How high performers in 50-over cricket and T20s are not the same

How big performers in 50-over cricket and T20s are not the same

Jaideep Varma
Soham Sarkhel

There have been several criticisms of our recent piece about how IPL selections are myopic and arbitrary.

One - that we are not considering the standards of the league where the players we pronounce high impact are playing. But this is untrue – the players who are eventually picked are also being picked from the same leagues where their higher impact peers are playing. Higher impact T20 players from India’s domestic circuit are ignored for lower impact ones playing in the same circuit. Several high impact West Indians got ignored whereas much lower impact T20 players Australian got paid pretty packets. It would help perhaps to remember who the current T20 World Champions are?

Two, how reliable is our impact system? How can anyone assume these are not just some arbitrary numbers, like all other rating systems in cricket are? Well, because they aren’t. Impact is calculated (and not rated) by examining the context of each performance in each and every scorecard of matches. If these people do not want to take the trouble of understanding how this works, and want this understanding to seep into their being on its own, they are entitled to exercise that right.

Three, sample sizes of matches are not enough to make this analysis. One of the more silly objections, this, because here are plenty of players on the main IPL Auction list who have over 30 T20 matches over a period of at least 3 years. That’s not enough sample size? So, maybe you can answer this - how many chances does a player get for his side – how long is his rope before he is labelled a failure and cast away? 5 innings, 7 innings, 10 innings? People who make these objections probably find all quantitative analysis in cricket fatuous – their fondly-held romantic (and often highly spurious) theories about the game are perhaps threatened too much.

Four, and this is what we address in this piece, why should high impact performances in other formats have value in selections? Why should a good domestic season (4-day cricket) record get one selected for a T20 tournament? Why should even a good ODI (50-over) record get one picked for T20 tourney? Why does this inexplicably happen all the time?

Contrary to popular assumptions, the most successful players in T20 and ODI formats are considerably different. As different as the best Test cricket performers are from the ODI performers. It is also very interesting to note that there are actually more upsets in 50-over cricket than in T20 cricket (the World Cups in both formats will provide sufficient proof – more minnows prevail in 50-over cricket than in T20). Of course, there are players who are very good in both T20 and ODIs, but then there are as many who are good in Test cricket and ODIs too.

The reasons could have a lot to do with the mindset required for both formats – perhaps T20 requires a kind of hustle that not everybody can muster up.

Here, then, is a list of players who are good in one format out of the two and why. It is interesting that they often have the same strengths in both formats but their weakness becomes more pronounced in one format. We consider domestic performances in T20s (and T20Is at a slightly higher value) so that sample size arguments, however spurious to start with, do not come up at all. In ODIs, we only consider international 50-over cricket.

 

Players who are good in ODIs but bad in T20s

1) Zaheer Khan
Strengths in ODIs
: Average Wickets Tally Impact, good consistency (low failure rate)
Weaknesses in ODIs
:  nothing significant
Strengths in T20s: Economy Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: Poor Wickets Tally Impact and lack of consistency (high failure rate)

2) Michael Clarke
Strengths in ODIs
: Ability to absorb pressure, Partnership-Building and Chasing Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs
:  Nothing significant
Strengths in T20s: Good Pressure and Partnership-Building Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: Poor Strike Rate Impact and lack of consistency

3) Hashim Amla
Strengths in ODIs:
Exceptional Runs Tally and a very good Strike Rate Impact, extremely consistent
Weaknesses in ODIs
: None
Strengths in T20s
: Good Partnership-Building Impact
Weaknesses in T20s
: Poor Strike Rate and Runs Tally IMPACT
One of the few players whose strengths in one format are actually transformed into weaknesses in another.

4) Ricky Ponting
Strengths in ODIs
: Good in all counts and a big-match player.
Weaknesses in ODIs
:  None
Strengths in T20s: Good Runs Tally, Pressure and Partnership-Building Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: Extremely poor Strike Rate Impact

5) Ajit Agarkar
Strengths in ODIs:
Good Wickets Tally Impact and high consistency
Weaknesses in ODIs
:  Poor Economy Impact
Strengths in T20s
: None
Weaknesses in T20s
: Poor Wickets Tally, Economy Impact. Extremely high failure rate
Much like Amla, strengths in ODIs are curiously weaknesses in T20.

