Batting November 20, 2010

Gooch holds his own with Bradman !!!

A look at purple patches for batsmen in Tests
144

Graham Gooch: one of the most prolific batting streaks
Graham Gooch: one of the most prolific batting streaks © Getty Images

The idea for this article came when I was discussing Lara's 400 with a friend, arguing that that was not even his fifth best innings. He countered by saying that since this was the maximum runs scored in a test it should be considered great. I had to correct him saying that there were two other batsmen who have scored more runs than Lara in a test. He was quite surprised since he could not think of someone scoring more than 400. He was only thinking of one innings. Then I explained to him about Gooch and Mark Taylor.

It made me think that there may be many cricket followers who might be in the dark about this and the maximum runs scored in one or more tests. I was also sure we would be in for some major surprises if we looked deeply into it. I myself did not have the answers ready. Would Lara's 688 be the maximum in three consecutive tests (no, it is not) or would Bradman's 974 runs during the 1930 5-test series be the maximum scored in a 5-test sequence (no, it is not) or would Tendulkar's recent streak of 1323 in 10 tests (before the Hyderabad Test) would be amongst the top 10-match sequences (no, it is not) and so on.

A very fascinating set of questions. I decided I would do a complete article on this. I am glad that I did it since it has thrown up quite a few great insights into Test batting. So much so I would do a similar article on Test bowling also.

Indeed this turned out to be a tough task since I also wanted to utilize this opportunity to build a Player-performance Database. This is essential since I needed to get the best 1-10 test performances for each player and then get the all-time best performances. I also wanted to provide the information on the top players' 1-10 tests best performances so that the readers could do their own comparisons. And I was sure that there would be queries on the best performances by specific players after the article was published. I wanted to be able to provide the information quickly. In fact I have also provided the huge table of all players' for downloading.

First let me emphasize that this is only a run aggregate. I myself will clarify that this aggregating of runs in specific sequences of 1-10 tests is irrespective of opposing team, home or away, match conditions, period lapsed between matches, not outs et al. That is not the purpose of this article. Readers should appreciate this and not come in with a comment such as "opposition bowling quality is not considered". But that is wishful thinking !!! Also readers who worry bout batting average should understand that when someone scores over 1500 runs in 10 tests, it does not matter about averages. It is going to be quite high.

Let us now look at the tables.

Maximum runs scored in a single test

Batsman         Runs  StartTest

Gooch G.A 456 (1148-1990) 333+123

Taylor M.A 426 (1426-1998) 334+92

Lara B.C 400 (1696-2004) 400

This table refers to the discussion which led into this analysis and a start of dominance by an extremely under-rated player, Graham Gooch. His triple and single centuries in the 1990 Lord's test add upto 456 runs and leads this table. This is followed by Mark Taylor's 426 against Pakistan. He followed a 334 (declared since he wanted to be at par with Bradman, not wanting to go past it !!!) with 92. Then follows Lara's single innings score of 400.

The cricketing story behind the Test is that Gooch declared late on the fourth day, leaving India with just over 8 hours to get runs. When asked why he did not declare earlier, he replied that he wanted to be able to attack right through the Indian innings. On slightly helpful tracks, Gooch's reason is the one which makes more sense rather than the often repeated "we must give the batting team a chance" maxim.

There is also a personal story behind the Gooch Test. I was in England at that time on my company work and was scheduled to leave London for Bombay, via Kuwait on 1 August. I wanted to see the last day of the Lord's Test on 31 July, hoping for a great fight back. Unfortunately India, starting at 57 for 2, collapsed in less than 3 hours. I decided to save 100 pounds in expenses, advanced my flight to 31 July and returned a day earlier.

Some readers might ask, so what. The horrifying truth was that the flight which left on August 1, landed at Kuwait, not knowing that Iraq had invaded and then could not take off again. In fact the plane was torched. The passengers had a harrowing time for 30 days and finally had to travel overland through Jordan to return to India. There, but for the grace of God and the ineptness of the Indian batting, I, a confirmed grass-eater, would have been in occupied-Kuwait. Lucky it was not the Harbhajan-led tail of today which might have batted on till evening.

Maximum runs scored in 2 consecutive tests

Gooch G.A        640 (1147-1990)
154+30, 333+123
184, 456

Bradman D.G 625 (0236-1934) 304, 244+77 304, 321

Smith G.C 621 (1651-2003) 277+85, 259 362, 259

Since Gooch preceded his Lord's test with another great one, he leads in the 2-test table with 640 runs. How can you keep Bradman out. He is next with 625 runs. Then there is a surprise with Graeme Smith with 621 runs, mainly with two huge double centuries.

Maximum runs scored in 3 consecutive tests

Hammond W.R      779 (0177-1928)
251, 200+32, 119+177
251, 232, 296

Gooch G.A 763 (1147-1990) 154+30, 333+123, 116+7 184, 456, 123

Sobers G.St.A 731 (0448-1958) 52+80, 365, 125+109 132, 365, 234

The 3-test sequence is headed by Hammond, with two double hundreds and two centuries in 3 tests, aggregating to 779 runs. Gooch is just behind, with 763 runs since he had an excellent test after the humongous Lord's one. For once Bradman is kept out. Sobers, book-ending his 365 with two good tests has aggregated 731 runs.

Maximum runs scored in 4 consecutive tests

Gooch G.A        936 (1147-1990)
154+30, 333+123, 116+7, 85+88
184, 456, 123, 173

Sangakkara K.C 915 (1838-2007) 200, 222, 57+192, 92+152 200, 222, 249, 244

Bradman D.G 888 (0180-1929) 123+37, 8+131, 254+1, 334 160, 139, 255, 334

Gooch continues to lead the tables. In 4 consecutive tests he scored 936 runs. Now there is a modern presence. Sangakkara's golden run during 2007 comes in second with 915 runs, supported by two double and two big centuries. He is ahead of Bradman whose quartet of tests aggregated 888 runs.

Maximum runs scored in 5 consecutive tests

Gooch G.A       1058 (1146-1990)
85+37, 154+30, 333+123, 116+7, 85+88
122, 184, 456, 123, 173

Bradman D.G 1028 (0236-1934) 304, 244+77, 38+0, 0+82, 13+270 304, 321, 38, 82, 283

Sobers G.St.A 1009 (0450-1958) 365, 125+109, 14+27, 25+142, 4+198 365, 234, 41, 167, 202

We are now back to the trusted trio of Gooch, Bradman and Sobers. Note that these three have exceeded 1000 runs in 5 tests. These are the only three to do so.

Maximum runs scored in 6 consecutive tests

Bradman D.G     1266 (0236-1934)
304, 244+77, 38+0, 0+82, 13+270, 26+212
304, 321, 38, 82, 283, 238

Gooch G.A 1147 (1148-1990) 333+123, 116+7, 85+88, 20+58, 59+54, 87+117 456, 123, 173, 78, 113, 204

Sobers G.St.A 1141 (0448-1958) 52+80, 365, 125+109, 14+27, 25+142, 4+198 132, 365, 234, 41, 167, 202

The same three batsmen lead the table for the 6-test aggregates. However the sequence is different, with Bradman displacing Gooch. Sobers stays in third place. 11 batsmen have crossed 1000 runs in 6 tests.

Maximum runs scored in 7 consecutive tests

Bradman D.G     1435 (0236-1934)
304, 244+77, 38+0, 0+82, 13+270, 26+212, 169
304, 321, 38, 82, 283, 238, 169

Gooch G.A 1331 (1147-1990) 154+30, 333+123, 116+7, 85+88, 20+58, 59+54, 87+117 184, 456, 123, 173, 78, 113, 204

Mohammad Yousuf 1296 (1809-2006) 202+48, 38+15, 192+8, 128, 192, 56+191, 102+124 250, 53, 200, 128, 192, 247, 226

Now for the 7-test aggregate table. Bradman has aggregated 1435 runs, over 200 runs per test. Gooch has aggregated 1331 runs. Now the current generation comes in, represented by the top class Pakistani batsman, Mohammad Yousuf who had a wonderful year during 2006. He aggregated 1296 runs in 7 tests. What Pakistan would do to have Yousuf playing half as well now. 20 batsmen have exceeded 1000 runs in 7 tests.

Maximum runs scored in 8 consecutive tests

Bradman D.G     1630 (0236-1934)
304, 244+77, 38+0, 0+82, 13+270, 26+212, 169, 51+144
304, 321, 38, 82, 283, 238, 169, 195

Gooch G.A 1453 (1146-1990) 85+37, 154+30, 333+123, 116+7, 85+88, 20+58, 59+54, 87+117 122, 184, 456, 123, 173, 78, 113, 204

Richards I.V.A 1385 (0773-1976) 142, 130+20, 177+23, 64, 232+63, 4+135, 66+38, 291 142, 150, 200, 64, 295, 139, 104, 291

These two giants, Bradman and Gooch have monopolized the top two positions in the 8-test tables. Bradman still maintains his 200+ runs per test and is way ahead of Gooch. Then comes the incomparable Richards who had one of the greatest of batsman-years during 1976. With a finale of the wonderful Oval innings of 291, he had aggregated 1385 runs. No fewer than 44 batsmen have exceeded 1000 runs in eight tests, Bradman being the only 1500+ run gatherer.

Maximum runs scored in 9 consecutive tests

Bradman D.G     1750 (0236-1934)
304, 244+77, 38+0, 0+82, 13+270, 26+212, 169, 51+144, 18+102
304, 321, 38, 82, 283, 238, 169, 195, 120

Gooch G.A 1550 (1147-1990) 154+30, 333+123, 116+7, 85+88, 20+58, 59+54, 87+117, 13+18, 34+154 184, 456, 123, 173, 78, 113, 204, 31, 188

Richards I.V.A 1533 (0770-1976) 50+98, 142, 130+20, 177+23, 64, 232+63, 4+135, 66+38, 291 148, 142, 150, 200, 64, 295, 139, 104, 291

Same three batsmen occupy the top three places in the 9-test table. Bradman's total of 1750 means that the average runs per test falls below 200. Gooch totals 1550 runs and Richards 1533. Gooch's sequence ends with the all-time classic of 154 against West Indies which must rank amongst the five best ever Test innings in anyone's reckoning. 75 batsmen have crossed 1000 runs in 9 Tests and 5 of these have crossed 1500 runs.

Maximum runs scored in 10 consecutive tests

Bradman D.G     1869 (0236-1934)
304, 244+77, 38+0, 0+82, 13+270, 26+212, 169, 51+144, 18+102, 103+16
304, 321, 38, 82, 283, 238, 169, 195, 120, 119

Gooch G.A 1672 (1146-1990) 85+37, 154+30, 333+123, 116+7, 85+88, 20+58, 59+54, 87+117, 13+18, 34+154 122, 184, 456, 123, 173, 78, 113, 204, 31, 188

Richards I.V.A 1664 (0768-1976) 30+101, 50+98, 142, 130+20, 177+23, 64, 132+63, 4+135, 66+38, 291 131, 148, 142, 150, 200, 64, 195, 139, 104, 291

Finally the 10-test table. Again the same three batsmen. Bradman has aggregated 1869 runs in a 10-test sequence. The irony is that there is a zero embedded in this sequence. Gooch and Richards only suffer when compared to Bradman. 114 batsmen have crossed 1000 runs in 9 Tests and 8 of these have crossed 1500 runs.

The surprise in these 10x3 efforts is the complete absence of a single Indian batsman. I am wary of giving a possible reason. Only thing I can think of is the overall strong batting lineup of India, not allowing one batsman to dominate for a series of Tests. That might very well have been the case for Australia a few years back. Incidentally Gambhir has a 10-test aggregate of 1640 runs and is just behind Richards.

Readers would have noted that Gooch is the only batsman to have featured in the top-3 positions in all these 10 tables. Bradman is missing in the 1-test and 3-tests tables. I agree that one swallow does not make a summer and these 10 tests are not representative of the batsman's career. However we have to recognize Gooch's 10 golden tests.

I am sure readers would like to see the best 1-10 test sequence aggregates of their favourite batsmen. Instead of cluttering up the main article I have uploaded the file and readers can view/download the complete player file.

This has been added as a postscript. This is the 10-innings sequence, rather than the 10-test sequence, as asked for by some readers. The table is presented with no comments.

Lara B.C             1   400 (1696-2004)
Hayden M.L           1   380 (1661-2003)
Jayawardene D.P.M.D  1   374 (1810-2006) (Lara's 375 is in between)

Hammond W.R 2 563 (0225-1933) Bradman D.G 2 548 (0236-1934) Sobers G.St.A 2 490 (0450-1958)

Hammond W.R 3 638 (0224-1933) Bradman D.G 3 625 (0236-1934) Smith G.C 3 621 (1651-2003)

Hammond W.R 4 739 (0224-1933) Bradman D.G 4 720 (0194-1930) Sobers G.St.A 4 679 (0448-1958)

Bradman D.G 5 835 (0195-1930) Hammond W.R 5 779 (0177-1928) Sangakkara K.C 5 763 (1838-2007)

Gooch G.A 5 756 (1147-1990) Zaheer Abbas 5 747 (0936-1982) Sobers G.St.A 5 731 (0448-1958)

Bradman D.G 6 966 (0194-1930) Sangakkara K.C 6 915 (1838-2007) Zaheer Abbas 6 838 (0935-1982)

Bradman D.G 7 984 (0196-1930) Sangakkara K.C 7 921 (1837-2007) Gooch G.A 7 878 (1146-1990)

Bradman D.G 8 1087 (0195-1930) Mohammad Yousuf 8 993 (1813-2006) Sangakkara K.C 8 962 (1838-2007)

Bradman D.G 9 1239 (0195-1930) Sangakkara K.C 9 1085 (1822-2006) Mohammad Yousuf 9 1025 (1813-2006)

Bradman D.G 10 1370 (0194-1930) Sangakkara K.C 10 1185 (1820-2006) Sobers G.St.A 10 1115 (0450-1958)

R.V.Subbu has asked one of the most intriguing and exciting questions on this blog. He wanted to know who has the best 52-test streak, second to Bradman. Thanking him for a wonderful question I set to work, the process already having been set, and the results are given below. The funny thing is that the first time I did this I did not set the Bradman exclusion filter and got the following information.

Bradman D.G. 52 6996 99.94

Laughing at my own idiocy, I set the filter and got the results.

Ricky Ponting, in a 52-test span between Test # 1595 (Saf vs Aus 15/03/2002) and Test # 1819 (Aus vs Eng 1/12/2006) accumulated 5853 runs at an average of 74.09 (90-11-5853-74.09-23 hundreds). His average improved from 45.09 to 59.97..

This is a logical extension of the current article and I must thank R.V.Subbu again for setting the spark.

The second is, surprise, Lara, who, starting with Test # 1542 and ending at one test before the end of his career, aggregated 5573 runs in 52 tests. Supports my contention that he retired couple of years too soon, or was forced to retire.

The third is, surprise again, Sobers, who scored 5468 runs in 52 tests starting Test # 443 (just before his record-breaking 365).

To view/down-load the complete 1-10 tests table, please click/right-click here.

To view/down-load the complete player table, please click/right-click here. The batsmen who have scored 2000 runs or more are included.

To view/down-load the 52-Test sequence table, please click/right-click here.

To view/down-load the 80-innings sequence table, please click/right-click here. Readers should note that Logie does not figure in this table since he played in 52 tests but had only 78 innings.

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

  • Andrew P on April 8, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    And so? What became of the last two comments? [[ After 5 months !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Amey on December 20, 2010, 16:33 GMT

    Ananth,

    Agree it would be tough, but in a way it would be effectively shutting up quite a number of people. While yes, DGB is miles ahead of the rest, and SRT features not so high in this list, I have a very strong feeling that SRT will show a DGB-esque dominance in the ODI section.

    If that is too tough, may be a simpler thing can be done. In the 80 innings list, for each player, addition of another column which shows the ODI runs scored in that period of 80 innings (after all, they are international runs scored, whatever the format.) [[ No problems. Will try hard because of the unique nature of the idea. Ananth: ]]

  • Amey on December 20, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    Just feel sorry I missed this article earlier! Actually after Gambhir's streak, tried to find this same thing on statsguru, but was left unsatisfied...

