Cricket News

REVISIONS TO STANDARDISING TEST BATTING AVERAGES

I’m very pleased to say there were some twenty responses to my article about standardising Test batting averages (CW, 29 October), many of which have been valuable in indicating avenues for improvement on the initial exercise.

This material summarises concerns expressed in the Forum posts and, in light of these, outlines revisions made to the approach adopted and resulting changes to the ranking of players.

I have made two sets of revisions: one to reflect my own current thinking, and then I’ve combined these with additional revisions which produces results that I think participants may in general prefer.

Concerns and What’s Been Done

Three main concerns were expressed:

  • More clarity needed on the way Dead Runs were identified.
    .
  • A small statistical base applying to a number of players, especially those with materially fewer than 20 innings.
    .
  • A feeling that some players simply didn’t belong in very high company. 

Clarity on Dead Runs

  • There was some misinterpretation of what I did, being partly my fault for not being clearer, and one view expressed that whether or not “dead runs” should be discounted is a matter of personal opinion and therefore is contentious. 
  • These matters have been addressed in my consolidated note already posted on the Forum thread.

Small Statistical Base

  • In this “too few innings” category are Barry Richards (7 inns), Taslim Arif (10 innings with one of these contributing as much as two-fifths of his total runs), and Stewie Dempster (15 innings) – plus five others having close to 20 innings, which was adopted as the general threshold. These exceptions were based on high calibre Test appearances cut short by illness, injury, or political sanctions, or interrupted by WWII. 
    .
  • Of these eight “exception” players, I have now eliminated Arif, Dempster and CAG Russell (18 innings), whilst still considering Barry Richards, Sid Barnes (19), Kumar Duleepsinhji (19), Vijay Merchant (18) and Alan Melville (19) are worth retaining given their credentials (as reflected, for instance, in Cricinfo player stats and potted biographies). None have Not Out innings exceeding 11%; Richards and Merchant with nil.
    .
  • Barry Richards is perhaps the most controversial of these and I’ve argued his case in my article, touching on his eight innings in “Super Tests” of the Packer era, averaging 79.1 (only one innings under 28 and two centuries), fronting up, as an opener, against Dennis Lillee in 5 innings and Roberts/Holding in one other innings – this coming nearly a decade after his Tests for South Africa. Also of note: his 342 innings for Hampshire (1968-78) yielding an average of 50.5 and his 160 innings for Natal (1964/5-1982/3) at an average of 59.3. 

Not Belonging 

  • Initially, I thought this feeling of participants might have a connection to players with an abnormally high proportion of Not Out innings. 
  • Adopting a threshold of 17.0 % or 1 in 6 innings (close to the high end for Cricinfo’s all-time leading Test averages for 64 players with an overall figure of 10.5%), I adjusted my batsmen’s raw averages in cases where they exceeded this level.
  • Besides Arif (20%) and Dempster (26%) – both already eliminated – this netted Adam Voges (22.6 %), and four others though by small margins in their cases: Phil Sharpe (19.0%), Steve Waugh (17.7%), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (17.5%) and Charlie Davis (17.2%). Rather than project their Not Out innings to a notional conclusion (based on completed innings of the same and higher scores, which can involve complications), I simply reworked their averages assuming only 17.0% of Not Outs. This principally down-pointed Adam Voges.

A late inclusion – Harry Brook

  • Brook qualified with 20 innings just two weeks after my cut-off for the initial exercise.
  • He has a “clean bill of health”: averaging 62.15 with only 1 Not Out and zero identified Dead Runs; only one large innings against a weak attack, and no very big innings distorting his average.

The main table – which follows – has been revised to incorporate these changes. It represents my own current thinking. 

