March 28, 2012

The boundary crossers in Tests: an in-depth look

A comprehensive statistical analysis of fours and sixes hit by top batsmen in Tests
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Among batsmen with 1500-plus Test runs, Virender Sehwag has hit the highest number of boundary fours per match © Getty Images

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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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..

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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: ]]

  • 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: ]]

  • 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: ]]

  • 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)

  • 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: ]]

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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..

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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: ]]

  • 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: ]]

  • 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: ]]

  • 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)

  • 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: ]]

  • 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)

  • Boll on April 3, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    Just have to add something on Mahela - never been a huge fan I must admit, probably due to his pretty average record away from home, average record against Australia, and extremely average record outside Asia.

    His last couple of innings have been absolutely wonderful to watch though - lucky at times, sure - but classic batsmanship. Tom Moody, former SL coach, has often spoken to the Aussie press about his brilliance and lately it`s been there for all to see.

    I think I`m right in saying that he joins Tendulkar and Kallis on 22 centuries at home, only behind Ponting on 23. There`s something to be said for mastering all conditions, but at home there have been few better.

    Not sure where his 1st-test innings rates, but it was a stunning performance, and I would have loved to see him against the second new-ball today. [[ You must have seen the comments on Jayawardene's Galle innings. Whatever method one takes, it would appear in the top-10 First innings efforts of all times. The all-innings list, even though it is currently 7th, I am not still completely sure. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on April 3, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    @Navin Agarwal. I think one of the things which we must remember about allrounders (particularly of the fast-bowling variety) is the incredible stress of performing in both disciplines over a period of 5 days, and obviously over a whole career.

    I`m sure this is why so many of them have often preferred the speedier, boundary-laden route to 30-40 runs, over the draining 4-hour stay at the crease;

    Imran, who you mention, ended up with amazing statistics as a batsman and bowler, but he played as a fast-bowling/dasher early on, and then, due to injury/age, as a middle-order batsman - rarely as both.

    Kapil, a wonderfully talented timer of the ball, was less well-equipped for the longer innings, and was obviously aware that he would shortly be expected to carry the weight of the new-ball.

    Keith Miller, in my completely biased opinion, remains the most perfect top-order bat/opening bowler of them all, and probably the only one apart from Sobers who was able to do it consistently. [[ Miller's Batting Avge-to-Bowling Avge ratio is 1.609, second to Imran Khan (1.652). I exclude Sobers and Kallis from the list of genuine all-rounders: who could play for their countries in either capacity. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on April 3, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    I would take that as compliment because you agree on rest. But I put Kapil Dev in the bracket because though he achieved fair success he would have been more successful had he curbed his natural instinct. [[ But that was what kept him going, in batting. One of the 13 all-rounders (2000+100) to have a better batting average than bowling average, either side of 30. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on April 3, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    To curb your natural instinct to attain your greater heights is the main thing. Sandeep Patil(remember six 4's in an over of Willis), K.Srikanth, M.Greatbatch, Shahid Afridi (Kapil Dev too) to name a few. They just could not control their natural instinct and their strength turned into their weakness. Imran Khan did it very well. So the turnaround in his batting record towards the latter half. On the other side there were players like Sanjay Bangar(remember Headingly 2002), Amarnath, Dravid, Salim Malik, Arjuna Ranatunga,Nasser Hussain who were not flamboyant but attained success due to sheer hard work and application. [[ I would disagee on Kapil. For a true all-rounder, Kapil achieved a fairly high level as a batsman.5248 @ 31.05, an average higher than the so called pure batsmen like Srikkanth, Jaisimha, Gaekwad, Jadeja, Arun Lal, A.Mankad and the likes. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on April 3, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    @ Ananth, Pakistan were 278-2(probably, but not sure) and Prasad took 5 wickets for nothing(again not sure) and Pakistan finished with 286 All Out and left India with a target of 271. At 250-6, it was Sachin who let India down by not finishing the job. Gavaskar always says in his commentary that why leave it for others to finish when one can finish himself. [[ No, Navin. You are a little bit off the mark. Pakistan were never that comfortable. They were 11/1, 42/2, 139/3, 169/4 and then from 275/4 went to 286 all out. While Afridi did not add many runs with the tail, he saw them through real tough periods, considering that they trailed by 16 runs. Ananth: ]]

  • A. Khan on April 3, 2012, 1:35 GMT

    @R.Muralidharan That's right, I remember Dias had 14 fours in 59, though boundaries slowed down later. Even in the 1st innings he had similar equations. Although Mendis scored 105 in both innings (highest identical scores in a match by a batsman), Dias was the one who impressed me a lot. Ranatunga also played couple of stroke-filled small innings, 20s or something, the class was eminent, if only he had not put on that amount of weight, could have been a far better batsman.

  • R.Muralidharan on April 2, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    I remember Roy Dias reaching his fifty (51) with 12th boundary in the second innings at Madras in 1980's in SriLanka's first match against India. Gundappa Visvanath scored his maiden century (137) against Australia in 1969 with exactly 25 fours.

  • Youvi on April 2, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    Anantha- It is a given that talent is primary of course. One would think flamboyance and consistency are inversely correlated especially over a decent number of games. Of course there are exceptions like Richards who managed to be flamboyant and consistent. Durrani has been mentioned elsewhere, now he was considered too flamboyant to be consistent (one of Pataudi's regrets as captain that he couldn't motivate enough to realize his full potential, as Pataudi stated in an interview). Talent must be honed with practice to be consistent. Apparently Durrani though considered a cricketing genius, never cared to practice enough and was never as successful as he could have been. In a different sport, Michael Jordan, for example, was reported to shoot a thousand baskets a day in his practice sessions during his playing days. Quite a few batsmen sacrificed flamboyance for consistency. Number of boundaries could be perhaps also related to that.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on April 2, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    Waspsting. Agreed Richards was the more impressive. Lara got hit on the head by pacemen too many times. Richards frequently hit pacemen for sixes to demoralize them. And provoked them. Imran's description is unforgettable "Just go back to your mark and bowl, else I will come down the wicket and shove the bat down your throat"...takes some guts to say that to Imran, and Imran wrote that in his own book.

  • Waspsting on April 2, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    Note John Edrich's 310 not out with 52 4's and 5 6's.

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62979.html

    I read the Wisden account of this match, and it reported that the wicket was green, and it was a remarkable innings in that Edrich was playing and missing as often as he was hitting boundaries.

  • Waspsting on April 2, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    getting an outside edge - the main threat against an outswinger. And it the ball comes in, many players are remarkably good at not missing it - Azharuddin for example.

    "Interestingly, Lara played 8% more tests than Richards, scored 31% more runs and hit 33% more sixes, he was as big a six hitter as Richards...!"

    they were different types of six hitters. Lara was better at hitting the spinners for six, Richards the pace man. The ability to hit the paceman for sixes is considerably rarer, so Richards' feats seem more impressive.

