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May 22, 2009

Batting

Summary tables on Test batsmen

Anantha Narayanan

I came out with an article on Test Batsmen a few days back and this article received an unprecedented number of responses. There were a number of useful suggestions and I am considering incorporation of a number of these suggestions. Since this process is going to take some time and I also have a number of T20/IPL analysis to be done, I have come out, in the interim, with a number of useful batsmen tables. The purpose of these are to provide at one place very useful information for comparison. There are no assumptions or parameters in these tables and what is presented are only facts. I have made only some explanatory comments on these tables.

The weighted bowling quality measure, which has been shown as the last column in all the tables, has been derived by using the career-to-date values as suggested by many readers. There is no major difference. However there is no doubt that this is the correct method. The real difference is with the lesser bowlers. For the great bowlers with 300+ wickets in their career, the CtD averages do not show any significant variation once a certain stage of career has been crossed.

1. Top run scorers for 8 periods

Aus Ponting R.T          2000s    8864 @  59.89  36.00
Saf Kallis J.H           2000s    8428 @  58.94  37.69
Aus Hayden M.L           2000s    8365 @  52.94  36.23
Ind Dravid R             2000s    8125 @  53.45  37.62
Ind Tendulkar S.R        2000s    6932 @  52.92  37.74
Slk Jayawardene D.P.M.D  2000s    6581 @  56.25  38.81
Win Lara B.C             2000s    6380 @  54.07  34.43
Saf Smith G.C            2000s    6343 @  50.34  38.70
Win Chanderpaul S        2000s    6342 @  53.29  35.04
Ind Laxman V.V.S         2000s    6115 @  49.72  36.61

Eng Stewart A.J 1990s 6409 @ 40.82 35.22 Aus Waugh M.E 1990s 6371 @ 41.64 36.73 Aus Taylor M.A 1990s 6306 @ 40.95 36.75 Eng Atherton M.A 1990s 6217 @ 38.38 34.31 Aus Waugh S.R 1990s 6213 @ 53.10 36.17 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1990s 5626 @ 58.00 37.97 Win Lara B.C 1990s 5573 @ 51.60 36.12 Slk de Silva P.A 1990s 4448 @ 46.82 37.85 Aus Slater M.J 1990s 4425 @ 45.15 37.02 Aus Boon D.C 1990s 4303 @ 45.29 38.61

Aus Border A.R 1980s 7418 @ 54.54 34.54 Eng Gower D.I 1980s 6196 @ 42.44 33.86 Pak Javed Miandad 1980s 5642 @ 54.78 37.02 Win Richards I.V.A 1980s 5209 @ 49.61 35.04 Win Greenidge C.G 1980s 5151 @ 45.99 35.43

Ind Gavaskar S.M 1970s 5647 @ 55.91 37.72 Ind Viswanath G.R 1970s 4611 @ 46.11 36.56 Aus Chappell G.S 1970s 4357 @ 53.79 36.08 Win Kallicharran A.I 1970s 3917 @ 49.58 34.70 Win Fredericks R.C 1970s 3809 @ 45.89 33.59

Eng Barrington K.F 1960s 6397 @ 59.79 37.82 Eng Cowdrey M.C 1960s 4788 @ 48.86 36.99 Aus Lawry W.M 1960s 4717 @ 49.65 37.27 Win Sobers G.St.A 1960s 4563 @ 60.04 36.48 Eng Dexter E.R 1960s 4232 @ 50.38 36.91

Eng Hutton L 40s-50s 5626 @ 54.62 39.27 Eng Compton D.C.S 40s-50s 5339 @ 49.90 40.02 Aus Harvey R.N 40s-50s 5107 @ 52.65 38.51 Win EdeC Weekes 40s-50s 4455 @ 58.62 37.83 Eng May P.B.H 40s-50s 4182 @ 49.20 36.49

