Batting September 21, 2009

How far ahead is the top one ...

How far ahead is the top player in any list is a key to answering the question of whether a high mark set by a player will be reached

How far ahead is the top player in any list is a key to answering the question of whether a high mark set by a player will be reached. I have taken a few Test batting measures and created a table of the Top-100, subject to qualifying criteria, and assigned each position a percentage relative to the top position. A perusal of these tables will give an idea of the degree of permanence of the top places.

Since I normally can only show 5/6 tables in any article to make the same readable, I will do the Test Batting now and follow with one on Test Bowling.

If an active player is at the top of an all-time list, he/she keeps on widening the gap on the second placed player, unless the top two or three are also active. This is true of the aggregate type of measures. On the other hand in performance related measures, it does not matter since it is possible for later players to catch up with the particular measure.

The tables are shown in a standardised format. The first five entries are shown to get an idea, not just of the top entry, but also the ones immediately following the top. Then the 50th entry, exactly at mid-point, is shown to get an idea of the % drop. Finally the 100th entry is shown to get a further idea of the table's distribution of the key measure.

1. Table of Batting averages (minimum 200 runs)

SNo.Batsman                Cty Mat Inns  No   Runs   Avge     %

1.Bradman D.G Aus 52 80 10 6996 99.94 100.0 2.Pollock R.G ~ Saf 23 41 4 2256 60.97 61.0 3.Headley G.A Win 22 40 4 2190 60.83 60.9 4.Sutcliffe H Eng 54 84 9 4555 60.73 60.8 5.Barrington K.F Eng 82 131 15 6806 58.67 58.7 ... 50.Gilchrist A.C ~ Aus 96 137 20 5570 47.61 47.6 ... 100.Butcher B.F Win 44 78 6 3104 43.11 43.1

This is the mother of all tables. The second placed player is nearly 40% off, making this, with almost exception, the most difficult performance measure to be breached. Over 10 Tests, yes, but over a career, positively no. Readers might recollect that Kallis is the one with the second highest 80-innings streak in history with an average of 76.41 which itself is 24% off Bradman's figure. Gilchrist at no.50 is at 47.6%, below the 50% mark. Butcher, at no.100 has a 43.6% value, indicating the bunching of players after the 50th position.

To view the complete list, please click here.

2. Table of Runs per Test (minimum 2000 runs)

SNo.Batsman                Cty Mat    RpT     %

1.Bradman D.G Aus 52 134.5 100.0 2.Headley G.A Win 22 99.5 74.0 3.Pollock R.G ~ Saf 23 98.1 72.9 4.EdeC Weekes Win 48 92.8 69.0 5.Lara B.C ~ Win 131 91.2 67.8 ... 50.Fredericks R.C ~ Win 59 73.5 54.6 ... 100.Thorpe G.P ~ Eng 100 67.4 50.1

As compared to Batting average, this table is a more even one. The difference between Bradman and the second player is only 26%. Also the 50th batsman is well above 50%. In fact, the 100th player, Thorpe, himself is above 50%.

To view the complete list, please click here

3. Table of Career runs scored

SNo.Batsman                Cty   Mat   Runs      %

1.Tendulkar S.R Ind* 159 12773 100.0 2.Lara B.C ~ Win 131 11953 93.6 3.Ponting R.T Aus* 136 11341 88.8 4.Border A.R ~ Aus 156 11174 87.5 5.Waugh S.R Aus 168 10927 85.5 ... 50.Richardson R.B Win 86 5949 46.6 ... 100.Mudassar Nazar Pak 76 4114 32.2

An '*' next to the team indicates that the player is still active.

This table is the most intriguing of all. Tendulkar is ahead of the retired-Lara by over 6%, a comfortable margin. However the next player, Ponting is still active and he is about 11% behind. The key questions are whether Tendulkar would score enough runs to make the aggregate beyond Ponting's reach or Ponting would succeed in chipping away at the difference. BCCI's generally lukewarm scheduling of Tests is another factor. From now to retirement, Ponting would have to play around 16-18 Tests more than Tendulkar to overtake the master. No crystal-gazing is possible. Probably the odds are against it.

