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Moneyball in Cricket

Posted by Ravi Banda on June 12, 2008


IPL - Winning team - Rajsthan Royals

In Moneyball – the author looks at the Rajasthan Royals (an Indian Professional League cricket team) and how the coach and captain took a statistics heavy approach to running the team..

Wait..you should be thinking, isn’t the Moneyball about the MLB’s Oakland team 8-/ .. yes, you are absolutely right. This is just a twist on the Moneyball theory applied to a completely different setting and a different game . 

Let me take you straight to the stats. Eight teams competed in the IPL tournament and the owners of the team bidded for players from a pool and at the end – following are the teams and how much they have spent.  The team which paid the highest was Kolkata – $6,022,500  and the team which paid the least was Rajasthan (Jaipur) – $2,925,000

Can you guess who the winner was?

If you had guessed Jaipur (Rajasthan Royals), you are absolutely on spot. The Jaipur team had won (11 of the 14 matches including the Finals) and have been crowned champions. There might be arguments about how some teams had to deal with injuries, players pulling out etc. but lets focus on the main question.. how did a team which had put the least money went the farthest?

Following is the quote from their captain:
“The 38-year-old coach and captain revealed the secret behind Rajasthan Royal’s brilliant run in the tournament. Having just four days with the squad before the start of the IPL, Warne said he along with performance coach Jeremy Snape and director of coaching Darren Berry worked day and night to get an idea of what his players were capable of. When we reached here we wanted a background of all the players through the local coaches, which unfortunately we didn’t get. We played two practice games straightaway and watched every player in detail as to how they approached the game, their shot making, running between the wickets, fitness and other aspects,”

In Jaipur’s case, the coach and captain had to deal with Talent on hand and identify the strengths and weaknesses and devise ways to put together a stronger team. The decision making for the captain was also easy as he knew well about their team members.

Isn’t this the situation we constantly face? We always don’t have the option of getting new talent, but we have to work with existing talent and identify and develop the necessary skillset to meet our objectives.

7 Responses to “Moneyball in Cricket”

  1. Meg Bear said

    Welcome to TalentedApps Ravi! Great post and while I still don’t really understand Cricket I do understand the need for developing skills on a team. ;-)

  2. Pete Ryan said

    I don’t understand Meg… cricket is so straightforward!

    1. You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.

    2. Each man that’s in the side that’s in the field goes out and when he’s out comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out.

    3. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.

    4. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out.

    5. Sometimes, there are men still in and not out.

    6. There are men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.

    7. Depending on the weather and the light, the umpires can also send everybody in, no matter if they’re in or out.

    8. When both sides have been in and all the men are out (including those who are not out), then the game is finished.

    SIMPLE! :)

  3. Meg Bear said

    wow! you are right – quite simple. Don’t leave until you come and get me…

  4. Very good article and very good quotes which was revealed by Shane warne, he also a wonderful captain. Once he captained the australian team for the series which contains 10 matches, whom the actual captain was not fit for the series. He won the 9 matches at 1997 VB series against South Africa and Newzealand. But at 10th match the actual captain Steve Waugh who came into team, which the match was stolen by South Africa.

    I Still remember that 9 matches which warne captained, absolutely biggest performance by any cricket captain in the world. His strategies are simple and perfect.

    Wishing good luck for his future to Shane warne.

  5. I’ve seen and used many sporting analogies to managing talent. It is easier to set objectives for Sport

    Win the game.
    The rules of play are well defined and enforced
    If you’re in the game you have a chance to win
    There is a well defined time limit (9 innings, 90 minutes, 5 days)

    If only it was that easy to define SMART objectives in the workplace.

  6. [...] Lewis and I’ve referred to it several times in previous posts. My colleague Ravi even posted a cricket [...]

  7. [...] Lewis and I’ve referred to it several times in previous posts. My colleague Ravi even posted a cricket [...]

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