Eng Hammond W.R WW1-WW2 6883 @ 61.46 42.87 Aus Bradman D.G WW1-WW2 5093 @ 97.94 34.50 Eng Sutcliffe H WW1-WW2 4555 @ 60.73 40.35 Eng Hendren E.H WW1-WW2 3525 @ 47.64 41.52 Eng Hobbs J.B WW1-WW2 2945 @ 56.63 39.95

Aus Hill C Pre-WW1 3412 @ 39.22 34.27 Aus Trumper V.T Pre-WW1 3163 @ 39.05 33.66 Eng Hobbs J.B Pre-WW1 2465 @ 57.33 32.64 Aus Gregory S.E Pre-WW1 2282 @ 24.54 31.60 Aus Armstrong W.W Pre-WW1 2247 @ 35.67 32.49

Note the current decade. All the ten batsmen, barring Laxman who chips in with 49.72 have averaged above 50. During the 1990s, only the three great batsmen, Steve Waugh, Tendulkar and Lara exceed 50. During the 1980s, only Border and the incomparable Miandad exceeded 50. Gavaskar, Greg Chappell and Boycott exceeded 50 during the 70's. During the early periods, Sobers, Hammond and Sutcliffe exceeded 60. Note the poor bowling faced by Hammond, however. All these are in the Top-10.

To peruse the complete table, please click here.

2. Top 20 aggregate scorers during a calendar year

Pak Mohammad Yousuf      2006  1788 @  99.33  35.80
Win Richards I.V.A       1976  1710 @  90.00  32.31
Ind Gavaskar S.M         1979  1696 @  62.81  32.93
Saf Smith G.C            2008  1656 @  72.00  41.33
Aus Ponting R.T          2005  1540 @  66.96  34.66
Aus Ponting R.T          2003  1503 @ 100.20  41.81
Eng Vaughan M.P          2002  1481 @  61.71  33.95
Aus Langer J.L           2004  1481 @  54.85  36.76
Ind Sehwag V             2008  1462 @  56.23  36.16
Ind Viswanath G.R        1979  1420 @  56.80  32.90
Ind Tendulkar S.R        2002  1392 @  55.68  40.08
Aus Hayden M.L           2001  1391 @  63.23  36.46
Aus Simpson R.B          1964  1381 @  60.04  43.94
Aus Hayden M.L           2005  1380 @  53.08  34.23
Eng Amiss D.L            1974  1379 @  68.95  36.32
Ind Dravid R             2002  1357 @  59.00  39.39
Aus Martyn D.R           2004  1353 @  56.38  35.23
Win Lara B.C             2003  1344 @  74.67  34.35
Eng Pietersen K.P        2006  1343 @  53.72  32.81
Aus Ponting R.T          2006  1333 @  88.87  33.00
...
...
Win Sobers G.St.A        1958  1193 @ 132.56  35.24
Note the fantastic aggregates of the under-rated Mohammd Yousuf, Richards, Gavaskar, Smith and Ponting (twice). Also the 100+ averages of Sobers and Ponting.

To peruse the complete table, please click here.

3. Top scorers vs each team

Eng Hobbs J.B            Australia      3636 @  54.27  36.95
Eng Gower D.I            Australia      3269 @  44.78  35.69
Eng Boycott G            Australia      2945 @  47.50  37.25
Win Lara B.C             Australia      2856 @  51.00  31.39
Eng Hammond W.R          Australia      2852 @  51.85  39.95

Ind Gavaskar S.M West Indies 2749 @ 65.45 39.59 Eng Boycott G West Indies 2205 @ 45.94 34.79 Eng Gooch G.A West Indies 2197 @ 44.84 28.55 Aus Waugh S.R West Indies 2192 @ 49.82 34.92 Saf Kallis J.H West Indies 2073 @ 74.04 39.81

Win Lloyd C.H India 2344 @ 58.60 37.37 Pak Javed Miandad India 2228 @ 67.52 39.45 Win Richards I.V.A India 1927 @ 50.71 37.42 Win Sobers G.St.A India 1920 @ 83.48 37.07 Aus Hayden M.L India 1888 @ 59.00 37.76

