March 19, 2012

Dravid in Tests: not just a "Wall" but a monument

A detailed statistical analysis of Rahul Dravid's successful Test career
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This is a study of the Test career of Dravid. He has achieved a lot in the ODI arena also. However there is simply no comparison. It is Dravid's Test achievements which we need to concentrate on since it is in that arena of cricket that India is going to miss Dravid the most.

1. A summary of Dravid's career

Matches: 164 Innings: 286 NOs: 32 Runs: 13288 Avge: 52.31 100s: 36 (Freq: one every 7.9 inns) 50s: 63 Balls Faced: 31259 Batting StRt: 42.5 Catches: 209

Team-Shr: 164 13288 88942 14.9%

Team runs while Dravid was at crease : 32468 Dravid's % Runs contribution : 40.93%

Team balls while Dravid was at crease : 62721 % of balls faced by Dravid while at crease: 49.84% Average balls per innings faced by Dravid : 109.3

Most of this information is known. A few additional bits of information. Dravid has scored a century in once every 8 innings. He has faced 31259 balls and has, as expected, a relatively low strike rate of 42.5.

While Dravid was at crease, a total of 62721 balls were faced by India. Dravid, thus faced, nearly half the balls received by India. While he was at crease, a total of 32468 runs were scored. As a testimony to his relatively slower scoring, he has scored just over 40% of the team runs while at crease.

2. Analysis of balls played


However the important number is the last one. Per innings, excluding none, Dravid faced an average of 109 balls. There are quite a few, Boycott, Bradman, Hammond, Hutton, Barrington, Hobbs, Sutcliffe et al who are ahead of Dravid. However no modern cricketer comes close to Dravid. The nearest is Glenn Turner of New Zealand. Dravid has faced over 25% of the completed innings team balls, in innings of 100-plus balls, 77 times, about 25% of his innings. The break-down of Dravid's innings is given below. Quite difficult to draw major inferences other than that, in about 45% of the innings, Dravid has crossed 100 balls.

200 balls and above: 48 (16.8%)
100-199 balls:       81 (28.3%)
50 to 99 balls:     60 (21.0%)
1 to 49 balls:     97 (33.8%)

3. Dravid's career graph


Career graph of Rahul Dravid
© Anantha Narayanan

Dravid's career is expressed above in graphical form. The first innings runs are shown above mid line and the second innings scores below. The lean 11-Test period around 2008 is clear as also the revival afterwards. Look at the last four lean tests, and the wonderful Tests before these.

4. A breakdown by innings


Description    T   I  N  Runs   Avge 100  50 Freq

Inns 1 75 3 4121 57.24 15 15 5.0 Inns 2 89 7 4984 60.78 15 24 5.9 Inns 3 65 4 2608 42.75 5 15 13.0 Inns 4 57 18 1575 40.38 1 9 57.0

This table splits Dravid's batting efforts by innings. As expected, the first innings numbers are far better, around an average of nearly 60. The second innings tapers off into around 40. Out of the 57 efforts in the last innings, there has been only one century. Three of Dravid's 70s have been in winning causes. The only century, and four fifties, have been scored in drawn matches. No great record, this. The third innings is something else. Led by the once-in-a-lifetime innings of 180, Dravid scored three centuries in won causes.

5. A breakdown by batting position


Description    T   I  N  Runs   Avge 100  50 Freq

Bat-Pos 1/2 23 4 897 47.21 4 1 5.8 Bat-Pos 3 219 20 10524 52.88 28 50 7.8 Bat-Pos 4 21 3 957 53.17 2 6 10.5 Bat-Pos 5 11 3 308 38.50 1 1 11.0 Bat-Pos 6 8 2 413 68.83 1 2 8.0 Bat-Pos 7 4 0 279 69.75 0 3 4.0

Avge Batting Position: 3.13

This is the most open secret. No.3 is Dravid's position. An average of 52.88 in this pivotal position. 28 of his hundreds have come in this position. No.3 has been covered in depth later.

6. Dravid's career graph: Home and Away


Home and away performances of Rahul Dravid
© Anantha Narayanan

The above graph splits Dravid's Tests between Home and Away. Note the stronger representation of the green lines indicating away Tests. Three of the four 200s have been scored away, these four having been scored during a purple period during 2002-04. He is one of the rare batsmen who has done better away (53.03) than home (51.36). This is a tribute to his technique and ability to adopt to varying conditions. The numbers for these three graphs are available later.

7. Dravid's career graph: Results


Dravid in wins, losses and draws
© Anantha Narayanan

The above is a graphic representation of the results. The three results are colour-coded while retaining the first and second innings separation. Note the profusion of the red lines over the last dozen Tests. However no doubting the purple patches earlier.

8. Dravid's career graph: Performance vs the other teams


Dravid versus opposition teams
© Anantha Narayanan

This is a graphical representation of Dravid's performance against the other 9 teams. Certainly what stands out is the fact that Dravid had a great time against England, New Zealand, Pakistan and West Indies. However he averages below 40 against Australia and South Africa. He is slightly below par against Sri Lanka.

The tables are available below. Note Dravid's high average when the team winds and loses and how low Dravid's average is when India loses.

Description    T   I  N  Runs   Avge 100  50 Freq TRuns   %

Home 70 120 11 5598 51.36 15 27 8.0 39326 14.2% Away 94 166 21 7690 53.03 21 36 7.9 49616 15.5%

Won 56 92 14 5131 65.78 15 23 6.1 31238 16.4% Drawn 59 96 13 5379 64.81 17 28 5.6 34798 15.5% Lost 49 98 5 2778 29.87 4 12 24.5 22906 12.1%

Australia 33 62 6 2166 38.68 2 13 31.0 Bangladesh 7 10 2 560 70.00 3 1 3.3 England 21 37 5 1950 60.94 7 8 5.3 New Zealand 15 28 2 1659 63.81 6 6 4.7 Pakistan 15 26 3 1236 53.74 5 3 5.2 South Africa 21 40 3 1252 33.84 2 5 20.0 Sri Lanka 20 32 1 1508 48.65 3 9 10.7 West Indies 23 38 7 1978 63.81 5 13 7.6 Zimbabwe 9 13 3 979 97.90 3 5 4.3

9. Dravid at no.3: a special study


To have Dravid walking in at no.3, provided the adventurous openers with the license to attack, Tendulkar at no.4 to have the cushion of the impenetrable fortress ahead of him, the captain the luxury of one of the greatest batting line-ups ever, anchored around Dravid and the public, the comfort feeling that India would not go "nothing for 2" quickly. Now that we will never see Dravid walk in at no.3, it is necessary to study what Dravid faced at no.3 and what he achieved.

It has already been seen that Dravid played 219 innings at no.3, scored over 10000 runs and averaged 52.88. As top no.3 batsmen go Dravid is in the middle, with other no.3 greats like Bradman, Hammond, Richards, Sangakkara and Ponting ahead of him. That is to be expected. However that is not the point here. What positions did he come in. My first idea was to do an average of the scores. However I quickly realized that coming in at 0 for 1 and 100 for 1 was much worse than coming in at 40 for 1 and 60 for 1. So I listed the innings and derived some valuable information from that.

Dravid's no.3 summary:

No of times batted: 219 Came in at 0 for 1: 18 ( 8.2%). Came in at x for 1: 61 (27.8%). Came in at 1x for 1: 106 (48.4%). Came in 75 for 1: 172 (78.5%).

Digest the above for a minute. Dravid has walked in, within 10 minutes, nearly 10% of the time. He has got to the crease, within 30 minutes, around 28% of the times. He has got in to the crease, before the first drinks break, more than 100 times. And, to top it all, he probably has not the luxury of a peaceful lunch, on over 170 occasions. He would already have walked in to bat. This is probably unheard of in Test cricket, barring Lara in his later years.

10. Dravid's career analysed: by year


Description    T   I  N  Runs   Avge 100  50 Freq

1996 7 12 1 436 39.64 0 3 12.0 1997 12 18 2 984 61.50 1 9 18.0 1998 5 9 0 413 45.89 1 3 9.0 1999 10 19 1 865 48.06 4 1 4.8 2000 6 11 3 624 78.00 2 1 5.5 2001 13 23 3 935 46.75 1 6 23.0 2002 16 26 3 1357 59.00 5 5 5.2 2003 5 10 2 803 100.38 2 3 5.0 2004 12 18 3 946 63.07 2 4 9.0 2005 8 12 0 640 53.33 2 4 6.0 2006 12 22 4 1095 60.83 3 7 7.3 2007 10 19 2 606 35.65 1 3 19.0 2008 15 28 2 805 30.96 2 4 14.0 2009 6 10 1 747 83.00 2 5 5.0 2010 12 20 2 771 42.83 3 1 6.7 2011 12 23 3 1145 57.25 5 4 4.6 2012 3 6 0 116 19.33 0 0 6.0

This is an analysis by year. The best years have been 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2011. Note the serious dip in 2007/2008, followed by the revival in 2009. Then a dip in 2010 followed by the spurt in 2011.

In terms of 10-Test streaks, the best has been between Tests 70 and 79 during 2003-04 during which Dravid scored 1301 runs at an average of 86.73. The worst has been between Tests 121 and 130 during 2008 when Dravid scored 342 runs at an average of 19.00.

11. Dravid in the opening position


Dravid has opened, much against his own preferences, a few times and has done reasonably well. Probably the most significant of his opening stints was during the disastrous tour of England in 2011, when he opened a few times and got two hundreds. The 146 he made at Oval when he carried his bat through was sublime, when no one looked like getting a fifty. His other notable opening effort was at Lahore when he and Sehwag almost crossed Roy's and Mankad's opening effort of 413. There is no denying that this was the flattest pitch ever, but India were facing a huge total.

12. Dravid's significant partnerships.

I have given below 5 significant partnerships Dravid was part of. There may be misses since this has been done mainly from memory.

1. 376 between Laxman and Dravid at Calcutta against Australia. 
Almost certainly the best Indian partnership ever. 2. 303 between Dravid and Laxman at Adelaide.
Equally important one but with the roles reversed. 3. 410 between Sehwag and Dravid at Lahore. 400-plus and facing a huge total. 4. 170 between Dravid and Bangar at Headingley. The tough time in the Test.
A match-winning partnership. 5. 268 between Sehwag and Dravid at Chennai against South Africa.
Again facing a big total. Although Dravid and Tendulkar have added 6920 runs in 140-plus partnerships,
I cannot immediately think of a great partnership. Readers could fill the gap.

13. Peer Comparisons


I have done three peer comparisons for Dravid. Two are with other international batsmen and one is with team-mates.

The first is Dravid's own batting average against the peer batting average of the 1-7 batsmen during the 704 Tests played during Dravid's career. No.7 is included since 7 is a key position in many a team and has been adorned by Gilchrist, Dhoni et al. Given below is the average comparison.

Dravid 286  13288  52.31     Peer-AT7  15452  578702  37.45    1.40

Dravid has outperformed his peer middle-order players by a huge proportion of 1.40. Just to get the perspective, Tendulkar is at 1.49, Kallis is at 1.42 and Ponting is at 1.43. Dravid's average dropped off after 2008.

The second is Dravid's own batting average against the peer batting average of the 1-7 batsmen who played for India in the 168 Tests played during Dravid's career. Given below is the average comparison.

Dravid 286  13288  52.31     Peer-IT7  1527  61323  40.16      1.30

This is as expected. With the strong Indian batting line-up, the ratio would be lower. Dravid has out-performed his team peers by 30%.

The third, and a very important one, is Dravid's no.3 position batting average against the peer batting average of the no.3 batsmen who played in the 704 Tests played during Dravid's career. Given below is the average comparison.

Dravid 219  10524  52.88     Peer-BP3  2120  87466  41.26      1.28

Dravid has outperformed his peer no.3 batsmen by a factor of 1.28. However it should be remembered that his no.3 average lags behind three batsmen, Lara, Ponting and Sangakkara.

To download/view the document containing Dravid's innings-by-innings career details, please click/right-click here.

To download/view the document containing all the tables shown above, please click/right-click here.

My favourite Dravid innings


These are my five favourite Dravid innings. I emphasize that these are my personal selections and readers may have their own.

1. 148 at Headingley. Even though India scored 600-plus, if Dravid had got out earlier, they would not have reached 250.
2. 180 at Calcutta. A little bit overshadowed by the 281, but the greatest supporting innings ever.
3. 270 at Rawalpindi won the away series in Pakistan.
4. 81 & 68 at Kingston in 2006 (when a fifty was at a premium).
5. 233 at Adelaide. Facing a 550-plus score and the score at 85 for 4, the Calcutta pair moved the world a few thousand kilometres down south, with their roles reversed.

If a writer wanted to do a tribute to Dravid, he could do that in an hour in wonderful prose. On the other hand I toil hard. Each of these graphs has taken me half a day because of data collection, formatting and colour selection. I now have a program to completely analyze a single player. But that program cannot do a cross-analysis. So if a reader feels that something new is needed, please ask. I cannot promise I would do it, but if I can, I will certainly do it.

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

  • Harsh Thakor on June 16, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    Overall in test cricket ,Dravid is just scraped by Greg Chappell,to me as Dravid lacked the flamboyance to consistently win games.Dravid had the 4th highest average by a one down batsman,one time better than even Ricky Ponting.Len Hutton and Gavaskar are marginally ahead while it is a photo finish between Ponting and Dravid.As a specialist in a crisis Dravid is arguably the best of all the stalwarts from Ian Chappell , Javed Miandad,Alan Border,Steve Waugh to Jacques Kallis of the modern era.

  • Harsh Thakor on June 16, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    Ananth,really sorry for late comment.but I wanted to express my gratitude to your contribution.

    To me Rahul Dravid is the best ever Indian batsman in a crisis just like stalwarts like Javed Miandad and Alan Border wee in their eras or even Ian Chappell.Even Lara and Tendulkar were not his equal when the chips were down.Above all he batted at one down.

    I can never forget his efforts to win India important victories in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04 and in West Indies in 2006.His batting in the last series in England was the best by an Indian touring batsmen ever in England.Dravid has the best test average in winning games overseas and at one stage even upstaged Sachin Tendulkar in stats analysis.I feel Dravid's 50's and 100's made a greater overall contribution to India than any Indian batsman ever. [[ Harsh Looks like you went into a Rip Van Winkle trance during the Dravid article. Anyhow thanks for the kind words. Ananth: ]]

  • Nagesh.R on April 20, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Good Statistics.keep up the good work...

  • navnit on April 19, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    till today darvid is best test crickter of india as well as one of the best test batsman in world

  • Rudra on April 15, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    Hi, Thanks for the reply. Actually i wanted to know the attribute names in the other document shared, but i pointed to the wrong document. In the other document shared there are attributes like "L" "I" "P" "R" "TB" "TR" "Entry". What's the meaning of "$" in the document? [[ L: Location (Home/Away) I: Which innings P: Batting position R: Result TB: Team balls while at crease TR: Team runs while at crease $: An indication that some extrapolation was done on the Team balls because of non-availability of data. Ananth: ]]

  • Rudra on April 14, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    Hi Ananth, nice work. Can you please share the attributes names used in the document containing Dravid's innings-by-innings career details? I'm not able to decode some of them. [[ Description: Self-explanatory T: Tests I: Innings N: Not outs Runs: Self-explanatory Avge 100 50 Freq: Frequency = Matches/hundred. Ananth: ]]

  • rohit on April 5, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    hey Ananth, nice article but i think you missed out on partnership part. RD has most number of 100 run stands.

  • Vikram on April 2, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    Maybe I am being a romantic and seeing SRT with rose-tinted glasses, but I would not attach greed to the reason why he hasn't retired. Yes, some of his advisors might have that at the back of their minds and given him advise based on that, but I don't think that's what drove DRT's decision. Just as RD believed that by leaving he was giving a chance to a new No. 3, I think SRT believes that he is adding something to the teams. Whether he is wrong or right is another point, but the motive is the same. [[ Vikram, I will never accuse SRT of being greedy for the simple reason that his own mental make-up and upbringing precludes such. He has earned enough for 10 generations. He is guaranteed huge incomes for years. Why would he be greedy. However I get the feeling that he will find it difficult to say "No, thanks" to others who he might feel he owes and the vultures will take advantage of this attitude. Ananth: ]] Another way of looking at RD's retirement is that he did it so his brand value doesn't erode too much from the post Eng glow. I don't believe that simply because I believe that these two players sincerely have pure motives. Just that SRT sucks at decision making.

    As for technique, like the case of best batsman, a clearer definition is required. Technique and effectiveness should not be mixed, just as best and most valuable batsman should not be. Subtly different.

  • Nitin Gautam on April 2, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    Though not related to article, but related to the discussion held in this article itself,

    I just read an article in ET, about the commercial value of Brand Tendulkar. An interesting fact came out which might speculate the "only GOD knows" time of his retirement from cricket. He currently endorses 17 diff brands & almost all will be expired in 2014. Is this the corporate pressure stalling the retirement or anything else but guess 2014 will be the year, a complete cricket watching generation would come to standstill [[ This is exactly as I had mentioned a few days back. "Enjoying the game" is a euphemism for "Corporate-and-contract-driven". But no one can question. Even under these consitions, I can only say that Tendulkar can and should still be in the Test arena and (I couldn't care less) IPL arena. Most of us are talking about the ODI game, that is all. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on April 1, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    re: technique - Tendulkar has a couple of little "quirk", a tendency to work balls straight as off-stump to the leg side, looking for 1 or 2 at most. More recently, he's started using the sweep to straight balls, looking for a single to fine leg (you'd think a batsman of this calibre could find a single from an off spinner with a straight-ish bat almost anywhere with less risk)

    These days, he plays neither shot consistently well. And they are foolish shots in that the benefits (1 or 2 runs), hardly seem worth the risk (being trapped LBW) - given how often he doesn't middle the ball.

    Dravid's failure in Australia, seemed to me just not being able to handle the pace - how else do you get bowled between bat and pad so regularly? That wasn't failure of technique, more failure of fading physical abilities (eyes, reflexes, reaction time).

    At their best, however, I agree that Tendulkar had a tighter technique than even Dravid.

  • Harsh Thakor on June 16, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    Overall in test cricket ,Dravid is just scraped by Greg Chappell,to me as Dravid lacked the flamboyance to consistently win games.Dravid had the 4th highest average by a one down batsman,one time better than even Ricky Ponting.Len Hutton and Gavaskar are marginally ahead while it is a photo finish between Ponting and Dravid.As a specialist in a crisis Dravid is arguably the best of all the stalwarts from Ian Chappell , Javed Miandad,Alan Border,Steve Waugh to Jacques Kallis of the modern era.

  • Harsh Thakor on June 16, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    Ananth,really sorry for late comment.but I wanted to express my gratitude to your contribution.

    To me Rahul Dravid is the best ever Indian batsman in a crisis just like stalwarts like Javed Miandad and Alan Border wee in their eras or even Ian Chappell.Even Lara and Tendulkar were not his equal when the chips were down.Above all he batted at one down.

    I can never forget his efforts to win India important victories in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04 and in West Indies in 2006.His batting in the last series in England was the best by an Indian touring batsmen ever in England.Dravid has the best test average in winning games overseas and at one stage even upstaged Sachin Tendulkar in stats analysis.I feel Dravid's 50's and 100's made a greater overall contribution to India than any Indian batsman ever. [[ Harsh Looks like you went into a Rip Van Winkle trance during the Dravid article. Anyhow thanks for the kind words. Ananth: ]]

  • Nagesh.R on April 20, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Good Statistics.keep up the good work...

  • navnit on April 19, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    till today darvid is best test crickter of india as well as one of the best test batsman in world

  • Rudra on April 15, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    Hi, Thanks for the reply. Actually i wanted to know the attribute names in the other document shared, but i pointed to the wrong document. In the other document shared there are attributes like "L" "I" "P" "R" "TB" "TR" "Entry". What's the meaning of "$" in the document? [[ L: Location (Home/Away) I: Which innings P: Batting position R: Result TB: Team balls while at crease TR: Team runs while at crease $: An indication that some extrapolation was done on the Team balls because of non-availability of data. Ananth: ]]

  • Rudra on April 14, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    Hi Ananth, nice work. Can you please share the attributes names used in the document containing Dravid's innings-by-innings career details? I'm not able to decode some of them. [[ Description: Self-explanatory T: Tests I: Innings N: Not outs Runs: Self-explanatory Avge 100 50 Freq: Frequency = Matches/hundred. Ananth: ]]

  • rohit on April 5, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    hey Ananth, nice article but i think you missed out on partnership part. RD has most number of 100 run stands.

  • Vikram on April 2, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    Maybe I am being a romantic and seeing SRT with rose-tinted glasses, but I would not attach greed to the reason why he hasn't retired. Yes, some of his advisors might have that at the back of their minds and given him advise based on that, but I don't think that's what drove DRT's decision. Just as RD believed that by leaving he was giving a chance to a new No. 3, I think SRT believes that he is adding something to the teams. Whether he is wrong or right is another point, but the motive is the same. [[ Vikram, I will never accuse SRT of being greedy for the simple reason that his own mental make-up and upbringing precludes such. He has earned enough for 10 generations. He is guaranteed huge incomes for years. Why would he be greedy. However I get the feeling that he will find it difficult to say "No, thanks" to others who he might feel he owes and the vultures will take advantage of this attitude. Ananth: ]] Another way of looking at RD's retirement is that he did it so his brand value doesn't erode too much from the post Eng glow. I don't believe that simply because I believe that these two players sincerely have pure motives. Just that SRT sucks at decision making.

    As for technique, like the case of best batsman, a clearer definition is required. Technique and effectiveness should not be mixed, just as best and most valuable batsman should not be. Subtly different.

  • Nitin Gautam on April 2, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    Though not related to article, but related to the discussion held in this article itself,

    I just read an article in ET, about the commercial value of Brand Tendulkar. An interesting fact came out which might speculate the "only GOD knows" time of his retirement from cricket. He currently endorses 17 diff brands & almost all will be expired in 2014. Is this the corporate pressure stalling the retirement or anything else but guess 2014 will be the year, a complete cricket watching generation would come to standstill [[ This is exactly as I had mentioned a few days back. "Enjoying the game" is a euphemism for "Corporate-and-contract-driven". But no one can question. Even under these consitions, I can only say that Tendulkar can and should still be in the Test arena and (I couldn't care less) IPL arena. Most of us are talking about the ODI game, that is all. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on April 1, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    re: technique - Tendulkar has a couple of little "quirk", a tendency to work balls straight as off-stump to the leg side, looking for 1 or 2 at most. More recently, he's started using the sweep to straight balls, looking for a single to fine leg (you'd think a batsman of this calibre could find a single from an off spinner with a straight-ish bat almost anywhere with less risk)

    These days, he plays neither shot consistently well. And they are foolish shots in that the benefits (1 or 2 runs), hardly seem worth the risk (being trapped LBW) - given how often he doesn't middle the ball.

    Dravid's failure in Australia, seemed to me just not being able to handle the pace - how else do you get bowled between bat and pad so regularly? That wasn't failure of technique, more failure of fading physical abilities (eyes, reflexes, reaction time).

    At their best, however, I agree that Tendulkar had a tighter technique than even Dravid.

  • Waspsting on April 1, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    You know what annoys me? Talks of "match winning" batsmen like Viv Richards, Brian Lara or Sehwag - as opposed to the someone like Rahul Dravid.

    Sure, those guys are more fun to watch, but "he could change a match in a hour" type talk... I've always felt is just romantic, unrealistic talk.... and these stats support that.

    Look at Dravid's figures in won matches. Test matches are played over 5 days, and building a total calmly is as good a way of "winning" a match as blasting an attack for a couple of hours. Maybe better.

    The other things I've sometimes wondered is whether team India would have been better served with Dravid opening and Sehwag coming in 1 down. Would Dravid-Sehwag combo have led to more total runs than Sehwag-Dravid? Who knows? [[ Intriguing idea. But not as intriguing as Tendulkar at no.3, a plave he never occupied once in his Test career. Tendulkar's quality against the spinners would have been as valuable at 100 for 1 as 150 for 2. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on April 1, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    I would be the greatest of fools to bet on Sehwag, if my life depended on him surviving ANY attack on the last day

    Remember the Mumbai test of 2011 against West Indies? It was a turning track that had deteriorated a fair bit. And India was chasing around 240 if I'm not mistaken. Sehwag hit a very quick half-century putting the Windies bowlers on the backfoot rightaway.

    That innings ensured that an Indian defeat was the least likely of the possibilities. In fact we came very close to winning that match. Eventually drew it with scores level.

    An Atherton in Sehwag's position would've defended doughtily for an hour or so before getting out for 30 off 100 balls still leaving enough room for an English defeat. [[ One thing you agree with me: neither Sehwag anor Atherton would save my life. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 31, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    Pranav, I am not ready to dismiss the technique of a batsman who faced nearly 500 balls over 11 hours against Donald, Pringle, Pollock, McMillan at Wanderer's as just blocking ability.

    Ananth - Let's not dismiss that. He was obviously a good enough player to play over a 100 tests for England. You can't do that without reasonable technique. What I object to is the way Atherton is worshipped as a master technician. His technique was no better than most decent test opening batsmen. [[ Shri, you have a way of putting words into others' keypads. Where did I worship Atherton asa master technivian.I only brough ihim into the discussion to have a dialog on his technique. Ananth: ]] He was a very gutsy player. Yes. But not a natural technician like Sachin who played the way the cricketing gods want the game to be played right from Day 1.

    Even flawed players like Sehwag had technical merits that Atherton did not possess. Especially against spin. Would you back Athers or Sehwag to negotiate Warne and Murali on a turning pitch? [[ I would be the greatest of fools to bet on Sehwag, if my life depended on him surviving ANY attack on the last day. Atherton might save my life, also might not. But my vote would be for Gavaskar. I probably have the best chance of being alive the next day with him. I do not know enough about Hobbs or Sutcliffe. I might also select Lara knowing that I might not be there the next day but happy that the last thing I would have seen was a Lara innings. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 31, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    Batting was much tougher in the 90s than later. An avg. of 45 with a SR of 45 made you an excellent batsman. And please, Sehwag's technique superior to Atherton's?

    Okay. So batting was tougher. But the guy averaged barely 40 even in first class cricket!! Against supposedly lesser attacks. What does that tell you? If his technique was really that good, then he should've been plundering first-class attacks the way Boycott did throughout his career on more variable surfaces.

    Yes. He played some very fine innings. But so do a lot of people on their day when in good nick. We ought to judge players based on career-wide figures.

    Re Sehwag : When I talk of technique, I use the word in a broad sense. Not just defensive technique but also strokemaking technique. Sehwag is a far better player of spin (both offensive and defensive) than Atherton. He has his issues against high class seam bowling but so did Atherton. Sehwag, to his credit, atleast scores more runs.

  • Pranav Joshi on March 31, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    @Ananth

    You misunderstood me. I never said Atherton's technique was limited to blocking. When I said he wasn't nearly as good as Dravid/SRT, I meant he wasn't in their league as a batsman, OVERALL. In fact I was arguing against Srikanthk's assertion that Atherton was an ordinary batsman.

    No one can say he wasn't good when, as you said, he saved a match by facing 492 balls against top class bowling.

    He was not the flair player, nor the guy who could have moved the world if he so desired. He had a great technique and he utilized it to the maximum. [[ No, Pranav. I probably did not make myself clear. I only referred to Shrikanth's comment was that Atherton was maily a blocker. That effort at Wanderer's was one of the all-time great defensive efforts to save a match. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on March 31, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    @Shrikanthk

    Atherton was never in the SRT-Dravid league, or even in the Boycott league. However, he was by no means an "average batsman". Perhaps you have taken his average as an indicator of his "mediocrity". Well, he opened and faced about 97 balls on average every innings, scoring just 37-38 runs. That's higher than the number of balls Sachin faces on average. He had a great reputation for staying put at the crease. His repute was limited to his ability to block, block, block, which he did better than most batsmen of his time.

    And which batsman has not had a few nemesis bowlers? Atherton was not a great, but at one point he was England's most reliable batsman. And consider this - only 3 batsmen (Sachin, Lara, Steve Waugh) had an average over 50 for the 1990s (taking some minimum runs qualification). Batting was much tougher in the 90s than later. An avg. of 45 with a SR of 45 made you an excellent batsman. And please, Sehwag's technique superior to Atherton's? [[ Pranav, I am not ready to dismiss the technique of a batsman who faced nearly 500 balls over 11 hours against Donald, Pringle, Pollock, McMillan at Wanderer's as just blocking ability. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 31, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    For instance, how good was Atherton. How does his technique compare with SRT or Dravid or even Boycott.

    Oh C'mon Ananth. Just because you block doesn't mean you have a good technique.

    Atherton was a pretty average batsman. How can you possibly mention him in the same breath as SRT, Dravid or Boycott?

    What is technique after all. It's the ability to judge line and length. The ability to know when to go forward and when to go back. It doesn't matter if you're defending or attacking. What matters is judgment of length. Atherton was a bunny of most great bowlers (be it McGrath, Ambrose, Warne) because he was not a particularly brilliant judge of length. Even Sehwag is a superior technician compared to Atherton! And it shows in their averages.

  • A. Khan on March 31, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    @Shrikanth Considering a player of his caliber and that too from India, I thought Dravid is not as great against spin as he is supposed to be. It took him lot of time to figure Warne out, whilst others started feasting on him from the word go. Also, he couldn't actually never master Murali. But in the international scenario, he was a top notch player of spin. About SRT's tendency to play on the up, I would like to say, its this that make him stand alongside greats, otherwise he too would have been just a run machine with very little entertainment value, that's what any game is all about - fun, isn't it? If he cuts that, he would stay at the crease for longer period of time but would probably make same many runs. He has been out so many times defending the incutters that I can never give him that "impossible to get out tag". I agree with Vikram that technique is necessary but not sufficient - I wonder if this makes Dravid more valuable! [[ We also have a habit of ignoring the technique of players from the other countries. For instance, how good was Atherton. How does his technique compare with SRT or Dravid or even Boycott. And Dravid's vulnerability in the last series did not exactly add to the "difficult to get out" feel. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on March 30, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    SRT is the best batsman in the present team. That doesn't make him the most valuable. Similarly, he has the best technique, that doesn't mean that he is the most effective in facing fast bowling. And Ananth, that logic of RD coming at X for 1, doesn't apply because GG and VS are the openers and no one will ever say that they have the best technique. They are effective but not the best in technique. The point is that batting in a test match is a combination of technique, commitment, mental strength and decision making. It is very easy to then see which batsman excels, fails or is average in which of these four criteria. Example, SRT against England in Mumbai or SA when he went ultra-defensive. It was not technique that let him down. So I agree with Shreekanth and A. Khan abt their statement on technique. However, this to me is a minor point because technique does not a batsman make. Necessary but not sufficient..

  • shrikanthk on March 30, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    There is/was a day light between SRT and the rest of his mates when it comes to technique. And when it comes to playing spin bowling, Dravid wasn't even the second best in the side.

    I actually rate Dravid very very highly against spin. Not in terms of the range of shots, but his defensive technique and degree of assurance.

    If anything his technique was less assured against quality seam bowling. He flourished mainly because of a triumph of mind over matter.

    Nevertheless Tendulkar is the ultimate technician against all types of bowling. His one flaw is a tendency to play too often on the up. If only he chose to drive more selectively he's almost impossible to get out! He's that good!

  • A. Khan on March 30, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    @shrikanth That's pretty straightforward observation about SRT being technically more correct(I assume you are not saying it because of "Tendulkar is God" syndrome), but I don't know why most people (including most commentators/ex-players) say other way. I think, most people relate it, to a great extent, to playing "slow". There is/was a day light between SRT and the rest of his mates when it comes to technique. And when it comes to playing spin bowling, Dravid wasn't even the second best in the side. [[ I feel Dravid is ahead of others when playing pacemen, considering that he walked in at "'single-digit' for 1" 61 out of the 219 times he batted at no.3. However both SRT and Laxman were probably ahead of him in playing spinners. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on March 29, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    I compiled a CV of RD in January 2011. Bypassing the RD-vs-SRT curve, I want to share my take on this (probably) last gentleman of world cricket. I need to update it to include last year heroics in England. The online reference is available at: http://vinishgrg.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/rahul-dravid-cv-in-january-2011/.

  • shrikanthk on March 29, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    In a team of strokeplayers, he was the best, most reliable, technically correct batsman from the day he debuted to the day he retired

    I am surprised why more people are not objecting to this. Dravid was a great batsman, a fine strokeplayer in his own right. But he was NOT the most technically accomplished player in the side. That was Sachin Tendulkar.

    Try comparing Sachin and Dravid with a splitscreen and tell me who seems more orthodox. It's definitely not Dravid for me. The one thing I'll say about Dravid is that he was arguably a better player of the short ball than Sachin especially in the 2000s. Otherwise Sachin is in general more copybook than Dravid. Greater economy of movement and definitely a more assured backfoot player.

  • Vikram on March 29, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    I think Ananth it's a differenceof opinion about importance between present and future. You believe that it's important to invest in the future even if it means that we get poor to average results against teams visting India over the next 3 years. I believe it is important that India should first ensure that they win comprehensivley against all teams at home. RD should be kept as the 15th player and VVS as the 16th and they rotate across test matches so they help the team grow. If it tarnishes their reputation or their average comes down, so be it. This is not about SRT but about RD and the Indian team. If he goes when he is still useful, he let the team down. Again, I believe that SRT should have quit ODI as he isn't grooming anyone. However, the last 2 years of SRT, RD and VVS should be better planned from a Team India perspective. I am just focusing at the test arena only. ODIs are exciting but not thought provoking, I am not going to spend time thinking about them. [[ Perfectly acceptable. If we all thought alike it would be like a marriage where the couple have never had an argument or fight. They may divorce out of sheer boredom. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 29, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    A very uncharitable and cynical view, not befitting the cricketer. As inexplicable as the "selfish" tag that may be attributed to cricketers who retire.

    Nothing cynical or nasty about it. That's how any rational person would think. Cricketers are not demigods. They have all the human frailties you see in the people around you.

    I like Dravid a lot as evidenced from my comments on this thread. But my admiration does not go to a point where I start to worship Dravid the person - who I know nothing about.

    I wouldn't like to think that someone who soldiered through 2 years of poor form(2007-08)with no thoughts of retiring will all of a sudden develop this concern for grooming future No 3s. What matters though is that Dravid is 39 now. He obviously felt that there was not much to be gained from a personal standpoint by prolonging his career. It was a very sensible decision. All this talk of grooming future No 3s is a concomitant which will inevitably be mentioned by speechwriters. [[ That is fine. Differing perceptions form the kaleidoscope of this blogspace. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on March 29, 2012, 2:04 GMT

    Ranga, fair point. At the same time, did this lack of focus benefit RD? He is one of my fav Indian players, along with SMG and SRT, but just the way he is, he might actually have been glad to be away from the spotlight. Though maybe post retirement, a little more focus might help him. Ananth: while I agree with your statement about RD, my point is isn't this also a decision like SRT's about staying on? It's not just about his banking the runs. What if the no.3 is not able to support the team the way he could have? What if India lose that series with the no.3 averaging 5 during the series? SRT was good during the last match against Pak. Maybe he might act as a good support, especially with the pressure off. If he had to be removed from the team, then the time was the tri-series in AU. He should have quit from ODI after WC, if not then, it's ok if he sticks on for a year The fab4 debuted in away series, why shouldn't the younger guys? I believe Ind'll miss RD against Eng. I will. [[ If the no.3 averaged 5 in the home series and India lost, heavens would not fall or the Ganga suddenly would not run westwards. Fine, a new no.3 would be found for the next series. On the other hand if the no.3 against England averaged 50, irrespective of the series result, the future course would be clearer. Put it another way. If Dravid succeeded at no.3 against England, nothing would be gained. It is the same thing as with SRT in ODIs. Retirement is a personal decision. However we have to laud a player who takes it when he still has an year or so left. Let us not forget the numbers. As on date, in their last 10 Tests respectively, Dravid has scored 810 runs, Tendulkar 719 runs, Laxman 534 runs, Gambhir 475 runs and Sehwag 446 runs. I think it was still correct for Dravid to retire. The media were partly responsible with their relentless pursuit of Dravid and Laxman during the Australian tour. Again I think Laxman should also retire now. Otherwise if he is dismissed for 27 against England in the first Test, everyone will start. These players do not have the immunity from persecution. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 28, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    @Ranga and @Ananth: One of the reasons Ananth's blog is so interesting is that he allows his readers to comment on issues that may be related but not fully correlated with the main topic of his articles. If even 20% of such comments bring an additional insight, that decision may be said to be a correct decision. IMO, it is a correct decision on his part.

    Dravid's decision to retire is commendable on many levels and sums up the man for what he stood for. By the same token, blaming SRT for not attending his felicitation, esp. when SRT was away from India for a medical appointment, is pointless. We all experience that even the closest friends often miss each other's biggest days. Now, Srinath was Dravid's closest friend but Dravid did not acknowledge him (or Tarapore) in his excellent speech! After all, these guy are not politicians to speak & act to score political points all the time. Let them enjoy their privacy and normal life.

  • shrikanthk on March 28, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    The point about England tour is very well made. Dravid could easily have banked 500 runs there. I think he genuinely feels that Kohli or whoever comes in at no.3 should have a long time to get settled in before the tough away tours start in 2013.

    Let's not give professional cricketers too much credit for good intention.

    Dravid had a fine tour of England. Wanted to carry on. Had a poor tour of Australia. The team didn't do well either. Wanted to quit before getting to a point where he'd be booted out. Period. [[ A very uncharitable and cynical view, not befitting the cricketer. As inexplicable as the "selfish" tag that may be attributed to cricketers who retire. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 28, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    This blog has turned out to be the summary of the Rahul Dravid story in a nutshell . . .out of the 200+ comments over 70% revolve around SRT and others!! A handful of comments still talk about Dravid!! Thats how his career had been!!! [[ Hit the nail on the head. However I could not do anything short of cutting off a number of comments and stopping discussions. Then we might have had 50 comments. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on March 28, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    I believe that our passion for sports means that we start endowing special attributes to the players and teams we like. So not only we want them to be great players but great people as well. I didn't like SRT because he is a good person but because he is a good batsman. If he is a good person, that's a benefit. And so also for RD and Warne. Only if they become morally reprehensible, will I go against them. SRT is being run down for not retiring from ODI, well he never was good at decision making. On the other hand, I wonder if we should criticize RD for retiring now when he is still a good player, as he could have been useful against say England when they tour later, esp as they are his bunny. I have loved the debate above, but it shows both the +ve and -ve of being RD, never received the focus he received and so could do his thing his way. Would he have enjoyed the limelight? Would he have flourished if he was the superstar of India? Did he benefit because of SRT? I will miss RD. [[ The point about England tour is very well made. Dravid could easily have banked 500 runs there. I think he genuinely feels that Kohli or whoever comes in at no.3 should have a long time to get settled in before the tough away tours start in 2013. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 28, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    One more request to SRT critics/fans. I am actually a member of both these groups. Maybe like Ananth. While most critics do cite reasons for their stance, they are perfectly justified because "from that aspect", SRT is less than perfect. And for those who support him, it is also true, because "From that perspective", it is correct. 55 is an excellent average. 40 v SAF is less than 52 by someone else v SAF. 15000 runs is too much in Tests.While it cant be denied that he is the best Indian batsman, he is not flawless. Some of the comments (incl made by me) were def personal.We dont have right to tell personal things about anyone, but when some of his personal decisions affect Indian cricket in the long run, we are bound to discuss that. It is again not about HIM but the ISSUE.We tell a lot because we all respect him and he deserved it.But he has also sort of shattered our respects for him with some of his actions of late. We lament as his fans and not his foes not at HIM but his ACTIONS

  • Nitin Gautam on March 28, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    Dont know what the reality is behind the curtains but same media said sachin has gone to London to consult about his coming toe operation & if CNN-IBN is to be believed, SRT's IPL participation is in jeopardy because of his inclination to go for the toe operation insead of waiting till IPL is over. Ishant made a case n example to go for surgery during IPL so that he can be fit for Eng tests in Nov. Must say brave, wise & exemplary decision for players like Sahwag & Gambhir

    Agreed he must have atleast sent a recorded message but Dravid's contribution does not need any testimonial from sachin likewise its not a big deal if Dravid didn't said anything about Sachin in his speech. rather I found it strange that he didnt mentioned Srinath & prasad with whom, I am sure he must have played a lot more than he played wid Dhoni. [[ Yes, nothing gained by analyzing these matters to the nth degree. Let us put a closure. Ananth: ]]

  • Ashwin Honkan on March 28, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    Thanks Ananth for an exhaustive article on my favourite batsman. IMHO, he's the best Indian batsman ever, with maybe SMG as his only competition. In a team of strokeplayers, he was the best, most reliable, technically correct batsman from the day he debuted to the day he retired. He was the spine of Indian batting & the team is going to miss him tremendously. The fall of Dravid was usually synonymous with the end of the innings. It was after his arrival that the nucleus of Ganguly-Laxman-Tendulkar-Dravid- Kumble (with Srinath & Bhajji-Sehwag at either end) gelled into a world-beating team. Dravid's average in the 2nd match innings stayed constant while the averages of his strokemaking teammates dropped alarmingly as the opposing teams built bigger totals. He was the only one who actually thrived under pressure. I'd love to have Sourav & Dravid as our commentators to replace Sunny & Shastri. Have a happy retirement, Rahul!

  • Swamy on March 28, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Gerry_the_Merry and Ananth: Although Tendulkar could not attend the felicitation function, if he could have sent a message and if that happened Deavid would certainly have acknowledged it and spoken something about it. If you are looking at names that have not been mentioned by him, you could think of others like Haribhajan, Sehwag, Srinath, and Zaheer who played alongside him for many years. I think he named only those who spoke at the felicitation and included all others in a single paragraph without naming them. I think one should not try to read too much into what he did not say, but focus on what he said.

  • Ranga on March 28, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    @ Gerry & Ananth: If such an icon is unable to make it for such a legendary cricketer's farewell, he could have probably sent a recorded message.I dont think owning a smartphone with recording facility and emailing on the fly is beyond anyone these days. That too the same person had earlier set a precendence in 1999 WC when he came back within 2 days of his father's demise. The same person could call for a press meet a few days earlier. I still feel a reason could have been cited, instead of "reasons unknown". We are not trying to say "he is bad" or "he is selfish" whatsoever. But it is but natural that even at a get together at home, we enquire about those who didnt make it. Cricket is a gentleman's game - isn't it? He should have sent at least a message to be read aloud (like Srinivasan did). BY the way, where was Krish Srikkanth? Was he also present? [[ I get the feeling Tendulkar, to give him his credit, GENUINELY feels that it is selfish on the part of cricketers to retire at the top. Maybe Gerry, in his own half-cynical manner hit the nil on the head. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    Tendulkar did not attend Dravid's party and Dravid did not offer the obligatory salute in his speech to Tendulkar (dedicating his career to him etc.) which is the minimum expected of any Indian cricketer. Shows 1) that there are rifts in the Indian team 2) that IPL is important to Tendulkar as that was the basis of the party which Tendulkar attended the previous evening and 3) that Tendulkar considers Dravid selfish (since he is retiring). [[ Yes, Gerry. As the following extract shows, for those who might have missed it. Dravid has made a specific reference only to four players, Kumble, Ganguly, Laxman and Dhoni. The others are dumped together in the last paragraph. And the later three have been given a special paragraph each which can be read in the article. Ananth Thanks Anil, thanks Sourav, thanks Laxie [VVS Laxman] and thanks Mahi [MS Dhoni], your words have meant a lot to me. The memories we have shared as a team, and some of the victories and things we have achieved will be special and will remain special for me. I would like to believe that we took a great legacy of the Indian team forward. We have left a strong legacy for Mahi and his young team to take forward. I have no doubt that they will take it to even greater heights. ]]

  • Ranga on March 28, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    @ Ananth: "Shrikanth will find you to be a man after his heart"-Very true!I always believe that the rise of Eng and the perennial presence of Aus is due to the fact that the gulf between the quality of test cricket and FC cricket is pretty less. At one point in time, England did have problems converting FC cricketers into able test cricketers, but over there FC cricket is lucrative and houses lots of international cricketers. Modernization, novel methods of coaching,to name a few, have always ensured that the interest in FC cricket has been always high. I would see the Eng model replicated - integration of all countries under one big umbrella. Eng combines Eng,Scot,Ire in its FC structure. Similarly SAF,Ken,Zim can have an integrated FC structure. Aus,NZ can combine. We can have FC tours including 8-10 solid games in peak season. We dont want 3 weak No.1 teams. We want 8 strong teams where we cant make out who No. 1 is. It is good for cricket.

  • Ranga on March 27, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    Hi Ananth - I for one, firmly believe in a very strong first class structure to evolve greats. Sachin, Dravid, Laxman would soon be history. But the reality is a set of people who dont play beyond 20 overs, even though they are talented for more. Bad habits have crept in. I used to enjoy Murali Vijay's cover drive. It had a distinct class. But now he hardly is able to put bat to ball. Even in IPL. Our domestic structure is hardly inspiring. I understand you cant make money out of FC matches. But INdia has enough money to buy 5 Australian test grounds. I know it is a purely Indian perspective, but could we also brainstorm a robust firstclass structure? Just as we did for ODIs? I know it is very dry subject and may not see the light at the end of the day, but there should be a balance of FC and T20. We could think of this for countries like NZ, BDesh as well, apart from India. Could we do something of that sort? [[ Shrikanth will find you to be a man after his heart. I think Indian ODI game will prosper since that aspect of the game pushes technique to a second place in most of the games. However 5 years from now in Tests, I fear we will have real problems. The FC scene in India is a circle and it non-intersecting with the Test circle. If Robin Bist scores a thousand runs (I do not know exactly how much) he is not even mentioned once by one writer as a potential Test candidate. As you say Murali Vijay has been lost to the serious game. If Badrinath wants to make some serious money, he has to unlearn some of the good habits he possesses. In the bargain he will be lost to the Test scene. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on March 27, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Thanks Ananth for your comments.

    Ranga...fully agree with your view on Sanjay & Dravid. I think Dravid is mentally tougher and physically fitter.Good bowlers will sort out all batsmen and great batsmen will fight back. Akash Chopra has spoken about Dravid's evolving technique. Sadly after that Australia tour, Sanjay lost the plot whereas Dravid grew in all aspects of game. I remember one just phase in Gavaskar's career. In 1983 in WI, Sunny struggled against WI bowlers. They were coming around the stumps with Dujon standing slightly on the leg side with leg slip, forward & backward shortleg fielders. Sunny could not keep the ball down and it was a struggle. The same thing was tried in Kanpur when WI visited India after WC 1983. But in Delhi & Ahmd, Sunny hit back with aggressive cricket hooking and pulling such balls, a bit helped by slower wickets though.Somehow Sanjay missed out on evolution and India lost a potential great. [[ Ramesh, Sanjay was also carrying a huge load on his shoulders of being the son of a truly world-class batsman, who was the better batsman. Vijay played in an era and time when he delivered but was not recognized fully. However the last innings he played, the unbeaten 100 against New Zealand (Venkat's debut Test) was somewhet like Gavaskar's Delhi hundred, a stroke-filled 3-hour innings. It showed what he could have done. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on March 27, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    Many comments on SRT have been over the top and disappointing.Retirement is a personal choice and no one retires for the team,nation etc. It is based on each one's assessment of options and they don't match with team's interests, they get dropped. Just because selectors don't do that in India, we expect Sachin to do the God type and retire from ODIs and play tests for India future. If he does not do that, he gets out of proportion comments--derisive reference to records, possibility of adding some more centuries against weak teams(others play different teams, probably), corporate mafia, imaginary virtues of lara's innings vs SRT, remarks like ignore him and move on etc. If I write his retirement script, I'd have retired him from all forms of cricket after WC 2011. He did disappoint me on that but can't understand these comments. Some time back, pro SRT comments would be spoilsport in any analysis, but now that work is done by anti SRT comments [[ Ramesh I have never pulled down Tendulkar, either as an individual or a cricketer. Not once have I used numbers in these statements. If any reader proves so, I will withdraw the offending comment, with an apology. The readers have their views. I do not want to do heavy censoring. At times they might have been above board. Finally I can only repeat this. The retirement may be one's personal decision. However in that case most of the series should be played. One stray tri-series can always be opted out of. That prerogative is there with any senior player. However leaving everything open-ended is detrimental to the team, the captain and in general Indian criicket. Planning for the future is not doing the God type. He must appreciate the dilemma being put in the path of the captain and selectors. I will also repeat that Tendulkar would be of great value to the Indian Test team, at least until the 2013 South African away series. In the Test scene he has to take up some mentoring now, being the most experienced cricketer the world has ever known. Ananth:

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 27, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    SAF v/s England. England will decimate them. My prediction 2-0 or 3-1. Key reasons are a tremendous batting quality and depth in England. SAF very fragile by comparison, except Kallis, who curiously goes cool in England. South Africa has a good pace attack, but England's is in a different league altogether. Any injuries could derail SAFs but England have limitless backup reserves. Home advantage.

    England have racked up all the big victories in tests in recent times, while SAFs have dropped tests to India, Sri Lanka, Aus, Eng and have rarely won even home series.

    Not too many England players play in IPL.

  • Ranga on March 27, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    @ Shrikanthk: Re SRT vs Manjrekar, actually speaking SVM at THAT Time, between 87-91, was really and SRT was just starting to show promise.The biggest drawback for SVM probably his inability to constantly learn and evolve. He was dour, orthodox and bookish. Which means he was also predictable. SRT could evolve and correct himself (like SCG 241*).In his initial tour to Windies and then to Pak, SVM showed great promise against quicks. But Aussies, I feel, sorted him out well. The Aussies always were street smart and more than talent, their ability to out-think the opponents is legendary.In fact, SVM was the Dravid of late 80s. The difference between Dravid and him was that SVM could just survive fast bowling(which later he couldnt)but Dravid could score. Dravid had some good attacking strokes beyond the copybook defence, which enabled him to not merely survive, but score as well. SVM also could score, but he somehow didnt. He lost the plot, his game and thus, the status as a good batsman

  • Ranga on March 27, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    @Alex&Boll: Thanks for restoring the context back to good cricket from politics :) I think ICC should do something about nations like NZ&SAF which do not have the attention radar of Eng, Aus & Ind. If I were running an organization, I would use the funds from cash cows into new ventures. I should use India, Oz & Eng to fund these countries. The quality of cricket from NZ has always been top class. However, their batting is so very indifferent and incosistent is a very mild term. For the betterment of cricket, we need to have the top 8 test playing teams to be very competitive and close. May be I'm the only guy who appreciate NZ! I used to get up at 3 am to watch NZ matches. Excellent grounds. NZ always enthrall, play much above their capacities but finally have a very average win-loss ratio. But they play far too few matches.After Turner,Hadlee&Crowe, they produced some very good cricketers, but somehow just there and not beyond. Their rise is important for cricket, just as WIN and Pak

  • AD on March 27, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    Anantha,

    As expected you have completely evaded the central issue.

    Apparently anyone like Pranav Joshi who agrees with you is "balanced", while those who don't are not. In your simultaneously emotional and lame outburst of Tendulkar-baiting you accuse of Tendulkar of being selfish (in capital letters) and picking and choosing (also in capitals). [[ It is because Pranav has been a strong supporter of Tendulkar and he has seen the reasoning behind the capital letters and all. Ananth: ]] To Repeat the Question: Lara did much the same in his last few years... Why should the line of reasoning you use for Tendulkar not apply to Lara? [[ Why only Lara. Why not other players who did the same thing. Why bring in Lara into a discussion on Indian Cricket and Tendulkar. I will repeat the point to you. If you think what Tendulkar is doing is correct and I am wrong, say so and let us close this discussion. Do not bring in Lara or XYZ into it. I will not ask you to prove your point on Lara since I think it is not necessary. Ananth: ]]

  • Bollo on March 27, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    @Taylor - sounds like a pretty serious injury. In surgery at the moment I think. Imagine the docs told him that if he got hit there again, it would be his last game of cricket. [[ Finally Williamson DID save the match. And Bracewell. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on March 27, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    Just realised Dravid ended his career with 99 scores over 50 - probably been mentioned before, but not half bad. Also one of the lowest ratios of ducks of anyone.

    It can be easy to over-egg the pudding sometimes upon death/retirement. I think Ananth got it right,`As top no.3 batsmen go Dravid is in the middle, with other no.3 greats like Bradman, Hammond, Richards, Sangakkara and Ponting ahead of him. That is to be expected. However that is not the point here.`

    He made the most of his exceptional talent and left the game better for his presence - nuff said.

    Agree with the 8-innings delineation. Only quite recently has the 4/5 test series become the exception rather than the norm.

