ODIs July 2, 2010

Significant ODI innings: a look at the innings and the batsmen

A look at the most significant innings in ODIs and the batsmen.
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Viv Richards' 189 against England is the top ODI innings © Getty Images

The articles on significant innings in Tests received very good response from the readers with excellent suggestions for improvement which enabled me to come out with a follow-up article incorporating a number of suggestions. That has emboldened me to do the same for ODIs. Many of the lessons learnt from the earlier exercises have been applied in this effort.

The numbers have totally different implications in the two formats. The data availability, especially the scoring rates, is 100% in ODIs as compared to Tests. Balls faced has different implications in Tests and ODIs. Almost always cameos mean nothing in Tests, not so in ODIs. Hence the two processes are as different as chalk and cheese.

As I have already explained in the Test articles, the following measures have not been considered. All these have value in a Ratings exercise. Not in this effort. And if I consider one I have to consider all.

- Ground/Pitch conditions. - Result. - Quality of bowing attack. - Team strength of opposition. - Innings position at entry. - Home/Away. - Importance of match et al.

The only figures used are the runs scored and balls faced by the concerned batsman and the runs scored and balls faced by his team. No other data is used. It makes the exercise simpler and easier to understand.

The most important requirement of a batsman is to score runs. The next important requirement is that he scores these runs as quickly as possible. Nothing more. I have followed this important guideline in determining the significance of innings. "Significance" is a subjective word and this methodology converts this into an objective measurable process.

After a lot of experimentation, I have determined that I should adopt a different methodology for ODIs. Partly I have used my favourite weighting concept. I have weighted the innings on five measures, assigned these values based on a pre-determined formulae and summed these five values. That represents the significant innings index and the rest is routine. The measures are explained below.

1. Absolute runs scored: It took 26 years for the 175 to be overhauled by 189, the 189 to be equalized, the 189 to be overtaken by 194, the 194 to be equalized and (this time, quite quickly) the first 200 to be scored. Hence I have kept 200 as the pinnacle. Let me cross the 200+ bridge as and when it is crossed by a batsman. The little master's 200 gets 2 points and the other innings get proportionate values.

2. % of Team score: It is very important to differentiate innings such as the 189 which was scored out of 272 and the 175 out of 262 from the 200 which was out of 401 and a 101 out of 363. Hence this percentage is calculated and 2 points allocated for a % of team score value of 84.2% which is the highest % of team share achieved by McCullum (80 out of 95).

3. Score comparison with 'runs per batsman': This is somewhat similar to the Test significant innings work. This is necessary to distinguish between an innings of 150 out of 300 for 2 and an innings of 150 out of 300 all out. The first two values for these two innings will be identical. The Runs per batsman (the number of batsmen who took strike - as against the wickets) value is calculated and the ratio between the batsman runs and this value arrived at. The maximum value of 2 points are allotted for a ratio of 7.64. Richards' 189* has the highest ratio and gets allotted a point value of 2.00.

4. Absolute scoring rate: This is an important measure and gets recognized. Out of all qualifying innings, Chris Lewis' 20 in 6 has the highest scoring rate, viz., 333.3. This is taken as the base for fixing the 2.0 point mark. The other innings get proportionate allocations based on their innings strike rates. The highest innings included, Shahid Afridi's 55 off 18 balls, has a strike rate of 305.6. This innings gets a value for this index of 1.83 points.

5. Strike rate comparison with 'team strike rate': This is somewhat similar to the Test significant innings work. This is necessary to distinguish between an innings of 50 off 50 balls out of 150 in 50 overs and an innings of 50 off 50 balls out of 300 in 50 overs. The fourth measure value for these two innings will be identical. The Strike rate value for the team is calculated and the ratio between the batsman strike rate and this value arrived at. The maximum value of 2 points are allotted for a ratio of 4.67. Afridi's 29 off 10 (2.90) out of a Pakistani total of 142 off 37.5 (0.62) has the highest ratio of 4.67 and gets allotted a point value of 2.00. The others get allotted proportionate values.

Thus it can be seen that runs scored has a weight of 60% and strike rate 40%. It seems fair to me since ultimately runs matter more. However there is no overlap and each measure has a clear significance and separation.

A few other criteria to define the significant innings.

1. All not out scores of below 20 are excluded from consideration. Such scores happen often in ODIs and these should not distort the picture.

2. A SI total value of 2.50 has been considered to be the minimum required for being a significant innings. This represents 25% of the maximum and has worked out quite well.

3. The batsmen listed are those who have scored 3000 ODI runs and above. Readers should remember two facts. One is that all innings are considered and included in the analysis. It is only for display of the tables that the cut-off of 3000 runs is taken. There is nothing arbitrary about this. I also considered use of number of innings, say 100, for cut-off. However this leads to the inclusion of quite few bowlers. 3000 runs gives us 109 batsmen, a good population size. 2000 runs will increase this to 157 but will also bring in quite a few non-batsmen.

Now let us look at the tables.

First the list of top batsmen ordered by the % of SIs played out of the selected innings.

List of top batsmen ordered by the % of SIs played out of the selected innings
No. Batsman Country Innings Runs Sel Inns SI Inns %SI Avg SIIdx Avg SI-RPI
1 Vivian Richards WI 167 6721 163 64 39.26 3.434 75.0
2 Sachin Tendulkar Ind 431 17598 424 155 36.56 3.413 84.2
3 Michael Hussey Aus 120 4208 114 41 35.96 3.005 63.7
4 Chris Gayle WI 215 7885 214 72 33.64 3.365 76.8
5 MS Dhoni Ind 147 5593 139 46 33.09 3.111 73.7
6 Kevin Pietersen Eng 93 3332 93 30 32.26 3.283 74.5
7 Marcus Trescothick Eng 122 4335 121 39 32.23 3.374 80.4
8 Brian Lara WI 289 10405 285 91 31.93 3.330 75.7
9 Gordon Greenidge WI 127 5134 126 40 31.75 3.170 81.7
10 Saeed Anwar Pak 244 8824 243 75 30.86 3.264 76.1
11 AB de Villiers SA 97 3616 95 29 30.53 3.203 77.8
12 Andy Flower Zim 208 6786 204 62 30.39 3.058 69.8
13 Jacques Kallis SA 289 10838 280 85 30.36 3.119 79.4
14 Dean Jones Aus 161 6068 157 47 29.94 3.232 76.5
15 Virender Sehwag Ind 217 7112 215 64 29.77 3.298 71.7
16 Allan Lamb Eng 118 4010 116 34 29.31 3.188 69.0
17 Martin Crowe NZ 141 4704 137 40 29.20 3.312 72.2
18 Graeme Smith SA 152 5732 152 44 28.95 3.211 76.2
19 Nick Knight Eng 100 3637 98 28 28.57 3.300 81.1
20 Adam Gilchrist Aus 279 9619 277 79 28.52 3.315 74.1

There should be no surprises in the top-3. Richards and Tendulkar are the two "First among equals". Nearly 40% of the innings Richards has played are significant indicating the impact he has had on the game. There is some daylight and then there is Tendulkar. The fact that more than a third of the 400+ innings he has played are significant is a stupendous achievement. His influence on the modern game and the Indian team's ODI performances is legendary. Now comes Hussey, whose place in the modern game as a finisher is substantiated by this high ranking. I do not understand why he should bat behind White in the current Australian team. He also comes in quite often in situations where he has no option but to take undue risks (as at Oval a few days back).

Next the list of top batsmen ordered by the number of SIs played.

