Test cricket April 7, 2010

A Test series for the gods - part 1

An unusual simulation exercise pitting an all-time England XI and all-time World XI in a five-Test series played across the world
74

An intriguing title to an article radically different from my normal analytical efforts. I can assure the readers that they would not be disappointed.

During early 1990s we had developed a series of complex and unique Test and ODI simulation systems. We had simulated for Sportstar an ODI World Cup. We had also conducted an inter-school tournament between the top schools, letting the children captain various teams. Also we had done some innovative pre-match simulation of the matches during the 1999 World Cup.

During 2002, I undertook a very different and unusual exercise with Times of London, in conjunction with Wisden Online. This was to simulate a series of 5 Tests between an all-time England XI and all-time World XI. For various logical reasons we restricted ourselves to the post-war players. These matches were to be played at Lord's, SCG, Bridgetown, Cape Town and Calcutta. The two teams were selected by Christopher Martin-Jenkins with inputs from us. The actual simulation was done in Bangalore over a few days.

The results were published in London Times, with comments by Steven Lynch, between 26 July 2002 and 3 August 2002. The published scorecards will be scanned and shown in the next article.

Since most readers might not have seen these articles, I felt I ought to do an article on this unique exercise. In the first part I will talk about the simulation methodology and the teams which were selected. In the second part I will cover the actual "Test" match scores and the original match reports as sent by us to London Times. I am sure the readers would find these worthwhile to peruse.

SIMULATION METHODOLOGY:

1. Player Data:

The actual career data of the player concerned is used. The following figures are part of the Player data. Readers should remember that I have lot more data available now than during 2002.

- No of Tests
- Career years span
- Type of batsman (Opening/EMO/LMO/Tail)
- Runs scored
- Batting average
- Highest score
- No of 100s & overall pattern of 100s
- Catches/Stumpings
- Type of bowler (Fast/FM/M/SLA/OB/LBG/LAC)
- No of balls bowled
- Runs conceded
- Wickets taken
- Bowling average
- Bowling RPO
- Bowling strike rate.
Certain other data is derived from the player career figures and perusal of scorecards. The derived data explained below.

- Innings Size index: The ability of the player to play long innings. Bradman and Zaheer (and now Lara/Sehwag) converted most of their 100s into big scores. Not Lamb, Mark Waugh or M.Amarnath.
- Expected balls per innings: The average number of balls expected to be faced by the player. Highest is Bradman with 175 balls.
- Expected runs per ball: Ranges from .75 for Jessop/Gilchrist to .2 for strokeless wonders. Product of above two generally works out to the Career average.
- Strokeplay index: How far can the batsman be moved into attacking situations. Ranges from 6 for Bradman/Jessop to 1 for C'Shekhar/Malcolm.
- Defensive index: How far can the batsman be moved into match saving situations. Ranges from 5 for Gavaskar/Atherton to 1 for C'Shekhar/Malcolm.
- Bad wicket technique: High for Hobbs/Gavaskar and low for Srikkanth/Smith.
- Adjustment factor: Provide for Trumper et al scoring runs on uncovered wickets.
- Fielding index: Gives an indication of the quality of players' ground fielding. Highest index is 5 for Constantine/Bland/Randall and Rhodes.
- Bowling type: Type of bowler – Attacking, Normal or Defensive.
- Variation index: Ability to vary the deliveries. Hadlee/Grimmett/Warne high.
- Effectivity index: Ability to use atmospheric conditions for Fast/Medium bowlers and ability to flight for spinners. Prasanna/Murali high and Emburey low.
- Fielding: Team's Run-saving based on Fielding Index. Catching ability on average catches per match (Hammond/Solkar/Mark Waugh fairly high).

2. Ground Data :

Around the world, all test playing grounds including Sharjah have been included. Each ground has 6 index values.

- The support to Fast Bowlers (On a scale of 1 to 5)
- The support to Medium Pace Bowlers (On a scale of 1 to 5)
- The support to Spin Bowlers (On a scale of 1 to 5)
- A Run-Index for the ground (On a scale of 5 to 25). These have been built based on an article which appeared in Sportstar during the early 90s and have been updated since.
- Rain Index : Ranges from 5 for Manchester (almost every match will be affected by rain) to Sydney (almost always sunny).
- Close of play Index : Ranges from 4 for UK Grounds (Good chance of 2 Hours after Close of Play) to 1 for Calcutta (virtually no chance of extension of play). This factor has an impact on the number of overs bowled during the day.

3. Current Form :

This is randomised by the Computer for each player. The form index ranges from 4 (In Great form) to 1 (In poor form). Each block of 50 balls safely negotiated by the player will improve his form. The captain has to take into account the form and shepherd his players through poor form phases.

4. Rain

Rain is an integral part of the game, especially if a match is played at Manchester, Galle or Port of Spain. The concept of rain is built into the game depending on the ground rain index. Complex calculations determine the occurrence and duration of rain. It is also possible that matches take place without any occurrence of rain.

5. Simulation :

The match is, in reality, between two external captains who have at their disposal the players as resources. They are responsible for all actions including team selection, batting orders, strategies and fine tuning of plays.

The simulation is a complex process. Each ball is a mini-match and the complete match consists of x such mini-matches. For each ball, a total of no less than 30 randomising decisions are taken to decide on the outcome of ball. Some of the factors depend on the quality of the players involved, some on the match situation and some on the decisions taken by the two non-playing captains. These are briefly described below.

- The characteristics of the batsman who is batting. 13 factors are used.
- His form at the start of innings.
- How long has he been batting. Form improves as he settles down but he will get tired.
- The characteristics of the bowler who bowls the ball. 11 factors are used.
- What is the bowler type (See note below).
- His form at the start of the innings.
- How long is his current spell, breaks taken care of. Fast bowlers lose some effectiveness after 10, Medium after 15 and Spinners after 20 overs. - What is the condition of the ball, how old is the same.
- What is the time of day. Early mornings will favour seamers.
- Ground characteristics, both in terms of support to bowler type and run getting index.
- What is the average of the fielding index of the team. This will have an impact on the runs taken by the batsman.
- What is the average of the catching index of the team. This will have a slight impact on the wicket falling scenario.
- What is the bowling strategy. The fielding captain will be allowed to select one of 8 bowling strategies (ranging from completely wicket-taking (8 fielders near the bat) all-out defence (all at the boundary)) for both the bowlers. He/she has to take into account the match situation, ball situation, bowler bowling the current over and the specific skills of the batsman. The strategies can vary between the two bowlers. These can be changed at any time.
- What is the batting strategy. The batting captain will be allowed to select one of 5 batting strategies (ranging from all-out attack to all-out defence) for both the batsmen. He/she has to take into account the match situation, ball situation, bowler bowling the current over and the specific skills of the batsman. Nothing will be gained by asking Atherton to attack or Jessop to defend. The strategies can vary between the two batsmen. These can be changed at any time.
- What is the innings status. A number of factors are used in this.
- Is there a Run control option in force. This is mainly to let a senior batsman control the strike when batting with a tail-ender. Runs will be declined during early part of the over and odd number of runs will be attempted during later part.

Note: Only Sobers has bowled at the top level with equal effectiveness as a seam bowler and a spinner. So only for Sobers will the captain be asked at the beginning of each over as to what type of bowling he wants Sobers to do.