    Go the Kiwis btw - love to see them hold out and Williamson score a ton. (please no jinx here!) - can`t wait for SAf vs England. Should be an absolute cracker. [[ I really hope New Zealand hold out. I like the feisty van Wyk. Sporting a five foot nothing frame he is one gutsy cricketer. Williamson better live up to his promise. No better stage. After an excellent debut 100 he has failed more often than not. For once in his career (of 7 Tests) Philander has been held off. Having said that South Africa is as likely to take 4 wickets in 15 minutes. Oh God. As I push the post key, van Wyk's gutsy innings ends. 3 wickets, one of them, the walking wicket, no chances. One thing I was surprised. At 263 for 8, why would not Taylor have padded up. Follow-on was critical and he could have done a Cowdrey. Ananth: ]] an article on Ponting`s ODI in the wings Ananth? [[ Unlike Tests, I do not have a program to analyze a player's ODI career. And certainly Ponting had a glittering medal-strewn career. Ananth: ]] cheers all

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 27, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    Am amused to see die hard fans spout venom on Tendulkar here. Actually, the situation is quite simple. You dont sell out at the bottom. It is only going to get easier from here on, on Indian tracks. For three more years we are not going to see pitches in South Africa/Australia/England/World Cup. So all is well. Cant see why Tendulkar should retire, after having done all the hard work in the last 8 months in taking 8-0 beatings. The right way to retire is 1) at the top, like Imran 2) At the top and before a tough series, like Greg Chappell. But not after 8-0. There are at least 6-7 more one day centuries and 2-3 more test centuries in the next 2 years. So first man to 110... We should bring in new talent only 1 year before the next South African tour, i.e. in 2013, so that they are not fattened for a long time on flat pitches.

  • Alex on March 27, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    @Ananth: I probably did too much SRT bashing on your blog. Sorry about that. This is my last post on the SRT situation.

    1. As a player, SRT no longer merits an automatic selection (if at all) but still wants to play as & when he likes. Nothing wrong on his part, except perhaps a major loss of perspective. An effective remedy is to drop him, ignore him (which I will do now on), & move on.

    2. The truly absurd part is that SRT is allowed to do what he wants and gets felicitated for it. The absurdity is thanks to media, propaganda machinery, sponsors, & BCCI only. After 8-0 whitewashes & innumerable ODI losses over a year, Srikkanth had this to say y'day: ups & downs happen, things just didn't go our way, we are not worried. Buddha himself would approve of such equanimity!

    Let the final word on this and Dravid's retirement be from Mike Atherton: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/sachin-tendulkars-100-obsession-is-hurting-his-team-and-legacy/story-fnb64oi6-1226302069204 .

  • shrikanthk on March 27, 2012, 2:14 GMT

    I said that the problem might very well be that Tendulkar really does not know what to do after cricket. He got in as a rookie at 16 and now has a life ahead of him at 39 and WHAT DOES HE DO. He cannot commentate to save his life. He cannot write to save his life. He cannot and may not want to do an administrative position.

    Why does one HAVE TO do something? I would lead a quiet retirement if I were Sachin. Read books, watch movies, globe-trot, take care of investments. That's about it.

    By the way, he can be a reasonable commentator if only the people around him let him open up. I recently read an old interview Sachin gave Sambit Bal back in '04. It reveals that he is a lot wiser and insightful than we give him credit for. Here's the link:

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/sachin/content/story/135835.html

    Am sure he'll be better than most commentators. Unfortunately fame has constipated his articulation. He needs to lighten up a little.

  • shrikanthk on March 27, 2012, 2:06 GMT

    To me watching Sachin gives more pleasure than watching any other player and I am happy about his decision to continue

    He is very much the Jack Hobbs of the modern era. Going on and on and on.

    I wonder what are the odds of him reaching 100 first-class hundreds. Wish someone eggs him on to get there. He'll be the first Indian to reach that milestone if at all he does.

    As an aside, it seems so incredible that as a 6 year old kid some 20 odd years ago, I used to argue with my friends that Manjrekar is a better bat than Tendulkar!! How foolish I was back then!

  • IG on March 26, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    Actually, there is still one record that eludes Tendulkar - after having amassed and unprecedented record of 200 (a double ton, and rightly deserved) LOSSES in ODI's, Tendulkar is now looking foward to (and very keenly, I might add) achieving the same in Test matches too. He needs 1 more to become the sole proprietor of the no.3 spot, 11 more to surpass Shiv Chanderpaul's record of 64 losses (to date). Actually, it might turn out to be a really close contest between the two of them, but as a Tendulkar fanboy, I hope it is Tendulkar who ends up no.1 on this list as well :p (Sorry Anantha, I had promised on one such blog not get sucked into Tendul-bashing...but just couldn't resist). [[ To put this in perspective, Chanderpaul has "achieved" this in 61 Tests fewer than Tendulkar. Shows the depths to which the West indian cricket has fallen. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit on March 26, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    AD, Lara may have been moody but he wasn’t selfish. (1) He always walked. (2) He didn’t make an effort to remain not out, which would have helped his average. Given Lara’s penchant for 150+ scores and the WI tail’s ineptitude (No. 8 downwards they tended to collapse in a heap virtually throughout Lara’s career), he had great opportunities to remain not out, yet finished with probably the poorest percentage of not outs among all great batsmen, including openers. He just attacked at the end, often getting out as 9th or 10th wicket. He scored 51.52 runs per Test innings compared with SRT’s 49.74, so an equal proportion of not outs would have given him a higher average. Lara was also brilliant at farming the strike (e.g. 153*) while batting with the tail, an art virtually forgotten nowadays. Just for a comparison, SRT’s highest, 248* against BD, involved a 133-run last-wicket stand with Zaheer, who faced 115 of the 186 balls during the partnership and got the bulk of the runs: 75

  • Vimalan on March 26, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Ananth, I am also not a great fan of any particular team, of course if India does well, I will be happy. However, being a spectator, I prefer good cricket all around whether batting or bowling or fielding rather than focusing more on winning or losing alone. I don't remember team victories rather I remember brilliance in the field by the players. To me watching Sachin gives more pleasure than watching any other player and I am happy about his decision to continue. If you want to laugh at fans like me, I don't mind. Cricket is not my life where I need to worry about team performances. Its all about preferences and I am happy about my preference. I really appreciate your blogs which give many interesting aspects of the game. Regards, Vimalan [[ I appreciate your candour, Vimalan. There is nothing wrong with following individuals. From that point of view your happiness at a favourite player's decision to continue playing is understandable. I will not laugh at you. I only said that the situation is laughable. There is a difference. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 26, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    @Ananth: As you replied to Ranga, I too think that the fear of unknown is the main reason behind SRT's refusal to retire. Retirement is a hard decision for even multi-faceted professionals. It must seem doubly unbearable to him. So, he will try and find a bright edge and will do all his can to keep on playing for India. It simply doesn't make sense that he thinks 2015 WC is a possibility. It makes even less sense that his support circle is not waking him up.

  • Alex on March 26, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    The trouble with the SRT situation is not that he alone has lost the perspective. It is simply that the media, sponsors, & the propaganda machinery have all lost it for a long time now. Purely for financial reasons, they create myths & superheros, and then they maintain a buzz through true stories & artificial constructs. The 100th 100 was one such construct. SRT "shielded Gambhir from Steyn" during the 146 vs SA was another artificial construct ... SRT did not shield even Ishant Sharma vs the SA attack!!

    As a batsman, SRT is, say, 30% better than Dravid (across tests+ODIs) but has recd about 5000% more in material gains. That is sad but it happens in all spheres. SRT is ultra-ultra-competitive and cricket is about the only thing he knows well enough. So, as any normal non-magnanimous person, he will try and milk it to the max. He is doing that. Now, the selectors must drop him and media & sponsors must ignore him. If they do that, the game will go on & new heros will get created.

  • Alex on March 26, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    @Ananth: I did a partial analysis requested from you (ODI's since Mar '10):

    ODIs Runs Ave SR #100 #50 Kohli 62 2743 50 88 9 15 Gambhir 38 1671 48 89 3 12 Dhoni 34 1453 54 82 0 10 Raina 56 1311 31 98 0 6 Rohit 38 1218 41 83 2 8 Sehwag 24 999 43 114 3 2 SRT 21 828 39 86 3 3 Yuraj 21 706 44 76 1 6 Tiwary 5 163 40 81 1 0

    Now, the away figures:

    Kohli 27 927 37 82 2 6 Raina 27 665 26 91 0 2 Dhoni 21 654 44 76 0 5 Rohit 22 617 34 80 1 4 Patel 12 368 31 82 0 2 Sehwag 6 339 68 111 1 1 Jadeja 14 276 31 80 0 3 Pathan 11 242 27 116 1 1 Gambhir 8 213 27 77 0 1 SRT 7 192 27 73 1 0

    So, SRT is not even among the top 6 batsmen for India since Mar '10; the #'s get worse if we restrict the ODI's to top teams. (contd.)

  • AD on March 26, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    I always have this uneasy sense of double standards on this blog. Among modern cricketers Lara may considered to be most petulant,moody,selfish etc. Tendulkar gets this "chasing records" rap. Apparently because he slows down towards a Hundred while all other players always explode through the 90s (Infact, Tendulkar has got to a Hundred with either a 4 or a 6 more than any player in history.A fact forgotten post Sehwag)

    Curiously,Lara too did not play all ODIs in his last few years.And he too did not retire from ODIs. This fact is never brought up. Lara is always fawned over in here- no matter what. Slight double standards I am afraid. [[ Ali It is unfortunate that you have started your Lara-baiting. There is no need for you to bring in Lara into this. To compare Lara and Tendulkar is ridiculuous. They were both extremely gifted, one-in-million cricketers. That is the only common thing. Tendulkar is deified, no one even allowed to utter one negative word, he is beyond the selectors, BCCI and what not. He can stand up and say he will decide on retirement and no one has any say. He has thrown the gauntlet at the selctors and said that he is beyond them. Lara was hounded into retirement because of inter-island rivalry when he still had couple of years of good cricket left in him. When Lara said he wanted to retire from Test cricket after the England tour of 2007, one selector said that there was no guarantee that Lara would be selected for the England tour, forcing Lara to announce the retirement. Do not justify Tendulkar's actions by pulling down Lara. That is extremely unfair and unbecoming. What is said in this blog is not worth a tinker's dam. Tendulkar will do as he pleases and most people will be happy. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on March 26, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    Prashanth, I went into my database and found that I have the data available for each player by Test and it is much better to case this on Tests rather than Innings. 4 Tests seems to be the right number since that leads to 7-8 innings. Let us see. The maximum will be for Tendulkar with 45 or so slots. Seems to be the ideal number. Anything more will mean the slots will lack in substance and anything less means too many Tests to cover up failures. The Test basis will also very well for Bowling.

  • Vimalan on March 26, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    as much as I love Sachin, I love the frustration of the so called critics..its a great news that Sachin will still continue. [[ I can only laugh at the complete lack of understanding of the problem which faces Indian Cricket by people like you. And I am not frustrated at all since I am not a great fan of Indian cricket. Indian cricket gets what it deserves. Players and fans who have narrow vision. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 26, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    . . may be SRT is not good at decision making. Historically, if we look at, he has always been a good batsman but when it comes to taking a decision (basically taking a stance, he has not really come up trumps). His failure as a captain is an indication of his inability to pick up the right decision, and not necessarily the solution set. He may have 100 options at his disposal, but he was not really adept at choosing the right 1 out of that 100. He was better at giving suggestions rather than at enforcing decisions. His decision to stay on, is one such. As you rightly said, he does not know anything but cricket. But he does not have the gift of the gab to become a commentator nor does he get in as a coach, as it involves taking decisions, at which he is a bit shaky. Of course he would have enough challenges going forward to keep him going in the game. But imagine the plight of any other profession. I dnt know anything but else, but I have to retire at 58. I dnt have a choice. SRT does

  • Ranga on March 26, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    (cotd) And in the pretext of being humble, softspoken, etc, he has built a castle around himself, not letting anyone else inside. And this is what I feel has overtaken his own talent, his own accomplishments and his own greatness. No one - Not SMG, NOt Amarnath, Not Kapil, none can ever tell him. None of us would have questioned SRT if he were in West Indies or NZ or Zim. He is from India. Pujaras and Rahanes are talented and untested. He may be fit enough to play till he is 75 yrs, but does India, with its 1 Bn people, afford that? He neednt have even called for a press conference to say "I am going to play". Let SRT play in Ranji trophy and Duleep trophy and all FC cricket as well if he really loves the game. Why only Intl cricket? So many englishmen play county cricket till mid 40s. He is an all time great, but this is the beginning of the dark ages for Indian cricket again. [[ Excellent point re Kamal. No one could talk to him. Until a point K.Balachander used to do that. But even he admiitted at one stage that Kamal was beyond his advice. The only person who can do now is Gavaskar. However he is also on the gravy train and is not going to offer good advice. It is a pity since the older "kar" could teach batsmen on how to time one's retirement. The funny thing is most of us feel that he could play in Tests for an year or two and as far as IPL could be concerned, most sensible people could not care two hoots and he could play on till he is 45. Today in a discussion amongst a few of us, I said that the problem might very well be that Tendulkar really does not know what to do after cricket. He got in as a rookie at 16 and now has a life ahead of him at 39 and WHAT DOES HE DO. He cannot commentate to save his life. He cannot write to save his life. He cannot and may not want to do an administrative position. Ananth: ]]

  • Prashant on March 26, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    Ananth, Probably better to go with 6 inn. for the modern players at least: 1)If a player fails for 6 inn. in a row he has let down his team for quite a bit.In a 5 match series this may be decisive. [[ Prashant Have you thought of 8. The problem with 6 is a 4/5 Test series which were very much in vogue upto 90s. 8 seems to cover all bases. Ananth: ]] 2)Most modern players have hardly played 5 Test series anyway ! Also, further to comments from Alex and A.Khan - There may be 2 ways to determine consistency: 1)The inn.wise as discussed 2)A sort of "Time-line"..i.e a way of discerning how many years ,or what proportion a player has been consistent to the amount of time he hasn't. This would eliminate the distortion of match clusters,as pointed out by A.Khan. As milpand has pointed out- I think Lara would do very well on both fronts - Inn.wise and time wise- contrary to what is believed. The problem is that players like Lara are judged by some imaginary, often unrealistic yardstick. It is this they may fall short of- In reality, though, things are quite normal.

  • Ranga on March 26, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    I remember some other blog of yours, sometime back, likening SRT to KamalHaasan (for those who dont follow Indian movies, Kamal Haasan is an extremely talented, hardworking actor from Southern Part of India, who has this obsession for self, overtaking his talent, thereby rendering most of his excellent pieces of work, commercially unviable). How true the comparison was!! "I'm enjoying the movie" is what he used to say, and the movie would turn out to be a disaster at box office. And people used to say this about Kamal "He needs a speed breaker or someone who would make his feet rooted to the ground". The problem with him was he thinks he knows everything related to the film industry and hence, nobody ever goes with suggestions, fearing that he may snub. Geniuses, usually become mavericks and at times, eccentrics and they need people to keep pulling them back. Sadly, as Pranav rightly said, when SRT Became the head honcho, everyone else was his junior. (cotd) . . .

  • Boll on March 26, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    @Harsh Thakor. I seem to have taken up the mantle of Defender of Ricky (God help me), but I do have to take issue with a couple of your comments. Of course you`re entitled to place `Ponting just a whisker behind`, but for mine, Ponting`s better performances against top teams, ability to dominate, and far superior SR give him the clear edge as a No.3. Secondly, re.`Infact from 2002 to 2006 (Dravid)arguably the best batsman in the world` - this was the period when Ponting was inarguably the best bat in the world. From 2002-2006 he scored 6141 runs, Ave.72, SR 62, 24 hundreds. Dravid`s record wasn`t bad, 4841 at 64, SR 44, 14 hundreds, but well behind Punter.

  • Pranav Joshi on March 26, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    (contd).

    I seriously think that at least Dravid or Laxman or Ganguly need to have a chat with him (apparently they never did when they were playing). Laxman is in a position where he needs to save his own career, but Dravid and Ganguly are in a good position. He needs someone to tell him how his interviews sound these days, and show him a dim light through the tunnel. He is embarrassing himself these days, though he does not realize it.

    We are looking down an abyss with no end. The time has come and gone. Everything Sachin does henceforth, except retire, might just add to his infamy than his glory.

    The utterly selfish and immoral media, and the equally selfish MNCs, will try to keep him as long as he's not confined to a wheelchair. He must realize that they aren't good for him. [[ Pranav, I thank you for understanding my post. I was worried how a die-hard supporter of Tendulkar like yourself would take my comment. However I have seen that you have always been balanced in your comments and responses and that has come through. I was a great fan of Borg. A few years back when he made a fool of himself I was flabbergasted. You remember my post about Federer. If he lost three tournaments in succession to journeyman players, he should consider retiring. He may not come to a decision but should introspect seriously. Your point of no senior players in the team and the need for Dravid/Ganguly to talk make a lot of sense. Add to it a self-serving chief of selectors who is part of the gravy train every which way, also adding to the murky waters. How I wish Mohinder Amarnath becomes the chairman of the selection panel and decides to tackle the problem. I get the feeling Ganguly/Kapil are persona non-grata for Tendulkar now. The Tendulkar press meet article in Cricinfo was a revelation. Two years back, if there were 150 comments to such an article, 20 of the comments would be against SRT, 10 of them from Pakistan. For the first time I saw nearly half the comments reflecting the "Oh god why" viewpoint. Re the media, you remember my earlier comment on that. More honest trade-peddlars walk around Grant Road. The corporates, the less said the better. A few Millions of gold Coke cans, 100000 special Adidas shoes, millions of Rs.100 Reynolds pens or 100000 of Rs.1-Lakh Toshiba laptops have to be sold. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on March 26, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    I have read all of Tendulkar's recent interviews and frankly never seen the guy so full of himself (though the media keeps egging him on).

    When he puts up injury concerns as the reason for the openers' rotation in Australia, I dunno who he thinks he's kidding. It was amply clear to a reasonable person that it was done to make place for Tendulkar in the side.

    Likewise, when he implicitly denies having scored slowly for his 100th century, by stating that he and Kohli felt 275 would be good, dunno who he's kidding. And poor Kohli might just shut up this one time, being so junior.

    I think what Tendulkar has now missed for a decade or more is a senior voice in the team capable of showing him direction when he loses himself. There has been no one "above" him for a decade or more, in the team. He suffers from a serious lack of advice and has therefore lost his perspective now. And now, he is the grandpa in a team full of teenagers.

    (Contd).

  • Nitin Gautam on March 26, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    I Agree. For more than 2 decades SRT has been the player for me to see & to vouch for in all,sometimes heated,discussions. He along wid Lara made me to watch cricket without caring for anything else.Now I know how much i rued for all missed chanced of not being able to see lara playing, I guess the reverse s happening in case of SRT. inspite of my undying faith about him being the best batsman India ever produced & 2nd best ever, I do not understand the logic behind "I love this game & will play as long as i want". Sound arrogant & this coming from a man who has been on zenith of humility & a walking n talking manual for how to conduct urself off field, it was painful to read. I dont believe in suggested "PLAY ALL" solution also & as per me he must retire from ODI AT ONCE for the greater good of team India & should focus on tests where despite of his failures in ENG & AUS, he is still force to reckon, ofcourse he has does not have sights on 50th ODI 100 & 100th ODI 50. [[ The "PLAY ALL" was suggested only to emphasize that that is the only alternative. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 26, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. Now, SRT is liable to utter nonsense for a while. Media should ask him the reason behind his year-long silence and then ignore him altogether. However, it follows him like Mary's lamb: who cares if SRT likes Sushi/vada-pav?

    2. SRT opted out of ODI's in Eng where Dravid, unbelievably, had to play ODI's and T20. He then failed in all 7-8 ODI's in Oz, and in the 1st ODI in BD. His 2nd ODI in BD cost India the match & the tournament (Ananth: at least partly responsible). But, instead, he gets felicitated!! Eng dropped Boycott for doing such things. Why can't India?

    3. So, can you pl do an analysis of an Ind batsmen's ODI performance since March '10? Pl list the averages & IPF as well, and pl give the split vs top teams. Only that can show SRT's non-contribution. Forget Rahaney, even Sehwag, after mere 3 ODI's since his 219, had to sit out for 39-yr old has been. [[ With some editing. Ananth: ]]

  • A. Khan on March 26, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    @Ananth As you said no one can tell Tendulkar to quit then who can dare to ask him that he CANNOT PICK AND CHOOSE. I thought that sanity might prevail after reaching 100 100 and would retire from ODI. But I think he wants to make 50th ODI hundred and wants to "WIN" a few more matches for India. [[ Luckily, Ariz, I am a nobody and at least I have the right to say that. I get the feeling that there is a lot of selfish (note how often this word comes in now) corporate manoeuvring behind the scenes, I think Coke/Adidas et al want couple of years more of Tendulkar to milk the market. Ananth: ]]

  • A. Khan on March 26, 2012, 4:41 GMT

    cont.. to someone from Asia as Windies bowlers (as well as their batsmen - they all played English county) were more at home in English conditions than they were even in Windies. If you take cricket ranking system for a team or player, it DOES differentiate between the performance against a top team and and a bottom team, which I think is right. And also some team have played more against bottom teams than the top teams, that should be normalized.

  • A. Khan on March 26, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    @milpand My favorite cricketers are Viv and Botham. I can go on at length to describe their greatness, but at the same time, I know more of their weaknesses than probably anybody among the group of people involved in this discussion. Having admitted that, crazy that I am, at one time, I used to remember all of Gavaskar's and Vishy's innings along with grounds and in most cases the the manner and bowlers who dismissed them. But this did not deter me to acknowledge that Sachin is the most gifted Asian batsman that I have seen, Imran the best Asian player. A soccer season is different than a cricket season or periods. Here lot of anomalies creep in. Some countries play each other more often than others. To give you an idea, from 1969 series in India (Incl) to 93 Australia played just 23 tests in India/Pak whereas they played a total of 39 matches in England. Also I think its difficult to judge a Englishman's performance against say Windies quartet of 70's and 80's compared to cont..

  • Harsh Thakor on March 26, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    No doubt Tendulkar was amongst the 3-4 best of all time but when the chips were down Dravid surpassed Tendulkar.He made more invaluable contributions to shaping wins and saving tests than Tendulkar or Gavaskar and in many ways reminded me of Gundappa Vishwanath,who never played for his records and always placed the team over himself.In that light I rate Dravid ahead of Jacques. Kallis.

  • Harsh Thakor on March 26, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    I rate him amongst the top dozen batsman of all time in test cricket and amongst the 5 best one down batsman of all time.I place only Bradman and Viv Richards ahead with Ponting just a whisker behind.In a crisis the best batsman I have ever seen.Infact from 2002 to 2006 arguably the best batsman in the world,overpowering Tendulkar.Notably in stats analyis in 2006 he was ahead of Sachin.His overseas average ,particularly in victories is outstanding.With Laxman he was instrumental in India pulling of it's most famous wins against Australia.At one stage half of his centuries won games.No Indian batsman ever posessed as much mental tenacity.Ahead of champions in a crisis like Javed Miandad or Alan Border.

    In England last summer I was reminded of Sir George Headley.Dravid's batting was the best ever displayed by an Indian in a test summer.

    Overall his hundreds had a greater impact on the game than Tendulkar or Kallis ,even if he lacked his artistry and flamboyance.

  • Ananth on March 26, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    By now readers must know that I have a lot of time for Tendulkar, for his cricketing skills, his contributions to Indian cricket as well as the way he has conducted himself. Truly a great cricketer and human being. However the recent press conference has made me lose some of that respect for Tendulkar. He says it is selfish to quit while one is at his best. A new twist, but understandable. So he will not quit. Fair enough. He feels he has years ahead of him. Good for him and India. And no Indian connected with the cricket authority would even think of asking him to quit or not select him. He would find himself on the roads the next day. That is reality. And Tendulkar knows that. However, in that case, Tendulkar CANNOT PICK AND CHOOSE. That is all I say. If he wants to play for India, that is great. But let him not decide that he would skip alternate series. That is SELFISH. I know Tendulkar supporters would not like this. However, please note that I am not saying anything about his decision to not retire and keep every option open. I am only questioning his decision to pick and choose. That will be unfair to the team he says he loves, to Indian cricket, to the captain and to the young hopefuls. Rahane would lose two years and he is not a spring chicken. Tiwari would keep on wondering when he would resume his career after coming in at 13 for 2 and scoring a hundred. I suggest Tendulkar play as long as he wants, BUT EVERY MATCH, if he is not injured. Given below is a review of the Asia Cup I have done for CastrolCricket. Readers will find the same interesting. http://www.castrolcricket.com/theresearcher Ananth

  • milpand on March 25, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    In the previous post, there was a discussion about a metric derived from Standard deviation (a measure of variability from the average). Chris Martin who consistently scores 0 and 1 will return excellent figures on the vanilla measure.

    Standard deviation is the supplementary measure which should be used to compare players with similar averages. I reproduce the list for the leading run scorers which I believe shows all of them in good light despite the length of their careers.

