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.