January 17, 2012

Batsman analysis by bowler-pitch quality - part one

Part one of a study to analyse the careers of Test batsmen by bowling quality and type of pitches
108

Kim Hughes has scored 88% of his career runs in tough batting conditions © Getty Images

Finally the time has come for me to complete the analysis of batsmen by two important factors, Bowler quality and Pitch quality. This exercise was started about 7 months back and has moved on wonderfully well with meaningful insights from many readers. In my earlier two articles I had covered the BQI and RSI ("Runs scored index": revised name for Pitch quality) methodologies. As has happened quite frequently lately, the article, with over 10 tables and 4 graphs, has become very long and I necessarily have to split it into two articles.

The tables are current up to and including match # 2029. This was totally unexpected and was made possible since the Perth non-contest finished within 45% of the allotted time. One could say India lost by an innings, 37 runs and 250 overs.

BQI is a pre-match estimate of the bowling quality expected, based on the career-to-date home/away averages, he location of the Test and the recent form of players. There is a provision to handle the early Tests of top bowlers. The final grouping is given below.


15.0 - 27.0: Group 5 - 998 (13.7%) Amongst the best of all time 27.0 - 32.0: Group 4 - 1675 (22.6%) A very good attack 32.0 - 38.0: Group 3 - 2111 (28.5%) Good attack 38.0 - 45.0: Group 2 - 1596 (21.5%) Below average 45.0 - 60.0: Group 1 - 953 (13.7%) A poor attack

RSI is a post-match determination of the ease of scoring in the Test. This is done by considering the top-10 scores and determining the Runs per innings. The final grouping is given below. This has been slightly modified from the previous article. The lower limit was raised and the upper limit was lowered since otherwise there were too few matches in these end categories.


Below 45.0: Group 5 - 224 (11.0%) A nightmare for the batsmen 45.0 - 55.0: Group 4 - 330 (16.3%) Quite difficult to bat on 55.0 - 67.5: Group 3 - 516 (25.4%) Good pitch - favouring bowlers 67.5 - 80.0: Group 2 - 499 (24.1%) Good pitch - favouring batsmen 80.0 - 90.0: Group 1 - 269 (13.3%) A high-scoring pitch. Above 90.0 : Group 0 - 200 ( 9.9%) Where the bowlers are cannon-fodder.

To determine the impact of the bowling quality and the pitch quality, my first idea was to add the two values and determine groups based on that. Both measures are indicative of runs. However that was a non-starter since the range of RSI values was much wider and it was not a normal distribution unlike the BQI values which were normally distributed. BQI is a traditional average (Runs per wicket) while RSI consists of the average of the top-10 values. Adding these two resulted in a lopsided distribution and proper grouping was impossible.

Hence I finalized on adding the two group values. Here there were no such problems. The ranges were similar and there was no lopsided distribution. This method takes care of close matches between well-matched teams as also lop-sided matches such as between Australia and Zimbabwe or currently Australia and India. The extreme groups are exactly what they are portrayed as: impossible to bat on or impossible to bowl on. Let us briefly look at the numbers derived by adding the same.


10 / 9 : At least one 5. Nothing below 4. A batsman's nightmare. 8 / 7 : At least one 4. Nothing below 2. A bowler dominated pitch. 6 / 5 : 1 or 0 means a 5 comes in. 3 is a key number either way.
Fair to batsmen and bowlers. 4 / 3 : Max BQI is 4 and max RSI is 3. Possibly formed with 1s/2s.
Strongly batsman-dominant pitch. 2 / 1 : Either 2 & 0 or 1 & 1 or 1 and 0. A bowler's graveyard.
The final BPI groups are outlined below.

10 - 156 9 - 404 Group total: 560 ( 7.6%) PLATINUM group. Scoring runs is extremely tough. 8 - 702 7 - 1115 Group total: 1817 (24.8%) GOLD group. Scoring runs is very difficult. 6 - 1416 5 - 1345 Group total: 2761 (37.6%) SILVER group. Possible to score runs, but lot of application called for. 4 - 1090 3 - 707 Group total: 1797 (24.5%) BRONZE group. Scoring runs is very easy. 2 - 315 1 - 86 Group total: 401 ( 5.5%) TIN group. Free runs served on the buffet table.

It should be understood that this analysis has some inherent features, outlined below.

1. This analysis takes into account Bowling and Pitch qualities, which form one cornerstone of an Innings Ratings analysis. As such the match-specific factors such as match status, innings status, position at entry, result, support received, management of late-order batsmen et al are not considered.

2. It will favour batsmen coming from bowler-dominated countries like New Zealand, England.

3. The sub-continent batsmen will lose some of their sheen.

4. High individual scores will almost always be associated with high RSI values. Hence these scores are likely to be valued less. It is possible that this could be compensated partly by the bowling quality. For instance Laxman's classic of 281 has a RSI of 0 but a BQI of 4. Similar numbers for Sehwag's 319. Jayasuriya's 340 has 0 and 1. Clarke's 329 has 0 and 2. On the other hand, Hammond's 336 has 3 and 1. And so on. Warner's 180 gets a 4 and 2 (the Indian attack quite average).

5. The purpose of the analysis is to look a new dimension of batting (i-e) from the Bowling and Pitch points of view. There is no intention to put down certain players. Please do not come out with such comments. These will not be recognized.

Incidentally I consider these three groups, viz., Platinum, Gold and Silver as the tough and challenging conditions. These comprise of 6 BPI groups and represent 61.3% of the total runs. There might be fluctuations within these groups. However runs scored in these conditions should be accorded the tough-runs category. Later in this article I will do an analysis based on the runs scored in these three challenging conditions.

Now for a different summary. This table summarizes the group runs for the subset of 266 batsmen selected for this analysis. The cut-off is 2000 Test runs. This sample size is very significant and represents about 60% of the total runs scored.


PLATINUM group: 45228 runs ( 3.9%) GOLD group: 220331 runs (19.2%) SILVER group: 438904 runs (38.2%) Tough groups: 704463 runs (61.3%) BRONZE group: 350118 runs (30.5%) TIN group: 93731 runs ( 8.6%) Easier groups: 443849 runs (38.7%) Total: 1148312 runs (100.0%)

Player Group wise distribution table

BatsmanCtyCareerPlatinum(10-9)Gold(8-7)Silver(6-5)ToughGrpsBronze(4-3)Tin(2-1)EasyGrps
  RunsRuns%Runs%Runs%Runs%Runs%Runs%Runs%
                 
TendulkarInd15432 408 2.6175011.3488031.6703845.6654242.4185212.0839454.4
DravidInd13262 322 2.4179713.5413331.2625247.1572043.11290 9.7701052.9
PontingAus12915 254 2.0 989 7.7550942.7675252.3475336.8141010.9616347.7
KallisSaf12260 99 0.8217917.8460237.5688056.1339427.7198616.2538043.9
LaraWin11953 563 4.7282923.7398533.3737761.7422435.3 352 2.9457638.3
BorderAus11174 470 4.2228620.5462441.4738066.0324229.0 552 4.9379434.0
Waugh S.RAus10927 373 3.4167715.3460542.1665560.9347231.8 800 7.3427239.1
GavaskarInd10122 395 3.9203120.1399439.5642063.4277927.5 923 9.1370236.6
JayawardeneSlk10089 213 2.1130112.9352634.9504050.0378037.5126912.6504950.0
ChanderpaulWin 9709 478 4.9195920.2366337.7610062.8273628.2 873 9.0360937.2
SangakkaraSlk 9347 36 0.4125513.4372939.9502053.7301432.2131314.0432746.3
GoochEng 8900 676 7.6279531.4307734.6654873.6181120.3 541 6.1235226.4
J MiandadPak 8832 270 3.1228225.8286032.4541261.3253828.7 88210.0342038.7
InzamamPak 8830 169 1.9132215.0358440.6507557.5358040.5 175 2.0375542.5
LaxmanInd 8728 384 4.4107012.3254129.1399545.8353340.5120013.7473354.2
HaydenAus 8626 253 2.9 803 9.3328138.0433750.3297734.5131215.2428949.7
RichardsWin 8540 425 5.0214525.1446052.2703082.3137116.1 139 1.6151017.7
StewartEng 8465 729 8.6257330.4326438.6656677.6161119.0 288 3.4189922.4
GowerEng 8231 313 3.8220826.8336440.9588571.5221126.9 135 1.6234628.5
BoycottEng 8114 272 3.4151518.7403249.7581971.7211726.1 178 2.2229528.3
SehwagInd 8098 148 1.8 761 9.4181022.4271933.6382447.2155519.2537966.4
SobersWin 8032 114 1.4111513.9399549.7522465.0235829.4 450 5.6280835.0
Waugh M.EAus 8029 220 2.7172021.4347843.3541867.5235629.3 255 3.2261132.5
Smith G.CSaf 7761 0 0.0 96612.4270234.8366847.3320441.3 88911.5409352.7
AthertonEng 7728 527 6.8271035.1309840.1633582.0114614.8 247 3.2139318.0
                 
HammondEng 7249 31 0.4 322 4.4159522.0194826.9312243.1217930.1530173.1
FlemingNzl 7172 328 4.6113815.9362350.5508971.0198627.7 97 1.4208329.0
BradmanAus 6996 0 0.0 71610.2220731.5292341.8299842.9107515.4407358.2
HuttonEng 6971 533 7.6 86212.4194827.9334348.0193427.7169424.3362852.0
MayEng 4537 54412.0180639.8129328.5364380.3 60513.3 289 6.4 89419.7
Flower AZim 4794 354 7.4 78116.3150331.4263855.0161633.7 54011.3215645.0
H BasharBng 3026 207 6.8 58019.2113937.6192663.6110036.4 0 0.0110036.4

The table is self-explanatory. The table consists of the top-25 batsman, by aggregate of runs and five special selections. Bradman and Hammond represent the pre-WW2 era, Hutton and May, the 1950s-60s and Fleming, New Zealand. There is a case for Martin Crowe's inclusion but 1700 runs was too much to ignore. Andy Flower and Habibul Basher represent Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.The complete Excel sheet containing the group-wise breakdown for the qualifying 266 batsmen can be downloaded and perused.

Graph of career runs ordered by runs scored against tough and easy groups © Anantha Narayanan

This graph splits the batsman career runs by the tougher groups (10-5) and easier groups (4-1). Since the overall average for the tough groups runs is around 60%, it is fair to assume that a tough group runs % of above 50 should be acceptable. The Indian quartet of Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag are all below 50%. As does Graeme Smith. However it can be seen that both the pre-WW2 stalwarts, Bradman and Hammond are also below 50%. In fact Hammond's 26.9% is the lowest, by a wide margin, amongst all established players. Let us spare a moment for Peter May whose tough-runs % is in excess of 80, amongst the highest in this group.

Graph of percentage of career runs scored against tough groups © Anantha Narayanan

In this graph, I have shown the batsmen, at the top and bottom of the ladder of tough-groups run %. The very much under-rated Australian batsman, Kim Hughes, leads the table having scored an amazing 88% of his runs in these tough conditions. Spare a moment to recognize this achievement. Ian Botham, again under-rated as a batsmen, has also scored 88% of his runs in tough conditions. Warne might have got his measure, but Cullinan was no bunny, coming in third with 82.8%. Richards is a surprise placement at fourth ad Atherton in the fifth position. The top 20 positions has no current player. The nearest we get to a modern player is Graham Thorpe (and Nasser Hussain). The best India batsman is Viswanath, with 77.7%. For these graphs I have considered only batsmen who have scored 4000 or more runs.

At the other end, we have the Indian stalwarts, Laxman, Tendulkar and Sehwag. Bradman and Sutcliffe are also in the bottom 10. Hammond props up the table with 26.9%.

Platinum Group (Groups 9 and 10) tables

BatsmanTeamCareer RunsRuns%
     
Harvey R.N Aus 6149 91314.8
May P.B.H Eng 4537 54412.0
Lamb A.J Eng 4656 47110.1
Smith R.A Eng 4236 399 9.4
Hughes K.J Aus 4415 397 9.0
Stewart A.J Eng 8465 729 8.6
Richardson R.B Win 5949 472 7.9
Knott A.P.E Eng 4389 339 7.7
Botham I.T Eng 5200 402 7.7
Hooper C.L Win 5762 443 7.7
BatsmanTeamCareer RunsRuns%
     
Harvey R.N Aus 6149 91314.8
Stewart A.J Eng 8465 729 8.6
Gooch G.A Eng 8900 676 7.6
Lara B.C Win11953 563 4.7
May P.B.H Eng 4537 54412.0
Hutton L Eng 6971 533 7.6
Atherton M.A Eng 7728 527 6.8
Cowdrey M.C Eng 7624 519 6.8
Thorpe G.P Eng 6744 510 7.6
Chanderpaul S Win 9709 478 4.9

The presence of Harvey and May in the top two positions in the % of career runs indicates that run scoring during the 1950s-60s was tough and these runs should mean more. The list then moves to the 80s-90s. Almost all the later players are from this period. I am almost certain that no one from this list of top-10 would get into any list of top-10 batsmen. But the lowest placed batsman on this has scored more than 7% of his runs in the toughest of conditions. Hats off to them.

The second table contains the Platinum group batsmen ordered on the runs scored. Harvey is again on top. What a great batsman he was? Then the English stalwarts, Stewart and Gooch, who spent half their careers facing the West Indian quicks. Lara represents the modern era. Not many runs, and less than 5%, but more than anyone else of this period. May, Hutton and Cowdrey of the 50s-60s come in. Surprising inclusions are Thorpe and Chanderpaul.

Gold Group (Groups 7 and 8) tables

BatsmanTeamCareer RunsRuns%
     
May P.B.H Eng 4537180639.8
Atherton M.A Eng 7728271035.1
Botham I.T Eng 5200175033.7
Hughes K.J Aus 4415145633.0
Gooch G.A Eng 8900279531.4
Thorpe G.P Eng 6744208730.9
Stewart A.J Eng 8465257330.4
Hussain N Eng 5764174630.3
Graveney T.W Eng 4882147330.2
Redpath I.R Aus 4737142830.1
BatsmanTeamCareer RunsRuns%
     
Lara B.C Win11953282923.7
Gooch G.A Eng 8900279531.4
Atherton M.A Eng 7728271035.1
Stewart A.J Eng 8465257330.4
Border A.R Aus11174228620.5
Javed Miandad Pak 8832228225.8
Gower D.I Eng 8231220826.8
Kallis J.H Saf12260217917.8
Haynes D.L Win 7487217829.1
Richards I.V.A Win 8540214525.1

The Gold Group tables, representing the batsmen who have performed very well against very tough conditions also follows a similar path. This table is almost totally dominated by the English batsmen from 1950-2000. This clearly indicates that the conditions in England were such and the English batsmen also travelled reasonably well. It is of interest to note that May has scored over 50% of his runs in the toughest of conditions. And Gooch, nearly 40%. Atherton deserves a separate mention,. And what about Botham as a batsman, a third of his runs on these conditions. Spare a thought for the much maligned Kim Hughes, one of only two Australians.

In the table ordered on runs scored, Lara leads by a few runs from Gooch and Atherton. This confirms that Lara scored many of his runs in tough situations. Javed Miandad's presence in the later table is a welcome introduction of an Asian batsman and speaks of his class.

Silver Group (Groups 6 and 5) tables

BatsmanTeamCareer RunsRuns%
     
Cullinan D.J Saf 4554299965.9
Kallicharran A.I Win 4399248856.6
Viswanath G.R Ind 6080320352.7
Richards I.V.A Win 8540446052.2
Lloyd C.H Win 7515383851.1
Fleming S.P Nzl 7172362350.5
Greenidge C.G Win 7558379250.2
Boycott G Eng 8114403249.7
Sobers G.St.A Win 8032399549.7
Boucher M.V Saf 5407258347.8

This is the middle group and should and does see a lot of runs scored. Cullinan might have been a Warne-bunny but he sure scored over 65% of his runs in this middle not-so-easy conditions. Viswanath is the leading Indian here having scored over 50% of his runs. Some famous batsmen, viz., Richards, Lloyd, Sobers, Greenidge have scored around 50%. Boucher is a surprising addition here. He seems to have scored quite a bit of his tally in this group. It is possible that he has scored more at home than away.

I have not got a separate table ordered on runs. Suffice to say that the most runs have been scored by Ponting, with 5509 runs, Tendulkar, with 4880 runs and Border, with 4624 runs.

Bronze Group (Groups 4 and 3) tables

BatsmanTeamCareer RunsRuns%
     
Younis Khan Pak 6205371759.9
Zaheer Abbas Pak 5062252749.9
Mohammad Yousuf Pak 7530369849.1
Sehwag V Ind 8088382447.3
Dilshan T.M Slk 4662216446.4
Sutcliffe H Eng 4555199243.7
Dravid R Ind13206572043.3
Hammond W.R Eng 7249312243.1
Bradman D.G Aus 6996299842.9
Hussey M.E.K Aus 5435232342.7

The Bronze table represents the runs scored in conditions which are strongly in favour of the batsmen. Now you can see the entry of almost all top batsmen, including Bradman and Hammond coming in. Younis Khan is the only batsman to get well over the 50% mark of his career runs. Zaheer Abbas and Mohd Yousuf are around 50%. Then Sehwag, with 47.3%. It is of interest to note that the table is headed by modern batsmen and batsmen of the pre-WW2 vintage. There is not one batsman from the 1950s to 1980s.

Again I have not got a separate table ordered on runs. Suffice to say that the most runs have been scored by Tendulkar, with 6542 runs, Dravid, with 5720 runs and Ponting, with 4753 runs. These are the top three run-getters in Tests.

Tin Group (Groups 2 and 1) tables

BatsmanTeamCareer RunsRuns%
     
Hammond W.R Eng 7249217930.1
Hutton L Eng 6971169424.3
Compton D.C.S Eng 5807133923.1
Cook A.N Eng 5868115119.6
EdeC Weekes Win 4455 87019.5
Sehwag V Ind 8088155519.2
Gayle C.H Win 6373117218.4
Samaraweera T.T Slk 5022 91618.2
de Villiers A.B Saf 5239 90917.4
Kallis J.H Saf12260198616.2

These are the easiest of runs. The pitches are flattest of flat and the bowling extremely benign. This is a surprising mix of the 1930s, 1950s, 1960s and 200s period batsmen. However more than half are from the current lot of batsmen.

Again no separate table ordered on runs. Suffice to say that the most runs have been scored by Hammond, with 2179 runs, Kallis, with 1986 runs and Tendulkar, with 1852 runs. Incidentally Lara, amongst modern batsman has a very low tally of these easy runs, with 352. Inzamam- ul-haq has only 175 runs and Richards, only 139 runs.

Some preliminary conclusions can be drawn. The conditions for batsmen were favourable to the batsmen during the pre-WW2 period. Then during the next 50 years or so, the conditions became more favourable for bowlers. This was also partly due to the rather low scoring rates of 1950s-60s. Then over the past 15 years, the conditions have become more favourable to the batsmen. Partly also because of the faster scoring and the consequent benefits. And the English batsmen of the post-WW2 period have had the toughest of conditions to make runs.

This is a fascinating set of tables. The significant positions are filled by lesser batsmen. This is a natural outcome when players score well over 10000 runs. There are significant questions to be answered. Lara is the only top scorer to have found a place in a Platinum or Gold table. And the nearest to him is Chanderpaul. Why? Also the volume of runs and the averages are used freely when talking about batsmen. This analysis shows the importance of looking at the match conditions in which these runs were scored. Forgotten batsmen like Hughes and Cullinan stand out. The value of runs scored by Richards, Atherton, Viswanath, Gooch et al stands enhanced. Readers' comments on these important points will be most welcome. Again, let me remind everyone. Please make objective comments and avoid accusations. This analysis is about 266 batsmen and not one or two.

To download/view the document containing the Player tables for selected 261 batsmen tables please click/right-click here.

In the next part of the article I will cover the following.

1. The Batsman tables based on the run-weighted BPI values.
2. Graphs for above, both top-30 batsmen and high and low values.
3. Career details of runs and relevant BPI group for 5 selected players, total, home and away.
4. A selection of top innings played in the Platinum and Gold groups.

Incidentally I have written another article, not an analytical one, for another site. I thought it would be good for the interested readers to peruse the same. I have uploaded the MSWord file and provided the link below. 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

  • Bedouin Chief on March 1, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Yeh, 82% of Atherton's runs were very tough to watch. Sehwag and Tendulkar a lot easier going.

  • Arjun Nagal on March 1, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    Ananth,

    A basic issue in any statistical analysis is the treatment of outliers. When you are trying to establish the greatest, you are identifying outliers. This analysis does NOTHING to address that issue. Run a regression to establish the relationship between all these parameters and run scored and plot the batsmen against that line. You don’t even need to run a regression to know that a lot of those ‘tin’ and ‘bronze’ players will be above the line and Bradman (the most outlying of outliers, but here- ‘bronze’??!!) will be off the chart. [[ You guys take the cake. Where in tarnation did I say that this analysis anoints someone as the greatest. It is the readers who come to such conclusions. The batsmen runs were classified into different situations, that is all. You do not understand that but come back to show off your statiscal prowess. Let me say this. I am a Cricket analyst, not a statisician. I can understand and do a Sd work or interpret a Coefficient of variation value. that is all. I leave it you guys to do complex statistical analysis which will be understood by 10% of the blog readers. Ananth: ]]

  • Arvind on February 29, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    Nice analysis anantha. Just proves what my dad has been saying all along. The greatest ever batsman is Viv and India's greatest ever is G.R.Visvanath.

  • Alex on January 27, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    @Shrikanthk: Fully agree with your observations on Ramprakash & Hughes. I had earlier observed this in the context of Viv & Ponting (opposite reason) & Lara (same reason) ... I too am yet to analyze Ananth's methodology in detail but this seems to be its drawback.

    @Ananth: In which category does the last Perth test fall? I guess it will get rated Gold whereas it probably was a Silver/Bronze. If so, inept batting by Indians, coupled with inept bowling by Indian bowlers, have put the Aussie runs in a flattering light. I followed Viv very carefully and well know this to be true in his case on many occasions ... it was also true for Lara in his glorious 2003-06 phase.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 27, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    Ananth, no doubt Kohli cannot carry on like this and hope to progress. But the rest of the team is playing in an atrociously meek manner, and inviting scorn. Hopefully Kohli will settle down but continue as a fiery competitor.

  • nastle on January 26, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Interesting idea. Hard to see what conclusions can be drawn though. Is a batsman who scores more runs against tough opposition a great batsman? or is he a capable batsman who just happened to face tough opposition more?

    What about giving % runs/% innings in each category? we would see who dined out on the easy days, and who failed to make the most of such opportunities.

    Who has the best average against top bowling? [[ Part 2 is coming out later today. It contains number of innings and averages. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 26, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    The Tough vs Easy split becomes increasingly revealing each time I reread the results.

    Gambhir and Sehwag - roughly 30% tough runs. Puts their records in some perspective.

    Headley again - a very low tough run %. The man played a lot against second string English attacks. It shows.

    Also it supports my view that Boycott and not Gavaskar was the preeminent opening batsman of the 60s-80s era.

    Some remarks - - I see that in general batsmen who belong to a period of poor batting standards are being designated as high tough run % scorers. Eg - Kim Hughes who featured in an iffy batting lineup where most had poor FC records. Or Ramprakash who featured in some of the weakast English teams of the past 100 years and hence ends up with a tough run % of 93%!

    Rampa didn't score "tough" runs. He and the English batsmen of his era made run getting seem "tough". Similarly, Hammond's runs seem "easy" because he batted in an era of truly great batsmen who made run-getting "easy"!

  • shrikanthk on January 26, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    Regarding tough vs easy runs %. One of the things I generally consider to validate some of these theories is to compare a batsman's first-class average with his test average. Why?

    Let's take Kim Hughes for instance. Yes, 88% of his runs were "tough". I agree with that assessment. But we must not use that to condone his rather average test career. Suppose we have a hypothesis that Hughes would've done much better in test cricket in the 2000s or the 1930s, then ideally his average should've been much, much higher in "easier batting conditions" of first-class cricket. But that's not the case. Hughes was average not just in tests but also in the first-class circuit, averaging 37 in both!

    We have two alternative inferences from this - - Most of Hughes' first-class runs were "tough" as well, which explains his record in both tests and FC. OR - Hughes wouldn't have done better in the 2000s or 1930s because he didn't necessarily do better when "easy" conditions were available in FC circuit! [[ Shri, nice to have you back with us. Don't associate runs against tough groups with batting quality. Your namesake had a wonderful average, for a specialist batsman, of 29 in Tests and 35 in FC. But it is true that he faced tough conditions. Anyhow Part 2 is due late today. The groups have been re-designated and the number of innin gs and batting averages have been made available at the group levels. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 26, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    There's also a lot of discussion on the Aus-Ind series!

    Guys - Obviously we are all disappointed by the lack of contest. But let's ask ourselves a historical question. India played its first test in 1932. Today it's 2012. During these 80 years, was there ever a stage when we were a "very, very good" test side home and away?

    My answer - No. Yes, we "seemed" very good between '71 and '74. But that bubble burst in '74. Again, we were ranked very high between '08 and '10. But I never rated this team too highly. It was a ranking abetted by a large number of congenial subcontinent contests in an era of Aus decline. To my mind, the only stage when we had a side approaching "very, very good" was between 2001 and 2004, when we had two wonderful spinners in Kumble and Harbhajan and a batting lineup comprising of several remarkable batsmen in their late 20s/early 30s.

    So in the larger historical context, these Indian losses are consistent with the larger story of Indian mediocrity since 1932.

  • shrikanthk on January 26, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Good to post here again. Ananth - sorry for not assisting you last month. Was caught up with some emergencies!

    Haven't studied these posts in detail yet. But the learnings confirm some of my hypotheses -

    The toughest time for test and FC batsmen post WWI was during the 50s. It was a period when counties started preparing greentops/dustbowls to assist bowlers. So an Ashes series during those years entailed facing bowlers of the calibre of Trueman, Statham, Loader, Laker, Lock, Lindwall, Miller, Davidson and Johnston on very responsive wickets.

    No wonder a lot of bowling averages of that period are simply surreal. Laker, Trueman, Statham, Tyson, Wardle - all averaging in the low 20s. I bet they weren't as good as those figures suggest.

    Hence I do have a lot of time for batsmen like Harvey and May - clearly the best of that era. No wonder after all these years, there are some Aus and Eng fans who still regard Harvey and May as the best post war Aus and Eng batsmen respectively!!!

  • Bedouin Chief on March 1, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Yeh, 82% of Atherton's runs were very tough to watch. Sehwag and Tendulkar a lot easier going.

  • Arjun Nagal on March 1, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    Ananth,

    A basic issue in any statistical analysis is the treatment of outliers. When you are trying to establish the greatest, you are identifying outliers. This analysis does NOTHING to address that issue. Run a regression to establish the relationship between all these parameters and run scored and plot the batsmen against that line. You don’t even need to run a regression to know that a lot of those ‘tin’ and ‘bronze’ players will be above the line and Bradman (the most outlying of outliers, but here- ‘bronze’??!!) will be off the chart. [[ You guys take the cake. Where in tarnation did I say that this analysis anoints someone as the greatest. It is the readers who come to such conclusions. The batsmen runs were classified into different situations, that is all. You do not understand that but come back to show off your statiscal prowess. Let me say this. I am a Cricket analyst, not a statisician. I can understand and do a Sd work or interpret a Coefficient of variation value. that is all. I leave it you guys to do complex statistical analysis which will be understood by 10% of the blog readers. Ananth: ]]

  • Arvind on February 29, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    Nice analysis anantha. Just proves what my dad has been saying all along. The greatest ever batsman is Viv and India's greatest ever is G.R.Visvanath.

  • Alex on January 27, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    @Shrikanthk: Fully agree with your observations on Ramprakash & Hughes. I had earlier observed this in the context of Viv & Ponting (opposite reason) & Lara (same reason) ... I too am yet to analyze Ananth's methodology in detail but this seems to be its drawback.

    @Ananth: In which category does the last Perth test fall? I guess it will get rated Gold whereas it probably was a Silver/Bronze. If so, inept batting by Indians, coupled with inept bowling by Indian bowlers, have put the Aussie runs in a flattering light. I followed Viv very carefully and well know this to be true in his case on many occasions ... it was also true for Lara in his glorious 2003-06 phase.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 27, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    Ananth, no doubt Kohli cannot carry on like this and hope to progress. But the rest of the team is playing in an atrociously meek manner, and inviting scorn. Hopefully Kohli will settle down but continue as a fiery competitor.

  • nastle on January 26, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Interesting idea. Hard to see what conclusions can be drawn though. Is a batsman who scores more runs against tough opposition a great batsman? or is he a capable batsman who just happened to face tough opposition more?

    What about giving % runs/% innings in each category? we would see who dined out on the easy days, and who failed to make the most of such opportunities.

    Who has the best average against top bowling? [[ Part 2 is coming out later today. It contains number of innings and averages. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 26, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    The Tough vs Easy split becomes increasingly revealing each time I reread the results.

    Gambhir and Sehwag - roughly 30% tough runs. Puts their records in some perspective.

    Headley again - a very low tough run %. The man played a lot against second string English attacks. It shows.

    Also it supports my view that Boycott and not Gavaskar was the preeminent opening batsman of the 60s-80s era.

    Some remarks - - I see that in general batsmen who belong to a period of poor batting standards are being designated as high tough run % scorers. Eg - Kim Hughes who featured in an iffy batting lineup where most had poor FC records. Or Ramprakash who featured in some of the weakast English teams of the past 100 years and hence ends up with a tough run % of 93%!

    Rampa didn't score "tough" runs. He and the English batsmen of his era made run getting seem "tough". Similarly, Hammond's runs seem "easy" because he batted in an era of truly great batsmen who made run-getting "easy"!

  • shrikanthk on January 26, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    Regarding tough vs easy runs %. One of the things I generally consider to validate some of these theories is to compare a batsman's first-class average with his test average. Why?

    Let's take Kim Hughes for instance. Yes, 88% of his runs were "tough". I agree with that assessment. But we must not use that to condone his rather average test career. Suppose we have a hypothesis that Hughes would've done much better in test cricket in the 2000s or the 1930s, then ideally his average should've been much, much higher in "easier batting conditions" of first-class cricket. But that's not the case. Hughes was average not just in tests but also in the first-class circuit, averaging 37 in both!

    We have two alternative inferences from this - - Most of Hughes' first-class runs were "tough" as well, which explains his record in both tests and FC. OR - Hughes wouldn't have done better in the 2000s or 1930s because he didn't necessarily do better when "easy" conditions were available in FC circuit! [[ Shri, nice to have you back with us. Don't associate runs against tough groups with batting quality. Your namesake had a wonderful average, for a specialist batsman, of 29 in Tests and 35 in FC. But it is true that he faced tough conditions. Anyhow Part 2 is due late today. The groups have been re-designated and the number of innin gs and batting averages have been made available at the group levels. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 26, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    There's also a lot of discussion on the Aus-Ind series!

    Guys - Obviously we are all disappointed by the lack of contest. But let's ask ourselves a historical question. India played its first test in 1932. Today it's 2012. During these 80 years, was there ever a stage when we were a "very, very good" test side home and away?

    My answer - No. Yes, we "seemed" very good between '71 and '74. But that bubble burst in '74. Again, we were ranked very high between '08 and '10. But I never rated this team too highly. It was a ranking abetted by a large number of congenial subcontinent contests in an era of Aus decline. To my mind, the only stage when we had a side approaching "very, very good" was between 2001 and 2004, when we had two wonderful spinners in Kumble and Harbhajan and a batting lineup comprising of several remarkable batsmen in their late 20s/early 30s.

    So in the larger historical context, these Indian losses are consistent with the larger story of Indian mediocrity since 1932.

  • shrikanthk on January 26, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Good to post here again. Ananth - sorry for not assisting you last month. Was caught up with some emergencies!

    Haven't studied these posts in detail yet. But the learnings confirm some of my hypotheses -

    The toughest time for test and FC batsmen post WWI was during the 50s. It was a period when counties started preparing greentops/dustbowls to assist bowlers. So an Ashes series during those years entailed facing bowlers of the calibre of Trueman, Statham, Loader, Laker, Lock, Lindwall, Miller, Davidson and Johnston on very responsive wickets.

    No wonder a lot of bowling averages of that period are simply surreal. Laker, Trueman, Statham, Tyson, Wardle - all averaging in the low 20s. I bet they weren't as good as those figures suggest.

    Hence I do have a lot of time for batsmen like Harvey and May - clearly the best of that era. No wonder after all these years, there are some Aus and Eng fans who still regard Harvey and May as the best post war Aus and Eng batsmen respectively!!!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 26, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    A most appropriate day on which to discover who would fight for India's pride, and perhaps become India's future captain. I hope the media does not climb on to Virat Kohli and make him out to be the next big thing, make him focus on records, 100s and make him abdicate his responsibility of leading the country. I am looking too far ahead, but this is a read danger. I for one will be perfectly happy to keep reading the obligatory little box on the bottom right of every newspaper's sports page where there is a quote from Clarke or Siddle or Hussey or Haddin about Tendulkar's looking to be the best of Indian batsmen, the main threat etc. Keeps Kohli away from the spotlight. But I fear I will be too optimistic. Before long someone will bid $3m for him in IPL...and then a risk of downslide.

    Alex - Kohli did not make a fool of himself in any press conference, to the best of my recollection. He only said that he is not used to the conditions and it is a big adjustment for him to make. [[ No, Gerry, you seem to have missed something there. First the two-fingered salute (whatever be the provocation), then the bitter press conference in which he clearly said that it was India's bad luck which was the cause for 2-0 scoreline, then the "Agneepath" celebration for his hundred (who is he so angry at) and finally the profound statement that the ball is turning square and if India takes couple of wickets there is sill a chance for India to win. Why is he so angry. He has to tone down. They might be down now, but the three greats played their 485 Tests in impeccable manner and no one sledged them on the field. They ignored any jibes and answered with their bat. Kohli is a top-quality batsman but has a long way to go on many counts. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on January 25, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    @Ananth: I've been away from your blog and miss the interactions. Consider the last 13 tests played by main batsmen, discounting a big series for each (Eng for RD, SA for SRT, WI for VVS, etc.). The # are telling:

    SRT: 13 tests, 24 inn, 1 NO, 878 runs, ave=38. RD: 13 tests, 24 inn, 1 NO, 837 runs, ave=37. VVS: 14 tests, 26 inn, 2 NO, 723 runs, ave=30. GG: 13 tests, 23 inn, 2 NO, 638 runs, ave=30. VS: 14 tests, 26 inn, 0 NO, 679 runs, ave=26.

    So, in reality, for each of the 5 big names, the one big series in this span (Gambhir's disaster extends even a further 4 tests and 6 months back) is the abnormality whereas failure has been the norm. Ind bowlers have, of course, fared much worse ... I refuse to analyze them! This is a horror show featuring frogs in wells. Every Ind should grab test opportunities gratefully & in earnest, knowing that he is sub-par. But the surreal jokes of press conferences given by Ashwin, GG, Ishant, & Kohli indicate the exact opposite!

  • Nitin Gautam on January 25, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Hi Anantha

    Post disastrous tour of England, you did an analysis which proved, that 4-0 win was the most comprehensive win that any team ever had on any other team in history of cricket. Just want to know if Australia made that record better than England or for that matter if India went to further undiscovered depths in the cricketing universe so far [[ Nitin, The England tour finished 80.84-19.16. That, at that time, was the worst defeat in history. At the end of three tests the index stands at 78.29-21.71, mainly because the first test was quite close, in fact the closest of all these 7 matches. For the England disaster to be overtaken, India has to lose by an innings and 277 runs, almost impossible. But then who can tell with India. However we can safely say that THAT record is safe. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 25, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    Ananth, if India lose in Adelaide by an innings, will it be the first time ever that a team has lost three consecutive tests by an innings? If so and if it has been in different series, will it be the first time that a winning team has done a hat-trick of innings victories? [[ I am not certain, but possibly true. In 1959 England won the first, third and fifth Tests by innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on January 25, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Not to add one more complexity, but would you consider upping the cut-off by 4000 and not the current 2000 career runs? I find people like K.Srikanth having scored tougher runs than Gavaskar. Two good seasons of 800+ runs are enough for raking up 2000 career runs. May be 4000 could suggest reasonable longevity of finding out some pattern. [[ Ranga Do not confuse the performance based batting metrics with this analysis. I am not a great admirer of Srikkanth at all. However let us not forget that he batted for most of his career against West Indies, Pakistan, England and New Zealand. That he performed at an average below that of Vettori is beside the point. Ananth: ]]

    Coming to the debate of RD, SRT, VVS, I would rather want Sehwag, who has been very ordinary outside the subcontinent, to be shown his rightful place. He has scored just 4 centuries outside the subcontinent. For an opener, its pretty awful returns. A lowly Dinesh Karthik was better in testing conditions in England. We cant justify "thats the way he plays". We dont need Sehwag to fire when we play in India. Ashwin can score a century in India. We need Sehwag to fire when we really need him. I doubt he has ever done that in his 8000+ test runs.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 25, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    Ananth, somewhere along the line you had mentioned weighted runs. What exactly is that? Till now you have been adjusting BQI/RSI, but leaving runs as scored. So will this be a departure from your previous method? [[ Nothing fancy, Gerry. This is somewhat like the weighted bowling average faced by batsmen in their careers. It is simply Sum of (Innings Runs x Innings BPI) ------------------------------------------------ Career Runs. It is of the order of 40 to 60. The BPI range itself is 8.89 to 91.80 (the GM) with a mean of 46.59. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on January 25, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    Hi I seriously wonder how Ponting, after struggling for 2 year with an average in 30s, scoring no century suddenly became a talking image & living proof of resurgence in cricket just by plummeting pathetic bowling countering lethargic fielders at home grounds in perfect conditions. would people stop calling names to RD,VVS,SRT if they scored runs against NZ,WI,BD,Zim in India. Being bowled in 6 out of 7 innings is proof of either u r nt ready to learn or ur reflexes are diminishing, either one is big problem which counters RD dedication, not to mention dropping so many catches at crucial time. moving delivery were always nemesis to vvs & it has been proved many time but gravity of this prob was never as big as it is now in Eng & Aus plus it shows on his fielding. Now the prob with sachin, well he is not scoring 100s, so what if he makes 50, runs hard behind ball,still looks in touch everytime he bats & is weighed down by monkeys on his back. [[ This is also the travails of a losing team. If India had won or drawn/draw or lost/lose narrowly the two overseas series, many voices would be conspicuous by their absence. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on January 24, 2012, 22:58 GMT

    Wenger 'does not know what he is doing' was the chant at the Emirates stadium on Sun 22nd Jan, when he substituted a novice with Russia's captain (as within minutes an error by the substitute resulted in winning goal for ManU). Arsenal may not qualify for the Champions League next year, something Wenger was able to deliver for the last 15 years. But after thousands of substitutions he does not even know whom/when to substitute? [[ At least in football, the buck stops with a thud at the feet of the manager. Wenger is probably paid millions, to deliver. If he does not, he goes out. Here in India, who has the responsibility to deliver. The players, captain, coach, selectors, the president of BCCI all should be upset in public. Bedi hit the nail on the head. Everything will be forgotten when IPL comes through. Srikkanth will move on to that gravy train. Dhoni will move with purpose. Ashwin, anyhow not at all embarrassed at India's displays, will bowl four overs of cunning skill, concede only 31 runs and get patted on back by the Chennai trio. What is this idea of sending novices to press conferences. They are not embarrassed. They may lose and be happy to come back. I though Ashwin was an intelkligent man. Is he not ashamed to have been part of three Tests which finished in 9 days of cricket. Frankly who cares about results. See how Sri Lanka have fought in South Africa. 43 to two chases of 300+ scores. And the captain resigns. Ananth: ]]

    Should the icons, who are likely to know their own craft as well as what is best for their team better than the followers, be given enough time to decide when their contribution has started to pull their team down? If not, it is possible to draw the conclusion that the over achievers were skilful once but ignorant throughout.

  • Alex on January 24, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    @Ananth: Manjrekar may have scored only 631 in his last 26 innings but during that 4 year period, his physical age was 28 through 31 only whereas DTL are at least 37 yrs old now. The truth is that the bowling attack & fielding are terrible and, sadly, the mental state is frogs in a well. The batting unit used to bail them out in the past but not now. This is a systemic failure. Ordinary talent has recd much hype & money. Coaches & selectors have obviously set wrong goals & policies (if at all) and must be sacked.

    SRT's limping in tests and embarrassing re-entry in ODI's recalls Kapil's limp towards 431. At least, Kapil averaged a good sub-30 for his final 50 wickets (his SR was bad but he was quite economical). That did not make him a better bowler than Hadlee and the 100th 100 or whatever is not going to make SRT any better. He should just retire now ... 99 is a nice number!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 24, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    At last, Tendulkar is the subject of discussion. The toughest two attacks faced by the Indian team have been in the last 12 months, England and Aus. Yet we are dumping Laxman, Dravid, but not Tendulkar since "he is looking good". Dravid scored a fair bit in Perth, Tendulkar in Sydney, and both in MCG. But between the two we must dump only Dravid. Why? I cannot think of a bigger insult to a batsman whose heroics in the England tour where every batsman failed are just unforgettable. What is lamentable is that it is obvious to me, but not to others, that we play a 4 year cycle, finishing in SA in SA, World Cup, England and Aus both away, and giving Tendulkar 1 year, as someone suggested, would seriously compromise our preparation for the next cycle. Truly we are the land of holy cows. I have completely lost interest in Indian cricket as I am convinced that if we are beaten 4-0, and if Tendulkar gets his 100th century, this will have been a victorious tour in public opinion. [[ The real reason why I am suggesting that Dravid and Laxman should quit is to avoid any further embarrassment to them. Otherwise someone who scored 631 runs in his last 26 innings at an average of 28.68 and did not cross 66 runs during this period would proclaim in a silly television programme that they should be shown the door instantly. It is only my regard for them which makes me come out with this. Ananth: ]]

  • Sai Giridhar on January 24, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    HI Ananth - when you have classified the runs have you used the hone ground and non hone ground phenomenon. Dravid is the 2nd highest run scorer in the worl din away conditions and Sachin is number 1. Ponting on other hand has more home runs. Dravid has 4 man of the series awards and all 4 are from away conditions . he has 18 centuries out of his total from away .. for a sub continent player away series is tough - period - the ball moves, bounces and conditions are alien ... this is a very important aspect to consider and so wanted your opinion on this aspect [[ Home/Away are covered very well but indirectly. The bowlers's ctd averages used are based on whether the match is played in their home or away grounds, in other words, batsman's away or home grounds. So the batsmen get credit for innings played away. The BQI for the team will reflect this. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on January 24, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    Anantha In your reply to AD you mentioned "I have great respect for both these gentleman and this will wear off if they come back and keep quiet.I repeat what I also told earlier. Tendulkar should have retired from ODI cricket on April 3.But, to repeat myself, let not only Laxman be made the scapegoat. "

    I must say here SRT has not played any ODI since 3-April till date. so suggesting this in response to query about phasing out of seniors is something i could not comprehend.I absolutely agree RD & VVS should call it a day on 28-Jan to their glorious career if they wish to remain the esteem that they have enjoyed over the year but if they do not & selectors start phasing out seniors, VVS has to be 1st since he is last on performance criteria in last 1 year, home or overseas. regarding SRT, he does not look out of sorts in any of his outing in Eng & Aus. its just the pressure created by media & others due to which big score has not come. i think there is still 1 year atleast left in him [[ Nitin, my comment on SRT was in-context inasmuch as that is in close sync with my views on seniors. It was enunciated if only to support what I am saying re Laxman/Dravid. Everything need not me analyzed and questioned. Ananth: ]]

  • AD on January 24, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    Ananth, Re. your reply to my previous comment- “Anyhow what did you expect. That Tendulkar….” Etc. No I expected exactly what I found – which is the operation of the methodology at work more than other factors ... The point is that statements such as “Richards is a surprise placement at fourth” or “The value of runs scored by Richards…stands enhanced” etc . lose their validity when Haynes, Greenidge, Dujon, Richardson all have similar figures. Far from being surprising – this is actually quite expected. The correct use of this method seems to be when comparing batsmen to others in their own teams , that too only with similar career spans. Comparing across teams and eras loses much of its validity unless both Batting and Bowling Quality are first discounted. “ Lara is the only top scorer to have found a place in a Platinum or Gold table. And the nearest to him is Chanderpaul. Why?” You ask the question – I provide the obvious answer. Giving several examples of other such pairings too. Similar quality batsmen when placed in similar teams will produce similar figures. The operative word here is “team” not “pitch”. Unni explaines it best – “what happens is that good batsmen from great bowling teams get high weightage if they perform according to their normal skill on normal pitches” [[ In the revised analysis there is sufficient variation within such groups of batsmen. But let me repeat one thing. For batsmen like Tendulkar and Dravid, with 90% of similar factors in all matches they played, the numbers are going to be similar irrespective of method used. Ananth: ]]

  • AD on January 24, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    Anantha, Re. your fervent appeal for VVS. All very understandable. However, if pushed to phase out the Big 3- the order would be VVS first , then Dravid, Tendulkar. Current stats. and sentiments notwithstanding. [[ No, AD, I really do not want Laxman to even continue beyond this tour. However what I resent is someone calling for his head conveniently ignoring others. Irrespective of whether Laxman (and for that matter, Dravid) scores 5 and 20 or 112 and 65, he (they) should announce his (their) retitrement on January 28 (maybe on Jan 27). They should realize that they do not have anything more to contribute and allow the youngsters get some easy runs at home, in preparation for fighting it out next time they travel. There is no guarantee of that but there is no guarantee on either of these two greats succeeding also. They should not occupy these places at home hoping for a wonderful exit after another 1000 runs or so. I have great respect for both these gentleman and this will wear off if they come back and keep quiet. I repeat what I also told earlier. Tendulkar should have retired from ODI cricket on April 3. But, to repeat myself, let not only Laxman be made the scapegoat. Ananth: ]]

    The question no one seems to be asking is – what about the bowlers? Aus. Batsmen have been scoring almost at will. Nevermind the batting , with the current pathetic bowling the batting will always be under severe pressure – even batting first. The batsmen well know that the bowlers are barely International class. On the other hand the Aus. Batsmen know that they always have a very good bowling attack – which automatically reduces the pressure on them

  • AD on January 23, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Further to my earlier comment on the inability of the current method to extract Pitch Quality with a degree of purity : The impact of Team structure overwhelming the attempt to extract pitch quality may be deemed by the foll. Obversations which make clear that something is amiss.

    1) Looking at a few pairs of batsmen who have batted a lot together in the same teams– Bradman / Mccabe ; Tendulkar/Dravid ; Lara/Chanderpaul ; Ponting/Hayden ; Richards/Greenidge ; Astle / Vettori ; Jaya/Sanga etc.

    For all practical purposes these pairings have identical figures in the tough groups. [[ You look at the matches these pairs played together. Tendulkar/Dravid: virtually 95% of Dravid's Tests have been in the company of Tendulkar. On the same pitches, against the same bowling attacks. Obviously the performances will vary. But over a large number of Tests would even out considering that their averages are reasonably similar. Anyhow what did you expect. That Tendulkar scored 71% of his runs in tough conditions and Dravid, 45%. Or vice versa. I suggest you wait for the next part wherein I have got averages, as asked for by many readers. And the current Tough group definition is going away. The problem was the inclusion of the huge Silver group in Tough. Ananth: ]]

    2) In some cases depending on the batting order the figure varies considerably. For eg. Mark Boucher, clearly a lesser batsman than Kallis, has 70% of his runs in the tough group as compared to Kallis’s 56. Also Healy’s 68 % to Steve Waugh’s 61 %. Dujon has 83 %. Not much higher than Viv and Greenidge, but still. Kirmani /Engineer higher than Gavaskar.

    3) The Sri Lankan batsmen – Jayawardene, Sanga, Jayasuriya, Attapatu etc and most Pakistani batsmen all have higher proportion of runs in the tough group than the top Indian batsmen such as Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS etc. Were Sri Lankan and Pakistani pitch conditions so much tougher than Indian ones?

    4) The top WI batsmen , almost without exception , have runs in the tough group on the higher side than the top Indian batsmen of the last 20 odd years. This extends from Weekes, to Richards to Hooper, to Lara to Chanderpaul.

    5) Shane Warne (as also Vaas,Wasim Akram, etc)has 66% of his runs in the tough group. Higher than any of the batting titans he has bowled to.

    6) Hansie Cronje has 85 % of his runs in the tough group. In his time playing SA in SA was probably the equivalent of WI at their peak. Did Cronje actually “face” such hostile conditions himself ?– or is he a beneficiary of his own bowling attack cracking down on other teams as per this methodology? (Shaun Pollock has 79% runs in the tough group)

  • arjun on January 23, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    Ananth,

    one way to normalized RSI values is to increase the % of partnerships from one-third to half. That has another benefit of incorporating half the performances of match; much closer to total runs divided by total wickets in the match. If you look at bigger picture of 'innings ratings' in future, simple method will be very useful instead of current P7B3. [[ Arjun My feeling is that whichever way we take, 8-9-10 pernerships, lBottom-3 scores, the results would be similar. There are three matches, 1781 (Pak-Ind at Lahore: for that matter 1782), 1374 (Slk-Ind at Colombo) and 418 (Ind-Nzl at Delhi). Whatever I do, these three matches come in the lowest-5 (or top-5, the way you look at). So my feeling is that the methodology does not have a great impact. Let me work on this basis and see, Ananth: ]]

  • arjun on January 23, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    Ananth,

    Not entirely convinced with B3 individual scores. Sum of Bottom 3 individual scores is going to be less than 20 in 90% of cases so what is the point of using it. If there is no better alternative then please go ahead. What are results if Mean of Top one-third partenrships in a Match are calculated ?[[ Arjun The impact is minimal. However what it does is to bring the RSI value to a nortrmalized level so that a GM works very well. But for this the mean of the partnership values are way too high. Example, # 1781, with four huge partnerships of 410, 319, 170 and 124, the RSI comes to 255. However once the bottom 2 scores are incorporated, the RSI value drops to 170. I agree that in most cases the bottom-2/3 values are going to be low-single digits. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on January 23, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    <I have decided to complete the current analysis as follows. 1. Take the top-x(7) partnerships rather than individual scores. The partnerships basis might very well end with similar numbers. However it seems to smoothen the outlier/outperformer situation. If 320 for 2 was reached through 200, 50, 40 and 30, the 200 seems clearly to be a way-out performance and brings some attendant concerns. However in whichever way the partnersips have been formed, 100/100/120 or 150/20/150, the partnerships clearly convey the comfort feelings for distinct PAIRS of batsmen, rather than single batsman. 2. This will obviate, to a great extent, the need to take off outliers. 3. However I do not want to miss out the low-3 scores since that normalizes the values. However this time I will take the individual scores since these represent clear failures. But I will be tougher and limit these failures to top-6 rather than top-7 since the top-6, barring stray no.7 guys like Gilchrist, (pre-WW-Win) Dhoni, Vettori et al, represent the real batsmen. 4. I will consider varying numbers for both these. For instance in a match with 11 innings, I might only take 4+2 while in a match with 25 innings I would take 5+3 and so on. 5. I have checked and confirmed that the GM works very well even on the P7B3 basis. 6. Finally acknowledging the valuable contributions of Unni and Ali, I would have to consider these ideas very carefully. I have to look at all possible conditions and have safety nets for these. I assure both that I will come out with a separate analysis based on these ideas. Many thanks to all readers, and Arjun, Anshu, Milpand, Unni, AD, Aditya, Ranga, Gerry et al in particular.

  • milpand on January 22, 2012, 22:06 GMT

    << I have done the work on Top-7 + Bot-3. The summary is that there is an overall 15-20% lowering of the values. >> The bottom performances should be included to boost the denominator even though numerator hardly changes.

  • Anshu N Jain on January 22, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    Just reconfirming if it is actually the the mean of the Top-7 RpIs OR mean of the Total Top-7 RUNS, when you mention 551. It looks more like the latter while your note suggests its the former. [[ In reality the 10 numbers (top-7 innings and 3-bottom runs) are added and divided by 10, or whatever be the appropriate number. Ananth: ]]

    If this is indeed the case, then, ON AVERAGE, T7 yields an RpI of 78.7, while T7B3 (using average B3 total of 3.9 per Test) yields an RpI of 55.5, a difference of nearly 30%.

    Now, you could use either approach if the idea is to arrive at a Group value, and not an absolute metric for pitch quality (T7 Group ranges will be 30% add on to T7B3 ranges?).

    However, if the intent is to get a specific number, then T7 merely accounts for the top 7 innings, irrespective of who played them, while T7B3 does this, AND includes failures by the specialist batsmen in the match, which seems fairer considering the onus in Tests is on the batsmen to score runs, and to the extent that they fail, it indicates run scoring afforded by the pitch (among other things), and should not be discounted.

  • AD on January 22, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Back after a while. I second Unni and others. I had suggested the below method a while back. It still seems to be the simplest way out with perhaps some modifications. To ascertain Pitch Quality we must discount Bowling Quality and Batting Quality. In general a better Bowling Quality will result in lower runs . In general a better Batting Quality will result in more runs. This is self – evident. There will be odd examples to the contrary but over thousands of matches one would expect a direct corelation to these qualities. For eg. If the avg. of avgs of Top 5 batsmen of Team 1 is 50, one would expect them to score 250 runs. This would be especially true over a large sample set and not individual matches ( which is why this quoting of individual matches such as Warners 180, Inzys 329 etc and trying to incorporate odd examples is an incorrect approach.) If this figure (of 250 runs in the eg. Above )varies this is generally due to 2 reasons – bowling quality and pitch quality. But bowling quality is already being factored into the current method being used –so there is double counting. Facing a WI indian attack at their peak will result in fewer runs being scored than facing a Parsi gymkhana attack over a large sample set– irrespective of pitch quality. So, to discount Bowling and batting quality we require the foll. Approach: 1) Determine what the batting team would have “normally “ have scored – Either using the avgs of batsmen who actually batted or the top 5 etc. or actual individual averages. So, a)if the avg of avgs of the Top 5 batsmen is 50- then on average they would score 250 runs. b) We can use actual averages in the method as well and simply compute the “expected” runs in neutral conditions: Top 5 avgs. – 50,45,50,55,60 =260 runs normally scored. 2) Determine the bowling quality faced in the match. In the above eg. We determine the avg. BQI of all bowling faced in a players career span. If this avg. is say 40 – then we use this as a baseline – because his batting avg. is based on this figure as well. So, in the above eg if the BQI faced was 30 then using a simple linear ratio we use 30/40 * 50 = 37.5 as the expected batting avg. of avgs. Since we are using the same method for all batsmen the actual method should not matter. The expected runs scored by the top 5 would then be 5 *37.5 = 187.5 (Or is using the sum of individual batting averages 30/40 *260 = 195 , in the above eg.) 3) We only Then use the actual runs scored. If the actual runs scored are higher than 187.5 (or 195 depending on the method used), this would indicate and easier pitch quality and vice versa.

    This seems to be the only way to extract Pitch quality – otherwise we will definitely be double counting Bowling quality- and pumping up batsmen in good bowling units and poor batting units and vice versa.

  • Anshu N Jain on January 22, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    In fact, whether it is innings or partnerships, it should be a % of such instances in THE match, and not a pre-fixed number, that should be used for deriving the pitch quality metric, a point i had made in the previous article on Pitch Quality alone.

    Taking the top 5 scores from each team suffers from the same malady as taking the top scores in the entire match, though to a lesser extent. It is, however, just as unrepresentative of all performances, particularly from the specialist batsmen.

    And finally, whatever method is used, it should not be to "fix" apparent individual problems, a point earlier made by Milpand. If the method works in the aggregate, it is good enough. No matter what method is finally used, there will be exceptions whose cases can be pushed.

    Will reiterate the point that unless a few batsmen have consistently put in such performances so as to be unduly "penalised" for outperforming, there is no need to "fix" the method.

    Look forward to others' views.

  • Anshu N Jain on January 22, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    I am also taken in with Arjun's idea of a partnership based pitch quality metric, and concur with his assertion of a difficult pitch affording less chances for significant partnerships.

    Here is what I suggest: 1. As before, account for both top some (from all wickets) and bottom few partnerships (from the top 7 wickets). Teams will rarely be cavalier in throwing their wickets away for cheap (both teams wont do it in the same match; in not more than 1 inning out of the possible 4 in a match; usually never in eventually drawn games etc.) 2. Consider at least 50% of the total number of partnerships in the match for a meaningful metric. (As per point 1 above, split these in a 70-30 ratio from top (all wickets) amd bottom (top 7 wickets)). 3. Finally, both individual scores and partnerships should not be included in the same analysis to maintain consistency and objectivity.

  • Anshu N Jain on January 22, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    Trying to understand if T7B3 RpI is really the same as T7 RpI:

    It is, if a relative view is taken rather than an absolute one, meaning that ranges across T7 and T7B3 are analogous, and a definite number to explain pitch quality is not required. This will then lead to labelled groups having to be added together for the final analysis.

    It is not, if the resulting pitch quality metric has to have a definitive number attached to it, and not a relative view across ranges.

    Further, B3 is important in my view to account for underperformance from the Top 7 batsmen, whose primary (sole?) job is to make runs in tests, and to the extent that they fare poorly, it should get reflected in the overall pitch quality metric.

    So, to me, the impact of including B3 from the Top 7 batsmen is significant (the very fact that contribution from B3 is insignificant makes the resultant T7B3 significant, because it tempers down the overall RpI, making it indicative of the "average" pitch quality.)

  • Ananth on January 22, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    I have summarized below all methods which have been used and in front of us. Let us have some comments at the earliest. 1. Top-7 Average: The average of all top-7 batsmen. Ignored high scores made by 8-11. 2. Top-10 scores RpI: Arjun's suggestion. Catered for everything. But could not be paired directly with BPI because of non-normalized distribution. Hence the Group numbers had to be added for BPI. 3. Top-7-Bottom-3 RpIs: Anshu's suggestion. Moderated the values and got the RSI into a normal distribution. However the B-3 values are so low that there is virtually no significance. Stats are: Average of B-3 totals - 3.9 per Test, absolutely insignificant when compared to the mean of the Top-7 RpIs which is 551. So as Arjun has suggested this is really the Top-7 RpI only. The other interesting number is that only in 60 matches (3%) has the B-3 total exceeded 20 runs. Another interesting number is that in 1577 matches (Over 75% of matches) the B-3 total is 5 runs or less. So how relevant it is and what impact does it make. 4. Partnerships: Arjun has suggested this some time back and now. It will seemingly remove the impact of the lone-warrior innings. If so how many partnerships do we consider. What happens when there few partnerships or for that matter few individual scores. Do we take both partnerships and individual scores. 5. The above points become relevant when we consider the peculiar case of match # 1387 (and a few other one-innings matches). Only one innings was played, by India. India scored 485. The raw T-10 scores RpI is 44.9. Paradoxically the T7-B3 value is higher at 52.4. Since the top 7 were taken and the B-3 from Top-7 was much more than the 8-9-10 scores. So these situations have to be resolved. 6. Finally I have thrown a new possibility into the ring. 5 Top scores from each team. 7. There are some suggestions to exclude certain outliers. Not very clear how these will affect the overall numbers. I have set myself a deadline of Monday norning to finalize and go ahead with Part 2.

  • milpand on January 21, 2012, 23:32 GMT

    I agree with the suggested merits of using partnerships instead of individual scores. But I would like to include the bottom performances because T7B3 includes both extremes and a post-match measure about how easy/difficult it was to score will be incomplete if only one end is used.

    Taking equal number of performances from either team does not help RSI. A measure for 'pitch' should use overall numbers without getting influenced by the independent quality of batting and bowling units. [[ Pl see my recent posting. Ananth: ]] @Gerry_the_merry : I recently read Orwell's 1946 essay on English language - http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm - which made me think about how I write. In my head I was commenting only about Ananth's usage of '360 degree' but since the words that appear in print leave a different impression, it has to be down to the lack of presentation skills on my part and nothing else.

  • Shams Imam on January 21, 2012, 16:54 GMT

    Hi Anantha, sorry to trouble you again. I think I was not entirely clear on my last point. I meant to say that batsmen scores should be normalized after taking the batting/bowling strength into account using recent performances. The PQI could then be computed more accurately. As an example as poor as India were in the Perth Test, it is quite likely that weaker batting teams would have scored fewer runs against the same attack. Thus the PQI would be different for the two matches even if they were playing on the same/similar pitch. I understand you want PQI to be an independent metric, but it looks like computing pitch quality needs to account for quality of bowlers/batsmen at display. [[ The PQI is a reflection of what actually happened. As such the only teams which matter are the two teams on view there. Look at the other alternatives which have been put up recently in this space. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on January 21, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    Whatever method we adopt to capture the pitch quality metric, it should not be to fix exceptions such as Warner's 180, Inzy's 329 etal, unless such exceptions (a single batsman score nearly accounting for the other team's entire innings score) really arent that rare, and unless a batsman/batsmen has/have consistently put in such performances so as to be unduly "penalised" for outperforming.

    To me, it would appear that there would probably be a handful of such instances in history (less than 2-3%?), and even less in matches not involving the "minnows" (which includes India, Sri Lanka in the beginning of their cricketing history).

    Strongly concur with Milpand that for an analysis in the aggregate, there needs to be a single RSI for a test match. [[ Anshu Finally Arjun has been able to overcome his mishap and come in. Please look at his sugegstions. Partnerships. And I have also thrown in a new idea into the melting pot. 5 top from one team + 5 top from the other team. Just trying out alternatives. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on January 21, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    @ Alex and Ranga

    I suggest you guys shouldn't jump to conclusions about SRT. There is no reduction in ability - more than anything else, it is his quest for the 100th hundred that has kept him from playing a long innings - however much he might deny it in the press. Let him get the century, and you will forget that he was in middling form - because he isn't. Two instances of his nervousness are his 94 in Mumbai (a nothing shot after a fabulous morning) and 80 on a shirtfront in Sydney. This was seen at the Oval as well. It is clear that he suffers from nerves after reaching 70 or so.

    About6 Laxman, I only hope he gets a big one in Adelaide, and quits voluntarily immediately afterwards. He does not deserve to be thrown out, and he has nothing left to offer in terms of what he can do.

    And Alex, I would like to know why (and from where) you say that Dravid was kept in the side for Tendulkar's career. Sounds funny to me.

  • arjun on January 21, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Ananth,

    To improve RSI mehtod i have couple of suggestions...

    Instead Of Top innings if Top Partnerships are added then High Individual scores like Inzaman329, Warner180 will not lose.

    It has been observed that on a tough wicket it is very difficult to built long partnerships. Similarly on flat track there are lots of big partnerships.

    Another fault that needs to be corrected is that of Fixed number 10. In some test only 15-20 innings are played and in some Test all 44 innings are played. Instead of Fixed 10 we should take Fixed % of innings say; one-third or half.

    New RSI could be TOP one-third partnerships of a Test Match.

    Arjun. [[ Points to ponder. I wish your computer had not crashed and you were able to come in earlier. Let me see. I am not going to rush. While digesting your valid points, what about a new one from me. Top 5 of one team + Top 5 of the other team. This will temper down the totals somewhat in lopsided matches. Ananth: ]]

  • arjun on January 21, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    Ananth,

    T7B3 method is virtually Top-7 innigs of the Match. Bottom 3 innings will probably include a duck and couple of single digit scores. In most cases that would add upto 15-20 runs. Of the 2000 odd test match how many tests have B3 less than 20 runs ?

    Arjun. [[ Yes, that is true. In over 90% of matches the total is less than 20. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on January 21, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    @ Alex: Very good observation abt SRT - he cant last 150+ balls anymore. Another sad fact is the others too are unable to last 150+ balls or score runs at a decent clip. SRT is batting the same way as he did when he was at his peak, but pre 1996, SRT's highest score was 179 (made in a minefield). Outside the Subcontinent, it used to be 148. It was only since 1996, when the other members of fab 4 arrived did he really push it up. Otherwise he had lots of cameos and glorious knocks of style, but rarely of substance. He was always comfortable against pace but he never could play a long innings.

    In the hindsight, he could have quit tests to prolong his ODI career where he could still play around 20 ODI/yr and let the youth play another 20/yr. His chances of 100th 100 is bright there, irrespective of the attack, due to field restrictions and him being an opener. He should have quit tests in 2010 when he scored his 50th Test ton

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 21, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    Ananth, of the two issues 1) whether T7B3 is correct or penalizes the weak bowling attack batsmen and vice versa and 2) David warner 180 type of innings not getting recognition, let me only comment for now on the second...

    I am saying that you dont need to do anything more than take out the top match score, in Warner's case, 180. After this whatever RSI comes out shoudl apply for all batsmen. If you end up calculating RSI for every innings, you would be departing from the main objective, which is to have a pitch quality, which must be a single number. [[ Match top score still does not strike me as correct. Mainly bacause almost all top innings would not come into the picture. As I have told Aditya, over 300 of the 311 200s would go out. Ananth: ]]

    Having relative merit established for each innings would be appropriate as you say, for an innings rating. For this exercise, would recommend a single number per match, which can be calculating by X-ing out match top score.

    Milpand, I was not one of the readers all those months back who asked for pitch quality. As a standalone analysis yes, but not as part of batsmen across bowler groups article. But Ananth has managed somehow...

  • Alex on January 21, 2012, 2:21 GMT

    Ananth: Wish you a great 2012!

    1. I have been away from the blog and hence not able to comment on your methodology & results. It seems to have flaws though. E.g., Viv scoring 82% tough runs does not sound right. He scored plenty against woeful attacks of Ind & Eng. I suspect WI's superior bowling makes his pitches looks bowler friendly, thereby bumping his runs up a category or two. Likewise with Ponting. The logic runs reverse way for Lara but with the same result of bumping his runs up a category. [[ Wish you and your family also a very happy 2012. Alex, the real tough categories are only the first two. Here the third has been included. I did it in a generous mood. So the real tough categories are Platimum and Gold. In these two, in the revised calculation, Richards has scored 31.6% of his runs. It would be a good idea to remember that. In fact I think I should I should look at three groups, the tough (Platinum+Gold), the challenging (Silver) and the easy (Bronze+Tin). That will take away this line questioning of 82%. Ananth: ]]

    2. Dravid was kept alive in 2008 to be fed as a scapegoat to extend SRT's career. So, I doubt if he will go out now. He will probably be given 1 more year, i.e., about 8 more tests. Unless VVS pulls a 150+ in 4th test, he is gone now. Over the last 10 tests, SRT has averaged 42. This is his worst ever phase, bar 2006. The stark reality is that he cannot last 150 balls/innings anymore. Ind's fault is with goal setting & preparation ... forget others, Fletcher must go now.

  • milpand on January 20, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    A batsman scored within +/-25% of his career average once every seven innings. He would fail to reach half his career average in every second innings. It is well known that he exceeded his career average in *only* 29 of his 80 innings. His highest score was 30 in 29 other innings.

    99.94 - Iconic number encapsulating ten double hundreds (three of those were 334, 309, 299*) as well as 14 single digit scores (which include seven ducks.) [[ The other batsman who has done sim ilarly is Lara. 400/375/277 are offset by a string of low single-digit scores. Ananth: ]]

    *Average* will tone down either extremes. The 80 scores by Bradman and 44 possible scores in a test match are not similar, but I am equally happy with both the career average of a batsman and T7B3 for a test match.

  • milpand on January 20, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    - It is true that we come around 360 degrees -

    Apologies for bringing up a light hearted comment in the middle of serious process review. Coming around 360 degrees means starting exactly where you were before. Coming around 180 degrees means taking the opposite stance. [[ I feel we have come 270 degrees. Ananth: ]] If readers had asked to include the pitch factor earlier and now one of them wants to discard pitch conditions, then we have only turned 180 degrees. 50 as average of 0 & 100 rewards/punishes both performances. This extremely simplistic example is stated simply to highlight the statistically obvious that -average- tones down outliers. So we should take the resulting numbers based on averaged performances in our stride. I would not like to use a more complex process to fix an 'apparent' problem.

  • Aditya Nath Jha on January 20, 2012, 19:08 GMT

    Removing the batsman and calculating the RSI - just like you and Gerry - had caught my fancy too. It can work (i know its complex). But my thoughts are a bit different. one, i dont think we should be combining the 2 indices. 2 reasons -one is a pre match index (bqi) and the other a post match (rsi). two - bqi impacts rsi. a different arguement is that i feel should NOT deny the historical nature of the ground. Yes, pitches have changed - but if you treat grounds as bowlers, with ctd data and recent form data, we will not be out of the ball park. the real issue of conditions - i feel - is not the oitch, but the weather. a wet morning at old trafford could make arnold and old unplayable but the next day may not have been so bad. an extention to this are the uncovered pitches WHEN it rained. my guess is that while these stick in our memories, as a percentage of total matches, they are pretty small. and they can be isolated by their scorelines and adjusted for. but please go ahead with p2. [[ Probably what is needed is an in-depth grounds analysis, posting averages and then looking for out-of-the-normal situations: how often, any cycle etc, Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on January 20, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    Dear Anantha, my first request to you would be to go ahead with the part 2 of this analysis exactly as you had planned. I - and many moe - are looking forward to it. Irrespective of the questions some of us are asking, it promises to be a great set of stats. [[ Yes, will do. The tables are so huge that special formatting is needed. Will post within 2/3 days. Ananth: ]]

    Let me comment on the RSI in a separate post!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 20, 2012, 16:45 GMT

    Ananth, if it is complex, so be it. Excluding the batsman being evaluated is the extreme case of comlexity where there will be potentially 44 RSI per match, but you are seemingly game to tackle this (god only knows how).

    But the weak bowling team batsman being disadvantaged (e.g.Tendulkar) still bothers me. Here is a possible solution. Take the top 6 scores (regardless of not outs) from the match for each team. Compute the averages SEPARATELY for each team. Take the average of the average. This becomes the RSI. This method will give equal weightage to scores of both teams.

    For instance take 4th test of India - Pak in 1982-83 (painful to remember, Pak 581-3, won by an innings). Pak avg score would be 581/5 = 116.2 India top 6 avg would be 58.5. Average would be 87.4.

    Now to tackle the 44 RSI complexity, just exclude Miandad 280*. Leave all other scores intact. Then it would be (301/4 + 58.5)/2 = 66.5. This single number is good enough. No need for 44 RSIs.

    You think this will work? [[ First thing is then we get the initial problem. Sandhu's 71 is excluded even though this innings is the top Indian score. Also the exclusion of Miandad's 280 makes the 231 the only relevant score. I am not sure about it. On my exclusion of the batsman score, for Miandad it will be (231+71+64+61+60+58+37+0+0+0)/10=58.2. For Amarnath it will be (280+231+71+64+60+37+25+0+0+0) /10 = 76.8. What this will do is to increase the value of Miandad's innings as compared to Amarnath's. For Vishwanath it will be still higher, around 83. So successes will be recognized and failures pulled down. However I am beginning to feel that this is a perfect Innings Ratings analysis tev=chnique. We want Miandad's 280 to be given credit. For the Pakistani and the Indian teams, the current T7B3 value of 82.5 (rather easy batting track) looks okay. Although the Pakistani RpI is 116 (and the RpW is 194), the Indian batsmen have pulled it down to a reasonable 82. Ananth: ]]

  • Shams Imam on January 20, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Hi Anantha, thank you for the amazing work. I'm very pleased to see some of my suspicions backed up by numbers. Looking forward to next installment. I once started similar work trying to compare batsmen using the ICC ratings, but had to give due to the huge amount of work involved and lack of time. You've inspired me to give it a try once again. I was struggling to figure out how to include 'pitch conditions' and your technique gives me a nice way. My only (small) criticism is that you include career averages of bowlers which suffer from the same problems as looking at aggregate runs/averages of batsmen. Something that takes recent performances into account, like the ICC ratings does, would be better. [[ I do this type of work for the Idea Cricket Ratings which is published in Cricinfo itself. There I do Ratings work for players for 1 year and 5 years. Ananth: ]]

  • Obelix the Fat on January 20, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    Hi Can this analysis be applied to individual innings so we can have an idea which was the best played ? [[ In Part 2 I am only going to come out with a list of top innings played against Platinum and Gold conditions. However I will do the copmplete Innings Ratings work later in which this analysis would be a cornerstone. Many other factors would come in. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on January 20, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    My apologies Ananth; my intent in my previous comment was not to deride the % of career runs metric as such, but only in the context of the analysis affording any sort of meaningful comparison between/among players.

    Of course, the % of career runs against various bowling groups does help make absolute statements such as Atherton, Gooch, Ramprakash etal. having made a lion's share of their runs in tough situations.

    Whats your take on this: In as much as the top scorer is penalised for outperforming, so are the underperformers because their performance is held up against a now higher RpW. If top score outlier is excluded, the others gain as much as the top scorer gains, relatively speaking. Essentially, it evens out.

    Further, if the RSI were determined for each batsman uniquely (in each innings to boot), it would suggest that each batsman was up against a different, unique situation. This is suited to an innings rating analysis for batsmen, and not an aggregate performance. [[ In a quirky way what you are saying is exactly what the learned commentators would say "He is playing on a different wicket !!!". It is true that Warner played on a different wicket. If you take away his innings, the three innings become 161/10, 169/9, 161/10. So he would be deemed to have played in a difficult wicket. However Ponting would have deemed to have played on an easier wicket. But you are correct in that I should do exactly this in my Innings Ratings. Warner should there not lose any valuation. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 20, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    Ananth, I too thought of the exclusion of the innings of the batsman being evaluated from the MT10/T7B3 but resisted the temptation of proposing it because i think while you may overcome the complexity, and so will most readers eventually (we only have to read and understand, much easier than your task of executing), the result will further move the analysis into groups rather than simple averages.

    When you started out in May 2011, the results were easy to interpret, since 20-29, group 5, was instinctively an average of bowling averages, hence one could immediately grasp.

    While grouping using MT10/T7B3 and BQI will be objective, apart from my discomfort at seeing weak bowling team batsmen penalized and vice versa, i think the perception of subjectivity in the analysis will get strengthened. Hence i still propose dropping RSI/T7B3 altogether from this analysis and keeping it for a separate piece of work. [[ Gerry, we should not generally worry aabout the level of complexity. You guys are the special breed, probably well below 1000, who would make all efforts to understand and appreciate. I also make all efforts to validate my calculations. One reason why I was not able to accept Unni's idea, in view of the inherent complexity. However I was able to take Anshu's directly and Aditya's indirectly since I was able to do the work with certainty. Let me also assure you the that First/Second innings delta has been incorporated in the Run-weighted calculations. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on January 20, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    cont...

    Comparing batsman performance to peer performance is eminently suited to an innings rating analysis.

    To me, % of career runs scored against a particular group (platinum, gold, etc.) is a poor, and possibly irrelevant, basis for comparing, and trying to rank, different batsmen. What would matter to me is 1) the comparison of batting averages within the same group (e.g. Greg Chappell and Gary Sobers against Platinum) 2) for the same batsman, comparison of his batting average against different groups (e.g. Kallis's average against Platinum, Gold, Silver etc.)

    Any other outcome of the analysis would, to me, appear meaningless.

    Would love to read Unni/Aditya/Vikram's thoughts. [[ Anshu The % of batsman career runs was only the first salvo fired. Since there were 10 groups I could not immediately fit in the Runs/Inns/NOs data elements. Now that we have got the T7B3 worked out and the BPI group is only 5, I have been able to fit in 5 group elements of Runs/Inns/NOs. The tables are perfect for comparison across peers. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on January 20, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    Overall, I feel the standard of pitches and bowling have become easier to bat on . . . Of course, these days the trend appears to be reversing, with scores of 47, 98, et al . . However, how much of that is due to incisive bowling as much as inept batting is left to be seen . . .

    For that matter, the modern greats do have just about less than or about 50% (Incl the Indian greats, Ponting,Hayden, etc) against top bowling, indicating that there were so many walk-in-the-park games, bowlers and pitches. Even SRT's 146 v SAF in 2010-11 had Steyn and Morkel, yes but also Tsotsobe and the rest . . See off Steyn and you have all those runs a la carte. Barring Aussies of 1995-2008, none of the other teams could field 4 bowlers whose averages were <30. For an opener, Hayden's proportions were actually sub-par (openers do face the toughest conditions by and large).

    May be the latest technique of Ananth might throw different light . .

  • Anshu N Jain on January 20, 2012, 5:15 GMT

    initial thoughts:

    For each batsman, the BQI is determined by the bowling attack faced by the ENTIRE team. This averaging determines what each batsman in the team was up against in terms of Bowling Quality, regardless of who, and how often, they might have actually faced.

    Of course, this is necessitated due to data unavailability.

    On the point of the top score outlier, in as much as the top scorer is penalised for outperforming, so are the underperformers because their performance is held up against a now higher RpW. If you were to exclude the top score outlier, the others gain as much as the top scorer gains, relatively speaking. Essentially, it evens out.

    Further, for each test, if the RSI were determined for each batsman uniquely (in each innings to boot), it would suggest that each batsman was up against a different, unique situation. This is suited to an innings rating analysis for batsmen, and not an aggregate performance against varying situations. cont...

  • Ananth on January 20, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    Anshu / Aditya / Unni, I am not unduly bothered by the stronger bowers - weak batsman theory. That is a natural progression to players playing in stronger teams. However I realize that in the composite Bowler-Pitch grouping there is one inherent weakness. It is that a player scoring big in an otherwise medium-scoring match is penalized. (e-g) Warner's 180 and Inzamam's 329. They were way ahead of the others and pull themselves down a bit in this analysis. I rejected Aditya's eminently-correct idea of taking away the top score outlier since that would have taken away a thousand top scores out completely. A few days back, at 4 AM, I though of one alternative and dismissed the same as too complex. Let me resurrect it now and look for comments from you guys and other readers. WHAT IF, WHEN I DO THE WORK FOR A BATSMAN, I TAKE AWAY ONLY THE BATSMAN'S INDIVIDUAL SCORE OUT OF THE CALCULATION. IN OTHER WORDS IN THE PERTH FIRST INNINGS, TAKE AWAY WARNER'S 180 AND CONSIDER THE T7B3 INNINGS FROM THE REST. This will benefit the batsman who played in the zone and not spare the other low scorers. This is quite complex since it means calculating things at the batsman level. Let me see how this can be done. Let me also say that this will be done by innings. In other words if a batsman scored 150 and 10, there would be two different sets considered for the batsman, one excluding the 150 and the other excluding 10. My gut feel is that it would work very well.

  • Vikram on January 20, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    I agree with a few posters here. While in concept it is a very detailed analysis, and I applaud you for the thought and rigour, it will penalize batsmen with poor bowling units and give greater weightage to batsmen with very good bowling units. Carl Hooper was one of my fav batsmen, but he is definitely getting the benefit of having some bowling giants on his side who make a silver/bronze group a platinum/gold group. The results make me happy but is definitely not the truth. Similarly, Miandad will get the benefit of having Imran in his side who ensured that the overall scores were low. Also, it punishes the Don by making his own scores work against him. I also believe that a lot of discussions don't differentiate between best batsman and most valuable batsman. Laxman's 3rd innings heroics may make him a very valuable batsman, but he definitely is not among the best batsmen in India, leave alone the world. Classy - yes, valuable-yes, best- no. Overall, a thought-provoking article. [[ Vikram, I like the way you have made your point. Even the negative reaction has been made with style and in a positive manner. I have partly addressed your concerns. Pl look for my suggestions later in the day. Ananth: ]]

  • Obelix the Fat on January 19, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    I wrote something to post in the comments last night and I'm not sure if I actually hit the "post" button, I was caught up with your analysis. I like this analysis it justifies what I have been thinking to myself: a) Tendulkar and co. make cheap runs and are terribly overrated b) Javed Miandad, Greg Chappell and Gooch are underrated c) Lawry and Simpson are terribly underrated. I looked at Australian World XI's and I see names like Hayden in it and I used to laugh. Well I have stats to backup my thoughts thank you.

    One surprising thing, Mark Waugh is higher rated than Steve Waugh and Allan Border, wow that is a revelation. But when you think about it Mark did make runs on some pitches Steve didn't for example Perth. But then again you have to look at the Platinum runs and that shows a different picture :) . Loved that Kallis got some vindication, too much crap talk about him was being thrown around. I guess people will only truly recognize him when he is gone.

  • Ranga on January 19, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    While the subcontinental batsmen have got lower numbers, an unsung hero would be Miandad who has got reasonable figures for a subcontinental batsman for the Platinum and Gold groups (Top 2). One thing I would reiterate here is that Pakistan was the best Sub continental team (probably "is" too) that toured Aus, Eng and Win. When I was doing the scorecard exercise that was something so striking. If you look at the two top Pakistanis in the list, Javed and Inzy both have close to 60% against the top group (though there is no thumb rule, for Batsmen 1,2,3 65% would be a good benchmark and batsmen 4,5,6 55% would be a good benchmark - no thumb rule though). Pakistan did compete more than adequately in England & Aus not just through bowling but with batsmen who had the guts and character. However, one thing could be that when Pak played Zim, Bangla & NZL, they dismissed them more often for paltry scores and hence Pak batsmen didnt have opportunity to score more against these opponents [[ In the revised table Javed has crossed 60% and Inzamam gone below 50%. But in general there are lower numbers for the top-3 groups. Ananth: ]]

  • unni on January 19, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    Ananth, I'm not intending to answer your questions as they can be easily answered by a question with sufficient logic. To answer generally, yes, negative numbers will come and that is what is intended. I can't explain all that in 1000 characters. My point is that the current RSI values do not consider the batsman skills and the bowler skills. This is OK, in your last article since it was just an indicative measure. When it comes to the topic of batsman's skill to phase 'difficult' conditions, I'm afraid this is a bad measure to combine with bowler quality which is a fine quantity.(In whatever manner you combine it). Now what happens is that good batsmen from great bowling teams get high weightage if they perform according to their normal skill on normal pitches, because bowlers would have pulled down the RSI considerably. That might explain people like Daryll Cullinen or Richie Richardson have boosted their positions. And the batsmen from lesser bowling team gets penalized equally. [[ Unni, please do the three matches as I have requested for. Let me look at it and do it as an independent exercise. Ananth: ]]

  • sganesh18 on January 19, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    Anantha,

    I have been stuck by a point. Why is it that the leading Batsmen of the 1960's do not feature to any extent in the above analysis ? The only names in the above tables that have players of the 60's are Sobers and May ( to an extent). Was the average Batting levels mediocre in the decade ? [[ Come to think of it, who were the great batsmen of the 1960s??? Ananth: ]]

    The other point is that if you analyse the tables above of batsmen with above 73% runs against high quality attacks it has an equal number of aggressive players like Richards, Botham and Defensive players like Atherton, J G Wright etc. This is against normal conversational logic that players with strong techniques will do better in tougher conditions . Any light on this ? [[ The very point you have rauised confirms the robustness of this algorithm. And anyhow who can say that Richards did not have the correct technique. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 19, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    1) To Meety's point, Australia also had a tough attack during Ricky Ponting's time. But Ponting's tough runs % is 52%. He too did not make easy runs. So Richards's being at 82% is still not adequately explained. [[ There is no need to explain that. Pl peruse Richards' scorecards and see the opponents and the scores. You will get it. You are again missing the point. It is that 82% of Richards' s career runs are scored against the top 60% of conditions. That is all. Look at it as 22% above and it will begin to make sense. Also this may not be 60% for Richards. He might very well have faced the top three attacks 70% of his career. Ananth: ]]

    2) But if true, Ananth, then a strong bowling team would elevate the batsman's tough runs %. Correspondingly, in weak bowling teams (one of which may be India), there would be batsmen negatively impacted on tough runs %. For once, I would agree with supporters of one such batsman.

    3) Dont kill me for this, but here is a radical suggestion. Drop RSI altogether. Let it be a separate analysis. Not for Batsmen across bowler groups. The important objective would have been to isolate pitch quality as a factor, but there could be big variations during a match, between teams, because of match situation, and i dont think it is easy to isolate pitch quality at all. [[ It is true that we come around 360 degrees. Pl refer back to the May/June articles and the nearly 1000 comments. Half of these were that I had ignored the nature of pitch. Ananth: ]]

  • Mani on January 18, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    Dear Anantha,

    I have a question on arriving at the BPI. By summing up the BQI and RSI, we are equating the combinations like (5,1) and (3,3). I feel a (3,3) combination will be a tougher batting condition than the (5,1). Again, just a gut feel. Is there an alternate way of arriving at the BPI. I can think of product/sum which will yield the BPI for (3,3) as 1.5 (instead of 6) placing it above the BPI for (5,1) as 0.8. Again, this method has its own flaw where (2,2) will be considered as a tougher batting condition than the (5,1). Somehow I feel we should be looking at a better way of arriving at the BPI instead of just summing these factors. [[ Pl refer to recent comments and my responses. Anshu's suggestion of GM seems to take care of all situations. Ananth: ]]

  • unni on January 18, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    Finally the Innings Pitch Contribution IPC = BaPC - BoPC. Do the same for all innings, and take the average. This gives the proper RSI after discounting the batsmen and bolwer skills. This is the basic idea. This can be extended to the strike rate as well in a similar way(I didn't understand if you got rid of the strike rate finally). Also, the BoA can be finetuned to BQI etc. [[ Unni Suggestions should be simple, easy to implement and testable. A suggestion like Anshu's GM I embrace instantly because of the inherent benefits, outlined in aniother response. Your suggestions open many questions, a few of which are listed below. 1. What do we do about batsmen who did not bat. 2. What about bowlers who do did not bowl. 3. What do we take: ctd or career or home/away averages. 4. What about India 410 for 1. The RpW is 410. This will throw everything out. 5. One thing I forgot to mention earlier is the profusion of subtractions. What do I do when I get negative numbers. 6. Why go by innings. That would lead to these conclusions. Take SCG. India RpW 19, bowler-friendly wicket. Australia RpW 160, flattest of tracks. India RpW 40, easy track. This is not what I want. That is the advantage of looking at the match. You should work the numbers for three matches. MCG, a very normal match. SCG, not-so-normal a match. Lahore 2006, an outrageous match. Then let us see.

    Ananth: ]]

  • unni on January 18, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    Regarding my point on double-counting. [Suggestions are welcome.] I re-read the pitch quality index again. And I see the problem as even bigger. The post-priori calculated index doesn't discount either the batsman skills or the bowler skills. So, my suggestion is as given below. My main idea is that the Runs scored per person (whether with 10 batasmen or 7 batsmen or average or just by number of people batted) depends on 3 things. The batsman's skill, the bowler's skill and the pitch support. So, we need to discount the batsman skill factor and bowler's skill factor from whatever RSI measured so far above to bring it on par. To do this, a crude way is : Let BaA be the combined average batting average of the batsman in a team and let BoA is the combined average bowling average. Let RPW be the runs per wicket in a SINGLE INNINGS. Now, the Batsman pitch contribution BaPC = RPW - BaA. Similarly bowler picth contribution BoPC = RPW - BoA. [contd]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on January 18, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Dear Anantha, on the geometric mean method of combining bqi and rsi - may i suggest another way? you may just index both and add them up and group them. [[ The Index seems similar to the Group concept. The GM has many benefits. It is ALWAYS a number between the smaller and arithmetic mean values. As the difference between the two numbers increases, it moves closer to the smaller number. And we never get out-of-the-range values. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on January 18, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    Thanks Ananth,

    The final groups now are a lot more palatable than what seemed to me to be a somewhat vague addition of group types in the earlier method(talking about the process and not the outcome). The bonus is that a normal distribution has resulted.

    With this, and the averages/n.o. innings for batsmen against each group, i can foresee a lot of interesting views coming in.

    As in one of your previous articles, since the BPI is available for each innings, a measure of some kind of "weighted" runs could throw open several possibilities for rating/ranking etc. [[ A run-weighted BPI is always on the cards. Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on January 18, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    Dear Anantha, one of the joys of this blog is that one can argue as long as one has no vested interest or pet player to push! Since I have neither, let me argue further. Taking the Perth test, of the 21 innings played by the T7 batsmen, 18 were below 47. So purely from data - was it a 48.2RpW pitch in which 75% of the batsmen underperformed or was it a 21.1 RpW pitch on which 3 batsmen excelled? I am not denying the truth of Warner's innings but my point is that IF there is an outlier, then the outlier distorts the data (and gets punished for it ironically). What a 21.1 RpW says about innings score is that you will have a likelihood of 150/7 plus tail contribution PLUS one possible outlier innings from one of your top batsmen. That's what the Perth match was about (for both teams). This method doesn't impact uniformly high scoring or low scoring matches but it does correct, or so I believe, matches in which a few innings triumphed. [[ Aditya, In general I concur with you on taking off the outliers. However that is too drastic a step here, irrespective of how many examples you come out with. Around 300 of the 311 200+ scores will be left out. About 75% of the 100s will be left out. I cannot convince myself that this is the right step solely so that certain high-scoring batsmen's groups are pegged higher. As and when I come to the Innings Ratings I have to find the correct methods to offset this seeming lack of recognition. I have done that before. It is easy to see the impact of, three innings, say Laxman/Bradman/Warner. However I am not able to contemplate the effect on some other innings. Let me take Inzamam's 329. Let me also take the T7-B3 method since I have already decided on that. The current RpI is 69.1. The composite B-P-I value for the Pakistan innings, based on the GM method, is 53.6 and the group is 2. I think this is perfect seeing that the innings scores were 643, 73 and 246. If I take away the 329, the B-P-I will change to 38.8 and probably Group 4. No way is this a level-4 inings. Shoaib Akhtar scores a comfortable 37. This will also have a major negative impact on the bowler analysis which will follow. Currently the 1976 Oval Test innings of England are pegged at 2. So Holding's two efforts are placed right there at the top. If I take away Richards' 291, this may go to 3 or 4. Not a match with scores of 687/8, 435, 182/0 and 203. The Richards innings sets the group correctly. This means that I am not going to do something the impact of which is mostly unknown. Laxman might lose out on the 281. However he will certainly gain on the 96. That is the way it will pan out. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on January 18, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Anshu I have done the RSI based on T7-B3 method. And then computed the BPI as the GM of Bqi and Rsi. I have uploaded the Excel file and given below the link. Looks like this is the solution. Before I rush off into various tables let me ask you and the other readers to look at this table. The SD/Mean all look okay. The distribution into 5 groups has also come out very well. Now there are only 5 groups. No combinations. Ananth http://www.thirdslip.com/misc/PitchBow.xls

  • Nitin Gautam on January 18, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    Ananth:- Just read your piece on VVS. couldn't agree more. going by the performance (published by rajesh in cricinfo) its Sahwag who should be shown the door 1st as the bigger prob here is next overseas tour is after 2 years & if Sahwag (who again vl score truckload of runs in India) is sent on those tours, he will be a sitting duck.Sahwag should be dropped & VVS should be give solitary series to play & proper test player rahane, mukund etc should be plugged in if BCCI hopes not not receive such drubbing again. Having said that, RD 1st & than SRT must start planning life after cricket so as to remain as the player we all have respected & loved

    Indian batsmen outside subcontinent since Feb 2008 (Excl Zimbabwe) Batsman Tests Runs Average S.R. 100s/50s Sachin 13 1192 51.82 53.98 3/6 Rahul 16 1314 46.92 40.30 4/6 Gautam 11 933 44.42 43.41 2/5 VVS 16 1018 36.35 48.61 1/9 MSD 15 753 31.37 57.56 0/7 Raina 8 343 22.86 49.56 0/4 Sehwag 11 443 21.09 74.95 0/2 Bhajji 11 343 20.17 69.85 0/2

  • Aditya Nath Jha on January 18, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    Dear Anantha, I have a suggestion and a query regarding the calculation of RSI. Suggestion: whichever method you use (top 7 batsmen, top 10 innings etc), remove the highest and the lowest score and then calculate based on the rest. It just eliminates outliers (if any) from the data set and gives a truer representation. We don't want to punish the outliers (Bradman's 270 is a great example). Query: Based on the method used, there can be a significant change in the RSI of a particular test. Let me take Laxman's 281 test. If you take the score of the top 7 designated batsmen from both sides in both innings, they scored 1228 runs (RpW 43.85). If you remove the 2 outliers (281 and 0), 947 runs were scored by 26 wickets (RpW 36.42). If you take the top 10 innings in the match, they scored 989 runs (RpW 98.9). Depending on the approach, the match can be anywhere from Group 0 to group 5. And this is not an isolated incident. This will happen if one or two players' scores impact the match. [[ Aditya, I looked at this but diismissed it as too radical. In the Perth Test the current Top-10 RpI is 54.5 indicating this to be a 400 pitch. However in the Anshu-suggested T7-B3 the value is 48.2 indicating that this is a 350 pitch which is what I think it is. If we take away Warner's 180, the numbers become 40 and 27. These are 275 and 225 run pitches. That is not the case. I know all the batsmen who top-scored in the matches will lose out slightly. However leaving out the highest score seems to be too radical. Warner is reality, just as Bradman and Laxman were. We cannot really be planning for individual situations, however many there are. Please note that the T7-B3 has normalized the values quite a lot. Finally let us look at it carefully. What type of pitch is the one where the scores have been 445, 171, 657/7 and 212. The T7-B3 gives an RSI of 85.2 which is a true indication of the easy nature of the pitch. Laxman's innings will get its boost through the good bowling he faced. Let me also finally say. As and when I do the final Innings Ratings, this will be only be one of the four cornerstones. The other contextual factors will give the innings its primacy. As would Bradman's 270. As would Warner's 180. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on January 18, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    T7B3 includes 'failures' and is more representative. On a high scoring pitch the 3 poorest performances need not be single digit and in tougher batting conditions, some of the T7 scores will be closer to B3. [[ Makes a lot of sense. In Tests normally no batsman throws his wicket away like ODI batsmen between 45 and 50 overs. So here a low score is genuine. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on January 18, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    An article that I was waiting for! Well done Ananth! Heartening to see the last of the classical or rather Proud Windians - Hooper & Richardson in the platinum group. I am surprised that Hooper made runs only at 30's when he had it in him to be well into the mid 50's. This blog has given the right credit to the deserving batsmen - in an objective and absolute fashion. I am also surprised at some comments talking about someone playing for weak or strong teams. While Top-10 inns calculation determines the conditions in which someone played, the data is just to talk about conditions and nothing more. If someone doesnt score in a match, then what is the connection between that and playing for a weak/strong team? I am sure this is not a relative ranking exercise. If someone scores 50% of their runs in tough conditions, that is the fact. Lot of openers feature in the tough groups, depicting the standards of new ball bowlers those days. [[ The problem is that people do not take the time to read the article and understand. The minute they see Tendulkar at an unfavourable situation they see ghosts and go to town. In this case they forget that the 10 scores are across the two teams and four innings. So the other team's batsmen aalso come into the equation. Also three of my favourite batsmen are Bradman, Laxman and Tendulkar. I am pained to see their low figures. But that is life. In another analysis they would come through. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on January 18, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    {The T7B3 values are very nicely distributed normally unlike the T10 values.}

    So that brings in consistency between the RSI (T7B3) and BQI groups. The range for BQI, however, is 15 to 60 if I recall correctly, and not 8 to 60 as you mention. If this is true, then the ranges dont correspond as neatly. Time to bring in the geometric mean? [[ The GM is always a welcome method. x and 2x will give 2x as per the half-weight method. GM will be 1.414x. x and 1.5x will give 1.25x. GM will be 1.22x. x and 3x will give 2x. GM will be 1.732x. So GM seems to work always. There is also a compression of values which is welcome. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on January 18, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    Boll:- apologies for including Aus in that "bowler friendly nations" comment, That was a more generalized quote considering the reputation of WACA, Gaba etc ground over the years. But I have to agree Aus pitched are the most true pitches giving gud contest between bat & ball. Anantha:-pertaining to blog, what one should make out from ongoing Eng pak match at Dubai, no. 1 test team with all batsman in form (cook, trot, KP, bell, prior:circa-last year), fearful bowling, got out at 190 odd & than not getting even a single wicket for 100 on a pitch that was not very helpful for spinners, it was more like flat. [[ Let us wait for the end of the match. Take the Perth match. At various stages it must have looked different. The final placement is a RSI (current basis) of 54.5 indicating it was a 350-pitch. The 161 and 171 were the aberrations. On the other hand Sydney was a real batting paradise (RSI of 103.7). The 191 was the aberration. Ananth: ]] Should we start calling them green track-overcast condition bully :)considering their record in Asia at least for 6-7 years. About Richards, What anyone can say which has not been said, its just another testimony to his "never doubted" greatness. however among all the players I have seen playing SRT & BCL are & will always remain the best of the best. [[ That is perfectly justified. We must always have our favourites but should have the grace to admire greatness from others. Ananth: ]]

  • Vyasa on January 18, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    Fabulous effort, Ananth. I feel cricket should move on to stats like this rather than just plain numbers. I would also love to look at 2 things: 1) Batsman's average (I think someone else has also asked for the same) in each of these groups as I feel percentage of runs is not the complete picture and there might be a few people who might sneak in. 2) How do bowlers fare with similar cutoffs? I'm curious to see a measure of bowlers in test matches analysed in the same ways as batsmen to see who might have been the most valuable players of their time? I've asked this earlier as well and I would love to see which players have done well. Eagerly awaiting more analysis, on the bowling front. All the best. Vyasa [[ The bowlers' analysis will be done. If for nothing else but to talk about Holding's effort at the Oval in 1976 (a super "Tin" pitch). I personally think it is one of the five greatest ever performances: batting and bowling combined. Ananth: ]]

  • Amrith on January 18, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    I believe it would be very worthwhile to include statistics from World series cricket on this. I believe the pitches were tough and the quality of bowling attacks were probably the best. I'm sure the number of runs scored will paint a very significant picture with WSC statistics in the mix especially platinum and gold categories because there were a lot of low scores because of extremely tough batting conditions along with really good bowling attacks. [[ I have always made my point that I think official Tests are paramount and WSC, despite its high quality, is unfortunately outside this ambit. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on January 18, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    Thought provoking article as usual Ananth. I was VERY surprised to see The Master Blaster score so much of his runs in difficult conditions (82%). I have always rated him highly, but always thought he may not of been as lethal if he had to play against his bowlers. I was wondering if the fact that often the WIndies pace attack routed the opposition, would this distort the RSI in Richards favour? (Not sure if I'm missing something in the way the formulae works). Anyways it was not a comment to knock Sir Viv, just trying to work out something that didn't quite match by preconceived ideas. [[ Andrew, you are correct on both comments. I myself was surprised to see Richards figure of 82% of his runs afainst the top 60% of attcks. The reason is multifold. One is what you have mentioned. The RSI figures are lower because of his own bowlers. The second is the quality of Australian/English bowling attacks he faced. The third is the absence of a single "minnow" opposition. Ananth: ]] Also - I suppose the pre-WWII indexes suggesting batting was easier, surprises me somewhat as I would of thought exposed pitches equal tougher batting conditions. Maybe there weren't too many cases of wet pitches happenning in Tests? Or that the bowling wasn't as strong? [[ What we are talking here (the Bradman-Hammond era) is not the pre-WW1 era which had all the characteristics you have mentioned but the in-between-wars era when batting was certainly easier. Also Bradman's penchant for high scores, in this analysis, has worked against him. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on January 18, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    Anshu I have done the work on Top-7 + Bot-3. The summary is that there is an overall 15-20% lowering of the values. The maximum drop of 25.8% was in a fantastic match in 1927 where the top-10 scores were 90, 78, 78, 77, 76, 73, 70, 69, 69, 62. The last three values were replaced by 0, 1, 1. The infamous Lahore match (#1781) between Pakistan and India had no change. Frankly I could take either value, using the Group basis. Both seem very sound. However if I want to add the two values, which is the eminently correct method, it is not possible even using the T7B3 values. The T7B3 range runs from 15.6 to 118 (while the T10 ran from 18.2 to 132). You remember the BQI runs from 8 to 60. So the T7B3 values are almost exactly double of BQI. One possibility is to add the BQI and 50% of T7B3 value. It will be perfect. Oh! I forgot to tell you. The T7B3 values are very nicely distributed normally unlike the T10 values. Let us wait for some comments. I will incorporate any changes in Part 2. I am very tempted to do what I have suggested above since I always like straight adding of base values, which both have normal distribution.

  • Aravinda R Mawendra on January 18, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    Anatha Narayanan, If a batsman scores 100 in an innings and every one else in that test scores single digit, then it would result as that batsman is very very great, right? It seems more a luck factor to me. [[ What you are talking about is one inningfs. The analysis here covers 70000 innings over 136 years. You are the one who has taken a single imaginary example and making a comment on that. Ananth: ]]

    Batsmen such as Gavaskar & Vishwanath never really had any one else in their XI ever performing (so was Lara). Even if you take the top 10 scores from both teams, it is quite probable that both teams together had only 2 or 3 good batsmen. My point is, the players who you mark as platinum, gold are the players who are "lucky" to have low-talent team mates (including the opponents). On the other hand, Tendulkar who has other good players such as Dravid, Sehwag etc during his career can never become great because others will contribute and bring his mark down. [[ Let us look at it this way. Tendulkar, until now, had the cushion of Sehwag/Gambhir above him and Dravid/Laxman below him. So he could bat in relative comfort. Why is it so difficult to accept that Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Lara had it tough. Ananth: ]] My objection (the flaw I think) is: We should not sum up relative merit scores of different exams (=test matches). Because each exam is different. If you can, please explain what I am missing, if I do. Thanks. [[ Finally I have not understood what you are objecting to. Please look at the career summaries of players like Richards, Steve Waugh, Alan Border. Did not they play in strong teams. Ananth: ]]

  • Mick Aubrey on January 17, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    I would have thought that the reason for Lara getting high results is that firstly he scored a lot of runs against high bqi such as McGrath/Warne, Murali/Vaas, Donald/Pollock, but also because the general poorness of his fellow batting colleagues, combined with a strong bowling attack for the Windies of Ambrose/Walsh probably means that pitches are getting rated as tough because there are a lot of low scoring matches. The same applies to Chanderpaul to a lesser extent. I know there is no real way to tell the difference between a tough pitch or just bad batsmen though, which is why you always encourage us to draw our own conclusions from these numbers!

  • OpEmp on January 17, 2012, 23:17 GMT

    Glad to see past greats getting their due again, particularly the West Indian greats Richards, Greenidge, Haynes, etc., who, in the aftermath of the recent Australian lineups, have been regarded as lesser batsmen in comparison.

    Also, check out Mark Ramprakash, who had to score above 90% of his runs on 10-6 style matches. Perhaps this explains why he didn't crack it at test level, more than anything else. [[ Ramprakash, and to a lesser extent, Hick, have never had it easy. This has never been understood by their critics. Ananth: ]]

  • Rana_Tigrina on January 17, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    Kim Hugh is the new Don Bradman!! Thanks to Anantha's so called analysis that just uses statistics to obfuscate the salient point and illustrate the obvious. Why dont you do simple but useful analysis like this Rajesh guy. [[ When you read a complex article, spend some time in understanding the same. If you do not understand, do not expose your ignorance by making silly comments. Better to move on to the next simple article. You could also take the trouble of looking up some 80s scorecards to see the type of bowlers faced by Hughes and the match scorecards. Else wait for the next article from my dear friend, Rajesh. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit on January 17, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    My boss keeps saying Richards was the luckiest batsman because he never had to face the WI attack. Now I can answer him. BTW, though he never deliberately underperformed, he used to get bored quite often, as many contemporaries testify. I saw a glimpse in 1987-88. After his match-winning fourth-innings century on a deteriorating pitch in the first Test, most of the second Test, on a flat wicket, got washed out. Richards came out to bat on the fourth afternoon in WI's first innings and casually went bang, bang. He was out for 37 or 38 off some 20-22 balls, if I remember right. It seemed he was relieved at getting out. There are some flaws you can like. [[ Bosses (other than the ones at home) are not always right. This will correct the felling many had that Richards had it easy not having to face his own pacemen. Ananth: ]]

  • Rafe on January 17, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    The percentage of runs made in different conditions isn't that informative. It may just reflect the country or era in which they played. A better statistic would be the batsman's batting average in each of the different conditions. I hope that you will be including this analysis soon! [[ There would be too many components for each batsman. Already I am struggling with how to present 5 groups and the related values. Also condition is a generalized word. What does it mean. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on January 17, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    Excellent article Ananth. Puts things in perspective. I think some readers might have already asked for this, but if not - It would be great to see the average of the batsmen per catergory. Percentage of runs they have scored is not easily comparable. [[ You might have read my response to some of the earlier comments. I have done the work and will see how best to put this up. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on January 17, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    Ananth, in your Laxman scapegoat article (the word file), you mention some Test Performance Index analysis that you had done. I don't think it was on Cricinfo. I would like to read it. Can I get the link? Also, it seems you have done even more kinds of analyses for some other websites. Can I know where I can access them? Thanks :)

    P.S.: Couldn't find the TPI article using my limited searching abilities/ patience. Please oblige. Thanks. [[ I had done this first in a simple way in CastrolCricket.com. Later I expanded the scope and covered all Test series. The following article appeared in "It Figures" during September 2011 after completion of the Indian tour of England. http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2011/09/an_incisive_look_at_series_col.php Ananth: ]]

  • Omer Qadri on January 17, 2012, 16:54 GMT

    hi Ananth

    i have been a fan of you blog ever since it has started. Your analysis is truly genius stuff. My friend and I have also tried our hands on cricketing analysis for the first time ever & would love to hear your feedback. it is not as deep as your analysis but just a start - and i hope to learn and improve quickly with time. please take a look and send us your feedback if you like it or even if you don't like it. Constructive criticism is most welcome! :) please take a look : www.cricketingbrains.blogspot.com [[ Will certainly look at your work. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 17, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    But Waspsting, how did he get to 82%? Since Richards did not specifically underperform against anyone, almost all the attacks/RSI he faced would have to be fairly strong. [[ Not just bowling attacks. But a combination of Pitches and Bowling attacks. And the 82% is groups 10 to 6. No point in generalizing this % to something it is not. The 82% only says that Richards scored 82% of his career runs in innings in which the sum of BQI and RSi is 10 to 6. Do not give this fact any other interpretation. Ananth: ]]

    Cant wait to see the innings wise XL file of 7300 innings - Ananth, if you post it, please if possible, include column for venue.

  • rachit on January 17, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    HI Ananth .. I will not comment on the analysis .. but have just 1 question ... The pitch on which Inzamam scored 329 against NZ ... Where will do place it on RSI ... remember NZ got out for 77 on the same pitch ... similarily for lots of other pitches ... esp in the sub continent ... Indians made merry on these pitches during the 90s where as the visiting batsmen suffered badly ... so will they be consider flat pitches or good ones ... its an age old question, which I am sure cannot be answered by data ... for me, the pitches in England/Australia cannot be bowler friendly if the english/australians average more than 50 there .... [[ It is certainly not a flat track. The Top10-RpI is only 77.7 leading to a RSI group of 2 (this is the third group from the flat track). The BQI is 2. So this innings gets a very respectable 4. I never talked of Australia as bowler-friendly. They have the fairest of pitches. New Zealand and to a lesser extent, England and South Africa are such pitches. Anyhow the analysis is not just on pitches but bowling quality also. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on January 17, 2012, 14:55 GMT

    Quick, gut level reactions based on a quick glance through.

    Harvey... have to check up on. He scored mountains of runs against SA pre-Adcock period, and against WI with weak attack. his runs dried up a bit when Eng's fast men - trueman, statham, tyson - came up, so i'm a little surprised to see him so highly placed. [[ No, Harvey is not that highly placed. It is just that he appears at the top of the Platinum tables. His tough-group % is only 65. Many batsmen are above him. This substantiates your point. Ananth: ]]

    the group that sounds most obvious is the tin group. Hammond, Weekes, Kallis, Sehwag, Compton... doesn't surprise me.

    Glad to see Viv Richards get his due. you hear a lot of talk about him not having to face his own bowlers, but the overall bowling quality in that period was high, and he scored against the lot.

  • Rajat on January 17, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    No wonder every analysis by someone is made to prove his long standing conclusion as to whom he likes more. Thats why someone with average of 41 in Aust and 33 in India and the one who destroyed the likes of Gul only ranks so high up always. [[ A cryptic comment not making much sense. But I will publish it as it is. Anyhow I like Bradman a lot. He has been pushed back quite a bit. Of course that would not be mentioned. Ananth: ]]

  • Santhana Krishnan on January 17, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    My feeling ( it's just an opinion. I have no data to back it ) is that batsmen find facing a great bowler ( Steyn ) on a flat pitch ( Chennai) far easier than an average bowler ( Tuffey ) on a green top ( Hamilton), though theoretically they seem to even things out. [[ That may very well be true. And this analysis supports that. Most of the 10/9 matches are in the batting dominated countries such as New Zealand/South Africa./England. Ananth: ]]

  • Yogesh on January 17, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    Interesting Article!

    I have noticed most of the Indian/subcontinent batsmen are featuring in easy runs column on top.

    I am afraid the writer has considered a Indian pitches/subcontinent pitches as an easy one & pitches outside subcontinent the most difficult one.

    Now Mr. Writer, i would have agree with your analysis if you have considered the home advantage for the player as they grew in similar conditions.

    Now in case of Indian batsmen or any subcontinent batsmen the runs made by them in home conditions are said to be the most easy runs as per your analysis hence batsmen outside subcontinent should have also thrived in subcontinent as well & won more matches in SubC but thats not case.

    Whats your take [[ Nothing since match results do not come in. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on January 17, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    A very belated happy New Year to everyone, and particularly to you Ananth - great to be back.

    @Nitin Gautam - my thoughts exactly. It does start to become a little redundant, but once again a wonderful ground-breaking piece of analysis from the Master.

    I do have to pick you up one point though. Ananth mentioned that the analysis may ` favour batsmen coming from bowler-dominated countries like New Zealand, England.` - no mention of Aus and South Africa as you suggest. I`ve said it before, and I`ll say it again; Australian pitches have generally been the best, fairest, and most varied in the world - and long may it continue. [[ Absolutely no disagreement. Even the Perth (so called) "monster" is only tilted in favour of the bowlers. While no one is going to score 500 in a hurry there is nothing to prevent a team with committed and quality batsmen from scoring 350, as Australia did. My feeling is that if Warner/Cowan had added only 100, the rest of the Australian batsmen would have taken them to 350. Ananth: ]]

    Surprising, but gratifying, to see IVA perform so well here, GS Chappell (@67%) and Sobers likewise.

    Richards, Greenidge, Haynes, Lloyd, Kalli, Richardson all appearing in that Top 20 - wonderful players, and far too easily forgotten by those who`ve only been watching cricket for the last 10 years,...

  • Anshu N Jain on January 17, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    {My feeling is that the value will be diluted dramatically since the lowest three are likely to be single-digit figures}

    Surely the value will be diluted. It may well, however, result in a normal distribution quite akin to the BQI (and quite possibly the same ranges, though it might be premature to say this before doing the numbers), thereby making the treatment of combining the BQI and RSI easier and more elegant, with options other than adding their respective group values. [[ Anshu, as I have mentioned, let me try this out. It is possible that the 100 or so matches with 100+ PQI values will get compressed. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on January 17, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    updating my previous comment:

    The RSI is not entirely beyond the control of the batsman... if they do well (their score(s) is(are) among the top 10 in the match as per your methodology, though i think that is better calculated as the runs per wicket of the top 7 scores in the entire match, and the lowest 3 scores by the top 7 batsmen across all innings for a more balanced view and indication of the run scoring afforded by the pitch) [[ Let me throw this idea to Arjun who, long back, was the one to suggest the top-10. My feeling is that the value will be diluted dramatically since the lowest three are likely to be single-digit figures. I can work it out for a discussion, though. Ananth: ]]

  • unni on January 17, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    I'm happy to be back with some comments. Very nice and timely analysis. All the best in restoring some meaning to the numbers. I have a comment on the method though, maybe I haven't understood the RSI properly in the last article. From whatever I understood RSI and BQI are not mutually orthogonal quantities. RSI also would contain influence from BQI. i.e, RSI is high because either the pitch is not playable or because the bowling quality was good. So, what I think is that you should offset the effect of BQI from RSI before adding them together. Otherwise it will result in double counting. [[ This point was raised in the last analysis itself. My point is that one is a pre-match estimate of bowlers' performance. The other is a post-match actualized batsmen performance. While there might be an overlap (and possible double-counting) I cannot think of any valid method of discounting one. Suggestions are welcome. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on January 17, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Interesting work, and loads to occupy the grey matter with...

    As already pointed out by Anand and Pavan, % of runs scored against different groups is not meaningful unless coupled with the % of innings against each group (totally beyond the control of the batsmen). [[ Glad to inform you and Anand/Pavan/Gerry that I have completed the first major step in working out the Tests/Inns/Avge for each group. First I had to increase the size of the player database and that has been successfully completed. Now I will post these values. Should get something out within couple of days. Ananth: ]]

    Also, I cant get my head around how to arrive at the number of innings played against each group, given that the final group type has been derived by adding two disparate quanitities. There are 2038 tests (determining RSI) and 7333 bowling attacks (determining BQI). Look forward to your updates on this. [[ They are not as disparate as it seems. Both measures are finally Runs. Ananth: ]]

    More comments to follow...

  • Nitin Gautam on January 17, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    HI Anantha

    I think by now it would have become utterly redundant for you to read "exceptional, eye opening, never thought " kind of remarks for your valuable work so I wont say that again but the feel is the same. cudos

    2ndly I feel down the line this blog might turn to be another platform for equally redundant & awkward "Lara Vs SRT vs Ponting Vs every top, talented & superior batsmen" but as you mentioned this analysis will favour the players coming from bowler friendly nations (Aus, England, SF, NZL etc), largely due to their life long playing on those tracks, I believe its more about the kind of pitches they have been playing, kind of bowlers they have faced & kind of attitude their board carry (BCCI never helped world of rainas, youvrajs, kaifs etc to grow).

    3rdly can it be argued those players greeted the opportunity of scoring runs at relatively placid pitches, week bowling with open hands & made them count more than few others [[ Nitin Both your points well made. You would notice that I have never put down any player or the runs those were made. My main point is that just a comparison of the aggregate runs is not very valid since these have been made in different conditions. And within a country note the variations. And recognize those batsmen who seem to have always played in tough conditions a la Hughes, Botham, Atherton. ANd finally recognize the greatness of Richards. Ananth: ]]

  • Tim on January 17, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Great read. It did take a couple of looks to see the different groups clearly in that first big table. [[ If you take the trouble of downloading the complete Excel files you can have hours of fun. Fleming seems to be an underrated player. Despite the better bowling opponents Martin Crowe faced, Fleming comes through slightly better. However let me add, both are way above 60% in the first three group totals. Martin at 63% and Stephen at 71%. Way, way above many other batting stawarts. Ananth: ]]

    What I'd find interesting is to see if this changed through a batsman's career, if the results can be standardized of course. Like if they started scoring a higher % in tough conditions as they progressed in their careers.

    Being a New Zealander I find it pleasantly surprising that this shows Flemming doing "better" in tough than we (NZers) think he did.

  • Anand on January 17, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    Nice analysis!

    Would it be an idea to include the matches (in number or percentage) where the said batsman had to face tough/easy conditions in terms of the pitch and attack? This might provide more clarity about the quality of bowling/pitch conditions available at the time these batsmen played and will reasonably confirm notions of flat track bully or scored runs against the attacks he had to deal with assessment of batsmen. [[ I think the time has come for bullets to be bitten and sleeves rolled up. Gerry is asking dfor average, you for Tests played and Pavan for innings. Let me try and do it for part 2 at least. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 17, 2012, 10:36 GMT

    Laxman was a brilliant batsman about whom i had the opinion that his talent was productive only when there was a worthwhile end. If a match had to be saved or won or a tense situation developed, his faculties engaged solidly.Else he got bored quickly.

    In England he played well in the first test when we faced a manageable deficit, in the second when there was a solid opportunity to take a big lead. But we faced a meaninglessly large target and that after an utterly insipid bowling display during which the fight had completely gone out of the Indian team. Laxman walked out like a lamb for slaughter in test II, second inn, and thereafter every time in that series. It looked that he had decided that there was nothing to play for. The fight seemed to go out of him.

    I see much the same thing in Australia. Such abdication of fighting spirit from him is unacceptable, but i sense it comes from being unable to inspire himself even one bit. For that Dhoni is totally to blame. [[ What you are saying that Laxman waited for a crisis to flower. Now he is not doing that even though there have been crises galore and people are asking for his head: possibly true. But then, as you infer, what are the captain/coach there for. Ananth: ]]

  • Pavan on January 17, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    Ananth, Excellent analysis as always. Can you also show the number of innings played by each batsmen for the respective category? [[ Pavan, tough. As I have mentioned to Gerry, I am desperately short of space. I need 20 extra fields, for innings and not outs, per player. I am working on it. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 17, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    Ananth, great effort. But complex presentation. Conclusions agree with intuition. Averages in the XL would help. Cannot blame some batsmen like Ponting for scoring runs against easy attacks - they may have faced good attack fewer times but averaged very high.

    Recall that in April, after your article "Batsmen against top WI and Aus attacks", you had decided to isolate averages against top attacks. Hence still waiting to see what the averages would be, but you appear to be moving in the right direction. [[ Average is tough. Because of 20 extra fields for innings and notouts. Let me see. Ananth: ]]

    Cannot understand what the numbers in the tables, e.g. 998 in group 5 in BQI, 224 in Group5 RSI mean? [[ These are "Innings" or "Tests" as appropriate. Ananth: ]]

    Did you finally include the Team Ist, Team IInd inn tweak you had mentioned in the end of the previous piece that you would do? [[ If you remember my last response, I did not want to tweak the Runs. So I have included that in the second part work: The runs-weighted BPI computation. Ananth: ]]

    On your word article - i have a completely different conclusion. Will mention some other time.

  • Pranav Joshi on January 17, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    About your article on Laxman, I respectfully disagree with the overall idea. Is he being "unfairly targeted?" Yes he is - especially if held up against Sehwag. Sehwag has done very poorly in his last 11 test matches outside the subcontinent, and yet he is in the team, because in the meantime he has bullied bowlers in the subcontinent and maintained his aura. The problem here is deeper - Sehwag will once again thrive on subcontinental wickets, and we play there for the next 2 years. But what is left for Laxman? From a purely rational perspective, should he have a chance at redemption after two years? Laxman is a far better batsman abroad than Sehwag, and there is no point in him playing another 2 years in home conditions, given that he is 37. His case could still be held up against Tendulkar's - who also has nothing left to prove to any sane mind, but is doing far better at this point. And he is a miracle indeed - I wouldn't be surprised if he goes on to bat like a genius for another 3 years or so, once he gets to that 100th century. Actually, none of India's 3 middle order stalwarts have anything left to prove, but Laxman is almost certain to be made the scapegoat now. One last word about Sehwag - I have a feeling that he is likely to be in Laxman's position when India visit SA, England and Australia in 2-3 years time. He will be 35-36 then, plus a mediocre performer outside the subcontinent. His time will come then.

  • Pranav Joshi on January 17, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    @ Ananth

    Good article. What does one say of India's "golden batting generation" now? Easy runs percentages of 68.7, 66.5, 53.1, 54.5 and 54.4 (by batting order). Ganguly is the best on this measure with 46.4, and he's the retired one.

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  • Pranav Joshi on January 17, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    @ Ananth

    Good article. What does one say of India's "golden batting generation" now? Easy runs percentages of 68.7, 66.5, 53.1, 54.5 and 54.4 (by batting order). Ganguly is the best on this measure with 46.4, and he's the retired one.

  • Pranav Joshi on January 17, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    About your article on Laxman, I respectfully disagree with the overall idea. Is he being "unfairly targeted?" Yes he is - especially if held up against Sehwag. Sehwag has done very poorly in his last 11 test matches outside the subcontinent, and yet he is in the team, because in the meantime he has bullied bowlers in the subcontinent and maintained his aura. The problem here is deeper - Sehwag will once again thrive on subcontinental wickets, and we play there for the next 2 years. But what is left for Laxman? From a purely rational perspective, should he have a chance at redemption after two years? Laxman is a far better batsman abroad than Sehwag, and there is no point in him playing another 2 years in home conditions, given that he is 37. His case could still be held up against Tendulkar's - who also has nothing left to prove to any sane mind, but is doing far better at this point. And he is a miracle indeed - I wouldn't be surprised if he goes on to bat like a genius for another 3 years or so, once he gets to that 100th century. Actually, none of India's 3 middle order stalwarts have anything left to prove, but Laxman is almost certain to be made the scapegoat now. One last word about Sehwag - I have a feeling that he is likely to be in Laxman's position when India visit SA, England and Australia in 2-3 years time. He will be 35-36 then, plus a mediocre performer outside the subcontinent. His time will come then.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 17, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    Ananth, great effort. But complex presentation. Conclusions agree with intuition. Averages in the XL would help. Cannot blame some batsmen like Ponting for scoring runs against easy attacks - they may have faced good attack fewer times but averaged very high.

    Recall that in April, after your article "Batsmen against top WI and Aus attacks", you had decided to isolate averages against top attacks. Hence still waiting to see what the averages would be, but you appear to be moving in the right direction. [[ Average is tough. Because of 20 extra fields for innings and notouts. Let me see. Ananth: ]]

    Cannot understand what the numbers in the tables, e.g. 998 in group 5 in BQI, 224 in Group5 RSI mean? [[ These are "Innings" or "Tests" as appropriate. Ananth: ]]

    Did you finally include the Team Ist, Team IInd inn tweak you had mentioned in the end of the previous piece that you would do? [[ If you remember my last response, I did not want to tweak the Runs. So I have included that in the second part work: The runs-weighted BPI computation. Ananth: ]]

    On your word article - i have a completely different conclusion. Will mention some other time.

  • Pavan on January 17, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    Ananth, Excellent analysis as always. Can you also show the number of innings played by each batsmen for the respective category? [[ Pavan, tough. As I have mentioned to Gerry, I am desperately short of space. I need 20 extra fields, for innings and not outs, per player. I am working on it. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 17, 2012, 10:36 GMT

    Laxman was a brilliant batsman about whom i had the opinion that his talent was productive only when there was a worthwhile end. If a match had to be saved or won or a tense situation developed, his faculties engaged solidly.Else he got bored quickly.

    In England he played well in the first test when we faced a manageable deficit, in the second when there was a solid opportunity to take a big lead. But we faced a meaninglessly large target and that after an utterly insipid bowling display during which the fight had completely gone out of the Indian team. Laxman walked out like a lamb for slaughter in test II, second inn, and thereafter every time in that series. It looked that he had decided that there was nothing to play for. The fight seemed to go out of him.

    I see much the same thing in Australia. Such abdication of fighting spirit from him is unacceptable, but i sense it comes from being unable to inspire himself even one bit. For that Dhoni is totally to blame. [[ What you are saying that Laxman waited for a crisis to flower. Now he is not doing that even though there have been crises galore and people are asking for his head: possibly true. But then, as you infer, what are the captain/coach there for. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on January 17, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    Nice analysis!

    Would it be an idea to include the matches (in number or percentage) where the said batsman had to face tough/easy conditions in terms of the pitch and attack? This might provide more clarity about the quality of bowling/pitch conditions available at the time these batsmen played and will reasonably confirm notions of flat track bully or scored runs against the attacks he had to deal with assessment of batsmen. [[ I think the time has come for bullets to be bitten and sleeves rolled up. Gerry is asking dfor average, you for Tests played and Pavan for innings. Let me try and do it for part 2 at least. Ananth: ]]

  • Tim on January 17, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Great read. It did take a couple of looks to see the different groups clearly in that first big table. [[ If you take the trouble of downloading the complete Excel files you can have hours of fun. Fleming seems to be an underrated player. Despite the better bowling opponents Martin Crowe faced, Fleming comes through slightly better. However let me add, both are way above 60% in the first three group totals. Martin at 63% and Stephen at 71%. Way, way above many other batting stawarts. Ananth: ]]

    What I'd find interesting is to see if this changed through a batsman's career, if the results can be standardized of course. Like if they started scoring a higher % in tough conditions as they progressed in their careers.

    Being a New Zealander I find it pleasantly surprising that this shows Flemming doing "better" in tough than we (NZers) think he did.

  • Nitin Gautam on January 17, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    HI Anantha

    I think by now it would have become utterly redundant for you to read "exceptional, eye opening, never thought " kind of remarks for your valuable work so I wont say that again but the feel is the same. cudos

    2ndly I feel down the line this blog might turn to be another platform for equally redundant & awkward "Lara Vs SRT vs Ponting Vs every top, talented & superior batsmen" but as you mentioned this analysis will favour the players coming from bowler friendly nations (Aus, England, SF, NZL etc), largely due to their life long playing on those tracks, I believe its more about the kind of pitches they have been playing, kind of bowlers they have faced & kind of attitude their board carry (BCCI never helped world of rainas, youvrajs, kaifs etc to grow).

    3rdly can it be argued those players greeted the opportunity of scoring runs at relatively placid pitches, week bowling with open hands & made them count more than few others [[ Nitin Both your points well made. You would notice that I have never put down any player or the runs those were made. My main point is that just a comparison of the aggregate runs is not very valid since these have been made in different conditions. And within a country note the variations. And recognize those batsmen who seem to have always played in tough conditions a la Hughes, Botham, Atherton. ANd finally recognize the greatness of Richards. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on January 17, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Interesting work, and loads to occupy the grey matter with...

    As already pointed out by Anand and Pavan, % of runs scored against different groups is not meaningful unless coupled with the % of innings against each group (totally beyond the control of the batsmen). [[ Glad to inform you and Anand/Pavan/Gerry that I have completed the first major step in working out the Tests/Inns/Avge for each group. First I had to increase the size of the player database and that has been successfully completed. Now I will post these values. Should get something out within couple of days. Ananth: ]]

    Also, I cant get my head around how to arrive at the number of innings played against each group, given that the final group type has been derived by adding two disparate quanitities. There are 2038 tests (determining RSI) and 7333 bowling attacks (determining BQI). Look forward to your updates on this. [[ They are not as disparate as it seems. Both measures are finally Runs. Ananth: ]]

    More comments to follow...

  • unni on January 17, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    I'm happy to be back with some comments. Very nice and timely analysis. All the best in restoring some meaning to the numbers. I have a comment on the method though, maybe I haven't understood the RSI properly in the last article. From whatever I understood RSI and BQI are not mutually orthogonal quantities. RSI also would contain influence from BQI. i.e, RSI is high because either the pitch is not playable or because the bowling quality was good. So, what I think is that you should offset the effect of BQI from RSI before adding them together. Otherwise it will result in double counting. [[ This point was raised in the last analysis itself. My point is that one is a pre-match estimate of bowlers' performance. The other is a post-match actualized batsmen performance. While there might be an overlap (and possible double-counting) I cannot think of any valid method of discounting one. Suggestions are welcome. Ananth: ]]