Test cricket September 24, 2010

Test teams: an analysis of results across ages

A graphical analysis of Test results for teams across the ages
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Australia: The most consistent Test team ever © Getty Images

This is a simple analysis of the results of teams across ages. I have split the 133 year period into the following 8 ages.

PreWW1: 1877-1914
PreWW2: 1921-1939
1950s:  1946-1959
1960s:  1960-1969
1970s:  1970-1979
1980s:  1980-1989
1990s:  1990-1999
2000s:  2000-2010

A simple formula is used. Readers might find this a little simplistic but I am working with limited parameters to do justice to such a macroscopic analysis. My idea is to bring to light the teams which performed well during each period and then see how each team performed over the years since they made their debut in international cricket. Many of these insights might be obvious to some of the readers but this article is a single place compendium of team performances across the years. And the normal complaints of comparing players/teams across the ages do not arise in this analysis.

A win carries 2 points. A draw/tie will carry 1 point. The total points will be compiled during the concerned period. This is evaluated against the maximum points available for the team and a Performance % arrived at. There is also a need to recognize away performances. This is especially needed to break deadlocks. Take two teams which have played 10 matches each. Both win 5 matches and draw the remaining 5 matches. Both teams will have a 75% performance index. If team A won 3 away and 2 at home and the other team 2 away and 3 at home, Team A should be considered to have done slightly better. Hence I have provided 25% additional weight for away performances, that too, only for wins and draws. The actual weight given is less consequential than the fact that the away performances are recognized.

This is a simple analysis based on results. The relative team strengths or the series position or the win margins are not considered. That is a totally different type of analysis of Team Ratings.

Reg the Graphs. The first graph is the one covering all 1971 tests. This is across 133 years. This graph can be used to lead on to the other graphs. The Period graphs have been drawn in the order of teams' performances. I have also included the summary table for the period in the right as part of the graph for easier viewing and identification. At the end of the 8 period graphs, the graphs for the teams are drawn.

Summary of Test results across ages
© Anantha Narayanan

Australia leads the all-time table comfortably with a Performance value of 66.0%. England come next with 59.3%. It may be a surprise that Pakistan edges out West Indies for the third position. This has been a result of the recent fall from grace of the West Indian team. Again it is a surprise that Sri Lanka edges out India for the fifth place although it must be admitted that India has had a 50 year head start to put in some awful years earlier. This has also been made possible by Sri Lanka's strong showing during the 99 tests played during the 2000s. New Zealand is the only leading team to have an overall sub-50% index value.

Summary of Test results in the 2000s © Anantha Narayanan

The dominant team during 2000s has been the Australians with a Performance Index (PIdx) value of 84.6%. Even their recent wobble has only got them down a bit. They are still the team to beat. South Africa are next with 66.6% and then India with 63.9%. It is debatable whether India can maintain this ascendant graph over the next few years with the huge void which is going to be created. England, with its periodic high-level performances are in next and Sri Lanka, buoyed by their strong home record, complete the top-5. Pakistan comes in next despite their continuing problems and their inability to play at home. The next 4 teams each have significant daylight between themselves and the team ahead of them. One reason why the 2000s has seen a wider dispersion of the numbers are the increased number of decisive results (only 23.8% draws) and presence of two weak teams.

Summary of Test results in the 1990s
© Anantha Narayanan

The dominant team during 1990s has again been the Australians with a PIdx value of 69.7%. They have not had the extent of domination they had during the last decade. South Africa are next clocking in at a very close 68.2%. Pakistan, with the lethal bowling attack and great batsmen, are next placed with a PIDx value of 65.0%. The West Indies, not be confused with today's hapless and dispirited team, were fourth placed at 56.8%. India completed the top-5 barely crossing 50%. Sri Lanka, England and New Zealand were closely bunched around the 45% mark and even Zimbabwe clocked in at a respectable 34%.

The interesting point in this period was the close bunching of the teams. The difference between the first and ninth team was a low 35% as compared to the 2000s where this difference is a whopping 74%. The other surprising feature is the low number of matches played by teams other than the Ashes rivals. There have also been a greater number of draws (35.7%).

Summary of Test results in the 1980s
© Anantha Narayanan

It would not be a surprise to read the 1980s charts. The dominant team, by a mile, was the great West Indian team, with their quintet of outstanding pace bowlers and feared batting attack. They clock in at 81.2%. Next comes the Imran Khan controlled Pakistan with 61.9%. Now comes the Hadlee-inspired New Zealand with 58.0%. Australia is the only other team to have a 50+%. India's lack of match-winning players kept them in the lower half. England comes in next and finally the new entrants, Sri Lanka. This period witnessed 46.1% draws.

Summary of Test results in the 1970s
© Anantha Narayanan

The 1970s was an interesting period. Packer and World Series happened. England, probably less affected by WSC than Australia and West Indies were the leading, if not dominant, team with PIdx value of 63.3%. They are followed by four teams with 50+ %, led by West Indies. India, no doubt bolstered by Gavaskar and the spinners, did not do too badly. New Zealand had only a 33.5% index value. A tweak had to be done for this decade. South Africa played 4 tests and won all these. The 100% index value is an anomaly and should be removed from the analysis. This has been done. No major impact, though.

Summary of Test results in the 1960s
© Anantha Narayanan

The 1960s was very much a defensive era as evidenced by the single digit column of wins for four of the six teams. The three leading teams, West Indies, Australia and England were separated only at the decimal point level, that too only because West Indies had slightly better away results. The close bunching of teams during these two periods, 1960s and 1970s, is a reflection of the parity which existed between the teams. It is also caused by fewer decisive results 42.6% and 47.8%).

Summary of Test results in the 1950s
© Anantha Narayanan

The post-war period of 40s/50s was probably much better than the later dreary period. Bradman was there to start with. His legacy was continued by strong players. Australia had an outstanding PIdx value of 78.3%. England also had a very good team and were second with 61.7%, very closely followed by the W-driven West Indies. Surprisingly, Pakistan the new entrants were the next team having a better than 50% record. This is probably the best entrance decade for any of the later entrants. One must also allow for the fact that the pitches were conducive to the great strength of Pakistan, their seam bowling. The draw % was around 35%.

Summary of Test results pre World War 2
© Anantha Narayanan

The in-between Wars period was a two team period with Australia comfortably ahead of England. That England, despite Bradman, were only 7% behind Australia indicates the effective manner in which their strategies, starting with body-line, worked. The newcomers, India, New Zealand and West Indies propped up the table. There was a spurt in the draw % compared to the previous era, 37.1%.

Summary of Test results pre World War 1
© Anantha Narayanan

There were only three teams before WW1. England were the comfortable leaders during this period, no doubt aided by their bowling attack, led by Barnes and Lohmann. Not to forget Hobbs and Sutcliffe. Only 17.9% of the matches were draws, no doubt contributed by the types of pitches.

Now for the team performance graphs, presented in a different format. I have used line graphs instead of the bar graphs since it is easier to follow the changes. Also the graphs are shown in a chronological sequence. There is no graph for Bangladesh which has had one decade nor for Zimbabwe which has had two decades. It is not possible to derive anything sensible without three decades.

Summary of Test results for Australia
© Anantha Narayanan

Australia has maintained very steady performance levels throughout the 133 years. they are the only team never to have fallen below 50% in any of the periods. What is important is that Australia have topped in 4 out of the 8 periods, the PreWw2, 1940s-50s, 1990s and 2000s period.

