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December 28, 2009

Test cricket

Two to 10 players together - for how many Tests?

Anantha Narayanan

This is a continuation of my previous article which was based on a request by Seshasayee. I had posted the eleven-players-together article and Sumanth Sankaran did an excellent job of doing the 2-10 groupings using some nifty Jave code. I had already done the 2-3 player group work and the results match. Hence I am pleased to present his findings. Let me confess that I have only done the formatting and editing work related to the article using Sumant's findings and have also updated the recent matches. My thanks to Sumanth for this. I have reproduced below Sesha's specific request.

Ananth in future when you have some time you can consider analysing number of Test matches a group of players in a team have played together...Min 2 to Max 11.

Updated till Test# 1944 (South Africa - England : Dec 26 2009)

Number of players together : 2

IND: 122 R Dravid, SR Tendulkar (# 1) 122 A Kumble, SR Tendulkar (# 1) 113 R Dravid, SC Ganguly SAF: 118 JH Kallis, MV Boucher (# 3) 96 M Ntini, MV Boucher 93 JH Kallis, SM Pollock AUS: 108 ME Waugh, SR Waugh 104 GD McGrath, SK Warne 103 IA Healy, MA Taylor ENG: 99 AJ Stewart, MA Atherton 87 DI Gower, IT Botham 79 AJ Stewart, N Hussain WI : 99 CG Greenidge, IVA Richards 95 CA Walsh, CEL Ambrose 94 DL Haynes, IVA Richards NZ : 78 NJ Astle, SP Fleming 76 DL Vettori, SP Fleming 67 AC Parore, SP Fleming SL : 95 M Muralitharan, WPUJC Vaas 95 DPMD Jayawardene, M Muralitharan 90 M Muralitharan, ST Jayasuriya PAK: 78 Imran Khan, Javed Miandad 75 Javed Miandad, Mudassar Nazar 68 Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf ZIM: 61 A Flower, GW Flower BAN: 42 Habibul Bashar, Khaled Mashud

Tendulkar, in company with two other great Indian stalwarts, Dravid and Kumble, occupies the top two positions with 122 Tests each. Kallis and Boucher are next. There is no doubt that two of these combinations will continue to prosper in future. Note that Australia have three independent combinations occupying the top-3 places.
Number of players together : 3

IND: 103 R Dravid, SC Ganguly, SR Tendulkar (# 1) 97 A Kumble, R Dravid, SR Tendulkar (# 2) 96 R Dravid, SR Tendulkar, VVS Laxman (# 3) SAF: 88 JH Kallis, M Ntini, MV Boucher 80 JH Kallis, MV Boucher, SM Pollock 74 HH Gibbs, JH Kallis, MV Boucher AUS: 92 ME Waugh, SK Warne, SR Waugh 85 IA Healy, MA Taylor, SR Waugh 83 IA Healy, MA Taylor, ME Waugh ENG: 60 AJ Stewart, GP Thorpe, MA Atherton 56 AJ Stewart, MA Atherton, N Hussain 53 AJ Stewart, D Gough, MA Atherton WI : 82 CG Greenidge, DL Haynes, IVA Richards 75 DL Haynes, IVA Richards, PJL Dujon 74 DL Haynes, IVA Richards, MD Marshall NZ : 59 DL Vettori, NJ Astle, SP Fleming 49 AC Parore, NJ Astle, SP Fleming 49 IDS Smith, JG Wright, MD Crowe SL : 76 DPMD Jayawardene, KC Sangakkara, M Muralitharan 76 DPMD Jayawardene, M Muralitharan, WPUJC Vaas 71 MS Atapattu, ST Jayasuriya, WPUJC Vaas PAK: 50 Abdul Qadir, Javed Miandad, Mudassar Nazar 46 Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Mudassar Nazar 45 Asif Iqbal, Majid Khan, Wasim Bari ZIM: 56 A Flower, ADR Campbell, GW Flower BAN: 33 Habibul Bashar, Javed Omar, Khaled Mashud

Almost the same as 2-player combinations with the Indian "Famous Five" forming various combinations and occupy the top three places. What a trio for West Indies at the top.
Number of players together : 4