    Put it this way. A number of players could come down the wicket and hit a spinner for six if they chose to risk it (they might also get out, so Lara's courage as well as skill remains impressive). I doubt many players could hit fast bowlers straight back over their heads, or fast bouncers over mid wicket (as well as square-to-fine leg) for six even if they chose to risk it (and they probably wouldn't even dream of doing so)

  • Waspsting on April 2, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    "Is this non-risk-taking batting one reason for his stupendous average." (referring to to Bradman eschewing the aerial route)

    I doubt it. Most players play along the ground in test matches. he scored faster than anyone in his day. 300 runs in a day - and non-risk taking a factor in his consistently higher scoring than anyone else?

    "It really is unacceptable that a performance like 136 in Chennai '99 does not make it into thd TOP 100 (I would not fuss if it didn't make it to the top 20 - but 100!)"

    Wouldn't go as far as to say that. There have been a LOT of innings played by a LOT of player in the history of cricket. A great innings that one, but not obviously superior to the 100 selected innings.

    "With this trigger movement, how did he escape LBWs? He could also get squared on with an outswinger esp in England."

    Bradman wasn't the last person to use this technique. Martin Crowe to name one, was effective in utilizing it. Makes sense - closing the face guards against (cont)

  • John on April 2, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Enjoyed the article, Ananth. Could you do something totally frivolous by repeating for 5's? [[ I hope I am not dense. Are you referring to 5 runs. Unfortunately not recorded on the scorecards. I think these go as 4's. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on April 2, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    @Saad Ahmad Toor. For Afridi his avergage is biggest drawback. If his strike rate went down by 10 points and his avergae up by 10, he would have been the most destructive batsman ever. A balance of everything is needed. He displayed that quality in one test innings though. Chennai 1999, Everybody talks about Sachin's 136 and nobody talks about his 141. [[ Navin, trust you to come out with a precise but very effective comment. Shahid Afridi's 141, made in 191 balls, against a deficit of 16 runs, out of a total of 286, against a decent bowling attack, winning a close match. All the ingredients for a Wisden-100 innings which it was in 2001. The pity is that a truly great once-a-lifetime innings by a peripheral player has been totally forgotten. Thanks to you for bringing it out. Ananth: ]]

  • Saad Ahmad Toor on April 1, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    Clearly this article reflects Afridi as being the most destructive batsman in test history, Afridi leads multiple charts on these statistics, Afridi's test career reflects power, destructiveness, and entertainment in the purest of ways [[ Probably not. I think Sehwag fits that bill since he has scored 5 times more Test runs than Afridi and has similar StrikeRate/4s/6s figures. In ODIs what you say will be true. Ananth: ]]

  • S.N.SINGH on April 1, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    THE EDITOR HAS DONE A WONDERFUL JOB IN LETTING US KNOW THESE STANDING. WHAT IS STILL NOT CONVINCING IS THAT IT SEEM TO BE FOR PERIOD OF MODERN TIME BECAUSE THERE ARE NAME LIKE BRADMAN,ROHAN KANHAI,SOBERS,HUNTE, GAVASKAR. I AM SURE WOLUD HAVE FALLEN IN ONE OF THESE CATEGORY, WHERE SCORING BOUNDRY IS CONCERN.ROHAN KANHAI WAS ONE OF THE MOST FEARED AND ATTACKING BATSMAN IN THE WORLD. HE SCORED BOUNDRIES FREELY SO IS BRADMAN, SOBERS, GAVASKAR,ETC. S.N.SINGH

  • Shehryar Malik on April 1, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    a very well prepared article .. cheers up fr u sir fr givin alot ov time fr this!

  • Navin Agarwal on April 1, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    My father used to tell me that Salim Durrani used to hit 6s on demand and also in the stand from which demands came. Once Indira Gandhi, the Indian PM turn up to watch and he hit 6s in her stand. [[ His problem was that he did not want to field. I saw the Chennai Test in 1973 when he stayed in right through the England innings and then came in and scored an important 38 to get India a tough win. Maybe the rule changes on player injuries had their origin there. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on April 1, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    But from what I've seen on video, by modern standards, he wasn't particularly compact of technique. Many players play closer to the ball, if those videos are anything to go by

    My understanding is based on the 1 hour documentary narrated by Bill O'Reilly in 1982. Saw it as a 6 year old kid and many many times since. In those clips he seemed very compact to me. No nonsense batsman with very strong back-foot play. His pull shots are the best I've seen on video along with those of Viv. Except that Bradman preferred the backfoot while Richards was more of a front-foot batsman.

    His footwork seemed so precise that he seemed to pull those "corridor of uncertainty" balls most batsman leave alone. The other thing that struck me was that there weren't enough shots of him driving away from his body "on the up" the way SRT does. That obviously eliminated a lot of risk.

    By the way, I didn't like that Bodyline documentary a wee bit. Too melodramatic. Recommend David Frith's book instead.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on April 1, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Arsian, you are probably right about the two sixes. Shows how one allows ones impressions to morph into distorted memories. However I am sure Bedi did not clap. Only Pakistan supporters were clapping.

  • Waspsting on April 1, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Would be curious to see the figures of Javed Miandad and Mark Waugh. [[ Part data is there in this uploaded file. You can download and see. Mark Waugh has 45%. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39210851/Test_4s6s_Batsmen.xls Miandad has 43.6% for the part data which is available. Ananth: ]] To me, these guys played sensibly. Placing a single, when done right, takes only slightly more risk than an our and out defensive stroke - and you can save the big swipe (i.e. higher risk of getting it wrong) for the rank bad ball.

    Re: Bradman, from things he's said and been quoted as saying, he seems to have been of this mentality also.

    Don't know what to make of his technique. Everything Shrkanthk said about moving across and closing the face is spot on, and all accounts of his batting indicates he moved "Closer to and more over the line" than anybody (Cardus). But from what I've seen on video, by modern standards, he wasn't particularly compact of technique. Many players play closer to the ball, if those videos are anything to go by.

    Haven't seen the Bodyline drama mentioned by Ranga. Saw a scene of Ames completing a stumping of Larwood, and thought I'd give it a miss!

  • Zahid Ahmed on April 1, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    Great read...no pestering arguments from my side on what should be included and what not, since the categorization pretty much is precise and relevant. Just a thought though, any stats on players who have hit, or consistently hit the farthest sixes?... [[ Unfortunately this data is not available. Ananth: ]]

  • San on April 1, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    Anantha 1) Would it be possible to see what see where Tendulkar's 136 comes in your programme assuming the remaining 4/5 batsmen managed to cobble together 17 runs. (A tailender edging a couple of 4s through slips.)

