February 21, 2013

Where is No. 2 and No. 20?

A study to rank and analyse Test batsmen and bowlers across various performance parameters
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Jacques Kallis has a slight possibility of catching up with Tendulkar's tally of runs and centuries © Getty Images

The idea for this article transpired when I was asked about the likelihood of any player catching up with Tendulkar. Although the prevailing opinion was in the negative, I was not as convinced as others. It is essential to put the contrasting measures in perspective and carry out an objective evaluation of the relative positions of players. Hence this article with the intriguing title.

Let me make it clear upfront to the readers that many of these conclusions would be obvious but there are some additional deductions which would throw fresh insights. This method of reducing all numbers to a % of the top value will make these measures dimension-less thereby providing easier comparisons.

I have separated Performance based measures from the Longevity based numbers. Conceding that extraordinary skill levels, stamina, fitness and sustained performance levels are a prerequisite to achieve the numbers, there is no doubt that these are the result of players playing in a lot of Tests over several years.

For the performance based tables, I have set 3000 runs as the cut-off point for batting. This would exclude great batsmen like Pollock and Headley but will also exclude the bowler-batsmen like Kumble, Akram, Harbhajan et al. We must have a cut-off to keep the population size manageable. Similarly the bowler cut-off is 100 wickets. Bond gets excluded, that is all. In addition, for reasons I have explained many times, I have excluded bowlers who made their debut before 1900. Bowling averages and strike rates were at a completely different level during the pre-1900 period due to uncovered wickets, batsmen finding their feet and Test match techniques at a nascent stage.

The tables are presented in a standardised format. I have shown the top-5 players, 20th placed player and the last three players in Performance tables. In addition, the highest placed currently active player is highlighted, if not present already. For the Longevity analysis, the top 10-12 players are shown depending on the way the numbers pan out. In addition, the highest placed active player is included, if not in the list already. For active players who have achieved at least 40% of the top value, an extrapolation is done, based on their own data, to indicate how many years and Tests it would take for the concerned player to overtake the top player. This is nothing but a ball-park estimate, I may add.

I have selected 5 batting measures and 5 bowling measures for Performance analysis. For the longevity analysis I have taken the staple of runs, wickets, hundreds and 5-wicket-captures. First let us inspect the Batting Performance measures.

Performance: Batting Average

SNo Batsman Inns Runs Avge % to Top Status  
               
1 Bradman D.G 80 6996 99.94 100.0%    
2 Sutcliffe H 84 4555 60.73 60.8%    
3 Barrington 131 6806 58.67 58.7%    
4 EdeC Weekes 81 4455 58.62 58.7%    
5 Hammond W.R 140 7249 58.46 58.5%    
               
10 Kallis J.H 274 13128 56.10 56.1% Active Highest
               
20 Amla H.M 120 5693 51.75 51.8% Active  
               
162 Marsh R.W 150 3633 26.52 26.5%    
163 Vaas WPUJC 163 3087 24.31 24.3%    
164 Warne S.K 199 3154 17.33 17.3%    

Unfortunately the lily, already gilded a million times over, has to be gilded again. The next best player at 60% and the twentieth placed player at around 50% reveals the real domination of Bradman. Suffice to say that no one, I repeat no one, is ever going to accomplish even 75% of what Bradman has achieved. Just for information, let me state that Hussey, with a phenomenal start to his career, was averaging 55 when he reached 3000 Test runs. The highest average at the 3000 mark was that of Sutcliffe, with 64.83. Then a host of West Indians - Sobers, Weekes, Lara - reached 60. There might be one or two others who have done that.

Performance: Batting Strike rate

SNo Batsman Runs Balls StRt % to Top Status
             
1 Sehwag V 8559 10389 82.4 100.0% Active
2 Gilchrist 5570 6796 82.0 99.5%  
3 Kapil Dev N 5248 7591 69.1 83.9%  
4 Dilshan T.M 5255 8052 65.3 79.2% Active
5 Jayasuriya 6973 10686 65.3 79.2%  
             
20 Vettori D.L 4516 7768 58.1 70.6% Active
             
162 Congdon B.E 3448 9656 35.7 43.3%  
163 Wright J.G 5334 14995 35.6 43.2%  
164 Flower G.W 3457 10011 34.5 41.9%  

This is the domain of modern day batsmen. Sehwag may be going through a bad patch now and can hardly put bat to ball, but no can disregard his outstanding attacking ability, with which he scored his 8500 runs at a strike rate of just over 82. The only batsman to challenge him is the already-retired Gilchrist who is close behind. It is possible that Sehwag may drop below 82. Note the wide gap which exists after Gilchrist. However this table is reasonably close as indicated by the strike rate of 20th placed Vettori who strikes at 70.

Performance: Runs per Test

SNo Batsman Tests Runs RpT % to Top Status  
               
1 Bradman D.G 52 6996 134.5 100.0%    
2 EdeC Weekes 48 4455 92.8 69.0%    
3 Lara B.C 131 11953 91.2 67.8%    
4 Hobbs J.B 61 5410 88.7 65.9%    
5 Hutton L 79 6971 88.2 65.6%    
6 Sangakkara 115 10045 87.3 64.9% Active Highest
               
20 Kallis J.H 162 13128 81.0 60.2% Active  
               
162 Pollock S.M 108 3781 35.0 26.0%    
163 Vaas WPUJC 111 3087 27.8 20.7%    
164 Warne S.K 145 3154 21.8 16.2%    

Bradman is way ahead, probably not as much as the Batting average, in this measure. Weekes and Lara come in at above 67%. Kallis is the 20th placed batsman who clocks at 60%. Sangakkara is the highest placed of the modern batsmen, at 65%.

Performance: Innings per hundred

SNo Batsman Inns 100s Inns/100 % to Top Status  
               
1 Bradman D.G 80 29 2.76 100.0%    
2 Headley G.A 40 10 4.00 69.0%    
3 Walcott C.L 74 15 4.93 55.9%    
4 Sutcliffe H 84 16 5.25 52.5%    
5 EdeC Weekes 81 15 5.40 51.1%    
               
8 Kallis J.H 274 44 6.23 44.3% Active Highest
               
20 Cook A.N 154 23 6.70 41.2% Active  
               
110 Jayasuriya 188 14 13.43 20.5%    
111 Gatting M.W 138 10 13.80 20.0%    
112 Stewart A.J 235 15 15.67 17.6%    

This is the frequency of scoring hundreds. The cut-off is 10 hundreds. Like WpT, the second best batsman in this regard, Headley is at 69%. Then there is a big drop. Cook is the 20th placed batsman at a very low 41%. Kallis is the highest placed modern batsmen at 44%. Until now it is certain that in these four measures, Bradman's numbers are as unassailable as a mountain which scales at Mt.Everset + Aconcagua together.

Performance: Single digit dismissal %

SNo Batsman Inns SglDgtOuts % % to Top Status  
               
1 Hobbs J.B 102 13 12.7 100.0%    
2 Sutcliffe H 84 12 14.3 89.2%    
3 Hammond W.R 140 24 17.1 74.3%    
4 Hutton L 138 24 17.4 73.3%    
5 Bradman D.G 80 14 17.5 72.8%    
               
15 Smith G.C 191 38 19.9 64.1% Active Lowest
               
20 Sangakkara 196 40 20.4 62.5% Active  
               
162 Flower G.W 123 48 39.0 32.7%    
163 Vaas WPUJC 163 67 41.1 31.0%    
164 Warne S.K 199 92 46.2 27.6%    

This table exposes life beyond Bradman. It is a tabulation of the % of single-digit dismissals, which are true failures in every sense. Hobbs has had a failure once every 8 innings and is at 100%. His partner, Sutcliffe, follows closely at 89%. For a change Bradman is only fifth at 72%. Sangakkara occupies the 20th position, clocking in at 62.5%. Graeme Smith, surprisingly for an opener, is the best modern batsman, at 64%, just ahead of Sangakkara. He has failed once every 5 innings. Note the presence of many an opener in the top-20.

In summary, at the risk of repeating myself, let me say, with 100% conviction and analytical proof, that none of Bradman's Performance marks will ever be overhauled.

Performance: Bowling Average

SNo Bowler Wkts Runs Avge % to Top Status  
               
1 Barnes S.F 189 3106 16.43 100.0%    
2 Blythe C 100 1863 18.63 88.2%    
3 Wardle J.H 102 2080 20.39 80.6%    
4 Davidson 186 3819 20.53 80.0%    
5 Marshall 376 7876 20.95 78.5%    
               
15 Steyn D.W 327 7418 22.69 72.4% Active Lowest
               
20 Pollock S.M 421 9733 23.12 71.1%    
               
152 Shastri R.J 151 6185 40.96 40.1%    
153 Boje N 100 4265 42.65 38.5%    
154 Hooper C.L 114 5635 49.43 33.2%    

While Barnes is at the top, quite a few bowlers are within 80% of the top. Shaun Pollock is 20th placed bowler, at a reasonable 71%. The best modern bowler is Steyn who clocks in at 72%. Even though Steyn's average is unlikely to drop below 20 there is no doubt that he has been magnificent. Let me add that Vernon Philander has 87 wickets at 16.82 currently. Two more successful Tests, 13 more wickets conceding 200 runs, would put him at the cut-off point of 100 wickets at 16.63, below Barnes!!!. We would need to pinch ourselves to believe this modern miracle. Can anyone bet against it?

Performance: Bowling Strike rate

SNo Bowler Wkts Balls StRt % to Top Status
             
1 Steyn D.W 327 13456 41.1 100.0% Active
2 Barnes S.F 189 7873 41.7 98.8%  
3 Waqar Younis 373 16223 43.5 94.6%  
4 Blythe C 100 4546 45.5 90.5%  
5 ShoaibAkhtar 178 8143 45.7 90.0%  
             
20 Lee B 310 16531 53.3 77.2%  
             
152 Shastri R.J 151 15751 104.3 39.4%  
153 Emburey J.E 147 15391 104.7 39.3%  
154 Hooper C.L 114 13788 120.9 34.0%  

Well the miracle has happened. We have a modern bowler at the top of a table, comprising of bowlers across 110 years. Dale Steyn, with a truly majestic strike rate of just over 41, is standing at the top with 100%. Barnes breaks the sequence of modern greatness since Waqar Younis is at no.3 with 94.6%. Then Blythe comes in between Waqar and the much-maligned Shoaib Akhtar who is at 90%. The 20th best player is Lee standing at 77%, a fairly close bunch of bowlers. We can safely say that this is one measure where the modern bowlers, led by Steyn, truly reign. And let us not forget Philander, currently striking at 36 balls per wicket.

Performance: Bowling accuracy

SNo Bowler Overs Runs RpO % to Top Status  
               
1 Goddard T.L 1956 3226 1.65 100.0%    
2 Nadkarni 1527 2559 1.68 98.4%    
3 Verity H 1862 3510 1.88 87.5%    
4 Wardle J.H 1099 2080 1.89 87.2%    
5 Illingworth 1989 3807 1.91 86.2%    
               
20 Benaud R 3184 6704 2.11 78.3%    
               
81 Vettori D.L 4779 12392 2.59 63.6% Active Lowest
               
190 Mohd Sami 1249 4483 3.59 46.0%    
191 Fernando 1030 3784 3.67 44.9%    
192 Edwards F.H 1600 6249 3.90 42.2% Active  

It is unbelievable that Nadkarni has been pushed into the second place, by the wonderful South African medium-pacer, Goddard. Then comes Verity. All the five bowlers are within 15% of the top. Benaud is placed at the 20th position at 78%. That the modern game affords no such luxuries is indicated by the poor placement, in the 81st position, of Vettori, the best modern bowler, at 63%. No one is going to breach the 50th place, leave alone the top place. The cut-off for this exercise is 1000 overs.

