Bowling June 11, 2010

Analysing wides and no-balls in Twenty20 internationals

A look at the bowlers who bowl the most and least wides and no-balls in Twenty20 internationals

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Wides and no-balls are the bane of the bowlers in Twenty20 matches. Not to forget the additional (unrecorded) runs scored off possible free hits. This article analyses the wides and no-balls bowled by bowlers in Twenty20 internationals. I have specifically considered only Twenty20 internationals and excluded IPL matches, which I do not consider as true internationals.

The basic criteria is that the bowlers should have bowled a minimum of 120 balls, which works to no less than 5 Twenty20 International matches.

1. Bowlers who have conceded the most number of wides and no-balls

No Bowler             Ctry Mat  Overs Wides NBs Total
W+Nb

1 Malinga S.L Slk 28 94.0 35 2 37 2 Umar Gul Pak 26 93.2 25 11 36 3 Johnson M.G Aus 21 77.1 32 4 36 4 Sohail Tanvir Pak 15 51.0 26 10 36 5 Steyn D.W Saf 21 78.0 29 2 31 6 Tait S.W Aus 15 55.4 30 1 31 7 Anderson J.M Eng 18 66.2 29 0 29 8 Lee B Aus 16 58.1 13 14 27 9 Roach K.A.J Win 10 35.0 20 5 25 10 Broad S.C.J Eng 26 89.5 17 5 22

Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka has bowled the maximum number of wides and no-balls. with 37. Umar Gul, Johnson and Sohail Tanvir come in next with 36 wides and no-balls. In fifth place in this list is Steyn with 31.

It is not a surprise that all the bowlers in the table are the quicker bowlers. They are all attacking wicket-taking bowlers. The spinner who has conceded the most wides and no-balls is Shoaib Malik with 21.

Now a look at the best performing bowlers in this classification.

2. Bowlers who have conceded the least number of wides and no-balls

No Bowler             Ctry Mat  Overs Wides NBs Total
W+Nb
1 Mudassar Bukhari    Hol   7   25.4    0   0     0
2 Haq R.M             Sco   7   25.0    0   0     0
3 Seelaar P.M         Hol   9   35.0    1   0     1
4 Borren P.W          Hol   9   35.0    1   0     1
5 Dhaniram S          Can  11   33.4    1   0     1
6 Patel J.S           Nzl  11   33.1    0   1     1
7 Vaas WPUJC          Slk   6   22.0    0   1     1
8 McCallan W.K        Ire   8   21.5    1   0     1
9 Collingwood P.D     Eng  30   32.0    2   0     2
Quite a few bowlers from the unfancied teams have conceded one noball or wide. Vaas and Jeetan Patel have also bowled a single wide.

Now for some qualitative assessments. First a table based on the number of wides and no-balls conceded per match.

3. Bowlers who have conceded most numbers of wides & no-balls per match

No Bowler             Ctry Mat  Overs  Total WNb/M
W+Nb

1 Roach K.A.J Win 10 35.0 25 2.50 2 Sohail Tanvir Pak 15 51.0 36 2.40 3 Rampaul R Win 8 30.0 17 2.12 4 Tait S.W Aus 15 55.4 31 2.07 5 Shoaib Akhtar Pak 7 23.0 14 2.00 6 Johnson M.G Aus 21 77.1 36 1.71 7 Lee B Aus 16 58.1 27 1.69 8 Langeveldt C.K Saf 9 35.0 15 1.67 9 Sreesanth S Ind 9 34.0 15 1.67 10 Anderson J.M Eng 18 66.2 29 1.61

Kemar roach, who bowls quite wildly often averages 2.5 wides and no-balls per match. That is something. If you add the runs scored off the free hits, if any, he is quite a liability.

Sohail Tanvir also clocks in at 2.4 wides and no-balls per match. However he is a great match-winner, at least in IPL matches. Rampaul follows next.

Ray Price is the leading (maybe the wrong term) spinner. He has conceded 1.43 wides and no-balls per match.

