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The "Bradman Class": An Exploration of Some Issues in the Evaluation of Batsmen for Test Matches, 1877-2006

Listed author(s):
  • Borooah Vani K

    (University of Ulster)

  • Mangan John E

    (University of Queensland)

The assessment of batsmen in cricket is largely based upon their average score: a Test average of 50 or over provides a rule-of-thumb for distinguishing great players from the merely good; Donald Bradman, with the highest Test average ever achieved (99.94), is generally regarded as the greatest of all batsmen even though many of his other achievements have been eclipsed. However, a ranking based on simple averages suffers from two defects. First, it does not take into account the consistency of scores across innings: a batsman might have a high career average but with low scores interspersed with high ones; another might have a lower average but with much less variation in his scores. Second, it pays no attention to the value of the players runs to the team: arguably, a century, when the total score is 600, has less value compared to a half-century in an innings total of, say, 200. The purpose of this paper is to suggest new ways of computing batting averages which, by addressing these deficiencies, complement the existing method and present a more complete picture of batsmens performance. Based on these "new" averages, the paper offers a revised ranking of the top fifty batsmen in the history of Test cricket.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports.

Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 1-21

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:jqsprt:v:6:y:2010:i:3:n:14
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  1. Bracewell Paul J & Ruggiero Katya, 2009. "A Parametric Control Chart for Monitoring Individual Batting Performances in Cricket," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 5(3), pages 1-21, July.
  2. Lawrence M. Kahn, 1993. "Managerial Quality, Team Success, and Individual Player Performance in Major League Baseball," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(3), pages 531-547, April.
  3. Robert Brooks & Robert Faff & David Sokulsky, 2002. "An ordered response model of test cricket performance," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(18), pages 2353-2365.
  4. El-Hodiri, Mohamed & Quirk, James, 1971. "An Economic Model of a Professional Sports League," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(6), pages 1302-1319, Nov.-Dec..
  5. Ross Booth, 2004. "The Economics Of Achieving Competitive Balance In The Australian Football League, 1897–2004," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 23(4), pages 325-344, December.
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