November 2, 2011

ODI batsmen against bowler groups: across ages

Measuring ODI batting performances by the quality of the bowler groups faced
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Viv Richards: the best average against the top bowling group
Viv Richards: the best average against the top bowling group © AllSport UK Ltd

A few months back I had come out with an article on Test batsmen by bowling quality, in groups. This was one of the best received of all my articles since the analysis took Test batting into hitherto unchartered seas. Many new insights were drawn from the analysis. I think it is time I do a similar analysis for ODI batsmen also since the bowling quality varies considerably across teams and years. The average runs scored by batsmen in their careers is also quite high and an analysis like this will let us look at the batsmen with a new perspective.

This analysis has come out partly because a single number indicating the weighted average bowling quality faced by a batsman across the career hides many truths. This is based on the Arjun Hemnani's suggestion. This is a quasi-rating work based on the most important of parameters, viz., the Bowling quality.

I have summarized below all relevant facts related to this analysis. First let me emphasize that this is not a ODI innings Ratings analysis. There are many other relevant factors which would have to be considered in such an analysis. I have not done so in this analysis which is centred on Bowler quality. I would appreciate if the readers do not keep on repeating again and again that other relevant factors such as Pitch type, Innings status at entry, Result, Match importance, Bowler recent form, Innings target et al, have not been included. That would be counter-productive.

1. The Bowling quality index (BQI) is based on Career-to-date values. This is the most dependable and accurate of the bowling measures. There is no situation where the Ctd figure is not the appropriate one. Coupled with the fine-tuned handling of established bowlers described later, this works very well. This takes into account the way a bowler's career shaped up.

2. The BQI is based on the Bowling average. In Test matches the bowling strike rate has greater relevance. However in ODIs, both strike rate and bowling accuracy (RpO) have equal importance and the Bowling Average is a perfect representation of this. Very good averages of say, 25.0, can be reached by a combination of 60 and 0.41 or 50 and 0.5 or 40 and 0.62. All these, patently different, bowlers are considered similar in this analysis. Individual match circumstances might require bowlers with varying attacking and accuracy-related skills, but, in general the average takes care of all conditions.

3. The BQI is based on the actual bowlers who bowled in the particular innings. This is very important. If Imran Khan played as a batsman, to that extent, the bowling attack would be less strong.

4. The BQI is determined using the modified reciprocal method suggested by Arjun Hemnani which irons out the imbalance created by weak fifth bowlers.

5. I have taken care of top bowlers during their initial Initial figures for bowlers with career haul of 100+ wickets. Whatever be the Ctd figures for these qualifying bowlers, their Ctd bowling average will be fixed at their career bowling average levels. This takes care of both situations: Walsh capturing 10 wickets at 50+, nearly 20 more than his career average and Mendis, at one point capturing 25 wickets at 9.83. Of course once any bowler crosses 50 wickets, their Ctd figures will apply.

For the bowlers who have not captured 100 career wickets, their Ctd bowling averages below 50 wickets is pegged at a minimum of 40.0. Makes eminent sense.

6. The computed BQI values will be used only for innings of 10 overs or more. For shorter innings the minimum BQI value is pegged at a minimum of 30.0. This is to prevent situations like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis bowling 6 overs between them. The BQI would be a very low number.

7. The BQI is reduced by 5% for Home games and increased by 5% for away games. Reader should remember that the lower the BQI, the more potent the attack is. 5% either way is ample and provides some compensation for batsmen playing away. In general this concept is fine and works well in most cases.

It is possible that the visiting team has the right bowlers and can exploit the "away" bowling conditions. However there is no denying that, in most cases, the home bowlers would have the advantage of familiarity with and knowledge of local conditions. Great examples are the recent whitewashes in England and India and the way West Indies are struggling in Bangladesh.

8. No period-based adjustment is done. Such adjustment is relevant only for determining team strength values. If the period was a great one for the bowlers, as the 1971-84 was, it was a tough one for the batsmen and this is taken care of by leaving the relatively lower BQI values as they are. It is obvious that the runs scored during 1971-1984 were more valuable than the runs scored in more batting-friendly conditions later.

Finally the bowling attacks are classified into 5 groups, as described below. The fifth group was necessary to separate the really weak bowling attacks.

There have been 6302 qualifying innings until the fifth ODI between India and England which was played on October 25. The underlying idea is that the middle group should have about a third and the other groups symmetrically lower. In view of the profusion of weak bowling attacks, the first and the last would not necessarily have similar % shares. There may be a subjective element in this part of the exercise but that cannot be avoided. Around 28% for the first two groups means that at any time there are 2-3 really good bowling attacks makes eminent sense. The other cut-offs follow logically. The group cut-off details are given below.

Group     B Q I   # of Inns   %

1 21.30-27.99: 709 11.25 % Very good bowling attack. 2 28.00-30.99: 1070 16.98 % Good bowling attack. 3 32.00-35.99: 2104 33.38 % Average bowling attack. 4 36.00-39.99: 1203 19.09 % Passable bowling attack. 5 40.00-57.98: 1216 19.30 % Poor bowling attack.

The best bowling attack ever, BQI of 21.32, was fielded by Pakistan against New Zealand. All 5 bowlers who shared the 30 overs between them, Akram, Younis, Akhtar, Saqlain and Razzaq had Ctd bowling averages of below 25.

Pakistan has a few bowling attacks around the 23 mark, as also West Indies of the 1980s and Australia of the 2000s.

The average BQI for this huge sample is 34.4 and the median is at 33.6. This indicates a fairly balanced distribution of values. The Standard Deviation is 5.87. I have explained the whole concept of determining the BQI with the following examples.

First is Match 1833 between Pakistan and New Zealand, played at Karachi during 2002. In the New Zealand innings, Wasim Akram (Ctd 456 @ 23.86) bowled 7.0 overs, Waqar Younis (Ctd 372 @ 23.54) bowled 6.0 overs, Abdul Razzaq (Ctd 136 @ 24.68 (but career 31.84!)) bowled 4.0 overs, Shoaib Akhtar (Ctd 99 @ 20.68) bowled 9.0 overs and Saqlain Mushtaq (Ctd 270 @ 20.90) bowled 4.0 overs. Through the reciprocal method, the the weighted BQI starts life at 22.44. This is multiplied by 0.95 (this being a home game for Pakistan). The final BQI value is 21.32 which places this attack as the best ever one. Any runs scored in this particular innings will get into the highest classification. Astle's 25 (out of 122) might not figure in anyone's list of the best ODI innings. However it was made against the best ever bowling attack which took the field.

The second is Match 132 between West Indies and Pakistan, played at Sydney. Holding (Ctd 41 @ 18.44, taken as career 21.37), Roberts (Ctd 55 @ 18.96), Marshall (14 @ 24.14, taken as career 26.96), Garner (Ctd 35 @ 25.31, taken as career 18.85) and Richards (Ctd 21 @ 37.57, taken as career 35.83) all bowled 10 overs each. The base BQI is 22.98. This is multiplied by 1.00 (this being a neutral ODI). The final BQI value is 22.98 which puts this attack into the top drawer. Any runs scored in this particular innings, say Imran's 62 will get into the top classification.

I have got into details here so as to give the readers a clear idea of the calculations. I have selected two of the best ever bowling combinations put on the field. I have also selected one in which all five bowlers had crossed 50 wickets and their Ctd values were impeccable and another attack in which four bowlers (three greats amongst them) had just started their careers. This will show that the great bowlers have always been given their due credit.

There is so much data available that even the organization of the article is getting into trouble. I can only present in the article a certain amount of data. The serious reader should download the complete files and read the same. I have given below what I would be presenting within the article.

1. Top 20 batsmen for group 1, the top one. Ordered by batting average.
2. Top 20 batsmen for group 2, the second best one. Ordered by batting average.
3. Top 20 batsmen for groups 1/2, the groups which matter. Ordered by batting average.
4. Top 20 batsmen for group 3, the middle and most-populated. Ordered by batting average.
5. Top 10 batsmen for groups 4. Ordered by batting average.
6. Top 10 batsmen for groups 5, the weakest one. Ordered by % of career runs scored.
7. For selected batsman, their group-wise distribution of runs scored and % of career.

For all the above, complete files are available for downloading/viewing.

Let us look at the tables. First the Group tables based on Batting average. The batsman should have scored a minimum of 750 for Group 1, 1000 for Group 2, 2000 for Group 3, 1000 for Group 4 and 1000 runs for Group 5 to be considered. I cannot use the same cut-offs across bowler groups since the population sizes vary considerably. For instance, taking 1000 as cut-off for the group 1 will let us have only 13 entries. It should also be noted that Runs scored should not be a criteria for ordering since that is a measure of longevity.

This analysis covers all matches upto ODI # 3210, the fifth ODI between India and England. While a few days have passed since the third ODI between Saf-Aus was played, it was too much of an effort to re-do all tables and article.

Batsman             Team BG CRuns  Inns Nos Runs   %     Avge

Richards I.V.A Win 1 6721 19 3 870 12.9 54.38 Waugh S.R Aus 1 7569 37 12 1330 17.6 53.20 Kirsten G Saf 1 6798 30 7 1219 17.9 53.00 Pietersen K.P Eng 1 3903 22 4 938 24.0 52.11 Ponting R.T Aus 1 13675 34 3 1535 11.2 49.52 Bevan M.G Aus 1 6912 25 7 891 12.9 49.50 Dhoni M.S Ind 1 6497 23 6 799 12.3 47.00 Richardson R.B Win 1 6248 33 7 1156 18.5 44.46 Imran Khan Pak 1 3709 26 6 881 23.8 44.05 Rhodes J.N Saf 1 5935 35 10 1094 18.4 43.76 Haynes D.L Win 1 8648 28 4 1043 12.1 43.46 Cronje W.J Saf 1 5565 25 5 868 15.6 43.40 Dravid R Ind 1 10889 52 5 1992 18.3 42.38 Atapattu M.S Slk 1 8529 50 5 1837 21.5 40.82 Ganguly S.C Ind 1 11363 41 4 1502 13.2 40.59 Border A.R Aus 1 6524 33 6 1053 16.1 39.00 McMillan C.D Nzl 1 4707 39 4 1271 27.0 36.31 de Silva P.A Slk 1 9284 52 6 1661 17.9 36.11 Hooper C.L Win 1 5761 31 7 846 14.7 35.25 Tendulkar S.R Ind 1 18111 71 7 2250 12.4 35.16

Richards suffers a little bit since the best bowling attacks during his time were from his part of the woods. He still has done very well and averaged 54.38 against the top group. The runs are low but that is an indication of the number of matches played. However it should be seen that he has scored 12.9% of his runs against the top group. Steve Waugh and Gary Kirsten have averaged over 50 and have also scored more than a sixth of their career runs against the top group. It helped that the other respective bowling attacks were very good.

Pietersen is a revelation. Nearly a quarter of his runs have been against the top attacks at an average of 52.11. This single fact is enough ammunition to show the futility of using Batting average as an omnipotent analysis factor. Pietersen has a batting average barely reaching 50 but his runs seem to have a much higher value. Ponting has a lower % but a near-50 average.

Imran Khan's 23.8% of his runs against the top group is nearly as much as that of Pietersen and that too at an average of 44.1. This deserves a special mention especially as he was not the leading batsman of Pakistan.

Dhoni has not scored many runs but he has scored 12.3% of his runs at a high average of 47 against the top bowlers. He is no doubt helped by a slew of not outs. Dravid clocks in with a very respectable 18.3% and average of 42.38. Ganguly has a similar average but lower %. The surprise is that Tendulkar has just about crossed the datum % of 11.25% but a reasonably low average of 35.16. This is possibly because of his opening the batting. However it must be remembered that Ganguly was also in a similar position.

Batsman             Team BG CRuns  Inns Nos Runs   %     Avge

Symonds A Aus 2 5088 28 5 1188 23.3 51.65 Sangakkara K.C Slk 2 9540 51 11 2001 21.0 50.02 Dhoni M.S Ind 2 6497 35 10 1235 19.0 49.40 Bevan M.G Aus 2 6912 38 12 1270 18.4 48.85 Hayden M.L Aus 2 6133 33 4 1358 22.1 46.83 Tendulkar S.R Ind 2 18111 91 5 3961 21.9 46.06 Sarwan R.R Win 2 5644 33 4 1317 23.3 45.41 Marsh G.R Aus 2 4357 31 3 1233 28.3 44.04 Kallis J.H Saf 2 11318 54 11 1831 16.2 42.58 Chanderpaul S Win 2 8778 46 5 1689 19.2 41.20 Jones D.M Aus 2 6068 38 5 1348 22.2 40.85 Trescothick M.E Eng 2 4335 28 2 1053 24.3 40.50 Ponting R.T Aus 2 13675 65 5 2421 17.7 40.35 Lamb A.J Eng 2 4010 33 4 1153 28.8 39.76 Haynes D.L Win 2 8648 48 5 1701 19.7 39.56 Gayle C.H Win 2 8087 49 3 1769 21.9 38.46 Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 2 11739 62 5 2178 18.6 38.21 Lara B.C Win 2 10405 65 3 2351 22.6 37.92 Javed Miandad Pak 2 7381 34 5 1095 14.8 37.76 Hooper C.L Win 2 5761 47 9 1431 24.8 37.66

Symonds has scored 23.3% of his runs at a very high average, a late-order batting benefit, of 51.65. Sangakkara has done very well, scoring over 2000 runs, 21.0% of his runs, at a very creditable 50+ average. Dhoni also has a near-50 average, slightly below his career average. as does Bevan. Tendulkar has asserted his class against this strong bowling group, scoring nearly 4000 runs, 21.9% of his career runs at an average of 46.83, better than his career average.

Batsman             Team BG CRuns  Inns Nos Runs   %     Avge

Bevan M.G Aus 1/2 6912 63 19 2161 31.3 49.11 Dhoni M.S Ind 1/2 6497 58 16 2034 31.3 48.43 Ponting R.T Aus 1/2 13675 99 8 3956 28.9 43.47 Kirsten G Saf 1/2 6798 62 7 2286 33.6 41.56 Tendulkar S.R Ind 1/2 18111 162 12 6211 34.3 41.41 Haynes D.L Win 1/2 8648 76 9 2744 31.7 40.96 Rhodes J.N Saf 1/2 5935 79 17 2401 40.5 38.73 Sangakkara K.C Slk 1/2 9540 92 13 3024 31.7 38.28 Kallis J.H Saf 1/2 11318 82 13 2592 22.9 37.57 Chanderpaul S Win 1/2 8778 82 7 2790 31.8 37.20 Hooper C.L Win 1/2 5761 78 16 2277 39.5 36.73 Dravid R Ind 1/2 10889 135 15 4283 39.3 35.69 Lara B.C Win 1/2 10405 114 8 3762 36.2 35.49 Atapattu M.S Slk 1/2 8529 94 9 3016 35.4 35.48 Richardson R.B Win 1/2 6248 78 11 2324 37.2 34.69 Gilchrist A.C Aus 1/2 9619 92 5 3009 31.3 34.59 Fleming S.P Nzl 1/2 8037 113 12 3459 43.0 34.25 Waugh S.R Aus 1/2 7569 100 18 2803 37.0 34.18 Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 1/2 11739 103 9 3201 27.3 34.05 de Silva P.A Slk 1/2 9284 111 12 3371 36.3 34.05

Now for a special table, the elite group table. In this I have considered the top two bowling groups and selected players who have crossed 2000 runs against the two groups together. This table is ordered by the batting average. As such it represents a table of quality batsmen against quality bowlers.

Bevan and Dhoni are in the top two positions. But they have been helped by a high number of not outs. Hence we should take Ponting as the real top batsman. He has scored near;y 4000 runs, which is 29% of his career runs at an average of 43.47. Truly outstanding batting. Gary Kirsten has averaged 41.56 and scored nearly a third of his career runs against this double group. Tendulkar makes up for his group 1 under-performance and clocks in with a creditable 41.41, while scoring over 6000 runs and just above a third of his career runs. This indicates that both Ponting and Tendulkar have done very creditably against top quality bowling. Haynes is the only other batsman to cross 40. Readers may wonder where Richards, who topped Group 1 is. The fact is that he does not meet the higher cut-off point of 2000 runs for Groups 1 & 2 combined.

Batsman             Team BG CRuns  Inns Nos Runs   %     Avge

Hussey M.E.K Aus 3 4817 58 21 2183 45.3 59.00 Richards I.V.A Win 3 6721 63 15 2720 40.5 56.67 Bevan M.G Aus 3 6912 80 26 2979 43.1 55.17 Clarke M.J Aus 3 6596 74 16 2926 44.4 50.45 Kallis J.H Saf 3 11318 132 24 5243 46.3 48.55 Tendulkar S.R Ind 3 18111 149 14 6292 34.7 46.61 Mohammad Yousuf Pak 3 9720 94 16 3623 37.3 46.45 Dhoni M.S Ind 3 6497 70 15 2525 38.9 45.91 Gayle C.H Win 3 8087 67 3 2845 35.2 44.45 Kirsten G Saf 3 6798 79 7 3031 44.6 42.10 Lara B.C Win 3 10405 92 13 3308 31.8 41.87 Symonds A Aus 3 5088 74 17 2358 46.3 41.37 Javed Miandad Pak 3 7381 71 11 2467 33.4 41.12 Saeed Anwar Pak 3 8824 85 6 3173 36.0 40.16 Chanderpaul S Win 3 8778 86 13 2932 33.4 40.16 Shoaib Malik Pak 3 5204 68 10 2315 44.5 39.91 Dilshan T.M Slk 3 5616 62 9 2115 37.7 39.91 Gibbs H.H Saf 3 8094 96 7 3471 42.9 39.00 Boon D.C Aus 3 5964 62 5 2218 37.2 38.91 Hayden M.L Aus 3 6133 55 3 2016 32.9 38.77

Hussey and Bevan, no doubt aided by a high number of not outs, are in the top three positions in this staple group. Richards averages 55+. Michael Clarke is the only other batsmen with a 50+ average. Note the very high % of career runs for all these players. Tendulkar's group 3 performance is almost identical to his groups 1/2 performances, at a higher average.

