Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Charles Le » Mon, 29 Apr 1996 04:00:00



:  So, are batsmen of the caliber
: >of Gavaskar wrong when they claim that Roberts was probably the
best
: >fast bowler of his time? Or are his stats failing to capture his
: >ability completely?
: Peole admired Roberts for his subtle and variation but those
things
: don't necessarily translate into wickets. Maybe a nod of approval
from
: Jonathan Graham
-------

Quote:
>Personally, it's more in line with what I'd call quality bowling.
>Wickets (runs) are not necessarily proportional to ability', is
>my point.
>Also, lest people talk only about Roberts' variation, and his
>indisputable shrewdness, it should be mentioned that the man was
>absolutely _blazing_ fast when he wanted to be... all with a
>totally effortless action (except in his last two or so series,
>by when he'd gained weight), and with no visible aggro :-)
>Win or lose, forever Windies.
>Venky (Venkatesh Sridharan).

Venky, I completely agree with your oft quoted theory that
statistics are neither the only nor the best criterion for judging
a cricketer's ability. Although Ken Barrington was something of a
run machine, I can think of few (if any!) people who would not
rather see a sparkling 30 odd from Frank Worrell or David Gower (or
even VAR :-) than one of his laborious centuries. Nor would I think

a better bat than Compton or Viv, both with averages in the low
50s.
However, when we come to consider bowlers, I submit that we have to
apply a completely different standard. The bowler who fails to get
wickets - even if he can keep the runs down (except in considering
ODIs) - can hardly be classed as a quality bowler no matter how
smooth a run up he has, how classic his delivery or how fast he can
throw them down. I suggest that bowling is one area where
statistics are definitely the only criteria that can be applied in
assessing ability. Even the taunt (applied to some bowlers) that
they only get the rabbits, doesn't hold water, for we all know that
this evens itself out, and that over a given period, every bowler
is going to get his fair share of tailenders.
Do you not agree with this assessment of statistics as applied to
bowlers?
Cheers!
Charles

--
"The unexpected doesn't always happen, but when it does, it generally
happens when you're least expecting it."
                                        - Denis Norden

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Hugh Robert » Tue, 30 Apr 1996 04:00:00

<snip>

Quote:
>Venky, I completely agree with your oft quoted theory that
>statistics are neither the only nor the best criterion for judging
>a cricketer's ability. Although Ken Barrington was something of a
>run machine, I can think of few (if any!) people who would not
>rather see a sparkling 30 odd from Frank Worrell or David Gower (or
>even VAR :-) than one of his laborious centuries. Nor would I think

>a better bat than Compton or Viv, both with averages in the low
>50s.
>However, when we come to consider bowlers, I submit that we have to
>apply a completely different standard. The bowler who fails to get
>wickets - even if he can keep the runs down (except in considering
>ODIs) - can hardly be classed as a quality bowler no matter how
>smooth a run up he has, how classic his delivery or how fast he can
>throw them down. I suggest that bowling is one area where
>statistics are definitely the only criteria that can be applied in
>assessing ability. Even the taunt (applied to some bowlers) that
>they only get the rabbits, doesn't hold water, for we all know that
>this evens itself out, and that over a given period, every bowler
>is going to get his fair share of tailenders.
>Do you not agree with this assessment of statistics as applied to
>bowlers?