          Dominance Average – Allow for  STANDARDISED  
    Career Raw Dead Runs Rating 2000-23 Advance in “EGALITARIAN” Difference 
Ranking                Span Average % (ex Dead Runs) Context Expertise  AVERAGE with Bradman
1 B Richards  (SA) 1970 72.57 nil 3.19 69.42 -2.5% 67.65 1.0%
2 D G Bradman  (Aus) 1928-48 99.94 8.9 3.24 70.08 -4.5% 66.96  
3 H Brook (Eng) 2022-23 62.15 nil 2.64 62.15 nil 62.15 -7.2%
4 S Smith  (Aus) 2010-23 58.94 0.6 2.37 58.59 nil 58.59 -12.5%
5 D Mitchell (NZ) 2019-23 57.21 nil 2.27 57.21 nil 57.21 -14.6%
6 K Sangakkara  (SL) 2000-15 57.40 2.5 2.17 55.97 nil 55.97 -16.4%
7 A Voges  (Aus) 2015-16 57.12 3.3 2.12 55.19 nil 55.19 -17.6%
8 G Pollock  (SA) 1963-70 60.97 1.3 2.16 55.77 -3.4% 53.87 -19.5%
9 K Williamson  (NZ) 2010-23 54.89 2.5 1.99 53.52 nil 53.52 -20.1%
10 J Kallis  (SA) 1995-2013 55.37 2.1 2.00 53.65 -0.3% 53.51 -20.1%
11 M Labuschagne (Aus) 2018-23 53.80 1.8 1.94 52.83 nil 52.83 -21.1%
12 S Barnes  (Aus) 1938-48 63.05 3.1 2.10 54.98 -5.0% 52.21 -22.0%
13 S Tendulkar  (Ind) 1989-2013 53.78 1.0 1.89 52.19 -0.5% 51.95 -22.4%
14 Younis Khan  (Pak) 2000-17 52.05 0.7 1.85 51.68 nil 51.68 -22.8%
15 K Barrington  (Eng) 1955-68 58.67 nil 1.99 53.52 -3.8% 51.48 -23.1%
16 R Dravid  (Ind) 1996-2012 52.31 0.6 1.83 51.40 -0.3% 51.26 -23.4%
17 G Sobers  (WI) 1954-74 57.78 0.7 1.95 52.99 -3.6% 51.06 -23.7%
18 M Yousuf  (Pak) 1998-2010 52.29 1.3 1.81 51.13 -0.2% 51.05 -23.8%
19 R Ponting  (Aus) 1995-2012 51.85 0.2 1.81 51.13 -0.3% 50.97 -23.9%
20 B Lara  (WI) 1990-2006 52.88 1.0 1.79 50.87 -0.6% 50.54 -24.5%
21 E Weekes  (WI) 1948-58 58.61 nil 1.95 52.99 -4.8% 50.46 -24.6%
22 = J Hobbs  (Eng) 1908-30 56.94 nil 2.01 53.78 -6.6% 50.25 -25.0%
  FS Jackson  (Eng) 1893-1905 48.79 nil 2.02 53.92 -6.8% 50.25 -25.0%
24 M Hussey  (Aus) 2005-13 51.52 2.6 1.74 50.16 nil 50.16 -25.1%
25 Allan Steel  (Eng) 1880-88 35.29 nil 2.04 54.18 -7.5% 50.11 -25.2%
26 D Conway (NZ) 2021-23 50.10 nil 1.73 50.10 nil 50.10 -25.2%
27 M Hayden  (Aus) 1994-2008 50.73 1.2 1.72 49.94 -0.4% 49.72 -25.7%
28 J Root  (Eng) 2012-23 50.16 0.9 1.70 49.71 nil 49.71 -25.8%
29 = G Chappell  (Aus) 1970-84 53.86 1.3 1.82 51.27 -3.1% 49.66 -25.8%
  V Kambli  (Ind) 1993-95 54.20 1.8 1.74 50.21 -1.1% 49.66 -25.8%
31 AB de Villiers  (SA) 2004-18 50.66 2.5 1.68 49.39 nil 49.39 -26.2%
32 V Sehwag (Ind) 2001-13 49.34 nil 1.67 49.34 nil 49.34 -26.3%
33 J Miandad  (Pak) 1976-93 52.57 0.6 1.76 50.47 -2.4% 49.28 -26.4%
34 A Flower  (Zim) 1992-2002 51.54 nil 1.70 49.68 -0.8% 49.27 -26.4%
35 S Chanderpaul  (WI) 1994-2015 50.93 0.8 1.68 49.41 -0.3% 49.26 -26.4%
36 G Headley  (WI) 1930-39  66.72 nil 1.89 52.19 -6.0% 49.07 -26.7%
37 B Azam (Pak) 2016-23 48.63 nil 1.62 48.63 nil 48.63 -27.4%
38 M Jayawardene  (SL) 1997-2014 49.84 1.5 1.62 48.62 -0.2% 48.53 -27.5%
39 M Clarke  (Aus) 2004-15 49.10 1.3 1.61 48.47 nil 48.47 -27.6%
40 T Samaraweera  (SL) 2001-13 48.76 0.7 1.60 48.40 nil 48.40 -27.7%
41 Abid Ali (Pak) 2019-21 49.16 1.7 1.60 48.32 nil 48.32 -27.8%
42 C Walcott  (WI) 1948-60 56.58 1.6 1.77 50.60 -4.8% 48.16 -28.1%
43 C Davis  (WI) 1968-73 52.04 nil 1.70 49.68 -3.4% 48.00 -28.3%
44 S Waugh  (Aus) 1985-2004 51.06 0.5 1.61 48.48 -1.2% 47.90 -28.5%
45 S Gavaskar  (Ind) 1971-87 51.12 nil 1.68 49.41 -3.1% 47.89 -28.5%
46 G Smith  (SA) 2002-14 48.25 0.9 1.56 47.83 nil 47.83 -28.6%
47 V Kohli  (Ind) 2011-23 48.72 1.9 1.56 47.79 nil 47.79 -28.6%
48 Inzamam-ul-Haq  (Pak) 1992-2007 49.60 0.7 1.57 47.95 -0.6% 47.68 -28.8%
49 A Border  (Aus) 1978-94 50.56 0.3 1.62 48.62 -2.5% 47.42 -29.2%
50 A Shafique (Pak) 2021-23 47.23 nil 1.52 47.23 nil 47.23 -29.5%
51 U Khawaja (Aus) 2011-23 47.68 1.4 1.50 47.00 nil 47.00 -29.8%
52 V Richards  (WI) 1974-91 50.23 0.9 1.59 48.22 -2.8% 46.89 -30.0%
53 L Hutton  (Eng) 1937-55 56.67 1.4 1.70 49.68 -5.6% 46.88 -30.0%
54 A Gilchrist  (Aus) 1999-2008 47.60 1.4 1.48 46.76 -0.1% 46.71 -30.2%
55 A Shrewsbury  (Eng) 1882-93 35.47 nil 1.78 50.74 -8.0% 46.66 -30.3%
56 Misbah-ul-Haq  (Pak) 2001-17 46.62 nil 1.47 46.62 nil 46.62 -30.4%
57 K Pietersen  (Eng) 2005-14 47.28 1.7 1.46 46.47 nil 46.47 -30.6%
58 D Martyn  (Aus) 1992-2006 46.37 nil 1.43 46.10 -0.1% 46.04 -31.2%
59 KS Ranjitsinhji  (Eng) 1896-1902 44.95 nil 1.68 49.41 -7.4% 45.74 -31.7%
60 H Amla  (SA) 2004-19 46.64 2.0 1.40 45.71 nil 45.71 -31.7%
61 T Head (Aus) 2018-23 46.80 2.5 1.39 45.63 nil 45.63 -31.9%
62 R Sharma (Ind) 2013-23 45.22 nil 1.36 45.22 nil 45.22 -32.5%
63 = VVS Laxman  (Ind) 1996-2012 45.97 0.9 1.36 45.17 -0.3% 45.03 -32.7%
  S Katich  (Aus) 2001-10 45.03 nil 1.35 45.03 nil 45.03 -32.8%
65 A Cook  (Eng) 2006-18 45.35 0.9 1.34 44.95 nil 44.95 -32.9%
66 WG Grace (Eng) 1880-93 36.54 nil 1.65 49.01 -8.3% 44.94 -32.9%
67 M Richardson  (NZ) 2000-04 44.77 nil 1.33 44.77 nil 44.77 -33.1%
68 G Kirsten  (SA) 1993-2004 47.25 1.5 1.34 44.91 -0.7% 44.58 -33.4%
69 R Taylor (NZ) 2007-22 44.66 0.5 1.30 44.44 nil 44.44 -33.6%
70 H Sutcliffe  (Eng) 1924-35 60.73 nil 1.55 47.69 -6.8% 44.43 -33.6%
71 A Mathews  (SL) 2009-23 44.93 1.4 1.29 44.30 nil 44.30 -33.8%
72 D Lehmann  (Aus) 1998-2004 44.95 nil 1.30 44.38 -0.2% 44.27 -33.9%
73 D Warner  (Aus) 2011-23 44.61 1.0 1.28 44.16 nil 44.16 -34.0%
74 J Langer (Aus) 1993-2007 45.27 0.5 1.29 44.24 -0.6% 44.00 -34.3%
75 KD Walters  (Aus) 1965-81 48.26 0.6 1.40 45.70 -3.8% 43.96 -34.3%
76 JF Reid  (NZ) 1979-86 46.28 nil 1.36 45.17 -2.9% 43.87 -34.5%
77 D Jones  (Aus) 1984-92 46.65 nil 1.33 44.77 -2.2% 43.77 -34.6%
78 C Pujara  (Ind) 2010-23 43.60 nil 1.24 43.60 nil 43.60 -34.9%
79 G Boycott  (Eng) 1964-82 47.72 nil 1.37 45.30 -3.8% 43.59 -34.9%
80 CP Mead  (Eng) 1911-28 49.37 nil 1.50 47.03 -7.5% 43.50 -35.0%
81 R Pant (Ind) 2018-22 43.67 0.6 1.23 43.41 nil 43.41 -35.2%
82 D Nourse  (SA) 1935-51 53.81 nil 1.44 46.23 -6.3% 43.30 -35.3%
83 J Trott  (Eng) 2009-15 44.08 2.2 1.20 43.11 nil 43.11 -35.6%
84 C Lloyd  (WI) 1966-85 46.67 0.5 1.32 44.64 -3.6% 43.04 -35.7%
85 M Trescothick  (Eng) 2000-06 43.79 2.0 1.19 42.91 nil 42.91 -35.9%
86 KS Duleepsinhji  (Eng) 1929-31 58.52 nil 1.43 46.10 -6.9% 42.89 -35.9%
87 C Rogers  (Aus) 2008-15 42.87 nil 1.19 42.87 nil 42.87 -36.0%
88 W Hammond  (Eng) 1927-47 58.45 1.8 1.42 45.97 -6.8% 42.84 -36.0%
89 G Thorpe  (Eng) 1993-2005 44.66 0.9 1.19 42.92 -0.7% 42.62 -36.4%
90 Saeed Anwar  (Pak) 1990-2001 45.52 nil 1.20 43.05 -1.1% 42.59 -36.4%
91 A Melville  (SA) 1938-49 52.58 nil 1.38 45.44 -6.3% 42.58 -36.4%
92 C Bland  (SA) 1961-66 49.01 nil 1.31 44.51 -4.6% 42.47 -36.6%
93 S Nurse  (WI) 1960-69 46.60 nil 1.30 44.38 -4.4% 42.42 -36.6%
94 R Kanhai  (WI) 1957-74 47.53 0.5 1.26 43.85 -3.4% 42.35 -36.8%
95 D Amiss  (Eng) 1966-77 46.30 nil 1.28 44.11 -4.1% 42.32 -36.8%
96 = E Paynter (Eng) 1931-39 59.23 2.9 1.37 45.30 -6.9% 42.18 -37.0%
  C Gayle  (WI) 2000-14 42.18 nil 1.13 42.18 nil 42.18 -37.0%
98 F Worrell  (WI) 1948-63 49.48 1.2 1.31 44.51 -5.4% 42.12 -37.1%
99 M Azharuddin  (Ind) 1985-2000 45.03 2.1 1.18 42.79 -1.7% 42.05 -37.2%
100 D Boon  (Aus) 1984-96 43.65 nil 1.19 42.92 -2.1% 42.02 -37.2%
101 D Compton  (Eng) 1937-57 50.06 1.0 1.33 44.77 -6.2% 41.98 -37.3%
102 W Lawry  (Aus) 1961-71 47.15 nil 1.26 43.85 -4.4% 41.92 -37.4%
103 M Goodwin  (Zim) 1998-2000 42.84 nil 1.14 42.26 -1.0% 41.82 -37.5%
104 Azhar Ali  (Pak) 2010-22 42.26 1.2 1.10 41.75 nil 41.75 -37.6%
105 ER Dexter  (Eng) 1958-68 47.89 nil 1.25 43.71 -4.5% 41.73 -37.7%
106 G Greenidge  (WI) 1974-91 44.72 0.4 1.20 43.05 -3.1% 41.72 -37.7%
107 I Bell  (Eng) 2004-15 42.69 2.4 1.10 41.67 nil 41.67 -37.8%
108 R Cowper  (Aus) 1964-68 46.84 nil 1.24 43.58 -4.4% 41.65 -37.8%
109 A Prince  (SA) 2002-11 41.64 nil 1.09 41.64 nil 41.64 -37.8%
110 M Crowe  (NZ) 1982-95 45.36 2.2 1.16 42.52 -2.2% 41.60 -37.9%
111 R Abel  (Eng) 1888-1902 37.20 nil 1.39 45.57 -8.8% 41.58 -37.9%
112 D Cullinan  (SA) 1993-2001 44.21 1.0 1.12 41.99 -1.0% 41.56 -37.9%
113 G Gambhir  (India) 2004-16 41.95 1.0 1.09 41.53 nil 41.53 -38.0%
114 R Richardson  (WI) 1983-95 44.39 nil 1.15 42.39 -2.1% 41.49 -38.0%
