All-Time XI Cricket – World Cup Edition

All-Time XI Cricket – World Cup Edition

Today’s twist:

Create an All-time XI with the twist that you can pick only one player from each World Cup. Since we have 12 world cups to choose from, we will create a XI with a 12th player. There are multiple players who have shined in each of cricket’s finest ODI tournament, but who do you pick-the best batsman, bowler, player of the series, or the inspirational captain?

The catch:

How would you go about choosing between Martin Crowe and Wasim Akram in ’92, Lance Klusener and Shane Warne in ’99, or more recently between Kane Williamson, Rohit Sharma, Mitchell Starc, and the infallible Ben Stokes in 2019? Whatever it is, this is bound to be a fun ride.

Before we reveal our XI, let’s refresh our memory with relevant statistics regarding the highest run-scorer, wicket taker, player of the series, and captain of the winning team from each cricket world cup.

World Cup – YearMost runs (runs scored)Most Wickets (wickets taken)Player of the series Winning Captain
1975Glenn Turner (333)Gary Gilmour (11)N/AClive Lloyd
1979Gordon Greenidge (253)Mike Hendrick (10)N/A Clive Lloyd
1983David Gower (384)Roger Binny, Ashantha de Mel (18)N/AKapil Dev
1987Graham Gooch (471)Craig McDermott (18)N/AAllan Border
1992Martin Crowe (456)Wasim Akram (18)Martin Crowe Imran Khan
1996Sachin Tendulkar (523)Anil Kumble (15)Sanath Jayasuriya Arjuna Ranatunga
1999Rahul Dravid (461)Geoff Allott, Shane Warne (20)Lance KlusenerSteve Waugh
2003Sachin Tendulkar (461)Chaminda Vaas (23)Sachin Tendulkar Ricky Ponting
2007Matthew Hayden (659)Glenn McGrath (26)Glenn McGrath Ricky Ponting
2011Tillakarante Dilshan (500)Shahid Afridi, Zaheer Khan (21)Yuvraj SinghMahendra Singh Dhoni
2015Martin Guptill (547)Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult (22)Mitchell Starc Michael Clarke
2019Rohit Sharma (648)Mitchell Starc (27)Kane WilliamsonEoin Morgan
ODI World Cup Statistics

Our All Time XI:

  1. Graham Gooch (1987)
  2. Sachin Tendulkar (2003)
  3. Kane Williamson (2019)
  4. Martin Crowe (1992)
  5. MS Dhoni (2011) – WK
  6. Clive Lloyd (1979) – Captain
  7. Arjuna Ranatunga (1996)
  8. Lance Klusener (1999)
  9. Kapil Dev (1983)
  10. Mitchell Starc (2015)
  11. Glenn McGrath (2007)
  12. Glenn Turner (1975)

Honorable Mentions: Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Wasim Akram, Kumar Sangakkara (most World Cup dismissals and 4 centuries in 2015)

Note, we chose MS Dhoni at the expense of Yuvraj Singh in order to have a wicket-keeper in the side. We decided not to factor great finals’ innings like Ben Stokes in 2019 and Adam Gilchrist in 2017…’Great World Cup Innings’ would have to wait till a later post.

In any case, choosing from the great 1975-1983 West Indian and 1999-2015 Australian sides was always going to be a difficult task anyway…

Agree? Disagree? In any case, let us know in the comments below what your ideal Cricket World Cup XI would be.

For more articles in our series World XIs – With Twists, check this page out!

Stay tuned for new fantasy teams, and please share and subscribe below!

How to Fix Test Championship Points Table?

How to Fix Test Championship Points Table?

World Test Championship Part II: The Points Table

The Problem:

World Test Championship Points Table has serious issues which needs to be fixed, and we provide an apt solution.

The Background:

New Zealand: Played-7, won-3, lost-4. South Africa: Played-7, won-1, lost-6.

Looks pretty close, right? Wrong. New Zealand are currently sitting in 4th place of the World Test Championship (WTC) table with 180 points while South Africa is languishing near the bottom with just 24 points. Even though these two teams are separated by two losses, South Africa are behind by a seemingly insurmountable 156 points.

The number of points awarded in the WTC fluctuates depending on the number of matches played per series. A 2-match series is allotted 60 points per game, while 3, 4, and 5 match-series are awarded 40, 30, and 24 points respectively. Although dead-rubbers are eliminated in this format, some games now are worth more than others.

England lost the first test of the Ashes and the Wisden trophy, but it did not cost them much since the series consisted of more than 2 games. Teams playing 2-match series cannot afford the same degree of flexibility.

The Catch:

First, an all-or-nothing point system for a 5-day match is not justified. Test matches are enthralling to watch because of their ebb and flow. One Stuart Broad session can completely turn the series around or Faf Du Plessis-esque blockathon for multiple sessions might save a test match. Therefore, session-by-session match-ups need to be considered, not only the overall result. Second and more importantly, we need to incorporate home and away matches properly.

The Statistic:

India and Australia are classic examples. Over the last decade, India has won 36 matches, drawn 9, and lost merely 3 at home from the 48 played. However, they only won 17, drew 12, and lost 26 from the 55 played abroad (even this is skewed by away games played at the subcontinent). Similarly, Australia has a 36-9-9 record at home versus 17-7-25 away.

It has always been tough to win abroad, but in the last decade, the situation has worsened. In the 2010s, every country had a win-loss (W/L) ratio less than 1, meaning they lost more away than they won. Contrastingly, in the 2000s, Australia and South Africa had W/L greater than 1, while India and England were close with 0.8 and 0.739 W/L respectively.  In order to better incentivize winning abroad, more emphasis should be provided on winning away games.

The Inspiration:

Last week, we discussed how the various ‘marquee’ series’ were skewing the World Test Championship (WTC). We proposed that every team should be allocated exactly 24 games against nine different opponents over a period of two and a half years. Each team plays a total of six 2-match series along with 5-4-3 or 4-4-4 distribution against the remaining three opponents. Now that each team is on a level-playing field with an equal number of games, we can move on to solve the issues plaguing the point system.

We will take inspiration from the other major innovation the ICC came up with apart from WTC to contextualize the cricket calendar—the ODI World Cup Super League (WSL). The points system for the Super League provides a more competitive environment than the WTC.

For instance, in the WSL,10 points are assigned for a win, 5 for tie or no-result, and 0 for a loss. On the other hand, for a 3-match test series, winning constitutes 40 points, tie 20 points, draw 13 points, and defeat 0 points. Theoretically, bouncing back from a 3-match series loss is possible in the WSL, unlike a similar scenario in the WTC.

The Proposal:

So how do we fix this? We need to combine the ODI Super League system, provide a mechanism for home versus away, and distribute points across sessions. The overall points distribution for one match will consist of (1) base point system like WSL adjusted on a home/away basis, and (2) points awarded per session of a test match.

Here is our proposal. Note, each team plays 24 matches total-12 home and 12 away.

  1. Every test match has a maximum of 15 sessions (3 sessions – 5 days).
    • Session Won: 2 Points, Even/Wash-Out: 1 Point, Session Lost: 0 Points
    • If the match finishes before the last session on the 5th day, the winning team is awarded the points for the remaining sessions
    • Points Possible Per Match: 30
    • Home – Max Points Possible: 360 (12*30)
    • Away – Max Points Possible: 360 (12*30)
  2. Next, we provide criteria for home and away as displayed below:
PointsWinDrawLoseTotal
Home1680192
Away24120288
Mean20100240
Home and Away – Points Distribution
  • Maximum points for Home team: 360 +192 = 552 points.
  • Maximum points for Away team: 360 + 288 = 648 points. 
  • Total possible points: 552 + 648 = 1200
  • Average Points/Match: 1200/24 = 50 points per match.

The Example

As a demonstration, we take the recently concluded West-Indies tour of England series, which ended in 1-2. In the current format, West Indies got 40 points, while England got 80. We looked back at the scorecards in detail and allocated the points per session:


WIDrawnWash-
Out
Eng
1st Test4 (8)7 (7)2 (2)2 (4)
2nd Test2 (4)4 (4)3 (3)6 (12)
3rd Test0 (0)4 (4)3 (3)8 (16)
Sess.6 (12)15 (15)8 (8)16 (32)
West Indies vs England – Session by Session

*Sess: Sessions (Points Awarded)

We then repeated the process for each test and computed the following result:

WI TotalEng TotalWI
Away
Eng
Home
1st Test171317+24:
41/54
13+0:
13/46
2nd Test111911+0:
11/54
19+16:
35/46
3rd Test7237 +0:  
7/54
23+16:
39/46
Total355535+24:
59/162
55+32:
87/138
West Indies vs England – Total Points

Altogether, even though 59-87 is not as close as the 40-80 from the earlier system, it is still much better and keeps the hope of a comeback alive. Had West-Indies survived the final session of the second test, they would have earned a few points in the session-category as well as received 12 points for the draw in an away match, thereby closing the gap. 

  • In the 45 sessions during the series, West-Indies won 6, England won 16, and 23 were either evenly matched or washed out.
  • West Indies were playing for a maximum of 54 points per test, while England were playing for a maximum of 46 points per test.

The Conclusion:

Is this system perfect? Not quite, but it is definitely an improvement on the current system. But imagine, teams trying to survive an extra session or opposition teams bowling aggressively to finish the game in an early session due to this extra incentive. This system is not as simple as the current format, but at least it is not as complex as the D-L system!

Please let us know if you have any suggestions in the comments below, share with friends and family, and subscribe!

Stay tuned for Part III coming up – where we redo the WTC Points Table with our method and compare it with the skewed table currently in place.

Image Courtesy: Leighhubbard, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Cricket All-Time World XI – With a Twist

Cricket All-Time World XI – With a Twist

Creating fantasy World XI? We have all been here before. There is just one issue—there are just too many good players across eras. So, here is our new series on creating our World XIs, with a twist of specific constraints. In all of our posts, we will limit the category of players after ODI cricket began.

Today’s twist:

Build a Test and ODI World XI so that (1) there is a maximum of two players per country in the XI and (2) a player is not repeated in both lists.

The catch:

There are some greats that could easily fit in both teams. For example, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, and AB De Villiers are fan favorites and a versatile players, but which list are you going to put them in?

Test World XI:

  1. Sir Alastair Cook (Eng)
  2. Graeme Smith (SA) – Captain
  3. Kumar Sangakkara (SL) – WK
  4. Sachin Tendulkar (Ind)
  5. Brian Lara (WI)
  6. Steven Smith (Aus)
  7. Jacques Kallis (SA)
  8. Kapil Dev (Ind)
  9. Shane Warne (Aus)
  10. James Anderson (Eng)
  11. Muttiah Muralitharan (SL)

Honorable Mentions: Rahul Dravid (Ind) , Dale Steyn (SA), Courtney Walsh (WI), Richard Hadlee (NZ)

ODI World XI:

  1. Sanath Jayasuriya (SL)
  2. Chris Gayle (WI)
  3. Ricky Ponting (Aus) – Captain
  4. Virat Kohli (Ind)
  5. Vivian Richards (WI)
  6. AB De Villiers (SA)
  7. MS Dhoni (Ind) – WK
  8. Shakib Al Hasan (Bang)
  9. Wasim Akram (Pak)
  10. Waqar Younis (Pak)
  11. Glenn McGrath (Aus)

Honorable Mentions: Brett Lee (Aus), Daniel Vettori (NZ), Virender Sehwag (Ind), Adam Gilchrist (Aus)

Well, only choosing two out of Sehwag, Kohli, Tendulkar, and Dhoni or Gilchrist, Ponting, Warne and Mcgrath was always going to be a tough task…

Anyway, send us your World XIs and let us know what you think in the comments section below! Stay tuned for the next fantasy team, where we will build an ODI World XI with exactly one player from each World Cup.

Image Courtesy: Kroome111 via CC BY-SA 4.0

How Can the World Test Championship Improve?

How Can the World Test Championship Improve?

Good Idea, but Needs Structural Improvement Part I: The Marquee Series

World Test Championship – The Problem:

The World Test Championship is a decent idea needs improvement. We propose a structure where the imbalance created by the Big 3 is reduced.

