Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Johnson: Rest or Play?

Mitchell Johnson's form seems to be causing some concern in Australia. Even CricInfo bloggers compare him unfavourably with Stuart Broad, which is pretty damning considering one is an opening bowler and the other a 'change' bowler. One of my many theories is that, to paraphrase a baseball expression, There Is No Such Thing As a Reliable Bowler (TINSTARB). Here are some interesting figures to ponder.

Series Overs Economy
07/08 Aus vs SrL 82 2.94
07/08 Aus vs Ind 250.1 3.15
07/08 WIn vs Aus 355 3.31
Three months off
08/09 Ind vs Aus 166 3.14
08/09 Aus vs NZl 231.4 2.35
08/09 Aus vs RSA 391.2 2.76
08/09 RSA vs Aus 530.2 2.88
Three months off
09 Aus vs Eng 82.4 4.00

Notice that the more overs Johnson bowls, how his economy in each series goes up. He also saw his economy start high in the first series of the Southern Hemispher season. I think a combination of these factors is involved here. He's bowled, in Tests alone, over 900 overs in the past two years. This number is probably about the norm for the typical pace bowler at Test level; but since I think bowlers' workloads are too high, for the moment this is a datapoint in my argument.

On the other hand, he also does worse away from home. He wouldn't be the first cricketer in the world who thrived on home cooking. (See Trescothick, Marcus.)

Give Johnson a Test match off, then bring him back. If he still underperforms his average, and there's a better option, play the better option.

No comments:

Post a Comment