September 4, 2013

The Bradman standard

The Don is head and shoulders above the rest, but which batsmen come closest?
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No one can touch Bradman, but Ponting could well count as a distant second © Getty Images

Had he still been alive, Sir Donald Bradman would have turned 105 on August 27. Since his death in 2001, there has been something of a golden age of Test batting, and Test cricket. More Tests have been played, with more outright results, during these 12 years than in any other 12-year period in the 136-year history of Test cricket.

Some of the greatest batsmen since Bradman's retirement 65 years ago have played their best cricket in these 12 years. I think Bradman would have enjoyed watching the varied talents of Virender Sehwag, Hashim Amla, Mohammad Yousuf, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis. And he would have keenly watched Sachin Tendulkar's second wind.

Yet, for all this batting brilliance, no batsman has come close to matching the great Australian master. In 80 visits to a Test match crease, Bradman was dismissed 70 times. Those 70 dismissals cost bowlers 6996 runs, giving Bradman a batting average that was one boundary shy of an even century. He made 29 hundreds in those 80 visits and set the standard for Test batting. It is hard to think of another sportsperson who remains so far ahead of the best players in his or her sport 65 years after retirement. Bradman remains the benchmark by which all other batsmen should be judged.

Tests are played more frequently these days. They are also played against more varied opposition on many continents. Bradman only played Tests in Australia and England. This proliferation and diversity mean that today's batsmen have many more opportunities to play Tests. England's current captain Alastair Cook has played 97 in 2734 days since his debut. Even if we discount the time Bradman lost due to World War II, he played 52 Tests in 4183 days. The higher frequency is a double-edged sword. While good form is rewarded, this form is also more fragile, simply because of the additional rigour of continual touring.

Even so, there isn't a single player in the history of Test cricket whose best record over 70 consecutive dismissals comes even remotely close to Bradman's record over his career. This is worth dwelling on for a moment. Bradman's entire career - over 20 years either side of a World War as an amateur Test player, with all that this entails: bad form, injury, technical problems and all else - is still substantially superior to any other player's best run over 70 dismissals.

This is why I think Test batsmen should be judged by the Bradman standard. The answer to the question "When was a Test batsman at his best?" should be given by looking at his best stretch of 70 consecutive dismissals. I tried this and the results are striking. It is rare for a batsman to have two non-overlapping stretches of 70 dismissals of comparable success. Only three players have made over 5000 runs over their best run of 70 dismissals. Only 30 have made between 4000 and 5000.

The record is revealing in other ways. It provides a way to compare Sunil Gavaskar's best results with, say, Herbert Sutcliffe's. It is also generally true that opening batsmen find themselves lower on the list than middle-order players. The top ten players in the list batted at No. 3 or 4 in the batting order. Matthew Hayden is the best-placed opening batsma,n with 4699 runs over his best 70 dismissal stretch, starting February 27, 2001 (at the Wankhede Stadium, where he made his second Test hundred) to October 26, 2004 (in Nagpur, where Australia won the series in India).

The early years of the 21st century were particularly great for Test batting. Many of the game's best players had their best periods - Lara, Inzamam, Dravid, Ponting, Hayden, Kallis and Yousuf. Since 2005, Shivarine Chanderpaul, Younis Khan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla have dominated Test batting.

The 1980s and 1990s were lean years for Test batting. Allan Border and Javed Miandad were players of the 1980s. Steve Waugh and Sachin Tendulkar had their best years, either entirely or substantially, in the 1990s. Martin Crowe was at his best from the mid '80s to the mid '90s, just as Viv Richards was at his best from the mid '70s to the mid '80s. Sehwag dominated the middle of the first decade of the 21st century. Most recently, Michael Clarke and Cook have been dominant.

Even the best of these players, Ponting, doesn't come within 1700 runs of Bradman. The list of players who came within 3000 runs of Bradman includes six Australians, seven Englishmen, five West Indians, four South Africans, four Indians, four Pakistanis, two Sri Lankans, and one New Zealander.

Bradman set the standard by which all other players should be measured. By the Bradman standard, the best anyone else has done is about 75%.

Kartikeya Date writes at A Cricketing View and tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bonehead_maz on September 4, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    I think the main point here should be that they were Bradman's first 70 dismissals -Not his best 70 ? Only people I can think of who come in the picture to that "bursting" into cricket are Neil Harvey, Everton Weekes, Greame Pollock and perhaps Barry Richards ? Hussey's record at 70 dismissals might be interesting ? The only person anyone ever saw who batted a series consistently better than Bradman on the same side, was Arthur Morris, but by then Bradman was seriously advancing in years.

    I am a BIG fan of Ponting and several others mentioned here. During my life of watching cricket, in my mind Ponting passed Greg Chappell as best Australian batsman I've seen play Tests. I didn't see Harvey play Tests but know he was in that category.

  • on September 9, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    @Nampally- Maurice Tate was a pace bowler. And Bradman played the greatest spinner of all (O'Reilly) pretty damn well. I would say that batting was actually tougher when Bradman played than today. Can't see any modern batsman averaging 56 against Bodyline with no modern protective gear on. No way Jose.

