July 13, 2009


A follow-up to ODI strike rates

Anantha Narayanan

The earlier article uncovered a measure which could stand firm across decades, across different types of pitches/conditions and across different types of bowling skills and strategies. There were not many comments. However there were two comments which suggested enhancing the analysis by expanding the scope of coverage. These two were very sound and I decided to do a follow-up immediately before coming out the eagerly-awaited Test Bowler Analysis next week.

First a recap. The initial analysis compared the Batsman career strike rate with the rest of the team's strike rate, in the matches played by the batsman. The concerned table is given below.

Player career strike rates compared to own team strike rates

SNo Batsman           Cty Mat  Runs Balls  S/R OBRuns OBBalls   S/R  BSRF

1.Shahid Afridi Pak 276 5642 5083 1.110 49132 65461 0.751 147.9% 2.Kapil Dev N Ind 225 3783 3979 0.951 32898 49298 0.667 142.5% 3.Powell R.L Win 108 2085 2157 0.967 17332 24678 0.702 137.6% 4.Richards I.V.A Win 187 6721 7451 0.902 25859 38757 0.667 135.2% 5.Sehwag V Ind 205 6592 6472 1.019 37006 46569 0.795 128.2% 6.Wasim Akram Pak 356 3717 4224 0.880 51127 73789 0.693 127.0% 7.Jayasuriya S.T Slk 431 13151 14443 0.911 70806 97706 0.725 125.6% 8.Klusener L Saf 171 3576 3978 0.899 26076 35034 0.744 120.8% 9.Flintoff A Eng 141 3393 3819 0.888 20940 28419 0.737 120.6% 10.Gilchrist A.C Aus 287 9619 9923 0.969 52125 64341 0.810 119.7% 11.Tikolo S.O Ken 117 3213 4214 0.762 16758 26291 0.637 119.6% 12.Cairns C.L Nzl 215 4950 5879 0.842 33299 47167 0.706 119.3% 13.Zaheer Abbas Pak 62 2572 3216 0.800 8669 12863 0.674 118.7% 14.Chappell G.S Aus 74 2331 3088 0.755 10480 16449 0.637 118.5% Silva P.A Slk 308 9284 11497 0.808 46393 67537 0.687 117.6% 16.Gower D.I Eng 114 3170 4222 0.751 17751 27765 0.639 117.4% 17.McCullum B.B Nzl 153 2984 3353 0.890 22785 29918 0.762 116.9% 18.Botham I.T Eng 116 2113 2816 0.750 17981 27866 0.645 116.3% 19.Pollock S.M Saf 303 3519 4059 0.867 40335 54126 0.745 116.3% 20.Pietersen K.P Eng 92 3127 3576 0.874 14069 18585 0.757 115.5% ... 77.Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 378 11739 15827 0.742 60323 81270 0.742 100.0% ... 142.Taylor M.A Aus 113 3514 5867 0.599 18912 25762 0.734 81.6% 143.Yasir Hameed Pak 56 2028 3029 0.670 10522 12777 0.824 81.3% 144.Tillakaratne H.P Slk 200 3789 6544 0.579 28664 39951 0.717 80.7% 145.Mudassar Nazar Pak 122 2653 5067 0.524 17685 25900 0.683 76.7% 146.Marsh G.R Aus 117 4357 7721 0.564 18347 24649 0.744 75.8%

To view the complete list, please click here.

There were two excellent suggestions. The more far-reaching and top-drawer suggestion came from Abdulla who suggested that I compare the player strike rates with the strike rates applicable for all the players during the players' career. A simple suggestion. However this was also quite difficult to develop but has far-reaching implications in that it allows us to look at a players' career in true perspective, viz., in relation to his exact peers.

I have built a Player career span segment of the database. The great thing is that such comparisons can now be made not just on strike rates but on other relevant factors such as Batting and Bowling averages, Strike Rates, Bowling accuracy, Runs per match et al. My sincere thanks to Abdulla for opening the door on this fascinating treasure-trove.

In both cases I have taken care that the players' own performances and team extras are excluded from the Match and Player career span figures (for want of a better term. Readers are invited to offer their suggestions for this measure.)

