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Thread: Stats are evil

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    RTDAS pasag's Avatar
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    Stats are evil

    Thought this would be better as a seperate thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Nah, stats improperly used are evil.
    Yeah, the way they are used is evil. Stats are merley a part of a broader picture. They come into play, granted, but only together with a larger case for and against a player that involve many other factors. I have very little time for people who say a player is good or bad and then go on to explain why that is so based on stats. I find those posters just don't get 'it'.

    For me, I base my opinion on a player on what I've seen, what I've read, how high his fellow players rate him and how highly people's whose opinions I respect rate the person and then on top of that we have the stats to make a complete picture of the player and their career.

    I can't help but cringe at people who write off O'Reilly, Grace, Trumper because they take a quick look at their numbers on their cricinfo profile page. So yeah, I find the way stats are being used in assesing cricketers at times quite 'evil'.

    Thoughts?
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasag View Post
    Thought this would be better as a seperate thread:



    Yeah, the way they are used is evil. Stats are merley a part of a broader picture. They come into play, granted, but only together with a larger case for and against a player that involve many other factors. I have very little time for people who say a player is good or bad and then go on to explain why that is so based on stats. I find those posters just don't get 'it'.

    For me, I base my opinion on a player on what I've seen, what I've read, how high his fellow players rate him and how highly people's whose opinions I respect rate the person and then on top of that we have the stats to make a complete picture of the player and their career.

    I can't help but cringe at people who write off O'Reilly, Grace, Trumper because they take a quick look at their numbers on their cricinfo profile page. So yeah, I find the way stats are being used in assesing cricketers at times quite 'evil'.

    Thoughts?
    Agreed,that is why I say Imran Khan is the best bowler,allrounder & captain ever.

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    International Coach pup11's Avatar
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    Bhupinder, were you watching Imran all the way from Jupiter??
    Anyways, i agree that assessing players only on their stats is harsh at times stats never reveal the true genius of a player, so the best way to judge a player is to watch him by our eyes and then assess him.

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    Banned sideshowtim's Avatar
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    Stats are no different to any other kind of means for backing up your opinion when it comes to cricketing views.

    When trying to support your opinion you will be selective with your stats, just as you will be selective with your non-numerical memories about one particular cricketer. For instance you could say, and this is purely a fictional example, "Well, Lara played McGrath better than anyone I've seen, the way he got on top of and frustrated such a great bowler is indicative of his quality"....Yet at the same time you're not going to say, "But he really did struggle against average bowlers like Ashley Giles, Nicky Boje and Scott Muller". Purely fictional example, but do you see what I'm getting at? People will ALWAYS find something to support there opinion, despite the fact there will always be things that contradict it. Statistical or not.


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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasag View Post
    Thought this would be better as a seperate thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Nah, stats improperly used are evil.
    Yeah, the way they are used is evil. Stats are merley a part of a broader picture. They come into play, granted, but only together with a larger case for and against a player that involve many other factors. I have very little time for people who say a player is good or bad and then go on to explain why that is so based on stats. I find those posters just don't get 'it'.

    For me, I base my opinion on a player on what I've seen, what I've read, how high his fellow players rate him and how highly people's whose opinions I respect rate the person and then on top of that we have the stats to make a complete picture of the player and their career.

    I can't help but cringe at people who write off O'Reilly, Grace, Trumper because they take a quick look at their numbers on their cricinfo profile page. So yeah, I find the way stats are being used in assesing cricketers at times quite 'evil'.

    Thoughts?
    If I understand what you're saying (and that's probably less likely than more ) correctly I agree 100%. Nothing's more stupid than looking at the banal figure you're fed by a TV producer or a player page on CricketArchive\HowStat\CricketWeb\CricInfo\etc. and just making a decision on that.

    Stats are too often taken purely to mean overall career averages as defined by the official authorities and nothing more, and using what I'd call real stats (ie, breaking things down, removing this, removing that, taking into account this, etc.) is "manipulating". Which, frankly, bugs the heck out of me. If you're too simple to understand that the big picture, essentially, tells you nothing of note, that's your problem, not that of the person trying to look for the real picture.

    What's more, obviously, certain things cannot be expressed numerically - "intangibles". These things need to be assessed alongside stats.

