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Clarke rises to second in batsmen rankings

ESPNcricinfo staff

August 6, 2013

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Michael Clarke went past a half-century in the afternoon session, England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford, 1st day, August 1, 2013
Michael Clark's 187 at Old Trafford moved him up to second in the ICC rankings for Test batsmen, behind Hashim Amla © PA Photos
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Michael Clarke has jumped three places to second in the ICC rankings for Test batsmen, following his 187 at Old Trafford against England for which he was also named as the Man of the Match.

Clarke, who had earlier topped the rankings during the 2009 Ashes, is now just 20 ratings points behind South Africa batsman Hashim Amla, whom he can overtake with another strong performance in the fourth Test in Chester-le-Street.

England batsmen Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen have also moved up in the rankings. Bell, who is leading the batting charts in the Ashes with 381 runs, is now placed 10th, while Pietersen's century at Old Trafford helped him jump two places and he is now 14th on the list.

In the bowlers rankings, Australia fast bowler Ryan Harris leaped four places to achieve a career-best ranking of 11th, while Graeme Swann's match figures of six for 233 took him to sixth, ahead of team-mate James Anderson.

South Africa's Dale Steyn continues to head the bowlers' table with teammate Vernon Philander in second place, and Sri Lanka's Rangana Herath in third position.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (August 7, 2013, 23:34 GMT)

@(August 7, 2013, 10:47 GMT) - of course, I'd take Anderson over Siddle every day of the week, however Siddle outranking Anderson adds context to the 'Anderson is the greatest bowler of the modern era' that some English fans seem to genuinely believe.

If he can't even outrank a stock bowler like Siddle when he (Anderson) is allegedly at his 'peak', then it reaffirms that he's very good now but will never be considered a great by anyone in any official capacity or anyone with any perspective.

England's lineup are VERY solid. They have one explosive player, in KP, who can turn an entire game in an hour. Aside from him they have good, solid players who are reasonably realiable. I did notice that Trott's first 1800 runs came at 66, his last 1700 have come at 36, so playing a lot of Test cricket also helps your rank.

@(August 7, 2013, 8:38 GMT) - Swann's last 101 wickets have come at 29.66 and Ajmal's last 100 wickets have come at 23.60. Swann's good, Ajmal is better, clearly.

Posted by Unomaas on (August 7, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

If you are going to do comparisons, then do them based on batting position. If Clarke is going to persist at 5 then compare him to the other premiere number 5 batsman who is Chanderpaul. If Clarke is gonna bat 4, then compare him to Kallis and Tendulkar. When Clarke starts batting first drop, then comparisons can be made between Amla, Sanga and Clarke.

Additionally, the speculations about Clarke and the Aussie team batting prowess (or lack there of) is speculative hence we can't infer any conclusions.

I would also like to say that I have a lot of respect for batters that bat at 3. Lara, Ponting, Sanga, Kallis started their careers there and then moved down to 4. One of the reasons that I rate them above Tendulkar.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2013, 14:57 GMT)

Trott ranked world no 5 as an ODI batsman? These rankings must NOT take into account the strike rate, a MAJOR component of the greatness of the batsman, especially so in ODIs. Slowpoke Chanderpaul will plummet in test rankings when we multiply everyone's average by their strike rate. Also, averages must matter more than the sheer number of runs, otherwise how can Prior be ranked so far ahead of so many greats of the game? These things have to be measured over 2 years at least. Ajmal & Herath are good, almost as good as Swann but benefit from playing a lot of matches on vicious turners at home. Let's see take Ajmal take a 5 for at Old Trafford in the 1st innings. Herath flopped in Australia. Before we say Herath & Ajmal are better than Swann, let's see them take many wickets in SAf, England or Australia.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2013, 12:08 GMT)

@Lliam Flynn

Correct, Anderson has received lavish praise, but he does win matches and can be unplayable. Siddle also wins matches but no one suggests he is unplayable. Anderson stats for

