January 31, 2011

The World Cup in numbers

A statistical analysis of all World Cup tournaments played between 1975 and 2007
73

Viv Richards: the best batsman against top teams in World Cups © AllSport UK Ltd

It is World Cup time and inevitably, most discussions are centred on the tournament and its history. One of the major talking points when it comes to the World Cup is the format. The early exit of India and Pakistan in 2007 has prompted a completely different design. An increased presence of weaker teams in each group is unfortunate and will undoubtedly render many contests meaningless. In a recent discussion about the World Cup, Deepak Jeyaraman, a good friend and colleague from my graduate school in the US, pointed out that the World Cup stats for both Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara are similar when only performances against top teams are considered. He suggested that the overall averages have considerably been boosted because batsmen have amassed plenty against the weaker teams. I found this very interesting and decided to get into the details which revealed some very interesting results and vindicated his statement.

Right from the first World Cup, there have been opportunities provided to smaller teams to compete on the big stage. While this idea is not wrong, it creates many opportunities for batsmen to make hay and register massive scores. In earlier World Cups, there were one or two weaker teams, but in recent times, there have been three or four such teams in every tournament, thus creating every opportunity for batsmen to set records aplenty. Of the 44 scores over 300 in the World Cup, 20 have been made against the weaker teams. Of the 41 times teams have won by a margin of over 100 runs, 21 have come against the minnows. A detailed look into the batting performances of top scorers in World Cups clearly points to a run-glut against the smaller teams.

Despite the win over Australia in their first match and the early troubles they caused to India, Zimbabwe were comfortable to beat in the 1983 and 1987 tournaments. They were far more competitive from the 1992 edition onwards. Bangladesh and Kenya have caused ripples, but are not a consistent force in global tournaments. When a minimum of 750 runs against top teams is considered, only Viv Richards makes the cut. His outstanding World Cup career can be appreciated even more because he averages over 66 against top teams during his period. Tendulkar, on the other hand, averages just over 45 against top teams, which is far lower than his overall average of nearly 58. Three of his four hundreds have come against Kenya and Namibia. While Tendulkar has made nearly a third of his World Cup runs against the weaker teams, Sourav Ganguly has scored over 50% of his runs against the minnows. Except in the cases of Ricky Ponting and Lara, the averages of most batsmen have been considerably boosted due to their 'brilliant' batting against the minnows.

**In the 1975-1987 range, ZImbabwe and the other teams like Canada and East Africa are considered weak teams. From 1992-2007, Zimbabwe has been fairly competitive, but along with other smaller teams (Netherlands, Namibia, Scotland, UAE etc), Kenya and Bangladesh, despite an occasional upset, have been classified as weak teams.

Best batsmen in World Cups (matches against top teams)-min 750 runs scored
Batsman Matches Runs Average 100 50 Overall Matches Overall Runs Overall Average 100 50
Viv Richards 20 997 66.46 3 5 23 1013 63.31 3 5
Ricky Ponting 29 1324 50.92 3 6 39 1537 48.03 4 6
Herschelle Gibbs 17 751 50.06 2 5 25 1067 56.15 2 8
Mark Waugh 19 774 48.37 3 3 22 1004 52.84 4 4
Sachin Tendulkar 28 1173 45.11 1 10 36 1796 57.93 4 13
Brian Lara 26 1005 43.69 2 6 34 1225 42.24 2 7
Aravinda de Silva 24 767 34.86 1 6 35 1064 36.68 2 6
Sanath Jayasuriya 30 860 30.71 2 5 38 1165 34.26 3 6

The approach to batting was very different in the early World Cups with scores between 150 and 250 being quite competitive even against top teams. Good bowling conditions and a less aggressive batting style meant that the run rate in the first two World Cups was under four runs per over. The scoring rate went up slightly in the 1983 World Cup as teams began to realize the benefit of faster scoring after playing more ODIs. The 1987 World Cup saw the overall run rate rise to a high of 4.87 because of the excellent batting conditions in the subcontinent. Teams switched to a more conventional approach of preserving wickets in the beginning before accelerating in the final overs in the 1992 edition which saw the advent of field restrictions. Sri Lanka's stunning early-over assaults set the tone for a high-scoring tournament in 1996. The 1999 World Cup in England swung the balance towards the bowlers by providing much more challenging batting conditions. However, the last two tournaments have clearly been in favour of the batsmen. 25 scores over 300 have been made in the 2003 and 2007 World Cup and it seems highly likely that this trend is going to continue.

It is also very interesting to observe the trend of fifty-plus scores, While the 1975 tournament saw a fifty-plus score every six innings, the number went up to one every 8.5 innings in the 1979 tournament. The 1987 World Cup saw the best conversion rate with fifties being scored once in less than six innings. The high figure for the last three editions can be explained by the presence of weaker teams which have struggled to put up substantial scores. The fours-per-match figure is highest for the 1975 World Cup, which is again surprising considering the approach in the early editions. The percentage of boundary runs is also very high and is comparable to later tournaments. The 1992 tournament in Australia saw fewer boundaries per match which is understandable given the size of the grounds in Australia, but since 1996, there has been a consistent increase in the boundary run percentage in each World Cup.

The conversion rate of fifties to centuries was the poorest in the 1979 World Cup with only two centuries being scored compared to 27 half-centuries. The 1996 and 2003 World Cups were the best in terms of the conversion rate with a century every four fifties. However, the 1992 World Cup was another tournament where centuries were far fewer. Only eight of the 92 fifty-plus scores were converted into centuries.

Batting stats from the World Cups
Year Matches Innings Runs Runs/innings 50+ scores Inns/fifty 50s:100s fours/match Boundary runs % runs in boundaries Run rate
1975 15 258 5767 22.35 41 6.29 5.83 38.33 1644 42.79 3.91
1979* 14 247 4805 19.45 29 8.51 13.50 26.35 2468 34.21 3.54
1983* 27 494 11024 22.31 65 7.60 7.12 32.70 4288 38.89 4.08
1987 27 478 11609 24.28 80 5.97 6.27 33.85 4118 35.47 4.87
1992* 39 647 13821 21.36 92 7.03 10.50 28.17 4954 35.84 4.42
1996* 36 601 14239 23.69 85 7.07 4.31 35.11 5944 41.74 4.67
1999 42 737 14981 20.32 86 8.56 6.81 32.78 6426 42.89 4.47
2003 52 902 18873 20.92 110 8.20 4.23 34.48 8768 46.45 4.76
2007 51 885 19800 22.37 131 6.75 5.55 35.45 9470 47.82 4.95

*The number of boundaries is not exact for the 1979, 1983, 1992 and 1996 World Cups

The World Cups held in England have been the best for bowlers. While the 98 matches across the four editions in England have seen 51 hauls of four wickets or more, the 205 matches in the other five World Cups have seen just 77 four-plus wicket hauls. The wickets per match figure is also slightly higher in the four World Cups held in England and is much lower in the two World Cups held in the subcontinent and the 1992 World Cup. On the flip side, the swinging conditions in England made it much more difficult for bowlers to control their line. While the relaxed rules in the early editions were responsible for fewer extras, the tournament in 1999 saw the most extras. Nearly 47 extras were conceded on an average per match in the 1999 World Cup. The first five places on the list of innings with the most extras are from the 1999 World Cup, with India conceding 51 extras in the three-run defeat to Zimbabwe and 44 against Kenya.

