The "Bradman Class": An Exploration of Some Issues in the Evaluation of Batsmen for Test Matches, 1877-2006
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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Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
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