– plenty of cric, not so much info

The international cricket season isn’t far away, so doubtless we can soon expect a steady diet of stories like these, carving up a whole pile of numbers and telling us that the reason a cricketer / cricket team is succeeding / failing is… well, just about anything.

S Rajesh of cricinfo, though, is obsessed with the idea that performance is affected by the location of a match – whether it’s the ground, the country, one’s home country, one’s home country (again), or even the continent. (Indicative quote: “Clearly, Hafeez’s problem has been facing the new ball outside Asia.” Ummm… yeah. Clearly.)

His theories may be right. But there is so much wrong with the way he tests them that I’m not really sure where to begin. The formula seems to be something like this:

Pose a question, attributing something to a single variable: could Sri Lanka’s recent success be linked to the colour of their shoelaces? Continue reading

Fenway Park is tough for visitors because reasons

Fenway Park in Boston, home of the Red Sox and probably best known to Australian readers for its role in Good Will Hunting, is one of the toughest places for visiting players.

Or at least that’s what this headline says. The article goes on to say… well, almost nothing. Continue reading

Should Roy Hodgson roll the dice and make a goalkeeping switch?

Update: read more on this here.

Yikes. Pretty hard to put a positive statistical spin on any of that.

The prevailing sentiment is that a soccer goalkeeper is rarely noticed, or at least rarely remembered, unless they’ve just something unspeakably awful. That might be reason enough not to get out of bed in the morning, but it might be just as frustrating to the GK that the average fan – and maybe even the above average fan, or worse still, the coach, or even the GK – doesn’t understand whether a GK has had a good game or not. Continue reading

Duckworth-Lewis vs Best-Scoring overs method – who ya got?

In an earlier post I promised to monitor domestic and international one-day matches this summer, and hypothetically compare the Duckworth Lewis (DL) method to the old best-scoring overs (BSO) method. From the 20th over onwards in the second innings, each method will predict a winner by providing a target score, as if the match was suddenly rained out. So there will be a prediction after over 20, 21, 22… all the way up to 49; 30 predictions in total if the match goes that distance (no points awarded for predicting the winner after over 50).

[Update as of 3/11/2013 – I’ve made the executive decision to add the highest-scoring consecutive overs method to this.]

In the first match Tasmania spoiled the experiment by not lasting until over 40 – but all methods correctly chose the winner correctly 15 times, until the match ended at the end of over 35.


You’ll notice that the BSO line is pretty smooth, but the DL is jagged – that’s because the target changes markedly each time the chasing team loses a wicket. (In this match, Tasmania were kind enough to demonstrate this frequently.)

Continue reading