ODIs March 18, 2010

Top ODI performers in each position: a quick follow-up

This is a follow-up to the article published a few days back, and incorporates strike rates into the analysis
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MS Dhoni has an excellent ODI batting index, which is next only to that of Viv Richards © AP
This is a follow-up to the article published a few days back. Alex had suggested that I do this based on the strike rates as the defining measure. I was not very comfortable with that since I think the batting average is a very important measure. Then Mareeswaran made the excellent suggestion that I use the combination of batting average and strike rate.

The ODI Batting Index (OBI), which is a product of batting average and strike rate, was used by me as part of television analysis during 2002/3. Afterwards it has undergone many transformations, Strike rate remaining common but multiplied by batting average, runs per innings and even extended batting average. However the original idea is still the best. The batting average is the most accepted of all measures.

First I am going to present the top-10 batsmen, based on OBI, based on their career figures. This has been given to let the readers have a perspective. An OBI of 50.00 has not been reached so far !!!

1   Hussey M.E.K         Aus  115   38   4136   53.71   88.4   47.46
2   Dhoni M.S            Ind  143   37   5420   51.13   89.9   45.95
3   Richards I.V.A       Win  167   24   6721   47.00   90.2   42.40
4   Zaheer Abbas         Pak   60    6   2572   47.63   84.8   40.39
5 ~ Bevan M.G            Aus  196   67   6912   53.58   74.2   39.74
6   Tendulkar S.R        Ind  431   41  17598   45.12   86.3   38.92
7   Pietersen K.P        Eng   88   15   3220   44.11   86.7   38.24
8   de Villiers A.B      Saf   92   13   3333   42.19   88.9   37.52
9 ~ Klusener L           Saf  137   50   3576   41.10   89.9   36.96
10   Symonds A            Aus  161   33   5088   39.75   92.4   36.75
As per request of some readers I have given also the OBIdx based on the eminently acceptable Runs per innings measure. This removes the anamolies of excessive not outs. However the main tables are still based on batting average since the not outs impact there is minimal. Position no.3 will always have lower number of not outs than no.7 and is applicable to all.
1   Zaheer Abbas         Pak   60   2572   42.87   84.8   36.35
2   Richards I.V.A       Win  167   6721   40.25   90.2   36.30
3   Tendulkar S.R        Ind  431  17598   40.83   86.3   35.22
4   Sehwag V             Ind  215   7091   32.98  103.5   34.14
5   Dhoni M.S            Ind  143   5420   37.90   89.9   34.06
6 ~ Gilchrist A.C        Aus  279   9619   34.48   96.9   33.42
7   de Villiers A.B      Saf   92   3333   36.23   88.9   32.22
8   Hussey M.E.K         Aus  115   4136   35.97   88.4   31.78
9   Pietersen K.P        Eng   88   3220   36.59   86.7   31.72
10 ~ Smith G.C            Saf  147   5613   38.18   83.1   31.73
First I worked out the all-match ODI Index for each batting position. In this case the OBI 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. The Strike rates are for that position. 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 position 7, the bar is set at 700 runs.

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

Analysis of Opening position

ODI Index for all matches: 22.50

No Batsman Cty Inns No Runs Avge Balls S/R OBI AllIdx-%

1.Dilshan T.M Slk 25 2 1263 54.91 1238 1.020 56.02 249.0% 2.Tendulkar S.R Ind 319 23 14482 48.93 16431 0.881 43.12 191.7% 3.Watson S.R Aus 48 5 1986 46.19 2264 0.877 40.51 180.1% 4.Sehwag V Ind 182 5 6336 35.80 6100 1.039 37.18 165.3% 5.Gilchrist A.C Aus 259 7 9200 36.51 9386 0.980 35.78 159.0% 6.Gayle C.H Win 193 14 7510 41.96 8901 0.844 35.40 157.3% 7.Turner G.M Nzl 29 5 1197 49.88 1688 0.709 35.37 157.2% 8.Hayden M.L Aus 147 14 5891 44.29 7486 0.787 34.86 154.9% 9.Lara B.C Win 52 5 2166 46.09 2871 0.754 34.77 154.5% 10.Smith G.C Saf 146 9 5598 40.86 6724 0.833 34.02 151.2%

Dilshan retains his position at the top. However, Tendulkar, with his excellent Strike rate has moved into the second position. The mountain of runs at an outstanding OBI of 43.12 is testament to the greatness of Tendulkar in this position. Any comment will be an understatement.

The pleasant surprise is the presence of two great attacking players, Sehwag and Gilchrist in the top 5. They had missed out in the earlier analysis.

Analysis of no. 3 position

ODI Index for all matches: 23.04

No Batsman Cty Inns No Runs Avge Balls S/R OBI AllIdx-%

1.Richards I.V.A Win 51 9 2418 57.57 2891 0.836 48.15 209.0% 2.Mohammad Yousuf Pak 43 7 1988 55.22 2521 0.789 43.55 189.0% 3.Ganguly S.C Ind 32 4 1476 52.71 1952 0.756 39.86 173.0% 4.Lara B.C Win 106 9 4447 45.85 5167 0.861 39.46 171.3% 5.Zaheer Abbas Pak 47 3 2009 45.66 2485 0.808 36.91 160.2% 6.Gambhir G Ind 31 4 1161 43.00 1403 0.828 35.58 154.4% 7.Ponting R.T Aus 305 30 11978 43.56 14779 0.810 35.30 153.2% 8.Kallis J.H Saf 176 29 6898 46.93 9455 0.730 34.23 148.6% 9.Chanderpaul S Win 25 2 1125 48.91 1635 0.688 33.66 146.1% 10.Hick G.A Eng 58 9 2182 44.53 2891 0.755 33.61 145.9%

In the pivotal position of no.3, there is no one to beat the great Viv Richards. His OBI is an amazing 48.15. The well-known no.3 batsmen, Md Yousuf, Ganguly and Lara follow. It is interesting to note that Ponting has scored nearly 12000 runs at an OBI of 35.30.

It may be of interest to note that Dhoni has scored 993 runs at an OBI of over 75.00.

Analysis of no. 4 position

ODI Index for all matches: 25.40

No Batsman Cty Inns No Runs Avge Balls S/R OBI AllIdx-%

1.Richards I.V.A Win 81 12 3373 48.88 3593 0.939 45.89 180.7% 2.de Villiers A.B Saf 42 8 1740 51.18 1967 0.885 45.27 178.2% 3.Sarwan R.R Win 43 12 1707 55.06 2172 0.786 43.28 170.4% 4.Bevan M.G Aus 53 15 2265 59.61 3232 0.701 41.77 164.5% 5.Jadeja A Ind 29 10 1008 53.05 1391 0.725 38.45 151.4% 6.Crowe M.D Nzl 53 14 1899 48.69 2436 0.780 37.96 149.4% 7.Boon D.C Aus 35 12 1255 54.57 1811 0.693 37.81 148.9% 8.Twose R.G Nzl 44 5 1829 46.90 2410 0.759 35.59 140.1% 9.Ranatunga A Slk 36 6 1272 42.40 1540 0.826 35.02 137.9% 10.Kallis J.H Saf 73 17 2635 47.05 3636 0.725 34.10 134.3%

The change has meant that Richards moves to the top position in this position instead of Bevan whose scoring rate is a pedestrian 0.7. Richards is the only batsman to have finished on top in two batting positions. de Villiers has shown his potential greatness by getting into the second position with a 45+ OBI. A surprise in this position is the high placement of Ajay Jadeja.
Analysis of no. 5 position

ODI Index for all matches: 22.77

No Batsman Cty Inns No Runs Avge Balls S/R OBI AllIdx-%

1.Dhoni M.S Ind 38 9 1560 53.79 1832 0.852 45.81 201.2% 2.Flintoff A Eng 48 10 1749 46.03 1854 0.943 43.42 190.7% 3.Hussey M.E.K Aus 25 6 1003 52.79 1221 0.821 43.36 190.4% 4.Symonds A Aus 96 18 3473 44.53 3780 0.919 40.91 179.7% 5.Yuvraj Singh Ind 81 13 2878 42.32 3268 0.881 37.27 163.7% 6.Collingwood P.D Eng 74 16 2621 45.19 3213 0.816 36.86 161.9% 7.Rhodes J.N Saf 90 23 2734 40.81 3302 0.828 33.79 148.4% 8.Cronje W.J Saf 43 7 1451 40.31 1745 0.832 33.51 147.2% 9.Dravid R Ind 69 13 2459 43.91 3341 0.736 32.32 141.9% 10.Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 105 22 3473 41.84 4559 0.762 31.88 140.0%

This is Dhoni's position. He is now batting more and more at no.5. He again has a very high OBI of 45+. Flintoff jumps over Hussey into the second position. What a loss Flintoff's is to the game. Hussey just about gets in at a 43+ OBI. It is a surprise that Symonds, while scoring the same runs as Inzamam, has an OBI value of 40.91, which is about 8 more than Inzamam. Dravid retains his top-10 position with a respectable ODI of 32.32.
Analysis of no. 6 position

