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October 1, 2009

Batting

In a winning cause

Anantha Narayanan
Len Hutton drives on the off side, 1950
 © Getty Images
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I was influenced by a recent comment by a reader on runs scored in winning causes. Everyone and their neighbour's Labrador talk about centuries scored during the wins of teams completely forgetting that more than "centuries", the emphasis should be on "runs" scored. Why ignore a winning 98 or for that matter a winning 48.

Let me take two players not often discussed. The first is Ganguly. He, and most of the knowledgeable Indian supporters, would agree that his majestic unbeaten 98 while orchestrating a great chasing win over Sri Lanka during 2001 was a far greater innings, arguably his best, than many a big 100. Ganguly might have missed a personal landmark but he did not miss the bigger objective. Would anyone, including Ganguly, have been satisfied if Ganguly had scored 5 more runs but India 5 less.

Now for Jimmy Adams. Would anyone rate his 208 against New Zealand higher than his outstanding unbeaten 48 against Wasim/Waqar/Razzak/Saqlain taking his team to an improbable one-wicket win leading to a rare series win. Even though Adams' innings was less than half of Mark Waugh's match-winning of 116 against South Africa, it was no less important.

Hence I have done an analysis of the runs scored by a batsman during his team's wins. It does not matter whether the batsman scored 12(Ambrose), 49(Paranavitana), 96(Shakib Al Hasan) or 309(Sehwag). The runs are considered and added. Not the 400, nor the 241.

Also I have not done an average of these scores. It will be certain that this average would be higher than his career batting average. I have rather looked at the % of share of the runs scored by his team. This will give a clear indication of his contributions. There is no comparison done across eras, across teams, across bowlers et al. It is almost like the peer comparison. In truth it is a peer comparison, but the comparison is only within the team, that too only in selected subset of matches. I have also not prepared tables across teams. Each table is for the concerned team.

The criteria is simple. The batsman should have been involved in 10 wins and scored over 2000 Test runs (exception for Bangladesh and Zimbabwe). The team runs are computed, sans extras.

Cty Batsman              L Mat  Runs Wins Runs TmRuns  RpT  % TS

Eng Hutton L 79 6971 27 2678 11891 99.2 22.52 Eng Hobbs J.B 61 5410 28 2720 13715 97.1 19.83 Eng Gooch G.A 118 8900 32 2950 15504 92.2 19.03 Eng Boycott G 108 8114 35 2950 16366 84.3 18.03 Eng Hammond W.R 85 7249 29 2584 14614 89.1 17.68 Eng Pietersen K.P 54 4647 18 1608 9370 89.3 17.16 Eng Cowdrey M.C 114 7624 43 3087 18416 71.8 16.76 Eng Sutcliffe H 54 4555 25 2141 12840 85.6 16.67 Eng Edrich J.H ~ 77 5138 22 1771 10730 80.5 16.51 Eng Barrington K.F 82 6806 31 2319 14188 74.8 16.34 Eng Thorpe G.P ~ 100 6744 38 3006 18917 79.1 15.89 Eng Strauss A.J ~ 67 5266 30 2596 16344 86.5 15.88 Eng Compton D.C.S 78 5807 25 1801 11420 72.0 15.77 Eng Richardson P.E ~ 34 2061 13 808 5195 62.2 15.55 Eng Trescothick M.E ~ 76 5820 37 2847 18757 76.9 15.18

