August 1, 2012

# Test players' career-to-date average analysis

A detailed analysis of Test batsmen and bowlers using career-to-date averages
80

This is a happenstance article. It was never planned. As I was working on the career halves article, I saw in front of me a 200-data-capsule segment for each player, each capsule containing the player's summary for one Test. Until last year my CTD values were embedded in the specific Test data segment. This could be used effectively but only for analysis related to that specific Test. Only now do I have the complete career data, including individual Test performances, for each player in one place. That paved the way for the career-halves analysis. And I can instantly say "Yes" to the career-thirds analysis. It also made me think of the way the CTD values have progressed and do some nice analysis of the CTD averages. Hence this article.

Most important feature of this article is that I have used the Test as the basis rather than the innings/spell. It is unfair to look at positions during the middle of a Test. A batsman might have had a stroke of misfortune and got out for a low score or a bowler gets caught on a flat track and has a 1 for 100 spell. However the second innings allows the batsman and bowler to make up for this, if the circumstances allowed it. And the unit of Test makes it fair across types of players. Finally it allows me to limit the data capsules to 200. If Tendulkar plays in more than 12 Tests, let me see. I can only see 6 home Tests in the next 12 months for India and do not want to see Tendulkar struggling in his 41st year, limping towards the 200th Test, leave alone my data related problems !!!

I have analyzed both batting and bowling CTD averages in this article. I have used as a criterion of top quality, could easily be some other values, 50.0 for Batting average and 25.0 for Bowling average. Let us not get anything else into this: the period, peer comparisons, the quality of bowling/batting, pitches etc. Let this be a reasonably tough benchmark so that the final numbers have a lot of weight behind them.

This is not a binary 1-0 situation. It is a waste of time saying that XYZ never fell below 50 or ABC never went above 25 in their careers. That is a one paragraph answer to a reader query. I am going to measure the % of such falls so that we can derive a number of useful insights. As I do normally now, I have a graph based on the performance parameter, a short table ordered on the career accumulations and an all-encompassing Excel sheet which covers the entire lot of players. You would always do well to download and view the Excel sheet.

First the graphs. The graphs, as nowadays often happens, are special for this article. The tally of my specialized graph-generation programs has now crossed 20. Here I wanted to show each bowler separately for clarity. Hence I could only show six batsmen and six bowlers. Anything more would have made the graphs uncomfortably tall.

### Batsmen CTD Avge analysis

Batsmen with highest % of Tests with 50-plus averages

One thing which the graphs clearly explain is the fact that the players may start way-out in either direction but soon gravitate to their career average and plateau around there. Unlike individual innings, there would not be any positive or negative spikes. Once a batsman has reached, say, 100 innings at 50, a score of 0 or 100 will only move his average up or down by 0.5. Similarly after 200 wickets at 25, a 0 for 100 or 5 for 25 spell would move the average up or down by 0.5.

Only two batsmen have never fallen below 50.0 in their entire career. It is that tough a mark. The first is that fighter extraordinaire, the thorn in any bowling attack for long times, the feisty Javed Miandad. Miandad played 125 Tests, spread over 17 years. He never dropped below 50.0. Please stop for a moment and reflect on the achievement. Dwell on the number of Tests played and the length of time. Hats off to one great character and cricketer.

The other is a totally different type of batsman. Coming as he does from the doughty Yorkshire stock, Sutcliffe never fell below 50.0, why let me extend it further, never fell below 60.0 in his 54-Test, 11-year career. Not a short career by any means: only looks short compared to Miandad. He built up a good average and even though he had an indifferent second half of his career, his buffer was enough to never let his career average go below 60.

Now comes Bradman. His poor start meant that he averaged 18.0 and 32.67 at the end of his first two Tests. Then he managed to reach exactly 50.0 at the end of the third Test. Afterwards he moved steadily through the 60s/70s/80s/90s to 103.0 at the end of his 9th Test. Then onwards, he dropped below 90, just once. So his % of >50 averages is 98.1, 50 out of 52. Anyone can work out that Bradman could have sustained a string of 69 consecutive zeros, after 1948, and could still have maintained a 50+ average.

Hussey is next, with 97.3%. In 73 Tests he has fallen below 50 twice, due to his recent drop in form. Worrell gets a 94.1% (48 out of 51) and Hutton 93.7% (74 out of 79). Note Hutton's pretty poor start and Worrell's stupendous start.

### Bowlers CTD Avge analysis

Bowlers with highest % of Tests with sub-25 averages

In contrast to the batsmen, there are five bowlers who have achieved 100% rate of maintaining a sub-25 bowling average throughout their careers. These are presented in order of wickets captured. Trueman, Barnes, Miller, Johnston and Colin Croft form the quintet. Trueman has gone through a 70-Test career without ever dropping below 25. Maybe he did not tour the sub-continent and that might have helped. But this is one heck of an achievement. Barnes never fell below 22.1, leave alone 25. But the caveat is always that the South Africans were there providing Barnes with 83 wickets at 9.9. That helped.

Miller, a very much under-rated bowler and the only all-rounder in this elite group never went above 23.2. It is time Miller comes into all discussions on top all-rounders: he should be there right in the first minute of discussion, not as an after-thought. Did someone ask me what his batting average was: a mere 37. Now comes Johnston, another under-rated left arm pace bowler, most of the times playing under the shadow of Davidson, but a wonderful bowler on his own rights. He never went above 24. Colin Croft, who could not get to play more matches, is the fifth bowler who never went above 24. He is an enigma. How did he not get to play more matches?

Finally the only bowler in this group who does not have 100%. But really does not matter. This should set right any doubts on Lillee's greatness. In a career of 70 Tests Lillee went above 25 just three times, that too only to 25.3. Oh what a bowler. I think it would be a great disservice to call Lillee over-rated and would only betray a narrow chauvinistic attitude. Let us not demean greatness. We demean ourselves.

### Batsmen CTD Average Analysis Table

BatsmanStartFinish   Tests HighLowHigh-Low
CTD Averages  TestsRunsAvge> 50%AvgeAvge/CarAvge

Tendulkar198920121881547055.4515481.958.935.143.0
Ponting R.T199520121651334652.7510261.860.036.644.2
Dravid R199620121641328852.3114689.058.847.022.5
Kallis J.H199520121531256157.628555.658.222.761.7
Lara B.C199020061311195352.8910076.362.646.131.2
Border A.R197919941561117450.5611573.754.142.822.5
Waugh S.R198520041681092751.065532.751.920.860.8
Jayawardene199720121331054050.434836.154.739.031.2
Chanderpaul199420121431029050.202316.161.838.646.2
Sangakkara20002012111987256.745045.057.237.934.1
Gooch G.A19751995118890042.5800.044.824.946.6
Inzamam19922007120883049.612117.551.831.141.8
Laxman19962012134878145.9700.047.824.151.6
Hayden M.L19942009103862650.747269.959.024.468.2
Richards19741991121854050.2410889.364.130.467.2
Stewart A.J19902003133846539.5600.046.124.654.4
Gower D.I19781992117823144.251512.860.040.544.0
Sehwag V2001201296817850.807982.356.739.933.1
Smith G.C20022012100817450.155959.078.645.865.4
Boycott G19641982108811447.731513.952.136.732.4
Sobers1954197493803257.787681.763.929.559.5
Waugh M.E19912002128802941.8297.047.833.235.0

Sutcliffe H1924193554455560.7354100.082.660.736.0

This table is ordered by the career aggregate of runs to ensure that all top batsmen are covered. One other important information needs to be understood. The career-high average and career-low average values are computed after the first 10 Tests are played. This is to allow the batsmen to settle down after very poor starts (Gooch/Kallis/S Waugh) or come down to earth after terrific starts (Gavaskar/Harvey/Azharuddin). I had initially done this work after 5 Tests but Milind, who is currently doing the editing task, suggested a change to 10 Tests to reduce the differences between maximum and minimum. It has worked out very well. Thanks a lot, Milind.

In order to get a handle on the variations, I have also determined a simple Avge Ratio which is (HighAvge - LowAvge) / CareerAvge, expressed as a percentage. I know Std Deviation might be a better divisor but this is sufficient at this stage. A high ratio need not necessarily mean an inconsistent career, it may be a reflection of a great or atrocious start. However a low ratio does mean a very consistent career. Do not forget that 10 Tests are given for the player to settle down.

We already know about Miandad who has 100%. Tendulkar's >50 tally is a good 82%, exceeded by Dravid and Gavaskar with 89%. Ponting has an indifferent 62% and Steve Waugh, a poor 33%. Lara is thereabouts with 76%. Richards has a high 89% indicating that the later Tests were the odd ones out. At the other end, Laxman, Vengsarkar, Gooch, Cowdrey, Boon, Langer et al have never exceeded 50.

Miandad reached 76 and his lowest was 52. Tendulkar has never exceeded 59 and once fell to around 35. Lara's range is a respectable 63 and 46. Look at Harvey who went to 95, after the tenth Test. Also Hussey reached 86.3. Samaraweera reached Bradmanesque levels of 83.0. Graeme Smith's band is between 78 and 45. Mark Taylor's range is 70 and 42. Steve Waugh once went as low as 21. Kallis to 23 and now he is 57+. Finally look at Adams, not in this table, who is the only one with an Avge Ratio exceeding 110. He has a range of 87 and 51 which is wider than his career average.

Harvey's extraordinarily high Avge Ratio is easy to understand. A phenomenal start to the career meant that he came down to 50 only in the 70th Test. This is reflected in the 97% ratio. And the amazing thing is that Harvey has this high ratio because of a fabulous start, not a terrible one like many top batsmen. Kallis is the other way around: a very poor start means he has an Avge Ratio of 87. And Steve Waugh, similarly on 77%. Many top batsmen are around the 40% mark.

Border is the best amongst the top batsmen with a very low Avge Ratio of 22.5. Gavaskar has an equally low figure of 26% and Lara and Jayawardene clock in at 31%.

### Bowlers CTD Average Analysis Table

BowlerStartFinish   Tests LowHighHigh-Low
CTD Averages  TestsWktsAvge< 25%AvgeAvge/CarAvge

Muralitharan1992201013380022.736851.121.333.955.3
Warne S.K1992200714570825.425034.522.635.751.8
Kumble A1990200813261929.65139.823.229.822.3
McGrath G.D1993200712456321.6410080.621.033.959.3
Walsh C.A1984200113251924.445642.421.226.220.6
Kapil Dev N1978199413143429.6500.026.139.143.7
Pollock S.M1995200810842123.1210294.419.925.825.5
Wasim Akram1985200210441423.627572.122.328.827.4
Harbhajan199820119840632.2200.025.632.220.7
Ambrose198820009840520.998586.720.527.432.6
Ntini M1998200910139028.8300.025.737.842.2
Botham I.T1977199210238328.406361.816.528.441.7
Marshall197819918137620.955567.920.332.960.2
Waqar Younis198920038737323.568294.318.423.622.1
Imran Khan197119928836222.814652.321.535.360.6
Vettori D.L1997201211236034.4210.930.338.122.8
Vaas WPUJC1994200911135529.581311.720.732.138.7
Lillee D.K197119847035523.926795.721.625.315.5
Donald A.A199220027233022.256184.721.526.522.7
Willis197119849032525.203134.423.533.238.8
Lee B199920087631030.821823.719.433.044.3
Gibbs L.R195819767930929.093848.120.629.129.3
Trueman F.S195219656730721.5867100.020.723.010.5

Barnes S.F190119142718916.4327100.016.422.134.3
Miller K.R194619565517022.9855100.020.523.212.1
Johnston194719554016023.9140100.016.723.930.0
Croft C.E.H197719822712523.3027100.020.523.713.8

This table is ordered by the career aggregate of wickets to ensure that all top bowlers are covered. The career-high average and career-low average values are computed after the first 10 Tests are played. This is to allow the bowlers to settle down after very poor starts (Warne/Hadlee/Kapil) or come down to earth after terrific starts (Botham/Underwood/Lee).

