May 18, 2012

ODI bowling: location summary, country details and key matches

Analysis of ODI bowling performances by location, country details and key matches
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Glenn McGrath has an outstanding record in key matches © Getty Images

This is a follow-up to the previous article which was an analysis on ODI Batsmen (click here for the article) by teams faced. Normally I do analysis-centric articles which take on and expound a theme. Once in a while I do different types of articles in which I go deep in one area of the game and provide data tables around it. This is one such article.

This information is certainly available through StatsGuru of Cricinfo. However, what will not be available are the composite multidimensional tables which are provided here. You would have to put in multiple queries and saving the tables in an accessible format is another problem.

In order to avoid the usual questions and comments which relate to specific players, let me emphasize how these series of articles would be structured. I would cover the top/selected 12-15 players in a graph to visually present the variations. Then I would present data tables, in the body of the articles, which would normally cover the top 25 players or so. However the most important of the tables are the ones which have been uploaded and are available for downloading for permanent storage and perusal. Normally these cover the complete collection of players, say 150, who meet the cut-off criteria. So, before coming out with comments that "Zaheer Khan or Botham or Walsh are not mentioned", please download the tables and check. Superficial reading of the articles is not enough.

Over the current month or or two, I will be doing the following four tables. These may all not follow in sequence. I may intersperse other pending analysis in between.

1. ODI Batting analysis - summary by location and details by country played against and key tournament matches. Completed.
2. ODI Bowling analysis - summary by location and details by country played against and key tournament matches. Current article.
3. Test Batting analysis - summary by location and details by country played against.
4. Test Bowling analysis - summary by location and details by country played against.

The vs Country grouping is as explained below. I have 10 countries/groups: Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe combined and finally "all other teams". A fair grouping and nothing of relevance would be left out. And the analysis is very extensive in that it is by country played against: at home, away, in neutral locations and across career.

I have defined the key tournament matches by the following criteria. I have deliberately excluded the tri-series finals from this group. At last count there were well over 100 such tournaments and inclusion of these tournaments would dilute the whole concept. Readers might differ. However it should be noted that inclusion of the Sharjah tournaments would also mean inclusion of all CB/VB Series and all inconsequential tri-series ever played. For that matter I have set the criteria as tournaments with 6 teams and above. World Cup Super-Sixes and Super-Eights rank with the Quarter finals.

10 World Cup Finals
20 World Cup Semi-finals
8 World Cup Quarter finals
45 World Cup Super-Sixes and Super-Eights
7 ICC/Champions' Trophy Finals
12 ICC/Champions' Trophy Semi finals
3 Finals of the following three 6+ team tournaments
- Benson & Hedges World Championship of Cricket, 1984/85 (7 teams)
- MRF World Series (Nehru Cup), 1989/90 (6 teams)
- Australasia Cup, 1989/90 (6 teams)

Total number of key tournament matches: 105

There were a number of comments in the batting article to consider the inclusion of some or all of the tri-series Finals also. I have generally discarded the suggestions because of the preponderance of average tri-series. Anyhow I am not going to be consistent across both areas of the game.

Normally bowling analysis is easier because of the unique nature of the single most important bowling measure, the bowling average. The batting average is an inconsistent and incomplete measure, with its two inherent drawbacks, viz., the confusing treatment of not-outs and the presence of another very important factor, the scoring rate. Bowling average, on the other hand, is a perfect composite of two important measures, viz., the bowling strike rate (BpW) and bowling accuracy (RpB). The single measure is so perfect that it is rare that we have to do any sub-analysis on the two constituent measures.

First the graphs. I would only offer limited comments since I expect the readers to come out with their own comments. I might miss some obvious comment. Should not really matter. The ordering is different for different modes of presentation since we can get different insights. In general, the graphs are ordered by the concerned bowling average values and the tables are ordered by the appropriate wickets values.

Bowler analysis - Summary by location

Summary of wickets for top bowlers
© Anantha Narayanan

This graph contains the top 11 wicket-takers, who have captured over 300 wickets and 7 other outstanding ODI bowlers. I have altered the presentation slightly. The Blue rectangles, anchored on the left, indicate BowAvg values below 28.0 and Red rectangles, anchored on the right, indicate BowAvg values above 28.0. The size of the rectangle gives an indication of the BowAvg value, the bigger the better or worse, depending on whether these are blue or red. The numbers adjacent to the rectangles indicate the number of wickets captured in that classification.

Most of the bowlers have performed above-par, home, away and in neutral locations. As expected Afridi and Jayasuriya have been below-par everywhere. Kumble has just about beaten par in neutral locations. But two real surprises: Wasim Akram has been below-par at home (72 wickets at 31.12) and less surprisingly, Warne, below-par, away (84 wickets at 30.40).

Bowler analysis - All matches - by opposing country

Summary of wickets against teams
© Anantha Narayanan

This graph is similar to the batting graphs. These are ordered by the BowAvg values. The top 15 bowlers are shown. The player's performance against the 10 team groups are plotted. Blue ovals indicate BowAvg values of below 28.0 and Red ovals indicate BowAvg values above 28.0. The size of ovals indicates how far off the par the performances are. The number of wickets captured is displayed, colour-coded, under each country. In general, the cut-off values are 100 wickets. For the lower level Home/Away/Neutral vs-team analysis, the cut-off is lowered to 75 wickets.

Garner's overall average has been stupendous, backed by an excellent strike rate and the best-ever RpO values. He has played very well against all countries barring India: 6 wickets at 32.5. The all-blue performers are Holding, Hadlee, Donald and McGrath. Muralitharan has two below-par countries and has a huge tally against the weaker countries. Wasim Akram has one weak spot, against England. Two relatively unknown bowlers, Pringle and Bracken are in this elite lot.

A vertical perusal of the table indicates that South Africa is the toughest country to bowl against and New Zealand, relatively the friendliest one.

Bowler analysis - Home matches - by opposing country

Summary of wickets against teams in home matches
© Anantha Narayanan

McGrath was king at home. An all-blue graph. No other top bowler has had this distinction. Pollock has also been quite good, barring 11 against New Zealand at 38.5. Many bowlers seem to have found it tough to bowl against India, even playing at home. Surprisingly Pakistan is the other way around.

Bowler analysis - Away matches - by opposing country

Summary of wickets against teams in away matches
© Anantha Narayanan

Holding has been good overall against all countries, playing away. But Donald and Johnson have the best record, playing away. As expected, the away BowAvg values graph has a smattering of red ovals scattered across.

Bowler analysis - Neutral matches - by opposing country

Summary of wickets against teams in neutral matches
© Anantha Narayanan

Lee has been an outstanding neutral match record with almost all-blue record. Again Donald has done very well also. And McGrath has been equally good. All other leading bowlers have their weak spots. Look at the huge number of wickets captured by Wasim Akram in neutral countries, that too at very low average.

Now for the tables. Most of these are self-explanatory.

Career  KeyMats  Home  Neutral  Away 
BatsmanWktsAvgeODIsWktsAvgeRpOWktsAvgeRpOWktsAvgeRpOWktsAvgeRpO
                
Muralitharan53423.08323621.034.3115424.623.8622020.813.8216024.714.14
Wasim Akram50223.53121432.934.487231.124.3626221.213.7616823.893.87
Waqar Younis41623.853622.835.076723.154.6721822.494.7513126.474.61
Vaas WPUJC40027.54192326.614.278127.533.8916827.084.1815128.064.39
Pollock39324.51151533.473.8619320.243.519727.993.8310329.233.78
McGrath38122.02374817.233.9316020.133.7711320.223.8110826.694.07
Lee37723.18122619.004.8916923.344.697918.294.5512925.974.93
S Afridi34433.388532.604.236236.214.8716133.424.5512131.894.55
Kumble33730.90101239.004.8112628.944.4514426.224.146744.644.37
Jayasuriya32336.74201834.174.9011928.314.4511141.034.849342.415.05
Srinath31528.08121730.715.0710330.504.5812427.784.548825.684.14
Warne29325.7391820.564.4413424.404.177522.884.238430.404.38
Agarkar28827.855281.505.6910927.395.298231.714.949725.114.97
Saqlain M28821.796638.504.755420.614.5217421.634.356023.323.99
Vettori28231.50141635.064.2311331.084.067630.864.129332.544.23
Zaheer Khan27829.03132127.385.179430.215.207826.354.5710629.964.92
Donald27221.7971128.184.568826.354.249418.784.109020.474.10
Kallis27031.70161531.934.6311332.404.937827.444.397934.905.09
Abdul Razzaq26931.839734.864.074044.235.0212631.274.6310327.714.60
Ntini26624.6711740.865.0212224.004.425523.564.158926.264.93
Harbhajan25933.40111526.073.9910435.484.427030.674.168533.094.28
Kapil Dev25327.454913.002.8510027.154.018524.493.486831.593.64
ShoaibAkhtar24724.9861023.805.064628.245.0811323.974.708824.574.68
Streak23929.836552.205.126726.724.478531.474.428730.624.66
Gough23526.443435.505.2610827.274.413424.444.369326.204.40
Walsh22730.473269.504.884640.024.359926.043.538230.463.85
Ambrose22524.133424.003.206525.253.588622.643.357424.883.54
Anderson20830.809390.674.969127.804.994428.454.737335.955.21
Harris20337.5011495.754.859429.734.075248.384.295740.394.55
McDermott20324.722615.834.7512524.323.891824.333.846025.674.42

This table is ordered by career wickets captured. The top 30 are shown.

Since I have already talked about the Home/Away/Neutral performances in the graph section, I would only talk about the key tournament matches here. The bar for selection for the key tournament matches has been set quite high, and that is the way it should be. It can be safely concluded that these wickets have all been captured in real tough situations. McGrath is the runaway leader in this classification, having captured 48 wickets at a very low BowAvg value of 17.23. This is a very impressive record and should not be swept under the carpet. Imagine, McGrath has captured nearly 13% of his career wickets in tough tournament situations. No wonder that Australia won 5 major World tournaments during the past 20 years.

Muralitharan is a comfortable second with 36 wickets. The surprise is the low tally of the two great Pakistan bowlers. Lee has been very productive in these matches. It is obvious that this would be the domain of the modern bowlers because of the number of matches in WCs classified so. The formats have changed drastically.

All matchesCareer AUS ENG IND NZL PAK SAF SLK WIN B/Z OTH 
BowlersWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvge
                       
Muralitharan53423.085331.152824.007431.777417.939625.254923.35  3428.129015.563611.08
Wasim Akram50223.536727.433235.446025.176418.53  3523.949220.978925.574220.932110.57
Waqar Younis41623.852940.763020.103724.497915.85  5824.918424.366026.982626.351314.08
Vaas WPUJC40027.544735.703235.037031.634922.226132.984028.00  2618.696116.901418.93
Pollock39324.515729.354021.774824.484827.314925.14  5123.904424.233323.092314.04
McGrath38122.02  5322.963426.765919.785719.115823.793625.083625.722420.962412.25
Lee37723.18  6422.615521.005220.983823.184023.653832.614921.632030.302115.00
S Afridi34433.384331.053427.533858.212048.20  2639.155735.123135.166524.753010.60
Kumble33730.903140.292546.00  3927.875424.264632.003451.414123.734025.302715.22
Jayasuriya32336.742945.723235.694449.143829.897136.463336.03  2928.694030.23740.29
Srinath31528.083336.733523.71  5120.415430.692850.253428.033127.743617.191320.54
Warne29325.73  2233.141556.274919.243723.766028.632925.695020.902321.52817.75
Agarkar28827.853628.422139.71  2029.203236.161850.284920.613224.506122.611918.16
Saqlain M28821.792723.332419.885724.393321.70  1636.944724.873018.004813.69617.67
Vettori28231.505340.572429.382738.22  3128.812545.082540.243122.194920.711715.71
Zaheer Khan27829.032346.392531.40  3027.732840.862227.916230.561328.464420.113115.45
Donald27221.794525.983119.424621.154021.072724.00  3220.312127.101719.881310.31
Kallis27031.703447.972533.443036.773729.624028.57  3129.744223.021825.611330.69
Abdul Razzaq26931.832528.841937.953539.863934.15  2147.245029.883127.323519.091428.07
Ntini26624.673929.772027.852528.683723.224920.24  2727.782725.593319.91919.67
Harbhajan25933.403246.443625.33  1740.761457.212530.886126.953334.242532.841624.44
Kapil Dev25327.454527.692828.07  3327.614226.501231.253826.084328.881223.42  
ShoaibAkhtar24724.983234.783424.184126.803523.46  2723.592925.381023.002022.051914.26
Streak23929.831841.613320.183938.001941.743520.661732.882831.962427.751618.001030.80
Gough23526.443131.10  2431.882127.332134.525121.252325.871537.074318.95622.50
Walsh22730.473045.732545.484424.162126.716527.48447.252625.88  613.8368.83
Ambrose22524.136121.801440.863222.471324.156921.351534.071232.17  519.0047.25
Anderson20830.802941.45  3234.751839.722921.902420.712426.962829.391234.831229.75
Harris20337.503137.522033.702437.08  2643.352052.253038.872230.002138.5298.78
McDermott20324.72  2119.433027.472627.582328.741728.121734.126319.43522.80112.00

Since this is a table of top performers, low bowling averages will not be discussed. I will restrict myself to the surprising high averages by the top bowlers. Muralitharan has found the Indian batsmen tough to bowl against. Wasim Akram's waterloo has been against the English batsmen. Waqar Younis has found the batsmen of his settled land intimidating. The Sri Lankan batsmen handled Lee very well. Warne had problems against English and Indian batsmen. No country's batsmen have mastered McGrath and Donald.

Home matchesCareer AUS ENG IND NZL PAK SAF SLK WIN B/Z OTH 
BowlersWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvge
                       
Pollock19320.243125.262919.342317.911138.451920.47  2617.772716.591818.33910.89
Lee16923.34  3319.673319.522023.851924.951621.562139.001313.62736.00715.43
McGrath16020.13  3019.97710.712021.553020.302617.622323.131226.83917.33313.00
Muralitharan15424.621823.331013.803140.061320.002725.56916.00  930.222519.521211.50
Warne13424.40  1928.21157.002418.001821.781838.831924.742619.62919.33  
Kumble12628.941330.461051.40  1628.621026.901924.741148.002721.561326.15712.71
McDermott12524.32  617.001725.181923.531428.86824.501431.574521.40229.00  
Ntini12224.002629.001125.36930.001122.731823.72  1723.35738.861711.82613.00
Jayasuriya11928.311331.081316.312836.001320.231727.82935.89  1121.451527.73  
Kallis11332.402145.57944.441136.64748.291723.06  1627.941822.331120.18333.33
Vettori11331.082633.271128.82935.78  946.22751.00952.672119.672116.57  
Agarkar10927.391727.001231.17  535.80538.80656.672020.001531.132421.04513.40
Gough10827.272227.50  1231.00251.501529.271528.131026.601132.451720.4148.50
Abdur Razzak10723.82930.56723.57490.75933.561019.80437.00271.00  4112.152116.86
Harbhajan10435.481854.943122.10  141.00954.78823.751637.191138.641021.20  
Srinath10330.501235.502123.14  1131.27441.25958.781623.561931.841115.55  
S Waugh10131.16  1528.601335.001735.651329.31544.401027.002629.08214.00  
Kapil Dev10027.151237.831627.50  347.001228.08625.002421.671925.74823.00  
Cairns9431.012336.572021.15736.14  1241.421029.701126.45719.57444.00  
Zaheer Khan9430.211944.321122.91  721.431440.21143.001629.25717.141327.0868.33

Look at the struggles Pollock had at home against the New Zealand batsmen, Lee against the Sri Lankan batsmen, Muralitharan against the Indian batsmen, Warne against South African batsmen and so on. The bowlers who have done very well at home are McGrath and Pollock.

