Saturday 28 December 2013


I'm sure that there will be tributes to Jacques Kallis all over the web at the moment. I wanted to do something uniquely CricketGeeky. So I've put together an interactive calculator, similar to the Tendulkulator that I did when Tendulkar retired. You enter in the runs and say if they are out or not out, then the basic bowling figures and it will tell you where he will end up on the all time batting and all-rounder's average leader board. You will need to scroll to the right to see the full all-rounder's numbers

I've done my best to lock it down, but it is a shared file, so if you find a way round the security, please don't vandalise it. Let everyone else play too.

Monday 23 December 2013

When not going for the victory is an act of courage

South Africa chose to defend the last 4 overs, rather than try and score 16 runs for victory. At first glance this seems like an act of either stupidity or cowardice, but I think it was neither.

They missed out on a chance to make history, by becoming the only team to have successfully chased over 450. But they also missed out on losing a match that would have meant that the series was unwinnable.

Instead Steyn and Philander looked at the options and decided that they were a better team than India, and backed themselves to win the next test. If they went 1-0 down in the series, the best possible outcome was a drawn series, but if the match was a draw, then it was still possible to win the series.

Imran Tahir was probably the next man in. In roughly 2/3 of his innings he has lasted less than 10 balls. That is not the player you want to have saving a test. Morne Morkel is more competent, but it's difficult to bat with only one leg working. It was entirely likely that those two could have been dismissed in the space of an over.

Given that restriction, it made sense that the South Africans decided to be positive with regards to the series, and back themselves to win the second match. It certainly would have been frustrating for them and for any South African fans, but it was probably the correct call.

It appeared to be an act of cowardice, but really it was an act borne of a confidence in their ability to win the second test.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Mini-session Analysis, 3rd test, NZvWI, Seddon Park, Hamilton

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the third test between New Zealand and West Indies at Seddon Park, Hamilton

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Is the Southee - Boult partnership greater than the Hadlee - Chatfield partnership?

There is a theory that bowlers are supposed to hunt in a pack. That the two bowlers are supposed to work together to get the batsmen out.  There are some proponents of this theory, and some who feel that it is rubbish, and that each bowler is wholly responsible for their own figures.

In the light of their recent performances I've been looking into the opening partnership of Boult and Southee and then I've compared that to others opening partnerships throughout time. They are a fairly new pair, but they actually stack up quite well.

Monday 16 December 2013

Warner in Perth

I have written before about how impressed I am with David Warner's running between wickets. I genuinely believe that he is one of the best at judging a run that I've seen.

Accordingly I was surprised to see that he had scored the same number of singles as boundaries in the second innings at Perth. I also heard the commentators describe it as a typical innings from Warner. It made me wonder if it actually was a typical innings.

First of all I looked at how Warner compared to other batsmen.  The method I chose to look at was to compare the boundary percentage (boundaries per delivery) and the activity rate (runs scored per non-boundary delivery). I filtered out any batsman who hadn't faced more than 650 deliveries since 2000, hadn't hit more than 50 fours and hadn't played in the past 2 years. I then put the rest of the batsmen on a single graph.

I divided up the batsmen into 4 categories. Aggressive, Block Bash, Pushers and Defensive. Close to the extremes of each group were players who have been reasonably successful.

In the defensive group are players like Rahul Dravid, Peter Fulton, Tino Mawoyo, Ed Cowan and JP Duminy.
Block Bash contains Angelo Mathews, Shane Watson, Chris Gayle and Yuvraj Singh.
Pushers includes Kane Williamson, Shiv Chanderpaul, Jonathan Trott and Thilan Samaraweera.
Aggressive include Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Darren Sammy and David Warner.

Warner has a higher activity rate than anyone in the list. But he also hits more boundaries than most batsmen.

Warner's activity rate for his career is 0.353 and his boundary rate is 9.3%. His innings in Perth lasted 140 deliveries. We would expect 13 boundaries, perhaps 12 fours and 1 six. Off the other 127 deliveries we would expect him to score 45 runs. Overall we would expect that he would be on about 99, rather than 112, so he scored slightly faster than we would expect, but the big difference was the make up of the innings.

Warner scored 80 runs in boundaries. That's about 40% more than we would normally expect him to get.

I used the same graph as above, to analyse Warner's other innings. I've included every innings where Warner has scored more than 30. I've drawn in lines to show which group the innings would have fit in.
We can see that Warner's innings does fit in with some of his other innings, but really is closer to the Block Bash quadrant than almost any of his other innings.

It was an interesting innings, because of the context and the opponent, but also because of the way that he scored the runs.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Sharp work

Here's a little video I noticed recently.  This was from yesterday, day one of the four day match between Auckland and Canterbury.

Auckland had just been bowled out for 165 and Canterbury were at 6/1 in the 7th over. George Worker is facing Matt Quinn. Jeet Raval is out of shot, but he is at short leg, under the helmet.


There are three impressive things here.

Firstly the awareness of Raval to try for the run out. It's easy to just appeal. Especially when a player isn't that far out of his crease. But instead Raval, who must have been only just out of shot, was aware of the possibility of the run out.

Secondly how quickly and accurately he got the ball in. The stumps are hit about 1 second after the batsman hits the ball. It means Raval has gathered the ball and then released it to throw down the stumps in about a third of a second. That's scarily fast.

Thirdly the outstanding umpiring. Worker was given out without a replay. When I went through the video frame by frame, the bat appears to be on the line as the ball dislodges the bails. One frame later and the bat is in the crease. That's either some poor benefit of the doubt, or some very good umpiring. I think it's kinder to assume the latter.

Below is the frame where the ball dislodges the bails. Do you think it's out?

Monday 14 October 2013

Mini-session Analysis, First test, Pakistan vs South Africa, Abu Dhabi, 2013

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the first test between Pakistan and South Africa at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

Friday 11 October 2013


I'm sure that there will be tributes to Sachin Tendulkar all over the web at the moment. I wanted to do something uniquely CricketGeeky. So I've put together an interactive calculator. You enter in the 4 next scores and say if they are out or not out and then it will tell you where he will end up on the all time average leader board. The one joker in the pack is that Che Pujara is currently ahead of him, so if he has a terrible series, he might push Tendulkar up one.

I've excluded the supertest because, well, it was a bit rubbish and should never have been given test status.

I've done my best to lock it down, but it is a shared file, so if you find a way round the security, please don't vandalise it. Let everyone else play too.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Mini-session Analysis 1st Test Bangladesh vs New Zealand from Chittagong 2013

Here is the mini-session analysis for the first test between Bangladesh and New Zealand at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

2013 Champions League T20 Net Run Rate calculator

Here's are some Net Run Rate calculators. I've tried to make them so that only relevant cells can be edited, but it's a shared document so please don't vandalise it if your team loses.

