Statistics May 18, 2013

Test careers that started and finished strong

An analysis of how well or poorly the leading Test batsmen started and finished their illustrious careers
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Michael Hussey began and ended his Test career on a high © Getty Images

How they started and how they finished: the batsmen

The idea for this article came to me when Hussey announced his retirement from International cricket towards the end of 2012. I had an instinctive feeling that Michael Hussey had a great start to his career as well as a great end. I thought it was worthwhile looking at the start and end of the careers of all players. And I was almost certain that another player, right at the top of many batting lists, would announce his retirement from Test cricket if he had an ordinary home series against Australia. Well, Sachin Tendulkar had an ordinary series but he did not announce his retirement.

However, I did not want one player's inability to take a call on his fabulous but fading career have an influence on the timing of an important article. Hence, I have done this article knowing fully well that Tendulkar is still on for at least the next series. Let me also say this. Tendulkar's last ten Tests have been played at home and he has scored 367 runs at an average of 24.46. In three away-Tests in the forthcoming Test series against South Africa, facing Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, would he suddenly score 400-500 runs? Even the staunchest of Tendulkar's supporters would realise the futility of such expectations. It is likely that he scores only 200 to 250 runs in these three Tests. So this article might only undergo minor changes.

I am going to standardise the criteria. First, the start of a player's career is defined as the first ten Tests and the finish of his career as the last ten Tests. The cut-off for this analysis is batsmen with 4,000-or-more Test runs and thus, 115 batsmen qualify. Everton Weekes crossed 4,000 comfortably and played 48 Tests, which is the lowest any player has played in this list. So, even he has a middle period of 28 Tests. Because of the rather high cut-off, batsmen like Hanif Mohammad, Dean Jones, Arthur Morris, Tony Greig, Clem Hill et al. do not qualify. But this also means that non-batsmen such as Shane Warne, Chaminda Vaas, Wasim Akram and a host of wicket-keeper-batsmen are also excluded. And, I am very close to the 50-Test cut-off which I was aiming at.

I did not want to filter out players who are still playing Test cricket. That would exclude many players and is an artificial restriction, especially since some of them may play very few Tests in future. I am also going to use the Batting average as the measure of comparison. It is the most used and acceptable of performance measures. Runs-per-Test value implies quantity rather than performance and Runs-per-Innings metric has its own shortcomings especially as we have batsmen who have batted from no.1 to no.8.

I had initially planned to complete both batsmen and bowlers in the same article. Then, as normally happens, I ended with 8 tables and one graph for the batsmen. I did not want to test the ability of cricinfo's production team to handle 16 tables and two graphs in one article. So the article on the bowlers is the next one.

I have incorporated different types of analysis in this article. I have tables which list the best and worst starts to the player's career. I have the best and worst finishes to a player's career. Then I have combined the start and finish to create 4 different combinations. Great starts and great finishes, great starts and poor finishes, poor starts and great finishes and finally poor starts and poor finishes. These are represented in a BCG(Boston Consultancy Group) Chart, which is my favourite graph. Many insights can be drawn from these tables.

First let us look at the great starts. In order to keep the tables to reasonable sizes I have to have cut-offs for each table.

1. Best career starts: over 125%
BatsmanTestsRunsAverageStart-InnsNOsRunsAverageRatio
RN Harvey 79 6149 48.4215 41045 95.00196.2%
TT Samaraweera 81 5462 48.7710 3 581 83.00170.2%
MA Taylor 104 7525 43.5018 11088 64.00147.1%
KD Walters 74 5357 48.2616 3 903 69.46143.9%
AJ Strauss 100 7037 40.9120 21055 58.61143.3%
N Kapil Dev 131 5248 31.0514 2 510 42.50136.9%
Javed Miandad 124 8832 52.5717 4 917 70.54134.2%
MEK Hussey 79 6235 51.5318 4 957 68.36132.7%
H Sutcliffe 54 4555 60.7314 11037 79.77131.3%
IT Botham 102 5200 33.5512 1 479 43.55129.8%
EdeC Weekes 48 4455 58.6215 01125 75.00127.9%
DL Haynes 116 7487 42.3018 1 918 54.00127.7%

Neil Harvey had the best start that any top cricketer has ever had. He had six hundreds in his first ten Tests and averaged 95.00. That is nearly 200% of his career figure. Thilan Samaraweera had a similar start, achieving over 170% of his career average. Mark Taylor, Doug Walters, Andrew Strauss and Michael Hussey should not surprise anyone. My hunch about Hussey was correct. But look at the starts Kapil Dev and Ian Botham had. They had averages like regular batsmen. Herbert Sutcliffe also had a near-80 average. It is surprising that only Sutcliffe, Javed Miandad and Hussey finished with a 50+ career average while the others dropped off.

2. Worst career starts: below 60%
BatsmanTestsRunsAverageStart-InnsNOsRunsAverageRatio
JH Kallis 16213128 56.1015 0 340 22.67 40.4%
SR Waugh 16810927 51.0616 3 271 20.85 40.8%
MS Atapattu 90 5502 39.0219 0 321 16.89 43.3%
MD Crowe 77 5444 45.3716 0 331 20.69 45.6%
HM Amla 70 5785 52.1219 0 455 23.95 45.9%
HH Gibbs 90 6167 41.9519 0 380 20.00 47.7%
DB Vengsarkar 116 6868 42.1318 1 350 20.59 48.9%
ML Hayden 103 8626 50.7416 0 413 25.81 50.9%
GS Sobers 93 8032 57.7817 3 419 29.93 51.8%
DC Boon 107 7422 43.6618 0 431 23.94 54.8%
DL Vettori 112 4516 30.1117 4 230 17.69 58.8%
JL Langer 105 7696 45.2715 0 402 26.80 59.2%

This is the other end of the table. Players, who had miserable starts to their careers. I knew about Steve Waugh's very poor start to his Test career, averaging 20.8. However, I could have never imagined that Jacques Kallis, who is currently averaging 56.1, started his career with an average of 22.67, which is around 40%, the same as Waugh's. Marvan Atapattu's starting sequence of 0 0 0 1 0 0 meant that he was going to be a contender for the worst start. It is a miracle that he has been upstaged by Kallis and Waugh. A knock of 149 runs in the 10th Test took care of that. But his average of 16.89 is the lowest by any batsman in this group at the end of the 10th test. It is surprising to see very poor starts by Martin Crowe and Hashim Amla, who currently averages over 52. But here comes the ball-to-Mike Gatting. Look at the awful start of Garry Sobers. A Kris Srikkanth-like 29.93. The amazing feature of this table is that four of these batsmen recovered very well, to post career averages exceeding 50.

3. Best career finishes: over 125%
BatsmanTestsRunsAverageFinish-InnsNOsRunsAverageRatio
S Chanderpaul 14810830 51.8215 41006 91.45176.5%
SR Waugh 16810927 51.0614 4 863 86.30169.0%
G Kirsten 101 7289 45.2718 31003 66.87147.7%
MS Dhoni 77 4209 39.7115 3 700 58.33146.9%
MJ Clarke 92 7275 52.3418 21227 76.69146.5%
CH Gayle 97 6836 42.4617 3 859 61.36144.5%
CL Hooper 102 5762 36.4715 0 742 49.47135.6%
KC Sangakkara 11710486 56.9919 41125 75.00131.6%
DL Haynes 116 7487 42.3017 4 719 55.31130.8%
N Kapil Dev 131 5248 31.05 9 2 283 40.43130.2%
RC Fredericks 59 4334 42.4920 2 974 54.11127.3%

These are the great finishers. They retired at the top, so to say. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, MS Dhoni, Michael Clarke, Kumar Sangakkara and Chris Gayle are still active and this value represents what they did in their last ten Tests. The amazing thing is the performance of Steve Waugh. Starting at 40%, he finished at 169%. Gary Kirsten, Carl Hooper, Desmond Haynes and Roy Fredericks all finished right at the top. Kapil Dev who appeared in the first Table has also finished well, though as a batsman. When I do the bowling article he is likely to find himself at the other end of the spectrum. It is safe to say that this finish helped Steve Waugh have a very good average.

