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Cricket's new wave of stats are a hoax and this is how to fix them

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Expert
14th February, 2019
4

A new breed of statistics providers have illuminated modern cricket, expanding minds like LSD and shattering norms like an arm bent past the 15 degrees.

They should be treated with deep suspicion.

While once left to survive on the banality of run rates and averages, we now know who boasts the lowest strike rate on the leg-side against left-arm finger-spin at the MCG in an election year, and what day Australia is scheduled to lose.

But how are outfits like Cricviz and OptaSports able to ignore traditional metrics like body language and net form, yet still reveal the habits of cricketers with more accuracy than browser history?

Frankly, I’m suss of the whole thing, and as such it must be extinguished. Moving forward, please use this idiot’s guide to modern cricket statistics if you really want to pretend you know what you are talking about.

Predictor
Somehow these modern marvels are calling outcomes with mystical accuracy. Not only are they whittling down options for a winner to two, they are doing so before the end of a match.

Sure, it may be fun for consumers, not to mention beneficial for players who like to use their phones in the sheds. But as it is unknown, it must be corrupt.

From this point on, the following algorithm will be used to determine an outcome in a run chase:

1. Target
2. Remaining Australian top order bats circa 17-18,
3. Remaining South Africans in the knockout stage of an ICC tournament,
4. Remaining phone battery life on match referee’s phone,
5. Religious faith (Belief in God, aka Michael Bevan), and
6. Indescribable algebra, i.e. wickets in hand/overs remaining.

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This is the only method that can be trusted to determine critical match factors, like whether to switch over to MAFS or leave to beat traffic.

Matthew Wade bats in ODI colours.

(Photo by Matt King – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

Batting average
While I would prefer a batsman be selected purely on batting average and naked marketing potential, unfortunately this trusty method has been exposed as folly by new statisticians and the Workplace Discrimination Act. So we will have to somewhat compromise.

Adopting the detailed approach of the new wave but with a slight tweak, a batsman’s ability will now be drilled down to performance against all three of bowling’s disciplines: pace, spin and apathy.

This means a batsman can be profiled against startling pace from Kagiso Rabada in South Africa, raging turn from spinners in India, or third-string mediums from Sri Lanka in corruption amnesty.

Batting style
The ability to steadily accumulate or clear the pickets across a range of scenarios has been made available by new providers, and none of it places unshakeable importance on strike rate or whether they are dating Justin Langer’s daughter. Just another blow for “data-backed facts.”

This travesty must be immediately replaced with my especially commissioned Attitude Axis.

Using online resources and rumour, this maps a subject’s instincts to attack or defend, thus revealing if a batsman is truly conservative or dynamic. This is mainly by hacking union fee registers or checking Facebook for anything re-posted from hard-right Reddit pages.

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This will truly unveil a batsman’s deepest attitudes to go front foot or back, and whether they consider any rubbish above the eye line as a boundary opportunity or a hoax created by tree-huggers.

Team cohesion
Adaptability and a team-first attitude is being popularly measured by the ‘one-percenters’, for example running between wickets, backing-up overthrows, and effectively feigning to back-up overthrows. But this is all way off.

Cohesion in a team environment will no longer focus on selfless skills, but tolerability. This is using a formula that appraises a cricketer’s qualities relating to accordance and geniality, such as pushing twos as a non-striker, or correcting spelling errors on social media.

Exclusive heat map software will also record a cricketer’s on-field cohesion. Are they working hard off the ball? Are they needy to chat mid-pitch between every ball? And do they have kids, and if so, boring stories about them?

Bowling accuracy
Take me back to the good old days of earmarking a tearaway. This was when bookkeeping bowed to badging, and the only psychometric testing was testing if they’re psycho.

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Unfortunately, state-of-the-art ball tracking data has replaced inkblot Tests of third new balls and follow-ons, and we’re just going to have to live with it- but on our terms.

Marnus Labuschagne of Australia celebrates

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Using a similar index that encompasses data on swing, seam and Shane Warne’s agenda, all cross-checked against never-before-seen ball-tracking data, we can categorise a bowler on his ability to move:

0-3 degrees inwards,
0-3 degrees outwards,
85-90 degrees back over his head,
130-145 degrees back to fine leg in shame, and
180 degrees back to state cricket.

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