    And where would Jayawardene's 180 rank assuming England won?(Say if Prior wasn't caught in that freakish fashion.) [[ Not at all worth talking about. I will not go into any numbers, Pointless to do that. Suffice to say that if Sri Lanka had not won, Jayawardene's innings would have lost a lot of sheen (and points). Same as Laxman's 281 or Lara's 153 or Botham's 149 or Hussey's 134 or Azhar Ali's 157 which acquired their immortality partly because of the wins. Never forget Michael Clarke's comments after the Cape Town Test. He was angry and considered his 151 a worthless wasted innings because Australia did not win. Ananth: ]] This would give us a better idea of how much % is actually being given to other players .i.e to events entirely out of the control of the batsman in question.

    2) Re.the discussions of ground sizes and run scoring- It all sounds pretty subjective. It should be relatively straightforward to check the sizes of Test grounds in various countries- and get some idea of average size. [[ Not possible because the boundary ropes keep getting moved. Ananth: ]]

  • Arslan on April 1, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    @Gerry-the-Merry: The target was 39 from last five overs when Imran launched Bedi for two (not three) sixes after which equation became simpler.

  • Arslan on April 1, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    Dear Ananth, One honurable addition to your list. Majid Khan hit 18 fours and 2 sixes in his century before lunch on the first day of Karachi Test in 1976 against New Zealand. His 100 came in 74 balls with 16 fours and 2 sixes. [[ Unfortunately this is a matcjh for which I do not have data.In reality there is part data. I could extrapolate the balance and take it in. That is a tough task since there could be other matches like this. However I hace checked the CricketArchive scorecard also. It substantiates your numbers of 18/2. That makes it 84 out of 112 runs and exactly 75%. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on April 1, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    Ananth, the thing about the Lahore match is that we were completely decimated from the first minute to the last, and we really were mentally not in the game on the last day. But in Karachi, we had come close to saving the test, and Bedi's insistance on flighting the ball (and his penchant for perhaps clapping after being hit for six, which I cant be sure he practised that day) when faced with Imran, who had been promoted for his big hitting skills, undid all previous efforts. With that one over, symbolically, India's great spin era came to an end after a horrifying month and a half. [[ I understand that the Lahore match was a tolly one-sided one while the Karachi match was an eminently saveable one. However I only pointed to the two 6+ rpo innings which ended the matches, possibly with a few sixes/fours. Ananth: ]]

  • Sam on April 1, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    Nice article. It gives me an idea. I think you could write an article about who the "busiest" batsmen are in ODI cricket, by finding out the SR of batsmen in non-boundary-hitting balls. That would measure who picks up the most number of ones and twos. [[ Excellent idea and will do it when I do the ODI work. Only request is to change your email id which anyhow is a fabricated non-working one, only for my eyes, leaving a very bad taste and spoils an otherwise intelligent question. Ananth: ]]

  • Earl John on April 1, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    Anath: I don't know how this would tabulate, but I remember seeing a throw/run out (By Greg Blewett?) at Adelaide Oval when the fielder threw the ball from a very distant boundary and hit the stumps. It was an impressive effort (I don't think there were any ropes) and I was wondering if you could do something along these lines? [[ Earl, such information would only be available from match reports and not in scorecards. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on April 1, 2012, 1:32 GMT

    Some unusual sixes from memory - 1) Kapil Dev hitting four in a row to save the follow on (next ball last wicket fell) against England in 1990 [[ I was in London and watched the last day to see India collapse in couple of hours. In hindsight following-on might have been better. Although Gooch's own words when he declared later than required "I wanted to attack throughout Indian innings" probably means he might not have enforced the follow-on. Ananth: ]] 2) Duleep Mendis trying to hook and getting caught for 94 after making a century in the first innings in the Lords test in 1984 3) Miandad getting to his 50, 100 and 150 at Faisalabad in his first test against India in 1977 all with sixes 4) In the 3rd test of the same series Imran Khan hitting Bedi for three sixes in his final over to scramble to a win after the target appeared to be out of reach [[ It was in 1978. Unfortunately we do not have the balls played data. The funny thing is that Pakistan won the second Test scoring 128 in 20 overs and the third Test scoring 164 in 25 overs, Both time at gt 6 rpo. There must have been a few sixes in Lahore also. Ananth: ]]

  • Mahan on April 1, 2012, 1:06 GMT

    A very good keen ad patient observation and statistical accumulation. Can you give the statistics of batters or bowler who scored all his runs either in boundaries or sixes or at least 90% of his runs.Players who have scored0 runs or only 10 runs in their career. Although Cricket is a batsman's game can you compile similar stats for Bowlers like continuous maiden overs etc. I know Bapu nadkarni bowled 136 maiden balls. Hats off for a wonderful article. Really figures are fun. [[ The scorecard will not give such information and the ball-by-ball data has been done only over the past 15 years ir so. I do not have access to those records. I can always analyze what the scorecard gives. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew B on March 31, 2012, 18:18 GMT

    Re earlier comment: The last 80 (actually 83 - he went from 35 to 41 with a six) of Botham's 118 included 6 sixes and 8 fours, so 68 in boundaries. It only contained 4 singles (and a three and 5 twos), which may be what the poster was remembering.

    Two other "boundary-free" innings given in the Wisden Book of Cricket Records: Paul Gibb hit only 2 fours in his 120 at Durban in 1939, and Eric Rowan hit no boundaries in his 67 at the other Durban test in that series. (It also says Bill Lawry scored no boundaries in his 84 at Brisbane in 1970, but the on-line record disagrees). [[ I have checked, Andrew. The first two are matches with no balls played information. Thanks for the information. Re Lawry, something does not seem not right. After two 400+ first innings, Australia plays a completely forgettable innings of 127 overs in which they score 214 runs at 1.71 rpo. Lawry's (okay, match-saving) 84 requires 317 balls but the scorecard (Cricinfo as well as Cricketarchive) says 9 fours. I could easily believe no four. But it looks like 9. Then 48 runs in 308 balls. That is something. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on March 31, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    Out of 27 ODI's and 53 team innings only 98 6's have been hit in Kolkata. Yes, the hits have increased in last 3-4 years, because of ropes coming in.

    Funny thing, Walsh hitting 3 6's in one innings and Agarkar 2 in one innings, when match was almost lost.

  • Navin Agarwal on March 31, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Yes, earlier they had fence in Australia. I remember in 1985-86 B&H series involving India,New Zealand and Australia, Raju Kulkarni crashing into the fences and injuring himself.

    @ Noman: Kolkata is still a large ground, in ODI's also you could not see much sixes in 80's and 90's. Now like Australia they might have brought ropes somewhat in.For the last 2-3 matches it has become flat but earlier it was a true wicket. In 1998 SA beat India and Klusener took 8-64 in his debut. In 1998 Srinath removed Blewett and Slater in first over of the match. In 1999 Srinath took 13 wickets in the match and Pakistan were 26-6 in 1st hour of the match. In 1987 Roger Binny picked 6 for against Pakistan. In 2001 the glorious match it was in Australia's favour until Laxman turned it on its head. In 2005 Dravid's twin centuries alongwith Karthik's 98 won the match for India.

