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.

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