View Full Version : Comparing batsmen: an objective approach (aka Who is a better batsman than who and by how much?)

September 30, 2003, 04:37 PM
I have used the following steps to compare batsmen from different countries and eras.

1. Use an acceptable rating system. This was easy. Pricewaterhouse Coopers has an excellent ratings system for each player going back to the very first test ever played. It makes things easy to compare players of different era, since their ratings are calculated using the same criteria. These criteria include number of runs scored, opposition bowling strength, whether the match was high/low scoring, whether the team won the match or not, etc. I think the PWC ratings is the best ratings system we have.

2. A player's ratings change over the course of his playing life. So, to compare him with other players, we need to calculate his average rating. For this I added all the ratings for each test he has played so far and then divided the total by the number of tests.

For example: Lara has played 96 tests so far. After each test, his rating as a batsman was calculated and published by the PWC team. So there are 96 instances of ratings. These instances can easily be found in the form of a table from the PWC website. When I add them all up in Excel, I end up with a total of 73344. I divide that by 96 to get his average rating = 73344/96 = 764.

This average rating reflects the player’s rating over his entire career. Then I used this average rating to compare him with other players.

[Edited on 30-9-2003 by Arnab]

September 30, 2003, 04:40 PM
Using the methodlogy listed above, I have come up with these numbers for different batsmen(in no order):

Player: Career Avg. Rating

1. Donald Bradman: 855.40

2. Viv Richards: 765.27

3. Brian Lara: 746.00

4. Sachin Tendulkar: 728.82

5. Matthew Hayden: 614.04

6. Ricky Ponting: 644.95

7. Steve Waugh: 666.14

8. Inzamam-ul Haq: 666.00

9. Adam Gilchrist: 738.33

10. Rahul Dravid: 713.58

11. Javed Miandad: 745.15

12. Sunil Gavaskar: 736.85

13. Alan Border: 738.30

14. Gary Sobers: 779.67

I don't how you do it, but this is how I would measure, as much objectively as possible, the greatness of different batsmen.

I will add more to the list. Or maybe Tintin can join.

[Edited on 30-9-2003 by Arnab]

September 30, 2003, 05:12 PM
If you are curious to know where our own Habibul Bashar stands among all these greats, her ya go:

Habibul Bashar: 505.52

September 30, 2003, 05:26 PM
This rating system do not look good. There is no way Javed Miandad is as good as Lara and better than Tendulkar!

[Edited on 30-9-2003 by Rajputro]

September 30, 2003, 05:37 PM

September 30, 2003, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by Rajputro
This rating system do not look good. There is no way Javed Miandad is as good as Lara and better than Tendulkar!

Raj bhai, have you watched every game played by Javed Miandad? Have you considered the quality of bowlers he had to face? Have you considered how many matches he has won for Pakistan? Have you considered how he has scored runs in hig-scoring/low-scoring matches? All these and several more factors are taken into account in the ratings.

So yes, according to the above methodology, Javed Miandad IS a slightly better batsman than Tendulkar or almost as good as Lara.

One of my conclusions from these figures is that current players are hyped in the media too much. Most evidently Tendulkar.

September 30, 2003, 07:41 PM
I don't like the positionings of Waugh and Miandad...Waugh is better than Border according to a baggygreen poll and I believe that. Gilchrist isn't that great...he's just a fiery batsman that's great to watch. Hayden is very consistant and has great hand/eye and power but his technique isn't so great now he has confidence. Still he consistantly hits 100s

Also I don't like the distance between Bradman and Sobers....it should be much much more.

[Edited on 1-10-2003 by Habibul_fan]

[Edited on 1-10-2003 by Habibul_fan]

September 30, 2003, 07:51 PM
That's the point. You don't have to LIKE it or DISLIKE it. Because when you start doing that you're being subjective and biased.

The stats are based on hard facts on ground. The facts, i.e. the data extracted from the scorecards, themselves are objective and undeniable. Now, the methodology used by PWC to interpret these data is not 100% foolproof, but it has been seen to work well over quite a number of years. I think it's as close as we can get to objectively measure different batsmen. If you have a better methodology, feel free to write about it.

[Edited on 1-10-2003 by Arnab]

September 30, 2003, 08:30 PM
I don't like the distance between Bradman and Sobers....it should be much much more.

