Batting April 26, 2010

Test batting position averages: a follow-up

There were a number of useful comments to my previous post on best averages at each batting position

In the article on Test batting positions, I looked at the highest averages in each batting position from Opening to No.7. There were a number of useful comments and some of the readers wanted me to create additional tables to throw more light and create a better insight into the fascinating topic. Hence this follow-up analysis.

1. The first table is a very important one asked for by Abhi. This is a matrix of Decades and Batting Position Averages.

Decade Tests  <---------------Batting average---------------->
Opening  BP 3   BP 4   BP 5   BP 6   BP 7   Op-7

1930s: 99 38.10 51.93 40.93 35.84 31.09 26.71 37.85 1940s: 44 44.13 42.62 52.71 40.71 33.34 25.68 41.02 1950s: 165 33.42 37.10 40.64 33.02 25.75 22.45 32.51 1960s: 186 36.38 41.55 41.87 38.42 33.20 24.89 36.36 1970s: 197 38.29 40.16 40.23 38.19 31.56 28.90 36.76 1980s: 267 34.79 38.10 41.64 36.43 35.14 29.24 35.85 1990s: 347 35.51 36.00 40.88 38.13 33.37 26.77 35.35 2000s: 477 37.34 43.51 44.11 41.11 34.37 30.32 38.47

Total: 1782 36.46 40.51 42.17 38.18 32.83 27.69 36.54

My gut feel is that this is going to be a very important table which will be used by many of us quite regularly. Let us see the salient numbers. First a brief explanation. For reasons which are obvious the first Test I considered was Test # 176, which began on 30 Nov 1928 (no prizes for guessing why). Hence the 10 Tests during these 13 months are clubbed with the 1930s. Similarly the 13 Tests which were played during the current year are clubbed with the 2000s decade.

Let me first explain the two 50+ averages. The very high average at BP3 during the 1930s is solely because of Bradman's 98 average until end of 1939. The 50+ average during 1940s at BP4 is mainly because of the 50+ averages in this position of Hassett, Compton and Hammond. Morever only 44 Tests were played during this decade.

My thanks to Abhi for an excellent suggestion. A few comments, not necessarily a complete list. Readers can add their own observations.

- Barring the Bradman-centric 1930s, the 2000s have had the best averages in the positions, BP3, BP4 (again ignoring the 1940s with only 44 Tests), BP5 and BP7. Truly a batsmen-dominated decade.
- The best Opening figures have been during 1970s (Gavaskar, Boycott, Lawry, Glenn Turner et al).
- The best BP6 figures have been during the 1980s (led by Border).
- The change from 1990s to 2000s is truly amazing. A 10% increase in overall average value.
- Note also the very high BP7 average of the 2000s.
- It can also be seen that BP4 has a higher overall average than BP3. This is a slight deviation from the earlier discussions.
- Note also the discernible correlation between the Opening average and the overall average.

2. Now for a table which I thought of to provide additional insight to the way an individual batsman has batted. I have identified the top 3 favourite batting positions of batsmen based on runs scored and created a table of runs scored, % of total runs, batting average in this position and a comparison to the overall batting average.

SN0 Batsman           Top Bat position   Next Batpos     Third Batpos
Pos Runs   Avge  Pos Runs   Avge  Pos Runs  Avge
%Car ToBtAvg    %Car ToBtAvg     %Car ToBtAvg

