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Study of fielding in one day cricket internationals

UC project to study importance of fielding in one day cricket internationals

September 4, 2012

A University of Canterbury research project will later this year study the benefits of fielding in one day international cricket (ODI) matches.

UC senior lecturer Seamus Hogan, who is heading the research, has previously supervised an honours research looking at the value of using a night watchman in test cricket and a PhD thesis by Scott Brooker analysing team strategy in ODI cricket.

"The initial focus on ODI cricket was partly because of the relative importance of that format in the New Zealand team’s playing schedule, but also because the nature of the format lends itself more readily to an economic analysis.

"In ODI cricket, the batting team has two scarce and declining reservoirs of resources—wickets remaining and balls remaining. The relative scarcity of those two reservoirs affects the optimal degree of risk that batsmen should take and the extent to which the bowling team should adopt an aggressive or defensive approach."

The research had the potential to help teams; both in informing team selection and also in helping players make better strategic decisions regarding the appropriate amount of risk.

Dr Hogan said the aim of the summer scholarship project, which had support from New Zealand Cricket, was to build on Brooker's work. It will look to quantify the importance of fielding in ODI cricket. It was well recognised that traditional performance measures of batting averages and strike rates and bowling averages and economy rates provided poor information about the value of a player to a team.

"Those statistics do not take into account the context of the game and the playing conditions and the time the performances were lodged.

"In contrast, however, the contribution of a player’s fielding to a team’s performance has never been measured, even poorly, as, unlike batting and bowling, fielding is not quantified in the historical record of games. Although the importance of good fielding has long been recognised, as seen in expressions like “catches win matches”, the lack of measurement has possibly led to fielding being undervalued in team selection," Hogan said.

A first stage of the research will be to create a database of fielding outcomes, using archived commentary from the cricinfo website. The project will concentrate on the contribution of fielding to dismissals through catches, stumpings and run-outs.

He said they hoped to establish the relative importance of fielding compared to batting or bowling in a team performance.

ENDS

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