Group A

Group B

Thursday 12 September 2013

Mini-session Analysis, 2nd test, Zimbabwe vs Pakistan, Harare 2013

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the second test between Zimbabwe and Pakistan at Harare Sports Club, Harare, Zimbabwe

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

Friday 6 September 2013

Have Australia's selectors selected the New Zealand squad

Earlier this year the Australian selectors picked Ashton Agar as their 13th player picked as a spin bowler in 5 years. Some of the names included in that list are the likes of Michael Beer, Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell. The Australian selectors picked some of them despite a fairly ordinary domestic record.

During that same time New Zealand have picked 4 players as spin bowlers in test matches. Part of that is the presence of Daniel Vettori, probably the best New Zealand's ever spinner to have played for New Zealand. A couple of other players have been named in squads, or played short-form cricket, but Vettori, Patel, Martin and Todd Astle (one match) have been the only spinners used in the last 5 years.

Now in the squad for Bangladesh is the name Ish Sodhi. There's a chance that he's not going to get picked, and that New Zealand will continue to just use Williamson and Martin for the actual tests, but the decision to go with Sodhi is a strange one.

Sodhi looks like he could become a very good bowler. He's got a lot of people who know a thing or two about cricket talking, and genuinely turns the ball. However there's a difference between being able to turn a cricket ball and being a good spin bowler. The two are related, but they are not the same thing.

Sodhi has played 12 first class matches for 22 wickets at an average of 48.40. That's not a very encouraging record.

To be fair to the selectors, there are not many New Zealand spin bowlers with a great record recently, but Sodhi is the player with the worst record of the current crop.

Here are the records of all the potential rivals for the back-up role to Bruce Martin since 2012: (assuming Vettori is unfit)


Jono Boult, Bhupinder Singh and Nathan McCullum have probably not played enough first class cricket in that time to really be able to read much into their records, but there is a name that stands out as a glaring omission: Jeetan Patel.

While I was one of the people who said things like "he should never play for New Zealand again" based on his somewhat insipid performance with the bat in South Africa, the selectors job is not to pick someone to face Steyn and Morkel, rather they should be picking the player who is the best equipped to take over if Bruce Martin gets injured. For me that's Jeetan Patel.

Bruce Edgar said that he picked Sodhi based on his good tour of India with New Zealand A. A tour where he took 2 wickets at 84.5. Astle ended with better figures in each innings that both bowled in. If Sodhi was being taken as a third spinner, then that would be a little more understandable. He's there to get experience, to get exposed to some quality coaching etc. But the risk of Martin getting sick or injured and having to thrust a player who has not yet earned his spot into a test match (against a team that is good against spin) is too great.

Cricket is littered with stories of young players who are picked too early, and either never recover, or take much too long to do so. It is one thing to pick a young player who (like was the case with Vettori) has put sufficient performances on the board to suggest that they deserve their spot. It is another thing to pick a young player who has yet to do that. It sometimes works (Doug Bracewell is a good example) but often doesn't. Martin Crowe has said repeatedly that he should not have been picked so young, as he hadn't yet convinced himself that he was ready to step up. Spin bowling (and legspin bowling in particular) takes a certain psychological strength. You have to be prepared to be hit, relying on your own ability to beat the batsman in the end. If a player doesn't believe in themselves, then the best laid plans are often irrelevant.

I believe this is a bad decision by New Zealand cricket. It is a big gamble with a promising young player's career, and also a gamble with a potential banana-skin test series.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Mini-session Analysis, 1st test Zimbabwe vs Pakistan, Harare, 2013

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the first test between Zimbabwe and Pakistan at Harare Sports Club, Harare, Zimbabwe

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Mini-session Analysis 5th Ashes test - The Oval, 2013

Here is the mini-session analysis for the Fifth test between England and Australia at The Oval, London, England

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

When was the Ashes won?

The important old ball
England retained the Ashes by securing a draw in the 3rd match at Old Trafford, and then won the series by winning the 4th match at Chester-le-Street.

An interesting question, however, is what parts of the games did England win? It's hard not to recognise the efforts of Ian Bell, who has been immense for England with the bat, often on quite difficult surfaces. Despite his efforts, I think there has been another factor that has been equally influential. England's pace bowlers have bowled well with the old ball.

For the purpose of this article, I've defined the ball as being new if it is less than 20 overs old, and old if it's more than 20 overs.

Here are the difference between the two sets of pace bowlers:

less than 20 overs22.7832.32
more than 20 overs35.2828.78

Australia are significantly better with the new ball, but England are better with the old ball. While those 7 runs per wicket doesn't seem like a big difference, it is because there have been just over twice the number of overs bowled with the old ball as with the new ball.

Part of the difference has been that Australia seem to have worked hard to keep the shine on the ball, while England seem to have been trying to get the ball to reverse, and not been so worried about using the first new ball as a weapon. England have done much better with the second new ball than with the first (England average 4 runs per wicket more with the first new ball than with the second), while Australia have been the opposite (Australia average 5 runs per wicket more with the second new ball than with the first). Their bowlers almost seem to have run out of steam once the second ball comes along.

Here's how it works out as averages scores. After 20 overs Australia's average score is about 66/2. England is 58/3. However after 80 overs Australia average 180/9 while England are 225/7. Some of that difference is Graeme Swann, but some of that is just how much more effective England's quick bowlers have been with the older ball.

If we took spin bowlers out of the picture and just looked at the fast bowlers, After 20 overs Australia would still average 66/2 (Swann had been about as effective as the quicks with the new ball). England would have been 47/3. After 80 overs Australia would average 250/9 while England would still have 3 wickets in hand at 211/7.

There's a point, however, where these numbers are ridiculous, as the different batsmen are not equally capable, but they do paint a picture.

However they are ignoring the impact that Swann has on the bowlers that are bowling with him.

I believe that one of the reasons that England's quicks have been so effective with the old ball is the pressure created by Graeme Swann. To quantify this pressure, I looked at a statistic that I called Wicket Assists. A wicket assist is awarded to a bowler who bowls an over directly preceding the one where a wicket fell.

Wicket assists is a statistic that I keep note of when I'm coaching, as it's often a better indicator of how much pressure a bowler is exerting on the batsmen than wickets. An example of this is when I had two bowlers opening the bowling together. One bowled 6 overs, and took 0/8 (included 2 no balls, and a wide that just slipped down the leg side). The other bowled 7 overs and took 6/47. Most of the wickets for the second bowler were a result of the pressure that the first bowler built up. The second one got to keep the ball, and got the plaudits, however the one that I recommended for a higher team was the first bowler.

Graeme Swann has taken 23 wickets in this series, but he has also had 23 wicket assists. That's roughly one wicket every 9 overs while he's at the bowling crease. He creates pressure that allows the quick bowlers to take wickets. Compare his rate to Ashton Agar, who had 2 wickets and 5 assists in the two matches he played. That's a wicket roughly every 24 overs that he's at the crease. Nathan Lyon has been more successful than Agar at exerting pressure. 8 wickets and 6 assists, meaning that Australia pick up a wicket roughly every 11 overs that he's at the crease.

