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ESPNcricinfo's stats editor S Rajesh looks at the stories behind the stats

The overseas factor in the IPL

A look at country-wise stats in a franchise-based tournament, and the IPL teams which have most relied on foreign players

S Rajesh

May 11, 2012

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Cameron White scored another half-century against Pune, Deccan Chargers v Pune Warriors, IPL, Cuttack, May 1, 2012
Cameron White has been a stunning success in IPL 2012 so far, despite being in a team which hasn't won much at all © AFP

One of the key aspects of the IPL is the concept of putting together top-class international players from different countries with domestic cricketers, some of whom have hardly played much first-class cricket. For the foreign players, the challenge is to live up to their top billing, and justify the amounts invested in them, as also to get used to conditions that some of them may not be familiar with. Players from some countries have been a bigger success than others, and have greatly impacted the fortunes of their sides. Here's a look at the country-wise batting and bowling numbers in the IPL, and the amount that each franchise has relied on its overseas stars.

It's obvious that overseas players are expected to contribute significantly, since many of them are among the best in the business. Not surprisingly, the overseas stars have put in plenty of game-changing performances: in ESPNcricinfo's analysis of best displays (updated till May 6), 31 of the top 50 batting performances, and 27 of the top 50 bowling ones, are by overseas players. The top run-getter is a foreign player (though there are plenty of Indian names among the top few as well), while the three best bowlers in the tournament are all overseas ones - Lasith Malinga, Morne Morkel and Sunil Narine.

Among the various foreign players, the Australians and the South Africans are the ones who've had the most impact on the IPL so far, with both bat and ball. Australia didn't have a full presence in the early part of the IPL since some of their players were away on tour to the West Indies, but despite that they've scored the highest number of runs among foreign players, and taken the second-highest number of wickets. Several of them have made strong cases to be included in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka later this year.

The most consistent from Australia in this IPL has been Cameron White. He hasn't always enjoyed the IPL, but this season he has been the one bright spot in a sea of misery for Deccan Chargers, with 410 runs - the sixth highest - at 45.55 and a strike rate of almost 152. Steven Smith, Shaun Marsh, David Hussey and Brad Hodge have done pretty well too, and with Shane Watson and David Warner showing terrific form, the Australian contribution could be even more in the last couple of weeks of the tournament.

The two other national sides that have contributed 1000-plus runs are South Africa and West Indies, thanks largely to the outstanding form of Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle. New Zealand, on the other hand, have been largely disappointing, with both Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum struggling for runs.

All stats updated till May 9

Batsmen from each country in the IPL
Batsmen from Batsmen* Innings Runs Average Strike rate % of runs
India 93 463 8033 22.50 119.81 53.95
Australia 23 96 2200 28.95 129.18 14.77
South Africa 15 82 1401 24.58 128.30 9.41
West Indies 7 44 1083 32.82 139.20 7.27
New Zealand 6 42 769 22.62 106.51 5.16
Sri Lanka 8 37 655 21.83 113.91 4.40
England 3 22 603 37.69 142.55 4.05
Pakistan# 1 6 101 20.20 144.28 0.68
Bangladesh 1 3 24 8.00 109.09 0.16
Netherlands 1 3 21 10.50 100.00 0.14
Total 158 798 14890 24.29 122.94 100.00
* Those who've batted at least once in the tournament
# 09:50 GMT, May 11: The Pakistan entry had been missed in the original version and was added later

Among the bowlers, though, South Africa have been the biggest overseas contributor, with 71 wickets, of which 41 have been taken by Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis. Sri Lanka's numbers are outstanding because of Lasith Malinga and Muttiah Muralitharan, while Sunil Narine's mystery spin has propped up the numbers for West Indies.

The Indians have contributed 52% of the total wickets taken by bowlers in the tournament, which is slightly lower than their percentage contribution of runs.

All stats updated till May 9

Bowlers from each country in the IPL
Bowlers from Bowlers* Wickets Average Econ rate % of wkts
India 69 285 33.36 7.85 52.20
South Africa 13 71 24.76 7.40 13.00
Australia 18 62 22.26 7.49 11.36
West Indies 7 53 21.49 7.32 9.71
Sri Lanka 6 39 17.26 6.73 7.14
New Zealand 4 14 30.36 7.33 2.56
Pakistan 1 8 25.62 7.50 1.47
England 3 7 26.00 7.58 1.28
Bangladesh 1 6 10.67 5.81 1.10
Netherlands 1 1 24.00 8.00 0.18
Total 123 546 28.12 7.63 100.00
* Those who've bowled at least once in the tournament

Gayle and de Villiers have been outstanding with the bat for Royal Challengers, while Tillakaratne Dilshan has played a fine supporting role, but the Indian batsmen have contributed little to the team, apart from Virat Kohli's innings against Mumbai Indians. That's clear from the table below too, which shows the runs scored by Indian and overseas players for each team. The Indian players have scored only 637 runs for Royal Challengers at an average of 16.76 and a striker rate of 111, while the foreign players have scored more than 1000 runs, averaging almost 41 at a strike rate of 145. In fact, they're the only team for which the overseas contribution has topped 1000 runs.

On the other hand, for Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, the home batsmen have scored more runs at a better rate than the overseas ones. Mumbai Indians haven't had one outstanding batsman, but most of their runs have come from Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Sachin Tendulkar, while Gautam Gambhir has been by far the key man for Knight Riders.

Overseas contributions with the bat for each team
Team Ind bat-runs Average Strike rate Overseas-runs Average Strike rate
Royal Challengers Bangalore 637 16.76 111.36 1062 40.85 145.08
Deccan Chargers 698 17.45 116.53 897 30.93 128.33
Kings XI Punjab 801 19.54 115.92 916 26.17 124.62
Chennai Super Kings 914 20.31 116.43 722 30.08 133.46
Mumbai Indians 1073 22.35 117.65 534 16.18 107.44
Pune Warriors 963 24.07 114.23 873 22.97 122.10
Kolkata Knight Riders 973 25.61 123.95 480 18.46 107.14
Delhi Daredevils 834 28.76 145.55 668 29.04 118.02
Rajasthan Royals 1140 30.00 120.63 705 32.04 149.05

The overall bowling averages are much better for the overseas bowlers - they average 22.41 per wicket, compared to 33.36 for the Indian bowlers - and for four teams they have taken more wickets than the Indian bowlers. The difference is most stark in the case of Knight Riders - the overseas bowlers, led by Sunil Narine, have taken 42 wickets at 19.28, compared to 19 wickets by the Indian bowlers. In the case of Royal Challengers, their Indian bowlers have taken 32 wickets, but at a poor average of 40.41 and an economy rate of almost nine; the overseas bowlers have conceded only 26.85 runs per wicket, and have a much better economy rate too. Similarly, Malinga and Morne Morkel have significantly improved the averages for Mumbai Indians and Daredevils.

Overseas and home contributions with the ball for each team*
Team Ind bowl-wkts Average Econ rate Overseas-wkts Average Econ rate
Kolkata Knight Riders 19 33.79 7.20 42 19.28 6.64
Chennai Super Kings 22 34.59 7.44 31 27.00 8.05
Mumbai Indians 32 30.84 7.23 40 17.52 7.46
Royal Challengers Bangalore 32 40.41 8.99 20 26.85 7.06
Delhi Daredevils 33 32.76 7.35 26 17.35 7.16
Rajasthan Royals 34 31.03 8.27 35 21.34 6.98
Deccan Chargers 35 31.40 8.25 20 32.35 7.92
Pune Warriors 38 33.29 7.86 21 30.14 7.11
Kings XI Punjab 40 33.70 7.81 26 17.81 7.43
* 06:00 GMT, May 12: Corrections were made to the table showing the distribution of wickets by Indian and overseas bowlers for the IPL teams

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Asghar_Shahzad on (May 13, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

This is strange analysis having no real meaning in the larger extent of the game....you twist spaghetti but it will look like spaghetti again. The classical cricket fans understand that IPL is not cricket. Please write IPL-T20 only & not cricket with this kind of statistical data. Beside, this could be interesting only for IPL fans and not for real cricket fans. Just a small feedback for Mr. Rajesh that please include a statistical analysis covering each IPL Franchise a player played for..... & then imagine the results.....just headache..... no real analytical outcome......

Posted by lee_man on (May 12, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

Interesting analysis. however, the number of players per country was not taken into account in the tables. The averages per player per country would give a different picture of the impact of each country. The way it is determined now seems to give SA and the OZ the advantage since they have the larger number of participating players.

Posted by Bruisers on (May 12, 2012, 21:33 GMT)

"I think it would be better if you could split the data of the Indian players into two categories : Players who have won Team India caps, thereby earning a spot in the auction and a higher salary, AND the other domestic players." I totally agree with people who have the same idea. This data is nonsense as you have mixed world class Indian players with players who are yet to make a mark in domestic cricket. Maybe next time you will come up with something much more sensible Mr. Rajesh.

Posted by swingstowin on (May 12, 2012, 19:06 GMT)

I was watching one of the games of IPL..and the stadium was full to the capacity!! I know its big in India,but this big i didnt know...it goes unnoticed here in Pakistan( because of obvious reasons!) must say the match was a cracker!! The future looks great for IPL...All the best!!!

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (May 12, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

If Azhar Mahmood is taken as a pakistani player while being a British national then KP should be included among the South Africans.

Posted by   on (May 12, 2012, 16:47 GMT)

I totally agree with sweetspot. Well put !!!! Some people don't use their brains while commenting, comparing uncapped Indian players with some of the best foreign players. :P

Posted by   on (May 12, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

This statistics seems to be illogical ! Most of the international players from abroad are well experienced and they had shown their skills internationally !!! Here the comparison is made with Indian players which includes a large number of domestic players. Mr. SR RAJESH , please think about something which is sensible !!!

Posted by Farce-Follower on (May 12, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

RCB has the worst Indian contingent. The batsmen in that team have completely outsourced it to overseas batsmen, while continuing to pocket their Millions. Lucky Kohli, Tiwary and gang. Getting money from Mr. Mallya, despite doing no work is indeed an achievement.

Posted by soorajiyer on (May 12, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

Its hilarious to read some comments here :)

@Pakspin - mate, if IPL is a joke, may I know why you are bothered and commenting on it? Any T20 league will have supporters and haters.. How is Gambhir getting $2M - because a franchise is ready to pay for him. Simple!!!

Posted by cool2cool on (May 12, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

@Kathy McKenzie: DC is at bottom because as a team they have not performed at crucial situations. And as far as fielding is concerned even the likes of Sanga, White and Steyn have dropped catches and I don't think they are Indians, are they?

Posted by   on (May 12, 2012, 8:56 GMT)

i don't understand why people complain about money being paid to Indian players. Its a domestic Indian tournament with Indian franchise owners made for Indian public.

Posted by   on (May 12, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

If local indian players could field it would make oversees players a whole lot better bowlers than whats stats are shown. especilally with deccan charges, whats the stats on dropped catches, how many of those dropped catches have cost deccan charges games. oversees bowlers and batters are getting the blame.

Posted by lordrudraksh on (May 12, 2012, 3:33 GMT)

@Samir Akram Azhar Mahmood is a pakistani bowler with an england pasport hence he can play

Posted by   on (May 11, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

how cum pakistan is there in the list when no pakistani players r allowed

Posted by SRPP on (May 11, 2012, 15:15 GMT)

@ Pakspin, I am an indian fan. Dude Gambhir get 2M so what? why u feel pain, because now you get jealous man. KKR is Indian franchise run by Indians and paid by indians not any other nation and please don't like then don't watch. It is simple.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (May 11, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

So 56% of the players (Indian) have taken 52% of the wickets, while 44% (Overseas) of the players have taken 46%, this sort of shows that Overseas Bowlers are better than Indian bowlers. In terms of runs 58% of the batsmen (Indian) have only managed to produce 54% of the runs, while the overseas contingent of 42% have managed to contribute 46% of the runs...Also interesting to note that the Englishand WI batsmen per head (201 and 154 runs/batsman) have been more productive than Indian, SA and Australia batsmen (86, 93 and 95 runs/Batsman respectively).

Posted by pakspin on (May 11, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

Any analysis regarding T20 cricket is quite pathetic-I am sorry to say- if it does not include some of the best t20 players in the world. I am talking about Pakistan players of course. This is why IPL is a joke. Indian players were performing in the IPL vs local players were exposed in the t20 WC in the West Indies. Pakistani players played in only 1 IPL and took the lime light away from all the over rated and over paid Indian players..Sohail Tanveer was the bowler of the tournament..and remember Shoaib Akhtar running through the Indian the so called Indian greats in his first match back. It's Indian jealousy and awareness of the fact that Pakistani players will outshine Indians..so they want to keep them out..How is Ghambir getting $2M when we saw in Australia what his true class is...he was exposed..

Posted by   on (May 11, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

I believe No Pak player is playing in IPL. Of course, Azher mahmood representing........England

Posted by sarathy_m2 on (May 11, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

The article would be much better if included the data from IPL-1 onwards.

Posted by   on (May 11, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

There should be 3 catagories, Overseas, Indian Internation players, and Indian Non-International players. You have analyzed the information but made no conclusions regarding the name of this artice "The overseas factor in the IPL".

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (May 11, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Same mistake has been done with MI - Pollard & Franklin wkts has been taken into account of Indian bowlers and I request to recalculate everything....

Posted by Meety on (May 11, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

@justajester - good point, I think the Indian ave would be skewed by "no-name" Indian rookies.

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (May 11, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

mr. rajesh pls update the bowling figures of KKR as Sunil Naraines wkts has been counted as Indian Bowler although he is an Overseas Bowler....

Posted by Romanticstud on (May 11, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

If you take a look at the IPL ... The Indian players would make up the bulk of the team ... so they should score more runs and take more wickets ... The other interesting fact is that Australia and South Africa contribute to more foreign players than the other countries. England and the WI have 30+ averages with the bat but a total of 10 players between them. Australia have a better average and strike rate than SA with more representatives. The Australian bowling average is also superior to the SA average, although the SA team has taken more wickets. If you look at the stats they are very lopsided too because it is an Indian tournament. If it were an open tournament with a total bas of international players the stats would be different. The fact that Pakistan is absent from the batting is not a true reflection of the current state of world cricket.

Posted by booruwa on (May 11, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

Quote"Malinga and Murali are skewing the Sri Lankan's bowling performances. Wonder if you exclude them how much it would be (50+????)"

Seriously dude? Those are the 2 premier bowlers for SL..only Kula and Thisara are the other 2 playing from SL. Sanga and Mahela are batsmen.

Moreover taking that theory you can also ask WI batting without Gayle?!


Posted by sweetspot on (May 11, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

It is stupid to take this comparison to say, "Indian players are crap". Only the top players from around the world figure in the IPL franchises. If Tendulkar plays and top scores for a county, it doesn't mean all English players are all crap, that too while playing at home! India's resources are spread over so many teams, but every country's top resources get picked to play for each IPL team in small numbers - only 4 in the playing 11. How many uncapped foreign players (from non-Indian nations) are doing great in the IPL? This kind of performance is only to be expected. This is meant, at some level to help Indian youngsters get exposure to international quality. I believe this is happening. If you want to make comparisons, seriously, then that is what international cricket is for, isn't it?

Posted by SurlyCynic on (May 11, 2012, 10:11 GMT)

Azhar Mahmood is competing in this tournament using his British passport and so bypassing the ban on Pakistan players. So why is he listed as a Pakistan player in these stats? He entered India as a British citizen and obtained permission to work in the country as a British citizen.