  • Boll on March 31, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    Something which no-one seems to have mentioned so far is the modern prediliction, originally introduced quite rightly to reduce the chance of injury, for using boundary ropes as opposed to fences to delineate 4s/6s. When this practice was first introduced, ropes were 2/3 metres inside the fence. Now they are regularly 10/15 metres or more inside the larger boundaries. Why? ...so people can see more `insert company name` maximums scored.

    The commentator`s cry of `it`s not only cleared the rope, it`s into the crowd as well` is a relatively new one. Understandable, but detracts from the glory somewhat.

    As for Bradman in ODIs, I can only imagine that the most clinically destructive batsman in test cricket would have been even more suited to the shorter game. [[ Yes, Boll. The ropes keep on coming in. One advantage is that we are able to see those Hussey/Mathews type of catches. Players can safely do that. Earlier they would have crashed into the fence. Ananth: ]]

  • Noman on March 31, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    @Navin Agarwal. No offences. But you are right that I should get my facts right. Here are correct facts. Indian grounds are smallest coupled with dead batting friendly pitches. Australia have largest grounds coupled with bouncy pitches. WRT Kolkata, I am talking about boundary line not the stands..!! [[ Navin, I think in a way Noman is right. If you see Bangalore now, it is a combination of a very small ground and a very flat track. At least Chennai offers some help to spinners. Ananth: ]]

  • jawaad on March 31, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    ok.it is nice to see that you did suplendid calculation. Here, I have to say that you missed "aamir sohail,saeed anwar,haynes and javed miandad. I hope that u also include them in your statistics. [[ They are all there. It is just that only the top-20 can be shown in the tables. Given below is a link for the uploaded file. You yourself can download and check it out. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39210851/Test_4s6s_Batsmen.xls Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on March 31, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    @Noman. New Zealand's ground are smallest, so why the list is not made up of all New Zealanders and why the list does not have much innings with matches being played in New Zealand.

    Get your facts right mate.

  • A. Khan on March 31, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    @Ananth As there is lot of talk about MJ performance and Wisden 100 list, I too can not resist asking, if you have ever given a thought about top match performances? Like Laxman's 281 test also had 59 in the first innings, Davidson once took 10 wickets with over 100 runs. Botham apart from 149*, also scored 50 in the 1st innings and took 6-7 wickets in the match, Sobers/Botham have made => 100 + =>5 wickets in a test match more than anybody else! Is simply adding the ponits from bowling and batting fair?

  • Navin Agarwal on March 31, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    Noman's Quote:"You should also consider that the number of boundaries and sixes hit have a lot to do with ground size. Since grounds in Australia are huge (80+ metres) as compared to ones in India (50-60 metres). That is why Indians are in the list on many occasions and mighty Australians are not."

    Eden Garden in Kolkata is a huge ground, you can never hit a six in which ball goes out of stadium. Traditionally Test cricket is played in Metro cities and a few others like Bangalore,Kanpur,Ahmedabad only. Kolkata,Chennai,Bangalore,Mumbai have normal to huge grounds. Only Delhi could be termed as small.

    Also visiting batsman also play on same grounds. Going by your logic if the career boundaries are effected. Why not Pontings, Laras Gilchrist of the world played a single innings which included huge number of boundaries. Lara did not have a single century on Indian soil ( the so called batsman's paradise pitches). Gilchrist and Ponting have one each.

    Please do not degrade such players.

  • Noman on March 31, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    On list of 150s and 200s. As expected. Afridi heads the list of highest ratio over 150s.

    But interesting fact is that Inzamam heads the 300 list. I was expecting Sehwag to do that but his 2 triple tons come in at 2nd and 3rd. [[ Yes, quite surprising. The 329 has gone ahead of both 319 and 309. I had not noticed. Note the number of 6s in all these innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Noman on March 31, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    Good article Anath. But one thing I must mention here. You should also consider that the number of boundaries and sixes hit have a lot to do with ground size. Since grounds in Australia are huge (80+ metres) as compared to ones in India (50-60 metres). That is why Indians are in the list on many occasions and mighty Australians are not.

    Cant say anything about Afridi. He can hit anything anywhere. [[ It really should not matter since no comparsions are being made nor should be made. This is an article stating facts, that is all. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on March 30, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    @gerry? Perhaps the master blaster would be at 70 centuries (one days have very small grounds) including 40 in tests.

    please explain the meaning of never comprehended "what if" to the zillion scenarios

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 30, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    "It is a commentary on both his bats and the vastness of the MCG."

    Indeed. It is commonly accepted that there has been average inflation after 1995, especially with the decline of the West Indies. Have you considered how many centuries modern (post 2000) batsmen would have if their runs were scaled down by (say) 10%? Perhaps the master blaster would be at 70 centuries (one days have very small grounds) including 40 in tests.

  • shrikanthk on March 30, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    By the way the most obvious reason why this table is naturally dominated by modern batsmen is the relative smallness of modern boundaries and the meatiness of modern bats.

    Try watching Gary Sobers' 254 at MCG back in 1970. Sobers was easily one of the hardest hitters of a cricket ball ever. Yet, it takes quite a while for the ball to reach the fence. It is a commentary on both his bats and the vastness of the MCG.

    I also remember watching several shots from Bradman's 103* at MCG in the Bodyline series. Several strokes of his (hit pretty hard) take quite a long time to reach the fence and the fielder manages to retrieve the delivery in a lot of cases resulting in lots of 3s. Bat technology and smaller boundaries are largely responsible for the preponderance of boundaries in the modern game. Don't let anyone kid you into believing that the white ball game has anything to do with it. If anything, tests favour boundary hitters more than the white ball game, given the aggressive fields.

  • shrikanthk on March 30, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    ODIs are a widely accepted alternate format of the game, played with 90% of rules intact.

    Widely accepted by who? The players because it makes them rich. The administrators because it fills their coffers. And the fans because they understand it.

    Make no mistake. I love the white ball game. I've watched as much ODIs as Tests in my life on television. But that doesn't mean both are two "forms" of the same game. They are two different games. Period. "90% of the rules"?? I am not referring to superficial rules here like the "length of each over" etc. I am referring to the vastly different philosophies of the two games. To win a cricket match, you need to bowl a side out twice. To win a white ball game, you only need to concede fewer runs than the opposition. These are two markedly different philosophies demanding different temperaments, different outlooks towards life.

