ODIs March 15, 2010

# ODI batting positions - the top performers

A look at batsmen who've done the best at each batting position in ODIs.
50

 Michael Hussey averages 117.67 at the No.7 slot © Getty Images
This is an analysis suggested by reader(s) whose names elude me. It is an excellent suggestion in that it will enable us to get a very good handle on the best performers at each batting position.

First I worked out the all-match average for each batting position. In this case the average will be appropriate since the same methodology is used to determine the individual batsmen figures. Since the comparisons are across all batsmen at the same position the impact of not outs is minimised. In order to ensure that flashes in the pan do not spoil the comparisons, a minimum limit of 1000 runs is set for Opening, no.3, no.4, no.5 and no.6 positions. For the positions 7 and 8, the bar is set at 500 runs.

The batting average of the batsman in the relevant position is divided by the all-match batting average for that position and the ratio is arrived at. The tables are ordered on this ratio and the top-10 shown along with the last player in that position. Let us now look at the tables.

```Analysis of opening position. All matches average: 32.21

No  Batsman            Cty  Inns No  Runs   Avge % of all
avge

1. Dilshan T.M         Slk   25  2  1263  54.91  170.5%
2. Turner G.M          Nzl   29  5  1197  49.88  154.8%
3. Tendulkar S.R       Ind  319 23 14482  48.93  151.9%
4. Dippenaar H.H       Saf   43  6  1752  47.35  147.0%
5. Watson S.R          Aus   43  5  1794  47.21  146.6%
6. Lara B.C            Win   52  5  2166  46.09  143.1%
7. Greenidge C.G       Win  120 10  4993  45.39  140.9%
8. Hayden M.L          Aus  147 14  5891  44.29  137.5%
9. Waugh M.E           Aus  141 11  5729  44.07  136.8%
10. Chanderpaul S       Win   74  9  2814  43.29  134.4%
...
...
83. Obuya D.O           Ken   45  1  1012  23.00   71.4%
```
We are in for a minor surprise. Two opening batsmen have moved ahead of the greatest ODI batsman ever, Tendulkar. This proves without any doubt that Dilshan is among the most explosive of ODI openers now playing. Not to forget his strike rate. Turner averaged nearing 50 when batting was not that easy.

Now comes the master. An average of nearly 50 maintained over 300 matches while scoring nearly 15,000 runs tells the tale. There has been no better ODI player and probably never will be. Note how high Watson is placed, higher than masters such as Lara, Greenidge, Hayden and Mark Waugh.

```Analysis of no. 3 position. All matches average: 32.90

No  Batsman            Cty  Inns No  Runs   Avge % of all
avge

1. Richards I.V.A      Win   51  9  2418  57.57  175.0%
2. Mohammad Yousuf     Pak   43  7  1988  55.22  167.8%
3. Ganguly S.C         Ind   32  4  1476  52.71  160.2%
4. Kallis J.H          Saf  176 29  6898  46.93  142.6%
5. Lara B.C            Win  106  9  4447  45.85  139.3%
6. Zaheer Abbas        Pak   47  3  2009  45.66  138.8%
7. Hick G.A            Eng   58  9  2182  44.53  135.4%
8. Ponting R.T         Aus  300 30 11814  43.76  133.0%
9. Jones D.M           Aus  131 14  5100  43.59  132.5%
10. Gambhir G           Ind   31  4  1161  43.00  130.7%
...
...
45. Aftab Ahmed         Bng   52  4  1253  26.10   79.3%
```
In the pivotal position of no.3, there is no one to beat the great Viv Richards. He averages over 57 while scoring nearly 2500 runs. The well-known no.3 batsmen, Md Yousuf, Ganguly, Kallis and Lara follow. It is interesting to note that Ponting has scored nearly 12000 runs at an average of 43.76.

