Are IPL Teams Getting A Bang for Their Buck?

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Ram Sharan


June 2nd, 2016

Bishen Jeswant, the author of this piece, is a lawyer by profession and currently practices law with a leading Indian firm. He considers himself a cricket babbler who occasionally dabbles in other sports. He writes on the topics of sports analytics and has been a Statistics Sub-editor for ESPNcricinfo.

Cricket teams across the world, whether a club side or an international team, analyses data to enhance team performance. Pitch maps tell you where a particular bowler has been landing his deliveries while the wagon wheel is a good indicator of a batsman’s scoring areas. Slow motion video analysis helps batsmen pick well-disguised slower balls and googlies and the multitude of camera angles available today allow bowlers to study a batsman’s technique and weaknesses. But the IPL is different from any other form of cricket, where the sole motive is usually victory alone.

The IPL is a business. The franchise owners are businessmen. The players are investments. Profit is a motive. As important as studying the strengths and weakness of the opposition is, what is also crucial is understanding whether your investments are bearing fruit. While there is no obvious way to translate player performances to monetary terms, such quantification is extremely important for franchises to get the most value for the money they spend and develop bidding strategies going into the next player auction, this especially considering that players are paid astronomical salaries in the IPL (as high as INR 16,00,00,000). ESPN Cricinfo’s Shiva Jayaraman had undertaken such an analysis in relation to IPL 2014 and the same may be read here.

1 RUN= INR 1.4 LAKHS & 1 WICKET= INR 43.3 LAKHS

This has been an expensive season of the IPL. In the 2016 franchise, batsmen scored 16,682 runs in the league stage of this IPL while bowlers took 540 wickets, which means that a wicket was taken every 30.89 runs. This essentially also means that a wicket is worth approximately 30.89 runs. Since a total of INR 467.7 crores was spent by teams at the auctions, it could be said that one run is worth approximately INR 1.4 lakhs, while each wicket is worth INR 43.3 lakhs*.

IPL THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

The analysis of player worth compares the performance of each player against the tournament average and his performances are accordingly assigned values.

E.g. Murugan Ashwin, on whom Pune splurged INR 4.5 crore, played 10 matches (out of 14) and took 7 wickets at an economy rate of 8.45. The overall economy rate for the tournament is 8.2, which means that Murugan Ashwin was about 3% worse than the tournament average. Therefore, his 7 wickets are now worth only 6.79 wickets, and the total value generated by him is equal to the effective wickets taken by him (6.79) multiplied by the worth of each wicket (INR 43.3 lakhs), i.e. INR 2.94 crores. Subtracting this notional value from the actual money spent by Pune on him (INR 4.5 crores), will be the gains or losses incurred by in relation to him. In this case, Murugan Ashwin has cost Pune a loss of INR  1.56 crore.

CHRIS MORRIS HITS THE RIGHT NOTES WHILE PAWAN NEGI MISSES BY A LONG SHOT

The below table provides of list of how some of the other lesser known players on whom teams spent big money fared in the league stage of the 2016 IPL. It looks like Karun Nair, Carlos Brathwaite and Chris Morris justified their high price tag, while Pawan Negi, Sanju Samson, M Ashwin, and Deepak Hooda cost their teams some losses.

Pawan Negi’s contributions with the bat and the ball places his value at Rs 96 lakhs, while he cost his team a massive loss of Rs 7.54 crores.

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ANDRE RUSSELL IS THE BEST BUY OF THIS SEASON

All of the players in the below table have provided their teams with returns in excess of INR 5 crores. There is no doubt that that the likes of Mustafizur Rahman and Adam Zampa will command a higher price at the next auction. The biggest hit of the season is Andre Russell of Kolkata Knight Riders, bringing in a net return of a whopping Rs 9.39 crores to the team. KKR sure have a reason to smile!

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BANGALORE LOST THE FINALS BUT IS LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK

The table below consolidates the performances of all teams and it can be seen that there are four teams who have a positive return on investment. Not surprisingly, three of these teams – Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad – made the playoffs. The only aberration is Gujarat, who despite topping the table has a negative ROI of 1.83%, while Punjab, the wooden spoon holders, has a positive ROI of 1.66%.

Mumbai failed to make it to the playoffs and has the least returns. Of all the teams, it has seen the most loss, losing out Rs 8.55 crores.

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FOR RCB, YUZVENDRA CHAHAL DETHRONES VIRAT KOHLI AS THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER!

Virat Kohli has generated incredible value of 14.97 crores during the league stage of the 2016 IPL, however, since he was retained at a price of INR 12.50 crores as per the IPL rules (he may actually be paid more), the returns that he has provided Bangalore is only worth INR 2.47 crores, while Yuzvendra Chahal, retained at only INR 10 lakhs, generated value worth INR 8.56 crores, of which INR 8.46 crores amounts to positive returns for Bangalore!

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