Bowling stats from World Cups
Year Matches Wickets Wickets/match 4W+ hauls Total Extras Extras/match Economy
1975 15 194 12.93 9 395 26.33 3.66
1979 14 184 13.14 7 363 25.92 3.29
1983 27 370 13.70 14 1022 37.85 3.73
1987 27 321 11.88 9 913 33.81 4.66
1992 39 447 11.46 8 1286 32.97 4.24
1996 36 411 11.41 8 986 27.38 4.52
1999 42 548 13.04 21 1982 47.19 4.32
2003 52 658 12.65 35 1568 30.15 4.63
2007 51 689 13.50 17 1533 30.05 4.84

Over the years, the number of left handers in teams has constantly increased. In almost every form of cricket, left handers seem to enjoy a distinct advantage and have generally outperformed the right handers. When performances in World Cups are analysed, the numbers are not quite straightforward. While the left-handed batsmen outperformed their counterparts in the first World Cup, they were not quite a force in the second edition. After a far better performance in the 1983 World Cup, their showing in a batting-friendly 1987 edition was much poorer than the right handers who did superbly. Left handers made just six fifty-plus scores in the 1987 World Cup while right handers made over 73. The performances of right handers and left handers was fairly even in the 1992 World Cup, but since then, left-handed batsmen have consistently averaged more and made fifty-plus scores far more consistently. The only anomaly has been the recent World Cup which was again dominated by right handers, who averaged more and scored faster than left handers.

Right handers in World Cups (top order 1-7 only)
Year RHB(players) Innings RHB(runs) RHB(avg) RHB(50+) RHB(SR) Inns/50+
1975 56 153 4045 30.87 30 58.48 5.10
1979 57 144 3529 27.14 25 55.45 5.76
1983 54 262 6956 29.35 46 60.55 5.69
1987 65 317 9641 34.80 73 75.48 4.34
1992 65 374 9733 30.22 69 66.89 5.40
1996 82 325 8875 31.81 55 71.80 5.90
1999 83 396 8965 25.32 54 63.63 7.33
2003 97 454 10861 26.95 67 72.82 6.77
2007 98 422 11467 32.30 82 77.90 5.14

Left handers in World Cups (top order 1-7 only)
Year LHB(players) Innings LHB(runs) LHB(avg) LHB(50+) LHB(SR) Inns/50+
1975 13 41 1088 31.08 10 74.11 4.10
1979 13 32 800 30.76 4 54.86 8.00
1983 18 91 2531 33.74 17 64.45 5.35
1987 10 43 1159 28.26 6 62.04 7.16
1992 19 120 2978 28.09 23 66.22 5.21
1996 27 138 4263 36.75 30 74.96 4.60
1999 29 156 4429 34.06 29 68.46 5.37
2003 41 207 5680 32.64 38 73.69 5.44
2007 41 240 6553 30.05 49 74.98 4.89

The first three World Cups in England hardly saw spinners being used in most matches. Pace bowlers outperformed spinners comfortably, picking up more wickets at a much better average. The fourth World Cup in 1987 however, was held in the spin-friendly subcontinent. In this edition, the performance of pace bowlers and spinners was much more even. Martin Crowe's remarkable strategy of opening the bowling with a spinner in 1992 stands out in memory in a tournament which was dominated by pace. The 1996 World Cup was the best for spinners as they picked up six hauls of four wickets or more as compared to just two by fast bowlers. 1999 and 2003 were much better for pace bowlers as they picked up 47 four-wicket hauls compared to just nine for spinners. However, the 2007 tournament played on much slower wickets in the Caribbean meant that spinners were quite effective. Going by past records, the 2011 World Cup is again going to be dominated by teams with quality spin options.

Pace v Spin in World Cups
Year Pace(wickets) Pace(avg) Pace(4W+) Pace(ER) Spin(wickets) Spin(avg) Spin(4W+) Spin(ER)
1975 155 27.18 8 3.63 25 45.56 0 3.75
1979 166 24.57 7 3.30 8 65.25 0 3.27
1983 310 28.59 11 3.73 47 36.44 3 3.61
1987 213 36.39 7 4.84 106 37.13 2 4.34
1992 344 31.58 8 4.23 94 35.29 0 4.16
1996 228 37.45 2 4.52 168 32.94 6 4.47
1999 461 27.72 18 4.23 87 40.00 3 4.64
2003 482 27.70 29 4.67 186 32.13 6 4.55
2007 454 31.37 12 4.85 197 32.36 5 4.79

The last table looks at dismissal stats from the World Cups. While the number of bowled and leg before dismissals per match has been definitely higher in the tournaments in England owing to the bowling conditions, the tournaments in the subcontinent have seen fewer lbw dismissals per match. The number of catches by a wicketkeeper per match is also far higher in the World Cups played in England and South Africa when compared to those played on the flatter tracks in the subcontinent and the West Indies. Another noticeable factor is the consistent increase in the number of run-out dismissals since the first two World Cups (except the 1975 final, which saw five run outs in the Australia innings) which can be attributed to the fact that batsmen allow fewer dot balls and focus on much more aggressive running.

Dismissal stats in World Cups
Year Matches Bowled Caught(keeper) LBW Run-out
1975 15 64 30 31 14
1979 14 50 30 25 18
1983 27 86 69 47 38
1987 27 101 46 27 64
1992 39 97 76 33 67
1996 36 107 53 37 63
1999 42 116 87 85 49
2003 52 133 130 92 45
2007 51 138 97 82 67

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Boll on February 21, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    @Harsh, I think I`d agree that Viv and Sachin are right up there. Purely for his performances in finals, Adam Gilchrist has to run them close though, 57(48balls), 54(36) and 149(104). 260 runs off 188 balls as an opener in 3 winning finals, and in great style.

  • Abhi on February 21, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Ananth, After watching the opening WC matches, I think i've found the fatal flaw in this type of analysis. That is the assumption that there are two clear cut type of teams- "Top" and "Bottom"...something like 1/0 with no gradations.

    Clearly this is not the case. You have various grades among both "Top" teams and "Bottom" teams. For eg. in "Bottom" teams Ban would rank way above Canada. In the "Top" teams SA rank way above WI etc.

  • Harsh Thakor on February 15, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    The stats prove tht Sir Vivian Richards was the king of batsman in the World Cup No batsman has been as devastating or able to make such an impact on the course of a match.Tendulkar may have been more methodical ,lara more elegant but noone equalled the great Viv Richards.He carried the bat in a world Cup like a woodcuter carrying an axe.The most impregnable of fields were penetrated with a range of deavastating strokes like in the 1979 final,against Sri Lanka in 1987 in Pakistan and against Australia in 1983 at Lords.

    Sachin Tendulkar is a close second with his outstanding consistency and innovative ability,proved in 1996 and 2003.Other great World Cup batsman were David Gower in 1983,Mark Waugh ,Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda De 'Silva in 1996 , Matthew Hayden in 2007 ,Martin Crowe in 1992,Glen turner in 1975 and 1979,and Ricky Ponting in 2003.

  • Alex on February 10, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    Gerry: to quote you - "SRT failed miserably in 2003" ... I shudder at your lofty standards, your highness! [[ Alex Gerry has sent only one comment on this article. He states quote Would like to comment that the perception of Tendulkar failing in a final did not start with the 2003 world cup. unquote He is only referring to the Final and not the WC iteslf. Anyhow if you read his comment fully he says that of late Tendulkar has been doing very well in the Finals and would probably continue this in the WC. Ananth: ]]

  • Yash Rungta on February 10, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    @Gerry,

    I mentioned figures of 'All International Cricket' which includes all Tests, ODIs and the single T20 he played. I never mentioned ODIs..

    In the 2003 WC, Sachin scored 98 against Pakistan, 97 against Sri Lanka and both innings were quite good, the first one was actually great against a very good attack under pressure chasing 273. Against Australia in the league match, it was only he who stood up when all the batsmen were crumbling against the strong Aussie attack although he got only 36..He also scored 50 against England..

    Maybe he should not have scored 152 against Namibia, 83 against Kenya, 81 against Zimbabwe and 52 against Netherlands and then you'd have respected him more. His knock against Netherlands was a match winning one, otherwise, India may have lost the match. His 83 against Kenya, albeit against a minnow, was in a semi-final..The fact that he failed in the Final doesn't discount all these!! He also had scored 65 against Sri Lanka in World Cup 1996 semi-final!!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 9, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Yash We have to be a bit careful with numbers. one cannot have an average of 45 in ODI if it is made up of the 3 numbers you have written. Perhaps the correct numbers are 47 (home), 37 (away), 50 (neutral). Let us then decompose the neutral into minnows and others, and we find that 6 out of the 17 centuries in neutral venues are against the Africans (Zim, Kenya, Namibia), and of the rest, 2 are against yester-year greats but today's minnows West Indies. There are some good knocks, such as 141 against Australia in Dhaka, but then no one is saying that Tendulkar has not played good innings, just that his averages sink when you knock off the pygmies. His sustaining it for 21 years is a good but not sufficient reason for your calling him the best, especially when he has miserably failed in 2003 and 2007 (in 2003, his 52 and 98 were the material innings, so let us not get carried away thinking that he sank under the load of his 673 runs...perhaps he should have preserved himself for finals.

  • Yash Rungta on February 8, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    @HusseyFan,

    First off, I'm a big fan of Hussey but I would disagree with some of you comments.

    Sachin has 97 international hundreds, 68 of which are in Asia. But he's played a lot in Asia, hasn't he. If you see his average averseas also, its quite good and at par if not better compared to Ponting, Kallis and Lara(I'm a super Lara fan BTW)..

    In all International Cricket, there is only 1 country against which he averages less than 40, which is South Africa(avg=37.53) and in no country he averages below 35(except Canada which he has 34.77)..

    He averages 52 at home, 47 away and 50 at neutral venues. I don't know about Bradman, and I'm not saying he is way above the current lot, but if you have to choose one batsman which is the best, it has to be Sachin... Whether you see stats or whether you see performance!! Sustaining for 15 years is easy, but then after that, it becomes difficult.. Ask Ponting!! But Sahchin has sustained for 21 years and he is still unbeaten..

  • Yash Rungta on February 6, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    Playing well against weak opponents is equally important, specially in World Cups and also otherwise..

    Imagine a situation: Ind vs B'desh in the World Cup 2007. Batting first, Tendulkar gets a 100 and India gets to about 270 odd and wins the game. You'd think Sachin got another not so creditable World Cup hundred against a minnow.

    But what happened in reality.. India scored only 192 and were knocked out of the tournament. Imagine, how valuable this 100 would have been if he'd scored it..

    The reality is that India have been knocked out of the 1999 and 2007 World Cups both because of losses to minnows. In 1999, Ind lost to Zim.. Although India somehow qualified for Super Six, they didn't carry fwd any points as they lost to both Zim and SA in the league stage...

  • HusseyFan on February 6, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    To Chandra Praksh Dwivedi: You are obviously interested in quantity and I am in quality. Thanks why I am a Hussey Fan :) I would urge you to go on Cricinfo and review all of Tendulkar's ODI hundreds and see how many have been within the Asian subcontinent and against the minnows. Sadly most of them.

  • Abhi on February 6, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Another interesting feature I have noted in several of the cheaper anti Tendulkar comments… Apparently when a great player plays lesser opponents he must accordingly reduce his standards. This is roughly like checking out the total number of sets (or games) lost by Federer and comparing them to other players. If Federer comes out on top at the end of such and “analysis” someone can claim “well that is because he beat those lesser players by huge margins ,say 6-0,6-0”…Whereas Nadal beat them 6-2, 6-3. But against the “top” players (apparrently defined ranking wise) their “average games lost” are the same…The implication seems to be that when Federer plays lesser players he must reduce his standards to accommodate the opposition…Perhaps this is one of the many crucial differences between the good and the great. If Federer can win 6-0,6-0 – he will. No mercy. But apparently Tendulkar must do the opposite and like other players reduce his standards as per the situation , instead of giving off his best at all times.

  • Boll on February 21, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    @Harsh, I think I`d agree that Viv and Sachin are right up there. Purely for his performances in finals, Adam Gilchrist has to run them close though, 57(48balls), 54(36) and 149(104). 260 runs off 188 balls as an opener in 3 winning finals, and in great style.

  • Abhi on February 21, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Ananth, After watching the opening WC matches, I think i've found the fatal flaw in this type of analysis. That is the assumption that there are two clear cut type of teams- "Top" and "Bottom"...something like 1/0 with no gradations.

    Clearly this is not the case. You have various grades among both "Top" teams and "Bottom" teams. For eg. in "Bottom" teams Ban would rank way above Canada. In the "Top" teams SA rank way above WI etc.

  • Harsh Thakor on February 15, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    The stats prove tht Sir Vivian Richards was the king of batsman in the World Cup No batsman has been as devastating or able to make such an impact on the course of a match.Tendulkar may have been more methodical ,lara more elegant but noone equalled the great Viv Richards.He carried the bat in a world Cup like a woodcuter carrying an axe.The most impregnable of fields were penetrated with a range of deavastating strokes like in the 1979 final,against Sri Lanka in 1987 in Pakistan and against Australia in 1983 at Lords.

    Sachin Tendulkar is a close second with his outstanding consistency and innovative ability,proved in 1996 and 2003.Other great World Cup batsman were David Gower in 1983,Mark Waugh ,Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda De 'Silva in 1996 , Matthew Hayden in 2007 ,Martin Crowe in 1992,Glen turner in 1975 and 1979,and Ricky Ponting in 2003.

  • Alex on February 10, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    Gerry: to quote you - "SRT failed miserably in 2003" ... I shudder at your lofty standards, your highness! [[ Alex Gerry has sent only one comment on this article. He states quote Would like to comment that the perception of Tendulkar failing in a final did not start with the 2003 world cup. unquote He is only referring to the Final and not the WC iteslf. Anyhow if you read his comment fully he says that of late Tendulkar has been doing very well in the Finals and would probably continue this in the WC. Ananth: ]]

  • Yash Rungta on February 10, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    @Gerry,

    I mentioned figures of 'All International Cricket' which includes all Tests, ODIs and the single T20 he played. I never mentioned ODIs..

    In the 2003 WC, Sachin scored 98 against Pakistan, 97 against Sri Lanka and both innings were quite good, the first one was actually great against a very good attack under pressure chasing 273. Against Australia in the league match, it was only he who stood up when all the batsmen were crumbling against the strong Aussie attack although he got only 36..He also scored 50 against England..

