November 28, 2008

Duckworth and Lewis needs a rethink

Andy Zaltzman looks at Duckworth-Lewis, "one of humankind’s greatest scientific breakthroughs", but questions whether it needs a revamp
27





One of the greatest scientific breakthroughs known to man © Cricinfo Ltd.

The Duckworth-Lewis method is rightly regarded as one of humankind’s greatest scientific breakthroughs, fit to set alongside Archimedes hopping into his bath and splashing water all over his new carpet, Fleming not bothering to wash up his petri-dishes, and whoever first discovered the sliceability of bread.

Before Professors D and L intervened, the received wisdom of the ages had been that the intervention of rain or bad light would forever skew the natural axis of limited-over cricketing justice. Previous attempts to solve this ageless conundrum had ranged from incomplete to idiotic. However, after years of secretive testing of their formula on teams of cricket-playing laboratory mice dressed in garish little pyjamas, Duckworth and Lewis unleashed their ingenious system on the cricket world and instantly catapulted themselves onto the Nobel Prize waiting list. Many still do not understand the method, but it is one of those things that the public needs to trust rather than comprehend. Like air travel, the workings of the digestive system...and Tony Blair.

The slight powerplay-related glitch revealed in the fourth India-England ODI will no doubt soon be ironed out (indeed, all significant developments in scientific history have had their teething troubles – when Newton was demonstrating gravity to then king Charles II by lobbing fruit in the air and letting it land on his head, he hurled a grapefruit upwards which never came down).

However, Duckworth-Lewis’ one seemingly irredeemable failing is its inability to adjudicate matches which fail to reach the minimum length, or are completely cancelled, leaving the disappointed spectator either with a no-result or a bowl-out (a deeply unfair resolution heavily loaded in favour of teams whose bowlers habitually drift onto middle-and-leg, thus rewarding sloppy bowling).

D/L must therefore return to their laboratory to develop special brain-scanning helmets to analyse the mental states of players, and thus predict which team would have performed better on the day – based on their confidence levels, intensity of will-to-win, homesickness, and extent of distraction caused by external media and financial issues.

The winning team could thus be fairly adjudicated, and the paying spectator would return home happy that justice had been served. (Whilst inevitable technical teething troubles are overcome, it may also be necessary for the ICC to back up the results of the scanner helmet by spying on the teams to gain the deepest possible insight into the psychological states of the players – the authorities would have to start bugging team meetings and hotel rooms, and conducting elaborate tabloid-style sting operations to trick the players into revealing whether, deep down, they genuinely believe they can win, or are just saying so in press conferences out of contractual obligation.)

In time, it may prove that the helmet-scanner system provides a far more fair and accurate means of deciding cricket matches that cricket itself. Result of games are often determined by moments of unnatural luck, skill or umpiring – science could remove such quirks, and ensure that by removing cricket from cricket matches, the team that deserves to win always emerges triumphant.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • James Perkins on December 13, 2008, 10:55 GMT

    Easwar:

    But one may ask is this blog funny-for-funny's sake, or is it funny to highlight an absurd injustice, like in this case, the stupid Duckworth-Lewis system?

  • Easwar on December 11, 2008, 9:23 GMT

    Funny piece Andy! Folks, lets just leave it at that and leave your seious-minded argument at the door when you enter this blog. I think there are plenty of other blogs where you can go and spew your serious opinions and bore the crap out of all the jobless(make that browsing at work) souls out there.

  • anurag on December 4, 2008, 20:49 GMT

    D/L currently assumes that all players of a team have the same skills thus equating Sachin to Ishant. Which translates to each resource being 9.1% of the team (=100/11 players). That assumption introduces many inequities.

    Instead, if each captain (prior to start of game) spreads 100 percentage points among the playing team (for batting & bowling each) it could account for each player’s skillset, current form, etc.

    e.g., for batting Sachin = 18%, Sehwag = 22%, … Ishant = 1%. Similarly, for bowling, Sachin = 2%, Sehwag = 5%, … and Ishant = 25%, and so on.

    This new weightage will change “remaining wickets” resource calculations of D/L. So, a score with 4 remaining wickets might instead translate to 4.85 or 5.45 wickets remaining, etc.

    Such a weightage still won’t be able to account for Kumble or Brett Lee hitting a century or an in-form Gambhir or Hayden hitting ducks but it might improve the currently ridiculous D/L.

    Does this make sense? Would love to hear people’s opinion.

  • bala on December 4, 2008, 18:27 GMT

    D/L method is not fool proof,but it is the best available. It also brings some excitement into rain curtailed matches where the crowds are already bored due to the rain breaks. but I think a rethink is needed for these new powerplay rules.

