“How” meets “How Much” in Cricket
friday, april 17, 2009

there is a world of difference between ‘how’ and ‘how much’. when i was at college i was told that the chemistry i so loved was ‘how’ and the engineering i didn’t very much was ‘how much’. one explains, the other measures. the two must always live together but often exist like estranged couples. lovers of the ‘how’, literature, history, think ‘how much’, mathematics, physics, is not lyrical enough; they look down on it. those that swear by ‘how much’ believe that the others don’t matter. it is the difference between the poet and the nerd.

so where does cricket fit into all this? the traditional lovers of the game will find poetry in a cover drive, reserve their favourite expressions for the deft leg glance. the numbers guys, the statisticians (and there’s a maligned word) will say it doesn’t matter how prettily you play as long as you put the runs on the board and average enough. vaughan vs chanderpaul? mark vs steve?

over a period of time though, the ‘how much’ will triumph over the ‘how’ as it must. but there can be beauty in the ‘how much’ as well and it is these seemingly immiscible entities that the Castrol Index seeks to merge. it is an index that will capture the nuances of the game and yet not live in the worn out world of averages. it will be contemporary and relevant.

the batting average for example was an excellent index for a test player over a career. but over fifty overs? over twenty? the strike rate is a good indicator as well but it can be misleading in test cricket where grinding out a day might be more crucial. the combination works well but you would still like to know, especially in a twenty overs game, how quickly you got moving; how explosive you were. a player’s value then needs to be a measure of how many runs he scores, how quickly he gets them and indeed, how he starts off. if you only have eight balls left, you might want to send in the guy who makes 15 in 8 rather than the guy who starts with 6 in his first 8 and then finishes with a strike rate of 160. if you have 30 balls left you might pick the second guy. but you must know. it is not enough to think you know. it is not a mere ‘how’ but a combination of ‘how’ and ‘how much’. so too with bowling.

it is elements such as these that the Castrol Index seeks to incorporate into a player’s value. and thereafter into a team value. the specific elements will be on the site but all i will tell you now is that the Castrol Index is simply this; new age statistics for a new age game. as processes change, measuring tools must change. this is what we present here, the result of the work of some excellent minds. i hope you enjoy the assessment we seek to make; if you don't do let us know. in course of time we hope this will become the standard by which all cricketers will be judged.

- Harsha

editor’s note: to understand the Castrol Index better, go straight to