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    February 14, 2007

    He's not a bad one-day batsman, is he?

    Yes, he's played 300-odd games. But that's perhaps 200 more than a a whopping majority of Indian cricket followers would have predicted for him when his one-day career came to a near standstill shortly after his 1(21) against Bangladesh. The revival came during India's tour of New Zealand where he played a fair amount of shots over the infield without ever looking ugly. Then came the 1999 World Cup. After that, no real looking back.

    Today, he went past 10000 ODI runs, against Sri Lanka at Goa.

    The only others who've got more international runs than Rahul Dravid (19218) are Sachin Tendulkar (25450), Brian Lara (22089), Inzamam-ul-Haq (20478) and Ricky Ponting (19224). Point to be noted: Dravid and Ponting's numbers are identical, yet again!

    Analyzing the numbers further, in terms of runs per innings in tests, the rankings are BC Lara (51.52), RT Ponting (51.19), R Dravid (50.41), SR Tendulkar (49.16) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (44.51). For ODIs, the rankings (runs per innings) are SR Tendulkar (39.95), RT Ponting (37.48), BC Lara (36.07), R Dravid (35.12) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (33.71). Inzamam's numbers are clearly inferior to the rest. So I'm going to drop him from the comparison.

    The next analysis is a ratio of test runs to ODI runs. My personal preference is for test cricket. So a higher ratio is preferable. The rankings are BC Lara (1.18), RT Ponting (0.95), R Dravid (0.91) and SR Tendulkar (0.72). A similar analysis of test runs/innings to ODI runs/innings gives R Dravid (1.44), BC Lara (1.43), RT Ponting (1.37) and SR Tendulkar (1.23).

    Then I assign a weightage for each player's test and ODI runs per innings numbers. This is how it turns out. If I rank ODI and test runs on par with each other, the rankings are SR Tendulkar (89.11), RT Ponting (88.67), BC Lara (87.59) and R Dravid (85.53). If I gave ODI runs a 75% weightage compared to test runs, the rankings are RT Ponting (79.30), SR Tendulkar (79.12), BC Lara (78.57) and R Dravid (76.75). If ODIs get 50% weightage compared to test runs, the rankings are RT Ponting (69.93), BC Lara (69.56), SR Tendulkar (69.14) and R Dravid (67.97). If ODIs get 25% weightage compared to test runs, the rankings are RT Ponting (60.56), BC Lara (60.54), R Dravid (59.19) and SR Tendulkar (59.15).

    What this analysis tells me is that there's almost no real difference between the fearsome foursome. Ricky Ponting leads on just about every count, Brian Lara comes a very close second a lot of the time. But the margins are really wafer thin. When I normalize all the rankings for each weightage system, the highest gap is between Dravid (0.9597) and Tendulkar when ODI runs getting the same weightage as test runs. In the other three weightages, the gaps are Tendulkar (0.9767) v Ponting for the 25% weightage, Dravid (0.9719) v Ponting for the 50% weightage and Dravid (0.9678) v Ponting for the 75% weightage.

    Lara is due to retire after the 2007 World Cup. Tendulkar could last for another 2 years at most. The two cricketing twins will keep making bowling attacks feel miserable for at least another half a decade! It'll be awesome to follow the race.

    Previous stuff on Dravid: Highest batting avg, Ponting and Dravid's similar stats, comparing Ponting and Dravid in ODIs, comparing Kallis, Ponting and Dravid, second fastest to 8000 test runs, most consecutive test appearances from debut, second highest average among those with 7000 test runs, combining well with Kumble, century in each test playing nation and drawing level with Gavaskar's catches count.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 6:59 PM |
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    10 sledge(s):

    I notice you didn't mention that Dravid has a far lower ODI strike rate than the others. Surely that's important?

    By Blogger Geoff (14-Feb-2007, 7:58:00 PM)  

    those are just numbers you could have just used the averages.

    if you really want to compare then you have to consider the strength of the team they belong, the pitches they play on, the situation and result of the match.

    say ponting averages 12 in india on turning tracks. i think dravid/tendulkar/lara averages are not that skewed.
    ponting from the start belonged to a good team, lara started with one, tendulkar belonged to one of the worst.
    but i believe dravid is the best among test players.

    that said if i had to watch any one player it still would be tendulkar.

    By Blogger pamthree (14-Feb-2007, 9:46:00 PM)  

    geoff: Oops indeed. Missed out on the strike rate altogether. Perhaps there was some bias. Perhaps I wasn't able to subconsciously use strike rates in tests and onedayers to arrive at any benchmarks. That said, Dravid's strike rate is 71, compared to Ponting's and Lara's 80 and Tendulkar's 86. My guess is that if I factored in strike rate in both forms of the game (CI doesn't have Tendulkar's test strike rate, strangely), the ratings may not change significantly.

    pamthree: This was an analysis done in half an hour. Purely based on numbers. You're welcome to do the exhaustive type you mentioned :)

    By Blogger Jagadish (14-Feb-2007, 10:29:00 PM)  

    I was in NZ for that tour when Dravid made all those runs. From a purest's point of view, he was magic to watch. I have been aspousing his talents ever since - unfortunately just after that, he had a very lean tour of Australia and all my mates thought I was crazy.

    I have since been vindicated though.

    By Blogger Stu (15-Feb-2007, 4:06:00 AM)  

    I hope your mates also now realize you were right then, Stu!

    By Blogger Jagadish (15-Feb-2007, 11:41:00 AM)  

    ah i will just stick with average after all bradman is more know for his average more then anyting else.

    By Blogger pamthree (15-Feb-2007, 12:57:00 PM)  

    Hey nice article...How about a Sachin tendulkar short story?!86F26A0982085FDC!432.entry

    By Blogger Sunil (15-Feb-2007, 12:59:00 PM)  

    sunil: Read it yesterday. Quite nice!

    By Blogger Jagadish (15-Feb-2007, 2:34:00 PM)  

    Anything on Pontings spin playing skills?

    Whatever they numbers may say, Dravid a complete players viz a viz Punter.

    By Blogger Tarun. (19-Feb-2007, 5:30:00 PM)  

    Against Ponting's average in India (he averages 54 in SL and 119 in Pakistan - isn't it ridiculous that he's played just _ONE_ test in Pakistan?!), we have Dravid averaging 35 in South Africa. Like I wrote in a comment, suggesting that Ponting was less great because of his record in India was like suggesting Warne was any less greater because of his record against India - an argument that I'm not prepared to buy, although I've rejoiced every time Warne's copped a hiding against us!

    As for being the more complete player, I think Dravid's the more complete one-day player - primarily because he's scored consistently at different positions & thus in a variety of situations.

    By Blogger Jagadish (19-Feb-2007, 11:27:00 PM)  

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