Like many other debates in cricket, this one will continue to tickle aficionados of the willow sport for decades to come. And rest assured, Brain Lara’s supporters will never get around to the opinion that Sachin Tendulkar is probably a better batsman than the West Indian maestro.
For now, the great Australian Ricky Ponting has joined the debate, rating Lara ahead of Tendulkar because he feels the former helped his team win more matches.
“Sachin and Lara were the two stand-out batsmen for me. Lara won more games for his team than Sachin probably has. I’d lose more sleep as captain knowing Lara was coming in to bat next day than I would with Sachin,” Ponting told the Evening Standard.
“You always found a way to restrict Sachin if you needed to. Lara could turn it on in half-an-hour and take a game away from you. For me, it has never been about making hundreds, it is about winning games and series,” Ponting added.
The former Australian captain is perfectly entitled to his views, but for the small matter that some statistics put out by India’s leading statistician Mohandas Menon paint an entirely different picture. Take for example Test matches.
Tendulkar has featured in 198 games for India and has been a part of the winning side in 70 outings, a winning percentage of 35.35. On the other hand, Lara played 131 games in his 16-year long career winning 32 at a winning percentage of 24.43. The story is no different in ODIs where the scales favour the Indian great.
Former India paceman Paras Mhambrey who is part of the Mumbai Indians (which had Tendulkar and Ponting playing for them this year) support staff refused to take sides, saying: “It is Ponting’s personal opinion.
It is not fair to rate players. You cannot compare two individuals. One can never gauge under what circumstances a particular innings was played. This (rating players) is a never ending process and it will always be non-conclusive. Everyone will have their opinion about a player. You can only respect it.”
Tests 198, Won 70, Lost 56, Drawn 72 (Win% 35.35)
Tests 131, Won 32, Lost 63, Drawn 36 (Win% 24.43)
M 463, Won 234, Lost 200, NR 29 (Win% 50.54)
M 299, Won 139, Lost 144, NR 16 (Win% 46.49)
In ODIs vs Aus during Ponting’s tenure
M 55, Runs 2515 (avg 47.45), SR 87.91, 100s: 8
M 32, Runs 1052 (avg 35.07) SR 79.22, 100s: 2
In Tests vs Aus during Ponting’s tenure:
Matches 29, Innings 56, Runs 3060 (avg 61.20), 100s: 9
Matches 16, Innings 32, Runs 1453 runs (avg 46.87) 100s: 6
Courtesy Mohandas Menon’s tweets