Is Ross Taylor the Most Underrated ODI Batsman ?

In the current cricketing world, players belonging to the “fab four” group always tend to get some special attention. The “fab four” comprises of Smith, Kohli, Williamson and Root. Further, when we narrow down to ODI cricket players like ABD, Kohli, Rohit Sharma tend to steal the limelight. But there exists something that goes by the term “Underrated players “. This group includes cricketers who’ve not been talked about much and usually fly under the radar. One such player who is highly underrated in ODI cricket is Ross Taylor.

The senior player of New Zealand made his ODI debut in 2006 and he became an integral part of the batting line up over the years. He has witnessed Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, Brendon Mccullum and Kane Williamson as his team’s captain. But his performances failed to get the appreciation that it deserved. Now he and Williamson define the Kiwi’s batting unit.

In this article, Weighted Batting Average (WBA) and Consistency Index (CI) are the two parameters used to make comparisons among the players. For comparisons, we use the stats of active players with at least 5000 ODI runs since the start of the year 2010. There are around 16 players who fall under these measures.

Weighted Batting Average (WBA) :

The traditional batting average does not give a fair bit of comparisons. because of the way it deals with not-out innings. The batting average metric is intrinsically unfair to batsmen with low not-out percentages. The alternative measure is RPI(runs per innings). But a low unbeaten score would go as a dismissed innings. WBA is the best method that provides a fair comparison to an extent. WBA uses runs per innings (RPI). The WBA is calculated as explained below.

  • All dismissals, irrespective of the score, have an innings count of 1.0
  • Each innings above the average Runs per Innings (RPI) have an innings count of 1.0
  • Every not-out innings below the average RPI are assigned proportionate innings values between 0.0 and 1.0
  • The WBA is then calculated using the derived Weighted Innings count.

Sample calculation :

Batsman A has scored 5000 runs in 110 innings with 11 not-outs. His RPI takes the value 45.45. The scores in the 11 not out innings are 3,30,32,12,35,36,67,50,51,52,66. The last five scores are above RPI so they are considered as innings that resulted in a dismissal. The other six innings are added up and divided by RPI which gives Pro-rated value. The WBA of A is 46.62 (=5000/107.25). To explain, 107.25 = 99 (dismissed innings) + 5 (Above RPI) + 3.25 (Pro-rated: 148/45.45). But His original batting average is 50.50. So WBA gives fair Comparisons.

From the data, it is clear that Kohli and Rohit are dominating the ODI cricket for the past ten years. Kohli and Rohit nearly scored 20000 runs for their team over the past 10 years. The senior man form Newzealand takes the fourth position with 6626 runs and a healthy weighted batting average of 45.33. He is now the leading runscorer for Newzealand in this form of the game. Along with Kane Williamson, Taylor has been the heart of the New Zealand batting line-up.

Consistency Index (CI) :

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 09: Ross Taylor of New Zealand hits a six over mid-wicket to reach his half-century during the Semi-Final match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between India and New Zealand at Old Trafford on July 09, 2019, in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

One thing that we cherish in our cricketers is their consistency. A batsman is termed consistent if he can score within a specific range inning after innings. But if his scores are at the extremes quite frequently he is termed inconsistent. To measure the consistency standard deviation can be employed. The SD indicates the dispersion of the values from the Mean. The higher the SD, the more the dispersion. A consistent batsman should have very low SD.

But, this poses a small problem too. A player who has scores of 5,7,8,10,12,4 would also have a low value of SD and would be deemed consistent on mathematical terms. But in cricket, he is nowhere close to being called a consistently good player. So there is a need to switch to another parameter which combines both SD and average. Enter Consistency index(CI) to the rescue.

CI is obtained by dividing SD by the average. But in Shorter formats strike rate of batsmen plays an important role. So it should also come into the mix. Then CI can be derived by dividing SD by modified factor. Modified factor = ((0.7*average)+(0.3*SR)). It is expressed in terms of percentage. Lower the CI, Higher is the Consistence.

To the surprise, the chart is led by the likes of Dhoni and Mathews. Batting position plays an important role in deciding the CI. Both Dhoni and Mathews generally bat at third or fourth down. So it may be the reason for there score to be below 50. But when we come to the middle order, Ross Taylor goes past the likes of Williamson and Kohli with a healthy CI of 58.44. But he doesn’t get the credits that others get.

Also read: How England’s test team is correcting past mistakes, Varun Desai

Ross Taylor is the 6th fastest batsman to score 8,000 ODI runs. He took 203 innings to accomplish this task. He only batsman in the history of cricket to play a hundred matches across formats. The last few years in ODI cricket has been fantastic for ross Taylor. Now let’s take a look at the numbers.

During this period, Ross Taylor has scored 2,748 runs with a whopping average of 65.42. He is only behind Virat Kohli in terms of average.

Highlights Of His ODI Career :

  • his exploits in the 2018 England series where He belted 113 (116) to help the Kiwis chase 285 in the first ODI. However, his 181-run knock in the third ODI took the world by storm.
  • During this summer’s ODI series against India, Ross Taylor anchored the Kiwi chase with an unbeaten 109-run knock. This was Kiwi’s Second highest run chase.
  • An important and a game-changing 74 against India in WC19 semifinal.
  • 131* in 2011 world cup match vs Pakistan. It turned out to be a special birthday for the senior batsmen from Newzealand.

According to Ross Taylor, “Age is just a number. The hunger of runs and the determination to play matters the most”. He is one of the best player NewZealand can ever get. There are no signs of retirement anytime soon. The more often the tongue sticks out, the higher New Zealand cricket will be placed.

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