September 10, 2008

Another look at the best ODI batsmen

Stats analysis ranking the best ODI batsmen

It is with great interest that I read Ananth Narayanan's analysis of one-day players. Independently, our database provides a ranking of batsmen, which first of all adjusts each innings played according to batting conditions and the quality of the opposition bowling, then takes these adjusted scores and combines them with the scoring rate and also longevity in the game to provide a career batting quality measure. The results are given here below:

The best ODI batsmen
Rank Player Bat Quality M Runs Ave 100s R/100b
1 Sachin Tendulkar 94.69 417 15481 41.95 34 80.83
2 Vivian Richards 87.92 187 6692 46.80 10 89.83
3 Michael Bevan 87.08 232 6695 51.90 3 72.00
4 Ricky Ponting 83.05 301 10422 40.55 15 75.33
5 Michael Hussey 82.35 93 2252 52.37 1 78.83
6 Brian Lara 80.59 299 9952 38.72 12 75.83
7 Jacques Kallis 80.02 279 9107 42.36 11 67.50
8 Adam Gilchrist 79.09 287 9031 33.70 12 91.00
9 Sanath Jayasuriya 79.01 421 11977 30.63 20 85.33
10 Inzamam-ul-Haq 78.90 378 11054 37.22 8 69.83
11 Kevin Pietersen 78.12 82 2699 45.75 5 83.67
12 Sourav Ganguly 77.95 311 10476 37.82 16 68.00
13 Mahendra Singh Dhoni 77.31 120 3484 43.55 3 83.83
14 Mohammad Yousuf 77.19 269 8522 39.82 7 69.50
15 Dean Jones 77.03 164 5921 43.54 7 70.83
16 Rahul Dravid 76.91 333 10064 37.55 7 67.67
17 Mark Waugh 76.00 244 8162 37.79 12 73.83
18 Saeed Anwar 75.68 247 8263 36.72 11 75.50
19 Zaheer Abbas 75.47 62 2425 44.91 4 80.00
20 Desmond Haynes 75.08 238 8447 40.42 17 61.67
21 Andrew Symonds 75.02 193 4709 37.98 4 87.50
22 Aravinda de Silva 74.83 308 8977 33.75 11 78.33
23 Javed Miandad 74.69 233 7226 40.82 6 65.50
24 Mohammed Azharuddin 74.60 334 9058 35.66 4 71.50
25 Lance Klusener 74.48 171 3458 39.75 1 86.83
26 Matthew Hayden 74.19 161 5663 40.45 8 72.83
27 Gary Kirsten 73.58 185 6557 39.50 10 69.50
28 Gordon Greenidge 72.72 128 4963 43.54 6 62.67
29 Shivnarine Chanderpaul 72.17 235 7128 38.12 3 66.50
30 Hansie Cronje 71.84 188 5447 37.83 5 74.83

The top two players are, as with Ananth's scheme, Tendulkar and Richards, with the former enjoying a significant lead over the latter. Seven of Ananth's top ten are in our top ten. But whereas Ananth has Haynes, Javed Miandad and Symonds, we have Hussey, Lara and Kallis. Two notable absentees in Ananth's top 30 who rank quite highly in ours are Pietersen and Dhoni, 11th and 13th respectively.

Given that limited-overs cricket is all about scoring runs, and scoring them quickly,a much simpler algorithm to arrive at the best ODI batsmen is to multiply the batting average by the scoring rate, and divide the product by 1000 to reduce the magnitude of the result. This requires a minimum qualification of (in this case) 50 matches, otherwise the well known Canadian, Rizwan Cheema, heads the list after only three ODIs! This method will favour modern players because of increased scoring rates in modern times, but we find that Zaheer Abbas and Viv Richards still make the top eleven:

Combining batting average and scoring rate
Rank Player Index M Runs Ave
1 Michael Hussey 4.91 93 2457 57.14
2 Mahendra Singh Dhoni 4.33 120 3793 47.41
3 Vivian Richards 4.24 187 6721 47.00
4 Kevin Pietersen 4.19 82 2822 47.83
5 Zaheer Abbas 4.04 62 2572 47.63
6 Michael Bevan 3.99 232 6912 53.58
7 Sachin Tendulkar 3.79 417 16361 44.34
8 Andrew Symonds 3.76 193 5006 40.37
9 Lance Klusener 3.69 171 3576 41.10
10 Adam Gilchrist 3.48 287 9619 35.89
11 Ricky Ponting 3.48 301 11113 43.24

The largely-forgotten Klusener rates well, but apart from him, they all are prominent in the both Ananth's table, and mine above.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on January 18, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    Overall,I still rate Viv Richards ahead of Tendulkar in the one day format.No batsman has deat with bowling as mercillesly as Viv who reminded you of a tiger tearing flesh when batting in full flow.No batsman could turn the complexion of a match like him.Sachin was more consistent but did not dominate the bolwing to that extent.Remember Viv's 189 at Old Traford,153 not out at Melbourne and 138 not out in the 1979 World Cup final. I am surprised with the omission of Allan Lamb,a master one day batsman.He won many a spectacular win for England in the run chases.Remember his match-wiining effort against West Indies in the 1987 Reliance Cup and his scoring 18 runs of an over in 1987 in Australia to win a thriller. Javed Miandad,to me is among the 10 best with his master temperament.Zaheer Abbas was in his era amongst the 3 best one day batsman who displayed great improvisation.No batsman posessed his timing. [[ Alan Lamb is there, in the 56th position. How can we ignore a batsman who has scored over 4000 runs in both forms of cricket. Ananth: ]]

  • testli5504537 on November 30, 2008, 8:18 GMT

    jayasuriya and the word consistent are opposites .. if its record breaking then afridi tops the list fastest 100 so many sixers .. criteria will be the player who has been most consistent over a long period .. with a good strike rate and helping his team win more often than not .. MORE OFTEN THAN NOT .. tats the key .. sachin has played 420 games obviously he cant keep winning games single handedly always

  • testli5504537 on November 1, 2008, 10:43 GMT

    Why is there a confusion in deciding who is the best ODI batsman ever.......ask Glenn, Warne, Donald, Wasim & Waqar and clearly they'll say that Tendulkar is the Best (well!! the bowlers I mentioned haven't bowled to Richards on regular take him away)

  • testli5504537 on October 27, 2008, 12:01 GMT

    I think Ric's list indicate the 'best career ODI batting performances’ not the best ODI batsman. When you find the best laptop you should consider performance, features, price for value, etc. like that when you say 'The Best ODI Batsman’ to someone, he should be able to show the world that he could deliver best performance at different areas(performing in finals, record breaking performance in individual matches, destroying a bowler in an over, etc.). So The Best ODI Batsman is Jayasuriya and Best Career ODI Batting Performance from Sachin.

    Overall I don't think comparing batsmen who plays different time periods is a very good thing because the laws of the game and the thinking is changed over the years. And modern batsmen can get experiences from watching past matches. But it’s a good try.

  • testli5504537 on October 26, 2008, 16:23 GMT

    keep wondering ... tats all i can say .. comparing arvinda de silva and sachin .. lol .. tats it i can only laugh .. except for 96 WC de silva has not done anything special ..

  • testli5504537 on October 25, 2008, 23:02 GMT

    Also while I think Richards' 189* off 170 against England's Willis-Botham-Underwood at Old Trafford in '84 was one of the greatest ODI knocks ever, I have it at no. 2 overall in the whole ODI history. To me, that and every other ODI knock ever played (or even that shall be played) pales in comparison to Richards' own 153* off 130 against Australia's Lillee-Thommo-Hogg on a unpredictable, fast, bouncy MCG track in '79. That was against arguably one of the three to five most devastating pace attacks ever in the most difficult of conditions. I think analysis done by you and Ananth should take into consideration the natural conditions besides the opposition. Not to mention individual match-winning innings.

    While Richards is the greatest ever ODI bat by miles, Sachin is not even the best since '90 (his era). At their best Lara, Gilly, D'Silva etc better him as match-winners. Also I wonder how the great Sachin got only his FIRST ODI 100 in Aus against Aus at 35 and avgs <30 there and in SA.

  • testli5504537 on October 19, 2008, 5:17 GMT

    Lara, Sachin, Jayasuriya, Gilchrist etc are pretenders to the throne of the one KING that was, is and shall remain Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards. He was the ONE amongst this lot that played on uncovered, fast, bouncy tracks; with zero protective gear (not even helmet!); no such batsman-protecting rules like one or two bouncers an over; AND all that against some of the greatest ever - a few might have bowled at 100+ mph - Snow, Lillee, Thomson, Imran, Walker, Dymock, Pascoe, Gilmour, Hogg, Hurst, Ward, Willis, Botham, Dilley, Kapil, Bakht, Nawaz, Jaffer, Hadlee, Chatfield etc.

    Those that have played since '90 lose tons of points on account of the numerous advantages they have had playing the game, esp in ODIs. And EVEN then, Sir Viv combines a avg of almost 50 with a sr of 90+. And that is despite those last 7 years till he retired in '91. With the advantages that bats since '90 have had, his ODI avg would have surpassed Bradman's test one and his sr would probably have been 600!

  • testli5504537 on October 17, 2008, 11:16 GMT

    about world records: records mean, you are a pioneer, and you are quicker than the rest to be there. to evaluate someone under records must be done by analysing his areas of success. for example, suchin's highest ODI score, highest ODI 50's, Highest 100's, Highest runs in an calendar year...etc falls under one catagory: accumulated runs. its like. you can tell that the person with most runs would get all these other records, plus have a good average and will be consistant. but jayasuriya is a bit different, i gotta admit. he has his name in many lists such as, speed, efficiency(how many runs he scores from boundaries), high scores(highest opening partnerships, test runs, 100's, 50's). hes got his name in many different branches of cricket. thats very abnormal for a man and thats where he is special. also must mention! hes most successfull agains India. so dont think his opposition is weak, specially if you are a aussie guy who wathced the CB series. :) good luck!!

  • testli5504537 on October 17, 2008, 11:02 GMT

    also its true, consistancy means reliability. who would you choose for your team right now to win a one day against some best team out of jayasuriya and Sachin? obviously Sachin. Now soon after the IPL, if you were asked to select the best for your team who would you select? i bet Sachin him self would ask you to select jayasuriya. why this change? the answer would be- you form matters alot. that can overpower consistancy. if in form, jayasuriya would be the most suitable one day batsman compared to any other inform batsmen. But in general, a lower order batsman would be much reliable than jayasuriya.

    also few funny things: someone has listed Sachin's number of appearances in grounds in his world records list.. they dont matter in the ODI performance do they?? i recon finding the best ODI batsman using statistical calculations would be a "gravitational field equation" coz it should consider: form, era, support from others, runs, average, speed, innings order, oposition..etc.

  • testli5504537 on October 17, 2008, 10:49 GMT

    Thushar-"I think this list gives us more successful run accumulators and not necessarily greatest batsmen."

    Sajaad-"I would rate a player on how important his innings was to the achivement of a team's victory."

    i agree with the above guys. if you are an one day player and when you are out in the crease, only thing you think is how to win your game. Depending on the time you go to the crease, and the situation there, this plan varies. it could be waiting out their and accumilating runs or play in a hitout or getout fasion. Therefore ODI greatness is all about your performance under the given situation. What is match wining capability?? it is not the percentage of matches you won because that depends on the amount of matches you played, and your other fellow batsmen in the team who contributed. In that sense Ric's match wining capability of jayasuriya and Beven isnt quite logical. Either way, the top contesters for the #1 spot would be Sachin & Sanath.

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