McGrath has a very high 80% sub-25 average situations. However Waqar Younis and Shaun Pollock have better figures with 94%. But the best is Lillee with 95.7%. Donald is also quite high at 85%. Of course Trueman amongst the top bowlers stands alone at 100%. There are four other bowlers, with sub-200 wicket tally, who have 100%: Barnes, Miller, Johnston and Croft. Barnes stabilized to a figure around 20 after 20 Tests had been played but finished with an excellent average of 16+, mainly because he captured 67 wickets in his last Tests at an extraordinary sub-10 average.

Kapil has never been there. Similarly Ntini and Harbhajan Singh. And Flintoff, Bedi, Qadir et al. Vettori touched the mark once in the fourth Test. It can be understood why Kumble has touched this mark a mere 13 times.

Botham's average had come down to 16.5. Waqar Younis came down to 18+. And Lee and Underwood also had very low figures.

Look at the well-above 50% values of the Avge Ratios for Murali, Warne, McGrath, Hadlee, Marshall, Imran Khan. This indicates indifferent starts to their illustrious careers: And how they all turned the tide. And look at how little the careers of Kumble, Harbhajan, Waqar Younis, have oscillated, with ratios of around 22%. Finally look at Croft: albeit a brief career, but within a narrow band of 14%. Amongst top bowlers, only Flintoff, not in the table, has a 100+ Avge Ratio.

To download/view the Excel sheet containing the Batsmen CTD Avge analysis and Bowlers CTD Avge analysis 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. I have also given the CTD Averages for each of the 160 odd players at the end of each Test they played. Thus this is a huge data bank.

Again a personal request. Please stick to the article and don't start a "xyz vs abc" discussion which does not relate to the article.

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

• Gerry_the_Merry on August 15, 2012, 14:37 GMT

Oh Yes... Olympics, World Cup Football, and some world championships like Athletics and swimming keep me going. Eng / SA has been great viewing too.

Before the olympics, I did not know of the official Olympics youtube site. Now I know the power of youtube - as good as watching on TV. You can watch what you want, as many times as you want, in true HD, and events are beautifully classified.

That means that I dont have to rely on sports channels anymore to keep abreast of major world sports events. You tube it is going to be...instead if one were to watch ESPN, during offseason in cricket (which is shrinking by the year), one can only see India v/s Sri Lanka / Nigeria / Dubai / Zimbabwe and strictly one day matches in some past World Cup.

• Alex on August 15, 2012, 2:29 GMT

@Ananth: Thanks for the pointer to Nirmal Shekhar's article. He has said exactly what our side discussions/comments on your articles keep re-iterating. It is feeding people trite day in & day out and glorifying it to the point that is all they can focus on and celebrate because they are not good for anything else. That extremity is a hallmark of one religion and no wonder it has carried on to cricket which is marketed as a "religion". I am glad to be out of its clutches ... now if I can only escape the enticing clutches of Ananth's blog!! [[ Nirmal Shekhar is the Sports Editor of "The Hindu" and, in my opinion, the best sports writer in India. Quite unknown outside the south. His forte is Tennis. One should be blessed to read his writings on Federer. Over the years I have cultivated a fascination for sports of every kind: Archery to Yachting. And this keeps me sane. That is where Olympics to me is the pinnacle of sports-viewing, much more than any of the World Cups, which are all one-dimensional. Ananth: ]]

• milpand on August 14, 2012, 14:30 GMT

Abouelkassem Alaaeldin, a Fencer from Egypt, http://www.london2012.com/athlete/abouelkassem-alaaeldin-1084762/ won a Silver in Men's Individual Foil http://www.london2012.com/fencing/event/men-foil/index.html but made a visual impact from the early rounds and was a stand-out performer amongst a flurry of fencers. There are 8 fencers in action on four different pistes in non-medal events. The style of play becomes important for a viewer who does not have any knowledge of the game. So he was The Olympian in our household.

It was nice to see a beaming Federer who won a silver medal but no match to the happiness shown by Yogeshwar Dutt after winning his bronze medal match. He won 6 points in deciding round, one point at a time. It was a memorable bout http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDhTyBrwDJk and I now know that he "pulled off a stunning 'fitele', a term used by wrestlers when they twirl their opponent on their back a few times with great speed, to score match-winning six technical pts." [[ Milind, By sheer fluke I stayed up and watched the later two fights. The triple "fitele" was totally unknown to me but was visually stunning. And this battered and bruised guy suddenly became a hero. What I liked were Federer's words in ATP. "I did not lose the gold. Murray won the gold because he was outstanding today. I am very pleased that I won the silver medal. I will treasure it." or nearly the words. He took the bad loss very well. While at it, please peruse the following excellent comment by Nirmal Shekhar, the doyen amongst Indian sports writers. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-sports/article3760549.ece Ananth: ]]

• Dinesh on August 14, 2012, 11:26 GMT

"Quite debatable and difficult to go beyond Bolt. However you have also changed the gender of Farah. " Oh my bad.While i was writing about Farah i remembered Farah Khan and there the Gender got Changed. [[ The two Farahs are about 10000 kms apart, both literally and figuratively. Ananth: ]] Anyways coming to athlete it depends on how people look at it.I probably looked at the tougher event.You probably looked at Lightning. [[ I have also not gone on the speed or related things. Probably the overall impact was Bolt's. But any Brit would say Ennis, Farah or Murray. All of Uganda would say Kiprotich. Anyhow why argue over who was top of pile. They were all kings and queens. Barring very few unsavoury moments it was wonderful. Now Rio should match it. The samba-loving fun-loving Brazilians would do a great job. Ananth: ]] All said London 2012 was better than the brazen money power displayed in China.Here from the looks of it common man felt part of the Olympics unlike Beijing.

• Dinesh on August 13, 2012, 19:48 GMT

Ananth:

You forgot the Womens 4X100 relay.The way USA smashed the World record.Boy for me that has to be the highlight along with Rudisha's world record and of course MO Farah's mind boggling achievement of 5K and 10K.She is the athlete of the Event and not Bolt or Phelps. [[ Quite debatable and difficult to go beyond Bolt. However you have also changed the gender of Farah !!! Ananth: ]]

• Gerry_the_Merry on August 13, 2012, 15:46 GMT

London and its sights were indeed integrated. The women's swimming marathon was incredible. And the beach volleyball...

• Gerry_the_Merry on August 13, 2012, 7:46 GMT

Hi Ananth, with me it was Olympics. Could not think of cricket even for a second. My favourite moments were Zanetti on Roman Rings, Zonderland on Horizontal bar, Kanayeva on Rhythmic Gymnastics, Phelps on return leg of 100m butterfly, Bahamas winning the 4x400 relays defeating US in the last 20 meters, Russia winning volleyball in a stunning turnaround. [[ I stayed up to watch 100m and 200m and in the bargain saw the 800m WR. Most of the Phelps finals were perfectly scheduled. Russia's comeback was legend and will be talked about for years to come. 0-2 and 19-22 and match-point down and going on to win. Reminded me of Graf-Novotna in 1993 and the 2010 T20WC Sf between Aus and Pak. The women's marathon was amazing, 5 seconds separating a 145 minute race. Both the 10km swimming races were thrillers. The men's separation was 3 seconds in a 110 minute race and the women's was 0.4 sec in a near-120 minute race. All in all one, arguably, the greatest modern olympics. London and its sights were integrated into the events and it was wonderful. The Marathon route was inspirational. Ananth: ]]

• Dinesh on August 9, 2012, 10:17 GMT

Ananth: No comments in your article since two days.Did cricinfo again direct towards Junk? [[ No. not this time, Dinesh. It is either the readers running out of ideas or wanting to give me some rest or both. Ananth: ]]

• Alex on August 7, 2012, 15:39 GMT

@Yogesh & @Ananth: (max-min)/avg is an excellent metric but I feel the cut-off should be 15-20 tests (2 years' maturation) since 10 tests is too low a threshold. [[ Do not look at it only from the 100+ Tests players. Probably no more than 50: I could not really care about the exact number. Many players have played 50/60+ Tests. 15-20 is a fourth of their careers and would be too long a settling down period. I do not accept that 10 Tests are too low. It is an year's play and is sufficient to start measuring the variations. Ananth: ]] Ananth might have misread the excel file: Vengsarkar's (max-min)/ave is 60 and not sub-20. Anwar is at 18, Fleming is at 18.5, Don's is at 23, Thorpe is at 14(!!), Cook & Waugh are at 21, AB-Lawry-Slater-Nasser are at 23 while SMG & Hutton clock in at 26. Much maligned KP & Richardson are quite solid at 24. [[ Ues, Vengsarkar's ratio is 60%. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 7, 2012, 12:24 GMT

re: spin bowling, his two worst series' was against WI in 51/52 and in Eng 56.

In the first Ramadin and Valentine were the two lead bowlers. average 26.1 in 10 innings - dismissed 5 times by the pair.

In the second, Laker (and Lock) were the strike men. Average 19.7 in 10 innings - dismissed 8 times by the pair (Lock 6)

(one the flip side, there's nothing in his record against Eng that suggests any obvious problems with Trueman, Statham, Tyson - - though failing to average over 50 in a series in 7 complete series' {he played 2 matches in '48}, is less than ideal.

----

Good player Harvey, but I've always felt he was WELL BEHIND say Hutton or Sobers. and Border (re: possible Aus all time 11 spot).

His stupendous early record came from massacaring weak bowling and/or on flat pitches - Ind, SA, WI (which is GREAT, that's EXACTLY what a class player SHOULD do in such situations)

His overall record is VERY GOOD.

But, IMO, not quite in the first league of great batsman [[ Excellent summing up of Harvey, the flavour of the fortnight. Ananth: ]]

• Gerry_the_Merry on August 15, 2012, 14:37 GMT

Oh Yes... Olympics, World Cup Football, and some world championships like Athletics and swimming keep me going. Eng / SA has been great viewing too.

Before the olympics, I did not know of the official Olympics youtube site. Now I know the power of youtube - as good as watching on TV. You can watch what you want, as many times as you want, in true HD, and events are beautifully classified.

That means that I dont have to rely on sports channels anymore to keep abreast of major world sports events. You tube it is going to be...instead if one were to watch ESPN, during offseason in cricket (which is shrinking by the year), one can only see India v/s Sri Lanka / Nigeria / Dubai / Zimbabwe and strictly one day matches in some past World Cup.

