Friday, 2 April 2010

Stat Attack: Which overseas players are best in the IPL?

On the interminable bus journey to work in the morning I was thinking about how Royal Challengers Bangalore have based much of their overseas contingent around South Africans, and I wondered if one particular set of overseas players has a better record in the IPL than others. So I gorged myself at the IPL stats table to find the answer...this is what I found:

Unsurprisingly Australian players top most of the charts, there are more of them in the IPL and have been for the first three years. But it doesn't end there, they also top the averages charts, from 236 innings played by Australians since the start of the IPL, they average an impressive 33.3, clear of South Africans - 30.7 from 206 innings and Sri Lankans - 26.8 from 133 innings.

Aussie Shaun Marsh averages a spectacular 67 in the IPL

Furthermore, they also top the charts on strike rates - those 33.3 runs have come at a strike rate, across the board, of 136.4 runs scored for every 100 runs faced. They're only marginally clear of New Zealand at 134, but significantly ahead of Sri Lankans on 129 and in a different league alltogether to South Africans languishing on 118. The English by the way only just nudge in ahead of the Saffers here, with a strike rate of 120.

Australia also have significantly more 50s and 100s than any other set of overseas players with five hundreds, no other country has more than one. They also have scored 44% more 50s than the next country in that particular list, South Africa.

So what about the bowling, maybe someone can redress the balance here? Well, yes actually, the Sri Lankan contingent does so. While Aussies have taken more wickets (148) than anyone else, they have done so at a higher average (26.4) than Pakistani (18.5), English (22.1) and Sri Lankan (22.8) bowlers. Similarly they languish in fourth place in the bowling strike rate stakes, only taking a wicket every 20.8 balls, behind Pakistani (14.2), English (17.5) and Sri Lankan (20.4) bowlers. While Pakistani and English bowlers do feature prominently here, it is only Sri Lankans who have bowled a significant number of overs and can therefore produce a truly representative stat.

Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga takes wickets, but also doesn't give away too much.

The Australians regain some pride slightly with their economy rate, coming in only behind Sri Lankan bowlers (who give away just 6.6 runs per over), giving away 7.4 runs per over. Incidentally South African and English players are very close behind here, with economy rates of 7.4 and 7.5 respectively.

So basically, you want your batters from Australia, and your bowlers from Sri Lanka. In short you want Murali, Malinga, Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh. If you want a wicketkeeper, Gilchrist is your man. Honourable mentions here though for the likes of Ross Taylor, Hayden, McCullum, Yusuf Abdulla and Langeveldt.

So what of England's players? Well its difficult to draw any conclusions because of the tiny sample, relatively speaking. For example Shane Warne and Dirk Nannes have both each bowled significantly more overs than all of England's representatives combined. English players have only bowled 14% of the overs Australians have, and have only batted 20% if the innings Australians have. No country has bowled fewer overs in the IPL, and only Pakistani players have batted fewer times - and they're not even in it this year! Australian players have scored almost as many fifties as English players have played innings (42 to 48).

Dirk Nannes: bowled lots of overs

This could have serious ramifications. Of course English players will play a few Twenty20 Cup matches (though the centrally contracted players, KP, Collie, Morgan etc. will play virtually none) but they won't encounter the quality of batting and bowling that they will in the IPL. With Twenty20 increasingly becoming the fulcrum of world cricket, its more and more important that English players are well versed in the requisite skills for that format, and the IPL has to be seen as a way to acquire these. Not that its especially likely that many more English player will be headed that way with the ongoing tensions between the ECB and the BCCI! Also, I'm not sure there's that many who could force their way in to the current sides.

With the sheer volume of Twenty20 cricket they're playing, I would suggest that Australia are well placed to improve their lamentable record in that particular format, and they may well dominate, just like they have all the others. Which is incredibly annoying. Anyway, This was done mainly to satisfy my own curiosity, but its at least partially interesting!

NOTE: The stats are accurate up to the end of the Kolkata-Deccan game yesterday evening, and while there mayb be a couple of players missing here and there, I'm pretty confident I've included 95% of the overseas contingent of the IPL.


Rishabh said...

Hmm, this made me realise that very few England bowlers are in the IPL. Mascarenhas for RR has been good and more recently, so was Bopara. Pieterson gets a few here and there, but I'm certain there aren't any more.

Good round-up - the IPL may add to a player's workload but at present, it's helping most players prepare for the T20WC!

onthebummel said...

It is good to see your command of stats being used for a good and worthy cause. Even if it is a slightly depressing one when it seems to spell the further rise of the Aussies...

GreenJJ said...

There are indeed very few English bowlers in the IPL - Flintoff did bowl a few overs in 2009 but was pretty rubbish. The damage done by KP's part time off spin, and the dibbly-dobblers of Bopara and Mascarenhas is more effective than it proves elsewhere! Even if Bopara does seem to have adopted a spinners run-up!

Cricket stats are the only thing worth spending this much time on!

wouldliketoeat said...

This is amazing analysis. Another reason that this blog is so indispensible!

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, as always.

As you rightly say, one of the striking things is how low the 'sample size' is for England players. Indeed, a simple table of how many games current international players from each country have played in the IPL would also be interesting. It's a worry for English cricket, it does feel like another area where we're being left behind!


GreenJJ said...

English players have played fewer innings than all apart from Pakistani players, and have bowled the least overs of everyone, we are in real danger of being left behind, and will continue to be so if Modi and Clarke continue to be at each other's throats!