IND: 86 A Kumble, R Dravid, SC Ganguly, SR Tendulkar (# 1) 80 R Dravid, SC Ganguly, SR Tendulkar, VVS Laxman (# 2) 73 A Kumble, R Dravid, SR Tendulkar, VVS Laxman (# 3) SAF: 65 GC Smith, JH Kallis, M Ntini, MV Boucher 59 HH Gibbs, JH Kallis, MV Boucher, SM Pollock 58 G Kirsten, JH Kallis, MV Boucher, SM Pollock AUS: 68 GD McGrath, ME Waugh, SK Warne, SR Waugh 67 AC Gilchrist, JL Langer, ML Hayden, RT Ponting 66 IA Healy, MA Taylor, ME Waugh, SR Waugh ENG: 44 DI Gower, IT Botham, RGD Willis, RW Taylor 41 AJ Strauss, AN Cook, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood 39 AJ Stewart, GP Thorpe, MA Atherton, N Hussain WI : 67 CG Greenidge, DL Haynes, IVA Richards, PJL Dujon 64 DL Haynes, IVA Richards, MD Marshall, PJL Dujon 64 CG Greenidge, DL Haynes, IVA Richards, MD Marshall NZ : 39 AC Parore, CL Cairns, NJ Astle, SP Fleming 39 IDS Smith, JG Wright, MD Crowe, Sir RJ Hadlee 37 CD McMillan, DL Vettori, NJ Astle, SP Fleming SL : 62 DPMD Jayawardene, MS Atapattu, ST Jayasuriya, WPUJC Vaas 61 M Muralitharan, MS Atapattu, ST Jayasuriya, WPUJC Vaas 61 DPMD Jayawardene, KC Sangakkara, M Muralitharan, WPUJC Vaas PAK: 38 Asif Iqbal, Majid Khan, Mushtaq Mohammad, Wasim Bari 35 Abdul Qadir, Javed Miandad, Mudassar Nazar, Saleem Malik 35 Asif Iqbal, Majid Khan, Wasim Bari, Zaheer Abbas ZIM: 43 A Flower, ADR Campbell, GJ Whittall, GW Flower BAN: 26 Habibul Bashar, Javed Omar, Khaled Mashud, Mohammad Ashraful

This time the Indian "Pancha Pandavas" have formed groups of four players and taken the first three places.
Number of players together : 5

IND: 65 Kumble, Dravid, Ganguly, Tendulkar, Laxman (# 1) WI : 58 Greenidge, Haynes, Richards, Marshall, Dujon (# 2) AUS: 55 Healy, Taylor, ME Waugh, Warne, SR Waugh (# 3) SL : 54 Jayawardene, Muralitharan, Atapattu, Jayasuriya, Vaas SAF: 43 de Villiers, Smith, Kallis, Ntini, Boucher ENG: 34 Strauss, Cook, Pietersen, Panesar, Collingwood ZIM: 34 A Flower, Campbell, GJ Whittall, GW Flower, Streak NZ : 32 Parore, Cairns, Vettori, Astle, Fleming PAK: 29 Asif Iqbal, Majid Khan, Mushtaq Mohd, Wasim Bari, Zaheer Abbas BAN: 19 Habibul Bashar, Javed Omar, Khaled Mashud, Ashraful, Rafique

Ah! the same 5 together for one last hurrah, or should we say, 65 hurrahs. What a group of players. The five great West Indian players, another wonderful group, come next and the 1990s Australians clock in at no.3.
Number of players together : 6
40 AUS Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Gilchrist, McGrath, Warne
39 SL  Atapattu, Jayasuriya, Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Muralitharan, Vaas
38 AUS Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Martyn, Gilchrist, Warne
36 IND Sehwag, Dravid, Ganguly, Tendulkar, Laxman, Kumble

Number of players together : 7 30 AUS Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Gilchrist, Martyn, McGrath, Warne 30 WIN Greenidge, Haynes, Richards, Richardson, Dujon, Marshall, Walsh 28 AUS Slater, Taylor, Boon, ME Waugh, SR Waugh, Healy, Warne 27 SAF Smith, Amla, Kallis, de Villiers, Steyn, Ntini, Boucher

