Batting January 4, 2010

The best batsman, across years and formats

Finally the analysis many of you have asked and been waiting for patiently - a look at the best players in both forms of the game in the last 40 years
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Finally the analysis many of you have asked and been waiting for patiently. This has been on the drawing board for the past six months and I have had quite a few exchanges with many readers to fine-tune the analysis. Lot of care has been taken care to equalise performances by the players across years and across formats.

First, the "Twelve Commandments" followed in doing the analysis.

1. Equal weight for Tests and ODI. T20 internationals not included since many top players have not played any T20-I matches and anyhow very few matches have been played. Let the number of T20-I matches cross 1000 before we consider it worthy of inclusion in this type of analysis.

2. Recognise longevity measures but make sure that the total weight does not exceed 20%.
3. Especially for ODI, recognise and incorporate the important fact that during the early 20 years very few ODI matches were played.
4. While evaluating batting average related measure for ODIs, work out an equitable method which is fair to the top order who can build long innings but get dismissed often and late order batsmen who do not have time to build long innings but remain unbeaten more often.
5. Recognise the fact that runs scored against stronger teams should carry additional weight as compared to runs scored against lesser attacks.
6. Recognize how the batsman has performed in comparisons to his peers.
7. Use only career level figures. Match performances, while very relevant would make it difficult to be equitable to Tests and ODIs.
8. Since this analysis is limited to batsmen who played between 1969 and 2009, work out the algorithms based on these years. In other words, keep out of the equation Bradman's outrageous figures. An average of 60.00 is the pinnacle, not halfway down the pole. This has helped to rationalise the analysis quite well.
9. Since this is a pure batsman-based analysis, exclude the non-batting factors such as Captaincy, Results, World Cup wins, Wicketkeeping load etc. Richards and Ponting might have won more matches and World Cups than Tendulkar and Lara but that should not be used to decide who is ahead in this batting analysis.
10. I also decided that I would sum the points at rounded integer level and would tie batsmen who have similar points. I would not use decimal points to separate any groups.
11. The Balls played information is available for Test players with 100% certainty only for the past 15 years. After a long deliberation I decided not to use this since it would mean I would have to extrapolate this based on team balls played for over 25 years of Test matches. That would not have been fair to the earlier batsmen, especially the attacking ones.
12. Finally I thought long and hard and decided not to use the IPF, the new ODI measure suggested by Alex Tierno. The main reason for this is that this is primarily an innings-level performance measure. The secondary reason is that this is a derived measure, not a basic one.

As usual there has to be a minimum criteria. I have decided on 2000 Test runs and 1977 ODI runs (so that Clive Lloyd is included). I am not going to do a batsman analysis which keeps Lloyd out but Vaas/Akram in. 116 players qualify and this is quite a substantial sample size. No Test player of note misses out. The only one who comes to mind is Shahid Afridi, who is one of the ODI greats but has scored only 1683 Test runs, and is unlikely to add more.

The following are the points allotted for different measures.

Tests:  Runs scored     - 100
Adjusted runs   -  50 (adjusted for matches played during career)
Batting average - 200
% of Team score -  50
Bowling quality -  50 (weighted by runs scored)
Peer comparison -  50 (batting average comparison)

ODIs: Runs scored - 100 Adjusted runs - 50 (adjusted for matches played during career) Batting average - 100 (adjusted for not outs) Scoring Rate - 150 Bowling quality - 40 (weighted by runs scored) Peer comparison - 30 (batting average comparison) Peer comparison - 30 (strike rate comparison)

The "Adjusted runs" measure requires an explanation, especially for ODIs. This is best explained with an example. Take the case of Zaheer Abbas. He had a career span of 12 years. That is fine and represents a long career. However the problem is that he played only 62 ODIs during this period. Compare this with Mohammad Yousuf who, in a similar 12-year career, has played 278 matches, over 4 times more. An adjustment is needed and this is explained below.

The average number of ODIs per year played by Pakistan during 39 years is 19.7. The average number of ODIs played by Pakistan during Zaheer Abbas's career is 8.00. The runs scored by Zaheer Abbas are multiplied by a factor 2.46 (19.7/8.0) and points allotted for this measure. For Mohammad Yousuf, his career span number for Pakistan is 29.4 and the multiplying factor is 0.67 (19.7/29.4). Thus this redresses the wide imbalance which exists in the number of matches, especially ODIs, played over the years.

Note that the country figures rather than individual player figures are used since the player might not play due to injuries or non-selection. Note also that the base country is used as the base for doing this calculation for the player. Since the number of matches played by various countries varies by a factor of 2.5 to 1, comparisons with a single across-countries base would go haywire.

This is also done for Tests although the variations are far less for Tests.

For Tests, additional credit is given for away averages as compared to overall batting averages. Also away runs scored carry additional weight. The peer comparison is only on batting average.

For ODIs, a measure in between the Batting average and Runs per innings is determined, based on the number of innings and not outs and then the weighting points arrived at. Independent peer comparisons are done on both batting average and strike rate.

For both Tests and ODIs, the bowling quality is used by summing the product of "innings runs scored" and "average of other team bowling average" and dividing the "sum for all innings" by the "career runs scored". A very effective manner of doing this as proved by the fact that Gooch, who faced the formidable West Indian and Australian attacks, has a Test bowling quality figure of 31.98 (index value of 42.1), while Atapattu who has scored tons of runs against the weaker attacks has a bowling quality figure of 40.55 (index value of 10.0).

Now let me unveil the tables. These tables are current upto Test # 1944, which produced the unlikeliest of wins essayed by a resurgent and dynamic England side against a flat and insipid South Africa.

The best batsmen across formats - across years

Test   ODI   Test    ODI
Runs  Runs    Pts    Pts
500    500

1 801 Tendulkar S.R Ind 12970 17394 402.4 398.1 # 2 726 Lara B.C Win 11953 10405 395.5 330.9 3 725 Richards I.V.A Win 8540 6721 361.2 363.5 4 723 Ponting R.T Aus 11557 12311 379.9 342.8 # 5 689 Kallis J.H Saf 10479 10409 371.0 318.4 # 6 677 Dravid R Ind 11256 10765 375.6 301.6 # 7 665 Border A.R Aus 11174 6524 389.6 274.9 8 662 Waugh S.R Aus 10927 7569 374.1 287.7 9 654 Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 8830 11739 334.6 319.3 10 651 Javed Miandad Pak 8832 7381 349.6 301.6 11 647 Sehwag V Ind 6248 6981 318.0 328.5 # 12 644 Chappell G.S Aus 7110 2331 363.4 280.5 13 638 Mohammad Yousuf Pak 7401 9543 328.8 309.2 # 14 635 Gilchrist A.C Aus 5570 9619 292.3 342.3 14 635 Hayden M.L Aus 8626 6133 331.1 303.8 16 622 Chanderpaul S Win 8669 8250 329.5 292.2 # 17 621 Gavaskar S.M Ind 10122 3092 374.6 246.3 18 620 Waugh M.E Aus 8029 8500 304.5 315.5 19 615 Lloyd C.H Win 7515 1977 336.2 278.5 19 615 Greenidge C.G Win 7558 5134 322.9 292.1 21 614 Jayawardene D.P.M.D Slk 9123 8518 332.9 280.7 # 21 614 Jayasuriya S.T Slk 6973 13428 260.5 353.4 # 23 612 Haynes D.L Win 7487 8648 305.0 307.3 24 611 Kirsten G Saf 7289 6798 315.3 296.1 24 611 Zaheer Abbas Pak 5062 2572 285.3 326.1 # Player still active

No surprises for guessing who is at the top. The little maestro, Tendulkar, leads both Test and ODI tables, the Test table narrowly and ODI table by a comfortable margin so that he is placed in an unassailable position at the top of the combined tables. He has 801 points and leads the next batsman by a whopping 10%. He is likely to widen the gap further and is likely to have a near-12% gap by the time he decides to hang up his golden willow.

What does one say of Tendulkar. If one takes away the freakish numbers of Bradman, there is no one to touch Tendulkar. More than the runs he has scored, the manner in which he has scored, the balance, technique and poise he exhibits at the crease, his demeanour and impeccable behaviour, the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch, one could go on. Possibly the best thing I could say is that he is a role model, not just for the public, but for the other players.

After the wide gap comes Lara who just about edges ahead of Richards by single point. Two great West Indian batsmen, two of the greatest ever, are virtually tied for the second place. They are so close together, I am going to discuss them together.

Richards was by far the better ODI batsman than Lara, as evidenced by his second place in the ODI list. However Lara was quite a bit ahead of Richards in Tests, as again evidenced by his second place in the Test table. However what has happened is that each has wiped out the shortfall almost exactly with Lara gaining a point in this exchange. I do not need to say anything more of the two greats who, in different eras, have taken ODI and Test batting to great levels of entertainment. That they enjoyed varying degrees of success as team players and leaders was a reflection of the state of West Indian cricket at their respective times.

Ponting is a well-deserved fourth, couple of points behind. Those who question his leadership capabilities should not forget his batting achievements in both forms of the game. He is fourth in all the tables. In view of his age and form I expect Ponting to comfortably move the two West Indian greats to third/fourth places by end of 2010, or possibly earlier. It would be a well-deserved second place.

After some daylight, there is a surprise at the fifth position. Kallis is positioned here, ahead of Dravid. Kallis and Dravid are almost the same at Test level while Dravid is somewhat behind Kallis at ODI level. Anyhow I have heard many negative comments on these two great players. There is no doubt that Kallis has done most for South Africa amongst all players (let us not forget 509 international wickets). In what Dravid has done for India, he might be lagging behind only Tendulkar and Kapil Dev, and might be matched by Kumble and Gavaskar. Would Kallis and/or Dravid move above the two West Indian stalwarts is a difficult-to-answer question. Possibly Kallis who plays in both formats.

Two Australian fighters, Border and Steve Waugh, come in next. Both epitomized the never-say-die spirit and were responsible, through their batting (and captaincy) for the recent Australian revival. Only the churlish would begrudge their places at the top-10.

Now we get the two great Pakistani batsmen, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Javed Miandad. In a way these two are similar to the Australian duo who preceded them. Great fighters who would not give an inch. They were part of the great successes enjoyed by Pakistan over the years. In terms of contribution to the team cause, only Imran Khan would be ahead of them.

Note how closely positioned are Greenidge and Haynes.

The top-10 has 3 Australians, 2 Indians, 2 West Indians, 2 Pakistanis and one South African batsmen. A fair distribution, one would say, with 5 countries represented. For the record, Jayawardene, Gooch, Martin Crowe, Andy Flower and Habibul Bashar are their countrys' best batsmen.

If there is one placing which has surprised me most, it is that of Sehwag, who almost made it to the top-10. Arguably the most destructive batsman of all time, keep a watch on this eleventh placed batsman. Sehwag is moving fast and how. One more series of matches like the recent Sri Lankan ones would move him up in between the two Pakistani greats and then who knows where he might end. And remember that this high position is without being given any credit for his extraordinary Test strike rate.

To view/download the complete all-time list, updated on 7 Jan 2009, please right-click here and save the file.

Because of the length of the article I am not dwelling on the individual tables in depth. Suffice to say that Tendulkar, Lara, Border, Ponting, Dravid, Gavaskar, Steve Waugh, Kallis, Greg Chappell and Richards form the perfect-10 of the Test arena over the past 40 years.

To view/download the complete Test list, please right-click here and save the file.

And amongst the ODI-10 of Tendulkar, Richards, Jayasuriya, Ponting, Gilchrist, Lara, Sehwag, Zaheer Abbas, De Silva and Saeed Anwar, only Zaheer Abbas might raise a few eyebrows. However readers would do well to remember that 2500+ runs in 62 matches at an average of 47.63 and a strike rate of 84.5 is exceptional, amongst the top-5 of all time. I am assuming that, as Hussey and Dhoni have done, he would have maintained these numbers in 120+ matches. Then his high ranking points make sense and he fully deserves this position. He was as free-scoring as Richards and as graceful as Gower.

To view/download the complete ODI list, updated on 7 Jan 2009, please right-click here and save the file.

A request to readers. You have every right to comment negatively. Every right to fault this analysis. Every right to be upset. Every right to disagree. What you do not have is the right to be abusive, personal or otherwise, to me or to the other readers or to the great players themselves or to other countries. Your comment will, then, be seen by one person only, me. I have also decided that I will not do a follow-up analysis on this. This work has been done with lots of consultations and should not, and will not be, changed based on reader comments, however valid these may be.

A few readers have asked for the methodology used. This has been summarized in a text file. To view/download this document, please right-click here and save the file.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gunjan on November 18, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    Dear Anantha

    Do you think it is time to update this analysis and produce a new one at the end of 2011? Your analysis was very well-balanced and I am sure many would like to see how the numbers have changed in the past two years.

    Thanks [[ Many of these old articles need revision.I will probably do onerevision a month from January onwards. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on November 15, 2011, 15:57 GMT

    Being a SRT fan, this is heartening to see. Apart from all the reasons you have listed why he is great, i will add one more reason - people need to find different criteria to make him appear less than good. For example, fourth innings average. Lara averages lower than SRT with Smith being the highest. Then suddenly it becomes about runs in victories so Ponting goes higher. He is the best "average" batsman who delivers what he promises, lots of runs, mostly in the first innings. It makes it easier for a captain to have him in the team. By definition, that makes him a team man. And anyways, it is a team game, no individual wins a game. 13 runs usually don't mean a lot, but those 13 runs would have given the victory in Chennai and been SRT's epitome. It didn't, he lives without one. The other thing is that it is such a spectacle, cricket, that you can enjoy, BCL, SRT, RD, De Silva, M Waugh, Robin Smith, Crowe, IVR all at the same time, especially with Ambrose, Akram and Warne opposite.

  • Harsh Thakor on January 28, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    In stats analysis Tendulkar is an emperor,and if you add tests and one day games the best of all time.However stats does not tell the whole story.Viv Richards could change the complexion of a test match or one day game like a dynamite exploding .Viv could destroy great pace bolwing with greater contempt than Tendulkar ,Ponting or Lara.A century from Viv would have a greater impact on a match than Sachin who at his best made the best of opposition look like wounded prey.Unfortunately because he played for a far stronger side and played far fewer matches than Sachin or lara his statistical rating is below them.Remember Viv's slaughter of Lillee and Co in 1979-80 in one-day game at Melbourne and his superlative batting in England in 1976.How prolific Richards was gainst Lillee,Botham,Imran etc.Surely Viv would have flourished on the easier batting pitches and weaker bowling attacks of today and possibly overshadowed Sachin nad Lara.

  • Raj on April 21, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    I do not agree with Tendulkar at top in test batting, for me a fair analysis would be to see the avergaes in the all four innings. Tendulkar has more than 70 in first inning and under 38 in fouth !! Which is not great. Batting in last inning is a true test of batsmanship.

  • Ajay on April 1, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    Nice analysis. Very comprehensive. As a slight enhancement, it would be nice to have further granularity by 1. Giving weights to runs scored at home/away/neutral venues. 2. Giving weights to the innings in which the runs were scored (a fourth innings score should have the highest weight) 3. Giving weights to the quality of the opposition (eg. a score against an Aussie team of 2000 is better than the team of 1985) [[ Ajay Away runs have been given more weight than home runs. Quality of opposition already factored in. Ananth: ]]

  • Satyajit on March 6, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    I some how missed this one in January. Excellent analysis! Great work Ananth! There is one misconception going around due to Zimbabwe’s current cricket situation. People think they were really a bad team (worse than current Ban). But that is not true. During nineties and early part of noughties they were a pretty decent team. I would say better than or as good as the current WI (the team which played against Aus recently). Flower bothers, Heath Streak, Campbell, Paul Strang, Whittal, Eddo Brandes, Taibu... Streak/Strang were decent all rounders. Taibu excellent wk and nobody need to talk about Andy Flower. It was a proper test playing nation. Not only Ban but they had beaten both Ind and Pak. That was the time period (1992 to 2002, 9 tests) Sachin played with Zim. I stumbled across one article in cricinfo written as late as 2005 which talks about competitiveness of Zim (http://www.cricinfo.com/zimvind/content/story/218915.html). Bad politics resulted in team disintegrated in 5/6 yrs.

  • vinaykn on March 3, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    Usually we will hear the theory of "Others let him down".Sometimes on fellow batsmen and sometimes on team bowlers. Same argument we can see to give the weightage for performing better in odd conditions.It basically applies for lost matches. We need to consider for 1)batting scores seperately in the first innings and second innings 2)Consider some 40%(based on previous stats or expert opinion) within team total etc. to think have done some heroics 3)whether bowlers let down)whether fellow batsmen let down scored4) what is the performance in this situation.

  • Sibasish on March 1, 2010, 23:36 GMT

    Dear Anantha, Have been an avid follower of your blogs for the last few years. I think that this is the pinnacle of your statistical journey. Wonderful article. I am mightily pleased to see my "God" placed above Lara in Tests and Viv in ODIs. I always felt a few things about the remarkable similarity of Miandad and Inzy, Waugh (Steve) and Border, Dravid and Kallis and how amazingly my beliefs stand vindicated. Take a bow, sir. One more thing, I do a bit of statistical analysis myself and I use a parameter called Consistency Ratio which is to check how consistent a player is. For example, Tendulkar's consistency ratio in Tests will be 2.68, meaning he scores at least a fifty in every 2.68 innings. I feel that will take into account the more evenly distributed peaks of Tendulkar rather than Lara's who would follow extreme periods of excellence with some really ordinary periods of run-making. Could you please come up with a list of the most consistent batsmen in the game? [[ Sibashis I will do one similar to the Bowling Consistency Analysis which will be published later this week. Ananth: ]]

  • vinaykn on March 1, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Is it possible to include the weitage for tests witht he following.1)Howmany times batsmen require to bat when his team is required to save or chase with minimum of 90 overs2)What is the wicket number when he falls3)howmany overs/wickets left4)what is the result5)what is his score.These can test the crunch situation.Also can add like when he came to bat what is the situation.I believe Stevewaugh/Lara may do better than this if this critiria is catered.ODIs also we can find similar critiria.Then we can decide not only best(good,better,best),great(great,greater,greatest)also.One more thing what are top best 5 scores then what is team total,against whom,how,what match results. I think all are gettable stats.

  • vinaykn on March 1, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    Is this exercise only for best? or for great also?Both are diffferent words best(good,better,best), great (great,greater,greatest). A great batsmen weightage should be based on the following. 1) easier conditions easier match situation 2)easier conditions crunch match situation 3)bowler freindly conditions easier match situation 4)bowler friendly conditions and crunch match match situation. Is it possible to get those stats and do analysis. I am just curious to know who are great batsmen and who is the greatest?I think this factor is not covered here, may be practical problem of analysing situation.

  • Gunjan on November 18, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    Dear Anantha

    Do you think it is time to update this analysis and produce a new one at the end of 2011? Your analysis was very well-balanced and I am sure many would like to see how the numbers have changed in the past two years.

    Thanks [[ Many of these old articles need revision.I will probably do onerevision a month from January onwards. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on November 15, 2011, 15:57 GMT

    Being a SRT fan, this is heartening to see. Apart from all the reasons you have listed why he is great, i will add one more reason - people need to find different criteria to make him appear less than good. For example, fourth innings average. Lara averages lower than SRT with Smith being the highest. Then suddenly it becomes about runs in victories so Ponting goes higher. He is the best "average" batsman who delivers what he promises, lots of runs, mostly in the first innings. It makes it easier for a captain to have him in the team. By definition, that makes him a team man. And anyways, it is a team game, no individual wins a game. 13 runs usually don't mean a lot, but those 13 runs would have given the victory in Chennai and been SRT's epitome. It didn't, he lives without one. The other thing is that it is such a spectacle, cricket, that you can enjoy, BCL, SRT, RD, De Silva, M Waugh, Robin Smith, Crowe, IVR all at the same time, especially with Ambrose, Akram and Warne opposite.

  • Harsh Thakor on January 28, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    In stats analysis Tendulkar is an emperor,and if you add tests and one day games the best of all time.However stats does not tell the whole story.Viv Richards could change the complexion of a test match or one day game like a dynamite exploding .Viv could destroy great pace bolwing with greater contempt than Tendulkar ,Ponting or Lara.A century from Viv would have a greater impact on a match than Sachin who at his best made the best of opposition look like wounded prey.Unfortunately because he played for a far stronger side and played far fewer matches than Sachin or lara his statistical rating is below them.Remember Viv's slaughter of Lillee and Co in 1979-80 in one-day game at Melbourne and his superlative batting in England in 1976.How prolific Richards was gainst Lillee,Botham,Imran etc.Surely Viv would have flourished on the easier batting pitches and weaker bowling attacks of today and possibly overshadowed Sachin nad Lara.

  • Raj on April 21, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    I do not agree with Tendulkar at top in test batting, for me a fair analysis would be to see the avergaes in the all four innings. Tendulkar has more than 70 in first inning and under 38 in fouth !! Which is not great. Batting in last inning is a true test of batsmanship.