Summary of Test results for England
© Anantha Narayanan

Barring the 1980s and 1990s, England have always maintained a 60+ % level. That is a consistency which is comparable to that of Australia. They have led the table in two of the eight periods, the 1970s and the Pre-WW1 periods.

Summary of Test results for West Indies
© Anantha Narayanan

West Indies led the table during two periods, the 1960s and 1980s but have since fallen off drastically, especially during the past decade. Their 80+% can be compared only to the Australians of the 2000s. Compared to the awful 2000s even the average 1990s looks good.

Summary of Test results for India
© Anantha Narayanan

India have had a poor start, understandable, and had a poor 1980s and barely acceptable 1990s. They recovered in the current decade although the huge chasm is in front of them. The day without the three gladiators at 3/4/5 is looming ahead. The bowling is another major concern. Where are the bowlers to take 20 wickets on good pitches?

Summary of Test results for South Africa
© Anantha Narayanan

Barring a slight dip in the current decade, South Africa have improved their figures every decade. Possibly the only team to do so. There is a caveat so far as South Africa are concerned. This has already been referred to in the period graph. They played 4 Tests during the 70s and won all. Since I did not want their graph to have an abrupt dip or spurt, I have allotted a notional % for this period. 1980s, of course, is excluded.

Summary of Test results for Pakistan
© Anantha Narayanan

Pakistan started very well, dropped off, picked up very well again but again fell of during the current decade. Overall they have been quite good. Very understandable in view of the circumstances. We must feel for the talented Pakistanis. As they seem to come out of one problem, another one crops up. Maybe it is time for Imran Khan to come forward and run Pakistan cricket the way he ran his team.

Summary of Test results for New Zealand
© Anantha Narayanan

New Zealand have been like the proverbial yo-yo. Down, up, down, up and so on.They had a golden 1980s when the kings were scattered around the tropical islands near Florida..

Summary of Test results for Sri Lanka
© Anantha Narayanan

Sri Lanka have had only three decades and have been steadily improving a la South Africa. However the impressive thing is that their excellent performance of 61+% has been over the last 100 tests, more than a half of their tally.

To view the "Results Summary - By Periods" tables, please click here.

To view the "Results Summary - By Teams" tables, please click here.

An important announcement to the readers. I have created an open mailid to which the comments and suggestions, not meant for publication, can be submitted. The mail id is ananth.itfigures@gmail.com. Since the readers would have to use a mail route I give the readers my assurance that the mail id is safe and will never be used by me for anything other than communicating with the reader specifically. This will not be part of any group mail nor will mails be cc'd.

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

  • Abhishek Agrawal on October 14, 2010, 16:22 GMT

    Hi.... This is my 1st post...although i have read your few articles before, but i found this one very interesting & can't wait to see the similar analysis of ODI, where it would be more interesting to see the result.

    A request - pl. also point out batsman & bowlers over the same periods who have done well & how they fared home & away.

  • Mike on October 4, 2010, 1:23 GMT

    Really excellent analysis! Shame the charts are not colour-coded consistently by team, that would have been the cherry on the cake. (I love the fact that more charts are appearing now in this column; perhaps it is time to think about standard colour-codes for the main international teams when they appear on such charts! Maybe by ODI kits - green for Pakistan, black for NZ, red for Zim...)

    People uneasy that e.g. 1975-1985 isn't being represented as a time period have a point - using "years ending in zero" as cut-offs is in one sense totally logical but in cricketing terms also quite arbitrary. But to draw up tables, you have to cut off somewhere, and cutting off by decade (and by inter/pre-war period in the periods with fewer tests played) at least removes subjectivity. For charting, it would be possible to produce line graphs from 1960 onwards, using 10yr moving averages for the teams, so e.g. 75-85 appears and smoother development visualised. I doubt it'd show any new trends though.

  • Nishant on October 2, 2010, 0:04 GMT

    Hi, I have always read your blogs & found it very insightful & intriguing. Especially this one is very well done & excellent dose of info. on teams across ages. I wud really love to see the ODI analysis of similar nature maybe with span of 5 yrs instead of a decade as the ODI cricket is only 30 years old compared to its "grand version”. I agree with Amit for an analysis by series & I’m sure the numbers would be quite astonishing… for ex. in 1990s & 2000s some of England’s wins have come in dead rubbers(Ashes prominently) & still these are taken into account for PIdx%. I'm aware that TEST WIN is a test win no matter how it is achieved… but fact that some teams have chosen to rest their players after securing a series win puts question on their strength in a ‘dead rubber’ Last bit, do not be deterred by some posts that have been posted. It actually shows great character that you publish them. There are a lot more who like you blogs & are always waiting for another one from you :-) [[ Nishant I can assure you that the Test Series analysis which I have scheduled after the Test All-rounders analysis will be worth the wait. It has been a great eye-opener for me because of the myriads of colours a Test Series brings as against a single Test. Ananth: ]]

  • Amit on October 1, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Alex, Yes, kalicharran, Lloyd, Grenidge and Richards did do quite well against Indian spinner, though Warne and Mcgrath as a pair would be a more potent than the slightly overated (IMHO!) Indian spinners. You missed that Bradman lost the Bodyline series as well in 34 (and a little fortunate to walk away with a drawn series in 38, thanks to Bradmans brilliance). BTW: Bradman overall record series record (W-L-D) is 8-2-1. Adam Gilchrist's is: 26-2-2.

  • Alex on September 30, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Amit - a fair evaluation of a bygone era is always tough. However, I like to think that since Viv, Lloyd & Kallicharan did very well vs Chandra-Bedi-Prasanna in India and in WI, they would have fared well vs Warne anywhere. I think the WI peaked in bowling _and_ batting '80-'81 and it might have been the best team of them all.

    Also, I don't think Bradman ever lost a series barring his first vs Eng in '28. So, it's not as if only the '48 team was special. Aussies became mortal only after he retired.

  • Alex on September 30, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Amit - I feel the word "team" applies across a series. Then, Aus '21, Eng '11, and Aus '48 qualify with Aus '48 probably the all-time best: the sole weakness of Aus '48 is in the spin bowling department. They lack a 90mph bowler but that is not a major weakness. Their Barnes was a troubled individual but prolific when he put the pads on. Also, their fielding must have been top-notch.

    As for the "poor" figures: Harvey declined in his later half and Morris was a terrific talent, rated by Bradman himself to be the best left-handed opener he ever saw. These two (circa '48), Bradman, Barnes, Miller, and Lindwall would probably have fit in any Aussie side of 90's and 00's.

    Also, Viv's WI managed 1-1 vs Imran's Pak in Pak in late 80's courtesy Ambrose & Marshall. I think the WI ('80-'81 or '84-'85) were beatable on certain pitches but would have done better than anyone (maybe even Aus '48) in a 7-test series featuring unbiased playing conditions.

  • Amit on September 30, 2010, 3:13 GMT

    Ananth, it seems unfair to compare the 1948 Aus Invincible to the WI team in 80 that didn't lose a series for 15 years and Aus of 2000, that won about 80% of all matches they play and most of them by a massive margin over a 10 year period. I am curious how long did their 1948 domination last? Also, Statistically, apart from Bradman and to a lesser extent Miller, the remaining nine are inferior (or at best par) with the Aus of 2000. As a kid, I kept hearing of great old-timer (from Hassett, Ponsford and Harveys), but none averaged better than modern great (And todays easy batting condition cant be the justification, as the MacGraths, Warnes, Gillespies averaged no worse than 1948 bowlers). My point being: Are we inherently biased toward recognizing greatness of the past? Alex, I am not quite so sure about WIs skills play spin (by their standard). They didn't play Pak between 1980-1986. They had enough trouble with Hirwani, Qadir and Holland. Warne would be handful for them, IMO. [[ Amit I had done a Team Strength analysis earlier. It is possibly time to re-visit that. I have also made a similar response to a reader comment on the all-time XI. Incidentally Barnes is 63 (albeit 1000 runs). Harvey, McCabe and Ponsford 48. Hassett, Morris, Woodfull and Brown are all 46+. Not exactly poor figures. Ananth: ]]

  • Anonymous on September 29, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    Hi Anantha

    Find your articles and number crunching really insightful.

