Tests - bowling August 7, 2009

Test bowlers analysis: a follow-up

Based on the comments received, both in public and personal mails, I have made some tweaks to the Test Bowlers Analysis

Based on the comments received, both in public and personal mails, I have made the following tweaks to the Test Bowlers Analysis.

Match performance ratings

1. Halve the balls bowled base points (a wicket equivalent for about 45 overs).
2. Introduce the bowler strike rate, in relation to team strike rate, as a new base measure, at a relatively lower weight.
3. Minor changes to the batsman dismissed base point calculation, to be based on recent form. This will lower the value of wickets of top batsmen while going through a poor patch and increase the weight of capturing in-form batsmen.

Career measures:

1. Have a cut-off of 200 wickets for the current era, reducing the number from 89 to 44. We have lost Shoaib Akhtar, Steyn, Alderman, Bishop et al. But it cannot be helped.
2. Increase the Wickets weight from 5 points to 7.5 points. Within this, do a 5% on either side (105% & 95%) valuation for away and home wickets.
3. Correspondingly reduce the Wickets per Innspell weight from 5 points to 2.5 points.
4. Remove the Performance Ratio measure, the last column in the table.
5. Instead introduce the Peer Comparison ratios. This time I have allotted an equal weight for strike Rate and accuracy.
6. Introduce a simple 5-Test slice based Consistency index using wickets captured as the indicator. Also include the % of wicket spells out of qualifying spells as a consistency measure.

Revised allocations of the Career points:

The points have gone up to 45 and there is a slight increase in the Match performance points because of changes in Base points calculation.

- Career wickets captured (7.5 points)
- Career wickets per innspell (2.5 points)
- Bowling Strike rate-BpW (9 points)
- Bowling accuracy-RpO (6 points)
- Consistency (4) points
- Average Quality of batsmen dismissed - based on CtD bat avge (5 points)
- Type of wickets captured - Top/Middle order/Late order (3 points)
- Peer ratio: Strike rate (4 points)
- Peer ratio: Accuracy (RpO) (4 points).

Let us look at the revised tables. I am not going to make too many comments and will let the readers draw their own conclusions. The overall feeling I get is that there are not that many changes indicating that the initial methodology itself was quite sound.

1. Current era (1970-2000): Table of top bowlers

No.Cty Bowler         BT  Total Match  Wkt  Bow Bow  Wkt  Wkt  Cons Peer Peer
Pts   Perf  Pts StRt Acc BtAvg Qlty  Idx  S/R  RpO
Max 85-90 40-45 10.0  9.0 6.0  5.5  2.5   4.0  4.0  4.0

1.Slk Muralitharan M ROB 56.95 22.76 8.24 6.89 4.47 4.01 2.05 3.62 2.48 2.43 2.Nzl Hadlee R.J RFM 54.46 22.03 5.33 7.89 3.89 4.73 2.10 3.58 2.88 2.03 3.Aus Warne S.K RLB 53.79 22.13 7.33 6.59 4.18 3.69 1.89 3.43 2.35 2.20 4.Aus Lillee D.K RF 53.18 21.83 4.53 7.81 3.68 4.92 2.18 3.55 2.81 1.88 5.Pak Imran Khan RF 52.70 21.36 4.60 7.55 3.98 5.15 2.14 3.11 2.72 2.09 6.Win Marshall M.D RF 50.85 18.99 4.55 8.19 3.88 4.59 2.21 3.32 3.09 2.02 7.Aus McGrath G.D RFM 50.80 18.94 5.93 7.21 4.39 3.84 2.24 3.27 2.63 2.36 8.Pak Waqar Younis RFM 49.73 19.41 4.56 8.15 3.35 4.07 2.12 3.19 3.16 1.72 9.Saf Donald A.A RF 49.29 18.68 4.21 7.71 3.85 4.01 2.22 3.73 2.94 1.95 10.Win Ambrose C.E.L RF 49.27 18.67 4.71 7.06 4.41 4.00 2.17 3.33 2.52 2.40

