How consistent or otherwise was Tony Greig? The answer is certainly memorable

How consistent was Tony Greig as a batsman?

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157

Stats feature

Who are the most consistent players in Test history?

Bradman? Sachin? Warne? Hadlee? Go on, find out. You'll be surprised

Anantha Narayanan |

Measuring the consistency of Test players has always been a tough proposition. The statistical methods normally followed give us results that are seemingly fine but prove unsatisfactory in the end. Let me give a simple example.

Batsman A has scores of 50, 50, 50 and 50 in four innings. There is no doubt that he is a statistician's delight and the epitome of consistency. Batsman B has scores of 100, 0, 0, 100 in four innings. He is a thoroughly inconsistent player and no one knows which B will turn up on the day. However, it is eminently possible that his two hundreds have contributed to wins for his team. The real problem is that if we post a high statistical variance on Batsman B and brand him inconsistent, it goes against cricketing logic. In a pure cricketing sense, all scores above the mean value are always welcome and should not have a negative impact on the consistency values.

The other problem is that in almost all score distributions, the mean (runs per innings) is around 15 to 25% of the high score. The distribution is always lopsided. If a batsman plays 100 innings and scores 5000 runs, his mean is 50. He is likely to have 30 scores between 50 and 200 and 70 scores below 50. We must realise that 0 and 200 are both part of the game. However, the 200, while it may be four times the mean, should not be penalised. The variance component for the 0 is 50 and for the 200 it is 150.

I have done a lot of work using an innings or a Test as the unit of analysis. While the results have been acceptable, I have always felt that this was a riddle waiting to be solved. How does one arrive at a method to measure consistency keeping in mind the cricketing context? The thinking has to be out of the box - that much is certain. Finally, I think I have the answer.

I came across this idea when I did work on performance streaks for players. I realised that a streak of X innings/spells/Tests gave me a well-defined block of player activity to work with. After a lot of trials and evaluations, I have come up with the following methodology.

The cornerstone of this analysis is that consistency should only be measured using data of the player being considered. A batting average of 40 might be way below the par performance of, say, Herbert Sutcliffe, while the same average might be way above the par performance of Ian Botham. Hence, we will measure the consistency of each player against the overall career standards he has himself set.

It should be noted that the statistics in this piece are as of Test No. 2264, last month's magnificent Colombo Test between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, which swung between the two teams so many times that the participants and followers never knew where they were at any given point of time.

Muttiah Muralitharan: No. 1 on the list of Test wicket-takers, but No. 25 by consistency

Muttiah Muralitharan: No. 1 on the list of Test wicket-takers, but No. 25 by consistency © AFP

Methodology

The basic unit of measure will be blocks of ten innings or spells.
By "spell", I mean a bowler's total number of overs in an innings, not a continuous bowling stint, as understood normally. A block of ten is long enough to represent between five and eight Tests over about three to six months. This allows a player the opportunity to make up for failures, bad decisions, bad luck, unplayable balls and so on in other innings/spells within the block. The blocks traverse home/away Tests, series, opponents, and even years. Therefore, there is no inbuilt bias. Why ten, why not eight or 12? No particular reason: ten represents an easily workable unit. I have made trial runs with eight or 12 innings/spells as the basis. There are only minor variations in the results. The majority of the players stay in their respective areas.

An innings is established when the batsman faces a ball and a spell is recorded when the bowler bowls a ball.
This may seem unfair if a batsman scores 5 not out or a bowler bowls three wicketless overs. However, these things even out across ten innings/spells. The cut-offs are 3000 runs and 100 wickets respectively for batsmen and bowlers. In all, 184 batsmen and 177 bowlers qualify. The minimum number of blocks for batsmen is eight and for bowlers it is four.

Do I measure the player performance against an imaginary norm?
No, this is a method to measure a player's consistency and all comparisons have to be within the player's ambit. Performance analyses should be across players but consistency analyses should be within the career of the concerned player.

What is the base performance we work with?
We will take the career figures of the player and determine the average runs scored in ten innings or wickets taken in ten spells. For batsmen, the question of batting average does not arise. Instead, the actual runs per innings will be used.

How would above-average performances be handled?
If the mean for a batsman is 400 runs per block and he scores 700 runs in a particular block, what do I do? This is the key decision. In keeping with cricketing logic, I will not penalise the batsman but cap this performance at 100%. This is a key decision in the analysis. Do I detect a few academic purists shaking their heads? But I can also see many more cricket followers nodding.

How would below-average performances be handled?
If the mean for a bowler is 22 wickets per block and he takes 15 wickets in a particular block, what do I do? I will leave this performance at 68.2% (15/22). After all, these are the performances we are looking for to measure consistency.

How do we handle the last few innings/spells of a career?
Don Bradman played 80 innings and Richard Hadlee bowled 150 spells. No problem with these players. However, what do I do about Clarrie Grimmett, who bowled 67 spells, or Tony Greig, who played 93 innings? I tried leaving the seven and three as part blocks and adjusted the numbers accordingly. But it often backfired. Greig's last three innings were 0, 43 and 0. Players should not be penalised for ending their careers at certain points. Lean blocks would always lead to problems like this. So I decided that if the last block had five or more innings/spells, I would take it as an independent block. If the last block had four or fewer innings/spells, I would merge it with the penultimate block. In both these cases, tweaking is done to take care of the number of innings/spells in the final block.

Finally, what is the index of player consistency?
It is the average of the block performance percentage values across a career. This average is called the Consistency Index. The higher the average, the more consistent the player. Let me define player consistency here as "the ability of players to keep their sub-par performances to a minimum and close to their mean values".

Let us see how the process works using the data for a very consistent batsman and a very consistent bowler.

Summary of Tony Greig's career
Greig scored 3599 runs in 93 innings. His Block Mean thus works out to 387.0 runs (3599/9.3). Since the last block has three innings, the penultimate block is deemed to have 13 innings. Thus, he has nine blocks. The mean for the last block is 503, which is derived by extrapolation of the mean (387*13/10). The block analysis is explained below.

Block Innings Runs Mean % of Mean % - Adjusted Consistency Index
1 10 356 387.0 92.0% 92.0%  
2 10 463 387.0 119.6% 100.0%  
3 10 393 387.0 101.6% 100.0%  
4 10 486 387.0 125.6% 100.0%  
5 10 385 387.0 99.5% 99.5%  
6 10 370 387.0 95.6% 95.6%  
7 10 302 387.0 78.0% 78.0%  
8 10 440 387.0 113.7% 100.0%  
9 13 404 503.1 80.3% 80.3%

 

          845.4% 93.9%

Greig's troughs were not low: the three 90-plus values helped a lot. Also, the remaining two values are around 80%. His final average of 93.9% indicates a very high level of consistency.

Summary of Bill O'Reilly's career
O'Reilly took 144 wickets in 48 spells. His Block Mean works out to 30.0 wickets (144/4.8). I have selected O'Reilly so that the other method of last-block handling can be explained. Since his last block has eight spells, it is left as it is, and he has a total of five blocks. The mean for the last block is 24.0, which is derived by extrapolation of the mean (30*8/10). The block analysis is explained below.

Block Spells Wickets Mean % of Mean % - Adjusted Consistency Index
1 10 31 30.0 103.3% 100.0%  
2 10 29 30.0 96.7% 96.7%  
3 10 25 30.0 83.3% 83.3%  
4 10 29 30.0 96.7% 96.7%  
5 8 30 24.0 125.0% 100.0%  
          476.7% 95.3%

O'Reilly had two of his five blocks at 100% and two others at 96.7%. These led to a very high Consistency Index value of 95.3%.

Most consistent Test batsmen in history

Batsman Team Runs Innings Blocks Block Mean Consistency Index
Tony Greig Eng 3599 93 9 387.0 93.9%
Darren Bravo WI 3400 89 9 382.0 93.3%
Herbert Sutcliffe Eng 4555 84 8 542.3 92.5%
Ian Redpath Aus 4737 120 12 394.7 91.8%
Arjuna Ranatunga SL 5105 155 16 329.4 91.7%
Roy Fredericks WI 4334 109 11 397.6 91.2%
Alan Knott Eng 4389 149 15 294.6 91.2%
Kevin Pietersen Eng 8181 181 18 452.0 91.1%
Gordon Greenidge WI 7558 185 19 408.5 91.0%
Saeed Anwar Pak 4052 91 9 445.3 91.0%
Linsay Hassett Aus 3073 69 7 445.4 90.9%
Joe Root Eng 4875 102 10 477.9 90.5%
Ijaz Ahmed Pak 3315 92 9 360.3 90.4%
Allan Border Aus 11174 265 27 421.7 90.2%
Greg Chappell Aus 7110 151 15 470.9 90.0%

Greig is the most consistent Test batsman ever. The illustration above indicates how he achieved his amazing Consistency Index value of 93.5%. His Block Mean value is 387.0, and his minimum block compilation is 302. This is within around 25% of the mean, and that has helped produce such a high Consistency Index value.

Darren Bravo has an almost identical Block Mean value as Greig, and his block runs of 372, 403, 564, 310, 362, 377, 292, 349 and 371 (nine innings) has secured an almost similar Consistency Index value of 93.3%. However, Bravo's is a currently running career, and as and when he returns, the figures will change.

Herbert Sutcliffe had an average of 64 at the end of his first Test. He played 53 more and never once did it go below 60. So his position at No. 3 on this list is not a surprise. His eight blocks are 813, 535, 556, 526, 530, 665, 459 and 471 (14 innings), for a Consistency Index value of 92.5%. His Block Mean value of 542.3 is the highest in the top 15.

The elegant Australian batsman of the '60s and '70s, Ian Redpath, is next, with a Consistency Index value of 91.8%, followed closely by Arjuna Ranatunga, at 91.7%. The attacking West Indian opener Roy Fredericks is a surprise placement, bracketed with another surprise, Alan Knott. The latter had an expectedly lower Block Mean value of 294 runs but achieved this figure across 15 blocks to Fredericks' 11.

Who would have thought that the mercurial batsmanship of Kevin Pietersen would merit eighth place, at 91.1% - and across 18 blocks at that? In one block, Pietersen scored 303 runs for a 67.0% value. Otherwise, he was always above 75%. Gordon Greenidge is in ninth position, with 91.0%, achieved over 19 blocks. His penultimate block was a disaster, at 127 runs and 31.1%. But for this, he would have finished higher. Saeed Anwar completes the top ten, with a Consistency Index value of 91.0%.

We all suspected that Joe Root is a consistent batsman, and that is reinforced by him being in 12th place on this list, with 90.5%.

A graphical depiction of the most consistent batsmen looks like this.

© Anantha Narayanan

Readers can note the almost flat nature of the curves. Greig and Sutcliffe had below-average last blocks, while performing at or above their par values for the better part of their careers. Darren Bravo's career has come to a stuttering halt; however, there is a clear upward trend recently. After a few dips, Redpath's career graph is almost totally flat. In the second half of his career, he has performed at or above his par.

Least consistent Test batsmen in history

Batsman Team Runs Innings Blocks Block Mean Consistency Index
Dennis Amiss Eng 3612 88 9 410.5 77.2%
Victor Trumper Aus 3163 89 9 355.4 78.2%
Gautam Gambhir Ind 4154 104 10 399.4 78.6%
Sanath Jayasuriya SL 6973 188 19 370.9 79.6%
Navjot Sidhu Ind 3202 78 8 410.5 80.0%

Let us now have a look at the five least consistent Test batsmen ever. Dennis Amiss had a poor start to his career, scoring 151 runs in his first ten innings. He ended almost as poorly, with 175 runs in his last eight. In between, he had periods of deluge and drought. This is reflected in his Consistency Index value of 77.2%. He had block accumulations of 151, 189, 603, 472, 774, 425, 241, 582, and 175 (eight innings), as against the Block Mean of 410.

Victor Trumper had a turbulent career: 282, 235, 347, 595, 197, 200, 377, 774, and 156 (nine innings), which led to a Consistency Index value of 78.2%. Gautam Gambhir was similarly inconsistent; he followed blocks of 875 and 794 with 154.

Others among the 20 least consistent batsmen in Test history include Denis Compton, Virender Sehwag, Jimmy Adams, Dilip Vengsarkar, Marlon Samuels, Keith Fletcher, Aravinda de Silva and Herschelle Gibbs.

© Anantha Narayanan

There is no better visual depiction for inconsistent batsmen than these graphs. The crests and troughs appear with monotonous regularity, especially for Sanath Jayasuriya.

Most consistent Test bowlers in history

Bowler Team Wickets Spells Blocks Block Mean Consistency Index
Chris Cairns NZ 218 104 10 21.0 96.3%
Geoff Arnold Eng 115 61 6 18.9 96.2%
Yasir Shah Pak 149 50 5 29.4 95.6%
Bill O'Reilly Aus 144 48 5 30.0 95.3%
John Snow Eng 202 93 9 21.7 94.9%
Ryan Harris Aus 113 52 5 21.7 94.7%
Neil Wagner NZ 130 61 6 21.3 93.8%
Neil Adcock SA 104 46 5 22.6 93.6%
Lasith Malinga SL 101 59 6 17.1 93.3%
Darren Gough Eng 229 95 10 24.1 93.1%
R Ashwin Ind 275 92 9 29.9 92.9%
Andy Caddick Eng 234 105 11 22.3 92.9%
Vanburn Holder WI 109 72 7 15.1 92.9%
Mohammad Asif Pak 106 44 4 24.1 92.8%
Mohammad Rafique Ban 100 48 5 20.8 92.8%

Chris Cairns is the most consistent Test bowler ever. Over the past few years, he has appeared more in courtrooms than on cricket grounds or in broadcasting boxes. But he was a terrific allrounder, and while his bowling numbers are impressive - 218 wickets at 29.40 - it is his consistency that is astonishing.

Let us look at his block performances: 21, 19, 19, 23, 21, 24, 21, 21, 25 and 24 (14 spells). His Block Mean is 21 wickets. His three below-par values are 90.6%, 90.6% and 81.8%. That is some consistency, and has resulted in a Consistency Index value of 96.3%.

Geoff Arnold was almost as consistent as Chris Cairns and falls short by only 0.1%. His Block Mean value, however, is lower at 18.9. None of Arnold's blocks is lower than 90%.

Who would have guessed that the third bowler on this list would be Yasir Shah? Yasir moved into the top ten after his sterling performances in Bridgetown and Roseau earlier this year. His Block Mean is a high 29.8, and in his five blocks he has taken 30, 35, 25, 28 and 31 wickets. Never has he gone below 84%. It is true that having bowled only 50 spells in his career has helped, but it is remarkable how he makes up for barren Tests with resounding performances in others.

O'Reilly is in fourth place, and John Snow completes the top five. Three modern bowlers - Ryan Harris, Neil Wagner and Lasith Malinga - find spots in the top ten, with Consistency Index values exceeding 93%.

It is not a surprise that the Consistency Index values for bowlers are slightly higher than those for batsmen. The main reason is that the percentage of below-par blocks for bowlers is 51.4%, whereas for batsmen it is 53.4%. This is the order of difference. Two per cent more bowler performances are capped at 100% levels.

© Anantha Narayanan

Look at the graph for Cairns. A virtual straight line, barring a couple of blips.

Least consistent Test bowlers in history

Bowler Team Wickets Spells Blocks Block Mean Consistency Index
Wilfred Rhodes Eng 127 90 9 14.1 70.5%
Carl Hooper WI 114 145 15 7.9 73.9%
Trevor Bailey Eng 132 95 10 13.9 77.4%
Mushtaq Ahmed Pak 185 89 9 20.8 77.8%
Monty Noble Aus 121 71 7 17.0 78.1%
Alf Valentine WI 139 63 6 22.1 79.7%

Wilfred Rhodes is the least consistent bowler in the history of Test cricket. Since he took only 127 wickets in 90 spells, his Block Mean value is a low 14.7. But just look at his wildly varying block wickets: 27, 32, 17, 3, 16, 1, 8, 7 and 16. His Consistency Index is a miserable 70.5%. There are reasons for this wild variation. After his first 20 Tests, Rhodes ceased to be a front-line bowler but kept on bowling.

It is not surprising that Carl Hooper, the West Indian allrounder who was more batsman than bowler, finished with a bowling Consistency Index of 73.9%. Almost a similar situation exists with Trevor Bailey, who has a Consistency Index value of 77.4%. Mushtaq Ahmed, Monty Noble and Alf Valentine complete the bottom six, all with Consistency Index values below 80%.

There are four specialist bowlers in the bottom ten: Mushtaq, Alf Valentine, Rodney Hogg and Jerome Taylor. Valentine, who started his career with hauls of 39, 28 and 29 wickets and finished with a horror sequence of 13, 14 and 16 (13 spells), has a Consistency Index value of 79.7%. Hogg started with a bang, taking 40 wickets in his first block, and then tailed off to 18, 16, 11, 15, 16 and 7 (six spells). Taylor followed a block of nine wickets with one of 24, a block of 25 with one of seven, and a block of 22 with one of eight. This explains his inconsistency.

