Sunday, 25 January 2009

'Christmas Tests XI'

This is my cricket XI, based on my sabermetric-inspired series scores for this season's 'Christmas Tests'. The number is their overall level-2 series score, combining bowling and batting scores.

Gayle (WIn) 38
Smith (RSA) 20 (captain)
Chanderpaul (WIn) 20
Samaraweera (SrL) 24
Ryder (NZl) 19
Dilshan (SrL) 62(!)
Haddin (Aus) 10 (Wk)
Steyn (RSA) 28
Johnson (Aus) 26
Muralitharan (SrL) 15
Edwards (WIn) 8

First off, Dilshan's score is astounding. That it came against Bangladesh is a mark against it, and with three Sri Lankans in the side, one could argue that strength of opposition isn't getting a big enough weighting. (That would be a level-3 series score.) Australia's Clarke could have been expected to put in an appearance, but his bowling against South Africa totally ruined an excellent batting score of 28. I guess with four full-time bowlers plus spells from Gayle and Dilshan, one could drop Ryder and put in Clarke. For this attempt, I decided to go straight by the numbers.

With three number 5 batsmen, there could be some trouble if the openers go early, although I have confidence in Chanderpaul at any position. The tail is a bit long with both Muralitharan and Edwards. There's an argument for putting Siddle in ahead of Edwards, but Edwards (believe it or not!) comes out the better batsman. Haddin might not be my first wicketkeeper with the gloves (that might be H Jayawardene of Sri Lanka), but he was far and away the best batsman of the six. So, with those little caveats, I throw the comments section open for discussion. You've seen the sabermetric points; you have the standard averages to look at; you may have seen some of the Tests. Who is in your XI for these three series?

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