Performance: Wickets per Test

SNo Bowler Tests Wkts WpT % to Top Status  
               
1 Barnes S.F 27 189 7.0 100.0%    
2 Muralitharan 133 800 6.0 85.9%    
3 Grimmett 37 216 5.8 83.4%    
4 O'Reilly 27 144 5.3 76.2%    
5 Saeed Ajmal 25 133 5.3 76.0% Active Highest
               
20 McGrath G.D 124 563 4.5 64.9%    
               
152 Shastri R.J 80 151 1.9 27.0%    
153 Kallis J.H 162 288 1.8 25.4% Active  
154 Hooper C.L 102 114 1.1 16.0%    

Barnes stands alone at 7 WpT and 100%. Muralitharan's greatness is divulged by his comfortable second position, at 86%. It is not a surprise that Saeed Ajmal is in the top-5, at 76%. McGrath is the 20th placed bowler, at 65%.

Performance: Spells per 5-wicket-captures

SNo Bowler Spells 5wInns Spells/5WI % to Top Status  
               
1 Barnes S.F 50 24 2.08 100.0%    
2 Grimmett 67 21 3.19 65.3%    
3 Muralitharan 230 67 3.43 60.7%    
4 FazalMahmood 53 13 4.08 51.1%    
5 Hadlee R.J 150 36 4.17 50.0%    
               
10 Herath HMRKB 76 14 5.43 38.4% Active Lowest
               
20 Swann G.P 90 14 6.43 32.4% Active  
               
62 Lee B 150 10 15.00 13.9%    
63 Zaheer Khan 158 10 15.80 13.2% Active  
64 Vaas WPUJC 194 12 16.17 12.9%    

Barnes had a 5-wkt capture every two spells, amazing but true. Grimmett went past 3 and Muralitharan, around 3.4. See how rapidly this value increases, with Hadlee at 50% of Barnes. The 20th bowler is conveniently Swann who is at a very low 32.4%. However he is upstaged by Herath, the best active bowler, who is at 38.4%.

Summarizing, I am unable to say with certainty that Barnes' average will not be overhauled by Philander, if not in his entire career, at least while crossing the threshold of 100 wickets. Same conclusion applies to the Strike rate and, to a lesser extent, the WpT measures. But one thing can be said, with as much certainty as Bradman's achievements, the Goddard/Nadkarni axis is never going to be breached.

Longevity: Runs scored

SNo Batsman Status Tests Runs % to Top How long to catch up
             
1 Tendulkar Active 194 15645 100.0%  
2 Ponting R.T   168 13378 85.5%  
3 Dravid R   164 13288 84.9%  
4 Kallis J.H Active 162 13128 83.9% 31 tests & 4 years
5 Lara B.C   131 11953 76.4%  
6 Border A.R   156 11174 71.4%  
7 Waugh S.R   168 10927 69.8%  
8 Jayawardene Active 138 10806 69.1% 62 tests & 8 years
9 Chanderpaul Active 146 10696 68.4% 68 tests & 9 years
10 Gavaskar   125 10122 64.7%  
11 Sangakkara Active 115 10045 64.2% 64 tests & 7 years
             
39 Cook A.N Active 87 7117 45.5% 104 tests & 8 years

Longevity: Hundreds scored

SNo Batsman Status Tests Hundreds % to Top How long to catch up
             
1 Tendulkar Active 194 51 100.0%  
2 Kallis J.H Active 162 44 86.3% 26 tests & 3 years
3 Ponting R.T   168 41 80.4%  
4 Dravid R   164 36 70.6%  
5 Lara B.C   131 34 66.7%  
6 Gavaskar   125 34 66.7%  
7 Waugh S.R   168 32 62.7%  
8 Jayawardene Active 138 31 60.8% 89 tests & 11 years
9 Hayden M.L   103 30 58.8%  
10 Sangakkara Active 115 30 58.8% 80 tests & 9 years
11 Bradman D.G   52 29 56.9%  
             
23 Cook A.N Active 87 23 45.1% 106 tests & 9 years

Are Tendulkar's marks that unbreachable? I do not think so. Kallis, to a lesser extent, and Cook, to a greater extent, have a fighting chance of overhauling Tendulkar's aggregate of runs and hundreds. It is unlikely, though. With the proliferation of IPL, BPL, BBL, SLL, EPL, APL (Albanian Pro League), ZPL(Zambian Pro League) and the likes, it may very well be impossible for Cook to play as many Tests and maintain the same level of consistency through the next 10 years, as he has done over the past 8. And the slight possibility, considering Tendulkar's current form, of Tendulkar raising the bar. It is unlikely, but not out of the realms of possibility, that Tendulkar stands second.

Longevity: Wickets captured

SNo Batsman Status Tests Wickets % to Top How long to catch up
             
1 Muralitharan   133 800 100.0%  
2 Warne S.K   145 708 88.5%  
3 Kumble A   132 619 77.4%  
4 McGrath G.D   124 563 70.4%  
5 Walsh C.A   132 519 64.9%  
6 Kapil Dev N   131 434 54.2%  
7 Hadlee R.J   86 431 53.9%  
8 Pollock S.M   108 421 52.6%  
9 Wasim Akram   104 414 51.8%  
10 Harbhajan Active 99 408 51.0% 95 tests & 14 years
11 Ambrose   98 405 50.6%  
             
21 Steyn D.W Active 64 327 40.9% 93 tests & 14 years

Longevity: 5-wicket-captures

SNo Batsman Status Tests 5Ws % to Top
           
1 Muralitharan   133 67 100.0%
2 Warne S.K   145 37 55.2%
3 Hadlee R.J   86 36 53.7%
4 Kumble A   132 35 52.2%
5 McGrath G.D   124 29 43.3%
6 Botham I.T   102 27 40.3%
7 Wasim Akram   104 25 37.3%
8 Harbhajan Active 99 25 37.3%
9 Barnes S.F   27 24 35.8%
10 Lillee D.K   70 23 34.3%
11 Imran Khan   88 23 34.3%
12 Kapil Dev N   131 23 34.3%
           
18 Steyn D.W Active 64 21 31.3%

Is Muralitharan ever going to be the no.2? Certainly never. The possibility of someone crossing 800 wickets and 67 x 5-wicket-hauls is as unlikely as any batsman scoring 5000+ runs at an average 100+. This is proved by the numbers. Harbhajan, unlikely to play 5 more Tests, is at 50% of Muralitharan's mark. Steyn, with more years ahead of him, could reach 500 wickets, no more. And no active bowler is even at 40% of Muralitharan's number of 5-wicket hauls: hence any projection becomes meaningless.

To download/view the comprehensive Excel sheet containing the values for the 5 Batting Performance tables, please CLICK HERE.

To download/view the comprehensive Excel sheet containing the values for the 5 Bowling Performance tables, please CLICK HERE.

To download/view the comprehensive Excel sheet containing the values for the 4 Longevity tables, please CLICK HERE.

Wicket-keeper dismissals

How long to catch up
1 Boucher M.V           147   555 100.0%
2 Gilchrist              96   416  75.0%
3 Healy I.A             119   395  71.2%
4 Marsh R.W              96   355  64.0%
5 Stewart A.J           133   277  49.9%
6 Dujon P.J.L            81   272  49.0%
7 Knott A.P.E            95   269  48.5%
8 Dhoni M.S    Active    73   234  42.2%       100 tests
9 Wasim Bari             81   228  41.1%
10 Evans T.G              91   219  39.5%

It seems very unlikely that Boucher's landmark will be breached. I cannot really see Dhoni playing 100 more Tests. With his interest in CSK et al, I would expect him to play 20 more Tests. So the chances are probably around 1%.

Non-WK dismissals

How long to catch up
1 Dravid R              164   209 100.0%
2 Ponting R.T           168   195  93.3%
3 Kallis J.H   Active   162   195  93.3%        11 Tests
4 Jayawardene  Active   138   193  92.3%        11 Tests
5 Waugh M.E             128   181  86.6%
6 Fleming S.P           111   171  81.8%
7 Lara B.C              131   164  78.4%
8 Taylor M.A            104   157  75.1%
9 Smith G.C    Active   109   157  75.1%        36 Tests
10 Border A.R            156   156  74.6%

I can clearly see both Kallis and Jayawardene overtaking Dravid's mark. It is almost certain that either or both would do that. Smith is less likely though.

Wicket-keeper dismissals / Test

1 Gilchrist       96   416  4.33 100.0%
2 Jones G.O       34   133  3.91  90.3%
3 Kamran Akmal    53   206  3.89  89.7%
4 Haddin B.J      43   164  3.81  88.0%
5 Boucher M.V    147   555  3.78  87.1%
6 Marsh R.W       96   355  3.70  85.3%
7 Grout A.T.W     51   187  3.67  84.6%
8 Richardson      42   152  3.62  83.5%
9 Rashid Latif    37   130  3.51  81.1%
10 Dujon P.J.L     81   272  3.36  77.5%
11 Jacobs R.D      65   218  3.35  77.4%
12 Healy I.A      119   395  3.32  76.6%
13 Saleem Yousu    32   104  3.25  75.0%
14 Dhoni M.S       73   234  3.21  74.0%
15 Murray J.R      33   102  3.09  71.3%
16 Russell R.C     54   165  3.06  70.5%
17 Taylor R.W      57   174  3.05  70.4%
18 Murray D.L      62   189  3.05  70.3%
19 Prior M.J       62   186  3.00  69.2%
20 Ramdin D        49   147  3.00  69.2%

The cut-off is 100 wicket-keeping dismissals. In this table those wicket-keepers who have dismissed more than 3 dismissals per Test are shown. It is not surprising that Gilchrist leads the table. The 20th entry is Ramdin at 69.2%.

Non-WK dismissals / Test

1 Simpson R.B     62   110  1.77 100.0%
2 Fleming S.P    111   171  1.54  86.8%
3 Taylor M.A     104   157  1.51  85.1%
4 Smith G.C      109   157  1.44  81.2%
5 Waugh M.E      128   181  1.41  79.7%
6 Chappell G      87   122  1.40  79.0%
7 Chappell I      75   105  1.40  78.9%
8 Jayawardene    138   193  1.40  78.8%
9 Hammond W.R     85   110  1.29  72.9%
10 Dravid R       164   209  1.27  71.8%
11 Lara B.C       131   164  1.25  70.6%
12 Hayden M.L     103   128  1.24  70.0%
13 Strauss A.J    100   121  1.21  68.2%
14 Kallis J.H     162   195  1.20  67.8%
15 Botham I.T     102   120  1.18  66.3%
16 Sobers          93   109  1.17  66.1%
17 Ponting R.T    168   195  1.16  65.4%
18 Clarke M.J      89   103  1.16  65.2%
19 Hooper C.L     102   115  1.13  63.5%
20 Azharuddin      99   105  1.06  59.8%
21 Cowdrey M.C    114   120  1.05  59.3%
22 Thorpe G.P     100   105  1.05  59.2%
23 Richards       121   122  1.01  56.8%
24 Laxman         134   135  1.01  56.8%
25 Border A.R     156   156  1.00  56.4%

The cut-off is 100 dismissals. In this table those fielders who have effected more than 1 dismissal per Test are shown. Simpson and Taylor are separated by Fleming at the top. The 20th entry is Azharuddin at 59.8%. If the cut-off is lowered to 50, Solkar leads with more than 2 catches per Test.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nitin Gautam on February 25, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    Over the years I have seen bowlers & batsmen who have taken pitch out of equation (ofcourse unless that is Mumbai-04 or some old sabina Park etc) & have prevailed over the quality of bowling also. Certainly this is not as spiteful as it is made out to be. Dhoni to a great extent & kohli, moises, SRT to lesser extent proved it. Even debutant Bhuvi lasted 100 odd deliveries. Mindset led to catastrophe for Aus batsmen. Infact I would call it a perfect test wicket where u can get runs if u apply urself & it actually test your patience, skills & temperament. Good to see the fightback from Moises in his debut match (have we got another Fuf) & it was eye pleasing to see pattinson's fiery bowling on not a helpful wicket.

