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GOAT – What should count? A case study

GOAT means Greatest of All Times

Recently I visited a club where Im a life member and have played cricket since childhood as well has had an opportunity to represent them in the local club cricket matches during my active cricket playing days. They have a Wall of Fame where I came across some very interesting statistics on some of the leading names who have represented India in International cricket. That set me thinking on how does one define a GOAT – Greatest of All Times such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Garry Sobers and ofcourse Sir Don Bradman. While the statistics for each of them speak volumes about their performance, since each of them played in different eras, it becomes difficult to do a fair comparison. Instead of doing a deep dive into them, I decided to take a case study of 3 players whose key career statistics has been listed in the table below. These 3 players who have been leading batsman for Mumbai, playing a significant role. They also have represented the Indian cricket team in international level as well but at different points in time. I have also included some interesting aspects of their career as a foot note. This should give you a clue on them.

Player #1No.Runs200s100sAvgHS
ODI741994 133105
First class14710252 3155377
Note:HS against Pakistan in Pakistan;Just  one 6 in  his Test Career 
Player #2No. Runs 200s 100s Avg HS
ODI210  5105
First class26019410 5751314
Note:HS against west Indies in WI; 3 6s inhis Testcareer   
Player#3 No. Runs 200s 100s Avg HS
Test553208 739189
First class19812887 5750283
Note:Not a single 6 in his test career;scored  100 in his  last  Test 

As you will notice, player # 3 not only has the highest aggregate runs scored in test cricket but also has played the highest number of tests (55) as well as has the best batting average (39). However, Player#1 has the highest Test score (218) marginally ahead of the Player#2 as well as a better batting average. Now Player#2 has been scored lot many runs in his overall first class career (19,410) way ahead of the other two.

Out of the 3 players whom will you rate as the best and on what count? Also how would you compare their contribution to the game in developing talent in Indian Cricket?

Let me pose some questions which will help you make a decision:-

1. Does the aggregate score matter or is it the average over the career that comes first?

2. Does the longevity in continuing to play selflessly because of your love for the game by roughing it out to play at the grass roots even when it does not make a difference to you but just to develop younger talent matter?

3. Does the versatility in being selected to represent the country in multiple formats of the game matter?

Go ahead, make your choice and share your comments. Also I will be curious to know if you have been able to guess the names of the 3 players mentioned in the table above?

Cheers !!!

Published by Salil Datar

Eager beaver , enthusiastic but amateur blogger !!

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