Overall I believe that one of the major differences between the two teams has been what their bowlers have done after 20 overs. England's quick bowlers have been better, and their spinners have been better too. Overall, I believe this is the time that this series has been won.

Saturday 17 August 2013

Another first innings spinner

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about Daniel Vettori, showing that he was much more effective in the first innings than in the second innings.

Among spin bowlers who have taken more than 250 wickets, Vettori is alone in this, but among bowlers who have taken less wickets there are a few others. Here's the list of regular spin bowlers who started their careers post 1978 and who have a second innings average higher than their first innings average.

NameFirst innings wicketsFirst innings averageSecond innings wicketsSecond innings averagedifference
Shakib Al Hasan (Ban) 7830.742838.50-7.76
SLV Raju (India) 5728.503634.22-5.72
DL Vettori (ICC/NZ) 22633.0713436.70-3.63
Abdul Qadir (Pak) 15132.198533.88-1.69
NM Lyon (Aus) 5232.233232.69-0.46

It's a fairly short list, but the interesting thing is the last three names on it. Vettori and Qadir are two outstanding bowlers. But they both have quite similar records to Nathan Lyon.

I thought it would be interesting to look at the three bowlers together, after they had all played the same number of matches as Nathan Lyon has:

1st innings (24 matches)DeliveriesRunsWicketsAvgS/RE/R
DL Vettori303913173537.6386.82.6
Abdul Qadir389518535037.0677.92.85
NM Lyon323916765232.2362.33.1

2nd innings (24 matches)DeliveriesRunsWicketsAvgS/RE/R
DL Vettori359214524730.8976.42.43
Abdul Qadir333815064235.8679.52.71
NM Lyon208210463232.6965.13.01

We can see that Vettori started off his career more conventionally, being more effective in the second innings. But the thing that stands out to me is how much more effective Lyon is at taking wickets than either of the other two. His strike rate is remarkable. (To put his strike rate in context: at the same stage of his career Warne had a strike rate of 67.4) Lyon's overall average and strike rate is also better than Vettori's or Abdul Qadir's was after 24 matches.

It seems that the Australian selectors and public are still somewhat unconvinced by Lyon, but I think that if he can hold his own in a comparison with Vettori and Abdul Qadir, then he is probably a bowler worth persevering with.

Saturday 10 August 2013

Mini-session Analysis, 4th Ashes Test, Chester-le-Street, 2013

Here is the mini-session analysis for the fourth test between England and Australia at Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street, England

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Is Brendan Taylor doing too much?

Happier times for Brendan Taylor: captain, but not keeper
Zimbabwe have just come off a convincing 5-0 series defeat to India. While that result was not particularly surprising, the lack of runs from Brendan Taylor, normally their best batsman, was a surprise.

Some of that may have been due to India having done their homework on him. Duncan Fletcher is a clever coach, and will have been aware that Taylor is capable of winning games almost single handedly with a big innings. In 128 innings against good opponents (test teams or Ireland) he has 6 ODI hundreds. To put that in context, at a similar point in his career, Jayasuriya had 5 ODI hundreds. It would have been, therefore, negligent of India to have not had specific plans for Taylor.

But as much as that may have been a factor in this series (and also potentially in the last two against West Indies and Bangladesh where Taylor was also ineffective) there was possibly something else going on. In the last few matches he has been keeping wickets and captaining the team. Some players thrive when given the gloves and the captaincy, but most players find their batting suffers when they are both captain and keeper.

Friday 2 August 2013

A terrible decision

Anyone who is an opponent of DRS has just got a whole lot of ammo. The problem is not the system (in my opinion) it's the implementation. The idea that there needs to be clear evidence to overturn a decision is fine, but I genuinely think that the decision to give Usman Khawaja out was appalling.

International cricketers need to be careful about how they talk about umpires, but Jimmy Neesham didn't hold back, with this tweet:

Thursday 1 August 2013

Mini-session Analysis, 3rd Ashes test, Old Trafford, 2013

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the third test between England and Australia at Old Trafford, Manchester, England

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Shane Watson and The Form Myth

Shane Watson. Out lbw. Again.
I read somewhere recently that Shane Watson is in bad form.

They implied that he needed to go away and "discover some form." The more I am involved with cricket, the less I believe in form.

Shane Watson has a technical deficiency. He moves his front foot too far across when he is playing in-swing. He also clears his front leg against left arm spin, and plays across the ball. These technical problems aren't really an issue if he's playing against lower quality bowlers, because he can hit the ball, and so he doesn't get out lbw. Once he faces bowlers who can bowl the ball in the places where he finds it difficult to play, he gets out. The champion of cricket on YouTube, Robelinda2 has put up a compilation of some of his lbw dismissals here.

It seems that it often happens once he starts to attack the bowling. It means that his larger innings tend to get cut short even once he's underway. That's why he was labelled by one commentator as Wall Street (great in the twenties, crashes in the 30's and 40's).

I compared Watson with all top 7 batsmen in the last 3 years on their likelihood to get out lbw. Most of us have heard that Watson gets out lbw more than anyone in history except Junior Murray (min 30 matches), but when he gets out is particularly interesting.

I looked at the relative frequency of dismissal by lbw in innings under 30 and in innings 30+. I compared it to other batsmen in the last 3 years. (I picked the last 3 years to include the DRS factor) Here are the numbers:

ScoreWatsonOther Batsmen
30 +28.95%13.78%

Watson is 63% more likely to get out lbw at the start of his innings than other batsmen, but he is 110% more likely than them to get out later on. It is a technical issue, not a form issue. Going away and playing some lower quality bowlers will not fix it. He needs to work on where to put his feet and how to play the different deliveries that are getting him out.

If he does fix that technical issue, the commentators will all say that he's in great form.  But perhaps it will just be that the bowlers are trying to bowl the ball to him in a way that he is now equipped to deal with.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

CricketGeek Player Profile: Jackson Bird

Jackson Bird
Jackson Bird is a tall right arm pace bowler from Australia.

He bowls into the wicket at a reasonable (if not express) pace, and bowls consistently in good areas. He moves the ball both in the air and off the seam.

I had the privilege to watch him make his test debut, and he looked like a very good prospect.

He was the top wicket taker in the Sheffield Shield in 2011/12 with 53 wickets and was high up the table again in 2012/13 despite only playing in 6 matches.

He did all this at with a very good average and strike rate. Part of those good figures is due to playing for Tasmania, and hence getting to play half his cricket on the Bellerive Oval, where he has taken 42 wickets at 16.19. However there are only 3 grounds where he averages more than 30 at, and at all of these he has only played one match.

Saturday 20 July 2013

CricketGeek Book Review: The Albion 2013 Ashes eBook - by The Armchair Selector

The team at The Armchair Selector have put together a handy guide for anyone who is wanting to watch the Ashes in 2013.

A screen shot of the eBook's
eye-pleasing layout.
It includes information about the players, the ground, some recent history and some personal accounts of ashes experiences.

The layout and design of the eBook is outstanding, it's visually captivating while still being very readable.

