The best ODI batsmen October 24, 2011

Richards, followed by daylight

A look at the best ODI batsmen from across eras, taking into account the changes in scoring patterns in the format
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The one-day international has changed to such an extent that it is almost unrecognisable from the version that was first introduced to cricket audiences on January 5, 1971. In the early years of the format, a run-rate of four an over was considered a challenging one, with the batsmen approaching the game rather conservatively, keeping wickets in hand and going after quick runs only in the last few overs. In the 1975 World Cup, for instance, the average run-rate in the entire tournament was 3.91 runs per over; in the next edition, in 1979, it dropped to 3.54. Compare that with the run-rate in the most recent edition of the World Cup, when the overall tournament scoring rate exceeded five for the first time, and it's obvious that the way the ODI is played has changed hugely over 35 years.

With the scoring patterns undergoing such significant changes, any straight comparisons of numbers across eras becomes almost meaningless, simply because the benchmarks have changed so much: what used to be a par total in the 1980s is well below average today. It's true that batting averages have gone up in Test cricket as well, but compare the average in the 1960s (30.81) with that in the 2000s (32.02), and the difference is only 1.21 runs, which, as a percentage of the 1960s average, is an increase of 4%. In ODIs, on the other hand, the average strike rate in the 1970s was 60.39; in the 2000s, it went up to 75.06, an increase of 24%. (The average went up from 24.52 to 27.85 too. For more big-picture numbers on how the ODI has changed over the years, check out Anantha Narayanan's It Figures blog here.)

These differences are key when comparing batsmen and bowlers across eras. So here's a look at the ODI stats of batsmen across different time periods, but adjusted to account for the par scores and scoring rates during the periods in which they played.

No discussion on great ODI batsmen can begin with any name other than Viv Richards, so let's start with him. His stats are impressive enough as they are, but they become even better when put into perspective by comparing with the par numbers during his playing days. Richards' ODI career spanned 16 years, from 1975 to 1991, and he finished with a career average of 47 at a strike rate of 90.2 runs per 100 balls. But during the period in which he played one-day internationals (from his first game to the last), the batting average in ODIs for the top seven batsmen was 29.38, while the average strike rate was a mere 65.96. Multiplying the two factors (average and runs per ball) for Richards and for the average during his period, it turns out that the batting index for Richards (the product of average and runs per ball, which is 42.39 for him) is 2.19 times the average during his period. That, in a nutshell, was what made him such a great batsman - unarguably greater than anyone else who has played this format. Sample this stat to understand how destructive he was: of the 62 times when he faced 50 or more deliveries in an innings, on 25 occasions his strike rate was more than 90, and 19 times he scored at a run a ball or more.

Richards' numbers clearly stand out, but there were a few other top-notch performers too, in an era when the format was still relatively new. Dean Jones averaged nearly 45, at a strike rate of more than 72; his batting index was 1.64 times the overall batting index during the period when he played. Gordon Greenidge, Allan Lamb and Javed Miandad all have pretty good numbers too, though Greenidge's strike rate might come as a bit of a surprise to those who remember him as a swashbuckling opener with an ultra-powerful square-cut: he managed only 65 runs per 100 balls. Lamb had a higher batting index, but he also played in a slightly later era than Greenidge, when batsmen were beginning to understand better the demands of one-day cricket. Allan Border remains among the great Test batsmen of all time, but his ODI stats pale in comparison to some of the other top players in his era.

Top ODI batsmen in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s
Batsman ODIs Ave/ SR Ave*SR Overall Ave#/ SR Overall Ave*SR Ratio
Viv Richards 187 47.00/ 90.20 42.39 29.38/ 65.96 19.38 2.19
Dean Jones 164 44.61/ 72.56 32.37 29.65/ 66.56 19.74 1.64
Gordon Greenidge 128 45.03/ 64.92 29.33 29.33/ 65.99 19.35 1.51
Allan Lamb 122 39.31/ 75.54 29.69 29.88/ 66.96 20.01 1.48
Javed Miandad 233 41.70/ 67.01 27.94 29.65/ 66.57 19.74 1.42
Desmond Haynes 238 41.37/ 63.09 26.10 29.39/ 66.00 19.40 1.35
Allan Border 273 30.62/ 71.42 21.87 29.44/ 66.00 19.43 1.13
# For top 7 batsmen only

By the time the next generation of cricketers arrived, the tempo of one-day internationals had clearly moved up a notch. A look at the table below confirms that: the par strike rate for players who played in the 1990s and early 2000s moved up from about 65-66 in the earlier era to beyond 70. Thus the batting index for this generation of batsmen moved up from around 19 to around 22, which clearly shows that the benchmark to judge batting performances had moved up.

In terms of stats, the batsman who stood out in that era was Michael Bevan. Admittedly, his average is boosted considerably by his unusually high number of not-outs: out of 196 innings that he played, he was unbeaten 67 times, which is a whopping 34%. Assume a not-out percentage of 15, and his average comes down to around 41.5, which in turn brings his batting index down to around 31, and the ratio to around 1.40. However, since averages have been taken for all players, it's only fair that Bevan gets the same treatment. It's undeniable, though, that his not-outs skew his numbers more than they do for the others.

There were several other top-class ODI performers too during the late 1990s and early 2000s, in a era which was marked by many high-quality left-handers: apart from Bevan, there were Brian Lara, Saeed Anwar, Sourav Ganguly and Gary Kirsten who all finished with exceptional ODI records. The right-handers weren't left behind though, and stood out for their grace and elegance, as much as the sheer number of runs they scored.

One exception has been made in the table below, for the sake of greater accuracy. Ganguly played 311 ODIs in all, but he played his first on January 11, 1992, and his second on May 22, 1996, more than four years after his first. His ODI career was thus made up almost entirely of matches played after May 21, 1996, which is why the overall average and strike rate for him consist of matches played after that date. (Considering the matches between 1992 and 1996 would have given him an unfair advantage, since it would have included a period when the par scores and scoring rates would have been relatively lower.)

Top ODI batsmen who played mainly in the 1990s and early 2000s
Batsman ODIs Ave/ SR Ave*SR Overall ave#/ SR Overall ave*SR Ratio
Michael Bevan 232 53.58/ 74.16 39.73 31.04/ 72.63 22.54 1.76
Saeed Anwar 247 39.21/ 80.67 31.63 30.70/ 70.98 21.79 1.45
Brian Lara 299 40.48/ 79.51 32.19 30.78/ 72.34 22.27 1.45
Mark Waugh 244 39.35/ 76.90 30.26 30.71/ 70.41 21.62 1.40
Sourav Ganguly 310* 41.15/ 73.75 30.35 30.97/ 73.97 22.91 1.32
Aravinda de Silva 308 34.90/ 81.13 28.31 30.50/ 70.32 21.45 1.32
Gary Kirsten 185 40.95/ 72.04 29.50 30.93/ 72.31 22.37 1.32
Inzamam-ul-Haq 378 39.52/ 74.24 29.34 30.80/ 72.41 22.30 1.32
Mohammad Azharuddin 334 36.92/ 74.02 27.33 30.23/ 69.28 20.94 1.30
* Excludes his first match, since there was a four-year gap between his first game and his next one.
# For top 7 batsmen only

And then come the current era of cricketers, who have played their ODIs in an age when the speed of scoring has become even more frenetic. The list below consists of batsmen who have mostly played their ODIs in the 2000s. The overall averages in their era hasn't changed much from the previous table, but the strike rates have increased considerably, from the 70-72 range to the 75-78 range. For example, during the period in which MS Dhoni has played - from December 23, 2004 onwards - the average strike rate for all top-order batsmen is 77.92. During the period when Richards played ODIS, the average strike rate was 65.96, which means the strike rate in the current era is 18% higher.

Dhoni's stats, though, stand out even when compared to batsmen of time. Like Bevan's numbers, his average is also propped up by the number of not-outs (26.58%, compared to Bevan's 34.18%), but Dhoni's strike rate is considerably above average, unlike Bevan's.

And then there's perhaps the most complete batsman of all time. Sachin Tendulkar has played more ODIs than anyone else, over a period straddling 22 years and still counting. The game has changed considerably during this period, as is obvious from all the numbers in this piece, and Tendulkar has handled the changes with aplomb. Unlike a Rahul Dravid, whose game is based on defence, Tendulkar's batting is based on aggression and strokeplay, which suits the tempo of ODIs perfectly. The average run-rate during Tendulkar's span of years is 73.78, which is about four runs fewer than the corresponding number during Dhoni's timespan, which is a good indicator of how the format has evolved.

Like for Sourav Ganguly, the numbers for Matthew Hayden have also been tweaked slightly to account for the fact that there was almost a six-year gap between his first 13 ODIs - in 1993-94 - and his remaining 148. Between May 1994 and January 2000, he didn't play a single ODI, because of which all the stats till the start of the second phase of his career have been excluded in the table below.

Hayden's among five batsmen in the table below with a ratio greater than 1.50 - apart from Dhoni and Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Adam Gilchrist make the cut more because of their exceptional strike rates than their averages.

Top ODI batsmen who played mainly in the 2000s
Batsman ODIs Ave/ SR Ave*SR Overall ave#/ SR Overall ave*SR Ratio
MS Dhoni 194 50.44/ 88.34 44.56 31.74/ 77.92 24.73 1.80
Sachin Tendulkar 453 45.16/ 86.32 38.98 31.06/ 73.78 22.92 1.70
Matthew Hayden 148* 45.32/ 80.82 36.63 31.30/ 74.98 23.47 1.56
Virender Sehwag 236 35.11/ 104.07 36.54 31.25/ 75.59 23.62 1.55
Adam Gilchrist 287 35.89/ 96.94 34.79 31.03/ 74.09 22.99 1.51
Michael Clarke 204 46.01/ 78.07 35.92 31.39/ 76.87 24.13 1.49
Ricky Ponting 368 42.89/ 80.57 34.56 31.22/ 75.06 23.43 1.47
Jacques Kallis 315 45.45/ 72.77 33.07 31.27/ 75.19 23.51 1.41
Chris Gayle 228 39.06/ 83.95 32.79 31.36/ 75.90 23.80 1.38
Yuvraj Singh 274 37.62/ 87.58 32.95 31.52/ 76.46 24.10 1.37
Mohammad Yousuf 288 41.71/ 75.10 31.32 31.19/ 75.27 23.48 1.33
Graeme Smith 173 39.25/ 81.85 32.13 31.43/ 76.85 24.15 1.33
Sanath Jayasuriya 445 32.36/ 91.21 29.52 31.04/ 73.69 22.87 1.29
* Excludes his first 13 ODIs, since there was almost a six-year gap in his career after that.
# For top 7 batsmen only

And finally, here's the list of batsmen with the top ratios from across eras. Even if Richards' stats are compared with the top-order numbers during Dhoni's era, he still comes up with a ratio of 1.71, which indicates how far ahead of his time he was as an ODI batsman.

Batsmen with the best ratios across eras
Batsman ODIs Ave/ SR Ave*SR Overall ave#/ SR Overall ave*SR Ratio
Viv Richards 187 47.00/ 90.20 42.39 29.38/ 65.96 19.38 2.19
MS Dhoni 194 50.44/ 88.34 44.56 31.74/ 77.92 24.73 1.80
Michael Bevan 232 53.58/ 74.16 39.73 31.04/ 72.63 22.54 1.76
Sachin Tendulkar 453 45.16/ 86.32 38.98 31.06/ 73.78 22.92 1.70
Dean Jones 164 44.61/ 72.56 32.37 29.65/ 66.56 19.74 1.64
Matthew Hayden 148* 45.32/ 80.82 36.63 31.30/ 74.98 23.47 1.56
Virender Sehwag 236 35.11/ 104.07 36.54 31.25/ 75.59 23.62 1.55
Gordon Greenidge 128 45.03/ 64.92 29.33 29.33/ 65.99 19.35 1.51
Adam Gilchrist 287 35.89/ 96.94 34.79 31.03/ 74.09 22.99 1.51

The formula of multiplying average with strike rate is an intuitive one, given that both runs scored and the rate of scoring them are important in ODIs. If, however, the scoring rate is seen as slightly more important, then that can be given a slightly higher weightage. When the value of the strike rate is raised to the power of 1.1 (which gives it a 1.1 times importance compared to the average), Richards' ratio moves up from 2.19 to 2.26, while Bevan's moves up only from 1.76 to 1.77. Sehwag goes past Hayden, while Lamb inches closer to Greenidge. The top ten then looks like this: Richards (2.26), Dhoni (1.82), Bevan (1.77), Tendulkar (1.73), Jones (1.65), Sehwag (1.60), Hayden (1.57), Gilchrist (1.55), Greenidge (1.51) and Lamb (1.50). Ten top-class names, but the leader of the pack is still far away from the rest.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 27, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    @ClientNelson, I usually don't feel like replying to generic arguments. however, now since you have insulted the greatest batsman of all time by picking some random series, let me give the test match averages of last few series of Viv, 35 vs Pak in Pak '86, 19 vs NZ in NZ '86, 37 in Eng '88, 27 vs Ind at home '89, 28 vs Eng at home '89, 24 vs Aus '90. Not a series averages worth mentioning here. I can also claim Viv wsa a complete failure against different bowlers in diferent conditions from 1986. what do you say ?

  • on October 27, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    Could you also please come up with an article evaluating ODI bolwers across eras ? I guess the most likely parameters would be Economy rate & Bowling Average . I suspect Wasim Akram , Joel Garner, Glen McGrath & Muralitharan are gonna be right up there on that list.

  • on October 26, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    It is a serious insult to the Great Viv Richards to compare him with these lesser mortals. Ask the best of them these days to leave home their helmets and 'fragile-handle-with-care' paddings all over theiir bodies; then face Lilee, Thompson and Pascoe at Perth, they'll just do what Tendulkar correctly did while facing Shoaib at Faisabad in Jan 2006 - that is, 'give themselves out'. Faisabad is a grave yard; and it was just Shoaib alone, yet Tendulkar thought it best to 'literally give himself out'. We also saw how some English 'pace amateurs' disgraced him during the recent India tour to England. Then I usually hear this catch phrase 'most complete batsman of all time' touted about him by some. I don't know what the phrase means; because the said Viv Richards destroyed Lilee, Thompson, et al; and they were second only to the WI four pronged as the best pace attack of all time. And in India he murdered Bedi, Prasana, et al, the spin equivalent of the WI pace attack. Viv was complete.

  • SFGoldenGate on October 26, 2011, 22:10 GMT

    @ mrgupta and @Jeptic, Richards sure did not play Marshal, Holding, Garner, Roberts but neither did Sachin. Sachin played McGrath, Gillespie, Akram, some Waqar. On the other hand Richards also played Lille, Thomson, Imran, Botham, Willis Hadlees at their prime. These bowlers are not worse than McGrath, Wasim, Waqar etc if not better. How can someone play like Rcihards 189* (Wi were 102/7 at one stage). Also, Richards played in fast WI tracks with no power play, no bouncer restriction. On the other hand , Sachin played better spinners thats for sure. But in Richards era the best bowlers were mostly pace bowlers and the teams with good pace bowlers dominated that era. Richards had 31 Man of the match in 187 matches and I am sure his many inning did not get man of the match because his team-mates snatched that award.

  • BillyCC on October 26, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    @Jeptic, your analysis is worse than simplistic. It's not surprising that you avoid mentioning the disadvantages of the other eras because you might find that advantages and disadvantages in different eras often cancel out. The disadvantages in Viv's era were: no powerplays, limited fielding restrictions, full sized grounds, a slow scoring mentality was acceptable, less powerful bats etc. @MrGupta, last I checked, the likes of Imran Khan, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham etc. were not bad bowlers; they were actually quite good. It was the strongest bowling era of the time. In contrast, Tendulkar faced far fewer great bowlers across the full 20 years he played. And yes, I recently remember how Tendulkar performed in his 22nd year in international cricket. In the peak form of his career, he completely flopped in England against a good and consistent but not great pace attack.

  • on October 26, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    no doubt Viv was great..but him, followed by daylight? thats too far stretching isn't it ? btw, I think Anand's earlier article of best ODI batsmen was far accurate than yours. There are so many factors that you are missing

  • Mittaraghava on October 26, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    The statistics in the article show Viv richards is the greatest odi batsman,which i endorse, as i have seen him play.As a keen observer of cricket and keeping aside all statistics,there are few batsmen who showed how they can terrorize the best bowlers ,even if they had not been succesful in all the innings which they batted.They showed how odi is differnt from test cricket.In my opinion they are Viv Richards,A. Gilchrist,V.Sehwag,Jayasurya,Tendulker (initial phase of his career) all the other great odi batsmen mentioned did not create this aura.The moment they arrived at the crease spectators get excited like the begining of a action scenes in Bond movies.

  • i_witnessed_2011 on October 26, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    Surprised to see M.Hussey Name missing. and also curious about to know where Yuvraj stands!. I never saw Sir.Viv batting.He may be the best attacker but its also true that he did not face best bowling attack of his era. Very happy to see sachin among top 5 across all formats and across all type of calculations :-)

  • farazzubair on October 26, 2011, 17:59 GMT

    Some strange omissions here.Its a valiant effort but lacks substance because of a basic element;The value of a player to his team.Players like Miandad and Lara would never make the cut, despite being one of the greatest players because a lot depended on them due to a poor batting line up where the others enjoyed the liberty of a strong batting line up and could play naturall.Miandad,the ultimate batsman when the chips were down scored 5 half centuries in the 92 WC,never a century because he knew he was the only one to hold the fort while others around him scored,but his were some of the champion innings.Omitting batsmen like Zaheer,Miandad,Lara,Ponting is great injustice at the expense of someone like Sehwag or Dhoni.Dhoni is somewhat acceptable though most of his wonderful finishes have come in the subcontinent backed by a powerful batting line up and the present day weak bowling attacks.I suggest you should include an element of a batsmen's worth to his team when analysing across era

  • Marsh_aussie on October 26, 2011, 15:18 GMT

    I think some people misunderstood my comments regarding SRT & Bevan. I agree that as an opener SRT cannot be a finisher. But having come close to finishing a game, if he cannot do it, it shows a little weakness in the undisputable master's game. Having watched Sir VIV's matches only on videos and not live i get a feeling that he had an air of invincibility when he batted which i have not seen in any other batsman. Even Gilly, Viru or Gayle for that matter. So Sir Viv has to be the King of ODI's and SRT is the master.

  • on October 27, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    @ClientNelson, I usually don't feel like replying to generic arguments. however, now since you have insulted the greatest batsman of all time by picking some random series, let me give the test match averages of last few series of Viv, 35 vs Pak in Pak '86, 19 vs NZ in NZ '86, 37 in Eng '88, 27 vs Ind at home '89, 28 vs Eng at home '89, 24 vs Aus '90. Not a series averages worth mentioning here. I can also claim Viv wsa a complete failure against different bowlers in diferent conditions from 1986. what do you say ?

  • on October 27, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    Could you also please come up with an article evaluating ODI bolwers across eras ? I guess the most likely parameters would be Economy rate & Bowling Average . I suspect Wasim Akram , Joel Garner, Glen McGrath & Muralitharan are gonna be right up there on that list.

  • on October 26, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    It is a serious insult to the Great Viv Richards to compare him with these lesser mortals. Ask the best of them these days to leave home their helmets and 'fragile-handle-with-care' paddings all over theiir bodies; then face Lilee, Thompson and Pascoe at Perth, they'll just do what Tendulkar correctly did while facing Shoaib at Faisabad in Jan 2006 - that is, 'give themselves out'. Faisabad is a grave yard; and it was just Shoaib alone, yet Tendulkar thought it best to 'literally give himself out'. We also saw how some English 'pace amateurs' disgraced him during the recent India tour to England. Then I usually hear this catch phrase 'most complete batsman of all time' touted about him by some. I don't know what the phrase means; because the said Viv Richards destroyed Lilee, Thompson, et al; and they were second only to the WI four pronged as the best pace attack of all time. And in India he murdered Bedi, Prasana, et al, the spin equivalent of the WI pace attack. Viv was complete.

  • SFGoldenGate on October 26, 2011, 22:10 GMT

    @ mrgupta and @Jeptic, Richards sure did not play Marshal, Holding, Garner, Roberts but neither did Sachin. Sachin played McGrath, Gillespie, Akram, some Waqar. On the other hand Richards also played Lille, Thomson, Imran, Botham, Willis Hadlees at their prime. These bowlers are not worse than McGrath, Wasim, Waqar etc if not better. How can someone play like Rcihards 189* (Wi were 102/7 at one stage). Also, Richards played in fast WI tracks with no power play, no bouncer restriction. On the other hand , Sachin played better spinners thats for sure. But in Richards era the best bowlers were mostly pace bowlers and the teams with good pace bowlers dominated that era. Richards had 31 Man of the match in 187 matches and I am sure his many inning did not get man of the match because his team-mates snatched that award.

  • BillyCC on October 26, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    @Jeptic, your analysis is worse than simplistic. It's not surprising that you avoid mentioning the disadvantages of the other eras because you might find that advantages and disadvantages in different eras often cancel out. The disadvantages in Viv's era were: no powerplays, limited fielding restrictions, full sized grounds, a slow scoring mentality was acceptable, less powerful bats etc. @MrGupta, last I checked, the likes of Imran Khan, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham etc. were not bad bowlers; they were actually quite good. It was the strongest bowling era of the time. In contrast, Tendulkar faced far fewer great bowlers across the full 20 years he played. And yes, I recently remember how Tendulkar performed in his 22nd year in international cricket. In the peak form of his career, he completely flopped in England against a good and consistent but not great pace attack.

  • on October 26, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    no doubt Viv was great..but him, followed by daylight? thats too far stretching isn't it ? btw, I think Anand's earlier article of best ODI batsmen was far accurate than yours. There are so many factors that you are missing

  • Mittaraghava on October 26, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    The statistics in the article show Viv richards is the greatest odi batsman,which i endorse, as i have seen him play.As a keen observer of cricket and keeping aside all statistics,there are few batsmen who showed how they can terrorize the best bowlers ,even if they had not been succesful in all the innings which they batted.They showed how odi is differnt from test cricket.In my opinion they are Viv Richards,A. Gilchrist,V.Sehwag,Jayasurya,Tendulker (initial phase of his career) all the other great odi batsmen mentioned did not create this aura.The moment they arrived at the crease spectators get excited like the begining of a action scenes in Bond movies.