Aus Bradman D.G England 5028 @ 89.79 34.28 Aus Border A.R England 3548 @ 56.32 36.08 Win Sobers G.St.A England 3214 @ 60.64 34.52 Aus Waugh S.R England 3200 @ 58.18 38.13 Win Lara B.C England 2983 @ 62.15 39.14

Pak Inzamam-ul-Haq Sri Lanka 1559 @ 59.96 39.03 Ind Tendulkar S.R Sri Lanka 1408 @ 56.32 38.56 Ind Azharuddin M Sri Lanka 1215 @ 55.23 40.34 Nzl Fleming S.P Sri Lanka 1166 @ 58.30 39.14 Win Lara B.C Sri Lanka 1125 @ 86.54 33.76

Eng Compton D.C.S South Africa 2205 @ 53.78 43.98 Eng Hammond W.R South Africa 2188 @ 62.51 44.29 Aus Ponting R.T South Africa 2030 @ 56.39 31.34 Win Lara B.C South Africa 1715 @ 49.00 31.96 Aus Harvey R.N South Africa 1625 @ 81.25 43.52

Ind Gavaskar S.M Pakistan 2089 @ 56.46 35.01 Aus Border A.R Pakistan 1666 @ 59.50 34.36 Aus Chappell G.S Pakistan 1581 @ 63.24 37.65 Slk Jayasuriya S.T Pakistan 1490 @ 51.38 35.42 Slk de Silva P.A Pakistan 1475 @ 42.14 35.52

Pak Javed Miandad New Zealand 1919 @ 79.96 42.31 Aus Border A.R New Zealand 1500 @ 51.72 35.72 Ind Tendulkar S.R New Zealand 1406 @ 52.07 34.82 Saf Kallis J.H New Zealand 1356 @ 67.80 40.58 Ind Dravid R New Zealand 1318 @ 59.91 33.63

Slk Atapattu M.S Zimbabwe 1145 @ 95.42 48.01 Ind Dravid R Zimbabwe 979 @ 97.90 42.11 Ind Tendulkar S.R Zimbabwe 918 @ 76.50 42.62 Nzl Astle N.J Zimbabwe 813 @ 50.81 40.86 Pak Inzamam-ul-Haq Zimbabwe 772 @ 42.89 42.03

Slk Sangakkara K.C Bangladesh 876 @ 73.00 46.75 Slk Jayawardene D.P.M.D Bangladesh 863 @ 66.38 47.63 Slk Dilshan T.M Bangladesh 771 @ 77.10 43.68 Saf Smith G.C Bangladesh 743 @ 82.56 51.82 Slk Samaraweera T.T Bangladesh 600 @ 66.67 45.56

Sehwag and Taylor against Pakistan, Kallis against West Indies, Javed Miandad against New Zealand, Sobers and Zaheer Abbas against India, Lara against Sri Lanka, Harvey and Jayawardene against South Africa and of course Bradman against England are the stand-out performers.

To peruse the complete table, please click here.

