December 20, 2010

# Test innings: a different peer-view

An analysis of how batsmen have fared when compared to their peers in Tests.

Recently Unnikrishnan had suggested a way of measuring individual Test innings in a different manner. His suggestion was that the innings should be evaluated against the average score of the other batsmen who batted in that particular innings. He also wanted the individual innings values summed across all innings for each batsmen and averaged across their career, similar to the way the Batting Averages are calculated. For instance, to compute Don Bradman's career Innings Index value, the Innings Index values for all his 80 innings would be added and divided by 80. These are excellent suggestions in view of the following plus factors.

- This is an out-and-out peer comparison, that too within the same team.
- The comparison is within the same innings: Hence the conditions would be almost identical.
- The bowling quality faced would be almost identical, barring innings-level variations.
- This effectively takes take care of the oft-repeated complaints by readers regarding batsmen playing in weak or strong teams.

In some ways this is similar to the simpler % of Team score measure. However the one major difference is that in the % TS measure the number of batsmen who batted is not taken into account. "For no loss" and "for 7 wkts" will produce the same % TS, as explained in the examples. However the Innings Index takes care of this very well and is a true peer comparison. Team score, as given below, is sans extras.

```Team-Score Batsman-Score  % TS   Inns Index

100 for 0      50          50        1.0
100 for 5      50          50        6.0
200 for 3     100          50        4.0
200 for 9     100          50       10.0
300 for 2     150          50        3.0
300 for 10    150          50       10.0

100 for 10     60          60       15.0
100 for 1      25          25       0.33
200 for 7     120          60       12.0
200 for 1      40          20        0.5
300 for 10    200          66.7     20.0

```
The formula for determining the Inns Index is quite simple and outlined below.

```Runs scored by batsman
Innings Index  = -------------------------------
Average score of other batsmen

where
Total runs made by other batsmen
Average score of other batsmen = --------------------------------
No of other batsman who batted

```

I had to do limiting of the Innings Index values for innings in which fewer than 5 wickets fell as otherwise the following silly situation emerges. Aamir Sohail's 46 out of 61/2 will get 15.33 ??? Such cases have been limited to a reasonable number below 5 since these do not really reflect batsman contributions in demanding situations.

I have shown two tables. The first is a table of the top innings based on the Innings Index value. The second is a table of batsmen ordered by the average Innings Index value over the career.

Now for the first table. Readers will note a clear correlation between this and the % Team Score. However this is a far more robust and well-thought out measure which stands any test. Let me repeat, for the sake of readers itching to put in their tuppenny-worth on the innings they think should be placed high. This is not a list of the best innings. It is a table of innings whose Innings Index values, as described in this article are high. That is all. Do not draw unnecessary inferences from either of the tables.

