Saturday, May 26, 2012

Whats the Difference Between Tendulkar, Kallis and Other Batsmen who average 40 or more?

Read the post the follows, and then try and think of a batsman who would fit the profile of batsman Type B. Please write your suggestions in the comments. My hunch currently is, that batsman of Type-B will be very difficult to locate. Such a batsman would be one with a very high number of centuries, but a relative low average and/or not outs.

Type A:

Type B:

The first few runs a batsman makes in a Test innings are usually considered to be the most difficult ones. The batsman is still gauging the pace and bounce of the wicket, the movement of the seam, he's getting his eye in. These are the times when a batsman is most vulnerable to being dismissed. This is especially considered to be true of opening batsmen, because they face a brand new cricket ball. They tend to average less than middle order batsmen because of two reasons - they have fewer not outs, and they face the new ball more often.

For example, if you compare Sachin Tendulkar and Michael Atherton, the above claims are all true. Tendulkar (Average 55.44) and Atherton (37.70) are both among the top 25 run scorers in Test history. Tendulkar reaches every score threshold in the below graph more frequently than Atherton. In 88% of his Test innings, Tendulkar reaches at least 5, in 53% of them, he reaches 30. For Atherton, the corresponding figures are 79% and 44%.

(Click on the first image to see a slide show if you are reading this in Chrome, Firefox or IE)

Other factors in such an analysis are technical ability, skill and talent. Tendulkar is a particular good standard to use in this, because he is considered both supremely talented, and supremely technically proficient. It is reasonable to assume that batsmen with better techniques will have an easier time starting their innings.

A few other cases tell a different story. Here are a few more examples. In these examples, a few striking things become apparent. Batsmen who ended up with batting averages 10-12 runs lower than Tendulkar's were just as likely as him to reach 20 or 25. The examples of David Gower (average 44.25) and Graham Gooch (42.58) make this clear. Even Virender Sehwag gets to 30 as often as Sachin Tendulkar, but falls away. Mathew Hayden had less difficulty, if anything, than Tendulkar in getting to 30, but after that, "Matt The Bat" tended miss out more often than the Indian. In Viv Richards' case you can almost see his boredom in the graph after getting to 60.

Jacques Kallis and Ricky Ponting have done better than any other batsman when it comes to matching Tendulkar's run scoring. Rahul Dravid and Brian Lara managed this quite well too, albeit in contrasting styles. The Lara - Tendulkar graph shows a classic comparison between the two.

Among elite batsmen then, perhaps the difference is not technique, or luck (which must even out as per the law of large numbers), but something else - discipline. The difference between being Graham Gooch and being Sachin Tendulkar, is the difference between being very disciplined and very very disciplined.


  1. Marcus North's first class record might fit type B. He didn't really play test cricket long enough to count but he did get a relatively high number centuries for a man with such a low average.

  2. I think the diffrence between kalls and sachin is that kalls is match winner and schin is not mach winner

    1. I don't agree with you, with the bat sachin is better than ever one,it the allround performance that helps kallis but here we are just talking about batting....

    2. yours right but i never seen indain team win when
      Sachin hit hundred

    3. There are many occasion when india won and very less when india lost but when a big player scores and a team loses people will remember that....

  3. @anonymous.. 'match winner' is a vague criteria for any comparison in case of a team game so technical n sophisticated as cricket.. comparing Sachin's match winning abilities with a player from AUS or SA without taking into account d bowling n fielding resources they have, is sheer injustice to this batsman. he is a batsman and we should test him on standards of batting, where he has always proved himself numero uno, be it his technique, shot selection, mental strength, endurance, hand-eye co-ordination, scoring areas, average, runs, centuries, conversion rate etc.
    and to make his(Sachin) job even more tough, the winning strategy of every team in every game against India relies greatly on getting his wicket early. which proves that any doubt about his 'match winning abilities' is unnecessary.

  4. both has different qualities , sachin is a good batsman and kallis is a great all no comparison between both of them.

  5. K, why stop at 100 though? I feel it would be better to look at 10-run intervals and go upto a score of 170-180. In any case, I think most people would recognise just how much better Tendulkar & Kallis are to most batsmen.

  6. Sachin is better batsman..he did well against quality unlike kallis