Bowling January 15, 2010

Bowling Power Factor: measuring ODI performances

Based on Alex Tierno's excellent suggestion I had worked on Batting Power Factor; now I have worked on a similar power factor for bowling, with inputs from Anshu Jain.
50

(This piece has been written in collaboration with Anshu Jain: Updated on Sunday, Jan 16/17)

Based on Alex Tierno's excellent suggestion I had worked on Batting Power Factor - a simple measure to determine the most destructive ODI innings through simple, easy-to-create methodologies. The article was well-received because of the simplicity of the idea. My thanks to Alex.

It follows logically that I should create a similar Power Factor for bowling. I had asked for suggestions. The simplest and most effective suggestion, closest to what I myself was thinking, came from Anshu Jain. My thanks to Anshu.

The requirements are set out below.

1. The methodology should be easy to understand and easy to work out. I have been influenced by Sattvir who mentioned that he wanted to calculate the IPF for each innings as he watches TV. There should be no need to go to the net to get the batsman average or bowler strike rate or whetever. Everything should be available from the Scorecard. A calculator might be needed.

2. The first factor to be recognized is the number of wickets captured. This is the most signicant of a bowler's contributions in a match. It should be recognized that in a 10 over spell, capturing more number of wickets is progressively more difficult. Unlike batting where a batsman can play 150 balls and score 200 runs, here the bowler achieves all in a spell limited to 20% of team overs.

3. The batting position of wickets captured is also important. Not necessarily the batting average.

4. Bowling accuracy is important but only in relation to the team numbers. By itself the bowling accuracy figure means very little as explained below.

```India: 150/50 overs (Lee 10-2-25-2,Johnson 10-1-40-2,Watson 10-1-35-1)
India: 250/50 overs (Lee 10-0-45-2,Johnson 10-1-40-2,Watson 10-0-55-1)
```
Johnson has identical analysis in both matches. However his bowling in the first match is below-par and in the second batch is above-par. Lee has been above-par in both matches and Watson is below-par in both matches.

So the Bowling Accuracy index will be determined based on the bowler's numbers as well as the team's numbers.

I considered briefly and discarded the "% of team wickets" measure since good 4 and 3 wicket performances, where the "% of team wickets" figure was 100, moved up drastically in an unjustifiable manner. This is quite unlike the "% of team score" measure which moves in a 10%-20% band.

Methodology used:

The base is the wicket points. The following are the points allotted. There is a progressive increase for each wicket.

```1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8
7  15  25  37  50  64  80  100
```
To determine the wicket quality, batting position is determined rather than batting average. Anyhow the best batsmen normally bat within no.4. Also if Ponting bats at no.10 his wicket is nowhere as important as at no.4. If a team is reduced to nothing for 3 or 4, it is normally quite difficult to recover. The bowler who captures top order wickets is rewarded and the bowler who captures low order wickets is penalized. This is based on the following formula.
```Wickets 1 -  4: 2.0 points
Wickets 5 -  6: 1.5 points
Wickets 7 -  8: 0.75 points
Wickets 9 - 11: 0.25 points
```
The total for all wickets is added and divided by the number of wickets to arrive at the Wicket Quality Index value. The highest value for WQI is 2.0 (the bowler all whose wickets are 1-4) and the lowest value for WQI is 0.25 (the bowler all whose wickets are 9-11).

The Bowling Accuracy Index is determined by dividing the "Other bowlers' RpO" by the Bowler RpO. The highest ratio value for relevant spells is 10.16 (Walsh's 5 for 1 against SLK). In fact in 3882 such spells only 10 values are above 4 and represent completely bizarre situations, as perfectly illustrated by the Walsh spell. Hence these ratios are first capped at 4.0 and then the square root taken to arrive at the BAI. The index maximum is thus 2.0. This halving is to enure that for a bowler to get a par factor of 1.0, he has to perform at a level twice that of the team. Also to ensure parity with the WQI values. The highest value for BAI is 2.0 and the lowest value for BAI is 0.23.

Now the BPF is determined by multiplying the WP (Wicket Points) by WQI and BAI.

Let us look at the table and the top-20 performances. Only bowlers who captured 3 or more wickets are considered.

```No Bowler         MtNo For  Vs  Analysis  WktPts  WQI  BAI   BPF

1 Gilmour G.J    0031 Aus Eng 12.0-6-14-6  64.0 1.71 1.67 182.39
2 Bichel A.J     1976 Aus Eng 10.0-0-20-7  80.0 1.43 1.52 173.32
3 McGrath G.D    1970 Aus Nam  7.0-4-15-7  80.0 1.43 1.41 161.62
4 Johnston D.T   2843 Ire Can 10.0-4-14-5  50.0 1.80 1.79 161.36
5 Mendis B.A.W   2735 Slk Ind  8.0-1-13-6  64.0 1.42 1.77 160.30
6 Muralitharan M 1826 Slk Nzl 10.0-3- 9-5  50.0 1.55 2.00 155.00
7 Imran Khan     0325 Pak Ind 10.0-2-14-6  64.0 1.54 1.56 153.71
8 Bond S.E       1986 Nzl Aus 10.0-2-23-6  64.0 1.58 1.42 143.70
9 Vaas WPUJC     1776 Slk Zim  8.0-3-19-8 100.0 1.41 1.02 143.65
10 Joshi S.B      1504 Ind Saf 10.0-6- 6-5  50.0 1.40 2.00 140.00
11 Edwards F.H    2069 Win Zim  7.0-1-22-6  64.0 1.71 1.28 139.55
12 Simmons P.V    0777 Win Pak 10.0-8- 3-4  37.0 1.88 2.00 138.75
13 Umar Gul       2043 Pak Bng  9.0-2-17-5  50.0 1.65 1.67 137.63
14 Aaqib Javed    0685 Pak Ind 10.0-1-37-7  80.0 1.57 1.07 134.73
15 Vaas WPUJC     1950 Slk Bng  9.1-2-25-6  64.0 1.62 1.28 133.59
16 Wasim Akram    0311 Pak Aus  8.0-1-21-5  50.0 1.90 1.41 133.56
17 Styris S.B     1843 Nzl Win  7.0-0-25-6  64.0 1.50 1.38 132.54
18 Strang B.C     1242 Zim Bng 10.0-2-20-6  64.0 1.62 1.26 131.55
19 Streak H.H     2034 Zim Eng  9.0-3-21-4  37.0 1.88 1.89 131.45
20 Waqar Younis   1724 Pak Eng 10.0-0-36-7  80.0 1.68 0.97 130.43
```
Gilmour's innspell in the World Cup semi-final, rated by many as the best ever bowling performance of all time, comes in top place. 4 top wickets plus 2 of the next 3, complemented by oustanding bowling accuracy figure, contribute to this top position.

The seven wicket spells of Bichel and McGrath are in the next two positions. Bichel captured wickets 2-8. McGrath's spell included 6 of the top-5. Also note the bowling accuracy of both these spells.

D T Johnston took 5 of the top-6 wickets. Every one knows what Mendis did against India in the Asia Cup Final. He took 3 of the top-6 wickets.

Muralitharan's 5-wkt haul, all in the top-6, coupled with a bowling accuracy which is better than his team's figures by more than 4 times has propelled his performance to the top-5. Imran Khan's 6-14 demolition of India is next, followed by Bond's 6-23 against Australia.

Vaas's best ever ODI bowling effort of 8 for 19 is next. He would have captured all 10 wickets but for the introduction of Muralitharan. Joshi's 5 wickets were in the top-8 and he had an RpO figure of 0.6, way below his team's. This takes him to tenth place.

Note the high placement of Simmons' 4 for 3 against Pakistan. Aaqib Javed's 7 for 30 against India is in 14th position since the bowling accuracy just about matched the rest of the bowlers. Waqar Younis' 7 for 36 finds its way into the top-20.

I have created an alternative version of the table based on the suggestion of Unnikrishnan in that I have used the Batting quality total points as it is, without dividing by the number of wickets. This has then been multiplued by the BAI value. The points for the 4 batting groups are 10(1-4), 7(5-6), 3(7-8) and 1(9-11) to get a reasonable final number. To view/download the revised 3-wkt bowler list, limited to BPF of 30.0 points (not comparable to the main table) and above, please click/right-click here and save the file.

I am happy that Gilmour stays on top. A few 7-wkt hauls have been pushed down and great 4-5 wkt spells have moved up because the differential values of the base points has been taken out of the equation.