Player career strike rates compared to Player career span strike rates

SNo Batsman          Cty St/Rt <---Player Career Span---> Ratio
Mats    Runs   Balls St/Rt

1.Shahid Afridi Pak 1.110 1727 675319 905740 0.746 148.9% 2.Kapil Dev N Ind 0.951 884 315912 472334 0.669 142.1% 3.Sehwag V Ind 1.019 1399 542088 726324 0.746 136.5% 4.Richards I.V.A Win 0.902 657 231329 347757 0.665 135.6% 5.Powell R.L Win 0.967 821 317559 432398 0.734 131.6% 6.Gilchrist A.C Aus 0.969 1559 606126 816737 0.742 130.6% 7.Jayasuriya S.T Slk 0.911 2223 852640 1166792 0.731 124.6% 8.Wasim Akram Pak 0.880 1704 648988 913613 0.710 123.9% 9.Symonds A Aus 0.924 1479 576233 770030 0.748 123.5% 10.Zaheer Abbas Pak 0.800 325 111928 172049 0.651 122.9% 11.Klusener L Saf 0.899 1136 440634 601710 0.732 122.8% 12.Flintoff A Eng 0.888 1405 547613 731734 0.748 118.7% 13.Yuvraj Singh Ind 0.893 1226 477541 630604 0.757 117.9% 14.Dhoni M.S Ind 0.909 657 258316 334702 0.772 117.8% 15.Chappell G.S Aus 0.755 196 66408 103226 0.643 117.3% 16.Tendulkar S.R Ind 0.856 2231 851567 1164382 0.731 117.1% 17.McCullum B.B Nzl 0.890 1040 406431 534609 0.760 117.1% 18.Pollock S.M Saf 0.867 1634 642511 863944 0.744 116.6% 19.Cairns C.L Nzl 0.842 1644 634542 875659 0.725 116.2% Silva P.A Slk 0.808 1735 653214 921125 0.709 113.9% ... 83.Samuels M.N Win 0.756 1071 422058 558413 0.756 100.1% 84.Javed Miandad Pak 0.672 1053 377675 559175 0.675 99.5% ... 142.Wessels K.C Saf 0.556 770 276221 408463 0.676 82.2% 143.Habibul Bashar Bng 0.605 1590 625424 843319 0.742 81.5% 144.Campbell S.L Win 0.590 743 291157 400299 0.727 81.2% 145.Tillakaratne H.P Slk 0.579 1598 612869 857466 0.715 81.0% 146.Mudassar Nazar Pak 0.524 514 182279 271972 0.670 78.1%

To view the complete list, please click here.

This is truly the measure of greatness. I would appreciate if readers understand that this only compares the Strike Rates and not bring in the Averages into the discussion. That will be the subject of another analysis.

Shahid Afridi truly stands tall in terms of his strike rate comparison with his peers. During his career of 276 matches, a total of 1727 matches were played. The average strike rate, sans Afridi, during these 1727 matches, is an impressive .746 and Afridi outscores his peers at an astounding 148.9%. An underrated player, even by his own countrymen at times, he stands supreme.

Kapil Dev outscored his peers by a wide margin of 42.1% indicating how far ahead he was, at least as far as strike rates are concerned. Then comes Sehwag who has an impressive 36.5% and the incomparable Richards who also has a very good lead over his peers of 35.6%. Ricardo Powell completes the top 5 clocking in at 31.6%.

The Top-10 is rounded by Gilchrist, Jayasuriya, Wasim Akram. Symonds and Zaheer Abbas. All great strikers of the ball. The surprise is the position of Zaheer Abbas. He scored at 22.9% over his peers, indicating his immense contributions during a low scoring period.

There is a significant change so far as Tendulkar is concerned. He outscored his team-mates by 13.9%. Hoever he has outscored his peers, over 431 matches in a span of 2231 matches by an impressive 17.1%.

Samuels and Miandad have almost perfectly matches their peer strike rates. The rear of the table is populated by players who were not known for their striking ability.

The second one, made by Karthik, suggested that I expanded the scope a little bit by comparing with the strike rates applicable for the rest of the match rather than the rest of the innings. This makes a lot of sense since it adjusts for widely varying performances in the same match. My thanks to Karthik.