Neutral matchesCareer AUS ENG IND NZL PAK SAF SLK WIN B/Z OTH 
BowlersWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvge
                       
Wasim Akram26221.212122.571332.694623.482018.80  1025.806618.735923.361615.94116.82
Muralitharan22020.81275.501032.702820.823412.565327.282619.00  1725.533414.741613.44
Waqar Younis21822.491331.31426.752528.042912.72  2125.246722.844323.371317.00311.00
Saqlain M17421.63731.001013.404724.702117.67  467.504121.902519.40169.31326.33
Vaas WPUJC16827.08542.401144.003027.701628.444033.501524.40  1812.442520.32816.12
S Afridi16133.421532.20841.752545.921246.17  1141.553534.031937.421129.27257.20
Kumble14426.221440.57534.00  923.784423.661327.081137.911026.702221.641616.88
Abdul Razzaq12631.27654.17  2125.812028.40  1535.472731.371627.501328.54835.88
Srinath12427.78940.56827.62  234.505029.84652.001517.001221.251224.671018.00
McGrath11320.22  623.171331.852014.451616.501427.93625.331117.45921.891813.72
ShoaibAkhtar11323.971144.27817.751830.331225.58  1227.501816.56824.88919.671713.12
Jayasuriya11141.03377.00671.00769.001632.813641.111327.08  943.001531.73632.33
Walsh9926.04347.67942.331421.86319.333923.23199.991830.06  613.8368.83
Pollock9727.99630.00512.001239.002420.501429.21  1727.12455.75451.751119.55
Prasad9629.911328.85610.50  921.893530.60647.50833.75364.331426.57222.50
Donald9418.781220.17434.25920.672416.921316.23  1520.20621.67416.50712.00
Ambrose8622.64523.80  1324.15119.004520.87527.601030.20  39.3347.25
Aaqib Javed8633.15  217.003627.44634.17  261.002432.671344.92335.67  
Kapil Dev8524.491217.83422.25  2120.622022.55136.00832.381732.00228.00  
Streak8531.47460.25627.001442.57284.001719.29346.001729.821519.87  733.86

Barring a few matches against England, Wasim Akram was the master of neutral pitches. Almost similar situation with Muralitharan.

Away matchesCareer AUS ENG IND NZL PAK SAF SLK WIN B/Z OTH 
BowlersWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvgeWktsAvge
                       
Wasim Akram16823.893826.581334.771232.333715.46  1821.891322.621332.851624.06811.50
Muralitharan16024.713332.73825.881535.072723.701618.001436.14  831.253113.2685.75
Vaas WPUJC15128.063234.91945.221445.712917.901423.572031.10  824.882115.33420.25
Waqar Younis13126.471349.082416.04233.502921.34  3121.811029.60846.12936.22518.20
Lee12925.97  2923.071036.701922.58  2425.041130.272626.08633.17418.50
S Afridi12131.892827.321430.57880.00456.75  932.441723.941227.082625.69335.67
McGrath10826.69  1728.181430.071923.531119.641829.50731.291331.69625.0032.67
Zaheer Khan10629.96246.001238.67  1431.571049.401527.002928.10238.501917.84316.00
Pollock10329.232035.50641.671322.691330.461627.12  837.001330.381120.4533.33
Abdul Razzaq10327.711920.841333.31750.861140.36  568.601625.751518.53117.82617.67
Agarkar9725.111028.90951.11  421.50638.17747.431118.361516.403015.70524.20
Johnson9723.57  1026.402426.001527.60  1820.171118.27820.751022.60128.00
Jayasuriya9342.411353.151338.77974.56938.671835.331146.73  923.221031.70154.00
Vettori9332.542144.90631.671138.73  532.401130.361128.36441.502420.54  
Gough9326.20939.89  837.751921.47296.003317.30255.00449.751618.50  
Donald9020.472323.351514.471820.11922.56194.00  515.201125.55224.5063.83
Ntini8926.261228.25930.89349.001126.182416.79  644.001720.24641.83123.00
Srinath8825.681235.08620.50  3816.53  1343.54399.99  1311.69316.33
ShoaibAkhtar8824.571826.001926.111420.641227.92  328.33922.11215.50923.44224.00
Streak8730.621433.501613.881348.921135.911219.08737.43736.29195.00617.00  
Harbhajan8533.09538.20529.00  634.00  1048.003323.521341.081337.15  
Warne8430.40  364.33752.861421.07199.992927.90726.861726.94420.50225.50
Walsh8230.461650.00647.502321.301128.091825.94327.33513.00      
Kallis7934.901151.001032.601032.001236.25841.75  737.291724.00164.00316.00
Mills7825.181530.60828.00563.00    1720.76925.33  2416.04  
Holding7819.534920.511516.20331.33123.001015.80          
Marshall7528.643828.661524.60531.80  1729.18         

Donald has performed best on away pitches. And Holding. The wicket tally for both, however, was below 100.

To download/view the Excel sheet containing the following tables, please click/right-click here. The serious students of the game are going to have a link to this Excel file on their desktop and refer to it a few times a day.

Bowler location summary and key tournament match performances.
Bowler wickets analysis vs Team - for all matches
Bowler wickets analysis vs Team - for home matches
Bowler wickets analysis vs Team - for away matches
Bowler wickets analysis vs Team - for neutral matches
I am not going to do too much of work on the conclusions which can be drawn. This is not that type of article. Just a minimalistic set of statements to complete the all-time best ODI team, according to me.

There is a need to mention four bowlers who stand out for various reasons.

The first (amongst equals) is McGrath. An overall bowling average of 22, composed of averages below 27.0 against all countries and below 20 against couple of countries. Impeccable control over line and length, all delivered at good pace. Add to it the 48 wickets in key matches, it is difficult to think of anyone else as the first selection.

The next one is Garner. Not many wickets, by today's standards, but understandable. But almost all top quality wickets, a very low career Bowling average, a wicket every 36 balls at an RpO of just over 3.0. How can anyone not include him. How successful today's batsmen would have been against Garner, with his height, bounce he normally extracted and swing and cut he could generate at will. Possibly not 18+ but comparable to McGrath's figures.

The third one is Wasim Akram. His overall numbers speak for themselves. Above-par performances in all locations outside Pakistan and the ability to generate wicket-taking deliveries at will. Almost certainly the best left-arm fast bowler to have played ODI cricket. His batting would be a bonus.

Finally for the spinner. Muralitharan's huge number of wickets against the weaker teams and Warne's relative lack of success in away locations means that my selection is going to be Saqlain Mushtaq. An excellent career bowling average and very consistent sub-24.0 average in any location means he is going to be effective everywhere.

Four jewels in the crown, that is all one can say.

So these four bowlers, McGrath, Garner, Wasim Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq complete the team line-up. It is difficult to leave out Hadlee, Waqar Younis, Donald, Lee, Bond, Holding, Muralitharan and Warne. But that is the way selections go.

At a later date I might come with a combined article, doing the Batting computations using the ODI Index (RpAI (excluding single-digit not outs) x S/R). This will ensure that strike rate will be given its due importance. Also will, at least partly, address the vexed question of averages vs runs per innings. I might then look at including at least 4/5 Team tournament Finals.

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

  • Suresh on June 21, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    Ananth,

    this request is not related to the topic on hand, but I was wondering if you could do a feature on batsmen who have been the first wickets for the most # of bowlers :) Obviously this request is triggered by Sachin's propensity to gift his wicket to any number of debutant bowlers, but is there anyone more generous than him?

    thanks

    Suresh [[ Will try and do it sometme. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on June 7, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    @Waspsting - 1) How many times has a team taken more wickets and lost the match?

    2) How many times has a team had a better run rate and lost the match

    If a team loses a match but has taken more wickets, that CAN occur when a side has lost top order wickets, but a low order partnership has played for pride. The answer is not many but not overly relevant. The 2nd question is possibly more than what you think - thanks to D/L. In the early days of ODIs, you only had to better the 1st innings at the time of the rain stoppage & it did not matter how many wickets fell to achieve this. A more relevant question although it would be a hard task to quantify, is how many times has a team chasing let their run rate required blow out, but have won because they had wickets in hand & stormed home? (Fairly often in the modern game). This would suggest that containment is of limited use, particularly when wickets are in hand as the modern reality is sides are confident chasin 160 off 20 overs. [[ Andrew I received 4 copies of your mail and even Madhu 7 copies. Pl see if you are pressing the Enter multiple number of times. Anyhow what browser do you use. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on June 7, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    @Waspsting - re: McGrath - in ODIs he had win % of 70% & played all of his career in world cup winning sides (for arguement sake inc 96 Final). Lee played most of his career with McGrath, although now is part of an Ozzy side that failed to make the w/cup semi's (albeit still "ranked #1), he has win % of 75%, he's economy rate is 22% WORSE than McGrath's but his Strike rate is 17% better. They have played similar teams, with similar co-players, although it can be argued that Lee's team now is significantly less talented than any of McGrath's era, yet Lee is more successful. McGrath is regarded as an alltime great, yet Lee (not as well renowned) was more of a strike bowler & won on ave more times than McGrath. Answering your 2nd question is IMO moot as the causes for a better run rate can include wickets taken or better batting. How many times have a team defended a sub-200 score by NOT bowling the opposition out? TBC

  • Waspsting on June 4, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    Furthermore, you and those arguing on your side of the fence are IGNORING CONTEXT

    How did McGrath take all those wickets? With inswinging leg cutters that pitched on leg and hit off? With catches to 3rd slip? With 6 men in the ring in the 30th over?

    My memory of McGrath is that for the most part, he just bowled good lenght outside off stump. And batsmen attacked him and got out because Australia had THE BLOODY STRONGEST BATTING LINE UP IN HISTORY, and batsmen couldn't afford to play 10 overs from McGrath safely. so they took risks and got out (IOW trying to boost the run rate)

    But I'm getting ahead of myself and going into conjecture again.

    Why don't you answer my two little questions? - based as they are on FACTS, and then we can revisit conjecture, and I promise I'll treat everything you say seriously.

    If you don't answer the two little questions and just throw more conjecture at me, i'll consider this discussion at an end.

    Cheers,

  • Waspsting on June 4, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    "Second, there are two approaches here. The economical bowlers are more often than not metronomes - line and length. The strike bowlers have pace and they lose the pace with age"

    examples, please. Glenn McGrath, around who a large part of this discussion is centered, falls into the first category. Would you agree?

    I think you - and others - are assuming wickets falling make the run rate dip.

    Have you stopped to think that the run rate being low causes wickets to fall?

    IOW, good strike rate leads to good economy rate, and good economy rate leads to good strike rate. If your going to assess which one is stronger, lets see an analysis of some kind (don't know how it would be done, but there you go). Your conjecture, my conjecture... its still a conjecture.

    The 2 little questions I've asked you to answer are FACTS.

    Analyze that!

  • Waspsting on June 4, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    @Arch - we can do this for months. I assume you've gauged that for every hypothetical license you take, i can match with one of my own, so lets just skip that and stick to facts. If you could just answer one simple question please (well, 2 actually)

    1) How many times has a team taken more wickets and lost the match?

    2) How many times has a team had a better run rate and lost the match? [[ Will do and post the results. As soon as possible. Ananth: ]] Just two little questions, nothing more, nothing less. Answer please

  • arch on June 3, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    @Waspsting You had me at Kenya vs. West Indies. Seriously, if Viv Richards is set, Gilchrist is on the other end (I take hypothetical license) seven wickets remain, ten overs to go, you will be hit, no mater if the team only has 150 on the board and Ambrose and Walsh are paired up. It is a matter of approach and taking wickets always works. Even the converse Pakistan disaster, the 1999 final was lost not because the Pakistani spearheads were blunted but because the AUSSIES TOOK WICKETS. Pakistan won in 1992 because it took wickets. Even India in 1983 took wickets. Two things Ananth - can you, using your magic, find the most economical attack in ODI history. [[ Based on career rpo values, probably the right measure, yes. While at it I would also find the most "attacking" attack also. Will post a single file with two tables. Would take a day or two. Ananth: ]] Second, there are two approaches here. The economical bowlers are more often than not metronomes - line and length. The strike bowlers have pace and they lose the pace with age. Hence, retirement age for the stats of fast bowlers is incredibly important. Imran and Hadlee retired at 39. They aged differently. Analyze this!

  • Ananth on June 2, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    I must apologize even though it is totally a Cricinfo screw-up. By a wrong setting they have managed to set the status for all comments during the past 8 days as "junk". Consequently these did not get directed to me also. It was only when I received no mails in response to the Bradman article that I suspected something. I went and found 30+ mails sitting in "Junk". Hopefully it should be set right today. You may be excited to know that over the past week or so your mails shared the same status as all "viagra-sellers", "paris hilton in the buff" and "**** or **** or ****" type of mails !!! Ananth

  • Nitin Gautam on June 1, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    Hello Anantha

    Is there any set frequency for your articles in Itfigure. Must say I am habitual of seeing & reading them as soon as they arrive.

    When will the next article be published & can you please tell what is the topic for that [[ I would normally do 2 or 3 articles a month depending on various factors. The next one, on Bradman, has already appeared. There was a mess-up by Cricinfo on the comments and I have only today published all the comments of the last 7 days. Ananth: ]]

  • Elvis on May 24, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    A lot of discussion has gone around on Bowling Average being a suitable parameter for ranking. From dimensional analysis - (ER -> Runs/Ball) * (SR -> Balls/Wicket) = (Ave -> Runs/Wicket) is what is being discussed (the balls in the denominator cancels out the balls in the numerator). Hence it has been propounded that the average encompasses both the economy rate and the strike rate. But why should the ER and SR be multiplied. They can be added or combined in other ways after making adjustments for normalization and given weights. Their relative and separate importance in winning a match or restricting totals has to be derived first.

  • Suresh on June 21, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    Ananth,

    this request is not related to the topic on hand, but I was wondering if you could do a feature on batsmen who have been the first wickets for the most # of bowlers :) Obviously this request is triggered by Sachin's propensity to gift his wicket to any number of debutant bowlers, but is there anyone more generous than him?

    thanks

    Suresh [[ Will try and do it sometme. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on June 7, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    @Waspsting - 1) How many times has a team taken more wickets and lost the match?