    BTW, another analysis may be interesting. Here you have taken just Test matches. How about 80 innings at a stretch (across Tests and ODIs). That would make more sense for modern batsmen, given that they play more ODIs than Tests (could also backfire a bit, as there is a much better chance to score more in Tests than 50 overs). I am inclined to believe Gambhir and SRT will rise up the ranks here if this is done. [[ As requests go, this is one of the toughest. I have done Tests/Odis together but only by extracting from one and integrating with the other. This would require both Databases online at the same time and some nifty programming. But will find a way to do it. Thanks Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 14, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    delmeister: I've that CLR James book right beside me!

    I don't regard "taking away uncovered pitches" as a very fundamental change. There have been several such cosmetic changes which cancel out each other....Eg : Timeless tests, lighter bats, no protective gear, the old LBW rule, back-foot no-ball rule, new-ball renewal rules among other things. Which is why I believe the game has more or less remained the same since the 1860s.

    I agree with James btw. You can't build a monument on those stats! Yes, Bradman may have failed all too often on "stickies". But in a lot of those cases he got out so early (ducks in several instances) that it is difficult to claim that he "struggled" on rain-affected pitches.

    To me, it's more than enough that he dominated attacks on normal Aus and English pitches. Few batsmen can accomplish that since conditions in England are so very different from the conditions in Australia. Anyone who can do great in both countries should fare well elsewhere.

  • delmeister on December 14, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    ..at the age of 45, his test average is well clear of Pollock and Sutcliffe, at over 66. Mind you, people say that like Bradman, he never failed in a Test series. When the 2 faced each other in 1930/31, he averaged 37 in the 5 tests, which POSSIBLY could be called a failure, if only slight. He did make 2 centuries. No great player ever shouldered a greater burden. During that tour, he went from having a slight weakness on leg stump, exploited by Grimmett (tho it was mainly 'Dainty' Ironmonger who kept dismissing him), to finishing the tour as "undoubtedly" the greatest master of onside play Grimmett and the rest had ever seen. West Indies truly have had some remarkable players!

  • delmeister on December 14, 2010, 1:43 GMT

    ..that Bradman and Headley had played on rain affected wickets. Headley averaged over 39- Bradman 16! As James rightly said, "You needn't on those figures buils a monument, but you cannot ignore them" (I will provide more stats on those innings when I dig out the book at Xmas at my parents' house). Headley, along with Hobbs, Hutton, probably Hammond, and the less fluent Sutcliffe and Arthur Shrewsbury, were the alltime giants on stickies. That a player like Bradman had such distaste for them shows how difficult they were, a challenge totally unknown to modern players for a long time now. Incidentally, while praising Headley, the most technically complete of the great WI batsmen (albeit rarely a front foot driver), I am delighted that one of the correspondents has pointed out that many of his big innings were against reserve England touring XIs.But he was still an alltime great, imo better than Hammond, esp against genuine pace.If he had not made ill-advised comeback after WW2 TBC

  • delmeister on December 14, 2010, 1:30 GMT

    ..raised the bar with running between wickets (Steve Waugh was one who ran very well with him in ODIs), but before him, Miandad and Asif Iqbal reached very high standards indeed in that. Ahzar was certainly the first Indian player I saw take ODI batting totally seriously- ironic as he came in after 83 victory! Must have inspired him greatly. Of course, he also broke the Indian hoodoo of debutant Test centurions never making another one...Also one of their outstanding fielders I believe. Shrikanth, some good points there, but taking away uncovered wickets was also a major development. Apart from anything else, the rightly worshipped Bradman was a very ordinary player indeed on 'sticky' wickets where unlike normal turners, where his judgement was superb, the ball would frequently jump or squat off a length. He freely admitted to never trying to master them as he felt "You wouldn't ask Walter Lindrum to play billiards on a bumpy table". CLR James composed a list of innings TBC

  • delmeister on December 14, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    Alex, I do agree with those comments, esp about Ahzar's weakness against pace, although there was a brief period when he did a little better in about 89/90 when he went back and across instead of forward. But was still inconsistent. 2 later brilliant hundreds against South Africa both owed much tobeing partnered by SRT- it is often forgetten when everybody points out how formidable the Indian batting has been for yrs just how long Sachin played, under pressure and at a young age, in a rather brittle line-up before Dravid and Ganguly's debut success in England. Vishy, however, played an innings (was it Madras?) of 97* that Gavaskar has always rated one of the greatest he ever saw. My point in praising Ahzar was mainly to emphasise the difference between an INGENIOUS player (Azhar, Javed, Zaheer, Pietersen, Jones) and a blue-chip bona fide all round GENIUS batsman,like Lara and Barry Richards(themselves totally different players). Many seem to confuse the 2 repeatedly.Jones certainly TBC

  • shrikanthk on December 11, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    Also, I strongly believe that comparing eras is not as hard as it is made out to be.

    We often hear the refrain that "the game has changed". I don't think it has changed in a very fundamental way.

    The last most radical change in the game of cricket was the legalisation of overarm bowling in 1864. Most changes since then have been very cosmetic changes.

    I wouldn't mind using numbers to compare anybody who has played this game since 1864.

    Very often, I find that critics are willing to go as far back as Hobbs while picking All-time Elevens. But they desist from seriously considering cricketers from the pre-1914 era. Just because they don't have newsreel clippings to reveal those cricketers. I find this reluctance quite stupid. I'm sure if you were to go back to the English first-class scene of 1890 on a time-machine, you'll find that it is not all that radically different from the English FC scene of 2010.

  • shrikanthk on December 11, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    Wonderful Blog.

    Ananth - You did a great job of constructing the "bowling quality" index to drive home the magnitude of Bradman's achievements. But honestly, I think the man's figures are so great that he doesn't really need such sophisticated numbers to back him against ignoramuses.

    I have a very simple question for Bradman's detractors - how do you account for his astonishing first-class record?? I believe the average of 95.14 in FC cricket to be a far greater figure than his 99.94 in Tests! An average of 99 in 52 test matches may have been a fortuitous achievement aided by "special circumstances". But a similar average over 20 years of FC cricket and over 300 FC innings cannot possibly be a fluke!

    By the way, Ananth - I'd love to get your views on some of my cricket blogposts! Here are the links:

    http://skuvce.blogspot.com/2010/11/on-risk-return-and-batsmanship-in.html

    http://skuvce.blogspot.com/2010/11/ranji-most-underrated-cricketer-of-all.html

  • Andrew P on April 8, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    And so? What became of the last two comments? [[ After 5 months !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Amey on December 20, 2010, 16:33 GMT

    Ananth,

    Agree it would be tough, but in a way it would be effectively shutting up quite a number of people. While yes, DGB is miles ahead of the rest, and SRT features not so high in this list, I have a very strong feeling that SRT will show a DGB-esque dominance in the ODI section.

    If that is too tough, may be a simpler thing can be done. In the 80 innings list, for each player, addition of another column which shows the ODI runs scored in that period of 80 innings (after all, they are international runs scored, whatever the format.) [[ No problems. Will try hard because of the unique nature of the idea. Ananth: ]]

  • Amey on December 20, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    Just feel sorry I missed this article earlier! Actually after Gambhir's streak, tried to find this same thing on statsguru, but was left unsatisfied...

    BTW, another analysis may be interesting. Here you have taken just Test matches. How about 80 innings at a stretch (across Tests and ODIs). That would make more sense for modern batsmen, given that they play more ODIs than Tests (could also backfire a bit, as there is a much better chance to score more in Tests than 50 overs). I am inclined to believe Gambhir and SRT will rise up the ranks here if this is done. [[ As requests go, this is one of the toughest. I have done Tests/Odis together but only by extracting from one and integrating with the other. This would require both Databases online at the same time and some nifty programming. But will find a way to do it. Thanks Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 14, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    delmeister: I've that CLR James book right beside me!

    I don't regard "taking away uncovered pitches" as a very fundamental change. There have been several such cosmetic changes which cancel out each other....Eg : Timeless tests, lighter bats, no protective gear, the old LBW rule, back-foot no-ball rule, new-ball renewal rules among other things. Which is why I believe the game has more or less remained the same since the 1860s.

    I agree with James btw. You can't build a monument on those stats! Yes, Bradman may have failed all too often on "stickies". But in a lot of those cases he got out so early (ducks in several instances) that it is difficult to claim that he "struggled" on rain-affected pitches.

    To me, it's more than enough that he dominated attacks on normal Aus and English pitches. Few batsmen can accomplish that since conditions in England are so very different from the conditions in Australia. Anyone who can do great in both countries should fare well elsewhere.

  • delmeister on December 14, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    ..at the age of 45, his test average is well clear of Pollock and Sutcliffe, at over 66. Mind you, people say that like Bradman, he never failed in a Test series. When the 2 faced each other in 1930/31, he averaged 37 in the 5 tests, which POSSIBLY could be called a failure, if only slight. He did make 2 centuries. No great player ever shouldered a greater burden. During that tour, he went from having a slight weakness on leg stump, exploited by Grimmett (tho it was mainly 'Dainty' Ironmonger who kept dismissing him), to finishing the tour as "undoubtedly" the greatest master of onside play Grimmett and the rest had ever seen. West Indies truly have had some remarkable players!

  • delmeister on December 14, 2010, 1:43 GMT

    ..that Bradman and Headley had played on rain affected wickets. Headley averaged over 39- Bradman 16! As James rightly said, "You needn't on those figures buils a monument, but you cannot ignore them" (I will provide more stats on those innings when I dig out the book at Xmas at my parents' house). Headley, along with Hobbs, Hutton, probably Hammond, and the less fluent Sutcliffe and Arthur Shrewsbury, were the alltime giants on stickies. That a player like Bradman had such distaste for them shows how difficult they were, a challenge totally unknown to modern players for a long time now. Incidentally, while praising Headley, the most technically complete of the great WI batsmen (albeit rarely a front foot driver), I am delighted that one of the correspondents has pointed out that many of his big innings were against reserve England touring XIs.But he was still an alltime great, imo better than Hammond, esp against genuine pace.If he had not made ill-advised comeback after WW2 TBC

  • delmeister on December 14, 2010, 1:30 GMT

    ..raised the bar with running between wickets (Steve Waugh was one who ran very well with him in ODIs), but before him, Miandad and Asif Iqbal reached very high standards indeed in that. Ahzar was certainly the first Indian player I saw take ODI batting totally seriously- ironic as he came in after 83 victory! Must have inspired him greatly. Of course, he also broke the Indian hoodoo of debutant Test centurions never making another one...Also one of their outstanding fielders I believe. Shrikanth, some good points there, but taking away uncovered wickets was also a major development. Apart from anything else, the rightly worshipped Bradman was a very ordinary player indeed on 'sticky' wickets where unlike normal turners, where his judgement was superb, the ball would frequently jump or squat off a length. He freely admitted to never trying to master them as he felt "You wouldn't ask Walter Lindrum to play billiards on a bumpy table". CLR James composed a list of innings TBC

  • delmeister on December 14, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    Alex, I do agree with those comments, esp about Ahzar's weakness against pace, although there was a brief period when he did a little better in about 89/90 when he went back and across instead of forward. But was still inconsistent. 2 later brilliant hundreds against South Africa both owed much tobeing partnered by SRT- it is often forgetten when everybody points out how formidable the Indian batting has been for yrs just how long Sachin played, under pressure and at a young age, in a rather brittle line-up before Dravid and Ganguly's debut success in England. Vishy, however, played an innings (was it Madras?) of 97* that Gavaskar has always rated one of the greatest he ever saw. My point in praising Ahzar was mainly to emphasise the difference between an INGENIOUS player (Azhar, Javed, Zaheer, Pietersen, Jones) and a blue-chip bona fide all round GENIUS batsman,like Lara and Barry Richards(themselves totally different players). Many seem to confuse the 2 repeatedly.Jones certainly TBC

  • shrikanthk on December 11, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    Also, I strongly believe that comparing eras is not as hard as it is made out to be.

    We often hear the refrain that "the game has changed". I don't think it has changed in a very fundamental way.

    The last most radical change in the game of cricket was the legalisation of overarm bowling in 1864. Most changes since then have been very cosmetic changes.

    I wouldn't mind using numbers to compare anybody who has played this game since 1864.

    Very often, I find that critics are willing to go as far back as Hobbs while picking All-time Elevens. But they desist from seriously considering cricketers from the pre-1914 era. Just because they don't have newsreel clippings to reveal those cricketers. I find this reluctance quite stupid. I'm sure if you were to go back to the English first-class scene of 1890 on a time-machine, you'll find that it is not all that radically different from the English FC scene of 2010.

  • shrikanthk on December 11, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    Wonderful Blog.

    Ananth - You did a great job of constructing the "bowling quality" index to drive home the magnitude of Bradman's achievements. But honestly, I think the man's figures are so great that he doesn't really need such sophisticated numbers to back him against ignoramuses.

    I have a very simple question for Bradman's detractors - how do you account for his astonishing first-class record?? I believe the average of 95.14 in FC cricket to be a far greater figure than his 99.94 in Tests! An average of 99 in 52 test matches may have been a fortuitous achievement aided by "special circumstances". But a similar average over 20 years of FC cricket and over 300 FC innings cannot possibly be a fluke!

    By the way, Ananth - I'd love to get your views on some of my cricket blogposts! Here are the links:

    http://skuvce.blogspot.com/2010/11/on-risk-return-and-batsmanship-in.html

    http://skuvce.blogspot.com/2010/11/ranji-most-underrated-cricketer-of-all.html

  • Alex on December 9, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    delmeister: Azhar was a fluid and graceful attacking batsman when the wkt did not help fast bowlers. On the go, he was sheer poetry but his technique against the short ball and/or genuine pace was terrible. So, it is a stretch to put him alongside SMG/GRV/DBV; Amarnath, as said, was classy but quite unpredictable.

    1. SMG has always rated GRV as the best Ind batsman of his generation and this assessment is without any bias/modesty. However, like Kanhai, GRV is a true gentleman with no media savvy and, therefore, a forgotten figure.

    2. Since such a technique is not a big factor in ODIs, Azhar did quite well in ODIs in general. IMO, he was the only great ODI batsman produced by India (and then SRT came along).

    3. Azhar was also the first Ind batsman to pay special attention to running between the wkts in ODIs (here too, SRT took this aspect to a new level) ... Dean Jones set the world standards in this aspect.

  • delmeister on December 9, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    ...totally carpeted for his behaviour, few had much sympathy for Javed being banned, even if we all loved his superbly creative batting, and his impish humour- when it stayed the right side of the line...

  • delmeister on December 9, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    Alex, agree with all yr comments on those 4 Indian batsmen (and will take yrs and Sunny's word on Vengsarkar's spin superiority), tho surely Azharuddin must run Vishy very close indeed for sheer talent? Both were, of course, masters of wrist-work, tho from what I have seen, Vishy was prob more for opening the face through the offside (a la Zaheer) whereas Azhar flicked the ball magically, off the back foot, from off to leg- even fine leg! I agree 'Jimmy' Amarnath was not consistent or big hundreds man, just like another who excelled v WI, Allan Lamb.Imran rated him top of the list against quicks I remember. I agree that standards in Aus- and here in England come to that- were less than they are now, but Ananth and Bollo both correct about it being far more widespread now. I have seen Snow's barge of Sunny in recent yrs, and I do not like it at all.Miandad bit of a different case to most others- was world's no1 'agent provocateur' in those days, so tho Lillee ought to have been TBC

  • Alex on December 9, 2010, 5:46 GMT

    Bollo - it was a typo ... Javed actually went "unpunished" (and not punished). Indeed, you may note that I did not include Pak in the Ind-SL category the disdain statement.

    I do not defend Bhajji's behavior. However, he said the word at SCG after Symonds provoked him ("Keep your hands off. You got no friends here." etc.). Why should Roy dish it out if he can't take it?