It may be of interest to note that Dhoni has scored 993 runs at 83.75.

```Analysis of no. 4 position. All matches average: 34.77

No  Batsman            Cty  Inns No  Runs   Avge % of all
avge

1. Bevan M.G           Aus   53 15  2265  59.61  171.4%
2. Sarwan R.R          Win   43 12  1707  55.06  158.4%
3. Boon D.C            Aus   35 12  1255  54.57  156.9%
4. Jadeja A            Ind   29 10  1008  53.05  152.6%
5. de Villiers A.B     Saf   42  8  1740  51.18  147.2%
6. Richards I.V.A      Win   81 12  3373  48.88  140.6%
7. Crowe M.D           Nzl   53 14  1899  48.69  140.0%
8. Kallis J.H          Saf   73 17  2635  47.05  135.3%
9. Twose R.G           Nzl   44  5  1829  46.90  134.9%
10. Clarke M.J          Aus   64 11  2420  45.66  131.3%
...
...
49. McMillan C.D        Nzl   43  0  1092  25.40   73.0%
```
The great finisher, Mike Bevan has a near-60 average in no.4. A surprise in this position is the high placement of Ajay Jadeja. Note the high average of de Villiers. Richards averages nearly 50 at this position.
```Analysis of no. 5 position. All matches average: 30.69

No  Batsman            Cty  Inns No  Runs   Avge % of all
avge

1. Dhoni M.S           Ind   38  9  1560  53.79  175.3%
2. Hussey M.E.K        Aus   25  6  1003  52.79  172.0%
3. Flintoff A          Eng   48 10  1749  46.03  150.0%
4. Collingwood P.D     Eng   74 16  2621  45.19  147.2%
5. Symonds A           Aus   96 18  3473  44.53  145.1%
6. Dravid R            Ind   69 13  2459  43.91  143.1%
7. Chanderpaul S       Win   61 15  1996  43.39  141.4%
8. Yuvraj Singh        Ind   81 13  2878  42.32  137.9%
9. Fairbrother N.H     Eng   45 14  1302  42.00  136.9%
10. Inzamam-ul-Haq      Pak  105 22  3473  41.84  136.3%
...
...
34. Jayawardene D.P.M.D Slk   63  6  1458  25.58   83.3%
```
This is Dhoni's position. He is now batting more and more at no.5. Hussey just about gets in at 50+ average. It is a surprise that Symonds, while scoring the same runs as Inzamam, has an average nearly 3 more. Dravid has a fair average at no.5.
```Analysis of no. 6 position. All matches average: 26.49

No  Batsman            Cty  Inns No  Runs   Avge % of all
avge

1. Bevan M.G           Aus   87 34  3006  56.72  214.1%
2. Raina S.K           Ind   32 10  1087  49.41  186.5%
3. Arnold R.P          Slk   59 21  1703  44.82  169.2%
4. Younis Khan         Pak   28  5  1012  44.00  166.1%
5. Cronje W.J          Saf   45 16  1235  42.59  160.8%
6. Hussey M.E.K        Aus   47 13  1418  41.71  157.4%
7. Dhoni M.S           Ind   47 11  1395  38.75  146.3%
8. Jadeja A            Ind   43  8  1324  37.83  142.8%
9. Yuvraj Singh        Ind   57  8  1727  35.24  133.0%
10. Tillakaratne H.P    Slk   60 19  1393  33.98  128.3%
...
...
26. Border A.R          Aus   61 11  1174  23.48   88.6%
```
Mike Bevan is the finisher extraordinary and stays on top at no.6 by a wide margin. He is the only batsman to have finished on top in two batting positions. Raina is proving his value to India in this finishing position. It is surprising that Border is the last in this position.
```Analysis of no. 7 position. All matches average: 21.18

No  Batsman            Cty  Inns No  Runs   Avge % of all
avge

1. Hussey M.E.K        Aus   20 14   706 117.67  555.6%
2. Dhoni M.S           Ind   24  9   589  39.27  185.4%
3. Kemp J.M            Saf   24  8   579  36.19  170.9%
4. Kaif M              Ind   30 10   667  33.35  157.5%
5. Mahmudullah         Bng   27  8   621  32.68  154.3%
6. Abdul Razzaq        Pak   79 21  1848  31.86  150.4%
7. Chigumbura E        Zim   35  6   916  31.59  149.1%
8. Oram J.D.P          Nzl   22  3   590  31.05  146.6%
9. Harris C.Z          Nzl  105 36  2136  30.96  146.2%
10. Streak H.H          Zim   40 12   864  30.86  145.7%
...
...
36. Wasim Akram         Pak   87 12  1227  16.36   77.2%
```
What is the number we are seeing here. Hussey, granted he has scored only 700 runs has remained not out on 14 occasions and has an average of over 100. The next best is Dhoni with 39.27. Before any negative comments are made on the high number of not outs, please do not forget that each not out instance indicates that the batsman has stayed on and finished his job, maybe not always successfully.
```Analysis of no. 8 position. All matches average: 16.84

No  Batsman            Cty  Inns No  Runs   Avge % of all
avge

1. Klusener L          Saf   36 18  1056  58.67  348.4%
2. Harris C.Z          Nzl   23 10   519  39.92  237.1%
3. Dharmasena H.D.P.K  Slk   42 18   719  29.96  177.9%
4. Streak H.H          Zim   58 19  1147  29.41  174.6%
5. Abdul Razzaq        Pak   35  9   751  28.88  171.5%
6. Moin Khan           Pak   38 13   608  24.32  144.4%
7. Pollock S.M         Saf   74 23  1145  22.45  133.3%
8. Shahid Afridi       Pak   25  2   504  21.91  130.1%
9. Hogg G.B            Aus   47 20   590  21.85  129.8%
10. Rashid Latif        Pak   49 15   688  20.24  120.2%
...
...
15. Agarkar A.B         Ind   59 13   678  14.74   87.5%
```
Kluesener is the leader here with a very high average of over 58 while scoring over 10900 runs. He is leading by a big margin over Chris Harris. This is the place for the all-rounders and the bowlers who can bat.

