A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

Points Don’t Mean Prizes: The County Season In Numbers

Posted on October 3, 2013 by in Scorer's Notes


Being asked to quantify how good a player actually is presents all sorts of tricky problems. As well as looking at their records – runs scored, wickets taken, that sort of thing – there’s the small matter of personal interpretation and opinion. Do Graeme Gooch’s 8,900 Test runs at 42.58 make him a better player than David Gower (8,231 at 44.25)? What about his ‘tache? What if you add in his 23 wickets, compared to Gower’s one?

There’s the small matter of context as well – Ashley Giles’s Test record is pretty ordinary, but it’s well documented that he brought a degree of control to the side with the ball that was key to allowing England’s seamers to do their bit at the other end. You could easily argue that his influence would be best shown in the results of the players around him, rather than in his own figures.

Or possibly in the quality of his related merchandise.

Or possibly in the quality of his related merchandise.

Basically, we’re fucked if we know how you best determine ‘quality’. But what is easier to quantify is ‘contribution’. A player can be good or rubbish and still make runs and take wickets. Unless he’s Gavin Hamilton, that is. Hence we’ve come up with a pretty basic way of looking at the contributions of various players to this year’s county season, so as we can determine whose was ‘best’ and whose was ‘worst’. Without wanting to give the game away too much, Joe Sayers (5 matches, 57 runs at 8.14) is only in contention for one of these prizes.

Basically, each run a player scores is worth one point. Each wicket they take is worth 20 (on the basis that a five wicket haul is roughly equivalent to a century with the bat). Each catch they take is worth five points, while each stumping is worth 10, mainly because keeping wickets to spinners is apparently really difficult – just ask Craig ’41 byes’ Kieswetter.

Note that this doesn’t take into account factors like the bowling average (10 wickets at 50 are worth as many points as 10 wickets at 20), batting strike rate or anything like that. Let’s make it very clear: that’s because we just don’t care.

Another tough day in the life of the 51allout stats guy.

Another tough day in the life of the 51allout stats guy.

The County Championship

We’ve got a lot to get through, so we’ll just jump straight to our table of the top ten performers in the four day game:

PlayerTeamRuns scored/ Batting pointsBatting averageWickets takenBowling averageBowling pointsFielding pointsPointsNumber of matchesPoints per match
M AliWorcestershire 1,375 62.502833.71560110 2,045 16127.81
StevensKent 1,268 63.403232.8464065 1,973 15131.53
NapierEssex79649.754831.5896025 1,781 16111.31
AllenbyGlamorgan 1,116 58.742634.96520135 1,771 15118.07
HallNorthamptonshire93655.063725.3274065 1,741 16108.81
BorthwickDurham 1,022 39.312838.00560145 1,727 16107.94
JordanSussex40824.005926.751,180110 1,698 14121.29
HoganGlamorgan29719.806720.541,34025 1,662 14118.71
OnionsDurham14812.337018.461,40010 1,558 12129.83
J PatelWarwickshire43831.295230.021,04070 1,548 1696.75


The fact that the top five all play in the second tier probably says a lot about the discrepancy in standards between the two divisions (as indeed there should be). In terms of the top division Scott Borthwick is the surprising winner. We’ll admit – we laughed at his idea to become a number three batsman but it makes a lot of sense and he’s done a really good job of it. As Adil Rashid has also discovered, being ‘just’ a legspinner isn’t going to cut it at First Class level unless you’re of Warne/McGill standard. Instead, the future in most cases is the legspinning all-rounder, something we touched upon a short while back.

It’s no surprise to see Graeme Onions and Chris Jordan up there, given that both have been amongst the main stories of the season. Jeetan Patel is more of a surprise. Perhaps we’re just really racist, but we never really noticed him doing anything amazing throughout the season. Turns out he took 52 wickets and scored 438 runs, which probably says more about how distracted we were by the Ashes than anything about him.

With hindsight, we probably should have introduced a weighting system so that runs and wickets were worth less in Division Two. Had we introduced a (fairly arbitrary) weighting of 0.8 (so that one run = 0.8 points, one wicket = 16 points and so on), Borthwick would actually have been the top contributor in the competition, ahead of Jordan and Moeen Ali, with Napier plummeting out of the top ten altogether. Maybe we’ll do that next year. It really depends on whether we (a) remember and (b) can be bothered.

Literally nothing was allowed to get in the way of nap time.

Literally nothing was allowed to get in the way of nap time.