ODI Index for all matches: 19.91

No Batsman Cty Inns No Runs Avge Balls S/R OBI AllIdx-%

1.Raina S.K Ind 32 10 1087 49.41 1171 0.928 45.86 230.4% 2.Bevan M.G Aus 87 34 3006 56.72 3871 0.777 44.04 221.2% 3.Younis Khan Pak 28 5 1012 44.00 1108 0.913 40.19 201.8% 4.Hussey M.E.K Aus 51 14 1607 43.43 1811 0.887 38.54 193.6% 5.Arnold R.P Slk 59 21 1703 44.82 2273 0.749 33.58 168.6% 6.Cronje W.J Saf 45 16 1235 42.59 1567 0.788 33.56 168.6% 7.Dhoni M.S Ind 47 11 1395 38.75 1718 0.812 31.46 158.0% 8.Yuvraj Singh Ind 57 8 1727 35.24 2032 0.850 29.95 150.5% 9.Jadeja A Ind 43 8 1324 37.83 1743 0.760 28.73 144.3% 10.McMillan C.D Nzl 39 5 1058 31.12 1244 0.850 26.47 132.9%

The change in measure has allowed Suresh Raina, a faster scoring batsman, to jump over Michael Bevan, the finisher extraordinary. Both have very high OBI values of around 45.
Analysis of no. 7 position

ODI Index for all matches: 15.86

No Batsman Cty Inns No Runs Avge Balls S/R OBI AllIdx-%

1.Hussey M.E.K Aus 20 14 706 117.67 706 1.000 117.67 741.9% 2.Shahid Afridi Pak 40 9 718 23.16 527 1.362 31.56 199.0% 3.Abdul Razzaq Pak 79 21 1848 31.86 2076 0.890 28.36 178.8% 4.Hopes J.R Aus 38 6 896 28.00 911 0.984 27.54 173.6% 5.Pollock S.M Saf 81 26 1633 29.69 1836 0.889 26.41 166.5% 6.Boucher M.V Saf 44 16 846 30.21 991 0.854 25.79 162.6% 7.Chigumbura E Zim 38 6 995 31.09 1222 0.814 25.32 159.6% 8.Streak H.H Zim 40 12 864 30.86 1175 0.735 22.69 143.1% 9.Arnold R.P Slk 36 12 707 29.46 984 0.718 21.17 133.5% 10.O'Donnell S.P Aus 38 12 717 27.58 950 0.755 20.81 131.2%

Hussey has numbers which are beyond imagination. Granted he has scored only 700+ runs but what a finishing job he does. The next best is Shahid Afridi with 31.56. I am happy that Afridi is in this list because he is an outstanding talent. 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.

The candidates for the top-7 positions in an all-time ODI team, again my choice, are given below. Since this analysis incorporates the Strike rates it is possible to select a team. I have not just gone on the numbers.

Op Tendulkar S.R       Ind  319 23 14482  48.93 16431 0.881 43.12  191.7%
Op Gilchrist A.C       Aus  259  7  9200  36.51  9386 0.980 35.78  159.0%
3 Lara B.C            Win  106  9  4447  45.85  5167 0.861 39.46  171.3%
4 Richards I.V.A      Win   81 12  3373  48.88  3593 0.939 45.89  180.7%
5 Symonds A           Aus   96 18  3473  44.53  3780 0.919 40.91  179.7%
6 Hussey M.E.K        Aus   51 14  1607  43.43  1811 0.887 38.54  193.6%
7 Shahid Afridi       Pak   40  9   718  23.16   527 1.362 31.56  199.0%
Now add 4 top bowlers and we have a team the Gods would stop and watch. It is unfortunate Dhoni misses out but Gilchrist wins for many reasons, his numbers and the balance he brings by taking the opening positions. Hussey or Bevan is a tough call and a personal one.

Arjun Hemnany has done some additional work on the Not outs % by position. This is quite relevant to the discussions on Batting average vs Runs per innings. I have presented this table below.

% of Not outs out of all innings

Openers - 4.74 % no.3 - 7.84 % no.4 - 13.14 % no.5 - 16.09 % no.6 - 19.83 % no.7 - 23.69 % no.8 - 27.39 % no.9 - 33.56 % no.10 - 41.98 % no.11 - 59.74 %

At a later date I will come out with the Batting position analysis incorporating the figures above so that we would see a "normalized" Batting average figure. Many thanks to Arjun.

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

  • Abhi on March 30, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    As an aside: Fascinating all time world xi out by colin croft. It's on the net : " Bradman, Headley out Crofty’s World XI " "

  • Abhi on March 30, 2010, 2:35 GMT

    Nick, All sounds quite gruesome! Pardon my ignorance- but what exactly is the difference between “Runs/out” and the normal calculation of average (where Total runs are divided by Total innings minus N.O innings)?

    Xolile, As Alex has so rightly said , it all depends on what spectacles you’ve got on. With your Pink specs- you are going to see everything in Pink. So,for fear of landing right smack bang back on square 1- we’ll let it pass.

  • Abhi on March 30, 2010, 2:34 GMT

    Nick, All sounds quite gruesome! Pardon my ignorance- but what exactly is the difference between “Runs/out” and the normal calculation of average (where Total runs are divided by Total innings minus N.O innings)? Xolile, For fear of landing right smack bang back on square 1- we’ll let it pass.

  • pharmacy tech on March 29, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    nice post. thanks.

  • Nick on March 29, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    Just a quick word on the Runs/Out versus Runs/Innings debate over methods for calculating averages, and what is a fair reflection. There is strong mathematical evidence to suggest that Runs/Out is indeed best. I am currently studying applied statistics, and one topic we cover is to do with death rates. The case we study involves a number of patients, some who we observe to die at a certain age, and some who all we know is that they are still alive and at a certain age at the end of the observation period. It is known as Right-Censoring. If we make simple assumptions about the distribution of ages (namely an exponential distribution, which cricket innings do mirror very well) It turns out that the expected age of death is calculated by total life observed, divided only by number of deaths. in a cricket scenario, this translates to total runs scored divided by number of times out. I would gladly provide the relevant calculations if you wish to post it. [[ Nick That is very interesting. The only quick observation I can make is that death is final, consequently, it is only a matter of when not whether. There is no unbeaten life. However an innings could end undefeated. That is more philosophical than mathematical. But I like your comparison. I would like to have the observations. I will contact you directly so that you could mail me also directly. Thanks Ananth: ]]

  • Sarosh on March 28, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    Considering the incredible firepower the Indian ODI batting lineup has had in the last couple of years it is scary to think of the totals they would have put up if they played mostly in New Zealand or such similar places. It just so happened that they played a lot in India.Once the kind of batsmen they possess fire, then no ground is safe.

  • boll on March 27, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    I look back on some of the ridiculous hyperbole regarding Ponting/Lara/Sachin and who has been the greatest batsman and remember being reminded by an Indian mate of mine that they`d reached 10,000 test runs in 196/195/195 innings respectively. Argue about that until the cows come home. Fastest to 6000 runs was of course The Don, in 68 innings, no-one else under 110, and the 3 men in question all around 120. Now, that`s a stat that can`t be argued with.

  • boll on March 27, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    I always appreciate that Anantha doesn`t attempt to draw spurious conclusions from these statistics. It`s refreshing to see them presented for what they are - a statistical representation of a player`s career. Too often, however, I think readers make claims based on these statistics that are simply false. People are often far to quick to laud a statistical analysis which agrees with their emotional perception of a cricketer, and either pass over, or accuse the author of bias, when it doesn`t. SRT fans (and if you love your cricket, who isn`t?) often seem to have issues with this. We all have our favourites, sometimes based on nationality, hopefully more often based on a style of cricket we`d love to emulate. When we do make claims, in this era of readily accessible statistics, we should however be able to support them, as I believe most writers on this site attempt to do.

  • Abhi on March 27, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    Alex, Well put. In fact Ananth’s assertion that over a long career a top batsman will likely get a cheap run for every two tough ones is probably correct. Some arguments we hear are similar to ppl trying to devalue Federer’s achievements vis a vis Sampras. The argument now is that Sampras faced tougher opposition ! (Since Fed is piling ‘em on ,this seems to be the only argument remaining to the poor Sampras faithful!) What do you want Fed to do? Manufacture opponents?.He is bound to get some easy draws and opponents here and there over a long enough career. A lot of people went on about how he won the French since he didn’t have to play Nadal. He had already proven that he was the 2nd best clay court player in the world and he was due some “luck of the draw”.Poetic justice. Another thing ppl forget is the advantage lefties get over righties. The primary reason Nadal has (had?) the whip over Fed was because he is a leftie. If Fed too was a leftie (or vice versa) I don’t see Nadal winning a single match. This applies to cricket too- I rem. Reading an article by Frank Tyson on how he hated bowling to lefties because of the tremendous advantages they had( cant find it now)…So,that’s the way it goes…How can you “fault” someone for being a leftie! As you correctly mention - Depending on the spectacles you put on, you can always , in any circumstance, find a flaw in either an individual innings or a career. A scorecard reveals as much as it hides. It is extremely rare to find a flawless, perfect innings or career- as usual with the exception of the Don’s career.

  • Gavs on March 27, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    @Xolile, considering career stats tends to naturally even out a lot of imbalances for players in the same era. For instance, India & SL play a lot of ODIs against each other on the sub-continent, but then Aus play a lot of ODIs against lowly-ranked WI and NZ home and away (and many WI, NZ grounds are are even smaller than in Asia). And South African batsmen too had their merry times in the '90s against weaker sides like India and SL (both are higher-ranked today), not to mention Zim.