  • Ajay on April 1, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    Nice analysis. Very comprehensive. As a slight enhancement, it would be nice to have further granularity by 1. Giving weights to runs scored at home/away/neutral venues. 2. Giving weights to the innings in which the runs were scored (a fourth innings score should have the highest weight) 3. Giving weights to the quality of the opposition (eg. a score against an Aussie team of 2000 is better than the team of 1985) [[ Ajay Away runs have been given more weight than home runs. Quality of opposition already factored in. Ananth: ]]

  • Satyajit on March 6, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    I some how missed this one in January. Excellent analysis! Great work Ananth! There is one misconception going around due to Zimbabwe’s current cricket situation. People think they were really a bad team (worse than current Ban). But that is not true. During nineties and early part of noughties they were a pretty decent team. I would say better than or as good as the current WI (the team which played against Aus recently). Flower bothers, Heath Streak, Campbell, Paul Strang, Whittal, Eddo Brandes, Taibu... Streak/Strang were decent all rounders. Taibu excellent wk and nobody need to talk about Andy Flower. It was a proper test playing nation. Not only Ban but they had beaten both Ind and Pak. That was the time period (1992 to 2002, 9 tests) Sachin played with Zim. I stumbled across one article in cricinfo written as late as 2005 which talks about competitiveness of Zim (http://www.cricinfo.com/zimvind/content/story/218915.html). Bad politics resulted in team disintegrated in 5/6 yrs.

  • vinaykn on March 3, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    Usually we will hear the theory of "Others let him down".Sometimes on fellow batsmen and sometimes on team bowlers. Same argument we can see to give the weightage for performing better in odd conditions.It basically applies for lost matches. We need to consider for 1)batting scores seperately in the first innings and second innings 2)Consider some 40%(based on previous stats or expert opinion) within team total etc. to think have done some heroics 3)whether bowlers let down)whether fellow batsmen let down scored4) what is the performance in this situation.

  • Sibasish on March 1, 2010, 23:36 GMT

    Dear Anantha, Have been an avid follower of your blogs for the last few years. I think that this is the pinnacle of your statistical journey. Wonderful article. I am mightily pleased to see my "God" placed above Lara in Tests and Viv in ODIs. I always felt a few things about the remarkable similarity of Miandad and Inzy, Waugh (Steve) and Border, Dravid and Kallis and how amazingly my beliefs stand vindicated. Take a bow, sir. One more thing, I do a bit of statistical analysis myself and I use a parameter called Consistency Ratio which is to check how consistent a player is. For example, Tendulkar's consistency ratio in Tests will be 2.68, meaning he scores at least a fifty in every 2.68 innings. I feel that will take into account the more evenly distributed peaks of Tendulkar rather than Lara's who would follow extreme periods of excellence with some really ordinary periods of run-making. Could you please come up with a list of the most consistent batsmen in the game? [[ Sibashis I will do one similar to the Bowling Consistency Analysis which will be published later this week. Ananth: ]]

  • vinaykn on March 1, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Is it possible to include the weitage for tests witht he following.1)Howmany times batsmen require to bat when his team is required to save or chase with minimum of 90 overs2)What is the wicket number when he falls3)howmany overs/wickets left4)what is the result5)what is his score.These can test the crunch situation.Also can add like when he came to bat what is the situation.I believe Stevewaugh/Lara may do better than this if this critiria is catered.ODIs also we can find similar critiria.Then we can decide not only best(good,better,best),great(great,greater,greatest)also.One more thing what are top best 5 scores then what is team total,against whom,how,what match results. I think all are gettable stats.

  • vinaykn on March 1, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    Is this exercise only for best? or for great also?Both are diffferent words best(good,better,best), great (great,greater,greatest). A great batsmen weightage should be based on the following. 1) easier conditions easier match situation 2)easier conditions crunch match situation 3)bowler freindly conditions easier match situation 4)bowler friendly conditions and crunch match match situation. Is it possible to get those stats and do analysis. I am just curious to know who are great batsmen and who is the greatest?I think this factor is not covered here, may be practical problem of analysing situation.

  • Vijay Mani on February 27, 2010, 6:40 GMT

    Hi Ananth! I have started reading your analyses lately and I found them very interesting. more than the analyses the hard work that has gone into this is laudable. I have a question. I'm a Lara fan (not a Sachin hater :P , before anyone bumps into me). I would like to know if the ratings could possibly consider the burden of captaincy and other issues? even the likes of Sachin and Dravid couldn't handle them. but Lara did that and I also think if not for the captaincy he would've have scored even more in both formats.oh! It's true! and also his last 4 or 5 years of ODI career were ruined by the board (sponshorship and players' contracts issues. I'm still happy to see Lara at no.2 and I also knew if Lara is no.2 who possibly could be no.1 :) but the aforementioned off-pitch pressures should also be considered. definitely the 'star-batsman' pressure was on them carrying hopes of a whole contingent. but Lara had to endure much more. My humble opinion. would be happy If you reply. cheers!

  • Narinder Sharma on February 25, 2010, 3:51 GMT

    Sachin is keeping my words..He has scored 5 hundreds in 6 international games since i posted my first message saying that Sachin can still score some points to stay ahead of Ricky. What do you say about this Mr. Ananth? You analysis is proving to be correct:)

  • Sayantan Bardhan on February 20, 2010, 10:10 GMT

    Very interesting analysis.Few queries: a.Could you take into account runs scored under different conditions(like home or away,quality of opposition).Its complicated i know,but wud hv nade this analysis more accurate b.Avg no of runs on board when one is coming in to bat.Ponting mostly had the luxury of taking guard with his team strongly placed after a Gilchrist blitzkerig in ODIs or Hayden-Langer in Tests,unlike Sachin or Lara in ODIs or Dravid and Sachin in Tests... c.I understand the qualification criteria,but not having Sir Don or Sir Gary Sobers in the list takes the sheen off this analysis.May be u shud hv considered tests and ODIs separately. 4.Also in ODIs,weightage could have been given on runs scored while batting after losing the toss.

  • Narinder Sharma on February 13, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    I always knew it was going to be a tough task to do regulary but I am happy that atleast you agreed to it at reasonable intervals.

  • Narinder Sharma on February 9, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    Anath

    Can you please try and update this list after may be every match or atleast every series????I know its a hard task but will prove very nice one. I am very happy that my comments are proving to be correct. Since I said that Sachin can also score few good knocks and improve upon his already number one position points he has scored 3 tons in as many matches.... [[ Narinder No way can I do at that frequency. I neither have the time nor the resources to do that. Will do at reasonable frequencies. Ananth: ]]

  • Amit Gaharwar on February 7, 2010, 18:52 GMT

    Hello Ananth,

    Sterling analysis.

    Just a suggestion though can somehow the effect of crucial innings or lets say match context be quantified e.g. VVS 281 in Kolkata, Dravid's double and half century in Adelaide, Sehwag's 83 against England, Glichrist's gravity defying double against SA and many more. Quite a difficult task indeed but which might add a next level to an already bias-free and complete analysis.

  • omkant on February 6, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    For some reason I don't like such comparisions -- not to take anything away from you Ananth!

  • alex on February 4, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    Ananth - on my request re consistency and bad patch analysis. Finley (Jan 30, 2009) on cricinfo did an excellent STD based analysis: http://blogs.cricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2009/01/.

    He has taken STD the way we normally take it, i.e., on innings basis. It would be nice to see an analysis by filtering out the STD by taking a running average over 5-innings or 3-tests.

  • sohail malik on February 1, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    Overall a useful anaylsis but two players in top ten have surprised me and they are Allan Border & Steve Waugh. You Know all great players do equally well in tests as well as Odis. It's unlikely for a great batsman to perform well in tests and do ordinary in Odis. Did you consider the Odis performances of Allan Border & Steve Waugh?? Border just having only 3 hundreds with average around 31 and Steve Waugh just had 3 hundreds in around 325 Odis with average less than 33. These Stats are quite ordinary for a batsman to consider him in top 10. How in the world You place someone in top ten who performs ordinary in Odis?? I strongly oppose the inclusion of these two in top ten. Please reconsider these two in top ten list. [[ Sohail These are the numbers. There is nothing hidden. There is nothing which says that one has to perform outstandingly in both forms of the game to be in the top-10. Outstanding in one plus well/very well in another form would normally be sufficient to move a player to the top-10. Ananth: ]]

  • Pradeep on January 29, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    Fantastic analysis! Your top ten seems fair by general acclaim. Nice to know that such a deeply scientific methodology brings out a popular list. Kudos!

  • alex on January 22, 2010, 13:13 GMT

    Ananth - to build on ShashE's comment: Zaheer and Viv did not get to play very many ODI's in their physical prime (age < 32 yrs) since ODI's were not played very frequently till 1983. Richards was, by far, the best batsman in ODI's till 1988 but was quite sub-par 1989-91 --- WI CB did not grant him his wish to play through the 1992 world cup (even Lara's final 3 years in ODI's stack up better). In tests, Viv still managed a healthy >33% 50+ scores 1986 onwards (or even 1989-onwards) but failed to covert those into 100's, much less big 100's. After 2002, Lara, I think, pretty much focussed on tests alone. Considering physical age, what SRT and Ponting have done since WC07 is without a precedent. Remember, SRT's career was considered dead at the time while Ponting too has had a lot to deal with.

    Similar analysis done for the best consecutive 5 years or the best consecutive 10 years (inclusive of the match performance score) would be interesting.

  • Rajesh on January 20, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    Thanks for excellent analysis. It is very balanced. I am surprised that some of the readers say things like "x should be in the list because he was better". They don't understand that the purpose of such an analysis is to be as unbiased and objective as possible. And if they see someone they did not expect, I should reconsider their feelings. True, you can quibble about various weights such a model uses, but at the end of the day there is no perfect way. Yours is as good as it gets. The lists and the relative ranking produced are very satisfying. This is just batsmen list, and from time to time you compare their contribution to the team cause (like dravid to kapil dev, miandad to imran). I wonder if you have tried to quantify this. I know it is a daunting task, and any such list will probably have lot more heated discussions :-) I would love to see something like that. But thanks once again for excellent analysis.

  • SashE on January 19, 2010, 7:30 GMT

    I feel that the "longevity" factor has been very well handled by Mr. Anantha. The total no. of runs has been accounted for and then also been equalized by adjusting it for the rate at which each team plays matches. People seem to be under the impression that if you play enough matches, one automatically accumulates all the records. But to consistently be selected in the team as one of the top 6 batsmen in your country, maintain fitness, adapt, evolve and sustain that position over a long career should be considered in any evaluation. So the sheer amount of runs scored by a batsman should definitely be one of the factors in determining his greatness. Many say that if Richards or Zaheer or anyone else played longer, they'd scored lots more. But, that's a big 'if'. It might be that they might lose their form and actually hurt their numbers. We never know. In fact, the simple fact that they chose to retire might imply that they felt or foresaw a decline in their prowess. [[ Sashank Thanks for understanding the methodology. Many readers revert with quick comments with a 2-minute perusal. They will understand if only they take the trouble of reading the article a bit more. Ananth: ]]

  • Narinder Sharma on January 17, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    I tend to differ with the people who think Ponting can surpass SRT in this analysis by the end of their respective carreers. even if Sachin earns 25 more points before he decides to hang his boots still Ponting will require more than 100 points to get to him which is not an easy task. Mind it by no means Sachin is finished yet..I have mentioned 25 points as the lowest..He can still gain 100 more points atleast..I hope we have 1 more test series in India and Australia each before they retire....

  • Harsh Thakor on January 16, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    It is very suprising to find the omission of Graham Gooch and David Gower,who were extremely impresive in both forms of the game.Gower displayed outstanding artistry while Gooch tore apart the greatest attacks.Both of them could score at a phenomenal rate and pierce the most impregnable gaps. It must be stated that much more Cricket has been played in he modern era and thathad Viv Richards played in the modern era he may have even been at the top! Remember the way he demolished the Likes if Lillee and Imran at their best in both form sof the game.In the modern era the pitches have been far more batsman friendly and the bowling attacks weaker. It is sad that we hardly saw the likes of Bradman,Sobers,Weekes,Kanhai or Vishwanath playing enough one -day Cricketor not playing the shorter version of the game at all. In a crisis ,Javed Maiandad was a master posessing the nerves of an iceberg and at one time the best batsman in the world in both forms of the game in 1987. [[ Harsh Re Gooch and Gower, you have not perused the complete list. They are just outside the top-20. Ananth: ]]

  • Harsh Thakor on January 16, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    I wish to clarify how Tendulkar is rated ahead of Lara in the test rankings,in contrast to the analysis made about 6 months ago by you,Anantha. I agree that overall Tendulkar is the best as no batsman has displayed such consistency in both forms of the game,scoring over 80 International hundreds and about thirty thousand runs.Viv Richards,to me was still the best one day batsman as he could rip apart the best of bowling attacks ,scoring at a breathtaking scoring rate.Counting his Packer performances Viv may have nosed out Lara,overall. I feel Javed Miandad should have been rated higher ,ahead of Border and Inzamam, as he had the remarkable ability to turn the fortune of matches in his team's favout with his temperament and batting innovation in all types of conditions.I was impressed with your choice of Zaheer Abbas,who was a master in improvisation and a great one-day player . In combined ratings to me considering his ability to destroy bowling Greenidge surpassed Gavaskar.

  • Binu Thomas on January 15, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    Ananth

    I agree with you on the part that we cannot really comment on the impact Murali had on Sri Lankan cricket. Thats one of the reasons I believe that it is only a lesser impact as compared to Sachin's. Murali's impact is not well-known, hence limited to SriLanka. But thats not Sachin's case; it is well-known.

  • Binu Thomas on January 15, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    Ananth

    I am not sure if you can compare Sachin's impact in Cricket with that of Murali or any other person. Cricket was a popular sport in India, but it was Sachin's presense which made it a "religion", which in turn spinned off the "big money" in Cricket- I hope you are understanding where I come from. Please note I am not comparing the cricketing achievements of Sachin vs another, but the impact that person had on the game. [[ Binu I agree with you on Sachin's impact. Let us first forget about the hundreds of crores which Sachin as a brand is worth. But can you or me or any non-Srilankan for that matter comment on the impact Murali has made on Srilankan cricket. It is perfectly feasible that Murali has made as much or more of an impact in Srilanka. Ananth: ]]

  • alex on January 15, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    Ananth - thanks for the comment to Abhi ... summarizes my view in a nutshell. From the subcontinent itself, Murali and Imran Khan might possibly surpass SRT as a "cricketer". SRT is probably the greatest ever cricketer (and marketable sportsman+icon) produced by India but surely not its greatest ever sportsman ... that is Vishwanathan Anand!

    Here is hoping that SRT survives Punter's strong challenge and goes down as the second greatest batsman ever by the time both their careers are done with. [[ Alex I concur with your views on Anand. However let me warn you, I made that statement earlier in these columns and received quite a few brickbats questioning everything from my parentage, patriotism, sporting knowledge and what all. The funny thing is that no one, all of us included, ever puts down Tendulkar's achievements even a little bit. He is beyond all that. I only think that his demi-God status makes people pull down others which is not necessary. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on January 15, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    Ananth, Oh yes, Undeniably! The intention wasn’t to put down any great whosoever(as if our views count for anything anyway). Not Ponting or Kallis either. Murali is the equivalent to Tendulkar on the achievement scale. Kumble perhaps to a fractionally lesser extent given that he was more of a “Test” player. It is like looking at the Himalayas when you compare all these guys. In a way it is almost silly for us couch potatoes to even pass our petty high sounding comments on these colossi. They exist in a realm and on a level beyond us mere mortals. Often when you see what they do even in super slow mo it looks dazzling !! You have to force yourself to realize that it is all happening in fractions of a second. It is just that even for the laymen , with simple viewing without resorting to fine measurements, some mountains like Everest are a touch higher as compared to the other giants in the range. That‘s all. [[ Abhi If you see my response to the last comment of Alex you will understand what I say. I have no problems with you. Your extensive sports knowledge enables you to appreciate greatness wherever it is. However many do not possess that balance. Finally let me say this. By the time Tendulkar hangs up his willows, he will be all what you say. The 29029' Everest. Now he is probably Kanchenjunga. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on January 14, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    Alex, Your arguments are almost wholly "statistical"...i.e statistically, yes Ponting and Kallis have put up some impressive numbers (mostly in the 2000s) and may be put together in the same group as Tendulkar – over the last decade ONLY. You forget Tendulkar was the player of the decade for a full decade before Kallis and Ponting even became generally recognized as v.good players (never mind all time greats), i.e into the 2000s. And if you have kept generally abreast with the game you would realize that a run scored in the 90s was effectively “worth” more than in the 2000s (This of course will not show up in the pure numbers- so you may not see it)…And even ten years after the end of the 90s -Tendulkar can arguably still bat as well, or better, than them both! However as far as "impact" on the game in general in the last more than a couple of decades is concerned it is difficult to look beyond Tendulkar and Lara. They are the only two players of the era (with the possible inclusion of Warne) who are currently widely acknowledged by the cognoscenti and fans as “Geniuses” …and will be recognised as "Geniuses" by future generations. Ponting for all his steel y grit and Kallis for his extremely effective workmanship will always be a cut below- in the “very/extremely good” category. As rgds.impact purely on the cricket field, one could easily see Aus.dominating in their heydays even without Ponting. Yes, Kallis would perhaps be the most “valuable” overall player –but this because he is an all-rounder and undoubtedly a great one . In fact, even in Lara's case I recall that even during his career span WI actually won a higher percentage of matches when he was not in the team! But for 2 decades I don’t think anyone at all could even imagine an Indian team without Tendulkar… Even statistically Tendulkars overall run/hundred mountain will not be conquered- perhaps ever. In his own way he as created an insurmountable “Bradmenesque” peak. And, of course, in terms of general impact on the public and cricket psyche it is quite ridiculous to bring Ponting and Kallis into the picture with Tendulkar...only Lara has had such an impact...but he too would have to make do with 2nd place. [[ Abhi Sobers played a single ODI and scored 0. His impact, unfortunately, has to be viewed only as far as Test matches are concerned. Also the near-to-God status that Tendulkar enjoys, especially in India, overshadows the other greats, even in India. One reason why I base my analysis on numbers only. Let me also ask you one thing. What Tendulkar has done for Indian cricket is phenomenal. Isn't what Murali done for Sri Lankan cricket comparable. Isn't he the leading wicket-taker, by a mile in Tests, in both forms of the game. Aren't 1300+ wickets comparable to 30000+ runs. Hasn't Murali created mountains, almost unconquerable. In a lesser way, Kumble for India. Ananth: ]]

  • alex on January 14, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    Ananth --- your reply to Abhi says that you emphatically consider SRT to be the greatest cricketer in the 1950-present era. As a personal opinion, there are no issues. However, since it is expressed in a blog (albeit your own) where we contribute to better appreciate the data sets on a controversial topic ("best" batsman), I suggest that some are worthier --- Sobers & Kallis. Even among his contemporaries, Kallis, and perhaps Ponting should be considered greater "cricketer" than SRT ... Kallis for his batting+bowling and Ponting for his batting+fielding+captaincy. As this article shows, SRT is arguably the greatest batsman overall (and could turn out to be the greatest test batsman) in the post-1975 era.

    As an aside, while some may think that SRT had impact beyond cricket, Jonty Rhodes actually was selected by the SA hockey team to play in the 1996 Olympics! [[ Alex Sobers, provbably yes. Kallis, probably not yet. Anyhow we have to wait for the end of the respective careers of Ponting, SRT and Kallis to truly understand the total impact of the players of the last 50-60 years.. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik (the original one) on January 14, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    Ananth,

    The point is, Javed should not be merely above Inzamam, but even higher. He should be higher than Border.

    I realize subjective measures cannot be accounted for. But even Viv Richards said that Javed was the one to choose to bat for your life. Even today, I can't think of another who could assume that mantle better than Miandad. [[ Kartik I am indeed surprised. Your first comment is a subjective one. You have every right to hold your views and stand by those. But to say that Javed SHOULD BE higher than the others is a bit presumptuous. Also where does this "batting for your life" come in. If I want someone batting for my life it could very well be Jason Gillespie. The point is why bring in such extraneous comments. Haven't we had enough of the Bradman comment. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on January 13, 2010, 14:52 GMT

    I think to look into ponting stats, you will have to look at Langer/Hayden partnership. In 90's the opening was not so stable for Australia as in 2000's. May be a look at Langer/Hayden Home vs away average also reveal something more

    And that is why I always feel that Dravid is a greater batsmen than Ponting, at least for India, for his away average is better.

  • Kartik (the original one) on January 13, 2010, 6:34 GMT

    'King' Viv Richards was #1 at the time of his retirement, which sounds about right.

    Interesting that Border is so far ahead of Gavaskar. Neither was particularly good in ODIs (certainly relative to Richards).

    I still maintain that Kallis is just too underrated as a cricketer. The 5th best Batsman as per this list, and has also taken 500 international wickets at an average/stk. rate comparable to front-line bowlers of other countries, like Zaheer Khan, Vaas, Harmison, and the West Indian mediocrities.

    Let me put it this way : How many Indian medium pacers have taken as many International wickets as Kallis? If Kallis played for India, he would be sharing the new ball.

    One thing I have to protest is Inzamam Ul-Haq being better than Javed Miandad. That just cannot be. I guess subjective measures cannot be accounted for here, but Javed always brought his best to the bigger occasions. [[ Kartik Why would you really bother about the 3 points (out of 1000) which separates Inzamam and Javed. For all practical purposes, like Lara & Richards, they should be considered together. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik (the original one) on January 13, 2010, 6:21 GMT

    K. Srikkanth wrote an article in SportStar way back in 1994 analyzing the 3 young batsmen of the time : Tendulkar, Lara, and Inzamam.

