May 11, 2012

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

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Muhammad Asghar on May 13, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    This is strange analysis having no real meaning in the larger extent of the 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......

  • Lee 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.

  • Deepak 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.

  • Yasir 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 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!!!

  • shahid 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.

  • Dummy4 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

  • Dummy4 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 !!!

  • Harish 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.

  • Gopalakrishna 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!!!

  • cool 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?

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