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
16

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ramaswami Subramanyan on May 29, 2010, 2:31 GMT

    Dear Mr. Ananthanarayanan,

    First, thank you - truly wonderful and enjoyable columns.

    I have been trying to some number crunching myself - but I am not sure how to download information from statsguru to study the results. Please do write a column on the techniques to so so. If you prefer, an email to me would be fine too...

    Thanks, RV

    P.S. Please do respond either way. :-)

  • Request on May 11, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    Can we have an analysis done quality of runs and wickets earned by batsmen and bowlers respectively. The quality being based on "where" they were earned. I am not a fan of accumulation, if you play long enough you will get x amount of runs and wickets I prefer to add some weight based on where they were earned. It's one thing to get loads of runs at Adelaide, Sydney, Capetown etc and another to get runs at Brisbane, Melbourne, Trinidad etc.

  • Mub on May 3, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    Hi Anantha,

    Regarding the batting position functions, what I thought was, if we could get the average of the partnership of each wicket and then take an average of the instances of those wicket partnerships (meaning we won't have that many instances of a 9th wkt partnership as the 3rd wkt partnership), we might arrive at the typical Test Match. I guess that would give some indications of at least what each position is doing as opposed to what we think it should be doing, wouldn't it?

  • Ananth on May 2, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    Dear readers I started writing for "It Figures" during late 2007 and since then have done a total of nearly 100 posts without a break. This is the one project from which I derive a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. The exchanges from readers all over the globe makes the hours I spend well worth. Of late the blog takes a lot of time possibly because I am the type who reads each and every comment and responds to at least 50% of these. There is no doubt that the blog is made because of this. In order to avoid getting stale and being repetitive I need a short break. It is not that I am short of ideas or reader suggestions. I have at least a dozen such analysis possibillities on my plate. Hence I would like to inform the readers that I will take this break during the month of May. My next article will be at the beginnin g of June when I return hopefully refreshed. Of course, I will continue to answer the reader comments. Ananth

  • Ron on May 1, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    These tables partially explain Tendulkar's sub 60 average. The batsmen with a greater or equal part of their careers in the '90s as opposed to the 2000s would all have seen their averages impacted. [[ Ron Not just Tendulkar's but Lara's who spent more than his career during the 1990s. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on April 30, 2010, 16:06 GMT

    ...but Bradman made these sorts of comparisons irrelevant, by scoring so many more runs per innings than anyone else. In the words of Bill Woodfull, ` for 20 years he was worth three men to the Australian side`. Or the great Walter Hammond `None of us had the measure of him, and that`s the plain fact.`For mine, SRT has been the best amongst equals, DGB has made any argument about the greatest of all time superfluous.

  • Mub on April 29, 2010, 22:02 GMT

    Hi Anantha, This might be a bit off-thread, but regarding the batting positions, I suppose each position has its attendant function/responsiblity. Openers are expected to negotiate the tricky conditions so that the better batsmen to follow at 3/4 make the runs, etc. What I was wondering is, is it possible to find a Test(s) that played out true to these roles? And then maybe find out if the batting positions are really designed truly or there are huge deviations. I don't know if this is even possible, but just a thought... [[ Mub Unfortunately these parameters are not clearly definable. It is not easy to set the parameters for analysis. Ananth: ]]

  • Steve on April 29, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    We talk about how individual batsmen have impacted the stats. One wonders how much effect great bowlers have had on these tables. The West Indies & Lillee of the 80s, McGrath, Donald and Warne of the 90s, Akram & Yunis etc I'm sure McGrath and Akram had their impact on the opening and higher order slots and Warne certainly caused headaches for the middle order. The great West Indies of the 80s stitched up just about every position LOL

  • Sandeep on April 28, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    How many innings did Bradman actually play at no 4? Perhaps that was a mistake on Bradman's part- he should have batted at no 3, and would have ended up with a career average of 100+! [[ Sandeep You can determine that yourself. He played 9 dismissed innings. Anyhow one four in his last innings would have given him an average of 100.00. For that matter if he played in a later test and retired at 4, he would have reached 100. I don't think he bothered about this at all. Ananth: ]]