Batsman             Team BG CRuns  Inns Nos Runs   %     Avge

Dhoni M.S Ind 4 6497 31 12 1382 21.3 72.74 de Villiers A.B Saf 4 4523 29 6 1453 32.1 63.17 Ganguly S.C Ind 4 11363 42 7 2138 18.8 61.09 Astle N.J Nzl 4 7090 29 3 1541 21.7 59.27 Javed Miandad Pak 4 7381 31 7 1267 17.2 52.79 Dravid R Ind 4 10889 40 6 1791 16.4 52.68 Shakib Al Hasan Bng 4 3340 30 6 1235 37.0 51.46 Clarke M.J Aus 4 6596 49 12 1882 28.5 50.86 Hayden M.L Aus 4 6133 33 4 1455 23.7 50.17 Tendulkar S.R Ind 4 18111 68 9 2907 16.1 49.27 Lara B.C Win 4 10405 39 6 1586 15.2 48.06 Chanderpaul S Win 4 8778 40 7 1516 17.3 45.94 Kallis J.H Saf 4 11318 61 10 2339 20.7 45.86 Mohammad Yousuf Pak 4 9720 53 11 1921 19.8 45.74 Waugh M.E Aus 4 8500 41 3 1727 20.3 45.45 Cronje W.J Saf 4 5565 29 5 1076 19.3 44.83 Tharanga W.U Slk 4 4064 36 2 1516 37.3 44.59 Richardson R.B Win 4 6248 31 5 1146 18.3 44.08 Gambhir G Ind 4 4286 26 3 1010 23.6 43.91 Ponting R.T Aus 4 13675 74 6 2976 21.8 43.76

Now we get into the weaker bowling groups. Note the number of 50+ averages. Many modern batsmen have feasted on these below-average bowling attacks.

Batsman             Team BG CRuns  Inns Nos Runs   %     Avge

Otieno K.O Ken 5 2016 33 1 1094 54.3 34.19 Shahriar Nafees Bng 5 2162 29 4 1129 52.2 45.16 Tikolo S.O Ken 5 3421 60 8 1722 50.3 33.12 Odoyo T.M Ken 5 2418 50 9 1133 46.9 27.63 Zaheer Abbas Pak 5 2572 22 2 1098 42.7 54.90 Tamim Iqbal Bng 5 3111 43 1 1300 41.8 30.95 Shakib Al Hasan Bng 5 3340 46 9 1362 40.8 36.81 Wright J.G Nzl 5 3891 47 0 1536 39.5 32.68 Jones A.H Nzl 5 2784 27 2 1085 39.0 43.40 Mohammad Ashraful Bng 5 3397 58 7 1306 38.4 25.61 Srikkanth K Ind 5 4091 40 1 1368 33.4 35.08 Taylor B.R.M Zim 5 3985 28 4 1316 33.0 54.83 Crowe M.D Nzl 5 4704 42 5 1528 32.5 41.30 Sidhu N.S Ind 5 4413 32 3 1234 28.0 42.55 Ijaz Ahmed Pak 5 6564 45 13 1678 25.6 52.44 Jones D.M Aus 5 6068 28 10 1500 24.7 83.33 ... Dravid R Ind 5 10889 44 11 1549 14.2 46.94 Jayasuriya S.T Slk 5 13430 51 3 1799 13.4 37.48 Atapattu M.S Slk 5 8529 29 7 1135 13.3 51.59 de Silva P.A Slk 5 9284 23 3 1104 11.9 55.20 Kallis J.H Saf 5 11318 27 6 1145 10.1 54.52

The last group is the buffet-lunch group. I have ordered this in a different sequence, the % of career runs. This figure is essential to see how much the batsmen got against the really weak bowling attacks.

As could be expected the top of the table is dominated by players from weaker countries who almost always play against weaker attacks. The top three players have got more than 50% of their runs against very weak attacks. The real surprise is Zaheer Abbas, whose high batting average is now on shaky ground, he having scored 42% of his runs against the lowest group. Same with Srikkanth, whose bubble is blown a little, with over a third of his runs against the buffet-lunch bowlers. And Sidhu and Martin Crowe and Ijaz and Dean Jones.

At the other end, raise your hat for Dravid who has scored only 14% of his runs in this group. The three Sri Lankan stalwarts have got sub-14%. But let us all raise the hat and toast Kallis whose % here is the lowest amongst all established batsmen, a mere 10%. This should put to bed all theories on his scoring against minnows.

In terms of averages, Dean Jones has really feasted with an average of 80+. The average table is led by three Australians of the previous generation. Ganguly has not done his averages any damage by clocking in 60+ here. Tendulkar, with an average of 47 does not seem to have benefited much against these weaker bowling attacks. Lara does not even appear in the top-20 of the averages table.

Now for the group-wise runs and % of career runs for selected 25+ batsmen. The complete file is available for downloading.

Batsman    Team CRuns G1-Runs-%  G2-Runs-%  G3-Runs-%  G4-Runs-%  G5-Runs-%

Tendulkar Ind 18111 2250(12.4) 3961(21.9) 6292(34.7) 2907(16.1) 2701(14.9)*** Ponting Aus 13675 1535(11.2) 2421(17.7) 4706(34.4) 2976(21.8) 2036(14.9) Jayasuriya Slk 13430 1759(13.1) 1944(14.5) 4493(33.5) 3435(25.6) 1799(13.4) Inzamam Pak 11739 1023( 8.7) 2178(18.6) 4211(35.9) 2265(19.3) 2062(17.6) Ganguly Ind 11363 1502(13.2) 1875(16.5) 3289(28.9) 2138(18.8) 2559(22.5) Kallis Saf 11318 761( 6.7) 1831(16.2) 5243(46.3) 2339(20.7) 1145(10.1) Dravid Ind 10889 1992(18.3) 2291(21.0) 3266(30.0) 1791(16.4) 1549(14.2) Lara Win 10405 1411(13.6) 2351(22.6) 3308(31.8) 1586(15.2) 1750(16.8) Jayawardene Slk 9913 1307(13.2) 1535(15.5) 3084(31.1) 2456(24.8) 1531(15.4) Mohd Yousuf Pak 9720 818( 8.4) 1608(16.5) 3623(37.3) 1921(19.8) 1751(18.0) Gilchrist Aus 9619 1289(13.4) 1720(17.9) 3837(39.9) 1375(14.3) 1398(14.5) Sangakkara Slk 9540 1023(10.7) 2001(21.0) 2950(30.9) 2141(22.4) 1425(14.9) Azharuddin Ind 9378 928( 9.9) 1818(19.4) 3462(36.9) 1573(16.8) 1597(17.0) de Silva Slk 9284 1661(17.9) 1710(18.4) 2858(30.8) 1951(21.0) 1104(11.9) Saeed Anwar Pak 8824 512( 5.8) 1231(14.0) 3567(40.4) 1939(22.0) 1574(17.8) Waugh M.E Aus 8500 891(10.5) 876(10.3) 3555(41.8) 1727(20.3) 1451(17.1) Sehwag Ind 7760 876(11.3) 1393(18.0) 3209(41.4) 1151(14.8) 1131(14.6) Waugh S.R Aus 7569 1330(17.6) 1473(19.5) 2761(36.5) 1257(16.6) 748( 9.9) J Miandad Pak 7381 840(11.4) 1095(14.8) 2467(33.4) 1267(17.2) 1712(23.2) Bevan Aus 6912 891(12.9) 1270(18.4) 2979(43.1) 894(12.9) 880(12.7) Flower A Zim 6786 565( 8.3) 1183(17.4) 2086(30.7) 1577(23.2) 1374(20.2) Richards Win 6721 870(12.9) 861(12.8) 2720(40.5) 1334(19.8) 936(13.9) Dhoni Ind 6497 799(12.3) 1235(19.0) 2525(38.9) 1382(21.3) 556( 8.6) Hayden Aus 6133 588( 9.6) 1358(22.1) 2016(32.9) 1455(23.7) 715(11.7) Hussey Aus 4817 215( 4.5) 947(19.7) 2183(45.3) 1129(23.4) 343( 7.1) Crowe M.D Nzl 4704 219( 4.7) 775(16.5) 1554(33.0) 628(13.4) 1528(32.5) Gooch G.A Eng 4290 502(11.7) 827(19.3) 1796(41.9) 727(16.9) 438(10.2) Shakb AlHsn Bng 3340 206( 6.2) 115( 3.4) 422(12.6) 1235(37.0) 1362(40.8)

Tendulkar seems to have mirrored the overall % pattern, as has Ponting. Note Inzamam's figures. Possibly because the best bowling attack in the world was his team's, he has a lop-sided bottom-heavy distribution. Kallis has scored lower % both against the best and worst attacks and he has a centre-heavy distribution. Dravid has scored fair bit against top attacks while Lara's follows Tendulkar's pattern. Surprisingly, as has Richards. Intriguingly, Hussey's figures against top bowling attacks has been quite below-average. Flower and Shakib-Al-Hasan have low numbers against top attacks since they, Shakib especially, play quite often against weak sides.

This is not an analysis from which the analyst could make finite conclusions. The readers should read and understand the methodology and tables and then come with their views. To view/down-load the complete Team Strength related tables, please click on links given below.

Group tables - by Batting average: please click/right-click here.
Group tables - by Runs scored: please click/right-click here.
Batsman table - by Group (for all 2000+ batsmen): please click/right-click here.
BQI table - ordered by Group/BQI (for all 6302 innings): please click/right-click here.
Batsman-Bqi average across career: as required by Arjun (for all 2000+ batsmen): please click/right-click here. These are in fact the Test tables.
This time the ODI tables. Batsman-Bqi average across career: as required by Arjun/Mahendran (for all 2500+ batsmen): please click/right-click here.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • anshu_n_jain on December 9, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    Ananth,

    just going through the detailed batsmen tables including career BQI faced, i couldnt help notice that Dravid has, on average, faced better bowling attacks, in both Tests and ODIs, than Tendulkar has. Dravid has played 142 of his 159 Tests, and 245 of his 344 ODIs alongside Tendulkar. Of course, in the period 2001-06 (and post 2009), Tendulkar has played far fewer ODIs than team India has because of injury and choiceful rest.

    This is quite surprising because: 1. it seems to me Tendulkar would have faced better quality bowling attacks before Dravid made his debut in 1996 (Waqar, Wasim, Imran; Walsh, Ambrose; Donald, Pollock; McGrath, McDermott, Warne etal), in both Tests and ODIs. 2. this seems to indicate that Tendulkar has missed matches when the Bowling quality has been better than his average BQI

    unless Tendulkar played relatively weak bowling units quite often before Dravid debuted (SL before 1996, Zim, Eng, NZ).

    Could be interesting to look at in detail.

  • Shahir on November 29, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Cheers, thanks!

  • Shahir on November 29, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    Hi Anantha,

    Could you explain how the BQI is calculated? For example, using the numbers from ODI #1833 between Pakistan and New Zealand, I take a weighted average of the bowlers' cumulative average times overs bowled. As a result I get 22.56 as opposed to your 22.44. I guess I don't follow what you mean by 'reciprocal method'. Can you help me out? Thanks. [[ Shabir, You have done the following. (42*23.86+36*23.54+24*24.68+54*20.68+24*20.90)/180 This works to 22.56. You should do 180/(42/23.86+36/23.54+24/24.68+54/20.68+24/20.90) You will get 22.43. Ananth: ]]

  • Steve Ferrier on November 27, 2011, 23:55 GMT

    Thanks Anantha,

    I think I will just stick to Excel for now ;-)

    -Steve [[ Anytime you want some special table or other, pl ask for it. If I can, I can crete a Text file and send you. Ananth: ]]

  • Steve Ferrier on November 27, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    Thanks Anantha,

    How would someone like me start a database like that? What software would I need?

    Cheers. [[ Steve, very tough task. Mine is the result of 20 years' work. The Cricinfo scorecard can be downloaded as a text file. That is in public domain. However to convert that to a database is next to impossible. You have to write complex translation program. Simple names like Khan or Singh will create problems. Ananth: ]]

  • Steve Ferrier on November 26, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    Anantha, I enjoy reading your articles and those of the other contributors for IT figures.

    I also do some ratings and tables for test batsmen and bowlers myself, including one on the greatest test innings of all time.

    I was wondering what program you are using to do your analysis on?

    I only use Excel but I was wondering if there are other programs which can quickly access and sort out scorecards and statsguru results?

    Thank you, Steve Ferrier [[ Steve, I have my own very exhaustive and complex proprietary database which is virtually updated minutes after the match-end by me ( I have already updated the Test database with the exciting Mumbai draw). I do all extraction through hundreds of 'C' programs. Virtually every day I write a program or two. Ananth: ]]

  • Rangarajan on November 14, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    @ Srhikanthk: It also has to do with the home team winning. Eng is on a roll now and they bat, bowl and win in England like they havent done before. Yes, they were always strong, but they never had so many batsmen and bowlers coming to party together as consistently and as frequently as they are doing now. Till some time back., they alwyas use to win the last ashes test (after being routed in the previous 5 . . . They always gave hope of revival, but never managed to until recently). The best way to bring crowds - Play quality cricket CONSISTENTLY. One good match followed by one boring match takes the crowd away. COnsistent good matches would produce quality crowd as well

  • shrikanthk on November 13, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    If it is not popular in its home territory, it is bad management, administration, marketing.It will be unlikely that such poorly packaged sports catch on elsewhere. With teh right packaging, any sport can be sold

    Cricket has to stick to its core strengths in order to survive. There's no better example than how Test cricket has managed to revive itself in England!!!

    The Crowds in England for Test matches these days is actually better than what they were some 20-30 years ago. How did they do it? I'd love to hear from some English voices on this thread.

    I think it has got to do with the marketing effort. The ability to sell cricket as a niche upper-class sport. The branding of Lord's as the this sacred "Home of cricket" - an aura that didn't exist 2-3 decades ago. No wonder grounds that weren't getting filled even at very low prices back in the 70s/80s are now attracting full houses at prices as high as 100 quids if I'm not mistaken.

    Englishmen - correct me if I'm wrong...

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 13, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    Shrikantk, Ramesh

    May i remind you that we are struggling to get ourselves interested in One Days. Forget about popularising the game in other countries.

    If it is not popular in its home territory, it is bad management, administration, marketing.

    It will be unlikely that such poorly packaged sports catch on elsewhere. With teh right packaging, any sport can be sold. [[ Let us sow the acorn here and see whether an Oak tree comes out of it. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on November 13, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    But Golf is like that and is very popular.

    Nevertheless Golf is a niche sport. Played in most countries yes. But not a mass obsession like Football or even Cricket!

    ODIs brought two important aspects to the game-it brought finality to the contest and it brought speed and fitness to the game.

    Speed and fitness were a natural consequence of greater professionalism. Moreover, let's not talk up fitness too much. Even as early as the 20s and 30s, bowling 1000 overs a season was quite common in England. One can't do that without being fit. By the way, Test cricket was quite riveting in the mid/late 70s, before the rising popularity of the ODIs. Not sure if ODIs massively improved either run-rates or the tempo of cricket in general.

    Cricket is the only sport in the world that lacks confidence in itself. The only sport where the powers that be change rules in order to appease people who don't follow the game. This is a disturbing trend. And I've no doubt it will kill the game

  • anshu_n_jain on December 9, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    Ananth,

    just going through the detailed batsmen tables including career BQI faced, i couldnt help notice that Dravid has, on average, faced better bowling attacks, in both Tests and ODIs, than Tendulkar has. Dravid has played 142 of his 159 Tests, and 245 of his 344 ODIs alongside Tendulkar. Of course, in the period 2001-06 (and post 2009), Tendulkar has played far fewer ODIs than team India has because of injury and choiceful rest.

    This is quite surprising because: 1. it seems to me Tendulkar would have faced better quality bowling attacks before Dravid made his debut in 1996 (Waqar, Wasim, Imran; Walsh, Ambrose; Donald, Pollock; McGrath, McDermott, Warne etal), in both Tests and ODIs. 2. this seems to indicate that Tendulkar has missed matches when the Bowling quality has been better than his average BQI

    unless Tendulkar played relatively weak bowling units quite often before Dravid debuted (SL before 1996, Zim, Eng, NZ).

    Could be interesting to look at in detail.

  • Shahir on November 29, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Cheers, thanks!

  • Shahir on November 29, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    Hi Anantha,

    Could you explain how the BQI is calculated? For example, using the numbers from ODI #1833 between Pakistan and New Zealand, I take a weighted average of the bowlers' cumulative average times overs bowled. As a result I get 22.56 as opposed to your 22.44. I guess I don't follow what you mean by 'reciprocal method'. Can you help me out? Thanks. [[ Shabir, You have done the following. (42*23.86+36*23.54+24*24.68+54*20.68+24*20.90)/180 This works to 22.56. You should do 180/(42/23.86+36/23.54+24/24.68+54/20.68+24/20.90) You will get 22.43. Ananth: ]]

  • Steve Ferrier on November 27, 2011, 23:55 GMT

    Thanks Anantha,

    I think I will just stick to Excel for now ;-)

    -Steve [[ Anytime you want some special table or other, pl ask for it. If I can, I can crete a Text file and send you. Ananth: ]]

  • Steve Ferrier on November 27, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    Thanks Anantha,

    How would someone like me start a database like that? What software would I need?

    Cheers. [[ Steve, very tough task. Mine is the result of 20 years' work. The Cricinfo scorecard can be downloaded as a text file. That is in public domain. However to convert that to a database is next to impossible. You have to write complex translation program. Simple names like Khan or Singh will create problems. Ananth: ]]

  • Steve Ferrier on November 26, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    Anantha, I enjoy reading your articles and those of the other contributors for IT figures.

    I also do some ratings and tables for test batsmen and bowlers myself, including one on the greatest test innings of all time.

    I was wondering what program you are using to do your analysis on?

    I only use Excel but I was wondering if there are other programs which can quickly access and sort out scorecards and statsguru results?

    Thank you, Steve Ferrier [[ Steve, I have my own very exhaustive and complex proprietary database which is virtually updated minutes after the match-end by me ( I have already updated the Test database with the exciting Mumbai draw). I do all extraction through hundreds of 'C' programs. Virtually every day I write a program or two. Ananth: ]]

  • Rangarajan on November 14, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    @ Srhikanthk: It also has to do with the home team winning. Eng is on a roll now and they bat, bowl and win in England like they havent done before. Yes, they were always strong, but they never had so many batsmen and bowlers coming to party together as consistently and as frequently as they are doing now. Till some time back., they alwyas use to win the last ashes test (after being routed in the previous 5 . . . They always gave hope of revival, but never managed to until recently). The best way to bring crowds - Play quality cricket CONSISTENTLY. One good match followed by one boring match takes the crowd away. COnsistent good matches would produce quality crowd as well

  • shrikanthk on November 13, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    If it is not popular in its home territory, it is bad management, administration, marketing.It will be unlikely that such poorly packaged sports catch on elsewhere. With teh right packaging, any sport can be sold

    Cricket has to stick to its core strengths in order to survive. There's no better example than how Test cricket has managed to revive itself in England!!!

    The Crowds in England for Test matches these days is actually better than what they were some 20-30 years ago. How did they do it? I'd love to hear from some English voices on this thread.

    I think it has got to do with the marketing effort. The ability to sell cricket as a niche upper-class sport. The branding of Lord's as the this sacred "Home of cricket" - an aura that didn't exist 2-3 decades ago. No wonder grounds that weren't getting filled even at very low prices back in the 70s/80s are now attracting full houses at prices as high as 100 quids if I'm not mistaken.

    Englishmen - correct me if I'm wrong...

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 13, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    Shrikantk, Ramesh

    May i remind you that we are struggling to get ourselves interested in One Days. Forget about popularising the game in other countries.

    If it is not popular in its home territory, it is bad management, administration, marketing.

    It will be unlikely that such poorly packaged sports catch on elsewhere. With teh right packaging, any sport can be sold. [[ Let us sow the acorn here and see whether an Oak tree comes out of it. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on November 13, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    But Golf is like that and is very popular.

    Nevertheless Golf is a niche sport. Played in most countries yes. But not a mass obsession like Football or even Cricket!

    ODIs brought two important aspects to the game-it brought finality to the contest and it brought speed and fitness to the game.

    Speed and fitness were a natural consequence of greater professionalism. Moreover, let's not talk up fitness too much. Even as early as the 20s and 30s, bowling 1000 overs a season was quite common in England. One can't do that without being fit. By the way, Test cricket was quite riveting in the mid/late 70s, before the rising popularity of the ODIs. Not sure if ODIs massively improved either run-rates or the tempo of cricket in general.

    Cricket is the only sport in the world that lacks confidence in itself. The only sport where the powers that be change rules in order to appease people who don't follow the game. This is a disturbing trend. And I've no doubt it will kill the game

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 12, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    Cont'd..

    What is the way forward?

    1. British rule brought Cricket to some countries. Now, people migration to other counries alone can take the game to other countries and Indian diaspora play a big role 2. With money increasingly dependent on TV, need to get people to follow the game by getting context to every game. Test & ODI championships are critical

    ShrikanthK..on your point of other formats cannibalising Test viewers. Without ODIs the other sports might have taken it. Atleast in subcontinent, it brought new set of spectators to Cricket and they have atleast some passing interest in Test Cricket. [[ Not that ODIs have lost their relevance. However I think ODIs would have been very competitive and meaningful if the bi-lateral series had been treated like the way T20 Intls are being treated now. In order words, to placate the Associations, BCCI (and the other Boards) take the game to smaller locations coming out with 5-6-7 match series. Look at the way the Saf-Aus series sustained the interest recently. ICC could have mandated (and now should) that bi-lateral series should be 3-match series. Anyhow, all these would come out in my next-to-next article which will be a white paper on ODIs. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 12, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    Shrikanthk,

    You have a point regarding Cricket being a discontinous game and may not interest many people. But Golf is like that and is very popular. ODIs were inevitable as 5 day games with no results were not in sync with changing times. ODIs have been a cash cow for many countries for many years till we overdid it. . ODIs brought two important aspects to the game-it brought finality to the contest and it brought speed and fitness to the game. By differentiating, it brought us to appreciate some finer aspects of Test cricket.

    If you look at root cause of the problem, it is ICC and country associations. They had the mandate to take the game to other countries which they failed. They messed up the calender which resulted in viewing fatigue. They did not create context for all the matches. Many counry associations mismanaged the funds. (Cont'd)

  • shrikanthk on November 11, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    Cricket is and will always be a fundamentally difficult sport to appreciate. Be it Tests, ODIs or T20s or even T10s for that matter. It's NEVER going to get as popular as Football or Tennis. Why?

    For the simple reason that action in cricket is discontinuous. A bowler bowls. The batsman makes contact with the ball. The fielder collects it. And then......there is a pause. A loooong pause. One has to wait for nearly 30 seconds for the next delivery to be bowled. This is what makes cricket so hard to appreciate for the average joe on the street.

    This is precisely the reason why cricket will always be a tradition-centric Anglo-sport played in the Commonwealth. Shortening the format is not going to make cricket any more popular than it ever was. By shortening it, you're essentially cannibalising the longer formats and marking the slow demise of this great game that has lasted several centuries.

    Ananth: Sorry for the rant. Just had to get it out of the system :)

  • shrikanthk on November 11, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    So, ODI cricket has definitely not helped expand the horizons of cricket or made the sport fundamentally more accessible...

    What else? Has the Limited overs game made cricket a fundamentally richer sport? I am not sure at all. Cricket remains a fairly impoverished sport in most countries when compared with sports like Soccer or Tennis. India is an exception. But then India was always going to be an exception because of the sheer size of the market and the lack of competition from other sports. It so happened that the rise of "limited overs" cricket coincided with the rise of India as a superior cricket side. So, the riches in India have nothing to do with "Limited overs" cricket per se.

    So, in effect, Limited overs cricket has not exactly impacted the game in a massively positive way. Was it a mistake to have introduced it 40 years back? Maybe not. But it wasn't a great move either.

    CONTD

  • shrikanthk on November 11, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    My holy grail of bowler friendly wickets in limited over matches, despite furious opposition from Shrikanthk, seems to be happening...

    I'm not sure if I ever opposed it. What I said was that the "limited overs game" is, in its essence, a clumsy attempt to make cricket a more popular sport ;)

    Bowler friendly wickets where batsmen scratch around for 200 runs in 50 overs is not the recipe that's going to be particularly popular. Period.

    The larger question we ought to ask is - If the original mandate of "limited overs" cricket was to make cricket a more popular sport, has it succeeded in this regard over the past 40 years?

    My answer - a resounding NO. Cricket, if anything, is less popular in the Anglosphere (UK, Aus, SA) than it was 40 years ago. Cricket was hugely popular in the subcontinent 40 years ago. Remains popular today. I don't see a very massive change. And lastly, Cricket hasn't made major inroads outside the Commonwealth.

    CONTD....

  • Rangarajan on November 11, 2011, 9:15 GMT

    How was Sarosh able top post such a long comment while most of us dont have any space to provide long comments due to character restrictions? Any idea? [[ I am as bemused as you are. If I want to post a long response, I do a sub-1000 ch post and then edit in the response editing platform. Ananth: ]]

  • Rangarajan on November 11, 2011, 8:42 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Continuing with my previous post, I'm not sure if we have any say but like you are generating a whitepaper for ODIs, u could, through cricinfo make a few suggestions for BCCI. (1)Using our natural geographic spread to simulate conditions (Wet Eng weather in Dharmasala & Hill stations), Hot and Humid Chennai for WIN, Mohali for Oz and so on (2) Have 5 zonal Teams play each other in round robin league (2 rounds) on these pitches before our tours. (3)Hav a home international season (like Oz, Eng & SAF have) which does not coincide with domestic season, making the ZOnal competition the selection criteria for intl matches,(4) Give visiting teams 3-5 tour matches in these pitches with our emerging cricketers. Intl exposure neednt necessary come from intl matches & getting used to Eng weather neednt necessarily be achieved in England.

  • RANGArajan on November 11, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    @Ramesh: While I do agree that Indians are one of the weaker players of fast bowling, their recent away record (minus the Egoistic English summer) has been better where the picth offered some assistance for fast bowlers. Traditionally dubbed as nemeses, Indians have beaten Eng @Headingley(07),Oz @WACA(08), SAF @Durban(10). So I am not sure a generic statement of "India would have crashed". On the other hand, Indian bowlers are actually capable, when pitch offers little assistance. However, I admit that we largely dont get such pitches in Ind and hence they dont know how to exploit the conditions. I would rather feel that India has the best chance to simulate a variety of conditions (Dharmasala for England, Kochi for SAF, Mumbai for Oz), if BCCI is ready to act according to conscience.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 11, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    I dont think South African board need have insisted on a separate T20 match and cut the tests down. Now with 47/96 etc, tests are just as exciting and proceed at a T20 pace anyway, and the batting closely mirrors T20.

    My holy grail of bowler friendly wickets in limited over matches, despite furious opposition from Shrikanthk, seems to be happening willy nilly.

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 11, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    ShrikanthK,

    Don't be too harsh on this Australian team based on this one innings. It was madness from both teams. This team demonstrated skills in SL tour and if only they had patience, they would have scored more. I thought if Ponting played like he played in last India tour, he could have played a longer innings. He is always a suspect in the first 30 mins. Actually in the Aussie veterans names which you have mentioned, they needed a Border and not really others. They were missing a typical Border innings.

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 11, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Yesterday Aus vs SA match-it was absolute madness. The wicket was made out to be a monster which is not the case. Except for some spots, it was having true bounce. Only Amla got out to a good incoming ball. SA bowled too many bad balls in Aus 1st innings and in the next two innings, SA & Aus batting were atrocious. It was more like India & SL batsmen thrown into WACA without practice. Batsmen were trying to be extra aggressive to get some quick runs trying to imitate Clarke, but the bowlers were bowling on right spots unlike Aus 1st innings. It only shows that if you have bouncier wickets and if bowlers are good, then both teams batting would suffer and the results would be tight. If India has played here, we may noy have capitalized the surface and would have crashed to heavy defeat. We would have thought SA has better batsmen for this surface. The same is true for other conditions as well.

  • Alex on November 11, 2011, 0:14 GMT

    @Ramesh: Lara was impressive in '97-'98 as well:

    1997: 18 matches, 755 runs, ave=50, 2 100's, 5 50's. 1998: 8, 386, 57, 1, 3.

    In all, 1993-98, his record is:

    overall: 100, 4467, 51, 12. finals: 11, 403, 36, 1. semis: 3, 187, 94, 0.

    As you say, Lara's finals' record is not very good. On sustained quality performance over 9+ consecutive years, I think only Bevan surpasses SRT: he was outstanding in every year of his 10-year long career.

  • shrikanthk on November 10, 2011, 17:18 GMT

    This is the 19th century stuff when Lohmans, Trumbles, and Peels roamed the sticky wickets! I bet shrikanthk feels home at last!!

    Oh I wouldn't want a return to those days. I like my hard, true surfaces best :)

    This one's actually a pretty good wicket from whatever little I saw. Didn't see Clarke's innings at all!

    Watching those dismissals in Aus' 47 not out must rank among my most painful cricket experiences. I bemoaned the perilous decline in Australian batsmanship :(

    The technique was all wrong. Exaggerated feet movement where none is required (Watson, Ponting), half-hearted feet movement by Hussey, insane pre-meditation by Haddin. Too painful.

    Is this the same land that once spawned a Bradman, a Ponsford, a Greg Chappell, or even a Border! [[ And the irony was that on a day when DRS was king, if Watson had invoked the DRS Australia would probably have reached 100 and sitting pretty. I have certainly seen worse, unplayable pitches. Mumbai-2004 or Hamilton-2002 come to mind. I think we have to think of the middle 4 hours as madness. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 10, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    @Ananth: Sorry to introduce a digression but I stared at the SA vs Aus Cricinfo commentary in fascination today. Four innings in one day! At one stage, 19 wickets had fallen within 22 overs. This is the 19th century stuff when Lohmans, Trumbles, and Peels roamed the sticky wickets! I bet shrikanthk feels home at last!!

    Is this track really that bad or did Clarke make it look good? It appears he batted quite elegantly as well. All things considered, his 151 could be on par or better than any of Gooch's 154's. [[ Alex, pl see the later part of my response to Gerry, written before the SA innings started. Especially with Hussey's uncharacteristic miss, there is a possibility of SA winning this match comfortably. Then this means two mad middle innings, that is all. In fact the first 120 minutes and the last 90 minutes indicated that the middle 4 hours or so were an aberration. Clarke's innings will enter the realm of the other way-out innings either side of 150 only if Australia wins. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 10, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    Ananth, you can see variations within a match. From 28.4 runs per wicket to 9.6 to 2.2. [[ See how quickly 2.2 changed to 4.7. However the meter stands now at 427/30=14.2. Probably the right number. Let us say SA score even 200. This will become about 15+. That would again be perfect. That is the advantage of taking it over a match. If SA score 236 for 2, this will change to 21+ and would indicate that the middle two innings were aberrations. Whichever way you slice or dice, the within-the-match number seems correct. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 10, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    Gerry,

    I also understood as playing under pressure and mental courage. I am sceptical about mental courage when you talk of greats as I feel that all of them have it in plenty. I am not a big fan of the term big match temperament as a differentiator amongst greats as I feel that it is dependent on many factors. One chance is good enough to get a batsman out and I don't want to be judgemental on isolated events. I agree that fearlessness(lack of fear for failure) exists amongst some players like Richards, Sehwag etc, it is just that I don't apply that as a determining factor for being great. This is where probably we differ.

  • Rangarajan on November 10, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    @ Ramesh: I agree with you very much! While it is accepted worldwide that batting on a seaming wicket is demanding, batting on a wicket like Kotla or Motera is equally demanding. I remember in 1997 Sahara Cup in Toronto, Sir Gary gave the man of the match award to Dravid (who scored 46 off 90-odd) and not to Kumble for 4/12 off 8 overs. He said it in sucha wicket, if bowlers dont get wicket, they cant get anywhere. Some great knocks have been ignored because they were scored off low and slow wkts. A possible reason could be the fact that sub continental teams have found adjusting to bouncier wickets a bit more difficult than the other teams have found to adjust to slow wickets. So generally, the skills for playing on slow wkts is underplayed. @Ananth: You should also consider great bolwing performances on flat wickets (I dont know how to QUANTIFY a flat wicket in a stats blog, but would give more credit to 5/90 by McGrath in Jaipur than 5/12 @ Gabba/WACA) [[ Whenever I do bowling performance analysis I have the Pitch type as a parameter. How does one define the type of pitch. Not by history. In three consecutive tests at Hamilton (1633, 1676 & 1686) the RpW changed from a monstrous 13.7 through 37 to 44. It can be done only by THAT match numbers. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 10, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    Ramesh, my courage theory was not just on the physical plane. I meant that a captain playing a relevant burning deck innings (not the all-is-lost-so-pressure-is-off type) requires tremendous guts.

    The same would be required on spinning tracks as well, no doubt.

    Also Richards in 1979-80 scored against quick bowlers in Australia, while others have not had such a good overseas one-day record.

    Under pressure, Lara crumbled badly against Wasim Akram in the 1996-97 final. Perhaps upto 1996, but definitely not thereafter, Lara was very prolific in one-days.

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 10, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    Gerry,

    Clarke's innings has been great. He seems to be batting on a different wicket.The only problem of SA bowling was that they bowled too many wide balls interspread with peaches. To Clarke's credit, he could leverage all the ordinary ones. I would say more of skill than "courage".

    On pitches, I'd like you to extend the credit for batting to playing in spinning tracks as well as lowbounce,slow wickets. They require different skills equally demanding. very often, we associate great batting only on bouncier wickets.

    Alex..I was not specifically talking about power hitting. My larger point was the comparison of strike rate vs average which was great for Richards whereas Sehwag has an ordinary average in ODIs. I am thinking that modern day field settings(test type of settings during Viv days) and increased pressure to score very high during PPs have probably impacted Sehwag, otherwise he might be having Viv's numbers or vice versa if Viv is playing now.

  • Alex on November 10, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. Cricinfo commentary of Steyn vs Clarke is pretty descriptive. I don't know how good Philander is but Morkel is express with a near great potential. If this track is fast, Clarke's century should recall Hughes' 100 @Perth.

    2. A footage of the Holding vs Boycott: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loYyJllsj68 ... fielders behind the wicket appear surprisingly close to stumps much like in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8SEkuCkBcg&feature=related . The master technician Boycott looks better getting out than Raina does hitting boundaries. YouTube has some super clips of Boycott batting at his best ... absolutely rock solid.

    3. My previous post had a mistake. Ponting's ODI career does not exhibit an extraordinary 5-6 year long peak period. However, IMO, over 1993-1998, Lara was as good as Viv ever was.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 10, 2011, 1:57 GMT

    Ananth, you are right. The pitch makes this an even more wonderful innings. I wish our Indian fans would realize that in only a bowler friendly pitch are great batting performances truly appreciated, and stop baying for the fours and sixes (sorry - MRF fours and DLF sixes). [[ Gerry, the Indian fans are not responsible. My feeling is that they would skip the Test matches whatever be the type of pitch. BCCI should make a serious effort. Today another round of Ranji Trophy matches, with average scores exceeding 500, would start. And that over of Steyn against Clarke. If you take away the unnecessary verbal volleys of Steyn, it was reminiscent of the famopus Holding vs Boycott over, although Clarke came through this contest much better than Boycott. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 9, 2011, 17:51 GMT

    @Ananth: I think Top 20 (or Top 40) for every year would be a nice list. It would be nice to have an alternative list in which the power factor is divided by either the average run-rate in the match or by the run-rate of the winning side in the match ... this will ensure that the subcontinental tigers (or tiggers) don't rate too high on these lists. [[ Alex, the quantum of data to be presented is too much. That is the reason why I was looking at the top-5. However the idea is good and we can work out a combination of part-display, part-download method of data presentation. Ananth: ]]

    The peak 5-6 years of Viv were spectacular. I personally feel that the peak 5-6 year period of Lara (1993-1998) & Ponting (2002-07) is not that far behind Viv's peak period (1979-1985) even though they did not surpass the next best by such a wide margin on SR. It is a mystery why Lara stopped opening the innings in 1993. Only Ponting matches SRT on the longevity of brilliant performances (@1994 through 2011) but, statistically, the peak 5-6 year period of SRT is not as outstanding as that of these 3 (and maybe some others as well).

  • Alex on November 9, 2011, 16:40 GMT

    @Ramesh & @Ananth: Gilly, Hayden, Smith, Gibbs, Gayle, Yuvraj, MSD, & Sehwag are/were major power hitters. Now with T20's, plenty can match Viv's power hitting. However, he was destructive all over the world ... unlike Sanath & Afridi. He had 4 major calendar years in 16-year long ODI career (of which 4 should be disregarded due to early era and the Packer phase):

    1979: 8 matches, 526 runs, ave=131, SR=92. 1983: 16, 736, 66, 93. 1984: 18, 695, 54, 101. 1985: 29, 1231, 62, 93.

    Other years are OK or sub-par as far as the average goes. Year 1987 reads impressive due to a mammoth 181 vs the then minnows SL. His SR almost always exceeded 78, often in upper 80's & 90's. This was often at least 20% better than most top-ranked batsmen!! However, he probably was in the Top 10 for only 3 of the remaining 8 years on the power factor (=Average X SR). I think power factor is more important than SR. I wonder how other greats fare on this year-wise breakdown. [[ Are you suggesting a year-wise analysis for selected greats. Or do we look at doing this across 40 years, who are the top 5 batsman each year on the Odi Index (PF) values. May provide a lot of insights. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on November 9, 2011, 15:54 GMT

    [[CONT]] around the arm/ribs/thigh areas. In the 70s/80s, it was probably a better idea to stay on the back foot with the quality of fast bowling and the comparative lack of defensive armor

    BTW off topic but there has been some discussion about the future of test cricket in this forum. A group of English fans have created a twitter/facebook page "Testing Times". The stated objective is the preservation/advancement of test cricket. Not sure how its going to be achieved. Their immediate grouse seems to be the shortening of next year's ENG-SA test series. I am not saying I endorse this but maybe worth a look for people who are worried about test cricket http://www.facebook.com/testingtimes

  • Ruchir on November 9, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    @Shri: If your point is that better protection has changed the art of batting, I will agree with you but not that it has caused any increase in courage/skill

    - Tailenders are much more likely to defend and hang around due to better protection instead of taking a couple of steps towards square leg and swinging. So bowlers have to work much harder for lower order wickets. Thankfully there are still tailenders like Sreesanth

    - Top order batsmen have realized that the percentages are in favor of ducking/weaving the bouncer instead of playing the hook. You hardly see anyone consistently playing the hook. Gilchrist was one. VVS does surprisingly. The Waugh twins started out playing the hook shot but gave it up for the safer option. I may have missed a few new batters since living in Texas does not allow me to watch as much cricket as I would like.

    - And yes, its much easier to commit on the front foot since even if you misjudge the bounce, you have protection [[CONT]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 9, 2011, 15:28 GMT

    Ramesh, dont forget pre-1900 else Shrikanthk will feel insulted. Regarding my "courage theory" that you have earlier commented on, i am filled with admiration for Michael Clarke. Specifically since he is captain, i would have made this one of my top picks for "they owned the first day with the willow". What say Ananth? [[ Yes, with no doubt whatsoever. Against a pace attack in which Kallis was the weakest, on a fast bouncing pitch (what a contrast to the Delhi one), in which no batsman felt at ease, to score a run-a-ball 100: It would be right on top there. No need to get in through the Readers' List !!! Also vindication of my stand on DRS. BCCI should be made to watch the Ponting dismissal a few hundred times. Ananth: ]]

    Boll, it took 10 years and 200 in Jamaica by S Waugh to restore the image of Aussie manhood after crybaby Hughes. Now Pup is taking it to a higher level...Bravo.

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 9, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    Ananth,

    Gilchrist, yes..Afridi?? his offdays are more...

    ShrikanthK....whichever profession you are into, you should undertake a doctoral thesis on cricket with specific focus on pre WW-2 cricket. You have a material with you to come out with atleast one best seller. [[ And on the forgotten area of FC Cricket !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Rangarajan on November 9, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    @ Dismissals package and the discussion: While ShrikanthK has actually brought out a very good point - Any good batsman can be troubled by well directed short pitched ball on a juicy wicket. The best of the best can be troubled. The best players of quicks have always been the blow hot blow cold types and also those who could not just survive it, but also score off the same (One Manjrekar could fend a short ball but Dravid could score a 4 off it - bad comparison but thats how Manjrekars are differentiated from Dravids and Kallises). In the process, these greats do appear ugly at times (like even a Sreeshant could trouble Kallis and RD got hit on helmet in 2002 WIN tour). However, it takes great skills from a bowler to bowl such a ball and a batsman can manipulate the bowler in such a way that the short ball is rendered ineffective - A diffident bowler cant direct the short stuff well. Great batsmen engineered bowlers to bowl ineffective short balls. Great bowlers arent intimidated.

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 9, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    Ananth,

    In the ODIs, Sehwag will be an interesting study. Very good strike rate and low average. Going forward, I think we will see more middle order batsmen with high average/high strike rate or the top order batsmen should play a long innings and be able to leverage Powerplays as well as defensive middle overs.The openers come with higher targets for the PPs and hence take more risks and hence get out more often. I feel that Sehwag might have achieved Richards' number in ODIs(However outrageous it may sound) if he had played in 70s to mid 80s with test style field settings and no extra pressure on first 15 overs. That environment can be leveraged by a certain type of skill set and I feel that Sehwag and Richards are of that type. Sehwag like Richards doesn't seem to care about the category of bowlers. If we believe in this, interesting corollary could throw up Richards to have Sehwag type of number in modern ODIs. Hope I don't get defamation suit for suggesting this. [[ No, Ramesh, not at all. o one can deny that Sehwag brings out the same fear that Richards induced in the hapless bowlers of the 80s. No bowler and no type of delivery is safe from these two. I would add Gichrist to this small group. What about Afridi on his day. Well let us stop there. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on November 9, 2011, 3:17 GMT

    Boll's comment had more to do with the Robin Hood legend

    Ofcourse. I just made an idle quip :)

  • shrikanthk on November 9, 2011, 3:16 GMT

    SRT is a gifted batsman and a highly committed individual. He is not an intellectual..

    Fair point. That's one respect in which he falls short of the Don. DGB was a pioneering thinker even in his youth. He publicly empathised with Bodyline saying that it was partly an inevitable result of the extreme dominance of bat over ball. Then, he followed that up by making a public plea for repealing the old LBW law and replacing it with a more bowler friendly one.

    Here's DGB on the future of cricket way back in Wisden 1939.

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/151834.html

    I don't share his pessimism on timeless tests in this article. But his views on LBW law are quite radical. The law had already changed more or less to its present form by '39. DGB wishes to make it even more radical by allowing dismissals even if ball hits the batsman's person outside off! The law did change eventually. Now, batsmen can be given out if no shot is offered to a ball that hits them outside off!

  • Alex on November 8, 2011, 19:47 GMT

    @Boll:

    1. Aussie crowd has almost always appreciated and cheered champion cricketers. They often gave ovations to Lara, Lloyd, Viv, Sobers, Hadlee, Ambrose, etc. However, Indian press makes it look like only SRT ever recd those from the Oz crowd.

    2. SRT is a gifted batsman and a highly committed individual. He is not an intellectual or a leader. Expecting him to say/do anything that does not concern his own cricket is a waste of time. He takes a stand in his private life but not on public forum. IMO, that is a good policy.

    @Vinish: Looking at SRT's recent lean patch, he should do whatever he needs to do to ensure that he *scores runs*.

  • shrikanthk on November 8, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    Boll, Gerry, Alex : I'm basing my remarks on that half-hour video. Some very inept batting out there, including some of Wessels' dismissals. Ofcourse, I am not casting aspersions on any batsmen in general. Nobody can do that based on a dismissals package. But it does suggest a fair amount of discomfort with the short ball and an extreme reluctance to get forward to good length/full length deliveries.

    Most importantly, when will bloody shrikkanthk be back with the venison dinner?

    I am a vegetarian :) [[ Boll's comment had more to do with the Robin Hood legend. Ananth: ]]

  • Byron Yool on November 8, 2011, 17:36 GMT

    It is not very clear what you want to achieve with this analysis. Viv never faced a west Indian quick bowler and Steve Waugh never played a ball from McGrath and Shane Warne—then how come these guys are at the top of the list for the quality faced? At a very macro level this does not make sense and points towards faulty criteria selection.. this why others thought that S Rajesh did a wonderful job with his piece. He had Viv at the top too but for different reason or lets say for many more reasons than just the 'quality' faced. [[ You have probably spent more minutes penning this comment than in reading this article. First ask yourself the question "Is this an article ranking ODI batsmen" before coming out with a half-baked comment. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on November 8, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    Ananth, for your comment on SRT as the *only grouse*, being anti-DRS... I guess that with the privilege of enjoying the stature and reputation of being SRT, he could have contributed more to cricket in different way.

    For example, he believes that *scoring runs* is the best way to contribute which is true, but it is not the *only way*. (A) Sticking to number 4 batting slot irrespective of who follows (Laxman/Ganguly or Yuvraj/Kaif/Raina does not matter), (B) Reluctance to bat lower down the order in ODIs (C) declining captaincy when there was no appropriate alternative, in Sep'07, (D) If RD can keep wickets unwillingly in ODIs and open batting in test cricket in England/Pakistan/Australia, I have not seen any such initiative by SRT, in the interest of team.

    He has not been selfish, but he has not been selfless either. [[ Possibly SRT might also have correctly felt that what is good for him is good for India and he would not have been far from the truth. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 8, 2011, 15:40 GMT

    (cont`d)@Ruchir. Regardless of the, often nauseating, attention of his local press, or the deification, or equally appalling denigration, of him by fans, Tendulkar has somehow managed to remain aloof and admirable. Naturally this has come at a cost.

    He won`t be remembered as a captain, unusual for a man of his talent. His captaincy record was very poor. Captaining any team is a challenge, perhaps captaining India particularly so, but this was a burden which Tendulkar handled poorly. What of his thoughts at this time? We know little.

    He played under, and captained, convicted match fixers. What of these times? We are given no insight.

    Perhaps it is time for one of the great ambassadors of the game to turn his incredible talents towards the game`s future. He has made runscoring look easy , what of the murkier waters post retirement?

  • Boll on November 8, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    @Ruchir - some very considered points you make there re.Sachin`s standing (in) and contribution to the game. Quite rightly you initially mention the respect and admiration displayed by crowds across the world who come to see him bat, and as a cricket lover of long standing, it is hard to remember a player who has been more universally loved. I have made mention on other occasions on this (fairly Indo-centric re. number of posters- no offense intended) site, of the thrill of being part of Australian crowds which stood as one to cheer him to the wicket. Wherever he has played, he has had the respect of those who`ve watched and played against him. (cont`d)

  • Boll on November 8, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    @shrikanthk re. `Now, I know this is just a dismissals package`...c`mon mate. Any bowler can look good when you`re only showing replays of his dismissals. Some of these blokes - (Border, Wessels, Boon for example) were amongst the hardest men to play the game, and often excelled against bowlers of this calibre. To compare them, or their courage, to the likes of Suresh Raina is an insult. Slap on the wrist for you young man.

  • Rangarajan on November 8, 2011, 11:26 GMT

    True Ananth! What I actually tried to say was instead of managing a lot of real issues, BCCI & a few players with clout are trying to create big scenes out of non issues (DRS) being one!! I was referring to BCCI and not us :)

    In fact Ian Chappel once told that a captain should not even have a say in team selection as then just to prove a point the captain would try to overbowl his bowler (selection) ahead of someone who comes on merit . . . The same is the case with rules & players. Players should not have any say on rules. Play with the constraints provided by the governing body.

    Frankly BCCI should worry more about 125 kmph thunderbolts and flat track super stars than DRS (and hence, spoil the good contests through its sticky stand) . . . Most importantly, where is the next world class team? [[ As I watckhed the last session of play today, I wondered where are the replacements. The combination of 28000- Test runs at work, handling 30 overs of uneven bounce on a difficult, but not unplayable, track, making almost no mistake (barring a school-boyish one of Dravid, fortunately going unpublished). I would be very surprised if these these two and VVS play together 50 Tests more. And then ??? And this feeling is compunded when I see the Ranji scores, with triple-centuries for Jadeja. leaving me with the feeling that BCCI is living in its green(back) coloured glass cubicle, oblivious to the future. Why would we not have bowler-friendly pitches for the Ranji Trophy letting the batsman struggle and make valuable runs. Let the matches finish in 3 days, who cares. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on November 8, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    Wow . . . Though the thread is slightly going off target, the points are pretty well made! Reg DRS and all other current afflictions of the team with the most populous fan following, the country has a lot more to worry than whether DRS is needed or not. Agreed its absence can help the marginal decisions come in favor of your team, but do they have the skill to convert the reprive? Someone is battling very badly for 100# 100. Sir DOn, all said and done, finished with 99.96 (another inns of 104 or 4* might have got him an ave of 100). It is ok to stay in the tantalizing figure than a round figure. His place might have gone to an aspiring youngster. Lesson from CA through the Steve Waugh retirement. And the 100# 100 doesnt prove you are better nor its absence says you are any worse. [[ The point, Ranga, is that the players should not have a say on DRS, that is all. Then tomorrow, the rules of the game would be commented on by the players and changed as per their wishes. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 8, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    Alex: The 84-85 performance of the Aussies was as bad as the India against England? Come on... In test 1, the Aussies conceded 340 in the Ist innings, lost by an innings. In the second, WI lost 2 wickets. In #3, Gomes held the second innings together, but WI lost 7 wickets. The fourth was drawn on the last day by Aus despite a ferocious attack by Garner. The 5th was won. They progressed through out the series.

    Aussies were well back on song at this stage, but then Wessels et al deserted.

    But by no means did they go down without a fight, unlike the Indian team in England. The matches were interesting, and from the 3rd test onwards, reasonably well contested.

  • Ruchir on November 7, 2011, 18:54 GMT

    Reg. SRT's impeccable behavior on/off field: I must say that this is one of the reasons he is loved and respected by players and fans. But I also think there is a downside to the "politically correct" shell that he has created off field. I mean he is probably one of the 5 greatest batsmen of all time and what do we know of his views about the game? What does he think of chucking/elbow-straightening? About the future of test cricket? About how the game should expand? Basically he has managed to stay out of controversy by not saying anything of significance

    Maybe its unfair to blame SRT because most players are unwilling to go off their scripted responses. Maybe its the pressure from their boards, the attraction of a future media career or whatever but I wish there were more honesty in the interviews/press conferences than the usual tripe. Sorry off topic rant.. [[ I think Tendulkar takes the "no views" to an nth degree. Maybe he knows the Indian media too well. They would go to town on anything he says. I have one, and only one, grouse with him. At least partly he has been responsible for scuttling DRS. Probably Dhoni has a greater say on this. However Tendulkar should have stayed away, taking a leaf out of the Federer book. Everyone knows that Federer does not like Player Review and has one of the poorest records of using it. However not once has he uttered one word against it. This has allowed the organizers to run the Player review system very successfully everywhere. That system, incidentally, uses Hawkeye-type technology and is not 100%. But it allows the small percentage of human errors to be corrected. The problem is that BCCI's stance indirectly affects other series also. DRS was badly needed at UAE. Why, for that matter, yesterday, couple of lbw decisions, including Tendulkar's could have been contested. They never showed the ball-tracking of the Tendulkar dismissal. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 7, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    Finally, apropos of Sarosh`s earlier comment, what`s up with this `merry band` of yours Gerry? Am I a member? Is there a Maid Marian amongst you/us? Is Alex the Sherrif of Nottingham? Most importantly, when will bloody shrikkanthk be back with the venison dinner? He left hours ago... ...should`ve known. He`s pxxsed of to Trent Bridge again to catch the final session no doubt. [[ And the Robin Hood ??? Ananth: ]]

  • Cricketfollower on November 7, 2011, 15:02 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    May be I have misjudged you somewhere...so let's settle this issue here..Next time I will not post anything that hurt your integrity or motive or something that question your hard work...

    Cheers D [[ Thank you. It is very kind of you. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 7, 2011, 14:49 GMT

    @Neutral Guy. Needless to say, Ananth has often employed (initiated?) the type of methodology used in S.Rajesh`s piece, and expanded upon that with analyses of this type, also used in the article focused on test match batting. As he freely admits, there is subjectivity involved in assigning group bowling ratings - how many groups? where to draw the line? etc. Apart from that however, there is no room for subjectivity whatsoever. It becomes a completely objective statistical analysis. I can fully understand Ananth`s anger at being accused of specifically choosing cut-off points to make a particular (??) player look bad. (cont`d)

  • Boll on November 7, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    I would agree with @Neutral Guy that Rajesh`s recent analysis of ODI batsmen was both simple and elegant. As those of you who read it would know, that analysis placed Richards significantly ahead of anyone else based on the ratio of Ave/SR quotient to contemporary norms. Unfortunately, the lists of `Top ODI batsmen` for various periods omitted numerous players who were statistically superior to those mentioned; M.Crowe, D.Martyn, A.Symonds, AB de Villers, S.Watson and (rather incredibly) M.Hussey were notable omissions. Nevertheless, it was an important insight into ODI batting over the decades, and a welcome addition to Ananth`s most recent article on the changing face of the game as a whole. [[ I loved Rajesh's article. However it must be remembered that I did not rank ODI batsmen in this article. I have only presented a facet of ODi batting, from the bowling quality point of view. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on November 7, 2011, 12:06 GMT

    Ananth

    I am not at all an irate fan of cricket or any player (Sachin) but reading the comment from Gerry, if we can have irate fan than why not irate critic. Lara got defeats of 4-0 (eng),5-0(SA not sure but i guess twice) n despite of ambrose walsh bishop dillon cud never made his team a force, bradman was criticized by fingelton, barnes for being selfish, ponting doesnt even count here, gavaskar against aus,botham with drug, kallis with selfishness(2007WC n beyond).is it worthy to have one series failure to undermine the credibility of the best player to play cricket along with lara, bradman richards sobers (in order). i believe certainly not. sachin has got setbacks like any other player n definitely its not fault of any player if best opponent is not playing.certainly players like warne, mcgraw,donald,proctar, n bradman n many others cant be foolish to consider him great.having said that lara n sachin for me are greatest n sachin counts above all on off field character n inspiring [[ By now everyone knows how much Federer means to me. One of the main reasons is his impeccable behavior on and off the court. From my point, and only from my point, let me say that Tendulkar's on-ground and off-ground behavior has been comparable to that of Federer. I allow the readers as much rope as I think is right.And while I don't agree with Gerry always, it is fine as long as he does not cross the line. And I like the approach of Ramesh: a gentle nudge that the line is close by. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 7, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    Shrikanthk, the batting included folks like Wessels, Hughes, Border, Phillips. These were excellent players of fast bowling. If Holding is the 3rd bowler, and Walsh the 4th bowler, and there are no pressure release valves, then batting does start seeming bad. It is relative.

    In 1988, Ambrose smashed Geoff Lawson's helmet. In 1992, Langer suffered from double vision after being hit by Bishop. Grills are not such a big technological innovation. You dont need to grow up wearing helmets to play in them. Batsmen right from 1980 have been helmeted.

    You seem to imply that today's batsmen would have faced these quicks much better because they are well protected. Sorry, totally disagree. If you need proof, see what happened to India in England. We are not even talking about broken bones (elbows, forearms, nose etc.) here, and they were in plentiful supply.

    The batsmen were not bad. the bowlers were good.

  • Alex on November 7, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    @shrikanthk: All in all, the '84-'85 Aussie batting performance was as bad as India's in this glorious British summer. However, most of those Aussie batsmen were not rabbits vs fast bowlers: AB, Wessells, Kim Hughes, Wood, Yallop, and a young Boon. Among these, Hughes & Yallop retired in this series itself thanks to the WI savagery ... Hughes stepped down from captaincy in tears in the press conference.

    This had not much to do with protection factor of which you are so fond of. Protection was widely used since '78. It was just that the WI bowling & fielding, under Lloyd's captaincy, was an entirely different proposition in that era. In this series, Marshall was at his peak and Garner near his while Holding was still dangerous & indeed produced 2 memorable spells of extremely hostile bowling during that tour (1st test & an ODI final).

    This was not the rock bottom as far as the Aussie batting line-up is concerned. That phase was mid-1985 through 1987.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 7, 2011, 4:03 GMT

    Ramesh, thanks for this. I probably overdosed on Tendulkar. I am one of the normal people that think Tendulkar is among the best.

    Ananth is doing a magnificent job of bringing objectivity into this analysis. Previous analyses have included some subjective factors like weightages etc. but these are gradually disappearing.

    As a bunch of people on this blog we have been very batsman focussed, which is why i posted that Rob link on Windies quicks. Some day, not in the distant future, if Ananth does a Bowlers across batsmen groups analysis, hopefully I can overdose on Ambrose...

  • shrikanthk on November 7, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Rob is doing mankind great service. I would rather watch this tomorrow than the match

    Gerry: Thanks for the clip! Now, I know this is just a dismissals package. Nevertheless I gotta say this - This half-hour video has some of the worst batting I've EVER seen by a test team in all my life! [[ Yet to find time to watch the video. Will do that soon. Shri has whetted the appetite. Ananth: ]]

    These Aussies of the 80s vintage make Raina seem the epitome of courage against the short ball!

    Just goes to show what an enormous difference protection makes. The mid eighties were still the early days of helmets. These batsmen didn't grow up wearing it. Moreover, there's no grill to protect the face in most cases. So, the fear still remained. [[ Shri, I did not post your other comment since that was on the extract from another article. The thread would have gone in another direction. Ananth: ]]

  • cricketfollower on November 6, 2011, 21:32 GMT

    Ananth,

    Like I said in my comments that I am not writing comments becoz I have anything against you as a person but your analysis and comments about sachin really made me sick...I am not a fan who don't critic sachin just so you know but some of the comments you made on him which i posted and you conviently did not post suggest that you have really bias against him....

    I respect your hard work but do not believe in analysis that you do I.e. complete faith not saying it is total blunder.....

    Anyway thanks for responding and posting one liner instead of three posts!

    I wish you good luck in your future analysis...... [[ Dear C, Your comments were not like what you have portrayed. You attacked my integrity and impartiality and ascribed to me ulterior motives, even bringing in Shoaib Akhtar and his book. And I see red if someone questions my integrity. That is all. I will still apologize to you for my strong reaction. People posting long remarks just write what they think and do not re-read the contents. It is very easy to cross the lines drawn when you just type. I myself have been guilty of that. It is only that I have the option to retract, which I did in your case. My suggestion is that readers should limit themselves to cricketing comments. Question my analysis, by all means, but do not question my integrity or motives. As far as the readers are concerned I have my own guidelines. At times I might have missed these. In which case, readers could point that out. I WILL POST the following comments. - Tendulkar performed poorly in England. (But I will post a correction that his performance was below-par). - Tendulkar should retire from ODI Cricket. - Dhoni made some unsound decisions. - Tendulkar's 100th 100 was distracting the team. (But I will add - mainly a media driven distractionb). - Dravid played very slowly. - Tendulkar should have gone to West indies. But I WILL NOT POST the following. They cross the lines. - Dhoni is a poor captain. - Gavaskar played selfishly. - Muralitharan threw (even if Bedi himself sent this comment). - Tendulkar put IPL above India. - Ponting/Clarke cheated. Finally one thing I can assure you and all readers. I have never started with a set objective and worked around it. I do not have an anti-anyone bias. I do not like my personal likes/dislikes influence any comments I make. If I had done that I could not have done this over three years. Like you guys worship Tendulkar, I adore Federer, that is all. And he is not part of any cricket analysis, other than as an example. Ananth: ]]

  • Neutral Guy on November 6, 2011, 15:54 GMT

    I do wish author of this article reads a similar analysis by S Rajesh on ODI batsman. That analysis was quite simple and elegant. While we can all agree to disagree, bad tone from either side is not a good start and your reply to the poster above was in bad taste. You analysis, I am sorry to say, increasingly draws upon critarias that have no objective foundation, you just choose it on the basis of your gut feeling and subconsciously induce error in your analysis. [[ Bad tone/taste ??? If my response was in bad tone you did not have the pleasure of seeing the comment which was not published. But I have also toned down my response. I bet Rajesh does not receive mails like these. Again, you are vague. How do you conclude that there is no objective foundation. The basis of Bowling quality. Pl take the trouble of looking at the top-10 of the BQI bowling attacks. You will see how objective the BQI has been. The grouping may be arbitrary but the concept is not. Even the grouping is seemingly arbitrary but has the specific objective of having only below 15% in the top group and so on. You people who find fault must be more specific. Not make vague statements which are themselves quite subjective in nature. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 6, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    Sad to see such coments from "Cricket follower" probably wanting Ananth to declare SRT as the best in the analysis. Such fans are not reqd by SRT and very irritating for good followers of this blog. [[ No, Ramesh, a lot more. I have published a comment by Sarosh which did not cross the line. This one did but if I deleted it I would get another comment that I do not publish critical comments. Ananth: ]]

    Gerry...It is equally tiring to see your efforts to paint SRT as a batsmen rung below many batsmen. Everybody gets your point, but you need to accept the fact that there are normal people in the world who think SRT is amongst the best. [[ Who was the most effective ODI player of all time. There would be many answers, headed by Tendulkar/Richards, and followed by Gilchrist, Ponting, Kallis, Waqar et al. What is necessary is to accept that unlike Test cricket, this is not that clear cut a case. We must all accept that the other point of view has merit. Ananth: ]]

    Ananth: ]]

    Alex..I agree with your point on Richards. I used to get dissapointed to see him play in the last few years. There have been many ordinary games which he played in the last few years-tests/ODIs. He is nevertheless a great batsmen, but efforts are going on equalling to the efforts of "SRT-GOD" campaign to label Richards as the next best to Bradman in tests/ODis combined which I humbly disagree.

  • arijit on November 6, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    (Contd from earlier post) Earlier in the day, bowler Viv, 37 ½ years old, had flung himself across the pitch to stop a Vengsarkar straight drive and in one motion thrown the wickets down at the batting end, using a narrow angle that Vengsarkar, who had ambled down a step or two, offered. Vengsarkar was caught short, starting an Indian collapse. Viv had a similar impact on a low-scoring Nehru Cup game against India days later, smashing a faster than run-a-ball 44 out of 196 and then taking 6-41. Apart from his 1976 run mountain in Tests, Viv was largely an impact player in Tests and ODIs, often scoring 60s and 70s that demoralised (sometimes humiliated) opposition bowlers in low-to-medium-scoring games. So, these 1989 efforts were in character.

  • arijit on November 6, 2011, 14:48 GMT

    What’s the point of the discussion whether Viv was the best ODI batsman throughout his career? He was only the best overall. No player in any sport has been the best in his category from the first day of his career till the last, though Bradman and Pele came very close. Granted Viv was a shadow of himself 1988 onwards, and often lost his temper (and as captain, unfairly kept Lara out of the XI for a long time). Yet those who watched him play saw enough glimpses of genius. After bowling India out for 169 in Sharjah in Oct 1989, WI were 31-3 when Viv came in and took the bull by the horns. He took a single off his first ball and faced Manoj Prabhakar, then at the height of his career and considered one of the two-three best ODI bowlers in the world. Viv hit him for three sixes, a two and a one, at which point his score was 22 off seven balls. He was out for 30-odd but the match had swung completely by then. Contd

  • Alex on November 6, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    @Gerry:

    1. My calling Harper efficient was a complement ... much like Greg Chappell, he used minimal movements to do the job and never ran 20 yards after a catch or a run out in wild celebrations.

    2. SRT just got sorted out in England. He went to England in the mindset of an emperor rolling out in a Ferrari to his fawning public and deservedly died a Caesor's death. By the time he really grasped the gravity of what was happening, he had already played 5 innings for a net sum of just 119 runs. No need to judge him on this series besides noting that unlike some other greats, he has always needed full preparation to produce good results.

    3. Just like Ananth, I hope SRT retires from ODI's now. He has nothing to prove there and has missed almost 40% ODI's in the last 3.5 years. Let the Indians carrying him in Mumbai after the WC win be the last image of his ODI career.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 6, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    Alex, i am surprised that even after i have mentioned Harper's catch at 17.15 you merely classify him as efficient.

    Mark Waugh's fielding saved the World Cup 99 semi final for Australia. In the end, even he could no stop Kluesner's last two hits, but till then, between him and Bevan, they had cut off several boundaries.

    Tendulkar doing just OK, in 3 of selected 5 innings, when the team is being given the hiding of the century, is in my opinion, just OK. He was however batting very well in the Lord's test, and in the second test for his 20 runs. I don't buy that he was not in touch. Pressure got to him.

    Try exing out Z, BD, and making a comparison of batting average against only common opposition between Tendulkar, Dravid and Ponting. (Australia, India get excluded also, but there are enough tests against good sides to make a comparison valid).

  • cricketfollower on November 5, 2011, 23:30 GMT

    I hope author show courage to post my comments....... [[ Mr.Whatever your name is, Your first paragraph is shown above. . Then comes a load of nonsense which deserves to be trashed and has been done. I have also given you couple of pointers. 1. I suggest click on the following link and read the article, published an year back titled "Who is the best batsman - across years and formats." fully. I repeat, in its entirety. You will see that I have put Tendulkar in the top combined spot. You never bothered to go over the archives to see what I have done already. http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/01/_sachin_tendulkar_on_top.php Given below is an extract from the referenced aerticle. Incidentally there were 220 comments on that article. " No surprises for guessing who is at the top. The little maestro, Tendulkar, leads both Test and ODI tables, the Test table narrowly and ODI table by a comfortable margin so that he is placed in an unassailable position at the top of the combined tables. He has 801 points and leads the next batsman by a whopping 10%. He is likely to widen the gap further and is likely to have a near-12% gap by the time he decides to hang up his golden willow. What does one say of Tendulkar. If one takes away the freakish numbers of Bradman, there is no one to touch Tendulkar. More than the runs he has scored, the manner in which he has scored, the balance, technique and poise he exhibits at the crease, his demeanour and impeccable behaviour, the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch, one could go on. Possibly the best thing I could say is that he is a role model, not just for the public, but for the other players. " 2. Every statement penned need not be an adulation of Tendulkar. His greatness does not need supporters like you. In fact I feel he is cursed to have such followers. When I say "Tendulkar has below-average performance against Group 1, but has oustanding average of 41.4 against the top two groups combined and these are the two better quality groups." it is appreciation of the highest order. It is unfortunate you have not understood this. 3. I fear no comment and no one. I stay in this blogspace on my own volition. My readers stay with me because of my fairness and impartiality. If you want to see messages equivalent to "Tendulkar is God", this is not the blogspace. There are enough sites doing that. 4. Make cricketing comments, criticizing the article. No problems, these will be, and have been published every time. But nasty comments, which vitiate the atmosphere, will not see the light of the day, at least in this part of the blogspace. Any future comments, if these are cricketing ones, will be published. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 5, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    @Gerry: When Harper fielded in the slips, it was 3rd/4th or gully whereas the best catching position is 1st/2nd. Much like Chappell's, his fielding was clinical & economical with no exuberance (unlike Jonty/Ponting/AB/Viv). And yes, robelinda has uploaded great YT clips. This clip has the '84-'85 WI in Oz ... Lloyd's farewell series.

    @Gerry: SRT paid in Eng for being poorly prepared. He did OK in 3 of the final 5 innings. [[ I agree with Alex on this. Tendulkar was showing signs of getting into form in the last two Tests. My take is that if he had gone to West Indies, by now he would have been sitting with 101, not 99, centuries and India might very well have lost to England 1-3. Ananth: ]]

    @Ananth: The ODI XI (based on career impact) should have no weak fielder, at least 2 all-time great fielders, and at least 3 all-time great finishers. I suggest Ponting at #5 and two from Bevan/MSD/Hussey/Symonds at #6 & #7. Also, Imran & McGrath should walk in.

    @Mahendran: In a year 2006 book, Ian Chappell said that he would pay to watch 3 guys field: Viv, Mark Waugh, Azhar. He added that Greg Chappell & Ponting are just a bit behind these 3, and that Benaud reminds him to include Neil Harvey in this list. Surprisingly, no Jonty/Bland/Harper.

  • Mahendran on November 5, 2011, 15:19 GMT

    @Alex: While on the subject of fielding, I would like to point out that Azhar was one hell of an all-round fielder. Covers, slip, square leg, short leg, midwicket...no problems. I do not have a youtube video to prove that. Those who saw him in action would vouch for that. Now people remember him for all the wrong reasons.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 5, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    And just to make sure of Harper's versatility, watch at 17.15 his catch off Holding.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 5, 2011, 13:25 GMT

    Ananth, Also, batsmen respond differently to a challenge. Among modern greats, Ponting stands head and shoulders about everyone else in that respect. One would expect a World XI to face and not just pose challenges.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VOGoiaZlX8

    Rob is doing mankind great service. I would rather watch this tomorrow than the match.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 5, 2011, 6:46 GMT

    Sarosh, wow. You must have been frothing at the mouth. You are the "irate Tendulkar fan" I have been waiting for. Thanks for livening up my day. It is good to see Tendulkar fans having such fighting spirit. If only Tendulkar had fought like this in the England Tests. [[ The irony, Gerry, is that I have gone out of the way and have portrayed Tendulkar as a top class batsman against the top two bowling groups. Unfortunately the impression given is that Tendulkar is not the best. If everyone in the world thought like that there is no fun. Anyhow, for the record, my next four selections, after Richards and a cup of tea, thinking about his 189*, would be Tendulkar, Gilchrist, Lara and Garner, all together.. Then I will wait for a day before selecting the rest. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 5, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    @Boll: The question is whether Viv was yards ahead of others throughout his career. The answer is "No". Starting Jan 1, 1986 until he retired in 1991, the averages are: Viv=35, Crowe=39, Greenidge=42, Haynes=45, Miandad=45, Gooch=47, Dean Jones=53. Viv's SR actually improved in these 5 years but he scored 50+ in less than 20% innings ... so that SR was never a great threat. The sight of him walking out probably terrorized his die-hard fans like me more than it did the bowlers!!

    His run outs in '75 final were game changers and he was the best all-round fielder of his era alongside Greg Chappell (remember Colin Bland & young Lloyd too). But the fielding standard keeps improving ... watch M Waugh, Ponting, Jonty, Symonds, AB, & Harper. Everyone knows Jonty. I recommend AB's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtSrMKFucRM & Punter's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snJG6oKgLus & Symonds' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbGf7nrN3NE .

  • shrikanthk on November 5, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    Interesting exercise. Nevertheless, I regard this as a lot more relevant in the context of Test matches.

    "Bowling quality" is not something batsmen fret too much about in ODIs. The pitches are generally good. The ball is white. The fields are deep after X number of overs. Few spells last more than 4-5 overs. What matters in ODIs is Scoreboard pressure. The ability to handle it is what separates a great ODI cricketer from a very good one.

    Now Scoreboard pressure is not exactly something that necessarily exists when a team bats first. It's typically while chasing that the ability to handle the scoreboard pressure is more fully tested. That's why I pay a lot more attention to the performances of batsmen while batting second in ODIs.

    Chasing 200 against the "best" BQI attack is not necessarily as demanding as chasing 300 against a mediocre BQI attack. Scoreboard pressure can render a bunch of trundlers seem formidable.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 5, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    Roger Harper was a brilliant slip fielder as well. No one can forget his catch of Dean Jones in the MCG test (cant get footage of this anywhere in youtube, but was shown in TV news). His outfielding was superior to that one anyone else in one respect - speed of ground coverage. All the others mentioned are extremely good, but in the sense of having great reflexes in the covers etc. But Harper was brilliant everywhere. Here is a brilliant catch - catch #2 in the following clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VbLRUtitdE Botham catches Kalli with a knock up and turnaround and catch.

  • Sarosh on November 5, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    1) My take is that against the REALLY,REALLY great bowlers Tendulkar has done better than any modern day batsman over an entire career. Against the REALLY,REALLY great bowlers the likes of Richards and Lara have a few successes. Drop down one notch and Richards and Lara murder them consistently. Who are the REALLY great modern day fast bowlers? The WI quicks, Akram, Donald,Mcgrath,Warne,Murali? They would almost all go for Tendulkar as the best, with a few like Mcgrath and Murali marginally picking Lara. Lara struggled immensely vs. Akram,Donald etc. He has similar figures against Mcgrath as did Tendulkar in a similar number of initial inn. And of course he has played a few great inn. vs Murali after struggling against him in the ‘90s (as have most good left handed batsman) Tendulkar played Warne etc better. Who else are we referring to then? The ONLY,ONLY time the REALLY,REALLY great bowlers got a handle on Tendulkar on any CONSISTENT basis was in the mid 2000s when he was practically finished due to injuries . BUT in this period you will find that barring Ban. Practically ALL bowlers troubled Tendulkar. And PLEASE lets not offer up some vague, ambigous stats such as averages in matches “involving” some particular bowler.

    2) Look up the comments page in the similar analysis of the batsmen in Test Matches. Till B.Qty 26 or so Tendulkar has the BEST figures. i.e against the REALLY, REALLY great bowlers Tendulkar does better than anyone. Then against the NEXT rung the likes of Richards and Lara “catch up”. So if you have ONE single group of apparently “great” bowling till B.Qty 30 it appears as if Richards is on top.

    One wonders what the situation would be for ODIs. How does one define REALLY great bowling – till B.qty 24? 26? 30? As with the Tests you will get radically different figures depending on the choice of groups.

    3) In ODIS it is ABSURD to club openers facing the new ,white ball against the REALLY, REALLY great fast bowlers..and then make up a unitary “group” comprising ALL great bowlers including 2nd change bowlers and spinners. In Tests it may be alright because it is perfectly OK to “see off” the new ball. In ODIs does anyone expect a batsman to “see off” say 6 or 7 overs of Mcgrath or Akram at 2/3 runs an over?? Anyone with the slightest modicum of cricket knowledge would laugh at some of the assumptions in this analyis. 4) I normally just browse through the blogs and comments. But the typical nonsense from Gerry the Merry and his merry band such as Rakim is hysterical. I don’t see the likes of Jayasuriya, Lara etc either in the table – but ofcourse you will not hear about that.

    5) Also weird to compare Ganguly to Tendulkar. Tendulkar has a SR of 86 vs. 74 for Ganguly. ANYONE who has ever bothered to actually watch cricket would know that though Ganguly was reasonably attacking it was Tendulkar who was always the “head hunter”…The “Man”..the “attacker” who would take it to the opposition.

    6) All in all, an OK analysis. But the same tiresome comments with the same band just hanging around the wings to jump to some half baked conclusions (most of which are pre conceived) from some half baked analysis. The surprising part is that you seem to have fallen into the same trap. [[ Too many capital letters and too long a comment means I am just going to publish it as it came without any response. Not to forget about the Guinness record-breaking use of REALLY 12 times, did I miss anything. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 5, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    @Alex. Welcome back indeed. Needless to say I am not one of those who started watching cricket after Richards` retirement.

    Here are the figures for the players you mention for 1985-retirement.

    Batsman: Ave: SR: AvexSR

    Richards: 41.7: 92.0: 38.4 Jones: 45.6: 72.4: 33.0 Greenidge: 43.2: 67.4: 29.1 Miandad: 43.5: 65.6: 28.5 Haynes: 43.3: 64.5: 27.9 Crowe: 38.4: 71.3: 27.4

    Needless to say, these figures don`t include Richards` first decade as an ODI batsman in which he averaged 54.7 at a SR of 88.3.

    As for fielding, I would maintain that Richards was as good as anyone I`ve seen, and if his performance in the 1975 final rates as `ordinary` you`re a pretty hard marker. [[ I would term that fielding performance as "game changing". From that point of view, not ordinary. But that Harper clip sent by Alex is "Rhodesian", to say the least. Ananth: ]]

    Many fans who trumpet modern-day greats have obviously started watching cricket after he retired.

  • mohanlal on November 4, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    Sir, good analysis, but 1 doubt pls. Do this analysis take into account the avg: score/ inns of a particular ground? What i mean is suppose batsman A faces a group 1 bowling attack at a particular venue where the average inns score is say 225. And with in a few days suppose batsman B faces the same set of bowlers at a ground where the avg: score/ inns is 275. In this case the chance is that batsman B will end up scoring more naturally than batsman A.In such case will a general alteration of 5% in BQI for both home & abroad matches work? Don't they be more "avg:score/inns for a particular ground" specific too? [[ Your point is valid. However as I have stated this is a macro analysis, with one and only one factor, the Bowling quality. I have not gone below the innings level to the various factors. That would be done as part of the Innings analysis which is on the anvil. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on November 4, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    I have to agree with Boll that Richards is above all other ODI batsmen. You have to look at the combination of average and strike rate for ODIs. Viv scored at a strike rate of 90 and had a career avg of 47. Remember this was during a time when the overall strike rate was in the mid 60s as per your last blog

    Even the modern day blasters like Gilchrist/Sehwag/jayasuriya whose strike rates are 95/100 have career averages in the low to mid 30s. So having a superb combination of both is unique and Viv has to be first among equals. The only person who comes close to Viv in the combination of strike rate/average is SRT(86/45) but then overall strike rates have been higher during SRT's career [[ I had used the product of batting average and strike rate as a measure nearly 10 years back in my Tv broadcasts. Even though I myself have had variants since then that original index remains supreme. The following are the first 6 entries (all 40+) as of today. Amla 2538@55.17*.92= 50.75 Dhoni 6497@51.16*.885= 45.29 Hussey 4862@51.18*.878= 44.92 Richards 6721@47.00*.902=42.40 de Villiers 4523@45.69*.913=41.71 Zaheer 2572@47.63*.848=40.39. ??? BQ Then come Bevan and Tendulkar. If I use RpI or adjusted RpI, Dhoni and Hussey go down a bit and Tendulkar moves into the top-5. However the use of batting average maintains the primacy of the finishers like Hussey/Bevan/Dhoni. In any case Amla stays on top. I would conclude by syaing that Bradman and Richards are the only automatic selections in Test and ODI teams respectively. The only difference is that Bradman was 100-60 ahead of the next selection while Richards was, say, 50-45 ahead of the next selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 4, 2011, 16:29 GMT

    @Boll: Many fans who trumpet Richards have probably started watching cricket after he retired. He was the best ODI batsman over 1979-85 when Lloyd led a very strong WI team. After 1985, first Miandad & Crowe and then Dean Jones surpassed him handily. Haynes & Greenidge did better than Viv after 1985. His ODI stats since 1985: 82 matches, 2385 runs, ave=35.61, 3 100's, 14 50's.

    Viv is not the greatest ever ODI fielder. And his run outs in '75 WC final are fairly ordinary. Harper (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpnjP3hFfYQ) was the best ever WI outfielder but rarely fielded in slips. Ponting, Rhodes, Symonds, and AB deVillers are arguably the 4 best all-round fielders in ODI history so far. I put Ponting as the #1 fielder of all-time. [[ My dear Alex, Welcome back after your self-imposed exile. To say that all of us are happy to have you back is the understatement of the year. My conclusion is that Richards might be a certainty in almost all ODI selections. However he is not as far ahead of the other batsmen as has been portrayed. He is the first amongst a few equals. Don't again go off like a flash. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 4, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    The ratio of average / BQI is elegant at first glance, but by clubbing together all types of bowling attacks, it precisely obfuscates. That averages can be generated by varying distributions (whether batting or BQI) is teh whole point of this article. Otherwise there is no difference between a Richards and a Tendulkar. But if you force a disaggregation, then the truth emerges.

    Hence if one must regress and compress, one (and the only Ananth) can possibly do it in the following 2 ways: 1) compute the ratio of batting averages across all ODIs in each bowling group, and weight runs scored accordingly. 2) Either Anshu Jain's method or taking Batting avg / BQI ratio for each batsman within each bowling group.

    But in either of the methods, avoid clubbing together different BQIs, else we are masking bowling group wise performance, which will obviously elevate Tendulkar.

    And while we keep referring to Richards as a great ODI player, let us not forget his TEST avg against the best group. [[ Gerry, I am aware of the pitfalls of clubbing together BQIs. And that was what I started with three years back. But it is one of the tables available. Anyhow I am a sucker for great ideas and will do your first suggestion as well as Anshu's suggestion. All in the follow-up article. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 4, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    Not only the greatest batsman, Viv was probably also the greatest ODI fieldsman - Andrew Symonds, Roger Harper, Ricky Ponting, Jonty Rhodes are right up there, but none of them won a World Cup final by running out 3 of the opposition top 4, in the manner of the Master Blaster.

    As for his bowling, Richards took 118 ODI wickets in 187 matches(.63 per game, as opposed to Kallis` 0.83, at almost exactly the same SR, with a slightly higher average 35 vs 32) - he captained in 105 of them.

    If I was picking a team out of all the players to have played ODIs I would pick IVA Richards first, without doubt or qualification.

  • Boll on November 4, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    @Ananth. Oh, no reluctance on my part to include Lara, I was merely responding to the players RANGA had initially mentioned. Nor was I attempting to rank the top ODI batsmen, although Richards, Tendulkar, Ponting (in that order) would come very close. Surprisingly, for a strokemaker of supreme brilliance, Lara seemed to find his range more often in the longer form of the game.

    As for rating Kallis over Richards as an ODI player (all-rounder?) I must admit I find it difficult to understand. Arguments could be made for Tendulkar (when can`t they?), but I would rate Viv as the greatest ODI batsman of all time, and undoubtedly first picked in my all-time World ODI XI. [[ That is fine. However pl do not forget that Kallis has a batting average of 45.49 and a bowling average of 31.76 and a ratio of 1.43. Only Watson, with 1.46 is higher. Richards is very good at 1.31. I don't think you can disagree with these figures. He will always be a contender for the all-rounder spot. That does not mean that Richards is an automatic selection. He will be in 100% of selections. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on November 4, 2011, 13:29 GMT

    @Boll: I agree with you on the count that on "batting quality", Sir Viv, SRT, Ponting & BCL would definitely have better figures than Kallis, particularly when you consider Strike Rates, which would complete the circle. However, my opinionated reference was to a particular table, Ave/BQI table, considering other factors as well, including his contribution overall. I wouldnt mind a 100 ball 73 from Kallis, because I expect only that from him. Again, I am in no way suggesting Kallis is better than the other legends mentioned by you. But it is unfair to lay him even slightly lower due to strike rate (as it is unfair to say he is better coz he bowls 10 tidy overs)

    I would rather feel that we might have to exclude Sir Viv from ODI charts, just like we exclude Sir Don from test comparisons. Sir Viv was not just numerically superior, but an artist and a butcher in one package. I know the margins are very narrow here, but he did operate from a different zone when it came to ODI batting.

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 4, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Thanks Ananth...appreciate very much. Given this, I agree that we can't be certain about the impact and leave it as it is.

    On Lara...it is always a surprise about his strike rate in ODIs. His style and skill should have fetched him higher strike rate. Couldn't find any reason. I think we should wait a bit more for SRT analysis. I think Lara can be a great material for detailed analysis by you.

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 4, 2011, 12:06 GMT

    Ananth,

    On your explanation--facing one type of bowling, high or low throughout the career is one part of the problem which you have highlighted. I am refering to career to date figures. Any new bowler will have poor career to date figures or pegged at some high Bqi as they would have minimum wickets at that point in time which may classify the runs as "scored against weak bowlers". So a player with a long career will have the possibility of scoring many runs against such bowlers who may turn out to have better career figues but not good career to date figures in the initial years. My understanding could be wrong and hence you may give a short note" Bqi for dummies" [[ Would the following paragraph, taken from the article, suffice. "" 5. I have taken care of top bowlers during their initial Initial figures for bowlers with career haul of 100+ wickets. Whatever be the Ctd figures for these qualifying bowlers, their Ctd bowling average will be fixed at their career bowling average levels. This takes care of both situations: Walsh capturing 10 wickets at 50+, nearly 20 more than his career average and Mendis, at one point capturing 25 wickets at 9.83. Of course once any bowler crosses 50 wickets, their Ctd figures will apply. "" If the Ctd average for a bowler is taken as 46.59 and he has captured, say, 30 wkts, either he has a genuine Ctd average of 46.59 or he is Prosper Utseya. If 44.44, Tendulkar. If 40.62, Grant Flower. You get the drift. This means anyone who has a 40+ average during the first 50 wickets is a genuine below-average bowler. For all other 100+ wkts bowlers, the Ctd figure during their first 50 Tests will be their sub-40 Career average Of course, after 50 wickets, it will be their real Ctd value, which is how it should be.. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 4, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    @RANGArajan. re.`While there is little or nothing to choose between all of them, Kallis looks to have the tip of the the tip of his nose ahead of the rest.`

    I seriously hope that this statement doesn`t refer to the comparative ODI batting quality of players such as Viv, SRT, and Ponting. Excellent as he has been, Kallis isn`t quite in this exalted company.

    Batsman: (%NO) (Ave) (SR) (AvexSR)(Ave vs Group 1) Richards: 14.4: 47.0: 90.2: 42.4: 54.4 Tendulkar: 9.3: 45.2: 86.3: 39.0: 35.2 Ponting: 10.8: 42.6: 80.6: 33.9: 49.5 Kallis: 17.5: 45.5: 72.9: 33.1: 29.2

    Not trying to denigrate Kallis, but to suggest he`s the equal of any of these men in the short form of the game is drawing a long bow. [[ I would be with Ranga, probably not as a batsman, but as a player. Also why is it that in your list of top batsman, there is a reluctance to include Lara (10405@40.49@79.5: only slightly below Ponting). Ananth: ]]

  • anshu_n_jain on November 4, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    thanks Ananth! looking forward :-)

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 4, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    Ananth,

    I have a doubt on Bqi. Since it is based on career to date figures, will it affect negatively longer career players? I presume longer you play, you will encounter newer set of players with higher Bqi, but not necessarily weak bowlers as they may move on to become good ones. An example could be Richards over 17 years and modern players playing equal no. of matches in 8 years--is there a logic to look at it differently? [[ While your concern is genuine, I do not think we can say any degree of certainty that there would be any significant impact. First we are here talking about bowler careers. My take is that the bowlers may start with a bang-or-bust 10 matches, but settle to a certain level around the middle of their careers. We are not considering recent form, but ctd. I cannot see peaks or troughs in the second half of a bowler's career. Maybe I should do a piece on this. If a batsman is "unlucky" enough to face top quality bowling attacks (avge sub-33.0) throughout his career, as the Nzl batsmen of 1990s seem to have done, they might have lost a few runs but occupy 3 of the top 4 positions in the table. In other words, maybe no consolation to them, they get credited in this space. If a batsman like Zaheer Abbas is "lucky" enough to face below-average attacks through his career (avge bqi 37.66), in this table, not that he would care, he is sixth from last.. The point is that we are looking at a batsman career as it moves on through a set of bowlers. There is no way we can make any prediction on which would have been the bowling combinations. I would say, over a 15-20 year career, a batsman would have seen at least three generations of bowlers and would deserve the Avge BQ he is credited with, high or low. The other point, Ramesh, is that the bowling averages have been very steady over the past 27 years, as shown in my previous article. Ananth: ]]

  • jay on November 4, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    Some typing errors there, mate. 2nd Group consists Avg. 28-31 and 3rd Group 34-36. What bout 32-34!!!! [[ Corrected. Thanks !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 4, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    Batsmen average wrt BQI ratio shows things in a new light. taking Tendulkar's case, it shows that while he falters against top class attacks, he makes up for it against less than top class, but still good attacks, and through consistency.

  • Ananth on November 4, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    Anshu, I have done the % of Runs and % of innings work. However I am not going to be able to post the table now since the width of the table is 160 chars I can do it only as a downloadable one. I don't want to do that since most readers would not see it. I am certain that I am going to have a follow-up and I will spend some time looking at how best to present that data. I can assure the table looks great. Group 1: Srt is 3.6 and Bcl is 3.4 but Rtp is -1.8 and Dravid -1.9. Lot of insights can be drawn. Pl wait for a few days. What I have shown are differences but a Ratio will be better. Great idea, though.

  • Arjun on November 4, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    Ananth,

    thanks for the tables, as expected quite a few assumptions were wrong. Tendulkar's career BQI is of 34.01 is better than Richards, kallis, ponting, Anwar, D jones, Hussey etc.

    In fact, He(1.33) and Richards(1.37) have best ratios of all the batsman. Bevan, dhoni, hussey, kallis etc all benefit from high proportion of notouts.

    Zahher Abbas is to oneday cricket what W.Hammond was to Test Cricket.(high batting average against low quality bowling) [[ Your idea, coupled with Mahendran's excellent add-on has thrown a lot of light into this. Richards has 1.37 and Tendulkar is just behind. 1.25 seems to be a good cut-off. Amla is fantastic at 1.55. But spare a few moments for R ten Doeschate. He des not meet this cut-off. His numbers are 1541 @ 67.00 and 40.62 and a Ratio of 1.65, the best. He probably would be an automatic selection in any team (for Miller / Smith / Bairstow / Jadeja / Kapugedara et al) Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on November 4, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    The last table (Ordered by Ave/BQI) put things in perspective. While the top 4 averages(excl Amla)were sort of boosted by not outs, the rest, starting from Sir Viv, were pretty much on par. Particularly, Viv, SRT and Kallis faced similar bowling and have similar averages. For all the talk around Viv not having to face the Windies pacers & SRT playing for the weakest bowling team, the attacks were pretty well matched and pretty consistent. I do not see any diff betw an avg of 43 and an avg of 45 scored between 78-85 runs/100 balls where all the contemporary ODI greats (SRT, Kallis, Ponting) scored. If Ponting's avg is just 43 and SRT's is 45, Ponting played when Hayden & Gilly scored more than half their runs and half their overs and SRT Opened. So honors even. Kallis' is phenomenal as but for Smith, most SAF openers averaged in mid 30s. While there is little or nothing to choose between all of them, Kallis looks to have the tip of the the tip of his nose ahead of the rest

  • Ananth on November 4, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    Arjun/Mahendran The ODI tables, 3 in all, on the Career runs/Average/AverageBQ and Ratio between the two, has been uploaded and linked. Ananth

  • Ram on November 4, 2011, 2:08 GMT

    Great analysis and interesting to read, It has its limitations. Tendulkar's low average for group 1 is probably because he was playing late in the order in his initial career ( when he was an ordinary one day player) and played often against Akram, Younis, Imran, Aquib, Qadir attacks which could be the reason. Across eras that group classification should be really adjusted if we are comparing the % of runs in those groups as a real factor. Any one day batting analysis without strike rate will not show true colors. Clearly, missing impact players like Jayasuriya, Shewag, etc shows that and at the same time mediocore one-day batsmen come up in the list because of the same reason. Ananth, I am surprised by your rating of Kallis on top for combined test/one day . It you are considering Kallis bowling then it is a different thing. If you are just considering batting easily Tendulkar is the best and there will more players(lara, ponting, etc) before Kallis because of his scoring rate. [[ The first group cut-off is done rather arbitrarily by me to keep that group rather exclusive and less than 15% of the total. A better measure is the first two groups combined. That represents the top one-third of bowling attacks. On that most of the top batsmen, including Tendulkar, have done well. Ananth: ]]

  • AJ on November 3, 2011, 21:40 GMT

    Hi, Now that you have some measure of batsman's performance against quality of bowlers, can you run a hypothetical table for at least how many runs would SRT have scored had he got a chance to feast on the Indian bowlers in his career? Feel free to include others too. I pity the great India batsmen who never got a chance to scores runs and centuries against India. [[ Not really worth it. Then someone else will ask me how much LESS Richards would have scored against the West indian bowlers !!! Futile exercises. Ananth: ]]

  • Nastle on November 3, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    Thanks Ananth, very interesting.

    I would suggest, rather than just the % of runs scored against each group, to compare this percentage against the % of innings played against each group.

    e.g. if one batsman plays against group 1 bowlers 20% of the time, and scores 10% of his runs against that group, it's not as good as a batsman who scored 10% of his runs when only playing top bowlers 10% of the time.

    This would even out the difference between batsmen who played less or more against top quality or low quality bowling. [[ Yes this will be done and the table posted. Ananth: ]]

  • Harish on November 3, 2011, 16:25 GMT

    Where comes the Boon, he is my all-time favourite batsmen. Please help me to see him somewhere, if at all he can be placed. [[ Boon is there in the detailed player table but has not done anything of note to be featured anywhere. Ananth: ]]

  • Mahendran on November 3, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    Ananth...nice article as always. I have a request. In the Bqi average table for batsmen with 2000+runs, is it possible for you to add one more column showing the ratio of career average to BQI? [[ Excellent idea. I had earlier done the difference between the two values. But the ratio is better since it caters for differing values. Will do this soon. Ananth: ]] Mahendran, again, a great idea. I had in fact uploaded the Test tables and will do the Odi tables by tomorrow morning. But the test tables are also great ones and make interesting reading. I have uploaded the revised tables, 3 in all. One by Runs, one by Avge BQ faced and the third by Ratio. A ratio of greater than 1.5 indicates a top class batsman and the 17 batsmen who meet this criteria are a who's-who of Test batting masters.

  • Ananth on November 3, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    Arjun, The Bqi average table for batsmen with 2000+ runs has been uploaded and linked. Ananth

  • Soban on November 3, 2011, 12:17 GMT

    I understand this is very time consuming data collection and good work by the author.

    I do like to point out an element though. If scoring run is the criteria of judgment here then should we not give more value to the runs scored in pre 1992 era when 250 used to be a very good score? Or in other words, pre 15 over restriction vs post 15 over era.

    I will understand that this will take extra time but I think you should mention this factor. A lot of new followers do not realize what a huge number 250 was in 80's.

    And again .........thanks for your work in this article. [[ Almost all the readers who read the articles would understand what you are saying. Another thing. The following pars is part of the article and addresses the very question you have raised. 8. No period-based adjustment is done. Such adjustment is relevant only for determining team strength values. If the period was a great one for the bowlers, as the 1971-84 was, it was a tough one for the batsmen and this is taken care of by leaving the relatively lower BQI values as they are. It is obvious that the runs scored during 1971-1984 were more valuable than the runs scored in more batting-friendly conditions later. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi on November 3, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    Ananth, Here is another idea that just struck me. 1.For each of the top 25 batsmen (or top 10 keeping in view the complexity and your time)can we divide his career in 3 or 4 parts and see how his performance was against the groups 1-5 as his career progressed.

    2. Then place each player's numbers on the time axis 70s, 80s... till 2010s. This will bring out how well his did in the bowler-friendly decades (i.e. till the 90s I think). For e.g. SRT's long career has spanned over 2 distinct BQ types.

    A big ask. Pardon me if this sounds like a wishful wishlist. But I think no.1 will surely bring value. [[ Tough job, Ravi, especially in presenting the data. Let me see if I can do this in the follow-up article which is now as certain as Sangakkara reaching his century. Ananth: ]]

  • anshu_n_jain on November 3, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    contd..

    Also, Haynes' ratios against the 5 Groups are 1.05, 0.96, 0.92, 1.03 and 1.18, highlighting remarkable consistency against all bowling quality types.

    Azharuddin's progression of ratios (0.76, 0.93, 1.03, 1.09, 1.14) highlights a typical batsman, plundering runs at a higher average as bowling quality deteriorates.

    Mohammad Yusuf's ratios against Group 1 and Group 5 are 0.63 and 1.5 respectively, implying that he REALLY made it count against Group 5 bowling (a factor of 2.37 when compared to his performance against Group 1 bowling). For Inzamam-ul-Haq, this factor is 2.02 (Tendulkar - 1.35, Lara - 1.39, Ponting - 1.15)

    I could only cite examples that could be inferred from the data put up by Ananth so far. More inferences can be drawn for individual batsmen once Ananth makes the required data available.

    Looking forward. Thanks again Ananth! [[ This is a great idea. I myself will try and do this and post the tables. Will also try and give you more base data tables. Ananth: ]]

  • anshu_n_jain on November 3, 2011, 10:52 GMT

    While this analysis clearly helps compare different batsmen against a particular bowling quality group through specific measures such as averages and % of career runs scored, it can also be used to analyse and infer the consistency of individual batsmen against different bowling quality groups, and degree of overachievement against particular bowling quality groups as against their overall numbers (provided of course, that each batsman's stats against all bowling quality groups are available, regardless of qualifying hurdles that Ananth has set for the purpose of his analysis).

    e.g. Ponting's 11.2% of Career runs have come against Group 1, in only 9.7% of Career completed innings, giving him a ratio of 1.16. By contrast, Lara's numbers are 13.6%, 17.1% for a ratio of 0.79. Tendulkar's are 12.4%, 16% for a ratio of 0.78. This implies that Ponting has exceeded his AVERAGE career performance against Group 1, while Lara and Tendulkar have clearly underperformed.

    contd..

  • Aneese Ellary on November 3, 2011, 10:52 GMT

    Fantastically well written, I have longed to see some one attempt this sort of analysis with reasonable assumptions and objectivity. Congratulations on your masterpiece.

    I have also wondered whether there could be significant use for such methodology in determining a more accurate points scoring algorithm to apply to the test championship. By doing this we could determine and crown the best test batsman and bowler for each championship, on the basis of quality, rather than total runs scored and wickets taken etc.

    Would also be interesting to find the best total team quality index for both tests and odi's by using a rolling measure to determine total team quality indices. (i.e Batting and Bowling units Qi combined) Might make us think twice about labeling teams with titles like Invincibles! ;)

    Beautiful article and look forward to the next installment. [[ I have already done quite a few articles on Team strengths. If you look go back to beginning of 2011 you can see those. Whatever happens, there are three invincible teams, the 1948 Australians, the 1980s West indians and the 2000s Australians. That has been proved conclusively. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 3, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    Ananth, Richards is not there in your detailed tables even at average of 24 in the group 2. Was he so bad or is he missing by mistake. [[ As I have mentioned he did not meet the cut for group 2 and groups 1/2. Maybe the supporting tables can be without any cut-offs. This is one of the most difficult articles in terms of presenting data. Ananth: ]]

  • anshu_n_jain on November 3, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    Neatly done Ananth! As is to be expected of you... :-)

    Could you also create a table (for each of the top 25 batsmen by runs scored) listing out, against each of the 5 bowling groups, runs scored, number of innings, not outs and average? [[ Look at the number of columns. Here I am, desperately trying to remove single column spaces to fit the table within the narrow screen. Let me see how I can do this. Ananth: ]]

  • shadab on November 3, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    referring to the top 20 batsmen for gp1, its true tendulkar lies at the bottom of the table but people tend to forget the number of innings that he has played against the top attacks.Its almost the double than the rest.so the ratings are a bit unfair to me, because if ponting and co. would have played the same no. of innings as tendulkar has,i dont think he would have bettered Tendulkar in terms of average. [[ Granted 71 innings. However I would still have expected around 40.0. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 3, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    Ananth, if you do take up Bowlers across Batsmen groups across ages, my bet is that Curtly Ambrose and Michael Holding will take the top two spots, and not Lillee, Marshall. If such a result emerges, it will be another myth buster (before Shrikanthk responds, let me say that i am excluding Spofforth, Richardson and Lockwood etc.).

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 3, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    Ananth,

    On strike rates, apart from the points which you have mentioned, we have one more confusion ie strike rates have been different for different periods of time. Should we consider 75 strike rate in 70s higher? And some players have played across such periods. Will a peer strike rate factor help? We have also players like Kallis, Ganguly, Dravid whc come out well in this analysis but having below par strike rate. They do play a specific role in the team. If we move the bowlers, then it would defeat the logic. I think if we will have to incorporate the strike rates, we need to moderate the runs or multiply it by some factor. If that is a no-no, I think we should settle for the current one, may be have a coloumn for strike rate and leave the inference to readers. [[ You would have noticed my discomfort at tampering with either runs or bowling groups. As you say, just post the information. At this rate I am already looking at a follow-up article, as I did for Tests. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on November 3, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    Can you post a single table of career BQI for all batsmen with 2000+ career runs? [[ You remember that this is what I started with. Will post the table as a link and show the top-10 in the article, before the sun rises tomorrow. Every time I do this work I doff an imaginary hat for you, your reciprocal method being one wonderful suggestion. Ananth: ]]

    two batsmen with similar % of runs against different bowling groups might have very different career BQI ? Ponting's might be 34.00 Tendulkar's might be 37.00

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 3, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    Gerry,

    I differ with you on the inference. I see this group analysis as an important one, but I don't consider as end of all argument as you have been postulating in the columns. In my view, the better cricketing nations will put forward their best 11s and they need to perform against all teams. For argument sake, if no team has low Bqi in the next 5 years and you discount all the runs scored against the teams will be stretching the argument to get convenient inference. If you have two class bowlers and it takes a ball to get you out. In ODIs you get out to rank bad balls. In any case as opener, SRT will face the best bowlers upfront. I would like to take a bit more comprehensive look at players while determining greatness. I grew up adoring Richards and Gavaskar and I am not one your "irate" SRT fans. I am comfortable to have SRT in the company of VIV in ODIs and Lara in tests and will be comfortable to have Ponting,Kallis in the league and SRT may trump others in tests/ODIs combined [[ I hope that Tendulkar announces his retirement from ODIs so that we can do a more complete analysis. I really hoped that he would so so on 2 April 2011. Your placements are perfect. Other than Bradman who is the only one who could be isolated from any groups, the others do not have sufficient daylight between themselves to be separeted. I agree with SRT/Lara in Tests, Viv/SRT in ODIs with the others kicking at the door. However in the combined space, I think Kallis might be the leader. Ananth: ]]

  • Aftab Hameed Khan on November 3, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    Wow! What an article!!! This will rank as one of the best ever written articles to be published on cricinfo.com and shows the immense command of the author on the knowledge of cricket and his depth of analysis.

    Hats off to the author! [[ Thanks for the compliments. Now I must make sure I remain rooted to the ground\ !!! Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on November 3, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    <>

    Reg Ruchir's post on strikerates, while Strike Rates do assume importance in ODI context, other things are to be considered. For every Kirsten and Kallis, we have a Klusener & De Villiers . . . For every S Waugh, we have a Hayden & Gilchrist . . . For every Dravid, we have a Dhoni & Raina. So the most important task of holding the innings together, was performed by the sub-80 strike rates. If at all strike rates have to be considered, we could have bands rather than absolute strike rates - 60-70, 70-80, 80-90,90+. Yuvraj is not greater than Lara and Raina is not better than Ganguly! Strike rates are important, but it is just a facet, which could be added through grouping/Band (but adding to the complexity of results - Someone scores runs @ ave 35 but Strte 95 v/s ave 45 and strate 75 - Both against group 1. How do we factor this? And if we do, what would be our conclusion (if at all we wish to)? Just a curiosity. [[ The problem is that the runs scored are sacrosanct and these should not be tampered with. Then it means moving the bowlers out of their current groups above or below, especially those border-line groups. 24.23 will remain in group 1 but 27.8 or 28.2 ??? I mysel;f am quite confused. Hence I threw it open to the readers. Ananth: ]]

  • ameya paranjape on November 3, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Excellent article. is it possible to find out in the first 4 groups how many batsmen opened the batting cause they would have faced the most hostile conditions and so would we give a slightly better value to their runs. [[ That, Ameya, is a tricky question. The only way to do is to what I had done in Tests long time back. This is to get an average BPI (Batting Position Index) and then sub-grouping the same across the bowling groups. The problem is that Tendulkar might have scored 1450 runs out of his 2250 in the opening position and the rest in other positions. Just indicating that they scored so many runs opening might not be enough. I must be able to say 2250 runs at an average BQI of 1.15 (indicating predominantly opening position). Of course this will be 1.0 for Haynes. Let me see what can be done. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on November 3, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    I have observed in a blog earlier, and it is very clear - the presence of Sir Viv, Waugh and Ponting in the elite list. While comparisons may fly over the stats of the greats in groups 1, 2 vis a vis their elite counterparts, one must admit that a place in the playing XI of all time great teams do not come easily. To get into a WI team of 1980's or Oz team of 1993-2008, one has to face the best of bowlers. So when they face other bowlers of type 1, it is slightly (Only slightly) easier. An Indian or a Sri Lankan may not have faced such threatening bowlers in their domestic cricket. Most Indians and SLkans actually performed out of their skins to be present in the elite table. So each type of batsman, has his own merits. So I dont see any comparison of batsmen. Yes, we must definitely give huge credit to the runs made against type 1 bowling, but I dont think the others who couldn't make as many against type 1 are any lesser.

  • Shafiq on November 3, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    Thanks for great article. I am sure you will consider eras and conditions when measuring Strike rates. 2ndly, Imran Khan at no 9 in the first table is wonderful with 23.8 % runs against the best attacks. Please give him some lines he deserves as the best ever all rounder. [[ Imran is getting all the lines now as an astute politician. I will anyday be glad to give him lines as a great leader and all-rounder. Has been done and deservedly. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on November 3, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    Of all the batsmen in the list, Mad Max has scored close to 18% of his runs against the top group!!! The maximum against that category!! Not much has been spoken about him by a very biased media, but I guess he was one of the best subcontinental batsmen, who typefied the way geniuses batted!!! I may sound blasphemous, but with a little application, he could have very well been in the Lara league, and could match the left handed genius stroke for stroke. The only difference (which, in the end, was mammoth) was that Lara never threw his wicket once he settles, whereas when De Silva batted, he could chuck it all when on 9 or 99 or for that matter, 199!!! I remember the six over extra cover against Curtly Ambrose in '93 Hero Cup Semi Finals. It was an audacious stroke against a very proud speedster!! I am surprised at his final tally and averages, considering the fact that during his time, he was the best (at least in my view) among contemporary sub continental greats. [[ His 107 will live forever in the minds of anyone who watched that game. It was not the brutal innings of power played by Ponting/Gilchrist later but a mastterclass of game reading and application. And to recover from 23 for 2. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on November 3, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    A very well balanced article, reflecting the reality. Being an Indian, it is pleasantly surprising to see Dhoni do well across all bowling groups, showing his worth in this format of the game. Boosted by not outs, nevertheless, he has been the mainstay of the ODI batting over the last few years. For all his technical limitations, proved himself to be a more than decent ODI Bat. Regarding SRT's low average against top bowlers, we should give credit to the bowlers, who plan well against him. Till 1998, SRT's ODI average never touched 40, indicating that he faced the best bowlers lower down the order (Most sub - 30 BQI was before 1999). The best performers against the cream of bowling (1 & 2) throw some unsung heroes, Rhodes, Kirsten to Fleming . . . A very classy group. IMHO, these were the top 20 of all time ODI batsmen, with no particular order, each can get into the top slot at various points in time. [[ I like your idea of looking at the quality of the group of players and not splitting hairs over individual batsmen. Dhoni, in my opinion, is one of the cleverest of all recent ODI batsmen. His ability to read the game and situation is as good as Hussey's, the best pair in today's game. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 3, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    Ananth, Ramesh, Rakim: Group 1 is quite clearly the top group. It is well known that Tendulkar has good stats against good quality attacks (Group 2) but poor stats against top quality attacks. This analysis precisely confirms this. Batsmen known to thrive against the best attacks like Richards, Ponting Waugh are coming out trumps here. Hence Rakim's observation is the one i firmly agree with. Tendulkar is one of the leading batsmen, but to put him in the same league as Richards and Ponting is stretching things a long way. [[ My take is that the REALLY great bowlers have troubled SRT. However immediately there is a slight drop, he murders them. That is a clear conclusion from the Grp 1 and Grp 1/2 tables. Ananth: ]]

    Ananth, my mouth just waters at the thought that one day you may think of doing a "Tests: Bowlers across batsmen groups across ages". It would restore the bat/ball balance a bit... [[ As they say, great minds, or let us agree in our cases, two dunces (!!!) think alike. As I was replying to Sumit , I realized that this a special type of analysis, and one of my most satisfying ones, in that almost all work relates to the bowlers, but this a batsman-centric analysis. I told myself I should do the other analysis also, sometime soon. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on November 3, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    Amar, Ramesh and others Since I run the article for two weeks now there is time to get in a major revision. Pl look into this and revert with how best the strike rate can be inducted into this analysis in a seamless manner.

  • Ruchir on November 3, 2011, 1:22 GMT

    [[I saw your explanation on Strike rate and I still feel that we may have to factor in somehow to discriminate performance. Kirsten,Waugh.we know their quality against strong bowling, but would theirs being standout in ODIS, I am not sure.]]

    I am always surprised by how perception trumps reality. Kirsten/S Waugh are assumed to be stodgy players and hence not as good in ODIs as their more attacking counterparts. Here are strike rates for some of their compatriots for comparison. S waugh is my favorite player so could not help but respond :)

    Kirsten : 72 Cronje: 76 Kallis: 72 Cullinan: 70

    S waugh: 76 M waugh: 77 martyn: 77 Dean jones: 73

  • Ruchir Dalal on November 3, 2011, 1:12 GMT

    Intrigued by Martin Crowe's numbers. I fondly remember his exceptional batting in the 92 world Cup ans was really sad when he was injured in the semi final against PAK and could not lead the side in the field. Wasim Akram thought that Crowe was the best batsman he had played against.

    Just looked at his ODI stats and he scored ~20% of his runs against Pakistan during 83-94 (probably one of the all time great bowling attacks). His runs against the minnows (Zim, SL, Ban) account for ~20% as well. So the 45% for him against Groups 4/5 seems surprising unless he got lucky and played some really weak AUS/ENG/IND sides [[ Ruchir, give me some time to revert to you on this. Ananth: ]]

  • Nabeel Chaudary on November 3, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    Excellent article. Completely unbiased, which is not very typical of cricinfo these days. Simply took the facts, and put them on paper. Again, great job to the author, one of the best I've seen on this website. [[ Thanks, Nabeel. At the risk of people calling me anti-Indian, I have maintained by neutral stances. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on November 2, 2011, 18:51 GMT

    Fantastic analysis as always, Ananth. Sometimes the most difficult challenge is to pick the best article you have written. Each one seems to be so good in different aspects.

    I have a comment regarding someone's point on "What if the batsman never faced the best quality bowlers in the innings?" It is likely, but I think very rare event because if someone is batting well against the lesser bowlers the captain is likely to bring back his best bowlers. Another example is Willis completed his quota of overs before Richards went beserk in his 189*. But reports only says Willis was lucky to escape the onslaught and dont say Richards was lucky that Willis completed his spell. I am not putting down Willis by quoting this. All I am trying to say is when a batsman is well set it is difficult for even good bowlers to dislodge him. When you do an analysis of the bowlers, particular batsmen they bowled to in that innings, may matter. But I feel doing this for bowlers may be a lot more difficult [[ Thanks, Anand. My views on the bowler quality is that it is the sum of all bowlers who bowled in the innings and any further division would be counter-productive. Ananth: ]]

  • arsalan on November 2, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    Intriguing article. One point, though. Rather than raising hats to Dravid or Kallis for not scoring much against the weaker sides, we can also 'de-raise' our hats for precisely the same reason. Dravid had 44 innings against that group ( I'm suspecting Ganguly would also have somewhere near that) and he should have scored at a better rate than his 46.94. [[ In fact Dravid and Kallis are as different as chalk and cheese. Dravid 18.3 (gr 1) 67.5 (middle) 14.2 (gr 5). Kallis 6.7 (gr 1) 83.2 (middle) 10.1 (gr 5). I agree that the top players should average much more than 50 against the last group. Ananth: ]]

    As for Zaheer Abbas, it is quite astonishing!

  • Sumit on November 2, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    Great article ananth. I would like to make a few points for your consideration.

    1. When you make statements like best bowling attacks ever, etc. pls. add "statistically" to it since almost always the outcome here is based on statistical analysis. That would also help reduce strong reactions from irate fans. [[ This is understood. These are not subjective comments. The blogspace is only analysis. Ananth: ]]

    2. Is it possbile to negate the home and away factor in your analysis for matches played between teams of same continent. Eg. the subcontinent teams doesn't have huge home advantage when playing against each other, since pitches across the sub continent are similar especially in ODIs. Similary for home/away matches played between Australia and New Zealand. [[ Not really true. The Aussie and Nzl pitches are quite different. Similarly Pakistani and Sri lankan pitches. Also remember that this is not a bowler analysis but a batsman-centric one. If indians score in Pakistan, they should get credit and so on. Ananth: ]]

    3. Is it possible to give more weightage to runs scored while chasing, especially in excess of 250+ in 80s,90s and in excess of 300+ in last decade. While chasing huge scores, batsmen cannot afford to "just preserve their wickets against good bowlers" as run scoring at required rate becomes important. [[ Again this can only be part of my complete innings analysis. You would remember that in Tests I did not take these other factors. Ananth: ]]

    Regards, Sumit

  • RV on November 2, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    Dear Ananth,

    Expert level analysis. As usual. :-)

    I would make one suggestion. Not outs are not very significant in one dayers. Would it be better to use runs per ODI as the measure instead of average? [[ If I use RpI it will be very unfair to players like Dhoni, Hussey, Bevan. And any adjusted RpI method, which I myself have done (considering sub-10 not outs as the only not outs) is not needed in this analysis. In T20, your point will make eminent sense. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 2, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    Ananth,

    Very interesting analysis. I saw your explanation on Strike rate and I still feel that we may have to factor in somehow to discriminate performance. Kirsten,Waugh.we know their quality against strong bowling, but would theirs being standout in ODIS, I am not sure. [[ In a different analysis, perhaps. Ananth: ]]

    Numbers of Ponting & Zaheer abbas are revelation. Ponting will surely compete for the space with Richards & SRT in the top honours overall in ODIs.

    Rakim...Your inference on Sachin is startling as I am also seeing the same numbers and his numbers are impressive and my inference is different. [[ You are right. Tendulkar has scored a third of his runs against the top two groups at an average of 41.4. That speaks a lot of the genuine quality of someone who has scored over 18000 runs. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi on November 2, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    A very good article, Ananth. I need to re-read it to get the full picture and draw inferences. Some questions come to mind reading your discussion on c-t-d figures. 1. This analysis looks at batsmen who have done well against "a team containing v good bowlers". Considering the limited no. of overs per bowler, it is likely that a batsman can face very balls from BG 1/2 bowlers and hammers the weaker ones. Do we still say he did well "against a top quality attack"? or do we need to consider the actual no. of balls faced? 2. How right is it to penaiise batsmen for making hay against poor attacks? Surely failing against minnows is even worse. We have known batsmen to sit out against minnows or against good attacks in dead rubbers making way for minnow-bashers but somebody has to do the bashing. 3. Are neutral-home venues considered (Abu Dhabi for e.g.) ? Regards, Ravi [[ All valid points, ravi. Abu Dhabi will be 1.00 for all teams other trhan UAE. Pl see second example. If a team has two excellent bowlers (sub-25) or three very good bowlers (sub-28), the methodology automatically will put this team in at least the second best group. See the 2007 Final. Murali, Malinga and Vaas ensured that Slk was in grp 1. So your point 1 seems to be taken care of. Bringing in balls faced will complicate the issue. We cannot infer much since we do not know which of the bowlers the batsman faced. I think this works in a macro manner. There are bound to be the odd oddities. What we really have to study is Pietersen. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 2, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    Ananth, perhaps it may be worth keeping the same numbers for the toughest bowling attacks in both tests and One Days. It was group 5 in tests, and here it is group 1. Else a very impressive compilation. [[ Funny thing, Gerry is that I changed it deliberately to distinguish the same from the Test article. too late, though. Ananth: ]] Regarding Teldulkar i expect a lot of comments, from irate fans, but it could be a lot worse, considering that this analysis does not recognize the gravity of a match - e.g. Ricky Ponting 140* will not be a group 1, but it came in a world cup final. I would reckon that any world cup knockout from semi final stage should be group 1 as otherwise the team would not have got there. However this is just a comment and not a suggestion to modify the analysis. [[ Very valid point. However, barring home/away, I was determined not to take any other factor. As and when I do a ODI innings analysis, these factors will come in. Just for the record, JayaW's 103 and Gambhir's 97 were against bg 3, Gilchrist's 149 was against bg 1, Ponting's 140 was against bg 3, Ades's 107 was against bg 1, Ivar's 138 was against bg 3 and Lloyd's 102 was against bg 3.

    Ananth: ]]

  • Jay on November 2, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    Ananth,

    Great Analysis. Can it also be interpreted that consistent batsmen like Kallis and Hussey plan their innings better and try to play out the high class bowlers without losing their wickets and then use the lesser bowlers to make runs?

    When we have an analysis showing their defensive skills as well,(like percentage of wickets lost to top bowlers) we can have another interesting discussion as well. [[ The idea is very good. However we have to read with care. The top order batsmen tend to fall to the top bowlers, assuming that the first three bowlers are normally the best in the team. So there is every chance that the no 5/6 batsman would fall to someone, say like Jadeja, no offence meant. But I like the idea. Let us explore it further. Ananth: ]]

  • Rakim on November 2, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    This great article confirms that modern cricketer's inflated averages don't mean anything. And players like Sachin don't even come close to the the greatest of the game. (No disrespect; just a fact)

  • Amar Nath Mehta on November 2, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    Nice article. One thing missing is strike rate has not been taken into account whereas runs scored plus the speed at which they are scored is also very important. [[ Strike rate is a different measure and would lose its relevance is the bowler's rpo is not separated. Now it is a question of which batsman scored runs at what average against bowler groups, ordered by bowling average which encompasses bowler strike erate and accuracy. Ananth: ]]

  • Zulfiqar Ahmed on November 2, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    I wonder you have missed saeed anwar in the list of 25+ selected batsmen while he has scored 8824 runs in ODI's [[ Probably you are correct. I have his line of data available and will include his figures. Ananth: ]]

  • Santosh Sequeira on November 2, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    Dravid has scored almost 40% of his runs (and he has scored more than 10,000) against the top two quality attacks and he still leads the pack if you include the third group along with Dhoni with almost 70% of his runs.

    Just goes to show that when the best bowlers came along the Wall stood up stronger while the others feasted on the 'help yourself' bowling buffets.

  • Amir on November 2, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    Expertly written. I read half of it due to lack of time and understanding this is time taking. Very well done by the author.

  • Shaheer on November 2, 2011, 9:06 GMT

    Pakistan seriously doproduce world class bowlers , Wasim, Waqar , Akhtar , Saqlain and Razzaq in their primes would have been devastating

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  • Shaheer on November 2, 2011, 9:06 GMT

    Pakistan seriously doproduce world class bowlers , Wasim, Waqar , Akhtar , Saqlain and Razzaq in their primes would have been devastating

  • Amir on November 2, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    Expertly written. I read half of it due to lack of time and understanding this is time taking. Very well done by the author.

  • Santosh Sequeira on November 2, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    Dravid has scored almost 40% of his runs (and he has scored more than 10,000) against the top two quality attacks and he still leads the pack if you include the third group along with Dhoni with almost 70% of his runs.

    Just goes to show that when the best bowlers came along the Wall stood up stronger while the others feasted on the 'help yourself' bowling buffets.

  • Zulfiqar Ahmed on November 2, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    I wonder you have missed saeed anwar in the list of 25+ selected batsmen while he has scored 8824 runs in ODI's [[ Probably you are correct. I have his line of data available and will include his figures. Ananth: ]]

  • Amar Nath Mehta on November 2, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    Nice article. One thing missing is strike rate has not been taken into account whereas runs scored plus the speed at which they are scored is also very important. [[ Strike rate is a different measure and would lose its relevance is the bowler's rpo is not separated. Now it is a question of which batsman scored runs at what average against bowler groups, ordered by bowling average which encompasses bowler strike erate and accuracy. Ananth: ]]

  • Rakim on November 2, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    This great article confirms that modern cricketer's inflated averages don't mean anything. And players like Sachin don't even come close to the the greatest of the game. (No disrespect; just a fact)

  • Jay on November 2, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    Ananth,

    Great Analysis. Can it also be interpreted that consistent batsmen like Kallis and Hussey plan their innings better and try to play out the high class bowlers without losing their wickets and then use the lesser bowlers to make runs?

    When we have an analysis showing their defensive skills as well,(like percentage of wickets lost to top bowlers) we can have another interesting discussion as well. [[ The idea is very good. However we have to read with care. The top order batsmen tend to fall to the top bowlers, assuming that the first three bowlers are normally the best in the team. So there is every chance that the no 5/6 batsman would fall to someone, say like Jadeja, no offence meant. But I like the idea. Let us explore it further. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 2, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    Ananth, perhaps it may be worth keeping the same numbers for the toughest bowling attacks in both tests and One Days. It was group 5 in tests, and here it is group 1. Else a very impressive compilation. [[ Funny thing, Gerry is that I changed it deliberately to distinguish the same from the Test article. too late, though. Ananth: ]] Regarding Teldulkar i expect a lot of comments, from irate fans, but it could be a lot worse, considering that this analysis does not recognize the gravity of a match - e.g. Ricky Ponting 140* will not be a group 1, but it came in a world cup final. I would reckon that any world cup knockout from semi final stage should be group 1 as otherwise the team would not have got there. However this is just a comment and not a suggestion to modify the analysis. [[ Very valid point. However, barring home/away, I was determined not to take any other factor. As and when I do a ODI innings analysis, these factors will come in. Just for the record, JayaW's 103 and Gambhir's 97 were against bg 3, Gilchrist's 149 was against bg 1, Ponting's 140 was against bg 3, Ades's 107 was against bg 1, Ivar's 138 was against bg 3 and Lloyd's 102 was against bg 3.

    Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi on November 2, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    A very good article, Ananth. I need to re-read it to get the full picture and draw inferences. Some questions come to mind reading your discussion on c-t-d figures. 1. This analysis looks at batsmen who have done well against "a team containing v good bowlers". Considering the limited no. of overs per bowler, it is likely that a batsman can face very balls from BG 1/2 bowlers and hammers the weaker ones. Do we still say he did well "against a top quality attack"? or do we need to consider the actual no. of balls faced? 2. How right is it to penaiise batsmen for making hay against poor attacks? Surely failing against minnows is even worse. We have known batsmen to sit out against minnows or against good attacks in dead rubbers making way for minnow-bashers but somebody has to do the bashing. 3. Are neutral-home venues considered (Abu Dhabi for e.g.) ? Regards, Ravi [[ All valid points, ravi. Abu Dhabi will be 1.00 for all teams other trhan UAE. Pl see second example. If a team has two excellent bowlers (sub-25) or three very good bowlers (sub-28), the methodology automatically will put this team in at least the second best group. See the 2007 Final. Murali, Malinga and Vaas ensured that Slk was in grp 1. So your point 1 seems to be taken care of. Bringing in balls faced will complicate the issue. We cannot infer much since we do not know which of the bowlers the batsman faced. I think this works in a macro manner. There are bound to be the odd oddities. What we really have to study is Pietersen. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 2, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    Ananth,

    Very interesting analysis. I saw your explanation on Strike rate and I still feel that we may have to factor in somehow to discriminate performance. Kirsten,Waugh.we know their quality against strong bowling, but would theirs being standout in ODIS, I am not sure. [[ In a different analysis, perhaps. Ananth: ]]

    Numbers of Ponting & Zaheer abbas are revelation. Ponting will surely compete for the space with Richards & SRT in the top honours overall in ODIs.

    Rakim...Your inference on Sachin is startling as I am also seeing the same numbers and his numbers are impressive and my inference is different. [[ You are right. Tendulkar has scored a third of his runs against the top two groups at an average of 41.4. That speaks a lot of the genuine quality of someone who has scored over 18000 runs. Ananth: ]]