In terms of pure batting records, forget Ricky Ponting, no one comes anywhere near the great Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin has 100 international centuries to Ponting’s 71 and 34,000 odd international runs to Ponting’s 27,000 plus.
In that regard, Sachin’s many records may stand for a very very long time, especially in a world where T20 is gaining greater popularity.
But there are many areas where Ponting led a much superior cricketing life to Sachin’s and the first among them is captaincy. Ponting led his team to victory in 48 Tests as compared to Sachin’s mere 4. In terms of percentages it’s a stark 62-16.
In ODIs, Ponting beats Sachin by a whopping 165-23. In terms of percentage, Ponting won 76% of all his matches as compared to Sachin’s 35%. Ponting also led his team to victory in two World Cups while Sachin never ever got a chance to captain his side in a WC.
Pure victory statistics is another area where Ponting scores. Ponting was involved in a whopping 108 Test victories as compared to Sachin’s 66 matches. In ODIs, Ponting leads 262-234.
Ponting was involved in 3 WC wins compared to Sachin’s solitary one in 2011.
Winning centuries is another area where Ponting scores over Sachin. Only 20 out of Sachin’s 51 Test centuries came in a winning cause. For Ponting, it is 27/41. That’s a far greater winning percentage, 66, as compared to Sachin’s 39.
In ODIs, 33 out of 49 Sachin’s centuries came in winning causes, while for Ponting it is a much higher 25/30. In terms of percentages, Ponting scores 83-67.
There is one other thing. Throughout his career, Ponting has shown what a fighter he was and has got more hard runs than many other players. He was a game changer in many ways while Sachin could be called the greatest accumulator of all time.
Most players in the world would rather be in Ponting’s shoes rather than Sachin’s!
While Sachin and Ponting have belted many runs on their home grounds a good way to compare them would be to take their performance on a third tough country like say South Africa, the current world champions.
Here Ponting has a slight edge, averaging 46.85 to Sachin’s 46.44.
Ponting has also timed his retirement much better. Most people have forgotten that it was just the beginning of 2012 when Ponting dazzled against India. He scored 544 runs at an average of 109 belting a double century, a century and three fifties.
Ponting immediately flopped with the West Indies and after an abysmal loss of form in the first two Tests of the current South Africa series, decided to call it a day.
Sachin on the other hand has gone for four straight series without averaging more than 50 in any of them. In the New Zealand series, Sachin was placed sixth in terms of runs scored by players in the team. With England, half way through the series, his position is eighth!
Ponting also leaves his team better placed. Australia thrashed India 4-0 at the beginning of the year and had the upper hand in the two drawn Tests against South Africa.
India on the other hand has been going through a really rough patch and Sachin has not been able to help even in a single Test. We got thrashed 0-8 on foreign soil and just suffered a humiliating defeat against England.
It is also difficult to compare both Sachin and Ponting with the legendary Donald Bradman. Bradman never played ODIs or T20s. He never faced the mean bowlers of the West Indies, something that makes you appreciate the runs of Sunil Gavaskar.
But both Sachin and Ponting were luckier than Gavaskar. The era of great fast bowling ended in the 1990s. After 2000, the pitches have become much flatter, the rules have been changed more to favour batsmen and fast bowlers have lost their sting. Both have scored a bulk of their runs in this period.
Bradman averaged a whopping 99.94 in Tests and hit a century every 3 innings he played. For Sachin it’s an average of 54.6 and a century every 6 odd innings. For Ponting it’s an average of 52.2 and a century every 7 odd innings. Bradman also had two triple centuries compared to Sachin and Ponting who have none.
Bradman was prolific in the first class circuit too. He scored 117 centuries and belted 28,000+ runs at an average of 95. His highest score was 452 not out.
In terms of pure records, Sachin is definitely the greatest. But when you throw in a lot of other parameters, then it gets all the more complicated.
Also see: The good, the bad and the ugly side of Ricky PontingMore Columns
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/