    Bias and balance are subjective perceptions. (1) SMG was refused the entrance at Lord's during an MCC vs RoW match in '87 (or '88) because he did not have an ID card --- he was entering the ground with the rest of the team, BTW. (2) Gambhir got a 1 match ban for a reaction to Watson's provocation in the 2008 Delhi test while Watson got scott free --- is there any balance it?

  • Bollo on December 8, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    @Alex, disappointed with a fairly biased take on `standards down under` - similar situations have erupted in all countries. Javed went punished? Disdain for Indians and Sri Lankans? And you`d really like to defend the onfield record of Bhajji? A little more balance might not go astray...

  • Steve Howe on December 4, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    A certain Mr A Cook may be butting in shortly. Or not. Another thing to watch out for. [[ First let the Australians dismiss Cook one more time. Otherwise there are a few records waiting to be beaten. Amazing thing is that there is UDRS, so tougher to come through unscathed for so long. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on December 4, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Ananth - Yes, it was a low point in SMG's career (rivaled only by 36* in 1975). However, IMO, it also highlighted his best trait --- that he would never take things lying down no matter who those came from. Double standards down under were more pronounced in those days. Indeed, Holding kicked the stumps out in NZ the same year and Miandad wanted to hit Lillee with his bat the next year (Javed went punished while Lillee escaped with $200/- fine and 2 low profile ODI ban ... contrast this with the disdain reserved for Indians and Sri Lankans).

    SMG was out clean LBW and the reaction was in response to something said that was not going to be punished. Now, didn't Aussies themselves want Bhajji banned for a saying a word in 2008? [[ I have no idea about the provocation. The Australian players were, and now the Indian players are, masters in provoking players. However it is a bad entry in one's CV and maybe SMG should bury it once and for all by releasing a public apology. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on December 4, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    @delmeister: 1. Even SMG agreed that Vengsarkar was the better player of spin bowling. In addition, Vengsarkar has a better record vs WI 1978-87. He probably lacked only the physical strength to score big. 2. Mohinder Amarnath was India's best batsman of fast bowling, esp. over '82-'88 (barring 2 horror series vs WI). Why he was not so till '82 possibly has more to do with the selection committees. However, he was not reliable and could never score big hundreds. 3. GRV was the most talented Indian batsman of the 1970-89 era. 4. IMO, SMG had the best defensive technique of these 4 and an undefinable aura. He also had a far greater dedication towards (i) scoring big, (ii) occupying the crease and (ii) standing his ground --- you can't teach the final trait. That made him the outstanding batsman of his generation and deservedly so, IMO. [[ Not just standing the ground. He also had his own version of UDRS,, instead of doing a 'T' with two hands, he gave the "come-with-me" sign to Chauhan at MCG in 1981. Ananth: ]]

  • delmeister on December 3, 2010, 5:43 GMT

    ...in was in taking of quick singles, which he had neglected a lot before, being more of a boundary hitter. It summed up the levels of professionalism he drove himself to in order to reach the top- and was proved quite correct. Lastly, and most certainly not least, many thanks to Vijay for his link to such a superbly interesting article. Very revealing indeed...

  • delmeister on December 3, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    Also, Alex- I only saw Vengsarkar in England of course, but is it fair to say he was perhaps a better player, like Gooch, of the GREATEST West Indies attacks (79-94) than his mentor, Gavaskar? Those 2, of course, had the advantage of extra height to get better on top of quickies' stock deliveries that lifted from near a length, as opposed to pure bouncers, than the tiny Sunny, who is still the most technically immaculate player in my time of watching cricket (of the greats in that time, I would place Crowe, Dravid and Kallis next).I totally agree with yr assessment with Miandad against spin, often quite ingenious, but as you saw them constantly on Indian tv (I am guessing?), is Dilip really better v spin than Sunny? I have no real way of knowing, other than to know the quality of latter's 96vPak in Bangalore, very difficult, unpredictable pitch indeed... And just to return to main thread for a second LOL I forgot to mention that another area Gooch improved immensely TBC

  • delmeister on December 3, 2010, 5:28 GMT

    ...and a world renowned coach cannot cope with FAR less... Ananth, I remember that chapter on McCabe, one of the alltime great counter-attackers. During his immortal 232 at Trent Bridge, consider these comments. Firstly, teammate Bradman himself, shouted to the others to come and watch it as they "..would never see its like again." When he came off, Bradman shook his hand and said, "Congratulations Stan, I wish I could have played like that." Now if that is not enough to be considered, given its source, the finest compliment ever given to a batsman, how about this? A convo, about same innings : SF Barnes "The greatest innings I have ever seen. I would not have been able to keep him quiet." Neville Cardus "Think again. You saw Trumper." SF Barnes "No, this was the greatest I've seen." In some ways, considering how much Barnes thought of his own bowling, and how incredible it was, maybe even a greater compliment! lol The greatest batsman and bowler giving such praise-a unique double?

  • delmeister on December 3, 2010, 5:17 GMT

    LOL Abhi, I agree with yr comments about the likes of Alex and Unni- but who could blame you for being a confirmed Tendulkar nut? Apart from his colossal skill, and achievements to go with it-he is the one teenage prodigy who kept up, indeed improved on performances that led to him being referred to as "a possible new Bradman"- albeit nobody could ever match Don's figures-whereas other top players, for different reasons, fell off eg O'Neill, Walters (still fine Test players) and Hick, Bevan (disappointing records overall), while still maintaining immense dignity and humility, always, as I said on my Facebook page after his ODI 200, "..in the face of the almost unbearable expectations of a billion Indians". See how many fans were totally devastated when he failed.I am saying this as an English person with Asian parentage, and can only wonder, from afar, what that intensity must be like from afar. Plenty of world class England football internationals TBC

  • Raghav Bihani on December 1, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    After watching every ball of the Lara - 153* and SRT - 136 , the heart will not be swayed by the mind. The way Lara could dominate at will, when others struggled is unmatched. My sister who is as persuasive as Abhi on SRT has not shifted my loyalty. The only player who excites me like Lara did before is Sehwag. [[ I agree on 153*. I also watched every ball of that knock, well into the night. I think the comparable SRT innings are in ODIs, led by the 98 against Pakistan in the WC 2003. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on December 1, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    Ananth - talk about timing from the great man himself! I was hoping that Martin Crowe helps us out on all time Top 10 and today Lara called SRT the Don of his age. [[ And SRT should reciprocate by saying thet Lara was the Sobers of the 1990-2000 period !!! Ananth: ]]

    SRT is 24% ahead of the next best on # runs across tests and ODI's (Ponting), and averages 2% (or 3%) better than the next best (Ponting/Kallis/Lara/Dravid). The Don was 70% ahead of the next best on ave (Hammond/Headley) and 3% poorer than the best on # runs (Hammond). I wonder what it look like for Hobbs (FC cricket was important in those days). But volume (or #yrs) is never as glamorous as average or # runs scored in innings/test/series etc.

    That begs the question: why didn't Lara open for WI all along? As an opener, he averages 48 and has 153, 169, 45-ball century, etc. on his CV. Until 1998, many thought him better than SRT in ODI's. In a wonderful interview, Lloyd compared Sobers, Viv, and Lara. He put Lara ahead of Viv and awarded the biscuit to Sobers on bad wickets.

  • Vijay on November 30, 2010, 22:37 GMT

    Well, I am not sure if the admin will allows the posting of a link in the comments section. The link refers to a recent project I had done on the contribution of some 16 ATG batsmen to their teams' cause. If the admin will be kind enough to allow this link in here, I genuinely thank him whole heartedly

    The article is here - http://perceptz.blogspot.com/2010/11/contribution-analysis-of-atg-test_25.html

    Fingers crossed! [[ Vijay You can uncross the fingers. I will certainly post the comment. Unfortunately I was away in Mumbai for thee days and could not read your article. Your past two comments went as "Junk:. I get the feeking the only difference between these two and the other mails is that you have included a link and the filtering prigram automatically junks the same. No problems. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 30, 2010, 18:10 GMT

    Ananth - Lara is 4 yrs older than SRT and, starting from year 1993, I have observed a decent similarity in Lara's year X performances and SRT's year X+4 (give or take a year or two) performances. For example, Lara's 2005 was almost as good as SRT's 2010 ... and he was just amazing vs Pak in Nov-Dec '06.

    Very few (and this includes pre-WW1) have done well past age 38. It is a real stern test. Most notable recent exceptions include Gooch and Lloyd - and both were absolutely phenomenal cricketers. Not even Sobers managed it. If SRT clicks in that territory, it is a done deal. Earliest to start often lasts the longest and SRT started 4 yrs earlier than most legends & did quite OK in those 4 yrs. So, may be, he might do well for 4 yrs past the expiry date for most greats (i.e., over age 38 to 42). He is the only one with a realistic shot at 17,000 and 60 centuries.

  • Alex on November 30, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    Ananth - I thought you rated Lara above SRT but now the proverbial cat is out of the proverbial bag!

    I can never decide which 4 batsmen are to follow the Don to make the all-time Top 5. In my list of the Top 12, maybe Hobbs is the closest to SRT in terms of achievement and technique. Boycott has a list in which SRT & Lara together follow Viv who follows Sobers who follows Headley. Its logic is great but how SRT performs over the next 12 months can settle it for me. If he performs spectacularly, I will put him second to only the Don. Right now, Hobbs, Hammond (you take Bradman & Headley out, and he averages 10 runs more than the next contemporary best), Sobers, Viv, Lara, and SRT keep transmogrifying on me. [[ My heart will always say Lara but my mind now says that Tendulkar has gone above Lara, amongst others, (if ever there were any) purely on what he has done over the past 12 months. Possibly the best form of his career, in the 21st year is something. This is almost like Bradman. Think back on how he played during 1948, 20 years after he made his debut. That is happening now. The irony is that Tendulkar seems to lose his wicket to the rookies often now. It is also amazing that his ODI scores during 2010 have been 4 and 200*. Why does not he play a match or two. When I watched Federer during the last week in London, I got the same feeling. Although for me Federer is even slightly above Lara. Federer defeated the nos 1, 3, 4 and 5 with ease to win the title. Again, one day, five years from now, my mind might have to say Nadal but my heart will always say Federer. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 30, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    delmeister,

    Thank you for all the nice words- but I'm afraid you've got the wrong number.

    I am a hard boiled Tendulkar nut case. Though I love Lara, and respect Ponting,Dravid,Kallis and co. - to me the question as to who is the modern day greatest is an open and shut case... Perhaps as Alex so well puts it on a "sum of the parts" basis. Perhaps (perhaps only, though highly debatable) other batsmen had some better "parts"...

    But in any case I can assure you with absolute conviction- Alex, Unni and co.have a much greater understanding of the stats and are far , far more rational,superior and unbiased commentators than I am. [[ For what it is worth I will stipulate that in terms of overall achievement in all aspects of batting, there is only one batsman above Tendulkar and he is playing or resting in the Elysian fields now. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 30, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    @Vijay, `If there is any credibility to the ICC ratings system` which I seriously doubt, we must also accept that Sachin is the 26th greatest batsman of all time, behind such people as Chanderpaul and Pietersen, and a mile behind Ricky Ponting.

    ICC ratings, both for teams and individuals, are a complete crock in my book. [[ Vijay has sent me a separate mail. He is referring to an ICC article in which Alec Bedser is rated 640 and Ntini at 863 and Clark at 840. Nothing more needs to be said. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on November 30, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    Ananth,

    I think there is something wrong with the figures ('average bowling quality' faced) that you have mentioned above

    For gooch it is 31.98. if he has faced mostly high quality bowling of WI and Aus. than it should be under 30.0 Similarly sanga's ave.bowQ of around 40.0 is too high for me(since these runs are scored in an era when runs per wkt is about 34.0).

    All the above figures are too high for me. you please check since they are part of your next article. [[ Arjun Since I am travelling I can only give you a brief answer. The final number is a complicated double-weighted calculation. You should not forget three things. One is that the runs scored off weak bowlers will push up the numbers. For instance the 456 runs cored against an average Indian attack (Kapil/Prabhakar/Shastri/Hirwani/Sharma SK(???) comprises 5% of his total runs. This would have singla-handedly moved up the average bowling quality figure. Like this there would be quite a few innings. Gooch's innings against India, New Zealand, even Pakistan would all be down-valued. The bowling average considered is a career-todate one. When Shastri scored 200 that was off a very poor Warne, in his first test. During the first 37 tests Murali would be considered a very average bowler. The third is, do not try and look at this number to make sense by itself. You should only see the relative values. Gooch's 31.98 is in the top 5%. That is what matters. As far as Sangakkara is concerned have you seen the number of huge scores against a weak West indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and for that matter against a weak Indian attack. Ananth: ]]

  • delmeister on November 30, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    Oh absolutely, that is my point entirely. I find it totally fascinating to balance the stats 2"facts" with the learned opinions one develops over the yrs. That is why I like yrs and Davis' work in terms of trying to "equalise" all factors for everyone as much as possible. To be fair to the much maligned Ted Dexter- rightly so in terms of his chairmanship of the England team imo- this was the idea he had when he introduced us to the suspiciously regarded Deloittes Rating system in 1987. He wanted to go beyond mere averages, which he rightly fekt didn't tell us whole story- his system is now the widely consulted World Ratings, which nobody bats an eyelid at now, and are fascinating. I am also a Federer fan btw- the rarity of a bona fide genius who makes us purr with pleasure, yet who has achieved astonishing consistency (his consecutive Grand Slam semi final appearances is prob even more astonishing record than any other in tennis) into the bargain...

  • delmeister on November 30, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    ...cont Please, however, do not shell me with "Yr slagging stats off". I find them, particularly the work of Ananth and Davis, wonderfully interesting. Some of the articles on here, particularly my favourite in 2008 comparing allrounders (my favourite type of cricketer, esp from 80's) are amazingly interesting and revealing. All I am saying is there is no need to trash certain players for being 0.3 down on another in average if you have not, for instance seen for yrself that they are, for example, a far quicker scorer... Sorry for ramble! LOL Also wanted to praise Ameer Ahmed and R.V.Subbu for superb points. Have also just seen yr comments Ananth about those classic books- they are indeed wonderful by 3 of the greatest cricket writers ever. Is Between the Wickets the one where Robinson selects his Alltime XIs for each country, or is that in a book by Fingleton? I can't quite remember unfort... [[ No. Between the wickets is the one which will live forever if for nothing else, but for a chapter on McCabe. Finally I myself would never select teams based on numbers. If so I am following my head while I should be following my heart. Numbers never tell the complete story. Federer is not just 16 Grand Slams + 5 Year-end masters. These numbers do not tell about so many other wonderful points about him. I have never and never will put down people based on numbers. That is stupidity. That is like saying that the 400 is better than 153 or 248 is better than 105, because the numbers are higher. On the other hand there is nothing wrong in saying that Xyz must be considered ahead of others because his numbers are way out. That is all. Ananth: ]]

  • delmeister on November 30, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    cont Also, tho I think he may have overdone it a little LOL I agree with Abhi's sentiments of the nature of "thank God that Alltime XIs etc are picked by those who actually watched a lot of cricket and developed a proper understanding, rather than those who just crunch numbers on websites and think that that tells them all they need to know.." The truth is, stats are wonderfully interesting, but are a 2D "black and white" story, when the real truth is that subjectivity, for example, must also be added to make a "3D colour spectrum of judgement". Pure stats, without other judgements thrown in, are like technique in batting- they must be the slave, not the master. Bradman knew that all too well about batting technique, which is one reason he excelled like he did, whereas the richly gifted Colin Cowdrey never quite freed himself from his "correctness for its own sake" mental prison, so had merely an excellent record as opposed to legendary one his peers insisted he should have had TBC

  • delmeister on November 30, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    ...cont but was consistently brought down by disappointing performances, alomg with some good ones, versus swing bowling, most notoriously against Terry Alderman of course. The reason for this is that in his earlier period, he used to plant his front foot early, and play straight deliveries to the onside, and like Pietersen, if out of touch a little was very hit and miss indeed. During intensive net sessions, with Geoff Boycott, that he organised for his whole new young squad before Windies tour of 89/90, he learned how to play a little later on his stroke, while retaining ability to hammer the ball when going for the full drive.The improvement was huge, and bowlers of that type (inc Alderman in 90/91 and Hadlee in 91 in helpful pitches never gave him disproportionate levels of difficulty ever again.I am not sure, but I believe that he averaged about 69 for most of his captaincy? I doubt that anybody over a proper period of time, bar Bradman, equalled that... TBC...

