> In article<some number> Mohan Krishnamoorthy writes
> You probably missed my point. The great game is a team sport and as team
> sports go, judgements of relative merit are rather arbitrary at best and
> fuzzy at worst. Take soccer as an example, the goalscorers for all their
> skills are still as good as the back's and the midfielders. If you see
> any West Indian match, the statistics of that match would betray a
> serious lack of understanding of the context. Holding might have beaten
> every batsman in sight, but Malcolm Marshall might've got all the wickets
> as it always happens. How many times have we seen Dennis Lillee scare the
> wits out of his opponents, only to find the ordinary chap at the other
> end getting the bounty! As someone put it, "I'd rather watch Gower score
> 20 runs than watch Boycott score 200." But, that is his and more or less
> my point of view. Could Kapil have scored the 175* if Kirmani and Madanlal
> weren't around?
Hmmm! Yes, I _do_ see your point now. If I may summarize (not that I
think u are ineloquent -- put it down to my finical and pedantic
approach to these issues): While ranking systems are tenable in sports
which involve players battling for glory on a one-to-one basis (for
example, tennis, badminton, squash, etc), they would be meaningless in
the analysis of relative merits of players in team sports (soccer,
hockey, cricket, etc).
If that is your point (and if it isn't, sorry for stuffing unwelcome
words in your mouth!), I must say I am _tempted_ to agree with you.
Thankfully, in a sport like cricket, rigid ranking schemes (like the
ATP scheme) are unnecessary and are nothing but a redundancy. However,
IMO, they can be used for casual comparison.
I am sure the knowledgable punters, the purists, the pundits and the
unbiased followers of the "great game" wouldn't need statistics.
Particularly ranking-schemes that are `doctored' to prove that a
particular player is worse than another (that dictum again: Feed in
garbage to your model. Garbage is what you will get). However, to
uninitiated, the casual follower of the game, the punter in the
betting shop, the commentrator who fumbles and doesn't know if Kumble
rhymes with bumble (tumble, apple crumble), to the selectors who aren't
really sure of current form (read: Indian selction committee) statistics
and ranking schemes are a useful form-guide and an indicator of the
capability of teams and players...
> I for one, do not give undue importance to statistics ( although I care)
> As engineering and science majors, we should be the last to compare cricket
> players with binary coded decimals! It's rather fuzzy, certainly not black
> and white. It is the grey-ness that brings out the beauty in the sport :-)
I derive great pleasure from reading through cricketing stats.
Besides serving their purpose as (nothing but) a chronicle, they
serve as reminders of the game that's been recorded. Of course, the
best cricketing stats would be those that are accompanied with write-ups
on the game. This would then make up for the deficiencies arising from the
projection of numbers alone.
Over the weekend, I was reading a 1990 cricket year-book. I had a look
at the score-card of the 1st test between England and India at Lords. The
stats said a very different story to that which actually unfolded over
those glorious days of cricketing excellence. Gooch broke many a record
on his way to 333 (thanks More). That was a truly magnificent innings,
full of application and professionalism. However, the stats don't record
the feeling amongst most of the pundits at Lords that Azhar's magical inns
actually managed to outshine and eclipse the monumental innings of Gooch,
although the latter had scored less than half the number of runs. It was
the boldness, the arrogance and contempt that Azhar had for the all the
bowlers, the wristy magic, the elegance of stroke play and the sheer
brilliance that made it one of the best innings I have ever watched (I
was there. I was fortunate.)... The stats don't record Ravi Shastri's
patient 100. The stats don't record Kapil's (4 successive sixes)
demolition-job of Hemmings to avoid the follow-on -- a Kapilesque
`madness', vindicated a ball later when Hirwani was bowled off the first
ball he received. Gooch then came back to play an innings very
different in character to the one he played the first time around. The
stats don't record the stunning 1-handed running catch that Sachin
Tendulkar took to dismiss Alan Lamb.
However, it _reminded_ me of that wonderful match (and you have had to
suffer as a result!) -- get _my_ point?
While on the subject, I shall restate my request for more information on
the Coopers-Delloitte ranking scheme. Is there anybody out there?
>>> Anyway, how can one give points to the amount
>>> of pain and sacrifice that a professional cricekter has to undergo,
>> and, perhaps, the number of children he has to bring up? and whether or
>> not his grandparents r alive? ;-) :-)
> .......Or which actress has been made pregnant by whom? :-) :-)
....Or which bar-maid was chatted-up by whom, where and when and whether
or not the said player showered anything other than mere fraternal interest
on the said bar maid. ;-) I-)
>>> As the wise man once said, "Lies, Damned lies and Statistics!"
>> A more pragmatic man says, "Feed garbage into your model, u get
>> garbage out".
> ....Hey, I'm talking about cricket, not my semester project :-) :-)
Oops! Sorry... ;-)
>>> IMHO, rankings and statistics should never find an important place in test
>> I thought test matches and statistics went hand in hand! Cricket
>> renders itself rather neatly to statistics. It gives people something
Can we do worse than this?
>> What would test match commentry be without statistics? Wouldn't u like
>> to be informed every time a `record' was broken? Bill Frindall would be
>> out of a job! Johnners would be distraught... ;-)
A side issue:
BBC announced over the weekend that Test Match Special will
continue next year. Johnners, Trevor "The Boil", Bill
"bearded" Frindall, the pigeons, the cakes, the apple
crumbles, the red buses, the kites, and (oh! nearly forgot...)
the cricket have all been saved. The ball-by-ball commentary
will be moved from BBC Radio 5 to Radio 3.
> Again, I'd like to reiterate that I'm not against statistics as a basis
> for comparisons on a *casual* basis. It's only when, someone brings the
> concept of relative judgements of merit, do I have nits to pick!
I think we have near-agreement here.
> As I've mentioned before (in the Boycott example) Botham does have
> more wickets than say an Andy Roberts or a Jeff Thommson, but I'd rather
> spend hours watching miles and miles of videotape of the latter!
For precisely that reason, when the history books are written, Boycott
(Chris Tavare) and Gower (Azhar) will be catalogued under different
>>> Arun Simha
> Arun Simha
My employers put me up to this -- this is a frame-up.
Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there will be
No more turning away...
Mohan Krishnamoorthy, The Inst of Maths and Stats, Cornwallis Building,
The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF. UK.