Bowling February 5, 2010

The best bowler, across years and formats

A month back, I had done an analysis on the the best batsmen, across years and formats; here is a corresponding analysis for bowlers
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Muttiah Muralitharan: the leader in Tests and ODIs © AFP
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. A lot of care has been taken care to equalise performances by the players across years and across formats. This follows the best batsman analysis.

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

1. Equal weight for Tests and ODIs. T20-Intls 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, such as wickets captured, but make sure that the total weight does not exceed 20%.
3. Especially for ODIs, recognise and incorporate the important fact that during the early 20 years very few ODI matches were played.

4. Unlike Batting where there is no necessity to distinguish between Right and Left handers, there is a clear need to distinguish in the Bowling analysis between Pace bowlers and Spinners because of the significant difference in the three main bowling measures, viz., primarily the Bowling average and secondarily, the Strike rate and Bowling accuracy. Since this is much more pronounced in Test matches than ODI matches, the handling is different.
5. Recognise how the bowler has performed in comparison to his peers, in the Strike rate and Bowling accuracy measures, for both Tests and ODIs. Mura;litharan and Garner are outstanding in these comparisons.
6. Recognise the fact that wickets of top order batsmen should carry additional weight as compared to wickets of late order batsmen. Pathan and Anderson are the best in this regard.
7. Use only career level figures. Match performances, while very relevant, would make it difficult to be equitable to Tests and ODIs. The peer comparisons cover this to some extent.
8. Give weight for share of team wickets. This is quite relevant in Test cricket, but is probably more relevant in ODIs. A bowler is allowed to bowl only 20% of his team overs (barring rain-hit and abandoned matches). Overall a bowler might have shared around 18% of his team's bowling. As such a bowler who captures, say 22/23% of the team wickets has performed admirably and so on. Let me say that even the spinners have done quite well in this measure. Brett Lee leads in this measure.
9. My idea initially was not to distinguish between home and away performances in Tests. However the following table of the the top-5 bowlers changed my mind. Let me assure readers that enough away wickets have been captured by all these bowlers.

Overall   Home    Away    Ratio

Muralitharan 22.71 20.09 27.02 0.74 Warne 25.42 25.55 25.27 1.01 Kumble 29.65 24.90 37.36 0.67 McGrath 21.64 21.97 21.23 1.03 Walsh 24.44 23.15 25.66 0.90

It is clear that bowlers like Warne, even though he is a spinner, and McGrath performed better away than home. Muralitharan was less effective away, but still had a good away average. However Kumble was very average away. This fact has to be recognised and this has prompted to give some additional weight for away average. This is a change of heart and follows the batting ideas.
10. Since this analysis is limited to bowlers who played between 1970 and 2010, work out the algorithms based on these years. In other words, keep out of the equation Lohmann's outrageous figures. An average of 20.00 is the pinnacle, not halfway down the pole. This has helped to rationalise the analysis quite well.
11. Since this is a pure bowler based analysis, exclude the non-bowling factors such as Captaincy, Results, World Cup wins etc. McGrath, Garner and Warne might have won more matches and World Cups than Muralitharan, Ambrose and Hadlee but that should not be used to decide who is ahead in this bowling analysis.
12. I also decided that I would sum the points at rounded-integer level and would tie bowlers who have similar points. I would not use decimal points to separate any groups.

As usual there has to be a minimum criteria. I have decided on 200 combined international wickets AND minimum of 50 wickets in each format. This has allowed me to include Bond, Roberts, Jayasuriya and keep out Bedi, Chandrasekhar and Gibbs. Keeping a single qualification, a la Batting, 100 wickets in each format unfortunately gave me only 49 bowlers, which is quite a low sample.

The table below is quite illuminating and the ratios have been used in making the adjustments between Pace and Spin. For instance the base average for Test Pacers is 27.5 and for Test Spinners is 31.3. To that extent the Spinner would benefit. The base RpO for Test Pacers is 2.85 and for Spinners is 2.58. To that extent the Pace bowler would benefit. And so on... I have taken these numbers only for bowlers who have captured 100 wickets to ensure that the bar is set higher.

Tests played from 1970 - 2010 (only for bowlers who have taken 100 wkts)
Ratios to All
All   Pace   Spin              Pace       Spin
Avge: 28.6   27.5   31.3 - 13.8%      0.96       1.09
S/R:  62.4   57.8   72.8 - 25.9%      0.93       1.17
RpO:  2.75   2.85   2.58 - 10.4%      1.04       0.94

All ODIs (only for bowlers who have taken 100 wkts)

All Pace Spin Pace Spin Avge: 28.9 27.8 31.9 - 14.8% 0.96 1.10 S/R: 39.6 38.3 43.3 - 13.0% 0.97 1.09 RpO: 4.37 4.35 4.42 - 1.6% 0.99 1.01

The following are the points allotted for different measures.
Tests:  Wickets captured- 100
Adjusted wkts   -  50 (adjusted for matches played during career)
Bowling average - 100
Away bow average-  50
Peer comparison -  50 (bowling strike rate comparison)
Peer comparison -  50 (bowling accuracy comparison)
% of Team wkts -   50
% of Top wkts -    50

ODIs: Wickets captured- 100 Adjusted wkts - 50 (adjusted for matches played during career) Bowling average - 100 Peer comparison - 50 (bowling strike rate comparison) Peer comparison - 50 (bowling accuracy comparison) % of Team wkts - 50 % of Top wkts - 50 Wicket quality - 50

The "Adjusted wkts" measure requires an explanation, especially for ODIs. This is best explained with an example. Take the case of Dennis Lillee. He had a career span of 12 years. That is fine and represents a long career. However the problem is that he played only 63 ODIs during this period. Compare this with Brett Lee who, in a shorter 10-year career, has played 186 matches, over 3 times more. An adjustment is needed and this is explained below.

The average number of ODIs per year played by Australia during 39 years is 18.7. The average number of ODIs played by Australia during Lillee's career is 7.75. The wickets captured by Lillee are multiplied by a factor 2.41(18.7/7.75) and points allotted for this measure. For Brett Lee, his career span number for Australia is 27.9 and the multiplying factor is 0.67 (18.7/27.9). 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 or in Lillee's case, Packer matches. 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 both Tests and ODIs, the overall Bowling average, adjusted for the decade values, carries 10 points. Only for Tests, the Away Bowling average, again adjusted for decade values, carries a weight of 5 points.

Independent peer comparisons are done on both Bowling strike rate and Bowling accuracy. The comparisons are only with similar bowlers.

For ODIs, the wicket quality is used by summing the "batting average" of the batsmen dismissed and dividing by the number of wickets. Also to determine the % of top wickets only batsmen whose average exceeds 30.0 (top batsman by all measures) is considered. Harmison is amongst the best in this measure.

Now let me unveil the tables. These tables are current upto Test # 1950 (second Bng-Ind test) and ODI # 2948 (fifth Aus-Pak ODI).

The best bowlers across formats - across years

Rating                     Spin Test   ODI   Test    ODI
Points                     Flag Wkts  Wkts    Pts    Pts
1000                                         500    500

1 752 Muralitharan M Slk * 792 505 380.6 371.7 2 697 McGrath G.D Aus 563 380 348.6 348.8 3 656 Wasim Akram Pak 414 502 301.2 354.4 4 655 Warne S.K Aus * 708 293 346.5 308.8 5 637 Donald A.A Saf 330 272 309.7 327.4 6 635 Pollock S.M Saf 421 393 302.2 332.5 7 631 Waqar Younis Pak 373 416 295.3 335.2 8 624 Garner J Win 259 146 308.2 316.0 9 623 Hadlee R.J Nzl 431 158 328.1 294.9 10 621 Ambrose C.E.L Win 405 225 328.6 292.3 11 600 Lillee D.K Aus 355 103 305.8 293.8 12 587 Marshall M.D Win 376 157 327.0 259.8 13 580 Holding M.A Win 249 142 287.5 292.4 14 573 Imran Khan Pak 362 182 307.4 265.5 15 570 Kumble A Ind * 619 337 286.9 283.3 16 568 Bond S.E Nzl 87 126 265.0 303.3 17 565 Lee B Aus 310 324 232.5 332.9 18 564 Walsh C.A Win 519 227 311.7 252.5 19 561 Saqlain Mushtaq Pak * 208 288 236.1 324.8 20 556 Roberts A.M.E Win 202 87 262.6 293.4 21 553 Ntini M Saf 390 265 243.4 310.0 22 549 Vaas WPUJC Slk 355 400 241.2 308.0 23 545 Shoaib Akhtar Pak 178 223 249.9 295.0 24 538 Kapil Dev N Ind 434 253 258.7 279.5 25 529 Gough D Eng 229 235 246.6 282.2

Muralitharan heads both Test and ODI tables and is ahead by a comfortable margin. Only the churlish and the narrow-minded would deny this great bowler his place at the top. It is easy to say that he played in a weaker team so he had more opportunities to pick up more wickets. What about the batting and fielding. A strong team would have provided these cushions to their bowlers.

McGrath is second in Tests and third in ODIs and again fully deserves his high position. Has there ever been a better fast bowler? He is ahead of his long time compatriot Warne and Wasim Akram quite comfortably.

Wasim Akram is the other way around. Had a great ODI career (he is second) but had a slightly below-par Test career, of course compared to the Test giants. Overall a phenomenal fast bowler, worthy of his third position.

Warne is third in Tests. His achievements are legendary and do not need further words. He is a hair-breadth behind Wasim Akram. Would we ever see a twosome like McGrath and Warne bowling together?

The outstanding South African fast bowler, Donald is in fifth position. Consistency across the formats is his forte.

The top-10 is completed by Pollock, Waqar Younis, Garner, Hadlee and Ambrose. I am quite happy that there three great pairs in this group. It should be noted that the somewhat low number of wickets of Hadlee and Garner has not prevented them from coming to the top. Lillee misses the cut mainly because of the average ODI placements, not his fault, though. Marshall could also not find his place in the top-10 because of the ODI points.

The top-10 has 2 Australians, 2 Pakistanis, 2 South Africans, 2 West Indians, one Srilankan and one New Zealander. A fair distribution, one would say, with 6 countries represented. For the record, Kumble, Gough, Streak and Mashrafe Mortaza are the other country's best bowlers.

There also two spinners in the top-10 and four in the top-20. This is in line with the overall proportion since only 19 spinners qualified, representing 25% of the total. For the record, Chris Gayle props up the rankings.

Overall this is a fast bowler-dominated period. Only 25% of the bowlers are spinners. Also if one takes great spinners during this period, it would be difficult to look beyond Murali, Warne, Kumble, Abdul Qadir, Saqlain and Harbhajan (probably not there yet). However if I have to select the best pece bowlers, a limit of 15 would leave me unhappy.

To download the complete all-time list, 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 Muralitharan, McGrath, Warne, Ambrose, Hadlee, Marshall, Walsh, Donald, Garner and Imran Khan could not be bettered as a Test top-10 of the past forty years. This list is dominated by West Indies, the most effective bowling team over the past 40 years.

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

And the ODI-10 of Muralitharan, Wasim Akram, McGrath, Waqar Younis, Pollock, Lee, Donald, Saqlain Mushtaq, Garner and Ntini represented the cream amongst ODI bowlers. I am happy that Saqlain, with an incredible ODI average of 21.7 and strike rate of 30.5 finds a place in the top-10. This group is dominated by Pakistan, rightly so.

To download the complete ODI list, 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.

After a reasonable break I will do a "Who is the best player - across years and formats" article.

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

  • AKN47 on February 27, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    There was so much controversy on Murali's, Shoib Akthar's & Johan Botha's bowling actions. Murali's action has been scrutinized through out his career, I am happy that he has been let alone now. One thing I could not understand is that why no one speaks about Shaun Tait's bowling action or why no one even bother to question the reason for him to turn up to every match with a support band. It looks so suspicious and I am curious to know how he can go unnoticed under the radar. Can some one explain the reason.

  • srini on February 18, 2010, 3:08 GMT

    i am happy that mcgrath is number 2 only behind on volume numbers. its not only statistically mcgrath is number 2, its also performance-wise. he's got the best batsman out so many times. atherton 2 million times, lara 15 times in 23 tests, tendulkar 6 times in 9 tests etc. lara's average rises by 20 runs against oz in which mcgrath is absent, sachin's rises by 30 runs!! a true genius. until 2005 i always believed marshall was the greatest fast bowler of all time but i must say mcgrath at the minimum must be considered marshall's equal. he's done all this in the age of the batsman. surely that must add up to something.

