Profiling High Profile T20 Batsmen

5th March, 2018.


When a T20 batsman's data is analysed on TV, or in the media, it is often just their career or career in tournament averages and strike rates which are used - data which has the propensity to misrepresent a player.  I've discussed previously that these are flawed metrics to consider - career data fails to take into account player improvement or decline to a strong enough extent, while career in tournament averages data often falls victim to small sample sizes and by definition, variance.  In the future, it will be interesting to see how this changes, and I'd suggest that as a basic measure, a 24 or 36 month rolling average and strike rate would give a decent balance between sample size and recency relevance.

However, there are a variety of metrics that can be used to establish the playing style of a T20 batsman, and for this article, I wanted to go into a little more depth with some other ways to assess batsmen.  

Essentially, these are how a batsman performs when they face a minimum of 15 balls (at least 12.5% of the batting resources of their team) - enough balls faced to make a reasonable impact on a team's innings.  By the end of this article, these will show how we can profile the playing style of various high-profile T20 batsmen around the world - information that will be of great use to national teams and franchises.

Firstly, I compiled a list of 39 players, comprising of both high-profile T20 batsmen and T20 franchise regulars, and these are listed below, complete with their completed innings to 15 Ball+ innings ratio in all major T20 leagues (PSL, IPL, T20 Blast, CPL, Ramslam, BPL, Big Bash) and T20 internationals from the end of the 2016-17 Big Bash onwards.  Effectively, this is the last complete edition of each event plus this year's PSL, including matches played yesterday, on the 4th March.  

This ratio is pretty straightforward - it is simply a player's completed innings figure in this time span divided by the amount of times they played an innings of at least 15 balls.  It's worth noting that this figure could actually be less than 1, if a player played a considerable number of not-out innings, although no player in the sample managed this feat.  Using such a ratio enables us to establish the regularity of batsmen to play innings of at least 15 balls - a player with a low ratio frequently reached the 15 ball mark, while a player with a high ratio often got out early in their innings:-

Player

Completed Innings to 15 Ball + Innings Ratio



AB de Villiers

1.06

Travis Head

1.06

Steve Smith

1.09

D’Arcy Short

1.17

Shoaib Malik

1.17

Babar Azam

1.18

Glenn Maxwell

1.24

Hashim Amla

1.24

Marlon Samuels

1.26

Evin Lewis

1.33

JP Duminy

1.33

David Miller

1.38

David Warner

1.38

Dwayne Smith

1.43

Kumar Sangakkara

1.50

MS Dhoni

1.58

Colin Munro

1.67

Chris Gayle

1.68

Luke Ronchi

1.70

Alex Hales

1.75

Chris Lynn

1.75

Shane Watson

1.75

Jos Buttler

1.77

Colin Ingram

1.78

Martin Guptill

1.80

Michael Klinger

1.81

Virat Kohli

1.82

Eoin Morgan

1.83

Aaron Finch

1.84

Brendon McCullum

1.84

Ross Taylor

1.86

Tamim Iqbal

1.86

Kieron Pollard

1.88

Kane Williamson

2.00

Kevin Pietersen

2.22

Darren Sammy

2.33

Rohit Sharma

2.36

Jason Roy

2.92

Sunil Narine

3.85


We can see that the likes of AB de Villiers, Travis Head and Steve Smith were very solid, almost always playing innings of at least a 15-ball duration, and with these players, teams can be confident of having players to build a platform around.  The likes of Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam and Hashim Amla also featured strongly in this metric - probably quite unsurprisingly - but it was interesting to see players with high strike rates in D'Arcy Short, Glenn Maxwell and Evin Lewis also featuring well - their consistency in facing at least 15 balls in conjunction with strong strike rate data makes them an asset for T20 teams.

At the bottom end of the scale, we can see that Kane Williamson, Kevin Pietersen, Darren Sammy, Rohit Sharma, Jason Roy and Sunil Narine were all unable to play consistent innings of at least a 15 ball duration.  It's not a shock to Sammy and Narine here, with the West Indian duo both very strike-rate orientated - Narine the modern-day pinch-hitter - but it's more of a surprise to see Williamson, Pietersen and Sharma here, and I'll be discussing Williamson in more detail later.  It's also interesting to see that in addition to Roy, Alex Hales, Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan all had ratios of 1.75 or higher, making it very clear to understand why England have a propensity to collapse in T20 matches.

The next area I wanted to look at was a batsman's strike rate when they face at least 15 balls, compared to all their innings.  Again, I used the same period of data for sample size purposes, and here, a large negative figure would indicate that the player accelerates rapidly in innings where they face at least 15 balls (they bat much quicker as their innings progresses) while a lower negative figure or even positive figure would indicate that a player either bats in the same way at the start of their innings compared to when they have faced a number of balls, that they don't have an extra gear to accelerate their innings or even that they have a propensity to slow down - perhaps due to fatigue or astute opposition captaincy.

Player

Overall SR

15 Ball+ Mean SR

Overall SR - 15 Ball+ SR





Sunil Narine

154.12

173.49

-19.37

MS Dhoni

129.05

142.14

-13.09

Rohit Sharma

142.11

154.62

-12.51

David Miller

141.05

152.18

-11.13

Chris Gayle

139.72

150.54

-10.82

Colin Ingram

147.95

158.61

-10.66

Alex Hales

187.27

197.48

-10.21

Jason Roy

146.74

156.83

-10.10

Colin Munro

161.09

170.41

-9.32

Jos Buttler

133.37

141.83

-8.46

Shane Watson

132.23

140.38

-8.15

Eoin Morgan

122.66

130.06

-7.40

Kevin Pietersen

143.70

150.63

-6.92

Glenn Maxwell

162.38

169.06

-6.68

Evin Lewis

165.05

171.20

-6.15

Tamim Iqbal

122.63

128.78

-6.15

Martin Guptill

128.75

134.85

-6.11

JP Duminy

125.77

131.57

-5.80

Shoaib Malik

127.76

133.48

-5.73

AB de Villiers

158.33

164.02

-5.68

Michael Klinger

118.22

123.74

-5.51

Babar Azam

113.89

119.17

-5.27

Travis Head

131.39

136.60

-5.21

Brendon McCullum

136.51

141.62

-5.11

Aaron Finch

161.60

166.24

-4.63

Kane Williamson

115.63

120.04

-4.41

David Warner

142.83

146.65

-3.82

Luke Ronchi

174.33

178.03

-3.71

Dwayne Smith

132.73

135.41

-2.69

Chris Lynn

166.98

169.65

-2.67

Virat Kohli

134.04

136.34

-2.30

D’Arcy Short

148.84

150.92

-2.08

Marlon Samuels

116.57

118.40

-1.82

Kumar Sangakkara

128.41

129.36

-0.95

Hashim Amla

143.00

143.90

-0.90

Kieron Pollard

154.79

154.79

0.00

Steve Smith

121.96

121.82

0.14

Darren Sammy

141.73

136.68

5.05

Ross Taylor

120.00

112.11

7.89


It would appear that there is some correlation between players who get out early in an innings (Narine, Sharma, Roy) and being able to accelerate quickly in an innings - these players appear to have the propensity to play 'hero or zero' style innings with little in between.  Either they have the potential to win a match virtually single-handedly, or they get out quickly.  With good recruitment, particularly with a long tail, this strategy can be pretty positive - however, as Lahore Qalanders are quickly realising in the current PSL, such a strategy without a long tail is often going to end in absolute disaster.

From these numbers, other players who accelerate after slow starts include MS Dhoni and Chris Gayle - again, probably not a shock to many seasoned watchers of cricket - while Jos Buttler and Shane Watson's ability in this regard isn't entirely a surprise either.  

At the bottom end of the scale, Marlon Samuels, Kumar Sangakkara, Hashim Amla, Kieron Pollard, Steve Smith, Darren Sammy and Ross Taylor all found it tough to accelerate later on in an innings.  From the perspective of Pollard and Sammy, it's probably reasonable to put this down to the fact that they attack from the start of their innings anyway, but for the other players, it is quite reasonable to debate whether they actually have a match-changing, high-strike rate innings in their locker.

