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The need for smarter scoring in cricket

This India-Australia series somehow manages to stay alive for the decider, though clearly the fare up to now has been mind-numbingly one-sided in favour of the batsman, from both sides. With the smallish ground and traditionally high scoring Bangalore hosting the decider, the best way to win would be to just win the toss, put the opposition in, don’t worry about any mauling your bowlers get and chase down anything!  Even as a fanatic cricket fan, I don’t look forward to 100 overs of flogging of the bowlers. We have talked a lot about this topic in any case, so I want to dwell on something else.

Cricket scorecards had been static for quite a while, but recently got some impetus with the help of digital technology, so we get wagon wheels, pitch maps, and so on. But how much of these are really useful, actionable pieces of information that gives insight into a game, or can be used to make a player or team better? I argue that it is precious little.

Take this series, for example. 350 seems par score. Put these two teams in either Australia or England, and who of you think it would be still 350? I think it would come down to 250s … why? Now I am not going into teams being poor travellers or the psychological home-team advantage issue, but pure cricketing wise, what is the difference? Swing? Pace? Bounce? Answer is probably YES, but how do you substantiate that? Is there a number for a bowlers ‘average ball height’ (defined as height when the ball hits bat or pads or stumps or passes the stumps)? Or a batsman’s ‘foot movement pie chart’ (defined as percentage of balls played of the front foot, on the crease and off the backfoot)?

Now these could be really used to make teams adapt better to different circumstances and make players better. Maybe the International players are getting these inputs from their coaches and staff, but having that kind of information accessible to the fans and followers would be invaluable to the up and coming players and add to the richness of the sport.

I am sure you have thought of these cool ways to measure the sport, share it and maybe we will start tracking that as part of Fantain’s Smart Scorecard©.

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