  • b.c.g on February 25, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    Off topic but can't be helped.

    I really feel Hussey was very selfish.He wants to spend time with his young family or so he says.Yet when the IPL comes calling he's instantly available.What happened to his Baggy Green spirit?Didn't he know a young team was depending on him?Even Clarke & Mickey were truly shocked at his decision.Punter was in poor form;so he did the right thing.Huss played the whole summer in decent form;that includes bullying a weak SLanka at home.Why couldn't he quit before that series? Just imagine Sachin having a good series here & then quitting before the SAfrican tour.Everyone will accuse him of chickening out.Huss has really stained his image here.On top of this there's the Ashes................... [[ I am a great fan of Hussey. However I also feel that in a way he left at the wrong time and let his team and captain down. He could have announced that India would be his last tour, giving Clarke time to ease someone for the England tour which I feel would be less stressful for Australia. Even if England wants to, they cannot produce these types of pitches. But let me bowl a googly. He could not have done more than what Henriques did at Chennai. Make him the no.6 in all the formats, make him feel he is the next finisher and maybe Hussey's departure would be felt less. Many of my Indian friends may not agree. However I feel sad that IPL is continuing to hasten retirements, but those of non-Indian players. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 25, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    How pitches have changed. In the 1986 tied test the pitch even on the final day was not spiteful though it turned for sure, on the same ground. Here it is like a fire breathing dragon. The 80s pitches were not the sort that broke up over five days. [[ I have mixed feelings on this, Gerry. This is certainly not the 2004 Wankhede mud road which passed off as a pitch. When Dhoni and Kumar batted, when Kumar and Sharma batted and finally in the last hour, it did not look that spiteful. I get the feeling the way Australians played was wrong. They should have attacked more. A player like Warner plays a totally alien game and perishes after an hour of listless batting. Dhoni counter-attacked and Australia panicked, played wrongly and a lead of 30 became a lead of 192. What happened during the last hour. Henriques scores 45 off 60+ balls in the last wicket stand. Barring an appeal or two, Lyon also bats quite comfortably. I may be wrong. I feel that if you have 6 fielders close to the stumps, any pitch becomes spiteful. Banish them as many yards away as possible, the pitch changes. Hit the fielders, if required but make sure they are not in your face. Khawaja for Hughes, Henriques to bat at no.6 since Wade is totally misplaced, let Warner play his natural game, probably Bird or Johnson for Starc, and you have a whole new ball-game. But I agree. I thought this was a 3-day pitch when I saw it the first day. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on February 25, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    @Anantha, I agree with your apprehensions of mixing formats but as a player across domains (batsman,bowler,WK etc) we can not negate the influence these 3 brought & achieved those heights. I would be a fool to club 300s with T-20 slogging 100 but I admire when a player is capable of making 300 in tests & 100 in T-20 altogether. Longevity is a strong measure of adaptability & thus here we are with these mountains for others to dream. Okay I agree that older players are at loss since they didn't get the chance to play different formats but flip side is why to hold this point against modern players who had to play different formats, toiled hard & faced fatigue more than older players. [[ I know you are a balanced observer of the game. My only point is that the combination of apples, oranges and pears does not feel alright. I also feel Tendulkar's standing in exch of the two forms of the game is right at the top draw and does not need these aberrations. But it is only aminor point. It is surprising to see the combination of skills within the Australian team is not immune from making mistakes. Knowing the Indian off-spinning strength and playing a slew of left-handers, some of whose spin-playing skills are quite doubtful seems peculiar. And knowing the way he himself batted and the calm composure shown by Henriques, he plays himself at no.5 and Henriques at no.7. I would play Henriques at no.5. His second innings play makes it certain that this is not a flash in the pan. Ananth: ]]

  • b.c.g on February 25, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    I think Smith has a better chance of lasting 36 games(5 yrs????);rather than the other 2.Being a permanent 1st slipper(good one at that) & having good outswing bowlers will help him. [[ And 3 catches in this Test will help. Ananth: ]] I read somewhere about the all-rounder Jimmy Sinclair having a strike rate(batting) of 75+.Is that true according to your approximations?

    Never heard of SLL,APL,ZPL.When have they sprung up? [[ A tongue-in-cheek statement on not-yet-started leagues. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on February 25, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    Great Insights Anantha,

    In the realm of theory it seems Kallis will catch up SRT on 100s considering SRT's increasing affection to 80s now, but practically it looks distant for kallis to reach SRT's test runs after seeing the test calendar for SA this year. Cant say this for Cook as he has a long way to go. SRT's ODI feats are most likely to stay for the ages. However in future murli's 800 & 1360 wickets & boucher's WK dismissals & SRT' 100 100s will be at par with 99.94. Steyn i believe will certainly break Mcgraw's record of wickets by a fast bowler. [[ Most of your points are well made. I always put greater value on the natural measures like Runs than the contrived measures like 100s. Yesterday Tendulkar made 81. Frankly it did not matter that he missed the 100. But his 81 was made in a fashion reminiscent of a few years back. Some of his off-side strokes just moved the years back. So he is really adding quality runs to his aggregate and making it difficult for the chasing pack. One Test in which he scores 81 and Kallis misses out lowers Kallis' chances immediately. There is an outside chance on the hundreds. Cook's chances are lower because he has not even reached the mid-point of his career. The one thing I am uncomfortable is the 100 intl hundreds business. One is the mixing of different formats. Gayle has scored 35 international hundreds (14 + 20 +1). How can his two triple-hundreds be dumped in the same basket as one swinging T20 innings. And it is very unfair to over 75% of the cricketers who played one format. Ananth: ]]

  • Bheem on February 25, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    @Ananth "I do not have the energy to repeat the same numbers and arguments ad nauseum."

    lol ... neither do I have the time and energy to debate that topic over here and attract all sorts of indignant responses for stating facts as is :)... All I wanted to know was if you still truly believe that those Bradman ERA bowlers were more or less as good as the modern list (especially for SRT/BCL/RTP) I posted in my previous post. A simple yes/no will do. Thats all :)

    @Murray After the Great man and Kohli ground out the Aussie attack MSD cashed in big time .. great team effort.

    "When you're defeated by film there ... will you admit it here ?" Sure thing. I don't have ego issues that prevent me from accepting facts. Hopefully you will do the same if things don't pan out for you.

  • Murray Archer on February 25, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    @ Shobhit

    Agree with you totally. However most captains with most great fast/opening bowlers didn't/don't have that option ?

    (oh how aussie's my age wish Lillee had not broken his back and missed 2 years to become "slow" by 1974/5)

    Hiya Bheem :) Sorry have been slack on email ... been crying watching Foxtel..... damn you Rupert ! lol ;). (Extraordinary innings by Dhoni!) When you're defeated by film there ... will you admit it here ?

  • Ravi M on February 25, 2013, 2:03 GMT

    ..

    First of all, nice work as usual.

    [i]My Average Bowling quality faced by batsmen places Bradman at 35.70[/i].

    In addition to that, I've been wondering what the average bowling quality of the bowlers Bradman faced if you exclude the figures from the matches involving Bradman.

    I have a sneaky feeling that it'll be considerably less. Since most bowlers played less than 30 Tests, the difference is likely to be substantial.

    Also, excluding Bradman matches means excluding a strong opposition in Australia. I guess that'll attribute to the decline too. How about highlighting Australia with and without Bradman.

    If you could show your magic around this, it'd be highly appreciated.

    PS: Larwood's bodyline success will probably be balanced out by Bradman's 1930! [[ Let me see. But not a worthwhile exercise. Wht you say will apply to all top batsmen. The bowlers' figures excluding any top batsmen will be lower than those when including them. But by definition, the wighted average bowling quality is specific for each batsman. Big scores against weak bowling attacks will move this figure up. Similarly low scores against top quality attacks. It is clear that, onan average, Bradman weaker bowling than Tendulkar et al, who, in turn, faced weaker bowling attacks than Gooch. It is a matter of "by how much". And the high values of Hammond, Hobbs and Sutcliffe indicate that this figure works. However much one tries one cannot dismiss it. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on February 24, 2013, 22:03 GMT

    @ acdc

    Sorry mate - was actually having a go at Clarke. (I think even though he was rightfully angry at Pattinson for not following bowling plans, he overdid the anger. Australian seamers HAD to choke up runs to give Lyon a chance to settle - they never did, he never did etc etc)

    I do though think Steyn's strike rate has a lot to do with how's he's used as a bowler. I personally think Smith does it near perfectly. I also think Morkel's numbers never reflect his value to that attack. Morkel (Ntini too !) and also Kallis's abilities, allow both Steyn and lately Philander to bowl at the best times to bowl.

    Nothing wrong with having your best bowler(s) bowl at the best times to bowl! It's a luxury most teams just can't afford as often as this Sth African one does. [[ For once, Clarke mis-handled the situation. If he was ging to keep Pattinson in wool, yesterday's 20 overs do not make sense. And what was needed was a 3-over spell late on Saturday. I am almost certain that one more wicket on Saturday, which was on the cards with a 3-over burst from Pattinson would have meant 180 for 4 and possibe parity in the first innings. Now chances for Australia to save the match are probably 20%. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on February 25, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    Over the years I have seen bowlers & batsmen who have taken pitch out of equation (ofcourse unless that is Mumbai-04 or some old sabina Park etc) & have prevailed over the quality of bowling also. Certainly this is not as spiteful as it is made out to be. Dhoni to a great extent & kohli, moises, SRT to lesser extent proved it. Even debutant Bhuvi lasted 100 odd deliveries. Mindset led to catastrophe for Aus batsmen. Infact I would call it a perfect test wicket where u can get runs if u apply urself & it actually test your patience, skills & temperament. Good to see the fightback from Moises in his debut match (have we got another Fuf) & it was eye pleasing to see pattinson's fiery bowling on not a helpful wicket.

  • b.c.g on February 25, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    Off topic but can't be helped.