  • Vikram Maingi on December 4, 2008, 11:24 GMT

    Duckworth Lewis Method is certainly not a perfect method of evaluating targets. One thing for sure it doesn't take into consideration is the Power Play utilization at the time of rain interruption.

  • rahul on December 4, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    funny as ever...

  • rob heinen on December 4, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    The idea of the brain-scanning helmet is brilliant. Without doubt. I'm afraid however that its applicability would be limited. I'm not surprised that the idea originates on the british isles. For the way in which the problem of reaching a fair result in a limited overs match is by way of a typical british flaw. A measure of the - apparently fluctuating - mental state of the players determines the outcome. Apart from the england team there is no other team in world cricket that is hindered by any of the mental fluxes scanned by the helmet. Or rather, the equipment needed to differentiate between the british metal fluxes and those of players from other teamsfrom other countries will require such attenuation as is technically impossible to produce. Let alone that it would call for different standards for measuring different teams. All in all, the idea is great, but, as with all great ideas, it will take some time to make it technically feasible and then there's the political will from all participating countries to have such a device find its place in world cricket. My estimate is that it may be introduced at top level somewhere between 2020 and 2030.

  • vasu on December 3, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    The only thing I hate about cricket is D/L method!! It robs the best out of cricket and people of their money!! This is the most nonsensical rule that has be made in any sport in this world!! Hope the gentleman's game would be cleansed of its worst law soon.

  • Chetan on December 3, 2008, 15:20 GMT

    At the end of the 1st innings, charts are normally be prepared & published through computerisation. Captains not understanding D/L - where is the need to understand ? If you look at a printout, you know if you lose x wickets after 20 overs, your target is A. If you lose X+1, your target is A+b.... Unless of course your case is that captains cannot read what is printed on paper. As per England backers & D/L bashers, - D/L & not English incompetence are responsible for 2 matches India won during the recent series - one batting first & one batting second.

  • Anand on December 1, 2008, 21:36 GMT

    The D/L method isnt perfect but surely better than other rules like a linear scaling re-adjustment or the silly one in the 1992 world cup. England won the s/f because of that rule. Want to know the reaction of English fans then- particularly of those cribbing now. Since the rule takes into account more factors than what the earlier rules did, it is bound to be more complex. It doesnt matter if common man fails to understand it. The professionals playing the game have agreed to it and surely they must have done some background check before agreeing to have it as an international standard. People are shooting alternative methods but when actually tested they will show up even bigger flaw. There is simply no way one can extrapolate a shortened game perfectly. Whatever rule is applied the losers will always whine! When India won ODI 3 D/L was criticised to favor the team batting 2nd, now India bats first and the same rule is criticised again for aiding the team batting 1st! Get a life guys

  • James Perkins on December 13, 2008, 10:55 GMT

    Easwar:

    But one may ask is this blog funny-for-funny's sake, or is it funny to highlight an absurd injustice, like in this case, the stupid Duckworth-Lewis system?

  • Easwar on December 11, 2008, 9:23 GMT

    Funny piece Andy! Folks, lets just leave it at that and leave your seious-minded argument at the door when you enter this blog. I think there are plenty of other blogs where you can go and spew your serious opinions and bore the crap out of all the jobless(make that browsing at work) souls out there.

  • anurag on December 4, 2008, 20:49 GMT

    D/L currently assumes that all players of a team have the same skills thus equating Sachin to Ishant. Which translates to each resource being 9.1% of the team (=100/11 players). That assumption introduces many inequities.

    Instead, if each captain (prior to start of game) spreads 100 percentage points among the playing team (for batting & bowling each) it could account for each player’s skillset, current form, etc.

    e.g., for batting Sachin = 18%, Sehwag = 22%, … Ishant = 1%. Similarly, for bowling, Sachin = 2%, Sehwag = 5%, … and Ishant = 25%, and so on.

    This new weightage will change “remaining wickets” resource calculations of D/L. So, a score with 4 remaining wickets might instead translate to 4.85 or 5.45 wickets remaining, etc.

    Such a weightage still won’t be able to account for Kumble or Brett Lee hitting a century or an in-form Gambhir or Hayden hitting ducks but it might improve the currently ridiculous D/L.

    Does this make sense? Would love to hear people’s opinion.

  • bala on December 4, 2008, 18:27 GMT

    D/L method is not fool proof,but it is the best available. It also brings some excitement into rain curtailed matches where the crowds are already bored due to the rain breaks. but I think a rethink is needed for these new powerplay rules.