    Tendulkar - 3.14 Dravid - 2.95 Ponting - 2.38 Kallis - 2.13 Lara - 1.69

  • milpand on March 25, 2012, 21:49 GMT

    @A.Khan: My favourite player is Tendulkar. And Federer. Last week while waiting for the rain delayed Federer-Nadal semi-final to start, Sky Sports filled the airtime with a discussion about Bjorg-McEnroe-Connors rivalry compared to Federer-Nadal-Djokovic. That made me think about the riches Test Cricket has enjoyed in recent times. How about building an inverted yield curve for the 5 top runscorers with %age innings on y-axis and every score from 0 to 100 on x? After plotting the chart, I realised there wasn't much to separate because the 5 curves are too close. 37.7 & 34.6 can be differentiated in a table but not visually in a chart. In the league format, a team must play home and away over a season despite injuries, suspensions, fixture congestions etc where performance against the top, middle and bottom teams is equally important. I would not like to tamper the huge data set for these 5 which covers several seasons against all kinds of opposition including injuries, loss of form etc [[ My wife and I have crazy ideas such as "let us switch off tv, better to hear about federer's win later than watch him lose". We are probably the only couple who invoked Ganesha on the fateful 2009 day when Federerer was on the brink about 20 times against Roddick. He is the embodiment of "winning with grace". Kohli must watch Federer and learn. Federer's current form gives me some hope that he might add to the number 16 and maybe add a week or two to the no.1 weeks tally. The last three matches at Indian Wells are probably the best we have seen him play in a year or two. Federer and Lara !!! Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on March 25, 2012, 21:21 GMT

    @Alex: My close friend, an Englishman not interested in cricket, a ManU season ticker holder, who travels from London to watch the weekend home games in Manchester, asked me who my favourite player was based on the most I had ever spent to see him in action. I belong to the land where names end with "kar" or 'x'e (Deshpande, Sapre, Atre, Barve, Kale etc) and we take pride in being prudent with money. Based on his parameters, my favourite player is Lara. [[ Ah! Milind, I hope no offense taken. I love the Maharashtrians. Very close to my heart. Musicians, patriots, cricketers, chess-players, writers et al. But it is true, they tore into me. Lucky they had left their weapons behind. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on March 25, 2012, 20:48 GMT

    Ananth, I think we should always use the number of runs scored (either individual or collective) as a parameter in classifying the nature of an innings. A very high number of balls faced without scoring enough may be useful while playing for a draw but generally such attrition results in losing the wicket. [[ Milind, just an alternative. For my ratings work, runs scored is the basis. The point also is that a batsman who scores 25 in 150 balls and saves a match by himself is rare. He would normally have played second fiddle to someone else. I am sure readers would come in with batsmen who HAVE DONE THIS. But that is great. We all live and increase our knowledge base. Ananth: ]]

  • Neeraj Raina on March 25, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    Ananth Thanks for the 1st reply I could get out of you…means I am improving on my question quality. Is there some way to extract the data for unbeaten batsmen at end of the days for matches for which data is available. At least we can do contemporary comparison post 2000 at least. His contribution to India in Test cricket is immense. Almost all of his achievements (in tests) have been captured here in this article. But , having watched Dravid (one of my favorite player) closely, the solidness he has displayed during the closing hours of day so that India can fight another day is (I feel) unmatched. Even though , if he got in 20 minutes before close and remained not out on 2,is something special as in that duration you are just looking to preserve your wicket. This is the time when all of the batsmen (almost all ..Sehwags and Galyles are exception) on whatever score you are look to defend for survival , return home undefeated and hope to begin new day fresh to pile on runs. R's Neeraj [[ Neeraj, at the end of the day the effort will be too much and the final benefits not worthwhile. I will find it difficult to do this as I do not have any time. If it is something as important as Balls played info, I arranged to get a few readers' help and got the work done. That was worth it since the data was going to be used in many places. Not in this case since we will get very few insights. What does it prove anyway. That Dravid (and Tendulkar) were careful towards the end of the day's play and Sehwag (and Lara) were not. You have sent one previous comment under this name during Sep 2010 for the ODI Bowler's BCG Article and I published the same without any response since it did not need one. Ananth: ]]

  • Neeraj Raina on March 25, 2012, 9:11 GMT

    Great article as always Ananth. One thing has been missed about his greatness from you and the comments received thus far. It is Dravid,'s ability to remain not out at the end of the day (not innings). I don't have any statistic orrof for same as could not arrive on this static using cricinfo stats but may be you can help me out on this. Being not out St end of the day is one of the toughest situation to handle and I think ink Drivid would have maximum numbers in this . Regards, Neeraj [[ Neeraj, first point is that the dtta is not available for all matches clearly. End of the day scores for teams are always available, not necessarily the unbeaten batsmen details. The other thing is that how valuable the not out at day-end is contextual. If Dravid walked in at 0 for 1 and remained not out at 145, it is truly wonderful. If he got in at 100 for 1 and remained unbeaten on 75, it is very good. If he got in at tea at 180 for 1 and stays on at close at 40 not out, it is fine. If he got in 20 minutes before close and remained not out on 2, what do we say. Also what happened next day also matters. Remember at Melbourne. Tendulkar got out almsot at end of the day's play and Dravid got out in the first over next day, and India's 17-day side started.. So where do we get off. Ananth: ]]

  • A. Khan on March 25, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    @milpand That's pretty interesting numbers you have pulled out. I was also surprised to see Lara's "consistency". Just for fun sake, if you disregard Bangladesh/Zimbabwe matches, most of the anomalies that are seen in the list will also disappear or at least, will be reduced. If you did this and imagine that Ponting was scoring centuries as fast as Sachin is, he would have scored 0.86 more centuries than Sachin. Kallis would have scored 1.71 "less" and Lara a whopping 1.74 more. Dravid would have scored 9.27 more centuries than he actually did. All this if you ignore the records against Bangla/Zimb. So what exactly makes Sachin far more consistent and Lara otherwise? 1. Zimbabwe/Bangladesh 2. Lara has mostly clubbed his scores... failures as well as success 3. A mirage or Hallucination + ignorance What's better is personal choice, I am fine with both as long as it doesn't make one a flat track bully or merely a minnow basher. And Ananth's last analysis has shown that they both are not.

  • Alex on March 25, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    @Ananth: Absolutely. Lloyd was my favorite cricketer as a child even though I liked Holding the most as a bowler and Martin Crowe the most as a batsman. He also set standards as a #5-#6 batman, as a fielder, and most importantly as a visionary & a leader. Apart from Worrell, Lloyd is the most important cricketer in the WI history. As great as Sobers was, his leadership & inspirational qualities mirror those of SRT's! Lloyd's mantle passed on to Mark Taylor and then to Steve Waugh. No one has picked it up since Waugh's departure. The game would be so much better if only such a player comes by now.

  • Alex on March 25, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    @milpand:

    1. IMO, Kallis has played in a larger % of tall-scoring matches than SRT, RSD, RTP, & BCL. SRT's injuries & last year brought down his %. Give Kallis 3 yrs and his % will decrease too.

    2. Lara's % went up over 2001-06: a change in the grip, advised by Sobers, was a factor but, IMO, an obvious reason is that Lara relaxed & mostly played on batting friendly pitches on this phase; WI routinely lost because they were a bad team. On such wkts, Lara was the one batsman who could impose himself regardless of who bowled (SRT could not do this). That was his genius & biggest strength.

    - Lloyd once compared Sobers, Viv, & Lara as follows: 1. Timing & esp. placement is Lara's biggest strength. And he scored big 100's. Viv was dominating but Lara has an edge where spin is concerned. 2. Sobers, because of the way he played, made a bad wkt look good. He had good hands, good wrists, a genius really. So, on good wkts, I think Lloyd, an astute judge, rated Lara #1 of these 3 greats. [[ And as a destroyer of bowlers, Lloyd himself was not that far behind. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 25, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    @Ananth: Based on one of your comments, you clearly have enjoyed my favorite serial "Yes Minister" (later "Yes Prime Minister"). milpand has pulled a Bernard on us in his comments while your reply to our comments on the Wisden-Hallmark ratings evokes vintage Sir Humphrey, or even, Sir Arnold! Lest we label the Wisden-Hallmark ratings scheme as "courageous" or, better still, "novel", I request you to pl write an article explaining that methodology. Thanks! [[ One thing is certain. It was indeed "courageous" on my part to do that work and stand before 100 journalists (about 75% of them sporting names ending with "kar" or 'x'e), incensed that one upstart from South India had not considered Tendulkar to be amongst the 100 best Test cricketers. Note how they got confused between "innings" and "cricketers". And Mr.Gul Ezekiel, in his infinite "lack of knowledge", in his biography of Tendulkar, referred to me as "some unknown from Bangalore who has not played the game but seen fit to comment on a great batsman unfavourably". As if you need to play the game to be a good analyst. As if Pauline Kael or Maltin or Khalid Mohammad or Ebert or Norman needed to act in films to be good film critics. The tragedy was, as I told Harsha later, Laxman's 281 which was in the 6th position amongst the then 50000 odd innings, was completely forgotten. In fact I would heve been extremely happy if someone had asked "why is it not in the top 3". There was not even a reference to Kumble, the second best out of about 25000 bowling spells. And of course, since then 500 Tests have been played and a few have found their way in. I am a great fan of British TV comedy. I have Fawlty Towers and Yes Minister in every concieveble form, VHS tapes recorded in Dubai during the 1980s, VCDs, DVDs, books, scripts et al. There is no point in doing a piece-meal job on a very complex topic. If I reveal 5% more it will open up 50 more questions. I will have two articles devoted to this, batting and bowling and do a player contribution analysis also. All "in the fullness of time". Ananth: ]]

  • Prashant on March 25, 2012, 2:12 GMT

    @Ananth, I fully understand that there will always be some deviation from the mean. My examples were hypothetical and only intended to elaborate my point. For eg. a pair of 70s, even if equally or more effective ,would scarcely enter cricket folklore. [[ Not necessarily. I think Laxman's 38 and 96 at Durban are nearly as good as his 281. Ananth: ]] What I mean by a batsman's contribution to the team over the long run (not the odd blinder here and there) is as follows- 1) If we select a team based on the assumption that the Top 6 batsmen will score 90% of the team runs- then it becomes almost mandatory for the "success ratio" of the main batsmen to be 1:6. 2) For the Top 4 or 5 this would mean a 100 (or thereabouts) 1 in 6 innings. 3) If you see- most of the great batsmen actually fulfill this criterion. And, are therefore "doing their job" towards the team. (Bradman, as usual, in a different ballpark here.) 4) So, in such a team the top 6 batsmen must average their long term averages every 6 innings or so. 5) If this ratio is extended by a batsman, he is letting his team down. Resulting in lesser runs – and in turn a greater chance of losing more matches. These lost matches caused by poor performance may well outnumber the odd match that may be won by a great, one-in-a-hundred innings. [[ I understand what you say. However 6 (innings) is too small a number. My suggestion is 10 innings, which will probably work to 6 Tests, 2 series. In fact 10 innings is my unit for doing the streak analysis. I have that built into the individyal player analysis also. I did not publish that Dravid since the article was getting long. What about if I do an analysis of all players with the 10 innings as a basis. The number of streaks will run upwards of 20 for most players. Then work out the number of groups above career average, around career average and below. Also determine wide variations. Looat 6 again. Possibly 8 might also be good since it represent a complete series. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on March 24, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    I pulled some stats to verify my intestinal feelings that Dravid scores 20-25 more often than others.

    Test%SRT RSD RTP JHK BCL 10 76.8 76.2 75.7 77.8 73.3 25 55.6 58.0 55.4 57.6 56.0 40 44.4 42.0 44.2 44.4 45.3 50 37.3 34.6 37.0 37.7 35.3 60 31.5 29.0 30.1 31.5 29.7 75 24.8 21.7 21.7 23.0 23.7 90 19.6 16.1 17.0 18.3 17.2 100 16.4 12.6 14.9 16.3 14.7

    I did not expect Lara scoring more 40s than other 4. Also the percentage difference between Tendulkar and Kallis for 50s and 100s is statistically insignificant. [[ Nice, Milind. I am surprised to see that, for all the poor starter tag that Lara gets, he is only 3% behind RD/SRT in the 10-run mark. And he is ahead of SRT/RTP at the 25-run mark. Is 0 a useful specific cut-off. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on March 24, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    The expression 'can't see the wood for the trees' is used to say that whole picture is not being viewed clearly owing to attention being paid to the small details.

    M suggests: 'can't see the wood for the dried leaves slowly crumbling to dust underfoot'.

    I am guessing that the view from the interior of this wood is being described. [[ Trust an Anglophile to find some nice meaning !!! Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on March 24, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Dravid has seen more wickets fall than any other batsman i.e. involved in more partnerships. His contribution to the team should not be measured by the number of balls faced. Instead we should measure the % of team runs scored during that time. [[ Hasn't that been done, Milind, in the article. 40.93% of career runs while at crease. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 24, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    @Ananth: Pl explain the Wisden-Hallmark-100 rating scheme in detail. Bhajji did capture 13 wkts but I suggest you compute the a posteriori probability with which a bowler takes 13 wkts etc. ... e.g.:

    I. Let X1 denote the # matches in which a side lost at least, say, 18 wkts. Let Y1 denote the # matches in which at least one bowler took 13 or more wkts. Then the prob is Z1=X1/Y1. Now, compute the prob of a batsman scoring 281 in an innings or, more to the point, 351 in a match. I think is would be lower than Z1.

    II. Also, compute the average # wkts by a regular bowler of the winning side in a decisive match (ruling out drawn matches). I think this number will fall between 3.5 and 5. Likewise, compute the ave # runs scored by a Top 6 batsman of the winning side in a decisive match (& do so for the losing side also). Now, compute the factor by which Bhajji & VVS outperformed these numbers.

    As good as Bhajji was in that match, I think VVS is the main reason why Ind won it. [[ I am sorry no more explanations now. Only at the appropriate time. Ananth: ]]

  • Swamy on March 24, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    Dear Anantha: I have some concern about your point that for taking 65% of the wickets, Haribhajan gets high points in the Kolkata test. Since in a team all 11 players contribute with the bat; however, typically only 5 or 6 players share the bowling normally. Therefore, I think your point system should have some correction applied to account for this. [[ I am sorry no more explanations now. Only at the appropriate time. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 24, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    Ananth "Lara succeeded because he had better support from the late order than Tendulkar." Not sure about that. Lara and Ambrose rescued them when 60 were needed with 2 wickets left after a very determined Australian effort which seemed to be succeeding.

    Tendulkar and Mongia on the other hand had combined very well much earlier and when less than 20 runs were needed with 4 wickets Tendulkar made an unforced error, back pain nor not.

    But nevertheless a very good innings, played under pressure, and very skilfully, including a thrilling phase where he beat the troublesome Saqlain on a turning track out of the attack.

  • Prashant on March 24, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    @ Raghav Bihani, arijit. Perhaps I am not explaining myself clearly. I have no issue against the odd great inn. here and there. For individual inns. Ananth’s and your approach is fine – This method effectively involves allocating points for batsman’s performance Relative to team mates. As you mention “In dire circumstances you need 281 from laxman. Consistency is not good enough.” The point is that the dire circumstances occur precisely of prior non-performance. i.e the hole has been dug by yourself. And then you attempt to fill it. The bigger the hole you dig for yourself- the more dire the situation. A couple of examples: 1)In the first Mumbai match of the 2001 series the Indian batsmen failed miserably. A solid performance by at least the majority ,if not all, would have probably resulted in a draw. The team would then have proceeded to Eden with the Series score reading 0-0 instead of 0-1. 2)SRT’s 136 vs. Pak is often cited as a great inn. which unfortunately for India resulted in a loss. But what of the Duck in the first inn.? A pair of 70s in each inn. would have done the job. Not as glamorous , but probably more effective. So, my point is not to reduce the value of great individual inn. These make for good reading,memories,show up in various great inn. lists and are good for nostalgic mutterings over a drink.

    I am simply wondering what is more effective to a Team in the LONG RUN. i.e terms of the win/loss/draw numbers in ALL matches involving a player vs. a particular team throughout his entire career. Not the odd match or heroic performance here and there. [[ Your example of 2001 Mumbai Test indicates a collective non-performance. Nothing can be done about it. We can only go to analyze performance not non-performance. By highlighting the in-the-zone innings what we are doing is to come out with a statement that 10 times in 150 Tests he played such innings, 25 times he played good supporting innings and so on. You could compare this with another player or not. Re the Channai Test, I do not know whether 70+70 would have won the match. The what-if scenario cannot be constructed. I can construct valid scores to go either way. Similarly we cannot say that Lara's 8 + 153 would have been better replaced by a 50+100 or 80+80. We can only go by what actually happened. You cannot fault either innings. Lara succeeded because he had better support from the late order than Tendulkar. However as I have already written, Warner's innings is more praise-worthy than Tendulkar's, even though both ended on the losing side, because Warner could not have done more. The final lesson is that we can only analyze based on what really happened. No one plays blinders followed by a string of failures, through their career. Possibly Shahid Afridi. Somewhere there they learn to play supporting roles. Finally I am going to add the batting and bowling rating points and divide by the number of Tests to arrive at an average contribution. So this will be a mix of all types of innings/spells. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 24, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    Boll, agree that it is harsh to highlight that failure of Ponting...but that really was the only time when with him at his peak, Australia faced real pressure. At other times, the going was very good, or Ponting was past his peak.

    Not sure about 40 years though...thought the 3-0 and 3-1 hammerings by West Indies (may they soon revive) in 1983 to 1985 including a 6-0 streak in 6 tests was bad enough. Allan Border and Kepler Wessels stood out. The Aussie batting had been weakened by the (strangely timed) retirement of Greg Chappell.

    Then right through 1985-87 when Australia was rebuilding, Border kept them afloat all by himself. In my books, stands alongside Waugh and Ponting. I have no doubt Australia in 1996-2009 had it much easier than 1980-1996. [[ Ues, he scored 182 against Pakistan and goes off into the sunset when not even 36. And the next tour was a tough one to West Indies, which Australia promptly lost. Ananth: ]]

  • srini on March 23, 2012, 23:09 GMT

    @Boll,

    That's why I said "even if you can call it that". Without looking it up, as good ol' Henry Hill said As far back as I can remember those are the only major series that Oz didn't win in which McGrath played (other than that Mongia's test in 96 and SL series in 96). Hell Lara averaged 66 in matches not involving McGrath against the OZ (46 when he played). If the earth was involved in a space jam like battle against the aliens, McGrath should certainly be the 2nd man on the team sheet after you know who.

  • arijit on March 23, 2012, 20:41 GMT

    Suppose A scores eight 50s totalling 400, and B scores 150 and another 250 in seven innings combined. Shouldn’t B get extra credit for being capable of scoring 150? May I cite a personal detail? Many years ago, I had a colleague who could be brilliant one day and very bad on another. I was considered good and consistent: my work never fell below a certain standard. I got the promotion because of my “reliability”. Yet in my heart I always envied my colleague a little because at his best he could come out with stuff I would have given my right arm to accomplish. Consumed by doubt, I told my boss privately that I would have given the promotion to the other fellow. But my boss differed, saying consistency was more important. So, there are two views, as always. But I also suspect that there are many people who feel like me, and they should judge others as they judge themselves. A disclaimer: I have equated consistency with average only for the purposes of this post. OK, I'll shut up now. [[ Let me put this way. The Innings Ratings work is to reward the in-zone batting performances such as 270, 281, 153*, 155, 149 et al. Each of the top-10 innings has that something special to merit consideration and inclusion. That is where Tayfield's 9 for 113 scores over either of the 10-wkt hauls.Although in bowling, the wicket tally plays a more important fact than in batting. It is easy for a 150 to go very close to the top. Not very easy for a 5-wkt haul to do so. The consistency reward is the top batsmen analysis where consistency, longevity, number of runs, results etc are rewarded. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit on March 23, 2012, 20:35 GMT

    It’s this “capability” that endows them with an aura and raises expectations every time they go out to perform (I suspect it is this that separates a Sobers from a Kallis). At the heart of this logic lies an asymmetry: a genius can often fail for many reasons but a non-genius cannot hit the highest levels by accident. Tendulkar or Gavaskar can score a zero like Walsh, but Walsh (and most others) can’t accomplish the 114 at Perth (1992) or 96 at Bangalore (1987). So, a sublime performance bears the stamp of genius. Two, we may want consistency more than flair from a surgeon or airline pilot whose mistakes can kill, but we rate artists by their best and not their consistency. Unlike the arts, sport is about defeat and victory and so consistency is crucial, but isn’t sport also a bit like art? You have measured peaks in your innings ratings; I hope someday you weave it into analyses like “best runs”, giving peaks maybe 20% weightage compared to 80% for consistency/average (contd)

  • arijit on March 23, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    Anantha, the debate over Dravid’s performance in Australia reflects a larger issue: whether a player should be measured solely by his consistency or also by his peaks. Consistency rules in most analyses. Even your “who has the best runs” (BQI+pitch) analysis highlights batsmen’s overall average in such conditions. But if someone says Richards or Lara were great in tough situations on the basis of a few specific innings when they dominated or defied terrific attacks on difficult tracks, such as (but not only) 189* out of 272-9 or 153* out of 311-9, would they be laughed out of court for their “subjectivity”? I think most of us remember the best players for, and form a mental image of them by, their most memorable performances --- and not merely because this is easier than remembering all their innings and mentally calculating the averages. We want to know how sublime they were capable of being ---- at their best. (contd)

  • Raghav Bihani on March 23, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    @Anantha: I can see the analysis taking shape in your mind. One suggestion from my end is to use the absolute batting and bowling points. When you allocate 10 points for each skill, it does not feel ok. Harbhajan slightly ahead of laxman is fine but not 5.67 vs 3.82. Similarly sachin is rated too close to Dravid for just a few crucial wickets. Absolute points make a lot more sense if you compare across skills. Also I think around 150 points and above reflects a substantial contribution and can be used as a cut off. [[ Raghav, I did the 10-point split just to show the allocation pf points berween the players. I will only add the base Rating points. The Batting and Bowling rating points are comparable. However the 10-point allocations are not since there are too many contenders in batting. Even here Laxman's 281 scores over either of Harbhajan's bowling performances, but taken together, Harbhajan's is ahead of Laxman's two performances. That is the way it should be, considering he captured 65% of the wickets. But obly the base rating points will be used. Ananth: ]] Too much talk on Indian cricket. Another guy who seems to hit many match winning knocks seems to be Graeme Smith. How does he figure on your winning matrix.

    @ prashant: consistent match winners are only found in great teams. I think the debate is between "mercurial match winner" and "consistent performer". Consistency works when everybody contributes. In dire circumstances you need 281 from laxman. Consistency is not good enough.

  • Arjun on March 23, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    Ananth,

    one performance of dravid that hasn't been discussed is his twin century in TEST # 1741, kolkata ag. Pak.

    110 and 135, main contributor in india's only win of the series. [[ Match-winning knocks but against a rather average Group-2 level attack (Khalil/Sami/Kaneria/Razzaq). Ananth: ]]

  • Prashant on March 23, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    Anantha, At a gut level I still disagree a bit. Dravid ,of course, has put up other good performances vs. Aus- certainly not a string of Ducks other than the 2 100s. The point I was trying to make is how much value do these grand,one-in-a hundred innings etc. actually add to a "Team" .

    May I suggest an excercise/analysis to add to your already overflowing inbox: [[ Pl see detailed response to Raghav. Ananth: ]]

    1)Suppose we wish to determine a batsman's "matchwinning" ability (say Dravid) vs. a particular country. 2)It would be correct to check this for every match played vs. the particular country throughout the batsman's entire career. So, we end up with an overall win-loss ratio. 3)We assume Dravid scored his career avg. (52) in every single innings he played vs. Aus. (Purely hypothetical, of course) 4)Continuing the fantasy- we assume the other batsmen also scored their career avgs. in every single innings. 5)We check the win/loss/draw ratio against the ACTUAL win/loss/draw ratio.

    This a very basic template. However, some modification of this method should give us a truer indication of what is preferable ,and what should truly be termed "matchwinning". It would also giving us some insight into the long standing debate into what is actually more preferable to a team- a “mercurial matchwinner” or a “consistent matchwinner”.

  • Raghav Bihani on March 23, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    @swamy: thanks for highlighting of one of my favorites. One innings I like especially is laxman's 96 in Durban in 2010. He was the only one who managed to score in both innings while batsmen on both sides struggled. I watched the match and it seemed laxman was batting on another pitch compared to others. One's who count 100s miss gems like this, mohali 73 and Dravid in WI for his twin 50s.

    @Anantha: I forgot your innings batting points for each player. I now request a full article dedicated to this. We should define a level of points above which the knock is match winning. Then we can analyze how many each player has and their distribution by countries. Only keep in mind that some innings turn series like laxman 281, Lara 153 & 214. You will find a way to give credit, I know.

    @prasantha: Dravid does average around 40 against aus which not bad considering they were the best. Take away his 180 and give a few 100 not outs in lost causes. Average would go up to 45 but what's the use [[ Raghav, I think there is a need for an analysis based on the Batting and Bowling rating points. I will be changing the basis. However the current one itself is very sound and can be used immediately. The alternate one can follow later. The one thing I do not want is to have discreet groups. When we have the perfect claculations available, it is better to use the same and look at contributions. Let us take Calcutta Test (1535). The Indian batting points are shown below. These are Wisden-Hallmark-100 rating points. If 10 win-related points are allocated for Batting, the points are shown in the brackets. Laxman: 124+241=365 (3.82) Dravid: 33+191=224 (2.34) Ganguly: 105 (1.10) SS Das: 98 (1.02) Others: 162 (1.69) Total: 954 (10.0) The bowling points are shown below. Again 10 win-related points. Harbhajan: 195+191=386 (5.67) Tendulkar: 0+128=128 (1.88) Zaheer: 77+1=78 (1.14) Others: 88 (1.29) Total: 680 (10.0) The bowling points are less because the there are fewer players to share the points. So, this match was first Harbhajan's match, and then Laxman's and then Dravid's, then Tendulkar's.. These four account for two-thirds of the credit. The corresponding figures for the Adelaide match are given below. Dravid: 208+109=317 (3.77) Laxman: 142+46=188 (2.24) Sehwag: 60+67=127 (1.51) Others: 207 (2.47) Total: 839 Bowling points Agarkar: 83+203=286 (3.79) Kumble: 146+48=194 (2.57) Nehra: 84+53=137 (1.82) Tendulkar: 0+89=89 1,18) Pathan: 48+0=48 0(.63) Total: 754 So this was Dravid's foillowed by Agarkar, followed by Kumble, followed by Laxman. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on March 23, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    @Gerry, perhaps a little harsh on Ponting there. Sure, he hasn`t stood out amidst the ruins of a 4-0 defeat as Dravid did, or 4-1 as Vaughan did, or most poignantly as Lara did vs SL. Been 40 years since Oz have been beaten that badly though.

    If you`re talking about dominating a series, few have ever done it better. Only Bradman, Sobers, Lara and Gavaskar have score 500 runs or more in a series more times than Punter - 5.

  • Nitin Gautam on March 23, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Well for all the out of the world praise for those 2 innings by RD at Adelaide & Kolkata, how can anyone not remember Agarkar (6 wickets resulting in a rare Aussie thumping in that era) & Bhajji (6 wickets in 4th inning) for actually making win a possibility. That is why cricket is a tricky sport, nothing comes in binary & dependencies are always there. For all the skills, temperament & ability batsman just reduced the deficit & Agarkar N bhajji turned the table completely. 233 & 180 would be a proud Jewell in CV of any player ever played but bowler played more than their part in both those wins. had bowlers complemented in equal measure, certainly we would be talking about Jo'burg (148 & 81) also here. [[ Pl see response to Raghav. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on March 23, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    I don't know if it's a habit across countries, buit definitely in India for supporting one, you need to pull down the other. It's either Gavaskar or Vishy, SRT or RD. To me, the Indian team of 00's was good because we had a batting where skills and specialities were evenly spread out. SRT and Viru in 1st/2nd innings, GG and Lax in 3rd and 4th and Dravid as the floater with Ganguly/Dhoni as the backup. Similarly in bowling. and that's why it was a good team. As for bowlers, esp peak analysis, some of the Pak bowlers will definitely sneak in. The reason why RD and Kumble appeal to me is because of their fighting spirit. Our players usually have been "flair" players, so they crumble quickly under pressure. In that respect, RD is like Vieira at Arsenal. He didn't succeed elsewhere but without him Arsenal hasn't succeeded. Symbiotic. [[ And the other day I saw a 10-point comparison of Messi and Tendulkar. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on March 23, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    @Anatha: regarding player contributions, you are very right that match winning performances are often hidden in averages. An average of 40 with 2-3 match winning efforts is much more valuable than a consistent average of 50 resulting only in no matches won. But here is where stats fail us.

