Introducing a new CricViz concept: The CricViz Captaincy Cube.
Match-ups are an increasingly prevalent feature of T20 cricket. Which bowler should the fielding captain use to the opposition’s most dangerous batsmen? How can the fielding team squeeze an over of their part-timer in? Who is the best option to bowl at lower order power-hitter?
However, although match-ups increasingly define T20 matches, the options faced by a captain are difficult to identify without access to data and are even more difficult to summarise quickly.
The CricViz Captain’s Cube visualises the match-up options at the fielding captain’s disposal in a basic grid which shows the batsmen on the top and bowlers on the left-hand side. Each grid square contains a colour which is reflective of whether the match-up between the corresponding batsman and bowler is a good one or bad one for the fielding team.
Green is a good match-up for the fielding team; red is a bad match-up for the fielding team and amber is neither good or bad.
Currently three datasets are used to evaluate the match-up:
- The career data of the batsman (for example Virat Kohli) against that type of bowler (left-arm pace)
- The career data of the bowler (Jason Behrendorff against that hand of batsman (right-handed)
- The career head-to-head data for that batsman (Kohli) against that bowler (Behrendorff)
Together these datasets are combined and weighted to larger sample sizes and for recency and adjusted for the standard of cricket to produce one of the three colours: green, red or amber.
In the example above the first thing that is apparent is that with just three green squares and 19 red squares, India’s batting order is very strong and matches-up well with Australia’s bowling options. Bowling one of the wrist spinners—Adam Zampa or D’Arcy Short—to the openers—Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan—would be a good move; Australia’s captain Aaron Finch should target Kohli with the left-arm pacer Behrendorrf. The grid also shows KL Rahul to be an exceptional T20 batsmen with just one amber and no green squares in his column. Finch should avoid using his right-arm pacers (Billy Stanlake, AJ Tye and Marcus Stoinis) against India’s top four but bring them back against Rishabh Pant and Krunal Pandya.
The cube also sheds light on the subtleties of captaincy: if Kohli is batting with Rahul then Behrendorff lurches from being a good option against Kohli to a bad one against Rahul.
CricViz is developing a second phase version of the Captain’s Cube which will identify sub-types of bowlers within bowler-types using ball-tracking data. For example, although Stanlake and Tye are both right-arm pace bowlers it is clear that they are very different types of right-arm pace bowlers: Stanlake is tall and fast while Tye is skiddy and bowls a high proportion of variations. By analysing the career data of the batsmen against these specific sub-types of bowler we hope to identify match-ups on a more detailed level.
The CricViz Captain’s Cube will feature on Fox Sports’ coverage of Australia’s international season.