  • Mark TC on February 17, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    I agree with comments that it is unfair to compare bowlers (or batsman) of different eras.The game has changed so much. Granted the modern bowler has to learn more tricks, but then, today's cricket is batsman friendly. So, those who argue that yesteryears bowlers didn't have the modern techniques, they also did not have the rules and pitches against them. Further, I do not see the point in comparing bowlers to see who would be the best, considering that each bolwed on different wickets (maybe at the same venue. As mentioned, the fielding also comes into a dismissal, so you may have a brilliant bowler who is dropped once very 3-4 catches- and this counts agains the bomler. Then you get your strike bolwers, you holding bowlers, all performing different roles. You cannot compare a holding bolwer who is trying to keep the run rate down to a strike who only wants wickets. We should rather look in context and celebrate the greats in each role.

  • alex on February 13, 2010, 12:33 GMT

    Ananth - there is a poetic justice in that Lara who has more runs/test (maybe the highest among modern batsmen) than SRT (who may end up with the highest avg among modern batsmen) holds the record for most runs scored in an innings while SRT holds the record for most runs scored between two dismissals. That sort of solidity is SRT's legacy, and I hope he simply focusses on quality hundreds in the remainder of his career. [[ Amongst contemporary batsmen, Gambhir, despite the double failure at Nagpur, is the leader with 92.4 rpt. Lara is next with 91.2 rpt. These two are the only ones to exceed 90. I am not sure how long Gambhir can sustain this run. He might surprise us all by maintaining 90+ for, say, 50 tests. Ananth: ]]

  • alex on February 13, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    X: Anantha had earlier pointed out a Cricinfo Q&A blog, where SRT's achievement was recognized (I feel certain that SRT himself was aware of the significance of his denied double century vs Pak). The record is ODI's belongs to Mohd Yousuf.

    Ananth - which bowler has the longest sequence of tests in which he took at least X wickets (where X = 3, 4, 5, etc.)? That should reveal something about the adaptability and consistency. [[ Ha! One more thing to look at. What do you guys do. Sit there and say, "let me think of this and throw this at Ananth. Let us see how he fields it." But where would I be without you guys. Will try. Or anyone can do. Xolile/Sesha. Ananth: ]]

  • alex on February 13, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    Ananth - a correction ... the batsman who scored most runs in a single match is not Lara but Gooch: 446 [333 & 113]. A truly great batsman who scripted some absolutely outlier innings.

    It is noteworthy that Garner, ranked 8th in the list, rarely took > 6 wkts/innings (or > 10 wkts/match) in test cricket. [[ Alex I never said that Lara's was the record. My very words were "why lower a momentous achievement during a single match of 5 days.". It was my misfortune to spend a few valuable pounds and see the last day of the Lord's test match in which Gooch scored 333+123 (not 113). Gooch's 154 out of 253 against Ambrose/Patterson/Marshall//Walsh was the third best ever Test innings in the Wisden-100 list I created for Wisden, behind Bradman's 270* and Lara's 153*. And who can forget the tactical masterpiece of 115 against India in the 1987 semi-final. Ananth: ]]

  • Xolile on February 13, 2010, 11:31 GMT

    Ananth, I am not criticizing Lara’s 400* in any way. It was a fantastic achievement. I watched almost every ball and sensed he was going to go past Hayden almost from the onset. When he finally got there I was so relieved and probably mentally as fatigued as the great man himself.

    What I am saying is that no-one every mentions SRT’s 497 and they should. It is a bona fide world record and should be recognized as such. [[ X I think Tendulkar's record is quite a complex one to understand. Most people would not even understand the significance of the 2 runs scored against Pakistan. But I get where you are going. It is a very rare achievement. Would we see the number 500 crossed. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on February 13, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    Gentlemen Can we get off this single batsman analysis and get back to the bowler analysis that this post covers or the team analysis posted subsequently.

  • Xolile on February 13, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    By the way the top 25 for the highest number of Test runs score for 70 consecutive dismissals (i.e. the number of times Bradman was dismissed) are set out below. You certainly do not have to look far beyond this list when you are compiling and All-Time Test XI!

    1. DG Bradman (Aus) 6996 2. RT Ponting (Aus) 5266 3. GS Sobers (WI) 5205 4. JH Kallis (SA) 5110 5. R Dravid (India) 4837 6. SR Tendulkar (India) 4767 7. Mohammad Yousuf (Pak) 4749 8. ML Hayden (Aus) 4708 9. L Hutton (Eng) 4687 10. BC Lara (WI) 4671 11. SR Waugh (Aus) 4595 12. KF Barrington (Eng) 4572 13. JB Hobbs (Eng) 4569 14. KC Sangakkara (SL) 4511 15. WR Hammond (Eng) 4497 16. IVA Richards (WI) 4438 17. Javed Miandad (Pak) 4434 18. H Sutcliffe (Eng) 4425 19. Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak) 4422 20. AR Border (Aus) 4370 21. ED Weekes (WI) 4330 22. SM Gavaskar (India) 4246 23. GS Chappell (Aus) 4231 24. DPMD Jayawardene (SL) 4226 25. S Chanderpaul (WI) 4208

  • Xolile on February 13, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    Alex

    A few months back I send an analysis to Ananth covering the highest average per number of dismissals. SRT holds an amazing world record of scoring 497 consecutive Test runs without being dismissed once. And those runs were scored between Jan and Mar 2004 against strong teams from Australia and Pakistan. In my view that is a bigger achievement than Lara’s 400* against a feeble, tired English team. Yet no-one ever talks about this world record as it is slightly unconventional. For completeness sake, the top six for this measure are:

    1. SR Tendulkar (India) 497 2. GS Sobers (WI) 490 3. KC Sangakkara (SL) 479 4. R Dravid (India) 473 5. JH Kallis (SA) 456 6. BC Lara (WI) 453 [[ X While correctly praising Tendulkar's near-500 unbeaten sequence, why lower a momentous achievement during a single match of 5 days. The English bowlers might have been tired but has anyone in 135 years scored more in the course of a single test match. This seems to be a perennial problem. If you want to push up one star, it seems necessarily at the expense of another one. Not to take anything away either from Tendulkar's monumental effort nor from your work. Ananth: ]]

  • AKN47 on February 27, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    There was so much controversy on Murali's, Shoib Akthar's & Johan Botha's bowling actions. Murali's action has been scrutinized through out his career, I am happy that he has been let alone now. One thing I could not understand is that why no one speaks about Shaun Tait's bowling action or why no one even bother to question the reason for him to turn up to every match with a support band. It looks so suspicious and I am curious to know how he can go unnoticed under the radar. Can some one explain the reason.

  • srini on February 18, 2010, 3:08 GMT

    i am happy that mcgrath is number 2 only behind on volume numbers. its not only statistically mcgrath is number 2, its also performance-wise. he's got the best batsman out so many times. atherton 2 million times, lara 15 times in 23 tests, tendulkar 6 times in 9 tests etc. lara's average rises by 20 runs against oz in which mcgrath is absent, sachin's rises by 30 runs!! a true genius. until 2005 i always believed marshall was the greatest fast bowler of all time but i must say mcgrath at the minimum must be considered marshall's equal. he's done all this in the age of the batsman. surely that must add up to something.

  • Mark TC on February 17, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    I agree with comments that it is unfair to compare bowlers (or batsman) of different eras.The game has changed so much. Granted the modern bowler has to learn more tricks, but then, today's cricket is batsman friendly. So, those who argue that yesteryears bowlers didn't have the modern techniques, they also did not have the rules and pitches against them. Further, I do not see the point in comparing bowlers to see who would be the best, considering that each bolwed on different wickets (maybe at the same venue. As mentioned, the fielding also comes into a dismissal, so you may have a brilliant bowler who is dropped once very 3-4 catches- and this counts agains the bomler. Then you get your strike bolwers, you holding bowlers, all performing different roles. You cannot compare a holding bolwer who is trying to keep the run rate down to a strike who only wants wickets. We should rather look in context and celebrate the greats in each role.

  • alex on February 13, 2010, 12:33 GMT

    Ananth - there is a poetic justice in that Lara who has more runs/test (maybe the highest among modern batsmen) than SRT (who may end up with the highest avg among modern batsmen) holds the record for most runs scored in an innings while SRT holds the record for most runs scored between two dismissals. That sort of solidity is SRT's legacy, and I hope he simply focusses on quality hundreds in the remainder of his career. [[ Amongst contemporary batsmen, Gambhir, despite the double failure at Nagpur, is the leader with 92.4 rpt. Lara is next with 91.2 rpt. These two are the only ones to exceed 90. I am not sure how long Gambhir can sustain this run. He might surprise us all by maintaining 90+ for, say, 50 tests. Ananth: ]]

  • alex on February 13, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    X: Anantha had earlier pointed out a Cricinfo Q&A blog, where SRT's achievement was recognized (I feel certain that SRT himself was aware of the significance of his denied double century vs Pak). The record is ODI's belongs to Mohd Yousuf.

    Ananth - which bowler has the longest sequence of tests in which he took at least X wickets (where X = 3, 4, 5, etc.)? That should reveal something about the adaptability and consistency. [[ Ha! One more thing to look at. What do you guys do. Sit there and say, "let me think of this and throw this at Ananth. Let us see how he fields it." But where would I be without you guys. Will try. Or anyone can do. Xolile/Sesha. Ananth: ]]

  • alex on February 13, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    Ananth - a correction ... the batsman who scored most runs in a single match is not Lara but Gooch: 446 [333 & 113]. A truly great batsman who scripted some absolutely outlier innings.

    It is noteworthy that Garner, ranked 8th in the list, rarely took > 6 wkts/innings (or > 10 wkts/match) in test cricket. [[ Alex I never said that Lara's was the record. My very words were "why lower a momentous achievement during a single match of 5 days.". It was my misfortune to spend a few valuable pounds and see the last day of the Lord's test match in which Gooch scored 333+123 (not 113). Gooch's 154 out of 253 against Ambrose/Patterson/Marshall//Walsh was the third best ever Test innings in the Wisden-100 list I created for Wisden, behind Bradman's 270* and Lara's 153*. And who can forget the tactical masterpiece of 115 against India in the 1987 semi-final. Ananth: ]]

  • Xolile on February 13, 2010, 11:31 GMT

    Ananth, I am not criticizing Lara’s 400* in any way. It was a fantastic achievement. I watched almost every ball and sensed he was going to go past Hayden almost from the onset. When he finally got there I was so relieved and probably mentally as fatigued as the great man himself.

    What I am saying is that no-one every mentions SRT’s 497 and they should. It is a bona fide world record and should be recognized as such. [[ X I think Tendulkar's record is quite a complex one to understand. Most people would not even understand the significance of the 2 runs scored against Pakistan. But I get where you are going. It is a very rare achievement. Would we see the number 500 crossed. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on February 13, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    Gentlemen Can we get off this single batsman analysis and get back to the bowler analysis that this post covers or the team analysis posted subsequently.

  • Xolile on February 13, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    By the way the top 25 for the highest number of Test runs score for 70 consecutive dismissals (i.e. the number of times Bradman was dismissed) are set out below. You certainly do not have to look far beyond this list when you are compiling and All-Time Test XI!