Posted by maddy20 on (May 11, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

@Chicko1983 & Cummins You have obviously missed the point . You cannot expect the uncapped batsmen to bat like Chris Gayle and the uncapped bowlers to bowl like Malinga. That would be foolish! Of the 69 batsmen only 15 play for India and the rest are all either retired or have not earned a cap yet. Hence the drop in average and low strikerates. If you only consider the likes of Gambhir, Sehwag, Rahane(3 of them in the top 5 run scorers in the tournament) Dhoni, Kohli, Raina, Irfan. The average is about 34 with a strikerate of about 130. As for the bowlers check the stats of Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Ravichandran Ashwin, Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan. Note that all the teams that are playing quality Indian players are at the top of the table(Wiz:Delhi)The article tends to undervalue the performances of our star players by clubbing them with the rookies!

Posted by harsha_chu on (May 11, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

Rajesh, The stats are misleading !! Indian players in all IPL teams have both capped and uncapped players. Most foreign players, especially the bowlers are experienced campaigners. Perhaps you can have one more article comparing Indian capped players (Atleast 20 international matches) Vs. Foreign capped players.

Posted by Abaa on (May 11, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

@ johnathonjosephs: Taking out Gayle would affect West Indies' batting performance wouldn't it? But regardless of that, West Indies have certainly set the tournament alight. Best batsman GAYLE and best bowler NARINE ... Would love to see them play for WI in the T20 cup later this year

Posted by joseyesu on (May 11, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

For this season, Chennai depended too much on FAF, Bravo. RCB as usual with Gayle and Devillers, KKR to narine and Kallis, DD with Morne, MI with malinga, RR with nobody, DC with white. It is so obvious if the above players underperformed, then the boat sinks for sure.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (May 11, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

@cummins and chicko1983, There is a difference in what you both say here.Foreign players are brought for huge amount which indicates they are already well established international players.Regarding the Indian players who play for national team are doing well and some other local players who are uncapped with no international experiences are doing bad.They should put national indian players in one tier and the others in next one .This will give better picture as sehwag,gambhir and many more known players are doing well compared to foreign imports.Its better to understand before jumping the gun.Haters always hate no matter what.

Posted by   on (May 11, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

Nice analysis, in "Batsmen from each country in the IPL" if u can add runs per batsmen and similarly runs per bowler would give more insight of the standard of Indian player against foreign players!!

Posted by AbhijeetC on (May 11, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

how come you have ope Pakistani bowler but none Pakistani batsman in the list. I know in above case, you mean Azhar Mehmood.....I am sure he has scored some runs like sakib? hasn't he?

Posted by riverlime on (May 11, 2012, 8:19 GMT)

Splitting the data for capped and uncapped players would be quite useful, I admit, but that carries with it some flaws. One, you would have to decide what is capped: is it for anyone who has EVER played for their country, or is it for those who ARE playing for their country? Two, you would also have to include foreigners in that reckoning. (For example, Gayle is not playing for WI, nor was Narine contracted to WICB when he was bought by KKR). Three, you would have to take into account the fact that there is a maximum limit on the number of foreigners in the teams, both financial and numerical. Four, the IPL owners will only buy the BEST imports at a premium price, and fill up the rest of the team with cheaper local hopefuls, skewing the performance curve. And for the record, YES, the West Indies will tear apart the T20 World Cup. Expect it, Wait for it and Enjoy it!!

Posted by segga-express on (May 11, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

How come England provide the batsmen with the best average and best strike-rate but don't get any mention in this article?

Posted by   on (May 11, 2012, 6:44 GMT)

Pollard, Bravo, Cooper, Narine, Gayle... the few West Indian players are ripping this tournament apart!

Posted by justajester on (May 11, 2012, 6:08 GMT)

I think it would be better if you could split the data of the Indian players into two categories : Players who have won Team India caps, thereby earning a spot in the auction and a higher salary, AND the other domestic players.

My guess is that the capped players would be doing much better in batting as opposed to bowling.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (May 11, 2012, 5:21 GMT)

Malinga and Murali are skewing the Sri Lankan's bowling performances. Wonder if you exclude them how much it would be (50+????)

Posted by chicko1983 on (May 11, 2012, 4:53 GMT)

@ Cummins_Hazlewood: yep I agree, India below average bowlers and batsmen. At home as well, haha! Whats their excuse now?

Posted by maddinson on (May 11, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

The standard of Indian cricketers is on showcase by this article

Comments have now been closed for this article

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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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