November 2018 - Rest of the World T20 Player Analysis Dossiers

6th November, 2018.

Recently, we have received considerable interest from players and agents, as well as clubs, in preparing analysis dossiers for them in order to help them understand players strengths and weaknesses, from a statistical perspective.  If you are interested in discussing these further, please get in touch via

With there being extremely high levels of competition among players for T20 franchise contracts, it also makes perfect sense for both players and their agents to invest in dossiers which they can then circulate to franchises, ahead of drafts and auctions - enabling franchises to have detailed data at hand which help them formulate recruitment decisions.

In addition, cricket teams are appreciating the benefit of statistical analysis dossiers to assist them by providing an independent second opinion for players that they are interested in signing.  

With this in mind, I wanted to showcase some brief analysis dossiers on a number of T20 players around the world, across a number of upcoming articles.  This particular piece focuses on six T20 players from a variety of countries, all of whom were suggested to me on Twitter as being interesting players to profile.

Player: Shimron Hetmyer

Age: 21

Batting Style: Left-Hand Bat (Top Order Batsman)

Current Sports Analytics Advantage Algorithm-Driven T20 Expected Data for Example T20 Leagues:

IPL Expected Batting Average: 31.64

IPL Expected Strike Rate: 153.92

Big Bash Expected Batting Average: 31.07

Big Bash Expected Strike Rate: 153.01

Batting Strike Rate Ability vs Pace/Spin Bowling in Major T20 Leagues (from 2015/2016 Big Bash onwards): 

Strike Rate vs Pace: 168.1

Strike Rate vs Spin: 127.2

T20 General Batting Data (Major Leagues, from 2015/2016 Big Bash onwards):

Boundary %: 21.21%

Boundary Run %: 68.18%

Non-Boundary Strike Rate: 59.83

Balls Faced per Innings: 22.85

Shimron Hetmyer is a 21 year-old batsman from the West Indies, who impressed during the recent CPL for Guyana Amazon Warriors - where he was a regular at number three - as well as for the West Indies national T20 team.

Despite his age, Hetmyer is already gaining a reputation as a destructive T20 batsman, and a look at his scoring data indicates that such a reputation is justified.  He has hit just over 21% of his balls faced for boundaries (62/38% split for 4s/6s), a boundary-hitting figure which is already well above the T20 mean, and approaching world-class level.  He does have a slight tendency to score most of his runs via boundaries, with a relatively mediocre non-boundary strike-rate of just below 60.  

In addition, Hetmyer's balls per innings figure - a shade below 23 balls per innings - is extremely high for a top order batsman and gives him an 'average' innings of 34(23), which would obviously be more than acceptable for T20 teams around the world.  It is very rare for a player hitting in excess of 20% of boundaries to be able to also face 20+ balls per innings on average, with very few batsmen worldwide able to have achieved this in recent years.  Of the major T20 batsmen with a decent sample size in recent years, only the likes of Aaron Finch, Chris Lynn, Adam Lyth, D'Arcy Short, Kamran Akmal and Chris Gayle have been able to boast these stability and boundary hitting stats in conjunction with each other, so Hetmyer is in good company.

With Hetmyer having a strong strike rate preference toward spin bowling, and a boundary hitting dynamic, it seems logical that he'd be well suited to PowerPlay batting, as he often is used currently.  In addition, his data also certainly makes him look capable of opening the batting as well as batting at the first wicket.  

Looking at potential overseas franchise leagues, given such strengths against pace bowling, it would make sense for Hetmyer to focus on trying to obtain contracts in pace-orientated leagues such as the IPL or Big Bash, and the expected average and strike rate figures above show that he'd be an asset in those tournaments, although it's worth noting that they're still based on a relatively small sample size of data.  

However, despite this small data sample size, given his age and further improvement potential, it wouldn't be a huge gamble for an IPL or Big Bash team to sign Hetmyer.  Our age curve analysis data makes him a future world-class T20 performer.