    2) How many times has a team had a better run rate and lost the match

    If a team loses a match but has taken more wickets, that CAN occur when a side has lost top order wickets, but a low order partnership has played for pride. The answer is not many but not overly relevant. The 2nd question is possibly more than what you think - thanks to D/L. In the early days of ODIs, you only had to better the 1st innings at the time of the rain stoppage & it did not matter how many wickets fell to achieve this. A more relevant question although it would be a hard task to quantify, is how many times has a team chasing let their run rate required blow out, but have won because they had wickets in hand & stormed home? (Fairly often in the modern game). This would suggest that containment is of limited use, particularly when wickets are in hand as the modern reality is sides are confident chasin 160 off 20 overs. [[ Andrew I received 4 copies of your mail and even Madhu 7 copies. Pl see if you are pressing the Enter multiple number of times. Anyhow what browser do you use. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on June 7, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    @Waspsting - re: McGrath - in ODIs he had win % of 70% & played all of his career in world cup winning sides (for arguement sake inc 96 Final). Lee played most of his career with McGrath, although now is part of an Ozzy side that failed to make the w/cup semi's (albeit still "ranked #1), he has win % of 75%, he's economy rate is 22% WORSE than McGrath's but his Strike rate is 17% better. They have played similar teams, with similar co-players, although it can be argued that Lee's team now is significantly less talented than any of McGrath's era, yet Lee is more successful. McGrath is regarded as an alltime great, yet Lee (not as well renowned) was more of a strike bowler & won on ave more times than McGrath. Answering your 2nd question is IMO moot as the causes for a better run rate can include wickets taken or better batting. How many times have a team defended a sub-200 score by NOT bowling the opposition out? TBC

  • Waspsting on June 4, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    Furthermore, you and those arguing on your side of the fence are IGNORING CONTEXT

    How did McGrath take all those wickets? With inswinging leg cutters that pitched on leg and hit off? With catches to 3rd slip? With 6 men in the ring in the 30th over?

    My memory of McGrath is that for the most part, he just bowled good lenght outside off stump. And batsmen attacked him and got out because Australia had THE BLOODY STRONGEST BATTING LINE UP IN HISTORY, and batsmen couldn't afford to play 10 overs from McGrath safely. so they took risks and got out (IOW trying to boost the run rate)

    But I'm getting ahead of myself and going into conjecture again.

    Why don't you answer my two little questions? - based as they are on FACTS, and then we can revisit conjecture, and I promise I'll treat everything you say seriously.

    If you don't answer the two little questions and just throw more conjecture at me, i'll consider this discussion at an end.

    Cheers,

  • Waspsting on June 4, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    "Second, there are two approaches here. The economical bowlers are more often than not metronomes - line and length. The strike bowlers have pace and they lose the pace with age"

    examples, please. Glenn McGrath, around who a large part of this discussion is centered, falls into the first category. Would you agree?

    I think you - and others - are assuming wickets falling make the run rate dip.

    Have you stopped to think that the run rate being low causes wickets to fall?

    IOW, good strike rate leads to good economy rate, and good economy rate leads to good strike rate. If your going to assess which one is stronger, lets see an analysis of some kind (don't know how it would be done, but there you go). Your conjecture, my conjecture... its still a conjecture.

    The 2 little questions I've asked you to answer are FACTS.

    Analyze that!

  • Waspsting on June 4, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    @Arch - we can do this for months. I assume you've gauged that for every hypothetical license you take, i can match with one of my own, so lets just skip that and stick to facts. If you could just answer one simple question please (well, 2 actually)

    1) How many times has a team taken more wickets and lost the match?

    2) How many times has a team had a better run rate and lost the match? [[ Will do and post the results. As soon as possible. Ananth: ]] Just two little questions, nothing more, nothing less. Answer please

  • arch on June 3, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    @Waspsting You had me at Kenya vs. West Indies. Seriously, if Viv Richards is set, Gilchrist is on the other end (I take hypothetical license) seven wickets remain, ten overs to go, you will be hit, no mater if the team only has 150 on the board and Ambrose and Walsh are paired up. It is a matter of approach and taking wickets always works. Even the converse Pakistan disaster, the 1999 final was lost not because the Pakistani spearheads were blunted but because the AUSSIES TOOK WICKETS. Pakistan won in 1992 because it took wickets. Even India in 1983 took wickets. Two things Ananth - can you, using your magic, find the most economical attack in ODI history. [[ Based on career rpo values, probably the right measure, yes. While at it I would also find the most "attacking" attack also. Will post a single file with two tables. Would take a day or two. Ananth: ]] Second, there are two approaches here. The economical bowlers are more often than not metronomes - line and length. The strike bowlers have pace and they lose the pace with age. Hence, retirement age for the stats of fast bowlers is incredibly important. Imran and Hadlee retired at 39. They aged differently. Analyze this!

  • Ananth on June 2, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    I must apologize even though it is totally a Cricinfo screw-up. By a wrong setting they have managed to set the status for all comments during the past 8 days as "junk". Consequently these did not get directed to me also. It was only when I received no mails in response to the Bradman article that I suspected something. I went and found 30+ mails sitting in "Junk". Hopefully it should be set right today. You may be excited to know that over the past week or so your mails shared the same status as all "viagra-sellers", "paris hilton in the buff" and "**** or **** or ****" type of mails !!! Ananth

  • Nitin Gautam on June 1, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    Hello Anantha

    Is there any set frequency for your articles in Itfigure. Must say I am habitual of seeing & reading them as soon as they arrive.

    When will the next article be published & can you please tell what is the topic for that [[ I would normally do 2 or 3 articles a month depending on various factors. The next one, on Bradman, has already appeared. There was a mess-up by Cricinfo on the comments and I have only today published all the comments of the last 7 days. Ananth: ]]

  • Elvis on May 24, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    A lot of discussion has gone around on Bowling Average being a suitable parameter for ranking. From dimensional analysis - (ER -> Runs/Ball) * (SR -> Balls/Wicket) = (Ave -> Runs/Wicket) is what is being discussed (the balls in the denominator cancels out the balls in the numerator). Hence it has been propounded that the average encompasses both the economy rate and the strike rate. But why should the ER and SR be multiplied. They can be added or combined in other ways after making adjustments for normalization and given weights. Their relative and separate importance in winning a match or restricting totals has to be derived first.

  • Elvis on May 24, 2012, 8:12 GMT

    This can be taken offline if you wish. The distribution of largesse by BCCI to former cricketers is a very good example where a bit more statistical analysis was needed before the fact. Legends like Chandrashekar, Prasanna and even Bedi played only 50-60 test matches and same is true of the older stalwarts. The approach to determine the reward amount by number of tests played (in slabs) is simplistic. Fewer tests were played in that era compared to the 80's and 90's. One measure could have been number of tests played by the player as a % of total tests played by India during his active career. This could have been added to another measure of total tests played. The composite index could have included first class matched played by the player. Ananth, you were needed there to give a fair formula... [[ BCCI??? I would not go near them with a 100' pole. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on May 23, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    @Ananth: As per the Wisden report (http://www.espncricinfo.com/wisdenalmanack/content/story/151523.html), Kallis missed the ODI due to an abdominal strain. He played the SF despite carrying that injury but Aussies won that match as well.

  • Waspsting on May 23, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    @Alex - I believe Kallis was injured. Rib or side strain, if memory serves. I have the Benaud world 11 books, thought they were a little Australian heavy.

    @arch - teams that have the resources/ability to play "my" miserly strategy as you call it don't get cornered in the first place.

    Pakistan played great and all credit to them. The way you've chosen to praise them is a bit like praising Steve Waugh for being tough enough to withstand the blows to the body that another player wouldn't have been hit by in the first place.

  • Waspsting on May 23, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Runs required go down by 25%.

    In other words, wickets in hand are given equal weight to number of overs - which corresponds to S.R and E.R from the bowling side's point of view neatly.

    Never heard ANYONE say anything other than this benefits the side that batted first more. Some add but its the best possible system, though its not perfect (meaning again, the side batting second is hampered, but there's nothing to do with it)

    Ananth, if you can devise a convincing analytical study that shows a different picture of how important wickets and overs in hand relate to actual results, in actual matches... who knows? 5 years from now, we might see matches decided by the "Narayanan" system! [[ Unfortunately have seen the comment only today. Will respond later. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on May 23, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    "Veriable conjecture. On what basis."

    My stats know-how is nowhere near yours, so i'll need your help.

    1 - take result of match 2- take bowling economy rate of both sides in match 3 - take bowling strike rate of both sides in match 4 - take bowling average of both sides in match

    5 - Calculate correlation of result "win" to the difference in Ave, S.R and E.R between two teams

    6 - results yield how often winning side had a)better ave. b) better S.R and c) better E.R

    7 - compare a, b and c. see if any particular one of them is more closely associated with result "win"

    (don't remember the procedures for accounting for % of variance. there'll be a lot of overlap, given Ave. encompasses the other two variables) -----

    "Take 100 points for a win and allocating the 100 pts between capturing wickets and ER."

    That's how Duckworth-Lewis system works. Overs available and wickets in hand are weighed 50-50.

    If you lose 25 overs, you've lost 50% of 50% of your "resources", so... (cont)

  • Arjun on May 23, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Ananth,

    A surprising fact. Of all the test playing nations, Location-wise Srilanka has been toughest country to score runs in ODIs; followed by Australia. Runs per wkt in SLK is 30.36 and in AUS is 30.66 India and Pakistan are best place on earth to score runs averageing over 35 per wkt. For sharjah it is 32 per wkt, just goes to show it is dangerous to generalise things since pitches of srilanka and UAE are part of Asia.

  • Boll on May 23, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    @Alex and Ananth. re.Kallis` omission from the 1999 Super 6/8s(?) match vs Aus in the 1999 WC. Cricinfo commentary for the match has Boje coming in for the `injured Kallis` - no other mention that I could find.

    Just by looking at the figures, I presume Cronje bowled as much as he did because Boje went for 29 in the 3 overs he bowled, although in retrospect many matches involving Cronje come under some suspicion!? [[ Major problem in publishing. All comments have gone to Junk. Will publish all now. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on May 23, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    @Ananth: A major puzzle: Kallis did not play in the QF match vs Oz. This match featured Waugh's classic 120 (incidentally, Ponting & Bevan featured in 2 crucial partnerships with Waugh but have become forgotten figures as far as this match goes). Kallis was having a very good WC. So, why was he not chosen? The scorecard shows that, as a result, Cronje bowled 7 overs and bled for nearly 50 runs. Kallis' absence probably cost SA that match and they never recovered from that spine breaker. [[ In the previous match against New Zealand Kallis scored 53* and captured 2 for 15 and was MOM. So this remains a mystery. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on May 23, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    @Ananth - "In 1992 the WC was won by the license to take wickets given by Imran to the bowlers" - agreed. We basically agree that sides at the moment bat cautiously till the 30th over, & then turn the rest of the innings into a T20, funnily enough, from memory (IMO), the Paki side of 92 did a similar thing. They would bat cautiously for 40 overs & then go nuts in the last 10 overs (sort of high octane T20 approach)! I remember Imran saying something along the lines of they believed they could chase (or set) anything in the last 10 overs at the time. [[ Even today, 100 runs in 10 overs seems quite feasible in ODIs, provided you have the wickets. Very rarely do we have the Abdul Razzak in Dubai last year situation. Winning when there is virtually no resource available. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on May 22, 2012, 21:00 GMT

    "However if my life depended on winning a match defending a total of 100, I would turn to the Pakistan bowling combination of 2000 (#1536): Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain and Abdul Razzak."

    @Ananth - Totally agree. I would definitely do the same. The irony is, the 99' world cup final was as close to having this line up in a super crucial match, with similar challenge - and they messed it up. Wonder if the Aussie domination of the next 8 yrs would had followed if Pakistan would had won that day. [[ The Aussie line-up again was something. Moody at no.7. Two greatest finishers did not have to lift the bat. Ananth: ]]

  • arch on May 22, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    @Waspsting Thank the good lord Pakistan did not follow your miserly strategy in 1992. It is not the way of the cornered tiger. [[ The Australians of 2000s and the West Indians of the 1980s were wonderful bowling teams. However if my life depended on winning a match defending a total of 100, I would turn to the Pakistan bowling combination of 2000 (#1536): Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain and Abdul Razzak. In 1992 the WC was won by the license to take wickets given by Imran to the bowlers. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on May 22, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    @Ananth: Since you talked about the all-time ODI XI, a really great URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV1JHIBVJ-U&feature=related ... Benaud has written a book on it as well. I remember him picking 40 cricketers and building 3 teams out of those. Surprisingly, Marshall was left out entirely but Larwood got in!

  • Waspsting on May 22, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    @Boll - the discussion we are having regards the relative weight of E.R and S.R. no one's said anything about either one or the other being the "be all and end all" of anything. No one has denied both being important.

    In every ODI every played, how often has the side with a lower bowling E.R ended up losing? I doubt if its 5%, probably less.

    How often has the side with a lower S.R (bowling) ended up losing? At least 20%, i'd guess, probably more.

    Do you agree with this? If not, we can always look it up (i don't know how, exactly, Ananth might). If it sounds about right, which - E.R. or S.R. - seems to contribute more to winning?

    "Let me agree that keeping scoring rate down is ALWAYS useful. Capturing wickets may not always be useful... What next?"

    In light of this, and the VERIFIABLE conjecture above, would you consider reconsidering your policy of EQUALLY weighing S.R. and E.R? (Bland, vague and subjective as the proposed alternative is) [[ Veriable conjecture. On what basis. I cannot even think of a clear and fool-proof method to do that. If you guys think of something let me know. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on May 22, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    @Gerry: At his peak, Patterson's entire run up and follow through used to be one of the most thrilling sights in cricket. He lost his pace in 1989. He could not swing the ball and lacked the mental toughness & discipline to be a leading bowler. However, he could cut it both ways at high pace and was very good with yorkers & bouncers. Maybe that explains why he did so well in ODIs but faded away quickly in tests. Pascoe is a similar case (or a similar nutcase :)).

    Gray was a cerebral bowler with lots of arsenal. This clip shows him in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZnqXZY1ZaY . I knew his was often but had no idea he ever went on a rebel tour.

  • Youvi on May 22, 2012, 16:06 GMT

    Anantha- Every which way, fast/fast medium bowlers dominate in this analysis. It seems as spinners Murali/Warne are outliers in this analysis, which makes their achievements all the more remarkable. Re: Croft, remember his awesome angular fast rising deliveries. Of course he played for WI when they had fast bowling riches so couldn't play more than he did. Also recall his bad behavior in a Test match in NZ when he deliberately bumped into the umpire, among other things ! Re: Chanders, watched him on TV batting at Lords, was hoping he would stay longer and get WI to at least a lead of 250 or more, alas didn't happen. Really the great wall of WI, selfish or not. Also watching the WI/Eng match on TV, such a delight, talent/temperament/technique all on display. No brawls, bans or rave parties that I read about elsewhere!

  • Arjun on May 22, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Ananth,

    What is bowling equivalent of Batting Index in ODIs ? perhaps, SR*ER*ER (here ER is runs conceded per 1 ball) does it prove ER is of more important in ODIs as compared to Test Cricket where bowlers with good SR are invaluable. [[ There is no need to have a separate Bowling Index since the Bowling Average suffices. We need one for Batting since the Batting average/RpI only represents the runs scored and not the scoring rate. That is not the case with Bowling Average. Why does ER get repeated twice. On what basis. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on May 22, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    @Waspsting. Again I would suggest that there are plenty of grey areas where low ER alone is concerned - 1) when defending a low score, 2) when having use of a helpful pitch, 3) when batsmen aren`t set - simply keeping things tight is not good enough. 1) You need to take wickets to win, 2) you need to take wickets rather than merely contain when you can, and 3) you need to get batsmen out before they are set or your fellow bowlers will have problems later.

    I`m sure that the 2 great ODI teams - WI of the mid 70s/early 80s, and the Australian teams of the last 15 years would agree with me. By and large, you win cricket matches by scoring runs as quickly as you can, and bowling the other blokes out. Keeping run rates down is good, because it often leads to wickets, but wickets are the key, and bowlers who can take them for you regularly are gold. [[ Boll Prob ably I would have to undertake a special study to get into depths of both. Take 100 points for a win and allocating the 100 pts between capturing wickets and ER. Easier said than done. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on May 22, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    No Ananth, Power Index = RPI * (SR/100)

    For J Kallis it is '27.33' For Jayasuriya it is '28.28'

    Even though kallis avgs. 45 and jaysuriya 32 this power index will give appropriate credit to bowlers. [[ I don't know whether I am coming, going or moving in ever-decreasing circles. This Index is what I refer to as Batting Index. Since my strike rate is RpB, I don't need to divide this by 100. Yes, this is an excellent index to get a handle ob quality of wicket. However I still have to do a correction for dismissing Tendulkar at 5 or 125. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on May 22, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    @Waspsting - again, I would suggest that you are ignoring the significant number of matches in which taking wickets (while not having an obvious effect on individual strike rates) result in a team being bowled out before their allotted 50 overs - and having a significant effect on the team SR (calculated over the full complement of overs), and usually leading to victory.

    In effect, while ER is very important, it is NOT the be all and end all of ODI cricket. The figure that counts most is the number of runs scored within a 50/60 over period, not necessarily how quickly they are scored.

  • Arjun on May 22, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Ananth,

    For ODIs instead of pure batting avgs. the PowerIndex will be lot more appropirate. It will give due credit to bowlers who had captured wkts of sehwag, afridi, jayasuriya etc....who have low avgs. Maybe both the values in the same list/table ? [[ I m not sure what you are refrring to. Is it the one Alex suggested, as given below. Power Innings Factor (PIF) = Runs scored * Scoring rate * % of Team score Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on May 22, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    "The point is that equal weight is fair and anything else would require vague hypothesis and assumptions."

    No. we've just shown that there are grey areas to the S.R component, and I've seen nothing from anyone to show the same for E.R.

    In that case, how/why are they weighed equally?

    Its only S.R. that requires "hypothesis and assumptions", like projected scores from 30 overs. E.R, not so much. ----------

    "how do you keep Sehwag/Gayle/Afridi/de Villiers/Watson/Dilshan quiet"

    How do you smash Ambrose/Garner/Pollock all over the ground?

    By raising this point, your using the OPPOSTIE logic for batsmen that you're using for bowlers(!) - i.e., paying more attention to how fast they score (corresponds to bowlers E.R.), than how much they score (average, or stat for how many balls they last)

    I'm happy to disagree, but I see no logical basis for this equal weighing of S.R and E.R, The former has grey areas of interpretation, the latter has none. [[ Let me agree that keeping scoring rate down is ALWAYS useful. Capturing wickets may not always be useful. A bland and vague subjective statement pair. What next. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on May 22, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    Ananth, I accept your conclusions - but, forgive me - your logic seems to me to be flawed. You've ducked the essential point raised, which was...

    "As a GENERAL RULE, taking wickets is a good thing - and checks the run flow, but there are grey areas to this. MINOR ONES maybe, but they are undoubtedly there

    By contrast, there are NO GREY areas to keeping the run rate down. None, zero, zilch."

    ------------------ You've answered by giving counter-examples of not taking wickets vs taking wickets.

    That isn't the point. Its about S.R vs E.R, not taking wickets vs not taking wickets.

    if anything your counter-examples validates the claim that there are grey areas to taking wickets, and we've already agreed that generally, wicket taking is good. You've said nothing new here - basically, agreed that taking wickets is a grey area and ducked scoring rates not being so entirely!

    (continued)

  • Boll on May 22, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    As things have swung towards a discussion of ODI all-rounders, I`m glad to see Watson`s name mentioned, although a little surprised to see him top the averages ratio table. His record is very impressive though, and he certainly doesn`t lose much on the SR factor either.

    Batting: Ave.42, SR.89 Bowling: Ave.29, ER.4.8, SR.36

    He compares more than favourably to some of the greats mentioned here.

  • Boll on May 22, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    Bowlers who can take quick wickets at the top of the order are probably the most prized assets for a captain - be they playing in tests or limited overs matches - and some rare exceptions notwithstanding, have been what the great ODI teams have relied on to set up victory.

  • Boll on May 22, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    I think what some people are forgetting in the ongoing SR vs ER debate is that quite often teams are bowled out - a quick straw poll; in the 10 WC finals, teams have been bowled out 7 times (35%), in the recent Aus vs WI series, teams were bowled out 5 times in 5 matches (50%). I`m not sure what the overall figures are for ODIs, and these may be a little on the high side, but once every 3 innings sounds about right to me. [[ In my last year's ODI summary I had worked out the WpM, which is 14.0. I had not done how often the teams were all out. Will do and post. Your guess seems right. 3.5x10+6.5x5/5~14. Ananth: ]] Of those 12 teams which were bowled out, 1 won (by bowling the other side out - India WC 1983) and there was 1 tie (WI in the recent series vs Aus). This suggests that bowling the other team out is a pretty good predictor of victory.

    As we know, bowlers receive no ER recognition for achieving this. If someone takes 5-50 and the opposition is bowled out for 140 in 35 overs, their ER is still 5.00. However, they have significantly contributed to the opposition`s RR of 2.8 (calculated off their allotted 50 overs). Surely this suggests that wickets are of prime import.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on May 22, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    Tony Gray would have completed a very unique quartet - Walsh, Bishop, Ambrose and Gray would have average 6"6' height. What a thrilling attack that would have been. He was much better than the wayward Patterson. I have read here that Patterson lost his rhythm after 1988, but I think he was good only in his debut series in 1985-86.

    Gray was quite brilliant in the Pak tour in 1986-87 (Patterson was not even played in the tests, if I remember). Gray opened the bowling with Marshall, Walsh was merely first change.

    Gray was a bit in the Garner mould and was not quite an out and out fast bowler. There was another rebel tour in 1987 and Gray was swallowed up in that. It was Gray's exit which enabled Patterson to hold his place for two more years until his rhythm completely deserted him.

  • Arjun on May 22, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    Ananth,

    Om ER vs SR debate, is good SR of bowlers because of them getting tail out ? The bowlers who bowl in the death overs get some easy wickets since batsmen are going for quick runs. that is why i asked you for the tables of avg. quality of batsmen dismissed by bowlers in odis. [[ Will do. In reality the wickets should not be just on batsmen quality but on when these were captured. This will obviously vary from innings to innings. One reason why my Ratings work on wicket quality has two components: the batting average of the dismissed batsman and the batsman score at which he was dismissed. Dismissing Tendulkar at 5 is a lot different to dismissing Tendulkar at 125. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on May 22, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    @Ananth: Apart from Colin Croft, pretty much every bowler worth his salt in ODI's got mentioned in the comments or tables of this article. One bowler has remained unmentioned: the very tall, lanky Tony Gray of WI. I recall him bowling very well in Sharjah in mid-80's. He has a stunning record: 44 wkts in 25 ODIs at ave=19 and SR=29. Does anyone know what happened to him? He was unlucky enough to be born in 1963. That meant he couldn't hope to break in WI till Garner & Holding retired, i.e., until 1987. And after that, he had to compete with Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh, Patterson, and young Bishop. I think he was injury prone but not sure why he couldn't break in the WI team after they ran out of the fast bowlers' supply in 1992. [[ I am amazed to see that Croft played in 19 matches capturing 30 wickets, that is all. Surely he should have played in more matches. Unfortunatey the very few matches being played those days dd not exactly help. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on May 22, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    @Waspsting (cont)So keeping a side to say 0/120 after 30 overs is somewhat pointless if they go on to get 270. Whereas getting the opposition 4 or 5 down by the 30th over means that a batting side are doing a recovery job until well past the 40th over. [[ I have already said this, today a team would prefer to be 100 for 0 at the end of 30th over than 150 for even 3. The first is almost certain to lead to 250-275. There is a fair chance that the later can dive to 220-250. Preservation of top order wickets is the mantra today. The other point is, how do you keep Sehwag/Gayle/Afridi/de Villiers/Watson/Dilshan quiet. By getting them out. If these batsmen stay on for 100 balls, the match is almost certainly won. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on May 22, 2012, 0:48 GMT

    @Ananth - re: "Best is to form a 15 player team..." - agreed. @Waspsting - my 5 cents on E/R v wickets, I'd take Strike Rate when looking at ODIs over the last 2o to 25 years. Prior to that period, sides viewed containment more highly. IMO, taking wickets is the fundamental reason why Oz has remained strong in ODIs for so long, & it's why I rate Lee so highly. I would argue there are some grey areas in keeping runs down, given that more runs are scored in the modern ODI game than in previous "eras" of the game, with T20s meaning a side with 10 wickets in hand by the 30th over (pure example, not common) - you would say that they will almost certainly score 150+ runs from that point. TBC

  • Som on May 21, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    Ananth - Think, it is a fair question to ask, how much is the relative importance of SR vs ER. And the data we have for ODIs thus far, should be able to answer that if we take instances where matches were won based on restricting the runs and based on taking wickets. We can categorize matches which were lost chasing where 'x' number of wickets were lost - where 'x' varies from 0 to 10. And then find out the likelihood of winning matches by restricting or taking all wickets. From wicket 8 down onwards, we might want to consider it as - as good as all down. [[ Som, the idea is good. However the algorithm is qute tricky. The final scores tell only part of the story. It is what happened during the 50 overs which would tell the effectiveness of the two methods. As Meety has said in the next comment, it is the score at the end of 30th over which counts.And, unfortunately, I do not have taht information. Will think anout it. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on May 21, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. The SR for the best bowlers in test cricket is usually 50 (mostly varies between 45 to 55). Pl present a frequency distribution plot for bowler strike rates. It would have SR as the X-axis and the # of bowlers having that SR as the Y-axis. Likewise for ODI's.

    2. The SR for the best bowlers in ODI varies between 33 and 40, I think (Bond & Lee at 29 are exceptions). For T20's, it comes down to 13-20, I guess ... again, some stats would be nice. [[ Can be done. However, where, when and how I fit in these graphs is to be looked into. Ananth: ]] 3. Shrikanthk would be delighted to read this: items 1 & 2 show the unfairness of ODI & T20. Four top bowlers with SR=50 (or even 2 such bowlers) will bowl the other side out within 1000 deliveries, i.e., within 170 overs, i.e., the match will have a true result in just over 4 days. Results of ODI & T20 are of a different nature: at SR=33-40, it takes 55-66 overs to bowl the other side out in ODIs (T20's are even worse) ... you can't even get to the tail by 50th over, if the innings lasts 66 overs.

  • Ranga on May 21, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    Talking about allrounders, Heath Streak is also worth mentioning - playing for Zim, he was one of their bright cricketers, with a decent record. Playing for minnows, he had a good strike rate of wkt every 39 balls! His batting strkrate is lower, but Zim never made tall scores, unlike Bangla which once in a while at least in sub-continent-like conditions, made good scores. I was pleasantly suprised to glance his record as well. I think we should may be pick a few members from these minnows and analyze as those who punched above their weights (Most greats are beaten and analyzed a lot anyways). Streak, Strang, Flower, Shakib---It is easier to be a great in strong cricketing nations but from minnowy side, these people earned respect from powerhorses. However, their averages and strikerates etc would be vastly different from big boys'. [[ Streak is good but Shakib's figures are 6+ in batting and 1+ in bowling. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on May 21, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    @Elvis: You are correct. Binny was an excellent bowler in Eng & Oz conditions. He had superb control, could swing it and cut it both ways. I distinctly remember him making rabbits out of Wood & Border in every match. He just had the misfortune of being born in India.

    Still, in retrospect, it is difficult to envision Ind beating a desperate Oz had it lost the Zim match with an embarrassing 17/5. Winning the Zim match from such a grave position on the back of Kapil's classic 175 gave India enormous confidence and that went a long way vs Oz. So, it is not a stretch (albeit, in fact, incorrect) to say that India wouldn't have won the WC but for Kapil's 175 ... it was truly an epoch making innings.

  • Waspsting on May 21, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    I've seen instances - as have you all, i think - where taking wickets only led to greater carnage. Dismissing the placid Mahanama to bring Aravinda to the crease, dismissing Salim Malik to let Afridi loose for the last 5 overs, etc.

    From the fielding captain's point of view, not dismissing Gavaskar in that 36 N.O was a good move.

    As a GENERAL RULE, taking wickets is a good thing - and checks the run flow, but there are grey areas to this. MINOR ONES maybe, but they are undoubtedly there

    By contrast, there are NO GREY areas to keeping the run rate down. None, zero, zilch.

    Hence, I favor giving primacy to E.R.

    (this post isn't about Ambrose, Mcgrath, Pollock or anyone else, just a general frame work which, I think, would be a good STARTING point in statistically assessing ODI bowling) [[ I can give two examples on the value of capturing wickets to each one of your examples. Since you have given Gavaskar and Boycott, I wil give the wickets of Richards (1983), Gatting (1987), Lamb (1992) and Pollock (1999) without which the WC could not have been won by the four bowling teams. The point is that equal weight is fair and anything else would require vague hypothesis and assumptions. Ananth: ]] Ananth, is it feasible to introduce standard deviations to such stats? That'd help "statistify" big/small differences into "statistically significant or not significant". [[ Can be done. problem is space. Can only bedone in theEcel sheets. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on May 21, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    "The difference between Pollock and McGrath on RpO is nothing great: 3.68 vs 3.88 (below 6%). The strike rate differential is 6 (40 vs 34 - 18%). 12% differential. Surely cause to think, think and re-think."

    thought provoking yes, but it still comes down to how much you value E.R vs S.R, doesn't it?

    "In fact I would say that the Average errs slightly in favour of the equal weight since I feel that the taking of wickets has to be given slightly more weight"

    Bingo. Here's the debate, and here's how I see it.

    We start with the objective of the game - for bowlers, that's keep the runs down.

    BEYOND DISPUTE, e.r. measures that - so we weigh it accordingly and give it primacy. This is just logic.

    Practically, we notice that taking wickets also tends to have the effect of keeping runs down. To what extent taking wickets keeps the runs down is debatable, might even vary from situation to situation.

    They say Clive Lloyd deliberately dropped Boycott in the WC final '79

    (cont)

  • Elvis on May 21, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    Just one more addition. While Kapil's 175 innings was very important it is invariably wrongly reported that this match was a do-or-die for India and but for that innings India would not have won the world cup. This is incorrect. It was the next match v/s Aussies at Chelmsford that was do-or-die for India (of course other than the Semis and Finals). The media shapes our perceptions of events long past. Ananth's numbers have a wonderful way of stripping everything but the bare essentials and give a good comparison of peers.

