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Q&A with CricViz Senior Analyst: Rufus Bullough

Q – What a busy few months for you and CricViz! Could you start by talking through the various countries and cricket competitions you were involved in this winter?

RB – It’s been an absolute whirlwind so far in 2024. I started the year heading to South Africa to join the Pretoria Capitals in The SA20. This was followed by the WPL with the Delhi Capitals Women and then a brief stint in the IPL with the Delhi Men’s team. It’s been non-stop, but a brilliant way to spend the first three months of the year.

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The Pretoria Capitals team photo taken during a training session at the 2023/24 SA20.

Q – You’ve mentioned the WPL. For the second consecutive season, the side reached the final. How was the tournament, and how were your emotions after the final?

RB – The tournament was fantastic, and spending the second half of it in Delhi in front of the home fans was incredible. Seeing the Kotla full of blue shirts supporting the home team was awesome.

My immediate feelings after the final were, of course, disappointment coupled with a touch of deja vu. The tournament followed an almost identical pattern to last year, with us topping the group with six wins and going straight into the final. The final was very similar, too, with our bowlers almost defending an under-par total in the last over. Again, it wasn’t to be, unfortunately.

Now that the dust has settled on the tournament, I feel like we were comfortably the best side again, winning two-thirds of our games and putting in some superb performances. T20 Finals can be a bit of a lottery, and our performances have been consistent. I’m very happy with CricViz’s work helping Delhi become such a successful WPL team over the past two years.

Q – What was CricViz’s role during the WPL auction, both planning for and at the auction table itself? Did everything go as you and the coaches expected?

In preparation for the auction, we collaborated with the Delhi coaches, recruitment and auction strategists, and their vast network of scouts to identify target players. We then combined our advanced data metrics with the expertise and opinions of the Delhi scouts.

Due to our strong recruitment in the initial mega auction, we only needed one overseas player and two domestic players. On the day of the auction, my colleague Ben Jones (Head of Insight) was at the table in Mumbai to assist the management team as we made our three purchases.

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CricViz Senior Analyst Rufus Bullough sharing a joke with Australian batter Meg Lanning during the 2024 WPL.

Q – What learnings will you take from the last couple of seasons into next year?

RB – Just trying to maintain the level of consistency of our support to Delhi; we have had great feedback so far about the service we have provided both during and outside of the season. We’ll look to continue to provide consistency to the coaches to allow them to make the best decisions heading into next season.

Looking forward to next year, I will see the bigger picture and focus on our performance throughout the tournament and not focus on an individual victory or defeat in a final. 

Q – Now that you’ve had some experience in both the WPL and the IPL, how would you compare the two tournaments?

RB – I would say the two are directly comparable in terms of scale. Both tournaments are packed with passionate crowds, and there is wall-to-wall coverage across national media outlets in India. It really has to be seen to be believed, the noise in the stadium is like nothing I have ever experienced!

The tournaments are huge operations, with the backroom staff at teams having to organise transport, food, accommodation, and the like for 50 people, as well as honour the numerous sponsor commitments the players have to fulfil. A huge shout-out has to go to Ankul at DC and his team of unsung heroes who make tournaments of this scale work seamlessly and create such a brilliant product for fans to enjoy.

For more information about CricViz’s Performance Analysis services or to get in touch with the team, click here.

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