Thursday, February 28, 2008

Butting in Again

My previous post below, "Butting in with Boundaries", generated some observations from readers. Soulberry asked how do openers compare with late order batsmen in terms of percentage of runs scored in boundaries, and NAzhar mentioned that number of balls taken for every 4 hit would be a telling statistic.

I've done some work on both. Considering that I concluded in the last post that it was more remarkable to have a higher percentage of runs through 4s in ODIs than in tests, I have restricted this analysis to only ODIs.

First to NAzhar's observation. Using the same database as last time (list of batsmen with most 4s in their career), I calculated how many balls each batsmen faces for every 4 he hits. This is what the top 10 looks like:

I didn't find any batsman that hits a 4 every over. Sehwag and Gilchrist do so every over and a half, while all the big 4 hitters hit one every 2 overs. Another interesting thing to note here is that all the batsmen in the above list, apart from Yuvraj, are openers. Thus, if any of these batsmen bat the full 50 overs, they will hit at least 25 boundaries.
The record for most boundaries in an ODI innings is 24, held by Jayasuriya who averages a 4 every 10 balls. In that innings he faced 104 balls for his 157 - 61.1% of runs through 4s and a 4 hit every 4.3 balls. Remarkable indeed.

Salman Butt, who led me to work all these numbers, averages 10.5 balls for every 4 he hits. That puts him next to Herchelle Gibbs on the above list. Remember he sits only behind Sehwag in terms of percentage of runs through 4s. Thats no measure of greatness, but a measure nonetheless.

As for Soulberry's enquiry, I thought it was woo much work to do. But just from observation, I can safely say that openers have a higher percentage of runs from boundaries than middle-late order batsmen. The difference ranges from 5%-10%. Fielding restrictions in the opening overs is the obvious reason for this.
Salman Butt -we want you to be known as the best left handed opener Pakistan ever had - Go live your dream and become our next Saeed Anwar.

Make your pitch on this post...

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15 Pitched:

  1. NAzhar said...

    AWESOME analysis! Very interesting. I was surprised to see Afridi's name missing but I guess he hits more 6's :-)

  2. Straight Point said...

    its amazing how much work you put in your posts...

  3. Q said...

    Just a little research SP :-) Nothing compared to what David Barry does though - his posts and stats are mind boggling.

    Nazhar - the database I was using included only those players who have hit at least 500 fours - i sorted the top 10 from that. Thats why Salman Butt wasn't in the top 10 even though his percentage of runs scored outs him at 2 and balls faced per four puts him at 7.

    As for Shahid Afridi - the man is remarkable.

    Afridi has hit 497 fours in ODIs which accounts for only 37% of his runs in ODIs, but then he's got 27% of his career runs through 6s.

    As for he deliveries faced - Afridi faces 9.7 balls for every 4 he hits and 19.7 balls for every 6 - thas a 6 every 3 overs or so!

  4. Straight Point said...

    on another note Q...

    what you make it of pak winning toss and fielding today...? aren't they putting pressure on their batting which have not clicked as much as they would have liked...that too in this pressure game...

  5. Q said...

    Hi SP - responded to u through a post :-)

  6. David Barry said...

    Late comment, I'm now back from Italy and slowly catching up on things. Percentage of runs scored in boundaries (4's and 6's) by batting position in ODI's since 2000:

    open: 52,46
    3: 44,22
    4: 41,10
    5: 39,95
    6: 38,94
    7: 39,55
    8: 39,66
    9: 39,05
    10: 40,33
    11: 34,79

    Pretty good guess with the 10 percentage point difference between openers and middle-order batsmen there, Q.

  7. Q said...

    How do u do this David? What databases do you use? Very interested I am :-)

    I just guessed from the trend as per the sample of 30-40 cricketers I used.

  8. David Barry said...

    Being lazy this morning, I just used Statsguru's overall aggregate feature. :)

  9. Q said...

    Hmm..I need to start using this new and improved StatsGuru - still haven't figured it out properly.

    Thanks David :-)

  10. David Barry said...

    If you're wondering about most of my cricket stats stuff, I use a database that I built originally from Cricinfo scorecards, though I've now mostly switched to CricketArchive. So I have every Test scorecard turned into a long sequence of numbers and a few words, which I can write code to search and analyse.

    Wherever possible (and always for ODI's, since I don't have an ODI database), I just use Statsguru, because its point-and-click is at least 20 times faster than me writing code to do the same. But Statsguru, good though it is, is pretty limited.

  11. Q said...

    I agree StatsGuru is quite limited to the basic stuff.

    But what u have done is quite impressive.

  12. Soulberry said...
  teams (or their analysts) ever do something like this?

    It would be so useful for them.

  13. David Barry said...

    I would expect that teams do some analysis - John Buchanan wrote a column for the ABC website once in which he copy-pasted Statsguru output.

    I recall an Australian player saying that they wanted 55% dot balls when bowling during the World Cup, or something like that. That requires doing work on ball-by-ball databases, which not many people do (Charles Davis, Andrew Samson, the stats crew at Cricinfo, but no-one else that I know of).

    But the teams' analysis is far from comprehensive. Otherwise more captains would win the toss and bowl (you should do this everywhere except England and the West Indies, where it doesn't matter), and nightwatchmen would never be used.

  14. David Barry said...

    Just to clarify, the "win the toss and bowl" applies in Tests. In ODI's it generally doesn't make a difference, though there is regional variation. It's better to bat first in Sydney and Melbourne, in general.

  15. Q said...

    Only if I had a coaching job for Pakistan ;-) Or any other team for that matter.

    David is right, apart from the StatsGuru crew there's no one else doing work on ball by ball analysis. There are other websites in the Gulf and Pakistan that do LIVE ball by ball coverage like Cricinfo (e.g., but thats about it - they haven't taken it to the next level like Stats Guru.

    But there is so much more that can be done with ball-by-ball databases than what StatsGuru is doing. Only if I had the time :-)

    And ur right SB, it will be way more useful to teams.

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