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

• Abhi on January 30, 2010, 5:51 GMT

Xolile etc. I’m a bit surprised that there seem to be no takers for the “entanglement” theory. Perhaps I was garbled as usual. To explain further then. There seem to be 2 main camps involved: 1)One camp maintains that avg.s inflated by NO.s do not depict the true picture. This is when we use avg.s as a measure of batting quality. So, it is difficult to argue that a Hussey is a better batsman than Tendulkar,Lara,Ponting,Viv. So,this camp desires a modification to the avg. to reflect reality. 2)The other camp insists on treating NO.s as NO.s. The reasoning being that otherwise the batsman suffers both ways. i.e his avg reduces if some modifications are applied and in addition to that his run aggregate also suffers since he has been unable to complete his inn.s

That is why I had mentioned “entangling” both Avg. and run aggregate since they are essentially inseparable.

• Raghav on January 24, 2010, 11:10 GMT

I am in full agreement with Xollile. A not out is a not out, nothing less.

In fact, if any adjusments need to be made its in favour of the lower order batsman (need not necessarily be one with more not outs). In virtually every other match, lower order batsmen have to com in after 40-45 overs and take high risks from ball one. Most of the times there is no such pressure on openers.

Secondly, many openers have benefited from easy runs. When playing against weaker teams (Zim, Ban, Nam, Ire UAE, Ken etc...). They get first shot at the weaker bowling attacks and seldom will a Dhoni or Hussey get to bat against them at no. 7. weighing runs with bowling averages does not really compensate fully for lack of opportunity recd. by Dhoni/Hussey.

• Abhi on January 24, 2010, 6:53 GMT

On further thought, there is a way out of the impasse, which should perhaps be acceptable to all. Negating all previous comments – it would involve going xolile’s way- with one rider. i.e to treat avg. and total runs scored as “entangled” entitities. Not avg. as an isolated entity.

The"problem" seems to be when we use avg. as a predominant indicator of a batsman’s quality. So if x has a higher avg. than y, x is generally seen to be the better batsman. The “problem” of course is that when a batsman is “Not out” he potentially could have scored more runs. So, his overall run aggregate gets impacted with NOs. So, we simply give equal “weightage” to overall runs scored and avgs. (whatever amount –say 15% EACH). This would effectively “entangle” both entities on an equal footing- and everybody’s happy.

• Ananth on January 23, 2010, 18:03 GMT

Let me summarize. 1. Xolile has suggested that all the not outs should be considered as not outs. 2. I have suggested that half the not outs can be considered as outs. I have also suggested an alternative method of considering only not outs below batting average as notouts. 3. Jeff has suggested excluding ducks from average calculations. 4. Abhijit supports my second suggestion. In addition he also suggests ignoring first innings not outs. 5. Finally Unni has suggested that if a batsman remains not out and his team lost, do not give him credit. I am not sure whether this applies to first innings also. Then do we consider poor Coventry's 194 as out. Look at the varied opinions from a group of us, all of whom I think are sound thinkers. Everything is arbitrary or nothing is arbitrary. I am away for 3 days from Monday-Thursday morning and may not be able to look at mails. Ananth

• unni on January 23, 2010, 14:59 GMT

Why are we bothered about these numbers? because higher the average for the batsman, we can know that he has contributed to the win. (nothing else. Any other parameters like quality of his shots, aesthetics etc are not captured by stats). If a batsman was not-out and if the team lost, then don't give credit for being not-out. So, consider such not-outs as out. This will ensure that efforts like Hussey's 36* would get the necessary weight-age.

• Abhi on January 23, 2010, 2:48 GMT

Alex Haven’t really studied your comment fully. Will do so later and get back. Just a thought though- getting off a duck and the early part of an innings are one of the basic skills in batting. So, we cannot just ignore them. [[ Look at it from another side. What would have been Tendulkar's average if he had batted two thirds of his career as a 5-6 batsman finishing the innings. It is obvious that his technique would have let him that end-of-the-innings role perfectly. I would not say that of Richards or Hayden or Gilchrist. Ananth: ]]

• Abhi on January 22, 2010, 16:54 GMT

Ananth, I posted my comment without seeing your latest reply to xolile! You have effectively said what I wanted to in a much more concise manner, without the round about verbiage I am prone to!

Xolile: You know, when financial analysts finally table an analysis for a company a common practice requires them to state their "bias" towards the company. i.e. whether to start with they liked it, they thought it was a turkey etc. This is because the initial bias will inevitably percolate down to the final "intrinsic value" obtained. So, the investors using the analysis can make due adjustments for this bias. I have stated (often enough!) that I am heavily biased towards Tendulkar.What I wonder is yours? [[ Abhi I am reasonably confident that Xolile's bias is not towards a single batsman but to the entire clan of middle to late order batsmen. I love them, the finishers. After all the adrenaline-charged batting at the top, to see a Bevan or Hussey or Dhoni steer an innings during the last 15 overs with a required rate of 6+, allow it to go tantalizingly close to 7, then pull back, all the while taking singles and then finally moving rapidly, is a wonderful sight for the connoiseur. I am anxiously waiting for Angelo Mathews to take up that role for Sri Lanka. My suggestion is, wait for me to find time to do a comprehensive analysis by Batting position and then resume the dialogue. Ananth: ]]

• Jeff on January 22, 2010, 16:43 GMT

Just checked out Husseys figures and they make interesting reading

When Hussey bats at number 4, he averages 54.75 and 14.3% of his inns end not out.

When he bats at number 5, he averages 52.78 and 24% of his inns end not out.

When he bats at either 6 or 7, he averages 54.24 with 43.3% of his inns ending not out

So, the number of innings ending not out increases dramatically as he moves down the order, but his average remains virtually unchanged.

I promise that I won't labour this point anymore !! ;-)

• Jeff on January 22, 2010, 16:35 GMT

I've found some of my analysis.

I looked at only the top 20 ODI run scorers of all-time (as of Nov 09) and the analysis showed the following:

When they opened, these players had an average of 40 with 5% of inns ending NO

When the same players batted at 3, they averaged 44 with 11% NO

When at 4, they averaged 40 with 14% NO

When at 5, they averaged 37 with 18% NO

When at 6, they averaged 29 with 22% NO

They had very few inns at number 7 or below.

Remember that these are the same players in all occasions & the top 20 run scorers of all time, so this discounts the "Afridi" factor that Xolile references.

Hopefully it shows that average is not positively correlated to the number of Not Outs - the correlation is between average and batting position. [[ Jeff I think the final point is only to what extent a finisher who remains not out over, say 25%, gains from remaining not out. Let me do my batting position analysis, when I have no idea, I have got so much on my plate, and that would be revealing. Ananth: ]]

• Abhi on January 22, 2010, 16:32 GMT

Xolile, I think, as before, you’ve taken a rather narrow band of info/stats and reached rather broad conclusions from them. For eg. in your recent “reasoning” here are just a few flaws: 1) “career stage” has been paid lip service to but effectively ignored. In SRTs case he only opened after his 70th match or so… when he was around 20yrs old. For the first 70 matches SRTs stats are 1758 @ 30.1. This from age 16 to 20. 2) There after he has played 46 inn avg 37, with 9 NO.SR 84 when batting between 3-7. In this period he played a total of around 363 inn. So, some 13% of total inn when batting 3-7. One could say that Tendulkar having opened some 320 times in this period got a bit “used” to it. The batsmen with the higher avg.s who come in late (the Husseys, Dhonis etc) are essentially accomplished “finishers”…etc. - a “different” role, not necessarily a tougher one. 3) Sehwag in Tests (Tests, not ODIs) when batting in the “lower order” avg.38 to his career 52. So, Would you come to the conclusion that opening in tests is easier for All batsmen? Opening may suit the temperament of certain players (which is exactly why they then retain the spot for long periods- not because it is “easier”) 4) Over very long careers like SRTs “peer ratio avgs” would make much more sense. Then we can compare over periods of say 5/10 yrs. Absolute numbers are of limited use. 5)Since the inception of ODIs(1971) the avgs of the Top 10 batsmen( In terms of runs),when opening(From SRT to Astle)-: 48.4,34.7,36.5,41.6,41.4,39.9,42.4,41.8,35.9,34.9. For “lower order” 3-7: (Ponting to Waugh) :42.9,39.3,45.9,39.6,42.6,37.2,35.3,32.2,39.0,32.9. Hardly any glaring difference, If you ask me. Infact if you take out SRT the “lower order” batsmen may have the better stats. The one glaring standout above is SRT at 48.4. Apparently he is not just the Greatest modern day Test batsman and greatest ODI batsman of all time; he is also the greatest opening ODI batsman of all time. And his role (till recently) has been has been that of a classical modern day batsman in ODIs- that of a battering ram and taking it to the opposition- not “finishing”. So: If you could find 1) some batsmen who have more or less equitable spread of inn where they “opened” and played in the “lower order” -For eg. Gambhir when opening (1-2) in 58 inn avg 36.2, batting from 3-7 in 34 inn he avg.39.8. So the inn ration between “opening”/”lower order” = 58:35 i.e. a more reasonable basis for comparison. 2) The above who have played over a decent period of time/matches – A period over an injury free period- then we may have a less flimsy base for comparing. If a “lower order” batsman opens just say 10% of the time or so and does better than his “overall” avg or vice versa it is onerous to arrive at any sweeping conclusions from the same.

