Showing posts with label not best. Show all posts
Showing posts with label not best. Show all posts

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Why is Sachin Tendulkar not the best batsman in the world?

Purpose of his article is to clear the illusion from a lot of people's minds that Sachin Tendulkar is the best batsman in the world on the basis that he has got more centuries than anybody else.

Coming straight to the facts,

Sachin has played 177 test matches to date. Generally a batsman gets 2 innings in a test match. Sachin mostly played in upper order so there's a good chance he has played most of the second innings as well. He has played 453 ODIs.

Total innings to date Sachin played are 290 + 453 = 743. That's a huge number for any batsman by today's standards.

So if he's played 743 innings and total centuries are 98, then

98 / 743 * 100 = 13.19%.

So his total conversion rate for centuries is 13.19% per game to get a century. For a batsman who has opened 330 ODI innings for his country.

Wisdon 100(Wikipedia Link)

The Wisden 100 is a set of lists created by Wisden which attempted to objectively rate the 100 best individual innings performances in Test and One Day International cricket in each of the disciplines of batting and bowling. The Test list was released in 2001 and the ODI list was released in 2002.

The ratings were calculated by scoring each individual batting and bowling performance in various criteria. Apart from the player's actual score or figures, criteria which were taken into account included the strength of the opposition players, the quality of the pitch, the result of the match, and the player's contribution to this result. The maximum possible rating was 300.

Top 10 Batting performances Test Cricket

The top-rated batting performance was Donald Bradman's 270 for Australia against England at Melbourne in the 1936-37 Ashes series. 5 of Bradman's innings appeared in the top 100, more than any other batsman.
Rank Batsman Score For Against Venue Season Rating
1 Donald Bradman 270 Australia England Melbourne 1936-37 262.4
2 Brian Lara 153* West Indies Australia Bridgetown 1998-99 255.2
3 Graham Gooch 154* England West Indies Leeds 1991 252.0
4 Ian Botham 149* England Australia Leeds 1981 240.8
5 Donald Bradman 299* Australia South Africa Adelaide 1931-32 236.8
6 V. V. S. Laxman 281 India Australia Kolkata 2000-01 234.8
7 Clem Hill 188 Australia England Melbourne 1897-98 234.2
8 Azhar Mahmood 132 Pakistan South Africa Durban 1997-98 232.6
9 Kim Hughes 100* Australia West Indies Melbourne 1981-82 229.7
10 Brian Lara 375 West Indies England St. John's 1993-94 228.1

Top 10 Batting performances in ODI

Following the success of the list for Test cricket, the Wisden 100 list for ODI cricket was released on 1 February 2002.
The top-rated batting performance was Viv Richards' 189* for West Indies against England at Manchester in 1984. 7 of Richards' innings appeared in the top 100, more than any other batsman.
Rank Batsman Score For Against Venue Year Rating
1 Viv Richards 189* West Indies England Old Trafford 1984 257.59
2 Viv Richards 138* West Indies England Lord's, London 1979 245.76
3 Sanath Jayasuriya 189 Sri Lanka India Sharjah 2000 245.33
4 Kapil Dev 175* India Zimbabwe Tunbridge Wells 1983 241.87
5 Saeed Anwar 194 Pakistan India Chennai 1997 225.62
6 David Gower 158 England New Zealand Brisbane 1983 219.84
7 Brian Lara 169 West Indies Sri Lanka Sharjah 1995 215.21
8 Aravinda de Silva 107* Sri Lanka Australia Lahore 1996 212.91
9 Clive Lloyd 102 West Indies Australia Lord's, London 1975 209.84
10 Brian Lara 153 West Indies Pakistan Sharjah 1993 204.46
Despite his highly impressive career record, not one of Sachin Tendulkar's innings appeared in the top 100 batting performances. His omission was strongly criticised by fans and many sections of the media in India. 
Wisden defended the list stating that performances which majorly contributed to victories received a much larger weighting than those in which the match was drawn or lost. 
Tendulkar's most important innings had usually come in draws and defeats which received a lower weighting.

ICC Top Batsman of all times cricket ratings: (Wikipedia Link)

Rank Name Played for Highest rating
1 Sir Don Bradman  Australia 961
2 Sir Len Hutton  England 945
3 Sir Jack Hobbs  England 942
3 Ricky Ponting  Australia 942
5 Peter May  England 941
6 Sir Vivian Richards  West Indies 938
6 Kumar Sangakkara  Sri Lanka 938
6 Sir Garry Sobers  West Indies 938
6 Sir Clyde Walcott  West Indies 938
10 Matthew Hayden  Australia 935
10 Jacques Kallis  South Africa 935
12 Mohammad Yousuf  Pakistan 933
13 Sir Everton Weekes  West Indies 927
13 Graeme Pollock  South Africa 927
15 Dudley Nourse  South Africa 922
15 Doug Walters  Australia 922
17 Neil Harvey  Australia 921
17 Mike Hussey  Australia 921
19 Denis Compton  England 917
20 Sunil Gavaskar  India 916
21 George Headley  West Indies 915
22 Ken Barrington  England 914
23 Brian Lara  West Indies 911
24 Kevin Pietersen  England 909
25 Shivnarine Chanderpaul  West Indies 901

Sachin is not even in the list of top 25. 

Comparison with Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis:
These guys have the most number of centuries after Tendulkar in recent times (Ricky 69 100s) (Kallis 57 100s)

If you try to compare this conversion rate with some of the other batsmen to date then Ponting has 11.29% and he doesn't even open the innings for Australia. Kallis has 10.4% and he doesn't open the innings for South Africa.

Ricky Ponting (achievements) has only opened in ODIs 3 times. All his innings come at middle and lower middle order positions. Same case with Kallis (Wikipedia Page >> Achievements), he only opened 6 times in ODIs.

Those guys play according to the situation of the game because in later overs normally batsmen don't have too much time to play out their innings and the game generally comes down to slogging.

They're pretty close to Tendulkar's conversion rate with not even opening half of the games he's opened with.

So it's not fair to compare their number of centuries to Tendulkar.

Can you say this conversion rate belongs to the best batsman in the world? Considering the fact that the guy goes on and opens the innings more than anybody in his class? Not at all.

Problems in Middle Order:

Tendulkar has found it difficult to maintain a good average and scoring rate at positions lower down the order. His overall average in ODIs coming at No. 3 is  10.22, at No. 4 is 38.85, at no 5 is 28.46. These positions are supposed to be held by key batsmen who need to score no matter what.

Why can't Tendulkar perform? The reason is obvious. Later on in the innings you have to craft your runs because there are no field restrictions so it's harder to get runs. So again, he has had a clear advantage throughout his career in opening for India when the fielders are inside the circle and it's easier to get boundaries.

Batsman and Captaincy? 

Tendulkar lost more matches than he won when he was a captain. He couldn't handle the pressure very well that is why he had to resign from captaincy because he had problems coping with the pressure and only wanted to concentrate on his batting so he left Indian captaincy. 

In his track record he played 72 ODIs as a captain, won only 23 and lost 42 of them. 

Sure Sachin has made the most number of centuries and reached many other milestones but how many big matches has he won India really?

2011 World Cup Final, Sachin only scored 18 runs out of 21 balls.

2009-2010 ICC Champions Trophy  only managed to make 8 runs against Pakistan in whole series!

2007 World Cup Sachin only averaged 32 with his highest score 57* against Bermuda! While, Ricky Pontings average was 67.38.

2006-2007 ICC Champions Trophy Sachin averaged only 24 with his highest against England being 35 runs!

2003 World Cup Final Sachin scored only 4 and got out in the first over! While Ricky Ponting's average was 51.88.

2002-2003 ICC Champions Trophy Sachin averaged 19.50 with his best of 16 against South Africa.

1999 ICC World Cup Sachin scored 140 against Kenya an underdog and managed to provide totals like 22 (SAF), 2 (SRL), 22 (ENG), 0 (AUS), 16 (ENG).

The list goes on and on. Sachin just crumbles on big occasions. Overall if you look up the stats Sachin's stats are wonderful. On paper. But he has a tendency of falling under huge pressure.

If Sachin is the best batsman in the world then why is he struggling in big matches?

He is one of the great players for sure. Not the best though.

An assessment of Sachin Tendulkar's current popularity can be made through Google Trends here. Sachin Tendulkar is the top most searched keyword only in India and after that United Arab Emirates. No body else is searching for him around the world that is of much significance of google!

Having said that, I'm a big fan of Sachin's batting style. He's a good sight to watch when he's playing well. Here is a list of achievements of Sachin Tendulkar :)

But I'm not blind and don't like to treat cricket players as gods. They're just human beings and people should know they have limitations as well.

Here's a special tribute for Sachin Tendulkar from me,

'nuf said!