11.Ind Kumble A RLB 49.22 19.07 6.54 5.65 4.12 4.13 2.03 3.47 2.03 2.18 12.Pak Wasim Akram LFM 48.70 18.77 4.85 7.06 4.11 3.91 1.95 3.37 2.56 2.13 13.Win Holding M.A RF 47.76 17.43 3.39 7.90 3.70 5.06 2.17 3.39 2.80 1.92 14.Saf Pollock S.M RFM 47.64 17.53 4.72 6.55 4.57 4.04 2.12 3.30 2.32 2.50 15.Win Garner J RF 47.26 17.11 3.49 7.84 4.10 4.44 1.99 3.32 2.80 2.16 16.Aus Thomson J.R RF 47.23 17.75 3.01 7.76 3.21 5.44 2.36 3.31 2.73 1.66 17.Win Walsh C.A RF 47.16 16.56 5.54 6.76 4.15 4.13 2.06 3.38 2.42 2.16 18.Eng Willis R.G.D RF 46.99 16.75 3.93 7.70 3.60 4.51 2.24 3.68 2.75 1.83 19.Aus McDermott C.J RF 46.86 18.32 3.80 6.93 3.53 4.35 2.27 3.31 2.54 1.81 20.Eng Botham I.T RFM 46.68 17.68 4.55 7.09 3.52 4.51 2.08 2.93 2.54 1.79

Let me make one thing clear. Any one of the top-10 bowlers, possibly Donald excepted and Wasim Akram/Holding considered instead, could easily be considered the best of this era. Do not start sending brickbats because who you think (your) best bowler is placed at 3rd or 5th or 6th or 17th ... Instead think of this table, especially the top-10, as a list of the greatest bowlers of this era, with Muralitharan the first among equals.

The significant changes can be summarised below.

1. The most significant change is that Lillee and Hadlee exchange places with Hadlee moving to second and Lillee to fourth place. Warne remains sandwiched between these two great bowlers.
2. Imran, Marshall, McGrath and Waqar retain their places in the top-10 indicating that the changes cancelled each other out and their relative placings remained.
3. The next significant change is that Kumble moves out of the top-10 and is replaced by Donald. This is probably due to the differential weighing of home and away wickets. Donald and Ambrose are welcome additions to the top-10.
4. The sub-200 wicket brigade of Reid, Croft, Akhtar and Lawson move out of the top-20 and are replaced by the worthy quintet of Shaun Pollock, Garner, Walsh, Willis and McDermott.
5. The next significant change is that Harbhajan Singh moves out of the top-20 and is replaced by Botham. This is probably due to the differential weighing of home and away wickets.

To view the complete list, please click here.

2. Middle era (1920-1969): Table of top bowlers

No.Cty Bowler         BT  Total Match  Wkt  Bow Bow  Wkt  Wkt  Cons Peer Peer
Pts   Perf  Pts StRt Acc BtAvg Qlty  Idx  S/R  RpO
Max 85-90 40-45 10.0  9.0 6.0  5.5  2.5   4.0  4.0  4.0

1.Aus O'Reilly W.J RLB 53.42 24.74 2.95 6.01 4.47 4.62 1.98 3.83 2.12 2.71 2.Aus Grimmett C.V RLB 53.34 24.74 3.68 6.22 4.27 4.22 1.96 3.62 2.27 2.35 3.Pak Fazal Mahmood RFM 50.02 22.99 2.90 6.15 3.87 4.32 2.29 3.09 2.26 2.15 4.Eng Trueman F.S RF 49.75 19.37 4.01 8.77 3.38 3.56 2.05 3.57 3.31 1.73 5.Saf Tayfield H.J ROB 47.97 21.54 3.08 5.02 3.98 4.93 2.01 3.16 1.95 2.29 6.Eng Laker J.C ROB 47.74 19.09 3.01 7.09 3.86 4.33 2.19 3.38 2.58 2.21 7.Ind ChandrasekharB RLB 46.43 18.65 3.52 6.62 3.56 4.50 2.12 3.26 2.40 1.82 8.Win Hall W.W RF 46.29 18.46 2.95 8.22 3.15 3.44 2.33 3.11 3.00 1.64 9.Aus McKenzie G.D RF 46.26 18.97 3.38 6.06 3.67 4.39 2.26 3.36 2.25 1.92 10.Eng Bedser A.V RFM 46.25 18.72 3.47 6.48 3.70 3.85 2.15 3.35 2.42 2.12

11.Aus Davidson A.K LFM 46.21 17.98 2.92 7.15 4.01 3.98 2.13 3.22 2.52 2.29 12.Eng Snow J.A RFM 45.87 18.06 2.98 7.36 3.56 3.69 2.17 3.57 2.64 1.83 13.Eng Underwood D.L LSP 44.99 17.00 3.68 5.55 4.30 4.62 2.29 3.14 2.03 2.39 14.Ind Bedi B.S LSP 44.79 17.55 3.60 4.77 4.20 4.50 2.20 3.75 1.88 2.33 15.Aus Lindwall R.R RF 44.74 15.74 3.09 7.47 3.62 4.67 2.12 3.35 2.71 1.97 16.Saf Pollock P.M RF 44.48 17.35 2.35 7.95 3.55 3.68 2.17 2.71 2.86 1.85 17.Ind Gupte S.P RLB 43.90 18.42 2.84 5.53 3.61 3.59 2.07 3.85 2.08 1.90 18.Eng Statham J.B RFM 43.81 15.81 3.32 7.03 3.65 3.70 2.26 3.54 2.54 1.95 19.Nzl Taylor B.R RFM 43.79 16.21 2.23 7.67 3.41 4.28 2.32 3.13 2.81 1.72 20.Eng Tate M.W RFM 43.78 18.11 2.66 4.70 4.52 4.09 2.11 3.07 1.90 2.62

The most significant change is that Grimmett and O'Reilly exchange places with O'Reilly moving to the top place and Grimmett to second place. The two great fast bowlers, Fazal Mahmood and Trueman move up couple of places. The top-10 remains the same. The main change here is that Grimmett

To view the complete list, please click here.

3. Pre-WW1 era (1877-1914): Table of top bowlers

No.Cty Bowler         BT  Total Match  Wkt  Bow Bow  Wkt  Wkt  Cons Peer Peer
Pts   Perf  Pts StRt Acc BtAvg Qlty  Idx  S/R  RpO
Max 85-90 40-45 10.0  9.0 6.0  5.5  2.5   4.0  4.0  4.0

1.Eng Barnes S.F RFM 55.86 26.38 3.89 6.95 4.06 3.37 2.17 3.92 2.78 2.35 2.Eng Lohmann G.A RFM 47.17 17.98 3.01 7.57 4.59 2.65 2.01 3.81 3.06 2.50 3.Aus Turner C.T.B RFM 46.11 18.04 2.89 6.07 4.54 3.97 2.32 3.93 1.96 2.39 4.Aus Saunders J.V LSP 45.11 19.16 2.45 6.60 3.33 3.40 2.09 3.84 2.44 1.80 5.Eng Richardson T RF 44.71 19.21 3.11 6.07 3.39 3.30 2.15 3.33 2.39 1.75 6.Aus Spofforth F.R RFM 44.42 17.03 2.69 6.69 3.93 4.10 2.14 3.36 2.73 1.75 7.Eng Blythe C LSP 44.39 17.63 2.47 6.60 3.96 3.30 2.43 3.33 2.44 2.22 8.Eng Peel R LSP 43.99 18.29 2.57 6.07 4.50 2.69 2.12 3.33 2.04 2.38 9.Aus Trumble H ROB 43.94 17.20 2.67 5.54 4.16 4.79 2.13 3.14 2.00 2.31 10.Aus Cotter A RFM 43.17 17.72 2.27 5.98 3.01 4.30 2.29 3.71 2.19 1.69

11.Aus Palmer G.E ROB 41.59 15.57 2.35 5.54 4.21 3.91 2.04 3.85 2.14 1.98 12.Aus Giffen G ROB 41.53 17.75 2.57 5.10 3.78 3.53 2.13 3.22 1.71 1.74 13.Aus Noble M.A ROB 40.92 15.27 2.33 5.37 3.87 4.85 1.96 3.24 1.93 2.11 14.Eng Briggs J LSP 40.08 14.46 2.55 6.60 4.07 2.93 2.01 3.00 2.44 2.02 15.Saf Faulkner G.A RLB 39.58 14.88 2.06 6.61 3.24 3.47 1.94 3.26 2.35 1.78 16.Eng Rhodes W LSP 37.08 13.57 2.17 5.49 3.91 3.54 1.80 2.45 2.03 2.13 17.Eng Woolley F.E LSP 32.26 9.93 1.51 4.41 3.79 4.10 2.06 2.63 1.82 2.01 18.Aus Armstrong W.W RLB 32.07 10.78 1.58 2.55 4.26 4.00 2.17 2.94 1.22 2.58

Avge Rating points: 42.44

No major changes.