If you could get a good sample size of the above, Then we would have less flimsy grounds for any comparisons or conclusions.

• Abhi on January 30, 2010, 5:51 GMT

Xolile etc. I’m a bit surprised that there seem to be no takers for the “entanglement” theory. Perhaps I was garbled as usual. To explain further then. There seem to be 2 main camps involved: 1)One camp maintains that avg.s inflated by NO.s do not depict the true picture. This is when we use avg.s as a measure of batting quality. So, it is difficult to argue that a Hussey is a better batsman than Tendulkar,Lara,Ponting,Viv. So,this camp desires a modification to the avg. to reflect reality. 2)The other camp insists on treating NO.s as NO.s. The reasoning being that otherwise the batsman suffers both ways. i.e his avg reduces if some modifications are applied and in addition to that his run aggregate also suffers since he has been unable to complete his inn.s

That is why I had mentioned “entangling” both Avg. and run aggregate since they are essentially inseparable.

• Raghav on January 24, 2010, 11:10 GMT

I am in full agreement with Xollile. A not out is a not out, nothing less.

In fact, if any adjusments need to be made its in favour of the lower order batsman (need not necessarily be one with more not outs). In virtually every other match, lower order batsmen have to com in after 40-45 overs and take high risks from ball one. Most of the times there is no such pressure on openers.

Secondly, many openers have benefited from easy runs. When playing against weaker teams (Zim, Ban, Nam, Ire UAE, Ken etc...). They get first shot at the weaker bowling attacks and seldom will a Dhoni or Hussey get to bat against them at no. 7. weighing runs with bowling averages does not really compensate fully for lack of opportunity recd. by Dhoni/Hussey.

• Abhi on January 24, 2010, 6:53 GMT

On further thought, there is a way out of the impasse, which should perhaps be acceptable to all. Negating all previous comments – it would involve going xolile’s way- with one rider. i.e to treat avg. and total runs scored as “entangled” entitities. Not avg. as an isolated entity.

The"problem" seems to be when we use avg. as a predominant indicator of a batsman’s quality. So if x has a higher avg. than y, x is generally seen to be the better batsman. The “problem” of course is that when a batsman is “Not out” he potentially could have scored more runs. So, his overall run aggregate gets impacted with NOs. So, we simply give equal “weightage” to overall runs scored and avgs. (whatever amount –say 15% EACH). This would effectively “entangle” both entities on an equal footing- and everybody’s happy.

• Ananth on January 23, 2010, 18:03 GMT

Let me summarize. 1. Xolile has suggested that all the not outs should be considered as not outs. 2. I have suggested that half the not outs can be considered as outs. I have also suggested an alternative method of considering only not outs below batting average as notouts. 3. Jeff has suggested excluding ducks from average calculations. 4. Abhijit supports my second suggestion. In addition he also suggests ignoring first innings not outs. 5. Finally Unni has suggested that if a batsman remains not out and his team lost, do not give him credit. I am not sure whether this applies to first innings also. Then do we consider poor Coventry's 194 as out. Look at the varied opinions from a group of us, all of whom I think are sound thinkers. Everything is arbitrary or nothing is arbitrary. I am away for 3 days from Monday-Thursday morning and may not be able to look at mails. Ananth

• unni on January 23, 2010, 14:59 GMT

Why are we bothered about these numbers? because higher the average for the batsman, we can know that he has contributed to the win. (nothing else. Any other parameters like quality of his shots, aesthetics etc are not captured by stats). If a batsman was not-out and if the team lost, then don't give credit for being not-out. So, consider such not-outs as out. This will ensure that efforts like Hussey's 36* would get the necessary weight-age.

• Abhi on January 23, 2010, 2:48 GMT

Alex Haven’t really studied your comment fully. Will do so later and get back. Just a thought though- getting off a duck and the early part of an innings are one of the basic skills in batting. So, we cannot just ignore them. [[ Look at it from another side. What would have been Tendulkar's average if he had batted two thirds of his career as a 5-6 batsman finishing the innings. It is obvious that his technique would have let him that end-of-the-innings role perfectly. I would not say that of Richards or Hayden or Gilchrist. Ananth: ]]

• Abhi on January 22, 2010, 16:54 GMT

Ananth, I posted my comment without seeing your latest reply to xolile! You have effectively said what I wanted to in a much more concise manner, without the round about verbiage I am prone to!

Xolile: You know, when financial analysts finally table an analysis for a company a common practice requires them to state their "bias" towards the company. i.e. whether to start with they liked it, they thought it was a turkey etc. This is because the initial bias will inevitably percolate down to the final "intrinsic value" obtained. So, the investors using the analysis can make due adjustments for this bias. I have stated (often enough!) that I am heavily biased towards Tendulkar.What I wonder is yours? [[ Abhi I am reasonably confident that Xolile's bias is not towards a single batsman but to the entire clan of middle to late order batsmen. I love them, the finishers. After all the adrenaline-charged batting at the top, to see a Bevan or Hussey or Dhoni steer an innings during the last 15 overs with a required rate of 6+, allow it to go tantalizingly close to 7, then pull back, all the while taking singles and then finally moving rapidly, is a wonderful sight for the connoiseur. I am anxiously waiting for Angelo Mathews to take up that role for Sri Lanka. My suggestion is, wait for me to find time to do a comprehensive analysis by Batting position and then resume the dialogue. Ananth: ]]

• Jeff on January 22, 2010, 16:43 GMT

Just checked out Husseys figures and they make interesting reading

When Hussey bats at number 4, he averages 54.75 and 14.3% of his inns end not out.

When he bats at number 5, he averages 52.78 and 24% of his inns end not out.

When he bats at either 6 or 7, he averages 54.24 with 43.3% of his inns ending not out

So, the number of innings ending not out increases dramatically as he moves down the order, but his average remains virtually unchanged.

I promise that I won't labour this point anymore !! ;-)

• Jeff on January 22, 2010, 16:35 GMT

I've found some of my analysis.

I looked at only the top 20 ODI run scorers of all-time (as of Nov 09) and the analysis showed the following:

When they opened, these players had an average of 40 with 5% of inns ending NO

When the same players batted at 3, they averaged 44 with 11% NO

When at 4, they averaged 40 with 14% NO

When at 5, they averaged 37 with 18% NO

When at 6, they averaged 29 with 22% NO

They had very few inns at number 7 or below.

Remember that these are the same players in all occasions & the top 20 run scorers of all time, so this discounts the "Afridi" factor that Xolile references.

Hopefully it shows that average is not positively correlated to the number of Not Outs - the correlation is between average and batting position. [[ Jeff I think the final point is only to what extent a finisher who remains not out over, say 25%, gains from remaining not out. Let me do my batting position analysis, when I have no idea, I have got so much on my plate, and that would be revealing. Ananth: ]]

• Abhi on January 22, 2010, 16:32 GMT

Xolile, I think, as before, you’ve taken a rather narrow band of info/stats and reached rather broad conclusions from them. For eg. in your recent “reasoning” here are just a few flaws: 1) “career stage” has been paid lip service to but effectively ignored. In SRTs case he only opened after his 70th match or so… when he was around 20yrs old. For the first 70 matches SRTs stats are 1758 @ 30.1. This from age 16 to 20. 2) There after he has played 46 inn avg 37, with 9 NO.SR 84 when batting between 3-7. In this period he played a total of around 363 inn. So, some 13% of total inn when batting 3-7. One could say that Tendulkar having opened some 320 times in this period got a bit “used” to it. The batsmen with the higher avg.s who come in late (the Husseys, Dhonis etc) are essentially accomplished “finishers”…etc. - a “different” role, not necessarily a tougher one. 3) Sehwag in Tests (Tests, not ODIs) when batting in the “lower order” avg.38 to his career 52. So, Would you come to the conclusion that opening in tests is easier for All batsmen? Opening may suit the temperament of certain players (which is exactly why they then retain the spot for long periods- not because it is “easier”) 4) Over very long careers like SRTs “peer ratio avgs” would make much more sense. Then we can compare over periods of say 5/10 yrs. Absolute numbers are of limited use. 5)Since the inception of ODIs(1971) the avgs of the Top 10 batsmen( In terms of runs),when opening(From SRT to Astle)-: 48.4,34.7,36.5,41.6,41.4,39.9,42.4,41.8,35.9,34.9. For “lower order” 3-7: (Ponting to Waugh) :42.9,39.3,45.9,39.6,42.6,37.2,35.3,32.2,39.0,32.9. Hardly any glaring difference, If you ask me. Infact if you take out SRT the “lower order” batsmen may have the better stats. The one glaring standout above is SRT at 48.4. Apparently he is not just the Greatest modern day Test batsman and greatest ODI batsman of all time; he is also the greatest opening ODI batsman of all time. And his role (till recently) has been has been that of a classical modern day batsman in ODIs- that of a battering ram and taking it to the opposition- not “finishing”. So: If you could find 1) some batsmen who have more or less equitable spread of inn where they “opened” and played in the “lower order” -For eg. Gambhir when opening (1-2) in 58 inn avg 36.2, batting from 3-7 in 34 inn he avg.39.8. So the inn ration between “opening”/”lower order” = 58:35 i.e. a more reasonable basis for comparison. 2) The above who have played over a decent period of time/matches – A period over an injury free period- then we may have a less flimsy base for comparing. If a “lower order” batsman opens just say 10% of the time or so and does better than his “overall” avg or vice versa it is onerous to arrive at any sweeping conclusions from the same.