What do you mean? There's a humongous difference of almost 75 points between Sobers and Bradman.

As for your other remarks, remember that we are comparing their performances as batsmen only. Not as leaders. Not their potentials. The ratings are measured using a definite number of factors and they reflect the bearings of just those factors.

A poll, and an internet poll at that, which is basically a collection of biased human opinions, may be indicative of public's subjectivity. But not a player's performance over a long time.

[Edited on 1-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 1, 2003, 12:22 AM
You love PWC, eh

October 1, 2003, 12:30 AM
I love good statistics in general, not just in sports, because it almost always cuts through people's bullshit opinions.

[Edited on 1-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 1, 2003, 12:07 PM
Arnab wrote about Miandad: "Have you considered the quality of bowlers he had to face? "

Miandad against West Indies 16 tests 834 runs Average of only 29. Miandad basically failed against the best bowling attack of that time. He is in the league of Dravid,Kallis,Hayden etc and not Lara and Tendulkar. Also I have heard he wasnt LBW in Pakistan for the first 9 years of his career. Maybe Tintin can confirm this. :)

October 1, 2003, 12:36 PM
Meh. Lara and Tendul's average against Pakistani and South African bowling attacks are also around 30-31. What does that say?

October 1, 2003, 01:00 PM
Has South Africa been the best bowling attack of the 90s? I thought I made it clear that its the performance against the best bowling team that counts the most. Hence my mentioning of WI in relation to Miandad.

October 1, 2003, 01:02 PM
Also Lara avegraes 36 agaisnt SAF and Tendulkar 38. Thats isnt 30-31.
Miandad averaged 29. :)

October 1, 2003, 01:08 PM
sigh OK how about their averages against PAK? :P

Or do you NOT consider pakistan the best bowling attack in the 90s?

Also, do you think there has been any bowling attack in the 90s that was as good as the Windies attack in the 80s? Probably not.

[Edited on 1-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 1, 2003, 01:24 PM
"do you NOT consider pakistan the best bowling attack in the 90s? "

Absolutely not. The one with the most variety yes..but not the best. It has to be Australia. Hands down.

"do you think there has been any bowling attack in the 90s that was as good as the Windies attack in the 80s? Probably not. "

Maybe not, but that doesnt give a player "better than Lara and Tendulkar" an excuse to crap against them. Gavaskar and Greg Chappell made runs against WI. Why couldnt Miandad?

October 1, 2003, 01:35 PM
Ok think of the avg career ratings like this.

It's an OVERALL rating.

The opposition bowling strength IS considered. It is measured by the ratings of opposition bowlers.

The runs scored IS considered.

But, also, whether he made those runs in conditions where most of his peers failed to score decently IS considered and the ratings WERE adjusted accordingly.

And other factors too. A LOT more. All those play a role in the ratings.

Maybe when Javed Miandad played against WI, Pakistan as a whole also had a low scoring match. May be all his compatriot's scored even worse. Or may be the opposite happened. May be the pitches were all bowler friendly and produced a low scoring match. Maybe sometimes Javed failed while others did good. ALL these stats ARE taken into account in the rankings.

October 1, 2003, 01:45 PM
"But, also, whether he made those runs in conditions where most of his peers failed to score decently IS considered and the ratings WERE adjusted accordingly. "

What ratings? I just posted some cold hard facts. Also just because his peers failed doesnt give the excuse for Miandad to flop. That is what makes Lara such a great batsman..scoring runs when all others around him are flopping left,right and center. Thats what separates the good batsmen from the great ones.

"May be all his compatriot's scored even worse"

Majid Khan and Salim Malik are a few of his compatriots who performed much better against WI than him.

October 1, 2003, 01:46 PM
Maybe not, but that doesnt give a player "better than Lara and Tendulkar" an excuse to crap against them. Gavaskar and Greg Chappell made runs against WI. Why couldnt Miandad?

I couldn't pass this up. Looks like I do have some time to respond to these. :)

1. According to the car avg ratings Javed is not better than Lara. But he is slightly better than Tendulkar.

2. If Lara and Sachin had to face the WI attack, chances are that they would have crapped against them too. Who knows? Who cares?

All these "what if"s and "but"s, "would have"s, etc. are irrelevant when we are trying to measure a player's overall career contribution and performance. All that matters is the fact on ground and how we intepret them.

Think about it.

[Edited on 1-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 1, 2003, 01:48 PM
What ratings?

The PriceWaterHouse Coopers ratings. Did you even read my first post? I am beginning to get slightly irritated now. :)

[Edited on 1-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 1, 2003, 02:55 PM
I couldn't help but dig out Javed Miandad's stats against WI.

Yes his average of 29 sucks. But he wasn't a total doozie...he has scored 4 fifties and 2 hundreds against them. Let's look at the circumstances of those fifties and hundreds and some other significant scores as well.

1. His first fifty against Windies was in Faisalabad, Second test, 8-12 December, 1980. In that innings, Pakistan scored a total of 176 runs in the first innings. Javed Miandad scored 50, one-third of his team score. An extremely valuable knock.

2. His second fifty against the Windies came in the next test in Karachi, 22-27 december. Again in the first innings, Pakistan was blown out by the devastating Windies bowling for a meagre 126 in the first innings, which included six ducks. Javed Miandad scored 60 runs in that innings, one-half of Pakistan's total.

3. Same series. 4th test in Multan, 30 Dec 1980 - 3 Jan 1981. Pakistan again allout for 166 in the first innings. Who is the top scorer? You guessed right: Javed Miandad. Scored a team highest 57, one-third of his team's contribution.

4. Lahore test 1987. Pakistan all out for 131 in the first innings. Javed scores team highest 46.

5. Karachi test 1987. Pakistan all out for 239 inthe first innings. Javed scores team highest 76.

6. Georgetown test, April 1988. Pakistan scores 435 in the first innings to take a match winning lead. Javed scores 114, the only century in the whole match.

7. Port of Spain test, 1988. Pakistan set a monumental target of 372 runs in the fourth innings to win. Pakistan scores 341/9 and the match is drawn. Top scorer inthe fourth innings? Javed Miandad with 102 runs. As long as he was on the crease Pak still had a chance to win.

8. Bridgetown test 1993. Javed in his twilight. Pakistan following on in the 2nd innings scores 262. Javed top scores with 42.

Asif wrote: That is what makes Lara such a great batsman..scoring runs when all others around him are flopping left,right and center. Thats what separates the good batsmen from the great ones.

As you can see, my friend, the same is true for Miandad against Windies, too. :)


The opposite is also true. In other matches, he didn't score many runs while Majid Khan, Wasim Raja, Saleem Malik, Inzamam, etc. scored.

I hate to sound repetitious but: All these ARE taken care of in the ratings.

[Edited on 1-10-2003 by Arnab]

[Edited on 1-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 2, 2003, 10:17 AM
I must commend myself for the patience I am displaying. :) Ok here goes.

Arnab wrote:"2. If Lara and Sachin had to face the WI attack, chances are that they would have crapped against them too. Who knows? Who cares? "

Firstly,what makes you think that the chances were that they would have crapped against that attack as badly as Miandad did? Gavaskar and Chappell certainly didnt. They were great bats,who are in the same category as Lara and Sachin. Miandad as I have said before belongs in the Dravid,Kallis,Hayden category. BTW the WI bowling average over Miandad's playing days was 27.7

The Australian bowling attack average since Tendulkar made his debut is also 27.7. So one can say that these two attacks are comparable. You may find that to be blasphemy of the highest order but I dont. Sure the WI pace quartet was fearsome etc etc but so is the Aussie bowling juggernaut. And against this attack Tendulkar and Lara have been averaging over 50 each. Something which Chappell and Gavaskar did against the WI attack and Miandad barely avged above half of what they were avging against WI.

" As you can see, my friend, the same is true for Miandad against Windies, too."

So you include his 46's and 42's as well to show that? The fact is that Miandad averaged 29 against the WI's mate. When BCL scores, he scores big to help his team and not just 30s and 40s. :)
Miandad failed against the WI big time so how can anyone call him a great? To be great, you gotta do well against the best, something which Javed did not.

As far as the ratings go, I am not talking about them. I dont have much faith in PWC or any other ratings. It is very difficult/nearly impossible to come up with a near perfect rating system in cricket which is fair to every batsman. A BCL 222 against SL was rated lower than a Richardson 94 against SL by PWC. Go figure.

October 2, 2003, 11:05 AM
A BCL 222 against SL was rated lower than a Richardson 94 against SL by PWC.

Do you know why? Have you asked them why? Have you heard anything called "scaling by factors"? If you're unsure what it means, then email the PWC team. If you can't understand why they were rated like that then I can't continue this conversation. Because you have to understand how the ratings work. Otherwise, these debates will always be pointless. After you throughly read and understand how the ratings work, I am more than sure you will look at your own posts in this thread and will be able observe where your thinking is flawed.

I CAN write humongous, detailed, point-by-point replies to all the issues(mostly redundant) you raised in your last reply, but they will all be in vain since you don't even know how the ratings work. I can't waste my time like that.

[Edited on 2-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 2, 2003, 11:20 AM
Its a pity that you need a ratings system to formulate your opinions. And nice sidestepping to the facts I presented in my 3:17 post. I will take that as a compliment. Goodday

October 2, 2003, 11:26 AM
Alright. I am convinced now. It's not that you don't get it, you just don't want to get it. Maybe accepting the ratings hurts you emotionally.

Fair enough. I know the stats can hurt someone's cherished views and feelings. But I don't look at them like that. :)

October 2, 2003, 11:34 AM
"But I don't look at them like that."

You just plain dont look at them. I guess its tough to convince someone who wears heavy Miandad-tinted glasses I wont shatter your peace and quiet with the truth and you can happily reside in your Miandad fantasy land. :)

October 2, 2003, 11:56 AM
Dude, I don't even like Miandad. He is not even my favorite batsman. He has an ugly style. But that means zero about his performance, which is what we are talkng about here. I also don't like Gavskar, Boycott, Waugh, (gasp!) Bradman, etc. So what? In judging their career performance, it doesn't matter who I like or dislike. Because my own personal evaluation of them will always be biased and flawed. Look at the title of this thread for christ's sake.

What I have found out is that YOU have a very strong bias AGAINST miandad, for whatever reason, which is blinding you to look at the rating in an objective way. :)

[Edited on 2-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 2, 2003, 12:20 PM
Dude, if you dont like Miandad and dont worship him..why dont you dispute the points I made? Sure the PWC has its way of functioning. Surely you can form some opinions based on that. And as far as your Miandad bias goes, that was evident from your response to RajPutro when he said Miandad should not be rated above Tendulkar/Lara

October 2, 2003, 12:47 PM
lmao. Now I "have to" like Miandad (even though I don't really like his style) just because you thought so? This is ridiculous. Did you even stop and think for a moment to realize that my replies were not about Miandad in particular but in defense of the rating system itself?

If Raj bhai asked why Tendulkar has less rating points than Lara, then I would have talked about those two. If he mentioned why Waugh is less than Border, then I would have talked about those two. Do you see where I am coming from?

[Edited on 2-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 2, 2003, 01:18 PM
asifr...you remind me of another poster we have on this board..a gentleman by the nick of Orpheus! are you guys first cousins..or twins or something?! ;)

my apologies to Orphy..cough! cough!

October 2, 2003, 03:39 PM
statistics give you hard facts? Oh please, give me a damn break! Statistics don't say much at all. Hannan for example, scored a 50 odd on test debut against Sri Lanka, but he was dropped twice. Then he scored a 60 odd against South Africa, dropped thrice! What does PWC say about him? Two 50 plus scores so he has a decent rating.

I would rather judge players on what I have seen than a bunch of numbers. Face it man, no one is more biased than you wheni t comes to Lara!

October 2, 2003, 03:46 PM
a couple of years back, when we had the big Lara v Tendulkar debate, and I presented "hard facts" stating that Tendulkar had a higher Test average against EACH AND EVERY OTHER TEST SIDE than Lara, wasn't it you who was making the point that numbers don't mean anything without a deeper analysis??

Looks to me like someone just made an about turn.

October 2, 2003, 04:47 PM
Sham, please!

Since that debate is not online anymore, you can say and color it in whatever way you want. It will be a waste for both of us to bring it up again.

wasn't it you who was making the point that numbers don't mean anything without a deeper analysis??

