Monday, June 2, 2008


I wanted to do a "Return on Investment" type analysis on the IPL players on completion of the league but Cricinfo has already done that. They have played the Numbers Game and listed their Most Valuable Players based on their prices. They have done the same for the least valuable players.

No point in repeating the excercise.

Instead I decided to build an IPL XI with the best performers of the league.

Building a team is alway a tough excercise. The 8 franchises went through it about 3 months ago - some worked, some didn't.

So how do I pick a Best XI from the top performers?

Do I just look at the stats and pick the top 6 batsmen, the top wicket keeper, and top 4 bowlers?

Or do I look for the best player for each position?

Rajasthan Royals proved that the latter option is the best method.

If I went ahead and picked the top 6 batsmen, I'll end up with 5 openers - so definitely not the ideal selection.

Plus I have to ensure that I include only 4 non-Indians in the XI.

And I also need 1 U19 player in the side.

This is going to be tougher than I thought. But I've decided to go the Royals' way of selecting the best players for each position.

The 4 non-Indians

This was the easiest way to start I thought. Picking the top 4 foreign performers, fitting them into their positions, and then building the team around them.

This ended up being a no brainer with the leading batsman, leading bowler, and leading allrounder easily walking into any IPL XI.

Shaun Marsh comes in as an opener, Sohail Tanvir as the opening bowler, and Shane Watson, the man of the tournament, at number 4.

The 4th choice was also an easy one.

How can one ignore Shane Warne. He captained the Royals to the championship, he was the 2nd highest wicket taker, he was the best captain on the show, and he even won 2 matches with the bat.

Shane Warne comes in as the captain of the team. There could be no one else really.

Now I need to pick an opening partner for Marsh, a middle order to bat around Watson, a couple of allrounders, a wicket keeper, and 2 bowling options. All Indian.

The Openers
Gautam Gambhir wore the orange cap for majority of the time and lost it to Marsh only near the closing stages of the IPL. The next best Indian opener was Gambhir's partner Sehwag, but Gambhir showed far more consistency. He is the ideal choice to partner Marsh at the top.

Can't argue against having the top 2 run scorers at the top of the order now.

The Openers: Marsh & Gambhir.

The Middle Order

Shane Watson has fitted into the number 4 slot so I need to select a number 3 and a number 5 to bat around him.

I thought about Sehwag at 3 but then I remembered I had to pick the best one for the position.

Suresh Raina has done well for the Super Kings, while Rohit Sharma's reputation was strongly enhanced following his performance for the Chargers. Shikhar Dawan was another top performer at the number 3 slot.

I go for Raina for his level headed batting in the final stages of the tournament - the boy showed he can bat under pressure.

Not many did better than Yusuf Pathan at number 5. The Man of the Final was a unanimous choice for this slot. (Well as unanimous as it can be with only me doing the selection).

The Middle Order (numbers 3, 4, and 5): Raina, Watson & Y. Pathan.

The Allrounders
Numbers 6 and 7 are tricky ones.

Do I pick a wicketkeeper and a bowling allrounder, or do I pick 2 allrounders? Do I strengthen the batting with a batting allrounder or do I pick a pure batsman considering Watson provides the pure allrounder option?

I decided that I need a wicketkeeper here along with an allounder. Not a bowling allrounder though.

The top Indian wicketkeeper in terms of runs was MS Dhoni. In terms of dismissals though he was well behind Takawale, Saha, Rawat, and Karthik.

But who picks wicketkeepers purely for there keeping skills these days?

I go for Dhoni. He brings what the cricket experts like to call the X-Factor to the team.

The allrounders spot is a difficult one. There aren't many Indian allrounders who did well. There aren't many Indian allrounders, period.

I couldn't think of even 1 name so I decided to select my favorite U19 player from the tournament - Ravindra Jadeja.

The boy is a livewire in the field, he played a couple of match winning knocks, and is an able left arm spinner, even though he wasn't used as much by Warne. He was one of the stars of India's succesful U19 World Cup, and will be a more than handy man to have at number 7.

The Keeper and Allrounder (Numbers 6 and 7): MS Dhoni & Jadeja.

The Bowlers
Shane Warne and Sohail Tanvir are already there, so I need to fit in 2 more bowlers.

The top 2 Indian bowlers were the Kings XI duo of Sreesanth and Piyush Chawla.
With Pathan and Jadeja providing 2 spinning options along with Warne, I decide to ignore Chawla and instead pick Sreesanth and the next best Indian pacer.