Looking at player high v low strike rates (in the same time period) when they face at least 15 balls is also very interesting indeed.  Of the 39 players listed, all but 10 played at least one innings which featured a strike rate below 100 - an innings which should be avoided at all costs, as I discussed here.   The high v low strike rate table is sorted by player maximum strike rate:-

Player

15 Ball+ High SR

15 Ball+ Low SR




Sunil Narine

317

44

Alex Hales

316

123

Evin Lewis

303

27

Luke Ronchi

300

109

Colin Munro

286

109

David Miller

280

86

Rohit Sharma

274

108

AB de Villiers

263

90

Chris Gayle

258

41

David Warner

245

87

Kieron Pollard

237

52

Chris Lynn

227

133

Brendon McCullum

225

61

Glenn Maxwell

223

106

Colin Ingram

214

85

Shoaib Malik

212

45

Aaron Finch

211

126

Ross Taylor

210

69

Kevin Pietersen

209

95

Jos Buttler

208

69

Dwayne Smith

206

63

Darren Sammy

206

79

Eoin Morgan

201

74

Martin Guptill

200

75

Kane Williamson

200

38

Jason Roy

194

116

Marlon Samuels

194

71

JP Duminy

193

54

Hashim Amla

192

80

Tamim Iqbal

189

95

Travis Head

187

56

MS Dhoni

185

79

Shane Watson

181

78

D’Arcy Short

178

116

Virat Kohli

177

111

Michael Klinger

174

81

Babar Azam

172

70

Kumar Sangakkara

166

87

Steve Smith

155

83


Congratulations to Alex Hales, Luke Ronchi, Colin Munro, Rohit Sharma, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch, Jason Roy, D'Arcy Short and Virat Kohli - these were the ten players who did not record a 15+ ball innings with a strike rate below 100, and most observers are likely to that the majority of these ten are players are relatively strike-rate orientated anyway.

Establishing what a player's peak strike rate is, is useful for a variety of reasons, and it may surprise readers that 14 of the 39 players assessed did not ever record a strike rate in excess of 200 when playing a 15+ ball innings in this time period.  The bottom four players - Michael Klinger, Babar Azam, Kumar Sangakkara and Steve Smith - look to have something of a ceiling here.  I'm willing to cut D'Arcy Short and Virat Kohli a little more slack - Short had numerous strike rates in excess of 150, so was consistently a strong strike-rate performer, while Kohli was often forced to play anchor innings for the Royal Challengers Bangalore last season in the IPL, given the regular failures of his team-mates.

Next up, I wanted to look at the percentage of innings where a player played an innings of at least 15 balls with a strike rate below 100, with players recording a high percentage having a dangerous propensity of wasting batting resources by playing a match losing innings:-

Player

15 Ball + <=100 SR %



Kane Williamson

40.00

Michael Klinger

37.50

Marlon Samuels

34.78

Martin Guptill

33.33

JP Duminy

33.33

Ross Taylor

28.57

Eoin Morgan

27.78

Steve Smith

27.27

Babar Azam

25.00

Kieron Pollard

25.00

Evin Lewis

23.81

Chris Gayle

22.73

Colin Ingram

22.22

Brendon McCullum

18.75

Travis Head

18.75

Hashim Amla

17.65

Shoaib Malik

16.67

MS Dhoni

16.67

Jos Buttler

15.38

Sunil Narine

15.38

Shane Watson

15.00

Kumar Sangakkara

15.00

Tamim Iqbal

14.29

AB de Villiers

11.76

Kevin Pietersen

11.11

Darren Sammy

11.11

Dwayne Smith

8.70

David Warner

7.69

David Miller

6.25

Alex Hales

0.00

Luke Ronchi

0.00

Colin Munro

0.00

Rohit Sharma

0.00

Chris Lynn

0.00

Glenn Maxwell

0.00

Aaron Finch

0.00

Jason Roy

0.00

D’Arcy Short

0.00

Virat Kohli

0.00


10 players had at least a 25% figure here - at least one in four of their 15+ ball innings featured a strike rate at 100 or below, and both national teams and franchises would need to be aware of this when selecting teams and recruiting players.  Players who often play innings with strike rates this low are likely to have potential issues regarding either pacing an innings well, or lacking a particular skill-set which prevents them from scoring quickly (e.g. an inability to score quickly against spin bowling).