    I really feel Hussey was very selfish.He wants to spend time with his young family or so he says.Yet when the IPL comes calling he's instantly available.What happened to his Baggy Green spirit?Didn't he know a young team was depending on him?Even Clarke & Mickey were truly shocked at his decision.Punter was in poor form;so he did the right thing.Huss played the whole summer in decent form;that includes bullying a weak SLanka at home.Why couldn't he quit before that series? Just imagine Sachin having a good series here & then quitting before the SAfrican tour.Everyone will accuse him of chickening out.Huss has really stained his image here.On top of this there's the Ashes................... [[ I am a great fan of Hussey. However I also feel that in a way he left at the wrong time and let his team and captain down. He could have announced that India would be his last tour, giving Clarke time to ease someone for the England tour which I feel would be less stressful for Australia. Even if England wants to, they cannot produce these types of pitches. But let me bowl a googly. He could not have done more than what Henriques did at Chennai. Make him the no.6 in all the formats, make him feel he is the next finisher and maybe Hussey's departure would be felt less. Many of my Indian friends may not agree. However I feel sad that IPL is continuing to hasten retirements, but those of non-Indian players. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 25, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    How pitches have changed. In the 1986 tied test the pitch even on the final day was not spiteful though it turned for sure, on the same ground. Here it is like a fire breathing dragon. The 80s pitches were not the sort that broke up over five days. [[ I have mixed feelings on this, Gerry. This is certainly not the 2004 Wankhede mud road which passed off as a pitch. When Dhoni and Kumar batted, when Kumar and Sharma batted and finally in the last hour, it did not look that spiteful. I get the feeling the way Australians played was wrong. They should have attacked more. A player like Warner plays a totally alien game and perishes after an hour of listless batting. Dhoni counter-attacked and Australia panicked, played wrongly and a lead of 30 became a lead of 192. What happened during the last hour. Henriques scores 45 off 60+ balls in the last wicket stand. Barring an appeal or two, Lyon also bats quite comfortably. I may be wrong. I feel that if you have 6 fielders close to the stumps, any pitch becomes spiteful. Banish them as many yards away as possible, the pitch changes. Hit the fielders, if required but make sure they are not in your face. Khawaja for Hughes, Henriques to bat at no.6 since Wade is totally misplaced, let Warner play his natural game, probably Bird or Johnson for Starc, and you have a whole new ball-game. But I agree. I thought this was a 3-day pitch when I saw it the first day. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on February 25, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    @Anantha, I agree with your apprehensions of mixing formats but as a player across domains (batsman,bowler,WK etc) we can not negate the influence these 3 brought & achieved those heights. I would be a fool to club 300s with T-20 slogging 100 but I admire when a player is capable of making 300 in tests & 100 in T-20 altogether. Longevity is a strong measure of adaptability & thus here we are with these mountains for others to dream. Okay I agree that older players are at loss since they didn't get the chance to play different formats but flip side is why to hold this point against modern players who had to play different formats, toiled hard & faced fatigue more than older players. [[ I know you are a balanced observer of the game. My only point is that the combination of apples, oranges and pears does not feel alright. I also feel Tendulkar's standing in exch of the two forms of the game is right at the top draw and does not need these aberrations. But it is only aminor point. It is surprising to see the combination of skills within the Australian team is not immune from making mistakes. Knowing the Indian off-spinning strength and playing a slew of left-handers, some of whose spin-playing skills are quite doubtful seems peculiar. And knowing the way he himself batted and the calm composure shown by Henriques, he plays himself at no.5 and Henriques at no.7. I would play Henriques at no.5. His second innings play makes it certain that this is not a flash in the pan. Ananth: ]]

  • b.c.g on February 25, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    I think Smith has a better chance of lasting 36 games(5 yrs????);rather than the other 2.Being a permanent 1st slipper(good one at that) & having good outswing bowlers will help him. [[ And 3 catches in this Test will help. Ananth: ]] I read somewhere about the all-rounder Jimmy Sinclair having a strike rate(batting) of 75+.Is that true according to your approximations?

    Never heard of SLL,APL,ZPL.When have they sprung up? [[ A tongue-in-cheek statement on not-yet-started leagues. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on February 25, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    Great Insights Anantha,

    In the realm of theory it seems Kallis will catch up SRT on 100s considering SRT's increasing affection to 80s now, but practically it looks distant for kallis to reach SRT's test runs after seeing the test calendar for SA this year. Cant say this for Cook as he has a long way to go. SRT's ODI feats are most likely to stay for the ages. However in future murli's 800 & 1360 wickets & boucher's WK dismissals & SRT' 100 100s will be at par with 99.94. Steyn i believe will certainly break Mcgraw's record of wickets by a fast bowler. [[ Most of your points are well made. I always put greater value on the natural measures like Runs than the contrived measures like 100s. Yesterday Tendulkar made 81. Frankly it did not matter that he missed the 100. But his 81 was made in a fashion reminiscent of a few years back. Some of his off-side strokes just moved the years back. So he is really adding quality runs to his aggregate and making it difficult for the chasing pack. One Test in which he scores 81 and Kallis misses out lowers Kallis' chances immediately. There is an outside chance on the hundreds. Cook's chances are lower because he has not even reached the mid-point of his career. The one thing I am uncomfortable is the 100 intl hundreds business. One is the mixing of different formats. Gayle has scored 35 international hundreds (14 + 20 +1). How can his two triple-hundreds be dumped in the same basket as one swinging T20 innings. And it is very unfair to over 75% of the cricketers who played one format. Ananth: ]]

  • Bheem on February 25, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    @Ananth "I do not have the energy to repeat the same numbers and arguments ad nauseum."

    lol ... neither do I have the time and energy to debate that topic over here and attract all sorts of indignant responses for stating facts as is :)... All I wanted to know was if you still truly believe that those Bradman ERA bowlers were more or less as good as the modern list (especially for SRT/BCL/RTP) I posted in my previous post. A simple yes/no will do. Thats all :)

    @Murray After the Great man and Kohli ground out the Aussie attack MSD cashed in big time .. great team effort.

    "When you're defeated by film there ... will you admit it here ?" Sure thing. I don't have ego issues that prevent me from accepting facts. Hopefully you will do the same if things don't pan out for you.

  • Murray Archer on February 25, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    @ Shobhit

    Agree with you totally. However most captains with most great fast/opening bowlers didn't/don't have that option ?

    (oh how aussie's my age wish Lillee had not broken his back and missed 2 years to become "slow" by 1974/5)

    Hiya Bheem :) Sorry have been slack on email ... been crying watching Foxtel..... damn you Rupert ! lol ;). (Extraordinary innings by Dhoni!) When you're defeated by film there ... will you admit it here ?

  • Ravi M on February 25, 2013, 2:03 GMT

    ..

    First of all, nice work as usual.

    [i]My Average Bowling quality faced by batsmen places Bradman at 35.70[/i].

    In addition to that, I've been wondering what the average bowling quality of the bowlers Bradman faced if you exclude the figures from the matches involving Bradman.

    I have a sneaky feeling that it'll be considerably less. Since most bowlers played less than 30 Tests, the difference is likely to be substantial.

    Also, excluding Bradman matches means excluding a strong opposition in Australia. I guess that'll attribute to the decline too. How about highlighting Australia with and without Bradman.

    If you could show your magic around this, it'd be highly appreciated.

    PS: Larwood's bodyline success will probably be balanced out by Bradman's 1930! [[ Let me see. But not a worthwhile exercise. Wht you say will apply to all top batsmen. The bowlers' figures excluding any top batsmen will be lower than those when including them. But by definition, the wighted average bowling quality is specific for each batsman. Big scores against weak bowling attacks will move this figure up. Similarly low scores against top quality attacks. It is clear that, onan average, Bradman weaker bowling than Tendulkar et al, who, in turn, faced weaker bowling attacks than Gooch. It is a matter of "by how much". And the high values of Hammond, Hobbs and Sutcliffe indicate that this figure works. However much one tries one cannot dismiss it. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on February 24, 2013, 22:03 GMT

    @ acdc

    Sorry mate - was actually having a go at Clarke. (I think even though he was rightfully angry at Pattinson for not following bowling plans, he overdid the anger. Australian seamers HAD to choke up runs to give Lyon a chance to settle - they never did, he never did etc etc)

    I do though think Steyn's strike rate has a lot to do with how's he's used as a bowler. I personally think Smith does it near perfectly. I also think Morkel's numbers never reflect his value to that attack. Morkel (Ntini too !) and also Kallis's abilities, allow both Steyn and lately Philander to bowl at the best times to bowl.

    Nothing wrong with having your best bowler(s) bowl at the best times to bowl! It's a luxury most teams just can't afford as often as this Sth African one does. [[ For once, Clarke mis-handled the situation. If he was ging to keep Pattinson in wool, yesterday's 20 overs do not make sense. And what was needed was a 3-over spell late on Saturday. I am almost certain that one more wicket on Saturday, which was on the cards with a 3-over burst from Pattinson would have meant 180 for 4 and possibe parity in the first innings. Now chances for Australia to save the match are probably 20%. Ananth: ]]

  • Bheem on February 24, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    @Ananth "You have to see the bowlers who bowled to Bradman and others of recent vintage. Pl go through the 1930s bowlers. They are not a set of amateur bowlers like the ones faced by Hammond in New Zealand. My Average Bowling quality faced by batsmen places Bradman at 35.70, certainly higher than Tendulkar at 34.22, Lara at 31.29 and somewhat higher than Gooch at 30.39."

    I don't want to get into the same old tired arguments but a simple question out of curiosity : Do you honestly believe that Top Bowlers from the Bradman ERA were pretty close in **absolute** bowling skills to the top bowlers from modern era that bowled to SRT/BCL/Gooch such as Ambrose, Marshall, Holding, Walsh, Bishop, McGrath, Warne, Donald, Pollock, Steyn, Murali, Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Qadir, Shoaib, Hadlee, Bond etc ? Based on your comment I would think yes but please confirm if thats what you mean when you quote those Bowling quality stats. [[ Bheem I will publish yur comments, without response. I do not have the energy to repeat the same numbers and arguments ad nauseum. Ananth: ]]

  • Shobhit on February 24, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    @Murray Archer What's wrong with lining your premium bowler at fragile moments for the opposition. Is there any captain who would not have done that? In fact, it holds true for every premium bowler(even more true for an out and out fast bowler)to attack at the crucial moments. It is just a cynical way of looking at Steyn's superior strike rate. Anyway, how many times do we see Steyn returning with a wicket-less spell. Not very often definitely. Besides the influence of T 20, the factor that could be held behind his strike rate is his dominant will to take a wicket every ball. You could see him drifting on pads while searching for that perfect one. Lets put in more familiar way: if a batsman can be appreciated for his hunger for runs why a bowler is to be damned when he decides to give his best at times when he feels he has better chances to get a wicket. Batsman intercepts a poor delivery and smashes that to the boundary; bowler senses a less-technically equipped batsman, goes for kill

  • acdc on February 24, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    @Murray Archer

    So just because Steyn got collared & was removed from the attack in 1 match(Adelaide);you accuse Smith of hiding Steyn.He was not effective & his Captn. took him off.He copped some stick(without any supposed hiding)at the Gabba.

    What is really hiding-When Shane Warne was dropped from his side in 1999 fearing Lara would smash him again.Greatest ever wha....t Also remember Aus not playing him in ODI's v/s Sachin. [[ You probably are not aware that half of Murray's comments are tongue-in-cheek. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on February 24, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    @ Ananth "What would McGrath be thinking, I wonder. "

    Maybe ..... bowl Henriques more... why concede length to batsmen playing forward on an up and down pitch ? Keep Starc round the wicket .(What the hell is James doing bowling up to Tendulkar when first at the crease? )....all the good, naturally defensive stuff !(It's McGrath we are guessing ?)

    Lillee would have ripped his skipper's hand off, getting at the ball ! Possibly have gotten slaughtered ... that's the way it is when you play properly..... Clarkey should remember himself first, when downgrading others for ludicrous daring ?

    Hope you all realise I was joking (heavily) about Clarke protecting Pattinson like Smith does Steyn ! I do think yesterday, Clarke was waiting for a wicket b4 bringing Pattinson back though :( (first signs of Smith/Steyn like activity).

  • Murray Archer on February 24, 2013, 0:57 GMT

    @ Dale

    There was a theory (in Aust) that Wardle could be smashed off length.(same theory in Sheffield Shield about Iverson). Lock less likely too. (pitches really do make a great deal of difference - Lock was quite quick, so on slow pitches considered better.)

    In a way Blythe was also overshadowed..... Rhodes is another larger than life character (although nowhere near the quality in bowling of Blythe that decade. Also was the decade of the Googly bowler.)

    Great to remember at same time as seeing new greats !

  • Murray Archer on February 24, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    RE: Steyn,

    It's amazing to me, that he has been comprehensively outbowled by team mates for a few years, and it hasn't been noticed.

    It's also amazing to me his "hiding" (from slaughter) hasn't been noticed. Keeping your strike bowler up your sleeve for when a wicket falls will explain Steyn's strike rate? (Maybe Clarke is after Pattinson breaking that record lmfao ? ) [[ If Pattinson has to be protected to this extent, I fear for Australian chances in this series. Not bringing him on for 2/3 overs at the end seems to me to be overdoing it. What would McGrath be thinking, I wonder. Ananth: ]]

    Being in an excellent side affects numbers. Just playing with someone great does too !

  • Johnny McWheels on February 23, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Anath

    Just had a go at the Quicks total wickets. It's looking ominous for McGrath. Steyn needs another predicted 46 tests to overtake the Mr Happy. As things stand this could be on his hundredth test as he has 64 to date. I think it's looking good. [[ 110 Tests it will be. Would Steyn last until then the pace at which he is bowling. Probably 5/6 years. I would put this only at 50-50. Ananth: ]] The only other quick bowler in with a sniff seems to be Anderson, who needs 73 more tests on his 77. However, this might come down as he's improved since his first couple of years whereas Styen seems to have have been awesome from the get-go.

    Interestingly, Morkel needs 108 on top of his 49 and Broad 118 on his 52. Both appear a bit short at this range. The rest haven't a prayer.

  • milpand on February 23, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    Hamish, with apologies to Ananth, a solution to the problem of not outs can't be based on using the existing system partially. Whatever the solution is, it must deal with all the not outs. The core issue: adding runs to numerator and show nothing for it in denominator. An accurate measure for central tendency is necessary. Unknown individual(s) left an easy to implement and easy to understand workaround. Let us appreciate what we have while keeping in mind that it is a workaround. An alternative is required. I tried to find one but could not get a satisfactory solution suitable for all situations. I don't know what the solution is but I am certain what it shouldn't be. Not RpI - Plenty of not outs for very small numbers. Not partial batting average - should never add runs without accounting for the innings played. I think RpCI and %age Completed Innings should be added to batting records as the first step recognising the problem. [[ Milind, thanks for the ideas. For the time being prudence demands that I should leave this as it is. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajinkya on February 23, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    Excellent analysis, as always. I have a request to make: now that Steyn has passed 300 Test wickets and is close to passing Allan Donald's tally of 330, could you do a stats analysis of him. I feel it would be very interesting because as great as Steyn is, I feel he deserves even more credit for averaging 23 and having a SR of 41 in this particular era. How many times has the world's best bowler been a good 30% better than the next? Averaging 23 now is not the same as averaging 23 in the eighties, just as averaging 50 as a batsman is easier now. [[ Ajinkya I have never done a serious Bowling tribute barring one fairly disorganized piece on Murali. I think Shane Warne deserves a full-fledged tribute before anyone else. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on February 23, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    @Josh. re. `it certainly settles the old Sobers vs Kallis debate. Sobers is nowhere to be found!!` You must be looking at a different set of figures than I am.

    Sobers is ahead of Kallis on EVERY performance based batting measure (average, SR, RpT, innings per hundred, and % of single-digit scores). He is also ahead on 3 of the 5 bowling measures (accuracy, WpT, and spells per 5-for). [[ Kallis comes in more for discussions that is all. Sobers is where he has been always: an immortal. Ananth: ]]

  • Inder on February 22, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    Talking about Kallis reaching Tendulkar run agg. in 31 match is highly likly if and on if tendulkar stop playing from today i.e since both player are active I dont think Kallis has even 40% chance. [[ My dear friend, I put the chances at 25% as I have already mentioned in a response. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on February 22, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    I adore these spreadsheets. Thanks very much. The only thing they are missing is an auto update button ;) [[ Tough for me to keep on updating all the Excel sheets I have uploaded. The one-man-army that I am cannot really do that. My apologies. Ananth: ]]

  • dale on February 22, 2013, 21:20 GMT

    Bowling Accuracy: Dominated by four left handers in the top 5. The English selectors found reason not to give the versatile finger and wrist spinner Johnny Wardle #4 @1.89 RPO more opportunities. Simply amazing when you consider that Wardle has the best bowling average among post war bowlers - #3 overall and the best among pure spinners. Wardle's SR of 64.7 is also the second best behind Laker 62.3 for a spinner from that period. Somehow Lock ,in spite of a suspect action ,was preferred more often than not. [[ I think Wardle was the more classical left arm spinner and deserved many more opportunities. Maybe the influence of the captaincy moving away from north of England to south. I know, quite tongue-in-cheek!!! Ananth: ]]

  • dale on February 22, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    @Murray - The point about the Australian batsmen in the 50's (and 40's) is further illustrated by Harvey(#15) @6.52, Morris(#18) @ 6.58 and Hassett (#25@) 6.90. [[ Yes, the post-Bradman era left almost no vacuum in the Australian lineup. Ananth: ]]

  • Johnny McWheels on February 22, 2013, 20:57 GMT

    Anath

    The total wickets is an interesting thing. Can it be broken into spinners and quicks? I see this as a fairer way of representing the higher likelihood of injury and fewer overs they are likely to bowl per test. In this way the target becomes McGrath and it'd be interesting to see what Steyn, Anderson, Morkel, Gul might have to do. [[ Gul and Steyn in the same sentence!!! Said with no disrespect to Gul, a very fine bowler. Ananth: ]] Similarly Swann isn't going to get close to Murali, but we knew that anyway. [[ I could try and introduce that data into the existing tables. Already I have 18 tables. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on February 22, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    1)This analysis confirms my own viewpoint that Tendulkar's test centuries record is not beyond reach and Kallis has a realistic chance. However I do not understand why 100 international centuries should be such a hyped statistic for some. Do we highlight 1000 international wickets of Warne and Murali, which is a greater achievement. 2) have you ever considered (or done in the past) an analysis of how the advent of different formats has led to changes in player performances. A significant criteria that would arise in comparing say Tendulkar/Richards with Bradman/Hobbs is that the former played 2 different formats and had to adjust their games from one format to other. [[ 1. The Indians would say it is upto the Lankans and Aussies to highlight their star bowlers' achievements. 2. The times were so diffrent that it is not worthwhile comaring. Single tours took 6 months, with many weeks spent on sea. 8 FC matches before the first Test. Very little payments. So alternate meand of employment was needed. How were injuries handled. what were the training methods. I do not think adjustment is that difficult. The two best recent batting introductions to Test cricket, du Plessis and Henriques were T20 specialists. I think I should present facts and let the people dicuss these. Ananth: ]]

  • dale on February 22, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    The Batsman SR is indeed the domain of the modern player. This is what makes the appearance of Bradman at #18 so remarkable. Of the players above him Richards,Botham and Kapil Dev are the only ones who started their careers as late as the 70's. The other fourteen players started their careers during the 90's. Bradman 58.6 has the very aggressive Ponting at 58.7 and Dhoni 58.5 on either side of of his ranking. Trumper (#24) 57.6 and Clem Hill(#33) at 54.4 should also be commended. Frank Woolley (#40) 52.8 is the forth pre war player to stand the test of time and is one of 60 players on the list with a SR above 50. [[ As I have already pointed out the SR, barring for most modern players, is not 100% accurate. For matches whose balls played is not available I do the player SR as an extrapolation based on Team SR. So players like Kapil, Richards have lost out since they would certainly have scored faster than their team mates. I have given below the actual balls palyed content data %, just for information. Tendulkar/Lara/kallis/Ponting/Dravid/Clarke: 100%. Kapil Dev: 70.5% Richards: 78.4% Sobers: 25% Bradman: 71% Hobbs: 44% Miandad: 76% and so on Ananth: ]]

  • rauudraza on February 22, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    before 2007 world cup began ponting and dravid avereged 59 and 57 respectively. which would have put ponting at 1 and dravid in the top 5 amongst post war batsman. At that time they had played over 100 tests which is more than all top 10 batsman barring kallis. My point is because they were good enough to play another 60 tests there overall avereges and rpt fell away. in most sports eg football people like scholes and giggs are lauded for extending there careers and even though there performances have dropped these final years are enhancing there lengend rather than reducing there goals and assists ratios. In cricket at times we only look at eventual avereges. [[ Don't forget that the extrapolation into how many Tests it would take for a player to reach no.1 is not based on average but RpT and WpT figures. In other words, let us say scores the 2500 runs needed to overtake Tendulkar. It does not matter if he scores these runs at an average of 60 or 45. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on February 22, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    Fleming with 171 catches off 111 performs better. How many other fielders have taken more than 1.5 catches per test? [[ Milind, I have posted the fielding performance tables also. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on February 22, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    It might interest someone ?

    The Australian selector's in the 1950's only looked at one stat for a batsman - Innings per Hundred ( they also obviously looked at quality). There was on a tour, two non playing staff - three if an official scorer.

    More interesting is it was the same in 1970's! Harvey insisted on it ! lol Greg Chappell got picked.. no question !

  • Hamish on February 22, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    I like that you don't just look at average, which I find unsatisfactory. For example, Sean Pollock had a NO rate of 25% of all innings, and Imran c20%, as opposed to batsmen like Lara (NO rate 2.5%) and Gooch (2.7%)

    However, does Runs per Test not overly favour top order batsmen as opposed to RpI? To give you an example, Hayden (opener) and Gilchrist(mostly batted 7) played 87 tests together, therefore exactly the same opposition. In these matches Hayden batted 155 innings as opposed to Gilchrist's 123. This means that while Hayden's RpI is 28% higher, his Runs per Test is over 60% higher, purely because he had more opportunities as an opener in low run chases/declared innings to bat twice in a match. [[ Probably you should not compare an opening batsman and a wicket-keeper who batted at no.7 (a very drab representation of one of the all-time greats, and my apologies for that). You WILL have significant variations. Let us compare the top order(1-3) with other top order batsmen and middle order (4-6) with other middle order batsmen. Hayden might gain on RpT but may lose out on Batting average. I think it is a straight-forward evaluation of contribution per match not weighed down by not outs. Similarly I love WpT. Ananth: ]] I'd be interested to hear your views on alternatives to an average - one of my thoughts is a NO should not count when a team is all out and the inns closed, but should count when a side either declares / reaches a target / match ends as a draw. A topic for another day? [[ A very loaded and difficult question for me to answer at this point in time. I cannot tell anything more now. Please wait for a few days. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on February 22, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    @ Ananth - no you have not been unfair to Lohmann !

    lol CTB Turner would in Test and or first class, lol "turn" any a head ? - numbers like that are just not possible today ! (took McGrath's place in the NSW team of the first 150 years and when you look at numbers you'll see why !!!!!!).

    Only person I immediately thought of, and perhaps could show through a minor fault in your method is Wilfred Rhodes. Perhaps it's best to exclude records before 1900 instead of records of debuts before 1900 ? ( I know he wouldn't be in the frame - THIS time ;)

  • Murray Archer on February 22, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    @ Ananth "First 50 by a Portugese-born cricketer. Maybe the first 100."

    Sadly lol not that hundred (but just wait to see how he bowls:) ). This guy, as a 16 yo was an obvious world beater ! IT all went wrong many times since. Nice to see Moises stuck too it - he's nearly as talented as Mitchell Marsh ! (tongue in cheek yet .... also reality ? :) [[ He has shown enough talent and composure now to probably be moved to no.6. I think Wade is placed too high. The bowling would be a bonus. My predictions on the 25% chance Kallis has to overtake Tendulkar would drop by a % each time Kallis misses a Test since he realy cannot afford to do so. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on February 22, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    @ Uday

    I don't understand these stats people at all. Yet I once was explained something about deviation to the norm (whatever that is). According to that person that explained (who's opinions I hold valid) Sydney Barnes would on averages be statistically equivalent to Bradman if his bowling average was in the 9's. That's ridiculous stuff ! Yet I somehow see it's relevance ?

    No doubt both were geniuses of the game we love :) [[ Murray In a way I have been unfair to Lohmann. He is ahead of Barnes by nearly the Bradman-Sutcliffe gap. So people should be complaining about the absence of Lohmann rather than the non-recognition of Barnes. But I am quite firm on that. The 1877-1899 period had a RpW value of 22.2 compared to the all-Tests RpW of 32.0. So that period is a whollly distorted period. Ananth: ]]

  • Uday on February 22, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    Although the article is focused on chances of current players cathcing up, it seems to have statitically established that Barnes is the bowler equivalent of Bradman. Even though his lead at the top is not as comprehensive as Bradman's, he leads in 3 out of the 4 performance measures. It seems strange that his record is not treated with the same sanctity as Bradmans. Perhaps it is to do with the era he played in (something similar to your assumptions about pre-1900 players)? [[ It is not just leading but the key aspect of this article is by how much. Philander might cross 100 wkts quite close to Barnes and Murali, over a 133 Test career was 16% behind Barnes in WpT. So Barnes and Brdadman are not comparable, in this regard. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 22, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    A bit OT, but must mention - my sympathies to Shrikanthk. I just realized that he must find it very offensive (even I do) that Harbhajan has been brought back into the test side without any notable achievements in FIRST class cricket since his previous test.

  • Murray Archer on February 22, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    It's great to see two wonderful English (Charlie Blythe and Johhny Wardle) and an awesomely miserly Indian ( Bapu Nadkarni) left arm orthodox bowlers feature.

    I personally think the record least likely to be broken in the future is Trevor Goddard's - no chance, not ever, nowhere near !

    lol go the lefties ;) grrrr [[ First 50 by a Portugese-born cricketer. Maybe the first 100. He has showed a lot of composure. It is amazing that two players really known for their T20 exploits, have fitted into their Test team perfectly. du Plessis and Henriques. Two lovely European names. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on February 22, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    Anecdote : As a youngster (might have been a teenager just?) was told the story of Bradman.... "every third innings was a hundred... every third 100 a 200 and every third 200 a 300"...... sort of thing one never really forgets !

  • rachit on February 22, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    i never said that you downplayed the importance ... it is the general perception in discussion circles ...

  • Murray Archer on February 22, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    @ rachit

    I agree in part with your rating longevity. However it is often not a weakness of a player to not have it. Anyone playing in the days of ship travel just can't possibly equal the matches played of a modern player - even if they played for 30 years - as some did ! I like to look at years played as a longevity factor. This also makes up in part for the many that missed many productive years due to no cricket there's a war etc. (Many of them stayed fit through that for certain ! and others not - RIP) To get to play a lot of matches you need a certain amount of luck. For a start you need to start young, and probably only can if your country is comparatively weak at the time. If Sachin were 16 now (and it had been someone else playing just as well for India) at what age would he debut ?

    People will of course say but look how many other games -ODI's T20's they play today. I ask them to go look how many first class and league games players in the past played.

  • rachit on February 22, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    nice analysis ananth .. specially the one about longevity and people challenging sachin and murali's record ... i have long believed that longevity should never be held against a player piling on records ... and that batting average and total runs are just 2 measures of greatness ... so just like bradman is 1.7 times the next best is terms of batting average, i would say that if a batsman comes and scores 25000 runs in test cricket at 50, he would be the equivalent of bradman in run scoring ability ... if not per match, then over the career ... so in my view, sachin's 49 centuries in ODIs are equivalent to bradman's 99.94 average ... you may or may not agree with that, but i guess there is not much wrong in the argument here ... because if sachin has managed to play 450 matches, it means he was good enough to last that much ... nobody stopped ponting or ganguly from playing those many ... [[ I have never downplayed the longevity efforts. Pl read my initial statements on that. I think the 800, 15xxx are as important as 99.94. I have only separated the different achievements into different categories to get the correct perspective. To maintain a very high level of fitness over 23 years, over 650 international matches, across 15 countries, against different bowling line-ups, in all conditions is worth of the highest accolades. It is necessary to appreciate all three numbers I have mentioned at the beginning of my response. I don't like it when one of these is undermined. Ananth: ]]

  • Josh on February 22, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    Your reply to my comments illustrate why such analysis is very selective. So your sole criteria for best batsman was career average with only batsmen who had scored 3,000 or more runs? So why not 5,000 runs? Or no of minutes each batsmen was denied batting time by weather per innings played etc, etc, etc.I don't want to get too theoretical here about stats and maths but you always have to look at the assumptions on which any study is based. Thats the concrete attempting to hold up the whole structure of any argument. In the end all you can say is the longer the player has been at the very top based on most games played the more likely the variables may even out some of the pronounced deviations. Maybe but probable. [[ I have no idea what is the point you are trying to make. I get the feeling you yourself do not know. I set my cut-off to get a decent population, not too high (264 for 2000 runs) or not too low (below 100 for 5000). Also it matched reasonably with the 100 wickets. There are no ulterior motives. I also felt that 2000 runs would be below 30 Tests and that is a short career. You could always download the complete Excel sheet and do an analysis of your own varying the cut-off. Anyhow what is the problem. What is your suggestion. Ananth: ]] I like to quote Kallis as a prime example here.You always read about him playing for himself, not scoring quickly etc. Plus the wickets he takes are tailenders etc. Yet when you really analyse his stats some very interesting facts come to life which prove just the opposite.

  • vj on February 22, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    there is an error in u'r strike rate batting data. kapil dev struck close to 80 and viv richards around 69-70. u missed it. [[ 100% of Kapil's balls played data is not available. So there is some extrapolation based on team rate. Hence the rate drops. For the data which is available the strike rate is 79 or so. But it is quite low for about 1600 runs (54) Same problem with Richards. It is 69.9 + 1850 runs at 51+. Ananth: ]]

  • ramarao on February 22, 2013, 2:35 GMT

    Records are meant to be broken. If someone did it there is every chance the someone else can at least match it. Either Tendulkars, Federers or bradmans.But many things need to fall in place. I agree that Kallis has a chance and to an extent Cook has an outside chance. Agreed that with england and Austrlai atleast playing 15 tests on average which on average is higher than number India plays. But we also need to take in to account other factors as well. Form, Skill and Injuries. Tendulkar played comparatively less test cricket in his peak years(some 30 % less than cook, Ponting and Kallis). Instead he played more ODI cricket which made his record more formidable to reach. Tendulkar has some three breaks of atleast 5 to 6 months in career owing to injuries and also played with injuries for at least 3 years in his Career. Among all,Ponting looked most likely to match Tendulkar in terms of Centuries and Lara the closest in skill. But Kallis is in the best position to surpass.May be not.

  • A.Ali on February 21, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    This is a good article, but your strike rate comparison is not on the mark. The stike rate of bowlers go down when they are close to retirement. Stern and Philander's strike rate will come down with time, as Waqar's or Shoaib's or Donald's came down with time. Can you show where the top bowlers were at 100 wickets, 200 wickets, and 300 wickets level. Once again its a good article and shows how players compare with each other. [[ That is a totally different concept. Not worthwhile adding on to this article. These are ball-park predictions and you could always add 10% to the number. But remember that I am taking the numbers over the career which means all the poor, good, great, oustanding numbers are incorporated. Ananth: ]]

  • Josh on February 21, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    While I disagree with much of the method it certainly settles the old Sobers vs Kallis debate. Sobers is nowhere to be found!! [[ Sobers has not gone away. He is sixth in the Batting average table; You could download the Excel sheet. Ananth: ]] I am an actuary by profession so maths and stats are the way I earn a living - gambling real money against likely outcomes. [[ Your task is to maximise returns, minimise losses, allow proper (not too high, not too low) premia to be fixed et al. Mine is totally different. I try to see whether there is any player who could breach the no.1 position. Let us say I, by a raw, simple, easily understandable method, determine that Kallis would require 31 Tests to overhaul Tendulkar. No one is holding a gun against my head to get it correct nor am I going to be evaluated on this number. What I am saying is that there is a reasonable chance that Kallis would play 31 Tests and overtake Tendulkar. If calculations, let us say 10 times more complicated, say that the number of Tests are going to be 28 or 34, does it matter so much. One thing is certain. No algorithm is going to show up 20 or 42. For me common sense always takes precedence. That is the reason why I have indicated only two batsmen to have any chance of overhauling Tendulkar. That is the reason why I have excluded players like Amla, Pietersen and others. Ananth: ]] As a general comment, because of the many variables in cricket(weather,umpires,pitch conditions, calibre of opposing players on the day etc, etc) the only reasonable measure is to assess performance via the biggest data base available per player.The more data, the more you accurately you can assess performance. That rules out many past players who never had as long a career as current players. [[ We can only do work with what we have. Why bother about what would have happened if Sobers had played 50 more Tests. That is past. Ananth: ]] But it does show a very simple conclusion. To date the greatest batsman is Don Bradman, the greatest bowler is Murali vs Warne(I would pick Murali),and the greatest all rounder, by many a mile, is Kallis.

  • Gunjan on February 21, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    Very insightful analysis Ananth. Although personally, I do not believe that age should be a factor in determining a sportsman's abilities, the sad truth is that it does have an effect. Adding age to the longevity table may help to put things in perspective. Also, as is obvious from the table, Kallis has a better chance of catching up to Sachin's centuries rather than runs. It would be interesting to watch if Sachin can score some more centuries/runs in the upcoming series against the Aussies. I don't think India has any other test series scheduled till late 2013 with SA, so it is hard to say if Sachin will be around to play that one. [[ I would place Kallis' 100s opportunity at about 40%, runs at 30% and Cook's, for both, at 25%. Kallis has less to go and Cook a long way. Ananth: ]]

  • sandeep on February 21, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    I think you should not have had runs per match, but runs per innings, that is a more accurate method of judging of how prolific a run scorer a batsman was relative to the times he got an opportunity to bat. (as opposed to average which can be inflated by not outs). Runs per match can be misleading if a batsmen plays in a strong team that relative to other teams,often only needs to bat once an innings (a la aussies of the 90's), then even a great batsman's runs per match might be lower but runs per innings would clarify that. [[ RpT is an excellent measure. If teams won by innings then their own batsmen might have made merry in the only innings played. Anyhow whatever we take, RpT, RpI, Average the results would be the same. 100%, 65-70% and so on. And the purpose is not to measure a batsman's quality. It is only to look the relative placements of players. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on February 21, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    I think Bangladesh and Zimbabwe may not play all that often anymore, so no easy way of catching up with Tendulkar. I don't see Cook playing them often enough. Philander has played in friendly conditions a much greater proportion of tests than others like Hadlee/Steyn etc. though it must be said that he really cashes in when the slightest amount of assistance from conditions is available. Bradman is out of bounds. So only bowling average (outside chance for Philander), batting centuries, wk (another Aussie or Saffer) are the possibilities. Ajmal is too old. [[ Wicket-keeper??? It would require someone to play upwards of 150 Tests to go past 500 dismissals. Ananth: ]]

  • Paul on February 21, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    Not being a statistician of any sort, I would not presume to lecture you on how you go about composing your analysis - I always find it fascinating regardless, particularly when you uncover a forgotten player who manages to be amazingly successful in a particular genre of our great game.

