RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Supreme Bowling
The Moon is Toast - A Year in the Life of a Cricket Statistician
- Andrew Samson

Published by TSL Publications, Rickmansworth
Published in Great Britain

Web: tslbooks.uk

Pages 231

Price Sterling Pounds 13.56 only

This excellent publication is the diary of well-known and respected cricket statistician, Andrew Samson. The book is thoughtful, well organised and presented with all the professional attention to the fascinating minutiae that we have come to expect from Andrew Samson.

A cricket statistician of South African Cricket Board, Andrew Samson has worked for BBC Test Match Special (TMS) since the death of Bill Frindall in 2009. He is widely respected for his knowledge and an outstanding ability.

Andrew has given a unique insight into the life of a cricket statistician tying to explain how he does his job. The book deserves to be bought, read and pondered.

Crunching cricket numbers has been Samson's passion over the years. He was named Statistician and Historian of the Year for 2013. Profiling him, The Association of Cricket Statisticians had remarked: "Andrew's most notable achievement is his creation of a database containing scorecards of all first-class, List A and Twenty20 matches, and his ability to run queries and extract pertinent information while scoring. Through his versatility, he has raised the standard of the media scorer/statistician to a new level: combining diligent pre-match preparation with an ability to spot the interesting and unusual, he offers statistical observations that genuinely inform the listener, adding context and insight. His work shows how statistics can be part of the story, not just a footnote to it. But like a good umpire, he gets things right without trying to become the centre of attention."

Andrew Samson is full of praise for Ray Webster and believes there are many publications documenting scorecards of historical cricket matches and one of the best is Ray Webster's two volume work on Australian first-class cricket up to 1976-77. "The word 'meticulous' must hold the world record for being the adjective most used to describe cricket statisticians. But it is highly appropriate in this case as Webster was certainly meticulous in his research of each game in that period. Particularly useful are his notes for each match which contain innings timings and boundaries for most major innings (mainly scores of 50 or more)."
In the Colombo (SSC) Test against Sri Lanka in 2015, India's Cheteshwar Pujara carried his bat in the first innings and recorded a duck in the second innings. Samson produced an interesting statistical highlight on Pujara - "the first player to be dismissed for a second innings duck after carrying his bat in the first innings. Three players: Bill Woodfull, Geoff Boycott and Saeed Anwar have all carried their bat in the second innings after a first innings duck." This interesting instance was missed by most of the statisticians.

According to Samson, the teams are not wishing to risk losing wickets in the batting powerplays. He say between 2009 and 2011, the average number of wickets in the batting powerplay in ODIs was 1.68 but since the start of 2012 it has been 1.02. The average number of runs in this phase of the game was 37.81 between 2009 and 2011, but has declined to 31.45 since then. He has proposed: "the batting powerplay is done away with and that the number of fielders allowed outside the circle be two in the first ten overs, four in overs 11 to 40 and five in the last 10. It is the five in the last 10 that will make the most difference with smashing boundaries all the time becoming a bit more difficult. Perhaps more should have been done to restore the balance between bat and ball, but at least it is a start."

All who browse through this book will be impressed by the wide range of reading displayed by Andrew Samson. A quality product indeed.