Player career strike rates compared to Match strike rates

SNo Batsman          Cty St/Rt <---Match figures--->  Ratio
Runs   Balls St/Rt

1.Shahid Afridi Pak 1.110 99136 133940 0.740 150.0% 2.Richards I.V.A Win 0.902 55082 85923 0.641 140.7% 3.Kapil Dev N Ind 0.951 69813 102464 0.681 139.5% 4.Powell R.L Win 0.967 36314 50521 0.719 134.5% 5.Sehwag V Ind 1.019 78773 99466 0.792 128.6% 6.Gilchrist A.C Aus 0.969 106771 139873 0.763 127.0% 7.Wasim Akram Pak 0.880 102549 147528 0.695 126.6% 8.Jayasuriya S.T Slk 0.911 153293 211317 0.725 125.5% 9.Klusener L Saf 0.899 53273 72429 0.736 122.2% 10.Symonds A Aus 0.924 63755 82415 0.774 119.5% ... 77.Gambhir G Ind 0.839 30372 36203 0.839 100.0% ... 144.Marsh G.R Aus 0.564 39756 56599 0.702 80.3% 145.Tillakaratne H.P Slk 0.579 63736 86846 0.734 78.9% 146.Mudassar Nazar Pak 0.524 37385 55308 0.676 77.5%

To view the complete list, please click here.

There is not much of a difference in the ratios when we include the other team's strike rates indicating that the top players outperform their own team mates and match peers by similar margins.

Powell moves down to fourth spot moving Kail Dev and Richards up. Gilchrist moves up substantially indicating that his team mates scored raather freely as compared to his match peers. Gambhir has matched his team mates and match peers exactly. No major change is there at the end except that Marsh moves off the bottom which is now occupied by Mudassar Nazar.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

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Posted by registry cleaner reviews on (July 25, 2010, 20:01 GMT)

Thanks for making my morning a little bit better with this great article!!

Posted by Usenet on (July 29, 2009, 22:03 GMT)

Sometimes it's really that simple, isn't it? I feel a little stupid for not thinking of this myself/earlier, though.

Posted by Alex on (July 16, 2009, 13:17 GMT)

Ananth - pls see if you can use my suggestion of the "distructiveness rating" and use it, as opposed to the rel. strike rate, in the exercises you did for Abdullah and Kartik/Karthik. [[ Alex, The great thing with my measure, and enhanced by Abdulla/Kartik is that it is a 100% comparison measure and all other measures do not enter the equaltion. The comparison is on a perfectly matches scenario, be it the pitch, bowlers, strategy, match conditions et al. Your "Super-score" (have re-christened the same) measure has great relevance when determining the value of individual innings and then on to great batsmen et al. However it has to be added up over x no of innings, divided by x and then becomes like Batting average. Subject to the variations in relevent factors. Also the comparison can be only between batsmen not between batsman and team/match/peers as the current calculation does. Ananth: ]]

Posted by eddy on (July 16, 2009, 11:07 GMT)

hi Ananth.........i loved your original and re-worked test batsmen analysis and have been waiting weeks in excitement for the bowlers turn. However have you considered this. Apart from the different time periods (which may or may not take into account pitch differences, equipment, fitness levels, frequency of matches etc) Have you decided to looked at or break down the different types of bowling. Unlike the batsman, bowlers are a very different breed. Your findings may well put Murali at the top of the pile but i would find it a little strange to see a table with... example Murali 1st Marshall 2nd Warne 3rd...etc. Fast bowling and spin bowling, i believe should be judged differently as they require different strengths and skills. This is completely different to the skills of an opener or a number 5 bat.

what you think.

best wishes as always. [[ Eddy I am sure you know my problems. Too many tables will certainly make the article difficult to read. I will do one thing. In addition to the three tables I will have two tables, separating the spinners and others. That way people interested in looking at such a separation will be satisfied. Regards Ananth: ]]

Posted by Alex on (July 16, 2009, 8:44 GMT)

Ananth - I had thought about the 50's factor but felt that it was not needed. For example, it dilutes the value of, say, Klusener's 30-odd run knocks in the '99 World Cup; those were absolutely crucial.

I do not think that the run-a-ball innings criterion should be applied since the pitch and playing conditions affect the strike rate.

