January 14, 2017

Clocking the hours on a cricket field

A look at players to have spent the longest time on the field over their international careers

Sachin Tendulkar could well have spent three years of his life on the cricket field in his international career © BCCI

The next article due from me is one in which I fine-tune the WQAI (Wicket Quality Average Index) concept with CTD (Career-to-date) values. And then I am planning a couple on the best teams to visit various countries, inspired by the excellent suggestion by one of my long-time readers, Pawan Mathur. However, I have decided to interject a lighter article in the midst of some heavy analytical ones. But there is no shortage of effort or time in preparation of this article - that much I have found out.

One specific request to the readers: If you feel that this type of lighter analysis is not your cup of tea, feel free to leave the cup on the nearby table and move on. Please do not waste your (and my) time by sending comments that you do not like this type of not-so-serious analysis. That sort of comment has zero value. Thank you.

About five years ago, I did a study on the topic of time spent on the field by players. It was a raw first attempt and needs to be revisited now for the following reasons:

1. Since 2011, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Kumar Sangakkara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Mahela Jayawardene, VVS Laxman, Michael Clarke, Virender Sehwag, Muttiah Muralitharan, Harbhajan Singh and Daniel Vettori have retired. This list includes the top-five run-getters and the top bowlers in Test history. So the numbers have changed a lot

2. At that time, I had to do a lot more extrapolation than now since I had lot less data on the specific ball of dismissal for batsmen. Over the past 15 years, information on the specific ball of dismissal has become available for most Tests. This cuts down the need for extrapolation.

3. About 350 more T20 games have been played since then and the T20 format has now become relatively more significant

4. Finally, I have a chance to fine-tune the exercise with the weighting concept.

Let me first start with some caveats.

1. Some of these values are estimates, but based on years of following, observing and analysing the game. Variations of the order of 10% on either side can be expected.

2. The absences of players from the field due to injuries are not considered. There is no data available on such instances. Similarly there is no data available on players spending time on the field as substitutes. Maybe, for some players, these two might cancel each other out.

3. Almost all instances of curtailment of play due to rain, bad light, riots, dogs/streakers on the field etc are taken into account since the bowled ball is the cornerstone of this article. Also, retirement from play and resumption of the innings by a batsman, due to injury, is not a problem and is taken care of.

4. Fielding at slip presents a totally different challenge to fielding at mid-on, which, in turn, is far more difficult than fielding at deep midwicket. This fact is acknowledged But then there isn't enough information available on where the fielders are fielding and where the catch was taken. So any attempt to categorise fielding into close-in, run-saving and in-the-deep hasn't been possible.

5. The keeper is the one designated as such in the scorecard for the innings since keeper changes during an innings are usually not recorded. There are no problems, however, if the keeper changes in between two innings.

The unit of analysis is the delivery of a ball. A bowler bowls a ball to a batsman, there is a batsman at the non-striker's end, there is a keeper, exerting himself a lot, and nine other fielders, at varying levels of participation. That is a story that has repeated itself, across 139 years, 4,709,151 times (including no-balls and wides).

During the very early years, a ball might have been bowled every 30 seconds. There were times during the 1980s when a ball might have been bowled every 60 seconds. Today's expectation is around 40. On balance I have taken an average of 45 seconds for every ball to be bowled. Forty-five seconds per ball leads to 13.3 overs per hour: par for today's cricket. Of course, Ravindra Jadeja might bowl two balls in 45 seconds. But as an average, 45 seconds is fine. There might be some variations between pace bowlers and spinners in the time taken to bowl a ball, but then we are not exactly sending a manned spacecraft to the moon and do not need that level of accuracy. A normal day's play of 90 overs would take just short of seven hours - a realistic scenario.

I have classified the time any player spends on the field into the following five categories.

