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Home > India > Cricket > Statistics

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Tendulkar's diminishing returns

Rajneesh Gupta | September 16, 2008

There is no doubting that Sachin Tendulkar [Images] is the best cricketer India has produced, and, rightly, he is revered as a cricketing god by his fans.

The Mumbai batsman, who made his international debut as a 16-year-old, has broken nearly every batting record in both ODIs and Tests and is well on course to add the remaining few to his name before he hangs up his boots.

There was a time when an Indian side without Tendulkar could not even be imagined. But all good things have to come to an end, and the emergence of a young brigade, coupled with a spate of injuries, have put Tendulkar's performances under scrutiny.

The following table lists Tendulkar's performance in Test cricket in each calendar year. For five consecutive years (between 1997 and 2001) he averaged more than 60. But it hasn't been as rewarding since then, and in his last four years (since 2005) runs have come at an average of about 42 -- which is still a very good average, but not upto the standards he set over the years.

Tendulkar in each calendar year:
YearMtsInnsNORunsHSAvg100500
19894602155935.83020
19907101373119*41.44121
1991240784019.50000
19927111419148*41.90302
199389264016591.42250
1994711170017970.00230
19953425852*29.00010
1996815062317741.53221
199712171100016962.50430
199859164717780.87310
199910193108821768.00543
20006101575201*63.88210
200110182100315562.68360
200216261139219355.68453
20035901535517.00012
200410155915248*91.50320
2005610044410944.40130
200681212676324.27011
20079162776122*55.42260
2008713151115442.58211

The following table gives Tendulkar's performances in each progressive span of 25 matches. He was at his prime in the third and fourth spans (that is between Test no. 51 to 100). However, the latest span is the worst of his career.

Tendulkar's progress in each span of 25 matches:
MatchInnsNORunsAvgHS100s50s0sSR
1 - 25373152244.7616558348.20
26 - 50405191654.7417968153.84
51 - 75424255767.29217118358.93
76 - 100413241063.42201*810356.27
101 - 125416187653.60248*57250.79
126 - 150434159640.92154*48255.22

During his distinguished career, Tendulkar has suffered many injuries, but it is the famous 'tennis elbow' injury which seems to have cost him the most.

It was in 2004 that Tendulkar was troubled by a tennis elbow for the first time and since then he is not the same batsman we all have known him. It not only diminished his batting powers, but also signalled the start of an injury-ridden last few years for the batting maestro.

We take a look as how his performance has been affected ever since he developed this injury.

OverallBefore Tennis-elbowAfter Tennis-elbow
Tests15011436
Inns24418460
NO25196
Runs1187794702407
Hs248*241*248*
Avg54.2357.3944.57
10039336
50493712
Inns/1006.265.5810.00

As the above table clearly shows, not only has Tendulkar's average dipped by 13 points after the injury, he is taking 10 innings to score a hundred on an average as against his earlier rate of 5.58!

The following table lists Tendulkar's performance against each country pre-tennis elbow and post-tennis elbow periods.

Tendulkar's average against Bangladesh and Pakistan has improved (more than 161 points against Bangladesh), but declined against major nations like Australia [Images], England [Images], South Africa [Images] and Sri Lanka [Images].

Before tennis elbowAfter tennis elbowChange in Avg.
OpponentMtsRunsAvgMtsRunsAvg
Australia19178957.71656351.18-6.53
Bangladesh11818.004538179.33+161.33
England16168376.50631131.10-45.40
New Zealand [Images]16106248.27--
Pakistan1060040.00845745.70+5.70
South Africa1494837.92625428.22-9.70
Sri Lanka13112480.29628425.82-54.47
West Indies [Images]16132857.74--
Zimbabwe991876.50--

The reason why we are stressing on the tennis elbow injury is because that injury, in someways, has represented a turnaround in Tendulkar's career. Since recuperating from that injury, the 35-year-old has changed his batting style completely and now seems content to defend and give bowlers the respect, unlike the Tendulkar of the 1990s.

The following table perhaps gives the perfect idea about how the things have changed. Before tennis elbow, Tendulkar was averaging more than 62 in India's victories, but since then his contributions have dropping at an alarming rate. He now averages just over 37 in India's victories -- a sharp fall of 25 points!

Tendulkar's contribution in India's victories:
(excluding matches against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh)
MtsInnsNORunsAvgHS100500
Before tennis elbow27427218862.51194*872
After tennis elbow1121271437.58109160

However, despite everything, we all know that Tendulkar still is a force to reckon with and much better than any of the youngsters around. But, honestly speaking, he is nowhere near his best.

But never count a genius out. We all want to believe that Tendulkar can still entertain us for another couple of years, though it all depends how his body responds. It is best to leave it to him to decide when to call it quits.



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