Legends August 29, 2009

Let's talk about Aravinda

He finished with an average of 42.97 from 93 Tests. It felt right. De Silva was a good batsman who played some great innings. He could have scored more runs, but he played too many strokes for his own good
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This message landed in my Facebook message box: "How good are u as an editor I wonder? Why don't u ponder how really good the likes of Laxman and Sehwag are?"

I wouldn't say I am surprised by the feedback to my previous post. But a bit disappointed, yes, because the point I was trying to make seems to have been largely missed.

My intent was not to put Thilan Samaraweera, or Sri Lanka batsmen, down. I was trying to use Samaraweera to illustrate the devaluation of batting averages in the 21st century. I pointed out how reality has caught up with Mike Hussey too. Perhaps a lot of you have responded to the headline, which read: "How good is Samaraweera?" With hindsight, we could perhaps have used "The truth about batting averages".

Now let me use the example of another Sri Lankan batsman to further argue my case.

Aravinda de Silva played his Tests between 1984 and 2002. He was a breathtaking strokeplayer who came to be called Mad Max after he brought up his first Test hundred hooking Imran Khan for six. He scored another century in the same series, 105 out of a team score of 230. The second-highest score was 25. By then he had been promoted to No. 3; and his runs came against Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Abdul Qadir.

His next century came in Australia, a quite brilliant 167 in Brisbane, in only his second Test in that country. In the following Test, in Hobart, he scored 147 (75 and 72). And his next hundred was 267 off 380 balls, in his first appearance in New Zealand.

He finished with an average of 42.97 from 93 Tests. It felt right. De Silva was a good batsman who played some great innings. He could have scored more runs, but he played too many strokes for his own good. He left a lot of memories, perhaps none better than the half-century and hundred in the semi-final and final of the 1996 World Cup.

In a few months we will be picking an all-time Test XI for Sri Lanka. I will bet that de Silva will be one of the first names on the shortlist. I am not so sure about Samaraweera.

VVS Laxman? He is perhaps a bit like de Silva: a good batsman with some great innings. But is he as good as GR Viswanath, who had a lower average? I love watching Laxman bat, but he wouldn't make my all-time Indian XI. Vishy would.

Sehwag is a different story. I don't think he would have averaged 50 in the 1990s. But wherever he has played and whoever he has played against, he has made runs. Big runs and in an emphatic manner. But is he as good as Sachin Tendulkar? Let's not even go there.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Saumya Garg on February 19, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    Sambit the article is okay but saying that Sehwag wouldn't have averaged 50 in the 90's doesn't suit a man of your reputation and position as an editor of one of the most followed cricket websites in india. The kind of pressure's faced by players of either generations were different...today's players live under the camera 24*7...isn't that pressure enough....when u cant even scratch ur nose while batting bcs the whole world in watching imagine wat it will do to ur psyche........

  • waspsting on November 23, 2009, 19:18 GMT

    I haven't seen enough of Samaraweera or Viswanath to comment on their comparisons, but with respect to Tendulkar/Sehwag, I have something to say. Tendulkar is the better player because he has fewer weakness' - in terms of being able to play all types of bowling, handle all types of pitches and consistency in scoring. However, there are areas where Sehwag is better than him - destroying the attack, seizing the initiative and making very big scores. Tendulkar might be better overall, but that does NOT mean he's better at everything. And it just so happens that some of the things he's not better at are among the most EMOTIONALLY COMPELLING aspects of the game.

  • Jeevan on November 16, 2009, 16:12 GMT

    Refer to the above post for part one :-)

    Part two The bowlers are as quick as before and swing the ball as much as before and bowl as good a lines and lengths as in the past era but there hasn’t been a change in equipment for the bowler. Arguably the bowlers have better plans and tactics to get batsman out due to the current level of professionalism (again I say arguably) and is better backed up by the fielders. So I find it amazing that you can talk about the “truth of batting averages” and compare different generations as you do without considering what has lead to the batting averages being better. As for greats of the game a fair judgment can only be made at the end of each players career and at present Samaraweera has all the right attributes, l watch with anticipation to see where he ends up in the history books :-)

  • Jeevan on November 16, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    Part one

    Sambit you make a good point about the bowling of the 90's. What you do not take into consideration is the modern games advantages in the following areas Equipment - we all know that you can be much safer with helmets and other protection, which helps the batsman mentally. Bats are better and the ball goes further with modern bats. Professionalism - When players like Aravinda started out they were not full time cricketers not to the same extent of the current era. In the current context every facet of every players game is developed. More time is spent on batting, bowling, fielding and mental preparation. Which means memory recall for current players fielding, bowling & batting is better. This helps the modern player to perform at a higher level and closer to their full potential. The big advantage batsman of the current era have over the bowlers of the current era is modern equipment.

    To be continued as I have run out of space. Check below for part two

  • Vikram Maingi on October 19, 2009, 7:15 GMT

    Madmax played in an era, when there wasn't any great support from him. Besides Ranatunga and to a much lessor extent Gurusinha, Tilakeratne and Mahanama were providing some useful contributions. On top of it there weren't any great bowlers from the island nation. Due to this, unlike today, Sri Lanka were not tasting a lot of victories and a win outside the sub-continent was a rarity. Had Madmax been a part of today's Sri Lanka, his greed for scoring runs would have been much higher than what it actually was.

  • Rohan Morais on October 9, 2009, 7:14 GMT

    I don't know if there was a comparison between Aravinda and Samaraweera, but if there was, it's absolutely rubbish. Aravinda, after his first stint with Kent (before the '96 world cup), changed his technique and started playing with a heavier bat. This, he later confessed, helped him play in the 'V' and also lesser shots in the air. After this reform in his technique, he became a run machine for Sri Lanka, in both tests and ODIs. He was a far better technician than Samaraweera can or ever will be and he was a treat both to the purists and the lovers of 'slap, bang' cricket. His greatest ability was to pick up the length of any bowler and as we all know, this is the hallmark of great, if not the greatest, batsmen. In no way am I putting down Samaraweera, but just pointing out that the former is a far, far superior batsman.

  • Sudhi on September 16, 2009, 5:58 GMT

    Aravinda Desilva is one of the classiest and elegant stroke maker the game of cricket has ever produced and he is still the best batsman srilanka has ever produced till now. i agree with ali that sanga might level to his status in the coming years. samaraweera has just started his journey and we dont need to make any critical analysis of comparing him with the greats as even samara would be unaware of such chaotic issues being discussed in some part of the world and kindly abstain comparison of averages. i have been watching cricket closely from 1996. i still remember in the 1996 sharjah cup, india crossed 300 for the first time and we all indians were happy for at least 3 days. a score of 280 was considered as difficult and at times impossible to chase, but wat abt now? no team is secure unless they score 350 on a belter pitch. free hits for no ball, new ball in the slog overs, 20 overs powerplay, one bouncer per over, shortened boundaries, flat wickets, quick outfield....

  • ali on September 8, 2009, 16:36 GMT

    Arvinda for me is the best batsman Sri Lanka has ever produced todate. Only other name close to him that I can think of is Sangakara though Kumar is left handed whereas Arvinda was right handed. Sri Lankan batting legacy is as good as it could be for anyone for such a young sport as cricket is in this beautiful country.Having said this i concur to the point editor has raised and surely averages these days do betray us somewhat. When Dasmond Haynes played in the opening match of 1992 World Cup against Pakistan, simply slaughtered them and that tournament is the first major event I still remember.Echoes of heroics by Hynes and Greenidge as opening partners in test cricket are legends in their own right and those they did against bowling monsters like Lilly, Imran and Hadlee.Having known all this I was stunned to know Haynes averaged 42 and Greenidge 44 in tests which are too mediocre compared to modern day standards.Some of the causes hav been discussed but a lot research is stil rquired

  • yash on September 3, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    well no doubt about arvinda but the comarisson beetween samerweera and arvinda and sachin v/s sehwag its not right bcoz they all are great players .

  • chandana on September 3, 2009, 4:43 GMT

    first of all, i am a sri lankan..i think that vvs laxman is a superior batsman than aravinda in test matches..laxman has played a lot of great inningses against world class bowling attacks uner pressure.aravinda looked as an ordinary player against mcgrath and warne..he should be proud to be compared with laxman..

  • Saumya Garg on February 19, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    Sambit the article is okay but saying that Sehwag wouldn't have averaged 50 in the 90's doesn't suit a man of your reputation and position as an editor of one of the most followed cricket websites in india. The kind of pressure's faced by players of either generations were different...today's players live under the camera 24*7...isn't that pressure enough....when u cant even scratch ur nose while batting bcs the whole world in watching imagine wat it will do to ur psyche........

  • waspsting on November 23, 2009, 19:18 GMT

    I haven't seen enough of Samaraweera or Viswanath to comment on their comparisons, but with respect to Tendulkar/Sehwag, I have something to say. Tendulkar is the better player because he has fewer weakness' - in terms of being able to play all types of bowling, handle all types of pitches and consistency in scoring. However, there are areas where Sehwag is better than him - destroying the attack, seizing the initiative and making very big scores. Tendulkar might be better overall, but that does NOT mean he's better at everything. And it just so happens that some of the things he's not better at are among the most EMOTIONALLY COMPELLING aspects of the game.

  • Jeevan on November 16, 2009, 16:12 GMT

    Refer to the above post for part one :-)

    Part two The bowlers are as quick as before and swing the ball as much as before and bowl as good a lines and lengths as in the past era but there hasn’t been a change in equipment for the bowler. Arguably the bowlers have better plans and tactics to get batsman out due to the current level of professionalism (again I say arguably) and is better backed up by the fielders. So I find it amazing that you can talk about the “truth of batting averages” and compare different generations as you do without considering what has lead to the batting averages being better. As for greats of the game a fair judgment can only be made at the end of each players career and at present Samaraweera has all the right attributes, l watch with anticipation to see where he ends up in the history books :-)

  • Jeevan on November 16, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    Part one

    Sambit you make a good point about the bowling of the 90's. What you do not take into consideration is the modern games advantages in the following areas Equipment - we all know that you can be much safer with helmets and other protection, which helps the batsman mentally. Bats are better and the ball goes further with modern bats. Professionalism - When players like Aravinda started out they were not full time cricketers not to the same extent of the current era. In the current context every facet of every players game is developed. More time is spent on batting, bowling, fielding and mental preparation. Which means memory recall for current players fielding, bowling & batting is better. This helps the modern player to perform at a higher level and closer to their full potential. The big advantage batsman of the current era have over the bowlers of the current era is modern equipment.

    To be continued as I have run out of space. Check below for part two

  • Vikram Maingi on October 19, 2009, 7:15 GMT

    Madmax played in an era, when there wasn't any great support from him. Besides Ranatunga and to a much lessor extent Gurusinha, Tilakeratne and Mahanama were providing some useful contributions. On top of it there weren't any great bowlers from the island nation. Due to this, unlike today, Sri Lanka were not tasting a lot of victories and a win outside the sub-continent was a rarity. Had Madmax been a part of today's Sri Lanka, his greed for scoring runs would have been much higher than what it actually was.

  • Rohan Morais on October 9, 2009, 7:14 GMT

    I don't know if there was a comparison between Aravinda and Samaraweera, but if there was, it's absolutely rubbish. Aravinda, after his first stint with Kent (before the '96 world cup), changed his technique and started playing with a heavier bat. This, he later confessed, helped him play in the 'V' and also lesser shots in the air. After this reform in his technique, he became a run machine for Sri Lanka, in both tests and ODIs. He was a far better technician than Samaraweera can or ever will be and he was a treat both to the purists and the lovers of 'slap, bang' cricket. His greatest ability was to pick up the length of any bowler and as we all know, this is the hallmark of great, if not the greatest, batsmen. In no way am I putting down Samaraweera, but just pointing out that the former is a far, far superior batsman.

  • Sudhi on September 16, 2009, 5:58 GMT

    Aravinda Desilva is one of the classiest and elegant stroke maker the game of cricket has ever produced and he is still the best batsman srilanka has ever produced till now. i agree with ali that sanga might level to his status in the coming years. samaraweera has just started his journey and we dont need to make any critical analysis of comparing him with the greats as even samara would be unaware of such chaotic issues being discussed in some part of the world and kindly abstain comparison of averages. i have been watching cricket closely from 1996. i still remember in the 1996 sharjah cup, india crossed 300 for the first time and we all indians were happy for at least 3 days. a score of 280 was considered as difficult and at times impossible to chase, but wat abt now? no team is secure unless they score 350 on a belter pitch. free hits for no ball, new ball in the slog overs, 20 overs powerplay, one bouncer per over, shortened boundaries, flat wickets, quick outfield....

  • ali on September 8, 2009, 16:36 GMT

    Arvinda for me is the best batsman Sri Lanka has ever produced todate. Only other name close to him that I can think of is Sangakara though Kumar is left handed whereas Arvinda was right handed. Sri Lankan batting legacy is as good as it could be for anyone for such a young sport as cricket is in this beautiful country.Having said this i concur to the point editor has raised and surely averages these days do betray us somewhat. When Dasmond Haynes played in the opening match of 1992 World Cup against Pakistan, simply slaughtered them and that tournament is the first major event I still remember.Echoes of heroics by Hynes and Greenidge as opening partners in test cricket are legends in their own right and those they did against bowling monsters like Lilly, Imran and Hadlee.Having known all this I was stunned to know Haynes averaged 42 and Greenidge 44 in tests which are too mediocre compared to modern day standards.Some of the causes hav been discussed but a lot research is stil rquired

  • yash on September 3, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    well no doubt about arvinda but the comarisson beetween samerweera and arvinda and sachin v/s sehwag its not right bcoz they all are great players .

  • chandana on September 3, 2009, 4:43 GMT

    first of all, i am a sri lankan..i think that vvs laxman is a superior batsman than aravinda in test matches..laxman has played a lot of great inningses against world class bowling attacks uner pressure.aravinda looked as an ordinary player against mcgrath and warne..he should be proud to be compared with laxman..

  • Ashok Sridharan on September 3, 2009, 4:33 GMT

    Lukas: you amuse me my dear fellow. Talking of what India have 'really achieved', the list counts series wins in West Indies, England and New Zealand the last time they toured, a 7-6 win record against Australia post 2000 and a T20 world cup win somewhere along the line.

  • Mahek on September 2, 2009, 20:22 GMT

    I'll be damned if Vishy makes the all-time Indian XI at the expense of Laxman, Azharuddin or Ganguly. Not that I rate Ganguly the batsman too highly, but if Border made the Australian side on the strength of additional captaincy points then surely Ganguly deserves some points for heralding a new order in Indian cricket. I still wouldn't pick him, although if I had to choose between him and Vishy I'd go with Ganguly.

    And enough of the romanticism please. It's ridiculous to suggest a player with a handful of quality innings should make the side ahead of a much more consistent performer who played an equal number, if not more, quality innings.

  • Sanjeev on September 2, 2009, 20:03 GMT

    All I can say well done Sri Lanka (and I'm Indian). In fact, extremely well done for such a young side, having been awarded Test status sooo recently. We should all learn from you and not blindly accept our guys.

  • Nahim on September 2, 2009, 2:55 GMT

    You know the annoying thing about this whole campaign to devalue modern batsmen? It's that while everyone devalues the batsmen, they conveniently forget to add that modern bowlers have had it tough too- and so should be rated higher! You can't have it both ways- criticising modern batsmen by extolling the virtues of Wasim/Waqar/Ambrose, while making no leeway for modern bowlers, smacks of the "old is gold" illusion.

    The only way you can make such a case is if you can show that the overall quality of cricket has gone down, both for batsmen and bowlers, but that of the bowlers has gone down so much that the batsmen's stats have improved. That's dangerous territory, and it seems to me a far easier conclusion (if you have to make a comparison across time) is that modern batsmen are indeed better and modern bowlers indeed worse. Samaraweera may be no de Silva, but given that he is SL's 3rd best batsman now, why not compare him to someone like Mahanama or Atapattu? You see the point?

  • Thakur Baldev Singh Chauhan on September 1, 2009, 20:03 GMT

    It is a sign of desperation when ones argument boils down to essentially 'so what'..hin hint

  • lukas on September 1, 2009, 15:07 GMT

    spot on donaveraged99...thanks for enlightening us on what India have truly achieved over the last few years.. he he apparently the Indian folk here are too thick to understand it.

  • Mahek on September 1, 2009, 13:58 GMT

    So Vishy played a few back to the wall innings in his career. If he was really that good a player why didn't he repeat such performances on a more consistent basis, especially away from home? You'll probably cite a couple of memorable innings of his abroad but that doesn't take away the numerous failures that came along with those innings. Laxman, on the other hand, has hardly had a bad series since 2001.

  • greyblazer on September 1, 2009, 12:06 GMT

    S'weera will always be good on Lankan wickets as they are slow and it suits his style of batting as he plays late and uses his wrists to find the gaps but on bouncier tracks or tracks that swing around a bit a batsman needs to cover the line off the ball and on bouncier tracks one should also be good at playing the pull shot but S'weera isn't good at that so he would obviously struggle more.

  • Shafi on September 1, 2009, 7:20 GMT

    I just dont get it, why all this hatred towards each other i remember a time when everyone on the subcontinent used to root for each other (except when playing each other), i travelled to india back in 97, sometime soon after we won the world cup and people there were so crazy about Sanath & Aravinda, and strangers used to tell me how glad they were that we stuck it to the Aussies. And just about a decade later here you are throwing abuses at players like sachin / Aravinda / Sanga / Mahela and whoever else ...why??? You can make a case without taking pot shots at other players / teams. Sachin is a legend and we should all respect that, i too was upset that Aravinda has been compared to Laxman, but that does not mean we should trash either sachin or laxman, that is just silly, the point we need to make is that Aravinda was a true legend, also we are all entitled to different opinions. For those of you who have a problem with SL being no 2, go complain to the ppl who did the rankings.

  • Sunil on September 1, 2009, 6:25 GMT

    I agree with Menon. How is such a small country like Sri Lanka producing such great talent and achieving greatness in cricket. We must study that so we can follow it. India has the second biggest population in the world, but only won 1 gold medal. We have the biggest population in ICC cricket playing countries yet we have managed to only win 1 world cup in around 50 years of international cricket. Is it because of people like Mr. Bal? Who is putting successful opponents down, instead of finding out what they are doing right so that we can learn for it and improve.

  • Al on September 1, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    I LOVE IT!!!

    As several people have said, even after 20 years after a while almost all cricket discussions MUST involve Tendulkar!

    Just proves how deeply he has been absorbed into the world’s cricketing consciousness. Just shows that cricket=Tendulkar and Tendulkar=cricket. (With due apologies to the Husseys who as Sambit say, like sehwag, you can’t even START to compare with the incomparable SACHIN TENDULKAR- Simply the Greatest batsman the world has ever seen.

