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March 28, 2012

The boundary crossers in Tests: an in-depth look

Anantha Narayanan
Among batsmen with 1500-plus Test runs, Virender Sehwag has hit the highest number of boundary fours per match  © Getty Images
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In one of my responses I had mentioned that I have to alternate some lighter articles with the heavier ones. This is one of the lighter ones. It still contains information which you cannot get otherwise but I expect that the topic will not elicit hundreds of comments and cross-comments. Quite a bit of this information is available in Cricinfo but not necessarily in this form and order.

Readers might remember that I had elicited help from readers and five of them, viz., Boll, Rameshkumar, Anshu, Ranga and Raghav chipped in magnificently and helped me add balls played data for about 500+ matches. Along with that I was able to derive the fours/sixes information also. This article is dedicated to these five readers. I have given below the summary of the balls played/fours/sixes information in my database.

Total balls data available: 1380 Tests (out of 2036 - 67.7&%)
Continuous information available: 1070-2036 (967 Tests)
1980 - 1987 period: 188 out of 221 Tests.
1877 - 1979 period: 225 out of 867 Tests.
At a pinch I can say that I have complete information available for all the modern greats including Tendulkar, Lara, Steve Waugh et al.

Since there are many tables, the tables are presented with appropriate headers and the comments are provided at the end of the tables. All the tables, barring one, are for batsmen for whom complete balls/fours/sixes information is available. The cut-off is 1500 Test runs since this is a sub-set of top batsmen.

Player career analysis - by % of runs in boundaries

BatsmanLHTeamRuns4s6s46-Runs%
 
Shahid Afridi Pak171622052119269.5%
Flintoff A Eng384551382254466.2%
Gayle C.H~Win637393675419465.8%
Sehwag V Ind8178117488522463.9%
Gibbs H.H Saf616788747383062.1%
Yuvraj Singh~Ind177524719110262.1%
Trescothick M.E~Eng582083042357261.4%
Harbhajan Singh Ind216527140132461.2%
Kaluwitharana R.S Slk19332846117260.6%
Hinds W.W~Win260836816156860.1%
Cairns C.L Nzl332036587198259.7%
Imran Farhat~Pak23273404138459.5%
Kamran Akmal Pak264837214157259.4%
Tamim Iqbal~Bng174824112103659.3%
Gilchrist A.C~Aus5570676100330459.3%
...
...
Taylor M.A~Aus75257299297039.5%
Healy I.A Aus43564225171839.4%
Matthews G.R.J~Aus1849166569437.5%
McCosker R.B Aus1622143359036.4%
Jones A.H Nzl29222458102835.2%

As could be expected, the mercurial Shahid Afridi leads the table of boundary share with 69.5%. This could be partly discounted by the fact that Afridi has scored only 1716 runs. However Flintoff ups the ante with 66.2% out of the 3845 runs he scored. However the real impact is made by Chris Gayle who has scored 65.8% of his 6000+ runs in boundaries. Sehwag has scored over 63% of his 8000+ runs in boundaries. Then comes Gibbs. It is interesting that the three of the top-5 who have scored a lot of runs in boundaries are openers. Harbhajan Singh is a surprise occupant of this space and is the only bowler here. However considering that he has scored more Test runs than Afridi or Srikkanth or Sardesai, his place is well-deserved.

At the other end the usual culprits are there. Stodgy openers like Mark Taylor, McCosker are present here. Jones of New Zealand occupies the last place. Anticipating a question from interested readers, let me say that Chris Tavare just manages to beat Mark Taylor, with 39.9%.

Player career analysis - by number of runs in boundaries

BatsmanLHTeamRuns4s6s4/6-Runs%
        
Tendulkar S.R Ind15470199567838254.2%
Lara B.C~Win11953155988676456.6%
Dravid R Ind13288165521674650.8%
Ponting R.T Aus13196149073639848.5%
Kallis J.H Saf12379137590604048.8%
Sehwag V Ind8178117488522463.9%
Jayawardene M Slk10089119547506250.2%
Sangakkara K.C~Slk9347117829488652.3%
Waugh S.R Aus10927117520482044.1%
Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak8830110548470853.3%
Hayden M.L~Aus8626104682467654.2%
Laxman V.V.S Ind878111355457052.0%
Gooch G.A Eng8900107925446650.2%
Chanderpaul S~Win9709105731441445.5%
Smith G.C~Saf7997102023421852.7%
Gayle C.H~Win637393675419465.8%
Mohammad Yousuf Pak753095651413054.8%
Jayasuriya S.T~Slk697391059399457.3%
Gower D.I~Eng823197910397648.3%
Ganguly S.C~Ind721290057394254.7%

