Recently Jarod Kimber was gushing over the new Pakistan quick Junaid Khan. In doing so, he said that in addition to flair and skill, it is the youth of new Pakistan bowlers that makes them so appealing. Of course, I’m paraphrasing. Jarrod never says anything so dull.
This got me thinking about how early Pakistan cricketers start in International cricket. Anecdotally, it seemed Pakistan had the most young debutants. This led me to StatsGuru. Which led to this chart (click the chart for an awesome large version)– the bars represent % of total debutants who were under 22, and there’s one bar per decade, per team:
I started by just getting the per team numbers for all 40 years of ODI cricket. This was great, and demonstrated the same trend (younger debuts in the sub-continent, older in England/Aus), but I wanted to see how these numbers changed over time. So I pulled the numbers separately for each decade of One Day cricket.
A few points that stand out for me:
I also pulled overall (40 year) numbers for Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, but I don’t consider them interesting. They have such a poor record that they have no choice but to turn to the teenagers. If you’re interested, Bangladesh is 66% under 22 debuts, and Zimbabwe is 51%.
* And talent, of course.
“Kids watch you and want to become you (Afridi) or Imran or Wasim, so don’t leave them with examples that are not there to follow.”
(via Sana Kazmi, who sat through an excruciating series of Salman Butt interviews to pull out the gems. She did it so you don’t have to. Be grateful.)
Javed Miandad encompasses almost everything that makes Pakistan the most entertaining team of them all. Rob Bagchi and Rob Smyth recall one of the great innings of all time, where Miandad scored 200 not out of a total of 311:
Wickets continued to fall at the other end: 155 for five, 224 for six, 227 for seven. Then Javed added 43 for the eighth wicket with Robin Hobbs – who was out first ball. It was an astonishing partnership, with Javed facing every delivery for eight consecutive overs. His plan was simple: wait for the field to come up for the fifth delivery, hit over the top for a boundary, and then gleefully steal a single from the last ball. It was a delicious game of cat and mouse, except the mouse was terrorising the cat.
This innings on its own is a microcosm for Pakistani cricket. Including how the innings ended.
Returning to my obsession, here is the list of all Pakistan ODI captains since Imran (criteria: captained > 5 ODIs) with their fate. Forgive some oversimplification of facts in favor of brevity:
Misbah-ul-Haq is now officially the 15th captain of the Pakistan ODI team since Imran Khan. I know, because I’ve been keeping track. It’s an obsession with me.
Good morning. At long last, we have a test match.
Personally, I’m interested to see how Bishoo, Rampaul and Simmons fair in the longer game. That will tell us a lot about the future of West Indies cricket.
I’m a little late to link to this, but here’s the remarkable story of how three girls from Pakistan got to the semi-finals in Mohali. I was following this on Twitter as it unfolded, and then suddenly the twitter account (@sanakazmi) went silent. The day after the game, she reported that they had made it to the game:
[W]e started a #getthegirlstomohali hashtag on twitter asking for ticket/visa information, and secretly hoping for ridiculous favours. We had 5 days to get visas, find match tickets and get on a plane or a train or a taxi to Mohali. How hard could it be?
Pretty much all the information I got on how to make this cricket pilgrimage happen – from the link to the right visa form to where in Islamabad I could find a printer at 5AM – came from twitter.
The One Day International has changed dramatically in its 40 years of existence. Here is part one of my analysis of the game:
Highest Score per team, per year
We’ve come a long way since the ’70s. It used to be a 60-over innings and teams barely got a couple of hundred runs. In 1977, no team made more than 250 in their allotted 60 overs. Every year since 2004, the top eight teams have had a 300+ score every year. We’ve come a long way, baby.
Take a look at how Jayasuriya and company changed the game in 1996. It’s an outlier, so different from the years around it and wouldn’t be surpassed until the batting powerplay was instituted in 2006.
Highest Score of World Cup 2011: 375 by India against Bangladesh
Runs per over per team, per year
We’ve gone from a par average of 4 to a par average of 5.5. In 1994, every team had a yearly run rate of 5 and under. By 2010, every team was over 5. In fact, South Africa finished 2010 at 6 runs per over for the year.
Top 8 Teams Run Rate at World Cup 2011: 5.38
Runs per wicket per team, per year
Now here’s something that hasn’t changed much as the game has changed. Even though teams are scoring at a (much) faster pace, the runs per wicket has been largely steady. Barring some outliers (West Indies in the early days, Australia in the last 10 years), the average has barely increased from the upper 20’s to the low 30’s.
In both this chart and the runs per over, Sri Lanka’s progress between say 1983 and 1996 has been the most dramatic. On this chart, Sri Lanka goes from about 18 in 1984 to 38 in 1997. Of note: Australia crossed 50 runs per wicket in 2001.
Also, look how the mighty have fallen. West Indies dominates every chart here for the first decade and then drops off the map. Finally, the era of Aussie dominance ended in 2008- the orange dot on all three charts falls from the top that year.
World Cup 2011: Matches Among Top 8 Teams:
Side Batting First: 29.58 Runs per Wicket
Side Batting Second: 31.61 Runs per Wicket
In the next installment, I will present three charts on how the balance of power in one day internationals has changed over 40 years.
Also, what a symmetrical bowling card: