Could Sachin Tendulkar Be Considered an All-Rounder?

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Could Sachin Tendulkar Be Considered an All-Rounder?

Cricket is a sport full of arbitrary definitions and statistics. One of the problems with using a player’s career statistics to measure their value to their team is that a player’s career begins not when they are at their peak but when their team needs them.

To look at the career stats of a player like Daniel Vettori leads to an underestimation of his value to the team. Vettori averages over 31 with the ball over the course of his career, but consistently ranks at or near the top of the ODI bowling charts. If you assign an arbitrary cut-off value of the last seven years to Vettori’s stats, his average drops to near 27 with an economy rate of less than four.

Like Vettori, Sachin Tendulkar began his career at a very early age. If you say to a cricket fan the word ‘batsman’, chances are they’ll reply with the word ‘Tendulkar’. The Little Master is synonymous with the art of blademanship. He also has played a role as a part-time bowler for India over his long career.

Applying the seven-year rule to his batting doesn’t change his stats very much. His average increases from an already monstrous 45 to a shade over 46.

But if we apply the seven-year rule to his bowling, his average comes out at 32.52, with an economy rate of 5.42 and a strike rate of 35.9.

If we define “all-rounder” as someone who could make their team on either their batting or their bowling ability, it’s interesting to compare Tendulkar’s stats with those of other bowlers.

The Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh has an ODI bowling average of 33.40 and a strike rate of 46.5 (although admittedly a much better economy rate: 4.30).

Zaheer Khan, the spearhead of the Indian bowling unit in their successful World Cup campaign, has a strike rate of 35.2, only marginally better than what Tendulkar has managed over the past seven years.

Jacques Kallis, who is unquestionably an all-rounder, averages a comparable 31.76 with a strike rate of 39.5.

Currently, Tendulkar’s official ODI bowling ranking is 205th, but it should be noted that his highest ever ranking was 41st.

Sometimes it’s better not to put players into ‘batsman’ or ‘all-rounder’ categories, allowing the numbers to speak for themselves. In Tendulkar’s case, the numbers seem to be saying that his batting ability has overshadowed his bowling to such a degree that he is dangerously underrated with the ball.

Could Sachin Tendulkar Be Considered an All-Rounder?

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