  • rohan on September 1, 2009, 5:55 GMT

    Well SL can feel good about their No.2 ranking but then a country which is yet to win a SINGLE test match in Australia, India, South Africa can only become no.2 on paper and never on performance. Jayawardene, Samaraweera, Dilshan are all home track bullies who can't score a 50 once they are in different conditions. Regarding Samaraweera, the less said is better. He has struggled in Australia (average 22), in England (4.25), and in India (10.50). Now if someone still feels that bowlers really care about Samaraweera then good luck to him.

  • Joseph Mennon on September 1, 2009, 5:52 GMT

    I am an Indian, but I have to accept the truth that Sri Lanka is better than us. I don't understand how a country with one of the smallest populations and cricket funding has managed to a world cup (same as india) in such a short amount of time. Not to mention how they are ranked higher than us. They must be doing something right and Mr. Sabit Bal needs to write an article on what they are doing right so that our fellow BCCI and indian people can follow their methods.

  • Manish on September 1, 2009, 4:20 GMT

    Certainly Sachin is very a "over-rated" player, while Sehwag is a team player who plays for the team rather than himself.

  • Mohan on September 1, 2009, 2:15 GMT

    @Imag your msg: is a true reflection of the arrogant attitude generally displayed by Lankans thru out this topic so much so that you have called VVS a joke.Pls don't forget that VVS is 1 batsman who has got the best combined avg: against the top side in world for the past 15 years or so and that too in abroad conditions.Also against others too he is not bad either.His test record is definitely on a par with that of Desilva.Remember he has scored a lot of memorable inns that includes the epic 281.Where he lags behind is in one day aggresiveness.Do you intend to say that non Lankans must not write a word about Lankan cricketers ? Sambit just only expressed his views.You can agree or not agree with his sayings.But pls do that in a polite manner.Also it is just your cricket ignorance that you said this senseless statement "Tendulkar just scored hundreds in matches that were drawn!".

  • Thakur Baldev Singh Chauhan on August 31, 2009, 22:08 GMT

    Mahek, I don't know what’s with you and Rajesh Chauhan but you will do yourself a favor by educating yourself on causation and correlation. Vishy was one of the most accomplished bad-wicket players of all time. Take the 1974-75 series against the West Indies, where he helped India win the third and fourth Tests after routs in the first two. At 192 for 6 in the second innings at Calcutta, India looked in danger of losing the Test and series, but he battled on with the lower order to score 139 and India reached 316 to set the West Indies an unattainable target. The next Test, at Chennai, minus Sunil Gavaskar, the Indian innings was in tatters at 118 for 8 against the pace of Andy Roberts. He scripted several other monumental works: 83 and 79 on a green top at Christchurch in 1975-76; 79 not out in the second innings on a Bangalore turner against Derek Underwood in 1976-77; 124 and 31 against the West Indies in 1978-79 on a Madras track that Alvin Kallicharran said was faster than Perth.

  • Tyche on August 31, 2009, 18:23 GMT

    GR Vishvanath is one of the greatest batsmen ever to have played the game. In my nearly 50 years of life, I have had many exciting things happen to me and around me, but none that I remember as vividly as the 97 (not out) that the real "little master" scored against Andy Roberts and company at Chepauk (the Pongal test match in 1975). Roberts was so menacing that he just destroyed the Indian lineup. Vishy went from 51 to 97 with the support of Bedi and Chandra, the last 2 wickets. I was a litlle boy then, and I remember crying when Chandra got out because Vishy didn't get his century; but in hindsight that was just perfect. A century would have been just another century; but that 97 n.o. was just magical. Mortals cannot play an innings like that.

  • Nikhil on August 31, 2009, 15:59 GMT

    Very well written.

    And am not surprised when I se many people going against Sachin. It doesnt matter. Sachin's greatness is not going to be shadowed by these unwanted comments...

  • Ashok Sridharan on August 31, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    Having seen D'Silva in his prime, I can say for sure that he was head and shoulders above Samaraweera.

    Anyone who could average 40 plus, having played most of his career in weak teams, playing on the livlier pitches we had in the 90s, against attacks far stronger than the ones there are today stands as a class act.

    I don't know what figures say, but no one could ever convince me that Sri Lanka ever had a better batsman than D'Silva.

  • bismoy on August 31, 2009, 15:29 GMT

    saying sachin is overated is like telling pele was overrated in football,what i see here pure jelously toward sachin,even shewag acknowledge he can never became sachin. i find insult to cricket itself when some fellow told sachin as overrated.

  • Gandee on August 31, 2009, 15:20 GMT

    annusly: Sri Lanka not that far away from 1996 world cup. Runner up in 2007 world cup, runner up in 2009 T20 and also now No2 in test ranking. Not too shabby I think!

  • Kushal on August 31, 2009, 15:06 GMT

    Imag and Nash - Few points for you.

    For Nash - 1) Sachin was out shoulder bf. wicket (Adelaide, 1999) to McGrath when the ball was banged in short but bounced low as the pitch had deteriorated (it was the 4th innings). How is ducking under a bouncer bad batting? And it was probably not even going to hit the stumps...many people (including Wasim Akram) commented that the umpire got it wrong! 2) You've seen limited cricket perhaps to think that Sachin can't play the pull or hook. Just a few examples - Sachin hooked D. Fernando out of the ground during the Natwest Triseries in England around 2002. He also pulled McGrath out of the ground in the first Champions Trophy in Kenya around 1998. And equally memorably, he pulled Andie Caddick right out of the Durban ground in the 2003 WC. I could go on.

    Imag - Jayasuriya (btw, Sachin's 1st pick for his IPL-1 team) said after his 1st game opening with Sachin that it was one of the greatest days of his career! That's Sachin's greatness.

  • Mustafa on August 31, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    Wasim picked Arvinda as the most difficult guy to bowl against, I am fine with that, enough said about him, he was a genius. He was moody sometimes, if he was in the mood, watch out.

  • greyblazer on August 31, 2009, 14:22 GMT

    Desilva was at his best against the Saffers in 93 as Donald and the fiery Schultz blasted the Lankan batsmen with pace but Desilva did play some fine knocks in that series against some serious pace.

    Anyhow have people forgotten another elegant player Mark Waugh?

    He played some great knocks like that hundred at Port Elizabeth in 97 against the Saffers on a tricky wicket against Donald and co, played a fine knock to save Australia from certain defeat again against Saffers in 97/98, scored another fine century at Jamaica in 95 against Ambi and co. to help Australia to a historic victory, did the same against Marshall and co. in 91, played another fantastic knock against India at Bangalore in 98, his knock at Durban in 93/94 against the Saffers helped Australia to save the match and many more.

    It looks like Mark is remembered for his elegance but people have somehow tended to forget all those great knocks.

  • Mahek on August 31, 2009, 14:01 GMT

    India never lost a test in which Rajesh Chauhan played, does that make him a great? I can post any kind of rubbish on Wikipedia and have people think it's gospel.

    As for modern batsmen being sure to struggle against past greats, one can only speculate. It's an insult to current players that people berate their achievements due to flatter pitches, it's not the batsmen's fault they're playing in this era.

    Ajay, I'm sure Vishy was one of the best batsmen in the country during his time. But the man averages 36 away from home. That's pretty low even by the standards during the 70's. Playing 10 memorable innings in his away career doesn't make him a certified great. You have to be consistently good over a period of time if you want to be ranked alongside the greats.

  • nishantha Herath on August 31, 2009, 13:49 GMT

    Let me also add my two bits by choosing my all time sri lankan eleven - post test status Sanath Jayasuriya Marvan Attapattu Roy Dias Aravinda De Silva Mahela Jayawardana Kumar Sangakkara - capt and WK Arjuna Ranatunge Chaminda Vaas Rumesh Ratnayake Lasith Malinga Muttiah Muralidharan 12th man - Hashan Tillakaratne

  • nishantha Herath on August 31, 2009, 13:42 GMT

    I agree wholeheartedly with Sambit . Thilan is a good player whose average is bloated by playing mostly on dead tracks in the subcontinent against bowling attacks which come nowhere in comparison to the great attacks of the 70's., 80s, and the 90,s which included amongst others Imran , Safraz and quadir , Kapil Dev , Richard Hadlee , Marshall , Garner , Walsh , Holding, Roberts , Lillee , Thomson , Donald , Botham and Willis .However Thilan is not the only beneficiary of this bloated average syndrome because a mere glance at many of the players who average 50 or more in todays context will vouvh for this fact . With regards to Aravinda , he was unquestionably the greatest Sri Lankan batsman in the post war era and i say this because none of us have seen the great Ceylon players of the earlier era such as mahadevan sathasivam , fc de saram and sargo jayawickrama etc . The only Sri Lankan batsman in the modern era who comes close to Aravinda in class is Sangakkara .

  • donaveraged99 on August 31, 2009, 12:04 GMT

    What have people got against India? They envy India because India is truly a great team. Aren't they a great team? They have a Win loss ratio of 0.72 which is better than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Considering they have been playing for 77 years and that the Worlds Best Batsman played for them in 20 of the 77, how can you undermine their achievements? Do not be-little India due to jealousy.

  • donaveraged99 on August 31, 2009, 12:03 GMT

    What have people got against India? They envy India because India is truly a great team. Aren't they a great team? They have a Win loss ratio of 0.72 which is better than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Considering they have been playing for 77 years and that the Worlds Best Batsman played for them in 20 of the 77, how can you undermine their achievements? Do not be-little India due to jealousy.

  • Saif Qazi on August 31, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    i also wont get into ne kinda arguement here, coz its right emotions run high...

    bt i would also say one more thin, BANG ON Sambit wid this one thoh...:)

    Cheers...!!!

  • Murali on August 31, 2009, 11:44 GMT

    The trouble with comparing cricket in eras is the difference in conditions. True, pitches earlier were uncovered so bowlers got a lot more purchase. So were Wasim Akram, Waqar, Botham, Craig Mc Dermott, Garner, Holding, etc as great as we make them out to be? Or did the pitch make them great? The point is that a Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Zaheer Khan, Fidel Edwards trouble batsmen even on what we term as relatively placid pitches. I don't think batting was any easier then as it is now. A good batsman is a good batsman, period. He would work in any era on any type of pitch, simply because he has a good technique. Remember even Bradman had trouble with Larwood. I think we have to see how Samarweera performs on alien condtions. That will be his true test. Tendulkar, Dravid, Ponting, Graeme Smith, Jayawardena, Inzamam, Yousuf are great because they can score at home and away. That's the class that separates them from the rest.

  • vajira on August 31, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    The my all time list for Sri Lanka: (Haven't seen Sathasivam who could have displaced Dias) Sanath Jayasuriya Marvan Atapattu(captain) Roy Dias Aravinda De Silva Mahela Jayawardena Kumar Sangakkara(WK) Ashantha De Mel Chaminda Vaas Muralitharan Ajith De Silva Lasith Malinga

  • HLANGL on August 31, 2009, 11:37 GMT

    Statistics won't lie, never will I accept that story. But the truth of the matter is most people are not interpreting things by taking full statistics. That causes the issue. Coming back to De Silva, yes, he had all the class, aura & flair of a genuinely great batsman. No doublt. He could have done even better if he himself understood his own great potential much earlier rather than waiting untill he was 30+. From '84 to '94, his form was somewhat patchy, had great innings, great tours, yet had quite unaccepatbly lengthy lean patches in between. From '94 to '96, his record was miserable. In fact, it's after '96 World Cup that he really challenged bowling attacks on a regular basis. I always believed he could have easily racked up with players like Lara, Tendulkar & Ponting. But some careless attitude during the early part of his career may have somewhat spoiled that chance, though nearly 43 kind of an average would be more than accepatble to most other players during the era he played.

  • annesley de abrew on August 31, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    Well Aravinda is a Great Cricketer!!!We can still see his Stroky shots on some TV Sports channels.Because he is so popular among many nations who love cricket. The experience is always counts!!!So Thilan has to reach that target...with endeavourance, show up more. We wish him Success too. & we know he will achieve it. Still SL team is far away from 96 world cup.Cricket.

  • Imag on August 31, 2009, 10:50 GMT

    Why Compare Aravinda with a Mediocrity like Laxman. Sambit's agenda is blatantly obvious here. 1. He belittles and mocks Samaraweera 2. He acts as if he is praising Aavinda but what he is really doing is comparing him to a joke like laxman.

    On the flip side he talks about Tendulkars greatness.

    Indians stood just stick to: "praising their own indian cricketers" which is the ONLY thing they can do.... And stop belittling Sri Lanka just because you are envious of us. By the way Sanga has a 50+ Away average and 100s and great performances all over the world! Just the same as Marvan and Aravinda! Also in case of Aravinda he won matches and played well under pressure. Tendulkar just scored hundreds in matches that were drawn! Remember this if you as Indians ONLY try to belittle Sri Lankans while praising your own petty little statistic loving batsman we may have to burst your over hyped bubble! I think all this anti-sri lankan rant is because we are number 2 ahead of you guys!

  • Ashwath on August 31, 2009, 10:35 GMT

    I think it is possible to ascertain how good a cricketer was through batting averages. Till the 1920's the average cost of a wicket was 24 from 1920 to 1950 it was 34 from 1950 to 1989 31 and till now 33. Anybody who averages 20 over the average of that period would probably be a good batsman. And to all those who feel the Indian team has more people to chose from should also realise that it is exponentially more pressure representing a nation of a billion than a nation of a million. I think i just cut myself with both sides of a double edged sword.

  • Rohit on August 31, 2009, 9:29 GMT

    just one thought......... i don't know why people are envy of tendulkar's record. (This is in reference to the comment by a bloke in this thread itself) Look let me make it very clear & with i think most of the pundits will agree ...... to save a test (to win a test u need bowlers okk) u need at least two batsmen. One can never win . You cannot always shield the other end & save a test match.And this has happened many a times in test Matches that HE(Sachin) tried a lot to save & was among the lasts if not the last , to get out.

  • Rajiv Mel on August 31, 2009, 8:30 GMT

    My All Time Sri Lankan Test eleven (In Batting Order) Sanath Jayasuriya or Sidath Wettimuny Marvan Atapattu Roy Dias Aravinda De Silva Mahela Jayawardena(captain) Kumar Sangakkara(WK) Ravi Rathnayake Chaminda Vaas Muralitharan Ajith De Silva Lasith Malinga

  • sangeeth on August 31, 2009, 8:23 GMT

    samaraveera is a good player, no doubt.but he comes nowhere near to aravinda in any format of cricket.but samaraveera is making a lot of runs for his team now.aravinda's ability to dominate quality bowling places him in a different zone.Aravind played the hook & pull effectively on bouncy tracks against fast bowlers.samaraveeera is yet to be tested in this regard.vvs laxman is certainly elegant than aravinda..but he comes behind aravinda in case of the hook & pull shots[ aggression]. laxman is far ahead in case of flicks. both are equal in facing quality bowling attacks in test cricket. desilva comes ahead in one day cricket as he is more aggressive. laxman stands ahead in tests as his brilliant inningses came against world's best bowling attack.both are fabulous in facing pressure situations.It's the media who makes some players superstars.And they deliberately ignores some greats like vvs laxman.

  • Ajay R Kamath on August 31, 2009, 7:06 GMT

    Seriously, guys...this is a blog and Mr Bal is entitled to an opinion!If you dont agree, cant you just express your opinion politely, rather that taking potshots at the writer, other cricketers and whoever else is in the vicinity? Passion for the game is one thing but one must be temperate in what one writes here.

  • faisal on August 31, 2009, 6:57 GMT

    It is true that this era hasn't still produced a plethora of great bowlers like those of 90's,but one needs to admit that the quantity of cricket played today is enormous and so by law of nature quality deteriorates.Cricketers have to deal with all those injuries,fatigue from long oversea tour,lures from a more lucrative 20-20 tournament etc.So I think players specialy the batsmans are being more cautious today.You can't see guys like mark waugh,azharuddin,carl hooper now who were the paradigm of cricketing catwalk rather than a fat career avg.Again,I have to say,what's wrong with you men?Nobody dislikes sachin than me(as I m a fan of ponting,and there is a race! in between them for test stat zenith)but I can't help admitting that I fear him most too(also with great respect).His is the wicket I want to be got early in any match specialy with australia.He is definately not a overrated player and deserve all the reverence.I think he should be at all time eleven.

  • Ajay R Kamath on August 31, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    I am glad that Mahek admits that he has only followed cricket from the late eighties. How easily he dismisses Vishy as not having been succesful overseas- a mind boggling conclusion!Vishwanath has made hundreds in Australia, England, Pakistan and West Indies.Certainly his hundred at Melbourne in 1981 will rank as one of the best innings played abroad by an Indian in that era.Moreover, he made over 450 runs for in the 1978 series in Aus, albeit without a single hundred.We dont romanticise Vishy...he rarely gets his due, unfortunately, as he played all his cricket under Gavaskar's intimidating shadow, much like Greenidge and Richards.

  • CYBORG on August 31, 2009, 6:24 GMT

    It was great to see a writer willing to give his justification for the article. As many would suggest, lets cherrish both batsmen. Who knows, Sameera may become the next D'silva for Srilanka. He has the technique to become a good batsman. Lets not conclude anything now. And for those who compare Sachin & Shewag, why dont we give credit for a man who has played such tremendous cricket. He was the one man army in 90's. Kids who play now for team India were inspired by him. To talk abt a man who has carried a billion hopes on his shoulders is wrong. India has won games because of his individual brilliance. I dont see any justice given to a man who has played for his country so selflessly. Even the guys playing now have acknowledged the facts. Calling a guy selfish is too much of an insult. Sachin deserves more than this. Even Sachin has answered in an interview very recently that Shewag resembles him in cricket. Lets cherish rather than cursing these players.

  • rohan on August 31, 2009, 6:22 GMT

    and why blame poor samaraweera ? Why not Jayawardene ? Mahela averages 65 at home & 40 away, so much so for a 'class-act' batsman. 18 of his 26 centuries and 70% of his total runs are at home. I think with time, Samaraweera will prove to be a better batsman than Jayawardene. Now you all may criticize Indians as much as you want, but then stats dont lie. Tendulkar,Dravid,Sehwag all average more than 50 abroad, have scored centuries in every corner of the world and for them runs scored away is proportional to the matches played there. Whereas i don't think anyone in SL team except for Aravinda had or have the technique or flair to score runs consistenly abroad. For heaven sake, leave sehwag out of this topic. The man has 2 triple centuries to his name and has won more than matches than anyone who has played the number of matches he has played till now. There are very few batsmen who win TEST matches and Sehwag is one of them.

