February 14, 2014

Which batsmen thrive against the best bowlers?

Why Tendulkar and Lara were superior all-round Test players, and why Sangakkara is a freak
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Kumar Sangakkara's bullying of minnows turns a great Test record into a freakishly brilliant one
Kumar Sangakkara's bullying of minnows turns a great Test record into a freakishly brilliant one © AFP

Kumar Sangakkara made a triple-hundred and a hundred in the same Test in Chittagong recently. In the last 12 months, Sri Lanka have played four Tests against Bangladesh. In these, Sangakkara has scored 142, 105, 139, 55, 75, 319 and 105. In his last 12 Tests against one of the other seven top Test-playing teams, Sangakkara averages 48. This is a broader phenomenon in Test cricket. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have conceded runs at an impressive rate to the world's top batsmen. Players from the subcontinent play these two teams more often than players from Australia or England.

A few weeks ago I described a method to determine the bowling and batting strength of a Test team. I have since found that a simpler method of measuring bowling strength is similarly correlated with Test results. I describe it briefly below using the example of India's first innings in the Cape Town Test of 2011. This method could be improved substantially with detailed ball-by-ball data, but since this data is not available for all Tests, I use innings-level data.

Sachin Tendulkar made 146 in this Test in Cape Town and had a memorable battle with Dale Steyn. But South Africa's bowling attack as a whole was not particularly strong. The table below shows the calculation of bowling strength for the South African attack. The individual averages are the bowler's averages at the start of the Test innings. Tendulkar made 123 in 231 balls against Morkel, Tsotsobe and Harris, and 23 in 83 against Steyn. Steyn bowled 120 balls while Tendulkar was at the wicket. Tendulkar faced 83 of those. In the other 37, Steyn took three wickets.

Tendulkar made 169 at the same ground in 1997 against a much stronger all-round attack (Donald, Pollock, McMillan, Cronje, Klusener and Adams) that had a bowling strength of 26.1.

The bowling strength for a particular team innings is simply the weighted average of each bowler in a bowling line-up at the start of the said innings. Weights are assigned according to the share of the bowling for each bowler in this innings. For example, Steyn bowled about 26% of overs in that Indian first innings in Cape Town, Tsotsobe bowled 22% while Morkel and Harris bowled 22% each. Kallis, who was part of the South African XI for that Test, did not bowl at all in this innings.

I've used this method to calculate the bowling strength for all team Test innings. The median bowling strength for a Test innings from 1877 to 2014 (including the Sydney Test of the 2013-14 Ashes) is 31.54. Bowlers on Test debut are assigned the median figure.

In this, the first of a series of posts, I look at all batsmen who have made at least 10,000 Test runs and divide their careers into innings where the opposition bowling was better than the median, and innings where the opposition bowling was worse than the median. I also do the same for these players' home and away Test records.

For the purpose of this post, I will designate attacks with bowling strength better than the median as strong attacks and the rest as weak attacks. One final point to be noted about this method of determining the strength of a bowling attack: an attack including the exact same bowlers can have two different strength measures in different Tests. For example, a South African attack playing in Sri Lanka, where Nicky Boje would bowl a lot of overs, would have a weaker strength measure than the same attack bowling in South Africa, where Boje's share of the bowling would be much smaller.

Eleven batsmen have scored at least 10,000 Test runs as of January 2014. Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border, the first two players to reach this milestone, played 49% and 45% of their innings against strong attacks. In contrast, Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis played 32% and 33% of their innings against strong attacks.

It is no surprise that top batsmen perform strongly against weaker attacks. Some more so than others, though. For Brian Lara and Tendulkar the difference in their performance against stronger attacks and weaker attacks is about 7 runs per innings. For Mahela Jayawardene, it is about 22 runs. For Jacques Kallis, it is 20 runs. For Ponting, Border and Rahul Dravid, it is about 13 runs.

Only Tendulkar, Border, Sangakkara and Steve Waugh average over 50 against strong attacks away from home. Jayawardene has struggled against such bowling, averaging only 27 over 49 innings, scoring one century. Ponting made eight centuries in 42 innings against strong attacks away from home, but averaged only 44. These innings constituted 14% of Ponting's innings in Tests. By contrast, Lara played 30% of his Test innings against strong attacks away from home. Sangakkara has built an imposing record against such attacks. Border averaged higher than 50 despite making only five centuries in 52 innings against such attacks.

In home Tests, only Lara and Sangakkara average more than 50 against strong attacks, while Kallis, Border and Waugh average less than 40. Lara has done equally well against strong and weak attacks in Tests at home. Tendulkar's record against strong attacks in India is his worst performance of the six categories shown in this post. He averages a mere 46.

Over the past 15 years or so, we often heard how Dravid was a more dependable player than Tendulkar. A similar observation was often made about Gundappa Viswanath. Observations have also been made about Ponting and Kallis being better players than Tendulkar or Lara.

These figures suggest, fairly clearly in my view, that Tendulkar and Lara were superior all-round Test players compared to all the others mentioned in this list. They also suggest that Sangakkara is a freak of nature whose bullying of the minnows only turns a great Test record into a freakishly brilliant one. The same cannot be said of his great friend Jayawardene, whose bullying of the minnows turns a very good record into a great one. Dravid, Ponting and Kallis were contemporaries. Each played about 250 Test innings. Yet Dravid played about 15 more innings against strong attacks compared to Kallis and Ponting.

These are some of the things that can be studied in these charts. If you would like to see comparisons of specific batsmen, please propose groups of such batsmen in the comments below. I will present analyses in my next post.

Kartikeya Date writes at A Cricketing View and tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sigismund on February 20, 2014, 20:10 GMT

    Some of you fellows commenting here don't seem to understand the purpose of statistics. These ones are beautifully transparent: they tell you exactly what they say they do, and nothing more. It is up to you to draw inferences and weave them into the rich tapestry of your impressions. You should not mistrust statistics. They are innocent: they do not lie, they do not make any claims at all. It is only when people misunderstand them that they get abused.

  • Prateek24.1 on February 20, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    I do not think your formula to calculate the bowling strength is appropriate when defining strong and weak attacks. Consider the Adelaide test of 2003 between India and Australia. Because of amazing batting from Dravid, India managed to score big against mighty Australian attack. Now that Australian bowlers had conceded so many runs, your formula would judge them as not so strong attack. But, we all know how strong that attack was. Also, following your way of calculation above, it would look like Dravid scored high against a weak attack while actually it was his brilliant batting that made, the otherwise strong Australian attack, look weak Please correct me if I am going somewhere wrong here

  • on February 19, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Every era with its rise and fall has produced batsmen of startling impression.Their styles and approach differ as much as the game. Sobers,Kanhai,Weeks, Worrell,Walcott,Richards,Lara.Kallicharran are just a few outstanding names that represented the WI.Around the world were Gregg Chappell,Steve Waugh Inzaman Ul Haq,Miandad and a string of others.All have made proud their country and this great sport,but the greatest batsman of all time is no other than SUNIL GAVASKAR. He has made 13 centuries against WI pace and never wore a helmet.There are others that did not wore a helmet,but Gavaskar was phenomenal.

  • harshthakor on February 19, 2014, 3:30 GMT

    My best batsmen versus great bowling in the last 4 decades

    1.Sunil Gavaskar 2.Alan Border 3.Brian Lara 4.Rahul Dravid 5.Greg Chappell 6.Viv Richards 7.Sachin Tendulkar 8.Wasim Raja 9.Graham Gooch 10..Mohinder Amarnath

    Just look at Wasim Raja's phenomenal average versus West Indies and Mohinder Amarnath at his best.Sadly Viv was not tested against the great Carribean battery although he was the best player of pace bowling ever in the history of the game.Majid Khan,Gundappa Vishwanath and Steve Waugh just missed out.

  • harshthakor on February 19, 2014, 3:21 GMT

    I will also highlight the batting of Rahul Dravid who weathered a storm better than any great batsmen of his time including Tendulkar and Lara and came out trumps in important series versus Australia,West Indies and Pakistan.At his best V.V.S.Laxman played the best pace bowling better than anyone as he showed versus Australia in 2001 and 2003-04.

    Sadly we do not consider the world series Packer supertests.In that Light Greg Chappell would have scored 5 more centuries against great International attacks and 3 more against the great West Indies attack.His 621 runs at an average of 69 in 5 supertests in West Indies in 1978-79 was a great performance.Never forget his 174 and 246 n.o versus a world 11 in 1977-78 in Packer supertests.Viv Richards also gave his best performances versus Australia in Packer cricket.I suggest you make a chart adding Packer supertest stats.

    Lastly I would mention Graham Gooch who played the best west Indian quartet better than anyone of his era.

  • harshthakor on February 19, 2014, 3:12 GMT

    The batsman to my mind who championed the great bowling attacks more than any batsmen was Sunil Gavaskar who faced the greatest pace bowling quartet in the history of cricket in addition to other great pacemen like Dennis Lillee,Imran Khan,Ian Botham Richard Hadlee and Jeff Thomson.Above all he opened the innings.Never forget Wasim Raja who had the best average against the Carribean quickies.In the 1980's Border was the best against the best bowling attacks scoring many tons against the great Carribean quartet as well as mastering turning tracks.In his peak time from 1982-83Mohinder Amarnath played great fast bowling better than any batsmen in the 1980's .From the 1990's my vote in test c cricket would go to Brian Lara who amassed huge tons and above all many centuries in a crisis against the top Australian attack.The manner he reversed the fate of the 1999 Frank Worrel trophy with successive centuries was unequaled in the last 15 years.

  • SLSup on February 18, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    Haha, Bob! Here we go again. Sanga has scored 6138 in SL and 5013 Away. He has scored 853 in Africa @ 47.38; 1397 in Eng/Aus/NZ @ 45.06; 1060 in India/Pak @ 58.88; 682 in UAE @ 62.00 & 783 in BNG @ 78.30. He scored 3170 outside of Asia at 47.29. If he had more opportunities to play outside Asia he would have. That's not his fault.

    Lara scored 6217 in WI and 4976 Away. He has scored 1063 in Africa @ 48.31; 3143 in Eng/Aus/NZ @ 43.65; 1530 in India/Pak/SL @ 58.84; 173 against BNG in WI @ 86.50.

    Conclusion: they have home and away records that are near identical; Lara does marginally better in Africa; Sanga has a better record against Eng/Aus/NZ combined; they do equally well against India/Pak while they compare against BNG at 86.50 to 95.57.

    Lara's strike rate is 60.51 vs Sanga's 54.24. Aided in no small measure by Lara's strike rates against BNG/ZIM @ 77.57 & 85.38 to Sanga's 59.69 & 71.94 respectively. Did Warne, McGarth, Murali, McDermott play for BNG/ZIM? I have to look that up.