This is just to round off the article. The table lists the batsmen in order of the runs they scored off boundaries. As expected Tendulkar leads the table with 8382 runs in boundaries. Lara has leap-frogged over three batsmen who have scored more runs than him to be in second place with 6764 runs in boundaries. This shows his propensity to essay boundary shots. The next three places are taken by the next three top run-scoring batsmen.

Summary of fours and sixes hit by batsmen

Maximum fours: Tendulkar - 1995 (10.6 fours/Test)
Maximum sixes: Gilchrist -  100 (1.04 sixes/Test)

Average fours per Test (more than 11 fours per Test)

Sehwag : 1174 in 96 Tests - 12.2 fours/Test Lara : 1559 in 131 Tests - 11.9 fours/Test Sangakkara: 1174 in 106 Tests - 11.1 fours/Test

Average sixes per Test (more than 1 six per Test)

Afridi: 52 in 27 Tests - 1.93 sixes/Test Chris Cairns: 87 in 62 Tests - 1.40 sixes/Test Gilchrist : 100 in 96 Tests - 1.04 sixes/Test Flintoff : 82 in 76 Tests - 1.04 sixes/Test

Soon Tendulkar will hit his 2000th four. To put it in perspective, Tom Hayward, Gaekwad and Wasim Jaffer et al did not reach 2000 Test runs. Gilchrist reached the 100 mark, in his last but fifth Test and went through four Tests without going over the ropes. He at least did not do a Don, and managed to reach 100.

Sehwag averages 12.2 fours per Test and Lara, 11.9 fours per Test. Sangakkara is the only other batsman to exceed 11 fours per Test. Including Tendulkar there are 7 other batsmen who have crossed 10 fours per Test.

Only four batsmen exceed a six per Test. This group is led by Afridi, who, if he plays in one Test and hits four sixes, would cross 2.0. Chris Cairns, basking in the deserved success of his London libel case, has a healthy 1.4 per Test. Gilchrist and Flintoff complete this table.

Player career analysis - by % of runs in boundaries - for players for whom part data is available

BatsmanLHTeamMatsRuns4s6sRuns-Data-Avlble4s-6s-Runs% of DA-Runs
 
Kapil Dev N Ind1315248490433707221859.8%
Srikkanth K Ind43206220315155190258.2%
Richards I.V.A Win1218540873666701388858.0%
Wasim Akram~Pak1042898318522785158456.9%
Greenidge C.G Win1087558702465642308454.7%
Ijaz Ahmed Pak603315417233312180654.5%
D'Oliveira B.L Eng442484277142215119253.8%
Richardson R.B Win865949744235792311453.8%
Stewart A.J Eng1338465112198456453853.7%
de Silva P.A Slk936361711405754308453.6%
Hussain N Eng965764734245763308053.4%
Ranatunga A~Slk935105511314247223052.5%
Hadlee R.J~Nzl863124309252644138652.4%
Sidhu N.S Ind513202357383163165652.4%
Logie A.L Win52247028462240117252.3%
Greig A.W Eng583599404173338171851.5%
Azharuddin M Ind996215680185633282850.2%
Saleem Malik Pak103576866375380269450.1%
Stackpole K.R Aus4328072053170583849.1%
McCabe S.J Aus3927482304193194448.9%

There is one table for batsmen for whom I do not have complete balls/fours/sixes data available. I have selected only batsmen for whom I have the relevant data available for at least half the number of runs they scored in their careers. No one would be surprised to see Kapil Dev, with nearly 60% of his runs in boundaries. Srikkanth is there by virtue of his crossing 2000 runs, the cut-off. However the important batsman is the next one, Richards. I have data available for 80% of his runs. He has scored 58% of his runs in boundaries. Wasim Akram, with his propensity for big hitting, is a surprise placement next and then comes Greenidge. Bradman is somewhat lower down, at 39.6%. Let me confess, I am not even sure of the data.