The Captain, whose role is a combination of on-field captain and off-field coach, has to use his resources very effectively. He should make his bowling changes with care, give his bowlers required rest, plan his strategies sharply, decide on how to optimise the resources at his disposal, especially outstanding resources such as Bradman et al.

6. Teams selected:

The two teams which were selected are given below. Since each team had two outstanding fast bowlers, two great spinners and a top all-rounder, it was decided that the same team would play in all 5 locations.

All-time Post-war England XI

Hutton
Gooch
Dexter
May
Cowdrey
Botham
Knott (wk)
Laker
Underwood
Trueman
Statham
12th man: Randall
All-time Post-war World XI
Gavaskar
Richards B A
Richards I V A
Lara
Tendulkar
Sobers
Gilchrist (wk)
Warne
Marshall
Muralitharan
Lillee
12th man: Rhodes
It is gratifying to see that the World XI is a time-less one in that if I were to select one today, I may not make a single change. Ponting for Barry Richards perhaps, maybe not, since opening is a specialist position. I would dearly love to have Wasim Akram, but at whose expense ???

As far as the England team is concerned, maybe the same holds good. Possibly Pietersen for Cowdrey.

In addition to the five Test series, a one-off "Test" was played between the team selected by a lucky reader (P.J.Mickleburgh) and an eleven selected by Christopher Martin-Jenkins.

The second part will follow within a few days. This will contain all six scorecards and reports.

Finally let me assure the readers that this is not an attempt to plug any of our company products, as insinuated by couple of readers earlier, possibly when their favourite player was positioned below the top. I have nothing to sell, no products, no services, nothing !!!

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

  • Douglas on February 15, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    Dear Ananth, as so many readers here are interested in the 'Barry Richards Debate', maybe you could, or get one of your co contributors at cricinfo to write an articles on arguments for and against Richards, and maybe even looking at the statistical value of such small data ranges, and even explore the argument as to whethe county cricket can really predict the success of an international cricketer : I remember Duncan Fletcher thinking the contrary I just find these topics interesting. [[ To do a thorough analysis on Barry Richards, we have to do a lot of extrapolating since he played only 4 tests.. Ananth: ]]

  • companionship on June 19, 2010, 1:17 GMT

    Rather cool blog to spend some time on reading it in my opinion. BTW, why don't you send that post to social bookmarks? That might bring pretty big traffic to this blog.

  • TequilaGuy on April 15, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    Hello Ananth, I read your blog regularly and usually end up spending 2-3 days a month understanding and analyzing your posts.(This invariably happens in office)I appreciate the efforts you put in for each blog entry.I understand that this has been thoroughly tested and I am interested in understanding how some of the subjective (or not so objective as OpenSource pointed out)criterion were first arrived at and how they changed based on your testing results.Being a programmer,I have come across similar problems while working on some airline projects.And being a cricket lover, I would love to know Strokeplay index,Defensive index,Bad wicket technique,Fielding index, Variation index,Effectivity index of various players:)Would it be possible for you to publish these for ROW and England?You have mentioned that you will describe the simulation in more detail to a limited audience.On a lighter note,what is the qualification criteria for being part of it?Should i enroll for a PhD at Oxford? ;) [[ TG I will certainly make available a lot of relevant information to interested readers. These are scattered all over my archived data. I have to get these organized. Those who have shown a genuine interest in knowing more will certainly get access. I am off PhDs for the time being. Just be your normal self. No problems. A genuine respect for the work which has been done and a sincere desire to know more are the only qualifications. Ananth: ]]

  • Srikanth on April 12, 2010, 23:51 GMT

    http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/455574.html

    Alex, nothing against gavaskar...but for real toughness..there was no one to beat Border.

  • Youvi on April 10, 2010, 21:33 GMT

    As I ponder over the discussion on Barry Richards, I am inclined to agree that Barry must be excluded from World XI. Obviously wrt his Test career it is a tragedy that Barry was a victim of circumstances and could play only 4 Tests. Looking at his first class career it is obvious he was outstanding but then aren't we to base our selection upon Test performance over time ? There are several what-if situations - take Gavaskar, for example, 774 runs in first 4 Tests and then took another 7 tests to get 226 runs for a 1000 ! At that point in his career, (from SMG's book Sunny Days)Gavaskar thought he could be on the verge of being dropped ! The rest is history and I don't need to preach to the choir regarding Gavaskar's achievements. Another interesting example is Vinod Kambli who had a precipitous drop in Test performance after his first 7 tests. Last, but not the least, Ananth, this is great stuff. It is fun plus really helps to develop a sense of cricketing history.

  • Alex on April 10, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    Ananth - a philosophical question: what are the rules under which the matches will be played? The rules have changed a lot over the years ... the LBW rule, bouncers/over, front-foot no ball, etc. Hobbs, e.g., it appears, loved to pad away the deliveries for which he would be given out in the modern game. Not to belittle Hobbs - I think a champion in one era will be a champion in any other era. [[ Alex As fas as this simulation is concerned the 1995 rules and strategies in force. Ananth: ]]

    While one may lament the SA ban for short changing the Pollock brothers, Proctor, & Barry Richards, what about the inexplicable selection committee policies that killed the careers of great players? Pak has always been notorious on it. Also, the WI on Lara: the travails of the WI brigade at IPL '10 make one wonder just what the selectors were hallucinating about in giving hard time to an incomparable artist who is also one of the top 5 batsmen of all time. For an MI fan like me, watching Bravo & Pollard at crease is so bad that it goes past good and becomes bad again.

  • Abhi on April 10, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    Further (since I am now a bit warmed up)…how come the mentally challenged folks figure that Gavaskar has bribed someone to get into the team when someone like Barry Richards (all of 4 Tests old) stares them in the face!! Talk about rooobish.

  • Abhi on April 10, 2010, 8:29 GMT

    Alex, I remember reading something to that effect too. And you know what?- I think Gavaskar is absolutely right. How on earth can you judge someone on the basis of 4 Tests? This is a completely mockery of the high standards set by the other stalwarts in the team for over a decade in International cricket. And I stand corrected in my remark that you cannot possibly make a change to this World XI. Barry Richards actually must go… He fails the most fundamental test for any sporting standard– The “Time test”…if a record is not “Time tested” it is of little value.

  • Abhi on April 10, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    Underground. Actually , that is a pretty insightful observation. For eg. we have DGPS ( differential GPS) used out at sea (or even ashore) wherein a “fixed” station who’s coordinates are exactly known (Similar to your actual real life match) gives us the “error” between the known fixed coordinates and the GPS readings of the same , so greatly improving accuracy in the area of coverage. Don’t know how far we can use a similar approach for this sort of simulation though.

  • Underground on April 10, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    Have simulated outcomes been verified against actual matches?

    Has anybody tried to put in figures to simulate Botham in 1981 and the result of the Ashes? Or, more specifically, has anyone tried to simulate the state of a real match at a particular time, and manipulated parameters to obtain the actual result?

  • Douglas on February 15, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    Dear Ananth, as so many readers here are interested in the 'Barry Richards Debate', maybe you could, or get one of your co contributors at cricinfo to write an articles on arguments for and against Richards, and maybe even looking at the statistical value of such small data ranges, and even explore the argument as to whethe county cricket can really predict the success of an international cricketer : I remember Duncan Fletcher thinking the contrary I just find these topics interesting. [[ To do a thorough analysis on Barry Richards, we have to do a lot of extrapolating since he played only 4 tests.. Ananth: ]]

  • companionship on June 19, 2010, 1:17 GMT

    Rather cool blog to spend some time on reading it in my opinion. BTW, why don't you send that post to social bookmarks? That might bring pretty big traffic to this blog.

  • TequilaGuy on April 15, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    Hello Ananth, I read your blog regularly and usually end up spending 2-3 days a month understanding and analyzing your posts.(This invariably happens in office)I appreciate the efforts you put in for each blog entry.I understand that this has been thoroughly tested and I am interested in understanding how some of the subjective (or not so objective as OpenSource pointed out)criterion were first arrived at and how they changed based on your testing results.Being a programmer,I have come across similar problems while working on some airline projects.And being a cricket lover, I would love to know Strokeplay index,Defensive index,Bad wicket technique,Fielding index, Variation index,Effectivity index of various players:)Would it be possible for you to publish these for ROW and England?You have mentioned that you will describe the simulation in more detail to a limited audience.On a lighter note,what is the qualification criteria for being part of it?Should i enroll for a PhD at Oxford? ;) [[ TG I will certainly make available a lot of relevant information to interested readers. These are scattered all over my archived data. I have to get these organized. Those who have shown a genuine interest in knowing more will certainly get access. I am off PhDs for the time being. Just be your normal self. No problems. A genuine respect for the work which has been done and a sincere desire to know more are the only qualifications. Ananth: ]]

  • Srikanth on April 12, 2010, 23:51 GMT

    http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/455574.html

    Alex, nothing against gavaskar...but for real toughness..there was no one to beat Border.

  • Youvi on April 10, 2010, 21:33 GMT

    As I ponder over the discussion on Barry Richards, I am inclined to agree that Barry must be excluded from World XI. Obviously wrt his Test career it is a tragedy that Barry was a victim of circumstances and could play only 4 Tests. Looking at his first class career it is obvious he was outstanding but then aren't we to base our selection upon Test performance over time ? There are several what-if situations - take Gavaskar, for example, 774 runs in first 4 Tests and then took another 7 tests to get 226 runs for a 1000 ! At that point in his career, (from SMG's book Sunny Days)Gavaskar thought he could be on the verge of being dropped ! The rest is history and I don't need to preach to the choir regarding Gavaskar's achievements. Another interesting example is Vinod Kambli who had a precipitous drop in Test performance after his first 7 tests. Last, but not the least, Ananth, this is great stuff. It is fun plus really helps to develop a sense of cricketing history.

  • Alex on April 10, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    Ananth - a philosophical question: what are the rules under which the matches will be played? The rules have changed a lot over the years ... the LBW rule, bouncers/over, front-foot no ball, etc. Hobbs, e.g., it appears, loved to pad away the deliveries for which he would be given out in the modern game. Not to belittle Hobbs - I think a champion in one era will be a champion in any other era. [[ Alex As fas as this simulation is concerned the 1995 rules and strategies in force. Ananth: ]]

    While one may lament the SA ban for short changing the Pollock brothers, Proctor, & Barry Richards, what about the inexplicable selection committee policies that killed the careers of great players? Pak has always been notorious on it. Also, the WI on Lara: the travails of the WI brigade at IPL '10 make one wonder just what the selectors were hallucinating about in giving hard time to an incomparable artist who is also one of the top 5 batsmen of all time. For an MI fan like me, watching Bravo & Pollard at crease is so bad that it goes past good and becomes bad again.

  • Abhi on April 10, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    Further (since I am now a bit warmed up)…how come the mentally challenged folks figure that Gavaskar has bribed someone to get into the team when someone like Barry Richards (all of 4 Tests old) stares them in the face!! Talk about rooobish.

  • Abhi on April 10, 2010, 8:29 GMT

    Alex, I remember reading something to that effect too. And you know what?- I think Gavaskar is absolutely right. How on earth can you judge someone on the basis of 4 Tests? This is a completely mockery of the high standards set by the other stalwarts in the team for over a decade in International cricket. And I stand corrected in my remark that you cannot possibly make a change to this World XI. Barry Richards actually must go… He fails the most fundamental test for any sporting standard– The “Time test”…if a record is not “Time tested” it is of little value.

  • Abhi on April 10, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    Underground. Actually , that is a pretty insightful observation. For eg. we have DGPS ( differential GPS) used out at sea (or even ashore) wherein a “fixed” station who’s coordinates are exactly known (Similar to your actual real life match) gives us the “error” between the known fixed coordinates and the GPS readings of the same , so greatly improving accuracy in the area of coverage. Don’t know how far we can use a similar approach for this sort of simulation though.

  • Underground on April 10, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    Have simulated outcomes been verified against actual matches?

    Has anybody tried to put in figures to simulate Botham in 1981 and the result of the Ashes? Or, more specifically, has anyone tried to simulate the state of a real match at a particular time, and manipulated parameters to obtain the actual result?

  • Abhi on April 10, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    Sunil, had a laugh at your comment. as Ananth says it is probably irrelavant. I just hope that we don't have Bucknor umpiring a match. That's the one the World XI will probably lose!

  • Alex on April 10, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    delmeister & Ananth - re SMG's comments on Barry Richards from "Straight Drive". I might try and locate the book to quote it verbatim later on. That paragraph reminded me of Matt Damon's devastating criticism of Sarah Palin (available on youtube). Basically SMG's response to Barry's negative comments on Indian pitches and batsmen boils down to this:

    What about Barry Richards' own credentials? Has he personally seen the conditions in India? He played only 4 tests. That too vs not too good an Aussie side, already fatigued by an energy sapping tour of India. He never faced the WI pace or Indian spinners on subcontinent. That SA got banned is no excuse, and the cricket history is not lacking in one series wonders who fizzled out pretty soon.

  • Sunil Juckes on April 10, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    Ananth, who are the umpires? When all time England XI and all time World XI could be figured out, why not all time best umpires? After all, cricket is not only between batsmen, fielders and bowlers. It includes umpires as well. [[ Sunil Not very relevant. Unlike 12th man, which is very relevant. If Gavaskar or Cowdrey were replaced by Rhodes or Randall, the team's Fileding index value would genuinely go up and the runs scored would come down a little bit. Ananth: ]]

  • Gurudatt on April 10, 2010, 4:58 GMT

    Ananth, your blogs are a treat to read as a cricket and stats lover. The only way to enjoy is to put aside my own choices and take it as a piece of art. I can imagine the mammoth task you would have had at hands during this exercise as well as all the other blogs you are posting. Hats off to your passion and bring it on !

    Thanks Gurudatt

  • Boll on April 10, 2010, 1:23 GMT

    Sorry, missed Delmeister`s earlier comment re.eligibility, 1953 onwards. Probably makes it even tougher for England I`d think.

  • Boll on April 10, 2010, 0:39 GMT

    @C.R.Palin.I assume Bedser and Compton were both eligible (Bedser played all his tests post-war, and Compton all but 10 or so I think) and must have been serious considerations. 6 Englishmen in an all-time World XI might raise a few eyebrows though! I take your point that England suffers a bit more than a World XI by this being a post-war selection. Bradman would be the only obvious change for the World I suppose (Aussies might argue for Trumper), but Hammond and Hobbs would have to be walk-up starts for England, and Barnes might get a look in as well. Anyway, I`m looking forward to Lillee and Marshall tearing the heart out of that soft top/middle order lol. 5-70 at lunch on the first day (Knott 16*)! (Apologies Ananth, only joking with the appeals for live text/radio commentary - might need to summon Alan McGilvray back for a stint behind the microphone)

  • shlam on April 10, 2010, 0:25 GMT

    I know that this will come across as blatantly patriotic to Australia, but simple statistics put Matthew Hayden ahead of both of these openers however you look at it, not to mention how flexible he is. And then you have Brian Lara in the side? Seriously? He's the most on/off player going. He will get 5 failures followed by a double century, but who needs that in a team of stars? Ricky Ponting has figures matching the great man Tendulkar, and dwarfing Lara, it is rediculous he is pushed out of this side by the likes of Lara

  • Keith on April 10, 2010, 0:04 GMT

    I'm not wholly convinced by the World XI middle order, there is a good argument that Richards might be best at no 4, then we are left with a choice of Lara or Tendulkar at no 3 or 5. My feelings are with Lara for no 3, but then Tendulkar does not seem quite right at no 5.

    The content is excellent, but I'm left considering where in the order a particular batsman fitted in best. No doubt a genius batsman such as these would get runs wherever we put them, but we want maximum runs - and that may easily depend on what the expected situation is when we send them out to bat. Perhaps the bowling needs a little wearing down before the stroke makers hit them all over the park?

  • Gary_111 on April 9, 2010, 23:42 GMT

    Is the era the players played taken into account when considering their averages? For example batsmen in the 30s or 2000s prospered on flat wickets whereas the 1980s saw many lively pitches and quality fast bowlers. This makes batsmen like Viv Richards and Allan Border's averages worth more in real terms because of the conditions / opponants they had to face. Also under 1950s LBW rules May and Cowdrey could nullify spin bowling with pad play later batsmen could not.

    Similarly it is difficult to imagine a bowler like Underwood enjoying much success on modern covered wickets which require spinners to have more guile and variation.

    Both CMJ's teams are excellent, but if I was playing this game I would include Boycott and move Hutton to #3. Barrington would be a must in the middle order and I would have Johnny Wardle over Underwood for his greater variation and ability (and indeed lower bowling average). John Snow's bounce and hostility would mean he takes the new ball with Trueman.

  • delmeisterl on April 9, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    Also, please could you include me in that limited group of posters who would like to know more about the simulation and yr process? Many thanks.

    DEL

  • delmeister on April 9, 2010, 22:57 GMT

    Btw, I am extremely interested in Alex's comment referring to Gavaskar's acerbic observation on Barry Richards, in former's book, Straight Drive. Could anybody tell me what one master said about the other? I would be very gtrateful. Ananth, do you maybe have the answer to this? Also- yr work on this blog alone is simply astonishing and of immense value to 'cricket tragics' lol like me. I hope I speak for everybody here when I say this, and am delighted that yr entirely justified pleas for posters refraining from personal abuse appear to have largely been heeded. Keep up the excellence, and am looking forward to seeing yr comments on the exercise, to tally with the reports etc already in my possession, to say nothing of any further fantasy matches you may undertake in future, time permitting... :) [[ Del There are still comments incorporating words like "idiotic" and "stupid" freely just because they do not agree with the selection. Even if the rest of the comment is good, I delete these. Also anyone who does not give a name or email id, fictitious it may be, does not get a look in. The only comment I published was the one asking about Gavaskar paying to get in. I was so incensed that I wanted to expose that particular one. In general readers are getting better day by day. I have no problems with people suggesting players. These are natural expressions even though in this case the selections are set in stone. Hopefully in future I may be able to do annual simulation exercises. Ananth: ]]

  • Vivek Shantharam on April 9, 2010, 19:15 GMT

    Ananth Sir,this article and thinking is out of the world.Simply amazing. I have a doubt. Whether there is any parameter for first and second innings averages of a player.That definitely influences the result of the match and the players record also. Please reply.

  • sachit on April 9, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    wow this is an awesome concept. I tried writing such a program some time back,based on team performance on different conditions,contemporary players form and their performance at a set of test venues. The final part made the program a bit too complex and needless to say it failed sadly.

  • gd on April 9, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    Sorry, but it seems to me that Gavaskar is a touch overrated. If you take away his first series and the 78/79 Packer affected one, his average against the WI is a little under 43, most made in India-acceptable but hardly great.

  • C.R. Palin, England on April 9, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    The World X1 should be thanking their lucky stars the following men aren't eligable: Hammond, Barnes, Compton, Hobbs, Bedser and Sutcliffe. All would make my own all-time world Test match XI

  • regofpicton on April 9, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    Barrington surely. Remembering that cricket is a blood sport I would play John Snow - the only post-war Pom in the top XI fast nasties. Though that wasn't an entirely fair assessment. The warning for "intimidatory bowling" was out of fear for Aussie wickets, not Aussie welfare! He kept getting them out and the Aussie umpires knew it!

  • Shankar Narayan on April 9, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    Fascinating attempt at a oomplex simulation. As a person who does engineering simulation for a living, I can see the mountain that you are preparing to climb here. Whether we realize it or not, most cricket fans have attempted simulation of the game at some point or other (remember book cricket played during all history classes in every school in cricket playing world, which was nothing more than simple rules based on a uniform distribution (page # odd/even) being applied to a batsmen's performance). Please include me in your readers circle that is interested in the under-the-hood features and detailed analysis of your simulation.

  • Boll on April 9, 2010, 8:20 GMT

    Come on people. In 2002 when the team was selected, Sehwag had played about 5 tests and Hayden 25. Neither of them would have even been blips on CMJ's selection radar. Anyway, the selections have been made, bring on the action. Are we getting the scorecard all at once or in sessions/days? Can we have live text updates of the action? Radio commentary perhaps!? [[ Boll Unfortunately there are limitations. Hence all scorecards will be published at one shot. I will request Rajesh to keep this particular piece live for a minimum of 7/8 days. Ananth: ]]

  • Vijay on April 9, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    Great Work. Really excited to see the results. The analysis part which you have conducted is what envies me. Definitely a cricket fanatic only can have the patience to do this sort of work. If you need any help(actually I am excited to know about the simulator more closely) to rework/re-simulate this novel idea please feel free to contact me. [[ Vijay Looks like I may very well re-do the entire thing, time permitting. As you know, for us enthusiasts re-inventing the wheel is the greatest pleasure. I will involve the really interested readers in the loop at that time. Ananth: ]]

  • Adnan on April 9, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Why is it always country vs world why not cricket west XI vs cricket east XI WI,ENG,SA,PAK vs. IN,SL,AUS,NZ cuz this way every team will most likely have player each i was disappointed to see no pakistani players and i ma sure NZ would feel the same

    Just out of my own interest My all time pak11 would be 1. Saeed Anwar 2. Javed Miandad 3. Hanif Mohammad 4. Zaheer Abbas 5. Inzimam-ul-Haq 6. Shahid Afridi 7. Imran Khan (cpt) 8. Rashid Latif (wk) 9. Wasim Akram 10. Mushtaq Ahmed 11. Waqar Younis

    I did wan to include current player only afridi because he is all rounder and can get the team out of tight situations

    but his spot is debatable with many like Mohammad Yousef, Younis, Saqlain,Razzaq is also equal in talent but less experiance in international

  • delmeister on April 9, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Also, CMJ agonised long and hard about Barrington. Personally, I believe Cowdrey to be a greater player in the way that Peter May (universally acknowledged as England's finest postwar player) is ahead of Barrington in opinions- despite averaging 46 to Barrington's 56.Agreed with CMJ at time, but now believe Barrington's record should get him in ahead of Cowdrey as was frighteningly consistent for an England player. One reason that Dexter is in is that he is not only a rare example of attacking no3 for England, of about same standard as lower in order Cowdrey, but also a mini allrounder whose seamers were similar style to Mark Waugh- a crucial help to an England side who would appear ON PAPER at least, to be hopelessly outgunned...

  • delmeister on April 9, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    I will say more when have more time, but for now, I still have the copies of The Times pages for this series, CMJ's selection comments and even his choices of test series grounds- yes, very tragic I know! LOL Quick comment that has been missed tho- the teams were not PURE postwar XIs, they were selected from 1953 onwards, hence the likes of Compton and Bedser not getting in as both, the former in particular, had enjoyed most of their best days already...

    For the record, I would have probably had the more versatile Yorkshire pair of Appleyard and Wardle instead of Laker and Underwood, magnificent tho latter duo were, tho more so Wardle. In addition to his finger spin, I believe him to be the finest left arm wrist spinner of all time, and probably the finest wrist spinner of any type England has ever had, left arm or right (Tich Freeman was not too hot against the genuinely great players, while Doug Wright was not consistent enough, despite how unplayable he could sometimes be...

  • msg1225 on April 9, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    Any chances of Kallis getting selected....? He has great records to speak of...very talented all- rounder and stability provider in this team of power hitters.

  • Ramesh Kumar on April 9, 2010, 4:49 GMT

    Ananth, fascinating stuff.. I am a bit unclear on the methodology, pardon me. The derived data from players' records-it it derived mathematically or subjectively given by the simulation team? Is that linked to career data of the batsmen/bowlers or linked to career data of the matches played in those type of conditions? Will it not have a close bearing to the Players average under those conditions? Does that mean probably no centuries? Will the captain change the strategy which will result in one batsmen getting out due to that?

    My request to you Ananth...Before you post the scorecards, can u come out with one more part on the intrepretation of data and how they might have been arrived at? Say without actual names with just samples like Batsmen/Bowler A with figures 50/60 etc. I feel once you put the scorecards, emotion will take over on the discussion points and the great stuff which would have gone in to this analysis will be lost. [[ Ramesh We used the career records as the base, added our own collective knowledge and worked out the database contents. For instance Bradman has 88/176/0.50 (rpi/balls/s-r). Jessop will have low rpi and high s-r and Barrington high rpi and low s-r. These have all been validated completely. They were updated regularly. Pl see my response to OpenSource. Today I will do it totally differently. I will do a simple integration of my exhaustive Test/ODI databases and the simulation engines. I will come out with more on the simulation, but not necessarily in the open forum. Not everyone is interested in all details nor in understanding about the complex simulation. So at a later stage I will form a limited group of readers who are interested in knowing more and have a dialog with them. One thing is certain. Even if I come out with 5 interim documents, when readers view the scorecards, they are likely to come out with the first comment that come to their mind, including accusing me of favouritism. Ananth: ]]

  • nalanavillus on April 9, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    Like Hemant Brar I am staggered you could leave Bradman out. He played 15 tests post war (more than Barry Richards) at an average of more than 105! On those figures surely he is impossible to exclude.

  • Sanjaya Sharma on April 9, 2010, 3:30 GMT

    Sehwag has to be selected above either Barry Richards or Vivian Richards in a test team. His record over 76 tests is beyond any comparison with Barry Richards, and actually more compelling than Viv Richards.

  • Ozbuck on April 9, 2010, 0:29 GMT

    Keith Miller is not mentioned. Opened the bowling and batted 3. In place of Murali, Sobers can bowl orthodox and over the wrist. As a lot of respondents say, S Waugh should get a run, inplace of IVA? Fielders for 12th men? Why not Ponting for Rhodes, better bat and (statistically) more accurate (ask Tony Grieg who boasted about Rhodes until the numbers were shown to him). Gower for Randall? Again, better bat and damn good fielder.

  • Boll on April 8, 2010, 22:02 GMT

    Hi Anantha, just one question about the stats used for Barry Richards - because he played so few tests, (only 4 against the Aussies I think) were his first-class stats incorporated as well? also for DK, Sobers and Viv were Supertests taken into account? Just interested. And finally, who tossed the coin? [[ Boll Barry Richards has a 4-test avge of 72.57. By consensus it was agreed that Barry would carry an average of 55.0. Since this was not the complete live database but only a created one, the question of supertests does not arise. All had rounded figures, Bradman 100, Hutton 57 and so on. Ananth: ]]

  • Saran on April 8, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    to be honest this team will atract crowd with the addition of lara and sachin and ofcourse their stats speak for their selection..... no one brings up people emotions and put smile on thier faces like sachin ramesh tendulkar does... he is the little master... and if some one talks about his captaincy then please see the way he is leading his team in IPL 2010...

  • david on April 8, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    world 11 looks unbeatable but greenidge would have been a better choice to partner gavaskar. hayden was never in greenidge's class and only prospered after the retirement of ambrose, walsh, akram et al. hayden will always be remembered as a flat track bully.

  • sunil kumar on April 8, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    how come Barry richards is in the team.This is ridiculous.he has played only 4 test matches.you cant judge a player by his 1st class average.had vinod kambli played only 4 test matches you would have

  • Voltaire on April 8, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    For all the ignormasus who criticize Sunny for scoring against ligh-weight Windies. OK. let's ignore his debut series...the next time he gotta play was 74-75 in India(was injured didn't play but for one test). Later in Windies Roberts was rampant anyways but Holding was in tow as menacing as can be....check his glorious scores in the series...2 centuries scored at then break-neck speed(for openers). Let's indulge the sniders and ignore 1978 series in India too...then we have 1982-83 series in Windies...where he really failed for once(scored 147 at bridgetown though)and the following series in Indies where Marshall was at his ferocious best...even viewers on TV were getting terrified....what does Sunny do....hook the shit out and score 120+ at Ferozshah kotla off 94 balls...get that....94 balls against Marshall, holding, Daniel, Winston Davis....need further evidence.....on a treacherous Ahmedabad track he scores a glorious 90....first 7 scoring strokes are 4's. Then 236* in Chennai.

  • princeofportofspain on April 8, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    Just for fun, how about Barbados vs The rest of the West Indies post WW2? For example: Barbados-Greenidge, Haynes, Weekes, Worrel(capt),Sobers, Nurse, Walcot(wkt), Marshall, Garner, Hall and Clarke, 12th man-Carlile Best. Rest of West Indies: Fredericks, Rowe, Lara, Richards, Kanhai, Lloyd(capt), Dujon(wkt), Roberts, Holding, Ambrose and Gibbs, 12th man-Roger Harper. Five test matches played at Kingston, St. Johns, Bridgetown, Port of Spain and Georgetown. No interuptions for rain, crowd disturbances or natural disasters. All players at the top of their games whether batting, bowling (fast or slow), wicket keeping, fielding(stopping, catching and throwing)or captaincy! Should be interesting for all cricket fans. [[ Greg You have got the gist of it. As part of the testing process we played many such matches. we even played Barbados vs Bombay. Ananth: ]]

  • Manasvi on April 8, 2010, 17:08 GMT

    Nice team. To add my 2 cents however, I feel that the World XI is rather spin heavy. Murali in particular on dead tracks... hmm. I would have considered Hadlee, Proctor, Ambrose, Garner or Donald ahead of him. Somebody mentioned Hayden which is a joke considering that nearly all the bowlers of the 2000s, which is when Haydos played, were Aussies. Barrington is a must as is Compton. I wonder why Dexter is around. And secondly, instead of Richards/Lara, I'd have had one of three great West Indian knights: Sir Walcott: Terrific bat, and a useful wicketkeeper and part-time bowler Sir Worrell: Fine bat, superb captain and a useful allrounder. Sir Weekes: The best batsman of the 3.

  • Asif on April 8, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    I would put McGrath ahead of either Lillee or Marshall. Those guys had the advantage of intimidating helmetless batsmen. How many of Lillee's and Marshall's wickets do you think came from poorly protected batsmen unwilling/late to get in line with the ball? McGrath didn't have that advantage, yet boasts a record just as good as those two. In general, batsmen of the present are over-rated; bolwers are underrated. Better bats, better protective gear, flatter pitches designed to last 5 days etc all tip the balance towards the batsmen. Great to see contemporary bowlers Warne and Murali appreciated.

  • Rajendra Kubal on April 8, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    Well, Good balance team. Perhaps best selection was made after long discussion and also ability and skil of individual players. Sunil Gavaskar opens with Richards B A I suggest that for that place Sewag was the best choice because of his positive approach. Well lara, sachin, sobers give sound strength to middle order. overall good balacne team. note: Bradman is missing. Really taugh decision to take. Kubal Rajendra, India

  • OpenSource on April 8, 2010, 15:13 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Very interesting work. Do you have any plans of releasing the code for the simulation and how you and others decided on the some of the more subjective (or shall I say less objective) indices? Did you do any kind of sensitivity analysis for these indices to get an idea of how they affect the result of the simulation? If so could you share the result?

    And finally did you run the simulation using real match data as a control and measure how well your simulation predicted the result of the real match? If so could you also share these results?

    Thanks, OpenSource [[ OS You have asked quite a few things and to answer these I may have to write a thesis. Finally everything depends on how good your data is, your simulation methodology is, your testing methodology is and your knowledge of the game is. I think we have done a fair job in all four. The overall testing took over six months, conceding that in the early-1990s the 16 mhz PC-XT was the king. I have given below a passage which will give an insight into our testing. As I have briefly described, this is not one long connected simulation game. Take the ODI. Each ball is an independent game. An innings consists of 300 such games. Nearly 40 variables are used to determine the result of this micro-game. The innings/match/player data is then updated. The captains have an opportunity to change one or more of many variables. Then the next game starts completely independent of the previous one other than the updated value of many variables. The simulation logic was so complex that I had to adopt a unique method to test the veracity and soundness of the same. We had played a number of matches to test the programs. However the matches were taking lot of time. Hence I set up a matrix of 25 batsmen (from Bradman to Chandrasekhar) and 25 bowlers (from Lohmann to Coney). Each batsman faced an over from these bowlers in turn. When he was out, the next batsman took his turn, and so on. When the 25th batsman was out, we came back to the first one. If the batsman saw through 2 rounds of the 25 bowlers, he was deemed to be “Not out”. The computer decided on the strategies in random. The test continued until each batsman had 250 innings. The results were tabulated and saved for analysis. In 1991, I had only a PC-XT (16 mHz speed as against the today’s (remember this was 2002) 1000+ mHz, 20 MB Hard Disk as against the 20 GB today). The test started at 7 AM in the morning and went on for 20 hours, spread over two days. We had to provide for quite a few power outages in the middle. The results vindicated our simulation engine and the quality of the data base engine. Bradman finished with an average of 107.5, Hobbs with 64.5 and Chandrasekhar with 4.1 (including, amazingly, one solitary 50). The test was repeated later in a bowler-centric manner. These tests were repeated a number of times with different sets of 25 batsmen and 25 bowlers. I suggest you go through the scorecards and simulation reports which will be published in the next couple of days. Ananth: ]]

  • Bilal on April 8, 2010, 14:30 GMT

    With the matches being played around the globe i dont see why have you gone for Lillee who hasnt taken any wickets of note out side the seamer/fast bowler friendly pitches .

  • Apu on April 8, 2010, 14:15 GMT

    Great exercise guys. Given the amount of random variables involved you have a decent likelihood of getting results (outcomes) that are outliers. There is probability (though small) that this england eleven beats ROW XI by an innings in eden gardens despite having warne and muralli in the opposition! It would be useful if you could provide some statistics on these outcomes. Likelihood and confidence etc.

  • Rake on April 8, 2010, 14:08 GMT

    Would like to see simulated matches between the All Time XIs picked up by the Cricinfo Jury. Sides from Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand & Sri lanka picked so far. I reckon a best of 5 series between the All time Australian & West Indian XI would be amazing. Anantha any plans to simulate matches between these sides??

  • Leena Ferdous Khan on April 8, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    I guess everybody has their pet changes. Compton, Barrington, and Boycott must be in strong contention for the England XI, while Hayden can easily replace Richards (BA) in the World XI. Imran Khan, Hadlee, or Wasim Akram must run very close indeed.

  • Asif Rathod on April 8, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    In my opinion in place of Sachin I would prefer, S.Waugh or even R.Dravid. I haven't seen Sachin playing more crucial innings in context of game than this two.

  • Boll on April 8, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    Fantastic stuff. Hard to quibble with the teams, although I'm sure we'd all make a couple of changes. It's the analysis (and simulations) though which is just as important as who's playing. Can't wait for the series to begin. (Ditto all those people who've been stunned by the amount of work this must have taken.) Kudos!

  • Alex on April 8, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    Ananth - any idea why CMJ did not include Bedsar?

    Also, an interesting stat on Barrington. His ratio of 50+ innings is 55/131 = 42%. I think it is the highest among the post-war batsmen with Viv Richards coming in 2nd at 69/182 = 38.5% and a bunch of others below the 38% mark. Also, Barrington averaged 50 home and 70 away with both the lowest average vs a country and in a country at 44+. Although a dour (but dependable) sight at crease, he was a statistical marvel ... I never saw him play but wonder if he was a pre-cursor to AB as a batsman. [[ Alex For a project of this complexity and intriguing nature to succeed, the lines of responsibility had to be drawn clearly and adhered to. I had the simulation and reporting responsibilities, CM-J the team selection duties and Steven Lynch the match reports and Times-coordination work. This was strictly followed. One reason why the whole exercise went through wonderfully well. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on April 8, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Srikanth - These are SMG's stats vs WI attacks featuring Roberts/Holding/Garner/Croft/Marshall/Clarke:

    23 tests, 39 inns, 3 NO, 1975 runs, 9 centuries, 4 fifties, ave=54.86.