If you don't mind me butting in to this discussion, I'd say that the
problem with statistics is not that they are misleading in themselves,
but that people ask them to determine things that they cannot. Or,
rather, they are insufficiently precise about what the statistics
represent. In fact, as long as the sample size is sufficiently large,
cricket statistics are extremely telling. Most of the instances which
people cite to demonstrate a "clearly superior" batsman having a lower
average than a "clearly inferior" one will involve someone either early
in his career or with a truncated career. We all know that a bowler can
bowl brilliantly for an entire match without picking up a wicket, just as
a mediocre bowler will occasionally luck in to a five wicket bag - but
over an entire, lengthy career, these things will even out. Of two
bowlers who have each played, say, 100 Tests, the one with the average of
20 was, overall, the better bowler than the one with the average of 25
(strike rate being roughly equal). Now perhaps the one with the average
of 25 had a beautiful, fluid action, and the other was an awkward,
ungainly bowler. You might quite justifiably say you'd rather watch the
more stylish bowler in action, but you'd simply have no justification to
say he was the more effective bowler. The same is true of batsmen, in
fact. As I type, the radio in the background is carrying the commentary
on the NZ-Windies Test. As is usually the case, the commentators were
surprised that Patel, coming in at the fall of the seventh wicket, should
be such an obviously stylish bat. And it is true, Patel has all the
shots, and executes them with flair. Unfortunately, his Test average of
about 20 is a very accurate reflection of his ability at Test level. Now,
you might argue that he is a more "attractive" bat than, say, Andrew
Jones - but Jones's 40+ average was an accurate reflection of *his* Test
batting ability.
  Taking your example of Barrington vs. Richards, my guess would be that
this is simply a matter of not being sufficiently precise in what we are
asking the statistics to tell us, or of asking them to tell us things
they simply cannot. In the first case, I imagine that if we compared
their strike-rates (runs per 100 balls), Richards' would be dramatically
superior, which would indicate that if you want to *win* a Test Richards
is the better option, but if you want to *draw* you'd go for Barrington.
Now, if (by some miracle) this were not the case, you would simply have
to concede that in pure cricketing terms Barrington was the more
effective player (that is, if other statistical refinements didn't
suggest other significant inequalities: i.e. one batsman making all his
runs against only weak opposition, or only in winning situations etc.
etc. - all factors which can be determined by statistical analysis). This
would leave simply the aesthetic factor - preferring to watch the more
stylish player: something that clearly is not possible to determine
statistically, but which also has little to do with winning or losing
games of cricket.

Cheers
Hugh Roberts

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Sriram Naray » Wed, 01 May 1996 04:00:00

Quote:


> Newsgroups: rec.sport.cricket
> Date: 29 Apr 1996 21:11:04 GMT
> Organization: English Department, Victoria University Wellington

> If you don't mind me butting in to this discussion, I'd say that the
> problem with statistics is not that they are misleading in themselves,
> but that people ask them to determine things that they cannot.
>...snip

Apologies also for butting in, but I have been itching to pitch in and simply
can't resist any more.

Quote:
> Now, if (by some miracle) this were not the case, you would simply have
> to concede that in pure cricketing terms Barrington was the more
> effective player (that is, if other statistical refinements didn't
> suggest other significant inequalities: i.e. one batsman making all his
> runs against only weak opposition, or only in winning situations etc.
> etc. - all factors which can be determined by statistical analysis). This
> would leave simply the aesthetic factor - preferring to watch the more
> stylish player: something that clearly is not possible to determine
> statistically, but which also has little to do with winning or losing
> games of cricket.

> Cheers
> Hugh Roberts

It seems to me that the problem with averages is that it treats all  runs
as having the same value, whereas in practice this is simply not the case.
Depending on a host of factors like quality of the opposition, state of the
pitch, atmospheric conditions, match situation etc. the value of two
scores of equal magnitude can be quite different.

Since these factors are somewhat subjective, it is difficult if not impossible
to quantify their effect. Even within our own time, it is sometimes difficult
to rate a particular batsman - witness all the discussions about the
quality of Dean Jones, Azhar or Mohinder Amarnath. In the case of Barrington
and Richards, the problem is complicated by the fact that they played in
slightly different eras.

Barrington's is a strange case: when people pick teams of the '60s etc on rsc,
nobody dares to leave him out, such is the power of the almighty average.
And yet Fred Trueman had no trouble picking Tom Graveney, (who is hardly
ever mentioned on rsc) over Barrington in an England team of the 50's and
60's. In fact, other than Chandrasekhar, I have never seen anyone nominate
Barrington as the best batsman he has ever bowled to. You can find plenty
of bowlers who thought Richards was the best batsman they bowled to.

Averages are good starting point when comparing players, but when we "know"
that X is better a batsman than Y, but Y has the higher average, we are in
a bind. We can dig further and do some fancy statistical analysis, but
in the end discrepancy will remain and fuel endless discussions. There is
a touch of deja-vu about all this. You can find some critics of the
'30s arguing Trumper was a better batsman than Bradman. Why? He was a joy
to watch, was masterly on sticky wickets and many times threw his wicket
away after reaching a 100 because he felt the next guy deserved a chance!

