In modern society, the media are the new priests. They pronounce on all manner of things with the air of being the ultimate authority. To challenge these experts is heresy. Yet it can be done.
These so-called experts are vulnerable in a variety of ways. For instance, you can dispute the credibility of their views by bringing forth facts. I believe Tendulkar is overrated and I believe I can show this with hard-core facts.
The only measure by which Tendulkar outshines other batman is the sheer volume of his runs. There are reasons for this and we shall examine them later. But by every other measure he is outshone. Lets look at those metrics.
1. AVERAGE: Sangakarra, Kallis and Ponting all have better averages. If we look at average by batting position Jayawardene also outranks Tendulkar. Note that Ponting and Sangakarra also play in the slightly less protected batting position of number 3. Tendulkar has never batted at this position.
2. 1000 RUNS PER CALENDAR YEAR: while Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar all have 5 years. Both Lara and Ponting have achieved theirs in much less time. Kallis has also achieved his four 1000+ years at a faster rate than Tendulkar.
3. MOST RUNS IN A TEN YEAR PERIOD: Ponting, Kallis, Dravid, Hayden, Jayawardene and Sangakkara have all scored more runs in the last ten years. Ponting has scored more than 2500 runs than Tendulkar over the same period, this despite batting at number 3. Indeed over EVERY single comparable Ten Year period Ponting has scored more runs than Tendulkar.
4. MAN OF THE MATCH: Kallis and Ponting both have more man of the match awards then Tendulkar. Kallis, Ponting, Lara, Hayden and Sangakarra all receive man of the match awards at a greater strike rate than Tendulkar.
So why does Tendulkar have so many runs?
Simply put, it comes down to two things: time and playing in India.
His longevity is a massive credit to him. But another reason is that playing for India and in India is a massive boost for batsmen and there are metrics that can show this clearly.
1. DRAWS: Tendulkar has played an incredible 66 draws! That is almost 41% of the matches he has played have ended in a draw. Remove those matches from his average calculations and his average drops a massive 5 runs to less than 50. That is around a 10% boost from those draws. His average in drawn matches is 65. Interestingly, an analysis of Dravid produces a similar conclusion.
2. MATCHES WHERE TEAMS SCORE GREATER THAN 600 RUNS: over 50% of matches where a team scores over 600 runs in the last ten years have been played in India. Indian pitches produce big scores.
3. GROUND AVERAGES: over the last 20 years, Indian grounds have averaged more than 70 runs per match than those outside of India (minimum 5 matches).
Discussions like the above can generate a lot of heat but not much light.
Amongst the palaver and the hyperbole, the figures reveal the truth about how good a player is. The truth is, Tendulkar is overrated.
Or rather, some lesser rated batsmen should be given more credit.