Table by frequency of boundaries - in balls/boundary

BatsmanLHTeamBalls4s6sFrequency
 
Shahid Afridi Pak1973220527.3
Sehwag V Ind99751174887.9
Gilchrist A.C~Aus67966761008.8
Flintoff A Eng61965138210.4
Harbhajan Singh Ind33062714010.6
Gayle C.H~Win107829367510.7
Kamran Akmal Pak41963721410.9
Jayasuriya S.T~Slk106869105911.0
Kaluwitharana R.S Slk3203284611.0
Yuvraj Singh~Ind30442471911.4
Tamim Iqbal~Bng29062411211.5
Dilshan T.M Slk70715792111.8
Lara B.C~Win1975315598812.0
Smith I.D.S Nzl2873231712.1
Trescothick M.E~Eng106858304212.3
...
...
McCosker R.B Aus3833143326.3
Marsh G.R Aus8109305126.5
Flower G.W Zim100113511627.5
Jones A.H Nzl7443245829.4
Tavare C.J Eng5735175032.8

Now we come to the frequency of boundary-hitting. The first is the frequency with which a boundary (four or six) was hit. Shahid Afridi has done so once in every 7.3 balls, that is almost one an over. Sehwag has done it once every 7.9 balls, but over nearly 100 Tests. Gilchrist, every 8.8 balls, again over many Tests. These three are the batsmen to have gotten a frequency below 10 balls. Lara's place is noteworthy since he has got a boundary every 12 balls, over 131 Tests.

Now for the other end of the table. Tavare has a frequency of one every 32.8 balls and four others are just below 30. Almost all are stodgy openers.

Table by frequency of Sixes - in balls/six

BatsmanLHTeamBalls6sFrequency
 
Shahid Afridi Pak19735238
Cairns C.L Nzl58168767
Gilchrist A.C~Aus679610068
Flintoff A Eng61968276
Harbhajan Singh Ind33064083
Dhoni M.S Ind58516196
McMillan C.D Nzl567454105
Haddin B.J Aus391637106
Sehwag V Ind997588113
Botham I.T Eng856567128
...
...
Javed Omar Bng450914509
Young B.A Nzl522915229
Manjrekar S.V Ind528215282
Marsh G.R Aus810918109
Boon D.C Aus1811629058
...
...
Trott I.J.L Eng443300
Robinson R.T Eng384600
Russell R.C~Eng528900
Tavare C.J Eng573500

I am not moved by sixes in ODIs, much less in T20s. However, in Tests, there is a charm vested with sixes. This table analyzes the frequency of hitting sixes. This table is again led by Shahid Afridi who hits a six every 38 balls. Every 6 overs, during which he would have also hit six fours. Mind-boggling indeed. Then comes Chris Cairns whose frequency is 67, closely followed by Gilchrist, with 68 and Flintoff, with 76. Look at the next entry. The feisty Sardar, Harbhajan Singh has cleared the ropes every 83 balls, some feat indeed for a bowler. I am sure if ever he read this article he would be proud of this recognition.

At the other end there are five batsmen who have hit 1 and 2 sixes and have frequencies exceeding 4500 balls. Omar, Young, Manjrekar and Marsh have managed to hit a single six in their career. How about Boon, who, in his 18116-ball career, has hit two sixes, I was fascinated by this number, two. So I made a special study of Boon's career. The first six was in the early part of his career, in the tied Test at Chennai. The second six was hit late in his career during 1993 at Oval.

Now we come to a special category. These four batsmen, all Englishmen, had careers lasting upwards of 3800 balls and never managed to hit a ball past the ropes. Trott is recent vintage and in today's attacking environment has managed not to hit a six. Let us wait for his maiden six. Readers must note that these tables are not complete. I do not have complete balls-played information for Vijay Manjrekar who has scored the maximum number of runs (3208) without hitting a six. His less illustrious son managed to go over the ropes a single time: just before retiring, at Nottingham.