© Anantha Narayanan

There are nice variations even among these four inconsistent bowlers. No single obvious pattern can be observed.

Top players' standings
Most cricketers with long careers are in the middle two quartiles. Let us look at how some well-known players fare in the consistency stakes.

Don Bradman is in 52nd position, with a Consistency Index value of 88.1%. This is in the second quartile.

Sachin Tendulkar is in 100th position, with a Consistency Index value of 85.9%. This is in the lower half.

Ricky Ponting is in 146th position, with a Consistency Index value of 83.5%. This is a fairly low number and puts him in the fourth quartile.

Brian Lara is in 53rd position, with a Consistency Index value of 88.1%, just behind Bradman. This is in the second quartile.

Sunil Gavaskar is in 123rd position, with a Consistency Index value of 85.1%. He is in the third quartile.

Allan Border is in 14th position, with a Consistency Index value of 90.2%. This is very close to the top ten. Border is the best placed among the big scorers.

Muttiah Muralitharan is in 25th position, with a Consistency Index value of 92.1%. This is in the first quartile. Muralitharan is the most consistent among the top wicket-takers.

Shane Warne is in 81st position, with a Consistency Index value of 89.1%. This is in the second quartile. This is somewhat unexpected, considering that Warne performed very well around the world.

Anil Kumble is in 73rd position, with a Consistency Index value of 89.4%. He is comfortably in the second quartile.

Glenn McGrath is in 35th position, with a Consistency Index value of 91.7%. This is in the first quartile. This level of consistency was probably expected from McGrath.

Kapil Dev is in 165th position, with a Consistency Index value of 82.8%. Kapil is in the bottom 15 of the table.

Richard Hadlee is in 45th position, with a Consistency Index value of 90.8%, which places him in the top quartile.

Standard statistical measures
In order to validate the results, I also worked out the Standard Deviation (SD) and Coefficient of Variation (CoV, calculated as SD/Mean) values. To present the CoV tables in this article would take too much space and would be superfluous. However, I can affirm that there is a very good correlation between the Consistency Index and the CoV values. Just an illustration: the lowest CoV among Test batsman, 0.165, belongs to Tony Greig.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

 

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LOGIN TO POST YOUR COMMENTS

  • POSTED BY GV on | September 21, 2017, 4:45 GMT

    But in Lara's 153, a few issues were there - 1) Gillespie was out for a good part of the day - he was very effective when he was operating, but while McGrath bowled 44 overs, he bowled only 26 overs 2) Australia made a mistake by taking two spinners in Bridgetown - visiting teams rarely take 2 spinners on a pacy wicket 3) Lara was knocked twice on the helmet by McGrath and once by Gillespie 4) WI were not underdogs - having won the previous test and having roared back in Aus 2nd innings bowling them out for 146 only 5) Lara was on home ground. Gavaskar too had a break from Hendrik, but all other factors were against him. Plus the bigger total to be chased. We would have won, but Vengsarkar's slowness cost us, along with the famous decision to send Kapil instead of in-form Vishy. But Lara's is the better innings.

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | September 18, 2017, 6:32 GMT

    Brendon McCullum's triple was another innings where he took his team from the depth of deficit and covered a huge distance. There are probably a few others as well. And for Lara, if we only talk in terms of sheer brilliance of strokeplay, I think his Sydney 277 was as glittering and attractive an innings as ever played. And Giri, I will respond to you later. Getting late now. Work day tomorrow. Cheers!

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | September 18, 2017, 6:06 GMT

    Having said that, Lara is a great in every sense. His innings was a true masterclass. He literally carried Windies to victory on his shoulders, and nobody can take that away from him. More than the innings, it was the greatness of the match that made his feat all the more sensational. The dramatic events with WI winning by 1 wicket is what makes this innings very thrilling. The true greatness is how he finished the game with WI still needing another 60 runs with only last 2 wickets. Lara won WI the game singlehandedly, and nobody can discount that. It should be considered a true masterclass. It brought joy and tears to everyone watching that day, myself included. And that is exactly why we watch sport. To experience gems like that. And they live in our memories forever. Cheers!
    [[
    I stayed up to watch Lara's innings. Unfortunately, on the day Gavaskar scored 221, I was travelling on one of those long-haul domestic flights that Indian Airlines was famous for and missed the same almost fully.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | September 18, 2017, 5:50 GMT

    Yes Ananth. Context matters. When Lara walked in, WI needed another 233 to win. When Gavaskar walked in, India needed 438 to win. The strength and belief and confidence in one's own ability needed to imagine victory from there is nothing but grace. Probably on the entire planet, Gavaskar was the only person who imagined victory from there. This is the same reason I think Laxman's 281 is beyond compare. The depth of deficit from where he started and the distance he travelled to take India into the lead is mind boggling. The sheer scale of the peak climbed makes one's head spin. He started with India almost 250 behind, and when he left, India were almost 350 ahead. Its this depth from how far behind these guys were in the game and then to travel the distance to bring their team ahead is what sets these two innings apart. When Gavaskar left, India had nothing but won the game. 7 more wickets not scoring another 40 runs should not diminish the vastness that Gavaskar had covered. Cheers!
    [[
    Isn't it a bit presumptuous to imagine that Gavaskar imagined a win at 0 for 0, chasing 438. Maybe at 100 for 0, certainly at 200 for 0, but 0 for ???
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | September 17, 2017, 6:50 GMT

    Jasprit, Gavaskar also scored 90 in that series against WI in the third test in Ahmedabad. Completely forgotten, According to me the greatest innings ever played. Marshall writes that Lloyd called it the worst wicket he had ever seen, it had grass, cracks and bounce. India had nearly blasted out WI on day1, and 1 over was left before lunch on day2. Gavaskar smashed Marshall's first 2 balls for 4s, and we went to lunch at 8-0. Gavaskar scored 90 in 120 balls with 13 boundaries. Marshall, Holding and Daniel in the attack.
    [[
    The key factor for the West Indian win was the way they recovered from 168 for 7 to 281 and 114 for 7 to 201. Dujon's 98 and Holding's 58 being the key innings. Unfortunately, in the second innings, SMG, Sidhu, Patil, Shastri, Azad, Kapil and Binny scored a princely sum of 12 runs between them.
    Ananth
    ]]
    They had very good numbers in this series, and overall career, though Holding started winding down from the next year. Dev took 9-83. Only Pietersen 149 vs South Africa and Wayne Phillips 120 in Barbados Test can compare. Gavaskar also scored match winning 70 in MCG on a wicket where the ball was taking off and shooting thru in 1981. Australia scored only 83, and next yr the pitch was replaced. The innings is remembered for the wrong reasons. Despite poor form overall.

  • POSTED BY Afif Khaja on | September 17, 2017, 6:43 GMT

    Mr. Naranayan sir, brilliant article as always. Would you please post on all article on an all-time greatest test world XI? I have posted such a list on my blog: https://afifkhaja.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/cricket-what-is-the-all-time-greatest-test-xi/. Thanks!

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | September 15, 2017, 5:32 GMT

    Just like in this article, it would be so exciting to see Richards', Dravid's , Ponting's, Sangakkara, DeVilliers, Tendulkar and Gavaskar's consistency for their best 50 tests stretch. Cheers!
    [[
    The third name in your list was the cat's whiskers in that article. Now, Smith, Ashwin et al would make their presence felt.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | September 15, 2017, 5:21 GMT

    Anyhow, now to my main point. I do have a request/suggestion as well. With all these analysis', I would really like to see them all done for players' peak periods as well. Lets say like a block of their best 50 tests. That covers about 5-10 years of a player's career. I mean Viv Richards from 76 -81 was a lot different than Viv Richards from 86 -91. Same for Ponting and Dravid '02 - '06 or Sangakkara and deVilliers 08 - '13 to any other times in their careers. It would be sooooo interesting to see how Richards of 76-81 compares with Ponting of 02-06 or Sangakkara of 08-13 or Tendulkar '96-01. Cheers!
    [[
    The exact theme you have been talking about has been covered by me in a couple of articles a few years back. Instead of giving you a link a few years old, maybe I would re-do with the current batsmen. In fact, my analysis had a span of 52 Tests so that we could put Bradman on top and then look at others. For bowlers, it was 27 Tests.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | September 15, 2017, 5:09 GMT

    To make a long story short, I do feel Gavaskar had hitting talent, although nowhere near Richards. Maybe Gavaskar probably himself never even realized it and never saw himself as a hitter of a batsman.

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | September 15, 2017, 5:07 GMT

    Hi Ananth. Thank You for recognizing Gavaskar's feat. I ve always felt Gavaskar never got enough credit for that series. Just like I think Gavaskar never gets enough credit for his epic 221 at the Oval. To me, it is THE second greatest innings ever after Laxman's 281. How or why it is not as good (or better) than Lara's 153, I will never know. Just like I think Gavaskar never gets enough credit for how good a chaser he was, Test Cricket OR odi Cricket. Many people know Gavaskar 's 4th innings average of 58, but very few people know that Gavaskar averaged 48 in odi's while chasing. And I also feel Gavaskar was a very good hitter, if he wanted to be one. In his only odi century, at one stage, Gavaskar was 97 off 69 balls which would ve been easily the fastest ever at that time. His 29th century was a brilliant innings with some brilliant aggression. And he also scored a blistering 90 once in an odi in Windies against their fierce pace in 83.
    [[
    The context matters. If Gavaskar had stayed on for a few more overs and taken India to the unlikeliest of wins, there would have been a difference. There is a lot of difference between a winning 311/9, a drawing 429/8 and a losing 258. If Lara had been dismissed at 270 for 9, he would have nowhere near the top. This is not a question of penalizing Gavaskar/Tendulkar, but one of recognizing Lara.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | September 14, 2017, 8:08 GMT

    Ananth, your article has got me hooked onto cricket after a 2 year gap. I am obsessed with youtube, and have to say that the most underrated batsmen of the last 20 years are Gilchrist and Pietersen. I cant think of anyone other than Richards who slaughtered fast bowlers like these two did, without getting helmets dented. On an earlier comment on Gavaskar's 774 in the WI, i notice that this WI team was not lousy by any means - they beat England in England 2-0 the next year, and in the reciprocal tour, drew 1-1 after England sneaked home by 26 runs following a WI collapse. The same England team had beaten Australia in Aus, and drawn 2-2 at home with them, Lillee included. I think I am going to give Gavaskar a bit more credit for ending our 40 year drought for a single test win abroad (except NZ) by hammering WI.
    [[
    My comment was made when someone referred to the 774 while commenting on the 688. In many ways the 774 could be the best ever, if we look at how young and inexperienced Gavaskar was and how India shivered when they toured West Indies. Lara was the complete Lara during 2001.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | September 11, 2017, 2:53 GMT

    There is another angle - let us imagine you revisited the batsmen analysis also. You could easily convert that into a ratio. Hence let us imagine Mark Waugh, avg 40 in the tough group.If within that, the exact ratio of bowling average to batting average worked out to 1.5x, and simultaneously, the exact ratio for say, Shoaib Akhtar in his tough group was based on a batting average of 50 and his own bowling average of 30 in that group yielding a ratio of 1.66, then in a sense, the 1.5x of Mark Waugh would be comparable to the 1.66x of Shoaib. I wonder what other uses, apart from an elegant presentation, the ability to directly compare batsmen and bowlers would give.
    [[
    I hope that some good news will come through over the next few days. WQAI is amongst my best creations. But until now it has shared its spot with other measures. I think it deserves a complete article by itself.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | September 10, 2017, 6:17 GMT

    Ananth, some months ago you had taken out a brilliant analysis of the ratio of the bowling average to the average batting average of all batsmen dismissed by the bowler. I am wondering if you can extend that concept to an easy batting group, middle group, and a tough group. The tough group would of course mean that the best batsmen in their home conditions etc. That would be quite something.
    [[
    Giri,
    That is possible. Except that I do not have an outlet other than Sportstar and the less frequent articles in The Cricket Monthly which has a different requirement. Sportstar is fine but there are virtually no comments and a response platform
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | September 3, 2017, 16:32 GMT

    Randolf, all except me. I have always said West Indies will win, no matter how unreasonable it may have seemed. The ultimate die hard WI supporter. I am a firm believer that WI suffered from a paucity of players, and from a general lack of interest in the game. Cozier wrote about how children used to be playing cricket in the school grounds all the time, in contrast to empty grounds in recent years. T20 came, and while it harmed other teams like Aus and India (look at how they struggle against the moving ball in England, and how Indian batsmen struggle against South African spinners at home - this is the land where Qadir and Warne were massacred by the entire line up), it helped WI by drawing players back into the game. I see packed grounds in CPL matches even when retired internationals are playing. This test saw what is virtually the second string WI team defeat England. No one doubted their talent all these years. While we are not at the end yet, we are definitely on the road.
    [[
    'Hope'fully, the 'waite' is over. Also 'hope'fully, the 'chase' for some recognition is also over. And in the foreseeable future, 'holder' would hold some silverware.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY randolf on | September 2, 2017, 5:21 GMT

    @JASPRIT: All of us got our predictions on the England vs West Indies second test match wrong; but we are not to be blamed. Because, having watched the performance of this team for the past two years, it made it easy for those of us who are stats hawks to close our eyes in confidence and put our money on England to win, based on the inevitably exaggerated skewness of the odds in their favour. However, I want to publicly extend congratulations to the West Indies team on their win. England's decision to declare their second innings and that point, and not properly secure their one-nil lead in this short series, is one of the most "condescending errors" that has ever been made in test cricket's history! If they lose the series now; it would serve them right to do so. One former England cricket captain who would never have made that error is Nasser Hussain. The pundits could have criticized as much as they wanted, it would not have shaken him - he was a "safety first" captain.
    [[
    I would have given odds of 100 to 1 against a West Indian win before the match. However, once they got England out for 258, West Indies were always in front. One thing that should have made Root think was the ease with which England compiled runs on the fourth day. They scored 319 for 5 on the fourth day. West Indies score in the fourth innings was almost identical. I would also say that if West Indies were going to be dismissed for a low score in the fourth innings, the extra 10 overs would not have made any difference. But then, the odds against West Indies crossing 300 were quite high.
    Anyhow, two great results probably emphasized that Test cricket is still thriving.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 29, 2017, 18:03 GMT

    And so history is made. These are the kind of performances people will talk about for years to come. I hope more West Indies players see the glory and fame Test cricket can bring and give it its rightful due instead of labouring in T20 clubs around the world.
    [[
    A common reply to all comments on the West Indian/Bangladeshi win.
    Test cricket lives, and how. The only problem is that the few minutes I saw of the B'Deshi win, since we were driving back from Chennai, there did not seem to be many spectators. Is B'Desh going the India way. However, there seemed to be a much better crowd at Headingley yesterday.
    What has happened to technique of playing on turning wickets. People like Khawaja have become walking wickets and are making great spinners out of ordinary bowlers. Not that Shakib is not a good bowler, but, attacking without even settling down seems to be a current malaise.
    Suddenly two important Tests coming up.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 29, 2017, 12:42 GMT

    Is this for real? West Indies 86-2 at lunch in 29 overs needing 236 in 70 overs? Amazing match, though too many dropped catches have lowered the quality. Fielding does not need much talent, but even here WI have let themselves and their supporters down. But a strong bowling and batting performance in this test can perhaps provide inspiration.

  • POSTED BY Rileen on | August 29, 2017, 5:29 GMT

    My suggestion was a little different from the article - Vettori and Bradman would be judged by the same threshold, not their own career baseline. Anyway, a different sort of consistency is performing against different opponents and at different venues - one of the things that's striking about Sachin's test record is that he didn't average less than 40 against any opponent or in any country. I wonder how many others have achieved that (and of course this is much harder for those who played in the last few decades, with a higher number of teams and venues/countries).

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | August 29, 2017, 4:35 GMT

    Hi Randolf. All common sense says that England have batted Windies out of the game. But predicting results is a fool's game. This game is a lot more astonishing then my mind can imagine. But Windies would do well to bat 3 sessions against Anderson and Moeen. The wicket is wearing and a spiteful one. Only if they had Brian Lara coming out to bat at 3 and he got going. But one thing I must say is, Moeen is turning into a bit of Adam Gilchrist lately. He's played a few brilliant innings lately in that lower Order, at a breakneck pace, that have turned the game on its head, just like Gilchrist. And what to say about Bangladesh tightening the screws on Aus. Brilliant Shakeeb and Aus' plight against spinners. Good Test Match Cricket all around on some testing wickets. Cheers!

  • POSTED BY Rileen on | August 28, 2017, 19:31 GMT

    While the measure of consistency in this article is relative to a player's own career baseline, how about using other baselines, such as:

    (1) A fixed threshold - e.g. how often did the player average higher than 40 (or 50, etc.) in a block? For exceptional performers, averaging in the low 40s in a block could be inconsistent relative to their own baseline, but they'd still be consistently delivering considerable value to their team (Bradman might be beyond reach after 60 or 70).
    [[
    In a way, what is done in this article is similar. The determination of performance level in a block is based on their own mean runs per block. It is very high for Bradman and low for Vettori.
    Ananth
    ]]
    (2) The average of all batsmen (or all specialist batsmen) who played with and against the given player in the given block?