4. Worst career finishes: below 60%
BatsmanTestsRunsAverageFinish-InnsNOsRunsAverageRatio
IA Healy 119 4356 27.4017 0 138 8.12 29.6%
PD Collingwood 68 4260 40.5713 0 202 15.54 38.3%
Mudassar Nazar 76 4114 38.0916 0 249 15.56 40.9%
AI Kallicharran 66 4399 44.4314 1 253 19.46 43.8%
SR Tendulkar 19815837 53.8716 1 367 24.47 45.4%
GA Gooch 118 8900 42.5819 0 397 20.89 49.1%
TT Samaraweera 81 5462 48.7718 0 440 24.44 50.1%
KJ Hughes 70 4415 37.4219 0 372 19.58 52.3%
DR Martyn 67 4406 46.3818 2 392 24.50 52.8%
MC Cowdrey 114 7624 44.0717 0 396 23.29 52.9%
ST Jayasuriya 110 6973 40.0718 0 393 21.83 54.5%
DB Vengsarkar 116 6868 42.1316 0 370 23.12 54.9%
MP Vaughan 82 5719 41.4417 0 388 22.82 55.1%
Inzamam-ul-Haq 120 8830 49.6118 2 439 27.44 55.3%
ML Hayden 103 8626 50.7418 1 486 28.59 56.3%
L Hutton 79 6971 56.6716 0 511 31.94 56.4%
GR Viswanath 91 6080 41.9315 1 334 23.86 56.9%
V Sehwag 104 8586 49.3417 0 498 29.29 59.4%
H Sutcliffe 54 4555 60.7314 1 471 36.23 59.7%

These batsmen finished very poorly. Ian Healy can be given a miss. Paul Collingwood, Alvin Kallicharran and Mudassar Nazar had nightmare finishes to their careers. But not at the same level as the next entry - Tendulkar. As already mentioned, Tendulkar, in his last 10 Tests, all at home, averaged 24.46. The writing on the wall is big and bright but is unfortunately not seen by many. "He should take the call" is the refrain used by all people, including even the latest entrants to the IPL gravy train. Would any other batsman have survived this level of performance? One really good innings, the fluent and very valuable-81 at Chennai, out of the 16 during the recent past. Graham Gooch also has finished below 50% too. Then a set of quality players have all finished below 60%. The fact that there are 19 players in this sub-60 list indicates that many batsmen stay beyond their sell-by date. And the presence of greats like Tendulkar, Len Hutton, Sutcliffe, Gundappa Viswanath, and Inzamam-ul-Haq in this lot is a matter to ponder over.

Now for the combination analysis. I have considered the two percentage values, start and finish and got them grouped into 4 combination groups. Not all batsmen are covered though. For each combination I have set different criteria and grouped the players. This is to ensure that the graph is not too crowded. The absence of players from these four groups basically means that they are in the circle in the centre. You can have a look at all players by perusing the downloadable file.

To represent these selected players I have used my favourite BCG chart. BCG stands for Boston Consulting Group for whom Bruce Henderson invented this method of depicting growth-share matrix for companies. It has since found many uses and I have used this graph extensively. When there are two independent measures, the quadrant-based representation of BCG chart is an excellent visual method of classifying players. In this case the two independent measures are the first-10-test % and the last-10-test %. These two measures form four groups and lend themselves to an excellent BCG representation.

We have the first-10-tests average percentage in the X-axis and the last-10-tests average % in the Y-axis. The graph is split into four quadrants. The top-right quadrant represents great starts and great finishes. The top-left quadrant represents poor starts and great finishes. The bottom-left quadrant represents poor starts and poor finishes. The bottom-right quadrant represents great starts and poor finishes. Let us now look at the graph.

Since I am going to show the tables for all these classifications I am not going to delve too long on the graph now. Let me highlight a few top players who are presented in the graph. Barring Kapil Dev, the top-right quadrant features many top players including Sunil Gavaskar, Chanderpaul and David Gower. Sutcliffe, Everton Weekes and Miandad are in the bottom-right quadrant. A number of top batsmen including Gooch, Michael Vaughan, Inzamam and Matthew Hayden are in the bottom-left quadrant. The top-left quadrant features Waugh, Sangakkara, Ian Chappell and of course, Kallis.

Now let us move on to the tables containing these group combinations. More players are featured in these tables than the graph.

5. Great start and great finish
BatsmanTestsRunsAverageSTART-InnsNOsRunsAverage% of Career avgeFINISH-InnsNOsRunsAverage% of Career avge
S Chanderpaul 14810830 51.8214 4 618 61.80119.3%15 41006 91.45176.5%
MA Taylor 104 7525 43.5018 11088 64.00147.1%19 2 905 53.24122.4%
N Kapil Dev 131 5248 31.0514 2 510 42.50136.9% 9 2 283 40.43130.2%
DL Haynes 116 7487 42.3018 1 918 54.00127.7%17 4 719 55.31130.8%
JH Edrich 77 5138 43.5415 2 657 50.54116.1%17 2 801 53.40122.6%
MEK Hussey 79 6235 51.5318 4 957 68.36132.7%18 3 786 52.40101.7%
SM Gavaskar 12510122 51.1220 4 978 61.12119.6%13 0 755 58.08113.6%
DI Gower 117 8231 44.2516 1 763 50.87114.9%19 4 776 51.73116.9%
AB de Villiers 85 6364 50.5117 1 841 52.56104.1%17 2 907 60.47119.7%
CH Lloyd 110 7515 46.6818 3 795 53.00113.5%14 2 611 50.92109.1%
M Azharuddin 99 6215 45.0416 2 711 50.79112.8%18 2 739 46.19102.6%
AN Cook 90 7307 49.0418 2 815 50.94103.9%19 1 947 52.61107.3%

This table gives the full details of the combination analysis. The criteria here are that both percentage values should be over 100. Chanderpaul is still active. However a start of 119.3% and a finish (on-going) of 176.5% is magnificent. The player that Chanderpaul is, he is unlikely to suffer a drastic loss of form. Mark Taylor had an equally spectacular start and finish to his career. Kapil Dev is the only non-batsman in this list. Hussey had a wonderful start and a very good finish. Gavaskar, the true professional, knew when to quit, complementing his excellent start. AB de Villiers and Alastair Cook are currently active players who could go off this list if their current form drops. Let us not forget that Chanderpaul, Hussey, Gavaskar and de Villiers have achieved this with career averages of 50+. Chanderpaul averages 48.96 during the middle 128 Tests.

6. Poor start and poor finish
BatsmanTestsRunsAverageSTART-InnsNOsRunsAverage% of Career avgeFINISH-InnsNOsRunsAverage% of Career avge
VVS Laxman 134 8781 45.9716 2 405 28.93 62.9%19 2 569 33.47 72.8%
RB Kanhai 79 6227 47.5319 2 505 29.71 62.5%16 2 479 34.21 72.0%
MW Gatting 79 4409 35.5618 1 390 22.94 64.5%19 0 425 22.37 62.9%
Mohammad Yousuf 90 7530 52.2918 1 588 34.59 66.1%20 0 636 31.80 60.8%
DC Boon 107 7422 43.6618 0 431 23.94 54.8%15 0 463 30.87 70.7%
KJ Hughes 70 4415 37.4219 0 513 27.00 72.2%19 0 372 19.58 52.3%
MP Vaughan 82 5719 41.4416 0 439 27.44 66.2%17 0 388 22.82 55.1%
Inzamam-ul-Haq 120 8830 49.6117 2 466 31.07 62.6%18 2 439 27.44 55.3%
GA Gooch 118 8900 42.5817 2 414 27.60 64.8%19 0 397 20.89 49.1%
HH Gibbs 90 6167 41.9519 0 380 20.00 47.7%17 1 439 27.44 65.4%
ML Hayden 103 8626 50.7416 0 413 25.81 50.9%18 1 486 28.59 56.3%
DB Vengsarkar 116 6868 42.1318 1 350 20.59 48.9%16 0 370 23.12 54.9%
IA Healy 119 4356 27.4014 0 231 16.50 60.2%17 0 138 8.12 29.6%

This is the other end of the table. Batsmen whose starts and finishes were below par. The criterion is that both numbers should be below 75%. There are a number of batsmen in this list. Laxman's drop in form and indifferent start are fresh in our memory. Spare a thought for top class batsmen like Gooch, Hayden and Dilip Vengsarkar who had poor starts and finishes. This double low figures also indicate that the career of these batsmen between the 11th and 11th-last Test has been very good: much better than their career averages. Let me take the striking examples of Hayden and Gooch. Hayden averaged 56.40 during the 83 matches in between and Gooch, 46.22 during the intermediate 98 Tests.