Looks to me like someone just made an about turn

Not at all. I did exactly what I said. PWC ratings IS a deeper analysis. The whole idea behind the ratings is to provide a deeper and less flawed statistical analysis than what the averages reperesent. That's THE WHOLE POINT of using the PWC ratings, something more accurate than the stupid averages. Because along with averages, it takes into account other factors. Are you so elated to have a go at me that you had to abandon rudimentary reasoning?

But you do have a point on dropped catches. It has irritated me too. PWC ratings do not take into account the dropped catch factor. And they have been asked why they don't do it. Hundreds of times. And they have given explanations. If you want to know why, then go to their website and read the explanation. Or maybe I will find it later.

Just be aware that you are not the first one to realize that dropped catches, the player's mental condition, home crowd support, a sudden wind facilitating swing, wet outfields preventing boundaries, players being caught on no-balls, the ball loosing its shine earlier than expected, heavier bat, blah blah blah blah --- these ALL play a role. The ratings guys must have thought of these too. But they chose the ones that THEY deemed most important. That's why they also say that their rating is NOT infallible. Since my rating is based on their ratings, so do I. But still, it's the best damn "objective" statistical analysis we have. If you can come up with something better, present it here by all means. I will be interested.

But please, I thought you were above all this. :)

[Edited on 2-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 2, 2003, 05:14 PM
The Philosophy behind the Ratings

We’ve had a large number of emails recently with questions about the PwC Ratings and what we do or don’t take into account. For example, you have written to ask why we don’t take account of where the match is played, dropped catches, exactly which bowler the batsman was facing for each delivery, the stage of the innings when runs were scored…and so on. In theory, it would be possible to take account of all these factors, and many more. So why don’t we? The short answer is that if you are trying to rate cricketers statistically without including subjective assessments (eg was that a dropped catch or not?) you have to stop somewhere. We could include more factors, but we have taken the rating of cricketers about as far as we believe is credible. That’s only our opinion, and debate and discussion is a healthy and essential part of this whole matter of rating cricketers.

For those who want a more detailed understanding of our philosophy behind the ratings, the following is a rather longer discussion. We are, as ever, interested in your comments, but we apologise in advance that we are unable to respond in any detail to all your emails.


In designing cricket rankings, the question ‘what are they for?’ is critical. Most people broadly think that rankings are there to pick out who are the current ‘best’ players But what does ‘best’ mean? Does it mean the player with the best technical ability? Or the player who is currently in the hottest form (regardless of what he was doing a year ago)? Or is it the player who has the best career record, even if he is currently going through a bad patch? Each of these definitions requires a different type of ranking.

So what type of ranking is ours? The PwC Ratings are designed to put more emphasis on what a player has done in his recent matches than on what he did earlier in his career. This means that they will tend to reflect the players who are in form. However, ours are not ‘form ratings’ as such (we would understand form ratings to mean you should only take into account recent matches, whereas the PwC Ratings take into account every match a player has ever played). A better way of understanding the PwC Ratings, and our meaning of the term ‘best players’, is to view them as attempting to measure:

"Which players (if fit) would be selected for a World XI to play a match tomorrow."

In designing our Ratings, we have produced a system that ensures that players with a sustained run of good form (such as Michael Vaughan) can rise to very high rankings despite modest records earlier in their career. At the same time, established great players like Inzamam-ul-Haq or Chris Cairns who might play very few matches in a year due to injury, or simply due to circumstances beyond their control such as tours being cancelled, do not plunge to unreasonably low Ratings.


Traditionally, in assessing ‘best’ cricketers, commentators have tended to look purely at performances in Tests. With the growing influence of ODI cricket, we don’t believe this view is appropriate.

We do, however, regard Test and ODI cricket as different forms of the game. Some cricketers excel in only one form of the game (eg Bevan in ODIs, Gavaskar in Tests), and we believe that player ratings should be able to bring out this important element. This is why we believe that separate ratings should be produced for Test and ODI cricket.

However, the ‘best’ cricketers are those who can perform in both forms of the game. It should therefore be possible to combine a player’s Test and ODI Rating, and this can only be done if the points systems are compatible. (If, for example, Test Ratings are scored on a scale of 0 to 100 and ODIs on a scale of 0 to 10,000 it is meaningless to add the two together).

Because of the way that we have designed the PwC Ratings, a meaningful combined Test/ODI Rating is obtained simply by adding the two points tables together, although we have not tended to publish our combined Rating in the past. Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden would currently be vying to top such a combined Rating for batting, while one of Muttiah Muralitharan and Glenn McGrath would top the bowling.

C. WHAT SKILLS SHOULD BE RATED(batsmen, bowlers, fielders, all-rounders)?

Should ratings be of overall cricketing ability or of individual skills? Because they are such different disciplines, we have always kept separate lists for batsmen and bowlers, in keeping with the historic way in which averages have been presented. However, since there is always an interest in all-rounders, we produce an index of all-rounders as a back-up to our main lists. An all-rounder can be measured simply by adding his batting and bowling points together, but we believe it is nonsense to describe a player who scores 700 points for batting and 0 for bowling as an all-rounder, since he does not bowl. We therefore produce our all-rounder index by multiplying batting and bowling points together. In our points system, a 500bat+400bowl type player therefore ranks higher as an all-rounder than a 600+300 or a 900+0 player.

In rating a cricketer, there is also the key factor of fielding ability. In an ideal world, fielding ability should be included too. However, we do not believe that it is possible to produce a credible rating for fielders or wicketkeepers without an enormous amount of subjective judgment. For example, is it really fair to judge a wicketkeeper on catches and stumpings? What if the bowlers he is keeping to don’t create those chances? Who is going to assess the missed chances, and how does one measure a dropped catch against a catch that a slow keeper didn’t even go for? And when it comes to fielding, how can cover point be compared with first slip?

We believe that an attempt at fielding ratings would simply undermine the more credible ratings for batting and bowling.


We believe that Ratings should, as far as possible, treat all players equally, with no bias, deliberate or otherwise, towards their country or their personal reputation.

Any cricket lover is capable of rating a player, and in doing so will undoubtedly take into account the style of their strokeplay, their charisma and other human factors. A statistical rating cannot do this, and should not attempt to do so. There are no acceptable ways of measuring the quality of strokeplay, and there are no universally agreed criteria for saying that scoring your runs in front of square is superior to scoring them through third man. Nor is there any objective way of assessing the quality of a pitch. We therefore believe that players should only be rated using information available from a scorebook. We believe that to overcome the obvious anomalies of conventional averages, player rankings need to take account of the following:


- number of runs scored

- whether he was dismissed or not

- who he scored his runs against

- the level of run-scoring in the match

(and in ODI cricket, the rate of scoring runs is crucial)


- wickets taken

- runs conceded

- the batsmen dismissed

(and in ODI cricket, the economy rate is crucial)

We believe that a rating system cannot be fair unless a batsman’s runs are adjusted to take some account of the level of run scoring in the match. 100 runs scored in an innings of 600 do not have the same impact as 100 runs scored in an innings of 200, and 100 runs made against the current Australian attack should be worth more than 100 runs against the current Bangladeshis. Likewise, a bowler who dismisses Tendulkar and Dravid deserves more credit than one who dismisses Kumble and Khan.

We believe that if you are to extend beyond simple averages, these factors are the fundamental for a cricket Rating, and they are the underlying factors used in the PwC Ratings.


In addition to the above factors, there are numerous other statistical factors that a rating could take into account. These include:

- the bearing of the performance on the match result

- the exact balls faced from each bowler by each batsman, and the number of balls bowled by each bowler to each batsman

- whether the match was played at home or away.

There is no right answer as to whether these factors should be taken into account or not.

In the PwC Ratings, we made a decision that the figures should, on balance, reward players who made significant contributions in victories. (A player who takes, say, one wicket or scores only 10 runs in a victory gets no bonus from PwC). This means that on balance the Ratings will tend to reflect winners. This is clearly a simplification of the real world, but not only is it relatively simple to define this measure, it also puts a premium on victory for the team as opposed to a player playing for himself.

However, in taking into account cricket’s subtleties you inevitably have to stop somewhere. If taking into account ‘home or away’, how do you allow for neutral venues like Sharjah? What about Lord’s which traditionally seems to favour visitors more than the home team? Or Harare, where there are almost no fans, making the atmosphere unintimidating, as opposed to Kolkata or Melbourne where there are 100,000 partisan spectators?

If allowing for balls faced from particular bowlers, what about the stage of the innings? In his prime, Waqar Younis after 40 overs was twice as deadly as Waqar Younis in the first over. Spinners get better as the match progresses. Some fast bowlers become ineffective when the ball is soft. Do you take into account yorkers and long hops? Where do you stop? We do not think it is appropriate to incorporate a ball-by-ball factor into a weighted mathematical world rating. It risks giving a spurious accuracy when there are so many other subtleties not being taken into account. (We think it would be the equivalent of taking into account the difficulty of each hole in the golf rankings, or the quality of service returns in the tennis rankings.)

Finally, while rating cricketers is fascinating, it is easy to forget that above all sports, cricket involves a huge degree of luck. An inside edge onto the stumps, a poor lbw decision, a dropped catch – one isolated incident can completely change a player’s performance. The more scientific cricket ratings try to become, the more this element of luck becomes a spoiler, since it can override all considerations of the state of a pitch, the nature of the ball delivered and so on. Ironically, therefore, we believe it is possible for ratings to go too far, and in producing the PwC Ratings, we have gone as far as we believe is sensible in producing a scientific method in a game of luck and unfairness. And will we end the debate about who’s the best? Never.


In the different international sports there are various ways in which ratings are calculated. One common method is based on a cumulative system, where all performances in the last 12 months are added together (perhaps with previous years being added at a discounted rate).

There are various reasons why we reject this approach for cricket. The most important is that it favours players who get the opportunity to play more matches. In golf, tennis and other sports, the competitors can choose how many tournaments they play. In cricket, however, a player is limited both by the number of matches that his country has scheduled and also by the whim of the selectors who may drop him despite his good form and willingness to play. We don’t believe that cricket ratings should penalise a top class player who has the misfortune to play for a country that is too strong for him to secure a permanent place in the team, or a country that is in political turmoil and is unable to play many matches.

The method that we have adopted is the weighted average. This is much less susceptible to a player having an enforced absence for several months, and has other subtle advantages in the way it makes upward/downward movements of the ratings more predictable.


Any cricket follower is familiar with the idea that a batsman who averages over 50 is first rate, and a bowler who averages over 35 has only a modest record. These figures have meaning, and help followers to get a quick appreciation of a player’s quality.

We believe that Ratings should be the same. A certain number of points should mean something, and should be comparable with the points achieved by players in the past.

The PwC Ratings are designed to be in the range of 0 to 1000 points. 900 is ‘Bradmanesque’, 700 usually puts a player in the world top ten, 500 plus is the break point between established performers and newcomers or strugglers. These figures apply historically, too, allowing some degree of historic comparison. We think this gives the ratings considerably more quality and value from the follower’s point of view than a system where Dravid has, say, 1,804 points, with no explanation as to whether this is any good, or how it compares with Bradman.


At any time, the Ratings represent our best effort at producing a fair comparison of international cricketers. However, we are learning all the time, and the publication of the full ratings database on the website means the figures have come under far more scrutiny in the last year than ever before. As a result, we have had a considerable amount of intelligent feedback. We would be arrogant if we did not to listen to this.

October 2, 2003, 05:54 PM
I will be the first to admit that I cannot be totally objective about something I am so passionate about. And in a team sport, its absolutely impossible to correctly rank individual players. What about this, a bowler gets five wickets against Australia and a bowler gets five wickets against Bangladesh. Most ratings would give the bowler who did well against Australia higher ratings because he did well against the better team. But what if his five wickets were all Aussie tail-enders, and to make it even more complicated, the bowler bowled five long hops that the tail-enders tried to hit out of the ground and got caught in the deep. Contrast that to the bowler who got five Bangladeshi wickets, all top order batsmen who were brilliantly prized out. Would a ratings system ever be able to accurately reflect that? No.

I know you will come back at me and say that you admit the fact that this system is not perfect. I would say, well, its nowhere near perfect, and honestly, nothing reliable exists. So, at the end of the day, the best we can do is trust our own judgements. For me, one way to think about a player is this, if my life depended on a batsman scoring a hundred, who would I send out to bat for me. The answer: Tendulkar! Not because I am a big fan because I'm not, but to me, he is the best there is. In the same way if you were making that choice, you would pick Lara to bat for you.

So, at the end of the day, we are back to where we were 2 years ago. You just have to realize that there really is no objective way of doing it. No statistics, no rankings, no analysis, nothing. If someone were to say Ganguly is the greatest batsman he has ever seen, how can you possibly refute it? He sees Ganguly bat and to him, Ganguly is the best there is. And no matter how much statistics or PWC ratings you throw at him, he will always find faults with it. Honestly, this is a bloody waste of time, trying to find an objective system. At the end of the day, everyone will rely on their own judgements, something I'm sure you are starting figure out by the way people have been posting on this thread.

October 2, 2003, 06:27 PM
I like your way of disagreeing in such an agreeable manner.

But sorry, I cannot really dismiss all this just like that. :)

You can play rhetorical ploys by saying we're back where we were at two years ago. But I don't think so. This is not about Tendulkar or Lara. When I started doing the average rating on Excel, I thought Tendulkar will come out with higher points because his graphs 'looked like' he would. But it turned out that Lara did, by a slight margin. I would have accepted the rating if Tendulkar came out higher than Lara. Yes. But would that diminish my subjective bias, my gut feeling on Lara? Heck no.

The ratings mean exactly what they mean. They take info from the match scorecard, apply a bunch of factors, and then use some statistical formulas. They don't care about my infatuation of Lara, or your fanboyish liking of Tendulkar. That's why they are objective. Even though they have a certain margin of error. I am sure you know rudimentary statistics. It could very well be true that Sachin and Lara's ratings fall under that margin of error and if ALL the factors in the world were taken into account, may be Sachin would have come out better than Lara or vice versa.

The ratings are NOT some be-all, end-all conclusions that I am trying to force on everybody. Where will all the stupid, biased, subjective debates based on flawed averages and "would have", "what if", "how about" speculations go then? If EVERYBODY accepted the same thing, where is the MOJA?

Bloody waste of time? lmao. Dude, this whole thing is a 'bloody waste of time.' According to your logic, 99% of the threads on this board is a bloody waste of time. If we have already made up our mind about EVERYTHING, why are we even here to discuss things in the first place? Man, you amaze me! :)

You need to lighten up. :)

[Edited on 2-10-2003 by Arnab]

October 2, 2003, 07:14 PM
I like statsguru :)

October 2, 2003, 07:21 PM
But that is besides the point. And I know more than rudimentary statistics, but that besides the point as well. Please don't tell me that I need to lighten up. Just go over this thread, and see how everytime anyone so much as hinted at disagreeing with your system, you have gone nuts trying to defend it. Why can't you ever agree to disagree rather than always trying to prove a point. Man, this is the end of me on this thread. I know from past experience that this won't go anywhere. You are right man, you are always right!

ps. Asifr, quit now man, arguing with Arnab won't get you anywhere.

[Edited on 3-10-2003 by Sham]

October 2, 2003, 07:37 PM
Haha! You ARE amazing! You have amazing psychic tentacles that reach through the internet and say whether I have gone nuts or not. :lol: I wish I had a fraction of your amazing psychic power and use it on all the hot chicks in my college.

Anyway, I feel my presence on this board has finally been blessed by your affirmation. If YOU think I am right, then nobody else can disprove it. Asif, you better take note. The amazing Sham has declared I am right. :)


October 2, 2003, 08:00 PM
I am just glad that I resisted the temptation to join in the discussion :)

October 2, 2003, 08:11 PM
Actually you're probably one of the few persons with whom I might have had a great discussion, without engaging in silly pesonal altercations. It's a pity. Oh well. :)

BTW, I got your email addy. Will mail you soon.

October 3, 2003, 02:39 PM
Where would Lara's standing be if he played against the West Indians of the 80s ? For that matter, Tendulkar's !!

Without any reason or logic, I am on Arnab's side. I just am.


I was dropped twice in my innings, but the bowlers bowled straight 99% of the time. And I still scored 50 runs before getting bowled.

AsifR, or is it.....Tendulkar gets favorable ratings even he pacifies the crowd....Lara gets favorable bias even when his square drive yeilds no run.

But low 'n behold...Tendulkar is more favorably biased compared to Lara (AND I AM NOT CONTRIBUTING AGAINST IT WITH MY OPINION HERE).

October 3, 2003, 02:47 PM
Haha! This is getting even more hilarious.

Multi-layered, multi-directional sarcasms
that probably even the speaker wouldn't be able to make sense of if he reads them later with a saner mind. Or is that the point itself? :)