    That is why looking at career stats is a fair way to go as lots of things get evened out. Whereas you were simply looking at one year's stats in India and trashing the entire exercise. (Don't forget that the first 400+ game - actually 800+ game - came on African soil. And SA had already feasted on unexceptional Zim, India, SL, WI bowlers for countless 300+ totals in SA before that)

  • Abhi on March 30, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    As an aside: Fascinating all time world xi out by colin croft. It's on the net : " Bradman, Headley out Crofty’s World XI " "

  • Abhi on March 30, 2010, 2:35 GMT

    Nick, All sounds quite gruesome! Pardon my ignorance- but what exactly is the difference between “Runs/out” and the normal calculation of average (where Total runs are divided by Total innings minus N.O innings)?

    Xolile, As Alex has so rightly said , it all depends on what spectacles you’ve got on. With your Pink specs- you are going to see everything in Pink. So,for fear of landing right smack bang back on square 1- we’ll let it pass.

  • Abhi on March 30, 2010, 2:34 GMT

    Nick, All sounds quite gruesome! Pardon my ignorance- but what exactly is the difference between “Runs/out” and the normal calculation of average (where Total runs are divided by Total innings minus N.O innings)? Xolile, For fear of landing right smack bang back on square 1- we’ll let it pass.

  • pharmacy tech on March 29, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    nice post. thanks.

  • Nick on March 29, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    Just a quick word on the Runs/Out versus Runs/Innings debate over methods for calculating averages, and what is a fair reflection. There is strong mathematical evidence to suggest that Runs/Out is indeed best. I am currently studying applied statistics, and one topic we cover is to do with death rates. The case we study involves a number of patients, some who we observe to die at a certain age, and some who all we know is that they are still alive and at a certain age at the end of the observation period. It is known as Right-Censoring. If we make simple assumptions about the distribution of ages (namely an exponential distribution, which cricket innings do mirror very well) It turns out that the expected age of death is calculated by total life observed, divided only by number of deaths. in a cricket scenario, this translates to total runs scored divided by number of times out. I would gladly provide the relevant calculations if you wish to post it. [[ Nick That is very interesting. The only quick observation I can make is that death is final, consequently, it is only a matter of when not whether. There is no unbeaten life. However an innings could end undefeated. That is more philosophical than mathematical. But I like your comparison. I would like to have the observations. I will contact you directly so that you could mail me also directly. Thanks Ananth: ]]

  • Sarosh on March 28, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    Considering the incredible firepower the Indian ODI batting lineup has had in the last couple of years it is scary to think of the totals they would have put up if they played mostly in New Zealand or such similar places. It just so happened that they played a lot in India.Once the kind of batsmen they possess fire, then no ground is safe.

  • boll on March 27, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    I look back on some of the ridiculous hyperbole regarding Ponting/Lara/Sachin and who has been the greatest batsman and remember being reminded by an Indian mate of mine that they`d reached 10,000 test runs in 196/195/195 innings respectively. Argue about that until the cows come home. Fastest to 6000 runs was of course The Don, in 68 innings, no-one else under 110, and the 3 men in question all around 120. Now, that`s a stat that can`t be argued with.

  • boll on March 27, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    I always appreciate that Anantha doesn`t attempt to draw spurious conclusions from these statistics. It`s refreshing to see them presented for what they are - a statistical representation of a player`s career. Too often, however, I think readers make claims based on these statistics that are simply false. People are often far to quick to laud a statistical analysis which agrees with their emotional perception of a cricketer, and either pass over, or accuse the author of bias, when it doesn`t. SRT fans (and if you love your cricket, who isn`t?) often seem to have issues with this. We all have our favourites, sometimes based on nationality, hopefully more often based on a style of cricket we`d love to emulate. When we do make claims, in this era of readily accessible statistics, we should however be able to support them, as I believe most writers on this site attempt to do.

  • Abhi on March 27, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    Alex, Well put. In fact Ananth’s assertion that over a long career a top batsman will likely get a cheap run for every two tough ones is probably correct. Some arguments we hear are similar to ppl trying to devalue Federer’s achievements vis a vis Sampras. The argument now is that Sampras faced tougher opposition ! (Since Fed is piling ‘em on ,this seems to be the only argument remaining to the poor Sampras faithful!) What do you want Fed to do? Manufacture opponents?.He is bound to get some easy draws and opponents here and there over a long enough career. A lot of people went on about how he won the French since he didn’t have to play Nadal. He had already proven that he was the 2nd best clay court player in the world and he was due some “luck of the draw”.Poetic justice. Another thing ppl forget is the advantage lefties get over righties. The primary reason Nadal has (had?) the whip over Fed was because he is a leftie. If Fed too was a leftie (or vice versa) I don’t see Nadal winning a single match. This applies to cricket too- I rem. Reading an article by Frank Tyson on how he hated bowling to lefties because of the tremendous advantages they had( cant find it now)…So,that’s the way it goes…How can you “fault” someone for being a leftie! As you correctly mention - Depending on the spectacles you put on, you can always , in any circumstance, find a flaw in either an individual innings or a career. A scorecard reveals as much as it hides. It is extremely rare to find a flawless, perfect innings or career- as usual with the exception of the Don’s career.

  • Gavs on March 27, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    @Xolile, considering career stats tends to naturally even out a lot of imbalances for players in the same era. For instance, India & SL play a lot of ODIs against each other on the sub-continent, but then Aus play a lot of ODIs against lowly-ranked WI and NZ home and away (and many WI, NZ grounds are are even smaller than in Asia). And South African batsmen too had their merry times in the '90s against weaker sides like India and SL (both are higher-ranked today), not to mention Zim.

    That is why looking at career stats is a fair way to go as lots of things get evened out. Whereas you were simply looking at one year's stats in India and trashing the entire exercise. (Don't forget that the first 400+ game - actually 800+ game - came on African soil. And SA had already feasted on unexceptional Zim, India, SL, WI bowlers for countless 300+ totals in SA before that)

  • GD on March 27, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    And hence looking at career stats is a pretty fair way to go for comparing player performances (and Ananth has already mentioned that he is not doing an era adjustment since that is not the brief of this exercise).

  • GD on March 27, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    Xolile, The batting averages of SA and Aus batsmen have the relative advantage of not facing some of the best seamers / fast bowlers as often as sub-continent players, and also not facing the best fielding outfits as often.

    Meaning - Kallis, Cullinan, et al never had to face Donald, Pollock, Ntini, Steyn on SA pitches...they were playing Prabhakar, Srinath, Prasad, Kumble, Vaas, Murali, Fernando, Dharmasena, et al. Similarly, Gilly, Hayden, Bevan, Ponting were not facing McGrath, Warne, McDermot, Gillespie, Lee on Aussie pitches while compiling their own batting records.

    Subcontinent players on tour in SA and Aus had to contend with top class seamers in home conditions (which they knew like the backs of their hands) and against the 2 best fielding sides in the world.

    Hence, for the purpose of this career analysis by Ananth, I believe your suggestion is flawed.

  • Xolile on March 27, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    Abhi – This is not about SRT. But since you brought it up, more than half the runs he scored in SA during the 2003 WC came against the likes of Netherlands, Kenya and Namibia. His failure in the final was a genuine failure. If he stayed with Sehwag the result would have been much closer.

    Nevertheless, I still consider SRT the best ODI batsman of all time. Everyone has blemishes in their records and in SRT’s case the only significant blemishes are his mediocre records against SA in SA and Aus in Aus.

    With regards to the flattest pitches during the last few years I agree that Christchurch, Napier and Basseterre rank right up there with Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Gwalior, Cuttack, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Delhi. My point is that there are more flat pitches in India then anywhere else (although mid-summer conditions in New Zealand gives India a run for its money).

    Alex – I cannot agree with you more. External factors are crucial.

  • Alex on March 27, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    X - First up, Ananth's article is only about OBI as it exists and not to claim "X is better than Y".

    You are right in that India mostly played on the subcontinent over the last 2 yrs. A better perspective will emerge only when it plays in more varied conditions. However, note that the OBI's of their best bats in the CBS series (2008) [SRT & Gambhir] and in NZ (2009) [Sehwag, SRT, Yuvraj, Dhoni] were outstanding & better than almost all of the rest. From what I observed, of late, Australia & NZ are going for similar batsmen-friendly pitches (preparation for WC '11?).

    If one really makes up one's mind, one can find flaws/bias in everything: (1) Lara's 153*? ... 2 dropped catches, home ground, his batting partners dropped as well, Warne-McGill hopelessly out of form, overworked McGrath (due for a sub-par test after an amazing run). (2) Richards' 829 in 4 tests? ... seriously, who were the bowlers for Eng in that series?

  • Abhi on March 27, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    Xolile, Some other points to ponder: 1) In that Aus-Saf game with both teams scoring 400 plus, you didn’t here too many ppl commenting about the pitch. It was all about “the greatest ODI ever” and things like that. Similarly, in the 2003 WC, when Tendulkar was the top scorer, no one went to town about the pitches. Infact Tendulkar could well have played for a steady hundred in the final instead of throwing his bat around and easily increased his aggregates/avg. 2) Tendulkar could easily have got to 200 in NZ a while back if not for an Ab strain. 3) In fact pitches have probably gotten flatter the world over. But probably the best places for a batsman are NZ and WI. When did you last see a vicious green top in those two places? More the exception than the norm nowadays. 4) If you couple the featherbeds in the above 2 places with the extreme tininess of the grounds (some grounds are so tiny they make gymkhana grounds look huge) you then have a batsman’s paradise. There was this article on cricinfo a while back where the best venues for batsmen in tests for the 2000s turned out to be grounds like St.Johns, SCG, Adelaide Oval, Kennington Oval, a couple of Pak grounds and the WACA!! 5) There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever about your basic claim-that pitches are easier to bat on. The thing is – this applies uniformly the world over. There are so very many articles and stats out there showing us the difference between the 90s and the 2000s scores. Never mind the “overall” averages- Look at the top guys, say 20/25. Huge, huge difference. [[ Abhi In an earlier article on grounds I have mentioned about the volte face as far as New Zealand ground are concerned. For that matter English grounds. At Lord's India chased 325 in 2002 and within 12 months 460 for 13 wickets in one match and a 107 all out in another. I feel people who understand things well should exercise restraint. This applies to all readers. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 24, 2010, 5:55 GMT

    Ananth - re X's claim "career stats for Indian batsmen should be adjusted downwards by a considerable margin". Although it has some merit, I don't think it is correct. E.g., consider the stats from the recent Ind-Aus and Ind-SA ODI fixtures. Also, SRT & Hayden had topped the SR tables in the CBS series in Australia. Many such examples.