Player: Babar Azam

Age: 24

Batting Style: Right-Hand Bat (Top Order Batsman)

Current Sports Analytics Advantage Algorithm-Driven T20 Expected Data for Example T20 Leagues:

PSL Expected Batting Average: 43.05

PSL Expected Strike Rate: 117.07

BPL Expected Batting Average: 39.08

BPL Expected Strike Rate: 111.49

Batting Strike Rate Ability vs Pace/Spin Bowling in Major T20 Leagues (from 2015/2016 Big Bash onwards): 

Strike Rate vs Pace: 118.0

Strike Rate vs Spin: 103.3

T20 General Batting Data (Major Leagues, from 2015/2016 Big Bash onwards):

Boundary %: 12.22%

Boundary Run %: 47.79%

Non-Boundary Strike Rate: 67.05

Balls Faced per Innings: 25.06

Babar Azam is a 24 year old top-order batsman who has had great success recently for the Pakistan national team, and has been in and around the top of the ICC T20 Batsman rankings for a decent period of time.

A look at Babar's major league T20 data shows that he has considerable limitations from a strike-rate perspective, with both his strike rate against pace and also spin bowling being below the worldwide T20 average.  This is also in line with his boundary hitting percentage - a shade over 12% - and also his low boundary run percentage, which stands at below 50%.   It is obvious from these numbers that he does not fit into the 'boundary hitter' dynamic, and it's also worth noting that his six-hitting percentage, which stands at around 2.5% in recent years in major T20 leagues, is also unimpressive.  

Where Babar does thrive, however, is offering his teams stability at the top of the order.  In major T20 leagues, he faces in excess of 25 balls per innings - world class numbers - and is also reasonably adept at rotating the strike, illustrated by a non-boundary strike-rate of 67.  This all combines to an 'average' innings of 28(25), which looks a little slow even by an anchor-role definition.

For franchise T20 teams, Babar has mainly opened or batted at three, and his strike rate has hovered around 115 in either role.  From a small sample of coming in outside the PowerPlay, his numbers dropped a little, but the sample was so small, it is difficult to give it much credence.  With such a high balls faced per innings figure, Babar rarely played innings where he faced 15 balls or fewer in recent years - however in all of these, when he was dismissed, he had a strike rate below 100, including innings such as 0(8) and 1(7) - it looks like he is a slow starter to innings and then looks to catch up a little.

The knock-on effect of this is evident when looking at Babar's peak strike rates.  His best innings in major T20 franchise leagues from 2016 onwards, from a strike rate perspective, was 47(30), at a strike rate of 156.7, and in this sample, he only played three innings with a strike rate greater than 140. 

All of this doesn't necessarily mean that Babar can't be a useful T20 batsman.  He's done superbly in a clearly-defined role for Pakistan, where they are fine with setting or chasing relatively low totals given the conditions that they play in, and frequently, the quality of their bowlers as well.  For the right team, in a low-scoring league, with good bowlers, he'd be a perfect top order batsman to see them towards relative par totals.  However, if he was signed by a team who needed a regular par score of 180, I'd have considerably more doubts.

Player: Marcus Stoinis

Age: 29

Batting Style: Right-Hand Bat

Bowling Style: Right-Arm Medium-Fast

Current Sports Analytics Advantage Algorithm-Driven T20 Expected Data for Example T20 Leagues:

IPL Expected Batting Average: 21.20

IPL Expected Batting Strike Rate: 119.10

IPL Expected Bowling Average: 32.18

IPL Expected Bowling Economy Rate: 9.10 

Batting Strike Rate Ability vs Pace/Spin Bowling in Major T20 Leagues (from 2015/2016 Big Bash onwards): 

Strike Rate vs Pace: 125.9

Strike Rate vs Spin: 111.8

T20 General Batting Data (Major Leagues, from 2015/2016 Big Bash onwards):

Boundary %: 12.80%

Boundary Run %: 47.78%

Non-Boundary Strike Rate: 72.46

Balls Faced per Innings: 15.83

T20 Batting Role Strike Rate Data (Based on stage of innings he comes in to bat) - Major Leagues, from 2015/2016 Big Bash onwards:

Opening: 108.7

Powerplay (not opening): 139.1

Overs 7-10: 109.9

Overs 11+: 132.5

T20 Stage-Based Bowling Data (Major Leagues, from 2015/2016 Big Bash onwards):

Overs 1-6 Economy: 10.11

Overs 7-16 Economy: 8.20

Overs 17-20 Economy: 10.50

Marcus Stoinis is a 29 year old Australian all-rounder, who in recent years has represented Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash, Kings XI Punjab in the IPL and Kent in the T20 Blast, and last week, was traded to Royal Challengers Bangalore for next season's IPL.

