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Thread: How valuable is that wicket!

  1. #1
    International Captain ankitj's Avatar
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    How valuable is that wicket!

    Long time back I came across a comprehensive analysis of bowlers based on the "value"of the wickets they take. The approach was wonderfully elegant and very logical. The article is not online anymore.

    Nevertheless I decided to do the exercise again. I am happy to share the results of my hard work over last 3-4 days with you

    Shortlisting the bowlers

    For this analysis I chose a total of 41 bowlers. All 24 bowlers in the 300+ club are chosen. And some of the greats from the sub 300 group are chosen too. This includes the 3 great West Indian fast bowlers - Garner, Holding and Roberts. 3 great Australian fast bowlers of 1950's - Lindwall, Miller, Davidson. The great spinners - O'Reilly, Grimmet, Laker and Verity. 3 Great fast bowlers from pre world war I era - Barnes, Spofforth and Lohman. Two recent bowlers out of curiosity - Gillespie and Steyn. And finally out of curiosity - Sobers and Kallis.

    The averages of these bowlers are listed below:

    Code:
    Bowler		Bowling Average
    George Lohman	10.75
    Sydney Barnes	16.43
    Fred Spofforth	18.41
    Alan Davidson	20.53
    M Marshall	20.94
    Joel Garner	20.97
    Curtly Ambrose	20.99
    Jim Laker	21.24
    Fred Trueman	21.57
    Glenn McGrath	21.64
    Allan Donald	22.25
    Richard Hadlee	22.29
    Bill O'Reilly	22.59
    M Muralitharan	22.72
    Imran Khan	22.81
    Keith Miller	22.97
    Ray Lindwall	23.03
    Shaun Pollock	23.11
    Dale Steyn	23.13
    Waqar Younis	23.56
    Wasim Akram	23.62
    Michael Holding	23.68
    Dennis Lillee	23.92
    C Grimmett	24.21
    Hedley Verity	24.37 
    Courtney Walsh	24.44
    Bob Willis	25.20 
    Shane Warne	25.41
    Andy Roberts	25.61
    Jason Gillespie	26.13
    Ian Botham	28.40
    Mkhaya Ntini	28.82
    Lance Gibbs	29.09
    Chaminda Vaas	29.58 
    Kapil Dev	29.64
    Anil Kumble	29.65
    Brett Lee	30.81
    Jacques Kallis	31.59
    Harbhajan Singh	31.66
    Daniel Vettori	33.86 
    Gary Sobers	34.03
    Value of Wickets

    What the averages don't tell you however is how valuable were the wickets taken by a bowler. A wicket of Harbhajan Singh is not as valuable as that of Sachin Tendulkar. That fact is howerver hidden in the overall bowling averages. In order to put value to every wicket taken, therefore, we can use the career batting average of the batsman dismissed as a proxy. Therefore value of Tendulkar's wicket is about 57 and that of Harbhajan only 16.

    Now we can average the values of all the wickets taken by a bowler. Thus bowler X who takes Tendulkar's wicket thrice and Harbhajan's twice in a series (and takes no other wickets) has an average value of wicket of 40.6.

    Taking such averages over the whole careers of the chosen bowlers, we get the following ranking based on the average value of wickets:

    Code:
    Bowler		Bol Ave	 Avg value of wicket 
    Bill O'Reilly	22.59	 31.56 
    Mkhaya Ntini	28.82	 31.47 
    Dennis Lillee	23.92	 31.27 
    Jacques Kallis	31.59 	 31.25
    Brett Lee	30.81	 31.24 
    Hedley Verity	24.37	 31.23 
    Keith Miller	22.97	 31.17 
    Glenn McGrath	21.64	 31.02 
    Gary Sobers	34.03	 30.93 
    Chaminda Vaas	29.58	 30.74 
    M Marshall	20.94	 30.48 
    Harbhajan Singh	31.66	 30.47 
    Lance Gibbs	29.09	 30.44 
    Anil Kumble	29.65	 30.25 
    Curtly Ambrose	20.99	 30.23 
    Shaun Pollock	23.11	 30.16 
    Michael Holding	23.68	 30.14 
    Alan Davidson	20.53	 30.04 
    Jason Gillespie	26.13	 29.97 
    Bob Willis	25.20	 29.95 
    Imran Khan	22.81	 29.91 
    Jim Laker	21.24	 29.83 
    Kapil Dev	29.64	 29.80 
    Courtney Walsh	24.44	 29.74 
    Allan Donald	22.25	 29.71 
    Ray Lindwall	23.03	 29.59 
    Richard Hadlee	22.29	 29.54 
    Daniel Vettori	33.86	 29.44 
    Shane Warne	25.41	 29.32 
    Ian Botham	28.40	 29.30 
    Dale Steyn	23.13	 29.29 
    Andy Roberts	25.61	 29.01 
    C Grimmett	24.21	 28.99 
    Fred Trueman	21.57	 28.90 
    M Muralitharan	22.72	 28.51 
    Waqar Younis	23.56	 27.65 
    Joel Garner	20.97	 27.15 
    Wasim Akram	23.62	 26.50 
    Sydney Barnes	16.43	 25.02 
    Fred Spofforth	18.41	 20.01 
    George Lohman	10.75	 15.92
    Price paid for the value

    A bowler however cannot be critiqued for only having a low average value of wicket. Some bowlers may play more games against weeker oppositions. Some may come on to bowl only as first or second change and may get less chance to bowl to top order batsmen.

