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How West Indies Became Pace Kings Again

CricViz analysis features in the Telegraph’s analysis of the Caribbean quick bowling revival.

CricViz have an agreement in place to provide The Telegraph newspaper in the UK with advanced data analysis and visualisations, delivered to their team of award-winning journalists via our team of analysts.

This week, Tim Wigmore, analysed the revival of pace bowling in Caribbean first-class cricket. Five years ago, the proportion of wickets taken by seamers in Caribbean domestic cricket was much lower than you would expect.

As Wigmore writes, “In the 2015/16 Caribbean first-class season, 63 per cent of all wickets were taken by spinners; even in India’s Ranji Trophy, the figure is only 40.4 per cent since 2015.”

However, that has begun to change in the last few years, as this CricViz graphic demonstrates.

In part, this revival has been the result of better pitch preparation: “The pitches were too dry…and many grounds used the heavy roller too much, which nullified pace and bounce.”

There were structural changes elsewhere. “More radically, Cricket West Indies reformed the points system to encourage pace bowling. When he was West Indies head coach, from 2010-14, Ottis Gibson suggested that bonus points be introduced in domestic cricket, awarding extra points for wickets taken by quicks. Bonus points for pace wickets are now awarded in regional youth cricket. Since 2016/17, teams have earned 0.2 bonus points for each wicket taken in the regional four-day competition through pace. The proportion of wickets taken by quicks began rising that year; last season, Barbados won the first-class tournament after taking more wickets with pace than anyone else.”

The West Indies attack will be in action this week, as they take on England in the first of a three-Test series in Southampton. To read the piece in full, as well as the rest of The Telegraph’s excellent cricket content, head to https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/.

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