  • Partha Chakraborty on August 31, 2009, 6:09 GMT

    May be cricket is a game of batting and bowling. It means run scoring,wicket taking.But its not everything.For instance, there are few bats men in the world who are prolific run scorer like Hayden,langer, Mike hussy, smith,gayle,chandrapal but their batting doesn't attract so much.They are not as classic as Aravinda, Lara, Tendulker and even jayawardne. So from entertaiment point of view they are not so good. They are effective of course. For example waugh brothers. By the record Steave waugh was better than Mark waugh. But from entertainment point of view mark was far far ahed.We should bear in mind end of the day cricket is a sports and its main perception is to provide entertainment. Another issue is big match temperment. There are many good bats men when come to the big match situation,like final semifinal they are very average.But great players upgrade themselves in big matches. Aravina's match winning innigs in semi-final and final in 96,world cup is the true reflections.

  • Kris on August 31, 2009, 6:09 GMT

    Top scorers and averages in the 90s and 2000s:

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

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

    If people cannot see the difference there is something seriously wrong somewhere. In the 2000s almost every Tom, Dick and Hussey average 50+. In the 90s just the “greats”. Also, as is obvious, most comments here are not even vaguely “fact” based but pure nonsense based wholly on geopolitical leanings. I mean if anyone can even half seriously go on and on harping on some Tendulkar failures to the absolute exclusion of 30000 international runs, 85 international hundreds, 20 years and some 550 innings …then the person obviously has a major chip on his shoulders or is simply ignorant about cricket/sport in general.

  • Shafi on August 31, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    Someone had commented on SL not being given tours to AUS / SA & ENG because of us not being good enough - sorry mate not true, it's all about the money. If we had an audience of 1 billion people we would be getting tours no matter what, it all comes down to market size, even if people dont turn up to the ground it has a lot to do with television deals etc. I am not suggesting India is bad in anyway all i am saying is India is benefitted by the large audience, no qualms about this but one must understand why countries like SL are marginalised, you think england is better than SL??? but the Ashes is played so often why? Money (yes yes tradition ... but it all leads to a larger viewing public) True that SL has not done well in SA & AUS but i think we need to play more cricket in both countries. There should be a balanced method where each team plays every other team so many times home and away during every 4 years or so ...

  • Shafi on August 31, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    Sambit - I think you have downplayed Aravinda to suit your intent which is to try to compare him to Samaraweera, if you explicitly mentioned Aravinda as the true great he is, then there would be no point to your article. I was born in the late 70's. Started watching cricket since 1990 and Aravinda was my idol, in my humble opinion of all the batsmen i have seen since 1990 (wont comment on players before that) only two Lara & Tendulkar for me are in aleague above Aravinda. Others like mark Waugh / Saeed Anwarn maybe comparable, Also i believe Aravinda's career had two parts to it, he was called Mad Max in the early years but i dont think anyone called him that after the early 90's because that is when he matured as a crickter and from there on his performances were unbelievable. Batsmen like Laxman are good but cannot be compared to Aravinda because there was nothing he could not do .... The true greats can play any form of cricket ....

  • Viresh on August 31, 2009, 5:40 GMT

    Wish you would analyze Tendulkar in such a frame of mind? For a player who has played more games than any cricketer, Tedulkar not surprisingly has the highest number of runs. But what is most astonishing is his number of losses. Tendulkar has lost more matches than any cricketer in the world, with an extremely high loss average compared to players such as Jayasuria, Ponting , etc. This should be a great concern for BCCI and cricket historians. After all what is the most important stat in cricket,.. wins and losses. But guess what, this stat is hidden from all records in all the major cricket web sites, including the ICC web site. Quite astonishing isn't it. So according to you, we should remember Tendulkar as the "Great Loser". What I am trying to say is, Mr. Bal, it is easy to belittle any feat, especially if it is performed by an opponent. So why don't we appreciate these feats for what they are,... in the name of cricket.

  • Shafi on August 31, 2009, 5:06 GMT

    First up - I am Sri Lankan, and i must say i really don't think much of samaraweera, i'll give him this much tough for a guy thats not very gifted he seems to have a lot of determination and heart to have made so many runs. Problem is they are all at home, so lets see if he can make any runs outside of the subcontinent, right now our batting is thin with Kumar & Mahela being the only class acts (hopefully Dilshan's golden run will continue) in the line up and Samaraweera definitely serves a purpose, does he have the capability to survive in SA, AUS & ENG though ??? Mahela / Kumar / Aravinda / Sanath have all played brilliant knocks in overseas conditions as well.

  • davesh on August 31, 2009, 4:59 GMT

    It's actually hilarious that journalists, who probably have never held a bat, talk so convincingly that so and so would have averaged less than 50 in 90s. I mean give yourself a break. Its damn easy to make such statements, which can never be tested. If you think you really have a sound cricket knowledge, then tell us how much do you think a Sehwag or a Samaraweera or a Jayawardene would score in the next 12 months? Tell us how much will they average against SA in SA next time they play against SA ? Now don't give me the crap that 12 months is a very short period to predict anything. Well, atleast let us see where you are heading. Sambit, just because you watched cricket matches from press box and that you might have befriended few cricketers during this period, doesn't make you a better cricket judge than anyone out here. And as i said if you are that good in judging others, then do some betting and earn some bucks.

  • Jack on August 31, 2009, 4:42 GMT

    hmmm...with every new article you write, you are just making a big fool of yourself. I have a great idea to settle this issue, lets bring back players from the fast and then see if the present players are as good as them. What do you say Sambit? p.s. Dont write a new blog now saying "Lets talk about time machines", I THINK, I Think, people might not like that idea

  • Shantiratnam on August 31, 2009, 4:30 GMT

    Samaraweera's contribution looks significant currently because batsman around him have not been consistant and the teams we have been playing against are so poor that they surrender ther ten wickets within short span of time. But when we start palying highly competitive teams like SA, Australia and India Samaraweera may not be effective, because he is a player who does nto take in to account time needed to produce a result in the match, all he thinks is time available to score a century in the match, which I assume as per him is 5 days max and 2 days minimum. If SL played competitive teams more frequently Samaraweera would have lost his place in the side. He is no where closer to Aravinda.

  • HU Khanna on August 31, 2009, 4:07 GMT

    I wouldn't include Lasith Malinga in a Test XI.. here's my take:

    Sanath Jayasuriya Marvan Atapattu Kumar Sangakkara (Wk/Vc) Mahela Jayawardena (C) Aravinda De Silva Thilan Samaraweera Hashan Tilakaratne Chaminda Vass Romesh Ratnayake Muttiah Muralitharan Ajantha Mendis

  • Ranil on August 31, 2009, 3:57 GMT

    Different people have different criteria to define a good player. If I write down some 'pure' guidelines:

    1. What do the records say? 1. 1 Consistancy(Average, centuries) 1. 2 Aggressiveness (strike rate, boundaries) 1. 3 class (highest scores) 2. How valuable is he to the team? 2.1 How many match winning innings has he played (even though wasn't the man of match)? 2.2 How many games has he saved? 3. How entertaining is he? 3.1 How technical is he? 3.2 How much has he mastered his unique techniques? 3.3 How lovable his technique? 3.4 How aggressive and successful is he when playing?

    People have their own weighing factors for teh above and others, which are not listed here. Those factors depend on what the person expect from cricket, form of cricket, and etc.

    I highly doubt I share same 'weighing factors' with th author of this article. If he thinks the readers share similar view point or will follow him, he should be out of his mind...

    No conlusions though...

  • hj on August 31, 2009, 3:57 GMT

    Dear Mcdelive... you might missed Mr. Jehan Mubarak (is a cricketer....) he heeeee. He has to be ASSUME as greatest ODI/Test player.. he heeee

  • Bunty on August 31, 2009, 3:16 GMT

    Sambit, Man,what is the point of this article.Please write about your Indian team in a different post. Because people who want to read about Aravinda doesen't need your silly comparisons. No offence.

  • Ajith Samaraweera on August 31, 2009, 3:07 GMT

    Aravinda is the greatest Batsman SL ever produced. He was the only batsman can built an inings under pressure and win the match too. He should be in the selection commitee rather than present jokers. I think you miss great Asanka Gurusinghe from your XI.

  • D.Pramod on August 31, 2009, 2:47 GMT

    Please look at the following rating methodology

    1. Rate teams decade-wise on the following basis: Win (Away)- 3 Win (Home)- 2 Draw (A)- 1.5 Draw (H)- 1

    Exclude the minnows each decade; batting and bowling performances against these teams will not be counted. The performances by cricketers belonging to the minnow teams (excluding those against other minnow teams) will be be taken.

    1a. We can also adopt a weighted average method. Performances at home would merit a weightage of 1 and performances away a weightage of between 1.2 to 1.5.

    We may also adopt the following: For instance a West Indian cricketer of the 70s/80s who played county cricket regularly for five years+, performances in the West Indies and in England would be rated as "home".

    2. To separate the cream we may also take the "big performance" measure. For batsmen this would be the percentage of 50s and 100s scored out of the total number of innings batted; for bowlers a standard of 5WI/8WM can be used.

  • Ranade on August 31, 2009, 2:31 GMT

    “shir” is spot on …. Even after 20 years no one, but no one ,can stir such intense passions as the Little Master and the Greatest batsman of all time- namely SACHIN TENDULKAR!!! Check out the stats b4 Tendulkars injuries almost ended his career (i.e till 01/01/2003) and u will get some idea Also, it is doubtful that most ppl actually comparing sehwag etc to The greatest batsman ever( Tendulkar) have even played club cricket. As others have suggested, most of the vitriolic comments are almost certainly from a particular geographical location…bcoz they comprise almost solely of personal remarks without a hoot of logic or the actual topic involved.

  • nick prasanna on August 31, 2009, 2:04 GMT

    Sanath Jayasuriya Marvan Atapattu Kumar Sangakkara (Wk) Mahela Jayawardena Aravinda De Silva Thilan Samaraweera Arjuna Ranatunga (C) Chaminda Vass Muttiah Muralitharan Ajantha Mendis Lasith Malinga

    The Sri Lankan great Test Xl wat do u think guys ??

  • Ranarala on August 31, 2009, 0:40 GMT

    This is funny. First,Aravinda was considered as one of the leading batsmen in world once (1992-1998)who was compared with Lara and Sachin. He was perfect technically and much much more fluent in fast bouncy pitches as well. Aravinda mostly batted during bowlers' era and that's why his average is just above 41. If Laxman is not compared with Sachin, then you cannot compare Laxman with Aravinda either! Anyone can enjoy comparing Samaraweera and Laxman because they are test players and they both are failed to make it to even their national ODI squads. But Aravinda, could have easily picked for any present T20 team! I think, great batsman is not just a great test batsman, but he should dominate all the bowlers during his era in all forms of the game with aggression, passion and elegance!

  • Surath on August 31, 2009, 0:38 GMT

    All time Sri Lanka XI

    Marvan Attapattu Sanath Jayasuriya Roy Dias Mahela Jayawardena Kumar Sangakkara (WK) Arjuna Ranatunga Duleep Mendis Ravi Ratnayake Rumesh Ratnayake Chaminda Vaas Mutthiah Muralitharan

    12th Man: D.S. De Silva

  • Thakur Baldev Singh Chauhan on August 31, 2009, 0:22 GMT

    From Wikipedia on GRV:He was at his peak in the mid-1970s. One of his most famous innings was against the West Indies at Madras in 1974-75, when he scored 97 not out out of a total of 190 against a bowling attack containing a rampaging Andy Roberts. Despite not being a century, it was regarded as one of the finest performances by an Indian and it led to an Indian victory. The Wisden 100 38th best innings of all time, and the second best non-century. He had also scored a match-winning century in the previous Test at Calcutta an scored 95 in the final Test at Bombay. Gundappa Viswanath's career performance graph. In 1975-76, Viswanath again produced some strong performances against the West Indies, the most notable of which was his 112 at Port of Spain which helped India to reach the victory target of 403. A feat of Viswanath's career is that India never lost a game in which Viswanath scored a century. Beat that !:)

  • Mark on August 30, 2009, 23:59 GMT

    I remember Aravinda De Silva when he first burst on to the scene back in the Mid 1980s he first shot to fame with his amazing efforts on debut at Lord's in 1984, then when Sri Lanka travelled to Australia a year later he memorably hooked Geoff Lawson over his head for six to win a cricket match in 1985. Throughout the rest of the decade he played many outstanding innings that delighted Sri Lankan fans in their formantive test status years, especially against India and Pakistan when they toured Sri Lanka in the 80s. As the 90s dawned he became absolutely integral part of Sri Lanka becoming a real force in cricket especially oneday cricket. As Sri Lanka rose up the test rankings in 1990s De Silva's bat was integral to SL success. Of course the highpoint being the 1996 WC semi and final performances which won Sri Lanka the World Cup. Most of all however I will remember him as a thrilling cricketer who had great batting technique a great striker of the cricket ball. A great SL Cricketer.

  • abhi on August 30, 2009, 23:42 GMT

    Sachin is the greatest batsmen ever to grace our eyes. I am a cricketer First and a fan second so I respect technique over any sort of aggression or one off innings that make legends. DeSliva and Tendulkar played roughly in the same era and Tendulkar was superior hands down...For all of DeSilva's "aggression" and superior stroke play his SR is lower to that of Tendulkar's in both forms of the game. But SR's aren't the only measure of a persons skill. Let's look at AVG's, number of 100's, 50's, most runs in season any other bench marks you are willing to shed.

    There is however one bench mark that I would say DOES NOT reflect a players "greatness" is his performance on one particular day, rather the ability to recreate them time and time again. I am not saying that those such performances should not be remembered, but lets face it to be a professional is to hold yourself to the highest standards of the game like Sachin. We Indians romanticize Sachin? But Lankans...Hypocrite much?

  • Ruhunu on August 30, 2009, 23:19 GMT

    Samaraweera - 54 tests, 11 hundreds with average 51.8

    VVSLaxman - 105 tests, 14 hundreds with average 45.

    When Samaraweera get to 100 tests he would have much more centuries than VVS.

  • sunil on August 30, 2009, 21:04 GMT

    I dont understand this while whole outburst against Tendulkar ... A great player is not defined by the few great games he has played but also by his consistency. Tendulkar has done this over 20 years , while producing great innings all along .. Sehwag is a wonderful player ..But wasnt he dropped from the team for non-performace .. How consistent was Aravinda ?? And talking about match winning innings.. we talk about ponting and steve waugh ..But look at the team they had ..The team they had ensured that most of the guys contirbutions made by these 2 guys were turned into a match winning one .. While tendulkar for more than 3/4th of his career had to play in a mediocre team .. I can recollect so many matches against pakistan,SA, England and Australia, where he scored a century only for the rest of the team to flounder...

  • prabwal on August 30, 2009, 20:09 GMT

    Most of the comments posted above seem misleading as was the title of the previous article.However, it seems to me the only point Sambit was trying to make was the evolution of averages with changing times.Most of us (i believe everyone) will agree that de Silva was a much much better player than Samaraweera is (infact,i consider him among the best i have watched play).But when in comes to averages, Samaraweera leaves him behind (thanks to his wonderful performances of late). Don't you think Aravinda would have averaged better these days ?

  • lisa on August 30, 2009, 19:53 GMT

    Yes, not fair to Aravinda (or the likes of selfless & gutsy players such as Arjuna Ranatunga, Sanath Jayasuriya & Muttiah Muralidaran) to talk about averages in this context. Its also not fair to Samaraweera. He started off as a specialist bowler & see what he has accomplished in a short time? No one ever called him great or anything close. All fans of good cricket like myself are just watching with awe, the amount of fantastically talented cricketers this little island is producing! No other place has produced such exciting players such as Sanath, the cool Arjuna (he was exciting to watch before the heavy burden of captaincy fell on his shoulders), Lasith Maling, Dilshan, Mendis, the incomparable Murali & Aravinda, the list goes on & I have only so much space here! Not just exciting cricket is produced by Lankans, they also do it all without the egos, all that money, & the unnecessary adulation heaped upon players in India.. Go Sri Lanka!

  • Anand on August 30, 2009, 19:49 GMT

    I am generally a fan of your articles, but I must say that you sometimes have a tendency to make presumptuous and outlandish statements, such as "I don't think Sehwag would've averaged 50 in the 90s". I am inclined to agree with you on that only because the quality of bowlers in the 90s was much higher than it is today but the fact is, you can never tell. Who would've thought Monty Panesar would survive for an hour and hold out for a draw against the Aussies in the first Ashes test this year? On the same token, who would've given Shivnarine Chanderpaul a chance at the start of his career?

  • sabesh on August 30, 2009, 19:28 GMT

    Why do you guys keep putting Ajantha Mendis in SL's alltime XI? He hasn't done much outside of his first few games. D.S De Silva might or Ashantha De Mel are better choices. People have a short memory ....

  • Manojs on August 30, 2009, 19:21 GMT

    Sambit, How ever much you try to spin your comments, your first thought was Samaraweera was not good enough to have a 50 plus average. There are some gifted players and some hard working players. Samaraweera has worked hard to get to where he is now and we should commend his achievements. I am sure Sri lankans would not mind whether he has an average of 40 or 50 as long as he helps the team to win. Please try to discuss something more interesting next time!!

  • vsphani on August 30, 2009, 19:18 GMT

    iam a cricket lover following it very closely almost for 25 years comparing aravinda with vvs is absoultely rubbbbuissh(boycott) aravinda got all the strokes where as vvs doesnot have sometimes i observed vvs will be clean bowled particularly for straight pacy deleveries from asif,shoaib akthar,lee etc and vvs is not fit to play 50/20 over games where as mad max can really thrash any sort of attack on his day

  • vsphani on August 30, 2009, 19:14 GMT

    iam a cricket lover following it very close almost for 25 years comparing aravinda with vvs is absoultely rubbbbuissh(boycott) aravinda got all the strokes where as vvs doesnot have some i observed vvs sometimes will be clean bowled particularly for straight pacy deleveries from asif,shaiab akthar,lee etc and vvs is not fit to play 50/20 over games where as mad max can really thrash any sort of attack on his day

  • Hemant on August 30, 2009, 18:54 GMT

    Aravinda was a definite moment player rather than a run making machine. Same is Laxman. Regarding this talk about Sachin and Shewag. Sachin untill 2007 would go into a big game without a game plan. 2003 world cup final was a prime example. When 340 was required to win and Aus had only two "true" bowlers Lee and McGrath how did he perform? Any basic cricketing brain would say play McGrath out in his first spell and then build momentum. If he had got out edging I would have understood but to get out pulling after having mis-pulled the previous delivery was sacrliege. Either it was a lack of temperament or game plan or both. Shewag at least had a plan and he did go hammer & tongs later and with a fluky runout went any hopes.In my opinion that very day Sachin tarnished his image as a big-game player forever until he redeems at that stage in 2011! Folks point to his innings against Pak earlier. Well if you followed that game Akram had him on 20 but for Razzak's walking-in too much mistake.