List of top batsmen ordered by the num of SIs played
No. Batsman Country Innings Runs Sel Inns SI Inns %SI Avg SIIdx Avg SI-RPI
1 Sachin Tendulkar Ind 431 17598 424 155 36.56 3.413 84.2
2 Sanath Jayasuriya SL 432 13428 428 113 26.40 3.410 75.5
3 Ricky Ponting Aus 341 13057 331 92 27.79 3.135 82.2
4 Brian Lara WI 289 10405 285 91 31.93 3.330 75.7
5 Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 350 11739 347 89 25.65 3.098 71.6
6 Jacques Kallis SA 289 10838 280 85 30.36 3.119 79.4
7 Aravinda de Silva SL 296 9284 292 81 27.74 3.235 72.5
8 Rahul Dravid Ind 313 10765 303 81 26.73 3.031 74.1
9 Adam Gilchrist Aus 279 9619 277 79 28.52 3.315 74.1
10 Saeed Anwar Pak 244 8824 243 75 30.86 3.264 76.1
11 Saurav Ganguly Ind 300 11363 297 75 25.25 3.333 89.2
12 Chris Gayle WI 215 7885 214 72 33.64 3.365 76.8
13 Mohammad Yousuf Pak 267 9624 265 72 27.17 3.199 76.9
14 Shahid Afridi Pak 278 6222 269 70 26.02 3.237 54.1
15 Mahela Jayawardene SL 302 8863 291 70 24.05 3.066 70.4
16 Mohammmed Azharuddin Ind 308 9378 297 68 22.90 3.174 70.9
17 Shivnarine Chanderpaul WI 245 8648 237 67 28.27 3.216 73.6
18 Vivian Richards WI 167 6721 163 64 39.26 3.434 75.0
19 Virender Sehwag Ind 217 7112 215 64 29.77 3.298 71.7
20 Herschelle Gibbs SA 240 8094 238 64 26.89 3.328 82.7

This is the one time a longevity table has some meaning. Tendulkar has played over 150 significant innings. To do this day in and day out for over 21 years is the stuff only the all-time-greats can dream of. Note the 27% gap between Tendulkar and Jayasuriya, although both have played the same number of ODI games. Three wonderful ODI batsmen, Ponting, Lara and Inzamam follow next. The top-5 are all awe-inspiring ODI batsmen.

The last one is the list of top batsmen ordered by the average value of SI index.

List of top batsmen ordered by the average SI Index value
No. Batsman Country Innings Runs Sel Inns SI Inns %SI Avg SIIdx Avg SI-RPI
1 David Gower Eng 111 3170 109 20 18.35 3.505 80.8
2 Vivian Richards WI 167 6721 163 64 39.26 3.434 75.0
3 Sachin Tendulkar Ind 431 17598 424 155 36.56 3.413 84.2
4 Sanath Jayasuriya SL 432 13428 428 113 26.40 3.410 75.5
5 Marcus Trescothick Eng 122 4335 121 39 32.23 3.374 80.4
6 Graham Gooch Eng 122 4290 121 25 20.66 3.372 82.6
7 Chris Gayle WI 215 7885 214 72 33.64 3.365 76.8
8 Steve Tikolo Ken 121 3304 120 31 25.83 3.342 68.5
9 Nathan Astle NZ 217 7090 217 54 24.88 3.325 85.2
10 Saurav Ganguly Ind 300 11363 297 75 25.25 3.333 89.2
11 Brian Lara WI 289 10405 285 91 31.93 3.330 75.7
12 Herschelle Gibbs SA 240 8094 238 64 26.89 3.328 82.7
13 Adam Gilchrist Aus 279 9619 277 79 28.52 3.315 74.1
14 Desmond Haynes WI 237 8648 236 60 25.42 3.312 84.1
15 Martin Crowe NZ 141 4704 127 40 29.20 3.312 72.2
16 Shoaib Malik Pak 172 5188 162 35 21.60 3.311 79.5
17 Geoff Marsh Aus 115 4357 115 26 22.61 3.308 90.1
18 Nick Knight Eng 100 3637 98 28 28.57 3.300 81.1
19 Virender Sehwag Ind 217 7112 215 64 29.77 3.298 71.7
20 Kevin Pietersen Eng 93 3332 93 30 32.26 3.283 74.5

There is a surprise at the top. I would have expected Richards and Tendulkar to be on top. However they have been leap-frogged by the stylist, David Gower. That indicates that when he performed, Gower went way past the line. Richards follows next close behind and is followed by Tendulkar. Very well-deserved positions indeed for these greats. Jayasuriya and Trescothick take the next two places. In this table Hussey is quite low with only around 3 points.

Readers will note that I have also given the average runs per innings for the SIs. Tendulkar's average RpI is very high at 84.2. Richards' RpI value is 80.0. Note the very high RpI value of Ganguly, 89.2. In fact Ganguly is second only to Geoff Marsh who has averaged 90.1 runs. Astle is in third place with 85.2 and Tendulkar is fourth. Hussey is way down with a value of 63.7 runs indicating the inability to play longer innings in late-order.

Finally the top four SI values and the related scorecards.

If some one does not know about Richards' all-time classic innings, he probably follows only T20 games or is not interested in Cricket. Over the past few years I have done quite a few ODI Innings rating lists, including the Wisden-100. The one constant factor in all these lists is the presence of Richards' 189* in the top place. Not once has this innings come second. It is my firm conviction that if 100 unbiased, objective and informed followers are asked the question of what was the best ever ODI innings, 90 would point to Richards' 189.

The points secured by Richards are 1.89, 1.65, 2.00, 0.67 and 0.58 totaling to 6.79 points.

The only reason why Kapil Dev's 175* is in second place is the presence of Richards' 189. Otherwise the same 90 would point to Kapil's classic as the best ever. To say that this innings was one of the major reasons for India winning the World Cup may not be hyperbole.

The points secured by Kapil Dev are 1.75, 1.56, 1.72, 0.76 and 0.74 totaling to 6.53 points.

Third is Coventry's monumental 194, albeit on the losing side. The points secured by Coventry are 1.94, 1.48, 1.62, 0.75 and 0.52 totaling to 6.31 points.

In fourth place is a surprise innings. Not even a hundred and not even in a winning cause. However its place is well-deserved mainly because of the way-out scoring rate. How Sri Lanka lost after this Jayasuriya classic is a mystery. The points secured by Jayasuriya are 0.76, 1.05, 1.27, 1.63 and 1.34 totaling to 6.05 points.

I have given the summary figures below. I have not done the %. I leave it for the readers.

TotInns:52235 TotSelInns: 46329 Tot SIs: 7952 100+runs: 1072 50+runs: 5054 <50runs:1826 BPos 1-7: 6967 BPos 8-11: 985 1Inns: 4284 2Inns: 3668 Wins: 4361 Losses: 3416 Ties/NRs: 175

I have also made available the complete list of significant performances for all the 109 qualifying batsmen. Let me warn that this is a huge file (660k). This is a formatted text file and could easily be imported into an Excel sheet.

To view/down-load the list of SIs , please click/right-click here.

To view/down-load the complete Player tables, all three in a single file, please click/right-click here.

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

  • Alex on July 16, 2010, 2:27 GMT

    Sarosh: This might be tangential to the thread but, IMO, SRT has more than recovered the lost ground and deserves to be recognized with greater distinction than he merited back in 2002. A true test of a champion is how he recovers from misfortunes/failures. His % of SI innings since Dec '06 exceeds 50 in both tests and ODI's. This phase also featured, IMO, his best ever ODI performances. As he cuts down on ODI's and focuses more on test cricket, he might produce his best ever test performances in the next 2-3 years. I certainly wish him the best for it!

  • Alex on July 16, 2010, 1:58 GMT

    Ananth:

    1. Pl consider publishing an updated all-time Top 100 list when you have time and resources available; let us know how we may help in this process. SIIdx can be used to restrict the sample set to choose from (e.g., consider only inn having SIIdx value > 1.5).

    2. One question that summarizes many sentences on quality of bowling, series/match situation, tail-enders, # runs scored, match result: was Lara's 153* better than his 213? (I award the biscuit to 213 although 153* was more dramatic, thanks in parts to the ineptitude of other WI batsmen & in parts to it being a 4th inn rather than a 2nd inn).

    3. It'd be nice to have 4 Top 40 lists (rather than a Top 100): 1st innings, 2nd innings, 3rd innings, and 4th. Characteristics of a good 1st inn differ from those of a good 4th inn, etc. So, comparisons make more sense this way, IMO. Likewise, in ODI's, two separate Top 50 (or Top 100) lists: one for 1st inn and another for chasing inn.

  • Sarosh on July 15, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    Alex: Where did that come from? There is no question of attacking Lara. I offered a counterpoint to some comments Ananth earlier made on Lara’s retirement. It would take complete ignorance to claim that Lara was not capable of producing more magic innings. The thing is that the frequency of such innings was reducing even by Laraesque standards. Like Richards before him it is doubtful whether Lara would have changed his style. So the cavalier West Indian batting approach coupled with Lara’s innate genius would undoubtedly have produced some more gems. The question boils down to : Would even the hardened Lara fans have preferred that he stay on for another 3 years and produce some 2 or 3 magical innings a year, while averaging 40? Would it be worth the price? That is the only question really. Some persons would answer in the affirmative, and some not. As regards SRT I still feel that it remains to be seen whether the next few years were worth the damage to his reputation. We will know only when assessing his entire career after he decides to hang up his boots. The tirades he had to endure from not only the experts,statisticians and media but also the fans , including being booed off his homeground in 2006- would have been unthinkable a few years before. Fellow players too revised their opinions about him . In 2003 Mcgrath stated SRT was tops. In 2007 apparently Lara was slightly more dangerous. Whether SRT can recapture the lost ground not only in numbers but reputation is also open to debate. NB: In the Multan Test 818 runs were scored for the loss of a total of 17 wickets for Pakistan. For the West Indies 591 runs( 10 wickets). The Multan pitch for some years now is not a reliable indicator of a batsman’s form, Lara’s masterclass notwithstanding. Especially when considering the 1st innings although there hardly seems to be minimal detioration even on the 5th day.