• Alex on August 15, 2012, 2:29 GMT

@Ananth: Thanks for the pointer to Nirmal Shekhar's article. He has said exactly what our side discussions/comments on your articles keep re-iterating. It is feeding people trite day in & day out and glorifying it to the point that is all they can focus on and celebrate because they are not good for anything else. That extremity is a hallmark of one religion and no wonder it has carried on to cricket which is marketed as a "religion". I am glad to be out of its clutches ... now if I can only escape the enticing clutches of Ananth's blog!! [[ Nirmal Shekhar is the Sports Editor of "The Hindu" and, in my opinion, the best sports writer in India. Quite unknown outside the south. His forte is Tennis. One should be blessed to read his writings on Federer. Over the years I have cultivated a fascination for sports of every kind: Archery to Yachting. And this keeps me sane. That is where Olympics to me is the pinnacle of sports-viewing, much more than any of the World Cups, which are all one-dimensional. Ananth: ]]

• milpand on August 14, 2012, 14:30 GMT

Abouelkassem Alaaeldin, a Fencer from Egypt, http://www.london2012.com/athlete/abouelkassem-alaaeldin-1084762/ won a Silver in Men's Individual Foil http://www.london2012.com/fencing/event/men-foil/index.html but made a visual impact from the early rounds and was a stand-out performer amongst a flurry of fencers. There are 8 fencers in action on four different pistes in non-medal events. The style of play becomes important for a viewer who does not have any knowledge of the game. So he was The Olympian in our household.

It was nice to see a beaming Federer who won a silver medal but no match to the happiness shown by Yogeshwar Dutt after winning his bronze medal match. He won 6 points in deciding round, one point at a time. It was a memorable bout http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDhTyBrwDJk and I now know that he "pulled off a stunning 'fitele', a term used by wrestlers when they twirl their opponent on their back a few times with great speed, to score match-winning six technical pts." [[ Milind, By sheer fluke I stayed up and watched the later two fights. The triple "fitele" was totally unknown to me but was visually stunning. And this battered and bruised guy suddenly became a hero. What I liked were Federer's words in ATP. "I did not lose the gold. Murray won the gold because he was outstanding today. I am very pleased that I won the silver medal. I will treasure it." or nearly the words. He took the bad loss very well. While at it, please peruse the following excellent comment by Nirmal Shekhar, the doyen amongst Indian sports writers. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-sports/article3760549.ece Ananth: ]]

• Dinesh on August 14, 2012, 11:26 GMT

"Quite debatable and difficult to go beyond Bolt. However you have also changed the gender of Farah. " Oh my bad.While i was writing about Farah i remembered Farah Khan and there the Gender got Changed. [[ The two Farahs are about 10000 kms apart, both literally and figuratively. Ananth: ]] Anyways coming to athlete it depends on how people look at it.I probably looked at the tougher event.You probably looked at Lightning. [[ I have also not gone on the speed or related things. Probably the overall impact was Bolt's. But any Brit would say Ennis, Farah or Murray. All of Uganda would say Kiprotich. Anyhow why argue over who was top of pile. They were all kings and queens. Barring very few unsavoury moments it was wonderful. Now Rio should match it. The samba-loving fun-loving Brazilians would do a great job. Ananth: ]] All said London 2012 was better than the brazen money power displayed in China.Here from the looks of it common man felt part of the Olympics unlike Beijing.

• Dinesh on August 13, 2012, 19:48 GMT

Ananth:

You forgot the Womens 4X100 relay.The way USA smashed the World record.Boy for me that has to be the highlight along with Rudisha's world record and of course MO Farah's mind boggling achievement of 5K and 10K.She is the athlete of the Event and not Bolt or Phelps. [[ Quite debatable and difficult to go beyond Bolt. However you have also changed the gender of Farah !!! Ananth: ]]

• Gerry_the_Merry on August 13, 2012, 15:46 GMT

London and its sights were indeed integrated. The women's swimming marathon was incredible. And the beach volleyball...

• Gerry_the_Merry on August 13, 2012, 7:46 GMT

Hi Ananth, with me it was Olympics. Could not think of cricket even for a second. My favourite moments were Zanetti on Roman Rings, Zonderland on Horizontal bar, Kanayeva on Rhythmic Gymnastics, Phelps on return leg of 100m butterfly, Bahamas winning the 4x400 relays defeating US in the last 20 meters, Russia winning volleyball in a stunning turnaround. [[ I stayed up to watch 100m and 200m and in the bargain saw the 800m WR. Most of the Phelps finals were perfectly scheduled. Russia's comeback was legend and will be talked about for years to come. 0-2 and 19-22 and match-point down and going on to win. Reminded me of Graf-Novotna in 1993 and the 2010 T20WC Sf between Aus and Pak. The women's marathon was amazing, 5 seconds separating a 145 minute race. Both the 10km swimming races were thrillers. The men's separation was 3 seconds in a 110 minute race and the women's was 0.4 sec in a near-120 minute race. All in all one, arguably, the greatest modern olympics. London and its sights were integrated into the events and it was wonderful. The Marathon route was inspirational. Ananth: ]]

• Dinesh on August 9, 2012, 10:17 GMT

Ananth: No comments in your article since two days.Did cricinfo again direct towards Junk? [[ No. not this time, Dinesh. It is either the readers running out of ideas or wanting to give me some rest or both. Ananth: ]]

• Alex on August 7, 2012, 15:39 GMT

@Yogesh & @Ananth: (max-min)/avg is an excellent metric but I feel the cut-off should be 15-20 tests (2 years' maturation) since 10 tests is too low a threshold. [[ Do not look at it only from the 100+ Tests players. Probably no more than 50: I could not really care about the exact number. Many players have played 50/60+ Tests. 15-20 is a fourth of their careers and would be too long a settling down period. I do not accept that 10 Tests are too low. It is an year's play and is sufficient to start measuring the variations. Ananth: ]] Ananth might have misread the excel file: Vengsarkar's (max-min)/ave is 60 and not sub-20. Anwar is at 18, Fleming is at 18.5, Don's is at 23, Thorpe is at 14(!!), Cook & Waugh are at 21, AB-Lawry-Slater-Nasser are at 23 while SMG & Hutton clock in at 26. Much maligned KP & Richardson are quite solid at 24. [[ Ues, Vengsarkar's ratio is 60%. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 7, 2012, 12:24 GMT

re: spin bowling, his two worst series' was against WI in 51/52 and in Eng 56.

In the first Ramadin and Valentine were the two lead bowlers. average 26.1 in 10 innings - dismissed 5 times by the pair.

In the second, Laker (and Lock) were the strike men. Average 19.7 in 10 innings - dismissed 8 times by the pair (Lock 6)

(one the flip side, there's nothing in his record against Eng that suggests any obvious problems with Trueman, Statham, Tyson - - though failing to average over 50 in a series in 7 complete series' {he played 2 matches in '48}, is less than ideal.

----

Good player Harvey, but I've always felt he was WELL BEHIND say Hutton or Sobers. and Border (re: possible Aus all time 11 spot).

His stupendous early record came from massacaring weak bowling and/or on flat pitches - Ind, SA, WI (which is GREAT, that's EXACTLY what a class player SHOULD do in such situations)

His overall record is VERY GOOD.

But, IMO, not quite in the first league of great batsman [[ Excellent summing up of Harvey, the flavour of the fortnight. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 7, 2012, 12:13 GMT

inspired by Alex, I took a closer look at Neil Harvey too.

First off, let me say, i'm nitpicking on where he stands in 'greatness' - but fully accept close to 7000 runs @47 as a top class record.

Nor do i hold "high performance against weak teams" particularly lowly. What are you supposed to do against a weak team but perform better than your overall average??

What i do look to, is how a player fares against the good attacks, and if there's a HUGE discrepancy, i see that as a concern. Kallis of the moderns is a bit like this (one of Ananth's analysis suggested as much)

----

My gut feeling on Harvey was - fast men cut him down - wasn't as good a player of spin as is made out to be

here are the stats. vs SA before Adcock, 1,494 runs @106.71 (two great series') after Adcock (and Heine) 131 @21.83 - 3/6 times falling to Adcock, once to Heine

vs WI before Hall, 911 runs @56.94 (one great, one poor series) after Hall, 141 @17.87, 3/8 times falling to Hall

(continued)

• Yogesh on August 7, 2012, 8:35 GMT

@Ananth: Fantastic Analysis!

I don't know you would agree or not i have gone through many such analyses in the past especially tests & i found its really difficult to overlook Rahul Dravid's (though people have seldom acknowledge his contributions) figures (not in terms of volumes) in tests.

And i am convinced that you do any analysis in test cricket he will always be there with his head high.

Few days back i have gone through impact analysis & series defining performances & i found that he has delivered series defining performance more than any batsman in the history of the game.

Now in your table difference between high to low ratio is lowest for RD ie 22.5 (Not that he didn't had much avg) but interesting is lowest was 47 which is pretty excellent as well considering span of 15 yrs in intl cricket.

He is no3 in wisden all time list behind Don & Sachin

I think its time we should start acknowledging him as the one of the greatest in the history of game & not just in India. [[ I am with you all the way. The 22% indicates that for over 150 Tests in his career Dravid was on a tightband of 47 to 59, a magnificant achievement. He is only beaten amongst the top 50 batsmen by Vengsarkar, another under-rated batsmen whose index value is 20.6. When you realize that Dravid also has a near-90% achievement of 50+ averages, this shows his high level of consistency as well as high level of achievement. Ananth: ]]

• Alex on August 7, 2012, 1:47 GMT

@Ananth: In case Harvey ever reads Cricinfo, he would be glad with so many keystrokes! At any rate, I did a basic decade-wise analysis for batsmen & bowlers using Statsguru for Harvey.

50's decade: Harvey (avg=50) led the decade in # runs, # 100's & # 50+ scores; PBH May was a close second on all 3 counts. Avg of other notable batsmen: Walcott (61), Sobers & Hutton (57), Weekes (54), May (49), Worrell (48), Hassett (44), Cowdrey (42), Compton (42). So, forget Harvey's style & fielding, even as a pure batsman he was #1 over a decade. That justifies his special stature.

As an aside:

1. 60's decade: If you look at the # bowlers with 100+ wkts & avg near 22, this decade is really poor and as bad as 00's.

2. 80's decade: AB & Javed were the top 2 batsmen with avg=55. Others: Chappell (55), Lloyd (52), Dean Jones (52), Viv (49), Richardson & Mohinder (48), Vengsarkar (47), Greenidge (46), SMG (46), Crowe (46), Gower (43). [[ A "Decades analysis" is there in my long list of "things to do". Ananth: ]]

• Alex on August 6, 2012, 15:17 GMT

@Ananth:

1. Yes, we tend to be too critical of modern players. Sutcliffe was not considered a great batsman by many critics by the time he retired with avg=60! Incidentally, you excel sheet shows that Gooch's average did not exceed 40 until his test #80 (@1990 at age 35)!! A poor start and Alderman (whom we all missed out on while discussing great bowlers & Anderson) are the only reason why this is so. But today, we, quite rightly, consider him an all-time great whereas until 1986, i.e., at age 32, he was only considered a talented batsman with plenty of weaknesses and attitude problems. [[ What is always in Gooch's favour is that he almost always faced excellent bowling attacks. I am not sure many would have achieved 50 against the type of attack he faced. Ananth: ]] 2. KP is a flamboyant attacking batsman and, unlike a Sehwag, succeeds at it anywhere in the world. He has SR=63. At that SR, it is impossible to expect him to "hold" the innings together like a Barrington/Boycott. Over the last 3 yrs (30 tests), he has avg=54 at SR=66. IMO, he is doing what Lara did over 2001-06.

• Waspsting on August 6, 2012, 12:03 GMT

for the batsman -

- I was most struck by Gilchrist's 81%. What a player! - if this keepers analysis validates my observation that he was as good a gloveman as there is - this batting stat should almost make him a shoo in for an all time 11. (i think he is a VERY STRONG contender for top 5 players of all time) [[ If one assigns half a wicket for a wk-catch, we are looking at top wks as top all-rounders. And then add the impact of quick-scoring. Ananth: ]] - I knew Hutton didn't have 100%, but can't make out when he fell under. He was averaging about 60 after 10 tests, didn't really slump afterwards and finished with an average over 55. Aside from his 1st test (0 & 10), when did he go under 50? [[ First 5 Tests. Ananth: ]] - Barrington's 78 is impressive (you guys forgot him in the list of post war Eng batsmen, btw) [[ Barrington loses to a similar Hutton and a totally dissimilar Compton/Pietersen. However he has to be in a post-WW2 top-5. Ananth: ]] -(enjoyed seeing Shane Warne on the list. you really leave no stone unturned, don't you Ananath?) (:

All in all, i think the batting standard of 50 is MUCH more influenced by good/bad early start than is bowling standard of 25.

Look at someone like Morris with a 70+ figure of % time over 50 (after 10 tests, he averaged 44!) [[ A very fine observation, WS. Thanks for an excellent summary. I selected 50 and 25 as what a top player would like to end with. 33 batsmen are above 50 and 41 bowlers are below 25. Quite comparable. When are you going to let me let the readers to know that you are neither a wasp nor do you sting !!! Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 6, 2012, 11:37 GMT

some thoughts on the whole data -

- with Lindwall at 95% to go with Miller and Johnston's 100% - that's possibly the best bowling line up ever. [[ The CTD-WtBow value for the first innings of Test no 343 was 19.8, one of a few sub-20 values by this trio + one other bowler. Ananth: ]] - was struck by/impressed with Underwood's 74%. very high for basically a spinner. O'Reilly's 85 makes me think these medium pace spinners have a different standard of what a "good" average is, maybe(?) - but Chandra doesn't fare well. Compare to Grimmett's 19% [[ Maybe the pitches Chandra was given. Ananth: ]] -S. Pollock gets underrated, probably overshadowed by Donald. [[ Over the past three months the one continuous underlying message is Shaun Pollock's under-valuation. It is time he is recognized what he was: If nothing else, one of the top-10 post-ww2 bowlers. Ananth: ]] - Surprised to see Roberts relatively low with 60%. i thought he started off with a bang, and his average crept up until finally going over the 25 mark right at the end

- Nice to see Fazal Mahmood so well placed at 88%, though matting wickets that suited him perfectly played a role - he's a real forgotten great. [[ Yes, true. He gets lost in the Imran/W/W /Shoaib discussions. Ananth: ]] - Garner, Ambrose and McGrath in that order all doing splendidly. I've been struck at the similarity between these 3 on many analysis (should maybe include S. Pollock with them, as a "type") [[ The combination of Donald & Pollock: how potent it must have been. When am I going to find time to do my re-visit of the Bowling pairs. Ananth: ]]

• Alex on August 5, 2012, 20:41 GMT

@Ananth: Your & sri's eulogy compelled me to KP's 149* highlights on YouTube. The 4 off Kallis is a ODI/T20 shot but the clasical straight/off drives & pulls were breathtaking & in grand manner. IMO, his 144 in 2008 is in the same ballpark: Ind won the 1st test & scored 453 in 2nd test 1st inn, and then KP hammered 144 at SR=72 coming in at 2 down for 1 as Eng ended Day 3 on 282/6 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/361051.html). A majestic away innings from a captain under pressure.

@Sri: Top 10 post-WW1 Eng batsmen: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hammond, Hutton, Compton, May, Barrington, Boycott, Gooch, & KP. KP's main weakness is mental: he is not willing to shoulder Eng's batting like a Barrington did. If he overcomes it, he still has time on his side to get rated England's all-time top 4 batsman. [[ Alex Barrington had ONE path: FC cricket, when he was not playing Tests. Nothing more. Pietersen is juggling between England contracts, Tests, ODIs, T20s, IPL's irresistible lure, other L's and a young family. He is a child of the 2000s. Let us not blame him too much. I know I was quite critical of Gayle but that was only because he turned his back 100% on West Indian cricket. Pietersen has never said that of Test cricket. English cricket must work out something with him. He, in turn, must work out something with English cricket. Flower has to do something by Aug 18 to get him drafted into the T20 team. Ananth: ]]

• shrikanthk on August 5, 2012, 17:09 GMT

By contrast, cricketers have ALWAYS striven to be the leading run scorer, leading wicket taker, most hundreds etc.

Good point. What's often overlooked is that cricket is the most professional of sports. It is perhaps the oldest of all "professional" sports.

While mainstream tennis was largely amateur even as late as 1967, mainstream cricket was very much professional even in the 1880s/90s! People like Lohmann, Richardson, Lockwood, Shrewsbury were propah professionals! They played cricket throughout summer from morning to evening the way other people work in office from 9 to 5. In short they played cricket to earn their bread. So obviously they were DAMN SERIOUS about their work (play that is).

I doubt if we can say the same thing about tennis until the advent of the Open Era.

• Faraz on August 5, 2012, 14:13 GMT

he was the only real threat to Imran's dominance best illustrated by the hop-scotch of captaincy that ran between them during 1981-86.Wasim was a natural admirer of Imran and although Miandad hand picked him when he was captain,Imran's dominance and Miandad's devoted sincerity to Pakistan's cause meant Miandad after 1986 readily chose to play under Imran perhaps knowing he was the younger of the two and would be an automatic choice for a captain once Imran retired. But Imran never really forgave him starting from that ill fated declaration near his triple century right down to when Miandad in the early 90's suffered back spasms after that impressive 87-89 period where he was churning out double centuries and centuries at will in the tests and was highly impressive in the ODI's and had to carry even pillows tied to his back to the dressing rooms Imran dropped him before the 92 WC citing he no longer carried the form and openly backed Akram as captain prior to the 93 WI tour [[ Faraz That was a lucid explanation. I still feel in my veins that the Karachi-Lahore tensions might have something to do with all this. But let us conclude by saying that the four, in any which way you can order, are the best cricketers Pakistan has ever produced. The 1992 WC is a testament to three of these. Ananth: ]]

• Faraz on August 5, 2012, 13:46 GMT

Re: Miandad! I wasnt referring to you Ananth.I already understand from your full passage on him in the article that you respect his talent well enough.I have seen your other articles and your unbiased opinions in this regard.However,its this uncanny knack by some cricket followers without knowing the depth of analysis into saying that his away record is not worthy or that he didnt score against WI or for that matter he was never as good as the other 4 prime batsman of his era Richards(who was in a class of his own by the way,Gavaskar,Chappel and Border.What is overlooked is the in-land politics that no other cricketer had to face. No,Ananth more than the North-South divide it were the fact that Miandad was chosen ahead of every other superstar from Pakistan in the 70's after Mushtaq and Asif to lead the team which became his Achille's heel.Noone ever forgave him for that.Imran won many laurels on the back of Miandad's ingenuity with the bat and a stupendous cricket brain but he (contd)

• Waspsting on August 5, 2012, 12:33 GMT

which is exactly what Fed's said.

BTW, i'm not suggesting Fed's being dishonest, but am pointing out that his answer is basically the same one almost everyone would give, regardless of how they actually felt (egomaniacs like Pele and jokers like Ali being exceptions). Sampras openly admitted he was competing with history, by contrast.

Hard to tell if Fed's being under-oath serious or politely appropriate.

The tennis-cricket comparison is a bit flawed. Until the late 80s at least (probably mid 90s actually), the players didn't care about "most GS".

Laver stopped playing a full scedhule when he was 1 short of Emerson's 12, though he was good enough to win 5/9 of what was basically the super 9 series in 1970. Borg retired 1 short of 12, following a year where he'd won 1 and been runner up twice (let alone the routine skipping of Aus open)

By contrast, cricketers have ALWAYS striven to be the leading run scorer, leading wicket taker, most hundreds etc.

• shrikanthk on August 5, 2012, 12:31 GMT

There are many others, Dinesh: Hutton and Compton probably complete the quintet.

I am not sure I will have Gooch and Boycott in the quintet. Post WWI (excluding Hobbs as a pre-WWI player) Hutton, Compton, Pietersen, Peter May, Hammond [[ Yes, I would add Hammond also. I missed out the war-to-war period. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 5, 2012, 12:17 GMT

"I don't think many pre-85 cricketers were trying for "wholesome" records that we so badly scrutinise these days"

I've read books by dozens of pre-70s cricketers - and generally speaking, most of them seem pretty aware of records, stats etc. (and the ones who don't make it a point to expressly state, "I don't care about records - possibly true, equally possibly careful self-presentation)

Sobers is a nice example. He played the "i'm happy to see my record broken" bit, but didn't look AT ALL HAPPY at the time, and also let go the suggestive "if it had to happen, i'm glad it was Lara" type comment too.

As for Fed, that's a beautiful comment, but seriously, what exactly are you supposed to say when asked "do you think your the greatest ever?", and you know that the records tend to indicate that you are?

"no" would be a good starting place, and then some explanation that undermines the records that suggests "yes" (cont) [[ If Fed had been honest and said "Yes", he would have been accused of arrogance. He may be winning Grand Slams coming and going (and hopefully the Gold today) but is asked a "lose either way" question and loses whatever he says. Ananth: ]]

• Dinesh on August 5, 2012, 10:55 GMT

Ananth:

Irrespective of yesterday's innings where do you place KP in the list great england batsman after the world War.I would probably place him among the Top 3 alongside boycott and Gooch. His is the scalp which every opposing captains wants to Have first up. [[ There are many others, Dinesh: Hutton and Compton probably complete the quintet. Ananth: ]] On a Side note.I see a lot of similarities in Ganguly and KP. Both divide opinion like no one else does. Both Started on a bright note(leaving ganguly's 1992 ODi debut and KP's ZIm ods Debut)Ganguly with twin tons in 1st two tests and KP with those 445 runs in ODI series against SA. But it was the other formats they made themselves one of the all-time greats. KP in tests and Dada in ODI's.Both of them became inconsistent in the formats they made their name initially. And yes Both have another common factor-Infalted EGO's.

I fully enjoyed yesterday's Ton.Those pulls were a sight and "THAT" shot of Kallis over mid-on was just awesome. Ponting isn't the same Puller of the ball these days. I feel KP is the best puller now.