The team have done well to find a balance between being informative about the cricket, and humorous and easy to read. For me the highlight was Peter Miller's section giving tips for keeping awake through the night for the matches.

The one omission was Ashton Agar from the profiles, but to be fair, he was very much a surprise selection.

Overall I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it to any cricket tragic who's likely to be spending a lot of time on the couch (or to anyone who isn't a massive fan, but wants to sound knowledgeable). I'm not sure if they are planning on producing one of these for the return series, but if they are, I'll be buying one.

The eBook costs US$3.99, and can be bought here.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Mini-session Analysis, 2nd Ashes test, Lord's, 2013

Here is the mini-session analysis for the second test between England and Australia at Lord's, London, England

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

The ethics of walking

What should come next?
My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Philosophy. While my primary interest was in logic, I also did some ethics and metaphysics papers also. I found ethics a fascinating subject, as things were very difficult to pin down. Different philosophers have argued over the existence of some sort of objective moral law. If they have agreed that there is such a thing as a moral law, they have then often disagreed as to what it is.

The idea of the moral law has led to some great works of literature. Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment is a fascinating look at the concept, as are a large number of Franz Kafka's short stories. But even low-brow fiction often is based on moral dilemmas or concern about the moral law. There's a theory that the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer were so much more popular than other similar books because of some of the moral questions that they posed. Can someone be a monster by nature? Can someone overcome that nature? Is it wrong for someone to act according to a corrupted nature?

 Recently Stuart Broad's failure to walk after edging a ball from Ashton Agar set off a storm of controversy. Claim from one group of fans about cheating followed by counter claims by the other group of fans. Not long ago there was also the issue with Denesh Ramdin claiming a catch that he had actually dropped, and the ICC banning him for 2 matches as a result.

I'm going to first look at the process of the appeal, outlined in rules, then at three possible ethical frameworks and finally at these two situations, and look what the different ethical perspectives would have said about them.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Mini-session Analysis 1st Ashes Test, Trent Bridge, 2013

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the first test between England and Australia at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, England

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

Friday 14 June 2013

Combinations to Decide Group A

The final round of Group A in the Champions Trophy is gearing up as a really interesting couple of games. New Zealand and England just played 2 very good ODI series, the first won 2-1 by England in New Zealand, the second won 2-1 by New Zealand in England. Australia and Sri Lanka have played each other a lot in the last 2 and a half years. They have played 18 ODI matches and both teams have won 8 each (with 2 no results).

So recent form has nothing to suggest who is likely to win. But both games are crucial.

There were 6 possible options as to which two teams went through at the start of the round. Five still remain. Here's a quick guide to what the different results would mean:

If you're looking for a calculator to test the possible outcomes, try this link.

ResultNew ZealandNo resultEngland
AustraliaNew Zealand go through first and Australia goes through as runner up.New Zealand top the pool, and then the runner up will be decided between England and Australia on Net Run Rate(NRR). Unless Australia win by about 100 runs this will be EnglandEngland go through first and then the runner up will be either New Zealand and Australia again determined by NRR. It will take something quite remarkable for Australia to get past New Zealand, but both teams are quite capable of being involved in one-sided matches, in either direction
No ResultNew Zealand go through as first, Sri Lanka go through as runners up.New Zealand go through first, England go through as runners upEngland win the pool, the runners up is decided between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on NRR. New Zealand would have to lose significantly to England for Sri Lanka to go through
Sri LankaNew Zealand go through as winners and Sri Lanka go through as runners upNew Zealand go through as winners and Sri Lanka go through as runners upSri Lanka and England go through. The winner of the group will be decided by NRR. England are likely to go through first, unless Sri Lanka have a very convincing win over Australia

Every combination except for Australia and Sri Lanka is possible. The question now is which of the 5 remaining combinations will go through.

Monday 10 June 2013

More Net Run Rate issues

In my last post I looked at the problem with using net run rate in games where both teams lose a number of wickets. Only 2 days later the tournament threw up possibly the best counter-example to the net run rate system yet. New Zealand won an absolute cliff hanger over Sri Lanka. Even on the last ball there was a question of if the game was a tie or a New Zealand win. However, on the points table New Zealand were the most dominant of any team.

Because the game ended in the 37th over, New Zealand are recorded as winning with a net run rate of +1.048. The most comprehensive victory of the round, (England over Australia) only got +0.96. This is clearly not right.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Net Run Rate strikes again

Again in a big tournament, where net run rate is quite likely to be called on to separate teams, it has been exposed as an insufficient way to look at difference in performance. The West Indies vs Pakistan match was very close. When Mohammed Irfan dismissed Sunil Narine (only a couple of balls before the match was over) the game could have gone either way. West Indies were certainly favourites at that point, but they were not in a commanding position.

However they ended up winning with a commanding difference on net run rate. The match goes down as Pakistan scoring 170 in 50 overs and West Indies scoring 171 in 40.4 overs, giving West Indies a net run rate of +0.68.

+/- 0.68 is the same as a team scoring 200 and then restricting their opposition to 166. I'm not sure that these two results deserve to be weighed similarly. It is effectively a team batting first and scoring 34 runs more than their opponents. Instead I'd suggest that a better system needs to be used.

One possible suggestion is to use a modified version of Duckworth-Lewis. Duckworth-Lewis tells us how many resources a team had left. I don't have access to the professional version of Duckworth_Lewis, but using my modified version of their amateur system I found that West Indies were on track for 193. If we were to give West Indies +23 and Pakistan -23 it would make more sense to me.

There is still an issue with a blow-out, where (for example) a team can win by a huge margin, and therefore be uncatchable, but this encourages teams to go for it, and means that the games have something riding on them right down to the end. There are probably other problems, particularly with rain affected matches, but I think taking into account wickets and overs is better than just looking at overs used.

I'm sure that Pakistan fans will agree with me at the moment, particularly if they miss out on the semi-finals on net run rate by a very small margin.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Mini-session Analysis 2nd Test, England vs New Zealand, Headingley 2013

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the second test between England and New Zealand at Headingley, Leeds, England

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

2-1aEngland 32/1 off 14New Zealand
2-1bEngland 35/2 off 12New Zealand
2-2aEngland 43/0 off 16England
2-2bEngland 68/1 off 16England
2-3aEngland 70/0 off 17England
2-3bEngland 89/3 off 19New Zealand
3-1aEngland 17/3 off 5New Zealand
3-1bNew Zealand 62/2 off 18England
3-2aNew Zealand 37/4 off 14England
3-2bNew Zealand 75/4 off 11.4New Zealand
3-3aEngland 55/0 off 14England
3-3bEngland 35/1 off 14New Zealand
3-3cEngland 26/0 off 13draw
4-1aEngland 67/0 off 15England
4-1bEngland 66/2 off 14England
4-2aEngland 38/2 off 6England
4-2bNew Zealand 68/3 off 22England
4-3aNew Zealand 72/0 off 20New Zealand
4-3bNew Zealand 18/3 off 12.4England
4-1bNew Zealand 61/2 off 10.5England
4-2aNew Zealand 1/2 off 11England

Final update, click here

England win the mini-session count 13 - 7

Stumps, Day 4: England lead the mini-session count 11-7

New Zealand's lack of spin, and lack of ability against spin has shown through in this test clearly. Paul Wiseman has been taken on as New Zealand's spin coach, and it's possibly the most important cricket role in the country at the moment.

Lots of questions have been asked about Cook's decision-making and how conservative he has been in this test. However I feel that (if he had taken the wider view of looking at the series more than the match) then his decision was sensible, if a little boring. He had New Zealand in a situations where they couldn't possibly win the match, and therefore the series was secured. I personally prefer test captains to treat each match as being worth winning, but I can understand why he decided to use the tactics that he did. - Mykuhl

Lunch, Day 4: England lead the mini-session count 12-7

After some phyrric counter-punching by Southee and Bracewell, New Zealand were saved their blushes by the rain. If it stays wet for the rest of the day, then New Zealand will get a very undeserved draw. - Mykuhl

End of match, Day 4: England win the match and the mini-session count 13-7

It took 11 overs, but England managed to clean up the tail eventually. The standard New Zealand tail end tactic of not taking any singles, so that the batsmen get comfortable with one bowler worked reasonably well, so Cook was forced to change the ends of the bowlers. The decision to change ends had immediate effect with Anderson picking up the 10th wicket for the second innings in succession. - Mykuhl

Saturday 18 May 2013

The soft hands of BJ Watling

Here's two photo's of BJ Watling's defensive technique.

This picture is of his normal block shot. You can see that he  has a very loose bottom hand.  The bottom of it is so far forward of the bat that you can't see the grip.
Bottom hand is loose on the bat handle.
This next one is the ball that he edged and was dropped at slip. Here you see that his bottom hand is tightly onto the bat.
Using hard hands to defend.

I'm not really a batting coach, but this is something that young batsmen should learn.  If you are going to play a defensive shot, make sure you keep your bottom hand loose.  It means that if you edge it, then it won't carry to the slips. 

Friday 17 May 2013

Mini-session Analysis, 1st Test, England vs New Zealand, Lords, 2013

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the first test between England and New Zealand at Lord's, London, England

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aEngland 37/0 off 15England
1-1bEngland 19/1 off 14New Zealand
1-2aEngland 28/1 off 13New Zealand
1-2bEngland 29/1 off 14New Zealand
1-3aEngland 31/0 off 17draw
1-3bEngland 16/1 off 7New Zealand
2-1aEngland 26/0 off 14draw
2-1bEngland 23/4 off 10New Zealand
2-2aEngland 23/2 off 8.2New Zealand
2-2bNew Zealand 54/2 off 19England
2-3aNew Zealand 65/1 off 18New Zealand
2-3bNew Zealand 34/1 off 12.4England
3-1aNew Zealand 29/2 off 12.2England
3-1bNew Zealand 25/4 off 7England
England 12/0 off 2
3-2aEngland 46/2 off 13New Zealand
3-2bEngland 33/0 off 11England
3-3aEngland 65/0 off 22England
3-3bEngland 24/4 off 11New Zealand
4-1aEngland 33/4 off 9.3New Zealand
4-1bNew Zealand 29/6 off 11.4England
4-2aNew Zealand 39/4 off 10.5England

Final update, click here

New Zealand won the mini-session count 10 - 9, but England won the match.

First drinks, Day 1: England lead the mini-session count 1-0

A slow but safe start from England. Boult and Southee both bowled some deliveries that had the batsmen troubled, but they generally looked composed and patient. - Mykuhl

Lunch, Day 1: The mini-session count is tied up, 1-1

The first wicket came in a rather unexpected manner. First was the bowler, Bruce Martin. With all the pre-match talk about the swinging conditions, there would not have been many expecting him to be bowling over 22, let alone there to be no wickets down. Then the fact that the ball genuinely turned. It was pitched on a good length, shaping towards middle and off, and moved away towards first slip. Compton went after it, but was beaten both in flight and by the turn, and ended up just spooning it to point.

While England have only lost one wicket, they have only put on 56 runs. Boult has bowled 8 overs for 6 runs and Martin 4 overs for 3 runs. It's really quite an impressive feat of discipline from both teams so far. The opening is quite even, but New Zealand are probably slightly ahead. - Mykuhl

Middle drinks, Day 1: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 2-1

England are now down to two an over. There was a lot of talk that New Zealand had prepared low, slow wickets because they were scared of England's pace bowlers. Perhaps England are also scared of New Zealand's bowlers? Boult's return so far would suggest that would be sensible: 13-4-23-1. - Mykuhl

Stumps, Day 1: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 4-1

The promised rain finally arrived, just after Wagner managed to get Bell to angle one to Watling. The match position is certainly advantage New Zealand. They start tomorrow with a new ball and only 2 wickets before getting amongst the bowlers. If the ball swings tomorrow like it did today, the two left-armers could be very difficult for the English bowlers to handle. - Mykuhl

First drinks, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 4-1

While England only scored 26 runs in the hour, they managed to survive 14 overs with the new ball without losing a wicket. The New Zealand bowlers managed to cause some problems, but it was really just more attritional cricket. - Mykuhl

Lunch, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 5-1

Another hour to New Zealand. England will probably struggle to get to 260 now. After winning the toss and choosing to bat, that's hardly a good return. The best moment in that hour for England was in the final over, when Martin managed to get a ball to spit out of the footmarks. It was harmless coming from Martin and spinning away, but it would have be a different story from Swann. - Mykuhl

Change of Innings, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 6-1

New Zealand managed to clean up the English tail reasonably cheaply, despite some stubborn resistance. England did manage to get their overall rpo over 2, but not by much. Despite not looking very comfortable at any point at the crease, Bairstow ended up being the top scorer with 41. - Mykuhl

Stumps, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 7-3

Someone needed to take the attack to the bowlers in this match, and Ross Taylor was the man. It was the old Taylor, the one who smashed the ball through the covers, rather than the one we're more used to seeing recently who had put his cover drive away. He scored 10 boundaries through the off side. New Zealand are dominating the mini-session count, but the game is really much closer than 7-3 would suggest. - Mykuhl

First drinks, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 7-4

England are well into this match now. New Zealand now really need a good partnership from Southee and Watling. Even Watling (who normally is very assured on defense) was playing away from his body with hard hands. That was a product of the pressure that the English bowlers have managed to exert on the New Zealand batsmen this morning. We are generally getting a display of quality bowling. - Mykuhl

Lunch, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 7-5

England are now starting to take control of this match. That may prove to be the decisive hour in the course of the match. England cleaned up New Zealand's tail, and then set an aggressive platform with the bat. - Mykuhl

Middle drinks, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 8-5

This game is turning into a great match. New Zealand have probably played the most good cricket, but England is probably in the lead by a small margin. New Zealand won't want to be chasing more than 270. - Mykuhl

Tea, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 8-6

New Zealand slowed the game down considerably in that hour, trying to stop England's progress. It was to no avail. England have moved into a convincing lead now. - Mykuhl

Final drinks, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 8-7

New Zealand are in some serious trouble now. The way things are going at the moment, England are looking like they are heading towards a substantial lead. Trott and Root have been magnificent. The pitch seems to be getting slightly better, but I'm not sure if it's getting better quickly enough for New Zealand to be able to chase down a score near 400. - Mykuhl

Stumps, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 9-7

And in the space of 7 overs the game changes again. This game is now pure intrigue. With the chance of rain on Monday, all 4 results are still possible. It's hard to say who is in the lead at this point in the game. It is quite conceivable that New Zealand will bowl out England for another 40 runs, and then knock off the target. It's also not beyond the realms of possibility that 14 wickets could fall tomorrow, and England win in a canter. This is exactly why test cricket is the ultimate in sporting events. - Mykuhl

Change of Innings, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 10-7

New Zealand will be happy with that. Southee was irresistible, picking up 10/108, the second best match figures by a New Zealander in England after Dion Nash's 11/169. New Zealand need 239 to win. The game is evenly poised, but New Zealand are probably slight favorites. - Mykuhl

Lunch, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 10-8

And just like that the game swings totally in England's favour. Stuart Broad has treated the New Zealand batsmen like a Jack Russell terrier treats a rat. He's shaken them up, and then killed them off. It's a demonstration of cricketing virtuosity. - Mykuhl

End of match: New Zealand win the mini-session count 10-9 but England win the match.

And England clean it up. A match that was evenly balanced was completely turned on it's head in one decisive hour. Broad has threatened to do this a number of times, but today he has realised the potential that he has shown in the past. - Mykuhl

Wednesday 8 May 2013

A good problem to have.

New Zealand have 4 good quick bowlers at the moment. However there's only space in the team for 3.  This means that one of them has to miss out.  Here's a quick look at the 4 contenders, and their strengths and weaknesses.

Friday 3 May 2013

Concentration vs Technique revisited

Ed Cowan, often uprooted after getting in.
A couple of years ago I wrote an article looking at players who capitalised on getting a start, and at players who struggled to do so.

With the gap between test matches at the moment, it's a good time to look at the numbers again.

I looked at all players who had faced at least 250 balls in 20 or more innings in last 3 years. I also restricted it to players who had at least 7 innings of less than 20 and at least 7 innings of 20 or more in that time.

For the average from 20, I subtracted 20 from their average in innings with a total score of 20+.

Here are the players who have the biggest positive difference between their average from 0 and their average from 20.

NameInnings 20+Innings under 20AverageAverage 20+Difference
MS Wade (Aus) 71534.6196.2561.64
MG Johnson (Aus) 82317.8556.4038.55
CA Pujara (India) 121065.55101.8836.33
IR Bell (Eng) 282056.1584.3128.16
AN Cook (Eng) 322955.5982.2026.61
KC Sangakkara (SL) 322162.4884.4822.00
JH Kallis (SA) 261763.4784.6121.14
SCJ Broad (Eng) 122424.3645.0020.64
MJ Prior (Eng) 292150.8270.5219.70
MJ Clarke (Aus) 322553.7073.2719.57
M Vijay (India) 91140.2558.7718.52
KP Pietersen (Eng) 282548.5066.8018.30
RT Ponting (Aus) 202434.5252.2717.75
HMRKB Herath (SL) 102917.8535.0017.15

The two names at the top of this list were fascinating. I had no idea that those two had been so good at capitalising on a start. It suggests that early wickets down the order will be very important for England in the upcoming Ashes series.

The other end of the table is the players who have a tendency to throw away their wickets after getting a start.

NameInnings 20+Innings under 20AverageAverage 20+Difference
AN Petersen (SA) 291237.6428.17-9.47
EJM Cowan (Aus) 191132.927.78-5.12
AB de Villiers (SA) 34970.3466.00-4.34
GP Swann (Eng) 152219.1515.53-3.62
SR Watson (Aus) 271732.4829.50-2.98
DG Brownlie (NZ) 13832.829.91-2.89
HAPW Jayawardene (SL) 171530.5728.00-2.57
G Gambhir (India) 231830.5728.21-2.36
AJ Strauss (Eng) 291934.0632.67-1.39
Tamim Iqbal (Ban) 13937.8637.07-0.79
GC Smith (SA) 301744.444.07-0.33
AB Barath (WI) 111321.5821.900.32
V Kohli (India) 191241.9642.940.98
CS Baugh (WI) 91717.2518.251.00

It's surprising to see two openers at the top of this list. These two do the hard work regularly, both getting to 20 roughly twice as often as they don't, but then they don't make the most of it. In fact it was a tweet from Gary Naylor from 99.94 that made me think about redoing this analysis, as Cowan's record is quite remarkable.

It made me wonder where these two sat overall among openers. Using the same conditions, I compiled this list, looking only at innings where a batsman was opening the batting:

NameInnings 20+Innings under 20AverageAverage 20+Difference
AN Petersen (SA) 311138.3628.96-9.40
CM Spearman (NZ) 171223.9616.70-7.26
RW Barber (Eng) 221138.6231.54-7.08
BM Laird (Aus) 261435.2829.76-5.52
H Sutcliffe (Eng) 651861.1055.82-5.28
A Turner (Aus) 171029.5324.25-5.28
CJ Barnett (Eng) 14739.6534.53-5.12
BK Kunderan (India) 13841.1536.15-5.00
UC Hathurusingha (SL) 251730.7326.12-4.61
Imran Farhat (Pak) 453131.8527.25-4.60
GS Camacho (WI) 12930.3325.75-4.58
B Wood (Eng) 101121.6117.50-4.11
EJM Cowan (Aus) 181133.2029.11-4.09
RB Simpson (Aus) 521855.5152.00-3.51
JB Hobbs (Eng) 702756.3752.98-3.39
Imrul Kayes (Ban) 122017.1513.91-3.24
SM Katich (Aus) 421950.4847.46-3.02
IR Redpath (Aus) 401944.5041.57-2.93

Both batsman make this list, with Alviro Petersen again clear at the top. Interesting to note that three of the batsmen regarded as some of the greatest openers ever (Herb Sutcliffe, Jack Hobbs and Bobby Simpson) on the list.

The final batsman that I want to look at is Ross Taylor. He was near the bottom of the list last time I did this analysis, with an average of 40.21 and then 40.38 once he got to 20 (a difference of 0.17). In the past 3 years he has improved both numbers. This time he has averaged 41.79 and then 47.73 once he gets to 20 (a more respectable difference of 5.94). Perhaps he actually is the player who will disprove Martin Crowe's infamous assertion that Polynesian players didn't have the concentration required for cricket.

Thursday 25 April 2013

How good was Gayle's demolition of Pune

Chris Gayle, picture from RCB's Flickr stream
Chris Gayle played one of the most incredible innings on Tuesday night. His 175* (66) broke all sorts of records, both for the IPL and for t20 and cricket in general.

He is without question an incredible player, and is an absolute phenomenon in the IPL.

But how good was that innings in the context of the rest of the IPL? I heard some people say that it was meaningless, because the pitches and grounds in India are so easy to score runs on, and the bowlers in the IPL aren't up to much. I heartily disagree with both of these statements, but the only real way to look at the innings is to look at how others have gone in similar conditions.

To do this I'm using my modified batting index for each innings. This system rewards scoring runs, and being not out, but adjusts it for the number of deliveries faced. To put these scores in context an index of 100 would be 70*(49) or 60(33). It doesn't take into account the context of the match, so there can be some high scores that cost a team, and low ones that win a match, but I think it's better than just looking at the runs scored or the strike rate by themselves.

Here's the top 20 innings in the IPL so far this year:

CH Gayle 175* (66)RCB Warriors Bangalore 464.02
V Kohli 93* (47)RCB Sunrisers Bangalore 184.02
SR Watson 101 (61)Royals Super Kings Chennai 158.95
V Sehwag 95* (57)Daredevils Mum Indians Delhi 158.33
DA Miller 80* (41)Kings XI Warriors Mohali 156.1
CH Gayle 92* (58)RCB Mum Indians Bangalore 145.93
KD Karthik 86 (48)Mum Indians Daredevils Mumbai 145.13
CH Gayle 85* (50)RCB KKR Bangalore 144.5
MEK Hussey 88 (51)Super Kings Royals Chennai 143.22
MEK Hussey 86* (54)Super Kings Kings XI Mohali 136.96
RG Sharma 62* (32)Mum Indians Warriors Mumbai 120.13
AB de Villiers 64 (32)RCB Super Kings Chennai 118
RG Sharma 73 (43)Mum Indians Daredevils Delhi 115.44
RG Sharma 74* (50)Mum Indians Daredevils Mumbai 109.52
Mandeep Singh 77* (58)Kings XI Warriors Mohali 102.22
AB de Villiers 31 (8)RCB Warriors Bangalore 100.75
DA Warner 77 (56)Daredevils Royals Delhi 99
LJ Wright 34 (10)Warriors Kings XI Mohali 98.6
SPD Smith 39* (16)Warriors Super Kings Chennai 95.06
EJG Morgan 47 (21)KKR Sunrisers Kolkata 94

There's a significant distance between Gayle and the next best innings.

Another way to look at it is to look at what percentage of Gayle's index each innings got. Here's the top 10:

NameScoreGayle points
CH Gayle 175* (66)100
V Kohli 93* (47)40
SR Watson 101 (61)34
V Sehwag 95* (57)34
DA Miller 80* (41)34
CH Gayle 92* (58)31
KD Karthik 86 (48)31
CH Gayle 85* (50)31
MEK Hussey 88 (51)31
MEK Hussey 86* (54)30

How about how it stacks up against all T20 innings anywhere:

CH Gayle 175* (66)RCB Warriors Bangalore 464.02
LP van der Westhuizen 145 (50)Namibia Kenya Windhoek 406
GR Napier 152* (58)Essex Sussex Chelmsford 398.34
BB McCullum 158* (73)KKR RCB Bangalore 341.97
CL White 141* (70)Somerset Worcs Worcester 284.01
A Symonds 112 (43)Kent Middlesex Maidstone 278.7
M Vijay 127 (56)Super Kings Royals Chennai 276.68
ST Jayasuriya 114* (48)Mum Indians Super Kings Mumbai 270.75
SB Styris 100* (37)Sussex Gloucs Hove 270.27
RE Levi 117* (51)South Africa New Zealand Hamilton 268.41
CG Williams 116 (48)Namibia Scotland Windhoek 268.25
CH Gayle 128* (62)RCB Daredevils Delhi 264.26
DA Warner 135* (69)NSW Super Kings Chennai 264.13
H Davids 112* (48)Cape Cobras Warriors Cape Town 261.33
KJ O'Brien 119 (52)Gloucs Middlesex Uxbridge 260.88
Ahmed Shehzad 113* (49)Barisal Rajshahi Dhaka 260.59
A Symonds 117* (53)Chargers Royals Hyderabad (Deccan) 258.28
YK Pathan 100 (37)Royals Mum Indians Mumbai (BS) 256.76
CL White 116* (53)Somerset Gloucs Taunton 253.89
AC Gilchrist 109* (47)Chargers Mum Indians Mumbai 252.79

And then the "Gayle Points" for the top 20 innings of all time:

NameScoreGayle points
CH Gayle 175* (66)100
LP van der Westhuizen 145 (50)87
GR Napier 152* (58)86
BB McCullum 158* (73)74
CL White 141* (70)61
A Symonds 112 (43)60
M Vijay 127 (56)60
ST Jayasuriya 114* (48)58
SB Styris 100* (37)58
RE Levi 117* (51)58
CG Williams 116 (48)58
CH Gayle 128* (62)57
DA Warner 135* (69)57
H Davids 112* (48)56
KJ O'Brien 119 (52)56
Ahmed Shehzad 113* (49)56
A Symonds 117* (53)56
YK Pathan 100 (37)55
CL White 116* (53)55
AC Gilchrist 109* (47)54

How good was Gayle's innings? It was about 14% better than the next best innings ever. That's how good it was.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

24 IPL moneyball players, and one other

The IPL is almost here, and a lot of people will be playing the fantasy competitions.

I've been working on developing a "Moneyball" type system of analyzing cricket statistics to make sensible predictions about how well players will go at the next level. My system is not nearly finished, but I've used some of the things that I've learned to have a look at some of the players who I didn't know much about in the IPL.

As the system isn't completed yet, I can't give too much justification, other than to say here are the players:

Imtiaz AhmedCSK
Ankit RajpootCSK
Manprit JunejaDD
Kedar JadhavDD
Sidarth KaulDD
Shahbaz NadeemDD
Pawan NegiDD
Siddharth ChitnisKXIP
Debabrata DasKKR
Iqbal AbdullaKKR
Laxmi ShuklaKKR
Amitoze SinghMI
Yuzvendra ChahalMI
Sushant MaratheMI
Stuart BinnyRR
Ajit ChandilaRR
Mayank AgarawalRCB
Arun KarthikRCB
Karun NairRCB
Vijay ZolRCB
Anand RajanSH
Sachin RanaSH
Eklavya DwivediPWI
Ali MurtazaPWI

There is one other player that I would add into the list as players who I think might succeed, and that's Harmeet Singh from Rajastan Royals. I add him in, because I saw him play, and thought he was phenomenal, despite his numbers not being particularly impressive.