  • satyam on August 30, 2009, 18:32 GMT

    i would like to add that batting averages do have increased over the period of tym..it may have been due to a combiantion of factors like cricket evolvin to becumm more of a run accumulatin game,deterioration of pitches fall in the quality of bowlers,daredevility of batsmen ..batsmen puttin more onus on runs dese days than mere survival..a case in point test matches bein more result oriented dese days instead of dull draws wid jus single innings played over five days.another thing is battin averages,no doubt,do give a pointer to batsman abilities but to say they are the only criterion for greatness wud b absurd.for eg- tendulkar till recently was much maligned for his inability to win or draw test matches on his own for india inspite of his 50+ average.n herein lies the importance of a sehwag . cumin to samarveeraV aravinda debate let samarveera play as many matches as aravinda played then only we can compare them a guy palyin 100 matches n averagin 45+ is approachin gr8ness if not gr8

  • sanjeev on August 30, 2009, 18:26 GMT

    I dont think SL deserves numbr 2 test spot tell me what they have done outside SL nothing may be they have won a series against at weak England and NZ team they have not won a single test at Aus or SA, they have not won a single ODI series outside indian subcontinent murali got 60% of wicketts in SL against weaker opposition only jayawardena's and sangakarra;s averages are better outside SL, SL are absolute no hoppers outside the subcontinent BTW some SL supporter wrote that SL are better than India look at India's performance outside their country and compare it with your SL team.lets see how ur herath fares in Eng SA Aus, warne was better than murali because he took more wickets in away series murali got more wickets against Zim..India has won so many away test and away ODI than SL and btw so called Indian basher SL remember we employ you, you play in our IPL if you are so conscious then dont ever play in the IPL

  • Nash on August 30, 2009, 18:26 GMT

    Tendulkar is over-rated. Only batsman in history to be out shoulder before wicket. The guy can't pull or hook to save his life. He has never put India in a winning situation whereas Sehwag has done so numerous times. Laxman is the most talented Indian batsman but his loose technique continues to be his downfall. If he tightened up his technique he'd do a bit better and feel more free to score faster. He has all the shots in the book, unlike Tendulkar.

  • Chanuka on August 30, 2009, 18:21 GMT

    Your are out of your mind. See how poor is your articles. You do not deserve a place in cricinfo. Comparing players. lol .. you know nothing mister. Laxman is a kind of Atapattu or Hussy like player, Aravinda is Aravinda. Jayasuriya, Gilly, Haydon,Shewag false into Aravinda type " Which calls "match winners". And the statistical player like dravin, sachin , gavascar false into another group of braggers..

  • mcdelive on August 30, 2009, 18:04 GMT

    I have come up with an All time Sri Lankan Test XI. What do u think about it?

    Sanath Jayasuriya Marvan Atapattu Kumar Sangakkara (Wk/Vc) Mahela Jayawardena (C) Aravinda De Silva Thilan Samaraweera Hashan Tilakaratne Chaminda Vass Lasith Malinga Muttiah Muralitharan Ajantha Mendis

    Reserve:, Tilakaratne Dilshan, Dilhara Fernando, Arajuna Ranatunga

  • surya on August 30, 2009, 17:58 GMT

    As for the talk of laxman not being par with De silva,its rubbish.De silva was a better ODi player and a more aggressive one with aerial shots.But in terms of their contribution to test cricket,I dont think VVs lags behind de silva in any way.I am shocked especially when someone said VVs cant be counted on pressure situations..Well,then was the 281 scored in an exhibitiona match?..

  • faisal on August 30, 2009, 17:44 GMT

    I am fanatic about aussies so after the ashes,today is the day I reattached myself with cricinfo as it took me a week to replenish.The first thing I notice is that vettori made 140 and the second is the post by you sambit.This is for the first time I have to wrangle with your opinion in case of viru.After that australian first day demolition of 195(may at brisbane,I forgot though I watched that test) he is at the list of "batsman to be feared" for rest of my life.I think he should be picked at Indian eleven.(don't forget he has got 2 triples).Again at de silva issue I have to admit that his semifinal inning's of 66 is one of the best at one day cricket history(best is steve waugh's 120 against SA at 1999 WC)

  • sangeeth on August 30, 2009, 17:39 GMT

    i don't understand about your yardstick to select vishi over vvs laxman.laxman is the most under rated batsman of this era. how many times vishy have played an inings like laxman did in edengardens in 2001? how can aravinda desilva be compared to laxman regarding elegance? laxman has those magic wrists which helped him to flick even a delivery outside the offstump to the midwicket region..no doubt aravinda is a great player, but that never brings downn the greatness of vvs..desilva has been more aggressive , but elegance always was with laxman..azhar was also a good player, but he struggled against fast bowling.laxman has played amazing inningses against mcgrath, lee, gillespie and warne..aravinda's main drawback is that he struggled against shane warne and he never had to face murali .laxman plays in a star strudded indian batting line up and he has to bat with the tail enders always.tendulkar always played for records,he never is a match winner.

  • surya on August 30, 2009, 17:27 GMT

    As for the talk of laxman not being par with De silva,its rubbish.De silva was a better ODi player and a more aggressive one with aerial shots.But in terms of their contribution to test cricket,I dont think VVs lags behind de silva in any way.I am shocked especially when someone said VVs cant be counted on pressure situations..Well,then was the 281 scored in an exhibitiona match?..

  • surya on August 30, 2009, 17:21 GMT

    I understand this article was to put your view point clear which i dont agree completely..Mahek made a good point about sehwag.someone who was seen as not good enough technique wise in the test level had opened the innings when much fancies batsman like sachin didnt.Sehwag as u said is different from most batsman.His approach wold have been the same even when he had faced the windies quartet.So,you never know how much he would have scored in the 90's

    As for VVs,I havent seen vishy bat but to me he is right up there in my test 11 atleast..Samaraweera's true test though will be abroad in Safrican,australian,english pitches..If he passes that test,he may well move to the next level.If not he would end up as a flat pitch maximiser

  • Thakur Baldev Singh Chauhan on August 30, 2009, 17:17 GMT

    Mahek, Since you have decided to humor me, I might as well take advantage of the situation and point out that playing against Holding, Roberts, Lille and Imran there is a fair chance that VVS and the likes will not get into double digits often especially playing on sticky wickets that were worse than even matting ones. Samarweera or whatever his name is would be opening his account every other innings. People who have watched cricket on benign flat pitches would never understand what it meant to avg in 40s on those wickets, facing those bowlers with those sort of bats and equipments. Enough said.

  • Randika Dissnayake on August 30, 2009, 17:16 GMT

    I cannot appreciate or condone the slandering of cricketers great or not are receiving though feedback to Sambit blogs. We are all passionate followers of the game and we all have our heroes. All we do is to head butt eash other and in the process undermine those who have actually contributed to the game by playing it at the highest level, a thoroughly undue condemnation. Let us all bear in mind that it is asian players that we throw against each other to see who makes dent in the other. That is NOT the way forward folks, the rest of the world are laughing at us. We do need more fixtures that i agree with, but unfortunately crickets governing bodies have become more and more money oriented.

    Sri Lanka was given a one off test in England and came us with a sparkling performance (sanath 220, ara 100+, Murali 16 wckts). in recognition the next series in 2006 was a 3 match one and that will be long remembered for its sparkle (Mahela) which was followed by a 5 match white wash in the ODI.

  • Danish on August 30, 2009, 17:01 GMT

    Im an Indian. BUT.. I would tell u this is so stupid article just to reply previous comments. First thing, you even cant think about to compare Laxman and Desilva. Aravinda Desilva is far greater batsman than Laxman. As a cricket lover from several decades I know, he is the legend of the Sri Lanka. I don’t mind even if you compare him with Lara or Sachin. May be he just behind them. But not so far. He is the all time greats in cricket history. Don’t show your nationality from your articles in such popular website. Its shame to us as Indians. Respect all the great players around the word.

  • Oshan Liyanage on August 30, 2009, 16:55 GMT

    I would be suprise if Aravinda De Silva doesn't make SL all time XI. My all time SL XI follows;

    Sanath Jayasuriya Marvan Atapattu Dulip Mendis Aravinda De Silva (VC) Arjuna Ranatunga (C) Kumar Sangakkara (WK) Mahela Jayawardena Chaminda Vass Mutthaia Muralitharan Lasith Malinga Ajantha Mendis

  • Jayantha on August 30, 2009, 16:52 GMT

    Comparing players is a hazardous exercise, and I think Sambit, you caught some fire due that. It also a rather meaningless exercise, if I can say so without offence. The crucial part of cricket is to understand the character of the man. For a bowler to became a test batsman of some repute is some achievement. No matter the nationality, that is what is amazig here, and my suspicion is that a story on Thilan Samaraweera the man would be far more interesting than the story you wrote. Please shink of this as kind advice for future stories Sambit, ones that will need a bit more back ground on the players. All that said, all Sri Lankan fans should applaud the effort the Indian writers have made to highlight Sri Lankan cricket, so chaps, do go easy on Sambit, will you?

  • Nash on August 30, 2009, 16:51 GMT

    Aravinda judged line and length better than any player of his time. This gave him so much time to play his shots that he could play the pull or hook as comfortably and naturally as the cover drive. You never saw him performing embarrassing acrobatics to evade fast bouncers. He tended to get out trying to hit the ball too hard. He simply did not have Sanath's power. Only in later years did he strive less to hit hard and focus more on natural stroke-play.

    Sanath could hit the ball with power later than any player of his time. Like Bruce Lee's one-inch punch, with barely a backlift he could generate immense power. His judgement of line and length, however, was not at Aravinda's level. Since he didn't have as much time as Aravinda against the fastest bowlers, Sanath did occasionally get himself into a tangle when facing fast bouncers directed at the body.

    Tendulkar? Only batsman in history to get out shoulder-before-wicket.

    Sehwag? Better than Tendulkar. More runs ... faster.

  • Chat Rana on August 30, 2009, 16:34 GMT

    I think the original article was in bad taste. Samaraweera has been in great form. But nobody claimed him to be a legend. He has a long way to go to prove himself. So, why try to put him down? Mr. Bal, why don't you write an article questioning Flitoff for instance. There were so many making him out to be some super star, when in reality, he has been the definition of mediocrity. Why not write an article challenging that? That will make you a better editor.

  • Allen Weiss on August 30, 2009, 16:11 GMT

    I pity you Sambit, all you did was highlight the fact about flattening of pitches in the subcontinent and the decrease in the quality of bowling attacks compared to the previous decade. Maybe you could have used some more examples of current players with inflated batting averages like Gambhir etc. maybe this would've convinced the Lankans that Samaraweera is not being targeted by you and would've turned their attention on the topic.

  • mohanlal on August 30, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    Aravinda really was a very good player.No comparing Samaraveera with him.But really cannot understand why some Lankans go overboard with this article as if no matter be written about their cricketers.As always some digging at Sachin too.To those people only this much to say..Pls have a thorough analysis of his career before making such comments.As for Desilva-Laxman comparison...Desilva was superior because he was more at ease in 1 dayers than Laxman too.Sehwag no doubt..destructive than Sachin ... but doubts whether he would have survived new ball attacks in 90s of those great bowlers in the same proportion as he has done in 2000S.

  • devprasad Peiris on August 30, 2009, 16:01 GMT

    The Man of the 80's was Arvinda, no doubt.I still remember how he opened the innings with a six, with Dulip Mendis.What an exinting player he was.Wish to see another arvinda from Sri Lanka.

  • Indika on August 30, 2009, 15:52 GMT

    Aravinda is for us(SL fans), what Sachin is for Indian Fans. And there is no doubt they are two great players. So it is not surprising that this article might hurt the feelings of SL fans, and Cricket lovers all over the world(by looking at some other comments from people from other countries).

    So, I hope you would be more careful in the future when you are talking a about a player who is sacred to a a nation.

    We love cricinfo articles, but lately I felt disappointed to see some of the content. You might be trying to get people to talk about an interesting topic like "batting averages after 90s", but using SL batsmen (specially in two consecutive articles) as the main focus, surely can give the wrong impression. I hope you do understand what I'm talikng about.

  • ulg on August 30, 2009, 15:41 GMT

    come on, this is just a consellation for your previous article. everyone knows who aravinda is, and for me he is the best sri lankan batsman of the recent past. But said that, now its upto samaraweera and co. Of course in another 10 or 15 yrs you'd be saying that facing thushara, kulasekara, herath,vettori, etc was a daunting task. then will u credit batsmen such as samaraweera who'd played with them? its totally wrong to compare between genarations or eras, simply because the contexts are different. hence, any of these players would have been different/adapted cricketers for any era.

    same goes to your comparison of Sachin and Sehwag too!

  • Shir on August 30, 2009, 15:37 GMT

    Amidst all the fuss, noticed one thing? Even after 20 years no one, but no one ,can stir such intense passions as the Little Master and the Greatest batsman of all time- namely SACHIN TENDULKAR!!!

  • Rajiv Mel on August 30, 2009, 15:35 GMT

    MAYDAY needs to get his facts straight.Why dont u ask Imran Khan, Richard Hadlee, Merv Hughes, etc about who they would rather bowl to. I think u will get a clear answert as to the greatness of Aravinda

  • Rajiv Mel on August 30, 2009, 15:30 GMT

    AN INSULT, AN ABSOLUTE INSULT TO COMPARE THE GREAT ARAVINDA DE SILVA TO LAXMAN

  • Chatura on August 30, 2009, 15:18 GMT

    Mr. Bal, here's another statistic for you. Ponting's average in India is 20 (in 12 tests). Why don't you write and article about that? Or are you afraid that the owners of Cricinfo will not look too positively?

  • sri on August 30, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    I think laxman is far better than vishy. laxman's average both in india and abroad is higher, he also played more number of crucial innings. I agree vishy is romanticised but far from a great batsman.

  • Hari on August 30, 2009, 14:58 GMT

    @William. An opinion is one thing, but at least get your stats right. Sachin was slightly out of form before the Sydney Test; still, he scored 241* at a SR of 55; this was only the 1st innings of the match. So how is it "slow" or "selfish"? In the 3rd innings he made 60* in 89 balls. He eventually won the "Man of the Match!" Was it his fault Steve Waugh battled to 80 and India were only able to take 6 wickets in the final innings?

  • Sega on August 30, 2009, 14:58 GMT

    I can't help but laugh at some of the coments made against VVS Laxman. For me he a class above the rest , artist , sublime genius & currently the best in business. Some of his fans will totally agree with me that he hasnt got the respect he deserves.

  • nando on August 30, 2009, 14:57 GMT

    well lets see here now. u have mentioned 4 fine technicians in aravinda,tendulkar, laxman and samaraweera. but how are you going to include sehwag in the same class? he does not have the strokeplay or the finesse to play test cricket. just because he swings wild n gets some quick runs in the odi's doesnt mean he can dominate in the test arena. i know u indians like to ride on this success of part timers. just how ur commentators like to admire rash strokeplay of the likes of dhoni and pathan. most of these indian commentators do not even deserve the job. they just state the obvious n make tendulkar sound like the best thing that happened to cricket. arun lal, gavaskar and the never ending list of commentators should just stick to ur domestic level. also find a pace bowler for the future of india. because i have not seen a pace bowler of the caliber of kapil dev ever since he closed the chapter after being a slave for india. pretty soon u guys might have to open the attack with spinners

  • ruhunu on August 30, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    Thilan would bat better than Lara, Tendu, Ponting or even Richerds in Sri Lankan pitches.

    That's a great achievement by itself.

  • mayday on August 30, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    Tendulkar and Aravinda are two different type of batsmen with different styles, heard of that phrase about apples and oranges anytime ?? And I really think SriLankan's are just going overboard when they say Aravinda is better than Tendulkar, that is sheer non-sense ! Get a grip and get a life. One can give zillion instances where Tendulkar has been way better than anybody else in world cricket. So, lets not talk about "hitting first ball in a test match for a six", "outscoring Tendulkar in some charity match"... jeez man.... I am sure you can do better...

  • kabooter on August 30, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    Aravinda de silva is far better batsmen then any current srilankan the only man who can be compared to aravinda is Sanath jayasuriya. as for sehwag ya he is good but no great because he has not scored against great bowlers... my all time top 6 batsmen are: 1.Bradman 2.Viv Richards 3.Lara 4.Gavaskar 5.Tendulkar 6.Miandad

  • Akshay on August 30, 2009, 14:31 GMT

    @Mark. You seem to have a chip about Sachin. So do explain to me why actual Test players (unlike mere fans), including the greatest of them all, the Don, as well as his contemporaries like Warne - consider him as one of the greatest in the last 20 years?

    Sehwag is fabulous, and an absolute matchwinner on his day. But it is a touch early to judge him fully as he is only mid-way into his career.

    On the other hand, Tendulkar has battled against greater bowlers and greater opposition teams to earn his greatness. He has 100s against Warne & McGrath, Donald & Pollock, Wasim & Waqar, Murli & Vaas, Walsh & Ambrose. He made 100s in his first trips to Aus, SA and Eng. He still averages more away from Home, despite often being in at 20/2 on overseas trips all thro' the '90s.

    Yes, he had fewer Test wins than Lara, Waugh & Ponting in the '90s, but Ind lacked great bowlers to take 20 wickets - Aus had McGrath & Warne, Lara had Ambrose & Walsh. (Thankfully, India's attack is better now.)

  • DEEPGULLYBETWEEN2FINELEGS on August 30, 2009, 14:22 GMT

    well interesting comments on the whole,sambits a good editor not a bits and pieces one thats for sure,why politicise this beautiful column by touching on redundant terror groups, thats not crikit for heaven sake!besides, politics they say is the last resort of the scoundrel so lets not go there. I am a sri lankan and one with gratitude at that,we would have not been playing test cricket until the late nineties if not for countries like india who single handedly championed our cause, so lets not forget that mr.sinhalese chauvanist! Back to business, Aravinda was a class act and in a class of his own and he is definitely better than messrs. sehwag and laxman, samaraweera who is that? ask ask me two years on and lets see if its worth the while. sachins is the best but azhar was even better wristy player elegance personified .aravindas 60 something in the 1996 semis was the best one day knock i've ever seen that was sheer poetry in motion,he showed us what a wonderful touch player he was.

