Thursday 20 January 2011

From the mouth of...

I noticed something interesting in the test matches. Often people complain about the incessant talk by the wicket-keepers being picked up by the stump microphones, but in this match it was quite revealing.

Here's what they were saying:

Reece Young: "Just one mistake boys"
Adnan Akmal: "Come on, bowl that magic ball"

The difference in approach to bowling is remarkable. The Pakistani approach was to try and bowl a delivery that would get the batsman out. The New Zealand approach was to bowl a ball that would make a batsman make a mistake.

The New Zealand approach is fine if the batsmen are attacking, but it is next to useless if they are just occupying the crease. Perhaps that's why New Zealand has the third worst balls per wicket of any team over the last 3 years (only slightly behind Bangladesh and the West Indies).

It also explains why New Zealand bowl so poorly in the 3rd and 4th innings. While they average 71.6 deliveries per wicket in a teams first innings, they average 85.4 deliveries per wicket in the second innings.

To look at those numbers, New Zealand should expect it to take 120 overs to bowl out a team in their first innings. This is 4 sessions, which is about what you would expect. However, it would take 143 overs to bowl them out in the second innings. This is almost 5 sessions. If they take 4 sessions in the first innings, and 5 in the second, it only leaves 6 sessions for New Zealand to score their runs.

Given New Zealand's economy rates of 3.04 in the first innings, and 2.96 in the second innings they will require roughly 780 runs to win these games. With only 182 overs to bat, NZ need to score at 4.29 per over to get enough runs, and have enough time to bowl a team out. Given that this is unrealistic, they either need to re-think their bowling approach in the final innings, or be prepared to either lose or draw most tests.


  1. This has as you say been the case for years. Our strategy has been to have medium pace bowlers with little variation bowl 'Aggressive Maidens.. Sorry my mistake.. I failed to acknoledge the variation of having a left arm 'spin'/slow bowler bowling 'Aggressive Maidens'.

  2. Aggressive maidens are great in the right context. if you bowl a few of them in a ODI, you probably win the match. If you bowl 2 in a T20, you are certainly in the box seat. They are not very good on the last day of a test when the batsmen aren't looking to score.