March 12, 2012

Batsman by bowler / pitch quality: The final grouping

A study to analyse the careers of Test batsmen by bowling quality and type of pitches
183

David Gower scored nearly 99% of his runs in the tougher  groups
David Gower scored nearly 99% of his runs in the tougher groups © Getty Images

I was about three-fourths into this article when the news about Rahul Dravid's retirement came through. After wiping a tear or two (ok, a lot more), I was tempted to replace this article with a tribute to Dravid. It took me only a minute to dismiss that idea. That is not the way the incomparable Dravid would have planned his innings and I was going to take time, look at all nuances, derive additional facts and figures and build the article, brick by brick. That is the fitting tribute we can give to one of the greats. All these cliches found their true meaning when applied to Dravid. In many other cases, these are but hyperbole.

I have finally arrived at the concluding article on this theme. I am going to classify runs scored by batsmen in the composite group comparing of the Bowling Quality and Pitch type, referred to in my last article. I believe that almost all problems present with the earlier Pitch Quality Index have been taken care of. I will do the classification with a brief introduction and will let the readers digest the same.

I have shown one major table and provided a number of tables for readers to unload and view. For a change let me keep one of my articles brief and to the point.

1. The major benefit is that I have avoided the wide variations which occurred when a single Test was considered and negated the impact of one's own bowlers had. Of course when I do the Innings Ratings analysis, I will re-visit the single Test theme and do what is required based on inputs given by Unni, Arjun, Ali, Gerry et al.

2. The problem of double counting has disappeared. When I look at a batsman's score I slot it into a group based on how easy or difficult run-scoring was, in the concerned location, during the specified period. The bowlers do not get into this at all.

3. A country might have started in one manner but completely changed its character over the years. Pakistan was one of the toughest countries to visit during the early years and over the past decade has completely changed. Compare England twenty and thirty years back. All these variations have been taken care of. Pakistan, during the 1946-1950 period had a PTI ratio value 1.23 while Pakistan's PTI ratio value during the period 2005-2012 is 0.74. England's figures for the two successive periods of 1980s and 1990s are 1.06 and 0.97 respectively.

4. There is no assumption that scoring at home is/was easy and scoring away is/was tough. This facet of the analysis is covered based on hard numbers. In New Zealand scoring was very difficult, often more so for the home team than the visiting teams. This is taken care of.

5. Within one country, there is a clear separation of home teams and visiting teams. So there is no adding of 80 (home) and 60 (visiting) in Australia during the 2000s to arrive at an unsatisfactory 70.

6. Within the same country group, batsmen runs are further classified based on the bowling quality. Example, Laxman's 167 in 2000 goes into the combined group 8 (Pitch-3 & BowQ-5) while Laxman's own 148, four years later goes into combined group of 7 (Pitch-3 & BowQ-4).

7. There is no grouping based on absolute values. Rather it is based on a true peer comparison basis and is only a dimension-less ratio. Changes over the various eras will be reflected correctly. This is peer comparison at its best. Same era and across countries.

8. One good point is that many teams starting in Test cricket have had a tough time, even while playing at home. The runs scored by the batsmen from these teams get recognition of the tougher conditions faced by them.

9. Readers can argue that I could have taken 15 time periods instead of 9. Possible. Readers can also argue that I could have taken the top-7 scores. Granted. However there is no end to these suggestions. These periods reflect distinct eras and have sufficient Tests played during each period to have a very sound basis.

10. Finally a quick perusal at the tables will indicate that the sharp differences which existed in the earlier analysis have now gone since the base has moved from a single Test to a period/country combination. There are some intriguing changes. It is now clear that the objections put forward by Unni, Ali and couple of other readers were quite valid. Some players, indeed, benefited by their bowlers' quality, very significantly. Look at the revised tables. The West Indian pitches during 1970-80 were good to bat on, at least for the home team. They were averaging 75.0 (all-teams 67.7) and 72.2 (all-teams 63.3) and batsmen like Richards scored a fair bit of runs at home. And they rarely faced a Group 5 bowling attack. Many thanks to all these readers.

First, the grouping methodology for the Pitch Type Index. The Pitch Type Index is the ratio between the Home/Visiting Top-7 Partnership average for the period/country and the Home/Visiting Top-7 Partnership average for the period/all-countries. A ratio of greater than 1.0 indicates tough situations and ratio below 1.00 indicates easier batting situations. I will not cover this in any greater detail. Details are available in the previous article, link provided here.

PTI-Home groupings: Total - 2022 innings (The 12 neutral Tests have no home teams)
PTI value of 1.15 - 1.50 : PTI Group 5    238 (11.7%)
PTI value of 1.04 - 1.15 : PTI Group 4    432 (21.2%)
PTI value of 0.93 - 1.04 : PTI Group 3    745 (36.6%)
PTI value of 0.88 - 0.93 : PTI Group 2    406 (20.0%)
PTI value of 0.70 - 0.88 : PTI Group 1    201 ( 9.9%)

PTI-Away groupings: Total - 2034 innings
PTI value of 1.09 - 1.50 : PTI Group 5    198 ( 9.7%)
PTI value of 1.06 - 1.09 : PTI Group 4    441 (21.7%)
PTI value of 0.94 - 1.06 : PTI Group 3    731 (35.9%)
PTI value of 0.89 - 0.94 : PTI Group 2    456 (22.4%)
PTI value of 0.70 - 0.89 : PTI Group 1    208 (10.2%)

The working out of these groups has not been rocket science. I have done this based on my pet theory of normal distribution. Approximately 10% at either end, approximately 20% at either next-to-end group and 30% in the middle group. I know this adds to 90, but readers will get the drift. And this varies between Home and Visiting sets in order to get the required distribution.

The Bowling Quality Index runs from 5 (real tough bowling attack) to 1 (very weak bowling attack). The Pitch Type Index runs from 5 (very difficult to score period) to 1 (real batting feast period. The appropriate home/visiting numbers are used. Thus the composite group runs from 10 (runs are to be treasured like Platinum) to 2 (free buffet table, full of runs).

I have decided to present this in only two broad groups. The B group which comprises of the composite groups 2, 3, 4 and 5. Possible combinations of BQI & PTI are 3+2 4+1 2+2 or 3+1 or 1+2 or 1+1. These combinations clearly prove that either of the indices almost never exceed 3 and a 1 was a distinct possibility. These were really the conditions in which it was quite easy to score runs. Compare with the other group called A group which incorporated composite groups 10 to 6. At 6, it was either 5+1 or 4+2 or 3+3. If there was a 1 there was a 5 to compensate for that. Hence these runs were relatively tougher to score.

I have added below, the updated table which will have the A group having the composite groups 10-6 and the B group having the composite groups 5-2. This will ensure that the lowest composite group in the tougher A group is 6 (3+3 or 4+2 or 5+1). No one can now complain that the 6 does not represent relatively difficult conditions for the batsman to play on.

In summary, the alternate table incorporates a switch of composite group 5 from the tougher A to easier B group.

The A (10-6) and B (5-2) broad groups summary for top 40 batsmen

BatsmanCountryInnsNOsRunsAvge (10-6) A Group Summary ====> (5-2) B Group Summary ====>
Inns NOs Runs Avge %C-Runs Inns NOs Runs Avge %C-Runs
Tendulkar S.R Ind311321547055.4515312 7247 51.4046.8%15820 8223 59.5953.2%
Dravid R Ind286321328852.3114312 5698 43.5042.9%14320 7590 61.7157.1%
Ponting R.T Aus276291319653.43125 8 5558 47.5042.1%15121 7638 58.7557.9%
Kallis J.H Saf254391226057.0216419 6998 48.2657.1% 9020 5262 75.1742.9%
Lara B.C Win232 61195352.89178 5 8930 51.6274.7% 54 1 3023 57.0425.3%
Border A.R Aus265441117450.5619334 7529 47.3567.4% 7210 3645 58.7932.6%
Waugh S.R Aus260461092751.0615225 5868 46.2053.7%10821 5059 58.1546.3%
Gavaskar S.M Ind214161012251.12128 6 5518 45.2354.5% 8610 4604 60.5845.5%
Jayawardene M Slk213131008950.44116 7 5376 49.3253.3% 97 6 4713 51.7946.7%
Chanderpaul S Win23437 970949.2817927 7259 47.7674.8% 5510 2450 54.4425.2%
Sangakkara K.C Slk17912 934755.97 95 6 4619 51.9049.4% 84 6 4728 60.6250.6%
Gooch G.A Eng215 6 890042.58183 3 7253 40.2981.5% 32 3 1647 56.7918.5%
Javed Miandad Pak18921 883252.57 95 5 3827 42.5243.3% 9416 5005 64.1756.7%
Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak20022 883049.61123 8 4706 40.9253.3% 7714 4124 65.4646.7%
Laxman V.V.S Ind22534 878145.9711410 4222 40.6048.1%11124 4559 52.4051.9%
Hayden M.L Aus18414 862650.74 80 0 3097 38.7135.9%10414 5529 61.4364.1%
Richards I.V.A Win18212 854050.24101 6 5111 53.8059.8% 81 6 3429 45.7240.2%
Stewart A.J Eng23521 846539.5620217 6909 37.3581.6% 33 4 1556 53.6618.4%
Gower D.I Eng20418 823144.2517614 6962 42.9884.6% 28 4 1269 52.8815.4%
Sehwag V Ind167 6 817850.80 69 1 3183 46.8138.9% 98 5 4995 53.7161.1%
Boycott G Eng19323 811447.7311311 4780 46.8658.9% 8012 3334 49.0341.1%
Sobers G.St.A Win16021 803257.78 69 8 3458 56.6943.1% 9113 4574 58.6456.9%
Waugh M.E Aus20917 802941.8213612 5188 41.8464.6% 73 5 2841 41.7835.4%
Smith G.C Saf16811 776149.43107 6 4197 41.5554.1% 61 5 3564 63.6445.9%
Atherton M.A Eng212 7 772837.70195 6 6830 36.1488.4% 17 1 898 56.1211.6%
Langer J.L Aus18212 769645.27 83 4 3020 38.2339.2% 99 8 4676 51.3860.8%
Cowdrey M.C Eng18815 762444.07115 5 4433 40.3058.1% 7310 3191 50.6541.9%
Greenidge C.G Win18516 755844.72107 4 4222 40.9955.9% 7812 3336 50.5544.1%
Mohammad Yousuf Pak15612 753052.29110 6 4188 40.2755.6% 46 6 3342 83.5544.4%
Taylor M.A Aus18613 752543.50117 9 4465 41.3459.3% 69 4 3060 47.0840.7%
Lloyd C.H Win17514 751546.68102 9 4334 46.6057.7% 73 5 3181 46.7842.3%
Haynes D.L Win20225 748742.30107 4 3925 38.1152.4% 9521 3562 48.1447.6%
Boon D.C Aus19020 742243.6612210 4186 37.3856.4% 6810 3236 55.7943.6%
Kirsten G Saf17615 728945.27109 9 4201 42.0157.6% 67 6 3088 50.6242.4%
Hammond W.R Eng14016 724958.46 27 1 887 34.1212.2%11315 6362 64.9287.8%
Ganguly S.C Ind18817 721242.18106 8 3264 33.3145.3% 82 9 3948 54.0854.7%
Fleming S.P Nzl18910 717240.07146 8 5334 38.6574.4% 43 2 1838 44.8325.6%
Chappell G.S Aus15119 711053.8611814 5177 49.7872.8% 33 5 1933 69.0427.2%
Bradman D.G Aus 8010 699699.94 38 4 3085 90.7444.1% 42 6 3911108.6455.9%
Jayasuriya S.T Slk18814 697340.07110 4 3867 36.4855.5% 7810 3106 45.6844.5%
Flower A Zim11219 479451.55 7813 3191 49.0966.6% 34 6 1603 57.2533.4%

The batsmen to note are the ones who have averaged over 50% in the A group. Not many in this selected list of 40. Tendulkar., Lara, Sangakkara, Richards, Sobers, Bradman, Chappell and Andy Flower (nearly there). Hutton also gets in.

The other factor to look at is the % of runs scored in the A group. Lara, Border, Chanderpaul and a host of English batsmen led by Gooch belong to the list of batsmen who have over 60%.

I started this odyssey about 9 months back. I have had nearly ten articles on the same. The Readers' response has been fantastic. We have kept on improving and I am quite happy with what we have achieved finally. There will obviously be differing views. That is fine. But I am certain that the journey covering this complex area over the past 9 months has been truly worthwhile. I myself have learnt a lot. I am sure the same would apply to most readers. I think I can confidently say that we, as a team, have done justice to the batsmen who faced the twin formidable adversaries, bowlers and pitch conditions, very effectively. Now I will switch to analysing the bowlers.

To download/view the document containing the Innings values of BPI, PTI and BQI, please click/right-click here.

To download/view the revised table containing the A & B group values for all 263 batsmen please click/right-click here.

Arjum Hemnani's request: To download/view the revised table containing the 9 group values for all 263 batsmen please click/right-click here.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Waspsting on April 1, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    re: Ambrose and Mcgrath - I think Ambrose was a more gifted bowler, but McGrath was much smarter.

    Ambrose bowled the same way to everyone - back off a lenght, off stump, seam up. He did away with boucners and yorkers far too early.

    Mcgrath bowled to the batsman, depending on the batsman. Consistently wide to batsmen who kept playing at them or were likely to have a frustrated wild swipe, closer to the patient player who would let them all go, setting up many players with as series of wide balls, and then the odd one closer. Back off a lenght to the front foot player, with the odd one thrown up, and the opposite for the back foot player. He used yorkers and bouncers though he didn't have the pace for it to be highly effective - its effective in the context of pinpoint accuracy regardless of McGrath's lack of pace.

    Little to choose between them, but Ambrose made for more interesting watching since he made the batsmen play all the time.

  • shrikanthk on March 21, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    Possibly many English bowling attacks were quite weak during that time.

    The only weak English attacks that Bradman faced were in '46-47 and '48. Though in retrospect I wouldn't class them as too weak either. Bedser and Laker went on to become all-time greats!

  • Waspsting on March 21, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Seem to have missed a good discussion here. Quick thoughts on the data.

    Little surprised to see Jayawardena so highly placed in tough group. My impression of him is he scores exceptionally heavily on the flat tracks of Sri Lanka (whatever the attack). Partticularly surprised to see his record against high and low are so similar. Sangakarra too, to a lesser extent.

    Bravo Gary Sobers, in all ways.

    Kallis and Hammond's record against the weaker sides - no surprise.

    Thought Bradman would average even higher against low group. Average close to 200 against SA and India and West Indies weren't a "weak" attack. What pulled his figure down to only 108? [[ Possibly many English bowling attacks were quite weak during that time. Ananth: ]] Will look through the comments soon and try to offer some feedback.

  • Pankaj Joshi on March 21, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Dear Ananth, Logically clean as always. What would conclusions be when these same metrics without change are put in two different contexts - runs scored as % of team score and utility of runs where win is given 2 points, draw 1 and loss 0? I admit in advance that the entire onus for win can't be on batsmen, there is also the formality of taking 20 wickets. Pl give it a thought in any case. [[ Would not be worthwhile, Pankaj. In my Innings Ratings work I have a parameter called "Contribution to a team's result". I allot, say, 10 points for a win and 5 points for a draw (suitably adjusted for home/away: += 2 or 1). Then I allocate these points between the batsmen and bowlers equally. Then I allocate the allocated points between batsmen and bowlers based on their contribution, not in terms of runs or wickets but rating points. Then only would it make sense. For instance, for the Perth Test, Warner would get the lion's share of the batting points and Hilfenhaus and Siddle the major share of the bowling points.. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    I also have to be convinced that this is really needed to solve the problem, if there is one.

    Okay. One at a time:

    Is there a problem : Yes.

    What is the problem: BQIs may be overly influenced by the bowling of part-timers / lesser bowlers in long innings.

    Should the batsman deserve credit in such cases : Only if the part-timer was forced to bowl by the batsman. Not if the part-timer bowled because of a strike bowler's injury/resting.

    Possible Solution : Consider only the bowlers who bowled the most number of overs. Why 80%? Why not? One way of rationalising it is - In a typical innings of 100 overs, you'd expect your specialist bowlers to bowl 80 of those overs. Hence 80 is a good number.

    You talked about a scenario where M Waugh may be Aus' 4th bowler and Warne may be the 5th bowler. Suppose you need only 4 bowlers to cover 80% of overs, don't consider Warne. That's it.

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    I do not want to implement Shri's 80% concept only to find that it does not work when 4 top bowlers shared the bowling amongst themselves

    That's not an issue. My point : Consider the top X bowlers where X is the least number necessary to account for atleast 80% of all overs. So if 4 bowlers have bowled all the overs, while the top 3 have bowled 75%, then X = 4. If 8 bowlers have bowled all the overs, while the top 5 have bowled 81%, then X = 5 If 4 bowlers have bowled all the overs, while the top 3 have bowled 84%, then X = 3

    Is this a coding challenge? [[ Merely stating a fact, I can say that there is NOTHING related to Cricket analysis, using my database that I cannot do. However what I have to ensure that anything I do would work in ALL the situations, when Wasim and Waqar ran through a side themselves, when McGrath/Gillespie/Kaspro/Warne bowl all overs amongst themselves in varying shares and when a few other bowlers bowl extra overs and one of them more than Warne et al. I also have to be convinced that this is really needed to solve the problem,, if there is one. And that the 80% has a basis. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit on March 19, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    No, no, no, shrikanthk, I am not saying Ambrose was better than McGrath. Both were great and my personal favourites (along with Marshall) and I do rate them in this order: Marshall, McGrath, Ambrose. I was only saying that if we make a comparison of their performances in Australia, then we should note for fairness' sake that one of them bowled only against Australian batsmen and the other against all the rest. Well, I guess you will not be reading this clarification since Anantha's next post (on Dravid) is already out. [[ From what I know of Shri, he WILL certainly read your comment and respond. Ananth: ]]

  • Harwinder Singh on March 19, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Hi Anantha, A very good analysis indeed... This analysis is excellent when we see the Averages of players in difficult and easy conditions. But i think it would be unfair if we compare % of runs scored in the A by each batsman, for example: Atherton M.A he has played 195 innings in difficult conditions and only 17 in easy. So, obviously, his % would much higher (89%) as compared to other batsmen(Like SR Tendulkar) who have not played that much number of matches in difficult conditions (158 and 153) as compared to easy conditions. Thanks.

  • Pratik on March 19, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    This is a great attempt, however for me the percentage of runs scored against tougher conditions vs easier conditions does not make much sense. What is a player's fault if he faced more weaker opportunities and exploited it to the hilt. A fairer way to look into things would probably be sum up the runs scored for all the above players in tougher and weaker conditions and come to a ratio A = ( sum of runs in tougher conditions/ total sum of runs scored in all conditions) , B = ( sum of runs in easier conditions/ total sum of runs scored in all conditions) and multiply the runs / average scored in tougher conditions by a batsman by B and easier conditions by A and display and compare that.

    This attempts to provide a fair weightage (defined by past players performace itself) to the tougher conditions relative to the easier conditions and hence a composite score can be achieved which gives more benefit to runs scored in tougher conditions compared to easier ones. But recognizes both.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 19, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    Ananth, just to correct myself - i meant that (as you have said, unless there are injuries etc.) the bowler weightages should be identical in both innings. The BQI itself should be a function of Team Ist / Team IInd inn bowling averages, where mostly, almost universally, IInd inn averages will be lower than first inn.

    The only exception I can think of off the top-of-my-head is the great West Indies teams of the Richards era (1976-92). They would have had a higher second innings batting average than the first inn, since they usually were brilliant at turning the matches around, and at home, lost very few second inning wickets. In fact, in 1983-84 against Australia in WI, they did not lose any second inn wickets at all for the whole series.

    Barring that, the team I, team II differential will be anywhere between 10%-30%. I would say a simple across-the-board smear of -5% / +5% on pre-final BQI should do the job, instead of CTD etc. [[ Gerry Since the Dravid article has been posted the comments have started comin in and that will occupy my time. The bottomline is that each of these suggestions make sense, in many cases at micro level. But I have to make sure that these are workable at all levels in all Tests. I do not want to implement some upper level of balls bowled % only to find that it does not work when Waqar and Wasinm ran through a team themselves. I do not want to implement Shri's 80% concept only to find that it does not work when 4 top bowlers shared the bowling amongst themselves. I do not want to implement some past tests bowling indicator to find that when Imran bowled a few overs in a Test he is treated as the equivalent of Balwinder Singh Sandhu. I do not want to take the match as the basis to find that the two innings are chalk and cheese a la Calcutta 2001. So you have to trust me to take care of these. I will however ensure that the real casual bowlers do not have any influence in lowering the quality of bowling and the the lesser bowlers have a limited influence. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on April 1, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    re: Ambrose and Mcgrath - I think Ambrose was a more gifted bowler, but McGrath was much smarter.

    Ambrose bowled the same way to everyone - back off a lenght, off stump, seam up. He did away with boucners and yorkers far too early.

    Mcgrath bowled to the batsman, depending on the batsman. Consistently wide to batsmen who kept playing at them or were likely to have a frustrated wild swipe, closer to the patient player who would let them all go, setting up many players with as series of wide balls, and then the odd one closer. Back off a lenght to the front foot player, with the odd one thrown up, and the opposite for the back foot player. He used yorkers and bouncers though he didn't have the pace for it to be highly effective - its effective in the context of pinpoint accuracy regardless of McGrath's lack of pace.

    Little to choose between them, but Ambrose made for more interesting watching since he made the batsmen play all the time.

  • shrikanthk on March 21, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    Possibly many English bowling attacks were quite weak during that time.

    The only weak English attacks that Bradman faced were in '46-47 and '48. Though in retrospect I wouldn't class them as too weak either. Bedser and Laker went on to become all-time greats!

  • Waspsting on March 21, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Seem to have missed a good discussion here. Quick thoughts on the data.