    However, later on, pl do an article, incorporating SR adjustment that I suggested in a comment on this thread.

  • Abhi on March 23, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    xolile, have you even bothered to check the records of modern day greats like ponting and lara at "home" and then in India? In Lara’s case it is probably an anomaly because he was an unmatched player of spin. But in Ponting’s case it has to be a clear cut weakness technically. Nothing else can explain it. The point is that “slow and low” pitches are not necessarily conducive to batting. In fact for batsmen like Tendulkar with smaller backlifts the best possible thing would be a fast bouncy track with the ball coming on to the bat. We can effectively call Ponting a “bouncy track bully”…A Great batsman(almost by definition) must be able to adapt and adjust his game to varied conditions and pitches.For eg. among the highest strike rates Tendulkar has achieved in limited over cricket was when he first opened the batting in NZ. So, either we admit that Ponting cannot classify as a Great or then…. you must take something for this fixation of yours! It's just about the only thing you go on about!

  • Xolile on March 23, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    6 HM Amla (SA) 58.56 7 MS Dhoni (India) 57.52 8 WU Tharanga (SL) 55.78 9 KD Karthik (India) 55.64 10 KC Sangakkara (SL) 50.82

    I do not want to criticize AB, Kallis or Hussey – but it does appear that their batting achievements in these ODIs were a function of the favourable batting conditions, rather than their own skill as batsmen or the lack of skill of the Indian bowlers.

    It also casts doubt over the career stats of the current crop of Indian batsmen who play in India more regularly than anyone else.

  • Xolile on March 23, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    Ananth,

    It feels that in the last 2-3 years the balance in India has shifted too far in favour of batsmen. It has shifted in favour of batsmen all around the world, but in India it has gone too far.

    The last two ODIs between India and SA produced, respectively, the highest individual score (Tendulkar’s 200* of 147 balls), and the most destructive partnership (De Villiers and Kallis’ 173* of 102 balls), in the history of ODI cricket.

    India has hosted Aus, SA and SL in the last few months for a total of 14 ODIs. These are without doubt the four greatest ODI sides in the world at present. During those 14 matches the top six batsmen scored 6329 runs at an averaged 45.53 and a SR of 95.08. Using your OBI measure, that is a score of 43.29.

    Here are the OBI scores for some of the individual batsmen that featured in those matches:

    1 AB de Villiers (SA) 317.37 2 JH Kallis (SA) 102.00 3 MEK Hussey (Aus) 101.72 4 TM Dilshan (SL) 79.62 5 SR Tendulkar (India) 70.10

  • Xolile on March 23, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    Ananth,

    One last thought before I let it rest:

    In IPL1 there were 16 team scores of 190 or higher. In IPL3 to date there have been 7 team scores of 190 or higher. IPL1 and IPL3 were/are held in India.

    IPL2 was held in SA. During the entire tournament there was just 1 score of 190 or higher.

    Conclusion: batsmen have it easy in India, particularly in the shorter forms of the game.

    Recommendation: career stats for Indian batsmen should be adjusted downwards by a considerable margin to make them comparable to that of other international batsmen. [[ X Extending your calculations to the Champions Leage 1009, there were only 2 scores above 190. And that tournament was held in India. Anyhow if we open that Pandora's Box of adjusting scores downward, I presume in both Tests and ODIs, many an innings would go down. Hammond's 336 was against a New Zealand team whose combined career test wickets was 36. One thing I do not understand. Haven't you read and commented on my previous analysis where I have adjusted value of runs upwards or downwards on many factors. The above innings has been downgraded quite significantly. Why this sudden urge to not accept career runs. And why bring in IPL which is nothing but a Bombay film show with cricket thrown in when they could find some time. The same Delhi pitch (I am sure you must have read my article in CastrolCricket) where the average RpO for CL-09 was 5.7 suddenly produces 3 totals, out of 4, exceeding 185. How can you ever draw anything valuable from this. Ananth: ]]

  • Ken on March 23, 2010, 4:49 GMT

    There should be a way to compare strike rates between players of different eras - so that players like Viv Richards and Bevan compare more equally with recent generations. There have been rule changes, grounds reducing in size, and pitches prepared differently - with all changes favouring the modern batsmen. If overall SR statistics (ie - for every ODI) were taken for each calendar year, and applied as an index, there could be a much fairer comparison between players of different eras. Players like Richards and Bevan would therefore feature higher in the mathematical comparative performance indicators.

    A big task to apply the annual index, but possible, I presume? [[ Ken If you take the trouble of perusing previous articles, I have talked of and presented numbers on strike rate and batting average differentials across ages many many times. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 23, 2010, 4:41 GMT

    Ananth - will it be possible for you to do an article on the IPL financials? Just a spread-sheet noting down team revenues, expenditures, player salaries & contract duration --- cricinfo should have a webpage maintaining that.

    $750,000/- for Pollard (who looks scratchy at best so far in IPL) might rev up interest for cricket in the WI teens ... WI lost a lot of talent to basketball etc. beginning 80's since cricket was not lucrative enough. Maybe T20's is the answer to instill more talent & professionalism in the official WI team. [[ Alex Nauseating stuff and I am not sure whether I am up to it. The very case of Pollard was one of the most blatant examples of an ultra-ultra-rich team-owner "bribing" IPL to the tune of, as rumours put it, nearly 2 million dollars to sign him for $700000. There are mediocre players, sitting on the bench, being paid well over half a million pounds. One could go on and on. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 23, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    Ananth - re X's comment, I had suggested a remedy last week ... either divide the batsman SR with A or multiply it with B where A = net SR of both the teams playing the match; B = (batsman's SR)/(A). [[ Alex From the beginning I have emphasized that this is an analysis of pure unadjusted values. Every figure does not have to be adjusted. Every time one says 6996 it does not have to be adjusted by something or other. It says a lot by itself. Again As I have emphasized, where required, e-g in the Top batsman analysis, I have adjusted figures to the nth degree. It is my firm conviction that over a long career these variations tend to get adjusted through natural means. For every cheap run scored there is likely to be couple of tough runs. Although seeing the way England is labouring for runs in Bangladesh even the term cheap runs is becoming difficult to define. With DRS in place England might not have reached 350. Ananth: ]]

    Abhi - In basketball terms, Kallis is probably the equivalent of Tim Duncan. All gold but relatively short on media hype. Even as a batsman, I think he is a bit better than Dravid (who is a truly great player).

  • Ramesh Kumar on March 22, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    I thought that second position in all time great ODI batsmen list is reserved for Viv Richards. Here we are talking of Ponting, Lara, Sehwag etc. Just kidding, no offence meant for Viv Fans.

    On a serious note, if you are looking at all time greats, you need to have strike rate across big innings. Cameos are good for lower order batsmen, but not good enough for higher order batsmen. This is where Sehwag has not lived upto expectations in ODIs. For his skills, he is playing too many short innings. When top order batsmen falls early, it puts pressure on other batsmen to build innings and hence slows down the innings from a busy start. Strangely Sehwag has played better Test innings. Richards also suffers on this front esp in his last 4 years 88-91, though he had played destructive innings earlier. Cricketing wise, it is great to see building of long innings in ODIs both at the front like SRT or later like Hussey/Bevan.

  • Ashraf Mobashar on March 22, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    I really think the team is extremely balanced and good. Really good job. We can always argue, and it's completely normal, that players such as Ponting, Kallis, Dhoni should be in the team. I think changing them will not change a lot, the team will stil be as good.

    But in this Ananth team I really love the combinations : Tendulkar/Gilly, Lara/Richards, Even just thinking about that is extraordinary...

    And i will ad, as a fan of Afridi, it's nice to see that he is there at 7, even if his stats are not always the best... What he will provide is big hitting at 7 and very good bowling as the 5th option. Murli/Afridi in tendom in ODI's can be very destructive... Especially when you have likes of, Wasim, Lee, Mcgrath, Pollock, Bond who have oppened the innings...

  • Jeff on March 22, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    @ Alex

    Kallis is a truly great player, particularly in tests. In ODIs however, I just think he scores too slowly to be ranked as one of the very best batsmen. I think South Africa would score more runs on average if Kallis upped his scoring rate a bit - Kallis himself might score fewer runs, but the team overall would benefit.

  • Abhi on March 22, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    Ananth, Arjun Further to Arjun’s novel concept of % NO figures as per batting position, I figured that if you remove Tendulkar’s figures they alone would have a considerable impact on overall historical figures. Perhaps this could lead to some sort of analysis as to the “impact” of an individual on the sport overall? Some sort of % of a combination of run aggregates, avg.s, NO s, SRs etc? ….Just musing.