    I was wondering (since cricinfo doing an all time 11 special) whether your could do an all time 11 based solely on numbers. Your team selection would depend on a perfect team make-up i.e. 2 openers 3 middle order 2 all rounders 1 keeper and 3 bowlers (1 spinner). The best in each category (using your previous work) should be chosen and subjective positions such as keeper chosen solely on batting stats.

    Please look into this as im sure we all looking forward to this.

    Thanks [[ First Your name and mailid would be very useful. The problem with number-based selection is the criteria. It will open a lot of unnecessary debates. What I can do is to form elevens across ages and determine the team strength. Or apply the team strength analysis to the elevens selected by the selectors. That will give an insight into who got it really right. Ananth: ]]

  • Topa Singh on September 29, 2010, 14:36 GMT

    Ok. Thanks for the explanation. Understood.

  • Alex on September 29, 2010, 6:22 GMT

    Amit & Ananth: Benaud was not a playing member of the '48 side in tests. In mid-80's, Lloyd's team was often compared to Armstrong's '21 (Aus), '11 England, and Bradman's '48. Among the old-timers, the consensus was that it should be rated #2 behind Bradman's '48.

    - 1 through 11, Bradman's team was stacked with genuine talent and, besides a great Miller, had a decent all-rounder in Lindwall whereas Lloyd's had only Gomes (whose all-round skills roughly cancel out Lindwall's).

    - Also, the #6 position in Lloyd's team was always suspect after Kallicharan's sad departure - the unit of Richardson, Lloyd & Gomes played barely 1 year together: so, I think WI was at its strongest in '80-'81 and '84-'85. The WI were never the same after Lloyd retired.

    I think the '80-'81 or '84-'85 WI would have done well vs any Aussie team of 90's or 00's on any track. The reason is that the lesser WI teams in late 80's went 1-1 vs Imran's tough Pak teams _in_ Pak on spinning tracks.

  • Abhishek Agrawal on October 14, 2010, 16:22 GMT

    Hi.... This is my 1st post...although i have read your few articles before, but i found this one very interesting & can't wait to see the similar analysis of ODI, where it would be more interesting to see the result.

    A request - pl. also point out batsman & bowlers over the same periods who have done well & how they fared home & away.

  • Mike on October 4, 2010, 1:23 GMT

    Really excellent analysis! Shame the charts are not colour-coded consistently by team, that would have been the cherry on the cake. (I love the fact that more charts are appearing now in this column; perhaps it is time to think about standard colour-codes for the main international teams when they appear on such charts! Maybe by ODI kits - green for Pakistan, black for NZ, red for Zim...)

    People uneasy that e.g. 1975-1985 isn't being represented as a time period have a point - using "years ending in zero" as cut-offs is in one sense totally logical but in cricketing terms also quite arbitrary. But to draw up tables, you have to cut off somewhere, and cutting off by decade (and by inter/pre-war period in the periods with fewer tests played) at least removes subjectivity. For charting, it would be possible to produce line graphs from 1960 onwards, using 10yr moving averages for the teams, so e.g. 75-85 appears and smoother development visualised. I doubt it'd show any new trends though.

  • Nishant on October 2, 2010, 0:04 GMT

    Hi, I have always read your blogs & found it very insightful & intriguing. Especially this one is very well done & excellent dose of info. on teams across ages. I wud really love to see the ODI analysis of similar nature maybe with span of 5 yrs instead of a decade as the ODI cricket is only 30 years old compared to its "grand version”. I agree with Amit for an analysis by series & I’m sure the numbers would be quite astonishing… for ex. in 1990s & 2000s some of England’s wins have come in dead rubbers(Ashes prominently) & still these are taken into account for PIdx%. I'm aware that TEST WIN is a test win no matter how it is achieved… but fact that some teams have chosen to rest their players after securing a series win puts question on their strength in a ‘dead rubber’ Last bit, do not be deterred by some posts that have been posted. It actually shows great character that you publish them. There are a lot more who like you blogs & are always waiting for another one from you :-) [[ Nishant I can assure you that the Test Series analysis which I have scheduled after the Test All-rounders analysis will be worth the wait. It has been a great eye-opener for me because of the myriads of colours a Test Series brings as against a single Test. Ananth: ]]

  • Amit on October 1, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Alex, Yes, kalicharran, Lloyd, Grenidge and Richards did do quite well against Indian spinner, though Warne and Mcgrath as a pair would be a more potent than the slightly overated (IMHO!) Indian spinners. You missed that Bradman lost the Bodyline series as well in 34 (and a little fortunate to walk away with a drawn series in 38, thanks to Bradmans brilliance). BTW: Bradman overall record series record (W-L-D) is 8-2-1. Adam Gilchrist's is: 26-2-2.

  • Alex on September 30, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Amit - a fair evaluation of a bygone era is always tough. However, I like to think that since Viv, Lloyd & Kallicharan did very well vs Chandra-Bedi-Prasanna in India and in WI, they would have fared well vs Warne anywhere. I think the WI peaked in bowling _and_ batting '80-'81 and it might have been the best team of them all.

    Also, I don't think Bradman ever lost a series barring his first vs Eng in '28. So, it's not as if only the '48 team was special. Aussies became mortal only after he retired.

  • Alex on September 30, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Amit - I feel the word "team" applies across a series. Then, Aus '21, Eng '11, and Aus '48 qualify with Aus '48 probably the all-time best: the sole weakness of Aus '48 is in the spin bowling department. They lack a 90mph bowler but that is not a major weakness. Their Barnes was a troubled individual but prolific when he put the pads on. Also, their fielding must have been top-notch.

    As for the "poor" figures: Harvey declined in his later half and Morris was a terrific talent, rated by Bradman himself to be the best left-handed opener he ever saw. These two (circa '48), Bradman, Barnes, Miller, and Lindwall would probably have fit in any Aussie side of 90's and 00's.

    Also, Viv's WI managed 1-1 vs Imran's Pak in Pak in late 80's courtesy Ambrose & Marshall. I think the WI ('80-'81 or '84-'85) were beatable on certain pitches but would have done better than anyone (maybe even Aus '48) in a 7-test series featuring unbiased playing conditions.