1.Tendulkar S.R | 4:11239- 57.34 | 5:1331- 55.46 | 6: 745- 43.82 | 84% 1.03 | 10% 1.00 | 6% 0.79 2.Lara B.C | 4: 7535- 51.26 | 3:3749- 60.47 | 5: 536- 41.23 | 63% 0.97 | 31% 1.14 | 4% 0.78 3.Ponting R.T | 3: 9417- 59.60 | 6:1989- 49.72 | 7: 208- 26.00 | 79% 1.08 | 17% 0.90 | 2% 0.47 4.Dravid R | 3: 8970- 55.71 | 4: 957- 53.17 | 1: 489- 32.60 | 79% 1.04 | 8% 0.99 | 4% 0.61 5.Border A.R | 4: 3792- 49.89 | 5:3062- 52.79 | 6:2556- 52.16 | 34% 0.99 | 27% 1.04 | 23% 1.03 6.Waugh S.R | 5: 6754- 56.28 | 6:3165- 51.05 | 7: 543- 33.94 | 62% 1.10 | 29% 1.00 | 5% 0.66 7.Kallis J.H | 4: 6943- 61.99 | 3:3335- 49.78 | 5: 409- 37.18 | 64% 1.13 | 31% 0.91 | 4% 0.68 8.Gavaskar S.M | 1: 9607- 50.30 | 4: 236-236.00 | 5: 144- 36.00 | 95% 0.98 | 2% 4.62 | 1% 0.70 9.Jayawardene M | 4: 7290- 59.75 | 5: 897- 33.22 | 3: 798- 49.88 | 80% 1.11 | 10% 0.62 | 9% 0.92 10.Gooch G.A | 1: 7811- 43.88 | 5: 419- 32.23 | 3: 347- 43.38 | 88% 1.03 | 5% 0.76 | 4% 1.02 11.Javed Miandad | 4: 6925- 54.10 | 5:1468- 54.37 | 6: 221- 24.56 | 78% 1.03 | 17% 1.03 | 3% 0.47 12.Inzamam-ul-Haq | 4: 4867- 52.90 | 5:2144- 51.05 | 6: 887- 36.96 | 55% 1.07 | 24% 1.03 | 10% 0.75 13.Chanderpaul S | 5: 4409- 52.49 | 6:2235- 65.74 | 3: 925- 34.26 | 51% 1.08 | 26% 1.35 | 11% 0.70 14.Hayden M.L | 1: 8626- 50.74 | | | 100% 1.00 | | 15.Richards I.V.A | 3: 3508- 61.54 | 5:2720- 47.72 | 4:1566- 41.21 | 41% 1.23 | 32% 0.95 | 18% 0.82 16.Stewart A.J | 1: 3348- 44.64 | 6:1421- 34.66 | 3:1307- 43.57 | 40% 1.13 | 17% 0.88 | 15% 1.10 17.Gower D.I | 4: 3223- 38.37 | 3:2619- 49.42 | 5:2131- 49.56 | 39% 0.87 | 32% 1.12 | 26% 1.12 18.Boycott G | 1: 8091- 48.16 | 4: 23- 11.50 | | 100% 1.01 | 0% 0.24 | 19.Sobers G.St.A | 6: 2614- 53.35 | 5:1895- 59.22 | 4:1530- 63.75 | 33% 0.92 | 24% 1.02 | 19% 1.10 20.Waugh M.E | 4: 6662- 42.43 | 5: 700- 35.00 | 6: 589- 53.55 | 83% 1.01 | 9% 0.84 | 7% 1.28 ... ... 37.Bradman D.G | 3: 5078-103.63 | 6: 681- 97.29 | 4: 485- 53.89 | 73% 1.04 | 10% 0.97 | 7% 0.54

I am not going to make many statements. Let the readers do the talking.

Just to explain something. First ignore the opening batsmen like Hayden who has a perfect 100% in his opening position. Take Tendulkar and Lara. Tendulkar has scored 84% of his runs in a single batting position indicating a reasonably settled career. In fact he has the highest top position % amongst all top batsmen. On the other hand Lara has moved between BP3 and BP4 quite a lot. Note also how much of a movement Border, Chanderpaul, Inzamam and Sobers have had.

Note also the very high batting averages of batsmen like Steve Waugh, Kallis, Richards and Jayawardene have had in their favourite batting positions. Contrast this with Border, Sobers and Lara who have paid for their movements with below-par average in their batting position.