Looking at Stoinis' batting data, it is largely unimpressive.  His strike rates against both pace and spin aren't above-average, and his boundary percentage - a little below 13% - is a few percent down on the worldwide T20 mean.  Given that he has batted in some of the more batsman-friendly leagues around the world, this would also be a concern.  Stoinis is, however, a much more effective strike-rotator, running at a non-boundary strike rate of over 70 runs per 100 balls, which is considerably better than the average T20 batsman.  

Having established that Stoinis is a more effective strike rotator than boundary hitter, where would he fit in best to a T20 team's batting line-up?  This is a very difficult question to answer - his strike rate when opening has been mediocre in recent years (and he's barely hit a six as an opener, either), so I wouldn't recommend opening with Stoinis.  If his strike rate against spin was a little higher, he would probably be best suited to the middle overs, but there isn't any particularly ideal solution here.

Despite having a fairly low overall strike rate, Stoinis is capable of brutal destruction of bowling on occasion.  In recent years, he's hit 99(51), 29(15) and 40(23), so he evidently does have a high strike rate innings in his locker - the question is, why can't he replicate this more consistently? With only around 30% of his major T20 league innings in recent years lasting 15 balls or fewer having a strike rate over 100, he appears to be a fairly slow starter, before looking to kick on later on during his innings.

Bowling-wise, Stoinis' best role - and where he has done around 65% of his bowling in recent years - looks to be during the middle overs.  He's not a regular four-over bowler (his mean figure in recent years is about 2.3 overs per match) so it would be logical to try and get a couple of overs out of him during this middle over period.  

While Stoinis is a contributor with both bat and ball for T20 franchises, it is difficult to see him as a particularly above-average exponent of either discipline - demonstrated by the expected numbers above.  He does offer teams options and depth, but when considering a 'luxury all-rounder', who isn't an out and out top order batsman and who tends not to bowl a full quota of overs, it would be useful for them to have more of a boundary-hitting/finisher dynamic, particularly if they are taking up one of the valuable overseas positions for a team.

Player: Oshane Thomas

Age: 21

Batting Style: Left-Hand Bat

Bowling Style: Right-Arm Medium-Fast

Current Sports Analytics Advantage Algorithm-Driven T20 Expected Data for Example T20 Leagues:

BPL Expected Bowling Average: 18.86

BPL Expected Bowling Economy Rate: 7.64

IPL Expected Bowling Average: 24.02

IPL Expected Bowling Economy Rate: 8.71  

T20 Stage-Based Bowling Data (Major Leagues, from 2015/2016 Big Bash onwards)

Overs 1-6 Economy: 7.00

Overs 7-16 Economy: 9.82

Overs 17-20 Economy: 9.00

Oshane Thomas is a 21 year old pace bowler from the West Indies, whose 18 wickets in the recent CPL for the Jamaica Tallawahs immediately led to a national team call-up to the West Indies T20 team for recent matches against India, where he also impressed, going for just six runs per over across two matches against strong opposition.

Looking at Thomas' economy rates split by various stages of the match, it looks like he thrives in the PowerPlay, going at an extremely economical 7 runs per over during this stage, and when considering his performances in other phases, it would appear logical for him to bowl at least two, and perhaps even three overs in the early stages of opposition innings. His death economy is also acceptable, although for some reason, he's struggled with economy during the middle overs. However, it's important to note that with the recent CPL being Thomas' first full season in T20 leagues, we are still dealing with relatively small sample sizes of data.

We can see from the above expected data that our algorithm gives Thomas very strong expected data for several examples of T20 franchise leagues. Both leagues expected average/economy figures give him an expected strike rate below the 17 mark - a big driver for T20 success. He has just been recruited by Rangpur Riders to play in the upcoming BPL, and his expected average for this tournament looks excellent - he looks a very smart signing indeed. In addition, his IPL expected data is also solid, and following those impressive recent performances against India, it wouldn't be a surprise at all if he was picked up by an IPL team in the upcoming auction.

Batting-wise, Thomas looks an out and out tail ender, with averages around the 5/6 mark in red-ball and 50 over formats. He's barely batted in T20 franchise leagues.

