Statistician’s Journal: Who’s the Boss?

Test cricket is the most romantic form of the art, that is cricket. We have a natural inclination towards comparison of batsmen from various era of the game although it is difficult to compare batsmen of different generation.During last two decades we have seen many great batsmen to adorn the white clothes.There may be a great debate over who is the greatest among them.
In this article we will focus on Sachin, Lara, Dravid and Ponting. Throughout the analysis we have excluded  Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. We will consider two scenarios, one Asian pitches and other fast bowling friendly(FBF) conditions* i.e Australia,South Africa ,New Zealand and England.
It is a well known fact that among the four Lara is the best player of spin bowling.The statistics also support the argument as in Asia Lara’s avg of 58.84 is best whereas Ponting’s record is dismal with avg of 39.48.At FBF conditions Punter with an avg of 52.78 is at top closely followed by Sachin whose avg is 51.10,here Lara’s avg of 44.26 is least.If one looks at the table below then one thing is quite clear ,Sachin has least fluctuation and also he is the only one to average above 50 in both the conditions.
Player Avg Asia Avg FBF Avg Diff CP
B.Lara 58.84 44.26 14.58 61.63
R.Dravid 47.77 48.54 -0.77 62.06
R.Ponting 39.48 52.78 -13.3 51.09
S. Tendulkar 51.1 51.3 0.2 55.54
Greatest player of spin bowling

Now lets look in a different manner that is how closely team performance is related with their individual performances. If we use most rational(it is subjective although) weights 4/7 for win,2/7 for draw and 1/7 for loss ,then calculate average called CA(combined avg Asia) and CF(combined avg fast bowling friendly conditions).CP(Contributing parameter of batsman) is equal to 2/3*CF +1/3* CA for Sachin and Dravid,1/3*CF+2/3*CA for Ponting and Lara putting double weights on away conditions than on home conditions.

Mr Reliable

The large value of CP for Dravid is a clear reflection that India’s success or failure was greatly affected by his batting. Ponting’s least CP value once again compel us to think was he really a good player against spin bowling .Under the average adjusted for outcome of match i.e CF and CA we again go back to the first parameter and it gives an idea that Dravid was an outstanding player overseas but his performance dipped relatively in Asian pitches. Ponting does not have significant difference which is quite evident from the fact that he played alongside best players of the world.The result of the match was mostly affected by the likes of Mcgrath, Warne, Gillespie, Hayden ,Gilchrist and Lee. Lara has  least fluctuation and the major reason is that West Indies never had any reliable bowling lineup in his era and Chanderpaul performance form the center stage.

The most important aspect of batsmanship is to score on difficult tracks i.e on turning tacks and fast and bouncy pitches.In Asian pitches batting on fourth day is the most challenging task similarly first day pitch on a fast and bouncy track(or in other words FBF) .We will define a parameter called Inning parameter(IP) which is the arithmetic mean of first inning average in FBF conditions and fourth inning average in Asian conditions.
Great exponent of pull shot
Player 1st Inn 4th Inn IP
B.Lara 50.8 24.25 37.53
R.Dravid 42.4 29.2 35.8
R.Ponting 55.98 4.8 30.39
S. Tendulkar 62.81 45.45 54.13

Looking at the above table it is absolutely clear that little master is way ahead than others moreover Ponting’s poor technique against spin bowling has skewed his average.Tendulkar is the only one to have average of over 50 runs in both the conditions.As a saying class is invariant of conditions and Tendulkar is the prime example.

The other parameter which we consider is ability to play long innings i.e more than 100 runs in an inning.From the table below we see apart from Dravid others score century after every seven innings with Lara the quickets.The remarkable aspect is that despite having a long and illustrious career Tendulkar’s appetite for runs has never subdued.If you consider marathon innings that is double,triple,quadruple century then Lara wins this battle hands down.
The most complete batsman
Player Innings Century 100/Inn
B.Lara 226 32 7.06
R.Dravid 263 30 8.77
R.Ponting 276 39 7.08
S. Tendulkar 306 43 7.12

If use of Statistics can be trusted then we can conclude that Sachin is the most complete batsman, Lara a great player of spin bowling, Ponting one of the greatest against fast bowling, and Dravid Mr Reliable.