4. Top 20 away scorers

Ind Tendulkar S.R          7165 @  54.28  37.18
Ind Dravid R               6430 @  56.90  37.50
Win Lara B.C               5736 @  47.80  34.12
Aus Border A.R             5431 @  56.57  36.32
Win Richards I.V.A         5404 @  50.50  34.98
Pak Inzamam-ul-Haq         5226 @  47.94  37.92
Aus Waugh S.R              5217 @  55.50  36.68
Ind Gavaskar S.M           5055 @  52.11  36.94
Saf Kallis J.H             4713 @  52.37  36.46
Aus Ponting R.T            4680 @  50.87  35.89
Win Lloyd C.H              4634 @  46.81  34.32
Pak Javed Miandad          4351 @  45.80  34.31
Win Greenidge C.G          4349 @  42.22  35.22
Eng Hammond W.R            4245 @  66.33  43.22
Nzl Fleming S.P            4225 @  45.92  36.68
Eng Cowdrey M.C            4087 @  44.91  35.90
Win Chanderpaul S          4082 @  42.52  34.10
Ind Ganguly S.C            4032 @  41.57  37.68
Aus Waugh M.E              4010 @  40.51  37.17
Win Sobers G.St.A          3957 @  50.73  33.67
...
...
Aus Bradman D.G            2674 @ 102.85  35.18
The list is headed by Tendulkar and followed by two great contemporary batsmen. Tendulkar has been equally effective home and away while Dravid has been better away. Lara has significantly under-performed away from home, but against very good bowling attacks. Hammond has a very high away average, tempered by the fact that a lot of these runs have been scored against weak bowling attackes. For the record, Bradman has the highest away batting average. Note Steve Waugh's excellent away average.

To peruse the complete table, please click here.

5. Vs Team performance for selected 5 players

Eng Hobbs J.B            Aus  3636 @  54.27  36.95
Eng Hobbs J.B            Saf  1562 @  60.08  33.52
Eng Hobbs J.B            Win   212 @ 106.00  53.90

Career Total 5410 @ 56.95 36.62

Aus Bradman D.G Eng 5028 @ 89.79 34.28 Aus Bradman D.G Ind 715 @ 178.75 45.15 Aus Bradman D.G Saf 806 @ 201.50 36.54 Aus Bradman D.G Win 447 @ 74.50 45.89 Career Total 6996 @ 99.94 36.39

Win Richards I.V.A Aus 2266 @ 44.43 33.79 Win Richards I.V.A Eng 2869 @ 62.37 35.40 Win Richards I.V.A Ind 1927 @ 50.71 37.42 Win Richards I.V.A Nzl 387 @ 43.00 30.80 Win Richards I.V.A Pak 1091 @ 41.96 32.44 Career Total 8540 @ 50.24 34.84

Ind Tendulkar S.R Aus 2748 @ 56.08 34.45 Ind Tendulkar S.R Bng 556 @ 139.00 44.19 Ind Tendulkar S.R Eng 2150 @ 61.43 40.07 Ind Tendulkar S.R Nzl 1406 @ 52.07 34.82 Ind Tendulkar S.R Pak 1057 @ 42.28 36.08 Ind Tendulkar S.R Saf 1202 @ 35.35 35.16 Ind Tendulkar S.R Slk 1408 @ 56.32 38.56 Ind Tendulkar S.R Win 1328 @ 57.74 41.18 Ind Tendulkar S.R Zim 918 @ 76.50 42.62 Career Total 12773 @ 54.59 37.80

Win Lara B.C Aus 2856 @ 51.00 31.39 Win Lara B.C Bng 173 @ 86.50 45.84 Win Lara B.C Eng 2983 @ 62.15 39.14 Win Lara B.C Ind 1002 @ 34.55 35.36 Win Lara B.C Nzl 704 @ 41.41 39.19 Win Lara B.C Pak 1173 @ 53.32 34.95 Win Lara B.C Saf 1715 @ 49.00 31.96 Win Lara B.C Slk 1125 @ 86.54 33.76 Win Lara B.C Zim 222 @ 55.50 44.09 Career Total 11953 @ 52.89 35.22

Hobbs and Bradman have scored most of their runs against the good attacks of Australia/England and South Africa. Almost all of Richards' runs have come against good attacks. The major difference between Tendulkar and Lara is that Tendulkar has scored nearly 1500 runs against the weak attacks of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Lara has scored only 400 runs against these attacks. This explains the overall poorer bowling quality faced by Tendulkar.

To peruse the complete table, please click here.

6. Career progression for 5 selected players

Eng Hobbs J.B            1908   302 @  43.14  30.01
Eng Hobbs J.B            1909   132 @  26.40  31.70
Eng Hobbs J.B            1910   539 @  67.38  27.25
Eng Hobbs J.B            1911    85 @  42.50  30.89
Eng Hobbs J.B            1912   964 @  68.86  32.53
Eng Hobbs J.B            1913   105 @  52.50  41.95
Eng Hobbs J.B            1914   338 @  67.60  41.78
Eng Hobbs J.B            1920   108 @  54.00  48.56
Eng Hobbs J.B            1921   397 @  49.62  41.40
Eng Hobbs J.B            1924   527 @  75.29  32.94
Eng Hobbs J.B            1925   401 @  57.29  35.82
Eng Hobbs J.B            1926   486 @  81.00  35.17
Eng Hobbs J.B            1928   312 @  62.40  49.64
Eng Hobbs J.B            1929   413 @  51.62  45.54
Eng Hobbs J.B            1930   301 @  33.44  42.62
Career Total               5410 @  56.95  36.61

Aus Bradman D.G 1928 19 @ 9.50 29.26 Aus Bradman D.G 1929 449 @ 89.80 28.28 Aus Bradman D.G 1930 978 @ 122.25 35.37 Aus Bradman D.G 1931 781 @ 111.57 41.82 Aus Bradman D.G 1932 468 @ 234.00 36.57 Aus Bradman D.G 1933 396 @ 56.57 35.79 Aus Bradman D.G 1934 758 @ 94.75 33.14 Aus Bradman D.G 1936 120 @ 30.00 28.27 Aus Bradman D.G 1937 690 @ 138.00 28.98 Aus Bradman D.G 1938 434 @ 108.50 35.44 Aus Bradman D.G 1946 421 @ 210.50 39.76 Aus Bradman D.G 1947 457 @ 65.29 42.49 Aus Bradman D.G 1948 1025 @ 113.89 41.68 Career Total 6996 @ 99.94 36.39

Win Richards I.V.A 1974 199 @ 99.50 32.76 Win Richards I.V.A 1975 272 @ 20.92 33.41 Win Richards I.V.A 1976 1710 @ 90.00 32.31 Win Richards I.V.A 1977 257 @ 28.56 34.98 Win Richards I.V.A 1978 62 @ 31.00 40.15 Win Richards I.V.A 1979 140 @ 140.00 33.86 Win Richards I.V.A 1980 857 @ 65.92 31.39 Win Richards I.V.A 1981 474 @ 67.71 34.03 Win Richards I.V.A 1982 158 @ 39.50 27.15 Win Richards I.V.A 1983 588 @ 39.20 43.49 Win Richards I.V.A 1984 789 @ 46.41 35.58 Win Richards I.V.A 1985 383 @ 54.71 35.01 Win Richards I.V.A 1986 506 @ 50.60 31.38 Win Richards I.V.A 1987 300 @ 42.86 35.19 Win Richards I.V.A 1988 867 @ 51.00 35.39 Win Richards I.V.A 1989 287 @ 35.88 38.29 Win Richards I.V.A 1990 141 @ 28.20 45.25 Win Richards I.V.A 1991 550 @ 39.29 39.13 Career Total 8540 @ 50.24 34.83

Ind Tendulkar S.R 1989 215 @ 35.83 35.40 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1990 373 @ 41.44 37.42 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1991 78 @ 19.50 31.68 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1992 419 @ 41.90 40.75 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1993 640 @ 91.43 40.95 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1994 700 @ 70.00 40.41 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1995 58 @ 29.00 45.67 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1996 623 @ 41.53 39.98 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1997 1000 @ 62.50 37.20 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1998 647 @ 80.88 35.63 Ind Tendulkar S.R 1999 1088 @ 68.00 34.72 Ind Tendulkar S.R 2000 575 @ 63.89 38.69 Ind Tendulkar S.R 2001 1003 @ 62.69 35.61 Ind Tendulkar S.R 2002 1392 @ 55.68 40.08 Ind Tendulkar S.R 2003 153 @ 17.00 37.16 Ind Tendulkar S.R 2004 915 @ 91.50 36.27 Ind Tendulkar S.R 2005 444 @ 44.40 37.39 Ind Tendulkar S.R 2006 267 @ 24.27 37.51 Ind Tendulkar S.R 2007 776 @ 55.43 40.63 Ind Tendulkar S.R 2008 1063 @ 48.32 37.05 Ind Tendulkar S.R 2009 344 @ 68.80 33.11 Career Total 12773 @ 54.59 37.79