  • delmeister on November 30, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    Thanks very much Ananth, I look forward immensely to reading that. One of the reasons I have asked this is that I have FINALLY(!) got hold of a copy of the magnificently interesting and revealing book (published in year 2000), The Best of the Best, by yr former colleague on here, Charles Davis, which I would recommend to each and every cricket 'tragic' lol like me, which I believe many on here would be enraptured with. Just to comment, to begin with, a couple of points from the consistently excellent Alex and Abhi, not to mention our superb author here. I am delighted that the former has clarified how misleading Gooch's final average was in relation to what a player he REALLY was, particularly after getting the captaincy- a point reinforced by Ananth's bowling quality figures. The truth is, before the captaincy, he was a world class, tho underachieving player. He was rated the best player of them by the West Indies quicks themselves in their greatest yrs between 1979-1994 TBC [[ Del Will try and get hold of the book. I have dog-eared copies of "Between the wickets" by Ray Robinson, in my opinion, the best cricket book ever written, "Bright;y fades the Don", another classic by Fingleton and "Beyond a boundary" by CLR James and treasure these like gold. Ananth: ]]

  • Vijay on November 29, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    Ananth, first thinngs first: some clarifications.Iam not putting down any of these bowlers or batsmen.They were great for their eras.However extrapolating their greatness in their era to say they are better than the current lot based on stats like average is unwise.Why?Context.Cricket played then and the cricket played now is different.Among all the bowlers you mentioned I wont have anyone higher than Marshall or Wasim inspite of the latter's "poor" averages.Amongst the spinners I wont have any ahead of Murali,Jumbo,Wanre in spite of averages. If there is any credibility to the ICC ratings system, then you must acknowledge Bradman played lower bowelrs than 1970s_ chaps.

  • delmeister on November 29, 2010, 6:36 GMT

    Brilliant stuff again as always- FAR AND AWAY my favourite blog anywhere on the internet. I will write more in the next couple of days on some excellent points (as always)that have been made, but I am intrigued to know : what are the bowling quality figures (as compared to Gooch's 31.98) of-

    Border, Gavaskar, Miandad, G.Chappell, V.Richards, S.Waugh, Kallis, Greenidge, M.Crowe, Hayden, Sehwag, Hutton, Headley, Hobbs, Botham, Imran, Kapil Dev, Hadlee, S.Pollock, C.Cairns, Flintoff G.Pollock, B.Richards, K.Miller, Mankad, Hammond [[ Del I have a complete list of the average boiwling quality faced by top batsmen. It is a long list and I will provide the same as part of my next article. This will include the above batsmen plus many others. Ananth: ]]

    Another table for you to work on Ananth? lol God, we are not demanding at all are we? ;) I do expect these figures to be quite revealing actually..Further to more comments imminently,eep up the superb work. :)

    PS If you don't think it appropriate to show it here, please feel free to send it to my email

  • Vijay on November 28, 2010, 23:43 GMT

    Ananth.regarding the bowlers Bradman faced.Well,I have a data constraint that of not knowing how many balls were faced by the batsman against a particular bowler and how many runs were made.I dunno where to find that data.So I tried looking at the peak values of bowlers during Tets when they bowled at him.Very interesting figures they are-Among the 16 ATG batsmen, Bradman has the worst (or maybe 15th) top 10 bowlers as per ICC peak rating WHEN bowler bowled to batsman.Bradman's average of his 10 best is abt 669. The modern guys-each of them have at least 800. Highest was Inzi/Sachin with 856 as average-this inpite of Sachin not even having Was/Waq in his top 10 list.Links of one recent project (not abt who is better bat but abt his contribution to team, pls allow me to insert it here -http://perceptz.blogspot.com/ interested folks can find the virtuosos analysis also, am working on update of that for end of season, ur parameters and inputs are welcome. [[ Vijay You want to tell me that Verity, Larwood, Bedser, Voce, Bowes, Constantine, Griffith, Mankad et al form into a group which is 30% lower than the modern greats. It does not matter whether it was an ICC study. That is based on a notional placing of bowlers. Mine is on ACTUAL bowling averages at the time the test was played. I think we are going past the stage of a fruitful discussion. Ananth: ]]

  • Vijay on November 28, 2010, 23:25 GMT

    Ananth...the basic ppoint was to tell Ameer that an average of 99.94 does not make Bradman;s place sacrosanct. My personal opinion is that Sacin, Lara, and Bradman are Virtuosos while the rest are ATGs. Comparison between these virtuosos is useless.

    It is when ppl go an extra step to dismiss any batsmnan either from Bradman's past or his future as necessarily not as good as him that I find it herd mentality. None of these Bradman fanboys would have seen him play or for that matter his peers play. Towering over your peers does not mean you will tower over everyone else, whether or not you consider Bradman's peers being as great as modern greats. That is the biggest assumption we make. [[ No problems, Vijay. The only thing to note that no one has pulled down any of the modern batting great. Also you have to respect numbers. Not give them 100% weight but significant one. Otherwise anything goes. This blog can very well be closed. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 28, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    Ananth,

    1) Yes I agree partly with your argument -The whole point of bringing up the Bowling quality figures is to somehow bring across that Batsman X has faced better quality bowling than Batsman Y. But , if you excuse the vague language- what is the actual “point of this point”? The “actual” point is to say that Batsman X had to make “tougher” runs than batsman Y…….that is all. But to reach such a conclusion we have to include other factors such as pitch quality as well…and no, this does not apply to only individual innings only but in general . And so pitch quality HAS to be in conjunction with bowling quality etc…since we are indirectly implying that batsman X had to work harder than batsman Y. And then again for some further “circular logic” ….pitch quality (when using our current methods) includes figures of own team batsmen (incompetent or otherwise, as Alex points out)… So, my point is …..that only bowling quality faced is a vague indicator of how “hard” a batsman’s runs were (at best)…if not an a clearly faulty indicator, and cannot be used in isolation.

    2) The reason I mention also getting a grip on how the bowling quality faced by a batsman changed over long careers is we get a vague idea of how he averaged and played when the bowling qty was good, poor etc…this applies to the long careers. [[ A reader mentioned that Bradman faced poor bowling. I countered that by showing the average bowling quality he faced during his career and by others., It should be left at that and not be sidetracked to cover areas which have not been discussed. Whether you like it or not batsmen (all of them) make easy runs, normal runs and tough runs. This is a measure which tries to quantify that. You yourself have to agree that SRT's 176 against Zimbabwe was a much easier knock to make than the 92 agianst West Indies, et al. Let us close this line of thinking. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 28, 2010, 7:10 GMT

    Ananth,Alex I think what Alex sort of means is that any one measure such as Bowling quality in isolation doesn't quite convey the full picture...i.e Bowling quality, pitch quality, rest of team quality etc are all somewhat intertwined. For eg. facing even the very best bowlers in St.John's may not be half as challenging as playing even average bowlers on an intentionally underprepared New Zealand green top. [[ When we discuss a apecific metric why muddy the waters with so many other factors. We are not doing a best-innings analysis here. I am only saying that on an average Gooch faced much better quality bowling than Ponting. THAT IS ALL. Ananth: ]]

    Also,the current "aggregate" Bowling quality faced figures are essentially a vague "lump sum" of All bowlers faced over an entire career. This figure would see lots of ups and downs and would probably change substantially over a long career... [[ I am sorry it is not some vague "iump sum". There is a variation of 50% (30 to 45). All required adjustments on Pre-Ww1, Career beginning etc have been taken care of. Ananth: ]]

    So..would it be possible to view the "graphs" of B.Qty faced for the top batsmen over their careers? I'm thinking we will be in for some surprises.

  • Alex on November 28, 2010, 6:32 GMT

    Ananth - Thanks, pl explain how you computed those numbers. [[ It has already been explained quite a few times. Anyhow repeating

    Batsman Wted Bowling average

    Sum of (Inns runs x Wted Bow Average) = ------------------------------------------------ Career runs

    So it does not depend on rest of the team. If somone scores 154 against Marshall/Ambrose/Patterson/Walsh he gets a higher credit than if he scored 154 against Morrison/Sneddon/Hadlee/Bracewell. These are two Goioch innings. These two would get a better credit than a 154 scored against TapashB/Mushfiqur/Mashrafe/Rafique. Ananth: ]]

    Russell's 11 in 13 championship win record is almost 85%. The next best are Michael Jordan (6 in 14 = 43%) and Magic Johnson (5 in 12 = 42%); of these two, Magic reached the NBA finals an amazing 9 times in 12 years! Russell's final 2 championships make it even more impressive --- he was a player _and_ the coach of these teams. This was so because Red Auerbach had retired and Russell did not want to be coached by anyone else!

  • Alex on November 28, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    Ananth and Love Goel: Ananth's interesting numbers (Gooch=31.98) etc. again favor a good batsman in poor side. E.g., consider a match in which a batsman scores 100 runs as his side loses 20 wkts. His scores better on this metric if his team scores 400 runs (Scenario 1) vs if it scores 600 (Scenario 2). Scenario 1 could be due to incompetence of batsmen in his team while Scenario 2 could be due to their brilliance.

    1. Don did face good bowlers from Eng: Verity, Voce, Bedser, etc.

    2. In sports, physical performance standards tend to improve with time but not the mental/will power etc (consider Kobe or LeBron James vs Jordan ... yet no one considers them to be Jordan's league).

    IMO, NBA has Bill Russell as its Don. The Celtics were built around him and he won 11 championships in 13 yrs. This percentage is twice as good as that of the next best winner (excl. his team-mates). His individual # are not spectacular as Chamberlain's but he is, by far, the greatest winner in NBA history. [[ No. Alex, for once you are off mark. This is a metric not dependent on one's own batting compatriots but the opposing teams' bowlers. Gooch consistently faced West indian and Australian bowling attacks and the runs scored against them is the reason for his low Bowling quality. For that matter England was not a poor team, what with Stewart, Gower, Lamb, Atherton et al. In fact Greenidge, Haynes, Lloyd, Richards are all around 33 mark, a testament to the good quality bowling faced by them. Ananth: ]]

  • Love Goel on November 27, 2010, 16:58 GMT

    Contd…… The only exception I can think of is Soccer where Pele/Maradona is still considered the best. But if Ronaldo can come close to them, again I see no reason to believe Tendulkar/Lara are not close to Bradman.

    In my personal opinion, without any backup of numbers (sounds weird on a blog called 'It Figures'), until I see another modern Bradman , I will take Tendulkar/Lara as modern day Bradman. But then everybody is entitled to their own opinion [[ I agree with all your conclusions. There is no denying that, starting from the 1950s, various greats such as Sobers, Richards, Lara and Tendulkar et al could have been termed the "modern day Bradmans". However it is not correct to say that the 40 run average gap and the near-70% lead over the next highest are not relevant nor can they be wished away. I think this gap is the highest acoss all sports. Pele (for me, it could be someone else for someone else) is not that much ahead of the next best one, Federer is not that much ahead of Sampras/Laver, Nicklaus is not that much ahead of Woods, Carl Lewis is not that much ahead of Jesse Owns (or vice versa), Phelps is not that much ahead of Spitz (again, or vice versa), Jordan is not that much ahead of the next best one and so on. You can slice, dice and splice any which way. However there is no doubt that this gap is, indisputably, the greatest, between 1 and 2 across all sports. Ananth: ]]

  • Love Goel on November 27, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    In almost all sports the level of human performance has gone up. In athletics, all the world records have been broken multiple times, and every Olympics brings in a host of a new world records. Is there any reason to believe the level of cricket has not gone up? That today’s bowlers are not better than yesterdays? Or the batsmen are not as good as older years?

    The only reason I can see is the fact that cricket is a much more skillful game than athletics where most of the performance improvements have come from improvement in diet, fitness and a better scientific understanding of the human body.

    In tennis which is a highly skillful game, if one considers Federer equal to Sampras who matches up to previous generation players, there is no reason to believe that today's Lara or Tendulkar are not as good as older Richards or Bradman.

  • Vijay on November 27, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    @ Ameer: Mentioning Beamon's record and using that as analogous to Bradman's greatness is fallacious.Beamon's jumping or Jesse Owens' running or Bubka's pole vaulting all depended entirely on the individual, Bradman's average depended on the bowlers he faced, team's he played, fielders, etc. My opinion is that Bradman, Lara, and Sachin are the greatest ever and comparison between them is useless.They are all a notch higher than the rest of the ATGs.Bradman's place is not sacrosanct, the 99.94 is beaten up too much.If you analyze modern players under the same context of Bradman's runs then some of them perform as good as him and some better.He played 1 serious team,3 minnows only at Home, and in all 8 cities.Of course no modern batsman is lucky enough to have similar context but with half that context-1 serious team, 2 minnows(1 only Away), Sachin's avg is around 93...18 tons from 55 inns.MoYo against 2 minnows and 1 reg team averages 101!Context, my friend, context [[ I am sorry to say that your argument is full of holes, like Swiss cheese. What is the basis for your numbers. Totally unsubstantiated. If you want to say that Tendulkar is as great as Bradmnan, please say so without bringing in such numbers. Millions might very well support you. And if one analysis of Tendulkar's sub-career can show 100, one such version of a Bradman sub-career can very well show 200. I have numbers to PROVE that Bradman scored his runs off good to very good bowlers. The following figures represent the batsman's career average of the weighted bowling average for each innings, further weighted by the runs scored in each innings (nothiong can be more in depth than this). The lower the number is the better quality of bowling he has faced. Gooch 31.98 Sobers 33.40 Taylor 34.48 Lara 35.39 Bradman 36.12 Ponting 36.95 SRT 37.21 Sanga 39.34 Smith 39.45 The above indicates that Bradmas has faced a middle level quality of bowling, better than SRT, Ponting, Smith and Sangakkara faced and not as good as Gooch, Sobers, Lara or Taylor faced. Only a few examples. This index runs from 45 to 30. I have taken the trouble of responding in depth to take away this misconcept. Do not forget that Bradman scored 5000+ runs against very good English attacks. Only the average West Indian and South African attacks managed to pull down (or, in this case, push up) his overall numbers. I agree on Beamon et al since those are a single out of the world performance, not sustained ones over years. Ananth: ]]

  • unni on November 27, 2010, 14:47 GMT

    No, Ananth. I didn't mean the second. Probably, the first one doesn't look solid from the 'opposite force' angle. Or it may be from the following explanation. I'm not sure now.

    I didn't notice that was the factor about BCG. I was thinking it more like splitting a single quantity (runs) to two orthogonal contributing quantities (number of balls and strike rate). Similarly the single quantity in my proposal was the number of runs scored. This is split into orthogonal contributing quantities, 'average' (equivalent to strike rate) and number of innings played (equivalent to number of balls played).

    Anyway the one which you interpreted seems more elegant from the 'opposite force' perspective.

  • arun on November 27, 2010, 10:41 GMT

    dear sir

    fantastic . most data & queries are covered, main surprises are no modern day greats in the list ( aka SRT, Kallis,Dravid.. what are their records over ten tests.. also,does Sehwagt lose out due to his massive 2nd innings failures vs his humungous 1st inngs success. Another point, india in india win by innings many times in the kumble era - so maybe many indian stars missed out two innigs on belters n ten innings spread out over diff series n foreign surfaces due to death of 5 test series n advent of onedayers [[ Sehwag's second innings failures are of his own creation. So nothing is gained by looking at those. If we use innings as the unit, the problem you are referring to will disappear. Ananth: ]]

  • unni on November 27, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    A thought after seeing Jay's question... why not plot something like a BCG graph(don't remember the name correctly) with number of tests/innings on one axis and average runs on the other axis? We will get four quadrants.... and no prize for guessing who will occupy on the right top of the right-top quadrant ;-) [[ No, Unni, that would not work. The need when we plot BCG graphs is to have two independent performance measures which could pull in either direction. We have to get a situation like Batting Avge vs StrikeRate. Common sense tells us that the higher the average is the lower the strike rate is and vice versa. The 4 quadrants will highlight those who have gone out of the expectation. Similarly BattingAvge vs BowlingAverage, BattingAverage vs QualityofBowling et al. In your suggestion one is not a performance measure and is purely a longevity based one . That would not work. Or have I got it wrong. By Tests/Innings I have assumed the Career Tests/Innings. Or are you referring to the best streak of a batsman. In which case your suggestion would work. But first I have to complete that work. For each batsman I would have to determine the best tests/inns streak, based on average, above, say 10 tests/15 inns. Ananth: ]]

  • Vijay on November 26, 2010, 23:28 GMT

    Hi Anantha, I've been a reader of your blog right from the very beginning and I have also shared some personal email exchanges with you regarding some of the analysis I attempted. I seem to have lost your email address and don't know any other way of getting in touch with you. It is basically regarding a recent analysis project I did and wanted you to have a look at it. Can you please share with me your email id so I can communicate with you directly? Thanks so much, Vijay [[ This is published so that everyone would have access to the open maiid of mine. It is ananth.itfigures@gmail.com Ananth: ]]

  • Ameer Ahmed on November 26, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    Greatest Batsman Lately I have read a lot in the media about batting greats. The discussion comes down to time and again who was the greatest batsman of all time? Cricket is a game of numbers. It does not matter whether you play with a crooked bat or on your knees. In the end you have to score runs no matter how. If you do not score runs you are no good no matter how straight your back lift is. I am mentioning this because I read recently that Conrad Hunte had a dead straight back lift and Saeed Ahmed played a crooked bat. It is interesting to note that Saeed Ahmed raced to his first 1000 runs in Test cricket pretty fast. But as it happens always lesser greats cannot keep it up. Hunte also cannot be considered among the real great batsmen of all time. So how shall we judge? There is only one way, statistics of cricket. First of all we have to see if the batsman has played enough innings to be considered at all for the competition of the greatest batsman of all time. Cricket has a sad sad story of Barry Richards. Richards could not play in Test cricket because of apartheid thereby denying us the fans of cricket the ultimate answer to the question, was he the greatest batsman of all time? We will never know just conjecture forever. If we look at his first class averages they are comparable to that of other greats, but not astronomically better. So on that basis alone we can say that he was not in Bradman class. But then I heard that Richards was just not motivated to set lofty first class records. After scoring century for example he would say let’s have some fun now and basically risk his dismissal. That means that we cannot rule out that he was the greatest batsman due to insufficient data. We can safely say that he was one of the greats because of his comparable scores to that of his contemporary greats. When I look at the performance of greats, Bradman stands alone. His incredible average of near hundred is unbelievable. I believe that generations down the ages will scarce believe that some one long ago had a near hundred average in Test cricket. To me comparison with Bradman of any other batsman is downright silly. Let’s wait till someone comes along with at least average in nineties for us to get serious. Bob Beamon’s 8.9M jump in Mexico City was phenomenal but it was bettered sometime ago. Bradman’s feat is hundred times harder to beat. There has been recent talk about Tendulkar. Tendulkar is not comparable to Bradman, yes he has almost century of centuries under his belt, but then he has a century of low scores also to go along with that. That is why his averages are not out of the league of other greats. So what can we safely conclude from this. We can safely conclude that Bradman is on seventh heaven and the rest about fifty of them are on sixth heaven. We can argue about those fifty and it comes down to our preferences. I personally would like to watch Neil Harvey, Viv Richards, Barry Richards, Lara, Sehwag, Afridi etc. Lara holds the record for most quadruple centuries, triple centuries, double centuries. And I may be wrong here that he had the most centuries and the highest aggregate at the time he retired. He could have continued with more centuries and more failed innings, but he decided against it. Some players with high aggregates have also played in more innings than others. Viv Richards could hammer a century before lunch like Bradman. A batsman who has similar record and plays faster has to be considered a better batsman. The guy who is playing slower is doing so because he is having difficulty reading the ball and has to think of defence first. The guy who is playing faster could score more runs by playing more cautiously, but he is playing for the fans and not for himself. I rank Gavaskar as the best Indian batsman ever. His performance against the Windies’ greats with no protection was awe inspiring. Pakistan had Hanif whom I would include in World Eleven just in case the side had its back to the wall and a draw had to be fought with three days remaining. Concentration like that does not come around often. A batsman also has to be match winner to be ranked higher. And we know Lara pulled off some spectacular victories. For World eleven’s fourth and fifth spot I would pick from the two Richards and Lara. Watch out for Sangakara, he sits in seventeenth position right now and is moving up fast. I would pick him as the wicketkeeper for the World Eleven. Debate can include Ponting, Kallis and Dravid. Last but not least I put Garfield Sobers on seventh heaven. [[ This is not a comment but is a Hanif Mohd batting effort. The least consideration I should give someone who has put in so much time is to publish it verbatim !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 25, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    Ananth - My reference for the Thommo quote on Don Bradman is: http://www.indiancricketfans.com/showthread.php?t=87500.

    I double-checked and found out that the incident took place in 1977. Thommo bowled only leg spins to the 69-year old Don but two others went flat out. And the Don played without pads on that turf wicket! I am no sentimentalist but do believe that the Don was as good as the 99.94 suggests --- this belief is based on the high standards he maintained as the cricket administrator since 1948.

  • Alex on November 25, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    kristof:

    A. Ananth had earlier proposed that the Don would have 10,000+ runs off 80+ matches at 100+ average. A sane guess, IMO. [[ Alex/Kristo The onl;y reason whey I still maintain the 80 tests/10000+ runs/~100~ average is that these 28 tests could easily have been scheduled between 1929 and 1948 during which period, he maintained, in real life, the 100 average. The six years lost due to WW2 could easily have accommodated these 28 tests. However going past 80 tests, into, say 120+ tests would have been different and I feel the 80+ average then makes sence. In any case that itself would have a third more than the next highest. Ananth: ]]

    D. He did get to play against Zimbabwe & Bangladesh. In those days, they went by the name "India" whom the Don milked at ave=170+.

    On B & D, a sobering thought is to contemplate how he would have fared against WI circa '76-'94 etc. I use this logic: if Greg Chappell managed to do well against WI despite poor patches, the Don would find a way too ... however, more like at an ave=70+ over 30 matches. Indeed, Thommo recalled how well the 66-year old Don played him _without pads_ at practice nets back in 1974.

    Since Sehwag uses little footwork, the best way to get him is by varying the bounce at high pace ... Ambrose, Holding, and McGrath could have done well against him.

  • Abhi on November 25, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    Ananth, Right ho. Guess you are right and I will pass. And I digress (as usual)

    @Kristof. Straight forward linear extrapolations are impossible in sport ("Form" is a fickle mistress- and sustained high performance over very long periods of time are a rarity) I read on some blogs that as per this sort of simple linear extrapolation logic if Borg had continued playing for another 6 yrs he would have ended up with perhaps 25 grand slams…Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. (As per one above comment Vengsarkar averged 100+ over a 28 inn.- if he retired then could we have linearly extrapolated his stats?) This invalidity of linear extrapolation perhaps applies more to cricket and batting in particular. (A bowler can bowl 5 rubbish overs and still end up with a 5 fer)...For a batsman one faint edge and there is no second chance. Batting is the one of the most perilous of sporting pursuits.

    I wonder how the Don would have fared if for eg if he had to play vs. many more countries ,venues, many more and varied bowling attacks, Played hundreds of ODIs...instead of having the luxury of focusing exclusively on a few tests (and so fine tuned his technique and mindset exclusively to one mode of playing)..Almost always fully fresh in body and mind.

    I'm not knocking the Don, mind you. His staggering stats clearly still label him as the GOAT, but how he would have done with hundreds and hundreds of Tests and ODIS, with attendant inevitable slumps, injuries etc under his belt is anyone's guess...

    Having said that, however, if we ever dare to foolishly extrapolate numbers for anyone in batting- the Don would be the most likely candidate- simply because of his comparative lack of a bad patch and almost sustained freakishly high standards.

  • kristof on November 25, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    And yet the question remains what would Bradman's record be (A)had there been no WW2 ; (b) had he been able to play 156 tests like they do today; (c) had they played less domestic cricket (his sheffield shield record is not as good as his tests ie avge only 95) and (d) he could play against zimbabwe or bangladesh:.

    156 tests, 20,988 runs

    repeat 20,988 runs.(compare sachin 14k and ricky 12k)

    STAGGERING. [[ This is not a possible extrapolation instance. If ever Bradman played 156 tests, he probably would have scored about 17000 runs at an average of 80. He would have gone through barren patches and the teams would have found means of containing him. In a way Sehwag is a perfect comparison. He is currently scoring at an average of 54+ and strike rate of 82+. If he maintains this over the next 3 years, that would be one great miracle. I am sure captains would find ways and means of curtailing either or both of these measures, say to 50 and 75. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 25, 2010, 2:40 GMT

    Alex etc Can't believe you actually bothered to respond to jay and co. My own take is that it is becoming increasingly obvious that some folk have become so enamoured and overpowered by never too transparent stats...That the whole picture eludes them and the world view is blinkered into ever narrowing stat breakdowns and filters... One wonders how much of cricket has actually been Watched! (Thank goodness the cricinfo alltime XI panel included 12 guys who have actually either watched or played top flight cricket for nigh on 60yrs...as against some ppl who may have barely even watched cricket for the whole of the 2000s) For. eg. we have a "spanish" friend here who's new all time favourite batsman is someone who he may never have actually seen but who's stats strike a chord with him! [[ Abhi I think that you probably got on the wrong side of the bed today. There is nothing wrong in what Jay asked. There is very little difference to some of your own comments last year on my batsmen articles. Just as I answered you many a time then, we did now. Alex and I, in our own ways, answered Jay. And in the bargain probably made his day. He would probably realize that the sum of Tendulkar is indeed unique and irreplaceable. And what is wrong with a "spanish" friend making his pleasure obvious at knowing the immense achievements of the great Zaheer Abbas. It is not necessary that every reader should know everything about everyone. What all of us know is only the tip of the iceberg. I myself have picked up so much, such as Vengsarkar's wonderful streak.And how many readers, possibly even you yourself, might have known of Aubrey Faulkner's all-round skills after reading this blog. And let me emphasize that that is the main purpose of the blog. Ananth: ]]

  • ted on November 24, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    good good good.bradman still the best as proven in your article.ponting in his prime 1 of the best no doubt asproven in 52 test streak category.but i wont start a argument by saying an outright 2nd

  • Alex on November 24, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Jay - SRT in the context of Indian cricket is obvious. He was the first Indian to dominate any bowler anywhere. He was also the first Indian to be taken seriously by all & sundry as the world's best. And he stayed close to these standards for 20+ yrs.

    On the world scene, it is the unmatched masterful universal consistency+longevity across both formats. His brightest is not the brightest there is. However, I doubt if there ever was a batsman (save Bradman) who better combined adaptability, technical prowess, team commitment, ability to dominate, longevity, and balance on-and-off the field.

    IMO, the best performances of VVS and Viru often surpass those of SRT. However, the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Let us hope he finds his form soon enough.

  • Ayush on November 24, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    True enough. And if you do that over a batsman's career, for example finding out his average only in innings where the overall batting average is below a certain amount, you can figure out how well he performed when the going was tough. I'd say on a list like that, Mark Richardson and Steve Waugh would do well. Bloody-minded cricketers both, and both performed well on tough surfaces.

  • Sanchez on November 24, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    From reading this blog (not just this article, but all of them), it just reinforces how underrated Zaheer Abbas is. I had never heard of him before reading this blog, and now he is my favourite cricketer. [[ 5000 runs at 45. No cheap runs. 12 100s, out of which 4 were high 200s, 4 were 150s. An average 100 value of 180, second only to Bradman. In ODIs, 2500 runs at an average of 47. More important, a strike rate of 85 at a time 70 was considered good. Finally one of the most stylish players who took strike on a cricket field. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on November 24, 2010, 1:57 GMT

    Ananth, not expecting you to do this stat (it'd take forever), but time is a factor. One guy in great form can play 10 tests while on that run, while Don took 2 years over 10 tests AT LEAST, every time! Confounding factors, they call it in stats. I'm a big fan of Fawlty Towers, PG Wodehouse too, BTW. Have you read much Neville Cardus? great stuff.

    @alex - top bats 1 Bradman 2 Sobers 3 Tendulkar 4 Hutton 5 Headley 6 G. Chappell 7 Gavaskar 8 G. Pollock 9 Hobbs 10 V. Richards 11 Lara 12 Sangakarra

    Headley was so consistent - his FC average is about 70 for 9000 runs. Chappell - IMO, his performances in WSC is as good as anything ever. Sangakarra might be a surprise, but he plays all bowling in all conditions with grace, and scores as much as anybody. I tend to ignore players before a certain period, because I can't imagine what kind of a game they were playing. We all do - no one ranks Lohmann, Spofforth or Turner in all time 11s, few put Grace in there.

  • Ravindra Marathe on November 23, 2010, 23:20 GMT

    Commendations on another very good article Ananth. I had the privilege of meeting Gooch & Gavaskar when India played Scotland in the summer of 2007 and both were affable & courteous. And in my opinion comparing the best 50 tests or 80 inn. of all others with those of the Don is just academic and quite biased not just in the statistical sense of the word.

    On another note, if others are interested, I/we can create an online group of active & avid readers of this blog wherein to communicate and discuss ideas, numbers, trends and performances in cricket. [[ Let us look into it seriously. Ananth: ]] Regards, Ravi [[ The benefit of these academic exercises is that they turn up nuggets of great value, such as Vengsarkar's golden streak or even Bradman's tin-streak. We are then reminded of someone who might have been forgotten. None of these exercises are done to determine who is the greatest. They are to add new insights. Ananth: ]]

  • Jay on November 23, 2010, 22:26 GMT

    Ananth, based on your analysis, would you conclude that Tendulkar's only real statistical virtue has been his longevity? He is my favorite cricketer visually, but your unforgiving analysis has me clutching for straws. To rephrase: if so many others surpass Tendulkar in their best 52 Test (or 80 innings) streak, what special things has he achieved, at the highest level of the game mind you, that are not the product of longevity alone. And is there a magic number of tests (innings) that would place him (Tendulkar) on top of lists like this one. Maybe there is a dimension to his achievement that we are ignoring. [[ None of these exercises are done to determine who is the greatest. They are to add new insights. Just because Gooch out-scored Tendulkar in a 10-test streak or Vengsarkar out-averaged him in a 15-test streak does not reduce his greatness. Please note that Tendulkar would stand tall on many factors, detailed below. - The runs scored - The way in which these runs were scored - The consistency over the years - The very few real form related poor patches - Contribution to team successes - 100% a team-player - The impeccable role-model behavious both on and off field et al. If Tendulkar did not score one more century or Federer did not add one more title, their place amongst the top-2 of all time is guaranteed. Ananth: ]]

  • tjsimonsen on November 23, 2010, 21:33 GMT

    Excellent analyses Ananth - I love your number crunching skills (partly because mine are rather feeble). I think the reason why such prolific and consistent batsmen as Kallis and Dravid (and Boycott, Hobbs et.c.) don't make it onto any of the lists is that while they score/ed very consistently, they very rarely went on to score big double or even triple hundreds, which is obviously needed to boost the total enough to get onto the lists (unless you are The Don - in which case the real biggies only pull you further ahead of the pack). My feeling is that if Pollock had played more tests, he would have been on several lists. [[ Sehwag's is the perfect case. He scores at 5 rpo and then does not lose his wicket at 110. No one else in contemporary cricket posseses that skill. Gayle, probably less so, that is all. Most other batsmen take 5 hours to score 100 and that limits them. Ananth: ]]

  • Ayush on November 23, 2010, 19:07 GMT

    Hey Ananth. Fascinating list this one. I have a new query though, which might actually float your boat. My friend and I were having a discussion about who are the best players when the going gets tough, i.e. the best bowler on a flat track and the best batsman on a sticky dog. We came up with a system where you find the bowler with the best bowling average in all innings in which the overall bowling average for everybody else is say over 40. My money is on Murali being at the top. Similarly, the highest batting average in innings where the total batting average EXCLUDING him is say under 25. You'll obviously do a better job of setting the bars exactly, but there is some food for thought on who'd be the best when the going is tough! [[ What you have suggested is somewhat like what Unni has suggested. That is to find a factor of a batsman's own score vs the rest of the batsmen's average score (those who batted). Similarly for bowling. I am working on the article. It is better to do this way than try to define a flat track or sticky wicket. Nagpur was a flat batting track as far as Indian batsmen are concerned and a bowler's paradise as far as the New Zealand batsmen are concerned. Ananth: ]]

  • Umesh Rajadevan on November 23, 2010, 13:14 GMT

    sorry mate, def agree best batsman etc are a matter of opinion & everybody has their own. thats what makes opinions worth having - would no point to em if we all thought the same! :)

    i agree that you'd take bradman in 90% of situations, other than stickies and even that is probs due to the fact that pre 30's players had a lot more practice. same rationale applies re playing outside oz/uk.

    my top 12 batsman would be very similar to alex's. actually i tried to make a list and i ended up with 15 and they included all alex's 12. i trimmed grace and ponsford because their best was exhibited outside tests, which is presumably why he did too.

    where we differ would be Headley. all time legend, but didnt play many tests, and a number of them were played against 2nd string english sides. i am acutely aware though that if headley didnt make an ill fated comeback when far beyond his best, bradmans astronomic average would not seem quite so far out of reach...

    cf 12 best batsman. soz just had to say i forgot McCabe. to me he ranks with trumper. dunno who i'd drop though. maybe pollock, maybe compton :(

    [[ The Baker's dozen is always there to bail us out in situations like this. Have McCabe and Pollock/Compton. By the by, have you read Ray Robinson's chapter in "Between wickets" on the three McCabe innings. Probably the best cricket prose ever written. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 23, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    Ananth - BTW, IMO, if only Hobbs could add an "e" to his name, he would easily be the greatest ever batsman. But then again, would Hobbes be content with playing cricket? Wouldn't the temptation to turn it into a Calvinball prove too much?

