Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Concentration or Technique

To be a great batsman it requires good technique and good skills of concentration.

Generally players who have a flaw in their technique are shown up early in their innings, while players who have lapses in concentration tend to have difficulty converting starts to big scores.

The challenge is to see if there is a way to quantify this.

So I took a range of batsmen, and looked at their average, compared to their average score after 20. (to get this I found their average on all innings when they had reached 20, and then subtracted 20, to find out how many more they got.)

There were a couple of interesting results. I was expecting McIntosh, North and Samaraweera to have high averages once they got to 50, but I didn't know who to expect to be at the bottom end.

Here is the table:

NameAverage after TwentyOverall AverageDifference
MJ North 67.6635.4832.18
TG McIntosh 54.6027.5427.06
AG Prince 67.6845.6122.07
S Chanderpaul 77.7857.0020.78
MJ Prior 60.8342.9617.87
DPMD Jayawardene 81.8063.9517.85
SR Tendulkar 74.0457.4816.56
Shoaib Malik 49.7633.7715.99
Younis Khan 75.6559.9315.72
HM Amla 65.0749.8015.27
IR Bell 58.9043.7315.17
TT Samaraweera 76.6861.9014.78
MJ Clarke 62.8050.2712.53
AB de Villiers 59.7847.6512.13
KC Sangakkara 83.3171.3211.99
Misbah-ul-Haq 60.548.7511.75
V Sehwag 64.4853.3411.14
PD Collingwood 52.8241.7211.10
MJ Guptill 44.7233.6811.04
Kamran Akmal 44.5734.0510.52
JH Kallis 66.7257.788.94
Yuvraj Singh 43.5034.788.72
RT Ponting 54.9446.708.24
Mohammad Yousuf 67.4559.517.94
R Dravid 52.9645.117.85
IJL Trott 69.2361.537.70
MEK Hussey 55.6248.317.31
VVS Laxman 59.9052.946.96
MS Dhoni 46.2740.236.04
KP Pietersen 54.6048.945.66
PJ Hughes 44.8039.555.25
AN Cook 51.8347.504.33
IK Pathan 43.0038.854.15
BJ Haddin 43.0339.683.35
Tamim Iqbal 41.8040.131.67
BP Nash 40.1238.851.27
GC Smith 49.1348.111.02
CH Gayle 46.8245.960.86
AJ Strauss 42.5041.980.52
LRPL Taylor 40.3840.210.17
TM Dilshan 45.0245.4-0.38
G Gambhir 57.2557.95-0.70
SR Watson 42.2443.53-1.29
SM Katich 47.4650.48-3.02
JD Ryder 41.7847.76-5.98

There are a couple of results that I find interesting in this group. Firstly how high Matt Prior's difference is. Most wicket-keepers have very a very good eye, and as a result tend to not get out for low scores as often (the average difference for non-keepers is 8.73, while the average for keepers is 7.68)

The number of batsmen who regularly face the new ball being in the bottom half of the group is also surprising. Given that there is a much higher chance of getting out early when facing a new ball, I expected openers such as Dilshan, Ghambir, Watson, and Katich to cash in better when they got a start. (I'm aware that Dilshan played half his games in the middle order diring this period, but strangely his difference was greater in the middle order than opening)

Something that I don't want to mention, but it is interesting is the other two names at the bottom of this list: Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder. Martin Crowe (quite rightly) got criticized heavily for saying that Maori and Polynesian cricketers were never going to have the impact that Maori and Polynesian rugby players did, because they generally didn't have the concentration required. Taylor (Samoan) and Ryder (Maori) were trumpeted as the counter-examples to his theory, but perhaps their success has more to do with technique than concentration. (Ryder is possibly the most technically fluent batsmen playing the game at the moment, I never got a chance to see Sir Frank Worrell bat, but the description of him as playing grammatically correct shots could equally be made of Ryder's batting in tests. - he does lose his aesthetic pleasentness somewhat in limited overs cricket however)

Of the 38 players who have averaged adding more than 60 after 20 in history, more than half (21) have played in the 2000's. The top 5 are Bradman (obviously), Amiss, Tendulkar, Steve Waugh and Kallis.

It certainly adds something to watch for during the next test match series.


  1. A couple of people have commented that they felt I was supporting Martin Crowe's view that Maori and Polynesian players did not have sufficient concentration spans for test cricket. I was certainly not. I was instead pointing out that Taylor and Ryder were not the ideal people to use to argue against his view.

    A much better example is Adam Parore. He averaged about 26, but after he got to 20, he added on 38, about 50% more than his average. This puts him on a similar footing to Sangakkara. In fact when you remove matches where Parore was keeping, and just look at him as a specialist batsman, his numbers are similar to North and McIntosh. He is a shining beacon of a counter-example, as opposed to Ryder and Taylor who are at the other extreme.

    I hope that clarifies any misunderstandings.

  2. Likewise Murphy Su'a. While he didn't get past 20 often, when he did he was almost impossible to dislodge.