  • Abhi on July 15, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    Ananth, Thanks. Your list undoubtedly took care of the epic innings by bringing them on board.I was wondering about those that didn't make it. Not just Tendulkar's inn.s in losses but also several others such as Lara's inn. in losses inc. the SL/Murali ones. Later lists would include his mid 2000s inn. vs. SA and so on. It just seems patently unfair to a batsman to have an inn. considered not so great due to the competence, or lack of, of his teammates. [[ Abhi The first one was a 6 month on-off effort with inputs from Steven Lynch and many at wisden-online. But it was the first time such an exercise was done and while not necessarily "swiss-cheese" certainly could be improved upon. One day i will re-do that, sponsored or not, incorporating all the inputs provided. 1. Catches info not available. 2. Form in lieu of CTD seems fair. 3. Tail-end quality is again correct. After all vaas is quite different to McGrath. 4. The only thing I say is that 20 for 2 is not the same as 100 for 2, irrespective of the pitch type. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 15, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    Ananth - I am not foolish enough to pick up a concrete cricketing argument with you. I only point out that, defending a gettably small target on the 5th day, Waugh had to (i) overly rely on McGrath who bowled 30+ overs, I think, on the last day, and (ii) give bowling to demoralized Warne-McGill (without trying M Waugh etc.). So, while I think 153* is possibly an all-time #2 or #3 innings (I prefer VVS' 281 at #2), the attack wasn't quite as great as it appears.

    On 155*, Reiffel got injured early in the 2nd inn. Ind had 257 off 108 overs in 1st inn, conceded 71 run lead, and were 115/2 off 43 when SRT arrived with the attack (Warne-Kaspro) looking pretty formidable - although, in hindsight, we know better. The 155* off 191 fully turned the match in India's favour. Unfortunately, Cricinfo does not have details on who bowled the overs after the 43rd over and, thereby, give a better perspective.

  • Alex on July 15, 2010, 1:10 GMT

    Sarosh - I don't know why you are targeting Lara. Just look up his score-boards from '06 & '07; better still, watch their videos. The Multan double (and even the first century) was so exquisite that even Pak players (and Indians, incl. Dravid) openly praised Lara to be in a class of his own. With someone like Lara (& Sehwag), it is best to accept a string of low scores, knowing that a few exceptional performances are just round the corner.

  • Alex on July 15, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    Ananth - I feel Aussie attack in SRT's 155* was almost as good as that in Lara's 153*. Reiffel was an almost great (who unfortunately had an injury-plagued career). Warne & Kaspro entered the series in good form; the constant beating they recd from Ind starting this test put Warne out of form for a year (which incl. Lara's magic series) and almost ruined Kaspro's career. In 153*, Waugh had to rely on only McGrath to strike. [[ Alex 54 overs by Robertson, Blewett, Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh ??? Ananth: ]] SIIdx is a useful filter - batting is primarily about not getting out and putting runs on the board. As Chappell pointed out in awarding the 175, a 175 would probably be that much better if SRT/Lara score it because of the additional class that will go in the batting process. So, I think fans should add additional points (or a fraction) to SIIdx to satisfy themselves. As it is, SIIdx did assign 3.5 to SRT's 122 (vs Eng in '96) which was a class apart batting exhibition (but not mentioned very often).

  • Abhi on July 14, 2010, 14:31 GMT

    Ananth, The next time you attempt a “best inn. “ list I wonder if you could give consideration to the foll: 1) “Catches dropped are taken as catches held”…since clearly this has got absolutely nothing to do with “batting quality” . 2) Also, when deciding on “pitch quality” musnt the quality of OWN team batsmen be taken into account? If you have a bunch of goofs who can’t bat get out cheaply how in the world does this reflect on the pitch? They would in all probability get out cheaply on a road as well. 3) Instead of CTD figures for bowlers (in my opinion a very misleading stat)...since as we know all players have ups and downs in “form”. So, a “form” figure would be better……say in the previous 5 matches/6 months etc…CTD is much too vague. During say a 10/15 yr career a bowler may bowl very well in a particular narrow time frame and pathetically in another. A “form” figure will be better. 4) Also, when taking into account batting with “tail” etc…the actual “quality” of the tail is vital. We cannot simply assume that all “tails” are identical. 5) Again as rgds “score when batsmen came in”…if you have a couple of incompetents opening the batting – even on a good batting track they may mess up. Etc etc [[ Abhi I did the Wisden-100 list in the early part of my "analysis" career. Since then, during the past 10 years, I have done hundreds of analysis, fine-tuned everything to the nth degree, received fantastic comments from the blog readers and in general I have myself learnt a lot more on Cricket analysis. If I re-do, say a XYZ-100, I will probably do a far more different and more effective job. Just to take one comparison, while I will still give Lara the additional credit for staying throiugh till the end, I would probably give Sachin more credit for taking the innings to 254 for 6, only 14 runs short. And I would give credit for scoring quickly. But in general the Wisden-100 was a very good list. Think of Bradman's 270, Lara's 153*, Gooch's 154, Laxman's 281, Botham's 149, Hill's 188. these are well-deserving of their place in the top-10. Once again, many thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on July 14, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    If someone would kindly explain to me how Mcgrath,Gillespie,Warne can be considered better than Wasim,Waqar bowling superbly and reversing the ball on a wearing pitch and Saqlain with a still mystery doosra – I would be most happy. As it is, It is entirely and completely beyond my comprehension. Can you in your wildest dreams imagine Ambrose surving some 7 overs vs. Wasim and Saqy in such a situation? [[ Abhi First thank you for keeping track of the articles. I thought I had lost one of my best reader/critics. Your comments are extremely valuable and let them come in. I owe an apology to Sarosh (and you). I have been asked most of the questions on the other Sachin Chennal classic (155) that i made the mistake of referring to that attack. That attack incidentally was Kaspro, Reiffel, Robertson, Warne (off colur) and Blewett. You will agree that that attack is no patch on either the Pakistan attack (Sachin's 136) or Australian attack at Bridgeiown (Lara's 153). As far as the tail-ender lasting, both attacks were very good and the Indian tail failed while the Windian tail succeeded. it was unfoirtunate that, in a way, Sachin paid for the incompetency of the Indian tail which had a far more easier task than the Windian tail. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 14, 2010, 12:01 GMT

    Ananth - superb innings played by certain players gets more ink than otherwise. Even before the 241, Sobers' 132 & 168 ('61) were lauded that time as the most dazzling batting display seen Aus whereas Kanhai's super batting had recd a bronze in press ink. Sobers' 241 recd universal adulation but Kanhai's 118 did not - and this despite Sobers' view that Kanhai was the best batsman of 60's. Here, Benaud was asked why he thought SRT best since Don (he added "not by much over Lara & there plenty of others around the same mark"). He couldn't explain beyond the poise and cited the 148*. In recalling "great" innings, many people (incl. experts) tend to recall "great" batsman, take pains to recall his exceptional innings and justify it as "great". Hardly fair! This article was a refreshingly different approach that reminded me of gems such as Taylor's 144 and Slater's 123. The sight of Taylor walking out for a toss was an assurance that one team will put on a tactically super show!

  • Alex on July 16, 2010, 2:27 GMT

    Sarosh: This might be tangential to the thread but, IMO, SRT has more than recovered the lost ground and deserves to be recognized with greater distinction than he merited back in 2002. A true test of a champion is how he recovers from misfortunes/failures. His % of SI innings since Dec '06 exceeds 50 in both tests and ODI's. This phase also featured, IMO, his best ever ODI performances. As he cuts down on ODI's and focuses more on test cricket, he might produce his best ever test performances in the next 2-3 years. I certainly wish him the best for it!

  • Alex on July 16, 2010, 1:58 GMT

    Ananth:

    1. Pl consider publishing an updated all-time Top 100 list when you have time and resources available; let us know how we may help in this process. SIIdx can be used to restrict the sample set to choose from (e.g., consider only inn having SIIdx value > 1.5).

