cricket records

Written by Zain Ul Hassan 9:32 pm Articles, Pakistan, Published Content

The Hall of Fame: Cricket’s Finest Players

Zain-ul-Hassan reviews the track records of some of the greatest cricketers of the ’70s and ’80s: Imran Khan, Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee, and Kapil Dev. To figure out the best player among the four, he analyses data and numbers through python coding.
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About the Author(s)
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Mr Zain-ul-Hassan is a cricket enthusiast, cricket data analyst, writer, and journalism school graduate.

In the world of cricket, there were four superstars who ruled cricket with their performance records during the 1970s and 1980s: Imran Khan, Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee, and Kapil Dev. They played with so much style and skill that people saw them as heroes.

cricket records of the gangsters of 70s and 80s

Imran Khan played 88 matches scoring 3807 runs with a batting average of 37.69, scoring 6 centuries, and 18 half-centuries. He had a bowling average of 22.81, a bowling strike rate of 53.7 picking up 362 wickets, and took 23 five-wicket hauls and 6 ten-wicket hauls with 8/58 as the best innings performance and 14/116 as best test match performance.

Ian Botham participated in 102 matches and scored 5200 runs, averaging 33.54 with 14 centuries and 22 half-centuries. His bowling average was 28.4, with a strike rate of 56.9. Botham picked up 383 wickets, achieved 27 five-wicket hauls and 4 ten-wicket hauls. His best innings performance was 8/34 and best match performance was 13/106.

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Richard Hadlee played 86 matches, scoring 3124 runs with highest score as 151*, averaging 27.16, scoring 2 centuries and 15 half-centuries. He picked up 431 wickets with bowling average of 22.29 and a strike rate of 50.8, taking 36 five-wicket hauls and 9 ten-wicket hauls. His best performance in an innings was 9/52 and in match was 15/123.

Kapil Dev featured in 131 matches, scoring 5248 runs, averaging 31.05, with 8 centuries and 27 half-centuries. His bowling average was 29.64, with a strike rate of 63.9. Kapil Dev secured 23 five-wicket hauls and 2 ten-wicket hauls. His best performance in an innings was 9/83 and in match was 11/146.

Each player excels in different aspects: Imran Khan and Richard Hadlee lead in bowling average and strike rate; Botham shines in centuries; Kapil Dev stands out in half-centuries; and Hadlee dominates in five and ten-wicket hauls. Many consider Hadlee to be a once-in-a-generation talent, and it’s often said that if modern technologies like snicko and hotspot were available during his time, he would have easily surpassed 600 wickets in his career. Such was the sheer genius of Hadlee with the ball in hand.

Home Performance

Test career

As far as performances in home conditions are considered, Imran Khan was a pioneer in each department and indicator. His batting average of 45.29 is even more than that of the many of the full fledged batters.

Batting Average

Imran Khan leads with a batting average of 45.29, followed by Kapil Dev with 36.97, Ian Botham with 34.92, and Richard Hadlee with 29.43 centuries. Ian Botham scored 8 centuries, followed by Kapil Dev with 5, Khan with 3, and Richard Hadlee with 1 half centuries; Imran Khan achieved 8 half-centuries, Kapil Dev 15, Ian Botham 13, and Richard Hadlee 7.

Bowling Average

Imran Khan excelled with a bowling average of 19.2, followed by Richard Hadlee with 22.96, Kapil Dev with 26.49, and Ian Botham with 27.54.

Bowling Strike Rate

Imran Khan had a bowling strike rate of 47, Richard Hadlee with 53, Kapil Dev with 55.7, and Ian Botham with 54.1.

Five-Wicket Hauls

Imran Khan leads with 10 five-wicket hauls, followed by Ian Botham with 17, Richard Hadlee with 15, and Kapil Dev with 11.

Ten-Wicket Hauls

Imran Khan achieved 3 ten-wicket hauls, followed by Richard Hadlee and Kapil Dev with 3 each, and Ian Botham with 2. 

Away Test

Better Bowler

Richard Hadlee stands out as the better bowler among the four based on his lower bowling average (21.72) and impressive bowling strike rate (48.9) in away tests.

Better Batter

In terms of batting performance in away tests, Imran Khan emerges as the better batter with a higher batting average (33.83) compared to the others.

Better All-Rounder

Who was equally good in both departments? To know that, we should build some metrics and delve deeper into these numbers. For that  purpose, mere batting and bowling averages can’t do justice, hence we should use another gauge to measure their greatness. We will check their mean bowling and batting averages and then calculate their standard deviation to see how widely dispersed their bowling and batting data is from each other.

Bowling Average

Mean Bowling Average: (22.81 + 28.4 + 22.29 + 29.64 ) /4 = 25.04

Standard Deviation of Bowling Averages:

Imran Khan:  (22.81 − 25.04 ) ^2 = 4.97

Ian Botham: (28.4 − 25.04 ) ^2 = 11.26

Richard Hadlee: (22.29− 25.04 ) ^2 = 7.61

Kapil Dev: (29.64 − 25.04) ^2 = 20.74

Now Calculating variance: (4.97 + 11.26 + 7.61 + 20.74 ) / 4 = 11.15

Standard Deviation: Square Root of Variance = 3.34

Batting Average

Mean Batting Average:  (37.69 + 33.54 + 27.16 + 31.05 ) / 4 = 32.36

Standard Deviation of Batting Averages:

Imran Khan: (37.69 – 32.36 ) ^ 2 = 28.29

Ian Botham: (33.54 – 32.36) ^ 2 = 1.39

Richard Hadlee: (27.16 – 32.36 ) ^ 2 = 27.06

Kapil Dev: (31.05 – 32.36 )^ 2 = 1.73

Variance = ( 28.29 + 1.39 + 27.06 + 1.73 ) / 4 = 14.11

Standard Deviation: Square Root of Variance = 3.76

Adjusted Bowling & Batting Averages

To calculate the adjusted bowling and batting averages for each player, we subtract the mean batting or bowling average from the player’s average, and then dividing that by the standard deviation. Now, let’s calculate the adjusted bowling and batting averages for each player by subtracting the mean and dividing by the standard deviation:

Imran Khan

Adjusted Bowling Average: (22.81−25.04)/3.3 = −0.67

Adjusted Batting Average: (37.69−32.36) / 3.76 = 1.42

Ian Botham

Adjusted Bowling Average: (28.4−25.04)/3.3 = 1.00

Adjusted Batting Average: (33.54−32.36) / 3.76 = 0.31

Richard Hadlee

Adjusted Bowling Average: (22.29−25.04)/3.3 = −0.82

Adjusted Batting Average: (27.16 −32.36) / 3.76 = – 1.38

Kapil Dev

Adjusted Bowling Average: (29.64−25.04)/3.3 = 1.37

Adjusted Batting Average: (31.05−32.36) / 3.76 = – 0.35

Here, anyone with a lower adjusted bowling average is a better bowler and anyone with a higher adjusted batting average is a better batter. Now, we will need to calculate the difference and sum of these averages. The difference between adjusted batting average and adjusted bowling average shows how much the all rounder was better in both departments as obviously a lower bowling average advocates a better bowler and a higher batting average communicates a better batter. So, the difference should have to be a greater value  to prove that the player was scoring runs with higher average and bowling with lower average.

You can see in the graph that Imran Khan’s difference was much more than the rest. There is another column which is a sum of both the adjusted averages; it shows how much a player was equally good in bowling and batting. This is another way of gauging the tilt of an all-rounder’s skills: a positive value implies a batting all-rounder, while a negative one a bowling all-rounder. The closer you are to zero, the more equal your two skills are. Imran is the most closest to 0 in sum value with 0.75. 

scatter plot

In conclusion, the era of the 1970s and 1980s boasted the records of cricket legends like Imran Khan, Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee, and Kapil Dev, who left an indelible mark on the sport. While each excelled in their own right, Imran Khan emerges as the epitome of an all-rounder, demonstrating exceptional prowess with both bat and ball. His remarkable performance across various metrics underscores his status as a true cricketing icon of his time.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article/paper are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Paradigm Shift.

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