Champions Trophy 2013 June 24, 2013

Spinners make impact in helpful conditions

Shiva Jayaraman
A statistical analysis on how the spinners fared in this Champions Trophy compared to other editions

The role spinners played in the final of the Champions Trophy between India and England aptly summed up their performance, in general, in the tournament. On a number of occasions in the tournament, the spinners stemmed the flow of runs and suffocated the batsmen into making mistakes. No doubt, they were aided by pitch conditions that were unlike the norm at this time of the year in England. But do the numbers validate the general impression of 'spin-friendly' conditions that prevailed in this Champions Trophy?

Spinners - overall

The stats seem to validate the premise - the average and the strike rate of spin bowlers in this Champions Trophy were the best in all the editions of the tournament - and that is an interesting evidence considering that three of the seven editions have been played in the subcontinent.

But, as the table below indicates, England was not such a bad venue for spinners the last time the tournament was played here in 2004, either. That year ranks third in terms of the bowling average and strike rate for spinners. However, spinners bowled more overs in this Champions Trophy - an indication of how spin-friendly the conditions were. Spinners bowled an average of 27 overs per match in this Champions Trophy as opposed to 19 overs in the 2004-edition. Considering the average length of the matches this year was much shorter due to inclement weather, this was a significant increase in teams' dependence on spin. In percentage terms, only the inaugural edition in Bangladesh (47% overs from spinners) and the 2002-edition played in Sri Lanka (41%), saw more overs from spinners than this edition (35%).

Spin in the Champions Trophy, season-wise
Season Venue Wkts Avg Econ SR Avg spin-overs/mat Avg overs/mat %age spin
2013 England 62 29.93 4.57 39.2 27 78 35
2006 India 75 30.10 3.93 45.8 27 84 32
2004 England 41 32.41 4.54 42.8 19 81 24
2002 Sri Lanka 74 32.89 4.48 44.0 34 83 41
2009 South Africa 48 34.22 4.73 43.3 23 86 27
1998 Bangladesh 41 40.36 4.73 51.1 44 93 47
2000 Kenya 27 44.44 4.41 60.2 27 93 29

Subcontinent spinners

Spinners from the subcontinent took 35 wickets in the tournament at a strike rate of 32.4, which is the best, by far, among all the editions of the tournament. This is more than double the number of wickets they took the last time the tournament was played in England. Their bowling average of 23.14 was also the best among all the seasons. Interestingly, the only two five-wicket hauls by spinners in the Champions Trophy have both come in England.

Subcontinent spinners in the Champions Trophy, season-wise
Season Venue Matches Overs Mdns Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR
2013 England 10 189.1 11 35 5/36 23.14 4.28 32.4
2002 Sri Lanka 11 290 15 43 4/15 27.65 4.10 40.4
2006 India 13 296.2 12 38 4/23 28.97 3.71 46.7
2004 England 8 117.4 7 17 5/11 29.17 4.21 41.5
2009 South Africa 9 186.2 4 27 3/30 32.18 4.66 41.4
1998 Bangladesh 5 152 3 20 4/38 35.85 4.71 45.6
2000 Kenya 8 197 14 18 2/22 44.50 4.06 65.6

Non-subcontinent spinners v subcontinent batsmen

A stronger indication of the 'spin-friendly' conditions was the number of overs that were bowled by non-subcontinental teams to subcontinent batsmen, generally considered good players of spin. They bowled 112.1 overs to the subcontinent batsmen in eight games, the most they have bowled in any edition, and as many as 37 of these overs were bowled by part-time bowlers. Spinners from outside the subcontinent took 14 wickets against the subcontinent teams, equaling the highest for a Champions Trophy edition. Their economy of 4.45 was also the best in any Champions Trophy.

Non-subcontinent spinners v subcontinent-batsmen, season-wise
Season Venue Matches Overs Mdns Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR
2013 England 8 112.1 3 14 3/34 35.71 4.45 48.0
2006 India 11 108.2 1 14 2/5 35.50 4.58 46.4
2004 England 7 31.2 0 8 3/23 18.12 4.62 23.4
2002 Sri Lanka 8 95.5 6 7 2/10 64.28 4.69 82.1
2009 South Africa 8 54.1 3 6 3/43 43.50 4.81 54.1
1998 Bangladesh 5 82.4 1 12 4/31 35.50 5.15 41.3
2000 Kenya 6 34.0 0 1 1/18 206 6.05 204

Pace v Spin in Batting Powerplay

Spinners seemed to have fared better, in terms of their economy, than pace bowlers in the batting Powerplay in this Champions Trophy, but they were bowled much less in these overs. In 30 overs of batting Powerplay, spinners conceded runs at an economy of 5.13 as opposed to 6.66 by pace bowlers. However, pace bowlers took 23 wickets at a strike rate of 20.3, as opposed to the spinners, who took eight wickets at a marginally worse strike rate of 22.5.

Spin v Pace in Batting Powerplay
  Runs conceded Overs Eco Wkt Avg SR
Spin 154 30 5.13 8 19.25 22.5
Pace 520 78 6.66 23 22.60 20.3

Best spin-bowling unit and New Zealand's feat

With 20 wickets from five games at 19.5 runs apiece, India's spinners were clearly the best in the tournament. The surprise of the tournament though was New Zealand bowling 57 overs of spin, the second highest by any team in the tournament. Of these, 30 overs were bowled in their match against Australia - a record for the most overs bowled by spinners in a match for New Zealand. Proof enough that the conditions in England, as evident in the Champions Trophy, aided spinners like never before.

Shiva Jayaraman is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 26, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    All statistics point here that Bangladesh would have done well under these conditions.

  • Mohan on June 26, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    No doubt the wicket had its effect. However we should not discount the fact that the current lot of batsmen worldwide are not as good players of spin as one could see a decade back. This is evidenced by the fact that most of the teams have fared poorly in the sub continent when quaality spinners were used.

  • sabarinath on June 25, 2013, 23:38 GMT

    The title says "Spinners make impact in helpfull conditions". Why there is so much thesis around it. Yes spinners make impact in helpfull conditions as much seamers do in conditions helpfull to them and batters do on flat wickets. I dont really understand the fuss. Sorry!

  • Sriram on June 25, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    The conditions did help surprisingly, but spinners performed because almost all the team's batting was very circumspect early and thus giving early wickets although not much to the seamers and the spinners always bowled to a new batsmen in almost all instances. Spinners who were not afriad to pitch it up and fluight the ball extracted the bounce these pitches offer and also some turn and did well.

  • manu on June 25, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Every1 expects spinners to perform irrespective of conditions but when it comes to fast bowlers people ll give reasons like flat pitch, no swing,no pace etc etc...but when good spinner like ajmal can take wickets everywhere then in d same way a good fast bowler ll always take wickets irrespective of conditions by using yorkers,slow balls n bouncers effectively so i rate subcontinent bowlers like akram,wasim,vaas,srinath,akhthar higher as they have performed exceedingly well in all conditions unlike other western bowlers like anderson etc...

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