  • Elvis on May 21, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    A bit off tangent - Even if India had lost to Zimbabwe at Tunbridge-Wells (Kapil's 175 match) they would have made it to the semis by beating Australia in the next (and last) league match at Chelmsford which they did. If they had lost to Australia after winning over Zim, Australia would have qualified for the Semi's (equal points but better run rate). It was in this match that Roger Binny played a key role by taking the Aussie top order wickets. Roger Binny and Madan Lal were key to India's victory in the 1983 world cup along with Kapil and Mohinder Amarnath. Due to various reasons, many, many matches are won by bits and pieces players who will never figure in all time elevens. Every man has his day in the sunshine. [[ Yes, I agree. India could still have qualified even if they had been 51 all out and Zimbabwe scored 52 for 4. Unlikely though. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on May 21, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    @Ananth: I actually believe that the bowlers vs. batsman split for AU domination is more like 55:45 if not 60:40. [[ My 51-49 was just a figure of speech, so to say. I would put it at 55-45. Ananth: ]] Having looked at the numbers again, including the key matches, Lee seems to be actually competing well with the two greats in that team, which is a surprise for me. I guess the fact that he was never able to play long enough at a stretch to really carve an impression. Doing a career vs. country-wise analysis, for away performances, only two bowlers have done better than their career perf, and both names came as a surprise to me - Razzaq and Afridi. Similarly, 5 bowlers have done better than their career in India, and they are all fast bowlers - Walsh, Pollock, Akhtar, Kallis and Donald. Again all surprises. Some real surprises for me from this brilliant analysis you have done, Ananth. Awesome.

  • Srini on May 21, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Every dominant team will have a stronger bowling line up. Case in point 90s Windies. Though the batting was weak (esp after Richardson retired) the team remained quite competitive through the 90s. Once the bowling also went downhill the team went from average to poor.

    It is my contention that a passable batting lineup with an extremely strong bowling attack will win more matches than a strong batting lineup with passable bowlers.

    Ergo it isn't surprising that WI and OZ dominated more due to their bowling than their batting.

  • Arjun on May 21, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Ananth,

    For purely numbers-based selection of allroundrs specially in odis can you list players with best ratios according to BatSR/BowEcorate. Qualifications (min 2000 runs and 100 wkts) For kapildev it is 95/62 = 1.53 [[ Arjun, I am very uncomfortable with this ratio. It ignores two very important contributions an all-rounder is expected to offer his team: (i-e) scoring runs and capturing wickets. It is fundamentally unsound. This is proved further when I say that Shahid Afridi is next to Kapil with 1.48 and is ahead of Pollock, Hadlee and Flintoff. Oram with 1.20 is ahead of many top all-rounders, includiong Imran. Gayle and Hooper are ahead of Cairns and Razzak. Tendulkar is ahead of Steve Waugh and Kallis. Kallis is 37th in the list of 40 all-rounders. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on May 21, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    What I tried to do was to look at bias in performance if any across home, neutral and away performances as compared to career average. Some really interesting numbers - Vaas performs within a band of +/-2% across all these splits, closely followed by McD who is in a band of +/-3%. Akram has a huge spike of 32% worse avg at home, Kumble is 44% worse off when away and interestingly Bhajji is worse off at home and has performed better at neutral/away grounds (which if I recollect correctly is opposite of his test performances). Jayasuriya is 23% better off at home, Harris 20%. Lee loves neutral grounds which accounts for his brilliant performance in key mathes as well. Looking at key matches, only 6 bowlers have performed significantly better (~20% below career) as compared to their career avg, of which 4 are aussies (McD/McG/Lee/Warne). What's new!!!! [[ Is it possible that the reason behind Australian dominance over 15 years was possibly because of the bowlers than batsmen (51-49). Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on May 21, 2012, 2:46 GMT

    Very good analysis, cannot argue against any of your selections Ananth, although as i've mentioned previously I am more of a Lee man against McGrath. In an all time XI scenario, I think Lee & Garner would be more of a contrast than McGrath/Garner. == == == [[ Between McGrath and Lee, it is just a matter of personal preference. Close in avge (22.02 vs 23.08), differing RpO and Strike rate figures: 3.88 vs 4.75 and 34 vs 29. With Garner's accuracy at the other end, the more attacking Lee might very well be an excellent choice. Best is to form a 15 player team (one additional batsman, two fast bowlers and one spinner) and then select the eleven on the day. Ananth: ]] I think it is interesting that the much maligned MJohnson, rates pretty well, one of the only players (last table in your article) to have a worse ave against "Other" teams, which suggests to me he hasn't many "cheap" wickets.

  • girish on May 21, 2012, 1:41 GMT

    Nice work. Agree with your top 4. I might just switch the ranking order to Garner, McGrath, Akram and Saqlain. Only reason being that the sight of Garner created fear in batsmen.

  • Ananth on May 21, 2012, 1:04 GMT

    Let me give below the purely numbers-based 4 best bowlers selections. The only criteria is that the bowler should have captured 100 wickets or more. Else Gibson, Tsotsobe and Vic Marks would get in. The top 3 fast bowlers and spinner are selected. AVERAGE: 18.85: Garner 20.83: Lillee 20.88: Bond 21.79: Saqlain Mushtaq ECONOMY (RpO): 3.10: Garner 3.31: Hadlee 3.33: Holding 3.93: Muralitharan STRIKE RATE (BpW): 29.3: Bond 29.3: Brett Lee 30.6: Waqar Younis 30.5: Saqlain Mushtaq. ALL-ROUNDERS (Ratio between BatAvge and BowAvge) 1.46: Shane Watson 1.43: Kallis 1.37: Kluesener 1.31: Flintoff 1.26: Imran Khan 1.23: Shakib 1.11: Gayle 1.11: Cronje 1.08: Pollock It can be seen that any of these selections would win most matches. There is nothing wrong with any of these quartets. What a knowledgeable analyst/follower would do is to use these numbers as a guide and select a foursome for balance, variety and ability to win matches. So I selected the best fast bowler and best spinner on average and added two who, in my opinion are the two best ODI bowlers over the past 20 years, McGrath and Wasim Akram. Now you may select differently, that is your prerogative. But why question my selections. After all I have not selected Rackemann and Roach. Which all-rounder do you select. Again this cannot be number-based only.

  • ICF_Lurker on May 20, 2012, 22:14 GMT

    No need for name calling Ananth. It was a simple point which obviously did not go down well with you. We can agree on disagree but based on your spreadsheet Kapil's numbers are second to none.

    Simple.

    Cheers! [[ My comment reflected the tone, implied or otherwise, of your comments. I have anyhow changed the word from a personal to impersonal one. Ananth: ]]

  • fahi on May 20, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Nice work, stats never completely speaks about a bowler capability. It's just you playing against & watching some great bowler through years to years, all you have mentioned are the great bowlers, nice to see Saqlain in top 4 bowlers as he was the best in his era although he could not prolong his career as Warne did.

    But the best bowler of all the time cricket history ever produced is WASIM AKRAM. words can't define his ability simply the most compelet fast bowler.WASIM AKRAM

  • ICF_Lurker on May 20, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    In your new spreadsheet, if one sorts by averages in Key Matches, Kapil Dev comes right at the top. 9 wickets@13. Much ahead of most greats like Imran, Hadlee, Bond, Marshall etc. Since you have mentioned that you have reached out to many an agency, like ICC, about ranking based on performance in key matches, would you willing to accept that Kapil Dev may very well be the greatest performer in key matches, as the number shows here. And you are a numbers man? Thanks for the analysis [[ Sorry to say, your argument is quite facetious. If you say that 9 wickets at 13.00 is better than 48 at 17.23 (McGrath), 36 at 21.03 (Murali), 18 at 20.56 (Warne), 17 at 13.59 (Bracken), 22 at 18.23 (Bond), then we are talking about two diffrent sports. Better not to waste any more time. I would like to inform you that Gary Gilmour captured 11 wickets for 62 runs at an average of 5.63 at an economy rate of 2.57 in 2 WC SF/Final matches. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on May 20, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    "What do you value most in an ODI bowler?"

    A difficult choice between RPO and SR. Tests and T20 make their choices clear, but ODI needs a mix. Thats why bowlers hunting in pairs is important in ODIs as well.

    A bowler who takes wickets, slows downs the overall scoring rate. Waqar / Lee / Donald take wickets and that helps others to remain economical by having new batsman at the crease.

    Similarly, economical bowlers like Pollock / McGrath create a lot of pressure and batsman get out trying to score at the other end. Few of Lee / Donald wickets can be attributed to the choke of Mcgrath / Pollock.

    See how well the 3 top pairs complement each other in RPO and SR. Each has one bowler with SR of 30 and the other with RPO below 4.

    SR RPO McGrath 34 3.88 Lee 29.6 4.75 Pollock 39.9 3.67 Donald 31 4.15 Wasim 36.2 3.89 Waqar 30.5 4.6 [[ Slice/dice in whichever way, the best pair in this lot is McGrath/Lee. Ananth: ]]

  • ICF_Lurker on May 20, 2012, 14:43 GMT

    It is amazing how in this list Kapil Dev seems to be ahead of Imran Khan and others and yet Ananth picks Imran as the better bowler. [[ I have never said Imran is the best. I have also left the all-rounder spot open. If I want a great captain, doubling as an all-rounder I will pick up Imran, if I wanted to recognize the singular contributions of a great player I will pick Shakib, if I wanted the best bowling all-rounder there is, I will pick up Hadlee, if I wanted the best batting all-rounder, I will pick Kluesener, if I wanted excitement, I will pick up Flintoff, if I wanted perfect balance, I will settle on Pollock, if I wanted a never-say-die cricketer, I will pick Kapil.. Incidentally Imran Khan's bowling average is 26.62 and Kapil's is 27.45. And Imran's batting average is 33.41 and Kapil's 23.79. So he is far ahead of Kapil in batting and is just ahead on bowling. Ananth: ]] Purely from LOI perspective, Kapil would easily be the best all-rounder. Great controlled bowling, smashing striker and great fielder. Althought this subject is not about All-Rounders I just wanted to pitch that in.

    Of the list, I do think Mcgrath's reputation gets bloated because of statistics. He was not as unplayable as Garner, for example. Not was he as wily as Akram and Saqlain. Great numbers but not exciting to watch at all, kind of like reading statistics I suppose.

    I would go in with Garner, Akram, Saqlain and pick Kapil as all-rounder in all time LOI XI.

  • Ravi on May 20, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    Ananth, A couple more additions to Pawan's list of bowling performances in WC matches. - Ambrose's 10-1-26-2 and Bishop's 10-1-33-2 to reduce Aus to 15/4 in the 1996 SF (neutral). - Amarnath's 2-for in 1975 WC SF (away) and 3-for in the F(neutral). - And A Nehra's 6 for 23 vs England (of course not a WC QF/SF/F but high quality wickets (neutral).

  • Arjun on May 20, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    Ananth,

    For allrounder's spot isn't Kapildev the better option ? Bowling ECOrate of 62 runs per 100 balls Batting Srate of 95 runs per 100 balls Possibly best ever ratio of 1.53(95/62).

    Even better performance in worldcups Batt avg. of 37 and sr of 115 Bow avg. 31 and eco rate of 3.76

    Moreover, world cup winning captain, what more can a cricketer do ? Perfect for no. 7 [[ Arjun For the all-rounder spot there are probably no less than 7 candidates. Shakib, Hadlee, Flintoff, Kluesener, Imran, Kapil Dev and Pollock. So who one picks depends on what one is looking for and personal preferences. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on May 20, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    @Boll and Arjun - it seems to me you guys are running around in circles around each other. Might I suggest you agree to what in your opinion constitutes "quality of a player"?

    I'm off the opinion E.R is more important than Ave. and S.R, but if someone disagrees with that, that's fine - and further debate becomes pretty pointless. Seems like McGrath>Pollock is based on weighing ave/SR higher and Pollock>McGrath based on E.R higher.

    Depends more on a persons ODI cricketing view - and most people here are informed enough here that disagreements over such matters are just differences, not based on someone not knowing what they're talking about at all. [[ The difference between Pollock and McGrath on RpO is nothing great: 3.68 vs 3.88 (below 6%). The strike rate differential is 6 (40 vs 34 - 18%). 12% differential. Surely cause to think, think and re-think. Pl note that Chatfield's RpO was 3.58 and Larsen's was 3.77 and Walsh 3.83. I have deliberately looked at bowlers with greater than 100 wickets. But they all had very poor strike rates. Ananth: ]] Actually, that seems to sum up this entire discussion on ODI bowling. What do you value most in an ODI bowler?

  • Alex on May 20, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    @Ananth: I am not stupid enough to argue with you on cricketing matters. As it is, no one besides Morkel & Tait can be labled as a tear-away fast bowler now. But Malinga's success with yorkers suggests that tear-away fast bowlers can be effective in ODIs even today and in T20's. E.g., recently, Bond did well in 20-20's, I think. Genuinely quick bowlers may get massacred on RPO but could also get it right on SR (Holding, of course, was great on RPO also) ... e.g., IMO, it was too defensive of Akram to take Shoaib off very early vs Ind in '03 WC when the stakes were so high --- Shoaib took SRT out immediately after returning.

    As regards Steyn, he is not out & out fast ... he rarely exceeds 88 mph, even though he can. He probably tries to do too much with the ball. Why he averages 29 in ODIs may be explained on the same lines as why legends like Imran & Marshall did not fare too well in ODIs. [[ I respect the readers, their views and their cricketing acumen a lot. Then only can I get respect back. Malinga is a maverick bowler a la Iverson, Murali, Adams et al. He is not the traditional fast bowler. I am not sure ehether he exceeds 150. However he is deavstating because of the special action and the lack of height at delivery. Let us see how Cummins and Pattinson perform in ODIs. Ananth: ]]

  • Dinesh on May 20, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    Anyone saying about pollack being better than Mcgrath dont need an updated table.they should look directly at the Average column of Away and neutral matches. They are good 7 and 3 points higher than Mcgrath.I think people forget the Old adage that wickets win matches.I will give a recent example and i am not comparing the example to Pollack.Bhajji in today's situation in the batting friendly Indian tracks bowls economically but isnt dint pick wickets.So batsmen played him out and attacked others.The same thing happens with SA as well when pollock control runs without picking many wickets and batsmen cash in on others.I would say Pollock is not even SA's best bowler.Donald was.Donald would won more matches than Pollock. What situation will one prefer.30overs 150/1 or 30overs 180/4.Definitely the latter. [[ I think the mistake all of us are making is to evaluate Pollock as a bowler. There I feel he is very likely to lose out to McGrath, Lee, Donald, W/W and so on. However he has a very good chance of getting selected as the all-rounder in the team. 26.46 and 24.5 makes him a perfect no.7. Imran 33.4 and 26.62. Kallis 45.27 and 31.70. Shakib 35.64 and 28.86. Flintoff 32.02 and 24.38 (possibly the best). Ananth: ]] P.s: Mcgrath played 50matches less than pollock and picked just 10wickets less than him. Its strtaight forward whom you will pick among the two.

  • Arjun on May 20, 2012, 5:25 GMT

    Boll,

    This ranking system is the official ranking system of ICC; below is the link i was refering to.....

    http://reliancemobileiccrankings.blogspot.in/2010/03/leading-bowlers-in-world-cricket.html

    has pollock done well ? same blog says mcgrath as best ever in tests.

    My Test World eleven will consists of (in their batting order) Hadlee Marshall Warne/Murli Mcgrath as 4 bowlers

    Ananth, I think icc-ranking system does give more weightage to ECO rate in odis that is why pollock remained no.1 for so long.

