The Roar
The Roar

Nick Croker

Roar Guru

Joined July 2013







Quantitative analysis of the AFL.



I reckon Muscles Marcus – even though Ronan effectively disagrees with me as to the ‘type’ of batsman he is – I think his batting will come good one way or another. In fact I’m basically convinced that out of the 6 bats and Carey we will be very unlikely to tank a whole batting innnings. Stoinis bowling is – and now I’m editorializing – total junk. Maxwell too.

Much as I’ll struggle to get support I am convincing myself more and more that we need to invest more heavily in legitimate bowling and just ride with fewer batsmen.

Forgotten Aussie quicks ready to press for World Cup contention

To Jeff Brian and anyone else who specifically replied to me

Interestingly Lyon since the last world cup goes at a bit over 5 an over and strikes at 41 – I love him in test cricket and as a bloke but I suspect he isn’t that much of an improvement on Zampa all things considered.

The bowler who is 4th after Hazlewood, Cummins Starc, in game since the previous world cup is John Hastings. Goes at almost 5.5 an over (.1 of a run per over above average in that time) in 16 matches he strikes at 27 balls per wicket. Did he play some average teams in that time? In so many ways he would be the perfect player for thins line up.

I gather he’s retired now right? So total pipe dream but interesting nonetheless.

Forgotten Aussie quicks ready to press for World Cup contention

So as I sometimes do I’ve been playing around with some stats.

Was everyone aware that only 15 other players in ODI cricket have bowled more overs than Zampa since the last world cup? I was not.

Now if we’re looking at stats pretty plainly the issue with Zampa is economy, his strike rate of 37 odd is not bad really. Adil Rashid has a comparable economy but strikes at 31 as an example of what can/should be expected of that role.

My want has been for all quicks primarily because I think Hazlewood is good and I’m not overly concerned with variety.

Now I tried to unify economy and strike rate into one number. It’s a bit rough but if you go for like a pythagorean sort of measure – Square Root of Economy^2 + StrikeRate (divided by 10)^2 – where a lower number is better.

Since the last world cup our 3 best bowlers by that measure are Hazlewood, Cummins and Starc in that order.

After that though of the players on tour you can throw a blanket over Kane Richardson, Coulter Nile and Zampa (in that order) Meaning if we kept Zampa out as I have suggested it probably doesn’t improve upon Coulter Nile or Richardson meaningfully. Coulter Nile for his batting maybe but not on his bowling alone. Indeed Zampa, who I think of as expensive, goes at 5.67 an over and the average run rate by teams since the last world cup is 5.4 so he’s probably not as dire as I think.

The other interesting part about this is that since the last world cup by my metric our worst two bowling options have been Head and Maxwell, meaning unless we play 5 legit bowlers we don’t avoid the issue of having to rely on some pretty poor part time options.

In short I think I still might lean toward 4 pace options on the basis that Coulter Nile can bat competently at 8 but as far as how that impacts the bowling unit it’s 6 of 1 half dozen the other between NCN, Zampa and/or K Richardson.

Of course now in my mind I’ve opened up the possibility of playing all 4 pace bowlers AND Zampa and living or dying on 5 pure bats and Carey….

I don’t even know who I wrote this for in the end… I guess we just have to pray Maxwell doesn’t get blown away and that’ll more or less be the difference between winning and losing.

Forgotten Aussie quicks ready to press for World Cup contention

I mean I suppose you need a little flexibility if you truly think conditions will favour spin but more or less I’d lean to 4 proper quicks yep
I just – I totally hear the ‘horses for courses’ argument – I just don’t rate Zampa and I’m not sure that arbitrarily having ‘variety’ is necessarily a good thing

Forgotten Aussie quicks ready to press for World Cup contention

Tonking practice – good terminology. Agreed.