Hutton is amongst the best across teams, averaging nearly 100 runs per Test and scoring over 22% of the team runs in winning matches. Hobbs is also quite high. Then comes the unheralded Gooch who scored above 19% of his team's winning runs.
Ind Viswanath G.R           91  6080  20  1637  9029  81.8 18.13
Ind Sidhu N.S               51  3202  13  1179  6680  90.7 17.65
Ind Dravid R               134 10823  44  4005 23227  91.0 17.24
Ind Tendulkar S.R          159 12773  51  4416 26993  86.6 16.36
Ind Gavaskar S.M           125 10122  23  1671 10417  72.7 16.04
Ind Vengsarkar D.B         116  6868  18  1187  7823  65.9 15.17
Ind Azharuddin M            99  6215  22  1609 10693  73.1 15.05
Ind Mansur Ali Khan         46  2793  12   846  5712  70.5 14.81
Ind Sehwag V                69  5757  25  1958 13228  78.3 14.80
Ind Amarnath M              69  4378  12   771  5772  64.2 13.36
Ind Engineer F.M            46  2611  13   774  5930  59.5 13.05
Ind Gambhir G            ~  25  2271  13   924  7203  71.1 12.83
Ind Laxman V.V.S           105  6741  36  2428 19479  67.4 12.46
Ind Chauhan C.P.S           40  2084  10   511  4425  51.1 11.55
Ind Shastri R.J             80  3830  10   492  4274  49.2 11.51
The stylish Viswanath leads the Indian table, followed surprisingly by the irrepressible sardar, Sidhu. Then come the three greatest Indian batsmen ever, not necessarily in that order, Dravid, Tendulkar and Gavaskar. Note the somewhat low share of Ganguly (11.23%), possibly because of batting at no.6 position many a time.
Nzl Crowe M.D               77  5444  16  1219  7085  76.2 17.21
Nzl Richardson M.H       ~  38  2776  12   763  5019  63.6 15.20
Nzl McMillan C.D            55  3116  18  1186  7838  65.9 15.13
Nzl Wright J.G           ~  82  5334  21  1253  8430  59.7 14.86
Nzl Fleming S.P          ~ 111  7172  33  2145 14637  65.0 14.65
Nzl Cairns C.L              62  3320  16   936  7393  58.5 12.66
Nzl Howarth G.P             47  2531  12   558  4655  46.5 11.99
Nzl Coney J.V               52  2668  17   814  6900  47.9 11.80
Nzl Astle N.J               81  4702  27  1239 11747  45.9 10.55
Nzl McCullum B.B            46  2283  13   563  5885  43.3  9.57
Nzl Hadlee R.J           ~  86  3124  22   790  8792  35.9  8.99
Nzl Vettori D.L          ~  94  3492  29  1101 12696  38.0  8.67
Nzl Parore A.C              78  2865  19   497  8744  26.2  5.68
The number of wins are somewhat lower indicating New Zealand's rough ride over the years. However out of these, the greatest New Zealand batsman ever, Martin Crowe lives up to his reputation and is on top with a high value of 17+%.
Win Lara B.C             ~ 131 11953  32  2929 14611  91.5 20.05
Win Sarwan R.R              81  5671  13  1210  6505  93.1 18.60
Win Sobers G.St.A        ~  93  8032  31  3097 16926  99.9 18.30
Win Adams J.C            ~  54  3010  21  1534  9045  73.0 16.96
Win EdeC Weekes             48  4455  16  1403  8324  87.7 16.85
Win Greenidge C.G          108  7558  57  4653 27970  81.6 16.64
Win Campbell S.L            52  2882  16  1068  6645  66.8 16.07
Win Walcott C.L             44  3798  12  1113  6955  92.8 16.00
Win Richardson R.B          86  5949  43  3059 19251  71.1 15.89
Win Worrell F.M.M           51  3860  18  1483  9359  82.4 15.85
Win Kanhai R.B              79  6227  27  2404 15248  89.0 15.77
Win Nurse S.M               29  2523  10   873  5569  87.3 15.68
Win Chanderpaul S        ~ 121  8576  27  1933 12839  71.6 15.06
Win Lloyd C.H            ~ 110  7515  43  3337 22217  77.6 15.02
Win Haynes D.L             116  7487  60  4041 27824  67.3 14.52
Lara has contributed quite significantly, above 20%, to the (somewhat lower) proportion of wins during his career. From the strong West Indian teams of the 1980s, only Greenidge is present in the top-10. In fact Richards has a somewhat lower % of runs value of 13.9 although one must admit that he had a win ratio of greater than 50%.

What does this indicate. Possibly that the other batsmen were quite strong. However this is negated by the presence of all the top West Indian batsmen of the 1950s in the top-10. I am happy to see Jimmy Adams in the top-10.