2010-2013 - 166 wickets at 25.39 2003-2005 - 35 wickets at 36.40

Peter Siddle 2010-2013 - 112 wickets at 26.19 2008-2013 - 166 wickets at 28.15

Given that Anderson has over 300 wickets, this is why he is lauded

Posted by   on (August 7, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

Funny thing,if we compare Anderson and Lehmann, Lehmann is considered a Part time bowler but yet has Better avg and economy than Anderson, ups,

Posted by   on (August 7, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

@Liquefierrrr

What you say is correct, but the tables are a guide to form rather than class. Does this table means Siddle is a better bowler than Anderson? I dont think many commentators would make that statement. It does mean he has bowled better recently. The most important statistic to take from the tables is length of time at the top (or at a high score) as this denotes the level a batsman can reach. If you look at KP everyone would say he is an excellent bat and on his day can play innings that even Amla and Clark couldn't. His highest rating is 909 but currently is ~750 which shows he is not consistently playing those innings. The other point to note is that England, even with the poor series they are currently having with the bat, have 5 players in the top 20 batters (Cook, Pieterson, Trott, Bell, Prior) with a 6th (Root) rising fast just outside. This says the Englands batting line up is very reliable indeed. If they stay in to top 20-30 then they are consistent too.

Posted by dunger.bob on (August 7, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

Instead of either/or, can I have both Clarke and Amla please. Then give two more decent bats, 4 good bowlers and a wk who can catch. Take that lot on and see how you go.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2013, 8:38 GMT)

@Liquefierrrr. Herath and Ajmal both play on far more wickets that help them than Swann. Ajmal and Swann are about the same level in my view. Herath on the other hand averages 24 at home and 40 away versus Swann averaging 28 home and away.

Too early to judge Philander as a great. 16 Tests is not enough and there is some evidence that suggests he's in a bit of a lull. Certainly he didn't pull up any trees in county cricket with Kent this year.

Posted by Tumi_tlhomz on (August 7, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

Sorry i just noted the 44 innings and 31 innings comparison which exemplifies my point.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2013, 8:17 GMT)

The commentators and Media go on and on about Anderson and it's beyond me... just in this third test Siddle and Harris were getting more out of the pitch. And they have better rankings and averages... It's quite obvious that the australian bowling unit is better than the English one. To keep calling Anderson the best bowler in the world you would mean the only bowlers you're comparing him to is his own team.

Posted by rockyyy on (August 7, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

@lil_rudiger86 We(india) are coming for Amla's 3 double centuries at South Africa.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2013, 7:50 GMT)

Siddle is understandably the best ICC-ranked bowler playing in this match. For this series he has taken more wickets at a lower average against a better batting lineup than the (IMO overhyped) Anderson. He is now indisputably the best first-change bowler going around. But somehow he is still the forgotten man of pace bowling! If Harris can maintain his excellent form look for him also to be in the top 10 by the end of the series.

Posted by Tumi_tlhomz on (August 7, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

@lilrudiger consider how many more tests clarke has played than amla when making a comparison with regards to number of hundreds. you will note that amla has achieved his results playing much fewer matches. And amla comes in at 3,first drop and our openers arent always consistent. As somoene said earlier amla plays according to the match situation perfectly. Both great batsman but amla over clarke.

Posted by Benster2 on (August 7, 2013, 6:07 GMT)

Clarke's record speaks for itself. He is a magnificent batsmen in all conditions and against all opponents.

The only shame is that his legacy will be tarred by his association with the average team he now captains.

I think Liquefierrrr makes some very good points and I think Front-Foot-Lunge makes some very bad points. From reading these comments, it seems that Front-Foot-Lunge understands very little about the game.

Posted by LoudHoward on (August 7, 2013, 5:36 GMT)

@Mpho, Clarke didn't exactly perform poorly in India, averaged about 48 did he not? Not bad given the situation and the conditions.

Posted by V-Man_ on (August 7, 2013, 4:45 GMT)

Amla occupies a very important position on the batting line up. Where are Mr Clarke hides down the order at no 5 and sends young inexperienced player to be cannon fodders. He doesn't have the guts to move up the order when the team needs him to. I don't understand how can the best batsman in the team bat at no 5. Look at all the good players like pointing, Sachin and sanga who started at 5 or 6 but moved up when the team needed them to.

Posted by lil_rudiger86 on (August 7, 2013, 4:13 GMT)

Let me put this into perspective:-

In the last 2 calendar years (Since Sept 2011),

Clarke 44 innings, 4 not out

6 centuries 3 double centuries 1 triple century

Amla 31 innings, 3 not out

6 centuries 1 triple century

So unless Amla makes 3 double centuries in his next 13 innings, Clarke is probably more deserving of top spot.

Both exceptional batsman. On a character basis, Clarke is more aggressive and has often given away his wicket trying to better the team situation. Amla has never had to face his own bowling attack, and is not burdened with captaincy or chronic back problems.

Posted by CanGrit on (August 7, 2013, 2:47 GMT)

I would definitely pick Amla over Clark. They are both very good but Hash got more style to go with the substance. And all those ppl saying Amla has good batsmen around him, Clark did have great batsmen around him until recently. Ponting, Mr Cricket Hayden to name a few. Amla is definitely more consistent that Clark.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 7, 2013, 2:43 GMT)

All the talk of Clarke being better than Amla because of the relative strengths of their teams is pure speculation. There's no specific reason to believe that Amla wouldn't do just as well as he already is if he was playing for Australia. The simple fact is that they are both exceptional batsmen and any team would love to have either of them.

Posted by V-Man_ on (August 7, 2013, 2:39 GMT)

Amla over Clarke. You have to do something very special to stand out in the current SA batting line. Which Amla does consistently and helps the team win big matches. and lets not speak of the current AUS batting line. You don't have to do much to stand out. Plus Clarke is flat track bully. Look at all his big scores, they were all scored on flat tracks where the ball hardly did anything. And when ever he gets a big score the team doesn't win the match lot of the times. I can think of 3 big hundreds Clarke scored but the team still didn't win the big match.

Posted by landl47 on (August 7, 2013, 2:01 GMT)

@2nd_Slip: I'm not sure if you've actually played cricket, but I assure you that being one of a great side is a heck of a lot easier than being the one on whom all the side's hopes rest. I'm not saying Amla isn't a great batsman, just that he's never batted under the same pressure to score runs as Clarke has. When you know you've got Kallis and ABD to come in if you fail, you have less pressure to succeed. When it's 3-40 and the next two batsmen after you are Smith and Hughes it's a whole different story.

Ponting was a great batsman, but check out his scores when he was part of a great side and compare them with how he did after all but Clarke and Hussey had retired. You'll see he declined markedly. Clarke, on the other hand, has batted better since he's been the main man. Amla didn't even want to handle the pressure of being vice-captain. Put him in a side where he is the only test-class batsman and see how he gets on.

I'll take Clarke any day.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2013, 1:53 GMT)

This is so childish, isn't it? Mine is bigger than yours is the game that is regularly played around the sandbox at primary school. I am just glad that with all the legends and true great batsmen that have retired over the last couple of years at least some of the current crop is still worth watching. If not for Clarke, Australia would be way down the bottom in Tests with Bangladesh, Zim and NZ, given their current batting line-up. He is aggressive and scores his runs at a brisk rate. Most of the time. Amla plays the team situation better imo. If the SA team is in a sticky patch, he'll play conservatively. If they are in some position of dominance, batting displays like Perth is the result. Both of them is a treat to watch in full flight. My personal preference lies with Hash just for the ease on the eye. And then of cours is also his demeanor and personality on and off the off the field. On second thought, that probably is the clincher which has nothing to do with batsmenship. My take

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (August 7, 2013, 0:36 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge - he's batted for so long lately that he sees off multiple new balls. Not only that, we are constantly 3-for-nothing so the ball is still new.

This angle you take is baseless and also reeks of jealousy. None of your current crop of Englishmen will ever be spoken of in the same sentence as Clarke or Amla and that grates on you.

England are middle of the road. No greats, quite a few good players, but Anderson and Swann will retire with worse averages than Angus Fraser, Darren Gough and Andy Caddick - and who speaks of them at all anymore?

Clarke is an incredible Test batsman and, unless you are saying Bell is hiding at 5, plays a hugely important role. Bell at #5 has been absolutely incredible this series and has saved England countless times. That is why you are obviously incorrect about this 'hiding' angle, which is the only one you can take with such a brilliant player as Clarke. Redundant.

