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Does India deserve to be number one!

December 25, 2009 - Posted in Crib , Cricket Posted by:

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There has been a lot of nonsense written about why India does not deserve to be the best test team in the ICC Rankings. Example here. There have been a lot of rebuttals as well. Example here. This post is yet another rebuttal of the same.

Let’s look at batting for a while. In the past three years, starting 01 Jan 2007, five of the top ten run scorers in the Test format, excluding runs scored against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and WI, have been from India. SL, SA, Australia, England, and WI have one each in the top 10. Not too bad I would say. Even the great Ricky Ponting is on the 15th step, which really makes you wonder why no one calls him over the hill anymore, but I digress. A team that has the best batsmen of the last three years must have something in it.

Rank Player Country Mat Inns Runs HS Ave SR 100 50
1 V Sehwag India 21 38 2137 319 57.75 91.52 5 7
2 SR Tendulkar India 26 47 2126 160 50.61 54.96 6 12
3 DPMD Jayawardene SL 18 31 2081 275 74.32 52.06 7 6
4 VVS Laxman India 29 50 2053 200* 52.64 49.86 4 15
5 JH Kallis SA 22 39 2009 186 55.80 49.50 8 9
6 MJ Clarke Aus 24 40 1983 145* 55.08 51.33 7 10
7 R Dravid India 29 54 1966 177 40.12 41.07 4 11
8 S Chanderpaul WI 22 37 1933 147* 71.59 42.06 7 13
9 G Gambhir India 14 27 1869 206 71.88 50.91 7 7
10 KP Pietersen Eng 22 40 1830 152 46.92 55.92 7 3
11 KC Sangakkara SL 17 29 1793 192 64.03 56.03 7 7
12 SC Ganguly India 21 41 1761 239 47.59 59.01 3 9
13 AJ Strauss Eng 22 40 1757 177 45.05 45.45 5 8
14 HM Amla SA 22 40 1730 176* 48.05 47.51 5 11
15 RT Ponting Aus 24 41 1699 150 42.47 60.78 4 11

Now for the bowling. The list is much more evenly distributed this this. Three of the top ten bowlers, with same filters as above, are from India, with SA claiming another three, Australia two, and England and SL one each. Though bowling still remains a concern for the Indians, it is no better for the other teams. SA is arguably the strongest in this department, but then with Steyn injured and Ntini fading quickly, they might not enjoy the same status for long.

Rank Player Country Mat Inns Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Ave Econ SR 5 10
1 Harbhajan Singh India 23 41 1209.5 182 3465 105 33 2.86 69.1 4 1
2 MG Johnson Aus 23 44 942.4 168 2937 104 28.24 3.11 54.3 3 1
3 DW Steyn SA 17 32 598.2 107 2119 96 22.07 3.54 37.3 7 3
4 Z Khan India 22 40 821.4 168 2640 83 31.8 3.21 59.3 4 0
5 JM Anderson Eng 22 41 839.4 174 2867 82 34.96 3.41 61.4 4 0
6 M Ntini SA 22 42 724.5 142 2527 76 33.25 3.48 57.2 3 0
7 A Kumble India 18 33 902.3 147 2767 72 38.43 3.06 75.2 2 0
8 PL Harris SA 22 37 828 172 2290 71 32.25 2.76 69.9 3 0
9 B Lee Aus 15 30 612 117 1941 67 28.97 3.17 54.8 2 0
10 M Muralitharan SL 15 25 808.4 123 2381 67 35.53 2.94 72.4 4 1
11 Danish Kaneria Pak 13 25 759.4 124 2278 62 36.74 2.99 73.5 2 0
12 RJ Sidebottom Eng 14 25 582 140 1573 60 26.21 2.7 58.2 4 1
13 FH Edwards WI 18 32 507.3 61 2020 59 34.23 3.98 51.6 4 0
14 MS Panesar Eng 20 33 782 141 2305 58 39.74 2.94 80.8 2 0
15 CS Martin NZ 18 32 652.2 142 2061 57 36.15 3.15 68.6 0 0

The thing to note is that this data is for a three year period, and not for a one off year. So its not really a flash in the pan, but rather some sustained good performances by the Indian team. During this period, India has played an almost equal number of tests home (15) and away (14), so there is no real home advantage for the team.

I know that statistics don’t really tell everything, but they do tell you a few things, and what it does tell here is that India really has been a world’s best team for the past couple of years, even though SA are right on their tails.

All data from Cricinfo’s Statsguru. Batting and Bowling.

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