  • Nampally on September 8, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    @harshthakor: I fully agree with you that the stats. so painfully compiled by Mr. Date are valuable & informative. I also concede that Don Bradman was one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game. But I do not agree with the way of using these stats. to call "Bradman Standard". It is almost impossible to bridge the inter-generational gap with the variables involved. Significant Factors such as Pitches & grounds (quality, covered or uncovered, etc), Number of Tests played /year, travelling & meeting the tightly crammed schedule & resulting Physical & mental stress & above all the quality + variety of bowling cannot be standardised. Bradman was known to be susceptible against good spinners such as Grimmett (leg break/googlies), Tate & O'Rielly. In fact Hilton bowled him with a googly in his last appearance, for a Duck. SP Gupte of India was the greatest leg spinner, Murali(SL) the greatest off spinner- with Googlies + Doosra - Generations later than !928-48 Bradman Standard.

  • harshthakor on September 8, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    The above work is significant but is also an Ideal illustration of how statistics does not depict the true picture.More important than the number or runs is the impact of the runs on matches and series.Jack Hobbs,Gary Sobers and Rahul Dravid are reflected in the correct light whose scores made a major impact on the results of games.Jacques Kallis reveals statistical brilliance but has hardly made the impact of players like Viv Richards or Jack Hobbs.I feel the statistics portrayed do no tfairly reflect the contributions of Viv Richards,Sunil Gavaskar or even Brian Lara in the correct light.

    One complement is Rahul Dravid overhauling Sachin Tendulkar's aggregate in 70 innings which is a true reflection on Dravid's worth to the team and his consistency.

  • harshthakor on September 8, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Ricky Ponting was blessed with the advantage of playing for a champion team.Personally adding Packer cricket scores I would rank Greg Chappell ahead Remember Greg scored 1416 runs at an average of 56.14 in Packer Cricket including 3 supertest centuries in the West Indies and a double hundred v.Rest of the World.Sachin Tendulkal performed better than Ponting if you asses the pressure he faced.For longevity Tendulkar was the ultimate champion with Sir Garfield Sobers while for pure genius at their peak Viv Richards and Brian Lara stood out.

    The ultimate criteria should be the extent to which the great batsman's scores affected the course of games consistently and the nature of the opposition and strength of the team the batsman played for.In this light Jack Hobbs,Tendulkar,Lara,Viv Richards and Sunil Gavaskar would edge ahead of Ricky Ponting.

  • harshthakor on September 8, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    Personally,with all due respects I do not think Bradman's record can be used as the sole criteria.Remember the nature of the bowling attacks that Bradman faced and the fact that he was troubled by bodyline bowling.Bradman never bore as much pressure as Tendulkar or Lara or withstood great pace bowling with the skill of Viv Richards or Sunil Gavaskar.On wet pitches George Headley was the better batsmen.Not denying Brdaman was the greatest,but I feel in any judgement mere statistics cannot reflect the real story.

    To me Brian Lara was 2nd to the Don if you analyze the way he single-handedly turned games and series and registered mammoth scores like no other batsmen.Above all he bore the brunt of the weakest of batting sides.Adding World series Packer cricket performances Viv Richards was the best batsman at his peak after Bradman who turned the complexion of games more than anyone.Considering the bowling attacks he faced the ultimate champion was Sunil Gavaskar.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on September 8, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Like most of today's cricket fans , i haven't seen sir Bradman bat , but in my opinion if someone could average 99.9 against the best team of his era , on uncovered pitches ,with no restriction on use of bouncers and WITHOUT A HELMET, then he is surely a freakish talent and i think comfortably ahead of all his 'rivals' , even in the body line series where he 'failed' he averages more than 50 !!

  • alarky on September 7, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    Kartikeya, Why did you not use the official Bradman's standard for your analysis? The official statistical records show that Bradman played 52 tests and batted in 80 innings only, then he retired!. In these 80 innings, he scored no more, no less than a total of 6996 runs. So, if you're genuinely talking about Bradman's standard, then it can be nothing else but these official figures. Hence, if you're comparing his subordinates with him, these are the figures that must be used exclusively - that is, '80 innings and stop'! So, it's the first 80 innings of each player should be used, to show how they would have fared, if they too had retired at the same point as the greatest ever. Anything else must be flawed! Using the stats of the same players you picked, this is the result: Lara (4060); Sehwag (4052); Dravid (3871);Yousouf (3655); Tendulkar (3517); Amla (3356); Pontin (3125); Kallis (2911).Yet another of the 'every exercise' which shows that Brian Lara is Bradman's indisputable second!

  • ball_boy on September 7, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    Besides how many sixes do u get to see these days huh, the grounds grow smaller particularly the ones in India and to think that asix in the olden days was one which clears the stadium.So stop detrimining the batsmans of old by comparing them with those of new.Lets say how many batsmans of now can even hang on to the crease on a unprepared pitch against bowlers like malcomm Marshall or Joel garner,some batsmens even got their careers ended before they even started.Besides the batsmans of old can definitely swear that the balls of WiI or Aus or others would cross the 97mph and some beyond 100 sure no speedometer was there to warn them but we can definitely say that the people of old were stonger that the athletes of now in general kind of like how army guys are fitter and stronger than the gym pumped up guys of now.The bouncers were also unlimited too

  • on September 7, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    @Nampally- Bradman actually played test cricket against England, South Africa, the West Indies and India.