    How can we do this analysis without going through each match scorecard one by one for a certain set of players. Say I want to know how many matches were won home and away by Lara, ponting, sachin, Dravid, kallis, Waugh, inzamam, sangakara, Mahler, Sehwag, laxman, etc. is it not a massive effort to do so match by match? And then it becomes subjective as to whom to give credit. Kolkata and adelaide test needs acknowledgement of laxman and Dravid both critical. However, the England test india won had many contributions but the one that mattered was Dravid. others were good supports not but vital. It does get subjective. [[ Raghav, you have come to the right place. I have the batting and bowling rating points and these indicate the extent of contributions to the result. In fact the last measure in my rating calculation is ResultPts*Player's Rating points/Sum of all Rating points. So I can do an objective analysis towards results, based on the current methodology. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 23, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    @ Alex: Just a small clarification - It was never said Kumble was better than Warne or Murali or whatever. In Indian context, he definitely was much better than the other Indian bowlers, as Ananth would have also explained. Kumble would be known for his ability to constantly punch above his weight than for cricketing talent. My only thought was that while we are quick to dismiss him as a "disguised fast bowler", we tend to forget his good returns abroad (averages dont tell the story - Indians have conceded more runs than anyone over the past 20 yrs and have also scored more runs than anyone - so Indians' batting and bowling averages are bound to be high). He may not get into an all time XI or whatever of even an Indian team. But in those rare victories we tasted abroad recently, his contribution was unheralded!!

  • Prashant on March 23, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    @Raghav Bihani,Anantha,

    Dravid is without a doubt one of the batting Greats. As someone mentioned he has built his career around a defensive technique second to none.The more attacking batsmen such as Richards,BCL look to hit each ball -and defense is the 2nd option. With Dravid it has been the other way round- helping him thrive in some conditions.He has a better record in Eng.than Viv,BCL.etc

    However,re.Dravid's 2 exceptional innings you comment "What else do you need"? 2 fine innings, no matter how good, out of 62 innings must be considered a failure for a top line batsman. The 2 inn. may enter Wisden 100 or some other lists- but have considerably reduced value to the team if not backed up in the other 60 inn.- esp.coming from a main batsman.

    It is like calling Messi a "match-winner" if he scores a hat-trick or more every 30 games and doesn’t do much the rest of the time. These performances may be talked about forever and enter various great football performance lists. A team would prefer more consistency. If a team has potentially 5 goal scorers (akin to main batsmen in cricket) then the “good match” rate for Messi (or the other 4 goal scorers) must be “1 in 5” or better. Anything else is probably letting the team down.

    After non-performance in other matches may result in a “loss”. And over a longer term the “win-loss ratio” is more telling than the odd win here and there.

    I am certain that Dravid himself would consider his record against Australia sub-par, 2 great inn. notwithstanding. [[ Prashanth, you have ignored the fact that Raghav and I talked of truly immense and grand one-in-a-hundred innings when referring to the 180 and 233. You are talking as if he failed in the other 60 innings. 49, 93(win) , 53, 68, 91*, 92, 72*(win) all scored away and 52(win), 51, 77(win), 86(win), 81(win), 56(win), 60, all played at home, do not indicate the sort of failures you have suggested. I agree that he has not converted three of these 90s to a 100. Frankly I could not care less since I think a hundred is an eninentkly over-rated measure. As far as I am concerned it is the 100th run, that is all. Yes he could have done more. That applies to all batsmen, barring one. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on March 23, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    @srini. Not sure about some of those `failures` you mention for McGrath - perhaps other series aagainst the same teams...

    1999 vs Windies in WI (drawn series), he took 30 wickets at 16.9.

    2001 vs India in Ind (lost), he took 17 wickets at 15.4.

    2005 vs England in Eng (lost), he took 19 wickets at 23.2.

    Agree with you on his impact. As consistently excellent as anyone.

  • Boll on March 23, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    One think that I don`t think anyone has mentioned here re.Dravid was his great ability to make the most of his form right throughout a series. Twice he scored over 600 runs in a series,(I think Sehwag might be the only contemporary Indian to have scored more than 500) both ties away (Aus 2003/4 and England 2002) - not to mention displays like his recent tour to England, with those 3 wonderful centuries.

    These performances are the months-long symphonies that we remember, and one of the great pities is that there are not more 4-5 test series played these days (don`t get me started on the ridiculous 2-test series abominations) only in which we can witness sustained excellence against an attack, on a variety of pitches, and against a variety of bowling plans.

    On many occasions Dravid, perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, revelled in these extended confrontations, and was able to use his flexible and cerebral approach to batsmanship to its best advantage.

  • swamy on March 23, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    @Raghav: Your message cleary highlights Dravid's major contributions towards India's wins both at home and away. I am sure if one checks Laxman's key performances we would find a number of defining knocks. His 51 in the debut test against SA was crucial for India winning that test. His 59 and 281 at Kolkata in 2001 need no explanation. His 4th innings 66 at Chennai (where the 25 by Sadagopan Ramesh is the second highest score) in the same series ensured India won the match narrowly. Then the 148 at Adelaide in 2004 (together with Dravid) also led to Indian victory. His 103 n.o. against SL and 73 n.o., when he battled backpain while batting and which led to India winning the test match are remarkable. These are some of the key performances that come to my mind, but I am sure there will be several more. Perhaps, we can request Anantha to do a systematic analysis of this when he can spare the time.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 23, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    Srini, I sort of agree with the assessment that if McGrath had been fit, England may not have won, though it would have been still very intensely fought. The English bowling was damn good, especially Simon Jones. They seemed to have specific plans, e.g. Flintoff v.s Gilchrist, which was one of the major reasons for Australia's batting failing. In fact, barring his 156 in Manchester, Ponting largely failed (39 average in the series) - he does not have a Dravid (Eng 2011) or even a Vaughan (Aus 2003, where he made 3 centuries, 2 coming after the series was lost, still >600 runs) type of performance, which was needed badly from him, especially since he was captain and at the peak of his powers. England also had a courageous captain. So not totally convinced...But no doubting McGrath's relentless aggression and pin-point precision in taking out big names in big matches. Lara clean bowled in 1999 WC crunch match was an absolutely unforgettable ball.

  • srini on March 23, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    Regd McGrath I fully concur. I think he has a greater impact than Shane Warne. McGrath's only failures, if you can even call it that, have been WI 99, Ind 01 and Ashes 05. No amount of convincing will make me believe that Eng would've won the Ashes in 05 if McGrath was fully fit. As it is they had to make a humongous physical and mental effort to win it. If I remember right they lost to Pakistan immediately after the Ashes. Remember, Warne took 40 wkts in that series and Oz still missed McGrath. It is probably very boring to watch McGrath (he's kinda like Nadal as in I will not make a mistake type of bowler) but I am deadly 100% sure he will be in the top 5 in any kind of rigorous analysis Ananth does. Seriously, waiting for the bowlers analysis. I am guessing the top 5 will be Grimmett Murali Marshall McGrath and Ambrose.

  • Alex on March 23, 2012, 2:50 GMT

    @Ananth and @SR:

    1. I am not deriding Kumble. SRT, back when he used to say sane things, routinely rated Kumble as the best Indian player of his era ... I put Kumble just behind SRT. [[ No wonder it is raining in summer. SRT's reluctance to say kind words about others is legendary when all others rush in to say very nice things. Anand is a perfect example. Ananth: ]] 2. It's just that, apart from Kapil, Ind has never had a bowler who was effective everywhere. Kumble, its leading bowler, averaged well above 38 in 5 major countries! A team can win an away test only once in a blue moon with this type of attack. So, "did SRT/RSD/VVS win an away test for India?" seems a nonsensical question. I wanted to draw attention to this fact. [[ I will do an analysis on player's contributions. Averages are deceptive. They might conceal one match winning performance in 10 attempts. Ananth: ]] 3. A top batsman contributes 15% team runs. I think the Don contributed 25%. A top bowler contributes almost 30% wkts, and then scores some runs as well. Hence, a McGrath/Murali/Kallis is on the Don's level. Sadly, bowlers & all-rounders don't get enough praise. I do think McGrath is the greatest cricketer of the post-'89 era: he targeted the best batsmen of his opponents and won a large % of those battles.

  • SR on March 23, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    cont..

    His last test was the conclusion of a 5-0 sweep. His last ODI was a world cup victory where he was the man of the series. That is some way to go out.

  • SR on March 23, 2012, 1:12 GMT

    Regarding my earlier comment on McGrath, while I would expect to see him on top of any list of the top cricketers of the past 20 years, if statistics does place someone else on top (Dale Steyn is the only other person I can think of at this point) then I will accept that person as the best. I hope I am not one of the "fanboys" who will disregard the stats to say that their fav is the best. My reasoning for saying Mcgrath was 1) As a lot of people have said - bowlers have more of an impact per match than batsman 2) In the so called batsman's decade he has dominated. 3)He doesnt have a bad record against any team (unlike Murali against Aus and Warne against Ind). 4) Great record in the sub-continent, England, SA, WI, NZ. 5) He singled out the best batsman of the opposition team (often the captain) and more often than not got him out - examples - Arthurton,Lara, Tendulkar. 6)He seemed to rise for the big games. 7) He had the best retirement of any cricketer I can think of.

  • Raghav Bihani on March 22, 2012, 16:29 GMT

    One of the comments says that Dravid has only 2 exceptional knocks against Australia and nothing else.

    What else do you need? These 2 knocks more than compensate for the lower averages against Aussies. Give me a player who has 2 such knocks against each of the top 5 teams of his generations. 10 match winning knocks 5 away and 5 at home. I do not care what else he does in his other 150 odd tests. The number of 100s and 50s and runs are mere numbers. They make good stats and records. Anyone with 10 such defining knocks is amongst the greats if not the best. [[ One of the best comments seen recently. I also felt when I read the comment, one is probably the greatest turn-around and Dravid plays a 40-60 role ith Laxman, the other is an equally important recovery, this time with Dravid playing a 60-40 role with Laxman and these two are being dismissed as just only two. Add to these two, the 270, the two superlative knocks in West Indies in 2002, the 146 last year, the two 148s against England and South Africa, the near-300 in one Test against New Zealand and the 110 at Kingston last year, when everyone struggled: what more does one want. Ananth: ]]

  • SR on March 22, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    I know this is completely off topic but there is one analysis I would like to see - who "in my opinion" was the greatest cricketer of the past twenty years - and its not any of the usual tendulkar, lara, kallis, ponting,dravid,warne, murali group. but the one and only Glenn McGrath. I feel he has been terribly underrated due to playing with the charismatic warne and he was so consistent that people took him for granted. People were commenting on consistent batsman above but the metronome takes the title for bowling consistency. Home, Away, first innings, second innings, fast pitch, slow pitch, turner...it doesnt matter. He averages between 15-25 everywhere with a great strike rate. He stepped up for the big occasions too. WC 99 - must win game against the windies - gets Lara with a beauty. Must win game against india. Lots of hype for Tendulkar against Warne/McGrath...he gets the guy for 0 in 5 balls..then gets Dravid was well. Game over. [[ If you want to see an analysis on the greatest cricketer of the past 20 years, that is one thing. But if you want an analysis with a pre-determined notion of who should be on top, that is very tough. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 22, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    @Ananth: Kumble's coarse split in tests (his ODI stats are much worse):

    Home: 63 tests, 350 wkts, ave=25, SR=59 Away: 69 tests, 269 wkts, ave=36, SR=75

    More to the point, as with most spinners, Kumble was not only ineffective but actually a liability in Oz (ave=38), Eng (ave=42), and NZ (ave=40). In addition, he averaged a whopping 43 in Pak and 48 in SL. He averages a decent 31-32 in WI and SA. In contrast, Warne & Murali were standout in almost every country.

    Bowlers are indeed more important than batsmen, esp. in tests. But if we equate Kumble with SRT, perhaps we should consider equating Murali, McGrath, and Warne with the Don. [[ Suddenly I see a shift in your comments towards a certain gentleman cricketer. If we take all Tests/Odis, one day I want to prove that Kuble's contributions are comparable to any other Indian player over the past 20 years. His averages need not come in at all. Pl see Raghav's comment later on Dravid's "only two" innings agsinst Australia. Re your last comment, Murali's contributions towards Sri Lankan cricket were certainly greater than those of Bradman's towards Australia, Warne's and McGrath's for Australia do not lag too far behind Bradman's. Anyhow why are you bringing in Sri Lankan and Asuatrlian players into the discussion. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on March 22, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    ...cont`d. I`m not trying to denigrate Bangladesh cricket here (and am cheering them on tonight), but frankly I`d be a little disappointed, as a Zimbabwean test cricketer, to be lumped together with Bangladesh. Zimbabwe have had a similar record to countries such as India and New Zealand in their first couple of decades at international test level. Currently their record stands at 9 wins/52 losses/26 draws, in percentage terms, roughly 10%/60%/30% - so 40% of the time they`ve come out with a result. Significantly, their head-to-head record against Bangladesh stands at 5 wins/1 loss/3 draws - very dominant.

    In contrast, Bangladesh`s test record currently stands at 3 wins/63 losses/7 draws, in percentage terms, roughly 4%/86%/10%. If we remember that 2 of those wins came against an already weak WI 3rd or 4th XI, the difference is stark.

    Perhaps we should remember this when treating performances against these two teams as equivalent. [[ Today's Zimbabwe cannot be considered to be better than Bangladesh. However a few years back a Zimbabwe with the Flowers brothers, Streak and Campbell was a match for many teams. Anyhow tonight is not the night to talk down Bangladesh. The many what ifs for Bangladesh. If one of the earlier Lbws had been given, if Mushfiqur had given the last over to Najmul Hossain or Mahmudullah, if Abdul Razzak's shot had been hit 6 inches above, if Razzak had gone for a normal hit instead of the fancy one so that Mahmudullah had got the strike and so on. A great tournament mainly because of Bangladesh. Regards Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on March 22, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    I might be getting slightly off track here, but it seems to have become de rigeur on cricinfo to disregard performances vs Bangladesh and Zimbabwe when discussing statistics. I first remember this happening when people were discussing the comparative merits of Murali and Warne. It was , probably quite fairly, pointed out that Murali`s stats were dramatically boosted because of the number of tests he played against these teams (14/11 respectively, in which he took about 175 wickets at 15). Warne, who only played once against Zimb and twice against Bangla (for 17 wickets) suffered in comparison. Australia have still only played 3 tests against Zimb and 4 against Bangladesh in total - so perhaps the exclusion of these teams from statistical analysis was an Australian initiative.

    I`ll get to the main pooint shortly...

  • Ranga on March 22, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    This may not be related to the blog, but talking about Indian matchwinners post the 90's era, I would say the real matchwinner for India was Kumble. After 02, when India started competing abroad, most of these matches, be it Headingly 02, Jamaica 06, Aus 03/4, it was when Kumble started to be a better bowler abroad. Even in Aus 2007/8, it was KUmble who emerged the top wkt taker. The role of KUmble in enabling India take 20 wkts is unheralded. Never an all time great or never considered a bowler in the same breath as Warne, Murali or even Saqlain, Kumble did exceed expectations and had actually found his feet when India toured abroad in the 2000s. In the 90's he was an ordinary spinner abroad, but post 2000s he was pretty consistent abroad. There were better bowlers better spinners. But the 8 yr period between 2000-08, Kumble's improvement was instrumental in certain key wins abroad. I know this would be a funny observation, but he was a paradoxical reality in INdian cricket [[ One short reponse. In terms of contribution to the team's cause, Kumble's has been the equal of Tendulkar's, in all forms of cricket combined and IPL excluded. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 22, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Some of SRT's great knocks have been probably shared in the context of the matches he played. I dont deny that he doesnt have a 375 or 153* or 309 or 270 to show. But I do feel that in all the wins outside the subcontinent, he did play a good part (barring 2003/4 Aus series). And most of SRT's lows were lows only wrt to the high standards he set. I agree that he is being the holy cow of Indian media, but on the field, he has always delivered. We can always bring out lows. In that way, we can also get others' lows as well. Even the great Don performed just 50% of his overall average in the bodyline series(different matter if it was 5x.xx in an era of 3x.xx averages!!!). SRT is not a God but he is definitely an all time great, performed across all attacks on all grounds.

  • Ranga on March 22, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    Like it or not, design or not, any discussion on any other batsman brings Sachin into the loop!! Even more than Lara has been! I was way too critical on SRT, PURELY OUTSIDE CRICKETING REASONS-apologies for my remarks in this forum, but of all the batsmen I have seen, I have found him to be the most complete, consistent and delivering more often than not. Any figure brought to lower him can be compensated by some other figure which shows him in better light.Dravid & he faced similar attacks and SRT's avg since 96 was 56.18 and he scored 12,810 runs after Dravid made his debut. If we attribute 56 of SRT to Dravid, why dont we give credit to SRT/VVS/Sehwag et al who helped Dravid to score 13k runs? Batting is two ways isnt it?Or why dont we give credit to SRT for ensuring 6 of his team mates scored over 7k runs in tests? IMHO, Dravid has been a definite monument and one of the all time greats of Indian crkt, but I dont think putting down someone else to say he is great is correct.(Cotd)

  • shrikanthk on March 22, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    You must remember that a quarter of Bradman's innings have had the balls faced extrapolated. In other words he would have lost out because he would have scored faster. Still he has a strike rate of 58

    Not getting it. On Cricinfo we have "balls faced" information available for 69 of his 80 innings. That's a lot higher than 75%. [[ Don't split hairs on a ball-park figure. Also this was the voluntary group work and there might have been a miss or two. And there are scorecards where the balls played information is there only for Bradman. That scorecard cannot be taken. Similar to Edrich's 310, all info on balls/4s/6s for Edrich and Barrington, not for others. This scorecard cannot be taken. Ananth: ]]

    I think the games for which "balls faced" is missing are the tests against WI and SA in '30-31 and '31-32. Given that the young Bradman was in great nick during that period, I'd expect the SR to be a little higher than 58 in those tests.

    By the way, Boll : The duration of tests does not really impact Run rates by much. In fact in a timeless test, you'd be more proactive as the option of playing for stumps/draw does not exist. You HAVE to go for a win.

    Compare the Run rates in England with those in Australia during the 1930s. At that time we had 4-day tests in England but timeless ones down under. Nevertheless the run rates are not greatly different.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 22, 2012, 4:40 GMT

    Ananth, just in case your inbox is emptying itself thanks to your rapid execution...(just the thought makes me jittery).

    What about a bowler streak analysis? When you did one, naturally Murali came out trumps. But looking at Imran, Lillee, Holding, Roberts etc. interrupted by Packer, Murali is favoured by uninterrupted length of 90 odd tests for 631 wickets. Perhaps a shorter length would be a better way.

    Without confusing you, what about a streak analysis to evaluate peak bowler effectiveness, without emphasising aggregates? It will obviously come after the bowler analysis...(not reminding you once more) [[ I went to Amazon.com and ordered a new jumbo-size Inbox-cum-to-do-tray. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 22, 2012, 3:25 GMT

    Dravid was not a genius batsman - he was genius at one discipline - defensive technique, and he made a great career out of it

    I do not think of Dravid as a particularly orthodox batsman at all! Mukul Kesavan made a similar observation on TV. Dravid is a typically subcontinental wristy batsman with considerable flourish who ended up curtailing his natural wristy strokes for some reason.

    Tendulkar is actually more textbook than Dravid. Slightly straighter backlift, more compact, less flourish.

    Try comparing Dravid with Gavaskar with a splitscreen. They don't come from the same batting tradition at all. Gavaskar represents Occidental orthodoxy. Dravid is all Orient. Far more wristy, far greater flourish.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 22, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    Alex, you are certainly entitled to your opinions, and as usual, my assesment of what the World XI should be will substantially differ from yours (if it did not, I would start doubting myself, so really, all is well)...but am amazed you have decided that I did not watch Holding live, merely based on some comments I have posted. I dont know what you mean by live, but in 1987 i watched full length video tapes of each of the three tests in 1981-82 between WI-Aus, which were commonly available in Delhi those days. Holding carried that attack all by himself, despite being surrounded by superstar bowlers, against a solid team. I watched WI-Eng 1984 all 5 tests extended videos shown on ESPN in India. So plenty of opportunity to assess.

    And Roberts til 1982??? I thought in 1979 itself he was tiring. A great bowler, one of the very finest, and in the end I dont really care...they were all incredibly nasty. I would wait for the bowler analysis from Ananth. [[ You are taking every opportunity to rem ind me of the Bowler analysis !!! Don't worry. I will do it. Only thing is that I want to alternate some lighter posts with the heavoer ones, to respect my tiring fingers. However, I will stake my reputation that any bowling analysis which does not put Holding's 14-wkt haul at Oval as the best match effort ever, okay I will give a concession, one of the three best ever, is not worth considering. Holding single-handedly converted a batting paradise (own team: 869 for 8) to a tough win. Out of 14, 10 top order (1-6) wickets. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 22, 2012, 0:09 GMT

    @Gerry: Looks like you did not watch Michael Holding live. He was my personal favorite as a bowler. However, Marshall & Ambrose were better and I rate Roberts also just a bit above him since Roberts was the unquestioned leader of WI attack 1974-1982. Also, Garner definitely aged better than Holding. So, Holding is not an automatic selection for an all-time Windies XI, much less an all-time World XI.

    The 1976 Jamaica test was the debut of a 4-pronged WI pace attack: Holding, Holder, Julian, & Daniel. But it was Daniel's debut and Holder-Julian were capable fast-medium only. The pitch was a bit unusual though and that was enough for Holding, then at his fastest, to cause havoc. Dravid did encounter something a bit similar: e.g., the 2003 NZ tour with Bond at his fastest. Ananth has shown that this series was one of the most difficult propositions ever: the sole success was Sehwag in ODI's. Incidentally, it was the lowest point of SRT's entire career.

  • Kamlesh Khushalani on March 21, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    The best team of Rahul Dravid's era is Australia. His average against Australia is less than 40. His 2 centuries against Australia are standaouts (Kolkota, Adelaide) and that's it. Look it up. He's overrated overall. Yes, he was excellent between 2001 - 2005. Outside that, he's no better than Kallis, Ponting, Lara, Tendulkar. I would say Laxaman, Sehway and Tendulkar have been far more valuable overall. [[ A very short-sighted and immature way to put down a great player. All players will have their high and low spots. No one, other than Bradman, averages 50+ against all countries or in all conditions. Kindly digest the following figures before coming out with this "Overrated" comment. Sehwag in the 3rd/4th innings: 30.42. Sehwag vs England: 27.05 Tendulkar in fourth innings: 38.12 Tendulkar vs SA/Pak: 42.xx Lara vs India : 34.55 Lara in fourth innings: 35.12 Ponting vs England : 44.21 (this is his lowest average) Laxman vs England : 30.64 Laxman vs South Africa: 37.54. The point is that there is no batsman, but one, who has not had his Achiles' heel somewhere or other. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on March 21, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    Outside the subcontinent, in the period before Dravid started playing, Tendulkar had an average of 43 in 16 tests, and the luxury of a mere 58 balls per dismissal at Number 3, average less than 22. Post Dravid, the Number 3 averaged 49, and 115 balls per dismissal. Tendulkar's average increased to 53 in 57 tests (although Tendulkar only really started playing regularly at No. 4 after 1992, in his 10th away test outside the subcontinent). While Tendulkar got better as he gained experience, there is no denying that a good part of Tendulkar's improved performance post-Dravid was due to the solid cushion provided by Number 3, which was pretty much Dravid all the way. [[ As I have also mentioned in my article the comfort feeling Dravid provided to the openers who batted ahead of him and Tendulkar and Laxman who batted after him was priceless. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on March 21, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    Wanted to pay a tribute.

    Rahul Dravid's greatness lay not in runs but in the time he took out of the match. Many an innings blossomed due to his steadfastness at the other end. Another thing - the greatness of a batsman can also be measured by his ability to stay in on tough wickets. In this regard Dravid was fabulous. He had the ability to face over 200 deliveries on the most difficult wickets, and over a 100 on unplayable ones (cue Bridgetown 1997, Headingley 1st day 2002, NZ wickets in 2002, Sabina Park 2006). Tendulkar on the other hand, had an equally brilliant yet somewhat less appreciable skill - the ability to score normally on these tough wickets. But Dravid really stands out here.The one anomaly of his, given the staying ability, was a serious lack of match saving 4th innings performances.

    Dravid was not a genius batsman - he was genius at one discipline - defensive technique, and he made a great career out of it.

  • Alex on March 21, 2012, 17:35 GMT

    @Abhijeet: Two corrections.

    1. In his 194*, SRT was not limping towards a double hundred: his final 44 came off just 53 deliveries.

    2. Definitive etc is a matter of opinion. SRT's 194* was an excellent support act for Sehwag's triple and India won that test. Also, the 160 was vs the same NZ against whom Gambhir had to play the innings of his life to save a test ... yet we refer to Gambhir's 137 in an equally tall-scoring match as a definitive knock!

    We all know that SRT's peaks are not that spectacular. I too feel that he should have performed better against top class attacks and in difficult/back-against-wall must win conditions. However, let's not rob him of credit where he earned it.

  • DonB on March 21, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    [[Where does he stand now. Maybe you or another reader can post his career figure. Let me try. 32468 runs were scored while Dravid was at crease. He played 164 Tests. So, the average partnerships per Test could very well be 32468/164 which works out to 197.8 runs. The partnership average works out to 32468/(286-32) which is 127.8 runs. Ananth:]] Actually the divisor would be the number of partnerships he was involved in, i.e. 700-odd, rather than just his innings, so the average is 45-ish. Also the figure of 197.8 puts him second all-time behind only Bradman - fitting.

  • Abhijeet on March 21, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    @Alex : I would never undermine Sachin's achievement. I just wanted to point out, how unlucky sachin is not to have such defining knock in his career but Dravid could have 4 of them.

    I know it is team game and sachin can not do it by his own. however it is his talent and batting genius that made us believe that he could do it alone. :(

    The other frustration is, when India got some decent bowling attack and got other great batsman to share some burden (since 2000), Sachin went in to loss of form for nearly half a decade (sad/unlucky/frustrating).

    About Lara, Lara played on his own terms, did not change his batting style for majority of his career and was in bigger slump than Sachin when they had decent bowling attack. Lara was the next generation of champion WI team who won all over the world. For India, this was our champion team, this was our golden generation, this was our hope to win as many matches/series as possible abroad. And I don't know how things will be in future?

  • Ranga on March 21, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    @ Gerry Reg 1997 Windies attack - You are right in the sense earlier attacks might have been better. But in the context of RSD's article, it was definitely one of the better attacks he faced all through. In fact 1999 Aus could be the peak attack he might have faced. May be Aus in 2001, but on friendlier pitches. Though Dravid blossomed post Kolkata 2001, some of the better attacks which he had to face were prior to that. After that, more often than not, none of the opponents had a full throttled bowling against India (barring SAF).And the brittle Indian batting actually made attacks look better than they were. Imagine India lost away series in Zim '98 and barely drew wid them in 2001. Lost in NZ in 1999,2002. The concept of excluding Zim and Bangladesh might be ok for other countries, definitely not India!A last regret for Dravid could have been 27th Dec '12 when he was building a stand with SRT and they fell triggering another whitewash. Till Stumps day2, Ind were on top.