    If you discount his mammoth 1978 series against "chump-changes" (but why should you? ... it was the debut of Marshall; and Clarke near his peak was as fearsome as they get), the numbers read:

    18, 31, 2, 1243, 5, 3, 42.86.

    All 5 centuries (in 18 tests!) were classic efforts vs just about the best pace attack the game has seen.

  • Vatsa on April 8, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    Just last week I was going thro my Sporstar archives and I ran across the simulated World Cup games. I understand it is lot of hard work and fun to pit players from different eras, still was not able to digest some of the result like Srikkanth/Sidhu standing up against Lindwall and Trueman and scoring decent runs. If I remember right, India lost most of the matches (and rightly so, based on the strength of opponents and sheer numbers) but some of the matches seem very close and that didn't seem quiet right.

    Thanks for your enthu with numbers, it is a fun read. [[ Vatsa I have no time at all for Srikkanth, then and now. However don't forget that his score of 38 against Roberts/Marshall/Garner/Holding probably won the match for India in 1983. Also look at the way a few unknown players are treating the more renowned international players with disdain. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on April 8, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    Srikanth - Sobers was great on any wkt.

    Ananth - (i) Who is the captain for World XI? (ii) Why not replace MCC with Compton? ... Benaud rates May as the best post-war England batsman only because he views Hutton & Compton as having started pre-war.

    World XI is debatable. On spinning tracks, the bowling is great. On others, only 1 spinner may do (esp., given Sobers) and Warne/Murali should be replaced by McGrath/Ambrose (because these 2 are most different from Lillee & Marshall ... tough luck for Akram since Sobers can bowl LH fast-medium).

    Also, Barry Richards doesn't merit it ... SMG's acerbic critique of him (see his "Straight Drive") is on the money. Better to open with Viv - he did well in 1975-76 series vs Aus, and no one played the pace better anyway. Then, Ponting at #3 as skipper. Else, this XI fares better: Sehwag, Greenidge, Ponting, Chappell, Kallis, Waugh (c), Sanga, Hadlee/Imran, Kumble/Gupte, McGrath, Ambrose [no Pollock: only 23 tests]. [[ Alex Sobers. Not my XI. I would never have left out Barrington, to start with. We also did not want to intrude into the selection process. Otherwise we might even have had 15 players and selected the final XI which is in reality the (Simulation) Captain's prerogative. The idea is for each armchair-captain to live out his fantasies. Ananth: ]]

  • Richard on April 8, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    I cant believe you left out Ken Barrington, with a Test average of almost 60 yet Cowdrey makes it in with an average of only 44

  • Mark B. on April 8, 2010, 4:15 GMT

    K.Barrington is MISSING!! C.M.J ?? did you see His top 100 cricketers last year? enough said. How could You agree to this Team? No-Way!! I'm an Aussie, & have no county allegiances [[ Mark You are absolutely correct. However as you would have seen it was not my selection but mainly CM-J's. I would have seriously considered Barrington. CM-J has outlined his rationale for the selection and I will scan and include the same in the main article. Ananth: ]]

  • raghav Shete on April 8, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    Give me Bedser instead of Statham, Compton in place of Dexter and Barrington over Cowdrey any day. ( Barrington over everybody else except Hutton really )

    And why Barry Richards ? He has no test record to speak of ( Although all the greats vouch by him ) So it would have been better to choose Matt Hayden really. [[ Hayden in 2002 was no more than a competent opening batsman. Ananth: ]]

  • Ben on April 8, 2010, 3:34 GMT

    A great side but (and I hate to be the "what about..." guy, but still, have to put the Kiwi hand up!) I'm interested that Marshall and Lillee always make these sort of sides ahead of Richard Hadlee, who had a very closely comparable test bowling record to both. Add in that he had to bowl with an otherwise mostly toothless attack his entire career (Chatfield was a great servant of NZ cricket, but hardly like having Thomson or Holding at the other end) and that he was a superior batsman to both Lillee and Thomson, and surely he must be a candidate? Maybe it's a case of people feeling that some of that elusive quality of "greatness" is being part of a great team? Dunno. Great players all though nonetheless and looking forward to see what the simulation made of their match up! [[ Ben As you would have seen it was not my selection but mainly CM-J's. I would have seriously considered Hadlee for a seamer position. CM-J has outlined his rationale for the selection and I will scan the same and include the same in the main article. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on April 8, 2010, 0:52 GMT

    Well, I am officially spooked now. I have no idea how so many parameters will be taken care of.But I am sure I can depend upon you to make a realistic and accurate judgement.

    Ananth, any comments on how the innings declaration will be taken care of? I read the article but could not find it out.

    And maybe someday we will have simulation of the cricinfo XI's which are being selected right now.

  • CricFan on April 7, 2010, 22:55 GMT

    Wow I can't even imagine the amount of work that would have gone into this - great work. On a lighter note you should probably consider selling this analysis to video game publishers. I am not sure if you have included this in the analysis for selecting the players, since the simulation is for tests (almost 50 overs bowled with the old ball) I would have probably given more weight for the ability to reverse swing while considering fast bowlers - this would have probably got Wasim or Imran in, but then it is hard to replace Marshall or Lillee. [[ Amar The first simulation programs were only for ODIs and the Sposrtstar tournamens as well as the Inter-schools tournament were for ODis. Then only the Test simulation evolved. I can also say that ODIs, with their rigid parameters, were far more easier than Tests. Answer to some other query that a Captain could declare at any time. Ananth: ]]

  • william bisho on April 7, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    i think denis compton should play indexter,s place sehwag in barry richards place.andy flower in gilchrist place,you said that each team would have two spin bowlers.so you should have abdul kadir or bedi instead ofmurali.there is no doubt that your england team would lost all five matches .rain would have to save england.

  • Srikanth on April 7, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    That middle order looks fragile if faced with a minefield of a pitch. ..Richards/Lara/T'kar are good scorers...not sure how they would do if faced with a perth/sabina park of the 80s..it would be better to have someone like Border or S.Waugh who can gut it out if needed and be the captain of the team. Also, gavaskar at the top is a liability in such a situation..yes I know he scored a lot of 100s in the WI but those were mostly the chump change WIs. He didnt do that well against the Marshall/Garner/Holding/Croft/Roberts group. Then again English bowling attack doesnt have any such express pacemen so he should suffice. Regarding the bowling, muralitharan is not really a good fit as he doesnt have to struggle through over after over for a wicket as he usually does for SL. Someone like Hadlee (though I dont like the guy) would be a much better all wicket bowler. Just my 0.02

  • Nick on April 7, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    Man, that simulation does a wicked job at putting the little Excel spreadsheet I made to simulate matches to shame. I don't even want to imagine how long it took.

