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10000 Club members – who fares better?

February 17, 2014 Leave a comment

I recently read this blog comparing 10K plus run makers in Test and trying to find out if they have played a weaker or a stronger opposition.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/blogs/content/story/718821.html

I for one, feel it would be completely unfair to compare completely on the basis of opposition bowling’s performance that too only past performance and not the career performance. Agreed it would be difficult to take career performance into account as most of the bowlers are still playing.

I generally agree with the base premise of the analysis. I keep saying that the current lot of batsmen might not be as good as the ones from the past generation because they have not played quality bowling. The current lot has not played the likes of Akram, Younis, Ambrose, Walsh, Donald, Mc Grath etc. Steyn, Philander, Mitchell Johnson and Jimmy Anderson look like world class ones similar to the ones mentioned in the last line. But again, an Ishant Sharma could also be destructive on a given day.

To compare the 10K makers, I would drop Sunny Gavaskar and Border from the list as I would like to limit myself to the current (or recent past) generation who would have faced largely the same set of bowlers give or take a few. Also I would like to change the concept of Average a bit. I find averages very misleading because of the not outs. Steve Waugh has 46 NOs. Agreed it is one thing to remain not out and see your team through. But when it comes to such comparisons, I feel, runs per innings counts much more than runs per wicket. So I will be comparing only two kinds of averages. A player’s performances in various continents and also his performance in home/away conditions. Neutral will be counted as away. Also I will be looking at standard deviation to see who all are consistent

10kstats

Points to be noted:-

1)      Averages in descending order – Sanga, Lara, Sachin, Kallis, Jayawardene, Ponting, Dravid, Chanderpaul and Waugh

2)       Now let’s talk about home away conditions.

  • Only Waugh and Sachin have a better average playing outside  than home.
  • Dravid too comes close.
  • Lara and Sanga have a very decent Away record but theirs is eclipsed by their superior home record.
  • Kallis and Ponting are not doing that great outside home conditions.
  • Next comes Chanderpaul.
  • And worst is Jayawardene who seems to be a home pitch bully.

3)      Now quality and consistency of play.

  • Sachin has got the least standard deviation. He has got an average of more than 40 in all conditions and his superior record in Europe and Oceania hold him in good stead.
  • Next is Ponting, has got a great average everywhere. In subcontinent though the average is a bit below 40 (owing to his pathetic record in India)
  • Next comes King Kallis. Has a strong record in African conditions but leaves a lot to be desired on English pitches.
  • Next is Lara. Lara has scored more than 40 in all conditions. Only his above average in West Indies and Asia has spoiled his standard deviation. But I would actually put him at the top, even before Sachin
  • Next in Chanderpaul. Barring his superior performance in Europe, his averages are below 40 almost everywhere. Nothing to write home about
  • Steve Waugh. Now this guy has got a great record in Africa and West Indies. His not so great record at home and in subcontinent has betrayed his consistency scores
  • Jayawardene. Should we even be looking at this guy’s scores? With average tilted so much towards home conditions it was but obvious this guy does not perform anywhere else
  • Surprisingly Sanga who has the best average is the most inconsistent across geographies. His record in England and West Indies is pretty bad.  But an average of 51.58 in Oceania easily saves him from the ignominy of being called a subcontinent bully.

So, to summarize, I think Lara is easily the best batsman with Sachin coming a close second owing to his superior away and otherwise consistent performance. Wouldn’t place Sanga at the top for the following 3 reasons:-

1)      Any player’s average starts dipping towards the end of his career and Sanga is still playing. So can’t be very sure.

2)      Sanga still lacks the consistency across geographies that other have displayed.

3)      And there is always this lingering doubt in mind that Sanga has got so many runs thanks to Bangladesh.

As an afterthought, and also due  to questions raised by some friends I have appended the post with details if we take Zimbabwe and Bangladesh out of the picture.

10kstats_excl

As can be seen, Sangakkara, Dravid and Steve Waug are the bigest losers after this. Sanga’s  and Waugh’s average has gone down while Dravid’s average as well as consistency has taken a hit. Rest everything is pretty much the same. Specially Lara remains unaffected.

Another set of stats – Kallis is best in South AFrica, Lara is best in Windies as well as Subcontinent, Dravid in ENgland and Sanga in Oceania

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Categories: Cricket Tags: , , , , ,

Jumbo : Dada’s potent weapon

January 26, 2012 Comments off

Last time round I had mentioned how Dada had something EXTRA, a trick up his sleeve which Dhoni simply can never put to use. The often-used, clichéd statement says– ‘TO WIN A TEST MATCH YOU GOTTA GET THOSE 20 WICKETS’. It is easier said than done though. You need bowlers who can actually do that. Ganguly had this lion-hearted bowler though, who would toil hard and pick wickets by the buckets. And mind you – not only on the subcontinent pitches but anywhere.  He was our specialist spinner. Of course, he was not very famous for turning the ball and ironically he was the fastest slow bowler ever (Of course Afridi is a fast bowler 😛 )

You don’t realize the importance of a person till you start missing him. Going by this logic, I thought it would be a nice idea take a look at Ganguly’s captaincy record with and without some important players.

There has not been a single instance where Ganguly has played without Dravid so ‘With Dravid’ pretty much means the same as ‘overall Ganguly record’. Out here in the table I have stats for VVS Laxman (VVS), Virender Sehwag (VS), Sachin (SRT) and Anil Kumble (AK). Interestingly enough, in the absence of these players (individually i.e.), Ganguly’s captaincy record has gone down a bit less than his average and with them it has gone up a bit. For instance, without Virender Sehwag, the Win/Loss has come down to 1.5 from the usual 1.61 and with him; it has gone up to 1.71. But both Sehwag and Laxman have not been able to increase the Win percentage. What this probably means is that they have been able to save the matches with a draw, thus lowering the win percentage.

Sachin has had a higher impact on Ganguly’s results than both VVS and Sehwag since without him we have lost as many matches as we have won and with him we have a Win/Loss ratio of 1.8. But even Sachin couldn’t help to get a better Win Rate as coincidentally, the ratio is exactly same with or without Sachin.

Now, let’s come to our man Kumble. Out of Ganguly’s 13 losses, 8 have come in the absence of Kumble.  Also we can see that without Kumble, Ganguly has a Win/Loss ratio of 0.875 and with him, a whopping 2.8. Also Kumble has been able to achieve a better Win rate than the others.

I digged a bit deeper and compared stats for the presence of Kumble and absence of the other player and vice-versa.

So, Ganguly hasn’t lost a single match without Sehwag and with Kumble, whereas we hasn’t won a single match without Kumble but with Sehwag. Even while comparing similar stats beteen Sachin and Kumble, Kumble comes an easy winner with the WIN/LOSS ratio double and Win %age comfortably higher.

Matches Won Lost Draw Win/Loss Win Rate
Ganguly

49

21

13

15

1.615385

42.85714

w/o VVS

6

3

2

1

1.5

50

W/O VS

18

9

6

3

1.5

50

W/o SRT

7

3

3

1

1

42.85714

w/o AK

18

7

8

3

0.875

38.88889

with VVS

43

18

11

14

1.636364

41.86047

with VS

31

12

7

12

1.714286

38.70968

with SRT

42

18

10

14

1.8

42.85714

with AK

31

14

5

12

2.8

45.16129

w/o VS w AK

4

2

0

2

#DIV/0!

50

w/o AK w VS

4

0

2

2

0

0

w/o SRT w AK

4

2

1

1

2

50

w/o AK w SRT

15

6

6

3

1

40

w/o VVS w AK

1

1

0

0

#DIV/0!