    Little surprised to see Jayawardena so highly placed in tough group. My impression of him is he scores exceptionally heavily on the flat tracks of Sri Lanka (whatever the attack). Partticularly surprised to see his record against high and low are so similar. Sangakarra too, to a lesser extent.

    Bravo Gary Sobers, in all ways.

    Kallis and Hammond's record against the weaker sides - no surprise.

    Thought Bradman would average even higher against low group. Average close to 200 against SA and India and West Indies weren't a "weak" attack. What pulled his figure down to only 108? [[ Possibly many English bowling attacks were quite weak during that time. Ananth: ]] Will look through the comments soon and try to offer some feedback.

  • Pankaj Joshi on March 21, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Dear Ananth, Logically clean as always. What would conclusions be when these same metrics without change are put in two different contexts - runs scored as % of team score and utility of runs where win is given 2 points, draw 1 and loss 0? I admit in advance that the entire onus for win can't be on batsmen, there is also the formality of taking 20 wickets. Pl give it a thought in any case. [[ Would not be worthwhile, Pankaj. In my Innings Ratings work I have a parameter called "Contribution to a team's result". I allot, say, 10 points for a win and 5 points for a draw (suitably adjusted for home/away: += 2 or 1). Then I allocate these points between the batsmen and bowlers equally. Then I allocate the allocated points between batsmen and bowlers based on their contribution, not in terms of runs or wickets but rating points. Then only would it make sense. For instance, for the Perth Test, Warner would get the lion's share of the batting points and Hilfenhaus and Siddle the major share of the bowling points.. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    I also have to be convinced that this is really needed to solve the problem, if there is one.

    Okay. One at a time:

    Is there a problem : Yes.

    What is the problem: BQIs may be overly influenced by the bowling of part-timers / lesser bowlers in long innings.

    Should the batsman deserve credit in such cases : Only if the part-timer was forced to bowl by the batsman. Not if the part-timer bowled because of a strike bowler's injury/resting.

    Possible Solution : Consider only the bowlers who bowled the most number of overs. Why 80%? Why not? One way of rationalising it is - In a typical innings of 100 overs, you'd expect your specialist bowlers to bowl 80 of those overs. Hence 80 is a good number.

    You talked about a scenario where M Waugh may be Aus' 4th bowler and Warne may be the 5th bowler. Suppose you need only 4 bowlers to cover 80% of overs, don't consider Warne. That's it.

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    I do not want to implement Shri's 80% concept only to find that it does not work when 4 top bowlers shared the bowling amongst themselves

    That's not an issue. My point : Consider the top X bowlers where X is the least number necessary to account for atleast 80% of all overs. So if 4 bowlers have bowled all the overs, while the top 3 have bowled 75%, then X = 4. If 8 bowlers have bowled all the overs, while the top 5 have bowled 81%, then X = 5 If 4 bowlers have bowled all the overs, while the top 3 have bowled 84%, then X = 3

    Is this a coding challenge? [[ Merely stating a fact, I can say that there is NOTHING related to Cricket analysis, using my database that I cannot do. However what I have to ensure that anything I do would work in ALL the situations, when Wasim and Waqar ran through a side themselves, when McGrath/Gillespie/Kaspro/Warne bowl all overs amongst themselves in varying shares and when a few other bowlers bowl extra overs and one of them more than Warne et al. I also have to be convinced that this is really needed to solve the problem,, if there is one. And that the 80% has a basis. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit on March 19, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    No, no, no, shrikanthk, I am not saying Ambrose was better than McGrath. Both were great and my personal favourites (along with Marshall) and I do rate them in this order: Marshall, McGrath, Ambrose. I was only saying that if we make a comparison of their performances in Australia, then we should note for fairness' sake that one of them bowled only against Australian batsmen and the other against all the rest. Well, I guess you will not be reading this clarification since Anantha's next post (on Dravid) is already out. [[ From what I know of Shri, he WILL certainly read your comment and respond. Ananth: ]]

  • Harwinder Singh on March 19, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Hi Anantha, A very good analysis indeed... This analysis is excellent when we see the Averages of players in difficult and easy conditions. But i think it would be unfair if we compare % of runs scored in the A by each batsman, for example: Atherton M.A he has played 195 innings in difficult conditions and only 17 in easy. So, obviously, his % would much higher (89%) as compared to other batsmen(Like SR Tendulkar) who have not played that much number of matches in difficult conditions (158 and 153) as compared to easy conditions. Thanks.

  • Pratik on March 19, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    This is a great attempt, however for me the percentage of runs scored against tougher conditions vs easier conditions does not make much sense. What is a player's fault if he faced more weaker opportunities and exploited it to the hilt. A fairer way to look into things would probably be sum up the runs scored for all the above players in tougher and weaker conditions and come to a ratio A = ( sum of runs in tougher conditions/ total sum of runs scored in all conditions) , B = ( sum of runs in easier conditions/ total sum of runs scored in all conditions) and multiply the runs / average scored in tougher conditions by a batsman by B and easier conditions by A and display and compare that.

    This attempts to provide a fair weightage (defined by past players performace itself) to the tougher conditions relative to the easier conditions and hence a composite score can be achieved which gives more benefit to runs scored in tougher conditions compared to easier ones. But recognizes both.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 19, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    Ananth, just to correct myself - i meant that (as you have said, unless there are injuries etc.) the bowler weightages should be identical in both innings. The BQI itself should be a function of Team Ist / Team IInd inn bowling averages, where mostly, almost universally, IInd inn averages will be lower than first inn.

    The only exception I can think of off the top-of-my-head is the great West Indies teams of the Richards era (1976-92). They would have had a higher second innings batting average than the first inn, since they usually were brilliant at turning the matches around, and at home, lost very few second inning wickets. In fact, in 1983-84 against Australia in WI, they did not lose any second inn wickets at all for the whole series.

    Barring that, the team I, team II differential will be anywhere between 10%-30%. I would say a simple across-the-board smear of -5% / +5% on pre-final BQI should do the job, instead of CTD etc. [[ Gerry Since the Dravid article has been posted the comments have started comin in and that will occupy my time. The bottomline is that each of these suggestions make sense, in many cases at micro level. But I have to make sure that these are workable at all levels in all Tests. I do not want to implement some upper level of balls bowled % only to find that it does not work when Waqar and Wasinm ran through a team themselves. I do not want to implement Shri's 80% concept only to find that it does not work when 4 top bowlers shared the bowling amongst themselves. I do not want to implement some past tests bowling indicator to find that when Imran bowled a few overs in a Test he is treated as the equivalent of Balwinder Singh Sandhu. I do not want to take the match as the basis to find that the two innings are chalk and cheese a la Calcutta 2001. So you have to trust me to take care of these. I will however ensure that the real casual bowlers do not have any influence in lowering the quality of bowling and the the lesser bowlers have a limited influence. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on March 19, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    @ Gerry: very interesting insight and I never imagined how this was affecting the high scores of Waugh, Laxman and many others.

    @Ananth: I like the idea of taking Career % of balls bowled figure and using that as weights. But there is some merit in last 20 innings suggested. I will take the case of Steve Waugh. Early on in his career he used to bowl a lot and was more of an allrounder. Later he converted to a pure batsman. Thus his weightage should not be restricted to 8.1% in all matches. He bowled a lot more regularly till 1994 and later became more of a part-timer. Please take care of such situations. Then I prefer the career over 20 innings figure.

  • Busie1979 on March 19, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Great Article. Very instructive that so few batsman average over 50 in the tough group.

    Are you sure Andy Flower averages over 50 in the tough group or am I missing something?

    To me, there is a massive difference between a 10 and a 6 - and it lumping them together distorts the picture.

    Also, there is a marginal difference between a 5 and a 6 - and separating them distorts the picture as they are both middle values.

    Three groups (2-4, 5-7, 8-10) would be more instructive. I'd be curious to know how many batsman would average 45+ in the 8-10 group...

    Thanks again - very good analysis.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 19, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    Ananth, the recent 20 tests v/s the career weighting of Hooper - what I was trying to keep out is the Imran Khan type of situations. So Imran would have done 25% across his career, but in 1990, only perhaps 10%. In 1992, perhaps 5%. [[ Imran is never a problem. If he never bowled in a Test, he would not be considered. The problem is only of Gayle bowled 25 overs. Ananth: ]] I cant think of any bowler who started out as a batsman, and instead became such a good bowler that there would be a big difference between career and recent. For batsmen such things have happened - e.g. Sobers, who wasnt really a batsmen until he made 43 in 15 min against Australia.

    I am sure you will take care of this anyway.

    Plus I am also saying that do this for a match, not innings, as the BQI should be identical in both innings. [[ If there were drastic changes because of injuries. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    Pl see my recent response to Gerry. Leyland with 183 overs will barely cross 1-2%

    Ananth, Gerry: Here's my point. Part-timers bowl for two different reasons -

    1. The strike bowlers have been sorted out by the opposition batsmen. As was the case in the Laxman/Dravid partnership.

    2. The strike bowlers were rested or got injured half way. Eg: Zaheer Khan in the Lord's test of 2011.

    The batsman deserves credit for 1. But not for 2. If we use expected weightages, we end up crediting batsmen for both.

    Which is why we need to use the top X bowlers in each innings who bowl atleast 80% of overs. This way we ensure that half-fit strike bowlers are not over-weighted and we also end up ignoring the Rainas and the Leylands of the world.

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    take Hooper by all means, but not at 43/160. Take him at the expected weightage. Let us say that in the previous 20 tests, Hooper had bowled 15% of his teams balls, Ambrose 20%, Walsh 23%, KCG Benjamin 25%, WKM Benjamin 17%

    Not a fan of this approach. This way we end up ignoring vital match-specific details. Vijay Hazare scored two memorable hundreds against Aus in Adeleide in 1947. But the fact is that Lindwall and Miller did not bowl a lot in those innings. Something that Ananth's present approach will capture. If we use the weightages based on CTD or past 20 tests, we ignore this fact.

    Also the strike bowler may be half-fit in a particular game and may not bowl enough overs. This needs to factored into the BQI. If we use expected weightages, we ignore this.

    That's why I suggested using the top X bowlers who account for 80% of the overs. [[ Shri Let me look at this. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 5:55 GMT

    I cannot afford to ignore 25% of the overs. That goes against the very concept of weighted bowling numbers. I cannot also over-complicate like the Gerry suggestion.

    Just pick the top X bowlers in an innings in terms of number of overs bowled who account for 80% of the total overs bowled in the innings. Suppose a 100 overs were bowled in an innings in which 8 bowlers were tried. If the top 5 bowlers account for atleast 80 of those 100 overs, consider just these 5.

    That way you can eliminate cases like Maurice Leyland in the Leeds test of 1930. The problem is that sometimes these part timers have averages like 100-120. So they really hurt the BQI even if they've bowled only a handful of overs.

    I know you may have cases where the part timer ends up with a five-for. That happens once in a blue moon. Anyway, in an analysis like this where we are more concerned with career-wide figures and not innings-specific BQIs, I can live with those anomalies that my suggestion will result in

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    I cannot afford to ignore 25% of the overs. That goes against the very concept of weighted bowling numbers. I cannot also over-complicate like the Gerry suggestion.

    Just pick the top X bowlers in an innings in terms of number of overs bowled who account for 80% of the total overs bowled in the innings. Suppose a 100 overs were bowled in an innings in which 8 bowlers were tried. If the top 5 bowlers account for atleast 80 of those 100 overs, consider just these 5.

    That way you can eliminate cases like Maurice Leyland in the Leeds test of 1930. The problem is that sometimes these part timers have averages like 100-120. So they really hurt the BQI even if they've bowled only a handful of overs. [[ Pl see my recent response to Gerry. Leyland with 183 overs will barely cross 1-2%. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 19, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    Ananth, 1) my intention was not to cast doubt on BQI at all. It is already perfectly valid, but I was just curious to know how closely in a match-to-match basis it predicts. I have no doubts that across a career / periods it does the job perfectly.

    2) What I am proposing is not overcomplicated: I am simply saying that since BQI is a predicting variable, taking actual overs bowled which is at times a function of the batsman's success, which in turn is supposed to be a dependent variable mixes things up somewhat. Instead, in very simple terms how would the following be?

    (a) take Hooper by all means, but not at 43/160. Take him at the expected weightage. Let us say that in the previous 20 tests, Hooper had bowled 15% of his teams balls, Ambrose 20%, Walsh 23%, KCG Benjamin 25%, WKM Benjamin 17%. Take these as the weights to compute BQI (b) Use whatever reasonable limits you wish to use to cut out extreme situations (c) keep BQI identical for both innings.

    Is this not simple? [[ Ah! I can see some daylight at the same time keeping one of my favourite readers happy. Not as simple as you have made it out to be. The idea is but the execution is not. Previous 20 matches compilcates the issue, is quite difficult to do in flight and seems arbitrary. How about over the career. If Hooper bowled 15.2% of the West indian bowling in his entire career (13788 out of 90707), this is a fixed number and no problem. I can ensure that the weight never exceeds this. In fact this will take care of all those imposters like Hayden, Slater, Arthurton et al. Their % of team balls is likely to be less than 1% and I can ignore them. Mark Waugh, incidentally, is 6.9%. Steve Waugh 8.1%. Jayasuriya 9.3%. Mudassar 9.7%. These four are the only sub-10% 50+wkts bowlers. Astle and Gaule are just over 10%. Thanks for this spark. We all live and learn. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    Gooch is a bundle of baffling facts. He has a world record 65,928 first class runs (incl. first class ODI's)

    Oh Alex. You are one of the best posters on cricinfo. Please don't club ODI runs with first class runs and designate them collectively as "first-class". You're much better than that.

  • Alex on March 19, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    @Ananth: Gooch is a bundle of baffling facts. He has a world record 65,928 first class runs (incl. first class ODI's). He probably played 11 tests too many towards the end, i.e., after age 40. His average over age 32-40 is an excellent 49 in 65 tests. This includes 5 tests at ave=27 vs the might of '86 WI and 5 tests at ave=20 vs his bunny Alderman. Gooch invariably failed whenever the bowling attack roster read Alderman.

    During this phase, it is noteworthy that he played fully 46 tests (i.e., 70%) in Eng averaging 55 in those. His only success away being the 4-test series in Oz, '90-'91. So, as awe-inspiring as some of his feats were (esp. one-off innings), his armor had quite a few chinks. Your analysis can probably zero-in on those.

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    The other side of looking at it is that Laxman and Dravid had the luxury of facing 20% of non-standard bowlers. That is the truth. It is bound to happen in almost all 120 overs plus innings.

    I think Gerry has a fair point there. In fact I had made this point with reference to the Waugh bros partnership in Jamaica many months ago on this blog and Gerry had agreed with me back then. A similar point can be made in reference to Don Bradman's 334 at Leeds whose BQI suffers because of Maurice Leyland's part-time stuff.

    Laxman and Dravid had the luxury yes. But they earned this luxury. This is not a criticism of your methodology which is doubtless very rigorous. It's just one of the things readers ought to keep in mind while reading the numbers. [[ Shri (and Gerry) I cannot afford to ignore 25% of the overs. That goes against the very concept of weighted bowling numbers. I cannot also over-complicate like the Gerry suggestion. Give me a simple idea. Easy to implement within the match. No problem with Hayden, Langer and the like. I will eliminate them. Answer me specifically on Hooper and Mark Waugh. If you say, ignore Hooper then I have to ignore Ravi Shastri, Emburey and even Venkat. Ananth: ]] One reason why the likes of Gower, Gooch and Ramprakash rank so high in terms of tough run % is because English batting seldom was collectively competent enough to bat 120 overs and thus force oppositions to resort to lesser bowlers.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 19, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    Ananth, to validate BQI concept, can you estimate the predictive power of BQI? I.e., given a certian BQI, in a given country / home / abroad etc. what should have been the batting team's performance (including considering the batsmans' averages), and what was the result? [[ Suddenly why are you throwing doubts on BQI which has gone through multiple transformations and is now as close to the ideal one as possible. I may do one minor tweak now. To make sure that until certain minimum number of wickets are captured, the Cta or Cth figures will be derived from the Ctd figures. This is needed since the required 50 away wickets is reached for certain bowlers somewhat late. Anyhow what validation is needed. If the BQI says the opposition score would be 280 all out in 85 overs, this may not happen in even 10% of the cases. Batsmen under-perform or over-perform, bowlers under-perform or over-perform, pitches turn benign or supportive. Everything comes in. The BQI is an expectation and is being used to evaluate batsman performances. Ananth: ]] Secondly, any way in which you can prevent the Steve Waugh 200 (Jamaica) type of dilution, where the BQI suffered because of part timers being forced to bowl, credit for which should go to Waugh, instead of penalty? Similarly, VVS Laxman's 59 being at significantly better BQI than 281, because in the latter stages of the innings, lot of part timers bowled, for which Laxman should not be penalized? One solution would be to take the recent performance weighted balls / innings to derive % weights for all 4-5 major bowlers and eliminate from calculations, Hussey/Ponting/Hooper/Gooch type of bowlers who came on only to provide a break to main bowlers when things went wrong for the main bowlers. [[ I think there is a little bit of over-statement here. In the 178 overs Australia bowled, 39 overs (20%) were bowled by the 4 part-times, including Mark Waugh. Arjun's reciprocal method downplays the impact of the low-over non-regular bowlers. The Bowling group for this innings was 4 as against 5 in the first innings. It is also certain that the 59 was intense testing time. During the 281 there were easier periods. The other side of looking at it is that Laxman and Dravid had the luxury of facing 20% of non-standard bowlers. That is the truth. It is bound to happen in almost all 120 overs plus innings. And who is to say that if these 39 overs had been bowled by the tiring main 4 bowlers they would have done better. And in Steve Waugh's case, I can understand Adams and Arthurton's 16 overs. But you want to wish away Hooper's 43 overs. Out of the 160 overs, Hooper, who has captured 100 Test wickets, bowled over 25% of the overs. Should these just disappear. The four main bowlers just bowled 101 of the 160 overs. That was Lara's decision as captain. But that does not take away of the fact that Steve (and Mark) Waugh faced benign bowling 40% of the time. How does Hooper, who has bowled 2300 Test overs suddenly become a part-timer. The only thing I will accept is that the Haydens, Slaters, Langers, Pontings, Arthurtons, possibly even the Adams's should be excluded. Not Hooper and Mark Waugh (800 Test overs). They might be part-timers but not casual. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    Ananth: By the way this sure is fine research. Culmination of a thought process that kickstarted many months ago.

    One suggestion - In the pic, you highlight Gower and the fact that he scored a very high proportion of runs in "tough conditions". I think we can downplay this a bit.

    The real star of this article is not Gower. The real star is DG Bradman as always. The guy still averages 90+ in Group A (the tough-run group).

    We sometimes tend to talk up the Gowers and Mark Waughs of this world who average roughly similar regardless of the conditions/bowling attacks. But at the end of the day it's the level of the average that matters. DGB may average a lot lower (90) in the tough Group A. But that figure is still a good 40% higher than anybody else's!! It's almost conclusive proof for all the ignoramuses who suspects= DGB's ability to cope with difficult conditions!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 19, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    Ananth, I am puzzled by two comments of yours: 1) "Gavaskar battled virtually single-handedly and this fact automatically transforms into the bowling attacks beiing very strong". This may be true, Gavaskar scored 35% of the teams runs in his 1970-71 series, but where exactly is that coming out in your analysis? Per my understanding, since you are not doing on single match basis, a single batsman's relative performance in match / outperformance is not captured. [[ I am not sure you got what I wanted to convey. What I meant was that "in the minds of certain cricket followers", what I outlined would be the logical conclusion. In other words "Because he batted virtually single-handedly, this fact would automatically transform into strong bowling attacks", in their minds. Not in my analysis. In my analysis the 771 runs would in all probability be in the B group. Ananth: ]]

    2) "Gooch never goes off the top-5." Where exactly is he in the top 5. He would be in the bottom 5 going by his average of 40.29 in the tough group. While I dont agree with the methodology for the reasons I have stated, the tough group is still a significantly tougher group than the easy group, and Gooch fares very poorly. No use pointing to the 81.5% runs against tough attacks - neither Bowling quality nor pitch quality is controlled by him - he played 85% of his innings in the tough group - so that credit does not go to him... [[ If you take quality of bowling faced, Gooch is in the top-5. If you take the run-weighted average BQI, Gooch is in the top-5. He is in the top-5 of A-group share of runs. His innings is in the top-5 of the Wisden-100 list. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    The Ambrose-McGrath comparison is still a bit unfair to Ambrose --- he only bowled against the mighty Aussie batsmen of the 1990s in Australia

    Arijit : Ambrose toured Australia thrice. On none of the three tours was the Australian batting mighty. It was a very good lineup in both '92 and '96. And somewhat average in '88. But none of the three line-ups compare with the truly mighty Aus line-ups of the early-mid 2000s.

    I am not holding anything against Ambrose. Posterity may still rate him a tad ahead of McGrath. But we can't possibly use his average against Aus in Aus to drive home this point. I am generally wary of comparing X's average over 15 tests with Y's average over 50-60 tests.

  • Jonathan Ellis on March 18, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    Gooch seems a bit of a weird case... Early on in his career, he under-achieved badly. Then, just as he was really getting going (some excellent innings against, in particular, the Windies of 1980-81 both home and away), he got himself banned for three years with the rebel tour of South Africa.

    Then he came back, interspersed individual great innings with a tendency to get out when well set, but had two horrific losses of form in 1987 and 1989, both resulting in being dropped from the Test team. Interestingly, both of those losses of form came after taking the winter off: the 1987 slump after he chose to sit out of the Australia tour of 1986-7, and the 1989 slump after the winter tour of India was cancelled (due to their refusal to accept him as captain of the touring England side.)