Posted by Alex on (July 16, 2009, 5:54 GMT)

Ananth - Pls see if you can rate the batsmen according to the following "Distructiveness" measure: runs scored*strike rate. After all, an 80 ball 80 could be as damaging to the opponent as a 20 ball 40. [[ Alex One day when I do a ODI innings analysis this should be done. Better idea would be 80 x (80/80) x (80/50) = 128 as against 40 x (40/20) x 1 = 80. The 50 is a line beyond which such credit is given. This could also be only for run-a-ball or better innings.

Ananth: ]]

Posted by Sky on (July 15, 2009, 21:26 GMT)

Does this list rewards wooden-headed players who swing at everything without any responsibility?I don't think so but at a pinch, i can locate 5 to 6 of them at least in the top 10.Afridi, Kapil & Powell for starters. How many of Afridi's 16 dismissed off 8 balls that lost the game for Pakistan have been rewarded in this analysis when the team needed to score at only a "Yousufusque" 4.5 RPO to win the game.Would it be better to bring in some factors that acknowledges some player responsibility ? May be weights for strike-rates batting first or chasing a score. And benchmarking strike-rate to batting position.Sehwag's 101.9 may not be 36.5% better than others if his numbers are compared with the strike-rate of other opening batsmen, who also had similar license to slog the first few overs through a contrived set-piece formation.Having said all of this, there is no intention of trying to complicate things further [[ Sky This is a simple one (ir possibly two) dimensional analysis looking only at one aspect of ODI batting. Any further and it will slowly move into the best innings or best batsmen domain. Witj people like Afridi one gets exasperated at his not stopping to think for a minute or two. However see the way he did that in the last two matches of the T20 WC. He and Kapil have their wonderful bowling acts to be considered. I would say that if Afridi won one in 8 matches with his batting, it would be great since he is likely to win another in 8 matches with his bowling making it a 25% hit, a great achievement for a player. Ananth: ]]

Posted by kalyan on (July 15, 2009, 10:58 GMT)

hiii ananth, again u made a good extension to very good analysis. thank you very much.. Would you pls give us same analysis with average as a criteria... [[ Kalyan The availability of the Peer Players' Figures Database segment has opened up a whole lot of very interesting analysis on a P2P basis. Will do these over the next few weeks. Ananth: ]]

Posted by drsuso on (July 15, 2009, 10:29 GMT)

Inevitably the list is dominated by power hitters(those who can't play long innings but hit balls with sheer power) or openers.

So special credit goes to Sir Viv and Yuvraj Singh. They are not openers and played long innings and still in the list.

Posted by Kartik on (July 15, 2009, 7:50 GMT)

'Kartik' and 'Karthik' are different readers, I am the one who provided that suggestions - no 'h' in my name. Anyway, thanks for thinking of my suggestion.

Actually, these changes do make a huge difference for India, as Yuvraj and Dhoni have leapt into the Top-20. India's ODI batting lineup in the last few years has been among the very best ever, routinely covering the fact that India's fielding costs it another 30 runs per opposition innings relative to Australian or South African fielding.

This type of analysis finally give credit to Kapil Dev. What was remarkable was that his ODI strike rate was the highest of any pre-Afridi player, but simultaneously his bowling economy rate was just about the BEST. Only Hadlee, Garner and a couple of others were better. No other player comes close in terms of batting strike rate vs. bowling economy rate. He really was the perfect ODI player, on BOTH ends. A batting strike rate of 93% vs. a bowling economy rate of 62%. Stupendous. [[ Kartik I myself have been guilty and must take care. Ananth: ]]

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Anantha Narayanan
Anantha spent the first half of his four-decade working career with corporates like IBM, Shaw Wallace, NCR, Sime Darby and the Spinneys group in IT-related positions. In the second half, he has worked on cricket simulation, ratings, data mining, analysis and writing, amongst other things. He was the creator of the Wisden 100 lists, released in 2001. He has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket, and worked extensively with Maruti Motors, Idea Cellular and Castrol on their performance ratings-related systems. He is an armchair connoisseur of most sports. His other passion is tennis, and he thinks Roger Federer is the greatest sportsman to have walked on earth.

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