    Srikkanth said Tendulkar was the top, Lara just slightly behind, and Inzamam was not quite in the league of the other two.

    Which is exactly how it turned out. Quite astute.

  • Hon on January 13, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    Yes, so Pontings figures are actually: 90s: home -42.5;away-47.2 00s: home -65.0;away-49.8 So, how do you construe these stats then? His "away" stats are similar in both the 90s and 2000s but his “home” avg. goes up by a huge 23 runs!Does this mean that though pitches the world over have become flatter ,Aus pitches have become even more drastically flatter in the last decade?

  • Abhi on January 10, 2010, 18:21 GMT

    Whoa!! thats easy-copy past from a word doc!! but i think EVERYONE except love gpe is doing that!! even in previous blogs(and other) there must be dozens and dozens of large comments. [[ Abhi Thanks. However let me say that it is not as easy as it looks. I had copied >1000 char text file and the last part beyond 1000 chars were snipped off. Possibly Word copy-paste might work differently although it takes the same clipboard route. Finally the browser might play a part. I use Firefox. Anyhow if one can do it there is no reason why everyone cannot do it. Finally why go beyond 1000 chars. Ananth: ]]

  • love gpe; on January 10, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    Ananth just a question. How come some of the persons here are able to comment well beyond the 1000 char limit? The comment column blocks me when I try to enter a comment longer than 1000 characters. Or you receive smaller comments which you then combine into one.

    And Ananth, a request. Can you do a ODI batsmen analysis just based on World Cup analysis? World cup is played across the globe, and played by all the countries. It encompasses a fair number of games in each edition. Further all the teams play on the same grounds. A world cup analysis will therefore be free of biases such as better batting pitches/weaker bowling attacks etc while offering a substantial number of games for analysis [[ Goel Now that you ask I myself wonder. Earlier when I was drafted a reply to comments, I was also stopped by the 1000-char limit. Then I would complete the mail in the monitoring system. How Abhi has been able to post a comment exceeding 1000 chars should be a nice thing to know. An analysis of the World Cup is a nice idea. I have done different things but an analysis completely dedicated to World Cups should be something nice. After all there are over 300 games to look at. I will do it sometime. Ananth: ]]

  • Xolile on January 10, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    Abhi, I use the following formula to assess the balance between bat and ball: (TeamTop7BatAve / TopTierTop7BatAve) / (TopTierBowlAve / TeamBowlAve). A score of 1 indicates perfect balance; anything below 1 indicates bowling strength or bowling friendly conditions; anything above 1 batting strength or batting friendly conditions. Here are the Test and ODI scores for the last decade.

    Tests Aus 1.01 Eng 0.98 Ind 1.11 NZ 0.85 Pak 1.04 SA 0.95 SL 0.95 WI 1.09

    In Tests both India and the WI leans towards the batting side of the equation, whilst NZ leans towards the bowling side. The other sides are broadly balanced.

    ODIs Aus 1.05 Eng 0.95 Ind 1.14 NZ 0.87 Pak 0.95 SA 1.03 SL 0.94 WI 1.08

    The ODIs pretty much mirrors the Tests analysis, although the batting bias for India is even more pronounced.

    Overall it is impossible to conclude. These observations could be explained by pitch quality, team balance or both.

  • Abhi on January 10, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    Ananth: Your method is perhaps ok for ODIs since we may assume that the pitch quality will remain the same over the day. But ,as others have brought up,in a Test match perhaps it would be more accurate if we assess pitch quality on a day-to-day basis. Hon The stats overall stats I get are: Tendulkar: home -55.3; away-54.3 Lara : home -58.7;away-47.8 Ponting: home - 58.5 ; away-49.2 I think you’ve got Pontings stats the other way round. But anyway-point taken. Pitches easier everywhere Xolile What do you think about the “pitch quality” method as used by Ananth on a match-to-match basis? Especially for Tests? [[ Abhi Yes it makes sense for ODIs. And quite valid since my Castrol work, yet to come out, is limited to ODi/T20/IPL. Ananth: ]]

  • Hon. on January 10, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    @xolile and co. Tendulkar: 90s : Away – 57; Home – 60. 2000s: Away- 54; Home- 52 Important to Note that in the 90s the only so called minnows Tendulkar played were Zimbabwe. And His worst record against any team in the 90s? -against Zimbabwe!! Lara: 90s : Away – 45; Home – 59. 2000s: Away- 51; Home- 58 Ponting: 90s : Away – 47; Home – 43. 2000s: Away- 65; Home- 50 I haven’t put in Dravids figures although I’m sure from past memory that he has done as well everywhere. Someone with his technical and mental fortitude will somehow manage. The figures clearly show : 1)Tendulkar a slight drop in his “away” avg.. 2) Tendulkars “home” avg has dropped off significantly!! So,much for easy Indian pitches! I feel that the ODI pitches are mostly perhaps batting pitches but Test pitches tend to wear off significantly as the match progresses. In the 90s most 5th day pitches in India were infact a nightmare, as compared to overseas pitches. Another reason which I believe that Tendulkars 136 against a superior bowling attack was “at least” as good as Laras 153. Nowadays, we often see very little difference between 1st and 5th day pitches. Which is perhaps why captains are much more wary of low score declarations. 3)Laras “away” record improves considerably in the 2000s. And stays as good at “home”. Apparently the WI pitches haven’t changed much, but overseas pitches are easier.And this improvement cannot be said to be because of outperformance in India. 4)Ponting improves dramatically “away” too! And also at “home”.Clearly Pontings “away” improvement cannot be put down to outperformance in India! Even though he too racked up a hundred on his recent tour on a dead first day pitch. 5)If you break down Tendulkars stats country wise- In the 2000s he has infact performed better “away” in Aus, Eng, NZ and SA ( the traditional “difficult” places for subcontinental batsmen than ) than at “home” – go figure!

    My take is that pitches are definitely more conducive to batting. But they have become easier everywhere- Whether Mumbai or Melbourne- In the 2000s it was a batsman’s game.

  • Abhi on January 9, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    1) There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that pitches have gotten flatter in the 2000s- not just in India but the world over . This is evident from basic overall batting stats of the top batsmen since 1990. Roebuck:”A time to loot and plunder” 2) What if you run some stats for Tests as well. And with some other countries besides SL. Just comparing India to SL is a bit narrow as Ananth mentions – we need some more breadth. How about some other countries such as Aus, Pak, WI, SA etc? 3) In general the batsmen on your list would be taken to be much better than the bowlers even at first sight – without even resorting to stats. India has traditionally had a pathetic bowling lineup- although admittedly it was better in the 2000s than in the 90s. But of the bowlers on that list it is doubtful whether even a single OPENING bowler one will go down as great in the ODI format (obviously in Tests –Kumble and Harby are a different story and again not that great in ODIs and they do not open the bowling) 4) As rgds other countries top orders doing better – the Indian opening bowlers opening the bowling in the 2000s on that list was probably on Zaheer (Srinath was more a 90s player). Agarkar was known to spray the ball around. Pathan was ok for a while and then lost it .RP has hardly played and is very raw. In general a very average opening bowling attack. 5) The SL bowling inevitably consisted of Vaas and somebody. In SL conditions Vaas may not have been explosive but he was far far more accurate and miserly a bowler than any opening bowler India has ever produced. 6) So, in general – The Indian batting is undoubtedly stronger than the bowling. Especially in ODIs. SL had Vaas-one of the great ODI bowlers. So, as far as avg. of top order is concerned I think most ppl would have arrived at your conclusions even without the use of stats. 7) However, my point was about the calculation of the parameter of “pitch quality” when using the same for individual “match performance “points. In that case we have to take the issue on a match to match basis. It was in that situation that I suggested we completely ignore opposition scores; coz for eg.as you yourself point out in your analysis the opposition has done better against Indian bowlers! (So in general they were weakish)…so the batsmen should not suffer because of a weak bowling lineup in “own team”. So-ignore opp team scores. For own team scores FIRST consider the “batting quality” (say top 7 batsmen) and THEN use that to determine “pitch quality”. Again , as you can see in the 2000s , India had a strong batting lineup- so it is probable that even difficult pitches may appear relatively easy. As mentioned just a few quick points to start off. [[ Abhi On the last point, for the Castrol Match performance analysis work I am using a combination of the top 5 scores in the match and the overall Runs per wicket for the match (Top 10 for tests). This has come out very well. I have gone through the high and low matches and can clearly see that it works.It also takes of the fluctuations which occur even within series. Ananth: ]]

  • mohanlal on January 9, 2010, 15:20 GMT

    Hello sir, I am thoroughly impressed by this analysis.But at the same time deeply disappointed as well in that the comments I put forward were discarded.This being a best batsman analysis means quite naturally comparisons between contenders will be analysed as well.I didn't put forward a single comment in which I degraded Brian Lara just out of passion.Infact I specified 1 highlight of his batting that impressed me the most too.Yet can't I specify any of his weekness?Yet I can't understand as to why my comments were not displayed. [[ Mohanlal I had to delete the messages since I did not want to go off on a side track. Once these arguments start they go on and on. My apologies. Ananth: ]]

  • Xolile on January 9, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    Ananth, You make it sound as if I am trying to start a war. I hope I haven't caused offence. Let me try to put it differently.

    If you use exactly the same qualitative yardstick (SR^2/DR) to measure the Top 100 ODI batsmen and bowlers of the last decade in terms of balls faced / balls bowled, the difference between the rankings of the Top 8 Indian batsmen and bowlers is vast.

    Top 8 Batsmen, India, 2000s, ODIs, Qualitative 2. Dhoni 3. Tendulkar 10. Sehwag 17. Yuvraj 23. Gambhir 29. Raina 30. Ganguly 37. Dravid

    Top 8 Bowlers, India, 2000s, ODIs, Qualitative 33. Srinath 48. Agarkar 49. Harbhajan 50. Z Khan 60. Nehra 65. Pathan 78. Kumble 84. RP Singh

    My question is a simple one: how do you explain that India had 7 batsmen in the Top 30 during the last decade, but not even 1 bowler? [[ X I was only trying to get the readers to look at it in an objective manner. Well let me also confess. Around August last year it really looked as if I was fighting a war. Ananth: ]]

  • Ashish Mehta on January 9, 2010, 13:16 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Surprised that it was not posted..no problem. But I think i raised significant point in test rating of SRT & BCL. I know it was not related to joint rating... [[ Ashish I had to delete the messages since I did not want to go off on a side track. Once these arguments start they go on and on. My apologies. Ananth: ]]

  • Xolile on January 9, 2010, 10:00 GMT

    Abhi, In response to your question: During the 2000s in ODIs the top orders of Aus, Eng, SA, WI, NZ and Pak averaged 35.41 against the Indian bowling attack but only 30.33 against Sri Lanka.

    If you take opposition team strength into consideration these numbers change marginally in favor of the Indian bowlers (to 34.95 versus 30.28) mainly because they had to face the Aussies more often.

    This very significant difference suggests either that: (i) the SL bowling attack is much better than the Indian bowling attack, or (ii) India played on much flatter pitches than SL. Obviously there is also a third option somewhere in the middle. But I tend to lean towards option (ii). India appears to have played on flatter tracks than any other ODI team during the 2000s. This has benefited the career stats of their batsmen and penalized the career stats of their bowlers. In short, the Indian batsmen are not quite as good as the numbers suggest and the Indian bowlers not quite as bad. [[ A note to the readers. Xolile has taken a statistical slice and given his interpretation and for that matter has left it open for further interpretations. Do not take this as putting down the Indian batsmen in general or anyone in particular. If you have an alternative explanation come out with that. If we remember that this is a blog for enhancing our combined knowledge (what I have learnt from my interactions with readers is something phenomenal) and not a spot for scoring brownie points, that would be wonderful. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on January 9, 2010, 4:07 GMT

    Right ho Ananth! The bait offered up by alex was too irrestible! This is the one huge peeve i have with stats. Though they make a superficial attempt at context and subjectivity, in actual fact the most critical aspects are missed out. I mean practically any Top 50 player would take out Fed if Fed had a severe case of say Tennis elbow or a slipped disc.At least people should then show the good sense of not offering up those particular head-to-heads as some sort of proof of the No.50s prowess. This is just a rough eg. but I'm sure ppl get the point. Otherwise you have ppl smugly say things to the effect that "Facts (stats) don't lie!"...and there you are pulling your hair out! [[ Abhi I have been fair in that I have removed Alex's comments also. Basically I have been wary of the hundreds of mail exchanges which took place mid last year. Also this is not a blog where comments go directly and then get answered directly. Then there is no problem. It is free-for-all. Here I am in the middle. Trying to be as democratic as possible on the one side and getting caught in a never-ending volleys of comments on the other side. I never stop at "facts/stats don't lie" but will continue "but facts/stats will not tell everything". Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on January 8, 2010, 18:16 GMT

    A few readers have asked for the methodology used. This has been summarized in a text file. To view/download this document, please right-click here and save the file. If you are not able to view the file directly you can copy and paste this url in your browser. Also the link has been provided in a clickable form at the end of the main article.

  • Narinder Sharma on January 8, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    With due respect, I must remind u that his ODI average is just 23.13 in 288 matches with just 4 hundreds. The analysis was for ODI batting only. By no stratch of mind I can understand him being GREAT batsman.

    Anyhow, I would love it if u can comment on my list of greats that I produced in my earlier message:)It will be great to hear on it from an anlytical person like u:)....

  • Narindrer Sharma on January 8, 2010, 16:54 GMT

    Hi Ananth.... I am soryy coz i could not understand much of the calculations but one thing is for sure that ur list matches mine to some extent...No. 1 is Sachin the a day light and then Lara, Sir Viv, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh, Inzy, Sehwag, Steven Waugh....and so on.....This is no analysis only my sheer feeling....Can i ask something????How come Afridi is a GREAT ODI player with less than 10 real great innings in almost as many years:)Just kidding though.... [[ He is certainly a great ODI player. 5250 runs at a strike rate of 110+ (ahead of the next best by nearly 10%). 260 wickets at 34.5 and a career RPO of 4.62. He is certainly a great ODI player. Only the myopic would not see that. On these numbers he also could be classified as a very good, if not great, ODI batsman. Ananth: ]]

  • ananth on January 8, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    What I feared has happened. This article is an analysis of the best batsmen across all formats. It is not about Tests or ODIs. It is both combined. Unfortunately it has become Tendulkar vs Lara in Tests and 2003 and so on. No more comments like that will be allowed. If you want to, I suggest comment on the topic at hand. I do not want this to become the mid-last year hysteria again.

  • ted on January 8, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    no big surprises.is kallis the best allrounder ever.i know sobers was great but he would have to be to keep up with kallis

  • Xolile on January 8, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    Ananth, There is little doubt that the Rajkot match was played on a pitch flatter than a snooker table. If there ever was a 412-run wicket then this was it. In this context there again emerges a fair contest between bat and ball. And in this context I believe Harbajan, rather than Sehwag, should have been awarded man-of-the-match. If it wasn’t for him Dilshan/Sangakkara would almost certainly have overhauled India’s total. Not everyone will agree with the concept of a 412-run pitch. They would prefer to sing the praises of their batting heroes, or lament the demise of bowling. But I for one disagree. I do not consider today’s bowlers to be worse than those of 20-years ago. It’s the pitches, the equipment and the boundaries that have been moved in favor of the batsmen. In a zero sum game there is always a point of equilibrium. It just happens that in this instance the point of equilibrium is an astonishing 412 runs.

  • Shalabh Saxena on January 8, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    I am sorry, but I just didn't understand how average is weighed. I especially got confused in the case of average difference of Tendulkar(173.8), Dravid(170.2), Ponting(168.5), and Border (168.6). I tried finding out the answer, but I am sorry that I just didn't get it. If possible, can you explain a bit...? [[ Shalabh It is not possible to determine that in an easy manner since I have incorporated career batting average, an adjustment for the all-player-averages during player's career span and the away average. There is no direct correlation. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on January 8, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    xolile further to my earlier post: My main point is that we should not even think about assigning any value to pitch quality without FIRST checking on the quality of batsmen involved. Poor batsmen will do badly on a good pitch, and the better batsmen may make even a difficult pitch look better than it actually is. Never mind "chicken and egg"...If we dont FIRST consider "Batsmen quality" then this becomes a case of putting the cart before the horse.

  • Joseph George on January 8, 2010, 5:17 GMT

    There is a big difference of opinion on Dhoni's status as the No. 1 batsman in ODIs. I strongly believe he is the best and has been vindicated by two consecutive ICC ODI Player of the year awards. Is it possible using your “Best batsman” methodology to rank ODI batsmen over calendar years 2008 and 2009?

  • Abhi on January 8, 2010, 4:38 GMT

    Xolile Could you pls give us a few basic numerical examples of your “zero sum” theory? At present it seems a bit odd- perhaps coz I’m just a bit dim witted. A few things off the bat which I find skewed: 1) When u give your 2 choices as to “why” the Indian top order has got a better avg. etc...- This can simply be answered by using the actual player “quality” with the CTDs as mentioned. After all we know exactly who the “top order” comprised. In this case it was mostly Tendulkar and Ganguly/sehwag. With SL it was probably Jaya and “X/Y”. So straight off the simple difference between Tendulkars average and Jayasuriyas average gives you the difference in top order batting average! (assuming the other partner was “neutral” in the calculation) 2) Your idea may work when comparing “Teams” to each other. But would it be equally effective when comparing “individual” batsmen? As mentioned if you simply take Match totals/ total wickets to judge “Pitch quality” as has been the norm so far -you clearly benefit a batsman who was in the foll. Unit: good batsman + poor batting unit + good bowling unit. And obviously it is the worst possible combo for: poor batsman + good batting unit + poor bowling unit. 3) As I suggested I think opposition scores should not be used at all. With a good bowling attack in “own team” skittling out an opposition team even on a good wicket would benefit an “own team” batsman. Any thoughts?

  • Xolile on January 7, 2010, 21:14 GMT

    Ananth, The India-SL match you refer to was played on 292-run pitch. Welgedera bowled Gambhir with a near perfect in-swinging yorker. He deceived Sehwag with slower ball. And he did enough to prevent Kohli to get away with a cheeky glance. All of this happened before the end of the 9th over. It put the skids under India. They never recovered. So I disagree with your statement that only the batting was functioning. Not all the bowlers got it wrong. In fact Welgedera did more than any other player to influence the outcome of the match. He should have won man-of-the-match and not Samaraweera. Even on 292-run pitch there is a contest between bat and ball. That’s the beauty of a zero sum game. [[ X I must have been a cricket-challenged person if I had been referring to the first match of the Tri-series which was a perfect contest between bat and ball. I was referring to that travesty of match played at Rajkot. That was 90-10. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on January 7, 2010, 16:38 GMT

    This analysis show, along with the previous Test batsmen analysis, Lara and tendulkar are almost equal in test matches with Tendulkar ahead on career stats and Lara on top when match performances are included. But when you include ODI analysis, to me there is no batsmen who can even dream of surpassing Tendulkar. For Tendulkar, the sheer number of runs is staggering which justifiably put him on top.

    And assuming Tendulkar plays in a strong batting line up, while Lara played in a weaker team, if Lara is a better batsmen than Tendulkar why is he still not playing? Why did he retired whereas Tendulkar talks of playing 2011 WC? The fact is that in sports, going on with the same motivation & dedication is not easy. Keeping up with the same performance level, maintaining top position is very hard. That is why you see many players who have good years but then wither away.If Hussey retired when he had avg of 80, would he be considered the best? What if Sehwag retired today? I don't think so

  • Xolile on January 7, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    Guys, I am slightly frustrated because I believe Ananth has already created all the parts – all that is left to do is bring them together. A "Unified Theory of Cricket" if you’d like. That is why I believe the batting and bowling analyses should mirror each other. Cricket is after all a zero sum game. This approach will create the necessary checks and balances in the system which would make it more robust. There will be much less room for subjectivity. Where subjectivity is required it could be backed up with research and theory rather than perception. The output would be more trustworthy. It would be fairer across geographies, across eras, and across disciplines.

    Anyway, I would suggest starting with ODIs and then extending it to Tests once a broad consensus has been reached. As I have already mentioned, the hard miles have been covered. All that’s left to do is tying up a few loose ends. Let me know if you need my input. I would be more than happy to oblige. [[ X I will look at your suggestion seriously later. My take is that Tests will probably fit in with your idea of a zero-sum game mainly because both batting and bowling are needed to work for matches to be won. In ODIs, matches can be won with one of the functions not working well. The first Ind-Slk ODI was an example of only one aspect, Batting, working. Ananth: ]]

  • Yash Rungta on January 7, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    Ananth, this article proves that Sachin is the best batsman if you go by simple statistics because he has a better average than Lara and has scored about 1000 runs more. In reality, in Test Cricket, I wouldn't say he is the best by a mile. In ODIs, he is simply the best, be it statistics or by his utility to team or whichever you look at. In Tests, I would rate Lara atleast joint first with Sachin if not ahead him, atleast as of now. If Sachin can continue what he is doing for about say 2 more years, then maybe he can be called the best...Border, Dravid, Ponting, Gavaskar fighting for the next 4 spots...