  • anonymous on August 30, 2009, 14:21 GMT

    Sambit, here's a new idea. Since you enjoy using one statistical variable to make rash conclusions. Why not use median or mode for the next article?

  • C Ranaweera on August 30, 2009, 14:16 GMT

    Mr. Bal, why don't you do a similar analysis for Aus/English players giving some statistics about their performance in India and Sri Lanka? That will make you a better Editor. BTW, in response to a previous comment, Sri Lanka's performances in England have been fantastic. And that is, having played early season. If Sri Lanka had the same playing conditions playing overseas that India gets (due to their size and power, and nothing to do with cricketing ability), Sri Lanka will do far better than India. Let's face it, Sri Lanka, a nation of 20 million is more successful at cricket than India, a nation of over Billion people!

  • Precambrian on August 30, 2009, 14:10 GMT

    Why Sambit why?

    You should've realised by the reactions from your earlier article itself that delving into premature assessments of a player, and that too a subcontinental one, would invite more graffitti than an oppressive regime on these boards.

    Having made that opening comment, I'd agree with each sentence of Sambit. There is absolutely no way that Samaraweera can be regarded anywhere close to Aravinda, without proving himself overseas. Even for that regard, I am not sure of even the "great" Mahela Jayawardena. Jaya for all the elegance and class he exudes, is yet to prove playing outside the subcontinent as rightly displayed by the vast gulf between his home/subcontinent averages and away ones. For that matter, to date, Sanga has had one innings of glory, that unforgettable 195 in Australia, but well, 70% of those runs were made in all-out slog when the match was all but over. Still, to his credit, he made those runs and hence I shall not judge him.

  • Indika on August 30, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    I personally consider Ari one of the greats. Greatness to me is the ability to change games, play well under pressure and win matches (and few other traits). So according to that Aravinda was a great but Jayawardena and Sanga is not (at least not yet). And to my delight, Ari is the only player that commentators have referred to as great when he is coming to the crease as "Aravinda the Great". I have seen so many times Ari has played under pressure and won matches from very difficult situations.

    I personally think your last article was little insulting to Samaraweera(btw nobody said he was great, why should you be worried about it yet?), and now this article is insulting to Aravind(when you say he is a good player with few great innings, and of course when you compare him with Laxman). And to some, this may seem like a definite attack against SL batsmen and SL cricket for that matter. So next time please be comprehensive with your stats and do not focus on on just one player.

  • vimalan on August 30, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    manny funny and amusing comments..someone is saying the author is pro-LTTE..and others saying Tendulkar hasn't contributed to team wins..go on guys, make some more jokes.

  • vajira on August 30, 2009, 13:47 GMT

    I rememebr watching Aravinda hitting Kapil Dev's fist ball for a six in the 2nd innings of the 1st test against India in 1985 when SL attempted to chase 100 odd runs in 10 overs. That was the brand of cricket he played guys. Has any body hit a first ball in a test innings for a six ?

  • King on August 30, 2009, 13:37 GMT

    when considering the above given facts none of the England, New Zealand, players fall into in to this greateness. In aussies also Ponting is the only one can put up to that category called greatness. ya thts true, So dnt mnd samaraweera he hs jst started hs come back. pls gv hm tme show hs character.

  • Ashwinder on August 30, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    2 small corrections - Sachin averages 58.5 in Australia with ~1500 runs; while Sehwag averages ~59 with 800+ runs (having started only in 2003 there).

  • ryan on August 30, 2009, 13:21 GMT

    So what was the objective of your first article ? was it some hidden agenda ? next tome just get to the point... As an Aussie I can tell you Aus , SA & English need to perfrom in the subcontinet as well not just vice versa. Some of the subcontinental bats are just superb to watch. btw is this your part time job ?

  • Mradul on August 30, 2009, 13:10 GMT

    Its was funny that somebody commented that he/she believed that Sehwag would have avg 50+ in 90s but Sachin would not have... Really Funny... I I guess you wud have the access to Statsguru, use it to find that Sachin avg highest in the 1990s among the batsmen who scored more than 2000 runs during that time... Highest....More than anybody else...58, second best is Steve Waugh with 53 and also there were only 4 batsmen with 50+ average compared to year 2000s when loads of batsmen have avg of 50+. And as far a Samerweera is concerned, i would bevery much intrested to see his performance away from home .... truth is uptill now all his great performances have been on placid pitches of Subcontinent or WI where almost everybody has scored loads of runs...

  • RogerC on August 30, 2009, 13:06 GMT

    In a previous article, Mr. Bal was singing the praise of Michael Clarke based on a couple of good innings against English spinners. Bal never bothered to check if Clarke had good average in all countries or if he is better than Waugh or Ponting. Why can't the same be done to Samaraweera? He is playing well this year, just enjoy it and appreciate his good work. No need to degrade him unnecessarily by using statistics.

  • Muthuveeran on August 30, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    Persons like Mr.Mahek who are saying Vishy was less successful in overseas are oblivious of his heroics in the foreign soil.His masterly century at Port of Spain in that famous run chase against the Windies, his glorious 114 at Llords, his magnificient century at the MCG where India registered that famous win and his 2 half centuries against Hadlee & co in the NZ tour... there were so many of them... Like Arvinda he never cared about records and went for too many strokes, otherwise he would have easily ended up with an avergae of 50 +..all his great innings came under immense pressure in those days of timid Indian Batting line up which mainly revolved around him and Sunny.

  • Ashwinder (...contd. post) on August 30, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    My point is that players like Lara, Tendulkar and Aravinda (and other greats) have all played some incredible, unforgettable innings. So please don't belittle one great for the sake of academic arguments.

    PS: In the Diana Memorial match in London (around 1999), both Aravinda (80+, batting at no. 4) and Sachin (100+, as opener) played super knocks against Donald, McGrath, Kumble and Srinath. I don't know how someone is claiming that Aravinda outbatted Sachin, when the on-air commentators and the next day's English papers went ga-ga over Tendulkar (one paper even said on current form he was taking batting to a new plane!).

    And also stop the unsubstantiated nonsense about Sachin doesn't bat for the team's interests! Name one opposition player or teammate who has ever said that about Sachin! The simple fact is his batting stats are great because he has been a great player. (And perhaps the only subcontinent batsman to average 60 in test cricket in Australia.)

  • Jai on August 30, 2009, 12:52 GMT

    What about Mohinder Amarnath? He never went for cheap runs. I will put Mohinder in my India XI. His records against Pakistan and West Indies during early 1980s is about as envious as Gavaskar, especially in away series. He scored more hundreds outside India than at home.

  • bimlesh on August 30, 2009, 12:45 GMT

    lankan surpporters are burning because they know the fate of their team is sealed when lanka tours India. Another 3-0 and 6-1 thumping is in the offing for the world's 2nd best test team and world's 7th best ODI team.

    If they believe cricinfo is so pro-india , why dont they go find another site to heap their vitriolic angst on. Does lanka not have a chat forum of its own?

    I am wondering if those posting in the name of the lankans here are from our western neighbours.

  • Ashwinder on August 30, 2009, 12:44 GMT

    As Harsha Bhogle says, comparisons are odious. And I have massive respect for Aravinda (in my prior post I argued not to underestimate him).

    But a few people have belittled Tendulkar in posts. So I'm compelled to rebut that too.

    Somebody said Sachin never played innings in the same class as Aravinda's 1996 classics (semis and final). Perhaps he didn't see Sachin's awesome counterattaking 90 against Aus in the same WC (while chasing and losing 3 early wickets) where he tore into McGrath, Warne & Co. And what about the 2 incredible back-to-back innings of 143 and 134 against Aus in the Sharjah triseries in 1998 (taking Ind to the final and then winning it). The Emir at Sharjah (started tournaments there) who watched most matches there said they were the 2 best innings he had seen. And how can one ever forget the matchwinning 96 (off 78) vs. Pak in the 2003 WC in South Africa (while chasing) when Sachin took on Shoaib, Wasim, Waqar & Co. Sensational!

  • RAVON on August 30, 2009, 12:37 GMT

    Aravinda is undoubtably still the best batsman the country has produced !! Sanga and Mahela may overtake him in runs, but not in stroke play, class and contributions to the isle's victorious cricket history. Averages of Aravinda and even Sanath are low simply because they were team players rather than playing for individual milestones ( they would go for a hook shot on 99 to get runs for their team rather than the 100 ). So though his average is low, Aravinda deserves the class of modern day Ponting, "agressive right hand batsmen" !!

  • RAVON on August 30, 2009, 12:37 GMT

    Aravinda is undoubtably still the best batsman the country has produced !! Sanga and Mahela may overtake him in runs, but not in stroke play, class and contributions to the isle's victorious cricket history. Averages of Aravinda and even Sanath are low simply because they were team players rather than playing for individual milestones ( they would go for a hook shot on 99 to get runs for their team rather than the 100 ). So though his average is low, Aravinda deserves the class of modern day Ponting, "agressive right hand batsmen" !!

  • Priyantha Gunaratna on August 30, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    Lets not compare Aravinda and Samaraweera for number of reasons. Firstly Thilan is still playing and we have not yet seen the best of him. Secondly batting positions of two are different. Aravinda after establihsing himself batted at No. 4 while Thilan who batted at No. 8 and scored a hundred on debut has now moved up the order to No. 5. During Aravinda's era we were still finding our feet in test cricket and as a result he was entrusted with greater responsibilty. Thilan has Mahela and Sanga batting ahead of him and his main task is to hold middle and lower order together. Thilan is now only considered as a frontline batsman in ODIs. Time will tell whether he will succeed or not but even then it will take him sometime to go through the transition. In terms of roles expected of them Aravinda has fullfilled his while Thilan is also doing the same.

  • William on August 30, 2009, 12:32 GMT

    Dear Sambit, it is clear that you prefer Tendulkar over Sehwag for emotional reasons more than anything else. It could be because Tendulkar was the great saviour when the Indian team did not have sufficient quality batsmen. Sehwag came into a superior Indian team and wasn't the designated saviour, though that's what he proved to be on many more occasions than Tendulkar himself. There's a lot of fuss about Sehwag's technique being inferior to Tendulkar's. In that context, you need to go back to the times of Greenidge, Haynes, Richards and Co. None of them had what you would call a model technique. But each one of them was a better batsman than Tendulkar. Sehwag is the modern day Greenidge. His hand-eye coordination, timing and back foot play are ridiculously good. He is an all-time great while Tendulkar stops at being very, very good. Tendulkar's unjustifiably slow and selfish 241* in Sydney destroyed India's best chance in generations to win a Test series in Australia. Analyse that.

  • vinoth on August 30, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    Laxman anytime over Vishy.. i dont construe why you people ignore this guy... he is such a class player one could ever forget...

  • sharad agarwal on August 30, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    hi sambit it is very unfair to compare samaweera and arvinda while aravinda has scored runs against the best all over the world samrveera has done in the subcontinent also he still has to play in india no discredit to samarweera but the opposition he faced has been a bit lopsided figures always do not project the truth as you rightly commented as in the case of m hussey

  • Ashwinder on August 30, 2009, 12:24 GMT

    I also disagree with you, Sambit, that Aravinda was "a good batsman with some great innings." Over his career, Aravinda was very very good. And on his day, he was capable of greatness. Yes, he wasn't as consistent over his career as Lara, Tendulkar and Ponting (and so has fewer hundreds and a lower average)...but he was still a mighty special batsman.

    I actually never saw his big Test hundreds in Aus and NZ, but I can never forget 4 ODI innings he played when he was at his peak: The semis and finals of the 1996 WC, and 2 hundreds in Sharjah (few months after 1996 WC) where he took on Akram, Waqar and Saqlain. For those 6-12 months, he was arguably the best batsman in the World in ODI cricket. (I don't say in Test cricket too coz SL didn't play much test cricket that year...so can't judge on that)

    To end, Aravinda was a very special player. And to say he was "a good batsman with some great innings" perhaps does not do enough justice.

  • vamshi on August 30, 2009, 12:14 GMT

    Laxman is class above all the people compared in this column, I would pay to watch lax bat.

  • Ashwinder on August 30, 2009, 12:05 GMT

    Sambit, I hope you will remember the lesson from this whole episode. Be more rigorous and comprehensive in your analysis, judicious in your titles and, even more importantly, mindful of national sensibilities (i.e. be careful not to be seen as unfairly belittling the achievements of another nation's admired sons). To me, you fell well short in your last blog. But I think it's great that you acknowledged that you could have done better.

  • gsthyagarajan on August 30, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    Comparisons are odious.Present day cricketers have money to burn,bludgeons for bat, covered wickets,armour equivalent to their body.Alston Koch has said what needs be said about a quality batsman.Someone has said Bradman only played against England mainly.The discussion on Bradman is needless. He is world's apart from the rest.MrJ.H. Fingleton ,an arch critic of Bradman had this to say when a n Indian Journalist told him that Bradman would have found playing Bedi, Prasanna tough." Bradman would not have allowed them to pitch their deliveries and let us keep him out of any discussion. Srl Lankans play cricket with a passion and not for averages.in a short span of 20 years they are in top rating.Appreciate the Lankans.

  • Tailender on August 30, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    Sambit Bal is being selective, I think. He talks about Samaraweera's home average but ignores that same stat with Aravinda who averaged 16 more at home than he did away. His only 50+ averages came against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, even if it was a better Zimbabwe he played against. For it to be a fair analysis, he cannot afford to ignore this.

  • Amiller on August 30, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    Well its a total joke to bring in Aravinda De Silva to compare with Samaraweera. Two batsman of total different class and ability. Aravinda was a tried and tested match winner. He has single handedly won so many matches(of both versions)for Srilanka even batting with a rather shaky batting lineup. That is a rather rare quality that cannot be found easily. Its not possible to see that kind of class from any of the current SriLankan batsman. Its an even bigger joke to compare VVS Laxman with Aravinda. Sure Laxman has played some remarkable inings during his career and saved or won few test matches for india. But its a mere whimsicle of what Aravinda has done during his career against tougher bowling lineups in unfriendly conditions.

  • santhoshkudva on August 30, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    i don't have too much of an opinion, but it is heartwarming to see that so many people are posting on a topic that wouldn't evoke too much of a discussion. it just goes on to show that the passion for test cricket is intact. hats off everybody!

  • Vasu on August 30, 2009, 11:51 GMT

    SLC is repeating India’s mistakes in the ‘90s: designer pitches to help maximize Murali, to beat all opponents & thrash minnows. Thus, some of their batsmen have inflated averages. While some home advantage is acceptable, and SL deserves their rankings, it does not help in the long run. Take their recent tours to AUS/SA. They get thrashed like India used to in the ‘90s; Sanga has been a lone start like Sachin was. Under Ganguly’s leadership, there was an emphasis to win away, with spectacular results. A lot of India’s home track bullies lost their places and the core team could play in all conditions – Sehwag, Rahul, Sachin, Laxman, Kumble, Zaheer. It’s too early to judge Thilan, but he only has to look at Sanga for his benchmark. With their natural skills, SL cricketers have a lot to offer. The only way they can make Australia / SA / Eng host them more is to comprehensively beat them away. This is where the Thilan’s, Dilshan’s and Herath’s have to step up many more notches.

  • Raghav on August 30, 2009, 11:49 GMT

    One of the most ridiculous overreaction to an article on cricket. All Sambit was trying to highlight was inflationary trend in batting averages over last decade or so. I with my Bro have been following Cricket closely from late 80's. In 1988 we had got one magazine which had published records of all current players of that time (we still have that magazine!!) Following is the list of players who were having 50+ averages (and still playing) when those records were published . Richards,Miandad,Border Compare this with the list of players which have 50+ averages as of now - Ponting-55.9 Sangakkara-55.3 M Yousuf-54.9 Kallis-54.7 Tendulkar-54.6 Gambhir-54 Jayawardane-53.3 Hussey 52.6 Dravid 52.5 Samarveera-51.9 Hayden-50.9 Smith-50.3 Y Khan-50.1 Sehwag-50.1 You can decide for yourself, what Sambit was trying to say.Incidentally me and my Bro had similar discussion two months ago and were surprised most to see name of Samarveera in list, just like Sambit w'd have felt:-)

  • NIRMAL MENDIS on August 30, 2009, 11:45 GMT

    GENTLEMEN,DON'T BE JOCKERS.HOW YOU CAN COMPARE ARAVINDA WITH OTHERS?.ARAVINDA IS ARAVINDA.HE WAS A SPECIAL PLAYER FOR WORLD CRICKET.MAELA,SANGA,THILAN,SACHIN,LUXMAN ETC ARE LITTLE KIDS WHEN COMPARE WITH ARA.

  • Roshini on August 30, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    No point in talking about averages when i comes to greatness. Any would agree. Aravinda cannot be compared with Laxman- Never. Thendulkar, second only to Bradman, one would say, but a Shewarg's 50 might help the India's course in a match more than former's 100. Samaraweera has come of age. Let's wait and see. Not statistics, nor the aggregate, or the permanacy in the side, it is manner and the mark carved in the lovers of the game that decides the greatness. Thanks.

  • Jay on August 30, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    As an Indian fan, I find Sambit Bal's article odd to say the least. I am sure Samaraweera is not in the same league as Aravinda,but that is besides the point.He is most definitely a very solid middle order batsman, the kind the current Indian team sorely needs. This Sri Lankan team thoroughly desrves its #2 ranking, while the Indian team is poised on a slippery downward slope in all forms of the game . I daresay the whole team is very rusty after 2 months of R and R which would have hardly improved their physical fitness, which has never been their strong point anyway.

  • Ranjith M on August 30, 2009, 11:41 GMT

    One cannot intelligently talk about "devaluation of batting averages in the 21st century" just citing averages of one player from one country. I guess Mr. Sambit is now trying to "change" the title of his previous masterpiece out of guilt that he may have, perhaps unintentionally, tried to "put Thilan Samaraweera, or Sri Lanka batsmen, down". Worst case is that he is trying to cover up his intentions to do so.

  • Anonymous on August 30, 2009, 11:38 GMT

    Wonder if anyone can rememeber the SIX aravinda hit of Brett Lee in the World Cup 2003, 37 year old thats greatness if some one can recall the shot after 6 long years

  • Mahek on August 30, 2009, 11:38 GMT

    Vishy averaged 36 away from home as opposed to his career average of 41. Please don't reel off a few of his big innings and insult the away records of the Dravids and Tendulkars.

    I don't really believe in the whole "matchwinner" theory. There's 11 guys in a side and while not everyone contributes equally every game, it wouldn't be possible to win on the back of a single player's performance. However, I will humour Thakur Baldev Singh Chauhan and shed some light on Vishy's "matchwinning" ability.

