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Thread: Comparing Kapil dev and Imran Khan

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    Comparing Kapil dev and Imran Khan

    Both great allrounders,contemporaries and great competitors.Yet when a comparison is made betweenthe two,even ex players and cricket experts unanimously select Imran as the better of the two by a fair distance.This is mostly because of the difference both in bat avg: and bowl avg: of the two.Kapil was placed only at 3 or 4 among the 4 allrounders of 80s.Imran was usually placed at first place.But I as some body who watched Kapil play during the last 7 years of his career always thought that Kapil had some thing extra special more than his averages reveal.that 175 vs ZIM alone is ample proof of that.Also i could gather some valid informations characterising Kapil's career from a well known Pakistan cricket site.So i thought of going deep into the 2 players careers to get a more clear picture.

    Kapil dev - 16 years - 131 tests,225 one dayers
    Imran Khan -21 years - 88 tests,175 one dayers

    Longevity wise Imran's records are not enough.after all he has only played 88 tests in a span of long 21 years.that is only 4.25 tests per year.it is no difficult to assume that Imran played only when he thought of himself fully physically and mentally fit.i would say he played safely here for some reason or other .on the other hand take Kapil , 131 tests in 16 years.quite remarkably he played all but 1 tests India played in his career time.even that 1 test miss was not due to fitness problem. that means Kapil was ready to play unless some thing hugely bothered him. and this longevity ratio is not a small percentage either. it is almost 150%.similarly in one days too,Kapil's 225 against Imran's 175.and we are comparing two players from the same era.if they were from entirely different eras we can attribute this shortage of matches to the difference in amount of matches played in different eras.In this regard we can see that the playing days/ year for Imran was less by a fair distance when compared to Kapil.This allowed him to be almost match fit when ever he footed on the ground to play.but Kapil just ignored this factor and made himself available at every minute necessity for India.And no need to say this factor had a sizable impact on the over all career statistics of the two,especially averages.

    Now i shall categorise their careers and try to find who is better in each category.

    1. test bowl :

    Kapil :avg:29.64, econ:2.78 str:rate : 63.9 - index value:5265.31(product of all 3 assuming all have equal weightage)
    Imran: avg:22.81, econ:2.54 str:rate : 53.7 - index value:3111.24.31(product of all 3 assuming all have equal weightage)

    so w.r.t this data Kapil was only 59%(3111.24/5265.31) as effective as Imran as test bowler.now take the longevity factor.it does not need extra brilliance to conclude that had Imran played 131 test matches like Kapil did, his all the 3 numbers would have dropped by some margin in itself.Another thing is Kapil was one of the few bowlers(whether it be pace or spin) in the entire cricket history to be destined to play as a lone strike bowler in a bowling wise weak team in unfamiliar conditions.During his period India had only below average bowlers be it pace or spin.being the lone wicket taker in the company of avg: bowlers is a huge disadvantage.for instance take Warne and Mcgrath as example .I had watched on a number of occasions batsmen overcoming the threat of Mcgrath and getting into their groove only to find them bamboozled by Warne.just imagine the situation had Warne been not there. Mcgrath and other bowlers would have been asked to take the wkts and in such case it is quite natural that with less efficient bowlers to support him Mcgrath's figures would never have been the same as it turned out to be.And this little support at other end too definitely had an impact on Kapil's figures.On the other hand Imran had the support of Sarfraz and Quadir who were almost as good bowlers as Kapil was.So taking these 2 vital factors of longevity and 'support at other end' also into account,we can safely say that Kapil was atleast 75% as good a bowler as Imran.

    2. test bat:
    Kapil :avg:31.05 str:rate :80.91(some inns are excluded because of non availability of str: rates)
    index value = 2512.26

    Imran :avg:37.69 str:rate :47.52(some inns are excluded because of non availability of str: rates)
    index value = 1791.02

    str:rate may be only secondary in tests.but we just can't ignore Kapil's huge str: rate and Imran's very low str: rate. to put this in context even Viv had a str: rate of 69.28 only and for Ian botham it was only 61.and Kapil maintained this huge str: rate in tougher conditions of (WI,AUS,SAF,ENG,NZL combined too).to me Kapil's avg: * str: rate index value of 31.05 * 80.91 seems unbelievable. i calcuated this value for all the players in those period including specialist batsmen.Of these Greg chappel's and Clive lloyd's couldn't be found because of lack of str rate .Kapil came out as 2nd best behind Viv richards.for Viv it was 50.23*69.28=3479.Kapil's value is 72.2% as that of Viv.that means Kapil was 72.2% an impact player as Viv.Is it a small matter especially when considering that Kapil played in the 80s when run scoring was really difficult.Now take Imran.he played only 126 inns compared to Kapil's 184.(only 68.48 % as that of Kapil).even in such few no: Of inns he has 25 not outs(19.8 %) and very low str: rate.(credit should be given for not being dismissed though).Kapil's runs/inns is 28.52.for Imran it is 30.21.here too not much difference which shows how Imran's average is boosted hugely by no: of not outs.

    Now let us go deeper.assume that 35 is a decent test score especially for middle order ,allrounders like Kapil and Imran.

    Kapil
    no: of inns :58(31.52% of total inns played)
    runs : 3737
    avg: 64.43(excluding not outs)
    str: rate :88.39(not exact as str: rate for 5 inns are not available).

    Imran
    no: of inns :36(28.57% of total inns played)
    runs : 2482
    avg: 68.95(excluding not outs)
    str: rate :50.85(not exact as str: rate for a few inns are not available).

    from the above data it is clear that once they crosses 35, there is only a difference of 4.52
    in their avg: scores.but Kapil makes up for that with a difference of 2.95 in the percentage of such inns played(ie 58 out of 184).but the striking point is the impact he makes in these inns.i mean his str: rate pops up to 88.39(a difference of +7.52) against Imrans 50.85(a difference of +3.33)

    and now let us consider 75 and above as huge scores for these allrounderss.

    Kapil
    no: of inns :15(8.15 % of total inns played)
    runs : 1578
    avg: 105.2(excluding not outs)
    str: rate :96.45(not exact as str: rate for a 1 inn is not available).

    Imran
    no: of inns :9(7.14 % of total inns played)
    runs : 996
    vg: 110.67(excluding not outs)
    str: rate :54.75

    from above data it is crystal clear about the impact Kapil makes when he plays huge inns.
    his str: rate leaps from 80.91 to 96.45(a difference of 15.54) where as for Imran it is
    only 7.23,and even then it is still mediocre at 54.75

    If we go thoroughly thru the above 15 inns we can clearly see that a lot of these where
    high pressure come from behind inns which played huge impact in the result of the match.
    on the other hand only 1 or 2 of Imran's inns were of that impact(that too not dominant, only very defensive type inns).and 4 of these inns were against Ind and SL with very ordinary bowling line ups. Another characteristics of Imran's batting was his tendency to remain not out when every thing was in Pakistan's favour.But with Kapil we can see him often hitting out against all odds in the company of tailenders and even getting out last after doing considerable damage.

    Taking all these factors longevity,impact, not out factor to some extend etc i would rate Kapil as a far better test bat than Imran.So at this stage Kapil is slightly ahead for me.

    3. one day bowl

    Kapil - avg: 27.45 econ: 3.71 str: rate : 44.2 index value:4501.31
    Imran - avg: 26.61 econ: 3.89 str: rate : 40.9 index value:4233.68

    from the above Kapil was 94.05%(4233.68/4501.31) a one day bowler that Imran was.but now longevity factor need to be brought in because Kapil played 225 matches against Imran's 175.also Kapil's index value after 179 matches stood at 4018.38 which indicates how important longevity factor is when we are comparing 2 players.So taking this into account i would say both were on a par with each other in this regard.

    4. one day bat

    Kapil : 23.79 (avg: ) * 95.07(str: rate) = 2261.72
    Imran : 33.41 (avg: ) * 72.65(str: rate) = 2427.24

    now longevity factor is to be taken into account.as in bowling this is important in batting too because at the end of 125 matches Kapil stood at 28.45*105.64.it feels really strange to feel that Kapil's both avg: and str: rate dropped quite alarmingly in the next 100 matches.but since Kapil played 50 more matches than Imran, both of them can be supposed to be on same level w.r.t 1 day batting.

    5. Fielding : no competition here.Both in catching and ground fielding Kapil way ahead.
    6.captaincy : here too no competition.both briliant captains but Imran stands on another level.

    So Kapil stands slightly ahead for me.i am sure it may raise quite a few eye brows. but one thing is sure either way it can't be that much a difference as a lot of people think.
    Last edited by feroz rawther; 24-05-2013 at 01:41 AM.

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    There is a case to be made that if both had concentrated solely on batting, Kapil would've emerged the better by a distance. The guy was very talented and very cavalier in his approach. There's no contest between their respective bowling merits, however. Overall, the stats speak for themselves.
    Last edited by Arachnodouche; 24-05-2013 at 01:57 AM.