    2. One question that summarizes many sentences on quality of bowling, series/match situation, tail-enders, # runs scored, match result: was Lara's 153* better than his 213? (I award the biscuit to 213 although 153* was more dramatic, thanks in parts to the ineptitude of other WI batsmen & in parts to it being a 4th inn rather than a 2nd inn).

    3. It'd be nice to have 4 Top 40 lists (rather than a Top 100): 1st innings, 2nd innings, 3rd innings, and 4th. Characteristics of a good 1st inn differ from those of a good 4th inn, etc. So, comparisons make more sense this way, IMO. Likewise, in ODI's, two separate Top 50 (or Top 100) lists: one for 1st inn and another for chasing inn.

  • Sarosh on July 15, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    Alex: Where did that come from? There is no question of attacking Lara. I offered a counterpoint to some comments Ananth earlier made on Lara’s retirement. It would take complete ignorance to claim that Lara was not capable of producing more magic innings. The thing is that the frequency of such innings was reducing even by Laraesque standards. Like Richards before him it is doubtful whether Lara would have changed his style. So the cavalier West Indian batting approach coupled with Lara’s innate genius would undoubtedly have produced some more gems. The question boils down to : Would even the hardened Lara fans have preferred that he stay on for another 3 years and produce some 2 or 3 magical innings a year, while averaging 40? Would it be worth the price? That is the only question really. Some persons would answer in the affirmative, and some not. As regards SRT I still feel that it remains to be seen whether the next few years were worth the damage to his reputation. We will know only when assessing his entire career after he decides to hang up his boots. The tirades he had to endure from not only the experts,statisticians and media but also the fans , including being booed off his homeground in 2006- would have been unthinkable a few years before. Fellow players too revised their opinions about him . In 2003 Mcgrath stated SRT was tops. In 2007 apparently Lara was slightly more dangerous. Whether SRT can recapture the lost ground not only in numbers but reputation is also open to debate. NB: In the Multan Test 818 runs were scored for the loss of a total of 17 wickets for Pakistan. For the West Indies 591 runs( 10 wickets). The Multan pitch for some years now is not a reliable indicator of a batsman’s form, Lara’s masterclass notwithstanding. Especially when considering the 1st innings although there hardly seems to be minimal detioration even on the 5th day.

  • Abhi on July 15, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    Ananth, Thanks. Your list undoubtedly took care of the epic innings by bringing them on board.I was wondering about those that didn't make it. Not just Tendulkar's inn.s in losses but also several others such as Lara's inn. in losses inc. the SL/Murali ones. Later lists would include his mid 2000s inn. vs. SA and so on. It just seems patently unfair to a batsman to have an inn. considered not so great due to the competence, or lack of, of his teammates. [[ Abhi The first one was a 6 month on-off effort with inputs from Steven Lynch and many at wisden-online. But it was the first time such an exercise was done and while not necessarily "swiss-cheese" certainly could be improved upon. One day i will re-do that, sponsored or not, incorporating all the inputs provided. 1. Catches info not available. 2. Form in lieu of CTD seems fair. 3. Tail-end quality is again correct. After all vaas is quite different to McGrath. 4. The only thing I say is that 20 for 2 is not the same as 100 for 2, irrespective of the pitch type. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 15, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    Ananth - I am not foolish enough to pick up a concrete cricketing argument with you. I only point out that, defending a gettably small target on the 5th day, Waugh had to (i) overly rely on McGrath who bowled 30+ overs, I think, on the last day, and (ii) give bowling to demoralized Warne-McGill (without trying M Waugh etc.). So, while I think 153* is possibly an all-time #2 or #3 innings (I prefer VVS' 281 at #2), the attack wasn't quite as great as it appears.

    On 155*, Reiffel got injured early in the 2nd inn. Ind had 257 off 108 overs in 1st inn, conceded 71 run lead, and were 115/2 off 43 when SRT arrived with the attack (Warne-Kaspro) looking pretty formidable - although, in hindsight, we know better. The 155* off 191 fully turned the match in India's favour. Unfortunately, Cricinfo does not have details on who bowled the overs after the 43rd over and, thereby, give a better perspective.

  • Alex on July 15, 2010, 1:10 GMT

    Sarosh - I don't know why you are targeting Lara. Just look up his score-boards from '06 & '07; better still, watch their videos. The Multan double (and even the first century) was so exquisite that even Pak players (and Indians, incl. Dravid) openly praised Lara to be in a class of his own. With someone like Lara (& Sehwag), it is best to accept a string of low scores, knowing that a few exceptional performances are just round the corner.

  • Alex on July 15, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    Ananth - I feel Aussie attack in SRT's 155* was almost as good as that in Lara's 153*. Reiffel was an almost great (who unfortunately had an injury-plagued career). Warne & Kaspro entered the series in good form; the constant beating they recd from Ind starting this test put Warne out of form for a year (which incl. Lara's magic series) and almost ruined Kaspro's career. In 153*, Waugh had to rely on only McGrath to strike. [[ Alex 54 overs by Robertson, Blewett, Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh ??? Ananth: ]] SIIdx is a useful filter - batting is primarily about not getting out and putting runs on the board. As Chappell pointed out in awarding the 175, a 175 would probably be that much better if SRT/Lara score it because of the additional class that will go in the batting process. So, I think fans should add additional points (or a fraction) to SIIdx to satisfy themselves. As it is, SIIdx did assign 3.5 to SRT's 122 (vs Eng in '96) which was a class apart batting exhibition (but not mentioned very often).

  • Abhi on July 14, 2010, 14:31 GMT

    Ananth, The next time you attempt a “best inn. “ list I wonder if you could give consideration to the foll: 1) “Catches dropped are taken as catches held”…since clearly this has got absolutely nothing to do with “batting quality” . 2) Also, when deciding on “pitch quality” musnt the quality of OWN team batsmen be taken into account? If you have a bunch of goofs who can’t bat get out cheaply how in the world does this reflect on the pitch? They would in all probability get out cheaply on a road as well. 3) Instead of CTD figures for bowlers (in my opinion a very misleading stat)...since as we know all players have ups and downs in “form”. So, a “form” figure would be better……say in the previous 5 matches/6 months etc…CTD is much too vague. During say a 10/15 yr career a bowler may bowl very well in a particular narrow time frame and pathetically in another. A “form” figure will be better. 4) Also, when taking into account batting with “tail” etc…the actual “quality” of the tail is vital. We cannot simply assume that all “tails” are identical. 5) Again as rgds “score when batsmen came in”…if you have a couple of incompetents opening the batting – even on a good batting track they may mess up. Etc etc [[ Abhi I did the Wisden-100 list in the early part of my "analysis" career. Since then, during the past 10 years, I have done hundreds of analysis, fine-tuned everything to the nth degree, received fantastic comments from the blog readers and in general I have myself learnt a lot more on Cricket analysis. If I re-do, say a XYZ-100, I will probably do a far more different and more effective job. Just to take one comparison, while I will still give Lara the additional credit for staying throiugh till the end, I would probably give Sachin more credit for taking the innings to 254 for 6, only 14 runs short. And I would give credit for scoring quickly. But in general the Wisden-100 was a very good list. Think of Bradman's 270, Lara's 153*, Gooch's 154, Laxman's 281, Botham's 149, Hill's 188. these are well-deserving of their place in the top-10. Once again, many thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on July 14, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    If someone would kindly explain to me how Mcgrath,Gillespie,Warne can be considered better than Wasim,Waqar bowling superbly and reversing the ball on a wearing pitch and Saqlain with a still mystery doosra – I would be most happy. As it is, It is entirely and completely beyond my comprehension. Can you in your wildest dreams imagine Ambrose surving some 7 overs vs. Wasim and Saqy in such a situation? [[ Abhi First thank you for keeping track of the articles. I thought I had lost one of my best reader/critics. Your comments are extremely valuable and let them come in. I owe an apology to Sarosh (and you). I have been asked most of the questions on the other Sachin Chennal classic (155) that i made the mistake of referring to that attack. That attack incidentally was Kaspro, Reiffel, Robertson, Warne (off colur) and Blewett. You will agree that that attack is no patch on either the Pakistan attack (Sachin's 136) or Australian attack at Bridgeiown (Lara's 153). As far as the tail-ender lasting, both attacks were very good and the Indian tail failed while the Windian tail succeeded. it was unfoirtunate that, in a way, Sachin paid for the incompetency of the Indian tail which had a far more easier task than the Windian tail. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 14, 2010, 12:01 GMT

    Ananth - superb innings played by certain players gets more ink than otherwise. Even before the 241, Sobers' 132 & 168 ('61) were lauded that time as the most dazzling batting display seen Aus whereas Kanhai's super batting had recd a bronze in press ink. Sobers' 241 recd universal adulation but Kanhai's 118 did not - and this despite Sobers' view that Kanhai was the best batsman of 60's. Here, Benaud was asked why he thought SRT best since Don (he added "not by much over Lara & there plenty of others around the same mark"). He couldn't explain beyond the poise and cited the 148*. In recalling "great" innings, many people (incl. experts) tend to recall "great" batsman, take pains to recall his exceptional innings and justify it as "great". Hardly fair! This article was a refreshingly different approach that reminded me of gems such as Taylor's 144 and Slater's 123. The sight of Taylor walking out for a toss was an assurance that one team will put on a tactically super show!

