Hello, and welcome to my new site, which I hope you will find entertaining and informative!
First up, let’s address the elephant in the room – yes, this is another cricket statistics website, and yes I’m aware there are bigger and more comprehensive ones out there that are much more well-known and beloved of most cricket fans. I know that because I love those sites too, and that’s kind of why we’re here!
I have been a fan of international cricket since I was a child. I don’t come from a cricket-playing or cricket-loving family, and none of my friends growing up either played or were even slightly interested in the sport, but I fell in love with it through the medium of BBC Televisions’s Test match broadcasts in the long and usually wet school summer holidays of the mid-Eighties, when I’d sit mesmerised by the scenes being piped in from Trent Bridge, Edgbaston or Lord’s to our huge valve-powered colour TV.
It will come as no surprise that as a future accountant, one of the things that fascinated me the most about watching the cricket back then was the scorecards, graphs and charts that would pop up during the day’s coverage. Now, I appreciate as much as the next man a good drive though the covers, a shoulder-high bouncer, or a stunning one handed grab at second slip, but I also loved seeing those yellow numbers superimposed over the action, ever so slowly changing at the end of every over throughout the day’s play. My first knowledge of the statistical concept of an average was taught to me not by my teacher at school, but by the wonderful Tony Lewis discussing Bob Willis’s bowling figures!
As I’ve grown up, so has the depth of statistical knowledge and information available. Television now has all manner of sophisticated charts to display in real time, radio commentators cut to regular stats based insights from scorers such as Andrew Sampson or Andy Zaltsman, and of course specialist websites such as the unbeatable ESPNCricinfo’s Statsguru database grant us access to practically anything we could wish to find out if only we’re willing to spend the time framing the question correctly.
To some fans, stats are just a by-product of the sport not to be much bothered with, but to others such as myself they are integral to our enjoyment. As I watch or listen to a game, I will also sit refreshing the live scorecard on my computer waiting to see if a player has clocked-up a significant milestone, or moved into the top ten for his country or even the world for a particular statistical category. Country records fascinate me, world records more so. In a sport with such a great history, seeing a modern-day player emulate or overtake a great of the game’s past achievement brings me tremendous pleasure, whoever they play for.
Because of my fascination with stats, and partly as a hobby project to keep my computer skills sharpened through a period of unemployment a few years ago, I managed to build from scratch (with the assistance of my software developer wife) my own basic database of historical statistics, focusing largely on international players rather than the teams they play for. I loaded up every male Test, ODI and T20I player to ever play international cricket into my database with a basic summary of their key batting, bowling and fielding stats, which I now update after each international match to keep current.
At some stage, after more fine-tuning and web design to make it look shiny, I may publish that database for others to see, but in the meantime what I noticed through playing with my data was that by filtering and sorting after each update, I could spot upcoming statistical milestones in players’ careers, or whether they were coming close to overtaking historical players in one area of the game or another. For instance, ahead of yesterday’s third ODI between England and South Africa, I knew that Hashim Amla only needed 23 more runs to pass 7000 ODI runs, and only 13 runs to overtake Graeme Smith as South Africa’s fourth highest ODI runs scorer of all time (he duly achieved both!). Knowing these potential milestones ahead of time enhances my enjoyment of watching a game – not only do I get to enjoy the game itself, but I get to keep an eye on a particular players’ achievements within it and to silently urge them on to pass that marker, whether or not the player is even aware that he is approaching it!
So, I thought to myself if I enjoy keeping an eye out for these things, then surely some other cricket fans would too – so here we are!
Ahead of each match or series, I will aim to publish a brief update as to what player stats and milestones to keep an eye on in the game. For Test matches, I will do this ahead of each individual match, however for bilateral ODI and T20I series, I will post as a minimum ahead of each series (just to manage workload – I now have a proper job which eats into my stats time!) and more often if possible. For major tournaments, starting with this week’s Champions Trophy, I will conduct reviews for each team participating and post a collective summary ahead of the tournament. I will include stats for those countries that have official International Cricket Council status for the particular form of the game – Test, One Day International or T20 International.
I will also publish a summary after each Test Match or ODI/T20I series/tournament highlighting which players reached their milestones as anticipated, and which will have to wait that little while longer.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I intend to enjoying writing it!