Saturday, March 19, 2005

Is Sachin the greatest?

I wrote this in 2005 - how time flies! I would now change the order to (only modern time batsmen included):


1. Sachin Tendulkar
2. Ricky Ponting
3. Rahul Dravid
4. Brian Lara
5. Jacques Kallis


------------

"Sachin crosses 10K mark in Test matches"-- headline of every newspaper on that day. But there was a difference, the news didn't create much hype. Are the likes of Dravid, Sehwag taking over the "prime" role in the team, and more importantly in people's perception? This is not the question being discussed over here, though, just a food for thought.
Let us analyze the 4 others who had crossed this mark. I will not go into statistics for comparison. Instead, I consider other factors, which are undoubtedly, subjective and open for discussion.

Sunil Gavaskar: Opening batsman, easily the best Indian batsman for long. He played against the fierce pace attack of W. Indies (the famous 4-tuple), and Aussie attack(Jeff). His record of most runs in a series against W. Indies in W. Indies still stands. He didn't have the luxury of all modern protection equipments. Making runs while facing new ball, against the best attacks, with little support from the team, on seaming wickets, with minimum protection: really puts him in the Ivy league of batsmen.
Allan Border: A low middle order batsman, one of the finest captains in the game's history. Had to face old ball, or the second new ball. His strengths were performing in critical situations, partnerships with lower order, and setting an example as a captain.
Steve Waugh: Very much like Border. Middle order captain, great captain, known for his match winning innings, run accumulator.
Brian Lara: Highest individual score: 400. A middle order batsman of high class. When his bat comes down on the ball, from a high back-lift, for a flowing drive or punching pull, it really created fuzz around the stadium. His flow of batting is really exasperating  His career has been marred by ups and downs. But, the number of test matches, he has won single handed for W. Indies, really represents his high class, and temperament.
Sachin: Middle order batsman. Best in technique and makes batting an art. Enjoys an iconic status in India. Truly a "master blaster". Has only recently started getting support from the team. But, hasn't won enough test matches for India. Unfortunately, not a big match player.

Ranking them will be difficult and dicy too. While Waugh and Border represent the spirit of the game, Lara and Sachin represent the "aura" of the game. Gavaskar is the symbol of "class" of the game. I will put Gavaskar on top, as he was an opening batsman, got his runs against the best on juicy pitches. Lara will be above Sachin, for he has won more matches single handedly, played with an all time worst WI team, big match player, and has really set the batting standards high. The two Australians, were better captains for me, who were the masters at getting the team out of trouble.
Hence, the ranking is:
1. Sunil Gavaskar
2. Brian Lara
3. Sachin Tendulkar
4. Steve Waugh
5. Allan Border

Comments invited:)

19 comments:

Shubham said...

well as far as border is concerned he was not at all in the same league as the rest four. Look at the number of mathces he has played to get to 11000 odd runs. Steve has also played 160 odd mathces but his contribution was different(not as classy as rest 3 but still a living legend). Lara has been inconsistent at times and as far as gavaskar is concerned he was indeed the best test player amogst these 5 but as far as plundering the attack is concerned we all rate viv richards as an all time best and sachin in his hay days was close to viv's league.
So my ranking wud be
1. Sachin Tendulakar
2. Sunil Gav
3. Lara
4. Steve
5. Border

Shubham said...

well as far as border is concerned he was not at all in the same league as the rest four. Look at the number of mathces he has played to get to 11000 odd runs. Steve has also played 160 odd mathces but his contribution was different(not as classy as rest 3 but still a living legend). Lara has been inconsistent at times and as far as gavaskar is concerned he was indeed the best test player amogst these 5 but as far as plundering the attack is concerned we all rate viv richards as an all time best and sachin in his hay days was close to viv's league.
So my ranking wud be
1. Sachin Tendulakar
2. Sunil Gav
3. Lara
4. Steve
5. Border

Anonymous said...

test

Kumar Abhishek said...

See Pankaj pointed out that we are
going to COMPARE the five 10K test
runs getters. I think Border and
Waugh are very lucky to belong to
this genuinely elite club because
that atleast makes them stand alongwith the likes of Tendulkar,Lara, and Gavaskar. Definitely there is a huge queue of batting greats whom we should never forget before drawing any conclusions regarding the best Test Batsman. But for now I would like to compare Lara, Sachin and Sunny. First of all bringing Sunny
in this group for comparison is highly problematic and extremely difficult. The reason for this is he was an opening batsman and the other two are middle order ones.
The opening batsman knows absolutely nothing about the pitch's bounce/turn/cracks location and their relevance before he actually plays on it. The middle order batsman always has the advantage of knowing these things beforehand from his fellow batsmen. Sunny managed an average of around 50 and had good records even overseas, that tells the story regarding his grand class and
undoubtful brilliance. He was the genious as far as technique is concerned but things have changed now. Now the teams around the world are playing attacking cricket.
Sunny played cricket according to what it was like in those days, we should never label him as an defensive batsman. As we know he could not adjust well to the ODI format, but that was just because he was so perfect in test cricket.
Sachin and Lara as we know play strokeful cricket even in Test Cricket because these are values that they have learnt right from their coaching days. The two cannot beat Sunny technically, I feel Sachin is closer to him than Lara. Lara has got unique capability of playing long innings which Sachin lacks. But the consistency factor is with Sachin. Lara plays POWER cricket (Serena) while Sachin plays CLASS cricket(Graf). Sachin is a great teacher in himself. You can learn a lot about good batting by just watching Sachin's batting, every book shot just goes perfect(ex Straight Drive), and he has somewhat invented shot like Paddle Sweep which other batsman find very-very difficult to master. Lara also has quality foot work, I think it's best in the world but that is also gifted from home conditions: most of WI batsmen have great footwork bcs they are used to such tracks that they can't manage without footwork while for Indian batsmen most of them have poor footwork but still they perform well(Sehwag). Sachin I feel have managed well even in this field, he has good footwork if not as great as Lara.
Few points I have missed out like pressure situations/match-winning innings, for comparison between Lara and Sachin, I will try to cover them also later. But believe me my rankings won't change even then:)..
The conclusion I would like to draw is Sunny and Sachin have been best in their times and I don't find significant difference in their calibre as Test batsman but definitely they both are way ahead of Lara.
1.Sachin-Sunny
2.Lara
Waugh and Border stand nowhere near these greats:).

pango said...

Abhishek,
You are forgetting/neglecting some of the facts regarding Lara:
1. His great batting record against England and Australia at home and abroad.
2. Remember, his match winning innings in Australia in Sydney (213).
3. He holds the record for max %age of runs out of team total(about 70%), and that too multiple times.
4. He has the max no of innings in all time greatest innings of the century, compiled by Wisden.
Talking abt his technique, his pull shots and cover drives are as graceful as Sachin's straight drives.

Kumar Abhishek said...

Okay let's start with Lara's great record against England and Australia. Lara's average against these teams is 62 and 51 respectively while Sachin's average against these two teams is 76 and 53 respectively, I am sure you all must be taken by surprise for an advantage of 14 by Sachin against Lara's favorite team England:). Please note that the average of 62 consists of a 400 notout and a 375 otherwise that would have been around 45, this is not to discredit him from his good knocks but it just reflects the kind of batsman he is...When he is in full flow he is devastating and as dominating to be among the very best in the world but the thing is he is incapable in continuing with his form and you just find spikes of great innings in his career that makes him stand in comparison of Sachin. He has been extremely inconsistent but some of his great innings become so much imprinted and deeply etched in our memories that we tend to think of him only in terms of those innings and forget what he does apart from it, this was the case against England also, we just thought of 375 and 400 but forgot the other 50 innings he has played against England in comparison to Sachin. His record against these two teams has been fantastic if you don't compare with Sachin but when you come down to comparison with genious like Sachin you have to be really great inorder to beat him in records:)...
I fully agree that Lara has played some really brilliant knocks, these knocks have so deeply overwhelmed us that we only remember innings and forget the other huge part of his batting career...I must use the word POOR for his performance during most of his batting career as compared to Sachin...Lara was in dark in recent times i.e. 3-4 years when compared with Sachin till he struck 400 and ppl forgot all those years of clear dominance by Sachin, one innings makes such a huge difference and again the comparison was ON...
I would like to share what I have interpreted about Lara's batting and attitude...
He bats well in an innings and then I feel he is simply satisfied with himself and doesn't care to do the same in the next 10 innings, somewhat similar to our Azharuddin who used to bat only when his position in the team was being questioned:)(Please don't misinterpret me Lara is way way ahead of Azhar)...The other thing that always troubles me when ppl say Sachin is not a match-winner...We all know what service he has done to the Indian team in all the World Cups, entire '92-'99 phase and every now and then in recent team wins but definitely now Indian team doesn't rely only on him...There was a time when India hasn't won even 1 one-day without Sachin's fifty for over 50 ODI matches...This reflects the level of dependance on this man...
I mean we all know what it used to feel when Sachin got out in an ODI...I agree now things have changed a bit when Dravid/Sehwag have shouldered the responsibilities...Now for tests I am unable to understand if a batsman scores a century in first innings and his team wins the match, is he not a match winner? I label such players match winners and strongly feel that Sachin is a great match winner...Lara may be good in chasing the target and achieving wins/draws for his team but that also depends on a number of factors...First of all WI team has nothing to lose in all those games bcs they are really underrated team hence the stakes involved are not that great, even if they lose another match nothing goes that wrong with them, so Lara can go out and just enjoy his cricket if he succeeds then he is hero otherwise it really doesn't matters, while for Sachin the equations are different, if he goes out there and starts playing his natural game and if he fails he would be taken as an villain...Also expectations are immense from Indian team than from WI team so stakes are high...
Believe me you all please just sit-down and if you even want to compare these two even on records basis you will find Sachin way ahead of lara, please don't go by instincts or general feelings, just look what Lara has done in his 180 innings apart from the great 10...As far as records like max percentage runs are concerned believe me there is a huge list of records under the belts of Sachin which I believe nobody could match:)...

Anonymous said...

PRANJAL JOSHI SAID-
1.sunil gavaskar was one of the slowest batsman of his time who was never known for the one dayers.
2.brian lara is undoubtedly a genius but has sparked very high as well but oin few very rare ocassions.
3.allan border(not going by records) played for making records.
4.steve waugh was a great player...a great all-rounder undoubtedly...when it comes to just batting...he won't be rated that well. for me he is as good as gilchrist or ponting or mark waugh.
just stretching a bit i may consider the complete australian batting order in that list.
5.sachin tendulkar(the greatest undoubtedly)-
i.in his time there has been no support to him from any other batsman in the indian time(for most of his career)...when he has performed well,it has been a one man show(leaving exceptions).
ii.the facilities and the strata of cricket we have in india is disgusting.
iii.his records are exceptional in nature as well(odi runs,no. of man of the matches,centuries).
iv.he has been a gentlemman in a gentleman 's game(not all of them have been so.
my rating-
1.sachin tendulkar.
2.brian lara.
3.steve waugh.
4.sunil gavaskar.
5.allan border.

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