And how is Cook going? 0 in the last innings, yeah leading the way.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 6, 2013, 23:45 GMT)

@Mpho Motsepa " Clarke is a good batsman, but very inconsistent . Amla has proved himself, home and away. Clarke couldn't produce the goods when Aus needed him in India. His record as captain leaves a lot to be desired."

I would dispute both those claims. It is ridiculous to say Clarke isn't consistent. He played three tests in India where he only scored one century. That was just about his worst run in years. As for his captaincy, other than the last 4 months, it has been exceptional in terms of results. Or are you just going to ignore the first 20 of his 26 tests? He lost only three of those first 20How many other captains in world cricket can beat that?

Posted by   on (August 6, 2013, 23:27 GMT)

neo-galatico, when talking about the aesthetics of a batsman and who is more pleasing to watch, Amla might get the point (though I think Clarke straight drives and cuts better), but Clarke definitely is the more beautiful player of spin.

Posted by CapitalMarkets on (August 6, 2013, 23:23 GMT)

I agree with many comments here that Clarke is more valuable to his team than Amla, because there's a much bigger gulf in class between him and his team mates and Amla doesn't aspire to captaincy, which is also an additional burden on Clarke. If Clarke has a weakness, it is in not being able to command the support of all the senior pros in the teams he has captained. Amla seems a less controversial personality, which may have something to do with his faith, which makes him more of an outsider in his team than Clarke is in his. It is fairly obvious that a major reason that Katich had to go has been because his relationship with Clarke broke down irretrievably rather than the fact that he is 38 next month. Haddin responded to that look from Clarke after he failed to pouch Root with a much better performance at Old Trafford. Rogers is too new to have established himself as a senior pro and both he and Harris seem too pleased to be playing at all to have had time to fall out with Clarke.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (August 6, 2013, 23:16 GMT)

Fantastic stuff, Clarke deserves his position

Posted by GrindAR on (August 6, 2013, 22:26 GMT)

I just have a question about the calculations for ranking in general.What is the moving time window for the point calculations for players?

Posted by HenryPorter on (August 6, 2013, 22:22 GMT)

In the bowler's rankings... what? Why no mention of Siddle's Test ranking of 5, comfortably above Swann and Anderson?

Posted by   on (August 6, 2013, 22:17 GMT)

Congratulations to Clarke, he is indeed a very fine player and he deserves the recognition. His teammates need to replicate his level of output; if they do, then they have a sound chance of beating us in the return Ashes.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2013, 22:02 GMT)

Quite seriously, are Clarke and Harris the only 2 Aussie players who would get a serious look in to the English team at the moment? There's not much else in their squad jumping out for inclusion. Don't think we'd need Siddle's brand of reliable fast-medium, and the batting is notoriously underwhelming at the moment (1 innings aside).

Personally I think Clarke is an excellent batsman AND a good captain, which shouldn't be forgotten. Comparing to Amla is tough for the reasons mentioned many times before but if I was buying one of them for England, it would be Amla for sure but generally speaking think you need context to make that choice.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2013, 19:47 GMT)

To me Clarke is the best. considering the pressure he is under & having to deliver being the One world class player is some serious business. Amla at least has ABD, Smith, Kallis around me. Given any day I'll pick Clarke over any batsman

Posted by neo-galactico on (August 6, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

I doesn't really matter to me who's better between Hash and Clarke, they're both fantastic batsmen for their respective teams. That said, if I were to bid for one of the two I'd bid more money on Amla. He's better to watch for mine, those wristy drives plus that backfoot punch it alone is worth my money. Clarke is good to watch too but not as aesthetically pleasing as Amla.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

Amla all the way. Clarke is a good batsman, but very inconsistent . Amla has proved himself, home and away. Clarke couldn't produce the goods when Aus needed him in India. His record as captain leaves a lot to be desired. As of Anderson and Harris, how do u compare 14 tests to 50 tests, don't wanna talk about it

Posted by DylanBrah on (August 6, 2013, 17:16 GMT)

@2nd_Slip - definitely better? That's questionable mate. Clarkey has way more pressure on him to score runs, and nearly always delivers.

Posted by 2nd_Slip on (August 6, 2013, 16:17 GMT)

@RandyOZ - I completely disagree with you there mate, I think most cricket knowledgeable fans who really follow the game would take Amla over any other batsmen in test cricket at the moment. @ landl47- What flawed reasoning you are throwing up there. I suppose in your case Ponting would not qualify as a great batsman because he played alongside the likes of Hayden, Gilchrist, Symonds, et al who were good batsmen?! Clarke is a fine batsman but Amla is definitely better than him.

Posted by Jay.Raj on (August 6, 2013, 15:44 GMT)

Clarke is better than Amla, I think

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 6, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

Congrats Clarke, but Batting at 5 in the bubble of the middle order is just a completely different game. Fact is, Clarke wasn't there when Aus needed him. All those calls for him to move up the order, which reached a deafening level during the India tour, went unheeded. He couldn't cope with facing the first ball of the innings every innings like his opposite number does. So seasoned cricket watchers take this news with more than a pinch of salt.

Posted by landl47 on (August 6, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

@RandyOZ: I agree with you; good player though Amla is, I'd take Clarke over him. Amla has Smith, Kallis and DeVilliers, all very fine players, around him; Clarke has some combination of Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Khawaja, Warner, Cowan- in other words, nobody.

I'm sure Harris would be very close to the top of the rankings, maybe second only to Steyn, if he could stay fit. Unfortunately 14 tests in 4 years mean he's lucky even to be where he is. Part of being a good bowler is actually playing in tests. At his best I'd take Harris over Anderson, but Anderson has played 50 tests over the same period as Harris's 14. The difference in value to the side is tremendous- Anderson is far more valuable. Incidentally, his 10 for 158 in the first test didn't look that toothless.

Posted by OceanSaffa on (August 6, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

@Karl Jenaway- Pls know your test cricket. Is being about 6 years Amla the leading bat in the world, 2gether with ABD they have avaraged +65 the last five years. Dont talk about Kohli and Pujara in the same sentence as Clark and Amla. They are the leading test bats at present.

Posted by Optic on (August 6, 2013, 12:51 GMT)

@RandyOZ You don't understand why Anderson is above Harris because of one game, better go and learn what the ranking are all about, saying that in that game Harris got 4 wickets to Anderson 2, lol. Apart from that Harris has played a grand total of 14 test matches in his career, while Anderson has been consistently one of the best bowlers in the world for years.

I would also have Amla everyday of the week above Clarke.

@Karl Jenaway So you think Amla's having a lean time of it lately and Kohli's got a formidable record in tests. Seriously do you even check up on these things before you type. Amla averages 77 the past 5 series and Kohli averages 41, which would make him 7 worst in the England side.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2013, 12:13 GMT)

Amla's series averages for his last 5 Test series are 47, 120, 62, 88 & 71. Long may that 'lean spell' last, Karl Jenaway.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 6, 2013, 12:09 GMT)

I think most people would take Clarke over Amla, despite them both being amazing players. Still can't understand how Anderson is above Harris, he was toothless.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 6, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

I do take these ratings with a large pinch of salt (why on Earth does Agar rocket up to 91st on the batting list after just 1 good knock, and Lyon is in the bowling table ahead of the likes of Bresnan for example...) - but it's great to see some Australian and English names (back) into the top ten of the lists. Very well done to Bell, Clarke, Swann and Siddle in particular for creeping up the lists. Hopefully we'll see a few more names from both teams in the top tens by the end of the current series.

Posted by CutHis_ArminHalf on (August 6, 2013, 11:57 GMT)

Clarke couldn't care less.

He'd trade all his runs and accolades for Australia to be #1.

You definitely could not say that about a lot of other current and retired batsmen around the world.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

clarke deserves his place .amla is going through lean patch these days.he should look out for pujara and kohli who have formidable record in tests.pujara averages highest in the present scenario and a strong performance in sa series cud lift him to top spot in tests.clarke need to be consistent as he made only one century in 4tests in india. he should score more match winning knocjs as australia are winless in last 7tests.

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