    1. DG Bradman (Aus) 6996 2. RT Ponting (Aus) 5266 3. GS Sobers (WI) 5205 4. JH Kallis (SA) 5110 5. R Dravid (India) 4837 6. SR Tendulkar (India) 4767 7. Mohammad Yousuf (Pak) 4749 8. ML Hayden (Aus) 4708 9. L Hutton (Eng) 4687 10. BC Lara (WI) 4671 11. SR Waugh (Aus) 4595 12. KF Barrington (Eng) 4572 13. JB Hobbs (Eng) 4569 14. KC Sangakkara (SL) 4511 15. WR Hammond (Eng) 4497 16. IVA Richards (WI) 4438 17. Javed Miandad (Pak) 4434 18. H Sutcliffe (Eng) 4425 19. Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak) 4422 20. AR Border (Aus) 4370 21. ED Weekes (WI) 4330 22. SM Gavaskar (India) 4246 23. GS Chappell (Aus) 4231 24. DPMD Jayawardene (SL) 4226 25. S Chanderpaul (WI) 4208

  • Xolile on February 13, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    Alex

    A few months back I send an analysis to Ananth covering the highest average per number of dismissals. SRT holds an amazing world record of scoring 497 consecutive Test runs without being dismissed once. And those runs were scored between Jan and Mar 2004 against strong teams from Australia and Pakistan. In my view that is a bigger achievement than Lara’s 400* against a feeble, tired English team. Yet no-one ever talks about this world record as it is slightly unconventional. For completeness sake, the top six for this measure are:

    1. SR Tendulkar (India) 497 2. GS Sobers (WI) 490 3. KC Sangakkara (SL) 479 4. R Dravid (India) 473 5. JH Kallis (SA) 456 6. BC Lara (WI) 453 [[ X While correctly praising Tendulkar's near-500 unbeaten sequence, why lower a momentous achievement during a single match of 5 days. The English bowlers might have been tired but has anyone in 135 years scored more in the course of a single test match. This seems to be a perennial problem. If you want to push up one star, it seems necessarily at the expense of another one. Not to take anything away either from Tendulkar's monumental effort nor from your work. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on February 13, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    Alex Another point on which I sort of agree with you and some others. This is actually a more linguistic sort of thing. i.e the use of the word “Best”- “best” bowler ,batsman etc. Perhaps in the sort of tables Ananth is putting up “Most succesful” would be a better description. The problem however is that it is impossible to get any consensus on what makes for the “Best” batsman/bowler etc. since there are so many dimensions by which you can measure excellence. Also, as so many ppl have pointed out, in a team sport the composition and performance of the rest of the team relative to a player concerned has an inordinately large impact. So, the composition/weightings etc of these sort of tables will always “benefit” certain players. Actually , I had brought up this point during the “Best test batsman” table too (You know who I think is the “Best”!!)- but then it was taken more as sour grapes I suppose! So, though I understand where you are coming from- the key problem is that the very definition of “Best” is almost impossible to ascertain. It will again boil down to subjective and personal opinions.

  • Abhi on February 13, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Alex Fair enough. Strange though that a cricketer who even as a schoolkid scored unbeaten triples didn’t do so in his later years. For eg Kambli (his compatriot)scored doubles almost on debut onwards. Lesser batsmen like Atapatu scored doubles routinely etc. You mentioned “Fate” in one of your previous comments. I think that is the operative word. Most of the innings we usually remember as monumental have had several turning points in which every thing went the particular batsman’s way- the LBW shouts, the edges,catches etc- and not just for the batsman concerned but ALSO his partners, tail etc. Even in his last innings Tendulkar got out with the ball richocheting perfectly off the thigh pad-onto elbow-top of leg stump. That’s almost like potting a third ball after the cue ball first strikes another two. I guess pure skill and determination can only take you so far- thereafter you require healthy doses of good old fashioned luck aka “Fate”- a “Perfect storm” for the batsman and his partners- but of a good kind.

  • alex on February 13, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    Ananth and Abhi - for the record, I like SRT the most among all cricketers (past and present). But, the lack of mammoth special innings vs good attacks or in exceptional circumstances (e.g., 213, 214*, 226, 232, 277, 291, 281, etc.) will raise some eyebrows ... 241* is the only one that might qualify. I think that is the only blot, and have come to accept that maybe such innings are not meant to be for him. Like everyone else, I have a bias but try to be objective.

    As for 180, the point was that any threshold is arbitrary (hence centuries are over-rated, IMO) ... actually, the 200 threshold gives SRT only 1 big enough score (241*) vs decent attacks. Hence, I suggested such a more holistic metric to Ananth (100+ runs OR 130+ balls OR 180+ minutes, etc. --- something similar for "mammoth" innings) ... in this thread, that is my only sane contribution!

  • alex on February 12, 2010, 16:07 GMT

    Ananth - on the EBA. I get your point but, being a projection, it does not add more information on what actually happened ... I view this blog (& some other cricinfo blogs) as means to make use of raw # to better appreciate cricket & cricketers.

    For me, to decide "best batsman", a good strategy relies on the following in that order: (i) peer ratios, (ii) avg (& IPF for ODI's), (iii) #runs, (iv) longevity, (iv) items (i)-(iii) for the top 10% (or top 20) performances, (v) items (i)-(iv) for the top 20% (or top 40) performances, (vi) items (i)-(iv) for the top 40% (or top 80) performances. (Of course, I would watch the game as well for the real feel and understanding.) Items (iv)-(vi) are neglected in your analysis while the volume is given probably too much weight ... not that I have problems with it (that just makes it more of a long-run "return on investment" analysis).

  • Abhi on February 12, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    Alex To expand on my point a bit- Was just pottering around on the stats bases- if you take around 140+ as a big hundred then Tendulkar has the most at 23. Followed by lara and Ponting at 21. My point is simply that these are arbitrary numbers. I can understand a hundred – the batsman and the crowd are anxious and nervous;everyone including the audience anticipates and vigourously celebrates a hundred. But how often do you see a batsman take of his helmet, jump up and down screaming and waving his bat at the dressing room and gallery on reaching “180”? [[ Alex I agree with Abhi that 180 is arbitrary. 150 is fine, so is 100 or 200. It is also possible to select a number which will show a batsman in positive or negative light. For instance Lara has 5 scores between 209 and 226. A 210 cut-off is quite different to a 225 cut-off. However the EBA, while it may be an extrapolation, at least will address the question of not outs in a rational manner. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on February 12, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    Alex I certainly don’t want to get into a debate about “decent” attacks, N.Os, etc. It will rapidly descend into the usual tit for tat- with no end in sight. But one thing that struck me as simply amazing ( and in way reveals your bias – as opposed to mine!- guess we simple cannot help our personal preferences-conscious or subconcious)…

    And that is- Since when has an entirely arbitrary score of “180” (+!) become a primary criterion for greatness?! So, apparently Tendulkar’s some 8 160-180 scores automatically disqualifies him from your arbitrary cutout.Wow.

  • alex on February 12, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    Ananth - I understand the logic behind the extended batting averages but think that, being an extrapolation, it does not pertain to what actually happened (an analogy: how many wkts a bowler X would have taken if the opposition were bowled out twice in every match?).

    Abhi, being an SRT fan, has pointed out some flattering stats for SRT. However, although SRT has crossed 150 against a variety of attacks in different scenarios, he has managed only three 180+ scores (241*, 194*, 193) vs decent attacks. So, an avg of 215 does not convey the true picture (unlike the avg of 144). Looks like the scarcity of real quality 180+ scores will remain a blot on his career ... from India itself, Sehwag, Laxman, Dravid, & Gambhir have done better on that (I am not worried about the lack of triple centuries but this is a serious metric). To me, this is the only reason why he might not deserve the label of the grestest ever bar the Don. [[ Alex I devised the EBA to resolve the vexed question of not outs. Unfortunately it was almost the first article in my sojourn here and probably had very few readers (although there were 80+ comments). Let me do it again now with the background of 2 years of work, interaction and enlightened readers such as you, Abhi, Xolile, Ed, Unni, Sesha, Jeff, Arjun et al. I am not saying that it should replace the Batting Average but can be used in analytical situations as long as the extrapolation is sound. There is no comparison with bowlers since the Bowling Average is a pure metric and has no inherent weakness which is possessed by the Bowling Average. Ananth: ]]

  • alex on February 12, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    Ananth - thanks, if you pl do the analysis (100+ runs OR 130+ balls OR 180+ minutes), that would be great. In test cricket, if you can give a sterling effort by hanging around for 3+ hours even if you don't score a century. I think folks like Dravid, Border and Boycott will score quite high on % of times they managed it.

    Blog discussions on great batsman often collapse onto Lara-SRT-Ponting-Richards opinions while completely ignoring how extraordinary Kallis, Border, Greg Chappell, Dravid, Inzamam, Steve Waugh, Mohd Yousuf, and Miandad have been.

  • Abhi on February 12, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    Ananth Just read the article you mentioned. Most fascinating read. I hadn’t seen it before. I think the modus operandi used is quite sensible. Would it be possible for a similar method if used for just hundreds then? May give us a more realistic picture -and perhaps lead to a better balance between the N.O vs the RPIs. [[ Abhi Can and will do. I think the EBA is my best work ever. I think the Peer Comparisons are probably more relevant but these were suggested initially by Abdullah. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on February 12, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    Ananth But surely it is the average which must be taken into account?-specially if a batsman is past 100? Most especially since by then a batsman is well entrenched and if N.O has the potential to score much more? This is clear by the fact that Tendulkar has remained N.O a staggering 15 times out of 46. So, once in- he isnt getting out in a hurry. This clearly implies that: 1) He would have certainly scored many many more runs if “allowed” to complete the innings. So, on this metric we have to use avg. and not RPIs. With RPI the batsmen have had the luxury of scoring as much as they possibly can till out- giving them a clear edge over batsmen who remain N.O. 2) He certainly isn’t throwing away his wicket after getting to a hundred –contrary to the implied comments of certain ppl. [[ One can argue both ways. Averege (incl not outs) is a derived measure. RpI is an actual measure. By the by, I am not sure from when you have been a reader of IF. One of my first articles was called "Extended Batting Average" in which any "Not out" innings was extended by the "Runs per outs" and a new EBA calculated. A totally new idea which was thought of my me and received enthusiastic response. Pl refer to the IF archives. Ananth: ]]

  • Ashik Uzzaman on February 12, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    This list reminds me how unfortunate the new generation of cricket audience are who didn't get a chance to enjoy the bowling of top 10 in this list except Muralitharan. However, they are instead seeing a few very good new bowlers like Dale Steyn or Zahir Khan for that matter. I personally am a big admirer of Wasim Akram, Glen Macgrath, Shane Warne.

  • Raghav on February 11, 2010, 17:45 GMT

    Even #2 would surprise me, as long the list is of players after 1970.

    He is in the top bracket of batsman with bowling more than easily making up the small gap in batting.

  • alex on February 11, 2010, 6:33 GMT

    Ananth - this comment is unrelated to this thread however the thought occured after reading Jaja's comment. I look on # centuries as an indicator of how many times the batsman did quite well ... other reasonable measures would be (i) how many times he faced > 130 deliveries, and (ii) how many times he played for > 180 minutes ... this should take care of, e.g., neglecting scores of 95 etc (which happens when you only count # centuries).

    So, if possible, could you please do a batsman analysis on how many times (& frequency thereof) a batsman either scored > 100 OR faced > 130 deliveries OR played for > 180 minutes?

    The above gives more information than just # centuries ... similarly for # half-centuries. Thanks! [[ Alex You are single-handedly filling up plates. "Minutes" is dicey. Quite inconsistent data. However pretty good idea. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on February 11, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Re.some comments by some ppl above I did a quick check and came up with some startling numbers- wholly contrary to expectation. Tendulkars tons: 46 100s @ 214.7(15 N.O) Lara’s tons: 34 100s @ 184.0(2 N.O) Sehwag’s tons: 18 100s@ 195.5 (1 N.O) 1) Lara has got one more 150+ score than Tendulkar. 2) Apparently Tendulkar has got a problem with the 170s- he gets out a lot around round about that score. Nervous 170s? 3) If you take out the highest scores of all 3 batsmen (248*, 400*, 319). The avgs. you get are 206.7, 171.5, 187.8 4) The most mindboggling aspect is Tendulkar’s 15 N.O out of 46 100s(more than half of his career N.Os)!! Since he was obviously well “in” then how much more could he have potentially scored?! Also, it implies that though Lara and Sehwag may pile on a few higher individual scores-once Tendulkar gets past a hundred it is very difficult to get him out.

    So much for the low 100s myth. [[ Abhi That is the average of hundreds you are talking about. Including the recent two hundreds at Nagpur, the following are the average score for the centuries. There, a few batsmen are way above SRT. And this is a true indication of the high-100s analysis. To remain not out at 200 or being dismissed at 200 does not really matter. Of course we are not really talking about the value of remaining unbeaten. If Lara's score had been 149 out (instead of 153*), Windies would have lost. Bradman: 29/186.0 Sehwag: 18/184.6 Zaheer: 12/179.8 Lara: 34/173.2 ... ... Tendulkar: 46/144.7 Sehwag was on top with 189.1 but had to yield to Bradman because of his "low" century. However it is amazing that a contemporary batsman has successfully gone past Bradman in one performance-based metric at least. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik (the original one) on February 11, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    Ananth wrote :

    After a reasonable break I will do a "Who is the best player - across years and formats" article.

    Finally. This is the article to supercede them all.

    I would be stunned if Jacques Kallis is any lower than #2.

