OPINION: Robinson Pushing Against The Trend

Mark Robinson made little secret yesterday of the fact that he wasn’t happy with England’s pedestrian victory against Bangladesh, telling the BBC:

“I thought we went backwards today… In the middle of the innings, you can’t settle for six an over. We’re better than that.”

But the evidence might suggest that England weren’t so much going backwards as continuing in the direction they’ve been travelling for a while.

Here are the T20 career Strike Rates for England’s leading batsmen – Sarah Taylor and Charlotte Edwards:

edwards-t20-sr

taylor-t20-sr

The red line is a “trend line” which shows the general direction things are going… and it is pretty clear that it is downhill. Not only that, but it is under the 100 marker these days in both cases – and nothing like the 130-140 to which Robinson aspires.

If there is one ray of hope for the future, it is in the rise of Heather Knight:

knight-t20-sr

Here at least the trend is going uphill rather than down – perhaps supporting our suggestion a few weeks ago that Knight is the only England player to have made significant steps forwards in the past couple of years.

None of this means that England can’t win this WWT20; but if they are going to do so, they are either going to need to bat significantly against the trend, or bowl extraordinarily well.

But with even the on-message Edwards admitting yesterday that “there’s a bit of work we can do on our bowling” that is going to be tough, especially in conditions which might not entirely favour Shrubsole and Brunt, or even Hazell and Knight, who don’t get the turn that (say) Luus and van Niekerk will for South Africa.

There is an interesting comment on yesterday’s piece which suggests we were possibly overly fixated on Net Run Rate:

“England already have NRR advantage over WI. We only need NRR advantage over one of India and WI, not both. People seem to forget that. Of course, if England beat India on Tuesday, they will have four points, good NRR and probably only need to beat Pakistan to get through.”

This is a good point; and the focus must now of course be on winning against India so we can hopefully then easily qualify for the semis. But whether a Strike Rate hovering around 100 will be enough to beat New Zealand or Australia when we get there, is another matter!

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5 thoughts on “OPINION: Robinson Pushing Against The Trend

  1. I agree England used to balance manipulating the field, quick singles and boundaries.

    The last ball of our innings made me laugh/cry (and typified Englands approach) in comes Greenway ready to scamper for her life and run a two / three. What does Wyatt do sky one down Mid-on’s throat!

    The game against India will be a step up in opposition quality and a win against them in a comprehensive manner would be huge and would require a higher Run Rate!

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  2. There are 4 points about those graphs which the reader needs to be aware of :-

    1. That trend line is linear (known as degree 1) which is fine when there are very few readings but Lottie and Squirt have many readings (innings) and linear trend lines can hide trends that trend lines of degree 2 or 3 do not. For example the most recent, say, 20 innings might be innings where the scoring rate went up, even up quite significantly, but a linear trend line won’t show this where as a trend line of degree 2 or 3 is more likely to.

    2. Trend lines don’t really mean much with few readings – so Knight’s trend line isn’t very meaningful and would take only 2 or 3 disasterous innings to tilt it the other way.

    3. Whilst Lottie’s and Squirt’s (linear) trend might be down that doesn’t necessarily mean they are batting badly. In fact, even with this trend, they might be performing the best in the world. Why ? Well, over a long period of time (such as Lottie’s and Squirt’s career) the opposition teams may have improved (Lottie’s ODI record includes matches against Denmark !) and batting and fielding regulations may have changed. One can only really assess this by comparing them to other top class batsmen batting across the same period of time (eg perhaps Blackwell).

    4. Scoring Rate (I think the term ‘Strike Rate’ should be reserved for bowlers – how many balls per wicket) should be assessed separately for matches where their team batted first and matches where their team batted second. Why ? Well, in general, when batting first the aim is to score as quickly as possible. When batting second the aim is to score quicker than the opposition (which might mean scoring quite slowly is perfectly reasonable).

    Lies, damn lies and statistics !

    (In fact, if one plots Squirt’s career scoring rate after each match, so that’s her career scoring rate up to that point, it has been going up in the last handful of innings although not to as high as it was, say, in 2013. Plotting the same for Lottie does show a gradual decline over the last few years)

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  3. I agree with The Clanger that these trend lines are slightly misleading. Some of the points made in this article stand in stark contrast to the actual facts of the game – Lottie made 60 at an SR of almost 120 and Knight only got 1. If Robinson was frustrated by this, he would have been really infuriated by WI’s effort against the same opposition where they only made 148/4 despite an opening partnership of 67.

    I’ve done a little analysis, and the whole picture is somewhat more complicated. If you analyse all the T20i’s from the start of 2014, the most striking features are that 2015 was a freakishly low-scoring year for England and that 2016 has already been a bumper year for runs.

    When England reach 23 runs against India on Tues they will already have surpassed the entire sum of T20i runs scored in the 2015 calendar year. We are only in March. Strike rates are increasing for the England team as a whole, but we are losing more wickets. In fact, England are doing a better job than other teams (WI being a case in point) at sacrificing wickets for runs, a key ability in T20 cricket.

    Although the individual SRs of Edwards and Taylor maybe on a downwards trend, their combined contributions are not. They have a combined SR (total runs over total balls faced x 100) of over 100 on 4 of 4 occasions in 2016. This figure was only 1 out of 6 occasions in 2015 and only 4 out of 12 occasions in 2014. Likewise, their combined percentage of the England total runs in T20i has been consistent from 40-60% in all T20is in 2016 so far.

    So it is difficult to make an overall argument that Edwards & Taylor are getting much worse. More worryingly (and this is doubtless a symptom of other sides improving) England are conceding more runs than ever. It has now been over a year (the series in NZ) that England conceded less than 100 runs, an achievement that used to be regularly met.

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  4. Finishing 2nd may be advantageous, with NZ now likely to finish top in group A. Remember the England Lionesses in the 2015 football World Cup benefited from finishing 2nd in their group as it led to an easier run-in to the semi-finals.But would we really rather play the Aussies though? They’ll still sneak through and they have a knack of pulling it all together when it matters most. I’m still confident we can beat NZ if we played well. First things first though, a win vs. India would be welcome or we may be in a bit of bother ourselves. Which India will turn up though, the one which hammered Bangladesh or the one so poor against Pakistan?

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