    However, too often IMO people will argue that opinion > stats, with which I don't agree. For all the things stats conceal, other things are concealed (and also exaggerated, "not got", and many other things) by the prejudices contained (irrevocably) in opinion.

    The achievement of a cricketer is his output - there's really no two ways about that. These outputs are mostly able to be expressed by statistics of some sort.
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasag View Post
    I can't help but cringe at people who write off O'Reilly, Grace, Trumper because they take a quick look at their numbers on their cricinfo profile page.
    Haha.

    If you feel that way, you are also free to use stats to show where that person is wrong. If they are in fact that good, it will show up in the numbers.

    Because otherwise MS Dhoni is the greatest cricketer of all time because his 186 was awesome and I've arbitrarily judged it to be the best innings of all time, and the rest is the evil stats-men trying to bring him down.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sideshowtim View Post
    Stats are no different to any other kind of means for backing up your opinion when it comes to cricketing views.

    ...

    People will ALWAYS find something to support there opinion, despite the fact there will always be things that contradict it. Statistical or not.
    Absolutely. The sensible among us, though, will basically do this the other way around: they'll find the things, then form their opinion because of this.

    To take another (less hypothetical) example: myself and Dennis Lillee. I had not had the "he was the best seamer ever because most of his peers said so" forced into me - ever. The first time I ever truly considered the question was by reading what people on CW said - and I've said it more than once, CW enjoys a better quality of discussion than any other medium I've ever come accross, including that involving professional journalists. And based on this, and the facts (both statistical and non-statistical) conveyed by those of CW (and yes, amz and those of similar outlook amongst others) I've formed the opinion that Dennis Lillee was not in fact the greatest seamer there's ever been - that there have been several better who achieved more than he did.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Haha.

    If you feel that way, you are also free to use stats to show where that person is wrong. If they are in fact that good, it will show up in the numbers.
    And it does (especially in Grace's case, a player virtually no-one, even CW posters, seem to know which statistics are the right ones to sum-up the career). You just need to look.

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    RTDAS pasag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Haha.

    If you feel that way, you are also free to use stats to show where that person is wrong. If they are in fact that good, it will show up in the numbers.

    Because otherwise MS Dhoni is the greatest cricketer of all time because his 186 was awesome and I've arbitrarily judged it to be the best innings of all time, and the rest is the evil stats-men trying to bring him down.
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    The achievement of a cricketer is his output - there's really no two ways about that. These outputs are mostly able to be expressed by statistics of some sort.
    For me, cricket is a team sport and how a player contributes to the team is the most important factor that often can't be merely represented in output. For example a bowler who beats the bat 6 times in an over and totally kills the batsmans confidence and then the next over a different bowler cleans him up on the others work, that's not represented in output. Or a bowler can take one vital wicket that totally changes the match is only represented as one wicket when in reality it is so much more, I think in ODI cricket more than anything stats are useless (more batting than bowling at a glance) with different style knocks needed for different situations, especially chasing, something that stats never take into account (obviously this applies in Tests as well but I feel it's much more pronounced in the limited overs stuff). I find so often a players figures at the end of a match don't represent their actual performance and the significance of their contribution to the side.
    Last edited by pasag; 17-09-2007 at 01:36 PM.

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    Global Moderator Fusion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Haha.

    If you feel that way, you are also free to use stats to show where that person is wrong. If they are in fact that good, it will show up in the numbers.

    Because otherwise MS Dhoni is the greatest cricketer of all time because his 186 was awesome and I've arbitrarily judged it to be the best innings of all time, and the rest is the evil stats-men trying to bring him down.
    Not a valid argument. When Pasag says he rates players based on who he watches/reads about, he's not basing it on ONE innings. In the case of Dhoni, we have to evaluate him on his whole career. Any sane minded person will not judge him to be the greatest batsman if they do that. However, there is a chance that people may overrate/underrate him (or any other random player), if they go solely on stats. I completely agree that stats alone can not tell you the whole story. Stats can't measure intangibles. If I merely look at the scorecard, I can't tell in what context a particular innings was played. For example, if I went solely by stats, then I would pick Lara's 400* as his greatest innings. However, I consider his 153* to be a far better one instead. If I merely looked at stats, I would consider Wasim to be a great bowler, but not worthy of top 10 status. However, considering the team he played for, the kind of pitches, the pressure and the controversies he had to deal with, and I place him in my top 10 list. Stats simply don't tell the whole story.

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    RTDAS pasag's Avatar
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    On stats, probably my favourite cricket related post on CW, by Francis - linky.

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    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasag View Post
    For me, cricket is a team sport and how a player contributes to the team is the most important factor that often can't be merely represented in output. For example a bowler who beats the bat 6 times in an over and totally kills the batsmans confidence and then the next over a different bowler cleans him up on the others work, that's not represented in output. Or a bowler can take one vital wicket that totally changes the match is only represented as one wicket when in reality it is so much more, I think in ODI cricket more than anything stats are useless (more batting than bowling at a glance) with different style knocks needed for different situations, especially chasing, something that stats never take into account. I find so often a players figures at the end of a match don't represent their actual performance and their significance of their contribution to the side.
    I am with you on that.

    All players play under different conditions with different roles within different teams, in different situations. Stats, even when you really drill down deep into them, only tell you so much. As I think I said a while back, the worth of a player is made up of all sorts of things, of which things like a players average on turning wickets in the second innings, with 80% cloud cover etc is a small fraction. For me, what makes a player great or not are those intangibles that are not for measuring. Its impact/influence on games, impact/influence on players and lets not forget, impact/influence on the people who watch the game. Those things obviously cannot be measured.

    Actually , I think it was you the other day that said about Owais Shah that you though he 'had it' (might not be the exact wording , but something like it). Thats it, you probably dont know exactly what that 'it' is, but you can sense in players. Its just that something that separates players, even though they might have exactly the same average or whatever.

    Without wanting to rekindle old flames, the old Botham vs Imran arguement always highlights it....all that talk of Imran averaging 51 in his last whatever number of tests.
    Last edited by Swervy; 17-09-2007 at 12:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pup11 View Post
    Bhupinder, were you watching Imran all the way from Jupiter??
    Anyways, i agree that assessing players only on their stats is harsh at times stats never reveal the true genius of a player, so the best way to judge a player is to watch him by our eyes and then assess him.
    Stats cannot be discarded, they're an integral part of the big picture, as is opinion from learned authorities.

    What I would place last is sight. Firstly bcuz, one could not have seen all of the cricketers past and present.
    But most importantly, sight could in fact give one a disproportionate impression of a cricketer if you by chance saw him put in extraordinary performances at the time over another who did not.

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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swervy View Post
    Actually , I think it was you the other day that said about Owais Shah that you though he 'had it' (might not be the exact wording , but something like it). Thats it, you probably dont know exactly what that 'it' is, but you can sense in players. Its just that something that separates players, even though they might have exactly the same average or whatever.
    But if I 'have' it score the same amount of runs in every innings as a person who doesn't have it, then the fact that people rate me higher is simply hype and avoiding situations like that is the exact reason you need to look at stats.

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    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    But if I 'have' it score the same amount of runs in every innings as a person who doesn't have it, then the fact that people rate me higher is simply hype and avoiding situations like that is the exact reason you need to look at stats.

    As I say, a part of how I judge someone is impact on a game, on a series or whatever.

    And impact or influence isn't measured in runs and wickets all of the time. Its why Shane Warnes 'Ball Of The Century' to a well past it Gatting is WORTH more than probably any other wicket he took when it comes to playing England at least. The impact was huge, although it was merely one ball one wicket, something he did over 700 times. The averages say that wicket is worth the same as any other, but those of us who saw it know the real significance.

    Or say Flintoffs 95 vs SA a few years back. 95 out of 604, in an innings where someone got 219 and someone else got 124, does not look overly special. But those of us who saw it, realise the impact that innings had on English cricket. It moved people. That is something that cannot be measured. Now in 30 years time when our kids or grandkids are chatting away on this forum about players, what a travesty it would be if special moments like the above (there are plenty of others) or players were completely misjudged because something like Statsguru or whatever cant convey the emotional side of this game.

    Of course stats cant be discarded, but they are only a fraction of really what this game is about. Who would I rather have bat for my life, Kallis (averages 55ish) or Viv Richards (average 50)....., the averages mean nothing as far as I am concerned.

    Who would I want to bowl me into a winning position, whether through taking wickets or clamping things up and putting on the pressure, Colin Croft or Dennis Lillee...I will take DKL any day despite his inferior average
    Last edited by Swervy; 17-09-2007 at 01:21 PM. Reason: just changed a does into a does not

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