January 11, 2011

The keepers lead: an unconventional look at players on field

A detailed analysis of the time spent by players on the field through their career

Mark Boucher: most time spent by a wicket-keeper on field © AFP

Abhi had a very unusual request. He wanted me to find a way of determining the number of hours Tendulkar was on field during his international career. This was such an unconventional request that it intrigued me a lot. I set about the methodology, which turned out to be quite a bit tricky. Then, as I am wont to do, I decided to expand the scope of the exercise to all the players. That complicated the exercise further. But the results are fascinating.

First I did the exercise only for Test Cricket. Later I extended the same to ODIs. This article includes both.

I decided to use the balls faced, bowled, kept wicket or fielded as the base for all calculations. This is the most consistent measure and is available completely for most recent matches. I had to do some extrapolating for earlier matches, especially for the balls faced by the batsmen. The bowler balls and the fielder balls are, however, always available.

I decided to split the information into broadly two categories. One is the Active Balls, during which time the player has to be 100% aware and involved all the time and the other is the Passive Balls, during which the player is not at the centre of action. The bowler, batsman, batsman at the non-striker end and the wicket-keeper are always at the centre of action.

Active Balls refer to the following types of activities and can be added with reasonable amount of conviction..

- Batsman facing the bowling directly,
- Batsman at the non-striker end,
- Bowler delivering the ball and
- Wicket-keeper engaged in keeping.

Passive Balls refer to the following type of activities.

- Player fielding.

A few footnotes.

1. It is accepted that the two Batsman-related activities are not necessarily equivalent. In one, the batsman faces the ball, plays the same and then runs, if required. In the other, the player only runs, if required. However these are quite integrated activities and I did not want to affix an ad-hoc % of involvement level. Instead consider this as two sides of one activity, one requiring 120% effort and the other, 80% effort. Since the two numbers are almost the same for most players, this works out very well.

2. The bowler effort is split further into the fast bowler effort, requiring more effort and the spinner deliveries, requiring lesser effort. This takes care of the additional run-up required.

3. The wicket-keeper effort is valued as equivalent to the batsman-at-crease effort in view of the intense effort that is required before, during and after the delivery.

4. The Fielder effort will be taken in terms of time the same as wicket-keeper effort but will be given in a separate table since this represents much less taxing and lighter work-load. No way can we split this as close to the stumps or outfield because of the non-availability of data. Anyhow the close fielders might have to concentrate more but the outfielders would be running more. So this would about cancel out. Let us also ignore the few minutes players take off to get to the pavilion to have one or more breaks. There is no data on that. In all these cases I have avoided any ad-hoc weights.

So it is clear that there is present a certain amount of guesswork and approximation. However the idea is not to strive for unnecessary accuracy but move forward on the uncharted seas.

I will convert each delivery into time by using 42.5 seconds per delivery. This works out well across the years. Maybe they bowled more overs during the early years. But this works to nearly six and half playing hours per day which is the norm. I am not going to sit here and worry about the West Indian pace bowlers, or for that matter, the recent Indian teams, bowling at 12 overs per hour. They stay longer on the field, by choice.

There will be a slight tweaking for bowlers. The pace bowlers' deliveries would be clocked at 45 seconds and the spinners at 40 seconds. This will even out to the magical 42.5 seconds over the millions of deliveries bowled. It is possible that the fast bowlers expend more effort during their bowling efforts than the spinners. However I have decided that the additional seconds assigned will compensate for this partly. I do not want to assign any arbitrary effort related weight. The keepers remain at 42.5 seconds which evens out to their keeping for both types of bowlers.

I will do three tables. The first will be one on the batting and bowling times of players, other than wicket-keepers (who have kept wicket for a minimum of 10000 balls). The second will be on the fielding hours spent by these players. The third will be a special one for wicket-keepers on their keeping and batting duties. All the tables will cover players who have played in 25 or more Test matches or 40 ODI matches. These are long lists with around 500 players. Hence only the top-20 will be shown in the article.

Tests: Non-keeper Player - Batting/Bowling hours table

Player (Bat/Bow) Team Mats  <--Total--> <-Bat:Act-> <-Bat:Pas-> <-Bowling->
Hours Hrs/M Balls Hours Balls Hours Balls Hours

Kallis J.H Saf 145 821.5- 5.67 26416-311.9 25911-305.9 18337-203.7 Tendulkar S.R Ind 177 676.6- 3.82 27123-320.2 25852-305.2 4096- 51.2 Dravid R Ind 150 676.4- 4.51 28492-336.4 28678-338.6 120- 1.5 Border A.R Aus 156 655.9- 4.20 25460-300.6 25855-305.2 4009- 50.1 Kumble A Ind 132 655.1- 4.96 6359- 75.1 5876- 69.4 40856-510.7 Sobers G.St.A Win 93 638.6- 6.87 16884-199.3 16884-199.3 21599-240.0 Warne S.K Aus 145 633.2- 4.37 5411- 63.9 5127- 60.5 40704-508.8 Waugh S.R Aus 168 624.6- 3.72 22495-265.6 23065-272.3 7805- 86.7 Muralitharan M Slk 133 595.9- 4.48 1939- 22.9 1908- 22.5 44040-550.5 Kapil Dev N Ind 131 539.6- 4.12 9798-115.7 9798-115.7 27740-308.2 Gavaskar S.M Ind 125 514.7- 4.12 21641-255.5 21597-255.0 380- 4.2 Chanderpaul S Win 129 513.9- 3.98 20806-245.6 20942-247.2 1680- 21.0 Vettori D.L Nzl 103 497.3- 4.83 7036- 83.1 7337- 86.6 26206-327.6 Ponting R.T Aus 152 494.8- 3.26 20828-245.9 20580-243.0 539- 6.0 Boycott G Eng 108 488.8- 4.53 20258-239.2 20258-239.2 944- 10.5 Botham I.T Eng 102 486.0- 4.76 10341-122.1 10294-121.5 21815-242.4 Atherton M.A Eng 115 472.6- 4.11 19793-233.7 19809-233.9 408- 5.1 Gooch G.A Eng 118 468.8- 3.97 18588-219.4 18625-219.9 2655- 29.5 Hammond W.R Eng 85 467.8- 5.50 16061-189.6 16061-189.6 7969- 88.5 Lara B.C Win 131 464.2- 3.54 20175-238.2 19086-225.3 60- 0.8

The top-3 players based on the hours/match value are given below.

T.W Goddard  (Saf) : 6.99
G.S.A Sobers (Win) : 6.87
V.M,Mankad (Ind)   : 6.84

Tests: Wicket keepers - Keeping/Batting hours table

Player (Keeper)  Team Mats  <--Total-->  <-Keeping->  <-Bat:Act-> <-Bat:Pas->
Hours Hrs/M  Balls Hours  Balls Hours Balls Hours

Boucher M.V Saf 139 1675.2-12.05 121311-1432.1 10596-125.1 9995-118.0 Healy I.A Aus 119 1532.6-12.88 112020-1322.5 8798-103.9 9004-106.3 Knott A.P.E Eng 95 1388.4-14.61 97030-1145.5 10310-121.7 10264-121.2 Marsh R.W Aus 96 1352.6-14.09 99284-1172.1 7646- 90.3 7646- 90.3 Stewart A.J Eng 133 1266.1- 9.52 72712- 858.4 17253-203.7 17279-204.0 Evans T.G Eng 91 1215.4-13.36 90489-1068.3 6232- 73.6 6232- 73.6 Gilchrist A.C Aus 96 1210.0-12.60 88888-1049.4 6796- 80.2 6810- 80.4 Kirmani S.M.H Ind 88 1143.7-13.00 85372-1007.9 5754- 67.9 5754- 67.9 Wasim Bari Pak 81 992.2-12.25 78217- 923.4 2914- 34.4 2914- 34.4 Dujon P.J.L Win 81 966.7-11.93 69050- 815.2 6416- 75.7 6416- 75.7 Parore A.C Nzl 78 936.5-12.01 65280- 770.7 7101- 83.8 6949- 82.0 Jacobs R.D Win 65 892.7-13.73 64901- 766.2 5392- 63.7 5322- 62.8 Flower A Zim 63 877.0-13.92 52923- 624.8 10645-125.7 10715-126.5 Sangakkara K.C Slk 94 875.1- 9.31 44929- 530.4 14732-173.9 14464-170.8 Murray D.L Win 62 864.1-13.94 65426- 772.4 3885- 45.9 3885- 45.9 Waite J.H.B Saf 50 847.2-16.94 58950- 695.9 6405- 75.6 6405- 75.6 Oldfield W.A.S Aus 54 802.3-14.86 61715- 728.6 3122- 36.9 3122- 36.9 Moin Khan Pak 69 801.5-11.62 57193- 675.2 5440- 64.2 5258- 62.1 Smith I.D.S Nzl 63 795.7-12.63 59469- 702.1 3965- 46.8 3965- 46.8 Engineer F.M Ind 46 765.8-16.65 52768- 623.0 6051- 71.4 6051- 71.4

The top-3 players based on the hours/match value are given below.

J.H,B,Waite (Saf)    : 16.94
F.M.Engineer (Ind)   : 16.65
F.C.M.Alexander (Win): 15.57

Tests: Non-keeper Player Fielding hours table

Player (Bat/Bow)    Team Mats  <-Fld Tot--> Fielding
Hours Hrs/Mat  Balls

Tendulkar S.R Ind 177 1997.5-11.29 169199 Waugh S.R Aus 168 1758.4-10.47 148945 Dravid R Ind 150 1746.1-11.64 147902 Border A.R Aus 156 1735.8-11.13 147035 Ponting R.T Aus 152 1684.7-11.08 142706 Lara B.C Win 131 1495.7-11.42 126698 Gavaskar S.M Ind 125 1456.6-11.65 123382 Chanderpaul S Win 129 1408.2-10.92 119287 Laxman V.V.S Ind 120 1381.2-11.51 116997 Gower D.I Eng 117 1339.5-11.45 113463 Cowdrey M.C Eng 114 1322.4-11.60 112019 Boycott G Eng 108 1320.1-12.22 111824 Kallis J.H Saf 145 1320.1- 9.10 111818 Vengsarkar D.B Ind 116 1309.1-11.28 110885 Waugh M.E Aus 128 1301.7-10.17 110259 Lloyd C.H Win 110 1294.1-11.76 109614 Gooch G.A Eng 118 1293.7-10.96 109584 Ganguly S.C Ind 113 1286.4-11.38 108962 Javed Miandad Pak 124 1273.0-10.27 107833 Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 120 1270.8-10.59 107645

The top-3 players based on the hours/match value are given below.

E.Weekes (Win)       : 15.12
J.B.Stollymeyer (Win): 14.59
A.P.Sheahan (Aus)    : 14.43

ODIs: Non-keeper Player - Batting/Bowling hours table

Player (Bat/Bow) Team Mats  <--Total--> <-Bat:Act-> <-Bat:Pas-> <-Bowling->
Hours Hrs/M Balls Hours Balls Hours Balls Hours

Tendulkar S.R Ind 442 590.2- 1.34 20401-240.8 21095-249.0 8026-100.3 Jayasuriya S.T Slk 443 535.9- 1.21 14719-173.8 14968-176.7 14832-185.4 Kallis J.H Saf 307 471.0- 1.53 15117-178.5 15115-178.4 10270-114.1 Ganguly S.C Ind 311 413.9- 1.33 15416-182.0 15348-181.2 4561- 50.7 Ponting R.T Aus 352 384.6- 1.09 16226-191.6 16214-191.4 150- 1.7 Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 378 379.8- 1.00 15812-186.7 16299-192.4 58- 0.7 de Silva P.A Slk 308 335.9- 1.09 11443-135.1 11511-135.9 5196- 64.9 Waugh S.R Aus 325 334.6- 1.03 9971-117.7 10041-118.5 8847- 98.3 Haynes D.L Win 238 323.6- 1.36 13707-161.8 13679-161.5 30- 0.3 Waugh M.E Aus 244 307.8- 1.26 11053-130.5 11116-131.2 3687- 46.1 Atapattu M.S Slk 268 306.7- 1.14 12594-148.7 13335-157.4 51- 0.6 Lara B.C Win 298 304.5- 1.02 13086-154.5 12651-149.4 49- 0.6 Mohammad Yousuf Pak 288 304.1- 1.06 12942-152.8 12814-151.3 2- 0.0 Azharuddin M Ind 334 304.1- 0.91 12669-149.6 12568-148.4 552- 6.1 Gayle C.H Win 219 301.7- 1.38 9412-111.1 8925-105.4 6814- 85.2 Chanderpaul S Win 260 301.4- 1.16 12160-143.6 12590-148.6 740- 9.2 Shahid Afridi Pak 306 299.5- 0.98 5676- 67.0 5811- 68.6 13110-163.9 Wasim Akram Pak 356 298.9- 0.84 4208- 49.7 3992- 47.1 18186-202.1 Flower G.W Zim 221 298.1- 1.35 9723-114.8 9745-115.0 5461- 68.3 Hooper C.L Win 227 294.6- 1.30 7517- 88.7 7303- 86.2 9573-119.7

