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August 4, 2011

Test-series performances: the top batsmen

Anantha Narayanan
Viv Richards: 829 runs in the series in England in 1976  © Getty Images
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I have embarked on a major project. This has been triggered by a few comments on performance of all-rounders in series. I have extended the scope of the same and will cover, over three articles, the performance of batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders in series. I am aware that Cricinfo statistics section gives you an insight into the runs scored and wickets captured in Test series. However those are raw numbers and also do not show the results by series types. Even Statsguru might not provide that. What I intend to do is to weight the individual player performances in series with various relevant parameters. It is necessary to recognize where players performed (home or away), what type of bowling attack runs were scored off (great to poor), what level of support was received, what were the quality of wickets captured, was there a critical series situation et al. That would let us judge performances at their true worth.

First the series batting analysis. The runs scored are weighted by the following factors.

1. Where the series was played: Home, away or neutral locations. Instead of penalizing home performances I have left the home runs at no additional weight and weighted runs scored at neutral locations at 5% and away at 10%. One could raise endless queries on the subjectivity or not of these weights. However there is no better solution on offer. As far as sub-continental flat tracks are concerned, the visitors might get the extra weight, playing away, but will lose out on the Pitch type. And vice versa.

2. Series situation: I leave the other Tests as they are. An additional weight of 5% is given for the deciders only. As far as I am concerned there is no dead rubber Test. Over the past 10 years every Test is important, because of Test Rankings. If it rains cats and dogs at Edgbaston, the fourth Test, technically, is a dead rubber. However the no.1 rank is at stake as also the pride of players. India would very much prefer a 1-2 result and England would go all out for a 3-0 result. So the idea of dead rubber will remain only in the minds of some cricket followers, not in this analysis.

3. Bowling quality faced: This is the weighted c-t-d bowling quality measure determined for each innings. The range is from 19 to 60. The weight ranges from 85% (for 60) to 115% (for 15). I have got the weight for this measure go below 100 so that runs scored against sub-standard attacks are weighted less and against strong attacks are weighted more.

4. Pitch type: This is determined by the Runs per Wicket value for the match. This value ranges from 10 to 100 and the weight ranges from 120% (for 10) to 80 (100). Here also I have got the weight for this measure to go below 100 so that runs scored on flat batting tracks are weighted less and on bowling paradises weighted more.

5. Support provided / % of score: This is to recognize that a 100 scored out of 200 with scant support is valued more than a 100 made out of 500 with ample support. There is no negative weighting and the maximum weight is 10%.

The overall effort is that the runs scored in each innings are weighted by the five factors leading to an overall weighting ranging from a theoretical low of around 75% to a theoretical high of 175%. However these are theoretical values and in practice, the range is from 90% to 130%. Stray innings might be weighted down or more. The results are, to say the least, stunning. The true value of batsmen performances in series unfolds before us.

The other decision I have taken is that the performances in a series is not going to be influenced by the number of Tests played. Whether a player was dropped or injured is outside the purview of this analysis. A 6-Test series is what it says, whether 4 or 5 Tests were played by a player. The other point is that a series has to have a minimum of 3 Tests to be included in this analysis. Also, the three Triangular tournaments, the 1912 one and the two Asian Championships are not included.

The tables are shown for 6, 5, 4 and 3-Test series. These are ordered on the base information, which is the runs scored. The weighting factor and weighted runs are also show. Later in the article similar tables are shown, this time ordered on the weighted runs. I have stayed away from superfluous information, at least for this analysis, of batting averages, highest score, hundreds and fifties. When someone scores 500 runs in a 3-Test series, it really does not matter whether the average was 120 or 150. It only depends on how often the batsman remained unbeaten. At the end I have also shown the top 5 and bottom 5, in terms of weighting, of the runs scored table (over 500 runs).

First the 6-Test series table. Those who have exceeded 600 runs in the series have been shown.

SNo Year Home  Away Batsman               # Runs  Wt  WtRuns

296 1989 ENG vs Aus Taylor M.A (Aus) 6 839 1.09 910.4 357 1995 ENG vs Win Lara B.C (Win) 6 765 1.14 875.6 244 1982 PAK vs Ind Mudassar Nazar (Pak) 6 761 0.95 723.0 264 1985 ENG vs Aus Gower D.I (Eng) 6 732 1.04 759.3 214 1978 IND vs Win Gavaskar S.M (Ind) 6 732 0.97 711.8 194 1975 AUS vs Win Chappell G.S (Aus) 6 702 1.04 731.5 331 1993 ENG vs Aus Gooch G.A (Eng) 6 673 1.04 700.9 170 1970 AUS vs Eng Boycott G (Eng) 6 657 1.07 703.0 244 1982 PAK vs Ind Zaheer Abbas (Pak) 6 650 1.02 664.5 170 1970 AUS vs Eng Edrich J.H (Eng) 6 648 1.05 683.0 170 1970 AUS vs Eng Stackpole K.R (Aus) 6 627 1.05 660.5 190 1974 AUS vs Eng Chappell G.S (Aus) 6 608 1.06 645.9


Both Taylor and Lara scored mountains of runs in away series against England. This is reflected in the good weighting of their performances. Mudassar Nazar's compilation was done at home. The next three players also compiled their 700+ runs at home. However, out of these three, Gower and Chappell did this against much better bowling sides. There seems to be a difficulty in achieving peak level achievements in the six match series as evidenced by the fact that only 12 batsman have averaged over 100 runs per Test.

Now the 5-Test series table. Those who have exceeded 750 runs in the series have been shown.
SNo Year Home  Away Batsman               # Runs  Wt  WtRuns

51 1930 ENG vs Aus Bradman D.G (Aus) 5 974 1.15 1122.9 47 1928 AUS vs Eng Hammond W.R (Eng) 5 905 1.07 964.4 93 1952 AUS vs Saf Harvey R.N (Aus) 5 834 0.93 778.3 197 1976 ENG vs Win Richards I.V.A (Win) 5 829 1.16 958.5 103 1955 WIN vs Aus Walcott C.L (Win) 5 827 1.09 900.7 114 1958 WIN vs Pak Sobers G.St.A (Win) 5 824 1.03 850.8 67 1936 AUS vs Eng Bradman D.G (Aus) 5 810 1.13 916.7 55 1931 AUS vs Saf Bradman D.G (Aus) 5 806 1.03 830.1 340 1994 WIN vs Eng Lara B.C (Win) 5 798 0.97 773.3 80 1948 IND vs Win EdeC Weekes (Win) 5 779 1.02 797.5 171 1971 WIN vs Ind Gavaskar S.M (Ind) 5 774 1.07 827.3 609 2010 AUS vs Eng Cook A.N (Eng) 5 766 1.11 849.0 62 1934 ENG vs Aus Bradman D.G (Aus) 5 758 1.18 892.6 76 1947 ENG vs Saf Compton D.C.S (Eng) 5 753 0.91 684.6


This table clearly indicates that the 5-Test series are the best in terms of quality. It can be noted that there are 14 batsmen who have averaged over 150 runs per Test. Bradman's and Hammond's performances are legendary. Bradman achieved this stupendous feat of nearly a thousand runs in 5 Tests as a mere 21-year lad, with 4 Tests behind him. Hammond achieved a similar feat in Bradman's debut series two years earlier. Harvey crossed 800 runs against South Africa. Richards had a wonderful series during 1976. Bradman crossed 750 runs four times in his career. Also note the distinguished company Cook has batted himself in.

Next the 4-Test series table. Those who have exceeded 600 runs in the series have been shown.

SNo Year Home  Away Batsman               # Runs  Wt  WtRuns

496 2003 SAF vs Win Kallis J.H (Saf) 4 712 0.97 694.0 495 2003 AUS vs Ind Ponting R.T (Aus) 4 706 0.99 702.4 50 1930 WIN vs Eng Headley G.A (Win) 4 703 1.00 700.9 50 1930 WIN vs Eng Hendren E.H (Eng) 4 693 1.04 717.4 545 2006 ENG vs Pak Mohammad Yousuf (Pak) 4 631 1.16 730.2 295 1989 WIN vs Ind Richardson R.B (Win) 4 619 1.08 665.9 495 2003 AUS vs Ind Dravid R (Ind) 4 619 1.15 712.2 470 2002 ENG vs Ind Vaughan M.P (Eng) 4 615 1.02 629.8 470 2002 ENG vs Ind Dravid R (Ind) 4 602 1.12 676.6


Most of the 4-Test top performances are modern probably because not many 4-Test series were played during the earlier years. Kallis leads the field with his performances against West Indies. The one exception has been during 1930 when Headley and Hendren scored either side of 700 runs in the same series. Dravid has crossed 600 runs twice in his career.

