For the uninitiated, I quite like statistics and I quite like Cricket. I know that this is a pairing as unbelievable as Gum and Nuts, but here you have them, together at last.
What I have attempted to do here is look at the data from the games the Quokkas have played using the Yarra Pub Cricket Association (YPCA) rules to identify trends and consistencies to get a better understanding of changes in the games. None of the statistics analyzed include wins, as this is not recorded and not the point of the Quokkas at all. The data includes results from the last 6 seasons, as this is the most accurate and comprehensive data available.
It should be noted that YPCA rules include; no LBW, no wides, retirement in the over you get to 30 runs, free hit on the first ball, dangerous balls etc.
Coming out to Bat
The Quokkas Cricket Club played its first game of Pub Cricket in the Summer of 2009/10 and have gone on to play over 50 Pub League games since then, as well as Big Day Not Out matches, T20 tour matches, Blind Cricket matches and even two 35-over games in Sri Lanka.
We shouldn’t talk too much about the statistics from Sri Lanka.
It should also be noted that the Quokkas have played games using YPCA rules against non-YPCA teams, so the number of games played and quality of opponents has varied. The YPCA games played over the last 6 seasons are as follows:
The Dream Team
In its time, the Quokkas have had 67 different players represent the side, with the Big Dog on most appearances (51) and twenty one different players having appeared in 1 game only.
This indicates at least two things; the level of consistency and improvement may be lower with a more varied and inexperienced team, and that players who appear more regularly really is a celebration of availability over ability (thanks to G Haigh for that one).
Ticking like a clock, a fast clock
One of the easiest things to look at to show performance and change over time is runs scored and runs conceded over time.
A look at the graph below tells a story of fairly close games (excluding 2013/14), which can be self-explanatory when explained by the team chasing a score. Also impressive are the wild swings in runs for and against make our fresh air attempts look positively elegant.
Again, the relative closeness of the runs for and runs against totals are probably better explained through the nature of a game in which one team chases a score, apart from our old friend 2013/14, but it does show an overall upward curve in the number of runs being scored in YPCA games.
I would be very interested to track this against cans sold if anyone has that data.
Looking at the average of runs scored and runs conceded per over argues this point even more starkly.
So how are these runs being scored? An analysis of the % of runs scored as boundaries and the average number of boundaries hits per game tells a different story (below).
The % of runs scored as boundaries has remained pretty consistent over the 6 years, sitting somewhere between 50% and 57%, despite the total number of runs scored.
What this indicates is that The Quokkas have found ways to score more often per ball, other than just smashing it. Not very pub like.
Like the Budget, its all about the Economy
But hitting runs is only half the game, there is also that pesky issue of needing to bowl or stand in the field and smash cans under the sun, rather than the shade or back in the opponents pub.
No, that has to wait.
We’ve already had a look into the number of runs scored against and conceded per over, so understand that opposition teams are scoring more and scoring more quickly. But what does this mean in regards to wickets and the old adage about ‘putting pressure on the batsmen’? A look at the number of wickets taken per season against bowling average and the average number of wickets per match also tells an interesting story.
There appears to be a direct correlation between the increase in wickets and wickets per match, which is expected. This chart also shows that where the bowling average increases, the number of wickets decreases, which is also expected.
Perhaps the most interesting piece of data from this chart though, is that the average number of wickets per match has not really changed over time. This can be easily explained in that there are only 10 wickets that can be taken, but this doesn’t take into the retirement rule in YPCA games.
It does suggest, though, that it doesn’t matter who bowls; wickets will fall.
In all, the data does support the basic tenets of the game; if you bowl well, you will get wickets and go for less runs.
Success, if that is what you are chasing in YPCA games seems to be reliant on the ability to score more often off more balls; post a high score and put pressure on the other team. It doesn’t matter who bowls, wickets will fall.
Scoring more doesn’t have to be through boundaries, but minimizing dot balls.
The ability to score more often and more quickly is increasing in the league, and it seems to be a more equal distribution of scoring among teams, given that they are all scoring more with the same number of wickets conceded. There appears to be less weak (conservative) players in the league, or perhaps they are all just wearing maroon.
Taking wickets does not seem to be a priority in the game, though economy rates do. Getting a batsman who is struggling out to be replaced by a hitter can end up hurting you, this is particularly pertinent in regards to the return of retiring batsmen.
It is, though, against the spirit of the game and the league.
Scoring quickly and fielding economically, is easier said than done; particularly when you have a team made up of ring-ins who are unfamiliar with the game. Or perhaps lack of expectation and emphasis on enjoyment does help? That being said, the whole point of the Pub League is not to win games but have a go, and possibly feed a borderline unhealthy obsession with statistics.