Why Sachin Is Not Even Close To Being The Best Batsman in The World

Coming straight to the facts,

If we looked purely at cumulative runs scored then this article would be very short.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar had amassed 15,921 Test runs after the first innings of his final Test on Thursday, which is about 2,500 more runs than any other cricketer.

But while Tendulkar dominates in terms of overall runs he's also way ahead in terms of number of games played.

His final Test is his 200th. That's 32 more than Ponting played and 68 more than Lara. Kallis is 36 games behind and Sangakkara a full 83.

So perhaps a fairer way of comparing cricketers is by looking at averages?

This brings cricketers who played decades ago into the picture. In previous generations, cricketers played far fewer matches, so no-one whose career ended before 1950 features among the top 35 all-time aggregate Test run scorers.

But when you look at averages, the man who reigns supreme is Australian Donald Bradman, who played for 20 years between 1928 and 1948.

Incredibly, Bradman ended his career with his average at 99.94. No other batsman gets close.

Like many great batsmen, his average has fallen in the twilight of his career, however. So might an even better way of measuring a player's greatness be to examine how he performed at the peak of his powers?

The International Cricket Council (ICC) player ratings allow you to do this by valuing each player's performance based on various circumstances in a match, such as the level of run-scoring and the standard of the opposition. The ICC gave Tendulkar his highest rating in 2002, when he was awarded a "score" of 898 after a Test against Zimbabwe.

But that is only the 29th highest of all time.

Ferriday, author of Masterly Batting: 100 Great Test Centuries, created his list of favourites based on a number of different criteria: "Tendulkar's reputation is based on his longevity, consistency and the fact he has played his whole career under the pressure of being an Indian icon," says Ferriday.

"But I don't think he played the stellar innings that Brian Lara played. Most of Lara's centuries were innings that either saved his team from losing or enabled them to win. Tendulkar's were often hidden amongst those of his team-mates."

But there is one big intangible that has made Tendulkar's career different from almost any other player's – the weight of expectation.
Tendulkar has batted for 24 years under the gaze of a billion devoted Indians. It could be argued that the fact he's survived and revelled under these conditions is a better indication of greatness than any number could ever be.

"Outside grounds, people wait until he goes in before paying to enter," Shane Warne once said. "They seem to want a wicket to fall even though it is their own side that will suffer. This is cricket as Sachin has known it since the age of 16. He grew up under an incredible weight of expectation and never buckled once."

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