If you could get a good sample size of the above, Then we would have less flimsy grounds for any comparisons or conclusions.

• Jeff on January 22, 2010, 16:15 GMT

I think it's almost universally accepted that batsmen are at their most vulnerable at the start of an inns. Once a batsman gets going, its harder to get him out - even Bradman had a large proportion of ducks.

Also, I agree 100% with Xolile's recent posts - players will have higher averages if they bat higher up the order despite the fact that they have fewer not outs.

The one extra thing that came out was that the best position to bat in to maximise your average was number 3 - average were higher there than for opening because (i assume)openers were taking more risks in the first few powerplay overs and then the number 3's were consolidating more. After position 3, averages fall with each position you drop down the order.

Frustratingly, I can't find my analysis at the moment, otherwise I would email it to you.

I think maybe this is oen area where we will have to agree to disagree :-)

• love goel on January 22, 2010, 14:33 GMT

All this discussion is going on about the batting averages, and the effect of not outs on the openers vs lower order batsmen.

Will it be possible to also reflect upon the impact of batting position on the strike rates of the batsmen? Certainly a batsmen who remains not out, especially in first innings will have a much higher strike rate, as he must be throwing his bat around. Openers have to lay a platform and just can't wallop everything that comes their way.

• Xolile on January 22, 2010, 14:19 GMT

Ananth,

Here is an extract from the match summary of today’s ODI between Aus and Pak:

“Hussey pumps his fist as he runs across. Another not out for him... ...all Hussey had to do was knock the ball around and not lose his wicket.”

Whoever wrote this is clearly dismissive of Hussey’s achievement. He doesn’t seem to think that scoring 35* of 37 balls at a crucial stage of a crucial match on a fair pitch against a strong attack is much of an achievement.

Your comments imply you are in agreement. Your methodology suggests Hussey wasn’t “not out” but that he was in fact “50% out”.

These sentiments and ideas appear to be wide spread. Where do they come from? Why are you perpetuating them? [[ X I think you are off-line and your last sentence is unwarranted. I have only suggested a modification of the Batting Average as exists today, for analysis purposes. And my influence is 0.001% so you can rest be assured that the Batting Average will remain the measure to be used. I would never have used the comments which were made about Hussey's innings. I would have written "Hussey's innings was a timely one and the partnership with White was crucial. He has shown once more that he is the greatest finisher of all time, albeit this time in a supporting role." That is all. I think we have discussed Hussey a lot. Why would you not talk about the two other great finishers, Dhoni and Bevan. Anyhow let me assure you one thing. I am doing a comprehensive analysis of the decade and I have stuck to the standard measures which exist now. My suggestion is, wait for me to find time to do a comprehensive analysis by Batting position and then resume the dialogue. Ananth: ]]

• Xolile on January 22, 2010, 13:02 GMT

Ananth, I’ve compared the same players in different roles. That is the closest you can get to a like-for-like comparison in cricket.

Abhi suggested the white ball only seams and swing in the first 5-10 overs, and therefore players lower down the order have it easier. The stats I produced were specifically designed to investigate Abhi’s claim. In my view the results clearly show his hypothesis needs further consideration. Almost everyone that has opened and batted down the order in ODI cricket has done better when opening (despite being not out less often).

I find a surprising that you do not accept this like-for-like comparison as conclusive.

Moreover, your exercise of examining batting averages per position is not going to help us here. There have been too many Afridi’s over the years that will just drag down the overall average for the opening positions. [[ X The reason one cannot accept your conclusions that opening positions have better averages than lower order positions carte blanche, is that almost all the players who you have referred to found their niche in the opening positions. For most of them their opening careers also coincided with the field restrictions rule and the attacking strategies. They are also amongst the best ever. I think unless you accept that Hussey's average of 54+ is helped, to a certain extent, by the number of not outs, there is no way out. I am saying that 35% is way high for any specialist batsman and have suggested normalizing it, not to 0% (as a RPI based calculation will do) but, say, 18-20%. You could say, 18% is too drastic reduction and suggest ways to implement this in a meaningful manner. When you say, sorry, the 35% is perfectly justified and should remain as it is that does not look fair. Today;s match is a perfect example of this. Hussey came in at a dicey 186 for 4. A wicket would have created some problems. He played a supporting role to White and stitched together an excellent partnership. When White was dismissed, the match was virtually won. Hussey remained not out on 35. I am only saying that it certainly has helped his average to come in at no.6 and I will consider 1 in 2 such innings as completed. At no stage have I even hinted that he made sure he was not dismissed. I can think of quite a few batsmen who have done that. And finally let me say that Hussey is amongst the three greatest finishing batsmen of all time, Bevan and Dhoni being the other two. Ananth: ]]

• Jeff on January 22, 2010, 9:36 GMT

Continued...

In almost all cases, the modal (ie most common) score of any batsman in an innings is a duck and this can severely impact his overall average. For example, Tendulkar averages about 54 in tests but if you only include innings where he got off the mark, that average improves to about 58.

Depending on the proportion of ducks a player makes, it can impact average by about 5 runs.

I'm sure a similar pattern is present in ODI innings.

Therefore, to make the methodology as simple as possible, I would calculate the players average excluding ducks and add this to all of the not out innings and then treat these innings as outs.

This, to me, feels the simplest, fairest way of factoring in not outs.

Of course, you could get much more sophisticated by taking each not out and working out how many more runs on average the player would have scored. This is what i've done with test match innings. [[ Jeff I am very uncomfortable with the notion that the first run scored impacts the average. Also the idea is not to increase the batting average of batsman rather find a way of handling Hussey with 35% not outs and Graeme Smith with 6% not outs satisfactorily. This is not an academic exercise rather a way to find a fair average equivalent. Ananth: ]]

• Jeff on January 22, 2010, 9:26 GMT

@ Xolile, Abhi, Ananth

I've done extensive analysis myself on the effects of not outs on averages in test cricket and in general they have a slight tendency to reduce a players average, but some batsmen's average is improved by his not outs, others have their average reduced quite considerably - it mainly depends on their not out scores and their propensity for making big hundreds. Very simplistically, those players that make proportionately large numbers of big hundreds will have their average negatively impacted by not outs (Laxman is an example of this type of player) Conversely, players who tend not to cash in with big hundreds (eg Kallis, Thorpe) are benfitted by not outs.

Abhi raises a great point about the differences between ODIs and tests and I haven't looked at the impact of not outs on averages in the shorter formats of the game, however my instinct tells me that broadly, the same results would apply as in tests.

To be continued...

• Xolile on January 22, 2010, 8:30 GMT

By the way, there are only 5 modern ODI players for which the opposite apply. Most of these are marginal. The only exception is AB, and that is largely explained by his career development and wicketkeeping duties.

HH Gibbs (SA) 35.91 (open) 37.56 (lower) GW Flower (Zim) 33.15 (open) 34.86 (lower) G Gambhir (India) 36.18 (open) 39.80 (lower) A Flower (Zim) 32.19 (open) 36.22 (lower) AB de Villiers (SA) 31.66 (open) 45.48 (lower)

• Xolile on January 22, 2010, 8:26 GMT

SRT’s career ODI stats provide a lot of information on this topic. He has opened the batting 317 times, averaging 48.40 at a SR of 87.76. He has batted down the order 112 times, averaging 33.15 at a SR of 78.29. His lower average down the order comes despite being not out 16.1% of the time (compared to 6.9% when opening the batting).

