Splitting T20 leagues by bowling difficulty


25th October, 2017.

In my article last month, The Problem with Using Career Averages, I briefly discussed the fact that not all T20 competitions are equal.  In effect, some T20 tournaments are much easier to bat in, and others the opposite - they are extremely bowler friendly.

In that article, I showed the following table, which illustrates the overall batting data for each major domestic T20 league in the world from the 2015 season onwards:-

Country

Tournament Batting Average

Tournament Batting Strike Rate

Tournament Boundary %





Australia

23.97

128.85

15.05

Bangladesh

20.28

112.56

13.54

England

24.34

132.24

16.33

India

25.88

132.25

17.09

New Zealand

23.46

129.20

15.92

Pakistan

21.94

121.42

15.07

South Africa

24.05

125.22

14.77

West Indies

22.69

122.36

14.79



Evidently, based on this table, it's much more difficult to bat in Bangladesh (BPL), Pakistan (PSL) and West Indies (CPL) than all other events, with the tournament batting averages, strike rates and boundary hitting percentages the lowest of all the major domestic T20 leagues.

In that article, I also looked at the stats for Sunil Narine and Rashid Khan, making the point that Narine's IPL data is considerably worse than in the BPL, CPL and PSL, and it would appear that he's the bowling equivalent of a 'flat-track bully' - unbelievably good against weak batsmen and in conditions that suit him, but not particularly stand-out in other situations.  Rashid Khan's numbers in the IPL were just a little less magnificent - they were still absolutely world-class.

With this in mind, I wanted to look at the bowlers around the world who have experience from 2015 onwards of playing a considerable amount in the BPL/CPL/PSL - the easier leagues to bowl in - as well as other leagues, and the table below shows the data that I compiled.  A player needed to bowl at least 50 overs in the BPL/CPL/PSL combined in this time period, and also across the other leagues listed above, and in T20 internationals.

Player

BPL/CPL/PSL





Other Leagues






Overs

Runs

Wickets

Average

Economy

Overs

Runs

Wickets

Average

Economy












AD Russell

120.0

919

45

20.42

7.66

263.4

2064

97

21.28

7.84

CR Brathwaite

76.3

608

18

33.78

7.97

98.2

820

31

26.45

8.35

DJ Bravo

204.0

1665

90

18.50

8.16

289.2

2384

90

26.49

8.24

DJG Sammy

110.8

953

31

30.74

8.60

91.8

817

22

37.14

8.90

KA Pollard

64.7

486

26

18.69

7.51

125.5

1073

33

32.52

8.55

Mohammad Amir

94.1

609

31

19.65

6.47

97.5

674

25

26.96

6.91

Mohammad Nabi

125.3

858

39

22.00

6.85

129.7

938

40

23.45

7.23

NLTC Perera

104.5

824

37

22.27

7.89

127.0

1210

47

25.74

9.53

Rashid Khan

78.7

466

27

17.26

5.92

156.0

961

59

16.29

6.16

RS Bopara

75.0

499

26

19.19

6.65

159.2

1162

49

23.71

7.30

S Badree

124.0

921

32

28.78

7.43

149.0

973

44

22.11

6.53

Shahid Afridi

152.8

1038

41

25.32

6.79

192.0

1309

48

27.27

6.82

Shakib Al Hasan

167.0

1150

53

21.70

6.89

150.7

1121

42

26.69

7.44

Sohail Tanvir

222.0

1511

67

22.55

6.81

79.8

605

25

24.20

7.58

SP Narine

184.5

1026

54

19.00

5.56

220.7

1568

53

29.58

7.10

SR Watson

86.0

734

24

30.58

8.53

187.6

1588

56

28.36

8.46

T Shamsi

79.5

553

30

18.43

6.96

99.2

735

22

33.41

7.41

Wahab Riaz

99.5

688

41

16.78

6.91

102.2

875

29

30.17

8.56

WD Parnell

54.0

423

18

23.50

7.83

105.0

823

31

26.55

7.84


Overall, 19 bowlers fitted this criteria, and very interestingly, a mere three bowlers of the 19 - Carlos Brathwaite, Samuel Badree and Shane Watson - had worse data in the BPL, CPL and PSL combined.  In Watson's case, it was only just, while Brathwaite and Badree's data was considerably worse.

The bowlers who fitted the 'flat-track bully' bracket - much better bowling figures in the BPL/CPL/PSL combined, generally against weaker batsmen and in bowler-friendly conditions, were the following - Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard, Mohammad Amir, Thisara Perera (whose economy rate in non BPL/CPL/PSL matches was atrocious, at over 9.5 runs per over), Shakib Al Hasan, Tabraiz Shamsi and Wahab Riaz, as well as the aforementioned Narine.

With the exception of Sammy, whose bowling figures were generally very mediocre indeed, the players listed in the above paragraph would be absolutely fine recruitments for the easier T20 bowling tournaments around the world, but if I was running recruitment for a Big Bash, T20 Blast or IPL team, I'd be very cautious indeed about signing them, purely from a bowling perspective.

Given the bias towards better bowling figures in the BPL, CPL and PSL generally, it is clear that weighting for innings difficulty, recent performances and general situational elements is key to measuring a player's true level, and our unique Sports Analytics Advantage algorithm does just that - please feel free to enquire for further information on player analysis, and bespoke draft or auction strategies at sportsanalyticsadvantage@gmail.com.

Finally, it was worth looking at the 19 players combined who fitted the criteria, and their data combined produced the following results:-

BPL/CPL/PSL





Other Leagues





Overs

Runs

Wickets

Average

Economy

Overs

Runs

Wickets

Average

Economy

2222.7

15931

730

21.82

7.17

2823.7

21700

843

25.74

7.68


We can see that the 19 players combined achieved a bowling average of almost four runs per wicket less in the BPL/CPL/PSL combined, and saved just over half a run per over as well, compared to the other major T20 tournaments around the world where it is easier to bat - data which should surely providing food for thought for franchise decision-makers.

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