Summarising, if we can trust his current, relatively small sample sizes of data, at the age of 21, Thomas looks to have the T20 world at his feet, and looks to have the potential to be an elite-level bowler in the format.

Player: Zahir Khan

Age: 19

Batting Style: Left-Hand Bat

Bowling Style: Left-Arm Chinaman

Current Sports Analytics Advantage Algorithm-Driven T20 Expected Data for Example T20 Leagues:

T20 Blast Expected Bowling Average: 21.79

T20 Blast Expected Bowling Economy Rate: 7.31 

IPL Expected Bowling Average: 23.79

IPL Expected Bowling Economy Rate: 6.65   

Zahir Khan is a 19 year old spin bowler from Afghanistan, who has had recent T20 major franchise league experience for Rangpur Riders in last years BPL (one match), as well as for Lancashire in the T20 Blast (seven matches).  He also starred for Nangahar Leopards in the recent Afghanistan Premier League.

Given his lack of experience in major T20 leagues so far, it is difficult to make a great deal of judgement over Zahir Khan's ability as a bowler across various phases of matches, but for Lancashire, he tended to do the vast majority of his bowling during the middle overs - as is often the case for spin bowlers.  However, the benefit of using algorithms to find expected data is that it can take into account a vast number of a player's performances and translate them to any league around the world.  From the 2016 Afghanistan Shpageeza League onwards, I've got almost 100 overs of bowling data (but barely any batting data - he looks like a real number 11) that can be analysed, which does allow the following observations.

We can see from his expected average and economy figures that Zahir Khan is already likely to be an above-average performer in T20 franchise leagues, with him being impressive from both an expected average and expected economy perspective.  Make no mistake, these are strong numbers for any player, let alone a 19 year old, and his expected numbers also illustrate what a smart pick-up he was by Lancashire in the recent T20 Blast in England.  My expectation is that he should be under consideration by franchises across the world.  While Afghanistan have a wealth of spin-bowling options, it is surprising that they are yet to find a place for Zahir in T20 so far, and it is extremely likely that his continued performances in the format will make his national team call-up a formality.

Player: Jeetan Patel

Age: 38

Batting Style: Right-Hand Bat

Bowling Style: Right-Arm Off-Break

Current Sports Analytics Advantage Algorithm-Driven T20 Expected Data for Example T20 Leagues:

BPL Expected Bowling Average: 25.75

BPL Expected Bowling Economy Rate: 6.90

IPL Expected Bowling Average: 36.20

IPL Expected Bowling Economy Rate: 7.32 

T20 Stage-Based Bowling Data (Major Leagues, from 2015/2016 Big Bash onwards)

Overs 1-6 Economy: 7.09

Overs 7-16 Economy: 7.70

Overs 17-20 Economy: 8.83

Jeetan Patel is a 38 year old spin bowler from New Zealand, who has been playing for Birmingham in the T20 Blast in England, and for Wellington in the Super Smash in New Zealand, although he's not been used by his national team in this format for a number of years.

Despite Patel's advancing years, he shows little in the way of decline.  While he wasn't particularly a wicket-taking threat in the T20 Blast this year (11 wickets in 14 matches, at a strike rate of around 30) his economy rates are still excellent in a high scoring competition, and his performances in New Zealand bear similar comparison, from an economy perspective.

We can see from the stage-based bowling data above that Patel has solid economy throughout various phases of matches, and while he's bowled almost 70% of his overs for Birmingham in the middle overs in recent years, he isn't a spinner who is restricted to bowling in this lower-scoring phase of the match - his economy in the PowerPlay is particularly impressive.

As well as being very economical, we can see that Patel's reliability is magnificent - for Birmingham in the last three years, he's bowled more than 3.7 overs per match, making it extremely likely that he can be relied upon by his team to deliver four economical overs of spin.  In fact, this year in the T20 Blast, he bowled his full quota of four overs in every single match.  From a batting perspective, he's not a complete tail-ender, but it would be unfair to rely on him to provide an abundance of depth for his team.

At the age of 38, could Patel still do a job for teams in T20 franchise leagues around the world?  Our expected numbers (above) indicate that he'd be an asset from an economy perspective, although he'd be less likely to be a wicket-taking threat.  For a team looking for an experienced player with this dynamic, he would be worthy of consideration.