In fact, of these 10 players, only Kieron Pollard scores particularly quickly against spin bowling, so without doubt, franchises in the spin-friendly sub-continent should think very carefully before recruiting this type of batsman.

Regarding Kane Williamson, it's interesting to see that the media were generally very positive towards his century in narrow defeat for New Zealand against England in the ODI series last week, and I was quite surprised by this reaction.  These numbers illustrate that numerous times, he's been unable to pace an innings very well, and this accusation is fair to level at the New Zealand captain again here, after he recorded an ODI strike rate of 78.32 (considerably below the format mean figure) when using 47.67% of New Zealand's batting resources.

Conversely, there were a number of players very able to score at a strike rate of 150 or greater on a very consistent basis when facing at least 15 balls, and these are listed below:-

Player

15 Ball + >=150 SR %



Glenn Maxwell

76.47

Alex Hales

75.00

AB de Villiers

70.59

Luke Ronchi

70.00

Sunil Narine

69.23

D’Arcy Short

66.67

Aaron Finch

63.16

Chris Lynn

62.50

Evin Lewis

61.90

Colin Munro

60.00

Kieron Pollard

54.17

JP Duminy

50.00

Colin Ingram

50.00

Kevin Pietersen

44.44

Brendon McCullum

43.75

Jos Buttler

42.31

MS Dhoni

41.67

Jason Roy

41.67

Martin Guptill

40.00

David Miller

37.50

Chris Gayle

36.36

Hashim Amla

35.29

Shoaib Malik

33.33

Darren Sammy

33.33

Travis Head

31.25

David Warner

30.77

Shane Watson

30.00

Tamim Iqbal

28.57

Virat Kohli

27.27

Kane Williamson

26.67

Dwayne Smith

26.09

Kumar Sangakkara

20.00

Steve Smith

18.18

Rohit Sharma

18.18

Marlon Samuels

17.39

Eoin Morgan

16.67

Ross Taylor

14.29

Babar Azam

14.29

Michael Klinger

12.50


Certainly, anyone who can score at a rate in excess of 150 at least 60% of the time, as the top ten players in the table managed, are an asset for most T20 teams, and it's interesting to see both Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers around the top of this list, given that we established earlier that they almost always faced an innings of at least 15 balls.  Both have the ability to change matches with the bat on a consistent basis.  Despite a low peak strike rate, D'Arcy Short showed that he was able to consistently produce innings of a high strike rate.  

Any player who cannot record a strike rate greater than 150 at least 25% of the time, as the bottom eight players in the table showed, should certainly be guarded against.  Kumar Sangakkara is currently performing pretty well in the PSL, and his game looks well-suited to posting 150 type totals and chasing similar figures.  However, he'd almost certainly struggle with the demands in the higher scoring Big Bash, T20 Blast and IPL leagues.  

Having worked out the percentage that a player scores below 100 strike rate and also at least at a 150 strike rate, when facing at least 15 balls in an innings, we can then look at their negative-positive impact percentage, with an innings below 100 strike rate being perceived as negative, while an innings above 150 strike rate being positive:-