  • Sarosh on July 14, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    Alex, Undoubtedly ,as you have pointed out there are several other batsmen who will also have played some top class innings. Including some of which you have pointed out. So,both Great batsmen and not so great batsmen seem to be able to produce Great innings.

  • Sarosh on July 14, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    Alex, Ananth: A) My bad. I mistook the Multan double for the earlier Adelaide double. I guess there will always be various opinions about Lara’s retirement. His avg. in his last year was the worst in his last few years. This inspite of the hundred and subsequent Multan double. His general string of scores for the year do show a decline.As rgds. The Multan double I don’t know how much to read into it. I recall SRT poking his way to a near double at Multan. And I could hardly recognise him as SRT, so bad did he play- the Multan pitch seems to be so dead that it is dicey to use that as a yardstick of form. However there is little doubt that Lara ,even out of form, would have performed better than the current lot of WI batsmen. B) Thank you for leading me to the SII dx scores. It lends further credence to what I meant about statistical models. Some examples: SRTs 248 vs Ban has a score of 3.14. I doubt whether anyone would put that up amongst even his top 30 inn. Whereas the 148 has a score of 2.03. Perhaps you are right and Benaud may have judged this one of the best innings ever played in Australia and not the best, but most statistical models do not recognise it as so. The 169 has a score of 1.68. The 103 -2.55. etc. The classic 136 score is 3.78. Lara’s greatest inn. , his 153* scores 3.64. Tweak the models a bit here and there and you may have huge differences. The Wisden top 100 list for eg has the 153 at No.2 and the 136 doesn’t even find place in the top 100. Some people may pick the 153 since after all the match was won. However, to not have the 136 even in the same frame is far fetched. By any yardstick SRTs 136 is an alltime classic, with greats such as Rahul too struggling to cope with Wasim and co. making the ball talk. Nevermind the poor tail. However, this innings somehow never seems to be found in any list of great innings. Lara’s top innings seems to be his 400 with a round score of 4.0. His next best is the 196 vs SAF with a score of 3.77. The whole thing is dependent on the statistical model used. And I am sure noone will claim that these models are anywhere near perfect. So, it is incorrect to use anything but a holistic approach when judging great innings. [[ Sarosh I have explained this quite a few times. Once more would not matter. Lara's 153 was ranked high because of the factors not considered in this article, viz., match status, innings position at entry, support received, result, strength of opposition, bowling quality et al. All these factors were considered for Tendulkar's 136. What pulled this innings down were two major factors, viz., very very poor Aussie attack (pl see the scorecard) and the result. I have explained this in press conferences of 100 journalists and about a 100 times afterwards.. Those who follow the game sincerely and are impartial appreciated the explanations. The others did not want to. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 14, 2010, 2:10 GMT

    Sarosh - I don't know about SRT. What he has done since Dec 2006 has impressed me more than his '99-'02 phase. But why talk about just one player? Ananth's analysis shows that SIIdx value of 4.0 has ever been crossed only 20 times in test cricket (and includes none of Don's innings though he came pretty close 2-3 times). This select list includes such overlooked gems like Taylor's 144 out of 265 ('91), Slater's 123 out of 184 ('99), Hazare's 145 out of 277 ('48), Cairns' 80 out of 162 ('99), Taibu's 153 out of 286 ('05), Reid's 100 out of 153 ('63), Willey's 100 out of 209 ('80). Kudos to Ananth's analysis that brings forth such gems!

  • Alex on July 14, 2010, 0:31 GMT

    Sarosh - your citation of Benaud is possibly not entirely correct. He called it _one_ of the best innings he had seen (not the best). One must bear in mind that the sample set of great innings that Benaud has seen must be pretty large - it is certainly at least 2 orders of magnitude larger than that of casual observers such as me.

    Also, I concur with Ananth on Lara - he probably had 2 more good years in him. He batted superbly in his final series in Pak, averaging 80+ and hitting 2 centuries. [[ Allex If you recall the two days at the end of the 2003 WC, Lara announced his retirement from Test cricket at the end of the England tour, some selectorial buffoon made a very insightful comment that there was no certainty that Lara would be considered to tour as a player (as if West Indies were bursting with players of Lara's calibre) and Lara promptly announced his retirement from Test cricket also. Whose loss was that, if not entirely West Indies'. Let me also say that the same Benaud pronounced, first Sobers 254 (in 326 balls!!!) as the best innings played in Australia and then Lara's 277 as the best. Ciorrectly, his own perception changed as more and more good innings came along. By the time he talked of Tendulkar's 148, the 254 was a blur. Ananth: ]]

  • Sarosh on July 11, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    Ananth: Further to this and the earlier post. I feel Lara retired at the right time- whether voluntarily or involuntarily. He was averaging in the low 40s in his last year though he had a few good innings towards the latter stages including a double hundred at Adelaide (“Three things certain in life - Death, Taxes and a Hundred at the Adelaide Oval”). I.e. he left with the romantics pining for more. You never know- he may have broken down to more human levels, the aura faded and ended up with a sub 50 average. Murali too seems to have made the right choice- perhaps the most difficult choice for an elite sportsman. He would well have got some more wickets but at the risk of leaking greater runs. Contrast this to SRT. The previous blog indicates that till 2003 SRT had an SI % of almost 50 % – i.e. a Bradmanesque SI %. With the onset of injuries and visibly diminished abilities a well timed retirement may have saved him not just a severe loss of reputation and dimming of his aura, but a hammering of his stats to go along with it as well. It remains to be seen whether his remaining few years were worth the price.

    Alex: I recall Benaud saying that SRTs 148* was the best innings he had ever seen in Australia. As we know there have been several innings with higher scores played including Shastri’s own double in the same innings. Other examples which come to mind are SRTs 169 vs. SA, which Donald says is the best anyone has ever played against him etc. SRT probably picks the 103* as his most significant innings to a large extent on what transpired off the pitch- not an indicator that it was actually SRT at his best or his best innings. So, when judging great innings we require to use a more holistic approach instead of pigeon holing ourselves with rigid statistical models.

  • Navin on July 8, 2010, 9:08 GMT

    Dear Ananth, I alwasy wait for you to post the next column. This time as I was preoccupied could not read it on time. Excellent Analysis as always. Its pretty early but I think innings Yuvraj played against ENG in T20 WC'07 would rate at top in such list of T20's.

  • Bharadwaj on July 6, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    Ananth, what an extraordinary effort you have put in to bring about such an astonishingly true facts. Thank you. I think our selectors should do these calculations and then select the players at the national level. I am sure apart from Dhoni who is fit to play cricket for India for another 15 years we havent unearthed any class players in the past 7-8 years. That is because in the flat pitches of India everyone scores a hundred and the selection gets down to good fielders or low level all rounders like Jadeja(as of now, he has age to improve). Classy players who can play significant innings are increasingly becoming a rare breed exactly due to the distorted average system which is as old as B.C [[ Bharadwaj It is an amusing thought to picturize the selectors, some of whom could barely understand the batting average, being explained the SI average. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravindra Marathe on July 6, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    Thanks for the full list Ananth. It is a mine of useful information. Only one needs to know where and how deep to dig. Sorting on SR, I have made some observations. 1)Cameos (rapid small/medium scores) have relatively high SIIdx and go someway in 'changing the course of the match'. 2)However Afridi's 10ball 29 is first with a v high SR and SIIdx, followed by 15 bowlers all quickfire scoring 40 or less! The first proper batsman's cameo is Lance Cairns' at no.19 and then Lara's and Jayasuriya's. The SIIdx for mainstream batsmen is a stronger function of the %TS and Runs than of SR. As the article reveals towards the end, there are over 5000 50+ scores, about 1000 100+scores and about 1800 scores below 50. Also, for runs: mean=68, median=65, Stdev=26. For SIIdx: mean=3.1, median=3, Stdev=0.56. For a 0.5stdev around the mean SIIdx, the avg runs are 66.8. Just some quick observations/calcs. Haven't analysed in detail.