Having said all this, I must admit a bias in favour of averages, especially
if it is over 99 and even if people escorted the ball to the boundary
in those days...-:)

Sriram Narayan

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Hugh Robert » Wed, 01 May 1996 04:00:00

<Snip>

Quote:
>Averages are good starting point when comparing players, but when we "know"
>that X is better a batsman than Y, but Y has the higher average, we are in
>a bind. We can dig further and do some fancy statistical analysis, but
>in the end discrepancy will remain and fuel endless discussions. There is
>a touch of deja-vu about all this. You can find some critics of the
>'30s arguing Trumper was a better batsman than Bradman. Why? He was a joy
>to watch, was masterly on sticky wickets and many times threw his wicket
>away after reaching a 100 because he felt the next guy deserved a chance!

I still think that any difference that is truly significant in terms of
"having an impact on the ultimate outcome of a game of cricket" should be
accessible to statistical analysis. After all, you don't get extra points
for style in cricket - you win by scoring more runs than the opposition
and bowling them out twice. Sure, Viv Richards probably added an extra
ounce of psychological pressure on the bowlers with his peculiar
combination of style and savagery - but I think any batsman would take
the 50+ average without the style rather than have, say, a 35 average
with it.
  As for the "flat track bully" or the cavalier Trumper who cares not to
make meaningless runs - those people should be statistically detectable.
If your average tends to be higher than your colleagues in low scoring
games, but lower in high scoring games, clearly you are an extremely
valuable player who just doesn't care to pile on meaningless runs. If you
tend to score lower than your teammates in low scoring games, but higher
in high scoring games, surely you are the definition of a flat track
bully? If you score higher in both types of games, you're on your way to
being a Bradman (or a Barrington or a Richards come to that - no one
averages over 50 for a whole career by picking their fights).
  I think bowlers don't rate Barrington as the best they faced because he
didn't tend to take attacks apart - he just grafted away accumulating his
runs; not a horrible threat to anyone's bowling analysis. Viv Richards
would strike fear into any bowler, however, because he would climb into
any attack in the world. But I'd be willing to bet that that difference
is perfectly reflected in the statistics - does anybody have their
respective strike-rates? No one claims that average (bowling or batting)
*by itself* is everything - but that doesn't mean the statistics are not
an accurate reflection of a player's contribution to his or her team's
success.

Cheers
Hugh Roberts

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Aida » Wed, 01 May 1996 04:00:00


with which I agree 100% .. but ...

I spose I can think of an instance where bowlers might have the
idea of who was the 'best' batsman, and it might not be reflected
in the stats.  That is, the 'Hooper' Effect.  That they might
bowl a ball that would get 99% of batsmen out, but a
'hooper-esque' batsman might keep it out, through sheer timing
and talent.  Yet the same batsman might slice a long hop to third
man in a lapse of concentration.  

I spose you could make the argument that they are a better
batsman than their stats might indicate, but then in the long
run, it dosen't matter how flashy you are, it's the runs on the
board that count.  

Will someone tell that to Stephen Fleming, and pat young Nathan
on the back for me while their at it.  

Cheers

Aidan 'wondering why he bothered posting this bit of drivel'

--
#1 fan of Martin Colin Snedden on r.s.c
#1 fan of Bruce Adrian Edgar on r.s.c
Tsch"usz!

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Charles Le » Wed, 01 May 1996 04:00:00

Quote:

>If you don't mind me butting in to this discussion,

Why not? Venky doesn't seem interested!

Quote:
>I'd say that the problem with statistics is not that they are
>misleading in themselves, but that people ask them to determine
>things that they cannot. Or, rather, they are insufficiently
>precise about what the statistics represent.

I absolutely agree! As a "drop-out statistician" (just didn't have
the mathematical brain for it! Unkind mates said I just didn't have
the brain, period! :-) I recognize that the first thing a
statistician should do is to decide what he is sampling and why.

Quote:
>In fact, as long as the sample size is sufficiently large, cricket
>statistics are extremely telling.

One must add a warning here ... "sufficiently large" can be a
subjective decision that may not be "statistically accurate". Which
is why when people throw around the word "statistics" it is
important to distibguish between whether they are actually talking
"statistics" or just "figures" ... which ain't necessarily the same
thing.

Quote:
> Most of the instances which people cite to demonstrate a "clearly

  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Quote:
>superior" batsman having a lower average than a "clearly inferior"
>one will involve someone either early in his career or with a
>truncated career.

I think this is too sweeping a statement, Hugh. The only *serious*
debates on this subject that I have heard involve comparisons like
Venky's between Viv and other batsmen with higher averages
(Bradman, Barrington, Gavaskar etc.)