The 40 Over Game

Way back in the early days of 51allout, Editor Steve returned from another of his mysterious holidays with two stone tablets, containing the ten commandments for his new web site. As well as the obvious ones – ‘thou shalt not drink anything other than gin. Apart from free Kingfisher’, ‘thou shalt not receive compliments from Liam Plunkett on Twitter’ – there was also a very clear instruction about everyone’s favourite roly-poly left arm spinner: ‘thou shalt not praise Samit Patel or thy shall be whipped with the kettle cord’. And here we have a bit of a problem, as the Pro40 table shows:

PlayerTeamRuns scored/ Batting pointsBatting averageWickets takenBowling averageBowling pointsFielding pointsPointsNumber of matchesPoints per match
S PatelNottinghamshire56647.171532.80300559211465.79
M AliWorcestershire36830.671528.53300156831256.92


There’s a huge gap here between the top two and the best of the rest. Peter Trego’s total is almost entirely from his superb batting – six wickets at 57 is hardly the performance of a genuine all-rounder – whereas Samit’s huge points haul comes from being a three dimensional cricketer (and you can certainly interpret that as a fat joke if you like. Anything to avoid the kettle cord). The impact he had on the final was key to him grabbing first spot, although his points per game was still less than Trego’s overall and he remains, in every sense of the word, a great big fat bloke. And not even a jolly one anymore after he was left out of all England’s winter squads.

Beyond those two we have a bunch of the usual suspects – Mitchell, Klinger, Ali, Napier and Hogan – all of whom have enjoyed fine seasons across the different formats. Plus there’s Josh Cobb, who had a stinker of a season in the four day game (averaging less than 15 with the bat and not taking a single wicket) but started his Pro40 campaign with three hundreds before tailing off somewhat in the final games as Leicestershire cruised into third from bottom from their group, a relative success by their standards.

Josh Cobb satisfied

The follow up album less so.

The 20 Over Game

T20 is probably where our laziness shows up more than any other area. In T20 it’s perfectly possible to argue that bowling figures of 0/20 from four overs are better than 5/50, whereas our methodology would give the first example a big Eurovision nul points. But that’s just tough.

PlayerTeamRuns scored/ Batting pointsBatting averageWickets takenBowling averageBowling pointsFielding pointsPointsNumber of matchesPoints per match
A MahmoodSurrey15415.401621.6332054791336.85
S PatelNottinghamshire16924.141421.21280254741143.09
M AliWorcestershire27327.30922.3318054581045.80
C WhiteNorthamptonshire41746.3300304471334.38


David Willey’s place at the top of the table isn’t all that surprising, as it was he that grabbed all the headlines on Finals Day, scoring 60 before taking four wickets and a catch in the final, accounting for 145, or 23%, of his 643 points in one game. Craig Kieswetter also had a barnstorming tournament with the bat, as well as being one of only two players to take ten catches, the other being his (former) team-mate/rival Jos Buttler. Strangely enough, it was Michael Carberry who received most of the hype for his performances with the bat, despite being outscored by square-faced Craig.

Apart from Mohammad Azharullah (the other real story behind Northants’ success), the rest of the top ten is made up of all-rounders. Samit and Moeen Ali are there again, along with Azhar Mahmood and Ben Stokes, both of whom are exactly the sort of players that T20 was invented for. Josh Cobb is there again, as well as Cameron White, who finished as the third highest run-scorer overall. Quite an achievement for a player who many people (us included) generously describe as being ‘a bit shit’.

Although if this was our other half we wouldn't practice either.

Although if this was our other half we wouldn’t practice cricket either.


Combining the points across the three formats gives us a final list for the season. And who tops that table? Let’s take a look:

PlayerTeamCounty ChampionshipPro 40T20Total
M AliWorcestershire 2,045 683458 3,186
StevensKent 1,973 609407 2,989
AllenbyGlamorgan 1,771 714400 2,885
S PatelNottinghamshire 1,435 921474 2,830
NapierEssex 1,781 641360 2,782
StokesDurham 1,505 555458 2,518
BorthwickDurham 1,727 377392 2,496
HoganGlamorgan 1,662 613189 2,464
WilleyNorthamptonshire 1,261 446643 2,350
KlingerGloucestershire 1,185 752376 2,313


Moeen Ali’s position at the head of the table emphasises a simple truth – he’s too good to be playing second division cricket. Worcestershire might be a reasonable bet to get promoted from the second tier next year – as long as Alan Richardson continues to displays all the attributes of being immortal – but Moeen could do far worse than look to bat at number three for the likes of Middlesex, Sussex or Somerset, with a pretty decent opportunity to take over from Jonathan Trott for England in the long run.

After Moeen we’re into seasoned ‘been there, done that’ pros, plus Stokes, Borthwick and Willey, who very much represent what we’ll mysteriously call ‘the future’. Speaking of which, our future includes a nice break in the sunshine, so we’ll just wrap this article up here and head to the airport bar where, for the first (and presumably last) time ever, the drinks are on Editor Steve.



Post a Comment


Nichael Bluth

03 Oct 2013 15:13

It gives some fairly similar results:

Player County Pts
1 Ali, Moeen Worcs 600
2 Patel, Samit Notts 596
3 Stevens, Darren Kent 566
4 Allenby, James Glamorgan 538
5 Napier, Graham Essex 514
6 Stokes, Benjamin Durham 510
7 Trego, Peter Somerset 499
8 Hogan, Michael Glamorgan 487
9 Borthwick, Scott Durham 487
10 Klinger, Michael Gloucs 483

But they probably charge a lot more for the privilege.


Matt H

03 Oct 2013 13:05

How does this methodology compare with the PCA Most Valuable Player rankings?