Thanks for the support on part 1 of this post. There were some comments, many re-tweets and likes for the original post, but perhaps the best part was when Sachinist.com reached out to me for my permission to republish the blog on their website! Part 1 is now re-published on their website and by now, has 300+ likes! 🙂
As promised, in the concluding part of the post, I will focus on comparing Sachin with Sachin, i.e. I will compare Sachin’s current form (which Sachin haters are questioning) with his overall career (which even the harshest Sachin-critics can not challenge).
A method to analyze a batsman’s form through the years is to track a running average for 10 innings, i.e. instead of drawing a graph for scores in each innings, an average is calculated for every 10 innings (i.e. 1-10, then 2-11, 3-12 and so on) and a graph is drawn for these running averages. This allows us to take into account fluctuations in a batsman’s form over a period of time and get rid of temporary peaks and troughs that a single double century or a duck may create.
In the graphs below, I have plotted both the career average as well as running average at each point in Sachin’s career. So at any point the running average graph is higher than the career average, you can assume that Sachin is in a very good form (Anything higher than his terrific career average has to be terrific!) and if the running average is below the career graph, perhaps he is relatively (remember, relatively!) out of form.
Check out the above graph and decide if Sachin is really at the lowest point in his career; so low that his critics and many former Cricketers want him to be dropped from the team. Far from it, in fact in ODIs, his current performance is comparable to his overall career (until recently it was higher than his career form).
In tests, though the current performance is lower than the career average graph, it is far from being Sachin’s lowest point in his career. I guess most Sachin fans remember that dreadful word “Endulkar” that was used to describe him being out of form and indicated that he was nearing his career end. As you can see from the graph, that dip in form was quite deep and lasted for a long, long time. But he fought back and showed that he still had a lot of Cricket left in him! I am sure he will bounce back again very soon! (And before you get too hung up on the fact that his test form is below his career form, remember that it is still around 40, which is considered quite decent for most other batsmen!)
Finally, here is another set of snapshots to show that Sachin’s current form is consistent with his complete batting career. The following pie charts compare a breakdown of Sachin’s scores by score-ranges.
In ODI, If you see carefully, the share of non-performance (0-24 runs) and average performances (25-49 runs) has more or less stayed the same. (Combined 68% for the whole career, and 69% for last two years) What has definitely risen is the share of great performances (100+ scores) and extra-ordinary performance (150+scores). Sachin haters, Is that what you call as being terribly out of form?
In test matches, the picture is even clearer. The share of non-performance (<25 runs) has dipped from 44% to 36%. And together below 50 scores, account for just 59% of recent innings as compared to 62% for overall career. The share of centuries has declined a bit (16% versus 17%), but that can hardly be considered an evidence of being in a bad form. This is still a century in every sixth innings!
To conclude, I would again say that I am certainly disappointed with some of his recent showings, but I am sure that he will do what he has always done; he will answer his critics with his bat! He already has almost all batting records in both Tests and ODIs in his kitty, and the hundredth 100 is just another milestone that will come by soon. But as my friend Alok says (and I can not word it better!), “Tendulkar’s greatness lies not in his stats, but in his willingness to carry the nation on his shoulders and not shirk away from responsibilities.”