Friday 29 July 2011

Quick preview 2nd Test Eng vs Ind

Just a couple of things that I notices, and a bit of quick tips for the gamblers out there.

Trent Bridge has been cruel on openers over the last few years, but it has produced lots of runs for batsmen batting at number 7.

Dhoni also has a great record in the second test of a series.

I'd look at Dhoni to score more than 40 here. I'd also look at Pietersen to do badly here, as he normally follows up a big score with a number of low ones.

I'd look closely at Prior to be the top scorer for England, and also for Dravid to be the top scorer for India, as he has good technique, and tends to shine on difficult pitches.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Does keeping influence batting?

My post a month and a bit ago about Matt Prior has generated a significant amount of interest, including one specific comment that I would like to address.

Unfortunately the poster was anonymous, but they recommended Sangakkara as the greatest wicket-keeper batsman, pointing out that he batted at number 3 and often had to come into bat in the first 5 overs. It made me wonder just how hard batting after keeping was. So I had a look at some stats...

I found 5 players who have played at least 10 innings as keeper and non-keeper: Here are their averages:

NameInngs keepingAvg keepingInngs not keepingAvg not keeping
AJ Stewart14534.929046.70
KC Sangakkara8140.488172.75
AC Parore10926.941922.70
A Flower10053.701235.45
BB McCullum8534.771255.18

The last three in the list probably don't give us enough information to be able to say too much, although both Flower and Parore are curious in that they averaged better when keeping than not keeping. In Parore's case it might have been because he usually batted at 7 or 8 when keeping, and at 3 when not keeping. It also might have been that he was less confident of his place in the side when Lee Germon was the captain, and so did not bat with the same confidence. Another possible explanation was that the matches he didn't keep in were the ones where Glenn Turner was in charge of the team, and his style of coaching might not have suited Parore.

Likewise most of the matches where Flower didn't keep were at the end of his career where there was increasing political tension in Zimbabwe. This was obviously impacting him - and led to the famous black armband incident. (As an aside - Henry Olonga's autobiography, which mentions this incident "Blood Sweat and Treason" is well worth reading.) But he also might have batted better when he got a chance to have a look at a pitch after keeping.

But the overall theme of the statistics is that batsmen bat better when they are not keeping. Sangakkara is particularly astounding. His average of over 70 is impressive, especially as he is such a fluid batsman that all 72.75 of them will have probably flowed in an aesthetically pleasing manner off his bat.

It also goes to underline how fortunate we are to be living in a time with so many great wicket-keeper batsmen. All of Prior, Dhoni, Gilchrist, Flower, McCullum, Sangakkara... have been producing such remarkable numbers that they have transformed the entire position.