    I was also reminded of an interesting metric/measure which I think is underused: the number of innings per 50+ score - many greats average below 3 innings per 50+ score, and most who do also tend to average > 50, but there are interesting exceptions. Have you ever written about this measure? I might have missed it.
    [[
    One problem I have with 50 and (especially) 100 is that too much importance is given to that single run. Recently Root made an important 46, Cook a 46, Blackwoon a terrific 49 and Holder, an equally 46. So, this can be done with a cut-off for each player, for consistency purposes. Of course, the 50 can come in handy for overall performance considerations.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 28, 2017, 13:39 GMT

    Thanks @JASPRIT! This is the spirit in which these discussions should take place. What do you think would be the outcome of the current test between West Indies and England?
    [[
    There were long periods in which West Indies were not just ahead, but winning. But now with nearly 300+ to chase, I get the feeling that it is 70-20-5 (Eng/Draw/WI).
    I am out of station from Tuesday morning to Wednesday evening. As such, the comments might be published without my responses (by the administrators) or by me on Wednesday night.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | August 28, 2017, 12:20 GMT

    By vitriol, I meant myself. Not any body else. Since the discussion was leaning towards Indian stars vs WI stars, and my point was along those lines too, without any intention towards that argument, I wanted to clarify that I did not want to fuel that argument. Nothing else. Nobody else. Anything else? Cheers!

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 28, 2017, 11:41 GMT

    "The third name in this discussion...well, less said the better. Beside all, all vitriol aside" (@JASPRIT, 2017). @JASPRIT, I too, detest vitriolic language. But, could you please quote some of the vitriol that you read from "The third name in this discussion…"? Because, I've read every post that @Ananth published in the discussion and I didn't see any. In fact, what I see is @Ananth publishing the "name only" of anyone who contributed vitriol; and admonishing him/her not to besmirch the discussion with BS. And if you can't quote any vitriol, then you should announce your withdrawal of the statement and apologise to @Ananth! Otherwise I'll believe that you're just another member of the "Tendulkar-supper-soprano-choir" that forever sings the outrageous chorus, "A Genuine Criticism of Sachin Tendulkar Is A Hate Speech"! And if by "The third name", you're referring to @RANDOLF, please note that I back everything that I wrote with credible evidence. I'm not vitriolic. I'm instead factual
    [[
    Jasprit, I must say that Randolph/Sw/Ar@h.c is not vitriolic. He has his points and as all of us do, makes these with some conviction. One thing I appreciate in these current discussions is that all of you have maintained good decorum. No need to apologize but I am happy if you understand.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 27, 2017, 17:56 GMT

    Ananth, your preferred 2 innings is the exact reason why I asked @ARUN if he doesn't think, from an objective point of view, that Lara was "a single outlier shining star" like Bradman. Because, this guy has played so many outstanding innings in his relatively short career (based on Tendulkar standards), that no one can fault anybody for picking any 2, or 3, or 4, etc, as best; due to the fact that almost every one of them was a gem. Yes, when this guy was in full flight with a bat, he was definitely in a class not existing elsewhere on earth. This is evidenced by the fact that whenever the legions of jurors meet to judge really great batting of All Time, whether it's the "very best ONE", or 10, or 20 or 100, only Bradman's name rivals his (in both quantity and quality) on every card!@JASPRIT, I am in a bit of a hurry now, so I will respond to you later - so look out for my response.

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 27, 2017, 8:03 GMT

    If you call Miandad / Waugh / Gavaskar etc. the noted "mentally tough" players - what type of performances did they have which led them to be classified as mentally tough? Which performances of Sachin fall into that category? Have you looked at his performance in tests against SL in attacks which has Murali (avg 49) and attacks which does not have Murali (avg 97), or Bangladesh (136) or Zim (97)? Does the above not tell you something? Can you really ignore ALL the data I am giving? And this is only a fraction…

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 27, 2017, 8:03 GMT

    But the biggest argument against Sachin is one that you have given, though unwittingly - if you are calling Waugh mentally tough, what exactly did he do which made you overlook his weak 4th innings average? Was it his 120* in the Super Six of 1999 (at the same time when Sachin scored 0 against Aus in the Super Six) or his 56 in that tense semi-final? Or his feats in the carribean in the year following Sachin's 1 in the Barbados test (199 in Barbados) and his 200 in Jamaica in the earlier tour? Now for Sachin, do note that he ALSO has a terrible 4th innings record. And he does not have the massive pressure performances of S Waugh. So why are you saying "he does not have a mental issue"?

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 27, 2017, 8:02 GMT

    Arun, with your last comment, you really have dug yourself into a hole 1) you say you are not an RSF, but use every argument to defend him. I would like you to acknowledge at least one weakness of his, before you call yourself balanced 2) your dart-throwing and then darting away hardly qualifies as neutral - you say you are not saying Sachin > Viv (thanks for that) and you would like to enjoy everybody, and then furnish an article that I would enjoy based on its extolling Viv - that is not the level at which I want to engage 3) you shift to the Don, and say that below him there are a bunch of batsmen fighting for 2nd place - why shift the discussion?

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 27, 2017, 7:50 GMT

    Jasprit - My experience with RSFs (Rabid Sachin Fans) is that the very mention of Gavaskar induces them to mention that he scored 36* in 60 overs. But Gavaskar visited us last year in a conference - and I introduced him to the audience who were startled to know that 1) we had played for 39 years before Gavaskar came 2) we had not won a single test in that time except in the last year under Pataudi when we blanked NZ 3-0 and they were anyway worse than us at that time 3) he scored 40 % of the teams runs in that series and 4) his second innings 220 nearly converted a lost cause into a victory and if we had won (WI escaped narrowly) it would have been ranked alongside Laxman's 281. I like Tendulkar for what he achieved, but he was not the only good batsman. On Arun, while you say he is balanced, let me do a separate post.

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | August 27, 2017, 5:24 GMT

    Hi Ananth. Great to see you back. And as usual, a very insightful article with some very insightful views from some keen readers. About the article, just one comment.....if consistency could be classified along with the performance, that would be great. Very heartening to see some very sensible comments from Arun. They are full of good balanced perspective and appreciation. Cool Jeeves as usual is a source of good comments. The third name in this discussion.....well, less said the better. Beside all, all vitriol aside, and with all due respect and appreciation, I do have a question for you. Its probably the wrong timing to ask considering all this talk about Indian stars vs West Indian stars, but nothing to do with that, why do you think Lara's 688 in 3 Test is so much better than Gavaskar's 774 in 4? I understand Murali factor. Given that, but still, Gavaskar's feat does'nt seem that far off. Please help me understand. I look forward to your response. Cheers!
    [[
    My only reason could be Holder/Shillingford/Noreiga/Sobers/Dowe against Murali/Vaas/Zoysa. Maybe it calls for an article. But I would have no qualms or complaints if Gavaskar's 774 is accorded a higher place, especially as India won the series.
    Okay, I will change 'almost inarguably' to 'arguably'. That should provide some comfort to my dear friend from the north of India commenting from north of America.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 27, 2017, 1:14 GMT

    "…I have said multiple times that I dont think SRT is at the very top in Tests; for me, its Bradman…then a whole bunch of batsmen who can be compared…however one wishes…" (@ARUN, 2017). @ARUN, this is a very smartly crafted personal opinion from you. It's a hopeful way in trying to keep SRT counted; so, you've in usual SRT fans style, very bravely squeezed his name right alongside the name "at the very top", the incomparable and very best by trillions of miles, the great Sir Don, hoping that when the sifting is done, SRT's name may have a chance settling somewhere with those at the top. Yes, you're in a smart way, trying to defy the dictates of the credible facts and figures which echo one another in unison from whence they came, that SRT is not in the top 25 test batsmen of All Time. I know that perception (which is the only instrument of measurement that all SRT fans use) vehemently debunks this fact - but you can't doubt facts that are so profoundly supported by credible figures

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 27, 2017, 1:12 GMT

    "I…admire all greats…as a constellation rather than a single outlier shining star, unless they…deserve it (like Bradman)" (@ARUN, 2017). @ARUN, I'm not promoting 'Laradom'; but objectively, don't you think Lara was "a single outlier shining star"? Not only has he avged in the 50s as most modern greats, but he broke some really unbelievable records that I think nobody even playing over 200+ Tests could ever break. For me he played the 3 greatest Test inngs I've ever seen. I'll tell you them and why: (i) His 375 in 1994 - especially great because the record stood for almost 40 yrs; and just when they felt that it can never be broken, up comes Lara and broke it with ease; (ii) Lara's 4th inngs 153 in 1999. I only heard of Bradman's 270 batting at No.7 with "flu"; but that Lara inngs to overhaul 300+ with even No.11 (Walsh rated the worst batsman ever) was mind boggling; (iii) Lara's 400* to break Hayden's 380 record in just 6 mths against the world's best bowling attack that time!
    [[
    I would substitute the 375 and 400 with the truly majestic innings of 213 and 226.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 26, 2017, 9:03 GMT

    @GV Thing is that SRT succeeded in other contests of high importance, e.g., against Pakistan in 2003 and 2011 (where he got lucky, for sure) which in the Indian context, are akin to WC finals (right or wrong). If he failed in some matches, e.g., the two WC finals, it could also be a coincidence. It is difficult to believe that there was a mental issue in his case. Example, I think Steve Waugh's record in 4th innings of a test is under-whelming but no one doubts he was mentally strong. I would personally give leeway, given everything else.

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 26, 2017, 8:55 GMT

    @Ananth Thank you! The kind of feedback that you describe is an unfortunate consequence of the Internet. It is really a pity. And it is not restricted to SRT or Indians. Recently Jon Weirthein of Sports Illustrated spoke about writing a pretty mild comment against Nadal on Twitter and facing unbelievable backlash, including calls for his head and so on (http://on.si.com/2wwZYYF). I have never understood why fans take so much ownership of their heroes and say/do things that their heroes themselves wont say/do! A bit like religion where people take cudgels and do malignant things on behalf of a benign loving god...! Re: your mailing list, I did not get an intimation. But, thanks a lot! I have restricted the amount of my sports watching and reading because they started becoming overwhelming, but I would love to participate in nice discussions that enhance the experience.
    [[
    I do read the Tennis comments, just a few, to get a laugh. The Fed-fans are a little restrained, but the Rafa-fans and Djoko-fans are something.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 26, 2017, 7:07 GMT

    Arun, "making allowances" whether for Viv's failure vs Pakistan or Sachin's failure elsewhere is not acceptable. If Viv failed, he failed. The issue is this - everyone has failures somewhere or the other, but looking at the success of Viv in world cup semi finals or finals, or that of Gilchrist particularly, if they failed elsewhere it is easy to retain the original opinion that they were great. In Sachin's case, I remember a very different batsman pre-1997, like in the world cup semi finals (66 vs SL which was our only score of signifcance). But post 1997 starting from the Barbados test, where he made 1 as India chased 120 and lost, or the 1999 quarterfinal (or Super six) vs Australia where he made 0, or the 2003 world cup final, or the 2011 WC final, his failures in big matches were consistent. Once more, please disregard any article which considers final in a 3 nation tournament as a "big match", whether it throws up Viv's name or not. They were too many to have any significance.
    [[
    For me to consider a tournament as significant and worthy of an elevation of status, there have to be a minimum of six teams: World Cups, Champions' Trophy and B&H World Championship. Everything else is nothing more than bi-tri-lateral series.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY dalgle1151357 on | August 26, 2017, 3:19 GMT

    Ananth - Happy to send you my stuff in an excel file

  • POSTED BY dalgle1151357 on | August 25, 2017, 21:11 GMT

    Continuing on the idea of calculating a moving (innings 1-10, 2-11) consistency innings I was able to get the data for Pietersen. His consistency measured this way is 101% and looking at a graph of runs and consistency per last 10 innings at any point makes it pretty easy to understand the difference. Pietersen's consistency rose from innings 1 thru 50 then plummeted through innings 70 but shortly zoomed up again by innings76 then declined through innings 111, zoomed up briefly etc etc. the moving line gives the feeling that he wasn't very consistent. For me the fact that his Median (31) is significantly lower than his mean is another indication that he was inconsistent). Greig's median is 29 and average 38.7 5%pts closer so more consistent.
    [[
    Can you mail me your results. I will mail you so that you can reply.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 25, 2017, 18:55 GMT

    @Ananth :-) thats why i've also found it so hard to stop, though work beckons and I should go. @GV,@Randolf Thing is that I've have spent countless hrs watching SRT play and his batting has given unlimited pleasure. As have many others. But I dont see a reason to be a missionary for Tendulkardom and am quite comfortable with someone else being king in someone else's mind or even when it is borne out by statistical insights. It changes nothing of the pleasure I've already derived, so why should it matter to me who is king? Of course, it does matter that I have the right opinion, but I am aware that it is difficult to derive objective truth sometimes. Of course, like many sports-lovers, I too revel in discussion and debate even when I should move on. Anyways, for a change, I offer you a piece that will add more ammunition to your arguments: https://goo.gl/RAvNHb This is a statistical analysis that establishes that Sir Vivian Richards is the greatest ODI batsman ever :-) Enjoy!
    [[
    In fairness to Arun, let me say that he is certainly not a SRT-supporter-come-what-may person. I have had people do much more, bring into question my parentage, lineage, origin, bias, honesty, integrity and what not. One person dared me to come to Mumbai. My legs would be scattered all over.
    Arun is nowhere that (Even his nom-de-plume confirms that !!!). He is exactly what he says he is. Enjoyed watching SRT play but loves others also.He has certainly added some nice nuances to the discussions, so much so, he gets added to my mailing list. Thus he has access to me.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 25, 2017, 18:50 GMT

    @Randolf I am sorry, Randolf, but I had already clarified that I had completely diverted from the substance of original article and I had apologized to @Ananth for the same. It was kind of trolling that I did and not the ideal thing to do...My conversation was clearly never about consistency index and only about his position on the ODI greats roster. I never had any problem with anything in the results of this article on the consistency index; I totally enjoyed it! And both @Rangarajan and I were not really discussing consistency index wrt SRT. Although I was delighted to read his words on consistency wrt Cairns, a player I liked though the recent incidents soured it a bit. Also, no, I rarely take part in cricinfo discussions and really am not flustered by srt-bias, both for and against. I did realize that there was some earlier baggage from prior problematic discussions with SRT fans. Not my fault, not my problem :-) But, thanks for the discussions. I learnt something new, I am happ

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 25, 2017, 15:39 GMT

    @ARUN: Your rant on Viv Richards vs Pak me reminds of a boxer who gets hurt and start pelting wild punches - why Viv? And, convincing evidence as Ananth has produced here has no room for "ifs and buts"! PERIOD! I think that I'm seeing them too often in cricket - and most times almost exclusively from Tendulkar fans. I too, could submit "ifs and buts" and say for instance: "IF" Lara had kept on opening the inngs in ODIs and played as many matches as SRT, he would have made 75 ODI 100S - and "IF" he had played another 99 inngs as SRT did, he would've scored 80 test 100s, but there's no way I would ever know; except that he was more prolific than SRT when he opened in ODIs; and he left the test arena with thousands more runs. You should also know that it's because of the serious Tendulkar-bias that all the Cricinfo discussions were pregnant with, why I too, started to contribute to bring some balance on behalf of other players. You know that commentators were afraid to critique Tendulkar!

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 25, 2017, 15:38 GMT

    @ARUN: You may as well keep your silence! Or make up your mind what your conversation is about! When I responded to @RANGANARAN'S "excuse" for Tendulkar's cellar position in Ananth's batsmen consistency rankings, you said that you were both discussing "ODIs only". Now I showed you that test cricket was a major part of the conversation, you're saying it was not about CI. So, let me remind you that this brilliant piece of Ananth production is based on "cricketers consistency over their "'ENTIRE CAREERS'" - not just the good part of any of them - including Tendulkar's. And though Ananth does allow certain level of diversion, I think consistency in tests is the topic that he's expecting to stimulate a worldwide discussion on. When he does ODIs, we'll discuss that. You know, I notice that when you SRT fans see his usual cellar position when real batting assessment isn't just based on perception but on hard facts and figures, you usually try to change the main topic, with SRT's ifs and buts.

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 25, 2017, 9:34 GMT

    @Ananth ha ha ha! I have no real desire to pull down the Caribbean giant(s); I am pretty happy to admire all greats and view them as a constellation rather than a single outlier shining star, unless they really deserve it (like Bradman). @GV I just would like to reiterate that it is interesting to see how critics emphasize SRT's failures but other batsmen's successes. I have said multiple times that I dont think SRT is at the very top in Tests; for me, its Bradman objectively and then a whole bunch of batsmen who can be compared and judged however one wishes. In ODIs, Viv played 41 ODIs versus Pakistan, and his average slipped to 30 as opposed to career average of 47. I am sure there are many factors here as well and we can make allowances, but you dont seem to make similar allowances with SRT's failures. Again, I am not saying that SRT > Viv. I am saying that they are comparable, at the very least. I think your baggage of arguing against SRT fans is making it tough for me to continue.
    [[
    I love the banter. Keeps everyone going.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 25, 2017, 8:21 GMT

    On Sachin's record against the Aussies, I suggest you go through the analysis on best batsmen across the ages, which I have referred to in my first comment on this article - we reached that request on Ananth after many discussions like the one you have pointed out to - Aus were the best attack of Sachin's time etc. By the way, see this https://goo.gl/tQbqYP. This is record against Australia when Glenn Mcgrath is in the opposition. Without him, I wonder if you would rate the Aussie attack as the best of attack of Tendulkar's times. Let us change this to a stronger definition - McGrath and Warne both present - https://goo.gl/A4c49i. Still nowhere near the top. Without these two, if you wish to call Australia the strongest attack, then you will surely be in a minority. He has a dignified record, but nothing special. There are many more who have really done very well against this attack, in Australia.

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 25, 2017, 8:08 GMT

    Arun, this is too much. You really have hit a raw nerve with this. Richards toured Pakistan in 1980 and 1986 for a total of 7 tests. In 1986 there were one day matches also. There was a tour in 1985 only for ODIs. In the 7 tests, Pakistan prepared the worst wickets one can encounter, designed to crumble and assist spinners. Most frontline batsmen in both teams averaged in their teens (https://goo.gl/u9Qvo5). There was only one century. It was by Richards. He was by far the best batsman on both sides, facing both spin and pace easily. In the 1985 ODI series he massacred the Pakis. What you are missing is the context - these wickets were deliberately underprepared and produced very low scores. Search for Imran's interviews on these series. Richards did very well in the only Pak tour of the 80s in 1988. Trust me - you can dig your whole lifetime - you wont find a single chink in his record. He really was brilliant.
    [[
    Arun, you pull down the Caribbean giant(s) when pow-wowing with CoolJeeves, at your peril !!!
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 25, 2017, 6:30 GMT

    So simply googling for Wisden Aus South Africa 2013-14 yields the result " Morkel squared up to Clarke with rare ferocity, keen to prolong his run of lean scores. Ball after ball from around the wicket thudded into shoulder, chest, helmet and gloves, as a chronic back condition prevented Clarke from evasive gymnastics. (It later emerged his shoulder was fractured during the barrage.) The slips whooped, the crowd winced, and Warner watched, all wondering how long it could last; "...after this it has been downhill...hopefully one day we will see incredibly brave feats from batsmen like this again. At least India and Australia seem to be good batting sides again.

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 25, 2017, 6:11 GMT

    Ah, the temptation to respond, I yield to it one last time. @Randolf. SRT is surely not the only player to play across generations, but that does not make it a lesser feat. I really dont think Rangarajan was making an excuse or even talking about consistency index; he seemed to be more like sadly sighing in retrospect about the non-retirement in 2011. Yes, SRT fans do often make excuses for his shortcomings. But, as a friend once said, "Some people measure SRT by his failures and other batsmen by their successes". I really didnt want to put down Viv, but he has a poorer-than-career record against Pakistan, the best bowling team of the 80s, while SRT has a better-than-career record against Aus, one of the greatest teams ever. We can sift away-and-home records and then restart the whole debate. And we can easily go on for days. The point to note is that I am only requesting balanced appraisals. Sadly, I havent seen it in these discussions. But, enough said, really! "The rest is silence"!

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 24, 2017, 21:09 GMT

    @ARUN: "But AB played across generations. And maintained his class. May be Sachin in 2011 should have been that...as you said, he should have ended at 15K @ 57 and not 15k+traces @ 53..." (@Rangarajan on | August 23, 2017, 15:34 GMT). @ARUN, I didn't realise that this Rengarajan excuse was in relation to "ODIs only". Isn't it a case of him making an excuse to say that if SRT had retired in 2011, at "1500 runs, averaging 57", he might not have been way down at rock bottom ("No. 100") in the consistency ratings? All that I'm saying @ARUN, is that too many excuses are usually being made for Tendulkar's short comings! Why no other player? Worse, all these "ifs and buts" were not even options in SRT's mind. Just as how he batted "just for himself" right throughout his career, just so he ended it: "play long enough just to satisfy himself"! Also if all the batsmen were to retire at the point where they see they have good averages, what would've happened to cricket? Should Steve Smith retire?
    [[
    No, the objective is not to retire as soon as you reach 60. That is silly, even to suggest. The idea is that when a player crosses 35, realizes himself that his skills are waning and his contributions to the team's cause are coming down, should take a call whether to retire gracefully. He does not have to retire because he has reached 15k @ 56. And not in fear that the 56 would drop to 53. Those numbers were incidental quotes and should not be highlighted as the reasons. And it is clear that all of us are wise after the event.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 24, 2017, 16:56 GMT

    PELHAM, thank you! As a token of my gratitude, see this article which you may have missed (good detox after so much discussion on Tendulkar, and I will always remember to mentally move his average in alien conditions upwards due to the adjustment to conditions needed which does not apply in the reverse direction, though in his early fearless lion days, Tendulkar hit 114 in Perth which was an outstanding innings, in which Tendulkar looked entirely at home, and in his final series in Australia, hit an absolutely brilliant 72 in MCG taking to the conditions like a duck to water). http://www.espncricinfo.com/wisdenalmanack/content/story/668721.html. However searching through this is tough - the 2013 Wisden gives matches pertaining to 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 both. Also my favourite match, alas, the 2013 Cape Town Test between Aus and SA (Test cricket has looked pedestrian after that test) is taking too much effort to dig out. As Ananth says, match report link next to the score was cool.

  • POSTED BY Pelham on | August 24, 2017, 12:35 GMT

    If the comments on the old match reports are referring to the reports from the Wisden Almanack, these are still available from Cricinfo, at least on the systems I am using. On a PC, look for the block of nine dots towards the right of the top menu bar. On a mobile device, you need to press the menu button (the three horizontal bars) at the top left of the page. Then the block of nine dots appears (labelled "More") at the bottom of the drop-down menu. Alternatively, try putting "Wisden archive" into a generic search engine. Again, this worked for me on both PC and mobile device.
    [[
    Thank you, Pelham.
    However, it takes a long route, through the current Wisden, the 1982 edition, the tour selection, the match selection and then a report. Previously we used to have all the reports, including from various journalists, instantly available. I remember seeing 10-12 links for this match.
    For the Durban Test of 1950, Test #320, what we get from Wisden is a 200-word apology of a report. Previously I have seen better coverage.
    But something at least. Also as you have mentioned, there is no read to go through Stats/Scorecard route. One can directly go to the concerned Wisden.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 24, 2017, 9:14 GMT

    @Ananth @GV Just a last comment: I also share your sorrow over the fact that the old match reports have all disappeared. I was shocked and flabbergasted and irritated. Those match reports were such a great source of information and delight. Also, it gives so much context to what can be a bland scorecard. Like @GV said, a part of our life is just over...such a pity. And indeed, the site has become so video-heavy. I suppose the world has moved on from "reading" to "watching"...in a way for the worse, though the really young generation may argue otherwise.
    [[
    Possibly the most read match for me was #905, the Headingley Classic. Now we have one 2016 inconsequential article on the Tests saying the absolutely forgettable and insipid news that the odds of 500-1 has not appeared since. Let me give my feedback to EC and at least hope for the match reports to appear. Or is it a question of rights and what not.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 24, 2017, 9:07 GMT

    @GV I just want to say that I thought the comment that "How can you compare SRT with Ponting and Gilchrist" based on a single cherry-picked argument was deliberately provocative (and hence more like trolling). Apologies if I unintentionally offended. You have to also remember that subcontinent batsmen have more adaptability challenges abroad than vice versa; a Gilchrist or a Ponting find it easier playing at home & in batting-friendly low-bounce subcontinent pitches. Also, ' "Sachin quality of opposition was superior" as per Arun, but what about the World Cup centuries against Nigeria, Kenya etc?" ' I dont understand how this is a counter-argument...His average decreases because he played for a poorer team as an opener against high-quality bowlers. In that list of sub-continent batsmen playing in alien conditions, almost 90% (35+ avg) are middle-order batsmen. I agree that there is a strong case for Viv over SRT (and imo vice-versa too, but you may disagree). Chalo, now lets move on!

  • POSTED BY Varun Mishra on | August 24, 2017, 8:33 GMT

    interesting analysis Ananth. I think you have simplified the 'block mean' by using just the 'total/number_of_blocks'. Consider cases, where a player performs poorly at beginning of his career and then becomes a better batsman with time. his lifetime 'block mean' would be higher, but he might have been consistently poor in the beginning and consistently good later. This analysis would give him a lower consistency level. Similarly, for good performances initially and poor performances later on, player's performance would be penalized towards the end. On top of my head, I would guess Steven Smith before/after his full time batsman role , and Irrfan Pathan before/after his all-rounder role would feature here.
    [[
    Why look only at batsmen who started in different roles. Other batsmen (like Hussey, Kallis, Adams) have had quite diffrent career halves.
    Ananth
    ]]
    a. Did you consider a moving_average instead of simple_average for the blocks? I see the biggest trouble would be the sheer number of blocks we have to play with. b. analysis for ODIs coming up anytime soon? c. any data for improvement/degradation in consistency across a career?
    [[
    I have already covered the moving block concept couple of times.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 24, 2017, 7:25 GMT

    @Ananth I am very sorry, I kind of hijacked the discussion and diverted from the substance of the article. In retrospect, it was needless and also the wrong place to discuss SRT and especially to carry on. Sometimes, one cant help responding :-) And seems like SRT still remains in our heads, years later :-) Now I will move on. Thanks for an enjoyable article and nice comments.
    [[
    Tendulkar will always be part of the discussions. The need is for both sides (I am not saying that these are black and white) to know where was greatness and appreciate the same without putting down the other greats.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 24, 2017, 7:18 GMT

    @Randolf In your hurry to put a contrary word in, you failed to notice that Rangarajan and I were actually talking specifically about ODIs. That he kept his place in ODIs in the face of increasing competition from young guns (and not just tests) and performed as aggressively and competently is surely a feather in his cap and testament to his greatness. Like Federer being in top 4 (even if he had won no GS since 2012). Also, "Dravid Played fast bowling better" is highly contestable (even laughable), considering SRT's 148 at Perth when 18 and the 146 against Steyn and co. at the Wanderers when 38 (!) at and many gems in between. SRT's technique was more adaptable, though he didn't seem mentally comfortable with defense. Anyways, we can cherry pick arguments but lets strive for balance, be comfortable with our conclusions and enjoy the van Gogh's portrayed on the cricket field. p.s.: Otoh, sure, it can be reasonably argued that Lara (or others) were better (=) to SRT in tests.

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 24, 2017, 7:09 GMT

    Ananth, to your comment on DALGLE1151357 - I am shocked that cricinfo has not displayed the wisden match reports. To read old 1940s match reports on cricinfo was a fantastic way of passing a sunday afternoon. Now they are all gone. You can go to Archive, series, the specific match, and all you get is a scorecard. All the match reports are gone. A part of my life is over. Utterly disappointed.
    [[
    Everything that was simple and wonderful has been sacrificed. Unfortunately the videos are taking over. When you open an article the video plays automatically and the stupid hotel ad starts. So many such irritants.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 24, 2017, 3:14 GMT

    Arun, Sreekanth, Ranga - let me try in a different way. I posted two links, one for sub-continent, and one for Oz-SA-NZ-Eng. The at-a-glance average of the top 20 batsmen in the respective lists are 50 and 40. Tendulkar scored 75% of his runs in sub-con, whereas Richards scored 33% of his runs with a lower average in sub-con compared to his overall avg. I dont need to say more. Next, in the Richards era, scores were significantly lower, I wonder if anyone will dispute this - my estimate is by 20%. Next, "Sachin quality of opposition was superior" as per Arun, but what about the World Cup centuries against Nigeria, Kenya etc? Next, scores in the tournament finals - please remove all triangular tournaments, especially the one with only India, Kenya and Bangladesh. Limit to World Cups, where elimination process is far more intense. Remove SL and ZIM for Richards - you will still see a 40% gap. So let us grant Sachin longevity, consistency, but stop there. And don't call this trolling.

  • POSTED BY dalgle1151357 on | August 23, 2017, 23:49 GMT

    Consistency is nice but you want performance as well. Multiply Consistency by Block Mean and the order comes out Sutcliffe, Root, Chappell, Pietersen, Anwar which is certainly less surprising than Bravo (now 15), Redpath (11), Ranatunga (14). Bowling produces a top 5 of O'Rielly, Shah, Ashwin, Gough and Asif. The idea of blocks is nice but you might get even more insight by looking at Blocks 1-10, 2-11, 3-12 etc etc Back in the day when stats guru showed performance in data form rather than graphical form this sequential approach showed great insight into the difference of having Tendulkar or Lara in your team.
    [[
    Somehwre there I have replied to the moving blocks option. Makes it that much more difficult. Not for me. Also I like the 10-innings block since all innings figure only once. The 400 would push up one block, that is all. The 0 would push down only one block. I also have to figure out how to handle the moving blocks effectively.
    Cricinfo's graphic dominance has turned off quite a few followers. Nowadays I hate to go into Cricinfo's site.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 23, 2017, 20:23 GMT

    @RANGARAJAN: Good to see people trying their best to find excuses for SRT's failure to be placed among the top 25 batsmen in test cricket - objectively verified by by credible facts and figures - by some of the most brilliant and credible statisticians on earth - each of them coming up with his own innovative but profoundly credible methods, but ending up with the same result - a classic case of 100 million Frenchmen cannot be wrong. I think that too much was being made of SRT, in comparison with his peers. We knew him to be well coached and hence, very good technically; but when you put him against Dravid, in no way was he technically better than Dravid - the reason that Dravid played real fast bowling better. Then you compare him with Lara, the most common comparison in test cricket, it was always Lara. Because although Lara debuted after him, Lara left the scenes holding every record that SRT now holds and many more. It took SRT few years and many more matches to erase what he can.

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 23, 2017, 19:18 GMT

    @SREEKANTH: Notwithstnding the stinging rebuke that Ananth handed down to you on your FOOLISH question about Lara's performance on the subcontinent, I still need to tell you that any question about Lara's batting exploits on earth would be grossly OUT OF PLACE! It might be more sensible to find out how will he perform on Mars. This guy has performed so many unbelievable miracles with a cricket bat everywhere he went on earth, it's mind boggling! This includes taking a mere "6 MONTHS" to regain his record for the most runs scored in an innings - a simple matter (for him) of scoring"400 RUNS NOT OUT"! If you want to know the GULF which existed between Lara and Tendulkar look at this: Lara decided that he had to score over 380 runs to regain a record which he took from Sobers after it reigned for almost 4 decades; but which Matthew Hayden broke 9YEARS later. So, Lara took 6 MONTHS to regain it.
    [[
    Slightly edited: To refer only to Lara.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY bsktvm on | August 23, 2017, 18:55 GMT

    I think a more important question is whether consistency is valuable or not, all things remaining the same. Would I rather have a batsman who scores 100 every other innings vs someone who score a 50 every time. I am not sure what the answer is. I think it depends on the makeup of the team. But would be interesting to look at what extent the presence of consistent bowler/batsman leads to wins.
    [[
    Ultimately the selection is your prerogative. However, what this article reveals is 'what to expect'. Also that there are players like KPP who are both brilliant and consistent,
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Rangarajan on | August 23, 2017, 15:49 GMT

    Nice balanced views by "Arun On"... Applying the same logic, Sachin played ODIs across eras.. When he came on to the scene, he was considered very aggressive. Over the years, people thought he changed. He was the same. More aggressive players came to the scene. In such a scenario, that he was able to keep his own is quite a feat. He reinvented himself time and again. Usually aged people are reserved for tests. But he was able to play and there weren't many criticisms on his style (or even speed or fitness). Someone said if you play for 25 years you score that many runs. If you play for 25 years, it's difficult to maintain fitness and performance levels. Fielded well till the end. And yet stay relevant in the changing game. So many English county players play for decades. But at the highest level, playing and still being in the team. Against all attacks. Guess this intangible factor is something that makes him one in a generation.

  • POSTED BY Rangarajan on | August 23, 2017, 15:34 GMT

    Diving deep into charismatic Cairns, in he has taken 2 wickets / spell on an average. With no extreme Career best performances, this should be one more feather in the underrated all rounder's cap. For a 2nd or 3rd change bowler whose career was plagued by injuries, he has been striking regularly whenever he bowled. A captain's delight indeed. AB is yet an underrated batsman. He is in top 20. Made 11k runs and played across eras - 70s-80s-90s. That's quite some achievement. KP played primarily in one decade. So did GG. But AB played across generations. And maintained his class. May be Sachin in 2011 should have been that. Someone playing across eras. Being so good across. He still ended that. But as you said, he should have ended at 15K @ 57 and not 15k+traces @ 53

  • POSTED BY Rangarajan on | August 23, 2017, 15:23 GMT

    Nice article, Ananth. Evoked the memories of 2010-12 times when you were coming up with some top notch analyses in this space. I remember a similar one you did and the results have come similar too with new names added. Chris Cairns is an underrated cricketer of our generation. Probably if he had played for England, he'd have been knighted. Now he is struggling to make ends meet. Again so many comments deviating from main issues. But to be fair, if we do a combination of runs | wkts /innings and consistency index we find good insights ... Among batsmen, GG, AB and KP catch my eye. For 185+ inns they maintained an astonishing 90-91% consistency. That means the crowd favorite question "home /away" would be accounted as they'd have played significantly abroad. At a 45+average. Bowling is relatively tougher. Hence we don't find 300+ / 400+ bowlers at top 20... McGrath as usual should be GOAT definitely. 500+ wickets being on 35th position... Should be the single biggest factor for Aus.
    [[
    As long as we understand that Consistency, as presented here, is a measure not necessarily signifying greatness, but what it signifies, there is no problem. Unfortunately, people assign unnecessary importance to the index and then start finding fault.
    My feeling is that KP is the real revelation. For that reason, I will never forgive Strauss.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 23, 2017, 13:05 GMT

    @GV, Thanks! "And on ODIs, how can you compare Sachin with a Ponting, Gilchrist or a Richards...etc..." I am going to ignore this, since it seems like a "trolling" comment. But your other point about SRT on subcontintent and abroad was excellent, and I have bookmarked it to use against SRT fanatics (I find myself arguing against both critics and fans ;) ). That said, Viv never scored a 200 in an ODI, played for a much superior team unlike SRT's one-man shows, did not open (openers tend to have lower avgs.), and did not score 18k+ ODI runs. Arguably, SRT's quality of opposition was also superior (some of the greatest bowlers: warne, mcgrath, wasim, waqar, ambrose, walsh, murali, donald, pollock, etc.). We can go on and on and assign relative importance to the argument that we prefer and choose the winner. But let us agree that they are, at the very least, comparable. :-) Rest, let us look at some nice old footage and watch the two geniuses paint their magic on a cricket field. Cheers
    [[
    One day I should sort the ODI players out!!! But the new crop of players are crowding at the gates. The positions of IVAR/SRT/RTP/AKG are not that secure.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Roger on | August 23, 2017, 12:01 GMT

    I enjoyed the article but I'll be honest - the players in the top positions just don't feel right. Therefore I conclude that there is too much bodging, and too much massaging of the raw data.
    [[
    You probably have a coloured glass message which has set that x, y and z should be within the top-20 of all charts. Why should that be the case, Also you should remove any pre-conceptions you have about "I know Xyz is consistent". Pl have a careful look at Tony Greig's and O'Reilly numbers. You will be astounded.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Pete Fulton on | August 22, 2017, 20:57 GMT

    ANANTHA NARAYANAN, amazing mathematical effort! Would it be too time consuming to adjust numbers for batsmen based in part on the "scores" of the bowlers they faced?
    [[
    Again I repeat that the concept of the block as a microcosm of the career should not be taken away.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Rileen on | August 22, 2017, 19:00 GMT

    Thanks for another interesting article. I wonder if some seemingly inconsistent players (e.g. Jayasuriya) were in fact rather consistent in a location-dependent manner, e.g. consistently good at home and consistently poor away. About players chosen only/mostly at home - several Indian spinners from the 80s onwards would fit the bill - I checked a few profiles, and bingo - Shivlal Yadav played 80% (28 of 35) of his tests at home! also checked some Pakistani spinners, and Tauseef Ahmed (22/34) also played much more at home (Iqbal Qasim - 29/50 - a little less so). It might be quite interesting to see a list of players who've played at least 25 (or 30) tests, sorted by percentage of home tests.
    [[
    Quite possible that some players have benefited by playing at home. But this analysis should be taken to represent the player as he has played through his career. Irfan Pathan at home was terrible but terrific, away. If you get an idea at the career splits, you could easily map that on to the consistency numbers.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY riaz on | August 22, 2017, 16:07 GMT

    A pretty pointless exercise.

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 22, 2017, 9:13 GMT

    Sreekanth - here it is... https://goo.gl/JrFjb5 - I did suspect that averages in the subcontinent are massively inflated due to all conditions being in the batsmen's favour - short boundaries, flat pitches, very fast outfield with trimmed grass etc. But since you have asked, i spent some precious energy I was carefully conserving - but thanks for pointing out the need for the complementary approach.

  • POSTED BY Sreekanth on | August 21, 2017, 12:27 GMT

    @GV ON - Would have been more convincing if you had done the inverse analysis too. I am tired of subcontinent players constant being measured on a bar, which the non-subcontinent players don't have to measure up to. The bar is meaningless in such scenarios. what is pontings or gilchrist's performance in the subcontinent like? or even lara?
    [[
    Lara in Sri Lanka: 688 runs in 3 Tests, almost inarguably the greatest ever batting performance in a series, that too away, that too against Murali & company. THAT Sri Lankan team is not THIS Sri Lankan team.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Dexters on | August 21, 2017, 7:38 GMT

    Hi Anantha, I am a big fan of Sachin and Lara. so I am going to be biased. I saw your comment that if we just remove the last year from Sachin's career his CI shoots up and he is in top 50. is there a way to do calculations that can remove such grey areas. He obviously stayed long just to break the 100 100 barrier. I personally feel he did not because of commercial reasons but because he wanted India to own that record. This is why I still rate Lara's 400 as not so selfish. Also if you think about the quality of bowling, batting difficulty factor, Kohli's generation statistics will look much consistent while the era of Akram, Warne, Mcgrath and Murali is a bowlers era. We should also consider age and how strong your team was. For example Kallis played when SA had some of the finest batting and bowling line up. Sachin and Lara played with a lot more pressure. There may be a time when India will need to look up to Sachin's 100 100s just like WI looking up to Lara and Richards now.
    [[
    I did not remove any gray areas in Sachin's career. That would be if I had suggested something like "If we remove 10 Tests during 1996, his average/CI would have gone up". I only mentioned that if he had retired at the end of, say, the 185th Test, these would be the figures. This was a very logical thing to do and maybe a few other players would have done it. Frankly, I think the 100th 100 was a bit (a lot) over-cooked. Like Bradman's average, it would have been equally nice to say that Tendulkar scored 99 international hundreds.
    I know Lara batted on for a bit on the third day. But what everyone who wants to put Lara down forgets is that the follow-on/innings win was the only possibility of a win. And if Lara himself had not dropped the catch off Michael Vaughan around mid-afternoon on the fifth day, West Indies might very well have won by an innings. Let us not forget that England was still nearly 50 runs off West Indies' total at close of the match.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 20, 2017, 11:27 GMT

    @Arun and others - I stirred myself to redo an analysis which I had arrived at after a lot of debate about Tendulkar. I regard England, South Africa and Australia as neutral venues, where Indian batsmen cannot get partisan support, or sub-continent conditions. I am interested in Tendulkar's ranking among sub-continent batsmen playing in these alien conditions. Only ODIs. Excluding players from the host countries. I have included West Indies as an exception just to see where Richards ranks. No particular distinction is made between league matches or knockouts etc. 1000 runs as minimum qualification. Have limited this to 2014 to try to eliminate influence of T20s on ODI scores. In any case Tendulkar is being compared with his contemporaries. You can see the results here. https://goo.gl/Wrn7LP. My inference is that Tendulkar's reputation is largely based on playing in sub-continent conditions, and here he was king. No problem. Just that he has to tick all boxes before comparison with Viv

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 19, 2017, 15:59 GMT

    Ananth, just to clarify, I and Randolf are TWO DIFFERENT MEMBERS. I don't know him (personally), and need to make this clarification since he is plucking entire paragraphs out of my mouth. @Randolf - everything you have said - Cricinfo not publishing my posts (not this forum, but general cricinfo articles), breaking up the "who-can-shout-praises-of-Tendulkar-the-loudest-party", I have had identical experiences. @Arun - just have a peek at Viv's test and one day stats as of March 1989, when Imran Khan suggested he should have retired...Viv practically drowned his averages after that. I remember in 2005-06, Gilchrist made 24 in a violent innings in South Africa, aiming for a quick declaration in the second innings, and his average went below 50 for the first time. And on ODIs, how can you compare Sachin with a Ponting, Gilchrist or a Richards...these are men who have made 100s in WC finals. Sachin has had more chances than anyone else, but could not do it in a knockout WC match

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 19, 2017, 11:51 GMT

    @GV: I'm always around; but you were reading the very "few contributions" that Cricinfo would ever publish for me on their weblog, under a different subscription sobriquet. Cricnfo has found it necessary to censor me more than any other subscriber because, I'm an effective Tendulkar critic; not a Tendulkar-hater as some of his fans suggest. But, when the members of the "Tendulkar Supper-Soprano Choir" start singing their bad notes, I'm like the bandmaster who point out their bad notes to them; especially when they publish their musical pieces here on Cricinfo. And I usually do so in the same factual, truthful, and insightful manner as you see in my little conversation here with Ananth, who is very fair to me. And since cricket enthusiasts are seeing the light about Tendulkar via my posts, it appears that my submissions have been irritating certain members of the Cricinfo fraternity; so they hardly publish any of my contributions - even though they're just pure facts as you see here.

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 18, 2017, 12:14 GMT

    thanks for the really nice and thoughtful conversation! federer is indeed a role model on more ways than one. It is probably safe to assume that he would have retired if he had not done well, or if he thought he could not...still, retiring from a beloved game is such a dicey decision., i dont want to over-judge a sportsperson on that basis. to me, that chase for 100 100's was a real blot. In a way, srt's average does justice to the fact that while he was king of the ODIs (arguably with Sir Viv), in tests, he was an equal rather than a greater mortal when compared to his peers (in my opinion)...
    [[
    I get the feeling that at least half a dozen current players are capable of reaching 55 in Tests. Look at the way Pujara is moving up. So SRT & Lara could very well go off the top-20, Lara first.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 18, 2017, 11:03 GMT

    thanks for publishing! Also, top sportspersons are competitive and they, i assume, would keep fighting to regain form. but it does harm the team. you can dot it when you are 28 30 and have earned the right to have a dip in form. but when you are 38 and in the twilight, its harmful to the overall cause as well...there is good reason for an observer to call that kind of thing "selfish"...maybe srt cud not see the bigger picture...it really was also up to the selectors to nudge. i would say that they did a shoddy job; too much hero-worshipping. I agree that he unfortunately missed his timing completely there, esp in ODIs. What a chance it was to go out in glory. What more did he want to do in ODIs and what was the point?! He anyways quit a year later! And his last 15 tests certainly blot the rest, decreasing his avg. by nearly 3 points, but I think some some leeway can be given there. (Of course, if there commercial interests, the whole point is moot.)
    [[
    I would say, sitting on the outside, ill-advised by others. I have no idea who are the others.
    Compare that with how Federer is handling his twilight years.
    He called off 6 months during 2016 because he knew he had a serious injury and had to get surgery done. There was no wavering. But he practiced like no one has ever did.
    He came back in 2017 with a bang, winning one GS and two Masters. Then no vacillation. He knew that the Clay season could kill him and he was off for over 2 months.
    He came back with another bang. Two titles, including Wimbledon.
    Off straightaway. No small tournaments. Very successful at Montreal other than the last hurdle. Immediate;y he is off one of his favourite Master's at Cincinatti. It does not matter that the no.1 is at stake. He would not bother if he did not get the no.1 again. He knows when to rest.
    Now US Open. I hope he competes. But would not be surprised if he takes off another month, to concentrate on the indoor season.
    Note the clarity of thinking. So much so, the others have started following.
    Oh! I know, Tennis is an individual game. But SRT was the king when it came to Indian Cricket. No one to touch him. Maybe the selectors could have discussed a little more.
    But the waters have already reached the sea.
    I get irritated when I see him 17th in the Batting Average table, that is all.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arun on | August 18, 2017, 10:26 GMT

    Very nice and fun article. Sad that many people (?) missed the point and spirit.. Anyways, completely off-topic, but there were some comments, and hence... But totally fair if you decide to not publish it. Sportspersons' desire to retire rests on so many factors, that it may be unfair to judge. Lets assume what we know and that no commercial interests figured in SRT's decision. He had an extremely successful 2009-2011. Would'nt he assume that he is going to maintain form and continue in the same vein? It is a reasonable expectation. Isnt it then difficult for him to cast away his life so easily? A conundrum that many face since they cannot predict their future form. Dravid, for example, had a 3-y lean period. Perhaps he should have retired then? But he didnt and he had a great tour of England afterward. Was he lucky to rediscover his form? I mean, who knows, who can tell? Its not quite as pat. That said, chasing 100 100's was really sad (Ind lost B'desh ODI partly due to that!)
    [[
    I agree that it is the player's own decision and no body else's, when he quits. In a way, I agree with you. When someone is going through a prolonged poor patch and does not quit, there is a lot on the line. If he recovers, as Dravid did, we hail the decision to rough it out. If he does not, he find fault. Maybe unfair to the player concerned.
    Somewhat similar to a reverse sweep. Looks beautiful when it comes off. Looks ugly if the batsman perishes. Maybe a commentator should have the guts to take the batsman to task when he succeeds or refrain from criticizing if he fails.
    But like Kapil's last 15 Tests, these last 15 Tests also hurt when one peruses the careers of these two wonderful players.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 18, 2017, 3:02 GMT

    Ananth, this is a nice approach, but in my way of thinking, one of the pieces of work on batsmen you had done earlier - my favourite piece of work - was on classifying all innings played by a batsman as belonging to easy, middle or tough groups on the basis of bowling strength. I would look at the consistency of averages across those groups. If i remember correctly Mark Waugh averaged 40 regardless of whether the bowling was easy or tough, and that to me is an important indicator of consistency. Also on Randolf - where were you all these years? You really have brought tears to my eyes. But don't forget - no one else has the unique distinction of the 100th 100 and highest test score against the same opposition - Bangladesh. You may also want to look up Tendulkar's position in the tough group analysis I have mentioned above.
    [[
    Yes, Giri, I agree. That was, arguably, the best piece of work I have done so far. Especially because the reader participation was terrific. And the concept of BPQI which was developed as we went along on our discussions. Maybe I will re-do it in a simpler manner. Where the article gets published is a big question mark.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Ashraf on | August 17, 2017, 9:26 GMT

    "Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket" Only could have been written by an Indian to not give us a cricket view but and indian view of it. Why tell us the position of Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble but not those of Imran Khan and Wasim Akram?
    [[
    My apologies for the strong words used, which have been removed.
    I have given Wasim Akram's and Imran Khan's details in response to a comment of aliasg3619310.
    But you belong to an elite reader group of one. The only one to accuse me of a bias towards Indian players. Normally it is the other way around.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 16, 2017, 9:19 GMT

    Ananth, the reason why I disagree that SRT should have retired at the end of 2011, is the fact that it was not even an option as far as he was concerned at that time. I think it's well documented that he batted just for himself; and "to score a 100"! And at that time, the elusive 100 was still at large (the so called 100th 100). Hence, at that stage of his career he was most motivated to score a 100. So, he could not have; neither would he have stopped at age 38! Remember too, he and his fans kept fooling themselves that he was "a kind of Bradman" or "greater"! But though late, they discovered how much they were fooling themselves; because, the great Sir Don, in the process of retiring at age 40, had made "fifteen 100s during the last 40 inngs" of his career - but Tendulkar on the contrary, with all the positive inspiration and motivation in his guts, did try and also retired at age 40, but couldn't score a single 100 in his last 40 inngs; batting for all of 3 consecutive yrs (36 mths)
    [[
    I may not agree with all of you what have written but cannot but accept that the futility of those last many months will remain forever a black spot. Maybe he was ill-advised. Mybe not just his career was at stake but commercial considerations of others.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Harsh on | August 15, 2017, 15:23 GMT

    Great batsmen comprising the top 10 are greenidge,Sutcliffe,Chappell ,Border and Anwar with only 3 averaging above 50.Really surprised not to find Dravid,Gavaskar ,Tendulkar,Headley,Steve Waugh ,Sobers and Miandad.Allwere an epitome of consistency.Amongst those who averaged under 50I felt Boycott,Kanhai or Peter May should have been right there.Most deserving in your 10 are Border.Sutcliffe and Chappell.
    [[
    Again, I am quite surprised. How do you conclude that Peter May SHOULD be there. Do you have his numbers readily available. Strewn in his career are 56.1% and 38.8%. However, despite these two really awful blocks, he has managed to get in at 75th (87.1%) - very close to Gary Sobers, Greame Smith, Graeme Gooch and Ganguly.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 15, 2017, 14:31 GMT

    For Ananth - I tried sending this article to you by email, but am not able to - please email me so that I have your correct email address... https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/13/scariest-test-england-ever-played-terror-west-indies-cricket-1986-patrick-patterson See the youtube link mentioned in the article from 48:20, and you will get some idea of why one must occasionally look beyond numbers, just for fun.
    [[
    Giri, Where did I give the impression that I only look at figures.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Harsh on | August 15, 2017, 12:40 GMT

    Great work ananth.Howver really suprising that the likes of Gavaskar,Sobers Headley,Dravid,Miandad Tendulkar or even Kanhai do not figure in top 10.The only all time great batsmen are Border,Sutcliffe and Greg Chappell.Ifeel the rating system may be unfair to batsmen with high averages above 50 as Miandads average never fell below 50 ever in his career.Lastly hard envisaging Geoff Boycott not there .It almost boils down to rating the greatest of batsmen as not up there with most consistent.
    [[
    Miandad has 9 blocks below 75%. To me, that is not the consistency promised by his being always above 50%. Let us not forget that his home and away figures do vary widely. Miandad is 10th (84.5%).
    Boycott is better with four blocks below 75%. This leads to a CI of 87.7% and position of 60th (87.7%).
    I will ask you to think over why Gavaskar,Sobers Headley,Dravid,Miandad Tendulkar or even Kanhai should figure in the top of the table. Headley does not aualify.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY sathya1169118 on | August 14, 2017, 18:37 GMT

    Seems the general public (myself included) are more at ease reading pieces which are either poetic free flowing articles or bundle of statistics (like the ask Steven type). But you have woven together a nice approach, an algorithm (if it can be termed so) to find out a few grains of truth!!! It would take more than a little patience to understand your approach, analyse the results, and may be appreciate it. But your job doesn't end with putting together the article, and results - also need to keep your energy reserves for replying to the comments!!!
    [[
    I am normally not that patient a man. However, somehow, God has given me the required balance when I handle the different types of queries.Maybe 1-2% of the queries - I see red. But the others, I try to understand.
    Thanks for nicely wording the entire philosophy behind such analysis-centric articles.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY hattima@yahoo.com on | August 14, 2017, 16:15 GMT

    Dear Ananth, Thanks for your reply. I must admit that I did not read most of the other comments. However, reading some of the other comments now, I completely understand your indignation. I do understand the rationale behind most of your analyses, and I do understand that you are skipping some of the technical details to allow it to be understood by the general audience. However, I hope you would appreciate that given the high quality of your analyses, it may attract some statisticians, who may wonder about these technical details. Since you have already done this subsidiary analysis like robustness check, how about putting some of it somewhere else for the interested group, with a link to that here?
    [[
    In fact, I had shown the top-10 CoV values in a table in my article. However the Editor, correctly, felt that it would take the emphasis away from the main theme. I will see what can be done. Maybe upload into my DropBox folder and give a link here. Give me a day or two.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 14, 2017, 15:55 GMT

    Ananth, nice that @GURU toned down his rhetoric and apologized for his tirade. When I saw it, I thought that he was being grossly unfair to you, when he accused you of "…coming up with fodder for Tendulkar haters…" @GURU needs to know that every public figure has "critics", not necessarily "haters". And, as a career long critic of Tendulkar, I beg that you allow me to also tell @GURU that neither you nor any of the other brilliant professionals within your fraternity provides "fodder" for me. All critical thinkers need not to just accept information being fed to them - they should themselves verify it. Hence, in Sachin's case, it's he who provides me with the tons of fodder which I share, for his correct placement as a test batsman. Eg: @GURU has to know that SRT batted in 40 innings, for 3 yrs (36 mths) between Jan 2011 and Dec 2013 and couldn't score a 100 - that too, showed up in his CI. I disagree that he should have stopped at 184 tests; he was still young and enjoying his game.
    [[
    I did a special calculation. If SRT's last 39 innings are removed, his CI moves up to 88.1%. This would place him in the 51st position, almost in the first quadrant, 49 positions higher. Before anyone jumps up, let me say that those 290 innings are more than any other player played in his career. So it is clear that Tendulkar lost 3 in his Batting Average and 2.2% in CI.
    I doubt whether he was enjoying his game.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY hattima@yahoo.com on | August 14, 2017, 8:29 GMT

    Dear Ananth, Sorry for getting back so late, I was extremely busy the last few days. Let me explain my position on 10 innings not being natural. For example, suppose for one person 21st to 30th innings are the Ashes. For him maintaining consistency during that period is simpler compared to his teammate, for whom the same Ashes tests may cover 25th to 34th innings, while 21st to 24th innings might be in India. Hence, I am not sure everybody has a common ground in this comparison. In statistics, we refer to this as robustness: would the results change dramatically if we shift the window of analysis slightly, or if we move from 10 innings windows to 9 innings windows or 11 innings windows? If that happens (I do not means to check that), then perhaps we need to think of something else. Capping at 100 is also a similar issue. We know that in our mind 100s are special. But would the results change dramatically if we cap at 110, or 120, or 95?
    [[
    I know that if we change the basis from 10 to 9 or 11, the results will change. I have tried this out also. However, barring minor churnings, the collection of the top-10 players is almost there. That is one reason why I take issue with people who think I am presenting this as a list of great batsmen. I have not done that. I have also not tried various options and selected one in which my favourite batsmen are doing well. I have selected 10 and left it at that.
    Say, a batsman's career consists of 130 innings. These would have been played home, away, neutral, very strong opponents to weak opponents (and in between), batting paradises to minefields (and everything in between), covered pitches, open-to-the-elements pitches and so on. The 10 innings should just be taken as a microcosm of the career. It might not include all variations but I would feel happy if it includes, say, 6 home and 4 away innings or vice versa.
    So the final methodology might not pass the strict statistical validations. But it is a common-sense based methodology which will be understood by everyone, especially the non-technical lot. When they see Greig's career details, they can see for themselves, why he is at the top, something a CoV of 0.165 will not confirm immediately.
    By no means do I decry the pure technical methodology. I myself have enough statistical expertise to have done the entire analysis in a different way and presented multiple CoV tables. But then I would have lost many of the readers.
    Why 10? No real reason except that it makes some calculations easier and anyhow, it is the same for all players. It is just a sufficiently long career slice in which players are allowed the chance to make up for temporary losses of skill/form and for dropped chances/ great catches/unplayable deliveries/lack of opportunities et al.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY kiedar1864107 on | August 13, 2017, 19:41 GMT

    [[
    What do I do with an uninformed person's juvenile comment.
    In addition to being uninformed, the commenter has not bothered to read the article also.
    The only option is to blank out the comment completely and publish.
    Then at least will people think a little before doing something like this.
    Maybe a good thing will come out of this. Such people will not visit this space.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY victoria on | August 13, 2017, 12:40 GMT

    @Ian: Thanks for this massive compliment! I'm cock-a-hoop to hear that my opinion mirrors that of the great David Lloyd. However, @"Victoria" is absolutely not a pseudonym for David Lloyd. Incidentally though, I have the greatest respect for David Lloyd as a cricket expert. For me, he's the most honest of any of those guys who usually take up the microphone to describe cricket the game, and the people who play it. And why you can rely on the honesty of such people as Ananth and Lloyd is the fact that they don't say things just to protect their economic survival - they say it as objectively and unbiased as they see it - they're not members of the "supper-sopranos". KP Pietersen didn't achieve a 50 runs avge, but his name is mentioned with the 4 greatest of All Time; because, if he was not delved that dirty blow by his bosses, he would've eventually got there. He was unfairly axed at the 'tender' age of 33 - at the age when I'm sure his maturity as a batsman would've been most prosperous.
    [[
    When I see that three English middle order players of the current team would not have found place in the English 'A' team a few years back, I feel that somewhere the egos should have taken a backseat and Pietersen should have played for the past three years. Even today, no one from English top order, other than Root, can come anywhere near KP. But all the water has long gone past the bridge and reached the sea. Thanks, @Vick, for one of the nicest compliments I have received.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY pramathesh on | August 13, 2017, 11:56 GMT

    Instead of 3000 runs and 100 wickets, how do your results change if u use tighter cut-off of min. 5000 runs or min. 200 wickets in tests? Was expecting that only a consistently performing player will be selected to play for more tests and will prove to be the horse for a long race. Ravi Ashwin & Ravi Jadeja are yet to prove themselves in tests in Eng, SA, NZ and Aus. For all-rounders like Kapil, Imran, Kallis, etc, do the CI values take performance in batting as well as in bowling ? One day cricket gained popularity from 1980's decade implying that players had to give time to tests as well as odis-this can take a toll on fitness. What about CI value for odi performance?Sachin Tendulkar was selected to play for India in 200 tests and 463odi's in a period of 24 years from age 16 to age 40 because he managed to score more than 15K runs in both versions respectively & also kept himself fit to play for those many years.
    [[
    As I have mentioned in one of my responses, I will give below a set of players who will miss the bus.
    Graveney, Dhoni, Simpson, Andy Flower, Redpath, Sutcliffe, Peter May, Weekes, Mohinder Amarnath, Martyn et al.
    Laker, Prasanna, Barnes, Davidson, Ajmal, Akhtar, Sarfraz, Lock, Tayfield, Miller et al.
    Nothing more needs to be said.
    CIs for ODIs is worth exploring.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Ian on | August 12, 2017, 17:43 GMT

    @POSTED BY VICTORIA ON | AUGUST 10, 2017, 12:25 GMT: Are you really David Llyod under a pseudonym, by any chance? Here's a clip of David Bumble Lloyd talking of his favorite cricketers, amongst those that he has SEEN over the 50+ years of his interest in the game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxw8YmaWyQ0 Guess which players he named: Gary Sobers, Viv Richards, Brian Lara and.....Kevin Pietersen! For the record I completely, absolutely agree with your selection of Bradman, Sobers, Richards, Lara and Pietersen. Bradman and Sobers played before I was born, and Richards, stopped playing before I developed any real interest in cricket. But in my time seeing cricket, I have not seen any batsmen turn the game single-handedly against Gun-attacks like Lara and Pietersen have.
    [[
    Bradman, Sobers, Richards, Lara and Pietersen it will be. I may add Stan McCabe and Neil Harvey to the list though.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY victoria on | August 12, 2017, 15:52 GMT

    Ananth, it's good to see that you're not being sidetracked by some of these wild responses. All this great piece of statistical work has done is, to show cricket enthusiasts how consistent different players have been, at meeting their established expectations, "right throughout their careers" - nothing else. You have also hit the nail on its head within the article itself, and in reply to a few subscribers that, "because Player A has a higher career average than Player B doesn't necessarily mean that Player A is more consistent than Player B. Let's use the Shane Warne vs Sangakkara example - purely as batsmen. Warne might have accumulated a block of 10 scores at a range between 16 and 19, giving an avge of 17.3. Sangakkara on the other hand may have 10 scores of: 7, 10, 253, 8, 10, 09, 10, 10, 6, 233, giving an avge of 56. Suppose they're in the same team playing a series of 5 tests, against a second team that's evenly matched with accurate precision, which batsman will you pick?
    [[
    No one gets picked on consistency. People get picked on performance.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Shehan on | August 12, 2017, 13:45 GMT

    According to this analysis Sangakkara is very inconsistent. But today I found that Sangakkara features twice in the list of most consecutive 50 + scores. [http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283043.html] How can this happen ?
    [[
    Sangakkara has played 233 innings. Out of these, he has two streaks of 7 and 6 innings respectively in which he crossed 50. Do these 13 innings convey anything to us about his other 220 innings.
    In the 23 blocks, Sangakkara scored below 50% of the block mean no fewer than 4 times. This sort of huge under-performance has pushed his CI to 84.7%. Kindly don't immediately make this out to be a criticism or pulling down of Sanga, who happens to be one of my favourite players.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Guru on | August 12, 2017, 7:39 GMT

    1. I admire Ananth for his openness. I honestly didn't expect any of my comments to be published. 2. These are ananth's own words : "Sangakkara is quite inconsistent. His ci is 84.7 percent". So he does imply 85 percent is not consistent. 3. I initially didn't pick Warne. In fact, I initially didn't even pick Tendulkar. I used an example of Tony creig and Herbert Sutcliffe to clarify that consistency here doesn't mean better. Ananth agreed. But that didn't stop haters from using this analysis for defaming Tendulkar and his fans (at least two comments after my innocuous Frist comment). That's why i had to pick an extreme case to highlight what Ananth already mentioned in the article. 4. Sorry Ananth, for the tirade. I don't mean any disrespect. Will stop with this.
    [[
    I only compared 84.7 to much higher numbers. That is all. Like in my response to Dravid's consistency, the numbers do not indicate so.
    I know that there are those who will pick specific comparisons to put down SRT just as there are others who would use such numbers to push up SRT blindly. I will publish any comment provided they do not villify me, another reader or any player.
    I have told this many times. I have my favourites, I can say that. But I will not do anything just to glorify them and put down others. And I felt strongly about SRT's extending his career (or almost conned by vested interests to extend) by easily 20 Tests. I would have been be happier if he had quit at the end of 2011 with figures of 184 Tests, 15183 runs at 56.03. But that does not mean I do not admire his technical skills, his role model behaviour, his never forgetting his middle class background and what he did for the game in India.
    And let us agree that there can be total consistency at an average of 10 and total inconsistency at an average of 50. That will never make the first batsman a better one. Make that disastrous 2 in 10 innings to 10 in 10 innings (two streaky fours), Chris Martin would have crossed even 90.0. It would have only made him a very very consistent but worst batsman ever.
    I can see that you are not the typical SRT fan, ready to bad mouth me. You wanted to make a point and you made it. My apologies if I came on too strongly.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 12, 2017, 6:04 GMT

    "But what haters see is 'Tendulkar is not consistent, so his fans are idiots'" (@GURU ON | AUGUST 11, 2017, 14:56 GMT). @GURU, you are absolutely correct - only an "IDIOT" would think that anybody who sees a batsman with a consistency index (CI) of "85.9%" is "not consistent"! Which school did you go to? In nearly every proper school, 85% is an "A" or better. In fact, you are the one who seem not to understand what Ananth's analysis has done here. Nowhere in the article has he implied that Tendulkar was not consistent. All that he is instead saying is that 99 other batsmen were more consistent than SRT in producing at the best standard that they set for themselves. It is clear that you are the only one who is wrongly interpreting "more consistent" to mean "a better batsman than". Now, the question to you @GURU is: "Why pick on Shane Warne who is not a batsman, to make your foolish point concerning Tendulkar? Why not choose one of the MANY batsmen who are superior to him?
    [[
    You have captured the problem with gentlemen like Guru perfectly. Thank you.
    When he asked for the details of Warne, I provided the figures little realizing that the purpose was devious. Just to see if Warne had a higher CI% than SRT and come out with the tirade. I have no problems. If someone asks for the figure of Chaminda Vaas, I will give. If they misuse my openness and misuse the same, they are the losers, not I.
    Guru talks as if I made a statement "Harbhajan and Agarkar are better batsmen than Chetan Chauhan since they have scored Test hundreds and he has not". I have presented numbers without making a single comparison. Unfortunately, that does not suit some people. So they invent a statement and talk as if I made that statement.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY bhavan5206519 on | August 12, 2017, 3:02 GMT

    Sir, I read through your article and have a hard time grasping the results that your analysis shows. Couple of things to ponder is what is considered a good test average for a batsman and a bowler. To me a batsman should have a career average of 40 plus and a bowler 30 minus. That was the holy grail when I was growing up. What happens when you add that criteria to your 3000 runs? You will see a totally different set of players emerge that to this day we consider them greats. Case in point is Rahul Dravidian. The man never had an inconsistent series till the very last one and the only reason he is down the totem pole is there is no batting average cutoff. Is it possible for you add the 40 plus and 30 minus criterion and run this data?
    [[
    1. Dravid had 6 blocks in which he scored fewer than 70% of the block mean. So you are on the wrong track when you say that he was very consistent. You have perceptions only. I have figures.
    2. So you want to exclude Fletcher, Vijay, Alec Stewart, Tamim Iqbal, Colin McDonald, Dileep Sardesai, Clem Hill, Victor Trumper, Majid Khan, McCullum, Dhoni, Michael Atherton et al from the analysis.
    3. Also exclude Alf Valentine, Prasanna, Srinath, Hoggard, Lawson, Doshi, Brett Lee, Southee, Titmus, Vinoo Mankad, Harbhajan Singh, Abdul Qadir et al from the analysis.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Bennett Mendes on | August 11, 2017, 19:41 GMT

    At first, I was thinking that this analysis could expose the Flat-Track Bully (FTB) batsmen for being inconsistent - i.e. those who score many runs when the conditions are good, yet fail when they are not good. Then I saw Victor Trumper's name as one of the most inconsistent batsman. He was known for throwing away his wicket when the conditions were good, but would fight/score when they were not good.

  • POSTED BY Guru on | August 11, 2017, 15:20 GMT

    Shane Warne is 86.6 percent likely to score 17.3 runs. Tendulkar is only 85.9 percent likely to score 53 runs. So, Warne is a more consistent batsman than Tendulkar. That's your analysis. b
    [[
    At times it is totally futile to even try to communicate with people who are seeing things through five layers of coloured glasses.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Guru on | August 11, 2017, 15:08 GMT

    I know Shane Warne's batting average is 17.3. Is there anyone in the list with a lower batting average? Can you give a distribution of the averages to the first half? Like, how many have average less than 20, how many 20 to 30, between 30 to 40, and how many 40 plus..

  • POSTED BY Guru on | August 11, 2017, 14:56 GMT

    The problem for me with your articles is that you keep coming up with fodder for Tendulkar haters (although, I agree, that's not your intention). While most of articles do have some truth, this one is purely misleading. As per this analysis, Shane Warne is a more consistent batsman than Tendulkar, Dravid, Ponting, kallis, Sangakkara, Viv Richards, imzamam up haq, Mohammed Yousuf, Azharuddin, Kohli, Smith, Amla. But what haters see is "Tendulkar is not consistent, so his fans are idiots", without understanding what "consistent" here means. I don't blame you for that, I'm just frustrated. Btw, I did the math for Warne's batting, and I got 89.6%. so he should be ranked in the 20s, even better than the Don

  • POSTED BY Usman on | August 11, 2017, 13:59 GMT

    Great analysis!! I have a question though. If a batsman plays 170 innings with a career average of 30; and each block he is very near to the 30 average; he would be ranking very high in this type of list. But we all know 30 average at any era is a not so good batman. Consistent in scoring 30. We can conclude that Tony Craig is the most consistent player in test history in scoring 38-40 runs per innings.
    [[
    Let us consider three statements.
    Batsman A averaged 40 but was very consistent.
    Batsman B was quite inconsistent but averaged 50.
    Batsman C was extremely inconsistent. He averaged 60.
    That is all. You draw your own conclusions.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY randolf on | August 11, 2017, 12:14 GMT

    Ananth, great work as usual! It leaves out nothing, taking every ball bowled and faced into account. This is great because, a bowler can take a wckt with the first ball he bowls; and a batsman can get out with the first ball he faces. I take consistency as the most important factor in batting. It's the outcome of the other factors such as technique, temperament, et al. I also note once again, maybe for the millionth time, that credible, unbiased and objectively analysed data shows that Tendulkar is not necessarily among the first 25 batsmen who played test cricket. Everybody knew that he had a good technique, and that's what was blowing away most of his fans. He scored more runs and 100s than any other player, just because he played many more games than them - PERIOD! Cricinfo has a flawed statement about him saying that he's "the most complete batsman". I don't know what that means! Eg. Dravid played every type of bowling as well as SRT, but Rahul was few notches better against pace.

  • POSTED BY Jitendra on | August 11, 2017, 10:43 GMT

    A cap put above 100 %. A cap should be there for lower performance. Like Imran khan has not bowled much in last matches of his career. So his wicket per block will be less. For lower scores a cap should be there.
    [[
    I am afraid you have not understood the explanations and the need for capping. And we can only cap high performances, not low ones.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY aliasg3619310 on | August 11, 2017, 9:30 GMT

    I would like to know about, Mohd Yousuf (80.8%), inzamam up haq (84.0%), Younis Khan (89.1%), Javed Miandad (84.0%), VVS Laxman (87.5%), Imran Khan (88.9%), Wasim Akram (88.6%), Waqar Younis 83.2%), Saqlain Mushtaq (89.7%), Javagal Srinath (87.3%) and Venkatesh Prasad (only 96 wkts).
    [[
    The numbers are interjected.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Swapnil on | August 11, 2017, 9:16 GMT

    I somehow disagree with the method. Consistency should be measured with some reference. How can we put Don Bradman so low ??? If he was not consistent .. how can he maintain >99 average. I think for batsman ... progression of batting average over various time windows should determine if he was consistent or not. Let's say, for Sachin Tendulkar when he started his test batting average was less bet. 30-40 ... later for almost 10 years, it was between 55-60 .... then at the end of his career, it reduced to 50-55. If you consider 50 as benchmark batting average, we can say he was consistent most of his career. Variation should not matter in long run. How will you rank the following batsman in 10 innings - 1) 30, 40, 50, 30, 40, 50, 30, 40, 50, 30 2) 100, 30, 70, 100, 50, 20, 30, 50, 100, 10 3) 50,50,50,50,50,50,50,50,50,50 4) 300, 30, 20, 10, 0, 50, 70, 90, 30, 40 For me as a cricket fan, rank will be --> 2, 3, 1, 4. Let me know your thoughts.
    [[
    Your statement "how can he maintain ........." is flawed. A batsman can score 200, 0, 200, 0 and get a 100 average.
    And why make another flawed statement "How can you put Bradman so low". In the 'Runs scored' table, Bradman is 48th.
    I am not going to answer your contrived question. But I will say that if my life depended on a batsman scoring 50, I would any day take Batsman 3 and stay as far away from 2 and 4. Reduce the number to 30, I will take 1 and 3.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Desmond on | August 11, 2017, 9:07 GMT

    Good analysis. One question: Is(Are) your measure(s) statistically sound? Unbiased, consistent, efficient, sufficient, etc.?

  • POSTED BY Guru on | August 11, 2017, 8:48 GMT

    I would like to know Shane Warne's Ranking in this analysis as a batsman. He has 3154 test runs.
    [[
    Warne: 85th (86.6%).
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Himanish Ganjoo on | August 11, 2017, 8:28 GMT

    Great way to analyse consistency! Especially the capping of high performances at 100%. This ensures that high peaks do not add to variance and the final consistency index is only affected by lapses in form.

    The graphs were also a great way to easily see consistent performers. Along those lines, have you thought about maybe computing the differences in averages of the blocks and taking the mean of that? It measures the fluctuations between block performances, and matches nicely with the information that is presented in the line graphs. A player with a low mean difference is more consistent.
    [[
    The CI is the mean of the % values (100% or below). As such it represents the consistency quite effectively.
    Ananth
    ]]
    It might match very nicely with your original measures, and I can do a computation sometime next week to check this new metric.

  • POSTED BY Piet on | August 11, 2017, 7:41 GMT

    Dear Anantha, thank you very much for a most insightful article. A few questions: Is there somewhere that I could access your complete list? Also, how would one measure all rounders or fielders? I tried to work out Jacques Kallis's Consistency Index and arrived at 85.5% for batting, and 84.8% for bowling. Would it be possible to get a combined score on his consistency as a player?
    [[
    Your numbers are more or less correct.
    Re all-rounders, as I have already mentioned in a response, we have to get the thinking done from ground up. Did the player deliver as a batsman, bowler or both. Does an all-rounder get condoned for delivering only as a batsman (or bowler) and not doing anything on the other discipline - a la Imran Khan? How do we handle situations where a player has only bowled and not batted (and vice versa). And so on.
    I will think over it and if I can come out with a viable solution, come out with an article. Through which outlet is uncertain now.
    Ananth
    ]]
    Once again, thank you for your great articles. Piet

  • POSTED BY mujju14889803 on | August 11, 2017, 7:03 GMT

    great work, I would like to know about Rahul Dravid & Mohammed Azharuddin
    [[
    Dravid's figures have already been given.
    Azharuddin: 85.3% (117th).
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY rukman2441469 on | August 11, 2017, 6:29 GMT

    Well done. Cricket is a performing sport and players must be paid as per performance. Now that 10 IPL seasons are over plenty of performance data is available. Can you come up with statistically sound plan by which a player,s fee comprises a base pay of say 25% and the rest should depend on agreed measures of performance. We have seen many instances where so called star players with high prices performed poorly while many young players with very low fees performed very well. I am sure with your expertise and all the available data you can come up with a model which can be reviewed and refined.
    [[
    Unfortunately or (fortunately for me), I stay off IPL completely.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY S on | August 11, 2017, 5:17 GMT

    Tony Greig's entire test career happened to coincide with the period in which I was a complete cricket fanatic. I remember being amazed by Greig's consistency - not just as a batsman but as an all rounder. Every score card for any test he played would show a player who would somehow muster about 70+ runs, about 4 wickets, and about 3 catches per match. Its wonderful to see that impressionistic memory is backed by the numbers, at least when it comes to batting. Thanks as always for a cerebral and interesting analysis.
    [[
    Unfortunately, Greig left the Test scene in a cloud. His tour-de-force was at Trent Bridge against New Zealand during 1973: 4wickets+139 off 178+3 wickets. England won by only 38 runs. Greig came in at 24 for 4 in the second innings. And at Bridgetown the next year. 148 + 6 wickets + 25.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Sundar Raman on | August 11, 2017, 4:51 GMT

    Instead of doing all the crazy stats, why can't we simply find the difference between Mean and Median. Both are measure of central tendency but also reveal the impact of punch above the weight. 10 innings can be misleading as Most of the Ausi and Eng players especially batsman played 5 test match Ashes series with minimum 7 to 8 innings. If a team bowlers don't know how to get him out, they have no way to get him out through the series. there are many examples for that, For example, Clark and Smith in Austrialia against India . Indian team bowler has no clue how to get them out. They played at least 6 innings in that series. Either it should be at least 20 tests to find out consistency period for a player.

  • POSTED BY Abhivadan on | August 11, 2017, 3:31 GMT

    Hey, Thoroughly thought through piece as usual. When I read the title, my first thought was going by moving averages in blocks of 5 or 10. Here's a small flavour: 1. I really like the idea of capping the high performances, since they are not supposed to add to the variance. 2. Moving averages then could give us a better view of the purple patches or the slumps e.g. A batsman hit a low, in innings 7-13, but was otherwise alright. In the current analysis, he probably would turn up alright in both the blocks, but if we look at the a moving average we will surely pick that slump. 3. Half blocks not an issue. (67 innings or 63 innings) 4. The series of moving averages can serve the purpose of studying consistency as well as the position of that consistency viz. Mean and Variance of the moving average series 5. Moving average as a concept is easy to understand. And with your way of explaining things, it will be understood by a lot. Your feedback is appreciated. Thank you
    [[
    I understand and appreciate the idea. It removes the rigidity imposed by taking in an arbitrary number such as 10.
    However one of the strengths of my analysis is that it would be very easy for any reader to get a batsman career data into an Excel sheet and determine the CI by himself. A moving average determination might be tougher.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Matt on | August 11, 2017, 2:47 GMT

    Anantha, in an earlier comment you ask for an example of a batsman that is selected base don location. Well, as of this year that unfortunate soul is Usman Khawaja.
    [[
    I can only admire at your inventiveness. I agree. As (If) and when Khawaja crosses 3000 Test runs and gets into this analysis, we will take his CI with a pinch of salt. Can you think of one older batsman who was selected to play at home but not to travel?
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Matt on | August 11, 2017, 1:59 GMT

    Gee Anantha, some people don't get the point. Yes readers, consistent does not equal best or most valuable, but that is why the article does not even imply that to be the case. It is just an interesting look at which players tended to play to their potential year in year out.

    And fantastic to see the analysis on Chris Martin the Binary Man.

    I would be interested to see the index for the following players if you have the time: David Boon, Mike Hussey, Chris Rodgers.
    [[
    Boon: 86.6% (82nd).
    Mike Hussey: 87.0% (78th).
    Rogers did not qualify.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Matt on | August 11, 2017, 1:45 GMT

    Nicely done. I like it a lot. Interesting to consider reasons for inconsistency in certain players. For example Shane Warne had a lean period when he bowled with shoulder injuries. Herbert Sutcliffe is amazing when you consider that in those days you could get caught on a sticky wicket and a wet summer should have destroyed your figures. It makes sense that bowlers are more consistent than batsmen. Why? Well it is the nature of the game. For a bowler, if you bowl badly there is always the next delivery, the next over, the next spell (in the more traditional sense). Lose your radar with the new ball and come back with the old. For batsmen, one error in judgement and it is goodbye. Imagine how bowlers would fare if every time they bowled a wide they were off for the innings!
    [[
    Good point. 20-0-80-0 could easily become 22-0-90-4.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | August 11, 2017, 1:04 GMT

    Sorry if I come across as biased but very few W\west Indians r in this analysis. I would l like 2 see the results for Shiv. Gayle n Sarwan, Roach those should b pretty erratic. also maybe Bishop vs Walsh vs Ambrose, or maybe 2 make things really interesting compare the bowlers from the golden era of Windies fat bowling. Croft Roberts holding garner n Marshall
    [[
    Chanderpaul: 81st (86.7%).
    Gayle: 94th (86.2%).
    Sarwan: 41st (88.5%).

    Croft: 92.3% (23rd)
    Ambrose: 90.1%
    Roberts: 89.5%
    Garner: 89.2%
    Marshall: 88.9%
    Walsh: 88.5%
    Holding: 86.9%
    Roach: 84.7% (151st).
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY heathq1437344 on | August 11, 2017, 0:32 GMT

    Really, why are you statisticians so preoccupied with diminishing the contributions of our greats. You cannot beat the batting and bowling greats true stats, so find ways to obscure results to fit into your own idealisms. Good work (not).

  • POSTED BY Vinayakaram Nagarajan on | August 10, 2017, 23:52 GMT

    Very interesting; but let's take Ashwin for instance. He is picked only on turfs suited to him and he is bound to be consistent. There are articles around how his average is vastly different from home and away. So there is never 'the' statistic that determines a players all round consistency. These outliers are hard to spot.
    [[
    Your example is primarily a bowler. Can you think of one batsman who is selected based on location?
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Ruchit Khushu on | August 10, 2017, 22:29 GMT

    I think consistency alone can be used as an adjective in this cases and needs to be qualified with great,good,ordinary and poor i.e consistently great, good, average,ordinary and poor !! For example Tony Grieg can be consistently good but not in the category of consistently great -for a which player has to be great basically like Bradman, Sobers, Sachin,Lara etc..which then begs if this comparison/analysis makes any sense!! No it doesn't

  • POSTED BY victoria on | August 10, 2017, 22:06 GMT

    Ananth, don't worry with that 'sour grapes' crew who usually curse every cricket statistical analyst for not "HAND PICKING" their individual hero(es) and just "PUTTING" them in top positions that they don't deserve. Yes, when some of them look at the objectively tables of merit and discover that their particular heroes don't top the charts, they condemn excellent work that is credible, objective, unbiased and truthful. Your work reveals exactly what it was set out to do. It unveils "the most consistent cricketers ever" - meaning, "the players who have been most consistent throughout their entire careers - not if they were inconsistent at the beginning, then super consistent in the middle, and inconsistent at the end; or whatever pattern of consistency they developed - the most consistent are those who have been consistent right through their career", and endorsed by graphics which show that players whose consistency index is closest to a straight line (100% CI) are the most consistent.
    [[
    Thank you. Through the years I have battled such readers. However, I see the point of some of the dissenters, only a couple for this article, which is that the standard statistical measures could be used. That is fine.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | August 10, 2017, 20:17 GMT

    Don't doubt the stats, but in a team game the aim should be to get players who play the way the circumstances require? And "playing for the needs of the team" would seem to be a bit contradictory to "consistency".
    [[
    The same can be said of the players playing 'outlier' innings. In my opinion any so called 'selfish' innings is likely to benefit the team. Also where is there any reference in the article to value to the team or team player etc.
    Ananth
    ]]
    Having said that, & to contradict my own argument, from memory Tony Greig did seem to be pretty much the ultimate "team player"

  • POSTED BY mzrahaman on | August 10, 2017, 19:02 GMT

    I prefer the eyeball test, i.e., you know a good batsman or bowler when he is out there on the field performing. It's easy to just look at the stats 10 or 20 years after and not know about the circumstances under which the player performed. How do you judge a player who was given out unfairly or was run out by his partner or was told to bowl a certain way to entice a batsman to take chances by hitting out? I love Tony Grieg and I think that he is one of the most underrated players, but who would take him above Bradman, Richards, Tendulkar, Lara, pointing, et al. And is that not the point of trying to figure out who is/was the best. Holding once said of Viv Richards that the only reason why Richards did not score more runs was because he did not have to. This is one of those cases when the author of the article is trying to make something out of nothing just to prove to us how smart he is.
    [[
    This is the sort of conclusion which I warn against but you guys keep on doing. TELL ME, WHERE HAVE I MENTIONED THAT GREIG IS BETTER THAN ANY ONE OF THE PLAYERS MENTIONED?
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Christiaan Kriel on | August 10, 2017, 18:31 GMT

    Had a look a Tony "off the meat of the bat" Greigs' stats after reading this article. 58 matches with 8 hundreds a 20 fifties kind of stands out.

  • POSTED BY Six on | August 10, 2017, 18:15 GMT

    Very interesting stats re: Pietersen. It's more interesting to me as I've been arguing with people for years that Pietersen was very consistent. People tend to lie and talk nonsense in cricket to fit their agenda and this stat concerning Pietersen makes me laugh. A comment about fitting agenda... Bradman is by miles the best ever batsman in test cricket whether x, y or z likes it or not. His average is almost 40 clear of everyone else, he played a decent number of tests, no helmet, worse bat and on uncovered wickets. In current conditions a batter would need to be averaging 150+ at least to compare to Bradman in theory and Bradman simply can't be compared to anyone. He was on another level to all of them. I will read the article properly at a later time, but I imagine Bradman's enormous average and ridiculous stats are working against him when it comes to the measurement for consistency. Interesting article.

  • POSTED BY Anshul on | August 10, 2017, 17:46 GMT

    After reading the nice article, I myself tried a similar analysis on a few batsmen with different methodology. 1. Calculated a running average of 10 innings for each batsmen. 2. Then calculated the std-dev of running averages against the batsmen actual average. Here's what i got: Tony Greig - 8.5 Darren Bravo - 10.4 Dennis Amiss - 18.1

    Seems like the lower the deviation, more consistent is the batsmen.

  • POSTED BY Aatif on | August 10, 2017, 15:51 GMT

    I would like to know of Kallis,Viv Richards,Walter Hammond,Steve Waugh and Haneef Mohammad.
    [[
    Kallis: 111th (85.5%).
    Richards: 112th (85.4%).
    Steve Waugh: 103rd (85.8%).
    hammond: 161st (82.5%).
    Hanif: 136th (84.4%).
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY kuldeep on | August 10, 2017, 15:33 GMT

    Very happy to read a article from you.I know it will be very interesting. Dear Sir,What if we see sangakkara as a batsman.means we count only his tests after 2006 When he give up wicketkeeping. also where Abd stands? also my favourite Virat kohli. Dear Sir,one man also devised a method for rating called impactindexcricket.com i think you will like it and you can write a precious article on it. Sorry but asking too much where s.smith,amla stands in your index? waiting for your reply sir. Thanks for superb article. also once again sachin od proved a not one of greatest in test.The method i tell impact index also put sachin Out of Top 30. No one can challenge lara.
    [[
    ABD: 113th (85.4%).
    Kohli: 146th (83.6%).
    Steve Smith: 99th (85.9%).
    Amla: 129th (84.1%).

    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Ved on | August 10, 2017, 15:12 GMT

    NIce work! I am actually surprised by Tendulkar's position. I always thought (feelings can be misleading!) that in blocks of innings he appeared to be consistent. Is his consistency rating adversely affected by the last two years of his career?
    [[
    Out of Tendulkar's 33 blocks, he is above the mean in 16 (capped at 100%) and below in 17. Out of the 17, 3 are below 50%, and that really hits hard. Another 5 are below 70%. So all these have pulled the numbers down.
    Of course, the last five blocks are all below 100 and the last two below 65%. SRT would have been much higher if he had closed his innings at, say, 300 innings.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Guru on | August 10, 2017, 15:00 GMT

    Are you not punishing batsmen with higher average.. for example, Tony creig is 94% likely to score 387 runs in 10 innings. Whereas, Herbert Sutcliffe is gauranteed to score at least 459 runs(his minimum block). But according to this analysis, Tony is more consistent. Theoretically,may be he is. But I don't see the point of such argument.
    [[
    There is no argument here. If you wanted to select a team, you will not select based on consistency only. You would use other factors such as Average and you would, of course, select Sutcliffe.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Carbon on | August 10, 2017, 14:35 GMT

    This article is a prime example of why math gets a bad name in the popular culture. First off, what problem is being solved here. If a selector needs to pick a team, he will not be looking at these measures. Has the author tried his measures in a fantasy cricket tournament. There are perfectly good measures of consistency available in the literature that have been tried in every sphere of life and more importantly have been vigorously reviewed by professionals. The author introduces an entirely new measurement system with barely a nod to the richness of existing work and even there he says that the existing measures give the same results. So why bother with something new. When pressed in a follow-up comment, he summarily rejects the notion by saying that such measurement would be beyond the grasp of the average reader. So first the author is insulting the process of scientific inquiry and then the abilities of the reader.

  • POSTED BY anupam4457605 on | August 10, 2017, 14:20 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Brilliant, as always! Great stuff.

    A thought that I wanted to bounce off though. Who is more consistent: Batsman A: 30, 30, 30, 30 Batsman B: 30, 80, 30, 60

    Inherently, using their career mean, pushes up players with low averages in terms of consistency. Therefore, I was wondering if the Mean used should be the same for all batsmen or possibly a mean adjusted for the era they played in.

    Happy to be challenged and apologies if I missed something in my understanding.

    Best regards Anupam
    [[
    Ubnfortunately not a good comparison since their means are different.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY hattima@yahoo.com on | August 10, 2017, 14:19 GMT

    Dear Ananth, I must admit that the idea you have presented here is very nice. However, I was wondering if something could be done to reward extraordinary performances, rather than using the capping you suggest. Earlier you suggested runs per tests as a measure of consistency in an article last year, which did not need such capping. How about looking at series wise consistency, considering 3 match series as minimum, and clubbing the other stray tests with one of the earlier/ later series, whichever happens on a closer date? Based on these also, I believe, a modified version of your proposed index can be computed. I prefer this as it is more natural than 10 innings windows, which may happen in very similar or very different conditions, and hence may be harder to compare/interpret.
    [[
    The capping is the most important feature of this methodolgy. A series base will not work well now. It might have worked until, say, 1980 when 5-Test series were in vogue. Now we have 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-Test series and it is difficult and not worthwhile to group these. Your last point is the exact reason why I feel the 10-innings block is correct. Across opponents and locations, the player is expected to delivering as many blocks as possible or come close. It is a very fair method.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY bharat7055017 on | August 10, 2017, 13:59 GMT

    I skimmed through the content. I have to appreciate the time author has spent to come up with this analysis, but sorry, this seems to be a complete waste of time and effort though. Analysis is needed on a subject to evaluate the worth of the subject when it is difficult to gauge the subject using basic metrics. Cricket has never been the sport that needs complex analysis to measure the value of a player :) Batting/Bowling - Home/away - batting/bowling avg- StrikeRate/RPO along with couple of straightforward metrics are all we NEED & USED to pick players at any level. Other stats won't mean nothing, they are as useless as the by-products that are released into dump sites when manufacturing products. But I am kind of happy it is a livelihood for some folks!

  • POSTED BY John on | August 10, 2017, 13:57 GMT

    An interesting read - there are many ways of doing this but the methodology sound quite reasonable. One comment about Greig. He entered the test team as quite a mature player (he had to qualify for England). He left when at the top of his game. His entire career only spanned 5 years and 2 months, so although there are a good number of tests (58) they were in a very short period. It is not surprising that within that rather small window he was consistent - he didn't have the upward and downward trends many players have a the beginning and end of their careers (as you note with Amiss).
    [[
    That is a very perceptive and invaluable insight. What you say is true. The SA origin and Packer at the end made sure that he had a very fruitful, but short career. I probably missed mentioning that. Many thanks.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Venkatesh Venkatesh on | August 10, 2017, 13:57 GMT

    Only few handful cricketers stands out among so many cricketers .It is most unfortunate Tony Greig played is not with us after Sir Garry Sobers he was best all rounder then .

  • POSTED BY Jury on | August 10, 2017, 13:35 GMT

    Where's Sanga MR consistent and Dravid ??? better than above all
    [[
    Both already answered. Pl see earlier comments.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Luka on | August 10, 2017, 13:33 GMT

    This analysis is quite useful in answering the exact question the author poses. However, in the bigger picture, I feel this sort of analysis rewards mediocrity. It is much easier to consistent, but average, than to dazzle for long periods of time. Also, a player who starts their career slowly (Smith, Kohli) cannot really get into the first quartile because of the 100% cap (which I guess is correct, again because of the purpose of the article). We do see some of the modern stars in the Top 15 bowling list though - cricketers like Ashwin, Yasir and Harris - who have had stellar careers already, however, they are bound to fall short in the long run. (Harris played 2 matches in SL, and none other in SC, getting most of his wickets against Eng and SA) In summary, it was a good read, but I am glad this metric is not used more often to rank players!
    [[
    You know what is the problem. In an article in which I have ONLY talked Consistency and have not made a single reference to the quality or value, you have yourself brought in these terms. Look at the batsmen top. We have at least 4 great players. So it is possible to score big and be consistent.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Mohan Patel on | August 10, 2017, 13:23 GMT

    Sir , what about rahul dravid?? popular perception is that he was one of the most consistent batsman but i guess data amy not say that as he had a significant lean patch in his career

  • POSTED BY Ishan on | August 10, 2017, 13:00 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Great analysis. I loved your overall piece. However a couple of things: 1) Number of blocks: They will always have a negative effect on the final consistency. I think you could normalize for that. Some with just 10 spells (your definition) or 10 innings is likely to be on the extremes (first or fourth quartile) against people with longer careers. I guess Allan Border makes for an outlier and a great in a different sense (which is also a testament to your analysis). But I believe you could work on this angle. Maybe create segments beyond your thresholds of 3000 or 100 wickets.
    [[
    Not really. Pl see the reply sent to reader couple of comments back.The top-20 has 7 batsmen with over 150 innings.
    Ananth
    ]]
    2)An add-on: I know you are talking about pure consistency. If you could weigh the % consistency with block mean, it could lend a whole new dimension of how "valuable" was the player. Did he deliver often AND did he deliver big? The idea isn't novel and I'm sure you have your reasons not to do it.
    [[
    I have already replied to this. I do not want to confuse consistency and values. Delivering big is something else.
    Ananth
    ]]
    3)Analysis of Curves: Not for an article maybe but i think studying all the curves would be fascinating.

  • POSTED BY Guru on | August 10, 2017, 12:56 GMT

    I am not sure if this is addressing the question of reliability that well. This article is comparing one batsman's consistency in making 50 and another batsman's consistency in making 40. 90 percentage of 470 is better than 93 percentage of 390.
    [[
    Consistency should ALWAYS be measured only within the concerned person only. Else it does not become the correct metric.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Arvind on | August 10, 2017, 12:56 GMT

    Ananth, 2 questions: 1] Rahul 'the wall' Dravid - where does he sit in the table? 2] It would be interesting to plot the Consistency Index as a function of number of innings/spells independent of the player in question. It will tell us a general trend whether playing longer has any impact on the consistency. Intuitively one would say 'yes', but a plot would be useful to see.
    [[
    Dravid is 101st, in the third quarter, with a CI of 85.9%.
    Probably no. The top-10 has a mix of 69 to 185 innings. I get the feeling that, barring the unfortunate sub-par ending of careers of some players, as they move on they probably are good enough to perform at the expected level, across 10 innings.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Howard on | August 10, 2017, 12:43 GMT

    Why not just use CoV, as you said it gives similar results and is a standard measurement?
    [[
    Good question. Maybe 20% of the readers would understand CoV, another 20% would make efforts to 'wiki' CoV. The others would just move on. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I want my work to make sense to over 90% of the readers. But I have no problems in using something like CoV if nothing else was available.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY victoria on | August 10, 2017, 12:25 GMT

    Ananth, this is a statistical master piece - good enough to win you the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, for statistical brilliance! I am blown away by the profoundness of the arithmetical intricacies herein presented. I think though, that "consistency" is just ONE of, but the most important element of a batsman's performance repertoire to be considered the greatest batsman of All Time. However, when all the other measurable comparison ingredients are added, and we are talking about really great batting of such exceptional epic standards to rival the greatest movie of All Time, we see 5 exceptional ones in our time: Don Bradman, Vivian Richards, Gary Sobers, Brian Lara and Kevin Pietersen; but because of their unmatched exploits, we know that either Bradman or Lara is the greatest of All Time. But I noticed that they both scored the same number of points in the consistency index as calculated (88.1); so how did you determine which of them is 52 and which is 53? Your work says it all - no BIAS!
    [[
    Thanks for the nice words.
    When I print these tables, I use up to 3/4 decimals and order the players perfectly. However, when I create the tables, I stick to one (rounded) decimal. Bradman's CI was 88.132 and Lara's 88.107.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY canthe3430335 on | August 10, 2017, 11:15 GMT

    Hello Anantha. Nice work. The blocks of 10 innings looks fine but every 10 innings may span home and away tests. A purple patch at a 10 innings home block may yield a player 100% (capped) but a 10 innings slump in away from home will damage the player's index badly (provided both are exclusively separated by chance). Did you make any adjustments to correct for home and away proportions in the 10 innings block?
    [[
    No, once the 10-innings block is fixed I did not want to make any adjustment. The 10 innings block should be a microcosm of the player's career. Then only will my analysis prove to be sound. Maybe a long time back the 10-innings would have been part of 5-Test series but nowadays it is likely to have Tests played all over the place.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY naresh on | August 10, 2017, 10:50 GMT

    LOL, I always liked Greig, but ......."if you torture data long enough, it will confess to anything".
    [[
    Data torturing or not, I suggest you look at Greig's distribution and be ready to be astounded.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY J.R. on | August 10, 2017, 10:26 GMT

    The true resolution of the paradox (what is the difference between the batsman who gets a pair followed by two hundreds and the one who gets 50 four times?) is that the more variable batsman is almost always more valuable. He contributes match-winning performances. On the other hand, the modal score for all batsmen is roughly 0, so when he gets 0, this is only what you would expect and probably not damaging to the overall team score (except where it contributes to a collapse). A high consistency index may not be characterising the most valuable attribute, as results with actual players confirm. The frustration of Joe Root at his low 50/100 conversion rate is the right reaction. A fine player like Root wants to be influential, not just reliable. There is also a problem with stats that span whole careers, in that a player may have clusters of form, while being merely reliable most of the time. An example would be Michael Vaughan, mostly mediocre but with purple streaks.
    [[
    One thing has to be understood. The capping compresses the high values into the mean value. As such batsmen with widely varying blocks of scores will not fare so well. But the purpose of this analyses is not to measure the value to the team but how consistent they have been. These two are not comparable. I have a fantastic measure analysing the Contribution of players to team causes. That would measure the influence.
    I agree that the top players should be influential but must also be consistent. Kohli is influential in many ways but he will be hurt by his recent inconsistency. I am talking of a sub-analysis within the 10-innings block. I am sure he would like to convert some of his sub-20 scores into 50+ scores.
    Root should be very happy to see that his sub-100 scores have been very valuable and more than made up for the poor quality of half the top order.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Kartik on | August 10, 2017, 10:14 GMT

    Anant; Taking the total scores by blocks does not account for disparity between innings. Especially if a run of low scores has been off-set by higher scores due to a break (being dropped or different series).Instead, why not just take all the innings of a batsmen and plot it against a normal distribution? # of innings which show greater than one deviation from the mean (one both sides) can be used to measure the %inconsistency. Removes the necessity of blocks ....
    [[
    I have always thought out of the box and stayed off the normal statistical methods. It may be my greatest strength and possible weakness also. But my analyses have to be understood and appreciated by everyone who reads the articles.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Dirk Laurie on | August 10, 2017, 9:45 GMT

    What about all-rounders? One might find that some usually deliver with the ball when they fail with the bat, whereas others do both well or both badly.
    [[
    The thinking has to come straight from ground up. I will think about it and have to find a suitable outlet to post the article.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Grant on | August 10, 2017, 9:42 GMT

    What I want to know is how Chris Martin fared as a consistent "batsman."
    [[
    Now that this terrific request has come in, I will certainly do the required work and post the results. After all, the cutoff has to be lowered - almost to the ground !!!
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Grant on | August 10, 2017, 9:18 GMT

    I remember another analysis that Anantha did a few years ago on Cricinfo, I think it looked at exceptional performance in series. One of the outcomes was that Tendulkar, despite his tremendous average and number of runs, appeared in surprisingly few of these series, especially when compared to fellow uber-batter Lara, suggesting that Tendulkar was the more consistent, but Lara scaled greater heights. It is interesting that by this index, Lara is more consistent than Tedulkar.

  • POSTED BY Hitesh on | August 10, 2017, 8:40 GMT

    Hi Ananth. That's a great analysis. Can you also provide names with top consistency levels for each block of Batting average (30-35, 35-40, 40-45, 45-50 and 50+) and bowling average (30-35, 25-30, 20-25, 15-20 and 15-).

  • POSTED BY Paaji on | August 10, 2017, 8:29 GMT

    Hello Ananth, Good to see you back. Nice work. And it makes sense not to penalize players for going over their average. Just a thought w.r.t the bowlers. Wouldn't it be better to look at wickets/run (bowling average essentially) rather than just wickets? The batting is taken care of to a good extent with a 10 innings split but just saying the bowler produced 30 wickets wouldn't have much meaning unless it is known if it is for 200 or 500 runs given.
    [[
    I have gone on the cardinal principle in measuring Test bowlers that 5 for 75 is better than 4 for 30. A generalization, I agree, but let us agree that capturing wickets is a sure way to win Tests.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY James C Birbeck Dar on | August 10, 2017, 7:09 GMT

    I started reading this, and was a bit surprised not to see Mitchell Johnson among the least consistent bowlers! Bottom quartile? If I recall correctly, Michael Manley in his History of West Indies Cricket, says Valentine lost his zip. Greig's numbers suggest he might have been past his best, though his "retirement" from test cricket wasn't a personal choice!
    [[
    Surprisingly, Johnson has been reasonably consistent. His CI is 89.5%, he is in 71st positin and second quartile. His below-par blocks have been reasonably well handled. There is just one block below 50%. The others are above 70%.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY udendra on | August 10, 2017, 7:09 GMT

    Since their names are not mentioned, I'd like to know Kumar Sangakkara and Sachin Tendulkar's standing in this index.
    [[
    Tendulkar has been covered in the article.
    Sangakkara is quite inconsistent. His CI is 84.7%, he is in 129th position and in the third quartile.
    Ananth
    ]]