    For those who do not know him, Hobbes is much loved tiger from the classic cartoon strip "Calvin and Hobbes". [[ I have a huge "Calvin and Hobbes" next to a Fawlty tower compendium, a PG Wodehouse collection and Jeffrey Archer's 36 stories collection (the initial lot, not the later three, quite ordinary) by my bedside. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 23, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    IMO, ave=46 sums up Vengsarkar's sheer class much better than his ave=42. A slim, lanky figure all through his career, he clearly lacked the necessary physical fitness in his final 4 years and averaged 22 over his final 15 tests. I still remember him hopping madly on Aussie wickets in '91-'92 and Merv Hughes derisively pointing fingers at him ... the same Vengsarkar had handled Marshall & Holding with aplomb when they both were at their peaks. [[ Very "un-Colonel" looking Vengsarkar. But there is no doubt that he has not got his due when we discuss great Indian batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Samir Shrivastava on November 23, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    Hi Ananth: Regarding the illegal bat, please check this out: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/237489.html The bat was launched in December 2004 and withdrawn sometime in February 2006. I may have wrongly included Sangakkara's name. These players, amongst others, were confirmed users: Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer, Nathan Astle and Sanath Jayasuriya. In my opinion, this was potentially a very big story. The media did not quite appreciate the implications. One only needs to compare tennis in the pre- and post-graphite eras to get the picture.

  • Umesh Rajadevan on November 23, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    sorry, last post great articles/analysis just get u thinking!

    i have only seen very minor statistical analysis of batsman/batting in which the Don does not sit at top.

    but this is not always the case in purely a conceptual amalysis.

    for example-

    if u were facing barnes or verity or even underwood on a "sticky" (ie uncovered pitch, lots of rain overnight, very sunny in the morning), would you rather Hobbs or Bradman bat for your life? Hobbs yeah?

    I think most would probs take Hutton or Tydesly over the great DG too...

    but yeah even in any conceptual analysis, sir don is probs still better than 99% of batsman in 99% of analysis!!!

    hehe maybe not 6 hitting! i think he hit 6 in 52 tests?

    but for all good batsman esp then, the first rule was keep it along the carpet, and he still managed to score as quick as any of his contemporary specialist batsman probs bar mccabe, so yeah not that big a knock! [[ I would have Bradman for the (90%) sunny days AND Hobbs for the (10%) sticky wickets. Then the other four. Let us all have our own choices. Ananth: ]]

  • Umesh Rajadevan on November 23, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    @ alex - great list of great batsman, but mate Denis Compton has to rate with any have ever wielded a willow. Wanna see back to the wall courage? Runs against Miller, Lindwall, johnston & co when your heads smashed in? Glorious strokeplay? Scoring at rates only Shewag, Richards and Gilchrist could dream of replicating? dominating the best bowlers in the world on ONE KNEE?

    While you know winning cup finals for Arsenal in his spare time, Compton dominated batting post war and along with Hammond is the only person that could probably claim to have at one point been better than Bradman during his career. Noone will score 181 in a session again. His and Edrichs annus mirabla of 47 is the height of cricketing romance, and will never be replicated.

    If it wasn't for his knee, one wonders what might have been. Certainly, in my mind, legends like Morris, Hutton, Harvey, Weekes & Walcott would have been fighting it out for the 2ND best batsman, that is until a another freak called sir garf

  • Umesh Rajadevan on November 23, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    Bradmans worst 10 test streak is, i think -

    167, 299*, absent, 0 & 103, 8 & 66, 76 & 24, 48 & 71, 29 & 25, 36 & 13, 30.

    So in his worst streak he played 15 innings, scored 3 100's, 3 50's and around a 1000 runs (i think - mental additions) at an average above 70!

    That would be the best streak in their career for practically anybody else!!!!!!!

    and note that most of these tests were played against a style of bowling that was invented to contain him and banned immeadiately after! and he did not even bat in one of the tests in the streak!

    Plus I am pretty sure that the 10 tests preceeding and succeeding his "worst streak" would be 2 of the best 10 test streaks ever!

    what a freak! obviously an alien or time traveller...

    neway mate - great analysis! i've read soooo many over the years & this is one i've always wanted to see! Cheers! [[ It is as difficult to find a 10-test streak for Bradman of less than 1000 runs as it is to find a 10-test streak of 25 runs for Chris Martin (my Kiwi friends, in fun: I love this fighter, both for his bowling and batting !!!). The problem is the proliferation of 200s and 300s. I get the feeling that you are correct. Even though you are forced to include the 299*, the 11 innings without a 100 certainly helps. Adding the 2 runs you had missed out at the beginning, his aggregate was 997 and the average was 71.2. I think you achieved the impossible, finding a 10-test streak under 1000 runs. I am sure you know what the next two innings were: 304 and 244. I get the feeling the 10 innings lowest was 8 & 66, 76 & 24, 48 & 71, 29 & 25, 36 & 13, at the end of the stretch you have referred to. 396 runs at an average of 39.6. We have finally got Bradman to a mere mortal stage. No surprises, this was during the Body-line series. Many thanks for an entertaining comment.. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 23, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    Arjun That is an absolutely incredible stat. So , in a unique way, Vengsarkar may lay claim to being the second best after the Don!

  • LakmalPhysics on November 23, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    Again, good job Anantha. This really needs a huge effort. I would like to see a teamwise analysis of test match win-loss ratios. # 1 ranked team( Indians) win-loss ratio is 0.77 and they are better than New Zealand, Zimmbabwe, and Bangladesh. Can you do a fair analysis on this. I mean Zimbabwe,and Bangladesh are struggling in test matches because they are the youngest teams in test cricket. Next younger team, Sri Lanka win-loss ratio is .87 which is better than India. I guess, if we eliminate early years (like a grace period of 10 years), Sri Lanka's win-loss ratio is far superior than India.

  • Arjun on November 23, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    Ananth, Paul,

    Dilip Vengsarkar has had longest sequence of 28 test innings during which he averaged over 100. From his 132nd inn upto 159th inn. he scored 1819 runs at an average of 101.05 (28 inn with 10 notouts). This is best after Bradman. Considering he averaged only 42.0 over his entire career that is a remarkable achievement.

    [[ Many thanks, Arjun. Vengsarkar improved his average from 37.92 to 46.21 during this purple patch. He had 8 hundreds including 2 vs Eng, 1 vs Aus, 2 vs Win, 1 vs Pak and 2 vs Slk (minnows then). And then he dropped off. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 23, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    Ananth, Am no statistician/mathematician...but just a suggestion. If you use the average instead of run aggregate the "peer ratios" for the 80 inn. streak may be easier. So batsman X averages Y from match A to match B... In this period if we know what the rest of the field averaged it may be easier.

  • Abhi on November 23, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    So, to continue……..since you have so little on your plate!! That leads me to a request (Im asking "NICELY"!!)....

    How about a "peer ratio" of the best 80 inn streak?? i.e When batsman X had his best streak , how did the rest of the pack fare? Another request, if and when you decide to do a 80 inn. peer ratio analysis,Pls include the averages. Just the aggregates tells us only half the story. Especially when considering batsmen who stayed NO when in on a low score...and didnt have the luxury of completing their innings. [[ You are like a terrier, never letting go when a leg is caught between the teeth !!! Will try. Quite tough, though. Patience is suggested. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 23, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    Ananth, It is "one" of my favourite topics ! thats right! But , of course, you know what my all time favourite topic is ... But the reason I like to bring out the unprecedented run glut is that the figures need to be put into perspective. If every second good batsman is having the time of his life irrespective of which stage of his career he is in- the matter needs a deeper look in. As mentioned frequently an average of 50( or 99.94 for that matter) has no real meaning if just everybody is averaging the same or better.

    This is again where if we had to chose just a single metric to judge how good a batsman really was ,the "peer ratios" would be the single best metric ever devised . As with all stats it too has it's limitations- but at least it lends a deeper perspective on the figures...which a superficial look at the data does not.

  • Love Goel on November 23, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    I don't know what I like more in this blog ; the article or the comments. Both the sections are fun to read while being inquistive at the same time.

    Ananth one more idea from my side. Can you do an analysis of the scores at which a batsmen is dismissed how many times. Like percentage of dismissals between 0-10,10-20,20-40 and so on. [[ This is available on most TV broadcasts. But what you are looking for is a summary for all top batsmen. Ananth: ]]

    I am sure Bradman was better on all the section. The only way to have such a high average is to always score a 50, and when you reach 50 make sure to score a hundered, and when you reach 100 make sure to make it a big one.

  • Alex on November 23, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    Ananth - I didn't understand what was wrong with observing how the 52-tests or 80-innings crown passed. IMO, in view of the ability, career & its impact, all-time Top 12 batsmen in test cricket are Ranji, Trumper, Hobbs, Hammond, Bradman, Headley, Hutton, Sobers, Pollock, V Richards, Lara, and SRT.

    Quite a few are near the mark based on volume and ability (Ponting, G Chappell, Sehwag, etc.) but these 12 have had the greatest impact, IMO. I can never decide on Top 5 except saying that the Don is #1. [[ No problems at all other than people contesting tha lists and chain mails on this. Again it is your list, an excellent one and would be mine barring a change or two. Other readers' lists would, and should, certainly be different. That is the charm of such lists. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 23, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    Just in response to someone`s request for running aggregates of highest test match scores. Here are what I imagine would be the top 3, Bradman/Lara/Sehwag. Note that Lara remains ahead until the 7th innings is added.

    1) 334/400/319, 2) 638/775/628, 3) 937/1052/921, 4) 1207/1278/1175, 5) 1461/1499/1376, 6) 1705/1715/1577, 7) 1939/1928/1772, 8) 2171/2137/1952, 9) 2397/2339/2125, 10) 2620/2535/2298.

    Bradman (12 double hundreds) and Lara (9) seemed obvious. Hammond and Sanga (7 each) may come close to Sehwag and there are numerous others equal with him on 6, but with a 10th highest score of 173 I fancy Sehwag is probably 3rd on the list. Apologies for this very amateur effort at emulating Ananth. [[ Boll, excellent effort since I know how difficult it is to do it manually. I will run this for more innings at a late stage. I have a nifty little index called "average value of 100". This is what it means. I have given below the top-10 in this list. From this one could deduce that these are the leading contenders for having high 10-inns aggregates. Zaheer Abbas is another serious contender as also Jayasuriya.

    Bradman D.G     29  5393  185.9
    Zaheer Abbas    12  2158  179.8
    Sehwag V        22  3879  176.3
    Lara B.C        34  5889  173.2
    Amiss D.L       11  1879  170.8
    Jayasuriya S.T  14  2356  168.2
    Hammond W.R     22  3685  167.5
    Sangakkara K.C  23  3840  166.9
    Gayle C.H       13  2168  166.7
    Simpson R.B     10  1646  164.6
    
    In fact Zaheer's 8 innings aggregate is 1665 runs, bolstered by 4 big 200s and 4x150+ scores Ananth: ]]

  • Paul on November 23, 2010, 1:59 GMT

    Ananth,

    What a wonderful way of looking at batting ability. The comparison between Bradman and Ponting's best 52 test streak really dones underline the Don's ability.

    Would it be possible for you to work out the most tests by a batsman (other than Bradman) in which he averaged 99.94 or higher? That would show how long an ordinary mortal could match the level Bradman achieved over his whole career.

    Regards Paul [[ I like the way there is so much lateral thinking amongst the readers. What you are asking is basically an extension of the current analysis to include average. I don't want to do it now but will look at it later as a separate article since I have already added quite a few add-ons to this article. I suspect there will be quite a few who have averaged 100+ over the 5-7 tests span. 100 in 10 tests is going to be there but probably very few. Ananth: ]]

  • Lourens Grobbelaar on November 22, 2010, 20:16 GMT

    It would also be interesting to just take all players first 52 test instead of their best sequence of 52 test and compare it to Bradman's since he had only one chance to play 52 tests. As SA fan unfortunately I suspect that Kallis won't be near the top of that list since most of his runs came from 2000 onwards (Ponting scored the most runs and Kallis the 2nd most for the first decade of new millenium).

    Blessings [[ The first 52 is probably not correct since most batsmen do not start off well. The best 52 is an exercise to see how the best 52 spread over a 20 test career of 150 tests stacks up against the greatest one. However thanks for your suggestion. Ananth: ]]

  • Loga on November 22, 2010, 19:07 GMT

    Wonderful analysis - a cricket lover's delight. Just to add my two bits on Gooch I think he is to be considered along with other great opening batsmen. While analyzing his record one needs to consider that his tour of S Africa reduced the number of tests he played. Also one needs to appreciate his mental toughness - he was at one point suspect to real fast bowling and he adjusted his stance (remember the high stance)and came back ever so strong. While we tend to (rightly) appreciate the geniuses of the game we also need to spare a thought to those who by sheer determination scaled heights beyond their ability.

  • melbin on November 22, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    ananth; can you please do the same analysis for ODIs?

  • RV on November 22, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Ananth,

    Thanks for a wonderful piece of number crunching! I gotta admit that I didn't expect to see Kallis, Sanga, Mohd Yousuf, Jayawardene in the top 10. I was rather expecting Sachin, Sobers, Dravid, Hammond, Hobbs, Richards, Gavaskar, Barrington etc. Shows you how wrong impressions can be, eh?

  • Anand on November 22, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    Ananth: Excellent stuff from you as always. I was (pleasently) surprised to see Gooch's name coming up on sterling batting performances. I always felt he deserved more credit than what he got. Not only was he technically sound, he was very gritty and hard-working. I still remember how he swept India out of the 1987 world cup.