  • Ravi on April 7, 2010, 16:38 GMT

    Sir, any other simulations in the pipeline - Windies XI Versus ROW XI and may be Aussies XI versus ROW XI [[ Eavi Not at this stage because my programs have to undergo massive changes and I do not have the time now to go through that. Let me see in the future. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on April 7, 2010, 16:18 GMT

    I am waiting for the scorecards. Want to have Ponting but where is the slot? I am also tempted to float my own virtual match details that I conceptualized between Traditionsts XI and Moderns XI; more details at: http://vinishgrg.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/cricket-traditionalists-vc-moderns/

  • sandeep on April 7, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    wow..thats one heck of an analysis... good work.. not sure who else could you have squeezed in :).... feel sorry for people who dont go through the article and give useless comments

  • Nahim on April 7, 2010, 15:49 GMT

    I suspect a lot of the comments will be along the lines of: "where's my favorite player in the World XI??" Bringing in players like G Pollock, Imran, Wasim or McGrath wouldn't make this side any weaker, but would it really make it stronger? I would say this is as good a side as you'll get, keeping in mind that there is no "one" World XI.

    Looking forward to the results of the simulation! And I wouldn't write off England XI quite yet, I reckon they have the bowling attack to take advantage of the seaming conditions of Lord's or Cape Town.

  • Engle on April 7, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    Only possible changes I can see are : - Barrington for Cowdrey - Or Gower as a LHB for Cowdrey

    - Imran for Lillee (to provide leadership and late order batting. Matches like these are won by the difference in tail ender batting)

    - One of Border or G.Chappell in place of Lara or Tendulkar(again to provide leadership plus some grit)

    Leadership would not feature in any computer simulated games, but in reality makes quite the difference.

  • M KHAN FROM LONDON on April 7, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    Who did Sunil pay to be in? [[ Unfortunately it shows your narrow-mindedness and parochialism to comment that a player who has scored 10000 runs at 51+ against fearsome fast bowlers should pay someone to get in. The unfortunate thing is it is not in jest. May I request others. Pl do not respond to this comment. Completely ignore it. I will not publish any responses. Ananth: ]]

    McGrath for Lillee - Need the wickets Imran/Wasim for Murali - Need one spinner and pace

  • Abhi on April 7, 2010, 14:07 GMT

    I would bet the house on the "All-time World XI" winning every time, everywhere.

    And yes- there is not a single change you could make to the World XI that could possibly make it any better. The only “problem” may actually be the huge number of variables- though they are required for a more comprehensive analysis (so we have a contradiction). In any simulation the greater the number of variables, the greater the scope for error and also a small degree of change in a particular variable may have a large impact on the final result. But don’t see any way out of it. Guess we have to take it in the spirit of a computer game/simulation. [[ Abhi You would be surprised. The testing process was so exhaustive one single process took us 24 hours continuous running on the old PC-XT computers. The proof of the simulation should be in the results. Ananth: ]]

  • hemant brar on April 7, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Sounds exciting but Bradman missing from any eleven is hard to digest and from that eleven which has no english player. May be he should have replaced any of the middle order batsman. Will love to see where bradman missed out in calculations. Selecting Rhodes as 12th man tells fielding was given very high credits during selection process. [[ POST WAR XI !!! And Bradman played 80% of his cricket pre-war. Ananth: ]]

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  • hemant brar on April 7, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Sounds exciting but Bradman missing from any eleven is hard to digest and from that eleven which has no english player. May be he should have replaced any of the middle order batsman. Will love to see where bradman missed out in calculations. Selecting Rhodes as 12th man tells fielding was given very high credits during selection process. [[ POST WAR XI !!! And Bradman played 80% of his cricket pre-war. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on April 7, 2010, 14:07 GMT

    I would bet the house on the "All-time World XI" winning every time, everywhere.

    And yes- there is not a single change you could make to the World XI that could possibly make it any better. The only “problem” may actually be the huge number of variables- though they are required for a more comprehensive analysis (so we have a contradiction). In any simulation the greater the number of variables, the greater the scope for error and also a small degree of change in a particular variable may have a large impact on the final result. But don’t see any way out of it. Guess we have to take it in the spirit of a computer game/simulation. [[ Abhi You would be surprised. The testing process was so exhaustive one single process took us 24 hours continuous running on the old PC-XT computers. The proof of the simulation should be in the results. Ananth: ]]

  • M KHAN FROM LONDON on April 7, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    Who did Sunil pay to be in? [[ Unfortunately it shows your narrow-mindedness and parochialism to comment that a player who has scored 10000 runs at 51+ against fearsome fast bowlers should pay someone to get in. The unfortunate thing is it is not in jest. May I request others. Pl do not respond to this comment. Completely ignore it. I will not publish any responses. Ananth: ]]

    McGrath for Lillee - Need the wickets Imran/Wasim for Murali - Need one spinner and pace

  • Engle on April 7, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    Only possible changes I can see are : - Barrington for Cowdrey - Or Gower as a LHB for Cowdrey

    - Imran for Lillee (to provide leadership and late order batting. Matches like these are won by the difference in tail ender batting)

    - One of Border or G.Chappell in place of Lara or Tendulkar(again to provide leadership plus some grit)

    Leadership would not feature in any computer simulated games, but in reality makes quite the difference.

  • Nahim on April 7, 2010, 15:49 GMT

    I suspect a lot of the comments will be along the lines of: "where's my favorite player in the World XI??" Bringing in players like G Pollock, Imran, Wasim or McGrath wouldn't make this side any weaker, but would it really make it stronger? I would say this is as good a side as you'll get, keeping in mind that there is no "one" World XI.

    Looking forward to the results of the simulation! And I wouldn't write off England XI quite yet, I reckon they have the bowling attack to take advantage of the seaming conditions of Lord's or Cape Town.

  • sandeep on April 7, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    wow..thats one heck of an analysis... good work.. not sure who else could you have squeezed in :).... feel sorry for people who dont go through the article and give useless comments

  • Vinish on April 7, 2010, 16:18 GMT

    I am waiting for the scorecards. Want to have Ponting but where is the slot? I am also tempted to float my own virtual match details that I conceptualized between Traditionsts XI and Moderns XI; more details at: http://vinishgrg.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/cricket-traditionalists-vc-moderns/

  • Ravi on April 7, 2010, 16:38 GMT

    Sir, any other simulations in the pipeline - Windies XI Versus ROW XI and may be Aussies XI versus ROW XI [[ Eavi Not at this stage because my programs have to undergo massive changes and I do not have the time now to go through that. Let me see in the future. Ananth: ]]

  • Nick on April 7, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    Man, that simulation does a wicked job at putting the little Excel spreadsheet I made to simulate matches to shame. I don't even want to imagine how long it took.

  • Srikanth on April 7, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    That middle order looks fragile if faced with a minefield of a pitch. ..Richards/Lara/T'kar are good scorers...not sure how they would do if faced with a perth/sabina park of the 80s..it would be better to have someone like Border or S.Waugh who can gut it out if needed and be the captain of the team. Also, gavaskar at the top is a liability in such a situation..yes I know he scored a lot of 100s in the WI but those were mostly the chump change WIs. He didnt do that well against the Marshall/Garner/Holding/Croft/Roberts group. Then again English bowling attack doesnt have any such express pacemen so he should suffice. Regarding the bowling, muralitharan is not really a good fit as he doesnt have to struggle through over after over for a wicket as he usually does for SL. Someone like Hadlee (though I dont like the guy) would be a much better all wicket bowler. Just my 0.02