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Which part makes up the whole?

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Every cricket team is made up of batting and bowling 'resources' that decide whether they win or not (some, like Sanga's Sri Lanka, are also made up of appealing resources and so on, but let's leave that out for now). A simple way to study the teams would be to see, percentage wise, how much each individual player contributes to the team's total strength.

For example, it was observed that prior to the fourth Ashes 09 Test, Flintoff made up 32% of England's batting strength, while Strauss contributed 30%, with the rest of the line up making up the remaining 38%. It suggests two things - that England's batting was extraordinarily fickle and reliant on only two players, and that it would have made sense to play Flintoff purely as a batsman if he was too injured to bowl, which was allegedly the case.

The idea of breaking a squad down into 'resources' is helpful particularly in ODIs and T20 cricket, where averages, strike rates and economy rates cannot be brought in under a common denominator. The percentage that each individual contributes to the team's resources overall can be calculated by determining each individual player's batting average and strike rate as a factor of the team's overall batting average and average strike rate, with provisions made for factoring top order batsmen and tail-ender contributions separately.

A study of the four teams who have qualified for the Champions Trophy semi-finals provides a few interesting insights. Martin Guptill is the most 'valuable' player of all the four teams, making up 19% of his side's batting resources. If the opposition get Guptill, Taylor and Elliot out quickly
(at the time of writing Pakistan have already got Guptill out cheaply), they would have cleared out over 50% of the Kiwi batting strength.

New Zealand also have the maximum strength in their tail, with their last three wickets contributing 22% of their batting resources. In sum, it indicates that you may run through their regular batsmen somewhat easily but the going may be rough-er against the lower middle order. This may be a good time to be a Good Samaritan and allow your fellow fast bowler to bowl at the tail and large-heartedly volunteer to take on the top order yourself.

Australia have a mighty middle order led by Ricky Ponting, who is playing these days with a grim determination of the sort usually reserved for all-you-can-eat buffets. His regular batting-chauvinist nature has acquired deeper hues as he bull-headedly goes on ahead in his resolve to make up Hayden, Gilchrist, Symonds and Clarke's runs all by himself. He doesn't need to, though; his fellow batsmen all chip in equally with the bat.

Australia and Pakistan are the most well balanced of the teams playing, with no single player making up the bulk of the resources. A 'get one and the rest will follow' policy may not work. In that sense, it may be better for Australia if New Zealand reach the final ahead of Pakistan, on account of their reliance on a few good men. That may, of course, also be the very reason they may not make it.


(Click here to know more about Jatin)

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Check out the COW - a new live tool that tells you the chance each team has of winning during the match. We are now live with the Champions League, right here
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