Bradman's distribution does not show any surprise other than the very low (you are kidding !!!) average of 53.89 at BP4, possibly during the body-line series, if I am not mistaken.

To view/down-load the complete tables, please click/right-click here.

3. This is a table asked for by Marees who wanted a summarized analysis of the 9-10-11 positions. Certain criteria. First the batsman must have scored a minimum of 500 runs in these three positions. The other added criteria is that the batsman should have scored over 50% of his career runs in these 9-10-11 positions. This is to prevent players with higher level batting qualifications, such as Shaun Pollock (534 runs at 41.08), Oldfield (658 runs at 34.63) and Vaas (804 runs at 26.80) et al.

Batsman           Team   BPA  Runs  Inns NO   Avge % of total

Swann G.P Eng 9.00 507 18 4 36.21 90.1% More K.S Ind 8.33 693 34 9 27.72 53.9% Allen D.A Eng 8.63 511 29 10 26.89 55.7% Boje N Saf 8.10 804 37 7 26.80 61.3% Pollock P.M Saf 9.29 509 33 11 23.14 83.9% Lee B Aus 8.72 1122 69 16 21.17 77.3% Tayfield H.J Saf 8.58 577 41 8 17.48 66.9% Cairns B.L Nzl 9.02 737 51 8 17.14 79.4% Gillespie J.N Aus 8.86 867 76 25 17.00 71.0% Edmonds P.H Eng 8.80 514 43 12 16.58 58.7% Sarfraz Nawaz Pak 8.97 824 57 7 16.48 78.9% Abdul Qadir Pak 8.66 603 45 8 16.30 58.6% Hall W.W Win 9.65 784 64 14 15.68 95.8% Doull S.B Nzl 9.76 562 47 11 15.61 98.6% Harbhajan Singh Ind 9.11 997 81 17 15.58 62.9% Srinath J Ind 9.55 932 79 19 15.53 92.4% Mohammad Rafique Bng 8.75 574 41 4 15.51 54.2% Trueman F.S Eng 9.26 868 72 14 14.97 88.5% Collinge R.O Nzl 10.10 533 50 13 14.41 100.0%

Swann's position as an outstanding low-order batsman is blostered by this table. Brett Lee's 1000+ runs at an average of 21+ is also quite commendable.

4. The final table is one asked by Unni. He wanted a table on batting position value weighted by the runs scored in that particular position. I will present this table without comments and let Unni have his say.

To view/down-load the complete tables, please click/right-click here.

SNo Batsman         Team  Inns   BPA    Runs WtBPA(R)

1.Tendulkar S.R Ind 271 4.28 13447 4.23 2.Lara B.C Win 232 3.78 11953 3.71 3.Ponting R.T Aus 243 3.82 11924 3.61 4.Dravid R Ind 240 3.19 11395 3.26 5.Border A.R Aus 265 4.70 11174 4.65 6.Waugh S.R Aus 260 5.42 10927 5.33 7.Kallis J.H Saf 231 3.81 10843 3.76 8.Gavaskar S.M Ind 214 1.26 10122 1.20 9.Jayawardene M Slk 182 4.10 9123 4.04 10.Gooch G.A Eng 215 1.46 8900 1.38 11.Javed Miandad Pak 189 4.22 8832 4.21 12.Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 200 4.65 8830 4.62 13.Chanderpaul S Win 210 4.80 8669 4.97 14.Hayden M.L Aus 184 1.00 8626 1.00 15.Richards I.V.A Win 182 4.16 8540 3.93 16.Stewart A.J Eng 235 3.58 8465 3.30 17.Gower D.I Eng 204 3.98 8231 3.97 18.Boycott G Eng 193 1.03 8114 1.01 19.Sobers G.St.A Win 160 5.04 8032 4.92 20.Waugh M.E Aus 209 4.24 8029 4.22

To view/down-load the complete tables, please click/right-click here.

The curtain rings on a fascinating subject in which the reader comments have been very illuminating. My thanks to all of them.

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

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