Saturday, March 25, 2006

Need for Three Dimensional Statistics in Cricket

I was watching the just concluded India-England Test match in Mumbai with my friends and one of my friend pointed out that statistics in cricket is highly one dimensional. His argument was that if a great fielder like Jondy Rhodes saves a certain boundary you need to put that runs against his name. He was giving so many arguments like that.

I feel he was raising a good point. In most of the games, especially in cricket the statistics as it is done today doesn't give the true picture of a player. The best example I can think of now is that of Sachin. If you take the last 25 test mathces Sachin played, his batting average is 49.59. Whoever reads this average will feel that he was doing extremely well. But is it the case? In that he has 3 big hundreds (241*,194* and 248*). These three not out scores helped him to increase the average. . If you take these 3 scores out, his average will dip below 20. Clearly not a good sign of a world class batsman.

If you score a 250* in a test innings and then score five consecutive ducks, still your average is 50. Shouldn’t it be changed? Yes it has to be.

A factor has to be put in which reflects the caliber of a batsman/bowler/fielder. What I have in my mind is something like this. A visiting batsmen scored a century against Australia in Perth (considered to be one of the bounciest wicket in the world). The runs scored by him should be muliplied by a factor say 1.5. Similarly a Test match produced 1500 runs in 5 days and still end in draw. The runs scored in those matches should be reduced by say half. This should be the case with bowlers. If a bowler bowls a unplayable bowl and gets batsman beaten or a catch is dropped of his bowling he should get credit for that.

I hope I made my point clear. It is easy to tell this but I know it is tough to put this into paper. ICC has come out with The Duckworth-Lewis method a complex formula(I am yet to understand that one fully) for deciding mathes cut short by rain or bad light. Like that ICC or other cricket governing bodies can appoint someone to do research and come up with a more comprehensive way of updating statistics.

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Anonymous Vivek Nair said...

Hi Brijesh, good observation ! This point proves again Mean or Average should not be the only criteria when statistics is concerned(if am sounding like my Stats prof, apologies!). The scorers should also look at the median score along with the mean/average. That will show even with those 3 huge scores Sachin's median is much lower than 50. These two stats should be provided in tandem and not just the Average which alone means nothing.
Do agree with multiplying actual scores /bowling figures of a player with a certain "factor" which would take into consideration his overall performance with the bat /bowl and fielding. But this can become complicated since some pace bowlers may get to play in excellent pacy tracks more than other teams skewing their stats to a higher value.
I do believe there should be a ICC champion of champions like best batsman/bowler which accounts for batting, bowling and fielding performance of a player and then rank him.

March 25, 2006 2:38 PM  
Blogger flutteringeyes said...

Good Point.....kinda gets me thinking ( takes a lot to do that :-P)

and then I am not a big fan of wouldn't mind it if he would be a looser....but Dravid and ganguly...hmmm NO!! lol (this is just a girls heart)...but other than that I agree with ur point.

March 25, 2006 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sony
Yes I agree with your points. I belive even now, a century against Australia is put above one against Bnagladesh in the ICC Rankings. But there cerainly should be a system to give points for a dropped catch in favour of a bowler. Also a Batsman's average should go down corresponding to the number of chances he gives.

March 27, 2006 8:40 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

@vivek- I agree with you fully. Median rather than average should be used.

ICC has player/batsman/bowler of the year award for the last 3 years I think. The player of the year award was won by Ricky Pointing last year

@fluttering eyes-I was not talking about any individual. Just when I was writing this piece, name of Sachin came to my mind. This was meant to be a general one.

@balu uncle thanks a lot for taking time to visit my blog

March 28, 2006 1:36 AM  
Blogger pradeep said...

Sony Aetta,
If someone can device a method to bring all of those performance parameters, that you just mentioned, into view, I am all for it. But we dont want anything like D-L method (22 in 1 ball, anyone?)! Meanwhile, since the topic is on shining things for a better game of cricket, to negate the dominance of batsmen in batting-friendly pitches Bob Woolmer suggests that bowlers be allowed to reverse swing the ball earlier even if it means roughening it up a little bit (write-up). I think this is a wonderful idea. Any takers?
"Allow the ball to swing by adjusting the current legislation to allow bowlers to prepare the ball to reverse swing a lot earlier."

March 28, 2006 7:13 PM  
Blogger flutteringeyes said...

yeah I understand that....but I am not just a big fan of that's why I just mentioned his name....

April 02, 2006 6:00 PM  
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