Here are the averages for a few other modern players who scored at least 1000 runs both at the top of the order and lower down:

TM Dilshan (SL) 54.91 (open) 28.88 (lower) ME Waugh (Aus) 44.06 (open) 32.22 (lower) BB McCullum (NZ) 35.62 (open) 24.17 (lower) BC Lara (WI) 46.08 (open) 39.23 (lower) Shahid Afridi (Pak) 24.60 (open) 21.42 (lower) AJ Strauss (Eng) 33.34 (open) 30.31 (lower) SC Ganguly (India) 41.57 (open) 38.89 (lower) S Chanderpaul (WI) 43.27 (open) 40.87 (lower)

I'd say the evidence suggest it's easier to open the batting in modern ODI cricket. We should therefore certainly not use not outs to penalise lower order batsmen. [[ X Why limit this to positions 1-2 only. Do a separation as 1-2-3-4 and 5-6-7. That would make more sense. Anyhow I will do a batting position-wise average analysis and let us see the results. Ananth: ]]

• Abhi on January 22, 2010, 4:38 GMT

Oops!! Just checked out some numbers below: SRT: Total NO=40 1ST inn. NO : 14 ; 2nd inn. NO:26 Total Runs : 17394 . Total inn :429 ; 2nd inn NO:26 Adjusted avg.: 17394/403=43.16 (career avg.=43.43) Hussey: Total NO=35 1ST inn. NO : 24 ; 2nd inn. NO:11 Total Runs : 3623 . Total inn :102 ; 2nd inn NO:11 Adjusted avg.: 3623/91=39.8 (career avg.=54.07) Now, that would make Xolile even more miserable. So, I guess perhaps Ananth’s suggestion to treat only not out scores below the batting average of the batsmen as true not outs would be the way to go. [[ Looks like my idea of considering only innings which remain unbeaten, below batting average as true not outs is the fairest of all suggestions. After all if Hussey remained not out on 85 and this innings was treated as completed, no great harm is done. Hussey has crossed his average. My feeling is that the '*' in innings like 194*, 189*, 175* does not mean much and even if these were 194, 189 and 175 these would be as valuable. Let us hear from Xolile. Ananth: ]]

• Abhi on January 21, 2010, 14:09 GMT

Xolile I see your point, but I guess it would apply in total to test cricket only...wherein a batsman when” in” has potentially all the time in the world to get a much bigger score. There is a school of thought that figures that if a batsman was "allowed" to complete his N.O inn. he would actually have a higher avg. However in limited over cricket the problems (purely relating to N.O) are: 1) It is always tougher to bat with the new white ball. i.e we often see that the first 5 / 10 overs are trickiest. once the batsmen negotiate that ,the white ball practically stops swinging /seaming altogether (of course almost no chance of reversing later, specially given that nowadays the ball is changed in the 30th over)…so, a lower order batsman normally has it much easier – at least as far as staying N.O is concerned. 2) When batting first there is not much pressure when batting lower down- you can swing the bat around with the sole purpose of getting those few extra runs. 3) Batting second of course requires more responsible hitting, especially if chasing a large target. So- what if we ignore 1st inn N.O (i.e don’t count them) and count only 2nd inn N.O? [[ Abhi Opens a new line of thought. Worth looking at. You are also suggesting ignoring some of the not outs but in a better manner than my arbitrary (not so arbitray, let me say) of 50%. What do you feel about my suggestion to treat only not out scores below the batting average of the batsmen as true not outs. X, let us have your thoughts on these two specific suggestions. Ananth: ]]

• Xolile on January 21, 2010, 9:11 GMT

Ananth, Your method reduces Hussey’s average by 11 runs, but SRT’s by only 2 runs. I cannot see how this is fair. If anything, a player should be compensated for not outs – for being cut off mid innings after playing himself in. Only 6 out of Hussey’s 35 not outs came in matches that Australia lost. By all means, count those 6 “dismissals” against him. But the 29 times he successfully guided his team to a winning total without losing his wicket certainly should not count against him. I usually bat at No7 and often end up not out. I can assure you that nothing is more frustrating then being 48* and in full flow when the target is reached and your innings brought to a premature end. To then consider the “not out” as an “out” would only add insult to injury. [[ X I don't think I am going to win this. However I have tried to be fair to all players and will stick by that. Incidentally Hussey's came down more than Tendulkar's because of the extraordinary number of not outs. I am sure you know that. Ananth: ]]

• Xolile on January 20, 2010, 15:08 GMT

Ananth, I am still not 100% convinced that your treatment of not outs. My theory is that Hussey's ODI numbers are so good because he is better than anyone else at reading the match. The only player that comes close is perhaps Dhoni. They understand risk and return, their own strenghts and weaknesses, they read the match situation, and they do what is necessary. Increasing the number of times they have been dismissed (by ignoring 50% of not outs) doesn't seem fair.

Also, lower order batsmen usually only get to bat when the rest of the line-up has failed. That means they usually are called on when batting conditions are tough. In the last 15 matches of his career Shaun Pollock was sometimes picked as a specialist batsman and promoted up the order. He responded by averaging 48.7 at a strike rate of 98.6. Not bad for a No9! [[ X I think you are taking one end of the spectrum. There are people who would be taking the other end. And never the twain would you meet. But I am in the middle and have to view left and (oh! god) view right. Any calculation has to be fair to all the players. That is what is achieved by my method. Let me take 4 players who are in the top-20 of the averages table. Hussey-102-35-34.3% Avge-54.07 Rpi-35.52 Dhoni-140-36-25.7% Avge-51.12 Rpi-37.98 Hayden-155-15-9.7% Avge-44.71 Rpi-36.06 SRT-429-40-9.3% Avge-43.81 Rpi-35.71 The difference in Not out % is enormous. Ignoring the not outs completely, as now the batting average is computed, would be quite unfair to Hayden and Tendulkar. Taking Runs per innings would be quite unfair to Hussey and to a lesser extent, Dhoni. So my suggestion would have done the following. I see that it is quite fair to all concerned. As Solomonic as possible. The numbers are still kind to Hussey and Dhoni. Hussey-87 (102-17) Mod avge-43.13 Dhoni-122 (140-18) Mod avge-43.58 Hayden-148 (155-7) Mod avge-42.53 SRT-409 (429-20) Mod avge-41.72. If you had perused my Castrol article, the top-5 are Richards/Dhoni/ZaheerAbbas/HusseyTendulkar. Can you question the presence of any of these. I think this is a very fair method. One other alternative is for me to ignore not outs in innings in which the batsman has remained unbeaten at a score below his average. That means I treat all not out innings above the batting average as completed innings. Arbitrary/subjective, but again quite fair. Ananth: ]]

• Xolile on January 20, 2010, 12:19 GMT

@Kartik / Ananth

I lifted this from something else I looked at recently. If you take the Average/SR for a Top 5 batsman as the benchmark, then the wicket of the average No9 batsman has been worth 41% in recent times. Here is the full list. It’s based on all ODIs played since 17 Feb 2005 between the leading eight nations.

B1-5: 100% (definition) B.6: 86% B7: 68 % B8: 55% B9: 41 % B10: 30 % B11: 16% [[ X Very interesting. You would remember that I have been propagating the use of a single measure called the ODI Batting index for the past few years. This started as Batting Average * Strike Rate, then became Runs per innings * Strike Rate and in the recent Castrol article the link of which is http://www.castrolcricket.com/theresearcher, I have used Modified Average * Strike Rate. The Modified Average is the one I have used in the Combined article. Since the 9/10/Jack would be great beneficiaries of the not outs, can you do the valuation based on the Modified Average which is (Runs) / (Innings - Notouts/2). It might make more sense. For that matter I myself could do this, but a little bit later, for all the ODI matches and by decades/teams etc. Ah! there comes another article. With readers like you/Kartik there is never going to be shortage of ideas. Ananth: ]]

• Jeff on January 20, 2010, 9:17 GMT

Hi Ananth,

As always, thanks for the analysis, your posts are always thought provoking.

Having said that, I’m not sure that I’m in agreement with your methodology. My understanding was that you were trying to create a bowling ranking similar to the batting one you recently did. This was looking at the most destructive innings ever and so, if we are looking at the most “destructive” bowling performances, I’m not sure that economy rate is the right measure to include.

This is clearly demonstrated by Xolile’s example of Vaas 8-19 and your comment that his performance would have ranked higher (ie been more “destructive”) if Zim had scored more runs in total. This doesn’t make sense to me.

I think the analysis is great but I think it is more accurately described as a “bowling quality factor”, not a “bowling power factor”.

