You Cannot Do That Ben Stokes: Dynamically Predicting Shot Type in Cricket Using a Personalized Deep Neural Network

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Abstract

Dr Will Gürpınar-Morgan, Senior Data Scientist, Stats Perform
Dr Daniel Dinsdale, Data Scientist, Stats Perform
Dr Joe Gallagher, Data Scientist, Stats Perform
Aditya Cherukumudi, Artificial Intelligence Scientist, Stats Perform
Dr Patrick Lucey, Chief Scientist, Stats Perform

Abstract

The ability to predict what shot a batsman will attempt given the type of ball and match situation is both one of the most challenging and strategically important tasks in cricket.

The goal of the batsman is to score as many runs without being dismissed, whilst for bowlers their goal is to stem the flow of runs and ideally to dismiss their opponent. Getting the best batsman vs bowler match-up is of paramount importance. For example, for the fielding team, the choice of bowler against the opposition star batsman could be the key difference between winning or losing. Therefore, the ability to have a predefined playbook (as in the NFL) which would allow a team to predict how best to set their fielders given the context of the game, the batsman they are bowling to and bowlers at their disposal would give them a significant strategic advantage.

To this end, we present a personalized deep neural network approach which can predict the probabilities of where a specific batsman will hit a specific bowler and bowl type, in a specific game-scenario. We demonstrate how our personalized predictions provide vital information to inform the decision-making of coaches and captains, both in terms of pre-match and in-game tactical choices, using the 2019 World Cup final between England and New Zealand as a case study example.

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