  • Murali on April 28, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    Just want to know. If Table 1 is split into two columns - average of batsmen at each position (winning team) vs. average of batsmen at each position (losing team). probably it would indicate how much some teams (wi or aus) dominated during certain decades and scored mountains of runs. [[ Murali This table is at the highest macro level. As such it is certain that if the columns are split into "winning" and "losing", nothing much will be revealed. The "winning" average will necessarily be higher than the "losing". We will only get an insight into the difference in % at each position level. On the other hand a broader analysis, bringing in a third dimension of Team would reveal more since Bangladesh will get into a separte plane thus not diluting the Australian figures. What you have suggested is certainly food for thought, an euphemism for adding on more to the plate. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramaswami Subramanyan on May 29, 2010, 2:31 GMT

    Dear Mr. Ananthanarayanan,

    First, thank you - truly wonderful and enjoyable columns.

    I have been trying to some number crunching myself - but I am not sure how to download information from statsguru to study the results. Please do write a column on the techniques to so so. If you prefer, an email to me would be fine too...

    Thanks, RV

    P.S. Please do respond either way. :-)

  • Request on May 11, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    Can we have an analysis done quality of runs and wickets earned by batsmen and bowlers respectively. The quality being based on "where" they were earned. I am not a fan of accumulation, if you play long enough you will get x amount of runs and wickets I prefer to add some weight based on where they were earned. It's one thing to get loads of runs at Adelaide, Sydney, Capetown etc and another to get runs at Brisbane, Melbourne, Trinidad etc.

  • Mub on May 3, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    Hi Anantha,

    Regarding the batting position functions, what I thought was, if we could get the average of the partnership of each wicket and then take an average of the instances of those wicket partnerships (meaning we won't have that many instances of a 9th wkt partnership as the 3rd wkt partnership), we might arrive at the typical Test Match. I guess that would give some indications of at least what each position is doing as opposed to what we think it should be doing, wouldn't it?

  • Ananth on May 2, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    Dear readers I started writing for "It Figures" during late 2007 and since then have done a total of nearly 100 posts without a break. This is the one project from which I derive a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. The exchanges from readers all over the globe makes the hours I spend well worth. Of late the blog takes a lot of time possibly because I am the type who reads each and every comment and responds to at least 50% of these. There is no doubt that the blog is made because of this. In order to avoid getting stale and being repetitive I need a short break. It is not that I am short of ideas or reader suggestions. I have at least a dozen such analysis possibillities on my plate. Hence I would like to inform the readers that I will take this break during the month of May. My next article will be at the beginnin g of June when I return hopefully refreshed. Of course, I will continue to answer the reader comments. Ananth

  • Ron on May 1, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    These tables partially explain Tendulkar's sub 60 average. The batsmen with a greater or equal part of their careers in the '90s as opposed to the 2000s would all have seen their averages impacted. [[ Ron Not just Tendulkar's but Lara's who spent more than his career during the 1990s. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on April 30, 2010, 16:06 GMT

    ...but Bradman made these sorts of comparisons irrelevant, by scoring so many more runs per innings than anyone else. In the words of Bill Woodfull, ` for 20 years he was worth three men to the Australian side`. Or the great Walter Hammond `None of us had the measure of him, and that`s the plain fact.`For mine, SRT has been the best amongst equals, DGB has made any argument about the greatest of all time superfluous.

  • Mub on April 29, 2010, 22:02 GMT

    Hi Anantha, This might be a bit off-thread, but regarding the batting positions, I suppose each position has its attendant function/responsiblity. Openers are expected to negotiate the tricky conditions so that the better batsmen to follow at 3/4 make the runs, etc. What I was wondering is, is it possible to find a Test(s) that played out true to these roles? And then maybe find out if the batting positions are really designed truly or there are huge deviations. I don't know if this is even possible, but just a thought... [[ Mub Unfortunately these parameters are not clearly definable. It is not easy to set the parameters for analysis. Ananth: ]]

  • Steve on April 29, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    We talk about how individual batsmen have impacted the stats. One wonders how much effect great bowlers have had on these tables. The West Indies & Lillee of the 80s, McGrath, Donald and Warne of the 90s, Akram & Yunis etc I'm sure McGrath and Akram had their impact on the opening and higher order slots and Warne certainly caused headaches for the middle order. The great West Indies of the 80s stitched up just about every position LOL

  • Sandeep on April 28, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    How many innings did Bradman actually play at no 4? Perhaps that was a mistake on Bradman's part- he should have batted at no 3, and would have ended up with a career average of 100+! [[ Sandeep You can determine that yourself. He played 9 dismissed innings. Anyhow one four in his last innings would have given him an average of 100.00. For that matter if he played in a later test and retired at 4, he would have reached 100. I don't think he bothered about this at all. Ananth: ]]

  • Murali on April 28, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    Just want to know. If Table 1 is split into two columns - average of batsmen at each position (winning team) vs. average of batsmen at each position (losing team). probably it would indicate how much some teams (wi or aus) dominated during certain decades and scored mountains of runs. [[ Murali This table is at the highest macro level. As such it is certain that if the columns are split into "winning" and "losing", nothing much will be revealed. The "winning" average will necessarily be higher than the "losing". We will only get an insight into the difference in % at each position level. On the other hand a broader analysis, bringing in a third dimension of Team would reveal more since Bangladesh will get into a separte plane thus not diluting the Australian figures. What you have suggested is certainly food for thought, an euphemism for adding on more to the plate. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on April 27, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    @Ananth re. your `things to do` plate. It seems to resemble the Lernaean Hydra. Chop off one head and another 2 appear! [[ Boll I have already mentioned to Aalok that this blog is taking a disproportionate share of my time. However I derive far more satisfaction through my interaction with the wide range of readers from Aberdeen to Waikiki than what I might gain from other projects for which I could be compensated far more. The 80:20 rule. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on April 27, 2010, 11:31 GMT

    Ananth -

    1. This request is not related to the thread but is it possible to work out similar tables for partnerships - runs scored for the 1st wkt, for the 2nd wkt, etc.? It would be interesting to see how those differ from the batting position tables.

    2. Also, a country-wise breakdown of the tables would be useful.

    3. The 30's and 40's were more fun than 00's for positions 1-5 even after we discount the Bradman factor.

    4. Maybe 60's was not so interesting: your earlier article shows that it did not feature great bowling performances (i.e., bowlers taking >X wkts/match). This article shows that, on average, the Top 6 batsmen did not perform that great either in 60's (too many mediocre batsmen perhaps: Ind & NZ). 70's saw radical changes: ODI's, Packer, SA boycott, helmets, etc. So, maybe 80's was the most fierce test for the batsmen since the 50's. The 90's being similar to 80's, looks like the 50's, 80's & 90's was the toughest time for batsmen to survive in cricket. [[ Alex I already have in my "To do list" lst an entry by the name "Alex: Test partnership analysis". Will expand the scope of that. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on April 27, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    Ananth - Great table. Could you please do similar tables for the #balls faced by each batting position? [[ Alex I will do it provided extrapolation is accepted for the first 1000 tests or so. However the last three decades should be quite alright. Will add to "things to do" plate. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on April 27, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    Ananth, Thank you. Bit calmer in here. Will take a bit to really digest the tables. However, I will get a bit greedy( as usual) and wonder out loud whether certain other data can be garnered: 1) Just as Bradman’s figures lift the 30s averages, it is possible that the “weaker” batsmen in the 90s and 2000s ( for eg. in the Ban,Zim and England (ha!) teams) pull down the averages… 2) So, it is possible that the top batsmen in the 2000s may actually have had it even better than the top batsmen in the 90s(or some other decade) than actually shows up. 3) So, would it be possible to get data on just the top few (5/10 or so) batsmen in each decade? 4) As per Unni’s suggestion on value weighted by runs- would it be possible to do a table with this too decade wise? This again would show us not only the quantum of runs scored but when linked to average- will give us a better idea of “fill your boots” conditions. 5) For eg. a few runs at a very high average may not give us a true picture (particular batsman having a good run –Hussey avg say 90 over a 1000 or more runs) and may distort averages. A value weighted approach may be more accurate. Thanks again. The tables are small but are going to take a while to digest. [[ Abhi I did these in a macro way, in other words, set up only a matrix of 8 (decades) by 6 (batpos'). To do what you want, I agree it is quite logical, I have to complicate the process by adding a third dimension, say selected batsmen for each decade or teams, or both. I will look at doing it, but only after some time. My gut feel is that it is easier to identify the "high" averages. Not so easy to get the impact of low averages since in each decade there are bound to be weaklings, not necessarily Zim or Bang, but as you have pointed out England. I am sure India, Pakistan, South Africa, England, New Zealand and recently West Indies have all been quite weak for years. "Greedy" readers are my bane and boon. How can I live without them. Ananth: ]]

  • Engle on April 26, 2010, 21:38 GMT

    Border is the most successfull shuffled player with averages of about 50 at the #3,4,5 and 6 positions.

    He's been through a lot and this should count for something in assessing batsmanship considerations; the ability to excel at various positions.

    By contrast, SRT commanded ownership of his #4 position at 84%, the highest for a non-opener.

    Chanderpaul, excelled at #6, though he played twice as much at #5 [[ Engle The way Border has been shunted in various batting positions is an eye-opener. The complete tables have since been posted. Ananth: ]]

  • Aalok on April 26, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    Hello Ananth, Maybe I am commenting too soon and you are yet to place the text files in relevant directory, but the links are not working for me. The files are currently not present at the locations pointed by links. A very fascinating article and lots and lots to absorb. One thing that immediately strikes is the average of Kallis, Ponting and Richards at their favorite positions. Will have to sleep over this. Thanks :) [[ Aalok My profound apologies. I missed uploading the tables. I am not sure whether I am coming or going. This blog occupies a disprportionate share of my time and I had to clear a few of the other tasks. The tables have been uploaded. Should have been done earlier. Thanks Ananth: ]]

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  • Aalok on April 26, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    Hello Ananth, Maybe I am commenting too soon and you are yet to place the text files in relevant directory, but the links are not working for me. The files are currently not present at the locations pointed by links. A very fascinating article and lots and lots to absorb. One thing that immediately strikes is the average of Kallis, Ponting and Richards at their favorite positions. Will have to sleep over this. Thanks :) [[ Aalok My profound apologies. I missed uploading the tables. I am not sure whether I am coming or going. This blog occupies a disprportionate share of my time and I had to clear a few of the other tasks. The tables have been uploaded. Should have been done earlier. Thanks Ananth: ]]

  • Engle on April 26, 2010, 21:38 GMT

    Border is the most successfull shuffled player with averages of about 50 at the #3,4,5 and 6 positions.

    He's been through a lot and this should count for something in assessing batsmanship considerations; the ability to excel at various positions.

    By contrast, SRT commanded ownership of his #4 position at 84%, the highest for a non-opener.

    Chanderpaul, excelled at #6, though he played twice as much at #5 [[ Engle The way Border has been shunted in various batting positions is an eye-opener. The complete tables have since been posted. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on April 27, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    Ananth, Thank you. Bit calmer in here. Will take a bit to really digest the tables. However, I will get a bit greedy( as usual) and wonder out loud whether certain other data can be garnered: 1) Just as Bradman’s figures lift the 30s averages, it is possible that the “weaker” batsmen in the 90s and 2000s ( for eg. in the Ban,Zim and England (ha!) teams) pull down the averages… 2) So, it is possible that the top batsmen in the 2000s may actually have had it even better than the top batsmen in the 90s(or some other decade) than actually shows up. 3) So, would it be possible to get data on just the top few (5/10 or so) batsmen in each decade? 4) As per Unni’s suggestion on value weighted by runs- would it be possible to do a table with this too decade wise? This again would show us not only the quantum of runs scored but when linked to average- will give us a better idea of “fill your boots” conditions. 5) For eg. a few runs at a very high average may not give us a true picture (particular batsman having a good run –Hussey avg say 90 over a 1000 or more runs) and may distort averages. A value weighted approach may be more accurate. Thanks again. The tables are small but are going to take a while to digest. [[ Abhi I did these in a macro way, in other words, set up only a matrix of 8 (decades) by 6 (batpos'). To do what you want, I agree it is quite logical, I have to complicate the process by adding a third dimension, say selected batsmen for each decade or teams, or both. I will look at doing it, but only after some time. My gut feel is that it is easier to identify the "high" averages. Not so easy to get the impact of low averages since in each decade there are bound to be weaklings, not necessarily Zim or Bang, but as you have pointed out England. I am sure India, Pakistan, South Africa, England, New Zealand and recently West Indies have all been quite weak for years. "Greedy" readers are my bane and boon. How can I live without them. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on April 27, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    Ananth - Great table. Could you please do similar tables for the #balls faced by each batting position? [[ Alex I will do it provided extrapolation is accepted for the first 1000 tests or so. However the last three decades should be quite alright. Will add to "things to do" plate. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on April 27, 2010, 11:31 GMT

