Monday 6 January 2014

Don't steal Corey Anderson's moment

Michael Jeh is a fantastic writer. When I see that he has written an article, I often read it.

Recently he wrote an article about the New Zealand - West Indies match in Queenstown, in it he suggested that Corey Anderson's innings was more a case of bad bowling than good batting. He even suggested that the game contained "possibly an unofficial record for the most full tosses bowled (including junior cricket!)"

I hadn't had a chance to see the innings before reading the article, and so I naturally assumed that Anderson's innings had involved him hitting a number of full tosses for 6. I was quite surprised, therefore, when I watched the highlights that I didn't notice a single full toss before he got to 100.

A few days later, I had a chance to sit down and watch the game closely, and actually see if Jeh's criticism was valid. Not every ball is shown on the highlights, so I wanted to be careful to not judge his article based on the work of the Sky editors.

After watching it I noticed a few things.

There are a few reasons I can think of why a bowler will deliver a full toss. Here is a list of some possible reasons:

  • Perhaps they decided that a particular batsman has trouble with full tosses. 
  • Perhaps they want to bowl a slower ball, and they know that slower balls are much more effective if the batsmen are attacking them. As a result a wide half-volley or a full toss often pick up wickets. 
  • A good tactic for spin bowler who sees a batsman charging down the wicket is to throw in a flat full toss. The batsman often ends up just hitting the ball straight back to the bowler.
  • Perhaps they just executed a yorker/full ball badly.
  • A bowler who has been hit a number of times sometimes just wants to get through their over, and doesn't focus as much on where the ball lands.
Some of these are a result of poor skills, but some of them are actually caused in reaction to the batsmen. It is important that we identify which is which before we criticize too harshly.

Jesse Ryder has a history of getting out to full tosses. It is not a good idea to bowl one every ball to him, but it is a valid tactic to occasionally bowl one to him, especially outside off stump, where he has a tendency to mistime them and hit them at catching height to cover. This is a risky tactic, and not one you would try every delivery, but it is a valid option occasionally.

Corey Anderson, however, doesn't have a reputation as a bowler who is likely to get out to a full toss. He is possible only behind James Franklin and Colin de Grandhomme in his ruthlessness at dealing with full tosses.

The first 5 full tosses were all bowled to Ryder. The first one was in the 9th over. There was not a single full toss in the first 53 balls. The first one was mistimed for a single. In the next over the West Indians bowled another. It was also mistimed for a single. A couple of overs later Ryder received two in a row. He hit the first for 4, but failed to score off the next one.

About 3 overs later Ryder received another full toss, and again managed only a single off it.

The first full toss that Anderson received was the ball immediately following him bringing up his hundred. There was not a single full toss in the 36 balls that he took to get to 101.

Ryder got 2 more full tosses. The first he managed to score 2 off and the second one dismissed him. Ryder scored 9 runs and was dismissed off the 7 full tosses that he faced. Off the other 44 balls he scored 95 runs. Overall Ryder scored at a higher rate off the balls that bounced than off the ones that didn't.

Anderson received 4 full tosses. He hit two of them for 6 and two of them for 2.

Overall the "unofficial record for the most full tosses bowled" is apparently 11. Only 2 of those 11 were in the first half of the innings. They were a result of good batting, putting the bowlers under pressure and getting them to go searching. 

They also didn't actually contribute that significantly to the overall score. Anderson and Ryder scored 25 runs off the 11 full tosses. This equates to 2.27 per ball. Off their other 87 balls they scored 210 runs, or 2.41 per ball.

The bowling performance by the West Indies may not have been the best ever, but the real story was the extraordinary batting. To focus on the bowlers bowing too many full tosses is to steal the glory that Corey Anderson and Jesse Ryder richly deserve. It is a disappointing angle for such a high quality writer to take, and makes me wonder if it would have been taken if it had been Warner or Dilshan scoring the runs.


  1. Agree. People get too surprised players perform.because they see to remember our failures only.

  2. It was an amazing innings, but not as good as Afridi's, ground size and quality of opposition HAVE to be taken into account when assessing someones performance.