Thursday, May 21, 2009
With less than a week to go in the IPL 2009, its time to look back and pick this year’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Selecting the best player in a league is a subjective call. And when it comes to cricket you can be sure that everyone has their own opinion.
In the NBA, the MVP is picked by an “informed” voting panel with each member ranking their top 5 candidates in a secret ballot. The player with the highest weighted average vote wins. The logic here is- the average of the subjective views of a number of experts is bound to throw up the right result. And even after this, there’s still a lot of debate of whether the right man won.
In cricket, it gets even harder because you end up comparing across species- batsmen and bowlers. Then there are all-rounders and keeper-batsmen which add to the complexity. That’s where an objective, comprehensive, all-encompassing ranking system comes in handy; that’s where the Castrol Index helps us rank the best players of the tournament.
So let’s take a look at this year’s candidates. For simplicity, we first compare within a species (i.e. batsmen with batsmen) before looking across categories. We also look at player’s who have been a part of at least half the tournament, long enough to have made a sustained impact.
Matthew Hayden is well ahead of the pack- the most runs, an average score of nearly 50 per innings (a hallmark of consistency) and a high strike rate. The rating also tells you that while Duminy has a lot of runs, his batting momentum score is a fair bit lower than the rest- and that’s because of his low strike rate.
This one is harder to call. RP Singh may be the purple cap holder, but Malinga and Nehra have been better overall bowlers thanks to their superior economy rates. SL Malinga just edges out the Delhi Daredevil in this list.
The bowling strike rate (i.e. deliveries bowled per wicket) indicates Bravo was by far the most effective wicket taker of the lot, which led to him overcoming Kallis and Yusuf Pathan in the rankings. Plus, the West Indian got bonus points for his fielding efforts. Pathan did have the best batting strike rate and economy rate of the three, but his lack of consistency led to fewer wickets taken and fewer runs per innings. A tough call, but statistically Bravo wins out.