Jerseys with flashy colours, deafening cheer from the crowds in the stands, fans sitting glued to their TV or mobile screens. All this signify just one thing – the battle between the bat and the ball is now raging at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
While the fight for “The World Cup 2019” fits of rage on inside the stadium, there is another team of unsung heroes which works tirelessly behind the screen to guide the teams to victory. This is the team of data analysts, helping the teams formulate their strategy and enhancing their winning probability exponentially.
Being a game-changing disruptive mammoth in the business world, Big Data Analytics is no longer a stranger to the world of cricket. Cricket not only generates immense excitement, but it also generates gigantic amounts of data. Take into account the figures that come from batting and bowling in just a single match – Enormous. Isn’t it? For instance, consider the data related to a single batsman. The number of runs scored, number of balls faced, number of fours and sixes hit, strike rate, strike rate against a particular bowler, number of the fifties and tonnes, at home and overseas; it goes on and on. Same is the case with the data related to a single bowler – the number of balls/overs bowled, wickets were taken, economy etc.
On top of that, there is video analysis data related to how a ball swings at a particular time, pitch mapping, reaction time, the way a batsman reacts to a particular delivery. Again, it goes on and on.
With 10 full member countries and 95 part-time countries playing cricket professionally for approximately 160 years, data gets generated every single day for 365 days concerning the ball by ball information of all the cricketers across the world. Needless to say, this data is extremely voluminous.
Now the question which arises is that can this data be analysed to make perfect predictions for a game which is considered to be unpredictable?
The straightforward answer – Yes! Collectively, all this data possesses the potential to create enormous opportunities for making flawless forecasts which can help the teams in making the right decisions on and off the field.
The Role of Big Data Analytics in Cricket
- Strategizing: Data analysis plays a key role in enabling the teams to optimize their strategy for a particular match/tournament. It also provides franchisees with adequate information to bid on players. A dedicated analytics team allows the captain to make informed decisions which are crucial for turning the tides in a high-stakes tournament like the World Cup.
For example, the statistical tools at the disposal of analysts can aptly predict the probability of a particular player, say, Rohit Sharma, performing up to the required standards on a particular pitch against right-hand fast bowlers.
The data analytics team analyses the past data pertaining to a variety of factors like the scores, performances etc. to come up with ideal team line-ups and answer important questions like who should bat at No. 5 when the team is struggling in the middle overs or which bowler should bowl the last over.
- Entertaining the Fans: The statistical data related to a match and performance of players like wickets remaining, the swing of the ball, required and current run rates, wagon wheels etc. allows the fans to understand the game in-depth and also provides ammunition to the commentators to keep the fans engaged. Without these statistics and on-screen info-graphics of detailed analyses, the game might cease to be entertaining.
- In-depth Analysis of Match Patterns and Performances: Researchers use various tools for in-depth match analysis. For instance, a technique called WASP (Winning and Scoring Prediction), predicts the score in first innings and deciphers the chasing team’s chances of winning the game. WASP uses average run rates in the first innings to predict the total and predicts chasing team’s chances of winning the match using the same data.
Opportunities in Sports Analytics are now greater than ever and the future of Big Data, AI and Machine Learning is all the brighter in the world of Cricket. If you love cricket and want to explore career opportunities in the domain of cricket analytics, opting for a professional certification course in Data Science can open a lot of doors for you.