Click here to download the excel file on the comparison: a href=”http://localhost/tac/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Sanga-vs-Sachin.xls”>Sanga vs Sachin

World Cricket has produced a lot of elite stroke makers in its history spanning across 3 centuries. Out of the many debates pertaining to test batting in cricket, one of the most rigorously debated topics among Sri Lankan and Indian fans in the modern era is who is better, SANGA or SACHIN.

Here I present a comparative statistical analysis of Sachin Tendulkar’s and Kumar Sangakkara’s test career.

Before beginning to put my analysis into words, I want to proclaim that this article is not meant to disparage any player or his career.

Sachin Tendulkar’s Test career began in 1989 and continued till the latter part of 2013. Sangakkara made his debut in 2000. Both have given cricket fans some spectacular memories in the cricket field coupled with some breath taking stroke making that made even the best bowlers look ordinary. Both of them are indomitable when they at their very best, but as it is the case with any sports, there would be something that makes one better than the other. Here I use statistics to help find who the better test batsman is.

I have broken the analysis into several stages especially the stats vis a vis to Kumar Sangakkara, since he had played test cricket both as a Wicket keeper batsman and as a Specialist batsman.

 To begin with, let’s dwell on the overall test record of both Sangakkara and Sachin Tendulkar.

SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR

KUMAR CHOKSHANADA SANGAKKARA

MatchesRunsAverage100HSMatchesRunsAverage100HS
2001592153.78512481221115158.0735319

Sangakkara averages 58.07 runs per innings which is 4.29 runs more than Sachin who averages 53.78 runs per innings. Though Sangakkara emerges as the clear winner, the common complaint that arises is that Sangakkara has scored heavily against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh which has augmented Sangakkara’s average. But in reality both Sangakkara and Tendulkar have scored plethora of runs against the duo of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Sangakkara has played 20 games against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh while Sachin has played 16 games, scoring 9 and 8 centuries respectively. The record of Sachin and Sangakkara against teams other than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are as follows.

SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR

KUMAR CHOKSHANADA SANGAKKARA

MatchesRunsAverage100HSMatchesRunsAverage100HS
1841418351.0143241102879952.6826287

There is some truth about the lament since, Sangakkara’s average drops to 52.68, 5.39 runs less than his career average, but still it is 1.67 runs higher than Sachin, whose average drops to 51.01. Therefore, even Sangakkara’s record sans his shrewdness against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are better than that of Sachin. The next major complaint about Sangakkara is that most of his runs have come at home and his record in non-Asian tracks are ordinary.

Here is a table of records on Sangakkara’s and Sachin’s average with several criteria.

SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR

KUMAR CHOKSHANADA SANGAKKARA

MatchesRunsAverage100HSMatchesRunsAverage100HS
in Non-Asian Countries excluding Zim
73600750.91824130220740.875192
Non WK
17157952.635192
All away matches excluding Zim and Bang
957645522424147394947.5711230
Non WK
29280254.949211
All Away matches
106870554.742924855501352.7614319
Non WK
35375162.5112319
Home Matches
94721652.671621767613863.2721287
Non WK
39428377.8716287

Even though Sachin’s performances are better away from, Sangakkra as a specialist batsman averages more than Sachin.

SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR

KUMAR CHOKSHANADA SANGAKKARA

MatchesRunsAverage100HSMatchesRunsAverage100HS
in England

in England

17157554.3141931186241.042147
Sachin’s 1st 9 matchesSanga not as Wicket Keeper
9102072.854193552652.602147
Sachin’s 1st 3 matches
324561.251119
in Australia

in Australia

20180953.26241554360.331192
Sachin’s 1st 5 matchesSanga not as Wicket Keeper
5368462148454177.281192
Sachin’s 1st 4 matches
424941.51148
in New Zealand

in New Zealand

1184249.522160433466.82156
Sachin’s 1st 4 matchesSanga not as Wicket Keeper
417134.208822681342156
Sachin’s 1st 2 matches
211237.33088
in South Africa

in South Africa

15116146.445169857235.751108
Sachin’s 1st 8 matchesSanga not as Wicket Keeper
861343.783169537237.21108
Sachin’s 1st 5 matches
522127.621111
in West Indies

in West Indies

1062047.691117423834075
Sachin 1st 5 matches*Sanga not as Wicket Keeper
528957.8092321442.8075
Sachin’s 1st 4 matches*
420651.5092

The above table compares Sachin’s record in the leading test playing countries against that of Sangakkra. As aforementioned, since, Sangakkara’s career needs to be looked at in two stages, I have made four comparisons,

  1. Average Difference between Sangakkara and Sachin with Sangakkara as a non-wicket keeper (as a specialist batsman)
  2. Average Difference between Sangakkara and Sachin at the same stage of their respective careers. (Since Sachin has played more number of matches than Sangakkara, I have compared Sachin’s average with Sangakkara when he had played the same number of matches as Sangakkara)
  3. Average Difference between Sangakkara and Sachin when Sachin had played the same number of matches as the number of matches Sangakkara has played as a specialist batsman. (It is relatively unfair to compare the averages since Sangakkara could have already gained experience in the respective playing conditions as a wicket-keeper batsman.)
Average Diff (Sanga’s frame)Average Diff at the same stage of CareerAvg Diff Sanga as non WK with Sachin at the same stageAvg Diff, Sanga Not as WK
In England
-23.73-42.27-30.59-23.65
In Australia
7.1314.3335.7824.08
In New Zealand
17.2832.696.6784.48
In South Africa
-10.69-8.039.58-9.24
In West Indies
-13.69-23.8-8.7-4.89
TOTALTOTALTOTALTOTAL
-23.7-27.17102.7470.78

 

Even though Sachin has fared better than Sangakkara when comparing Sangakkara’s overall career, Sangakkara as a specialist batsman has done far better than Sachin. Considering that playing as a wicket keeper batsman is physically demanding and draining, and a wicket keeper batsman assumes dual responsibility, it is fair and just to compare Sangakkara’s record as a specialist batsman with that of Sachin Tendulkar.

SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR

KUMAR CHOKSHANADA SANGAKKARA

Innings per century
6.4509803925.971428571
Innings per double century
54.8333333323.22222222
Innings per triple century
0209
50 per innings

 

The above stats leaves the fact that Sangakkara has been a better bat than Sachin bare. Sachin Tendulkar has been a stalwart in batting, but Sangakkara who has performed better has not been able to achieve the same stardom Sachin has, mainly because of the fact Sachin was born in India. It is a well-known fact that Indian cricketers gain more media exposure and their records are exaggerated mainly due to the fact that India produces the majority of cricket fans. Perhaps, Sangakkra as an Indian would have been able to achieve the same recognition if not better recognition than Sachin. Sangakkara is one of the most under rated player of all time, even though he has done sufficiently well to earn a place in the list of all-time best test XI. Should Sri Lanka cricket be given more chances to tour stronger test playing countries, Sangakkara’s already staggering record would become even more ballistic. One who has followed Sangakkara’s career closely would realize the fact that he has got better with age and his performances have become better and better. Sangakkara has always been on the wax since his debut, and in a team endowed with a stable batting line up and a penetrative bowling line up Sangakkara could possibly fill the hallowed place below that of Bradman’s.