  • on February 18, 2014, 1:37 GMT

    Sanga doesnt score outside of Asia, and his matches against Australia were against a depleted Australia which was undergoing serious transitional problems.

    As for the best batsman since 1989, I'd go for Lara. His 153, 213, 277, 226, 221, 202, 400 and 375 were vs McGrath, Gillespie, Warne, Hughes, McDermott, the world record Harmission/Hoggard/Flintoff, Murli and Vass. In short, Lara had epic innings vs epic bowlers, and he maintained a healthy strike rate.

  • SLSup on February 17, 2014, 16:11 GMT

    A note on what mizan3060: Bradman contributed approx 110 per inning when Aus won, Sanga approx 65 per inning when SL wins, Lara behind Sanga with approx 55 per inning, Sachin is nowhere.

    prashant1: you say it is pointless talking to me? That could be cos you missed the point! : )

    Kartikeya: Appreciate your honesty that you have not SEEN Sanga being compared as much with others. But a journalist must not neglect to LOOK before they comment. I trust you at least get my pointers than some who refuse to accept facts. On Lara: Sanga has 6 run advantage over him w/ZIM & BNG but Sanga's 2 runs behind when they are removed. It takes more balls to dismiss Sanga compared to Lara + Sanga has 17 N/Outs compared to Lara's 6 (and Sanga's played less innings than Lara!. Lara scores at a higher rate than Sanga but they score hundreds at an equal rate.

    Shawn Marsh is better bat in SA cos he played Steyn in a Test Steyn was toothless (though overall his record is better than Lillee's)?

  • Insightful2013 on February 17, 2014, 15:50 GMT

    Mr.Hrolf, I have to agree with you since I cannot provide evidence otherwise. However, based on fitness levels, increased body sizes and other improvements, I can only base my conclusions on the vids available. I also think when views the amount of padding now required, it proves that bowlers are quicker and more hostile. After all, it does limit movement. Mr. SLSup, I did not say Richards, Miandad, KP, Sachin and Lara could score as they wish. I do not believe anyone could score as they wished against Marshall. Wasim, Waquar, Murali, Garner or Ambrose. I believe they would survive and not get out, I think? Do you think any batsman you know, could thrive against those bowlers listed above? Murali possibly, sometimes, but I know of no other occurrences against the others.

  • Sigismund on February 20, 2014, 20:10 GMT

    Some of you fellows commenting here don't seem to understand the purpose of statistics. These ones are beautifully transparent: they tell you exactly what they say they do, and nothing more. It is up to you to draw inferences and weave them into the rich tapestry of your impressions. You should not mistrust statistics. They are innocent: they do not lie, they do not make any claims at all. It is only when people misunderstand them that they get abused.

  • Prateek24.1 on February 20, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    I do not think your formula to calculate the bowling strength is appropriate when defining strong and weak attacks. Consider the Adelaide test of 2003 between India and Australia. Because of amazing batting from Dravid, India managed to score big against mighty Australian attack. Now that Australian bowlers had conceded so many runs, your formula would judge them as not so strong attack. But, we all know how strong that attack was. Also, following your way of calculation above, it would look like Dravid scored high against a weak attack while actually it was his brilliant batting that made, the otherwise strong Australian attack, look weak Please correct me if I am going somewhere wrong here

  • on February 19, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Every era with its rise and fall has produced batsmen of startling impression.Their styles and approach differ as much as the game. Sobers,Kanhai,Weeks, Worrell,Walcott,Richards,Lara.Kallicharran are just a few outstanding names that represented the WI.Around the world were Gregg Chappell,Steve Waugh Inzaman Ul Haq,Miandad and a string of others.All have made proud their country and this great sport,but the greatest batsman of all time is no other than SUNIL GAVASKAR. He has made 13 centuries against WI pace and never wore a helmet.There are others that did not wore a helmet,but Gavaskar was phenomenal.

  • harshthakor on February 19, 2014, 3:30 GMT

    My best batsmen versus great bowling in the last 4 decades

    1.Sunil Gavaskar 2.Alan Border 3.Brian Lara 4.Rahul Dravid 5.Greg Chappell 6.Viv Richards 7.Sachin Tendulkar 8.Wasim Raja 9.Graham Gooch 10..Mohinder Amarnath

    Just look at Wasim Raja's phenomenal average versus West Indies and Mohinder Amarnath at his best.Sadly Viv was not tested against the great Carribean battery although he was the best player of pace bowling ever in the history of the game.Majid Khan,Gundappa Vishwanath and Steve Waugh just missed out.

  • harshthakor on February 19, 2014, 3:21 GMT

    I will also highlight the batting of Rahul Dravid who weathered a storm better than any great batsmen of his time including Tendulkar and Lara and came out trumps in important series versus Australia,West Indies and Pakistan.At his best V.V.S.Laxman played the best pace bowling better than anyone as he showed versus Australia in 2001 and 2003-04.

    Sadly we do not consider the world series Packer supertests.In that Light Greg Chappell would have scored 5 more centuries against great International attacks and 3 more against the great West Indies attack.His 621 runs at an average of 69 in 5 supertests in West Indies in 1978-79 was a great performance.Never forget his 174 and 246 n.o versus a world 11 in 1977-78 in Packer supertests.Viv Richards also gave his best performances versus Australia in Packer cricket.I suggest you make a chart adding Packer supertest stats.

    Lastly I would mention Graham Gooch who played the best west Indian quartet better than anyone of his era.

  • harshthakor on February 19, 2014, 3:12 GMT

    The batsman to my mind who championed the great bowling attacks more than any batsmen was Sunil Gavaskar who faced the greatest pace bowling quartet in the history of cricket in addition to other great pacemen like Dennis Lillee,Imran Khan,Ian Botham Richard Hadlee and Jeff Thomson.Above all he opened the innings.Never forget Wasim Raja who had the best average against the Carribean quickies.In the 1980's Border was the best against the best bowling attacks scoring many tons against the great Carribean quartet as well as mastering turning tracks.In his peak time from 1982-83Mohinder Amarnath played great fast bowling better than any batsmen in the 1980's .From the 1990's my vote in test c cricket would go to Brian Lara who amassed huge tons and above all many centuries in a crisis against the top Australian attack.The manner he reversed the fate of the 1999 Frank Worrel trophy with successive centuries was unequaled in the last 15 years.

  • SLSup on February 18, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    Haha, Bob! Here we go again. Sanga has scored 6138 in SL and 5013 Away. He has scored 853 in Africa @ 47.38; 1397 in Eng/Aus/NZ @ 45.06; 1060 in India/Pak @ 58.88; 682 in UAE @ 62.00 & 783 in BNG @ 78.30. He scored 3170 outside of Asia at 47.29. If he had more opportunities to play outside Asia he would have. That's not his fault.

    Lara scored 6217 in WI and 4976 Away. He has scored 1063 in Africa @ 48.31; 3143 in Eng/Aus/NZ @ 43.65; 1530 in India/Pak/SL @ 58.84; 173 against BNG in WI @ 86.50.

    Conclusion: they have home and away records that are near identical; Lara does marginally better in Africa; Sanga has a better record against Eng/Aus/NZ combined; they do equally well against India/Pak while they compare against BNG at 86.50 to 95.57.

    Lara's strike rate is 60.51 vs Sanga's 54.24. Aided in no small measure by Lara's strike rates against BNG/ZIM @ 77.57 & 85.38 to Sanga's 59.69 & 71.94 respectively. Did Warne, McGarth, Murali, McDermott play for BNG/ZIM? I have to look that up.

  • on February 18, 2014, 1:37 GMT

    Sanga doesnt score outside of Asia, and his matches against Australia were against a depleted Australia which was undergoing serious transitional problems.

    As for the best batsman since 1989, I'd go for Lara. His 153, 213, 277, 226, 221, 202, 400 and 375 were vs McGrath, Gillespie, Warne, Hughes, McDermott, the world record Harmission/Hoggard/Flintoff, Murli and Vass. In short, Lara had epic innings vs epic bowlers, and he maintained a healthy strike rate.

  • SLSup on February 17, 2014, 16:11 GMT

    A note on what mizan3060: Bradman contributed approx 110 per inning when Aus won, Sanga approx 65 per inning when SL wins, Lara behind Sanga with approx 55 per inning, Sachin is nowhere.

    prashant1: you say it is pointless talking to me? That could be cos you missed the point! : )

    Kartikeya: Appreciate your honesty that you have not SEEN Sanga being compared as much with others. But a journalist must not neglect to LOOK before they comment. I trust you at least get my pointers than some who refuse to accept facts. On Lara: Sanga has 6 run advantage over him w/ZIM & BNG but Sanga's 2 runs behind when they are removed. It takes more balls to dismiss Sanga compared to Lara + Sanga has 17 N/Outs compared to Lara's 6 (and Sanga's played less innings than Lara!. Lara scores at a higher rate than Sanga but they score hundreds at an equal rate.

    Shawn Marsh is better bat in SA cos he played Steyn in a Test Steyn was toothless (though overall his record is better than Lillee's)?

  • Insightful2013 on February 17, 2014, 15:50 GMT

    Mr.Hrolf, I have to agree with you since I cannot provide evidence otherwise. However, based on fitness levels, increased body sizes and other improvements, I can only base my conclusions on the vids available. I also think when views the amount of padding now required, it proves that bowlers are quicker and more hostile. After all, it does limit movement. Mr. SLSup, I did not say Richards, Miandad, KP, Sachin and Lara could score as they wish. I do not believe anyone could score as they wished against Marshall. Wasim, Waquar, Murali, Garner or Ambrose. I believe they would survive and not get out, I think? Do you think any batsman you know, could thrive against those bowlers listed above? Murali possibly, sometimes, but I know of no other occurrences against the others.

  • mizan3060 on February 17, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    You can also see..during the career..how many times Tendulker was MOM when India wins vs. Sanga..when SL wins?

  • on February 17, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    Nice article! How about making the following adjustments to make the data more accurate?

    1) Instead of career avg to date it would be better to take career avg until retirement. For eg. if a bowler like Alviro Petersen avged 22 during that 2010 Test that is only because he got lucky during the early part of his career but he is not as good a bowler. So its best to take his avg till date which is 62 which is a more realistic measure.

    2) Instead of taking the weighted avg as per overs bowled in the innings, it would be more accurate to take weighted avg as per balls faced by the batsman from each bowler. For eg. Petersen may have bowled 2 overs in the innings but chances are that he might have not bowled at Tendulkar at all. So in such a scenario we should not take him into account at all. Face to face stats should be considered.

    I understand for matches prior to 2000 this data might not be available in which case it we have no alternative but to use innings bowling stats.

  • prashant1 on February 17, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    Here's another stat to chew on. From Jan 1992 to Jan 2005 (13 yrs) Tendulkar avg. 60.2,. And from Jan 2007- Jan 2011 (5 yrs) Tendulkar avg. 61.6. For more than 18 years Tendulkar has averaged more than 60. (As compared to the 13 yr something career of Sangakarra ..and longer than the careers of most of his contemporaries)..Sure this is using selective stats.But the point is that over a career spanning a Quarter Century issues such as injuries and then a terminal decline as Tendulkar witnessed are quite probable. Viv Richards average plummeted preciptiously in his last few years. But who on earth will use Viv's "Final" average to make a claim that dozens and dozens of batsmen were better ? But somehow the same logic seems to flow freely when ppl try to pump up their own favourites. Absurd.

  • prashant1 on February 17, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    Kartikeya- To elaborate in case the previous comment was a bit vague. So if the score is 400/3 ( with 2 batsmen still batting) and the combined average of the batsmen batting and out is 46, Then per wicket the pitch is 400/5=80 runs/wicket for batsmen who average 46. So If batsmen who on average average 46 score 80 runs a score of 80 is "on par" for such a batsman. i.e Clearly a batting pitch. If the Runs/wicket was 46 then it is a neutral pitch. And if less then a bowling pitch. Incorporating such stats would make a big impact on your analysis. This can be much further fine-tuned of course- to include the form factor of the batsmen, their individual averages in country being played etc...Thanks. Some more rationality and context in a sea of jingoism would be great.

  • prashant1 on February 17, 2014, 7:08 GMT

    Kartikeya - Thanks for some context in the middle of all this context-less obsession. As mentioned if you could put in a few tweaks into your analysis it may help: 1) Form factor . Instead of bowler CTD use the previous 6 months or so/ and post say 3 months ( on either side of a match) bowling figures only. 2 ) Use a rough pitch factor. i.e the combined average of the batsmen out in a team . So say a team puts up 400/5. And the Batsmen who were out plus those currently batting have averages of 40,45,50,50,45 . Then the com3ined average is 230/5=46. And the pitch is an approx 400/5= 80 runs per wicket pitch.For these figures again a form factor may be used....These minor tweaks will make things even clearer. Also-If you prefer a more coarse grained analysis instead ....Simply use peer ratio averages. For eg. an average of 50 relative to the rest of the field is worth far more than an avg. of 50 in the 2000s...I've got no beef against Sangakarra but a lot of the propaganda is mindless.

  • prashant1 on February 17, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    SLSup- Rather pointless with you. If you will even bother to read anyone else's comments besides your own you will recognize perhaps some of the following: 1) Tendulkar was the premier batsman through the 1990s. With an average MINUS minnows (Ban/Zim) of 59.4. The "next best" was more than 15% less ( Waugh). Try the same minus minnows with any other batsman in history ( including Sanga who seems to be the current favourite)....And you will see that ONLY Bradman had this kind of dominance over his peers for such extended periods. 2) Pitch factors 3) Bowling factors....Tendulkar has played every attack out there for a quarter of a century from age 16 onwards..4)Sanga's clear weakness in 4 major test nations in better batting conditons in the 2000s etc etc...For any proper cricket follower the context is enormous....It is patently absurd using blind selectivity of your choosing. By that reckoning Sangakarra should be miles and miles ahead of Lara..Sanga your fave.Fine.But context is good.

  • SLSup on February 17, 2014, 6:39 GMT

    response to prashant1: I find your assertion that I obsess over Sanga as a SL amusing considering the obsession of the author of this article with Sachin as an Indian. BTW are you a Sri Lankan? Now you even quote Sanga to prove your point. As if Sangakkara will say his record looks better than Tendulkar's. Don't ask Lara, he won't say it either! Haha.

    NOW, go back and read your own post (and Sanga's article on Sachin) and tell me this (please): IF after all that Sanga said Sanga still has a Test record that is BETTER THAN SACHIN - in almost every country exept against England & South Africa - would you say Sachin is still better though it doesn't take into consideration 6 out of 8 countries where Test cricket is played? Think & Research. Don't depend on others - especially Sanga - to tell you he is better than anyone else! : )

  • kartikeya on February 17, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    Thank you for the spirited discussion in the comments. I will try and respond to some of the common issues.

    I do not suggest that Tendulkar or Lara are superior to Sangakkara. They have not been compared by others to Sangakkara as they have been to Dravid, Ponting and Kallis. In my view, Sangakkara's record is freakishly brilliant.

    As I requested in the post, please leave a collection of 6 or so players who you would like to see compared.

  • on February 17, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Dont include Tendulkar just for the sake of it Author. Lara was far superior test match batsman. And whole world knows about the Lankan flat track bullies.

  • prashant1 on February 17, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    SLsup - I frankly don't understand your obsession with Sangakarra except for the fact that you are Sri Lankan. Most others would find it impossible to bracket Sangakarra with Tendulkar/Lara...There are several key sentences in that article ...."As an international cricketer of the current generation, the Tendulkar era"....."He is not just the finest and most complete batsman of the past two decades"....."He has scored runs in every cricketing country, on every type of pitch, against every bowling attack. Furthermore, his dominance extends from Test cricket to one-day cricket, and even to the newest format, the Twenty20 game."....

  • SLSup on February 17, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    Response to Ansra's tongue-in-cheek question: Let me walk you through the answer. Sangakkara average 95+ against Bangladesh whereas Sachin's average 136+ against them. Sangakkara averages 57+ against India whereas Sachin average 60+ against Sri Lanka. Surely you get the point! : )

  • SLSup on February 17, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    prashant1: I recall that article from Sanga about Sachin; you will notice how Sanga compares Sachin to Sanath as regards from the teams point-of-view and how true the crowd emptying effect was with Sachin just as it was with Sanath. Only, as Sanga says we lost games when Sanath failed, how often can you say that of Sachin? : )

    I agree with Sanga on the public eye when playing for India, after all we have what 1.2 Billion of them to pick 11 from? But I disagree with Sanga that it is hard to keep a place in an Indian team (example: Ishant Sharma with a bowling average that any batsmen will be proud of!).

    Sanga write much about Sachin's style of batting: as I posted elsewhere, I like his batting style, too. Better than Bradman's OR Sanga's. Sachin looks steadier early on compared to Sanga. But... leave aside the aesthetics and let the records speak for themselves. Wonder what Sachin would say about Sanga if he is able to write articles.

  • SLSup on February 17, 2014, 5:01 GMT

    Hrolf, excellent post: There was a limited study done years back where the primary factor to consider on Bradman (and those who played prior to 1960's in general) is the tremendous leaps in fielding since then. Bradman attributed his key attribute to batting as keeping his eye on the ball at all times. This is quite evident in his batting. Sanga once said the dual is between the ball and the bat, not the bowler and the batsman. I agree that Bradman would still post a Bradmaneque average (compare his First Class of 95+ an inning against 99+ in Tests. I find the GENERAL co-relation between First Class and Tests for all players amusing (though some do better in Tests than in First Class games and vice versa). This is why I follow Cheteshwar Pujara's career. Can he keep it at 60 or better or will he suffer the fate of most with a declining average over the years. I almost hate to say this now but Sanga appear to be going the other way - building his average steadily.

  • Ansra on February 17, 2014, 4:53 GMT

    If the point that the auther going to prove is true I can't understand why Sanga couldn't bully 'the Indian attack'. Tongue out.

  • prashant1 on February 17, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    Google - "beyond legendary, kumar sangakkara"

  • Hrolf on February 17, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    To Insightful2013 re Bradman - Looking at old footage has to used with caution at estimating his ability and the bowling he faced for the following reasons - much of it (for some reason) is selective for batting against part-timers, only the pre-war footage should be considered, good bowlers sometimes don't look good (Bowes was a classic example of that and struggled to regularly make the side), wicket-keepers were more likely to stand up to the stumps (trained on much worse pitches), bowlers were less athletic (but not necessarily more effective), cricket was more popular in England in the 1930s than today, and fully professional (thus no reason to believe bowlers were much worse than today). There is strong statistical evidence to suggest that batting today Bradman's average would still be above 75

  • SLSup on February 17, 2014, 3:07 GMT

    SO TO RECAP THIS DEBATE: The blogger started off by referring to Sanga's Bangladesh bashing when it was Bangladesh who would have bashed SL if Sanga had not scored 50% of SL's match tally.

    Then I suggested we remove Bangladesh & Zimbabwe to compare Sanga against the rest: the result was Sanga appeared better than all but Lara (when including Not Out innings on average but even better when Not Outs are excluded).

    This got those who refuse to accept Sanga's standing to look for a 'top 4' - that is Aus, Eng, SA, and India (I don't know HOW they came up with that list). Since Sachin doesn't bat against India and SL is not a 'top 4' we were then left with comparing Sachin & Sanga against Aus/Eng/SA.

    Then we found Sanga has a better AWAY record against Aus than Sachin and NOW we are down to Eng/SA. This is where things stand: How Sachin & Sanga has done against Eng/SA (both beaten badly by AUS recently) with only HOME series against Aus valid. Hmmmm...

  • LIONS_ROARR on February 17, 2014, 0:04 GMT

    LOL this article is a joke and very biased. I doubt if the writer has any knowledge of statics at all. Totally agree with SLSup, i couldn't have put it better myself:

    "We can keep removing all of Sangakkara's impressive records (as long as all other players are stripped of their records against those teams, too) until we arrive at a comparative set of statistics that makes Tendulkar and others look better than Sanga. That's fine."

    Proof of bias: Kartikeya himself has written in his sportswriter profile that his favourite team is India and his favourite athlete is Sachin.

    He has no mathematical background to his education at all. What he has done (tried to do) is manipulate stats in such way to fool the general public by making it seem as if his work is legit. Lol what a pathetic fail. Typically Indian :D

  • SLSup on February 16, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    Insightful2013: If as you say those batsmen could score as they wished how come they have lesser averages than Sanga (when you include BNG vs ZIM or WITHOUT them)? Was it because they wished to get back to the dressing room and chill?