Slk Sangakkara K.C       ~  85  7308  41  4179 22486 101.9 18.58
Slk de Silva P.A            93  6361  19  1467  8736  77.2 16.79
Slk Jayawardene D.P.M.D    107  8750  48  4155 25575  86.6 16.25
Slk Atapattu M.S            90  5502  31  2138 15653  69.0 13.66
Slk Jayasuriya S.T       ~ 110  6973  40  2801 20634  70.0 13.57
Slk Samaraweera T.T         54  3787  30  2222 16748  74.1 13.27
Slk Ranatunga A          ~  93  5105  17   985  7801  57.9 12.63
Slk Tillakaratne H.P     ~  83  4545  24  1534 12221  63.9 12.55
Slk Dilshan T.M             57  3443  28  1843 15126  65.8 12.18
Slk Vaas WPUJC           ~ 111  3087  43  1388 22578  32.3  6.15
Not much to choose amongst the top Sri Lankan batsmen, Sangakkara leading the others quite comfortably. He has also averaged over 100 wickets per won Test.
Saf McGlew D.J              34  2440  11  1156  5285 105.1 21.87
Saf Smith G.C            ~  77  6343  40  3783 20252  94.6 18.68
Saf Wessels K.C          ~  40  2788  12  1044  5800  87.0 18.00
Saf Kallis J.H             131 10277  64  5099 31306  79.7 16.29
Saf Kirsten G            ~ 101  7289  48  3800 23961  79.2 15.86
Saf Barlow E.J              30  2516  11   941  6324  85.5 14.88
Saf Cullinan D.J            70  4554  34  2325 16048  68.4 14.49
Saf Cronje W.J              68  3714  32  2156 15214  67.4 14.17
Saf de Villiers A.B         52  3558  26  1793 13056  69.0 13.73
Saf Hudson A.C              35  2007  13   876  6544  67.4 13.39
Saf McLean R.A              40  2120  12   768  5749  64.0 13.36
Saf Amla H.M                37  2460  21  1389 10713  66.1 12.97
Saf Gibbs H.H               90  6167  44  2877 22607  65.4 12.73
Saf Prince A.G           ~  48  3074  28  1719 13546  61.4 12.69
Saf Rudolph J.A          ~  35  2028  12   721  6371  60.1 11.32
McGlew, the great South African batsmen of the 1960s has an excellent 21+% of run share in won matches and has scored over 100 runs per Test. Then come Smith, Wessels and Kallis. Note also Smith's high win %.
Aus Bradman D.G             52  6996  30  4813 17036 160.4 28.25
Aus Chappell G.S            87  7110  38  3595 19209  94.6 18.72
Aus Simpson R.B             62  4869  22  2015 11264  91.6 17.89
Aus Lawry W.M            ~  67  5234  20  1853 10714  92.7 17.30
Aus Harvey R.N           ~  79  6149  41  3253 19174  79.3 16.97
Aus Hill C               ~  49  3412  25  2223 13200  88.9 16.84
Aus Walters K.D             74  5357  28  2303 14211  82.2 16.21
Aus McDonald C.C            47  3107  23  1557  9994  67.7 15.58
Aus Ponting R.T            136 11341  90  7754 50453  86.2 15.37
Aus Slater M.J              74  5312  44  3508 22833  79.7 15.36
Aus Ponsford W.H            29  2122  16  1508  9884  94.2 15.26
Aus Hayden M.L           ~ 103  8626  71  6038 39634  85.0 15.23
Aus Trumper V.T             48  3163  22  1717 11427  78.0 15.03
Aus Hassett A.L             43  3073  26  1947 13123  74.9 14.84
Aus Hussey M.E.K         ~  42  3317  27  2359 15899  87.4 14.84
Bradman has scored over 28% of the team runs in won games. One more insurmountable number for the other batsmen to contend with. Then come a number of middle era Australians, led by Chappell. Ponting barely makes to the top-10. Hayden and Hussey find their places in the top-15. I am happy to see Victor Trumper in the top-15.
Pak Shoaib Mohammad         45  2705  12  1055  4927  87.9 21.41
Pak Saeed Anwar          ~  55  4052  23  2254 11079  98.0 20.34
Pak Inzamam-ul-Haq         120  8830  49  4690 25012  95.7 18.75
Pak Younis Khan             63  5260  22  2241 12570 101.9 17.83
Pak Javed Miandad          124  8832  39  2923 17298  74.9 16.90
Pak Asif Iqbal              58  3575  10   759  4934  75.9 15.38
Pak Mohammad Yousuf         82  7023  32  2617 17627  81.8 14.85
Pak Mudassar Nazar          76  4114  23  1511 10311  65.7 14.65
Pak Zaheer Abbas            78  5062  22  1530 10483  69.5 14.60
Pak Ijaz Ahmed              60  3315  23  1487 10385  64.7 14.32
Pak Mohsin Khan             48  2709  18  1134  8060  63.0 14.07
Pak Aamer Sohail         ~  47  2823  22  1365  9970  62.0 13.69
Pak Majid Khan              63  3931  13   849  6230  65.3 13.63
Pak Saleem Malik           103  5768  39  1880 17010  48.2 11.05
Pak Kamran Akmal            43  2226  13   776  7443  59.7 10.43
Shoaib Mohammad leads with a 21+%. Saeed Anwar is also high up there. Then come the three modern greats, led by Inzamam. Note Younis Khan's 100+ runs per test in won games.
Cty Batsman                Mat  Runs Wins Runs TmRuns  RpT  % TS