  • Bonehead_maz on September 4, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    I think the main point here should be that they were Bradman's first 70 dismissals -Not his best 70 ? Only people I can think of who come in the picture to that "bursting" into cricket are Neil Harvey, Everton Weekes, Greame Pollock and perhaps Barry Richards ? Hussey's record at 70 dismissals might be interesting ? The only person anyone ever saw who batted a series consistently better than Bradman on the same side, was Arthur Morris, but by then Bradman was seriously advancing in years.

    I am a BIG fan of Ponting and several others mentioned here. During my life of watching cricket, in my mind Ponting passed Greg Chappell as best Australian batsman I've seen play Tests. I didn't see Harvey play Tests but know he was in that category.

  • on September 9, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    @Nampally- Maurice Tate was a pace bowler. And Bradman played the greatest spinner of all (O'Reilly) pretty damn well. I would say that batting was actually tougher when Bradman played than today. Can't see any modern batsman averaging 56 against Bodyline with no modern protective gear on. No way Jose.

  • Nampally on September 8, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    @harshthakor: I fully agree with you that the stats. so painfully compiled by Mr. Date are valuable & informative. I also concede that Don Bradman was one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game. But I do not agree with the way of using these stats. to call "Bradman Standard". It is almost impossible to bridge the inter-generational gap with the variables involved. Significant Factors such as Pitches & grounds (quality, covered or uncovered, etc), Number of Tests played /year, travelling & meeting the tightly crammed schedule & resulting Physical & mental stress & above all the quality + variety of bowling cannot be standardised. Bradman was known to be susceptible against good spinners such as Grimmett (leg break/googlies), Tate & O'Rielly. In fact Hilton bowled him with a googly in his last appearance, for a Duck. SP Gupte of India was the greatest leg spinner, Murali(SL) the greatest off spinner- with Googlies + Doosra - Generations later than !928-48 Bradman Standard.

  • harshthakor on September 8, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    The above work is significant but is also an Ideal illustration of how statistics does not depict the true picture.More important than the number or runs is the impact of the runs on matches and series.Jack Hobbs,Gary Sobers and Rahul Dravid are reflected in the correct light whose scores made a major impact on the results of games.Jacques Kallis reveals statistical brilliance but has hardly made the impact of players like Viv Richards or Jack Hobbs.I feel the statistics portrayed do no tfairly reflect the contributions of Viv Richards,Sunil Gavaskar or even Brian Lara in the correct light.

    One complement is Rahul Dravid overhauling Sachin Tendulkar's aggregate in 70 innings which is a true reflection on Dravid's worth to the team and his consistency.

  • harshthakor on September 8, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Ricky Ponting was blessed with the advantage of playing for a champion team.Personally adding Packer cricket scores I would rank Greg Chappell ahead Remember Greg scored 1416 runs at an average of 56.14 in Packer Cricket including 3 supertest centuries in the West Indies and a double hundred v.Rest of the World.Sachin Tendulkal performed better than Ponting if you asses the pressure he faced.For longevity Tendulkar was the ultimate champion with Sir Garfield Sobers while for pure genius at their peak Viv Richards and Brian Lara stood out.

    The ultimate criteria should be the extent to which the great batsman's scores affected the course of games consistently and the nature of the opposition and strength of the team the batsman played for.In this light Jack Hobbs,Tendulkar,Lara,Viv Richards and Sunil Gavaskar would edge ahead of Ricky Ponting.

  • harshthakor on September 8, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    Personally,with all due respects I do not think Bradman's record can be used as the sole criteria.Remember the nature of the bowling attacks that Bradman faced and the fact that he was troubled by bodyline bowling.Bradman never bore as much pressure as Tendulkar or Lara or withstood great pace bowling with the skill of Viv Richards or Sunil Gavaskar.On wet pitches George Headley was the better batsmen.Not denying Brdaman was the greatest,but I feel in any judgement mere statistics cannot reflect the real story.

    To me Brian Lara was 2nd to the Don if you analyze the way he single-handedly turned games and series and registered mammoth scores like no other batsmen.Above all he bore the brunt of the weakest of batting sides.Adding World series Packer cricket performances Viv Richards was the best batsman at his peak after Bradman who turned the complexion of games more than anyone.Considering the bowling attacks he faced the ultimate champion was Sunil Gavaskar.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on September 8, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Like most of today's cricket fans , i haven't seen sir Bradman bat , but in my opinion if someone could average 99.9 against the best team of his era , on uncovered pitches ,with no restriction on use of bouncers and WITHOUT A HELMET, then he is surely a freakish talent and i think comfortably ahead of all his 'rivals' , even in the body line series where he 'failed' he averages more than 50 !!

  • alarky on September 7, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    Kartikeya, Why did you not use the official Bradman's standard for your analysis? The official statistical records show that Bradman played 52 tests and batted in 80 innings only, then he retired!. In these 80 innings, he scored no more, no less than a total of 6996 runs. So, if you're genuinely talking about Bradman's standard, then it can be nothing else but these official figures. Hence, if you're comparing his subordinates with him, these are the figures that must be used exclusively - that is, '80 innings and stop'! So, it's the first 80 innings of each player should be used, to show how they would have fared, if they too had retired at the same point as the greatest ever. Anything else must be flawed! Using the stats of the same players you picked, this is the result: Lara (4060); Sehwag (4052); Dravid (3871);Yousouf (3655); Tendulkar (3517); Amla (3356); Pontin (3125); Kallis (2911).Yet another of the 'every exercise' which shows that Brian Lara is Bradman's indisputable second!

  • ball_boy on September 7, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    Besides how many sixes do u get to see these days huh, the grounds grow smaller particularly the ones in India and to think that asix in the olden days was one which clears the stadium.So stop detrimining the batsmans of old by comparing them with those of new.Lets say how many batsmans of now can even hang on to the crease on a unprepared pitch against bowlers like malcomm Marshall or Joel garner,some batsmens even got their careers ended before they even started.Besides the batsmans of old can definitely swear that the balls of WiI or Aus or others would cross the 97mph and some beyond 100 sure no speedometer was there to warn them but we can definitely say that the people of old were stonger that the athletes of now in general kind of like how army guys are fitter and stronger than the gym pumped up guys of now.The bouncers were also unlimited too

  • on September 7, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    @Nampally- Bradman actually played test cricket against England, South Africa, the West Indies and India.

  • Joe-car on September 7, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    @ Nampally_thank you sir/madam. For interest's sake, I'd love to know what's Amla's average against India.

  • Nampally on September 6, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Bradman was certainly the 70 innings Wonder & that too on the Australian & English pitches. The stats compiled by Kartikeya for various batsmen confirm that unequivocally. In Author's tabulated list, Bradman is the only batsman whose stats are vs. England only. Author has a flawed assumption: that since Bradman averaged 99.9 vs. England- the highest average in the World - he is best ever batsman. Modern Cricketers play all Cricketing Nations on every type of pitch. If you restrict the battle & stats. to just 2 nations, Bradman's stats are great. Hence, I would concede that Bradman was greatest batsman of his era vs. England, based on his stats. However every other Cricketer in the table has played at least 4 or more nations in his 70 innings stats. & on different pitches too. In order to "qualify for the best batsman ever in the world", a batsman should have played vs.all Nations on all pitches & shown his greatness either in stats or any other criterion. That is a "Fair basis"!

  • BillyCC on September 6, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    @swarzi, yes you are wrong.

  • swarzi on September 6, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    Kartikeya, Would one necessarily be wrong, if one says that this is 'your standard' and truly not "Bradman Standard". Because, Sir Don Bardman played all of 80 innings, then packed up for his bag good. Hence, his standard always has to be "80 innings" - anything different has to be "manufactured" by some one else! Am I wrong? It is also interesting that you noted that had a "Tendulkar's second wind"! And he's now in his "Third Wind"! But I noticed that all the genuinely great batsmen had just one "Single Wind"! So, with three different winds, can we put him ahead of people such as Mahelya Jayawardene, or Javed Miandad, or Inzimam Ul Hac and others who only had one Single Wind like the genuinely great players?

  • ut4me87 on September 5, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    Nobody will disagree that Bradman was a great player - but what you have to remember that he never had to play in various conditions - i.e. in the heat of Chennai or Colombo or in different grounds. In the 1980s and 1990s 4 tall fast bowlers were the order of the day and even now the bowlers are much faster and fielders are much better. It is difficult to compare a player of a different generation, especially before pre 1960s to the present day players.

  • IPSY on September 5, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    Mr Date, Bradman has left us with so many awesome individual performance memories, whereby his standards were created; so, why did you 'cherry pick' just one SINGLE "Bradman Standard", to form the basis for your selection of his "distant second"? Let me quickly say that I'm in absolute agreement with you, that he's "peerless"! However, it would be much better, if you recognise the fact that batting is an art of many different facets (consistency/average, piling of massive individual scores, bowler-domineering ability, etc); which Bradman mastered better than any other player, evidenced by his myriad records. Remember all quality records are based only on comparable time of achievement - all others are purely academic! So, you should do an incontestable analytical exercise of all the records that he has set for quality batting performances in each facet, to choose Bradman's "distant second". Then you'll find justifiably so, that the Gt BC Lara is that person! Why not 40 best inngs, etc?

  • Mittaraghava on September 5, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    I like the single line comment made by Shashank Venkat.It is full of humour ,wit and a mathematical possibility that too from an unknown person.COMMENDABLE indeed Dude.

  • Mittaraghava on September 5, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    I do not agree with persons saying Bradman did not play against the best bowlers of the present generation and he did not play in different batting conditions.His batting records show clearly that he dominated the bowlers of his era.Only unsportive methods like "bodyline bowling" could curb his prolific scoring.The other batsman of his era had equal opportuniy to score like Bradman but they could not.He was a pioneer of batting dominence.To give an example .Do we disregard the acheivement of Wright brothers in aeronautic science in comparison with the present day aeronautic scientists?the present great batsman are the result of the evolement of Bradman's pioneering effort done 50 years ago.

  • kabe_ag7 on September 5, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    I too feel that the phrase 'No one can touch Bradman' is a bit of overused phrase. Nobody can touch him statistically (on average). But comparing across eras, other than the factors you cited, the most important factor left is that of the LBW rule. In Bradman's time, a batsman couldn't be out LBW unless the ball was 'pitched' in the line of the stumps (as opposed to the requirement of hitting pads in the line of the stumps currently, when a shot is being offered). The old LBW law hugely reduces the effectiveness of deliveries like in-swing, off-cutter, off-spin, arm ball, balls bowled with an angle from wide of the crease etc. So as long as you thrust your pad out and ensured you are not getting bowled, the likelihood of LBW was way lower than what it is today. That is crucial in comparing stats across eras.

  • on September 5, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    A more interesting stat to me is his first class record: 234 matches, 338 innings, 43 no's, 28,067 runs , HS 452no, Ave 95.14, 117 centuries, 69 half centuries. Compare that to anyone else in first class that has scored over 100 centuries and you will get the true notion of Bradman's greatness. A century once in every third time at the wicket! This will never be bettered. Ever. And I'm sorry but you cannot argue that first class cricket nowdays is any stronger than Shield/County cricket was when Bradman played. Because it isn't.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on September 5, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    Bradman the 'Gold' stand. in game of cricket. Greatest of all time,uncomparable master. Fact that he faced some of the greatest bowlers in pace/spin of all time , on some occasions 'sticky dog' wickets rarely seen now and very little quality protective equipments with much thinner/lighter bats and to be this far off the rest , says it all why the world revers this man. No comparison but for honorouble 2 nd best -a very distant 1 ! - you can choose from Sobers, Richards Viv,Miandad ,Hobbs and C Lloyd.Among the modern gen. you got the 'Big 3' of past decade and 1/2 - Ponting , Dravid and Kallis with a few honorouble mentions -though not in same class - like Sanga,Inzi ,Hayden,Sehwag,Chanderpaul and Mahela .Of the present lot Clarke, maybe De Villiers may get into latter categ. of modern greats.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on September 5, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    @BillyCC i too accept that he is GREAT in the stone age era of only one team to play against. But 'he is greatest ever in cricketting batting history' is overphrased. Modern era batsmen 50 average is MORE THAN that of 100 average of stone era.

  • BillyCC on September 5, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    @palavadisuresh, for the sake of argument, if Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are the only cricket playing countries and no other country played, and someone from either team averaged twice that of the next player and more than double the average player from either side, then yes, that player would also rank as one of the greatest to play the game. It's about relativities. A lot of cricketers have fantastic records against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh over an extended period of time. It's not even close to being unique.

  • india26 on September 5, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    Great!!! Now please provide stats against how many nations (different conditions), how many different venues (unfamiliar atmosphere). Lets see the result after all these factors filtered in.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on September 5, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    There are a few mitigating circumstances which I would like to point out:

    (a) The best 70 innings of other batsmen will surely include innings played in a variety of conditions. Bradman played all his test cricket in just 2 countries, so the stats are just not comparable.

    (b) Bowling in Bradman's era was a lot more gentle than it is these days. There only series in which he faced a bumper barrage, he averaged 56- good, but hardly earth shattering

    (c) Bradman was never known for his mastery of wet wickets, so the argument of uncovered pitches hardly holds water

    (d) 120-130 overs a day was the norm in his era and test matches in Australia were timeless. Bradman would have had far fewer overs to score off in the modern era

    (e) The 1930s also happened to be an era when batting was at its easiest- look up the sheer number of high scores in that period

  • dinosaurus on September 5, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    In Bradman's time Australia and England played at a level far above the others. It is also not true that Bradman never faced quality spinners. There weren't always outright pace bowlrss in Test attacks those days, there were so many outstanding spinners. There was also the prospect of wet wickets.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on September 5, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    For the sake of argument, consider zimbabwe and bangladesh are the ONLY cricket playing countries (for 30,40 years). There is great possibity that one bowler or one batsman could stand stall in stats than others and that stats stands more than 50 years and eveo we do not have detailed stat about them. How could you them as great GREAT with that stat. His exposure is limited to few international bowlers and no quality spin at all. So i dont think bradman is that great. Full stop.

  • BillyCC on September 5, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Great analysis. Bradman is Number 1, next is the mighty Daylight, and then we have the rest.

  • IndianEagle on September 5, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    your arugument flawed completely from these lines 'no one can touch bradman but ponting could well count as a distant second'. Lara could be distance AHEAD of pointing. Sachin could be distance AHEAD of pointing. In Bradman case, he would definitely NO WHERE near to modern cricketters. He is great among stone age cricketters.

  • Greatest_Game on September 5, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    The statement "Since 2005, Shivarine Chanderpaul, Younis Khan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla have dominated Test batting" is partially correct. For the top 6 averaging batsmen (min 20 games), leave out Jayawardene and de Villiers, put in Kallis and Yousuf.

    The statement "Sehwag dominated the middle of the first decade of the 21st century" is so wrong it is barely believable. From '02 to '06 he averaged 15th. '03 to '07 he averaged 12th. :'04 to 08 he averaged 11th. In only 2 years did he break into the top 6: in '04 he was 4th & in 05 he was 6th. He never dominated for a year!

    The statement "Most recently, Michael Clarke and Cook have been dominant" is simply laughable. From 2009 onwards, Clarke best is #3 since 2011. Cook is never in sight: he barely hits the top 10. He dominated nothing but Aus in 1 series.

    If Kartikeya Date cannot check Statsguru to see who "dominated" when, can his Bradman standard & the figs he quotes be taken seriously?

  • Joll on September 5, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    The problem with this "standard" is it is somewhat contrived. A batsman is judged by his whole test carrer, not by his "best" 70 dismissals. Also, as concerns players such as Greg Chappell and Viv Richards, this standard does not take into account their Super Test runs. Personally, I would put Chappell ahead of Ponting, but not by much. Chappell started his career strongly, ended it strongly, and was one of the all time greats. Ponting finished his career limply and did not have to deal with the West Indies pace quartet.

