The aim of this piece is to analyse the players in the bowling category of the IPL 2020 auction pool. To compare apples to apples, the pacers and spinners are assessed separately. This exercise is to group the players and place them in four different boxes. Each box represents a type of bowler.
The players in the top right-hand box are considered to be economical and wicket-takers (Bowling Economy Rate below 8 for pacers and 7.15 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate less than 16.9 for pacers and 20.2 for spinners.)
The top left-hand box represents players who are wicket-takers but not economical (Economy Rate above 8 for pacers and 7.15 for spinners; Strike Rate below 16.9 for pacers and 20.2 for spinners.)
The bottom right-hand section players are observed as economical but not wicket-takers (Economy Rate below 8 for pacers and 7.15 for spinners; Strike Rate above 16.9 for pacers and 20.2 for spinners.)
And finally, the bottom left-hand section contains players who are neither economical nor wicket-takers (Economy Rate above 8 for pacers and 7.15 for spinners; Strike Rate above 16.9 for pacers and 20.2 for spinners.)
The rationale behind taking an Economy Rate of 8 for pacers and 7.15 for spinners; Strike Rate of 16.9 for pacers and 20.2 for spinners as a benchmark to evaluate these bowlers with respect to the median value of the player sample in the auction.
To eliminate bias due to extreme values, a median (the middle value that separates the higher half from the lower half of the data set) not a mean (average) is considered for analysis. All numbers are taken since 2015 to ensure that the trends are over a large number of matches. For pacers, the minimum qualification is 10 games since 2015 and because there are only about 30 spinners in the auction pool the qualification criteria for them is relaxed to 5 games since 2015.
After assessing the players based on their position as per the data since 2015, recent forms and other nuances of a few key players are analyzed in detail below.
Median for spinners since 2015
Bowling economy rate: 8
Bowling strike-rate: 16.9
Median for spinners since 2015
Bowling economy rate: 7.15
Bowling strike-rate: 20.2
Now, based on the data we will look at some of the big players and some surprise picks. We will also assess these players on current form, IPL specific numbers and fitness.
International players – Overall solid record with a good current form
Dale Steyn – One of the best fast bowlers of all time, Steyn has picked up 39 wickets in T20s since 2018 at an economy of 7.1 and a strike-rate of 15. He has been prone to injury lately but can create a big difference for any team if he plays the full tournament.
Sheldon Cottrell - Owing to the recency factor, Cottrell is highly likely to attract multiple bids. His overall numbers justify his selection as well. A wicket-taker, Cottrell has taken 45 wickets in the 20-over format since 2018 at 15.7 balls per wicket and an economy of 8.
Andrew Tye - He was the purple cap holder in the 2018 season (24 wickets at an economy of 8). However, he picked only 3 wickets in 6 games in 2019 at an economy of 10.6. This led to his release by KXIP. Owing to his variations, he might be suitable for teams that play most of their matches on slow wickets.
Jaydev Unadkat - Unadkat has induced massive bidding wars in the last two seasons. However, an economy of 10.1 and a strike-rate of 25 has not justified the amount of money spent on him. Being an Indian player, he might still attract a few buyers but will be more suitable on slow surfaces by the virtue of his variations.
International players – Overall good record but average IPL performance
Adam Milne - The Kiwi pacer has been one of the better T20 bowlers in the circuit. Since 2018, he has taken 33 wickets at an economy of 7.3 and a strike-rate of 16.4. However, his IPL numbers- an economy of 9.8 in 5 games in 2018 and 2019 - may likely go against him.
Mark Wood - Though Mark Wood falls in the bucket of the best fast bowlers in T20s since 2015, he has not played this format regularly since 2018 (9 matches). Owing to his current form and injuries, it will be a gamble to bid on him.
Uncapped players raring to be noticed
Ishan Porel – The member of the Under-19 World Cup-winning squad in 2018, Porel has been highly economical in the last two seasons of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. In 14 matches, he took 16 wickets at an impressive economy of 6.1.
R Sai Kishore – Bowling most of his overs during the powerplay, Kishore picked 20 wickets at an economy of 4.6 and a strike-rate of 13.5 in the 2018-19 SMAT. He only featured in four encounters in the 2019-20 edition but operated at an impressive economy rate of 5.93.
Zahir Khan – Another mystery spinner from Afghanistan, the chinaman has scalped 36 wickets at an economy of 7 and a strike-rate of 19.7 in T20s since 2018.
Manimaran Siddharth (low n-size) – Played only 5 games in SMAT 2019, but picked up 12 wickets at an economy of 4.9.
Star players with substandard numbers
Tim Southee – An economy of 10 in 11 IPL games since 2018 (at 38 balls per wicket) doesn’t make for happy reading. Plus, his overall T20 numbers too have been on a downward slope in the last few years.
Mohit Sharma – Once an India regular, Mohit’s IPL economy since 2018 has been 10.7. Having taken just 8 wickets in 10 matches at 24.5 balls per wicket, he doesn’t qualify as a wicket-taker either
James Pattinson- The Australian pacer is intimidating. However, being injury prone, he has played only 5 T20s since 2018.
Liam Plunkett- The World Cup winner with England. He has taken less than one wicket per game in 30 T20s since 2018 (24) at an economy of 8.5 and it does not make him a first choice pacer.