Quote:
> We all know that a bowler can bowl brilliantly for an entire
>match without picking up a wicket, just as a mediocre bowler will
>occasionally luck in to a five wicket bag

(Hey! Is this a dig at my man Jimmy Adams? :-)

 >- but over an entire, lengthy career, these things will even out.

Quote:
>Of two  bowlers who have each played, say, 100 Tests, the one with
>the average of 20 was, overall, the better bowler than the one
>with the average of 25 (strike rate being roughly equal). Now
>perhaps the one with the average of 25 had a beautiful, fluid
>action, and the other was an awkward, ungainly bowler. You might
>quite justifiably say you'd rather watch the more stylish bowler
>in action, but you'd simply have no justification to say he was
>the more effective bowler.

I think this is the point I was trying to make in my original post.
We seem to agree on this, but not on your next point.

Quote:
>The same is true of batsmen, in fact. As I type, the radio in the
>background is carrying the commentary on the NZ-Windies Test. As
>is usually the case, the commentators were surprised that Patel,
>coming in at the fall of the seventh wicket, should be such an
>obviously stylish bat. And it is true, Patel has all the shots,
>and executes them with flair. Unfortunately, his Test average of
>about 20 is a very accurate reflection of his ability at Test
>level. Now, you might argue that he is a more "attractive" bat
>than, say, Andrew Jones - but Jones's 40+ average was an accurate
>reflection of *his* Test batting ability.

Yes ... but hold on ... we're talking about more than just flair or
pretty stroke play. The real argument is: does his statistics tell
the full story about an acknowleged top flight batsman like IVAR?
Can we use his statistics to compare him accurately with another
top flight batsman like say Barrington? I say (like Venky) ... No!
Whereas, talking about bowlers, I think differently, agreeing with
the views you outline in the previous para.

Quote:
>Taking your example of Barrington vs. Richards, my guess would be
>that this is simply a matter of not being sufficiently precise in
>what we are asking the statistics to tell us, or of asking them to
>tell us things they simply cannot. In the first case, I imagine
>that if we compared their strike-rates (runs per 100 balls),
>Richards' would be dramatically superior, which would indicate
>that if you want to *win* a Test Richards is the better option,
>but if you want to *draw* you'd go for Barrington.

Now this is where I think your argument goes awry ... Compton (and
to some extent, Botham) was the Viv Richards type of batsman ...
yet I think he was equally at home "winning" tests or "playing for
a draw in a tight match". In other words, his "stats" don't mark
him down as being either a Viv Richards type or a Ken Barrington
type. Which is why I am suspicious of the value of stats as the
only criterion for assessing a batsman ... even though I buy them
as a good yardstick for rating a bowler.

Sriram Narayan also wants in.

Quote:
>Apologies also for butting in, but I have been itching to pitch in
>and simply can't resist any more.

Welcome aboard! The more the merrier!

Quote:
>It seems to me that the problem with averages is that it treats
>all  runs as having the same value, whereas in practice this is
>simply not the case. Depending on a host of factors like quality
>of the opposition, state of the pitch, atmospheric conditions,
>match situation etc. the value of two scores of equal magnitude

can be quite different.

True ... but that's only a valid criticism if you are considering
"two scores" in isolation. A batsman's statistics involve his whole
career, and over the long course for most test batsmen's, these
conditions you mention will undoubtedly crop up in each case.
Hence, it is no point saying that Lara's 375 was not as valuable as
Waugh's double ton against the WI, for eventually the latter also
had his chance against much the same England XI, and Lara is even
now playing against a pathetic (sorry Hugh!) attack which two of
his colleagues have pillaged for double tons while he has yet to
make a 50.

Quote:
>Since these factors are somewhat subjective, it is difficult if
>not impossible to quantify their effect. Even within our own time,
>it is sometimes difficult to rate a particular batsman - witness
>all the discussions about the quality of Dean Jones, Azhar or
>Mohinder Amarnath. In the case of Barrington and Richards, the
>problem is complicated by the fact that they played in slightly
>different eras.

Herein lies the conundrum concerning statistics: what you say above
is valid, and I agree with it as my previous statements show. Yet,
there is no gainsaying the fact that a Bradman stands taller than
all comers, contemporary or not, and paradoxically it is the
consistency of his statistics that makes his superiority undeniable
(undeniable to MOST, I hasten to add!)

Quote:
>Barrington's is a strange case: when people pick teams of the '60s
>etc on rsc, nobody dares to leave him out, such is the power of
>the almighty average. And yet Fred Trueman had no trouble picking
>Tom Graveney, (who is hardly ever mentioned on rsc) over
>Barrington in an England team of the 50's and 60's.

Excellent example ... even if I do have the temerity to disagree
with Fiery Freddie!

Quote:
>In fact, other than Chandrasekhar, I have never seen anyone
>nominate Barrington as the best batsman he has ever bowled to. You
>can find plenty of bowlers who thought Richards was the best
>batsman they bowled to.

I think this is a better example, and one I CAN agree with.

Quote:
>Averages are good starting point when comparing players, but when
>we "know" that X is better a batsman than Y, but Y has the higher
>average, we are in a bind. We can dig further and do some fancy
>statistical analysis, but in the end discrepancy will remain and
>fuel endless discussions. There is a touch of deja-vu about all
>this. You can find some critics of the '30s arguing Trumper was a
>better batsman than Bradman.

(Can't say I've heard THAT argument!)

Quote:
> Why? He was a joy to watch, was masterly on sticky wickets and
>many times threw his wicket away after reaching a 100 because he
>felt the next guy deserved a chance!

I'd say that makes him a right Wally! :-)

Quote:
>Having said all this, I must admit a bias in favour of averages,
>especially if it is over 99 and even if people escorted the ball
>to the boundary in those days...-:)
>Sriram Narayan

In the final analysis, I have to agree with that! (Though I think
the last bit is just a leetle unfair!) Which is why I endorse what
Hugh says in a subsequent post:

Quote:
>I still think that any difference that is truly significant in
>terms of "having an impact on the ultimate outcome of a game of
>cricket" should be accessible to statistical analysis. After all,
>you don't get extra points for style in cricket - you win by
>scoring more runs than the opposition and bowling them out twice.

... and also ...

Quote:
>No one claims that average (bowling or batting) *by itself* is
>everything - but that doesn't mean the statistics are not an
>accurate reflection of a player's contribution to his or her
^^^^^^^^^
>team's success.
>Cheers
>Hugh Roberts

I would say a "fair" reflection rather than an "accurate" one.

So ... it's not yet time to consign Wisden to the s***heap! :-)

Cheers!
Charles
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------      
The opinions expressed in this post are not those of the management ...
but PLEASE don't tell her!      
----------------------------------------------------------------------  

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Edmond » Wed, 01 May 1996 04:00:00

Some batmen can have very god average in a year when they bat on flat
pitches in all they tests they played. Some may have not as good average
when their achieved a low scorce when they could make 30 or 40 odd runs.
Statistics may not flavour to these batmen

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Sriram Naray » Wed, 01 May 1996 04:00:00

Quote:


> Newsgroups: rec.sport.cricket
> Date: 30 Apr 1996 06:58:46 GMT
> Organization: English Department, Victoria University Wellington


> <Snip>
> >Averages are good starting point when comparing players, but when we "know"
> >that X is better a batsman than Y, but Y has the higher average, we are in
> >a bind. We can dig further and do some fancy statistical analysis, but
> >in the end discrepancy will remain and fuel endless discussions. There is
> >a touch of deja-vu about all this. You can find some critics of the
> >'30s arguing Trumper was a better batsman than Bradman. Why? He was a joy
> >to watch, was masterly on sticky wickets and many times threw his wicket
> >away after reaching a 100 because he felt the next guy deserved a chance!

> I still think that any difference that is truly significant in terms of
> "having an impact on the ultimate outcome of a game of cricket" should be
> accessible to statistical analysis. After all, you don't get extra points
> for style in cricket - you win by scoring more runs than the opposition
> and bowling them out twice. Sure, Viv Richards probably added an extra
> ounce of psychological pressure on the bowlers with his peculiar
> combination of style and savagery - but I think any batsman would take
> the 50+ average without the style rather than have, say, a 35 average
> with it.
>.....snip
> No one claims that average (bowling or batting)
> *by itself* is everything - but that doesn't mean the statistics are not
> an accurate reflection of a player's contribution to his or her team's
> success.

