or otherwise to see a particular player at a particular spot. [[ "3. S/R - 25%!!!!! - should really apply a correction factor ased on era" This statement shows that you have not gone through the analysis in detail. Pl note that a correction based on the decades batsmen played in has already been applied and has been explained fully. ]]

  • Abhi on September 8, 2008, 10:14 GMT

    Ananth, you have responded to Mr Siddhartha Banerjee's comments regarding Sachin's strategy about hitting a boundary every over as preposterous. Well Sir, if you could please search for "harsha on sachin" on youtube, you could find the video where Harsha Bhogle talks about this. He obviously is more privy to dressing room conversations than the rest of us. So I kindly request you not to put down people without researching facts. [[ My sincere apologies to Mr.Bannerjee. Anyhow, I don't think I have put down Mr.Bannerjee as you have mentioned. I still feel that the idea of hitting a boundary off each over off the Australian attack is a preposterous one, even assuming it was made by Tendulkar. This I say without any disrespect to the great batsman that Tendulkar is. The correct approach would have been what I have mentioned. Let us score as close to 100 for no more than 1 in 15 and then take it from there. Maybe that approach might have succeeded. ]]

  • Manas on September 8, 2008, 10:11 GMT

    Hi Ananth, First of all, nice job. I liked both the posts. As usual there are some points on which I've a difference of opinion "I cannot also deny the validity of statements asking for weight to be given for World Cup successes. These are once-in-four-years grand events and doing well in these is very essential for all top batsmen." - You should have taken the runs scored by the players in these tournaments, rather than team result. What was Gavaskar's contribution in India's 83 WC victory? Is it justified to claim that Gavaskar became a slightly better batsman (by 1 point) because our bowlers were able to defend a target of 180 odd? It's strange that so many readers have raised concern about the higher weight on the number of runs scored. However almost nobody has talked about the win %. Some of the greatest individual innings have come in a losing cause. IMO, a player who scores runs when everyone else in his team fails to do so, should be praised not penalized.

  • Agni on September 8, 2008, 10:05 GMT

    Mr Narayanan, WIth regards ti tendulkars approach to th world cup final chase in 03.there is a video in circluation on You tube where Harsha Bhogle spoke about the fact that tendulkar approaches any problem in a certain way and to emphasise his point ,Bhogle mentions about the fact that tendulkar spoke in change room abt one boundary a over.. I guess we are as much privy to dressing room talk as any body else.... [[ My sincere apologies to Mr.Bannerjee. Anyhow, I don't think I have put down Mr.Bannerjee as you have mentioned. I still feel that the idea of hitting a boundary off each over off the Australian attack is a preposterous one, even assuming it was made by Tendulkar. This I say without any disrespect to the great batsman that Tendulkar is. The correct approach would have been what I have mentioned. Let us score as close to 100 for no more than 1 in 15 and then take it from there. Maybe that approach might have succeeded. ]]

  • rick on September 8, 2008, 8:53 GMT

    I think to keep up good average for over 400 ODI is not easy, comparing to players from 2 different era is just never going to satisfy no one but if richards would have played 400 odi, or any other player from current squads, anyone think they will keep up this average of tendulkar?!

  • Karthik on September 8, 2008, 8:51 GMT

    contd. The parameter that I suggested in my earlier post will put into perspective the usefulness of the innings of the batsman.

  • barry on September 8, 2008, 8:48 GMT

    Stop telling Sachin is better because he has pressure of millions and millions of fans. It is something nobody can measure and nobody knows if that sort of pressure even exist.

    I can say, if sachin has pressure of millions of fans than Sachin also has support of millions of supporters from India. A lot of crowd support him even while playing overseas because of a lots of expatriate Indian. Viv Richards never had such an advantage. And Sachin 98 runs in 2003 world cup was good, but I have to say bowling attack wasn't the best in the world as some of you have been telling. Just look where pakistan ended in that world cup. They didn't even get past first round and lost to every team except the minnows. Akram was almost about to retire, Akhtar is always more hype than talent waqar was way past his prime by about 10 years.

  • karthik on September 8, 2008, 8:46 GMT

    @Prashant Tendulkar was under pressure perhaps between the years 1994 to 2000 when he had to carry much of India's batting on his shoulders. After that, I dont think he was under that much of a pressure. We had other people who could score quickly. Wasnt this one the reasons why Tendulkar changed his style of batting? By doing so he has become an ordinary batsman who hangs in at the wicket, plays around other people and generally bats without taking risks and scores a century once in a while to keep his followers happy. Now where is the pressure on him in such a case?? There isnt even fan pressure on him nowadays. His fans dont expect anything of him these days.

    @Ananth Ananth how about taking a parameter which gives weightage if another batsman in the same match has played a significant role in the match? negative points if an opposition player from the same match scores more and carries his team to victory. Positive points if it is the other way round.

    contd. [[ Kartik I had incorporated the parameter you have mentioned in the Wisden 100 analysis (for individual innings) I had done with Wisden. To do that when one analyzes career figures, I did not think it worthwhile. But certainly a good idea. ]]

  • vj on September 8, 2008, 8:24 GMT

    quite a few of viv's innings have come when he was under pressure( agreed he was not very often under pressure),,viv has a much better record in cup finals and semi-finals,,his 189 not out,, 139 not out in the world cup final are examples when w.i., top order failed..the thing abt Viv was when in mood,,he was simply unbowlable to.And even against the best bowlers he was unstoppable,,u just cud not contain him.when he scored the fastest 100 in tests,,there were 6 fielders and sometimes 9 on the boundary he still kept hitting fours and sixes.

  • Khizar Hayat Khan on September 8, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    I'll once again say that no ranking is complete without taking into account the batting position. ODI is a game of first 4 batting positions. For me Bevan must be one of the topmost as he batted below 2 down.

  • Prashant on September 8, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    @Koushik Biswas. Brilliant comment. If Richards/ Lara fail you will hear comments like “it’s only a game and the ball round maan” from the fans. How do you quantify the “amount” of “pressure” (surely greater than any batsman in the modern era) that Tendulkar faced throughout his career and award points for that?

    @Alim (1st comment of blog) Very valid point. If Ponting does not play a SINGLE innings more for the rest of his career but is merely PART of a winning WC and the next 2 champion’s trophies he will end up on top of the list.

    @Graeme, Kumar etc. To me the greatest ODI innings of all time was Tendulkars 98 against Pak. If you saw the match you would notice that Pak players were extremely satisfied with the score after the first innings. This was match under extreme pressure against one of the greatest bowling attacks of all time.Akram, Waqar, Akhtar and co. were taken apart in one of the purest almost effortless displays of strokeplay ever seen. The Richards innings which‘graeme”and others are referring to cannot compare as far as bowling quality and pressure are concerned. [[ If Ponting did that he would finish his career as the ONLY player to win 4 World Cups and 3 Champions' Trophies. That is something. Theoretically speaking he cannot do what you have mentioned since he has to be part of the XI in the Final to qualify for a WC medal. So you would have to stretch your overstated situation still further by saying that he DID NOT BAT in all three Finals. In other words the openers won the game in all three matches. After all this he will not catch up with Richards since Richards is 4+ points ahead. You might say "Ah we are only giving an example.". I agree and understand the point Alim and you are making. My detailed response is also an explanation of how difficult to move up ONLY on WC wins without matching performances. On the other hand, if Ponting scored 2 centuries and a fifty in these matches then it should be okay if he overtook Richards. ]]

  • David on September 8, 2008, 5:09 GMT

    Another thing that makes analysis difficult, is that batting positions in ODIs are more specialised than in tests. In tests your best batsmen are normally nos. 3 & 4, and they would usually do just as well at nos. 5-7 (better because of a greater % of NOs). Openers are the only specialised positions. In ODIs, however, being a good top order batsman is no guarantee you'll be good down the order, because the demands later on in the innings are so different.

    Compare Bevan and Tendulkar. Tendulkar played 101 inns at 4-6: ave 35.76, S/R 79.80, N/O 17 (ave + S/R are significantly lower than his career figures; N/O = 17% of inns at 4-6).

    Bevan played 203 inns at 4-6: ave 54.08 S/R 74.09 N/O 54 (ave + S/R slightly better than career figures; N/O = 27% of inns at 4-6).

    So Tendulkar is unquestionably a great TOP ORDER batsman, but ordinary lower order batsman. Bevan was perhaps the best lower order batsman of all time. Who was better overall?

    We're now comparing apples and oranges.

  • David on September 8, 2008, 4:36 GMT

    (Contd from previous) Those kind of NOs should be rewarded, not punished and the Gilchrist kind of innings punished not rewarded.

    Also, as well as bowling strength, the batting strength of the opposition should be a factor. Why? Because if you're chasing a small total (because the opposition was weak), then you don't need to score as quickly. So you are penalised because of the weakness of the opposition's batting (or the strength of your own bowling). Connected with this is the batsman's temperament. In a situation chasing a low total, Richards, Jones, Jayasurija, etc were just as likely to try to dominate and so score quickly. Others (Dravid, S Waugh, Ganguly, etc) were more pragmatic, content to do what was necessary for the win and so scored more slowly. Does that in itself make them lesser ODI batsmen?

    The fact is, ODIs are very different from Tests and it's not as simple as runs + ave + S/R with a few minor tweaks to analyse the differences.

  • David on September 8, 2008, 4:27 GMT

    It's an interesting analysis, but the more I think about it, the more impossible I think it is to come up with a truly balanced solution, because or the sheer number of variables involved in one-day cricket. For example, a high number of not outs has been penalised, which makes good sense in measuring test batsmen, but in ODIs, how many times have the experts reminded us of the importance of wickets in hand? Scoring quickly at the beginning of the innings and then getting out can leave the rest of the team exposed to a collapse, and then the high ave + RR would actually be an indication not of greatness, but irresponsibility (I'm an Aus, yet I think a number of Gilchrist's innings fall into this category - where he has scored 50 out of a team total of 60 in the first 6-7 overs, then got out and the team has struggled. Compare NOs by Bevan, when he came in at 4/32 against WI with more than 30 overs left, or 4/53 against NZ with 35 overs left and still won ... (cont'd).

  • Koushik Biswas on September 8, 2008, 4:02 GMT

    While your mathematics is pristine, formulae are well-thought and unbiased, you have missed a point, that, though subjective and difficult to quantify, has a huge effect. When Sir Richards went out to bat, anxious though Caribbean supporters were for success, heartbroken though West Indians became if Richards failed - that is but nothing compared to the pressure that billions of hearts create when one Sachin walks down the aisle. He fails enough number of times, and his or his colleague's homes can burn, families can get threatened. Riots can happen, effigies can burn, scathing articles can cry out for heads. One man generating such an enigmatic amount of chaos and mind boggling expectations is beyond compare. Cricket is only a game, but Sachin cannot get away with just being human. Where is the formula for coping with pressure? Richard's calypso song environment, easy going happy go lucky island life is not the same as Sachin's. Let us forgive Sachin for being number two!

  • brardmantackar on September 8, 2008, 3:28 GMT

    Bradman is the best ODI batsman, thats all [[ Let us all agree that Bradman is the best ODI batsman, ahead of all others. Thank you for the insight. ]]

  • Anand on September 8, 2008, 2:47 GMT

    Contd... I am not sure how much should we go ga ga over world cups becuse individuals can never win a world cup teams have to win it. Another point which probably has been missed out is that the weighted paramters which give some index to the batsmen still wont take away any individual's greatness. This is like concluding whether Edison is a better scientist than Newton. I dont think Ananth was trying to compare who is "better". I am sure he himself realises that no two greats (particularly across different eras) can ever be compared (Ananth pease correct me if I am wrong here). He has just tried to take various factors defining a great batsman and tried to bring in some kind of common indexing to see how they would stand on that common index. Yes they are "only statistics" but surely give some interesting insights which can be improved but if anyone has done any analysis at any level in their lives would realise that there is no model to tae into account everythng affecting a system.

  • MSJ on September 8, 2008, 2:46 GMT

    Ananth, you analysis for accounting to WC/Champ trophy seem to be too simplistic. It shall be two fold to have true measurement of success in World cup/Cham trophy. One is team reaching the final/winning the cup and another is performance in defining matches i.e. SF & F. The ability "to absorb pressure in such high voltage matches & rise to the occasion" shud count irrespective of win/loss. On that front, I would say T'kar,J'surya, Lara have failed; but Viv, Punter, Gilly, D'Silva,Waugh have exceled.Even Sehwag has scored good.Good performances can have folloing point system. WCF - 1, WCSF - 0.5, CTF - 0.5, CTSF - 0.25. With this Ponting is almost certain to pip T'kar, Viv extending his lead further for No.1 slot.

  • romain on September 8, 2008, 2:46 GMT

    I must commend you, Mr. Narayan, for going so far to provide a comprehensive analysis and to entertain so much discussion. This last analysis did more justice to batsmen of the 1980s. Alas, Haynes and Greenidge cracked the top 20! I am still surprised that Jayasuriya is ranked better than Haynes, Greenidge and Dean Jones; 3 great one day players in their day. Perhaps there is factor missing that can "level" cricket in the last 15 years to the 15 years prior. Now the game is more batsman friendly, with grounds smaller, greater field restriction, change of ball after 34 overs etc. In the 80s, 250 runs in 50 overs was considered around the world to be extremely difficult to attain. Today that is mediocre score almost anywhere.Batsmen in the 80s, though exhibit similar or better skills, temperament, and technique, are not judged fairly. It will be interesting to see who the best bowler will be using such analysis. I will be surprised if Garner is not the best.

  • Anand on September 8, 2008, 2:32 GMT

    Ananth, I cant help admiring the kind of techniques and tools you use to bring up some interesting insights. I am not really taken in by the final results that show up because as you yourself have noticed by changing some weights the results change, but what really fascinated me is the various factors u took into account and the models u fitted in arriving at your results. I am sure you are too professional to be put off by comments interpreting it as "mathematical garbage" or just "useless statistics" etc. I also appreciate your efforts in taking into consideration readers' feedback to provide additional analysis.

    Just one question to all readers who are crazy about world cup wins.. would u guys rate Roger Binny and Madan lal as better all rounders than Ian Botham because they have a world cup win to their name? Or would Greg Dyer be a better wicket keeper than Ian Healy? World cup is a fantastic tournament it is any team's dream but surely when we want to look at individuals ... [[ Anand There is no way Madan Lal and Binny would be classified as better all-rounders than Botham just because they won a WC medal. I have also never made such statements. Botham would have scored more runs, scored at a better pace, taken more wickets, and at a much better average to probably make him way ahead of the two utility players. For winning the WC, Madan Lal and Binny will get 1 point each, that is all. However it must not be forgotten that the silverware which adorns the living rooms of Binny, Madan Lal, Sandhu, Yashpal, Srikkanth, Azad, Boyce, Aaquib Javed, Gurusinha et al would not be in the living rooms of Tendulkar, Lara, Botham, Kallis et al. That fact cannot be denied. Thanks for your comments. ]]

  • MattH on September 7, 2008, 23:13 GMT

    With only 6 points separating 6th and 30th any change to any measure will make quite a difference to the rankings. A sensible approach for readers appears to be that the top 5 are fairly clear cut (again individual ranking within those 5 is affected by weightings - so let's just say they are the 5 best) and the rest are all in the very very good category.

    I am very comfortable with Richards, Tendulkar, Ponting, Gilchrist and Jayasuria. Good analysis.

  • K Patel on September 7, 2008, 22:21 GMT

    There is to much arguments on who is the best test or ODI batsman and bowler does all this matters, not really because at the end of the day its how they bat, I do not mean can they score I mean the style they bat in. I' am unlucky not to see Richards bat in a full match but have seen Tendulkar and I remember thinking "WOW" he his wicked the same goes for Brian Lara. I seen highlights of Richards play and I had the same reaction so for me both players are great in the ODI format and fans do need to remember Richards was the player who changed cricket at the time in the ODI format. Stats do not matter when these kind of batsman play cricket I can sit there and watch them play for the all day.

  • Engle on September 7, 2008, 20:49 GMT

    Sachin assumed greater responsibility by successfully shifting from his natural batting position to that of opener in ODI's.

    Viv had the greater ability of demoralizing the opposition.

    One way of assessing the better batsman may be this: Who would you prefer to be in your team rather than against your team ?

    IMO, the intangibles will be remembered longer than the myriad of mathematical numbers.

  • CricketFan on September 7, 2008, 19:52 GMT

    To Crookie - All the examples that you gave are irrelevant because India did not win at the Grand stage. As far as research, go to Cricinfo and look at all of Tendulkar's hundreds and see what percentage are outside the Asian subcontinent and against major opposition. You will know what I am talking about. Also as far as performing when it counts, look at Akram's performance in 1992 World Cup. While average during the tournament, he was phenomenal in the final, almost singlehandedly destroying England with two important wickets in two balls. No one can forget tho delivery to Allan Lamb. And Akram carried a lot of pressure back home. Just ask his family!

  • AJAX on September 7, 2008, 19:51 GMT

    I have mentioned this time and again, you give far too much of an advantage to players with better opportunities. How long has the Champions Trophy been going on for? How many players prior to the creation tournament have lost out on these points then? Is that fair? In any case I strongly oppose these world cup points. It looks as if every time you bring out some new factor, people complain and you react by including their suggestions, to the detriment of the analysis. In trying to please everyone you please noone. A common feature of your analysis is that it unfairly rewards players with the most opportunity multiple times; Runs, R/I and TS will be higher for openers, and 1 and 2 down; has WINS been adjusted for the paucity of early matches? WINS, Wins% and WC/ICC discriminate against batsmen in wretched teams and honestly cannot be considered a fair measure of an individual batsmen's ODI standing against a similar player in a better team.

  • Dimuthu Ratnayake on September 7, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    interesting follow up. just to be annoying though. may i suggest (altho you're probably not going to re-analyse it) using "knock out match wins" as well? i.e. all finals, semis, and quarters etc? I suppose WC Finalists would imply they've won a knockout (semis). I slightly remember this parameter being in some calculation done in the past in a cricinfo blog. This of course would alot of "meaningless" Sharjah championships etc. Saying that, i know for Sri Lanka these tourneys were immensly important in building up momentum towards WorldCups and Adam Hollioke would be quite sad if these were meaningless!

  • Madhu on September 7, 2008, 17:48 GMT

    Good stats Hope ICC gets sensible and adopts a platform like this even when representing players careers (like baseball stats)

    Sad to see Sachin lose his 1st spot just because he played with players of lesser calibre. Sadder to see ponting make it to number 3 because of playing with good players.

    Lies Damned lies & statistics I guess

  • Crookie on September 7, 2008, 17:06 GMT

    @Cricket Fan "Can't find any Tendulkar innings of note outside Asian subcontinent." Don't talk rubbish. Sachin played a number of notable innings in SA in 2003 ENG 50 PAK 98 SRL 97 Kenya Semi final 83.Highest run score with 673 at any world cup how is that not a grand stage?to judge him on one final game with 360 to get at over 7 an over is naive and short sighted. What about the CB finals in AUS in 07 117* and 91 India won by the way!And your other comments would to me suggest that expectation is huge making the pressure huge. In India they leave the ground when Sachin is out what does that tell you!So what your saying is Richards is not a genius because he failed in 2 WC finals?If you had watched the 2003 WC you would know the talent had been showcased long before the final the rest of the world saw it. Fair play to D'Silva fine player but knock Sachin because of one innings and do your research first.

  • Sorcerer on September 7, 2008, 17:01 GMT

    How about stripping out from the stats the matches played against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the like? Fact is they have diluted international cricket intensity over the last decade or so intensifies the crescendo that indeed Sir Viv is in a league of his own. True, he could not finish India in the '83 Final but creamed England for 138 in the '79 one and in the 75 one destroyed the Aussie middle-order with three direct hit brilliant run-outs. Never wearing a helmet and never one to fear playing the hook and pull shot, Viv terrorized all and sundry and it's stark that the term "Master Blaster" was actually coined for Viv, only to be shamelessly copied by the Indians for a lesser home batsman.

  • CricketFan on September 7, 2008, 15:10 GMT

    Good post Yadav. Cant find any Tendulkar innings of note outside the Asian subcontinent. Too much nationalism coupled with the enormous population in India just adds to the Tendulkar hype. A true genius stands up in adversity and the 2003 World Cup final was a grand stage to showcase the talent. Didn't Aravinda D'Silva do it in the final of the 1996 World Cup when Sri Lanka's backs were to the wall chasing a stiff target and with McGrath in the opposition?

  • Sorcerer on September 7, 2008, 15:08 GMT

    Someone talks about the better bowling presumably that Tendulkar has faced. Firstly, why are they eerily quiet about the massive game regulation changes that have taken place in the last 15 or so years rendering many excellent bowlers toothless in ODIs especially? Can they inform others what Sachin averages against Pak and SA? And how many of his centuries against Aus come when a certain McGrath has played in those matches....not many. The ONLY world-class bowler the Indian has dominated has been Warne. Starting from McGrath, Donald, Saqlain etc. at their popmp, they have all toyed with the Indian. I would rate Dravid as a far better batsman than Sachin. The latter's relentless freefall in world rankings is not startling as much as it was predictable that he would struggle to average in the 55+ range, let alone 60 where Ponting is flirting.

  • Siddhartha Banerjee on September 7, 2008, 15:04 GMT

    contd..

    Btw I do feel that Richards was a shade better than him, but you cannot discount the fact that he has had to carry the expectations of more than a billion people every time he goes out to bat, something that Richards has never had to counter. However, I am glad to see the rankings of players like Haynes and Miandad improve in this new rankings as they were among the best ODI players of the bygone era. However, I must admit that I was a bit surprised to see Gary Kirsten not being a part of this list, but i think Ananth has done a commendable job in compiling this list so very comprehensively.

  • Siddhartha Banerjee on September 7, 2008, 14:49 GMT

    A lot has been said about the "failure" of Tendulkar in the WC 2003. What many people do not know how he had planned to overhaul that score when most of the players' shoulders had drooped in the dressing room. His plan was - score a boundary each over, that makes it 200 runs from 50 balls and then try and score 160 of the other 250 balls - something that did improve the spirits in the dressing room. His other plan was to try and dominate McGrath from the very beginning and disturb his line and length, something that he had done so successfully in Kenya on a real soggy pitch, because otherwise McGrath would not have conceded more than 25 runs from his quota of overs had he been allowed to settle. Unfortunately he got out early trying to do that and that was why he failed. He could have probably posted a bigger score by adopting a more conservative approach, but he wanted to lead the way. Thats Tendulkar for you.

    contd..

    [[ Mr.Banerjee I am not sure how you are privy to any dressing room conversation. However the idea you have mentioned is so outlandish that no sane team would have proposed. Scoring 1 boundary off each over, that too off the Australian attack seems preposterous. If a team genuinely scores a boundary each over they could finish with well over 400. I am sure no batting team today can think of doing that, even off Bangladesh team which possesses a good spin attack. What they would have discussed is "At the end of 15 overs let us at least be 90-100 for 1 and then take it from there." The other thing is "who has dominated McGrath the way you have mentioned". ]]

  • 80mph on September 7, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    P.P.S: Dear Ananth, I see that you have afforded some weightage also to team wins and win%. However, once again I feel this is unfair to players like Tendulkar and Lara. Eg: Tendulkar has been part of 206 wins while Ponting has been part of 216 wins. However, Tendulkar averages 57.43 in Indian wins at a S/R of 89.79 while Ponting averages 50.39 in Australian wins at a S/R of 82.51. This once again reflects Australia's collective team strength. On average, Tendulkar has to perform much better individually for India to win than Ponting has to for Australia to win. Consequently, the win% of Tendulkar is much lower than Ponting's. I feel, if you want the analysis to reflect a batsman's contribution to team wins, its not the total number of team wins but the individual batsman's average in team wins that should be somehow taken into consideration.

  • 80mph on September 7, 2008, 13:02 GMT

    P.S: Just to add to my above post, Tendulkar's individual WC batting record is way better than Pontings.

    Tendulkar averages 57.93 in WCs at a S/R of 88.21 Ponting averages 48.03 in WCs at a S/R of 81.06

    Tendulkar was top scorer in 2 WCs. However Team India's WC record is nothing compared to Australia because there are 10 other guys in the team.

    Yes, Ponting played a great innings in the 2003 WC finals but he also happenned to feature in 4 WC finals which all the WCs that he ever played. Give a great batsman 4 opportunities and he is likely to produce atleast one outstanding innings. That is simply the law of averages.

  • Vimalan on September 7, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    Its a very cliche or a naive statement that only Indians think Tendulkar as the best. Those who claim this, can they prove this with fact ? How do they know that people from other countries don't consider Tendulkar as best ?? I would say its only the old world charm of Richards that people think he is the best. After 10-20 years, I am sure people will say the same about Tendulkar also.

    Having seen a fair bit of Richards's play, I still think Sachin is better because of the quality of bowling he has faced, runs scored in all conditions, the longevity factor and many more.

    Ananth, you didn't answer my previous question about the Hero cup ? Can you give me a reason why it should not be considered as a cup win since it was played by 6 teams ? [[ I considered only the ICC tournaments in which ALL teams participated. Hero Cup was one of the many tournaments in which 5/6 teams participated. ]]

  • 80mph on September 7, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    The weightage being given to WC and Champions trophy wins makes no sense IMO. WC wins are essentially a measure of team performance while the current analysis seeks to measure batsmen's individual greatness. I feel MOMs although slightly subjective are more indicative of an individual player's contribution than WC wins. A certain batsman can fail through out a WC campaign and his team can still win if the other players do well. I have always held the opinion that Viv Richards is a cut above the rest including Tendulkar. However, I doubt that if Richards had played for India, they would have won any more WCs/CTs than they already have. Ponting and Richards were members of great team units while Tendulkar and Lara weren't. They should not be penalized for it.

  • douglaboy_windies on September 7, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    I think that using the world cup as a factor does not truly represent the player. Someone like Lara in a weak windies team is not likely to win against a team like auz in the world cup

  • Hilal Suhaib on September 7, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    Adding a team's success into the equation should not shroud your judgment when looking at the greatest ODI batsman.

    A performance in a world cup final is a prominent achievement but Sanath Jayasuriya has single handedly won games for a weak Sri Lankan team with his batting alone.

    The like of Husseey, Bevan, Ponting or even Viv and Sachin have little or no pressure as they played for a strong team.

  • Mohanlal on September 7, 2008, 9:53 GMT

    Yadhav..Your views to me are only partially true.Agree nationality plays a vital role.But it doesn't imply that Sachin has played only 2 great inns.Others coming to mind are the last 2 inns in WSC finals,93 vs SAF atBelfast,98 vs Pak in WC,89 VS Pak at Toronto..similarly i am sure much more..Also chasing 350 in WC finals that too being the main expectation for a cricket crazy India against McGrath & co .. if Sachin had achieved it then i would have called him God.

  • Eranga Abeygunawardane on September 7, 2008, 9:22 GMT

    Dear Ananth when you choose the best ODI batsman,the weightages you have given is notreasonable. I think you should have added and given weightage for how many records they have held during their career also .For example Jayasuriya has Fastest 50,100.most sixes in career...... .These records give the correct indication of best ODI batsman.

    But you have given more weightage (20 )for their runs.But when runstaken is considered their is no scale to value how much batsman was selfish to score those runs.But ODI records like fastest 50 ,fastest 100,most runs in an over ect filter best ODI batsman from selfish batsman. And other unacceptable weithage is Average(15 out of 100).Most selfish batsman try to keep their AVERAGES high while best ODI batsman worry only about his team RUN RATE and victory. I have seen most batsman who keeps high averages always slow when they reach to 90 or 95.That's what we call selfish batting.There is famous saying that when a certain batsman scores 100 definitely their side will loss. But Great ODI batsman when they reach to 95 still try to get a six so that TEAM Runrate will get high.We have seen Jayasuriya only wastes 10 to 12 balls to reach from 70 to his 100.

