Thursday 6 March 2014

Who should win the NZ cricket awards

I was asked by Tony Veitch to put together some stats for the different awards on offer for the New Zealand Cricket Awards tonight.

I could have just brought up a list of averages, but that's really not the CricketGeek style, so I decided to delve into things a little more closely.

One of the difficult things in cricket statistics is to compare bowling success with batting success. For example, which is better taking 5/84 or scoring 172? We need a device to compare the two disciplines.

I decided to compare each player's year with the historical averages for their position. For example, for batting I compared the batting average with year end batting averages throughout history. I had a cut off of 10 innings, as making a cut off much higher than that excludes too many players, as most teams play less than 10 tests per year. I then compared a player's average to the historical average of averages, and the standard deviation of averages to generate a z-score. (For more on Z-scores, see This NFL blog post)

I used batting average and bowling average for test cricket, as really what we care about is scoring runs and taking wickets. I wasn't totally happy with the results, as there was no advantage for the players who had maintained a high standard over a number of games, rather than just one. (James Neesham, for example, averaged 171 this season, but only over one match).  I first filtered out anyone who hadn't either batted in 10 matches or who had bowled less than 100 overs. Then I multiplied the z-score by the square root of the number of innings that they had applied their skill in, in order to get a fairer list. It only caused a couple of positional changes, but the new lists looked more appropriate.

Here's the test lists.

Player - SkillAverageRanking
LRPL Taylor - batting81.6012.3
BB McCullum - batting52.735.0
TG Southee - bowling20.073.8
TA Boult - bowling22.363.6
KS Williamson - batting47.213.4
BJ Watling - batting42.272.0
N Wagner - bowling30.421.1
CJ Anderson - bowling30.541.0
CJ Anderson - batting32.70-0.3
TA Boult - batting32.25-0.4

I would give the award to Ross Taylor. He scored 816 runs at an average of 81.60. He past 50 in half of his innings. McCullum, Southee, Boult and Williamson all had great years, but Taylor's average really makes his numbers stand out.

Next I looked at the ODI lists.

Here I decided to use the batting and bowling index developed by S Rajesh from Cricinfo (and me separately). Again I compared the players index to the historical data.

Here's the list:

Player - SkillIndexRanking
CJ Anderson - batting 84.4816.1
LRPL Taylor - batting 43.776.9
MJ Guptill - batting 44.226.4
KS Williamson - batting 39.044.7
MJ McClenaghan - bowling 23.871.1
NL McCullum - batting 26.230.9
JDS Neesham - bowling 23.690.8
CJ Anderson - bowling 24.850.7
KD Mills - bowling 25.970.7
L Ronchi - batting 22.93-0.1

Again a batsman takes the title. This, however was not particularly surprising. Anderson was immense with the bat, and generally the games were played on high-scoring pitches, which don't really flatter bowling statistics.

For the T20 award I used batting index, but my own metric for bowling. In a previous post I showed how each wicket worked out to roughly 5 runs in a t20. Accordingly we can take 5 runs off a bowler's total for every wicket they have taken. They then get a modified run rate. I used this to compare the NZ players' years to the historical data. This is a little less relevant, as there is not a lot of historical data (about 1/10 the quantity of test and ODI information) and also New Zealand only played 6 matches, so the sample size is very small.

Here is the list:

Player - SkillIndex/Modified run rateRanking
L Ronchi - batting221.1114.7
BB McCullum - batting101.084.1
AF Milne - bowling2.752.9
AP Devcich - batting73.341.7
C Munro - batting60.041.5
JDS Neesham - bowling5.000.5
JD Ryder - batting44.020.0
NL McCullum - batting42.25-0.1
NL McCullum - bowling5.64-0.3
HD Rutherford - batting40.02-0.3

Luke Ronchi is a bit of a surprise here, but I remember looking up his stats and being surprised as to how effective he has been in t20s recently. During the course of the year he averaged 133 at a strike rate of 166. Those are quite ridiculous numbers.

The last major prize left is the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal, for the best overall. For me that goes to Brendon McCullum. He managed to attract the attention of the whole nation with his 300, and he also captained the side particularly well across all the formats. There would be a fair argument for Taylor and Anderson, but for me, McCullum needs to be acknowledged some how, and that award seems appropriate.

Who would you give the overall award to?

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