100

w/o AK w VVS

13

5

6

2

0.833333

38.46154

To give Dada due credit, Kumble has not been able to perform that well after dada’s reign i.e.in Dravid’s and Kumble’s own captaincy. Though he has got a better average under Azhar’s captaincy, still he has got a huge number of wickets ( and higher 5 wickets per inng and 10 wickets per match) under dada as compared to that of Azhar.

Bowlers like Kumble come once in a lifetime – worth their weight in gold. A captain having such a player in his playing eleven must be extremely fortunate

Categories: Cricket

Will Dhoni remain the most successful test captain for India ?

January 20, 2012 1 comment

These days every one is into Dhoni-bashing and I being an ardent DADA-fan have felt an immediate need to join the bandwagon. But there is bad news in store for all dada fans.

DHONI  MIGHT  JUST  REMAIN  THE  MOST SUCCESSFUL INDIAN CAPTAIN  EVER  IN  RECORD  BOOKS  FOR  A  LONG  TIME  TO  COME . . . . . at least in terms of sheer numbers.  Here’s how

We all know Dhoni had a dream start to his captaincy winning almost everything, hardly even drawing a match. Most of these victories were in the subcontinent though. Whatever the case, Dhoni’s WIN/LOSS ratio and overall Win %age was always greater than dada. Then a time came when Dhoni started losing and started closing in on Dada’s rate. It had to be ADELAIDE then.

Currently Dhoni and Ganguly square off as follows-

Matches Won Lost Draw Win/Loss Win Rate
Ganguly

49

21

13

15

1.615385

42.85714

Dhoni

37

17

10

10

1.7

45.94595

A loss at ADELAIDE would have meant Dhoni reaching 1.54 in Win/Loss Ratio and I would have taken solace in the fact that Dhoni is below Ganguly at least for a short while. Although we all know how Dhoni would come back to India, play on dustbowls for next 2 years (YES, the buzz is India is not gonna visit England, SA, WI, Australia etc for a long time to come) and increase his winning rate.

But sadly enough, it is not gonna be so and Dhoni has been suspended for the Adelaide match.

It is clear now that he might never fall down below dada’s rate. Well, while comparing the two of them, it makes much more sense to compare away victories. By ‘away’, I mean strictly AWAY FROM THE SUBCONTINENT.

First let us compare what each of them achieved.

1)      Ganguly could salvage a drawn series in England in 2002 with at least 1 victory, which was the 1st match India won 16 years after 1986 when the team had achieved a 2-0 victory in England

2)      Again he could achieve a drawn series in Australia in 2004. India had almost won the series in Sydney when Steve Waugh stood between India and a series win. Ganguly himself contributed with the gritty century at Brisbane in the opening match. Prior to this a drawn series was achieved in 16 years earlier in 1985/86  a 0-0 . And a match was won in 1980/81, the series tied at 1-1.

3)      Ganguly lost a series in the Windies. But he could at least win a single match which was something that happened 27 years earlier in 1975/76.

4)      Ganguly also helped achieve the first series victory in Pakistan, though not outside the sub continent.

Let’s come to Dhoni.

1)      Dhoni could win a series in New Zealand which Ganguly could not even come close to. Dhoni had achieved this after a huge gap of 41 years.

2)      Dhoni could win a series in Windies 1-0 in 2011 but it was something even Dravid had achieved in 2006.

Now let’s have a look at what were the worst points in their careers.

Ganguly:-

Ganguly’s team suffered a white-wash just once against New Zealand. 2-0. Apart from that there were these instances of losing 2-1 to the Aussies at home in 2004.

As far as Dhoni is concerned, need I say anything? 4-0 whitewash at the hands of English men and the current series.  Let us have a look at their win loss record outside the sub-continent.

To give Dhoni, the benefit of the doubt, I am not including Ganguly’ record in Zimbabwe.

Matches Won Lost Draw Win/Loss Win Rate
Ganguly

17

3

7

7

0.428571

17.64706

Dhoni

15

3

8

4

0.375

20

So clearly, Dhoni is not doing that badly and the overall win loss ratio is justified in a way. The win rate, in fact is better than Ganguly owing to the lesser number of matches.

Still, the manner in which Dhoni is losing is quite demoralizing. Ganguly never had such a bad patch. No such white washes.  Ganguly had lost by an innings only once in Sri Lanka. Whereas here Dhoni has had 5 innings defeats already.

We all know for a fact that, Dhoni inherited from Ganguly more – or –less the same team. So with the same team if Ganguly could salvage so many draws and respectable performances, why does Dhoni find himself in troubled waters each time he steps out of the sub continent.

There could be many arguments. To start with – there should be a stroke of luck, a rub of green. Well, not many (including me) would buy that argument. Then there are other arguments like leadership qualities. (Motivating the team, leading from the front, etc). There is also a marked difference in the approach of the 2 captains. Ganguly had this aggressive approach unlike ‘Captain Cool’ and always believed in giving it back to the opposition. Ganguly liked to get under the skin of the opposition and would sometimes make greats like ‘Steve Waugh’ wait for the toss. Still Ganguly has been able to garner lot of respect from someone like Steve Waugh.  Let us look at the batting averages of some of the stars in the Indian batting line up  during Ganguly’s and Dhoni’s captaincy.

For the record, Ganguly’s average of 37.66 during his own captaincy was his worst comparing batting averages among all captains he has played for – under Dhoni he has an average of 62.8 ( 3 matches only). Dhoni’s has averaged 40.92 in his own captaincy which he has not achieved under any other captain.

Ganguly Dhoni
Dravid

73.31

51.12

Laxman

52.35

44.02

Sehwag

52.47

50

Sachin

62.8

61.64

We can see that Sachin and Sehwag have been batting the same way during both Ganguly’s reign as well as that of Dhoni but Dravid’s and Laxman’s performances have gone down by many a  number.

Here we can argue both ways:-

1)      Because of Dravid’s and Laxman’s performace going down, possibly Dhoni has started losing matches.

2)      It could also be seen the other way. You can’t get too many runs unless you are part of a winning team. Imagine, your bowlers have already given the opposition a huge lead. Agreed – it was Dravid and Laxman who helped us win in spite of a follow on. But you can’t repeat those feats  all the time.

I, for one feel, that apart from these factors there is another reason why Ganguly’s team could perform better. To know more about that, stay tuned!!!!

Categories: Cricket

Is Jacques Kallis the best ever ?

January 12, 2012 3 comments

It has been quite sometime I have been discussing this with my friends – Isn’t  Jacques Kallis the greatest all rounder in the world? I, for one feel that it is time we stand up and take notice of his contributions to South African cricket and cricket in general. Especially considering that he has won the man of the match on the occasion of his 150th test match, hitting a double century, taking 6 catches and 3 wickets, I thought it’s time to have a look at the numbers.

Not everyone is completely convinced though. Even the following mind boggling facts fail to impress some people.

(stats in the post are courtesy cricinfo.com. They are up to date as of 12th January 2012 and do not include data of any match played thereafter.)

1)      12912 runs in Test matches which is 4th in the all time list behind Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting – at an average of 57.02 which better than those leading him.

2)      11444 runs in ODI which is 5th in the all time list behind Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Sanath Jayasuriya, Inzamam-ul-Haq –at an average of 45.59 which is again better than those leading him

3)      274 wickets at an average of 32.51 in test matches. He is 28th in the all time list. To put things in perspective – the player just above him in the all time list is Zaheer Khan with 283 wickets at an average of 31.54

4)      267 wickets at an average of 31.76 in ODIs. He is 19th in the all time list. Again, to compare, the player just above him is Abdul Razzaq  who has taken 269 wickets at an average of 31.83

Taking more than 10000 runs and more than 250 wickets in both forms of the game is no mean feat. But there are people who say that he is not a MATCH WINNER and sometimes they do say that he is not exciting to watch and all that …

I, for one believe that a person is a match-winner or not can be easily decided by the number of MOM and MOS awards. So let’s again fall back on stats for the same.

1)      Kallis with 23 Man of the Match Awards in Test matches is the all time leader. Here, some might again argue that he had the added advantage of playing 150 matches. So I calculated the MOM/match ratio. Here, at .1533 he comes 2nd just behind Wasim Akram who has 17 MOM in 104 matches giving him a ratio of .1634 and is much higher than the more famous (now referred to as GOD sometimes) Sachin Tendulkar who has 14 MOMs in 186 matches and has a paltry ratio of .075269

2)      Kallis with 9 Man of the series awards in Tests is the second highest in all time list behind Muttiah Muralitharan with 11 MOS awards.

3)      He comes in 3rd in all time list of MOM awards in ODIs with 32 awards from 318 matches. This time though, he is only 4th in the MOM/match ratio. Vivian Richards with 31/187 (0.166), Sachin Tendulkar with a whopping 62/453 (0.137) and Sanath Jayasuriya with 48/445 (0.108) are better than Kallis who has 32/318 (0.101).

4)      With 6 MOS awards, he comes only 10th in the all time list of MOS awards in ODIs.

Averages and awards, tell you only part of the story. For a batsman to be a match-winner, at least in ODIs, he should have a decent strike rate to be in control of the innings and also SEEM to be a potential match-winner. Kallis has a strike rate of 72.88 in ODIs which I must admit is not that great. This not only makes him an un-EXCITING player but also makes people not fit him in the usual all-rounder category as all –rounders generally are sort of pinch-hitters. Wasim Akram, Abdur Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Andrew Flintoff, Paul Collingwood, Shane Watson and Shaun Pollock are some of the modern ODI players who come to my mind when we speak of the word all-rounder.

Let’s compare some of the figures.

Name Runs Wickets MoM Matches MoM/mch BA bA BA/bA B sR b sR
Watson 4186 123 15 140 0.107 43.15 29.55 1.46 89.84 36.4
Kallis 11444 267 32 318 0.101 45.59 31.76 1.435 72.97 39.5
F’toff 3394 169 14 141 0.099 32.01 24.38 1.313 88.82 33.2
Hasan 3398 121 11 122 0.09 34.67 28.68 1.209 76.51 40.3
Afridi 6893 333 27 333 0.081 23.68 33.27 0.712 114.14 43.4
Pollock 3519 297 22 303 0.073 26.45 24.5 1.08 86.69 39.9
C’wood 5092 111 14 197 0.071 35.36 38.68 0.914 76.98 46.7
Razzaq 5080 269 18 265 0.068 29.7 31.83 0.933 81.25 40.6
Akram 3717 502 22 356 0.062 16.52 23.52 0.702 88.33 36.2

*BA is the batting average, bA bowling average, B sR  batting strike rate and b sR bowling strike rate.

** Please note that the terms BA and ba and the ratio has been referenced from an article about the greatest Test all rounder. The same will be discussed later in the article.

Point to be noted here is that the Kaliis’ batting strike rate is the worst and makes him the least exciting by default.

The players have been arranged in terms of descending order of MOM /match. Also has been calculated the ratio of batting average to bowling average. Interestingly, there is a direct correlation between both these ratios with only 2 exceptions.

1)      Shahid Afridi with a very poor batting average and still not having the bowling average of the usual ‘Bowling’ allrounders has a higher MoM awards. This could probably be attributed to the fact that in spite of the poor BA/bA ratio, he has very high number of runs and wickets and a mind-boggling strike-rate. This also reflects the fact that Afridi has achieved a number of MoM awards with sudden bursts in performance unlike performing consistently like others.

2)      Another anomaly, albeit minute, is the order of Paul Collingwood and Abdul Razzak.

Now, let us take a look at test statistics. To make my job easier, I would like to make a reference to an earlier analysis done by A Tan and R Ramachandran with reference to the greatest allrounders ever.

Some ratios were looked into, the explanation for the same is described in detail in the article :-

1)      BA + 900/bA, which favours a batting all-rounder  The higher this value, the better

2)      bA + 900/BA, which favours a bowling all rounder. The lesser this value, the better

3)      BA – bA, which again favours the batting all rounder. The higher the better

4)      BA/bA, which is sort of neutral. The higher the better.

The top 3 rankers in the analysis are Gary Sobers, Imran Khan and Keith Miller

BA bA BA + 900/bA bA + 900/BA BA – bA BA/bA
Jacques Kallis

57.02

32.51

84.70379

48.29394

24.51

1.753922

Kallis (2003)

53.06

30.23

82.83175

47.19193

22.83

1.75521

Gary Sobers

57.78

34.03

84.22725

49.60632

23.75

1.697914

Imran Khan

37.69

22.81

77.14638

46.68901

14.88

1.652345

Keith Miller

36.97

22.97

76.15154

47.31406

14

1.609491

Trevor Goddard

34.46

26.22

68.78494

52.33724

8.24

1.314264

Comparing Jacques Kallis of 2003 with Gary Sobers, Kallis was already 2nd to Sobers in the 1st ratio and 3rd ratio, That is, he was better than everybody else other than Sobers in 1st and 3rd ratio.

In the 2nd ratio which favoured bowlers more, Kallis was 2nd only to Imran Khan better than Sobers, Miller and Trevor Goddard. But in the last ratio, the neutral ratio, he was the best.

Coming to the present, Kallis’s batting everage and bowling average both has gone up, which means the following –

1)      He has become better than Gary Sobers and the BEST in ratio 1

2)      SAME AS ABOVE for ratio 3

3)      As far as 2nd ratio is concerned, he is not as good as the Kallis of 2003 (mind you , this is a ratio for a bowling all rounder), but he still comes an easy 3rd behind Imran Khan and Keith Miller and is better than Gary Sobers

4)      When it comes to ratio 4, again he has come down a bit from the Kallis of 2003 but is still better than all others.

While comparing players from different eras, we have to take different matters into consideration:-

1)      The bowlers of earlier eras are supposed to be deadlier sometimes though I do not fully subscribe to this opinion

2)      The game has become more batsman friendly

But also we must note the following:-

1)      The game is now played on many more grounds and many countries unlike some of the earlier eras where you have to adjust quickly with lesser practice matches

2)      There are so many formats with the additional 20-20 thing coming in which means the players have to keep changing gears

3)      So many matches are played these days which means more practice but at the same time means more WEAR – AND  – TEAR.

The facts and figures are right in front of you. Now it is for you to decide if Kallis shoud be considered in the list of all time great all rounders or not. Or still better, is he the best all rounder ever or not.

REFERENCES

http://cricketsociety.com/ranking_the_greatest_all-ro.pdf

Categories: Cricket

Number one test team, Really?

December 7, 2010 14 comments

Now this is a pretty controversial issue and die hard Indian Cricket fans might not agree with me. But the moot point is – Is the Indian cricket team really the number 1 test team in the world?

The ratings say so and so do the recent track record of WINS and LOSSES. But is it not just plain eyewash? A laugh in the face of those teams which keep touring different cricketing nations year round alternating between home conditions and hostile conditions? The ranking system is based on numbers, so to say and there can’t be much of subjectivity in it.  But I would like to use numbers again to prove the subjectivity existing in the current ranking system.

I would like to have a head to head comparison between the Indian and South African cricket teams.

The usual disclaimers – All stats are courtesy cricinfo.com. They are up to date as of 7th December 2010 and do not include data of any match played thereafter. The stats cover only the test matches and not the ODIs.

Let’s consider only the AWAY matches for both the teams. To have a bit of recency, we will have only the past 4 years record. The same could be done with the Aussies too. Remember they have been on a downward slide some time now according to most of us. Really? Well, they are not doing that bad when it comes to away matches. But let’s just limit ourselves to the Proteas.

Last 4 years –

South Africa

Won 11, lost 4 out of 21 matches….52% win rate and only 19% loss rate

India

Won 9 , Lost 7    out of 23 matches….39% win rate and 30% loss rate

Last 3 years

South Africa 52% win rate and 21% loss rate

India 40% win rate and 33% loss rate

Last 2 years

South Africa 50% win rate and 20% loss rate

India 50% win rate and 12.5% loss rate

The last 1 year, the record has been more or less the same for both teams, won 3 and lost a single match . While India drew a single match, South Africa drew 3

Now, the opposition or the venue

In the 11 wins, South Africa have beaten West Indies twice, Australia twice, England twice, India twice, Bangladesh twice and Pakistan once.

And India’s 9 wins have come thrice against Bangladesh, twice against the Lankans, once each against the Aussies, the Kiwis, the English and the South Africans.

Thus South Africans have won 5 times in the trying Sub continent conditions (considered hostile for them). Likewise India has won 4 times in non sub continent conditions (considered hostile for them). So far so good. But when did these results come about. How many countries outside the subcontinent has India toured of late? Just 1 New Zealand visit in early 2009. After that so many Bangladesh and Sri Lanka tours.

If India is considered the most difficult place for a touring side, then the South Africans have done that twice –winning in India – spread across two different series in 2008 and 2010 both times not allowing India to get away with a series win.

Another aspect that comes into play is getting accustomed to conditions. Indians just need to stay at home or play around the subcontinent. This way they get more and more accustomed to the dust bowls in the subcontinent whereas the SouthAfricans have to keep alternating between different types of conditions. Just for the record, Since Jan 2009, they have toured Australia, West Indies, India and the middle east (for Pakistan series) and have just had a single home series against the English.

Taking into account series wins…..

South Africa have won 5 away series in last 4 years NOT losing a single series  – One each in Bangadesh, Pakistan, Australia, West Indies and England and at the same time drawing twice against India and once against Pakistan.

India has won 4 away series in the last 4 years – twice against Bangladesh, one each in England and New Zealand. They lost against the Lankans, the South Africans and the Aussies, and narrowly drew the 2010 Tour of Sri Lanka.

A look into the future

With the highly rated middle order of the Indian batting lineup waiting to hang up their boots, India is not in a great position. Bowling has never been India’s forte and it has been the batsmen who have been saving India the blushes for some time now. Zaheer has been the backbone of the bowling line up but injuries have kept him in and out of the team. I am not sure for how long he will be continuing as a fast bowler has a limited shelf life. As far as Harbhajan is concerned, he has not been the match winner he was some years back.

Looking at South Africa, their main batsmen like Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith himself have a good number of years of cricket left in them. Only Herschelle Gibbs and Jacque Kallis are nearing retirement age and mind you, though they are great players, the team is not overly dependent on them. They have a battery of all rounders and so called bits and pieces players in Langevelt, Albie Morkel, van der Merwe etc. The spin department in the hands of Botha and Paul Harris has been looking promising.

So, according to me, if India is to prove its supremacy as the number one test team in the world it has to at least get away with a draw in the upcoming series in South Africa, which really speaking I am not very optimistic of. I am not sure what the numbers would say i.e. number of wins required to maintain the number 1 rank.  All we can do is wait and watch and as they say – LET THE BEST TEAM WIN.

Sachin vs Laxman vs Australia

October 19, 2010 5 comments

It has been quite some time since people have been discussing the Laxman effect on Australia and how Laxman and not Sachin is more effective against the aussies. Its high time to put things in perspective and I personally feel that facts and figures would be the best way to do it. Lets discuss the time period between November 1996 (when Laxman debuted) and the present.

All stats are courtesy cricinfo.com. They are up to date as of 19th October 2010 and do not include data of any match played thereafter. The stats cover only the test matches and not the ODIs

Performance against all Countries:-

Sachin Tendulkar

11319 runs at an average of 58.04 with 39 centuries

He has got 5 man of the series awards – 3 against Australia (2 at home the 1997/98 and the 2010/11 series and the 1999/00 away series ) and one each against England and Bangladesh

11 MOM  awards, 5 times against the aussies(3 away and 2 home)

VVS Laxman

7490 runs at an average of 47.4 with 16 centuries.

A single man of the series award against New Zealand in 2003-04 home series.

4 MOM awards, twice against the aussies (Both home).

Now lets take performace against the Aussies alone i.e. the Border Gavaskar Trophy-

Sachin Tendulkar

2773 runs at an average of 66.02 with 9 centuries

At home, 1619 @ 67.45 with 5 centuries

Away, 1154 @ 64.11 with 4 centuries

Featured in 11 wins – 1205 @ 66.94 with 4 centuries

9 losses – 924 @ 54.25 with 3 centuries

5 draws – 644 @ 92.00 with 2 centuries

VVS Laxman

2279 runs at an average of 55.58  with 6 centuries

At home, 1198 @ 57.04 with 2 centuries

Away, 1081 @ 54.05 with 4 centuries

Featured in 9 wins – 1077 @ 71.80 with 2 centuries

10 losses – 557 @ 27.85 with 2 centuries

6 draws – 644 @ 107.50 with 2 centuries

From the above stats and figures – one thing is very clear. Sachin has been scoring heavily both at home and away and much more than Laxman.

Then, why does Laxman play in the mind of Aussie captains at any given moment? Here’s why –

The difference between batting average achieved in Winning and Lost causes is 12.69 in Sachin’s case. The number becomes 43.95 for Laxman. This means that Laxman’s contribution to the score makes a larger impact on the result. This could also be interpreted in another way – Irrespective of the situation , Sachin contributes, but when other batsmen like Laxman also start contributing, then a WIN is ensured.

I personally feel Aussies too will be worried about Laxman’s contribution  in a similar way. They know in the back of their minds that everything said and done, Sachin is gonna perform, but if Laxman gets going, then they are done for. In other words, though Sachin’s wicket would be the most prized one, if they ensure that Laxman gets out cheaply, then all doors are closed for India.

Another argument I have heard is that Sachin doesn’t perform well in the 2nd innings. This is true to an extent – while Sachin averages 86.04 in the first innings , he averages only 41.78 in the 2nd innings.

The same averages for Laxman are 52.41 and 60.05 respectively.

I personally feel both innings are important – while you need someone in the 2nd innings to play well and finish the match for you, more often than not, it is the first innings lead or deficit that decided the result of the match. In other words, if you score heavily in the 1st innings, you in a way ensure that your team will at least get away with a draw if not a win.

Some other factors we need to consider are:-

1)  Sachin had already played a good 6-7 years of international cricket at the time Laxman was making his debut. This would make Sachin more acclimatised to foreign conditions as well as some of the bowlers of his era who were completely new to Laxman.

2) Sachin has always had the pressure of expectations from a billion people whereas this is not the same with Laxman. At the same time, to give due credit to Laxman, batting 4 down or 5 down, Laxman has been made to carry the pressure of finishing the innings as well as batting alongside tailenders.

3) Though we are strictly discussing performance against Aussies,  it takes something to perform exceptionally well in all the matches against all other oppositions (being played in between the Border Gavaskar Trophy) both at home and away and Sachin has done that more consistently than Laxman.

So, all in all, both Sachin and Laxman are two batting legends who have been Australian team’s chief nemeses for the past decade or so.  For the moment, lets not bother about who the numero uno IS. It is something which the aussies have to bother about.

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