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IPL: Do money, country and age matter?

By Purnendu Maji and Srinivas Bhogle
May 16, 2012 20:10 IST
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Are IPL5 performances correlated to money, country or age? Purnendu Maji and Srinivas Bhogle help us figure it out.


 One would expect expensive players to perform better. Does that really happen?


Generally speaking, yes. In fact very much so (see the strong correlation between overall player rank and the 'high cost' player rank in the table below).


But every IPL throws up new surprises … of players who cost little, but contribute a lot. This year's surprises have been Ajinkya Rahane and Mandeep Singh. Last year we had Paul Valthaty among others.


Another surprise is that modestly paid foreign cricketers sometimes offer incredibly high value. Think of Steven Smith this year … and Faf du Plessis, James Franklin, Marlon Samuels and Kevon Cooper. All of them have been prize catches. Or think of Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh in IPL1.


In the tables below we define players paid Rs 1 crore or less ($200,000 or less) as 'low cost'. It is ironic that the same $200,000 would be considered 'very expensive' in the Oz Big Bash!




And what is the comparison between Indian and foreign players? One would normally expect more valuable performances from Indian players than foreign players because of the forced 7:4 ratio.

It turns out that, while Indian and foreign players generally have matching performance, foreign players have a very slight edge, at least in IPL5. The tables below list the 25 most valuable Indian and foreign players separately. While the Indian players' MVPI ranges from 615 to 221, for foreign players the MVPI ranges from 619 to 231.

The 25th most valuable player in the 'foreign' list, would've bagged the 22nd place in the 'Indian' list. Or put another way the 25th most valuable foreign player is 46th on the overall list, while the 25th most valuable Indian player is 53rd in the overall list.




Finally we make a comparison based on age.

Do older players perform better on the average, or younger players? To keep things simple, we've defined 'old' as a player who is more than 30 years old. So Sehwag (33) is 'old', but Gambhir (30) is 'young'.

The tables below confirm that 'young' players easily outperform their older rivals on the cricket field. Daniel Vettori who is 25th on the 'old' players' list is 76th in the overall list. In fact, apart from Gayle and Sehwag no 'old' player makes it even to the top 10 list!



We must end this analysis by pointing out that there are many other ways to make these comparisons. We could, for example, have compared the average MVPI between two categories.

But even a simple ranking rule provides reasonable answers: that the more expensive player indeed provides greater value, that foreign players are marginally outperforming Indian players and that young players easily outperform older players in the IPL.

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Purnendu Maji and Srinivas Bhogle

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