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Video Diaries Understanding Cricket Statistics Like baseball and gridiron , cricket is a game that is obsessed with statistics. It is also a game with a long history, and much time is spent talking about great players of the past.
But, just as not everyone who follows baseball knows how to read a box score, the numbers pumped out by cricket commentators have a jargon of their own and need a little explanation at times. Hopefully the following will help. The Score The most important thing is, of course, the overall score in the game.
A cricket score is generally expressed in the form of , meaning that the team batting has runs and has lost 5 wickets. Australians, because they live upside down, will write the same score as Note immediately that this is different from just about any other sport in the world, because it does not tell you who is winning.
With a baseball score of it is very clear which team is on top, but if you follow cricket you have to work things out for yourself. So one team has runs and has lost 5 wickets. Is that good or bad? Well, it depends on the state of the game. Has the other side batted yet? If so, how many runs did they get?
Is it a one-innings match or two? Is the game limited as to the number of overs that can be bowled? In a 5-day test match in your first innings is an OK performance; not great, but it will do.
On the other hand, if you are in the fifth day, are in your second innings, and need only another 17 runs for victory, you are doing very well thank you.
In a over match, is a promising position if you have 10 overs left to bat, but not so good if that is your final score. As a final complication, this type of scoring reporting is not used in explaining who won a game.
As I explained in the first article in this series, victories are reported either as by a number of runs if you win by bowling your opponents out , or by a number of wickets if you win by exceeding their score while batting. If you then want to know what went on in the game, you need to read the scorecard.
The Scorecard Cricket coverage in newspapers and on web sites will generally include a scorecard that is made up of three elements: batting figures, bowling figures, and fall of wickets. The batting figures tell you what happened to each batsman during the innings.
They may also list how many balls he faced, how long he batted for, how many fours and sixes he hit, and his strike rate runs per balls.
In addition there will be a line for extras i.
The bowling figures are given for each player who bowled during the innings. A minimum of four columns will be given. These are the number of overs he bowled, how many of those were maiden overs i. Other columns that may be included are the number of wides and no balls he conceded, and his economy rate runs per over.
It may be that one or more bowlers did not bowl an integral number of complete overs, either because he took the final wicket of the innings or because of injury. Partial overs are always indicated by a point followed by the number of legitimate balls bowled. Note also that wides and no balls, as they are not legitimate balls, are not counted either as balls faced by the batsman or as balls bowled in a partial over.
The final part of the scorecard is the fall of wickets. This tells you the score when each wicket fell, and which batsman was out at the time.
From this you can calculate the number of runs made by each partnership i. This gives you some idea of the ebb and flow of the game. A big partnership is clearly a time during which the batting team had the upper hand, whereas several wickets falling in quick succession shows a time when the bowlers were dominant.
Useful Charts Now that cricket statisticians have computers available, all sorts of useful charts can be produced during play. The most common of these is the wagon wheel, which is a chart of where each scoring shot was played.
It is called a wagon wheel because it looks like an array of spokes radiating out from the stumps.
Generally colors are used to indicate the number of runs scored by the shot. The wagon wheel is used to plot fielding tactics. If you can see that a batsman favors shots in a particular area then it is easier to set fields to contain him.
With a computer-based system you can even call up the wagon wheel for a particular batsman against a particular bowler. In one-day and Twenty20 cricket, where pacing of the innings is more important, two other charts are used.
The Manhattan is simply a bar chart of runs per over. Dots are used to mark the fall of wickets. This gives you an idea of the ebb a flow of the game.
A more useful chart is the worm, a line chart of cumulative runs through the innings. You can see very clearly from this how the batting teams scoring rate rises and falls. When the second team bats you add their line to the chart, and get an instant comparison of the progress against that of the opposition.
Averages and Rankings Traditionally cricketers have been rated by their averages. For batsmen this is the average number of runs per completed innings completed meaning that you were out, so this is total runs divided by total times out. For bowlers it is the average number of runs conceded per wicket taken.
Those are nice, simple numbers and were easily calculated in the days before computers. With the rise of limited-over cricket, two other averages have become important. For batsmen the strike rate has become an important measure of performance, and for bowlers the economy rate is important.
As well as keeping averages, cricket statisticians love to keep records. All sorts of numbers can be recorded: most runs in an innings or a career, most wickets in a career, number of times a batsman scored runs known as a century , or a bowler took 5 wickets in an innings, highest partnerships, and so on.
Averages are very useful in comparing the careers of players, but they are less good at telling you who is currently in good form. Consequently the International Cricket Council has developed a system of rankings for teams, batsmen and bowlers.
The algorithms used are not published, but they are entirely without subjective input, and they take into account factors such as the quality of the opposition and how recent a given performance was. You can view the current rankings here. Key Records No discussion of cricket statistics would be complete without mention of some of the most significant records, so here is a selection taken from test cricket, the highest form of the game.
The records for most runs in an innings and most runs in a career are both held by Brian Lara of the West Indies.
Lara is still playing, and while he is unlikely to beat his record of not out in a single innings, he will keep adding to his career total. The record for the best career batting average is held by the late Sir Donald Bradman of Australia with This record is unlikely ever to be broken.
A measure of how good Bradman was can be gained from the fact that no other batsman has averaged over The active player with the best average at the time of writing is Dravid, though Ricky Ponting of Australia is close behind.
The record for most wickets in a career has been swapping back and fore between two great spin bowlers: Shane Warne of Australia and Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka.
Both men are still playing. The record for the most wickets in a match is held by Jim Laker of England who took 19 of the 20 wickets in two innings against Australia in a match in Keeping Score As I mentioned earlier, I suspect that most cricket scorers these days use a computer to keep score.