    Anyways, a really good article if you're simply interested in comparing batsmen with the use of stats.. :)

  • Abhi on January 7, 2010, 13:33 GMT

    1) Xolile, I sense a slight anti tendulkar bias on your part- just as I’m sure you can “sense” that I’m a rabid tendulkar fan! I also partly agree with the likes of Cyrus above. But to me it is still a two-horse race between Sampras and Fed. (The one huge thing in Feds favour obviously is that he has now got the French in his kitty)...but still you could make an argument, considering that there is but a One slam diff. between them. But what if Fed wins SIX more slams and takes his tally to 21?! Then anyone, i.e any tennis fan whosoever would have to go for Fed as the Greatest, since his tally would be 1 ½ times that of Pete. Similarly, the international run diff between the No.1 spot Tenduklar and No.2 Lara is some 30000:20000 , almost 1 ½ times!! This is no petty amount. Incredibly at a better avg. in both forms of the game. 2) Alex right about incorporating the previous match figures, but the thing is that that too was incomplete as items such as peer ratio and an improved pitch quality index were not incorporated. Xolile: As rgds Pitch quality there was quite a lot of talk during previous analyses as to how to tackle it. One simple way was to take only “own batsman team” figures into account. Not take into account the total scores or opposition team scores at all. However again u have the “chicken egg” situation as in then that would favour a good batsman in a poor batting unit . Since with poor batsmen in your “own team” the pitch may appear far more venomous than it actually is. And the converse would also hold. I guess the only solution would then be to use CTD figures for “own team” batsmen and THEN somehow apply these to “own team” figures. Since we then roughly know the “quality” of batsmen in “own team” it can be factored in …and obviously the opp.team bowling, pitch on that particular day etc is assumed as similar for all “own team” batsmen. Am I making sense?!

  • Ramesh Kumar on January 7, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    Xolile,

    What exactly you are trying to arrive at? Sachin in this analysis is not no 1 because he played in Indian wickets. How do you explain his average in 90s, his average outside India? If the pitches are easy, how do you explain Ponting/Lara failures? Bouncy wickets are not inherently more challenging, they are in fact conducive for stroke players like Sachin. The low and slow bounce of Indian wickets can be real problems for Batsmen. Ananth in his earlier analysis had commented that the runs across pitches/venues have been extreme as mountain of runs in one year and very low in one year. World records on team scores,Individual scores-ODI & tests have happened outside India. Any assumptions on quality of runs scored based on pitches can give us wrong leads. High performance across 20+ yrs and 30K runs-no point in pulling him down. ofcourse, you don't need to like No 1 player-there are many other great players. But tweaking the analysis to find out unseen weaknesses- a bit unfair

  • Yash Rungta on January 7, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    Hey Ananth, my bad! I was actually referring to only tests where Andy Flower is 24th but Gilly is 38th which makes A.Flower the best batsman among wicket-keepers. Sangakkara is at 20th and keeps well too but he doesn't keep in all matches, so I haven't taken him into account.

    If you'd take match situation into account, you might find Lara above Sachin. People like Laxman, Gilly, Richards,Inzy etc. would score a few more points. To be honest, without taking into account match situation, it doesn't give a true picture. The analysis you did in June which had Lara just above Tendulkar was really good. It would have been great to have an update on that as Sachin should have been closing in on Lara.... [[ Yash You should not use these tables to decide on Test rankings. Ananth: ]]

  • Xolile on January 7, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    (Continued) One possible way to deal with this is to recognize that cricket is a zero sum game and therefore construct your analysis in such a way that batting is mirrored by bowling. You have already done the ground work; all it will take is a bit of tweaking and the addition of the bowlers to the equation. Then bowlers and batsmen will be treated equally, and all nations would be treated equally. In the process the pitch conundrum would be pushed aside.

  • Xolile on January 7, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    Ananth, Possibly the biggest problem in cricket statistics is that of pitch quality. No teams illustrate this better than India and Sri Lanka. During the last decade the Indian top order averaged 35.58 in ODIs, which is 10% better than average. The Indian bowlers averaged 34.33, which is 7% poorer than the benchmark. For SL it was exactly the other way around. Their top order was 1% poorer than average and their bowlers 9% better. There are broadly two possible explanations for this: (1) India has excellent batting and weak bowling; SL has below average batting and strong bowling; or (2) India played predominantly on batting friendly pitches and SL on bowling friendly pitches. Unfortunately there is no clear way to determine which is which. Any analysis suggesting Indian batsmen benefitted from flat pitches could always be refuted by a counterclaim that Indian bowling has been below par. This chicken-and-egg problem also lies at the centre of the whole Tendulkar debate. (Continued)

  • alex on January 7, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    Ananth - A few suggestions for your planned revision 6 months down the line:

    1. Include "match performance" index (used in your article @Aug 2009 on test batsmen) and assign a reasonable, say 10%, weight to it ... it is too much work but more appropriate.

    2. Find a way to assign a weight to peak performances ... the longevity has got its due now but not the peak performances.

    3. Likewise, "consistency" does not come through clearly (and is probably assigned no weight). You had an analysis on the ave of batsmen, taken over 5-test or 10-test slices.

    4. Item 3 can be used by readers to calibrate the final rating as they may please. For example, if a batsman has a rating of 350+ in tests but averaged less than 40 in over 30% of the 10-test slices (this could be a combn of match performance, ave, and SR (if applicable)), a reader may conclude that he was "allowed" to play and add to this rating, sans a concern to his relative merit/performances. It is a useful filter.

  • Abhi on January 7, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    ************************* Ananth, Re.some above comments and oft quoted sentiments- it would be nice if we go get some sort of "composite team strengths". we keep hearing about how "X" played in some "weak" team and “Y” played in a “strong” team...if we could get a "composite team strength" of teams through a players career, say in 5 yr intervals, incorporating say all CTD stats it may give us a rough idea of team strength? Unfortunately that's as far as i can go "technically"! Unlike the xoliles,alexs and ulhass my statistical knowledge is zilch. [[ Abhi I have all the data available for this analysis. The work I did for the Peer comparisons will come in handy. I also have the ctd figures to take care of form fluctuations. We can look at the range of team strengths in a player career, the average team strengths and so on. I have pushed this idea into my "to-do" list. Unfortunately the "to-do" box is bursting at the seams. But will do something soon. As you would know by now, I need only spark and then I can go to town. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • harish sharma on January 7, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    Hey i don't understand after scoring more than 12000 runs in odi & scoring more than 7000 runs in test how is it possible that gangily is not there in the list [[ What do I do with readers like you who cannot even take the trouble of a careful perusal of the tables. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on January 7, 2010, 5:17 GMT

    Drummond,crothers etc etc 1) I think you forget that when Tendukar debuted India was considered possibly the worst team in the world- certainly away. Up till around 2000 India was a well known laughing stock away. As recently as 1999 the team manager himself stated that India would get whipped 3-0 in their Aus tour- which of course was exactly what transpired-inspite of Tendulkar winning the Man of the Series on that tour. Through the 90s Lara was infact, on a holistic basis, in a considerably superior team than Tendulkar was. In the 2000s the tables turned. 2) If you took the slightest trouble to check how Tendulkar has done against say Aus in Aus, SA, or Eng you would realise that he has actually done better against these guys in their own backyards as compared to the Laras and pontings- who have done much much better at home against these teams!! As rgds the batsman friendly wickets in India, though true to an extent-a cursory look at how ponting, Lara etc have fared in India should be enlightening. Infact a recent cricinfo study showed that in the easiest wickets to bat on were in fact in the West Indies and the easiest ground St.Johns (again buffered by laras humongous inn. no doubt)-but there you go.

    I think , in general, most of the comments in here are by the younger lot- who have not seen too much cricket before the 2000s or at most the late 90s.

  • brianlara on January 7, 2010, 4:49 GMT

    It is sad not to see Barry Richards, Graeme Pollock in the list, got penalised just because of the apartheid. Cricket lovers are too poorer. [[ Not just apartheid. Also the fact that Richards and Pollock could not have played ODI cricket at the age of 40+. Ananth: ]]

  • Cyrus on January 7, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    The one problem I find is that most commentators have made the basic logical error of mistaking “as good” with “as Great”…they are 2 very different things altogether. Some years back with Sampras still in mid career, we older fans used to have vigorous arguments to the effect that McEnroe was actually the “better” player and that at his peak he would have beaten Sampras at his peak. The general argument being Mcenroes undoubtedly greater flair and serve volley, net rushing abilities. Try passing an athletic volleyer at the net with a single hand backhand continuously for even a single set- never mind over five sets on a fast surface. Then as Sampras’s numbers started to pile up we simply had to admit that though “at their best” McEnroe may have been “as good” –Sampras would simply have to go down in history as the “greater” player.

    The similar scenario played out with Federer a few years back. With around 8/9 grand slams many people felt that Federer was “as good” if not better than Sampras. But at that point Sampras was still the “greater” player. Not any more. What happened? Simple. Federer stayed “as good” for longer, adding up the grand slams.

    Similarly, it is entirely possible (in fact quite probable) that there were a few batsmen who were “as good” at their best as Tendulkar was- which is what seems to be the pet peeve of some commentators. But Tendulkar has been “as good” longer than any modern day batsman, consistently( which as we all know is just about the toughest thing to achieve in sport –especially something as fragile as batting), in all formats- and this finally reflects in the numbers.

    So, almost exactly as the tennis arguments played out- and as many others have mentioned- sure, a few players may have been “as good” as Tendulkar at their best – but as far as the question goes as to – Who is the “Greatest” modern day batsman, then there can only possibly be one answer- Tendulkar. [[ Cyrus Well put. Also not a bad idea for people to appreciate the greatness of all great players irrespective of their nationalities. Ananth: ]]

  • peter crothers on January 6, 2010, 23:57 GMT

    tendulkar great as he is batted on more batsman friendly wickets than aus,eng,sa players for eg so the points gap betwwen 1 and 2 is ridiculous

  • rajarshi on January 6, 2010, 18:41 GMT

    Interesting analysis. However, I do not think Sehwag is better in One-day format than in the test format. some changes in the equation, may be?

  • p f drummond on January 6, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    ************************* Did you take into account that in Tendulkar's career he had the benefit of having good batsmen around him and not having to go in at 10 for 2 ala Lara also. He also played consistenly on flatter pitches and of course had the benefit of home umpiring during his early days. How can you say he is better than Lara. How many double hundreds did he score. [[ Percival If you are a true follower of cricket you will not make such statements. How much would it take a non-Aussie to say that Border/S Waugh benefited from home umpires or a non-English to say that Gooch/Gower benefited from home umpires or a non-Kiwi.... I can go on and on. I am a great fan of Lara and it would hurt me a lot if someone says that he benefited from home umpires. These are great players and I suggest you do not demean them (and in the process yourself) with such statements. I have published this only to show the attitudes prevailing. I request the readers to ignore such comments. Ananth: ]]

  • alex on January 6, 2010, 16:22 GMT

    ********************** Ananth - In ODI list, it might be better to reduce the weightage to the SR ... if you bring it down to 100 (from 150) and distribute the extra 50 into peer comparisons & batting average, that might be better. In ODI's, one can try and accept that Kapil got ahead of Greg Chappell and Lloyd due to # runs scored. However, currently, he has the same ODI score as Martin Crowe who scored almost the same # runs. This bizzare occurance will go away by reducing the weightage to SR.

    It is a bit surprising to note that Dhoni and Gambhir have faced very high quality bowling (41 and 45, resp.). Also a surprise that Gayle, who was in Top 5 in all time PFI list, does not fare that well in peer comparisons on either ave or SR. [[ Alex I have corrected the Bowling Quality to fit in with the 40 maximum. There are almost no changes to the final list as this is only a relative change. The total points get reduced, that is all. Re Gambhir, his bowling quality index points are now 35 (out of 40). I was also intrigued and checked his career record. For want of space let me only look at his 7 centuries. His centuries have all been scored against very good/good bowling attacks like Sri Lanka (4), Australia (1) and Bangladesh (2). Incidentally it is the Bangladeshi batting which is below-par. Their bowling is above-par and compares with many a better team's figures. Mortaza, Shahadat, Abdul Razzaq, Rafeeque and now Sakib-al-hasan. So Gambhir;s bowling quality average is a somewhat low 33.73 which ranks quite high in the overall range of 32.5 to 42.5. Incidentally Sehwag's is a very good 32.72. I take your point on S/R. Probably next time this analysis is done, say, in 6 months' time I will keep this in mind. A better distribution might be S/R: 100, BowQty: 50 Peer: 100. Ananth: ]]

  • Ullas on January 6, 2010, 14:54 GMT

    *************************** Ananth,

    What are your views on having a ground average applied to weigh scores? I think you would have understood me earlier but let me elaborate a bit more on it. First of all this is only important in tests. My sample algorithm outline 1. Take a player 2. Generate the cumulative runs scored in various grounds 3. Take each ground one by one and find out the first and last innings this player played in that ground 4. During this time, take the total runs scored by top 7 batsmen on that ground and number of top 7 wickets fallen on that ground 5. Create a top 7 batsmen average for this period for the ground 6. Weigh the runs scored in this ground with this average 7. Repeat for each ground the player has played 8. Repeat for each of the 116 players.

    If this is too much, just have a ground average for various grounds from 1969 to 2009 and weight the players score in that ground against the ground average. [[ Ullas This is one hell of an ask. Forget about including it in this article. This deserves a separate analysis and article. I will get in touch with you later and we can work out the finer points. Also if we are going to limit this to Tests then the older players must also come in. Thanks Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on January 6, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    @Ulhas. Good points. Several other ppl have pointed out that linear extrapolations are virtually useless in sport. Suppose a tennis player (say Fed) avgs 2 slams a yr for 7 yrs (roughly as he has so far done) and then retires. Then along comes another player who aggregates say 20 slams over 10 yrs. How can one argue that "If Fed had played for 3 yrs more he too would have got the 3*2=6 slams more as well"? Except for the generally pre ODI batsmen (such as the Don) most players have not managed to maintain their peak performances for 20yrs. With due respect to the Don he too was helped because of the much reduced stress due to fewer matches (and of course no ODIs). But, of course, the main point as Ananth points out is that we all have our "favourites". And any list which doesn't correspond to our perspectives must be flawed! So-as per some this list needs revamping-whereas to me it is perfect!

  • alex on January 6, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    ********************* Ananth - If possible, just so there is a hypothetical yardstick, pl can work out the rating of the following batsman (obtained by taking about the best from the existing batsmen):

    Test: runs = 18000, average = 63, #matches = 200, bowling quality = 42, peer index = 46 ... (I do not know how you compute the adj runs)

    ODI: runs = 22000, matches = 500, ave = 50, SR = 90, bowling quality = 37, peer comparison = 27 (ave) and 27 (SR) ... I do not know how you compute the adj figures.

    We know where the batsman stands if someone mentions either #runs or SR or #centuries or PFI or even your previous test ratings. However, that is not clear to me from this list. This list makes sense (observe relative placing of Sehwag & Richards in ODI at similar #runs or Chappell & SMG at dissimilar #runs) and is more like accrued merit ... e.g., Sanath had to deliver over 400+ matches to be rated close to Richards who played less than 180 matches; likewise for Lara and SRT. [[ Alex Will try. Ananth: ]]

  • RSK on January 6, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    This is definitely an interesting and impressive analysis. My only complaint is that quality of opposition bowling has not been given sufficient weighting, especially for the test rankings. To pick an example that is going to cause controversy in this forum, I would disagree that Ponting deserves to be rated higher than Greg Chappell as a test batsman. Chappell scored his runs off the West Indian pace pack + Hadlee, Imran, etc. Ponting scored the bulk of his runs during 2001-07 when there were no bowlers in the world (except McGrath & Warne who Ponting did not face) apart from Murali who would even have a chance of making it to the top 20 list of bowlers in the last 40 years. His average was not so impressive when facing Akram, Ambrose, Donald, etc during 1995-2001. Also, for ODI rankings, I am not sure whether you have factored in the concept of field placing restrictions introduced sometime in the last 10-15 years which artificially inflates batting averages and runs. [[ Ram The quality of bowling in Tests has been given proper weight. You will know this if you compare Gooch's bowling quality index value (42.1) and Atapattu's bowling quality index (10.0). Sufficient weight is a moot point. That way everything could be argued as having more or less weight. Ananth: ]]

  • nair ottappalam on January 6, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    ********************* Dear Ananth

    I have gone through the article as well as most of the comments quite thoroughly. Unfortunately, you didnt pick up my points in the right sense. WhatI meant to say was that the players I mentioned from England should have ranked higher than where they have been placed. I admit my mistake about Ken Barrington, since he hasnt played ODI. But Pietersen, I suppose, would be near top ten in both formats. Gooch & Gower in my view point enjoy better position than Gavaskar, Chanderpaul, Zaheer Abbas & Jayasuriya. And as you mentioned, God's own countryman, dont take any personal enmity. I have just expressed my view points. As many of the people have exprssed that they are ardent fans of Sachin. Ian Botham & Gooch were my childhood heores and after that I had been an ardent fan of Steve Waugh. Thanks [[ Dear Mr.Nair Your current mail is quite clear. However the first mail was quite confusing. I apologize if I came out strongly. Handling 100s of comments within a few hours makes one feel touchy. Both me and my wife come from Kerala and I know that you will not take offence. You will see that Steve Waugh is placed quite high. Gooch is placed as high as could be. However both he and Gower suffer from average ODI careers. Pietersen, if he can reproduce his 2007-8 form is on the way up. Botham also had an indifferent ODi career. Ananth: ]]

  • nair ottappalam on January 6, 2010, 12:01 GMT

    ******************************* Quite a futile exercise I suppose. How come there is no Englishmen in the list? The greats like Ken Barrington, Geoff Boycott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Botham, Graham Gooch & David Gower? Can you pick up a better all rounder than Ian Botham? Despite the fact that Kallis is a better batsman, if you take the all round skills, I think Botham ranks very high above Kallis. Okay we are talking about batsmen. If Gooch, Gower and Pietersen are not figuring in the list how come Gavaskar figure? Gavaskar has the dubious distinction of scoring 32 not out in 60 overs against England in World Cup 1975. Gooch is one of the all time greats in test arena. And Pietersen ranks very high in all formats. The only thing the author wanted to see was that to accomodate more players from India irrespective of their calibre. I think the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid and Sehwag is alright. Dravid might have been placed ahead of Richards & Kallis. [[ Mr.Nair Ottppalam Coming from God's own country, I am amazed how you have rushed off a mail in about 3 minutes without even doing a cursory glance at the article, leave alone a detailed read. 1. If Ken Barrington played any ODI matches, you have to enlighten me. 2.One thing you have done quite well. You have missed out Botham(78), Pietersen(38), Gooch(30) and Gower(31) (the entire lot) from the tables. I suggest go through the tables once more, this time with a little more care. And you have the audacity to say that I was interested in putting Indian players in the list. This is not like sending an SMS in 10 seconds. You need to spend at least 10-15 minutes. Ananth: ]]

  • Amit Shrestha on January 6, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    a highly commendable effort and a very interesting read as well!

    however, for me and as clear from the above comments, your analysis only confirms that preparing a ranking, particularly that transcending different periods, based solely on statistics is not any easier than that based on subjective assessment of the players' quality, strength of opposition, match winning performance etc etc. Your methods are based on statistics alone, and in that sense is a very objective test of what is a very subjective test. i would point out that there is a lot of subjective assessment involved even in your analysis and therefore it cannot be argued to be the ultimate list (not that you have!). for instance, you have sought to adjust scores for batsmen who played less matches (Viv Richards comes to mind) as compared to someone like tendulkar. To what extent you do that is again an subjective issue. change that factor alone and you get a differt ranking altogether! nonetheless good effort!

  • ratnakar on January 6, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    every tom dick and harry is out to prove sachin is ahead of lara as he scored 40 odd tons in test cricket some 40 odd in ODIs blah blah blah..but waht abt the way they are scored and lara got all the big knocks he got not cuz of the windies support but desite the windies support..how many times its the case of a score board looking like 2 5 183 34 24 2 5 6 11 2 3..you know what i am getting at..i am not going to present stats here as i am not trying to explain this to my mom...come up with whatever you like..brian charles lara is unique and one mr sachin can never ever dream of getting any closer to him..he can score another 20k runs but he can never ever evoke the sheer thrill and rollercoaster ride brian lara does for a fan..you may let this go,Ananth.

  • ratnakar on January 6, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    I first appreciate the fact that you take pain to answer almost each and every query/comment posted here. Now coming to what you said-- For instance the Test decade eleven which came out in Cricinfo recently did not have Brian Lara. I personally think it is ridiculuous but then brush it away saying that it is the summary of personal compilation of about 10/12 writers/analysts, that is all. I suggest, let go.

    I wish i could let go of this as well,Ananth. But believe me its not easy when your heart races and all the emotions you had by making one Brian Lara a demi-god.Is it his mistake if he could not get into the team when he was 16? Not every one can be a child prodigy..not every one will have that chance.I am fed up of reading especially in the indian media..sachin is the best cuz he played since age 16..you very conveniently said ur not taking math performances into consideration..so there you go..its anyone's guess who will come on top by the sheer number of the matches..contd..

