Cricket All Round Performances

September 19th, 2011

In cricket a player who can perform well with both the bat and bowl is a great asset for any team and across the history of international cricket there have been a number of cricketers that hall into this bracket.

It is difficult to specify a set of criteria to determine whether a player can be described as an all-rounder. To compare the performances of various all-rounders we can look at the subset of crickters who have scored at least 1,000 runs and taken at least 100 wickets at Test Match level. This is not a perfect criteria as there will be players who have taken part in sufficient test matches that they will be included even though they are clearly much stronger in one of the two disciplines but very handy in the other.

A total of 54 test match cricketers were identified based on this criteria (up to and including test match 2004) and a scatter plot of the performances can be seen here. The graph shows that the majority of players in the bottom left region of the graph with a handful of batsmen and bowlers at the extremes in terms of runs or wickets.

To get a better idea of the balance between wickets and runs we can zoom in on the bottom left hand region of the graph to get this display. This new graph suggests that although there have been a number of English cricketers that has scored 1,000 runs and taken 100 wickets they do not have the longevity of players from other countries.

There are naturally other measures of performance that could be used to compare this set of allround cricketers which might provided a more illuminating insight into all round performances.

5 Responses to “Cricket All Round Performances”

  1. pssGuy says:

    Ralph
    Interesting analysis. Presumably you did this in R. I would be interested to know how you both applied the flags and also sourced the data
    Without having the players named (would that be possible by clicking on an observation?) it is difficult to comment on your conclusion re English cricketers longevity. However, it is possible that some of these players performed decades ago when, I believe, there were fewer tests. Trevor Bailey, for instance, with 2290 runs scored and 132 wickets would be one of the bottom-lefters but he was a mainstay in the England team throughout the 1950’s

  2. Ralph says:

    The analysis was done using R with data collated from cricinfo, but the graph itself constructed using LaTeX code generated from within R. The graph construct is based on an idea by Edward Tufte which I like and have been experimenting with – in fact given sufficient patience the flags could be replaced by mug shots of the players.

    Re: the longevity remake in my post I think that what I meant was number of matches rather than necessarily a period of time as you are correct to point out that the number of test matches played each year has increased greatly in the recent era. Also it is difficult to assess the worth of all rounders in a two dimensional graph. :)

  3. Matt says:

    Nice post. Not a cricket fan but a thought on this is, as you say, given that players have to have been around a certain number of years to reach 1000/100, you could use info on the length of these players careers, to see on average what these ‘life time all rounders’ got on a yearly basis, and then use that to ‘grade’ current players to see if they’re on track to be a ‘life time all rounder’. If that makes sense.

    Love sports stats :)

  4. efrique says:

    Who is the South African with over ten thousand runs in your plot?

  5. Ralph says:

    The South African is Jacques Kallis. A great batsman who has picked up a lot of wickets during his test career. There is always a great debate about whether or not he should be considered an all rounder or not.