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.

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

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