  • David on February 10, 2010, 19:22 GMT

    Lovely statistical analysis, Anantha. Krishna (February 7, 2010 4:39 PM) had an interesting observation and question, which is that few of the current crop of bowlers are high on the list. My own sense of whether or not current bowlers will climb the list is influenced by the following: - pitches are nowadays typically prepared to encourage batting (and to ensure more ticket sales - why prepare a bowler's pitch which could result in a 3-day test match when you want the punters to come on all 5 days...?) - rules of cricket have been tweaked to favour the batsmen across all versions of the game (e.g. fielding restrictions, bouncer restrictions etc.) - volume of cricket is significantly higher therefore more propensity for injuries and shorter careers, particularly for fast bowlers.

    On this basis, I think it unlikely we will see too many current bowlers climbing that chart too quickly.

  • alex on February 10, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    Ananth - I noticed that in tests, McGrath & Ambrose (unlike other fast bowlers) have both peer ratios exceeding 1.15. I think the product of these ratios might be interesting --- not only across careers but, more to the point, over a test or over a series because then the playing conditions are almost the same for all bowlers (modulo poor umpiring and freak dismissals), assuming equally matched (batting + fielding) sides.

    In ODI's, incredibly (to me at least), the product of these ratios is the same for McGrath, Roberts & Hadlee. On this metric, they fare better than Akram, Lillee, Younis, Donald, Ambrose, & Pollock! Garner, Murali & Saqlain are in a different league from the rest. I don't quite understand the significance of the product but it might merit a closer look. [[ Alex Excellent suggestion to extend the Peer comparisons to lower levels. In Tests if Average is taken, McGrath has a value of 1.45 (and Ambrose similar). This is almost the product of the Strike Rate and RpO peer ratios. So the Average Peer ratio is an excellent indicator. Somewhat similar in ODIs I think I should build this Peer ratio now as part of the standard database so that it gets compiled at match level as part of the update process. Then it can be used at any low level. At the end of an important 5-test series (possibly as extinct as the dinosaurs now) I could do a Peer comparison or for a single year. Now I have done this on an ad-hoc basis for the career and decade. Ananth: ]]

  • alex on February 10, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    Ananth & Andrew - re Andrew's comment. I think the thread becomes controversial when it is titled "best batsman ... " (or "best bowler ...") for then whoever is ranked #1 becomes the "best" etc. whereas "best" is a very subjective notion; I have tried to quantify that in the comment to Harsh in the context of Lillee & Roberts. Maybe much better to simply label it differently.

    Andrew - if you don't fret the fact that Pollock is much ahead of Lillee on #wkts in either tests or ODI's at similar averages & economy rates (after playing for similar # years), maybe you shouldn't fret that he is ahead of Lillee on this performance metric (which is quite logical) as well. Doesn't mean that he is "better" than Lillee. [[ Alex The point is well-made. Only thing is that I thought by now readers have clearly understood the fact that these are only changeable tables. Nothing is set in stone and anyhow no one is giving any awards based on these. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew on February 10, 2010, 11:59 GMT

    RE: Pollock better than Lillee. Well its disappointing you folk at Cricinfo - or is it just Anantha Narayanan - can't take some healthy debate for the articles you publish. Very disappointing as I have followed the site since its earlier inception. I can only conclude that Anantha Narayanan is unwilling to publically admit his rating system simply doesn't add up - or can he simply not accept someone just plainly telling him hes got it wrong?. As soon as your challenged you simply don't print. [[ Andrew It is amaziing to read your complaint. In fact many people have said that mine is the only blog where all comments get in. Only two types do not get published. The first are the abusive comments. They go into the trash immediately. The second is one where the same comment is repeated again and again. In your case I probably did not publish the last comment since it did not come out with something new. It was a repeat of the earlier "Lillee is better than Pollock" theme. I am surprised to read that I will not publish something because it goes against what has been presented in the table. Frankly I want healthy dialogue. It seems that you have not gone through the blogs to the extent you mention. I suggest you just look at the comments related to this post only and see how many are published which contradict the tables. More than half. And let me also say that in the comment not published you asked a rather pointless question "Please do tell me which well respected commentators have said that Pollock is better?" Why should I do that. Why do I need a commentator to support facts and figures. Anyhow let me put this to bed. I think Lillee was one of the greatest of all fast bowlers. Neither I nor any other person can take that away. On the other hand Pollock, in Tests and ODI combined, is one of the greats. Neither you nor any other person can take that away. Ananth: ]]

  • jwt on February 10, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    Ananth,

    Thank you yet again for another "illusion-breaking" analysis. Are seeing a few names up there that I (and many others) wouldn't have thought of. But saying that, it just reminds me of how emotionally subjective we are...

    I think we all have various favourites when it comes to great bowlers and batsmen. But we often judge that greatness on additional factors aside from pure performances, e.g.: flair, charisma, attitude, public relations, etc etc. It's interesting to see how our personal greats are "judged" once we only look at the numbers.

    But then again: without our own personal greats.....where would our heroes come from :-)

    jwt [[ JWT The best placement as far as I am concerned is that of Bond. With barely 200 intl wickets he is placed above Lee with 600 intl wickets. And Steyn barely made the cut-off, with 50 ODI wickets. But he is placed quite well and will move up like a rocket. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik (the original one) on February 10, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    Before Murali came along, Sri Lanka rarely took 20 wickets. They had, what, a total of THREE Test wins before Murali?

    After Murali retires, Sri Lanka once again might have trouble taking 20 wickets in a match.

    I don't think there is any major team so dependent on one cricketer.

  • alex on February 10, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    Harsh --- re your comment on Lillee & Roberts. I believe this exercize is to rank the bowlers based on the volume & quality of measurable (& at times extrapolated) performances. So, it is actully a surprise (and a good thing) that Walsh ranks below Holding, to take one example.

    Lillee & Roberts, together, pioneered the age of fast bowlers and the art of fast bowling in the 70's. Hence, many who followed the game closely will rate them very highly (Holding clubbed Lillee, McGrath, & Marshall together, closely followed by Roberts). However, this fact is not measurable, and it should be accepted that other fast bowlers have surpassed them both on some quite valid metrics. I remember that when Lillee's wkt tally surpassed that of Trueman, a few old timers argued that if Trueman had the same opportunities, he would have done better than Lillee!

  • alex on February 10, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Jaja: Tendulkar's ton was not pointless ... on the contrary, it was necessary but not sufficient. About the only possibility of India salvaging the match through him batting through the innings for a 200+ score. Sadly, looks like that sort of a truly great knock is not in his fate.

    On the score of 100: one of the most famous centuries ever is the even 100 scored by Kim Hughes vs WI in 1980-81 ... Steyn & Co are no pedestrians, and yesterday was certainly a grim situation. It was a brilliant innings that fell short of what was required. [[ Alex Just as the Chennai classic of 136 which was brilliant but fell short. That should not take away from the value of the innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on February 9, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    Sehwag has stated that Dale Steyn is the best bowler he has ever faced!! Considering that Sehwag has played most of the modern day greats that is some compliment. Especially considering the fact that Sehwag is probably the most simple ,straightforward and straightshooting cricketer around. He certainly didn't say that as a throwaway soundbite.

  • jaja on February 9, 2010, 13:00 GMT

    Anyone notice another pointless Tendulkar TON today...out for exactly 100! Not playing for himself then? eh? Would be nice for someone to look into the amout of times Tendulkar and Dravid are dismissed 100-120 compared to Sehwag. With Sehwag it's never about numbers! [[ You are being very unfair on Tendulkar. 2 out of his last 3 centuries have been in very trying conditions when batting was quite difficult. He never plays for himself even though he has a keen sense of the records. It is unfortunate for Tendulkar and India that the South African dogged plan with Harris worked. And you cannot blame them. Bowling an outside leg stump line Harris piicked up 4 wickets. At the end of the day Sehwag and Tendulkar scored a century each. Ananth: ]]

  • Harsh Thakor on February 9, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    A good effort and Murlitharan deserves his rank.However amongst the pacemen overall Wasim Akram was the greatest.Few bowlers have been as outstanding in one day Internationals and Tests.He was the mostlethal bolwer in the death overs .No fast bolwer has been more versatile or more effective on docile tracks.Glen Mcgrath was assisted with bouncy surfaces,unlike Wasim. Dennis Lille should have ben ranked ahead of Imran Khan as he was a great one day International bowler,in addition to being arguably the greatest ever test bowler.In the same light Andy Roberts had a briliant economy rate in one day games and should have been ranked ahead.In his era he was the closest challenger to Denis Lillee,and the most versatile of West Indian paceman.

  • Kartik (the original one) on February 9, 2010, 9:01 GMT

    This finally shines some light on Botham's poor ODI figures.

    Both Kapil AND Gough are higher ranked than Botham. I bet he would not be expecting that.

  • Xolile on February 9, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    Obviously the one area where spinners have the edge on pace bowlers is footmarks. Pacers cannot really target footmarks like say a leggie or a left arm finger spinner can. But footmarks only become sufficiently prominent late in the game (from around session 11).

    A remarkable analysis would be looking at the effectiveness of each type of bowler (speed, spin and arm) by day, or even better, by session. I know this information is not available for matches before 2000. But even if we could only look at the last 10 years it would make for extremely insightful reading.

    By the way, top innings by Tendulkar today. Once again shows his versatility, technique and determination. He certainly is still India’s best batsman against quality bowling. He could easily go on for three more years.

  • raja ashutosh on February 9, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    Sir I wanna ask you that will you keep on updating the list?And if yes then how we will get to know the updated list?plz reply. [[ Raja Difficult to commit anything. However I probably will do so when a major bowler or two retires. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik (the original one) on February 9, 2010, 5:36 GMT

    Xollie wrote :

    To beat India in India you need pace, not spin. I’d select five specialist fast bowlers and a couple of batting-allrounders to provide backup.

    Yes. The only two times India suffered a heavy Test series defeat in India were against the West Indies in 1983-84 (3-0), and against South Africa in 2000 (2-0).

    The first time, Roberts, Holding, and Marshall did them in. The second time, it was Donald & Co.

    Conversely, look how badly Warne did in India. Murali was not so hot either.

  • Kartik (the original one) on February 9, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    Ananth wrote :

    Overall this is a fast bowler-dominated period. Only 25% of the bowlers are spinners.

    But since most teams choose 3 fast bowlers and 1 spinner, isn't this 25% distribution normal?

    Even Stuart MacGill couldn't play many Tests, since there was rarely room for two.

    The strongest bowling attack of all (West Indies) had no need for a spinner. Also, teams that play two spinners (Ind and SL) do so only on account of poor fast-bowling prospects.

    The inability of a nation of 1.2 billion to produce a fast bowler better than Kapil Dev in the last 30 years continues to be one of the big mysteries of cricket.

    That is why the faux-nostalgia created around the Indian spin quartet (strike rate : 80) vs. the West Indies pace quartet (strike rate : 50) is a joke. It is absurd to even compare the two. Barring Chandra, the careers of the others are evidence of India having no decent pacer. India rarely took 20 wickets in the days of the 'spin quartet'.

  • Kartik (the original one) on February 9, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    I am glad to see Kapil ahead of Botham.

    Now, on this 'percentage of team wickets' issue, I think this penalizes the WI quicks. Garner took only 7 5WIs, despite an awesome strike rate. Similarly, Murali would always be on top of this measure, because before Murali, Sri Lanka rarely could ever even TAKE 20 wickets in a Test.

    I think this measure should be underweighted, as it distorts absolute quality a lot.

    McGrath is awesome, and having met him once, I can say he is a great guy. He has a 1980s average and strike rate, despite playing in the 2000s. Plus, look at his longevity. I doubt any paceman will exceed his Test wickets tally for a very, very long time.

  • Abhi on February 9, 2010, 2:31 GMT

    Xolile, You are absolutely right.I suppose that is the reason the Pak fast bowlers always did well in India.Wasim could move it a mile both ways in India. So the same "grip" which provides the spin will also provide the movement for the genuine fast bowlers. As Warnie used to say "If it's seaming it's spinning"...I guess if you have enough speed then it works the other way round too .

  • love goel on February 8, 2010, 17:51 GMT

    I concur here with Xolie. Fast bowlers are the way to win in India. Spinners may get you the wickets, but a collpase against spinners is very unlikely. Pacers however can easily dismiss the team very cheapily when they are on a roll.

