After the conclusion of a very successful T20 World Cup, much of the focus in men’s international cricket now returns to the Test game. For England, this involves an active winter programme including an historic trip to Pakistan. Australia entertain the West Indies and South Africa at home before preparing for a series in India that will surely emulate the iconic 2020/21 series for both tension and excitement. These, and the more than 50 other Tests that will be staged globally over the next nine months, all build to the final of the second ever ICC World Test Championship, in England next summer.
Within the ebbs and flows of the five day game, it can be tricky to understand who is winning. Seven years ago, CricViz created our WinViz model to help the casual fan understand who is winning at any point in the game, and since then it has become firmly established as a key tool to help engage those new to the game, while stimulating intense discussion among the armchair experts about the state of the game and the most likely outcomes.
The period since WinViz’s has seen a seismic shift in the approach to Test cricket around the world. Although the new approach in England, and the rise of ‘BazBall’, may have grabbed the headlines, the changes have been evolving over a longer time period and have been seen around the world. For example:
- The average length of an innings has decreased significantly. Between 1990 and 2015 the average first innings lasted 107 overs; since then it has decreased to 96 overs.
- The role of home advantage has increased significantly. Between 1990 and 2015 45% of games were won by the home side; since then 56% have.
- The role of the draw has reduced, with 28% of games being drawn between 1990 and 2015 but only 14% since then.
- The scoring rate has increased significantly. Between 1990 and 2015 the average run rate was 3.09; since then the average run rate has been 3.17 runs per over. In 2022, it jumped to 3.25 runs per over, 5% higher than the long term average.
Changes in player fitness, the impact of the white ball game on the longer format and the changes to player conditions arising from climate change have all played a role in changing every aspect of the game.
As a result of these changes, the fundamental question – who is winning – has also changed. A score that may have been unreachable before can now be knocked off by tea time, a poor performance on first innings may not be as damaging as it once was, the incentive for points in the World Championship may change the strategy of a run chase.
CricViz are therefore going to spend some time analysing these trends, and updating its view of who is winning – whilst we do this, we will be removing WinViz for Tests.