    Ananth -

    1. This request is not related to the thread but is it possible to work out similar tables for partnerships - runs scored for the 1st wkt, for the 2nd wkt, etc.? It would be interesting to see how those differ from the batting position tables.

    2. Also, a country-wise breakdown of the tables would be useful.

    3. The 30's and 40's were more fun than 00's for positions 1-5 even after we discount the Bradman factor.

    4. Maybe 60's was not so interesting: your earlier article shows that it did not feature great bowling performances (i.e., bowlers taking >X wkts/match). This article shows that, on average, the Top 6 batsmen did not perform that great either in 60's (too many mediocre batsmen perhaps: Ind & NZ). 70's saw radical changes: ODI's, Packer, SA boycott, helmets, etc. So, maybe 80's was the most fierce test for the batsmen since the 50's. The 90's being similar to 80's, looks like the 50's, 80's & 90's was the toughest time for batsmen to survive in cricket. [[ Alex I already have in my "To do list" lst an entry by the name "Alex: Test partnership analysis". Will expand the scope of that. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on April 27, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    @Ananth re. your `things to do` plate. It seems to resemble the Lernaean Hydra. Chop off one head and another 2 appear! [[ Boll I have already mentioned to Aalok that this blog is taking a disproportionate share of my time. However I derive far more satisfaction through my interaction with the wide range of readers from Aberdeen to Waikiki than what I might gain from other projects for which I could be compensated far more. The 80:20 rule. Ananth: ]]

  • Murali on April 28, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    Just want to know. If Table 1 is split into two columns - average of batsmen at each position (winning team) vs. average of batsmen at each position (losing team). probably it would indicate how much some teams (wi or aus) dominated during certain decades and scored mountains of runs. [[ Murali This table is at the highest macro level. As such it is certain that if the columns are split into "winning" and "losing", nothing much will be revealed. The "winning" average will necessarily be higher than the "losing". We will only get an insight into the difference in % at each position level. On the other hand a broader analysis, bringing in a third dimension of Team would reveal more since Bangladesh will get into a separte plane thus not diluting the Australian figures. What you have suggested is certainly food for thought, an euphemism for adding on more to the plate. Ananth: ]]

  • Sandeep on April 28, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    How many innings did Bradman actually play at no 4? Perhaps that was a mistake on Bradman's part- he should have batted at no 3, and would have ended up with a career average of 100+! [[ Sandeep You can determine that yourself. He played 9 dismissed innings. Anyhow one four in his last innings would have given him an average of 100.00. For that matter if he played in a later test and retired at 4, he would have reached 100. I don't think he bothered about this at all. Ananth: ]]

  • Steve on April 29, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    We talk about how individual batsmen have impacted the stats. One wonders how much effect great bowlers have had on these tables. The West Indies & Lillee of the 80s, McGrath, Donald and Warne of the 90s, Akram & Yunis etc I'm sure McGrath and Akram had their impact on the opening and higher order slots and Warne certainly caused headaches for the middle order. The great West Indies of the 80s stitched up just about every position LOL

  • Mub on April 29, 2010, 22:02 GMT

    Hi Anantha, This might be a bit off-thread, but regarding the batting positions, I suppose each position has its attendant function/responsiblity. Openers are expected to negotiate the tricky conditions so that the better batsmen to follow at 3/4 make the runs, etc. What I was wondering is, is it possible to find a Test(s) that played out true to these roles? And then maybe find out if the batting positions are really designed truly or there are huge deviations. I don't know if this is even possible, but just a thought... [[ Mub Unfortunately these parameters are not clearly definable. It is not easy to set the parameters for analysis. Ananth: ]]