  • Amit on September 30, 2010, 3:13 GMT

    Ananth, it seems unfair to compare the 1948 Aus Invincible to the WI team in 80 that didn't lose a series for 15 years and Aus of 2000, that won about 80% of all matches they play and most of them by a massive margin over a 10 year period. I am curious how long did their 1948 domination last? Also, Statistically, apart from Bradman and to a lesser extent Miller, the remaining nine are inferior (or at best par) with the Aus of 2000. As a kid, I kept hearing of great old-timer (from Hassett, Ponsford and Harveys), but none averaged better than modern great (And todays easy batting condition cant be the justification, as the MacGraths, Warnes, Gillespies averaged no worse than 1948 bowlers). My point being: Are we inherently biased toward recognizing greatness of the past? Alex, I am not quite so sure about WIs skills play spin (by their standard). They didn't play Pak between 1980-1986. They had enough trouble with Hirwani, Qadir and Holland. Warne would be handful for them, IMO. [[ Amit I had done a Team Strength analysis earlier. It is possibly time to re-visit that. I have also made a similar response to a reader comment on the all-time XI. Incidentally Barnes is 63 (albeit 1000 runs). Harvey, McCabe and Ponsford 48. Hassett, Morris, Woodfull and Brown are all 46+. Not exactly poor figures. Ananth: ]]

  • Anonymous on September 29, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    Hi Anantha

    Find your articles and number crunching really insightful.

    I was wondering (since cricinfo doing an all time 11 special) whether your could do an all time 11 based solely on numbers. Your team selection would depend on a perfect team make-up i.e. 2 openers 3 middle order 2 all rounders 1 keeper and 3 bowlers (1 spinner). The best in each category (using your previous work) should be chosen and subjective positions such as keeper chosen solely on batting stats.

    Please look into this as im sure we all looking forward to this.

    Thanks [[ First Your name and mailid would be very useful. The problem with number-based selection is the criteria. It will open a lot of unnecessary debates. What I can do is to form elevens across ages and determine the team strength. Or apply the team strength analysis to the elevens selected by the selectors. That will give an insight into who got it really right. Ananth: ]]

  • Topa Singh on September 29, 2010, 14:36 GMT

    Ok. Thanks for the explanation. Understood.

  • Alex on September 29, 2010, 6:22 GMT

    Amit & Ananth: Benaud was not a playing member of the '48 side in tests. In mid-80's, Lloyd's team was often compared to Armstrong's '21 (Aus), '11 England, and Bradman's '48. Among the old-timers, the consensus was that it should be rated #2 behind Bradman's '48.

    - 1 through 11, Bradman's team was stacked with genuine talent and, besides a great Miller, had a decent all-rounder in Lindwall whereas Lloyd's had only Gomes (whose all-round skills roughly cancel out Lindwall's).

    - Also, the #6 position in Lloyd's team was always suspect after Kallicharan's sad departure - the unit of Richardson, Lloyd & Gomes played barely 1 year together: so, I think WI was at its strongest in '80-'81 and '84-'85. The WI were never the same after Lloyd retired.

    I think the '80-'81 or '84-'85 WI would have done well vs any Aussie team of 90's or 00's on any track. The reason is that the lesser WI teams in late 80's went 1-1 vs Imran's tough Pak teams _in_ Pak on spinning tracks.

  • Amit on September 29, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    Ganesh, nice observation about WI domination in 80 vs Aus in 2000. One thing that probably brought Aus down a bit is their performance in last 2-3 years when they lost to Ind, England and SA. A decade from 98 to 07 might be their best decade, whereas WI peak years were really the 80s after their loss to NZ in 79. Also, Aus won the 2 world cups, so it created an aura that were invincible, althought they lost test series to india in 01 and Eng in 05 and barely managed to draw against NZ and India in 03. Intresting to note that Pak held their own against WI, just like India did against Aus. My personal take is Aus were a more dominant team, but were much more dependent on McGrath for that dominance, that WI were on any one player. WI handled pressure much better and could defend just about any total, while Aus rarely got in trouble, but didn't do well when under pressure. If they were to go face to face, my pick would be Aus over WI, with Warne the trump card for Aus.

    BTW, my late father and grandfather were convinced that Bradman team in late 40s was more dominant than WI in 80s. [[ Amit When West Indies lost the 1983 WC Final against India their cloak of invincibility wore off. Australia did not have any such stumbles. I think West Indies won equally convincing home and away. Since I probably belong to your previous generation, I also feel that the Australian 1948 team was the most dominant of the three. Bradman was just the icing on the cake. They had Hassett, Morris, Barnes SG, Harvey, Miller, Lindwall, Johnstone and Tallon. The only question mark would have been spin. Johnson was not a great bowler, Benaud was still raw and McCool and Ring untried at world level. If you assume Benaud's final career figures, this team was arguably the greatest. Ananth: ]]

  • Topa Singh on September 28, 2010, 23:48 GMT

    Ananatha, enjoyed your article but your insistence on sending a valid critique is confounding to say the least. A critique is a critique, it is critique because it does not agree with your point-of-view. If you have to decide what is a 'valid' critique then the very point of critiquing your article is defeated. The very fact that for you to consider a critique valid means that one has to partially agree with you at least. Sometimes we will sometimes we won't. Yes, we should be personally respectful but it does not have to be valid in your eyes. You can not be the Judge, Jury and the Executioner. Please think before response. [[ Topa You have misunderstood my comments to put in constructive and valid criticisms. I am sure it is only an oversight. Let me explain. Please re-read Raghav Bihani's comment on the fact that the Pakistani players were part of the Indian cricket scene until 1952 and they benefited from that. Hence the good start to their career. That was an excellent insightful, but also critical, comment, highlighting my own lapse. It was also not couched in condescending or supercilious tones. Let me give below the same comment in an offending unacceptable manner. "" It is surprising that you have overlooked the fact that India was the training place for Pakistani cricketers before 1952. This should have been obvious to anyone who studies cricket. You seem to have missed it, possibly deliberately since you want to push up Pakistan's achievements."" Pl note the difference. You will note from my response to Raghav that I have gladly accepted my lapse. That is what I call a constructive criticism. I do not want all readers to agree with me. However if they disagree, I want it done in an acceptable manner, with a view to adding value to the post, not putting down anyone (including me). Since I spend hours (at times days) preparing the article and hours responding to every comment, I deserve this consideration and expect it. You have a right to say "you have missed this", "your numbers seem to be wrong", "Tendulkar's injury period seems to have been glossed over", "Murali benefited greatly playing in a weak team - you should have made allowances for that", "this is a subjective factor", "reader xyz is wrong" etc. You have no right to say "this is useless", "this is worthless", "you are biased", "Murali is a baseball player/javelin thrower", "you have put down Tendulkar to push up Lara", "reader xyz is stupid" etc. The later comments do not add anything and they are offensive. One thing I can assure you. My monetary compensation is peanuts compared to the wonderful feeling of appreciation and sharing of knowledge I have with the readers. When I put in 3 days' of effort creating 16 graphs painstakingly one after another, a single word statement "worthless", uttered in 5 seconds after a 30-second reading is totally unacceptable. One reason why I am forced to say things in a forceful manner. And when I feel I am off-line, I immediately apologize (a la Hema Adhikari). Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on September 28, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    Hi Ananth: Thanks for the wonderful article. It feels nostalgic to see Pakistan's stats in the 80's. Imran's tigers comprising of Javed, Zaheer, Muddasar, Wasim, Qadir.. My god what a team that was. They had 3 successive 1-1 draws in series against West Indies at a time when West Indies were blowing away other teams. Also, the top 3 in the 90s. I mean it shows how closely the teams matched up to each other. I guess India's poor showing in the 90s may have been because they were paper tigers the moment they left home. I am still showcked that they could not chase 120 against West Indies in Barbados. Two tests later they were leather hunting for Jayasurya and Mahanama in Colombo. Just also goes on to show how much work Sourav and John Wright had to put in in 2000s and then followed by Dhoni and Gary Kirsten to be where they are now. Do you think it is interesting to analyze team's performances under different captains (may be separate home and away analysis)? [[ Anand I will do the Series analysis as suggested by Amit before doing the one on Captains. The Series one will be fascinating since, as Amit puts it succintly, it removes the dead-rubber problem and incorporates the Series result, more important than the match result. Ananth: ]]

  • Ganesh on September 28, 2010, 12:14 GMT

    I am really surprised at the comments of "The Real McCoy" and "Observer". Both of you people please remember that if you do not like this post, it just takes a click to exit. Please do not spend your time in continually adding comments which prevent more sensible comments from being read and analysed.