Number of players together : 8 23 AUS Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Martyn, Gilchrist, McGrath, Gillespie, Warne 21 WIN Haynes, Richards, Richardson, Logie, Walsh, Ambrose, Marshall, Dujon and 3 other West Indian groups 22 SAF Smith, Amla, Kallis, de Villiers, AG Prince, Steyn, Ntini, Boucher

Number of players together : 9 18 WIN Haynes, Richards, Logie, Richardson, Hooper, Walsh, Ambrose, Marshall, Dujon 17 WIN Two West Indian teams of 1980s 16 AUS Hayden, Ponting, SR Waugh, Martyn, Gilchrist, McGrath, Waugh, Warne, B.Lee 15 SAF Smith, Amla, Kallis, de Villiers, Prince, Steyn, Ntini, Boucher, Harris

Number of players together : 10 14 WIN Greenidge, Haynes, Richards, Richardson, Logie, Hooper, Marshall, Dujon, Walsh, Ambrose 13 AUS Langer, ME Waugh, Hayden, Ponting, Martyn, Gilchrist, McGrath, Warne, SR Waugh B Lee 13 WIN One West Indian team of the 1980s 11 SAF Smith, McKenzie, Amla, Kallis, de Villiers, Harris, Steyn, Morkel, Ntini, Boucher

For the player groups 6-10, I have given only the top three placings. No specific comments since these classifications are only a few players away from the eleven player groups discussed in depth last time.

One final word of thanks to Sesha for a thought-provoking request and Sumanth for doing an excellent job.

To view/download the updated tables (.xls file) Sumanth has created (top-10 for each country instead of top-3), please click here. You might have to download/save and view.

To view/download the updated tables (.txt file) Sumanth has created (top-10 for each country instead of top-3), please click here. You might have to download/save and view.

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 Ananth on (January 1, 2010, 5:19 GMT)

To all readers: Sumant has created an update of his tables. Instead of showing the top-3 he has created top-10 for each country. The tables are too long to be posted in this article. Hence I have uploaded the same to the thirdslip.com site. Readers can download the same by clicking on the same here or in the main article.

To view/download the updated tables (.xls file) Sumanth has created (top-10 for each country instead of top-3), please click here. You might have to download/save and view.

To view/download the updated tables (.txt file) Sumanth has created (top-10 for each country instead of top-3), please click here. You might have to download/save and view.

Posted by Marcus on (December 30, 2009, 8:32 GMT)

I'd agree with Sesha about Aamer and add Roach's name as another serious prospect. Anyone who can dominate Ponting the way he did earlier this summer has a great future for the taking. No one who saw the way he bowled would have believed that he only took seven wickets that series.

As to the article, an interesting twist would be the most prolific combinations, for example the most common opening pairs, most common top threes and so on, then the most common opening bowling pairs, most common seam attacks and so on. Saying that the Waughs, Warne and McGrath played 68 times together is interesting, but I'm also interested in how many times Ponting, the Waughs and Martyn played together, or the most common West Indian pace battery. [[ Marcus It is not very easy to classify the players as specialist groups. I specifically requested Sumant to restrict to only the top-3 of each country. My reading,, and I maybe wrong, that he could easily produce the top-10 for each country, even more for the top countries, and send the Excel or text file to me. I can upload that to the site and give interested people the link to download and study at leisure. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Sesha on (December 29, 2009, 12:56 GMT)

Though not the ideal place to discuss the topic, In response to Shankar..After Sachin there are Lara, Inzy, Ponting, Sehwag... who are genius when it comes to batting....Umar is promising and one of the best raw talent..so was Mohd Ashraful (statistically now one of the worst batsman..refer one of Ananth's previous article)... As a batsman he has a long long way to go - temperment, technique (that guy does not leave balls...shd learn the art to make it big in tests).... A man to watch out for future...

Mohd.Ameer is a serious world class talent already... he is more precious being a fast bowler and the art is endangered...I'm waiting for Wasim bhai to teach him the tricks and voila the next Wasim/McGrath...