    They are as different as chalk is from cheese. Anyway, let's get back to counting 4s and 6s :)

  • shrikanthk on March 30, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    Forget about the T20 space. The ODIs present a genuine format to consider for Bradman. Since he was not going to suddenly slog 4s/6s how would he have handled the 90+ scoring rate expected of him

    He once scored a century at club level in 3 overs. By the way, I thought we are discussing cricket here. Not the white ball game. Do you ever wonder whether Michael Jordan would've done well playing volleyball? [[ If it came to that, Michael Jordan would have played a different format basket ball which had two halves of 7.5 minutes each with some changes in rules. He would also have played the full game and done well in both. He would have adopted himself to both formats. As far as the mention to volleyball, that is a silly comparison. It is a totally different game. It is not exactly that Richards and company had started playing Baseball. ODIs are a widely accepted alternate format of the game, played with 90% of rules intact. I agree it was my mistake asking you a hypothetical question. I should have realized your low opinion of the "white ball game". I withdraw my question. Ananth: ]] The white ball game is a format where you've players unable to average 40 in first class cricket make a fortune. I've no problems with that. But inverse snobbery has reached such heights in the modern era that the white ball enthusiasts use every opportunity to take potshots at the parent game to which they owe their very existence. Not referring to you Ananth, but a general tendency I see around me.

    Do we claim that the Matrix (a forgettable film) is a better movie than Citizen Kane just because the former has CGI effects?

  • shrikanthk on March 30, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    Shrikanthk.....With this trigger movement, how did he escape LBWs? He could also get squared on with an outswinger esp in England

    Fair point. From what I've seen (a fair amount of footage), he was not a huge fan of driving unless it was a rank half volley. When he moved back and across it was more often with the intent of pulling short-of-a-length deliveries that most other batsmen would leave alone. When the idea is to play the pull it doesn't matter too much if there is lateral movement. What matters is judgment of length and not the line.

    I think Bradman has gone on record saying that given his predilection for the cross bat, he was more worried about length than line. For most conventional batsmen, the line matters a lot because they play with a perpendicular bat. So even if the ball moves a few inches, they are likely to edge it or get beaten! [[ Forget about the T20 space. The ODIs present a genuine format to consider for Bradman. Since he was not going to suddenly slog 4s/6s how would he have handled the 90+ scoring rate expected of him. Or would he have suddenly found the freedom not accorded to him in the Test format and started playing more lofted strokes. Ananth: ]]

  • psm on March 30, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    tables, tables & more tables. this entire story could be so much better with data visualization. [[ That shows that you are not gamiliar with this blogspace. Where required I do graphs. Most of the tables are one dimensional in that there is a single relevant column and graphs would be utterly useless. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 30, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    @ Sir Don's Letter to MCC: It shows great courage from a batsman to recommend a rule favoring bowlers, ruling out deliberate pad play. It also increases challenges and creates new ways of playing. I guess innovations come through this as well.

  • Ramesh Kumar on March 30, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    I have read somewhere that Bradman was extraordinary in picking up line & length which ensured that he played late and created gaps. With his scoring rate and less boundaries, the fielders must have cursed him for making them run throughout the day.

    Shrikanthk.....With this trigger movement, how did he escape LBWs? He could also get squared on with an outswinger esp in England. Picking up line/length must be the key. [[ The following extract from Wiki shows that there was the significant change to Lbw law made in 1935 and this was prompted by Bradman. "" At the height of the Bodyline controversy in 1933, Donald Bradman, the primary target of the bowlers, wrote a letter to the MCC recommending an alteration of the lbw law to create more exciting games.[28] To address the problem, and redress the balance for bowlers, the MCC made some alterations to the rules around this time. ...... Then, in 1935, an experimental law was introduced in which the batsman could be dismissed lbw even if the ball pitched outside the line of off stump—in other words, a ball which turned or swung into the batsman but did not pitch in line with the wickets. The umpire made a signal to indicate to the scorers when he had ruled a batsman lbw under the experimental rule, and any such dismissal was designated lbw (n) on the scorecard.[25] Initially, there was an increase in the number of lbw dismissals until batsmen became accustomed to the alteration in the law.[25] Several leading batsmen opposed the change to the law, including the professional Herbert Sutcliffe, known as an exponent of pad-play, and amateurs Errol Holmes and Bob Wyatt. Wisden Cricketers' Almanack noted that these three particular batsmen improved their batting records during the 1935 season, but batsmen generally were less successful and that there were fewer drawn matches.[31] Out of 1,560 lbw dismissals in first-class matches in 1935, 483 were given under the amended law. Wisden judged the experiment to be successful and several of those who opposed the change had altered their opinion by the end of the season.[32] The Australian authorities were reluctant to make the change and did not introduce the experimental law immediately into domestic first-class cricket,[33] but in 1937 the experimental law became part of the Laws of Cricket. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 30, 2012, 4:41 GMT

    (Out of context): There was a highly dramatized television series called "Bodyline" telecast in the mid-80's (85-86 may be) about the Bodyline ashes series, the making of Bradman,Jardine,Larwood and how the entire drama unfolded.

    It was an interesting series with the actors' face, body languages, etc trying to resemble originals as much as possible. It had the evolution of Bradman, where he practiced in his backyard, and how Larwood bowled his heart out despite bleeding feet. I'm not sure how many were able to see it or remember the series, but it was a far cry from the soaps that came later.

    The pull and late-cuts shown could be seen in some of Bradman's match clippings. [[ I have managed to preserve a VHS tape of the series over the past 25 years. Gary Sweet and Hugo Weaving were the protagonists, Donald and Douglas. It was a very well-made series. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 30, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    Is this non-risk-taking batting one reason for his stupendous average

    One of the reasons yes. But it did not hurt the team. He still scored runs more quickly than anyone else (barring McCabe maybe). After all these years, he still has an SR (58) which is higher than that of modern masters like Tendulkar and Sangakkara!! Being the stock broker that he was off the field, Bradman mastered the risk-return tradeoff.

    I think the other reason for his remarkable consistency was his strong back-and-across trigger movement which meant he invariably got inside the line of most balls thus ruling out slip catches to a great extent.

  • Pranav Joshi on March 30, 2012, 3:01 GMT

    Ananth, I feel the reason a lot of people didn't like the Wisden 100 best innings ranking was - it heavily devalued innings where the team lost the match (correct me if I am wrong). This was unacceptable to a lot of people, me included. I think (without knowing the entire methodology) that it might be reasonable to devalue innings in defeats, but not so much that they end up nowhere. After all, a great innings is a great innings, and any innings which had an impact on the match situation, whether or not it led to an eventual victory, matters. A lot of great performances haven't got their due. It really is unacceptable that a performance like 136 in Chennai '99 does not make it into thd TOP 100 (I would not fuss if it didn't make it to the top 20 - but 100!). Cricket is a team game and a player who performed so well cannot be penalized so heavily for the ineptitude of his teammates.

