Tuesday, January 19, 2010

About Time, Neh?


I don't know why this makes me so happy, but I'm so happy this happened. About bloody time, I think.

Here are couple of things that are vitally important to know.
  • When the Filmfare award for Best Cinematography went to Murthy for Kaagaz Ke Phool, he was actually in Greece where Guru Dutt had sent him, to learn what he could from the making of The Guns of Navarone!
  • There is a long and lovely audio interview with Murthy available on the Kamla Bhatt Show website.
  • There used to be a lovely interview with Murthy in PDF format at Sarai, can't seem to find it now. I'm pretty sure I have it downloaded somewhere, let me see.

Some data are presented, thanks to Cricinfo's wonderful searching, filtering, sorting and querying capabilities.

Of course, several of you will scream bloody murder. In the interest of fairness, we present this.

Determining who the better batsman is, is left as an exercise for the reader. [Hint: The relevant numbers that should help clinch the issue are marked in bold in the pictures.]

P.S.: Inspiration? This.


Thomas said...

What's the difference between the 3rd and 4th pair of rows in the first table? Mespots a mislabelling.

Thomas said...

Oh, I get it. The 4th pair of rows refers to away records.

Ludwig said...

[Thomas] Yes, you spot correctly, thank you. In the fullness of time, I will perhaps amend. And expand the study to include Lara as a control case :P

Anonymous said...

you could include lara as a control case if you forget he was known to get bad decisions in Australia. I mean, like, terrible decisions. His last time in Australia, he was given out dubiously thrice out of the 6 innings he played.


Ludwig said...

[Rajagopal] If Lara were to be included as a control case, we will only take matches in which Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar didn't play each other's teams + Ban and Zim. So the bad decisions against Australia would get ruled out of Lara's career, and also the fact that he played only 4 matches against Ban + Zim and didn't get the 'boost' the others got. Nevertheless, I didn't know Lara got bad decisions against Australia, so it would've been more serendipity than anything else!

King Julian said...

I'm not sure what is proved below the second row of figures :) What's the point of removing Aus and Ind and comparing averages?


Nitish said...

I like the bit about VK Murthy to lessen the sting in the subsequent paras. Very subtle:)
Ever considered how you could put the stats in perspective of how the overall team was doing? The Aussie team was an unbeatable force for most part of the time when Ponting has been a part of the team, and not just because of Ponting but because of other players in their ranks like the Waughs, McGrath,Warne, etc. The mental aspect of this supremacy had a detrimental affect on the opposition bowlers and consequently helped Ponting reap his riches. Also consider that Ponting for most part has batted after Hayden and Langer who were by far the most succesful opening pair of their generation while Tendulkar had to follow the likes of Vikram Rathore, S Ramesh, SS Das, Nayan Mongia, Manoj Prabhakar and what not. Its easier to score a century when the score is 200-1 than when it is 14-3.
Though I do feel that for maybe 3-4 years in the noughties, Ponting was the best Test batsman around, but my point here is that stats by themselves are fairly incomplete to draw any kind of conclusions.

Emma said...

Totally with you on part one of the post. Was very happy too.

As for part two, you should send it to you_know_who :).

srini said...

You should look at renaming your post "Ludwig's Angina" for the stings u give...

Am sure the actual pain is a little subtler... :)

Just Kiddin said...

Don't forget a certain opener, middle name Manohar, who mastered the best ever pace attack over many years. Those of us who have seen him bat know that the greatest list must have him up there somewhere.

For an opener to average 50+ is much, much tougher than for a 1 down / 2 down bat.

I see a much ignored Sehwag hitting that list over the next 2 years.

Lets not forget Dravid.

But seriously: As long as their averages against quality attacks are in the 50s, all batsmen who have played about 100 tests are great.

Any further number analysis is useless.

Sudhir Pai said...

I dont know if it makes sense, but I think if you do want to compare their contributions to the teams, you should probably check the number of times the batsmen have been top scorers for the team. For instance a 79 when the next highest score is 35 is more valuable than a 194 when the highest score in the team was a
309. I'd really want to see how many times either tendulkar or ponting has been the highest scorer in the teams innings.

Priyambad said...

I think excluding Bdesh / Zumbabwe doesn't serve any purpose as you are assuming they have been pathetic throughout the years. Zimbabwe had brilliant bowlers in Heath Streak, Eddo Brandes and Paul Strang at one point who could be a handful on different conditions.

Also, case in point - The current test matches in India and Australia - Ricky scores against a much inferior Pakistan in ideal batting conditions where as Sachin scored against a much improved Bdesh hitting much above their weight. These can never be explained by doing jholjhal with numbers.

As Brian Lara has not been included as a control case, I will stop right here. If and when that happens UPA gaavernment will fall and etc etc mentioned in the audio clip will happen.

Priyambad said...

Almost forgot to thank you for the 1st part of the post on VK Murthy. Tum kahin bhawuk hokar --- Guns of Navarone? Weren't we supposed to...? ;)

Also - PDF please.

