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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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