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CricInfo Championship Rankings

The CricInfo Championship Rankings operate by awarding a number of points, between zero and fifty, to each player for his performances in each match in which he plays. In simple terms, the better a player's performance, the more points he earns. The points that each player scores for each match are added together to give a total number of points for that player throughout the season. Separate numbers of points are awarded to each player for his batting and for his bowling.

The method of calculating the number of points that a player is awarded is a complex process that is carried out completely by computer. Once the details of the match have been entered into the computer, the process is fully automatic, so that there is no subjective, human assessment of a performance.

For a batsman, the factors taken into account include the following:

- the number of runs scored by the player
- whether the player was dismissed or was not out
- the condition of the pitch
- the quality of the bowlers who were bowling
- whether the batsman contributed a winning performance

As a highly simplified example, consider a player playing for Sussex against Warwickshire in the following county championship match:

- Sussex batted first and scored 300 and 400 for 6 declared, while Warwickshire scored 300 and 150 for 2
- the match was drawn
- the player scored 65 in his first innings, and 17 in his second innings

The player's batting performances are converted into a points score as follows:

Runs scored

- the runs scored by the batsman (65 and 17) are used as a starting point

Pitch condition

- the match was relatively high-scoring (1150 runs for 28 wickets, which is just over 40 runs for each wicket to fall, compared to a normal average of nearer 30 runs per wicket)

- the calculation of the condition of the pitch is rather complex, taking into account which players were dismissed, but would in this case result in a view that the pitch was easier to bat on than average

- as a result the batsman's innings would be re-valued to about 52 (first innings) and 13 (second innings)

- not only is the condition of the pitch for the match as a whole taken into account, but also a separate calculation is made for each innings; in this case the first innings was about average (300 runs), while the second innings was higher than average (400 runs and still four wickets remaining); as a result the batsman's second innings would be further reduced, perhaps to 12 runs

Opposition Quality

The calculation of the quality of the opposition bowlers is based on the strength of the individual bowlers who bowled during an innings. The bowlers' strengths are weighted, depending on the number of overs bowled by each. So if four top-class front-line bowlers bowl all the overs bowled in an innings, then the attack would be rated highly. However, if a fifth, occasional bowler were also to bowl 30 overs, then the attack would be rated lower, since the extra bowler had bowled a significant proportion of the overs bowled in the innings.

In the example given, if the Warwickshire bowling attack, weighted by the number of overs bowled by each bowler, was rated higher than average, then the batsman's innings would be upgraded to reflect the extra credit due for scoring runs against such an attack. His innings may then become worth 57 and 13.

Conversion to points

Finally, the batsman's two effective innings scores are converted to a single number of points, by referring to a look-up table. In effect, this table contains the number of points to be awarded for each combination of innings scores.

The player in this example might be awarded 25 points, from a possible maximum of 50 for a match in this competition.

For bowlers, a similar process is carried out, taking into account the following:

- the number of wickets taken
- the number of runs conceded
- the quality of the batsmen dismissed
- the condition of the pitch
- the bowler's economy rate
- the bowler's strike rate
- whether the bowler contributed a winning performance

The number of wickets taken and runs conceded are used as the starting point.

Each wicket taken is adjusted according to the ability of the actual batsmen dismissed by the bowler - therefore dismissing top-order, highly-rated batsmen is worth more than dismissing lowly-rated, tail-enders.

The condition of the pitch calculation works in basically the same way as for batsmen - there is an adjustment for the condition of the pitch during the match as a whole, and then a separate calculation for the condition of the pitch during each innings.

A bowler receives additional credit, in the form of (a small number of) bonus wickets, for having a good strike rate during the match (i.e. a lower number of balls bowled for each wicket taken). He may also receive a small bonus for bowling economically. A table is then consulted, for the adjusted number of wickets taken and runs conceded, which determines the number of points to be awarded.

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