Monday, 16 February 2009

Missing, in action

Sorry not to have posted for a while. Baseball season is approaching, and I've been doing sabermetrics in that field, instead of the more needful realm of cricket, where we hear a lot of unsabermetric nonsense still. I'm nearing the end of the preseason baseball work, so I should resume posting here with more frequency.

I'll start with a post based on watching the first day's play of the Third Test between the West Indies and England. Some comments by Michael Holding really 'got my goat'. He was complaining, towards the end of the day's play, that Edwards and Powell and Taylor hadn't bowled enough overs.

I'm still in two minds about Chris Gayle's captaincy. I've already characterized him privately as the anti-Nasser Hussain. Nasser, God bless him, was a fidgety captain in the field. If something wasn't succeeding the way he anticipated, he'd tinker with it, even though it wasn't necessarily failing. Often, he'd make matters worse. Gayle, by contrast, is possibly too laid back. Sometimes he should press a little more.

It's pretty clear that there is little in the pitch for the bowlers. So what's the point of sending your quicks out there to toil in the midday heat for little or no reward? Far better to bring on the spinners. If there's nothing there for your chaps on the first day, chances are there won't be much for their chaps later on. We know that in baseball pitchers can be driven into injury by overwork, and I'm fairly confident based on limited work I have done that the same applies to bowlers. Gayle was being pretty shrewd. He spared his best bowlers needless work, and possibly ensured they are less likely to suffer injury.

On other point, Holding said that Pietersen was capable of destroying an attack, where Strauss wasn't. Excuse me? Strauss had just batted all day, taking more than 270 deliveries, and scored over 150. Think about that - 270 deliveries is over 40 overs. That's seeing off two bowlers, bowling all day, without giving up a wicket. And then they have to come back and bowl the next day, when they won't be as fresh.

I shouldn't have taken a break. There's such a lot of nonsense being spoken.

Sunday, 1 February 2009


Charles Davis' 'Sundries' column this week suggests there's more to Matthew Hayden's departure than just his batting. This is the link to the article on the Melbourne Age site. Once again he refers to a chart that isn't there. I don't know why they can't post it. Try his site. Point your browser using the link to Z-Spot on this blog. Maybe it's better to give him the traffic than the Age.

Looking Forward to: England's Tour of the West Indies 2

My long-promised Sabermetric Cricket West Indies' batting projections:

Gayle 39.22 28.83
Marshall 32.29 20.58
Sarwan 42.38 44.42
Chanderpaul 48.64 51.63
Nash 31.72 16.18
Ramdin 16.84 14.39
Taylor 16.03 13.66
Powell 7.34 6.77
Edwards 3.41 5.57
Benn 9.17 6.39
Baker 0 0.75

The first column is unregressed, the second regressed. There's not a lot of data for some of these players, so confidences are poor. I also went with four seamers and a spinner, but I think I'd rather have an extra batsman. Gayle and Nash between them could pick up the bowling slack. In some cases I prefer the unregressed figure (eg, Nash) and in others the regressed (eg, Marshall).

The unregressed order produces an innings total of 247.
The regressed order produces an innings total of 209.
The average of the two is 228.

286, 225 and 256 were England's counterparts. It's too close for my comfort as an England fan, especially if West Indies can add another batsman in place of one of the bowlers.

Remember, all these numbers are a batsman's anticipated performance against an average set of bowlers. I'll start work on the bowling sides post haste, and hopefully I'll be able to give adjusted figures before the first Test starts.