Win Lara B.C 1990 49 @ 24.50 29.55 Win Lara B.C 1992 195 @ 32.50 43.13 Win Lara B.C 1993 586 @ 58.60 36.62 Win Lara B.C 1994 996 @ 71.14 39.55 Win Lara B.C 1995 1222 @ 67.89 38.09 Win Lara B.C 1996 226 @ 25.11 43.84 Win Lara B.C 1997 859 @ 40.90 34.98 Win Lara B.C 1998 608 @ 43.43 33.44 Win Lara B.C 1999 832 @ 59.43 28.49 Win Lara B.C 2000 497 @ 29.24 28.28 Win Lara B.C 2001 1151 @ 63.94 29.93 Win Lara B.C 2002 351 @ 35.10 35.93 Win Lara B.C 2003 1344 @ 74.67 34.35 Win Lara B.C 2004 1178 @ 58.90 39.10 Win Lara B.C 2005 1110 @ 65.29 35.12 Win Lara B.C 2006 749 @ 41.61 36.39 Career Total 11953 @ 52.89 35.21

Note how Richards finished his career. The last 5 years have been well below the high standards he had set. The other batsmen have finished well, Tendulkar playing very well and counting. He is going to comfortably maintain the career average of around 55+ to the end.

To peruse the complete table, please click here.

So that the readers can download these six tables and study at leisure I have uploaded the zip file.. Please click here to download the zip file.

Finally I have given below an idea of the changes expected to be done when I re-do the Top Test Batsmen analysis.

1. Use CtD bowling values.
2. Use new Wted Bow Index, using Average and Strike rate, based on Arjun Hemnani's suggestion.
3. Remove Scoring Rate measure.
4. Reduce % Team share weight to 5%.
5. Work out Consistency index for 5% based on 10-Test slices for each batsman.
6. Improve the pitch Index calculations.
7. Determine match performance figures based on number of innings played.
8. Prepare two independent sets of tables: Pre-1940 and Post-1945.
9. Finally R-Factor (you have to wait for the article to know about this).

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

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Posted by weird on (April 2, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

I am Pakistani . or my brothers from ascors the border would like to call me, Porkistani .. [[ No, not at all. No true cricket enthusiast would ever call another enthusiast like that. We all have a common passion which transcends boundaries, which are caused by politicians and opportunists for selfish reason. Ananth: ]] Sachin Tendulkar is definately the GREATEST batsmen of this age. A reincarnation of Don Bradman. THE Master of straight drives and timing.So come on guys, let's not fight! It's a game!Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar may have fooled him with their swings and speeds, but Sachin has also many a time whacked those balls for boundaries with his super fast reflexes Peace to all my indian bros! [[ Just as you have enjoyed Sacnin and other Indian players, nothing has given me greater pleasure than to see the two great 'W's operating together. If my life depended on two bowlers defending a sub-100 total, I would unhesitatingly nominate these two. And to see the pure leg-spin of Qadir. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Bosanquet on (November 24, 2009, 13:53 GMT)

On 26/5/09 at 8.20am, EJ wrote (of the increased averages for batsmen in the 2000s): “What in the world has happened which simply doesn’t show up in the stats?!”

I would argue that one thing that isn't considered in these stats is that teams of similar ability tend to play each other more often. Therefore, the Career to Date (CtD) averages will be skewed more towards an (historically) acceptable average. So, while the bowlers of England, India, Pakistan et al. are more likely to play against each other, so the bowlers of Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and whichever established test team is currently the weakest are more likely to play against each other.

Also; established teams are more likely to field weaker line-ups against the weaker teams. Therefore further diminishing the significance of the CtD averages for bowlers. I'm not saying that CtD isn't a good way of comparing players from different eras. Just that it should not be considered perfect.

I think I have a better way.

Posted by cliff on (July 20, 2009, 16:18 GMT)

Superb analysis, I was pleasantly surprised to see Alec Stewart heading the 1990's, which considering he was also keeping wicket for a lot of games in this period is a remarkable performance

Posted by Woril Turner on (June 30, 2009, 17:11 GMT)

I know your analysis is based on statistics, but the only way you can use those statistics to compare batsmen across different era, is to use performances under the same conditions, i.e. pitch conditions, pacemen of the same speed and variation, spinners of same quality etc. Otherwise this is seriously flawed, regardless of what the statistics say, because you are not comparing apples with apples. Note how may bats men average over 50 since the 90s and look at what has happened in cricket since the 80s and you realise why. There is the # of bouncer rule per over, there are no good quality pacemen around, the seam on the cricket ball has gotten thinner, the pitches are dead and so all sort of jokers whose average would not have been more than 20+ if they had the pace quartet of the WI or Australia to face in the 70s and 80s are now 50+. Just look how some of these guys fared against Ambrose and Walsh when these guys were in the twilight of their career and you see the truth.

Posted by diggygong on (June 30, 2009, 9:25 GMT)

We have all these debates ( some substantive some not so substantive)because there isn't a 'standard criteria' for judging who is or is not was or was not the best batsman of all time. Therefore friends it can be concluded that "the best batsman" title is a relative one so 'relatively' speaking "the Prince", "the Jewel of the Caribbean", "the best stroke player to play the game 'thus far' ( watch out for Darren Bravo ),"the 'Krypto-Litharan"etc etc is best batsman to play the game!!!

Posted by Ramesh Kumar on (June 26, 2009, 6:56 GMT)

Mr. Ananth,

Very good analysis. One observation. Some of the players have a long career. While they score more runs as they play more matches, it will be impossible to have high averages for a very long period. Will it make sense to factor some greater weightage for a player's longetivity?

regards,

Ramesh Kumar

Posted by Susobhan on (June 25, 2009, 7:58 GMT)

Another well researched and deep analysis by Ananth Narayan. Statistics are useful only when it is deeply viewed. Anath Narayan does it again. Tables show the true performance by the batsmen. Lara faced the most vicious attacks of 28.49, 28.28 and 29.93('99-01)and avereged 59, 29 and 64.Even against Aussies Lara faced an attack of 31.39 and avereaged 51, No batsman is as succesful as him against the ferocious attack. So I personally think he is the best post WW2 test batsman.

Posted by Nik on (June 17, 2009, 6:07 GMT)

@Eddy, Yes you are right. So tried to check the recent player’s stats in another manner as below: And I confess my initial hypothesis doesn’t seem to be quite true! Am a bit flummoxed, which just goes to show with stats… However … Some folks in here may be coming on a bit strong. However, they have a good argument. Batting is now undoubtedly easier, especially in the 2000s. This may not show up in overall general tables for ALL batsmen which Ananth has posted earlier in reply to some comments, but clearly for a good batsman ,if fit, the 2000s were the place to be. The stats show that 38 batsmen in history avg. 50+ to date (MIN.20 matches), albeit for their entire careers. Splitting into 3 periods (B4 1979;70/80s;90s and 2000s- so some players will have their careers split in by this period, as you correctly mention, here are the avgs. (Min 20 matches)