    But yes, Tendulkar was ranked No. 2 on the best test batsmen list. [[ Pranav Your points are well-made. I do not want to get into an explanation here. It should be left to a later stage. Suffice to say that the methodology rewarded batsmen who carried their teams to wins rather than penalized those who did not. I always say, the methodology rewarded Lara than penalized Tendulkar. And there is a 20% differential which when applied in a cumulative multiplicative mode meant a lot. I may re-visit the entire methodology but will not disturb the basic parameters. I do not follow the rather stupid American maxim of "Winning is everything" but have adopted my own "Winning is something". I will NEVER exclude the result from any of the work I do. That is for the romantics. Laxman and Dravid gave India the chance. Harbhajan and Tendulkar won the match. The Jayawardenes gave Sri Lanka the chance. The match was won by Herath and Ranadiv. Botham and Dilley kept the tie open. Willis won the match. Gooch moved the world. DeFreitas and Watkin won the match for England. (In the same match his fellow batsmen failed Ambrose). But for the bowlers' efforts all these great innings would have lost their sheen. The result was important. After all Tendulkar's 136 was analyzed for hours by all of us before the list was released. I did a Ph.D defence of my work before the Wisden technical group led by Steven Lynch. For a "lost" innings to come into the top-100 it had to be something extraordinary such as Astle's 222. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on March 30, 2012, 2:46 GMT

    DGB's relatively low boundary % is not surprising. He completely eschewed the aerial route. Used a very light bat. And played on HUGE grounds all the time.

    By most accounts he wasn't a power player. Especially not on the off-side. A more dominant leg-side player where the bottom hand was leveraged to good effect. [[ There is a perception that Bradman must have been a power batsman capable of hitting fours at will. Looks like that is not the case. Funny thing is that when I started the simulation work in 1987, the first was ODI simulation. I had to assign avge balls and s/r for batsmen myself since I had not linked the database, which was done much later. Kapil and Richards were at the top of current players with 0.8333 (rpo of 5) and appropriate balls. For Bradman I assigned the same s/r and nearly double the number of balls as Richards. No aerial route shots would have lowered the s/r considerably, probably to 0.75. Is this non-risk-taking batting one reason for his stupendous average. Ananth: ]]

  • Waqas on March 29, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    Hi Anantha Narayanan i am really shocked to see that u have posted pic of Sehwag but Afridi is on top position on many occasions in your lists .And why there is no Afirdi in your list of (Player career analysis - by number of runs in boundaries). [[ One, I am not responsible for the picture selection. Cricinfo does that. Two, they might have posted the picture of Sehwag who have scored 5 times as many as Afridi. Three, these are not worth discussing. Ananth: ]]

  • dinesh on March 29, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    Ananth,

    Mahela'a innings comes in at 7.So where does sehwag's 201 in Galle comes.If possible can you please post here the latest Top100 list. And last but not lease i was dissappointed when i dint see Tendulkar's name in the list i thought his 136 in Chennai could have made it.But when i got to know that it was done by you then i kind of realised that his innings might have fallen short in some criteria as i feel most if not all of your work is Flawless. No offences meant. [[ I will post the tables only as part of a complete set of articles. Otherwise we will go completely off-track. Sehwag's innings is in the top-100. No offence taken ever. I understand the readers' feelings fully. Ananth: ]]

  • Raman on March 29, 2012, 18:13 GMT

    Ananth,

    While DPMD's 180 was great and match winning, he also survived at least 2 chances. Is that taken into account while computing the ratings?

    Raman [[ why 2, he survived 4 catches, But this information is totally irrelevant and not recorded on any scorecard. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on March 29, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    The following files have been uploaded. The link is provided just below the description. 1. List of 100s with boundary share between 66.67% and 75%. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39210851/gt66100s.txt 2. List of 150s with boundary share greater than 50%.. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39210851/gt50150s.txt 3. List of 200s with boundary share greater than 50%. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39210851/gt50200s.txt Ananth

  • Navin Agarwal on March 29, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    "I pity the Gujaratis who paid money for this nonsense."

    At least they got their money's worth when SMG became the first batsman to touch 5 figure mark in test cricket.

  • Navin Agarwal on March 29, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    Joe Christopher "surprisingly Azharuddin despite scoring 3 centuries with over 100 strike rate never had a boundary rate of more than 72%. it might be interesting to see the boundary percentage amongst fastest centuries, double centuries."

    Ananth replies: 1148 121 (111) 22/0 72.7% 1341 109 (77) 18/1 71.6% 1349 115 (110) 19/1 71.3% So you will see that all three hundreds just missed the 75% mark.

    Can we have a table for players with most hundreds with say 50% or 60% runs in boundary in those innings. (Sehwag,Gilchrist, Lara likely to feature in that list.) [[ I will do an additional table listing 100s containing between 50 and 75% in boundaries. Bound to be a long table. So I will upload and provide a link. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on March 29, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    I was asking others(including myself) to resist so that we do not open a Pandora's box over here. But Ananth you yourself are too much. :D [[ I was so excited at the induction of an innings for the first time in ten years into the top-20 that I could not resist. I think we should forthwith stop all general duiscussion on this complex topic since that is very much in the future. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on March 29, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    Sorry, Navin, cannot resist it. Jayawardene's innings is the best first innings effort ever, beating Azhar Mahmood;s 132 by 0.19 points (240.87 vs 240.69). Ananth

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 29, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    So Hughes 100* has dropped out? What a pity...that re-laid MCG pitch was a fast wicket. The previous year's MCG pitch had crumbled (Kapil Dev 5/28) and had been a very slow one. Windies attack was at its peak. Long partnership with tail. Match winning innings. Low scoring match. Wonder what was lacking. [[ Au contraire, Inzamam's 329 dropped out of the top-10. But let us not go the whole distance now. As Navin has mantioned "in another forum". Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 29, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    Ananth, I completely disagree with this analysis. Any analysis that does not have a Tendulkar innings in the top 5, rather as the best innings, cannot be acceptable (am merely preparing you for the worst).

  • Navin Agarwal on March 29, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    Well, the first thing that came to my mind was low scoring nature of the match and 180 out of 318 in 1st innings. Never did I thought of bowling standard. Need to discuss it at more appropriate forum. Otherwise the topic will lose its sheen. [[ One aspect which most people ignore is the "Shepherding the tail" parameter I have built in. Think of it. MJ added 148 runs for the last four wickets with the tail and the final margin was 75 runs. Incidentally PJ also gets rewarded handsomely. His 61 gets 135 points, higher than many a 100. MJ gets 240+ points. Cannot resist it. This overtakes Jayasuriya's 253 as the best Sri Lankan innings. Ananth: ]] Rizwan Uz Zaman's entry in to scores with only 1 boundary, Did it came at Kolkata. I remember seeing him at bat when I was all of 9 years of age. Roger Binny destroyed the Pak innings after tea when he they collapsed and lost their last 8 wickets for 50-60 runs. Rizwan was a blocker much like Tavare. [[ No, Navin, that was an awful match at Motera. 400 overs produced 850 runs and Rizwan's 58 in 252 balls came in the second innings. Indidentally Younis Ahmed scored 34 in 226 balls. Pakistan managed to score 135 in 100 overs. I pity the Gujaratis who paid money for this nonsense. Maninder had Nadkarni-like figures of 23-16-13-1. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on March 29, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    Navin, I must have been off to have told you that Jayawardene's 180 would get into the top-100. What 100. It has got into the seventh (I repeat seventh) position, behind Bradman's 280, Lara's 153, Gooch's 154, Botham's 149, Bradman's 299 and Laxman's 281. Just a few decimal points behind Laxman and a few decimal points ahead of Azhar Mahmood's 132. Yesterday I was thinking of the top-20. You have gauged the quality of the innings very well. Thanks for asking the question which made me do the work now itself. Ananth

