Thursday 20 October 2011

Tigers at home, Pussycats away

It has been said that the Indian team were tigers at home, and pussycats away. The idea was that to beat India in India was a real achievement, but beating them away was in a similar class to beating Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. Now this is obviously an exaggeration, but the current series between India and England looks like two completely different teams to the previous series in England.

England have gone back to their recent history of being rubbish at One Day Cricket (won less than 44% of matches against test playing nations in the last 10 years) and India look like champions again.

So the question arises, is there a statistical difference between their home and away performances?

Over the last 5 years, England have won 27 home matches against test opposition and lost 21, giving a home win/loss ratio of 1.28. Away from home they have won 18 and lost 26, giving an away win/loss ratio of 0.69. Quite different. India have won 34 and lost 17 at home giving them an impressive home win/loss ratio of 2. Away they have won 33 and lost 30 (much better than the stereotype) with a ratio of 1.1. This means both teams are roughly twice as good at home as they are away.

So who are the most 2 faced teams? Here is the list of all teams, and their percentage better at home than away in the last 5 years against test teams:

TeamW/L HomeW/L Away% change
New Zealand 1.610.36347
Pakistan 2.250.75200
Zimbabwe 0.360.16125
England 1.280.6986
India 2.001.1082
Bangladesh 0.750.4470
Australia 2.251.7032
South Africa 2.902.4419
Sri Lanka 1.361.2013
West Indies 0.530.4810

The big surprise for me was the first team. New Zealand have been appalling on the road, performing worse than West Indies or Bangladesh. But at home they sit in 5th place.

Breaking it down a bit, New Zealand score at 5.78 at home, but only 4.8 away. A difference of almost 1 per over. The days of New Zealand being a place were regularly defended are long gone.

TeamRPO HomeRPO AwayDifference
New Zealand5.784.80 0.98
India5.795.25 0.54
Zimbabwe4.674.14 0.53
England5.405.06 0.34
Pakistan5.305.00 0.30
South Africa5.705.44 0.26
West Indies4.974.86 0.11
Sri Lanka4.905.10-0.20

In fact the transition in New Zealand's home scoring rates has been phenomenal. Before 2004 there had only been 2 seasons where NZ scored over 5 rpo at home, Since then they have scored at over 5 every year, and scored over 300 at least once per year. The days of the low slow NZ ODI pitch is long gone.


  1. It's hard to believe the numbers for SL.

  2. Yeah - I agree. Their low scoring rate at home is particularly surprising.

  3. I meant their away wins. When did those happen, more importantly where did they happen?

  4. They have been fairly consistent away from home, they have been even with most teams away, and have dominated Zimbabwe and been soundly beaten in India. They have an away winning record against South Africa and Pakistan.

  5. Wow..pretty surprised at some of the numbers there. NZ's record has been considerably worsened by their tours of India and Bangladesh last year (in 2009 they drew in Aus, beat Pak in UAE and reached the Champions Trophy final), but this is no doubt symptomatic of the same "block n bash" approach that England have also been guilty of in the subcontinent. The really good teams work out how to adapt to different surfaces.

    Another thing about NZ conditions is that the grounds seem to be getting smaller and smaller. Clearing the boundary is pretty easy, and I won't be surprised if the RPO of visiting side is also somewhere near 5.78.

    Until recently Sri Lanka had one of the more complete bowling attacks in limited overs cricket, so in hindsight their record shouldn't be too surprising.

  6. Just shows how important home and away conditions is in cricket. I find it surprising that New Zealand struggle to score so much away. I thought they did fairly well even in the sub-continent, but the numbers point elsewhere.

    Sri Lanka is another surprise and beating them at home is difficult, but their RPO outside is better. Something to do with the pitches? That would explain Bangladesh's case too...

  7. Interestingly New Zealand are actually second best (behind Australia) in the world over that time in neutral territory with an impressive 21 wins to 12 losses (better than their home record).

    Once we filter out non-test playing teams New Zealand drop behind India into 3rd with 15 wins and 12 losses. (New Zealand has never lost to a non-test playing nation)

    I'm not really sure what to make of this, except that it starts to look like the figures are significantly influenced by the horror tour of Sri Lanka, India and Bangaladesh in 2010, where they lost every away game (but managed to beat India in Sri Lanka - a neutral match). If we remove that tour, NZ come back to the pack a bit, and move to a difference of 168% (which still puts them 2nd even after removing their worst tour)

    It might be explained by them having Dave Rennie as a tour manager, who is more well known for his work with Olympic teams (who generally play in neutral territory). Perhaps there is a difference in the psychology in preparing for a neutral venue as opposed to an away venue.