Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The IPL's Most Valuable Player


This article has been cross-posted at Cricbuzz


Now that the IPL is done and dusted, we can all go back to our normal evening routines (even if there's a weirdly empty kind of feeling at 4 p.m. and you log on to Cricbuzz to check the latest score updates, only to figure out there is no match happening - not for the next week anyway).


We can think back to our favourite IPL memories - Shane Warne's ruffled look as he spun the ball in his hand before ripping one across the batsman; Anil Kumble's fiercely competitive streak that made the people who were calling for his head wonder why he retired; AB de Villier's masterful strokeplay and the rare delightful time when the commentary box was empty of Ravi Shastri, Ramiz Raja, Pommie Mbangwa, Ranjit Fernando and Danny Morrison.


However, discussions will continue unabated over who exactly were the 'best' players in this edition of the IPL. While there is no way to quantify the quality of runs scored or wickets taken, the pitch conditions and pressure situations et al, we can attempt to pull out numbers based on the quantity of runs scored, strike rates, economy rates and wickets taken.

Towards that end, this is an attempt to form an index for the 'Most Valuable Players' of the IPL.

Each player has been assigned points for batting, bowling and fielding, and the player with the highest number of points is, appropriately enough, IPL Version 2.0 MVP.



Batting Points:


The batting points were fairly straightforward to calculate. You have to take care of two parameters: the number of runs scored and the strike rate. The simplest way to do this is by multiplying one by the other, but there is a qualitatively better method and that is to calculate points based on the Relative Strike Rate.


The Relative Strike Rate is simply the ratio of a particular batsman's strike rate divided by the tournament's average strike rate. So if the average strike rate for the tournament has been 120.00 and Batsman A has a strike rate of 150.00, his relative strike rate would be 1.25.


The batting points are then assigned thus:

If R is the number of runs a batsman has scored, and S is his relative strike rate, the number of points B, the batsman will get is: B = R * S.


The only other thing that needs to be factored in to this is a batsman remaining 'Not Out' at the end of the innings. To make matters simple, every 'Not Out', contributes 10 runs to a batsman's score for the purpose of this analysis. Therefore, if N is the number of Not Outs, the formula becomes: B = (R+10N) * S

For IPL-2, the average strike rate has been 116.61.


The top 15 batsmen by this method, along with their batting point tallies per innings, are:




Team

Runs

Strike Rate

B

1.

Matthew Hayden

Chennai

572

144.81

722.73

2.

Adam Gilchrist

Deccan

495

152.31

646.51

3.

AB de Villiers

Delhi

465

130.99

567.24

4.

Suresh Raina

Chennai

434

140.91

524.42

5.

T Dilshan

Delhi

418

122.58

470.92

6.

MS Dhoni

Chennai

332

127.20

416.69

7.

Brad Hodge

Kolkata

365

117.74

398.82

8.

Sachin Tendulkar

Mumbai

364

120.13

395.59

9.

JP Duminy

Mumbai

372

114.46

394.58

10.

Rohit Sharma

Deccan

362

114.92

386.31

11.

Herschelle Gibbs

Deccan

371

112.08

385.43

12.

Dinesh Karthik

Delhi

288

132.72

384.68

13.

Yuvraj Singh

Punjab

340

115.65

357.01

14.

Jacques Kallis

Bangalore

361

108.73

355.26

15.

Ross Taylor

Bangalore

280

134.62

346.31



Not too many surprises in the rankings, there! Most people would have probably had a similar list if asked to come up with their top 15 batsmen. However, it is nice to be able to put a number to the contributions of various batsmen.


The only team who doesn't have a batsman featuring here is Rajasthan. Their highest ranked batsman is Ravindra Jadeja who makes an appearance at No. 20 in the list.





Bowling Points:


For the bowlers, the parameters are slightly more complicated, as is the fact that straight multiplications will not work, because the lower a bowler's figures are, the better he has performed (a lower average/economy rate is better than a higher one).


The factors I have taken in account while awarding points for bowlers are:


1. The number of wickets taken and the strike rate

2. The number of balls bowled and the economy rate.


The reason for clubbing the factors as above is that for any given economy rate it is more credit-worthy for a bowler to sustain it over a higher number of balls - i.e. it carries greater weight to return an analysis of 4-0-16-0 than 1-0-4-0. The method followed is similar to that for the batsmen, and involves relative economy rates. The Relative Economy Rate (E) of a bowler is the tournament's average economy rate divided by his own. So if the tournament's average economy rate has been 8.00, and Bowler A has bowled his overs at 6.00, his Relative Economy Rate will be 1.33.