  • Navin Agarwal on March 29, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    Ananth, Like Laxman's 281 which came pretty early in his career and he cannot better that in his entire career, That was your best effort. You came with brilliant articles but that work can never be bettered. As some great has said, "You cannot stop and idea whose time has come". That was way beyond anybody's expectation and way ahead of its time(Forget the bashing it got from Aajtak for not inclusing SRT's any innings). I think everything is ready for that article, other than tweaking some percentage points here and there of the main work done 10 years back. [[ Wonderful words and the right balm needed for me. That will at least be equalled if not bettered in the revision. 281 was the correct number since Laxman has never bettered that. A wonderful number to be associated with, in the view of one person at least. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on March 29, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    Nice Article.

    Though far removed from the topic. What's with new Top 100 batting-bowling performance like Wisden 100 of 2002. Where will Jayawardne's 180 stand in that list, worth its weight in gold. [[ I will post this tonight since I will be doing the update work in the evening. It should certainly be in the batting-100 considering the quality of English bowling attck, the low scoring and the way he shepherded the tail. And the result. It was essential for Sri Lanka to win for MJ to get full credit. Compare this with Clarke's and Warner's efforts, in losing causes. Ananth: ]]

  • JOE CHRISTOPHER on March 29, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    hi ananth, surprisingly Azharuddin despite scoring 3 centuries with over 100 strike rate never had a boundary rate of more than 72%. it might be interesting to see the boundary percentage amongst fastest centuries, double centuries. joe [[ 1148 121 (111) 22/0 72.7% 1341 109 (77) 18/1 71.6% 1349 115 (110) 19/1 71.3% So you will see that all three hundreds just missed the 75% mark. We have data available for Azhar for about 90%. His boundary rate is 50.1%. It is there in the article. Ananth: ]]

  • S Ganesh on March 29, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    Ananth

    Where is Gary Sobers in this ? He was the original 4 machine. His 43 against Miller as an opener had 80% boundries and changed the way the West Indies played Cricket. I am sure that in innings like his 132 or 226 he must have had a boundary ratio in the high 60's .

    I am sure that a part extrapolation of Known data will reveal a lot more on him . [[ The only above 50% centuries for which data is available are his 168 vs Aus (25x4s and 1x6 - 63.1%), 161 vs Eng (26x4s and 1x6 - 68.3%, 113 vs Aus (20x4s - 70.7%, 150 vs Eng (19x4s - 50.6%). Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik on March 28, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    Great analysis, just wanted to point out a typo (looks like one) "Afridi: 52 in 27 Tests - 1.93 fours/Test Chris Cairns: 87 in 62 Tests - 1.40 fours/Test Gilchrist : 100 in 96 Tests - 1.04 fours/Test Flintoff : 82 in 76 Tests - 1.04 fours/Test"

    I think you meant sixers here .. [[ Will correct. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on March 28, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Ananth:

    Awesome article once again. Thanks for this one. Brings out the beauty of test cricket in a different perspective. Could you do a similar one for ODIs but more emphasis on less percentage of boundaries? I think Adam Parore once scored 96 against India with no boundaries !! I am not sure if it will bring out so many beauties like the test matches but am sure we will see some interesting features of ODIs too. I have a feeling Bevan may feature several times in innings with few percentage of boundaries .. [[ Will do so for ODIs. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on March 28, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    @Gerry and @Ananth: The Sehwag photo used by Cricinfo is, as per the Cricinfo gallery of Sehwag, quite recent. It was taken Jan 27, 2012: http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-india-2011/content/image/551164.html?object=35263;page=1 . Even in this photo, the chubby & cherubic nature of Viru is visible.

    Incidentally, the photo pointed out by Gerry was taken barely 24 days after that: Feb 21, 2012! I well know that the Oz land is a foodie's delight. Looks like Viru didn't mind getting rotated out and used the extra time on his hands pretty well.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    I forgot what i asked for...it has not come in the comment. [[ You should not use the less than or greater than sign in your comments. Html interprets these as tags. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Qamar, in the same (less than 20% runs in boundaries) table, GS Chappell's entry is equally remarkable. It is the only double century, and 201 came of only 296 balls, with only 6 fours...so not one, but two extremely elegant batsmen playing tip and run...and Chappell ran 177 of his runs. That is a lot of running. I would wonder if Ananth can come up with a table which shows the opposite...maximum runs scored by running in an innings. [[ Excellent idea, but for a future article. There are too many tables in this. And knowleing the calibre of the readers in this blogspace it will snowball into quite a few new ideas. Immedialey career comes in. And running for the other guy. And so on. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on March 28, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    Madanlal hit 10 fours and a six.(confirmed) [[ No, Arjun, the concerned Cricinfo scorecard link is given below. Madanlal hit 11 fours and a six. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63330.html Cricketarchive link is given below. http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/43/43081.html Ananth: ]] H Gibbs's 147 at Harare in 2001. While he was 50 notout it contained 12 fours.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    I just paid the ultimate tribute to the little master, the master blaster, the scorer of 100 centuries. I drank Coke's 100th 100 can. It carried the sweet taste of Bangladesh. [[ It is years since I have had a Coke or Pepsi and I will have a golden one next. Ananth: ]] Interestingly, Lara played 8% more tests than Richards, scored 31% more runs and hit 33% more sixes, he was as big a six hitter as Richards...!