7. Great start and poor finish
BatsmanTestsRunsAverageSTART-InnsNOsRunsAverage% of Career avgeFINISH-InnsNOsRunsAverage% of Career avge
TT Samaraweera 81 5462 48.7710 3 581 83.00170.2%18 0 440 24.44 50.1%
H Sutcliffe 54 4555 60.7314 11037 79.77131.3%14 1 471 36.23 59.7%
IT Botham 102 5200 33.5512 1 479 43.55129.8%15 2 271 20.85 62.1%
Javed Miandad 124 8832 52.5717 4 917 70.54134.2%17 1 569 35.56 67.6%
AI Kallicharran 66 4399 44.4317 2 725 48.33108.8%14 1 253 19.46 43.8%
EdeC Weekes 48 4455 58.6215 01125 75.00127.9%18 1 650 38.24 65.2%
MA Atherton 115 7728 37.7019 0 840 44.21117.3%19 0 448 23.58 62.5%
V Sehwag 104 8586 49.3413 0 693 53.31108.0%17 0 498 29.29 59.4%

These batsmen had a wonderful start but finished very poorly. The criteria are that they should have started at over 105% and finished at below 75%. Not many qualify. Samaraweera had the biggest difference between the start and finish, a huge 120%. Sutcliffe, Miandad and Weekes had substantial drops. Virender Sehwag's recent travails are reflected in this table. He averages at only 60% of his career. His return back to the Test team is uncertain. More so since he is not the one to decide when he should quit. He is under the selectorial hammer. Kallicharran probably had the worst end to his career.

8. Poor start and great finish
BatsmanTestsRunsAverageSTART-InnsNOsRunsAverage% of Career avgeFINISH-InnsNOsRunsAverage% of Career avge
SR Waugh 16810927 51.0616 3 271 20.85 40.8%14 4 863 86.30169.0%
G Kirsten 101 7289 45.2718 0 568 31.56 69.7%18 31003 66.87147.7%
HM Amla 70 5785 52.1219 0 455 23.95 45.9%17 11010 63.12121.1%
RC Fredericks 59 4334 42.4919 0 525 27.63 65.0%20 2 974 54.11127.3%
KC Sangakkara 11710486 56.9917 1 638 39.88 70.0%19 41125 75.00131.6%
JG Wright 82 5334 37.8318 0 438 24.33 64.3%20 1 854 44.95118.8%
IM Chappell 75 5345 42.4216 1 409 27.27 64.3%19 3 799 49.94117.7%

These batsmen had a nightmare start and a fairy-tale finish. Steve Waugh: what can one say! He has one of the worst starts any player would have had, averaging just over 20 and finishes with an average of 86.3. This is the perfect example of quitting at the top. Generally Indians talk of Gavaskar's timing of his departure. But he averaged only 58 in the last 10 Tests. Look at Steve Waugh. Amla and Sangakkara are active players and their figures are bound to change. Look at the way Gary Kirsten and Ian Chappell ended their careers. At least Chappell is here because of his low career average. But Kirsten averaged almost 67 at the end.

Some readers might query that quite a few top players have not found a mention in this analysis. The point is that this article is about exceptions, on either side and in combination. Quite a few players are somewhere in the middle. Just to clarify this further I have given below the values for 7 top players across the ages who have not been referred to. This will clarify why these have not found a mention.

Hobbs        61  5410  56.95  785  46.18  81.1%  754  41.89  73.6%
Bradman      52  6996  99.94 1446  96.40  96.5% 1223 111.18 111.2%
Barrington   82  6806  58.67  727  51.93  88.5%  722  65.64 111.9%
Richards    121  8540  50.24  471  31.40  62.5%  550  39.29  78.2%
Lara        131 11953  52.89  812  47.76  90.3%  749  41.61  78.7%
Ponting     168 13378  51.85  670  41.88  80.8%  722  45.12  87.0%
Dravid      164 13288  52.31  773  48.31  92.3%  835  46.39  88.7%
Jayawardene 138 10806  49.57  750  46.88  94.6%  720  40.00  80.7%

Don Bradman just about missed the Great-Great combination. Richards just about missed the Poor-Poor combination. The others are right in the middle.

To download/view the list of 115 batsmen and the complete tables ordered in different forms, in Text file format, please CLICK HERE and to download/view the list of 115 batsmen and the complete tables ordered in different forms, in Excel format, please CLICK HERE.

The bowlers will be covered in Part-2. For bowlers there is no problem at all. The measure used will be wickets because 30 wickets at a bowling average of 25 is decidedly superior to 20 wickets at 20. It is essential for the bowlers to capture wickets. The comparisons should end there.

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

  • Bonehead_maz on May 25, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    Thanks Ananth - interesting read ! I very much like the comparison to oneself method used here.

    I'm going to mention some of my personal favourites and in all 3 cases it involves being a genius with a less than perfect body.

    Harvey was probably the best young player anyone ever saw ....... by the age of 23 they were still seeing him, but he wasn't seeing (his ophthalmologist asked him who lead him out to bat !). Averaging in the forties for 10+ years while always attacking and legally blind isn't a bad effort.

    Everton Weekes...... the fastest man to 1,000 test runs and the lead scorer behind Bradman in first ten tests. Played his last few years basically on one leg and still averaged in the 40's.

    Lawrence Rowe - (omitted from here because didn't make the 4,000 required) The silkiest new player I ever saw. 955 runs @ 73.46 in his first 10 tests. Had already had a serious injury break before his 10th test, went on to have near constant leg, back and eye problems.


    [[
    Thanks, Murray for some very valuable, insightful, legal and loveley insider-information. Not the type of totally illegal insider information sold by the Team principal of IPL's star team ???!!!
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Cool_Jeeves on May 24, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Steve Waugh wAs definitely a favoured player. I remember during his debut against India in 1986 Simpson saying that he was the best striker of the ball in Australia. He did have a poor run of three years but in the 1988-89 series against West Indies, while other Aussies including border fared poorly, Waugh played several gritty innings, and after this there was no need to carry him.

  • alarky on May 23, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Ananth, By now one realises that none of the four best "PURE BATSMEN" of All Time (Bradman, Hobbs, Richards and Lara) is among the top names in any of the published tables! The reason is because they were more or less consistent throughout their entire careers. This is what made them better than any of the others. One can strongly assume that if Sobers and Kallis were not originally picked in their first ten tests MAINLY TO BOWL, but picked instead as genuine PURE BATSMEN, from a pschological view point, they may have performed better in those matches. I want to emphasise the point that I strongly believe that Sobers' name appears among the top players in one of these tables because he was not initially picked as a batsman. Subscribers should also understand that players who started strongly and ended strongly won't mind having their names mentioned here. And you can't rate players whose careers were average starts, problematic middles and abysmal closures among the best! None of them!
    [[
    You are in for a surprise when you see the Part 2, the table for bowlers. Some of these theories go out of the window.
    But I agree that if at all any player would like to be mentioned in a table or two, it is in those high value tables.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • ravi.m on May 20, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    There were lot of differences between the starts of Sobers & Kallis:

    Kallis had 30+ innings with 1500 runs and a few big 100s in FC before he made his Test debut. He batted lower down the order (just like Ponting when he started) because of the strong batting line-up. Sobers batted down the order because he wasn't considered a batsman. In fact, Sobers had only 2 FC matches before his debut and in his last (/2nd) FC match before his debut, he batted at #9!

    Kallis was 20 & Sobers was 17!

    PS: Ananth,

    I think some people called it "useless" because they can't write their standard equations like SRT > ABC, Ws > WIs etc....
    [[
    Likely. Also because some want to show-off their academic superiority little realizing that the net effectiveness of a person is shown by the following equation.
    Effectiveness=academic excellence * common sense * ability to understand and appreciate simple analysis.
    Academic excellence of 100 will be valueless if either of the other two is zero or close to 0.
    I would anyday be 75*0.75*0.75 rather than 100*0*x or 100*x*0.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • red_forever on May 19, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Hello Ananth: Another damn good article, and a very insightful one at that. People who took the pains to login and follow various(irritating procedues) steps to comment saying a useless one or question whats the use of these articles, that itslef shows the usefulness of the articles in this Blogospace( if we can call that now). One reason i feel SRT dint retire after the england series was there needed to be a senior presence in the dressing room in SA, because i feel in the current scenario SA is the worst place a newcome can make his debut and at the same time the best place as well, given that no matter what he will be given a working over by Steyn, he will learn a lot. But i feel for sure we might be routed and SRT's presence and knowledge will help given that other than Dhoni and pujara none of the current middle order know the conditions in SA.
    [[
    I do not think Tendulkar should risk becoming an easy wicket just so that he could mentor the young players. Also if Tendulkar scored 200 runs in Tests in SA and Rahane, his replacement, scored the same 200 in SA, we might lose 1-2 or 0-1 there, in either case. But what would be better for India in the long run. The last 200 runs scored by Tendulkar or the first 200 scored by Rahane.
    There are times in IPL where Tendulkar has looked like a novice. But who cares as long as it happens in the colours bought by a rich industrialist's wife at 200 million dollars.
    Off track, any one who questions Test cricket should see what is happening at Lord's. Gripping cricket. We cannot take our eyes off the tube. 3 sixes in an over??? Give me 5 tight overs, couple of wickets and 10 runs, in white clothing any time.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    P.S: Ananth why are you not deleting comment which question the very essence of this article like the Ananth of old used to do.
    [[
    Hoping that the concerned people would at least desist from posting further comments.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • NBZ1 on May 19, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    It's interesting that many players with "less correct" techniques- Chanderpaul, Kirsten, even Waugh- have excelled in the latter part of their careers. My theory is that they have been able to keep adapting their techniques and working out new methods as they got older. Perhaps that adaptability comes less easily to a batsman with a more classical technique who hasn't needed to chop and change quite as much?

    Then again, it's not clear at all since Tendulkar reinvented himself a few years back when he was struggling. And you have Hayden, Sehwag etc who had one method that was brutally effective but no second groove to fall back upon once their main method lost its edge. So perhaps it's not so much about what technique you have as much as the willingness and ability to keep adapting it.
    [[
    You are absolutely correct. Tendulkar re-invented himself during the couple of years 2010-12. He was very effective. We are now only looking his recent string of 10-12 Tests when he is quite unsure. I also get the feeling that Hayden/Sehwag, either did it their way, and were super effective or fell off. They were not going to adopt and if they did, they would be found wanting in a similar manner - as we Sehwag in IP now.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 18, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    Every batsmen would love to NOT be in these lists. Displaying consistency across an entire career is massive I would think.
    [[
    Possibly true. You can get the complete information from the downloadable files.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Bonehead_maz on May 29, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    It's amazing how "you know" a good player ?

    In 1954/55 on first look, Keith Miller and Ron Archer both thought about Garfield Sobers "good bowler, looks a dangerous batsman"

    At end of 1954 Lancs league season, Weekes and Walcott, both recommended to a friend who wanted out, Garfield Sobers (or Wes Hall - who won them the championship a few years later) as a replacement professional. Please understand Sobers (and Hall - maybe add a year) was 16/17 and had Weekes and Walcott recommending him !

    I was first aware of Ponting when he was twelve....... and I wasn't involved in cricket development - was just trying to play !

    They stand out ! To anyone who has any idea it's frighteningly obvious.

  • Bonehead_maz on May 29, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    I apologise Ananth, because I know this is not the right place to make the following comment, but hehe I'm picking on you :).

    Why won't Sachin Tendulkar stop playing cricket ? (Dayum even I wouldn't till I was 43 and then still made a "masters" comeback at 50. ) I suspect it's because he loves playing cricket ?

    This exploded out of me reading about Ponting and his stint at Surrey. Why won't Ponting give up playing cricket ? I'd bet my bottom dollar if he knew Hussey was about to pull the pin, he'd be in the Ashes not at Surrey !

    Why didn't Bradman or Hammond give up cricket during 2nd World War ?

    Until the ill advised advent of coaching, anyone who was needed wanted to help. Even the first professional Test coach Bobby Simpson, had previously answered a call to play again. They loved the game ! Now it's not as common, but thankfully some tragics remain. :)

    Was amazed at stats of Ponting's last 10 matches, and Mark Taylor's too (probably inflated by a 334* ?). They "felt" worse.

  • Bonehead_maz on May 25, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    @ JeffG Re:- late 80's in Aust. Yes our bowling at that time had been decimated. The "rebel" tour to South Africa had robbed us of a lot of talented bowlers........ Alderman, Hogg, Rackemann, John Maguire, Rod McCurdy, Hohns and Hogan spring to mind.

    Our batting was also weakened particularly by the loss of Hughes who was equal to Border and World class. Both openers in Dyson and Steve Smith also lost. Mike Haysman was considered a probable future test player at the time.

  • Bonehead_maz on May 25, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    Thanks Ananth - interesting read ! I very much like the comparison to oneself method used here.

    I'm going to mention some of my personal favourites and in all 3 cases it involves being a genius with a less than perfect body.

    Harvey was probably the best young player anyone ever saw ....... by the age of 23 they were still seeing him, but he wasn't seeing (his ophthalmologist asked him who lead him out to bat !). Averaging in the forties for 10+ years while always attacking and legally blind isn't a bad effort.

    Everton Weekes...... the fastest man to 1,000 test runs and the lead scorer behind Bradman in first ten tests. Played his last few years basically on one leg and still averaged in the 40's.

    Lawrence Rowe - (omitted from here because didn't make the 4,000 required) The silkiest new player I ever saw. 955 runs @ 73.46 in his first 10 tests. Had already had a serious injury break before his 10th test, went on to have near constant leg, back and eye problems.


    [[
    Thanks, Murray for some very valuable, insightful, legal and loveley insider-information. Not the type of totally illegal insider information sold by the Team principal of IPL's star team ???!!!
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Cool_Jeeves on May 24, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Steve Waugh wAs definitely a favoured player. I remember during his debut against India in 1986 Simpson saying that he was the best striker of the ball in Australia. He did have a poor run of three years but in the 1988-89 series against West Indies, while other Aussies including border fared poorly, Waugh played several gritty innings, and after this there was no need to carry him.

  • alarky on May 23, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Ananth, By now one realises that none of the four best "PURE BATSMEN" of All Time (Bradman, Hobbs, Richards and Lara) is among the top names in any of the published tables! The reason is because they were more or less consistent throughout their entire careers. This is what made them better than any of the others. One can strongly assume that if Sobers and Kallis were not originally picked in their first ten tests MAINLY TO BOWL, but picked instead as genuine PURE BATSMEN, from a pschological view point, they may have performed better in those matches. I want to emphasise the point that I strongly believe that Sobers' name appears among the top players in one of these tables because he was not initially picked as a batsman. Subscribers should also understand that players who started strongly and ended strongly won't mind having their names mentioned here. And you can't rate players whose careers were average starts, problematic middles and abysmal closures among the best! None of them!
    [[
    You are in for a surprise when you see the Part 2, the table for bowlers. Some of these theories go out of the window.
    But I agree that if at all any player would like to be mentioned in a table or two, it is in those high value tables.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • ravi.m on May 20, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    There were lot of differences between the starts of Sobers & Kallis:

    Kallis had 30+ innings with 1500 runs and a few big 100s in FC before he made his Test debut. He batted lower down the order (just like Ponting when he started) because of the strong batting line-up. Sobers batted down the order because he wasn't considered a batsman. In fact, Sobers had only 2 FC matches before his debut and in his last (/2nd) FC match before his debut, he batted at #9!

    Kallis was 20 & Sobers was 17!