    I would love to see this from you whenever you have time and think it is worthwhile. Can we study purple patches in terms of consistency? I can immediately think of variance as a measure for consistency. You can set some thresholds on the mean and on the minimum number of innings. What this might give is some qualitative freauters about the batsman. For example someone who scores between 5- and 60 for ten consectuive innings surely looks consistent but personally I would punish this guy for throwing away 10 good starts. I also suspect that for low means (like 25) one can find some "consistent" tail enders.

  • Richie Mac on November 22, 2010, 16:58 GMT

    Ananth,

    Great work here. I seem to be absolutely hooked on reading the updates and comments here. I'm particularly glad to see that you are filtering out the crud that so often, now-a-days, pervades a discussion like this.

    So, no matter how we slice or dice the stats the name Bradman ultimately seems to rise to the top. What I would love to see is how the rest of the field would stack up to him if we only considered their 52 best tests (based on aggregate runs scored in the test)... I wonder how many would then have a 100+ average or a 6994+ aggregate. I'm sure a number of Indian batsman would rank highly on this list... Sachin with 49 centuries certainly should be high up there.

    I do hope that I have asked you nicely and that you find it a challenge. ;-))

    Warm Regards. [[ Like Raghav, Mac, you have asked nicely AND it is a challenge. Funny thing is that both requests are interlinked in that I have to do a number of iterative steps including creating player-wise tables, ordering the tables on score and then do the two separate tables you two have asked. Don't think I was presumptuous when I made the double request. Unfortunately people have forgotten that this is a blog to be enjoyed. There are many lists which are not available thru StatsGuru and I will try my best to answer the queries. Unlike "Ask Steven" where the queries can be answered in single paragraphs mine require much longer articles. Ananth: ]]

  • Saurav Ghosh on November 22, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    Ananth,

    Wonderful analysis!! No wonder the Don sits at the top.

    On a separate note,didn't Aravinda de Silva go through a purple patch. I don't exactly remember the year, but I guess in the late 90s/early 00's. He scored 6 centuries on the trot (?).

    Saurav [[ If you see the two accompanying tables de Silva's wonderful run is featured everyehere. Starting with test # 1366 he has had a phenomenal sequence culminating in 1290 in 10. The best sub-set of this is probably 984 from 6 tests or even 1127 from 7. Ananth: ]]

  • CRICKETER on November 22, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    why do we exclude Yousuf and Inzi from the list of great players ? look at the tables of 52 tests and 80 innings,they show their presence there strongly Hammond is Legend Hutton is Legend but Yusuf and Inzi are not,surprising infact Yousuf is in top 10 in every list mentioned above, and in longer lists he is quite ahead of Tendulkar....WOW [[ No one excludes these wonderful cricketers. Selection is one'e personal choice. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 22, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    Ananth - So, if we take Bradman out (always a sane thing to do), the innings-wise crown went (Hobbs->Sobers->Lara->Ponting) while the test-wise crown went (Hobbs->Hutton->Sobers->Lara->Ponting). These five will make most all-time Top 20 lists while Hobbs, Lara, & Sobers will make the all-time Top 5 of quite a few (again, after taking Bradman out).

    I has always amazed me how the super performances of Kallis & Dravid get quietly pushed under the rug by the media. [[ While I do not see anything wrong in your lists, you must appreciate that this is not the correct table to do such a selection since it certainly does not favour the top batsmen in teams with many top batsmen. My suggestion is to add Richards and Tendulkar to all your selections and let the individual decide. Again no missiles please. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 22, 2010, 13:33 GMT

    Ananth, An observation- not that any additional confirmation was needed on how cool it was to be a batsman in the early to mid 2000s. Here’s the “start” match for a selected bunch of the modern day players out of the Top 20: Ponting- 1638 , Lara- 1523 , Yousuf – 1513 , Sangakkara – 1713 , Hayden – 1531 , Jaya – 1709, Dravid- 1598, Inzy – 1489, Gibbs- 1441 , Sehwag- 1662, Pietersen – 1763, Langer- 1558 , C’Paul- 1690 (Tendulkar -1365) If you take out Tendulkar at Match 1365 (17 apr 1997). .The earliest streak starts at 1489 (12 Mar 2000-Inzy) and ends at 1763 (Pietersen- 8th Sept. 2005)…i.e 12 modern day batsmen have had their best 80 inn. Streaks within 5 yrs of each other Max. Between Ponting,Lara,Yousuf,Hayden,Dravid,Sehwag,Langer, it is difference of a mere 1662 (Sehwag -16 oct 2003)) to 1513(Yousuf- 15 nov 2000)- It is a mere 3 years. The evidence is overwhelming. The correlation simply too strong to be dismissed by any amount of slicing and dicing. The critical part is a lot of these batsmen were in various stages of their careers- The early to mid 2000s were simply the best time ever to be a test batsman. [[ This has been your favourite topic. The fact is that no one has questioned this. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on November 22, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Excellent article and refreshing to read. Since you are in an obliging mood, can I request for another table.

    1, Maximum runs scored in non-consecutive 1 innings, 2 innings, 3 innings etc.

    It would be something like this

    1 inn: Lara 400 2 inn : Lara 775 3. inn Lara 1052

    then somewhere in the next few lines Bradman would take over. Ultimately Tendulkar will take over and retain the lead till the end. Who else figures in the list? [[ I will always do anything as long as people ask me nicely and there is a challenge. In this case both are true. This one is a toughie. The first three are fine. As we go to higher numbers, I might have to do recursive calculations. But will do it and see how I can post it since it might take some time. I am also intrigued since the high scores are not necessarily only for Bradman. Sehwag also might come in. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 22, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    @Alex re.Kallis` amazing 3rd innings stats - just to annoy you I spent quite a while looking for someone who bettered it. No success! Then I realised I`d Ananthed myself (yes, I did just invent a new word as well).

    Surprise, surprise.

    DG Bradman, batted 15 times in the 3rd innings of a test, averaged 130.41 with 7 centuries(2 doubles) and 4 fifties. And he averaged 16 with the ball the cheeky devil.

  • Ananth on November 22, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    Let me inform the readers that I have completed the 52-test and 80-innings tables and uploaded the same. Only run aggregates are included since this article is only about runs. The links are provided at the end of the main article.

  • Ananth on November 22, 2010, 11:25 GMT

    Rohinton I sent a mail directly to you. Unfortunately it has bounced. I had mailed you since you deserve to know from me that your comment will not be published and I had explained why I was not publishing your comment. Regards Ananth

  • Aditya Jha on November 22, 2010, 8:07 GMT

    Dear Anantha, you have already done the 80 innings comparison - on September 11, 2009 (Follow-up on comparing halves of players' careers). [[ Aditya I myself had forgotten. Thanks for sending the extract of the table. However I am not publishing it for two reasons. It is based on batting average. This article is only a run aggregate based one and I am going to stick to that. The other is that 15 months have passed and many changes have taken place. Hence I am going to re-do this. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 22, 2010, 7:50 GMT

    Ananth,Vivek V Vivek's comment is perfectly logical.The whole point is to see how batsmen performed over the same number of outings. What is the point of any comparison if someone for eg. has played 70 inn in a 52 match streak vs. someone who has played 80 (or 60 or whatever)??

  • Boll on November 22, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    @Abhay. Have to disagree with your assessment of South African, and particularly Australian pitches. I think Australian pitches for a long time have been easily the most sporting pitches in the world, (often England and South Africa not far behind) with something for everyone, and almost always getting a result!! Curators in other parts of the world could learn something perhaps.

  • Ron on November 22, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    Your comment about “No silly number-centric thinking there” contains traces of double standards. On the one hand we incessantly carry on about Lara's "world records" and place these innings in the "Wisden best innings lists", inspite of the indisputable fact that they were among the most selfish innings ever played in the history of cricket. The sole aim of these innings was to attain or reclaim the world record with complete disregard to the possibility of trying for a “team" win- if ever a man was placed before the team, it was on these occasions.

    From another cricket blog -"Further perspective can be gained by looking at the one batsman who did make it to 400, Brian Lara at St John’s in 2004. In that innings, Lara played with caution and great focus after reaching 300, taking 178 balls to go from 300 to 400 (56 runs per 100 balls). This is probably the slowest progression from 300 to 400 in first-class cricket: in doing this under very benign conditions when quick runs were called for, Lara also sacrificed any chance his team had of winning the match."

    Then, here we have a De Villiers 20 runs short of a triple and we take the high ground? No cricket follower would have complained if Smith had sent word out that De Villiers had got 20 minutes more. Essentially, we require to take one of two positions -we either completely extinguish individual accomplishments within the game or we allow for the fact that this beautiful game has the potential for individual accomplishments well within the ambit of team requirements. At present it seems we are rather confused and want to have our cake and eat it too. [[ In your anxiety to put down Lara, you have missed the essence of my comment which was that Smith allowed de Villiers to overtake his own score and immediately declared. Anyhow the only way West Indies could have won in the 400 test was by piling up the 700+ score. I would appreciate if you read the match reports correctly. England followed on and Vaughan was dropped at 20+ by Lara himself. If he had held the catch West Indies might have won by an innings and all this type of talk would not be coming through. It was Lara himself who was responsible for England escaping with a draw, not because of his scoring but because he dropped a vital catch. And the innings which are on top in many of my lists are not the 400 and 375, but the 153*, 213 and 277. And if you say these were selfish record-seeking innings, then we have nothing more to discuss. We belong to different planets. Ananth: ]]

  • Santosh S on November 22, 2010, 6:07 GMT

    Though Indians might not be known for scoring huge scores in succession the record for the most runs between two dismissals is owned by none other than Sachin Tendulkar with 495 runs (if I am not mistaken)before being dismissed a second time.

  • Boll on November 22, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    @Vivek and Ananth. I tend to agree with Vivek here, that an 80 innings streak is a fairer comparison. If we`re looking at total runs scored, is it fair to be comparing someone who had 95 chances to bat in 52 tests against someone who only had 80 chances? [[ That is a different perspective. It is easy for me to do both. So why not do both. After all there are only about 160+ players who have played 52+ tests and scored 2000+ runs. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 22, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    @Alex, I know you`re a big fan of Kallis, and his recent performances just keep on reinforcing his class. His record with the bat is as good as anyone`s in the last 20years although he`s rarely classed with the likes of lara/tendulkar/ponting. I think his lower strike rate (fairly or not) has a lot to do with it. The greatest player ever? yeah, for me he just lacks the matchwinning brilliance of the true greats. [[ The most useful player and most valuable player, perhaps. Ananth: ]]

  • Vivek V on November 22, 2010, 1:33 GMT

    Great article, Ananth.

    In order to take into account other batsmen who might not have got the same number of chances to bat in 52 tests as Ponting and Lara, I wonder if it would be easy to generate the best 80-inning streak - the same number as Bradman, I believe. [[ I think 52-test table is more relevant since it matches the number exactly. 80 innings would be 40-42 tests for the batsman in a weaker team and 55 tests for a player in a very strong team. Hoiwever, as Subbu has asked for, will do a complete 52-test table and post the same. Ananth: ]]

  • joey on November 22, 2010, 0:52 GMT

    where is sachin now :) the above would all have a low correlation with bangladesh and zimbabwee opponents as well [[ If you take the trouble of downloading the batsman table you will find out about Tendulkar (and other players) Ananth: ]]

  • Samir Shrivastava on November 21, 2010, 22:16 GMT

    Ananth: If you check, I am sure you will discover that Ricky Ponting & Sangakkara were using that famous "illegal bat" during their purple patch. While on the matter, do check out the strike rates and boundaries hit (as a % of runs scored) of all those who used such a bat. I hasten to add that I am not implying that the players in question cheated. The ICC, like most times, was slow to react. [[ This is news to me and, I am sure, to most others. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhay on November 21, 2010, 21:19 GMT

    @Alex Batting in the 3rd and 4th innings in places like Australia and SA is the easiest in the game. The pitches in these countries start with some maddeningly seaming conditions and become more and more docile and batsman friendly as the game wears on. So in essence Kallis' 2nd Innings average is only as surprising as Sehwag and Tendulkar's first innings averages. He is a talented all rounder, but to be classed alongside Sobers and Tendulkar as the best cricketer ever, he needed to achieve more against Warne, McGrath and co., and he sadly failed, and failed royally.

  • Nikhil on November 21, 2010, 20:43 GMT

    Also absence of indian batsmen may be attributed to the fact that they may score consistently but they don't score huge runs. Only three indians have more than four double hundreds that too scored over span of months and years. Only Vinod Kambli has scored consecutive double hundreds. After Gambhir only Sehwag had a good 10 test run ending recently.

  • arijit on November 21, 2010, 19:19 GMT

    Ananth, Great bowlers in the same team restrict one another's wickets tally, no doubt, but does the same principle hold in case of batsmen as you suggest? For this effect to take place, there would have to be many first innings where a leading batsman remains, say, 45 not out while his team declares at, say, 560-5. (I'm omitting second innings because there a batsman may be stranded because of various other factors, and because 2nd innings scores are rarely this big.) Such misfortune is unlikely to happen regularly for batsmen who bat at Nos one to four, even five. Can you recall many instances? BTW, is it fair to compare Bradman's scores over all his 52 Tests with other batsmen's best 52-Test sequences? That gives an unnecessary concession to these other batsmen (although it makes little difference in the end). That's another point about Don's superhuman greatness: even when one is being unfair to him, it seems one is favouring him!!!! [[ Knowledge is fun !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Ezra on November 21, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Interesting.... what about the bowling? [[ Will be done. Ananth: ]]

  • RV on November 21, 2010, 18:34 GMT

    Dear Ananth,

    Thank you! I was rather expecting someone like Sobers, Sachin, Dravid or Lara. :-) And why just second and third, we would love to see a full analysis of everyone who has a 52 test streak. :-) [[ Subbu It was a special task and quite difficult, if not impossible, to get all 52 match streaks. However seeing the historical relevance will try and do the same. Ananth: ]]

    Re Vengsarkar: Vengsarkar was especially good in England where stalwarts like Gavaskar and Viswanath didn't do as well as him. But everywhere else - West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand, he just didn't fare well. And 5 out of his 13 tests in Australia were played against a second level team. :-)

    But yes, his innings at Headingley was a gem. He managed 3 centuries at Lords in 4 appearances. I don't think he ever scored a century in any other country. :-)

  • Anshuman on November 21, 2010, 18:14 GMT

    Frankly speaking..this entire number crunching business has become a bit too boring............

  • Anand on November 21, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    Ananth - Excellent work on the article! You were very lucky to get away from Kuwait during those troubled days. This analysis only highlights the greatness of Bradman. I wonder whether there is any other sport that a its greatest exponent in the past. Athletes have evolved and changed gotten superior results in every sport. I could only think of Navratilova in tennis as someone similar when we include all of her grandslams (singles, doubles and mixed doubles)

  • Alex on November 21, 2010, 16:23 GMT

    Ananth - In his average-wise best 52 tests, I think Kallis scored 4823 in 52 tests over 2001-06 at ave=70. Average-wise, this is superior to Lara's final 52 tests. Now, for a real eye-opener ... (drum rolls) Kallis in the 3rd innings:

    57 inn, 14 NO, 3009 runs, highest=186, ave=69.97, SR=44.23, 8 100's, 16 50's.

    He averages 45 in the 4th. I honestly believe this guy is the greatest cricketer ever.

  • Alex on November 21, 2010, 16:01 GMT

    Ananth - I was thinking of the average over 52 tests and not the net runs scored ... Kallis might surpass Lara on this metric.

    IMO, Lara had at least 2 good years in him and could have retired with 14K+ & 40+ hundreds. The more one looks at the current scene, the more one laments such retirements. Nobody younger than Sehwag promises to reach the heights of the great batsmen of the last 20 years. Will AB falter the same way as KP has done? [[ Not if we go by what happened at Abu Dhabi yesterday. One has to admire Smith's captaincy. He allowed AB to cross his own score and then declared immediately putting the team needs first. No silly number-centric thinking there. Ananth: ]]

  • R Narayan on November 21, 2010, 15:50 GMT

    Fascinating analysis. I think Herbert Sutcliffe (as in "Hobbs and..) deserves a special mention.His test career was of almost identical length to Bradman's (54 matches against DGB's 52) and he averaged 60.73 (61.84 after 52 tests) That is some performance considering they include his (relatively) lean spells!In fact his final average was the lowest of his career. [[ On the average side, yes. But only about 4500 runs in aggregate. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on November 21, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    Alex, you are going to be in for a surprise (or two) when you see the next two batsmen after Ponting. The second is, surprise, Lara, who, starting with Test # 1542 and to the end of his career, aggregated 5629 runs in 52 tests. Supports my contention that he retired couple of years too soon, or was forced to retire. The third is, surprise again, Sobers, who scored 5468 runs in 52 tests starting Test # 443 (just before his record-breaking 365).

