Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lies of the third kind

Recently, in the comments section of a post on Sachin Tendulkar, BRB/AV said:
"The one thing missing in this is you forgot to mention the fact that, in every series, ST (Sachin tendulkar) does the same. One innings for the people to say "Cricket's GOD" but rest will be similar to P.Kumar or for the fact much similar to Nehra."

So is it true that Tendulkar produces one memorable innings and then rides on it for a while? I looked at the data from all the series that India has played since MS Dhoni became captain. For each of the top 5 batsmen currently in the Indian team, I deducted their highest score in the series and then saw how they fared in the remaining ones.

If BRB/AV's thesis holds true, then the rest of the batsman should far outperform Tendulkar in the common matches. With the help of the Statsguru function on CricInfo and some Microsoft Excel formatting, I came up with the following numbers (click on the image for more clarity):

Apart from being outdistanced by MS Dhoni, which is not a surprise to anyone who has followed the fortunes of the Indian squad, Tendlkar holds his own and, if anything, has done better than his compatriots. And some of the innings that have been removed from the dataset for Tendulkar are two centuries in the finals of a tournament (Compaq Cup in Sri Lanka and Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia), 163* in New Zealand, and THAT 175 in Hyderabad. By the way, the last 6 times that Tendulkar has scored a century in the final of an ODI, India has won the tournament, including 3 in the last 2 years. Just saying.

So BRB/AV, the ball is in your court. Without those "Cricket's God" innings, Tendulkar is still doing as well or better than his teammates. What else does he need to do to prove his worth to you?

P.S. Also note how incredibly consistent MS Dhoni has been. Removing his best innings still leaves behind an impressively consistent run of scores in every series he has played.


Leela said...

MSD's critics will tell you that his consistency stems from the fact that he picks and chooses his position in the batting order.

BTW I might steal that chart of yours someday... I'll credit it to you, of course.

Jaunty Quicksand said...

L, go right ahead - steal it, use it, pray to it, I'm fine with you using it any which way you want to. Anyone with a few minutes to spare and rudimentary Statsguru skills can find the information, too. :-)

You know, even if MSD "picks and chooses" his spots, why on earth should it make a difference if the end result is a successful innings and (usually) a victory? I mean, isn't that what any team wants?

Also, after picking and choosing his spot, if he does not perform he is finished (ref: Ganguly, Sourav). Yet, he has been the class act for years now. I'd say that is a huge plus point in his favor. Let the dissers keep dissing. They are losing out on the big picture while focusing too narrowly on the pixels.

In the chart above, note that Yuvraj has had the most stable role in the Indian team - at #4 - and the most innings, to boot. Yet, we never hear of Yuvraj being the rock of the Indian team, do we? When was the last time you heard someone say, " least Yuvraj is yet to bat."?

BF said...

I am not sure where on the Sachin-criticism spectrum BRB and you fall.

Having a quick glance at the chart, I can see BRB saying that the average is skewed by the one big knock he has every 4-5 games. I have not followed ODIs closely over the past several years and do not know the specifics. But if you omit the outliers - the highest and lowest scores by each of the batsmen - then what does the average work out to for each series?

Finally, all this analysis reveals is that Sachin is still one of the best Indian batsmen in the ODI format. Given that his aspiration - and also that of his numerous aficionados - is to be rated one of the greatest ever, how does his performance - adjusted for the outliers - compare with other leading batsmen in the world today?


Jaunty Quicksand said...


The chart shows the data for the batsmen AFTER excluding their highest score of that series. The actual numbers are even more impressive for MSD and SRT (and the other 3, too) as I had to eliminate all their centuries from the totals.

The data in the chart was a compilation of 64 ODI's in the last two years. Someone else can try their hand at it and remove the lowest score from the averages and see how that turns out. The chart was just in response to BRB who suggested that SRT gets by with one good innings every series. :-)

Ashok Varadarajan said...

BRB keep quite, if you don't like him, thats your personal opinion. If you like people to be treated equally, then you treat ST as you treat with the likes of VVS, RD in India and RP, JK. Then may be India will get to field 11 players who can win against better teams rather than listening to quotes like "we never lost to India, we lost to ST"