Every bowler, whether they admit it or not, knows how many wickets they have taken.
It's human nature to want to know how your cricket is doing compared to other. Wickets is the easiest and best way to see how you're doing. There's no shame in knowing.
That said, cricket is also a bit more complex than how many wickets you took. If you want to get better, or you want to get the whole bowling unit better, you should also be on top of a few other things.
We all know about strike rates, averages, and runs per over. These are great to have at your fingertips too. They motivate, they provide a measurement to try and improve. They show who is bowling best. They show where you can improve.
And here is one more essential piece data to help you hone your training and tactics to squeeze out every drop of your talent.
Your "phase" average is how well you do at different stages of the game.
A good death bowling performance looks very different from bowling in the first 10 overs of a fifty overs match. Yet, the overall averages lump everything together into one number. The good news is that it is pretty simple to find out this information.
For the team I coach, I look in the scorebook and split bowlers analysis into phases,
- Opening overs (1-10)
- Middle overs (11-30)
- Pre-death (31-40)
- Death (41-50)
In our scorebook it's just a matter of looking at the bowler number in the over-by-over section. Then I look at the runs and wickets for those overs for each bowler.
With these data I can easily see which bowlers take wickets and restrict runs at different times in the match. I feed back my analysis to the captain to give him a better picture of who is most likely to do well in any given situation.
For example, we have one seam bowler who does poorly opening and bowling at the death, but is very good at breaking partnerships in the middle overs. Deploying him in the last 20 overs will likely lead to more opposition runs, so we use him earlier ahead of other, better, bowlers because we know when he is at his best.
We are also able to use PitchVision to track performance in game scenarios at training to better help him learn how to bowl at different times, turning his strengths into super strengths and giving him tools he can use if he does have to bowl at a later stage of the match.
Sure, it takes someone to do a little work in front of a scorebook and spreadsheet, but if it leads to a better awareness of the right time to bowl and the right things to train for, it's got to be worth the little bit of effort!