To create a power factor I would look more at a bowlers strike rate in relation to his colleagues rather than his economy rate. [[ Jeff I hope you have seen the more recent tables in which Vass' spell is 9th. And no one can say that the 8 spells above his do not deserve their place. Bowling accuracy is as important as taking wickets. One reason why McGrath's 7 for 15 (against Namibia) is rated way above Davis' 7 for 51 (against Australia). There is no doubt that it was a devastating spell, among the best of all time. But why should it be first. Why should the 400, 10 for 37 and 194 be the best. Instead the 270*, 9 for 113 and 189* are the best. Let me say this. You would be right to say that the 281 should figure in anybody's top-10 but not right to say that it should be the best. Same here. I think Xolile's comments made me do the important tweak of taking the square root instead of halving and that has worked very well. Ananth: ]]

• Kartik (the original one) on January 20, 2010, 6:32 GMT

It would be nice if there was a way to factor in the quality of the opposition. McGrath's #3 ranking is against Namibia, and certainly is not a memorable feat like Gilmour, Imran, or Davis' feats.

Why are numbers 9-11 just 0.25? Maybe 0.5 would be better. Klusener often batted at #9. As it stands now, a Top-4 batsman is worth 8 times more as a #9. 4 times more might be better... Position 7-8 mgiht be 1.0.

So we get :

1-4 : 2.0 5-6 : 1.5 7-8 : 1.0 9-11 : 0.5 [[ Kartik 1. Then it would be halfway to a full-fledged Ratings exercise which I do not want this to become. 2. One Kluesener does not compensate for hundreds of rabbits. I have deliberately kept the range wide so that the top order wickets get their importance. It is also possible that there would have been a Darren Ganga at no.1. Ananth: ]]

• unni on January 19, 2010, 15:02 GMT

@Abhi : Now it is as simple as the whole table is sorted with the modified QAI. Nothing else.

Initially I had proposed something else. Ananth had taken some ideas from that (which he had already thought of earlier) and modified the table.

• Abhi on January 19, 2010, 10:07 GMT

Unni, haven't really followed all your logic...the whole process has now gone over my head. But I must say your "Top 10" (if that is the list you have posted)"looks" like the Top 10 at first viewing.Difficult to argue with those sort of figures.

• Sundeep on January 19, 2010, 4:27 GMT

Ananth,

Sorry if you found my previous post too blunt. I was just shell shocked to see Kumble's effort so down the order. Thanks for your patience of replying it. I understand the rules laid and will respect it.

PS: Could you let me know if Sehwag's 3 consecutive 200+ partnership against SL last year is a record. Perhaps, you can come up with another of your answering readers questions.

• unni on January 18, 2010, 17:25 GMT

53 Waqar Younis 1724 Pak Eng 10-0-36-7 57 0.97 55.36 54 Vaas WPUJC 1776 Slk Zim 8-3-19-8 54 1.02 55.16 42 Aaqib Javed 685 Pak Ind 10-1-37-7 53 1.07 56.8 1 Gilmour G.J 31 Aus Eng 12-6-14-6 50 1.67 83.41 15 Edwards F.H 2069 Win Zim 7-1-22-6 50 1.28 63.82 5 Bichel A.J 1976 Aus Eng 10-0-20-7 48 1.52 72.8 9 McGrath G.D 1970 Aus Nam 7-4-15-7 48 1.41 67.88 18 Vaas WPUJC 1950 Slk Bng 9.1-2-25-6 48 1.28 61.66 33 Olonga H.K 1551 Zim Eng 8.2-3-19-6 48 1.22 58.48 11 Wasim Akram 311 Pak Aus 8-1-21-5 47 1.41 66.08 20 HarmisonS.J 2251 Eng Aus 10-0-33-5 47 1.29 60.54

• unni on January 18, 2010, 17:24 GMT

Thanks Ananth for the new list. I had done some excel sheet analysis with this new data and I found one problem related to the BAI (which is present in the original one as well). For example take the case of Vass's 8-3-19-8 spell. I checked the scorecard of the corresponding match (1776). Only two bowlers have bowled in the match!! (except Murali's 4 balls). So, it is not surprising that Vass yielded 50% of the total runs scored by Zim (that was at a run rate of ~2.5 runs per over)!! And with this his total IPF was come down drastically. I'm not sure if this is just an outlayer performance to discount. I just sorted the table on QAI alone and see the top-ten in next comment!! [[ Unni Your point is valid. However it is true that the other two bowlers (okay Murali only 4 balls) bowled 7.4 overs and conceded 18 runs while Vaas bowled 8 overs and conceded 19 runs, almost identical rate. Hence the BAI factor is around 1.00. Short of complicating the analysis still further, such as give less weight to BAI for higher wicket captures et al, this will be a problem. I will repeat what I have replied to Sundeep. No other factor is taken into account. When all these are taken into account, Vaas' 8 for 19 is 8th best in my l Performance Rating analysis work, yet to be released. So all what you say have been taken care of in the full analysis. Ananth: ]]

(continued)

• Sundeep on January 18, 2010, 10:15 GMT

But, 420th is too low

0420 Kumble A 0858 Ind Win 6.1-2-12-6 64.0 0.83 1.30 69.08

[[ Sundeep These are the rules laid and Kumble's spell falls somewhat low mainly because he did not capture even one of the top-4. Pl also note that he does not score much in the accuracy measure since he has an rpo of 2.0 and the team 3.0. Anyway no other factor is taken into account. When all these are taken into account, Kumble's is 35th in my Performance Rating analysis work, yet to be released. So rest assured it is a great performance. Ananth: ]]

• Abhi on January 17, 2010, 15:53 GMT

Yup It is not only unfortunate and sad ,it also probably an accurate reflection of bowler performances by the masses (of which i am one)visa-vi batsman performances.

• Abhi on January 17, 2010, 13:25 GMT

Kartik On the contrary I'm surprised that even a single Indian has made the top 20. In fact i can't even recall the joshi spell. [[ Abhi It is unfortunate and a sad reflection of the low recall of bowler performances that a performance, away from home, by a spinner in which he conceded 0.6 run per over and captured the wickets of Dippenaar, Gibbs, Rhodes, Cronje and Pollock is forgotten. Ananth: ]]

• Kartik (the original one) on January 17, 2010, 9:23 GMT

Only 1 Indian in the top 20.

Though I am surprised that Kumble's 6/12 did not make it.

[[ Kartik If you peruse the original scorecard you will see that Kumble took wickets 5-10, that is a poor haul in terms of quality of wickets. Ananth: ]]

• Abdullah on January 17, 2010, 0:56 GMT

Hi Ananth

I like the revised analysis much better than the first one as it gives due credit to bowlers who have taken more wickets.

I have a suggestion for a future post similar to this one. If and when you are planning to do the same analysis for test matches, would it be possible to do it for a mini spell rather than the full innings. Like Shoaib's 3-wicket spell against Australia or Broad's in the final Ashes test.

I realise that this would be difficult for earlier matches as the data might not be available, but even if the data is available for the last 15-20 years, there are still many memorable spells in this period. Hope it is workable

Keep up the good work [[ Abdullah This is possible only for recent matches in which the FOW information contains the batsman dismissed. Then only can I relate a wicket fall to a bowler and the rest naturally follows. Will try and do sometime in future. Ananth: ]]

• unni on January 16, 2010, 14:05 GMT

Ananth, proportionality is fine as long as they gets only multiplied/divided. When addition comes in between, they become incompatible. (think about adding millimeter and centimeter). In this case, it will happen since an addition is involved during the weighting. So, the proportionality is not enough. I was sure that this would have occurred to you initially as it is the first idea anyone could think of. What is 'base points' and why it is needed? If you need a nice looking integral number as output, you can always do the conversion in one shot as the last calculation.

• unni on January 16, 2010, 12:58 GMT

Looks like I worded it bit vaguely. I though it was too obvious and worded bit loosely. It is not career based approach. I will explain with an example. Take a spell where the bowler took the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th wicket. Now you have two parameters for this (quantity and quality). Quality = (2 * 2 + 2 * 1.5)/4 = 1.75. Now for quantity, some new parameter is introduced. Now quantity = 37. Now, the situation, is that, in quality computation, by taking the average, some information is lost. Now, to compensate this lose an artificial parameter is introduced. My proposal is, simply take the 'full quality value' as it is. i.e, 2 * 2 + 2 * 1.5 = 7. Now, this contains both quality and quantity. No need for another parameter. (Here I'm prepared to accept the arbitrariness of 2 points for top order, since I cannot think of an alternative). I think rest of the parameters are self-explanatory. [[ Unni I get it and let me say that I probably rushed in without going in detail. Your idea was considered by me first but I found that I lacked the base points concept. Hence we introduced the quantity based wickets points, with 100 points for 8 wickets as the base points. Let me do the work on this and revert back. What I can do is to present a new table based on this and let the comparison be done. The 2, 1.5, 0.75 and 0.25 is again not arbitrary. The relative value of wickets is incorporated in these numbers. Note the way the low order wicket points drop off. But this is not set in stone and there is nothing wrong if these become whole numbers, say 10, 7, 3, 1, maintaining a similar proportionality. That will let us have a decent final number since this will be multiplied by the BAI number. Ananth: ]]

• Xolile on January 16, 2010, 10:14 GMT

Thanks for the update. Bond's 6 for 23 was magical. If you adjust for "strenght of opppostion" it would probably move into 2nd place, even 1st. Really hope there are more bowler friendly pitches in the next decade. Cricket is at its best when the bowlers hold a slight advantage.