  • Nitin Gautam on March 21, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    I would love to see the same kind of comprehensive analysis for Sachin Tendulkar too including peer ratio, impact, quality of bowling faced, home & away, performance in win, loss, draw in home & away matches for he along wid BCL for they gave the most cherishing cricketing memories so far.

    But Alas, dont know how long will his so called "love for the game" will make us wait to see it happening.

    Truly his retirement will make me feel older to the wrong side of 25.. [[ I have to wait for his retirement. Otherwise the analysis would be inclomplete. One of these days I will do Lara's theme. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 21, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    Ramesh, how does it matter. It was deadly bowling. To batsman without helmets. Supported by passive umpires and bloodthirsty spectators.

    If you want a day long diet of bouncers, I would think no further than Daniel. He was a brute, a bit like Patrick Patterson in his first series. In the end, people did land up in the hospital. And not only bouncers. Beamers also.

    In one of the Trinidad tests, you had both Holding and Roberts, and I cant think of a nastier prospect on any wicket, as they were at the peak of their pace.

    Holding averaged 19 in this series and 12 in the next. He was already a brilliant bowler. It is amazing no one talks about including him in World XIs. Our obsession with aggregates. I am sure you have seen his off-the-pitch movement.

    I am waiting for Ananth's bowlers across batsman group across ages... I want to place my bets right away - Ambrose, Holding, Lillee, Marshall, Hadlee will be the top 5...assuming focus is on averages not aggregate.

  • Alex on March 21, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    @Abhijeet:

    1. I already agreed that Ind has never a truly great batting partnership. The numbers were given to show that while Dravid's peak period started in 2001, he was already an excellent batsman by Jan 2000.

    2. Incidentally, Ind fell just short of win when SRT scored 148* in Sydney and then 241* & 60* in Sydney. The quality of SRT's batting in these 2 tests was top class. Lara has no defining innings in an away win either and yet none of us is bothered by that. That is as it should be because a batsman contributes only 20% to 40% of his team's match total ... for the bowlers, the max of this figure is a whopping 95% (Laker's 19). You can't blame a single batsman if his team falls short on the remaining 60%-80% needed to secure the win. In tests, bowlers are more important for a win than batsmen.

  • Ramesh Kumar on March 21, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    With so many matches across formats played around the year, it has become very difficult to have good averages across all situations. Kallis does well in SA(bouncier wickets), but not so well in Aus on similar type of wickets. We have all players having this type of issues and no point in deriding some of these players. They have proved to be good over many years and matches. We can probably identify great players/performances as a bunch, but to get specific ranking and infering relative greatness is a waste of time as our bias will determine that one. Some part of fun is lost in these discussions as more time is spent in lowering the status of one player to elevate another one. [[ Ramesh, very few people use these normal variances to put great players down. If I feel strongly about it I do not publish the comment but give an unmistakable message, as I have done once for the current article. Ananth: ]] Gerry..1976 Hospital case was more of Jamaica pitch and bouncer war by Holding & Holder than deadly bowling line-up.The line up was Holding(not yet become great), Daniel(raw), Holder & Julien. Trinidad tests were dominated by spinners. Better than 1971 line-up though.

  • Nitin Gautam on March 21, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    It is amazing how quickly umbrage is taken.

    Anantha

    You took me wrong. I didnt said that bcos of 60 avg thing u said about dravid...it was merely a general statement for everyone including me who appreciate/criticize anyone on cost of putting down others. Probably I might have dont that sometime in past so it includes me also How I can say this to you when after all the time I have put in going through your blogs, the most certain thing that I know is ur unbiased valuation for each player.

    Reagrding Lara, warne, Akram that was just a personal wish but on the broader side who would nt want them to be a part of their nation's cricket team.

    Sorry [[ No problems at all. I was trying to make a point that is all. In fact I think there is a need to do the comprehensive against-all-countries analysis for top batsmen to derive some insights. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhijeet on March 21, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    @ Alex: I was talking about his Test form Please see breakdown over the three different phase.

    1996-2002 55 4329 200* 50.92 9 1996-2001 47 3456 190 45.47 6 Exclude (Zim, Ban)

    2002-2006 49 4720 270 68.40 14 2002-2006 45 4385 270 67.46 13 Exclude (Zim, Ban)

    2006-2011 46 3014 191 39.65 8 (The numbers are so bad, that we don’t need to exclude Ban otherwise it will go down further)

    About Sachin's empty pot: none of those innings are definitive/historical. 117 vs WI - India lost the series 2-1 though WI side was on the decline and his form for the rest of the tournament looked so bad 193* vs Eng - it was Dravid's test 194* vs Pak - Sehwag scored first triple - and Sachin was limping towards his double century. I did support the declaration..was right thing to do at the time. 160 Vs NZ - again Weak team, India expected to win/ not the definitive one. 242* and 60* at Sydney could be his moment of glory...but blame it on Parthiv Patel who dropped too many catches

  • Nitin Gautam on March 21, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    If he had put in better SRT-like numbers against SA and Aus, he would have been knocking on the glass ceiling of 60.0 average.

    Here comes the anomalies associated with the SPORTS.. How I wish Lara, warne. Akram were an Indian.

    But there are some potholes for every sportsmen in their record n we will have to live with this. rather Than opening those potholes one should walk over them for rest of the road is as gud as it can be. That was Rahul "The wall" Dravid. & obviously no need to mention record of other players to put someone in any kind of perspective. [[ It is amazing how quickly umbrage is taken. I just brought in SRT only because we have had a recent discussion wherein SRT's consistent averages against Aus/Saf were appreciated. That is all. If I thought that Laxman had better figure I woould have used him. This was also to say that if one needs a near-60 average, one cannot have 2/3 weak spots. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on March 21, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    Kris for all the greatness of dravid which i truly admire (can see my comment in starting of the comment session)one thing that will always be against him is his record in Aus & SA (can be concluded that extreme pace on hard bouncy wickets somehow humbled him) of course barring Jo'burg 1996 where rathore & mongia added 90 for the 1st wicket& ganguly made 73 & 60 in both innings 2nd was his 87 in port Elizabeth after a huge controversy..over all not so impressive record, even in India his record is not that great against SA. Against aus barring 2003-04 his record is pedestrian when comparing to his lofty otherwise standards but that in that series probably Aus had their worst attack. SRT has still done reasonably well against Aus in Aus . 20 match 1809 runs 6-100s & 53.20 Avg. Against SA, SRT has also not done that good bt still his record is very respectable. 15 matches 1161 runs, 5-100s 46.44 avg.. [[ If he had put in better SRT-like numbers against SA and Aus, he would have been knocking on the glass ceiling of 60.0 average. Ananth: ]]

  • Anshu N Jain on March 21, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    While we are in the season of requests, can I make one Anantha? Could you do some numbers to bring out how often Dravid played the 'lone warrior' type of innings (most recent example being the England tour 2011). A possible measure that comes to mind could be instances where he scored more than 40% of the combined runs in an innings scored by the Top 6 batsmen? Would be good to see what the numbers suggest. The same could be done for other batsmen as well. Clearly, this would benefit batsmen who played in weak batting teams (Lara in the 2000s) or in the top 4, and punish those in strong, consistent batting teams (Aussies and Indians in the 2000s). But within the same team, the metric could be a worthwhile basis for comparison. [[ Very good measure and I suspect, the sucker I am, I will do more than a single report. This is somewhat similar to Gerry's pending request. Let me combine these. These types of special analysis make sense only when done across batsmen. A single batsman numbers do not mean anything 11.2%: So what? is this high or low. Ananth: ]]

  • Kris on March 21, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    very comprehensive, although Dravid Career avg gainst Aus and SA is pretty low by his standards, he has nevertheless produced few gems against them (148, 97 in SA) which we drew (233, 70+, 93) great victories. I would attribute on of the reasons for his low average in SA and AUS due to poor opening pair. BTW wht was Sachin average in the away AUS and SA series in the same period (1996-2012)?

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 21, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Ananth, Ranga

    Please dont call the 1997 attack of my beloved West Indies as a fearsome one or Franklyn Rose as a violent bowler. I saw that whole series, and was shocked at the fact that Ambrose would not even take the new ball at times (in the next year Lara had to coax him to abandon retirement plans) and Bishop was hardly the 1990 version. Indian batsmen still did creditably, but calling this terrifying...what would the 5 Indian batsmen who were hospitalized in 1976 say?

    Also Boll, 1) When Waugh made those runs in 1994-95, Ambrose missed two tests, and when he was rushed back from a shoulder operation, did well 3rd test only because it was a horrid wicket (Waugh made a brilliant 63*). By no means was Ambrose at his best. By 98-99, he was on oxygen (even Colin Miller and J.Rhodes hooked him).

    2) 1988-89, 90-91, 92-93 were vintage Ambrose. Waugh's figures are quite ordinary.

    Lamb, Gooch, Smith did well for Eng, however between -'88-'91

  • Neil on March 21, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    (continued) And a similar summary of Dravid's career (shown for easier reference)

    Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100s Dravid 286 32 13288 270 52.31 36 v Aus 62 6 2166 233 38.67 2 v Ban 10 2 560 160 70 3 v Eng 37 5 1950 217 60.93 7 v NZ 28 2 1659 222 63.8 6 v Pak 26 3 1236 270 53.73 5 v SA 40 3 1252 148 33.83 2 v SL 32 1 1508 177 48.64 3 v WI 38 7 1978 146 63.8 5 v Zim 13 3 979 200* 97.9 3 in Aus 32 4 1166 233 41.64 1 in Ban 10 2 560 160 70 3 in Eng 23 3 1376 217 68.8 6 in Ind 120 11 5598 222 51.35 15 in NZ 14 2 766 190 63.83 2 in Pak 9 2 550 270 78.57 3 in SA 22 1 624 148 29.71 1 in SL 21 1 662 107 33.1 1 in WI 28 5 1511 146 65.69 3 in Zim 7 1 475 118 79.16 1 [[ Neil You have shown me the way. Many thanks for that. I should change the program to do a combined matrix of Home/Away and Team. At one shot one should see the team totals, the away/home totals and team/location totals. Ananth: ]]

  • Neil on March 21, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    (continued) This in no way takes away from Dravid being a modern great. Even with his poor record in SA, as an SA fan I would always feel a great sense of relief when he got out against us. And India generally have a poor record in SA (worse than their record in Aus I would guess)

    Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100s Kallis 257 39 12379 224 56.78 42 v Aus 49 5 1722 114 39.13 4 v Ban 7 3 317 139* 79.25 1 v Eng 46 2 1879 162 42.7 7 v Ind 28 6 1585 201* 72.04 6 v NZ 26 3 1475 186 64.13 6 v Pak 26 4 1472 155 66.9 6 v SL 25 2 894 224 38.86 1 v WI 43 11 2356 177 73.62 8 v Zim 7 3 679 189* 169.75 3 in Aus 23 3 915 111 45.75 2 in Ban 3 1 63 39* 31.5 0 in Eng 20 0 586 132 29.3 1 in Ind 15 2 760 173 58.46 3 in NZ 13 2 649 150* 59 3 in Pak 9 2 582 155 83.14 3 in SA 134 19 6738 224 58.59 22 in SL 10 1 318 87 35.33 0 in U.A.E. 4 1 323 135* 107.66 in WI 22 5 942 147 55.41 3 in Zim 4 3 503 189* 503 3

  • Neil on March 21, 2012, 6:41 GMT

    Being South African, I'll readily admit bias; but for me Kallis and Dravid are very similar. His balls per innings is 105.6, which is just behind Dravid. Like Dravid, his presence at the crease gives comfort to South African supporters. He hasn't had a good record in England or Sri Lanka (and Bangladesh) but he has a very good record in India, and his record against Aus is better away than at home against them (which speaks to his character) He until recently had a problem of not having any double centuries (which became an issue a bit like Tendulkar's 100 100s) but he has had a number of match defining innings. As a crude measure of this, he has received 23 man of the match awards (compared with Dravid's 11) From that list: His maiden century - a second innings effort is his first tour of Aus (with Warne/McGrath) A century in either innings in Pak where the next highest score for SA was 77 I'll include a statsguru career summary of both players to compare.

  • Mithesh Kunder on March 21, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    I don't kbnow about the statistics and anything else. Its plain simple how many people pay their money to come to see match when tendulkar is playing sans Dravid in the match and Vice versa. See its Maximum display of skill in way its played. Who will come and see 100 Runs Scored in more than 200 balls/. Plain Simple. [[ Even here you don't seem to get right. Dravid might score a 200-ball 100 and Tendulkar a 160-ball 100. No big deal. If you had used Sehwag as a comparison it might make sense since he might score a 110-ball hundred. But then that would defeat the very purpose of this comment, wouldn't it !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 21, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    This is a very strange perspective but RD is one of the very few batsmen, who could continue from where he left before breaks, such as stumps. This was always a challenge for say, Sehwag,Ganguly to a large extent. Overnight not out status were actually not furthered upon (barring Viru's 309 @ Multan). If Ananth could throw light on this perspective, wherein the batsman had some decent start @ Stumps (say 20*) & kept going. I am not sure if this is possible. Why I say this? Because in tests, the biggest challenge is sustaining the batting over a period of time across multiple sessions. Most batsmen resuming with overnight scores, need to start afresh and restart. Some batsmen just continue, ensuring they dont waste the start. That is one more reason for the ability to build big innings. Lara had this knack of just continuing irrespective of the breaks, else 200+ scores cant be compiled on the same day always. [[ We can do this for day-end breaks, that too where the day-end batsmen are clearly identified. This is not so in many cases. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on March 21, 2012, 6:25 GMT

    Anath, thanks for the SR/ave balls faced complete list - fascinating stuff. Just noticed it then. Bradman (SR 59) truly freakish, considering contemporary norms and the fact that the majority of his tests were timeless. It`s not until No.37 that we find someone else Sanga (SR 54) with a SR of more than 50, then G Chappell at No.47, and not until Lara, at about No.60 in terms of balls faced, that we find someone with a higher SR. Astonishing.

    Obviously players such as Sehwag and Gilchrist are going to figure close to the bottom, they`d need to average 80 or so to figure in the top 20. [[ You must remember that a quarter of Bradman's innings have had the balls faced extrapolated. In other words he would have lost out because he would have scored faster. Still he has a strike rate of 58. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 21, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    Excellent article, and a realistic article. Gave the right credit without giving/taking away marks for emotional opinions. At times, when some person's career ends, we always feel that x or y under/overachieved (like Srinath, who ppl thought was an underachiever or Kumble, who was seen as an overachiever), but everyone got what they deserved-maybe a Karma theory:-)

    Some top inns from Dravid includes the entire 97 WIN series where,in his 2nd yr in test cricket, he averaged close to 72 with no 100s but the WIN bowling was excellent,with Bishop,Ambrose,Walsh,Cuffy,Dillon,Rose(Violent bowler). He and Sachin were the most consistent batsmen from either side in that series. 80-odd v Donald & Co in SBseries an attacking inns, rare from Dravid. 144* v WIN Bourda in 2002, where I guess he was struck on the head and was bleeding. One more fav of mine was a sub-50 inns @Toronto in '96vPak where he scored 46 in an extremely bad wkt. [[ The 1997 attack was a fearsome one while the 2002 arrack was a very average one led by Dillon and Cuffy. And the Toronto innings was against Wasim, Waqar and the two Mushtaqs on a very dicey wicket on which no fifth was scored. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 21, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    Shrikanthk, I find the term "daylight" that you use, inappropriate. Just as you say that one has to look beyond numbers, one must look beyond the relatively poor ratio of centuries to runs for some batsman like VVS Laxman and GR Vishwanath. At his best, Vishy was rated at par with Sunny, and held in high esteem, and got in 2-3 innings in the Wisden top 100. Similarly Laxman, who has played the best innings every played by an Indian, but who being of more recent vintage, does not need as much highlighting.

    If I were given a dire situation and asked who I would want to choose of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman, ignoring the precipitous fall in the performance of the three in Australia, and remembering only their sustained peaks, I would go for Laxman every time.

    He was not some also ran, and if appropriate weightage is given to second innings numbers, as I have long been advocating, you will yourself be forced to look beyond numbers. [[ Gerry, will be done in the fullness of time, when the appropriate analysis appears, when the conditions are ripe, when all side effects are studied et al (to borrow a phrase or two from Sir Humphrey Appleby). As and when I do the innings ratings again. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on March 21, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    Steve Waugh also pretty solid, averaged 56 away from home (69 in the Windies and 74 in England)

  • Boll on March 21, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    @Ananth - Greg Chappell would have to be right up there for consistency across all divisions.

    Ave 54 at home, 53 away.

    Lowest average vs any country; England (46), West Indies (56), New Zealand (57)

    Lowest averages in a country; England (41), West Indies (49), Australia (54).

    His 620 runs at almost 70 in the Windies (Holding, Garner, Roberts, Croft), and not included in these figures, during the `78/`79 Supertests remains one of the great forgotten performances in history.

    Not without reason was he chosen ahead of Ponting, at No.4 for obvious reasons, in the ESPN Oz all-time XI.

    Sobers, but for an inexplicably woeful record against NZ would also be up there. Overall, 12 tests, ave 24. In NZ, 7 tests ave 15 with a HS of 39? - go figure.

    Viv also pretty solid, averaging 43 plus against all teams, but only 19 in 3 tests in...NZ. [[ What I am looking for is a comprehenive across-the-board look at over 100 batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 21, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    @Ananth & @shrikanthk: Don't forget Hazare & Umrigar. Volume & longevity showcase legacy. When SMG started, the Indian bar was as follows

    Alex: Sometimes one has to look beyond aggregate stats. Especially when you are evaluating players of earlier eras who did not play a lot of tests. Umirigar did own a lot of records. But he was nobody's idea of a great batsman, especially away from Asia.

    Merchant played very few tests. But one has to pick him as he is in many ways the founding father of Indian batsmanship, the Bombay school in particular. His first-class average of 71 is other-worldly. Nobody except one man has surpassed that average over 200 years. His record on two English tours - 1936 and 1946 is extraordinary for an Indian batsman of that era, given that England was the most challenging place to score runs for an Indian batsman those days (even more so than Australia).

  • Boll on March 21, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    @Alex, just for interest, thought I`d add the 3 weakest countries for some other modern day greats.

    Ponting: India(26), England (42), SAf (47)

    Lara: India (33) - 3 tests, NZ (37), Aus (42)

    Kallis: Eng (29), SL (35) - 5 tests, Aus (46)

    You rightly mention Tendulkar`s unmatched `uniform excellence`

  • Boll on March 21, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    When people talk about Dravid I`m often reminded of a comment(attributed to Woodfull?) about Victor Richardson, one of Australia`s greatest all-round sportsmen and perhaps better known now as grandfather of the Chappell brothers. `In training, or during a match I can never remember him dropping a catch.` Hyperbole surely? `He might have, but I can`t ever remember seeing it.`

    How does this relate to Dravid? - as a close follower of the game I can never remember a team-mate or opponent, umpire or journalist, ever having a bad thing to say about him. Again, it might have happened, but I can`t remember hearing (of) it.

    I`ll leave it Shane Watson - `He`s probably the nicest guy-no, he is the nicest guy-that I`ve met in cricket. He`s a phenomenal man.`

    Sure, there have been (a few) better No.3s, but that`s not a bad epitaph to a glittering career. [[ Agreed. There would be crests and troughs in anyone's career, barring Bradman. If one gets an average of 60% against one team you necessarily have to get 40% against some other team. If you do well at home, you will slip away and vice versa. This gives me an idea. Who are the batsmen who have performed consistently across divisions, home/away (see Gavaskar), countries (cannot think immediately of someone). Good idea for an article. As a sustained no.3 over a long period of time, Dravid is surpassed only by Bradman and Ponting. Ananth: ]]

  • Abel Babel on March 21, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    Thank you Mr Narayanan for the comprehensive statistics. I only request that the Career Graph shows a horizontal line for 50-score as you have shown for 100 and 200. My eyes are not as good as they were, nor my accuracy with putting a ruler to the screen. Regards Abel. [[ Good idea. I will remember it and do it next time. This time the graph has into Cricinfo's huge data edifice and if I can do it, I will correct this graph itself. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 21, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    @Ananth & @shrikanthk: Don't forget Hazare & Umrigar. Volume & longevity showcase legacy. When SMG started, the Indian bar was as follows:

    1. # tests: 59 (Umrigar) 2. # runs: 3631 (Umrigar) 3. # 100's: 12 (Umrigar) 4. # 50's: 15 (Manjarekar) 5. average: 47 (Hazare)

    SMG improved on 1 by 100%, on 2 by 200%, on 3 by 200%, on 4 by 200%, and 5 by 8%. He also lasted 4 yrs more than the prevalent norm of 12 regular years. He hammered consistency & longevity in Indian psyche. His peer GRV achieved 40%-80% on these 5 counts (Mohinder achieved about 50%). These two set the stage for DBV who came within 50%-70% of SMG and later Azhar who did likewise. So, 20 yrs since his debut, SMG remained the bar for the post-'89 Ind generation. Dravid improved on all 5 counts: on 1 by 20%, on 2 by 30%, on 3 by 5%, on 4 by 40%, and on 5 by 2% (& on # catches by 100%). So, Dravid truly was SMG version 1.1. He cannot set the bar for the next generations thanks to SRT only!

  • Mohan Naik on March 21, 2012, 2:42 GMT

    Dear Mr. Anantha, thank you for this analysis. It was a very absorbing article. like all other that you have written but more so because Dravid has been more than an ideal for me. I sometimes feel aggreieved that media has projected a very low key image of Dravid. However Tendulkar's struggle to overcome that same media pressure over the last one year to get over the 100th century made me realise what media pressure can do. Anyway, for those who are nonappreciative of Dravid they need to realize that his record also shows his clinically deep approach to the game as a whole. For example his IPL performance is not far different (strike rate and average) from some one like Yuvraj who is acknowledged as a natural T20 & one day player. Finally here is one nugget that will put Dravid's test career in some perspective - Tendulkar's test runs scored from the day Dravid Joined Test cricket = 12841 runs.

  • DonB on March 21, 2012, 2:10 GMT

    Interesting stats there. I did a piece on partnerships last year and one of the stats which stands out really shows Dravid as the wall he was - at that time (after he had played 157 Tests) only three players had ever averaged more partnership runs per Test in history:- Bradman (235.67, 52 Tests), Headley (197.18, 22 Tests) and Charlie Davis (186.67, 15 Tests), with Dravid fourth at 195.56. Considering the vast number of Tests played by Dravid he stands comparison with the best. [[ Where does he stand now. Maybe you or another reader can post his career figure. Let me try. 32468 runs were scored while Dravid was at crease. He played 164 Tests. So, the average partnerships per Test could very well be 32468/164 which works out to 197.8 runs. The partnership average works out to 32468/(286-32) which is 127.8 runs. Ananth: ]]

  • Bollo on March 21, 2012, 0:28 GMT

    @Gautam Dalvi, here is the link for Bradman`s stats

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/4188.html?class=1;template=results;type=batting

    vs England, 5028 runs at 89.8 vs India, 715 at 178.8 vs South Africa, 806 at 201.5 vs West Indies, 447 at 74.5

    Home: 4322 runs at 98.2 Away: (ie. in England) 2674 runs at 102.8 (Bradman missed two away tours - 1935/6 to South Africa and the one-off test vs NZ in 46)

    Hope that helps.

    re. great Indian batsmen, surprised no-one has mentioned Vijay Hazare, chosen at No.5 in the ESPN Indian all-time XI. [[ Thank you, Boll, for chipping in. These links save me a lot of work, even getting into Cricinfo's Stasguru, which I rarely do.. Ananth: ]]

  • A. Khan on March 20, 2012, 23:22 GMT

    @Alex "Redpath is a surprise at 50" I think the whole list is a surprise. I never thought you were serious about the list. But this is how it is, John Wright trumps Sobers and Viv and sits side by side with Sachin/Lara/Ponting in terms of % of dominating + supporting innings! Also Ganguly and Sarwan sit side by side to Viv.

    For a person who KNOWS Boycott, who KNOWS SMG, who KNOWS Viv, who KNOWS Sobers (to make it clear - it's a compliment to you), asking this type of analysis was a surprise; but that's OK. With all due respect - Ananth doing the work to complete the analysis was also a surprise - but that's OK. But drawing inferences anything other than crease occupancy (CO) is unwarranted. And even for that i.e. CO, its better to take only balls played, I am sure Dravid will TRUMP lot of people. That wont be a problem.

  • Alex on March 20, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    @Abhijit: Let's first exclude early SL, Zim, and BD. Then, here is SRT's empty pot: 117 in WI ('02), 193 in Eng ('02), 194* in Pak ('04), 160 in NZ ('09). It is as full as Dravid's! Incredibly, it is fuller than even Lara's!! Lara managed only 2: 147 in NZ ('95) and 132 in Oz ('97).

  • A. Khan on March 20, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    cont.. where Botham, after settling in started trying to send almost every ball out of the ground before getting out at the fag end of the day at long on. Now coming back to that dazzling 196 ball 39 by Dravid against Australia in Mumbai 2001 – a dominant innings by definition, and an 84 ball 44 by Ramesh and 107 ball 65 by Tendulkar were supporters! One might argue that this innings held the batting together then don’t go far, just check Aussies first innings and how two batsmen scored centuries; similar to what Laxman and Tendulkar did 3 years later and won a match against same opposition at the same ground. [[ Ariz, don't go to town on this single issue. It is an interesting new measure suggested by Alex and I it is an uncut diamond. If and when I do an article with this as the main theme, I will take care of most factors mentioned by you. Once it is made context-sensitive most of the problems will be taken care of. My suggestion is, at this point of time, do not take it as either the gospel or last year's newspaper. It is something in between. Ananth: ]]

    I am ready to accept this gem of an innings of 196 ball 39, as an answer to global warming crisis, a remedy to world water crisis, an antidote to most destructive of the pandemics or even, a savior of human race from extinction, but NOT a “DOMINANT” innings.

  • A. Khan on March 20, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    Cont.. but Sandhu’s 63 where he took attack to windies pace battery on “that” pitch is a supportive innings. And that is not it. Viv’s 36 ball 61 is also supportive – I don’t know how. In fact cricinfo does not show that either of Gilchrist/Viv/Sehwag have any innings of less than 75 with over 150 balls, whereas Dravid has 21 of them! Tendulkar 5, Ponting and Lara have one a piece. Kallis has 11 such scores. I mean, it’s very simple; slower the batsman, more of his innings will be in this type of “dominant” category. I do understand that at times you need to see off the new ball or time, but Dravid knew just one way to get out of trouble – play slower and - slower. If any one feels not convinced, take a look at how dominant Barrington and Boycott were compared to Sobers! And how many of Sehwag/Kapil/Gilly/Botham etc sub-74 innings will fall as supportive. I wonder how a 48 ball 66 from Botham was supportive compared to 176 ball 71 from Gooch! cont..