Taking into account the runs scored and averages attained, the 6 outlier batting position performances are given below.

```OP. Tendulkar S.R       Ind  319 23 14482  48.93  151.9%
3. Kallis J.H          Saf  176 29  6898  46.93  142.6%
3. Ponting R.T         Aus  300 30 11814  43.76  133.0%
4. Richards I.V.A      Win   81 12  3373  48.88  140.6%
5. Symonds A           Aus   96 18  3473  44.53  145.1%
6. Bevan M.G           Aus   87 34  3006  56.72  214.1%
```
Since I felt that nos 9-10-11 analysis would not lead to anything significant I have not done the analysis for these positions.

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

• fanedlive on July 11, 2010, 7:40 GMT

Willingly I accept. In my opinion, it is an interesting question, I will take part in discussion. Together we can come to a right answer. I am assured.

• fanedlive on June 18, 2010, 20:48 GMT

This post is beyond awesome. I am always wondering what to do and what not to do so I will follow some of these tips.

• fanedlive on June 17, 2010, 12:06 GMT

You need to collect more stuff, dude.

• fanedlive on May 14, 2010, 13:15 GMT

Great work Ananth, as always! I was wondering how the rankings would look like if instead of the all-time position average, we were to use the player-duration position average for deriving the overperformance % (This idea is due to an excellent suggestion by one of your readers about an year ago; cant recall the name though)

e.g. Tendulkar has played ODIs starting 1989. Tendulkar's average at No. 1/2 should be compared with the average of all position No. 1/2 performances over the period during which Tendulkar has played, rather than the entire ODI history starting the early 70s.

