England Batsmen at Lord’s

There are suspicions afoot that England have an ODI weakness at the home of Cricket.

CricViz’s analysis is here. In a nutshell, England struggle when the ball does a bit. Lord’s is a prime example of that, hence England have lost two of their last five games there and are vulnerable. It’s a neat piece of work.

And yet… Cricket is an individual sport masquerading as a team one. “England” as a batting lineup is a myth. In this piece I’ll explore the expected top seven for the game on 25th June 2019 and their track record in white ball cricket at Lord’s.

Firstly, ODI records.

Fig 1- ODI Records of selected England players at Lord’s

We can eliminate Bairstow, Root and Morgan from our enquiries. They have done well. Also, it’s Morgan’s home ground – surely he is familiar enough with conditions to not be at a disadvantage?

Note how Roy and Hales have been something of a flop at Lord’s. They aren’t playing tomorrow so we can put them to one side. That leaves Vince, Stokes, Buttler, Ali & Woakes under the spotlight. None of them have played a T20I at Lord’s but we can look at their Test Match record.

Fig 2: Test Records

Stokes has a decent red ball record at Lord’s. Not the same discipline, will let you make your own mind up.

List A records – note the very small sample size. Because Stokes, Buttler, Ali & Woakes all play in the North group, they rarely get the chance to play at Lord’s. Can’t read much into this.

How about the 20-20 record?

Oh. As far as I can tell none of Stokes / Buttler / Ali / Woakes have batted in a 20-20 at Lord’s. Vince has, and it hasn’t gone well.

What can we conclude? Firstly, county players generally stick to their half of the country when it comes to white ball Cricket, and many will only have strapped on their coloured pads in a minority of England’s grounds. Secondly, the jury is still out on Stokes / Buttler / Ali at Lord’s. More data please! Finally, over six white ball innings and four Test innings Vince has 151 runs at 15.1 – that’s not good.

Using CricViz False Shot % as an alternative to Averages

CricViz now use False Shot Percentages as a metric for assessing batsmen. Most recently they have done this as one factor when considering Australia’s options for the Sri Lanka tour.

A key point is that False Shots and averages are not equivalents – if a two batsman both have a 10% False Shot rate, the more attacking batsman will average more because they will score more runs for each error they make. One has to combine False Shot Rate and Strike Rate to get a useful metric.

As such, I’ve used the data CricViz published, and overlaid that with First Class Strike Rates to give an expected average derived from False Shot %

The chart shows that Maxwell leads the options (due to his Strike Rate of >70 runs per hundred balls, combined with a healthy 10.4% False Shot rate. This is interesting because his 3 year Sheffield Shield average was only 43. Worth bearing in mind he isn’t a Red Ball regular, with only 962 runs in the last 3 years.

Handscomb (real world average 50, False Shot average 57) can feel hard-done-by to have missed out on selection. He averages 38 in Tests, it looks an odd choice.

There is evidence that Pucovski is as good as the hype – CricViz’s data suggesting that not only has he performed well (FC Average 49 after 8 games), but that it isn’t a fluke (v.low False Shots implying he may have been unlucky to average only 49 in those 8 matches). Still, it’s a small sample size.

Conclusions: False Shots combined with Strike Rate are a potentially useful tool in predicting player averages when limited data is available (such as young players). However, more evidence is required of long term correlations before False Shot % and Strike Rate replaces averages.