  • i_witnessed_2011 on October 26, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    Surprised to see M.Hussey Name missing. and also curious about to know where Yuvraj stands!. I never saw Sir.Viv batting.He may be the best attacker but its also true that he did not face best bowling attack of his era. Very happy to see sachin among top 5 across all formats and across all type of calculations :-)

  • farazzubair on October 26, 2011, 17:59 GMT

    Some strange omissions here.Its a valiant effort but lacks substance because of a basic element;The value of a player to his team.Players like Miandad and Lara would never make the cut, despite being one of the greatest players because a lot depended on them due to a poor batting line up where the others enjoyed the liberty of a strong batting line up and could play naturall.Miandad,the ultimate batsman when the chips were down scored 5 half centuries in the 92 WC,never a century because he knew he was the only one to hold the fort while others around him scored,but his were some of the champion innings.Omitting batsmen like Zaheer,Miandad,Lara,Ponting is great injustice at the expense of someone like Sehwag or Dhoni.Dhoni is somewhat acceptable though most of his wonderful finishes have come in the subcontinent backed by a powerful batting line up and the present day weak bowling attacks.I suggest you should include an element of a batsmen's worth to his team when analysing across era

  • Marsh_aussie on October 26, 2011, 15:18 GMT

    I think some people misunderstood my comments regarding SRT & Bevan. I agree that as an opener SRT cannot be a finisher. But having come close to finishing a game, if he cannot do it, it shows a little weakness in the undisputable master's game. Having watched Sir VIV's matches only on videos and not live i get a feeling that he had an air of invincibility when he batted which i have not seen in any other batsman. Even Gilly, Viru or Gayle for that matter. So Sir Viv has to be the King of ODI's and SRT is the master.

  • mrgupta on October 26, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    @Biggus: Ya i saw him play against the minnow bowlers and saw him thrashing them. Did you ever see how did he perform against the best attack of his time, Marshal, Ambrose, Garner and Holding? He was never tested against the best bowlers which were West Indians. His performance in Australia and Pakistan, the two better bowling sides of his time, was only average compared to what Sachin has managed against the best bowlers of his time (Aus and SA). Sunil Gavaskar was a much better batsmen who thrashed WI bowlers in their prime (Arguably the best Attack ever) to score record no. of centuries in WI. Viv's batting performance was only limited to 187 ODI matches which is insignificant when compared to maintaining that ratio in 453 matches. Comparison shud not be of biff bam but of the consistency and durability where Sachin scores over everyone. Does anyone remember how Viv performed in his 15th year in international Cricket and how Sachin performed in his 20th?

  • harshthakor on October 26, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    Viv Richards was the undisputed emperor of the one day game which he dictated like a great military commander.No batsman has destroyed bowling with such conviction.Tendulkar had better stats but could not equal Viv's ability as a match-winner.One batsman left out is Zaheer Abbas,who averaged 47.62 in the one day game and was the best of improviser Zaheer brilliantly pierced the most impregnable gaps.Allan Lamb and Michael Bevan were the best of finishers,while Miandad the ultimate batsman when the chips were down.In the modern era the most destructive player was Adam Gilchrist-the best match-winner of his generation.Tendulkar was also close to the perfect one day batsman but for his occasional faltering at the death-end.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on October 26, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Its plain as day, Sir Viv was just better than any batsman in the One Day game. He is the only one from the past that would still be on top in this current era and thats all there is to it.

  • Biggus on October 26, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Blah blah blah Sachin Tendulkar, Blah blah blah Sachin Tendulkar. It's obvious most of you guys never saw Viv play.

  • loung_singh on October 26, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    richards is undisputedly d greatest odi batsman ever ......closely followed by sachin,ponting, gilchrist..aravinda de silva...its not easy 2 play in top 3 when d ball is swinging especially d white ball under lights these guys have played best of fast bowlers ...d guys talked here like bevan,yuvraj,dhoni just look at their test records they cnt bat in tough conditions ..its richards followed by d rest....dhoni,shreeshanth and chris martin r bottom three

  • Jeptic on October 26, 2011, 1:23 GMT

    Very SIMPLISTIC at best....Did you account for the average of Viv if he were to face bowlers like Holding, Garner, Roberts, Marshall, and Croft - The BEST pace attack ever? The BEST of the spinners who EVER played the game played in the NON-VIV era - And as anyone can see, SPIN BOWLING is deadly in reducing run-rates. So, while other eras have their disadvantages, Viv DIDN't play the bowlers like his contemporaries NOR the spin bowling like his successors......PLUS he never opened the batting when the ball is on fire. In test, opening is not a big deal because you don't need to score fast. In ODI, while the ball is on fire, you STILL have to score fast!!!!

    The BEST EVER ODI batsman is Sachin.....Whom-so-ever follows, I don't know.

  • Meety on October 26, 2011, 0:46 GMT

    @ khiladisher - sorry mate, but Bevan in winning causes is just as good. What you fail to acknowledge is that S/Rates have increased with rule changes. Bevan in a powerplay would of crucified bowlers because he was great t hitting to unprotected zones. He marshalled Oz to wins when there was ALWAYS 5 fielders on the ropes, imagine what he would of done with 3? Not taking anything away from Dhoni though, I am not even saying that Bevan was better, just commenting on the "unheard of" part of what you said. @nmoghal - quite right, Abbass was a great ODI batsmen & should be in anyones top 10. @TheDoctor394 - I'm parachoially Ozzy, & the amount of times he got Oz home from nearly impossible situations was amazing. How he never became a great Test batsmen - I'll never know! == == == I personally believe that all places in the batting line up are important, but I do believe that opening the innings in the last 10yrs has become easier than in the middle order.

  • Bollo on October 26, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    @KHILADISHER re.`RICHARDS MIGHT BE A BETTER TEST BATSMAN THAN DHONI.` - ha, this must rate as the concession of the decade...

  • Bollo on October 25, 2011, 23:37 GMT

    What makes the omissions more disappointing, is that players such as Hussey, de Villiers and even Watson would be in the `alltime top 10` based on the criteria. It would probably look more like this; Richards, Hussey, Dhoni, de Villiers, Bevan, Tendulkar, Jones, Sehwag, Hayden, Watson/Gilchrist.

  • Bollo on October 25, 2011, 22:57 GMT

    An excellent article, but undermined by seemingly random omissions. Even if we take min 100 ODIs as a cut-off, here are just some of the players with higher avexSR than those mentioned.

    70s/80s/90s (ave, SR, avexSR) - position if on Rajesh`s list

    M.Crowe: 38.55/72.63/28.00 (5th)

    90s/00s

    L.Klusener: 41.10/89.91/36.95 (2nd) D.Martyn: 40.80/77.73/31.71 (3rd) D.Lehmann: 38.96/81.34/31.70 (4th) H.Cronje: 38.64/76.47/29.55 (6th)

    00s

    M.Hussey: 50.70/87.96/44.60 (1st) AB de Villiers: 45.68/91.29/41.70 (2nd) S.Watson: 43.09/89.68/38.64 (3rd) A.Symonds: 39.75/92.44/36.74 (3rd)

    Some very strange omissions indeed.

  • khiladisher on October 25, 2011, 21:57 GMT

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=batting_average;qualmin1=6;qualval1=innings;result=1;size=200;template=results;type=batting-THIS SHOWS HOW AND WHY DHONI IS THE GREATEST ONE DAY BATSMAN EVER-RICHARDS MIGHT BE A BETTER TEST BATSMAN THAN DHONI.

  • khiladisher on October 25, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    Dhoni is the greatest batting star in limited overs cricket-having THE avg of 52+ at a strike rate of almost 90,comparing to BEVANS STRIKE RATE OF JUST 74,AND ALSO BEVAN S INABILITY OF HITTING FOURS AND SIXES-DHONI HITS THEM AT WILL WITH BRUTAL POWER- STATS DO NOT LIE BEVAN HAS AN AVG OF 65 IN WINNING MATCHES COMPARED TO THE UNBELIEVABLE AVERAGE OF 78 BY THE CAPTAIN MARVEL DHONI.ALL THESE POINT OUT TO THE FACT THAT DHONI IS THE ALL TIME GREATEST ONE DAY BATSMAN AS WELL THE BEST FINISHER EVER.

  • on October 25, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    I am a Sachin Fan and I believe Sachin is far better batsmen than Dhoni and Bevan. and absence of may batsmen like Lara and Steve Waugh makes this a bit suspicious. However I agree that Richards is best ODI batsmen till today. his impact and few score of 180+ in that era prove that.

  • on October 25, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    @ Abdus Saboor Dhoni has good overseas record as well except in SA, was lead scorer in Aus in 2008 and really most batsmen are also having poor overseas record. why target dhoni??? See Inzamam. Indian tracks are flat?lol. why don't you see 300 in every game then?? stop picking Indians as per your convenience..

    @wasim_007 really? which great fassst bowlers did viv face in 80's?his own?? you really exaggerate everything , he retired in 92 before the best pacers came in the 90's and who told you pitches were not batter friendly in viv's time? West Indians were hardly affected by bouncers , it is other nations who struggle with 'no rule for bouncer' ; viv was ahead of his time and your reasons seem to discredit certain team's batsmen which is unfair. ''odi is a batsmens game'' really no one likes one sided games we see on green tracks, it has to be a sporting pitch. and not all pitches are flat as you say.

  • Raman.UV on October 25, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    @marsh_assue...Its the middle order who does the finishing role. bevan, dhoni uv r middle order batsmen. and its not fare to compare openers average here. cos opener cannot play 35 odd overs or more every time. but a middle order player can play for 10 to 12 over to end the game. so its not a fair to say sachin is not a finisher , Atleast in this format.

  • SFGoldenGate on October 25, 2011, 18:37 GMT

    Most people who are saying Sacin is the greatest are from India and on the other hand most people who are saying Richards is the best are neutral. Even few knowledgeable Indians are also saying Richards is the best. So, unbiased fans choose Richards. People are saying Sachin has played 450+ matches and Richards only 180+. Their point is Richards would not be as consistant as Sachin given he played 450 matches. LOL. Ok, lets take it from another point of view. Lets take any consecutive 180 matches from Sachin's career (lets pick his best 180 consecutive matches) and compare it with Richards. I am sure Richards would be better. Also, think about the bowling conditions in 80s , uncovered pitches, Blowlers freedom of bouncer in an over, no power play, no flat tracks, you can figure. Sachin was consistant, so what? India lost most of its overseas games and still looses altough their so called strong batting lineup is playing togeter for last decade (Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Yubraj).

  • mrgupta on October 25, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    For all those admiring Bevan and Dhoni's skills to finish matches and Sachin's inability to do so must realize that if an opener is supposed to finish the ODI matches then he got to be the only player in the team. How many openers from any Era can you recall who have been regular finishers of the game specially in ODI? Both Dhoni and Bevan played at no.5 or 6 which are best place to be present towards the End of the game. Openers are there in ODI's to set up the game, that's their role. I really don't expect the openers in ODI to stay till the 50th over in each ODI to finish the game. Do you?

  • mrgupta on October 25, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    It feels like i am new to Cricket but as per my understanding Viv Richard's batting record against the best bowling of his time namely Marshal, Garner, Holding and Ambrose was.... Did he even play against them? His Test record is also very modest given he never played against the best bowlers whom the cricketers across world feared and also his batting avg in countries which had the best bowling during his era was namely Aus and Pakistan is nothing compared to that of Sachin's against Aussies and SA best during his time.

  • MENDIS_Forever on October 25, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    viv the king!amazing talent.no fear at all.went through all bowling attacks with no problem.what a player!!!!!!

  • nlambda on October 25, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    Richards had the rather unfair advantage of getting net practice against Roberts, Holding, Garner and Croft! Also, SRT's career should really be split in two parts: 90s and '00s.

  • on October 25, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    How much Dhoni averages overseas rather than the flat tracks of the Indian sub- continent? Richards will come out a hero in this I bet

  • Charith99 on October 25, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Mr.Rajesh something is wrong with the way you have compared odi batsmen. Do you honestly believe Yuvraj, gayle, Hayden and Yousuf are better odi batsmen than Jayasooriya.

  • khiladisher on October 25, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    The final one day match between India and England shows why Dhoni is one of the great all time batting genius and finisher in the limited over format,scoring almost 7000 runs at an avg of 52 with a strike rate of 90+ and having an average of almost 80 in winning causes is unheard of ever.It may be a tie with the all time genius and master Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar 18000+ odi runs along with 48 hundreds at a amazing strike rate of 90.Sachin avg is 58 in winning causes. Vivian Richards has an avg of 47,but just 11 centuries and a winning avg of 56,which is lesser than Dhoni-78 and Sachin-58,and also the fielding standard and fitness level of the 70s was nowhere close to what it is today.However it has to be said that Richards would have been a great match winner in any era-with or without helmets.

  • wasim_007 on October 25, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    Well done!!! Good Article.....Viv is Best of the Best and no one is ever close to him...so called great of this time could have bite the dust if they had to face the bowler on those conditions...no rule for bouncer no batting paradise flat wicket. I bet these hero could have lasts for 10 to 20 matches.... It is very shame full that only for money wicket are made flat...cemented track...batsman can swing the bat even with close eyes. Cricket is dying and just become like a base ball...machine may take place for bowling and all member of squad will be blind hitter....:)

  • MaruthuDelft on October 25, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Besides tangibles Viv Richards brought huge excitement, a great batting style(just see the poise in the above snap) and the influence to keep Windies afloat. In all cricket he is second only to Bradman because Bradman's tangibles(average and strike rate) can never be matched; not just in crcket but in the entire sports arena such a gap between the first and second can never happen again. It is childish to talk about Tendulkar when talking about Viv Richards and Don Bradman.

  • on October 25, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    Excellent post, Rajesh. Pity no body bothered to comment. It could be because: A. For most knowledgeable and relatively unbiased cricket fans, Richard's supremacy in ODIs is obvious, B. It wasn't Sachin on top, so nobody from my part of the world bothered to comment :) I wonder how the results would be if you factor in longevity via No. of matches played / runs scored. While its no fault of Richards era players that they did not play as many ODIs as the next generation, some credit should be given to maintaining a certain average / strike rate over 100s of ODIs. I doubt this will change Richards's position way at the top, but it could see players like Sachin, Gilchrist move up a few places in your final list ahead of players like Dhoni and Dean Jones. If Dhoni maintains anywhere close to the same average / strike rate 5 years later at the end of his career, then no doubt he belongs in the ranks of all time great ODI players, but I think age and reflexes will catch up. Thanks. Vasu

  • on October 25, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    It's a nice article but for the grave mistake that it has totally discounted the number of total scored runs. Remember what the great Ricky Ponting told last year the one thing he feels most envy of Sachin is the durability.

    If only the author could factor in number of runs, this article will also become more factual. It is not same performing good over a period of 10 years and 20 years.

  • fadooo on October 25, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    A very interesting analysis Rajesh, but carelessly done. How could you miss Zaheer Abbas !? He played from 1974-1985, has an average of 47.62 and a strike rate of 84.80. That gives him a ratio of 2.1 ! Very close to viv and ahead of everyone else in a comparison across eras. What was the criteria for selecting players for the analysis ?

  • Marsh_aussie on October 25, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    For all those who are saying that bevan's average was skewed should know that it was not that he was scoring 10 or 20 runs and staying not out. He stayed till the end to take his team home. Some of the innings he played were truly amazing. I remember a match where SRT scored 175 against Australia in Hyderabad and India lost by 3 runs because he didnt stay till the end to Finish the game. Same happened in the famous Chennai Test against Pakistan. I dont mean to say that Bevan is better than SRT. Dont undermine the importance of staying till the end and finishing the innings. Every team has players who batted at the same position as Bevan but no one came close to him except for MSD who is doing this mostly at home.

  • BillyCC on October 25, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    @Ram Iyer, that could be the most stupid comment I have ever heard uttered in these forums. What you are suggesting is that it is definitely better to get out than not to get out.

  • Valavan on October 25, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    For everyone's info. richards played almost 18years and all your yawning about different players cannot match Viv's contribution. I have no idea how Yuvraj came in here, if they say he is a finisher, He is not in the same league as bevan or hussey or dhoni. Yuvraj finished many games in india, so he could be called poor mans bevan or dhoni. Bevan is just the greatest ODI finisher witnessed, he had lot of not outs because he finishes the game, he have played between no.4 till no.7. He is not a no.7 batter always. Dhoni also deserves the credit because he has been till the end to win lot of close games in recent times including the one at Mohali recently, WC Finals. But whoever comes Richards is the king in ODIs. Have he played with PPs and in flat tracks that are used in ODIs across the world, he could have had his ave close to 60s. cricinfo please publish

  • on October 25, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    This comparison is not without its faults as it does not take into consideration the pressure on the modern batsmen to score quickly. While I do not doubt that Richards was probably the greatest batsman to have played the one day game, the next 2 in line would be in my mind Adam Gilchrist and Sachin Tendulkar. Also is there any particular reason that none of the great allrounders fail to make it to this list? Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Ian Botham could turn the game around in just 10-15 minutes at the crease.

  • on October 25, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    Stats or no stats - there always has been lots of daylight between Viv and all others. Might be mind numbing for some and while its true we cant expect unanimity in everything, no one who has seen Richards bat and the effect he had on the opposition can really contest the conclusion Rajesh has drawn.

  • on October 25, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    Great comparison. No Doubt KING is the father of ODI cricket. No one can even think of being closer to him. But I doubt Dhoni as a great one, he is a mere good bat. If you could mention Zaheer Abbas, Michal Hussey. Peterson and trot etc you would find Dhoni behind them. Zaheer Abbas had an average of over 46 and strike rate of 85 which puts him just behind KING Richards. But you didnt mention at all.

  • on October 25, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    And yes, as many pointed out Zaheer Abbas is a glaring omission (may be because he has played only 60 innings), but he gets an index of 2.12 which puts him behind only Richards. That's incredible!

  • on October 25, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    Richards is undoubtedly greatest ODI batsmen ever followed by Sachin! no powerplays , no short boundaries! without a helmet ,he had a strike rate of 87 combined with average of 47!! I never seen neone brutally assaulted b bowlers lyk him!! stop comparing Sehwag with Richards ,its like chalk nd cheese!! Sehwag is a flat track bully,hes like a fish out of water outside subcontinent! Richards ,Sachin leads d list ..followed by other mortals

  • on October 25, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    @Krishna Chovishya...!!! Are you seriously thinking before writing??? I am sure you are not.. Richards ius way ahead of all other ODI cricketers till today. You are quick to mention the pressure, expectatiuon etc from sachin and his long career as an advantage to put Sachin on top??? Are you serious? What about the uncovered pitches, quality fast bowling, lack of protective equipment, bowler friendly pitches, longer boundaries, absence of power play, bowler friendly rules and many more??? All these are more important factors and go in favour of Richards. So, stop comparing a good batsman like Sachin with the all time great ODI bat, the KING Richards

  • Chris_Howard on October 25, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    @SRT_GENIUS Sorry for my small mistake (yes, I mean 0.1% not 1%. The mistake was in my proof reading, not my maths ability.). Nice that you feel obliged to flame me for it. ;) What's longevity got to do with it? Ask Michael Hussey. Ask Adam Gilchrist. Ask Matthew Hayden. All would have had much higher averages if they retired earlier. Fate says the longer you play and the more games you play, the more your average will suffer. Even Viv. His ability slipped as he grew older. After he scored his final ODI century in 1988, until his retirement in 1991, he averaged just 27.2 (39 innings, 972 runs, no centuries). Compare that to Sachin's last 3 years, average 52.4 (45 innings, 2149 runs, 7 centuries). For most players, playing on longer hurts their averages. Not Sachin.

  • Cool_Jeeves on October 25, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    Great to see Tendulkar fans put up such a fight despite poor backup data. If only Tendulkar had shown such fight in England tests.

  • SamRoy on October 25, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    @khiladisher if you think Sachin, Dhoni, Sehwag, Ganguly and Yuvraj are better than Richards well please move on. Moreover I don't consider Ganguly and Sehwag as great ODI players; Ganguly for his inability to rotate the strike and ending his career with a strike of 72 and Sehwag for scoring only a 30 or 40 every time he gets set. He doesn't make enough matchwinning 75+ scores. Sachin, Dhoni and Yuvraj are great ODI batsmen but all of them pale in comparison to Viv.

  • on October 25, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    "...leader of the pack is still far away from the rest!"....seriously Rajesh? No one would argue that Viv Richards is one of the best across eras, but I think you have gone too far with the above claim! It is not fair to compare greats across eras and then there is the subjective matter of pressure, but if one has to, I can not imagine any list without Sachin being at the top in ODIs. Period. Please do not twist stats like that. Here are some subjective comparisons to throw in the mix, could Richards have played 22 yrs and maintained the average and strike rate higher than Sachin?, could he manage the pressure of carrying his team on his shoulders alone for over 10 yrs? in 90s, most of the Indian fans switched their TVs off when Sachin got out...Richards always was part of a great team of some great batsmen and bowlers to win matches...and then the expectations of 1Billion rather emotional fans? No other sportsperson across eras/sports had that kind of following and expectations..

  • jango_moh on October 25, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    @sanathj indian team hated outside india??? r u kidding me?? i have immense respect for the SL team, i wonder what the reason for ur hatred is.... show some dignity brutha...

  • kichinho on October 25, 2011, 2:52 GMT

    Would ve been nice if you had included an inflation factor like the modern day pitches getting flatter , the new power play system to compare all the greats of 70'80.90.s , 00's era and se ehow they match up with the current crop . though its very obvious that richards ll stand out it ll be interesting to see how many batsmen feature above dhoni , sachin n bevan

  • on October 25, 2011, 2:36 GMT

    Michael Bevan's average is on the back of huge number of not out's. That is why average is a poor indicator of performance compared to actual runs scored (in any format of cricket).

  • bd_ind on October 25, 2011, 2:34 GMT

    You guys talking about indian batsmen, I am an indian supporter too. I saw Richards too. Really guys you can not compare anyone with him. He was beyond stats. He faced great bowlers in swinging bouncing condition and murdered them. Even though sachin is sachin, but just Richards was the king and still the king.

  • khiladisher on October 25, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    The Greatest ODI batsmen all time-1 Sachin 2-Dhoni-3-Sehwag-4-Ganguly-5-Yuvraj-6-Richards-7-Bevan-8-Jayasuriya 9-Dean jones-10-Adam Gilchrist INDIAN BATSMEN HOLD ALMOST ALL THE BATTING RECORDS IN ODI CRICKET SO NO WONDER THE RATINGS REFLECT THE FACT.INDIA WAS THE LAST MAJOR TEAM TO MAKE 300 FIRST TIME IN 1996-SINCE THEN THEY HAVE CROSSED 300 RUN MARK 66 TIMES -A ALL TIME RECORD.OTHER TEAMS LANGUISH WAY BEHIND.All THE ABOVE INDIAN BATTING STARS CONTRIBUTING HEAVILY.ALSO CROSSING 400-4 TIMES.

  • sanathJ on October 25, 2011, 1:43 GMT

    @khiladhisher...Sanath is not a merely a batsman. Most probably the greatest odi cricketer to have walked on earth. Can anyone believe of a career of 300 wickets 13000 runs. Going by mere statistics wont do enough justice to the legend(lies, damn lies &statistics). So talk about the impact he had in this game. Sachin is great and no doubt about it (personaly i like Dada than sachin). Talkin abuot MS, ya he is a definite match winner but he doesnt understand the spirit of the game, most of indian players for that matter. That is one reason why indian team is hated outside india

  • SixoverSlips on October 25, 2011, 1:22 GMT

    Stats is not everything. Don't be kidding. Richards and then daylight? Come on now. It is mind-numbing to see stats being twisted like this, and come up with bizarre claims like "Richard and then daylight".

  • SRT_GENIUS on October 25, 2011, 0:42 GMT

    @Chris_Howard: What's longevity got to do with effectiveness as a player as long as there is enough statistical data (eg 100 ODIs?) ? And how are you adding 1% of the tests played to a ratio ? The units don't match. If you can't follow high school math don't post... or have I been trolled ?

  • Windies_will_rise on October 25, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    I like the fact that the indians on this forum says sachin is the best and neglect to see sheer brilliance that was sir viv. Take away sachin's helmet and all that padding put him on some fast tracks, exclude bangladesh and some of those other subcontinent teams and put him up against some of those 80's bowlers and I think he would have come out with much more than tennis elbow and a much lower batting average

  • Burbon on October 25, 2011, 0:20 GMT

    Any why King Viv was so good , he faced the fastest bowlers without a helmet.Few if any could claim that they were that fearless

  • BillyCC on October 25, 2011, 0:05 GMT

    @VVhome, not a really smart comment regarding Bevan because at the end of the day, being not out at the end of a one-day innings is worth more because if you bat at number 6, getting out exposes the tail and will decrease your potential run rate overall. Wickets in hand has always been the key factor to winning one day matches. And Bevan's winning record is terrific.

  • on October 24, 2011, 23:34 GMT

    Those saying Sachin don't finish matches are really naive. The fact that Sachin has great MoM ratio needs to be considered also. Sachin's job is to provide platform for middle and lower order to set target and get target as an opener. To expect Sachin to win matches single handed is worse than naive. Sachin for me is the greatest batsman along with Sir Viv. If Sachin can't win matches than why does he have most MoM awards in history?

  • bobagorof on October 24, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    @VVHome: What a load of crap. Yes, Bevan's average was increased by his batting position, but if that is all there is to it then all other No. 6 batsmen would be on the list. They aren't. In fact there are only 4-5 middle order players across all of these lists - most played the majority of their careers in positions 1-4. The reality is that lower order players often have to throw their wickets away chasing runs, and hence have lower averages. Bevan was able to guide an innings home and be there at the end. Bevan's record indicates he was a standout despite his position, not because of it. And yes, his Test career was disappointing, but this isn't an analysis of Test stats.

  • khiladisher on October 24, 2011, 22:22 GMT

    Without a doubt it has to be the great Indian batsmen like Dhoni,Sachin,Sehwag,Ganguly and Yuvraj are the best ever.Check all the odi records 90% are held by Indian batsmen.And the likes of Gambhir,Raina and Kohli will further bring in more records for India.Even Yusuf pathan,rahane and Jadeja are better than the mainline batters from the other teams.Even a test match Champion like Dravid has scored over 10500 odi runs.I rest my case.

  • jmatwho on October 24, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    I think all those who have made the points about the number of matches played, as well as the strength of the teams they played with are absolutely right. In defense of the author I dont think the necessarily is denying these factors either, but merely suggesting an approach, based on certain factors to determine a hierarchy of great ODI batsmen. All in all comprehensively written and a nice exercise nonetheless. Bravo.

  • Valavan on October 24, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    King Viv played his most ODIs with redball attack and faced fearing fast bowlers like Imran, Kapil, Willies, Dilley, Lillee, Thompson, Hogg, Hadlee, Aldermann. Ye he is miles ahead of other players even though many bring out different comparisons. i think the list looks good with Richards, Dhoni, Bevan leading because they are the cool headers who finish the game with controlled aggression, Richards for 80s, Bevan in 90s and Dhoni from mid 2000s. its pretty justified statement. Many could have crossed Richards in total runs scored and matches played, but new era had Powerplays, flat tracks for ODIs and so on that helps batters. The order is justified, Cricinfo please publish

  • Chris_Howard on October 24, 2011, 21:34 GMT

    As @Gupta_Ankur points out, longevity is not factored into this. I've used a simple method to accommodate longevity by adding 1% of their number of games. For Sachin, this adds 0.453 bringing his score to 2.153, albeit still behind Richards who moves up to 2.377. Sachin as #2 sounds a lot more believable.

  • VVHome on October 24, 2011, 20:58 GMT

    Interesting statistics. What is a perception is borne out by statictics: Viv is sans pareil. As pointed out by Rajesh, Bevan and Dhoni have an unfair advantage over Sachin, Jayasuriya and even Viv: they come so far down the order that are quite often not out, which inflates their averages. Bevan was considered a match-winner, mainly because he remained at the crease when the dominant Australians chased down any target. His average is boosted by his not-outs and his strike rate is nothing to write home about. He really does not belong in this list. The fact that he is the only one in the list who did not have even an average test-career is telling. Since average is a major factor, a counter-weight linked to the batting position might have helped restore the balance. 1-3 top order (1.2); 4-5 middle order (1.0), and 6-7 lower order (0.8). Of course, this will end up showing how good Viv and Sachin really are.

  • Rakim on October 24, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    100 centuries.... so what? What's meaning of a century if you can't win a game for your nation. Wasim/Imran said Viv is the greatest. Full Stop.

  • Azfar on October 24, 2011, 20:03 GMT

    Great analysis, Rajesh. The final outcome is just what was expected, King Richards at the top. The greatest compliment to a batsman's ability comes from the bowlers of his generation. Virtually All top bowlers of Viv's era rate him as the best. Whereas if we look at the last 15 years, the top bowlers will be divided between Sachin, Lara & Ponting. Anyone who saw Sir Viv in his prime will find it hard to imagine anyone better, whom the bowlers dreaded bowling to. His aura, his swagger, his complete belief in himself, his willingness to always take the challenge. He was like a lion on the prowl. No was left in any doubt who is the 'king'.

  • khiladisher on October 24, 2011, 19:59 GMT

    Dhoni is the greatest odi batsman ever along with likes of The master Sachin and the God Of offside batting Ganguly and the the sheer genius of Virender Sehwag-all these great players have made the Indian batting the strongest ever over all the eras-Jayasurya is a good odi batsman but his poor avg of 31 would not put him the great category-and his strike rate is 91-compared to Sehwag avg of 35 and strike rate of 105-thats champion stuff,even the stylish left hander Yuvraj -avg-37 and strike rate 90 would rank higher than sanath.Richards played in an era were fielding was definitely not as skillful as it is now.

  • Perfect.Stranger on October 24, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    Applying this rating to Zaheer Abbas playing1975-1985 in the same era as Sir Viv Richards, we get a ratio of 2.1 (Ave 47.63, SR 85). That puts him just below Sir Viv Richards and way above Jones, Greenidge, Lamb, Miandad and the rest. According to cricinfo he was dubbed Asian Bradman which is high praise indeed. I think his record deserves a mention in this list. cheers

  • gandabhai on October 24, 2011, 19:45 GMT

    It is easy to sing when your winning .' King ' Viv was lucky to be part of the best test team ever . If you could swap his teams with Lara's teams i doubt if the king would have wiggled his butt as much in his swagger .Same goes for Ponting .

  • on October 24, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    Viv was great and so were Sachin ,Jayasuriya, D'silva ,Ponting, Waugh brothers. You just cant compare them.....They faced different bowlers and their own team compoistion made a difference. For example Vivian in Indian team with Indias weak bowling would had an effect on his batting. Similarly if Sachin had played for WI during their peak his batting stats may have been different. If those stats would have improved or taken a beating is a matter of speculation.However my point is all of above players were some of the best...and trying to find the best is like trying to find the most beautiful girl among-st girls of different countries because a standard definition of beautiful girl differs with person to person.

  • stormy16 on October 24, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    Interesting read and for me Richards is miles ahead on all fronts and as the article says - daylight to the next! This guy did unbeleivable things against a much higher quality bowlers and the rules werent written when Richards was at his best. That sort of awe with his record is simply not matchable.

  • slowerball on October 24, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    As long as Veev, the maan is rated the best...

  • avinash200j on October 24, 2011, 19:31 GMT

    The author has done a good analysis on the odi careers of the top players......ok viv is head and shoulders above the rest................The thing you have to look at is that viv played only 187 odi's with a very strong team by his side for the most part of his career and sachin on the other hand played 453 odi's majority of them with an average side....Consistency is what makes sachin stand out of the pack of the best batsmen....Sachin has played 2.5 times the number of matches that viv has played in...with a mediocre team....so,i would go with sachin if given a choice....

  • gandabhai on October 24, 2011, 19:23 GMT

    Sachin tendulkar - 99 International hundreds, full stop .

  • felzzz on October 24, 2011, 19:19 GMT

    Viv is the al time greatest ODI player..he looked far beyond comparision and its doubtful even in the future any batsman will catch up his stats. no records under his name still he is the king of ODIs.

  • SRT_GENIUS on October 24, 2011, 19:05 GMT

    @Statz: The fact that Bevan didn't take any undue risks is statistically accounted already : his low-risk style earned him a high not-out ratio, resulting in a high average (In this analysis average and strike rate have the same weight-age - so he compensates on a healthy strike rate for a higher average). So your argument while interesting, is already accounted for in these results. @Daivney Thomas : Congrats! @Wolverine94: I think Zaheer Abbas didn't make it due to a 100 ODI cut-off: probably the cut-off should be 50matches for players who played in 70s/early 80s.

  • Gupta.Ankur on October 24, 2011, 19:04 GMT

    This discussion cannot be more biased....how can you have a batsman with 400 games being compared to players who have played less than 200 matches?

    Viv richards played with the best team and best bowlers.......you can do your bit and not have burden of entire team on you....

    And you definetly cannot say he would have been as successful after 430 matches.....

  • on October 24, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    Mixing the players between era's doesn't stand out!

  • sameer111111 on October 24, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    Don't understand why people are saying that Bevan had a high average only cause he was not out a lot of times. Staying not out and helping your team win is an art. When 100 is required from 150 balls with three wickets remaining there is no point getting a 20 ball 30 and getting out. Thats where Bevan scores. Forget averages, for people watching cricket in the 90s, Australia were always in the game as long as he was playing no matter how hopeless the situation was, something that a certain Mr Century Maker never quite managed. Getting centuries by opening on placid tracks under no pressure is far easier than performing when the team is in dire straits with wickets falling all around you. BTW, no doubt Viv is the king. He occupies the first three positions. Bevan comes fourth.

  • on October 24, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    and no Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and other weaker teams.....................

  • SRT_GENIUS on October 24, 2011, 18:19 GMT

    In my opinion Manindra Bedi is the best cricketers... because I _REALLY_ like her (followed by Kartina Kaif). So what they didn't play international cricket... its my opinion.

  • on October 24, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    not at all true, can't comare, Richards didn't face great bowlers like Glenn, Wasim, Waqar and his own windies bowlers who were top bowlers.

    ODI rules have changed, power plays etc ...

    I would put sachin on top of everyone because he faced toughest bowlers in every conditions and he played in 90s, 00s and 10s..

    If you play 450 ODI and if you read the stat of 45 ave. thats too good...

  • on October 24, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    would be nice to see this list by not considering not outs...Dhoni and Bevan would definitely drop

  • on October 24, 2011, 15:36 GMT

    Dhawal Brahmbhat: you make a good point about Viv's peer group. But even at an absolute level, Viv has a better average as well as SR than Tendulkar. So we have no where to hide :) In fact no one from any era beats Viv in both average as well as SR! Secondly, scoring run increases your average, getting out reduces it. Staying not out does nothing. It is one of those myths that is unbashedly thrown around. Scoring 10* ten times has same probability as scoring 100* once. Besides, Dhoni and Bevan scripted number of unlikely wins and they desreve that credit. Lastly, intangibles should have no weight, thank you.

  • Optimistix on October 24, 2011, 15:24 GMT

    Greenidge's strike rate also reflects the fact that during the 70s and 80s, it was standard practice for the top order to preserve wickets during the first 20-30 overs - otherwise someone like Greenidge could have easily had an 85-90 strike rate as well.

    All that changed in the 90s, with Greatbatch in '92 WC, Jayasurya and Kalu in '96, a certain SRT turning opener, and so on.

    But then again, such nuances are beyond statistics :-)

  • Statz on October 24, 2011, 15:02 GMT

    Good analysis but fails to record a very important fact that makes the contention that Viv is by far the best a questionable one. For me, it is between Viv and Bevan but this analysis fails to understand what made Bevan great. Bevan only scored as fast as he needed to, in order to make Australia win. He came in at dire situations and made the impossible, possible. For this his SR overall is not so hot. Bevan, when chasing, has an SR of ~68. Pretty slow, yet ultimately, made him very successful as he minimised risk and won tonnes of games for Australia. It's not that he was slow because when setting scores (1st innings) Bevan's SR is 80 (a very very good SR for his time) and goes to show that Bevan did what was required. So in essence, this exercise penalises him for making Australia win instead of blasting balls risking Australia's success, although he could improve his own figures. When he needed to, he was more than capable of hitting out.

  • on October 24, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    And no helmet for him either. The bowlers facing him should have worn helmets.

  • Wolverine94 on October 24, 2011, 14:27 GMT

    Very surprised to see Zaheer Abbas missing from this list. He had an average of 47.62 (better than Richards) and strike rate of almost 85. This surely must be an oversight.

  • Kaze on October 24, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    I wonder if you have a World Cup final who would you want more in your side, Tendulkar or Ponting. Stats are one thing but runs under pressure are another, Ponting, Bevan Lara and Richards stand out there. I can't say the same for Tendulkar who has made it a habit of failing in finals.

  • Zahidsaltin on October 24, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    @Gandabhai, I witnessed that era too just like as you did and I am sure if richards was to play today, he will still be the best of all. You must consider the fact that Richards strike rate of 90 is against bowlers which the young generation can only imagine then add to that fast tracks of 80s and no use of helmets. The players you mentioned (Razzak, Gayle and Pathan etc) could have rarely stayed more than few overs while facing black storm bowlers or imran, Hadle and Lille @Rajesh its a wonderful work but I do think that it is unfair to compare players who play at one or two down to those like Dhoni and Beven. The art of cricket is that every batting spot has its own requirements. Tandulkar is far far better player than Beven and Dhoni but their batting low down the order makes them play faster. I don't think that the change is due to the fact that batsmen have learned the art to play faster. It's rather administrators who have make a contest between the ball and the bat unfair

  • on October 24, 2011, 14:03 GMT

    Honor and privilege to have played with, and watch Sir Vivian Richards performed he is and will always be king. No batsman can be compared with Sir Viv he batted with at most dominance, he took batting science and confidence and do great wonders for West Indies and the rest of the world. He was special we were privilege to have him.

  • Rakim on October 24, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    @Gupta.Anku: "Sachin is by far the greatest batsman of all times" yea mate, by far!! He is the greatest. Tho he was lucky he had helmet when Shoaib hit him that bouncer on the head. Sachin: A living myth

  • on October 24, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    To be honest- not at all satisfied with the analysis... I mean, just average and Strike rate- will make players like Dhoni and Bevan or even the Husseys in that lists.... U do not consider the runs made, the longetivity, impact- lik Jayasurya, Sachin and Richards had- For me, wen it comes to ODI- its Sachin first, Richards 2nd, Jayasurya... Coz of their impact and longetivity and runs n all...

  • Rakim on October 24, 2011, 13:58 GMT

    My top 5 batsmen of all times (category-wise, combined test/odi): 1. Sir Don Bradman(There won't be anyone like him); 2. Sir Viv Richards(Master Blaster and fearless batsman); 3. Wally Hammond(Legend) 4. Brian Lara(Pure class)/Ricky Ponting(True Match winner)/Javed Miandad(Could score anywhere all around the world/match winner/fearless)/Sunil Gavaskar(Greatest batsman from subcontinent); 5. Inzi/Sanath/Saeed Anwar/Mohammad Azharuddin/Ganguly/Sehwag/Sachin/Sangakarra/Gilchrist/Hyden (<--- Each is a great in their own way)

  • endofageofaquarius on October 24, 2011, 13:54 GMT

    I would love to see these numbers reworked after excluding the innings where the batsman was run out. The biggest benefactor of this would be Inzi I think.

    For assessment of pure batting ability I think excluding the run-out innings will provide an additional insight, not just to ODIs but to other formats too, including the test matches.

    Just a thought.

  • Rakim on October 24, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    @SachinLeged:"..... SRT..the greatest ever cricketer by passion, ambition, dedication, determination, commitment...... " What do you think Sir Viv ( or Don Bradman) had no passion/ambition/dedication.... ? Watch a movie called "Fire in Babylon", and then you'll see who were true legends

  • Rakim on October 24, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    Sir Viv is far better than any batsman, he is the "Greatest of all times", one and only. Respect from a Pak fan

  • delta20 on October 24, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    Somebody wrote that Sanath and Sachin revolutionised the art of hitting within the first 15 overs.. why you people always attach sachin's name in everything in cricket? the utilisation of first 15 overs was started by Martin crowe by sending Mark greatbatch as NZ opener in 1992 world cup.. it was effective but he could'nt popularise it to the level which Sanath did in 1996 world cup in the subcontinent.. So it was Jayasuriya, the best one day opener ever.. though I agree that Sachin comes second in this respect..

  • KirGop on October 24, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Many younger people seem to think Viv is a statistical freak along the lines of Sir Don.

    I can vouch for the fact that no one else can come close to the majesty of viv. Those were the days of print journalism. They were running out of ways to describe him and he was really the king of his era. His greatness was home and away, al formats of the game and he excelled when when it mattered the most.

    Sir Don is a statistical freak. The fact is he played in only 2 countries all his life. Comparing him to modern players is a conjecture and a hazard. Athletes do get better over time.

  • on October 24, 2011, 13:14 GMT

    for those of us fortunate enough to have seen richards play -- albeit on TV -- this analysis comes as no surprise.

  • laxmanrules on October 24, 2011, 13:04 GMT

    @hahn@Luke : Jayasuriya averaged 32.36! In spite of that, he is in the top 10 post 2000. That is credit enough. And the "wrath" part was thanks to Mark Greatbatch and another fellow Sri Lankan Romesh Kaluwitharana!

  • Shams on October 24, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    Great work Rajesh. However, I feel there are two points missing. 1) Taking average and SR over a period penalizes a player who played most of his matches in tougher conditions as opposed to those who played their matches in batting friendly conditions. India and Pakistan have been the best place to bat over the last two decades in ODIs. 2) Some manner of taking the bowling quality of the opposition should also be taken into account.

  • NALINWIJ on October 24, 2011, 13:00 GMT

    In test cricket Bradman stood miles ahead of his peers statistically and these statistics show that Richards stood kms ahead of his rivals statistically and took years before batsmen and t20 caught up with him. This is my greatest ODI team [qualification -appearance in world cup] 1.Gilchrist 2.jayasuriya 3.Richards 4.Tendulkar 5.Ponting 6.Aravinda de Silva [or Hussey] 7.Wasim Akram 8.Warne 9.Malinga 10.Garner 11.McGrath. As far as I can see only the number 6 spot is contentious irrespective of statistics.Note -Jayasuriya and Aravinda can stagnate the opposition with spin especially in the subcontinent.

  • on October 24, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    Good Analysis. But there is one important factor missing. When comparing batsmen by average and strike rates, you cannot exclude the fact of total runs scored. For example, comparing someone who has scored 18,000 runs with someone who has scored 6000 runs based on just average and strike rates and completely forgetting the total number of runs, centuries cannot be a complete comparison. If someone has dominated bowling for 100 matches does not imply that same player can dominate the bowling for 400 matches with same effect. Playing and dominating a larger variety of bowling attacks cannot be ignored. I don't mean to say that Viv Richards wasn't the best. He might still be. But the analysis cannot be complete unless total amount of runs scored is also given some weight.

  • CheckIfTheScreenNameAlreadyInUse on October 24, 2011, 12:50 GMT

    On a totally unrelated note, I am dying with laughter seeing Ponting, Lara, Miandad, Inzamam, Sanath, Kallis, miss out from this list. This is the price you pay to contrive to put Sachin down with statistical chicanery! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • ar2105 on October 24, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    Instead of multiplying to combine average and strike rate, can you use the formula mentioned in the paper ``Bernoulli Runs'' (http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.3104v1.pdf) to combine them? There is a R implementation in the appendix and it should be straightforward to implement it in any language of your choice?

  • HLANGL on October 24, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    @ melayaraja on (October 24 2011, 09:07 AM GMT): Yes, towards the very latter part of his career, after '95 or so, Richie Richardson opted to wear a helmet. But for the most part of his career, from 83-84 to 93/94, he batted without a helmet even against the best of bowlers like Waqar, Wasim, Imran, McDermott, etc. at their peak who were not slow by any standards. Richie Richardson may not be destructive as Viv Richards in general, but once in a while, he put even the best of bowlers on to sword especially in tests & was one of the best when it comes to hooking & pulling at will. IMO, he's one of the most underrated players in recent times, who deserved much better than simply being forced to retire after WC'96. In doing do, WIs only lost one of their world class batsmen who have become a very rare commodity for them since then.

  • SantoshV on October 24, 2011, 12:30 GMT

    People have already started finding ways to improve these stats, which itself is a very good attempt to compare players from different era. Some of the things are not tangible(like pressure or weight of expectation) and hence will not be part of these stats, however you can definitely try to improve this model after considering some of the valid suggestions. From my point of view one the most important thing which has been missed here is the quality of bowling against which these runs were scored. Specailly when we look at Sir Viv, he has not scored those runs against Marshall, Holding, Garner & Roberts, while all other batsmen in his era were getting those runs against them (offcourse they were not playing all their matches against WI but certainly a %) - the best bowling attacks Cricket has ever seen - which would have surely damaged their avg as well as strike rates. Doesn't that explain the huge gap Sir Viv is enjoying against other batsmen from his era??

  • tigerkhan on October 24, 2011, 12:30 GMT

    Great article again Mr. Rajesh. but you have missed a few great names like Martin Crowe, Jayasuriya, Jayawardene, Sangakara, Stephen Fleming, Trescothik, S.Waugh, especially a few if the players who played in the early 1990's and 2000's. A part from that a superb article.

  • on October 24, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Dhoni stands next to Viv Richards... Awesome article :)

  • on October 24, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    Only one flaw in your analysis of the 2000s..... MEK Hussey. Arguably one of the most dominant one day batsman in the last decade. Not bad stats either - Avg. 50.70, SR 87.96. Oh well, don't let that get in the way of a good story about Dhoni.

  • on October 24, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    Highly impressive statistical analysis! And of course Sir Viv always eschewed the helmet even when everyone else wore one.

  • hahn on October 24, 2011, 11:18 GMT

    The top 3 ODI batsmen of all time, in my opinion, would be 1. Sir Viv Richards 2. Sanath Jayasuriya 3. Sachin Tendulkar

    Sanath is very faintly ahead of Sachin, 'cause of the wrath he introduced unleashing in the first 15 overs, making it GAME ON from ball 1.

  • on October 24, 2011, 11:13 GMT

    Rajesh you have omitted one of the important factor. That is weightage for percentage of runs scored by a player against his team. This will take into account the pitch conditions, opposition bowlers and fielders. For example if a player has scored more than 50% of team total should have more weightage than player scoring less tha 50% of team total. Also if you are in a strong & winning team (Aus & Windies) you can play more positively without inhibitions. This is where Tendulkar and Lara stand out because most of their careers they were carrying the team on their shoulders.

  • sachinlegend on October 24, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    Richards the greatest odi batsman as per statistics....Sir Don Bradman greatest Test Batsman as per Average....SRT..the greatest ever cricketer by passion, ambition, dedication, determination, commitment, Mr Rajesh could you please tell the record of King Viv of his last 5 years in cricket

  • on October 24, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    I think this analysis has a couple of flaws - first off, the fact that almost everyone seems to play the ODI game better, having seen it evolve over a period of time - in Richards' time, you had people like Gavaskar and Boycott playing the sport - no wonder Richards was a better player than those. Second off, the author fails to take into account the positions where people have batted - both Dhoni and Beavan batted lower down the order and have significant number of not outs to their names, which skews their averages.

    The last thing that I would like to mention is, given that this is a statistical analysis, there is no room for intangibles - weight of expectations, longevity, etc. - I think they count for more.

  • on October 24, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    How come there is no Jayasuriya with 90 plus strike rate and 28 centuries?

    Jayasuriya held following recotds in his career: Fastest fifty, (still holds) Fastest huundred (later broken byAfridi) Fastest 150 (99 balls against England) (I think still holds) Most score over 150 (four for Jayasuriya) (still holds) Most sixes in an inning (still holds. 11 against pak) Most sixes in ODI mathes (broken by Afridi) Most runs in an over (broken by Gibbs)

  • ansram on October 24, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    Not outs are ok as long as the batsman has played a certain minimum number of deliveiries, say thirty. Otherwise they give a very skewed picture of averages.

    Richards is to ODI's what Bradman is to tests - simply incomparable. SR of 90 during that area is mind boggling.

  • 4test90 on October 24, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    One thing about scoring rates - you must take into account shorter boundaries and improvement in bats. I remember as a boy in the early 80's at MCG Aust made 302 vs NZ which was a world record score at the time. The usual score was only about 200-220 for the ground. Viv's 153 no in 1979/80 I still believe is the best one day inns ever

  • Stark62 on October 24, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    Had T20 been around when Viv was playing; he would have massacred every bowler!

  • gandabhai on October 24, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    I was lucky enough to witness the brilliance of Richards from his magical run outs in that world cup final against the Ausses to his retirement . We all called him MASTER BLASTER . However , belive it or not , if he was to play one of his typical innings today , it might not seem as devastating as nowadays those types of innings are more common with the birth of 20/20 . E.g innings by Warner , Gayle , Razzak , Y. Pathan , Jayasurya + many many more .

  • supkarr on October 24, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    Interesting analysis. But something is amis. The names of Zaheer Abbas and Clive Lloyd missing from the first list. Similarly The name of Lance Clusener missing altogether. Comparision of Azharuddin who has started playing in 1985 with the rest of that table is not fair. This does not take into account the pressure situation performance of a batsman. What about the current playing batsmen like Michale Hussey and Hashim Amla? But still a nice attempt at comparision of different generations of ODI batsmen.

  • TheDoctor394 on October 24, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    It's hard to argue with Viv Richards, but, in my time, Michael Bevan remains by far the best One Day batsman I've seen, although, living in Australia (but not an Australian supporter), I saw a lot of him. He was not out a lot because he took Australia to so many wins! Over and over and over again, he'd come in when things were tough and take them home. It drove me nuts. On the other hand, I think Gilchrist is one of the most overrated one day batsmen of all. When he came off, he was fantastic, but he had way, way too many failures.

  • vvs167 on October 24, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    Viv's BRILLIANT run-making matched by some equally brilliant number crunching. Top stuff, Rajesh :)

  • on October 24, 2011, 9:36 GMT

    A very neat statistical analysis on changing methods of batsmen over the years in one day cricket.Sir Viv Richards stands out in his time as one who was far more brutal than others.He also could carry his one day game to tests.

  • pranab708 on October 24, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    The combination of batting average and strike rate is the perfect criteria to measure the value of a batsman in ODIs. A near perfect way to assess the worth of batsmen across all eras. And the top ten and their respective standings don't throw any surprising. Very smart analysis. I liked it very much. Kindly do the same for bowlers as well.

  • timus6778 on October 24, 2011, 9:32 GMT

    hey..i wrote RD's average as 30 instead of 39..my bad..sorry to undermine your stats, The Wall

  • Pankaj_INDIA on October 24, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    playing in 2 complete decades and still going strong... weights of expectations of billion fans... consistency of 2 decades and still continuing... carried whole team on single shoulder for over 10 years... not to mention the way he destroyed all kinds of bowling with ease... the greatest batsman to have played ODIs (and Tests too, undoubtedly..) is SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR!!!!!! BEST, by a large margin....above all....one and only enigma.... "GOD" !!!

  • Gupta.Ankur on October 24, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    I think the basis of this discussion is flawed......you can't really fault a sachin or a dhoni for better odi bastmen in their era...

    And you surely can't compare a batsman (Tendulkar) with people who have played half the number of matches......

    Sachin is by far the greatest batsman across all formats....

  • Anurag_India on October 24, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    Wow, this is wonderfully done Rajesh. How about taking into account the success factor as well. As in What precentage of games their respective teams went on to win when one of these batsmen were among the top scorers, say top three. Maybe give higher weightage to being top scorer and so on. Might further solidify Sir Viv's hold on top.

  • KarachiKid on October 24, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    Very insightful - as always.

  • vaidyar on October 24, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    Average of 47 and SR of 90, in the 70s and the 80s. Enough said. The rest of the article is only for those who worship other gods. :) Whaddaplayaa!! Sehwag if he had got going in the ODIs like he does in the tests could've probably run him close. No one else!

  • on October 24, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    One can't help but wonder how Sir Garfield Sobers would have compared to the great Viv had he played more than ONE ODI.

    I would guess that Viv would have to take 2nd place. BUT that is just my guess there is no proof and I won't even try to defend this.

  • DGYoung on October 24, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    Rajesh - inteesting analysis but how did you decide which playrs to include? I'm surprised Mike Hussey isn't mentioned: played similar period to Dhoni & has almost identical stats (average 50.70, SR 87.96).

  • nmoghal on October 24, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    An analysis of the leading batsmen in ODI and no mention of Zaheer Abbas? Is that even possible? Check out the stats of all batsmen as of the April fool's day in 1983 (at the conclusion of 1982-83 Pakistan-India series). The top 6 centurians were Greg Chappel, Greenidge, Richards and Glen Turner (with 3 each), David Gower (5) and Zaheer (6). And Zaheer also had these additional scores: 97, 93, 95*. Despite having the lowest not-out percentage, he had an average of over 50, and the highest strike rate (86) amongst serious contenders. Get serious, please. I understand the desire to make the Indian batsmen shine, and one needn't even try: they do have exceptional records. But to make an omission like Zaheer's ... I don't even know what to make of it.

  • melayaraja on October 24, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    @ chandau: I remember Richie Richardson wearing helmet during the famous 1995 WI-Aus series in the Carribean. I saw a picture of him in Sportstar and was surprised to see him wear a helmet. You can cross check in youtube as definitely somebody would have posted footage of that series.

  • eZoha on October 24, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    I enjoyed this article. Great work. But it can be tweaked a bit. According to Rajesh, he made those tables based on the assumption that - "both runs scored and the rate of scoring them are important in ODIs". I think that notion also changed in different eras. And you can find and include in the stats which should be given more weightage. If you look at the average score of an ODI innings of an era, it gives an indication. An average score of 210 over an era means that batting average is more important than strike-rate. IF Ganguly's era and Dhoni's era have different average innings score, then batting average and strike-rate cannot be given same weightage when comparing them. I hope my point is clear to Rajesh.

  • on October 24, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    And what batsmen who made "the Majority" of their runs "at Home" as compared to others who scored runs "All Over the World".

    I think this is the Best way to make this Judgement.

    Cheers DD

  • rizwan_1992 on October 24, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Well if average*SR is the criteria then where is Zaheer Abbas whose average*SR is more than 40 and the era in which he played, I am sure his ratio will be around 2.0 only behind Richards. He achieved the all time second best ODI ratings. He effectively ended the career of few Indian spinners. After all, he isn't called "Asian Bradman" for nothing. I am surprised, how you overlooked him.

  • Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on October 24, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    Great work Rajesh. Enjoyed it immensely. Now I know my father is right when he says Viv is the best ever :)

  • BillyCC on October 24, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    Excellent anaylsis. I would probably agree with the rankings, ie. Richards first, Bevan second etc. I think you would also find that both those two played in extremely successful sides by contributing in different ways; Richards due to his significant contributions in the middle order and Bevan guiding Australia to victory, which explains his number of not-outs. The other three in the top five: Dhoni, Tendulkar and Jones would have, I suspect, much lower winning percentages.

  • on October 24, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    Very nice article.

    While statistics do not always portray the complete picture, in this case it has proven that irrespective of the variances of time, kind of opposition, wickets, better equipment etc that there is only one True King - King Viv.

  • hattima on October 24, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    I actually had quite a few stimulated discussions with a fellow statistician about averages in one-day matches, and one thing is for sure: averages for batsmen playing in positions four-down onwards can be very misleading about the quality of the batsman. There are a few remedies possible, the simplest is perhaps putting less weight on runs from short not out innings. For example, runs from all not out innings played over more than 30 balls can get full weight, and then innings with smaller ball spans can be given less weights, say 80% for innings between 25-30 balls, 60% for innings between 19-24 balls etc. Alternatively, all the 'out's in the end overs of the innings could have less weight as well, say a batsman getting out in the 50th over did not lose a whole wicket but only 0.1, and one getting out in the 49th should have 0.2, and so on. Either of these schemes might give a fairer deal.

  • pmalay on October 24, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    This is an amazing story. Very creative way of comparing batsmen performance across eras. Awesome.

  • Pratip on October 24, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    It's an extremely good measure of how batsmen compare against each other across the various eras. However, I think Mr.Rajesh has missed out on another critical factor - consistency. Hence, the number of innings each batsmen has played over his career should also somehow figure in the workings. A case in point is Sachin Tendulkar has maintained this avg. and strike rate across 453 matches while the rest have done it by playing between 128 and 288 matches. - Pratip Francis

  • timus6778 on October 24, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    very nice stats Mr Rajesh...could you include Rahul Dravid's stats..i reckon he wouldn't have fared that bad...considering his average was around 30 and strikke rate around 72..only if you could entertain my request, Sir...Thanks

  • chandau on October 24, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    This is neat but comparison over periods in time will never be accurate due to changes in the laws as well as playing conditions. Look at the bats in 1970s against those in use now. Consider the pitches in different countries and continents, the weather patterns that have changed globally, the change of ball. Most importantly since 1971 the laws have been changed time and again that has given batters more leeway to go about like a bull in a china shop. Cannot think of any laws that have helped the bowlers hence the 2000 and after players may be experiencing the most favorable conditions. For those who have not seen the master blaster live, as far as i know he never wore a helmet!! (neither did Ritchie Richardson - crikinfo can correct me). They never came to the middle in fearof getting hit. Just true worries like the modern day special forces soldiers - no retreat no surrender.

  • a.jalan on October 24, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    Fantastic Analysis and i would say pretty much accurate. maybe like you said a little discounting of Bevan and Dhoni for their higher % of not outs and some weightage for Sachins record over years. To say that Dhoni is the second best ODI batsman of all time is a little rich. My rating would be Viv, Sachin, Gilchrist, Jones, Bevan, Dhoni, Hayden and then the rest including Saeed Anwar, Ponting,Lara and Sehwag.

  • Haleos on October 24, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    Rajesh - great work but whats the point of all this analysis? We can not compare players from different era whatever the formula. Have you considered the bowling attacks, pitches, weather conditions, players importance in the team, crowd pressure etc during matches. Stats can never give a right picture in cricket. It just acts as canon fodder for people from different countries to start arguing about why their players are better than others. Already we have enough bitterness in this world.

  • D.V.C. on October 24, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    This is an interesting analysis but the true measure of a batsman's worth is how often and how well their innings contribute to their team winning the game. The game situation (which includes a component of batting order) determines how a batsman bats. This analysis takes good account of players at the top of the order who must score a lot of runs quickly to put their team in the best position. Batsman lower down the order have a different task though, especially when they bat second. They must bat according to the tempo of the game and put a higher price on their wicket if there is little batting to follow. Bevan's great skill was in scoring no faster than was absolutely necessary in order to reduce risk, and he won Australia many games as a result. I don't think this analysis is able to take such factors properly into consideration.

  • on October 24, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    Batsman with high average due to NO must be taken from the list!

  • Cool_Jeeves on October 24, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    Good Stuff. Confirms Richards' standing as the mightiest. If one weights by the importance of the occasion and the runs, Gilchrist should surely by second.

  • jaytirth on October 24, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    Sachin debuted in 1989. Some of his best knocks have been in the 1990s( desert storm series, sharjah, 1996 world cup, 1999 world cup).

  • donda on October 24, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    That's why Viv is king of cricket , the most dangerous and entertaining batsman ever entered the ground of cricket. However Tendulkar record is what i would like to have rather than any body else. Because It's hard to acheive and imagen what he has done in 22 years.

    Dhoni record is awesome in ODI and that's why he is dady of all in ODI cricket.

    Good article , which opens up the eyes of new generation that we have to salute the pioneer of ODI batting Viv richards and his record is still the best by far.

  • arvin on October 24, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    sachin played half his matches in 1990's... so why he is being considered among players who mainly played in 2000's... he would have had ave*sr index of around 38 in matches played during 1990's... and for matches played during 2000's his index will be 43... he is the only batsman who played during 2 complete decades and different eras and certainly needs to be analyzed for both decades / eras compared with players who mainly played during those years... and ajay jadeja certainly was a top batsman during 1990's with index of about 27 which will put him just above or below azhar... please when doing stat analysis do it with unbiased mind and not to show this or that player better than others ...

  • SPotnis on October 24, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    No matter what era and what generation everything in one day cricket batting begins with Sir Vivian Richards and then comes rest of the crowd. He played his great innings when it mattered the most.

  • CricIndia208 on October 24, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest ever. All these stats are meaningless.

  • SST19 on October 24, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Its more appropriate if sachin is in 1990s and early 2000s list, he played more than half of match before 2000, & played 328 out of 453 in 1990s and early 2000s (upto 2003), Avg 45.30, SR 86.64 with 12685 runs & 36 centuries. avg*SR=39.25 considering Overall ave*SR=21 ratio=1.86 better than M Beven (1.76) or Sachin can put in both 1990s & 2000s analysis it will give clear picture.

  • on October 24, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    Good article. But the author forgot to mention about the changes occurred after Viv's era. Examples include head Gear, elbow guards, chest guards etc..Not forgetting the quality of the pitches. Then again, the countries like SL, India, South Africa were not in the picture. The quality of th e coaching is 100 times better, and the focus on the player'rs fitness was not an issue..it is not a part time sport any more..

  • IVA_Richards on October 24, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    HI,

    Great article and one that does a lot to produce a reliable list of the best one day batsmen of all time.

    If i could just make one suggestion: Despite the fielding restrictions in the first 15 overs, i believe it has still histroically been more difficult to bat at the top of the order, than to be a lower order finisher.

    There are of course, some exceptions, such as in the subcontninent, when there have been many times that batting against the new ball is easiest. However, on balance, i think the lower order batters have had a slight advantage and thus, as goos as Dhoni and Bevan have been, i think they gain a slight advantage using this indexing method.

    Certainly, they have been adaptable and innovative and deserve their plaudits, but neither showed the class against the new ball and the technical ability to marry batsmanship with run-scoring that the likes of Richards, Tendulkar, and Dean Jones have shown.

    For mine, they are the three greats of one day batting...

  • Prabhath_UR on October 24, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Mike hussey has average*sr of around 43...

  • smudgeon on October 24, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    I think a lot of people these days who never saw him bat simply don't get the phenomenon Richards was. Stats aside, it was the way he played which is hard to quantify but more important for him as a batsman. No-one since has dominated attacks in quite the same way, or been feared as much by bowlers. Stats merely help to qualify the man's prowess.

  • SixFourOut on October 24, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    It's impossible to realistically put Bevan in those top ODI players ever. I think there are a couple of very important factors worth noting that need to be applied to view a batsman's real value. 1 - I think a player who maintains an average over 300 games is far more valuable than someone who plays 150, there needs to be like 3 points added for 300 games, 2.2 for 220 etc. 2 - Not outs are terrible, they wreck havoc on proper stats. If a person plays at number 7-8 they are far more likely to get a not out, so points need to be added for where you bat in an order, like 5 for opening, 4 for 2-3, 3 for 4-5, 2 for 6-7 on so on.Then there are centuries. I think these are worth additional points. So, if all things are equal, surely the guy with 20 centuries is worth more points than the guy with 5. How about 5 centuries being worth .5 of a point, 10=1 20=2 30=3 and so on.

    A guy coming in at 7 behind the best batting side ever but ONLY has a strike rate of 75 is plaiyng for a not out

  • Prabhath_UR on October 24, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    Doesnt mike hussey come into the picture???

  • Testcricfan on October 24, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    Rajesh, Numbers are like molten iron, they can take the shape which their creator intends them to project. Even though I agree with the general context of your article that Viv Richards was the greatest ODI batsman of all time, I would suggest you apply the same statistical yardstick for all players. Cant you see you have penalized some one like Jayasuriya & Tendulkar for their sustained excellence over 2 decades..Say, the Average strike rate in 90's of a top order player was 70, these 2 had SR's of 90 in that era...they were pioneers of ODI Openings and powerplay strokeplay. The players who followed in the next decade just were following the template set by them. But your article does not give any weightage to the runs they made in the 90's. In effect, these greats had 2 careers, and we should probably rate them against the standards that were prevalent in those different eras.

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  • Testcricfan on October 24, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    Rajesh, Numbers are like molten iron, they can take the shape which their creator intends them to project. Even though I agree with the general context of your article that Viv Richards was the greatest ODI batsman of all time, I would suggest you apply the same statistical yardstick for all players. Cant you see you have penalized some one like Jayasuriya & Tendulkar for their sustained excellence over 2 decades..Say, the Average strike rate in 90's of a top order player was 70, these 2 had SR's of 90 in that era...they were pioneers of ODI Openings and powerplay strokeplay. The players who followed in the next decade just were following the template set by them. But your article does not give any weightage to the runs they made in the 90's. In effect, these greats had 2 careers, and we should probably rate them against the standards that were prevalent in those different eras.

  • Prabhath_UR on October 24, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    Doesnt mike hussey come into the picture???

  • SixFourOut on October 24, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    It's impossible to realistically put Bevan in those top ODI players ever. I think there are a couple of very important factors worth noting that need to be applied to view a batsman's real value. 1 - I think a player who maintains an average over 300 games is far more valuable than someone who plays 150, there needs to be like 3 points added for 300 games, 2.2 for 220 etc. 2 - Not outs are terrible, they wreck havoc on proper stats. If a person plays at number 7-8 they are far more likely to get a not out, so points need to be added for where you bat in an order, like 5 for opening, 4 for 2-3, 3 for 4-5, 2 for 6-7 on so on.Then there are centuries. I think these are worth additional points. So, if all things are equal, surely the guy with 20 centuries is worth more points than the guy with 5. How about 5 centuries being worth .5 of a point, 10=1 20=2 30=3 and so on.

    A guy coming in at 7 behind the best batting side ever but ONLY has a strike rate of 75 is plaiyng for a not out

  • smudgeon on October 24, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    I think a lot of people these days who never saw him bat simply don't get the phenomenon Richards was. Stats aside, it was the way he played which is hard to quantify but more important for him as a batsman. No-one since has dominated attacks in quite the same way, or been feared as much by bowlers. Stats merely help to qualify the man's prowess.

  • Prabhath_UR on October 24, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Mike hussey has average*sr of around 43...

  • IVA_Richards on October 24, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    HI,

    Great article and one that does a lot to produce a reliable list of the best one day batsmen of all time.

    If i could just make one suggestion: Despite the fielding restrictions in the first 15 overs, i believe it has still histroically been more difficult to bat at the top of the order, than to be a lower order finisher.

    There are of course, some exceptions, such as in the subcontninent, when there have been many times that batting against the new ball is easiest. However, on balance, i think the lower order batters have had a slight advantage and thus, as goos as Dhoni and Bevan have been, i think they gain a slight advantage using this indexing method.

    Certainly, they have been adaptable and innovative and deserve their plaudits, but neither showed the class against the new ball and the technical ability to marry batsmanship with run-scoring that the likes of Richards, Tendulkar, and Dean Jones have shown.

    For mine, they are the three greats of one day batting...

  • on October 24, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    Good article. But the author forgot to mention about the changes occurred after Viv's era. Examples include head Gear, elbow guards, chest guards etc..Not forgetting the quality of the pitches. Then again, the countries like SL, India, South Africa were not in the picture. The quality of th e coaching is 100 times better, and the focus on the player'rs fitness was not an issue..it is not a part time sport any more..

  • SST19 on October 24, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Its more appropriate if sachin is in 1990s and early 2000s list, he played more than half of match before 2000, & played 328 out of 453 in 1990s and early 2000s (upto 2003), Avg 45.30, SR 86.64 with 12685 runs & 36 centuries. avg*SR=39.25 considering Overall ave*SR=21 ratio=1.86 better than M Beven (1.76) or Sachin can put in both 1990s & 2000s analysis it will give clear picture.

  • CricIndia208 on October 24, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest ever. All these stats are meaningless.

  • SPotnis on October 24, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    No matter what era and what generation everything in one day cricket batting begins with Sir Vivian Richards and then comes rest of the crowd. He played his great innings when it mattered the most.