4. Across all Tests: Table of top pace bowlers

No.Cty Bowler         BT  Total Match  Wkt  Bow Bow  Wkt  Wkt  Cons Peer Peer
Pts   Perf  Pts StRt Acc BtAvg Qlty  Idx  S/R  RpO
Max 85-90 40-45 10.0  9.0 6.0  5.5  2.5   4.0  4.0  4.0

1.Eng Barnes S.F RFM 55.86 26.38 3.89 6.95 4.06 3.37 2.17 3.92 2.78 2.35 2.Nzl Hadlee R.J RFM 54.46 22.03 5.33 7.89 3.89 4.73 2.10 3.58 2.88 2.03 3.Aus Lillee D.K RF 53.18 21.83 4.53 7.81 3.68 4.92 2.18 3.55 2.81 1.88 4.Pak Imran Khan RF 52.70 21.36 4.60 7.55 3.98 5.15 2.14 3.11 2.72 2.09 5.Win Marshall M.D RF 50.85 18.99 4.55 8.19 3.88 4.59 2.21 3.32 3.09 2.02 6.Aus McGrath G.D RFM 50.80 18.94 5.93 7.21 4.39 3.84 2.24 3.27 2.63 2.36 7.Pak Fazal Mahmood RFM 50.02 22.99 2.90 6.15 3.87 4.32 2.29 3.09 2.26 2.15 8.Eng Trueman F.S RF 49.75 19.37 4.01 8.77 3.38 3.56 2.05 3.57 3.31 1.73 9.Pak Waqar Younis RFM 49.73 19.41 4.56 8.15 3.35 4.07 2.12 3.19 3.16 1.72 10.Saf Donald A.A RF 49.29 18.68 4.21 7.71 3.85 4.01 2.22 3.73 2.94 1.95

11.Win Ambrose C.E.L RF 49.27 18.67 4.71 7.06 4.41 4.00 2.17 3.33 2.52 2.40 12.Pak Wasim Akram LFM 48.70 18.77 4.85 7.06 4.11 3.91 1.95 3.37 2.56 2.13 13.Win Holding M.A RF 47.76 17.43 3.39 7.90 3.70 5.06 2.17 3.39 2.80 1.92 14.Saf Pollock S.M RFM 47.64 17.53 4.72 6.55 4.57 4.04 2.12 3.30 2.32 2.50 15.Win Garner J RF 47.26 17.11 3.49 7.84 4.10 4.44 1.99 3.32 2.80 2.16 16.Aus Thomson J.R RF 47.23 17.75 3.01 7.76 3.21 5.44 2.36 3.31 2.73 1.66 17.Eng Lohmann G.A RFM 47.17 17.98 3.01 7.57 4.59 2.65 2.01 3.81 3.06 2.50 18.Win Walsh C.A RF 47.16 16.56 5.54 6.76 4.15 4.13 2.06 3.38 2.42 2.16 19.Eng Willis R.G.D RF 46.99 16.75 3.93 7.70 3.60 4.51 2.24 3.68 2.75 1.83 20.Aus McDermott C.J RF 46.86 18.32 3.80 6.93 3.53 4.35 2.27 3.31 2.54 1.81

It is no surprise that Sydney Barnes is the top-rated Pace/Medium Pace bowler of all time. Helpful wickets notwithstanding, 7 wickets per test at 16.43 is the stuff of the top-most drawer. The five great modern bowlers, Hadlee, Lillee, Imran, Marshall and McGrath follow next. Can one of these bowlers be denied this high position. Then come the two great pace bowlers of the mid era and then the master of the late swing and the white lightning. Look at the next ten bowlers and you will see how tough this table is.

To view the complete list, please click here.

5. Across all Tests: Table of top spinners

No.Cty Bowler         BT  Total Match  Wkt  Bow Bow  Wkt  Wkt  Cons Peer Peer
Pts   Perf  Pts StRt Acc BtAvg Qlty  Idx  S/R  RpO
Max 85-90 40-45 10.0  9.0 6.0  5.5  2.5   4.0  4.0  4.0

1.Slk Muralitharan M ROB 56.95 22.76 8.24 6.89 4.47 4.01 2.05 3.62 2.48 2.43 2.Aus Warne S.K RLB 53.79 22.13 7.33 6.59 4.18 3.69 1.89 3.43 2.35 2.20 3.Aus O'Reilly W.J RLB 53.42 24.74 2.95 6.01 4.47 4.62 1.98 3.83 2.12 2.71 4.Aus Grimmett C.V RLB 53.34 24.74 3.68 6.22 4.27 4.22 1.96 3.62 2.27 2.35 5.Ind Kumble A RLB 49.22 19.07 6.54 5.65 4.12 4.13 2.03 3.47 2.03 2.18 6.Saf Tayfield H.J ROB 47.97 21.54 3.08 5.02 3.98 4.93 2.01 3.16 1.95 2.29 7.Eng Laker J.C ROB 47.74 19.09 3.01 7.09 3.86 4.33 2.19 3.38 2.58 2.21 8.Ind HarbhajanSingh ROB 46.63 19.42 4.14 5.67 4.13 3.81 1.89 3.37 2.03 2.17 9.Ind ChandrasekharB RLB 46.43 18.65 3.52 6.62 3.56 4.50 2.12 3.26 2.40 1.82 10.Pak SaqlainMushtaq ROB 45.26 18.80 3.22 5.54 4.19 3.95 1.96 3.42 2.00 2.17

11.Eng Underwood D.L LSP 44.99 17.00 3.68 5.55 4.30 4.62 2.29 3.14 2.03 2.39 12.Ind Bedi B.S LSP 44.79 17.55 3.60 4.77 4.20 4.50 2.20 3.75 1.88 2.33 13.Aus MacGill S.C.G RLB 44.77 18.26 3.16 6.81 3.58 3.65 1.83 3.16 2.44 1.87 14.Eng Blythe C LSP 44.39 17.63 2.47 6.60 3.96 3.30 2.43 3.33 2.44 2.22 15.Eng Peel R LSP 43.99 18.29 2.57 6.07 4.50 2.69 2.12 3.33 2.04 2.38 16.Aus Trumble H ROB 43.94 17.20 2.67 5.54 4.16 4.79 2.13 3.14 2.00 2.31 17.Ind Gupte S.P RLB 43.90 18.42 2.84 5.53 3.61 3.59 2.07 3.85 2.08 1.90 18.Aus Johnston W.A LSP 43.71 16.63 2.59 6.24 3.83 4.10 2.27 3.50 2.32 2.24 19.Aus Benaud R RLB 43.52 17.76 3.40 5.30 3.89 3.97 2.01 2.98 2.05 2.16 20.Win Gibbs L.R ROB 43.48 17.88 3.83 4.03 4.23 4.01 1.92 3.32 1.82 2.45

As expected Muralitharan is on top by a comfortable margin from the trio of the greatest leg-spinners of all time, viz., Warne, O'Reilly and Grimmett. Then another totally different leg spinner, Kumble. Afterwards come a plethora of off-spinners, led by Tayfield and Laker. Chandrasekhar splits these off spinners. Bedi and Underwood follow immediately afterwards. If readers are surprised to see MacGill so high on the table, do not forget that he was devastating in Australia with a haul of nearly 5 wickets per test and a strike rate better than Murali.

To view the complete list, please click here.

I have done another selection. From each era I have picked the best 5-bowler balanced attack. This is my selection. You could do your own selection and mail me for publication. There are no restrictions whatsoever. This is your opportunity to have Marshall or Snow or Imran Khan or whoever lead the attack.

Current: Holding, McGrath, Wasim Akram, Warne and Muralitharan.
(Wasim Akram gets the nod over Waqar Younis for the sake of variety).

Middle: Trueman, Larwood, Davidson, Grimmett, Bedi.

Pre-WW1: Barnes, Lohmann, Turner, Spofforth, Briggs.

In the next few days I will come out with the Peer-based tables for different aspects of Test Batting.

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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