    The weightages you have given wins and win% is not enough at all since these are the area where best ODI Batsman should concentrate rather their individual averages.

    i think according to the weightages you have given , selfish batsman have come in top.Pls consider ODI records like fastest 50 100,most sixes in career…… because these are the real facts of BEST ODI batsman should concentrate.

  • Vikram Maingi on September 7, 2008, 8:33 GMT

    Contd. from previous Posting:-

    Runs/Innings also need to be factored differently for different eras. The game has gradually become more batsmen friendly due to introduction of new rules by the ICC.

    What iss BwQty? How/why Rhodes is getting 15 on 15 in this category. Jonty has been an asset to One-day cricket but should not be regarded as such a great batsman. He might have won a few MoMs by the virtue of his fielding too. He cannot be rated better than compatriots Smith, Cronje and Kirsten(Gary)

    Overall, it is really surprising to find Deano and Zaheer so low in the list. Having DeSilva below Dravid in the list, Greenidge below Kallis(the batsman) is also questionable. Brian Lara was a part of a horrible West Indian team and deserves to be rated better than Rank#11. Had England played more ODIs, there would have been a place for Kevin Pieterson and may be even Marcus Trescothick.

    Best Regards, Vikram Maingi

    [[ Looks like you missed the first part which clearly explains the Strike Rate adjustment and the method oc calculating Bowler quality. Also why do people question Rhodes' high position when he has scored 6000 runs at an average of 35 and strike rate of 81. ]]

  • Vikram Maingi on September 7, 2008, 8:22 GMT

    Dear Ananth,

    with due respect for all the hardwork that has been put by you, i have a ew concrns with regards to the evaluation techniques being used:- With regards to the 'runs' calculation explained by you-> Two batsman with similar career span will have a similar Multiplying Factor. In that case the Multiplying Factor for an english cricket and for somebody from India/Ausralia/Pakistan will be identical inspite of the fact that england cricket team (between 1985 and 2000) hardly played 70percent matches as played by the other three. On what grounds is the s/r factor being evaluated?I am not sure if these figures are proportionate to the S/R of players' international careers. Desmond Hynes played most of his international cricket during the era when 225 was a decently competitive total and Rahul played in the era when a score of 260 was equally competitive to Haynes' 225.I do not understand why/how Rahul Dravid has been rated better than Haynes under this category.

    ToBeContd

  • Eranga Abeygunawardane on September 7, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    When best two batsmans are choosen i think,their ODI records should have been considered.According to my knowledge there is no any batsman who held more ODI records than JAYASURIYA. his records (held at sometimes ) Fastest ODI 50 Fastest 100 Most Sixes in career Most sixes in an over Most runs in an Over Most consecutive ODI 150s Most runs in first 10 Overs Most Runs in first 15 Overs First ever ODI batsman to score 12000 and take 300 wickets Highest 1st wicket partnership in ODI

    Considering his ODI records and and his contribution to win the match,jAYASURIYA SHOULD BE THE FIRST. [[ The same message has been posted already. However so that the gentleman from the lovely little Emerald Isle does not accuse me of being partisan, I am re-posting these. ]]

  • yadav on September 7, 2008, 6:59 GMT

    Dear Prabhu, It is difficult indeed to score 350 batting second. But that is not an excuse you could take for tendulkar's failing in the final of 2003 world cup. All the cricket lovers around the world have witnessed the heroics of Herschelle Gibbs' 111 balls 175 when chasing a mammoth 434. I firmly agree with Sorcerer that majority of people who rate tendulkar at par with the king Viv are either Indians just showing their so called nationalism or are small enough not to have witnessed King Viv batting. Keeping aside the innings played by him at Sharjah, no one could even figure out his match winning one day inings against a top quality bowling attack in a bowler's friendly pitch. What a pity that tendulkar (one of the all time great batsman I agree) is being compared to the incomparable.

  • Magesh on September 7, 2008, 5:13 GMT

    It is unfair to compare players like tendulkar and Richards. They are the greatest batman of their respective eras. One thing people should take into account is that when Richards played WI was the total dominant team. No one had the bowling or the batting depth as them. They are too strong. Whatever teh reason may be. But during tendulkars period we did not have som many greats except Azhar. Sachin had to shoulder the burden most of the time single handedly till saurav and Rahul came in. Was any weightage given to them. Even Ponting has the same thing like richards. One disappointing thing is that when we have some good players who can win matches injury taken its toll on Sachin. But this was a fair result. There is nothing much to choose between Richards and Sachin. They are the greats.

  • Sriram on September 7, 2008, 4:05 GMT

    I think such analysis are really pointless. I quote the great physicist Enrico Fermi to elucidate why I feel so cynical : "I remember my friend Johnny von Neumann used to say, with four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk." [[ Then according to you all comparisons are pointless. All analyses waste of effort. Other than bland statements such as "Bradman's test average is 41.xx higher than the next best Test batsman's" which is a fact, any analysis one does is a waste of time. Complex statistical analysis may have a more scientific foundation. However if I talk of skew or MAD or Std Deviation, I would have lost 95% of the readers after the first paragraph. The idea is to use easily understandable parameters, formulate a conclusion, listen to readers, improve the methodology and let readers come to a conclusion. Is this cynicism a reflection of the result. If not all analysis in "It figures" should fall under this criteria. Enrico Fermi and Von Neumann were great Physicists. I am not aware of the context of these words. Anyhow Nuclear Physics and Cricket Analysis are poles apart. ]]

  • Av on September 7, 2008, 4:00 GMT

    You say emphasis must be put on wins. Let me point out that Richards had the formidable four pronged pace attack on his side which contributed more to the fact that his team won matches than Richards own batting contributions. What has Tendulkar had, at best Srinath, Prasad and some part timers or Zaheer, Irfan and the likes with only Anil Kumble being a bowler any one would count as a great. Even then Kumble can hardly be regarded a great one day bowler now can he?

  • vj on September 7, 2008, 3:39 GMT

    Even in this new analysis richards wins index is far lower than tendulkar's( that is purely because tendulkar played more matches). Are we saying that if richards and tendulkar had played the same number of matches richards team wud have won far fewer matches than tendulkar's???we know that is impossible given the team strengths. the MOM index is good enuff to measure their contribution,, the wins index is redundant..

  • sps75 on September 7, 2008, 3:36 GMT

    The one thing that makes Richards and Sachin the best ODI batsmen in their respective era is that they were the ones against whom all the bowlers in the world struggled and always marched against. Why a special criteria like "the most sought wicket in their era" is not included in this analysis. And Richards and Sachin can play any type of bowling in any type of pitch in any part of the world. I saw a few cries over ponting and gilchrist as the best ODI batsman.Its like comparing chalk and cheese if u compare them with sachin and richards.just compare the averages with the quality of bowling in each country these batsmen played and I am sure when this is done, Richards and Sachin and in fact Jayasuriya and Inzy may follow than Ponting and Gilly. Giving points to winning a world cup is absurd(because this is a team game and you are ranking individual players).infact you should see how these batsmen scored in the world cups.

  • Kartik on September 7, 2008, 3:22 GMT

    OK, this analysis is done. Let's let Ananth move on to a 'Best ODI Bowlers' analysis.

    I am going to guess that the top-5 bowlers will be Wasim, Garner, and McGrath as the big 3, with Waqar, Pollock and Murali battling for the 'next three' rankings of 4, 5, 6.

    Shane Warne will not make the top-6 ODI bowlers of all time. [[ Kartik I want to stay away from batting and ODI for some time. After a breather I will come back to your suggestion. Thanks. ]]

  • Sorcerer on September 7, 2008, 3:04 GMT

    Sanity prevails at last! Wonder what kind of career average and an even more amazing S/R Sir Viv would have possessed batting so frequently against likes of Zimbabwe / Bangladesh etc. in this day and age of batsmen-friendly cricket regime and ODI rules and settings - all tilted towards run feasts. Taken alone, the placid pitches of the Sub-Continent, the bouncer-restriction rule, and the massive Power Play rules - the way they give the opening batsmen a head-start reveal how much Tendulkar is still lagging Viv who never benefitted from such regulations. I bet great majority of those who think Tendulkar is anywhere near Viv are either Indian or are simply too young to have had the honor of witnessing King Viv's awesome power game and dominant career.

  • kc on September 7, 2008, 2:29 GMT

    Ananth have you accounted for the fact there were no field restrictions in Richards' time? 189 at Old Traffod with no restrictions vs 172 at Sharjah with restrictions. Who's the greater one day bat?

  • Kumar on September 7, 2008, 1:12 GMT

    Seems to me that you wanted to see Richards at the top, and tried the tweaks till you got there.Good for you!But I agree with Saurav Saharia.Lets take a look at Richards' average towards the end of his career (last 10-15 ODIs) and see if he has maintained his average or lost a bit. Graeme, Tendulkar has played so many winning ODI innings that for any lesser batsman, they would have been considered career-defining.Take the Desert Storm innings in 1998 against Australia for example.Or the recent 2 innings in the WSC finals in Australia. I personally feel many readers are looking at Tendulkar's recent Test performances and judging his ODI career. AndyMc, to score 16000 runs at 20 average would need 800 ODIs, which we don't see any batsman doing in the future.

    The fact remains-scoring 8000 at 52 should make a player one of the all time greats.Scoring 16000 at 45 should make the player first among equals. [[ Unfortunately some people will keep on making statements like this just because they do not see their favourite player at the top. I certainly did not do this to see one specific player at the top. My favourite player is not even in the top-10. It is true that Richards, during his first half of his career averaged 55 and dropped off significantly during the second half. But then that is true of most players. Very few players have it the other way around. ]]

  • D.V.C. on September 6, 2008, 23:12 GMT

    This looks better to me. However I am still a little concerned that using runs scored in this way creates a bias toward the top order batsman over the middle order. Your top batted in the top 3 for most of their careers.

    You can argue that those who bat in the middle order make up for lack of runs with more not outs and therefore a higher average. Yet average is weighted out of 15 and runs scored out of 20.

    To adjust for this imbalance I would have liked to see a multiplying factor for both average and runs scored based on average batting position.

    For instance if the mean average for a batsman who bats at No. 5 is 30.0 and a batsman has an average of 45.0. He gets a multiplying factor of 1.5 on both total runs scored and average.

  • Jenish Shah on September 6, 2008, 22:50 GMT

    Considering all subjectivities involved, the analysis seems pretty fair. However I am still not convinced about including team-dependent factors (Wins, Win% and WC/ICC) for rating individual players. For example, Hussey's batting contribution in 2007 WC wasn't significant yet he gains 1 pt only because he was part of a team so good that his failures over an entire tournament didn't impact his team at all. Another example is breakdown of Lara and Ponting's rating. Huge difference of 7.9 is largely due to these team-dependent factors (11.91 v 5.61). There has to be a better (maybe complex) way to quantify player's contribution to team (win or no win). It might be an entire new area to explore for you guys. BTW - Ignoring the ranks, almost all analysis end up with mostly same names in top 20-25 slots. It is not worthy to discuss individual player ranks (why player A is ranked higher than player B).

  • Amar on September 6, 2008, 21:32 GMT

    I didn't read the previous posts, but I think some consideration should be given to the percentage of runs scored by a batsman out of the team total, specially in wins. I would like to see how that table turns out; still the present list seems comprehensive enough.

  • Kartik on September 6, 2008, 20:49 GMT

    Another surprise is Jonty Rhodes at #25 - a man known more for fielding than his batting. It appears his batting was underrated as part of a very strong, all-rounder heavy SA side..

  • Kartik on September 6, 2008, 20:23 GMT

    Notice how Greg Chappell is now ahead of Zaheer Abbas. Zaheer was ranked #3 in the first analysis from Ananth a month ago.

    Overall, though, I am happy with the list. I still think 'Wins' double-weights both Win% and Runs (career duration), even if it is only 5%. Richards has the lowest 'Wins' figure of the top-8. But I'll drop my objections to it as the list looks subjectively correct. By biggest quibble, that there was only one player in the top-10 who had retired before 2003, is now corrected.

    Also, at this rate, Hussey WON'T go down as a great. His career is too short, and at best will manage to crack the top-20. Which might have been, had they selected him earlier *and* had him bat at #4, rather than so low....

  • Kartik on September 6, 2008, 20:15 GMT

    Of the top 5 batsmen, only Ponting is just a batsman. Three of the 5 are also useful bowlers (Jayasuriya may even be called a specialist bowler), and Gilchrist is a wicketkeeper! Viv Richards won a WC final with his fielding.

    Extraordinary cricketers.

  • Leigh on September 6, 2008, 20:14 GMT

    Interesting analysis, but not sure why you give players a point or half a point for competing in world final. Why does Tendulkar get half a point for making 4 runs in a world cup final, whilst ponting/Gilchrest gets one for makeing a century in a world cup final? I would suggest that if you are going to give extra points for finals then you should give these points on performance, not merely for competing.

    You seem Determined to make this a analysis between who you consider the two best one day batsman, and thus considering factors that best suit these two great players.

    I also agree that there is too much emphasis on runs scored, with no analysis being taken into account in what conditions these runs have been scored. Not all teams have the luxury of playing there home games on belter batting pitches.

  • shankar on September 6, 2008, 20:09 GMT

    I agree that weightage for the number of runs scored has been dealt appropriately in the latest analysis. However, I do not think it is fair to give weightage for WC/CT wins as this is a team effort (we are considering win% separately anyways). While I agree that a batsman's performance in such key events needs to be considered, we could do this just by analysing the player's performance alone in WC/CT. (for ex, average score in all WC/CT matches etc).

    I also think removing MOM weightage is an acceptable approach.

  • Leigh on September 6, 2008, 20:08 GMT

    Interesting analysis, but not sure why you give players a point or half a point for competing in world final. Why does Tendulkar get half a point for making 4 runs in a world cup final, whilst ponting/Gilchrest gets one for makeing a century in a world cup final? I would suggest that if you are going to give extra points for finals then you should give these points on performance, not merely for competing.

    You seem Determined to make this a analysis between who you consider the two best one day batsman, and thus considering factors that best suit these two great players.

    I also agree that there is too much emphasis on runs scored, with no analysis being taken into account in what conditions these runs have been scored. Not all teams have the luxury of playing there home games on belter batting pitches.

  • Leigh on September 6, 2008, 20:08 GMT

    Interesting analysis, but not sure why you give players a point or half a point for competing in world final. Why does Tendulkar get half a point for making 4 runs in a world cup final, whilst ponting/Gilchrest gets one for makeing a century in a world cup final? I would suggest that if you are going to give extra points for finals then you should give these points on performance, not merely for competing.

    You seem Determined to make this a analysis between who you consider the two best one day batsman, and thus considering factors that best suit these two great players.

    I also agree that there is too much emphasis on runs scored, with no analysis being taken into account in what conditions these runs have been scored. Not all teams have the luxury of playing there home games on belter batting pitches.

  • Vimalan on September 6, 2008, 20:00 GMT

    Ananth,

    I am not sure why you were forced to come up with this new list. Anyway, I am not convinced with giving points to WC/Champions trophy wins.

    How can you judge a batsman's talent by including his cup wins when the sport is a team one. I really can't figure out. At least it makes little sense to see his overall contribution in the tournaments rather than looking whether he has a cup win or not. What is batsman's fault in this?

    One more question, Hero cup which was played between 6 teams in 1993-94 and was won by India, where do you account that one? Why can't Sachin has that also in his cup wins since it was played by 6 teams? why only world cups and champions trophy are included ?

    No matter what your analysis is, according to me Sachin is the best ODI batsman ever.

  • Kartik on September 6, 2008, 19:23 GMT

    "Without trying to sound too anti-Tendulkar, his early debut is another big factor in the number of runs he's scored, and nations like Australia and England would never throw in a player at that age, no matter how good he was. "

    Not quite. The deceptive thing about Tendulkar is that he scored almost all his runs between the ages of 21 and 31.

    He made his debut at 16, but scored relatively little until age 21. After age 31 (March 2004), he started missing almost half of India's matches.

    The length of his career is deceptive, as almost all of Tendular's ODI runs are concentrated in the 10 years between March 1994 and March 2004. 10 of his 19 career years equal to 75% of his runs.

    This is also how Ganguly scored 10,000 runs in just 9 years.

  • Kartik on September 6, 2008, 19:17 GMT

    Ponting and Symonds, the only two batsmen in the top-10 that have a chance to rise significantly from their present position, are both presently missing their Bangladesh matches, which are easy run-scoring opportunities (and boost the Wins/Wins% number).

    When matches are missed, potential dries up. Richards missed quite a few matches. Tendulkar has missed about half of India's matches over the last 3 years. Over his career, he has missed over 100 matches, and if not for this, could have approached 20,000 runs and 50 centuries.

  • Kartik on September 6, 2008, 19:10 GMT

    One more tidbit :

    Tendulkar has managed to play against ALL the greats of the previous era who had not yet retired, except one. He has played against Imran, Hadlee, Botham, Gower, Marshall, Border. The one that he missed is..... Richards! India and WI did play matches before Richards retired (hence enabling Tendulkar to play against Marshall), but Richards was absent from them.

  • Kartik on September 6, 2008, 19:03 GMT

    "Did Richards cause the loss of 1983 WC for West Indies. Did Tendulkar cause the loss of the 2003 WC for India. "

    In Richards' case, the margin of defeat was small enough that WI would have won had he stuck around for a bit more. That being said, Kapil's catch was extraordinary, and in most cases Richards would have gotten away with the shot. Richards didn't fail. In fact, he top scored.

    Tendulkar in 2003 was the opposite. He did fail, but the margin of defeat (125 runs) was so much, that even if Tendulkar had scored 100, India would still have lost. The asking rate alone would have been too much for India. There is no way one batsman could have made the whole difference.

    Ponting may surpass Tendulkar. 2000 more runs, which would also simultaneously bring 40 more wins, would do it.

    One more note - Richards is the one cricketer who transcends nationalism. Even Indians are among those hoping to see Richards higher than Tendulkar. THAT is something.

  • prabhu on September 6, 2008, 18:57 GMT

    Tendulkar is the best one day batsman of his era. He has had many career defining innings in one-days. Please do not confuse his one-day records with the test record. We are waiting for a career defining innings in Tests. How about his desert-storm innings against Aussies in Sharjah, and his six off Shoaib at the World cup. Indians lost the 2003 world cup because our bowlers bowled a mess and 350 was difficult to score no matter what. Plus all these weights and ratings, the rankings don't matter. All that matters is whether you are among the top five and such. You change the weights a bit and the rankings change. The rankings show that Richards, Tendulkar, Ponting, etc. are among the best ODI batsmen of all time. Remember even Azzha couldn't fix a match until Tendulkar was out!

  • Vinay on September 6, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    An interesting fact is that Dravid's position in the entire list. Admitted that he has scored over 10,000 ODI runs, he is often not considered among the one day greats. Hope this analysis does prove to a few doubters that irrespective of Dravid's scoring rate (which he did work on greatly after the early days), he is one of India's greatest one day players and the most unsung. Most ODI teams would be lucky to have a player of his calibre in their team.

  • chris on September 6, 2008, 17:10 GMT

    *long happy sigh*... without looking at the rest of the data/methodology or other names, seeing richards back at the top makes me happy again :)

  • cricketfan on September 6, 2008, 15:35 GMT

    Thank you for giving weightage to the World Cups and Champions Trophy wins. Those who moved up in top 10 seem appropriate. I think you still missed the point somewhat. While there are other 10 players who contribute to a team win, the point is to stand out among the 22 players in the final of a World Cup match and make your efforts count. That is accomplished by giving extra weightage not only for World Cup wins but for getting MOM in a World Cup final.

  • Andymc on September 6, 2008, 15:33 GMT

    Hiya. As the person who suggested the 'cap runs scored at 10,000' idea, I'd like to make a small explanation. My motivation wasn't to "penalise" some players as such, instead it was a way to say "okay, let's say that any player with over 10,000 runs has had a 'full' career". Admittedly, I felt Tendulkar was being over-rewarded for sheer number of runs - a player who scores 8,000 runs can still be a great ODI batsman, even though Tendulkar has 16,000 (an 8-point gap). To put it another way, a player who scored 16,000 at 20 would be rated equally with someone who scored 8,000 at 52.

    Without trying to sound too anti-Tendulkar, his early debut is another big factor in the number of runs he's scored, and nations like Australia and England would never throw in a player at that age, no matter how good he was. Also, a player's debut depends heavily on how good the current team are (eg. Gilchrist's debut was delayed by the excellent Healy). However, I'm glad you've found a fair solution. [[ For quite a few days I was certain that I would use the "cap" you had suggested. Later only did I think of this non-penalizing approach. A key point is to see whether Tendulkar scores, say, another 2000 runs at the same average and strike rate. Then he probably deserves the extra 2 points. Else he will lose part of the 2 points. Many thanks for an excellent suggestion. ]]

  • graeme on September 6, 2008, 15:24 GMT

    Alim's comment is interesting, Ponting has the potential to go to at least another WCF although it maybe hard to maintain his high batting standards over till time. Also, Tendulkar and Ponting and Tendulkar are in the same era but their match history is different especially all those meaningless matches in Sharjah, the next couple of years will be interesting for the both of them. Richards though stands supreme in his era his strike rate coupled with his average for that time is simply incredible. Richards and Ponting have the trophies so I am glad that has some weight, Tendulkar still needs that defining ODI innings.

  • Saurav Saharia on September 6, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    its a very good update of the previous analysis except that Sir Richard's average should not have been kept as same for the estimated no. of matches because it is highly unlikely for one to maintain that a high an average throughout 300+ matches. I think the average factor is what is making richards pip sachin. Plz look into it Ananth, and, its good inter alia. [[ When there are six players, all current generation ones, who have a batting average greater than Richards, I feel it is not necessarily that outlandishly high nor that difficult to maintain over 300 matches. ]]

  • Alim on September 6, 2008, 14:32 GMT

    The way things are Australia looks good enough to win perhaps a couple of more world cups/champions trophies under Ponting. So that would take Ponting leap frogging above both Tendulkar and Richards irrespective of even a below par performance by him in these tournaments. [[ Alim I am thankful to you for providing a sensible and perceptive comment as the first one to be published. ]]

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Alim on September 6, 2008, 14:32 GMT

    The way things are Australia looks good enough to win perhaps a couple of more world cups/champions trophies under Ponting. So that would take Ponting leap frogging above both Tendulkar and Richards irrespective of even a below par performance by him in these tournaments. [[ Alim I am thankful to you for providing a sensible and perceptive comment as the first one to be published. ]]

  • Saurav Saharia on September 6, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    its a very good update of the previous analysis except that Sir Richard's average should not have been kept as same for the estimated no. of matches because it is highly unlikely for one to maintain that a high an average throughout 300+ matches. I think the average factor is what is making richards pip sachin. Plz look into it Ananth, and, its good inter alia. [[ When there are six players, all current generation ones, who have a batting average greater than Richards, I feel it is not necessarily that outlandishly high nor that difficult to maintain over 300 matches. ]]

  • graeme on September 6, 2008, 15:24 GMT

    Alim's comment is interesting, Ponting has the potential to go to at least another WCF although it maybe hard to maintain his high batting standards over till time. Also, Tendulkar and Ponting and Tendulkar are in the same era but their match history is different especially all those meaningless matches in Sharjah, the next couple of years will be interesting for the both of them. Richards though stands supreme in his era his strike rate coupled with his average for that time is simply incredible. Richards and Ponting have the trophies so I am glad that has some weight, Tendulkar still needs that defining ODI innings.

  • Andymc on September 6, 2008, 15:33 GMT

    Hiya. As the person who suggested the 'cap runs scored at 10,000' idea, I'd like to make a small explanation. My motivation wasn't to "penalise" some players as such, instead it was a way to say "okay, let's say that any player with over 10,000 runs has had a 'full' career". Admittedly, I felt Tendulkar was being over-rewarded for sheer number of runs - a player who scores 8,000 runs can still be a great ODI batsman, even though Tendulkar has 16,000 (an 8-point gap). To put it another way, a player who scored 16,000 at 20 would be rated equally with someone who scored 8,000 at 52.

    Without trying to sound too anti-Tendulkar, his early debut is another big factor in the number of runs he's scored, and nations like Australia and England would never throw in a player at that age, no matter how good he was. Also, a player's debut depends heavily on how good the current team are (eg. Gilchrist's debut was delayed by the excellent Healy). However, I'm glad you've found a fair solution. [[ For quite a few days I was certain that I would use the "cap" you had suggested. Later only did I think of this non-penalizing approach. A key point is to see whether Tendulkar scores, say, another 2000 runs at the same average and strike rate. Then he probably deserves the extra 2 points. Else he will lose part of the 2 points. Many thanks for an excellent suggestion. ]]

  • cricketfan on September 6, 2008, 15:35 GMT

    Thank you for giving weightage to the World Cups and Champions Trophy wins. Those who moved up in top 10 seem appropriate. I think you still missed the point somewhat. While there are other 10 players who contribute to a team win, the point is to stand out among the 22 players in the final of a World Cup match and make your efforts count. That is accomplished by giving extra weightage not only for World Cup wins but for getting MOM in a World Cup final.

  • chris on September 6, 2008, 17:10 GMT

    *long happy sigh*... without looking at the rest of the data/methodology or other names, seeing richards back at the top makes me happy again :)

  • Vinay on September 6, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    An interesting fact is that Dravid's position in the entire list. Admitted that he has scored over 10,000 ODI runs, he is often not considered among the one day greats. Hope this analysis does prove to a few doubters that irrespective of Dravid's scoring rate (which he did work on greatly after the early days), he is one of India's greatest one day players and the most unsung. Most ODI teams would be lucky to have a player of his calibre in their team.

  • prabhu on September 6, 2008, 18:57 GMT

    Tendulkar is the best one day batsman of his era. He has had many career defining innings in one-days. Please do not confuse his one-day records with the test record. We are waiting for a career defining innings in Tests. How about his desert-storm innings against Aussies in Sharjah, and his six off Shoaib at the World cup. Indians lost the 2003 world cup because our bowlers bowled a mess and 350 was difficult to score no matter what. Plus all these weights and ratings, the rankings don't matter. All that matters is whether you are among the top five and such. You change the weights a bit and the rankings change. The rankings show that Richards, Tendulkar, Ponting, etc. are among the best ODI batsmen of all time. Remember even Azzha couldn't fix a match until Tendulkar was out!

  • Kartik on September 6, 2008, 19:03 GMT

    "Did Richards cause the loss of 1983 WC for West Indies. Did Tendulkar cause the loss of the 2003 WC for India. "

    In Richards' case, the margin of defeat was small enough that WI would have won had he stuck around for a bit more. That being said, Kapil's catch was extraordinary, and in most cases Richards would have gotten away with the shot. Richards didn't fail. In fact, he top scored.

    Tendulkar in 2003 was the opposite. He did fail, but the margin of defeat (125 runs) was so much, that even if Tendulkar had scored 100, India would still have lost. The asking rate alone would have been too much for India. There is no way one batsman could have made the whole difference.

    Ponting may surpass Tendulkar. 2000 more runs, which would also simultaneously bring 40 more wins, would do it.

    One more note - Richards is the one cricketer who transcends nationalism. Even Indians are among those hoping to see Richards higher than Tendulkar. THAT is something.

  • Kartik on September 6, 2008, 19:10 GMT

    One more tidbit :

    Tendulkar has managed to play against ALL the greats of the previous era who had not yet retired, except one. He has played against Imran, Hadlee, Botham, Gower, Marshall, Border. The one that he missed is..... Richards! India and WI did play matches before Richards retired (hence enabling Tendulkar to play against Marshall), but Richards was absent from them.