Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 – a Ratings year in review

As the old year comes to a close, it is time to reflect on the Ratings year and who were the biggest movers and shakers.

Five batsmen managed to achieve Test batting Ratings of more than 900 points over the course of the year: Mike Hussey, Jacques Kallis, Kumar Sangakkara, Ricky Ponting and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. In contrast, Muttiah Muralitharan was the only bowler to break the 900 barrier in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings in the twelve months of 2008. Dale Steyn narrowly missed out, peaking at 897 in April.

Virender Sehwag played the two highest-rated innings by the Ratings computer over the year – his undefeated 201 against Sri Lanka at Galle is rated as the third-greatest innings of all time, and his Indian-record 319 against a formidable South African attack at Chennai rated second-best of 2008. AB de Villiers’s undefeated 217 at Ahmedabad, Chris Gayle’s match-saving 197 against New Zealand at Napier and Simon Katich’s undefeated 131 against New Zealand at Brisbane round up the top five.

Jason Krejza’s debut performance of twelve for 358 was the best match performance of the year. Perennial number one Muttiah Muralitharan rated second for his eleven wickets against India at Colombo. Dale Steyn’s match-winning haul in the Boxing Day Test, Mitchell Johnson’s eleven wickets at Perth, and Harbhajan Singh’s ten-wicket haul against Sri Lanka at Galle complete this top five.

In the shorter format of the game, only two batsmen crossed the 800-point barrier during the course of the year. Ricky Ponting peaked at 822 back in February, and Indian skipper MS Dhoni reached 803 in August during the series with Sri Lanka. In terms of bowlers, the only man to crack 800 was Shaun Pollock, who reached 899 points during the home series with the West Indies before retiring. Daniel Vettori and Nathan Bracken were the only other bowlers to achieve a Rating of 750 or more over the course of the year.

Adam Gilchrist played the highest-rated One Day International innings of the year with his 118 against Sri Lanka at Perth back in February before retiring a month later. Yuvraj Singh’s whirlwind undefeated 138 from just 78 deliveries against England at Rajkot was rated just behind. Rounding off the top five were Sachin Tendulkar’s 117 not out against Australia at Sydney, Sanath Jayasuriya’s 125 against India at Karachi and Kumar Sangakkara’s 128 against the Australians at Adelaide.

Stuart Broad’s match-winning five for 23 against South Africa at Trent Bridge was the bowling performance of the year as rated by the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Ranking computer. Next up was Sri Lankan wonderkid Ajantha Mendis’s six for 13 against India at Karachi. Zaheer Khan managed two of the best five bowling performances of the year – both achieved in a five-day stretch against the Sri Lankans – four for 21 at Dambulla and then three for 23 at the Premadasa. Shaun Pollock’s two for 13 against the West Indians at Cape Town enabled him to end his ODI career on top.

In terms of all-rounders, no-one could touch Jacques Kallis at the top of the Test rankings as he maintained the number one position he has held unbroken since May 2006. However, six men shared the ODI number one spot for all-rounders: Shaun Pollock, Sanath Jayasuriya, Andrew Flintoff, Jacob Oram, Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi.