– 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

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