    PS: Ananth,

    I think some people called it "useless" because they can't write their standard equations like SRT > ABC, Ws > WIs etc....
    [[
    Likely. Also because some want to show-off their academic superiority little realizing that the net effectiveness of a person is shown by the following equation.
    Effectiveness=academic excellence * common sense * ability to understand and appreciate simple analysis.
    Academic excellence of 100 will be valueless if either of the other two is zero or close to 0.
    I would anyday be 75*0.75*0.75 rather than 100*0*x or 100*x*0.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • red_forever on May 19, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Hello Ananth: Another damn good article, and a very insightful one at that. People who took the pains to login and follow various(irritating procedues) steps to comment saying a useless one or question whats the use of these articles, that itslef shows the usefulness of the articles in this Blogospace( if we can call that now). One reason i feel SRT dint retire after the england series was there needed to be a senior presence in the dressing room in SA, because i feel in the current scenario SA is the worst place a newcome can make his debut and at the same time the best place as well, given that no matter what he will be given a working over by Steyn, he will learn a lot. But i feel for sure we might be routed and SRT's presence and knowledge will help given that other than Dhoni and pujara none of the current middle order know the conditions in SA.
    [[
    I do not think Tendulkar should risk becoming an easy wicket just so that he could mentor the young players. Also if Tendulkar scored 200 runs in Tests in SA and Rahane, his replacement, scored the same 200 in SA, we might lose 1-2 or 0-1 there, in either case. But what would be better for India in the long run. The last 200 runs scored by Tendulkar or the first 200 scored by Rahane.
    There are times in IPL where Tendulkar has looked like a novice. But who cares as long as it happens in the colours bought by a rich industrialist's wife at 200 million dollars.
    Off track, any one who questions Test cricket should see what is happening at Lord's. Gripping cricket. We cannot take our eyes off the tube. 3 sixes in an over??? Give me 5 tight overs, couple of wickets and 10 runs, in white clothing any time.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    P.S: Ananth why are you not deleting comment which question the very essence of this article like the Ananth of old used to do.
    [[
    Hoping that the concerned people would at least desist from posting further comments.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • NBZ1 on May 19, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    It's interesting that many players with "less correct" techniques- Chanderpaul, Kirsten, even Waugh- have excelled in the latter part of their careers. My theory is that they have been able to keep adapting their techniques and working out new methods as they got older. Perhaps that adaptability comes less easily to a batsman with a more classical technique who hasn't needed to chop and change quite as much?

    Then again, it's not clear at all since Tendulkar reinvented himself a few years back when he was struggling. And you have Hayden, Sehwag etc who had one method that was brutally effective but no second groove to fall back upon once their main method lost its edge. So perhaps it's not so much about what technique you have as much as the willingness and ability to keep adapting it.
    [[
    You are absolutely correct. Tendulkar re-invented himself during the couple of years 2010-12. He was very effective. We are now only looking his recent string of 10-12 Tests when he is quite unsure. I also get the feeling that Hayden/Sehwag, either did it their way, and were super effective or fell off. They were not going to adopt and if they did, they would be found wanting in a similar manner - as we Sehwag in IP now.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 18, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    Every batsmen would love to NOT be in these lists. Displaying consistency across an entire career is massive I would think.
    [[
    Possibly true. You can get the complete information from the downloadable files.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Bonehead_maz on May 29, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    It's amazing how "you know" a good player ?

    In 1954/55 on first look, Keith Miller and Ron Archer both thought about Garfield Sobers "good bowler, looks a dangerous batsman"

    At end of 1954 Lancs league season, Weekes and Walcott, both recommended to a friend who wanted out, Garfield Sobers (or Wes Hall - who won them the championship a few years later) as a replacement professional. Please understand Sobers (and Hall - maybe add a year) was 16/17 and had Weekes and Walcott recommending him !

    I was first aware of Ponting when he was twelve....... and I wasn't involved in cricket development - was just trying to play !

    They stand out ! To anyone who has any idea it's frighteningly obvious.

  • Bonehead_maz on May 29, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    I apologise Ananth, because I know this is not the right place to make the following comment, but hehe I'm picking on you :).

    Why won't Sachin Tendulkar stop playing cricket ? (Dayum even I wouldn't till I was 43 and then still made a "masters" comeback at 50. ) I suspect it's because he loves playing cricket ?

    This exploded out of me reading about Ponting and his stint at Surrey. Why won't Ponting give up playing cricket ? I'd bet my bottom dollar if he knew Hussey was about to pull the pin, he'd be in the Ashes not at Surrey !

    Why didn't Bradman or Hammond give up cricket during 2nd World War ?

    Until the ill advised advent of coaching, anyone who was needed wanted to help. Even the first professional Test coach Bobby Simpson, had previously answered a call to play again. They loved the game ! Now it's not as common, but thankfully some tragics remain. :)

    Was amazed at stats of Ponting's last 10 matches, and Mark Taylor's too (probably inflated by a 334* ?). They "felt" worse.

  • Bonehead_maz on May 25, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    @ JeffG Re:- late 80's in Aust. Yes our bowling at that time had been decimated. The "rebel" tour to South Africa had robbed us of a lot of talented bowlers........ Alderman, Hogg, Rackemann, John Maguire, Rod McCurdy, Hohns and Hogan spring to mind.

    Our batting was also weakened particularly by the loss of Hughes who was equal to Border and World class. Both openers in Dyson and Steve Smith also lost. Mike Haysman was considered a probable future test player at the time.

  • Bonehead_maz on May 25, 2013, 23:15 GMT

    Agree with Meety & Ananth re:- Steve Smith. Heard this 3 years back "Steve Smith is a far better bowler, batsman and fieldsman than Richie was at the same age" Seeing it was Morris(Richie's first state captain) and Davidson talking....... I noted it. It's more than a little beyond me that he doesn't now seem to work on his bowling.

    as for S Waugh ....... good player who became a poor player and massively increased his stats by becoming worse. Bizarre huh ?

  • alarky on May 25, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    Ananth, we think that the life of this article was too short lived on Cricinfo's front page! We would like it to be returned to the front page for sometime, as it provides some very interesting information!
    [[
    In Cricinfo's new arrangement, purely text-based articles taking two screens will be treated at par with articles with 8 tables and taking 10 screens. There is no concept of front page or featured article. I am afraid nothing can be done about it.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Meety on May 24, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    @JeffG on (May 23, 2013, 9:45 GMT) - true. I also think his ODI performances played a considerable part in being slected for Tests. In the late 80s, he was a genuine allrounder in ODIs. I think the selectors at the time, felt that eventually his ODI class would transfer to Tests. @Ananth - I've followed Henriques career fairly closely, & whilst I was happy for him to get a Baggy Green, I thought it was slightly ahead of time (only one FC ton). I thinkhe is a genuine chance of playing in the Oz Ashes. I think Smith is easily the beter batsmen, & once he gets a few things right (fairly minor), he should carve out a decent Test career as a batsmen (who bowls?).
    [[
    I like the look of Smith. He could be the Steve Waugh of the 2010s. Once Aussies select him, give him all the 5 Tests. He has to bat at no.6 and the keeper at no.7. Wade at no.6 was a disaster. 4 bowlers + occasional over or two from Watson/Smith should suffice.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • JeffG on May 23, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    @Meety - I take your point about the Aussie selectors picking Steve Waugh as an allrounder prior to 1989, but his performances as an all-rounder hardly seemed to justify his place in the team. Of those 40 wickets he took in his 1st 24 tests, 8 of those came in the 24th test itself.

    In fact, if you take his first 21 tests from debut until the end of the Pakistan tour in 1988, a period of nearly 3 years, he had taken 30 wkts at 36.70 and scored 768 runs at 27.43 with no centuries.

    He generally batted at 6 or 7 and tended to come on as either 2nd or 3rd change bowler.

    That he was able to be one of only 3 ever-presents in that team is probably more reflective of the relatively poor standard of Aussie cricket at the time than it is of the foresight of the selectors in seeing Waugh's potential.

    The bowling seemed particularly poor - only Bruce Reid played in more than 12 of those 21 matches plus none of the 4 different keepers tried averaged more than 21 with the bat.

  • dvermont on May 22, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    It is good to see Roy Fredericks being mentioned as having one of the best finishes to a test career especially after suffering through a poor start. Apparently the stint with Glamorgan did him a world of good which saw him blossom into one of the best players of fast bowling and definitely could be rated as one of the better openers in cricket at the time of his retirement.

  • dvermont on May 22, 2013, 21:01 GMT

    Ananth, Thanks for presenting another great article...as always, its quite educational . I can appreciate why immediately following the Bradman era, most students of the game had such high opinions of Neil Harvey 1045 runs @ 95 and the great Everton Weekes 1125 @ 75. They both enjoyed magnificent starts to their careers and as a result, were thought of as the natural heirs to the Bradman throne.

    Dale
    [[
    Unfortunately both fell off, Harvey more than Weekes. Harvey was averaging 50 in his 71st Test and then dropped off to a sub-50 average in the 79th Test.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Meety on May 22, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    Perceptions is a funny thing, my memories of Dessie Haynes, was that he had a storming career (first 80%), then he trailed off, no longer the force he was when partnering Grenidge. Wrong! I wonder what the perception in the England establishment was regarding Gower, - "Why o why was he treated the way he was?" Obviously weren't Plane enthusiasts! I did hear somewhere that Gooch made an ultimatum - him or Gower. Going by your Best & Worst finishes, England made the wrong choice! Which was par for the course for England in the 1990s! Then we get a different type of perception (in Oz anyway), where we really bag our players if they haven't become instant worldbeaters. Would the much loved Boonie be heaped upon in the modern age averaging 23.94 in 10 Tests? The same goes for Justin Langar.
    [[
    We all have our perceptions but these are changed by the sheer force of numbers. I loved Craig's starting comment that the real consistent batsman would not be featured in any of these reports. But Steve Waigh is something. Let us forget about his first 15x Tests. The last 10 Tests. No doubt that the 4 not outs helped. And two unbeaten 100s against Bangladesh. But he certainly finished with a bang. Not the bigger bang Harvey started with.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Meety on May 22, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    @JeffG/Ananth - just on Steve Waugh in the Oz TEST side in the 80s. Waugh was very much considered an allrounder in the 80s. This was before any back injuries. You need to look at how effective he was taking wickets. Waugh had taken 40 wickets in his first 24 Tests prior to 1989. From 89 onwards he was considered a batsmen who bowled. The other factor that needs to be considered his high quality ODI performances were considered in selecting him in the Test side (sound familiar? Can name any one of a number of young batting allrounders in that category). I really don't think Waugh was a genuine captaincy option until Oz toppled the Windies in the Caribbean. Waugh's relatively poor start to his career is a good reminder to Steve Smith (a player I really rate), that he can be a force in the Oz Test team.
    [[
    Suddenly Henriques came in and showed that he also had oodles of patience. I hope the selectors decide on one of these two, Steve Smith, to start with, and give him all the 5 Tests against England. They need the no.6 position to do well to have any chance in England. When I see Hussey nowadays I get angry and I can understand how the Australians would feel. With him, would Australia have lost 0-4: No way. I hope this does not get repeated in England. Although I feel the Aussie pace attack would prove equal to the English one and they would certainly compete vigorously.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • JeffG on May 21, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    Yes, but Waugh didn't become captain until his 112th test !!

    His first 65 tests were played under Border, so he wasn't even the next cab off the rank, as he went on to play another 46 tests under Mark Taylor.

    I really can't believe that his potential captaincy skills were helping him to hold down a place in the Aussie team of the late 80s/early 90s.

    I think a more likely factor is the quality of the Australian team at that time, however even that shows that Waugh was generally one of the worst performing batsman in the team during his 1st 60 tests. Over that period you had Border averaging 50+ You had Taylor, David Boon & Dean Jones all averaging over 47 and even Mark Waugh averaged over 40. The only regular to average less than Steve Waugh was Geoff Marsh, and by then he'd been replaced by Slater.

    Maybe there was no one else good enouigh? - it was just before the likes of Martyn, Langer Ponting, Hayden etc started to really come through
    [[
    Yes I agree that the late 1980s was an easy place for players to get into the Australian team.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • JeffG on May 21, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    Ananth,

    On the subject of Steve Waugh, he really did take a long time to get going as a batsman in test cricket. It wasn't until his 23rd test that his average passed 30 and stayed there - and as of his 24th match, he would still have made your "worst" list based on the index 60 criteria.

    Furthermore, it took him until his 61st test for his average to stay above 40 - that's a lot of faith on the part of the selectors that he would eventually come good - which he clearly did.

    And before anyone says that his bowling helped him hold his place in the team during the early part of his career, it's worth stating that in his 1st 23 matches, when he was averaging under 30 with the bat, he took just 32 wkts at 41.75.

    And his bowling declined after that - as of match 60 in his career, he was averaging 39.84 with the bat and had taken 52 wkts at 44.67.

    I wonder what some more recent Aussie batsmen who weren't given a chance at test cricket might have to say about how lucky Waugh was?
    [[
    At one point a third factor got into the act. The captaincy skills. Probably this compensated for the 10-15% shortfall which was there. I agree not exactly Australian method of thinking but this was indeed the case. But what complaint anyone can have against the final numbers.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • BrianCharlesVivek on May 21, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    Sir, in most of the lists you published, Lara would make it by default, such a statistically correct player he is.( And i get sheer pleasure to see him on top always) Surprising to see, he is not here,even though he made 1000 runs in 12 tests and finished with a double ton in his last series. Probably if he had not made 0 against Pakistan in last test, he might just have made it , i hope.
    [[
    As has been observed in these columns already, the absence of any player in these lists would probably indicate a rather steady career. Anyhow Lara is one of the 8 batsmen whose careers have been summarized at the end.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 20, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    1) The rise of Amla has been phenomenal. i remember in 2006 when India toured SA, he was a walking wicket at no 3. But in the last 2-3 years, he has to be a serious contender for the current best batsmen in the world. 2) If possible can you add no of centuries and 50s of players in the two periods (mores so in the last 10) 3) Offtopic- Recent developments have brought this game into disrepute again and as an avid cricket lover, it hurts. however, things look bleak for future too as everybody is interested in sensationalism rather than concrete remedial measure. I would personally request you to comment on this issue
    [[
    Pawan
    There is too much to tell. cannot be contained in a response. Maybe I should do a piece on this.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Charith99 on May 20, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    great work ananth. i just wanted to say that marvan confessed that one run he scored was a leg bye given as a run by the umpire. may be the umpire felt sorry for him. he is the batting coach of sl now so when new comers fail with the bat i guess he is the best to talk to. can you please do a similar article on one day cricket
    [[
    Will do.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 19, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    Just love looking at Stats...next best thing to seeing the artistes perform...

  • swarzi on May 19, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    NBZ1, In the WI, we think that it's more important to get our batsmen to adapt quickly to new batting conditions, rather than picking fights with them to change their natural techniques. We know that when they adjust themselves to new conditions, they would be able to better apply their natural techniques to dominate any situation, the way the 3 aforementioned names and others did it! What we even stress more than technique is the ability to improvise and dominate (like Gayle). You see, if techique was it all, the world knows that Carl Hooper or Lawrence Rowe would have been the best batsmen of All Time. Boycott referred to Hooper as the "Beauty Queen of Batting"! When it comes to correct technique he's matchless; but the ingredient that he lacked is what both Bradman and Lara had to lend to any other batsman - 'IMMENSE LEVELS OF CONCENTRATION"! That's why I sometimes want to give Lara the edge over both Sobers and Richards. You can't have every batsman playing every stroke the same!

  • swarzi on May 19, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    NBZ1, this "correct technique" thing is very much over-rated! Let me give you two quotes regarding what is said about Bradman's (Best of All Time) technique, to see if I could bring some perspective int this technique thing! Wikipedia Encyclopedia describes it thus: "He [Bradman] dominated world cricket during a 20-year career, combining an UNORTHODOX TECHNIQUE with great LEVELS of CONCENTRATION". And, somewhere in Wisden's Almanac it is also described thus: "... Bradman's technique could not be described as classical or aesthetically pleasing". Cricinfo had this quote in their profile of Bradman once, but they removed it! Yes, we in the WI appreciate the importance of technique, but our Great Batsmen (and we have the 3 best after Bradman: Sobers, Viv Richards and Lara) always say that a batsman's NATURAL TECHNIQUE is the best technique, once he is successful with it. Hence, only if you are failing with your natural technique, you need to be taught how to bat. Who can better advise?