  • A. Khan on March 20, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    @Ananth & Alex I do understand that this particular blog is intended pay tribute to Dravid, a fine batsman, who recently retired. I understand most of the analysis, but I failed to understand the reasons for which people like Kallis and Boycott etc are detested is taken as a measure to applaud Dravd! Taking the criterion of balls or runs scored means all DOMINATING batsmen are to be made look as SUPPORTIVE and vice versa. I won’t take the extreme example of his 196 balls 39 against Aussies. but take 1st test of India tour of windies 2006. As per you definition the dominant innings. He played two dominating innings 173 ball 49 and 177 ball 62. The other two dominating innings came from Jaffer 212 and Gayle 188 ball 69. There were six other half centuries but all were supportive! I think this changes the whole defination of "DOMINATION". Take another test India windies 1982-3 (1st test) Yashpal-63 (Probably >150 balls) and greenidge-70 (249 balls) innings are dominant (cont..)

  • shrikanthk on March 20, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    at least have the humility to state that Tendulkar is undoubtedly the best batsman produced by India, but "in your opinion". I for one, totally completely and utterly disagree - it has to be Gavaskar

    Gerry: Ofcourse it is my opinion. I can't possibly prefix each line of mine with "in my opinion" to ensure that I come across as "humile"!! [[ I have already responded to that. Ananth: ]] There are a lot of things to be said in favour of Tendulkar. Longevity, completeness of technique, comfort against both pace and spin, creditable record across continents AND a capacity to dictate terms. He may not have the greatest of records against the best of attacks. But that can't possibly be the criterion to judge a player. One doesn't regard Wasim Raja as a master batsman just because he did well against the West Indian attack of the 80s. One first looks at his overall Test and FC average first and then make judgments

    Sachin, Gavaskar, Merchant and Dravid are the four pillars of Indian batting. The rest follow after daylight. [[ For many modern followers Mechant would be just a name. However the other three are of recent vintage. Frankly it does not matter what is the order. That is a personal preference. Ananth: ]]

  • Swamy on March 20, 2012, 16:45 GMT

    Hi Ananth:

    Thanks for your response to my first comment (there were two so far). I think the question I wanted ask regarding the home versus away record was not fully clear. What I wanted to compare is the performances of Dravid versus those of the other top Indian batsmen in wins + draws in away tests. This information for Dravid is there in your analysis, but I think a comparison with other top Indian batsmen would place Dravid's contributions in the right perspective. Thanks again for your time and incisive analysis.

  • Alex on March 20, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    @Abhijeet: Dravid's best phase was 2002-06 and he was yet to become a major force when SRT's injuries started in April '98 but he _had_ become an established star by Jan 2000 itself. At that time, he was 26 yrs old with this record:

    34 tests, 58 inn, 2698 runs, ave=50, 6 100's, 16 50's. 108 ODI, 3758 runs, ave=38, SR=69, 7 100's, 20 50's.

    After WC 1999 itself, Raj Dungarpurkar, the then BCCI Chairman, held that Dravid had overtaken SRT. During 2000-01 also, Dravid put up solid stats:

    19 tests, 34 inn, 1559 runs, ave=58, 3 100's, 7 50's. 55 ODIs, 1720 runs, ave=39, SR=67, zero 100's, 15 50's.

    Dravid-SRT combo holds the world records for most # runs, most 100's, most 50's, etc. (http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283505.html). Still, it averages only 51. India has never had a truly brilliant partnership like Hobbs-Sutcliffe (ave=88), Langer-Ponting (ave=82), AB-Kallis (ave=78), Hayden-Ponting (ave-67). Ind's best is SRT-Ganguly at ave=61!!

  • Gautam Dalvi on March 20, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    Dear Ananth:

    Thank you for you analysis. Once comparison always made is of current batsmen against past ones to determine who had better records. But both quality of opponents and quality of bowler were quite different. Is there some way to 'normalize' the batting scores using career averages of top 3 opponent bowlers to get a rough measure on 'true value' of the score? For example, a 50 against famous WI quartet of 80s would be lot more valuable than a 50 against current Indian bowling. It could be further refined by breaking the bowler's stats by home/away. Speaking of #3 position - can you please, please, please provide breakdown of Bradman's record against each test playing country? Thanks in advance. [[ Too much work for a not-s0-important request. Bradman played against one country 75% of the time and then against South Africa, West Indies and India. So the split will be more or less on these lines. Anyhow what can you conclude when his averages are almost always 90+. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on March 20, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    Thanks for this phenomenal analysis on RSD, Ananth. A great tribute to not only a great batsman but also a great human being. A bride's maid for most part of his life (everytime he played a gem someone would take the entire lime light e.g. his two 300+ stands and his 180 against Oz) but never letting that bother him. Always giving his best. Filling in as wicket keeper, opener, lower middle order whenever needed. Completely sidelined from the ODI side in the late 90s (97, 98) but still didnt let that affect his attitude. The only Indian to score four successive 100s and six successive 50s in tests. Sometimes we dont realise the value of a person unless he or she leaves the scene. India is already missing sorely, the services of Kumble and now it will be Dravid. Hope Kohli or Pujara step up and fill the void soon. Chris Cairns once quoted that Dravid would be hailed as a real genius if he had not been playing along side Sachin. I wish him a great life ahead

  • Alex on March 20, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    @Ananth: Thanks.

    1. I too think you should ignore not out innings if those fail to cross the threshold for a supportive innings since that penalizes a batsman unnecessarily. Pl post revised tables. [[ Alex, as I have already mentioned to Raghav this seems to be an excellent measure. So I am not going to do changes in a hurry and post updates. Let me wait for some more comments. Ananth: ]] 2. It was instructive to look at dominant+supporting. On that metric, the Don has been trumped. Sutcliffe's % on it is 60 while the Don's is 59. Then comes Dravid at 53.8. He surpasses Hobbs (53), Kallis (52), Chander (52), Barrington (51), and Boycott (51). Redpath is a surprise at 50. Also, Mohd Yousuf's & Hussey's splits are quite lopsided.

    Notice Boycott. People generally rating SMG alongside Viv, Sobers, etc. is a recent phenomenon. Until mid-90's, he was deservedly rated as only one of the top 2 openers, and as _one_ of the best batsmen, of his era. I always felt Boycott was certainly his superior when it came to technique, defense, and shot making.

  • Abhijeet on March 20, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    After reading some of the above comments, I am tempted to post one more feedback.

    I am big Dravid fan but that does not mean I undermine sachin's achievements. I liked watching Sachin bat as much as Dravid. However I always wanted Dravid to perform, Dravid to score hundreds and big hundreds. you would understand the reason when you look at those 5 best innings you mentioned. you can easily mention few for Dravid which resulted in India win Overseas. But list one defining Inning for sachin (India Win Overseas)?..........None....The pot is empty. :( sad but truth.

    The other reason is during his entire career, Dravid did not receive the adulation the way Sachin received. So I knew Whatever Dravid would do he will never be India's best Test player. There always be Sachin in front of him.

    I know sachin played when India was weak bowling team. but Sachin had a chance to correct that when India had decent attack in 2000s. but there is none.. :(

  • Abhijeet on March 20, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    hi, Good Analysis, If you notice something by Yearly analysis. It is safe to say that Dravid's best years did not intercepted with Sachin's best.....

    Sachin was in top form since 1996 to 2002/03, the time Dravid was finding his feet in Indian cricket. Dravid came on his own in 2002 series against Eng and became one of the most influential batsman. However the time sachin started declining due to injuries and loss of form. It is well known that sachin was out of from for majority of 2003 to 2007 Period. The best years for Dravid.

    However Sachin returned to top form since 2007/08 series to Aus. and Dravid continued as mediocre performer chipping in between, Thus his career avg dropped from once 59 to 52.

    The point is, two major pillars of Indian cricket, but we never witnessed a sustained period where two top batsman played in top form (except that 2002 series in Eng, what a series that was), otherwise what would have been? [[ A very perceptive observation. Add this to the on-off situation of Zaheer Khan and Sehwag, you can see that almost always during the past 10 years, India has never had the best Test players at the top of their forms together. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajithkumar on March 20, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    Dear Anantha Narayana,

    I am a big follower of your blogs and your analysis. However you missed one key point about Dravid's away performances. Two countries are generally difficult for the sub-continent players, South Africa and Australia. Dravid's performance in both these countries are abysmal. His average in South Africa after playing quite a few matches is in the 20s. It would have been the same in Australia as well if not for the Adelaide match (Adelaide pitch is pretty similar to sub-continent pitches). He just have one century in south africa and one in australia in such a long career. I don't understand why none of the cricket commentators point out this weakness of Dravid.

    I wish you add something about this as well.

    Ajithkumar CricAges [[ Why do you say that I have not mentioned that. Pl refer to the article and graph. I have clearly mentioned that Dravid's averages against Australia, South Africa and South Africa are below 40, belw par. And I have not split this between home and away. Too many tables. And couple of readers have mentioned this also. And very easy to make a comment on Adelaide as a batting wicket etc. It is not so. In 2003 Australia scored 550+ and India were 85 for 4 when Dravid and Laxman had their partnership. If you say that this was an easy batting situation, we are living in different words. And how does Agarkar take 6 for 41 on a batting wicket. Ananth: ]]

  • Vibhav on March 20, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    I have been following so many reader's favourite Rahul test innings. But i still don't fathom why none of them has included the 177 VS SL ahemdabad 2009.Admittedly it was on home turf , but the pitch had something in it in the first session which made IND score 32/4.If not for that inning India would not have get that 2-0 result in the series which ultimately catapulted them to the acme of the ICC Test Rankings.. Regards

  • rohit madan on March 20, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    u must be a pure dravid fan. what a biased analysis you have done! [[ The rest is total nonsense and the outpourings of someone whose knowledge of what is good Test cricket can be measured on a pin-head. I have published this to avoid a comment that I do not publish criticisms. This is not criticism but an attempt to put down a great player and a gentleman. Mr.Madan: I would appreciate if you keep off this blogspace. There must be enough blogs out there on the web where your type of comments would be fine. Not here. You are not welcome here. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on March 20, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    The table you have made for Alex is indeed very interesting. I did some juggling and added the first 2 columns to form what I called impact innings. 10 odd batsmen were able to make an impact in 50% innings they played. Thats virtually in every test they played provided they get 2 innings. Simply superb. On the other side Sehwag and Dilshan are out of the top 100 which is very low for openers. Only 2 points I wish to make.

    1. Do not penalise a batsman for unfinished innings. If someone is not out on 15 off 30 balls, we just ignore from analysis. It should not be classified as failed innings. I suggest to include not out innings only when they are classified as Supportive / Dominant.

    2. Many of the lower order batsmen have suffered for obvious reasons. It pained me to find Gilchrist so low down. All-rounders like Imran, Kapil, Hadlee and Botham have also suffered. May be slightly relaxed criteria for no. 6, 7 & 8 (5 runs to 10 balls). [[ Raghav, I get the feeling that this is a new method to measure batsmen performances and for the moment I am going to leave it as it is. Your idea at excluding short not out innings out is eminently sensible and is somewhat similar to my method of excluding certain not outs as I hace explained in my response to Arjun. Let us wait for comments and then fine tune it. It could be the basis for a separate article. I have the excellent measure of average Batting position. Maybe this could be used to have varying cut-offs. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on March 20, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    Happy to be back into this blog esp on a nice one on a great player like Dravid. In our view of greats, perception matters and in my view, Dravid brought three important aspects to batting.

    1.He brought solidity to the line-up. We tend to be carried away by stroke players, but for team balance, you need Dravid. In fact if I will have to pick world 11, I will be nervous to pick a team filled up with stroke players like Ponting, SRT, Viv & Lara. For balance, you need Dravid , Kallis or Steve. 2.I am a great fan of partnerships, feel that it is underrated compared to match winning knocks which are overrated. Dravid is a massive anchor on which partnerships are built. 3.All players get sorted out by bowlers and great ones come back overcoming the challenge. Dravid rediscovered himself many times, extended his game to new levels. We will miss his batting, his intellectual approach to the game and most of all, the sincerity and humility he brought into the game.

  • arnold Sookoo on March 20, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    Great work. Keep it up and spread the analysis around.

    Dravid will never be replaced by any other Indian. He was just too good.

  • Ananth on March 20, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Alex: I have completed the work you wanted to be done and uploaded the table. The link is given below. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39210851/ALEX1.TXT I have expanded the scope a little bit and classified the innings into four categories, as described below. Dominant Innings : Runs >= 75 or Balls >= 150 Supportive Innings: Runs >= 40 or Balls >= 80 Below Avge Innings: Runs >= 20 or Balls >= 40 Failed Innings : Runs <= 19 and Balls <= 39 Match context not considered. So readers should not come out with saying that a 6 in 23 balls was worth its weight in gold or that the fifty was useless. This is just an overall analysis. Dravid's failures are the lowest, barring Bradman. Look at Bradman's successes: 35 (29 centuries + 6 scores exceeding 75). I think this is an excellent measure and needs further a look.

  • Arjun on March 20, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Ananth, I think correct way of measuring balls per innings is by subtracting notouts from the innings played. For Dravid it is 31259/(286-32) = 123.06 [[ For once I do not agree with you, Arjun. The BpI figure is a measure to determine the length and duration of a batsman innings and there is no way a 300-ball not out innings should be considered in the numerator but not in the denominator. For some other ratings work, I do an alternate method. I exclude not outs below 10 runs, say 4* or 8*. Here it can be modified to exclude not out innings below 25 balls. But certainly no replication of the Batting average which itself has its negative points but will be completely wrong for BpI. The BpI and RpI are similar numbers. The Average is different. Ananth: ]] Best In Test Cricket are as under....(Qua...3000 runs) Bradman....164 balls Sutcilffe..163 B Mitchell..152 L Hutton....148 Barrington...144 Boycott.....135 H Mohammad ...135 W Hammond ...130 Kallis....124 Dravid.....123 Border....123

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 20, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    Ananth, I feel we are a priveleged lot - we can ask whatever analysis we want, no matter how arcane, and luckily you have the motivation and ability to execute. May it continue for long. [[ One thing I can assure you, Gerry. It is this challenge which keeps me going, nothing else. If I go to do this work for a foreign newspaper, I may get paid much more but I will lose you guys and Cricinfo's very nice atmosphere. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on March 20, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    @Ananth: Good analysis and a lot of hard work. But what defines Dravid for me, a cut above the rest, are the five innings you mentioned. No graph can capture the essence of those knocks. They define his career and the new Indian team which can win abroad (At least they could till 2010).

    All under critical circumstances and each opening a new chapter of winning in that country after 15 odd years. Perfectly the 4 away knocks are in different continents aginst the best of that continent. So that no one discounts the 180 at home it was against the best team of last 2 decades who were on a 15 match winning streak and an innings ahead. [[ Yes, at a pinch, one could put in the 146, but not at the expense of any of these innings. Certainly not the 180, which provided the kick-start for India for the next 10 years, almost to the day. What you have mentioned just struck me that these have been played in 5 different countries. Ananth: ]] This may sound a little wierd for AUS/ENG/WIN who have won a lot abroad. But for India, no amount of runs and 100s can do what these five knocks did. Previously I used to pray when India toured for rain and draw. The very fact that I started expecting India to win when they went on tour is because of Dravid. Now, we can go back to praying.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 20, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    Shrikathk, at least have the humility to state that Tendulkar is undoubtedly the best batsman produced by India, but "in your opinion". I for one, totally completely and utterly disagree - it has to be Gavaskar.

    Secondly, if you dismiss Kallis for failing against top notch attacks, whereas Dravid succeeded, why not Tendulkar - failing quite miserably when the team was getting thrashed 8-0? No use talking about pressure of 100th century - he wasnt even getting to 50 often enough.

    If you want stats on tests, take the old comparison - against the full strength Aus attacks (McGrath + Warne, at times Gillespie also) he averages 36 in 9 tests. Against SA, Pak, modest averages. Did not play Eng 05 attak. In ODI against Eng + Aus + SA in those countries, the so called "big grounds plus balanced wickets" his averages are well below that of Dravid, Ganguly, Sanga, Chander, Lara etc.

    But of course I still hold that barring Kapil Dev, he is the best timer of the ball from amongst Indian batsman [[ Gerry None of us, myself included, has the right to say XYZ was/is the best batsman/bowler, PERIOD. Maybe anyone of us can say that when we talk of one batsman, and only one batsman, and no bowler. So the phrase "IN MY OPINION" is automatically pre-fixed to any comment. It applies to you, Shri, Alex, Arjun, Raghav, Ranga, Ananth, abc, xyz or pqr. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 20, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    He did not break new grounds like Sehwag, with all his flaws, did. Also, VVS was more talented and did many things Dravid couldn't. Still, like you, I am also tempted to put Dravid ahead of these two

    Alex : Let us just stick to Test cricket. I see no point bringing in ODIs into the picture. It distorts our impression of the player. ODI stats are heavily influenced by batting positions, rule changes. So its difficult to read too much into them.

    At any rate, Dravid was a better ODI player than Laxman and arguably just as good as Sehwag in that format (especially if you consider the fact that Dravid didn't have the luxury of batting with field restrictions unlike Sehwag).

    There is no doubt in my mind that Dravid ranks among the top 4 Indian batsmen of all time along with Sachin, SMG and Merchant. After these three, there is daylight. And then the rest.

  • Bhardwaj DSS on March 20, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Good job! Can you add further to the following stat:

    No of times batted: 219 Came in at 0 for 1: 18 ( 8.2%). Came in at x for 1: 61 (27.8%). Came in at 1x for 1: 106 (48.4%). Came in 75 for 1: 172 (78.5%).

    I am interested in seeing Dravid's achievements in all these match situations. Good scores/averages/balls faced at the first two situations will tell a lot more about the man. [[ If you download Dravid's career sheet you can get most of this information yourself. I have quite a few tables there sorted by different factors including when Dravid came in. Ananth: ]] Also, another interesting stat would be to see when he lost his wicket. I mean, of all his innings when he came out at no. 3, when did he get out? Was he the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or the 10th wicket? Also, the runs/averages at each position when he lost his wicket. This will be a wonderful stat to ponder upon. Tells you how long he stayed there, while others found it difficult to preserve their wickets.

    I guess you have already collected detailed information about him. This is a stat heaven for Dravid fans. Again, good job and thanks!

  • Dhanush on March 20, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Attaksamana analysis.. Pattaya kilapareenga.... But one more help.... Could you please provide data with No.3 batsmen against Test playing nations(excluding Bang/Zimb) and not in the home continent? ( Dravid - except Asia, Ponting - except Australia,Newzealand etc.,) [[ These types of sub-analysis don't prove anything. If we spli these as Asia-OutsideAsia, the the tough Pakistan/SriLanka fall into Asia and Zinbabwe falls into Outside Asia. Also batting in India might be easier than batting in Sri Lanka. Batting in South Africa might be tougher than batting in Australia. That is what the last article conveyed. We should take any average over 50% at no.3 as outstanding irrespective of where it was played. Ananth: ]] And finally, Dravids 233 and 26 against Donald are the wonderful ones and treat to watch and cannot be compared.... particularly the pull shot against McMillan and Donald....

  • Alex on March 20, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    @Ananth: Yes, and the # I gave for the 5 batsmen are actually _in_ those countries. E.g., Dravid averages 49 vs SL but only 33 in SL, etc. Incidentally, Dravid's averages above 33 in ODI's in all major countries but his SR dipped below 69 in Oz, SL, WI, and SA. His SR was 73 in Pak and exceeded 78 in Ind & in Eng ... so, again, no major surprise that he did OK at age 39 in summer 2011 ODI's in Eng.

    These breakdowns point out Dravid's drawbacks but also indicate an extremely cerebral level-headed and committed work ethic on his part. He truly made the most of what he had. He did not break new grounds like Sehwag, with all his flaws, did. Also, VVS was more talented and did many things Dravid couldn't. Still, like you, I am also tempted to put Dravid ahead of these two. It is nice that we got to discuss him at length thanks to this article.

  • Swamy on March 20, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    Hi Ananth: We need to look at two parameters while judging Dravid's contribution in test matches. One, the number of times he helped India win and draw test matches with the runs scored by him, and by batting out time (no. of balls faced), respectively. How does he compare with other top Indian batsmen such as Tendulkar, Sehwag, Laxman, Ganguly and Gavaskar (all of them played over 100 tests for India) in such an analysis? Finally, how does his away record compare with that of the above? I think it is unfair to say that Dravid didn't do well in Aus and SA in away tests, since his contributions were crucial in India's wins in Adelaide and Perth, the only two tests that India won in Aus during the last 23 years. A 40 that helped win a low scoring match is more important than a century in a dull draw. [[ The awy record of other Indian batsmen has already been given in response to a comment. Most of the other info you have asked for is available in the article. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 20, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    @shrikanthk: Suprised that you forgot about Kallis.

    Alex: As you might have guessed I don't consider ODIs. To me, they are a different sport altogether. Not just a different format. This is not condescension. Just my way of looking at things.

    I thought about Kallis. But Dravid at his best trumps Kallis. Especially against slow bowlers. Kallis has a somewhat sketchy record against Aus and England. Something we can't overlook. Dravid showed his class in 2011 against Strauss' Englishmen who had arguably the best bowling attack of the past 10 years.

    And some of his innings rank among the best of his generation - 148 in Headingley, 270 against Pak, 233 against Aus. Kallis lacks "specials" of this quality in his resume.

    Also I am not going purely by averages but by my general impression of the batsman in a wide range of conditions over the years.

    Pretty confident about my top 6. [[ You may be right if we talk only as batsmen. But as a player, Kallis is right up there competing with SRT. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 20, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    @shrikanthk: Suprised that you forgot about Kallis. Post 1989, the top 5 list, esp. if we consider ODI's as well, is certainly this: SRT, Lara, Ponting, S Waugh, & Kallis. For #6 through #12 also, Dravid has a tough competition from Inzy, Sanga, Mahela, Sehwag, KP, Smith, Hayden, VVS, & Chander. Dravid should make it to the top 12, all the same. [[ I would be tempted to make the list top-6, include Dravid there and let the lower group fight it amongst themselves. Dravid is far ahead of Smith, Chanderpaul, KP and Sehwag. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on March 20, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    Arjun: I have added the % of Team score (14.9%) in the main table, for the complete career and have introduced the values for Home/Away and Won/Drawn/Lost tables. Alex: Working on your request. By tomorrow. Gerry: Unfortunately the program segment I used for the Dec 2010 article could not be located, despite my very good archival methods. However I promise I will re-do that. May take couple of days. Nothing else pending.

  • Alex on March 20, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    @Arjun:

    1. I will give the career averages for their 3 worst nations (excl Zim/BD and really small sample sets). SMG is excluded since he is from a different era.

    Dravid: 42 (Oz), 33 (SL), and 29 (SA). Sehwag: 28 (Eng), 20 (NZ), and 26 (SA). VVS: 35 (Eng), 38 (Pak), and 40 (SA). Ganguly: 35 (Oz), 36 (SA), and 37 (SL). SRT: 40 (Pak), 46 (SA), and 48 (WI).

    This uniform excellence is a major but under-rated strength of SRT's career and the prime reason why the last year should be so alarming. [[ Particlularly because the dips happened against teams against whom SRT has done well (Eng and Aus). Ananth: ]] 2. Dravid's top 3 forts were always Eng, Pak, & WI: he averaged 69 in Eng, 78 in Pak, and 66 in WI. It's no major coincidence/surprise that he did well in Eng & WI in 2011. His failure in Oz '11-'12 was predicted by us a priori and that too happened just as expected.

    Dravid has left a very big void. Like Ganguly's, his impact went beyond the scoreboard numbers. And it's been 3 years but Ind is yet to fill the hole at #6 created by Ganguly's year 2008 retirement.

  • Nitin on March 20, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    Ananth, I'm sure you don't need my thanks again. I'm wondering if it's possible for you to analyse the batsmen at their peak. If this was ever done, I'm guessing you'd take the batsman's highest average in their career (minimum 50 test matches or so). [[ If you just say any specific set of batsmen, I might be able to give you a quick response here itself. Otherwise it is a fill-fledged exercise. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 20, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    Dravid was a gifted player, but worked hard to make it seem he wasnt gifted. A bit like Steve Waugh, with his jabs. Also a bit prone to working the off stump ball to the on side all the time, thanks to a closed grip. But when in flow, an extremely stylish batsman. But all the same, Tendulkar is undoubtedly a better timer of the ball, the best from amongst Indian batsmen I have seen, barring Kapil Dev

    Agree. I was looking at Dravid in isolation. At no point can we compare him favourably with Tendulkar who is without doubt the greatest batsman India has ever produced.

    How great is Dravid? Well. I would rank him among the best half-a-dozen batsmen since 1989. But only just. That list would include - Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting, Steve Waugh, Sangakkara and Dravid. [[ Shri I have uploaded the Balls played per innings file again with information on Balls played, Actual and Extrapolated. The same link http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39210851/InnsBalls.txt Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 20, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    Ananth: Thanks a lot for that table. That one table makes the history of batsmanship come alive. Some observations - - Gavaskar has a significantly better Strike rate than Dravid - Gavaskar has a slightly better Strike rate than GR Viswanath - Gavaskar has a slightly better Strike rate than Ian Chappell!!! - DGB and Ponting have more or less the same Strike rate - The real stars when it comes to optimizing the risk-return tradeoff are DGB, Sehwag and Gilly. These guys know exactly how to extract the maximum bang for the buck. One question : How complete is the SR and Balls faced per innings information. For Eg: I know for DGB you have information for atleast 69 out of 80 innings. What about someone like Ian Chappell? I have complete 100% balls faced information for about 1300+ Test (about 64%). I have this continuously from about Tendulkar's career (1988) onwards. Before that it varies. So what I have oresented is an amalgam of actual balls faced informtion and extrapolated from team balls faced for the others. Just a few examples of this split. Given as actual+extralpoated. Kapil Dev: 4737+2857 Richards: 9592+3596 Bradman: 8698+3236 Lara: 19753+0 Tendulkar: 28593+0 IanChappell: 8268+3793 GChappell: 13079+839 Sobers: 3859+12617 and so on Unfortunately, in a hurry I did not put up the Balls faced info in the file I uploaded. I will do that, splitting into Actual and Extrapolated and upload in the next hour.

  • CoolBoy on March 20, 2012, 2:58 GMT

    Anantha,

    Please do an analysis of the best test and ODI batting line ups ever as your next series.

    Thanks

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 20, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    Shrikanthk, Dravid was a gifted player, but worked hard to make it seem he wasnt gifted. A bit like Steve Waugh, with his jabs. Also a bit prone to working the off stump ball to the on side all the time, thanks to a closed grip. But when in flow, an extremely stylish batsman. But all the same, Tendulkar is undoubtedly a better timer of the ball, the best from amongst Indian batsmen I have seen, barring Kapil Dev.