Richardson, like Gilchrist in Batting average table, is at 50th position with 46.6%. Then note how the % drops off basically because this is a longevity measure. Mudassar, in the 100th position, has an aggregate below a third of Tendulkar's.

To view the complete list, please click here

4. Table of Centuries (minimum 10)

SNo.Batsman                Cty     100s      %

1.Tendulkar S.R Ind* 42 100.0 2.Ponting R.T Aus* 38 90.5 3.Lara B.C ~ Win 34 81.0 4.Gavaskar S.M Ind 34 81.0 5.Waugh S.R Aus 32 76.2 ... 50.Sutcliffe H Eng 16 38.1 ... 100.Hussey M.E.K ~ Win* 10 23.8

I normally do not do any analysis of centuries since I feel it is an over-rated measure. However it is one measure which many people talk about and I have done this table for those interested.

As compared to the Runs scored table, Ponting and Lara have interchanged places, indicating Ponting's penchant for reaching three figures. He is only 4 centuries behind Tendulkar. Ponting's century frequency is once in 3.6 Tests and Tendulkar's is 3.8 Tests. This slight difference, and the fact that there is a difference of below 10%, generates a gut-feeling within me that Ponting might at least equal whatever Tendulkar finishes with, in 100s, if not runs.

To view the complete list, please click here

5. Table of Zeroes scored (Min 20)

No.Batsman            Cty  Inns Zeroes    %    Freq

1.Walsh C.A Win 185 43 100.0 4.30 2.McGrath G.D Aus 138 35 81.4 3.94 3.Warne S.K Aus 199 34 79.1 5.85 4.Muralitharan M Slk* 159 33 76.7 4.82 5.Ambrose C.E.L Win 145 26 60.5 5.58 6.Dillon M Win 68 26 60.5 2.62 7.Martin C.S Nzl* 72 25 58.1 2.88 8.Morrison D.K Nzl 71 24 55.8 2.96 9.Chandrasekhar B.S Ind* 80 23 53.5 3.48 10.Danish Kaneria Pak 71 23 53.5 3.09 11.Waugh S.R Aus 260 22 51.2 11.82 12.Atapattu M.S Slk 156 22 51.2 7.09 13.Waqar Younis Pak 120 21 48.8 5.71 14.Ntini M Saf* 113 21 48.8 5.38 15.Harmison S.J Eng* 86 21 48.8 4.10 16.Bedi B.S Ind 101 20 46.5 5.05 17.Atherton M.A Eng 212 20 46.5 10.60

This is a tribute to those wonderful breed of players who provide great entertainment to many. When Chris Martin starts to bat, his first run is looked forward to and applauded as enthusiastically as another batsman's 100th run. Barring three specialist batsmen, the other 14 are all wonderful bowlers, but mostly ineffective but entertaining batsmen.

Walsh leads with 43 ducks. McGrath follows him about 20% behind. Where is Martin. He is there in 7th position. Another 50 innings and he would cross Walsh.

I have done this table on the number of zeroes. The frequency is also shown. The table could as well have been on this figure, in which case Martin would have been, sorry to disappoint my favourite Kiwi readers, in second position, just behind Dillon.

A table of the highest individual scores reached does not belong to this analysis since that is a specific single innings event and does not warrant such a comparison. For 10 years, no one might reach 400 and in one week, two batsmen might go past it. However just for interest there is a 5% gap between the best and the next best score.

As requested by Richard Mackey I have added a table of Runs per innings also. This will be a fairer one for the middle order batsmen.

6. Table of Runs per Innings (minimum 2000 runs)

SNo.Bataman                Cty Mat    RpI      %

1.Bradman D.G Aus 52 87.4 100.0 2.Pollock R.G ~ Saf 23 55.0 62.9 3.EdeC Weekes Win 48 55.0 62.9 4.Headley G.A Win 22 54.8 62.6 5.Sutcliffe H Eng 54 54.2 62.0 ... 50.Lloyd C.H ~ Win 110 42.9 49.1 ... 100.Graveney T.W Eng 79 39.7 45.4

Who else but Bradman on top and a slight re-distribution of the second to fifth positions.

You can download the complete file by using the following link.

Or please click here.

I will do the Bowler tables next week.

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