Bng Habibul Bashar 50 3026 1 149 692 149.0 21.53 Bng Mohammad Ashraful 50 2149 3 65 1724 21.7 3.77

Bangladesh has won only 3 Tests. Ashraful was part of all the three tests although he contributed next to nothing. Habibul Basher contributed a lot in their win over Zimbabwe. Shakib Al Hasan, that mercurial world class cricketer, contributed a lot during their brace of wins over West Indies.
Cty Batsman                Mat  Runs Wins Runs TmRuns  RpT  % TS

Zim Whittall G.J 46 2207 4 361 1994 90.2 18.10 Zim Flower A ~ 63 4794 7 507 3461 72.4 14.65 Zim Flower G.W 67 3457 7 529 3630 75.6 14.57 Zim Campbell A.D.R ~ 60 2857 6 167 2908 27.8 5.74

Not many wins here. However note the somewhat higher contribution of Gary Whittall to the Zimbabwe wins ahead of the more fancied Flower brothers.

To view the complete list, please click here.

I will come out with the second part of the "How far ahead is the top one ..." article next week. Later I will do a "In a winning cause" article on bowlers.

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

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Posted by Abhi on (October 19, 2009, 13:24 GMT)

Unni, as ananth says again your observation is unique , as in only you have obtained a new insight. what you say is something to the effect of what i feel (though not entirely). but you have worded it much better.

Posted by Unni on (October 17, 2009, 8:20 GMT)

I was commenting that the 'purpose' is not clear. After reading the article, it was more or less "share of batsmen in their team's winning scores". But I felt the reader's comments and general discussion was on "how much a batsman contributed to team's win". I guess, the second one would be the meaningful purpose for an analysis. If that is the case, I feel both of these methods won't be enough. Generally when people quote the 'count centuries in wins', I guess they really mean that the batsman had topscored and really contributed to win. In that case, there are multiple options to quantify this (without bothering about centuries). 1.Simple one=>how many times the batsman topscored in the wins?(may be divided by total wins)(your "winning 48 runs" will count) 2.More complicated way=>Extend the above by considering number of innnings when the batsman was second, third etc(upto 11th)and compute a 'weighted win position factor'(So, if it is 1.00 he always topscored in all the team's wins) [[ Unni This is the second time you have made a very valuable suggestion. Thanks. Will look into it. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Abhi on (October 12, 2009, 2:51 GMT)

Unni, very good observation. dont think it struck too many ppl. But i think your method is probably more accurate(in principal)..whatever the actual results may work out to be

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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