> Cheers
> Hugh Roberts

I agree with a lot of what you said, especially the bit about style,
but have two little quibbles:
(1) The kind of sophisticated analysis you would like are not done
routinely; in fact the data for doing that kind of analysis may not even
exist. For instance, I know that a count of balls faced by batsmen was not
kept in the '30s, maybe not even in the '60s. So when we say Bradman
scored at the rate of 50 runs an hour, an opponent can retort that more
overs were bowled per hour in the '30s. We know the number of overs each day
and by assuming that Bradman faced some fraction of these, we can arrive
at a strike rate, but a whiff of uncertainty hangs over all of this.
Similarly, a batsman's efforts on a drying pitch, holding the bowlers
at bay while the pitch improves to the benefit of later batsmen. Are these
instances always recorded?

(2) There are other factors not quantifiable at all - for example the effect
a batsman has on his team mates. A minor instance follows: the weakness of
Indian batsmen against fast bowling is well known. In 1967,
an aging Hall and an almost-over-the-hill Griffith had reduced India
to 14 for 3 in the first Test at Bombay, and there seemed to be an element
of inevitability about the carnage to follow. However, Pataudi and Borde
then put on 93 for the 4th wicket before Pataudi fell for 44, while Borde
went on to score 121. Many critics rated Pataudi's innings as highly
as Borde's since his footwork and stroke-play seemed to show the other
Indian batsman how to handle the pace. Anyway the fact remains that Hall
and Griffith never appeared to have the same destructive force in the
other Tests. Was it because Pataudi showed the Indians how to handle Hall
and Griffith as the critic rather romantically claims, or is the correct, if
prosaic, explanation that the pair were over the hill? I really don't know.

One can multiply instances like this. How about Ted Dexter's 70 at Lords
against the same pair in 1963 when Barrington made 80? Quite a number of
people would be ready to swear that Dexter or Peter May were better batsmen
than Barrington. Or take the case of Imran Khan saying that he rated
Asif Iqbal with an average of 39 as a more valuable player than Zaheer
Abbas with an average of 45. We can do fancy analysis and on the basis
of that claim that Barrington was a more valuable batsman than May
or Zaheer than Asif, but surely the opinions of their fellow-players
has some weight in this assessment?

IMHO, we can use statistics as a rough guide to assess the quality of players,
but making fine distinctions on the basis of statistics is a chancy business.

Sriram Narayan

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by deb... » Wed, 01 May 1996 04:00:00

Quote:


>  <Snip>
>  ><snip>

Not only is Hugh Roberts correct; statistics, when properly used, can often provide insights that simple observation cannot.
To illustrate the point: here's a problem for cricket experts, based on real statistics from the local League. Batsman X had a
modest batting average (no more than 5th of 15 in his team for the season). But X's team won 95% of the matches where X
scored higher than his personal median for the season. None of the four batsmen with better averages than  X came close.
Even though batsman Y had the top batting average, the team won only 60% of the matches where Y scored above his
personal median, and the other three managed no higher than 50%. What could be going on here? Answers in a later post!
 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Neeran M. Karn » Thu, 02 May 1996 04:00:00

Quote:

>(1) The kind of sophisticated analysis you would like are not done
>routinely; in fact the data for doing that kind of analysis may not even
>exist. For instance, I know that a count of balls faced by batsmen was not
>kept in the '30s, maybe not even in the '60s. So when we say Bradman
>scored at the rate of 50 runs an hour, an opponent can retort that more
>overs were bowled per hour in the '30s. We know the number of overs each day
>and by assuming that Bradman faced some fraction of these, we can arrive
>at a strike rate, but a whiff of uncertainty hangs over all of this.

   I'm going off on a tangent, but I have a query for the cricket
   statisticians/scorers/historians out there. While it is true that
   batting _records_ were maintained in terms of playing time rather
   than balls faced in the early days, surely the scorers still
   recorded ball-by-ball event data like they do now? If so, do these
   bbb scoresheets still exist for the early matches? Some enterprising
   youngster could then be hired to type it all into a scoring program,
   and voila! We'll have the complete information we need to figure out
   strike rates, over rates, etc. for the oldtimers.

Quote:
>Sriram Narayan

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Neeran   Karnik  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Hugh Robert » Thu, 02 May 1996 04:00:00

<snip>

Quote:
>> We all know that a bowler can bowl brilliantly for an entire
>>match without picking up a wicket, just as a mediocre bowler will
>>occasionally luck in to a five wicket bag
>(Hey! Is this a dig at my man Jimmy Adams? :-)

Well, yes (sorry).

