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Why Tendulkar shouldn't open with Sehwag

by Mahek

Experts have talked at length about how Sehwag and Gambhir bat well with each other. Their numbers certainly point to the same and make a great case for them to be opening the innings. Obviously it wasn't going to happen tonight as Gambhir was ruled unfit. But we saw India get off to a great start with Sehwag blazing away at one end. But even when he was batting with a strike rate of over 200 - a good five times better than his partner's strike rate - he faced less than half the deliveries in the innings. One has to wonder how often this would happen if the Delhi duo were batting together. Tendulkar is still at the crease and there's every chance he will go on to score some good runs (Well he just got out and it's game on now), but I can't help but feel he needs to ensure Sehwag doesn't get cold standing at the non-striker's end.

I've come up with a measure to quantify the effectiveness with which batsmen share the strike in a partnership. It's as uncomplicated as Sehwag's batting and anyone with a passing knowledge of cricket can understand it. Based on that measure, the Sehwag-Tendulkar partnership tonight operated at an efficiency of 19.89%, meaning Sehwag got less than a fifth of the strike he should have got in that partnership. The numbers for their partnership in the first three ODIs: 24.8%, 75.5%, 60%.

19 comments:

achettup said...

I agree Sehwag should open with Gambhir, and Sachin should come in at 4 for me, though many say 3.
Do you realize your equation basically reduces to (balls faced by batsman A)/(balls faced by batsman B)?
And the calculation on your page is wrong, you meant (35/42)/(100/84), unless you picked 49 from somewhere else.

Nice idea though to come up with a measure... I would use %age runs multiplied and divided by %age balls for batsman A / batsman B... something like:

(R1/(R1+R2))/(B1/(B1+B2)) / (R2(R1+R2))/(B2/(B1+B2))

there by using partnership factors, which are missing in your formula.

achettup said...

Sorry, make that Eq for batsman A * Eq for batsman B, to get a compound factor of their efficiency, I get 1.56 for your example.

Mahek said...

No, it's (Balls faced by A/Balls faced by B)/(SR of A/SR of B).

35 off 35 is a strike rate of 100, 42 off 50 is a strike rate of 84. Yeah, I did make a mistake with 42, it should be 50. Thanks for pointing it out!

Mahek said...

Wait, so what's the formula you're suggesting?

Vim said...

But Tendulkar was facing Siddle who has bowled far better than Johnson all series, and why should he take any risks when Sehwag was parking Johnson in the alternate overs?

Mahek said...

Vim, if it's too risky for the leading runscorer of all time to take a single off Peter Siddle then it's best to not harbour hopes of being the best in the world.

Prabu said...

If everything in cricket can be reduced to a (A*B)/(C*D) type formula, why bother with captains and coaches and years of learned wisdom on the field. Even you and I could go and play cricket for India.....

Mahek said...

Not everything can be reduced to numbers, but that doesn't mean you ignore them when they are staring you in the face. The Poms can't stop gushing about the style of Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara, does it make them more useful than Mahendra Singh Dhoni? It took India more than 70 years to produce a triple centurion. Just to prove it wasn't a fluke, he went on to score another one. He would have never made it to the international level if coaches would have insisted on changing his game.

At the end of the day it's all about how many runs you score and how quickly you do it. For bowlers it's all about how many wickets you take and how economical you are in doing so. The best players will always have the numbers to show for their talent. It only depends on whether you're looking at the right numbers.

Prabu said...

What does this have to do with you taking yesterday's numbers to prove that SRT is not right for the opening spot and then conjecturing that Gambhir would have run better? Have you done this analysis for every single SRT-VS partnership against VS-GG partnership and then proved that VS would have scored more in any way to arrive at this conclusion?

To top it off, you did not even check your calc before you put it on public forum for discussion......

Mahek said...

Unfortunately it's hard to find it because you have to refer to cricinfo commentary to see the individual scores of two batsmen at the start and end of their partnership.

It's taken me half an hour to go through the last 10 first-wicket partnerships between the Sehwag-Tendulkar and Sehwag-Gambhir combinations. Sehwag and Tendulkar have an efficiency of 48.3% while Sehwag and Gambhir operate at 61.2%

Just to add to this, Sehwag has scored quicker in these partnerships with Gambhir than the ones with Tendulkar, and Gambhir has scored faster than Tendulkar.

You can either take my word on this or do the numbers yourself. If you have the time go through all the partnerships instead of just the last 10 first-wicket ones.

BTW, have you ever heard of typographical errors?

achettup said...

In that case Mahek, the equation reduces to (R2/R1)*[(B1^2)/(B2^2)]. But this can be misleading, say both batsmen score run-a-ball 40s and 60s, your efficiency reduces to either 150% or 66.67%, meaning the partnership is only 100% efficient if both face the same number of balls, or in general if the strike rate is the same then the two must be on the same score. It depends on how you define partnership efficiency.