Table by frequency of Fours - in balls/four

BatsmanLHTeamBalls4sFrequency
 
Sehwag V Ind997511748.5
Shahid Afridi Pak19732209.0
Gilchrist A.C~Aus679667610.1
Kaluwitharana R.S Slk320328411.3
Kamran Akmal Pak419637211.3
Gayle C.H~Win1078293611.5
Jayasuriya S.T~Slk1068691011.7
Tamim Iqbal~Bng290624112.1
Flintoff A Eng619651312.1
Harbhajan Singh Ind330627112.2
Dilshan T.M Slk707157912.2
Yuvraj Singh~Ind304424712.3
Smith I.D.S Nzl287323112.4
Habibul Bashar Bng502040112.5
Lara B.C~Win19753155912.7
...
...
Marsh G.R Aus810930526.6
McCosker R.B Aus383314326.8
Flower G.W Zim1001135128.5
Jones A.H Nzl744324530.4
Tavare C.J Eng573517532.8

Frequency of fours follow the boundary table. However Sehwag has a better frequency of 8.5 balls/four than Afridi. Then comes Gilchrist, with 9 balls. At the other end, the table is propped by Chris Tavare, with 32.8, which is the same as the boundary frequency since he has not hit a six.

Hundreds with less than 20% in boundaries

TestYearBatsmanForVsBposRunsBalls4s6s4s-6s %
 
15132000Thorpe G.PEngPak3118301206.8%
15672001Tillakaratne H.PSlkWin61052473011.4%
9841984Mohsin KhanPakEng11041363011.5%
1801929Woodfull W.MAusEng11023813011.8%
9101981Chappell G.SAusPak32012966011.9%
9831984Border A.RAusWin61002693012.0%
9131981Wood G.MAusPak21003053012.0%
1381921Makepeace J.W.HEngAus31172604013.7%
2631938Bradman D.GAusEng31443795013.9%
6001966Barrington K.FEngAus41022884015.7%
8111977Amarnath MIndAus31001754016.0%
2831947Hutton LEngAus11223565016.4%
19992011Chanderpaul SWinInd51163435017.2%
2571937Fingleton J.H.WAusEng61364286017.6%
5361963Rev.DS SheppardEngAus11132185017.7%
6221967Barrington K.FEngPak31093665018.3%
1591925Ponsford W.HAusEng41282336018.8%
8541979Boycott GEngInd11252936019.2%
5361963Booth B.CAusEng61032745019.4%
5551964Booth B.CAusSaf51022335019.6%
11641991Jones A.HNzlSlk31222176019.7%
12081993Waugh S.RAusWin31002075020.0%

Now I come to analysing individual innings in terms of boundary content. There are four tables. The first lists centuries with lower than 20% boundary content. The table is headed by Thorpe whose score of 118 included just 2 fours resulting in a boundary content % of only 6.8%, the only instance of a century with less than 10% boundary content.

Fifties with less than 10% in boundaries

TestYearBatsmanForVsBposRunsBalls4s6s4s-6s %
 
8361978Boycott GEngAus177337105.2%
15672001Samaraweera T.TSlkWin777180105.2%
10311985Edgar B.ANzlAus274291105.4%
5001961Nurse S.MWinAus370259105.7%
13941998Flower AZimSlk567212106.0%
9361982Laird B.MAusPak160134106.7%
15132000Thorpe G.PEngPak3118301206.8%
15132000Thorpe G.PEngPak3118301206.8%
1141911Kelleway CAusSaf659172106.8%
10711987Rizwan-uz-ZamanPakInd258252106.9%
1581924Hobbs J.BEngAus157128107.0%
1381921Bardsley WAusEng25687107.1%
15442001McKenzie N.DSafWin355216107.3%
11801991Vengsarkar D.BIndAus454180107.4%
13171995Law S.GAusSlk654118107.4%
1131911Bardsley WAusSaf45498107.4%
18982008Prior M.JEngInd853102107.5%
15682001Marillier D.AZimBng85294107.7%
8701980Laird B.MAusWin252119107.7%
8161978Simpson R.BAusInd551102107.8%
9591983Tavare C.JEngNzl151171107.8%
18242006Strauss A.JEngAus150132108.0%
2581937Gregory R.GAusEng650188108.0%
2351934Sutcliffe HEngAus269161018.7%
5501964Goddard T.LSafAus184265209.5%

The second table lists fifties with less than 10% boundary content. Boycott's 77 contained a single four and this works out to 5.2%. Samaraweera's innings is identical to Boycott's in every respect. Thorpe's 100 also finds a place here. It is interesting to see Sutcliffe's 60 in this table, the only highlight being that the only boundary was a six.

Hundreds with greater than 75% in boundaries

TestYearBatsmanForVsBposRunsBalls4s6s4s-6s %
 
7961977Gilmour G.JAusNzl810114620185.1%
15622001Gibbs H.HSafZim114716428284.4%
15222000Dippenaar H.HSafNzl110019221084.0%
18972008Taylor J.EWinNzl810610717381.1%
19172009Laxman V.V.SIndNzl512421225080.6%
10391986Richardson R.BWinEng310214019180.4%
15942002Flintoff AEngNzl713716323380.3%
15942002Astle N.JNzlEng5222168281180.2%
13251996Astle N.JNzlWin412515022280.0%
16592003Gibbs H.HSafEng218325835179.8%
16542003Butcher M.AEngSaf310618221079.2%
15772001McMillan C.DNzlBng610614018279.2%
9011981Richards I.V.AWinEng311422621178.9%
16792003Chanderpaul SWinSaf710917120178.9%
11941992Kaluwitharana R.SSlkAus713215826078.8%
13231996Cairns C.LNzlZim61209610978.3%
14541999Lara B.CWinAus41008415378.0%
19532010Shakib Al HasanBngNzl610012915378.0%
15512001Gayle C.HWinZim217525534077.7%
16162002Sehwag VIndWin214720624377.6%
11211989Lamb A.JEngAus412520424076.8%
15882002Shahid AfridiPakWin210715016376.6%
19132009Hughes P.JAusSaf111515119276.5%
9051981Botham I.TEngAus714914827176.5%
17812006Sehwag VIndPak125424747176.4%
17312005Gilchrist A.CAusPak611312014576.1%
9751984Crowe M.DNzlEng410024719076.0%
6871971Knott A.P.EEngPak711617522075.9%
14131998Tendulkar S.RIndAus417720729375.7%
10031984Saleem MalikPakNzl611916921175.6%
19642010Sehwag VIndSlk210911819175.2%
20162011Amla H.MSafAus311213421075.0%

Now for the other end of the spectrum. Hundreds with boundary content greater than 75%. Gilmour's 101 contained 20 fours and a six, 86 runs, leading to 85.1%. Gibbs' 147 contained 124 runs in boundaries. Dippenaar's 100 contained 21 fours. Richards' famous 56-ball hundred misses out since the knock of 110 contained 7x4s and 7x6s, a total 0f 70 runs and 63.6%.

Fifties with greater than 85% in boundaries

TestYearBatsmanForVsBposRunsBalls4s6s4s-6s %
 
9421982Madan Lal SIndPak9526311196.2%
13951998Kaluwitharana R.SSlkZim7514712094.1%
15872002Gayle C.HWinPak26611815090.9%
18682008Southee T.GNzlEng1077404990.9%
12031992Rutherford K.RNzlSlk553629290.6%
16152002Younis KhanPakAus4586213089.7%
18332007Mohammad AshrafulBngInd5674112289.6%
17042004Flintoff AEngNzl6547912088.9%
17612005Mahwire N.BZimNzl950348288.0%
17752005Jayawardene D.P.M.DSlkInd3718014187.3%
16902004Gayle C.HWinEng1628112187.1%
16972004Asim KamalPakInd7609013086.7%
10171985Botham I.TEngAus6605110286.7%
15912002Sehwag VIndZim67411816086.5%
7981977Edwards G.NNzlAus6514711086.3%
19672010Umar GulPakEng965468486.2%
15382001Hinds W.WWinSaf15611412085.7%
11651991Labrooy G.FSlkNzl9708012285.7%
10181985Gatting M.WEngAus67518016085.3%
14932000Gilchrist A.CAusNzl8758016085.3%
19192009Ramdin DWinEng7619813085.2%
7961977Gilmour G.JAusNzl810114620185.1%

Now for the last table. This contains fifties with boundary content greater than 85%. Madan Lal's is an inscrutable innings. 52 in 63 balls, not even run-a-ball, but with 11 fours and a six, 50 runs in boundaries. How he must have defended those 50 dot balls. Kaluwitharana's 51 contained 48 runs in boundaries. Gayle's 66 contained 60 runs in boundaries. Southee's 77 contained 4x4s and 9x6s, 70 runs in boundaries: all in his debut Test.

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

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Posted by A. Khan on (April 9, 2012, 17:34 GMT)

The point is apart from pitch and bowling, the fact that he took the team to the brink of the VICTORY, makes the innings significantly important. And now what we are suggesting is to completely ignore the results! And only concentrate on the innings. If such is the case, then ignore any factor that is based on win and loss. Simply consider BQI, pitch condition, shepherding the tail and allocate points; make the list. If you did this, I can assure you that Sachin’s innings still won’t feature in TOP 100. It won’t even overtake Greenidge’s 76 in Pakistan (1986). There are so many great innings, many in lost cause, many in draws (remember Athers185!), which failed to get into Wisden top 100 list. Gavaskar’s 96 will certainly be ranked ahead of 136. One more reason why that innings BQI will suffer is because, the bowler with best avg for Pak was underbowled (Waqar) - a successful ploy of Wasim to eliminate Waqar at any cost –remember Gilchrist’s Hobart test! Lost the test but won the war.

Posted by A. Khan on (April 9, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

Last few comments have some valid points (San in fact manipulated facts to prove his points!). The point is, Sachin got out as the 7th wicket and thereafter next 3 wicket fell for just 4 runs (needed 17 to win after fall of Sachin).. if these guys have made those runs what would have been the impact on the rating of Sachin's innings and why it should be relevant? Waspsting and San are arguing that it should not have made any impact as Sachin had no control what others do. Point taken. Consider 2nd situation, if India have had a similar collapse in the first innings and conceded a lead of about 70-80 and instead of 271, they were chasing over 350, and then lost by over 100 runs with Sachin scoring 136. What would have been the rating of his innings? It wouldn't even come to discussion, as not many discuss Randall’s, Coney’s 174s and many many others, despite it (136) being same great innings! although it was on the same pitch, against the same attack! cont..

Posted by San on (April 6, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

In any case, Anantha has shot himself in the foot by saying "thats the way the cookie crumbles". That effectively admits that irrespective of the value of the individual innings being considered the rest makes a MUCH bigger difference to the final ranking.

If only a batsman knew in advance whether he would be on the winning or losing side. If he knew in advance that his efforts would count for nothing in this kind of inn. ranking system - he may not bother to even make the effort.

Simple fact is often the result in sport is unknown till the end- the batsman can ONLY do his thing- and thats all that should be accounted for in a team sport consisting 22 players and umpteen unknown possibilities.

Posted by San on (April 6, 2012, 5:46 GMT)

@Waspsting Took the words out of my mouth. Exactly what I wanted to say. An eg. adding to yours :Ambrose gets yorked by Gillespie, The remaining 5 batsmen cobble 17 runs in Tendulkar's inn.

How in the world do these instances affect the value of their respective innings is entirely beyond my comprehension.

Anantha says that the framework has "stood the test of time"- What time?! and what "Test"?! A dozen years and a framework decided on by basically a dozen or so ppl?

Also in the Lara inn. Ambrose lasted almost 7 overs and scored 28 N.O. The last 5 batsmen in Chennai couldnt score 10 against the Pakistan bowlers. Which conditions were deadlier??

On asking Anantha what Tendulkars 136 would rank if the remaining 5 batsmen put 17 runs he said it is "Pointless" Pointless!!!

The whole point is to see the effect of the others on INDIVIDUAL efforts. So Lara would drop from 2 to 95, where would Tendulkar ranked.

In Both situations this would effectively be the result of what the OTHER 21

Posted by Ramesh Kumar on (April 6, 2012, 4:20 GMT)

Waspsting,

All your points are valid. However, since the primary purpose of scoring runs or taking wickets is to win the match, to get the match perpective one needs to give good weightage to the result.It is a team sport and one needs to factor how the team performs.

