Data for decision making.
We have been looking at primary data for decision making so for this blog I’d like to challenge you with two choices.
As is my want, I usually can relate uni stuff back to sport and in this blog, I’d like to highlight two choices with one single statistic for each choice and would like you to tell me which is better.
So here it is.
We’re looking at cricket (standard procedure for those who have read any of these blogs) and we will determine once and for all who the best batsman of all time is and who is the best bowler of all time based on one stand-alone statistic.
Round 1 – Sir Donald Bradman (Aus) and Sachin Tendulkar (Ind).
Tendulkar is widely regarded as the best bat since Bradman. He is the leading run scorer of all time in Test cricket. And that is the stat we will look at. He scored 15,921 runs, the only player to pass 14,000 test runs. His stats outside this one number are equally impressive when talking about being a child prodigy through to the longevity of playing 200 Test matches, the only player to do so.
Bradman is regarded as the greatest cricketer ever. The one stat we will look at is his iconic average of 99.94. This means that every time Bradman was dismissed he would have, on average 100 runs to his name.
Many believe this mark will never be bettered, unlike Tendulkar’s tally which could be beaten if the right genius comes along.
For fair comparison, Bradman played most of his matches against strong English sides, on uncovered pitches and without the bat technology of today.
Tendulkar had his chance to play against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and to a lesser degree Sri Lanka who have all struggled in the test arena. His bats were custom built and grounds now have a cast of curating staff.
Based on the above and that these are the only choices, would you say Bradman or Tendulkar is the greatest batsman of all time?
Round 2 – George Lohmann (Eng) and Muttiah Muralitharan (SRI)
Lohmann was considered the best bowler of the pre-WWI era and holds the record for the best test bowling average of any player who has bowled more than 2,000 balls. His average of 10.75 runs per wicket will, in my opinion, never be matched. The closest of any current day player is South African Vernon Philander who averages 21.85 runs per wicket.
Muralitharan has the most wickets of all time with 800, one of only two bowlers to claim 700 wickets and three that have passed the 600 mark. For this exercise, we will look purely at the number of 800. These were taken in an 18-year career.
Like the batting comparison, Lohmann benefitted from uncovered pitches in the 1880s and 90s with batsman using the best bats of the day which are not a patch on the bats of today with the technology that goes into making them.
Murali had to contend with covered pitches, although some might have been doctored to suit him and bowled against nine of the top 13 leading run scorers of all time.
Based on the above and that these are the only choices, would you say Bradman or Tendulkar is the greatest bowler of all time?
Finally, just for fun, it seems that batsmen have a gifted run when it comes to the greatest player of all time debate so here is one final challenge.
Can you argue, on the stats above, that the bowler you picked is better than the batsman you picked and that he is the greatest cricketer of all time?
As we dig into statistics a little more in this course we might have a little bit of fun with sporting numbers to keep us amused as we go.