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World's best one-day batsman or flat-track bully?

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    World's best one-day batsman or flat-track bully?

    CricketLine's Tom Eaton assess the record of India's finest Sachin Tendulkar.

    One-day cricket is in air in Nairobi - alongside the vultures which arrived on Saturday to feast on the remains of Australia - which gives us pause to consider that old chestnut, a One-Day Greats team. Viv Richards, Wasim Akram, Sanath Jayasuriya, Michael Bevan all crowd into the picture, but one name slips as easily onto the top of the list as on-drives do off his bat: Sachin Tendulkar. Of course! we cry, we must open the innings with the Jewel of India.

    Heretics have a history of coming to sticky ends, so I'm off to Brazil as soon as this is published; for your devoted stats drone wishes to suggest the ultimate cricketing heresy. Namely, Sachin Tendulkar is a mediocre one-day player.

    Already the rotten cats start to fly. Twenty five centuries! Nearly 8000 runs! The man is surely one of the top three one-day players of the last 20 years!

    The statistics suggest a different picture. Yes, Tendulkar has an excellent average, a shade over 42 in 250 ODI's up to the start of the current African safari. But let us see whom he has scored those runs against.

    Sri Lanka's cricketing prowess is only a few years old: for most of the 1990's they were not serious opposition, and their bowling attack has always been a one-man show. In the context of this piece it is safe to group them with the minnows of world cricket. And it is these minnows which have taken such a mauling from that heavy MRF bat: Tendulkar averages 53.03 against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kenya, Zimbabwe and the UAE.

    12 of his 25 hundreds have come in 75 matches against those sides. So he can plunder weak attacks. So what? This proves nothing. He still averages 38.01 against the stronger nations, a more than healthy average.

    The damning evidence comes when we look at where he scores his runs. Previous Stats Entertainment pieces have proved statistically the commonly held belief that the Subcontinent is a batsman's paradise. While it never easy to score runs against the spin attacks of Asia on their pitches, it is, on the whole, easier to score their than elsewhere. And this is where Tendulkar cashes in.

    In 162 matches on Subcontinental or Asian tracks - in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sharjah and Singapore - he has scored 6605 runs at 46.51. Conversely, on the harder, quicker pitches of Australia, England, South Africa and the like, he has managed a mediocre 33.94. A staggering statistic comes when we look at where his 25 tons have been scored: just 3 were made outside Asia, one of those against a weak Zimbabwe side.

    True, he has played just 88 games outside Asia compared to 162 in; but at that proportion he should have made at least 8 hundreds outside of the Subcontinent. Clearly Mr Tendulkar is underachieving, in a big way. Add this to the fact that he has opened the innings 158 times, coming in when runs are there for the taking, and we see that Tendulkar's reputation is writing cheques his bat can't match.

    To put Tendulkar's efforts into perspective, Jacques Kallis - perhaps the most consistent batsmen in ODI's at the moment - averages 39 against the established nations, almost 6 more than Tendulkar. Kallis has also plundered the minnows, taking 48.6 per innings on average off Kenya, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and the UAE, but four of his 5 hundreds have come outside the Subcontinent.

    So how good is good in one-day cricket? We need look no further than Australia's Dean Jones. A career average of 44.61 in 164 matches speaks of a man who knew the business end of a cricket bat, but his figures are even more astonishing when one realises that he played without fielding restriction, usually coming in at number four or five, with a slightly softer ball to hit.

    If Tendulkar knows how to plunder weak attacks, Jones knew how to slaughter them. In 21 matches against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe (the minnows of the 1980's), Jones made 1012 runs at 92.00. Outside the Subcontinent, he pillaged runs at 45.27 per innings, notching up six of his seven hundreds.

    No one can deny that Tendulkar is a great player. But what he is great at is open to debate. His Test record is up there with the best but it is open to conjecture whether he suffers from the general Indian disease of struggling away from home or whether the rest of the side's inability to travel drags him down.

    Taxi! The airport, and step on it!

    Ehsan yaar, that's an intersting article, but most players are better in their home conditions. I have to say that I do rate Sachin as one of the top 3 batsmen in the world. Both he and Ganguly are fine players.

    Tendulkar, if he has a weakness, it is his inability to see matches through to the end. He gets out before the job is done, but with his style of play, that is par for the course.


      SRT's average against Aussies - 48
      against Pak - 36
      against SA -30

      SL is no longer minnows as far as ODI are concerned. They won world cup and that was not fluke. he played just 6 matches against Bangladesh and 5 against kenya so they do not count much.

      if u look at SRT's record as opener, it looks more impressive. if u had to make a team, it is anyone's guess if u would include SRT or Kallis, however great Kallis is in author's opinion.

      Again averages apart, what also matters is the situations and way in which runs are made. McGrath is arguably best fast bowler today. How SRT treated him in last game. Ther e have been many situations in which he had single-handedly made the team win. There have been also occasions on which he blew it away after going all the way like Bangalore test where India lost by 12 runs against Pakistan.

      If u are going to tell that everyone from Don Bradman to Viv Richards and from Ian Chappel to Ian Botham are idiots to sing praise of SRt, well u can..


        Undoubtly he is one of the best ODI players, and one hell of a great batsman.
        Ok ok, so he hit all those centuries against those teams? Didn't Sri Lanka win the World Cup in 96. Also, if you base it on those type of facts, then no one is perfect? Like how come Steve Waugh, Saeed Anwar, Brian Lara don't hit centuries against those weak teams then?

        Sometimes it's your day, sometimes it ain't. It's a game of chance.
        Two batsmen i can think of which he mentioned at present who hit half a century each game almost. Kallis and Bevan.

        There is something important in Tendulkar. Just watch how he plays his shots, across the ground, not those flying up in the air almost out shots. Very soft hands, I wouldn't rate him off the charts.

        If he was some guy who hits massive runs against basically those weaker teams, then he should have done better than 25 against Kenya. Game of chance again

        How come one day some guy gets 5 wickets, then the next game he gets 0? How come some guy hits a 135 and then next game he'll hit a 3, even against the same attack?

        Overall, I love watching Tendulkar play, and sure he may not what some believe, he's still world class stuff. Him, Bevan and Steve Waugh, I just love watching. Because they play strokes and runs nicely.


          There are three kinds of lies in this world :
          Lies, Damn lies and Statistics

          No matter how great a player is, it doesn't take too much of analysis to infer that he will make more runs on weak/placid wickets of the subcontinent than outside. So also against weak teams than against the stronger ones.

          At the end of the day , it all boils down to who can hit McGrath for a straight SIX. Tendulkar can, and I love him for that. Also for the way he handles pressure. Everytime he goes out to bat...there are 50 crores people who want him to come good which he does exactly that most of the much for temperament.


            I have to grudgingly accept Mr. Xtreme's point that Tendulkar doesn't see his side home. On that count he can be "blamed". But to be fair to him, no batsman in the world has to play under the kind of pressure that he does (i.e. that team folds when he goes).

            So while I think that Tendulkar has got a few problems, I think to even compare him with the current crop of batsmen is a joke. No one is close -- its as simple as that ! But thats my opinion which may be biased as I am from India. As far as critics like Tom Eaton are concerned, they can have their own views -- I can only laugh at his knowledge of the game, cause I have seen Tendulkar take on the best of Australian and South African bowlers and toy with them.

            PS: Hey Ehsan ... as the resident cricket expert in here, you should also give your opinion about Tendulkar along with the cut-and-paste . Let the situation in Kashmir not cloud your opinion

            [This message has been edited by BombayKid (edited October 09, 2000).]


              Hi Bombay Kid, I have already expressed my opinion regarding Tendulkar sometime ago. I think he is the best batsmen in the world today and a joy to watch when he is in full flow.


                The author of the article is a wise man, indeed. To write this sort of thing, the best follow-up must be a long sojourn in Brazil!!!

                I was watching this documentary on Sir Don Bradman, the other night. (Ok, so maybe another author can also prove that statistically Bradman was also a fluke who can only destroy midiocre bowling attack of Brits )

                In any case, the interviewer asked Bradman, why, in his opinion, no current batsman has been able to match the outstanding record of his.

                Bradman replied (this interview was taken some 5 years ago, as Bradman nowadays live a secluded live, away from media), that no batsman plays the shots in a way in which he (Bradman) used to play. He clarified that he used to close the face of the bat slightly, which gave him higher flexibility in playing. And also avoided giving catches to the fielders. Nowadays, the cricket coaches lay great emphasis in playing with an open bat, and showing the face of the bat.

                Sir Bradman, however added, that there is probably only one batsman, who plays exactly like he (Bradman) used to play. That batsman is Sachin Tendulkar.



                  Saeed Anwar is the best, forget the rest!!!

                  *V~V~V*He came, He saw, He conquered*V~V~V*



                    Interesting article.

                    For me - the best batsmen in the world are
                    Sachin Tendulkar, Saeed Anwar and Brian Lara.
                    In that exact order. If Tendulkar scores most of his runs in the Sub Continent then so what? Look at Bevan. All his runs have come in Australia - why isent anyone picking on him? Simply put - Tendulkar needs to score more outside the sub continent to help his team. Thats it. Not to satisfy anyone about his ability because there can be no question about that. Same goes for Saeed Anwar. He's got hundreds in both tests and ODI in Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa etc and he`s already the best opener in the world and the no 2 batsman behind Tendulkar - but Saeed too has to score more runs against South Africa....once again to help his team because he has a poor record against RSA and thats hurt his team since they rely so heavily on him to get the runs.

                    Believe In Angels.



                      when India & Pakistan were miserably losing their series 0-3 to Aussies in Australia, the only batsman who played confidently & bravely against McGrath, Lee & company on bouncy pitches was SRT.

                      This is under circumstances where on at least 3 of the 6 occasions, he was given out by a bad judgement - says Ian Chappell, one of the shrewdest brains.

                      he might be a flat-pitch bully, according to some. so judge the others by Bradman's quote!!!