June 6, 2012

Player and team: runs, centuries and partnerships

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan
Only Bradman betters Lara's percentage contribution to team runs, centuries and 100 stands  © Getty Images
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In an interesting article on Bradman, Ananth dug deep into the career of the Australian batting great and came up with telling stats on his scoring patterns. Bradman's outstanding ratio of hundreds to fifties (2.23), his extraordinarily high number of double-centuries (12) and a scarcely believable average (runs-per-innings) of 150 whenever he passed 50 place him in a different league altogether. There remain very few batting fronts where Bradman is not on top. However, I thought it would be interesting to weigh his and other top run-getters' batting stats with those of their respective teams. Not only does this provide a better perspective of the batsman's contribution to the team through the course of his career, but it also helps gauge how a batsman compared to his peers. For the purpose of analysis, I have considered all batsmen (other than Bradman) with 8000-plus Test runs.

The factors I have used to analyse the contribution of the batsmen are 1. Percentage of team runs scored by the player
2. Percentage of team centuries scored by the player
3. Percentage of team century partnerships that the player has been involved in
4. Player's partnership runs as a percentage of total team runs
5. Player's percentage contribution in partnerships

All stats are from matches in which the player has featured.

1. Percentage of team runs scored by the player

Measuring this factor more often than not helps provide a glimpse into the team's batting strength. Both Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul have, for much of their careers, played in a weak West Indies team, and as a result, have scored 18.87% and 16.43% of the team runs. Kumar Sangakkara and Javed Miandad are close too, and come in fourth and fifth. Bradman, however, by the sheer weight of his run-scoring ability, is on top with an astonishing 24.28% of his team runs. What makes Bradman's numbers in this case remarkable is the fact that unlike Lara and Chanderpaul, he played in fairly strong teams. To put Bradman's numbers in perspective, a comparison with George Headley would be apt. Headley, who featured in a very weak West Indies team through his short career, scored 25.15% of the team runs in the period before World War 2. Australia fielded a world-beating side packed with top-quality batsmen for much of the 1990s and 2000s. As a result, the percentage contribution of most Australian batsmen is on the lower end. Among the 25 batsmen in the list, VVS Laxman and Mark Waugh have the lowest percentage-runs contribution (11.75% and 11.79% respectively).

2. Percentage of team centuries scored by player

Is there anything different about this list? Bradman continues to stay on top with an astounding percentage of 41.42. Lara's 34 centuries constitute slightly over 33% of West Indies' hundreds in the matches he played in. Sunil Gavaskar is third, with a contribution of 29.31%. There is a significant difference between Gavaskar and the fourth-placed Kallis (24.85%). The last few spots bear a similar look to the table of percentage-runs contribution. Three Australians are present in the bottom five but Laxman again comes out last, with a percentage contribution of 12.05.

Percentage of team runs and centuries scored by player
© ESPNcricinfo ltd

3. Percentage of team century partnerships that the player has been involved in

The players most likely to be on top of such a list are the ones capable of occupying the crease for long intervals. Gavaskar, Miandad and Chanderpaul are in the top five but Bradman comes out on top yet again. He was involved in 53% of the total century partnerships the team managed during his career. Lara, despite his aggressive batting style, was able to post massive scores and hence figures fairly high on the list (51.23% of century stands). The top two run-getters Tendulkar and Ponting are in the middle with percentage contributions hovering around the 36 mark. Mark Waugh and VVS Laxman have been involved in some of the finest partnerships but have more often than not gifted their wickets away after a good start. As a result, they find themselves at the bottom of the list with Sehwag slightly above them at 29%.

Percentage of century stands and team partnership runs
© ESPNcricinfo ltd

4. Player's partnership runs as a percentage of total team runs

In an article on Dravid's retirement, Rajesh illustrated the value of Dravid's batting and patience with a few interesting stats. The partnership aggregate for Dravid constituted 35.59% of the team runs in the course of his career. The number speaks volumes about his ability to stay at the crease and forge massive partnerships. Chanderpaul, who became the second West Indian batsman to cross the 10000-run mark, is also right behind Dravid with a corresponding number of 34.45%. No prizes for guessing who is on top yet again. Bradman's partnership aggregate was a remarkable 42.53% of the total runs made by Australia. The presence of Gavaskar, Boycott and Kallis in the top ten clearly indicates that this list is dominated by batsmen who put a price on their wicket.

5. Player's percentage contribution in partnerships

How dominant have players been in the partnerships they have been involved in? Is it purely their aggressive batting or is it the fact that their partners have underperformed? Sehwag leads the list scoring 58.67% of the partnership runs he was involved in. Bradman moves out of the top spot for once but is still good enough to be in second position. Still the only batsman to score 300 in a day, Bradman contributed 57.08% of the total partnership runs. The quick scorers continue to dominate the list with Viv Richards, Lara and Garry Sobers in the top five. Although he has not scored 8000 runs, to illustrate the dominance of Sehwag and Bradman, I have considered Adam Gilchrist's numbers. Gilchrist scored 5570 runs at a stunning strike rate of 81.95 through his 96-Test career but comes in fourth on the list. The fact that he played in a team full of aggressive batsmen meant that his percentage contribution was not too high. At the other end of the table are the solid, but slow-scoring Dravid, Boycott and Gavaskar.

Although he fails to make the 8000-run cut-off, Gilchrist is included in the graph purely to compare with other quick scorers

Percentage contribution to partnerships
© ESPNcricinfo ltd

The complete rankings for all batsmen (8000-plus runs) for each list can be downloaded here.