Ananth,

The problem is not the rating, but primarily the inference of some of us. When you rate innings, it is the rating of that innings in the context of team wins/performance. But we end up rating players based on this. We turn out words, like"not finishing it" "does not score when it matters most" type of statements. While it can be a good point to discuss, generally the discussion and conclusion becomes one dimensional. Hence probably the anguish of Waspsting. [[ I think, Ramesh, very few people are aware of the quantum of work which went behind the Wisden-100. Every idea was bounced off many people. The question of excluding results and rating innings purely based on other factors was rejected by most people. I agree that the weight for winnings is somewhat high in the current work. Results get credited both directly and indirectly. The overall impact may be as high as 20%. I will certainly look at rationalizing this. But we cannot get into this with pre-fixed ideas. One final thing. It is important to realize this point. At any time there would be 100 innings people are pushing for consideration/inclusion. Right from the beginning we discussed and agreed that it was much more important that the innings which are already there should be worthy of inclusion. Every one of the top-20 innings was discussed and looked into. No one innings was out of place. Some of the innings were completely unheard of. Clem Hill's 188, Azhar Mahmood's 132 and Taylor's 144 were such innings. It was the unearthing of such gems which convinced most people of the quality of work done. Exclusion of Tendulkar's innings, especially the 136, was the unfortunate red herring which spoilt the list, especially in India. Unfortunately no attention was given to Laxman's and Kumble's efforts and the high placements. Only recently has Navin Agarwal raised the very valid point of the value of Shahid Afridi's innings in the Chennai Test. Somehow it escaped me all the while. A far better match-winning once-in-a-lifetime innings got completely forgotten. Henceforth any question on 136 will be met by a reference to 141. Anyhow no more responses on this topic. All comments will be published with no responses. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Waspsting on (April 5, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

"Again, over-dramatizing"

No, it isn't. The essential point of grading these innings was to create a top 100 - is that correct? A drop from 2 to 95 will be perceived by almost everyone as a huge drop - and your defense of it actually being just a tiny percentile change is NOT how anyone will see it. You know this as well as I do.

"Please do not come out with such "500% better" type of statements. These erode your credibility."

Will do. Please kindly do not take obvious figures of speech (which are used largely due to the 1000 character limit per post) literally. We both seem to be disappointing one another here.

Weighing final result - to the tune that only 4 "losts" make it into the top 100 - seems to me excessive.

The concept of weighing final result is like ranking the college grades of a senior class in terms of the the starting salaries of the graduates. a "C" grade might be rated better than an "A" because the "C" student got a better job (which can happen for many reasons) [[ WS, you may agree on most factors but not agree on the "Win bonus". Another one may not like "the position at entry", another "the innings status", another the "match status", another may find fault with the bowling quality, pitch type and support factor. And so on. Somone might disagree with the base points: the points allocated for Runs and scoring rate. A few people would say "Overall the concept looks good, the top-10 innings are worthy of their place". That is the way this will pan out to be. That is the correct way. There is no way I am going to please everyone. My base is very very strong. Based on the verious discussions over the past few years I would tweak a little bit. I might even lower the win bonus. But the overall framework will stay. That has stood the test of time. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Waspsting on (April 4, 2012, 14:49 GMT)

If my assessment of what would happen to Lara's performance - according to Wisden's standards - is correct (and I don't know, I only suspect, that it is)... then they aren't even measuring "Greatest Innings".

They're measuring something along the lines of "Greatest Innings (note: if team lost, performance must be 500% better to be considered the equal of a performance where team won)" [[ Today is your day for throwing outrageous numbers wiithout having any idea about the basic parameters. I would have expected this from someone of dubious analytical ability, not from you Do you want to know what is the weight for winning a match. It is 0% to 10%, depending on the player's own contributions. If what you say is true how would Kapil Dev's 129, Astle's 222, Lara's 196 and 226, have been in the original top-100. Yes, it was tough for a losing performance to come into the top-100. That was discussed and agreed upon. Another day and another time, maybe 10 would have been there. Please do not come out with such "500% better" type of statements. These erode your credibility. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Waspsting on (April 4, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

No offense intended - apologize if it came out that way.

Happy to drop the discussion, equally happy to continue it - choosing my words more carefully.