A number of these players my never play a game, but those that do are probably going to be worth watching. They have all shown (to me) that they are likely to be able to step up and succeed at the next level.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Mini-session analysis, 3rd test, New Zealand England, Eden Park, 2012/3

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the third test between New Zealand and England at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aNew Zealand 31/0 off 15draw
1-1bNew Zealand 48/1 off 13New Zealand
1-2aNew Zealand 48/0 off 15New Zealand
1-2bNew Zealand 46/0 off 16New Zealand
1-3aNew Zealand 36/0 off 13.4New Zealand
1-3bNew Zealand 41/0 off 17.2New Zealand
2-1aNew Zealand 24/1 off 14England
2-1bNew Zealand 38/2 off 14England
2-2aNew Zealand 53/1 off 10.4New Zealand
2-2bNew Zealand 49/1 off 17.2draw
2-3aNew Zealand 29/4 off 6New Zealand
2-3bEngland 50/2 off 25New Zealand
3-1aEngland 22/3 off 11.5New Zealand
3-1bEngland 20/0 off 17.1New Zealand
3-2aEngland 39/0 off 15England
3-2bEngland 45/1 off 14draw
3-3aEngland 28/4 off 6.2New Zealand
3-3bNew Zealand 20/3 off 11England
3-3cNew Zealand 15/0 off 12England
4-1aNew Zealand 47/1 off 12.3New Zealand
4-1bNew Zealand 94/0 off 13.3New Zealand
4-2aNew Zealand 65/2 off 8.2New Zealand
4-2bEngland 45/1 off 16New Zealand
4-3aEngland 32/1 off 20New Zealand
4-3bEngland 13/2 off 16.1New Zealand
5-1aEngland 37/0 off 16.5England
5-1bEngland 31/1 off 14New Zealand
5-2aEngland 41/1 off 13England
5-2bEngland 38/1 off 14.3draw
5-3aEngland 38/0 off 17.3England
5-3bEngland 40/2 off 15New Zealand

Final update, click here
The match is drawn, but New Zealand win the mini-session count 19 - 8

First drinks, Day 1: The mini-session count is tied up, 0-0

A steady, but unspectacular start from New Zealand after being inserted. I do wonder if McCullum was actually foxing about wanting to bowl first.

Lunch, Day 1: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 1-0

A good start by Rutherford and Fulton was soured by a loss of concentration by Rutherford at the end of the session. Still New Zealand are in a good position.

Final drinks, Day 1: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 4-0

England have almost seemed to give up on trying to get a wicket, and are hoping that these two batsmen will get themselves out. Their lines and lengths have not been what should be expected of a test attack. Only Stuart Broad has had the batsmen under any sort of pressure.

Stumps, Day 1: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 5-0

This pitch is not as easy to bat on as these two are making it look. I was watching the majority of that hour from square of the wicket, and the bounce was variable.

First drinks, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 5-1

England finally found a way through this partnership. It's the third largest partnership against England in New Zealand, and the third largest 2nd wicket partnership at Eden Park.

Final drinks, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 7-2

Southee batting at 8 doesn't make much sense when a team is trying to save a match. In a situation like this, however, it's a great move. He has taken the game to England, and New Zealand now have a respectable first innings score, and much faster than it was looking like.

Stumps, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 8-2

Trent Boult picked up two wickets to make it well and truely New Zealand's day. England will need to bat well tomorrow.

First drinks, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 9-2

Boult and Southee were in Sri Lanka form this morning. They looked unstopable. England are in serious trouble now.

Lunch, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 10-2

20 runs in the hour. While Wagner and Martin didn't make the breakthrough, they certainly kept things tight.

Tea, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 10-3

England were looking very good there until Prior made a bad call and played a shot that he will regret. New Zealand now have one end open with the new ball.

Change of innings, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 11-3

Trent Boult and Tim Southee finished off the tail. Boult was probably unlucky that Southee dismissed Root at the end, as he would have probably backed himself to pick up Monty fairly quickly and turn 6 into 7. McCullum chose not to enforce the follow on, which seems the right decision to me. It means he gets to chose the heavy roller twice, he gets to give his bowlers a rest and he isn't going to have to bat last on a potentially deteriorating pitch. I'd expect this pitch to take some real turn on the last day and a half.

Final drinks, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 11-4

What a disastrous start by New Zealand. Anderson and Borad have combined to leave New Zealand in tatters. England have a serious sniff now. Perhaps McCullum made the wrong call.

Stumps, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 11-5

New Zealand see out the day, but what was their day suddenly took a dive at the end. Still New Zealand are in a stronger place at the end of the day than at the start of it. 11 wickets fell again today. This is starting to look very interesting.

First drinks, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 12-5

Fulton and Brownlie made some steady progress in the morning. They have gone close to getting New Zealand to safety. Probably New Zealand want about another 80 runs before a lunchtime declaration.

Lunch, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 13-5

With Fulton into the 90s, a lunchtime declaration is now probably off the cards. Perhaps once he gets to 100 it will be time to head back?

Middle drinks, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 14-5

McCullum took a lot longer to declare than I was expecting, but it might have been due to the runs being so easy to score this morning. The fear that one English batsman would "do an Astle" is probably too strong. Cook is likely to be criticized for his tactics in that hour, but they were sensible, given the situation.

Tea, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 15-5

An early breakthrough, and England are looking shaky now. They need a big partnership.

Stumps, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 17-5

The thought that Kane Williamson would have provided the vital breakthroughs at the end of the day was quite surprising, but he certainly bowled well. Cook looked furious at himself, while Finn looked like a wicket waiting to happen.

First drinks, Day 5: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 17-6

Solid batting from Root and Bell. New Zealand really need a wicket before lunch, so they can bowl at new batsmen with the new ball.

Lunch, Day 5: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 18-6

The wicket came with the first delivery of the new ball. And there could have been more. First Bairstow survived an lbw shout that turned out to be very close, and then both batsmen were dropped off Boult's second over with the new ball. The big question now is if they will make the most of their lives.

Middle drinks, Day 5: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 18-7

England make steady progress through the day, but New Zealand chip out another one. Prior is living dangerously. His 20 has come off 24 balls, and has included a couple of top edges, some playing and missing, and two very close umpiring calls.

Tea, Day 5: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 18-7

It had started to look like these two were going to see it out, but then Wagner removed Southee to complete the session, and now the impetus is back with New Zealand.

Final drinks, Day 5: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 18-8

Superb from Prior and Broad. This is a big innings for Broad in particular. He has been talked up as a batsman for a long time, here is a chance for him to deliver.

Stumps, Day 5: The match is drawn, but New Zealand take the mini-session count 19-8

A thrilling end, even if somewhat of a let down for the home-town supporters. There was an older gentleman, probably in his late 70's or early 80's sitting a couple of seats along from me. When Anderson was dismissed he was up out of his chair, waving his hand above his head and shouting. No sport creates emotion like a test match. In the end New Zealand didn't do quite enough to win the match. They will rue the dropped catches, as well as the ball hitting Prior's stumps, but not knocking the bails off.

England will probably be more relieved than proud of their effort. Prior stood out like a sore thumb amongst his compatriots, while New Zealand had a number of candidates for an internal man of the match. It's a match that will live on in the memories of everyone who was fortunate enough to have watched it.