  • Alex on May 20, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    @Arjun: Nice point on Patterson. The crown of the fastest bowler passed from Thommo to Holding to Marshall to Patterson. Patterson, a mightily exciting bowler, did not do justice to his natural talent but, still, every good/great bowler has an absolute peak of 1-2 years and his happened in '87-'88. His SR was barely 26 over those 2 yrs. It so happened that he played all his 9 ODI's in India during that period and hence has a stunning ave=12 vs Ind in Ind. Incidentally, the crown of the fastest bowler passed from him to Bishop, who is a sad case of "if only". The SR of young pre-injury Bishop is 28, rivaling that of Bond & Lee. These examples and the success of Holding, Lee, Bond, and Shoiab show that tear-away (90+ mph) fast bowlers can be a major asset in ODIs. Waqar & Donald were fast, highly skilled & effective but not as fast as these guys. [[ I still think tearaway fast bowlers are not as much an asset nowadays with the penchant for upper cuts and sixes over third man. Look at Steyn's poor figures. 91 wkts at 28.63. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on May 20, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Nice stuff Ananth.

    Interesting to look at Murali & Warne and analyse why they are not looking extraordinary in Odis. In Murali’s case, I feel his reluctance to bowl in power plays is one of the reasons. Typically, 15 to 40 overs have been consolidation & accumulation periods and hence batsmen could have played out Murali safely esp if you think you can milk other bowlers. Warne is more difficult to explain. He is basically a more attacking bowler and should have better numbers. Was he more predictable in Odis? Was the lack of close in fielders affected his bowling? If so, players have missed out the trick in tests against Warne.

    In 1970s/80s, RPO should be less due to lower SR of batsmen and lower totals and since the total wickets available to take are same, I would assume 70s/80s bowlers should dominate the charts. But we see 90s bowlers rule the charts. Can u throw some light on this, Ananth? Probably I am missing out something. [[ You see my reply to Srini on Lee and Waqar Younis. For all their reputation for conceding runs, their averages are bwlow 24. My feeling is that the RpO values might have gone higher but the bowlers are capturing wickets faster. This is borne out by the following table extracted from my Sept 2011 article. 4. Bowling strike rate (Pace & Spin) Period P-SR S-SR T-SR 1971-1984 43.1 49.1 44.2 1985-1989 43.9 49.7 45.4 1990-1994 44.1 50.1 45.6 1995-1999 41.4 46.1 43.0 2000-2003 39.8 47.0 41.8 2004-2007 38.6 45.6 40.3 2008-2011 38.0 41.9 39.3 All ODIs 40.7 46.2 42.3 Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on May 20, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    Exposing tailenders depends on the situation. If all you need is 20-25 runs you can protect the tail enders and try to score them yourself.

    However, when you need another 100 odd runs it is very diffcult to protect the tail and score the runs. Just because a certain Lara achieved the improbable once, others should not attempt it. The better approach used by Laxman/Hussey a few times is to realise that the tail needs to wag. The more the tailender bats the more likely he is to settle down. If protected and given only a ball an over he is bound to fail any ball. You need to develop a partnership with the tail guiding him along.

    What Lara did was spectacular and it comes off only once in a lifetime. [[ The Australians, led by Steve Waughm believed in letting the tail learn. And it worked most of the times. Nowadays barring a few no.11s, the others do not really need protection. Ananth: ]]

  • Srini on May 20, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    Ananth,

    Sorry I forgot to add in the last post.

    Thank you very much.

  • Srini on May 20, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    Wow I knew BLee was a great odi bowler but didn't know he was such a badass. The RpO is much too high for my liking but an Avg of 19 and SR of ~23 are too good to ignore. Also, confirms my conviction that McGrath is THE CRICKETER of the last 15 years. [[ Lee, for all his profligacy has a fantastic average of below 23.18. He would be in my second set of four bowlers. Waqar Younis is similar at 23.85. Compare this with Steyn at 28.63, Zaheer at 29.03, Walsh at 30.47, Anderson at 30.80, Kumble at 30.90, Vettori at 31.50 et al. Ananth: ]] Also, how cool was Kapil Dev? If he had retired after the WC in 92 we'd have remembered him in glowingly (took 23 wkts in the test series iirc). Why oh why did he drag his career like that? I am more and more convinced that Kapil Dev is the greatest cricketer produced by India even now.

    One general observation I can see is that very few bowlers (including the exceptional ones) raise their games when the stakes are high. Does this mean that human beings are rarely capable of handling pressure?

    One last question though, I think the 85 B&H, Nehru Cup et al had semifinals. Why haven't you included them in key matches? [[ The key knock-out cut-off is currently very strict. As I have mentioned in the article I may relax this, at least to cover 4-team events and do a follow-up. At that time the 6-team semi-finals may get included. Ananth: ]]

  • Shafaet Ashraf on May 20, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    I would really like to see a RPO table. Shaun pollock would be right top of it. His economy rate is even better than mcgrath but he rarely gets mentioned for that. [[ The summary table now has RpO values for all classifications. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on May 20, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    Srini, I have expanded your request to incorporate RpO values for Home, Neutral and Away locations also in the summary table. The Excel file has been uploaded. The table will be updated later in the day. The article table has since been updated.

  • Kashif on May 19, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    Mind blowing analysis ...... brilliant.

  • arijit on May 19, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    "Chanderpaul was correct in exposing the tail-ender at the end of the day since that is the tail-ender's responsibility" Ananth, this may apply only if the tail-ender is a nightwatchman, which in this case he was not. Even if he were one, he would have been sent down to protect the batsman who would have come in, not necessarily the one already batting, who is set and has his eye in. I'm only making a general point, not a specific one about Chanders' alleged selfishness, about which I have doubts. If he were selfish, why would he risk his century just to remain not out? @Pawan, Gilmour took 6-14, not 4-14, in the 1975 WC semifinal.

  • Ananth on May 19, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    Srini, I have added the number of ODIs and RpO value for the Key matches classification and uploaded the Excel file. The table in the article will be updated sometime tomorrow. Ananth

  • Alex on May 19, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    @Wapsting: Assuming your question was serious, the answer is Ambrose's SR. After 1993, he remained economical but his SR (& hence average) went for a six.

    1. The list of Ambrose' year-wise SR since 1993 reads (72,112,34,46,46,58,78). The equivalent list of his averages reads (41,72,17,31,33,35,31). The corresponding lists for his team-mate Walsh, a mediocre ODI bowler, actually read better: (52,38,46,50,60,43,78) and (33,35,30,33,54,22,75). The bowling average since 1993 is 30 for Ambrose and 29 for Walsh. This 7-year period period comprises over 40% of the ODIs played by Ambrose.

    2. Ambrose fared better in tests since 1993 but, even there, the standout performances are missing. The truth is that he lost the extra gear in his 1993 injury at which time he was already 30 yrs old.

  • Boll on May 19, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    @Arjun. Not quite sure who/what you`re quoting here, but statements such as Pollock - `844 matches as world number one`...`number 1 for almost 8 years` are a little difficult to believe.

    Also interesting that you`ve turned to an oft-discredited ranking system to support your theory, after I gave you the obviously superior stats of McGrath in the only ODI tournament worth remembering.

    Is this the same ranking system that has Sachin as the 26th best player in the all-time ratings by the way? [[ Cooper's & Lybrands, Price Waterhouse Cooper, Deloitte-Haskins (my God! almost all Accounting firms have sponsored the Ratings over the years) and the current ones all have the inherent weakness, especially in ODIs As I have pointed already. They treat every match as the same. It is too much work for me. Otherwise I will do the ratings for 41 years and show people how it should have been and should be done. Even now I do similar work for Idea. I assign an index (0.80 to 1.50) for matches and I have a decreasing weight for matches as these become older. After all the match played 5 years back should carry less weight than the one played 4 years back and so on. Ananth: ]]

  • arch on May 19, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    That's a great team. I have always felt, though, that for fast bowlers their overall numbers have a lot to do with when they retire. For example, no disrespect to Marshall, but he had a 13 year test career, as opposed to Hadlee who played 17 years. The same goes for one day careers - and final averages will always be determined by retirement age - those who could swing the bat played longer and their bowling averages dipped. For example Akram, who did go on a bit at the end. Imran was finished as a bowler after 1988 - contrast his figures for the 1987 world cup where he had amazing numbers, almost all achieved against the top teams, versus 1992 when his bowling was support. He also played half his matches after 1985ish, which skewed numbers as he declined. The later world cups have brought in more matches with bunnies so inflating numbers, but I think you have accounted for that. Either way, this is a great team. I would like to see it play the team with the highest strike rates! [[ I will one day do a simulation between two sets of teams, with two totally different set of characteristics. My ODI simulation is perfect and was even used during the recent Asia Cup. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on May 19, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    Boll,

    Please have a look at PWC blog dated 7-3-2010.

    "Pollock had occupied the top position for the last two years of his career and his tally of 844 matches as world number one is more than twice that of anyone else in the shorter format of the game. He played a total of 303 One Day Internationals over the course of his career and averaged 794 points over those."

    His average of 794 points over career of 303 mts is BEST EVER.

    However in TEST Cricket Mcgrath was the best; averageing 791 points over 124 tests. [[ Arjun, there is one fundamental problem with almost all ICC Ratings over the past 15 years, especially the ODI ones. There is no weight given to the importance of the match. The WC Final has the same weight as the first match between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in a bi-lateral series. I think that is fundamental shortcoming and I have written to ICC on that. But then they could not care less. I never do any ODI Ratings work without incorporating match importance. To say that Richards' 138 has the same importance as his 181 is ridiculuous, to say the least. With this proviso all what you say is true. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on May 19, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    Ananth,

    I will answer Boll's hard to TOP ?

    Previously PWC and now reliance cricket rating is largely regarded as BEST ranking system of players. On 19 Aug 2009, they had Posted a list of bolwers having rating of over 800 for maximum no. days. Here we go....

    Pollock 2778 days Garner 1862 Hadlee 1862 Mcgrath 1762 Murli 1749.

    I completely agree Mcgrath was one of the best fast bowlers of his ERA. Since here we are talking about only odis, pollock was no. 1 for almost 8 years.

  • Arjun on May 19, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    Ananth,

    A bit offtopic. I remember you had posted a list of CTD avg. of batsmen dismissed by bowlers in test cricket. Is there a similar list for odis. Just want to know quality of batsmen dismissed by TOP bowlers in ODIs. [[ I have to rework that for the CTD averages. I can incorporate that information in a future table. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on May 19, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    Glad to see Shane Bond getting his due here - brilliant bowler in both forms of the game - a great pity we didn`t see more of him. I think if I were picking an all-time XI I would always pick one man of his pace/quality (Lee, Donald et.al) as well as a Garner/McGrath. I think Alex made a good point about the balance required of a pace attack, but I`d probably agree that it would be terribly difficult to leave out either Garner or McGrath. For your spinner, Saqlain or Warne - again, I would struggle not to pick Warne who seemed to get better and thrive on the sort of pressure which many crumble under.

    I think some of the players mentioned here (Pollock, Kapil, Afridi) are fighting for the all-round spot(s) rather than a straight up bowling position.

    If I had to pick 1 bowler, I`d go for Joel though. Boycott talking about the Windies team of that era and asking how they coped with him in the nets. `We can`t hit Joel` - `how does Viv hit him?` - Viv don`t hit him - no-one hits Joel man

  • Boll on May 19, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    In the WC, the figures read like this;

    Pollock - 31 matches, 31 wickets, ave.31, rpo:3.60, SR:52

    McGrath - 39 matches, 71 wickets, ave.18, rpo: 3.96, SR:28

    No disrespect to Pollock but, when it counted, I know who I`d pick. [[ The three fast bowlers I picked were almost automatic choices. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on May 19, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    OK Arjun, I`ll bite. You seem to have a peculiar lack of respect for Glenn McGrath as an ODI bowler, and perhaps a slightly skewed memory of the `slaughter...hammerings ...and counter-attacks` he was subjected to.

    Even if your statistics of McGrath vs Sachin (in a fairly meaningless ODI series in India back in 2001 are correct - a very high-scoring series, won by Australia by the way) - Mcgrath`s statistics vs other players in that series read 9/136 off 184 balls.

    Be that as it may, McGrath remains perhaps the greatest ODI bowler of all-time, and certainly the most successful in the only tournament that counts. He played 4 World Cups, played in 4 finals and won 3. His figures in those finals were 0/28 off 8.2, 2/13 off 9, 3/52 off 8.2 and 1/31 off 7. Shaun Pollock, wonderful bowler as he was, played in no WC finals.

    McGrath holds every WC bowling record - most wickets, lowest average, best figures, most wickets in a tournament.

    Hard to top?...

  • Waspsting on May 19, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    "(You're missing)... I would only say Ambrose's overall career record is below McGrath's (24+ vs 22). Nothing more. And McGrath has only 24 against the smaller countries."

    .... which is missing considerably less than Ambrose being "mediocre" for the last six years of his career or Ambrose vs McGrath being "not even a contest". Would you agree?

  • Waspsting on May 19, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    I guess my point is transferring the statistical standards used in test cricket to ODIs, without taking into consideration the basic differences in the objectives of the game (e.g. average being the best measure for bowlers, no particular commonly used stats for average balls played by batsmen in a limited overs scenario) can be misleading in terms what I'll call "effectiveness of a player".

  • Vikram on May 19, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    For something as important as the main bowler, I wouldn't worry about batting average differences. As you rightly said, let Pollock compete for the allrounder spot if it's his batting which is the differentiator. Anyways, back to the analysis, the interesting thing in the partnership of 2Ws is how they have complemented each other. Against Engl and AU, they alternate in terms of doing well, while against othr teams they have both done well enough (apart from NZ where they have both excelled). Along with Saqlain and Shoiab, that is a rather well balanced bowling unit. [[ Yes, this idea of bowling unit has also been talked of by Raghav also. My feeling is that bowling is where the Football concept of players performing together in a club better will work out. I am not sure whether there have been better bowling combinations, across countries, than W/W/Akhtar/Saqlain or McG/Lee/Gillespie/Warne. Ananth: ]] If you compare that with the Indian bowlers, all of them (Kumble, Sreenath, Harbhajan, Agarkar, Zaheer) have been below their career avg against Au.

  • Waspsting on May 19, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    "Bowling average, on the other hand, is a perfect composite of two important measures, viz., the bowling strike rate (BpW) and bowling accuracy (RpB). The single measure is so perfect that it is rare that we have to do any sub-analysis on the two constituent measures." - Ananth

    I agree, Ananth. Average works well to capture ALL that's important in test cricket perfectly, as you say. But for ODI's, its still a little misleading, because the two components (SR and ER)are given EQUAL weight in the average.

    in a game where the bowling teams CARDINAL objective is to keep the runs down, wouldn't it be more appropriate to give greater weight to economy rate, relative to strike rate?

    I think a stat for batsmen - how many balls they play per innings - would also be a worthwhile, stand-alone stat (as opposed to being embedded within average and S.R), given the limited # of balls.

    (the capitalization is my way of emphasizing - i'd prefer using italics if i could - i'm NOT shouting)

    cont. [[ Where I disagree is the emphasis on keeping down runs. Today, almost any team would prefer at the end of the 25th over a score of 120 for 1 as against 150 for 3. It has always been the case. How many scores below 250 have been defended. Why leave ODI out, in T20s what we see is a score of 60 for no loss becoming 180 for x. In fact I would say that the Average errs slightly in favour of the equal weight since I feel that the taking of wickets has to be given slightly more weight. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on May 19, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    "Ambrose vs McGrath is not even a contest. Over his final 6 yrs since 1993, Ambrose was at best a mediocre ODI bowler (barring a spectacular 1996) whereas McGrath was great year in year out" ---------------------------- Ambrose's last 6 years (Economy Rates) Total - 3.46 Home - 3.58 Away - 3.89 Neutral - 2.91

    Ambrose last 6 years sans "spectacular 1996" (E.R) Total - 3.63 Home - 3.47 Away - 4.19 Neutral - 3.15

    McGrath's last six years (E.R) Total - 3.68 Home - 3.64 Away - 3.78 Neutral - 3.63

    McGrath's figures for Ambrose's last six years (E.R) Total - 4.09 Home - 3.93 Away - 4.58 Neutral - 3.81

    -------------------------

    What am I missing, Alex? [[ I would only say Ambrose's overall career record is below McGrath's (24+ vs 22). Nothing more. And McGrath has only 24 against the smaller countries. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on May 19, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Ananth,

    Few interesting points.....

    J Srinath has best record in Away host country 43 wkts @ 17.44 in NewZealand.(quali. min. 40 wkts) However if bar is slightly lowered at min. 25 wkts, Patrik Patterson has taken 26 wkts @ only 11.92 in INDIA in only 9 mts.

    S Bond has best record ag. a particular opposition, 44 wkts @ 15.79 vs Australia. Although Murli has taken 59 wkts @14.67 ag. Zimbabwe. [[ Great, Arjun. This is the sort of nice info nugget we need. How about Wasim Akram's 46 wickets in neutral locations against India. at 23.48. And look at Wasim's record agaibnst Sri Lanka (probably lot of pre-1996 wickets). Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on May 19, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Totally off topic: When it comes to tests, we choose the best bowling attack. The top 4 bowlers wihtout much consideration to their batting. Thus you would happily accept Lillee, McGrath, Marshall and Murali as a unit. However, for ODIs such a hapless lower order is not the optimum. You tail needs to wag because the batsman get out going for quick runs. There should be maximum 3 bowlers who cannot bat decently in an ODI attack + 2 all rounders (one batting like Kallis+ one bowling like Hadlee).

    Now speaking of units: Did Wasim Waqar Shoaib and Saqlain play together? all have averages below 25. Same can be said for Mcgrath, Lee, Warne & Gillespie. Just 2 are a shade above 25. Have their been similar attacks from other countries. May be SAF; Donald, Pollock, Ntini & ??

    How did these units perform as a group? above or below their careers. [[ Raghav, you must agree with me that my selection of the four had nothing to do with the batting skills. I would have selected Wasim Akram if his batting skills were only just above Chris Martin's. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on May 19, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    6)Gary Gilmour (1975 WCSF): 12-6-14-4: for blowing away England's top order 7)Glenn Mcgrath (1999 WCSuper 6 vs India): 10-1-34-3. Going into the match, both teams needed to win remaining games to having any chance,. Mcgrath effectively ended India's campaign accounting for Tendulkar, Dravid,& Azhar 8) Craig McDermott (1987WCSF) 10-0-44-5;Although most wickets were lower order, gets in because of Akram's and Salim Yousuf's Wickets at critical juncture 9) shane Warne and Glenn Mcgrath (1999 WCF); 9-1-33-4 & 9-3-13-2 ; Although it was warne with MOM award, Mcgrath's contribution was no less significant 10)Shane Bond (2003WCSuper 6) v Aus: 10-2-23-6 (The only performance in this list in losing cause); gets in for the sheer quality of pace bowling on display. I am not a statistical expert like Ananth or most of the top commentators of this blog. This is just a fan's perspective of the game. I request Mr. Ananth, (and other readers) to evaluate this list [[ Pawan Excellent list. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on May 19, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    I pick the following performances as ten of the significant World cup performances: 1) Wasim Akram (1992 WCF): 10-0-49-3 (I rate it at the top because of those double strikes. For me, those Akram inswinging yorkers to Lamb and Lewis are the ODI bowling equivalent of Maradona's "goal of century" against England 2) Shane Warne 1999 WCSF: 10-04- 28-4 - Gibbs and Kirsen were comfortably coasting when Warne produced the ODI "Gatting moment". Wickets of Kirsten and Cronje were vital. 3) Aravind De Silva(1996 WCF): 9-0-42-3; unlikely name, but significant effort,3 toporder wickets, 2 set batsmen 4) Madan Lal(1983 WCF): 12-2-31-3; often on this space,many readers(including myself) complain of taking into account quality of opposition players. A performance that accounts for Haynes, a rampaging Richards, and Gomes should not raise many eyebrows 5)Joel Garner 1979(WCF):11-0-38-5;heart said not to rate Desilva/ Lal above, but i think the early "damage" was done by english openers (contd)

  • Arjun on May 19, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    Ananth,

    player vs player details is available at cricinfo. What a contrast is sachin's performance ag. pollock and mcgrath. I will further show details in india,asia.

    Saf toured india for 5 odis in 2000, and for 4 odis in 2005. Sachin vs pollock in these matches are 51/5 (of 103 balls)

    Aus torued india in 2001 for 5 odis. Sachin absolutely slaughtered mcgrath in those 5 mts plus at nairobi before that in QF of icc knockout match. Sachin vs mcgrath in these 6 mts are 124/1 (of 91 balls) I do not have details of 1996 wc match at mumbai, but video at youtube shows sachin counter-attacking mcgrath after he had bowled 3 consecutive maidens. Video shows sachin hitting 5 fours and a six of mcgrath. Also remember sachin hammering mcgrath at mohali in 1996 titan cup match. Around same peroid in similar batting conditions please compare these numbers. Moreover pollock dismissed Gilcrist 12 times jaysuriya 8 sehwag 6 gayle 6 trescotik 6 I will definately go for pollock instead of mcgrath [[ The above list does not mean much since there would be a similar list for McGrath. If Pollock bowled that well against Tendulkar overall, surprising that his final figures are so different to McGrath. 2.5 in average. So there must be other batsmen against whom Pollock was not so successful. Anyhow I am not going to argue. If you want to select Pollock because he did very well against Tendulkar and/or his batting is very good, you are free to do so. Anyhow why should he compete with McGrath only. Why not for the all-rounder spot. Ananth: ]]

  • Srini on May 19, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    Ananth,

    I am sorry if I have missed it but can you include a column of number of key matches for each player? I can see Kapil has 9 wkts@ 13 but how does it compare with Warne with 18 @ 20.56. Also, I believe ERs in key matches would be a nice addition.

    As an example if bowler A in the final has the figures 10-0-55-5 and bowler B has 10-3-18-3. I think B's performance has better value.

    With great bowlers there is a fine line and I believe some distinctions can be made based on Key Matches on these fine bowlers. [[ The other vs Country tables are already packed and there is no space for anything more. This one should be possible and I will do it within a day. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on May 19, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    Ananth,

    Alex has rightly pointed out pollock's batting skills to go along with excpetional bowling abilites. His country-wise Eco rate shows it is under 4.00 vs all countries except ag. two of the best batting lineups during his career AUS(4.21) and India(4.04).

    Moreover 3500+ runs @26.0 along with SR of 86 is perfect for no.8. As a complete package he is more valuable in World XI. Mcgrath will have to bat at 9 or 10 if garner and saqlain are there.

    I have ball by ball details of his duel ag. Best Batsman of his ERA i.e. Tendulkar.

    They Played ag. each other in 28 odis. Details of 6 mts is not available in which sachin scored total of 167 runs. In other 22 matches pollock dismissed him 9 times conceding 121 runs of 251 balls(with 185 dot balls). So you can say sachin has avg. of 13.4 and SR of 48.2 ag. pollock.

    Against Mcgrath, sachin has scored 159/5 of 171 balls.(7 mts details not availabe). [[ Can it be possible that a significant part of Pollock-Tendulkar diuesls have been in bowler-friendly conditions (SA + others) and a significant part of McGrath-Tendulkar duels have been in conditions more favourable to batsmen (Aus/Ind + others). I really cannot see Tendulkar scoring at nearly run-a-ball against McGrath in SA. And, Arjun, can you put these side-by-side with the player vs country numbers. After all all these careers are overlapping. And finally where did you get these ball-by-ball numbers. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on May 19, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    I am somewhat disappointed by the comments. Most of these seem to deal with the team selected. Looks as if I could have published a one-paragraph article with the team. The main purpose of the article to to show bowler performances vs countries in different locations. Almost no comment on that. And why talk about batsmen now. That was the previous article. Why not look at how bowlers performed in different conditions, surprises, outstanding performances, even unacceptable performances. Come on you guys, you can do better.

  • Raghav Bihani on May 19, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    Very Interesting. You have opened a can of worms by picking the World XI.

    On the SR vs RPO: In ODIs, an RPO based bowling unit will conistently deliver under 250 scores from the opposition. But what about batting failures? The bowling unit should be able to defend sub 200 totals consistently. One of thereasons, Pollock does not find favour. Wasim-Waqar have defended 40-50 off the last 10 many times. I vote for a unit where the oposition does not survive 50 overs.

    In the spinner category: Saqlain could be the guy with numbers, but above Warne is doubtful. Warne was mesmerising in WC 1996 and 1999. Taylor used him in 1996 as a scarce resource saving him till the end. He won both the semis on his own and was instrumental in the 1999 final as well. [[ Yes, Warne would certainly be right about there, if not for anything but the 1999 Final. Again as someone has already proposed Warne against Englad/SouthAfrica. I love Murali but feel he is a clear third. Ananth: ]] You have left the allrounder category blank: A dark horse for the position may be Klusener. Nowhere near Kallis-Hadlee-Pollock and company. But a finisher and what a performance in 1999WC. Perfect in all matches to the T except one ball. [[ My personal choice would oscillate between Imran Khan and Hadlee. Imran Khan, a slightly better batsnman and Hadlee, a better bowler. Ananth: ]]

  • Srini on May 19, 2012, 4:41 GMT

    Hated Saqlain back then. Really enjoyed Sehwag putting him out to the pastures, when he boasted of the "Teesra". Having said that there is probably no better ODI spinner than Saqlain. I remember that ODI final when Jayasuriya went bonkers (Kalu was out for a duck with the team score on 70), he went for 19 runs in his 1st over and ended up with figures like 7 overs for 46 runs or something. Don't remember him being a big turner or anything (offspinners rarely are big turners barring Murali) but certainly had great variations. Isn't he the only spinner with 2 ODI hattricks or something?

  • getsetgopk on May 19, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    Nice to see Saqlain's contributions are finally recognized by someone on cricinfo, his figures are remarkable and I would have him picked over Muralli and Warne as he performed more consistantly in varying than the two magicians. Murali and warne relied on the usual off break and leg break though his flippers were as deadly, saqlain went a notch further by creating his own weapon the Doosra. A spinner bowling in the death overs in ODI's was unheard before saqlain, he was an innovator and effective with his innovations at the same time.

  • Alex on May 19, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    @Harsh: Blessed were those who saw the first 5 overs bowled by Garner & Roberts in '83 WC final --- that was my intro to WI bowlers. I often feel Akram, as great as he undeniably was, is a bit over-rated in India. His left arm might be a great asset though. Ananth's suggestion of Donald replacing Akram seems nice. IMO, given the presence of Garner & McGrath, anyone from Lee/Lillee/Roberts/Hadlee/Holding/Donald might be picked ahead of Akram.

    Actually if you want versatility, there may be some merit to picking only one of Garner & McGrath --- they were quite similar: very tall, pace of 80-86 mph, not too many variations, attack on the uncertainty corridor, superb accuracy, and considerable bounce ... Garner had a better yorker but that's about it. I will choose both of them, all the same. Incidentally, Ambrose & (a much shorter) Pollock executed the same formula. I don't see anyone doing that now.

  • Harsh Thakor on May 19, 2012, 3:32 GMT

    My list 1.Wasim Akram 2.Joel Garner 3.Glen Mcgrath 4.Waqar Younus 5.Richard Hadlee 6.Michael Holding 7.Kapil Dev 8.Bruce Reid 9.Alan Donald 10.Shaun Pollock 11.Curtly Ambrose 12.Andy Roberts

    Lillee's agression made a great impact in one day cricket,Garners's accuracy was unequalled,Akram's versatality wa s unparalleled.Bruce Red's medium pace was nagging as well as Kapil Dev's intelligent variations. 12.Dennis Lillee

  • Alex on May 19, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    @paul and @Ananth: Pollock was an ODI marvel. A brilliant bowler who averaged 26 with bat and hit century as well. His SR was never that spectacular but his RPO over his final 8 yrs, i.e., over 2001-08, is an incredibly low 3.55. Did he simply not play in too many tall scoring ODIs? I don't think so. But it would be nice if Ananth presents weighted RPO's as well ... e.g. if the bowler's RPO is 3 while the opponents scored at RPO=4, his weighted RPO = 3 times (3/4) = 2.25. [[ That is what my Test Peer spell analysis of last month did. But thanks for your timely reminder that I have not done this for ODIs. Ananth: ]]

  • Harsh Thakor on May 19, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    My vote Ananth would always go for Wasim Akram,Ananth.There was never a better bowler in the death overs who mastered the swinging yorker.Teams cruising home could collapse just like South Africa in 1993 needing a mere 49 runs from the last 10 overs.His 1992 match-winning spell in the world cup final proves this.Glen Mcgrath did not posess Akram's versatility. [[ We have to balance the two factors while selecting bowlers. 4 Pollocks would win quite a few matches but would also lose if the batsmen went crazy in the last 15 overs with wickets in hand. 4 Waqars/Steyns would let the score go to 150 for 3/4 at halfway mark often. That is where Wasim Akram balances McGrath and Garner just walks in. But I will have no problem with Donald for anyone. Pollock is, I think, one level below McGrath as I have shown with my numbers in an earlier response. Ananth: ]] For accuracy Joel Garner wast he king,the most unplayable bowler to get away.His 1979 World cup final haul is a testimony to this as well as his efforts in finals in Australia.Holding had a brilliant economy rate which I commend but I would place Andy Roberts in the same class.Remember Robert's efforts in the 1983 world cup and one day games in Australia in 1979-80.Another bowler missed out was Bruce Reid who was very hard to get away.I feel Kapil Dev also deserves a place with his nagging accuracy and intelligence.He was class act in the 1983 World cup and 1985 world championship of Cricket.

  • paul on May 18, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    Great article Anath, and like others, would choose Pollock. He had an incredible talent of giving none away. I remember a game many years ago, he had figures of 8 - 5 - 2 - 4 - his last two overs went for a few and he ended up giving away 16 or something. But I still remember an economy on that game of about 0.5 or something. He was great in control

  • Arshad Zaidi - Norway on May 18, 2012, 21:36 GMT

    Very interesting analysis indeed. It is quite easy for many to find flaws in your analysis or any analysis because no one can claim that any particular in depth research or in depth number crunching is fool proof. Nevertheless, your work truly reflects reality and worth of every player. Your final selection of eleven players is almost flawless. In fact I could not challenge any names in the final eleven.