6) Ian Bell
Strengths in ODIs
: Good Partnership-building Impact and consistency.
Weaknesses in ODIs
:  Poor Strike Rate Impact
Strengths in T20s: Good Partnership-building Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: Poor Strike Rate and Runs Tally Impact

7) Steven Finn
Strengths in ODIs
: Exceptional Wickets Tally Impact and consistency
Weaknesses in ODIs
:  None
Strengths in T20s: Economy Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: Average Wickets Tally Impact

8) Stephen Fleming
Strengths in ODIs
: High Pressure and Partnership-building Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs:
Poor Strike Rate Impact
Strengths in T20s: Good Partnership-building and Chasing Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: Poor Strike Rate and Pressure Impact

9) Saurav Ganguly
Strengths in ODIs:
Good Runs Tally and Partnership-building Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs
:  Poor Strike Rate Impact
Strengths in T20s: High Pressure and Partnership-building Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: Very Poor Strike Rate Impact

10) Virat Kohli
Strengths in ODIs
: High Runs Tally, Pressure, Partnership-building and most notably Chasing Impact (the best in ODI cricket history)
Weaknesses in ODIs
:  None
Strengths in T20s: High Partnership-building and Chasing Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: Poor Strike Rate Impact

11) Brett Lee
Strengths in ODIs:
High Wickets Tally and Economy Impact. Exceptional consistency
Weaknesses in ODIs
:  None
Strengths in T20s: High Economy Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: Poor Wickets Tally, Pressure-building Impact and lack of consistency
Interestingly, has been a big match player in both formats.

12) Alastair Cook
Strengths in ODIs
: High Runs Tally, Partnership-building and Chasing Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs
:  None
Strengths in T20s: High Runs Tally, Chasing Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: Poor Strike Rate Impact, has failed at the international level

 

Players who are good in T20s but bad in ODIs

1) Martin Guptill
Strengths in T20s
: High Runs Tally, Chasing and Partnership-building Impact
Weaknesses in T20s
: None
Strengths in ODIs
: Good Strike Rate and Partnership-building Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs: Poor Runs Tally Impact, hence poor consistency

2) Brendon McCullum

Strengths in T20s: High Runs Tally, Strike Rate, Partnership-building and Chasing Impact
Weaknesses in T20s: None
Strengths in ODIs:
High Strike Rate Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs: Very poor Runs Tally Impact (which suggests poor consistency)

3) Imran Nazir
Strengths in T20s
: High Runs Tally, Strike Rate, Partnership-building and Chasing Impact
Weaknesses in T20s
: None
Strengths in ODIs
: High Strike Rate Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs:  Poor Runs Tally Impact and lack of consistency

4) Marlon Samuels
Strengths in T20s
: High Runs Tally, Strike Rate and Partnership-building Impact
Weaknesses in T20s
: Poor consistency
Strengths in ODIs
: High Pressure Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs: Very poor Runs Tally Impact and lack of consistency
Despite a remarkable 2012, Samuels' Achilles Heel is consistency – it will be interesting to see if it comes back to haunt him in the coming seasons.

5) Yusuf Pathan
Strengths in T20s
: High Strike Rate and Pressure Impact
Weaknesses in T20s
: Lack of consistency
Strengths in ODIs
: High Strike Rate Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs: Very poor Runs Tally Impact and extremely inconsistent.

6) Darren Bravo
Strengths in T20s
: High Runs Tally, Strike Rate, Pressure, Partnership-building and Chasing Impact
Weaknesses in T20s
: None
Strengths in ODIs
: None
Weaknesses in ODIs: Very poor Runs Tally Impact and lack of consistency

7) Craig Kieswetter
Strengths in T20s
: High Runs Tally, Partnership-building, Pressure and Chasing Impact
Weaknesses in T20s
: Poor Strike Rate Impact
Strengths in ODIs
: Good Strike Rate Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs: Very poor Runs Tally Impact and lack of consistency
Another example of someone who reverses his strengths in both formats.

8) Brad Hodge
Strengths in T20s
: High Runs Tally, Partnership-building, Pressure and Chasing Impact
Weaknesses in T20s
: None
Strengths in ODIs
: High Strike Rate Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs: Very poor Runs Tally Impact and lack of consistency

9) Munaf Patel
Strengths in T20s
: High Economy Impact
Weaknesses in T20s
: Wickets Tally Impact on the lower side
Strengths in ODIs: None
Weaknesses in ODIs: Low Wickets Tally Impact

10) Ben Hilfenhaus
Strengths in T20s:
Exceptional Economy Impact and consistency
Weaknesses in T20s:
None
Strengths in ODIs: None
Weaknesses in ODIs: Poor Wickets Tally and Economy Impact

11) Abdur Rehman
Strengths in T20s:
Exceptional Economy Impact and consistency
Weaknesses in T20s:
None
Strengths in ODIs: High Economy Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs: Poor Wickets Tally Impact

12) Lendl Simmons
Strengths in T20s:
High Runs Tally and Partnership-building Impact
Weaknesses in T20s:
None
Strengths in ODIs: High Pressure Impact
Weaknesses in ODIs: Poor Strike Rate and Runs Tally Impact

There are many more such examples. A list co-relating Test cricket and ODI cricket would interestingly look very similar. All 3 formats are clearly distinct from each other - that is what this is all about in the end.



 

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