I\'m not above anything,
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.