If the last couple of weeks were primarily around World Cup selections and omissions, the focus this week is on players being ruled out through injury (Mike Hussey, Nathan Hauritz, Eoin Morgan and Praveen Kumar).

A few others like Jacques Kallis, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Paul Collingwood, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Ricky Ponting and Shaun Tait are still out of action, and we’ll definitely hear about more withdrawals over the next few days.

Moving on from injuries, can we use the period from after the 2007 World Cup to identify trends related to how various teams would perform?

I’m restricting the analysis to games involving only the top 9 teams. (Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka & West Indies). Where required, I filter out matches not played on the sub-continent. Although Pakistan isn’t a host, having played there gives teams a half-decent idea of the conditions they can expect at other venues. One problem though is that West Indies has only played 3 ODIs in the sub-continent in the period, and one was rained out!

The parameters I consider are overall win-loss record, team stability (measured as # of matches / # of players), overall batting average, batting average for top order (#1-#4), middle order (#5-#7) & lower order (#8-#11), overall bowling average, wickets per match and overall bowling economy rate.

Here’s how the rankings look across those parameters.

W/L record in the sub-continent: India, South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, England, New Zealand, Bangladesh & West Indies

Team stability (no sub-continent filter): India, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka & England

Overall batting average: Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, England, West Indies, Bangladesh & New Zealand

Top order batting average: South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, West Indies, England, Bangladesh & New Zealand

Middle order: Australia, India, Pakistan, England, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, West Indies & South Africa

Lower order: New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, England, Australia & West Indies

Bowling average: Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand, England, Pakistan, Australia, India, Bangladesh & West Indies

Wickets per match: South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, England, Bangladesh, Australia, India, New Zealand & West Indies

Economy rate: New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, England, Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh & India

Assign ranks to each of the teams in the categories (e.g. for the sub-continent w/l record data, the ranks would be 1: India, 2: South Africa, 3: Australia, etc.). Add up the total ranks across all categories. The teams with the lowest 4 totals are the most likely to get to the semis based on the past trends.

Team Total
Australia 35
Bangladesh 61
England 52
India 38
New Zealand 48
Pakistan 39
South Africa 29
Sri Lanka 35
West Indies 68

This indicates that the 4 semi-finalists would be South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka & India with Pakistan also being in the reckoning. Sri Lanka & Australia are in group A while the South Africa & India are in group B. So at least it won’t be an impossible situation.

A few things are very obvious from the individual parameter rankings: South Africa have had a fragile middle order. Australia’s lower order batting has been weak & their bowling in the sub-continent hasn’t been too great. Sri Lanka’s bowling has done a great job so far. India’s bowling has been downright pathetic. Pakistan are sort of average across all parameters and so suffer in comparison to teams who have good stats across 3-4 parameters & bad ones in the remaining parameters. New Zealand’s tail end batting and bowling (econ rate) have been really good. England have trouble with their batting. Bangladesh gets saved by their middle & lower order pretty much each time.