  • PadMarley on September 5, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    Respect to Bradman!!! But please dont give him god status of batsmanship!! What the hell he knows about facing Murali, Warne, Wasim, Waqar, Akthar, Lillee, Thompson, Garner, Marshal, Holding, Andy, Ambrose, Walsh, Mcgra, Kumble, Hadlee, Lee, Styne, Malinga, Saqlain, Kadir, Bond, Donald??????? Now that is a hell of a lot he has missed in producing his statistics. Its for sure not his fault, but what can you do with your statistics when you have not gone through at least a quarter of those names in your career as a batsman??? Sachin, Lara, Ponting and Gavaskar is the Quadrant of the batsmenship!!

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on September 5, 2013, 2:06 GMT

    He is greatest of the great in his era, no doubt about that. But that does not mean he is greatest of whole era. He played only in england and australia and his exposure limited to that country's bowlers only. I donot want to compare him to modern cricketters, played different bowlers, different conditions and quality spin bowling. No one knows how bradman would have performed in modern quality and variety of attacks if he were!

  • on September 5, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    The devil is in the details!!! there are about 34 people in the list above of which around 16 of them are in the decade of 2000. Thats almost 50% from a single decade. What does this signify. Clearly the cheap runs these players were gorging on and using these runs to devalue to the more precious runs scored in the other decades is a big disservice to the real greats!!!! Also folks like Bradman and Hobbs have managed this level of consistency over a two decade period. and that means those numbers are even more credible than the others. At the very least i would like to take away the run makers in the decade of 2000 from this list ofr this to have some level of sanctity!!!!!

  • cricsavvy on September 5, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    Ridiculous. Its like comparing an apple with an orange

  • Nampally on September 4, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    Yes, undoubtedly Bradman has always been the recognized batting genius. No one can deny him that despite the fact he played only in England & Australia Vs. England only. I am sure he was the benchmark to many Cricketers. There were a whole series of write-ups by different Authors in Cricinfo columns about who is next best batsman to Bradman. Not having seen Bradman in action, I nor most of the writers in this column can comment on his batting genius. We can only rate by the stats. But in not too distant past, Gary Sobers was the guy I saw in action. In my opinion he was the greatest Cricketer ever to walk on any Cricket field. He was a supremely great batsman on his own + he was superb bowler - 3 in 1 + outstanding fielders at any position. No Cricketer present or past can even come close to Sobers as an all round Cricketer. If you call Bradman the "batting genius", you need to call Sobers the "the greatest All Rounder" in the history of Cricket. In addition he was a Majestic Cricketer

  • Rupen7 on September 4, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    Bradman was Great but similarly modern cricket are also GREAT........Bradman's record looks like mountain but even if he would have to bat with today's fielding standard then his average also comes between 50-60....... Actually modern cricket is more touch with different ground condition(Fast pace, flat track, bouncy, spinner friendly), very tough bowlers ( Anderson,Styen,Siddle,Kumble,Murli,Warne,Mcgrath,Akram,Mkhaya,marshall,Imran,…….so many), excellent fielders( most team can dive, save run, takes catch from nowhere, makes run out) plus good wicket keeper who makes you stump out for fraction.

  • gandabhai on September 4, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    We were privileged to have been graced by this ' Aussie Superman ' in our world . How i wish i could have gone through the turnstiles to see THE DON bat .But to compare batsmen across era's is a bit like comparing apples & oranges .

  • on September 4, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    Though great, Bradman played mostly against england and usually the same stuff of bowlers. And if you play the same set of bowlers in all your career, you know wat to expect from them. Also, modern day batsmen play lot of cricket compared to what bradman did. So its really tough to maintain the same form with so much cricket involved like ODI, Test and T20. The volume of all these have raised several folds. Also as bradman enjoyed considerable amount of time between two test series, his body augured well whereas modern day batsman have to look after their bodies a lot more due to strain and injuries not mention the extra pressure today's batsmen have. Quality of bowling has increased many time since then n cricket is a more competitive game then it used to be at the time of bradman. i suppose it's time we leave bradman in his space and not compare him with anyone as it would not be apt.

  • on September 4, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    The chances of anyone duplicating Bradman's record are extremely unlikely. There is no doubt that he was a great batsman. However, the million dollar question is how he would have performed on today's wickets? The nuances of today's game create different pressures from those he faced. While there is no doubt that he would have excelled on any surface, I think that it would have been virtually impossible for him to duplicate his average on these wickets and against the variety of bowlers we have today.

  • RudolphFernandz on September 4, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    HutingXI, Sir_Ivor and Marktc make interesting points that have been glossed over in the article. It's always problematic when the starting premise (Bradman's undisputed rank) is accepted as fact first - you essentially go out finding other facts to support that premise. What's far more interesting is to the start the other way around - you'll be amazed what you come up with.

  • Mittaraghava on September 4, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    Don Bradman is the greatest batsman .But there are so many great batsman after him who have great qualities unmatched by others,hence i list few of them as the next greatest .They are in random order and not any grading. 1.S.Gavasker- He was like a David against the Goliath while facing the best pace bwelers of his time,having immpecable defence ,1st to reach10,000 runs,highest number of centuries in tests. 2.G.Sobers the most fluent and powerful striker of the ball,considered by most experts as the next only to Bradman. 3.V.Richards-only batsman to dominate bowlers all over the world with his attacking style of batting. 4S.Tendulker the best batsman in all formats of the game and breaking all the batting records. 5.B.Lara-A super human effort to reach 400 in tests and 500 in 1st class match.The concentration ,stamina and the skill to avoid making a mistake in such a long innings is awesome. 6.K.Barrington-prolific scorer and he had rock like defence,difficult to get him out.

  • kartikeya on September 4, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    Bradman set the standard in my view precisely because his record over his entire career was better than any other player's best record over a comparable length of time. It should also be remembered that Bradman played in an era of uncovered wickets, so some innings in those 80 were basically played on hopeless minefields.

  • on September 4, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    This is a very flawed argument as Bradman faced hardly any variety and the field settings when he came out to bat were much more conducive to batting...The time over which he played his 70 tests is huge...Such comparisons do justice to no one...Neither Bradman nor today's players...

  • Sagarneel on September 4, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    If the world has tirelessly accepted the fact that Sir Don was the greatest ever, what's the point in putting forward newer stats everyday to prove what we already know? I guess it has been a topic of a million debates, and the conclusion was the same - you can never compare two different eras. Let's leave it at that.

  • peter56 on September 4, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    I just took the example of one player here: jacques kallis. Between the dates you quote: 03 Nov 2001, and the test starting 27 Apr 200 6( when he was dismissed for 71 in his only innings in that match ) he had been dismissed 70 times, but he had ONLY scored 4671 runs NOT 5059. so whatever method you used here to extract this information is faulty. Kallis figures: 49 tests, 86 inns, 16 n.o.runs 4671, average 66.72 ...SO HE ACTUALLY SCORED 388 FEWER RUNS THAN YOU SAY HE DID DURING THIS PERIOD OF 70 DISMISSALS !

  • rashivkd on September 4, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Firstly, a good analysis. But comparing two sportsmen is simpy meaningless I think. Its just because of we can compare only statistics. If Sehwag batted with the mind set of Dravid, his average would have been better than what actually is. But he never had been scored two triple centuries. Then what is the point to compare Rahul and Sehwag. Sachin and Rahane are playing for mumbai in first class. By comparing the averages of them, can we say Rahane is the better player??

  • mikey45 on September 4, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    Ironically, early days in Hughes' career people though he was gonna be the next Bradman but now the bloke has diminished. As a matter of fact he used to play on uncovered pitches which made batsmen's life tough

  • Pathiyal on September 4, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Fantastic comments! for the first time i felt "WORTHY READING'!!!

  • Marktc on September 4, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    It is difficult to judge players of different eras. So much changes, balls, padding, rules and so on. As much as I respect Bradman, he played only in teo countries against a very limited number of bowlers. He probably read them easily, being as gifted as he was. Further to this, the talented modern cricketer plays more frequently, against varied opposition and all over the world. Further to this, 70 tests is not a great deal, compared with today's gifted players. If Bradman had played further tests, say 150, we could speculate that his average may have gone above 100...or dropped....Then we also have players like Pollock and Richards who has decades taken from them in terms of international cricket. My point is, you cannot effectively compare players of different era's. Give those who excelled their credit yes, but comparisons are useless.

  • CricketChat on September 4, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Modern batsmen starting around 1995 or so enjoyed many advantages like, better equipment, flatter pitches, favorable rules, better physical fitness through specialized training and conditioning that batsmen of earlier generations simply didn't have. Current day batsmen have had it easy for nearly 2 decades as the table for most runs scored in 70 consecutive innings lists several batsmen from this era. For a meaningful comparison, we should multiply the runs scored by these modern batsmen with a factor of 0.5.

  • HutingXI on September 4, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    It seems bit odd, no offence Don Bradman was great batsman but let's not forget he played all his 70 innings on similar pitches with same bowling attack. In modern cricket if one bowler bowls same line twice, he get smacked for runs, I bet it would be same for Bradman. Same bowlers on same pitch made his life way to easy compare to modern batsman. They have to play in various conditions with various bowlers on various pitches. It takes ages for sub-continental teams to gets used to in Australia, England or South Africa and vice versa. So I think judging current batsman from Bradman standards is not fair. Modern cricketers have to deal & conquer with way way too many challenges then what Bradman has to.

  • Sir_Ivor on September 4, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Great as Bradman was without a doubt,it must be remembered that he played all his tests in Australia and England. It is significant to mention that most Australians have always done well in England in county cricket over the years. So for someone as great as Bradman scoring big in England may have been child's play. The other thing that we have to consider is the bowling he faced over his career.We all know the Larwood- Voce story so let us see who the best bowlers were who he faced over the span of his 20 year career. Maurice Tate and Alec Bedser were probably the best. Both were medium pacers. Tate played till 1935. That is over seven years of Bradman's career even if they played against each other all the time. Bedser made his debut in 1946 .Bradman in 1948. So Bradman hardly played the great man for very long.The other crucial thing was that Bradman never had to face physically intimidating bowlers like Marshall Holding Steyn Wasim,Donald all over his career.Some food for thought !

  • on September 4, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    The only way to beat Bradman's average is to make a century on debut and then retire!

