Judging greatness across eras: measures, challenges, and fallacies

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Judging greatness across eras: measures, challenges, and fallacies

In the latest episode of the podcast, we discuss the idea of greatness in cricket. What do we mean when we say a player is ‘great’, how does one compare across eras, and what are the pitfalls we fall into when discussing greatness.

Talking Points:

  • Greatness as a measurement of a player’s performance against their peers
  • The habit of putting down one player as one elevates another
  • The need for a transcendent moment for a player to be anointed ‘great’
  • The fallacy of the match-winning innings
  • Lillee v Cummins: the complexity of comparing two great bowlers
  • The power of nostalgia in talking about greatness – the Andy Roberts problem
  • Great batsmen in weak teams and great bowlers in strong teams
  • The problem with recency bias when judging greatness
  • Is this South African team better than the teams from the 1990s and 2000s?
  • The high benchmark for subcontinental players in foreign conditions


Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee)

Mahesh Sethuraman (@cornerd)

Kartikeya Date (@cricketingview)


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  • The line of greatness – Siddhartha Vaidyanathan – The Cricket Monthly
  • Wisden 100 – Wikipedia
  • Who are the greatest T20 players of all – Kartikeya Date – ESPNcricinfo
  • Who are the best batsmen of each decade – Anantha Narayanan – ESPNcricinfo
  • The Richards standard for ODI batsmen – Kartikeya Date – ESPNcricinfo
  • Alpha Average – Mahesh Sethuraman – Blogspot
  • Clutch, pressure, choke: the language of cricketing discourse – 81allout podcast
  • A new measure for cricketing greatness – Andy Bull – Guardian
  • An all-time world Test XI, according to ICC rankings – Rupin Kale – Wisden
  • 281-degree panorama – The Cricket Monthly


Lead image from Wikimedia Commons.

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