Sunday, 9 August 2009

Fielding Statistics in Cricket

Samir Chopra has an important suggestion. I don't agree that for cricket statistics we need to go quite as far as baseball's newer fielding statistics like Ultimate Zone Rating, but it would be helpful to track chances and catches.

I get the feeling Samir is thinking of marking fielders for letting what should be a single or two runs go through for three or a boundary. I think it would be more helpful to track bowler's lengths, the overs and sessions in which wickets fall (which is now tracked in full scorecards, sometimes), and where catches were made, for starters. The last two are pieces of information that could easily be incorporated in existing full scorecards.

There's also an issue here about Moneyball and sabermetrics, which are not the same things. Moneyball is about finding 'market inefficiencies' - discovering things that are valuable and undervalued - in order to exploit them. You can't trade players in International cricket, so that's all a bit pointless. What a cricket sabermetrics needs to do is figure out what wins matches. There's a simple answer (wickets and runs) and a complex answer, which is a question of what skills are valuable and need to be coached. In other words, let's value results over technical mastery.

Hat tip to Baseball Think Factory.

1 comment:

  1. Paul,

    I think recording catch positions and drops would be a very good beginning. The latter is a little subjective, but so are errors in baseball. Misfields could also be recorded quite easily; more work for the scorers, possibly necessitating assistants! I think misfields and saves could be recorded and with a little practice, scorers worldwide could start recording a pretty important stat - one that would enable recognition of good fielders in things like team contracts.