Player

15 Ball + <=100 SR %

15 Ball + >=150 SR %

Negative-Positive Impact %





Glenn Maxwell

0.00

76.47

76.47

Alex Hales

0.00

75.00

75.00

Luke Ronchi

0.00

70.00

70.00

D’Arcy Short

0.00

66.67

66.67

Aaron Finch

0.00

63.16

63.16

Chris Lynn

0.00

62.50

62.50

Colin Munro

0.00

60.00

60.00

AB de Villiers

11.76

70.59

58.82

Sunil Narine

15.38

69.23

53.85

Jason Roy

0.00

41.67

41.67

Evin Lewis

23.81

61.90

38.10

Kevin Pietersen

11.11

44.44

33.33

David Miller

6.25

37.50

31.25

Kieron Pollard

25.00

54.17

29.17

Colin Ingram

22.22

50.00

27.78

Virat Kohli

0.00

27.27

27.27

Jos Buttler

15.38

42.31

26.92

Brendon McCullum

18.75

43.75

25.00

MS Dhoni

16.67

41.67

25.00

David Warner

7.69

30.77

23.08

Darren Sammy

11.11

33.33

22.22

Rohit Sharma

0.00

18.18

18.18

Hashim Amla

17.65

35.29

17.65

Dwayne Smith

8.70

26.09

17.39

JP Duminy

33.33

50.00

16.67

Shoaib Malik

16.67

33.33

16.67

Shane Watson

15.00

30.00

15.00

Tamim Iqbal

14.29

28.57

14.29

Chris Gayle

22.73

36.36

13.64

Travis Head

18.75

31.25

12.50

Martin Guptill

33.33

40.00

6.67

Kumar Sangakkara

15.00

20.00

5.00

Steve Smith

27.27

18.18

-9.09

Babar Azam

25.00

14.29

-10.71

Eoin Morgan

27.78

16.67

-11.11

Kane Williamson

40.00

26.67

-13.33

Ross Taylor

28.57

14.29

-14.29

Marlon Samuels

34.78

17.39

-17.39

Michael Klinger

37.50

12.50

-25.00


All of Glenn Maxwell, Alex Hales, Luke Ronchi, D'Arcy Short, Aaron Finch, Chris Lynn, Colin Munro, AB de Villiers and Sunil Narine managed a net positive impact percentage of at least 50%, which is highly impressive indeed.  Again, these players look like being real assets for T20 teams around the world.

However, seven players - Steve Smith, Babar Azam, Eoin Morgan, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Marlon Samuels and Michael Klinger - recorded negative impact percentages (e.g. they played more 15+ ball innings at <=100 SR than they managed at >=150SR) and these players look like they have the ability to stagnate innings on a regular basis.  

Finally, it's worth looking at the percentage of times that these players managed to score at strike rates in excess of 200 when facing at least 15 balls - a potentially match-winning, or at least match-changing, display:-

Player

15 Ball + >=200 SR %



Alex Hales

41.67

Sunil Narine

38.46

Luke Ronchi

30.00

AB de Villiers

29.41

Evin Lewis

28.57

Chris Lynn

25.00

Kieron Pollard

20.83

Colin Munro

20.00

David Miller

18.75

Chris Gayle

18.18

Glenn Maxwell

17.65

Aaron Finch

15.79

David Warner

15.38

Ross Taylor

14.29

Kevin Pietersen

11.11

Colin Ingram

11.11

Darren Sammy

11.11

Brendon McCullum

9.38

Rohit Sharma

9.09

Jos Buttler

7.69

Martin Guptill

6.67

Kane Williamson

6.67

Eoin Morgan

5.56

Dwayne Smith

4.35

Shoaib Malik

4.17

D’Arcy Short

0.00

Jason Roy

0.00

Virat Kohli

0.00

MS Dhoni

0.00

Hashim Amla

0.00

JP Duminy

0.00

Shane Watson

0.00

Tamim Iqbal

0.00

Travis Head

0.00

Kumar Sangakkara

0.00

Steve Smith

0.00

Babar Azam

0.00

Marlon Samuels

0.00

Michael Klinger

0.00


Alex Hales and Sunil Narine were out on their own as the only batsmen to manage this feat over 30% of the time, with Luke Ronchi, AB de Villiers, Evin Lewis and Chris Lynn also able to do this in at least one in four innings of at least 15 balls.  These players have demonstrated consistent ability to change matches on a regular basis.

At the bottom of the list, perhaps we can excuse Short (consistently above 150SR but below 200SR), Kohli (carried RCB in the last IPL) and Dhoni (slow starter, quality finisher) for reasons explained earlier but the rest look like being unable to change a game with quick scoring.  That's not to say that some aren't valuable players in T20 - Tamim Iqbal, Hashim Amla and Travis Head certainly are three of these with some positive aspects to their game - but these players in general are certainly more suited to playing anchor roles, which have the potential to become match-losing innings, as opposed to being able to dramatically influence a game from a positive perspective.   It may also be a surprise that Brendon McCullum, Jos Buttler and Martin Guptill - three batsmen with a reputation as being high strike-rate players - scored at a 15+ ball strike rate in excess of 200 less than 10% of the time.


If this article has given you insight into the data that Sports Analytics Advantage can offer cricket franchises around the world in formulating draft or auction plans, please feel free to enquire for bespoke draft and auction strategies via sportsanalyticsadvantage@gmail.com.
Comments