Now, you can get all the USA Cricket updates via Facebook. Also follow us on Twitter via @dreamcricket
Doing an overview of cricket tournaments by using the standard averages/ strike rate/ aggregate method is like an undertaking to bat against Jermaine Lawson using a wooden plank. The conventional method can barely provide an accurate point-of-view on a match-by-match basis, let alone an entire tournament.
The nuances that make up a cricket match – the match conditions, a pressure-filled situation in which a batsman produces a grinding effort, an explosive cameo at the end of an innings, a crucial partnership broken by a bowler, the impact of a tight bowling spell even if it doesn’t claim any wicket – all these details of context (and many others) are lost in the old method. Even if they do provide an inkling, it is very difficult to determine the true ability of a batsman by looking at his batting average, strike rate and run aggregate. Not only do you have to combine these three figures and form a cohesive abstract picture from that, but you also have no choice but to ignore aspects like strength of opposition and significance of the match.
In limited overs cricket statistics hide even more than they do in the longer form of the game. In fact, in T20 cricket, centuries and 5-wicket hauls are such rare occurrences that conventional statistics have altogether ceased to have any meaning though they are being dragged along clumsily for lack of an alternative.
However, Impact Index (II) is the alternative that emerged in early-2009 in Mumbai, India. It was presented as a paper at the ICC Centenary Conference at Oxford in July the same year, where it was well-received. The Oxford study of the world’s 50 greatest cricketers as per Impact Index was subsequently published in the elite cricket journal in England - The Cricket Statistician (in its 2009 winter edition, published by the Association of Cricket Historians and Statisticians). Since then, there have been talks with the BCCI and the IPL, and the ICC to bring it into the mainstream (for more details, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com).
Dreamcricket has the distinction of being the first entity to use Impact Index for a tournament in two consecutive years. This year’s Radiant Info Twenty20 USA 2010 tournament even had Impact Index as the official Stats partner. The following are some of the different perspectives that emerged.
Fundamentally, Impact Index measures every cricketing performance in a match objectively on a scale of 0 to 5 (against a base figure which emerges from entirely what transpired in the match) – every performance is therefore measured relative to the other performances in the same match. Bonus points are given in the big matches – the semis and the final.
Photo (Right): Aditya Mishra (Global NJ Daredevils) receiving a "Man of the Match" award from Assemblyman Upendra Chivukulla
The official awards – announced during the final match and awarded afterward – had Aditya Mishra (Global New Jersey Daredevils) as the "most impactful player" of the tournament. Despite a first-ball duck in the final, Mishra came back with a fine bowling performance to help his team win. Though his was not the strongest performance in this match, he still did enough to stay the best player of the tournament. His II was the highest in the tournament overall – at 5.83 (exceeding 5 because of the bonus points he earned for the big performance in the semi-final). But if you were to look at it in conventional terms – his batting aggregate was just 44 runs at an average of 14.67 and a strike rate of 200. His batting II of 2.46 is however much more impressive than what those figures suggested (as it took strike rate and circumstances into account). Meanwhile, his stunning bowling II of 3.86 actually made him the best bowler of the tournament.
Tournament-winning captain Neil McGarell (Global New Jersey Daredevils) is an interesting case. He missed the first match and scored all of 72 runs in the next 3 matches. And yet, he was the best batsman of the tournament according to Impact Index (batting II of 3.22), thanks to the crucial step-up he gave the innings every time. Even a strike-rate of 240 would not make conventional statistics pick him as the tournament's "most impactful batsman". Moreover, he had a meagre bowling II of 0.13 and yet his overall player II was a massive 5.38. This was for performing outstandingly in the big-matches, especially the semi-final where he got bonus points (which again explains it going over 5).
Team-mate Glen Hall produced a big performance in the final – but even accounting for that, his overall stats conventionally read 137 runs at 34.25 with a strike rate of 113. Not the most outstanding numbers. From a relatively mediocre II of 1.89 before the semis, his big match performance in the final boosted him to a dizzying 3.9 as a player after it.
Photo (Left): Aditya Mishra (Captain, Global NJ Daredevils) receiving the "Most Impactcul Batsman of the Tournament" award from Assemblyman Upendra Chivukulla
Six wickets in 3 matches at an average of 11.7 and an economy rate of 5 are not figures that suggest excellence on their own. These figures actually belong to the best bowler of the tournament overall – Jermaine Lawson, who saved his best for the last. With a huge big match performance in the final he helped his team lift the trophy and boosted his own II to 4.23 (which was just 2.31 before the final).
It is a pity that Kevin Darlington (Bedessee New York Destroyers) missed the final, as his bowing II of 2.77 had won him the “most impactful bowler” award, which was given after the semis. Darlington’s conventional figures showed 3 wickets at 9.6 runs apiece; it was his economy rate of 3.66 an over that edged him over his team-mate George Adams, who eventually finished with 6 wickets at 11.5 apiece, and a bowling II of 2.25.
Andrew Gonsalves (Bedessee New York Destroyers) compiled 120 runs in 4 matches at an average of 30 and a strike rate of 107. His failure in the semi-final and final however kept his II down at 2.75 whereas at one stage, it had looked like assuming dramatic proportions.
Impact Index also measured elements previously immeasurable like pressure on batsmen. Sunil Pathak (Washington Senators), who was found to measure the highest on this (as per the circumstances he faced), gave a phenomenal performance under pressure (and reached an II of 5, albeit a losing effort). Abhishek Patel and Timmy Thomas of the New England Pioneers also scored high on the pressure scale (which also led to respectable overall IIs for them of 2.52 and 2.79 respectively, though their team lost). It was actually the U-19 stars of the tournament Cameron Mirza and Regis Burton of the Atlantic All Stars, who gave the biggest match-winning performances under pressure in the tournament.
Photo (Right): Andrew Gonzales (Bedessee New York Destroyers) receiving a "Man of the Match" award from Assemblyman Upendra Chivukulla
Siddharth Mehta, Twain Walters, Sheldon Smith and Omar Watson all earned extra points for breaking partnerships as a bowler - twice each, but the man who astonishingly broke 3 partnerships – the most in the tournament, was Jamaal Mohammed (Gentlemen of Philadelphia) (in two matches). Astonishing because the man also had an Impact Index of 5 in his two matches (first as a batsman, then as bowler). Such a pity his team did not progress into the knockout stage.
Impact Index’s team IIs provide an interesting picture. Before the final, Bedessee New York Destroyer’s team II (from the three matches before that) was 1.85 whereas NJ’s was 2.05. This suggested that Global New Jersey was the favourite – this estimation can now actually be made mathematically. The prediction made by II did come true the next day when Global New Jersey Daredevils beat Bedessee New York Destroyers quite convincingly.
Overall, the team standings of the 4 semi-finalists at the end of the tournament with the team IIs – Bedessee New York Destroyers - 1.78; Global New Jersey Daredevils - 2.10; Atlantic All Stars – 1.67; New England Pioneers - 1.63. This clearly suggests that you don’t really need a third-place match to determine the 3rd best side in the tournament. By a narrow margin albeit, it is Atlantic All Stars.
All in all, this turned out to be a very interesting T20 tournament – which was in threat of being washed out last week. Thankfully, Hurricane Earl registered low on the Impact Index.