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The IPL's most valuable players

With the league stage of the IPL out of the way, we look at the best batsmen and bowlers in the tournament so far

S Rajesh

May 30, 2008

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Sohail Tanvir: by far the most outstanding bowler of the IPL © AFP


Methodology: With the format putting so much emphasis on the rate of scoring, the rating system incorporates the number of runs scored, the average, and the scoring-rate, with added weightage on the last. The average and the strike-rate have been calculated on the basis of the tournament average for both: through the IPL, the batsmen scored 26.29 runs per dismissal, at the rate of 129.5 runs per 100 balls. Taking that as the benchmark, batsmen were either rewarded or penalised for scoring at a better or worse rate, with the strike-rate factor being squared to give it slightly additional weightage. Shaun Marsh, for example, averaged nearly three times the tournament average, while his scoring-rate was slightly better than par. Those two factors, multiplied by the runs scored, gives the batting points. To ensure players with few innings don't make it to the top of the list on the basis of a couple of big scores, the numbers for batsmen with fewer than six innings has been dampened.

In a tournament with several superstars, the undoubted batting hero has been Marsh, the left-hander from Western Australia who has been in the zone almost every time he has come out to bat. The leading Twenty20 batsman in Australia's 2007-08 domestic season - he scored 290 runs from six innings - he brought his form over to India, adding considerable weight to the Kings XI Punjab's top order. His century in Punjab's last league match, against Rajasthan, further boosted his already stunning stats, as he finished with six 50-plus scores in ten innings, and only once scored less than 39. That century also took away the orange cap from Gautam Gambhir, who had held on to it for much of the tournament.

The emphasis on strike-rate also means Sanath Jayasuriya and Virender Sehwag - two stars who've justified their billing - sneak ahead of Gautam Gambhir. Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi all have three players in the top 15, but so too, more surprisingly, do the Deccan Chargers, with Rohit Sharma, Adam Gilchrist and Venugopal Rao all in the list, which only indicates how lacklustre the rest have been. The other interesting aspect is the number of left-handers in the table - nine out of 15.

Leading batsmen in the IPL
Batsman Matches Runs Average Strike rate Average factor SR factor Batting points
Shaun Marsh 10 593 74.12 139.85 2.82 1.17 1949.78
Sanath Jayasuriya 14 514 42.83 166.34 1.63 1.65 1381.57
Virender Sehwag 13 403 36.63 186.57 1.39 2.08 1165.45
Gautam Gambhir 13 523 43.58 143.68 1.66 1.23 1067.21
Shane Watson 13 392 49.00 149.04 1.86 1.32 967.77
Kumar Sangakkara 9 317 39.62 163.4 1.51 1.59 760.58
Rohit Sharma 13 404 36.72 147.98 1.40 1.31 736.82
Graeme Smith 10 416 52.00 121.99 1.98 0.89 730.15
Yusuf Pathan 14 334 27.83 182.51 1.06 1.99 702.27
Adam Gilchrist 14 436 33.53 137.1 1.28 1.12 623.25
Mahendra Singh Dhoni 14 385 38.50 131.39 1.46 1.03 580.38
Suresh Raina 14 323 32.30 139.82 1.23 1.17 462.61
Yuvraj Singh 14 295 24.58 167.61 0.93 1.68 462.03
Shikhar Dhawan 13 335 41.87 118.37 1.59 0.84 445.76
Venugopal Rao 11 288 36.00 137.14 1.37 1.12 442.27


Methodology: The factors which come into play here are the wickets taken, the average, and the economy-rate. The average runs conceded per wicket taken by the bowlers (excluding run-outs) in the IPL has been 29.29, while they have conceded 8.14 runs per over. Each wicket is therefore multiplied by that average; the average factor is calculated by dividing the tournament bowling average by the player's bowling average, while the economy factor is similarly calculated by taking in the tournament economy-rate, and squaring the result (as was done for batsmen's strike-rates). Also, like for batsmen, the numbers for bowlers who have taken fewer than ten wickets have been dampened by the ratio of wickets taken. (A bowler with five wickets will have his numbers halved.)

One bowler is head and shoulders above the rest in this tournament - Rajasthan's Sohail Tanvir has had a stunning run, taking 21 wickets from just ten games at an incredible average of 10 and an economy-rate of 5.97. The next-highest wicket-taker, Sreesanth, has played four more games but taken two fewer wickets.

The are seven others between the two leading wicket-takers, though, primarily due to Sreesanth's relatively high economy-rate. Delhi's Amit Mishra has been splendid as well, with nine wickets from just five games, and at an excellent economy-rate as well. While the left-hand batsmen have dominated, the bowling has largely been the preserve of the right-handers, with only two lefties - Tanvir and Irfan Pathan - making the top 15.

Best bowlers in the IPL
Bowler Matches Wickets Average Econ rate Ave factor Econ factor Bowling points
Sohail Tanvir 9 21 10.00 5.97 61.51 1.86 3349.33
Amit Mishra 5 9 11.22 6.31 23.49 1.66 1030.67
Farveez Maharoof 9 12 17.91 6.71 19.62 1.47 845.92
Irfan Pathan 13 14 23.28 6.65 17.61 1.50 773.02
Shane Warne 13 17 20.52 7.93 24.27 1.05 748.88
Umar Gul 6 12 15.33 8.17 22.93 0.99 666.63
Piyush Chawla 14 17 21.52 8.31 23.14 0.96 650.28
Glenn McGrath 13 12 26.58 6.38 13.22 1.63 630.48
Sreesanth 14 19 22.89 8.67 24.31 0.88 627.71
Dilhara Fernando 5 10 16.00 8.00 18.31 1.03 555.12
Shaun Pollock 13 11 27.36 6.54 11.77 1.55 534.33
Shane Watson 13 13 26.46 7.29 14.39 1.25 525.52
Dale Steyn 10 10 25.20 6.63 11.62 1.51 513.17
Yo Mahesh 10 14 22.85 8.38 17.95 0.94 495.95
Manpreet Gony 14 14 28.50 7.67 14.39 1.13 474.66

Add up the batting and bowling points, and we get the most successful players of the tournament. Tanvir's position at the top is indisputable, Marsh takes second place, while Shane Watson's all-round performance puts him in third spot.

Highest overall points
Player Batting points Bowling points Total
Sohail Tanvir 3.06 3349.3 3352.39
Shaun Marsh 1949.78 0 1949.78
Shane Watson 967.74 525.52 1493.26
Sanath Jayasuriya 1381.57 39.93 1421.51
Virender Sehwag 1165.56 7.90 1173.55
Gautam Gambhir 1067.21 0 1067.21
Farveez Maharoof 170.69 845.92 1016.62
Irfan Pathan 112.57 773.02 885.59
Albie Morkel 430.59 368.37 798.96
Piyush Chawla 144.55 650.28 794.83

Have the most expensive players given their teams value for the money paid for them? With some of them costing more than US$1 million, obviously the ones who have cost less have given their franchises better value. Marsh and Tanvir have been the best value, while the US$ 125,000 Rajasthan paid for Watson was wisely spent. Among the top ten Chawla is the most expensive, while Warne just misses out on the top ten, and is in 11th place.

The value-for-money players
Player Total points Cost (US$) Points per $ x 100
Shaun Marsh 1949.78 30,000 64.99
Sohail Tanvir 3352.39 100,000 33.52
Shane Watson 1493.26 125,000 11.95
Luke Pomersbach 411.74 50,000 8.23
Umar Gul 682.78 150,000 4.55
Farveez Maharoof 1016.62 225,000 4.52
Piyush Chawla 794.83 400,000 1.99
Ross Taylor 195.36 100,000 1.95
Glenn McGrath 630.48 350,000 1.80
Salman Butt 173.41 100,000 1.73

And among the top names who didn't fire, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Sachin Tendulkar feature prominently. Ponting managed 39 runs from four innings at a scoring-rate of 73.58. Tendulkar's stats were much better, but not enough to justify the price tag of $1,121,250, while Kallis was one of many disappointments for Bangalore - he averaged 18.09 with the bat, at a strike-rate of 108.74. With the ball he was equally dismal, taking four wickets at an average of 77.75 and an economy-rate of 9.05.

The big names who didn't fire
Player Total points Cost (US$) Points per $ x 100
Ricky Ponting 1.56 400,000 0.004
Jacob Oram 17.39 675,000 0.03
Mohammad Asif 83.24 650,000 0.13
Sachin Tendulkar 150.70 1,121,250 0.13
Herschelle Gibbs 83.71 575,000 0.15
Jacques Kallis 164.09 900,000 0.18

The last two tables don't include costs of some Indian domestic players, whose prices weren't available.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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