Finding the Next James Anderson

Hello, welcome to today’s blog in which we will be scouting for the next James Anderson. Possibly. The ideas behind this blog are nothing new in fact I have stolen the idea from another sport. The Rangers report blog wrote a piece about scouting for the best youth players by using age-adjusted stats. This idea was based on Vollans work on ice hockey. I always like to say a lot of the best ideas are re-purposed from other areas! So how am I going to apply it? well, we are going to use the bowling stats from the second 11 country championship, age-adjust and see which bowler under the age of 21 looks to be the most promising.

bowlerdataAbove is the first 20 rows for the 350 bowlers we are going to be looking at. The top wickets is Nijjar from Essex, however, he is 24, therefore, will not be included overall. The first under 21 player on the top wicket list is 20-year-old mike for Leicestershire. So let’s adjust the data and see where we end up.

The first thing to do is all the players have bowled differing amounts of balls. I need to get all the players to the same level of balls. To do that, I took the strike weight for there balls actually bowled and extended this to a full season of say 1500 balls. In the table below the estwicket column is the number of wickets if the bowlers strike rate continued over a full 1500 balls.


However, a bowler who has taken a lot of wickets in a low amount of balls is unlikely to continue this rate to the end of a season. (Sorry Ben Coad). Regression to the mean is a widely accepted mathematical theory therefore when we are extrapolating performance we need to account for regression to the mean.

In the Rangers report blog, they applied 1% regression for every match they projected performance for. I can’t do that as my analysis is based on balls and in multi-day matches bowlers will bowl different amounts of balls.  Therefore I decided to apply the same 1% regression for every extrapolated 100 balls.


The table to the side shows how much this affects the bowlers on the list, with most bowlers having a reduction in wickets.

Now the final thing is to adjust the total wickets based on the player’s age. The first part will be to filter for all players 21 and younger and then apply Volman’s age curve below


The age curve is by year and month, however, I have only got the age in years, therefore, will just be using the numbers in the first column. The graph below shows the resulting results


Based on this method Szymanski is the best bowler of the 2nd XI county championship. However, the large dot means we have to extrapolate a lot for Szymanski. Another interesting point is 3 of the top 5 estimated wicket takers are left-arm spinners. The England team is badly missing a reliable spinner particularly away from home could one of the 3 be the future England Spinner.

There lots more work that can be done with this data and look back historically at how these numbers can relate to future county championship averages. Also, apply a similar model to Batsmen which will be detailed in a future blog. Let me know your thoughts have you seen Szymanski bowl? Ideally, I would have prefered younger players but I think younger players play in the under 17 county championship.




IPL Preview – Sunrisers Hyderabad

Hello and welcome to the final of my previews for this years IPL. Please do go check the others in the series and let me know your thoughts and predictions. Who do you think has the best squad in the league this year? Today we are focusing on the Sunrisers Hyderabad who were founded in 2012. Since then they have won tournament once in 2016. They are now captained by Kane Williamson and are coached by the Australian Tom Moody.

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Sunrisers have the second biggest squad in the league which should give them an advantage if any of the players lose form or they get injured. Its also a very well balanced age squad with not many young players. Finally looking at the distribution of games played in the IPL they have a number of key players with lots of experience. One of them though is David Warner, not playing this year due to the fallout from the ball tampering scandal.

sunriser tree

Looking at the treemap its clear that the team spent most of its money on batsmen and fast bowlers, there is relatively little investment in all rounders. Sunrisers have also invested big in the Afghanistan leg spinner Rashid Khan. Him and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be the key members of the bowling attack.

sunris batsmen

Overall the batsmen look pretty weak. This is because they are mostly on the left side of the graph. One hope is their relatively strong levels of strike rate however the issue is the batsmen may not stick around long enough to get going.

sunrisers bowl

With the all rounders the news gets a little bit better. Despite the low outlay in players a number of them appear to have good batting and bowling stats with good economy rates. This looks to be impressive work getting good players for the low outlay they had.

sunrise bowl

The bowling department looks to be the teams greatest strength. They will be hoping two of the best bowlers in the competition Kumar and Rashid live up to their past performances. They will need to if the Sunrisers are to be sucessful.

Overall I think this is a well balanced squad though i think the absence of Warner could be too big a void to fill.


IPL Preview – Royal Challengers Bangalore

Hello welcome to the 7th part of this series reviewing the rosters of all the IPL teams for the upcoming 2018 season. Please go and check the other posts as there’s some interesting insights to be find and let me know what you think. Today’s review we are looking at the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who could be termed as the unlucky team. Three times they have made it to the final of the tournament and lost all three times. Currently their captain is the world class Virat Kohli who has been with the team since its 2008 inception. They are coached by Daniel Vetori who has been the coach since 2014 and has a reputation as an expert twenty 20 coach.

