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cricket strategy


Doc about cricket strategy based on davis theorey

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									Cricket Startegy (Match IndiaVs New Zealand As Example)

Cricket fans reading this, please correct me if I'm wrong, and forgive my
use of the wrong terminology. (For instance, when a cricketer bats, can you
also say he "hits"? I hope so.)

The idea, I think, is this:

In cricket, a batter will hit until he makes an out, and which point he is
replaced and will not bat for the remaining of the innings. Batsman’s hit in
pairs. Once ten of the eleven men are out, that leaves only one, who can't
bat alone, and the innings ends.

Outs can be infrequent; typically, a batsman can hit for 25 runs or more
before making out, and good batters occasionally hit for 100 runs or more.
Therefore, an innings (or one part of the game) can go on for several days.

The best batsman’s normally come to bat first. Sometimes, one of the
better batsman’s will go out late in the day. When that happens, the team
will sometimes send up a worse batsman to end the day. That batsman is
called the "nightwatchman."

Why would they do this? According to Cricket Board or Council, the idea is
that the end of the day is a bad period in which to hit – the next batsman
may be tired, or the light may not be good. Also, if they do send up the
good batsman, and he is quickly put out, the psychological effect might hurt
the team.

And so, they sometimes put in an inferior batsman, who can waste some
time between now and dusk, so the better batsman can be saved until Next
Day Play.

Now, if all this is correct, what would be the strategic advantage? Every
batsman has to hit eventually, and there is no inherent benefit of putting
good batsman’s together as in baseball, because every batter comes up in
the same situation (the equivalent of "bases empty"). And the psychological
rationale seems weak to me.
That leaves the "hard to hit in the dark" hypothesis. If the dim light causes
all players drop by the same percentage, then it makes sense to put in the
batter who normally bats for 10 runs than the one who normally bats for 35
runs. Better to lose X percent of 10 then X percent of 35. But isn't it also
possible that it's the other way around? Maybe the better the batter, the
more able he is to handle the adverse conditions.

Also, you have to keep in mind that every batsman gets the same chance
to bat, except the one who's left after ten men have gone out. The longer
you wait before putting in your best batsman’s, the greater the chance it will
be one of those good ones who doesn't get to finish. So, generally, you'd
want your better batsman’s first.

So which is the better strategy? This seems like a good problem for cricket
sabmetrics. The original article points to a study by Charles Davis, who (I
get the impression) is cricket's foremost sabmetrician.

In that study, Davis finds that teams who used the night watch man
strategy (late in the day after two men had gone out) undershot
expectations by 25 runs over teams who didn't. It wasn't because the night
watch men didn't do well – they did about the same as their career average
lower in the "batting order." So it must have been ... what? May be
stranding a better batsman after the last out? That still seems like a lot; the
difference between a good batter and a bad batter might be ... what, 50
runs? And there are still 8 outs (wickets) left in the match. So the fraction
25/50 seems too large under the circumstances.

But look at Davis's graph: an increase of 100 runs scored in the first two
wickets leads to a final score only about 35 runs higher. That shouldn't be
the case, should it? Wickets are independent except for the identities of the
players involved. Consider a baseball analogy: if the Houston Astros score
three runs in the first two innings, wouldn't you expect their final score to be
three runs higher than if they scored zero runs in the first two innings? Why
isn't that happening in Davis's study? The only thing I can think of is that if
you score more runs in the first two wickets, it's because you've used up
your very best batsman’s, and all that's left is your weaker ones. In that
case, it means that team strategy is a huge factor in the distribution of
scoring. And so, when you divide innings into "nightwatchman" and "non-
nightwatchman," you can't assume the two groups are identical, as Davis
Again, please correct me if I've assumed something incorrectly, and I'll
update this post.

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