With inputs from Sajan Nair

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Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Babek on (June 30, 2012, 1:51 GMT)

Why Tendulkar should exscue himself from Indian cricket- ODIs and TestODIs firstOne of the most intriguing things about SRT is runs scored when India is chasing....his ovrall average is 43 vs 43 (first vs second)....but his average in last 30 matches is 70 vs 22.......Can Tendulkar play under pressure? (RDs is 41 vs 38)In the last 30 matches SRT has 7 greater than 50 scores in the first innings (total 15 innings)......he has only 2 greater than 50 innings in the second innings (14 innings)....Test MatchesHis performance in test matches has been even more incredible....In the last 10 matches..his average is 26, less than half of his career averageIn the last 20 matches..his average is 42 which includes a 248 against BD...exclude that and his average drops to 33......Our man has had a very long rope :-)......Considering the massive media campaign in SRT's favor (read TOI) as well as many loyalists out to protect him the old guard will continue in the team. There are scenarios that SRT needs to consider before he takes a decision to continue with the team, at least in the short terma. A failure in BD will certainly end his career in the most humiliating way. Does he want to risk this?b. A success in BD will mean nothingc. A success in BD and a failure in England will mean a disaster for SRTThere is only posisble scenario of success for SRT- Success in both BD and England. This will shut the mouths of people like me. The probability of this of course is just 1/4 (considering the scenarios and past performance)The safest thing would be to drop out and get his confidence together and then vie to come back to the team. In the meanwhile MK and SR can get more opportunities.Another interesting fact is that in the last 50 matches played by both MK and SRT, MK has won more matches for India than SRT......My grouse against SRT is not just because of the world cup nor is it just because of the data. (Including avgs of less than 20 and 10 against SAF and Aust).These were what I call the final nails in the coffin. I felt this for the first time after seeing this match............"Between Ganguly's dismissal and tea, India eked out a pitiful 31 in 19.4 overs, four of the runs coming in leg byes. And as is often the case, the run drought played right into South African hands, with three wickets falling in the process. Harris bowled 22 overs on the trot, exhibiting great control and composure, but neither Dravid nor Tendulkar went down the pitch or did anything else to upset his length and make him think twice. These are not ordinary batsmen. They are two of Indian cricket's batting trinity - the other, Sunil Gavaskar, watched in bemusement from the commentary box - and men with a proud record of excellence in every cricket-playing country in the world. To see them flounder against a debutant was surreal, and you shuddered to think what kind of message it sent to the batsmen waiting their turn in the dressing room. "

Posted by David on (June 9, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

We can summarise this article in 10 words:

Bradman scored lots of runs and he scored them quickly.

Posted by David on (June 9, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

Just a small correction to the article: according to your numbers in table 5, Gilchrist would have come in at #3 on the list, not #4 as the article states.

Posted by Harsh Thakor on (June 8, 2012, 4:24 GMT)

I just wanted to add that this analysis does great justice to Sir Garfield Sobers.Inspite of playing for such a strong batting side he still has such a high percentage score.No wonder so many experts rated him the best batsman after Bradman.

Posted by Harsh Thakor on (June 8, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

I was surprised that Steve Waugh does not stand anywhere,who championed the cause in a crisis,and performed amazingly.Another stalwart was Ian Chappell,who in a crisis was the best batsman of his era,overshadowing brother Greg.At his best Mohinder Amarnath was the ultimate batsman to champion a team's cause like he did against Pakistan and West Indies in 1982-83.

Another suprising omission was Ken Barrington who weathered the storm better than any batsman in his time.

In some ways it is a mystery that Sachin Tendulkar does not figure on the first 2 lists ,who faced more pressure than any great batsman.I wonder whether this places the true light on Tendulkar's batting statistics.

Posted by Harsh Thakor on (June 8, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

I totally endorse the upgrading of George Headley and Brian Lara.No batsman ever carried the brunt of his team's batting more than Headley.Infact Bradman was called the white Headley.The charts also boosts the claim of Brian Lara being rated the best test match batsman of the modern era as he he bore the brunt of one of the weakest batting sides and had the highest average percentage score of a team's total in the modern era.Rahul Dravid was the best batsman in a crisis of the modern era,surpassing even Tendulkar.With V.V.S laxman Dravid was the best batsman in partnerships,that gained India many a famous victory.Javed Miandad and Border deserve their rank as they were the ultimate batsman when the chips were down.I also like Graham Gooch's inclusion,who was to me ahead of Geoff Boycott,and the best agressive opening batsman against great pace bowling.

Posted by jayantha on (June 7, 2012, 14:18 GMT)

dear madhusudan please analyse for how much time tendulkar has fielded on ground for his 188 test matches despite of being a person worth 100000 crores he is doing labour sheer because he loves cricket other wise he could have easily slept in a/c like other . that is the reason why he is greatest please show this comment

Posted by akpy on (June 7, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

thank god for the 2000s when dravid, viru, saurav, vvs established themselves for india as till 1990s, we were mainly a one-man army !!

Posted by JAYANTHA on (June 7, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

i am great fan of sachin tendulkar i have some good reason why he is greatest as compared with bradman tendulkar has fielded more than any other great because you calculate how many runs has scored against weaker bowling of india in 188 test matches and 463 odi and how much india has scored for more than 23 years now he is fielding for day 1,2,3,4, and 5 of match without any mercy. please either you or anantha show it with your brain.

Posted by ramsta on (June 7, 2012, 13:24 GMT)

Lara the best to watch, all others are many miles away........

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