    Then averaged about 80 for four years as captain and made even Shane Warne look like a novice. Including the 333 at Lords (off weak Indian bowling) and the 154* at Headingley off a full strength WI. [[ Quite possible that this brief note of yours explains the paradpx-Gooch. Languishing in the under-40s averages but right on top in almost all of my batting analyses. Whatever I do, in whichever way I slice and dice, whatever grouping is done, Gooch never goes off the top-5. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit on March 18, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    The Ambrose-McGrath comparison is still a bit unfair to Ambrose --- he only bowled against the mighty Aussie batsmen of the 1990s in Australia whereas McGrath got to bowl against everyone except the Aussies, including Eng, a poor WI, SL, NZ --- even Zim and Bangla probably. So the larger sample size is to his advantage actually!! Hadlee was magnificent but got to bowl at the Australians when they were at their poorest in memory. Of course, he was fantastic everywhere against all opposition. [[ I am glad that the chatter has shifted to the bowlers, who, I feel, offer a more exciting set of people to study. My next article is on the Bowlers and their performances on different types of pitches and hopefully will throw more light into this discussion. Ananth: ]]

  • IPSY on March 18, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    Ananth, you are a hero! To battle so successfully against 1.2 billion because of your 'Principled and Fair' stance is enough to merit you a special international medal. To me, a man of your stature is very important. The fact is, you have never shown in any of your postings that you are anti-Tendulkar - that would be an unforgiveable sporting sin! You continue to say and prove that he is one of the greatest batsmen of all time. But he is way below his best now, and it's time for him to make way for younger blood - nothing is wrong for you to say that. As one of the more intelligent bloggers on Cricinfo, you cannot say what over-enthusiastic SRT fans want you to say. You provide the figures and allow the verdict to be made by the jurors. Sir, can you tell me, by using the statistical scenarios that you have presented in this article, what value would you put on the runs that are being scored on those wickets in Bangladesh, in the current Asia Cup? Do you see why batsmen from the sub continent find it so difficult to perform in different countries? [[ Thank you for your kind words, published with some of my editing to avoid hyper-boles. I am not that important. What you ask at the end is possible only when I do a Test match type of analysis for ODIs. I think it is necessary for me to do that. The period concept will work well for ODIs since the pitches do not change that much. Also too many matches are being played in the neutral venues. At Mirpur, Bangladesh matches have one pattern while the other matches have another. Believe it or not. Today's successful chase is the 44th instance of a team having to score 300 or more to win a match. And, 40 of these 44 have come after 2000. Ananth: ]]

  • swarzi on March 18, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Ananth, I think that AD and Gerry_the_Merry in particular make very contributions to this column. Their views on the PTI concept are solid. However, I don't know if you all would agree with me that Pitch Quality (PQ) is a bit limited in a sense; as the specific nomenclature for the second variable that is being used in the equations used to supply information for the topic in question. Let me make a long story short. The quality of the pitch, meaning 'the physical surface' can be flawless (no grass, no cracks, etc) yet, other prevailing physical/environmental conditions (such as the amount of humidity in the atmosphere)can at times make batting very difficult, especially in certain countries (eg. England, New Zealand and all other countries when rain clouds are darting around). Hence, if these Physical Conditions are absent, such pitches would respond like those that I am now watching Kholi and SRT batting on in Bangladesh. But when these environmental conditions are prevailing, certain bowlers obecome almost unplayable on these said pitches. I think therefore, that the two main variables that determine good batsmanship in any cricket match, are both Bowler Quality (BQ) and Physical Conditions('PC')which include 'PQ' and all the other good or adverse conditions that affect the batsman as he plys his trade. I wonder therefore, if we should look at a 'Physical Conditions Index' ('PCI') instead of a PQI? You know there were times when Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram could have been more devastating than the fearsome WI quartet bowling on the same pitch? [[ Let me cut to the point. Frankly I am doing all this to arrive at a methodology through which, when I do the Innings Ratings work, I can rate Holding's 14 wickets very high, Peel's 10 wkts for 50 in 1888 quite low, Jayasuriya's 340 quite low, Warner's 123 quite high as far as Pitch type is concerned. That is all. I will switch tback to the single match basis but using Unni's very good method, after incorporating my own tweaks, to avoid double counting. So the combination of bowling quality and the pitch type is important. Ananth: ]]

  • A. Khan on March 18, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    Kish Kumar's comment about Gavaskar and Viv/Border are very common and holistically preserved and is passed from one person to another. Windies attack of late 60s and early 70s was one of their worst. Not only Sunny, many others scored tones of runs aganst them. Roberts was the 1st of great bowlers to arrive followed by Holding in 75. The quartet was completed in 77 when Garner/Croft joined. In 70-71 series against them Sunny scored 774 runs @154 and then he scored 732 runs in 1978-79 @90 but against a packered side. In fact he played 17 matches against packered Aus/Win sides and he did make good use of it. He played just one series (3 tests) against full strength Aus side and played one unofficial series (5 tests) against them in early 70s for world XI. He failed both times. [[ The point, AK, is that Gavaskar battled virtually single-handedly and this fact automatically transforms into the bowling attacks beiing very strong. He faced very good attacks, but during the later half of his career. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on March 18, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    100% in agreement with your 6 Pointers. There was a quote from Sachin in the papers "Retiring at the top of your game is selfish" He says that in the context that if a player is that the top of his game he can contribute the maximum to the team winning. Why should one retire in this situation? If one does so to maintain his image / averages he is being selfish. [[ The last two days indicated the "future" baton of India's ODI game has been irrevocably passed on to Kohli, Rains, Sharma. Not yet in Tests though. Ananth: ]] My take: There is some degree of truth in what he says when you judge in context of Warne, Mcgrath and Gilchrist. Their retirement at the top of their game did bring about the downfall of Australia. All three were really the best even when they called it a day. McGrath was Man of Series in the World Cup.

    Tendulkar does seem in good nick today, but overall he is not on top of his game for the last year or so. Ponting is also in the Sachin mould. He will continue to play till he can contribute and is selected. However, the difference is that Ponting will be dropped and Sachin has to decide himself.

  • Pranav Joshi on March 18, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    @Anantha

    I do not disagree with most points you made. His continuing in the ODI side is undesirable and its a bit of a shocker that he doesn't realize it. It should be embarrassing for him to hold up a place in a team, where the next most capped player didn't start till well into the 2000s. But surprisingly not.

    However, his sincerity looks genuine and quite frankly, its only his love for playing which is keeping him there. That is undeniable.

    I said you have lost your objectivity because, I have been seeing on this particular blog that you have been quietly accepting (even agreeing with) some unbelievable stuff written here about him (though civilly). There was someone who said he likes to tell everyone that he plays for the team, there are half dozen here suddenly doubting his purpose (and brains!)and all u do is stay silent. Whatever the situation with any player or team, you have always accepted the intelligent criticism while countering the brash one. This isn't happening now. [[ Pranav, let us close this here. Unless I do a lot more of censoring this will happen. You must have the ability to distinguish between my views and readers' views. A message to the readers. Please do not bring in non-cricket related matters into the comments. And certainly no personal comments. Anyhow today Tendulkar has started off as of old. He is playing freely and is willing to take chances to keep the scoreboard moving. It may be that the 100 on Friday was an aberration because of the pressure. Ananth: ]]

  • Ram on March 18, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    Sachin, in my opinion, continues to play in order to ensure that his mammoth aggregate records remain unbeatable for the foreseeable future. Among the current players, the threat from Ponting has disappeared, but Kallis continues unabated and still going strong and if Sachin retires at this time, Kallis has a good chance of wresting some of Sachin's records ( the ODI record looks impregnable though). Sachin would continue to play until he ensures that Kallis is out of his way. But while doing so Sachin might end up destroying his averages...repeat of 2011 for two years would see a significant drop in his career averages.

    Ananta, lots have been done on batting/bowling skill and ability on your blogs, but there is a lot of reader comments on match winning skills, and is there a way to define "match winning ability" and to quantify it? Or is this judgement on match winning ability a highly subjective one?

  • Ryan on March 18, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    I can only applaud you, Anantha Narayanan, assuming that you are from India, I see that you are defending non-Indian players in your answers to the comments forum [[ That has been my greatest strength and has sustained me for 3 years and got me readers from all over the world. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on March 18, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    @Ranga

    I had told Anantha that I would stop commenting about Sachin after my last comment, but you have changed all that.

    Now this is a nice accusation mate. Why does he have to keep saying in the media that he does not play for records? Because the media ASKS him. They asked that to him after his 100th century, and they have done it a few times over the last couple of years.

    But you make it sound as if he came out in the media and said it by himself. By the way he hasn't been saying it for 22 years - just a few, after the media started asking him.

    And given his age, (and his achievements), he has every right to choose what format to play, so long as he is of value there. The problem is simply that his value in ODIs has disappeared.

    You know what? If Sachin stays silent he is at fault; if he says something you don't agree with, still the fault is his. That man is absolutely doomed. And I am sorry Anantha, but even YOU have begun to lose objectivity over the last few days. [[ One day back you had no problems. Now I have suddenly lost objectivity. Pl remember that the readers' comments are their own. I only publish these. Now I will throw a challenge at you. You have the entire set of responses of mine before you. Pl extract a remark or two where you think I have not been objective and I will apologize and remove the remark. However remember one thing. I have been consistent in the following 6 beliefs. If I make a comment supporting these I suggest do not throw that statement back at me. 1. Tendulkar should have retired from ODI cricket on 2/3 April 2011. 2. He should retire immediately from ODI cricket. 3. No one, the selectors, BCCI , anyone you can name, is going to make this decision. He has to do this himself in the interests of Indian Cricket. 4. His 100th 100 was, by far his worst century. By his standards and for the team. 5. He is certainly causing not-talked and not-discussed ripples within the team in terms of blooding younger players, team planning with his propensity to play matches at his will and captaincy problems for Dhoni. 6. He is too great a player to ge into this situation or worse. I say all these firm in my belief that he is one of the greatest Cricketers ever and his place in Tests is absolutely needed for India to tide over Dravid's retirement. Now the ball is back in your court. Ananth: ]]

  • Kish Kumar on March 18, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    Any analysis which belittles the achievement of Gavaskar when he scored loads of runs against the West Indies, Australian and Pakisthani attack of his time is erraneous. I couldn't put my head into the sophisticated method you have used in making this table. However, if it says that Viv Richards and Border got more percentage of quality runs than Gavaskar, I have to disagree. [[ You have a certain belief, culled out of what you have watched or heard. Fine, I accept that. But I speak from an impartial analysis of data through complex series of programs. I can back up whatever I can say. Can you. Do you know that when Gavaskar made his debut, West Indies had a very poor bowling attack (almost all attacks 1 or 2). He scored 721 runs then. Do not throw his age at me. That does not matter. We are talking of batsmen performance against bowler/pitch types. There is nothing statistical in my analysis. If you want you can spend some time and understand that. And then make your comments. Do not make from a position of subjective inferences. And finally what are you talking about. Gavaskar shares with Tendulkar the best figures for an Indian batsman. He has scored 54.5% of his runs against the tough A group bowlers at at 45.2. Tendulkar has scored 46.8% of his runs against the tough A group bowlers at at 51.4. Both approximately equal. What is your complaint. Ananth: ]]

  • Kish Kumar on March 18, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    "Pakistan was one of the toughest countries to visit during the early years and over the past decade has completely changed". Yes, it has changed over the past decade and became very easy - Just cancel the tour and it is over and done with.

  • shrikanthk on March 18, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    Harveys avg of 43 looks a bit lower but then his most great innings have come against not so great attacks.

    Well. Yes. Harvey underachieved against England. But let's not forget that the 50s was probably the toughest time to be a batsman and Harvey in any other era would've probably averaged over 50 comfortably. He did score runs against Heine, Adcock and Tayfield - that's some attack.

    I always felt that there is nothing to choose between Boycott and Gavaskar, its just that the later is from India that he is glorified and Boycott is in the bad books of some self proclaimed, all knowing person from Australia

    Fair enough. I actually rate Boycott a little higher. He is easily one of the greatest first class players of all time. To average 56 in a first-class career spread over 20 odd years in the 60s and 70s is amazing. It was damn tough to average anything above 45 in the English circuit those days - what with all the wet wickets.

  • shrikanthk on March 18, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    Ravi Rampaul was mde to look like Malcolm Marshall

    I actually think of Rampaul as a poor man's Malcolm Marshall (okay let's make it a very destitute man's Marshall).

    Am I the only one who notices a similarity in their hustling run-up and action?

  • shrikanthk on March 18, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    ANd the shield teams have all test players playing them, incl Ponting

    And Ponting is really struggling going by the Shield game!!

    Yes. I agree about the quality that is on display in the Shield game - especially the bowling. The batting is sub-par, but there are definitely a lot of interesting bowlers all around the world at the moment.

    The Golden Age of Batsmanship has ended. And a new era has dawned. Feel very excited about the Test cricket that will be played over the next 3-4 years. Lots of very good bowling attacks around. Lots of results to look forward to.

  • shrikanthk on March 18, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    Nice to be on this comments thread again.

    Alex - FYI...Ambrose's average in Australia is 15% better than McGrath's average in Australia

    Well. That's not saying much given that McGrath's sample size is a lot bigger. Also the Aus pitches did flatten out a fair bit during the 2000s as compared to the late 80s-90s when Ambrose plied his trade.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 18, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    Some other interesting comparisons - Hadlee's average in Australia is 10% better than that of Ambrose...take that. And Hadlee has magnificent figures everywhere. But of course, no one talks about a world XI place for Hadlee.

    Alex, apologies again - you just serve up too many full tosses. If McGrath must be lauded for longevity, then 1) Hadlee is perhaps the greatest of all and 2) Marshall was a trundler in 1988-89 itself, when he ceded the lead bowler mantle to Ambrose in just his 3rd series, though Marshall was aged 29 only. In fact his pace sharply dropped in 1987 itself, and in 1988 his terrific (but not late) swing bowling resulted in rich rewards, which disappeared on the relatively unfriendly wickets of Australia a few months later.

    Guess who has the highest averages in the non-swing-friendly wickets of Australia and West Indies from among the sub-continent pace kings?

    Not Imran, not Akram, not Akhtar, Younis --- It is Kapil Dev...take that, and a brilliant average of 22.

  • charith on March 18, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    nice work as always ananth, the best top batsman in this list who has done a good job for his team is kallis while he has done very well against tough opponents he has successfully dominated the weaker teams which means he has applied himself well regardless of the attack he faced.in my opinion a batsmen can't be called a great if he doesn't do well against excellent attacks and even better against weaker teams. regarding sachin i think he clearly deserves to be among the top 5 batsmen of all time but don't deserves to be among the top 10 match winners of all time. [[ A subtle distinction. When I do complete justice to Arjun's request, maybe we can check it out. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 18, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    @Ananth: Pl pardon this unrelated comment. Of course, I was only being sarcastic. But the scenario you paint is within the realms of reality and a hell for genuine cricket lovers ... comparable to the torture of 75-year old Lata Mangeshkar singing 6 songs for a 20-something Preity Zinta in year 2003 and getting praised by multitude for it. This comparison is quite valid here. Even pure classical vocalists, for whom it is easier to maintain vocal quality, such as Kesarbai Kerkar, Anjanibai Malpekar, and Moghubai Kurdikar had retired by age 70 ... Malpekar retired at age 40! All these 3 were arguably much greater than Lata as a vocalist: of course, none of them has a Bharat Ratna! [[ I converted your sarcasm, which will immediatly attract snide comments, to a real possibility. And the Bharat Ratna clamour has started already. Ananth: ]]

  • HadleeCrowe on March 18, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    Curious to not see Martin Crowe's record against the great west inidian team of the 80s discussed in this article. Everyone harps on about how brilliant they were (including me!!) but Marty Crowe had them mastered... 188 in the windies and 3 test tons against them in a 3 test series in NZ on 84-85 (helping us to tie the series with them 1-1) Surely these feats against this extraordinary windies attack deserve a mention [[ This shows that you have not understood the way the article is structured. What I have shown in the main article is the top-40 run-getters + Andy Flower. Martin does not fall into this group since his run tally is 5444 runs. However he is there in the complate table which you can download and/or view. You will see Martin in the 74th position. Incidentally he has done quite well, having scored 56.4% of his runs against the tougher A group at a good average of 40.41. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 18, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Thanks to sattelite TV, we get to see the domestic matches of most top countries, incl Ind,Eng,Aus,SAF,Pak. For almost since the game started, the Aussies were either the best or 2nd best till date. They never had really bad years. If at all, they were bad by just their own standards. Today when I see the Sheffied finals, I feel why they keep coming back strong again and again. Their highly competitive domestic cricket is probably the reason. It is just like watching a test match. In contrast, Ranji or even Eng circuit,to an extent is slightly boring. This shows how seriously they take cricket and passion for excellence. The intensity at the fag end of the day is simply awesome. If at all we have to take some +ves from Aussies, lets not emulate their sledging. Let us take what is good in them. Their intensity, passion and seriousness towards their cricket, whichever form it is played in, is simply worth emulating. ANd the shield teams have all test players playing them, incl Ponting!!

  • Ranga on March 18, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    When I 1st started following these blogs, I was a very big admirer of SRT. But over a period of time (particularly last year), it is more and more evident that "love for the game" has a different meaning. I am not doubting ANY of his knocks pre - WC Final 2011. If he got out, I always felt it was genuine. I never ever doubted his commitment to play for the country (Numerous occasions he has grafted for 2 runs from 98-100 . . and numerous occasions he has scored them off 4/6s - I tended to believe he treated every ball on its merit and not his scoreboard). 100th 100 is not an obession of media alone. It is not of his sponsors as well - he has enough clout to refuse x or y brand. If fitness was his concern for picking and choosing, let him refuse IPL. If love for game is true, let him play Ranji trophy next year. [[ I cannot add anything more. I have already written enough. I am sure, all to no avail. We will see Tendulkar keeping quiet and the selectors will have no other option but to select him against whichever country whenever India plays next. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 18, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    It is away from the topic (but much towards the discussion posts): "I enjoy the game. I dont play for records" - This should be as true as a politician saying "i dont want power" or businessman saying "I dont want money". I am not doubting the person's commitment. Today I was seeing Ricky Ponting playing 1st class matches to keep himself fit for tests. If "enjoying the game" is so true, I would be playing it in any format. Why only IPL and Marquee tests/ODIs? Why not Ranji/Duleep/Irani trophies? If I dont play for records, why do I keep saying it again and again in press even after 22 yrs? Is it to remind myself or the people that I play for the country,which I should anyways be doing?DO I have to remind through words and NOT through actions? (Cotd)

  • Alex on March 18, 2012, 3:13 GMT

    @Gerry and @Ananth: Not much difference between McGrath & Ambrose. I absolutely loved Ambrose. Ambrose at his best was probably a bit better than McGrath at his best, esp. in tests, but he did not play that much in subcontinent. If you factor in McGrath's superior performances after age 32 in both formats, the edge should go to McGrath. For the record, I think Marshall was certainly the greatest ever test bowler.

  • Alex on March 18, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    @bks123: Even the 2 hundreds in WC 2011 were a bit slow. Ind lost both matches since its SR dropped during overs 25-38. I wrote often against that on Ananth's blog in those days. SRT scored runs in WC 2011 and performed like an important cog but the runs of Yuvi & Gambhir were equally/more potent, esp. in the knock-out.

    Frankly, I have given up expecting sanity on SRT's retirement. The silver lining is that it provides a fodder to write absurd sounding comments which are, sadly, not so absurd. The ODI scene (and maybe even test scene) has eveolved past the SRT era. That is simply nature taking its course. Yet, I read articles online and am amazed that the establishment ignores this. BCCI should simply sign this and be done --- SRT gets to play till age 65 provided he plays 5 ODIs/year, which, of course, he gets to choose!! My father took a voluntary retirement 1 year ahead of time for the sake his younger colleagues ... indeed, that was so stupid of him as per the SRT logic. [[ Today I read Tim Corbett's article in "Hindu". He shows either his lack of cricketing sense and/or knowledge of the side of bread which has been buttered, by saying "and those who called him to retire have gone underground." These words befit a CNN-IBN channel newscaster. Corbett does not realize that the 100th-100, seminal and epochal it might have been in a milestone-crossing mode, was the very innings which should make many more question Tendulkar's place in the ODI scene. Is he worth his place in the Indian ODI side. Yes, probably. But is he the future. No, emphatically. Is he the present. No, almost certainly. Why is it that Dravid and Laxman have been hounded mercifully forcing one of them to call it a day and the other, probably should. However Tendulkar's place in the ODI side is taken as unquestionable, non-actionable, unbreachable, for-life. Note that I completely separate the Test and ODI scenarios. He is still needed in Tests. Your closing words are exaggeration, hyper-bole and far-fetched. What I am saying now is reality. What happens if Tendulkar decides that the 2015 WC would be his swansong ????? Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 18, 2012, 2:02 GMT

    Alex - FYI...Ambrose's average in Australia is 15% better than McGrath's average in Australia. [[ Let us see when I do the bowler analysis based on the re-worked single Test pitch quality measure. Since Ambrose, overall at 20.99, is 3% better than McGrath at 21.64, this means McGrath must have out-performed Ambrose by about 10% outside Australia. Ananth: ]]

  • A. Khan on March 18, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    Purely on the performance, which this analysis is based on, I on the whole agree with the list. A few players seem to be on the higher side (Mahela, Sanga, Sehwag). Harveys avg of 43 looks a bit lower but then his most great innings have come against not so great attacks. I always felt that there is nothing to choose between Boycott and Gavaskar, its just that the later is from India that he is glorified and Boycott is in the bad books of some self proclaimed, all knowing person from Australia.

