I hereby issue a request to more math-inclined cricket bloggers (hint, hint, Deep Backward Point and Kridaya and Russ): can you rigorously compare a player’s IPL performance with his auction price? The simplest method, I imagine, would be to place those two categories side-by-side. E.g.: Gautam Gambhir, $2.4 million, 378 runs (avg.: 34). The broader question is: did the amount the franchises put down make sense?

Now, I can think of at least one major objection: the rules of the IPL auction do not exactly qualify as a free marketplace. There are various restrictions — four foreign players, a certain number of ‘capped’ Indian players, etc. — that inflate the values for particular cricketers. But still: at some level, there must be some method to this madness, surely? (There’s also the second objection — why don’t *you* do it? Well, I’m busy. And I suck at math.)

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I’ve been trying to think of a good metric that works for the IPL. Runs per million $s type stat wouldn’t work because a middle order batsman who can come in and score 20 runs in an over before getting out is highly valuable.

The method to do this is relatively well established. Have a look at the Wages of Wins, which calculates win-shares per player for basketball, and uses that to rate players. Player restrictions don’t really matter, because you can calculate total win-shares for the season that give you a player value, taking into account their playing time (as well as average win-shares that show who ought to be playing).

The difficulties come in calculating what correlates to a win: runs per resource used (can use D/L for this), runs against per resource taken for bowlers gives you a comparable value for batsmen and bowlers. You need some way of adjusting that for fielding value (fielding resource taken/runs saved/lost compared to an average fielder), which is not currently measured (maybe the teams do measure it), and is probably under-rated. Then there is assist value: the player who gives a faster scorer the strike is worth more than one who score a little faster but doesn’t; opponent match-ups, the batsman/bowler who opposes the best player hurts their own output but might still be the best option; and the complications of a chase: risk-free batting and wicket-taking is worth more in a small chase than a large one.

Then you need to compare to incomes, which is complicated by the fact that a player who gets you 0.2 wins per game is not worth the same as 2 players who get 0.1 wins per game. The latter are average and easy to find, the former is a star. Market value is not linear with wins per dollar, but exponential and goes up rapidly as a player becomes rarer.

Interesting question. Have though about it before. But unfortunately I’m busy too…

helo

[…] hope to carve out enough time to work on Ducking Beamer’s request to analyze whether an IPL player was worth the money the team paid for him, but before the quantitative analysis, let us take a quick qualitative look […]