  • red_forever on May 19, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    "Give me 5 tight overs, couple of wickets and 10 runs, in white clothing any time"

    You asked 5 tight overs and couple of wickets they gave you three whole days of gripping cricket and 5 wickets in 11 overs today.

    New Zealand if they can get one more Decent batsman, they will be a decent enough team in any conditions. All they lack is that one Good middle order batsman who can ply his trade in any conditions.

    Yesterday match between RCB and CSK was the worst advertisement for Cricket.8 overs??? and match done and dusted in 75mins. WG Grace would be turning in his Grave.

    P.S: Tendulkar did look like getting into some kind of form at the end of this IPL when he Owned a McLaren(He was the difference in that match) and in that match against Sunrisers when he was playing those lofted and inside out shots.

  • red_forever on May 19, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    Re: "Why the sudden change of name???"

    If its referring to my profile name , then its just because of my allegiance to Manchester United and to Sir Alex in particular. Initially it was some Dinesh***, dint like it so changed it( all thanks to Cricinfo's new procedures)/

    Re: "The last 200 runs scored by Tendulkar or the first 200 scored by Rahane." Exactly, 200 he scored will be like 400 for SRT fanatics like me, but for the over all good for the team i think Rahane 200 will be priceless. I really doubt Dhoni will pick Rahane in the middle order as he has always said that Rahane is an opener and Vijay has shown good application in the tests(still has doubts over his ability to play swing), so rahane will have to wait for some more time and the so called Other worldly talent of Rohit will be given more chances then Rahane.
    [[
    Replace Rahane with Badrinath or Sharma and my comment still holds good.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    Coming to Captaincy: Both our captaincy backup's Gambhir and Kohli seem to have hit a very wrong note with the crowds and former players in the IPL.

  • red_forever on May 19, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    Pardon me for going off Topic.

    " Federer being GOAT or not":

    I will list out my reasons why Federer is not: 1. Comparing tennis across eras if very difficult. Wooden rackets till Borg played. 2. Competition in early federer reign was less compared to post 2010 when we probably had the best top 4 ever. Compare this to Sampras/Agassi era when anyone could come out of the blue and win a SLAM.You might say that says a lot about the level of tennis wasn't great.

    But By passing the stats which you gave is very difficult.

    If we have a player from the current who could play in any generation then i or any one else for that matter without a shadow of doubt will say it has to be Federer and probably followed by Djoker. Nadal for all his acheivements isnt good enough to be a GOAT candidate given that he hasnt won a single Hard court tourney since 2010 US open, and a majority of this duration he was world no 2. He is way to one dimensional a candidate( my personal opinion).
    [[
    I appreciate and iunderstand your comments. In my book if Federer is 9.0, Laver is 8.9. It is only the fact that there is a "what if" queation involved with Laver (what if he played the mainstream Tennis between 1963 and 68, makes me give him .1 less mark).
    Why the sudden change of name???
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • pruthviraja on May 19, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    hello sir, i would like to ask you why do you think roger fed is the greatest sportsman, i would be delighted if you mail me at **************. i have a few queries regarding pete sampras and rf please let me know your mail
    [[
    I can do that here itself.
    1. 16 Grand Slam titles.
    2. 6 year-end Master's titles.
    3. 29 GS Semi-Finals.
    4. 35 consecutive GS QF runds. No injuries, nothing. 9 years in which he entered every GS on different surfaces and won a minimum of 4 matches in each. That means in matches upto QF he has a 140-0 record in 9 years.
    5. 7 times Stefan Edberg sportsmanship award.
    6. 4 Laureus sportsman awards.
    7. Over 300 weeks at no.1.
    8. Overall win % across career of 81.53% (896-233).
    On top of everything the perfect gentleman on court and the possessor of the most all-court game any player has possessed. I think I have said enough.
    Unfortunately Pete Sampras was quite weak on clay courts. Federer has won only one French Open title but has done very well on clay, often reaching the last four or Finals. Ananth
    : ]]

  • Raghav_Bihani on May 19, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    Nice article. you have done a lot of analysis lately. Would love to read a few of your anecdotal articles now.

    off topic: rumoured that BCCI is arranging a 2 test home series before SAF series to give Sachin a farewell at home with 200 tests. to his name.
    [[
    Oh" a bombshell. If Tendulkar stops exactly at 200, I would not have to do a major re-structuring of my database since I had provided for only 200 Tests. I am kidding. I would need a day to get going a limit of 250 (I shudder to think of this number). It is really sad. And people do not realize that I have nothing, absolutely nothing, against Tendulkar. Would I, or for that matter any sane person, talk about his retirement if he had averaged 50 in the last 10 Tests. I would then have joined the "Only he can decide" bandwagon.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • alarky on May 18, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    BoonBoom, continuing: And most of all, this piece of statistical analysis proves that SRT's place as a great batsman is somewhere among the group of pure batsmen with whom his name is mentioned in Table No. 4 of this article - exactly where I always placed him.

  • alarky on May 18, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    BoonBoom, you know what this excellent piece of work by Ananth proves once again? His impeccable work shows that Ananth "IS ONE OF THE BEST" in his profession! This particular piece of work also helps the majority of cricket fans from the other cricketing jurisdictions of the world (including me) to prove exactly what we have been saying for some time now: That is, SRT's dogmatic decision to continue to play international cricket at the competitive level now is not helping to enhance his legacy whenever he retires. He was doing well sometime in the middle of his career but lost his way between 2004 and 2007; but was not dropped, instead allowed to come back good 2008 to 2010. Now he's into 3 years doing the same thing like the 2008 to 2010 period again!
    [[
    Thank you. The purpose of work was as much to emphasize the out-of-normal starts as well as out-of-normal finishes. One can always derive some insights from it. Tendulkar is an incidental derivation. Probably more important is about Sobers, Kallis, Steve Waugh et al. The finish of Steve Waugh is fairy-tale. How many would have known about the 86 average and the fact that he moved from 49.3 to 50.9 in the course of 10 Tests.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 18, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    Another useless analysis.
    [[
    Andrew
    I do not know where you work: probably in a company or educational institution. I feel sorry for them. You seem to have only negative vibes about everything and you seem to be always looking at half-empty glasses. Finally my suggestion is that you should not contribute anything if you can only contribute in a negative manner. Better stay away. Maybe I should put in a board "Ph.Ds not allowed". But then I know many Ph.Ds who have contributed in an excellent manner.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • CricIndia208 on May 18, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Nice work. What this proves is that poor starts do not matter. All time greats such as Waugh, Kallis, sobers have had terrible starts. Amla too is in this league. Selectors should persist with talented players.

  • BoonBoom on May 18, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Another very interesting statistics and it shows how much efforts have been put-in here but what I don't understand is the purpose and objective of this pretty exhaustive exercise.... What did we prove here??
    [[
    Absolutely nothing !!!
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • IPSY on May 18, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    "And .....another player, right at the top of many batting lists.....Sachin Tendulkar...... did not announce his retirement". Ananth, "my favourite point" is that if the topic being discussed is TEST CRICKET, then it is not true that Sachin Tendulkar is "at the top of many batting lists" when it comes to "INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE"! Of the '51 batting records that are worthy of having' in test cricket, Sachin Tendulkar holds ONLY TWO, being 'the most Runs' and 'the most 100s'; and by now everybody who follows cricket knows the reason why - in statistics, "only on very very rare occasions that MOST do not correlate with MOST", on an issue such total number of Runs made vis-a-vis total number of Innings played.
    [[
    I should have said, more correctly "at the top-rung of many batting lists.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • IPSY on May 18, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Ananth, it should be mentioned here that neither Sobers nor Kallis was picked as a "PURE" batsman for their early matches. Sobers was picked as a left arm slow bowler for his FIRST MATCH and batted at "No.9"! Then he batted most times between No.6 and No.7 in his first 10 test matches. It was when they discovered that he had the potential to be as good as any batsman who ever played the game that he was promoted almost permanently to No.6. And, as all GEUNUINELY GREAT BATSMEN did in their careers, he batted in different positions, in accordance with THE NEEDS OF THE TEAM, and performed excellently. Kallis' story is almost similar: In his first three test matches, he was picked more for his bowling than his batting. He batted at No.7 in his first match, and no further up than No.6 in his first 3 test matches. And just like Sobers, when they saw that he had the potential to be as good as any of his batting contemporaries, they promoted him to No.3. Special notes for these 2 players.
    [[
    Funny thing is that Sobers batted at no.6 for most of his later career. Your explanations are valid. It is just that these two reached/have reached 57+.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Sir_Francis on May 18, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    Though he doesn't qualify by the set criteria, Greg Chappell commenced and ended with a century.