  • Ullas on January 6, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    **************************** I did the extrapolation I suggested for Viv myself and here are the results

    Viv would have scored 13349 runs in 364 innings and considering 52 not outs, his average would have stood at 42.78. As per the rating points currently the advantage of Viv over Sachin without considering the runs and average is 22.5. Sanath who has scored around the same runs (a little more than this extrapolated figure) gets around 20 lesser rating points than Sachin and Ponting who has around the same average (Actually little higher at 43.19) gets 5 rating points lesser than Sachin. So just taking these two alone would have again put Sachin higher than Viv in the whole rating points (This is not even considering the 50 rating points for adjusted runs - Where also Sachin scores higher than Viv). So I dont think there is any reason for complaining about #1 and #2 in ODI charts according to the criteria set by Ananth. [[ Ullas That is a valuable point and thanks for the work done. Makes sense, And one thing I don't understand. People have complained about the runs scored and the adjusted runs parameter and say that it is unfair to the olden players. However no one is talking about the very high batting average which Richards/Zaheer maintained. I have assumed that they would have maintained this average of 47++ over the entire extended career. That certainly has benefited Richards and Zaheer. Ananth: ]]

  • Ullas on January 6, 2010, 10:45 GMT

    Read lots of comments about people asking about the weightage for runs scored and why they would like to see a much more equal value for Tendulkar's 17k scored at 45 versus Richards 6k scored at 47. Richards might have missed out but I don't believe that playing 17 years alone is a testimony to the fact that he will be scoring the same amount of runs at a similar average over 400+ matches. Playing almost every third day of a year takes much out of your body and your concentration level than playing once every week or month. If people are still not satisfied, one option I suggest is to take per innings average of Richards each year and multiply it with 21.4 (It is the average number of ODI's played by Sachin every year over the last 20 years - Have removed the lone innings in 1989). This should give the cumulative runs in 364 (17*21.4) innings. To calculate the average, not outs can be extrapolated as 52 (24/167 * 364) and hence the total runs by 312 innings should give the average.

  • JAYARAM BALASUBRAMANIAN on January 6, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    Dear Ananth, Hats off to your fabulous analysis and it effectively settled the long lasting issue of who was the best batsman of modern era.In an exhaustive analysis like this, let us not bother about some anamolies here and there. However, I would like to know that why such important parameters like no centuries, fifties, fours and sixes were not given due weightage. Of course, it might not have changed the final analysis significantly.

  • rohit on January 6, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    great work. but how come u say Jayawardene is the best srilankan batsmen. his record in south africa and australia are ordinary. moreover he scores runs only in sri lanka .

  • Ullas on January 6, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    First of all hats off for such a huge effort.As a Sachin fan, I am obviously happy that he has come first in a combined list (though it was sort of given the moment I read you are going to give equal weightage to both forms). However, there are certain grievances from my side though that might displace Sachin from the top. 200 points for test average seems to be a little too high and if the exercise was performed lets say a year back, Ponting would have leapfrogged everybody in tests just because he had an average more than 58. Can we make the weightage 100 and increase the bowling quality weightage to 100 and then add a 50 points for the grounds? I know its fairly difficult to account for flat tracks but here is my idea. Have a ground average (Better if it can be calculated for certain years) and weight the runs scored on the ground with the ground average. Better would be to weight the score against the ground average from the year he has first innings there to his last. Luv, Ullas

  • Abhi on January 6, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    *********************** Another example of the diminished utility of strike rates occured in the Aus-Pak fiasco today. One and a half days to score 176. And they throw their bats around like millionaires. Just good old fashioned ,grinding crease occupation would have done the job. But then that's easier said than done. [[ Abhi and the value of that rather slow 100 by Kallis. Ananth: ]]

  • Xolile on January 6, 2010, 9:04 GMT

    ********************* Ananth, Alex’s comment hits the nail on the head. On balance, based on his achievements to date, Sehwag the ODI batsman could be considered a little better than average. Yet he ends up in the top three based on your Qualitative measures

    Top 5 ODI batsmen based on Qualitative measures 1. Richards 317.3 2. Abbas 307.0 3. Sehwag 291.7 4. Tendulkar 288.7 5. Dhoni 286.5

    Do you honestly believe he should be higher than Tendulkar, Dhoni, Ponting and Hussey? He ends up this high because of the importance you have assigned to SR and your non-conventional treatment of not outs.

    Anyway. Thanks again for the thought provoking post and the spirit in which the subsequent debate has been conducted. [[ X There could be justification for lowering the weight for S/R. Re not outs, something has to give somewhere. Hussey's 54.07 with 34% not outs against Smith's 40.67 with 6% not outs. My method lowers Hussey's to 43.13 and Smith's to 39.53. Aren't the later values far more acceptable. Ananth: ]]

  • Yash Rungta on January 6, 2010, 9:03 GMT

    ************************* This article proves that Andy Flower is the best batsman among wicket-keepers and not Adam Gilchrist. Dhoni is not far behind but he has a long time to go. But Dhoni's glovework is the best that I've seen, such quick hands and its very very rare to see him drop a catch or miss a stumping. His wicket-keeping just goes unnoticed because of his batting and innovative excellent captaincy.

    It seems you didn't give any relevance to importance to the match situation. So it seems Lara's 375 or 400 would easily score over Laxman's 281 or his own 153* and Sehwag's 254 against Pakistan in a boring draw would score over his excellent 201* against Sri Lanka. which shouldn't be the case. Or am I missing something??? [[ Yash Gilchrist is 14th and Andy Flower 33rd. So Gilchrist is still the best keeper-batsman, by a mile. Match performances have not been incorporated. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on January 6, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    Ananth, Right about the "majors"! And I can assure you I am one of the multitudes who are absolutely convinced that some of the previous lists are "flawed"!! And, of course, after this list there is absolutely no doubt that you are truly Einstein reincarnated! The thing is the previous lists were actually much more subjective as concerns things like weightages, no peer ratios incorporated, partially incomplete bowling and pitch quality ratings etc etc etc. As others have said you had mentioned that you will tweak the pitch quality index to reflect the own batsman team scores,and not overall scores-(but that never happened)etc.etc.. i.e slight changes in so many parameters, weightages etc would easily have resulted in a change in the rankings. In this list, however- I think however much you change the weightages, etc you will still only ever get Tendulkar at the top.

  • James on January 6, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    ************************* Sorry Ananth, I certainly didn't mean my example of the hypothetical Bangladesh batsman as an implication of bias on your part at all. I meant it purely as was written: if the aggregate leader was a mediocre batsman (of any nationality!!) it would prove aggregate is merely a measure of stamina and being consistently better than your countrymates (to get selected). I personally don't feel that aggregates prove much apart from that. To me a spectacular 10 year career is JUST as good as a spectacular 15 year one. How long must a career be sustained after all?

    And thank you for pointing out the era adjustments. I misread those figures, they are certainly not a pittance!! My fault. But I would like to see it weighted more to help out Zaheer and others even more. [[ James Thank you. It was niice of you to come out with a clearance. I am also probably hyper-sensitive in these especially as I travel the extra miles to keep any bias out. I get the feeling that Zaheer has got a windfall adjustment while Richards less so. But let us accept that something has been done to redress the balance. Possibly if I had not done at least this much, the list would have been a current-centric one, Now there is a reasonable distribution over the 40 years. Ananth: ]]

  • Atif on January 6, 2010, 7:57 GMT

    the most important thing to consider in a batsmans is, ''How many times he has played a match winning inning and guided his team to victory''. This should be seen with the number of matches one player has played. Sachin is no doubt one of the greatest player world has ever seen, but i dont think he has guided his team to victory many time as compared to Dhooni (in terms of no. of match Dhooni has played). Likewise, you Miandad, who has played no. of innings due to which Pakistan achives victory or lets say D'Silva of Sir Lanka.

  • Assish on January 6, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    *********************** Where is Yuvraj Singh in ODI list. It must be within first 15. Strange !!!!! [[ Do you people ever take trouble to read an article completely before rushing with your comments. I am not going to answer this pointless query. Please re-read the article and/or the earlier comments Ananth: ]]

  • bshah on January 6, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    In the list gavaskar is the only one who never faced a fast bowler of any repute in domestic cricket,played without helmet in much difficult batting conditions,yt scored 21 hundreds against mighty powers of WI and aus of that era,he has 11 hundreds out of 34 in 2 nd innings of a match whereas someone like sehwag has 1 out of 17.Gavskar is perhaps the only one in the list with double hundred as highest score in each of the four inngs of a test match.He also has best 2 nd inngs avg of 54 ,tendulkar 41 and sehwag 30 ,s waugh with 30 are above him in the list..2 nd inngs is the worst to bat on,gavaskar has two 2nd ings winning hundreds outside subcontinent..tendulakrs cooresponding highest is 37 runs..sehwag has not scored even a 50 in any inngs of a test outside continet as winnings effort..(pl confirm)..so many such factors which actualy judge the skill of a player to bat in difficult conditions are not covered..

  • bshah on January 6, 2010, 6:55 GMT

    In the list gavaskar is the only one who never faced a fast bowler of any repute in domestic cricket,played without helmet in much difficult batting conditions,yt scored 21 hundreds against mighty powers of WI and aus of that era,he has 11 hundreds out of 34 in 2 nd innings of a match whereas someone like sehwag has 1 out of 17.Gavskar is perhaps the only one in the list with double hundred as highest score in each of the four inngs of a test match.He also has best 2 nd inngs avg of 54 ,tendulkar 41 and sehwag 30 ,s waugh with 30 are above him in the list..2 nd inngs is the worst to bat on,gavaskar has two 2nd ings winning hundreds outside subcontinent..tendulakrs cooresponding highest is 37 runs..sehwag has not scored even a 50 in any inngs of a test outside continet as winnings effort..(pl confirm)..so many such factors which actualy judge the skill of a player to bat in difficult conditions are not covered..

  • b shah on January 6, 2010, 6:35 GMT

    (1) It does not cover factors such as captaincy pressure, the skill required to bat in 3 rd ,4 th inings of a test, in the above list gavaskar has one of the best 2nd inngs avg(of a team) of 54 runs and 58 in 4 th inning,whereas tendulakr 41 and 37,sehwag 31 and 30,s waugh 35 and 25 rspectvly(2)OUTSIDE SUBCONTINENT:Amongst the indian players gavaskar is the rare one who has scored two winning hundreds in teams second innings of a match,tendulkars correspoding highest is 37 runs,sehwag has never scored even a 50 in any innings,no other indian in the list has ever scored a winning hundred in 2nd inng of team.(3)Gavaskar has a rare record of having double hundred as highest score in each of the four innings of a test match,perhaps no one in the above list has.(4)Gavaskar played without helmet,never faced fast bowlers of any repute in domestic cricket, the batting conditions in those days were much difficult,yt has socred 21 hundreds agnst aus and WI of that era,many such factors nt covrd

  • Pranav on January 6, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    I have always been impressed by your analysis Ananth. This one really takes the cake. It actually proves, even though it is objective, what a lot of past greats have been insisting upon for a long time - there is no greater batsman than Sachin Tendulkar since a long, long time. The objectivity of this analysis makes that evidence even sweeter and more authentic. I haven't commented ever before, and I take some time to understand the mathematical calculations, but it is nevertheless fantastic. Let me say this, not because my favourite batsman is on top, but because I really really mean it, that you deserve great recognition, even if you don't seek it. Your analysis are some of the most comprehensive I have come across. And I am not being flattering.

  • alex on January 6, 2010, 6:22 GMT

    ********************** Ananth - 1. re Xolile's comments on Sehwag: If 270 is the par score, you expect the Top 6 to score @230 and face 45 overs --- i.e., ave @38 facing 45 balls. Then, on average, Sehwag scores 3 runs less but gives the remaining Top 6 batsmen 10 additional deliveries to score those. So, on average, he needs a little bit of help but is doing fine. ( Richards was in quite different a league in an era where the par score was lower).

    Ananth - for a good batsman, it appears the rating will generally increase with # matches. It is difficult to see exactly how though. Could you pl add a column of matches played? No one should accuse you of bias if what SRT did over 20 years overtakes what Lara did over 16 years ... it stands to reason that Nadal was better than Federer for 2-3 years but, overall, Federer probably should be considered to be the better player. [[ Alex 1. ODIs are about winning matches. Sehwag is a rather inconsistent (in ODIs) match winner. As Symonds, Afridi, Yuvraj are ( at lower levels) 2. Will do. At least in the downloadable files. Ananth: ]]

  • Mark H on January 6, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    Several of these players including Lloyd, Greenidge, Richards, Chappell lost some of their better years due to World Series Cricket playing regularly against world class attacks (Lillee, Roberts, Holding etc). Was any compensation given for this period of time. It would be interesting to see these figures added in to see how that altered the final stats.

  • baka on January 6, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    ******************** I wonder where is Mohammad Azharuddin is you list ? He scored 9,000 ODI runs and 6000 Test Runs [[ Please take the trouble of perusing the lists before coming out with such queries. Azharudin is 34th, 39th and 23rd in the three tables. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on January 6, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    ************************ Great work Ananth, very comprehensive. Strong cricketing knowledge has gone into this, making this analysis very relevant. Some of the comments are disappointing though. Just like Sachin fans who can't accept anybody other than him at the top, there seems to another group who are hell bent on bringing him down. Statistics or no statistics, you can't bring down players like Sachin Lara Ponting and probably Sehwag just because we get nostalgic about players of earlier generation. What seperate them from earlier generation is that these players can play well across many matches, formats and continents and can survive excessive analysis of opposite teams. Some comments are trying to picture Sachin as rums accumulator or as if it happened by accident True Cricket fan would have seen his strokeplay, technique, allround game, his reading of a game-a true genius and not to mention his off-field behaviour. Sachin'slongevity across formats-tribute to modernbatsmen. Let us enjoy both Sachin & Viv [[ Ramesh You have hit the nail on the head. I am exasperated by both types of comments. One set of people who were calling me all sorts of names a few months back suddenly think I am Einstein. Another lot is pulling down Tendulkar for the heck of it. Why can't people enjoy the outstanding skills of Tendulkar, Lara, Richards, Sehwag and Ponting irrespective of where they are placed in transient tables. And you have not seen some comments which have been trashed. One from England insisted that Bradman was the best and anything else is baloney and nonsense !!! Ananth: ]]

  • waspsting on January 6, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    i love reading these statistical things you come up with! thanks. as long as they aren't taken TOO seriously, they make for good reading. ODI comparisons across eras is even harder than test comparisons. the game's changed so much - Greenidge and Haynes were considered butchers in their time, now they'd be pedestrians. and the batting position dictates the type of game a player plays. agree with Tendulkar being the best ODI player - he's had the hardest job of all - a combo of whats expected of Jayasuriya/Gilchrist as well as Pontin/Inzamam type players. and he's done a great job. as for test player... IMO, Tendulkar has not distinguished himself statistically from many of his contemporaries - Ponting, Kallis, Dravid, Sangakarra etc. but he's played more so lasted longer. Not an obvious statistic superiority like Sobers had over his contemporaries. Same with Richards - Gavaskar, Greg Chappell, Miandad and Border all right there with him.

  • vj on January 6, 2010, 6:00 GMT

    u emphatically think tendulkar is the best since 1950. i'm sure u r missing the point.sobers, pollock, richards were better players. the only parameter in tendulkar's favor is number of matches played( not even longevity, sobers played for 21 yrs) . also to match tendulkar's overall odi score basically richards shud have scored abt 10,000 runs in 167 odi's so basically average 70 ( 10,000/143). come on.! and then despite having better avg,sr,peer comparison,etc he wud still be equal to sachin. pls think!!!

  • Abhi on January 6, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    ******************** xolile,(and james etc) For once I think you've completely lost the plot. It is like saying Nicklaus is "only" considered great because of the "number" of slams he has won. Tendulkar has over 30,000 international runs,88 international hundreds,scored over a period of 20 years, in all conditions, against all bowling attacks,all over the world...And inspite of the injuries,pressure,etc etc...at the end of it all he STILL averages as good or better than any of his contemporaries. Let someone get even close,then we can have a rational argument. [[ Abhi Your remark can be extended to Federer/Pele/Gretzky/Owens/Lewis/MdAli et al. Although I must say that in one sentence you have combined Tennis and Golf. The point is that no one is trying to make an average or above-average performer great by artificially inflating certain parameters. Only one aspect of scoring 30000 intl runs (or for that matter capturing 1300 intl wickets) is the longevity. The traits I have referred to in the article plus other factors constitute the greatness. Many a time have I confessed that Tendulkar is not my favourite player. However that does not mean I cannot admire his greatness and once-in-50-years achievements and appreciate his sterling qualities with awe. I do not consider him as God or demi-God as many Indians do. However, I will emphatically say that he is the greatest cricketer, by a significant margin, in the era 1950-2010 and clocking. And this is said without in any way bringing down the other greats of these years. Ananth: ]]

  • srini on January 6, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    well u have left almost no quarter have u?? awesome man!! still u wud make my day if u accept my view that non-openers' SR should be adjusted if u do a re-analysis. i think lara's sr of 79-80 batting mostly at 3/4 is of the same value as sachin's 85-86 opening most of innings.

    can't wait for the bowlers' analysis. my only wish is mcgrath finishes ahead of warne. i believe mcgrath is of higher importance to oz than warne. oz never missed a beat when warne missed a whole year while mcgrath missing/being half fit a series impacted the result soooooo much.

  • James on January 6, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    ****************************** I think my qualms were handed by Xolile - Tendulkar gets a big head start. Yes he's made more runs than anyone else, but I think the runs scored bar needs to stop somewhere, you can't just go infitintely upward and while you've adjusted a bit, your adjustment is a mere pittance really for players who barely got much chance to play ODIs/Tests. If the runs scored record holder was a mediocre Bangladeshi batsman who'd averaged 35 over 25 years because they didn't have anyone better to drop him for, you wouldn't be arguing to use aggregates.

    And of course Tendulkar has made more runs, he gets to open for a team that plays a LOT of ODIs. So a serious suggestion: I think ODI runs aggregate should not be as heavily weighted since openers are HEAVILY favoured over his career. Many times a number 5 or 6 will barely bat in ODI cricket - he is penalised here. [[ James Your points are valid. However the last sentence of your first paragraph marred your comments. Let me assure you, if there was a Bangladeshi player who is half as good as Tendulkar, I would support him all the way. One of my favourite all-rounders in the world is Sakib-Al-Hassan. My favourite players are not Indian. My favourite team is not India, I have always supported the Sri Lankans and the previous West Indian team. Kindly do not ever imply any favouritisms on my part. Have you noticed how much Zaheer Abbas' run points have increased with the adjustment. Or Richards' or Greenidge's or any other 1980 player's. Have you noticed that the Adjusted Runs index for Zaheer Abbas (with 2572 runs) is 16.2 while the same measure for Dravid (with 10765 runs, 4 times) is 17.0. How can you say that say this is a pittance. Zaheer gets a total of 29 points for his 2572 runs while Fleming (8037 runs) gets 53 points. Also There is a limit and that is 100 points. Ananth: ]]

  • srini on January 6, 2010, 2:35 GMT

    ************************* sorry anantha i can't get rid of SR weightage for batsmen. you have adjusted the runs for average and not outs and i think u shud do the same for SR. i can see that u arent going to do a further analysis but if u do change ur mind this has to be considered. i can understand the early juice factor etc but an undeniable fact is that opening (& lower order)batsmen get more opportunities to score more runs at a faster pace than batsmen 3-5. this is especially true in case of ponting and richards (who is a freak btw) who've had openers who bat for a long time. it is quite difficult for a non-opener to come and immediately rotate strike (usually against spinners/slow bowlers) and expect them to maintain a high SR in the mid 80s. also, have u considered eras when it comes to SR? richards and kapil dev were freak exceptions having high SRs but the usual practice back then was to bat slow keep wickets and go bonkers in the end. so the lower SRs are expected. 150 is too high a factor imo. [[ Srini The strike rates have been adjusted for eras. That is the reason you will find Richards' and Zaheer's strike rates valued considerably higher. Ananth: ]]

  • Sanchez on January 6, 2010, 2:05 GMT

    ************************** A couple of people have suggested auto-updating, which would be nice if it was possible. But I wonder, how much would these change in 6 or 12 months? Can a player like Ponting of Sehwag change their spot because of one series? [[ Sanchez (unlikely pseudonym for a cricket supporter) Everything depends on the relative positions. My take, if we take the current methodology as the base, is that Ponting, with 3-4 great months would unseat Lara/Richards for the second spot. After that things might be status-quo for a long period. Dravid might very well retire in the 5th position while Kallis might take upto two good years to leapfrog over Lara/Richards. However Sehwag, with a good series against Bangladesh, might move into the top-10. But remember that Sehwag has scored only 97 runs in three tests against Zim/Bng. Possibly 12 months might be the right period. Ananth: ]]

  • Alwyn on January 5, 2010, 23:32 GMT

    Ananth, just out of curiosity, what are Bradmans' points in the Test list? I am guessing close to 450.

  • Geico on January 5, 2010, 21:42 GMT

    ********************** Equal weights to Tests and ODIs is a rank bad idea, given the entirely different amounts of stamina and strength needed in the two formats.