Now for the first table. I have listed here the top-25 innings ordered by the Inns Index.

```Table of Innings ordered by Innings Index
(Batsman score > 199 or Inns Index > 5.0)

MtId Year Batsman            Bat Team (Ext) Batsman Oth  Inns
Pos Score      Score   Avge Index

1156 1990 Gurusinha A.P       3  82/10 ( 8)   52*   2.2  23.64
0001 1877 Bannerman C         1 245/10 ( 8)  165*   7.2  22.92
1439 1999 Slater M.J          1 184/10 ( 4)  123    5.7  21.58
1481 2000 Laxman V.V.S        1 261/10 (21)  167    8.1  20.59
0732 1974 Amiss D.L           1 432/ 9 (41)  262*  12.9  20.31
0779 1976 Greenidge C.G       1 211/10 (11)  134    6.6  20.30
0542 1963 Reid J.R            4 159/10 ( 9)  100    5.0  20.00
1171 1991 Gooch G.A           1 252/10 (21)  154*   7.7  20.00
1306 1995 Moin Khan           7 212/10 (34)  117*   6.1  19.18
0401 1955 Sutcliffe B         3 125/10 (12)   74    3.9  18.97
0303 1948 Hutton L            1  52/10 ( 6)   30    1.6  18.75
1283 1995 Inzamam-ul-Haq      5 165/10 (19)   95    5.1  18.63
0164 1926 Macartney C.G       3 194/ 5 (17)  133*   7.3  18.14
0652 1969 Nurse S.M           3 417/10 (14)  258   14.5  17.79
1913 2009 Duminy J.P          6 138/10 (23)   73*   4.2  17.38
1884 2008 Sehwag V            1 329/10 (12)  201*  11.6  17.33
0665 1969 Burgess M.G         6 200/10 (12)  119*   6.9  17.25
1716 2004 Jayasuriya S.T      1 438/10 (37)  253   14.8  17.09
0130 1913 Taylor H.W          1 182/10 ( 9)  109    6.4  17.03
0079 1904 Tyldesley J.T       3 103/10 ( 8)   62    3.7  16.91
0846 1979 Yallop G.N          4 198/10 ( 5)  121    7.2  16.81
1206 1992 Kapil Dev N         7 215/10 ( 8)  129    7.8  16.54
0330 1951 Hutton L            1 272/10 (21)  156*   9.5  16.42
1820 2006 Sangakkara K.C      3 170/10 ( 9)  100*   6.1  16.39
0059 1899 Sinclair J.H        4 177/10 ( 6)  106    6.5  16.31
1747 2005 Sarwan R.R          3 194/10 (21)  107*   6.6  16.21
1444 1999 Saeed Anwar         1 316/10 (12)  188*  11.6  16.21
1749 2005 Lara B.C            4 296/10 (10)  176   11.0  16.00
0841 1979 Gomes H.A           3 151/10 ( 3)   91    5.7  15.96
0587 1965 Saeed Ahmed         3 307/ 8 (38)  172   10.8  15.96

```

A real surprise at the top. Asanka Gurusinha, a competent performer for Sri Lanka (with an average of 38.9), with his innings of 52 out of 84 all out (8 extras). This leads to an Inns Index value of 23.64. Then come three classics spread across 123 years. Charles Bannerman's 165 has a value of 22.9, Slater's 123 has a value of 21.5 and Laxman's career-defining 167 leads to an Inns Index value of 20.5. Then comes one of the greatest match-saving innings of all time by Amiss of 262, with an Inns Index value of 20.3.

There is a case for keeping a minimum team score as 100 to ensure that the index may have more validity. However I feel that in cases like Gurusinha's or Hutton's innings, the important factor is that the team was all out, in other words, 11 batsmen batted. Hence I have decided to retain these values.

Note the presence of some modern classics such as Sehwag's 201, Inzamam's 95, Jayasuriya's 253 and Sangakkara's 100. These are wonderful innings and fully deserve to be in this special list.

To view/down-load the complete Innings Index table of innings of 200 runs or more or an Inns Index value greater than 5.0, please click/right-click here.

Now for the batsmen table. To do this table I have added the Inns Index values for all the innings played by the batsman and divided the sum by the number of innings played. This leads to an average Inns Index value. An innings is what it says. When a batsman takes strike and whether he finishes at 400* or 0*, it is an innings. I am sure readers would come out with their own suggestions on excluding certain types of not outs, such as single digit ones. Let me wait for such suggestions and I am prepared to do the tweak and show the alternate table. As of now it is one straight forward calculation. As usual the batsmen who have scored over 2000 runs are shown. There is only one batsman of significance in the below-2000 group, Eddie Paynter who had scored 1540 runs at 59.23.

```Batsman              Cty Inns   Runs   Bat   Avge  Inns Index
Total   Avge  IIdx   <1.0 >5.0

Bradman D.G          Aus   80   6996  99.94  3.348   22   19
Headley G.A          Win   40   2190  60.83  3.226   17   11
Lara B.C             Win  232  11953  52.89  2.701   99   42
Taylor H.W           Saf   76   2936  40.78  2.560   38   10
Nourse A.D           Saf   62   2960  53.82  2.551   28    9
Hutton L             Eng  138   6971  56.67  2.504   55   16
Hobbs J.B            Eng  102   5410  56.95  2.463   43   14
Turner G.M           Nzl   73   2991  44.64  2.438   36    9
Flower A             Zim  112   4794  51.55  2.387   58   17
EdeC Weekes          Win   81   4455  58.62  2.360   34   12
Hazare V.S           Ind   52   2192  47.65  2.283   24    5
Sutcliffe B          Nzl   76   2727  40.10  2.255   29    8
Hanif Mohammad       Pak   97   3915  43.99  2.254   49   16
Pollock R.G          Saf   41   2256  60.97  2.246   22    5
Taylor R.L           Nzl   51   2077  41.54  2.240   30    7
Habibul Bashar       Bng   99   3026  30.88  2.216   47   11
Sangakkara K.C       Slk  156   8244  57.25  2.190   74   21
Gavaskar S.M         Ind  214  10122  51.12  2.185  106   27
Mitchell B           Saf   80   3471  48.89  2.178   31    9
Walcott C.L          Win   74   3798  56.69  2.160   42   11
Hammond W.R          Eng  140   7249  58.46  2.158   73   15
Gooch G.A            Eng  215   8900  42.58  2.156  103   25
Sutcliffe H          Eng   84   4555  60.73  2.147   34    9
Saeed Anwar          Pak   91   4052  45.53  2.135   37   10
Mohammad Yousuf      Pak  156   7530  52.29  2.130   63   17
Sehwag V             Ind  146   7613  54.38  2.117   63   17
Chanderpaul S        Win  219   9063  48.99  2.116  106   24
Cowper R.M           Aus   46   2061  46.84  2.104   23    3
Saeed Ahmed          Pak   78   2991  40.42  2.093   34    6
May P.B.H            Eng  106   4537  46.77  2.080   41   11
Tendulkar S.R        Ind  286  14513  56.91  2.075  131   29

```
Bradman leads the table with an average Inns Index value of 3.348. What does this mean. Across his career he has scored 3.3 times the average of his compatriots, taken innings by innings. And in Bradman's case, because of the strength of Australia, the proportion of late order batting performances which are compared with Bradman would be fewer. That says something. Imagine, each time he performed at the level of his fellow players, he has to make up by notching up an innings with an Inns Index value of nearly 6 !!! He has performed below his compatriots only just over 25%, while the other batsmen have done between 40 and 50%. Similarly he has batted at a level above 5 times the average of his fellow batsmen just below 25%, while the rest of the batsmen do this between 10 and 15%. These are unbelievable numbers to read, digest and marvel.

The "Black Bradman" is second with the only other 3+ value. The fact that he is quite close to Bradman speaks volumes. Lara is third with a score of 2.701. There is no doubt that he would have benefited from playing in a weaker teams. However it is still necessary to outscore them consistently. A surprise next. Herb Taylor of South Africa is next with 2.560 and the classical batsman, Nourse next with 2.551.

Look at the next six batsmen. Hutton, Hobbs, Glenn Turner, Andy Flower, Everton Weekes and Vijay Hazare. This is an eclectic mix of batsmen playing for stronger and weaker batting line-ups. So playing for a stronger batting line-up does not necessarily prevent a player from getting a reasonable high average value. Hutton, Hobbs and Weekes played in strong batting line-ups. I get the feeling that this might be true where there were 3 top batsmen in the side, not 5 was the case with the Australian team of the 2000s and recent Indian teams. Andy Flower virtually carried his team for most of his career as did Glenn turner. Hazare played in a reasonably strong batting line-up. Not a surprise that Gavaskar and Hanif Mohammad are the leading batsmen of their respective countries.

I would conclude that the top batsmen in this analysis would have an average Inns Index value of over 2.00.