Let us now see the 3-Test series table. Those who have exceeded 500 runs in the series have been shown.

SNo Year Home  Away Batsman               # Runs  Wt  WtRuns

305 1990 ENG vs Ind Gooch G.A (Eng) 3 752 0.96 721.1 455 2001 SLK vs Win Lara B.C (Win) 3 688 1.17 808.4 547 2006 PAK vs Win Mohammad Yousuf (Pak) 3 665 1.03 684.0 212 1978 PAK vs Ind Zaheer Abbas (Pak) 3 583 1.01 589.6 163 1969 NZL vs Win Nurse S.M (Win) 3 558 1.13 630.0 346 1994 PAK vs Aus Saleem Malik (Pak) 3 557 1.05 583.8 535 2006 PAK vs Ind Younis Khan (Pak) 3 553 0.98 544.1 440 2001 IND vs Aus Hayden M.L (Aus) 3 549 1.14 625.5 519 2005 IND vs Pak Sehwag V (Ind) 3 544 1.00 543.7 559 2007 IND vs Pak Ganguly S.C (Ind) 3 534 0.95 505.8 348 1994 IND vs Win Adams J.C (Win) 3 520 1.19 619.8 534 2005 AUS vs Saf Ponting R.T (Aus) 3 515 1.08 554.2 310 1991 NZL vs Slk Jones A.H (Nzl) 3 513 0.94 481.7 401 1998 PAK vs Aus Taylor M.A (Aus) 3 513 1.04 533.1 519 2005 IND vs Pak Younis Khan (Pak) 3 508 1.18 601.1 306 1990 PAK vs Nzl Shoaib Mohammad (Pak) 3 507 0.92 465.1 198 1976 PAK vs Nzl Javed Miandad (Pak) 3 504 0.94 476.0 440 2001 IND vs Aus Laxman V.V.S (Ind) 3 503 1.10 552.3


When one scores 456 runs in a single Test, it is not too difficult to sit on top of the 3-Test performances. That is what Gooch did against India during 1990. However the real striking performance is the single-handed master class by Lara, away in Sri Lanka during 2001. As the youngsters would say, no one else did jack.

I have given below the top-5 batsmen in each of the series types, this time based on the weighted runs scored.

SNo Year Home  Away Batsman               # Runs  Wt  WtRuns

296 1989 ENG vs Aus Taylor M.A (Aus) 6 839 1.09 910.4 357 1995 ENG vs Win Lara B.C (Win) 6 765 1.14 875.6 264 1985 ENG vs Aus Gower D.I (Eng) 6 732 1.04 759.3 194 1975 AUS vs Win Chappell G.S (Aus) 6 702 1.04 731.5 244 1982 PAK vs Ind Mudassar Nazar (Pak) 6 761 0.95 723.0 ... 51 1930 ENG vs Aus Bradman D.G (Aus) 5 974 1.15 1122.9 47 1928 AUS vs Eng Hammond W.R (Eng) 5 905 1.07 964.4 197 1976 ENG vs Win Richards I.V.A (Win) 5 829 1.16 958.5 67 1936 AUS vs Eng Bradman D.G (Aus) 5 810 1.13 916.7 103 1955 WIN vs Aus Walcott C.L (Win) 5 827 1.09 900.7 ... 545 2006 ENG vs Pak Mohammad Yousuf (Pak) 4 631 1.16 730.2 50 1930 WIN vs Eng Hendren E.H (Eng) 4 693 1.04 717.4 495 2003 AUS vs Ind Dravid R (Ind) 4 619 1.15 712.2 495 2003 AUS vs Ind Ponting R.T (Aus) 4 706 0.99 702.4 50 1930 WIN vs Eng Headley G.A (Win) 4 703 1.00 700.9 ... 455 2001 SLK vs Win Lara B.C (Win) 3 688 1.17 808.4 305 1990 ENG vs Ind Gooch G.A (Eng) 3 752 0.96 721.1 547 2006 PAK vs Win Mohammad Yousuf (Pak) 3 665 1.03 684.0 163 1969 NZL vs Win Nurse S.M (Win) 3 558 1.13 630.0 440 2001 IND vs Aus Hayden M.L (Aus) 3 549 1.14 625.5