On a personal note..One talent (sheer talent alone) who is as good as Umar if not better is Rohit Sharma...the day he gets the appetite for big scores he is next Sachin...(Nostradamus :-)) [[ Sesha The problem is going to be that Rohit would be pushed every which way between Test/ODI/T20/IPL matches and he is unlikely to know whether he should go, come or stay. The signs are already there. I would give some credence to your statement when he completes 3 relevant test 100s. Ananth: ]]

Posted by hariharan on (December 29, 2009, 8:15 GMT)

In the list of two players together - Greenidge and Haynes need a mention because they were there together for 89 tests. A great article.

Posted by SHANKAR KRISHNAN on (December 29, 2009, 8:00 GMT)

Agreee with Mr Ananth. Not since Sachin have we seen a batsman of such talent as Umer Akmal. But of more significance to Pakistan, the 2 As, Asif & Aamir, look to be as potent as the 2 Ws. If only they can get around to picking Sohail Tanvir, it will be as good an attack as any in Pakistan History.And they also need 2 or 3 decent batsmen, at least a Ramiz/Sohail/Ijaz if not Inzy/Malik/ Anwar. And if Yousuf & Younus can have graceful exits there'll be more than adequate opportunity to hand over the baton to Umer & Co. WRT the post,how many tests Vishvanath & Gavaskar played together? It is difficult to think of both having missed a test from 1971 (Eng) to 1983 (Pak). Which pair lasted the longest..? Tendulkar & Kumble (1990 to 2008)? or Richards & Greenidge (1974 to 1991)? [[ Shankar I will accept your statement on Umar Akmal if you change Tendulkar to Lara. I find it difficult to accept that after 5 tests one can say that he is more talented than Lara. I agree that Sohail Tanvir is a must. He has been a wicket-taking bowler in all forms of the game. Vishwanath and Gavaskar played together in 84 tests. I do not understand your last query. In both no of tests (122 vs 99) and years (19 vs 18) the Indian pair has outlasted the West Indian pair. Ananth: ]]

Posted by atul on (December 29, 2009, 7:54 GMT)

i want to know the records of 5 members together of Indian team(individual)recods [[ Atul I suggest you get this from Cricinfo Stats section. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Madhusudan on (December 29, 2009, 7:48 GMT)

This is very interesting stuff and great analysis by Anant. From an Indian perspective, it highlights the weakness of the pace attack which has prevented the team from doing better than what it has. Even at the 6 player level, we do not have a pace bowler or all rounder in the list. [[ Madhu The Indian pace bowler selection has almost always been a musical chair event. Just as everyone thought Ishant would form the backbone for a few years he has failed miserably. So we still do not have a settled pace attack unless otherwise Sreesanth's current good behaviour is not a mirage and Zaheer Khan is free of injuries for couple of years. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Ashwath on (December 28, 2009, 16:52 GMT)

If you look at the group of 4 players playing together. It seems that every country has an entry since 1995 except pakistan and west indies. Could this be due to cavalier selection or a general downturn in the teams fortunes. Not looking to start any fights here. Just opinions..... [[ Ashwath As lonng as you express your opinion in a civil and acceptable manner, which you have done, no one should have any problems. Both teams have gone through periods of uncertainty and instability. West Indies have virtually gone off the cricket map (although the showing against Australia and T&T in CL09 have kindled hopes of a Caribbean revival). Pakistan have been beset with problems on and off the pitch. A team with wonderfully talented players, it is regrettable and a great loss to world cricket they have not been able to give their best. Is there a more talented youngster than Umar Akmal anywhere or a better all-rounder in the making than Md. Aamer. I wish them all the best in future. Ananth: ]]

Posted by sumant on (December 28, 2009, 15:28 GMT)

thanks guys,to answer Sesha's Question: Gavaskar,Vengsarkar with 94 and Border,Boon with 89 are their bests.

Posted by Sesha on (December 28, 2009, 14:31 GMT)

Notable absentees in the top list..

1. Mr. Allan Border..did not feature in top positions of any list...

2. Gavaskar ...except 11 player combination..no other mention...

both these players absence is quite interesting as they have played really high # of test matches...

...interesting to note

Comments have now been closed for this article

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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