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Curious case of Tendulkar hundreds


A batsman scores his maiden T20 hundred and his side looses. Nothing drastic about the result or the performance, but if the batsman happens to be Sachin Tendulkar, the hundred has to be scrutinised microscopically. Cynics initiate the good old debated 'myth' of a Tendulkar hundred not ending up on the winning side, statisticians open their laptops to pop up a few numbers suggesting the statistical evidence of those claims and the media has a popular topic to cover their sports slots. Can cricketing logic and common sense prevail, please?

Sachin Tendulkar's cricketing legendary is too vast to sit down and analyse. We often tend to pass judgements on the basis of stats, numbers & results and not on the basis of abstract things associated with a particular performance or over a period of time. To quantify Tendulkar's genius, we often hail his tally of tons, total runs scored in the three formats and other monumental records but in the process we tend to overlook his immense contribution to the side - growth of young players and the role of a senior player. To merely compare his stats with contemporary greats eg. Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis would be lessening his credentials. He has been every statistians dream, an ideal role-model on & off the field, a source of joy and pleasure for a billion people and a legend for the game of cricket. 99 international hundreds for India and yet people tend to find faults with every ton that he notches.

To be fair to the critics they do have a point with Tendulkar being the batsman to have scored more hundreds in a loosing cause than any other, but has any other batsman manage to score 99 international hundreds, the next in the list Ricky Ponting with 69, a good 30 tons less! The more tons you score, the more will your stats amplify be it in matches won or matches lost. For those who question Tendulkar's hundred statistically, it would be better off answering that with a statistical evidence. I have purposely choosen only Ponting & Kallis for comparison as we are only talking about 100s and they are 2nd & 3rd on the list of maximum tons. Tendulkar has scored a hundred every 7.4th innings (combined tests & ODIs) while Ponting & Kallis have scored in every 8.9 & 9.6th inning respectively. The frequency is an important parameter as it goes to show the execution of the role assigned to the premier batsman in your side.

Talking about being premier batsman in your side, Tendulkar has donned the cap much better than his competitors and by a fair margin. Tendulkar has scored 30.37% of the total hundreds by an Indian and in a winning cause the percentage changes to 33.33%. It implies that every third hundred scored by an Indian comes off Tendulkar's bat! As far as Ponting is concerned, he scores 22.26% of the total tons scored by all Aussie batsmen and when Australia wins, the percentage drops to 21.72%. For Kallis the overall tally is 24.26% and in a winning cause it changes to 22.22%. A startling tally going to show the way Tendulkar has managed to bear the responsibility of being the main batsman in the line-up and the percentage changes to the higher side in a winning cause only in case of Tendulkar as against Ponting & Kallis.

As far as conversion rates are concerned Tendulkar has managed to score 39.13% of 50+ scores into hundreds while Ponting & Kallis have a conversion rates as 33.49% & 28.93% respectively. And when the respective teams have won the rates change to 40.15% (@ an average - 59.98), 33.97% (@ 53.60) & 27.58% (@ 56.62) respectively. A bit complex but goes to show the conversion rates of fifties to hundreds in a winning cause in which Tendulkar is some distance ahead of next best Ponting. Many have hailed Jayawardene for his hundreds which 'almost' ensure a Sri Lanka win. I am a bit flummoxed when Jayawardene is compared to Tendulkar, Ponting or Kallis. He has a hundred scoring frequency of 12.1 innings and really not much use of holding the most successful hundred scoring percentage if you become the first batsman to lose the World Cup final after scoring a hundred! Same goes for Ricky Ponting who lost the quarter-finals after scoring an inspiring ton. The cited examples underline the fact that it need not necessarily imply after a batsman scores a hundred his team goes to loose that the batsman has a jinx or something else, it depends on the team you have.

It would be too much of a sweeping statement to say that Tendulkar tons haven't resulted in India wins, but to be fair to him India didn't and don't have the bowling and the team to capitalise more than what it has. Yes cricket is a team game and individual performances atmost can share the limelight but cannot change the result of the game. Tendulkar's tale over the last 21 years has illustrated this statement. This write-up has been on the background of growing opinions on whether a Tendulkar 100 is good for the team or not but as all of us are pretty aware that there is more to him than mere than the tally of hundreds.

(This write-up was done after Tendulkar's maiden T20 ton in the IPL in 2011)

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