    First 10 tests ave. = 48.75. Last 10 ave. = 44.61

    Both below is career average but not a poor start by any means.

    Harvey's stats are interesting. For the first 40 tests he averaged over 60 and in his final 39 tests he averaged 36. The second half of his career coincided with a very poor australian team. However he wasn't old when the decline set in (around 28) so it is a little odd.
    [[
    No problems with the numbers. It is just that this analysis is more about exceptions. As the first commenter Craig mentioned, if some one does not appear here, he has had a fairly steady career.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • amitgarg78 on May 18, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    As much as I like the analyses that you do regularly, I think your comments tend to get personal and things that probably could hv bn avoided find way into the articles. "Writing on the wall" makes me wonder if you let your individual views color the analysis a little. It may just be my interpretation, and I may be wrong but I think it just dilutes your efforts a bit, which are top notch.
    [[
    Why is it that the commentators can only make a similar comment on everyone barring one. Isn't there a writing on the wall. If Federer did not cross the 3rd/4th round in three consecutive Grand Slams and continued playing, my comments would be similar. But he wouldn't.
    In the course of the last 12 Tests Tendulkar's average has dropped from 56 to 54: that is a drop of 2 over 327 innings. Should it fall any further.
    Contrary to what you think, I am not against Tendulkar at all. He is, in my books, one of the most admired cricketers ever, because of his outstanding skill, composure, technique, impeccable on-and-off-field behaviour et al. However that does not prevent my saying that, he should call/have called a closure. I said the same thing about Kapil Dev, no less a loved person.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 18, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    i think asharful had a very good start.
    [[
    He has scored only 2737 runs so does not qualify.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 18, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    i think asharful had a very good start.
    [[
    He has scored only 2737 runs so does not qualify.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • amitgarg78 on May 18, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    As much as I like the analyses that you do regularly, I think your comments tend to get personal and things that probably could hv bn avoided find way into the articles. "Writing on the wall" makes me wonder if you let your individual views color the analysis a little. It may just be my interpretation, and I may be wrong but I think it just dilutes your efforts a bit, which are top notch.
    [[
    Why is it that the commentators can only make a similar comment on everyone barring one. Isn't there a writing on the wall. If Federer did not cross the 3rd/4th round in three consecutive Grand Slams and continued playing, my comments would be similar. But he wouldn't.
    In the course of the last 12 Tests Tendulkar's average has dropped from 56 to 54: that is a drop of 2 over 327 innings. Should it fall any further.
    Contrary to what you think, I am not against Tendulkar at all. He is, in my books, one of the most admired cricketers ever, because of his outstanding skill, composure, technique, impeccable on-and-off-field behaviour et al. However that does not prevent my saying that, he should call/have called a closure. I said the same thing about Kapil Dev, no less a loved person.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Sir_Francis on May 18, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    Though he doesn't qualify by the set criteria, Greg Chappell commenced and ended with a century.

    First 10 tests ave. = 48.75. Last 10 ave. = 44.61

    Both below is career average but not a poor start by any means.

    Harvey's stats are interesting. For the first 40 tests he averaged over 60 and in his final 39 tests he averaged 36. The second half of his career coincided with a very poor australian team. However he wasn't old when the decline set in (around 28) so it is a little odd.
    [[
    No problems with the numbers. It is just that this analysis is more about exceptions. As the first commenter Craig mentioned, if some one does not appear here, he has had a fairly steady career.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • IPSY on May 18, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Ananth, it should be mentioned here that neither Sobers nor Kallis was picked as a "PURE" batsman for their early matches. Sobers was picked as a left arm slow bowler for his FIRST MATCH and batted at "No.9"! Then he batted most times between No.6 and No.7 in his first 10 test matches. It was when they discovered that he had the potential to be as good as any batsman who ever played the game that he was promoted almost permanently to No.6. And, as all GEUNUINELY GREAT BATSMEN did in their careers, he batted in different positions, in accordance with THE NEEDS OF THE TEAM, and performed excellently. Kallis' story is almost similar: In his first three test matches, he was picked more for his bowling than his batting. He batted at No.7 in his first match, and no further up than No.6 in his first 3 test matches. And just like Sobers, when they saw that he had the potential to be as good as any of his batting contemporaries, they promoted him to No.3. Special notes for these 2 players.
    [[
    Funny thing is that Sobers batted at no.6 for most of his later career. Your explanations are valid. It is just that these two reached/have reached 57+.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • IPSY on May 18, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    "And .....another player, right at the top of many batting lists.....Sachin Tendulkar...... did not announce his retirement". Ananth, "my favourite point" is that if the topic being discussed is TEST CRICKET, then it is not true that Sachin Tendulkar is "at the top of many batting lists" when it comes to "INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE"! Of the '51 batting records that are worthy of having' in test cricket, Sachin Tendulkar holds ONLY TWO, being 'the most Runs' and 'the most 100s'; and by now everybody who follows cricket knows the reason why - in statistics, "only on very very rare occasions that MOST do not correlate with MOST", on an issue such total number of Runs made vis-a-vis total number of Innings played.
    [[
    I should have said, more correctly "at the top-rung of many batting lists.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • BoonBoom on May 18, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Another very interesting statistics and it shows how much efforts have been put-in here but what I don't understand is the purpose and objective of this pretty exhaustive exercise.... What did we prove here??
    [[
    Absolutely nothing !!!
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • CricIndia208 on May 18, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Nice work. What this proves is that poor starts do not matter. All time greats such as Waugh, Kallis, sobers have had terrible starts. Amla too is in this league. Selectors should persist with talented players.

  • on May 18, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    Another useless analysis.
    [[
    Andrew
    I do not know where you work: probably in a company or educational institution. I feel sorry for them. You seem to have only negative vibes about everything and you seem to be always looking at half-empty glasses. Finally my suggestion is that you should not contribute anything if you can only contribute in a negative manner. Better stay away. Maybe I should put in a board "Ph.Ds not allowed". But then I know many Ph.Ds who have contributed in an excellent manner.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • alarky on May 18, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    BoonBoom, you know what this excellent piece of work by Ananth proves once again? His impeccable work shows that Ananth "IS ONE OF THE BEST" in his profession! This particular piece of work also helps the majority of cricket fans from the other cricketing jurisdictions of the world (including me) to prove exactly what we have been saying for some time now: That is, SRT's dogmatic decision to continue to play international cricket at the competitive level now is not helping to enhance his legacy whenever he retires. He was doing well sometime in the middle of his career but lost his way between 2004 and 2007; but was not dropped, instead allowed to come back good 2008 to 2010. Now he's into 3 years doing the same thing like the 2008 to 2010 period again!
    [[
    Thank you. The purpose of work was as much to emphasize the out-of-normal starts as well as out-of-normal finishes. One can always derive some insights from it. Tendulkar is an incidental derivation. Probably more important is about Sobers, Kallis, Steve Waugh et al. The finish of Steve Waugh is fairy-tale. How many would have known about the 86 average and the fact that he moved from 49.3 to 50.9 in the course of 10 Tests.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • alarky on May 18, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    BoonBoom, continuing: And most of all, this piece of statistical analysis proves that SRT's place as a great batsman is somewhere among the group of pure batsmen with whom his name is mentioned in Table No. 4 of this article - exactly where I always placed him.