If O is the number of balls a bowler has bowled, he would then get O * E points for economy rate.


For his wickets, the points are assigned thus:


Each wicket will fetch him the number of points (W) that an average wicket has cost in the IPL, i.e. W = Total number of balls bowled/ Total number of wickets taken.


This would then be multiplied by his Relative Strike Rate (S1), which will function on the same principle as the Relative Batting Strike Rate, and the Relative Economy Rate. The reason the wickets taken are multiplied by the relative strike rate is so that a part-time bowler who might have picked up a stray wicket or two does not get inordinately rewarded for the same. Therefore the total number of points a bowler gets (B1) is:

B1 = (O*E) + (W*S1).


To homogenize the ratings between batsmen and bowlers, B1 is multiplied by a constant so that both can be measured on the same scale.


For IPL-2, the average economy rate has been 7.31, while the average strike rate for bowlers has been 21.07. Each wicket has been worth 25.67.


The top 15 bowlers, with their normalized ratings are:




Team

Balls Bowled

Runs

Wickets

Econ Rate

Strike Rate

B1

1.

RP Singh

Deccan

358

417

23

6.99

15.57

480.53

2.

Anil Kumble

Bangalore

355

347

21

5.86

16.90

456.26

3.

Ashish Nehra

Delhi

306

346

19

6.78

16.11

396.24

4.

Lasith Malinga

Mumbai

297

312

18

6.30

16.50

382.61

5.

Pragyan Ojha

Deccan

321

348

18

6.50

17.83

371.22

6.

Munaf Patel

Rajasthan

209

241

16

6.92

13.06

361.66

7.

Irfan Pathan

Punjab

302

390

17

7.75

17.76

328.57

8.

Yusuf Abdulla

Punjab

168

241

14

8.61

12.00

316.77

9.

Muralitharan

Chennai

300

261

14

5.22

21.43

316.69

10.

Pradeep Sangwan

Delhi

280

360

15

7.71

18.67

286.58

11.

Dirk Nannes

Delhi

297

372

15

7.52

19.80

286.05

12.

Shadab Jakati

Chennai

174

217

13

7.48

13.38

284.68

13.

Amit Mishra

Delhi

252

294

14

7.00

18.00

279.98

14.

Shane Warne

Rajasthan

300

365

14

7.30

21.43

267.68

15.

Harbhajan Singh

Mumbai

264

256

12

5.82

22.00

256.60




There aren't too many surprises in this list too, though Lasith Malinga has suffered due to his team's early exit - a few more games and wickets and he could well have been heading the table. RP Singh just about manages to edge the titanic Anil Kumble into second place, and that is the beauty of numbers - though most people would pick Kumble as the bowler of the tournament, pure numbers without qualitative analysis give the crown to RP Singh.

The only thing that remains is to factor in the fielding points - which I have taken as 15 each for a catch or a stumping - and arrive at the combined value of each player in the IPL.





So, taking into account batting, bowling and fielding, the Most Valuable Players of this year's IPL have been:




Team

Batting Points

Bowling Points

Fielding Points

Total Points

1.

Adam Gilchrist

Deccan

646.51

0.00

270

916.51

2.

Matthew Hayden

Chennai

722.73

0.00

75

797.73

3.

Suresh Raina

Chennai

524.42

149.18

105

778.60

4.

AB de Villiers

Delhi

567.24

0.00

195

762.24

5.

Rohit Sharma

Deccan

386.31

253.17

75

714.48

6.

Dinesh Karthik

Delhi

384.68

0.00

255

639.68

7.

Irfan Pathan

Punjab

229.78

328.57

60

618.34

8.

RP Singh

Deccan

11.30

480.53

105

596.83

9.

T Dilshan

Delhi

470.92

46.91

60

577.84

10.

Jacques Kallis

Bangalore

355.26

136.53

75

566.79

11.

Brad Hodge

Kolkata

398.82

135.04

30

563.86

12.

Anil Kumble

Bangalore

54.88

456.26

45

556.14

13.

Herschelle Gibbs

Deccan

385.43

0.00

165

550.43

14.

Yuvraj Singh

Punjab

357.01

117.02

75

549.03

15.