The top two performances in the 6-Test series have retained their places in the weighted runs order. Lara has narrowed the gap a little bit. Mudassar Nazar has moved down the order. There is very little movement in the 5-Test order also. Harvey has moved down. Mohammad Yousuf, playing away against England whose bowling was good, has gained significantly in the 4-Test table and has moved to the top. Kallis has moved way down. As expected, Lara has displaced Gooch because his performance was away, against a very good attack and he received scant support.


Finally the top-5, across all series types, whose weight value is the highest and lowest. This is a very interesting mini-table which brings out the value of this type of weighting.

SNo Year Home  Away Batsman               # Runs  Wt  WtRuns

33 1910 SAF vs Eng Hobbs J.B (Eng) 5 539 1.28 688.4 85 1950 AUS vs Eng Hutton L (Eng) 5 533 1.28 683.9 232 1981 ENG vs Aus Border A.R (Aus) 6 533 1.26 673.1 217 1979 ENG vs Ind Gavaskar S.M (Ind) 4 542 1.25 676.7 475 2002 AUS vs Eng Vaughan M.P (Eng) 5 633 1.22 770.1 ... ... 93 1952 AUS vs Saf Harvey R.N (Aus) 5 834 0.93 778.3 244 1982 PAK vs Ind Javed Miandad (Pak) 6 594 0.93 552.1 306 1990 PAK vs Nzl Shoaib Mohammad (Pak) 3 507 0.92 465.1 76 1947 ENG vs Saf Edrich W.J (Eng) 5 552 0.91 501.8 76 1947 ENG vs Saf Compton D.C.S (Eng) 5 753 0.91 684.6


Let us look at this table. Why did Hobbs gain so much. An away series, very good South African bowling line-up, low scoring throughout the series increasing the value of Hobbs' scores and Hobbs's high accumulation in only 4 Tests. Similarly Hutton faced a top-class bowling attack away and scored a fair proportion of runs. Border scored the runs, again away, off a top class bowling attack and with no great support.


At the other end, the parameters are tilted the other way. Average-to-poor bowling attacks, fairly high RpW values for the matches and matches played at home. Just to give an idea of what I am talking about, let me sum up the series # 76, the last one in the table. England scored 3050+ runs at a loss of 64 wickets, leading to a high RpW of 48. Also, Compton, despite his massive aggregate of 753 runs did not even score 25% of the total runs !!! Still the maximum down-weighting is less than 10%.

Finally let me give my own selection of the top performances in a series.

1. Bradman's 974 in 5 Tests against England. As already explained, a 21-year old batsmen achieves this during his first tour of England. If nothing else this should silence and convince any critics of the greatness of Bradman.

2. Lara's 688 in 3 Tests against Sri Lanka: Irrespective of what else Lara did, and there is plenty, this is the best single series performance by any batsmen during the past 30 years. The lone warrior, away against the magician and Lara came through. The 3 losses add to the poignancy of the performances.

3. Richards' 829 in 5 Tests against England: This was arguably the most dominating series by a single player over the past 50 years and is bettered only by Bradman's 974.

4. Hammond's 905 in 5 Tests against Australia: I have often put down Hammond's 336 against New Zealand. But this was Hammond at his majestic best. However the series record lasted a mere 18 months.

5. Hobbs' 539 in 4 Tests against South Africa: As I went through the scorecards I realized the impact and value of Hobbs' performance. This was not an ordinary South African side. They had excellent bowlers. Hutton's 1950 series ranks very close.

I have fixed 3 Tests as the minimum criteria for defining a proper Test series. However readers would be interested to know that there are five batsmen who have crossed 500 runs in 2 Test-series. They are Jayasuriya (571 vs Ind), Hammond (563 vs Nzl), Andy Flower (540 vs Ind), Jayawardene (510 vs Saf) and Hayden (501 vs Zim). Andy Flower's is probably the most note-worthy since it was achieved against India, away.

Just to complete the Series batting analysis, I have given below the table of batsmen who have crossed 500 runs in a series most number of times.

7 times: Bradman
7 times: Lara
6 times: Sobers
6 times: Gavaskar
4 times: Hobbs, Hammond, Barrington, Border, Ponting.

To answer the burning question as to why Tendulkar is absent in these analyses and in the complete table, readers may be surprised (or not) to know that Tendulkar has never crossed 500 in a series in Tests. His highest is 493 vs Australia, away, during 2007. In mitigation, let me state that Tendulkar has played in only three 5-Test series, the last one 9 years back.

To download the complete list of players who have crossed 500 runs in a Test series, please right-click here and save the file.

Now for the other end of the performance spectrum. With some difficulty I have unearthed the following total non-performances. With due apologies to Amarnath, CB Fry, Ranatunga and Athey, very good batsmen, they had their great days, but these were their low points. I might very well have missed a few other gems. Readers should note that I have only looked at batsmen with averages higher than 25. Let me remind readers that Amarnath and Ranatunga are two of modern cricket's greatest fighters ever.

SNo Year Batsman       For    Vs   Inns Runs Score sequence

250 1983 Amarnath M (Ind vs Win) 6 1 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0 (8 months back Amarnath had scored 598 in 5 away Tests against a strong West Indian attack !!!) 25 1902 Fry C.B (Eng vs Aus) 4 5 0, 0, 1, 4 315 1991 Ranatunga A (Slk vs Pak) 4 6 0, 0, 0, 6 230 1981 Athey C.W.J (Eng) 4 7 2, 1, 3, 1 The following were 2-Test series. So not real failures. 366 1996 Twose R.G (Nzl) 4 6 2, 0, 2, 2 380 1997 de Silva P.A (Slk) 4 9 3, 0, 1, 5 473 2002 Taufeeq Umar (Pak) 4 6 0, 0, 5, 1 476 2002 Arnold R.P (Slk) 4 6 0, 0, 2, 4


Since the article has already become long, I will keep the bowling and all-round analyses to later posts. This will also enable the readers to exchange information in an informed manner.

Finally a comment on what happened at Nottingham.

On Sunday we saw two sets of faces of Indian Cricket. The first, two tough-as-nails and successful captains who, however, would play fair and keep the spirit of the game alive, in the persona of Dhoni and Ganguly. India might have lost but Cricket, in the form of Dhoni, won. Dhoni's gesture, probably egged on by the wiser and older heads in the team, would not be forgotten in a hurry and he is going to stay in the hearts of all cricket followers everywhere.

The other set, those faces of Shastri and Gavaskar.

I have realized that it would be great to have a Reader's selections section. So here we go.

1. Viswanath's 568 runs (593.6 adjruns) vs Win at home in 1974. (Salem Shanker).
2. Amarnath's 598 runs (718.6 adjruns) vs Win away in 1983, (Gerry/Arjun).
3. Manjrekar's 569 runs (640.3 adjruns) vs Pak away in 1989 (Arjun/Nitin).
4. Vaughan's 633 runs (770.1 adjruns) vs Aus away in 2002 (Arjun).
5. Sobers'722 runs (840.2 adjruns) vs Eng away in 1966. (Shrikanth).
6. Bradman 810 runs (916.7 adjruns) vs Eng home in 1936 (Shrikanth).
7. Adams' 520 runs (3T-619.8 adjruns) vs Ind away in 1994 (Ruchir).
8. Lara's 546 runs (632.6 adjruns) vs Aus home in 1999 (Ruchir).
9. Gavaskar's 774 runs (827.3 adj) vs Win away in 1971 (Abhishek/Raghu).
10.Taylor's 839 (910.4 adjruns) vs Eng away in 1989 (Tom/Pallab).
11.Faulkner's 732 runs (855.8 adjruns) vs Aus away in 1910. (Arjun/Alex).
12.Strauss'656 runs (upto 760.2) vs Saf away in 2004. (Arjun).
13.Sutcliffe's 734 runs (841.5 adjruns) vs Aus away in 1924 (Alex/Ruchir).
14.Trumper's 661 runs (upto 702.4) vs Saf home in 1910 (Manasvi).
15.Walters' 699 runs (upto 714.8) vs Win home in 1968 (Manasvi).
16.Boycott's 657 runs (703.0 adjruns) vs Aus away in 1970 (Arjun).
17.Gilchrist's 473 runs in 3 Tests vs Saf away in 2002 (Alex).
18.Hobbs' 662 (adjruns 769.9) vs Aus, Away in 1912 (Shri).
19.Sobers' 824 (adjruns 850.8) vs Pak, Home in 1958 (Harsh).
20.Walcott's 827 (900.7 adjruns) vs Aus, home in 1955. (Harsh).
21.Hutton's 533 runs (683.9-28% adj) vs Aus, away 1950 (Waspsting).
22.Lindsay's 606 runs (605.2 adj) vs Aus 1966 (Gerry/Shane).
23. Dravid's 422 runs, and counting, vs Eng during 2011 (Ananth).

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

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Posted by Ram on (August 31, 2011, 7:45 GMT)

Interesting and impartial analysis. This piece of statistics probably shows why many people have questioned Tendulkar's credentials as a potential single handed match winner in test matches. His records speak for themselves but you do not find those special match winning innings played by Laxman, Sehwag or Dravid. Now you know that Sachin could not maintain a peak form for more than a couple of tests at any point of time. Otherwise, he would have scored in excess of 500 or 600 several times during his long and illustrous career. One way to measure consistancy would be to measure the standard devitation of runs scored in each innings.

If we compare Tendulkar's test match performance with tennis players, his performances are like reaching the quarter finals or semis in almost every tournament, but he would fail to reach or win the finals. Some one like Lara would win grand slams, but would fail to cross the third round frequently.

Posted by Entertainment on (August 30, 2011, 10:04 GMT)

As a neutral fan, I classify batsmen into two categories---one who plays valuable innings from team's perspective but bore the hell out of people like kallis or Dravid (dnt get me wrong, they are very valuable for their respective team). I remember Gavaskar once said that he played for his team not spectators. But it is spectator who keep the game alive,

Another kind of batsmen is the one who plays innings which is important for team as well as thrills the crowd like lara. I know ur stats are based on quantitative analysis. But if we consider the qualitative term ENTERTAINMENT which is important to keep the game alive. Then Lara clearly scores above everyone.

Posted by DIPTENDU on (August 25, 2011, 1:00 GMT)

I think if the margin is reduced to 350+ then the notable change would be visible in the statistics. Sachin is having the highest number of entry in this type of category with 350+ series. As he played much more 3-test series, he is consistent in his own way. Check out his innings/100, and 100/ series value, in compared to any batsman between 1989-2011 era. Not before that because in that time more 5/4-test series were to be held. [[ Lowering the bar to 350 just so that Tendulkar can come in is not the way this blog works. You can find your answer in the number of batsmen who have exceeded 500 runs in 3/4 Tests, Ananth: ]]

Posted by Ananth on (August 21, 2011, 11:26 GMT)

This is a readers' contribution from me. I would put in Dravid's marvellous contribution in this otherwise-disastrous series into the Readers' list for the Test Series Batting performances. I will leave his final tally blank.

Posted by West Indian Follower on (August 18, 2011, 1:33 GMT)

I know Ananth said not to continue the argument over whether Tendulkar pulling out was personal or not, I think that whoever made the decision, it was done to ensure that SRT scored his 100th hundred against England, valiantly battling it out for number one, as opposed to the inconsequential Windies. Saw how that arrogance worked out. Also, great ana;ysis Ananth, really interesting. I also think that this further demonstrates how incredible and dominating Don Bradman was. Not that I needed to say that, but he really blows my mind. Greatest Sportsman Ever.

Posted by Vinish Garg on (August 17, 2011, 6:50 GMT)

For Shrikanthk's It is a personal matter. If I wish to take a fortnight off from work to rejuvenate myself, I'm perfectly entitled to do so, as long as the employer is fine with it. :

If some other player B (of lesser stature but with equally gruelling past season)... had asked for rest from WI tour, and what if BCCI had denied that rest to B…are we fine if BCCI (with or public support) uses its judgmenet to allow/deny *optional* rest because your logic of *entitlement to rest* applies to all?

Where do we leave the employer’s consent as valid or uncalled for? For example, going by the same logic, can the army man who is serving on the border *opt* for rest, anytime? Same for doctor (where patients are always expected to form a queue)?

It is not a personal matter. If it is, any doctor/armyman/teacher is entitled for same privileges.

Posted by shrikanthk on (August 17, 2011, 5:06 GMT)

Merchant's avg of 98 in Ranji is not really representative. That only accounts for 47 of his 234 FC innings and 3600 of his more than 13000 runs

Well done, Ruchir. You took the words from my mouth (my keyboard rather).

Corner of a Foreign Field is a fine book. Though a little too patriotic for my taste. Didn't like the way Guha attempts to play down poor Lord Harris for no real concrete reason.

Posted by shrikanthk on (August 17, 2011, 4:03 GMT)

However the West Indies tour is not a personal matter. It is representing the country. I was only loud-thinking why SRT would not have skipped the IPL and played the West indies tour. You cannot question the rationale behind that. Again this is not personal

It is a personal matter. If I wish to take a fortnight off from work to rejuvenate myself, I'm perfectly entitled to do so, as long as the employer is fine with it. The more important you are to an organization, the more willing will the employer be to acquiesce to your wishes. The players are self-willed, free individuals, not serfs employed by a feudal lord!

Ofcourse, fans (and the BCCI) are apt to be disappointed if the "vacation" does not result in improved performance afterwards. But that's the nature of sport. That's why sport is so very different from a white-collar job, as performances in sport are not entirely controlled by the individual playing it but by several other imponderables. [[ I am going to respond in one sentence so that you do not continue this dialog. NO, IT IS NOT A PERSONAL MATTER. Ananth: ]]

Posted by delmeister on (August 17, 2011, 2:41 GMT)

I've just seen RANGArajan's excellent comment on what is the equivalent of the Lions tours that England have done since about 1989. This is a superb method for seeing who has 'got it' in unfamiliar surroundings, and who has not. Without it (tho central contracts the most important improvement of all), the England team would still be the overhyped underperforming laughing stock it was in the late 80's, despite having an opener like Gooch, and a middle order of Gower, Gatting, Lamb and Botham (Broad then showed himself to be the other opener capable of doing well against top bowlers, at least more than the other flops that preceded him).People like Atherton,Thorpe, Hussain and Gough showed they had the 'right stuff' and took much on board, whereas the likes of Tony Middleton and John Stephenson were not really up to it. Ramparakash did superbly, but had too uptight a temperament for Test cricket. Hick (who did not play on these tours)by contrast was too diffident in temperament.

Posted by delmeister on (August 17, 2011, 2:05 GMT)

...eligible for them. I will say more a bit later, but Ananth- is AllRounder article out next month, or in Oct do you know? GREATLY looking forward to that, even more than these 2 before it which is saying something! Lastly, I remember someone saying a while back they would like to see videos of great players often discussed on here. Here is one on a superb YouTube channel (Irequested this vid actually) :- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pca5VFpxuYc Hope this comes in useful. Lastly, don't worry about Sachin's form- I am quite sure he has been significantly affected by the 100th ton issue, something which has affected other bona fide legends in the past (eg Hobbs took wks to get his FC one, then messaged his wife "At last!".)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anantha Narayanan
Anantha spent the first half of his four-decade working career with corporates like IBM, Shaw Wallace, NCR, Sime Darby and the Spinneys group in IT-related positions. In the second half, he has worked on cricket simulation, ratings, data mining, analysis and writing, amongst other things. He was the creator of the Wisden 100 lists, released in 2001. He has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket, and worked extensively with Maruti Motors, Idea Cellular and Castrol on their performance ratings-related systems. He is an armchair connoisseur of most sports. His other passion is tennis, and he thinks Roger Federer is the greatest sportsman to have walked on earth.

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