The hundreds and five-fors rating – why Moeen Ali is England’s best player

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Further to yesterday’s debate about the identity of England’s best player, here’s one possible way of rating them

We made the point yesterday that people shouldn’t blindly accept that Joe Root is England’s best player because he only regularly contributes in one facet of the game. We then a touch disingenuously suggested that all of England’s many all-rounders had a better claim to such a title, simply by dint of contributing in multiple disciplines.

There then followed an interesting-but-lengthy to and fro about the definition of an all-rounder and their value to a team.

Bradders suggested that players could be assessed by their ability to make match-winning contributions. We therefore give you the hundreds and five-fors rating, a wilfully simplistic system whereby hundreds and five-fors are given equal weight and everything else a player might do is utterly disregarded.

These are the figures for the last 12 months, presented within an old-school HTML table which will probably lose its formatting in the majority of internet browsers.

Player Hundreds Five-fors Total
Joe Root 3  0 3
Alastair Cook 2  0 2
Moeen Ali 3 2 5
Ben Stokes 1 1 2
Keaton Jennings 1  0 1
Chris Woakes 0 2 2

As you may or may not be able to see, Moeen Ali is England’s best player and he is almost twice as good as Joe Root.


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  1. If you want to know what order the table’s in, it’s…

    Total runs scored in the last 12 months provided you’ve hit a hundred, followed by bowlers who’ve taken five wickets provided they haven’t already been included through having hit a hundred.

    We thought that was a logical sequence.

    1. The above posting is surely your geekiest posting in years and your instant appeal is surely your geekiest reply/appeal ever on this site.


    2. Good to know we can still hit the heights/plumb the depths after all this time.

    1. Think you may be greatly overestimating the amount of time we spent compiling this.

      1. What?! No weighting for the amount of balls faced from left-handed bowlers or shots ending up in cow corner? Hang your head in shame.

  2. I’m working on a new Venn diagram in my head, one that has nothing whatsoever to do with cricket. I don’t think this is the place to share it however.

    1. You people appear to be falling into two distinct camps over this. I suspect there may be some overlap however.

      The Venn in question is a play on the Peep Show ‘Men With Ven’ pun. You have Men, and you have Ven. The intersection is Men With Ven, easy enough so far. Where this could get interesting is if taken to a meta-level Men With Ven interests with a Venn Diagram to make a Men With Venn Diagram. The variable number of n’s is causing me some difficulty, however.

      1. interests = intersects (intersection of which would be interesting insects – King Crickets?)

    1. I do like that Cricinfo still describes Craig White as “An action man of an allrounder”.

      1. This on-line conversation simply must mention Ian Austin at this juncture, otherwise the interweb might self-destruct.

  3. I am heart-warmed that post by Bradders is getting the care and attention it deserved. I thought it was ace – a top example of below-the-line punditry.

    1. Bradders below-the-line punditry was indeed truly excellent, yet not quite as geeky as KC’s self-appeal at the start of this thread. Sparse yet masterfully nerdy – KC’s geeky appeal rocks.

  4. Baseball has a statistic called wins above replacement that attempts to determine a players value to a team. It looks complicated and I am too lazy to try and figure it out –

    But some additional googling found a journal article whose abstract i have skim read –

    So in short there is probably an arbitrary measure that could be calculated to support everyone’s particular argument.

    1. I quite enjoy baseball. I get the impression that the hardcore fans wouldn’t accept any form of statistic that requires less than fifteen linked spreadsheets to calculate. Much like cricket really.

      1. That certainly seems to be the case more recently John, in these post-Moneyball days, but previously baseball stats were often a bunch of baloney, to borrow a phrase from America – RBI in particular is pretty meaningless.

        Baseball does share with Cricket the sense that stats are in and of themselves meaningful though – players from the past are more often judged by their averages than by how many games they won, for example.

      2. They play so many bloody games that averages and contributions to winning games should probably balance out.

        I should go to more baseball games. But every time I do it goes wrong. Pretty much every side has a winning home record, yet the Mariners seem to lose 75% of the time I show up. Last time they were 10-0 down after four innings and went on to lose 16-1. And the beer was really expensive.

      3. There’s a famous statistic (that I can’t find a source for) that the Chicago Cubs’ attendance is more closely correlated with the price they charge for beer than the team’s performance.

    1. Hail? Hale? Suddenly worried that I have this wrong and that the famously pedantic KC followers will correct me…

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