I just brought up my formula on the fly to equate the percentage runs by a batsman by %age balls he's faced in the partnership. This solves the equal strike rate problem, but I'm not sure if its the right way to approach partnership efficiency, but this probably needs to be worked on to come out with a final precise measure. Something I don't have the time for, but if the approach makes sense to you, please let me know if you're able to get something out of it.

Mahek said...

Since my formula is based on the premise that the batsman who scores faster should get more strike, a logical conclusion would be that if two batsmen score at an identical strike rate it doesn't matter who gets more strike.

I thought your formula made sense but then you made some change in your second comment which left me confused. Can you share it again?

straight point said...

you don't need any formula to see that they both are struggling to find the pace at which they do the job... so you see two maiden overs when other is going at the strike rate of 200 or more...

it does not take 86 international centuries and about 30K runs to work out that who needed strike... but then it also does not take 2 triple centuries also to understand that you just can't keep on batting in same gear irrespective of who the bowler is and where he is bowling...

Naked Cricket said...

"he needs to ensure Sehwag doesn't get cold standing at the non-striker's end."

Mahek, if Viru gets brainfreeze then that's not Sachin's problem.

Off late, Viru's approach though far more sophisticated is no less crap than Afridi's was opening. 20s, 30s, 40s, he won't always be in this form, and then there are enough people who want him out.

And of course, Jatman and his man should open. SRT at 3. But the world doesn't always make sense. 2007 didn't, and neither will 2011.

You've put some numbers there, anyone who watched GG-Viru open in whichever form will NOT think otherwise. Evidently not too many people watched them.

Gng back to the chaos on top, if GG can motor on at 3, high time Viru did the same opening.

Mahek said...

And yet the guy with over 30k international runs and 86 international hundreds doesn't do nearly as good a job at letting his partner loose on the opposition as Gambhir does.

I don't think Sehwag will ever temper his game because he's worse off if he does. Unlike bowlers, batsmen don't have the luxury of getting a second chance so there are days when you play and miss a million times and there are days when you're out the first time you make a mistake. The shot he played was the right shot but the execution left a bit to be desired. He won't be half the player he can be if he second guesses himself.

straight point said...

then mehak i can safely presume that you have not seen sehwag's those innings and the interviews which he gives after playing them...

that start with "today i want to spend time in middle... coz i knew if i can play till 30th over i can easily score 100..."

Mahek said...

I guess you haven't read what Michael Vaughan said about press conferences :)

Raju said...

Me and my bro had the same discussion as what you discussed here (the last comment on 2nd Nov. and the first on 3rd nov.). A few points should be clear:
1. No point in bringing in the argument of '80 international centuries, still cant rotate strike'. How you play on the day alone, given the match conditions, should count.
2. Rotating strike at Siddle's over would expose Sehwag to Siddle (or, if u feel hurt by Jatman's sentiment, make it 'exposing Siddle to Sehwag'), you increase the danger level of Sehwag getting out to good, swinging deliveries. That is exactly what happened when he faced Bollinger. It was obvious that Sachin felt Sehwag is better off facing Johnson.
3. The argument of Sehwag getting bogged down by Sachin's maiden overs is not true, bcos, the run rate was already high (thanks to Sehwag) and it is the opening partnership, during the first powerplay.
4. Sehwag knows the difference between Sachin and others like Dravid. Recently, Sachin rarely goes slam-bang... his strike rates in the first half of his long innings is usually lower than the second half.. And, Sehwag knows (and should know) that Sachin, if he bats for 100 deliveries, would at least be in his 80's. And, Sachin scored a ODI hundred just 4 innings prior to the Mohali match.
5. Sachin-Gambhir partnership is also more productive than Sachin-Sehwag one. So, would u expect Sehwag to come down the order, say, to make use of the II powerplay, and/or an early utilization of batting powerplay?

Mahek said...

1.Totally agree.
2.I think Sehwag would have been more than happy to be "exposed" to Siddle. Being on the non-striker's end is the last he wants.
3.You get bogged down when there are too many dot balls or when you're doing really well and are kept off strike. That's my read, I could be wrong about it or different players look at it differently.
4.Tendulkar is good enough even now to be able to score at a strike rate of 80+ without taking risks. I don't see why he had to bide his time on a terrific batting track.
5.Factually incorrect. The Sehwag-Tendulkar combination averages more runs at a faster pace than the Gambhir-Tendulkar partnership. Refer to http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=fow_run_rate;qualmin1=25;qualval1=fow_innings;team=6;template=results;type=fow