SA should beat Australia

2014-01-29 11:06
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)

 Of course many factors play a role. Thunder showers at Centurion, four seasons per day in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town’s summer heat are known factors which have caused many an innings to collapse and give the underdog a sporting chance. Then of course there’s sledging too. Just ask Daryll Cullinan.

 But, the numbers actually take most of this into account. It is based on the players’ performance in all these conditions and in the end, then, comparing it to Michael Clark’s predictions, we just may have a prediction with a little more meat to it.

Calculating this prediction was born from determining Jacques Kallis’ worth as an all-rounder about a year ago. In that exercise we took 100 hundred runs to equate a 5 wicket haul. Extending it to catches and stumpings, we set any dismissal to be worth 20 runs. Very simple, not overly accurate, but much better than having the Australians’ word on it.

Only test matches of 2013/2014 were taken into account. Australia had their fill of matches while South Africa starved. And it is a pity, because the more games played, the better the prediction. How then do the two test teams’ measure?

What is nice about the above list, is that there’s a good mix of batters and bowlers at the top. It is an indication that 20 runs per dismissal is not that far off.

On average, South Africa’s squad betters Australia’s by 2 runs per player. This equates to 20 runs per innings, 40 runs per match.

Now let’s have a beer and see if these numbers have something to them.


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