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Old December 13, 2011, 09:23 AM
1RParker 1RParker is offline
Club Cricketer
Join Date: February 8, 2010
Location: Sunderbans
Posts: 53
Default Moneyball: the answer to our cricketing woes?

Taken from a description of the book "Moneyball":

Billy Beane, general manager of MLB's Oakland A's and protagonist of Michael Lewis's Moneyball had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that's smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive cast-off veterans.
Lewis was in the room with the A's top management as they spent the summer of 2002 adding and subtracting players and he provides outstanding play-by-play. In the June player draft, Beane acquired nearly every prospect he coveted (few of whom were coveted by other teams) and at the July trading deadline he engaged in a tense battle of nerves to acquire a lefty reliever.

Besides being one of the most insider accounts ever written about baseball, Moneyball is populated with fascinating characters. We meet Jeremy Brown, an overweight college catcher who most teams project to be a 15th round draft pick (Beane takes him in the first). Sidearm pitcher Chad Bradford is plucked from the White Sox triple-A club to be a key set-up man and catcher Scott Hatteberg is rebuilt as a first baseman. But the most interesting character is Beane himself. A speedy athletic can't-miss prospect who somehow missed, Beane reinvents himself as a front-office guru, relying on players completely unlike, say, Billy Beane. Lewis, one of the top non-fiction writers of his era (Liar's Poker, Next), offers highly accessible explanations of baseball stats and his roadmap of Beane's economic approach makes Moneyball an appealing reading experience for business people and sports fans alike.

I wonder to what extent this pure statistic approach could be adopted for team selection for a successful Bangladeshi team.

It would have to be married with a policy – mooted by Mushfiqur after the latest test match debacle – of a lot more domestic first class cricket so that a useful statistics base could be built up.

I would like the following statistics to be used:

Batting and bowling averages (obviously)
Balls faced by batsmen (would be crucial for determining test match mentality)
Performances against pace bowling/spin bowling
Performances against left hand/right hand opponents
How out
Singles (crucial in ascertaining ability to rotate strike)
Performance when chasing or setting targets
Performance in different weather conditions

And many many more criteria.

I am sure that selectors and coaches are mindful of statistics when selecting players for the national team – the point is that they could make it a purely statistical exercise. If it worked for the Oakland A’s – why not for Bangladesh? We could not be worse than we are presently and we really need to do something different to stop the rot.
"Then Richard Parker, companion of my torment, awful, fierce thing that kept me alive, moved forward and disappeared forever from my life"
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