    However not any pacer will do. You really need great fast bowlers(a bunch of good ones won't suffice). All the bowlers which Xolie mentioned are great bowlers. An attack like present English attack will find it very hard to dismiss Indian Batsmen, especially once they are set. [[ If the pace bowlers are consistently bowling at 140+, it does not matter where they bowl. That is what the fast bowlers mentioned by X have done consistently in India. Who can forget Marshall in 1983. Ananth: ]]

  • Xolile on February 8, 2010, 14:55 GMT

    Ananth, Abhi,

    It goes against conventional wisdom, but touring fast bowlers have always been far more effective in India than touring spinners.

    Particularly in the modern era spinners have struggled in India. Look at the stats for Warne, Murali and Vettori. Then compare their numbers to Steyn, Donald, Walsh, Hadlee, Roberts, Holding, Akhtar, Willis, Patterson, Marshall and McGrath.

    To beat India in India you need pace, not spin. I’d select five specialist fast bowlers and a couple of batting-allrounders to provide backup.

  • Abhi on February 8, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    Just checked out Steyn at no.31 overall and no.18 on the test list. Tell you what- a few more years of bowling like he did today-and he is going to rocket fuel up any all time list. What a spell- and supposedly on a batting track. [[ Abhi Only the Indian selection committee would have 2 pace bowlers, 1 spinner and 1 wkt-keeper in the reserves and play a hapless wicket-keeper as a specialist batsman. Not to take anything away from one of the greatest spells of pace bowling on indian soil. This is not a green top. And this is also the track in which SA scored 550 despite being 6 for 2. And third day was supposed to be the best for batting. And batsman after batsman leave deliveries angling in with the possibility of reverse. What happened to technique. At least Vijay showed good technique towards the end of the day's play. And the same tail which feasted on the innocuous SLK/BNG bowling now cannot see through 10 overs. Unfortunately the batsman who could bat for hours on end and the guy who could score a run-a-ball century or double are both gone. Now even the scoreboard would not move. Ananth: ]]

  • Krishna on February 7, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    Great stats !. I am loking at the test table. Murali is retirig this year . The next name on the list who is currenlty active is Steyn - on 18 . I dpubt Lee and Ntini play test anymore and next on the list is Harbhajan - on 37 !! . Thats a worrying trend isn it ? . Am I interpreting the numbers right ? only one bowler in top 25 belong to this generation ? Is that because the quality of bowlers have come down drastically or is it because they have few wickts to show against their name ?? 10 years down the lane ..will the ratings of these bowlers improve and will we be able to see few of these current generation bowlers atlast 4 to 5 in top 25 ??

  • Sudeep on February 7, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    McGrath is the best bowler in the both the formats of Cricket. if you see he has always taken the top order batsmen wicket rather than tail enders compare to wasim and waqar..and he helped Australia to be no. one team in both formats of game for a decade and also winning the world cup 3 times in a row...he was never a part of ball tampering also.. McGrath holds the record for dismissing the most batsmen for ducks in test cricket. he was never out of form in this entire career. Who can forget him taking a record 26 wickets in the 2007 World Cup.

  • Raghav on February 7, 2010, 15:29 GMT

    Not once did I think that the last few tests be ignored for players. My point was on longevity.

    Mcgrath and Warne never did fade away at any time during their career. But remember that they retired when they were still excellent. They could have played longer as shown by Warne in IPL and Mcgrath in the 2007WC. Many players carry on after their peak and add wkts/runs to their name and they eventually go when they are dropped or about to be.

    In numerical analysis, they may benefit by the higher wkts/runs and players who retire (when they are good for a few more years) tend to lose out. Thus I feel that longevity points should have a cap. Once a player has played a 100 tests, I feel he has proven everything in terms on longevity. More wkts can be rewarded by factors like wkts/innings. They anyways improve the SR and AVG of that player. [[ Raghav Let me put these ideas into my thinking box and revisit these when I do the Player article. I am seriously looking at a suggestion (I think it was yours) to combine the two longevity-related measures (Wkts+AdjWkts) into a single one, that too the AdjWkts. Ananth: ]]

  • Devadatta on February 7, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Very interesting to see Agarkar second only to Srinath among Indian bowlers. I wonder why he still finds himself out of the ODI team? [[ One cannot argue with 288 wickets in 190 matches. Whether he deserves selection now is a moot point. But Agarkar's place among the Indian ODI bowling elite cannot be denied. Ananth: ]]

  • harsha nayak on February 7, 2010, 14:39 GMT

    1.sir r.hadlee 2.s.warne 1.sachin tendulkar 2.don bradman 3.g. sobers

    cricket has 2 sects 1.sachin 2.rest

  • Pallathz on February 7, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    This analysis yet again proves that Stats that dont tell the whole story.To rank others above Marshall,Holding & Roberts in the top 10 list & to miss out Ian Botham with 383 wickets & Jeoff Thomson altogether tells a different tale.

    To rank Kapil Dev after Ntini & Shoaib purely on stats gives it a different color.

  • yaanni on February 7, 2010, 13:20 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    I don't know if its just me or what but somehow I find I am incapabale of really grasping the in depth meaning & implication of a few criteria. Don't get me wrong. What I am saying is that I suddenly find that my understanding of batting is much much better than what I have for bowling. While I was able to follow your statements with ease in the batting analysis article, here I find it difficult to do so. Just a question to all the readers. Guys, what do you think? Do you all think that we make much better sense of the art of batting? Not in the sense of watching & analyzing a single bowling performance but when taken in aggregates for a bowler and for several bowlers. I hope my point is clear. Ananth, did u also feel so? [[ Yaanni If you understood the Batting article I am surprised that you cannot understand the Bowling article since they are virtually identical. Please let me know which segment you do not understand. i will try and make it clear. Ananth: ]]

  • azha on February 7, 2010, 10:37 GMT

    MR.ANANTH, STATISTICALLY MCGRATH WAS BETTER BOWLER THAN AKRAM.BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE SKILL AKRAM WAS FAR BATTER THAN MCGRATH.EVEN MCGRATH HIMSELF WOULD NOT DENAY THE FACT. I CAN REMEMBER A INTERVIEW OF EX W.I. CAPT.ROHAN KANHAI WHERE HE SAID WASIM & WAQUR WOULD HAVE GOT 100 MORE WICKETS EACH IF THE STANDERD OF PAK FIELDING WAS AS GOOD AS AUS OR SA. MCGRATH ALWAYS GOT THE BLESSING OF SOME GREAT FIELDERS AND BATMAN.

  • Raghav on February 7, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    An Example: Kapil Dev really worked hard for wkts towards the end of his bowling career. He mainly carried on to break the wkt record in tests and for his batting in ODIs.

    Though he did get extra wkts in both forms of the game, I feel he harmed his career numbers more. Can you tell us what would be his position in the table if he retired at around the 350 test wkt mark from both forms of the game. May be at the end of the Pakistan series on 1989.

    I believe his ranking will go down, because of the over emphasis on longevity. Beyond a certain number of years, making runs or taking wkts at below average levels should not increase the rating of the player. [[ Raghav I could show you examples of bowlers who pick up more better quality wickets than their career figures indicate towards the end of his career. If Kapil Dev played 10 extra tests and picked up 20 wickets, only the longevity benefit would be more than offset by the loss to his average. I am not going to do anything to prove this one way or another. I can assure you that the paltry number of wickets picked up by Murali against India would certalnly harm him as far as ratings are concerned because of the worsening, albeit by decimal points, of his average and rpo figures. In his last 25 tests Warne captured 142 wickets (5.7 wpt) with only 11 against Bangladesh cheap wickets. In his last 25 tests McGrath captured 117 wickets (4.7 wpt). Not one cheap wkt. Should these wickets not be considered. I don't think that is fair. If you said, take the best 500 wickets, it would at least be acceptable. On what basis, the methodology etc still uncertain. Ananth: ]]

  • Nick on February 7, 2010, 7:00 GMT

    Murali is undoubtedly the greatest bowler ever in the history of Cricket.These stats are morethan enough to show it to the world despite some ignorant baseless comments.I know that they can't tolerate an Asian particularly from small country produces the greatest bowler.

  • danny on February 7, 2010, 6:58 GMT

    sorry, i realise now Ambrose played 1988-2000, but my argument still stands...

    for what it is worth, i think your top 14 is perfect except the order shouldnt be so chronologically correlated

  • danny on February 7, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    Ananth

    Your analysis is superb as usual, but please consider this:

    The top seven almost exclusively played all their cricket in the 1990s and 2000s (only Akram played any significant cricket in the 1980s - and he played well on until the mid 2000s).

    The next seven 'best' played all their cricket in the 1970s and 1980s.

    It is clear that the weighting given to overall wickets taken (longetivity) is too high.

    It is impossible to argue that the seven best bowlers of the last 20 years are ALL better than the seven best of the 20 years before that. Yet thats what the analysis implies.

    Although they played much less ODI cricket, players like Hadlee and Garner had a huge impact on cricket with their ability to stifle run scoring.

    To prove my point:. Given the methodology used, just how brilliant would have Hadlee or Lillee had to have performed to come out best?

    finally, there is no way that murali is 25% better than Lillee

    The word 'best' could be replaced by 'effective'

  • Ashwath on February 7, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    How is irfan pathan a better bowler than Qadir, flintoff, harmison? there is no bowling quality adjustment? I think the article would be better served if you could add a bowling quality adjustment. [[ Incidentally Qadir and Flintoff are placed higher than Irfan Pathan. And do you know how many top order wickets did Irfan pathan take. 59 out of 100, the highest of all bowlers who have captured 100 wickets+. Ananth: ]]

  • saltwater on February 7, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    Amazing how a team that enjoyed the longest unbeaten streak in international sport only has two bowlers in the top ten. Marshall, Holding or Garner for that matter below Pollock, Donald and company? Amazing [[ Unfortunately it has become the fashion now to bash the South African bowlers, who captured 1400 intl wickets between them. Also try to understand that the four great West Indian pace bowlers, who has ever denied their greatness, have shared the spoils amongst themselves. That is the way the cookie crumbles. They were great individually and greater together. Ananth: ]]

  • dhiraj on February 7, 2010, 3:34 GMT

    Ananth, analysis is great but found it a little hard to ignore the fact that players like Hadlee and Malcolm Marshall played much lesser ODI's than the top players in your list. Besides your list proves my point since by ratings Ambrose Hadlee and Marshall would be 4,5,6 on the list. It would be more appropriate to have an all Time Test list and an all time ODI list . Would be more fair to the GREATS of the game

  • Cyrus on February 7, 2010, 3:15 GMT

    I agree with several comments here. In a team sport one cannot completely isolate a player from his team. In my opinion if Wasim Akram was interchanged with Glenn Mcgrath and Shane Warne with Murali Muralitharan in their respective teams…the rankings would have been No.1 Shane Warne and No.2 Wasim Akram. The reasons are: 1) Shane Warne would then have got a greater % of team wickets and also top order batsmen. 2) Besides the politicking in the Pak team ,as others have mentioned the fielding was poor as compared to the Aus.team. In the recent Aus-Pak series the difference in fielding standards was considerable. A simple eg. Would be Ponting being dropped on a duck and then going on to a double hundred. What a difference in bowling figures. What if you roughly multiply this over more than a hundred matches in Akram’s case? Of course, this is an exagerration- but you get the picture. I also feel that in pure bowling terms Warne and Akram were better bowlers. If putting up a team up against the best batsmen I would always prefer them to the Murali/Mcgrath combination. For eg. Once a Gavaskar, Tendulkar,Lara ,Richards etc decide to dig in –then the Chinese drip torture methods of Murali/Mcgrath would not work. These would probably be more effective in ODIs where batsmen cannot afford to simply play out bowlers and must flash. But a Warne/Akram at their bests could produce several magic balls to take out the best of them. We have often seen even a top class player like Lara bamboozled by Akram, but not by Mcgrath. Against Mcgrath it is was more often an impatient slash. But once the top class batsmen decide to apply themselves it is going to be long,hard grind for Murali/Mcgrath. So, in my team(out of the modern day bowlers-post 1990)- Shane Warne and Wasim Akram as the first picks anyday.

  • Ananth on February 7, 2010, 2:57 GMT

    I have since added the columns for the two Peer ratios, as requested by Alex, for each format in the detailed tables. Please note that the peer comparisons are like for like bowlers. Spin bowlers are compared to spinners and so on.

  • James Dignan on February 6, 2010, 22:34 GMT

    You note that wickets of top order batsmen have greater weight, but make no allowance for the fact that spin bowlers rarely open the bowling. This is likely to unfairly weight your calculations towards opening pace bowlers.