  • Arjun on March 20, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    I just wish one thing to be added. And I am not asking it to pull Dravid down, I am asking because I have been told again and again that Dravid is our best overseas batsman. So I wish him to be compared with other bests of our era like say tendulkar, laxman , ganguly (include Gavaskar also in the list) etc etc. What I want to see is their averages in (like in Aus, in england etc etc and NOT against them overall) nations they have batted. I know dravid has wonderful record in England but he does badly against SA. PS: I will miss Dravid's batting. Hope newcomers could fill the void he left. [[ I can certainly do it here itself.

    Batsman         Home            Away
    Tendulkar  6765   56.38   8705   54.75  
    Dravid       5598   51.36   7690   53.03  
    Gavaskar  5067   50.17   5055   52.11
    Sehwag    4248   58.19   3930   44.66
    Laxman     3767    51.60   5014   42.49
    Ganguly    3180    42.97   4032    41.57
    Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 19, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    @Ananth: Ha, ha ... Reid wasn't that slow. But your reaction sums up the general response to Chris Taware. He was the first international batsman I saw bat live at a ground and that memory is etched in the brain ever since. Seasoned hardened criminals, if they are die-hard cricket fans, are known to break down when Taware's Blue Ray DVD's are brought in during interrogations! [[ No, my reaction was not at all because it was Chris Tavare. It was only the arbitrary fixing of a cut-off number to accommodate one specific batsman. Not to forget that I have done the same thing to get in Turner, that too because I have referred to in the article. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 19, 2012, 23:14 GMT

    @Ananth: A top-class batsman should bat about 90+ deliveries (45+ runs at SR=50). Dravid did well on it. He scored 25+, i.e., batted 60+ deliveries, 55% of times. He scored 35+ (i.e., 90+ deliveries) almost 50% of times. His partnership record:

    1. He is probably #1 on # century stands: he has 90 or so, followed by SRT with 88 or so.

    2. Two best ever ODI stands (331 with SRT vs NZ in '99 and 318 with Ganguly vs SL in '99) as well as India's 2 best ever stands in tests (410 with Sehwag vs Pak in '06 and 376 with VVS vs Oz in '01).

    3. In tests, Dravid-SRT combo has the records for the highest # runs, 100's, and 50's (see http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283505.html).

    A critic tends to simultaneously over-rate & under-rate SRT (similar to Horowitz in piano). But we all can appreciate Dravid exactly for who he was. He was competent but nothing more vs fast bowling in SA & Oz but first drawer otherwise. His 146* vs Eng in '11 should rate among his Top 5 test innings. [[ Yes, I thought long and hard. But could not bring myself to take away any of the ones I had put in. Thought of changing to 6 but resisted the impulse. Ananth: ]]

  • Kiran on March 19, 2012, 22:29 GMT

    Nice analysis! I would really like to see 'career' wagon wheels and how they may have evolved over time. For example, in Chopra's article he tells us how Dravid become more balanced (on/off) over time to counter bowlers bowling to his weaker side (off). A timelapse of the career wagon wheel with a variable window size... Now that would be a wonderful visualization for all batsmen. Just a wish... [[ To do wagon wheels one needs ball-by-ball data which I do not have access to. My source is the scorecard, the single document. Ananth: ]]

  • M on March 19, 2012, 21:47 GMT

    ..can't see the wood for the dried leaves slowly crumbling to dust underfoot.. [[ This is not the usual Viagra selling junkmail. So I will leave it for the readers to make any sense. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on March 19, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    Ananth - I think when we celebrate Dravid, analyzing his runs and average is misleading. If we ask this question, what does it take to win a test match - atleast take 10 second innings wickets. And how can we prevent that? By not losing 20 wickets. Making runs is a by product of not losing wicket...So making runs is not a requirement if your objective is to not lose a test match. But should you want to win it, the best case is to take 10 second innings wickets and the other case is to score more runs and expect the other team to declare their second innings. My point here is, batting out time is as much important or more important than scoring runs if you do not have the ability to take 10 second innings wickets. So test batting average is insufficient in assessing a batsman's contribution, one needs to give equal and maybe more importance to the strike rate. Dravid is not one of the greatest because of the runs he scored or the average he built,but because of the balls he played.

  • tashfeen on March 19, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    Hi Ananth, excellent article as usual. I'm sure Dravid would be as impressed as we are.

    I am a huge fan of your blog, but I barely know anything about you! Do you have a biography somewhere? If not, please tell us about yourself! How did you get into cricket statistics professionally, and who are your favorite cricketers? The blurb about you on this website is inadequate.

    Also, would it be possible for you to do an analysis of Brian Lara's career, and compare him to other greats of the game (past and present)?

    All the best sir! [[ Will do your no.1 request one day and no.2 request another day. Ananth: ]]

  • A. Khan on March 19, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    @Ananth:

    Fabulous: low-avge-team-loses syndrome I am sure whenever you are going to do any match-winner analysis, you are going to take this syndrome into account. With all the due to respect to the great Inzi, (Excl. Zim/Bang) he averages Bradmansque 85 in won matches. But look closely, and it won't require an Einsteinian Brain to figure out his exceptionally poor records against SA/Aus coupled with Paki's inability to win those matches is the primary reason. Even Yousuf/Yunus have very poor record against these countries. That's where Ananth's stats are very useful. They put the things into perspective. The tough group averages of these players tells where they stand.

    Coming to Dravid, I would rate his effort in Kingston as the best because of the pitch, would have been ranked one of best performances that I have seen but for poor quality of windies bowling. And of course his last England series was his best effort. I am more of a Bowling/Pitch person as against match situation.

  • suhayl on March 19, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    An excellent analysis of a superb batsman. Interesting to note that apart from that slump in 2007-2008, he never really had a dip in form as he averaged over 40 in every other year barring his first and his last. As for his partnerships with Tendulkar,there was a double century partnership against New Zealand at Mohali(around 1999)which came in India's second innings of the match(India scored 83 in the first innings). The only disappointment of his career I guess would be his record against South Africa although he did score 148 at Johannesburg in 1997 and an important match saving innings of 87 at Port Elizabeth in 2001.

  • Som on March 19, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Ananth - Thanks for the excellent analysis. One observation though, in the peer group comparison - Since Kallis has a higher batting average than Ponting and since both have played during the same era >= Dravid's, therefore Kallis' ratio of AT7 has to be higher. Ran some numbers, and think Kallis should be 1.51, Ponting - 1.42, Dravid - 1.39, Sachin - 1.49.

    Also, AT-7 may be a stretch because other than a few exceptions like Gilchrist and Dhoni, most number 7 batsmen will have a very low average and therefore inflate the contributions of the top order in terms of ratio of contribution. In fact out of 286 innings, Dravid has played less than 5% in 5,6,7 positions and might be an aberration. Considering only 1-4 for AT-4 peer group, Dravid has a ratio of 1.32. [[ I think we should go by 1-7 because more often than not, Test 7 seems to be an all-rounder, wicket-keeper or at least a Warne-type who averages around 20.Don't forget that Vettori was there for quite a few Tests until New Zealand discovered that he had scored one more Test century than Srikkanth. Then he went ahead and doubled his tally. Vettori's average BpI is incidentally 8.11. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 19, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. I meant to say that graphs showing a similar split of % runs scored by Dravid (1st inn vs 2nd inn) would be nice. I don't how to make this sentence clearer.

    2. If your # deliveries/innings list has a cut off of 1755, it can include a colossus in Chris Tavare. Tavare, whose batting probably put more people to sleep than the entire stackful of lullaby songs ever composed, faced 102.41 deliveries/innings at SR=30.60. He was a batting counterpart of Bapu Nadkarni the bowler. Dravid's batting in the first 2 tests of the '07-'08 Oz tour evoked stirring (or, rather, sleeping) memories of Tavare's great art. [[ I will do it and you, fresh from a 11 Am coffee, will ask for the cut-off to be lowered to 1296 so that JF Reid would get in with a BpI of 118. The sucker that I am, I will do that also. Thanks, but no thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Barani on March 19, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    this is simply amazing. i am a crazy fan of Dravid. thank you so much for this analysis.

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    I have always admired the hard worker than the genius.

    Dravid was more than just a "hard worker". Nobody can play as much test cricket as he has with just "hard work". If success is all about hard work, then Sanjay Bangar and Akash Chopra would've had a stellar career.

    Dravid was a gifted player. Period. Let's never lose sight of that.

  • shrikanthk on March 19, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Interesting. Could you share the top 20 batsmen list going by the "Number of balls faced per innings"?

    You said that Bradman, Boycott, Hobbs and a few others are ahead of Dravid in this respect.

    I'd love to see a ranking of batsmen based on this metric. It will help us understand the dynamics of batting average better. We all know that Batting average = F(No of balls faced, Strike rate). Ranking batsmen by the first metric will help us understand their SR better as well. [[ Shri I have given below the link to download the complete list. Cut-off is 2991 runs so that Glenn Turner would come in. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39210851/InnsBalls.txt Ananth: ]]

  • aravind on March 19, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    one of the gems of Indian cricket:the batting genius of the generation along with sachin, lara and a hardworker as kallis after your retirement the viewership for test cricket will reduce. we will miss your delicate shots deserves a better farewell series

  • Vibhav on March 19, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    Dear Anantha Sir , Thanks a lot for the response That was my first comment ever on this blog. I belong to the group of cricinfo lovers who whenever log on to cricinfo;always look out for your blog.Following this blog along with the comments as well as demands of Gerry_the_merry Sir,Alex Sir,Arjun Sir,Navin Sir and many other avid as well as enlightened readers of this game for such a long time is an experience in itself.Two things that makes this blog unique are- The Constant interaction between you and your ardent fans and Your HUMILITY. I never ever remember when you have declined any statistical demand of any of your fan outright.. Regards Vibhav P.S. (In a lighter vein)I have won many MY IDOL IS BETTER THAN YOUR'S debates only with the help of IT FIGURES..

  • Tanmay on March 19, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Ananth: Excellent piece of statistics and nice work putting it together. Thanks much for doing this for all the Dravid fans. Dravid is a great batsmen and will be missed greatly in Test Cricket. It is hard for me to imagine the no. 3 position for India being filled by anyone else. This piece of stats here is just yet another proof of greatness of this batsmen - one who will be an exemplar when it comes to test cricket for many many years to come.

  • Abhishek Gupta on March 19, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    WonDerFuL anaLysis. . ! !

    iT seTs a banchmark on how To anaLyse Huge seTs oF daTa. .! !

    And represenT iT graphicaLLy .. ! !

  • Nitin on March 19, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    @saad khan: That quote game me goosebumps, thank you.

  • xyz on March 19, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    For the home/away graph, it might have been better to move home/away to above/below the axis and colour-code 1st/2nd innings as that would have allowed an at-a-glance view of his H/A highs and lows. Also, the yellow background for that graph and the W/L/D graph make it difficult to process them visually.

    The very naive statement "If a writer wanted to do a tribute to Dravid, he could do that in an hour in wonderful prose. On the other hand I toil hard" shows a lack of understanding of the amount of work that needs to go into a well-written article. [[ Naive sttements are made by people who do not have back-up for their information. I do a different blog. I normally spend an hour for those articles including putting in a table or two. If I wanted to do a purely non-numeric article on Dravid, I would probably require an hour. I have friends who write for Cricinfo these types of articles, who do broadcasting and while away on tour send off articles, I have heard from them that what they need for an article is an hour since that is all the time they have. So I have not made a naive statement. Ananth: ]]

  • saad khan on March 19, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    I am a pakistani but undoubtedly i can say thar Mr RAHUL SHARAD DRAVID is the best batsman i ve ever seen in test and a wonderfull player with who can put some magical stands in ODIs as well, his performances in Tests are remarkable but in ODIs they are overshadowed not because of his performance level but due to the hype of Sachins and Souravs aggressive hundreds but even then his contribution is way more better than any other in international arena. " It takes 16 Years to become Sachin Tendulkar but you need to born Rahul Dravid for that"

    Hats off for a true match winner..bye bye, the cricket will miss you!! [[ A wonderful tribute from the heart. I hope one day when Younis Khan finishes his career I am able to say such kind words. For that matter Afridi, although he cost Pakistan the match yesterday. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 19, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. I had requested a "dominant" and "supporting" innings computation for Dravid. That is a bit unusual but quite insightful. Can you pl add it to this article? [[ Can do but will take some time since the analysis is for all batsmen and requires some database updates and new fields. Ananth: ]] 2. The 1st inn vs 2nd inn split is nice on the graphs. It would be great if you pl add the graph of % runs scored by Dravid (in 1st vs 2nd inn) immediately below each such graphs. That will give more information. [[ I don't understand this. 3 of the graphs which have the first & second inns splits are by Test. If so what is the % needed. And the Vs Team graph has Runs and Average above and below. Ananth: ]] 3. Also, Dravid's ODI career deserves a mention. He kept wkts when needed. Like Kallis, he adapted well after 1998. In fact, his ODI *career* stats don't look that different from Lara's or Kallis' ... no direct comparison is intended: Lara had an extra gear and a SR that was better by 12% while Kallis has an avg that is better by 12%. [[ I refrained from just a casual mention. And tough to do a complete article since I don't have a Player analysis program for ODIs. Should have one. Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on March 19, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    Dear Anantha,

    My fb staus update was - To me he was the MVP of Indian Test cricket!

    The one thing I avoid going by - fpr Dravid, or, for any Indian batting great - is " xxx in wins" - cos we didnt have the bowlers to win consistently.

    Thank Aditya

  • Piyush Jha on March 19, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    Fortunate to see the last cover drive he played in India at Wankhede Stadium,never thought he would never play here again ! Was a spectacle, that shot !

  • Burt on March 19, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    Sometimes we make too much of these peer comparisons. I see no need to explain why other batsmen averaged more than Rahul at the number 3 position. It is a statistical fact that for some reason ppl interpret as an attack. For example, a few here have tried to nullify Lara's higher average at that position by speculating that he only played 66 innings or when he played his innings at that position, 1992-94 one person conjectured based on his "gut". Isn't it easy to pull these stats to verify these intestinal feelings? Lara was scoring hundreds at that position in the 21st century. Including the world record 400* in 2004 and his last hundred against India in 2006 on a difficult last day pitch to save WI from defeat. His last hundred, a mere 216 was scored away from home at number 3. The point is when you are talking about players of the level of Dravid, SRT, Lara and Ponting it is silly to try to over compare. They will win some and lose others on stats but they are all very special. [[ Anyhow I have clearly mentioned that Dravid's figures at no.3 are bettered by three contemporary batsmen. So no attemp has been made to paper over anything. Ananth: ]]

  • Giri on March 19, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    I have always admired the hard worker than the genius. Steve Waugh over Mark, Chanderpaul over Lara, Dravid over Sehwag, Laxman, Tendulkar. Stewart over Gooch, Gower, Boycott, Shastri over Gavaskar, Kapil, Vengsarkar. Gomez over Richards Mahanama over D Silva list goes on. Becker over Stich, Edgberg, Linekar over Gascoigne. To me the ultimate fighter never say die is Dravid. Combine that with elegance, lack of unwanted aggression, arrogance and add calmness and quiet suffering and no complaints. THERE IS NO ONE LIKE DRAVID and THERE WILL BE NO ONE unless his son takes the mantle inheriting that character and human traits also. I stopped watching ODI once Dravid was dropped I watch IPL only when Dravid is playing now I just read score card and stopped watching tests also. Soon once Dravid leaves IPL I will stop that also. Every innings of Dravid either on TV or on cricinfo I have followed. Every time he got ut I stopped followng. I will miss Dravid every shot and sheer calming presence.

  • Arjun on March 19, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    Ananth,

    Dravid scored about 15-16 % of team runs in all matches. Since he has good record in wins, it would be interesting to know the same figure in only victories. and compare it with other great players. Say some player might have above 20 % in victories as compared to 14 % overall their career. That would be good way of measuring contributions in wins. [[ Let me see, first for Dravid. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on March 19, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    You took my comment wrongly. I was not putting Lara or Sanga down. But I have this gut feeling that in this case statistics for Lara might be something different. Its my gut feeling that Lara might have played those innings at No.3 in his early days of 1992-94. And maybe his scores of 277,213*,or even 375 scored from that position. West Indies in those days was much better than it is today, with great Haynes still around till 1993 and reliable Richie Richardson till 1996. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am right. Do not have the database to verify my assumptions. [[ Navin Pl read my response carefully. I have fully supported you on your comment on Lara. I myself have mentioned that Lara has played only 66 times at no.3. It was only on Sangakkara that I made my point. I only suggested do not put Sangakkara down. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 19, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    Very nice. 1) any chance that you can describe his scoring rate (overall 40% of his team's runs when facing 50% of balls bowled during his batting time) in different batting circumstances - e.g. when coming in at 100/1 or 25/1 or less. [[ Will try. However I think it is in the raw career data file I have uploaded. You will notice that the data includes innings strike rate and coming in time. You yourself could derive by downloading and lookin g at that data. Ananth: ]] 2) I had earlier asked this - ignoring innings in which lt 50 runs were scored by him, what would be his average RPI as a function of the rest of the team's RPI for top 7 batsman, and how does he stack up against Lara, Ponting, Kallis, Tendulkar, Waugh etc. Your earlier analysis an year or so back included all innings, but at times, the "tough guys" dont make the easy runs, so proposing this alternative. [[ This has to be specifically done. Will try. Ananth: ]] 3) Any streak comparisons to compare performance during sustained peak (period could be different for different batsmen, perhaps you could give run weighted BQI for reference). [[ I have got 10-match slots and have given Dravid's best and worst 10-match slots. Streak analysis program itself I have to trace. Also comparisons with other players. Probably not in a hurry. Ananth: ]] 4) not a great fan of averages in winning / losing causes. His best performance came in 4-0 loss against England - was truly heroic. But interesting to know. [[ I am with you on hundreds scored in winning/drawing causes. But averages show something. It is also possible that the low-avge-team-loses syndrome may be there for ll batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Omkar on March 19, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    nice one sir

  • Titus on March 19, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Excellent work Mr. Anantha.

  • Ramnish Kumar on March 19, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    A must keep for all Dravid fans ...

  • Nitin Gautam on March 19, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    just one word here

    Excellent!!!

    I am sure even Dravid would not have known these finer details of his unforgettable journey for Indian cricket. Come what may, his biggest achievement was overcoming his shortcomings just by following the most potent & always reliable option "work hard & harder". & here he beats his contemporaries by a mile. Never seen anyone so dedicated, hardworking, yet so down to earth & humble team man. Though not right but still cant think what he would have achieved had he got the out of the world enormous talents of SRT, Lara etc. he has played so many memorable innings, many gems in itself but they say 1st impression is last impression & his 27 out of 66 against rampaging donald & co. on fiery Durban will always echo in my mind. That was the 1st time I saw Rahul playing n in those initial years of me following cricket, this was just awesome..rest Kingston, Adelaide, rawalpindi, kolkata n many more just strengthen the belief. He is the ultimate wall. Thanks

  • Vibhav on March 19, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    Dear Anantha Sir , You may have read these cliched lines;may be million times.. I am a huge FAN of your work...

    However I quickly realized that coming in at 0 for 1 and 100 for 1 was much worse than coming in at 40 for 1 and 60 for 1... Sir, please explain this to me ..... I mean how can 100 for 1 is worse than 40 for 1 or 60 for 1 .... Only if you have time for seemingly silly questions ... Regards [[ Maybe I am the dense one at not being clear. What I meant was that there is no great difference at coming in at 40 for 1 or 60 for 1 or 100 for 1 but 0 for 1 is somthing awful. In other words if I assign 10 (on a scale of 1-10) as the hardness level to coming in at 0 for 1, then 40 for 1 might be 4, 60 for 1 might be 3 and 100 for 1 might be 2. In other words averaging would not work. Put it another way, the 100 for 1 does in no way compensate for 0 for 1. Ananth: ]] Vibhav

  • Navin Agarwal on March 19, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    "Dravid has outperformed his peer no.3 batsmen by a factor of 1.28. However it should be remembered that his no.3 average lags behind three batsmen, Lara, Ponting and Sangakkara."

    Ponting had luxury of Hayden-Langer before him and I dont think Lara played many innings at 3, his main career was at 4. Sangakarra lets see where he finishes.

    Many forget that he was main batsmen on NZ tour of 2002-03. Also remember his contribution when India were bowled out for 100 and 66 at Durban in his second away series.Then the jewel in the crown series of 2011 England tour. Where it was Dravid Vs England. [[ Navin There is no need to pull down another batsman, potentially great, if not already there, to appreciate Dravid. I accept that Lara had only 66 innings (still about 40 Tests) at no.3. But why pull down Sangakkara. He may very well end his career at 55 at no.3. Ananth: ]]

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  • Navin Agarwal on March 19, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    "Dravid has outperformed his peer no.3 batsmen by a factor of 1.28. However it should be remembered that his no.3 average lags behind three batsmen, Lara, Ponting and Sangakkara."

    Ponting had luxury of Hayden-Langer before him and I dont think Lara played many innings at 3, his main career was at 4. Sangakarra lets see where he finishes.

    Many forget that he was main batsmen on NZ tour of 2002-03. Also remember his contribution when India were bowled out for 100 and 66 at Durban in his second away series.Then the jewel in the crown series of 2011 England tour. Where it was Dravid Vs England. [[ Navin There is no need to pull down another batsman, potentially great, if not already there, to appreciate Dravid. I accept that Lara had only 66 innings (still about 40 Tests) at no.3. But why pull down Sangakkara. He may very well end his career at 55 at no.3. Ananth: ]]

  • Vibhav on March 19, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    Dear Anantha Sir , You may have read these cliched lines;may be million times.. I am a huge FAN of your work...

    However I quickly realized that coming in at 0 for 1 and 100 for 1 was much worse than coming in at 40 for 1 and 60 for 1... Sir, please explain this to me ..... I mean how can 100 for 1 is worse than 40 for 1 or 60 for 1 .... Only if you have time for seemingly silly questions ... Regards [[ Maybe I am the dense one at not being clear. What I meant was that there is no great difference at coming in at 40 for 1 or 60 for 1 or 100 for 1 but 0 for 1 is somthing awful. In other words if I assign 10 (on a scale of 1-10) as the hardness level to coming in at 0 for 1, then 40 for 1 might be 4, 60 for 1 might be 3 and 100 for 1 might be 2. In other words averaging would not work. Put it another way, the 100 for 1 does in no way compensate for 0 for 1. Ananth: ]] Vibhav

  • Nitin Gautam on March 19, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    just one word here

    Excellent!!!

    I am sure even Dravid would not have known these finer details of his unforgettable journey for Indian cricket. Come what may, his biggest achievement was overcoming his shortcomings just by following the most potent & always reliable option "work hard & harder". & here he beats his contemporaries by a mile. Never seen anyone so dedicated, hardworking, yet so down to earth & humble team man. Though not right but still cant think what he would have achieved had he got the out of the world enormous talents of SRT, Lara etc. he has played so many memorable innings, many gems in itself but they say 1st impression is last impression & his 27 out of 66 against rampaging donald & co. on fiery Durban will always echo in my mind. That was the 1st time I saw Rahul playing n in those initial years of me following cricket, this was just awesome..rest Kingston, Adelaide, rawalpindi, kolkata n many more just strengthen the belief. He is the ultimate wall. Thanks

  • Ramnish Kumar on March 19, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    A must keep for all Dravid fans ...

  • Titus on March 19, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Excellent work Mr. Anantha.

  • Omkar on March 19, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    nice one sir

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 19, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    Very nice. 1) any chance that you can describe his scoring rate (overall 40% of his team's runs when facing 50% of balls bowled during his batting time) in different batting circumstances - e.g. when coming in at 100/1 or 25/1 or less. [[ Will try. However I think it is in the raw career data file I have uploaded. You will notice that the data includes innings strike rate and coming in time. You yourself could derive by downloading and lookin g at that data. Ananth: ]] 2) I had earlier asked this - ignoring innings in which lt 50 runs were scored by him, what would be his average RPI as a function of the rest of the team's RPI for top 7 batsman, and how does he stack up against Lara, Ponting, Kallis, Tendulkar, Waugh etc. Your earlier analysis an year or so back included all innings, but at times, the "tough guys" dont make the easy runs, so proposing this alternative. [[ This has to be specifically done. Will try. Ananth: ]] 3) Any streak comparisons to compare performance during sustained peak (period could be different for different batsmen, perhaps you could give run weighted BQI for reference). [[ I have got 10-match slots and have given Dravid's best and worst 10-match slots. Streak analysis program itself I have to trace. Also comparisons with other players. Probably not in a hurry. Ananth: ]] 4) not a great fan of averages in winning / losing causes. His best performance came in 4-0 loss against England - was truly heroic. But interesting to know. [[ I am with you on hundreds scored in winning/drawing causes. But averages show something. It is also possible that the low-avge-team-loses syndrome may be there for ll batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on March 19, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    You took my comment wrongly. I was not putting Lara or Sanga down. But I have this gut feeling that in this case statistics for Lara might be something different. Its my gut feeling that Lara might have played those innings at No.3 in his early days of 1992-94. And maybe his scores of 277,213*,or even 375 scored from that position. West Indies in those days was much better than it is today, with great Haynes still around till 1993 and reliable Richie Richardson till 1996. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am right. Do not have the database to verify my assumptions. [[ Navin Pl read my response carefully. I have fully supported you on your comment on Lara. I myself have mentioned that Lara has played only 66 times at no.3. It was only on Sangakkara that I made my point. I only suggested do not put Sangakkara down. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on March 19, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    Ananth,

    Dravid scored about 15-16 % of team runs in all matches. Since he has good record in wins, it would be interesting to know the same figure in only victories. and compare it with other great players. Say some player might have above 20 % in victories as compared to 14 % overall their career. That would be good way of measuring contributions in wins. [[ Let me see, first for Dravid. Ananth: ]]

  • Giri on March 19, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    I have always admired the hard worker than the genius. Steve Waugh over Mark, Chanderpaul over Lara, Dravid over Sehwag, Laxman, Tendulkar. Stewart over Gooch, Gower, Boycott, Shastri over Gavaskar, Kapil, Vengsarkar. Gomez over Richards Mahanama over D Silva list goes on. Becker over Stich, Edgberg, Linekar over Gascoigne. To me the ultimate fighter never say die is Dravid. Combine that with elegance, lack of unwanted aggression, arrogance and add calmness and quiet suffering and no complaints. THERE IS NO ONE LIKE DRAVID and THERE WILL BE NO ONE unless his son takes the mantle inheriting that character and human traits also. I stopped watching ODI once Dravid was dropped I watch IPL only when Dravid is playing now I just read score card and stopped watching tests also. Soon once Dravid leaves IPL I will stop that also. Every innings of Dravid either on TV or on cricinfo I have followed. Every time he got ut I stopped followng. I will miss Dravid every shot and sheer calming presence.