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    My opinion: Kapil was definitely a more talented batsman, but he didn't fully showcase his talents. Imran was a far better bowler (undeniably) but batting wise, its pretty close. Imran clearly ahead though, despite horrible fielding!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arachnodouche View Post
    There is a case to be made that if both had concentrated solely on batting, Kapil would've emerged the better by a distance. The guy was very talented and very cavalier in his approach. There's no contest between their respective bowling merits, however. Overall, the stats speak for themselves.

    my take on this is that Kapil's str: rate of 80.91 itself is very major factor to consider him as the best batsman of the 4 all rounders of 80s.this is because even Viv had only 69
    .to out do Viv by 11 in str: rate is a huge speciality in itself. another thing to note is that once he crossed the score of 75 his str: rate reached a monumental 96.45(a difference of 15.5) as i mentioned earlier.to put this in context even a specialist bat like Lara's str: rate went from 60 to 70(a difference of 10 only) once he went past 100.


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    Quote Originally Posted by feroz rawther View Post
    my take on this is that Kapil's str: rate of 80.91 itself is very major factor to consider him as the best batsman of the 4 all rounders of 80s.this is because even Viv had only 69
    .to out do Viv by 11 in str: rate is a huge speciality in itself. another thing to note is that once he crossed the score of 75 his str: rate reached a monumental 96.45(a difference of 15.5) as i mentioned earlier.to put this in context even a specialist bat like Lara's str: rate went from 60 to 70(a difference of 10 only) once he went past 100.
    Well, he also batted down the order where, once you got past fifty, chances are more than even that you'll be running out of partners; hence more onus to go a little crazy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feroz rawther View Post
    my take on this is that Kapil's str: rate of 80.91 itself is very major factor to consider him as the best batsman of the 4 all rounders of 80s.this is because even Viv had only 69
    .to out do Viv by 11 in str: rate is a huge speciality in itself. another thing to note is that once he crossed the score of 75 his str: rate reached a monumental 96.45(a difference of 15.5) as i mentioned earlier.to put this in context even a specialist bat like Lara's str: rate went from 60 to 70(a difference of 10 only) once he went past 100.
    Botham in his peak was easily the best batsman of the 4. Even his overall record shows that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coronis View Post
    My opinion: Kapil was definitely a more talented batsman, but he didn't fully showcase his talents. Imran was a far better bowler (undeniably) but batting wise, its pretty close. Imran clearly ahead though, despite horrible fielding!
    how is their batting pretty close. even after going thru my entire post you consider it as pretty close, so be it.test bowling wise Imran was better, but stats don't reveal the whole thing.Kapil had a knee surgery in 84. till then he had played 62 tests and taken 247 wkts.almost equal final wkts/test rate as that of Imran even with little support at other end!!!. but even after this knee surgery,against the advice of doctors , he played and didn't miss at all any test India played moving forward.but that affected his bowling effectiveness considerably from there on and made serious dip in his bowling stats.that was his attitude towards playing for the country thru out his entire career, i mean play at any cost.and this is exactly the same reason i feel his test bowling stats as such alone cannot be considered when comparing his bowling with that of other all rounders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coronis View Post
    Botham in his peak was easily the best batsman of the 4. Even his overall record shows that.
    one thing here. in one day batting Kapil is easily the best batsman of the 4.W.r.t tests Botham led Kapil only by 2.5 in bat average.But Kapil led Botham by almost 21 in str:rate.
    don't we need to take one day record too when batting is concerned?easily in both aspects Kapil for me. b.t.w your reasons to think otherwise?

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    Quote Originally Posted by feroz rawther View Post
    how is their batting pretty close. even after going thru my entire post you consider it as pretty close, so be it.test bowling wise Imran was better, but stats don't reveal the whole thing.Kapil had a knee surgery in 84. till then he had played 62 tests and taken 247 wkts.almost equal final wkts/test rate as that of Imran even with little support at other end!!!. but even after this knee surgery,against the advice of doctors , he played and didn't miss at all any test India played moving forward.but that affected his bowling effectiveness considerably from there on and made serious dip in his bowling stats.that was his attitude towards playing for the country thru out his entire career, i mean play at any cost.and this is exactly the same reason i feel his test bowling stats as such alone cannot be considered when comparing his bowling with that of other all rounders.
    I don't think you can quantifiably say that either of them was "clearly" the better batsman. Among the all rounders of the 80's, Botham was the clear #1 in batting, and Hadlee the clear #4. Imran's batting tends to be overrated here imo, but I don't think Kapil has that great of a record to be considered that far ahead of him. I'm sorry, but there's no way that you will convince me (and I doubt anybody else here either) that Kapil was comparable with Imran, bowling wise.

    Quote Originally Posted by feroz rawther View Post
    one thing here. in one day batting Kapil is easily the best batsman of the 4.W.r.t tests Botham led Kapil only by 2.5 in bat average.But Kapil led Botham by almost 21 in str:rate.
    don't we need to take one day record too when batting is concerned?easily in both aspects Kapil for me. b.t.w your reasons to think otherwise?
    You seem to be placing an inordinate value on strike rate, which isn't as much of an important factor in tests. Personally, I haven't taken a close look at one day stats, but obviously strike rate is far more important there. I have heard Kapil mentioned quite highly in terms of one dayers though, and he was obviously a great ODI all rounder.

    Botham: 102 tests, 161 innings, 5200 runs @ 33.54 with 14 centuries
    Kapil: 131 tests, 184 innings, 5248 runs @ 31.05 with 8 centuries

    Kapil played 23 innings more than Botham, but only managed 48 more runs, and 6 less centuries. That's just looking at the pure stats.
    Last edited by Coronis; 24-05-2013 at 02:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feroz rawther View Post
    my take on this is that Kapil's str: rate of 80.91 itself is very major factor to consider him as the best batsman of the 4 all rounders of 80s.this is because even Viv had only 69
    .to out do Viv by 11 in str: rate is a huge speciality in itself. another thing to note is that once he crossed the score of 75 his str: rate reached a monumental 96.45(a difference of 15.5) as i mentioned earlier.to put this in context even a specialist bat like Lara's str: rate went from 60 to 70(a difference of 10 only) once he went past 100.
    Feroz, my two cents on this:

    1) As a test all-rounder, Imran is quite ahead of Kapil, simply on the strength of his bowling. Imran is one of the greatest pace bowlers in history. So is Kapil, but quite a bit down the order. The difference in their batting is not that big, with Imran's batting considered better by many. Personally, I would rather have Imran at number 7 or 8 rather than Kapil to provide support to the strike batsman at the other end. Kapil used to get out too soon.

    2) Imran missed quite a bit of international cricket because of WSC. Hence the gap in the number of matches played.

    3) Kapil was the better ODI all rounder, I think.
    If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind, you couldn't just stand back and watch children cry.

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    Oh and since this is another thread on all rounders, thought I'd bring up the ICC All Rounder Rankings.

    For the four greats of the 80's:
    Sir Ian Botham: 646 (15/02/1980)
    Imran Khan: 518 (14/01/1983)
    Sir Richard Hadlee: 483 (16/04/1987)
    Kapil Dev: 433 (02/01/1981)

    and the other great all rounders:
    Sir Garry Sobers: 669 (31/12/1966)
    Jacques Kallis: 616 (26/12/2002)
    Keith Miller: 573 (25/01/1952)

    As always, take them with a grain of salt, but still, interesting. Sobers 669 was the highest I found, from my limited searching.
    Last edited by Coronis; 24-05-2013 at 07:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feroz rawther View Post
    how is their batting pretty close. even after going thru my entire post you consider it as pretty close, so be it.test bowling wise Imran was better, but stats don't reveal the whole thing.Kapil had a knee surgery in 84. till then he had played 62 tests and taken 247 wkts.almost equal final wkts/test rate as that of Imran even with little support at other end!!!. but even after this knee surgery,against the advice of doctors , he played and didn't miss at all any test India played moving forward.but that affected his bowling effectiveness considerably from there on and made serious dip in his bowling stats.that was his attitude towards playing for the country thru out his entire career, i mean play at any cost.and this is exactly the same reason i feel his test bowling stats as such alone cannot be considered when comparing his bowling with that of other all rounders.
    You need to calm down. People will always disagree with your opinion, and you need to accept that. Imran didn't have support at the other end either until Wasim and Waqar came along. Imran too had a horrific injury in 84 when he was at the absolute peak of his powers, and had a godly average and strike rate (bowling). And Imran became the first complete proponent of reverse swing bowling. We might have been calling Imran the best ever fast bowler had it not been for that injury. Maybe not. We don't know.

    Yes, Kapil didn't have the advantage of Wasim and Waqar later in his career, and couldn't unburden himself of bowling long spells like Imran did, and he deserves kudos for that. And everybody does give him kudos. He was brilliant. But using that to say he was better than Imran will always generate a backlash.

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    kapil the more talented bat, imran the better bowler. debatable whether better support bowlers would have helped kapil, look at hadlee and murali, still have the stats backing them, especially wickets per match which kapil doesn't have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arachnodouche View Post
    Well, he also batted down the order where, once you got past fifty, chances are more than even that you'll be running out of partners; hence more onus to go a little crazy.
    yet a higher percentage of >or=75 scores than Imran.his avg:is 105.2 against Imran's 110.67(only a small difference there)in these >or=75 scores. but a huge difference in str rate, ie 96.45 against Imran's mediocre 54.75. hence ,even if he went a little crazy his above
    stats show that he proved to be much much more effective, irrespective of the aggressive
    manner in which he batted.

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    Kapil's my first choice as an all rounder in an ODI team. Does everything that Klusener does, but better.

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