    If you think that playing 100 Tests well and 100 ODIs well are equally deserving of acclaim, you seriously have had something far stronger than coffee this morning. [[ Looks like you are the one who has imbibed something stronger than coffee before finding the strength to press a few buttons. Who has compared 100 tests and 100 ODi matches. Only in your muddled imagination. We are equating 150 tests and 450 ODi matches. Ananth: ]]

  • Xolile on January 5, 2010, 20:35 GMT

    *********************** Ananth, I will try to explain why statistically Sehwag is not as good an ODI player as you give him credit for in your analysis.

    A team has 10 wickets. If you adjust this to include some buffer and reflect the weaker quality of lower order batsmen, they effectively have 7 “full” wickets. This means they can loose a full wicket or specialist batsman every 43 balls. On average Sehwag looses his wicket every 33 balls. More than 75% of the time he doesn’t last for 43 balls. This creates pressure which his team mates have to absorb. More often than not they have to do his job for him.

    This goes a long way to explain the inconsistency the Indian team has experienced in ODI cricket during the last 12 months. They need someone like Dravid at No4 to stabilize the innings when needed.

    I therefore suggest you reduce your SR weighting from 150 points to 100 or 75 points in future analyses of this nature. [[ X That is a very facetious argument. Dont forget that in those 33 balls Sehwag would score 34 runs while the others around him would have scored the same 34 runs in 43 balls. Some of the batsmen might even take 53 balls to score 34 runs. Your argument of lasting for x balls will work out in Test cricket, but in ODI cricket, I am not sure whether the argument holds true. Ananth: ]]

  • Varun Mishra on January 5, 2010, 19:21 GMT

    Dear Sir, Take a bow for this excellent analysis. This is the first piece of statistical analysis which raises much more applauds than eyebrows. -regards, Varun

  • Nadeem Mansoor on January 5, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    In my opinion it is unfair to compare the stats of the players from 70s & 80s to those afterwards for the following few reasons.

    a) Batsman now have lot more protection (helmet etc.). b) Bowlers are limited to one bouncer/over. c) Pitches are mostly batsman paradise. d) Weaker teams like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were not there in 70s. e) Batsman after 80s never faced pace attack like the one which West Indies had.

    Had Richard, Javed & Gavskar being playing today, their stats would be no different than Tendulkars.

  • Ravi on January 5, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    Dear Ananth, Terrific analysis. I am glad to see SMG, SRT and RD right there. As a Hyderabadi, I have to ask this - VVS at 35 in Tests seems fair. Why did you not add a couple of factors for Beauty and Situation. Poor VVS has mixed both beauty and grit as the situation demanded for the country. - Regards Ravi

  • Yash Rungta on January 5, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    ********************** One request, why don't you make these lists auto-updating so that we can have a look at these after about 6 months and see who has gone up and who has fallen down. I'm pretty sure Ponting would have been above Richards or tied with him at 732 had you done this article about 8 months back. Although his longetivity index must have gone up, he hasn't done well in the last 6-8 months especially in Test Cricket and he must have lost some points. Although in ODIs he is still doing well, so who knows.

    Sehwag simply lacks longetivity factor. A few years down the line, I hope to see him in the top 7 if not in top 5. [[ Yash Basically I have to redo these analysis (or improved versions) 6/12 months down the line and present the tables. This is the only way it can be done. Ananth: ]]

  • Matt on January 5, 2010, 14:59 GMT

    ************************ I don't mean to cause offence, I know that plenty of people love looking at cricket stats, but I can't help feel that this table is a bit arbitrary. It seems like you have picked arbitrary weightings to apply to a player's different stats, then seen if the list corresponds to your opinion (or common opinion), then adjusted the criteria/weightings until it does!? To have any meaning the weightings/rules for inclusion would have to be decided by objective independent analysis - possibly an impossible task. You haven't done that here (as shown by the lowering of the ODI limit to 1977). This is a common error when compiling stats - adjust the criteria to fit the expected results. After all - it is impossible to objectively compare quality of bowling, wicket quality, pressure etc, so there can never be a definitive answer/ranking. It's all opinion. Why not simply publish OBJECTIVE stats (runs, av, sr etc - and spend time on some more interesting ones) and let the discussions commence! [[ Matt 1. I have not adjusted the criteria to fit the results. The lowering of bar to 1977 will be welcomed by all cricket-lovers since it allows a giant to be included. For that matter 2000 itself is arbitrary, why not 1977, why not 2124. I only want to make sure I have a reasonable population size. 2. This is not a statistical analysis. Most of your points do not apply. 3. Objective stats are provided by Stasguru. Why do you come off the Statsguru to these non-objective analysis at all. 4. You have nothing to prove that the weightings are arbitrary. They are the result of many discussions between a group of informed people. Even there it is a consensus. Your statements in fact are arbitrary. Finally who decides what is right. If your own perception is that Richards should be on top and the result does not go that way, you would immediately fault that analysis. If there is another analysis which shows Richards on top, then that is a good analysis. Kindly read Simon's comments. He has understood clearly what is the objective of this analysis. He has also identified one player close to his heart, Border, and appreciated the fact that this analysis has been able to put him high up. My objective is not put XYZ at no.1, it is rather to show the sterling cricketing qualities of ABC, PQR, EFG and others. In the bargain someone has to be at no.1. Look at Gooch's Bowling Quality index value. You will see that he has been recognized as having faced the toughest bowling anyone ever faced. That is Cricket, not statistics. Ananth: ]]

  • Xolile on January 5, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    ************************* Ananth, The first two categories for both Tests and ODIs (“Runs scored” and “Adjusted runs”) could be considered as Quantitative in nature and the rest as Qualitative. Here are the Top 5 batsmen for each of these categories:

    Quantitative 1 Tendulkar 248.5 2 Ponting 195.4 3 Lara 189.5 4 Kallis 177.8 5 Dravid 177.5 Qualitative 1 Richards 588.7 2 Tendulkar 562.0 3 Gambhir 553.4 4 Sehwag 551.3 5 Chappell 550.7

    What is striking is that although your Quantitative measures account for fewer points than your Qualitative measures, your Quantitative measures account for most of the difference between the top players. It effectively gives Tendulkar a “head start” of more than 50 points over his nearest rivals. I am not sure whether this is justifiable. The presence of both Gambhir and Sehwag in the Qualitative Top 5 also appears a little odd. I am not suggesting there is an Indian bias here. Obviously you have proven your integrity and are beyond reproach. [[ X You are correct. However once we decide to give reasonable weight to the longevity-based Runs scored measure, Tendulkar, who has scored 25+% international runs more than Ponting will always start with the 50 point cushion. And come what may, I am never going to accept complete removal of these quantitative measures. They indicate many sterling qualities which we look for in players. Enough has been written and talked about of Sehwag. UNTIL HE FAILS COMPLETELY OVER A PERIOD OF, SAY, 12 MONTHS, we have to accept that he is a phenomenon, the like of whom has not been seen for a while. His Test average, Peer comparisons, the quality of bowling attacks faced, ODI strike rate (more than making up for the lower ODI average) all lead to his presence in the top-5. As far as Gambhir is concerned, he has the highest batting average amongst all contemporary batsmen, he has scored less than 10% of his runs against the weak bowling attacks, his 38 ODI avge at 85.0, the quality of ODI bowling faced have all contributed towards this presence. Again we are probably waiting for Gambhir to have his lean patch and come down to earth. Ananth: ]]

  • Sarosh on January 5, 2010, 14:13 GMT

    I read this on a British paper blog.But it seems uncannily relevant to the topic at hand! From a person called "Gluck"..I reproduce below(unfortunately without his permission)! “ Gentlemen, I think Brian Lara, bless his heart, was a great batsman. But he is held in such high regard partly because of his swashbuckling style and the fact that his few highest notes were higher than anyone else's. The truth is that he was nowhere near as consistently good as Tendulkar has been and still is. Consider this. In 4th innings, Brian averaged 2 runs lower than Sachin, and has 8 hundreds in winning causes vs Sachin's 16. And apart from the 153*, he has done virtually nothing in 4th innings chases. But that innings has always been cited in a "what has sachin done?" argument. Before Sachin buried the idiots at Chennai last year, of course. And let's not even bring ODIs into the picture. I'll risk sounding like a troll and say that it's ludicrous to me that anyone would look beyond Sachin as the greatest player in limited overs history. He has 32 hundreds in winning causes, has made runs eveywhere and in real pressure cooker situations (he averages 56 with 6 hundreds in ODI finals v Ponting's 38 or Lara's 28). The closest anyone comes in the ODI greatness stakes is Viv Richards, and Tendulkar has 10,000 more runs (say it out loud - TEN THOUSAND), at a marginally (45 v 47) lower average and marginally lower strike rate. So, please, I beg of you fine folks, end this Sachin v Lara debate once and for all. I'll get an aneurysm if I have to listen any more about Brian Lara winning more matches (all eight of them) or having been a better batsman than Sachin. ”

  • Yohan on January 5, 2010, 14:03 GMT

    Ananth, I recall that even in your previous best test and ODI batsman analysis you intended to incorporate some refinements.Such as some modifications to pitch quality based on individual scores etc. Finally,by the third or fourth edition I guess you just got fed up, and left it for another day.When in the future you get time it would be nice to get back to incorporating all the changes.As this list shows up, to the majority of the fans Sachin Tendulkar was ,is and will always be No.1. When, if ever,in history have millions of people known since a boy was a Teenager that he would surely end up the Best of his generation?

  • Umair on January 5, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    @anushumann

    In the past batsmen had less scoring opportunities too because of good bowling pitches. According to that logic there was less to field too which compensated for poor fielding quality.

  • Simon on January 5, 2010, 13:33 GMT

    ************************** Hi Ananth. Great work. Obviously in any statistical analysis, one must choose the parameters to include/ exclude. You have done so, and provided your reasons (all of which are logical), thus giving an excellent analysis. You must find it frustrating to read many comments where it is obvious the reader has not read your article properly. While we all may have differing opinions on who is the best, and what the order should be, this does not (should not) detract from the obvious research which has gone into prodicing this article. Personally I'm happy to see Allan Border feature highly - recognition that he faced some very good attacks, often away from home, during his career. A victory for substance over style, guts over glory, and proof that stike rate isn't everything. If AB played in the Aussie sides of the late 1990s/ early 2000s, I think he would have been a much more dominant/ aggresive batter. On many ocassions he showed glimpses of the aggresive batsman that he could be. [[ Simon Border's high placing surprised me, although I should not have been. I am happy that players like Border, Gooch and Gower in Tests and Zaheer Abbas and Dhoni in ODIs have been recognized. Ananth: ]]

  • jayant on January 5, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    this is very good effort i am very happy with it because there are different lists get published time to time but in all lists i found one thing common that sachin tendulkar is always at down level may be the lists are prepared with such intensions but it happens. as a cricket fan i am watching it since last 30 years constantly and simply i found sachin is greatest because of his stats and dedication and longitivity of career every time after some gap he produce amazing inning it does not happend with any other player. so this is the first list which justice with him.

  • Abhi on January 5, 2010, 13:14 GMT

    I think if Tendulkar stays fit for another couple of years he will be beyond any batsman (post Bradman) in any permutation and combination in any analysis possible. In any case in the previous analysis the "Peer ratios" esp. the "Peak peer ratios" were not considered. The "Peak peer ratio" revealed Tendulkar to be quite ahead of most of his contemporaries. The ones who had a better "Peak peer ratio" were the prior generation batsmen -Richards, Miandad etc. To me that was one of the more defining tables, since an absolute number (50 /55 etc whatever) is totally meaningless. For e.g. the Dons 99.94 carries meaning only because everyone else avg. about a third of what he did. If everyone avg.90 then the absolute avg.per se is meaningless. So the "Peak peer ratio" is the defining ranking as to how good a batsman was relative to his peers when at his best.

  • dennis on January 5, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    Its a brilliant statistical analysis. My only real concerns are with the placings of Lara and Sunil Gavaskar. I think that you must find some way to factor in match performances- otherwise the completeness of the rankings is questionable. If match performances are factored, then certainly Lara must be the number one in tests and Gavascar must rank much higher than he currently is. i would be very interested in you finding some equitable way of capturing match performances.

  • s manuel on January 5, 2010, 12:56 GMT

    A fair analysis. Good to see the Waugh Brothers in there. They are World Class Players.Am sure Ponting will do better in 2010. Tendulkar off coruse is the best. Come up with the best all rounders as well. Thank you

  • Anshumaan on January 5, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    I think its fair to say that modern day batsman use protective measures against fast bowling attacks but on the other hand we should also realize that in olden times the fielding wasn't anywhere close to contemporary standards. So from that logic one can easily add atleast 5-10 runs per innings..except for the few cases when he is dismissed for say less than 25.

  • ganesh on January 5, 2010, 12:13 GMT

    excellent analysis anantha.. litttle master is alwya on top this i know before itself but from statistics every one should know tat tendulkar is great.. thank u for the great work

  • Ananth on January 5, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    This is a common response to many who have raised similar queries. I will publish those comments without response. 1. The earlier Test analysis covered 130 years one involving 1900 tests. I could not have taken that, taken off Bradman & company and used it here. It would have been stupid on my part to even attempt that. 2. That analysis had 50% valuation for Match performances. Incidentally Lara scored in this section. I did not use that for this analysis. It would have made the analysis too complex for the readers to understand and also the difficulty of normalizing across formats. 3. For both Tests and ODIs, only career level analysis is done. Match level performance analysis is not incorporated. 4. Test strike rates have not been used because for more than half the number of test matches there is no dependable balls faced information. 5. Pl do not see these as Test and ODI tables. Only as a combined one. The valid Test tables are the ones done a few months back. The valid ODI tables are the ones done last year. I suggest you do not interpret the individual tables. These are not articles which can be read superficially and comments shot out. Please read and re-read the articles and then ask. Most of the explanations can be found in the article itself. Please also remember that I cannot be answering individual queries on player level basic statistical information. Please refer to the excellent Statsguru of Cricinfo.

  • Abhi on January 5, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    V.True your comment about Kallis's invaluable hundred in the ongoing SA-ENG match. The strike rate was meaningless in determining the value of the knock.This of course is a perennial issue which often reduces the value of the grinders in cricket in the eye of the masses.Retrenchment efforts are a significant part of Test cricket, so strike rates are much more a factor in ODIs not so much in Tests.A match saved is almost as good as a match won. After all you dont go (-)1 down in a Series.But it is because the general masses prefer their thrills and spills that the flamboyant Laras and Richards will always seem "better" in the eye of the masses as compared to the dour Dravids and Kallis's.

  • aju on January 5, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    How many matches plays sachin tendulkars to make 9000 and 10000 runs. Give me all details for eg sachin makes 1000 runs for 15 matches so pls give me all details for 1000,2000,3000 to 17000 runs [[ Aju Pl get this from Statsguru of Cricinfo. Ananth: ]]

  • Umair on January 5, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    There is no mention of batting conditions being used as a measurement criteria?

    This is big because players from the sub-continent have the luxury of playing on flat, docile pitches where as players from England, SA, Aus play on green bouncier pitches which makes batting tough.

    A half century in tough condition is almost equal 125 in easy batting conditions.

    Also important to note that players from past played on uncovered pitches and nowadays batsmen cannot even imagine batting on those pitches. Infact matches could be banned nowadays if you play on uncovered pitches (seeing response of batsmen to dangerous bounce nowadays)

    I think not including batting conditions as a measurement criteria is a big flaw.

    Also I agree with Rex that Test matches should be given more weightage that ODIs. There are 2 reason for:

    1. Test pitches can get as old as 5 days. One day pitchs remain one day old

    2. Test is Test at end of day: real test of character for batsmen.

  • alex on January 5, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    Ananth - the test rankings in this list are different from those in the extensive analysis that you posted in August 2009 or so. That was a superb analysis. What caused the difference?

    On Sehwag: I believe he will slow down by the end of 2011. He has modeled himself on SRT but his game relies on a better hand-eye coordination, faster hands, more power, and less inhibition. Once his reflexes slow down after 32/33 years of age, he might not continue to be as outstanding a batsman (as happened with Viv Richards).

  • ali on January 5, 2010, 8:20 GMT

    Good work , some means of comparison that included compensation for the amount of cricket played. Will the list remain same if match wining performances are given some credit as well?

  • akk on January 5, 2010, 8:07 GMT

    hats off its really a great job one suggestion - cricket is a team game and victory is the aim - so i think a player contribution to his team's victory must play an important part in analyzing his batsmanship. this if taken in to account will tilt the tables in favour of players like ponting and richards

  • rajeev padmanabhan on January 5, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    nice work. i really apreciate

  • sameer on January 5, 2010, 6:34 GMT

    Ananth. A vry nice analysis, which is methodlogical. Good work

  • Saurabh on January 5, 2010, 6:32 GMT

    Great job Anantha. I liked these rankings specially because it almost eliminates the advantage for modern players who plays lot more one day cricket than say 1980's n 1990's. However, is there any way incorporate advancements in sports equipments e.g. wide bats, protective gears all over the body gives the modern age batsmen confidence to play on front foot & to attack bowler all the time. Secondly, 2 recent innovations by ICC to make onedayers more attractive work in favor of batsmen i.e. these days there are 20 overs of filed restrictions compared to 15 earlier and mandatory ball change in the 34th over means the harder ball which comes on bat lot better n travels on outfield lot faster???

  • Sin on January 5, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    If you freeze frame this list it will serve as an accurate representation of the Best Modern day batsmen for posterity. Perhaps, as the author mentions, with one possible exception-Sehwag. The only hitch is that the author and others are perhaps assuming that Sehwag will continue on his merry way for years to come. I remember reading one of the international cricket magazines sometime around 2002/03. There was an article titled “Tendulkar the great and getting greater”. A statistical extrapolation was done on Tendulkars numbers and considering that he was just then getting into his prime (around age 29) the author estimated that Tendukar would end up with some mindboggling figures (I vaguely remember the author reckoned some 20000 Test runs @ 65!!). However, we all know what actually transpired. The cumulative stresses resulting in physical breakdown led to Tendulkar having the Worst 3 / 4 years of his career (instead of the expected best)! Similarly it would perhaps be a touch optimistic to assume with any surety that Sehwag can keep going at a similar pace for too many years more. In sport (considering the fact that we are dealing with human bodies and not machines) any direct linear extrapolation is fraught with peril.

  • SoftwareStar on January 5, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    you put in a lot of effort for ur articles unlike other cricinfo articles like "best teams of the decade" which are utter nonsense.

    keep up this good work.

  • LSD on January 5, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Great Job..... But have to consider the below factor as well. Some players are in the weak sides. Especially Andy Flower and Lara played with poor west Indian side. Lara is better than Tendulkar in Tests and also Richards better than Tendulkar in ODIs.

  • bagapath on January 5, 2010, 5:46 GMT

    how did symonds (aus) miss the odi list completely? or have i missed him? [[ Bagapath Symonds scored only 1400+ runs in his test career. Ananth: ]]

  • vj on January 5, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    the ideal way to come up with a total readjusted runs number for past players is to extrapolate their year wise odi runs across another let's say 10 odi's/yr and sum them up over their careers and then compare their total runs to current players'. [[ Something similar to that only has been done. Ananth: ]]

  • bagapath on January 5, 2010, 5:36 GMT

    interesting. do the rankings change a lot if you remove runs scored against bangladesh in tests and against non regular teams (bermuda/namibia etc) in odis? [[ Bagapath Why should that be done. These are international runs. Instead these have been weighted by the poor quality of the bowlers of these teams. So the batsman will lose out. Just as runs scored against good bowling attacks will benefit him. Ananth: ]]

  • srini on January 5, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    i know after this analysis you must have lost whatever remaining hair u have left ;-) (just kidding dont take it seriously). after u do the bowlers analysis, is it possible for u to do a batsman's analysis where the best bowlers miss quite a few matches over a career (eg mcgrath missing almost 20 matches against sachin, the wi quartet missing against gavaskar, lara scoring bulk of his runs against sa/pak w/o donald, akram etc). i am sorry if u have included this alreay in this analysis. i just couldnt resist sorry!!!

  • alex on January 5, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    Anath - nice analysis. Why is weightage to the peer comparison only 10% for tests and only 11% for ODI's; the peer comparison metric was your major contribution. If the weightage is increased to, say, 20% or 25%, at the expense of a combination of runs scored and SR, the results might be less biased towards the post 80's batsmen. For example, Sanath Jayasuriya is/was a phenomenon but it may be argued with reason that he is a notch below Viv Richards in ODI's (while they are currently almost clubbed together). [[ Alex It is 5% for both making a total of 10%. A case could have been made for increasing it. However I feel the basic measures have to be given their importance. Ananth: ]]

  • Marcus on January 5, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    Excellent analysis. I have to admit I'm surprised that Richards isn't top of the table, but that would probably change if his Test strike rate could be proven and entered into the equation.

    Just one minor criticism is that I can't quite see the point of having runs scored AND adjusted runs. I understand the purpose of adjusted runs- so batsmen who haven't played as much are disadvantaged- but doesn't having career runs sort of cancel that out?

    Finally, I'm pleased to see my favourite cricketer of all time, Mark Waugh, listed at 18. Maybe I'm biased but I don't think he's ever got the recognition he deserves.

