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

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IPL Retentions 2018

So many thoughts on the latest retention decisions. Unreasonably excited to see what happens next at the auction on January 27/28. Analysing and reacting to the economics and business strategies used in a sports leagues can sometimes be more fun than the action itself!

My aim here is merely to make sense of the retentions that have just happened. For the most part, you can generally see what the teams were thinking. There seem to be three different types of influence on the decisions that each team made: the commercial influences that help teams to make money, the financial influences that help teams to save costs, and the on-filed influences that help teams to win titles

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Gulf in the BPL

I’m not the first person to notice the imbalance between overseas and domestic players in the BPL. With the tournament almost over, the chasm has, predictably, remained between the overseas and domestic players. The overseas players are far more productive than their Bangladeshi equivalents.

Interestingly, the overseas batsmen are consistent against both overseas and domestic bowling. In contrast, the overseas bowlers prey disproportionately on the domestic players to exhibit their superiority

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Optimising the first over

Six games into the 2017 T20 Blast, Kent were the slowest starters in the competition. Even enduring a maiden first over at home to Gloucestershire. In their seventh game, against Somerset, the team switched things up. Joe Denly moved into the opening slot, with his partner, Bell-Drummond replacing him at the other end

Superficially, the switch appeared to work. In the following eight games, Kent were scoring more runs after 3 balls (+0.6), more runs in the first over (+0.5), and more runs in the PowerPlay (+2.6)

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T20 Player Value: Part III

This is the third post in a series, in which I outline my approach to assessing player value. This post walks-through an example and then adds a further three considerations on top of the ones explained previously: weighting, regression to the mean, and ageing

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T20 Player Value: Part II

This is the second post in a series, in which I outline my approach to assessing player value. The first explains the overall objective: to measure the expected contribution of each player in runs. This post then details four main adjustments that I make to historic performances to remove any obvious biases in the data

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T20 Player Value: Part I

In this and subsequent posts, I aim to explain my methods for T20 player evaluation. They are not set in stone. Any time I sit down to analyse a player, team, tournament, strategy, there is a decent chance that they will change. I would love to hear other people’s feedback and ideas. If nothing else, writing down my thoughts has forced me to be critical of my own work. Indeed, the methods changed several times even as I documented them

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Global T20 draft: Best picks

This piece looks at some of the best picks on the second day of the Global T20 draft. A lot of different factors go into the draft process in any sport, and rational thought isn't always the most important. Here the aim is to identify the picks which give the most value in comparison to what was available at the time. Obviously, everybody mentioned here is likely to be a net contributor to their team but not everybody can select Chris Morris - salvaging an average player in the later rounds of the draft could be just as valuable

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Bowler workload

Recently, I have been wondering whether stats of less prolific bowlers (1 or 2 overs per match) are slightly over-inflated, given that they are most likely to be used when the conditions / match-ups are in their favour. Or, to put it another way, I have been wondering whether the stats of the top bowlers in a team (4 overs per match) are slightly under-inflated, given that they are required to deliver four overs whatever the circumstances

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First-over specialists

Tim Wigmore @timwig recently wrote a piece on players specialised in the "art of the first over"... the surprisingly common phenomenon of otherwise part-time bowlers being called on to open the innings for the bowling team. In this post I want to delve a bit deeper into the numbers themselves and apply an analytical lens to establish what these numbers tell us

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Ageing Curves: Part II

My last post used historic data from over 1,500 players to construct ageing curves that show how batting performances improves and declines with age. In this post we will see how these curves change depending on the players included in the analysis. In some cases, it reveals genuine differences between player types and, in other cases, potential limitations in what was originally quite a naive approach

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Ageing curves: Part I

For teams looking to acquire new players, having a solid understanding of their value is vital. Measuring past performance in T20 can be difficult and measuring future performance is even more challenging. One reason for this is that we need to account for the unrelenting passage of time: younger players improve and older players decline

Ageing curves allow us to understand the overall shape of a typical T20 batsman's career. This post walks through the methodology I have used to calculate an approximate ageing curve for T20 batsmen

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