    I guess of the top teams Ayush refer to cannot include Australia either since when you compare Sachin with Sanga, it is patently obvious Sanga has done better than Sachin playing Aussies AWAY: Sanga 60.33 vs Sachin 53.20. Maybe he will consider the HOME record that shows Sachin in a better light. *sigh*

  • on February 16, 2014, 22:48 GMT

    Baseless analysis. This man dose not even understand cricket..He didnot even mention role of pitches. Small example NZ bowlers on NZ pitches are strong as compared to BD pitches. NZ can bowled out strong Indian batting line up cheaply in NZ but they cannot take 20 wickets in BD. what would you call this bowling line up Mr writer

  • SLSup on February 16, 2014, 20:32 GMT

    Response to my friend Amit Ayush: Does your outstanding list of TOP countries include Australia? It looks like Sanga averaged 43.90 overall against AUS and 60.33 IN AUSTRALIA AWAY FROM HOME while Sachin has 55.00 overall against AUS with 53.20 IN AUS AWAY FROM HOME. That doesn't count right? Hmmm.... Oh it even out between overall and away averages so NOW let's compare the way they do in ENG, SA, and INDIA/SL. I think I posted elsewhere I am fine with that. That's the point of this article and debate is right?

    This blog starts by degrading Sanga's record against bashing Bangladesh though it is BANGLADESH WHO WOULD HAVE BASHED SL if Sanga had not scored nearly 60% of SL first inning total and nearly 50% of overall SL tally for the match. But THAT doesn't count! Leave ANYTHING that shed Sanga in a good light and focus on the negatives and everyone's happy. : )

  • Insightful2013 on February 16, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    Mr. SLSup, did you ever see Bradman or Headley bat? The archives, I've seen of him suggest an ordinary batsman with poor bowlers operating. I am only speculating since many because of his average and also respect, suggest that he was formidable. I theorize, however, that his appetite for runs and concentration would have, in any era, made him quite good. Speculation, one may say. As batting prowess go, I think Richards, Miandad, KP, Sachin, Lara are the best I've seen. Specifically in that order. I think given any bowling attack, if they felt like scoring, they were capable. Not dominating, but capable of staying in and scoring. No on could dominate Marshall. Wasim, Waquar, Murali, Garner or Ambrose if they wanted. Again specifically in that order, as bowlers. Just speculation, mind you.

  • on February 16, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    @slsup if only he had records to see your dream fulfilled!sorry mate,but I am not the one crying seeing sanga's woeful records in some of the major test playing nations!

  • SLSup on February 16, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    A note on Insigtful2013 comment on Gayle et al scoring runs: they score runs in shorter formats of the game where bowlers and fielders are restricted. They don't perform that well in Tests for a reason.

    Response to Amit Ayush: You last post sound like from someone who'd lost the argument. Let me rub salt to your wound. Ten years from now there will be three top batsmen who will occupy a hallowed space: Donald Bradman, George Headley (who was called Black Bradman) and Kumar Sangakkara (the Brown Bradman). No, it won't be Lara or Tendulkar. You can cry now.

  • on February 16, 2014, 18:51 GMT

    simple measurement is very difficult in cricket as it has too many variables like how old is the pitch/ ball , overcast conditions, how hostile the opposition/crowd , etc but to think about the way ABD played in the first test against Aussies shows he is way ahead of other batsmen in either team , same way SRT and Rahul dravid played many times and this makes them special

  • Insightful2013 on February 16, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    I wish I understood the reasons behind all these comparisons. Actually I do. Wouldn't it be more interesting to to analyze and celebrate, that some of these batsmen had faults which they overcame and still succeeded? Sachin's bottom handle holding, Lara's high back lift, Chanda's stance, Sehwag's and Gayle's foot movement. Point is, you can pick fault in anything, especially using stats. Many areas are dependent on stats. Politics,Business etc. However, cricket transcends averages. They're an amusing side note. Cricket is lessened by stats because to a lay person Gayle and Sehwag would be considered good batsmen and possibly they are? But, with limited foot movement, I am amazed how they score runs. I think a Wasim, a Marshall, a Hadlee would own these guys. Yet, they may not? It's unseemly to compare these great batsmen above. Batting is too difficult to not celebrate the excellence of all listed above. Averages state Bradman, but his footage's say he wasn't that good. To me anyway.

  • Cricketfan23 on February 16, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    @SLSup - Of course we all are capable of having our own opinions but the opinions of the people who have actually played the game at the highest level for so many years matters more than yours & mine.

  • Sigismund on February 16, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    Nice stats, thanks! I would really like to see a 'tough runs' quotient: career batting average divided by mean opposition bowling strength. That would sort out the class acts from the bullies. Who are the top 20-odd in this category, and are there any notable omissions or surprises?

  • on February 16, 2014, 18:31 GMT

    @slsup Forget about who is more attractive to watch,just as the stats say tendulkar was way ahead of Lara in 90's in away test matches and averaged over him in 2000's too.Now who is better among them is a personal choice,but it doesn't tell much about your cricketing knowledge when you think Sachin and Lara are not in the same class!Sanga averages in 30's in 4 of the major test playing nations(S.A,ENG,W.I. and India)I'm sorry dude but stack your claims with some real hard facts not with some mumbo jumbo!

  • on February 16, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    Stats can be twisted any which way. Why did you choose median? Why not mean? Also, how can the range be soooooo long 1877 to 2014? Number of countries playing has changed. Also the bowling strength concept, just because Nicky Boje gets a few more overs doesn't erase the fact that SA will be a much much weaker bowling attack on SL pitches even though the pacer's avg would have bought the avg down a lot. Also, how can you use Steyn/Morkel's bowling avg at the start of the series because highly likely that that particular series was the defining moment in that bowler's career. Still a batsman stood strong against him.

    Imagine for a moment we have KP also in the 10000 league and you count his runs against Mitch at Brisbane. Mitch's average at that time was 30. But he bowled in Brisbane like the best of the generation. So much for the analysis. I would say, just look at the plain vanilla Batting career summary and you would get a fair idea about any batsman.

  • SLSup on February 16, 2014, 17:57 GMT

    BTW, if I may, I just noticed Sangakkara average 80.19 against Pakistan in 19 Tests compared to his 95.57 against Bangladesh. Should we remove Sangakkara's record against Pakistan, too? After all, Tendulkar only averages 42.28 against Pakistan in 18 games.

    We can keep removing all of Sangakkara's impressive records (as long as all other players are stripped of their records against those teams, too) until we arrive at a comparative set of statistics that makes Tendulkar and others look better than Sanga. That's fine.

  • SLSup on February 16, 2014, 17:39 GMT

    Response to prashant1: Contrary to what you say, it is BRADMAN every batsman is compared against, not Tendulkar. Sachin scored 8 of his 50 hundreds in only 4 of his 200 Tests against Bangladesh & Zim. Just saying cos Sanga is talked down for his record against those two teams.

    NOW that I have suggested we REMOVE all records against BNG & ZIM those who refuse to acknowledge Sanga's truly impressive record are looking elsewhere to belittle him : ) Game on!

    Resposne to Cricketfan23: I am quite capable of forming my own opinions than have a Warne or a Benaut or someone else think for me.

    Response to Amit Ayush: In my list Sachin doesn't compare with Lara, Lara is in a league of his own. Style of batting apart, lets wait until Sanga is done with his career to see how he compares to Lara. : ) Sanga is still attractive to watch just as Lara, Sachin, and Viv. Bradman said Sachin reminds him of himself, I disagree. Sachin is a better bat to watch than Bradman. Benaud might disagree!

  • Sreerang on February 16, 2014, 15:36 GMT

    Its foolish to compare since there are simply too many variables in cricket. Add to that, that, everybody has his own views and own favourites. Does yours or anybody else's analysis make a Border or a Tendulkar or a Sangakara a lesser player?? So why compare when one can peacefully enjoy all these greats and geniuses?

  • waspsting on February 16, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    but do note when a player has DISPROPORTIONATLY scored heavily against weak teams.

    Criticisms against say, Viv because he didn't average 50 against Lillee and Thommo are silly... his career average is 50, if he was doing that against the very best he faced, he's doing something wrong everywhere else - its simple logical that you do better against weak bowling than good bowling and in flat conditions than lively ones, right?

    Who you rank higher is mostly indicative of the judge, not he judged - little to choose between the top lot.

    For consitency and handling all bowling in all conditions, I'd place Tendulkar top of the modern lot, and Sanga just behind. Sanga hasn't prospered everywhere quite like Tendulkar, but has the same easy unbothered air. Lara right up there, but not only didn't he, to me... he never looked likely to thrive against top fast bowling (Donald, Waqar, Wasim)

    Would suggest a four way breakdown - home, away crossed with weak, strong attacks for future.

  • waspsting on February 16, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    this analysis is a great starting point, but I think there's a lot more on show here.

    Historical example - Worrell (av 49), Weekes (58), Walcott (56) - who played in the same team. Look at the raw stats - Worrell's a long way behind the other two.

    Look further and you'll see Worrell outperformed the others EVERYTIME in Aus and Eng - the best bowling line ups and toughest batting conditions.

    Look further and you'll see Weekes thrived on weak bowling - conditions regardless, while Walcott thrived on flat conditions - bowling conditions regardless.

    How to subjectively "rank" them?

    I'll look into it more thoroughly, but gut reaction. Tendulkar seemed to me to be consistent - anywhere and against anyone - but didn't hit the high peaks of Lara, Ponting or Hayden - who had periods when they seemed to score 100s everytime.

    but they had lows periods, which Tendulkar didn't as much.

    I don't hold it against a player for butchering bad attacks - that's what your supposed to do (cont)...

  • moshec on February 16, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Sanga's average is so flawed, 1000 plus runs against bangla, he is a very good batsman but his average is deceiving.

  • prashant1 on February 16, 2014, 10:02 GMT

    Also, this analysis ( though broadly revealing) has 2 critical weaknesses: It doesn't consider the 2 following points: 1)Pitch factor - Clearly pitches were much more difficult in the 1990s . Only 3 batsmen who batted all through the 1990s avg. 50+ (Tendulkar, Waugh and Lara) as opposed to the numerous batsmen in the batting friendly conditons of the 2000s. Tendulkar could not take part in the 2000s run fest because of several mid 2000s injuries. 2) Form factor - the form of a bowler is critical. Especially those with longish careers. For eg. playing a Johnson now would be considerably different from playing him at some other point. Johnsons' career average of 27.4 hardly does his current form justice.... 3)"Away" figures should take the weighted average of all countries. For eg. a Sangakarra making sure to make it count in good batting conditions in a couple of countries away skews his entire "away" avg. So, though broadly OK , this analysis required much greater context .

  • Mayaro_Man on February 16, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    @Cricketfan23, obviously you love Tendulkar and its okay. Just like the list who picked Tendulkar, there are greats like McGrath, Pollock and Murali who give Lara the edge. McGrath said that he always felt that at his best, Lara had a bit more than Tendulkar. So citing that line of reasoning is not always a good method. Other research also shows that Lara's so called troughs are a fallacy and less conspicuous than Sachin. Lara, modestly will say Sachin is better and I have read similar quotes from Sachin also. Enjoy your heroes like others will enjoy theirs. The only constant I'm afraid is Bradman....now that's indisputable.

