Needless to say, the findings of the study are very interesting and will make for fascinating reading for lovers of T20 cricket.
The CricViz model adjusts for conditions, venues and match situations as its baseline. An average is taken to quantify the quality of T20 cricket as per match, player and league.
The methodology used is that they study players who have played in various tournaments across the world and then assess how their performances have varied from league to league. So, if a batsman does very well in the Big Bash, but then struggles in the IPL, then by inference, the cricket played in the IPL is of superior quality than in the BBL and so on. Similarly if a player who does well consistently in the Bangladesh Premier League, but has struggled in the CPL, the Caribbean Premier League is of a higher standard. They keep adding more and more players to their study and the pattern that emerges becomes more and more consistent.
The model used has data of 4500 players factored in.
WHAT THE STUDY SHOWED
The study showed that if an average T20 international player is taken from an average T20 international match and if is put in an average IPL game, he would perform 0.04 runs per ball worse than he would in that average T20I.
The graphic below, plotted along the x and y axis, shows that the cricket played in the IPL, MSL (Mzanzi Super League), CPL (Caribbean Premier League), PSL (Pakistan Premier League) and BBL (Big Bash League) is of a higher quality than that in an average T20 international match, with the IPL being of the highest standard.
The same graphic shows that the T20 Blast in England, the BPL (Bangladesh Premier League) and the Super Smash in New Zealand produce cricket whose quality is inferior to that of an average T20 international match. CricViz’s study showed that if a player was taken from an average T20 international match and put in the Super Smash in New Zealand, he would perform 0.06 runs per ball better than they would in that average T20I, implying the above.
The data used for the Mzansi Super League is for one season only and the small sample size could perhaps be a reason for its high ranking.
THE BIG SHOCK
Perhaps the biggest shock for most readers after seeing this is the realisation that international cricket is not the highest benchmark of T20 cricket. This shows that T20 internationals when taken as a whole, the average game of T20 international cricket is quality wise inferior to that in as many as five domestic T20 leagues across the world.
For most people that would be quite surprising, considering international cricket is seen as the epitome of the game, in this case T20 cricket.
What can help readers understand this better is the fact, as explained by CricViz analysts, that for international cricket, teams can only pick players who are citizens of that particular country. This is not something that binds T20 franchise based leagues. They can pick players from across the world, depending on what their weak areas are. If the domestic players available to them are sufficient for say their batting department, but they are on the weaker side when it comes to the bowling front, the team can pick/buy foreign bowlers, something country teams can’t do.
And then there are countries, whose players prefer T20 leagues over international duty. And that further weakens their domestic player pool.
What is shown here as far as the T20 internationals is concerned is the average of all T20 international cricket played between ICC Full Member nations.
With the 13th edition of the IPL on in full swing in the UAE, the organisers are hoping for record viewership numbers this time, especially because of how the global pandemic hit the live sports industry. The quality of cricket on display in the first few games has already been quite good, despite the fact that there are no crowds in the stands to cheer on the players, which does make a difference when it comes to feeling motivated on the field.