August 29, 2008

Dhoni’s Scores by Batting Position

3 comments
Dhoni is consistently changing his batting position in the ODI team. He likes to keep himself floating around in the middle order to accommodate others around. He displays a true leader’s quality in helping others to perform ahead of him. But, where should he bat? Which is the best position for him? With these questions in mind, I did an analysis of his previous 118 matches, of which he went in to bat 105 times. The analysis includes all matches until 24 Aug 2008, including the third ODI recently completed against Sri Lanka.

Batting Positions
When he started playing for India, he was considered to act as a bridge between the batsmen and the bowlers. This is where, normally, most of the wicket-keepers fit in. So, in his first series against Bangladesh, he came in at No. 7. Things changed in the immediate next series against Pakistan. In the second match of the series, he was asked to bat at No. 3. He responded with an aggressive knock of 148, his first ODI hundred.

In the next series, Indian Oil Cup involving Sri Lanka and West Indies, he opened the innings with Sehwag in the first match against Sri Lanka. That’s a rare occasion. He has opened the innings for India only twice, against England being the other one. Since then, he was tossed around the batting order, anywhere from #3 to #8. But, the majority of the innings were at #4 to #7.

In the last five matches he played, all of them against Sri Lanka, he came in at #4, #5, #6, #5 and #6. In the Kitply cup final against Pakistan, he batted at #7. Dhoni himself admitted that it was a mistake and he would prefer to come in early. Now, let us look at the statistics.

Runs Scored By Batting Position
The following graph shows the number of runs scored by Dhoni at the various batting positions.

Runs Scored By Dhoni at various batting positions
As you can see, he has been there up from #2 to all the way down at #8. His main contribution comes from #6 at a total of 1218 runs. His scores at #3, #4 and #7 are very close to each other and are hovering around the 600 runs mark. Dhoni’s contribution at #5 is also not far behind that mark. Certainly, #2 and #8 do not look good. If you look at the number of innings he has played at each position, then it becomes clear that he has played most of his innings at #6. That explains the reason for the spike at #6.

Number of Innings played by Dhoni at various batting positions
Career Averages and Strike Rates
To put things in perspective, let us look at the following graphs depicting the career averages and strike rates.

Average Scores of Dhoni at various batting positions
Strike Rates of Dhoni at various batting positions
Interestingly, he has a phenomenal average of 94.00 at #4. This coincides with an astounding strike rate of 112.67. He has scored a century and 7 half-centuries during his 11 innings at #4 position. His statistics at #3 also looks very healthy with 2 centuries and 2 half-centuries. He has an average of 42.00 at #6, which is better than #5 and #7. Interestingly, he has a century to his name at #7. But, that came when he was batting for Asia XI against Africa XI.

Data Used
The complete data used for the analysis above is listed below in a tabular format.

Scores Table for Dhoni at various batting positions

Conclusion
I feel that Dhoni should bat at #4, which looks like his favourite position. But, until the Indian youngsters start to play their role to perfection, Dhoni will be a floater in the batting line-up. He likes it and enjoys it. Let us see what else is in store for us!

3 comments:


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