  • Xolile on March 21, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    Ananth, To compare the career stats for batsmen that play most of their cricket at Nagpur, Hyderabad, Cuttack, Gwalior and Rajkot directly to those that play regularly at Dambulla, Lord’s, Wellington or the WACA may be construed as somewhat irresponsible. [[ X For once I do not agree with you. The players do not make the pitches. They play where they are asked to. I can point out high scoring games in your later grounds and low scoring games in your earlier grounds. Where it is required pitch level adjustments are made. This is a non-adjustment analysis. I am surprised that you, with your knowledge of such analysis, should make such a comment which makes no sense. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on March 21, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    Oh boy, Ive got nothing "against" Hussey and co. Yes, they are important to team balance etc. I myself have pointed that out on several occasions. Lets just say that as pure batsmen they are a little more "restricted" than others. Alex, Kallis...like the "wall" unfortunately suffers from the lack of glamour. He is very solid in all aspects of the game ,no doubt...but at the end of the day he would be considered just a notch above a "Lendl"!

  • Alex on March 21, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    Ananth - Gambhir is an anchor: his century against Lanka was probably the best ODI innings of the year 2009 (ahead of SRT's 175/138/163*). I think Raina's position is No. 6 where he fares better than even Bevan in your tables. A single finisher can't do much; you need a combination of finishers. Dhoni-Raina-Jadeja/Pathan can be a lethal combination at 5-7, able to hit well in 1st and chase well in 2nd.

  • Alex on March 21, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    Jeff and Ananth - all these comments and, predictably, no mention of Kallis ... arguably the best all-rounder ever in ODI's as well as one of the best batsmen ever in ODI's, with skill and technique to contribute superbly in any position.

    Jeff --- if you like Sehwag and Afridi, that's fine. You will have your own preferences. Personally, in ODI's, I view Sehwag as a right-hand Gilchrist or as a technically improved & more consistent version of Jayasuriya (who is massively destructive when he gets going). Sehwag has had unmatched aura as a destructive opener for a while now. However, I don't he is the 2nd greatest even among the openers: Hayden & Gilly could get almost equally destructive and had better consistency. Then, there is SRT (and Lara who, God knows why, played only 52 matches). Then there is Greenidge (ave=45): his SR of 73 seems tame today but his frequency of MoM awards (<7%) is just a little behind Richards' and vastly superior to anybody else.

  • BM on March 21, 2010, 3:06 GMT

    @Abhi Please remember that a great team ,much like a great band, requires balance. A band full of only lead guitarists ,no matter how great, will for the most part sound awful. The reason the West Indian team over the last couple of decades and in recent years the Pakistani team suffered so many collapses and heavy losses is because of this desire for practically all the top batsmen ,bar Chanderpaul, to be the Star. The Bevans, Husseys are critical to the success of the Haydens, Gilchrists and Pontings because they provide the necessary support and ballast. This enables each member of the team to play his role. Not everyone can be a Sachin Tendulkar , with the technical and mental flexibility to bury his ego and play as per the situation on every occasion. Most players have certain restrictions – technical and mental. The very same batsmen who you will find in the Wisden list of Top 100 innings would fill up a list of 500 worst innings if ranked on callousness and irresponsibility. The individual ego fueled splurges will inevitably lead to some dramatic innings but if all members of a team play that way, the team is doomed to failure more often than not. Much like the bass and drummers are vital for the overall health and time keeping of a band, the Hussey’s ,Bevans are vital to the success of a team if it is to win with any consistency. [[ BM Very well put. I would go to the extent of saying that for every superstar we need 2 of the drummers. There are times in the Indian team I feel we have too many match-winners and only Tendulkar and Dhoni have the skills and temperament to switch to anchor/finishing roles. If only we can define Raina's role clearly he could become an excellent finisher. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on March 20, 2010, 15:21 GMT

    @Milind. You must have missed the 3-time World Cup winner, in there at No.7 on the OBI list for No.3 batsmen. 12,000 runs at about 43 over 300 matches, strike-rate a touch over 80. Brian Lara the only man ahead of him on that list to have played more than 51 games. What`s to laugh at?

  • Boll on March 20, 2010, 15:06 GMT

    Interesting to read many comments about Hussey/Bevan. Particularly with Michael Bevan I would have to disagree with people who don`t think he revolutionised the game. For various reasons, scoring 100 off the last 15 overs with 3/4 wickets in hand is not all that uncommon anymore. Bevan was the first player in ODIs to do it consistently, to the point where it was surprising when he failed. Australia`s dominance for the last 15 years has had a lot to do with him (and more recently Mike Hussey) scoring 55not out off 70,batting with the tail, farming the strike, and hitting the winning runs in the last over. Most famously for Bevan, a straight four down the ground off the last ball to win at the SCG, having come in at 6-40 odd. We remember him alright, and he`d be in my all-time team just ahead of Hussey.

  • Jeff on March 20, 2010, 14:58 GMT

    @ Alex

    I probably have different opinions to most on who the best ODI batsmen are. I'm very much of the opinion that SR is the overwhelmingly important measure.

    I personally believe that Sehwag is the best current ODI batsman in the world (and only slightly behind Richards as the best ever.)

    I realise that this is a controversial opinion, given his low batting average, but I really feel he adds more to a teams total score than any other player.

    And if you think me saying that Sehwag is the best ODI batsman is controversial, then I probably shouldn't mention that I think Afridi is in the top 10 ODI batsman of the past 10 years (and i'm talking purely about his batting !)

    Even if he never bowled a ball, i'd have him in my team as a batsman every day of the week.

    Having said that, I rate Symonds pretty highly too as a batsman, and he's possibly the best all-round ODI player of the past 10 years.

  • Boll on March 20, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    Yes, my comment re.symonds as the obvious captain was rather tongue in cheek, although he would certainly be a useful right-hand man for finding post-match fishing/drinking holes. No sarcasm about Tendulkar and Richards being `givens` for their positions though. They are obvious standouts for mine, with Gilchrist probably the only other who is all but impossible to omit. Someone reminded us of Richards` very useful bowling record, not to mention his fielding (along with Symonds, Gibbs, Ponting, Harper, the best I`ve seen) and he`d be my skipper without a doubt. Apologies for getting slightly off topic, and for signing in under two names, Dave and Boll, unintentional and certainly not trying to be sneaky.

  • Arjun on March 20, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    It would be great if you do a quick article on new notouts. This method is applicable to both ODIs and 20-20 cricket but not Tests. May be a New Average and new odi index could be found out.

    "Notouts adjusted according to Batting Positions batted"

    My guess is Richards and Dhoni would be Top-2.

    Arjun. [[ Arjun There is another article from someone else due and I cannot very well do a third article on the same topic. However will do so at a later date. Thanks Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on March 20, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    Ananth, Guess you are right. "Lendls of cricket world!"...well said. But even with Lendl we remember the way he changed the game, camping out on his backhand and puppeting his opponents around with his howitzer forehand. With Dhoni, you remember some "helicopter" shots ,some blazing innings and the awesome power...But I guess the game needs the good old nondescript workmanlike foot soldiers as well... If nothing else- they make us cherish our Geniuses even more!

    Alex, Whaa…do you work or spend all your time on cricinfo?! – Yes-Great interview on Boon…and again reinforces how we simply cannot compare eras. A batsman, bowler etc can only be the best he can be against who he is up against in his time- on the pitches he is given ,with the equipment he is given, the opponents he faces –all that is out of his control. To say X,Y and Z modern day Great would have “struggled” on “uncovered” pitches, without a “helmet” ,against so and so is absolute nonsense.

  • Alex on March 20, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    Arjun and Ananth: thanks to Arjun for the % not out table (position-wise) that I had requested from Ananth earlier this week.

    Ananth - if possible, please add this table right after your tables as an asterix so that someone doesn't have to go through all comments to read this very relevant information. [[ Alex Has been done. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 20, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Ananth - re old players vs the current players, a recent interview of David Boon, a popular player at large in his days, is refreshing:

    http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/451958.html.

    Replying to a question on the current crop of batsman, he could have said that he faced better bowlers but, instead, has said "I've always said to my wife that if I ever start bagging players in the modern game, shoot me, because it changes, and history says it gets better. Their fitness levels get better, the way they conduct themselves, their athleticism. It's all very different to how it used to be. All I can say is, there were some very, very good bowlers in my time and that it was a challenge to face."

  • Alex on March 20, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    Jeff --- on Afridi vs Bevan ... it might be better to play Hussey, Bevan, and Symonds as I suggested earlier with Symonds coming in at #7 or as the designated hitter whenever needed. He can hit as well as Afridi, bowl a bit better, and is vastly superior as a fielder. (Hussey is capable of huge hits as well.)

  • Abhi on March 19, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    Arjun Great stuff and an entirely new angle. Quite applicable to ODIs . In Tests, of course, the batsman potentially has all the time to score and is not restricted by limited overs. Also, goes to show the unrealistic expectations of fans when they expect their openers to go on and finish matches as well. Ananth Ha…I wish I get the “feeling “ too….there is no sense of expectancy, no buzz, no goosebumps etc when watching Hussey…That is understandable as not all batsmen can produce that. But , at least , some shots should stand out in the memory? None do! I cannot remember a single instant when I exclaimed “Great shot!” or some such…Anyway ,let’s see how Hussey goes. [[ Abhi Probably one does not get the same feeling with Dhoni. One stroke remaining in memory ??? But it does not make him a less effective player. These, especially, Bevan and Hussey, are the self-effacing batsmen who start slowly, go for 4-5 runs per over, consolidate the innings and speed up towards the end. Their remaining not out should not be held against them. It is their responsibility. They are the Lendls of the cricket world. The only problem is if they deliberately remain not out for personal glory a la Prabhakar. Recently against India at Vadodara and Pakistan at Adelaide, Hussey went for the slog in the 50th over and was dismissed. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff on March 19, 2010, 13:50 GMT

    Ananth,

    Based on averages and strike rates, your team would score on average 277-5 in 50 overs.

    This means that the number 7 batsman would have to face only about 11 or 12 balls. Given this, i'd rather have Afridi there to have a slog than Bevan to nurdle a few runs.\ [[ Jeff You are probably right. With guys at top who are unlikely to lose their wickets in 50 overs, it may not be a bad idea to have the fastest scoring batsman in ODI history to get those extra runs. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on March 19, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    there is lot of debate going on reg. notouts in ODI's. I have calculated new n/o of Hussey(16.74), Bevan(33.24) and Klusener(23.53). Their new average is Hussey "42.11" - 4138/(115-16.74) Bevan "42.46" - 6912/(197-33.24) Klusener "31.51" - 3576/(137-23.53)

    The method i have used is as under. Openers remain n/o in 4.74 % ot total innings to-date (close to 3000 odis) no.3 - 7.84 % no.4 - 13.14 % no.5 - 16.09 % no.6 - 19.83 % no.7 - 23.69 % no.8 - 27.39 % no.9 - 33.56 % no.10 - 41.98 % no.11 - 59.74 %

    Using these basic figures we need to do two things.. 1)According to batting positon batted, give proportional benefit to batsman for remaining n/o. 2)do not penealised batsman if he has remained n/o less proportionaly. eg. Hussey. Bat. pos. 5. 6 n/o in 26 inn(23.07%). overall odi% is 16.09 Hussey is supposed to remain n/o in 4.18 inn. So he gets credit of 1.82 n/o. Similarly it is calculated for all bat. pos. of hussey & new n/o figure is arrived [[ Arjun Long time. That is a very novel method. One thing I am certain of. Each person has some unique idea. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Mark Pul on March 19, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    Yes, Doni is a good player but how good away from sub-continent conditions and against SA AND Aust in particular.I do remember him struggling against Australia in particular(home or away I can't remember!)

  • Jeff on March 19, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    @ Ananth:

    If I was confident of Symonds delivering 10 overs I would play both, covering both innings.

    Richards has better ODI bowling figures than Symonds. I reckon you could get 5 overs each from him and Symonds (plus you'd also have Bevan and Tendulkar if needed to fiddle a few overs)

    However, I would rather have Afridi plus either Bevan or Hussey.

    I think a team would, on average, score more runs with Afridi in the team than without him - especially a mythical team with all those great players. [[ Jeff I stand chastened. How can one forget the bowling of Viv. 118 wickets at 35.83 and 4.45. One of only two players to score a century and take 5 wickets in a match. Sorry Afridi. Ananth: ]]

  • Shyam_Prasad on March 19, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    Couple of ideas for whatever it is worth: 1. ODI Average: Take the conventional average as a reference score for the batsman and count all "Not Out" innings that yielded less than the reference score as completed innings with a score equal to the reference score; consider any unbeaten score that is greater than the reference score is considered completed; recalculate the average. For ex., Conventional Avg for a batsman X = 40. X has played 9 innings (35, 45, 50, 40, 10, 0, 50*, 7*, 3*) in total of which 3 are Not outs. 2 N.O innings yielded less than 40(average) and they are 7 and 3. Consider these two scores (7,3) as 40 each and the 50, as-is, and sum them all up to get the derived total (310). ODI Average for batsman X will be 310/9 = 34.44. 2. Strike rate: If possible use the average strike rate for the match as reference strike rate and determine the batsman's strike-rate-factor in relation to that. Multiply ODI Avg. from above with strike-rate-factor to get ODI Ranking Index. [[ Shyam I had tried the first method you have suggested earlier and it yielded quite satisfactory results. The second one has been used in the top batsman analysis. The point is that all these ideas are worthwhile if we are determining the nest batsman. But this is only a single topic analysis. We are interested in seeing the relative positions. Ananth: ]]

  • Bruce on March 19, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    It would be interesting to see these numbers normalised to the average scoring rate during each player's career. There are bound to be excellent players from the 70s and 80s whose numbers look poor compared to one of a more recent vintage simply because they played at a time when scoring rates were lower (due to bigger fields, compressed bats, no power plays as well as dated playing conventions). Indeed, that consideration does highlight how outstanding the likes of Viv Richards and Zaheer Abbas were. [[ Bruce Pl see responses to Shyam, Binu et al. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 19, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    Ananth & Binu: one way to accomodate Binu's suggestion (this point has been discussed several times), is to multiply SR with weighted SR:

    weighted SR = X/Y, where

    X = SR of the batsman; Y = average SR in all matches played by the batsman (to be computed as A/B, where

    A= #runs scored (by both teams) in those matches; B = #deliveries bowled (by both teams) in those matches.

    Then, the current version of OBI can be multiplied by the weighted SR (computed for the i-th position, as it may be) ... this will help equalize many factors including different eras, different pitches, etc. It will be a bit of work for Ananth but that might be worthwhile.

  • Jeff on March 19, 2010, 9:26 GMT

    On the Hussey vs Bevan debate, it's an interesting conundrum.

    On overall figures, then Hussey wins - their averages are almost identical, but Hussey's SR is about 20% better.

    However, when you split their stats by whether they batted 1st or 2nd, then it gets interesting.

    Batting 1st, Hussey wins - his figures are Ave=56, SR=94 compared to Bevan (Ave=51, SR=80)

    But batting 2nd, Bevan is better - Bevan (Ave=59, SR=68) Hussey (Ave=46, SR=74)

    Then, if you split batting 2nd by wins and losses, then it's gets more complicated !

    Hussey has better figures when his team win (Ave=100, SR=75) but Bevan's figures are still fantastic (Ave=86, SR=66)

    However, when his team loses, Hussey's figures are pretty poor (Ave=22, SR=71) whil Bevan's figures are still very good (Ave=39, SR=70)

    So, if I was batting second then I would rather have Bevan in my team, but batting first, then Hussey would be the better bet - if only the toss was made before teams were selected !! [[ Jeff If I was confident of Symonds delivering 10 overs I would play both, covering both innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Binu Thomas on March 19, 2010, 6:49 GMT

    Ananth

    There is an inherent problem with including the strike rate. During 1980s and 1990s, 250 was a huge score. But 275 became a good score in early 2000s, and in the last few years, 300 seems to be a good ODI score. So, how will you compare the strike rates in 1980/90s against late 2000s? The oldies tend to miss out if you include the strike rate (the only exception being the exceptional Rickards). So, some factoring has to be included in the calculation, IMO.

  • Alex on March 19, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    Ananth - the more I look at these tables, the more it seems that Hussey is one of a kind. He has recd some flak for falling from Bradmanesque average in tests but look at these numbers: at positions 5-7, he features in all-time Top 4 with SR going up from .82 to .89 to 1 while maintaining excellent averages. That is outstanding flexibility. Looking at averages and % of not outs (needed to finish successfully), #6 is his weakest position, which I feel Bevan made his own. [A combination of Hussey at No. 5 and Bevan at No. 6 will give fantastic solidarity to a dream team.] [[ Alex The only reason I selected Afridi in my seven is to have the fifth bowler duty shared very effectively between him and Symonds. Otherwise Bevan and Hussey at 6/7 is an outstanding combination. Ananth: ]]

  • DK on March 19, 2010, 2:43 GMT

    Anantha,

    Would be interesting to see an index based on runs per balls faced per innings rather than average. That would discount the high not-outs. As it turns out, Sachin, Dhoni, Hussey and Richards face 47, 42, 40 and 44.5 deliveries respectively on average everytime they go out to bat. Which is not that dissimilar. It could be combined with data about rate of scoring at time when they faced the delieveries (eg: team run rate is bound to be higher in ovs 45-50 than say 1-5), also taking into account run-rates of the era. There are many other subjective factors, strength of bowling, pitches (total match score) etc. But I would be willing to bet if you could combine all that, Sachin and Viv would come 1 and 2 (not sure about order).

  • Abhi on March 19, 2010, 2:22 GMT

    Phew.For once a storm seems to have been raised in regard to someone who's initials are not SRT. Got nothing against Hussey. Can't explain it....The stats tend to depict Hussey as a "Great" but somehow on viewing he doesn't come across as one. With the true Greats the simple act of watching them in action immediately hits a chord in you - "Great"!...the stats come later...I've never ,ever got that feeling with Hussey. [[ I hope one day you get theat feeling. I am not saying I get that feeling now. But I can admire his calmness and ability to deliver almost always. Another 2000+ runs and even if the average drops to 50, should at least take him into the list of top drawer ODI players. Ananth: ]]

    Ananth, guess you are right about the Avg./SR. Perhaps Alexs suggestion about RPI may reduce the inordinate impact of NO.s in ODIs. Dunno. [[ Abhi I have added the top-10 OBIdx based on Runs per innings and to me this seems to be far more acceptable across all batting positions. This is where the OBIdx I had posted initially was an in-between measure. Strike Rate multiplied by Runs/(Innings - 0.5*Not outs). A cross between Solomonic and Quixotic !!! But I am comfortable with RpI for overall evaluation. Ananth: ]]

  • Bala Kritikeshan on March 18, 2010, 23:41 GMT

    It would be interesting if you could come out with some metric that qualifies a pitch (in terms of ease of batting for example).