<snip>

Quote:
>>[Hugh:] Taking your example of Barrington vs. Richards, my guess would be
>>that this is simply a matter of not being sufficiently precise in
>>what we are asking the statistics to tell us, or of asking them to
>>tell us things they simply cannot. In the first case, I imagine
>>that if we compared their strike-rates (runs per 100 balls),
>>Richards' would be dramatically superior, which would indicate
>>that if you want to *win* a Test Richards is the better option,
>>but if you want to *draw* you'd go for Barrington.
>[Charles:]Now this is where I think your argument goes awry ... Compton (and
>to some extent, Botham) was the Viv Richards type of batsman ...
>yet I think he was equally at home "winning" tests or "playing for
>a draw in a tight match". In other words, his "stats" don't mark
>him down as being either a Viv Richards type or a Ken Barrington
>type. Which is why I am suspicious of the value of stats as the
>only criterion for assessing a batsman ... even though I buy them
>as a good yardstick for rating a bowler.

Leaving Compton out of the count for the moment (because his is a case
which would require a different refinement of the statistical analysis),
I don't think you've quite answered my point about Richards vs.
Barrington. I wasn't suggesting that Barrington is useless for a side
that wants to win, or Richards useless for a side that wants to draw, but
that the difference in average and (assumed) difference in strike-rate
each tell a story. Richards, after all, is famous for playing his natural
aggressive game even in the most dire of circumstances. Barrington is
equally famous (after his return to the England side) for quietly
grafting away in all circumstances. So when Venky says "Richards is
obviously the better batsman than Barrington - therefore statistics are
meaningless" I think he is simply not thinking enough about what the
statistics suggest. If my team was following on 300 runs behind with two
whole days to bat, I'd rather see two Barringtons walking out to the
crease than two Richards - the statistics accurately reflect Barrington's
superior sticking power. If my team had been set a target of 300 in 5
hours on the last day, I'd want to see two Richards out there rather than
two Barringtons - the statistics (I presume) demonstrate his superior
ability to score rapidly.

<Snip>

Quote:
>Hence, it is no point saying that Lara's 375 was not as valuable as
>Waugh's double ton against the WI, for eventually the latter also
>had his chance against much the same England XI, and Lara is even
>now playing against a pathetic (sorry Hugh!) attack which two of
>his colleagues have pillaged for double tons while he has yet to
>make a 50.

Hey - I've called them much worse things than pathetic. Mind you, I note
that the Windies are 137 for 6 at the moment against this pathetic
attack. Makes you wonder what might have been if we'd been able to field
our best team.

Cheers
Hugh Roberts

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Saileshwar Krishnamurt » Thu, 02 May 1996 04:00:00

    Hugh> superior sticking power. If my team had been set a target of 300 in 5
    Hugh> hours on the last day, I'd want to see two Richards out there rather than
    Hugh> two Barringtons - the statistics (I presume) demonstrate his superior
    Hugh> ability to score rapidly.

Looks like 300 (at the most) will be the likely target :-)

Alas, your team doesn't have a Richards. Anyway, it will be
amazing if NZ pulls this off.

Aslam, do you have any stats of teams posting 500+ scores in
first innings and losing ?

Cheers          
Sailesh (http://www.cs.purdue.edu/people/krish)
(... And that's Sachin Tendulkar's first century at Lords !!!
        - from commentary sometime during 20-24 June 1996 !!)

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Peter Willia » Fri, 03 May 1996 04:00:00

Quote:
>Looks like 300 (at the most) will be the likely target :-)
>Alas, your team doesn't have a Richards. Anyway, it will be
>amazing if NZ pulls this off.
>Aslam, do you have any stats of teams posting 500+ scores in
>first innings and losing ?

Yes please. I was thinking this just as Morrison snicked out Bishop this
morning.

Later

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Sriram Naray » Fri, 03 May 1996 04:00:00


Quote:

>    I'm going off on a tangent, but I have a query for the cricket
>    statisticians/scorers/historians out there. While it is true that
>    batting _records_ were maintained in terms of playing time rather
>    than balls faced in the early days, surely the scorers still
>    recorded ball-by-ball event data like they do now? If so, do these
>    bbb scoresheets still exist for the early matches? Some enterprising
>    youngster could then be hired to type it all into a scoring program,
>    and voila! We'll have the complete information we need to figure out
>    strike rates, over rates, etc. for the oldtimers.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Neeran   Karnik  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My understanding is (and I am very willing to be corrected) that
the precise distribution of extras was not recorded, i.e. if there was
a single leg-bye, it was recorded as a dot ball to the bowler, and a
single added to the score and the extras. Given this, it may be difficult
to reconstruct the precise number of balls faced by a batsman.

I vaguely remember reading it somewhere, but on the other hand, maybe I just
made it up -:)

Sriram Narayan

 
 
 

Statistics .... attention, Venky!

Post by Venkatesh Sridhar » Fri, 03 May 1996 04:00:00

: Leaving Compton out of the count for the moment (because his is a case
: which would require a different refinement of the statistical analysis),
: I don't think you've quite answered my point about Richards vs.
: Barrington. I wasn't suggesting that Barrington is useless for a side
: that wants to win, or Richards useless for a side that wants to draw, but
: that the difference in average and (assumed) difference in strike-rate
: each tell a story.

-------
Fair enough.
-------

: Richards, after all, is famous for playing his natural
: aggressive game even in the most dire of circumstances. Barrington is
: equally famous (after his return to the England side) for quietly
: grafting away in all circumstances. So when Venky says "Richards is
: obviously the better batsman than Barrington - therefore statistics are
: meaningless" I think he is simply not thinking enough about what the
: statistics suggest. If my team was following on 300 runs behind with two

-------
No, 'he' _is_ thinking about it enough :-), but also says (pretty much each
time, except when being sarcastic) that statistics without a context _can_
be pretty misleading. And, when analysing statistics from different eras,
belonging to batsmen with totally different styles, playing for totally
different sides, in totally different situations, with totally different
motives , with completely different personalities and sometimes, with
completely different attitudes towards the game itself, the CONTEXT is
not easy to factor into the statistics. Therefore, once one becomes
familiar with the game, one goes more by what one observes, which, to
me is the difference between a seasoned observer/student of the game
(and I state explicitly that I have ZERO claims to that distinction)
and somebody drawing conclusions from stats alone... or very sweeping
conclusions from a set of measures which simply don't hold as much
information as they are expected to (or touted to) hold.

A Viv Richards with a pretty cavalier attitude to the game, who believes
that he must avoid being dominated at all costs, CAN have better ability
(as measured/evaluated in non-cricketing terms) but still have poorer
stats as compared (say) to a Gordon Greenidge who is explicity trying
to end up with a better record, and who actually cares about how his
record will look at the end of his career, and who is willing to go the
extra mile; ie cut out fancy shots as far as possible, dig in even when
the game is dead etc. I am not explicitly saying that Greenidge was like
that, but I'm willing to bet some learned soul around will try and turn
this into a literal comparison of Richards vs Greenidge.

A Viv Richards, who sees his main job as taking apart (say) Lillee to
help his team get the initiative MAY end up with fewer runs and (over
the long run) poorer stats than a Larry Gomes or Clive Lloyd who will
dig in and try to get runs each time... no matter how.

A Viv Richards could see himself as an entertainer who sees... (you
fill in the rest).

I could use examples other than Viv Richards to make the same points,
but this is familiar territory. NO bias involved :-)
-------

: whole days to bat, I'd rather see two Barringtons walking out to the
: crease than two Richards - the statistics accurately reflect Barrington's
: superior sticking power. If my team had been set a target of 300 in 5
: hours on the last day, I'd want to see two Richards out there rather than
: two Barringtons - the statistics (I presume) demonstrate his superior
: ability to score rapidly.

-------
Granted, Hugh, Richards' stats (probably) reveal explicitly his ability
to score faster than Barrington, and Barrington's stats are clear in
saying that he, on the average, scores more consistently than Richards.
My point still stands, viz. that you cannot really say who is the 'better'
batsman of the two.

You can take two hypothetical, simplified situations and PREDICT, with
some small degree of certainty who will do better in which. Real-life
situations are neither so simple, nor are statistics infallible enough
to enable us (or me, atleast) to do more than that.
-------

: Hey - I've called them much worse things than pathetic. Mind you, I note
: that the Windies are 137 for 6 at the moment against this pathetic
: attack. Makes you wonder what might have been if we'd been able to field
: our best team.

: Cheers
: Hugh Roberts

-------
Well, I'm happy for New Zealand, but the West Indies _are_ 250+ ahead,
and Mr. Ambrose _is_ going to be bowling on his home ground. So anything
could happen.

Note to Charles (Levy): will respond to your post (and some others in this
thread separately).

Win or lose, forever Windies.
Venky (Venkatesh Sridharan).