Gavaskar may have preferred 75 and a win to 96 and a loss - but his control of the number of runs he scores is significantly greater than his control of the result.

Either way 96 is a greater contribution towards a positive result for his team than 75 - regardless of the outcome - and in terms of rating Gavaskar's performance (as opposed to his team's), it should be rated as accordingly, be rated higher.

This is about Gavaskar's innings. Not India's performance. [[ To look purely at an individual innings and ignoring the contribution to team's performance is doing a great disservice to those who succeeded in guiding their team home. Ananth: ]] Lara's 153* is ranked the 2nd greatest innings of all time. Where would that innings fall to, if it had been 149* and Walsh had been bowled? Out of the top 50? Possibly out of the top 100?

That kind of a huge drop, based on a tiny change in the actual performance - in my opinion, gives far too much weight to "match result" [[ Again, over-dramatizing, WS. Give or take a few thousands, over 60000 innings have been played. I will only consider this as a top-10 position. Because West Indies won, Lara's innings was placed in a 99.98 percentile position. If West Indies had lost let us say it was only in the top-100, even as low as 95th. This is a 99.83 percentile position. So in any case it is a very, very, very highly regarded innings. The difference is 0.15 percentile. Your point would make sense if the loss would have put this into the 10000th position. Ananth: ]] (continued)

Posted by Waspsting on (April 4, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes "romantic".

In my opinion, penalizing or accentuating the value of an individual performance based on the final result of an 11 vs 11 team sport is hard-headed to the point of being nonsensical. [[ In my previous comment I mentioned that your comment did not contain anything offensive. Now I think it does. When you draw your list of top innings you could pick up any innings you like and that is your right. I suggest do not expect an objective analysis to exclude a very important aspect of the game. I repeat. I never said that "winning is everything". I hate that concept totally. However what you are saying "Winning is nothing". That, I am afraid, is equally unacceptable. i will not say "nonsensical". Those are the words you have used. Anyhow I suggest that we close this thread now. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Waspsting on (April 4, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

'Winning is something". I will NEVER exclude the result from any of the work I do. That is for the romantics....For a "lost" innings to come into the top-100 it had to be something extraordinary such as Astle's 222.' - Ananth

Personally, I pay very little attention to match result in judging a performance - and I'm not particularly romantic. [[ I am quite disappointed at your comment not because it contains something offensive. But the way you have misinterpreted the ideas. Ananth: ]] By the logic that result is "something", should Bradman's Oval '48 duck (result - Aus win) be considered a "greater" innings than his Sydney '36 duck (result - Aus loss)? [[ Both zeros will have the same rating points, probably around zero. Your comparison is very unsound. Bradman contributed nothing to the win and nothing to the loss. I never said, one "zero" is greater than another "zero" Your comparison would have been far more valuable and mweaningful if you had compared two substantial innings, not two zeroes. Ananth: ]] Would Lara's 153* be any less of a performance if Walsh had been yorked by Gillispe? [[ Yes, of course. The same way Michael Clarke's innings and David Warner's innings lost quite a bit of shine. In case of Warner, he could not have done anything more. But that is the way the cookie crumbles Ananth: ]] Would Gavaskar's double hundred at the Oval value improve if the other Indian batsman had managed to finish the match (note that had they done so, it doesn't change Gavaskar's performance one iota)? [[ Yes, of course. In a subjective, individualistic evaluation, probably not. You can afford to say that the 221 was great irrespective of the result. I cannot say that. Ananth: ]] Imran Khan, who bowled to everyone from Cowdrey to Tendulkar, unhesitatingly named Gavaskar's 96 in Bangalore in a lost cause as the best innings he'd ever seen. [[ Yes, of course. That is imran Khan's subjective evaluation. And said from very good foundation and base also. However Ganaskar would be the first to admit that he would have preferred to be dismissed for 75 and India to win. The result points are to REWARD the player who, by his efforts, and supported by his teammates, has taken his team to a win/draw, not to PUNISH a player, who through his own shortcomings or those of his team-mates, has failed to do so. There was a time in the sixties when it was mantioned that the best innings ever was Hutton's 30 out of 52 at Oval in 1948. Wonderful for the romantics. Ananth: ]] (continued)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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