We discuss the imbalance created by the Big 3-England, Australia, and India through ‘marquee’ series like the 5-Test Ashes, a possible solution, and implications of this structure.

The Background:

After a test match begins, one of my friends usually asks me, “Remind me again, is this match considered as a part of the WTC?” Although the current system has improved contextualizing Test cricket, there is a bias on ‘marquee’ series’ like the Ashes at the expense of creating a balanced environment. There should be a competitive environment where each team plays each opponent, and the lesser-ranked teams as well as the newest entrants—Ireland and Afghanistan—become competitive. 

The Statistic:

Currently the top 9 teams will compete for a total of 75 matches, and the newest entrants plus Zimbabwe will not participate. England will play 22 matches, Australia-19, India-18, South Africa-16, West Indies-15, Bangladesh and New Zealand-14, and Pakistan and Sri Lanka-13. The Ashes and India-England are scheduled as 5-match series while India-Australia and South Africa-England are 4-match series.

On the other hand, most of New Zealand, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka play 2-match series. Furthermore, not all series count, even an enthralling rivalry like New Zealand vs England in 2019. At this point, the Future Tour Programme (FTP) and the World Test Championship are two separate entities, where games can be accommodated to the FTP if both playing countries agree. In order to better contextualize the game and decrease an overkill of cricket, the FTP and WTC need to merge.

The Proposal:

We propose creating a structure where rivalries and marquee series are expanded.  So, how would this work? Each team will play 3 major series in the following categories:  Marquee (M), Semi-Marquee (S), and Regular (R). These Marquee games would be in a 5-4-3 format or a 4-4-4 format for a total of 12 games.  All other series will be comprised of 2 games each.

For example, England will keep the 5-match ‘marquee’ Ashes versus Australia, and play a 4-match ‘semi-marquee’ series versus India. Similarly, Australia will play 4-match series versus India apart from the Ashes. At this point, both Australia and England have 9 scheduled games, while India have played 8. To accommodate the imbalance and avoid overkill, India will play another semi-marquee 4-match series versus South Africa, while Australia and England will play a 3-match ‘regular’ series versus another team.

Here is an example of how we can divide these marquee games among the test-playing nations. 

  1. England: Australia (M), India (S), West Indies (R) : 5-4-3
  2. Australia: England (M), India (S), New Zealand (R):  5-4-3
  3. India: England (S), Australia (S), South Africa (S) :  4-4-4
  4. South Africa: New Zealand (M), India (S), Sri Lanka (R): 5-4-3
  5. New Zealand: South Africa (M), Pakistan (S), Australia (R): 5-4-3
  6. Pakistan: New Zealand (S), West Indies (S), Sri Lanka (S): 4-4-4
  7. West Indies: Bangladesh (M), Pakistan (S), England (R): 5-4-3
  8. Sri Lanka: Afghanistan (M), Pak (S), South Africa (R): 5-4-3
  9. Bangladesh: West Indies (M), Zimbabwe (S), Afghanistan (R): 5-4-3
  10. Afghanistan: Sri Lanka (M), Ireland (S), Bangladesh (R): 5-4-3
  11. Ireland: Afghanistan (S), Zimbabwe (S): 4-4
  12. Zimbabwe: Ireland (S), Bangladesh (S): 4-4

The Conclusion:

Let’s face it, with the advent of the Big 3, Test cricket and viewership in England, Australia, and India are alive and inter-rivalries kept intact. The idea is that instead of scrapping the Ashes, we keep the traditional rivalries alive and encourage new ones, especially for lower-ranked teams. This will have profound impact.

More spectators will fill the stadium (presuming cricket will be resumed everywhere), neutral viewers will tune in on these matches, and a competitiveness will rise within new rivals. When teams like West Indies and Sri Lanka play marquee series against Bangladesh and Afghanistan, this provides newer teams the chance to elevate their game. Hence, the distribution of these marquee series will have broad implications and improve the overall quality of the World Test Championship.

Do you think this is a viable option? What are some of your opinions on how to improve the World Test Championship? Please comment below and let us know!

That’s all for now! Continue reading ahead for Part II of the series, World Test Championship: How Can The Points Table Be Improved.