  • vidyendaran on July 6, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    Ananth, just one last comment, I am very surprised that in the top 20 list, a player like Nick Knight figures but someone like Yuvraj Singh does not appear????? honestly, he has played some stupendous knocks and some very very significant innings right? how did this happen? [[ Vidyendra As I have alreadt mentiopned please download the text file, import into an Excel file and check out the player innings. It is possible that Yuvraj was inconsistent. Do not go only by those brilliant innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Vidyendaran on July 5, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    Ananth, when you talk about significant innings, what about some of the knocks which have a high impact factor, i mean some of the little knocks? like Jadeja's 46 against Pak in 96 world cup, Inzamam's 60 against NZ in 92 world cup s/f, Azharuddin's 90 against SA in hero cup s/f, Lance Klusener's 30 odd cameo in the 99 world cup s/f although on a losing cause(tie actually).... i think some of these knocks have very high impact factors... any other high impact ones little knocks? [[ Vidyendra You yourself could do that. Import the text file into an Excel file and do a selection of smaller innings with high SI value. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 5, 2010, 1:08 GMT

    Ananth: Re Ravindra's comment, I have two suggestions:

    1. If similar analysis is worked out for partnerships, that would be great. In a chase, it would be good to further scale it by the ratio of #runs scored while the batsman (or a pair) was at the crease and #runs needed when the batsman (or a pair) started to bat. [[ Alex Partnership data is not available in full. Earlier matches did not have the FoW information for specific batsmen. Can only try. Ananth: ]]

    2. On his valid observation re Murray-Roberts & WI #10-11 in Championship trophy, if we assign a base value, say A, of the expected performance from a batsman (or a pair) and scale the actual performance, say B, with it, it, i.e., B/A, would tell us about how radical an outlier it was. To decide on the value of A, I guess you can compute, as a rough approximation, the ave SIIdx for Top 5 batsmen, for #6-#7, and for #8-#11. Likewise for partnerships. It will have loop-holes since SIIdx itself has a few (as does any stat metric) but could give more information. [[ Have to do a bit of heuristic work. Ananth: ]]

  • Vidyendaran on July 4, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    Ananth, obviously when you compile a list like this, the big innings ultimately stand out. But spare a heart for some of the little knocks which stand out. One offhand i can recall is Tendulkar's 42 against WestIndies in 1997. The pitch conditions, quality of the attack and the strokeplay, balance and timing of the master was beyond compare. What do you say? [[ Vidyendra, That was an excellent comment. The subject innings was indeed a miniature classic. 44 i(in 43 balls incl 10 x 4s) against a top class attack of Ambrose/Walsh/Bishop/Rose. This was out of an Indian total of 179. India lost the match comfortably. This innings, incidentally, received a quite good SI score of 3.09 which is higher that what was received by many a 100. Incidenttally Tendulkar scored an unbeaten 65 to give India a 10-wkt win in the next ODI. Thanks for letting me talk about a nice innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravindra Marathe on July 4, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    Ananth, Commendations for taking a firm stance against comments on/against certain players. On the topic of significant ODI innings some other 'passages of play' come to mind. Some are not individual innings but partnerships but had great impact and significance nevertheless. 1)Murray/Roberts rescuing WI v Pak 1975 WC, 2)Inzamam helping PAK nearly chase 340+ v India in 2003 in Karachi I think, 3)WI no 10-11 in the Champions Trophy final, 4)Symonds v Pak in 2003WC, 5)G Gilmour-the highest scorer of the match (28 out of Aus 94) after taking 6-14 while bowling in the 1975WC semi final. There are several more of such combined efforts which though won't find a place in this list but still demonstrated character and fighting for the cause against the odds. A treat to watch for a cricket lover. Readers will do this column justice by enjoying what stats reveal & what joy cricket gives us. [[ Ravi It is a funny thing. Gilmour's 6 for 14 in the WC semi-final is not just the ODI bowling performance ever but also the best all-round performance ever. Let us not forget that Australia, after dismissing England for 93 were 39 for 6. Then Gilmour scored a run-a-ball 28 (worth more than many other 100+ knocks) and took them to 94 for 6. Your other references are also soul-stirring exploits. I wonder how these can be located by analytical methods. A challenge to me. Ananth: ]]

  • Youvi on July 4, 2010, 6:35 GMT

    Deservedly, Richards' 189 must rank at the top followed by Kapil's 175. There are other dimensions wrt Kapil's innings particularly in the context of Indian cricket. It was paradigm shifting in terms of subsequent matches in that 83 WC. Indeed, the advent of Kapil's international career itself was a significant force in Indian cricket. I sincerely believe that thru his lion-hearted performances and tremendous spirit, Kapil was perhaps the most influential player in Indian cricket. Ever. The fact that Kapil's 175 n.o. could not be recorded because of a TV strike that day at Tunbridge Wells, makes it a tragedy as well and fills us with a sense of despondency that we will never get to watch that inning. Unless there is some amateur recording somewhere or an enterprising filmmaker decides to make a movie on that India/Zim WC match !

  • Alex on July 4, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    Ananth - you are right on truly great test innings. It is not without reason that SRT recently rated 103* as his most significant. Let's hope Nov-Dec will produce the full year's crop! [[ Alex The good thing is that Tendulkar is in great form as shown by his 200*, the 103* you have referred to and the 105 against Bangladesh (but for which India would have lost). All during the past 12 months. I would give anything to see him produce a truly memorable innings or two in the months to come, that too against Australia, before putting up his bat in the attic.. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on July 4, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    Abhi I am sorry I am not going to post your comment. For a single comment of mine, since removed, you have made 50 statements, going into areas outside this topic, making free accusations, making subjective statements yourself (while accusing others of that) and so on. Your comments will elicit 10 other comments not related to the current topic and we will get into the usual nonsense of not having a dialog on the topic of the article. Regards Ananth.

  • Abhi on July 3, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    Alex, I haven't seen Kapil's 175, and just highlights of Viv's 189. Kapil's 175 has got to be the most significant inn. in terms of "impact" and "significance". Viv's 189 the most dominating display by a single batsman - that too in a team full of cracking batsmen- not a bunch of amateurs.

    However, in terms of pure strokeplay ,ball striking and total batting command- Sachin's 175 and 200 will be up there with any batting displays in the history of cricket, in any form of the game.

    However, in terms of "impact" they will surely be less than Kapil's knock. PS: Kapil cried coz as he explained that in his opinion Sachin should only be compared with the Don- nobody else. And he has been exhorting Sachin to play his natural game for a while. To quote : “God knows what prompted Sachin to change his style. And because he did that, he allowed a few others to get close to him (in terms of numbers and records). Suddenly, we started comparing Lara and Ponting to Tendulkar. All I have to say is that there is no one like Tendulkar. He is the greatest.” My sentiments precisely. And so he cried…coz he knew that if not for the injuries and self imposed curtailments – what might have been…Oh! [[ Abhi The self-imposed curtailments were made for the team cause (one must salute Tendulkar for this selfless attitude) and the emergence of Sehwag as an attacking batsman. Ananth: ]]

  • Dhananjay on July 3, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Ananth:

    Thanks for this fantastic piece of analysis. Being a cricket statistic freak and Sachin fan, it is simple incredible to see such a high % of significant innings under Sachin's name. I agree with you on 175* by Kapil as the most influential innings. One question, if we dropped all those records where the player's team lost, how would the standings change? [[ Dhananjay That is a different analysis. I think the result should not affect theis method of evaluating innings through their inherent numbers. If we take the result in , next step will be avoidance of weak countries, home/away etc. Ananth: ]]

  • Abeer Agrawal on July 3, 2010, 6:50 GMT

    An awesome article. Its interesting to note that 8 of the top 10 players belong to the modern era. It reaffirms how Viv Richards was truly head and shoulders above others of his era. Maybe, just maybe, some players of an earlier era are at a slight disadvantage since the absolute number of runs scored were less, and and so was the strike rate. Perhaps you could use different high scores and strike rates for each decade (the best of that decade as a benchmark)? Viv Richards innings would then rate even higher, and Charles Coventry's would be lower.

