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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