  • Batting at the crease: A tough task full of concentration
  • Batting at the non-striker's end: A relatively less strenuous task
  • Bowling: Similar to batting, a task requiring full concentration
  • Fielding: A neutral task, ranging from full attention at slips to having a nice, easy time at long-on
  • Wicketkeeping: Like batting and bowling, a really difficult task requiring full concentration

As such, the bowling deliveries plus the keeping/fielding deliveries will be equal to the team deliveries for the duration of the players' career. This value will be unique for each player. It should also be noted that strike rate plays an important part in these numbers. Let us say that Sehwag, Tendulkar and Dravid score 50 Test runs. Using their career strike rates, Sehwag would have faced 60 balls, Tendulkar 90 and Dravid 120 balls. In general, a good ballpark estimate is that the other batsman faces an equal number of balls. So Sehwag's innings would have lasted 120 balls, Tendulkar's 180 and Dravid's 240.

This analysis is in two parts. The first two-thirds of the article deals with time spent as "raw time". That means whether the guy is batting, bowling or fielding, an hour is exactly what signifies: 3600 seconds or 80 balls. That also means, whether the player plays a ball in Test cricket, ODI cricket or T20 cricket, the time spent is the same. This is the purists' analysis.

The final third of the analysis weighs the time spent. I differentiate among the five classifications of time and the three formats. It is obvious that batting at the business end is quite different to being at the non-striker's end; the keeper has to concentrate a lot more than the fielder; the bowler in Tests has time to plan his bowling and can afford to send a few exploring deliveries - a luxury available to a lesser extent to the ODI bowler and not really available to the T20 bowler. Even among fielders, the T20 fielder is under greater pressure than the ODI fielder and so on. I incorporate all these aspects into a weighting table and compute the weighted time-on-field value.

First, let us look at the absolute raw time-on-field (TOF) data and the related tables. The tables are current up to Test #2245, the third Test between Australia and Pakistan, in Sydney.

1. Time on field - Complete career
5622.2IndSR Tendulkar 3409.52210.9 1.8
4496.0IndR Dravid 2958.11535.9 2.0
4431.9SafJH Kallis 2760.21624.4 47.3
4406.2AusRT Ponting 2703.81671.1 31.3
4399.0SlkDPMD Jayawardene 2449.01847.3 102.7
4157.3AusSR Waugh 2714.01443.2 0.0
4094.8SlkKC Sangakkara 2255.71732.4 106.7
3965.3WinS Chanderpaul 2734.91189.2 41.3
3841.7AusAR Border 2671.21170.5 0.0
3770.5SlkST Jayasuriya 1686.02029.3 55.2
3549.7PakInzamam-ul-Haq 1881.71666.0 2.0
3474.9WinBC Lara 2154.21320.7 0.0
3336.9IndSC Ganguly 1855.81481.1 0.0
3173.4AusME Waugh 1990.01183.4 0.0
3129.2SafMV Boucher 2061.41023.8 44.0
3061.0PakYounis Khan 1908.01107.9 45.1
3048.9IndM Azharuddin 1622.51426.4 0.0
3044.2PakJaved Miandad 2008.41035.9 0.0
3007.8SlkM Muralitharan 1714.71275.3 17.7

In all batting tables, the question is not "Who is first?" Rather the two questions would normally be: "Who is second?" and "What is the gap?" One would expect such a situation in this table also. With the length of his career and the number of international matches behind him, Tendulkar is a cinch to lead the table. He was on the field for 5622 hours, around 800 days of cricket or three years of playing non-stop. Let us not forget that Tendulkar played only a single T20 match, just as Sobers played only one ODI. Dravid's second place is also not a surprise. He has clocked 4496 hours, around 20% behind Tendulkar. Kallis, Ponting and Jayawardene are within 100 hours of Dravid.

Steve Waugh, Sangakkara (often a keeper), Chanderpaul, Allan Border and Sanath Jayasuriya complete the top ten positions. Brian Lara just misses out on the top ten, no doubt due to a better scoring rate. Mark Boucher is the representative for wicketkeepers. Of the bowlers, only Murali is in the top 20. The reason for the absence of bowlers is quite obvious. While the batsmen, keeper and bowlers are on the field right through the innings of the other side, the batting time of bowlers is far lower than that of batsmen and keepers. Also, a batsman is at the crease for the duration of his innings and the other batsman's.

