Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.

            Carl Jung
            

We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.

           Carl Sagan

Introduction

The biggest nag in the collective psyche of cricket fraternity these days, is whether Virat Kohli has surpassed Sachin Tendulkar. This question has been troubling cricket lovers the world over and particularly in India, for quite a while. This nagging question has only grown stronger with Kohli’s 41st ODI century and with Michael Vaughan bestowing the GOAT title to Virat Kohli for ODI cricket. Hence, I decided to do my bit in addressing this, by doing analysis of Kohli’s and Tendulkar’s performance in ODI cricket. I also wanted to address the the best among the cricketing idols of India in Test cricket, namely Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. Hence this post has 2 parts

  1. Analysis of Tendulkar, Gavaskar and Kohli in Test cricket
  2. Analysis of Tendulkar and Kohli in ODIs

In this post, I analyze the performances of these titans in Test and ODI cricket using my R package cricketr. While some may feel that comparisons are not possible as these batsmen are from different eras. To some extent this is true. I would give some leeway to Gavaskar as he had to bat in a pre-helmet era. But with Tendulkar and Kohli a fair and objective comparison is possible. There were pre-eminient bowlers in the times of Tendulkar as there are now.

From the analysis below, it can be seen that Tendulkar to of everybody else in Test cricket. However it must be noted that Tendulkar’s performance deteriorated towards the end of his career. Such was not the case with Gavaskar. Kohli has some catching up to do and he still has a lot of Test cricket in him.

In ODI Kohli can be seen to pulling ahead of Tendulkar in several aspects.

My R package cricketr can be installed directly from CRAN and you can use it analyze cricketers.

This package uses the statistics info available in ESPN Cricinfo Statsguru. The current version of this package supports all formats of the game including Test, ODI and Twenty20 versions.

You should be able to install the package from GitHub and use the many functions available in the package. Please mindful of the ESPN Cricinfo Terms of Use

Take a look at my short video tutorial on my R package cricketr on Youtube - R package cricketr - A short tutorial

Do check out my interactive Shiny app implementation using the cricketr package - Sixer - R package cricketr’s new Shiny avatar

Note 1: If you would like to do a similar analysis for a different set of batsman and bowlers, you can clone/download my skeleton cricketr template from Github (which is the R Markdown file I have used for the analysis below).

Note 2: I sprinkle the charts with my observations. Feel free to look at them more closely and come to your conclusions.

Important note: Do check out the python avatar of cricketr, ‘cricpy’ in my post Introducing cricpy:A python package to analyze performances of cricketers

1 Load the cricketr package

if (!require("cricketr")){
    install.packages("cricketr",lib = "c:/test")
}
library(cricketr)

A Test cricket analysis

2. Get player data

tendulkar <- getPlayerData(35320,dir=".",file="tendulkar.csv",type="batting")
kohli <- getPlayerData(253802,dir=".",file="kohli.csv",type="batting")
gavaskar <- getPlayerData(28794,dir=".",file="gavaskar.csv",type="batting")

3a. Basic analyses for Tendulkar

par(mfrow=c(1,3))
par(mar=c(4,4,2,2))
batsmanRunsFreqPerf("./tendulkar.csv","Tendulkar")
batsmanMeanStrikeRate("./tendulkar.csv","Tendulkar")
batsmanRunsRanges("./tendulkar.csv","Tendulkar")

dev.off()
## null device 
##           1

3b Basic analyses for Kohli

par(mfrow=c(1,3))
par(mar=c(4,4,2,2))
batsmanRunsFreqPerf("./kohli.csv","Kohli")
batsmanMeanStrikeRate("./kohli.csv","Kohli")
batsmanRunsRanges("./kohli.csv","Kohli")

dev.off()
## null device 
##           1

3c Basic analyses for Gavaskar

par(mfrow=c(1,3))
par(mar=c(4,4,2,2))
batsmanRunsFreqPerf("./gavaskar.csv","Gavaskar")
batsmanMeanStrikeRate("./gavaskar.csv","Gavaskar")
batsmanRunsRanges("./gavaskar.csv","Gavaskar")

dev.off()
## null device 
##           1

4a.More analyses for Tendulkar

It can be seen that Tendulkar and Gavaskar has been bowled more often than Kohli. Also Kohli does not have as many sixes in Test cricket as Tendulkar and Gavaskar

par(mfrow=c(1,3))
par(mar=c(4,4,2,2))
batsman4s("./tendulkar.csv","Tendulkar")
batsman6s("./tendulkar.csv","Tendulkar")
batsmanDismissals("./tendulkar.csv","Tendulkar")

dev.off()
## null device 
##           1

4b. More analyses for Kohli

par(mfrow=c(1,3))
par(mar=c(4,4,2,2))
batsman4s("./kohli.csv","Kohli")
batsman6s("./kohli.csv","Kohli")
batsmanDismissals("./kohli.csv","Kohli")

dev.off()
## null device 
##           1

4c More analyses for Gavaskar

par(mfrow=c(1,3))
par(mar=c(4,4,2,2))
batsman4s("./gavaskar.csv","Gavaskar")
batsman6s("./gavaskar.csv","Gavaskar")
batsmanDismissals("./gavaskar.csv","Gavaskar")

dev.off()
## null device 
##           1

5 Performance of batsmen on different grounds

par(mar=c(4,4,2,2))
batsmanAvgRunsGround("./tendulkar.csv","Tendulkar")