  • on September 4, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    A fantastic analysis of batting prowess of Don Bradman with other modern batsmen. But we have to take into consideration of the moden test players the rigours of playing frequently and that too playing in all forms of cricket. It takes a heavy toll on the physique of the players. No doubt the lure of the $ in IPL and other T20 league matches entices the players to play more in this format which gives the financial cushion in their career. Of course nobody can match Don's batting prowess even if they play 50 + tests and they can never match the average of the Don which is near to century. He is the benchmark for all batsmen and the best average of the next batsmen is around 60.00 in tests.

  • Redtilldeath on September 4, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    Whats the basis for taking the span (for Example Tendulkar's is from 1997 to 2002). And what new is being offered in this post

  • its.rachit on September 4, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    just because bradman was dismissed 70 times does not mean that the secondbest batsman shud be judged based on their best 70 innings stretch .... that is a pretty vague method i would say ... nonetheless it does show that even the best portion of all batsman in the world does not match up to bradman's overall ....

  • sifter132 on September 4, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    I like this analysis. Tendulkar's (and Murali's) record breaking has put the modern analysis on totals, but this measure shows the batsmen at the peak of their powers which is JUST as important in my view. These aren't briefly shining flowers either, to get on this list you need to average almost 60 for at least 35 Tests.

  • sifter132 on September 4, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    I like this analysis. Tendulkar's (and Murali's) record breaking has put the modern analysis on totals, but this measure shows the batsmen at the peak of their powers which is JUST as important in my view. These aren't briefly shining flowers either, to get on this list you need to average almost 60 for at least 35 Tests.

  • its.rachit on September 4, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    just because bradman was dismissed 70 times does not mean that the secondbest batsman shud be judged based on their best 70 innings stretch .... that is a pretty vague method i would say ... nonetheless it does show that even the best portion of all batsman in the world does not match up to bradman's overall ....

  • Redtilldeath on September 4, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    Whats the basis for taking the span (for Example Tendulkar's is from 1997 to 2002). And what new is being offered in this post

  • on September 4, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    A fantastic analysis of batting prowess of Don Bradman with other modern batsmen. But we have to take into consideration of the moden test players the rigours of playing frequently and that too playing in all forms of cricket. It takes a heavy toll on the physique of the players. No doubt the lure of the $ in IPL and other T20 league matches entices the players to play more in this format which gives the financial cushion in their career. Of course nobody can match Don's batting prowess even if they play 50 + tests and they can never match the average of the Don which is near to century. He is the benchmark for all batsmen and the best average of the next batsmen is around 60.00 in tests.

  • on September 4, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    The only way to beat Bradman's average is to make a century on debut and then retire!

  • Sir_Ivor on September 4, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Great as Bradman was without a doubt,it must be remembered that he played all his tests in Australia and England. It is significant to mention that most Australians have always done well in England in county cricket over the years. So for someone as great as Bradman scoring big in England may have been child's play. The other thing that we have to consider is the bowling he faced over his career.We all know the Larwood- Voce story so let us see who the best bowlers were who he faced over the span of his 20 year career. Maurice Tate and Alec Bedser were probably the best. Both were medium pacers. Tate played till 1935. That is over seven years of Bradman's career even if they played against each other all the time. Bedser made his debut in 1946 .Bradman in 1948. So Bradman hardly played the great man for very long.The other crucial thing was that Bradman never had to face physically intimidating bowlers like Marshall Holding Steyn Wasim,Donald all over his career.Some food for thought !

  • HutingXI on September 4, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    It seems bit odd, no offence Don Bradman was great batsman but let's not forget he played all his 70 innings on similar pitches with same bowling attack. In modern cricket if one bowler bowls same line twice, he get smacked for runs, I bet it would be same for Bradman. Same bowlers on same pitch made his life way to easy compare to modern batsman. They have to play in various conditions with various bowlers on various pitches. It takes ages for sub-continental teams to gets used to in Australia, England or South Africa and vice versa. So I think judging current batsman from Bradman standards is not fair. Modern cricketers have to deal & conquer with way way too many challenges then what Bradman has to.

  • CricketChat on September 4, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Modern batsmen starting around 1995 or so enjoyed many advantages like, better equipment, flatter pitches, favorable rules, better physical fitness through specialized training and conditioning that batsmen of earlier generations simply didn't have. Current day batsmen have had it easy for nearly 2 decades as the table for most runs scored in 70 consecutive innings lists several batsmen from this era. For a meaningful comparison, we should multiply the runs scored by these modern batsmen with a factor of 0.5.

  • Marktc on September 4, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    It is difficult to judge players of different eras. So much changes, balls, padding, rules and so on. As much as I respect Bradman, he played only in teo countries against a very limited number of bowlers. He probably read them easily, being as gifted as he was. Further to this, the talented modern cricketer plays more frequently, against varied opposition and all over the world. Further to this, 70 tests is not a great deal, compared with today's gifted players. If Bradman had played further tests, say 150, we could speculate that his average may have gone above 100...or dropped....Then we also have players like Pollock and Richards who has decades taken from them in terms of international cricket. My point is, you cannot effectively compare players of different era's. Give those who excelled their credit yes, but comparisons are useless.

  • Pathiyal on September 4, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Fantastic comments! for the first time i felt "WORTHY READING'!!!