    Maybe he should not have scored 152 against Namibia, 83 against Kenya, 81 against Zimbabwe and 52 against Netherlands and then you'd have respected him more. His knock against Netherlands was a match winning one, otherwise, India may have lost the match. His 83 against Kenya, albeit against a minnow, was in a semi-final..The fact that he failed in the Final doesn't discount all these!! He also had scored 65 against Sri Lanka in World Cup 1996 semi-final!!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 9, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Yash We have to be a bit careful with numbers. one cannot have an average of 45 in ODI if it is made up of the 3 numbers you have written. Perhaps the correct numbers are 47 (home), 37 (away), 50 (neutral). Let us then decompose the neutral into minnows and others, and we find that 6 out of the 17 centuries in neutral venues are against the Africans (Zim, Kenya, Namibia), and of the rest, 2 are against yester-year greats but today's minnows West Indies. There are some good knocks, such as 141 against Australia in Dhaka, but then no one is saying that Tendulkar has not played good innings, just that his averages sink when you knock off the pygmies. His sustaining it for 21 years is a good but not sufficient reason for your calling him the best, especially when he has miserably failed in 2003 and 2007 (in 2003, his 52 and 98 were the material innings, so let us not get carried away thinking that he sank under the load of his 673 runs...perhaps he should have preserved himself for finals.

  • Yash Rungta on February 8, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    @HusseyFan,

    First off, I'm a big fan of Hussey but I would disagree with some of you comments.

    Sachin has 97 international hundreds, 68 of which are in Asia. But he's played a lot in Asia, hasn't he. If you see his average averseas also, its quite good and at par if not better compared to Ponting, Kallis and Lara(I'm a super Lara fan BTW)..

    In all International Cricket, there is only 1 country against which he averages less than 40, which is South Africa(avg=37.53) and in no country he averages below 35(except Canada which he has 34.77)..

    He averages 52 at home, 47 away and 50 at neutral venues. I don't know about Bradman, and I'm not saying he is way above the current lot, but if you have to choose one batsman which is the best, it has to be Sachin... Whether you see stats or whether you see performance!! Sustaining for 15 years is easy, but then after that, it becomes difficult.. Ask Ponting!! But Sahchin has sustained for 21 years and he is still unbeaten..

  • Yash Rungta on February 6, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    Playing well against weak opponents is equally important, specially in World Cups and also otherwise..

    Imagine a situation: Ind vs B'desh in the World Cup 2007. Batting first, Tendulkar gets a 100 and India gets to about 270 odd and wins the game. You'd think Sachin got another not so creditable World Cup hundred against a minnow.

    But what happened in reality.. India scored only 192 and were knocked out of the tournament. Imagine, how valuable this 100 would have been if he'd scored it..

    The reality is that India have been knocked out of the 1999 and 2007 World Cups both because of losses to minnows. In 1999, Ind lost to Zim.. Although India somehow qualified for Super Six, they didn't carry fwd any points as they lost to both Zim and SA in the league stage...

  • HusseyFan on February 6, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    To Chandra Praksh Dwivedi: You are obviously interested in quantity and I am in quality. Thanks why I am a Hussey Fan :) I would urge you to go on Cricinfo and review all of Tendulkar's ODI hundreds and see how many have been within the Asian subcontinent and against the minnows. Sadly most of them.

  • Abhi on February 6, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Another interesting feature I have noted in several of the cheaper anti Tendulkar comments… Apparently when a great player plays lesser opponents he must accordingly reduce his standards. This is roughly like checking out the total number of sets (or games) lost by Federer and comparing them to other players. If Federer comes out on top at the end of such and “analysis” someone can claim “well that is because he beat those lesser players by huge margins ,say 6-0,6-0”…Whereas Nadal beat them 6-2, 6-3. But against the “top” players (apparrently defined ranking wise) their “average games lost” are the same…The implication seems to be that when Federer plays lesser players he must reduce his standards to accommodate the opposition…Perhaps this is one of the many crucial differences between the good and the great. If Federer can win 6-0,6-0 – he will. No mercy. But apparently Tendulkar must do the opposite and like other players reduce his standards as per the situation , instead of giving off his best at all times.

  • Abhi on February 4, 2011, 19:41 GMT

    Don't see a comment posted ,so will try again: Too bad Tendulkar didn't get a big hundred vs. Bangladesh in the 2007 WC. Who knows what may then have happened?

  • Waspsting on February 4, 2011, 16:01 GMT

    "The truth is that India is so strong going into this WC that they dont even need Tendulkar. Any of their other top 7 batsmen can win the match on their own (the positive effects of playing so much T20 cricket). Its Tendulkar who needs this team, in order to say he won a WC"

    RE: This was more true for Ponting and Richards than it is for Tendulkar. India are not overwhelming favorites in this WC, Austrlia and West Indies were. In Ponting's case, it wasn't even clear if he was the best player in the side - Gilchrist might have been more valuable.

    The real question for anyone naming Tendulkar as the best player they've seen is "by how much"?

    If they answer, "he's god, no one else is anywhere near him" - you know what your dealing with.

    If they answer, "not much, lots of great players in the same class - Lara, Ponting, Richards etc" - your dealing with something very different.

    But i'd implore the SRT bashers to not be as unreasonable and illogical as the 1st type of SRT supporter is.

  • Chandra Praksh Dwivedi on February 4, 2011, 15:53 GMT

    @hussey fan... i don't know how much u have followed the world cups....but i would like to make u recall those 3 innings in 90's and 2 in 80's in world cups of 1996, 1999 and 2003......against the TOP teams in the world...!!! Innigs like 98(75) against Pakistan and 97 against Srilanka, 83 against England in 2003 world cups....they were not centuries but still they were match winning and very close to century.....and i will feel pity on u if u r going to rank Sachin Tendulkar on the basis that he has only 1 hundred against TOP teams....dude HE is the same PERSON who has 97 international hundreds....more than the combined test and ODI hundreds of many playing XI teams in the world....and mate India hardly plays a bilateral against minnows....!!!

  • Waspsting on February 4, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    Replies to various comments above

    "shows that Tendulkar feasts on the minnows but is ordinary against top teams. Just a solitary hundred against top teams" RE - average 45 isn't exactly "ordinary". Just not as good as 57 - which is extraordinary.

    "if Tendulkar and Richards were batting together, both at their peak, in the same match, I am pretty sure that if asked to choose, nearly every impartial observer would nominate Richards as the greater batsman" RE - Bradman, Benaud, Hadlee, Nasser Huessain, McGrath, Warne, Steve Waugh, Donald all feel differently. Its also a question of how long a players peak was, not just how good he was at the peak

    "to be regarded as one of the truly great batsmen, he must play a defining innings in a major match" RE - I'd say consistency over a period of time is a better indicator of being "truly great".

    (continued)

  • Waspsting on February 4, 2011, 15:38 GMT

    Its a batsman's job to get the runs - regardless of how strong the opposition is. Its not a "bad" thing to score heavily against the minnows, indeed, why wouldn't you? Isn't it just logical to score more runs against weak teams than against strong ones?

    Ananth - i'd suggest a data list for players in knock-out situations (can include matches like the first Australia vs South Africa game in '99, for the Australians - you can work out how the specifics)

    I'd say the measure of greatness is performances over a long period of time, not necessarily just in "Big Matches". On any given day, anybody can fail or succeed. Tendulkar's status as a great is cemented already, though i'm sure he'd love to score in the finals or semis of the WC (who wouldn't?)

  • JII on February 4, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Anand/Sachin, Cut this crap about Sachin carrying the entire batting of the team. Have a look at Dravid's statistics. He has scored close to 900 runs in World Cups at an average of around 63 (greater than the God). Ganguly also has scored lot of runs in World Cups. In 92, Sachin was not even the team's main batsman. It was Azhar. 1996 was the only World Cup where he was the main batsman. So, don't give carrying the team as an excuse. As someone metioned, the present ODI team doesn't really need Sachin especially in the subcontinent. He needs the team to win a World Cup to show in his CV.