4. Bowlers who have conceded least numbers of wides & no-balls per match

No Bowler             Ctry Mat  Overs  Total WNb/M
W+Nb

1 Mudassar Bukhari Hol 7 25.4 0 0.00 2 Haq R.M Sco 7 25.0 0 0.00 3 Collingwood P.D Eng 30 32.0 2 0.07 4 Patel J.S Nzl 11 33.1 1 0.09 5 Dhaniram S Can 11 33.4 1 0.09 6 Dilshan T.M Slk 31 20.0 3 0.10 7 Yuvraj Singh Ind 21 20.0 2 0.10 8 Styris S.B Nzl 28 46.3 3 0.11 9 Seelaar P.M Hol 9 35.0 1 0.11

Patel, Yuvraj Singh and Styris have quite low wides and noballs per match.

Now for the frequency of no-balls and wides.

5. Bowlers who have been most frequent with no-balls and wides

No Bowler             Ctry Mat  Overs  Total Balls/WNb
W+Nb

1 Roach K.A.J Win 10 35.0 25 8.4 2 Sohail Tanvir Pak 15 51.0 36 8.5 3 Shoaib Akhtar Pak 7 23.0 14 9.9 4 Rampaul R Win 8 30.0 17 10.6 5 Tait S.W Aus 15 55.4 31 10.8 6 Edwards F.H Win 12 36.3 18 12.2 7 Shoaib Malik Pak 30 43.0 21 12.3 8 Johnson M.G Aus 21 77.1 36 12.9 9 Lee B Aus 16 58.1 27 12.9 10 Bresnan T.T Eng 12 37.0 17 13.1

The usual fast bowling culprits lead this list. One wide or no-ball every 10 balls or so.

Ray Price leads the spinners with a wide or no-ball every 16.8 balls, quite frequent for a spinner.

6. Bowlers who have been least frequent with no-balls and wides

No Bowler             Ctry Mat  Overs  Total Balls/WNb
W+Nb

1 Seelaar P.M Hol 9 35.0 1 210.0 2 Borren P.W Hol 9 35.0 1 210.0 3 Dhaniram S Can 11 33.4 1 202.0 4 Patel J.S Nzl 11 33.1 1 199.0 5 Vaas WPUJC Slk 6 22.0 1 132.0 6 McCallan W.K Ire 8 21.5 1 131.0 7 Mascarenhas A.D Eng 14 42.0 2 126.0 8 Abdul Razzaq Pak 17 39.3 2 118.5 9 O'Brien K.J Ire 16 35.3 2 106.5 10 Collingwood P.D Eng 30 32.0 2 96.0

Three of the bowlers from the lesser teams have bowled a no-ball or wide once in 200 balls or so. That shows a level of accuracy not necessarily present in the more fancied bowlers.

Conclusion:

This started as a simple article. However the results are extremely fascinating. So much so the conclusions are quite speculative and I invite the enlightened readers to come in with their comments.

The tables 1,3,5 are the "negative" tables in this analysis in that these show the bowlers who have bowled more wides/no-balls, more wides/no-balls per match and more frequent wide/no-balls. However these tables are dominated by the genuinely good fast bowlers from top teams who have won more matches for their teams than the other bowlers.

The tables 2,4,6 are the "positive" tables in this analysis in that these show the bowlers who have bowled less wides/no-balls, less wides/no-balls per match and less frequent wide/no-balls. However these tables are dominated by the bowlers from lesser teams and some ordinary spinners. These are not necessarily match-winners. The top spinners, Muralitharan, Mendis, Harbhajan, Vettori, Botha, Swann et al are conspicous by their absence.

What does one conclude.

- That the top fast bowlers go for broke at the cost of control.
- That the top spinners do similarly but exercise more control.
- That the lesser bowlers, especially from the weaker teams, handicapped by their own lack of skills and team strength, show greater discipline and exercise lower levels of variety.
- That the wides/no-balls, especially the wides, because of the unknown free-hit component of the no-balls, are not that negative a trait that a bowler can have.

Note: For some perceptive comments on the conclusion, I must thank Sriram (Ananthanarayanan) who has brought in welcome independent editing skills.

The bottom line is that the really attacking bowlers, especially the fast bowlers, necessarily go for pace and variation and this might lead to more wides and no-balls. Maybe such a measure should be looked into in conjunction with strike rates of bowlers. My gut feel is that it is not possible to derive any conclusion from looking only at wides and no-balls.

To view/down-load the complete table, please click/right-click here.

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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