    As for myself I am a statistics major and a cricket fanatic. I have found nearly all of "It figures" articles to raise points that enhance my enjoyment of the game. For example in the current article I was quite surprised to see that AUS in 2000's dominated less than WI in 1980's when compared to the next side. This contrasts very sharply from my perception. However the detailed tables do prove it ( normalising for away wins) It is this kind of understanding that makes me a fan of this blog. [[ Ganesh One such comment makes up for any number of negative comments. Thanks. Your comments on the West Indies in 1980s and Australians in 2000s made me look at the numbers carefully. I myself have come to the conclusion that the numbers do not tell the correct tale. The West Indies should probably be considered higher than the Australians because of their away record. In fact they have played 30 matches at home and won 18. They have played 53 away and won 26. Make this equal at home and away, you are looking at a near 90% performance. That is out of the world. Many thanks for this very good insight. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on September 28, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    Abhi

    Anybody who lands on this page should always remember (and Ananth *is* always able to understand) why we are here on this page. As long as the objective is clear, we shall be in harmony. After all nothing is more important than 'respect' that helps us maintain 'harmony'!

    Cheers!

  • Abhi on September 28, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    Vinish, well said. It is perfectly understandable to be passionate or hyperventilate a bit about favourite players/teams and some lattitude and leeway in that regard is understandable.

    It is not acceptable to go on with seemingly personal grievances towards other folk.

    In , any case ,from now on I think I will have to change my screen name to "B-Z" or some such. [[ Abhi Lucky Mr.Real MaCoy (obviously no problems there in using a pseudonym ???) did not know that your name is A.A. I would suggest an exotic name such as Yeshwant Ziradkar. You may not even be aware of where Zirad is !!!. It is at Latitude 18.75 and Longitude 72.88 Ananth: ]]

  • Sanchez on September 28, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    West Indies in the 2000s are at the same level as Zimbabwe in the 1990s. That was a shock. [[ Sanchez If you compare player for player, the Flower brothers, Campbell, Price and Streak do compare favourably with the current lot of Gayle, Chanderpaul, Bravo, Benn and Roach. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on September 27, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    Ananth

    I am passionately following cricinfo for last 4 years at least, and a regular visitor on Statistics, Lists, Number's game, and of course your blog. In fact, I have submitted 3-4 works for 'Inbox' as well, and I often wondered at how beautifully your blog was 'safe' from nonsense, the kind of 'garbage' that dots almost every fabric of our society.

    When we look at society (we, the people), virtually every section of our social fabric is maligned with people (a) with vested interests (b) who want to remain in news.

    Now for your blog too, I feel sad that people don’t really like the 'feel good zone'; rather, they are looking for the gap to seep in and vitiate the atmosphere.

    As a sidenote, I must say that you have created a zone of ‘Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s’ movies. And I love your ‘Gujarish’ to the readers! 

  • Raghav Bihani on September 27, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Pakistan entry in the 1950s with very remarkable numbers is not really performance by a new nation. As they had been playing international cricket for quite a few years as part of Indian team. In fact most of the losses that a debutant test nation faces were borne by Team India. But I do not think any changes can be made to the tables to reflect this. [[ Raghav That is an excellent insight missed by me. In a way similar to Bangladesh/Pakistan. Ananth: ]]

  • The Real Macoy on September 27, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    It is amazing how Amit, Abhi, Alex etc. continuously come to defend Ananth (all As). It seems the blog author has created multiple identities and keeps propagating his views with pseudonyms. [[ I never realized that the imagination can soar to this levels. Anyhow I do not even know where these gentlemen reside. For all I know, they might be in US or Australia or Sweden. I have enough work on my hands not to resort to using pseudonyms. Anyhow in case you have missed out, given below are few other contenders. Ali Shah, Abhishek Mukherji, Ary May, Andrew, Ankit, Anand, Ajay pratap, Aniket, Arun, Andy, Ahmad, Abrar ... Ananth: ]] Plus I have noticed the good genuine critique of his post is never published. [[ I suggest you send a valid critique (not this type of nonsense) and see whether it gets published or not. Send something which adds value to the article, it does not matter whether it is critical or not. Ananth: ]]

  • Amit on September 26, 2010, 21:35 GMT

    Hi Ananth, My point was 2/1/0 and 1/0/-1 plot are identical other that the y-axis is shifted by 50 percent. I do agree though, that methodology of negative points for loss is never used (except in IIT entrance exam :)). BTW, my 2 cent worth of advise for you - just ignore the provocations (some intentional, others not). Its a lose-lose proposition for you and majority of your readers who truly appreciate what you have done. I have seldom seen articles/blogs with so many positive comments from readers consistently as yours and have rarely seen an author who is open to feedback and incorporating the feedback. [[ Amit I vaguely remembered the "negative marking for wrong answers" in some place but could not place it. Yes it is in JEE and I have also seen it in CET in Bangalore. There it was 0.25 for a wrong answer and I even told somebody to mark all unanswered questions at random almost certain that they would come out positive (20 questions, random answers, could be 6-3.5=+2.5 or 5-3.75=+1.25 or even 4-4=0) . Thanks for reminding about it. Ananth: ]]

  • Hema Adhikari on September 26, 2010, 21:15 GMT

    It is OK Anantha, you don't have to apologize. Let's bygone be bygone. Yes, I was taken aback a bit by your response but then thought you must be having a bad day and moved on. All the best. [[ No, HA, an apology was warranted. I failed to distinguish between deliberate cricticism and well-meaning advice. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on September 26, 2010, 17:23 GMT

    My sincere apologies to Hema Adhikari. I came on a bit too strongly. It was the reaction to various other deliberate and provocative criticisms. The comment was mild in nature and my response was unwarranted. I can assure that no offence was meant.

  • Rahul on September 26, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    If India and Pakistan were playing as one till 1952, how can pakistan play 29 tests by 1950? Thats what leaves me confused. [[ Rahul The 1950s decade definition for this analysis runs from 1946 to 1959. And I repeat there was no Pakistan cricket team till 1952. Ananth: ]]

  • Rahul on September 26, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    Well Anantha, your response left me even more confused, if they played as a team till 1952 , how can you show them as two different teams for the decade 40-50 with different number of tests played by each. I know you don't like criticism but this one is genuine I will appreciate if you don't eliminate the post. [[ Rahul The sad part is your last sentence. It looks like a few have succeeded in brain-washing readers like you into believing this nonsense of "eliminating the post". Looks like I am doing incalculable harm to the integrity of the post by being open and publishing all such posts. Do you have any reason to believe that normal comments, criticism or not, are suppressed. I can assure you, NEVER ever. And how do you come around to saying "you don't like criticism". How do "you know". It is indeed sad. Let me come to your question. During the period between 1947 and 1952 only one nation existed on the cricketing field. Pakistan made its debut in 1952, even though trhey were a sovereign nation during these 5 years. You must understand that during the period between 1947 and 1952 Pakistan did not exist as a cricketing nation. They were using the time to build their team. The fact that a few players who played for India before 1947 subsequantly played for Pakistan does not come into the picture at all. I am still not sure why you are confused. Is there a single entity called West Indies. This term exists only on the cricket field. In reality it is a loose combination of disparate sovereign countries, Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad, Tobago, Antigua, Bermuda, Dominica and what have you. Ananth: ]]