  • GMNorm on February 4, 2011, 7:38 GMT

    Please note Viv did not have to face west indian quicks and Ponting did not have to face Warne/McG

  • Aditya Jain on February 4, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Are we crazy to be debating here on who the best ODI player is ?? 22 years and this man is still going.. To add to that he has maintained an average of 45 plus which no other self-proclaimed "legend" could have. Every record, be it in tests or ODI's, belongs to SRT. Every run he scores is a new record. I wont be surprised if Viv Richards himself admits that Tendulkar has been the greatest batsman and the Reasons: 1) India was solely dependent on SRT for many many years. 2) Had Sachin faced bowlers like Prasad, Mohanty, Kuruvilla, and other fast (read slow) indian bowlers, he would have crossed 25000 runs by now. And also please dont forget that Ponting did not have to face bowlers like Warne, Mcgrath, Gillespie, Lillie and other australian pacers. His stats would have been struggling otherwise. 3) I wish Viv Richards and Tendulkar made a debut in 1987. The story would have been more clear considering India's pacers have become world class and West Indian team is going down the drain.

  • Alfonse Jerry on February 4, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    Alex and Binu get off it. Even in the so-called era of slow scoring Viv was scoring consistently faster than anyone else. His overall ODI strike rate of over 90 and average of 47 is greater than most of the post 1990 batsmen ( and in the ODI context he was a genuine all-rounder). The article was a great one with very good analysis. Sachin can not head every list. Not only is Viv the greatest World Cup batsman to date, he is the best overall ODI batsman, and best overall ODI cricketer. Sorry, but the King in this ring is not Indian, he is West Indian

  • Abhi on February 4, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Too bad Tendulkar didn't score a big hundred against minnows Bangladesh in the 2007 WC. Who knows what may have then happened?

  • pakspin on February 4, 2011, 2:57 GMT

    three of his four centuries against weak teams..nambivia and kenya..this is Tendulker in a nut shell for you..feeding on weak sines on dead tracks...he had a chance to prove himself in the 2003 WC final I think he managed 5 runs..vs wasim avg 18 vs mcgrath avg 19..vs waqar avg 19 pathetic vs weak teams average 65..this is Tendulker summaraized

  • HusseyFan on February 4, 2011, 0:37 GMT

    Gerry: You are not the only Indian who thinks like that :). Gilly was simply awesome with a big match temperament.

  • Ryan on February 4, 2011, 0:21 GMT

    I agree with the comment that the India victory in 1983 was a fluke. if memory serves me correctly, in the years immediately following this great "victory" India were thrashed something like 4-1 by England and 7-1 by West Indies, both times in India !!!!! hardly the returns expected from a World Champion team.

  • SIddiqui on February 3, 2011, 21:12 GMT

    What about Javed Miandad he palyed 6 world cups and check his stats also. Vivian Richard is the greatest but he was not player clss of Javed Miandad.

  • passionate_cricket_follower on February 3, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    Sourav Ganguly only played well in 1999 WC. 2003 saw him scoring 3 centuries - 2 vs Kenya, 1 vs Namibia. I won't even talk about the 2007 edition, where all the Indian batsman failed. Sachin Tendulkar on the other hand has won India the most number of matches in WCs he played in single-handed. So these two men don't ever come in comparison. 1999 could have also been Sachin's WC had he not met with tragedy in the middle.

  • Joy on February 3, 2011, 20:17 GMT

    so Ganguly's brilliant 100 against Kenya in WC Semi-final is not considered at all... this article hardly makes any sense..

  • Irfan Rizvi on February 3, 2011, 19:36 GMT

    Oh god, I am thinking of never reading these comments at all from now, there is more to cricket than sachin tendulkar and India, there are other teams that exists and other players that can bowl and bat, all respect to sachin but these mindless discussions on him is really getting on my nerves

  • A.B.. on February 3, 2011, 19:10 GMT

    There is an interesting trend that may be noted regarding Sachin's performances across the 5 World Cups. He has performed exceptionally well in every alternate World Cup he has played. Even if you exclude performances against the minnows, he averages barely 40 in '92, over 75 in '96, barely 20 in '99, exactly 50 in '03 and 0 (!) in '07. If this trend continues, then hopefully he will carry India to World Cup glory with his performances this time around. As a side note, Viv Richards was awesome in his time as Tendulkar is in his. So don't compare through eras. It is unfair to both these legends.

  • Robo on February 3, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    Tendulker did nothing for INDIA. All he did is for his records. INDIA won worldcup when he was out of the team. So INDIA want to win this worldcup he must be injured. Otherwise he may be the top scorer but INDIA will fail in semi/final. Gilchrist is the greatest bastman played in worldcup because he scored in all the three finals he played and won the match for his team. He is the GOD not Tendulker.

  • unni on February 3, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    Interesting to see the effect of the genie which was so far kept tightly inside the lamp by Ananth :-)

    @Madhusudhan : Just a single observation. It is interesting to see the attempt take this bull by the horn. Only thing is that when you do a statistical analysis, it is always safer to stick with statistics. As some other reader mentioned above, it would have been a good read if you tried to define a 'minnow' statistically. Instead choosing perceptions for this alone and using numbers for rest wouldn't go so well.

  • bks123 on February 3, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    Sachin makes 100 with minnows like ban and zim...in 1999 WC he did not make one with Zim and ZIM beat IND and Ind were eliminated from WC and in 2007 he failed to make one and BAN beat IND. There is nothing like minnows. India and SL bowling is weaker than BAN. Give them indian or SL batters they will be no 1.

  • Alex on February 3, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    Gerry: On your point re Gilly, SRT did the same in the CBS tournament in Australia, 2008. Started with a couple of 30's and a 40 before running into a string of early dismissals (120 runs in 7 innings overall, I guess). Then scored 63 off 54 in a must win match vs SL and a masterclass of 117* & 91 in the finals vs Aus, which was by far the best ODI team at the time. India won CBS '08 because of him ... as simple as that.

    1. IMO, SRT is past his prime in ODI's and will have a quiet world cup. In world cups, Ponting should be rated ahead of him since Ponting performed well at 4 different venues: Ind, Eng, SA, and WI whereas SRT's record is great in Aus, Ind, and SA editions but was ordinary in the Eng edition.

    2. Gilly is Sanath's equivalent and invaluable but Ponting and S Waugh were more important for Australia's successes. As WC superstars, I put Ponting, S Waugh, and McGrath ahead of him.

  • AR on February 3, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    India 2011 WC Future

    1) India win all matches upto Semifinal in Mohali

    2) If by any miracle they win the Mohali Semifinal they will win WC 2011

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 3, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    As an Indian, i will be bitterly disappointed if in this world cup, Tendulkar makes centuries against Namibia, Zambia, Kenya etc. (perhaps we should host a separate Africa Cup in India), a couple of 50s and 90s in other matches, and fails in the Knockouts. I wonder if his so called fans will really be happy. If he makes a string of ducks against the Africans, Bangladesh (his other whipping horse), Dubai etc., and compensates with a big hundred in the knockouts, no one will be more satisfied than me. Gilchrist did precisely this for his team, and i probably will be the only Indian (who are otherwise obliged to pray only for Tendulkar) to regard him as the real superstar of World Cups (along with Viv Richards of course).