  • Zaidi on February 6, 2010, 21:22 GMT

    well who cares, one thing is for sure is that if these bowlers sit together it will be mcgrah, pollock, warne, murli & W's taking tips from imran, holding, abdul qadir, & marshell. :-D THEY R SIMPLY FOUNDERS OF THE MODERN GAME!!

  • Stefan Abeysekera on February 6, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    Excellent. Another point that has to be made is that Murali achieved all of this despite concerted off the field attempts by England, New Zealand, and Australia in particular to destroy his career. Every single test possible has proven that vicious on and off the field assassination attempts were hideously ignorant and ill founded. Despite all, Murali persisted. He is the Greatest.

  • Faraz Karim on February 6, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    I did not find Zaheer Khan on the all-time list in front of Agarkar or Irfan P. Perhaps I missed him. [[ Faraz Thanks for pointing out. Peculiar problem. His name is sitting as "Zaheer Khan" in test DB and "Z Khan" in ODI DB. Hence it was missed out. I have since added the same and the full list now contains Zaheer in 38th place. Once again many thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu on February 6, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    you cant run 4m d fact that murali is best bowler ever in world cricket.. hey i want to share sumthing bout domestic cricket..today in duleep trophy west zone beat south zone..and West Zone created a world record in first class cricket by chasing down a mammoth 536-run target to clinch the Duleep Trophy..for more info-batballinfo.blogspot.com

  • Jamil on February 6, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    excellent work. I am glad that some sort of extensive parameters have been used. The best thing is that overall there is a nice blend of all the great bowlers. Obviously, we believe that Marshall, Holding, Lillee, Sobers, Hadlee, Khan et al are the greatest ever and should be on top. And that is where the objectivity vs subjectivity comes into play. Of course, it is not possible to compare Akhtar with Thompson. The quantity of games, fitness requirements, pitches and quality of players is different in two eras. Akhtar brings pakistan on verge of first victory against SA in SA just bowling 10-15 overs. Thompson barely played regulation match against SA and hence his overall performance misses an imporant and tough opponent but he had then to bowl to batsmen like gavaskar, richards and lloyd who, who knows, might have 'mistreated' Akhtar. Point being, it's a fair ranking and the list can be run for every decade to get a different view. Just a thought. Once again, really enjoyed the work.

  • Don Hanumantha on February 6, 2010, 14:58 GMT

    the churlishness and the narrow-mindedness of fans are very apparent here. Anantha is trying quantify data more objectively, rather than saying Warne is far better than Vaas. This analysis is about HOW EFFECTIVE A BOWLER WAS FOR HIS TEAM IN TAKING WICKETS, and then compare among all the teams.. Cricket is a team sport. It is not Golf or Tennis. But even if you compare the top 20 as individuals, they are the greatest among all. Please don't be petty when looking at this table.

  • shahid akbar on February 6, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    quatitative comparison not qualitative. one should list player by their ability to win expacialy snatching victories. can anybody do that.

  • Douglas on February 6, 2010, 12:08 GMT

    My thinking is that when comparing the bowlers performance it is important to look at their peers who they bowled at (amongst other thing of course). Regardless of the era that the bowler was playing in or how adept they should have been at performing in a certain format, the batsman at the other end of the wicket would have surely had similar difficulties. I also think there isn't enough consideration of the quality of the side the payer was playing in. I think more than batting, a bowler is much more reliant on a team for their performance. A poor captain will have poor field placings. Conversely a strong side is more likely to have a strong bowling pairing. I would therefor consider that McGrath and Warne and Ambrose and Walshe might have been better bowlers than their rankings show.

    An aside..I'm interested in the judgment calls behind some of the assumptions, such as weightings.

  • Zubair Butt on February 6, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    wonderfully worked out list, just one concern or clarification i would like to have.. when i see the complete test list i find Mcgrath on 2nd spot and Wasim Akram on 13th, and yet when i compare there stats on the same page like avg, Strike Rate, Wkts/100, Runs/100 and so on.. Wasim has better stats in all colums... so it kinda doesnt make sense to me.... i maybe reading in wrong somewhere so please put some light on it.. [[ Zubair McGrath is ahead of Wasim Akram in EVERY measure. So you have probably seen the wrong list. These are not stats but derived points. Ananth: ]]

  • Pinaki on February 6, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    Happy to see Ambrose in top 10.He took all those wickets without sledging or playing 'tough' cricket.

  • John Doe on February 6, 2010, 10:41 GMT

    Excellent work Mr Anantha. Here's a thought - Since we now have two lists for all-time greatest batsmen and bowler, how about an analysis of which batsmen were the best against the 'best' bowlers and vice versa. On another note, if I wanted to do some of similar analysis myself, is there any place I could find all this data? [[ It is impossible to do this analysis by anyone other than the people who create ball-by-ball data for their purposes, even then only for recent matches. Ananth: ]]

  • Richard on February 6, 2010, 10:27 GMT

    The great shame with stats is that due to the boycott of SA, some of the greatest all-time cricketers are never mentioned. As a fast bowler who could have been better than Mike Proctor, as a batsman, Barry Richards (he could have given the Don's figures a race), an all-rounder, Clive Rice and a spinner Denys Hobson. The years of SA in the wilderness deprived the world of possibly the finest test side of all time. Somehow, when compiling lists of the greatest players, these masters should be accommodated.

  • Michael on February 6, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    Shane Bond would be in the top ten if it were not for his fragile body. It's a pity as he showed he could be the leading pace bowler of his generation, and like Hadlee did, he could have carried the rest of New Zealand to the top handful of test playing nations.

  • Pranesh on February 6, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    Nice article. Mr Ananth, would it be possible to differentiate between the batsmen? You have allocated some weightage for top order wickets, but would it be possible to differentiate between the wicket of a batsman who averages 50+ and someone who averages around 35, even if they are #3 for different teams? But of course this may not be necessarily better: Steve waugh considered tendulkars wicket good, dravid's better and laxman's a miracle. [[ In general the top 4 batsmen are the best for any team. As such I would not be too far away in this measure. Ananth: ]]

  • B. on February 6, 2010, 8:14 GMT

    Certain things are not taken in to account and I'll concentrate on the Test format, for example: Muralitharan took 89 wickets against Bangladesh in 11 matches and 87 against Zimbabwe in 14 and averaged 13 and 16 respectively - compare that to his 59 @ 36 against Australia and his 12 @ 75 IN Australia. On the contrary, Warne took 17 combined wickets against both Zim and Bang, and only ever toured India ONCE when fully fit and took 14 wickets in 3 matches. Murali also took 61% of his Test wickets at home in doctored spin-friendly wickets, Warne took 45% of his at home on wickets not particularly suited to spin. For mine, Muralitharan's record can not be taken as seriously as it looks for the sheer fact that he bullied lesser nations that - let's be frank - don't deserve Test status.

  • shyam_Prasad on February 6, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    My first thoughts on glancing through the list match with what Dave has observed. The top 6 bowlers are all from the current generation. Seems to me that the problem is with the equal weight being given to Test and ODIs. It is a tough problem to resolve but one way would be to use the average proportion of ODI days to Test days during a decade and use that for the weight. Another would be to just exclude all bowlers who played before 1990 (this should include players who played a major part of their career before 1990).

  • Vinish on February 6, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    Another great job that is fact based and rational in ranking the bowlers.

    I have been trying to use statsguru to derive the list of batsmen who have scored most career runs on Day 1 of a test match, similarly for Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and Day 5. But I am not able to do that.

    Since your plate is already full for next posts on analysis, can you give me some directions?

    BR Vinish [[ Vinish What you are asking is quite tough. The data is embedded in the text scorecards only. Ananth: ]]

  • alex on February 6, 2010, 7:14 GMT

    Ananth --- superb article. I suggest adding the following 2 columns to give a more complete picture:

    1. ODI peer ratio in terms of economy rate; 2. Test peer ratio in terms of strike rate.

    No major surprises in this analysis, given its metrics, except maybe a slightly low placing of Steyn. [[ Alex The ODI Peer ratio in terms of economy rate is already incorporated. Will create a separate file and add the link giving all the peer factors. Would be interesting to view for many. Ananth: ]]

  • amit on February 6, 2010, 7:00 GMT

    Ananth, I have been waiting for this list since you posted the bastman list. Great work again. The list matches well with my 'feel' list. If I accept that you would give equal weightage to tests and ODI, my request would be to split the ODI performance 50-50 between world cup performance and the rest and emphasize higher emphasis on knock-out matches over the rest in the WC. A Mcgrath blitz of India's and WI top order in 99 WC or Akrams magic balls in 91 or Garner's spell in 79 WC final or Gary Gilmour performances in 75 semi final and finals has to count for a lot more than performances in non WC games. -Amit [[ Amit I have not considered individual match performances at all. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on February 6, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    Some pretty fair comments above I would say:

    1) DAVE: is right when he says that with a new format the bowlers who have “grown up” with them would become more adept at those formats. So, the standardization would not work. 2) ISLAM and others: and others are right about Akram and co. The Aus and even SL, Saf slip cordon and general fielding would have to rate MUCH higher than the Pak fielding. Aus/SL,SA have always been outstanding fielding sides. This is similar to the Flintoff story in the previous blog. This would apply to both wickets taken and RPOs/avgs since poor fielding would cost runs and vice versa. So, the general fielding side would have a DRAMATIC impact on bowler’s stats. I cannot recall Pak fielders diving around till recently. Unfortunately we don’t have the data for incorrect decisions, edges, dropped catches etc. 3) DJFW, GIZZA etc: Very good point about McGrath, Warne, Murali and co. – These guys were outstanding in an era which favoured batsmen. So, we cannot take away from them. McGrath is one bowler who often had the measure of both Tendulkar and Lara. Akram had the measure of Lara but not Tendulkar. Warne and Murali had their own bunnies but both had certain weaknesses. For eg. Murali was notoriously poor against practically all top lefties. 4)HUGH GEORGE: These type of analyses will unfortunately always favour great bowler in poor bowling unit and great batsmen in poor batting unit . There is nothing which can be done about it. For eg. If Murali took more percentage of total wickets or more top order batsmen wickets than Warne, this does not mean that Warne could not have taken the top order wickets. The probability is simply that Murali had a greater crack at them. Perhaps if we could get a ratio of balls bowled to top order batsmen: wickets taken- that would give a better idea. 6) JAMES – sorry, I don’t agree. Warne doesn’t become “Less” of a bowler by himself with every wicket Murali takes (or Lara, Tendulkar), but everything here is “relative’. Not to some absolute standard. For eg.Bradmans avg of 99.94 is ONLY impressive because “relative” to others it is high. If the peer avg. was say 80, with 3 / 4 other batsmen avg. 90- it wouldn’t have mattered. So say 1000 wkts at 24 is way, way better than 600@24 (or 15000runs@55 to 10000@55)- No doubt about it whatsoever. With every Grand Slam Federer wins Sampras does not become less of a player. But then Federer simply has to be treated as relatively greater. 7) LOVE GOEL: Vaasy was a class ODI bowler. I’ve always thought so-never mind the stats. 8) CHATHU- that’s right. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles. The way many ppl gripe about Tendulkar doing well against Bang. That’s the “draw”. It’s like saying Federer had a great draw or he played against easy rivals etc- NOT his fault. You play who you are up against .Period. 8) SOUVIK: I agree about the 5 fors. Especially the 100s. If the single most prestigious and coveted landmark for a batsman is a 100, and everyone single batsman is striving for one- why shouldn’t it be given recognition? We simply cannot push it away as a “personal landmark”. That way everything is a personal landmark. Every run added, wicket taken etc. [[ Abhi You have taken a part-time job of supporting my work. And very well too. Many thanks. Only on the last point. I am only saying that the fourth wicket is important as the fifth wicket. If a 5-wkt haul is quite important so would wickets taken in winning causes etc. I have stayed away from these landmarks. Also having not included 100s, how can I introduce 5-wkt hauls now. Everyone will pounce on me. And where does it say that Lee is a lesser bowler because he has not taken a 10-wkt haul in a test. Does the fact that Tendulkar has not crossed 300 makes him any less batsman than he is. No way, for both SRT and Lee. Does the fact that he did not cross over for his 200th run make Azharuddin a lesser batsman. No. Ananth: ]]

  • Rob on February 6, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    Im a one from the old schoole who consider test cricket as the ultimate test and in that format mcgrath is way better than wasim specialy if you consider the presentage of mcgraths top order scalps and not to mention that mcgrath has about 150 wickets more than akram.Akram is great in odis but imo he hasnt fully performed for his talent in tests

  • Johnjr on February 6, 2010, 5:55 GMT

    All the pakistanis say akram is better than mcgrath so thats understandable

  • islam on February 6, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    if you only consider skill akram was far better bowler than mcgrath. if akram were playing for aus he would have taken 550 test wickets. atleast 100 catches gon down when akram was bowling.