    What about having a similar analysis for ODI allrounders? [[ Yes, that will round off this genre of analysis. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on May 18, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. You need a good mix of standouts on SR and RPO. Lee easily replaces Akram, IMO. Barring his failure vs SL, he is equal to or better than Akram as per your analysis, can bat just as well, is a better fielder, has a far better SR=29, and can bowl 90+ mph consistently. Among fast/medium pace bowlers, only Bond can compete with him on SR. All the same, with an old timer's nostalgic preference, I will find a way to replace Lee with Lillee/Roberts/Hadlee/Holding.

    2. Ambrose vs McGrath is not even a contest. Over his final 6 yrs since 1993, Ambrose was at best a mediocre ODI bowler (barring a spectacular 1996) whereas McGrath was great year in year out. I am convinced that McGrath is the pre-eminent cricketer of the 1990-2010 era.

  • rachit on May 18, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    picking someone based on his first 80 matches defies wisdom ... then you shud have selected ganguly based on his form in 1999 and 2000 ... he was the finest in the world for 2 years ... but then again, it is your team ...

  • Waspsting on May 18, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    In my opinion, for ODI bowling, economy rate is more important than average (which isn't to say average and taking wickets is un-important, just not as important as keeping a cork on the scoring rate). [[ In reality Bowling average = RpB x BpW. So Average encompasses both key measures. Ananth: ]] Even if the openers bat through 50 overs (very unlikely), they'd be lucky to score 250 against, say Ambrose, Garner, Wasim, S. Pollock and Mcgrath. Who cares if a wicket hasn't gone down?

    by contrast, Waqar could be damaging, but could also go for a few runs in a short time.

    If i were looking at stats to make an 11 with, i'd rather look at economy rate than average (if i could just pick one)

    Pretty sure Ambrose's E.R is better than Mcgrath, Wasim and Saqlain - probably home and away. He was so hard to hit batsmen didn't even bother to try - just see him out, and get the runs of the rest. [[ Ambrose is 3.48 and McGrath is 3.88. If you consider ER as very important, I could suggest for you an outstanding bowling quartet: Garner, Hadlee, Ambrose and Murali, Ananth: ]] Ambrose would be the first bowler i picked - given Garner played in an era of slower scoring generally - for a world 11. But i guess based on average, he doesn't come out as well as some.

  • Vikram on May 18, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    Awesome analysis as usual. Donald and Saqlain are very similar in their performance, very good across most situations but haven't really clicked in those crucial matches. And just as you have picked Saqlain, I will go for Donald instead of Akram. Akram was an awesome bowler no doubt, but Donald it is for me. [[ Donald and McGrath have almost the same average. Donald's strike rate is better but McGrath's accuracy is better. It is six of one and half a dozen of the other. Ananth: ]] Also, the one tand-out bowler that no one has commented on till now is Kapil Dev. Look at his performance in the important matches. He has bowled at nearly 50% of his career average. So, while we might talk about the 175n.o., it might actually be his bowling that delivered the WC and the B&H. Would he actually come out as the most crucial contributor in a tournament victory? Hats off paaji.

  • rachit on May 18, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    brilliant work ... and awesome team .. and tho it is your blog and your team selection, I will certainly disagree with pieterson ... no way .. dean jones would be the better choice ... jones was the absolute master of one day cricket ... pieterson started well but it has been all downhll in the past 2-3 years ... and like u said at the end of the article, no one in the team shud be suspect in any condition ... that settles the issue for me ... bevan/jones shud be the coming at no.6 ... the selection and order of the rest 9 are perfect ... also pieterson hasn't shown any finishing class as yet ... [[ On another day I might have picked Bevan/Hussey instead of Pietersen. On recent form, before the two centuries against Pakistan, Pietersen does not deserve to get into the England XI leave alone World XI. I have gone on the first 80 matches when he averaged nearly 50. Ananth: ]]

  • Talha Irfan on May 18, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Awesome work. I appreciate it really.

    Really pity to see Saqalain, the guy who can easily retire on a high after 2011's world cup left the cricket 7/8 years earlier.

    In all-rounder spot, I would go for either Jayasuriya, Kallis or Afridi. I think Afridi will suit more because of currently available (no 7) position in this batting order

  • Srini on May 18, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    No surprises there. I think McGrath has to be THE CRICKETER of the last decade and a half. Not Sachin, not Lara (I am as big a Lara fan as they come), not Warne, not Murali. He was not as exciting to watch as say Donald or Ambrose but boy did he get the job done. Only guy who talked the talk and walked the walk.

    My views here completely mirror ShrikanthK's. I don't consider ODIs to be real cricket but even buckling down to the public sentiment that ODIs and Tests have to be considered together McGrath stands out streets ahead of any player. He has absolutely no flaws!!!

  • AUK on May 18, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    Its a pity Saqlain Mushtaq dropped out of the race as soon as he did. But its a wonder how much he achieved in the time he had.

  • charith on May 18, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    as always nice work ananth, Its a very nice selection of players that you have selected for your team however if it is a key match would you still select saqlain over muraly and warne!! [[ Murali has not exactly delivered in the two WC Finals he played during 2011 and 2007. The point is one chooses a player to play in all situations. There is no point in choosing a player who is even remotely suspect under pressure. And Saqlain was as good as these two great bowlers were. Ananth: ]] when we consider the performance of pollock,donald & ntini in key matches its no wonder why SA keep choking.

  • Som on May 18, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    Ananth - George Dobell's article on selfish gene, (http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-west-indies-2012/content/current/story/565268.html), criticizing Chanderpaul opens up a can of worms. Is there an objective analysis that can be done regarding such situations when players tend to safeguard their wicket more than the team cause (now this is debatable, but can be broken down into situations when they happened). And then sum that data to see, which players were more involved than others. The idea and its analysis can be further developed. My intention is not to bring anyone down, but to show that there are aspects in cricket, which we tend to overlook, but are real and perhaps needs to be recognized. Would love to help in further development of this idea. [[ Yes, I also read that article. Chanderpaul was correct in exposing the tail-ender at the end of the day since that is the tail-ender's responsibility. But it transpired that the no.10 was out first ball. Anyhow I think not every batsman handles tail-enders very well. Laxman has had many valuable late order partnerships but somehow seems to have acquired a reputation for exposing late order batsmen. Anyhow let us not go too far off topic. The type of analysis you ask for needs ball-by-ball data. Ananth: ]]

  • Ejaz on May 18, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    in my view the spot for allrounder must go to Imran Khan with the additional responsibility of being the skipper of the team, or if they need a second spinner then Shahid Afridi will be an automatic choice, with the ability of big hitting in lower down the order and Ponting will be captaining the side.

  • Nitin Gautam on May 18, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    Excellent analysis. Have never seen Big bird playing but his no. are extraordinary. Among the players whom I have seen, Mcgraw & Akram are simple the best of the lot. Its just Mcgraw was a more complete bowler suited for each format against everyone vs all opponent while akram was magician in his own style. Since i started understanding & watching cricket,Donald was the one i admired the most & watching him limping & crawling in 2003 WC was a pain but he was the 1st bowling great for me. His place & no. in almost all the tables truly justify why he was so feared. Mcgraw, Akram & donald the best 3 bowlers among the bowlers I have seen live & Ya Saqlain is certainly in league of extra ordinary gentlemen. I guess his over reliance or say over confidence on DOOSRA made him to shed few of his guile which ultimately made him less threatening bowler overall. otherwise he was as gud a spinner as any specially in ODI death overs. probably he was the 1st spinner who wre used to much at death

  • Nasir Ali on May 18, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Great work Anantha. Amazaing batting and bowling lineup. I know alot of people wont agree with you by not including Warne and Murli. But i think the Statistics justify your selection for ODI team.

  • Arjun on May 18, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    Ananth,

    Your selection of Top 4 bowlers matches my selection of bowlers barring one. I will go for Shaun Pollock instead of Mcgrath. He was the best ever in first 15 overs, having analysis like 6-2-13-1 or 6-2-15-2 almost all the times. Then he can come back around 30th over mark and finish his quota of 10 overs(a la praveen kumar). Wasim to open the bowling with pollock, Garner coming 1st change)(a la A Donald), saqlain in middel overs with partimers. Then Akram, garner and saqlain in last 10 overs. Do you have data of ECO rates of bowlers in 1st 15 overs ? I bet Pollock was most economical. [[ I have no access to ball-by-ball data. Possibly McGrath was slightly faster. Also McGrath's average is 2.5 runs lower (22 vs 24.5), that is well over 10%.Pollock was better in RpO (3.68 vs 3.88). Big difference in strike rates, Mcgrath 6 balls better (34 vs 40). All said done, McGrath has far better numbers. Ananth: ]]

    Part-timers could be

    Sachin (leg-off spin) Jayasuriya (left-arm spin) Richards (off-spin) Bevan (chinamen)

    Ponting, Lara and Dhoni(WK-finisher) will complete eleven.

  • Som on May 18, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Thanks Ananth for some excellent research on this topic. Saqlain's inclusion as the best ODI spinner comes as no surprise. Having followed his career closely (alongside Warne, Murli, Kumble), it was pretty clear who the best was, at the intuitive level. Good that the numbers too reflect that.

  • Vyasa on May 18, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Thanks for the analysis Ananth. I always thought Saqlain did not get his due. This article vindicates my stand. Ananth, I've always felt that modern day cricket can be divided into two types based on the wickets- in the tropical countries (subcontinent and WI) and the temperate ones. Is it possible to do a test and ODI analysis to see if there is a trend there? I remember people suggesting separate home and away tables- why not include something like this as well? Is it possible to see if there is a trend to the kind of stats based on this distinction- home and away?

    Vyasa [[ Possible. But again the period will come in. West Indies of the 1980s is a far cry from the West indies of today. Ananth: ]]

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Vyasa on May 18, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Thanks for the analysis Ananth. I always thought Saqlain did not get his due. This article vindicates my stand. Ananth, I've always felt that modern day cricket can be divided into two types based on the wickets- in the tropical countries (subcontinent and WI) and the temperate ones. Is it possible to do a test and ODI analysis to see if there is a trend there? I remember people suggesting separate home and away tables- why not include something like this as well? Is it possible to see if there is a trend to the kind of stats based on this distinction- home and away?

    Vyasa [[ Possible. But again the period will come in. West Indies of the 1980s is a far cry from the West indies of today. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on May 18, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Thanks Ananth for some excellent research on this topic. Saqlain's inclusion as the best ODI spinner comes as no surprise. Having followed his career closely (alongside Warne, Murli, Kumble), it was pretty clear who the best was, at the intuitive level. Good that the numbers too reflect that.

  • Arjun on May 18, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    Ananth,

    Your selection of Top 4 bowlers matches my selection of bowlers barring one. I will go for Shaun Pollock instead of Mcgrath. He was the best ever in first 15 overs, having analysis like 6-2-13-1 or 6-2-15-2 almost all the times. Then he can come back around 30th over mark and finish his quota of 10 overs(a la praveen kumar). Wasim to open the bowling with pollock, Garner coming 1st change)(a la A Donald), saqlain in middel overs with partimers. Then Akram, garner and saqlain in last 10 overs. Do you have data of ECO rates of bowlers in 1st 15 overs ? I bet Pollock was most economical. [[ I have no access to ball-by-ball data. Possibly McGrath was slightly faster. Also McGrath's average is 2.5 runs lower (22 vs 24.5), that is well over 10%.Pollock was better in RpO (3.68 vs 3.88). Big difference in strike rates, Mcgrath 6 balls better (34 vs 40). All said done, McGrath has far better numbers. Ananth: ]]

    Part-timers could be

    Sachin (leg-off spin) Jayasuriya (left-arm spin) Richards (off-spin) Bevan (chinamen)

    Ponting, Lara and Dhoni(WK-finisher) will complete eleven.

  • Nasir Ali on May 18, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Great work Anantha. Amazaing batting and bowling lineup. I know alot of people wont agree with you by not including Warne and Murli. But i think the Statistics justify your selection for ODI team.

  • Nitin Gautam on May 18, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    Excellent analysis. Have never seen Big bird playing but his no. are extraordinary. Among the players whom I have seen, Mcgraw & Akram are simple the best of the lot. Its just Mcgraw was a more complete bowler suited for each format against everyone vs all opponent while akram was magician in his own style. Since i started understanding & watching cricket,Donald was the one i admired the most & watching him limping & crawling in 2003 WC was a pain but he was the 1st bowling great for me. His place & no. in almost all the tables truly justify why he was so feared. Mcgraw, Akram & donald the best 3 bowlers among the bowlers I have seen live & Ya Saqlain is certainly in league of extra ordinary gentlemen. I guess his over reliance or say over confidence on DOOSRA made him to shed few of his guile which ultimately made him less threatening bowler overall. otherwise he was as gud a spinner as any specially in ODI death overs. probably he was the 1st spinner who wre used to much at death

  • Ejaz on May 18, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    in my view the spot for allrounder must go to Imran Khan with the additional responsibility of being the skipper of the team, or if they need a second spinner then Shahid Afridi will be an automatic choice, with the ability of big hitting in lower down the order and Ponting will be captaining the side.

  • Som on May 18, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    Ananth - George Dobell's article on selfish gene, (http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-west-indies-2012/content/current/story/565268.html), criticizing Chanderpaul opens up a can of worms. Is there an objective analysis that can be done regarding such situations when players tend to safeguard their wicket more than the team cause (now this is debatable, but can be broken down into situations when they happened). And then sum that data to see, which players were more involved than others. The idea and its analysis can be further developed. My intention is not to bring anyone down, but to show that there are aspects in cricket, which we tend to overlook, but are real and perhaps needs to be recognized. Would love to help in further development of this idea. [[ Yes, I also read that article. Chanderpaul was correct in exposing the tail-ender at the end of the day since that is the tail-ender's responsibility. But it transpired that the no.10 was out first ball. Anyhow I think not every batsman handles tail-enders very well. Laxman has had many valuable late order partnerships but somehow seems to have acquired a reputation for exposing late order batsmen. Anyhow let us not go too far off topic. The type of analysis you ask for needs ball-by-ball data. Ananth: ]]

  • charith on May 18, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    as always nice work ananth, Its a very nice selection of players that you have selected for your team however if it is a key match would you still select saqlain over muraly and warne!! [[ Murali has not exactly delivered in the two WC Finals he played during 2011 and 2007. The point is one chooses a player to play in all situations. There is no point in choosing a player who is even remotely suspect under pressure. And Saqlain was as good as these two great bowlers were. Ananth: ]] when we consider the performance of pollock,donald & ntini in key matches its no wonder why SA keep choking.

  • AUK on May 18, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    Its a pity Saqlain Mushtaq dropped out of the race as soon as he did. But its a wonder how much he achieved in the time he had.

  • Srini on May 18, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    No surprises there. I think McGrath has to be THE CRICKETER of the last decade and a half. Not Sachin, not Lara (I am as big a Lara fan as they come), not Warne, not Murali. He was not as exciting to watch as say Donald or Ambrose but boy did he get the job done. Only guy who talked the talk and walked the walk.

    My views here completely mirror ShrikanthK's. I don't consider ODIs to be real cricket but even buckling down to the public sentiment that ODIs and Tests have to be considered together McGrath stands out streets ahead of any player. He has absolutely no flaws!!!