  • Alex on July 3, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    Ananth - if you pl post the list of SI innings & their score (e.g. 6.79 for the 189*) as well, that would be great. [[ Alex If you download the all si file, import that into an Excel file, you can get all analysis you want yourself. Sort by player, sort by SI value, sort by innings size, sort by country, what have you. Ananth: ]]

    An epilogue: SMG carried a glass of water to Kapil as Kapil exited the ground after 175*; Holding threw down his bat, gloves, and shook Viv by bare hand after Viv crossed 150 with an incredible six. Such genuine gestures speak volumes better than written/spoken eulogies. The day after SRT hit 175, I vividly remember an exciting reporter putting SRT on a pedestal and asking Kapil all sort of questions on how his own 175* compared with the 175. Kapil simply said SRT's was better and wished him many such innings ... after that he cried. [[ Alex That shows the humility of Kapil dev. In return Kapil was humiliated by many people connected with running of Indian cricket. Kapil must have been the only Indian who thought that the later 175 was better. Almost all, including the little master, would have voted for the earlier 175. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 3, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    Ananth: The comment on Richards' 189* was in jest. IMO, he is the best ever ODI batsman.

    In terms of the impact though, Kapil's 175* is probably the most monumental ODI innings ever. It won the match, inspired team India to go on & win '83 cup which attracted big money in India to sponsor cricket which, among other things, made India the most powerful nation in cricket. Many factors were at work but 175* was the most important of the sparks.

    Pity that the 175* was not recorded and was viewed by less than 2,000 spectators. He came in at 4-9, saw 5-17, and took India to 9-266 of 60 overs. He hit 90 off his final 40 balls - unheard of feat in those days. At his best, Kapil was a sublime natural stroke player. So, it must have been a great innings from a pure batsmanship standpoint as well. [[ Alex While numbers-wise Richards' innings was ahead, there is no dismissing the fact that Kapil's innings was the MOST SIGNIFICANT AND INFLUENTIAL one in the history of ODI cricket. Without that innings India would not have won the World Cup and many a thing might have changed. Like Richards and Tendulkar, let us agree on the "First amongst equals" idea for the innings also. And Richards is in both "First amongst equals" pairs !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on July 3, 2010, 2:40 GMT

    Ananth, Rigorous as usual. With just one gripe –partially addressed to avi…How come Sachin doesn’t come out on the top on every single paramater?!!This is a travesty of justice and surely a plot by the Aus/WI/Pak/Soviet bloc to demean the Little Master!---Kidding,kidding,kidding! – Jeez. But my actual gripe is ( and like any true sports fan one must ALWAYS have a gripe) that all these analyses, including best batsman etc ,inevitably depend on the performance or lack of , of the batsman’s team mates. i.e there is no absolute standard to compare to. As Alex stated perfectly in the previous blog that all these comparisons are only wholly valid for batsmen in the same team( and more or less similar batting position one may add)- comparisons for batsmen across teams should be avoided. So, I wonder whether we may be able to find some “absolute standard’- for pitch quality and various other paramateers wherein we may determine how well a batsman did “on his own” instead of “relative to other batsmen in his team”. [[ Abhi I do a weekly weblog for CastrolCricket also. Theses are simple single idea pieces rather than the full-fledged article which I do for It Figures (I also need to earn some easy money !!!). Don't miss these. Some of the ideas are quite fascinating. About three months back I suggested in a weblog there a simple and easy-to-do measure for T20 innings. Surprisingly the idea, despite its simplicity, was quite effective. The basic formula is Innings index = Runs scored + Ball differential (Runs scored – Balls faced). A 200 in T20s was indicated to be a once-in-lifetime innings. No one has reached that number in T20Is yet (no IPL please). The crux of the matter is that the innings index stands by itself and does not include the other batsmen or team numbers. Ananth: ]]

  • Avi Singh on July 2, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    As much as I am an Indian and Sachin fan, I would agree 100% that that Richards innings is the best ODI innings of all time. Richards and Sachin have consistently finished as the top two ODI batsmen in all the analyses you have done, so their performances are obviously of no surprise. Good to see Rahul Dravid high up in the list of significant ODI innings played- makes a nonsense of those who say he was only in the ODI team because he chose to take up the gloves- 10765 ODI runs confirms such arguments as lunacy.

    And I also agree with Boll, I appreciate the thorough way in which you set out your methodology which allows us to make our own judgment on the veracity of the data in an informed way. Nothing wrong with people raising points of difference but some people seem to try to make every analysis a Sachin-centric exercise. [[ Avi Thank you for the kind words. Richards took the concept of batting dominance to a new high, probably equalled since then only by some one like Afridi, at a lesser level. But what Tendulkar has achieved is equally astonishing and admirable. To perform at a top-3 level in the world for 21 years is phenomenal. The 200 might not have been placed high in this list because of many other factors. But it was played by a 37 year old batsman, without a runner, running hard runs for the other batsmen even at the end of his innings and who is at the "November" of his career. Doff the imaginary hat for the two masters, of varying sizes, but 10' tall in achievements. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 2, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    No arguments from me about Viv/Sachin topping these lists, or Viv`s 189 remaining the benchmark. As always, nice when the stats agree with your gut instinct.

    Obviously a labour of love for you Ananth, but hope you realise how much it`s appreciated - like waking up on Christmas morning when a new one of these beauties comes out. Thanks.

    [[ Boll Your appreciative comments much appreciated. I put in easily 3/4 day's effort in preparing each article (does not include the extensive time in answering the comments) and all the effort is worthwhile when I receive kind words such as yours. You must be up quite late. Probably staying up to watch the football. Series of bad news. Brazil are 7 minutes away from going out of the World Cup, Murray has lost the first set, the master has gone back to Switzerland, could not get worse.. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 2, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    Ananth - great stuff. I think perhaps "Runs per batsman" is a misleading factor when it comes to most big innings: e.g., Ganguly's 183 --- he and Dravid stayed till 45th over or so and batsmen following them threw bats around as the merry slog. Doesn't mean that he scored 183 whereas others failed with 1,0,2, etc.

    Here too, a study ff Bevan & Hussey's #s suggests a decline the Aus batting prowess --- they play the same role and have equal Ave SIIdx but, despite averaging higher in his SI, Bevan's % of SI is much lower than Hussey's. Clearly, Hussey is carrying a greater load than Bevan (who, otherwise, was his equal or superior, IMO).

    On a lighter note, I daresay Viv's 189* gets rated so high just because it was an overkill. When Garner departed (at 9-166), Viv was on 95* or so. Even if Holding departed first ball, 166 was a defendable total for the now riled up WI attack. The journey from 95* to 189* was thrilling but totally unnecessary. He did so to stuff his numbers! [[ Alex For once you are off the mark. When West Indies were 166 for 9, no one knew how much England would be able to score. Subsequent events might have proved the unnecessary nature of the last wicket stand. Not at that time. What you say applies to all big innings other than Dhoni's chasing 183. Why did Tendulkar have to score 200. He could have departed at 130 when india were 260 and India could still have won. Same with the two 194s. What about Jayasuriya's 189. He scored 150 too many since India were all out fior 54. Alas, you have fallen into the trap of pulling down great efforts, possibly in jest !!! Ananth: ]]

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  • Alex on July 2, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    Ananth - great stuff. I think perhaps "Runs per batsman" is a misleading factor when it comes to most big innings: e.g., Ganguly's 183 --- he and Dravid stayed till 45th over or so and batsmen following them threw bats around as the merry slog. Doesn't mean that he scored 183 whereas others failed with 1,0,2, etc.

    Here too, a study ff Bevan & Hussey's #s suggests a decline the Aus batting prowess --- they play the same role and have equal Ave SIIdx but, despite averaging higher in his SI, Bevan's % of SI is much lower than Hussey's. Clearly, Hussey is carrying a greater load than Bevan (who, otherwise, was his equal or superior, IMO).

    On a lighter note, I daresay Viv's 189* gets rated so high just because it was an overkill. When Garner departed (at 9-166), Viv was on 95* or so. Even if Holding departed first ball, 166 was a defendable total for the now riled up WI attack. The journey from 95* to 189* was thrilling but totally unnecessary. He did so to stuff his numbers! [[ Alex For once you are off the mark. When West Indies were 166 for 9, no one knew how much England would be able to score. Subsequent events might have proved the unnecessary nature of the last wicket stand. Not at that time. What you say applies to all big innings other than Dhoni's chasing 183. Why did Tendulkar have to score 200. He could have departed at 130 when india were 260 and India could still have won. Same with the two 194s. What about Jayasuriya's 189. He scored 150 too many since India were all out fior 54. Alas, you have fallen into the trap of pulling down great efforts, possibly in jest !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 2, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    No arguments from me about Viv/Sachin topping these lists, or Viv`s 189 remaining the benchmark. As always, nice when the stats agree with your gut instinct.