  • Amit on September 26, 2010, 14:55 GMT

    Observer, what is the big deal about the 1/0/-1 system over 2/1/0 point system for W/D/L? Just move the Y-axis of the current graph and you get what you are looking for (as lond are away wins and away draws and adjusted accordingly). What exactly do you expect to change over what is already shown here with your methodology? [[ Amit I am not sure whether moving axis will do. 5 wins and 5 losses will net 0 point on the 1/0/-1 basis and 10 points using the 2/1/0 basis. So moving the axis will not work. the relative weights are not maintained. However the fundamental need is the basic question. Ananth: ]]

  • Observer on September 26, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    Your response to my negative value for a loss is ridiculous. Last time I checked a loss was a loss as far as stats go. The way I see it, if a win is +2 then a loss is the antithesis of a win so -2 a draw is a no result which "usually" defines mediocrity and or negativity so 0 and a tie is between a win and a draw so 1. [[ Let me take some major sports events in which the policy of 4/3/2 for a win, 2/1 for a draw and 0 for a loss is followed. Football WC qualifying, Final leagues. Olympics preliminary leagues EPL, lower English leagues, Scottish football league. Serie A, Bundesliga, Spanish league. Hockey World Cup. Tennis Masters's event. MLB, NBA, NFL. Cricket WC - ODI / T20. IPL, CL, Pro40 et al. In Formula 1, if a driver does not finish the race, are points docked from his or the team totals. Kindly let me know one major sporting event in which the points are taken off for losing matches. I wait to be educated and enlightened. Finally the tone of your comment is indicative of the malaise I talked about. That too when what you are talking about almost never happens. You are ridiculing a 99% occurence practice when it is your suggestion which should fall under that category. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish Garg on September 26, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    Ananth

    The downward curve for WI is really disturbing. Even New Zealand (always considered as almost a push-overs) have managed to move 'up' after every 'down' but no such rollback for WI.

    Can we have such graphs for any two teams in a particular decade? For example Aus:Ind in all all decades, SA:Eng in all decades, Ind:Eng in all decades? This will be interesting to see how two 'upwards' team has fared against each other? (If possible, you can also punctuate the graph with series-results for that decade)

    Regards Vinish G

  • Ananth on September 26, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    Observer: If you want, you could re-comment with your comments pertaining to this article only. I will gladly publish with whatever explanation I can give. Your other comments are way off-line and do not deserve publication. As far as editing is concenrned, I did not take the option of editing your comment on Muralitharan since that was your conclusion and I have no right to wall paper over that. I either published your comment as it was or decided not to publish. I took the later option. Ananth

  • Youvi on September 26, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    Anantha- Those trendline plots and the color histograms are just great to look at ! Pakistan's rise as a winning team into the 80s/90s and their overall 3rd position is remarkable. With their awesome talent pool it makes their current situation truly poignant. Also, is there any way to correlate (or link) the decade-wise information for the teams with captains during those periods ? I understand that some teams went thru several captaincy changes while other times had same captain for an extended period of time. While cricket is a team game the captain's role is truly a lot more significant compared to some other team games. Thanks for the nice analysis. [[ Probably instead of linking the contrived-split decade with Captains, the captains themselves meed a separate analysis. I have done that previously. However it can be re-visited in the light of comments since then. Ananth: ]]

  • Observer on September 25, 2010, 19:47 GMT

    I agree with Hema Adhikari, if someone finds fault with anything you have the post is never shown, you automatically take umbrage to it or come up with ways of glossing it over. I understand that it is "your" blog, but you are posting on a public cricket website. You have comments form at the bottom of the page. You would at least think that comments questioning your thinking or pointing out whatever flaws would be posted. I hate to burst your bubble but the world isn't perfect, you don't know everything! I also don't expect you to post this comment. [[ Observer/Stumpy Jack or whatever, On the contrary I will publish your comment. Criticism will be and has been published if these are constructive or make sense. If these are sent for the purpose of continuing a tirade, they will not be. Let me take yourself. Your comment on the bowler's article was not published because you used the sentence "Murali was a baseball player". That is an insult to a great player and you have no right to use it in response to an article here. Your other points were valid but this sentence disqualified the comment. Obviously you will have fora to use such sentences. In this article you had raised a comment on giving negative values for draws. I answered that properly. This is your third comment. So how do you conclude that only positive comments are published. Do you have a vision. No, you are only guessing. That is your imagination. This type of unfounded conclusions or meaningless criticisms will not find a place here. As far as public forum and rights are concerned, this small area of lawn has been provided by Cricinfo to me and I have sole control over it. You have every right to disagree with me and still stand on this lawn. No problems at all. You have no right to be nasty or completely negative and expect to be welcome. Even now please come out with any comment related to the post on hand. It will be published. I suggest add value, which your previous comment did. Ananth: ]]

  • Hemianonymous on September 25, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    Wonderful post, I could never have figured that WI was dominant team during 80s and Auatralia in the 90s and Pakistan really did well with Imran and Miandad around. One question though how did you calculate the stats for the decade (40-50) when India and pakistan were one till 1947! That confused me a bit. [[ Rahul Until 1952, India and Pakistan played as a team, India. (e-g) Kardar. Afterwards they played as separate teams. So there is no problem at all. It is the team identity which has been used. Ananth: ]]

  • tayyyab on September 25, 2010, 11:59 GMT

    @annath great article just going through the comments i got an idea that i wold love to see the comparisons between teams at their best and worst peaks. for example Australia's best of last two decades vs WI best o 80's or the worst time for each team too. just to see how good were teams at their best and worst moments.and it will be better if we consider best ten years in a go even if they start from i.e 83 to 93. just something i wanted to see. great work btw as always [[ Tayyab I have a comprehensive Team Strength methodology and will try and get the info you wanted into an article. Ananth: ]]

  • salman on September 25, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    Great article! do you think victory or loss margin should have an impact on team rankings? [[ Salman What you say is right. Pl see my response to Andrew and Christian. This is a very relevant factor but in a much more involved project. As of now I have made this a fairly simple easy-to-understand article. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on September 25, 2010, 3:51 GMT

    Hema, I think Ananth gets riled up more due to the supercilious “tone” of some comments than their actual content.Other guys like Alex, Xolile,Unni and several others offer many suggestions- often not in agreement with the blog/methodology- but in a generally civil manner. [[ Abhi That is exactly the point. The tone is that there is no place for an article which does not have x-factor or something similar which gets me. I should get Cricinfo to change the description of this blog from "Stats" one to "Analysis one". Ananth: ]]

    In any case all these recent comments are actually quite mild. You should see some of those blogs wherein Tendulkar comes out in 2nd place to any other batsman( with the exception of the Don)…In such cases ,ofcourse,I too feel that “obviously” there just Has to be something wrong with such a methodology!

    But it is in those blogs that you should see the comments…So,I feel anyone’s patience would start wearing thin after a while. Occupational hazard. [[ And you have certainly got me riled often !!!. But you are ready with a bouquet as a brickbat. What bugs me is the accumulation of a bucket of brickbats. Ananth: ]]

  • Ali Shah on September 25, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    A very well written article. Very simple yet clears the picture. Everybody knows the best teams of the decade but it is always difficult to put a number to their performance. By putting in some effort you did just that. You have done a good job by simply quantifying the wins and draws and losses and showed the leading teams of the decades.

    I am surprised to see that even with a such a terrible 2000s Pakistan retain the overall 3rd spot. No doubt the 80s and 90s top notch bowling attacks and Imran's leadership really hold the key to that. [[ Ali It is a well-deserved third place mainly because Pakistan has vever been very bad over these 50+ years. They have almost always have had excellent bowling attacks. I hope they would come out of the current problems like the Phoenix. Ananth: ]]

  • Hema Adhikari on September 25, 2010, 0:52 GMT

    you are increasingly coming across as a man who shouts" get of my lawn" at the slightest provocation. While your complaints may be valid about people nit picking your articles, the way you protest is unbecoming of a respected blog author. Hope things improve here. Cheers!

  • Observer on September 24, 2010, 23:45 GMT

    Why isn't a loss a negative value ? If you are going to give value to a draw which is essentially a no result then a why not a negative for a loss ? Also a draw and a tie are not the same thing, a tie is a result with all 40 wickets falling it should be counted as a win for both sides or at least given a higher value than a draw. [[ A loss cannot be a negative value. Should South Africa (and Amla) get a negative value after they fought the way they did at Kolkatta. Or the same SA should not get a negative value after they fought like tigers at Colombo and lost by 1 wkt. Since there have been only two ties (out of 1971), your suggestion is intrinsically correct but would not matter a whit if implemented. Ananth: ]]

  • AN on September 24, 2010, 23:04 GMT

    Fantastic work as always. To expand on the future, I think the entire Indian subcontinent teams will slip back in the coming decade. They will become T-20 centric due to IPL, CLT etc. On the Test front, India may replace batsmen but bowlers are going to be a problem. The problem is similar in SL post Murali. Mendis seems to have fizzled off and there does not seem to be anybody on the horizon. Pakistan, I am afraid will continue to have problems as the current issues cannot be solved easily. Also, batting replacements for Inzy, Yousuf are not on the horizon. Australia, England and South Africa are the only ones with a Test future. It will be like the past, i,e 1918. Coincidentally, 2018 the 100 year anniversary is around the corner. Hate to sound so grim as a Indian subcontinental supporter but the draw % would go up as teams play defensively and viewers shift to T20 in this part of the globe.

  • Ray Sargeant on September 24, 2010, 19:15 GMT

    Exceelent job!!! very impressive.. I just hope the WICB sees this and finally wake up!! WI has been in crisis for too long.. We need to act now and stop hoping things will get better.

  • Chi Square on September 24, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    What is the purpose? You are the past master at stating the obvious. Plus it is flawed in the sense what if a team was really good from 75 to 85. It would miss out in both decades starting with zeros. Decade breakdown is ritualistic and has no reason for selection creating profound selection bias potentially. [[ I have published, and subsequently deleted, the strong response to this comment. I realize now that since the sole purpose is to find fault, I will publish this comment sans any response.. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhishek Mukherjee on September 24, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Nice analysis. When I started reading this I thought this was too simple as an analysis, but the more I started reading into it I was amazed by the amount of information it concealed.

    Just one more graph, Ananth: a composite line chart, representing ALL teams together over time.

    Also, just a thought. Since the frequencey of tests have increased substantially with time, one might want to see the following: 1. An analysis not by decade, but by no. of tests (the standing after test no. 200, 400, 600, etc, for example) 2. You have showed a comparison of teams over the same period of time. I would also like to see their performance after x tests, respectively. I mean, say, all teams after THEIR respective 50, 100, 150, etc tests. I know that this doesn't tally with the subject matter, but I'm just curious to look at the results. [[ Abhishek Ha here we go. All are great ideas. Warrants a follow-up article rather than adding on to these. Could be added to the Series analysis, suggested by Amit. The number-cutoff is an intriguing suggestion. I tried the single graph with all countries. Even with different colours it was cluttered a lot. And I have limitations on the graph size, this being a web-based article. Let me anyhow see. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on September 24, 2010, 17:05 GMT

    Ananth - I was a bit surprised to note that SA's graph has always been on the rise barring the very slight dip in this decade. They have been low on hype after failing to overhaul Aussies in late 90's and the Cronje scandal & selection policies played their part as well. Yet, on they march! This indicates their infrastructure is very solid and robust in spotting and nurturing the talent. [[ Alex South Africa's failures, often highlighted, are in the shorter formats of the game. In Tests they are still very good and came within 21 balls of winning an away series in India and the no.1 position. Ananth: ]]

  • Mian Gul Muhammed on September 24, 2010, 15:56 GMT

    Brilliant work, it gives you insight how teams performed over the years. It will be interesting to have ODI analysis in this simple form. Pls send a copy to PCB and ICC so that they can get their act together, be more professional and this talented side does not get isolated from rest of the world. [[ Mian I am with you in that a mercurial side like Pakistan does not get isolated because of a few black sheep. And I am not happy with the fact that most of the non-legalized betting is controlled by Indian cartels within and without India. Also Mr.Butt should count to 100 before saying anything. It would certainly help matters. Ananth: ]]

  • Sushamna on September 24, 2010, 15:54 GMT

    I like the fact you have started using graphs (or other visualization methods) along with tabular data. That helps in understanding the pattern easily.

    Consistent coloring scheme for the period summary graphs would be helpful to compare a team's performance (i.e. ranking) across periods. Rather than showing the first team in blue, you could use blue for Australia in all the graphs, red for West Indies, etc. You could also use respective ODI jersey colors instead of these random colors. [[ Sushamna Initially I had the team sequence for the period graphs. Then I changed to performance sequencing. Same colour can be used. Will probably improve perception. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravindra P Marathe on September 24, 2010, 15:41 GMT

    Ananth, thanks for the smart article. Plots and charts give an easy yet accurate representation of data- especially trends. I averaged the decade-wise Perf% of each team and found some differences from your table: Team Ananth RPM AUS 65.99% 65.77% ENG 59.26% 58.95% PAK 56.68% 54.73% WI 56.29% 55.82% SAF 55.21% 51.63% SL 52.05% 46.02% IND 51.22% 45.20% NZ 43.63% 40.98% ZIM 28.31% 28.64% I don't know the source of the discrepancy. But Pak/WI could swap places. [[ Ravi You cannot average since the number of matches varies. See Sri Lanka's numbers. Their 61.2% is for 99 matches. Hence their final number is much higher than the average of three periods. And so on. Ananth: ]]

    2)The photo caption mentions "most consistent". Aus indeed has the highest Perf% but ranked on StdDev, Pak comes tops with 0.079 followed by Eng with 0.082. Of course Pak have played for 80 fewer years than Eng. [[ Certainly Australia deserved the recognition, if not the caption. Ananth: ]]

    3).Gavaskar and the spinners did indeed contribute massively to India's successes in the 70s and the 1980-81 tours.

    4). 2000s: excellent Aussies & Zim/Ban faring poorly; decade stdDev of Perf% is 0.224 with those two and 0.147 without them. 1980s: excellent WI but all others not so bad; decade stdDev 0.163 [[ Yes I have also mentioned that the huge disparity is due to two weak teams. Ananth: ]]

  • Ary May on September 24, 2010, 14:59 GMT

    Very good analysis. It is indeed a problem for India going forward without their flagship opening and middle order batsmen retiring - Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly (already retired), Sachin Tendulkar - by 2012/2013, India are going to start dipping down if they do not produce craftsmen of the highest calibre. And with the way things are going, with young bllod more focused on T20 and one-day, its going to be tough to find so many replacements.

