Spin in or out? (Wicket Rates)

Freddie Wilde analyses whether the ball that spins into the batsman is more likely to take a wicket than the ball that spins away. 

Following CricViz’s investigation that proved that scoring rates are higher against balls that turn into the batsman compared to those that turn away from the batsman, CricViz has looked into which direction of spin is more likely to take a wicket.

Given that balls that spin into the batsman threaten the stumps more than those that spin away, cricketing intuition suggests that those that spin in are likely to take wickets more often than those that spin away, simply by virtue of bringing two modes of dismissal—leg before wicket and bowled—more into play.

Using ball-by-ball data from all ten seasons of the Indian Premier League we have grouped deliveries into those that turn into and out from the batsman based on whether the batsman is right or left-handed.

Bowler TypeOut from Right HandersIn to Right Handers
Leg SpinnerLeg BreakGoogly
Off SpinnerDoosra/Carrom BallOff Break
Slow Left ArmerStock Ball
Left Arm UnorthodoxWrong’UnStock Ball
Bowler TypeIn to Left HandersOut from Left Handers
Leg SpinnerLeg BreakGoogly
Off SpinnerDoosra/Carrom BallOff Break
Slow Left ArmerStock Ball
Left Arm UnorthodoxWrong’UnStock Ball

Once again, as with the investigation into scoring rate, cricket’s assumption is proven to be correct. Balls that spin into the batsman are more likely to take a wicket than those that spin away from the batsman. Balls that spin in take a wicket every 21.70 balls compared to 23.14 balls for those that spin away.

 BallsWicketsStrike Rate
In1712078921.70
Out29394127023.14

As with the scoring rate analysis, a full breakdown of deliveries reveal that the balls that take wickets most often are those considered as “variation” deliveries; specifically carrom balls, doosras and googlies. A similar pattern emerged with regards to scoring rate, in that variation deliveries were the balls that proved hardest to score off. This is unsurprising when you consider that the batsman is expecting the ball to turn the other way.

Strangely, left arm unorthodox bowlers are anomalies to this trend. For both right handers and left handers the left arm unorthodox deliveries that turn away—wrong’uns and stock balls respectively—are in fact more likely to take a wicket than the corresponding alternative. This isn’t only a slight trend but a strong one, with the difference being 17.52 and 11.50 balls per wicket respectively.

BOWLERDELIVERYIN RHOUT RHIN LHOUT LH
Leg SpinnerLeg Break-22.2424.26-
Leg SpinnerGoogly9.41--12.05
Off SpinnerOff Break23.92--29.65
Off SpinnerCarrom Ball/Doosra-8.988.30-
Left Arm UnorthodoxStock Ball31.67--17.00
Left Arm UnorthodoxWrong’Un-14.1528.50-
Slow Left ArmStock Ball-23.6722.23-
Overall21.0522.2022.7326.02

Once again, like the scoring rate analysis, the overall trend of balls turning in taking wickets more often, is considerably more pronounced for left handers than right handers. Balls that turn into left handers take a wicket 3.29 balls more often than balls that turn away from left handers. The difference for right handers is only 1.15.

So then, balls that turn into the batsman are more expensive, but also more threatening, than those that turn away.

Freddie Wilde is an Analyst at CricViz. Follow him on Twitter @fwildecricket

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