    The curious case of Gooch. During the last 30-35 years (excl. players from banned SA), to me Gooch was one of the most talented batsmen (Greg, Viv, Sachin, Lara, Ponting, M. Waugh, Inzi, Gower, Gilchrist and Martyn being others - not in any order). But he under-performed all through his career except, for very late in his career. People do remember Miandad six in Sharjah but not many remember Gooch's 129* against Windies to win a match in Windies, very close to that Sharjah match. [[ 129 out of 126, chasing 230 against Garner, Patterson, Walsh and Marshall. One of the many forgotten innings. That and the 115 against India at Mumbai in the WC Semi-Final must be Gooch's ODI top efforts. Of course he had many more in Tests. Ananth: ]]

  • Michael on March 18, 2012, 0:48 GMT

    Why is Chris Martin not in this table hahahaha [[ One day I would like to re-visit one of my best efforts on "the worst batsmen to play Test criclet" in which, to the surprise of many New Zealanders, Pommy Mbangwa edged out Chris Martin. We must see whether Chris has reclaimed that crown. Ananth: ]]

  • A. Khan on March 17, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    @swarzi Like Gerry_the_Merry, I too agree with your comments albeit without tears. I would like to bring just a minor correction (as if that makes any difference!), Boycott was dropped for slow scoring against a weaker side (India) in 1967 after scoring 246* in first innings. He wasn't even allowed to bat in the second innings, England WON the match. And like you said, Ananth is one of the most accommodating and knowledgeable (cricket) person I have seen, well exactly not seen. Although, at times, he replies very harshly but is quick to admit his mistake, if he makes one.

  • A. Khan on March 17, 2012, 21:51 GMT

    @AD I did not do any complicated filtration. Its just with or without a single player but you may be right, a closer look might reveal something different. But to my naked he did not remain as effective as he was during 90s, once he started concentrating on his centuries, but I am not going to check the stats and prove it.. This is not the way I judge players. And BTW, here is India's Win/Loss ratio with OR without Sachin Aus 0.52 vs 0.50 SA 0.60 vs 0.60 Pak 0.83 vs 0.50 Eng 1.26 vs 2.66 NZ 1.46 vs 0.81 SL 1.38 vs 0.87 WI 1.46 vs 1.20 I dont know if it proves anything? And after all the futile exercise by poor Ananth, you still consider Lara to be SECOND best! but that's your personal opinion, and I respect that. As you said "Bowlers win matches". I would say it TAKES 11 players to WIN a MATCH, AND NOBODIES CARRIES A TEAM, NOT YOUR TENDULKAR NOT YOUR DRAVID AND OF COURSE NOT YOUR "BELOVED" LARA. Obviously you dont have to agree.

  • bks123 on March 17, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    As there is a lot of talk on Sachin's retirement from ODIs and giving opportunities to young stars, I would like to add few things. Given Sachin's appetite for runs, he won't retire by himself. We know that he was the highest run scorer for India in the 2011WC. But cricket is not a govt job that he can play till 60, however, there is no obvious age limit that one can force him to retire just because he is 39. Selectors should take a call. Make a deal with him. Not to drop Sachin but to give opportunity to those waiting in the wing. How? First pick the best playing XI. Let them play 15 matches and drop the worst performers. one/two batsmen and one/two bowlers. Do that every 15 matches. Then you are not forcing Sachin to retire but not allowing him to play if he is the worst. That way we can also make sure that Dhoni is not being biased to give opportunities to his CSK buddies when some other deserving guys are sitting on the bench.

  • nilesh on March 17, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    why is scoring low against easy option not considered to be bad? the idea of splitting into two groups and comparing averages (not percentages) is great.

    a good player should ideally have a slightly lower average against tough opposition. a very wide difference.. very good avg against tough opposition compared to easy opposition suggest the player doesn't take every team seriously. very good avg against easy opposition.

    any serious analysis for comparing batsmen across different eras (or Sachin whos played many eras) should be time limited. Like the best 5 years of Sachin vs the best 5 years of Lara. That will make sense. If SRT plays another 5 years with a dipping average. He wouldn't become a lesser player. One should come up with a method to give bonus points for the number of years played. And add that to the average by some multiplication factor.

  • Alex on March 17, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    @Ananth: Can you pl give us a heads up on your next few articles? The Dravid article has been submitted. I have suggested two more articles. Also, you were going to do a tribute to Lara --- when will it appear?

    I request a tribute article to McGrath as well. When it comes to winning matches, esp. tests, bowlers are more important than batsmen. Across tests & ODI's, he may well be the greatest bowler of all time: I certainly think so. One trivia qn: 99.94 is famous as Don's test average (adopted by ACB as its PO Box address) but what does 994 signify? Ans: McGrath's test+ODI wicket tally. Had he been an Indian, he probably would have gone for the magical "record" of 1000! [[ Will do all. I will work on the plans and come out soon. Incidentally what does 995 signify. It is the total of Boucher's international victims as on date. He may get 4 more victims in the next Test and may very well retire before the England tour, with 999 victims. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on March 17, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    @Anantha

    My last comment on the Sachin topic here.

    I entirely agree with you that he should have quit ODIs on April 2/3. He has stayed on when not required and is spoiling his legacy. He is also holding back some deserving players.

    And yes, you write wonderful blogs; I have followed you for nearly a year now. I am poor at stats and often cannot understand the methodology in depth - and hence cannot make genuinely useful comments, though I wish to. But I get the general idea and I understand the conclusion well.

    A Question - I have read most of your archives from late 2009 onwards. Can some fielding analysis not be done? Fielders are the forgotten lot along with WKs. Analysis of catches against good sides, catches of top quality batsmen, in desperate match situations etc. is possible right? There will be data for catches I think, though not for "brilliant saves". Thanks, and apologies if you have already done such analyses. [[ Yes, that is possible. As long as ball-by-ball data is not needed it is fine. Will do one day. Ananth: ]]

  • Srikanth on March 17, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    Runs against big teams should not necessarily mean that the batsman is good. One has to also look into whether there is a repetition of games within the same league of big teams. For eg. The ashes has the chance for the players of England and Australia to get used to the opposition bowlers that much more and hence score that many more runs. We cannot fule out the fact that variety, though from a smaller or a newer team like Kenya or Bangladesh can be that much more testing for a batsman. That should perhaps explain why some big name players were very consistent playing against a particular big league team.

  • Arjun on March 17, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    Ananth,

    Ghambhir has 25-30 % better win/loss ratio than most other indian players in both formats of the game. Any particular reason ? is indian bowling attack much better in the matches he plays ?

    that is why an article on this theme is necessary.

    would love to know BQI of india in the matches he plays and compare it with other current indian players. [[ Will do. Ananth: ]]

  • swarzi on March 17, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    Gerry_the_Merry, thanks for your kind compliments! I am becoming record breaking like Tendulkar now - I feel proud "to have broken the record for the most characters submitted in a cricket bloggers' post". I guess that it was allowed because, as you rightly noted, 'every one of the 1663 characters told the truth'. It would have been very good if the majority of owners of the cricket bloggers columns were adopting this kind of interactive relationship with us as the incomparable Anantha has been doing. Then some of them would have been much less bias and more educated on the topics that they usually present. Big up Anantha! You are by trillions of miles the best! I should also tell Anshu N Jain that the figures derived from the employment of a statistical tool such as 'Standard Deviation', are the products 'from scientific analysis'! And, how can Tendulkar be more consistent than any of his modern great contemporaries when none of them has records such as 'taking all of 45 innings to score a creditable 100 in test cricket'; and, always has to use BANGLADESH as his proverbial oasis every time he is in a runs desert?

  • AD on March 17, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Anantha, Gerry_the_merry

    I usually dont agree at all with Gerry_the_Merrys comments, but on one particular subject I do. The grouping to determine PTI is simply too nebulous. It must be done match and pitch wise. You mention in one of your comments that pitch and BQI are intertwined and cannot be separated. But at least the best can be attempted.

    i.e Matchwise and after and index of "Batting Quality" is determined for Batsmen 1-7 (or whatever) Clearly if the 1-7 Batsmen average 30 in one team and 45 in another- the better batsmen will make the pitch "appear" better?

    In my opinion this "period" wise distribution is rather vague and nebulous. [[ Ali, You would have noticed that I have always mentioned your and Unni's name in this area of implementing the Pitch quality at the match level, making sure that the bowling and pitch aspects are separated. Based on Unni's excellent suggestion on using the differential between actual and averages, which you had endorsed, I have already started the work. The batting is coming off well. Some more work needs to be done on bowling. These are only alternate attempts. Ananth: ]]

  • AD on March 17, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    @A.Khan I am also always wary when people use arbitrary "groups" to prove some point.The Test eg. you have given is also relatively shallow for its small sample size.And in the ODIs you would be better served taking it country by country (after exc. Ban/Zim etc). The method you use is a common trick I have seen - It consists of grouping for eg. several say "Top" bowlers together in one group. It is entirely possible that a batsman may have not done too well against one or two bowlers- But the grouping makes it magically appear that the batsman in question has done relatively poorly against the entire group chosen. I also suggest that in a 22/23 yr career you go period wise. It is entirely possible- in fact it did happen that SRT has underperformed for various reasons in his long career. For eg. in the mid 2000s Rahul Dravid was the man who carried the team and not SRT. etc. All said and done your "analysis" reveals your particular bias and mindset- more than anything else.

  • AD on March 17, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    @A.Khan Unfortunately, your "analysis" is fundamentally flawed on multiple levels. There is an old adage in cricket - Bowlers win matches. Let's step aside from SRT for the moment and consider the 2nd best batsman of our era. In TESTS- Lara- From Jan 2000 onwards to retirement: The W/L % of West Indies is 0.17 (with or without Lara) This from a ratio of greater than 1.0 in the '90s. What does this tell you?

    Besides the obvious here are 2 glaring facts from the above data (If we go strictly as per your logic and reasoning)

    1)The Great Lara was said to have single-handedly carried his team esp. in the 2000s. Apparently it wouldnt have made a whit of a difference to the WI if he had quit on Jan 2000.

    2)Laras stats are better in the 2000s than the 1990s . In terms of just about everything - Runs,Hundreds,Average.

    This busts the 2nd myth about Lara. That being in a poor team affected his stats.

    Contd...

  • AD on March 17, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    I am back after a while and wasn't going to comment until I saw the astonishing anti-Tendulkar vitriol in here.It borders on nauseating. Perhaps few sportsmen in history have drawn such strong reactions -either for or against. Granted ,some may feel that the pro-Tendulkar camp too overcook it when their hero is doing well and they may well find that nauseating -but that is the exuberance of joy.

    This particular reveling in rubbing it in when a Legend is failing reveals another facet of human nature. And not a pleasant one at that. [[ While I agree that some comments are certainly over-board, let me assure you that I have all along said that the great player he is, he should never come to this situation. Pl read back over what I have written. Even when he achieves a never-before-never-after milestone, circumstances lower the value of the innings. Frankly I could not care who wins the Asia Cup. But one can read so much from the matches. But it is clear now that, in the ODI game, Tendulkar's value to the team is diminishing fast. I have never said that in Tests. He has the time to build an innings there. Not in the ODI format. It is time everyone, including Tendulkar, realizes that. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on March 17, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    @swarzi 4. Just as Gerry_the_Merry, I too am amazed how you managed to squeeze in so many characters because I have never been able to! One of the reasons why I did not list out ALL 34 players (filter career avg>50), only listing the top 5, the last, the "modern greats" as before, the established greats of the past (Bradman and Sobers), and other currently active players closing in on 10,000 runs (Viru, Mahela and Sanga). 5. I am neither a "Tendulkar is the greatest" fan, nor a baiter. (My personal favourites are Richards and Dravid). But clearly there are people who think Tendulkar is the greatest, and I would definitely want to understand why they think so. And I will share with the world why I think that is. That doesnt mean I have a Tendulkar bias (unshakeable or not). I have been a regular follower of this blog for more than a year now, and none of my comments on any of the articles reeks of anything such. 6. Finally, Rank 6 is A D Nourse of South Africa. [[ I can attest that Anshu is what he tells is. He has been one of the balanced readers who has contributed a lot of add-on work.. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on March 17, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    @swarzi Thanks for devoting the time to comment on my comment. However, I do have a few observations: 1. If you had read my comment in entirety, it would have been pretty straightforward to understand the methodology employed and the specific filter for the ranking. Maybe now would be a good time to go back and do the same? 2. I have not used 'from scientific analysis' that you ascribe to me anywhere in any of my comments. Maybe this is your 'preconceived notion'? 3. When I talked about modern greats, I meant only Lara, Ponting, Kallis, Dravid and Tendulkar. I admit I should have specified this. Again, "to my mind", Trott is nowhere near a great yet, and Younis Khan is not greater than Inzamam-ul-Haq or Javed Miandad (even though more consistent than them AND Tendulkar). One of the beauties of Anantha's blogs is that he makes tables available for readers to do their own analysis and post their observations. contd.. [[ I think it will be a good idea for you guys who do some work to post into DropBox and use the Public folder to make it available for all. Upto 2 GB it is free. I don't want to make mine availeble since I use my mailid to access the same. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on March 17, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    @Ananth

    I was not referring to the media. I was referring to the hundreds of comments we get on any article anywhere in cyberspace, and people's comments on social networking websites, forums and any other platform. These "critics" keep vilifying him day and night, and at the first opportunity, often without recourse to facts. It could be ignored but for the fact that it has become too bad to ignore now. There are so many who revel when Sachin's centuries end in losses. It is sad, and the player himself does ultimately get affected. [[ Pranav, I agree to that. Many of the comments I see in the blogspace are awful. I at least maintain some degree of control. In many articles the comments go unchecked. Let me assure you one thing. The reason why I want Tendulkar quit now is to ensure that he goes out while he is still very good. The month Federer does not go past the third round in 3 consecutive tournaments I would want him to quit. I would not want the Kudlas or Almagros or Nishikoris to defeat him in three tournaments and for him to continue. Re Tendulkar I have the same views. Ananth: ]] All said, the media at least needs to exercise more caution while reporting about him. The time will soon come when they start talking about what he had for breakfast today, tomorrow, etc. Also what I am saying is that the same media which hails him had published offensive stuff about him a few years ago. It is one thing to criticize or praise, and quite another to write deplorable stuff (or exaggerate his achievements) for the sake of readership. [[ The media. I think the Kamatipura women run a more honourable profession. You are absolutely right. They have no morals, principles or conscience. The only reason I work with Cricinfo is because I think they are really different. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on March 17, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Ananth,

    After Dravid's article there is an immediate need of simple article on 'Bowlers contribution/impact in wins'

    Indian public inappropiately blames Tendulkar for most of the defeats; specially when he scores 100 and india lose. They never see other side of the coin and praise very good performance by opposition. they even forget bowling quality/resources of Ind

    3-4 basic tables will be enough. you have all the BQI data for each match ready availabe. We would like to know what was the average BQI for Aus in the matches in which ponting played. Similarly average BQI of ind in matches with Sachin and so on for every player. Hypoithetical figures... Ave BQI for Aus in Tests with Ponting....28.50 Ave BQI for Ind in Tests with Tendulkar....34.50 Ave BQI for SAF in Tests with Kallis....31.50

    The other day BD didn't even chase 262 ag. pak and today they chased 290 ag. India. Single most important factor-Bowling attack. Most of the pak players have better win/loss ratios accross career [[ Arjun, there is quite some merit in the negative comments on Tendulkar's innings. I would assign the reason for the loss at 75-25 to the bowlers-batsmen. And Tendulkar bears the brunt of those 20, that is all. Let me ask you one thing. I have given below an alternate scorecard. India: 289/5 (Kohli 114(147), Tendulkar 66) Bangladesh: 293/5. Would Kohli have got the same consideration that it was a bowlers' loss. I can only repeat what I replied to Dhanush. ""My personal take is that the one-year and the 33-innings odyssey had made him get to the 100 AT ANY COST."" That was the problem and to boot, India lost. Anyhow I would have used the same words if India had won by 5 runs. Ananth: ]]

  • Unni on March 17, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    @Ananth : I do not think you need to defend yourself. As an avid follower you are perfectly entitled for a strong opinion, either way. I was more frustrated with the comments (which were not unexpected, though) from other articles. @Ananth, @Alex : In my opinion, the problem lies in the media and general Indian mentality in being obsessed with numbers and runs and centuries and what not... so it is perfectly natural that an average person who was brought up in a middle class setup gets carried away with that hype. And that was the only blemish in Sachin's approach. And I agree that it affects his natural play. It is quite artificial to segregate the fruits of one's unlimited supply of talent to so many equal shaped 50,100,200 ... blocks and marvel at them. But, please forgive him for this lone blemish. I hope he will bounce back once these obsessions are over. My only point is that the problem lies elsewhere. If the selectors cannot objectively decide, that shows our biggest weakness.

  • A. Khan on March 17, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    Regarding my last post - I think we understand each other, I posted those stats to only show that the Tendulkar's absence does not make as much of a difference as it has been made out to be, especially in ODIs, partly due to his inability to dominate on wickets with some help to pace bowlers and against better bowling sides. And at the wickets where he dominates, others in the team also do the same. There isnt much difference between his strike rate (86) compared to Indian team's SR (83) in the matches in which he played. However gifted he is with the willow, I think he doesnt have the acumen to judge the pitch and play accordingly. I remember Viv's famous comment "record books show that how great was Bradman, but I just want to be remembered as Viv Richards" and he always lived by those words.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 17, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Ananth, I am caught between too stools...if i write sarcastically, you censure me. if I write politely, Alex takes me seriously, and misses the sarcasm altogether. Just to make sure, I am eagerly waiting for the Dravid piece. I only hope you can accommodate that request on peer-comparison I made. [[ I stop publishing a comment only when I feel that it would create a chain of unpleasant comments. I am also not saying that I am consistent in this. Sarcasm does not bother me. I am not sure whether I have covered what you wanted re Dravid. Unlike the other writers I do not have the luxury of penning an article in an hour flat. I have four graphs in the Dravid piece and each of these has taken 3-4 hours. Please revert after publication of the article. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on March 17, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    (contd) Uncharacteristically, he plainly mentioned to Ramiz Raja that it had weighed him down. The India media is utterly shameless - all they want to do is make money, and an "Endulkar" headline in 2006 serves the same purpose as a "Greater than the Don" headline in 2012 - making money, money, money.

    Frankly, the way some people have vilified him unfairly, and the way the media has hounded him, the former should be charged for slander and attempt to tarnish the reputation of a great individual. The latter needs to be gagged. But who will do this?

    The most that can be said is that by delaying his ODI retirement, Sachin is doing himself the most disservice. The pressure demons have not been exorcised, they have just been transferred to a later date. The MEDIA, the FANS, and the CRITICS will continue to hound him and destroy his peace until he retires, that too without prior announcement.

    And why are we discussing Tendulkar here? :) That itself shows how HUGE he has become! [[ While I agree with most of your comments, some are quite untrue. The media have almost never ganged up on SRT, as you have indicated. He has been allowed to have his poor runs unlike the way the media has gone on Laxman. He is The Holy Cow. You cannot deny that. He has been handled with kid gloves. Probably he deserves this consideration for what all he has done for Indian Cricket. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on March 17, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    @Alex

    Firstly, I completely disagree with the notion that "his faults are completely overlooked". In fact there must be no batsman in the history of cricket who has been so thoroughly criticized by the few who hate him. Over the past ten years or so, almost every failure of his has been followed with rapt attention, then analysed, criticized, and crazy conclusions drawn from it. He has received more adulation and respect than is due, but FAR more criticism than was ever warranted. It is a sort of curse upon him that only strengthens with each failure.

    Dravid is very admirable, but neither he nor Laxman nor anyone else ever faced the kind of 24 hour, lifelong scrutiny that Sachin has been subject to for 20 + years. A lesser man might have contemplated suicide (and I am not exaggerating). The pressure on him is really scary, and it is foolish to expect that he would not feel it, and not be affected by it. His crawl from 99th to 100th showed that it affected him. (contd).

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 17, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    swarzi, every one of the 1663 characters posted by you bring tears to my eyes, I agree with each one, but how did you post >1000?

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 17, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    In One Days, opener makes more centuries. Haynes made 18, Richards only 11, still Richards was the greater batsman. so no point comparing on additive basis. Kallis and Ponting can never have 100 centuries. 50 test centuries is also tough but possible.

    Anyway, now the goose that laid the golden egg has been well and truly killed. After a good performance against Australia in 2001, the fab-4 was created by media (they were genuinely good batsmen) and Indian cricket rose from strength to strength, culminating in 2007 series win in England. WC2007 debacle was forgotten as WC 2007 itself was forgettable. Then we had Kumble and Dhoni taking our team higher in tests.

    The fallout of this popularity was a surfeit of One days, creation of IPL and killing of the golden goose, which is now complete with a barren batting talent cupboard as the result.

    One days in India draw few crowds. Rules are tougher. We are at the end of the cycle. Tendulkar will get 50 ODI 100s, but never anyone afterwards

  • swarzi on March 17, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    Ananth,you are a very patient gentleman; and the wide scope of your humility is unbelievable. I come to this conclusion when I look at some of the ridiculous contributions that some of us make sometimes; yet you take the time to respond to us. For example, Anshu N Jain who seems to know something about statistical analysis made a useful suggestion for the use of Standard Deviation analysis as a statistical tool to test for batting consistency; he then privately created all his own statistical scenarios and came up with his own results, not explaining to any of us how he arrived at these results. However, he published his findings in relation to batting consistency, ranked as follows:

    1 Hutton 2 Chappell 3 Richards 4 Trott 5 Younis Khan 7 Tendulkar 9 Sehwag 10 Dravid 11 Sanga (contd.)

    After posting these results of his own findings 'from scientific analysis', maybe because he cannot interpret his own findings, he noted that his conclusion was,'Tendulkar stands out, in [his] mind, amongst the modern greats.....because of the consistency of his performances...' When his own postings showed the names of modern players like Younis Khan, Trott, and whomever he deliberately omitted at No.6 stood out like giants, heads and shoulders over Tendulkar! The question is, 'why did he go through the trouble to do the figures, if he knew that he would have still been stuck with that preconceived, wrought iron made mindset of an unshakable bias for Tendulkar over any other player? By the way, Geoff Boycott was dropped for slow scoring which caused his team to lose - Would Tendulkar suffer the same fate, regarding what transpired in this particular match? [[ Subsequently Anshu has posted the numbers. However it is true that Trott and Younis Khan are rated higher in the consistency table and should be acknowledged.Trott might have scored just over 2000 runs but Younis has scored over 6000 runs. As I have mentioned in my response to Unni and Dushyant, Tendulkar must quit the ODI game now. The problem is that Dravid would have been dropped, Laxman would be, Ganguly was, but no Indian selector would ever drop Tendulkar. Certainly not the opportunistic Srikkanth who is riding on multiple gravy trains. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 17, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    @Unni: You missed out on the most crucial factor, viz., performance: current performance & estimated future performance. Granted that estimates are difficult to apply to genuine outliers but the probability of SRT averaging 40+ now on vs top-class opponents in ODI's is very low. Yet Sehwag, after mere 3 ODI's since his world record knock of 219, had to sit out for SRT! That is gross injustice.

    In SRT, we are looking at a 39-year old 10th std dropout who has been Indian cricket's pampered blue eyed boy for 22 years since age 16. He is not an intellectual and the situation has been created where his faults are completely overlooked and merits are generously rewarded. Very few can take a sane decision on retirement given all this (Imran Khan is a rare exception), and certainly not him. The selection committee & former players must take the matters in hand to restore sanity rather than join the chore of sycophants ... but that's asking for too much, sadly.

  • DonB on March 16, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    Great work, lot of effort gone into that analysis. I have a couple of comments if I may - first, how have you kept the impact of bowling strength and pitch conditions separate from each other (feel free to point to an earlier article if necessary, I just came across this at the end). Second, I'm not sure I understand the normal distribution issue - either the data is normally distributed or it isn't surely, it can't be made to be normally distributed? [[ You have to go to the blogs archives and read the earlier articles , published over the past few months. In my previous Pitch type derivations, I had taken the specific match in question and derived a Top-10 partnership values across 4 innings. This caused a clear problem since the batsman, especially like Richards, was a beneficiary of his own bowler quality. If they dismissed the opposition for 160 and 200 he benefited. Now that has been taken care of. Only the batsmen averages are taken, over a period. There is also a split between home and away. This is a generated data. The groups are formed with PTI cut-offs. As such the distribution is something I derive and I strive for normal distribution. Ananth: ]]

  • unni on March 16, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    ... I also very sincerely believe that if one follows the derived results, one would easily get either out-dated or would get disinterested after such a long time. With Sachin, I believe that this has not happened. So, if the selectors feel that there are other capable replacements and this particular player's passion alone doesn't qualify him to be in the team, let them remove him from the team. And if the argument is that Indian system doesn't allow such objective decisions etc., then change the system. Why that decision is forced onto a poor player? [[ Unni, let me say that I have never been anti-Sachin. I am also not an all-out pro-Sachin. I call the game as I see it. And I am not a wise-after-the-event guy. At 6 O'clock I replied to Raghav that India might regret the slow innings but expressed a view that Bangladesh might not do it. Pl see my response to Dhanush. The quest for the hundred has affected India over the 12 months and yesterday. What you are referring to are all esoteric in nature and are applicable to Tendulkar over 21 years. But not over the past 12 months. I wouldn't say "Damn the 100" as Harsha has already usurped that. But please look at the contributions by SRT over the past 12 months and there is a "God! What is happening" feeling. You have mentioned " talent+passion+ continuous self improvement". Yesterday none of these three were in evidence. From 78 in 98 to 100 in 138 between 32nd and 43rd over. Finally, what more does Sachin want. Is he enjoying his batting. Is he contributing to the team. Is he a pillar of strength to Dhoni, The stray wonderful off-drives do not compensate for the general struggle. Why cannot he call it a day in ODIs at the end of Asia Cup and say that he would play Test cricket until end of 2013. That would be the greatest service he would do to Indian cricket. There is more sadness than anger. Ananth: ]]

  • Unni on March 16, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    Usually I hate to discuss outside the topic, I hate to participate Sachin/anti-Sachin discussion and even only interested to comment on the methods for this blog rather than on the fleshy cricket. But, today the frustration after reading all the comments on the main Sachin article forces me to write this. When a player starts playing, it is the passion for the game and his ever sustained mastering of new skills that motivates to play again and again and again... the skills and passion for playing feeds each other. If the guy has a strong backup of talent he just becomes great. The runs/centuries/wins/money/fame everything is by-product of this unusual combination of talent+passion+ continuous self improvement. I sincerely believe that if one of this is absent one cannot be great. I strongly believe that Sachin was one with all this three. This combination transfers pure joy to the followers....

  • Raghav Bihani on March 16, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    @Alex: What I meant was that there is no system or tradition of adding ODI and Test runs/100s/50s. Sachin has scored the most 100s in both the formats and those records are what matters. This 100th 100 is a media creation.Media needs to create hype and milestones does exactly that.

    Hobbs 197 first class 100s is deserved because traditionally test runs/100s are added to first class stats. its been done since ages. Logic being that both follow the same long format and tests are the international version of a first class match. they are essentially the same game but at different levels.

    By adding tests and ODIs you are combining stats of two versions diametrically opposite of each other. Only the level remains the same i.e.international. Appreciate that many players play only tests or only ODIs. But all tests players do play first class matches. When did someone retire from first class cricket but continue playing tests? [[ Yes, Test cricket is a sub-set of First class cricket, OK, not in India. And ODIs are almost excusive with Tests. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 16, 2012, 19:30 GMT

    @Ananth: Look forward to your Dravid article. Given SRT's year-long dismal performances, media incl. Bhogale, Monga, & Ugra were suddenly writing level headed articles over the last month. Alas, Ugra did a back somersault following this match-losing 100. In ODI's, only Top 3 or 4, batsmen have a consistent realistic shot at a 100. So, I have 2 qns:

    1. In ODI's, a 70 should be viewed as a "dominant" score & a 35 as a "supporting" score. Can you pl do an article computing the freq of these events for all batsmen?

    2. Even better if you pl do this for the power factor: PF= runs * batsman's SR * F1 * F2, where F1=[(batsman SR)/(innings SR)]^F3; F2=(batsman runs)/(team runs); F3 = deliveries faced/50. F3 penalizes/rewards a batsman for occupying the crease for too long ... a regular (Top 7) batsman is expected to face about "50" deliveries/innings. You can neglect F3 but it is a nice parameter. E.g., SRT's recent 114 rates 17 on this scale and Shakib's 49 rates 21 on it. [[ Will do the article soon. Ananth: ]]

  • sunil on March 16, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    nice article.. Iam a keen follower of most of the players mentioned..and admire their skills in different conditions.. but.. cant understand much of this statistics.. my suggestion would be to create a graph or pie chart which is more easy for people like me. [[ These are not really statistics but analytical conclusions. Pl read the articles carefully and you will get the same. For instance don't you understand "the average of the South African batsmen playing at home during the concerned period". or "the average of the all batsmen playing at home during the concerned period". There is a ratio between these two. Similarly "the average of the visiting batsmen playing in South Africa during the concerned period". or "the average of the all batsmen playing away during the concerned period". And a ratio between the two. There is no statistics in this at all. Ananth: ]]

  • A. Khan on March 16, 2012, 18:18 GMT

    A little off topic but relevant to current discussion. Hearty congratulations to Sachin for his 100th 100. Just to shut the mouth of those who ever doubted that He carried the burden of Indian team for 22 years, I took recourse to statsguru. I excluded Zim/Bang and all other associate countries, and restricted to the time when Tendulkar made His debut in both form of the game. Performance of India in Tests With Tendulkar Total 168 won 52 and lost 52 (W/L = 1.0) Without Tendulkar Total 15 won 4 and lost 4 (W/L = 1.0)

    Performance of India in ODI With Tendulkar Total 398 won 180 lost 191 (W/L = 0.94) Without Tendulkar Total 147 won 69 lost 71 (W/L = 0.97) I am a little confused here. Ratios are all equal. There is something wrong, statsguru is biased against Sachin, the God. Must have been developed by west. [[ Alternately, the truth is slightly different from your expectations. Ananth: ]]

  • west indies follower on March 16, 2012, 16:53 GMT

    hi Ananth, first of all, fantastic analysis as always, although I do find it ionteresting that the majority of runs are scored in the tough group! Maybe this is a testament to the high standard of cricket that has always been played throughout the past, despite its evolution from an amateur game to a fully professionalised one. I have two personal requests, first is that you do an analysis seeing if batsmen are truly dominating the games in modern times, and whether this is a fault of the bowlers or the quality of the batsmen/pitches etc. You could perhaps do a timeline view of cricket history, marking how bowling/bating stats have fluctuated as time has progressed, and the draw conclusions on that> Also, whilst your analysis are thought provoking, I still believe they are too retroactive in outlook, and need to concern the question, who would you rather have on your team, rather than just a view of their career in numbers. Not a criticism o0f what you have done, just a suggestion. [[ I have done many a time-line analysis over the past gew years. Pl refer to the archives. I have looked at how Test cricket has evolved over the decades from many analytical points of view. Similarly on team strengths, bowling quality etc. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 16, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    @Gerry: I am surprised to see you praise SRT!

    @Ananth: I had posted a comment that SRT won't hit a 100 in this tournament and am very happy that actually did hit it. This is not a record and not even a landmark: this is simply 99+1=100. What's great is that he finally has scored some runs after a long string of failures. Hope he retires from ODI's now and retires from tests within 2 years. However, pl don't put the piece on Dravid on a back burner. He deserves a timely tribute on his retirement. [[ You know me well enough to know that I would never have put Dravid's piece on the back-burner. It is being sent for editing just now. Ananth: ]] @Raghav: There is nothing wrong with 100th 100. Hobbs had 197 first class 100's but no one split hair and argued that 22 of those were in test cricket. [[ I had told Raghav that it was unlikely that Bangladesh would chase this total successfully and that the hype over the Sachin hundred would remain. My apologies to Bangladesh. They were wonderful and this was one of the great chases in the past decade. And to think that Shakib should have been given the benefit of doubt. It can be clearly seen that the Sachin century lost its sheen because of the hard numbers. 114 in 147 balls in a match lost narrowly would have meant any other batsman would have been torn to shreds. The fact is that everyone and their neighbour's dog knew anout the weakness of the Indian bowling, especially at the death. So you have to put in those extra runs. Ananth: ]]

  • amit on March 16, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    I dont understand your ratings for a players on tough conditions. Higly illogical i would say. If I was born in South Africa and developed my game under those so called "tough" conditions then its obvious that my style of play would be more suited to the those conditions rather than playing against the likes of Shane Warne in Subcontinental conditions. So logically for me subcontinental conditions would become " tough " and my home turf would become "easy" isn't it logical. Why do you guys try to make things complicated by putting in all kind of " &%#@ " numbers and conditions and ...bla bla bla ... . Similarly, for an Indian player playing against pakistan anywhere in subcontinent ("easy") would be much tougher than playing against England in England ("tough") ... [[ I am not sure what is your problem. If a South African batsman batted in South Africa during 1995, he is evaluated by the ratio between how he and his own team-mates performed at home with how all batsmen performed at home, during the concerned decade. So this includes the familiarity aspect. If a South African batsman batted in Australia during 1995, he is evaluated by the ratio between how he and other visiting batsmen performed in Australia with how all batsmen performed away from home, during the concerned decade. So this incorporates the non-familiarity aspect. And the Easy and Tough grouping is not just on the Pitch conditions but also on the Bowling quality. Ananth: ]]

  • GOVIND RAJ K.R. on March 16, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    I am seeing your article for the first time, implying that I have not followed your assessment-methods at all. But have you reckoned a 'with helmet' / 'without helmet' classification? From the helmet-era, 90% of listed batsmen would vanish from your list. Gavaskar alone,and possibly Dravid and Tendulkar, would figure from India (2 others not in this list, be Anil Kumble and Saba Karim - the latter batted helmetless against Donald - would qualify). [[ This is a wide-ranging overall analysis. Helmets do not come in at all. Anyhow many of the comparisons and computations are within the period. You must also rememmber that this is the last in a series of related articles. Ananth: ]]

  • Dhanush on March 16, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    Ananth,

    And your comment for Gerry the Merry,

    "Or the Once-Imperious Tendulkar"...

    It add more pain to my disappointment... I know you always prefer Lara as the greatest cricketer than sachin (for god sake, assumption to be wrong). Even though we respect Lara as much as sachin in cricketing arena, I was not able to give up sachin to anyone until this century.. But now, completely disppaointed and your description adds more fuel to it.... [[ Why should that do anything. Again, I repeat, don't take this to heart. The reason I made the comment was that I have NEVER seen Tendulkar so unsure of moving the score forward. My previous response complates what I wanted to say. Cheer up, Dhanush. Ananth: ]]

  • Dhanush on March 16, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    Ananth,

    I am completely disappointed with todays Sachin's century... I have always fought hard with my friends who say that sachin plays for personal records and not for the team But this time, with his approach towards century, I had a severe pain and I am not sure how to face my friends today... Even, if he would have got out on 70 odd (where his strike rate was better at that time), I would have been much happier.. Not it gives a place for people to say that Sachin cannot score against England and Australia... No words to display my regret... And it would be the worst if India loses today... [[ Dhanush My personal take is that the one-year and the 33-innings odyssey had made him get to the 100 AT ANY COST. The way we were going, we should have ended with 275 and not 289. Now don't take it to heart. He has been one of the greatest cricketers of all time and the quixotic quest for the 100th 100 should take nothing away. I think he should retire from ODIs forthwith. I have always held the view that he should have retired on 2/3 April 2011. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 16, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    If there was one person who actually could be called the most consistent - across all continents, across all attacks, across all formats, it is SRT . . . the unnecessary monkey on his fans back - the "so called" 100th 100 had made him appear a mere mortal . . . I hated when Shakib al Hasan was made to look like Derek Underwood . . When Nathan Lyon was made to look like Erapalli Prasanna and Ravi Rampaul was mde to look like Malcolm Marshall . . . . Unnecessary for us, him everyone . . . IMHO, had he retired on April 3rd 2011, he would have retired as a God . . . this extra 100 that he got wouldnt have made him greater or its absence made him any less . . . if at all, the quest for this has made Him a him. [[ And, finally, when the monkey (or albatross) gets off his back, he scores an extremely slow century and Bangladesh wins, only for the third time in 24 attempts. Let us all agree that the only Him is in the temples or as Kamalahasan says so beautifully in "Anbae Sivam", He resides in the hearts of those who do good. Ananth: ]]

  • Moppa on March 16, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    Perhaps I have misunderstood your methodology (which is very impressive, by the way), but is there possibly a 'peer group' effect in here? Lara was surrounded by weak batsmen for the second half of his career and so their low scoring made the batting conditions seem tougher than they really were? And perhaps this also explains Atherton's high 'tough' %? And Wally Hammond's extremely low 'tough' % (surrounded by strong batsmen in a strong team). [[ No, the only peer effect is the way the country's batsmen scored at home during the said period and a ratio to how all the other batsmen did so in the said period. The own team's strength or lack of strength does not come in at all. I can clearly say that neither Lara, nor Atherton benefited nor did Hammond lose out. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on March 16, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Ananth, you could have not have put down my feelings any better on the 100th 100. Against Bangladesh in 137 balls is insignificant when you are talking about Sachin. He has better 40s leave alone Half-tons than this. May he now retire peacefully. [[ I know Bangladesh is unlikely to overhaul the Indian total. Imagine this was against another team and that team overhauled India's total. What would be the value of the slow 100. To be honest, this event has not added anything positive re Tendulkar in my opinion. I still think he is one of the greatest ever cricketers who played the game. That was formed well before his "100th 100". Ananth: ]] Plus there is no 100th ton to speak of or write about in my opinion. He has scored 49 ODI tons and 51 Test tons. That is it, plain and simple. Both are world records. Never have we added ODI and Test runs or 100s before. Can we even guess where Border, Gavaskar, Waugh, Lara, Dravid, Kallis, Ponting lie on the combined list of runs / 100s. I cannot recall the order because it is not relevant and never will be. [[ It is totally irrelevant for another reason. 5 of the greatest players who ever touched a bat or bowled a ball, Bradman, Hobbs, Trumper, Sobers, G Pollock played but one ODI game between them. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 16, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    Ananth, I would seriously suggest putting Dravid and innings ratings on the backburner and doing a special piece on Tendulkar's 100th 100. He is getting it today for sure. I predicted it first (don't forget to give me credit). I am ordering special 100-100 T-Shirts for myself, whether Pepsi / Reynolds etc. do that or not. [[ I don't know which has given me greater pain. Kapil Dev huffing and puffing to go past 432. Or the once-imperious Tendulkar scoring a 136-ball (he is still on 99 as I approve this comment) 100. No, 137 balls, 138 balls. I give up. But I must add he has climbed Mt.Everest + 1000 metres. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 16, 2012, 4:16 GMT

    Ananth - I feel the innings by innings was a better proposition than a period analysis (although, both would average out). But the complications might increase. Else instances like Gooch's 333 might creep up. Lord's pitch 1990 was flat but not lifeless. India had good bowlers, if not excellent, with Kapil, Prabhakar in the lineup. How a particular bowler bowls in a particular match would make more sense. Your previous analyses included that - as in, you had history (CTD) and then that match performance clubbed. General tendency is to call India, Bangla, Zim & NZ as weak teams with weak attacks. Definitely not. 1992 - Zim forced a strong India to near follow on (playing its first ever test). Much till 2005, Zim bowling was very good (Streak, Strang & Brandes) but batting was weak. India historically bowled better abroad than they batted. Hamitlon 2002, Ind bowled well but batted badly. It is only post 2002 that Ind bowling became less of a threat & Batting took over.

  • jasse on March 16, 2012, 2:01 GMT

    Virender sehwag strike rate in test sets up matches for india soo he should be the most valuble player

  • GusGous on March 16, 2012, 0:20 GMT

    Hi. Not sure if I missed anything but did you take the innings in the test match into account in your calculations? It would be "easier" runs if it was scored in the first innings as opposed to the fourth? [[ That would be one of the factors in the Innings Ratings analysis, which the current analysis is not. Ananth: ]]

  • Sai on March 15, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    You are saying Gooch had only 8 easy innings in his entire career?What about the Lord's test of 1990 against India,He scored 456 runs in the 2 innings combined on a flat pitch and against a really ordinary Indian attack. I guess the poor test performance by England in the middle and late 80's, when they lost home series to almost every team(yes even India humiliated them in 1986) has made you to classify England as 'tough' batting conditions. And Gooch is pretty highly rated by many, not unheralded or unsung at all, but the mediocrity of this team mates is helping him here. [[ Where do you get Gooch 8 innings. The current table shows Gooch 32 innings, 3 mos, 1637 runs for the B group. And if you had taken the trouble of downloading the match Excel file you would have noticed that match no 1148, the referred to Lord's Test is in group 5 and falls into the B Group category. And a careful reading of the article would have revealed that the quality or otherwise of the teammates has no say in these placements. It is exasperating to see readers thinking that they could do a 2 minute skimmimg of the article and come back with comments. This is not like other Cricinfo blogs. You have to spend some time to understand what has been presented. Ananth: ]]

  • Muhammad Umer on March 15, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    hmmm.....that is one of the best analysis i have read here on cricinfo...many people are saying that kallis's averages have been bolstered by scoring heavily against weaker attacks..yes he has taken his share of runs but at the sametime he has perfomed very well in tough situations...an average of 49 in tougher group is no joke..he may not be the best batsman but he is certainly the most valuable player a team can possess [[ Yes, Umer. In their anxiety to emphasize the 75 in the weaker conditons, people forget the 49 in the tougher groups. With the level of fitness he has, I wonder where Kallis would end his career at, probably 3 years hence. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on March 15, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    Ananth - While there is some excellent discussion in the forum, am a little bit surprised that many readers have not asked this question - If nothing about the team, opposition, pitch, etc is known, whom would you select to bat for you. That is the question, I am trying to answer.

    Many of my fellow readers have emphasized the averages in the tougher group. Not all conditions on an average are tough and an all weather player will be able to maximize on easy conditions and be resilient and productive in tough conditions.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post, I did that quick calculation using 41 players in the table. Have done it with all 263 now. [[ Let me see the Excel sheet, Som. Ananth: ]]

  • Deepak on March 15, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    Although a good starting point, it doesn't reveal the greatness of a batsman in tough "situations". For eg, the no. of wickets down when he came into bat or the no. of wickets falling around him when he is batting...

    From an Indian team point of view, it is in the above aspects that I feel Dravid and Laxman are way beyond Tendulkar. Thats why they provide more "single handed" wins. Similarly, Steve Waugh for Aus and Inzi from Pak always played well when the chips are down. [[ What you are saying is part of the Innings Rating work. In that work I take the match status at batsman entry, immediate fall of wickets, the target in front (300 to win against 100 to win), support (or lack of support), quality of batsmen supporting etc. Ananth: ]]

  • BST on March 15, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    This is a great body of work, and is much appreciated. I like the fact this highlights the efforts and talents of Gooch,Cowdrey, Langer, Hammond etc. And also very interesting that most are English. No wonder a stint in English County is something that is valued.

    I do wonder or wish rather, these efforts of rating pitch/bowler quality & analysis will also be used to analyze the present day cricketers. How good is Shane watson ? Could Kohli be really that good? Are Kevin Petersen, Lasith Malinga, & Gayle really valuable players compared to G Gambhir, Umar Gul, and Alistair Cook ?

    And also to confuse us more when we play 'Super Selector' :-) !!

    Anyways I think you are on the way to be played by some actor in the rehash of Money Ball for Bollywood :-) [[ Anupam Kher is the only one with the correct hair adornment to play me !!! Ananth: ]]

  • vk on March 15, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    now i think it would be a good idea to add their scoring rates to get a complete picture of the batsmens' effectiveness. i think s/r does impact test match results( not as much as odi's but still does). I guess based on that we may conclude that after the don, viv and sobers are the 2 best players ever ( their higher averages in tougher groups and in viv's case extraordinary scoring rate close to 70).

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 15, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    Saket, I am an equal Gower fan, he averaged 53 in the West Indies when they were at their peak, and played solidly in every innings, saved a test. In the next visit, in 1986, the pitches were terrible, but Gower again topped the averages with 37, in a 5-0 thrashing. But I fail to understand how you say the above analysis paints him favourably. He has a poor average of 42 in the tough group, when the norm is 48-52. Somewhat similar story with Gooch. If you mean he is featuring in the table, then both the batsmen will feature in any table of top 20 run getters, with more than 8,000 runs each.

    Ananth, I will pen my observations on the method separately, but in reality there are vast variations in the same pitch across time, and in different pitches within a country - ask Australians when they face Ambrose in Perth - because of which I have a problem with this method. [[ I have made my position cllear, Gerry. For the Innings Ratings I will revert to a suitable single match Pitch type derivation. At this stage I cannot say anything more. There are readers who are ready to accept this shortcoming and deriving some thing or other. Ananth: ]]

  • Tomislav Pepic on March 14, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    Great work Anantha, Any all Time great batting list which has Bradman(90.74), Sobers(56.69) & I.V.A Richards(53.80)as 1-2-3(group A average) is a WINNER. Thank you very much.

  • Saket on March 14, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    Great article Ananth!! I have been a HUGE David Gower fan, and it really made my day to see that at last he is getting some serious credit. I, for one, always rated him a better TEST batter than the likes of Gooch, Miandad and some others who were awesome in home conditions, but not so much overseas. However, I am not sure why Jayawardene and Sangakkara are so high on the list, as many of their best innings were in home conditions, on mostly flat tracks....great analysis though!!

  • bks123 on March 14, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Biggest disappointment/surprise- Rahul "the wall" dravid. I am a big fan of Dravid and can't take that sehwag averages (~47) higher than the wall (43) in testing conditions. There should also be analysis of batsmen who fared well in "testing situations of a match" when the chips are down. Irrespective of these stats Dravid will remain the ultimate team man who stood tall and delivered when it mattered. And being not as gifted as someone like SRT dravid is the true role model for common people to look for. But I do agree that Dravid has not done as well in Aus and SA conditions. His figures in these conditions are unlike dravid. I am a huge fan of Lara and Sachin as well. People often say SRT fails in testing conditions and when it matters and often raise this point to shown how dravid and laxman are great players. (continued...) [[ One thing you must appreciate. Sehwag has essayed big innings in Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and against South Africa. Don't judge him by his recent form. Just as we should not judge Dravid/Laxman by their recent form. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on March 14, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    It is interesting to note that Richards and Tendulkar average the same against Groups 9, 8, 6 and 4. Tendulkar averages more against Group 7 (by 9 runs) and Group 5 (by 6 runs). Richards had no innings against Groups 10 and 2 (Tendulkar 3 and 8 resply). Richards averages 5 runs less than Tendulkar overall because he missed out against Group 3 (underperformed by 20%, while Tendulkar overperformed by 50%).

  • Anshu N Jain on March 14, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    here goes... Career Average > 50 1 Hutton - 7.0 2 Chappell - 4.8 3 Richards - 4.3 4 Trott - 3.6 5 Younis Khan - 3.56 7 Tendulkar - 3.14 9 Sehwag - 2.96 10 Dravid - 2.95 11 Sanga - 2.92 13 Bradman - 2.73 15 Ponting - 2.38 17 Mahela - 2.36 20 Kallis - 2.13 25 Sobers - 1.86 28 Lara - 1.69 34(Last) Hammond - 0.3 (a highly respectable 3.69 and rank 4 if we exclude his avg of 563 (2 inns, 1 n.o.) against Group 2!) [[ That series has acted as an albatross around Hammond's neck. 563 in two innings against, wit no arguments, the worst bowling attack every fielded, I think has pulled him down a lot. But it has also pushed his average from 54.35 to 58.45. I am surp[rised at Richards' high level of consistency. Bradman's somewhat figure must be because of the string of high scores,. Possibly even Lara'. I would like a look at it. Can you mail the Excel sheet back to me. Ananth: ]] For Career runs > 9000 1 Hutton 2 Chappell 3 Richards 4 Laxman - 3.72 5 Chanders - 3.72 7 Tendulkar 10 Viru 11 Dravid 12 Sanga 15 Sir Don 19 Ponting 22 Mahela 27 Kallis 31 Sobers 32 Lara 41 (Last) Hammond (Same rider as in the list before)

  • IPSY on March 14, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Hi Anantha, the great thing about your articles is that the living data presented in them help to ensure that all biases: - bigoted-ness, preferences, deliberate subjectivity, spitefulness, and the rest are non existent in your analyses. They are a model for transparency. And, as we see, little dissent only occur when 'a few' readers do not fully understand the methods involved, which inevitably cause them to come up with wrong interpretations. But these are easily resloved to their satisfaction, when you clarify their misunderstandings. The truth is, I don't think that any person should seriously quote the views of some of our more known cricket experts, since many of them, for one reason or the other, unfairly use factors as mentioned above to sell their contemporaries instead of using their genuine talent. Your work is a beacon for clarity on most cricketing issues - not the unsubstantiated, unscientific and bias views of any commentator. I would like to also take this opportunity to say good luck the Rahul 'The Wall' Dravid in his future endeavours. As an all round person, I think he is the best cricketer of my time; and second only to Sunil Gavascar as India best batsman ever. [[ Pl wait for a few days. Your wait will be worthwhile sonce my next article is an all-encompassing tribute to the incomparable Dravid. Many thanks for the kind words expressed. These keep me going. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on March 14, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    contd.. 13 Bradman 15 Ponting 17 Mahela 20 Kallis 25 Sobers 28 Lara 34(Last) Hammond

    Tendulkar stands out, in my mind, amongst the modern greats, not because of his average or runs, but because of the consistency of his performances across varying conditions over so many innings and such a long period of time! [[ Anshu, there would be great validity if numbers were associated with this ranking. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on March 14, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    The ratio (Career Average/Std Deviation of Averages against various BQI+PTI group values) (ignoring groups with no innings played against) is an indicator of consistency in performance against varying conditions. With various filters, here is how the players rank on this count: Career Average > 50 1 Hutton 2 Chappell 3 Richards 4 Trott 5 Younis Khan 7 Tendulkar 9 Sehwag 10 Dravid 11 Sanga (contd.)

  • Anshu N Jain on March 14, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    contd.. for BQI+PTI=7: 5+2=78% 4+3=73% 3+4=62% 2+5=51% for BQI+PTI=6: 5+1=79% 4+2=71% 3+3=65% 2+4=55% 1+5=63% It is also borne out that results% drops significantly low as BQI group value changes from 5 to 1 (76%, 73%, 64%, 60%, 59%). But the same is not true for the PTI group value change (67% for 5,4,3,2 and 61% for 1). Observations on Batsmen stats to follow... [[ I get the feeling that the BQI is a sharper value being based on a single match while the PTI is not so sharp being an averaged value because it is a derivation from many matches. For my Ratings work I am going back to the single match value for PTI. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on March 14, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Thanks Anantha for posting the detailed files. Just did some numbers on the Innings wise BQI PTI stats. It is clearly borne out that tougher conditions (high BQI+PTI group values) mostly imply decisive matches. Here are the result% by BQI+PTI group values for matches excluding ZIM and BNG: 10 - 77% 9 - 74% 8 - 73% 7 - 68% 6 - 65% 5 - 64% 4 - 64% 3 - 58% 2 - 47% However, for the same BQI+PTI value, there are HUGE variations, suggesting that clubbing them together may be misleading. e.g. for BQI+PTI = 8: 5+3=78%, 4+4=73%, 3+5=60% contd...

  • Ashwin Honkan on March 14, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    (My comments, part two): 2. I think the fact that most pitches deteriorate as the match progresses should get factored in these calculations. E.g. Viru is one of the best first-innings batsmen & one of the worst second-innings batsmen, ever. That he is almost guaranteed to fail in the second innings of every match should jump out from the stats. SRT's performance also deteriorates alarmingly with the match innings - 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th. 3. I feel Cricket should borrow the 'RBI' (Runs Batted In) stat from US Baseball. It is the number of runs scored when the batsman was at the crease. A batsman's role is to help the team put as many runs on the board as possible & so a 'universal catalyst' like Dravid who almost always built big partnerships with everybody should get credit for achieving that objective better than anybody else. So I feel that a Home/ Away distinction, weightage to match innings & consideration of RBI will help bring out intuitions closer to your analysis. Thanks again! [[ Firts thing is that this is but one of the many analysis I have done on test batsmen. So, the RBI concept is there in other analysis. The first and second innings splits are there in other analysis. And so on. Re the away difficulty. That is built in. Pl refer to the previous article which is the basis for this one. The Visiting batsmen average clearly incorporates this factor. Ananth: ]]

  • Ashwin Honkan on March 14, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    First of all, thanks for a comprehensive treatment of an interesting topic. IMHO, some tweaking of the parameters or inclusion of some more parameters may be called for where our 'intuition' or 'general opinion' varies substantially from your results. I list some of them: a. Sanga, Mahela are Lions at Home but Lambs Away. b. Kallis (like Murali among bowlers) feasts heavily on the minnows. c. Scoring Away is harder than scoring at Home. d. When the going got tough, SRT generally failed & Dravid generally played better. Here's why I think that your analysis has resulted in these discrepancies: 1. There IS a difference between Home & Away. The subcontinental players find conditions in NZ & England too cold just as Englishmen & Kiwis find the subcontinent too hot & muggy. Both sets are so far out of their physical comfort zone that doing well in those conditions (irresp of the pitch or bowling quality) should be given more credit. (End of Part 1 of my comment.)

  • mbembe on March 14, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Batsmen are supposed to play attacks that are put in front of them, so for this "expert" to take away runs from batsmen averages which they have spent time in the middle earning is unwarranted. (Kallis averages 57.02 not 54-55) no matter how much it irks you that kallis averages more than Tendulker the fact remains he does. [[ I very much doubt whether you have understood a tenth of what I say. I said Kallis was at around 54-55 after doing a litle bit of discounting for the high aveg against the weaker countries. The same way I would put Tendulkar at 53-54 after discounting a little for his scores against the weaker countries. It is obvious that you are a newer entrant here. Otherwise you will not say that I have put Kallis down or Tendulkar up Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on March 14, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    Ananth,

    thanks for the table.

    If we consider only top 4 groups(7 and above) as the real tough runs, only 4 players average above 50.0 Bradman...94 Lara..56 Richards....52 Hutton...50 Tendulkar...50

    Following bastmen performed above their career averages. Amarnath....49 Wessels....48 A Prince....46

    Following bastmen under-performed in real tough situations. Dravid....39 Ponting.....41 Sangakarra...43 Jayawardene....33 Miandad.....38 Hayden....39 G Smith...39 Langer....32 M Yousuf....38 Younis khan...36 Inzamam....36 A desilva...36 [[ It would be a brave decision to consider 6 as an easier group. SCG Indian first innings, Wanderer's/Cape Town SAF innings, Australia at Pallekele, England first innings at Trent Bridge, England innings against Australia at MCG are examples of 6 innings. But nothing wrong in raising the bar higher. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 14, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    (...cotd): Coming back, "performance under pressure" is another aspect used by commentators and viewers alike. There is some truth to it, but the importance of that is given beyond need. ANy job has its own demands. Fall of a wicket is always a pressure and so is the score line 0/0 in 0 overs. Objectively speaking, after 10-15 tests, this pressure to perform should go from individuals. Or good players cope up with it better. So it is not as big a factor as it is being made out to be. I somehow feel media hype has overshadowed some brilliant cricketers. Atherton, for one, probably averaged just 37 but if you look at Eng cricketers at that time, he was doing better. So absolute numbers have no meaning. That is when the beauty of your blogs come into picture. It is so easy to condemn 40- average. But Sir Viv averaged just 50 (and no Windian gr8 averaged as much). I dont know if I was ever clear in these comments. [[ No problems,you have made your point that the averages are mere numbers and are not absolute. Gooch is the prfectexampe. In no way would I accept that he is 42.58 and 10 below Younis/Yousuf/Dravid and not the equal of them.. Ananth: ]]

  • Sancho on March 14, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    What I find interesting is how things change from one table to the next. It shows how fine these sort of distinctions are, as you probably dont get many 9s and 10s, or alternatively 2s and 3s. Also, we should not be surprised if a batsman scores more against the weaker teams on placid pitches. He is surely expected to.

    This has made me think: if we elevate those that play better in tough conditions, do we put down those that are not as good in easy conditions? I think we do to some extent. We (the general we) are disappointed when someone makes 50 instead of a 100 against Bangladesh, and a team makes 300 in an ODI against a minnow rather than 350. Maybe there is something to be said for a man like Kallis or Mohammed Yousuf, who both average 75+ in the bottom group.

    I must admit, it does confirm my suspicion about Kallis that while he is an excellent player, his average is bolstered somewhat by excellent innings against poor teams. [[ We should not be misled by the 75+ in th B group for Kallis. He has also scored 7000 runs at almost 49 in the A group. It only means that probably the difference between 53 and 57 is because of this high average against the weaker teams. However he is still a 54-55 player which puts him in the Ponting-Tendulkar bracket. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 14, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    Also looking at some comments I wonder if the television media is more powerful than the game itself!! Not just here, but in general. While one should absolutely take away no credit from some stalwarts, some of the hyperboles were/ARE exaggerrated views of some commentators, who put the greats in the highest pedestal, at times a bit more than what is needed. These articles actually bring to light some greats who were forgotten or not given due credit. Gower and Gooch, for example. I started watching cricket when these 2 were playing for England. With such a backlift, 9/10 guys wouldnt be able to face Marshall et al, but Gooch did it with grace and dignity. By and large, bowling and conditions were top class (and rules did not give batting an edge). Even Indian bowling, till 2000, was pretty good (our batting was our weaklink till the Fab 4 arrived). (cotd...)

  • Ananth on March 14, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    Ha! Arjun: Simple request, you must have felt. Turned out to be one long stint. The problem was that I had done the BQI+PTI work, forming the 9 groups and then mapping these on to 5 BPI groups in a single program and had only 5 Database group slots. So I had to increase the Database slots to 9, avoid the 5-group mapping and form the 9 group tables in the main program. But I have never said No until now and am not goig to do so no. It s also an excllent request since it gives th reades the ability to take the batsman data at he lowest levels and do their own analysis.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 14, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/12/test_innings_a_different_peerv.php

    I think this is the article. Here all innings of the batsman are included. If we only included 50+ scores, we would know more accurately I feel. For instance, take Laxman, who generally does well (or used to do well) when the team was in trouble. In the link i have dug out, he is penalized for failing when the team succeeds, which would have also happened often.

    Now if we filter out <50 scores, is he not escaping punishment? Not really, since some other batsman in the team will have an advantage in such innings. [[ Thanks, Gerr. I will look for it in my archives. Ananth: ]]

  • Harsh Thakor on March 14, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    Also this assessment gives credibility to great players like Colin Cowdrey whose stats never did justice to his true ability.Had World Series Packer cricket stats been added Greg Chappell and Viv Richards would have had an even higher merit in the tougher group.The figures prove how great a batsman Viv was considering he played for such a strong team and still scored such a high percentage.

    I again repeat that after Rahul Dravid's brilliant performances against champion opposition like Australia and England ,that too overseas ,his performances in the weaker group overshadow those in the more difficult group.In contrast the figures prove that Alan Border was the ultimate batsman to bat for your life,regardless of the wickets and opposition.True light is also placed on the greatly talented Mark Waugh,at his best in the Lara or Tendulkar class.Above all I feel Sachin Tendulkar is better than what the figures suggest,being the most complete batsman of the modern era .

  • Harsh Thakor on March 14, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    Good Analysis Ananth,appreciate your efforts greatly.

    This work assesses the true merit of stalwarts particularly of Brian Lara,Alan Border,David Gower,Graham Gooch,Mark Waugh and Viv Richards etc.Such stats make readers consider that Gooch and Gower,generally rated as very good players earn a a place amongst the all-time greats with the percentage of runs in the tougher group.Theses stats also give credibility to Brian Lara being rated the best test match batsman of the modern era,and the greatest West Indian batsmen of all in test cricket. Correct light has been thrown on Kallis who has scored at a much higher average against weaker opposition.

    Amazingly Rahul Dravid has scored more of his runs against the weaker group.This is strange as Dravid was the ultimate champion when the chips were down.It also does not reflect how Gavaskar was a champion against great bowling.In the same light Miandad's figures hardly reflect his brilliance in a crisis. [[ Harsh, I have uploaed te 9-grou tble. Yo yourself coud analyze the same. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin on March 14, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    Is there going to be some sort of "super-list" where you combine your numbers from other articles to see who the best is? [[ Easier said than done. But I think somewhere I have to combine all these into a single table. Maybe to coincide with SRT's retiremen because that will truly be the end of a major era. Ananth: ]]

  • dinesh on March 13, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    Excellent analysis Ananth This just states the fact that the conditions which cricketers from subcontinent are more easier than those from others countries which is not their own doing,but i feel here is what the major problem lies.Even though their records are as good abroad as well,there is a general notion which makes people feel they make mince-meat in their own backyard but dont really stand up away.I feel pity for those who say that. Second Sheet clearly differentiates Men from boys.Though i have been a long term Sanga hater(he is an awesome batsman,no taking away from that ) but your analysis has turned my opinion a bit.

    And i appreciate your efforts in filtering the posts so that it doens turnout as another SRT vs BCL fight though i feel you get a lot of posts which fall into that category.

    Regards Dinesh

  • santanu datta on March 13, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    There is a saying when the going gets tough the tough gets going..from the data it seems that only the Vivian Richards performs better in tough conditions than he does in easier conditions. If this is true then the gum chewing Sir Vivian is the greatest ever, the lone exception.. even Sir Don is not in this class .. [[ That is slightly far-fetched. Bradman never really faced those conditions often. When Australia were in trouble, look at his scores. he 270 was onesuch innings. ANd the ody-lnescores, not the big numbers, but still quite good. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 13, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    Ananth, once you did a peer rating where batsmen were compared on the basis of what they scored in each innings relative to the batting average excluding them, of top 6 batsmen in that innings. For Dravid's sake, can you consider including that with the following modification - take only scores of >50. So that might better isolate performers under pressure like Larry Gomes, Vishwanath etc. without penalising them for failing in easy situations. [[ Gerry, I am not sure what you are referring to. Let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on March 13, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Ananth,

    As you have posted excel file of 263 batsmen with 2 groups, can you post similar excel sheet with 9 different groups. i.e 5+5 upto 1+1. Let readers decide different groupings and play with numbers. Will be very interesting.

    hope i am not asking for too much. [[ Quite tough since I now do my final work only with the mapped composite index, in other words, 5-1. I will try and do it to do the 10-2 posting. Ananth: ]]

  • Sudarshan P.N. on March 13, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Hi Ananth An interesting construct for measurement. Intuitively I understand the presence of many Englishman of the 80s with a large quantum of runs in the tougher group. They were playing on English grounds and/ or against the Windies in the 80s:). But in this argument is one of the more signficant statistic missed. Is Viv the only batsman to have a signficantly higher average in the tougher group. That confirms my opinion that he appeared to be disinterested while batting against lesser teams/ opponents. What a batsman. For a boy who grew up watching cricket in the 70s/ 80s Richards will forever be the King.

  • Santosh J S on March 13, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Ananth, i'm sorry if i gave you the impression that the articles could not be deciphered by readers not well versed with statistics. I've followed almost all your postings, and your analyses (the write-up not numbers) and have enjoyed them. The article that immediately comes to mind was the one about the difference between Viv and the next-best batsman in ODIs, in which, without looking at the numbers, your write-up made things clear. I was looking for a similar kind of account in this article too, and hence the earlier comment. I realise this is a mind-boggling exercise. Regards and best.

  • unni on March 13, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    "BCG is fine. But what would be a batsman values: Weighted average Bowling quality faced and weighted Pitch quality palyed in (this time using the single match value - duly tweaked for removel of double counting) ???"

    Just a proposal, which I'm not so sure about, but I think this will work out. Take each run for the top 40 batsmen. Find out its bowling quality(or your index as above, I don't think the used unit matters much), average it. You get the bowling quality coordinate. Do the same for the pitch quality. Now you can plot this point on the BCG graph. [[ Unni, I have no problem with BQI. I have an excellent index. For Pitch quality, I must look at the specific match value. Anyhow let us see. Firts let us all give the wonderful Dravid a magnificant send-off from this blog, and then I want to do something with the Balls played and Boundaries data which I have gathered recently. After that we will do this work. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhijeet on March 13, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    its a very interesting read,it kind of puts the top 40 batsmen in perspective,Border the ultimate fighter has scored nearly 90% of his runs in tougher conditions & better bowling attack,kudos to gower for coming up tops in this list 99/1,his silken drives will always be fondly remembered,& gooch who can forget his 154 against WI in 91 where the rest struggled,this shows that merely scoring the amount of runs/centuries should not be the only consideration to judge a player.

  • lsd on March 13, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    I'm not agree with this rating. I think Andy Flower has to come more places high. Bcz he played with more tougher groups and with worst batting line up they had. And also Dravid should be ahead of Tendulkar. Tendulkar is only playing for records but Dravid is playing for his team. And also VVS Laxman playing better than Tendulkar with tougher groups. First 5 in my list: 1. B. C. Lara 2. Dravid 3. I. V. R. Richards 4. Tendulkar 5. Ponting [[ Oh my ! There is no rating at all. Andy Flower is 41st because the table is in order of runs scored !!! Ananth: ]]

  • ananth on March 13, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    I have uploaded the revised table containing the 2-Group values of 263 batsmen. Readers can download the same and analyze.