Forgotten Aussie quicks ready to press for World Cup contention

Love the idea of bringing Hazlewood in – personally I’d go 4 quicks and leave Zampa out. Head in for maybe Kawhaja then our batting has a little more explosiveness (debatable I suppose but anyway) and get 10 overs out of Head/Maxwell/Finch as the combo fifth bowler.

Forgotten Aussie quicks ready to press for World Cup contention

Righto – that wasn’t my intention. I just had an opinion and thought I could back it up with evidence. Much the way you wrote your article in the first instance.

What the heck has happened to David Warner?

Hey – I just posted a long comment about boundary hitters versus accumulators. You may not agree with those comments however…

To your point perhaps the overall career strike rate isn’t always indicative, in that if you hit a lot of boundaries but not much else your overall strike rate could be high. Meaning – you could have a strike rate of 100 by making 1 every ball or 5 dots and a 6.

With Stoinis in ODIs he’s in the bottom half of players for runs from non boundaries but in the top 10 for runs from 6s. That says to me he plays like a hitter. Now I don’t have the same data for his List A games but it’s possible that with a SR of 86 he’s still mostly making those runs by hitting boundaries.

Interestingly you mentioned Faulkner in a previous post because he strikes at 91 or 92 (List A I presume?) – now Faulkner played 64 games between 2013-2017 and averaged 32 at SR of 102. Faulkner though was 56th for average 6s and had a non boundary strike rate of 78 good for the 2nd best of any player in that 10 year span.

So by that measure even Faulkner was a far better ‘accumulator’ of an innings than Stoinis has been despite having a higher overall career SR

What the heck has happened to David Warner?

To the Author:
So what I thought might be interesting is to look at ‘feast or famine’ players. Obviously you believe that Stoinis is an ‘accumulator’ for want of a better description. My understanding of that type of batsman is someone who works the ball around for non boundary shots to manipulate the field and grow his innings gradually. As opposed to a ‘hitter’ who will deal in 0s or boundaries. You seem to maybe interpret that a ‘hitter’ will swing for the fences straight away – that seems semantic to me, as I understand it a hitter is a boundary or nothing batsman.
So before I looked at 6s per innings as an indicator of hitting. This got me thinking that you could maybe hit a lot of 6s but not deal exclusively in this type of shot making. So, what I looked at was breaking players innings into what their average and strike rate would be if you took their boundaries away.
For example AB Deviliers is 10th on the list for 6s per innings in the past 10 years. He averaged 63 at 105 in that time. However he is 4th on the list for ‘non boundary strike rate’ as well, making his non boundary runs at a SR of 75.
So to my way of thinking a pure ‘hitter’ would be someone with a high average number of 6s but a low strike rate if not hitting boundaries. Kieron Pollard has the 3rd most average 6s per innings and the 5th worst ‘non boundary SR’ which would make him a feast or famine player. An example of an ‘accumulator’ someone who hits few boundaries but keeps turning over the strike would be like Sarfaraz Ahmed who has the 4th lowest 6s per innings but the 10th best non boundary strike rate of 71.6 (career 34 runs at SR 90)
So Stoinis as I said is 8th for 6s per innings but 60th for non boundary strike rate with a NBSR of 59.
So for whatever it’s worth he is perhaps not as quintessentially ‘feast or famine’ as I absoultely thought but really far from a traditional accumulator. In fact Brendan McCullum who averaged 30 at 101 for his career and I think is a pretty good example of a higher order ‘hitter’ has almost the same 6s per game and NBSR as Stoinis albeit Stoinis to this point averages more than McCullum.
Now to your point interestingly (well I thought so) Stoinis has a similiar non boundary strike rate to Ross Taylor from NZ. Taylor is top 25 for average 6s but 3rd for average 4s in the past 10 years. I think given Stoinis career is still youngish you could argue he’s at something of a crossroads. If he continues to bat 6 or 7 you could envisage he is in situations to play shorter more aggressive innings with less control – this might lower his average but raise his strike rate and his career might pan out more similar to McCullum. If though he bats sort of 5 in the order and has the opportunity to play longer with more control you could imagine he might play less to clear the boundary, hit more 4s and make more runs on average (Taylor averages 54 at 84 in the last 10 years)
My claim is simply that he’s better suited to the power hitting short innings and that this recent incarnation of Stoinis as accumulator looks clumsy and I have less faith that is really the player he’s supposed to be. I also think at best the data that might support your point indicates maybe Stoinis is of late trying to reinvent himself in a more stable middle order incarnation and that the model for that version of his career is Ross Taylor. But I think the evidence really points mostly to a power hitting player who’s primary strength has been clearing the boundary and that these slow start innings have looked awkward and ultimately not produced big scores.

