Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blame BCCI, not ICC for Tendulkar's ratings

There has been quite an uproar in India regarding the Test & ODI all-time rankings. What people fail to understand is that the list represents the highest rating ever achieved by a player according to their methodology and as per the list, Sachin's best test & ODI moment have been upstaged by quite a crowd. I have no qualms in the ranking and amused seeing Television commentators looking puffed up and all serious when criticizing anything related to the master. Relax, folks - it is just a ranking. There are better things to channel your anger. Gotcha? (Thanks Palin, this stupid term is the "official" OK in our residence!)

Is the ranking a good reflection of Tendulkar's career. I think so. I feel the following reasons have pulled Tendulkar's rating downwards:

  1. The ranking lays importance to wins and Tendulkar hardly saw any of them during the first 10 years of his career outside India. When i checked with Cricinfo Statguru (quite a good tool, i should say), i noticed that India won 1 TEST MATCH AWAY FROM HOME between 1989 and 1998 in Sri Lanka and Tendulkar scored a century in the second innings of the match. In this period, Tendulkar played 39 matches and scored 11 centuries (including 4 in losing cause)
  2. BCCI - The eternal problem creator, has a hand in Tendulkar's low rating. BCCI doesn't like Test Cricket as it eats into the time available to them for hosting ODI matches. Else, show me one other nation where tours don't have proper practice matches. BCCI would rather have the Indian team lose the first test match rather than lose revenues on 2 meaningless ODI games. The reason why i hold is multiple:
  • BCCI guilty is lack of arranging 4/5-game series. Tendulkar has played 10 four-match series and 3 five-match series (8 of these four match series and all three five match series have been abroad) in his career. Thanks to BCCI's indifferent attitude, Sachin has played just 2 four-match series in his career. He made 4 centuries in those 13 matches and averages 65+ in these matches. Reasonable to expect that as 4/5 match series provides platform for improvement on adjustment to conditions. In contrast, records of Steve Waugh (16 four-match series, 12 five-match series and 3 six-match series - 12.5% of his matches are in 4 matches+ test series) and Brian Lara (19 four-match series, 11-five match series and 2 six-match series - 24.4% are in 4 matches+ test series) show they played in longer series than Tendulkar (8.3% of career in 4 matches+ test series). BCCI HAS FAILED TENDULKAR BY NOT HOSTING 4 MATCHES+ SERIES IN INDIA MORE OFTEN.
  • In the common period between 1 Jan 1991 and 2 Jan 2004, when all three players played test cricket, the following is the number of test matches played by each country - Australia (148), England (147), West Indies (124), South Africa (112 from 1992), Sri Lanka (106), Pakistan (105), India (103) and NZ (102). Of the 103, India played just 46 matches at home (44/6%) while England (53.75%). Sri Lanka (52.83%), Australia (51.35%), NZ (50.9%) hosted more home games than away games. Should i say anything more? BCCI HAS FAILED TENDULKAR IN NOT PLAYING TEST MATCHES OFTEN ENOUGH.

Not that i find Tendulkar to be entirely faultless - he made centuries but not huge centuries. 170 - 190 run band was always a problem for him (every other player would have loved to have that problem!). Tendulkar crossed 150 on 17 occasions but made only 4 double-centuries. He never encashed his opportunity against weak teams (something that everyone should learn from the way Sri Lankan players pummel Zimbabwe & Bangladesh regularly these days!) except for one double-century against Bangladesh in 2004. 

ODI comparison soon (if at all!)

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