Before we begin, I would like to say that comparing batsmen across generations is not a good idea but I couldn’t resist the temptation and committed this cardinal sin. To select the contenders for this elusive title, I kept different criteria for batsmen of different generations. For the generation of Viv Richards, the minimum (min) average was 40.00 while the min strike rate (SR) was 65.00. For the generation of Sachin Tendulkar, the min average was 40.00 and the min SR was 80.00. For the generation of Virat Kohli, the min average was 45.00 and the min SR was 85.00. Moreover, to be available for selection, one must have scored more than 6,000 runs in his career. While a number of greats could not be selected, I would specially like to mention Zaheer Abbas who has an exemplary record for his time with an average of 47.8 and a strike rate of 84.8. He only scored 2,572 runs in his career and it would be unfair to compare him with players who had a much longer career. So fasten your seat-belts as we compare One Day International (ODI) giants of different era for the title of Stat Sensei Greatest ODI Batsman of All Time.
The 3 most important stats in which a player can earn a maximum of 200.0 points. The other batsmen are given points as a ratio of their performance to the top batsman.
#01 Prolific: This criteria favours longevity, i.e. players who outlasted their rivals to score tons of runs. Before you see the table, here is an explanation of the criteria. For the criteria Prolific, we took the dates of the career of a batsman. Like for Virat Kohli, these dates would be Aug 18, 2008, his ODI debut; and Feb 11, 2020, when he played his last ODI. Then we saw which batsman, apart from Kohli, scored the most runs in this period. This batsman was Rohit Sharma, who scored 8644 runs in this period. We then divided the runs scored by Kohli in his career so far, i.e. 11867 by the runs scored by Sharma in this period, i.e. 8644, to get the factor: 1.37. We applied the same method for all the selected batsman. Like for A B de Villiers, his nearest competitor was Kumar Sangakkara and the factor came out to be 0.87. Now Kohli, whose factor is the highest, will get points like that: 1.37/1.37 X 200.0 = 200.0. While ABD will get points like that: 0.87/1.37 X 200.0 = 126.49.
#2 Consistent: In the criteria Consistent, we compare the Relative (R) Average of the players. For this we found the Ave of all other players who were involved in matches played by a certain player (O Ave). Like for Viv Richards, the O Ave was 25.24. So, while Sir Viv scored at an average of 47.00, other players in the matches he was involved scored at 25.24. Now we applied the same method to all the selected batsmen. Then we found out whose O Ave was the highest. The batsman was Rohit Sharma, whose O Ave was 32.44. Now, we divide the O Ave of Rohit Sharma by the O Ave of all players to find the Average Factor. So, for Viv Richards, Ave Fac is: 32.44/25.24, i.e. 1.29. Now we multiply the average of Sir Viv, i.e. 47.00 with this factor to arrive at the Relative (R) Ave of: 47.00 X 1.29 = 60.41. This method evens out the eras and pitches as you divide the highest O Ave by the O Ave of all the batsmen. In this context, you may see the R Ave of Viv Richards as the average he would have if he played against similar opposition, in similar era and in similar pitches as Rohit Sharma. As the R Ave of Sir Viv is the highest he will receive 200.0 points while all others will receive points as a percentage of his R Ave.
#3 Brisk: Points given for quick scoring ability, i.e. the strike rate. We did the same thing to strike rate as we did to average to arrive at the R Strike Rate. Rating is then calculated as a percentage of R Ave of the player who tops the list.
8 other criteria in which a player can earn a maximum of 100.0 points. The other batsmen are given points as a ratio of their performance to the top batsman.
#1 Dominant: Points given for boundary hitting ability. This is calculated by the balls taken to hit a boundary. To compare batsmen across generations, we found out what was the balls/boundary of other batsmen (O BL/BN) in matches they were involved. Then we used the previously mentioned method to rate the batsmen.
#2 Big Innings Consistency: Points given for average number of innings taken to score a hundred. To compare batsmen across generations, we found out what was the Inns/100 of other batsmen of their generation (O INNS/100). We again used the previously mentioned method to rate the batsmen.
#3 Big Innings Potential: Points given for the 5 highest scores in your career. Ave High Score is simply calculated by adding your top 5 scores and dividing it by 5.
#4 In Top Form: Points given for most runs scored in a calendar year. Here we again used the same method as in the Prolific criteria. To make it fair for the earlier generation, we put in a competitor, who scored the most runs in a year during the time they were active. If you outscored your greatest rival, your factor is more than 1, else it is less than 1. Rating is thus given according to the ratio between the most runs you scored in a year and the runs scored by your competitor in a year.
#5 Against Top Opposition: Points given for R Ave and R Strike Rate against teams which had a better than 1.0 Win Loss Ratio during the time you were active as a player. These oppositions vary according to the period you played. R Ave and R SR by were calculated by using the previously mentioned method. Points are calculated by the formula: R Ave X 2.5 + R SR.
#6 In Victories: Points given for R Ave and R SR in innings in which their nation won the match. We found out the Ave and SR of their team members in victories. We then found R Ave and R SR by the previously mentioned method. Points are calculated by the formula: R Ave X 2.5 + R SR.
#7 At The Big Stage: Points given for R Ave and R SR against top opposition in World Cup cricket. Top oppositions are the teams who reached the semi-finals or had a greater than or equal to 1.0 Win Loss Ratio in a particular World Cup. Points are calculated by the formula: R Ave X 2.5 + R SR.
#8 Bossing A Tournament/Series: Points given for most runs scored in a single series or tournament. There is no adjustment here as players of all eras had an opportunity to score big in a tournament.
The Final Rating
Total number of points in the 11 criteria reduced to per 1,000 points.