Shane Warne was on the field for 2670 hours, Anil Kumble for 2895 hours, Adam Gilchrist for 2620 hours, Viv Richards for 2745 hours, Sunil Gavaskar for 2710 hours, Kapil Dev for 2866 hours, Imran Khan for 2063 hours and Ian Botham for 2064 hours.

The New Zealand player who has spent the maximum time on the field is Stephen Fleming, with 2984 hours. For England, it is Alec Stewart, with 2847 hours. Grant Flower leads the list of Zimbabwe players, with 2102 hours. Finally, the Bangladesh player who has been on the field longest is, not surprisingly, Shakib Al Hasan, with 1533 hours. However, Andy Flower and Mushfiqur Rahim, with their extensive wicketkeeping stints, go past these two players in the weighted hours tables.

2. Time on field - Tests
3409.5IndSR Tendulkar 20017.0 368.1 351.0 53.02637.4 0.0
2958.1IndR Dravid 16418.0 390.7 401.9 1.52163.9 0.0
2760.2SafJH Kallis 16616.6 361.3 349.1 252.91797.0 0.0
2734.9WinS Chanderpaul 16416.7 342.5 336.5 21.82034.3 0.0
2714.0AusSR Waugh 16816.2 280.8 280.0 97.62055.7 0.0
2703.8AusRT Ponting 16816.1 284.8 290.5 7.32121.2 0.0
2671.2AusAR Border 15617.1 339.7 319.7 50.11961.7 0.0
2449.0SlkDPMD Jayawardene 14916.4 287.0 280.4 7.41874.2 0.0
2347.9EngAN Cook 14016.8 294.5 296.6 0.21756.6 0.0
2255.7SlkKC Sangakkara 13416.8 286.0 285.9 1.11050.0 632.8
2218.0IndSM Gavaskar 12517.7 281.9 281.3 4.81650.0 0.0
2213.2IndVVS Laxman 13416.5 222.3 231.8 4.11755.0 0.0
2154.2WinBC Lara 13116.4 246.9 236.1 0.81670.5 0.0
2078.5EngAJ Stewart 13315.6 217.4 223.8 0.3 659.4 977.7
2077.6EngG Boycott 10819.2 278.5 281.8 11.81505.5 0.0
2064.4EngMC Cowdrey 11418.1 232.7 250.6 1.51579.7 0.0
2061.4SafMV Boucher 14714.0 137.6 130.9 0.1 0.01792.8
2008.3PakJaved Miandad 12416.2 232.5 220.5 18.41537.0 0.0

This table follows a similar pattern to the table measuring time across formats, indicating that Tests matter a lot. Tendulkar is way above the 3000-hour mark, and Dravid just short of it. Alastair Cook and Laxman, being predominantly Test players, move up into the top ten. Tendulkar spent an average of 17 hours per Test on the field, which is an hour less than Dravid and at par with the averages of the other batsmen. Gavaskar is the only player coming close to Dravid. Geoff Boycott, not a surprise here, has the highest per Test value. Ponting and Steve Waugh are just over the 16-hour mark per Test, no doubt because of the successes enjoyed by their teams.

3. Time on field - ODIs
2210.9IndSR Tendulkar 4634.78 267.1 298.1 100.81545.0 0.0
2029.3SlkST Jayasuriya 4444.57 184.1 190.6 185.91468.8 0.0
1847.3SlkDPMD Jayawardene 4474.13 200.3 200.9 7.41438.8 0.0
1732.4SlkKC Sangakkara 4034.30 225.6 231.5 0.0 148.31127.1
1671.1AusRT Ponting 3754.46 213.1 221.7 1.91234.4 0.0
1650.5PakShahid Afridi 3984.15 86.2 91.1 220.91252.3 0.0
1648.0PakInzamam-ul-Haq 3784.36 197.7 221.4 0.71228.2 0.0
1624.4SafJH Kallis 3284.95 198.6 210.5 134.41080.9 0.0
1535.9IndR Dravid 3444.46 191.1 210.2 2.3 902.9 229.5

Tendulkar leads the ODI table as well, but we see change below him. The next three positions are occupied by the Sri Lankan stalwarts. Sangakkara is helped by his substantial wicketkeeping hours. Ponting is in his expected place. Surprisingly, Shahid Afridi is the leading Pakistani player. His true top-class all-round nature helps him achieve this place. In terms of average hours per match, all are between four and five hours per match, with Kallis, very close to five hours, no doubt due to his bowling time.

4. Time on field - T20s
164.4PakShahid Afridi 981.68 11.7 11.9 26.8 114.0 0.0
154.1PakShoaib Malik 821.88 17.0 18.8 6.2 112.2 0.0
153.5PakUmar Akmal 821.87 17.2 18.6 0.0 90.6 27.2
152.1SlkTM Dilshan 801.90 19.6 21.9 3.2 100.2 7.2
146.0PakMohammad Hafeez 771.90 17.5 17.9 12.6 98.0 0.0
135.4NzlBB McCullum 711.91 19.6 19.1 0.0 37.8 58.8
132.3AfgMohammad Shahzad 691.92 16.3 17.4 3.3 61.4 33.9
130.3SafJP Duminy 701.86 16.7 16.6 4.9 92.1 0.0
128.9NzlLRPL Taylor 731.77 13.1 15.5 0.0 100.3 0.0
128.4IndMS Dhoni 721.78 11.4 13.1 0.0 34.7 69.3
125.6SafAB de Villiers 711.77 13.0 12.2 0.0 71.7 28.7

Finally we come to a table where someone other than Tendulkar leads. Afridi is the clear leader with 164 hours. The next two positions are also occupied by Pakistan players: Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik, the former through his keeping duties. Tillakaratne Dilshan breaks Pakistan's domination, inserting himself between Afridi, Malik, Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez. Three keepers occupy positions in the bottom five. The leading players spent, on average, around 1.8 hours per match.

5. Time on field - Test Batsmen
792.7IndR Dravid 1644.83390.7 401.9
719.1IndSR Tendulkar 2003.60368.1 351.0
710.4SafJH Kallis 1664.28361.3 349.1
678.9WinS Chanderpaul 1644.14342.5 336.5
659.4AusAR Border 1564.23339.7 319.7
591.1EngAN Cook 1404.22294.5 296.6
575.3AusRT Ponting 1683.42284.8 290.5
571.9SlkKC Sangakkara 1344.27286.0 285.9
567.4SlkDPMD Jayawardene 1493.81287.0 280.4
563.2IndSM Gavaskar 1254.51281.9 281.3
560.8AusSR Waugh 1683.34280.8 280.0
560.3EngG Boycott 1085.19278.5 281.8

This table lists the Test batsmen who have spent maximum time on the field. It is no surprise that Dravid has gone above Tendulkar here, considering that he has faced nearly 1700 balls more than Tendulkar, albeit scoring 2700 runs fewer. Dravid's strike rate is 42.5, which is over 20% lower than that of Tendulkar's. Consequently, the time he spent as a non-striking batsman is also higher. Note the difference in the average batting time of the two in a Test: 4.83 v 3.60.

The Test stalwarts take their expected places. Boycott spent an average exceeding five hours per Test, batting. Most of these batsmen have scored over 10,000 Test runs.

6. Time on field - ODI Batsmen
565.2IndSR Tendulkar 4631.22267.1 298.1
457.1SlkKC Sangakkara 4031.13225.6 231.5
434.8AusRT Ponting 3751.16213.1 221.7
419.1PakInzamam-ul-Haq 3781.11197.7 221.4
409.1SafJH Kallis 3281.25198.6 210.5
401.3IndR Dravid 3441.17191.1 210.2
401.1SlkDPMD Jayawardene 4470.90200.3 200.9
388.5IndSC Ganguly 3111.25192.7 195.8
374.6SlkST Jayasuriya 4440.84184.1 190.6

Tendulkar leads this table comfortably from Sangakkara. The table is filled with the top ODI players. All these batsmen played well in excess of 300 ODI matches. The surprise for me is the average time per match of Jayawardene - 0.90 hour, around 25% less than that of, say, Sangakkara. This is shown by Jayawardene's average RpI, which is only around 30, compared to the figures around 40 for top batsmen. Jayasuriya's low figure of 0.84 is not surprising considering the way he batted.

