Yesterday I posted a somewhat complicated table of the records of batsmen against two different types of opposition - bowling attacks with a cumulative bowling average under 30, and bowling attacks with a cumulative bowling average of 30 or more. That table contains a lot of information and will take some focused attention on the part of the reader. In this post I have organized bowling attacks by venue. I have divided venues into two groups:
S - India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi
O - Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe.
I calculated the cumulative bowling average by separately for Tests in venues S and venues O. In the table below, I show the records for all batsmen with at least 8,000 Test runs for the following four types of venue-bowling combinations.
1. O-O30: Tests in venue group O, in which cumulative bowling average has been 30 or more.
2. O-U30: Tests in venue group O, in which cumulative bowling average has been under 30.
3. S-O30: Tests in venue group S, in which cumulative bowling average has been 30 or more
4. S-U30: Tests in venue group S, in which cumulative bowling average has been under 30
Virender Sehwag, so lethal against high quality attacks in the sub-continent (average 57 over 42 innings), struggles mightily against high quality attacks outside the sub-continent (average 32 over 39 innings). Sachin Tendulkar, Viv Richards and Gary Sobers are the only three players to average 50 against high quality attacks outside the sub-continent. For Sobers and Richards, at least some of the Tests in this group were home Tests, for Tendulkar, all were away Tests.
For a long time, there has been a persistent view that VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid both made Test runs when they counted, while Tendulkar didn't. Even writers and observers who are not given to crude generalizations of this kind have tended to be sympathetic to this view. These narratives are built from largely anecdotal evidence. The record suggests otherwise. Against weaker bowling outside the sub-continent, Dravid averaged nearly 70, while against stronger bowling, he averaged a more modest 41. For VVS, the corresponding figures are 47 and 38. For Tendulkar, they are 50 and 50.
Interestingly, the one area where Tendulkar struggled, was against good attacks in the subcontinent (average 40). Even more amazingly, VVS Laxman, a renowned champion against spin bowling, averages only 31.3 against the stronger attacks in the sub-continent!
Jacques Kallis struggles even more than Rahul Dravid against stronger attacks outside the sub-continent (even though he got to play some of these Tests are home, being from South Africa). Kallis averaged 66 against weaker attacks, and 39 against stronger ones.
Brian Lara shines in all categories. What is sad is how little he played in the sub-continent, especially in India.
No single batsman averaged 50 in all four categories. Tendulkar, Lara and Miandad are the only batsmen to achieve this in 3 out of 4 categories.
Only 11 batsmen averaged 50 against stronger attacks (cumulative average under 30) outside the sub-continent: Bradman, Headley, Damien Martyn, Len Hutton, Viv Richards, Adam Gilchrist, Bill Woodfull, Jack Hobbs, Sachin Tendulkar and Gary Sobers. (Qual. 1000 runs). Interestingly, Bradman, Hobbs, Hutton, Tendulkar, Richards, Sobers and Gilchrist, all featured in Cricinfo's All Time World XI.
I have prepared this analysis for every single batsman who ever played Test cricket. If you could like to see comparisons of specific players, please let me know through your comments. I will do my best to post these.