The Indian Coin Flip Contest

MS Dhoni recently forfeited the opportunity to become the most successful captain in the Indian Premier League. Instead, with one throwback, toe-seeking yorker, Lasith Malinga handed the trophy to his own captain, Rohit Sharma of the Mumbai Indians. Four titles in seven years, all at Dhoni’s expense; it is an impressive record… yet Dhoni’s record is arguably superior when we consider the broader extent of his achievements through 12 IPL seasons: Chennai Super Kings have never failed to make the playoffs under his leadership. He has competed in 9 finals. He has taken 44 different players with him to those finals.

Read More

Visuals to break down player performance

My most valuable tools for understanding player value are my dashboards that allow me to breakdown performance however I need to, quickly and intuitively. This post exists to share a version of those tools, covering a small selection of players

Read More

T20 Match Simulator: under the hood

When I previously wrote about my new T20 match simulator, I concentrated more on what it could do than how it was built. This time, my aim is to ‘lift the hood’ and explain exactly how the engine is constructed and how it runs. Others can then start to judge for themselves whether it can indeed answer the many, varied questions that I claimed it can

I have tried to keep things simple so that anybody interested can understand how the model works. However, there are times when I use some technical language. If you don’t understand something (and you want to understand it), you can probably find the answer on Wikipedia, a Google search, or in a library

Read More

Sortable Advanced Stats

There are currently two pages available on this website which contain advanced statistics for batsmen and bowlers, based on the records of my ball-by-ball database, which covers over 1 million deliveries in T20 cricket. Each page houses a table powered by Tableau that allows the user to interact with the data and see which players my system ranks highly

Read More

Simulating T20 Matches: Pinching

The debate on whether Sunil Narine should open is one of my favourite in T20 cricket. I stand resolutely on team ‘yes’… but standing on team ‘yes’ does not mean that I don’t still have doubt. It wouldn’t be a debate if I didn’t see merit to arguments on both sides. I have built a simulator that will play out T20 games ball-by-ball, thousands of times, so that we can see the impact of playing in a certain way, or with a certain line-up. This means that we can set up a game between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Sunrisers Hyderabad (say) and simulate what would happen with Narine at different spots in the line-up

Read More

Trialling a T20 Captaincy Metric

The importance of captaincy in cricket is greater than in almost any other sport. In football, for just one example, the captain has almost no influence whatsoever over team selection or strategy. This is not true in cricket. Not only are cricket captains involved in most strategic and tactical decision-making, this also comes with more responsibility for the other players in the team, their mindset and their morale. Measuring the value of a good captain is incredibly difficult

One aspect of captaincy that might be measurable is the decisions that they make on the field. Here, the decision-making is observable by an outsider. Obvious, even, in the case of bowling changes. They occur 20 times in an innings and at regular intervals

Read More

Captain Typical

My current project is a ball-by-ball simulator for T20 matches. This post isn't about that. It is about one tiny component which took way too much time to build considering how little value it contributes to the endeavour of predicting T20 outcomes. I wanted my simulator to have the ability to simulate what bowling changes the captain would make during an innings. And so I built a model to pick the next bowler

Read More

Pinching in an IPL Final

It's rare to witness an innings that exhibits such a clear structure. Shane Watson's century in the IPL Final against Sunrisers Hyderabad was an extraordinary innings. He failed to score from the first 10 deliveries yet finished with a 205 strike rate. To some extent, the game-plan looked ingenious because Watson was able to execute so perfectly, but it was remarkable to see him so deliberate in deciding which overs to attack

Read More

Reflection on the IPL

I didn't post any articles on this site during the IPL season. That is entirely because I was contracted with RCB. To me, it seems like an eternity since I visited my own blog but, in reality, only two months has past. This post comprises a quick reflection on the season and what I learned in those two months travelling the IPL with RCB... hopefully some people find it interesting

Read More

Where should you play your best batsman?

Rohit Sharma is the captain and assumed best batsman of the Mumbai Indians. He seems likely to bat at number 3 or 4 this season, unchanged from last year, when Buttler and Patel were generally preferred as the opening pair. Whilst those two are now gone, Mumbai did acquire another well-established opener at auction in the form of Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan may also get the chance to impress

Last year, Sharma suggested that “probably three, four is the best position” for him but the stats emphatically disagree. In 52 matches as an opener, he averages 39.5 runs at a strike rate of 142. Both numbers drop noticeably when he arrives between 4-6, falling to an average of 32.4 runs at 132 (in 130 matches)

Read More

Toss decisions: it's complicated

Recently, I wrote about how the toss-decisions made by captains before games were probably sub-optimal. I stand by everything said within that article (which concluded with me claiming that I would have a better record than the average T20 captain were I the one making decisions) but there were complications that I chose not include. This post exists to demonstrate that interpreting even the simplest data is often far from straightforward - and the capacity to confuse cause and effect is always present

Read More

Toss decisions: worse than random

Being at home in the IPL gives the team a 1% advantage. Batting second gives the team a 5% advantage. And winning the toss gives the team a 2% advantage. That may all seem to conform to common sense but a closer examination of those figures reveals an inconsistency: how can winning the toss possibly be less advantageous than batting second?

Read More

IPL Auction 2018 - RTMs

The IPL auction has been described as unfair, humiliating, and voyeuristic*. But most critics would still admit that, for the emotionally detached observer, it is flipping entertaining. There are so many factors to unravel that influence prices and teams battle an armada of seductive cognitive biases. For a data lover like myself, it provides a brand-new dataset that indicates how cricket insiders might think

Read More