    Of the 20 tests he was on the winning side, Vishy went past 50 in 12 of the 37 innings. To the point of him reeling off "matchwinning" knocks in all conditions, he's been on the winning side in just 6 away tests. So you see, as good as a player he was, there wasn't much he could do in a mediocre side. Kinda puts paid to the whole "matchwinner" concept, doesn't it?

  • Kamraan on August 30, 2009, 11:37 GMT

    Stemming from my last post on the previous article. Aravinda has played 94 tests, Thilan has played half that. Let's not even begin to compare these two batsmen, so again, when Samaraweera has played 94 tests, especially the ones after this resurgence, then maybe we can do some sort of comparison. I am a neutral. Your disappointment is a reflection of your own article, if not so many people would not have got it so wrong.

  • Sudath on August 30, 2009, 11:26 GMT

    Folks,This is my gut feeling.I have no statistics with me. De Silva one of the best 10 batsmen produced by the subcontinent. Putting Laxman ,parellel to him is an honour to the later. Samaraweera has time to prove his place in the history. And one has to face existing boelers, u cannot face Akram again. I hope Samaraweera has guts to understand this psy-war and show the stuff he has been made of.

  • Sand on August 30, 2009, 11:10 GMT

    Who the hell r u to compare the greatest ever srilankan batsman with Samaraweera??? Aravinda is a matchwinner and a team player. hes the best sl ever had. much much better than Samaraweeera. Aravinda played in a time when Sri Lanka was a weak team in world cricket. thats y he got low average. still its worth more than 50+ today

  • Sammy on August 30, 2009, 11:10 GMT

    Sambit, if your intention was to create debate, then you have suceeded. If your intention is to analyse, I'm afraid you have not. There are far too many variables to compare players not only from different eras but also players with very different opportunities to develop and progress. Your analysis doesn't even touch the surface.

  • dinush on August 30, 2009, 11:05 GMT

    Aravinda has won many a match for SL with his batting. He was inspirational. Sri Lanka almost never lost a match if Aravinda got going big time. He was such a talent and mentally so strong. A great batsman should invariably have a good pull and a hook shot. Ara played both the shots better than anyone of his era. He was one those rare batters who could hook any bowler on any wicket for a six at will. He has played so many great innings in his career both in one dayers and tests. When he began his career in the mid 80's he was a small guy in physique who played big sixes. As years went by he could still play all those big sixes and at the same time he could play those lovely caressing drives off the front foot and the back foot. 1996 world cup semifinal was the best example. As many have said he didn’t get to play enough number of tests during the 1985 to 1992 period. When the opportunity came he showed his class. His match winning contribution was phenomenal and he is a legend.

  • Abhik Chakraborty on August 30, 2009, 11:05 GMT

    Yes, Aravinda was a master of the game, and a great batter of his generation. He left a lasting image in the minds of countless spectators who witnessed him bat. But I am a little bemused by some comments along this thread that sound like Sachin is a lesser player than him. Some comments tend to argue that Sachin is not a 'match winner'. This despite nearly singlehandedly carrying India to the World Cup final in SA, demolishing Australia single handedly with back to back centuries at Sharjah, and not so long ago, winning the test series against England with spectacular knocks. Sachin and Brian Lara are players of rare artistic talent, the way they carried themselves for years, and the way they played the game testify for that. At the end of the day someone has to win/lose, but the results of the team do not diminish Sachin's or Lara's credentials. Forget about which position Sachin bats, someone has to surpass his brilliance at what he does to be greater than him...isn't it simple?

  • noone on August 30, 2009, 10:50 GMT

    Mr Sambit can u post about sumthing else? u r creating a civil war here..

  • Anti-venom on August 30, 2009, 10:49 GMT

    To Anonymous who wrote "Oh man.. Sambit.. what have you done?!..."

    The answer: Sambit stuck his hand into a hornet's nest and then withdrew it rather clumsily. The hornets weren't impressed.

    Sambit... next time you have a notion about how good a particular sub-continent batsman is, just remember to change your title to something relatively unexciting like "How good is Vettori?". The kiwis won't take offense...

  • Sriks on August 30, 2009, 10:47 GMT

    Dear Sambit Your whole concept of linking batting averages to greatness is flawed.A great batsman has to be consistent through out his career. According to your logic,ponting,hayden and langer are mediocre batsmen as during the era of the akrams and ambroses they failed miserably and were shown the door and then came back after a few years and thrashed the ordinary bowlers around. Coming to Sehwag & VVS compared to Indian greats of old.Let me tell you no other pre fab 5 era batsman(including Sunny) have won us test matches like VVS and Sehwag have esp overseas.Tell me one match Vishy one us abroad .They had talent but could save matches but winning ..rarerly and hence india's decade and half dry spell of overseas voctory. Is Sehwag better than Tendulkar yes..For the simple reason that he has scored 2 triple centuries..

  • Vatsa on August 30, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    Wow !! Hilarious. I loved the comments section. Throw up an article this way on a particular player esp from the subcontinent and the whole country is up on arms. Some real gems, including a couple on LTTE, reveals our true patriotism and nationalistic spirit!! Way to go. A few years ago Athers had written an article on Sreesanth's erratic behaviour in a test in England and was bombarded by people on the net from India.

    What passion for the game!!

  • Neil on August 30, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    Sambit Hats off to you! You must need some real thick skin to have the gumption to tolerate and actually post such gibberish comments! Never mind the BATTING average……I feel the average AGE of the commentators in here mustn’t be over 15!

  • ruchit on August 30, 2009, 10:27 GMT

    @Partha

    "for statistical analysis aravinda became man of the match 11 times in 93 tests. the era he played, srilanke didn't too many tests. Bowling was too weak. where as tendulker became man of the match 12 times in 159 tests. So we can inagine"

    While this may be true but even that won't make Aravinda De'Silva superior to Tendulkar. If you are quoting stats then almost all stats would put Tendulkar ahead of Aravinda. Stats while not truely reflective of a batsman's caliber (certainly in case of Aravinda De'Silva) do tell a big part of the story. I mean the argument in 90's and early 2000's always was who is better of the two Tendulkar and Lara. Others were contenders but never became really a part of the great debate seriously ..

    With Regards.

    Ruchit.

  • Anonymous on August 30, 2009, 6:26 GMT

    Oh man..Sambit..what have you done?! From the comments

  • Alston Koch on August 30, 2009, 6:24 GMT

    gentlemen, gentlemen Can I just add for the record book that I was there 2 weeks ago in Kuala Lumpur when Aravinda made a small re-appearance playing for an ageing Sri Lankan International team in a friendly against the might of Malaysia. A 'smashing'exibition of cricketing stroke play in an innings of 54 runs in just 4 overs with all the right strokes and just a couple of 4's...showed that although not touching a bat for years he was still a master of the game amd be remembered for ever in this little tear drop island that we were all born in...and it proved to me once again that 'might is not right' but 'right is might' in the gentlemen's game.

  • Brakes Brakes on August 30, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    Sambit, the whole argument centers on one point: when you throw up an illogical statement and then logically argue that it is illogical, you end up with 2000 words but a pretty obvious conclusion.

    greatness does not equate to good averages. you dont need to be a wisden editor to realise that.

  • Partha Chakraborty on August 30, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    Hi,I am a bangladeshi. but srilanka is my favourite team. i like their style of cricket very much.Their progress in test cricket is out standing. we should bear in mind they only get test status in 1981. and currently they rank second. however, coming back to the topics. to me its nor fair at all. To compare any bats man with Aravinda only jayawardne and sangakara can come into considerations let alone samaraveera. I dont know how this comparison come into play. Even comparing vvs laxman with Aravinda isn't fair. We should bear in mind the standard of bowling attack and standard of pitch Aravinda has to face and also standard of Srilanka team at that time. To me incase of style,class and match winning ability any one mentioned above match with Aravinda. for statistical analysis aravinda became man of the match 11 times in 93 tests. the era he played, srilanke didn't too many tests. Bowling was too weak. where as tendulker became man of the match 12 times in 159 tests. So we can inagine

  • Sudzz on August 30, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    In my books its Aravinda on one side and all the others inclusive of Attapattu, Mahela,Sanga etc etc etc on the other side.

    Aravinda was a star in a line up that was rather brittle, there was him, Arjuna and a up and coming Jayasuriya who was usually on a self destruct mode. To have done what Aravinda did in an era where bowlers were really good and pitches did test you was stuff legends are made of.

    Thilan, Sanga, Mahela etc all have it very easy and they have all scored heavily against NZ, Zim, Windies and a depleted Pak side.

  • Ram on August 30, 2009, 6:17 GMT

    Forget about Aravinda.. He was an extreme talented batsman.. Lets just go over the records of Samaraweera..and the two present greats in the sri lankan team .. Jayawardene and Sangakkara.. There is one thing common.. All the three have played most of their matches in Asia.. and have played very few matches out side Asia.. If you compare the home-away records of these three.. Thilan's home-away balance is better than Jayawardene... Jayawardene is considered a one of the greatest batsmans of this decade... He has an average away record.. So it is not time yet to judge Samaraweera.. Let him play for couple of years more.. that would be the time to judge whether he is a sri lankan great..

  • Jay Das on August 30, 2009, 6:13 GMT

    Aravinda belongs to the elite club. He is clearly the best batsman sri lanka has produced todate. Had the abilty to destroy any bowling attack. He is a match winner in both form of cricket. He would have cherished the opportunity to play T20 which suits his stroke play. Samaraweera is very good but not in the class of Aravinda.

  • shweta sharma on August 30, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    Aravinda De Silva.........pure genius.........but not given his due credit........he was a hugely talented n successfull player n also a true lankan legend.....hez as grt as a laxman or a steve waugh or a mark waugh n even KP but has not got his due bcoz hez an asian.........n dats disheartning.........aravinda is not only about hundreds or winning world cup or test matches ...he was an impact player n that makes a lot of difference...........tight n good technique n big match temprament n that is what made him a true class act......his end was bad n so was of attapatu .......lankans must have given him a fair treatment.......coz itz only bcoz of him n legends like ranatunge n sanath that lanka is a strong force in world cricekt today

  • Ashwath on August 30, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    It is good that somebody brought Lara into this conversation. The title of great batsman depends on what people define as greatness. Is it greater to score 150 in a test the team won or 150 in a test the player had to bat all by themselves? i woud like to hear people s opinion on this? But first some pity for Mr. sambit.

  • Auggie on August 30, 2009, 5:41 GMT

    Its a shame that neither Sambit nor any of the feedback contributers while adoringly mentioning Tendulkar,Shewag, Laxman, Bradman, Aravinda, etc, etc,do not mention that one and only great entertainer Sanath Jayasuriya who revolutionized crickets batting approach and really gave us cricket fans so much of pleasure. He never hung around scoring boring centuries ala Jayawardene, Samaraweera, or Sangakarra or the other more 'Sacred' (to some) so called purists. Jayasuriya batted and still bats the same way in Tests as he does in the shorter game.Thank God for him!

  • Mark Felips on August 30, 2009, 5:12 GMT

    Batsmen like Ponting, Kallis, Dravid, Jayawardene, Hayden have peaked in 2000's when most great bowlers retired or on the twilight of their careers. Some of these players have averaged in 40's when good bowlers were present and when bowling declined, they had lots of cheap runs and now have an inflated averages. Players like tendulkar, lara have scored heavily against good attacks in 90's and thats why they are great. Bradman, Sobers, Richards, Tendulkar, Lara, Greg Chappel and Gavaskar are A+ batsmen who scored heavily against good attacks and on good pitches. Lots of players like Aravinda, Azhar, Gower (my personal favorite for flair, style and attack) played well against good bolwers too but were not as consistent. Players like Steve Waugh, Alan Border, Geoffrey Boycott are above desilva's and co and just below the A+ batsmen. Inspite of being great in styleand having some good knocks against the great australian attack, VVS Laxman falls short against other teams.

  • Anonymous on August 30, 2009, 5:08 GMT

    It is always easy to criticize this generation player just like sachin and laxman.Most of the people think sachin is not a match winner and he never scored when india is in trouble.actually the thing is reverse.When sachin does not score India loose thst match.We cant even win a single match in till 2000 without his performance.He is a one man team. He never need certificate from people like u to proof his greatness.

  • Sreeni on August 30, 2009, 5:05 GMT

    The futility of an activity like choosing an all time eleven lies in the fact that it can only aspire to objectivity without ever achieving it. This in part is a function of our perception of different fragments of time which make up the history of the game. And I think from here in stems the problem of devaluing runs,wickets or any other achievements which do not fall within the periphery of the time frame that we have deemed austere and romanticized. My recommendation then to work around this limitation, is to cut the time frame to say to a two decade window when the variables encountered by various players are more or less homogeneous, including ever flattening wickets, improved protective gear, better player fitness levels and the advent of 50 over cricket. This not being the case we shall always struggle, for it is almost next to impossible to find someone like a Tendulkar or Lara who can seamlessly transcend time

  • Perfect Star on August 30, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    Aravinda De Silva was a geat player in the era when bowlers dominated the test matches and Srilanka played for survival instead of winning the test matches(Ranatunga's test record as captain proves that).There was enormous pressure on aravinda to score in every game as there was no balance in the team.He replied with sparkling centuries against Australia,New zealand etc.,His offspin was so handy that he was even allowed to bowl the full quota of 10 overs in 50 overs format.His pull shots and drive through covers were idyllic ones for a cricket lovers.Hes no doubt one of the greats played for Srilanka.As for as sehwag comparison with sachin,there should not be any comparison between them.Sachin is one among the greatest player in world cricket.I think he is similar to Aravinda as he too played in that era and had to face the likes of Walsh,Ambrose,Mcgrath,Waqar,Wasim etc to score his runs.India too did not have a balanced team and thats why his scores have come in India's losing cause.

  • NM on August 30, 2009, 4:47 GMT

    I never really understand why Laxman doesnt get the respect he deserves. He almost averages 50 when playing in middle order and I can confidently say hes the one who has scored hard Test runs. Look at his recent contributions batting at Johannesburg and Perth where he batted with tailenders (Zaheer in Joha and RP at Perth) to give India 400+ leads resulting in Test wins. As to comparison between Aravinda and Laxman , Aravinda was def. better ODI player but in Tests give me beauty of VVS anyday.

  • Venkateswara Prasad. K on August 30, 2009, 4:41 GMT

    Dear Sambit, I am an indian and following cricket for the last 20 years. I fail to understand how you can compare Laxman with Aravinda. Aravinda is a pure match winner. He was world cup winner. I have not seen Sachin play an innings like the innings aravinda played in the 1996 world cup semi final. He was a match winner in any form of the game either tests or one dayers. You should rate players not by averages alone but by what they achieved. Steve Waugh was a world cup winner so was aravinda i.e how we the watchers of cricket would remember them. statistcians would always rate Sachin or Kallis above players like Aravinda and Flintoff. As far as comparing Laxman with Aravinda it is absolutely inconceivable that you could compare. At his pomp Aravinda was the most dangerous batsman in world cricket comparable to viv richards. please for fans sake dont bring only averages into play to judge a player. I and fans like me will never forget aravinda the way he rubbished Australia in 1996.

  • Ashwath on August 30, 2009, 4:39 GMT

    Sehwag is a good player and probably the second best opener in Indian History. I think it is ludicrous to evn compare Sehwag to Tendulkar. Tendulkar had to do a bulk of the scoring for a paper thin Indian team often the last man standing on a sinking ship with water to his shoulders. To begin with let us compare two of their innings years apart against Australia in Melbourne. As everone who watches Tv will know Tendulkar scored his runs against Mcgrath, Fleming, Lee and Warne. Repeatedly playing warne to midwicket and extra cover. Sehwag scored his runs against Lee, Bracken, Williams and Mcgill. Cutting, getting hit on the helmet and got dropped. True sehwag is a wonderful player but the he is the true "mad max". For references please see his shot in the second test of the recent tour to New Zealand. But back to the article. It is true that Laxman is not as Good a player as Vishwanath who will probably beat him by a slender margin to the All time India XI. Cheers.

  • Mohamed on August 30, 2009, 4:33 GMT

    One needless article after another. You insulted Samaraweera (and all the opposition he scored runs against) in the first and insulted De Silva in the second by calling him 'a good batsman who played some great innings' (you went even further when you called Laxman 'a bit like De Silva').

  • Kaushika on August 30, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    Sambit is a very stereotypical indian journalist, a breed which is even more despised by the cricketing world than the stereotypical indian fan. They will try to pull out random numbers and come up with useless conclusions in order to put other countries (like Sri Lanka) down and put India up on a pedestal. They are so blinded by their insecurities about the woeful inadequacies of the indian cricket team that they feel the continual urge to pen these redundant articles.

    Sambit, india is a country with in excess of one billion people and yet continues to field eleven absolute no-hopers game after game, year after year. Why don't you try to analyse that statistic and break down those facts in future articles, rather than this nonsensical rubbish you continually churn out?

  • Imag on August 30, 2009, 4:19 GMT

    You really are a joke Sambit. What is this fetish you have with always inserting a bunch of Indians players in an article you write. If you ask me Aravinda and Sehwag both are greater batsmen than the hugely overpraised Tendulkar. The point is Aravinda and Sehwag won matches and played well under pressure and most importantly didnt care about Stas when they played. Whereas Tendulkar hardly ever won a match under pressure and mostly scored tons of runs in flat pitches in matches that were already dead! What is funny is though how you try to back track when you real agenda was exposed. It is pretty clear that you are another Indian with a Pro-LTTE and Anti-Sri Lankan bias. You were almost afraid that someone will say Samaraweera was great so you went on a preemptive strike to make sure that doesnt happen. By the way if you really need to compare compare where was India in 1960 compared where Sri lanka is now! Also we all know Srl is yet to be given 5 test series though we are ranked2nd

  • Ram on August 30, 2009, 4:13 GMT

    Hey guys Tendulkar has batted for 2 decades and it is really hard to keep up your average as high as 50+ when you play that long The fact that he has done that and often ended as 1st or 2nd best batsman of India in almost all the tours he has played is the reason why he is legendary. Also a guy who has compared Sehwag with Sachin better watch the stats he provided more carefully.While both averages almost same in Australia(just 1.5 ahead is Sehwag)in Pakistan Tendulkar averages above 40 whereas in all other countries where Tendulkar averages higher than Sehwag there is no comparison(eg. Sehwag 20 in NZ) So pls u r talking abt higher avg. for Sehwag in just 2 countries (Pak and WI) which r not the toughest of tours and where Tendulkar's record isn't that low either.Please guys leave the man alone.You will all realise what he has done to India when you take an unbiased and deep look into the history of Indian cricket

  • Sriram R on August 30, 2009, 4:09 GMT

    Mate - Remember to remember the match winning innings and not the averages. Averages are for the averages.Cheer up !!

  • malik on August 30, 2009, 3:59 GMT

    in 90's indians said that they are the only players who handles the spin well.and also average over 50's with sachin,vvs,dravid but they show how good they are last SL series.But the point is the samaraweera is one of the batsman who average over 50.He did n't have much space to prove how he is good because most of the matches he played in home.one of the weaknesses of him was he is not attacking the ballers.bt know their is a progress of him.i don't want to say that he is in the grade of dravids,laxman time will tell that.although he is not doing well at aus,sa,eng but he played some good innings their.but still i can't say he is the one of the best batsman of SL or to be in top xi.aravinda was the gratest and the best. he should take the no:3 than sanga.

  • malik on August 30, 2009, 3:58 GMT

    in 90's indians said that they are the only players who handles the spin well.and also average over 50's with sachin,vvs,dravid but they show how good they are last SL series.But the point is the samaraweera is one of the batsman who average over 50.He did n't have much space to prove how he is good because most of the matches he played in home.one of the weaknesses of him was he is not attacking the ballers.bt know their is a progress of him.i don't want to say that he is in the grade of dravids,laxman time will tell that.although he is not doing well at aus,sa,eng but he played some good innings their.but still i can't say he is the one of the best batsman of SL or to be in top xi.aravinda was the gratest and the best. he should take the no:3 than sanga.

  • prasanna on August 30, 2009, 3:57 GMT

    if your intention was to analyze batting averages at present , you must have taken figures of all top rated players including Indians & put in to same criteria as home , away & against each side. this would have given clear & scientific illustration (simple statistical method to come to conclusion..!).All this because SL is playing well & challenging so called big test nations.come on Sambit i wanna see same analysis of SA & Ind. The fact is SL is the most successful country in cricket given the opportunities & period in the big league.....!

  • Kool Kat on August 30, 2009, 3:44 GMT

    Nice strand of thought. However, of all the players mentioned - De Silva, Vishy, Azhar, VVS, Tendulkar and Samaraweera, the last two are the least attractive to watch. Tendulkar has cramped his strokeplay to such an extent; one eye on his injuries and the other on his averages. Sad because the other greats like Lara and Inzy did not bother about it.

  • Praveen on August 30, 2009, 3:42 GMT

    Aravinda is a Great who played for SL at the wrong time,he had 2 much burden and because we never had a good bowling attack those days we were always behind in most matches.so he had to bat under pressure as well.He is a Legend..and Sambit i think another reason samaraweera's name is not mentioned as a great is that he doesn't play much one day cricket..although u cnt measure a great from odi's...

  • Manu on August 30, 2009, 3:27 GMT

    First i must ask "can Laxman be an Aravinda De Silva?".No way.The latter was i would say the role modle for Laxman.Definitely Ari Would have been in Laxman's mind teaching him how to play hooks and pulls for the rising delivery,infact for all the Indians except Yuvraj.I know that all cricket pundits would rate a good batsman regarding the range of shots he plays.Because they expect that when the time goes by they will develop their consistancy.Given that if consistancy was not there we would not talk about Viv Richards,Aravinda,Gilchrist,Hayden in different eras.Coming back to Samaraweera i would say he has come out of the shell regarding the past.Now he is a free Batsman,shows great temparament,plays range of shots.So don't try to disdain a batsman before you figure out who actually he is.Please keep yr patience and see what he will do when he goes to Australia,Newzealand and South Africa.Remember Lara is far better than from Tendulkar.Simply because the former was a match winner.

  • Nuwan Chinthaka on August 30, 2009, 3:19 GMT

    Great comments, totally agree with u, nobody cant come closer to De Silva and Arjuna, cos nowdays we cant find out great bowlers like Walsh, Ambrose, Waquar Waseem Imran,Mcgrath warne, Nowadays batsmen can play stroke with out any fear, Sangakkara and mahela cant come closer to greatness of Aravinda,

  • Hari on August 30, 2009, 3:16 GMT

    Aravinda is a superior batsman when compared to Samaraveera - no need for statistics to prove that. And he is also a notch above Laxman in that Aravinda was a great ODI player also; which Laxman never was. Laxman vs Vishy? I don't know. I haven't seen Vishy bat. I would pick Laxman in my all time Indian team above Vishy. Now to the most important point..

    "Sehwag is a different story. I don’t think he would have averaged 50 in the 1990s. But wherever he has played and whoever he has played against, he has made runs. Big runs and in an emphatic manner. But is he as good as Sachin Tendulkar? Let’s not even go there"

    The reply to the above quoted text is "Never ever underestimate the heart of a champion" :)Cheerio Sambit...

  • Mahendra Ratnaweera on August 30, 2009, 2:55 GMT

    Comparing Aravinda de Silva with someone else all time in Sri Lanka cricket is akin to making an attempt to equate a violin player in the grand orchestra to a maestro composer. de Silva was never a flat pitch wonder of Samaraweera's proportions. He has proved himself at varying conditions from Brisbane to Wellington with classy innings against top quality bowling. Talking of all time SL XI, my pick would be

    Sidath Wettimuny and Marvan Atapattu as openers. Anura Tennakoon, Sri Lanka or Ceylon's technical batting purist at No (he scored 100s against all opposition in the pre Test era). Aravinda picks himelf at 4 followed by Roy Dias, the most elegant of SL batsmen in the primitive days of Tests. Kumar Sangakkara at 6 and Arjuna Ranatunga the captain at 7. Chaminda Vaas is the batting all rounder. Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajith de Silva (the best left arm spinner the country has produced) and DS de Silva, the leg break star of the 70s and 80s and the present Chairman of SL Cricket.

  • janaka on August 30, 2009, 2:45 GMT

    Aravinda is better than Samaraweera....yes, I agree with that. comparing batsmen in different era is difficult not bacause of how bowlers were then but how his team was playing. I feel Sangakkara and Mahela are true talented players (sometimes better than him?) but now Sri Lanka is top level compared to Aravinda`s time, so playing now might be little easy but again that has been achieved by how current players are playing. Therefore, I feel, a comparision from difefrent era should be evaluated more carefully, not putting down current players.

  • Amogh on August 30, 2009, 2:44 GMT

    I think you are wrong to put Aravinda and Laxman in the same breath when you say "a good batsman with some great innings". Aravinda was a complete batsman- a mathcwiner. Excellant one day player and equally great at tests. He carried more weight of expectation on his shoulders than Laxman. Laxman is a good test player, a class player, but Aravinda was far more aggressive when you compare the two.

  • Arvind on August 30, 2009, 2:33 GMT

    There have been some wonderful articles in the past rating batsmen and some amazing metrics have evolved. So I find an article which talks about batting averages a backward step. The number of match winning innings played by Laxman and Sehwag definitely puts them in a "very special" league - a technical interpretation of the year by year batting averages - trying to see if there was real substance or just a pile of runs made against hapless opposition would be an interesting read - even without comparison to any other batsmen. And everybody who knows serious cricket knows where Samaraweera stands with respect to Aravinda.

  • Praveen on August 30, 2009, 2:24 GMT

    Thatz a joke 2 compair Laxman with Aravinda...Aravinda is far better...

  • Kapila Ranatunga on August 30, 2009, 2:21 GMT

    An average alone will not make a batsman great.Great batsmen will win matches for their sides, especially the real "Big matches" like world cup finals etc. They should also be entertainers and should have the full range of strokes,should be able to make runs both at home and away. Comparing players of different eras do not achieve anything except providing material for discussions. Truly great players always raise to the occassion. Don Bradman,Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Kapil Dev, Aravinda De Silva, Imaran Khan,Shane Warne, Alan Border, Steve Waugh are some of the players who have passed the above criteria. Sunil Gavaskar is an exception because even though he was not an entertainer, he scored most of his runs against probably the best bowling attack of all time.Sachin Tendulkar is no doubt a great player, only thing that is missing in his resume is a match winning innings in a really "big match". Thilan Samaraweera has a long way to go even to being a subject of such a discussion.

  • Smash on August 30, 2009, 2:21 GMT

    I would put Arvinda over Laxman, for Arvinda has the ability to play in ODIs and Laxman does not. Hard to see Laxman getting a 100 in a world cup final.

    It is highly unlikely Shewag would average the same against Waqar/Wasim, Donald, Walsh/Ambrose and co.

    Tendulkar for all his greatness is yet to do anything worthwhile except a century to win the Tri-series in Australia.

  • SM Ahmed on August 30, 2009, 2:16 GMT

    Arvinda De Silva. He doesn't have any nation. He must have universal nationality. Whether you are his FAN or not, he simply could take your breath away thru' the way he used to play his masterly strokes. Aggressive than SRT, if not solid. he was the prime lifter of Lanka Cricket. MM, Thanks for all you have done for cricket.

  • Thakur Baldev Singh Chauhan on August 30, 2009, 2:09 GMT

    Mahek, I have been perhaps watching cricket long enough time my own good bu to say what you said abut Vishy is almost stupid. He is greatest modern Indian batsman san Gavaskar and Tendulkar or, perhaps only Tendulkar. No one needed to romanticize anything about his batting as he played one match winning innings after another on difficult tracks world over.

  • dhanushka on August 30, 2009, 1:56 GMT

    Aravinda Desilva is the best batter sri lanka ever had,Truth is desilva is more superior than mahela and sangakara. Mahela and sangakkra still can't handle/play the pressure situations like chasing big scores.That's the reason sri lankan team couldn't chase the big scores like in the past.

  • charles chapman on August 30, 2009, 1:38 GMT

    Sri Lankan cricketers are far more entertaning than most others elsewhere!

  • Rohitha Viswakula on August 30, 2009, 1:36 GMT

    Arvinda De Silva is a great cricketer im (1984-2002) His stroke play was outstanding.In recent times Tilan Samaraweera second innings was marvelous.But you cant fogot Sangakkara & Mahela. They bought up Sri Lanka to the 2nd place ofICCrankings with the help of the bowlers.

  • thilina on August 30, 2009, 1:36 GMT

    from sri lanke, the Samaraweera article was true. he has performed extremely well in the sub continent, but not else where. though sri lanka it self haven't played much cricket outside the sub continent. talking of Aravinda, he is the greatest player ever to represent sri lanka. A match winner, who would take the attack to the bowlers. Interesting stat, Aravinda has an average of 48.36 against Australia in 36 ODI games, which is surely the highest of a sri lankan player.

  • Peter on August 30, 2009, 1:32 GMT

    Hi there,

    Very interesting article. I was just picking up on one of the comments you made as a point of discusssion:

    'Sehwag is a different story. I don’t think he would have averaged 50 in the 1990s.'

    Is there any doubt that new ball bowling attacks have faded in quality from those that we saw in the 90s? We saw Ambrose/Walsh, Akram/Younis, Pollock/Donald, McGrath/McDermott, (sentimentally might even put Gough/Caddick in there). Did we just see a freakish peak of fast bowling across an almost global level during this period or does it have any thing to with other factors, such as preparation of pitches in the modern game?

  • Deepfreezed on August 30, 2009, 1:03 GMT

    Laxman is an OK batsmen but can you count on him during a pressure situation? Dravid, Tendulkar or Aravinda you can count on when the going is tough. Lot's of these so called good players are great when the going in good.

  • Rohan W on August 30, 2009, 0:49 GMT

    With all due respect to Samaraweera, to compare him with Aravinda is comparing Barrington with Compton; Bell with a Cowdrey or May. There is no comparison.

    Aravinda had the ability to seize or collar an attack;to bend it to his will. That is the hallmark of a batsman who seizes the stage; the hallmark of a 'great'. Barrington or Bell would score, without ever diminishing the threat of the bowler. You cant compare chalk with cheese, really.

  • amit on August 30, 2009, 0:33 GMT

    Someone posted about Vishy not scoring outside india? You are kidding. Some of his most memorable performances were outside India. 112 at port of spain to win scoring 400+ in the last innings. 123 at melbourne against lillee and co on a wretched wicket to win in australia. 1979 series in england against willis botham and hendricks, esp that massive partnership at lords to save the second test, highest scorer in australia in 1979 against thommo and many more. Vishy was a master batsman in difficult conditions against great bowling. His numbers did not justice to his importance to india as he didn't make hay under easy circumstances and also he hung aroung a little too long. Now laxman has played a lot of great innings too and has done best against the best bowlers - mcgrath and warne. But he comes lower in the order and plays in a much better team so he does get the chance to shine like vishy did. But he would be just a notch lower than vishy and way way higher that azhar, who has a pathetic average against good bowling outside india. About Sehwag, not sure why he (along with Gilchrist) doesn't get recognised like Viv Richards is beyond me as the most dangerour batsman of the era. His average way underrepresents what he does to a bowlers and makes. It easier fir other batsman to follow. He can break the morale even when. He scores a 40. He's a no-brainer in india's all time XI and of course so is tendulkar, simply because of his consistency for soooooooo long.

  • CricketFan on August 30, 2009, 0:21 GMT

    Sambit, if you intended to reveal "the truth about batting averages", how come you titled your blog "How good is Samaraweera?". Yeah... in hindsight you would have changed the title. But would the hindsight have occurred without the partisan reactions to your blog?

    Samaraweera's current batting average may not make him a great. Neither would Atherton's. But both have shown in their own unique styles that they can stamp their class on the entire proceedings of a game. That, to me, is greatness. The batsman who could do that consistently against all comers would in my estimation be an all time great.

    Atherton and Samaraweera don't belong in that class. But they are great nevertheless. Whether Samaraweera can raise his game a notch above this remains to be seen.

    This is a man who scored a century on debut from no. 7 against India. He has vastly improved his game since. In particular, his batting average since his second coming is well above the 55 threshold.

  • Karan Singh on August 30, 2009, 0:01 GMT

    Sehwag would make my alltime best India XI as an opener. There has not been a more explosive indian opener with that kind of consistency ever.

  • F Jurangpathy on August 29, 2009, 23:59 GMT

    There is vast difference between Samaraweera and Aravinda de Silva. Its two different contrasting style of stroke making. Samaraweera just simply accumalates the runs as usual as any good cricketer where as when Aravinda is batting its very exciting watch him bat and its a contest between Aravinda and the bowler. As Wasim Akram in his biography says Aravinda de Silva is one the great batsman who have scored freely against his bowling.

  • Shankar on August 29, 2009, 23:45 GMT

    Don't even make your point even worse by making more stories like this; Aravinda now. For heaven sake why are you guys even trying to comopare one era player to another. That in itself is wrong.

  • Sheshadri on August 29, 2009, 23:37 GMT

    While I agree with your premise, the huge problem is that Sri Lanka does not get to play many away tests against the Aussies, SA or England. They have just one, that's right one, test series scheduled for next year - playing host to the West Indies. That's it. The rest of the series are all ODIs. As a Lankan supporter I don't think the Number 2 spot is quite warranted, yet. They need to play and succeed at places such as The Gabba, WACA, MCG, Wanderers, Centurion, Old Trafford and Headingley before this immensely talented team can be considered great. Too bad the ICC is not giving them a chance and that ODIs, Twenty20s and money are coming into play.

  • Ares on August 29, 2009, 23:36 GMT

    well, maybe the bowlers in the 90s were better. i mean if you look at australia, it was only after shane warne and glenn mcgrath left they lost their dominance.

    career average theory also doesnt make any sense because there are only about 17 batmen that played cricket in the 90s and after have a 50+ average.

    you cant really say bradman is the best batsmen. he was undoubtedly the best batsmen of his time. but im pretty sure guys like ponting, sangakkara, tendulka are better (notice better not the best). bradman played all his cricket on pace friendly wickets not spin friendly wickets. his batting was never put under the microscope like modern day batsmen.

    so your argument some batsmen with lower averages are better really doesn't stand. mike atherton played all if not most of his cricket in england as an opener where the ball swings and seams samaraweera played all his cricket on turning wickets in sri lanka so in my opinion samaraweera is a better batsmen.

  • peacemakersri on August 29, 2009, 23:15 GMT

    Then again you are mixing the moments of brilliance with consistency.

    Would you dare to compare Bradman with Carl Hopper? Another point: To have any statistical significance you should have at least 3-10 tests(three series) to analyze in a peticular country.

    This is the reason why your analysis of Samaraweera is worthless.

  • Hari on August 29, 2009, 23:00 GMT

    Hold on. Why do you feel its a no-brainer to compare Sachin to Sehwag? After all, Sehwag has more impact on India's Test matches than Sachin these days. Sehwag breaks open a game right at the start, opening the innings, which is supposed to be the time when batsman are supposed to bat for their own and team's lives and lay a platform for others to score. Its quite fair to say that India is reliant on Sehwag these days to provide them the momentum in Test match cricket as much as it was reliant on Sachin to save them in the 90's. Sehwag wins Test matches for India. Sachin has rarely won Tests for India. Just because Sehwag has a 'Sehwagesque' technique, it doesnt mean that he cannot be compared to Sachin. All that matters is the number of runs, the way its scored and the impact it has on the game. On that scale, Sehwag would and should be in any all time Indian XI.

  • Vish on August 29, 2009, 22:59 GMT

    Laxman batting and Shane Warne bowling are the two of the most cherished sights I have in my long years of cricket watching. Not many things come closer to those. Just because you post a column doesn't mean you have greater cricketing acument than we have. With all due respect to Vishy, I think he is more remembered because of the throwbacks of journalists like you who have an obsession with the past.

  • Anonymous on August 29, 2009, 22:43 GMT

    Why do some consider subcontinent pitches are inferior to those of England and Australia? In his study of "devaluation of batting averages in the 21st century" why doesn't Mr. Bal discuss English and Australian player's poor averages on Sri Lankan grounds?

  • Vik on August 29, 2009, 22:39 GMT

    To dwell on the topic of who're the great cricketers is to waste time and ponder on a topic which serves no purpose for the game of cricket. Aravinda is a great cricketer in his own right. But then is he the greatest Sri Lanka has produced? what about Sanath, Sangakkara, Mahela etc? Is Sachin, Ponting or Lara the greatest? is Bradman the truely greatest? What do we base this assesment on? is it on quantitative or qualitative measures? do we consider the nature of the opponents faced, equipment used, conditions played in? this entire topic of greatness brings up more questions than answers. So please, I don't care how much Samaraweera scores, how elegent Sachin is or Bradman's 99.94 average. All that matters is their contribution to the collective cause of the team.

  • Anonymous on August 29, 2009, 22:28 GMT

    Thank you for the articles and giving us your expert opinions. For Indian XI for tests, I would rate VVS above all alongside Dravid.

  • Ranjith M on August 29, 2009, 22:20 GMT

    Title should have been "A study of the devaluation of batting averages in the 21st century using averages of one Sri Lankan player". Well professor Bal you double the value of your study with this article. Please let somebody else choose SL best 11.