  • vj on January 5, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    with ref to u'r answer "Tendulkar's is 119 and Richards' is 56, almost half. Now you see the effect of adjustment. Even though Tendulkar has scored nearly three times as many runs as Richards he has been given given only twice as many points. Ananth: ]] this is seriously flawed. richards did play for 17 yrs,, a very long career by any standards. u can't blame him for the fewer odi's played/yr during his time. u'r comparison implies that if let's say 10 more odi's/yr were played during his time he wud have averaged around 40 ish compared to tendulkar's 44 now. that's a cop out of a conclusion.probably he wud averaged more as during his peak he wud have played more ( ofcourse u cud argue that towards the latter part his avg diminished),, so a fair assumption is to assume he wud have averaged the same. longevity shud be seen also in terms of years played. u shud remember that richards did play a lot of county cricket and he was consistent .pls try to see whatu'r extrapolations imply. [[ Vj I am afraid you have not understood the Runs adjustment methodology. You have not understood that it has benefited Richards , Zaheer, Greenidge, Haynes et al. Ananth: ]]

  • Prasad on January 5, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    This is pure statistics..need to include how much each batsmen contributed to team victories..Ponting's Lara's Richard's Waugh's and for that matter even Dravid will be ahead of Tendulkar

  • Kartik (the original one) on January 5, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    I wonder if we will ever see a time when another 'outlier' batsman like Bradman emerges. By outlier, I mean a batsman who averages 90 or more over a long career.

    Hussey tempted for a bit, but quickly fell to Earth.

    Imagine such a player in the 21st century. He would dominate the cricketing world making all television ratings revolve around him, and would almost certainly make the team he plays in the best in the world (as long as it is one of the Top-7 teams, not WI/Zim/Bang).

    India cannot find such a batsman among the 200 million young boys in the country.....

    Some Indian billionaire cricket fan has to put up a prize : $10 million to the batsman who can score his first 3000 runs at an average above 100. That will inspire millions of young players to take up cricket, even though he will probably not lose his money.

  • Kartik (the original one) on January 5, 2010, 4:38 GMT

    The earlier Kartik on Jan 4 at 10:41 AM is not the same as me (I am the 'old' Kartik, who has commented here for the last 18 months).

    It is going to be hard to maintain reputations when more than one person of the same name is posting.

  • Kartik on January 5, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    In ODIs, Tendulkar is now ahead of Richards again?

    I thought after the huge 3-part analysis in 2008, Richards came out ahead of Tendulkar in ODIs.

  • harpal on January 5, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    I can believe anything but if you say Lara is no. 2 even if you include Bradman then your all calculations are WRONG, mind it make your formulea like that Lara becomes no 1 in Tests.

  • Dr Dileep Ramakrishnan on January 5, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    Respected Sir, I'm usually a harsh critic of almost everything. But honestly, I was flattered reading the 12 commandments itself! Nothing is perfect & we're all human. I think you just did an outstanding analysis that probably the ICC can buy for official all-time ratings or so! Atleast take a leaf or two out of your incredible work. (Remember the miserable work by them for their all-time list?) Always, in the back of my mind, I've thought that Sachin was "slightly" ahead of Lara in tests, by I don't know what! Probably his consistency, compared to Lara's 9 doubles including 375 & 400* weighing on his average & compensating for more low-scoring innings than Sachin's more consistent & even scoring. But I always thought Sachin will fall short of Lara in tests statistically. That's where you have proved me right that Sachin is "slightly" ahead of Lara in tests. Even Lara once said, "I would like to get his(Sachin's) consistency over the last 15years"(It was said a few years ago). Thank yo

  • Rex on January 5, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    *********************** I'm glad that you have left out number of Man-of-the-Match awards or runs-scored-in-wins etc. that you used in previous analyzes.

    I'm also happy that you have rewarded batsmen (indirectly) who have scored an enormous amount of runs through a long career.

    One point I'd like to mention is- Tests are considered the pinnacle of the game. So why do you give equal points for both Tests and ODIs in this analysis?

    How about awarding 50-100 points for Test performances?

    That way, a lot of batsmen with lesser Test stats and better ODI stats will not sneak ahead of truly better batsmen. It may not be the case, but just asking you if it will make a difference.

    I can't think of anymore questions to ask- its a perfectly rounded analysis. Kudos to you! And thanks as well- I have always wanted to determine who was good in both Tests and ODIs combined, considering the fact that in the 90s both formats were flourishing that a good batsman was expected to be good in both. [[ Rex I have never used MOM awards in any of my analysis. I feel those are quite subjective and batsman-centric. Test might be looked at as real test of strength. However we should never consider not giving equal weight since these are two very important facets of the game. Only thing I may consider is, if and when I include T20 and give it, say, 10% weight, that could be taken off the 50 of ODIs. But that is way into the future. Ananth: ]]

  • Anupam Mathur on January 5, 2010, 3:03 GMT

    ************************* Great great analysis Ananth. Totally appreciate the effort and the depth of analysis to come up with the best batsmen over the last 40 years. Hats off! This is probably the best analysis I have seen, comparing batsmen of different era. Just curious, why did you change the base for bowling quality to 45 (similarly for peer comparison) for ODIs? Thanks so very much. Kudos! [[ Anupam Since some of the values exceeded 40 (I don't have any problems with that), the limit was changed without changing anything else. Anyhow the other two parameters were within the changed parameters. Ananth: ]]

  • chandru on January 5, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    Why is Gavaskar below Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting?? He played the fastest ever, much more tough conditions, without protective gear and above all opened the innings, and having done these things was the first to score 10,000 finishing with record number of hundreds.

  • ruchit on January 5, 2010, 2:24 GMT

    Also because I have stated 3 bowlers rated Sachin higher than Lara compared to 1 for Lara also doesnot straightaway mean Sachin is greater than Lara. It is just that these are the names coming to my mind. Lara's list of peer fans might be/is actually longer. Just can't recall them at the moment. Stats + the peer reviews are both important with peer reviews taking the front seat probably.That is why Don with many statistical parameters(longetivity,number of runs scored) except that Bradmanensque average stands far ahead of everyone else. Because his peers rated him so high. Bodyline got invented because of him!

  • srini on January 5, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    ok i could have been clearer. i personally believe runs per innings matters more than average so i thought strike rates could be adjusted. but i dont think average and sr will balance it out. for eg, i think ponting scoring 28 100s in 330 odis by not opening and having mark waugh, gilly and hayden as a openers for most of his career is almost on the same level as sachin scoring 46 in 440 given than sachin has opened in more than 300 matches. i am not saying ponting is in the same level as sachin but i thought that should be a factor in odis. either way u have decided that u aint gonna do any further analysis (and i agree for that matter) so its all cool. [[ Srini You can see that I have not used the Batting average (favours the middle order batsmen) nor the Runs per innings (favours the top order batsmen) but rather a figure in between, based on the number of not outs. This is reasonable fair to all the batsmen. All averages are reduced, but the more-not-out batsmen's figures are reduced by more. Ananth: ]]

  • Vijay Mohite on January 5, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    Ananth, Please accept my sincere kudos for doing another fine piece of analysis. Your passion for cricket statistics is impressive and commendable. Most neutral fans of cricket have known for many years that SRT followed by Sehwag, Lara and Ponting are best batsmen to have ever played cricket and your dispassionate analysis proves it conclusively. English and Australian public and media, having placed Bradman and Shane Warne on pedestal, close their eyes and ears to anything that conflicts with their opinion. English can't acknowledge greatness of any player until that player whups their behind sides playing in England only. On the other hand, Aussies are extremely proud of Brandman and Warne (and rightly so). I think the debate is settled, now lets find out the best bowler in the world.

  • Abbu on January 5, 2010, 1:01 GMT

    *********************** Hi Ananth, Would it be possible for you to post sample calculations for any one batsman (say, Sachin Tendulkar)? You have provided the points allocated for each of the Test and ODI measures, but I am not sure how they are being used in the calculations. This would help us understand how the various weights get utilized.

    Thanks. Abbu [[ Abbu Will try and do that in an manner understandable to all in a couple of days. Ananth: ]]

  • Kent Jones on January 4, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    ************************* Dear Ananth If cricket was simply about statistics then its name would have been crickstatset, statscricket or some other coined stats phrase. The beautiful game of cricket is one that ‘goes beyond the boundary’, involving two teams, pitting their wits and talents against each other in an enthralling atmosphere that brings the best of them. Whilst this can be said of most games, yet none sustains such an environment over such a lengthy period with such immense possibilities, subtleties and suspense- filled twists and turns, where one can aspire to many personal and team milestones, each one of which you can celebrate in success or agonise in failure over a five day period and decided by a single unit of a run , a wicket, a ball or even a minute. It is virtually impossible to measure the greatness of a batsman, bowler or team on a statistical formula. Please do not denigrate it with such statistical manipulations and cloak it in self righteousness. Thats simply “Not Cricket” [[ Kent I normally get a handle on the grievances of readers almost immediately. However in your case I have not been able to. My analysis is one of the many which are floating around. A few hundreds or thousands of readers read the same, argue furiously and go on to the next one. Neither Cricinfo nor BCCI nor ICC nor any other Association has suddenly decided to award something or other based on my analysis. So why make a big issue of this. Did I say that everyone should accept my findings. No, it would be presumptuous of myself to do so. Also it is an analysis. You can take it in full, take it partly, take it with a pinch (or two) of salt or not take it at alt. You can wait for the next compilation of the all-time best team elevens, wonderful these elevens are, but based on the subjective and often biased selections of the jury. They may also use the numbers (or not). For instance the Test decade eleven which came out in Cricinfo recently did not have Brian Lara. I personally think it is ridiculuous but then brush it away saying that it is the summary of personal compilation of about 10/12 writers/analysts, that is all. I suggest, let go. Ananth: ]]

  • Aaron on January 4, 2010, 22:44 GMT

    Ananth, if you do an analysis of the bowlers, will you then also combine ratings to produce a best all-rounder list? Or might this require you to drop the bar on runs (and wickets) to below it's current level

  • CraigMNZ on January 4, 2010, 22:01 GMT

    ********************* This is one of those times when I wish analysts would relax career runs even further than they have. How about 1500 runs in ODIs as the qualifier? My reason - G.M. Turner scored little more than this (at a pretty impressive average). I don't care that Boycott was dropped out on this basis but 1969 was the start of Turner's international career so he falls squarely into the early part of the period under discussion. Of course this probably drags a number of bowlers who batted a bit into the analysis (eg RJ Hadlee) creating more work without necessarily adding any light to the results. [[ Craig I had lowered the bar to 1977 ODI runs to specifically include Clive Lloyd. In the bargain Vaughan and S Manjrekar sneaked in. Turner had excellent ODI numbers but passable Test numbers. Let me promise you this. At the end of this week, I will compile such requests and do a special analysis lowering the bar so that Turner, Yuvraj Singh et al might get in. That is fair. Already I have 116 players, that is a lot. Ananth: ]]

  • Praful on January 4, 2010, 21:47 GMT

    Seeing Sachin top a batting list comes a sno surprise, still everytime I see his name at the pinnacle it just amazes me of the guy's achievements.

    Nice work. What could have Ganguly done more to be a part of this AMAZING LIST?

  • KSA on January 4, 2010, 21:35 GMT

    **************************** I noticed that in the ODI list, Dhoni's bowling quality was 41.1 out of a maximum of 40. Is this is mistake or is my understanding of the 40 incorrect? In fact there are others with even higher numbers in this column... so I must have made a mistake. [[ KSA There is no mistake. Instead of limiting the few players who faced excellent bowling attacks to 40.0, I let their numbers go past it. No harm done. Dhoni, Petersen and Gambhir fall into this category.Take it as 45 then it would be okay. Ananth: ]]

  • Prasanna R.V on January 4, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    Excellent and extensive analaysis. Just a couple of comments.

    1. Is there a way of weighing tons scored at different grounds and different type of wickets? Runs on a greentop/dustbowl ideally should weigh more than runs scored on batting paradises.

    Notable absentees in the top 25 include sangakkara and pietersen. They can be expected to break in soon though.

    Great work.

  • love goel on January 4, 2010, 20:10 GMT

    ************************** Ananth, as this is an article on great batsmen across format of the game, the 2000 run eligibility in both forms is fair. But I see no reason to keep the same limit for the 2 seperate lists. Top ODI batsmen without Michael Bevan just doesn't seem right. [[ Goel I am surprised that you are making this statement since you normally read my analysis quite correctly. How can Bevan come in when his Test performances are pathetic. This is a combined analysis and the batsmen have to meet the twin criteria set. I have done earlier top Test batsmen and top ODI batsmen and I am sure you must remember how high Bevan was. The Test and ODI tables are only supporting ones and should not be taken to represent the top test or odi batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on January 4, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    Wonderful analysis. Gives a complete picture of the best in the world. It was really nice to see Saeed Anwar and De Silva in top 10 ODI batsmen. Both were excellent players in their team during the 90's, when the batting averages weren't inflated like todays.

    Also it was nice to see Steve Waugh being better in Test while Mark Waugh was better in ODI.

    Trescothick is the best England ODI batsmen. No doubt England havent won anything of note lately in ODI's

    Ananth, why was % of Team Run scored included in Test Matches but not in ODI? If a Batsmen doesn't get to bat, does that inning counts? And why do you need this when you already have have peer comaprison in both tests and ODI.

  • piyush on January 4, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    grt job Mr.Anantha, at some point i know that little champ is ahead of all players and u proved with stats....thanx

  • Sushamna Deodhar on January 4, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    Great article once again! I was wondering if you can make these tables live so that it would be possible to track a player's progress. It would be really interesting to see how Ponting/Dravid/Kallis et al (players marked by #) would move up and down in this table as the rest of their career unfolds. (You can keep Sachin static as I'm sure no one is going to dislodge him from numero uno :) )

  • akpy on January 4, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    *********************** v.good analysis finally amongst the numerous ones floating around. Few things which intrigue me is when people start saying things like 'strike rate', single handedly winning, dominating', etc,etc. Cricket is a team game and all these players were one of the 11 in their team. No single match could have been won by them alone - of course, they would have contributed significantly. And, depending on situations and their roles, their strike rates may differ. Some may recall that when sehwag was not there in the team, sachin used to blaze in the one-dayers (recall pak visit here)but when sehwag is there, sachin is content to play 2nd fiddle, even though his strike rate is still good. If wkts fall early, then the surviving batsman's strike rate would be lower or they may be cautious/defensive but can we undermine his contribution? The big picture is that the situation in each match may differ and one has to play as per team's demands. [[ Ishita Career strike rates are more relevant in ODIs and have been used. Unfortunately the absence of reliable information for more than half the test matches played have made me ignore the same for Tests. My theory is that faster scoring batsmen in Tests win matches but dot necessarily save matches. Drawing a test, with your backs to the wall, is as much a requirement winning. How valuable was Kallis' slow century couple of days back. Who cared about the strike rates there. Ananth: ]]

  • Mohan Naik on January 4, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    At last a list which looks meaningful and logical. I am fed up of lists which are subjective and based on emotion. I would like to suggest a couple of criteria for further improvement: 1> Batting abroad in foreign conditions is always more difficult. Thus the analysis should include some debit points for lower averages abroad or credit points for higher averages abroad. 2> Big scores that lead to draws (unless match saving) or that which do not help in winning a match have little value. Thus there should be some points for the batting averages achieved during all the victories. While this may not make much difference in the ODI ratings, you will be surprised how much it can tilt the test ratings.

  • Abeer Agrawal on January 4, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    **************************** A very interesting analysis, which quite clearly uses the correct parameters as evinced by the results. It would be interesting to see what would happen if a higher percentage was given to adjusted runs vis-a-vis runs scored, or maybe if just adjusted runs were used. Had Viv Richards played today, he'd probably have got more ODI runs. Maybe you could have weighted averages using your earlier articles A summary of Test cricket by period? Or perhaps it would have made the analysis complicated. How about doing something similar for bowlers? That would be really interesting! [[ Abeer The weighted points allocations are what I have gathered over months of study and discussions. If the Runs/AdjRuns change from 10/5 to 7.5/7.5, the olden players will benefit. But I have taken a conscious decision that it is necessary to reward 15 year+/500+ matches/20000+ runs careers since these batsmen have maintained levels of fitness, concentration and determination over a long time. When you see how highly placed Zaheer Abbas is you will see that a lot of adjustment has been done for the fewer matches played. He is in the top-10 despite scoring only 2500+ runs in 62 matches. He has scored 15% of the runs Tendulkar has scored. But his Runs related points are around 25%. That is the effect of adjustment. Ananth: ]]

  • sreekanth nair on January 4, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    Exceptional.This analysis will go down in cricket history as a seminal work in cricket statistics.

  • Gunjan Indrayan on January 4, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    Anantha, thanks for this wonderful and holistic analysis. While the debate for who is the greatest will always go on, given everybody has their own criteria, you have done well by putting down your commandments. Your individual response to all questions is also well appreciated. We will wait for a similar analysis on bowlers too.

  • Tim on January 4, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    ****************************** On the lack of an english presence in the top 24, I think it can be argued that englands best players have not been those with excellent statistics, but rather those who are big game players and perform when it matters...from botham to flintoff, and even those of the dark days of the nineties such as atherton and stewart, this is true. [[ Tim Without reading your comment this is exactly what I have mentioned in my reply to Grant. Pl see the comment published sometime back. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand Singhania on January 4, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Ananth, this was a remarkable effort. The depth of the analysis you have undergone truly reflects in the near accuracy of ratings (I am sure it is so difficult to please everyone with the concept of ranking). However, the best part was in the title of the analysis - The best batsman, across years and “formats” - which rightly justifies why great players like Bradman and Sobers missed out from the table.

  • Richard on January 4, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    ********************* Ananth, were you able to factor any regional factors in your analysis, particularly where a batsman plays their home tests. There's obviously been a lot of comment on flat tracks in particular regions recently, and while not suggesting that this has always been so, it's probably fair to suggest that different parts of the world have offered distinct and variable challenges to batsmen? [[ Richard Away performances have been given higher credit. Also runs scored have been weighted by bowling quality. Since individual match performances have not been incorporated, as already explained, it is not possible to build other match related elements. At the end of the day, flat track or not (such tracks exist in every country), I would give additional weight to Gambhir's New Zealand performances and Michael Clarke's England performances. Ananth: ]]

  • Syed on January 4, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    ********************************* Great work Anantha! However, I would like to mention one flaw in your analysis which I believe was not thought carefully before publishing this article.

    There is no way, even including the match performances, Sachin Tendulkar surpassing Brian Lara in the Test ratings side of the equation. I believe you got some rework to do in this case.

    Of all the 12 parameters that you considered to bring out the list, I believe you missed out on some essential ingredients like 'dominating an attack', 'single handedly winning game' ,'averages against the best bowlers', etc --- I dont think, in any list that a statistician can come up with, Sachin Tendulkar can surpass Brian Lara. [[ Syed I think this is the last time I am going to mention. First this is not a Test batsmen analysis. Second match performances have not been considered. Pl read a few of some earlier comemnts. Ananth: ]]

  • siva on January 4, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    Dear Mr. Ananth, It's truly amazing to see our great little maestro on top of both forms of the game. Great Analysis. As you rightly said, the way he has carried himself on and off the field and the integrity with which he came out effortlessly thru the darkest betting periods which made the Indian Cricket Crazy Public revive their interest in the game are all now an unbelivable never ending fairy tale story. Even the former greats like viv Richards, Sunny, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Brian Lara (+ the great DON HIMSELF) etc. and the current greats like Ponting, Viru all have a great opinion on our legendary little master. This analysis and their appreciations bear true testimony to his achievements. Hats off to the analysis which seems to be a very very fair one.

  • Singhe on January 4, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    *********************** Excellent analysis! I am curious to know why you went back 40 yrs instead of 50 yrs! Most non-technical folks would ask the question: who is the best batsman of the last 50 yrs, instead of, who is the best of the last 40 yrs? I would have a hard time convincing any real cricket enthusiast that Gary Kirsten was a better batsman than Garry Sobers!! [[ Singhe You have missed the idea of the article completely. Sobers played in one ODI match, scored no run and took one wicket. How do you consider him for a top batsmen analysis across Test and ODIs. Ananth: ]]

  • Abh on January 4, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    Spot On. For once,the stats correspond wholly to the perception.

  • VJ on January 4, 2010, 16:01 GMT

    ******************************** and btw, tendulkar's strke rate in tests is abt 55 ,,lara's 60.5 and richards approx- 70.. that is a big difference between sachin and richards. it does count for a lot. look at the number of matches sehwag's wins for the country. also statistically tendulkar cannot be better than lara. his average is better because of minnows,( sachin's average goes down by 2.5 runs if u remove minnows) and also because of not outs. lara scores abt 4 runs more/innings than sachin btw and scores much faster too. [[ VJ Test strike rate is not included. Ananth: ]]

  • vj on January 4, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    ***************************** i am surprised that richards is behind tendulkar in odi's.. if u have adjusted for runs scored it is not possible. he has a higher average, higher strike rate, higher % of mom's etc, and defly mush higher in peer comparison,, nobody in the 80's was anywhere close to richards average and strike rate combined. i am sure u'r adjustment for runs scored is not a fair measure. infact u came up with an odi analysis where u placed richards slightly ahead of sachin in odi's where as here the gap is as much as in tests between them,,pls explain.. [[ I have already mentioned it that this article considers only the career figures and not match performances. The wight of the runs scored by Tendulkar (nearly three times, yes three times) must count for something, right. Ananth: ]]

  • Bollo on January 4, 2010, 15:44 GMT

    Excellent article, a great read, and kudos to you for what seems a very complex, but balanced and well- explained statistical analysis. Not too many surprises really, although I`m very disappointed you decided not to include the test batting strike rates. I appreciate the fact that for some players from the 70`s and 80`s the statistics are not exact, but they are easily accessible enough to make a very reasonable calculation within about 1run per hundred balls - anathema to the statistician of course to use inexact data, but more misleading, in my opinion, not to use the information we have to include this extremely important figure. For those of you who are interested, and who perhaps found as I did, that Kallis and Dravid`s test ratings were overstated, here are the closest stats (rounded up or down to the nearest whole number of runs per 100 balls in tests) for some of the players. Dravid(42), Kallis(44), Tendulkar(54), Ponting(60), Lara(61), Richards(70), Sehwag(80), Gilchrist(82)

  • Gautam on January 4, 2010, 14:29 GMT

    ************************* Amazing.. n really nice to see sachin ruling the chart... i wanted to know what were the relative positions of sangakkara, Azharuddin and Laxman? [[ Gautam Please peruse the tables. Ananth: ]]

  • arvind on January 4, 2010, 14:15 GMT

    Ofcourse,Sachin is good in ODI's but no one can overtake LARA in test cricket.One should remember Lara batted almost single handedly for weak WI in his carrier.If Lara had the support from his team, he would have scored 16 to 17 thosand test runs in his 131 test matches.He never considered ODI's seriously.One can judge pure batsmanship only in test cricket. Brian Lara's 400* tells everything.

  • Rohit on January 4, 2010, 13:59 GMT

    I have to disagree with the list. Good as Ponting is, and he is very good, he does not deserve a place in the top 10 in Tests. His technique/record against spin is ordinary at best.

    Besides, I dont think Sehwag is a very good ODI batsman. He will improve, of course, both Ganguly and Dean Jones are much better ODI batsmen I think.

    And frankly, should any analysis not include the performance against quality of bowling. If Ponting had to play against Warne, he would have fared really badly.

  • sanchit negi on January 4, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    undoubtedly sachin must be at the top in all the formats of the game.He lives the game of cricket.He is master of all strokes.......!!

  • Sriram on January 4, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    Wow! That was some great analysis! I really liked the way in which you incorporated adjusted runs to acknowledge the fact that lesser number of odi's were played in the 80's. Simple but effective.

    I felt that the analysis was going to be a bit more biased to players who have played more games. But after looking at the results, no one can complain. All of the game's greatest players in the past 40 years feature in the top 25. So hats off for this wonderful analysis!

    Sriram

  • Pallathz on January 4, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    ******************************** Nice analysis Ananth. I would rank Gooch & Martin Crowe far higher than Jayawardane,Jayasuriya & Mohammed Yousuf.I wish the runs scored away from home against strong opposition was a factor along with the consistency in a series & also wish the number of times an innings would have changed the course of the game as the one played by Gilchrist against Australia or the one played against Pakistan to be the judging factors.

    This would then have ranked Richards,Gilchrist & Steve Waugh much higher. Sehwag , I love to watch , has been great .Hope he would get the consistency right. [[ Pallat The away runs and average carries a higher weight. Ananth: ]]

    Tendulkar is great in terms of tons of runs in both forms but victories have been far & few.

    For me top 4 would be Richards, Lara ,Gichrist & Tendulkar.

  • Grant on January 4, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    ******************************** Interesting that there are no English players at all in the top 24. I realise that they haven't produced a Tendulkar, Lara or Ponting in that time, but I imagine they have won about half their matches, or only slightly less, so it is surprising that they fare quite that badly. Would that be because they play 1/2 their matches in England on seam friendy wickets perhaps? [[ Grant I get the feeling that England have achieved a lot through some excellent team-work such as the last test win. Almost everyone barring Pietersen, the most talented of all, contributed. Gooch and Gower might not be placed very high. But they were excellent Test cricketers, maybe less so in ODis. And Pietersen is on the way up. Ananth: ]]

  • Ashwath on January 4, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    Sir, I just saw that you are planning to do an analysis on bowlers. I have noticed that swing bowlers and leg spinners in generally go for more runs than finger spinners and line-and-length bowlers. This is probably due to the fact that their craft is more difficult to control. I really dont think you can have any statistical leeway for that but I'm just wondering...

  • Kaustubh on January 4, 2010, 12:47 GMT

    ****************************** Great Post !!! Only parameter that makes me sceptical is the bowling quality index. Looking at the all time test list, the bowling quality figures of Lara(28.4) and Gavaskar(27.6) are almost same while that of Lara and Tendulkar/Dravid/Ponting/Kallis are widely different (almost a difference of 6 points). Definitely Gavaskar faced far better bowling attack than what Lara did while Tendulkar/Dravid/Ponting/Kallis scored against similar quality bowling as Lara. Maybe, we need a better way to calculate bowling quality figures. [[ kaustubh Unfortunately you are wrong in your comments on Lara. Lara faced VERY FEW poor bowling attacks. He played very few matches against the so called minnows. Look at the number of runs he scored against Australia and Sri Lanka. Please find out the number of runs scored by other batsmen against weaker teams. Every innings is multiplied by the average of the bowling attack, summed and divided by the career runs. Gavaskar also faced some average bowling attacks in his career. Ananth: ]]

  • Kent Jones on January 4, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    **************************** I am very wary of these so called analyses for best batsmen, best bowlers and best team of all time (in terms of players from all eras) One has to be very careful when these are completed, since the missing factors will always be the conditions under which the games would have been played in the different eras and the expectations from the players at the time. Everyone knows that statistics ALONE could never give the complete picture. Cricinfo must also be aware that their own reputation as the recognised voice of cricket will be on the line, if they do not ensure that equananimity and objectivity are ALWAYS maintained in articles where analyses are being made. I am an avid fain of CRicinfo and tap into the website several times a day. However, their seems to be a creeping tendency that Cricinfo is becoming more and more the voice of Indian cricket, rather than the voice of Cricket. To the management of Cricinfo, I beg you, please be aware of this and make the necessary adjustments. [[ Kent 1. Are there not enough people giving their subjective, accepted, quality comments on players. Cricket is about numbers. For that matter Cricinfo is 50% numbers based analysis. How is that suddenly a numbers-based analysis seems not correct. 2. When I produce an analysis which puts two Indian players, both amongst the greatest of all time, in the top-10 and two others, one of them again amongst the greats, in the top-25, how do you conclude that this is a voice of Indian cricket. Is it because it does not fit in with your perception. 3.If you are happy with non-numbers based analysis you should stick with them. Why read a numbers-based analysis and then complain. Also how did you conclude that the analysis is not objective when EVERYTHING IS OPEN BOOK. And pray where have I said that this ALONE is enough. I am as much a fan of top quality subjective articles by Cardus/Ray Robinson/Richie Benaud/Fingleton/CLR James et al. 4. Finally I will ask one thing. Give me one player, and substantiate with numbers, who could displace one in the top-10. Ananth: ]]

  • Guru on January 4, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    Superb Analysis Ananth. The blog shows the dedicated efforts that you have put to summarize the list. I am delighted to see the perfect list. Considering both formats of the game, I truly believe that the list is very accurate. Take a bow ananth. Thank you very much for coming up with such a nice stats again.

  • Jayesh on January 4, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    *********************** u have not pasted a link to show exactly how u arrived at the marks. I think the best way to compare players is to see how they have coped after playing equal no of matches. 2.Have u considered the factor a few players might have played more matches against minnows like Bangladesh & Zimbabwe?. For ex Sachin has 1474 runs against Ban & Zim in 14 matches, whereas Lara has played only 4 matches while Ponting has played only 7 matches against them. Richards did not play any match against Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. 3.Although the no of balls faced is not available the no of minutes played is available, which can be safely included in place of Strike Rate, because if the strike rate is not considered, a proper picture is not conveyed. 4.If the batting average out of 200 is considered, Gambhir has the highest at 184.9 while Sachin has 173.8. 5. How is bowling quality exactly calculated? 6. Sehwag contribution to team total & peer com of ave, higher than both Sachin & Gambhir?calcu? [[ Jayesh The problem is that you have not read the article completely. The method is clearly explained. Also I cannot be giving detailed formulae in an already long article. Runs scored are weighted by the bowling quality (not just Bangladesh but there have been other awful bowling attacks) and bowling quality index arrived at. Quite a few Sri Lankan batsmen have lost out because of the tons of runs scored against weaker opponents. I suggest see Gooch's valuation in this index. Why should you express surprise at Sehwag's valuations against Gambhir and Tendulkar. These are proven numbers. Also why should I or anyone artificially equalize the number of matches played by the players. I have takene a lot of trouble to be fair to players whether they have played 62 matches (Zaheer) or 400+. Ananth: ]]

  • srini on January 4, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    ******************************** just a tiny question, did u consider the batting position in ODIs? openers esp. since the mid 90s have an advantage over others since they get to play with field restrictions etc. for eg viv richards almost in his entire career had 2 superb opening batsmen and hence got lesser opportunities (still richards managed a sr of 90 which is mind boggling). batsmen coming later on usually have a lower strike rate.

    another example is ponting. thro his career he's had 2 super opening pairs (waugh-gilly, hayden-gilly) so he's had a less chance to have a sr in the mid to hi 80s rather than the 80 right now.

    is it possible for you to do an analysis to include this point? splitting it as 3 portions, openers, 3-4 and 5-7 (something of that sort) and give a higher weightage to them. a middle order batsman with a sr of 80 should have a higher value than an opener with the same sr. get my drift?? [[ Srini The middle order batsmen have the advantage of remaining unbeaten boosting their averages. Each position has its advantages and disadvantages. I can assure you that any opening batsmen who are going to face Aamer/Asif/Sami/Gul are not going to accept your argument. Ananth: ]]

  • Hammad Kabir on January 4, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Excellent analysis :) But I would have expected Saeed Anwar to come in the top 20 as he was averaging 40ish in ODI and more than that in Tests. Moreover he had more than 20 ODI centuries to his name.

  • Niran on January 4, 2010, 11:42 GMT

    Nicely done sir, nice to see Sehwag there at number 11. Just one thing, I think it should be called the "Thirteen Commandments". How about the ability to produce a quality innings under pressure?

    There are a couple of players in the top ten who could move up a place or two.

  • Riverlime on January 4, 2010, 10:51 GMT

    Stop comparing pre-helmet players with mollycoddled modern batsmen!! This list is fine IF you stop trying to compare sachin to Viv. Batting was harder then, with spiteful wickets. And ,for the record, sheer weight of runs shouldn't be an absolute indicator of class!

  • Kartik on January 4, 2010, 10:41 GMT

    ***************************** I read from the article that the batsmen of the earlier era have been compensated for lesser number of ODIs played. When I see the points awarded in the runs section (Tendulkar 87 points for 17394 runs scored versus Richards 33.6 points for 6721 runs scored) I am not able to understand how it has been compensated. Richards loses points significantly in runs scored and adjusted runs. If adjusted runs was meant to offset the fact that Richards played way less ODIs per year than Tendulkar during their respective tenures, I was just surprised to see Tendulkar gains 10 points in that category too. The comparison between Tendulkar and Richards caught my eye only because they were one and two in the list. [[ Kartik You have not seen the second column which is the Adjusted Runs. If you are going to do any comparisons on Runs scored, add both these values. Tendulkar's is 119 and Richards' is 56, almost half. Now you see the effect of adjustment. Even though Tendulkar has scored nearly three times as many runs as Richards he has been given given only twice as many points. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on January 4, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    A common response on Sehwag. The higher level of perception of readers on Sehwag as a Test player is to a great extent, and justifiably so, related to the rapid pace at which he scores in Tests. Unfortunately that could not be incorporated here.

  • Anirudh on January 4, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    Great post! I only hope you would do a IPF career analysis and post the results. While your table is an excellent indicator, it is ultimately subjective so I feel that a more objective analysis would really be more meaningful. Thx [[ Anirudh Before I do any more Batsman analysis, I will do a BPF analysis to recognize the bowlers, the forgotten lot. Ananth: ]]

  • Arun on January 4, 2010, 10:13 GMT

    Amazing work!!! im pretty surprised that how come Sourav Ganguly has not featured in this list. [[ Arun If you see carefully he is there in all the lists. 32nd, 51st and 13th positions. Ananth: ]]

  • Ashik Uzzaman on January 4, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    The list is similar to what I thought in my mind except a little re-ordering between Lara, Ponting and Richards. I have one question though Ananth. As per this point system, does it mean Sachin is ahead of others even if only the Test matches are counted? We know it's the case for ODIs for sure, but for Tests, I remember after Bradman, Lara was in second place followed by Tendulkar at third. Does it mean, by the time between your Test ranking and now, the valuables runs and contributions Sachin did to the Indian teams have already picked him above Lara's place in Test? [[ Ashik A very perceptive point. The difference is that when I did the Test Batsman analysis I had given 50% weight to Match performances which I have not done here. Even in that analysis you would see that on Career figures, SRT was ahead of Lara. Inclusion of the Match performances would have made the analysis very complicated and possibly I would have found to difficult to effect a sense of balance which I have been able to achieve here. Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Jha on January 4, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    Ananth - thanks. Finally, the analysis that incorporates the separate threads that have emerged in your blog over the last one year. For me, the most interesting thing is that Border trumps Ponting (by a fair distance). I was pretty surprised when the Cricinfo jury for the Australian all time XI chose Border (and Steve Waugh) over Ponting - but it seems they knew what they were doing :)

  • Kartik on January 4, 2010, 9:29 GMT

    I appreciate the great effort taken. When I see the ODI list, I wonder whether it is fair to compare players of different eras as the game has undergone not only drastic changes that have favoured the batsmen heavily, but also the number of games played per year since say the early nineties has become very high. It is very evident when you compare the stats of Richards and Tendulkar as Richards has significantly lost out to Tendulkar on runs scored mainly because of not having played as many ODIs per year as Tendulkar. If during his time he had played around 10 ODIs more per year, is not conceivable that he would be the better ODI player by a mile? [[ Kartik Please read the article carefully. Richards (and Zaheer and Greenidge and Haynes) have all been compensated for the lesser number of matches they have played. Ananth: ]]

  • Veeraragavan R on January 4, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    Sehwag rating in Test cricket is seems to be low as we all know that he is a brilliant performer and matchwinner in test cricket than ODI and his records and averages proves that. [[ Veera I have mentioned elsewhere that Sehwag is at the mid-pt of his career. Too soon to say that he is lower than others. Look at his overall placing, eleventh. Ananth: ]]

  • Cmis on January 4, 2010, 9:06 GMT

    I am a big fan of SRT and all I want to know is would he still be on top if strike rates are considered, because that is what all the crazies will go on about.

  • Sai on January 4, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    Excellent work.Finally we have ratings which make sense.Stats are the true indicators of the greatness on any player and the same has been proved.

  • Deepak TS on January 4, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    Perfect list Anantha, Everything seems perfect Lara and Sachin are the best Test players while Sachin and Richards are the best ODI players, Ponting comes next, and you have proved that with your analysis. I am surprised Sehwag who is an ordinary ODI batsman ranks higher than Ganguly, Desmond Haynes and Jones, Miandad who were far ahead of Sehawag in ODIs, this was the only fault in this list [[ Deepak How do you say that Sehwag who has scored nearly 7000 ODI runs at BETTER THAN RUN-A-BALL is inferior to the other players who you have referred to. Ananth: ]]

  • Ashwath on January 4, 2010, 8:20 GMT

    Great article sir. Truly memorable to read. It does not surprise me in the least to see tendulkar on top as he is statistically the best batsman in the group. What really surprised me was sehwag's position below the top ten, is this due to the quality of attacks he faced? Kudos sir. [[ Ashwath Sehwag is probably at the mid point in his career and his 11th position is truly amazing. I get the feeling that he might very well end up in the top 3/4. You will see that 6 of the top-10 have hung up their willows. So for Sehwag to be there at this point in his career is phenomenal. Ananth: ]]

  • Nagam on January 4, 2010, 8:19 GMT

    First of all, a very happy new year Anantha... Man this is awesome work!!! U have raised the bar in Cricket analysis. Great Job... Keep it up!!!

  • Ganesen Viswanathan on January 4, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    Amazing analysis sir, I was going through the ODI analysis quite a few times and couldn't find Yuvraj Singh's place in the list. Was he left out by some mistake or do you have any reasons to attribute to his absence [[ Ganesan This analysis includes only batsmen who have scored 2000 runs in BOTH forms of the game. Yuvraj misses out having scored only 1500+ runs in Tests. Ananth: ]]

  • Sridhar on January 4, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    Great job. The list looks very fair, looked at without the stats as well. But your statistical analysis is very interesting and comprehensive. No englishman in the top 24? I am grinning from side-to-side, actually. But seriously, england have failed to produce great players on a consistent basis and that explains their mediocrity for so many decades now.

  • Tony on January 4, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    How come Geoff Boycott doesn't feature, at least in the Test Match list? Surely he scored enough runs in the 1969 to 1982 (when he played his last Test) period? Clive Lloyd played in his first Test before 1969, so it seems that you are not limiting the list to those whose careers started after 1969. [[ Tony This analysis includes only batsmen who have scored 2000 runs in BOTH forms of the game. Boycott misses out having scored only 1082 runs in ODIs. Ananth: ]]

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  • Tony on January 4, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    How come Geoff Boycott doesn't feature, at least in the Test Match list? Surely he scored enough runs in the 1969 to 1982 (when he played his last Test) period? Clive Lloyd played in his first Test before 1969, so it seems that you are not limiting the list to those whose careers started after 1969. [[ Tony This analysis includes only batsmen who have scored 2000 runs in BOTH forms of the game. Boycott misses out having scored only 1082 runs in ODIs. Ananth: ]]

  • Sridhar on January 4, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    Great job. The list looks very fair, looked at without the stats as well. But your statistical analysis is very interesting and comprehensive. No englishman in the top 24? I am grinning from side-to-side, actually. But seriously, england have failed to produce great players on a consistent basis and that explains their mediocrity for so many decades now.

  • Ganesen Viswanathan on January 4, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    Amazing analysis sir, I was going through the ODI analysis quite a few times and couldn't find Yuvraj Singh's place in the list. Was he left out by some mistake or do you have any reasons to attribute to his absence [[ Ganesan This analysis includes only batsmen who have scored 2000 runs in BOTH forms of the game. Yuvraj misses out having scored only 1500+ runs in Tests. Ananth: ]]

  • Nagam on January 4, 2010, 8:19 GMT

    First of all, a very happy new year Anantha... Man this is awesome work!!! U have raised the bar in Cricket analysis. Great Job... Keep it up!!!

  • Ashwath on January 4, 2010, 8:20 GMT

    Great article sir. Truly memorable to read. It does not surprise me in the least to see tendulkar on top as he is statistically the best batsman in the group. What really surprised me was sehwag's position below the top ten, is this due to the quality of attacks he faced? Kudos sir. [[ Ashwath Sehwag is probably at the mid point in his career and his 11th position is truly amazing. I get the feeling that he might very well end up in the top 3/4. You will see that 6 of the top-10 have hung up their willows. So for Sehwag to be there at this point in his career is phenomenal. Ananth: ]]

  • Deepak TS on January 4, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    Perfect list Anantha, Everything seems perfect Lara and Sachin are the best Test players while Sachin and Richards are the best ODI players, Ponting comes next, and you have proved that with your analysis. I am surprised Sehwag who is an ordinary ODI batsman ranks higher than Ganguly, Desmond Haynes and Jones, Miandad who were far ahead of Sehawag in ODIs, this was the only fault in this list [[ Deepak How do you say that Sehwag who has scored nearly 7000 ODI runs at BETTER THAN RUN-A-BALL is inferior to the other players who you have referred to. Ananth: ]]

  • Sai on January 4, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    Excellent work.Finally we have ratings which make sense.Stats are the true indicators of the greatness on any player and the same has been proved.

  • Cmis on January 4, 2010, 9:06 GMT

    I am a big fan of SRT and all I want to know is would he still be on top if strike rates are considered, because that is what all the crazies will go on about.

  • Veeraragavan R on January 4, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    Sehwag rating in Test cricket is seems to be low as we all know that he is a brilliant performer and matchwinner in test cricket than ODI and his records and averages proves that. [[ Veera I have mentioned elsewhere that Sehwag is at the mid-pt of his career. Too soon to say that he is lower than others. Look at his overall placing, eleventh. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik on January 4, 2010, 9:29 GMT

    I appreciate the great effort taken. When I see the ODI list, I wonder whether it is fair to compare players of different eras as the game has undergone not only drastic changes that have favoured the batsmen heavily, but also the number of games played per year since say the early nineties has become very high. It is very evident when you compare the stats of Richards and Tendulkar as Richards has significantly lost out to Tendulkar on runs scored mainly because of not having played as many ODIs per year as Tendulkar. If during his time he had played around 10 ODIs more per year, is not conceivable that he would be the better ODI player by a mile? [[ Kartik Please read the article carefully. Richards (and Zaheer and Greenidge and Haynes) have all been compensated for the lesser number of matches they have played. Ananth: ]]