Thursday, February 15, 2007

What Is Wrong With Tendulkar?

Let me start of by sharing a few myths that threaten to occupy collective consciousness of cricket following populace.

"He is not a match winner any more"

"India has lost the game in most of Tendulkar's high scoring matches"

"Lara and Ganguly have won more matches for their country than Tendulkar"

"Most of his centuries have come against cricket minions"

"He is a burden on the team and we would rather someone else don the cap that he wears for India"

The operating word here is "myth" - so let me try and demystify Tendulkar's non-performance for you.
Just a look at his record and a comparison with the fellow 'greats' tells you that you are lucky to have seen him play.

Table : Top batsmen in One-day format
India has emerged victorious 29 times from the 41 centuries of Tendulkar.

The charge I hear most often is these days that SRT labors for runs. Incidentally, the records tell a different story. The time taken to reach 10K milestone by the so called more aggressive batsmen has been more. More surprise, the career strike rates of the so called quick scoring willow-men are lower as well. Amongst all the batsmen who have score more than 5000 one day runs, only Gilchrist and Jayasuriya have a higher strike rate. Even the ‘explosive’ Ponting has a lower strike rate. Tendulkar has also been a handy bowler with a 147 wicket haul to boast about. Anyway, I know I need not wax eloquent about what Tendlya is capable of, numbers speak for themselves.

Table: Matches taken to get to the 10,000 milestone

He is often charged of plundering runs against the minnows. Let us look at the record of centuries scored against Minor cricketing nations viz., Namibia, Kenya, UAE, Netherlands, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe (though I believe that the Zimbabwe team of Heath Streak with the flower brothers was a good team. Remember the 3-0 white wash of the English team in 1996!)

Table: Performance against Cricket Minions

Thus, a whopping 32 centuries of Tendulkar have come against the greater cricketing powers with 6 of them against Australia. Even at 32 centuries he stands taller than all the other top run getters in ODI cricket!

Is Tendulkar a match winner? We will figure that out from the following analysis.

Table: Match winning capability

Let me explain how this table works. The first two columns are 100s and 50s made for the match-winning side by the player. Here, we see that Ponting firing means almost a certain victory for his team as the Aussies have returned victors for 86% of(f) all the matches that Ponting has scores a 50/100. But to the surprise of many Tendulkar doubters, we do win most of the times when Tendulkar fires! (Though we might all want that number of 63% to be a tad higher)

But hey! Tendulkar compares poorly with the other greats here. Why? Cricket is a team game and very often victory (or loss) is a function of how the rest of the team performs. So lets move on to the second half of the table. ‘Team performance’ is the number of matches won from all the matches that the player has played. ‘Team Dependency’ is the ratio of matches where the player has ‘scored’ and ‘Team performance – Matches won’. This ratio conveys the dependency of the team on the player for winning a match.

So Inzy seems to be blessed with a team that is least dependent on him for winning a match, he has fired in only 28% of the matches that his team has won with he as a member of playing eleven. Ponting has a lower number than most others. But that was expected, Aussies are a fearsome lot on the greens with each of the playing eleven a potential match winner! They have won 67% of all the matches that Ponting has played for them.

And unexpectedly (!), Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is the best that India has got! Though the above analysis shows that Lara (42%) is marginally better than Tendulkar (40%) when it comes to winning matches for the team, Tendulkar is undoubtedly better than anyone else! He has been instrumental to team victories 40% of the times the team has won which, as the table shows, is more than most ODI batting legends. On absolute numbers, he has won more matches for his team than anyone else.

And to answer the question that the title poses, NOTHING! Yes, he has had a miserable last year. But he looks in good nick! And every cricket fan in the country hopes (at least secretly) that Tendulkar sees us through in this world cup! After all, he is the highest run getter in the cup of all times. And in the matches that India has won, he has an average of about 80!

Table: World Cup Performance

With this last deluge of numbers, I sign-off. I think all the myths have been taken care of, except the first one. So, please to do a memory refresh, he was the Man-of-the-Series for the recently concluded ODI series with West Indies!


ashureema said...

First of all, Prateek - a great compilation!!! I am mightily impressed.

However you missed the point that I and Sumit had raised last time. The point was
1. We agree that Tendu is the best that India has ever produced and he is a great player
2. Last 1 year or so he is in miserable form and he should face the same fate as our Ganguly dada!

So to point 2 above, dependency of the Indian team on Ganguly is 38%; to Tendulkar is 40%.. so no great difference there eh? So why a different treatment to Ganguly than to Tendulkar?!

Also, even I (not so secretly) harbour a wish that our Tendu should fire and we should win the World Cup. I also have a broader wish that our team fires and wins the World Cup - no surprises here!

The only problem is - and it still remains unanswered - that Tendulkar hasn't been playing up to the high standards that are inevitably expected of him... and the question still remains to be seen whether Tendulkar still is the matchwinner that he most definitely was in the past!



Sumit said...

A man in need is a man indeed. No doubt that Tendy is a great player, player of the century,master of shots etc etc.

But in this materialistic world, what matter is "today" and that is sth where he seem to have lost the sheen.

Reality check (do with a hand on your heart)

Does he click these days when he is required the most?

Does he see India thru?

Are there shots which he orchestrate in crucial situations which are not warranted..

We cannot create a genius like him very often but today India needs match winner. They have not won much laurels for a decade.

jetsam-floatsam said...

I shall get back to you with some more analysis on your analysis...

JeevSingh said...

With Yuvi and Tendua playing..we can make it. Awesome effort Parle, I was just thinking if you had made this much effort for your seminar.

Prateek said...

@Jeev : One just cannot compare "Deformation processing of Zirconium alloys" and a discussion Tendulkar's batting prowess. But yes, one can definitely wonder about the possibilities!

@Ashu and Sumit: Last year, tendulkar was injury ridden for most part of the year.

And if you talk about equal standards(presume the only comparison is with Dada - would not waste time on drawing comparisons with veeru), Tendulkar has had a better average than dada for the last 7 years!! I could have added "much" before the "better average" but I would leave it to you to look up the numbers and decide for yourself (for 2 seasons - Sachin did not play a single match). This does include the time when Dada's captaincy was the toast of the entire country. And unequals cannot be meted out same treatment.

Match winner - yes! Sole match winner - NO! And thank god for that. With that I rest my case!