The top-3 players based on the hours/match value are given below.

G.R.Marsh (Aus)  : 1.55
J.H.Kallis (Saf) : 1.53
N.C.Johnson (Zim): 1.52

ODIs: Wicket keepers - Keeping/Batting hours table

Player (Keeper)  Team Mats  <--Total-->  <-Keeping->  <-Bat:Act-> <-Bat:Pas->
Hours Hrs/M  Balls Hours  Balls Hours Balls Hours

Gilchrist A.C Aus 287 1121.5- 3.91 75983- 897.0 9922-117.1 9092-107.3 Boucher M.V Saf 292 1041.5- 3.57 77467- 914.5 5505- 65.0 5253- 62.0 Sangakkara K.C Slk 278 974.1- 3.50 59746- 705.3 11404-134.6 11362-134.1 Flower A Zim 213 805.2- 3.78 49843- 588.4 9097-107.4 9268-109.4 Moin Khan Pak 219 765.4- 3.50 56703- 669.4 4017- 47.4 4118- 48.6 Kaluwitharana R.S Slk 189 720.6- 3.81 51344- 606.1 4776- 56.4 4917- 58.0 Dhoni M.S Ind 172 681.2- 3.96 44727- 528.0 6489- 76.6 6486- 76.6 Dujon P.J.L Win 169 617.6- 3.65 46407- 547.9 2955- 34.9 2955- 34.9 Stewart A.J Eng 170 612.6- 3.60 38299- 452.1 6827- 80.6 6764- 79.9 Healy I.A Aus 168 601.9- 3.58 46818- 552.7 2104- 24.8 2059- 24.3 McCullum B.B Nzl 178 587.7- 3.30 41361- 488.3 4189- 49.5 4234- 50.0 Dravid R Ind 339 585.3- 1.73 18884- 222.9 15124-178.5 15567-183.8 Parore A.C Nzl 179 574.7- 3.21 38949- 459.8 4874- 57.5 4860- 57.4 Rashid Latif Pak 166 564.4- 3.40 43429- 512.7 2237- 26.4 2146- 25.3 Jacobs R.D Win 146 513.0- 3.51 37901- 447.4 2662- 31.4 2895- 34.2 Mongia N.R Ind 140 491.8- 3.51 37766- 445.8 1843- 21.8 2053- 24.2 Taibu T Zim 130 477.1- 3.67 32030- 378.1 4249- 50.2 4131- 48.8 Kamran Akmal Pak 123 462.8- 3.76 33228- 392.3 3011- 35.5 2965- 35.0 Khaled Mashud Bng 126 453.3- 3.60 31732- 374.6 3318- 39.2 3345- 39.5 Richardson D.J Saf 122 426.3- 3.49 33508- 395.6 1304- 15.4 1302- 15.4

The top-3 players based on the hours/match value are given below.

M.S.Dhoni (Ind)     : 3.96
A.C.Gilchrist (Aus) : 3.91
A.Bagai (Can)       : 3.85

ODIs: Non-keeper Player Fielding hours table

Player (Bat/Bow)    Team Mats  <-Fld Tot--> Fielding
Hours Hrs/Mat  Balls

Tendulkar S.R Ind 442 1288.8- 2.92 109168 Jayasuriya S.T Slk 443 1219.1- 2.75 103266 Inzamam-ul-Haq Pak 378 1184.3- 3.13 100318 Ponting R.T Aus 352 1105.8- 3.14 93667 Azharuddin M Ind 334 1046.3- 3.13 88632 Jayawardene D.P.M.D Slk 328 1013.5- 3.09 85847 Waugh S.R Aus 325 959.4- 2.95 81267 Lara B.C Win 298 931.7- 3.13 78924 Ganguly S.C Ind 311 919.3- 2.96 77874 Mohammad Yousuf Pak 288 907.3- 3.15 76850 de Silva P.A Slk 308 907.1- 2.95 76834 Wasim Akram Pak 356 887.9- 2.49 75212 Fleming S.P Nzl 280 873.2- 3.12 73961 Atapattu M.S Slk 268 859.8- 3.21 72830 Muralitharan M Slk 338 857.9- 2.54 72670 Kallis J.H Saf 307 846.5- 2.76 71703 Border A.R Aus 273 842.1- 3.08 71328 Vaas WPUJC Slk 324 838.7- 2.59 71042 Saleem Malik Pak 283 832.4- 2.94 70511 Shahid Afridi Pak 306 814.2- 2.66 68967

The top-4 players based on the hours/match value are given below.

D.I.Gower (Eng)    : 3.41
M.A.Atherton (Eng) : 3.41
A.J.Lamb (Eng)     : 3.39
Fairbrother (Eng)  : 3.39

A final compilation. I have added the Active time spent by players across the two formats and have given below the top 5 players in two classifications. One is the table for non-keepers, based on their batting and bowling times. The other is the table on Wicket-keepers based on their keeping and batting times. Let me add that I might have added different varieties of the fruit, but these are all apples.

Batting/Bowling

J.H.Kallis (Saf) : 1292.5 hours S.R.Tendulkar (Ind) : 1266.8 hours R.Dravid (Ind) : 1261.7 hours (Includes wicket-keeping time in about 65 ODI matches) S.R.Waugh (Aus) : 959.2 hours S.T.Jayasuriya (Slk) : 902.2 hours.

This list would not surprise anyone. Kallis is the supreme all-rounder, having scored 22949 runs and captured 529 wickets. Tendulkar, who, until couple of years back, could be called an all-rounder in ODIs, has scored 32290 runs and captured 199 wickets. Dravid (22828 runs and 5 wickets) is here only because of the 18800+ balls he kept wicket for. Steve Waugh (18496 runs and 287 wickets) and Jayasuriya (20401 runs and 420 wickets) are close to being called all-rounders, at least in ODIs.

WicketKeeping/Batting

M.Boucher (Saf) : 2716.7 hours A.C.Gilchrist (Aus) : 2331.5 hours I.Healy (Aus) : 2133.5 hours A.C.Stewart (Eng) : 1878.7 hours K.C.Sangakkara (Slk) : 1849.6 hours.

This list has three of the greatest keeper-batsmen of all times at the top. Boucher, still counting, with his tally of 437 matches is way ahead of Gilchrist who had played 383 matches. Stewart and Sangakkara have relinquished their keeping duties often but have kept wicket for tens of thousands of balls. This is a recognition of the most demanding task on the field. The keepers are unheralded if they are not the high profile ones like Dhoni and Gilchrist.

And the last table. I have added the Passive times from the Test and ODI tables and given the top-5 here. These timings might vary, fielders fielding in the slips, point, mid-on or long-off might have varying levels of activity. At least they would be different varieties of bananas to justify the addition. First slip might not be Passive, but nothing can be done about it. The time spent off filed is also ignored. No data is available. Kallis might have spent time off the field but so would the other players. The following table represents the total fielding time spent on field. I am not going to add the Active and Passive times. The readers can do that after applying a factor to the passive times.

Fielding times for non-keepers

S.R.Tendulkar: 3286.3 hours R.T.Ponting: 2790.5 hours S.R.Waugh: 2717.8 hours A.R.Border: 2577.9 hours Inzamam-ul-haq: 2455.1 hours

To view/down-load the complete Player on-field times tables of all players who have played over 25 Tests/40 ODIs, please click on links given below.

Tests: Non-keeper player - Batting/Bowling times table, please click/right-click here.
Tests: Wicket-keeper - Keeping/Batting times table, please click/right-click here.
Tests: Non-keeper player - Fielding times table, please click/right-click here.

ODIs: Non-keeper player - Batting/Bowling times table, please click/right-click here.
ODIs: Wicket-keeper - Keeping/Batting times table, please click/right-click here.
ODIs: Non-keeper player - Fielding times 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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