  • Vikram Maingi on December 4, 2008, 11:24 GMT

    Duckworth Lewis Method is certainly not a perfect method of evaluating targets. One thing for sure it doesn't take into consideration is the Power Play utilization at the time of rain interruption.

  • rahul on December 4, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    funny as ever...

  • rob heinen on December 4, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    The idea of the brain-scanning helmet is brilliant. Without doubt. I'm afraid however that its applicability would be limited. I'm not surprised that the idea originates on the british isles. For the way in which the problem of reaching a fair result in a limited overs match is by way of a typical british flaw. A measure of the - apparently fluctuating - mental state of the players determines the outcome. Apart from the england team there is no other team in world cricket that is hindered by any of the mental fluxes scanned by the helmet. Or rather, the equipment needed to differentiate between the british metal fluxes and those of players from other teamsfrom other countries will require such attenuation as is technically impossible to produce. Let alone that it would call for different standards for measuring different teams. All in all, the idea is great, but, as with all great ideas, it will take some time to make it technically feasible and then there's the political will from all participating countries to have such a device find its place in world cricket. My estimate is that it may be introduced at top level somewhere between 2020 and 2030.

  • vasu on December 3, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    The only thing I hate about cricket is D/L method!! It robs the best out of cricket and people of their money!! This is the most nonsensical rule that has be made in any sport in this world!! Hope the gentleman's game would be cleansed of its worst law soon.

  • Chetan on December 3, 2008, 15:20 GMT

    At the end of the 1st innings, charts are normally be prepared & published through computerisation. Captains not understanding D/L - where is the need to understand ? If you look at a printout, you know if you lose x wickets after 20 overs, your target is A. If you lose X+1, your target is A+b.... Unless of course your case is that captains cannot read what is printed on paper. As per England backers & D/L bashers, - D/L & not English incompetence are responsible for 2 matches India won during the recent series - one batting first & one batting second.

  • Anand on December 1, 2008, 21:36 GMT

    The D/L method isnt perfect but surely better than other rules like a linear scaling re-adjustment or the silly one in the 1992 world cup. England won the s/f because of that rule. Want to know the reaction of English fans then- particularly of those cribbing now. Since the rule takes into account more factors than what the earlier rules did, it is bound to be more complex. It doesnt matter if common man fails to understand it. The professionals playing the game have agreed to it and surely they must have done some background check before agreeing to have it as an international standard. People are shooting alternative methods but when actually tested they will show up even bigger flaw. There is simply no way one can extrapolate a shortened game perfectly. Whatever rule is applied the losers will always whine! When India won ODI 3 D/L was criticised to favor the team batting 2nd, now India bats first and the same rule is criticised again for aiding the team batting 1st! Get a life guys

  • James Perkins on December 1, 2008, 15:55 GMT

    A SIMPLE SYSTEM RIGHT HERE: TEAMA makes 300 runs in its 50 overs. Then there is a short rainshower that reduces the batting time for TEAMB to 45 overs. They are set a target of 271 to win. Under DL this would be higher, because TEAMB's batsmen could play slightly more aggressively. A MUCH simpler method would be to leave the 271 target alone but, and here's the clever bit, deem TEAM B to be "all out" at the fall of their NINTH wicket. If it falls before the 271 target is reached, TEAM A wins. While DL also works the way it does because it accounts for earlier batsmen being better than later ones, this imbalance could be adressed by still letting TEAMA's best bowlers bowl their full 10 overs, and so keep their rhythm. Advantages: Targets (and wickets!) are reduced in a totally linear, simple manner, and always in 5-over increments. Crowds won't feel robbed of victory by the designs of some esoteric chart. Rain might even compress and intensify a game's excitement!

  • Anoop on December 1, 2008, 7:34 GMT

    D/L is not perfect, but its still far far better than all previous methods we had. Remember the farce we saw in 1992 world cup semifinal between England and South Africa? 22 runs in 13 balls converted to 22 runs from 1 ball!! In the current D/L method, such a thing will never happen. It doesn't matter whether you bat for 17 overs of powerplay or 8 overs of powerplay. Just imagine how will you bat if you start out the game as a 22 over game and 50 over game. That difference should obviously be there when you set the target for the team batting second. The team batting first bats 17 overs thinking that its a 50 over game and then gets just 5 overs to slog, how is it a fair calculation to just set the target unchanged? And the fact that India scored 60 runs in the last 5 overs is the reason why the target (198) was so high compared to the original score (166). Had India scored around 40 runs in the last 5 overs, the difference might have been some 10-15 runs.

  • srini on November 30, 2008, 23:43 GMT

    does anybody who have posted the comments know the mathematical logic and rationale behind devising d/l method? one should understand this first to comment on it.Other wise its all emotional talk.

  • debasish bhattacharjee on November 30, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    Reading and hearing about all the flak that the D/L method cops, I am surprised that no efforts are made to explain it in simple terms. I would think that it is the fairest way to settle interrupted matches now, purely because it rewards both the batting and bowling sides. The basic premise behind the method is that at the start of an innings, the batting team has 100% resources which are in the form of overs and wickets in hand. These resources decrease as the innings goes on. So if a team is scoring runs at a good rate and keeping wickets in hand, it will have more resources when compared to a team which is not scoring too freely and is losing wickets at regular intervals. A team which has more resources will always have a lower D/L target compared to a team with dwindling resources. So in a nutshell, the method will reward the batting team for keeping wickets in hand and scoring quickly and the bowling team for keeping the scoring down and taking wickets regularly.

  • StJohn on November 30, 2008, 10:12 GMT

    ND - true, DL didn't influence batting under lights. But that's not the point. If DL is supposed to readjust targets based on the resources (i.e. wickets) available to a team, then ideally calculations should also reflect the fact that those resources may be less effective because of the conditions - i.e. batting under lights. Fielding & bowling under lights may be more difficult too, but I believe the stats show that teams bowling last under lights, in day/night games, generally have a better chance of winning, in part because the ball moves around more for the bowlers. It is also a flaw that DL does not take Powerplays into account - so I think kapilonly1 is right about that. Yes, 5-0 reflects the ODI gap between the teams; but 4-1 would've been a more accurate reflection. But whatever the mathematical justifications, if one team gets 166-4 off 22 overs and the other is then set 198 to win off 22 overs, it still seems intuitively wrong and a bit screwy to me!

  • Amanzeb Khan on November 30, 2008, 6:01 GMT

    Without doubt, the D/L method is the most effective in the history of one day cricket. It allows for unplanned disruption in the innings of a team which may result in a higher run chase for the team batting second. True, it is hard to understand the numbers but it is still better than earlier methods used i.e. simple average where the team whose innings was disrupted would be seriously hampered, or the distorted lowest scoring overs being reduced which was used in the 1992 World Cup. There are some issues like the power plays which are not yet covered by D/L, but I am sure this will be taken care of soon. Unfortunately, for those advocating simplicity, there is no simple solution to this. The simple solutions have all been tested and they all ended up repeatedly spoiling games.

  • Jamie Dowling on November 29, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    My other half teaches maths and always looks for real life applications of the stuff she teaches to show the kids that maths is useful and something they can relate too. I wrote a few darts based sheets for one of her classes and their answers showed just how thick they really were. But they made the effort and showed their working out.

    Showing a class of teenagers the D/L method is going to bore them stupid and make them lose interest. If players can't figure it out (South Africa being a prime example) then what hope do the rest of us have?

    Academics love to overcomplicate things, it's what they do. Make something better by making it much more complicated. Scrap D/L and replace it with something that is flexible enough to take into account powerplays and the like and which everyone can understand without needing to refer to a set of tables.

    Trouble is that ICC lacks (amongst other things) common sense. Trying to document that in a set of rules & regulations is a hell of a task!

  • ND on November 29, 2008, 11:02 GMT

    St John - The English would have anyway batted under lights - D&L did not influence that - besides, it's a lot harder to field under lights and bowl in the evenings. KapilOnly1 - D&L adjusts for the fact that England only needed to bat 22 overs, not the full 50, with all 10 wickets in hand - so even if India had more powerplay overs, they could not have capitalised on them as well, as they were batting to a 50-over gameplan, not 22 overs. Does anyone here think that the 5-0 scoreline was not an accurate reflection of the gap between the teams?

  • Krishna on November 29, 2008, 2:38 GMT

    Andy Zaltzman-modification of the D/L rules is pure genius! One could add such skullduggery to chairmen of the Cricket control boards and the chief selectors too to predict who will win future matches. Winning matches without playing would leave enough time to brush up on higher maths!

  • D.V.C. on November 28, 2008, 22:45 GMT

    It is to cricket's great credit that it embraces a mathematical system of relative complexity. As a scientist I know there are many things in our society that are underpinned by complex mathematics, we use them everyday, it's just that the D/L method is visible to those watching matches.

    There are many things we take for granted without stopping to think of the rules that underpin them. If people stopped thinking about the maths of D/L and considered only the tables produced, I don't think there would be an issue.

    The international calendar is too crowded for rain days so that's not an option. