An “Economic” Ranking of Batters in Test Cricket


  • The author would like to thank Prasada Rao, Andrew Hodge, Sriram Shankar, Andrew Trappett, Tom Nguyen and Athula Naranpanawa as well as an anonymous referee. Any errors are my own.

Nicholas Rohde, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. Email:


There is much debate within the cricket community over the relative greatness of various batters. Attempts to guide this debate using statistical techniques have thus far been unsatisfying due to difficulties in determining appropriate trade-offs between certain performance criteria. By applying the concepts of opportunity cost and supernormal profit to batting performance we are able to produce a cardinal ranking system that uses non-arbitrary weightings to rank players. The proposed method is used to score past and current players and we find that the Australian batsman Sir Donald Bradman is the highest performer with India’s Sachin Tendulkar a close second. We also note that there is little public awareness of the greatest women batters and rank England’s Rachael Heyhoe-Flint and Australia’s Betty Wilson in the first two positions.