Amidst a sea of potential upsets in the Champions Trophy what punters are looking for is something akin to the Conservative party election slogan: strong and stable. But where is the fun in that?
The Tories are infinitesimal odds to beat the count on June 8. We want big-priced winners. And in the probable absence of something shocking in the political world, we look to the cricket one for a turn up or two.
So step forward Wayne Parnell. This is probably the first, and only, time dear old Wayne will ever be mentioned in the same article as Theresa May. And it is also the first time that anyone has seriously considered dear old Wayne as a bet for a top bowler market on a tournament outright.
The slippery pacer has hardly been a fixture for South Africa down the years. This has not been down to a lack of talent. He is quick, can get movement through the air and also bashes a long ball in the lower order. And occasionally at the top.
What has held him back is that he’s a bit of a lad. He has got himself intro trouble a couple of times. Maybe his attitude hasn’t been the best. But there is no question he can play – finally, the selectors appear to agree with him displacing long-time favourite Morne Morkel.
The bookies don’t rate him. He is 67 with green-listed bookies to finish as the top wicket-taker. Now, listen. He has some very stiff competition to beat, chiefly the world’s best ODI pace bowler in Mitchell Starc. But Starc is 11 (Ladbrokes, Coral). Imran Tahir, the ICC ranked No 1, is 15 with Bet365.
So the odds on Wayne are tantalising. So is there any science behind picking Wayne as a wager? Yes. We love strike rates here. It’s the number of balls it takes a bowler to take a wicket. So the lower number the better. It basically tells us how often a bowler is expected to strike.
Starc takes a wicket every 25.8 balls. That is very impressive. Tahir? Every 31. Again, impressive. But dear old Wayne takes a wicket every 24.8 balls. Boom! As they say. So you see he is no way near a 67 shot. He should be in the 20s.
What is more is that no other international bowler playing in this event (who has played 10 or more matches in the last year) takes wickets with more regularity that dear old Wayne. That’s value, folks.