Anonymous said...

And I can come up with more stats

Consider away matches (all opponents)
Sachin: 54.78, 19 Centuries
Ponting: 49.23, 16 Centuries

OK. Nothing much there.

Consider away matches (exclude the lower half Ban, Zim,WI and NZ)

Sachin: 53.33, 18 Centuries
Ponting: 41.53, 9 Centuries

Hmmm.. May be.

Consider away matches (only between Aus, SA, Ind)
Sachin: 50.14, 9 Centuries
Ponting: 35.27, 4 Centuries


Inta chinna point ela miss ayyavu?

Anonymous said...

Last 3 years
Sachin: 56.34, 9 Centuries
Ponting: 45.29, 6 Centuries

Ludwig said...

[All] You guys have no clue what you're talking about. Do the numbers. I have. Maybe if I find the time I'll post them.

Nitish said...

eloquence thy name is ludwig...hyuk hyuk :)

D said...

saar, meeru peddavaallu saar

Thomas said...

Some commentification:

1. Yes, table 1 is absolutely the right measure to use: it's the only apples-to-apples comparison available.

2. But I'm not sure you should use row-pairs 3 and 4 from table 1 (which you've bolded); row-pair 2 might be better. Here's why. Ponting's average *rises* when you exclude matches against India; Tendulkar's average *falls* when you exclude matches against Australia. But you would expect exactly the opposite, seeing as how for most of their careers Australia had the best attack in the world while India, ahem, did not. It seems unfair to "penalize" Tendulkar for raising his game against the best team in the world (and conversely to "reward" Ponting for doing the opposite). So I think row-pair 2 is apter. Ponting still edges it but the margin is a lot smaller.

3. If you've done the numbers you can confirm/deny this (I would do it myself but I'm too lazy^H^H^H busy): I'm under the impression that Ponting's career stats (averages and century count) are heavily boosted by a golden run he enjoyed from 2002 through 2006. Before and after that period, his averages are, well, more average. Now, what's interesting is that there are a *lot* of batsman who likewise boosted their career stats by scoring heavily in precisely those years (Kallis, Dravid, Yousuf and Hayden spring to mind). But not Tendulkar! He was injured for much of that time (elbow, back, various other niggles) and could not capitalize on the easy pickings on offer. Of course one shouldn't make excuses for injuries, that's lame (pun fully intended, ha ha) but my point is that mere aggregation over entire careers may not be as revealing as a year-by-year comparison.

4. So, for a followup post: do some aggregate number crunching for all batsmen and all bowlers, year by year and also decade by decade. I suspect this will confirm the conventional wisdom that bowling attacks were markedly better in the 90s than in the 00s, and never weaker than in the middle years of the noughties. And I further suspect that it is *only* in those middle years of the noughties that Ponting outscores Tendulkar. (Ponting was pretty mediocre in the 90s, and he's been pretty mediocre the last couple years as well).

ludwig said...

[Thos.] WTF?!! Since when do you care so much about cricket? :P

My preferring row-pairs 3 (and to a lesser extent 4) have entirely to do with impeccable apples-to-apples type logic. Who knows how Tendulkar would've wilted against Kumble and Srinath or what sought of havoc Ponting would've wrought on Warne and McGrath? Ergo...QED.

> Ponting's average *rises* when
> you exclude matches against
> India; Tendulkar's average
> *falls* when you exclude matches
> against Australia.

Exactly. So basically it appears that you agree with my contention that Tendulkar is a decent batsman (50 avg.) with high scores against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and freakishly high scores against Australia. Ponting, contrariwise, is an extraordinary batsman, with a freakishly low rate of scoring against India.

Re: your #3 and #4, I'll leave it to the SRT devotees to do the number crunches and push-ups. I do have an axe to grind here - namely the mildly nauseating kiss-the-ground-that-he-treads on deification of Tendulkar that happens in certain parts, with scant respect for the numbers.

For example, a certain worthy ignoramus has posted in the comment space here that:

"Its easier to score a century when the score is 200-1 than when it is 14-3."

So like a good boy I went and did some serious spreadsheeting. I considered innings by innings where SRT and RTP both scored centuries, to see what the score was when they came in to bat. On an average, when they scored a century (i.e. "performed"), Tendulkar came in to bat when the score was 114.5 for 2.2 and Ponting at 52.8 for 1.5. Indeed, in all his 100s (39), Ponting has only come in 4 times when the score was in excess of 150. This whole legend that "Ponting comes to bat at 200 for 1 and Tendulkar comes in at 14 for 3" is just so much hogwash. If you're interested, I'll email you the spreadsheets.

SRT is an outstanding player, jolly good fellow, his consistency and longevity are phenomenal, and in my books he is definitely the 4th best batsman to have played for India (among the ones I've seen, the other 3 are left as an exercise for the reader).

But some perspective will be nice, is all I'm saying.

Varali said...

I've read that Sarai interview - wasn't it also in one of their Readers? Or maybe not.