    Finally, Sehwag's photo in the article is a very very old one. It must be really old. He looks anorexic. The current version can be seen by the photo in this article... http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/current/story/555915.html [[ At least for this you cannot blame me. It is Madhu's decision. I will forward the mail to him. Ananth: ]]

  • Qamar on March 28, 2012, 10:18 GMT

    Hundreds with less than 20% in boundaries - Mohsin Khan's 104 in 136 balls with only 3 fours, by far the quickest in terms of balls deserves special mention - especially when you look at the number of balls taken by all others. Not sure whether he was ever known to be a 'tip and run' type batsman! [[ Excellent point. Will make a special mention. To score at nearly 5 rpo and score only 3 boundaries is something. And Pakistan almost won the match through Mohsin's quick 100. Ananth: ]]

  • Enigma on March 28, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    Nice article. You maybe aware that Laxman in his entire career has hit only two sixes. [[ Laxman has hiit 5 sixes, 2 against SA, one each against Nzl, Zim and Pak. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 28, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    Interesting light hearted article . . . Who said Test cricket is a boring game? Imagine Low Strike rate v High % of boundary contribution innings . . . Like Laxman's 124 - Included 25x4s and 3x2s and 18x1s. Or even Gatting's fifty . . Imagine the rest of the 170 balls were only defended! It takes extreme powers of concentration to block that long without getting out. One good ball was enough to dislodge. Interesting to see multiple dimensions coming out of these posts. I would rather sit and enjoy these blogs and relive the wonderful memories of the tests of yonder than split my hair in any ranking exercise. I am just worried at test cricket slowly losing its sheen. Memorable knocks and indelible marks are made only in the longest form of cricket. Nice "feel good" article!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    If I remember correctly, in Botham's 118 at Old Trafford, all but 4 runs out of his last 80 came from boundaries. [[ 13x4s and 6x6s come to 88. So what you say is possible. This innings, with 74.57% just misses the cut. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on March 28, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    G Boycott's only boundry wasn't actually a four; it included 2 overthrows. Infact including that innings of 337 balls he faced 569 balls without hitting 4 or 6 in six consecutive innings.

    In Test # 913, G Wood hit first four after facing 221 or 264 balls since one of his 3 fours was all run. [[ Nice corrections. Unfortunately not recorded on the scorecard. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    Very interesting. 1) Larry Gomes hit his first six in his 47th test 2) Botham at 1 per 128 balls is languishing below Harbhajan 3) ground size would explain why Ponting is lower on the boundary runs table at 48, while others like Dravid are at 50 (Hayden is an opener, new ball will help etc.) 4) Afridi's 4s alone ensure a 50% strike rate 5) Gilchrist played 60% as many tests as Dravid, made 40% as many runs, before before Dravid, but faced only 20% as many balls in his career 6) Boycott was nowhere as stodgy an opener as some of the others 7)At 39% with his speed of scoring, Bradman's team mates must have hated him for keeping them running so long 8)There have been only 2 double centuries with >75% in boundaries 9) MD Crowe 100 in 247 balls is slowest century with >75% in boundaries 10) Mike Gatting, for obvious reasons, did not like running, as evident from his slowest strike rate for 50s with >85% boundary runs.

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  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    Very interesting. 1) Larry Gomes hit his first six in his 47th test 2) Botham at 1 per 128 balls is languishing below Harbhajan 3) ground size would explain why Ponting is lower on the boundary runs table at 48, while others like Dravid are at 50 (Hayden is an opener, new ball will help etc.) 4) Afridi's 4s alone ensure a 50% strike rate 5) Gilchrist played 60% as many tests as Dravid, made 40% as many runs, before before Dravid, but faced only 20% as many balls in his career 6) Boycott was nowhere as stodgy an opener as some of the others 7)At 39% with his speed of scoring, Bradman's team mates must have hated him for keeping them running so long 8)There have been only 2 double centuries with >75% in boundaries 9) MD Crowe 100 in 247 balls is slowest century with >75% in boundaries 10) Mike Gatting, for obvious reasons, did not like running, as evident from his slowest strike rate for 50s with >85% boundary runs.

  • Arjun on March 28, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    G Boycott's only boundry wasn't actually a four; it included 2 overthrows. Infact including that innings of 337 balls he faced 569 balls without hitting 4 or 6 in six consecutive innings.

    In Test # 913, G Wood hit first four after facing 221 or 264 balls since one of his 3 fours was all run. [[ Nice corrections. Unfortunately not recorded on the scorecard. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    If I remember correctly, in Botham's 118 at Old Trafford, all but 4 runs out of his last 80 came from boundaries. [[ 13x4s and 6x6s come to 88. So what you say is possible. This innings, with 74.57% just misses the cut. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on March 28, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    Interesting light hearted article . . . Who said Test cricket is a boring game? Imagine Low Strike rate v High % of boundary contribution innings . . . Like Laxman's 124 - Included 25x4s and 3x2s and 18x1s. Or even Gatting's fifty . . Imagine the rest of the 170 balls were only defended! It takes extreme powers of concentration to block that long without getting out. One good ball was enough to dislodge. Interesting to see multiple dimensions coming out of these posts. I would rather sit and enjoy these blogs and relive the wonderful memories of the tests of yonder than split my hair in any ranking exercise. I am just worried at test cricket slowly losing its sheen. Memorable knocks and indelible marks are made only in the longest form of cricket. Nice "feel good" article!

  • Enigma on March 28, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    Nice article. You maybe aware that Laxman in his entire career has hit only two sixes. [[ Laxman has hiit 5 sixes, 2 against SA, one each against Nzl, Zim and Pak. Ananth: ]]

  • Qamar on March 28, 2012, 10:18 GMT

    Hundreds with less than 20% in boundaries - Mohsin Khan's 104 in 136 balls with only 3 fours, by far the quickest in terms of balls deserves special mention - especially when you look at the number of balls taken by all others. Not sure whether he was ever known to be a 'tip and run' type batsman! [[ Excellent point. Will make a special mention. To score at nearly 5 rpo and score only 3 boundaries is something. And Pakistan almost won the match through Mohsin's quick 100. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    I just paid the ultimate tribute to the little master, the master blaster, the scorer of 100 centuries. I drank Coke's 100th 100 can. It carried the sweet taste of Bangladesh. [[ It is years since I have had a Coke or Pepsi and I will have a golden one next. Ananth: ]] Interestingly, Lara played 8% more tests than Richards, scored 31% more runs and hit 33% more sixes, he was as big a six hitter as Richards...!

    Finally, Sehwag's photo in the article is a very very old one. It must be really old. He looks anorexic. The current version can be seen by the photo in this article... http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/current/story/555915.html [[ At least for this you cannot blame me. It is Madhu's decision. I will forward the mail to him. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on March 28, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    Madanlal hit 10 fours and a six.(confirmed) [[ No, Arjun, the concerned Cricinfo scorecard link is given below. Madanlal hit 11 fours and a six. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63330.html Cricketarchive link is given below. http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/43/43081.html Ananth: ]] H Gibbs's 147 at Harare in 2001. While he was 50 notout it contained 12 fours.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Qamar, in the same (less than 20% runs in boundaries) table, GS Chappell's entry is equally remarkable. It is the only double century, and 201 came of only 296 balls, with only 6 fours...so not one, but two extremely elegant batsmen playing tip and run...and Chappell ran 177 of his runs. That is a lot of running. I would wonder if Ananth can come up with a table which shows the opposite...maximum runs scored by running in an innings. [[ Excellent idea, but for a future article. There are too many tables in this. And knowleing the calibre of the readers in this blogspace it will snowball into quite a few new ideas. Immedialey career comes in. And running for the other guy. And so on. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on March 28, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    I forgot what i asked for...it has not come in the comment. [[ You should not use the less than or greater than sign in your comments. Html interprets these as tags. Ananth: ]]