  • Alex on November 21, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    RV - Vengsarkar lacked physical stamina and fizzled out after '88 after the WI attack dismantled him for good in WI. You should look at his away record over '78-'88. It is not great but is on par with any other Indian batsman over that period. Also, along with Miandad, he was the best batsman of spin bowling in the 80's.

    I think Kallis might finish a close second to Ponting over 52 tests with Sobers or Sanga running in 3rd. [[ Do I get the feeling that my friend is subtly asking me to get the second/third best 52-test sequences. Will try. Ananth: ]]

  • vedagiri on November 21, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    This is really unbelievable reading. The basic idea of 10 match, 9 match streaks is out-of-box one. I had read so many facts and figures about batting and bowling in cricinfo website, but this is a unique one. Again this reading emphasizes that Bradman as "GOD OF BATSMEN". Well done Ananth. I also wanted you to do same for 25 and 50 test streaks. [[ I have done one specific analysis for 52 tests. Pl read the article for the same. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on November 21, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    R.V.Subbu has asked one of the most intriguing and exciting questions on this blog. He wanted to know who has the best 52-test streak, second to Bradman. Thanking him for a wonderful question I set to work, the process already having been set, and the results are given below. The funny thing is that the first time I did this I did not set the Bradman exclusion filter and got the following information. Bradman D.G. 52 6996 99.94 Laughing at my own idiocy, I set the filter and got the results. Ricky Ponting, in a 52-test span between Test # 1595 (Saf vs Aus 15/03/2002) and Test # 1819 (Aus vs Eng 1/12/2006) accumulated 5853 runs at an average of 74.09 (90-11-5853-74.09-23 hundreds). His average improved from 45.09 to 59.97.. This is a logical extension of the current article and I must thank R.V.Subbu again for setting the spark.

  • DAD on November 21, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    Can you do the same analyze for bowling as well? [[ Yes, it is on the anvil. Ananth: ]]

  • RV on November 21, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    Ananth,

    I have always wondered who over a 52 test span is second to Bradman - in terms of runs accumulated, average, number of centuries etc. You have gone upto 10 test spans in this one. Would it be possible to look at 52 test spans as well?

    Also, how did you generate this info? There is nothing in statsguru that says give me the runs scored in 10 matches. That would be of interest too...

    Alex, Vengsarkar is a giant on Indian pitches. Outside India, even with his favorite Lord's pitch, he averages in the thirties - even during his supposedly purple patch of 80s. Thanks, RV [[ 1. Yes, that is an excellent request. Only possible with the type of data and engine I have developed for this analysis. Will do and post the results. 2.I nver use Stasgru other than for verification. I have my own propietary database and a set of over 300 C programs for analysis. 3. But I suggest you look at Vengsarkar's innings at Headingley. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 21, 2010, 7:27 GMT

    Kartik:

    1. Gooch is certainly not a mid-30's average batsman who struck gold for 10 tests. He was a late bloomer, partly due to the selection policy of England and became a regular since 1985 only (by which time he was 32 yrs old). His stats since 1 Jan 1982:

    75 Tests, 6598 runs, ave=47, 17 100's, highest=333. 91 ODI's, 3385 runs, ave=41, 7 100's, highest=142.

    He could possibly be rated as the best opener since Hutton barring Sehwag.

    2. Likewise for Vengsarkar. He was, by far, the best Indian batsman of the entire 80's decade while facing the highest quality bowling attacks. His stats during this decade:

    70 Tests, 4484 runs, ave=47, 12 100's, 22 50's, highest=166.

    The only thing Vengsarkar lacked (apart from political savvy) was the ability to score really big when he was in ... in these 100 odd innings, he scored more than 38 in a staggering 50+ innings and yet scored only 12 100's. [[ Vengsarkar's 103 at Headingley during 1986 was amongst the three best innings played by an Indian batsman outside India. AnantH: ]]

  • Ananth on November 21, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    As requested by couple of readers I have completed the 1-10 innings work and posted the table at the end of the main article. Repeating a message (probably for the 100th time). By all means criticize the article and its contents. The comment will be published. The minute you start indulging in personal abuse the comment will be sent to trash, where it rightly belongs.

  • Software Star on November 21, 2010, 3:21 GMT

    interesting article, especially about the amazing fortune (or foresight) in preponing your ticket!! I think, that's one match your family would have thanked God that India didn't put up a fight. :-) [[ What is important to note that I advanced my journey only because the match finished by 2 pm. Ananth: ]]

  • sarwar on November 21, 2010, 2:40 GMT

    somewhere down the line i had thought that the likes of gavaskar,ponting,z abbas or a w hammond would find a place in that list as they had a string of huge scores in their prime,their absence really surprised me.and the point you made on players from ind and aus not featuring in the list that these teams had at least 3 to 4 prolific batsman with one not letting the others outperform him,all of them chips in with substantial contribution thus reducing such a possibilit is true but we had the same for pakistan or sri lanka too.and another factor i think is that before a couple of decades back,there were hardly any 6test 5hundreds kind of batters in these teams to support their cause. [[ Maybe, Sarwar, there is a subtle and clear distinction between two great batsmen (Sanga/Jaya) and 3 and more. Also the purple patch of Sangakkara was out-of-the-wirld as was of Yousuf. I think the dynamics between batsmen is quite delicate. Ananth: ]]

  • Swaminathan on November 21, 2010, 2:37 GMT

    Great analysis idea. It gives us a whole new way to look at player performance.

    Obviously, this can be extended to look at who had multiple purple patches (say 10 test/inning sequences of over x runs or over x times their average), as well as multiple lean sequences. A couple of indicators of quality would be the existence of multiple purple patches, and that the longer lean patches (say 20 inning lean patches) are shallow rather than deep, relative to their carer averages.

    Conversely, one definition of consistency would be that once you consider patches above a certain length (say 10 innings), the ratio between the patch height and career average is not large (especially for lean). In fact, this analysis can be done for moving windows throughout the career, and we could look at criteria such as "80% of all the moving windows are above 0.75 of career average" - I think this is one way we conceptually think of consistency.

    Congratulations on opening up a new line of analysis. [[ I had done this work independently couple of years back. But this can be used, as you say, to determine overall consistency. Again to be taken with a pinch of salt. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik (the old one) on November 21, 2010, 0:28 GMT

    Gooch's career average of 42.5, would be in the mid 30s without this 10-test streak.

    Most other great batsmen, even if you took out their best 10-test streak, would have a much higher average.

    Sometimes, a batsman is in such great form for a while, that he performs above the mid-30s norm of the rest of his career. Gooch had such a streak, so did Vengsarkar. Is Gambhir going to be in this category???? [[ Kartik The mitigating factor is that he did not have a single easy test, possibly the only ones against India. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit on November 20, 2010, 20:27 GMT

    Ananth, Bradman's string of scores includes not one zero but two, and they came in consecutive innings (38+0, 0+82). Amazing!!!! [[ And my apologies for missing that. Since this happens in all the higher test sequences we can conclude that he has aggregated 1869 runs in 9 tests, not 10. An average of 200+ per test !!!!! Ananth: ]]

  • Vinit Singh Sharma on November 20, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    The reason for the absence of an Indian batsman is quite simple: they're overrated & completely over-hyped. [[ Thank God you are an Indian !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Yogesh on November 20, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    Interesting. Would it be great to actually remove the best 10 test streak of a batsman and see his average ? Perhaps gives an idea of a batsmen's consistency. I think for one Yousuf if his 10 test streak is removed would suffer considerably.

    On a side-note, I hope that next time on, commentators and fans are more lenient towards Indian batting collapses ! [[ Consistency is another thing altogether and contextual. No one can tell beforehand whether 100 & 0 is better or 50 & 50 is better. Ananth: ]]

  • Sancho Chandran on November 20, 2010, 18:48 GMT

    The interesting thing is that Bradman's sequence from 5 consecutive tests onwards is not the same as the sequence for 4 consecutive tests - it is a completely different one and they are about six or seven years apart, if I am not mistaken. Sobers has to have the 365, Richards the 291 and Gooch the 333 in their sequences. But Bradman has 2 triple centuries in different times doing the job. Also, there are 2 ducks in his list, right from 5 tests onwards, which is quite amazing.

    Why not do the same thing for consecutive innings - that should iron out the zeros coming in between. [[ Yes will do. And multiple independent sequences for Bradman should set the matter of batting legend to rest. Ananth: ]]

  • sarwar on November 20, 2010, 18:13 GMT

    before reading this article,i used to consider gooch of the sorts of graham thorpe or a damien martyn kind of batsman,one who would score with mediocre consistency and prowess,but this article has made me realise how prolific one can be in a certain phase of one's career,though full credit to kapil dev for gooch's record of 456 runs because without his consecutive 4 sixes eng wouldnt have batted again.and a small bit of information for unni ie bradman had played all his tests in england and australia. [[ Nice point on Kapil's sixes although Gooch would have batted again. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 20, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    Ananth - sorry, I confused Gooch's exact score in the epic innings ... it confuses me sometimes because he _did_ score 153 vs another prime-time WI quartet ('81 vs Holding, Garner, Croft, and Marshall). Incidentally, the second innings of that test featured an excellent 154* from Gower.

    So looks like if you find a 153, a 154* is just round the corner; e.g., SRT's 153 immediately recalls his 154*. [[ Yes that was 153 (out of 285) at Kingston against a potent West indian attack. To confuse the matters more Gower scored 154 in the second innings in a drawn test. To add still more confusion Gooch also scored 154 against New Zealand during 1990. Ananth: ]]

  • bijayakumar P on November 20, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    Wonderful analysis.I really enjoyed reading the article and expect many more of this kind from you.

  • unni on November 20, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    very much enjoyable statistics. I loved reading it...

  • Doug Newsam on November 20, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    Very interesting stats. One thing does come through quite clearly, as if it needed any emphasis, Sir Donald Bradman was the ultimate compiler of runs in the history of the game. Tendulkar is a genius but when it comes to sheer run scoring consistency, Sir Don is without equal - and remember, no covered wickets, less protection, inferior equipment. Balance this with less scientific fielding skills and less analytical approach to the game but I believe that on balance, The Don reigns supreme and probably always will. [[ Doug Only legacy the little guy has left behind is that every single analysis I do, he is right there at the top, by a mile. In the Unni's Innings Index, same is the case. It only emphasis what you have said, there is no one like him. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 20, 2010, 13:26 GMT

    Guys, I just had a closer look. Gooch averages 42.6. Not bad. I'm sure it would look better as a "peer average"...instead of comparing it directly to the seemingly endless 50+ average of today's batsmen.

    Also, He started off with a pair!! In the Ashes vs. Aus.

    If you look at his cumulative averages he does seem to be a late bloomer. It slowly works its way up to the 40s. With most other top class batsmen you have a generally slow start , especially if they start young...and then immediately after they find their feet in a few short years the average rockets up. [[ Sorry I jumped the gun !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 20, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Nice new analysis.

    Kartik, Alex I didn't know Gooch's career average was in the mid 30s!! News to me. I always assumed it would be mid 40s-50. Which again is further proof (if required) that it is relatively "easier" to be good in streaks/patches than consistently good over long periods of time. [[ No, Abhi, you have got it wrong. Gooch's average is 42.58, better than many a good player. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 20, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    @Kartik - overall average is not a good indicator of how good Gooch was. He was 37 yrs old during this purple patch. Also, he has got arguably the best record against the "real" WI pace attack:

    26 tests, 51 inn, 2 NO, 2197 runs, ave=45, 5 100's, 13 50's.

    It is equal/superior to SMG's against the "real" WI pace attack and has 153 as the highest score. Ananth has sung praises of the 153 several times on this blog. [[ Alex Let us not deprive the wonderful innings of even one run. G.A.Gooch 154* out of 252 (Ambrose/Patterson/Marshall/Walsh). Ananth: ]]

  • jay on November 20, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    Nice Work Ananth,

    I agree with Saurav, you may also work inning-wise calculation.

  • Kartik (the old one) on November 20, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    Gooch's 10-test purple patch was remarkable, particularly given that excluding this streak, his career average is in the mid-30s.

  • Saurav Saharia on November 20, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    Hi anantha,

    nice article... just one thing i was curious to know about. could you also bring up the table showing innings-wise consistency instead of test-wise. Given the fact that 10 tests might mean 20 innings or, at the same time, maybe 12 innings as well...

  • Abhishek Mukherjee on November 20, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    Good thinking, Ananth. Can we have the same for bowlers and wickets, please?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Abhishek Mukherjee on November 20, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    Good thinking, Ananth. Can we have the same for bowlers and wickets, please?

  • Saurav Saharia on November 20, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    Hi anantha,

    nice article... just one thing i was curious to know about. could you also bring up the table showing innings-wise consistency instead of test-wise. Given the fact that 10 tests might mean 20 innings or, at the same time, maybe 12 innings as well...

  • Kartik (the old one) on November 20, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    Gooch's 10-test purple patch was remarkable, particularly given that excluding this streak, his career average is in the mid-30s.

  • jay on November 20, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    Nice Work Ananth,

    I agree with Saurav, you may also work inning-wise calculation.

  • Alex on November 20, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    @Kartik - overall average is not a good indicator of how good Gooch was. He was 37 yrs old during this purple patch. Also, he has got arguably the best record against the "real" WI pace attack:

    26 tests, 51 inn, 2 NO, 2197 runs, ave=45, 5 100's, 13 50's.

    It is equal/superior to SMG's against the "real" WI pace attack and has 153 as the highest score. Ananth has sung praises of the 153 several times on this blog. [[ Alex Let us not deprive the wonderful innings of even one run. G.A.Gooch 154* out of 252 (Ambrose/Patterson/Marshall/Walsh). Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 20, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Nice new analysis.

    Kartik, Alex I didn't know Gooch's career average was in the mid 30s!! News to me. I always assumed it would be mid 40s-50. Which again is further proof (if required) that it is relatively "easier" to be good in streaks/patches than consistently good over long periods of time. [[ No, Abhi, you have got it wrong. Gooch's average is 42.58, better than many a good player. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on November 20, 2010, 13:26 GMT

    Guys, I just had a closer look. Gooch averages 42.6. Not bad. I'm sure it would look better as a "peer average"...instead of comparing it directly to the seemingly endless 50+ average of today's batsmen.

    Also, He started off with a pair!! In the Ashes vs. Aus.

    If you look at his cumulative averages he does seem to be a late bloomer. It slowly works its way up to the 40s. With most other top class batsmen you have a generally slow start , especially if they start young...and then immediately after they find their feet in a few short years the average rockets up. [[ Sorry I jumped the gun !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Doug Newsam on November 20, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    Very interesting stats. One thing does come through quite clearly, as if it needed any emphasis, Sir Donald Bradman was the ultimate compiler of runs in the history of the game. Tendulkar is a genius but when it comes to sheer run scoring consistency, Sir Don is without equal - and remember, no covered wickets, less protection, inferior equipment. Balance this with less scientific fielding skills and less analytical approach to the game but I believe that on balance, The Don reigns supreme and probably always will. [[ Doug Only legacy the little guy has left behind is that every single analysis I do, he is right there at the top, by a mile. In the Unni's Innings Index, same is the case. It only emphasis what you have said, there is no one like him. Ananth: ]]

  • unni on November 20, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    very much enjoyable statistics. I loved reading it...

  • bijayakumar P on November 20, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    Wonderful analysis.I really enjoyed reading the article and expect many more of this kind from you.