It’s just not cricket.

Sir Donald Bradman has been dislodged from the top of cricket’s batting order by India’s Little Master, according to a Griffith University researcher. Dr Nicholas Rohde claims statistics prove Indian batsman, Sachin Tendullkar, not Bradman, is the greatest test batsman who ever lived.

While it is difficult to compare past and present players, Dr Rohde says by applying economic principles to batting performances he is able to rank players back through time.
Tendulkar, who will be chasing his one hundredth test century on Boxing Day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, has only a very slim lead. In fact the two players are so closely ranked the lead position could switch repeatedly before Tendulkar retires.

Dr Rohde is prepared for a heated response to his methods and findings.

“It’s an emotional issue and there will always be debate between followers of test cricket about the relative career performances of various batsmen,” he said.

“But by using the principles of opportunity cost and supernormal profit, the ranking procedure is actually very simple. Essentially each player is scored according to their career aggregate runs, minus the total number of runs that an average player of that era would accrue over the same number of innings.

“The rankings are designed to allow for meaningful comparisons of players with careers of different lengths.”

Dr Rhode’s ranking system was published in the December issue of Economic Papers. In that article he listed the 40 highest performing batsmen with Sir Donald Bradman in the number 1 position and Tendulkar coming a very close second. Those published rankings, however, were based on 2010 data.

By including runs scored so far in 2011, Tendulkar just beats Bradman for the top spot. Both players are far ahead of their nearest rivals.