115 = W Murdoch  (Aus) 1877-92 31.31 nil 1.38 45.44 -9.0% 41.36 -38.2%
  S Williams (Zim) 2013-21 41.36 nil 1.07 41.36 nil 41.36 -38.2%
117 D Gower  (Eng) 1978-92 44.25 0.6 1.16 42.52 -2.7% 41.35 -38.2%
118 M Vaughan (Eng) 1999-2008 41.44 nil 1.07 41.33 -0.1% 41.27 -38.4%
119 Zaheer Abbas (Pak) 1969-85 44.79 0.5 1.19 42.92 -3.9% 41.26 -38.4%
120 = R Simpson  (Aus) 1957-78 46.81 nil 1.21 43.18 -4.5% 41.23 -38.4%
  Shoaib Mohammad  (Pak) 1983-95 44.34 1.8 1.13 42.12 -2.1% 41.23 -38.4%
122 = S Ganguly  (India) 1996-2008 42.17 0.4 1.07 41.33 -0.4% 41.16 -38.5%
  H Gibbs  (SA) 1996-2008 41.95 0.6 1.07 41.33 -0.4% 41.16 -38.5%
124 N Harvey  (Aus) 1948-63 48.41 1.7 1.22 43.32 -5.5% 40.95 -38.8%
125 G Turner  (NZ) 1969-83 44.64 nil 1.16 42.52 -3.8% 40.89 -38.9%
126 A Kallicharran  (WI) 1972-81 44.43 nil 1.16 42.52 -3.9% 40.86 -39.0%
127 T Latham (NZ) 2014-23 41.53 1.9 1.03 40.74 nil 40.74 -39.2%
128 = Saleem Malik (Pak) 1982-99 43.69 0.7 1.08 41.46 -2.0% 40.62 -39.3%
  R Subba Row  (Eng) 1958-61 46.85 nil 1.17 42.65 -4.8% 40.62 -39.3%
130 S Dhawan (Ind) 2013-18 40.61 nil 1.02 40.61 nil 40.61 -39.4%
131 V Hazare  (Ind) 1946-53 47.65 nil 1.22 43.32 -6.3% 40.60 -39.4%
132 M Agarwal (Ind) 2018-22 41.33 1.9 1.01 40.54 nil 40.54 -39.4%
133 R Smith  (Eng) 1988-96 43.67 nil 1.05 41.06 -1.7% 40.36 -39.7%
134 AH Jones  (NZ) 1987-95 44.27 1.9 1.05 41.06 -1.9% 40.30 -39.8%
135 Aravinda de Silva  (SL) 1984-2002 42.97 0.5 1.04 40.93 -1.7% 40.25 -39.9%
136 A Faulkner  (SA) 1906-24 40.79 nil 1.26 43.85 -8.3% 40.21 -40.0%
137 M Taylor  (Aus) 1989-99 43.49 nil 1.03 40.80 -1.5% 40.20 -40.0%
138 E Barlow (SA) 1961-70 45.74 nil 1.13 42.12 -4.6% 40.19 -40.0%
139 M Slater  (Aus) 1993-2001 42.83 0.3 1.01 40.53 -1.1% 40.10 -40.1%
140 E Tyldesley  (Eng) 1921-29 55.00 nil 1.23 43.45 -7.8% 40.05 -40.2%
141 PBH May (Eng) 1951-61 46.77 0.8 1.14 42.26 -5.6% 39.89 -40.4%
142 L Rowe  (WI) 1972-80 43.55 nil 1.09 41.59 -4.1% 39.88 -40.4%
143 D Haynes  (WI) 1978-94 42.29 nil 1.02 40.67 -2.7% 39.58 -40.9%
144 = M Amarnath  (India) 1969-88 42.50 nil 1.05 41.06 -3.7% 39.54 -40.9%
  J Robertson  (Eng) 1947-52 46.37 nil 1.14 42.26 -6.4% 39.54 -40.9%
146 P McDonnell  (Aus) 1880-88 29.93 nil 1.24 43.58 -9.3% 39.51 -41.0%
147 D Vengsarkar  (India) 1976-92 42.13 nil 1.02 40.67 -3.0% 39.44 -41.1%
148 N O’Neill  (Aus) 1958-65 45.55 nil 1.08 41.46 -4.9% 39.42 -41.1%
149 A Rae  (WI)  1948-53 46.18 nil 1.13 42.12 -6.4% 39.41 -41.1%
150 = H Tillakaratne  (SL) 1989-2004 41.70 nil 0.95 39.74 -1.0% 39.34 -41.2%
  G Gooch  (Eng) 1975-95 42.58 0.9 1.00 40.40 -2.6% 39.34 -41.2%
152 A Morris  (Aus) 1946-55 46.48 0.8 1.12 41.99 -6.5% 39.28 -41.3%
153 C Hunte  (WI) 1958-67 45.06 nil 1.05 41.06 -4.9% 39.05 -41.7%
154 I Redpath  (Aus) 1964-76 43.45 0.6 1.03 40.80 -4.5% 38.98 -41.8%
155 = P Sharpe  (Eng) 1963-69 43.67 nil 1.03 40.80 -4.5% 38.96 -41.8%
  L Hassett  (Aus) 1938-53 46.56 1.6 1.10 41.73 -6.6% 38.96 -41.8%
157 C Hill  (Aus) 1896-1912 39.21 nil 1.16 42.52 -8.7% 38.83 -42.0%
158 R Fredericks  (WI) 1968-77 42.49 nil 1.01 40.53 -4.4% 38.77 -42.1%
159 T Graveney  (Eng) 1951-69 44.38 nil 1.04 40.93 -5.3% 38.76 -42.1%
160 J Edrich  (Eng) 1963-76 43.54 1.4 1.01 40.53 -4.6% 38.69 -42.2%
161 I Chappell  (Aus) 1964-80   42.42 0.7 1.00 40.40 -4.4% 38.61 -42.3%
162 V Trumper  (Aus) 1899-1912 39.04 nil 1.14 42.26 -8.7% 38.59 -42.4%
163 C Cowdrey  (Eng) 1954-75 44.06 0.3 1.01 40.53 -5.0% 38.52 -42.5%
164 Hanif Mohammad (Pak) 1952-69 43.98 nil 1.00 40.40 -5.3% 38.26 -42.9%
165 J Ryder  (Aus) 1920-29 51.62 nil 1.04 40.93 -8.1% 37.62 -43.8%
166 C Macartney  (Aus) 1907-26 41.78 nil 1.05 41.06 -8.7% 37.51 -44.0%
167 V Merchant  (Ind) 1933-51 47.72 nil 1.00 40.40 -7.3% 37.47 -44.0%
168 B Mitchell  (SA) 1929-49 48.88 nil 1.00 40.40 -7.5% 37.36 -44.2%
169 V Ransford  (Aus) 1907-12 37.84 nil 1.03 40.80 -9.1% 37.11 -44.6%
170 W Bates  (Eng) 1882-87 27.33 nil 1.04 40.93 -9.9% 36.86 -45.0%
171 G Gunn  (Eng) 1907-30 40.00 nil 1.00 40.40 -8.9% 36.82 -45.0%

I suspect that some participants may still have a number of reservations over the revised ranking. I’ve considered two possible reasons:

  1. The Ranking May Over-State Ability: for those with only 20-30 innings

From further analysis, I think this to be unlikely in general:

  1. Taking the top 14 players of the above table who have at least 50 innings and 10 more selected at random with 50 plus innings (24 players in all), only Bradman, Younis Khan and Pujara didn’t improve on their initial 20 innings when they reached 50 innings. The former were a down a touch on 20 innings (official) averages of 99.4 and 41.2; whilst Pujara dropped from 61 to 49.
  2. All except five improved their average when moving from 20 to 30 innings, two of whom maintained their average unchanged.
  3. Each of the 24 players examined had a wide variety of scores in their initial 20 innings, rather than having predominantly low or high scores (though Bradman and Labuschagne were heavily represented with big centuries).

Details for (a) and (b) are given in Table 2 below.

    Averages  
  at 20 inns at 30 inns at 50 inns
D. Bradman 99 106 96
S. Smith 32 35 52
K. Sangakkara 38 52 48
G. Pollock 51 54 61
      (41 inns)
K. Williamson 31 31 35
J. Kallis 24 29 41
M. Labuschagne 58 62 59
S. Tendulkar 35 39 54
M. Younis Khan 41 46 39
K. Barrington 46 43 52
R. Dravid 48 52 55
G. Sobers 31 49 60
M. Yousuf 35 33 43
R. Ponting 42 40 44
B. Lara 47 56 59
       
M. Hayden 26 39 51
Inzamam-ul-Haq 33 43 46
D. Martyn 40 45 46
G. Kirsten 35 37 36
C. Pujara 61 62 49
A. Prince 37 37 43
Zaheer Abbas 34 36 44
S. Dhawan 36 42 44
P. May 40 36 45
G. Gooch 25 31 35

Improvement is, in general, to be expected with increasing experience/learning (barring injury, etc).

As far as this evidence takes us, it suggests that averages for those with around 20-30 innings can generally be taken as representative of ability at that stage of their careers, though there will likely be some individual exceptions. 

  1. Importance of Attaining “Stature” 

So I turned to another potential reason for reservations about the revised ranking table – lack of attained stature in the game. I now suspect this is the chief reason.

“Stature” is attained or bestowed by career length (years played), or more usually by a sizeable accumulation of innings, for those with a distinctly healthy average. Forum participants like arguing largely about heavyweights, judging from the Player Comparisons thread. 

One could give a graduated weighting for this factor, though no participant explicitly advocated this. Instead, I’ve gone for a cut-off rule. What is to counts as a sufficient number of innings is debatable, but I’ve chosen 50 innings as reasonable for post-WW1 players, and 25 innings for previous times to reflect a far lower frequency of Tests and the calibre of who this captures.

Upshot: 32 of the 171 players have less than the specified number of innings – ie 19% of the total. These would all be excluded on this basis and are identified by underlining their names in Table 1. 

Only 2 of these 32 are wholly or predominantly pre-WW1 players (15 in total). 

Reflection: 6 of these 32 players include widely recognised Greats of the game: Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Sid Barnes, KS Duleepsinhji, Vijay Merchant and George Headley. I presume (without actual knowledge) that all, or most, participants would want to retain them as valid exceptions. If this is so, I’ve shown the resulting 145 players and the top 25 averages in the table and graph below:

INSERT TABL

          Dominance Average – Allow for  STANDARDISED  
    Career Raw Dead Runs Rating 2000-23 Advance in “EGALITARIAN” Difference 
Ranking                Span Average % (ex Dead Runs) Context Expertise  AVERAGE with Bradman
1 B Richards  (SA) 1970 72.57 nil 3.19 69.42 -2.5% 67.65 1.0%
2 D G Bradman  (Aus) 1928-48 99.94 8.9 3.24 70.08 -4.5% 66.96  
3 S Smith  (Aus) 2010-23 58.94 0.6 2.37 58.59 nil 58.59 -12.5%
4 K Sangakkara  (SL) 2000-15 57.40 2.5 2.17 55.97 nil 55.97 -16.4%
5 G Pollock  (SA) 1963-70 60.97 1.3 2.16 55.77 -3.4% 53.87 -19.5%
6 K Williamson  (NZ) 2010-23 54.89 2.5 1.99 53.52 nil 53.52 -20.1%
7 J Kallis  (SA) 1995-2013 55.37 2.1 2.00 53.65 -0.3% 53.51 -20.1%
8 M Labuschagne (Aus) 2018-23 53.80 1.8 1.94 52.83 nil 52.83 -21.1%
9 S Barnes  (Aus) 1938-48 63.05 3.1 2.10 54.98 -5.0% 52.21 -22.0%
10 S Tendulkar  (Ind) 1989-2013 53.78 1.0 1.89 52.19 -0.5% 51.95 -22.4%
11 Younis Khan  (Pak) 2000-17 52.05 0.7 1.85 51.68 nil 51.68 -22.8%
12 K Barrington  (Eng) 1955-68 58.67 nil 1.99 53.52 -3.8% 51.48 -23.1%
13 R Dravid  (Ind) 1996-2012 52.31 0.6 1.83 51.40 -0.3% 51.26 -23.4%
14 G Sobers  (WI) 1954-74 57.78 0.7 1.95 52.99 -3.6% 51.06 -23.7%
15 M Yousuf  (Pak) 1998-2010 52.29 1.3 1.81 51.13 -0.2% 51.05 -23.8%
16 R Ponting  (Aus) 1995-2012 51.85 0.2 1.81 51.13 -0.3% 50.97 -23.9%
17 B Lara  (WI) 1990-2006 52.88 1.0 1.79 50.87 -0.6% 50.54 -24.5%
18 E Weekes  (WI) 1948-58 58.61 nil 1.95 52.99 -4.8% 50.46 -24.6%
19= J Hobbs  (Eng) 1908-30 56.94 nil 2.01 53.78 -6.6% 50.25 -25.0%
  FS Jackson  (Eng) 1893-1905 48.79 nil 2.02 53.92 -6.8% 50.25 -25.0%
21 M Hussey  (Aus) 2005-13 51.52 2.6 1.74 50.16 nil 50.16 -25.1%
22 M Hayden  (Aus) 1994-2008 50.73 1.2 1.72 49.94 -0.4% 49.72 -25.7%
23 J Root  (Eng) 2012-23 50.16 0.9 1.70 49.71 nil 49.71 -25.8%
24 G Chappell  (Aus) 1970-84 53.86 1.3 1.82 51.27 -3.1% 49.66 -25.8%
25 AB de Villiers  (SA) 2004-18 50.66 2.5 1.68 49.39 nil 49.39 -26.2%
26 V Sehwag (Ind) 2001-13 49.34 nil 1.67 49.34 nil 49.34 -26.3%
27 J Miandad  (Pak) 1976-93 52.57 0.6 1.76 50.47 -2.4% 49.28 -26.4%
28 A Flower  (Zim) 1992-2002 51.54 nil 1.70 49.68 -0.8% 49.27 -26.4%
29 S Chanderpaul  (WI) 1994-2015 50.93 0.8 1.68 49.41 -0.3% 49.26 -26.4%
30 G Headley  (WI) 1930-39  66.72 nil 1.89 52.19 -6.0% 49.07 -26.7%
31 B Azam (Pak) 2016-23 48.63 nil 1.62 48.63 nil 48.63 -27.4%
32 M Jayawardene  (SL) 1997-2014 49.84 1.5 1.62 48.62 -0.2% 48.53 -27.5%
33 M Clarke  (Aus) 2004-15 49.10 1.3 1.61 48.47 nil 48.47 -27.6%
34 T Samaraweera  (SL) 2001-13 48.76 0.7 1.60 48.40 nil 48.40 -27.7%
35 C Walcott  (WI) 1948-60 56.58 1.6 1.77 50.60 -4.8% 48.16 -28.1%
36 S Waugh  (Aus) 1985-2004 51.06 0.5 1.61 48.48 -1.2% 47.90 -28.5%
37 S Gavaskar  (Ind) 1971-87 51.12 nil 1.68 49.41 -3.1% 47.89 -28.5%
38 G Smith  (SA) 2002-14 48.25 0.9 1.56 47.83 nil 47.83 -28.6%
39 V Kohli  (Ind) 2011-23 48.72 1.9 1.56 47.79 nil 47.79 -28.6%
40 Inzamam-ul-Haq  (Pak) 1992-2007 49.60 0.7 1.57 47.95 -0.6% 47.68 -28.8%
41 A Border  (Aus) 1978-94 50.56 0.3 1.62 48.62 -2.5% 47.42 -29.2%
42 U Khawaja (Aus) 2011-23 47.68 1.4 1.50 47.00 nil 47.00 -29.8%
43 V Richards  (WI) 1974-91 50.23 0.9 1.59 48.22 -2.8% 46.89 -30.0%
44 L Hutton  (Eng) 1937-55 56.67 1.4 1.70 49.68 -5.6% 46.88 -30.0%
45 A Gilchrist  (Aus) 1999-2008 47.60 1.4 1.48 46.76 -0.1% 46.71 -30.2%
46 A Shrewsbury  (Eng) 1882-93 35.47 nil 1.78 50.74 -8.0% 46.66 -30.3%
47 Misbah-ul-Haq  (Pak) 2001-17 46.62 nil 1.47 46.62 nil 46.62 -30.4%
48 K Pietersen  (Eng) 2005-14 47.28 1.7 1.46 46.47 nil 46.47 -30.6%
49 D Martyn  (Aus) 1992-2006 46.37 nil 1.43 46.10 -0.1% 46.04 -31.2%
50 KS Ranjitsinhji  (Eng) 1896-1902 44.95 nil 1.68 49.41 -7.4% 45.74 -31.7%
51 H Amla  (SA) 2004-19 46.64 2.0 1.40 45.71 nil 45.71 -31.7%
52 T Head (Aus) 2018-23 46.80 2.5 1.39 45.63 nil 45.63 -31.9%
53 R Sharma (Ind) 2013-23 45.22 nil 1.36 45.22 nil 45.22 -32.5%
54= VVS Laxman  (Ind) 1996-2012 45.97 0.9 1.36 45.17 -0.3% 45.03 -32.7%
  S Katich  (Aus) 2001-10 45.03 nil 1.35 45.03 nil 45.03 -32.8%
56 A Cook  (Eng) 2006-18 45.35 0.9 1.34 44.95 nil 44.95 -32.9%
57 WG Grace (Eng) 1880-93 36.54 nil 1.65 49.01 -8.3% 44.94 -32.9%
58 M Richardson  (NZ) 2000-04 44.77 nil 1.33 44.77 nil 44.77 -33.1%
59 G Kirsten  (SA) 1993-2004 47.25 1.5 1.34 44.91 -0.7% 44.58 -33.4%
60 R Taylor (NZ) 2007-22 44.66 0.5 1.30 44.44 nil 44.44 -33.6%
61 H Sutcliffe  (Eng) 1924-35 60.73 nil 1.55 47.69 -6.8% 44.43 -33.6%
62 A Mathews  (SL) 2009-23 44.93 1.4 1.29 44.30 nil 44.30 -33.8%
63 D Warner  (Aus) 2011-23 44.61 1.0 1.28 44.16 nil 44.16 -34.0%
64 J Langer (Aus) 1993-2007 45.27 0.5 1.29 44.24 -0.6% 44.00 -34.3%
65 KD Walters  (Aus) 1965-81 48.26 0.6 1.40 45.70 -3.8% 43.96 -34.3%
66 JF Reid  (NZ) 1979-86 46.28 nil 1.36 45.17 -2.9% 43.87 -34.5%
67 D Jones  (Aus) 1984-92 46.65 nil 1.33 44.77 -2.2% 43.77 -34.6%
68 C Pujara  (Ind) 2010-23 43.60 nil 1.24 43.60 nil 43.60 -34.9%
69 G Boycott  (Eng) 1964-82 47.72 nil 1.37 45.30 -3.8% 43.59 -34.9%
70 CP Mead  (Eng) 1911-28 49.37 nil 1.50 47.03 -7.5% 43.50 -35.0%
71 R Pant (Ind) 2018-22 43.67 0.6 1.23 43.41 nil 43.41 -35.2%
72 D Nourse  (SA) 1935-51 53.81 nil 1.44 46.23 -6.3% 43.30 -35.3%
73 J Trott  (Eng) 2009-15 44.08 2.2 1.20 43.11 nil 43.11 -35.6%
74 C Lloyd  (WI) 1966-85 46.67 0.5 1.32 44.64 -3.6% 43.04 -35.7%
75 M Trescothick  (Eng) 2000-06 43.79 2.0 1.19 42.91 nil 42.91 -35.9%
76 KS Duleepsinhji  (Eng) 1929-31 58.52 nil 1.43 46.10 -6.9% 42.89 -35.9%
77 W Hammond  (Eng) 1927-47 58.45 1.8 1.42 45.97 -6.8% 42.84 -36.0%
78 G Thorpe  (Eng) 1993-2005 44.66 0.9 1.19 42.92 -0.7% 42.62 -36.4%
79 Saeed Anwar  (Pak) 1990-2001 45.52 nil 1.20 43.05 -1.1% 42.59 -36.4%
80 S Nurse  (WI) 1960-69 46.60 nil 1.30 44.38 -4.4% 42.42 -36.6%
81 R Kanhai  (WI) 1957-74 47.53 0.5 1.26 43.85 -3.4% 42.35 -36.8%
82 D Amiss  (Eng) 1966-77 46.30 nil 1.28 44.11 -4.1% 42.32 -36.8%
83 C Gayle  (WI) 2000-14 42.18 nil 1.13 42.18 nil 42.18 -37.0%
84 F Worrell  (WI) 1948-63 49.48 1.2 1.31 44.51 -5.4% 42.12 -37.1%
85 M Azharuddin  (Ind) 1985-2000 45.03 2.1 1.18 42.79 -1.7% 42.05 -37.2%
86 D Boon  (Aus) 1984-96 43.65 nil 1.19 42.92 -2.1% 42.02 -37.2%
87 D Compton  (Eng) 1937-57 50.06 1.0 1.33 44.77 -6.2% 41.98 -37.3%
88 W Lawry  (Aus) 1961-71 47.15 nil 1.26 43.85 -4.4% 41.92 -37.4%
89 Azhar Ali  (Pak) 2010-22 42.26 1.2 1.10 41.75 nil 41.75 -37.6%
90 ER Dexter  (Eng) 1958-68 47.89 nil 1.25 43.71 -4.5% 41.73 -37.7%
91 G Greenidge  (WI) 1974-91 44.72 0.4 1.20 43.05 -3.1% 41.72 -37.7%
92 I Bell  (Eng) 2004-15 42.69 2.4 1.10 41.67 nil 41.67 -37.8%
93 A Prince  (SA) 2002-11 41.64 nil 1.09 41.64 nil 41.64 -37.8%
94 M Crowe  (NZ) 1982-95 45.36 2.2 1.16 42.52 -2.2% 41.60 -37.9%
95 D Cullinan  (SA) 1993-2001 44.21 1.0 1.12 41.99 -1.0% 41.56 -37.9%
96 G Gambhir  (India) 2004-16 41.95 1.0 1.09 41.53 nil 41.53 -38.0%
97 R Richardson  (WI) 1983-95 44.39 nil 1.15 42.39 -2.1% 41.49 -38.0%
98 W Murdoch  (Aus) 1877-92 31.31 nil 1.38 45.44 -9.0% 41.36 -38.2%
99 D Gower  (Eng) 1978-92 44.25 0.6 1.16 42.52 -2.7% 41.35 -38.2%
100 M Vaughan (Eng) 1999-2008 41.44 nil 1.07 41.33 -0.1% 41.27 -38.4%
101 Zaheer Abbas (Pak) 1969-85 44.79 0.5 1.19 42.92 -3.9% 41.26 -38.4%
102= R Simpson  (Aus) 1957-78 46.81 nil 1.21 43.18 -4.5% 41.23 -38.4%
  Shoaib Mohammad  (Pak) 1983-95 44.34 1.8 1.13 42.12 -2.1% 41.23 -38.4%
104 S Ganguly  (India) 1996-2008 42.17 0.4 1.07 41.33 -0.4% 41.16 -38.5%
105 H Gibbs  (SA) 1996-2008 41.95 0.6 1.07 41.33 -0.4% 41.16 -38.5%
106 N Harvey  (Aus) 1948-63 48.41 1.7 1.22 43.32 -5.5% 40.95 -38.8%
107 G Turner  (NZ) 1969-83 44.64 nil 1.16 42.52 -3.8% 40.89 -38.9%
108 A Kallicharran  (WI) 1972-81 44.43 nil 1.16 42.52 -3.9% 40.86 -39.0%
109 T Latham (NZ) 2014-23 41.53 1.9 1.03 40.74 nil 40.74 -39.2%
110 Saleem Malik (Pak) 1982-99 43.69 0.7 1.08 41.46 -2.0% 40.62 -39.3%
111 S Dhawan (Ind) 2013-18 40.61 nil 1.02 40.61 nil 40.61 -39.4%
112 V Hazare  (Ind) 1946-53 47.65 nil 1.22 43.32 -6.3% 40.60 -39.4%
113 R Smith  (Eng) 1988-96 43.67 nil 1.05 41.06 -1.7% 40.36 -39.7%
114 AH Jones  (NZ) 1987-95 44.27 1.9 1.05 41.06 -1.9% 40.30 -39.8%
115 Aravinda de Silva  (SL) 1984-2002 42.97 0.5 1.04 40.93 -1.7% 40.25 -39.9%
116 A Faulkner  (SA) 1906-24 40.79 nil 1.26 43.85 -8.3% 40.21 -40.0%
117 M Taylor  (Aus) 1989-99 43.49 nil 1.03 40.80 -1.5% 40.20 -40.0%
118 E Barlow (SA) 1961-70 45.74 nil 1.13 42.12 -4.6% 40.19 -40.0%
119 M Slater  (Aus) 1993-2001 42.83 0.3 1.01 40.53 -1.1% 40.10 -40.1%
120 PBH May (Eng) 1951-61 46.77 0.8 1.14 42.26 -5.6% 39.89 -40.4%
121 D Haynes  (WI) 1978-94 42.29 nil 1.02 40.67 -2.7% 39.58 -40.9%
122 M Amarnath  (India) 1969-88 42.50 nil 1.05 41.06 -3.7% 39.54 -40.9%
123 P McDonnell  (Aus) 1880-88 29.93 nil 1.24 43.58 -9.3% 39.51 -41.0%
124 D Vengsarkar  (India) 1976-92 42.13 nil 1.02 40.67 -3.0% 39.44 -41.1%
125 N O’Neill  (Aus) 1958-65 45.55 nil 1.08 41.46 -4.9% 39.42 -41.1%
126= H Tillakaratne  (SL) 1989-2004 41.70 nil 0.95 39.74 -1.0% 39.34 -41.2%
  G Gooch  (Eng) 1975-95 42.58 0.9 1.00 40.40 -2.6% 39.34 -41.2%
128 A Morris  (Aus) 1946-55 46.48 0.8 1.12 41.99 -6.5% 39.28 -41.3%
129 C Hunte  (WI) 1958-67 45.06 nil 1.05 41.06 -4.9% 39.05 -41.7%
130 I Redpath  (Aus) 1964-76 43.45 0.6 1.03 40.80 -4.5% 38.98 -41.8%
131 L Hassett  (Aus) 1938-53 46.56 1.6 1.10 41.73 -6.6% 38.96 -41.8%
132 C Hill  (Aus) 1896-1912 39.21 nil 1.16 42.52 -8.7% 38.83 -42.0%
133 R Fredericks  (WI) 1968-77 42.49 nil 1.01 40.53 -4.4% 38.77 -42.1%
134 T Graveney  (Eng) 1951-69 44.38 nil 1.04 40.93 -5.3% 38.76 -42.1%
135 J Edrich  (Eng) 1963-76 43.54 1.4 1.01 40.53 -4.6% 38.69 -42.2%
136 I Chappell  (Aus) 1964-80   42.42 0.7 1.00 40.40 -4.4% 38.61 -42.3%
137 V Trumper  (Aus) 1899-1912 39.04 nil 1.14 42.26 -8.7% 38.59 -42.4%
138 C Cowdrey  (Eng) 1954-75 44.06 0.3 1.01 40.53 -5.0% 38.52 -42.5%
139 Hanif Mohammad (Pak) 1952-69 43.98 nil 1.00 40.40 -5.3% 38.26 -42.9%
140 C Macartney  (Aus) 1907-26 41.78 nil 1.05 41.06 -8.7% 37.51 -44.0%
141 V Merchant  (Ind) 1933-51 47.72 nil 1.00 40.40 -7.3% 37.47 -44.0%
142 B Mitchell  (SA) 1929-49 48.88 nil 1.00 40.40 -7.5% 37.36 -44.2%
143 V Ransford  (Aus) 1907-12 37.84 nil 1.03 40.80 -9.1% 37.11 -44.6%
144 W Bates  (Eng) 1882-87 27.33 nil 1.04 40.93 -9.9% 36.86 -45.0%
145 G Gunn  (Eng) 1907-30 40.00 nil 1.00 40.40 -8.9% 36.82 -45.0%

What to do About any Remaining Oddities?

Finally, for those who might find the rankings of Table 3 broadly satisfactory, what should be done in respect of any oddities – ie players considered to be well out of their warranted position?

In my view, it is far better to identify reasons and alter the standardising model to suit than to try an ad hoc repositioning of a particular player, as the “reasons” are likely to relate to some other players also. Eg to take account of reduced performance after a major break due to injury/illness or whatever. That’s the scientific approach: keep iterating until the model applied gives sufficiently acceptable results.

#REVISIONS #STANDARDISING #TEST #BATTING #AVERAGES

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