  • Ramesh Kumar on February 3, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    Gerry, Husseyfan and a few others----I agree that some Tendulkar fans can be sometimes irritating and look down on others. But pls. spare us from some of the comments which are written against Tendulkar esp the Big match temperament nonsense. Tendulkar has done everything and more for a batsmen over a long career and he does not need to prove to anybody on his greatness. He can't win over everybody, can he? So let some of you guys rest in peace. This is true for many great players. Liking soembody is fine, but deriding great players is something else-not really in good taste.

    Ramesh Kumar

  • dhasuking on February 3, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    Garry_the_Merry: What you saying does not make sense? Tendulkar only got 3 opportunities to play so called "big matches"(totally ignoring the fact they are many more big matches in a world cup but for the moment lets provide fodder to your baseless argument) and he has scored 65 and 82 in two of those. Well comparatively Ponting has got 12 opportunities to play in "big match"(96, 99, 2003, 2007). How many hundreds as he scored? good teams have more opportunities to play against good teams because they regularly make it to semi finals atleast so Ponting has had more opportunities to play against stronger teams hence matches...This argument is plain useless, this "big match" argument is not a neutral observer thing..its a anti-Tendulkar thing. A neutral observer will see how much of a impact Tendulkar creates for India, without Tendulkar India wouldnt have even made it to Worldcup semifinals(96 and 03).

  • Santhana Krishnan on February 3, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    I feel that winning World Cups as player is being over-rated. Come on, teams win World Cups, not players. NO one can win a match his own, leave alone a tournament. You can do bulk of the work, but if the other ten aren't good enough you are going to lose.Are you folks saying that Damien Martyn is a better batsman than Lara or Tendulkar, just because he was part of a World Cup winning team ?

  • vj on February 3, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    this is in response to binu thomas. assuming only aus and eng in 1975, + pakistan in 1979( they were semi-finalists in 1979) + india in 1983( they beat w.i in the tournament and also winners) and excluding s.l in 1987 viv's stats are 14 innings, 4 N.O, 747 runs, 2 100's, 5 50's, 74.7 avg, s/r- 81.15.. so he is still way ahead of everybody else

  • Sharad on February 2, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    Um, Gerry_the_Merry - is India really ranked #1 in ODIs? Did I miss the memo?

    Alex: well said

  • Sharad on February 2, 2011, 23:44 GMT

    I wonder if you could do this sort of analysis for batsment at a more granular level - that is - who were the bowlers against whom they scored their runs. Viv never had to face Holding, Marshall et al. Punter never had to man up against McGrath, Gillespie and Lee at their best. SRT never had to face - erm, never mind.

    I bet this would be hard, but perhaps we could quantify the opposition quality not by broad minnow/strong bucketing, but by the bowling analysis for each opposition bowler during each particular world cup edition (i.e. how menacing was each bowler *during* that particular edition of the WC ... and really, how much would Viv have swaggered if he had to worry about unexpected dental work courtesy Holding...)

    Granted this ignores things like Jonty Rhodes' ability to fly (fielding standards in genera) or captaincy - but may provide more insight.

    Let the flames begin.

  • CricketPissek on February 2, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    Aravinda de Silva almost played on both sides of the minnow border :) Why some Sachin fanboys take this like someone slapped their mother is something I will never understand. Interesting article nonetheless. I think a clear definition of 'minnow' is required. Easiest thing is putting all non test playing nations in one lot. Then again, England's ODI team post-1992 WC was pretty minnowesque!

  • sachin on February 2, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    I guess everyone should see the kind of players they have in a team.When Richards was playing westindies had a good batting line up to score even if Richards failed,so he had no pressure while batting. Whereas in the case of Tendulkar he was always under immense pressure while batting as he had to carry the entire performance on his shoulders for the team, critics and the millions and millions of his fans. The proof is the 1996 world cup and 2003 world cup.

    Most of the time the westindies in those days had consistent performers.

  • HusseyFan on February 2, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    Well said Gerry_the_Merry. You hit the nail on the head. By the way, not just the critics, but even the opposition by now knows that Tendulkar doesn't have a big match temperament. The other truth is that India is so strong going into this WC that they dont even need Tendulkar. Any of their other top 7 batsmen can win the match on their own (the positive effects of playing so much T20 cricket). Its Tendulkar who needs this team, in order to say he won a WC.

  • Alex on February 2, 2011, 17:35 GMT

    Gerry: Don't the likes of 143, 134, 117* (all vs Aus), 128 vs SL qualify as defining innings for SRT in the semis/finals of a big competition? In the semis at WC, he has 65 vs SL and 83 vs Kenya.

    And why must one play a defining innings in semis/final of a world cup to be rated as truly great? How many get the chance to play a WC semi final? Where does this criterion leave the likes of Lara, S Waugh, Greenidge, Martin Crowe, Dean Jones, Miandad, and Gibbs?

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 2, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    Not a single Tendulkar fan is saying what an impartial observer must say - to be regarded as one of the truly great batsmen, he must play a defining innings in a major match - a semi-final or a final. He has the chance now, a chance no one else has got - to play in his 6th world cup, at home, in a generally strong team (#1 ranked, no less), and with maximum scoring opportunities, being an opening batsman. There are several great batsmen, who HAVE played such innings, and they don't make the league tables. Justifying 3/4 hundreds against Kenya/Zambia, criticising great players for not scoring against weak teams, ridiculing Richards for scoring against Sri Lanka - all this fools no one - Tendulkar must exhibit the big match temperament that critics appreciate, and his many admirers hope for, and which the little big man has not given an exhibition of in 5 world cups (though it must be said that his 98 against Pakistan was a fine innings). Now is the time.

  • Ian on February 2, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    Technically, the Indian bowloing attack (if that word can be ised) should definitely be classified as minnows. They are not any better than the Zombabwean or SL attacks of yesteryear.

  • Jarry on February 2, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Raghuraman's comments epitomizes that Sachin can do no wrong, Justifying a hundred against Namibia & Kenya? gimme a break

  • Boll on February 2, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    @Sancho and others. Ponting has played 10 matches against minnows. In 3 of those he didn't bat, either because Aus won by 10 wickets or he was giving others a hit. In another he was not out after facing about 10 balls. So he basically had 6 innings against the minnows, for 1 century, and an average in the mid-30s - all matches Australia won comfortably by the way.

    Not acceptable?? Need I repeat his stats as batsman and captain - not to mention fielding. Surely the most dominant figure in World Cup history.

  • Vimalan on February 1, 2011, 21:41 GMT

    ya, Viv scored that 181 against the world beating bowling attack of SL in 1987. remove that and see how the figures change.

  • Aditya on February 1, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    david its not for us to comment wat every impartial observer would think or who would they nominate , cause the fact is we would never know , n it depends on wat u r comparing with wat , if u r talking abt 2 cricketers absolute best then it also depends in wat context , so its better to abstain from comments saying tht a X Y Z neutral observer would say this or tht , u say wat u feel n believe , thts enough , like i feel Sachin is the best odi bat ever n if i want i go into any debate regarding it , but thts my opinion n u or anyone can disagree , but i obviously cant predict wat nearly every impartial observer would do , so its better to stick to one s opinions

  • Sundar on February 1, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    Can the author please define the term 'Top Team'. Is WI considered a top team in WCs 1999, 2003 and 2007? Is Ganguly's century against Kenya in 2003 not considered to be against a top team even though it was a semi final? How do you define Kapil Dev's 175 against Zim in 1983, coming as it did when the team was at 17-5? This is the problem with people like Madhusudhanan who try to prove that they are good at statistics and number crunching. But mate, you need to crunch the right numbers. If not, you will invariably end up with a stupid analysis like this one.

  • david on February 1, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    The inabilty to accept well founded criticism is evidence of a character flaw and in this particular case, the flaw is to be found in hundreds of millions of Indians. Tendulkar is a great player, one of the best ever. He is, however, not the greatest player of all time in any form of the game. Currently Bradman would be considered the best test batsman and Richards the best odi batsman. Stats have never and will never tell the whole story. If Tendulkar and Richards were batting together, both at their peak, in the same match, I am pretty sure that if asked to choose, nearly every impartial observer would nominate Richards as the greater batsman. Put Tendulkar in with Graeme Pollack, Lara or Greg Chappell, all three would be chosen ahead of him. Tendulkar is efficient and technically excellent, but the dominating, swaggering Richards or the elegant Pollack were better to watch,could turn any match and were probably harder for opposing captains and bowlers to deal with.

  • Anand on February 1, 2011, 16:38 GMT

    No doubt Viv is a master blaster and a notch above the rest. It is unfair to compare and figure out who is the best batsman (I dont think that is the purpose of the article too). There is one thing Sachin and Lara had to face which Ponting and Viv did not is that they were one man armies for a long time. Opponents just had to get these two guys out and the rest will just walk on their own. Given this fact, opponents could easily target them. The pressure of knowing that no one will even try if you get out is enormous and anyone who has played any competitive cricket atleast at school level will know what I am talking about here. That is not to say that it is easy to be in Ponting's or Viv's shoes. I am not taking any credit away from those guys. They are simply top class, but still a point to ponder about Sachin and Lara.

  • arch on February 1, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    Why only a batting analysis? That's half the fun. Please follow up with an analysis of the best bowlers against top teams in world cups.

  • Isuru on February 1, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    Wasn't Sri Lanka a minow when Viv Richards hit 181 against them in 1987

  • Sancho on February 1, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    When you come across a weaker team, as a batsman you should try to cash in. To my mind, it's a poor reflection on a batsman if he cannot score against the minnows. Is he not taking them seriously? Is he not concerned about making runs- a batsman must have appetite for runs. If he gets them against the minnows that itself might put him in some sort of form for playing against the others. Of course, that should not mean that you score only against the minnows and do nothing against the others. But you must cash in when you can. In this context, Lara's and Ponting's figures are illuminating. What the hell were they doing? Just one score over 50 for each of them against the minnows (though Ponting made that a 100)in about 10 innings. Not acceptable, in my view.

  • Boll on February 1, 2011, 9:33 GMT

    @SG I think you`ll find that against so-called weaker teams Ponting has scored 213 runs at 35.5. For a bloke who`s played in 4 WC finals, won 3, including 2 as captain (and scored a massive century in one of those), surely he can be forgiven a few low scores against the minnows. And with a captaincy record of 22 matches for 22 wins, he`s hardly cost his teams in those games has he?

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 1, 2011, 9:01 GMT

    I can see poor Madhusudhan getting a serious roasting from Tendulkar fans, although nothing specifically is written targeted at him. I feel a bit upset that the best player of all in the finals, Glichrist, does not even get a look in at the bottom of the table, so furious has been the minnow thrashing under the expanded format. Also want to mention that lying buried under a mountain of pygmy-flogging stats is perhaps the greatest hundred of them all, 120* against South Africa in a desperate do-or-die match, by Steve Waugh, an innings only a genuinely great pressure-batsman could have played. Oh! the forgotten...

  • criccrazy on February 1, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    @alex- i get it..i don't think the article is aiming to berate Tendulkar..he has done enough and more to be counted as a World Cup legend..as u mentioned, three 90s are there too.. however more than 600 of the runs have come against weak teams and so far as the case of Ganguly goes..over half the runs. Richards is in a different league, scoring at a rate comparable to this era in a time where there were no field restrictions..to me Richards is the finest ODI batsman followed by Tendulkar, a close second

  • Alex on February 1, 2011, 8:45 GMT

    criccrazy --- I deliberately wrote an idiotic comment in sympathy with the twisted arguments of this article (berating a great to praise another great).

    Viv Richards was by far the best ODI batsman over the 9-year period that started in 1979 and ended in 1987. No ODI batsman has since dominated the next best by such a wide margin over such a long period.

  • Alex on February 1, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    HusseyFan:

    1. Tendulkar has three other 90+ scores in WC vs the so-called top teams: 90 vs Aus, 97 vs SL, and 98 vs Pak. Richards has a single 90+ score vs "top" team in WC (138 vs Eng)!!

    2. SRT scoring 4 while chasing 350+ in '03 WC final is a fact. SRT scoring 175 while chasing 350+ vs Aus in '09 is also a fact.

  • criccrazy on February 1, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    @alex- though your comment about SL and India being weak teams before 1987 is true to an extent..i don't think they can quite be classified in the same 'weak' range as say namibia, scotland etc..india had beaten WI in berbice and manchester in 1983..so to call the win in 1983 a fluke is not right. And SL beat India in 1979 and were a decent ODI team if not a challenger. If it was a case of comparing Test teams, SL were certainly minnows. And when you compare the records of most other batsmen in those World Cups to that of Richards, the other batsmen are not as good against the top teams. it's against some lower ranked teams that they have scored tons of runs against. Gower, Gooch etc come close but in terms of sheer number of match winning knocks, I think Richards is far ahead.

  • Alex on February 1, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    Madhusudan:

    1. On "weak" teams, you should perhaps disregard SL till '96. You should also disregard Ind till '83 (actually, include '83 as well ... that win was a big fluke). Then, Viv' stats: 16 matches, 677 runs, ave=48.

    2. I don't understand the need to character assassinate SRT. Is Viv really the overwhelmingly best batsmen in WC history? His record in terms of # runs scored: - '75: failed; - '79: close 2nd to Greenidge; - '83: close 2nd to Gower in '83 alongside Zaheer & Fowler; - '87: 4th behind Gooch, Boon, and Marsh.

    If you dislike SRT, you can still cite Ponting, Gibbs, Gilchrist, and Sanath as batsmen whose impact across 3 WC campaigns rivals that of Viv's over the 3 WC starting '79 and ending '87.

    3. BTW, Viv's '87 stats are bolstered by a mammoth 181 vs the then minnows SL!! Take that innings out and there were at least 10 batsmen who performed better than him in that WC ... this list includes such ODI stalwarts as Gavaskar, Gatting, and Srikanth!!!

  • Govardhan Kandula on February 1, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    I do agree the fact that Viv is by far the best batsman in WC's. But this is ridiculous. The definition of the weak team is not clear here. This is just another Anti-Sachin article. Beware so called "Strong Teams", if sachin reads this one, he may do what he has been doing over the years. "Answering with the bat". @Author: Why can't you calculate the standard deviation of their individual match scores and say "Donald" or "Mc Grath" are the most consistent batsmen in the world cup chasing under lights on thursday... Lol... Sachin Rocks... He will get the WC this time... But I hope he will play WC2015 as well... go Sachin go

  • SG on February 1, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    So in the remaining 10 innings against so called weak teams Ponting could only make 213 runs @21.3..so bad for a modern day great batsman considering weak bowling attacks as implied by the author...