  • souvik on February 6, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    Well explained methodology and along -the - lines results for the top 10 names. However, the bottom 15 names do not quite pass the "feel right" test. How is it that Kapil with 23 5-fors finishes below Shoaib, Vaas, Lee, Bond, and Ntini none of whom have taken more than 12 ? And Brett Lee has never even taken a 10 - for in his career. Surely you can't be considered amongst the top 25 bowlers in the last 40 years if you've never taken a 10 -for ? I mean 5 fors and 10 fors are to bowlers what centuries are to batsmen ... you can score over 3000 test runs, but without a century no one would look at you as a legitimate batsman let alone one amongst the top 25 in a 40 year era. Surely 5 fors would deserve greater weightage than what has been given in the current analysis. [[ Souvik As far as I am concerned 100s and 5-wkt hauls are personal landmarks. Many a 90+ has been more valuable than many a 150. Quite often a 4-wkt capture of the top order is far more valuable than a 6-wkt capture. In Batsman analysis I have never given weight for 100s. Similarly here. In that case Murali will move ahead further. Ananth: ]]

  • CDK on February 6, 2010, 2:49 GMT

    You suggest in your response to Nadir that you have taken into account the quality of the wickets when you have done this analysis. You have only done this very superficially as you would equate the wicket of Graeme Smith or Hayden with the likes of any Zimbabwean or Bangaldeshi opener and the likes of Lara, Tendulkar, Kallis, or Ponting with the likes of the Bangaldeshi and Zimbabwean #3 and #4 batsman. There are specialist bowlers in most non - minniow teams that would arguably be good enough to be picked as specialist bats in minnow sides.

  • Chathu on February 6, 2010, 1:53 GMT

    Being Sri Lankan I often have to hear the arguement that Murali's stats are inflated by wickets against Zim and Bang. I can see there is a wicket quality for ODIs but was one used for Tests? If not then why? [[ Weight is given for capturing top order wickets. I also have the wicket quality figure but could not accommodate it since I wanted to give weight for away average. Ananth: ]]

  • mk49 on February 6, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    Somehow the objective numbers and subjective views don't appear to match. Marshall @ #12, below Pollock and Donald, or even McGrath. Not right.

  • Gizza on February 5, 2010, 23:55 GMT

    To Faisal Khan, how can McGrath be worse than Akram? In the 2000's I heard people talking about how everything favoured the batsmen and how hard it had become for the bowlers. McGrath had to bowl during this difficult period and his averages are better than Akram.

    I've seen Gilchrist and Tendulkar slaughter Akram and Wagar anyway so it seems that they heavilty relied on conditions favouring reverse-swing. McGrath on the other hand was so good that even Lara and Tendulkar were his bunnies. If Ponting played for another team, he would also have been a bunny.

    True McGrath was less exciting to watch but that is also like saying Afridi is better than Kallis or Dravid since he is more exciting to watch.

  • James on February 5, 2010, 23:07 GMT

    Pretty good list Ananth. All the big guns are there and it looks pretty right. It also goes to highlight some of the ODI shortcomings of guys like Marshall, Hadlee and Ambrose. In ODIs they were merely human!

    I also enjoyed seeing Shane Bond and Shoaib Akhtar on the list. AT THEIR BEST, these 2 were excellent bowlers. It also helps to allay my longevity concerns when Bond can rate so well.

    I can't find you mentioning it, but is the longevity score compared to the current leader? Ie. does Murali get 100 wicket pts for his 792 and then Warne a percentage of that for his 708 (89% or 89 pts). If so, I'm not sure that's fair. Warne does not become less of a bowler every time Murali takes another wicket. Same for batsmen. Lara should not be worth less for every Sachin run. I think you should cap the values at 10,000 runs and 450 wickets and anyone who reaches that gets max value in that category. Does a man really have to play 15-20 years to prove his greatness? [[ James I discussed capping extensively with quite a few people and got the comsensus that if I have the runs/wkts as a measure, the consensus again that I should have, then there should be no cap. Anyhow let us add the first two values. For Murali it is 130 and Warne it is 122. It seems quite fair. This is just one of the measures. Ananth: ]]

  • DJFW on February 5, 2010, 23:05 GMT

    This is a great analysis Ananth, showing how the figures of the very best stack up. It's easy to accept the list is accurate when you take away all the 'my era was different, they're better' emotion away and crunch the numbers. And I do wish to ask, in the age of the bat; why are their numbers better than guys from the 70s and 80s? Because they had to be better bowlers on the roads of the last 20 years.

  • Zaidi on February 5, 2010, 22:40 GMT

    no doubt wasim, waqar & also imran are much greater bowlers than mcgrah & SA bowlers keeping in mind thier achievements & the conditions they played in, the pitches they played on & also the poor fielding standards of the recent pakistani sides.

  • thomas jones on February 5, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    Any general statistical analysis is going to favour Murali, who wins without any complications if you just look at his test record. (I assume his one day record is similar - like a true cricket fan, I could not care about that). So in having him top, you have reproduced the result that lists test bowlers by their average. But for changing tests, series, etc, I think Warne & McGrath are at a different level. That is why Australia were so dominant, it is not a side effect of Australia's dominance. A subplot in this is the lillee/pollock comparison, which others have made above. So you weighted the formats equally, as you say, I think the point though is that the results expose this technique. You can re-iterate it - the numbers are no doubt what they are - but your title is not numeric it is qualitative "the best bowler across years", so you dont refute criticism by re-iterating your methodology. [[ Thomas If you take the narrow view that you would ignore ODis completely then you should ignore this article. The fundamental premise is equal weight. Criticism outside the scope of the article is invalid. Most of the readers' comments have validity only in a Test bowler article. Ananth: ]]

  • Kay on February 5, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    Wow, just a little less than six hours before a "Wasim is best" comment for a post that took six months to complete [[ Kay Not to forget that Wasim Akram is one of the all-time great bowlers. He is after all third in this analysis. Ananth: ]]

  • Umair on February 5, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    This analysis just proves the fact that Wasim is way better than McGrath when we consider that he had to bowl in sub-continental bolwing conditions whereas McGrath the bounce and grass to assist him

  • love goel on February 5, 2010, 18:48 GMT

    Ananth, I may have duplicated a comment by mistake.Sorry for that.

    I have no negative feeling about Vass. It's just that I consider Warne, both in Test and ODI, to be one of the very best. In my personal list, Warne is much higher. But I understand that it is because I am taking Match Performances in consideration while this is a career level analysis.

    And the best part of the ODI list is rank number 13-19. Each one of these bowlers is a great bowler, who when in form could decimate the opposition batting. But they just played less due to various reasons. How much do I want to see Bond play more matches and terrorise today batsmen!

  • Faisal Khan on February 5, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    I dont belive in the stats, I belive in the ability and there are lots of variables that can put stats way off the charts. for example, for bowlers it matters most, pitch oncidtions they played on, quality of batsmen, team atmosphere etc. On sheer ability Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis are head and shoulders above all others, period, there is no two bowlers that revolutionized the wold as they did with their reverse swing and toe crushin yorkers and the ability to move the ball both way, off the pitch and in the air. McGrath is more of a machine like bowler who relies on line and lenght and keeps on hitting at that, like Asif and at times you get tired of watching that. With the Two Ws you knew something was going to happen around the corner, I think this runs inthe blood of Pak bowlers, like the recent revelation Amir, you woudl expect him to do something at any moment, game changers. Akram came way before McGrath and the quality of the batsmen he faced was way above what McGrath faced

  • Nadir on February 5, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    An excellent analysis. I definitely agree with away wicket weightage. I wonder if there should be an increased weightage for performance against the best team at the time. How did Muralitharan and Akram fare against Australia? For Warne and Mcgrath im guessing it would be SA. I agree with the results though. I think people tend to view the game of the past as a more 'correct' version. As a result they seem reluctant to shower as much praise for the newer generation. Akram, Donald, Mcgrath have been phenomenal in ODI's considering how much the game has tilted towards the batsmen since the early 90's. Looking forward to your next analysis. [[ This is an overall career-based analysis and does not incorporate individual country showings. That is incorporated through weight given for quality of wickets. Ananth: ]]

  • Hugh George on February 5, 2010, 16:04 GMT

    Bowlers who were part of a strong bowling lineup would be adversely affected in this analysis. Thus bowlers from the strong WI lineup which dominated cricket for a long time quite often had to share the wicket take (Holding, Marshall, Garner, Roberts etc.)because they were all excellent. Very rarely would one bowler as Holding did at the Oval in England run thru' an entire team on his own and garner a lot of wickets over time. This contrasts greatly with Mully, Hadlee etc. who were the premier strike bowlers for their team and garnered the lions share of the wickets each time.

  • Andrew on February 5, 2010, 15:21 GMT

    Sorry - If I had a dollar for every time someone wipped this up I'd be a millionare. Your table is faulty. Please find me a commentator in the world that says that Pollock was better than Lillee. No number of analytical excusses is going to convince anyone. I rest my case! [[ Andrew I have lost count of the times I have said that this is a Test+ODI combined analysis. If I had a dollar for each occurence I would be a millionaire. Let me say this once and for all for you and all others who pursue a similar line of reasoning. No one in their right mind, myself or any commentator, would place Pollock ahead of Lillee in a Test table. On the other hand, I will categorically say that Pollock was ahead of Lillee if one considers Tests AND ODIs. I can assure you, quite a few commentators will also say that. Pollock has taken 820 wickets at 23 and 24 averages and outstanding bowling accuracy rates. Why should he not be rated ahead of Lillee, wonderful bowler that he is, who has taken 458 wickets. His 103 ODI wickets have been valued quite high for him to be placed at the reasonably high position. By all means praise Lillee. He deserves it and more. Why pull down another outstanding bowler. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on February 5, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    In the ODI list only, 11 308.8 Warne S.K 293 48.8 20.1 70.9 33.9 37.0 39.4 25.5 33.1 12 308.0 Vaas WPUJC 400 66.7 21.1 54.0 27.4 38.2 29.1 35.0 36.5 13 303.3 Bond S.E 126 21.0 6.9 78.9 34.9 38.1 39.2 41.8 42.7

    Vaas simply isn't the 12th best ODI bolwer till date. I know these are career figures,but Vaas equal to Warne is not right. May be the weights for Wickets Captured and Adjusted Wicket captured needs to be reversed.

    Again in the ODI list, 16 293.8 Lillee D.K Aus 103 17.2 20.7 89.6 32.8 39.1 38.1 24.6 31.8

    I thought AdjW will be 22.61 instead of 20.7(17.2*2.63*50/100). Did I missed something here? [[ Goel Thanks for the input. No problems. During Lillee's 12 year ODI career, Australia played 93 matches and this works out to 7.75 mpy. The multiplying ratio thus is 18.7/7.75 which is equal to 2.41. This is multiplied by (0.5*17.2) to get 20.7. My transcription error in the article. I am surprised to see that you are not ready to accept that Warne with 293 wickets is placed AHEAD of Vaas who has 400 wickets, 35% higher. What is the reason for this negative feeling. Warne's 35% shortfall is more than made up by the other weights. You want more !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav on February 5, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    The total emphasis on Longevity is 30% (20% on wkts and 10% on adj. wkts). Out of the 2, only adj. wkts is a true measure and should be considered. Wkts by themselves is a huge 20% weightage to longevity unadjusted for matches.

    Can we have tables modified after removing the first factor altogether. I have never been a fan of longevity based on number of wkts/runs rather than years and fitness. Adj. wkts on the other hand is a true longevity measure based on number of years a bowler plays and his fitness during the same. [[ Raghav It is only 20%. The 10% for adjusted wickets might be based indirectly on the number of wickets. It benefiits the olden day bowlers who could not play enough number of matches. Please take the trouble of combining the two values to determine the impact of the same. Ananth: ]]

  • David on February 5, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    Sorry - just one more comment and then I'll leave it! It seems to me that the unavoidable implication of the standardisation is that if a 70s bowler were to be playing today, he wouldn't be able to master the newer techniques that today's bowlers have grown up with. The fact is, he would have grown up with them too, and his superior natural skill would have meant he utilised them more effectively. He is therefore being penalised for playing in the wrong decade (and you admit as much by saying that when tests and ODIs are given equal weightings, such an outcome is inevitable). Or, looking at the same issue from another persopective: because of the enormous changes in the way the game is played, ODIs in the 70s and ODIs in the 00s are in reality not the same format; it is not a comparison of like with like. I would suggest limiting the comparison to players who debuted after, say, ODI#100.

  • David on February 5, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    My point is: to my thinking (and perhaps I'm wrong to assume this), standardising scores across eras means finding a way of comparing players on a "level" playing-field; eg, of saying that if the careers of Marshall and Pollock had exactly coincided, then one would have been measurably better than the other across all formats. I find it difficult to believe that in such a comparison Marshall would ever come out in second place. Therefore something must be lacking in the standardisation. To give an example: I remember in the late 80s TV commentators remarking with absolute incredulity that such and such a bowler had more than one type of slower ball. Today, every international pace bowler has 4 or 5 change up balls. This growth in knowledge about how to succeed in the format doesn't make a 90s bowler better than a 70s bowler; their "better" statistics are merely an accident of history. So the table charts shifts in the way ODIs are played as much as the relative quality of bowlers. [[ David Standardization is possible only upto a level. Beyond which the sheer strength of numbers will take over. Don't forget Pollock's numbers (Test avge of 23, ODi avge of 24 and ODI RpO of 3.68), all against fairly competent batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • David on February 5, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    It's always fun to compare your statistical analysis with what "feels" right. In this case, I'm pretty satisfied with the outcome - with only one caveat. That is, it doesn't quite feel right that of the top 10, only 2 are from the 70s-80s (I know Akram, & also Waqar & Ambrose played in the 80s, but the bulk of their careers - their bowling maturity - was in the 90s). Isn't the conventional wisdom that the last 15 years especially have been dominated by the bat? My gut feeling, therefore, is that the standardisation across the whole period has something wrong with it. Eg, it would be a brave man who would rate Pollock & Waqar ahead of Hadlee, Lillee, Marshall, Holding & Imran - in fact, 10% better than Imran! One factor may be that just as it's unreasonable to include T20 in such an analysis yet, so also ODIs were in their infancy in the 70s, and bowlers were still learning how to approach them, so it's unreasonable to include all formats across the period you've chosen (40 years). [[ David Once I decided to give equal weight to Tests and ODIs this is what would come out. Quite a lot of adjustments have been made. Otherwise Hadlee, Lillee and Marshall would not be in the top-12. Also performance counts a lot. See where Bond is placed but with fairly low number of intl wickets. In Test format, I would not even dream to rate Pollock and Waqar ahead of the wonderful 1970/80 bowlers you have mentioned. But together I would be and have been brave to do so. Ananth: ]]

  • basab ray on February 5, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    excellent.I want a list of allrounders from you as analytical as this one. basab, guwahati

  • Abhi on February 5, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    Ananth As always we find the usual suspects. However, at the risk of sounding "churlish and narrowminded"...this analysis doesn't "feel" quite right as compared to the batsman analysis. For eg. the batsman analysis had Tendulkar slightly ahead of Lara on the Test front and well ahead on the ODI front.A slightly larger gap with Richards on the Test front and Richards ahead of Lara on the ODI front etc.etc. i.e The "feel" was more or less allright, and would fit in with general perception. This list does not-to me at least. For eg. most ppl would go for a marginal difference between Murli and Warne,(or Mcgrath- Lilee,Marshall,Donald etc)if at all, on the Test front ,but the diff. is huge. Just feels like something is missing. [[ Abhi I suggest do not look at it in two separate parts. You have to look at the two formats together. Otherwise we willl get into the same situation ad anuseum. In fact I am going to say that I will only answer comments related to the two formats together. Looking at the two formats together, Tendulkar was ahead of Lara by nearly 10%. Murali is ahead of McGrath by around 8%. I do not see that this is that unacceptable. Murali's domination of the two formats together is no less that Tendulkar's. Ananth: ]]

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  • Abhi on February 5, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    Ananth As always we find the usual suspects. However, at the risk of sounding "churlish and narrowminded"...this analysis doesn't "feel" quite right as compared to the batsman analysis. For eg. the batsman analysis had Tendulkar slightly ahead of Lara on the Test front and well ahead on the ODI front.A slightly larger gap with Richards on the Test front and Richards ahead of Lara on the ODI front etc.etc. i.e The "feel" was more or less allright, and would fit in with general perception. This list does not-to me at least. For eg. most ppl would go for a marginal difference between Murli and Warne,(or Mcgrath- Lilee,Marshall,Donald etc)if at all, on the Test front ,but the diff. is huge. Just feels like something is missing. [[ Abhi I suggest do not look at it in two separate parts. You have to look at the two formats together. Otherwise we willl get into the same situation ad anuseum. In fact I am going to say that I will only answer comments related to the two formats together. Looking at the two formats together, Tendulkar was ahead of Lara by nearly 10%. Murali is ahead of McGrath by around 8%. I do not see that this is that unacceptable. Murali's domination of the two formats together is no less that Tendulkar's. Ananth: ]]

  • basab ray on February 5, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    excellent.I want a list of allrounders from you as analytical as this one. basab, guwahati

  • David on February 5, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    It's always fun to compare your statistical analysis with what "feels" right. In this case, I'm pretty satisfied with the outcome - with only one caveat. That is, it doesn't quite feel right that of the top 10, only 2 are from the 70s-80s (I know Akram, & also Waqar & Ambrose played in the 80s, but the bulk of their careers - their bowling maturity - was in the 90s). Isn't the conventional wisdom that the last 15 years especially have been dominated by the bat? My gut feeling, therefore, is that the standardisation across the whole period has something wrong with it. Eg, it would be a brave man who would rate Pollock & Waqar ahead of Hadlee, Lillee, Marshall, Holding & Imran - in fact, 10% better than Imran! One factor may be that just as it's unreasonable to include T20 in such an analysis yet, so also ODIs were in their infancy in the 70s, and bowlers were still learning how to approach them, so it's unreasonable to include all formats across the period you've chosen (40 years). [[ David Once I decided to give equal weight to Tests and ODIs this is what would come out. Quite a lot of adjustments have been made. Otherwise Hadlee, Lillee and Marshall would not be in the top-12. Also performance counts a lot. See where Bond is placed but with fairly low number of intl wickets. In Test format, I would not even dream to rate Pollock and Waqar ahead of the wonderful 1970/80 bowlers you have mentioned. But together I would be and have been brave to do so. Ananth: ]]

  • David on February 5, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    My point is: to my thinking (and perhaps I'm wrong to assume this), standardising scores across eras means finding a way of comparing players on a "level" playing-field; eg, of saying that if the careers of Marshall and Pollock had exactly coincided, then one would have been measurably better than the other across all formats. I find it difficult to believe that in such a comparison Marshall would ever come out in second place. Therefore something must be lacking in the standardisation. To give an example: I remember in the late 80s TV commentators remarking with absolute incredulity that such and such a bowler had more than one type of slower ball. Today, every international pace bowler has 4 or 5 change up balls. This growth in knowledge about how to succeed in the format doesn't make a 90s bowler better than a 70s bowler; their "better" statistics are merely an accident of history. So the table charts shifts in the way ODIs are played as much as the relative quality of bowlers. [[ David Standardization is possible only upto a level. Beyond which the sheer strength of numbers will take over. Don't forget Pollock's numbers (Test avge of 23, ODi avge of 24 and ODI RpO of 3.68), all against fairly competent batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • David on February 5, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    Sorry - just one more comment and then I'll leave it! It seems to me that the unavoidable implication of the standardisation is that if a 70s bowler were to be playing today, he wouldn't be able to master the newer techniques that today's bowlers have grown up with. The fact is, he would have grown up with them too, and his superior natural skill would have meant he utilised them more effectively. He is therefore being penalised for playing in the wrong decade (and you admit as much by saying that when tests and ODIs are given equal weightings, such an outcome is inevitable). Or, looking at the same issue from another persopective: because of the enormous changes in the way the game is played, ODIs in the 70s and ODIs in the 00s are in reality not the same format; it is not a comparison of like with like. I would suggest limiting the comparison to players who debuted after, say, ODI#100.

  • Raghav on February 5, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    The total emphasis on Longevity is 30% (20% on wkts and 10% on adj. wkts). Out of the 2, only adj. wkts is a true measure and should be considered. Wkts by themselves is a huge 20% weightage to longevity unadjusted for matches.

    Can we have tables modified after removing the first factor altogether. I have never been a fan of longevity based on number of wkts/runs rather than years and fitness. Adj. wkts on the other hand is a true longevity measure based on number of years a bowler plays and his fitness during the same. [[ Raghav It is only 20%. The 10% for adjusted wickets might be based indirectly on the number of wickets. It benefiits the olden day bowlers who could not play enough number of matches. Please take the trouble of combining the two values to determine the impact of the same. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on February 5, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    In the ODI list only, 11 308.8 Warne S.K 293 48.8 20.1 70.9 33.9 37.0 39.4 25.5 33.1 12 308.0 Vaas WPUJC 400 66.7 21.1 54.0 27.4 38.2 29.1 35.0 36.5 13 303.3 Bond S.E 126 21.0 6.9 78.9 34.9 38.1 39.2 41.8 42.7

    Vaas simply isn't the 12th best ODI bolwer till date. I know these are career figures,but Vaas equal to Warne is not right. May be the weights for Wickets Captured and Adjusted Wicket captured needs to be reversed.

    Again in the ODI list, 16 293.8 Lillee D.K Aus 103 17.2 20.7 89.6 32.8 39.1 38.1 24.6 31.8

    I thought AdjW will be 22.61 instead of 20.7(17.2*2.63*50/100). Did I missed something here? [[ Goel Thanks for the input. No problems. During Lillee's 12 year ODI career, Australia played 93 matches and this works out to 7.75 mpy. The multiplying ratio thus is 18.7/7.75 which is equal to 2.41. This is multiplied by (0.5*17.2) to get 20.7. My transcription error in the article. I am surprised to see that you are not ready to accept that Warne with 293 wickets is placed AHEAD of Vaas who has 400 wickets, 35% higher. What is the reason for this negative feeling. Warne's 35% shortfall is more than made up by the other weights. You want more !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew on February 5, 2010, 15:21 GMT

    Sorry - If I had a dollar for every time someone wipped this up I'd be a millionare. Your table is faulty. Please find me a commentator in the world that says that Pollock was better than Lillee. No number of analytical excusses is going to convince anyone. I rest my case! [[ Andrew I have lost count of the times I have said that this is a Test+ODI combined analysis. If I had a dollar for each occurence I would be a millionaire. Let me say this once and for all for you and all others who pursue a similar line of reasoning. No one in their right mind, myself or any commentator, would place Pollock ahead of Lillee in a Test table. On the other hand, I will categorically say that Pollock was ahead of Lillee if one considers Tests AND ODIs. I can assure you, quite a few commentators will also say that. Pollock has taken 820 wickets at 23 and 24 averages and outstanding bowling accuracy rates. Why should he not be rated ahead of Lillee, wonderful bowler that he is, who has taken 458 wickets. His 103 ODI wickets have been valued quite high for him to be placed at the reasonably high position. By all means praise Lillee. He deserves it and more. Why pull down another outstanding bowler. Ananth: ]]

  • Hugh George on February 5, 2010, 16:04 GMT

    Bowlers who were part of a strong bowling lineup would be adversely affected in this analysis. Thus bowlers from the strong WI lineup which dominated cricket for a long time quite often had to share the wicket take (Holding, Marshall, Garner, Roberts etc.)because they were all excellent. Very rarely would one bowler as Holding did at the Oval in England run thru' an entire team on his own and garner a lot of wickets over time. This contrasts greatly with Mully, Hadlee etc. who were the premier strike bowlers for their team and garnered the lions share of the wickets each time.

  • Nadir on February 5, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    An excellent analysis. I definitely agree with away wicket weightage. I wonder if there should be an increased weightage for performance against the best team at the time. How did Muralitharan and Akram fare against Australia? For Warne and Mcgrath im guessing it would be SA. I agree with the results though. I think people tend to view the game of the past as a more 'correct' version. As a result they seem reluctant to shower as much praise for the newer generation. Akram, Donald, Mcgrath have been phenomenal in ODI's considering how much the game has tilted towards the batsmen since the early 90's. Looking forward to your next analysis. [[ This is an overall career-based analysis and does not incorporate individual country showings. That is incorporated through weight given for quality of wickets. Ananth: ]]