Manpreet Gony finished with 17 wickets, 2nd only to Sreesanth. But Yo Mahesh, Irfan Pathan, RP Singh, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, and Sid Trivedi aren't far behind.
Considering its 20-20 cricket, the economy rate is also an important factor in determining your bowling attack. Thus out of the lot, Irfan Pathan was the best option for me.

The Bowlers (Numbers 8, 9, 10, and 11): I. Pathan, Warne, Tanvir, Sreesanth

Sanath Jayasuriya, Graeme Smith, Piyush Chawla, and Albie Morkel complete the 15 man squad of The IPL ELEVEN:

1. Shaun Marsh
2. Gautam Gambhir
3. Suresh Raina
4. Shane Watson
5. Yusuf Pathan
6. MS Dhoni (Vice Captain and Wicketkeeper)
7. Ravindra Jadeja
8. Irfan Pathan
9. Shane Warne (Captain)
10. Sohail Tanvir
11. Sreesanth

Now all that's missing is a name for my IPL ELEVEN. Any suggestions?

Make your pitch on this post...

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11 Pitched:

  1. Gaurav Sethi said...

    Like it.
    Like the surfeit of openers.

    Tho am still inclined to put Sehwag in (on top). In t20 no substitute for guys who strike @180plus esp on top. Even if it's just for a few balls!

  2. David Barry said...

    Q, you're still paying too much attention to wickets. Twenty20 only works because wickets aren't very valuable - if they were, then batsmen would bat carefully, rather than blazing at 8 or 9 per over.

    I'm going to keep banging away at this topic, since no-one outside of Ottayan and Chennai seem to agree with me, but no-one has put a convincing case of why wickets should be valued highly. I showed here that an early wicket is worth, on average, about two and a half runs - something to consider, but not a lot.

    Sreesanth went for 8.6/over, worse than the IPL average. Ashok Dinda was much better, going for only 6.7.

    And why one u/19 player? Wasn't the rule four u/22's?

  3. Q said...

    DB, I do agree with you to a certain extent that wickets are not that valuable in 20-20 cricket, but then how do u rate the bowlers u want in ur line up?

    It has to be a mix of both - wicket and economy...

    Sreesanth and Pathan got many early breakthroughs which resulted in a number of victories for Kings XI.

    If u look at the leading wickettaker - Sohail Tanvir, he also has one of the best econ. rates - so wud u go for him or Dinda, who has a similar econ rate but didn't take that many wickets..

    What abt the old saying - the best way to restrict scoring is to take wickets...

    As for 4 U22s - that rule is for the entire squad, not the playing XI... is it?

  4. Jrod said...

    How about the blingy kings?

  5. Trideep said...

    You have probably picked up a good team. However i would anyday take Rohit Sharma over Raina. Rohit Sharma was unfortunate to play for chargers. If he had been in a top four team he would have got more chances and probably his stats for IPL would have been better. He has shown that he has the temperament to play under pressure. Also he is naturally more talented than Raina.

  6. Q said...

    You mean the Knights Uncle J.

  7. Q said...

    Trideep I agree hat Rohit Sharma is way more talented than Suresh Raina. I would have Sharma in the ODI and test side today ahead of Raina.

    But when it comes to the IPL - Raina played more match winning knocks than Sharma, which for me went in his favour.

  8. David Barry said...

    It has to be a mix of both - wicket and economy...
    Yes, but mostly economy. If two bowlers have the same economy, sure go for the one who takes more wickets. The wickets are a help to the other bowlers, just not much. As a rough guide, I'd say something like a wicket per match being worth 0.5 runs per over in economy.

    What abt the old saying - the best way to restrict scoring is to take wickets...
    That applies in situations when the next batsman can't just come in and start slogging. Forty overs left, three wickets down, you bat carefully. Ten overs left, three wickets down, you go berserk.

    You're right about the under-22 players. Apaprently four need to be in the squad of 16.

  9. Jrod said...

    Surely there is room for more royal teams.

  10. Q said...

    We need to be more innovative Uncle J, we cannot succumb to these IPL marketeers, aka King makers ;-)

  11. Q said...

    DB - I will wait for a post on ur blog about bowlers in the IPL and who were the best based on your effectiveness factor of economy and wickets :-)

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