  • Tifosiguy on September 24, 2010, 14:15 GMT

    Ananth

    Cheers for this ! One query though - if you remove the wins against Bangladesh ( home or away - didn't matter with them), how different do the numbers in the 2000's stack up ? The numbers for Sri Lanka especially,wouldn't look that impressive, is my gut feeling. They've played Bangladesh an awful amount of time. [[ Tifo That is a door better left closed. Then I would have to remove many an earlier match. E-g., Match # 226 in which Hammond scored 336 off probably the worst ever bowling attack that took the field. Ananth: ]]

  • Bilal on September 24, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    It would be very interesting if you can also consider the results based on where the matches were played e.g. europe, sub-continent, aus-nz, WI.

  • Amit on September 24, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Hi Ananth, yet another nice analysis. The one suggestion I have is to do the same analysis by Series (as opposed to tests). That eliminates results of dead rubber tests and also reflects the priary goal of the contests. Amit [[ An excxellent idea. Both your reasons are very good. Will do when time permits. Ananth: ]]

  • Christian on September 24, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    Thanks for the analysis. Personally I would have weighted wins as worth 3 points instead of 2, but otherwise it is difficult to argue. [[ Christian I feel that the 2-1-0 is correct in Test matches because the draw is a very well-earned result quite often. Again I have ideas of working out result based points on a continuous basis. More on that later. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew P on September 24, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Nice work Ananth. I was surprised and delighted with Australia's consistency. I know you acknowledge the arbitrary nature of "away weighting", but I'm curious as to how it altered your analysis. (eg did 100% [like in FIFA World Cup playoffs] make things ridiculous, and 0% unhelpful?) I'd be interested in what you found. [[ West Indies in the 1960s were first ahead of Australia and England on the decimal point because of the away weight. This was a clear case of the top position. There are other cases at lower levels. Too many to elaborate. I have been independently working on a Test Team Rating system and the figure of 25% has been derived through trial and error in that system. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on September 24, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    This analysis conveys loads of info in just a little piece.

    However, "home" and "away" records added on along with the currently displayed overall records (perhaps all on the same graphs?) would be even more revealing.

    [[ Abhi Already I am (and the reader would be) reeling under the load of 16 graphs. Any more I would receive some funny comments. However your overall idea is good and I have to look at integrating the home and away records into a single presentation. Then the time factor might crop up. India were lambs to the slaughter for many years, away. Ananth: ]]

  • Anonymous on September 24, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Good stats! Pakistan is at 3rd position as far as the overall tests results are concerned. [[ At least you could give your name !!! Ananth: ]]

  • EnglandTheirEngland on September 24, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    this graphic quite nicely supports my view that england generally set the standard - they're always there or there abouts, and other teams have to play well to beat them. England teams are rarely 'great' but equally are rarely totally awful, at least not for too long. Teams like Pakistan and WI fluctuate between the two. [[ Henry I always get the feeling that England does not get their due. Note their very good performance during the past decade. Ananth: ]]

  • Gohar on September 24, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    Well brilliant analysis! Only Australia is the only team which maintain their winning average above 50 throughout there career. Brilliant Team. And surprisingly Pakistan once went down below 50% amazing!! [[ Gohar That was during the 1960s, after the Fazal era and before the Pakistan pacemen again started making their strong impart. In fact the 1960s were terrible for both Asian team, both around 45%. Ananth: ]]

  • Naeem Qamar on September 24, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    Excellent Analysis.Well presented and simple.

  • hassan on September 24, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    Thankyou for such a wonderful blog you deserve more than this, really all the Cricket Boards specially PCB should get a copy of this to see our glorious past and it seems that Aussies are really developing according to it.........Thankyou again

  • Shankar on September 24, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    This looks good. Can you make a line chart for all countries with time on X-axis and performance on Y-axis (one line per country)? That would be a very good summary to look at. [[ Shankar Can you define Performance more. Because that was has been done in the 8 charts in the second half of the article. Except that the A axis is 8 time periods. You cannot really get performance at any discrete point in time other than to-date values. Ananth: ]]

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  • Shankar on September 24, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    This looks good. Can you make a line chart for all countries with time on X-axis and performance on Y-axis (one line per country)? That would be a very good summary to look at. [[ Shankar Can you define Performance more. Because that was has been done in the 8 charts in the second half of the article. Except that the A axis is 8 time periods. You cannot really get performance at any discrete point in time other than to-date values. Ananth: ]]

  • hassan on September 24, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    Thankyou for such a wonderful blog you deserve more than this, really all the Cricket Boards specially PCB should get a copy of this to see our glorious past and it seems that Aussies are really developing according to it.........Thankyou again

  • Naeem Qamar on September 24, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    Excellent Analysis.Well presented and simple.

  • Gohar on September 24, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    Well brilliant analysis! Only Australia is the only team which maintain their winning average above 50 throughout there career. Brilliant Team. And surprisingly Pakistan once went down below 50% amazing!! [[ Gohar That was during the 1960s, after the Fazal era and before the Pakistan pacemen again started making their strong impart. In fact the 1960s were terrible for both Asian team, both around 45%. Ananth: ]]

  • EnglandTheirEngland on September 24, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    this graphic quite nicely supports my view that england generally set the standard - they're always there or there abouts, and other teams have to play well to beat them. England teams are rarely 'great' but equally are rarely totally awful, at least not for too long. Teams like Pakistan and WI fluctuate between the two. [[ Henry I always get the feeling that England does not get their due. Note their very good performance during the past decade. Ananth: ]]

  • Anonymous on September 24, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Good stats! Pakistan is at 3rd position as far as the overall tests results are concerned. [[ At least you could give your name !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on September 24, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    This analysis conveys loads of info in just a little piece.

    However, "home" and "away" records added on along with the currently displayed overall records (perhaps all on the same graphs?) would be even more revealing.

    [[ Abhi Already I am (and the reader would be) reeling under the load of 16 graphs. Any more I would receive some funny comments. However your overall idea is good and I have to look at integrating the home and away records into a single presentation. Then the time factor might crop up. India were lambs to the slaughter for many years, away. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew P on September 24, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Nice work Ananth. I was surprised and delighted with Australia's consistency. I know you acknowledge the arbitrary nature of "away weighting", but I'm curious as to how it altered your analysis. (eg did 100% [like in FIFA World Cup playoffs] make things ridiculous, and 0% unhelpful?) I'd be interested in what you found. [[ West Indies in the 1960s were first ahead of Australia and England on the decimal point because of the away weight. This was a clear case of the top position. There are other cases at lower levels. Too many to elaborate. I have been independently working on a Test Team Rating system and the figure of 25% has been derived through trial and error in that system. Ananth: ]]

  • Christian on September 24, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    Thanks for the analysis. Personally I would have weighted wins as worth 3 points instead of 2, but otherwise it is difficult to argue. [[ Christian I feel that the 2-1-0 is correct in Test matches because the draw is a very well-earned result quite often. Again I have ideas of working out result based points on a continuous basis. More on that later. Ananth: ]]

  • Amit on September 24, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Hi Ananth, yet another nice analysis. The one suggestion I have is to do the same analysis by Series (as opposed to tests). That eliminates results of dead rubber tests and also reflects the priary goal of the contests. Amit [[ An excxellent idea. Both your reasons are very good. Will do when time permits. Ananth: ]]