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Re: Fielding Statistics
Posted by: Farmer White
Date: 22/02/2017 13:44

I agree with you to a point. Any onlooker assessment of fielding successes or failures will to a degree, quite possibly a significant degree, be subjective for the reasons you give. Perhaps to the extent that the data gathered would be too unreliable to be of use. However the players involved, if honest with themselves and their colleagues,in their assessment and self-assessment, can be more objective if they choose to be so.

For example a player will usually, if not always, know if they have dropped a catch they should have caught as will their colleagues on the field. Neither should it be too difficult to work out in practice, albeit without the added dimension of match pressure, the difference in hit rates of throws on the run that are aimed as Tom Abell seems to do it and those that are thrown more instinctively. If there is a significant difference for individual players then they could be coached to use the technique which for them is more effective.

Monitoring in this way would be more effective too than observer monitoring because performance monitoring directly involving those being monitored normally gains more ownership of the results and leads to more effective and owned plans to improve. It can also increase confidence because there is a sense of taking control of an issue rather than reacting to or having no influence on it. There can be very few players in the first class game who would not take an opportunity to improve an aspect of their game if they believed it might work. And as I said in my earlier post IF it were effective then the positive impact on performance and confidence would be cumulative and in a division of narrow margins it might make the difference.

By way of anecdotal illustration of the effect of working on fielding even for a top fielder and how top class fielding can have a major impact I found this in an old Frank Keating article. A link to the full article from which it is copied follows it:

It was on the Saturday afternoon of the 1965 Lord's Test, a glorious high-summer English day, when we in the old carousing Tavern crowd, in convivial fettle and good voice, were stunned into two successive and awestruck eruptions of unbiased acclaim when Colin Bland, from midwicket, announced himself with two breathtaking direct-hit run-outs of England's Ken Barrington and Jim Parks. In two blinks, those swooping throws on the run changed the course of the match and the series. One-day cricket was in its infancy then and that sort of run-out was a revelation. Mind you, Bland's strikes were no revelation to me - living briefly in what used to be called Salisbury (now Harare) a few years earlier, I had watched Bland practising obsessively for hours at the local sports club by throwing at a single stump placed inside a hockey goal-net. Afterwards you'd say 'Wow!' and Colin would mutter, sheepishly, something akin to golfer Gary Player's 'The more I practise, the luckier I get.'


Whether all this is worth a hill of beans I don't know and in particular whether systematically monitoring it would be worth more than instinctively judging it I don't know. But if it were worth anything I would rather we won the Championship because we were the first to have investigated and picked up on this idea than lost it because another team got there first.

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