Of course, the following points still remain: 1. Do you adjust for when a batsman has played AT A PARTICULAR POSITION, or simply over the entire career duration 2. Reconciling large gaps in a career (Ganguly first played an ODI in 1992, and regularly starting 1996; similarly Hayden in 1993, and later 2001)

Am sure there would be others as well...

• fanedlive on April 19, 2010, 22:39 GMT

i would like to state that sir viv. richards could not bat as good as sir clyde walcott,sir everton weekes,sir gary sobers or brian lara.If you doubt that,check his scores against barbados quicks Garner,DANIEL,CLARKE,he was all at sea tothose bowlers.I saw him in a spider webb against quadir,he had given up the bat to play foot ball. he blasted underpar bowling .

• fanedlive on March 29, 2010, 6:01 GMT

Does anyone know of any other studies that calculate batting average by position all the way down to number 11? We're trying to create a better way for amateur clubs to place a more accurate value on each wicket taken - based on the assumption that the wicket of, say, numbers 1, 2, and 3 in the batting order are worth more than 8, 9, and 10, yet bowling averages as reported by schools and clubs treat them as identical. This ODI analysis is a help, but any other suggestions will be much appreciated!

• fanedlive on March 27, 2010, 10:06 GMT

Comparisons across era can never be conclusive. But I think Viv is second to no man in the history of ODIs...to average 47 with a SR of 91 in the 1970s-1980s is simply mind-boggling! Plus, he was physically a more powerful man than Tendulkar, Lara or Gilchrist...and so a more intimidating presence for bowlers and fielders. Now, having said that, I think for class and skill, Tendulkar is second to no man in the history of ODIs. And until I see a batsman reel off 163 n.o. (in NZ), 175 (vs Aus in India) and 200 n.o. (this needs no intro), and that too without being offered any lives, I'm not changing my mind. No other batsman comes close to these 2 KINGS!

• fanedlive on March 19, 2010, 2:25 GMT

Arjun, alex, ananth: I think arjun is actually quite correct in his assessment. And so is alex. If SRT was a chess player and Anand a batsman, the tables would have been turned. With Anand receiving all the adulation, and ppl griping about how SRT doesn’t receive the equivalent amount inspite of his equal accomplishments and behaviour... This situation exists in India when comparing cricket to any other sport. Sad, but true.

• fanedlive on March 18, 2010, 16:40 GMT

Ananth - Anand is simply not as saleable in India as SRT; a case of Padukone in the days of SMG. In US, non-Indians that I come across know of Anand but not of SRT ... some similarity with how Carl Lewis enjoyed a lot of fame worldwide but much less within US itself.

How are Anand's achievements inferior? Besides Fischer, who had much more support, no one else ever broke the former USSR stranglehold on chess that begain with Alekhine before WW2. And, even Fischer didn't hang around to defend his crown whereas Anand has done it for a decade.

• fanedlive on March 18, 2010, 11:11 GMT

Sanchez,riaz khan,vj etc I often see the surprise that non Indians encounter when they experience the fixation Indians have for Tendulkar. Some people make the naïve observation that if a Lara or Ponting were Indian they too would receive a similar level of adulation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tendulkar besides his obvious pursuit for perfection and batting excellence represents a lot of values Indians hold very dear: Modesty, humility,respect for elders etc etc.I know this sounds a little mushy, but it is the truth. Several of these values ,of course, are universal. But they resonate most with a certain “Indianness” which Indians will most easily connect to. So, it is entirely possible that on the pure skill scales there may be some batsmen past and present who would be on par with Tendulkar – but even if they had been Indian, none would ever have been held so dear to Indians as Tendulkar is. It is difficult to explain. [[ Arjun By the same token you should accept that the "indian values" which are treasured in Tendulkar by the Indians need not necessarily strike the same resonance with non-Indians. One question. Why does not Anand, who has the same Indian qualities in spades and who has scaled world-wide peaks achieved by few, get the same respect. Ananth: ]]

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