Friday, March 20, 2009

Sachin & 500 Club

The last line in the Cricinfo stats article made me think of India's 500 performance. The line was:
Thanks largely to Tendulkar's 160, India managed their first 500-plus score in New Zealand
The question i had in my mind was - what is the relationship between India's overseas 500 run record and Sachin's performance in those matches.

Thanks to Cricinfo stats, i soon could tabularize the performance of all countries abroard. Australia (unsurprisingly!) led the way with 46 scores of 500 & above while England (39) and India (27) trail the Aussies. I was surprised that India was ranked so high. Since India prior to 2000 was known as home tigers, i didn't expect them to post huge overseas scores. 

India's record look good. They have scored seven 500s abroad than they allowed their opponents to score at home. Then, i had a hunch when i looked at England (39) and West Indies (26) figures. Maybe, most of these came  from pre-1990 era. So, filtering the above table for Sachin era, the result is startling:

Of India's 27 scores of 500+ in Test Cricket, 22 of them came in the last 19 years. What's more - Sachin played in 19 of these matches (Sachin missed in the 2006 WI tour as well as the 2005 Zimbabwe tour where Sourav & Greg clashed!). India (to my surprise!) has the best record with 22 scores of 500+ and allowing only 7 such scores from it's opponent at home. The 22 scores also indicate the golden period of India's Fab Three/Four/Five. All but one came after the debut of Ganguly & Dravid. Post-Sehwag's introduction, the frequency of these mega-scores have increased. The +15 record indicates that India has adopted better to foreign conditions better than opponents have adjusted to Indian conditions.

In the 19 matches, Sachin's record is phenomenal. His record stands as 19 Matches, 26 Innings, 2368 runs, Average of 124.63, 11 Centuries, 5 fifties and only 1 duck. What a stat! I don't have similar figures for Dravid & Sehwag (am sure, Laxman & Ganguly won't have 100+ average) but will try & put that out soon. India lost only one match - the infamous Sydney test match and won 7 times in 19 matches. Interestingly, India has never won a match pre-Sachin era when it scored 500+ abroad. It drew 4 matches & lost 1 (500 scored after being asked to follow-on with a deficit of 386 runs)

Coming back to the Master - Sachin & the Fab-five performance overseas having a direct link to our away record is probably one of the most underappreciated aspect of Indian cricket (the other - Kumble's contribution to Indian test victories)

Edit: Dravid's record in India's 500+ matches abroad: 19 matches, 25 innings, 2277 runs, Average of 103.50 with 9 centuries and 8 fifties & 1 duck. Which one of these 2 is better? That i am not sure. Dravid however has 3 double-centuries - the famous Adelaide Test match, the famous Rawalpindi Test match and the 217 in Oval while Sachin's 248 in Sydney was a drawn match & 248* against minnows Bangladesh. His near-200s - the 193 in Headingley was made on the foundation of Dravid's spectacular 148 & 194* in Multan was a support role to Sehwag's 309. However Tendulkar has one second inning century (against Sri Lanka) while Dravid has none. So, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I give Tendulkar's record a slight edge over Dravid.

Sehwag's record isn't Bradmansque. That's mainly because it is more hit-or-miss. There are 3 centuries - his 309 Multan special; whirlwind 180 in WI and the 151 second innings special in Adelaide. Apart from these efforts, there is no other significant effort in his 13 matches, 17 innings, 1135 runs, 66.76 average, 3 centuries and 2 fifties.

As i expected, VVS & Ganguly's records weren't extra-ordinary. VVS played 16 matches, 22 innings, 1162 runs, 58.10 average with 4 centuries, 4 fifties and 1 duck. His 148 in Adelaide followed by 178 in Sydney in the 2003-04 Aussie tour and a century in the ill-fated Sydney test showcases his preference for Aussie attack. Against the rest, he has a century in Zimbabwe and some fifties here & there though in his defense, his role at No. 6 gave his too few opportunities. Ganguly however cannot complain about lack of opportunities. He has the worst record of the Fab-5 in matches overseas where India has scored 500+. His stat line of 15 matches, 19 innings, 982 runs, 51.68 average, 3 centuries, 7 fifties and 1 duck doesn't look great. He started off well - 136 in Nottingham in his debut series & 128 in the match at Headingley where Tendulkar & Dravid collected centuries - both in English environment. His only other century kick-started the Ganguly-Chapell spat (century in Zimbabwe). 

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