  • Aravindha on August 29, 2009, 22:02 GMT

    Aravinda was a genius, and his world cup knocks will always be the best by those who saw that, maybe followed by Gilchrist's knock in the recent WC. Laxman and Azhar would be above Vishy, in most of our nominations for all time XI.

  • Luxman Gurusamy on August 29, 2009, 21:57 GMT

    If you are comparing two cricket players side by side then you don't know cricket at all. Please do us all a favor and find some other job to do.

  • Jayantha Anandappa on August 29, 2009, 21:56 GMT

    In analysing Aravinda's average one has to take in to account that between 1987-1994 Sri Lanka did not not play enough cricket. It was only after the 1996 World Cup Sri Lanka got more test matches- a significant factor that affected his average. Also prior to emergence of Vaas (1994) and Murali (1992) Aravinda was playing for a team with a weak bowling attack which is not easy when the opposition had piled up tons of runs.In his ability to make breathtaking stroke play, he should be in the same class of Tendulkar or Lara. In one of the matches (I think it was the Diana Memorial match) he clearly outbatted Tendulkar. The way he got those 68 runs against India in the 1996 semi-finals after Sri Lanka had lost 2 wickets in the first over clearly demonstrates what a champion he was at his best. Also he has a amazing number of test hundreds against Pakistan which arguably had the best attack.

  • Siva on August 29, 2009, 21:49 GMT

    I fully agree the bowling is pretty average these days and runs are coming cheap. Aravinda delivered at the biggest stage. World Cup Semi-final and final. Who could forget his counter-attack at Calcutta. He also didn't get to play too many Tests in the late 1980s due to the civil unrest. If he had those chances his average would have been 50+

  • Mohan on August 29, 2009, 21:47 GMT

    I think I would put Lax above Vishy in terms of value to the team specially against the best teams. I am not sure if either of the two would make it to the all time XI as it would be very difficult to omit players like Sachin, Mohinder, Dravid, Vinoo Mankad, Kapil in the middle - lower order. Coming to Sehwag, how many openers in India since Gavaskar have stood up to the challenge successfully. Nobody comes even close to give Sehwag a run for the money. He is truly the most destructive successful opener we have ever had. I would put him in my all time list along with Sunny as an opener inspite of tough challenge from Vijay merchant.

  • Ben on August 29, 2009, 21:44 GMT

    I've just read your comment on Thilan and this comment on Aravinda. The reason of this comment proves that there is somthing you found guily on what you have previously commented. You should understand this. Thilan has just started his work and it is a shear nonsense of comparing him with Aravinda. On the other hand, no one has yet commented on Thilan as a great batsman. So, it is useless to develop an argument against such idea. It is like someone has too woried after a bad dream. What we need is some good articles, we really want to see professionl editorials not any coffeeshop debates. Again I have noticed that your numbersman, as you mentioned in your previous comment, has always displayed some kind of cruelness on Sri Lankan players probably with a pro-LTTE mentality. Time will prove whether Thilan is great or not and no one in Sri Lanka would break their hearts if it isn't. Keep cool and unbias - thanks for your understanding

  • love goel on August 29, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    Thanks Sambit,You took my opinion from the previous post to have a look at Aravinda. It is clear that even if Samaraweera averages 10 runs more than Aravinda, as far quality of innings is considered Samaraveera is not in the same class as may other better batsmen are. And I feel Sehwag would have have been successful at any time, cause he has played many good innings against opponents of highest qualtiy and even in foreign conditions

  • Mark on August 29, 2009, 21:28 GMT

    To support my earlier post: Sehwag has outscored Tendulkar in Australia, Pakistan and West Indies, while scoring at a much higher strike-rate.

    Tendulkar Sehwag HS Avg SR HS Avg SR in Australia 241* 58.53 59.70 195 59.50 74.04 in Bangladesh 248* 139.00 60.43 13 11.50 67.64 in England 193 62.00 54.31 106 39.50 66.57 in New Zealand 160 49.52 57.31 48 20.00 97.29 in Pakistan 194* 40.25 50.10 309 91.50 85.91 in South Africa 169 39.76 51.03 105 26.44 66.48 in Sri Lanka 143 63.75 56.00 201* 68.80 93.98 in West Indies 117 47.69 47.22 180 51.00 86.44 in Zimbabwe 74 40.00 54.17 44 51.00 99.02

  • Raghu on August 29, 2009, 21:25 GMT

    You don't think Sehwag would have averaged 50 in 90's. I don't think Sachin would have averaged 40 in 90's. These kind of arguments can go for ever. Sehwag has taken up the most difficult role in the Test batting line up and has been one of the best ever. Since no one else played this difficult role including Sachin, Sehwag deserves credit for this.

  • Faamy on August 29, 2009, 21:25 GMT

    I would most definitely agree with Sambit on the point that Samaraweera has a lot to prove especially some great knocks away from home. And, yes let's not even go there comparing Aravinda to him. Aravida was from a different era with great bowlers. Yes his average does not justify his calibre which makes sense to Sambit's point. However, I would not agree with him about Viswanath. I have seen him playing in the 80s and yes people loved him batting but he would not even make my all time Indian top 30 let alone 11. Barring other factors, Azhar's batting will definitely get him in my Indian XI.

  • Mark on August 29, 2009, 21:12 GMT

    What's with the Tendulkar worship? How many test matches has Tendulkar won? Sehwag can already claim to done more to put India into winning situations in Test matches than Tendulkar.

  • chamee on August 29, 2009, 21:09 GMT

    i am still not satisfied... cricket is a gentleman's game.. so be gentle on writing about cricket too... we were dissapointed about the content which carried a criticisam of a great srilankan batsman thilan samaraweera but not the topic of it.. so your suggestion of changing the name is not good enough..

  • GeeMAN on August 29, 2009, 21:05 GMT

    Cricket is a funny game, technically speaking, averages, numbers and century’s does matter to one’s personal advantage. But what’s more important is under what circumstances these runs were scored. Speaking of technicality, Samraweera comes ahead of Aravinda, but Aravinda’s great knock came in the days when Sri Lanka was struggling to find its own ground in test/ODI arena. When the whole team was struggling, one man stood against the Akram, Ambrose and Imran to defend the team. His knocks during 96 world cup were the famous examples. I remember watching him score that 105 out of the team total of 230. In his early days Aravinda played audacious shots, but he settled down quite well under Arjuna’s captaincy.

    However one should give credit to Samaraweera for his superb form, hope he will be able to hold things together in Sri Lankan middle order. Sanga should give more opportunities to youngsters like Mathews, Kapugedara, Warnapura and Herath. Plus we have a strong A team as well. Warn

  • PeacemakerSri on August 29, 2009, 21:05 GMT

    Aravinda on his day was better than Tendulkar.

  • Azy99 on August 29, 2009, 21:01 GMT

    I think you were true to the word when you emphasised on the fact that batting averages are devalued in the present era of cricket. Aravinda is a perfect example, a man with class, and undoubtedly the best player Sri lanka ever produced. He's average did'nt do justice to the player that he was. Your comparison of Laxman to Aravinda, raised my eyebrows. Laxman is a good player but I don't think you can compare him to the likes of De Silva. De Silva belonged to the very elite just based on his way of how he went about it in the field of play, his strokes were an inspiration, and you well know how he can hook, Laxman is not quite in that class by a large stretch. Aravinda is quite not Tendulkar, but has shown that he belongs in a group around that margin.

  • Tom on August 29, 2009, 20:58 GMT

    I hve personnaly often thort about modern batting averages, there are many good players of the past who I think would have been averageing higher in this era-Neil Harvey, Aravinda etc.. What I have found interesting is how many of the very top players in terms of averages debuted before 1935, and something that has crossed my mind is that the modern game allows good players to have a great average, yet at the same time keeps the truly great player's averages down. I guess TV and familiarity would hve something to do wth it, imagine hw hard it would have been to bowl at Tendulkar or Lara, if you only saw them bat once every 2-4 years! I guess the other factor is the amount of cricket played today, if you play 100 tests there will be a dip in your performance at some point, as for if you play 20 tests this may not be the case, we have seen th likes of Hussey average 100 early in his career, and then drop over time, possibly some of th men who averagd late 50s would have done the the same

  • ChairmanValvod on August 29, 2009, 20:48 GMT

    I have followed and watched cricket religiously since the late 80's till present. And I can tell you, Aravinda DeSilva was a tour de force! A spectacular strokemaker in any era he would have been. His average does not reflect his true talent or run making abilities. And yes, I do agree, modern averages especially those after the late 90's are definately inflated relative to earlier periods. Many reasons, quality of international bowlers has detriorated beyond reproach, better bats/protection, batsmen oriented rules/regulations, so forth so on. Of the modern SriLankan lot, maybe only Sangakarra and Jayawardene come in the vicinity of his class. Vishy was probably leagues better than Laxman, there's no comparison there, only those that did not see Vishy play would beg to differ. Vishy would be an automatic in any all time Indian XI. Although I as far as Sehwag goes, I think he would have done just fine in the 90's as well. He's a quality player, but no Tendulkar.

  • Dilip on August 29, 2009, 20:40 GMT

    Sambit

    I was amused by all the reactions by the Sri Lankan supporters moaning that they've never had the option of playing a lot of tests in Aus/Eng/S Af. The point is in the opportunities they had been given, they've always shown to be rather inept. So why even have more tests against them is beyond me !

    As to Samaraweera, not sure even the Sri Lankans would have them in their all time X1 :-)

  • InsideEdge on August 29, 2009, 20:29 GMT

    The headline asked a simple question. We'll find out over the course of time regards Samaraweera. He strikes me similar to JF Reid, the Kiwi middle order batter from the 80s. Reid had a fantastic home record, never received any recognition because most of his runs came in low key series. The same would be true for Samaraweera if it's not for the fact that we live in the internet age and specifically we have cricinfo.

    It's ironic that SL fans should be knocking Sambit and questioning his credentials as an editor while spouting jingoism. The fact is that very few ppl are interested in the current SL-NZ series or the previous series against Pak which clashed with the Ashes. Thanks to cricinfo, it's getting this much coverage.

    And has there been a single comment from anyone without a subcontinent connection? Do matches have to be played in England for players to receive due credit?

  • Perera on August 29, 2009, 20:27 GMT

    Hi Sambit.Aravinda is the greatest match winning player.You can compare aravinda with sehwag who can change the match in team's favor . Sachin is not a team player who play for his country .Good with his individual statistic records but to become a best team player he has to climb more steps .

  • SanjayN on August 29, 2009, 20:26 GMT

    Hilarious to read posters gave up reading the previous article but still managed to arrive at a conclusion. The conclusion that appeased them :)

  • Dinu on August 29, 2009, 20:02 GMT

    Nice reply for responses u got to ur lst article!! “The truth about batting averages” would have been for ur last article! The headline was misleading, I started reading the article thinking that u were praising Samaraweera bt by the tym i got to the middle i felt that u were criticizing him!! then I gave up reading that!! bt nw since u've made clear of what u meant to say!! Now I understand wat u were tryn to say in the previous article!!!

  • Mahek on August 29, 2009, 19:57 GMT

    As someone who has followed cricket since the late 80s, I can safely vouch for Aravinda's superiority over Samaraweera.

    Comparing Laxman to Vishy, I would say the latter was never successful away from home, a glaring hole in his resume. Granted I have never seen him bat, but it seems Vishy is one of those cricketers who Indians like to romanticise about. I wouldn't pick him in my all-time Indian XI, Azhar or Laxman over Vishy for me.

    Last but not least, it's quite presumptuous to assume Sehwag wouldn't have averaged 50 in the 1990s. It's well and good to extol the virtues of the players of yesteryear, but why put down the ones who are shining now? A Tendulkar versus Sehwag comparison is fallacious because Tendulkar has batted in the middle order all his life, declining to come up the order when the team might have benefited from the movie, while Sehwag had to move up the order just to retain his place in the side.

  • Sha on August 29, 2009, 19:54 GMT

    Well, people do get emotional when national pride, wordplay and other factors come into play. With regards to Samaraweera, he has sometime to prove his place in Sri Lanka's own lil pantheon but as to where he's going right now - I am very pleased. He is definitely trying to carve out his own legacy in the Island's history and if he continues to strengthen the middle-order, add in another opener and Sri Lanka would have a phenominal outfit to play sides around the world - given the opportunity as well - which is probably where a Test World Championship might come in handy... but let's get down to De Silva, probably the best we've ever produced and yes it were those World Cup knocks that will resonate with most of his fans. He was aggressive and did pay for playing too many strokes but when they paid off.. there was probably no-one in that era i'd enjoy more. As to the similarities with Laxman, I'd rate De silva above him.

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  • Sha on August 29, 2009, 19:54 GMT

    Well, people do get emotional when national pride, wordplay and other factors come into play. With regards to Samaraweera, he has sometime to prove his place in Sri Lanka's own lil pantheon but as to where he's going right now - I am very pleased. He is definitely trying to carve out his own legacy in the Island's history and if he continues to strengthen the middle-order, add in another opener and Sri Lanka would have a phenominal outfit to play sides around the world - given the opportunity as well - which is probably where a Test World Championship might come in handy... but let's get down to De Silva, probably the best we've ever produced and yes it were those World Cup knocks that will resonate with most of his fans. He was aggressive and did pay for playing too many strokes but when they paid off.. there was probably no-one in that era i'd enjoy more. As to the similarities with Laxman, I'd rate De silva above him.

  • Mahek on August 29, 2009, 19:57 GMT

    As someone who has followed cricket since the late 80s, I can safely vouch for Aravinda's superiority over Samaraweera.

    Comparing Laxman to Vishy, I would say the latter was never successful away from home, a glaring hole in his resume. Granted I have never seen him bat, but it seems Vishy is one of those cricketers who Indians like to romanticise about. I wouldn't pick him in my all-time Indian XI, Azhar or Laxman over Vishy for me.

    Last but not least, it's quite presumptuous to assume Sehwag wouldn't have averaged 50 in the 1990s. It's well and good to extol the virtues of the players of yesteryear, but why put down the ones who are shining now? A Tendulkar versus Sehwag comparison is fallacious because Tendulkar has batted in the middle order all his life, declining to come up the order when the team might have benefited from the movie, while Sehwag had to move up the order just to retain his place in the side.

  • Dinu on August 29, 2009, 20:02 GMT

    Nice reply for responses u got to ur lst article!! “The truth about batting averages” would have been for ur last article! The headline was misleading, I started reading the article thinking that u were praising Samaraweera bt by the tym i got to the middle i felt that u were criticizing him!! then I gave up reading that!! bt nw since u've made clear of what u meant to say!! Now I understand wat u were tryn to say in the previous article!!!

  • SanjayN on August 29, 2009, 20:26 GMT

    Hilarious to read posters gave up reading the previous article but still managed to arrive at a conclusion. The conclusion that appeased them :)

  • Perera on August 29, 2009, 20:27 GMT

    Hi Sambit.Aravinda is the greatest match winning player.You can compare aravinda with sehwag who can change the match in team's favor . Sachin is not a team player who play for his country .Good with his individual statistic records but to become a best team player he has to climb more steps .

  • InsideEdge on August 29, 2009, 20:29 GMT

    The headline asked a simple question. We'll find out over the course of time regards Samaraweera. He strikes me similar to JF Reid, the Kiwi middle order batter from the 80s. Reid had a fantastic home record, never received any recognition because most of his runs came in low key series. The same would be true for Samaraweera if it's not for the fact that we live in the internet age and specifically we have cricinfo.

    It's ironic that SL fans should be knocking Sambit and questioning his credentials as an editor while spouting jingoism. The fact is that very few ppl are interested in the current SL-NZ series or the previous series against Pak which clashed with the Ashes. Thanks to cricinfo, it's getting this much coverage.

    And has there been a single comment from anyone without a subcontinent connection? Do matches have to be played in England for players to receive due credit?

  • Dilip on August 29, 2009, 20:40 GMT

    Sambit

    I was amused by all the reactions by the Sri Lankan supporters moaning that they've never had the option of playing a lot of tests in Aus/Eng/S Af. The point is in the opportunities they had been given, they've always shown to be rather inept. So why even have more tests against them is beyond me !

    As to Samaraweera, not sure even the Sri Lankans would have them in their all time X1 :-)

  • ChairmanValvod on August 29, 2009, 20:48 GMT

    I have followed and watched cricket religiously since the late 80's till present. And I can tell you, Aravinda DeSilva was a tour de force! A spectacular strokemaker in any era he would have been. His average does not reflect his true talent or run making abilities. And yes, I do agree, modern averages especially those after the late 90's are definately inflated relative to earlier periods. Many reasons, quality of international bowlers has detriorated beyond reproach, better bats/protection, batsmen oriented rules/regulations, so forth so on. Of the modern SriLankan lot, maybe only Sangakarra and Jayawardene come in the vicinity of his class. Vishy was probably leagues better than Laxman, there's no comparison there, only those that did not see Vishy play would beg to differ. Vishy would be an automatic in any all time Indian XI. Although I as far as Sehwag goes, I think he would have done just fine in the 90's as well. He's a quality player, but no Tendulkar.

  • Tom on August 29, 2009, 20:58 GMT

    I hve personnaly often thort about modern batting averages, there are many good players of the past who I think would have been averageing higher in this era-Neil Harvey, Aravinda etc.. What I have found interesting is how many of the very top players in terms of averages debuted before 1935, and something that has crossed my mind is that the modern game allows good players to have a great average, yet at the same time keeps the truly great player's averages down. I guess TV and familiarity would hve something to do wth it, imagine hw hard it would have been to bowl at Tendulkar or Lara, if you only saw them bat once every 2-4 years! I guess the other factor is the amount of cricket played today, if you play 100 tests there will be a dip in your performance at some point, as for if you play 20 tests this may not be the case, we have seen th likes of Hussey average 100 early in his career, and then drop over time, possibly some of th men who averagd late 50s would have done the the same

  • Azy99 on August 29, 2009, 21:01 GMT

    I think you were true to the word when you emphasised on the fact that batting averages are devalued in the present era of cricket. Aravinda is a perfect example, a man with class, and undoubtedly the best player Sri lanka ever produced. He's average did'nt do justice to the player that he was. Your comparison of Laxman to Aravinda, raised my eyebrows. Laxman is a good player but I don't think you can compare him to the likes of De Silva. De Silva belonged to the very elite just based on his way of how he went about it in the field of play, his strokes were an inspiration, and you well know how he can hook, Laxman is not quite in that class by a large stretch. Aravinda is quite not Tendulkar, but has shown that he belongs in a group around that margin.