November 15, 2009

Far ahead of the competition

Stats analysis of Sachin Tendulkar's ODI career

Tendulkar's Test record is imposing enough, but in ODIs he has moved ahead at a frightening pace, thanks to a combination of his incredible skill and drive, and the BCCI's proficiency in organising one-day internationals. Tendulkar's tally of 17,178 is 3801 runs more than his nearest competitor - Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya - while his tally of 45 centuries is 17 more than Jayasuriya and Ricky Ponting, the next-best in the list.

Tendulkar's stats are amazing also because he has sustained them over such a long period - he is within touching distance of the longest ODI career, which currently stands in Javed Miandad's name. Miandad's career stretched over 20 years and 272 days, which is less than 11 months longer than Tendulkar's current span. However, Miandad only played 233 ODIs during this period, an average of around 11 per year. Tendulkar, only the other hand, has already appeared in 436, averaging almost 22 per year. Only Sanath Jayasuriya has lasted as long, playing 441 matches in 19 years and 275 days.

The presence of several lesser teams in the one-day format offers opportunities for batsmen to cash in on easy runs, but Tedulkar's numbers stand up to scrutiny against the best sides. Among batsmen who've scored at least 8000 runs against the top eight sides in ODIs (excluding Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the non-test-playing nations), Tendulkar averages 42.63 at a strike rate of 84.59, giving him a batting index (average multiplied by runs per ball) of 36.06, which is better than any other batsman in the list.

Batsmen with 8000 or more ODI runs against the top 8 teams
Batsman ODIs Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s Ave x SR/100
Sachin Tendulkar 376 14,454 42.63 84.59 35/ 80 36.06
Ricky Ponting 285 10,672 42.34 80.45 24/ 63 34.06
Adam Gilchrist 247 8089 34.71 95.65 14/ 46 33.20
Brian Lara 260 8975 39.53 77.46 16/ 55 30.62
Jacques Kallis 258 8991 43.22 70.82 14/ 63 30.61
Sanath Jayasuriya 370 11,031 31.88 90.18 22/ 58 28.75
Inzamam-ul-Haq 322 10,183 38.71 73.94 9/ 71 28.62
Sourav Ganguly 246 8469 37.97 73.07 14/ 55 27.74
Rahul Dravid 279 9112 38.61 70.63 10/ 70 27.27
Mohammad Azharuddin 300 8617 36.35 73.79 6/ 54 26.82
Desmond Haynes 235 8483 40.98 62.94 17/ 55 25.79

As in Tests, a feature of Tendulkar's ODI career has been his consistency. Since May 31, 1998, his average has never dipped below 40 during a period which has spanned 245 matches. The highest it ever reached was 45.34, after he scored a fine 86 off 95 balls and helped India to a 19-run win against Australia at the Gabba during the VB Series in January 2004.

Best against the best

Another similarity between his Test and ODI stats is his penchant for the Australian bowling attack - his ODI numbers against the best side of his era are as brilliant as his Test stats. He has scored more hundreds against them - nine - than against any other side. He has scored 3005 runs against them, which is 1147 more than anyone else against them since 1990, and 743 more than anyone has ever scored against them. (Click here for the list of highest run-scorers in ODIs against Australia.) Of the 60 Man-of-the-Match awards he has won in ODIs, 12 have been against Australia. In fact, apart from Desmond Haynes, who has six centuries against them, no batsman has even managed half the number of hundreds that Tendulkar has - Graham Gooch and VVS Laxman are next with four each.

Batsmen in ODIs v Aus since 1990 (Qual: 750 runs)
Batsman ODIs Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Aravinda de Silva 24 997 49.85 83.43 2/ 6
Hansie Cronje 39 1364 47.03 73.05 2/ 9
Sachin Tendulkar 67 3005 46.23 85.12 9/ 14
Lance Klusener 26 794 44.11 87.34 0/ 5
Kumar Sangakkara 28 1134 43.61 74.80 1/ 8
Mohammad Yousuf 25 935 40.65 72.36 1/ 6
Jonty Rhodes 55 1610 40.25 77.92 0/ 10
Brian Lara 51 1858 39.53 76.58 3/ 15
Chris Harris 38 887 38.56 71.58 1/ 4
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 26 883 38.39 67.71 0/ 6

Starting in style

There's little doubt that Tendulkar has set the standard in terms of opening batting in ODIs. Since doing it for the first time against New Zealand, and smashing 82 off 49 balls in March 1994, Tendulkar has made that position his own in the Indian team, and with fantastic results. Among openers with at least 5000 runs, Tendulkar's stats stand out both for his average and strike rate. Other batsmen have scored quicker, but in the process their averages have dipped significantly. Tendulkar has scored at a fast clip and yet ensured he stays at the crease long enough to average 48 runs per innings.

Best openers in ODIs (Qual: 5000 runs)
Batsman ODIs Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s Ave x SR/100
Sachin Tendulkar 317 14,062 48.15 87.65 41/ 70 42.20
Virender Sehwag 174 5975 35.56 102.27 10/ 32 36.37
Adam Gilchrist 260 9200 36.50 98.02 16/ 53 35.78
Chris Gayle 187 7181 42.24 83.77 19/ 38 35.38
Matthew Hayden 148 5892 44.30 78.70 10/ 33 34.86
Graeme Smith 145 5530 41.26 83.25 8/ 40 34.35
Mark Waugh 141 5729 44.06 76.74 15/ 32 33.81
Sanath Jayasuriya 387 12,738 34.70 92.51 28/ 66 32.10
Saeed Anwar 220 8156 39.98 79.93 20/ 37 31.96
Sourav Gamguly 242 9146 41.57 73.59 19/ 58 30.59

With Sourav Ganguly, he formed the most prolific opening partnership in ODI history, scoring 6609 runs at an average of almost 50, with 21 century stands. And in wins, the average increased to nearly 68, the highest among pairs who've scored at least 1500 partnership runs in wins.

A World Cup maestro

It's the most important tournament in one-day cricket, and Tendulkar has ensured he has been at his very best during these tournaments. Tendulkar has played 36 World Cup games - only Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Jayasuriya and Wasim Akram have played more - but leads the run-tally with 1796. In 35 innings he has topped fifty 17 times, an incredible average of at least a half-century every two innings.

Tendulkar has played five World Cups, and only once did he disappoint - in 2007, when India were booted out in the first round. His 673 runs in the 2003 edition is the best by any batsman in a World Cup, while his tally in 1996 is in the top five as well. Of his eight Man-of-the-Match awards in these tournaments, two were against Pakistan, in 1992 and 2003.

The only batsman who has done better is Viv Richards - he averaged more than 63 at a strike rate of 85, giving him a batting index (average x runs per ball) of almost 54. Despite his World Cup heroics, though, he has not managed to take India to a World Cup title; he has suggested he will be around till 2011 - that will surely be his last chance.

Best batsmen in World Cups (Qual: 1000 runs)
Batsman ODIs Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s Ave x SR/100
Viv Richards 23 1013 63.31 85.05 3/ 5 53.85
Sachin Tendulkar 36 1796 57.93 88.21 4/ 13 51.10
Herschelle Gibbs 25 1067 56.15 87.38 2/ 8 49.06
Mark Waugh 22 1004 52.84 83.73 4/ 4 44.24
Sourav Ganguly 21 1006 55.88 77.50 4/ 3 43.31
Ricky Ponting 39 1537 48.03 81.06 4/ 6 38.93
Brian Lara 34 1225 42.24 86.26 2/ 7 36.44
Adam Gilchrist 31 1085 36.16 98.01 1/ 8 35.44

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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