    However if a bolwer does bowl more to weeker batsmen and dismisses them more often, he must also take those wickets more cheaply i.e. must pay lesser price for taking those wickets. This price is the bowling average of the bowler.

    Consider the bowler X in the previous example averaged 30 for each wickets (i.e. gave away 150 runs for his 5 wickets). He has effectively paid a price of 30 while getting rid of batsmen that valued 40.6. Another way to look at it is that bolwer X discounted the batting average of the batsmen he bowled to down to 30/40.6 = 73.8%. Lower the "disconut factor" more effective the bowler. A discount rate of 80% would mean that a batsman who averages 50 overall will average 40 against that bowler in duels.

    Note that it is immaterial if that "price" paid were runs scored by batsmen the bowler X ultimately dismissed or by others. That's how many runs he gave away in search of those wickets.

    With bowling averages and average value of each wicket available with us, we can calculate discount factors for each of the 41 bowlers. Doing this, we get the following ranking on the basis of discount factors:

    Code:
    Rank	Bowler		Bow Ave	 Avg value Discount Factor
    1	Sydney Barnes	16.43	 25.02 	65.7%
    2	George Lohman	10.75	 15.92 	67.5%
    3	Alan Davidson	20.53	 30.04 	68.3%
    4	M Marshall	20.94	 30.48 	68.7%
    5	Curtly Ambrose	20.99	 30.23 	69.4%
    6	Glenn McGrath	21.64	 31.02 	69.8%
    7	Jim Laker	21.24	 29.83 	71.2%
    8	W O'Reilly	22.59	 31.56 	71.6%
    9	Keith Miller	22.97	 31.17 	73.7%
    10	Fred Trueman	21.57	 28.90 	74.6%
    11	Allan Donald	22.25	 29.71 	74.9%
    12	Richard Hadlee	22.29	 29.54 	75.4%
    13	Imran Khan	22.81	 29.91 	76.3%
    14	Dennis Lillee	23.92	 31.27 	76.5%
    15	Shaun Pollock	23.11	 30.16 	76.6%
    16	Joel Garner	20.97	 27.15 	77.2%
    17	Ray Lindwall	23.03	 29.59 	77.8%
    18	Hedley Verity	24.37	 31.23 	78.0%
    19	Michael Holding	23.68	 30.14 	78.6%
    20	Dale Steyn	23.13	 29.29 	79.0%
    21	M Muralitharan	22.72	 28.51 	79.7%
    22	Courtney Walsh	24.44	 29.74 	82.2%
    23	C Grimmett	24.21	 28.99 	83.5%
    24	Bob Willis	25.20	 29.95 	84.2%
    25	Waqar Younis	23.56	 27.65 	85.2%
    26	Shane Warne	25.41	 29.32 	86.7%
    27	Jason Gillespie	26.13	 29.97 	87.2%
    28	Andy Roberts	25.61	 29.01 	88.3%
    29	Wasim Akram	23.62	 26.50 	89.1%
    30	Mkhaya Ntini	28.82	 31.47 	91.6%
    31	Fred Spofforth	18.41	 20.01 	92.0%
    32	Lance Gibbs	29.09	 30.44 	95.6%
    33	Chaminda Vaas	29.58	 30.74 	96.2%
    34	Ian Botham	28.40	 29.30 	96.9%
    35	Anil Kumble	29.65	 30.25 	98.0%
    36	Brett Lee	30.81	 31.24 	98.6%
    37	Kapil Dev	29.64	 29.80 	99.5%
    38	Jacques Kallis	31.59	 31.25	101.1%
    39	Harbhajan Singh	31.66	 30.47 	103.9%
    40	Gary Sobers	34.03	 30.93 	110.0%
    41	Daniel Vettori	33.86	 29.44 	115.0%
    My key take aways

    Around the themes of some of the recent discussions:

    1. Ambrose is NOT over-rated
    2. Murali vs Warne debate is settled
    3. Wasim Akram as a test bowler is a level below some of ATG fast bolwers

    Hope you enjoyed reading this

    EDIT: Added Kallis.
    Last edited by ankitj; 27-10-2010 at 11:56 AM.

  2. #2
    International Coach Ikki's Avatar
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    Murali already settled this last week...didn't you read his interview?
    ★★★★★

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    vcs
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    The high average absolute value of Sir Gary Sobers's wickets is very interesting. He seems to have been a true partnership breaker despite not being a fulltime bowler. Obviously, he ranks low on the final list owing to his high career average. Could you do a similar exercise for Kallis, if it's not too much hard work? Would give a fair indication of whose bowling was more valuable.

    Oh, and McGrath is an absolute freak. To maintain that career average, and a high average wicket value despite bowling in a large part of the 2000s is pretty amazing.

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    International Captain kingkallis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vcs View Post
    The high average absolute value of Sir Gary Sobers's wickets is very interesting. He seems to have been a true partnership breaker despite not being a fulltime bowler. Obviously, he ranks low on the final list owing to his high career average. Could you do a similar exercise for Kallis, if it's not too much hard work? Would give a fair indication of whose bowling was more valuable.

    Oh, and McGrath is an absolute freak. To maintain that career average, and a high average wicket value despite bowling in a large part of the 2000s is pretty amazing.
    Yeah, lets settle yet another debate
    CricZo XI - Draft League

    Season 1 M Hayden, G Gooch, R Dravid, W Hammond, K Pietersen, G Sobers, R Marsh (wk), R Benaud (c), D Steyn, W Hall, N Adcock

    Season 2 J Hobbs, B Richards, D Boon, H Taylor, C Lloyd (c), A Stewart (wk), T Goddard, A Davidson, H Tayfield, C Ambrose, H Griffith

    Season 3 H Sutcliffe, M Hayden, I Chappell (c), G Pollock, A Faulkner, M Hussey, D Lindsay (wk), I Botham, A Kumble, M Marshall, D Lillee


  5. #5
    International Captain ankitj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vcs View Post
    The high average absolute value of Sir Gary Sobers's wickets is very interesting. He seems to have been a true partnership breaker despite not being a fulltime bowler. Obviously, he ranks low on the final list owing to his high career average. Could you do a similar exercise for Kallis, if it's not too much hard work? Would give a fair indication of whose bowling was more valuable.

    Oh, and McGrath is an absolute freak. To maintain that career average, and a high average wicket value despite bowling in a large part of the 2000s is pretty amazing.
    Wanted to include Kallis but than stuck with the number 40. It won't take more than 5 minutes. Will be right back.

    Sobers is about as good as Vettori, which is saying a lot for someone who has a fair claim to the second best batsman position.

    And Ambrose is a freak too. McGrath and him indeed were two phenomenal bowlers of 90's

  6. #6
    vcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8ankitj View Post
    Wanted to include Kallis but than stuck with the number 40. It won't take more than 5 minutes. Will be right back.

    Sobers is about as good as Vettori, which is saying a lot for someone who has a fair claim to the second best batsman position.

    And Ambrose is a freak too. McGrath and him indeed were two phenomenal bowlers of 90's
    Yeah, but the amazing part about McGrath is he kept it going for a good part of this current run-fest decade.

  7. #7
    International Captain ankitj's Avatar
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    Here are numbers for Jacques Kallis

    Bowling Average: 31.59
    Average value of wicket: 31.25
    Discount Factor: 101.1%

    That puts him at 38th, below Kapil and above harbhajan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ikki View Post
    Murali already settled this last week...didn't you read his interview?
    He settled more than just that,tbf

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    vcs
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    So there's very little to separate Kallis and Sobers on bowling, unless you put a lot of emphasis on SR. Sobers's batting puts him a notch above then, I guess.

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    International Coach Ikki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avada Kedavra View Post
    He settled more than just that,tbf
    Yeah...he really rates Jon Crawley.

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    Great work 8ankitj.I guess this is a more accurate version of the "percentage of top order wickets" stat that you can get on cricinfo.

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    International Coach Ikki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vcs View Post
    So there's very little to separate Kallis and Sobers on bowling, unless you put a lot of emphasis on SR. Sobers's batting puts him a notch above then, I guess.
    I think over the span of their careers Kallis was the better bowler. Although, for a period in time Sobers was a proper front line bowler and was arguably more a match winner than Kallis has ever been.

  13. #13
    International Captain ankitj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avada Kedavra View Post
    Great work 8ankitj.I guess this is a more accurate version of the "percentage of top order wickets" stat that you can get on cricinfo.
    Of course. Top order of Bangladesh is not as same as that of India, say.

    EDIT: Just call me Ankit. 8ankitj is just an id

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    That's a great one mate. Will come handyl during debates rather than plain averages.

    And yeah, ambrose aint overrated

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    International Debutant M0rphin3's Avatar
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    And look at Dennis 'overrrated' lillee & Pidge. Pidge pwns.

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