JP Duminy

Mumbai

394.58

92.88

60

547.46


A word about Matthew Hayden and AB de Villiers: The men have been in such awesome form that they have outperformed people who have brought bowling, batting and fielding skills to the table. They were, without a doubt the batsmen of the tournament, and had Delhi performed better in the semi-finals, AB could well have given Hayden a run for his money. No less impressive are RP Singh and Anil Kumble who have made it to the table largely due to their bowling efforts. Everyone else is an all-rounder of sorts with Gilchrist and Dinesh Karthik being the wicket-keeper batsmen, except for Herschelle Gibbs who also makes it to the top 15 due to his batting.



Adam Gilchrist has been the star Aussie though. In much the same way as last year, a retired, legendary, all-time great Australian cricketer, led a bunch of initial no-hopers to IPL glory. People will remember Gilchrist's innings in the semi-finals when they talk about IPL 2.0, but do not forget that he ended the tournament as the second highest run-scorer - and that after scoring a duck in the finals. In some way, it was fitting that he fell to Anil Kumble, seeing whom perform would have given immense joy to many an Indian fan.


Appropriately enough, the winner of the Man-of-the-series is also the Most Valuable player by a quantitative analysis - which might go some way towards demolishing Navjot Sidhu's oft-quoted dictum about statistics, viz. "Statistics are like bikinis - they reveal a lot, but not the most essential parts!"


Disclaimer: Yes, I know - I've put that pic up, just to get more hits on the site :-)

11 comments:

Hriday said...

so u still writing for cricbuzz, buddy? stil in blore?

i began writing for JobeeHive, a career site, 2 weeks ago. check out my entries: http://jobeehive.blogspot.com/search/label/Hriday

Saurabh Somani said...

hey man, ya i'm still with cricbuzz... barely a month since I joined them, so wouldn't be leaving so soon, would I ;-)
And, yes, am still in bangalore - was very busy with the IPL, but thank god it's over!

Vikas said...

Enjoyed the mathematical soundness of your approach. It's good to see that you have included pictures with this post.
However, I had 2 suggestions/corrections to make:
1)Change the 3 pics with pictures of the same players from the IPL.
2)Change the title of the last column of the batting & bowling points to "Batting Points:B" & "Bowling Points: B1" respectively instead of "B" & "B1" respectively as the average reader won't remember what "B" & "B1" stand for; so make it explicit.
Keep up the good work of analyzing and describing the cricket rather than hitting out at Modi & the commentators; omit the last para of your latest piece; let the quality of the analysis bring more hits rather than the gimmicks which you can leave for the Siddhus et al. :)

Vikas said...

In the bowling points instead of Mutthiah Muralitharan just write Murali or Mutthiah as the name becomes too long and as a result, the bowling points column doesn't show the number 316 correctly.

Saurabh Somani said...

@Vikas - 1) I would have liked to put the IPL pics of these players, but there is an issue with copyright. I can't put up the pics unless i've bought them, and of course, i can't do that for my blog! (you can check out the post at cricbuzz - that has the official pics)
2) Changed Muralitharan, will change the rest too, if i can get the columns right. As for gimmicks - have to do it to attract ordinary junta for whom analysis alone is not enough ;)
Also have to do it, coz it's kind of fun to do!

The commentary box team said...

What would you like to say about the previous blog of yours were you predicted the semi-finalists. Only 2 teams of that made it to the semis. And the other 2 performed rather poor especailly Mumbai Indians. No comments on that?

Saurabh Somani said...

@ the commentary box team: being wrong is good for one's growth :-)
but seriously... well the previous post was not fully serious, and T20 is such a format, that one top-edged six, one missed run-out etc can be the difference between victory and defeat.
But yes, i was dead wrong about Hyderabad's bowling. RP and Ojha proved me wrong, and i'm delighted to be wrong - we need people like them to develop further for India!

mbjesq said...

In a game which revolves around statistics, your approach is both fresh and illustrative. Great stuff!

But if you are going to pimp your site with photos of scantily clad women, you should at least have the courtesy of making them large enough for us old-guys to see. Otherwise, we can only assume that she is attractive, which cuts against the philosophy of close scrutiny embodied in the statistical analysis set forth in the article. A little consistency, please!

Saurabh Somani said...

@ Mark: ROTFL!!! Point noted sir, and will try to provide greater illustrative consistency in the future!
ROTFL again (still laughing) :-)

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