  • Unni on March 13, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    "Unni, I get the point. You are with me that Ashraful should get higher credit but not through high PTI." => OK, Finally I manage to convey the point. Trouble is that the difference is so subtle. [[ Do not think that I had not understood your comments on double counting right from the beginning. I have always understood you well. Ananth: ]] Anyway, regarding Anshu's point, I think that we won't reach anywhere if we take either way. Both definitions of 'tough' condition will have some or the other merits. Personally I wouldn't bother about this number, even if it is used for individual rating. What I would like to see is a BCG chart with bowling quality on one axis and pitch quality on the other. Then I can know who were good at playing against tougher bowlers and who were good toiling out in worst pitches. And who were good at doing both. This would give another perspective, in my opinion. (Of course, based on the assumption that these two quantities are very independent). [[ BCG is fine. But what would be a batsman values: Weighted average Bowling quality faced and weighted Pitch quality palyed in (this time using the single match value - duly tweaked for removel of double counting) ??? Ananth: ]]

  • Santosh J S on March 13, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    Ananth, appreciate the effort you put in and the detailed analyses. But i must confess quite a bit of it goes right over my head. And the comments' section reads like a discourse among statistics professors. For those of us who are slightly clueless, could you at the end of each such study provide a very small write-up along with a small summary table. That would be nice, although i realise possibly that it adds to the workload. [[ No. Santosh, this is not that sort of blog at all. This, is unfortunately, the last in a series of nearly 10 articles and you are coming at the fag end. Please try and read some of my other articles. I have gone out of the way in most to be of interest to the normal readers. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on March 13, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    In continuation to your response, Anantha, my submission is this: 1. Since this is peer comparison (absolute comparison when it comes to PQI, and relative comparison when it comes to BQI), it is almost futile to cite specific examples to suggest that conditions in a particular match in isolation were easy or tough. I am sure there are examples where a BQI group 4 on a PQI group 1 can be "considered" tough. In fact, "tougher" than the 3+3 examples you cite, if I make absolute statements in the same vein. 2. My interest is not in defining and compartmentalising ALL possible groups. An important premise, indeed the basis, of this analysis is to see how batsmen did against testing conditions. I am therefore interested in defining "Tough" conditions, as opposed to also defining what I want to be not considered 'Tough". By the way, could you share the distribution of the various group combinations (all 25)? [[ Anshu, I showed just two examples which I chanced upon on a quick perusal. If you do not need specific examples, fine. Then we can only go by my earlier definition of 3+3 represents two values in the top half and should be included. The second reason I would not take away the 3+3 combination is that these are the two most populated groups and removal will throw everything off. The third is that I do not want to thrust a third table at readers within 48 hours. And the fourth is that there are support files to be uploaded and it becomes quite tough to handle it. You must look at specific examples to see why 3+3 is not that easy. Ananth: ]]

  • fakir lalan on March 13, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    It is an objective study. I appreciate it.

  • AZHAR on March 13, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    How much did u get paid to make such an impending task of organizing all the stats of the top batsmen?????? [[ Not much ????? Ananth: ]]

    When are you releasing or publishing a similar table with different stats (ofcourse) for the best bowlers in the world ????? [[ Soon !!!!! Ananth: ]]

  • Narinder on March 13, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    I dont know why some people cant take suggestions in a nicer way!!!!May be someday we will call BD attack is good too saying they defeated few teams once in a blue moon. what does Mahela's 37 and 41 average suggest??

  • Anshu N Jain on March 13, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    I have a request Anantha, if you are not averse to doing another regrouping. I am not too convinced that a 3+3 combination really qualifies as a tough group. Simply looking at the normal distributions for the BQI and PQI, nearly 35% innings are likely to be for this combination. A good bowling attack on a batsmen-friendly pitch (also a mediocre bowling attack on a bowler-friendly pitch) would be "tougher" compared to an average bowling attack on a balanced pitch. What I suggest is this: for a BQI-PQI combination to result into a "Tough" situation, one of the two group values should be at least 4 (4+1 is tough, 3+3 is not). I am trying to work out some numbers to bear the hypothesis out, by looking at the outright results achieved. One of the reasons why Australia (1999-2007), and the West Indies (1979-1989) were so successful in all conditions was because they had great bowling attacks that negated friendly batting pitches. [[ Not really, Anshu. I think 3 & 3 represents two conditions which are both above the mid point and certainly does not indicate an overall easier scoring state. Let me take an example. Just picking up the first match encountered, test # 1947, Aus vs Pak. Away in Australia is 3 and Bollinger/Siddle/Johnson/Hauritz form Group 3. How can we ever say that Pakistan had an easier combination of conditions. For that matter the recent Perth Test between Aus and India. Same 3 for PTI and Harris/Hilfenhaus/Starc/Siddle made it BQI of 3. No way can this be termed as an easy condition. Ananth: ]]

  • ars on March 13, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    Excellent analysis Ananth. Appreciate all the time and effort you have put to bring an alternative perspective to cricket stats.

    Just curious, do you think there is any validity in incorporating a factor like scoring against new balls? For example, a batsman facing McGrath with a new ball would find it more difficult (hypothetically) to score than the same/another batsman when the ball and bowler are less new/fresh? Also, what about accounting for a scenario when runs come after a substantial inning in a 10-6 condition?

    I do understand that neither of these can be consistently accounted for with any level of accuracy. [[ There is no great data available. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on March 13, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    The 2nd table looks more promising & closer to reality. It was really unbelievable sort of thing to see someone scoring 99% runs in tough group. However looking at the players having scored with an avg of more than 50 against tough bowling on difficult pitches, one can be sure of the batting geniuses irrespective of the time they batted in. Lara, SRT, Sanga, Richards, Sobers etc. certainly a league of extraordinary gentlemen. Re. easier group runs, its also a matter of no. of innings played so instead of being critical of someone for pouncing over relatively easier conditions, It should be noted that they always did what they are supposed to do..Make runs.

    Great Article

  • Unni on March 13, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    " Don't you think when Ashraful made a score of 114 against Sri Lanka in 2001, when the average Bangladeshi batsman was averaging around 20, his innings should be considered at a higher level than a Sri Lankan batsman's equivalent score"

    Yes, of course. And this is precisely the problem which I'm trying to bring out. Now, to give higher credit to Ashraful, we elevate the difficulty levels of the pitch ! And this is what I'm against at. In this analysis you had avoided one form of double counting by getting rid of the bowler capability. Additionally only when the batsmen capability has discounted we can talk about true pitch measure. [[ Unni, I get the point. You are with me that Ashraful should get higher credit but not through high PTI. Yes, I agree, Although in the context of this analysis let these poor batsmen from the weak countries durring the intial decades get some benefit. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on March 13, 2012, 6:34 GMT

    Following up on the previous comment - The same analysis also shows that some batsmen if given the average of condition A and B, as applied across all these 263 batsmen throughout their careers, would score much higher than their final Test average. In order of the percentage jump, they would have, the top 10 underachieved (or underrated) batsmen along these measures are, with % jump alongside (rounded) - Atherton(36%), Yusuf(29%), Stewart(29%), Gooch(28%), ChappellG(24%), Gower(22%), Kallis(20%), Inzi, Boon, Smith(19%). The last 10 in this list (amongst the 41), are those whom we can say that they perhaps maximized on what was offered to them - In order of most maximized and some going over and above ;-), like Hammond(-7%), Hayden(10%), Langer(11%), Sehwag(12%), Ponting(12%), Dravid(13%), Bradman(13%), Miandad(13%), Sachin(13%), Sanga (14%). Given that more English batsmen underachieved and most Subcontinent batsmen maximized - the person who stands out is Md Yusuf. Quite a talent.

  • KnowWho on March 13, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    2nd table gives more clear pciture of the players. Greg chappel and sanga average have come down where as sachins,lara,garry sobers and vivs average has gone up a notch. Rahul dravids average has gone down alot when compared to first table. Maybe subcontinental batsmen who have long career are subjected to having easy runs either due to lifeless pitches or may be they have improved their skills a lot in such a way that they score heavily. Think instead of percentage it must be the number of runs scored in tough condition that should be given credit along with their average. Above 6k runs @ 50 should be considered an all time great if it really coincides with the fact that these runs were scored all around the world. Great player 45-50+6k tough runs with more tough runs scored in home condition. Think by this case - lara,sachin,viv,sobers and may be greg are all time greats and bradman is above all of them. Sanga's career is just midway through and he is fast becoming one. [[ Yes, Karthik, the second table has raised the bar and the 50+ average of the A group batsmen are the creme de la creme of the batsmen. And note how difficult it is for the batsmen to meet the 50-average condition. Only 7/8 come through. Hutton gets in. As does Michael Clarke. Hobbs & Sutcliffe are there with fewer than 1500 runs. Anyhow I will upload the full Excel file. Ananth: ]]

  • ananth krishnan on March 13, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    i am not against statistical analysis and infact read them with interest; but all true cricket lovers who understand the game know who have been the best players of their generation, without the help of statistical analysis..but it is good when both instincts and raw data agree and in cricket, players like sachin, rahul, lara, ponting, kallis, etc would shine in any analysis. People fret over 2-3 runs average (55 for sachin, 52 for dravid for example) but anyone with 50+ avg over 100+ tests is great...period. Your analysis proves this again.

  • Som on March 13, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    Great piece of work Ananth. Also the second table really helps in getting a better perspective. The data augurs this question - how difficult was it on an average to score runs in group A compared to B. And if all of these 41 illustrious batsmen were given the opportunity to play in average of Condition A and B, how much would they score, and how would they rank. The question of how much percentage of their runs were scored in condition A and B is moot, as its strongly governed by the choices(lack of) they had based on their country, opposition, team composition, freq of pitch types etc. I ran the second table you posted along these lines and came up with these values in this order(rounded) - Bradman(113), Kallis(69), Yusuf(68), ChappellG(67), Sobers(66), Sanga(64), Sachin(63), Lara(62), Flower(60), Ponting(60), Border(60), Miandad(59), Gavaskar(59), Inzi(59), Dravid(59), Waugh(59), Smith(59), Chanderpaul(58), Mahela(58), Richards(57). Shows, there was Bradman and then daylight. [[ I will upload the 263-player table. You can do this work and post it back to me. Ananth: ]]

  • kpms on March 13, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    Does this analysis show that dravid,lara , sangakkara and mahela are the batsmen who scored in tough situations and conditions? [[ You tell me what you infer from the table. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on March 13, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    Great piece of work Ananth. Appreciate adding the second table. Now how would the table look like if we were to take the average of the batting averages of all 263 batsmen for both Group A and Group B, and then create a composite index. This will tell for every run scored in Group B by the members of this illustrious group, how many runs were scored in Group A. And then use that data to weigh the individual averages of the top 40 batsmen and come up with a composite ranking. [[ Yes, Som, thanks to the relentless pushing of Gerry, I have done the second table which, if you understand the methodology, splits the groups 5-4, a far better one than the earlier 6-3. I will upload this specific table, the second one, for all 263 batsmen, as an Excel file. Then you guys can do whatever you want. Currently I have uploaded only a 5-group table which has no great further analytical possibility. Ananth: ]]

  • kpms on March 13, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    I want to ask : What do you conclude from this stats that who are the batsmen among the top 40 who performed well when the going was tough(tough pitch,opponent and circumstances) and against quality bowling??? Pls. Tell. [[ I suggest you form your own conclusions, after clearly understanding the basis of work done. Ananth: ]]

  • OpEmp on March 13, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    The second table makes much more sense than the first -- it seemed bizarre that on average 70% of a batsman's runs were considered tough runs. The stand out feature to me of the second table is the genius of BC Lara -- something never in dispute, but, pleasingly, confirmed once again.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 13, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    Hi Ananth, I dont aim to poke fun. Apologies if it came out that way. I have nothing but respect for your unique ability to do this type of work. [[ I admit I was a little bit upset. However I also recognized the validity of your points. Pl see the additional tables and comments. I am quick to apologize and I appreciate that trait in others. Ananth: ]]

  • ananth on March 13, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    There has been a justified complaint that the tougher A group has been watered down considerably. It is a very valid point. Hence I have decided to present an alternate table. The current table, which will be retained and displayed, has the composite groups 10-5 in the A group and composite groups 4-2 in the B group. SInce there are only 9 groups available now (10-2), this represents a 6-3 split which is heavily biased towards the A group getting in a lot more entries. I will add at the end of the article, a new table which will have the A group having the composite groups 10-6 and the B group having the composite groups 5-2. This will ensure that the lowest composite group in the tougher A group is 6 (3+3 or 4+2 or 5+1). No one can now complain that the 6 does not represent relatively difficult conditions for the batsman to play on. In summary, the alternate table incorporates a switch of composite group 5 from the tougher A to easier B group. Study the two tables at your leisure.

  • Laky on March 13, 2012, 1:27 GMT

    RE: Mahela in particular, I think it is almost crazy that he averages the same in tough conditions as he does in easier ones. It suggests that yes he does not put up higher scores in easier conditions, but also that he still makes runs in difficult conditions. Alot of batsmen are close to the magic 50 average in the tough group, but of the modern batsmen, it is only Lara, Dravid, Jayawardene, Sangakkara, and Flower to actually do it. And Kallis really does feast when the conditions are right. [[ Please re-visit the additional table which has been posted. Ananth: ]]

  • Micko on March 13, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    Excelent Analysis as always, Ananth. Sorting the tough group by average makes for interesting reading, once again confirming my suspicions that G. Chappell often gets overlooked when people start talking about all time greats.

  • Tom on March 12, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    The first individual that really jumped off the page on looking at the chart for me was Colin Cowdrey. 94.6% of his runs in the "A" group at a much higher average! The other Englishmen on the list are remembered fairly fondly in England if not elsewhere, but I feel Cowdrey is often overlooked.

    It seems there is some truth in the suggestion that batsmen post-2000 have had an easier time of it (not that that necessarily diminishes their accomplishments) but it hasn't been a state of constant progress (or decline, depending on perspective). The 70s/80s batsmen seem to have been up against it more often than the titans of the 20s/30s.

    I don't know how easy it would be to produce but it would be really interesting to see some of the figures from batsmen who are highly-regarded but don't have enough aggregate runs to qualify for this analysis as it stands - Harvey, Hutton, Headley, Walcott, Trumper, (Ranji?) etc.. [[ Pl note that what has been posted in the article is a table of the top-40 run-getters + Andy Flower. However the supporting Excel sheets, which can be downloaded are available for you to look at all players who have scored 2000 runs or more. Ananth: ]]

  • Crickeyt on March 12, 2012, 21:54 GMT

    Among the top 40, there are 5 batsmen with greater group A average than group B. Three of them are Englishmen (Gower, Cowdrey, Boycott). So, one wonders, are conditions in England really tough? The "pitch type analysis" in your previous article also does not show English wickets to be too bad (T7-PS consistently near 70 for the home team, but often higher for the visiting team). In Australia, there is a very high difference between home and away T7-PS, but the home team averages are astronomical almost throughout. It just means Australia is a tough place to tour, not a tough place to score runs. (Before someone says Hayden-Langer-Ponting-Waugh, please check out India's much lower 1999-2004 figures, when India had a stellar batting line-up too.)

    My point is: There has to be a consideration of home advantage in classifying batting conditions as tough. For equivalent bowling quality, Mike Hussey's runs at the WACA have to be cheaper than Brian Lara's. [[ Please re-visit the additional table which has been posted. Ananth: ]]

  • Salman Ali Rai on March 12, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    This probably is the most in depth article I have read in ages. Thank you Ananth. Being a Pakistani, naturally I was inclined to see where on the list a Pakistani name pops up and I am pleased to see Inzimam's stats. I was always of the opinion that batsmen of the past era such as Zaheer Abbas and Hanif Mohammad were the best Pakistan had ever produced but I'm pleasantly surprised to see Inzi toping that list. I guess he doesn't get the due credit he deserves. Anyways you sir deserve a lot of credit for your work. No matter how much geeky my friends call me but these stats made my day :)

  • Hassan on March 12, 2012, 18:49 GMT

    Hi. This is a good effort but I would have certainly liked to add more value to the runs scored in winning cause. At the end of the the its all about winning matches. Personally I would value 80 runs scored in a winning match more than 300 scored in a drawn game. Can you add that as a factor to your stats too ?? [[ Let us not confuse the issue. This takes in only two elements, the bowler quality and pitch type. All elese will come in the Innings Ratings. Ananth: ]]

  • Sarath on March 12, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    Does justice to Andy Flower :) Am always surprised to see his name not being mentioned in an All time 11, ahead of Gilchrist. His record certainly proves that. In addition, he had to face much more score board pressure . I wonder if you could analyze the pressure that am opposition can apply after having racked up runs on board.

  • Raghav Bihani on March 12, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    Great article.

    I see that Lara is the only player to score 10000 test runs in the tough group and that too at an average of over 50. Average of above 50 is really very difficult in the tough group. Sachin's average at just a shade under 50 proves the point. The tough group figure is a real comparison and value of players like Dravid, Steve Waugh and Border can be seen. They were fighters when the going was tough.

    However, we should not compare the average of tough group to the average of the easy group. Kallis averages 96 in easy conditions and that is double of his performance in tough conditions. Rather than see too much into this, I like to look at the tough group alone where he averages 47 which is superb in its own right. It puts him in right perpective (only for batting, add bowling and he is incomparable) vis-a-vis Tendulkar, Dravid, Lara etc. Rather than point out that Sachin scored 40% or 6000 easy runs we should appreciate his nearly 10000 runs at 50 as exceptional. [[ Thank you, Raghav. I understand and agree that the Tough Groups definition has been watered down somewhat. However you have understood that it is still a collection of situations which provide significant challenge to batsmen. Your point at looking at the tough Group by itself is quite valid. That is what I have referred to in my comments on Gavaskar and Kallis. Thank you for bringing this back on rails. Ananth: ]]

  • Independant on March 12, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    Guys, Isn't this a Game? An extremely entertaining one for few of us for that matter. every country has really compititive and atractive players with unique styles and that's the beauty of the game. I am not from India but it never stops me from liking Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS, Kholi or Viru. you don't need to find a way to keep your country's players above others to like them. Just enjoy the Game and learn to admire the talents of others. Cheers!!

  • Independant on March 12, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    Very Interesting article. Author's responds to certain comments are also interesting and to the point. Good work Anantha.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 12, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    My final comment in this sequence. The top 40 batsmen table you have pasted in the article totals up to 355k aggregate runs.

    In the tough group, it is 267k runs, and in the easy group, 88k runs. So 75% of runs are in the tough group.

    Seems like it is easy to get into the tough group...!

    Come on, Ananth, we have come to think of you as a very tough master of your data. Why are you being so liberal? What exactly does this analysis aim at? [[ The Tough Group is now comprised of 10 - 5 groups. Instead of these round about comments you could as well say that the three super-groups which would have been 10-8, 7-5 and 4-1 would have been better. Come to think of it, I probably should have stuck to the three super-group split. Ananth: ]]

  • Enigma on March 12, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Thanks for your response. I had posted my initial comments without understanding your methodology, my sincere apologies. Obviously a lot of good work has gone into your article.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 12, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    In fact I am going to ask you to move this to a completely higher level. When the dust settles on this exercise, you must do the innings rating, and the results must agree with the above analysis. Similarly, a peer rating, and that must also agree. Then we will have really robust conclusions. [[ As and when I do an Innings Ratings analysis, it will be on my terms. I will solicit advice from all readers who are going to give me varying and diametrically opposite advice. I will use these guidelines to the extent possible and do an analysis based on what I think it is right. That will not be for acceptance by any one individual. And I am sure all the people would not agree. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 12, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    Ananth, my previous critism can be sharpened a bit. The basis is that the end justifies the means. By end, I mean a true picture of what makes for tough runs. If your method delivers, we accept. But Consider DI Gower. Magnificent batsman, I remember him for his innings in West Indies. However, did he score only 81 easy runs? What about 1) first test series against Pak 153 runs 2) 1979 against incredibly toothless Indian attack with 289 runs @72 3) 732 runs against toothless OZ attack in 1985. All this at home? All during noted run feasts for Eng batsmen?

    Evidently, what is supposed to be tough group is not all that tough. [[ Your comments are sadistic and are aimed to poke fun. You know that every analysis can be brought down and are using below-belt-methods. Lawson/McDermott/Thomson do not form a toothless attack. Kapil/Chandra/Bedi/Venkat also do not form a toothless attack. The Pakistani attack was very average. However Iqbal Qasim's great career figures and the fair career figures of the three medium pacers kept them in level 2 and England in 1970s was group 3. That is all. This could as well have gone to Easy group. I suggest kindly avoid such comments. Ananth: ]]

  • Unni on March 12, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    Good work, Ananth. I saw the excel sheet, especially the pitch values at both the ends. Only thing, which I couldn't like the implied statement 'whichever team comes and bowls in Bangladesh from 2000-2004, the pitch conditions were worst in the world for Bangladesh batsmen(1.5)'. In my opinion, this was simply because the Bangladesh batsmen were picking up their batting then. Same is the case with NewZealand in 1950s? You need to get rid of the batsmen competency also from the calculation to get a true pitch measure; not only the bowler effect. Anyway, we have discussed one too many about all this and I fear we end up in the same loop again. [[ Let me ask you this. Don't you think when Ashraful made a score of 114 against Sri Lanka in 2001, when the average Bangladeshi batsman was averaging around 20, his innings should be considered at a higher level than a Sri Lankan batsman's equivalent score. Dempster made 137 when no other Kiwi batsman looked like reaching 25. Why would these runs be considered above-average. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 12, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    Ananth, since May 2011, you have come out with three methods - 1) w/o RSI/PTI/PQI etc and with only BQI 2) with BPI which included BQI and pitch quality on the basis of single match analysis 3) this analysis where pitch quality is measured across a period.

    I think of the three, the middle one is teh strongest, and you were a few steps away from perfection. The third method (this article) is the weakest, as seen from the results, wherein many batsmen fall in a narrow range (47-50 in the tough group), and where making a period the basis (e.g. 1999-2004 Aussies, taken as a single period whereas when India toured in 2004, no Warne/McGrath, 700+ scores, astronomical avgs) introduces approximation as well as subjectivity.

    Over a period of time, i feel that we have lost focus on the original question - who was the best against the best. We have got into run weighted BPI, composite index etc. but in the end, who was the best against the best is nowhere answered by this approximate method. [[ Don't worry. Nothing is set in stone. I have already gone on record that, for the Innings Ratings analysis (when am I going to do that !!!), which requires quite a sharp analysis and where the individual match is the king, I will go back to the middle method, the single match one. I have never lost track of Arjun's, Unni's, Ali's and your ideas on strengthening the middle one. And I am unlikely to forget knowing that you are there to not let me rest on any laurels. Thanks for that. In fact I think the current method might be better for the bowler analysis since the single match numbers might be the result of their own contributions and there would be double counting. Ananth: ]]

  • Francis on March 12, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    Interesting article. Of course we know that statistics are like bikinis (what they reveal suggestive, what they conceal vital), but nevertheless this analysis I think is fantastic in that it gives some objective standards to compare players in various conditions, situations and eras. Was a little disappointed not to see Andy Flower in it, think he would have had good figures. Thanks for all the work you put in, looking forward to the [[ Will add Andy Flower at the end of the table. Ananth: ]]bowlers.

  • Enigma on March 12, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    My apologies. Was not trying to criticise you. [[ Nice of you to respond immediately. Please read the article couple of times. What I have done is to group the runs scored by batsmen into two groups, through a series of complex calculations. There is no way I can do this to favour one batsman over the other. The numbers just fall that way, that is all. Necessarily the sub-continent batsmen have a slight disadvanrage when an analysis like this is done. They are already playing in an area which tends to favour batsmen quite a lot and if they face a weak bowling attack the grouping automatically becomes Easy. But batting is easy. On the other hand, for batsmen in England, their tracks are almost always low-scoring ones and it would be very tough for them to get into the Easy classification. But then batting for them is also not easy. Also do not take one or two series and try and apply across careers lasting 15-20 years. All batsmen go through series of varying successes. And finally I have a lot of time for Tendulkar, other than that he should have retired from ODI cricket on April 2/3, 2011. That is all my grouse against him. You are welcome to send any comments without personal remarks. Ananth: ]]

  • Deepak on March 12, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    I don't quite understand the fascination with the % runs in the easy group. Isn't that directly related to number of innings in that group --- Gooch, Chappell, Lara.. great players no doubt but they have very few innings in the easy group and naturally % runs there is small. [[ But that is the very fact that I am trying to bring out. That these batsmen had more than the normal share of tougher conditions. Forget about everyone but Gooch. He played 216 innings. In all but 8 of these he faced a combination of 5 and above (either tough pitch conditions or good bowling). The 8 innings are given below. Aus 834 Grp-2 2 runs Slk 1176 Grp-2 38 runs Nzl 1183 Grp-1 2 runs Nzl 1185 Grp-1 4 & 114 runs Nzl 1187 Grp-1 30 & 11 runs Nzl 1260 Grp-2 210 runs In the other 208 innings he faced Grp 3 and above. I suggest try and appreciate the greatness of this unheralded and unsung batsman, amongst others. Ananth: ]] We cannot discount anything from the modern batsmen just because they have quite a few innings in the easy group.

  • Nitin Gautam on March 12, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    I am sorry if I could not articulate what i actually meant to ask. I brought this accusation of nt getting more chances to play by SL, only to highlight that they dont get more chances to play on tougher conditions against better bowler in alien conditions but still ended up having very impressing %cut off for tough runs. & In start of my comment i mentioned "may be I am ignorant" & i know I am & here by saying this im nt questioning your methodology. Regarding kallis, He is a legend & asset to any counrty (SA lucky to have him) but why did u infer that just by asking few ques, i am not giving him wht he truly deserves. you mentioned he scored more than 50% of his runs in "TOUGH" SA condition but those were his home turf, probably little less effective in somehow similar Aus & difficult Eng, SL, India. This was a doubt n having said that sir, i am not at all reluctant to accept his or anyone's greatness. afterall they have proved themselves countless no. of times. [[ Nitin I have no problems at all whatever be the views as long as these are expressed in an acceptable manner. And you have always done so.. I respect you for that. Your words ""you mentioned he scored more than 50% of his runs in "TOUGH" SA condition but those were his home turf". In this analysis the distinction between Home and Away is almost out. What has been used is the ratio between South African batsmen's P7- average, playing in their home turf, against an assortment of visiting bowlers AND All Batsmen's P7 average, playing in their home turf, against an assortment of visiting bowlers. So, at one shot, I have incorporated the batsmen's home factor and the visiting bowlers' away factor. Take 1999-2004 and Australia, the dominant team. Australian batsmen averaged a massive 84.2 and visiting batsmen averaged an average 62.9. The all-country average was 68.8 and 65.8. So the Australian batsmen's scores will be indirectly downgraded and visiting team's scores will be indirectly upgraded. During this period the South African home batsmen averaged 76.9. So the home benefit is automatically nullified. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on March 12, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    May be i am ignorant but considering the tough % of SL players (sanga, mahela,jayasurya)actually surprised me a bit,only bcos they always accused countries like Eng, SA, AUS for not giving them too many matches to play n hence they ended up playing lot more on their home turf which ideally should have spiked their easy avg bt turned out the opposite of the common belief. Similarly Kallis has some inhuman record against minnows (BD,Zim,) & WI & not that good against others, still tough % is on the higher side.is it bcos he grafted & earned his runs against top teams (low avg) & played better against minnows (very high avg) that his overall stat are much better than ponting, dravid, SRT etc. & Please note I am not against kallis or SL stalwarts. [[ I still do not understand you. The analysis is what the Slk batsmen have done not what they have asked for, complained about, accused other countries about etc. These are the numbers. Everything is in the open. The match-by-match numbers are available. You could tell me if there is a problem anywhere. Remember that the Easy groups are 4/3/2, not very easy to arrive. So more runs fall in the Tough groups. Now the Group determination was done by me to get the normal distribution going for both home and away numbers. It is possible that this split has favoured the Slk batsmen and not favoured the Indian and other batsmen. Re Kallis what you say about the inhuman records is there in the table: 3866 runs at 96.65 Easy runs. So what is the problem. You are unwilling to give him the credit for 8394 runs at 47.97 in the Tough situations when he has scored more than half his runs in tough South African conditions. Finally Dravid has scored 1000 runs more than Kallis. Out of this 700 runs are added to the Easy category. Probably because he has played in the easier sub-continent conditions more often. Why the reluctance to accept this. I can only repeat: I do not understand. Ananth: Enigma99: Your comment will not be published because you are accusing me unfairly and bringing up the cursed Tendulkar/Lara debate. I will not have that in this article. ]]

  • Narinder on March 12, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Hi Anantha, I am always pleased to see how in depth analysis you make.However I wonder how can Mahela be averaging 50+ in tough group.He averages just 40.11 in away tests, 49.43 against teams except Bangladesh, Zimb and WI (WI because since Mehala's debut I dont think WI had many great bowlers, except Walsh for a short period of time) and 37.86 away from home against the countries except the 3 I mentioned above. [[ I don't think you have understood the methodology correctly. How can you exclude WI. They might not have had great bowlers but still a decent set of bowlers. And the visiting teams' average was not that high. And why Zimbabwe. They had Streak and scoring there, in certain periods was tough (See 1990-98 in Zimbabwe). The point is that the Easy group total for Jayawardene is only 2286 runs, This could easily be reached with a collection of assorted Tests and the average could very well be just above 50. It only means that unlike some other players, Jayawardene has not exactly feasted on the weaker teams. Ananth: ]] Similarly, why Sunil Gavaskar is so low?I mean he batted at a time when WI and Aust attacks were awesome. I would also like to point out that while making the analysis the Pak attack without the likes of Akram, Younis, Aqib Javed, Imran, Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain should not rank as a tough one. Similar is the case with the Indians without Kumble, Srinath and perhaps Bhajji. Aussie and SA attacks have been good with ones like Lee, Glen, Warne, Donald, Gillispie, Reiffel, Mcdermott, Steyn, Polock, Reid, and even the younger cropes of Phillander and current Aussies being there. [[ I don't think you have read the article fully. Gavaskar is being shown in excellent light in this article. 7876 runs (77.8%) at 46.60 in tough conditions and 2286 (22.2%) at 77.45 in easier conditions. This is better than many current Indian batsmen. What more do you need. His easy run share is 22.2 while that of most top modern batsmen is 35-40%. Ananth: ]]

  • KnowWho on March 12, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    Great Article Anantha. Gives a clear picture of players skill. Sad to see miandad averaging low against tough group when compared to other pakistani batsmen. Quite surprising to see mahela and sanga top charts with a retty high average. Might be due to their extremely high averages in SL. I did not see them consistantly perform in ENG,SA or for that AUS, where conditions and attack are much tougher. Even tough sanga has a very good average against them the number of test he has played is far few. [[ I think we must all shed our impressions about batting in Sri Lanka. There is a feeling that these pitches are great for batting. Not really. If you had read the last article carefully, you would have noticed that Sri Lanka had T7 averages quite close to the all-team average.Their indices are opwards of 0.95. Anhhow where did you get this high average for these two. They hover around 50, the same as others. Only Sanga is slightly higher. Let us also not forget that Sangakkara's overall average is 55+. Ananth: ]] WI in 90/00 had rolled out batting beauties in many matches. For example antigua ground where lara scored a lot of runs. Hence it is a surprise for me when i see their percentage of easy runs. Think home tough conditions and away tough conditions should be w8ed using some other means rather than a PTI. Thought jack kallis and ponting would have averaged high 50's against tough groups which was not to be. [[ The 375 and 400 give the impression you have made. The reality is very different. Pl see the previous article carefully. West Indies averaged, for its home players, 65.0 and 62.9 for the periods 1990-98 and 1999-2004. Both these numbers are below the all-country averages (66.4 and 68.8 and the PTI ratios are above 1.00 Ananth: ]]

  • exterminator on March 12, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    very good post, need some thing about fast bowling under tough bowling conditions.

  • Nitin Gautam on March 12, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    Hi Anantha

    Just 1 question here. Does this analysis also includes the brownies collected while waging a lone battle. Is performance, in a match where your team lost but some superlative performance was witnessed despite of home/away/top bowling/tough pitch & other such criteria, affected the final table. [[ No, not at all. THis is an analysis based on only two factors. The Bowling Quality and the Pitch Type. Pl see Laxman's 167 example. Ananth: ]]

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  • Nitin Gautam on March 12, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    Hi Anantha

    Just 1 question here. Does this analysis also includes the brownies collected while waging a lone battle. Is performance, in a match where your team lost but some superlative performance was witnessed despite of home/away/top bowling/tough pitch & other such criteria, affected the final table. [[ No, not at all. THis is an analysis based on only two factors. The Bowling Quality and the Pitch Type. Pl see Laxman's 167 example. Ananth: ]]

  • exterminator on March 12, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    very good post, need some thing about fast bowling under tough bowling conditions.

  • KnowWho on March 12, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    Great Article Anantha. Gives a clear picture of players skill. Sad to see miandad averaging low against tough group when compared to other pakistani batsmen. Quite surprising to see mahela and sanga top charts with a retty high average. Might be due to their extremely high averages in SL. I did not see them consistantly perform in ENG,SA or for that AUS, where conditions and attack are much tougher. Even tough sanga has a very good average against them the number of test he has played is far few. [[ I think we must all shed our impressions about batting in Sri Lanka. There is a feeling that these pitches are great for batting. Not really. If you had read the last article carefully, you would have noticed that Sri Lanka had T7 averages quite close to the all-team average.Their indices are opwards of 0.95. Anhhow where did you get this high average for these two. They hover around 50, the same as others. Only Sanga is slightly higher. Let us also not forget that Sangakkara's overall average is 55+. Ananth: ]] WI in 90/00 had rolled out batting beauties in many matches. For example antigua ground where lara scored a lot of runs. Hence it is a surprise for me when i see their percentage of easy runs. Think home tough conditions and away tough conditions should be w8ed using some other means rather than a PTI. Thought jack kallis and ponting would have averaged high 50's against tough groups which was not to be. [[ The 375 and 400 give the impression you have made. The reality is very different. Pl see the previous article carefully. West Indies averaged, for its home players, 65.0 and 62.9 for the periods 1990-98 and 1999-2004. Both these numbers are below the all-country averages (66.4 and 68.8 and the PTI ratios are above 1.00 Ananth: ]]

  • Narinder on March 12, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Hi Anantha, I am always pleased to see how in depth analysis you make.However I wonder how can Mahela be averaging 50+ in tough group.He averages just 40.11 in away tests, 49.43 against teams except Bangladesh, Zimb and WI (WI because since Mehala's debut I dont think WI had many great bowlers, except Walsh for a short period of time) and 37.86 away from home against the countries except the 3 I mentioned above. [[ I don't think you have understood the methodology correctly. How can you exclude WI. They might not have had great bowlers but still a decent set of bowlers. And the visiting teams' average was not that high. And why Zimbabwe. They had Streak and scoring there, in certain periods was tough (See 1990-98 in Zimbabwe). The point is that the Easy group total for Jayawardene is only 2286 runs, This could easily be reached with a collection of assorted Tests and the average could very well be just above 50. It only means that unlike some other players, Jayawardene has not exactly feasted on the weaker teams. Ananth: ]] Similarly, why Sunil Gavaskar is so low?I mean he batted at a time when WI and Aust attacks were awesome. I would also like to point out that while making the analysis the Pak attack without the likes of Akram, Younis, Aqib Javed, Imran, Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain should not rank as a tough one. Similar is the case with the Indians without Kumble, Srinath and perhaps Bhajji. Aussie and SA attacks have been good with ones like Lee, Glen, Warne, Donald, Gillispie, Reiffel, Mcdermott, Steyn, Polock, Reid, and even the younger cropes of Phillander and current Aussies being there. [[ I don't think you have read the article fully. Gavaskar is being shown in excellent light in this article. 7876 runs (77.8%) at 46.60 in tough conditions and 2286 (22.2%) at 77.45 in easier conditions. This is better than many current Indian batsmen. What more do you need. His easy run share is 22.2 while that of most top modern batsmen is 35-40%. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on March 12, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    May be i am ignorant but considering the tough % of SL players (sanga, mahela,jayasurya)actually surprised me a bit,only bcos they always accused countries like Eng, SA, AUS for not giving them too many matches to play n hence they ended up playing lot more on their home turf which ideally should have spiked their easy avg bt turned out the opposite of the common belief. Similarly Kallis has some inhuman record against minnows (BD,Zim,) & WI & not that good against others, still tough % is on the higher side.is it bcos he grafted & earned his runs against top teams (low avg) & played better against minnows (very high avg) that his overall stat are much better than ponting, dravid, SRT etc. & Please note I am not against kallis or SL stalwarts. [[ I still do not understand you. The analysis is what the Slk batsmen have done not what they have asked for, complained about, accused other countries about etc. These are the numbers. Everything is in the open. The match-by-match numbers are available. You could tell me if there is a problem anywhere. Remember that the Easy groups are 4/3/2, not very easy to arrive. So more runs fall in the Tough groups. Now the Group determination was done by me to get the normal distribution going for both home and away numbers. It is possible that this split has favoured the Slk batsmen and not favoured the Indian and other batsmen. Re Kallis what you say about the inhuman records is there in the table: 3866 runs at 96.65 Easy runs. So what is the problem. You are unwilling to give him the credit for 8394 runs at 47.97 in the Tough situations when he has scored more than half his runs in tough South African conditions. Finally Dravid has scored 1000 runs more than Kallis. Out of this 700 runs are added to the Easy category. Probably because he has played in the easier sub-continent conditions more often. Why the reluctance to accept this. I can only repeat: I do not understand. Ananth: Enigma99: Your comment will not be published because you are accusing me unfairly and bringing up the cursed Tendulkar/Lara debate. I will not have that in this article. ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on March 12, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    I am sorry if I could not articulate what i actually meant to ask. I brought this accusation of nt getting more chances to play by SL, only to highlight that they dont get more chances to play on tougher conditions against better bowler in alien conditions but still ended up having very impressing %cut off for tough runs. & In start of my comment i mentioned "may be I am ignorant" & i know I am & here by saying this im nt questioning your methodology. Regarding kallis, He is a legend & asset to any counrty (SA lucky to have him) but why did u infer that just by asking few ques, i am not giving him wht he truly deserves. you mentioned he scored more than 50% of his runs in "TOUGH" SA condition but those were his home turf, probably little less effective in somehow similar Aus & difficult Eng, SL, India. This was a doubt n having said that sir, i am not at all reluctant to accept his or anyone's greatness. afterall they have proved themselves countless no. of times. [[ Nitin I have no problems at all whatever be the views as long as these are expressed in an acceptable manner. And you have always done so.. I respect you for that. Your words ""you mentioned he scored more than 50% of his runs in "TOUGH" SA condition but those were his home turf". In this analysis the distinction between Home and Away is almost out. What has been used is the ratio between South African batsmen's P7- average, playing in their home turf, against an assortment of visiting bowlers AND All Batsmen's P7 average, playing in their home turf, against an assortment of visiting bowlers. So, at one shot, I have incorporated the batsmen's home factor and the visiting bowlers' away factor. Take 1999-2004 and Australia, the dominant team. Australian batsmen averaged a massive 84.2 and visiting batsmen averaged an average 62.9. The all-country average was 68.8 and 65.8. So the Australian batsmen's scores will be indirectly downgraded and visiting team's scores will be indirectly upgraded. During this period the South African home batsmen averaged 76.9. So the home benefit is automatically nullified. Ananth: ]]

  • Deepak on March 12, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    I don't quite understand the fascination with the % runs in the easy group. Isn't that directly related to number of innings in that group --- Gooch, Chappell, Lara.. great players no doubt but they have very few innings in the easy group and naturally % runs there is small. [[ But that is the very fact that I am trying to bring out. That these batsmen had more than the normal share of tougher conditions. Forget about everyone but Gooch. He played 216 innings. In all but 8 of these he faced a combination of 5 and above (either tough pitch conditions or good bowling). The 8 innings are given below. Aus 834 Grp-2 2 runs Slk 1176 Grp-2 38 runs Nzl 1183 Grp-1 2 runs Nzl 1185 Grp-1 4 & 114 runs Nzl 1187 Grp-1 30 & 11 runs Nzl 1260 Grp-2 210 runs In the other 208 innings he faced Grp 3 and above. I suggest try and appreciate the greatness of this unheralded and unsung batsman, amongst others. Ananth: ]] We cannot discount anything from the modern batsmen just because they have quite a few innings in the easy group.

  • Enigma on March 12, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    My apologies. Was not trying to criticise you. [[ Nice of you to respond immediately. Please read the article couple of times. What I have done is to group the runs scored by batsmen into two groups, through a series of complex calculations. There is no way I can do this to favour one batsman over the other. The numbers just fall that way, that is all. Necessarily the sub-continent batsmen have a slight disadvanrage when an analysis like this is done. They are already playing in an area which tends to favour batsmen quite a lot and if they face a weak bowling attack the grouping automatically becomes Easy. But batting is easy. On the other hand, for batsmen in England, their tracks are almost always low-scoring ones and it would be very tough for them to get into the Easy classification. But then batting for them is also not easy. Also do not take one or two series and try and apply across careers lasting 15-20 years. All batsmen go through series of varying successes. And finally I have a lot of time for Tendulkar, other than that he should have retired from ODI cricket on April 2/3, 2011. That is all my grouse against him. You are welcome to send any comments without personal remarks. Ananth: ]]

  • Francis on March 12, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    Interesting article. Of course we know that statistics are like bikinis (what they reveal suggestive, what they conceal vital), but nevertheless this analysis I think is fantastic in that it gives some objective standards to compare players in various conditions, situations and eras. Was a little disappointed not to see Andy Flower in it, think he would have had good figures. Thanks for all the work you put in, looking forward to the [[ Will add Andy Flower at the end of the table. Ananth: ]]bowlers.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 12, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    Ananth, since May 2011, you have come out with three methods - 1) w/o RSI/PTI/PQI etc and with only BQI 2) with BPI which included BQI and pitch quality on the basis of single match analysis 3) this analysis where pitch quality is measured across a period.

    I think of the three, the middle one is teh strongest, and you were a few steps away from perfection. The third method (this article) is the weakest, as seen from the results, wherein many batsmen fall in a narrow range (47-50 in the tough group), and where making a period the basis (e.g. 1999-2004 Aussies, taken as a single period whereas when India toured in 2004, no Warne/McGrath, 700+ scores, astronomical avgs) introduces approximation as well as subjectivity.

    Over a period of time, i feel that we have lost focus on the original question - who was the best against the best. We have got into run weighted BPI, composite index etc. but in the end, who was the best against the best is nowhere answered by this approximate method. [[ Don't worry. Nothing is set in stone. I have already gone on record that, for the Innings Ratings analysis (when am I going to do that !!!), which requires quite a sharp analysis and where the individual match is the king, I will go back to the middle method, the single match one. I have never lost track of Arjun's, Unni's, Ali's and your ideas on strengthening the middle one. And I am unlikely to forget knowing that you are there to not let me rest on any laurels. Thanks for that. In fact I think the current method might be better for the bowler analysis since the single match numbers might be the result of their own contributions and there would be double counting. Ananth: ]]