7. Time on field - Test Bowlers
550.5SlkM Muralitharan 1334.14
510.6IndA Kumble 1323.87
508.8AusSK Warne 1453.51
375.3WinCA Walsh 1322.84
365.6AusGD McGrath 1242.95
360.2NzlDL Vettori 1133.19
357.2IndHarbhajan Singh 1033.47
346.8IndKapil Dev 1312.65
338.9WinLR Gibbs 794.29
335.5EngJM Anderson 1222.75
304.4SafSM Pollock 1082.82

The leading Test wicket-takers lead this table. It is to be expected considering that all are spinners and have bowled a lot more balls to capture a wicket. These three have crossed 500 hours, while the leading pace bowler, Courtney Walsh, has a total of around 375. Murali and Lance Gibbs are the only bowlers to have crossed four bowling hours per Test.

8. Time on field - ODI Bowlers
235.1SlkM Muralitharan 3490.67
227.3PakWasim Akram 3560.64
220.9PakShahid Afridi 3980.55
197.2SlkWPUJC Vaas 3240.61
196.4SafSM Pollock 3030.65
185.9SlkST Jayasuriya 4440.42
181.2IndA Kumble 2740.66
175.8NzlDL Vettori 2950.60
162.1AusGD McGrath 2500.65
158.7PakWaqar Younis 2620.61
156.0IndHarbhajan Singh 2370.66

All the bowlers, barring Jayasuriya, seem to have completed or nearly completed their bowling quota in each match. The time of around 0.67 hour, equivalent to around 40 minutes, confirms this. Murali leads this table, followed by Wasim Akram and Afridi. It can be seen that this table is unlike the Test table in that the spells are limited and remain the same irrespective of the bowler types. Murali does not get to bowl additional overs because he is a spinner.

9. Time on field - Test Wicketkeepers
2061.3SafMV Boucher 14714.01792.8 137.6 130.9
1765.3AusIA Healy 11914.81533.8 109.5 122.0
1516.7EngAPE Knott 9516.01271.3 124.0 121.4
1493.2AusRW Marsh 9615.61292.7 100.0 100.5
1418.9EngAJ Stewart 13310.7 977.7 217.4 223.8
1410.6IndMS Dhoni 9015.71179.9 103.1 127.5
1391.8AusAC Gilchrist 9614.51205.7 85.0 101.1
1313.4IndSMH Kirmani 8814.91146.8 76.6 90.0
1204.7SlkKC Sangakkara 134 9.0 632.8 286.0 285.9
1155.2EngMJ Prior 7914.6 989.4 83.1 82.8

It is amazing how the numbers work so nicely. Barring Sangakkara and Alec Stewart, the other keeper-batsmen seemed to have spent around 14-15 hours per Test, keeping wickets and then batting. Just consider this - almost all these are really tough hours. That puts the job of wicketkeeper-batsmen in perspective. And many of them were even expected to open the batting. Maybe they should be paid double their match fees.

Boucher leads the table, followed by Ian Healy and Alan Knott. Gilchrist is somewhat down in the table, maybe indicative of the successes enjoyed by Australia when Gilchrist was keeping. His quick-fire batting also kept the time down a bit. MS Dhoni is somewhere in the middle, having spent nearly 16 hours per Test.

10. Time on field - ODI Wicketkeepers
1584.2SlkKC Sangakkara 4033.931127.1 225.6 231.5
1187.4AusAC Gilchrist 2874.14 944.2 124.0 119.2
1151.5IndMS Dhoni 2834.07 891.7 128.2 131.6
1019.5SafMV Boucher 2953.46 882.2 69.1 68.2
852.0ZimA Flower 2134.00 618.7 113.7 119.6
754.2SlkRS Kaluwitharana 1893.99 621.0 59.7 73.6
725.6NzlBB McCullum 2602.79 567.5 78.9 79.2
720.9PakMoin Khan 2193.29 621.2 50.2 49.6
657.2EngAJ Stewart 1703.87 467.9 85.5 103.9
630.7IndR Dravid 3441.83 229.5 191.1 210.2

Sangakkara is the leading ODI keeper-batsman, having clocked well over 1500 hours. This figure drops off steeply for the next three, Gilchrist, Dhoni and Boucher. The number of matches drops significantly from Andy Flower onwards. The average hours per ODI is around four. With his very quick batting, Brendon McCullum's average time spent per ODI below 3.0.

Now we come to part two, in which I assign suitable weights for each delivery.

TOF Weighting Factors
FormatType of activityWeight
TestBatting at crease 1.25
Batting at non-striker end1.00
Bowling 1.25
Fielding 0.80
Wicket-keeping 1.25
ODIBatting at crease 1.50
Batting at non-striker end1.20
Bowling 1.50
Fielding 1.00
Wicket-keeping 1.50
T20-IBatting at crease 2.00
Batting at non-striker end1.50
Bowling 2.00
Fielding 1.20
Wicket-keeping 2.00

If you are quite happy with the base analyses provided and have no interest in a weighted analysis, feel free to move on. Even then, you will find some of the results quite intriguing.

Anyone can find fault with the weights suggested. They are arbitrary, for the simple reason there is no base and there is a lot of subjectivity in fixing the numbers. If I weigh the T20 time as twice as stressful as the Test time, readers can say 1.5 or 3.0, just for the sake of argument. So my suggestion is to accept these numbers as they are presented. I have used some level of common sense-based estimation. In general, around 1.0 for Tests, 1.25 for ODIs and 1.50 for T20Is.

11. Weighted Time on field - Complete career
5444.2IndSR Tendulkar 2987.32454.4 2.5
4936.6SlkKC Sangakkara 2275.72455.0 205.8
4454.6SafJH Kallis 2554.41833.0 67.3
4415.4IndR Dravid 2623.31789.4 2.7
4277.4SlkDPMD Jayawardene 2147.71991.3 138.4
4217.2AusRT Ponting 2352.61822.9 41.7
4143.1SafMV Boucher 2544.01513.1 86.1
3983.2AusSR Waugh 2397.51585.8 0.0
3811.9SlkST Jayasuriya 1483.02252.4 76.5
3778.7WinS Chanderpaul 2419.11304.9 54.6
3649.9IndMS Dhoni 1738.91688.4 222.6
3644.2AusAR Border 2376.31267.9 0.0
3523.0AusAC Gilchrist 1714.41762.2 46.4

It is clear that this weighting will help some of the ODI stalwarts to gain ground. Tendulkar still leads the table. The players in the top ten are almost the same as in table 1. However, someone like Sangakkara, with a strong keeping career in ODIs, has leapfrogged some of the Test stalwarts into second place. Similarly Gilchrist moves up.

12. Weighted Time on field - Tests
2987.3IndSR Tendulkar 460.2 351.0 66.32109.9 0.0
2623.3IndR Dravid 488.4 401.9 1.91731.1 0.0
2554.4SafJH Kallis 451.6 349.1 316.11437.6 0.0
2544.0SafMV Boucher 172.0 130.9 0.1 0.02241.0
2419.1WinS Chanderpaul 428.1 336.5 27.21627.4 0.0
2397.5AusSR Waugh 351.0 280.0 122.01644.5 0.0
2376.3AusAR Border 424.6 319.7 62.61569.3 0.0
2352.6AusRT Ponting 356.0 290.5 9.21696.9 0.0
2275.7SlkKC Sangakkara 357.5 285.9 1.3 840.0 791.0
2245.5EngAJ Stewart 271.7 223.8 0.3 527.51222.2
2176.1AusIA Healy 136.9 122.0 0.0 0.01917.2
2147.7SlkDPMD Jayawardene 358.7 280.4 9.21499.4 0.0
2070.2EngAN Cook 368.1 296.6 0.31405.3 0.0

The top three are the same in the Tests table. However, Boucher moves quite a few places since his substantial wicketkeeping time gets recognised more. Similarly, Healy moves up.

13. Weighted Time on field - ODIs
2455.4SlkKC Sangakkara 338.4 277.8 0.0 148.31690.6
2454.4IndSR Tendulkar 400.6 357.7 151.11545.0 0.0
2252.4SlkST Jayasuriya 276.1 228.7 278.81468.8 0.0
1991.3SlkDPMD Jayawardene 300.4 241.0 11.11438.8 0.0
1833.0SafJH Kallis 297.8 252.6 201.61080.9 0.0
1822.9AusRT Ponting 319.6 266.0 2.81234.4 0.0
1822.2PakShahid Afridi 129.2 109.4 331.31252.3 0.0
1813.1PakInzamam-ul-Haq 296.5 287.3 1.11228.2 0.0
1789.4IndR Dravid 286.6 252.3 3.5 902.9 344.2
1762.2AusAC Gilchrist 186.0 143.0 0.0 16.81416.2

Ah! We are seeing the first serious effect of weighting in this table. In the raw-time ODI table, Tendulkar was placed first, but Sangakkara was only 8% behind. It could be expected that the higher weight for wicketkeeping could give Sangakkara the edge. And it did. Sangakkara just about makes the 8% gap and is ahead of Tendulkar by a single hour. If anyone needs a % value, it is 0.04%. Yes, one hour, or 60-80 balls. Dravid moves up one position and Gilchrist vaults into the top ten, also riding on his wicketkeeping hours.

14. Weighted Time on field - T20s
231.6PakShahid Afridi 23.3 17.9 53.6 136.8 0.0
230.9NzlBB McCullum 39.3 28.6 0.0 45.4 117.6
225.3PakUmar Akmal 34.4 27.8 0.0 108.8 54.4
222.6IndMS Dhoni 22.7 19.6 0.0 41.6 138.7
213.1SlkTM Dilshan 39.2 32.8 6.5 120.2 14.4
209.0PakShoaib Malik 34.0 28.2 12.3 134.6 0.0
206.7AfgMohammad Shahzad 32.5 26.1 6.7 73.7 67.8
205.8SlkKC Sangakkara 28.9 22.7 0.0 0.0 154.2
204.7PakMohammad Hafeez 35.1 26.9 25.1 117.6 0.0
187.6SafAB de Villiers 25.9 18.4 0.0 86.0 57.3
187.2PakKamran Akmal 18.6 14.3 0.0 1.0 153.2
178.6SafJP Duminy 33.5 24.9 9.8 110.5 0.0

McCullum moves quite a few places to get into second place behind Afridi. So does Dhoni, moving from number nine to four. Sangakkara and Kamran Akmal move into the top ten because a lot of their fielding hours were the far more strenuous wicketkeeping hours.

I have had hours of fun creating this article and I hope you have enjoyed reading it. Ultimately, that is all that matters.

As I have mentioned above, I will do an objective selection of the best Test teams to visit each country in the next two articles, both scheduled for February. I am sure there will be some lively discussions on the selections and the non-selections.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • NITISH on January 17, 2017, 9:27 GMT

    Sir, Another magnificent analysis. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. i would like to link this article on time spent at the crease to one your existing ones on Batsmen support index. One query regarding the same: Is it possible/wise/feasible to include the time spent as a factor (separately) in determining the SBA of a player ? For eg:, Alec Stewart spent 224 hrs as a non striker. Couldn't this be considered as some form of support for his mates ? I agree that the core metric in calculating time spent is balls faced or bowled and that the other article on SBA is a runs- intensive one. But could the time factor alone be taken into account to deduce the SBA as support based on time spent and not just runs ?
    I must confess that the 'Other batsman time' Is a combination of actual balls faced by the other batsmen + a good extrapolation (where balls faced info is available) + a bare-bones equalization (where virtually no info is available). So you can only depend on it to a limited extent.

  • Unni on January 17, 2017, 1:29 GMT

    Did not dravid keep in ODIS . Was that given weightage
    If you see Table 3, the ODIs table, Dravid is in 10th place. Out of his total of 1535 hours, 229 hours are the wicket-keeping hours. This reflects the 70 or so matches in which Dravid kept wickets. This has been weighted up to 344 hours in Table 13 and has enabled Dravid to move up one place.

  • DAVID on January 16, 2017, 15:08 GMT

    I found it quite amusing to see that Alec Stewart spent one hour longer on the field than Geoff Boycott. And how about a table for umpires?

  • Balaji on January 16, 2017, 8:32 GMT

    Hello Ananth, I liked the idea of the article. It provides a snapshot of why we remember seeing some players more than others. Unfortunately I did not understand the weightage part of the article, so will have to read it again. My question to you is if it is possible to also make an analysis of batting wagon wheels to show if any players are more dominant on the leg side or the off side. Though of course a lot depends on how the opposition bowls of course. Perhaps, it could help us understand the favorite shots of cricketers. As we remember some players more by their signature shots. It would be an interesting read

  • Unni on January 16, 2017, 8:24 GMT

    Anantha have you calculated the time players were physically present on the field. Typically after a long innings (in tests specifically), a batsman wouldn't take field for a long time or a bowler/batsman being inured. Ex: Gary Pratt in for Simon Jones who had to take injections and ran out Ponting.

  • prasan9470411 on January 16, 2017, 4:15 GMT

    Dear Mr. Anantha Narayanan, I have, mostly, liked the kind of number crunching / analysis you and your peers do on this website on the less celebrated facets of the game. This seems, however, a rather forced exercise which does not merit much praise. Sorry for being blunt, this is not to say in anyway that you do pointless stats, but some analysis speaks much better about the game's lesser aspects than others. Just my view. Not judging.
    No problems at all. Only thing you should understand is that every analysis need not be serious. There has to be a fun element also. Do you see the appreciation that is received by Andy Zaltzmann who does this type of work week in and out.
    Let me say that one of my most appreciated pieces was in which I just did numbers, staring from 0.0260 (being the RpB of Nadkarni's famous spell) to 'Over 150000' (the crowd crammed into Eden Gardens during the 1999 Test. In between there were over 100 interesting numbers.
    Don't take this seriously. Just enjoy.
    Am I short of topics. No way. I have 6 articles in front of me. I have to ask Cricinfo for re-scheduling to do two articles during February.

  • salman9912625 on January 15, 2017, 14:45 GMT

    Is wagon wheel data for say last 5-10 years available in database format?
    The wagon wheel data will not give any information on where which player fielded.

  • salman9912625 on January 15, 2017, 11:39 GMT

    Great Article. From where I can get latest field placement data from ODIs for say last 5 years?

  • salman9912625 on January 15, 2017, 11:33 GMT

    Great article. You mentioned about lack of data relating to field placements. I am doing doing research on field placements. Kindly guide me how can I get field placements data?
    Sorry, there is just no data at all. Even the commentary will not tell you who fielded where. Not even the key fielding positions like slips.

  • Ramarao on January 15, 2017, 7:46 GMT

    For the people who are trying to pull Tendulkar down based on batting time spent for test and runs per test, it is better to realise that he played less innings per test compared to many others like Lara, Dravid and Kallis. As innings per test played by these players are more, they are expected to have more time per test. innings per test comparison Tendulkar innings per test 1.64 Kallis 1.67 ponting 1.70 Dravid 1.722 Lara 1.77
    Why do you assume that anyone is trying to pull down Tendulkar. You seem to have a fixation. These are just statements made based on the data. And where does Rund per Test come in this analysis, may I ask.