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Ranking CW's top test cricketers by Career ICC Rating Average

shortpitched713

International Regular
I'm pretty sure everyone here is aware of what the ICC Ratings are. If not, you can go ahead and read about it in the following link: http://www.relianceiccrankings.com/about.php

Anyway the thing about these rankings are that they offer a pretty decent form guide for batsmen and bowlers based off of their recent match performances from their criteria ( runs, wickets, match environment) . Given that these criteria can be objectively applied, to formulate rating data for cricketers throughout history, one would think they could be used to offer insight into some all time debates, and indeed they do offer their 2p to the debate by offering best ever ratings achieved by players throughout test history: http://www.relianceiccrankings.com/alltime/test/batting/

The problem here however should be obvious. These "best ever ratings" give an idea of the greatest form peaks achieved by Test cricketers. Given that all time great cricketers are also judged by criteria of consistency ( the most common criteria historically, simple average, takes no special account of peaks and valleys of players careers ), one of course wonders which of the great players of old maintained the highest standards throughout their careers.

And the ICC Rating can do that, if you simply take the average of all of the player's ratings from after every match of their career. In addition, this method has an unintended benefit of giving a longevity bonus as well, because the more matches played while maintaining a high rating, the more it offsets the penalty for the first handful of innings played.

So I spent way too much time during a very long and boring 2 days road trip plugging in every post match rating value for great players and determining these players' rating averages for the top players from CW's all time Test cricketers lists. (As a sidenote, if anyone with knowledge of data scraping websites wants to give me some pointers for automating this process for future players, please start a forum Conversation with me, as I'd love to know!) For these tables, I took the top 30 batsmen, top 22 pace bowlers, top 10 (with wildcards) spinners, and top 7 all-rounders from CW's most recent threads on the subject, compiled by Line and Length, and linked here:

So without further adieu, here are the numbers I got, with rankings by ICC rating average included on the left, CW ranking on the right, and the difference between the 2 also included. In addition, if there was a significant drop off in rating average of some players from those above them, I have noted that as well, as to me this would indicate there are in all likelihood great players whose values were not calculated that would fill the gap. Finally, active players are italicized for reference:

Batsmen:

ICC RankNameRat AvgCW RankDif
1​
Don Bradman
855.4​
1​
-
2​
Jack Hobbs
799.0​
2​
-
3​
Steve Smith
797.2​
10​
+7
4​
Brian Lara
783.5​
6​
+2
5​
Len Hutton
781.3​
7​
+2
6​
Garry Sobers
780.8​
3​
-3
7​
Herbert Sutcliffe
775.5​
12​
+5
8​
Kumar Sangakkara
763.3​
16​
+8
9​
Viv Richards
762.7​
5​
-4
10​
Everton Weekes
760.5​
23​
+13
11​
Ken Barrington
747.2​
20​
+9
12​
Wally Hammond
745.4​
8​
-4
13​
Javed Miandad
743.1​
21​
+8
14​
Rahul Dravid
741.8​
22​
+8
15​
Ricky Ponting
736.9​
14​
-1
16​
Sunil Gavaskar
736.5​
9​
-7
17​
Allan Border
736.0​
17​
-
18​
Jacques Kallis
734.6​
18​
-
19​
Sachin Tendulkar
731.9​
4​
-15
20​
Greg Chappell
712.9​
13​
-7
21​
Denis Compton
712.6​
24​
+3
22​
George Headley
711.8​
11​
-11
23​
Younis Khan
710.1​
25​
+2
24​
AB de Villiers
700.2​
28​
+4
25​
Dudley Nourse
695.7​
27​
+2
Drop
Steve Waugh
664.6​
19​
Drop
Geoffrey Boycott
641.0​
29​
Drop
Andy Flower
637.9​
30​
Drop
Clyde Walcott
630.2​
26​
Drop
Graeme Pollock
589.1​
15​
Drop

Pace Bowlers:

ICC RankNameRat AvgCW RankDif
1​
Glenn Mcgrath
790.9​
2​
+1
2​
Curtly Ambrose
777.2​
4​
+2
3​
Dale Steyn
775.3​
5​
+2
4​
Shaun Pollock
775.3​
16​
+12
5​
Allan Donald
771.1​
10​
+5
6​
Joel Garner
768.7​
11​
+5
7​
Malcolm Marshall
740.9​
1​
-6
8​
Ray Lindwall
740.0​
12​
+4
9​
Dennis Lillee
737.1​
7​
-2
10​
Fred Trueman
734.4​
8​
-2
11​
Pat Cummins
733.9​
20​
+9
12​
Richard Hadlee
730.9​
3​
-9
13​
James Anderson
717.3​
19​
+6
14​
Imran Khan
710.1​
6​
-8
15​
Waqar Younis
709.3​
14​
-1
16​
Courtney Walsh
697.8​
17​
+1
17​
Wasim Akram
694.3​
9​
-8
18​
Andy Roberts
684.8​
18​
-
19​
Keith Miller
677.9​
21​
+2
20​
Michael Holding
673.8​
13​
-7
Drop
Alan Davidson
622.8​
15​
Drop
Brian Statham
620.3​
22​
Drop

Spin Bowlers:

ICC RankNameRat AvgCW RankDif
1​
Muttiah Muralitharan
770.1​
1​
-
2​
Shane Warne
726.8​
2​
-
3​
Sydney Barnes
715.1​
AddAdd
4​
Anil Kumble
714.2​
8​
+4
5​
Bill O'Reilly
712.0​
3​
-2
6​
Clarrie Grimmett
711.3​
5​
-1
Drop
Hugh Tayfield
659.8​
7​
Drop
Hedley Verity
653.0​
6​
Drop
George Lohmann
643.7​
AddDrop
Jim Laker
633.7​
4​
Drop

All-Rounders:

ICC RankNameRat AvgCW Rank
1​
Ian Botham
414.6​
5​
2​
Jacques Kallis
405.7​
3​
3​
Garry Sobers
399.5​
1​
4​
Keith Miller
391.1​
4​
Imran Khan
345.9​
2​
Kapil Dev
317.2​
7​
Shakib Al Hasan
309.3​
6​

And for fun, below is an All-time and Professional era (debut 1970 or later) XI I made using these numbers, and not including active players as their rating average could go either up or down depending on future performance. Let the jolly argumentation and discussion commence! :)

All-Time XI
Jack Hobbs
Len Hutton
Herbert Sutcliffe / Viv Richards
Don Bradman
Brian Lara
Garry Sobers
Kumar Sangakkara +
Shaun Pollock
Curtly Ambrose
Muttiah Muralitharan / Dale Steyn
Glenn Mcgrath

Professional Era XI
Sunil Gavaskar
Matthew Hayden
Viv Richards
Brian Lara
Javed Miandad
Kumar Sangakkara +
Ian Botham / Jacques Kallis
Shaun Pollock
Curtly Ambrose
Muttiah Muralitharan / Dale Steyn
Glenn Mcgrath
 
Last edited:

shortpitched713

International Regular
I also note Jimmy Anderson above Courtney Walsh.
Yeah, this one kind of threw me for a loop also, just looking at averages, but Anderson did play predominantly in a more batsman friendly (ie bowler unfriendly) era, and that argument should go both ways, so that's one possible explanation.
 

shortpitched713

International Regular
Hayden making the team, and Sangakkara as keeper, but no Sachin lol
I had to choose the best batsman for keeper in order to fit the "spirit" of this team. I know there's an argument against Sangakkara because he batted worse when he kept, but lol let's just hope he finds it easier to keep for a predominantly pace attack.

And yeah, Sachin gets screwed by this measure. One of the few whose longevity counts against him. Should've taken a 3-4 year sabbatical from 2006 to 2010 for mine. :ph34r:
 

TheJediBrah

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
I had to choose the best batsman for keeper in order to fit the "spirit" of this team. I know there's an argument against Sangakkara because he batted worse when he kept, but lol let's just hope he finds it easier to keep for a predominantly pace attack.

And yeah, Sachin gets screwed by this measure. One of the few whose longevity counts against him. Should've taken a 3-4 year sabbatical from 2006 to 2010 for mine. :ph34r:
Hey no slight on you, just having a giggle at the limitations of the ranking system
 

Migara

Cricketer Of The Year
Yeah, this one kind of threw me for a loop also, just looking at averages, but Anderson did play predominantly in a more batsman friendly (ie bowler unfriendly) era, and that argument should go both ways, so that's one possible explanation.
Anderson has not retired. If retires at the beginning of his terminal decline he will keep these ratings. Otherwise it will drop,
 

shortpitched713

International Regular
Anderson is basically going to retire any series now. Even a few ****e matches at the end probably wouldn't put him out of the top 20, as others have had bigger and more steep declines anyway.
 

shortpitched713

International Regular
If anyone wants to try and continue this for the rest of the batsmen/bowlers in CW's top 50/40 etc, or even just a selected player of interest, please be my guest. Not feeling it at the moment, as I doubt I'll have that incredible chunk of time I happened to have before. The method was really simple.

1655211108534.png
1655211156069.png

Above example for Don Bradman. I went to his ICC ranking test batting page. Then I just hovered over each point in the chart, and recorded it in an Excel sheet, which included a formula for the cumulative average of the values.

Obviously, if someone knows how to scrape these values directly from the site data, that would make the process a whole lot simpler and less time consuming, but I didn't find any spot in the developer tools view of the page where the data resides. It seems the data is somehow fed to the javascript <canvas> element that makes up that chart, but I couldn't find it.
 

Migara

Cricketer Of The Year
Obviously rating takes account tye amount of matches played, but not relative percentages. A very good or very bad few matches against a particular opponet doesn't make much difference to the rating. Average ICC rating is possibly the best possible single rating available (Excuse me DoG) currently.
 

Migara

Cricketer Of The Year
The biggest surprise probably is Anil Kumble at 3, beating O'Riely and Grimmett. Given the match winner he was at home, it is difficult to argue with.
 

shortpitched713

International Regular
Obviously rating takes account tye amount of matches played, but not relative percentages. A very good or very bad few matches against a particular opponet doesn't make much difference to the rating. Average ICC rating is possibly the best possible single rating available (Excuse me DoG) currently.
Please contribute to the project then, my dude!

For anyone who wants to contribute, send me any given player value that you calculate, send me your raw values to verify, and I'll update the original post! :)
 

Nikhil99.99

U19 Cricketer
The biggest surprise probably is Anil Kumble at 3, beating O'Riely and Grimmett. Given the match winner he was at home, it is difficult to argue with.
O’Reilly and Barnes are in huge disadvantage in this exercise due to the less amount of international matches.
 

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