    I would be interested though to hear your thoughts on what you think future generations will think of Bradman - what will people make of him 100, 200 years in the future? Test cricket will still exist then - IT WILL - and while I'd like to think of him as this deified genius, of whom we shall never see the like again, part of me thinks they will see him as someone who played ye olde fashioned cricket, and feasted on long-hops. Such a crying shame. Hopefully footage of Larwood, Farnes, Allen & Bedser bowling survives so they can see what he had to contend with! [[ Will Test cricket exist for next 100 years? I am sceptical unless the power centre in Cricket moves away from India. The BCCI is like a tiger which has tasted the blood (a la IPL) and will do all to expand it. The time required will be extended, other leagues will be spawned, there would be more of CL type events and how can you fit a gallon into a quart-pot. Something has to give and Test matches may very well be the main casuality. We are already seeing 2-Test series. I only hope that your grandson's grandson sees Cricket as it is played now and can appreciate what Bradman and others achieved. Or is he going to look at the first century scored in a one-hour bash of 5 overs each. 30 balls to be delivered by 5 bowlers in any random sequence. Matches played in some place sometime in the past and subscribers getting the one-hour feed on their zpads or something like that when they want it. Test matches and the edge-of-the-seat last wicket stand holding on for an hour may be in the fiction section. Ananth: ]]

  • Omar Latif on February 21, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    Thanks for the great article Anantha. I was interested in finding out how you worked out the Longevity figures (especailly the column 'How long to catch Up').

    But when i click on the last excel spreadsheet link in your article, it brings back a blank page. Could you kindly let me how i could download the spreadsheet. Fascinating article though.

    Kind regards

    Omar Latif [[ 1. It is a straight projection based on the number of Tests played, and the target. (Years or Tests)*(Top-value-Player-value)/Player-value. 2. The links were wrong and have since been corercted. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on February 21, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    As per the request of a few readers I have done a similar analysis on Wicket-keeper and Non-WK dismissals and posted the tables at the end of the main article.

  • Vyasa on February 21, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Thank you for your responses, Ananth. I'm still thinking aloud about the effect of age in cricket. In football, there is a general rule of thumb about when players yield their best performances. Looking at numbers alone, is it possible to find out the most (and least) productive time to be a batsman or a bowler- is it a function of age or of experience? What are your thoughts on this matter? Vyasa. [[ Last year I had done an analysis on Test career splits into two. That will give you some information. I had done a similar ODI analysis and then enhanced it to a three-way split analysis. For Tests I have planned a similar three-way split analysis and that would throw some light on your query. Age rarely gets into the equation. There is nothing which says that a batsman at 35 is more likely to perform better than one at 25 or vice versa. Ananth: ]]

  • HP on February 21, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    I'm just curious to know if it is possible to do this kind of analysis for fielding? I think some good fielders need some appreciation from you. [[ Pl see response to Vyasa. Ananth: ]]

  • Shafiq on February 21, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    Great work Ananth! loved it...you deserve appreciation....

  • Jackwin on February 21, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    @ kartik Cook is just 28,sir,and as hard to get out as a rusty nail...and i was really glad about this article cuz i kept telling my friends that cook'll overhaul sachin's test records and kohli the odi ones but they scoffed at me..now they gotta believe me..:-) AND what do you think of AMLA's chances??? does he have time on his side???? [[ 1. Even though I indicated Cook as the one with some chances, and some readers do not like that, I think his chances are probably no more than 25%. He has to play for 10 more years, injury-free and at last year's level right through. 2. Amla currently has scored 36% of Tendulkar's aggrefate. That put him at below the 40% cut-off. On a projection he would need another 18 years and 190 Tests to reach Tendulkar's current mark. As he is a few days away from 30, I would put his chances at 1%. 3. Kohli has played nearly 100 ODIs and scored 4000 runs, around 22% of Tendulkar. Their RpM are similar: just above 40. He needs to play another 350+ matches at his current levels to overhaul Tendulkar. And that would take anything between 14 and 17 years. Is it possible with the proliferation of T20 cricket and the cutting down of ODI matches. I would peg his chances at no more than 25% also. Ananth: ]]

  • knowwho on February 21, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Another thing is about duration of players career. It might spell interesting things about the caliber of the player rather than looking at just numbers. FOr ex some of the pre world war 2 players were forced to have a break and when they came seem to have performed on the same level as before war. some of them have overcome injuries to perform better (lillee,imran,sachin). It is my request that if u can kindly pen an article on these basis it would be great. Probably more interesting than the current one. Sports have certain genius who r great through out. But what makes most of them great is how they fight against adversity. [[ These are subjective matters. How does one differentiate between injury-related absence, selectorial droppings and voluntary absences. Ananth: ]]

  • knowwho on February 21, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    good work.Just a slight correction in table which shows batting performance i.e the first one the column should be innings instead of test. Bradman played 52 test if i do remember correctly. It would interesting to know what logic did u follow to say that kallis can ctach tendulkar in 31 test and 4 years. Is the prediction based on his overall performance or recent performance. Thk it would be easy for kallis to catch tendul on the centuries list in test but total runs would be a harder job. Cook looks like a real bet provided he stays injury free and continue with same hunger for runs. However it all depends .... sometime back i thk it was you on behalf of wisden (if i do remember) penned an article stating tendulkar will score some 20k runs play 270 odd test matches.. realistically he has crossed 3/4 th way. and for the past year and half he been struggling slowed reflex but his stubborness not willing to accept it. [[ I did not do it. Someone else must have done that. I would never have projected 270 Tests for SRT knowing that there are so many other priorities for BCCI. Ananth: ]]

  • Vyasa on February 21, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Ananth,

    Super analysis. I just wanted to post 2-3 queries. Some of them may not be possible, so please pardon me on that. 1) Why did you not do fielding analysis? Examining catches and stumpings won't be too difficult to add to this table. [[ I had already done an extensive wicket-keeper analysis last year. So this would have referred only to non-wk catches. The article already had 14 tables and I baulked at adding two more. Let me at least do an overall one. Ananth: ]] 2) How did you calculate the spell length? Do old scorecards have this information? Or did you apply it using an estimate of overs per match? [[ This is an Innspell rather than Spell. It is the complete bowling effort expended by the bowler in an innings. Ananth: ]] 3) Regarding to catching up, you've used career to date figures. While there are some merits in using such a metric, you've shown in analyses before that most careers are streaky. In that case, it might be possible for someone to overhaul easier based on a couple of "good years" a la Punter in his golden years. Is there a way to calculate based on age, the most productive years for a batsman, fast bowler and spinner? A measure like this might add some insight on whether somebody may continue at the same rate or not (Just a hunch!) [[ Since we are trying to extend a player's 8-12 year old career to, say, 16-20, it is better to avoid using peak periods or golden years. This is straight projection. Ananth: ]] Vyasa.

  • kartik on February 21, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    ok so cook had 3 great years since 2010 ashes,,but it is very early to say that he can break Sachin's record,,and people who were comparing sachin and cook and saying that cook became youngest batsmen to reach 7000runs ,, i will tell what keeps sachin miles apart from him , when sachin reached 7000 runs,,his avg was 57.98 and cook avg 49... [[ I think if I start responding to such shallow comments made without a complete reading and understanding of the article, I would get nowehere. So I will just publish these without any responses. I suggest you re-read what I have written carefully. Ananth: ]]

  • omar on February 21, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    contd... 2 can you do an article describing how may different grounds bradman played on (example 10), and if you select the top 10 grounds for each batsmen then how much their average rises, and if someone comes to 90%, then it might start sounding plausible. [[ Grounds are not that important. Bowling quality has also to come in. And how can you just select the best 10 grounds for batsmen. Players have to play on all types of pitches, against different types bowlers, in different batting conditions etc. The Batting average is an amalgam of all these. It is not a best performance measure. Let us forget about minnows. How do you place the Indian bowling against England and Australia over the past 18 months. Quite average, I might say. For that matter India has faced average bowling from the established teams, not just minnows, often over the past few years. Batsmen get easy runs, difficult runs and very tough runs. Over a 50-Test career these even out. We can do any sub-analysis to prove something we want. But that would be counter-productive. Ananth: ]] 3 more articles challenging authority. how can we change the rules of tests, odis, umpiring, etc to make them more fair, or more marketable etc. [[ Most of what you want are subjective articles. While I can certainly write on these, I leave it others who pen such articles. How can I ever analyze umpiring or rules of the game using scorecards. Ananth: ]]

  • omar on February 21, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Thanks for responding! I typically have read or browsed through most articles of "it figures" and "numbers game" etc that come on cricinfo, but i obviously cannot go through each one in detail if they dont interest me. I largely have three gripes:

    1) articles comparing may be median players against median players, or the "next 10", or the "20-30" are sort of missing. 2) in sports, we can see that roger federer had tough competition from nadal, and we can see how he may be overtaken. we can see that kallis may already be ahead of gary sobers, and we can see how someone can challenge muhammad ali's claim to greatest in boxing. but we cannot see how bradman can be challenged that easily. moreover, it looks like he was there in a noncompetitive time. i "double-lapped" the guy who stood second in 5000 meters. that doesnt just show how much ahead i was, it also shows how uncompetitive my school sports were! so bradman so ahead and all others merely 60% is really hard to believe. can you.. [[ You have to see the bowlers who bowled to Bradman and others of recent vintage. Pl go through the 1930s bowlers. They are not a set of amateur bowlers like the ones faced by Hammond in New Zealand. My Average Bowling quality faced by batsmen places Bradman at 35.70, certainly higher than Tendulkar at 34.22, Lara at 31.29 and somewhat higher than Gooch at 30.39. But there is only 15% variation between most batsmen. Hammond at 43.92 is something else as also Hobbs at 39.22. Bradman is nowehere near these high numbers. Do not fall into the trap of comparing the Bangladeshi bowlers today with the English bowlers of the 30s and, with no basis whatsoever, finding them equal. You have to trust the bowling averages plus-minus 10%. The average English attack of 1930s was no worse than many a modern top-team attack. To your final question, I would lower Bradman to 85, that is all. Ananth: ]]

  • charith on February 21, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    nice work Ananth. i think its safe to say that stats wise bradman,barnes,murally and sachin are in a different class. i am a big fan of your work but i have noticed that you don't do many articles regarding captaincy perhaps you don't consider captaincy to be all that important.

  • omar on February 21, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    Also, one more thing. Not many of us believe bradman would be way ahead of the competition if he was playing now. imagine if only pakistan and india played each other, with minnows thrown in like zimbabwe and bangladesh for 5-10 matches. we can be sure that ordinary players like salman butt can have batting averages over 100 in such a scenario. article after article with bradman on top simply makes it all utterly ridiculous. [[ I can only laugh at your comment. If Salman Butt can be pegged at 100, then let us peg Tendulkar and Kallis at 175, Md.Yousuf and Younus at 150, Cook at 150 and so on. Pl think before you comment. And why would you not look at two thirds of the article not using the word Bradman. Ananth: ]] sorry for the slightly negative tone, but i was just reading articles on the greatest sportsman of the past century, and i read that england put bradman on number 70 or so! so article after article extolling bradman simply becomes too much after some time. [[ What is "England". The public, a few correspondents, a few rugby players, the football clubs or what. Ananth: ]]

  • omar on February 21, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    I think you will run out of ideas to write on, if you keep limiting yourself to the top, since then you will only have top 10 batsmen, top ten bowlers, top ten wicket keepers, and may be a few other top ten. you can begin writing about the next 10. we all want to see articles on javed miandad, hashim amla, chanderpaul etc, but they will be ones to choose in the 10-20 category. please expand your range of articles on those as well; the top ten simply dont matter week after week. [[ It only shows that you have not read all my articles. During 2012, I would have spent half my time on the range of players, not just the top-10. Even here the Performance measures have quite a few players from outside the top-10. Ananth: ]]

  • Guru on February 21, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    Good analysis. My view is that, some 20 years later, Tendulkar's 100 centuries will be similar to bradman's average. The retired Ponting stands 2nd with 70%. Can you please put up a list of total international hundreds, and see if any active player has a decent possibility of even coming close?(i know it is difficult especially with t20 in picture, but can you please give it a try) [[ Not worth it. We cannot ever equate the hundreds of different formats. I am a great believer in maintaining the separation of formats. Not that I do not appreciate ODI efforts. A massive top-ODI-batsmen analysis is on the anvil. Why combine. I do not deny that, even today, Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds, is almost unassailable. But do not forget that he has played 23 Tests (15%) more than the next highest and 23 ODIs (5%) more than the next highest. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhishek Mukherjee on February 21, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Good thinking. The analysis, that is. To play around with data is something, but to think of an intriguing analysis every time is commendable. Congratulations on that.

    Just curious - why is George Lohmann missing from the bowling lists? There are people with less wickets than him (Blythe and Wardle) on your lists. [[ Abhishek, I have gone on two conditions. 100 wkts or more AND Test debut after 1900. Lohmann's playing career of 1886-1896 rules him out for reasons explained in the article. Ananth: ]] Some insights are interesting. For example, Herath is soon turning into a poor man's Muralitharan. [[ If you had seen my 2012-review article, you would have noted how much the unheralded Herath has achieved. Ananth: ]] For spells, is there a criterion? For example, if someone has bowled a single over, does that count as a spell? [[ Problem is that a spell such as 1.0-0-1-1 has to be considered a spell. I have taken all bowling efforts as spells. I could have introduced some restrictions such as 10 overs or more or at least 1 wicket. Did not feel the need for the same. Ananth: ]] Also, the bowling average table has the headers messed up. [[ Thanks. Has been corrected. Ananth: ]]

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  • Abhishek Mukherjee on February 21, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Good thinking. The analysis, that is. To play around with data is something, but to think of an intriguing analysis every time is commendable. Congratulations on that.

    Just curious - why is George Lohmann missing from the bowling lists? There are people with less wickets than him (Blythe and Wardle) on your lists. [[ Abhishek, I have gone on two conditions. 100 wkts or more AND Test debut after 1900. Lohmann's playing career of 1886-1896 rules him out for reasons explained in the article. Ananth: ]] Some insights are interesting. For example, Herath is soon turning into a poor man's Muralitharan. [[ If you had seen my 2012-review article, you would have noted how much the unheralded Herath has achieved. Ananth: ]] For spells, is there a criterion? For example, if someone has bowled a single over, does that count as a spell? [[ Problem is that a spell such as 1.0-0-1-1 has to be considered a spell. I have taken all bowling efforts as spells. I could have introduced some restrictions such as 10 overs or more or at least 1 wicket. Did not feel the need for the same. Ananth: ]] Also, the bowling average table has the headers messed up. [[ Thanks. Has been corrected. Ananth: ]]

  • Guru on February 21, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    Good analysis. My view is that, some 20 years later, Tendulkar's 100 centuries will be similar to bradman's average. The retired Ponting stands 2nd with 70%. Can you please put up a list of total international hundreds, and see if any active player has a decent possibility of even coming close?(i know it is difficult especially with t20 in picture, but can you please give it a try) [[ Not worth it. We cannot ever equate the hundreds of different formats. I am a great believer in maintaining the separation of formats. Not that I do not appreciate ODI efforts. A massive top-ODI-batsmen analysis is on the anvil. Why combine. I do not deny that, even today, Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds, is almost unassailable. But do not forget that he has played 23 Tests (15%) more than the next highest and 23 ODIs (5%) more than the next highest. Ananth: ]]

  • omar on February 21, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    I think you will run out of ideas to write on, if you keep limiting yourself to the top, since then you will only have top 10 batsmen, top ten bowlers, top ten wicket keepers, and may be a few other top ten. you can begin writing about the next 10. we all want to see articles on javed miandad, hashim amla, chanderpaul etc, but they will be ones to choose in the 10-20 category. please expand your range of articles on those as well; the top ten simply dont matter week after week. [[ It only shows that you have not read all my articles. During 2012, I would have spent half my time on the range of players, not just the top-10. Even here the Performance measures have quite a few players from outside the top-10. Ananth: ]]

  • omar on February 21, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    Also, one more thing. Not many of us believe bradman would be way ahead of the competition if he was playing now. imagine if only pakistan and india played each other, with minnows thrown in like zimbabwe and bangladesh for 5-10 matches. we can be sure that ordinary players like salman butt can have batting averages over 100 in such a scenario. article after article with bradman on top simply makes it all utterly ridiculous. [[ I can only laugh at your comment. If Salman Butt can be pegged at 100, then let us peg Tendulkar and Kallis at 175, Md.Yousuf and Younus at 150, Cook at 150 and so on. Pl think before you comment. And why would you not look at two thirds of the article not using the word Bradman. Ananth: ]] sorry for the slightly negative tone, but i was just reading articles on the greatest sportsman of the past century, and i read that england put bradman on number 70 or so! so article after article extolling bradman simply becomes too much after some time. [[ What is "England". The public, a few correspondents, a few rugby players, the football clubs or what. Ananth: ]]

  • charith on February 21, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    nice work Ananth. i think its safe to say that stats wise bradman,barnes,murally and sachin are in a different class. i am a big fan of your work but i have noticed that you don't do many articles regarding captaincy perhaps you don't consider captaincy to be all that important.

  • omar on February 21, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Thanks for responding! I typically have read or browsed through most articles of "it figures" and "numbers game" etc that come on cricinfo, but i obviously cannot go through each one in detail if they dont interest me. I largely have three gripes:

    1) articles comparing may be median players against median players, or the "next 10", or the "20-30" are sort of missing. 2) in sports, we can see that roger federer had tough competition from nadal, and we can see how he may be overtaken. we can see that kallis may already be ahead of gary sobers, and we can see how someone can challenge muhammad ali's claim to greatest in boxing. but we cannot see how bradman can be challenged that easily. moreover, it looks like he was there in a noncompetitive time. i "double-lapped" the guy who stood second in 5000 meters. that doesnt just show how much ahead i was, it also shows how uncompetitive my school sports were! so bradman so ahead and all others merely 60% is really hard to believe. can you.. [[ You have to see the bowlers who bowled to Bradman and others of recent vintage. Pl go through the 1930s bowlers. They are not a set of amateur bowlers like the ones faced by Hammond in New Zealand. My Average Bowling quality faced by batsmen places Bradman at 35.70, certainly higher than Tendulkar at 34.22, Lara at 31.29 and somewhat higher than Gooch at 30.39. But there is only 15% variation between most batsmen. Hammond at 43.92 is something else as also Hobbs at 39.22. Bradman is nowehere near these high numbers. Do not fall into the trap of comparing the Bangladeshi bowlers today with the English bowlers of the 30s and, with no basis whatsoever, finding them equal. You have to trust the bowling averages plus-minus 10%. The average English attack of 1930s was no worse than many a modern top-team attack. To your final question, I would lower Bradman to 85, that is all. Ananth: ]]

  • omar on February 21, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    contd... 2 can you do an article describing how may different grounds bradman played on (example 10), and if you select the top 10 grounds for each batsmen then how much their average rises, and if someone comes to 90%, then it might start sounding plausible. [[ Grounds are not that important. Bowling quality has also to come in. And how can you just select the best 10 grounds for batsmen. Players have to play on all types of pitches, against different types bowlers, in different batting conditions etc. The Batting average is an amalgam of all these. It is not a best performance measure. Let us forget about minnows. How do you place the Indian bowling against England and Australia over the past 18 months. Quite average, I might say. For that matter India has faced average bowling from the established teams, not just minnows, often over the past few years. Batsmen get easy runs, difficult runs and very tough runs. Over a 50-Test career these even out. We can do any sub-analysis to prove something we want. But that would be counter-productive. Ananth: ]] 3 more articles challenging authority. how can we change the rules of tests, odis, umpiring, etc to make them more fair, or more marketable etc. [[ Most of what you want are subjective articles. While I can certainly write on these, I leave it others who pen such articles. How can I ever analyze umpiring or rules of the game using scorecards. Ananth: ]]

  • kartik on February 21, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    ok so cook had 3 great years since 2010 ashes,,but it is very early to say that he can break Sachin's record,,and people who were comparing sachin and cook and saying that cook became youngest batsmen to reach 7000runs ,, i will tell what keeps sachin miles apart from him , when sachin reached 7000 runs,,his avg was 57.98 and cook avg 49... [[ I think if I start responding to such shallow comments made without a complete reading and understanding of the article, I would get nowehere. So I will just publish these without any responses. I suggest you re-read what I have written carefully. Ananth: ]]

  • Vyasa on February 21, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Ananth,

    Super analysis. I just wanted to post 2-3 queries. Some of them may not be possible, so please pardon me on that. 1) Why did you not do fielding analysis? Examining catches and stumpings won't be too difficult to add to this table. [[ I had already done an extensive wicket-keeper analysis last year. So this would have referred only to non-wk catches. The article already had 14 tables and I baulked at adding two more. Let me at least do an overall one. Ananth: ]] 2) How did you calculate the spell length? Do old scorecards have this information? Or did you apply it using an estimate of overs per match? [[ This is an Innspell rather than Spell. It is the complete bowling effort expended by the bowler in an innings. Ananth: ]] 3) Regarding to catching up, you've used career to date figures. While there are some merits in using such a metric, you've shown in analyses before that most careers are streaky. In that case, it might be possible for someone to overhaul easier based on a couple of "good years" a la Punter in his golden years. Is there a way to calculate based on age, the most productive years for a batsman, fast bowler and spinner? A measure like this might add some insight on whether somebody may continue at the same rate or not (Just a hunch!) [[ Since we are trying to extend a player's 8-12 year old career to, say, 16-20, it is better to avoid using peak periods or golden years. This is straight projection. Ananth: ]] Vyasa.

  • knowwho on February 21, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    good work.Just a slight correction in table which shows batting performance i.e the first one the column should be innings instead of test. Bradman played 52 test if i do remember correctly. It would interesting to know what logic did u follow to say that kallis can ctach tendulkar in 31 test and 4 years. Is the prediction based on his overall performance or recent performance. Thk it would be easy for kallis to catch tendul on the centuries list in test but total runs would be a harder job. Cook looks like a real bet provided he stays injury free and continue with same hunger for runs. However it all depends .... sometime back i thk it was you on behalf of wisden (if i do remember) penned an article stating tendulkar will score some 20k runs play 270 odd test matches.. realistically he has crossed 3/4 th way. and for the past year and half he been struggling slowed reflex but his stubborness not willing to accept it. [[ I did not do it. Someone else must have done that. I would never have projected 270 Tests for SRT knowing that there are so many other priorities for BCCI. Ananth: ]]