Dubai: Matthew Hayden"s position of 10th and 18th in the all-time Test and ODI Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for batsmen is an impressive achievement by anyone"s standards, but this has sparked off a debate on whether he is actually the 10th-best Test batsman or 18th-best ODI batsman in the history of the game.
The controversy seems to have erupted over the downgrading of India"s Sachin Tendulkar, who has been ranked 28th on the list of all time greats.
According to an ICC press release, the rankings give an indication of how players peaked during their careers but do not give a full picture of those players" level of consistency or longevity in the game.
'The Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings are a great way to compare the performances of players but the all-time list of highest-rated players does not by itself rank those players in terms of true greatness. For that reason some players, who are considered by most observers of the game to be truly great, such as Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Wally Hammond, Greg Chappell and others, do not feature in the top 20 in the all-time high ratings," the release said.
The “best-ever ratings" are effectively snapshots of greatness. When it comes to judging a player"s greatness over his career, it"s necessary to look at his entire graph rather than his peak. It"s not so much how high a player soars as how long he stays there.
If you think of a player"s graph as a mountain, a high, long plateau could be worth more than a single sky-scraping peak.
Hence Tendulkar would be deemed greater than most other players despite having a lower peak. One way of assessing a player would be to calculate his “average rating" over his career though of course this could penalise a player whose long career included a slow start. So, was Hayden better than Chappell? How does Lara fare against Tendulkar? It"s up to everyone to make their own judgment by comparing graphs, or by other more subjective means. This debate may run and run, claims the ICC.