Too highly rated?

I see Kevin Pietersen has been knocked off the top spot in the ODIs by Ricky Ponting. Very difficult to argue with that – Ponting is surely the stand out batsman in both forms of the game. Looking at the other batting rankings, it is difficult to find fault, although on current form, Shiv Chanderpaul ought to be in the test top three at least. Also, I struggle to understand how Mahela Jayawardene doesn’t break into either top ten, while Hussey retains a top five place in both. He’s very good, granted, but is he top five?

Jason Gillespie

The bowlers are altogether more perplexing. For one, how can Shoaib Akhtar still be at number 10 in tests? He’s played four tests since the start of 2006 and taken only a handful of wickets. Maybe in the current game, not playing is the way to climb the rankings. Likewise, Jason Gillespie (22) is still deemed a better Test bowler than Lasith Malinga (28)!

Agreed, it must be difficult to devise a workable system. Also, stats don’t tell the full story. But things start to look decidedly suspect when you inspect the Best Ever Ratings, which is a list of players at their peak. Ponting at four is just about fair enough, given his recent dominance. However, Peter May above Viv Richards shows a flaw, while Matthew Hayden in the top ten is just crazy. KP (21) is one place higher than Sachin and two places higher than Wally Hammond. Enough said.

For the bowlers, I half expected to see the list packed high with bowlers of yesteryear, given how modern bowlers are meant to have struggled, but it does put Murali, McGrath, Pollock, Waqar and Warne in the top 15. Of course, Warne should be in the top three, if not top of the pile. Wasim Akram limps in at number 57 behind the likes of Ntini, Shoaib and Harmison, which doesn’t seem right.

That said, like most critics, I can’t think of a better way. There must be some bright spark at Cricinfo with a formula….?

Trescothick reaches 5000 milestone

Marcus Trescothick hit his 5000th Test match run today at Old Trafford against Australia. Interestingly, only Jack Hobbs (55 matches), Len Hutton (55), Wally Hammond (59) and Ken Barrington (61) have reached 5000 Test runs for England in fewer matches than Trescothick (64). Nice stat. Update: Viv Richards and Bill Lawry also reached 5000 Test runs in 64 matches.

Second update:

More stats:

1. Shortest time span from debut to 5000 runs in Tests

5 years 12 days ME Trescothick
6 years 64 days R Dravid
6 years 94 days MA Taylor
6 years 186 days AR Border

2. Fewest Tests to reach 5000 runs in Tests

36 DG Bradman
52 SM Gavaskar
55 JB Hobbs
55 L Hutton
55 ML Hayden
56 GS Sobers
59 WR Hammond
60 GS Chappell
61 RN Harvey
61 KF Barrington
61 RB Kanhai
61 BC Lara
63 R Dravid
63 HH Gibbs
64 WM Lawry
64 IVA Richards
64 ME Trescothick