15 Mar 1877 to 31 Dec 1969(93 yrs) :14 batsmen avg.50+ 01 Jan 1970 to 31 Dec 1989(20 yrs) : 7(Mia,Chap,Bor,Ric,Dean,Gav,Boy) 01 Jan 1990 to 31 Dec 1999(10 yrs) : 4(Ten,Stev,Lar,Gooc) 01 Jan 2000 to Date (<10 yrs) :22!!(Ten/Lara from 90s rpt) (As you mention some player’s careers would overlap a bit, so NOT totally accurate and a bit of a rough split) But still….. All quite revealing: So, actually from the 60s to the end 90s things seem more or less equally tough for batsmen….hmm..i.e,only the true greats avg.50+. BUT(and this is a big “but”)..If the players who avg.50+ and made their debuts after the mid 90s are counted (and if they now retire immediately)…they would account for MORE than half of all players in history who avg. above 50(min 20 matches)!!

So, I guess if given a choice most batsmen would have loved to bat in the 2000s, especially looking at the stats-the mid 2000s(2003-07) as several ppl have mentioned. So, I guess it is the combination of all things put together (a perfect storm): Dead pitches, protection, modified techniques, bouncer rule, lack of truly great attacks etc etc which made the mid 2000s a paradise for batsmen and a seemingly unique period in cricket history.

Posted by eddy on (June 15, 2009, 13:02 GMT)

@ NIK.... only two batsmen with 50+ in the 80's. i'd say there were three. Border played two years in the 70's and 4 in the 90's but 10 in the 80's he avg 50+. Surley more of an 80's batsman???? Their is a similar spilt with Miandad and Richards 50+

Posted by Nik on (June 12, 2009, 13:19 GMT)

@sheet Yes. Actually a brief look at the decade wise avgs. as given by Ananth tells you a lot more than the overall analysis does. In the 2000s just about everyone avg.s 50. 90s: The 3 true greats: Tendulkar, Lara, S.Waugh. 80s: Just 2 Bats. 70s: 2 again 60s: 3 again, and so with the 50s. WW1-2: almost all the top scorers avg 50 Pre WW: 1.

Also, the sheer quantum of runs scored in the 2000s is unprecedented. More than 10 batsmen have already scored more than 6000 runs. This tells us that pre WW was probably the most difficult (due to pitches?) Then the 70s and 80s. The 2000s have been the best time in cricket history for batsmen- this shows up in the type of analysis as done here.

As mentioned, this sort of decade wise perusal tells us more than a standard blanket analysis covering all 140 yrs of test cricket. It is highly illogical and incorrect to state that most modern batsmen are better than those of prior generations based only runs scored and avgs.

@salim, dr.rak I would have to lean towards dr.rak. as per the above you can clearly see that batting was undoubtedly easier recently. It is difficult to accept that suddenly all the batsmen are superior to the 70/80s ones. If you see, the standard of bowling, esp. fast cannot be said to have been inferior to that in the 70/80s. so, the batsmen now are facing similar fast bowling but with better protection, better bats, modified techniques etc. i.e. the balance has indeed shifted dramatically in favour of the batsmen. As far as Richards is concerned, he would have certainly scored more heavily if in the 2000s...esp. considering that he was actually a bit ahead of his times as far as strike rate and attacking cricket was concerned. So, to a great extent, the scales definitely tip towards the modern batsmen, esp. in the 2000s as far as batting is concerned. And it is not a very fair comparison to the 70/80s batsmen to say that just about all the batsmen who scored heavily in the 2000s are superior to the earlier ones. This just isn’t true.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anantha Narayanan
Anantha spent the first half of his four-decade working career with corporates like IBM, Shaw Wallace, NCR, Sime Darby and the Spinneys group in IT-related positions. In the second half, he has worked on cricket simulation, ratings, data mining, analysis and writing, amongst other things. He was the creator of the Wisden 100 lists, released in 2001. He has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket, and worked extensively with Maruti Motors, Idea Cellular and Castrol on their performance ratings-related systems. He is an armchair connoisseur of most sports. His other passion is tennis, and he thinks Roger Federer is the greatest sportsman to have walked on earth.

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