What the heck has happened to David Warner?

How so? The fact that only 7 guys hit more sixes per innings in an entire decade of cricket means nothing to you? How does your piece of data supersede the stuff I gave you exactly?

Career strike rate of 95 but he’s a ‘slow scorer in ODI’s’

Ok sure he’s started recent innings conservatively but that’s not who he is as a batsman.

I reckon you know I’m right but you wrote it so you’re just doubling down.

What the heck has happened to David Warner?

No one is denying this is what has occurred recently but it’s not the ‘type’ of player he is as you are trying to suggest. I dare say on at least a few occasions in those innings you list we lost early wickets and he had to hold it together for a little while. The fact that he takes a while to get going actually points to the fact that he is a bit ‘feast or famine’. You’re unlikely to see Stoinis hit a bunch of 1s and 2s but you may well see him go 2 overs without playing a shot and then hit 3 sixes in a row.

This makes him ‘a hitter’ so to speak.

Now to illustrate my point I have looked up a few stats of my own. In the past 10 years for batsmen batting positions 4 – 8 who have played at least 30 ODIs Stoinis has a strike rate of roughly 95 (5.7 runs an over 😉 ) Some his nearest comparable players in terms of strike rate and batting position are Darren Sammy, Brad Haddin and Keiron Pollard (hitters?)

Going one step further if you look at 6s hit per innings Stoinis is 8th overall in the past 10 years with Brendan McCullum, Andre Russell and Jos Butler directly above him at 5th 6th and 7th spot.

I think these stats are much more indicative of the type of batsman he is

What the heck has happened to David Warner?


What the heck has happened to David Warner?

We’re saying different things.

He has been playing that way – but I don’t believe that is his strength as a cricketer. And I don’t think Hulk Stoinis was picked at 6 in the order to noodle the ball around. I’m quite certain that the idea is the likes of Kawhaja and Smith will get us to 4/250 with 10 overs to go and Stonis can cruise in a belt 60 off 30 balls.

In short I believe he is more Shahid Afridi than Michael Bevan and that his ‘start slow’ tactic of late is mostly not by design or at least not the role he was slated for.

What the heck has happened to David Warner?

Yeh – I mean Maxwell and Stoinis are getting hit also, but they’re not in the side solely for bowling.

I think if you can rely on Lyon to at least keep things tight through the middle overs we will create more pressure for the likes of Starc and Cummins to capitalize on too

What the heck has happened to David Warner?

Sure – I just think the batters are good enough. Over a long enough sample enough of them will bat well enough to give us competitive totals.

Realistically we weren’t that far off India’s big total. If Carey held his catches and Zampa could go for less than 8 an over we would’ve won

Thoughts on Zampa? He’s got 64 wickets at 35 and an economy of 5.67. I just reckon if we’re gonna be competitive he needs to bowl way better than his career average and that he’s the weakest link in our chain

What the heck has happened to David Warner?

His feast or famine approach is problematic I agree but he’s a power hitter and his job is to bat 6 and make his runs at 150+ strike rate

Anyway, we can all relax, Australia have lost group stage matches before and won World Cups. India and England have legitimately excellent teams and are probably better sides all things considered but I’ll still back us in elimination games.

The batters especially I think will sort themselves out. Bigger issue is Zampa as the spin option.

What the heck has happened to David Warner?