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Overall Bangalore have a decent sized squad compared to the other teams. Age wise most of their players are towards the higher age bracket but probably the most dense grouping around peak ages for a player. There is a good amount of experience throughout the squad when compared to the other teams but there are a few players towards the lower end which could effect them

treemap bangalore

Big value has been spent on Virat Kohli as you would expect but also Chris Woakes. He is the most expensive all rounder in the team and this is likely due to his ability to bowl at the death and restrict runs. He will be a key component in the bowling attack. There is also a good selection of fast bowlers to back up and good spin options in Moeen Ali and Chahal. Having both makes playing two spinners a lot easier due to Moeen’s ability with the bat.

bangalore batting

In the treemap it looked like Bangalore had spent big money on Batsmen and it looks like that investment has paid off. The batting line up looks capable of threatening any team with high strike rates and high averages indicating long innings. I think this is clearly the best batting line up of the teams we have see so far.

bowl bang

All rounders it looks clear that they have aimed to go for bowling all rounders with good economy rates. This looks to be a smart move when the batting line up is as strong as it is.

bowl baga

When you look at the bowling attack its understand able why they have mostly aimed to go for bowling all rounders. It looks particularly weak especially for conceding runs. They will hope the bowling all rounders such as the likes of Woakes and De Grandhomme will supplement the attack.

Overall Bangalore clearly have a super strong squad with particular strength in the batting line up. If the all rounders can contribute as much as a bowler can then look out for Bangalore going far in this years tournament.

IPL Preview – Rajasthan Royals

Hello i’m back with the next preview for this years IPL. As i say in the start of all of these posts its part of a series please go check out the others let me know what you think and your thoughts its definitely going to be an exciting league this year.  Today we are covering the Rajasthan Royals a team with a chequered history. They won the league in the inaugural year in 2008 but since then its been poor performances on on the wicket and controversy off it, (Rajasthan were expelled for two seasons). Already this year they have lost their captain Steve Smith so are lead by Ajinkya Rahane.

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Overall for number of players Rajasthan have the third smallest squad however its pretty similar to some of the other squads therefore I don’t think its an issue. With regards to ages there is a good grouping around peak age as well as a few players at the top ages which will be helpful. Experience is where it starts to go a bit downhill for the royals with clearly the least experienced team in the competition.

royals tree

The treemap shows that the Royals have spent big on a number of key players. In all categories. One of the key players in Steve Smith will not be playing therefore that leaves a big hole in the batting line up. They will be hoping that the big money spent on all star all round Ben stokes can help overcome his loss. Its clear the Royals have spent big then filled the rest of the roster with cheaper players to supplement the big players.

royal batt

Unfortunately the batting when viewed the same way we have viewed all the other teams so far looks pretty weak. Especially when you remove Steve Smith from that line up.  They have a couple of batsmen with decent strike rates but no one to play the long innings. This could mean they struggle post big totals or chase big totals down.

royals all

Things look a bit better when the all rounders are looked at. There is a good spread of good bowling all rounders to supplement the bowling attack and batting all rounders the help the batting line up. This seems to be the most complete squad when it comes to all rounders.

royals bowl

The bowling attack could be the weakest area of the team. The whole attack is the the right hand side of the graph which means they could be conceding a lot of runs. Therefore without the batting line up without Steve Smith present could be struggling to chase down runs.

In summary I think that despite there obvious strength with all rounders, the weak batting line up missing Steve Smith and the poor bowling attack could mean the Royals are in for a season of struggle.

IPL Preview – Mumbai Indians

Hello and welcome to the next IPL preview. This is part of a series of 8 posts looking at all the team playing in the IPL this year trying to look at the weaknesses and strengths in each squad. All the others are on the blog so please go check them out let me know your thoughts. Today we are covering the Mumbai Indians, the holders of the title and the favourites for this years competition. Mumbai are possibly the most successful team in the IPL and have a big reputation to live up to. They are coached by the great Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene and captained by Rohit Sharma.

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Mumbai have the largest squad in this years competition so will be interesting to see if the squad is quantity and quality.  Overall Mumbai are one of the younger squads in the IPL this year however most of the players are clustered around the peak ages which could be an advantage. Finally in terms of IPL experience it is definitely on the lower end however they do have a couple of players with lots of experience. This seems to be a well structured squad for age and experience so lets look where the money was spent.

mumbai treem

Mumbai seems to be another team which has spread its money between batsmen, all rounders and fast bowlers. The big money has been spent on Rohit Sharma the captain and who the pressure will rest on to get them up to the big scores.

mumbai batsmen

Overall the batting line up looks extremely strong with generally high strike rates and a few batsmen able to the play long innings that underpin the big scores. I really like the balance here this is clearly a squad that has been well thought out.

mumbai all rounders

The Mumbai all rounders could be the slight weak spot. They are still generally good however compared to some of the others are maybe lacking in the bowling or batting facet depending on the player.

mumbai bowlers Finally the bowling attack looks excellent. Two bowlers in the attack able to take wickets and restrict runs which is the perfect combination.

