AS if the Australian cricket fan didn’t have enough to worry about.
Hot on the heels of a Test loss to lowly New Zealand comes a claim that Sachin Tendulkar has officially usurped Sir Don Bradman as the greatest Test batsman to have played the game.
Griffith University researcher Dr Nicholas Rohde has used economic theory to compare batsmen from different eras, and says India’s Little Master, who will pad up against the Aussies at the MCG on Boxing Day, is history’s premier willow wielder.
“The rankings are designed to allow for meaningful comparisons of players with careers of different lengths,” Dr Rohde said.
“It’s an emotional issue and there will always be debate between followers of Test cricket about the relative career performances of various batsmen.
“Essentially each player is scored according to their career aggregate runs, minus the total number of runs that an average player of that era would accrue over the same number of innings.
Sir Don played 52 Tests for Australia from 1928 to 1948, scoring 6996 runs at a peerless average of 99.94. He died in 2001 aged 92.
Debuting in 1989, Tendulkar, now 38, has amassed a world-record 15,183 runs from 184 Tests at an average of 56.02.
Tendulkar, who Bradman once described as the player who most reminded him of himself at the crease, is seeking an historic 100th international century in Australia this summer.
The diminutive right-handers are ranked very tightly together at the top with scores of just over 4000, but are a couple of pitch lengths ahead of the rest of the batting pack, led by current South African player Jacques Kallis a further 1000 points in arrears.
Allan Border (seven) and Steve Waugh (nine) are the other Australian batsmen in Dr Rohde’s historical top 10.
A relatively poor 2011 for former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting (11) cost him a top 10 spot.
It’s not all bad news for The Don, however, in Dr Rohde’s cricket laboratory.
The “live” nature of the table’s calculation means Tendulkar could give up his place at the top if his run-scoring ways desert him.
Dr Rohde’s said it was possible that the two players could, in fact, switch places many times before Tendulkar retires.
Sachin Tendulkar (IND)
Sir Donald Bradman (AUS)
Jacques Kallis (SA)
Rahul Dravid (IND)
Brian Lara (WI)
Sir Garfield Sobers (WI)
Allan Border (AUS)
Sunil Gavaskar (IND)
Steve Waugh (AUS)
Javed Miandad (PAK)