• Faraz on August 5, 2012, 10:17 GMT

after having won the WC for Pakistan despite having been dumped by Imran just prior to the WC,he had lost the seat to a younger Akram whom he hand picked into the team in 1985 himself and after having served Imran loyally for around 7 years.Would anyone else not be hurt?Akram was literally after his place in the side in 1993.On account of Basit Ali,Miandad was having sleepless nights fearing his place in the team with just 1500 runs to 10,000 by a man he had handpicked into the team but who was being backed by Imran openly.Miandad's talent was not short,it was the constant torment he was being subjected to near the retirement of Imran and afterwards that lead to his downfall against the WI in the 1993 series.Or else between 1987-1989 he scored 2112 runs in 24 tests at the phenomenal average of 68.13 out of which only 788 runs were scored at home while 2 of his double centuries were abroad apart from his back to back centuries in WI,not to forget his 9 consecutive ODI 50+ scores. [[ No one can ever doubt Miandad's achievements. Numbers only tell part of the story. His contributions to Pakistani cricket are normally overshadowed by the trio of Imran, Wasim and Akram. I may be wrong but maybe the divide between the north and south in Pakistan might have contributed to this. Ananth: ]]

• Faraz on August 5, 2012, 9:49 GMT

I read a lot of Indian comments trying to belittle Miandad's achievements.Thats understood! Let me standout as a Pakistani and deliver a few notes of my own. For those who say Miandad's record outside the subcontinent isnt impressive,let me tell you a simple note,of the 20 highest scores abroad by a batsman,Miandad carries 2. 260 against England at the Oval 1987 against Botham & Co and 271 against Hadlee & Co. in Nz in 1989,the haunt house for premier batsman during the 80's.The only glitch in his armoury anyone finds and talks about is his record against the WI.For most of you,Miandad suffered more than any cricketer due to inland politics of Imran and Akram,coupled with a back injury which left him toothless between the period 1989-1991.If he could score 2 back to back centuries against Marshall & Co. in 1988 and one more in the ODI's in that all eventful 1988 WI-Pak series can you really conclude that he couldnt repeat the performance in 1993. It was all because after serving(contd)

• Ravi M on August 5, 2012, 5:06 GMT

Ananth,

Couldn't agree more. Out of curiosity, would love to read if you had written anything on tennis with the usual IT figures details?! [[ I would love to do that and will do that one day even though I do not have database. Ananth: ]] Alex, I believe that you implied that Junior has more qualities than Tugga that Australians admire. You couldn't be more wrong. 95% of my friends here haven't warmed up to Clarke as captain; because he doesn't belong to the ultra-tough, not-giving-an-inch characters like Chappelli or Border or anyone else until now.

But, it helps if one can be elegant & effective - which Harvey was until 1955. It's hard to pick one reason; but Harvey's ability to turn "lost causes" into wins could be a start. He was the lone bridge from the '48 invincibles to the famous tied Test. He was the first genuinely great all-round fielder with pioneering technique.

Most of it all, for 7 years after Don's retirement, he was there to ensure a smooth transition from most formidable batting unit to an unit without real superstars; until Greg Chap came along.

• shrikanthk on August 5, 2012, 3:48 GMT

Ananth and co: As an aside, yesterday we witnessed one of the greatest test match innings of all time IMHO! Very lucky to witness it (albeit on television). As Cardus would've put it, it was a throneroom innings! Interestingly Cardus used that expression to decribe Hammond's 240 at Lord's against a far weaker attack than this SA bowling unit. [[ With some reservations on "all time", I agree with the term "once-in-lifetime innings". Many of the shots were breathtaking. The different types of pulls, the impossible-to-describe-four-with-a-last-second-change-of-mind off Kallis, that straight six off Steyn. I missed part of the innings watching Saina's match. But the session after tea was the more important one. 100 runs+. I do not want to start an unnecessary discussion. But this was an innings Richards would have liked to own on a not-so-batsman-friendly pitch. Ananth: ]]

• Alex on August 5, 2012, 1:49 GMT

@Wasp: You are correct on batting being more about skill than physical prowess --- it does not need power/agility and is about balance, hand-eye coordination, & placement. Now, that combo is needed the most in badminton, table tennis, baseball, & maybe golf. Record of India (& most commonwealth nations) is mediocre in these sports. So, isn't it probable that cricketers earning \$18 million/year are being far oversold by BCCI & Media to the common man in India?

I think SRT is a truly great person+sportsman but the fame & fortune recd by cricketers in India is far beyond their worth. IMO, the whole thing is as ridiculous as touting Lata Mangeshkar to be the voice of century and showering her with all kinds of riches & awards.

• Alex on August 4, 2012, 23:49 GMT

@Ananth:

1. Kallis is not a late bloomer. He started at age 20 only. For the first 3 years, his yearly avg did not exceed 40. It bloomed into 69 for his 4th year. Starting that year (1999): 14 yrs, 133 tests, avg = 62, 41 100's, 50 50's: avg>55 in all tests, barring a 6-test slice.

Only Don, Sobers, & Hobbs equal/better that, and SRT comes close. Using the same experience (4 yrs) as the starting point for SRT, we get this: 18 yrs, 160 tests, avg=56, 45 100's, 56 50's: avg>55 in all tests, barring an 8-test slice. Kallis is a statistical marvel.

2. By test #40, a batsman should have stabilized near his career avg. Noteworthy exceptions: Viv (60->50), Harvey (60->48), Kallis (43->58), Sutcliffe (69->60). Sutcliffe dragged his avg down from 70 to 60 over his final 18 tests, a fall steeper than that of Harvey/Ponting/Adams!!

• Alex on August 4, 2012, 19:30 GMT

@Ananth: Across the era comparisons are impossible and have only nostalgic value. Laver with 20 is not that far fetched. Had Borg played in Oz open after '74, he might have had 16 GS titles before retiring at age 26. Then, there is Wilander ("the next Borg") who had 7 GS titles at age 24, fell in love, and blew his career: in some ways, the male equivalent of Monica Seles.

• Alex on August 4, 2012, 17:09 GMT

@Ravi: I think the Oz romance with Harvey is because he represented many qualities they admire in a top class sportsman. Mark Waugh might be a modern day Harvey: he was a right-hander and hence very few made those comparisons (in contrast, a young S Waugh was compared to McCabe by old-timers).

• gnr on August 4, 2012, 15:01 GMT

But Miandads out side sub continent performance was not that much impressive , he scored heavily againsi ind , [[ Does one infer from your comment that the Indian bowling was sub-standard. Ananth: ]]

• Ravi M on August 4, 2012, 14:21 GMT

Following what I said on Harvey, I think, in general, when we talk about "chinks" & statistical inconsistencies in yesteryear greats, it's not a bad idea to remind ourselves about what the great man Federer said when asked about whether he's the GOAT: - - - - - - - - - - "I don't feel better than anyone, because we need past champions to pave the way for our generation and we have become very professional." "They have led the way and inspired myself and other players to chase the big records out there." "Back in the day they weren't doing that, they were just playing to play tennis. Things have changed dramatically with the press reminding us 'you should do this and win that and you'll be considered the greatest of all time'. - - - - - - - - - - RESPECT - - - - - - - - - - I don't think many pre-85 cricketers were trying for "wholesome" records that we so badly scrutinise these days with the help of cricinfo. [[ Yes, it is true. Last year when Fed went off the no.1 spot after being there for 285 weeks, to me that was the real tragedy. 286 was a number I never forget over the past 12 months. And I am sure Fed would have been reminded often. This year when the number 286 appeared, I for one thought that that was as important as the 17th GS since it is indeed very tough to get back once you lose it. Would Sampras been constantly reminded of Lendl's number (270). Probably yes. Would Lendl have been reminded of Connors' 268. Probably not. And before 1973. No one bothered. Laver had to keep his home fires burning. Hence he sacrificed 6 years at the top (and possibly 10 GS titles). I am not surprised Fed has realized that. He knows the importance of history. He also knows that Laver could have ended with 20 titles: almost unreachable. Ananth: ]]

• Ravi M on August 4, 2012, 14:13 GMT

Re: Harvey,

Nobody can deny that he had a weakness against genuine swing bowlers on green wickets. But, in terms of scoring when it mattered the most, there were few better.

In fact, one of the "inside edge" polls in early 2004 had 6 innings of Harvey in the top 50 by Australians; and "only" 4 from Bradman! The best part of Harvey's 6 was that it covered ALL 5 continents.

There were many theories; but one most people observed was that Harvey refused to refrain from his attacking nature.

He scored nearly 3800 runs at an average of 62 @ half-way mark (39 Tests out of 79); 15 100s to 12 fifties. Away average of 78 & 4th innings average of 82! He had 9 away 100s to just 4 50s!

When you were that good before your late 20s, I guess one can't blame you for not adapting (especially in those days). His occasional brilliance & breath-taking fielding kept him in the team.

• Waspsting on August 4, 2012, 13:40 GMT

(meaning the over-blown praise makes one want to disagree). "Hype" is one thing that particularly irks me, so i sympathize with this.

Still, even stripped of hype, Tendulkar's the best player I've seen (it takes talent to overrate a player who's that good, but some people out there have done it magnificently), and I'd slot him just behind Sobers (and Bradman) among batsmen of all time. [[ Film stars need hype. They live on hype, scandals and being in the news always. Sportsmen do not need hype. Do not need anything other than skill. Tendulkar is probably the most complete batsman of the past many many years. He certainly does not need any hype. He stands on his magnificance. But I still think he should retire from ODIs. Frankly India does not need him in ODIs (Who would he replace ???) but certainly in Tests. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 4, 2012, 13:30 GMT

@Alex - re: Indian sportsmen, I agree that Indians aren't physically up there with the best in the world, but i think there's a difference between "skills" and "physicality".

An example - Ind and Pak dominated field hockey, based on the skill of stick work. The trend of dominance changed when the game was moved to faster, astro-turf - making physicality a bigger factor. Ind and Pak's fortunes plummeted (and have never recovered)

Cricket, esp. batting is more about "skill" than "physicality", and Indians can be up there with the best of them here.

I don't see an Indian pacer up with the best of the world - lot of physicality involved. Even spinners, i think their best are a cut below the best of the rest.

But in batting at least, Gavaskar and Tendulkar are about as good as anyone there's ever been (save Bradman).

Problem with Tendulkar is that Indian media hype him to such levels that it elicits a anti-reaction from non-Indians. (cont)

• Waspsting on August 4, 2012, 12:41 GMT

re: Bedser (and Tate), I don't know what to make of them, particularly their pace.

Keeper always stood up for them. Given the description of Bedsar's bowling - sharp swing, sharp cut - i think this was... not ideal. The number of chances you'd miss for lack of reaction time isn't worth the rare stumping it seems to me.

Imagine from the keepers position an inswinger. The batsman blocks the view, the ball finishes outside leg - and it might cut back and go outside off stump or go straight through down leg side??? How can you keep to that?

Benaud said Fazal was about Kasprowicz' pace - which i think would be VERY DIFFICULT to stand up to, if you can move the ball the way Bedsar is described to have done.

Can't imagine standing up to Philander yielding a net positive result for the bowling team.

I imagine Bedsar/Tate might have been a tad slower - maybe Vaas' pace (at the end of his career) or Bangladesh's Syed Russell(?)

What do you guys think? [[ In general I think it is stupid to stand up. What do you achieve? A stumping once a year. In the meanwhile you would miss 10 catches. The only justification is in ODIs to prevent batsmen from standing a couple of yards out. Even then a guy like Hayden would do that and dare the bowler. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 4, 2012, 12:33 GMT

@Ananth - eagerly awaiting the piece on keepers. In the absence of data regarding missed chances, I suppose byes conceded is the best way to statistically assess the glovemen.

Particularly, I've long speculated that Gilchrist will stand up well to Healy in an analysis - despite this perception that Healy was a far better keeper. Looking forward to it! [[ We know that dropped catch information is not available anywhere. So let us forget about it. But then I have many ideas. At a later date I will post these for inputs. Doing it now will take us off track. Ananth: ]]

• Harsh Thakor on August 4, 2012, 10:37 GMT

Good Work Ananth.

This analysis highlights the brilliance of stalwarts like Viv Richards,Dravid and Gavaskar as batsman,who average over 50 for more than 88% of their career.I mark these three out as Gavaskar faced the best bowlers , Viv Richards set out to pulverize opposing bowling attacks like noone else and Dravid was the best when the chips were down.We also get an insight into the great consistency of Len Hutton,apart from Bradman who was a class apart.Miandad is phenomenal but I feel has benefited from playing so much at home where he has averaged over 55 runs. [[ Miandad has scored over 4300 runs both home and away. Home at an average of 61.3 and away at 45.8. That means he has played more Test matches away than home. And he has maintained his 50+ average whether playing at home or away. Ananth: ]] In the bowling arena figures speak for themselves for Sydney Barnes,Keith Miller and Fred Trueman and I admire the consistency of performances of Dennis Lillee,Waqar Younus,Alan Donald,Shaun Pollock and Curtly Ambrose .I feel greater emphasis has to be given to the peak period of a cricketer's career with Imran,Hadlee and Kallis being the best examples.

• charith on August 4, 2012, 6:49 GMT

As always nice work Ananth. Most of your recent analysis are based on batsmen ,bowlers and all rounders can you consider doing an article on captains because unlike any other sport captaincy matters a lot in cricket.Is it possible to rate them based on their team members capabilities rather than just looking at win percentage. [[ One on captains and one on wicket-keepers are planned. Ananth: ]]

• Alex on August 4, 2012, 5:03 GMT

@srikanthk:

1. Clarke is an effective captain. Hence, Harvey = 0.75 Clarke. Clarke is terrific fielder as well: of course, Benaud rates Harvey as the best fielder he ever saw. There might be a lot of similarity in Harvey & M Waugh (another all-time great fielder): M Waugh was all class but slipped after 7 yrs of international cricket. [[ Problem, Alex, is the free use of vague and subjective numbers like 0.75. What is the basis. And why bring in captaincy when one is discussing batsmen. Tomorrow will you say Murali is 0.75 Imran since Imran was a great captain. Let us not confuse issues. And why fielding. We are not discussing value to the team here. Prasanna has claims to be amongst the greatest off-spinners of all time, despite his fielding. Ananth: ]] 2. How well Harvey was "rated" --- well, Gower too was rated highly by poms & Oz but give me Miandad/Crowe over him anyday. As to post-Bradman era, Hutton is arguably the best Eng/Oz batsman till Chappell/AB/Waugh/Ponting arrived. There might be a case for Compton over Harvey as well.

• Pankaj Joshi on August 4, 2012, 4:38 GMT

Great concept again. A perennial purple patch. The paragraph on Bradman was oh-so-delicious. The Don's been done to dust by statisticians, but the sheer perspective and brevity in those four lines .... who else could dream of getting those ducks and still being on the radar, forget an average of 50. [[ Thanks, Pankaj, for the kind words. You have made my day. I hope Federer makes my week-end. But let me also add that if there was one player other than Fed who I wanted to win the Gold medal, it is Murray. So I am a winner either way: it is only matter of degree (probably 95-5). This might very well be Fed's last chance, certainly not Murray's. Ananth: ]] Considering Hadlee didn't venture out much to the subcontinent, isn't a high of 35.6 deflating for his aura? Probably early days before the machine got into motion. Imran's analysis like everything else just shows he was among the best in terms of utilisation of available talent, his or others. Thanks Ananth

• shrikanthk on August 4, 2012, 3:35 GMT

Bedser started very strong and yet, somehow, his stats deteriorated and then recovered very well.

Bedser started strong thanks to a debut against India in English conditions!!!!

Then he played a couple of series against Bradman's Aussies on fairly flat wickets. Though he bowled well the average suffered as any "medium pacer"'s average is bound to suffer on good wickets.

He had a great series in '50-51 against Aussies in Aus. A performance which surprises me a lot. However going by the scorecards I don't think the pitches in that series were up to the normal Aus-quality. In '53 he had another fine series in his familiar English conditions.

So basically you've a bowler who was deadly when the conditions suited him but at best an economical workhorse outside those conditions. [[ Which is an apt definition of most fast-medium bowlers. We can already see Philander struggling to match the initial highs. Ananth: ]]

• shrikanthk on August 4, 2012, 3:24 GMT

Also, the pressure: he was viewed as the next great after Bradman but was not even a half a Bradman ... maybe a 0.75 Clarke

I am not sure on what basis you rate Clarke way ahead of Harvey! Clarke averages 48-49 in an age where there are a dozen players around that figure or higher! He is not even prettier than Harvey.

Harvey batted in an era when 50 was a rarity (except the Windies lot who batted on generally flat wickets at home). Right till the end Harvey was rated as the supreme Anglo-Australian batsman of the post Bradman era (May notwithstanding).

You're right that Harvey's decline began from '55 onwards. But he also played on some ridiculous wickets in that period which were not the norm in tests before or since! 1954-55 - several wickets were rank greentops. 1956 - barring the test at Lord's most other pitches were dustbowls of the first order. [[ National Stadium, Karachi in 1956 was an example. Ananth: ]]

• Ananth on August 4, 2012, 3:21 GMT

The more I see Milind's simple normalizing table the more I am impressed with it. Hence I have added the HLC Index to the CTD Excel sheet and uploaded. The first three positions are held by Thorpe, Saeed Anwar (surprise) and Fleming. The last three are Hussey (because of the early high average), Harvey and Adams. The corresponding bowler positions are held by Trueman, Dillon and Malcolm at the top and Hooper, Flintoff and davidson at the bottom. I like the simplicity of this index and can see this going some way to put a handle on the player's consistency. Let us not forget that this computation is done after allowing for 10 Tests to settle down. So it accounts for the initial variations. There is something poistive in the creers of Thorpe, Anwar, Dillon and Malcolm.

• Alex on August 3, 2012, 15:02 GMT

@Wasp: Your studied comment on Harvey must have left srikanthk fuming ... bygone era is his territory! As for SRT, we should be happy that he is definitely a top 5 batsman of the 1985-2015 era alongside Lara-Waugh-Ponting-Kallis. Indians are mediocre at physical sports (check out the Olympic/Asian/Commonwealth records) and it is improbable that, somehow, they have the world's greatest evers in one sport; it is simply a BCCI & media propaganda.

@srikanthk: Harvey's slump started in '55 at age 27, long before Benaud became the captain. He might have lacked the steel to shoulder Oz after the big guns started retiring @1954. Also, the pressure: he was viewed as the next great after Bradman but was not even a half a Bradman ... maybe a 0.75 Clarke.

@Ananth: Include Kallicharran in the slump list: from 50.2 to 44.4 over the final 15 tests! Bobby Simpson had to come back from retirement to lead a Packer-depleted Oz only to see his avg go down from 49.4 to 46.8.

• Ananth on August 3, 2012, 11:04 GMT

Although I was not the cause for this mess I am the Cricinfo face for you guys. Hence my sincere apologies. Ananth

• Alex on August 3, 2012, 8:15 GMT

@Ananth: One more observation. After 30 tests & 5 yrs, we expect a strike bowler to have hit the stride. Yet, at that point, the avg was 31 for Imran, 31 for Bedsar, and 29 for Murali. Unlike Imran & Murali, Bedsar started very strong and yet, somehow, his stats deteriorated and then recovered very well. These 3 cut it down to finish with career avg of 22 to 24. Sobers cut it down from 49.5 to 34.5!! The reverse case is Botham: his avg went for a six from 19 to 29!

• Alex on August 3, 2012, 7:25 GMT

@Ananth: Ponting's free fall over the last 3 yrs (cushioned by a mammoth series vs Ind) is spectacular. Apart from Harvey, who comes close to him? Well, the following batsmen were miserable in their final 10 to 15 tests, as the fall in their averages shows:

Adams: 41.2 from 48.1 (unbelievable!!) Gilchrist: 47.6 from 50 Javed Miandad: 52.6 from 55 Lawry: 47.2 from 49.5 Vengsarkar: 42.1 from 45.4 Viswanath: 41.9 from 43.9 Crowe: 45.4 from 48.4 Samarweera: 51.3 from 54.3. [[ My apologies. Cricinfo does this often. When I require some action they decide to cut-off everything. Now all the comments have gone to junk. It will take me an hour to clear this mess. Ananth: ]]

• Andrew B on August 2, 2012, 23:28 GMT

Correction to Bradman's early averages: his average was 9.50 after one Test, 52.50 after two (you give his averages after the first innings of those Tests [[ Yes, agreed. Ananth: ]] When you say Johnston played "mostly under the shadow of Davidson", did you mean Lindwall (or Miller)? Johnston played from 1947-55, Davidson from 1953-63.

• milpand on August 2, 2012, 21:51 GMT

Thorpe tops the list for your simple avge Ratio which is (HighAvge - LowAvge) / CareerAvge with his 14.2 and Adams is the worst with 111.2.

These numbers are very close to 12 and 112 and the difference happens to be 100.

Hence the temptation to rank these performs between 0 & 10 by subtracting 12, dividing the result by 10 and inverting the scale.

For Thorpe's 14.2, we get (14.2-12)/10 = 0.22 and the inverted value is 10-0.22 = 9.78.

The Top 10 using this method:

Thorpe G.P 9.78 Saeed Anwar 9.42 Fleming S.P 9.35 Cook A.N 9.13 Cronje W.J 9.13 Hill C 9.12 Butcher B.F 9.11 McCullum 9.03 Trescothick 9.03 Bell I.R 9.01 [[ How valid the Ratio is something I myself am not sure of. However taken by itself these numbers indicate that the unsung players like these have something going. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 2, 2012, 13:10 GMT

Ananth, Shri - the suggestion behind your comments on Harvey is that age cut down his abilities to score runs consistently.

While possible, there's another hypothesis i have; the fast men found him out.

He scored his big runs against SA before Adcock. His big runs against WI before Hall. Both dried up after the quicks came up.

He was never a HUGE scorer against Eng - Bedsar did him often - but Trueman, Statham, Tyson didn't exactly let him away easy either.

I also have doubts about the hype about his ability to play spin. Most accounts rave about his brilliance in attacking.

The standard of "great player of spin" (a title Harvey enjoyed) that I've seen is headed by Lara - with guys like Sidhu, Tendulkar, M. Waugh etc. These guys not only attacked spin but RARELY GOT OUT to it.

By contrast, Harvey got out NUMEROUS TIMES to spin, particularly Lock, and also Laker - guys who turned the ball sharply (as opposed to someone like Tayfield)

• Waspsting on August 2, 2012, 12:51 GMT

hard to see where SRT could have squeezed out more runs from.

curious finding, not unlike Murali's record. Take away the 9 innings against Bangladesh (out of a total of 176 Asian innings), and Tendulkar's record falls from 59.50 (second highest, behind Sehwag's 60.91) to 49.72.

@MG - the early debut point i agree with. It was an era where batsman averaged less, and SRT proved no different - and it tanked his overall record - which has gone into the higher scoring eras. He's competing statistically with guys who've played their whole life in said high scoring eras!

The injury thing I accept as an explanation, but not an excuse. I assume the injuries came about from using that overweight bat, which had so many advantages to it. Injury was the flip side of those advantages.

You use a bat that allows you to get 4s with little more than a forward defensive shot, you accept the elbow/shoulder problems that come with it. Bitter with the better.

• Ahsan on August 2, 2012, 12:47 GMT

Your work is one heck of mind numbness!! I have never been able to 'read' all of your articles, just the tables.. How do you manage all this? Amazing person you are, surely

• Waspsting on August 2, 2012, 12:37 GMT

Was looking closer at Tendulkar's record, and comparing it to 7 other Asian giants (Dravid, Sehwag, Inzamam, Yousuf, Younus, Jayawardena and Sangakkara).

Hard to see how he could have averaged 60, so I revise what i said earlier re: utilizing home conditions and playing better in 4th innings to boost up a career figure of 60.

summing up - on home averages, the top 4 are Pak and SL players, and 3 of the bottom 4 are Ind. (Tendulkar 6th)

However, Sehwag and Dravid outscore the Pak players in Pak, while Sehwag and Tendulkar outscore the SL players in SL.

Suggests that India was the toughest batting conditions (making it more difficult for an Ind to have high average)

In Asia, Sehwag and Tendulkar are 1 and 2.

Re: 4th innings' - Tendulkar's 38 is joint second last with Inzie, and ahead of only Sehwag's pitiful 22 (Younus leading the way with 60!)

But with Dravid 40 and Laxman 41 (along with Sehwag's 22), the suggestion is 4th innings batting in Ind pretty tough (cont)

• Harsh Thakor on August 2, 2012, 11:58 GMT

In terms of consistency amongst pace bowlers I think Richard Hadlee and Glen Mcgrath are phenomenal.Infact in this respect I place Hadlee at the top of the paceman considering he bore the brunt of a weak attack.Justice is also done to the greatness of Dennis Lille inspite of aback injury not including his wickets in the Packer.(possibly ge would have had 450 scalps ahd he had normal tset cricket in that time)Fascinatingly Murali and Warne did not reveal the same consistency as the top paceman.

I agree Javed Miandad was a champion and the ultimate batsman to bat for your life but I feel he benefited from the slow sub-continent Pakistani wickets,especially in his first 5 years.Morally,I would consider Border and Gavaskar more consistent as they championed the cause against great bowling overseas,be it the West Indies attack or the English seaming pitches.Border even championed the turning pitches when scoring 2 ,150's in a test match at Lahore in 1980.

• Dinesh on August 2, 2012, 9:24 GMT

Ananth: I am a huge tendulkar Fan.On my FB wall i was involved in numerous discussion with me taking a Pro tendulkar stand.

But when people say that we can attribute his Poor form to injury,i would disagree.That is partially True as his total concentration wasnt on Cricket.But when someone say not able to lift a tea cup, others etc.I would disagree.Tendulkar said he couldnt lift tea cup,and did he say that he played cricket then.No He played cricket when he was a bit feeling good.Yes he was rushed in the 2004 australia toour of india.

we Should understand that Everyplayer has his Up's and down that may be due to various reason injury,other personal problems.But to attribute his loss of form entirely to Injury is a No-No.

I feel proud that after that "injury"/loss of form tendulkar scored 16more Tons in a span of 4years.Very few people score 16 in their entire Career.So rather than cribbing about his Injury.We should be glad that he came out of a bad patch in flying colours.

• Nitin Gautam on August 2, 2012, 8:38 GMT

HI Anantha

Very Nice analysis. Miandad's record was not something that was unknown to many but what a feet that is.playing for such a long period & never letting avd drop below 50. Re. bowlers, I must say apart from johnston, Waqar is the one who impressed the most.

In a time largely dominated by batsman, he never let his avd rose to more than 24 for once in entire career (obviously leaving 1st 7 tests, he was strike bowler always expected to take wickets with leaking of runs notwithstanding but what he achieved was extraordinary.

However just out of curiosity, has there been any batsman & bowler who always battered their average like if batsman A has avg of 35 afters 1st test & 55 at retirement than in between he always improved his avg & never his avg fell from what he has already achieved. similarly if there has been a bowler who always improved (i guess late bloomers might have a chance in both) [[ The data is there for you to some analysis. Will anyway look at it. Am fire-fighting now a Cricinfo blunder. Ananth: ]]

• shrikanthk on August 2, 2012, 7:19 GMT

Just 2 hundreds (not that 100s mean anything special) in the last 16 Tests: way below any good batsman's average

What hundreds do signal is an ability to grind out an innings of significant duration against test-quality attacks. Though they may have been infrequent, Harvey in his last 4-5 years still had time for a 167 against Statham and Laker in '58-59, a couple of hundreds against Nadkarni on Indian turners in '59-60, a 114 against Trueman/Statham/Illingworth in '61 and a last hurrah of 154 against Trueman and Statham again in '63. There were several half-centuries as well in this period from '59-63.

So obviously he was still good enough to score big runs against decent attacks. But he just seemed to lose his consistency of the late 40s-early 50s. Perhaps being overlooked for captaincy and playing under the younger Benaud affected him. Not sure.

• MG on August 2, 2012, 6:32 GMT

Waspsting: The reason Tendulkar not avg.60 is the abnormally early debut and the injury ridden mid 2000s (03-06)... Tennis elbow (couldn't lift tea cup),shoulder surgery,hand etc. Otherwise from age 20 and counting the other years you will get an avg of approx 60... That's for around 18yrs. Not bad.

• shrikanthk on August 2, 2012, 4:28 GMT

Harvey must've been a VERY POOR starter. His 100s-innings ratio is very good, his conversion rate from 50-100 is very good and he's a noted player on bad wickets (often when all others were failing). Putting all that together, you'd expect an average in mid 50s, let alone 50s

Harvey just grew more inconsistent as his career progressed. I don't think it was a loss of ability or better opposition. Because right till the end, he was scoring the odd brilliant hundred against very fine attacks. But the consistency started eluding him.

A nice Harvey innings from '58-59 (late in his career).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4saUbc_yPE [[ Just 2 hundreds (not that 100s mean anything special) in the last 16 Tests: way below any good batsman's average. Ananth: ]]

• Dinesh on August 1, 2012, 20:49 GMT

Contd

Lara: As Magical as Moody was his batting.His average looked like Mumbai Skyline.Tall spikes with slums beside.His average fell below 50 may times and Crossed it many times as well when he hit those Huge tons.I just could not derive a patch where his average was consistently above 55 but one telling stat is that it Never Crossed 54 after Test number 44,that's like his last 90 tests where he was below 54.

Ponting: Leaving his first two matches ,he took 66 tests to Jump to 50 and from test number 83-133,total of 51 it never fell below 56- a period of Utter Dominance and within next 20 tests it fell below 53- his recent struggles.

Kallis: Least appreciated of the modern greats.A Late bloomer. Crossed 50 1st time in his 63rd Test and his last test out of 50 was his test 72.And now comes a Stat:the last time he was below 54 was test 81.Total of 72 tests above 54. Amazing Consistency.

Feel this is a Golden period for batting.Haven't seen older generations so no comments on them [[ Dinesh Very good set of observations. Again your comments are pointers to what can be derived from these analyses. Ananth: ]]

• Dinesh on August 1, 2012, 20:20 GMT

Just went through some of the players. Tendulkar. Crossed 50 1st time after his 29th Test, looks like late bloomer but he wasnt even 21 till then so can be forgiven. But the most telling stat of his is that from test number 69 to 133 for over 64 tests his average never dropped below 55(the period when he was arguably the Best in the World). and from test number 68 not a single test below 54.A total of 120 tests.That is almost equivalent to Lara's entire Career.That is Scary.

Dravid: From test number 64 to 124.Not a test below 54.In a span of 20 tests(from 104-124) his average fell by 5points from near59-54 and in the test no 130 it hit a low of 52.1 -His lowest in his last 102 tests.Thats tells about his consistency.

Contd

• Pawan Mathur on August 1, 2012, 19:29 GMT

Ananth, Exclusion of 10 tests seems appropriate for players with long careers. but it seems disadvantageous to the greats like George Headley and Graeme Pollock as it takes out almost half their hard work. (Infact i request you to do a same for these two , but taking their entire career). [[ Pawan Headley and Pollock anyhow do not qualify for this type of analysis. For that matter they seem to be out of most recent analyses. I have to raise the cut-off to 3000 runs to keep the population to a reasonable number. 22/23 Tests is too low to look for trends. Just for info, Pollock's career was like a yo-yo. He went below 50, 6 out of 23. Headly was, on the other hand, much more consistent. An average of 21 at the end of the first Test was the only time he went below 50, out of 22. Ananth: ]] Regarding measurement of contribution of a players, I would suggest that in a future IT figure article, you calculate the percent of innings/ test in which a batsmen top scored or one of the top 2 scorers in the innigs and assign values accordingly ( say hypothetically 3 points for being t

• dale on August 1, 2012, 19:03 GMT

Ananth, Stats do not point to everything and we must be careful how we interpret them but I must say that with each analysis,you have shed light on a great number of players in so many different ways. Keep up the good work !

Keith Miller was a magnificent player. He batted high in the order and was an excellent front line bowler.He also played the game with style and panache ,a great joy to behold for all spectators. [[ Dale, Recently Ranga had raised a valid point about the sameness of the analysis. However your comment seems to be the answer to that. Each analysis brings to the forefront a few wonderful players who we tend to forget about. Everything is not a "Best player" analysis. But one facet is (or two or three are) examined. My feeling is that this article is about Miandad, Worrell, Miller and Johnston. Ananth: ]]

• dale on August 1, 2012, 18:33 GMT

On the surface it appears that Croft chose to participate in the Rebel tour instead of playing against India in the West Indies during the 82-83 seasons. However, Croft had an indifferent tour against Australia the previous season where he took 7 wickets @51.57 runs at a SR OF 118.4 in the 3 match Test series. By this time Clarke and Marshall were serious challengers for a bowling spot while Holding and Garner were considered "sure" picks and Roberts was still around. [[ I forgot about the life ban. In which case Croft probably has to blame himself. Ananth: ]]

• RMSingh on August 1, 2012, 14:25 GMT

Since we are looking at the contribution of a player, we need to be careful to exclude innings that he never had an opportunity to bat. So, these will be a) innings when he was never needed to bat and b) innings when he remained not out when his individual score was less than, say 20(Meaning that he may have had an opportunity to have contribute more. Guess when we change this number different results may come). Can we do this for all top batsmen? TIA [[ Will look into this. Ananth: ]]

• RMSingh on August 1, 2012, 14:24 GMT

In this method, if a player scores 60 out of the total score of 120, in his very first innings, his contribution score is 50%. And in the second innings(same or the next test), if he scores 30 out of team score of 300, his score for the innings is 10%, and his career contribution becomes (50+10/2) = 30%. We continue this way to calculate the career contribution score for any player

Contd...

• RMSingh on August 1, 2012, 14:23 GMT

Hi Ananth,

I am following all your analysis in the past few months and they all are very informative. Thank you for all of those…I have a suggestion to make, which is unrelated to this particular article. The idea is an attempt to find out what is the contribution/value of a player in his career

Contd….

• Waspsting on August 1, 2012, 14:15 GMT

I agree that Tendulkar could probably have averaged even higher, closer to 60.

So many flat tracks in India to cash in on. Yet his home and away record is about the same. [[ Maybe give more credit for matching his home numbers with away numbers. Ananth]] Also note the relatively ordinary 4th innings record. There doesn't seem any reason for it. Tendulkar had/has everything you'd need to grind on worn down wickets- technique, temperament, patience, forward play, intelligence to adjust etc.

Watching him bat, i'd have expected a better record in these two areas - thus boosting him up to about 60.

• Waspsting on August 1, 2012, 14:11 GMT

A reply to the last post on the previous thread re: 'doosra' by Julie - the oldest reference I can find to the ball was from Ian Johnson. He called it the "undercutter" - turning the hand at point of delivery to release from the back of the hand, and have ball turn away.