Overall Mumbai is clearly a well balanced and though through squad. The money has been spent well across all departments and I can see why they have the tag as favourites. whether i agree with that though we will have to see what the rest of the teams have to offer.

IPL Preview – Kolkata Knight Riders

Hello and welcome to another of my IPL previews today’s is looking at the Kolkata Knight Riders. If you want to look at the others there all in the blog so go and check them out. The team from Kolkata have been in the competition since it was founded and won the tournament in 2012 and 14 under the stewardship of Trevor Bayliss. Since 2016 Jacques Kalis has been the head coach. They will be hoping to go further then the play offs this year. So lets dissect their squad see if that might be possible.

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The first thing that stands out is that the Knight Riders have by far the smallest roster in the competition. Will this cause issue an issue if players are out of form or injuries. Loking at the average ages for the squad it looks like there is a good spread of ages and also experience of the IPL which should stand them in good stead.

kolkate tree

The treemap above shows each player in the Kolkata squad with how much they cost in the IPL auction. What stands out that in three key areas of the team they decided to spend big one name. This should mean they have a spine in the team of top world class players and therefore Kolkata could be a team of seeing how the other players play around the top players.

kolkata batsmen Overall the batsmen are generally high strike rates which will give them a good chance of scoring good runs. They seem to be lacking in batsmen who will stick around however the two batsmen they have that will do that could allow the ones with the higher strike rates to play around them. This therefore could be a well balanced batting lineup.

kolkata all rounder

on the all rounder front there seems 2 out of the three all rounders are much more bowling all orunders then batting. This will therefore strengthen the bowling attack more then normal all rounders at the expense of the batting line up.

kolkata bowlers

Finally we look the bowlers, in which Kolkata’s big problem is shown. To start with there are only 4 bowlers in the squad and only three of them have a twenty 20 record. When you add in the fact their top bowler, Mitchell Stark, is currently out injured and probably wont play in the competition. This could then mean the team lack the required firepower in order to win matches. It is also where having a small squad is going to hurt them as they dont have many options for replacement.

In summary I think despite what appears to be a well balanced batting line the lack of numbers for all rounders and in the weakness in the bowling attack could mean Kolkata are in for a struggle in this years competition. It will be interesting to see what they do to cover for Starc and times ticking for them tov come up with a plan as opening game is less then a week away as i write this.

IPL Preview 3 – Kings XI Punjab

Hello welcome to the third of my previews ahead of this years IPL. If you didn’t check out the other two on the Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Daredevils then please go check them out let me know what you think. Today we look at Kings XI Punjab. The Kings are captained by R Ashwin and coached by Brad Hodge. Despite being in every edition of the IPL they have never won the competition ending up beaten finalists in 2014. Since then though there has been a poor showing finishing bottom in 2 of the last three years. Kings fans will hope this is the year the team starts to look up.

The first thing that stands out in the graphs above is that Kings have the second smallest roster. I have changed the average age graph to now plot each individual players age rather then just the average. For Kings you can see that most of their players are within a tight range however they also have two of the oldest players in the league. When you review number of IPL games they are one of the least experienced teams in the league. Most of the squad is on the lower end of the graph therefore experience could be an issue for this squad.

punjab treemap

The money spent for Kings seems to have been spent quite evenly. However when they have spent money on all rounders they have spent relatively highly. The most money has been spent on fast bowlers so hopefully that is reflected in the graphs later. It is really interesting to see the variations on how the teams money has been spent and maybe a weakness here could be they haven’t spent big on one player as a talisman.

punja batting

On the face of it this looks a formidable batting line up with a number of players in the high run rate long innings category and high strike rates in general. This could mean the kings will be high runs scorers particularly in the top order and it will be fascinating to see this batting line up in action.

pun jab all rounders

Now on the face of it the all rounders look OK however when you consider the Kings apparent best all rounder has never played an IPL game and that record is from the lower twenty 20 competition in India, Things don.t look so good. Overall I don’t think this is the strongest area of the squad though generally the bowling does seem pretty economical.

punjab bowlers

The bowling attack for Kings seems to be the weak spot. Despite the bowling attack being the area where most money was spent it looks clearly weak. Although it general seems at the lower end of the bowling average the attack definitely looks to have in general higher economy rates.

Overall I think Kings have a formidable batting line up however an equally weak bowling attack. Therefore i would watch out for the Kings as their matches could be some of the most exciting games in this years competition.