  • on February 16, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    SACHIN in 90's(all test matches) and in 2000's(all test matches) avg-58 with 22 centuries. avg-53.20 with 21 centuries.

    SACHIN in 90's(away test matches) and in 2000's(away test matches) avg-56.56 with 13 centuries. avg-54.09 with 11 centuries.

    LARA in 90's(all test matches) and in 2000's(all test matches) avg-51.60 with 13 centuries. avg-54.06 with 21 centuries.

    Lara in 90's(away test matches) and in 2000's(away test matches) avg-44.68 with 6 centuries avg-50.61 with 11 centuries

    p.s whatever the stat above says about sanga but with avg of 30's in England and South Africa he cannot be compared with Sachin or Lara.Period!Lara the most beautiful stroke player ever and Tendulkar the greatest run machine and both sight to behold when on song!Tendulkar is the greatest batsman of last 3 decades atleast considering his exploits in both forms of the game,lara the better test player and Kallis the best cricketer.

  • csowmi7 on February 16, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    The fact that Sangakkara averages 30.58 in England 36.60 in India against so called mediocre Indian bowling and 35.75 in South Africa clearly shows that he is not on the same level as Tendulkar Lara Ponting and Kallis. Despite this fact he is certainly a modern great and one of the best players of our generation and arguably the greatest wicket keeper batsman along with Gilchrist.

  • Cricketfan23 on February 16, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    @number-09 - warne,richie benaud,donald,clarke & many others have categorically placed tendulkar ahead of Lara.May be you should check it out. Lara is one of the all time great no doubt.If there is any batsman in the world that I would watch even if he was only defending,it would be lara.He was aesthetically great to watch.It was his flashy strokeplay & flamboyance that influenced opinions in his favour.Even at his peak, he was never as consistent as other greats.He used to get huge scores followed by a stretch of low scores.At one time his avg dropped even below 50.He had a prolific series against Srilanka & managed to get his avg above 50 again.Some refer to his 153 vs Aus & say that he was a better match winner than sachin.Anyone who saw that innings will remember that he was dropped in the dying stages of that match by healy.Had he been caught,that innings would also have been remembered as Sachin's 136 vs PAK & he also would have been labeled by some as 'not a matchwinner'.

  • prashant1 on February 16, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    I find it difficult to understand the hyping up of Sangakarra. Sangakarras averages - IN England - 31 , in India - 36 , in South Afica - 36 , in West Indies -34. Sangakarra's away figures against better bowling seem to be in Aus and Pak only.With a record so extremely weak away it is no wonder that honest cricket fans cannot properly compare him with Tendulkar and Lara.

  • Blade-Runner on February 16, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    @ Cricketfan23 ; Well, let me deduct all the records against Bangladesh 'n Zimbabwe from each batsman. ------ Sanga - 52.47 > Sachin - 52.14 ------- :) So, now what do you have to say about that ??? Sanga is still better than Sachin. :) And remember, Sanga is still playing and his average keeps rising. And Sanga averages way better in Australia (Sanga 60.33 > Sachin 53.2) and New Zealand (Sanga 66.80 > Sachin 49.52) than Sachin. It doesn't matter how you look at it, Sanga is better than others in every direction and his numbers speak for themselves.

  • Cricketfan23 on February 16, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    @SLSup - Regarding what I said about the avg falling as you play more, sachin averages 136 against bangladesh compared to sanga's 96 but he played only 7 tests(all away) compared to sanga's 15.Had he played more, his avg would have reduced from 136 but his overall run tally would have increased significantly resulting in better overall avg. In countries where sanga has played most away from home i.e SAF(8 tests) & ENG(9 tests), he averages 35 & 30 respectively with a century each.In comparison, sachin played 15 tests in SAF & 17 tests in ENG with avg of 46 & 54 respectively. Like I said earlier,let Sanga retire & then we will know where he really stands compared to other greats.Hopefully he will get to play against Aus & SAF atleast once before he retires. Even in the present lot,Clarke & De Villiers are better stroke makers than Sanga but don't play Bangladesh often like Sanga to inflate their avg.May be SL should play Bangladesh every year so that Sanga can surpass Bradman's avg.

  • on February 16, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    I dont understand, why should a better batsman score less than the others against weaker opponents.

  • prashant1 on February 16, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    A quarter of a century back people used to compare Steve Waugh to Tendulkar. Then Lara, then Dravid, Ponting, Kallis ,Sanga etc etc....Only one thing has remained constant...Tendulkar. Over the last 25 years Tendulkar has been the benchmark and the one against whom all batsmen are measured.

  • Lion83 on February 16, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    Even without considering the runs he scored against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe , sangakkara is still the best and he is a alltime great. If Srilanka play more tests he can break all the test records. Waiting for the England and New zealand tour this year Sanga will score atleast 3 more centuries sure.

  • InternationalCricketFollower on February 16, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    According to the stats..Sanga seems like the best batsman of all time!

  • SLSup on February 16, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    Response to Cricketfan23: With Sachin averaging 135 against Bangladesh to Sanga's 95 it must be quite obvious whose bullying Bangladesh more. Right? Perhaps not to you. The very point you bring out on 'falling averages' is the very argument that GOES AGAINST THE POINT YOU MAKE! If you RESEARCH averages you will see that Sangakkara has consistently improves/grown his batting average over the years compared to almost all other batsmen. But, then, you don't research do you? This is why your argument that Sanga will have a worse average than 60 if he plays more games with Australia hold no water! But, then, you missed that, too!

    A note on McGorium's comment: This is why I suggested we REMOVE all records against Bangladesh & Zimbabwe for all players and compare Sanga against the rest. The result? Sangakkara follows Bradman, Richards (Barry), Headley (George), and Brian Lara. Research and you will see how absurd your comments are. But it all makes for spirited debate. For that I thank you.

  • on February 16, 2014, 2:20 GMT

    Brian Charles, the best! That guy was simply terrific.

  • Cricketfan23 on February 15, 2014, 21:31 GMT

    @SLSup - Sanga has bullied the bangladesh bowlers & Srilankan fans have started believing that he is greatest batsman. In my opinion, Aravinda de Silva was the best Srilankan batsman that I have seen. He played in an era when almost every team had great bowlers & he had the ability to dominate attacks. Even ZIM those days had a decent attack. Jayasuriya was a hit or miss but De Silva was the one player opposition was wary of. Pity he didn't get to bully Bangladesh as Sanga has. Sachin, Lara, Ponting etc have all retired. Let Sanga finish & then we will know where he really stands. And regarding my assumption that Sanga will avg less if he plays more in Aus, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that as you play more & more, your average drops. At one time Sachin, Dravid & Ponting were all averaging over 57 & look where they finished. Kallis was smart in that respect that he promptly retired when he started failing.

  • number-09 on February 15, 2014, 21:22 GMT

    In response to Cricketfan23 - I have never heard any of these players categorically say the Sachin is a better bat than Lara.

  • McGorium on February 15, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    @Blade-Runner: Lies, damn lies, and statistics, as they say. Date's point is that performance against minnows contributes more to Sanga's test average than it does to other great batsmen. Sanga has played 20/122 matches against Zim and Ban so far (16%), whereas SRT has played 16/200 matches against Zim and Ban (8%). That SRT has done better on average when he played against Zim and Ban is missing the point entirely. If performance against minnows contributes say 2 points towards the typical players' average, in Sanga's case it contributes 4. For SRT, total runs against Zim and Ban count towards 10% of his aggregate runs (recall that for part of this time, Zim was a decent team). For sanga, it is 21% of his aggregate runs. i.e. Sanga's resume has a healthy padding of runs scored against minnows. Add to this the fact that 55% of his runs have come in SL (mostly SSC and Galle) vs. 45% for SRT, you can see why people think Sanga's average is inflated.

  • SLSup on February 15, 2014, 20:49 GMT

    Response to post by Ashok Shalgar on why Sachin is a legend OVER OTHERS and this article being statistically sound: Wrong & Wrong! First of all, you talk about a bunch of "feel good" sentiments about Sachin that are NOT statistically proven. Maybe more Indian's watch cricket now because there are more avenues to watch it now and there are more Indians around! Sachin may MEAN more to Indians (understandable and acceptable) but that doesn't mean he is a bigger legend in the world cricketing stage. Sachin is Bharat Ratna in India because they dont' give Bharat Ratna's anywhere else!

  • SLSup on February 15, 2014, 19:54 GMT

    response to Cricketfan23: you are committing the same cardinal sin: cherry-picking views and games and narrowing it to prime and non-prime instead of looking at the overall stats to determine who'd done better or not. Your comparison of Mohammed Yousouf with Viv Richards and Sunil Gavaskar: statistically Yousouf IS a better batsman than those two while stylistically guys like Viv and Lara are on a league of their own. You appear to say Sanga's higher average against Aus compared to Sachin don't count because Sachin has played MORE against Aus? You ASSUME Sanga will have a less average if he played more and you penalize Sanga for ICC/BCCI/SLC decisions on future tours!

  • Insightful2013 on February 15, 2014, 19:48 GMT

    Thank you kindly for your comment Aidan and I do like stats, somewhat. I do realize however, that stats do not account for variables. Also, when possible I read as much as I can since everyone has valid points, even you! Kartika took the time and effort to compile the stats and I appreciate that. His point of view reflects his thoughts and that is important to me. Doesn't mean he's right or that I am. However, it's imbecilic to question those particular batsmen. A batsman can only play the opponents he's given. Batting involves fitness, shot selection, concentration and lots more. I actually have played against test cricketers and was moderately successful. But cricket is too exacting and beautiful to be attempted halfheartedly. Also Bangladesh may not consider themselves weak! Have an excellent day sir!

  • SLSup on February 15, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    Yes, never mind Sangakkara's 319 against Bangladesh was almost 60% of SL total. Considering how the game played (especially the fact that Bangladeshis's came within 200 runs of winning the game with 7 wickets in hand) - SL may well have lost that game to Bangladesh if Bangladesh had time on their hand! Wonder what the outcome of that Test would have been had not Sanga scored nearly 50% of the nearly 900 runs SL scored in that game.

  • Clan_McLachlan on February 15, 2014, 19:31 GMT

    Generally a good analysis. One problem is that it penalises players who played for teams who had good bowling attacks. Ponting, Kallis and Waugh played for teams that usually had attacks with your "better than median" average. It's tough to knock them because they weren't able to face their own attacks; a player can only perform against the opposition that he is presented with.

  • Blade-Runner on February 15, 2014, 19:25 GMT

    Since the writer has mentioned about "Minnow Bashing", here are some interesting stats : -------- Average against Bangladesh : Sachin - 136.66 > Sanga - 95.00 > Lara- 85.38 > Kallis- 79.25 ---------- Average against Zimbabwe : Kallis - 169.76 (503.00 in ZIM) > Ponting - 96.00 > Sanga - 95.00 > Lara- 77.57 > Sachin > 76.50 .------ BUT, of course Sanga is "THE ONE 'N ONLY " minnow basher. :))

    Its like the story of SSC. Colombo. When we talked about Mahela or Sanga, SSC is the flattest deck in the world. When Murali is discussed ,SSC is a dustbowl. And when we talk about Vaas , SSC is the most seamer-friendly track in the world. :))

    I'm sure you've all got the point here !!!

  • Cricketfan23 on February 15, 2014, 19:20 GMT

    @Blade-Runner - Sanga averages 60 in Aus but he has only played 5 tests whereas tendulkar has played 20 & averages 53. Tendulkar had scored 2 100s on his first tour to Aus & he was only 18. Warne,Ponting,Clarke,Lee,Fleming etc have all said that Tendulkar was the best batsman of their generation.Haven't seen anyone in the world say that about Sanga.May be u should check out youtube to see what Richie Benaud said about tendulkar. Tendulkar was the only batsman of his generation to be picked in the all time greatest XI by Wisden. Tendulkar had the ability to destroy attacks whereas Sanga could not even hold a place in the team in IPL last year.The likes of Lara & Tendulkar didn't get to play against Bangladesh much in their prime otherwise their average would have been much higher. Lets not even talk about the ODIs where he was in a different league altogether. There is more to batting than just avg. If u go by avg alone then Mohammad Yousuf will be greater batsman than Gavaskar & Viv.

  • SLSup on February 15, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    Note to Cricinfo: I hope you'd publish my 'note to Author', too, which is more important. If I may also add a clarification on my response to Blade-Runner's earlier comment: when I said I have "excluded" Not Outs I meant I have moved away from the practice of not counting Not Out innings when calculating averages of batsmen. I believe if you count the runs FOR batsman then ALL innings played (per cricketing rules) must be applied when deciding the average. After all, a batsman sometimes remain Not Out because an umpire didn't give him out when he was! Sometimes not once but twice! Or vice versa. Keep things simple: all runs scored against all innings played.

  • SLSup on February 15, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    Well said Blade-Runner: Here's my list of all time great batsmen: Don Bradman = 52 games with 29 centuries @ 87.45. Barry Richards = 4 games with 2 centuries @ 72.57. George Headley = 22 games with 10 centuries @ 54.75. Brian Lara = 127 games with 32 centuries @ 51.14. Kumar Sangakkara = 102 games with 26 centuries @ 48.34. Jacques Kallis = 154 games with 41 centuries @ 46.21. Ricky Ponting = 157 games with 39 centuries @ 46.14. Sachin Tendulkar = 184 games with 43 centuries @ 46.34. Rahul Dravid = 148 games with 30 centuries @ 43.91. Steve Waugh = 163 games with 29 centuries @ 40.70.

    In compiling the list I also considered average innings per hundreds scored and number of balls per inning to determine how hard it is to dismiss a batsman. I have left OUT all records against BNG & ZIM. Lara has an edge over Sanga in strike-rate per inning only, not balls per innings. AND I've excluded Not Outs when deciding averages (Sangha has an "unfair" advantage there, too!)

  • on February 15, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    this is a good analysis, statistically proven one. one point to be noted, Tendulkar has been an inspiration & role model for many International cricket players of the generation that followed his .. that may include Dravid(started playing Int'l cricket much later than Sachin), Sanga and some other players who have done considerable contribution to world cricket .. that makes Sachin special.. Sachin not only became the voice of Indian cricket but also attracted lot's of fans towards cricket and brought glory to the game overall,, i bet no other player can compete with him in that respect.. here as well, he stands out as one of the best .. that's why he is The Bharat Ratna in real. .The true Legend!! and there r many legends as stated in the list above, they contribute together .. they all are great ..

  • syedharisshah on February 15, 2014, 18:39 GMT

    this article clearly shows that sangakara is much better batsman than others against strong bowling attacks, but i think to be the greatest batsman some other basis should be considered also, e.g. quality of inning one produce against very very strong attack under huge pressure. i think lara's 153* and 213 against mcgrath, gillipse and warne, and 277 in australia against warne,huges and mcdermett are the innings which can not be matched by others who has over 10000 runs. currently Amla's 311* against eng in eng against anderson,swan and broad,against no1 team and match winning inning is the best one since 2010.

  • Blade-Runner on February 15, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    @Anthony Bharath ; Lara is a great batsman and an ATG. But, his 400 against an average English attack on a flat deck at Antigua was not as glorious as you describe. Btw, that match ended in a draw and West Indies lost the series 1-2. Are you aware that only 8 outta 34 of Lara's centuries have come in winning cause ?

    On the other hand, Sanga averages 77.00 (The highest in the 10000 club) in winning causes with 18 centuries. Sanga's previous best , 287 came against South African attack that comprised of Steyn 'n Ntini, (Btw SL won the match). Mahela also scored 375 runs in that match but never gets the same recognition as Lara or any other batsmen.

    The bottom line is that Sanga is miles ahead of all other great batsmen. Even the stats presented in this article back him up. :)

  • stormy16 on February 15, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    All this is very interesting but I think everything needs to understand the idea of using the term "average" as a measure. This by definition is reasonable measure of comparing performances accross a number of players. This doesnt mean there are no "exceptions" or "unusual" trends but on average, the average is the best measure. So if someone had a good average, then that must be recognised as such. You dont get much by looking at too many other measures. For exampe Sachin averages 136 against Bangladesh and Waugh 237 against Zim and Bangladesh. Does this mean their overall averages are somehow dilluted? All these guys have played over a 100 hundered test and got over 10,000 runs and overall average is the fairest measure.

  • on February 15, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    are you serious? as per the indians any indian player average over 45 are legends. Nd sanga is nothing. This is hilarious. Don't look through ur glasses of nation, look freely as a human. Respect others. I'm pretty sure this is not gonna post but im sure u'll see this nd get well soon.

  • on February 15, 2014, 16:44 GMT

    It should be said that Lara is the best batsman since the tendulkar era bcuz sanga can never touch the superiority of having a score of 400 against a team tougher than bangladesh. Also Lara made 375 and at one point had the most test runs until tendulkar broke that record bcuz he had played way less than tendulkar , hence credit must be given to another great and not only sanga, tendulkar and the rest of he list.

  • saswat06 on February 15, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    Irrespective of all comparisons there is also another parameter i.e the hunger to win matches by a batsman.I have seen many matches where batsmen either bat slowly to save the test match(although they cud hv tried for a win) as a result at the end of the play they return to pavillion being "NOT OUT" so average increases. For ex:- In a match against West Indies on 2012 RT Ponting tried to up d run rate and in d process got out on 41.If he wud hv wanted then cud have played selfishly and returned pavillion being NOT OUT.This is just a example and thr r many other xamples of selfishness cricket which r beyond any statistics which can only be experienced watching a match live. Thr r many batsmen for whom winning never matters,they just concentrate on their own average and performance. So this kind of stats never gives a conclusive picture regarding who's a better batsman.

  • Blade-Runner on February 15, 2014, 14:15 GMT

    Sanga's average of 61 in Australia is way better than Lara, Tendulkar and Dravid. Sanga is also the owner of the highest ever 4th innings score (192) by a visiting batsman in Aus of all time. Batting in the 3rd or 4th innings of a Test vs. Aus in Aus is monumentally difficult as that is when the Aussies go for the knock out punch and exert extreme pressure on the opposition. In the face of such immense pressure, >>> Tendulkar AVGs 26.00 <<<<< and >>>>Lara 20.00 <<<<< and neither have scored more than 80 runs in an inning. ---- Sanga however averages " 87.00 " with one century and two fifties. Beat that !!!!

    Sanga is ahead of all other batsmen by a country mile (even according the stats presented in this article - the overall avg against better bowling attacks - 56.3 - the only batsmen to average over 50)

  • Rohit... on February 15, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    this is probably the best analysis of all times... Though I feel that Ponting & Dravid sould have been treated wit more respect & it should be mentioned that Kallis should get some consideration given his bowling contribution as well... It is often un-noticed that SL batsmen are at the same level as that of the Pakistani's batsmen... But SL batsmen mot be the criteria when yakes tons of runs against the minnows which make them superior to Pakistan but that should not be the criteria when the list of great batsmen are to be made.

  • mizan3060 on February 15, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    Little Disagree for the comments against Sanga. Against worse Bowler: Sanga Avg.57.0, Tend'kar 56.8; Against better bowler Sanga 56.3, Tend'kar 49.0. Against Better bowler away Sanga 58.7, Tend'kar 50.8; against weaker bowler away Sanga 42.6 Tend'kar 52.6. As per the table Tend'kar only average better against weaker team in away games. He too scored his best test innings in Bangladesh (248). As per the tables shown, no way, Sanga is worse than Tendul'kar. Besides, Sanga Innings against Bangladesh covert loose to draw or win for Sri Lanka...in some matches it was Sanga vs. Bangladesh.

  • Blade-Runner on February 15, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    Can anybody explain how this writer came to this conclusion ??? "These figures suggest, fairly clearly in my view, that Tendulkar and Lara were superior all-round Test players compared to all the others mentioned in this list. " Am I missing something here ?? coz according to these stats Sanga is far superior than everyone else.

  • on February 15, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    Also, the opening comparison between Tendulkar's 146 and 169 is fallacious. Firstly, bowling averages represent the average cost of a wicket for a bowler over a number of innings. There's considerable variation in a bowler's performance from match to match, so it's not clear you can say one attack was better in a specific match based on this. Secondly, Tsotsobe had played very few matches at that point so the estimate of his average would be very noisy.

  • Blade-Runner on February 15, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    @ crzcric ; Yeah, I agree with you. but its a failed attempt. :) As we all can see, Sanga is the only batsman who has averaged over 50 (50.7) against better bowling attacks. Yet, this writer claims that Sachin is better than everyone else. Hilarious stuff to say the least. According to these stats, Sanga is ahead of all others by a fair distance.

  • on February 15, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    One thing your analysis ignores is where "home" is. I assume that strong attacks are usually built around a strong pace attack. Kallis would have faced these strong pace attacks in South Africa, the best place for fast-bowling, for his "home" average. Tendulkar will have faced these strong pace attacks on flat Indian pitches for his "home" average. If my assumption is correct, that seriously disadvantages Kallis.

  • crzcric on February 15, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    OK.This all these point are an effort to put sachin ahead of others.Can u put an analysis to size of tour.SL always get 2 test match series in away matches when IND get 3 test matches tours.SL get lesser practice matches before the series than IND.And SL get ENG ,AUS ,SA tour rarely.unlike IND.IND always had the better chances to get use to conditions.So how can you expect better avgs than sachin.Why don't you put those important statics here????And Don't forget sanga is a wicketkeeper too.

  • ALEEMCH75 on February 15, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    I think in this list Lara is on top.Schin make 100 against Australia but in many times without Macgrath who was main striker for Aus.Similarly there was Dravid,Laxman and Sehwag for Schin 's support. But Lara was the only player in his team for fighting with all best..so big big pressure he handled in many years.No doubt schin is 2nd in this list. Sangakara's record in Aus,Eng and RSA is very poor even he hit 9 100 against pakistan but not against best attack.

  • CricFan24 on February 15, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    The best overall record after Tendulkar's is actually Kallis. Kallis was generally Very underrated but after Tendulkar he has the best overall record against and in most countries. Showing the skill set to adapt to most conditions.

  • raghav_sachinfan on February 15, 2014, 10:05 GMT

    i think sachin and dravid had largest amount of pressure when they came is ....especially sachin...given the fact that indian bowling line up was never really strong they new that they will have to perform if india had a chance and added to that sachin had the pressure of the fans(scince they expected him to score each and EVERYTIME

  • OldBertie on February 15, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    I would like to see how this analysis holds up when considering earlier batsmen: it seems to be a fallacy to consider all bowlers ever in the median when only discussing batsmen from the past 30 years, when batsmen have been more dominant. Do you think that an analysis of earlier batsmen, with lower career totals, would achieve statistical significance?

  • CricFan24 on February 15, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    Here's another stat to chew on. From 2 Jan 1993 to 2 Jan 2011 Tendulkar avg. 59.4. i.e for 18 yrs inspite of several serious injuries in the mid 2000s. During this period He avg. not less than 40 against and in every single country. Sanga in his less than 14 yr career thus far avg. 30 something in 4 countries - England, India, South Africa and West Indies.

  • on February 15, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    you have admirably looked each one's performances against various attack. i think the same side dimension should also be taken into consideration. i.e., there is a lot of difference between playing as part of a weak team and strong team. the pressure does not only come from the opposition. it also comes from one's own team's weakness. in this count dravid and tendulkar had to fight from a relatively weaker team, which increased their pressure. weak bowling in one's team means he has to score more. you cannot be sure of which is good enough because you dont have a strong bowling to defend. while chasing you always chase a huge target as your bowling gives away lot of runs.

    the weakness in the bating ranks of one's own team also plays a crucial part in increasing the pressure of the performing batsmen. again dravid and tendulkar suffered from this. they have the burden of playing with extra care as others are not dependable. the case of chennai test in 1999 is the best example for this.

  • CricFan24 on February 15, 2014, 9:44 GMT

    Also, I agree with many ppl here that stats are not everything. There is a lot of context and subcontext to stats which are generally not comprehensively covered. Especially in blanket analyses such as these. But still- for observers of the game for many decades it is clear that Tendulkar was a class apart. Lara next because of his inconsistency and variable successes away including a weakness against real pace bowling. But anyway- such stats do give a very slight look at things.

  • Blade-Runner on February 15, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    Ok..let me point out some of these stats. --- Against better bowling attacks OVERALL : Sanga- 56.3 > Sachin - 49.0 .---- Against better bowling attacks AWAY : Sanga - 57.80 > Sachin - 50.8 -----Against better bowling attacks HOME : Sanga > 53.8 > Sachin - 46.00 . So, how come this writer claim that Sachin is better than Sanga ?? In every aspect, Sanga's records are far better than others. Thanks Mr. Kartikeya Date for bringing these awesome stats to prove that Sanga is the greatest !!!

  • CricFan24 on February 15, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    @Wajira Wanigasekera - One needs to have watched cricket for at least a few decades to appreciate this. Tendulkar was the best in the 1990s when wickets and bowling was tougher. Through the 1990s for batsmen who batted right through the 1990s Tendulkar avg 59.4 (MINUS minnows Ban/Zim). The "next best" was Steve Waugh with 52 and Lara with 51 (Just 3 batsmen with 50+ avg). i.e for an entire decade Tendulkar out performed the "next best" in much tougher batting conditions by almost 15%. Neither Lara, nor Sanga etc has ever achieved anything like this. Sanga has been a very good batsman but has he ever dominated the rest of the field by such a huge margin for any length of time - never mind a decade ?No....And all this is not even touching ODIs where Tendulkar stands alone,with the only Viv Richards standing shoulder to shoulder with him.

  • on February 15, 2014, 9:12 GMT

    one thing i dont underestnad in the conclusion is why sachin is better than others. his average against better bowling attackes is less than others. but the Author say he is better than others. Lara- yes, his averages are better.so i am confused on the colclusion.

  • CricFan24 on February 15, 2014, 9:12 GMT

    Except for the inhabitants of one little island - Noone will possibly compare Sanga to Tendulkar. Tendulkar stands alone.

  • on February 15, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    @blizNM The same can be said the more you play in foreign conditions the more you as a batsman are likely to adjust and be able to cope with the conditions. Experience in these conditions. As for being win less it is not SL players fault that like you pointed out they tour once in a blue moon. Now probably even less. So don't be jealous that a wicket keeper is better than a through and through batsman in the form of Tendulka

  • on February 15, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    This is really insightful. Great way to look at "real" averages. However, while it should have factored in a few more variables. If we have considered batting averages basis the strength of the bowling attack, we should have done the same for bowling attacks as well. If batsmen can pad their averages against weak attacks so can bowlers. Secondly, as averages oscillate wildly during the initial phase of one's career, there should be an adjustment factor for bowling averages of bowlers when they had played fewer than twenty tests. I would also give extra weights to scores in the second innings. Thanks.

  • blitzNM on February 15, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    ....cont and 1 more think......i think it is better to compare these stats after sanga and others play 200 matches and average atleast 53.

  • blitzNM on February 15, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    there cant be any comparison between sachin & sanga simply because sachin has played against top attacks very frequently since his debut. Especially in 90s he was by far the best of the lot. How many matches has sanga played in AUS? 3 or 4. Sachin has around 20. In england he has played only 2 series i think that too with long gaps in between. I think the more you play against one opposition, the more there are chances for opposition to find out your weakness. And sanga is a defensive player who will not play aggressively unlike sachin or lara. Therefore sanga cannot win matches against top teams and the sole example is there winless record in aus & ind. In total, SL has won just 1 test match till now in there more than 30 years of existance. That just tells you the story....Overall i consider lara & tendulkar equal because lara often had series with low scores. He was somewhat like hit-or-miss player throughout his career. While sachin declined in his consistency after 2003.

  • NaeemRafique on February 15, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    Why there in no Pakistani Player in the list. Is there any logic behind or is it by design???????

  • Princepurple1979 on February 15, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    For Lara you also have to count the fact that his team was in perpetual trouble when he batted. When Sachin had Dravid, Laxman , Ganguly, Sehwag etc to take off some pressure Lara nearly had nothing and had to bear the full brunt of opposition attack.

  • Khanz_World on February 15, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    I am surprised to see that Inzimam Ul Haq no where in the list...while he is one of the greatest batsman among sachin, lara, ponting and others

  • prashant1 on February 15, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    24 years, 34000 plus runs, 100 100s - One Master. SRT was the best in the 1990s on tougher pitches and bowling. In the mid 2000s a lot of batsmen made merry with SRT injured. Which neutralises SRTs stats. Till 2002 SRT was miles ahead of his contemporaries. Sachin Tendulkar = Greatest batsman of all time.

  • on February 15, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    Sanga's average in asu is 60.33

  • mwjay on February 15, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    "away average against teams that have a better than the median bowling strength" tells you everything

  • akpy on February 15, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    kingowl...i like your sense of humour

  • xtrafalgarx on February 15, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    Sangakarra only stays in the top 10 rankings because he kills poor teams like Bangladesh. however when he goes to SA and AUS he is not as good.

  • PadMarley on February 15, 2014, 2:26 GMT

    Well people people!! Be a bit more sensible here. Dont bash the author for coming up with a bit more realistic angle compared to what we normally use for our comparisons, like career average, most runs etc. Compared to that, this article gives a much better view of the batsmen. it is for sure not conclusive of judging the greatest ever in batsmanship. Stats will never do that, cos cricket is entertainment and art, its no London stock exchange stats. At least this statistical analogy will open the eyes of shallow cricket fans who try to godify some players, or bash others calling them 'flat track bullies' for hatred or political reasons. Give some credit to this analogy, it does give very useful insights!!

  • KingOwl on February 15, 2014, 0:54 GMT

    Well, it is very clear now. Sanga is by far the best of the lot. The most critical statistic for me is the "away average against teams that have a better than the median bowling strength". Sure, one can be critical about all the statistical methods. But these figures are clearly a lot better than comparing the overall averages and these numbers are very clear. Sanga is exceptional. He is a true genius. Sachin is not even close!

  • on February 15, 2014, 0:35 GMT

    Honestly these stats seem really useless to me. You want to find out the best test batsmen simply check their averages in winning matches in descending order with minimum 15-20 matches. That will prove which team depended on whom but more importantly who was able to perform when his team needed him the most .

  • on February 14, 2014, 23:47 GMT

    Lara is the best Batsman i have ever seen it will never ever be Tendulkar he will only among the top ten

  • on February 14, 2014, 22:49 GMT

    Every batsmen has some sort of ordinary bating record. Some against a given team, some outside their country, some against better bowling attacks, be it Lara or Tendulkar, Ponting or Dravid, Kallis or Sangakara or any other batsman. Every batsman has played against weaker side, why to blame Sangakara only.

  • on February 14, 2014, 21:21 GMT

    This is excellent. Would you be able to do something like with Sir Donald Bradman's stats?

  • on February 14, 2014, 21:07 GMT

    insightful... I would love to see all the stats...

  • Cricketfan23 on February 14, 2014, 21:01 GMT

    The numbers only show what is obvious. Anyone who has watched cricket for the past 20 years will know that Tendulkar & Lara were the best batsmen of their era. Ponting, Kallis, Dravid, Sangakkara were below those two. If you also consider ODIs & Longevity, Tendulkar was the greatest batsman of his era.

  • kasifdotinfo on February 14, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    This is a generally fine analysis. However, I disagree with the author's firm conclusion that Tendulkar and Lara were superior all-round Test players to all others mentioned.

    Obviously, Tendulkar and Lara haven't the bowling credentials of Kallis or the wicketkeeping credentials of Sangakkara (if Sangakkara is to be considered only as a batsman, his batting averages skyrocket), so Tendulkar and Lara can't rightly be considered superior all-round Test players to those two.

    Looking at batting alone, the "better than median" average must be given the most weight, as a team depends more heavily on its best batsmen against good bowling attacks. Sangakkara's overall "better than median" average is by far the best, as is his crucial "better than median, away" average. Why the author chooses to essentially ignore his own analysis and place the still respectable Tendulkar and Lara ahead of Sangakkara is perplexing.

  • TheKeeper on February 14, 2014, 20:32 GMT

    This system of analysis makes for interesting conversation but doesn't represent any reality whatsoever. Batsman's greatness cannot be judged on the weight of their away/home performances alone that would be highly ridiculous. I can only think that the author doesn't know much about batting; otherwise he wouldn't come up with such a naive evaluation of greatness.

  • on February 14, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    Insightful2013, you do not live up to your name. If you don't like stats then don't read articles on stats. If you are not a Test player yourself you clearly aren't in a position to comment on anything (applying your logic). So play village cricket with your other pompous mates and leave the insights to kartika.

  • on February 14, 2014, 19:20 GMT

    LARA's BESTS: 1)153*, 2)213 against GD McGrath,JN Gillespie and SK Warne.both match winning innings under huge huge pressure against best attack and against no1 team. 3) 277 against australia in australia against CJ McDermott, SK Warne and MG Hughes, series turning inning, 4)400* against harmission, hoggard and flintoff (world record), 5)375 against caddick,fraser,tufnell( record breaking inning) 6)226 against australia in australia against GD McGrath, B Lee and SK Warne 7) 221 and 8)202 against murli and vass, one of them was in srilanka,spinning pitches 9) 202 against south africa in south africa against pollack and ntini i think LARA has played very very special innings against very good bowling attacks more often than others. now AMLA is doing what LARA did in his career, AMLA's 311* against Eng in Eng, 196 against Aus in Aus, 253* against Ind in Ind are very special innings, all 3 match winning innings against good attack

  • Charith99 on February 14, 2014, 19:03 GMT

    well if sanga did not made 37 runs today in the t20 against bd sl would have lost the match. thesekind of half baked analysis are meaningless.

  • My-Dear-Watson on February 14, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    Well there is one more aspect of viewing these stats. Lara for most of his career and Tendulkar for much of his career played in the team where the whole team was dependent on them to score. Teams use to do well if they score , fails if they do not. So there is a pressure to perform every time they came to bat. Batting under this pressure and immense expectations has its own toll. After the win of world cup 2011 , Kohli summed it up by saying this about Tendulkar " He has carried India for 20 year on his shoulder, its time we carry him on our shoulder"

  • on February 14, 2014, 17:26 GMT

    There is a problem with any kind of post-hoc analysis of greatness. I will try to explain it in terms of tennis. Around 30-40 years back, the GOAT was judged in terms of his success in both singles and doubles. The focus slowly shifted to singles titles alone. John Mcnroe for example did not know that people 30 years later would not care about doubles anymore when judging his ranking. Otherwise, he would not have wasted energy to try and win doubles titles. Similarly, Lendl did not know people will give so much priority to no. of titles. Otherwise, he would not have tried to win Wimbledon by skipping 2 French Opens. Basically, the scale on which you would rate a player must be told to him before he plays. Many times it is a case of "if I had known that is how you would calculate it, I would have prioritized my performances that way"...

  • on February 14, 2014, 16:32 GMT

    Its nice one... Flat track runs should have less weightage too

  • rjansen on February 14, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    What many stats study fail to consider is the length of successful period. For example Kallis stats are forever hamstrung by his first 20 or so tests where he had a very poor average.

    If you do the exercise of calculating the best 4000, 6000, 8000, 12000 periods among the top batsmen, you will find the Ponting and Kallis dominate, with the likes of Tendulkar, Sangakarra and Sobers in the next spots.

    I would be very interested to see a proper analysis on cricinfo of this.

  • on February 14, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    While considering the average for batsmen as away/home why was not the same applied to bowlers too, while finding median ave. Date- thk the attack average of 32.54 u had posted as an example might indeed be much less when u consider the bowling average of mentioned bowlers only in SA. While the same attack in away be more. A strong attack for example say like SA could be great in SA but not in SL. Have seen them taken for many in SL. RUn scored abroad is always difficult and it always speaks abt the class of the batsmen so i dont really see any reason to seperate the attacks as strong and weak

  • pradeep_dealwis on February 14, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    I, for one, have no doubt in my mind that the greatest batting genius I have seen in my life is Brian Charles Lara. And no stats one way or the other can change my mind. I am a Sri Lankan and idolize Sanga. But I'm sure Sanga, as would I, would call it sacrilege to compare himself to Lara!

  • Insightful2013 on February 14, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    Why are some people so enamored of stats? Have you ever played cricket before? It's seems almost that your lack of assessment abilities is directly proportional to your obvious ability at compiling stats. At which point do you feel that your acumen allows you to question players like Sangakara, Jayawardene etc? Every player mentioned above, every one, are superior, excellent players in their own right. Even if they had poor averages, they, by virtue of firstly, form of their strokes, footwork, shot discernment and playing to their strengths, marks them out as excellent proponents of their craft. I suggest that you have too much time and are simply sublimating your possible lack of cricket skills by compiling and atrociously evaluating subjects you should simply leave alone! This was a horrible blog by the way.

  • CricFan24 on February 14, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    The innings against better bowling attacks AWAY are the clear indicator.

  • ArjunHemnani on February 14, 2014, 14:30 GMT

    Instead of weightage average method you should try Harmonic mean; it is more correct method and closer to realistic figure. It goes like this....

    balls bowled by bowler in innings divided by his bowling avg. Now add all the figure of each bowlers (say, X). total balls bowled by all bowlers is divided by X.

    in your example it is 703/22.76 = '30.88'

    30.88 looks more intrinsic than 32.54.

  • Dugu13 on February 14, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    This is a nice post can we have one with the bullying openers Sehwag, Hayden, Grame Smith and maybe Gayle

  • on February 14, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    the only player in the list is brain lara who played 52%, the most, of his innings, against stronger attack and still got averg of 49.3 against them, all of the others played less than 50% or 40% of their innings against strong attacks. so i think lara's achivements are bigger than others. also note that Sangakara is the only player who avereges 56.3 against strong attacks, no one other than him has avg of 50 against strong attacks, so he is the best player against strong attacks. his away avg against strong attacks is the best of all, so i recon him better than others if these are the basis of choice, every one agree? but i think there are also some other points which should be considered, players match winning perfominces against best attacks, and lara is the leader in this category after bradman, his 153, and three double hundreds against warne,mcgrath, glispe,bret lee can not be matched

  • on February 14, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    Stats could show anything but not the nature of pitch, conditions, match situation, position where you bat and how you changed the game and imposed yourself on the game. And without doing any analysis I'd pick Lara and Ponting over Sachin and Kallis any day/ any time in my 11.

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  • on February 14, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    Stats could show anything but not the nature of pitch, conditions, match situation, position where you bat and how you changed the game and imposed yourself on the game. And without doing any analysis I'd pick Lara and Ponting over Sachin and Kallis any day/ any time in my 11.

  • on February 14, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    the only player in the list is brain lara who played 52%, the most, of his innings, against stronger attack and still got averg of 49.3 against them, all of the others played less than 50% or 40% of their innings against strong attacks. so i think lara's achivements are bigger than others. also note that Sangakara is the only player who avereges 56.3 against strong attacks, no one other than him has avg of 50 against strong attacks, so he is the best player against strong attacks. his away avg against strong attacks is the best of all, so i recon him better than others if these are the basis of choice, every one agree? but i think there are also some other points which should be considered, players match winning perfominces against best attacks, and lara is the leader in this category after bradman, his 153, and three double hundreds against warne,mcgrath, glispe,bret lee can not be matched

  • Dugu13 on February 14, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    This is a nice post can we have one with the bullying openers Sehwag, Hayden, Grame Smith and maybe Gayle

  • ArjunHemnani on February 14, 2014, 14:30 GMT

    Instead of weightage average method you should try Harmonic mean; it is more correct method and closer to realistic figure. It goes like this....

    balls bowled by bowler in innings divided by his bowling avg. Now add all the figure of each bowlers (say, X). total balls bowled by all bowlers is divided by X.

    in your example it is 703/22.76 = '30.88'

    30.88 looks more intrinsic than 32.54.

  • CricFan24 on February 14, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    The innings against better bowling attacks AWAY are the clear indicator.

  • Insightful2013 on February 14, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    Why are some people so enamored of stats? Have you ever played cricket before? It's seems almost that your lack of assessment abilities is directly proportional to your obvious ability at compiling stats. At which point do you feel that your acumen allows you to question players like Sangakara, Jayawardene etc? Every player mentioned above, every one, are superior, excellent players in their own right. Even if they had poor averages, they, by virtue of firstly, form of their strokes, footwork, shot discernment and playing to their strengths, marks them out as excellent proponents of their craft. I suggest that you have too much time and are simply sublimating your possible lack of cricket skills by compiling and atrociously evaluating subjects you should simply leave alone! This was a horrible blog by the way.

  • pradeep_dealwis on February 14, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    I, for one, have no doubt in my mind that the greatest batting genius I have seen in my life is Brian Charles Lara. And no stats one way or the other can change my mind. I am a Sri Lankan and idolize Sanga. But I'm sure Sanga, as would I, would call it sacrilege to compare himself to Lara!

  • on February 14, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    While considering the average for batsmen as away/home why was not the same applied to bowlers too, while finding median ave. Date- thk the attack average of 32.54 u had posted as an example might indeed be much less when u consider the bowling average of mentioned bowlers only in SA. While the same attack in away be more. A strong attack for example say like SA could be great in SA but not in SL. Have seen them taken for many in SL. RUn scored abroad is always difficult and it always speaks abt the class of the batsmen so i dont really see any reason to seperate the attacks as strong and weak

  • rjansen on February 14, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    What many stats study fail to consider is the length of successful period. For example Kallis stats are forever hamstrung by his first 20 or so tests where he had a very poor average.

    If you do the exercise of calculating the best 4000, 6000, 8000, 12000 periods among the top batsmen, you will find the Ponting and Kallis dominate, with the likes of Tendulkar, Sangakarra and Sobers in the next spots.

    I would be very interested to see a proper analysis on cricinfo of this.

  • on February 14, 2014, 16:32 GMT

    Its nice one... Flat track runs should have less weightage too