  • Ranjit on March 18, 2010, 23:17 GMT

    Really enjoyed..Nice article Ananth as usual. I want to see a stats about batsman who add better value to the team by taking wickets or Bowlers who make runs for their team.

  • Rupert on March 18, 2010, 21:39 GMT

    Just wanted to pick a nit with you Ananth. You refer to the OBI as "first thought of by me during 2002/3". Sorry, but that is total codswallop. I can show you my ABC cricket book from 1997 where I have calculated an OBI for all the players. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who thought of combining average and strike rate before 2002/03. Perhaps you first published the idea - but I'd still like to see proof of that. It comes across as pompous I'm afraid.

    And also, Bevan has been pushed around the batting order just as much as Mike Hussey. Please don't imply otherwise in your comments. [[ Rupert First my apologies. During a series of 100 or so Television broadcasts with Doordarshan I was the analyst and worked out the first cut of my version of the OBI. This was also broadcast. However this is such a simple idea that I should have realized that it would have been thought of earlier. I have changed the text suitably. Re Bevan and Hussey, when I see the career data I get an impression that Hussey has been moved around a lot. However this might be wrong as I can also see Bevan played in different positions. Only way is to a statistical analysis which I will do as part of my "Finishers" article. Ananth: ]]

  • Milind on March 18, 2010, 19:42 GMT

    No Ponting is sight anywhere. I love it :)

  • tonyp on March 18, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    Excellent article - Being somewhat nostalgic I would have had to find room for Bevan if I were a selector. But the line-up on display here is not one I can imagine anybody really wanting to bowl to. I do have one quick question: Are the indices significantly impacted by considering batting first as opposed to batting second?

  • Alex on March 18, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    Ananth - One more request. This actually stems from Abhi's comment on Hussey & SRT/Viv.

    If you please re-do the tables with runs/innings replacing the average, it might shed even more light.

    [[ Probably worth it. However I will at least present the OBI table. I cannot very well do a follow-up to a follow-up. If possible, I will just show the top 3 or so. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 18, 2010, 17:36 GMT

    Ananth - you have chosen a magnificent team. My dream team replaces Afridi with Bevan and shuffles the order: SRT, Gilchrist, Lara, Richards, Hussey, Bevan, Symonds [completed by Warne/Murali, Holding/Hadlee, Garner, McGrath]. Note the fielding strength of the side as well. I chose Lara over Ponting primarily to keep it from an Aussie dominated team --- else, Ponting gets in as the skipper and fielder extraordinaire. The only weakness is that 5th bowler comprises a bevy of part-timers (Symonds/Bevan/Hussey/SRT/Viv) ... if that is not palatable, replace Symonds with Imran.

    Looks like India has not a consistently strong performer at the pivotal no. 4 position and the no. 7 position. On the current form, apart from the bowling woes, that must be the biggest worry for the Indian think tank for WC 2011. Kohli @no. 4 and Jadeja @no. 7 could be the missing pieces.

  • Nahim on March 18, 2010, 16:54 GMT

    Very good analysis (both for this and the previous article). Just one comment though, the use of strike-rates does seem to penalise players from previous generations, who played at a time when scoring rates were lower (the inimitable Viv Richards being the exception). [[ Nahim Where there is a top batsman type of analysis I have always done the era-based adjustment. this is just a numbers-based analysis. Ananth: ]]

  • Abdullah AbdulRaheem on March 18, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    Fine article. Enjoy your blog...one of the few good ones on the site imho. As regards the dot-balls enquiry, I personally think it's a bit of overanalysis. But I think it's nice of you to respond to your readers

  • Boll on March 18, 2010, 16:41 GMT

    Or, more to the point, Abhi, that only twice in those 20 innings did Hussey bat 2nd in a losing team.

  • Saxon on March 18, 2010, 16:34 GMT

    Good post! Would have been nice to include Ponting and Dhoni - but can't really argue with the logic and numbers!

    @ Boll - Symonds as skipper? of what? drinking game? [[ One day in future we might very well include both Gilchrist and Dhoni, one as either an opening batsman or a finisher and the other to don the gloves. I would say tongue in cheek or a way of keeping Symonds in control. Shades of Ponting bc and ac. Ananth: ]]

  • Dave on March 18, 2010, 16:30 GMT

    Come on Abhi, for a man who`s obviously done his homework, surely it would have been fair to also mention that in those 20 innings/14 not outs, Mike Hussey has only batted 5 times in a 2nd innings. Reservations about what exactly might I ask?

  • Abhi on March 18, 2010, 15:54 GMT

    Am no statistician , but what if you add the avg. and SR instead of multiplying it? with this current "index" Hussey that far ahead of Tendulkar and Richards is weird to say the least. [[ Abhi Adding these two dissimilar measures would be sacrilegious. One runs from 10 to 50 and the other from 60 to 110. The advantage of multiplication would be obvious when you look at it solely from Batting average. Let us keep it as x. Now a s/r nearing 100 (Gilchrist) lets the batsman keep his x. A s/r in excess of 100 (Afridi) lets him get a higher value. But more relevant are the s/r below 100 situations. Look at the following two modern South African players. de Villiers: 42.19 88.9 37.52 Dippenaar: 42.23 67.8 28.63 The last numbers are clear indication that the OBIdx works perfectly. de Villiers is taht much ahead of Dippenaar. Incidentally both have scored around 3300 runs. Why should Hussey's top position be that weird. After all he has scored over 4100 runs at an average of 53 at a s/r in excess of SRT and just below Richards. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on March 18, 2010, 15:11 GMT

    Happy to argue the toss about a few things here, but Sachin opening, Viv at No 4, and Andrew Symonds as skipper are taken as givens, yes?

  • Boll on March 18, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Pollock, Wasim Akram, Warne, McGrath, with sincere apologies to Murali (12th man)

  • Yuri Tard on March 18, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    Ananth, I think there are some errors with your calculations. For starters, on the overall OBI list, a simple product of average by strike rate should yield just for example, 51.12 x 0.8986 = 45.94 for MS Dhoni and 47x0.902 = 43.24 for Viv richards. Secondly, Dhoni has very high numbers for the 3rd, 4th and 7th positions as well: 82.5, 88.81 and 37.54 which would put him at the top or second places on all these lists. Actually I can't reconstruct your numbers at all. Could you clarify your formula? [[ Pl see response to Vaibhav. Has since been corrected. Ananth: ]]

  • Dave on March 18, 2010, 14:40 GMT

    Without wanting to sound like an examiner here, I would say you have defined your parameters well, articulated both quantitative and qualitative analyses clearly, and also managed to conclude with a bloody good batting line-up. Well done sir.

  • Dave on March 18, 2010, 14:35 GMT

    Haven`t read this yet Anantha, but been waiting all day for it to come out. Sitting back now with a glass of red to enjoy it. Love your work. [[ Dave As a teetotaller, I can only wish that you have a great time with the 'red' and the article. Ananth: ]]

  • vaibhav on March 18, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    The first table is full of errors. Tendulkar's average is 45.12 (not 42.82) and Viv Richard's is 47 (not 43.36). Please correct it. [[ Vaibhav Thanks for pointing it. I have all sorts of tables in my library and I picked out an ODBIdx based on a modified not outs value. It has since been corrected. Yours is the first comment I have published since it relates to an error. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff on March 18, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    Therefore in an average match, playing Hick at number 3 would mean that numbers 10 & 11 would have to face 12 more balls than they would if you played Chanderpaul there. And if they scored 5 runs in those 12 balls, then the team would be better off by playing Hick. And guess what? On average, numbers 10/11 last 16 balls and score 9.5 runs. Therefore, you could argue that Hick is the better batsman.

    Obviously, the trick is to find the right balance between surviving balls and scoring quickly.

    Personally I believe that Sehwag does this the best. While he doesn’t score as many runs for himself as other players, the analysis that I have done suggests that he creates more “incremental” runs for his team than any other current player.

    I also think that Afridi is greatly under-rated (which is why it’s good to see him on your analysis) - in fact most players with high SRs but lower averages tend to be under-rated and vice versa.

    Hence why I think you need to weight more towards SR

  • Jeff on March 18, 2010, 14:16 GMT

    All analyses I’ve seen of ODI batting (including this one) are measuring the success of a batsman in terms of how many runs they score for themselves.

    Given that a batsmans job is to help his team score as many runs as possible, shouldn’t we be looking at measuring a batsmans worth in this way instead?

    Now, I’m sure many people are now saying “but they are the same thing – he scores x runs for himself and x for the team.”

    Well, in unlimited overs cricket, this is true, but when you limit the balls available, then there is a potential negative cost for the team in a batsman staying in and scoring more slowly than another batsman might.

    Given that most ODI innings don’t end all out (I think the average no. of wkts lost is about 8) then clearly there is a potential cost involved. For example, take Chanderpaul & Hick at no. 3.

    Chanderpaul ranks slightly above Hick in your table.

    On average, he scores 49 runs in 71 balls in an average inns. Hick scores 44 runs in 59 balls [[ Jeff Chanderpaul would complement a faster scoring batsman. The best team probably has two batsmen in the top-6 who are 75 s/r batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff on March 18, 2010, 14:13 GMT

    I waited until you reposted before adding my comments…

    Firstly, many thanks for changing the metric from purely batting average.

    As you know from many previous email exchanges, I am against using batting average as the main way of measuring batting performance in limited overs cricket.