• Unni on January 16, 2010, 9:56 GMT

.... This would get rid of the anomaly of averaging for quality and then finding out some arbitrary number to multiply to get the quantity. 3. Why the strike rate factor is not considered? I would propose to consider the power factor to be influenced inversely by the number of balls bowled by the bowler. 2. Simply take the proportionality for the combined formula. i.e it is proportional to WQI, inversely proportional to number of balls bowled, inversely proportional to percentage of runs conceded (same as your RPO measure, but simple computation). so, IPF = WQI/(Balls bowled * runs percentage consumed) [[ Unni (contd...) I am not clear on your methodology. It does not seem to be a single innspell based factor. "number of wickets at that positions" seems to be a career based figure. That is not the purpose of this factor. This is innspell based and cannot go beyond the 3xx balls. Ananth: ]]

• unni on January 16, 2010, 9:51 GMT

This time my comments would be too critical. As others mentioned I also expected a simple one, but didn't get it. Other than that there are two more issues. 1. The arbitrariness of the method. "capping at 4", "taking square root", introducing series like 5,7,15 etc are kind of arbitrary decisions. why not cube root?, why not 6,20,42? 2. Combining wicket quality with number of wickets is not elegant. However, I thought hard about bowling accuracy critically, but finally I realized that this is a good indicator. Probably for it affects the top performances inelegantly, but for normal performances, this would give a good indication.

My suggestions to remove some of the arbitrariness. 1. Combine quality and number to one parameter. You already have it. Why not simply take the weighted sum of individual wicket quality with the corresponding number of wickets? i.e WQI = sigma (wicket position point * number of wickets at that position). (continue) [[ Unni First it is not a completely arbitrary. The 5, 7, 15 ... have been fixed based on 100 points for 8 wickets, the current maximum. If this is taken as 200, all points will double, that is all. This is base points, so anything goes. And the points allocation allocation is not arbitrary at all. Each successive wicket gets an extra credit, that is all. It is common sense and I am prepared to argue with anyone on this. Out of 3882 performances 10 were above 4.00. Hence these were capped. Otherwise this would have distorted everything completely. At the end of the day I want to do something pragmatic. If I use common sense methodology I am quite comfortable. Square root or cube root, I needed an end range of 0.xx to 2.00 since the WQI range was .xx to 2.00. That is all. Ananth: ]]

• love goel on January 16, 2010, 5:32 GMT

I find the new list to be an excellent one. The Gary Gilmour spell, till date remains one of the top ones.Considering how old it is,the stage of the game in the tournament, and the strong opposition,it must be talked anywhere bowling spells are talked of. The 3-wicket spell have really gone down in this ranking, which seems fine, because 3 wicket may not completely dismiss a team while a 5/6/7 spell usually leads to other team being completely dismissed. Thanks for the rankings.Ananth [[ Goel I also think the revised one gives more importance to more and key wickets. I decided that I should do the tweaking immediately so that the new viewers would see the revised ones soon. I have done quite a few Boelwer's spell analysis todate. In 90% of these Gilmour's is on top. Ananth: ]]

• ;love goel on January 16, 2010, 5:06 GMT

Abhi, your suggestion is very good. I thought of something like this myself. But I found one issue.Suppose there is a bowler who takes top order wickets. Then the next bowler comes in, takes many lower order wickets quickly. In this case , the overs in which the batsmen is dismissed remains low, but the second bowler hugely benefits from the performance of the first bowler. The value of his spell becomes dependent upon other bowler;the present method just looks at each bowler's performance indivudually(except in RPO which remains same in both case)

• Abhi on January 16, 2010, 4:04 GMT

A few thoughts: 1)You had given the eg. of Ponting coming in at No.3 or 10..when giving your reasons for giving importance to batting order points. 2)Actually, over the course of a limited 50 over match the “value” of wickets reduces as the overs run out. So, getting a Ponting out by say the 35th over may be of little consequence as by then he may well have got a hundred. 3)So, what if we ignore the “quality of wickets” taken parameter altogether and simplify the formula to “when” wicket taken. 4)So, the “value” of a wicket reduces as the overs run out. 5)So,we may have simply : Overs 1-10- “x” value, 11-20-“y” value etc etc That should perhaps simplify a bit and give “destructive” opening spells (which often decide a match) their due. And so get good Ol’ Vaasy’s spell recognized! [[ Abhi That information, unfortunately, is not available for half the matches. Only during the past 15 years or so have we consistently got the FOW information with batsman. Previously we only have the FOW information. In other words we know with certainty when the batsman got in but not when he got out. Ananth: ]]

• Ananth on January 16, 2010, 2:31 GMT

A quickfix: To Anshu/Xolile/Goel Once the capping at 4.00 for the Economy rate is done can I try taking the square root instead of halving. This will reduce 4 to 2, as required but will take care of the sub-1.00 values. For instance Vaas's factor will change to 1.02 (square root ot 1.04, instead of the current 0.52 (half of 1.04). Similarly for many others. Of course a factor of 2.00 will become 1.414 instead of 1.00. Overall seems to be a good idea. I will wait for a few hours before making the change.

• love goel on January 15, 2010, 20:35 GMT

The ranking is pretty good, all the memorable spells are on the top

I feel there is too-much weightage given to the run-rate here. As bowlers give away less and less runs, the significance of even 1 extra run conceded (by the bowlers) increases. For eg

0016 Rackemann C.G 8.0-4- 7-3 25.0 2.00 2.00 100.00 0020 Wasim Akram 8.0-1-21-5 50.0 1.90 0.99 93.89

Akram took 2 more wickets, giving away 14 more runs. Now considering those 2 were top orders batsmen(4 and 5;he got all best 5 wickets possible), I rather choose his spell than the other. [[ Goel I agree on the two specific spells. However you must realize that 8-4-7-x is a wonderful spell and might mean the difference between win and loss. To bowl 8 overs and concede less than a run an over is something special. I hope you and others come out with a tweak of the formula, without complicating it in any way, which will reduce the impact of the scoring rate. I will gladly do the changes and re-publish the table. Let me throw the challenge to you/Abhi/Xolile/Alex/Sesha. Ananth: ]]

• Abhi on January 15, 2010, 13:37 GMT

I should have added that if an opening bowler (such as Vass, in xolile's eg)takes 8 for 18 in his opening spell( first 4/5 overs)...then that is effectively the match over.

• Abhi on January 15, 2010, 13:15 GMT

At first glance i concur with xolile. If a bowler takes "8 for 18" ,the total team score will in all probability be low anyway. So,in a way this formula penalises a bowler for doing a truly outstanding job.

• Xolile on January 15, 2010, 11:34 GMT

Ananth, I take your point. But consider the following example: Bowler 1: wwwwww Bowler 2: 000000 Bowler 1: wwww This match last on 16 balls. Bowler 1 has done everying he can. Yet his "bowling accuracy" is only on par with the rest of the bowlers.

Vaas' 8 for 19 is the closests we have ever seen to Bowler 1 in the history of ODI cricket. In my view there should be daylight between him at the top of the list and the rest of the field. [[ X Your extreme example is the perfect way of killing a simple idea. Anything can be brought down with such examples. It is like saying, and someone did, a batsman hitting 18 6s in 18 balls and the other not scoring any runs etc. The only way then is to reward the base points of 7 and 8 wkt hauls way high, say 100 for 7-wkt and 150 for 8-wkt. That would defeat the very purpose of this analysis. In the revised IPF, many a smaller innings made the grade. Here it has happened right now. I would say, if an individual felt that strongly about it, he should keep the 8-wkt hauls, as also a 200+ scores, out of the equation and putting it on top, and then the others. I have no problem with that. An analysis covering nearly 4000 innspells cannot cater to everything. If you ask me, the best innspell in history, Gilmour's 6 for 14 is on top. Ananth: ]]

• Xolile on January 15, 2010, 10:25 GMT

Ananth, I have to apologise for being critical again. The reason for this is twofold:

1. Your method is certainly not simplistic. I thought that was the point. It involves trawling through each scorecard and using two lookup tables.