Since when is Stoinis supposed to be a player that ‘occupies the crease’ – not his game at all. If Warner goes at this pace and average or even a bit below, with one excellent innings against a decent team he’ll be near enough to our best performed batsman in the whole world cup.

Not one bit worried about him

What the heck has happened to David Warner?

My takeaway: Make sure you ask your GP if any medication they prescribe has a side-effect that makes you say racist things.

My takeaway: Let’s hope he doesn’t have any friends that are African-American rappers.

These are both genuinely funny lines. Really good stuff.

The thing with McGuire is interesting. Realistically none of those comments by themselves are offensive enough to warrant being sacked – well, I don’t personally think so.

But when you pile it up you’re talking about a guy who is at best a bit clumsy with his colloquialisms and at worst legitimately unrepentant for knowingly using language that could offend.

This is such a loaded topic in 2019 but I think common sense says in public facing roles covering a sport as widely followed as the AFL, you’re trying to appeal to the broadest possible market, you just can’t continue to take risks with someone who has been, and continues to have, potential to be an extremely polarizing figure.

Maybe a good test is like
a) what is he bringing to the table on the positive side these days that could even be deemed to mitigate the negatives?
b) if he was a new hire and he had to re-apply for his jobs would they employ him? Like if you imagined Eddie McGuire had said all of these things as a morning radio host not associated with the AFL and then he applied to be a commentator for Fox Footy would they take a punt on him?

I reckon he fails on both counts

McGuire and Folau: Sins and punishment

Nah I haven’t and that one thing could be the difference in making it more accurate. I didn’t incorporate it at this stage purely because I didn’t have time to quantify the players who moved with sufficient detail. I suppose it might be worthwhile simply giving players a value based on games played and quantifying the movement that way.

For injuries getting long term data is the difficult thing. The only I can get decent data for going far enough back is the number of players that played 5 or more games each season for each team. This seems a reasonable comp for injuries but also doesn’t bother to evaluate that quality of the players injured. In any case there is a moderately strong negative correlation between having more players play 5 games or greater and winning which is what you would basically expect. The correlation wasn’t as strong as I’d expected it will give me the basis to factor in an injury adjustment as the season goes on

The formula that reveals this season's AFL ladder

Yes that makes sense. Not an especially good model for tipping in the short term but seems to have some accuracy over the long term

The formula that reveals this season's AFL ladder

Sure, all makes sense – this isn’t my permanent job so going back to find the weather conditions of every match is not something I’ve had the time to do.

The accuracy and consistency of this model is pretty good for 3 simple variables.

The formula that reveals this season's AFL ladder

Yes I think you’re right – for a start I wanted to keep it simple as I could.

Over time I think a trig regression would make sense and you’d see teams following a peak’trough cycle but I haven’t made it that far

The other thing I like about this is that it suggests that improvement, even if not in terms of actual wins would make a difference going forward. For example if Gold Coast manages to not even win a game but we’re somehow simultaneously competitive and rarely got blown out, they could still improve their net points and trend up in terms of net point difference and have a better prognosis for 2020.

The idea being that every quarter, every game matters even if it doesn’t yield a seemingly positive short term result.i.e. Reducing the margin in a dead final quarter or pinching an end of season win in a game without finals implications, blowing a team out when their spirit has been broken etc

The formula that reveals this season's AFL ladder

It was beautiful and mesmerizing haha

Thursday's great game exposed the genius of Alex Rance

Weird comment – not sure if Griff Logue and and Alex Pearce are in Rance’s league.

nor Brad Reid for that matter….

Thursday's great game exposed the genius of Alex Rance

Froths them – made me laugh out loud

Yep between every candid Riewoldt interview, the praise of Jesus A Rance, not to mention little stuff like Bruce’s guttural semi inappropriate love for Dusty, every mention of little Jack Higgins and his infectious humour…

Please – they won a flag recently too – they’re going fine with the media

Thursday's great game exposed the genius of Alex Rance