Eh, how dare we pose such an audacious question? Well, forgive us, but it needs to be asked, especially now. After all, since Rahul Dravid’s superbly timed exit from international cricket, it’s been a case of open season on Sachin Tendulkar.
Nowadays, more people than less seem to believe India’s greatest ever batsman is fair game to take potshots at. So let’s take a potshot, or three, at the great man and mercilessly dissect Tendulkar’s record in IPL games. Worry not Tendulkar-groupies, we’ll try not to be too brutal on your man. In fact, we’ll let the numbers do most of the talking.
Yes, we know all too well that hardcore fans of Tendulkar (like the writer himself) will insist that their man with the heavy bat is good enough for any form of cricket and that numbers hardly do justice to the greats in this ‘slam-bam-thanks-maams’ version of the Gentleman’s game.
But, speaking from personal experience, we do know hardcore fans tend to be overly emotional animals and, oftentimes, conveniently ignore the stats of the matter. And that’s just not on. So, let’s take a look at the vital statistics dispassionately, read between the lines, and try to arrive at a few considered conclusions.
Tendulkar has so far played 58 IPL games and scored 1925 runs at what some might consider a less than impressive strike rate of 120.23. Only Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir have scored more runs (2078 and 1932) than Tendulkar in the world’s premier T20 tournament. Be that as it may, both have played more games than him (74 and 66).
Still, they do score their runs at a much better strike rate of 138.44 and 128.62 respectively. Speaking of strike rates, the two top order batsmen with the best strike rate in IPL games are the inimitable Virender Sehwag (168.82) and Chris Gayle (159.15). In fact, the only batsman among the top six run scorers in IPL games with a strike slower than Tendulkar’s is Jacques Kallis (66 matches, 1770 runs at 110.55).
Furthermore, if we take into consideration openers and top order batsmen with over 1500 runs in IPL matches, only Kallis and Rahul Dravid (1620 runs at 118.16) get their runs at a rate slower than Tendulkar. Just once over an entire IPL (2009/10) has Tendulkar’s strike rate been above 130 (132.61 to be very precise) and he won the Orange Cap that year. In two out of the three IPL’s he has played in full, Tendulkar’s strike rates were 120.13 in 2009 and 113.31 in 2011 respectively.
There, we’ve done our bit. Now, it’s time to do yours. Tell us whether or not Sachin Tendulkar is good enough for the shortest version of the game. And, impossible as it might sound to the gazillions who worship Tendulkar, try not to let your emotions cloud your judgment. Happy hunting!
Editor’s note: All stats are valid as on May 7, 2012.