2. It doesn’t value devastating spells like Vaas’ 8 for 18.

During Vaas’ 8 for 18 he almost singlehandedly bowled out Zimbabwe for 36 runs. He got the wickets of both Andy and Grant Flower. He took a hat trick. He removed each of the top 8 batsmen. There never has been anything quite like it.

If you method does not value this incredible spell there certainly is something wrong with it. [[ X Simpler than this would have very little impact. Vaas' 8 for 19 need not come to the top just because he is the only one to take 8 wickets. That spell is down only because the bowling accuracy was only at par with the rest of the bowlers. Compare that with many a spell with lower wickets where the concerned bowler out bowls his peers on the economy front by a huge margin. That way Bichel's 7-wkt spells is way ahead of more known 7-wkt spells of Aaqib and Murali. Once bowling economy comes into the picture, this will happen. An afterthought. If Vaas had taken 8 for 19 in a Zimbabwe innings of 120 in 30 overs, he would have been in the top-6. Ananth: ]]

• Kartik on January 15, 2010, 9:17 GMT

Is there any way I can access the match scorecards directly by the number? Say can I access ODI match #1826, which is the first result in the list and so on? [[ Only by going to Cricinfo/Stats/Records". Unfortunately Cricinfo does not store the matches uner 1826 but some other number. There is no direct correlation. Ananth: ]]

• No featured comments at the moment.

• Kartik on January 15, 2010, 9:17 GMT

Is there any way I can access the match scorecards directly by the number? Say can I access ODI match #1826, which is the first result in the list and so on? [[ Only by going to Cricinfo/Stats/Records". Unfortunately Cricinfo does not store the matches uner 1826 but some other number. There is no direct correlation. Ananth: ]]

• Xolile on January 15, 2010, 10:25 GMT

Ananth, I have to apologise for being critical again. The reason for this is twofold:

1. Your method is certainly not simplistic. I thought that was the point. It involves trawling through each scorecard and using two lookup tables.

2. It doesn’t value devastating spells like Vaas’ 8 for 18.

During Vaas’ 8 for 18 he almost singlehandedly bowled out Zimbabwe for 36 runs. He got the wickets of both Andy and Grant Flower. He took a hat trick. He removed each of the top 8 batsmen. There never has been anything quite like it.

If you method does not value this incredible spell there certainly is something wrong with it. [[ X Simpler than this would have very little impact. Vaas' 8 for 19 need not come to the top just because he is the only one to take 8 wickets. That spell is down only because the bowling accuracy was only at par with the rest of the bowlers. Compare that with many a spell with lower wickets where the concerned bowler out bowls his peers on the economy front by a huge margin. That way Bichel's 7-wkt spells is way ahead of more known 7-wkt spells of Aaqib and Murali. Once bowling economy comes into the picture, this will happen. An afterthought. If Vaas had taken 8 for 19 in a Zimbabwe innings of 120 in 30 overs, he would have been in the top-6. Ananth: ]]

• Xolile on January 15, 2010, 11:34 GMT

Ananth, I take your point. But consider the following example: Bowler 1: wwwwww Bowler 2: 000000 Bowler 1: wwww This match last on 16 balls. Bowler 1 has done everying he can. Yet his "bowling accuracy" is only on par with the rest of the bowlers.

Vaas' 8 for 19 is the closests we have ever seen to Bowler 1 in the history of ODI cricket. In my view there should be daylight between him at the top of the list and the rest of the field. [[ X Your extreme example is the perfect way of killing a simple idea. Anything can be brought down with such examples. It is like saying, and someone did, a batsman hitting 18 6s in 18 balls and the other not scoring any runs etc. The only way then is to reward the base points of 7 and 8 wkt hauls way high, say 100 for 7-wkt and 150 for 8-wkt. That would defeat the very purpose of this analysis. In the revised IPF, many a smaller innings made the grade. Here it has happened right now. I would say, if an individual felt that strongly about it, he should keep the 8-wkt hauls, as also a 200+ scores, out of the equation and putting it on top, and then the others. I have no problem with that. An analysis covering nearly 4000 innspells cannot cater to everything. If you ask me, the best innspell in history, Gilmour's 6 for 14 is on top. Ananth: ]]

• Abhi on January 15, 2010, 13:15 GMT

At first glance i concur with xolile. If a bowler takes "8 for 18" ,the total team score will in all probability be low anyway. So,in a way this formula penalises a bowler for doing a truly outstanding job.

• Abhi on January 15, 2010, 13:37 GMT

I should have added that if an opening bowler (such as Vass, in xolile's eg)takes 8 for 18 in his opening spell( first 4/5 overs)...then that is effectively the match over.

• love goel on January 15, 2010, 20:35 GMT

The ranking is pretty good, all the memorable spells are on the top

I feel there is too-much weightage given to the run-rate here. As bowlers give away less and less runs, the significance of even 1 extra run conceded (by the bowlers) increases. For eg

0016 Rackemann C.G 8.0-4- 7-3 25.0 2.00 2.00 100.00 0020 Wasim Akram 8.0-1-21-5 50.0 1.90 0.99 93.89

Akram took 2 more wickets, giving away 14 more runs. Now considering those 2 were top orders batsmen(4 and 5;he got all best 5 wickets possible), I rather choose his spell than the other. [[ Goel I agree on the two specific spells. However you must realize that 8-4-7-x is a wonderful spell and might mean the difference between win and loss. To bowl 8 overs and concede less than a run an over is something special. I hope you and others come out with a tweak of the formula, without complicating it in any way, which will reduce the impact of the scoring rate. I will gladly do the changes and re-publish the table. Let me throw the challenge to you/Abhi/Xolile/Alex/Sesha. Ananth: ]]

• Ananth on January 16, 2010, 2:31 GMT

A quickfix: To Anshu/Xolile/Goel Once the capping at 4.00 for the Economy rate is done can I try taking the square root instead of halving. This will reduce 4 to 2, as required but will take care of the sub-1.00 values. For instance Vaas's factor will change to 1.02 (square root ot 1.04, instead of the current 0.52 (half of 1.04). Similarly for many others. Of course a factor of 2.00 will become 1.414 instead of 1.00. Overall seems to be a good idea. I will wait for a few hours before making the change.

• Abhi on January 16, 2010, 4:04 GMT

A few thoughts: 1)You had given the eg. of Ponting coming in at No.3 or 10..when giving your reasons for giving importance to batting order points. 2)Actually, over the course of a limited 50 over match the “value” of wickets reduces as the overs run out. So, getting a Ponting out by say the 35th over may be of little consequence as by then he may well have got a hundred. 3)So, what if we ignore the “quality of wickets” taken parameter altogether and simplify the formula to “when” wicket taken. 4)So, the “value” of a wicket reduces as the overs run out. 5)So,we may have simply : Overs 1-10- “x” value, 11-20-“y” value etc etc That should perhaps simplify a bit and give “destructive” opening spells (which often decide a match) their due. And so get good Ol’ Vaasy’s spell recognized! [[ Abhi That information, unfortunately, is not available for half the matches. Only during the past 15 years or so have we consistently got the FOW information with batsman. Previously we only have the FOW information. In other words we know with certainty when the batsman got in but not when he got out. Ananth: ]]

• ;love goel on January 16, 2010, 5:06 GMT

Abhi, your suggestion is very good. I thought of something like this myself. But I found one issue.Suppose there is a bowler who takes top order wickets. Then the next bowler comes in, takes many lower order wickets quickly. In this case , the overs in which the batsmen is dismissed remains low, but the second bowler hugely benefits from the performance of the first bowler. The value of his spell becomes dependent upon other bowler;the present method just looks at each bowler's performance indivudually(except in RPO which remains same in both case)

• love goel on January 16, 2010, 5:32 GMT

I find the new list to be an excellent one. The Gary Gilmour spell, till date remains one of the top ones.Considering how old it is,the stage of the game in the tournament, and the strong opposition,it must be talked anywhere bowling spells are talked of. The 3-wicket spell have really gone down in this ranking, which seems fine, because 3 wicket may not completely dismiss a team while a 5/6/7 spell usually leads to other team being completely dismissed. Thanks for the rankings.Ananth [[ Goel I also think the revised one gives more importance to more and key wickets. I decided that I should do the tweaking immediately so that the new viewers would see the revised ones soon. I have done quite a few Boelwer's spell analysis todate. In 90% of these Gilmour's is on top. Ananth: ]]