Saturday, 13 June 2009

Congrats to Um(a|e)r

Mr Gul, who can't seem to decide how to spell his name, just took 5 for 6 off of 3 overs, the first michelle in international T20s, and also the most economical figures in the format of the game (and probably ever, what with it being the shortest form too).

These figures are undeniably the best, I'm fairly sure no one would put anything else above those 3 overs, but at the same time, what really makes one set of figures better than another?

Classically I think that it's very rare that the more wickets the more valuable the performance when spread over a longer format, but not always, and even less so within the super mega short formats.

As a captain would you rather see wickets or maidens? Initially that's probably a reasonably equality to make, 1 wicket = 1 maiden. In T20, maidens are much rarer than wickets, but in terms of the impact, roughly the same maybe.

Of course, if the details outside of this go awry then either achievement is quickly forgotten... would a captain care about his favourite middle overs dobbler taking 3 wickets if he went at 16 an over? Or, to complete the analogy, bowled 2 maidens and then was slogged for 8 sixes and 3 fours in the other 2 overs?

So moving on from maidens, and dot balls along with them (as nice a stat as it can be in T20, props to Sky for adding them to the players summaries), the blindly obvious alternative is of course economy rate.

As it turns out, Um(a|e)r's economy was similarily amazing, going at 2rpo, BUT if he had also been slapped around, the "best ever" bowling analysis in T20i could well be 5-32, which compared to the newy relegated 4-7 (Mark Gillespire vs Keny, 2007 World T20) wouldn't be considered better. Yet there it would of been, sitting atop the table.

So using magic imaginary numbers, complete the equation -- 5 for 30 == 4 for X

20? 10? If there was an equation, I'm sure it'd be hated as much as D/L. If I crawled over statsguru long enough I could probably have a stab at a magic ratio, but that sounds like hard work for zero return.

The big arse pain about stats is always that they miss the realities of the match, who was the opposition, was it the openers falling, or a drab skittling of a sorry tail end? Those annoyances aside, there's surely a point, especially in the short game when all the commentators seem to talk about are dot balls being golddust, where "best" can't always mean "most wickets".

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Cactus time... ICC tournament structures

England lost to the Netherlands. Can't be arse to comment on that, as it's too interesting. Instead I was thinking about things which are dryer than a moisture lacking entity in an environment generally known for it's lack of water content.

This loss could cause a problem for the ICC, just like it did in the ODI World Cup when Ireland went through against all odds and ended up playing 7 more matches than they should. If England don't go through that will then be 7 matches with lower viewing figures, 7 matches with lower gate takings, 7 "worse" matches.

I can see the appeal of the league formats, from a cynical and genuine perspective, more matches, more money, more team exposure etc. But that leaves the problem of an exciting end. The IPL format seems odd with a big long hard fought league to ditch half the teams and then just 3 matches to sort out the top 4... weird, and unattractive.

Here in the World T20 this stupid "Super 8" thing is such a bad idea for the same reasons. In addition, going from 12 to 8 with just two matches per side clearly shows that those 4 getting the chop are not meant to make it in the first place. They are supposed to be token gestures, every one of them. If you look at how many matches are played by each level of progression we get:

4 teams play twice
4 teams play 9 times
2 teams play 10 times
2 teams play 11 times

Total matches - 86

Seems odd. The whole thing looks ugly and unbalanced. how about this...

Firstly, 16 teams instead of 12, and in that first group there are more games, meaning that the two teams going through from each group have more right to go through, so less shocks in theory.

Secondly any shocks that do happen are (probably) only going to last 3 more matches, not 7. After that round, you'd be really quite confident that normality should of been restored, and if not, then whoever it is clearly deserves to be there after all.

Thirdly there is a good balance between knock out and round robin leagues - it's a triangle. Everyone loves triangles accordingly to Dairylea.

Tallying up matches again:

8 teams play 3 matches
4 teams play 6 matches
2 teams play 9 matches
2 teams play 10 matches

Total matches - 86. You could not make this stuff up! Well you could, as I did the maths in my head and i'm tired... was I right?

I reckon this looks much much nicer. Less matches per team at most stages, but for the better I think. How many matches in any of these groups is going to be pointless for a team that progresses to the next round? Depends on numerous things really, but ultimately there would be less than the super 8 matches for sure.

I reckon this is fair. Does anyone else?