Reminds me of another interesting historical piece on innovations. From something I read, its clear that the mechanism of reverse swing was CLEARLY understood as early as the 50s (and the guy who mentioned the mechanism played in the 20s and 30s - so possibly a lot longer ago than even that)

Its just that no one thought to work the ball into the required state til Sarfraz and Imran (strange since ball tampering was much more rampant in 50s too. Miller talks about it matter of factly as though everyone did it - certainly he himself did. Then again, Miller's a bit of a theatrical raconteur) [[ Might have striven more for effect than truth. Ananthi: ]] Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 1, 2012, 14:01 GMT

Little surprised to see Dravid's % over 50, relative to Kallis.

Dravid for quite a long time had rep for getting 50s but not 100s. Kallis' slow start I recall, but i'd have expected more than just over 50% for him.

Poor Frank Worrell! didn't realize he'd averaged over 50 almost all his career, only to just have it dip below right at the end (when he was almost 40, after Weekes, Walcott had {wisely perhaps} retired.

Throwing out a tidbit i've always found interesting. While Weekes, and Walcott out-average Worrell by a long way - Worrell always did the best of the 3 in Eng (2 tours) and Aus (1 tour) - the toughest assignments of the day.

Weekes' meat was weak attacks (Ind, NZ) regardless of conditions.

Walcott's was flat tracks (WI, Ind), regardless of quality of opposition.

But in toughest conditions and against best opposition, Worrell always did better than them. [[ Yes, averages conceal a lot at times. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 1, 2012, 13:53 GMT

@Ananth - the WI rebels were banned for life. And they knew they would be before they chose to go.

I'd say Johnston played under the shadow of Lindwall and Miller. Davidson came afterwards, and with no other great pacers around him, the light shone more brightly on him than it ever had on Johnston.

Important part of Johnston was that he was a stock bowler. Important because Miller in particular, couldn't always be counted on to bowl (fitness problems).

He took more wickets than either of the more celebrated pair in matches they played together. Average just as good (S.R a tad behind)

Harvey must've been a VERY POOR starter. His 100s-innings ratio is very good, his conversion rate from 50-100 is very good and he's a noted player on bad wickets (often when all others were failing). Putting all that together, you'd expect an average in mid 50s, let alone 50s.

I can only intuitively grasp that he must have got out early disproportionately often. [[ He has had a 50+ career until the three quarter of his career. Ananth: ]]

• Aditya Nath Jha on August 1, 2012, 9:59 GMT

Croft went on a rebel tour to SA and was banned. Hence the low number of tests. [[ Granted. But did his career get curtailed completely by the SA excusrsion. Or he wasn't he picked after returning. Ananth: ]]

• Shahir Ahmed on August 1, 2012, 7:55 GMT

Sorry never mind, just re-read your explanation that the high/low numbers are from after 10 tests. [[ No problems at all. In fact try to draw something on Waqar's career after the first 7 Tests. Ananth: ]]

• Shahir Ahmed on August 1, 2012, 7:48 GMT

Re: Waqar Younis in the last table, am I reading this right? His career low average was 18.4 and high was 23.6. So if he never went above 25, shouldn't his sub-25 be 100? [[ Pl read the article carefully. The high and low values are AFTER THE 10TH TEST, to allow the player to settle down. The measure comparison is from the end of first Test. In 5 of his first 10 Tests Waqar went above 25. Ananth: ]]

• Chaitanya on August 1, 2012, 7:39 GMT

Is it exaggerating if I say Tendulkar's career average should be close to 60? Given his skills,talent and temperament? Sometimes I feel he should have scored couple more thousand runs,few more centuries.I know 311 innings is a lot but that's what i feel at times. [[ Why do you think his average is not close to 60. No one else but the little master himself. Not that 55+ is anything to be hidden. 12th in the all-time list of gt 3000 runs. Ananth: ]]

• Dinesh on August 1, 2012, 7:34 GMT

Ananth: Great article ananth. The 1st thing i openend today after coming onloine was go to the IT Figures tab which is bookmarked as you said today you would come up with a new one and you dint disappoint me.

THe 1st thing that i noticed was How consistent Dravid was.A near 90% above 50 and just 8 short of tendulkar's mark and huge 44 tests more than ponting having played a test less than him. Now thats called Consistency,Dravid you Beauty.

And this probably shows one reason why Kallis dint get the due he deserved as he took a long and a real long time to come into his own given by his "just" 50% of tests above 50. [[ Probably true. A late bloomer. Ananth: ]] One a whole a nice article.

• Agni on August 1, 2012, 6:45 GMT

Was looking at Laxman's career figures . Tad disappointing that he did not crack the 50 barrier. But that was due to the fact that from 96-99 he was playing mostly as an opening bat and averaged around 24. from jan 2000 to dec 2011 he averaged about 50.33(the eng'11 series didnt help but somewhat made up by the home games against Windies.)

from jan 2000 to jan 2012 his average just fell below to ~49.5.

So now can you actually query your data to find what is the biggest consecutive stretch of greater than 50 ave? along with usual suspects like SRT,JK ,RSD some others like WaughJr and VVSL might come out....

[[ In fact I don't have to do it. You yourself can do it. The Excel sheet also has the CTD averages at the end of each Test and any aalysis can be done. I have since posted the Test number also. Anyhow Javed Miandad has a consecutive 124-test run. A visual inspection says that Dravid has a run of around 125 Tests and Tendulkar's run is 134 Tests. Ananth: ]]

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• Agni on August 1, 2012, 6:45 GMT

Was looking at Laxman's career figures . Tad disappointing that he did not crack the 50 barrier. But that was due to the fact that from 96-99 he was playing mostly as an opening bat and averaged around 24. from jan 2000 to dec 2011 he averaged about 50.33(the eng'11 series didnt help but somewhat made up by the home games against Windies.)

from jan 2000 to jan 2012 his average just fell below to ~49.5.

So now can you actually query your data to find what is the biggest consecutive stretch of greater than 50 ave? along with usual suspects like SRT,JK ,RSD some others like WaughJr and VVSL might come out....

[[ In fact I don't have to do it. You yourself can do it. The Excel sheet also has the CTD averages at the end of each Test and any aalysis can be done. I have since posted the Test number also. Anyhow Javed Miandad has a consecutive 124-test run. A visual inspection says that Dravid has a run of around 125 Tests and Tendulkar's run is 134 Tests. Ananth: ]]

• Dinesh on August 1, 2012, 7:34 GMT

Ananth: Great article ananth. The 1st thing i openend today after coming onloine was go to the IT Figures tab which is bookmarked as you said today you would come up with a new one and you dint disappoint me.

THe 1st thing that i noticed was How consistent Dravid was.A near 90% above 50 and just 8 short of tendulkar's mark and huge 44 tests more than ponting having played a test less than him. Now thats called Consistency,Dravid you Beauty.

And this probably shows one reason why Kallis dint get the due he deserved as he took a long and a real long time to come into his own given by his "just" 50% of tests above 50. [[ Probably true. A late bloomer. Ananth: ]] One a whole a nice article.

• Chaitanya on August 1, 2012, 7:39 GMT

Is it exaggerating if I say Tendulkar's career average should be close to 60? Given his skills,talent and temperament? Sometimes I feel he should have scored couple more thousand runs,few more centuries.I know 311 innings is a lot but that's what i feel at times. [[ Why do you think his average is not close to 60. No one else but the little master himself. Not that 55+ is anything to be hidden. 12th in the all-time list of gt 3000 runs. Ananth: ]]

• Shahir Ahmed on August 1, 2012, 7:48 GMT

Re: Waqar Younis in the last table, am I reading this right? His career low average was 18.4 and high was 23.6. So if he never went above 25, shouldn't his sub-25 be 100? [[ Pl read the article carefully. The high and low values are AFTER THE 10TH TEST, to allow the player to settle down. The measure comparison is from the end of first Test. In 5 of his first 10 Tests Waqar went above 25. Ananth: ]]

• Shahir Ahmed on August 1, 2012, 7:55 GMT

Sorry never mind, just re-read your explanation that the high/low numbers are from after 10 tests. [[ No problems at all. In fact try to draw something on Waqar's career after the first 7 Tests. Ananth: ]]

• Aditya Nath Jha on August 1, 2012, 9:59 GMT

Croft went on a rebel tour to SA and was banned. Hence the low number of tests. [[ Granted. But did his career get curtailed completely by the SA excusrsion. Or he wasn't he picked after returning. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 1, 2012, 13:53 GMT

@Ananth - the WI rebels were banned for life. And they knew they would be before they chose to go.

I'd say Johnston played under the shadow of Lindwall and Miller. Davidson came afterwards, and with no other great pacers around him, the light shone more brightly on him than it ever had on Johnston.

Important part of Johnston was that he was a stock bowler. Important because Miller in particular, couldn't always be counted on to bowl (fitness problems).

He took more wickets than either of the more celebrated pair in matches they played together. Average just as good (S.R a tad behind)

Harvey must've been a VERY POOR starter. His 100s-innings ratio is very good, his conversion rate from 50-100 is very good and he's a noted player on bad wickets (often when all others were failing). Putting all that together, you'd expect an average in mid 50s, let alone 50s.

I can only intuitively grasp that he must have got out early disproportionately often. [[ He has had a 50+ career until the three quarter of his career. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 1, 2012, 14:01 GMT

Little surprised to see Dravid's % over 50, relative to Kallis.

Dravid for quite a long time had rep for getting 50s but not 100s. Kallis' slow start I recall, but i'd have expected more than just over 50% for him.

Poor Frank Worrell! didn't realize he'd averaged over 50 almost all his career, only to just have it dip below right at the end (when he was almost 40, after Weekes, Walcott had {wisely perhaps} retired.

Throwing out a tidbit i've always found interesting. While Weekes, and Walcott out-average Worrell by a long way - Worrell always did the best of the 3 in Eng (2 tours) and Aus (1 tour) - the toughest assignments of the day.

Weekes' meat was weak attacks (Ind, NZ) regardless of conditions.

Walcott's was flat tracks (WI, Ind), regardless of quality of opposition.

But in toughest conditions and against best opposition, Worrell always did better than them. [[ Yes, averages conceal a lot at times. Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 1, 2012, 14:11 GMT

A reply to the last post on the previous thread re: 'doosra' by Julie - the oldest reference I can find to the ball was from Ian Johnson. He called it the "undercutter" - turning the hand at point of delivery to release from the back of the hand, and have ball turn away.

Reminds me of another interesting historical piece on innovations. From something I read, its clear that the mechanism of reverse swing was CLEARLY understood as early as the 50s (and the guy who mentioned the mechanism played in the 20s and 30s - so possibly a lot longer ago than even that)

Its just that no one thought to work the ball into the required state til Sarfraz and Imran (strange since ball tampering was much more rampant in 50s too. Miller talks about it matter of factly as though everyone did it - certainly he himself did. Then again, Miller's a bit of a theatrical raconteur) [[ Might have striven more for effect than truth. Ananthi: ]] Ananth: ]]

• Waspsting on August 1, 2012, 14:15 GMT

I agree that Tendulkar could probably have averaged even higher, closer to 60.

So many flat tracks in India to cash in on. Yet his home and away record is about the same. [[ Maybe give more credit for matching his home numbers with away numbers. Ananth]] Also note the relatively ordinary 4th innings record. There doesn't seem any reason for it. Tendulkar had/has everything you'd need to grind on worn down wickets- technique, temperament, patience, forward play, intelligence to adjust etc.

Watching him bat, i'd have expected a better record in these two areas - thus boosting him up to about 60.