    Obviously a labour of love for you Ananth, but hope you realise how much it`s appreciated - like waking up on Christmas morning when a new one of these beauties comes out. Thanks.

    [[ Boll Your appreciative comments much appreciated. I put in easily 3/4 day's effort in preparing each article (does not include the extensive time in answering the comments) and all the effort is worthwhile when I receive kind words such as yours. You must be up quite late. Probably staying up to watch the football. Series of bad news. Brazil are 7 minutes away from going out of the World Cup, Murray has lost the first set, the master has gone back to Switzerland, could not get worse.. Ananth: ]]

  • Avi Singh on July 2, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    As much as I am an Indian and Sachin fan, I would agree 100% that that Richards innings is the best ODI innings of all time. Richards and Sachin have consistently finished as the top two ODI batsmen in all the analyses you have done, so their performances are obviously of no surprise. Good to see Rahul Dravid high up in the list of significant ODI innings played- makes a nonsense of those who say he was only in the ODI team because he chose to take up the gloves- 10765 ODI runs confirms such arguments as lunacy.

    And I also agree with Boll, I appreciate the thorough way in which you set out your methodology which allows us to make our own judgment on the veracity of the data in an informed way. Nothing wrong with people raising points of difference but some people seem to try to make every analysis a Sachin-centric exercise. [[ Avi Thank you for the kind words. Richards took the concept of batting dominance to a new high, probably equalled since then only by some one like Afridi, at a lesser level. But what Tendulkar has achieved is equally astonishing and admirable. To perform at a top-3 level in the world for 21 years is phenomenal. The 200 might not have been placed high in this list because of many other factors. But it was played by a 37 year old batsman, without a runner, running hard runs for the other batsmen even at the end of his innings and who is at the "November" of his career. Doff the imaginary hat for the two masters, of varying sizes, but 10' tall in achievements. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on July 3, 2010, 2:40 GMT

    Ananth, Rigorous as usual. With just one gripe –partially addressed to avi…How come Sachin doesn’t come out on the top on every single paramater?!!This is a travesty of justice and surely a plot by the Aus/WI/Pak/Soviet bloc to demean the Little Master!---Kidding,kidding,kidding! – Jeez. But my actual gripe is ( and like any true sports fan one must ALWAYS have a gripe) that all these analyses, including best batsman etc ,inevitably depend on the performance or lack of , of the batsman’s team mates. i.e there is no absolute standard to compare to. As Alex stated perfectly in the previous blog that all these comparisons are only wholly valid for batsmen in the same team( and more or less similar batting position one may add)- comparisons for batsmen across teams should be avoided. So, I wonder whether we may be able to find some “absolute standard’- for pitch quality and various other paramateers wherein we may determine how well a batsman did “on his own” instead of “relative to other batsmen in his team”. [[ Abhi I do a weekly weblog for CastrolCricket also. Theses are simple single idea pieces rather than the full-fledged article which I do for It Figures (I also need to earn some easy money !!!). Don't miss these. Some of the ideas are quite fascinating. About three months back I suggested in a weblog there a simple and easy-to-do measure for T20 innings. Surprisingly the idea, despite its simplicity, was quite effective. The basic formula is Innings index = Runs scored + Ball differential (Runs scored – Balls faced). A 200 in T20s was indicated to be a once-in-lifetime innings. No one has reached that number in T20Is yet (no IPL please). The crux of the matter is that the innings index stands by itself and does not include the other batsmen or team numbers. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 3, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    Ananth: The comment on Richards' 189* was in jest. IMO, he is the best ever ODI batsman.

    In terms of the impact though, Kapil's 175* is probably the most monumental ODI innings ever. It won the match, inspired team India to go on & win '83 cup which attracted big money in India to sponsor cricket which, among other things, made India the most powerful nation in cricket. Many factors were at work but 175* was the most important of the sparks.

    Pity that the 175* was not recorded and was viewed by less than 2,000 spectators. He came in at 4-9, saw 5-17, and took India to 9-266 of 60 overs. He hit 90 off his final 40 balls - unheard of feat in those days. At his best, Kapil was a sublime natural stroke player. So, it must have been a great innings from a pure batsmanship standpoint as well. [[ Alex While numbers-wise Richards' innings was ahead, there is no dismissing the fact that Kapil's innings was the MOST SIGNIFICANT AND INFLUENTIAL one in the history of ODI cricket. Without that innings India would not have won the World Cup and many a thing might have changed. Like Richards and Tendulkar, let us agree on the "First amongst equals" idea for the innings also. And Richards is in both "First amongst equals" pairs !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 3, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    Ananth - if you pl post the list of SI innings & their score (e.g. 6.79 for the 189*) as well, that would be great. [[ Alex If you download the all si file, import that into an Excel file, you can get all analysis you want yourself. Sort by player, sort by SI value, sort by innings size, sort by country, what have you. Ananth: ]]

    An epilogue: SMG carried a glass of water to Kapil as Kapil exited the ground after 175*; Holding threw down his bat, gloves, and shook Viv by bare hand after Viv crossed 150 with an incredible six. Such genuine gestures speak volumes better than written/spoken eulogies. The day after SRT hit 175, I vividly remember an exciting reporter putting SRT on a pedestal and asking Kapil all sort of questions on how his own 175* compared with the 175. Kapil simply said SRT's was better and wished him many such innings ... after that he cried. [[ Alex That shows the humility of Kapil dev. In return Kapil was humiliated by many people connected with running of Indian cricket. Kapil must have been the only Indian who thought that the later 175 was better. Almost all, including the little master, would have voted for the earlier 175. Ananth: ]]

  • Abeer Agrawal on July 3, 2010, 6:50 GMT

    An awesome article. Its interesting to note that 8 of the top 10 players belong to the modern era. It reaffirms how Viv Richards was truly head and shoulders above others of his era. Maybe, just maybe, some players of an earlier era are at a slight disadvantage since the absolute number of runs scored were less, and and so was the strike rate. Perhaps you could use different high scores and strike rates for each decade (the best of that decade as a benchmark)? Viv Richards innings would then rate even higher, and Charles Coventry's would be lower.

  • Dhananjay on July 3, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Ananth:

    Thanks for this fantastic piece of analysis. Being a cricket statistic freak and Sachin fan, it is simple incredible to see such a high % of significant innings under Sachin's name. I agree with you on 175* by Kapil as the most influential innings. One question, if we dropped all those records where the player's team lost, how would the standings change? [[ Dhananjay That is a different analysis. I think the result should not affect theis method of evaluating innings through their inherent numbers. If we take the result in , next step will be avoidance of weak countries, home/away etc. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on July 3, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    Alex, I haven't seen Kapil's 175, and just highlights of Viv's 189. Kapil's 175 has got to be the most significant inn. in terms of "impact" and "significance". Viv's 189 the most dominating display by a single batsman - that too in a team full of cracking batsmen- not a bunch of amateurs.

    However, in terms of pure strokeplay ,ball striking and total batting command- Sachin's 175 and 200 will be up there with any batting displays in the history of cricket, in any form of the game.

    However, in terms of "impact" they will surely be less than Kapil's knock. PS: Kapil cried coz as he explained that in his opinion Sachin should only be compared with the Don- nobody else. And he has been exhorting Sachin to play his natural game for a while. To quote : “God knows what prompted Sachin to change his style. And because he did that, he allowed a few others to get close to him (in terms of numbers and records). Suddenly, we started comparing Lara and Ponting to Tendulkar. All I have to say is that there is no one like Tendulkar. He is the greatest.” My sentiments precisely. And so he cried…coz he knew that if not for the injuries and self imposed curtailments – what might have been…Oh! [[ Abhi The self-imposed curtailments were made for the team cause (one must salute Tendulkar for this selfless attitude) and the emergence of Sehwag as an attacking batsman. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on July 4, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    Abhi I am sorry I am not going to post your comment. For a single comment of mine, since removed, you have made 50 statements, going into areas outside this topic, making free accusations, making subjective statements yourself (while accusing others of that) and so on. Your comments will elicit 10 other comments not related to the current topic and we will get into the usual nonsense of not having a dialog on the topic of the article. Regards Ananth.