    The clue as to why is in the very name “limited overs” – ie a batsman only has a certain amount of balls in which to score his runs – and average doesn’t factor this in at all.

    Your OBI is definitely a huge step in the right direction in terms of getting the right measure for ODI batting but I’m not sure it’s all the way there.

    Given that batting average is the product of “balls per dismissal” x “runs per ball (SR)” then what you have done with your OBI is simply give double weighting to SR.

    Is this too high a weighting to give SR? Or is it too low? I’m not sure, although if I had to bet, I’d bet on it being too low and that SR is even more important.

  • Abhi on March 18, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Fantastic performance by Dhoni. The guy is a potential great , if not one already, considering he has played almost the same no. of matches as Viv.But the longevity in "time" remains to be seen. In another table on cricinfo recently I had read that he was one of the fastest to 5000 in terms of "time".This means he has had the good fortune of having a lot of matches compressed into his "good" period...so, if he maintains this level for some years to come, we have another great on our hands.

    As rgds. Hussey, somehow i have always had some reservations about him. as rgds. the 14 NO.s, only 2 have come in the 2nd innings in a "won" match...so we need to go easy on the hyperbole.

  • Nishant on March 18, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    Dhoni's overall batting avg is 51.13 & not 43.36 as mentioned in the 1st table which makes his OBI 45+. Please clarify this. Neither is Michael Bevan mentioned in the Top-10 batsmen list clarify your formula? [[ Pl see response to Vaibhav. Has since been corrected. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on March 18, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    Ananth,

    very interesting set of data.I am intrigued by Hussey's figures and the role he is expected to play. His slot is 6 though he has extraordinary figures for 7. Should we assume with Hussey's very good batting skills, playing more overs from position no 6 is more important for Australia than freakish figures from no 7? Two significant changes have happened in the last few years which will drive the strike rate for later batsmen. Ball change in 34 overs and Batting powerplay have given more opportunities for higher strike rate. So Hussey is taking Bevan's style to the next level. Also I feel that Hussey can seriously challenge Dhoni's figures in 5 as his game allows him to play longer innings. [[ Ramesh Australia has not handled Hussey that well. With Bevan there was never aby confusion. Ananth: ]]

  • marees on March 18, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    no dot balls and Good_Ideas Folder? As my kid might say when he is upset (in tamil) "Pongada Ponga" :-(

    Actually I am very happy with your quick response in producing the follow-up articles and also very quick and constructive reponse to the comments...

  • marees on March 18, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    some more ideas for you ananth 1) probably a separate article on odi performance in chases alone, just to give another perspective on this. 2)country wise performance to get an idea of impact pitches (although this is going to skew the analysis in favour of home bastmen -except for English excluding Trescothick, Pietersen) 3)performance in successful matches as opposed to losing matches 4)performance excluding minnows. this will be tough for your stats team. before deSilva and Ranatunga, SriLanka could have been classified as a minnow. [[ All are good ideas worthy of moving to Good_Ideas folder. This Stats team is like a Tennis singles team, not a Cricket team !!! Thanks.

    Ananth: ]]

  • marees on March 18, 2010, 12:25 GMT

    excellent analysis, Ananth.

    I still want to see the %6s, %4s and %dot balls for each batsman. I can probably get first 2 from statsguru, but not sure how to get dotballs faced... [[ Marees One rare time I have to disappoint a reader. I have no information on the dotballs faced and no access to that information. It is in the Cricinfo match database. You could address your needs to them and they should make that information accessible, at least for the last 10 years. Ananth: ]]

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • marees on March 18, 2010, 12:25 GMT

    excellent analysis, Ananth.

    I still want to see the %6s, %4s and %dot balls for each batsman. I can probably get first 2 from statsguru, but not sure how to get dotballs faced... [[ Marees One rare time I have to disappoint a reader. I have no information on the dotballs faced and no access to that information. It is in the Cricinfo match database. You could address your needs to them and they should make that information accessible, at least for the last 10 years. Ananth: ]]

  • marees on March 18, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    some more ideas for you ananth 1) probably a separate article on odi performance in chases alone, just to give another perspective on this. 2)country wise performance to get an idea of impact pitches (although this is going to skew the analysis in favour of home bastmen -except for English excluding Trescothick, Pietersen) 3)performance in successful matches as opposed to losing matches 4)performance excluding minnows. this will be tough for your stats team. before deSilva and Ranatunga, SriLanka could have been classified as a minnow. [[ All are good ideas worthy of moving to Good_Ideas folder. This Stats team is like a Tennis singles team, not a Cricket team !!! Thanks.

    Ananth: ]]

  • marees on March 18, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    no dot balls and Good_Ideas Folder? As my kid might say when he is upset (in tamil) "Pongada Ponga" :-(

    Actually I am very happy with your quick response in producing the follow-up articles and also very quick and constructive reponse to the comments...

  • Ramesh Kumar on March 18, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    Ananth,

    very interesting set of data.I am intrigued by Hussey's figures and the role he is expected to play. His slot is 6 though he has extraordinary figures for 7. Should we assume with Hussey's very good batting skills, playing more overs from position no 6 is more important for Australia than freakish figures from no 7? Two significant changes have happened in the last few years which will drive the strike rate for later batsmen. Ball change in 34 overs and Batting powerplay have given more opportunities for higher strike rate. So Hussey is taking Bevan's style to the next level. Also I feel that Hussey can seriously challenge Dhoni's figures in 5 as his game allows him to play longer innings. [[ Ramesh Australia has not handled Hussey that well. With Bevan there was never aby confusion. Ananth: ]]

  • Nishant on March 18, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    Dhoni's overall batting avg is 51.13 & not 43.36 as mentioned in the 1st table which makes his OBI 45+. Please clarify this. Neither is Michael Bevan mentioned in the Top-10 batsmen list clarify your formula? [[ Pl see response to Vaibhav. Has since been corrected. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on March 18, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Fantastic performance by Dhoni. The guy is a potential great , if not one already, considering he has played almost the same no. of matches as Viv.But the longevity in "time" remains to be seen. In another table on cricinfo recently I had read that he was one of the fastest to 5000 in terms of "time".This means he has had the good fortune of having a lot of matches compressed into his "good" period...so, if he maintains this level for some years to come, we have another great on our hands.

    As rgds. Hussey, somehow i have always had some reservations about him. as rgds. the 14 NO.s, only 2 have come in the 2nd innings in a "won" match...so we need to go easy on the hyperbole.

  • Jeff on March 18, 2010, 14:13 GMT

    I waited until you reposted before adding my comments…

    Firstly, many thanks for changing the metric from purely batting average.

    As you know from many previous email exchanges, I am against using batting average as the main way of measuring batting performance in limited overs cricket.

    The clue as to why is in the very name “limited overs” – ie a batsman only has a certain amount of balls in which to score his runs – and average doesn’t factor this in at all.

    Your OBI is definitely a huge step in the right direction in terms of getting the right measure for ODI batting but I’m not sure it’s all the way there.

    Given that batting average is the product of “balls per dismissal” x “runs per ball (SR)” then what you have done with your OBI is simply give double weighting to SR.

    Is this too high a weighting to give SR? Or is it too low? I’m not sure, although if I had to bet, I’d bet on it being too low and that SR is even more important.

  • Jeff on March 18, 2010, 14:16 GMT

    All analyses I’ve seen of ODI batting (including this one) are measuring the success of a batsman in terms of how many runs they score for themselves.

    Given that a batsmans job is to help his team score as many runs as possible, shouldn’t we be looking at measuring a batsmans worth in this way instead?

    Now, I’m sure many people are now saying “but they are the same thing – he scores x runs for himself and x for the team.”

    Well, in unlimited overs cricket, this is true, but when you limit the balls available, then there is a potential negative cost for the team in a batsman staying in and scoring more slowly than another batsman might.

    Given that most ODI innings don’t end all out (I think the average no. of wkts lost is about 8) then clearly there is a potential cost involved. For example, take Chanderpaul & Hick at no. 3.

    Chanderpaul ranks slightly above Hick in your table.

    On average, he scores 49 runs in 71 balls in an average inns. Hick scores 44 runs in 59 balls [[ Jeff Chanderpaul would complement a faster scoring batsman. The best team probably has two batsmen in the top-6 who are 75 s/r batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff on March 18, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    Therefore in an average match, playing Hick at number 3 would mean that numbers 10 & 11 would have to face 12 more balls than they would if you played Chanderpaul there. And if they scored 5 runs in those 12 balls, then the team would be better off by playing Hick. And guess what? On average, numbers 10/11 last 16 balls and score 9.5 runs. Therefore, you could argue that Hick is the better batsman.

    Obviously, the trick is to find the right balance between surviving balls and scoring quickly.

    Personally I believe that Sehwag does this the best. While he doesn’t score as many runs for himself as other players, the analysis that I have done suggests that he creates more “incremental” runs for his team than any other current player.

    I also think that Afridi is greatly under-rated (which is why it’s good to see him on your analysis) - in fact most players with high SRs but lower averages tend to be under-rated and vice versa.

    Hence why I think you need to weight more towards SR

  • vaibhav on March 18, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    The first table is full of errors. Tendulkar's average is 45.12 (not 42.82) and Viv Richard's is 47 (not 43.36). Please correct it. [[ Vaibhav Thanks for pointing it. I have all sorts of tables in my library and I picked out an ODBIdx based on a modified not outs value. It has since been corrected. Yours is the first comment I have published since it relates to an error. Ananth: ]]