  • HusseyFan on February 1, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    Great analysis. Clearly shows that Tendulkar feasts on the minnows but is ordinary against top teams. Just a solitary hundred against top teams. Should add that he made only 4 runs in the 2003 WC final chasing a score of 350+ against Australia.

  • Binu Thomas on February 1, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    When you analyse something make sure you get your assumptions right. Can you elaborate the term "minnows"? Take Viv's stats. He played world cups in 75-87 I guess. In that time period, there was no Bangladesh, Namibia, Kenya etc. So, he didnt play against any minnows? NO. During his period, Sri Lanka was a minnow. Zimbabwe was a minnow. India was an ODI minnow in 1975 and 1979. When he played his world cups, there were only two comparatively strong ODI teams- Australia and England who could offer WI any fight. I haven't done any analysis, but I bet you that if you calculate Viv's performance against the "strong" teams, it is going to be somewhere around 47-50. Not very different from his career average. Same case with others too. Their world cup averages are not significantly different from their ODI averages, may be 2 or 3 runs here and there. So, conclusion? That batsmen perform more or less the same way in world cups, just like their career. Big deal!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 1, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    Nice article, but it is preposterous to compare anyone with the mighty Richards. He is in a completely different league, the others (except Gilchrist, who i am surprised, is not in this list, despite being a big occasion player) can fight it out for the left overs. I am glad that good writers are able to remove the smokescreen that inflated stats create.

  • jimmy on February 1, 2011, 0:11 GMT

    Uh oh. You've revealed SRT & Ganguly feasted on weak teams while Ponting appears to be as good as he is. Uh oh. Get ready for the firestorm.

  • Sriram Iyer on January 31, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    The Field restrictions were introduced in 1992 world cup and not in 1987 world cup as stated int he article.

  • Vijay on January 31, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    What is the author's definition of top teams? I am not sure if we can call Zimbabwe a 'weak' team in the 1999 edition nor can we call West Indies a strong one in the 2007 edition. Also, I don't think Kenya did too badly in 2003. I believe it would be more befitting if the author considered the performance of the team in that particular edition before labeling them as weak or strong. Given that, it would not be ideal to classify India and Pakistan as weak teams in 2007. I just think there is not enough clarity in the article about the so called 'weak' teams.

  • Raghuraman on January 31, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    I do agree that Sachin's average got inflated if u consider his performance against the minnows, but if you consider the backdrop against which he scored those runs, they are massive...for instance the ton against Kenya in '99 came after the personal tragedy; and the ton against Namibia in '03 came after the much furore caused due to team's dismal performance against the Aussies that helped to pacify the fanatics back home.

  • shrikanthk on January 31, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    We observe that the trend in Economy rates since '87 has been rather flat. This is a little misleading since the proportion of games involving weak teams has also gone up significantly during the same period. Though the top teams are now scoring at a much quicker rate than they did in '87, it is not reflected in the overall RR, as the weak teams score at a very slow pace! The two cancel each other out and hence the overall RR hovers around 4.5 to 5rpo.

    Also, the increase in the RR against spin is very telling. It just goes to show the extent to which the modern batsmen is better than his 70s counterpart in dominating spinners (thanks to better bats and greater exposure to slow bowlers).

    The increase in RR against pace on the other hand, is misleading. The reason for this is primarily because the faster men bowl in the first 15 overs under field restrictions which did not exist in the earlier WC's. It is not really suggestive of better batsmanship against pace.

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  • shrikanthk on January 31, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    We observe that the trend in Economy rates since '87 has been rather flat. This is a little misleading since the proportion of games involving weak teams has also gone up significantly during the same period. Though the top teams are now scoring at a much quicker rate than they did in '87, it is not reflected in the overall RR, as the weak teams score at a very slow pace! The two cancel each other out and hence the overall RR hovers around 4.5 to 5rpo.

    Also, the increase in the RR against spin is very telling. It just goes to show the extent to which the modern batsmen is better than his 70s counterpart in dominating spinners (thanks to better bats and greater exposure to slow bowlers).

    The increase in RR against pace on the other hand, is misleading. The reason for this is primarily because the faster men bowl in the first 15 overs under field restrictions which did not exist in the earlier WC's. It is not really suggestive of better batsmanship against pace.

  • Raghuraman on January 31, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    I do agree that Sachin's average got inflated if u consider his performance against the minnows, but if you consider the backdrop against which he scored those runs, they are massive...for instance the ton against Kenya in '99 came after the personal tragedy; and the ton against Namibia in '03 came after the much furore caused due to team's dismal performance against the Aussies that helped to pacify the fanatics back home.

  • Vijay on January 31, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    What is the author's definition of top teams? I am not sure if we can call Zimbabwe a 'weak' team in the 1999 edition nor can we call West Indies a strong one in the 2007 edition. Also, I don't think Kenya did too badly in 2003. I believe it would be more befitting if the author considered the performance of the team in that particular edition before labeling them as weak or strong. Given that, it would not be ideal to classify India and Pakistan as weak teams in 2007. I just think there is not enough clarity in the article about the so called 'weak' teams.

  • Sriram Iyer on January 31, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    The Field restrictions were introduced in 1992 world cup and not in 1987 world cup as stated int he article.

  • jimmy on February 1, 2011, 0:11 GMT

    Uh oh. You've revealed SRT & Ganguly feasted on weak teams while Ponting appears to be as good as he is. Uh oh. Get ready for the firestorm.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 1, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    Nice article, but it is preposterous to compare anyone with the mighty Richards. He is in a completely different league, the others (except Gilchrist, who i am surprised, is not in this list, despite being a big occasion player) can fight it out for the left overs. I am glad that good writers are able to remove the smokescreen that inflated stats create.

  • Binu Thomas on February 1, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    When you analyse something make sure you get your assumptions right. Can you elaborate the term "minnows"? Take Viv's stats. He played world cups in 75-87 I guess. In that time period, there was no Bangladesh, Namibia, Kenya etc. So, he didnt play against any minnows? NO. During his period, Sri Lanka was a minnow. Zimbabwe was a minnow. India was an ODI minnow in 1975 and 1979. When he played his world cups, there were only two comparatively strong ODI teams- Australia and England who could offer WI any fight. I haven't done any analysis, but I bet you that if you calculate Viv's performance against the "strong" teams, it is going to be somewhere around 47-50. Not very different from his career average. Same case with others too. Their world cup averages are not significantly different from their ODI averages, may be 2 or 3 runs here and there. So, conclusion? That batsmen perform more or less the same way in world cups, just like their career. Big deal!

  • HusseyFan on February 1, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    Great analysis. Clearly shows that Tendulkar feasts on the minnows but is ordinary against top teams. Just a solitary hundred against top teams. Should add that he made only 4 runs in the 2003 WC final chasing a score of 350+ against Australia.

  • SG on February 1, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    So in the remaining 10 innings against so called weak teams Ponting could only make 213 runs @21.3..so bad for a modern day great batsman considering weak bowling attacks as implied by the author...

  • Govardhan Kandula on February 1, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    I do agree the fact that Viv is by far the best batsman in WC's. But this is ridiculous. The definition of the weak team is not clear here. This is just another Anti-Sachin article. Beware so called "Strong Teams", if sachin reads this one, he may do what he has been doing over the years. "Answering with the bat". @Author: Why can't you calculate the standard deviation of their individual match scores and say "Donald" or "Mc Grath" are the most consistent batsmen in the world cup chasing under lights on thursday... Lol... Sachin Rocks... He will get the WC this time... But I hope he will play WC2015 as well... go Sachin go