Originally Posted by Mr Mxyzptlk
There's a reason why middle order batsmen in ODIs tend to average more than openers.
They don't, though. As TEC pointed out, almost all of the top averaging batsmen in ODIs right now bat in the top 4.
Hussey doesn't, Pietersen usually bats in the top 4 these days but has done well at 5, then there's Sarwan, Dhoni, Tendulkar, Clarke, Kallis, Dippenaar, Ponting, Yousuf, Lara, Martyn, Hayden, Gayle, Inzamam, Dravid, Smith and Symonds. That's all the players who currently average 38.63 or more, though Symonds recent average of 45 cuts a fair few of them out.
Of those, all bar Dhoni and Clarke have most of their success (and spend most of their time) batting in the top 4. Yousuf and Inzamam are borderline cases. If anything, good quality ODI batsmen who bat lower in the order usually average significantly less, as they have to throw their wickets away to up the run rate. Witness the likes of Razzaq here. You can only maintain a good average in the lower order by being not out regularly. There's certianly no evidence at all that batting in the top order in ODIs is harder in terms of average, it simply requires a different skillset and different batsmen have success there. You have to deal with opening bowlers and the new ball, but you can hit boundaries at will and don't need to face spin for the first 15-20 overs of your innings. The reason Hussey bats at 7 isn't because he's crap and must be protected from the new ball, it's because he has a unique ability to find gaps in the late overs, something Symonds also possesses that he wouldn't need if he was opening.
Regardless, even if you think Symonds and Trescothick are equivalent batsmen, surely Symonds bowling, fielding and scoring rate rate put him ahead.