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