Friday 15 February 2013

CricketGeek Player Profile: James Harris

James Harris

I recently had an interesting email arrive advising me to have a look at the newest addition to the English squad: the young Welsh bowler, James Harris.

When I first looked at his numbers they were not particularly impressive. However the English selectors have recently made a habit of picking players with poor domestic records, and those players being a real success. (for more info on that see this post on the The Declaration Game.) So I felt his numbers demanded looking at more closely.

As someone who occasionally enjoys cricket betting I like looking out for some patterns in players performance to see if there is anything that can inform my betting.

The first thing I looked at with Harris was to see if there was a positive trend in his performances. He started playing domestic cricket when he was very young, so I assumed that he would be improving. However, if anything, his performances have been getting worse as the batsmen have figured him out. Here is a graph of his 15 innings average and economy rates in T20 cricket.

These are hardly the sort of thing that suggest that he is going to set the world on fire. However sometimes there is more to a player than their average.

There has been a distinct pattern to his good performances and his bad ones. He is outstanding with the new ball, but not unconvincing with the old one. For example in the English PPP tour to India he took 3/19 off 7 overs when he opened the bowling (in a 50 over match), but 0/42 off 4 in the match where he came in later on.

Roughly 2/3 of his wickets have been against top 3 batsmen, and more than half of his wickets have been taken in the first 5 overs of a match. As a result he is far more valuable than his raw figures indicate, particularly in a team with a couple of batting all-rounders, who would allow his captain the luxury of only bowling him when he was most effective (at the start of the innings).

If I was betting on a match involving Harris, I would probably look to bet on him going for few runs early in the innings, but bet on him going for a lot at the end of the innings.
Additional research by Celia Roche


  1. Do any betting agencies offer a '1st wicket in the innings' type bet? Surely you'd jump at the chance for that one?

    1. Most of them offer first batsman dismissed, rather than first bowler to take a wicket. However the cameras normally focus (even if only briefly) on the bowler warming up, so going under (or over) for "runs in the next over" when you see him warming up is probably the best option.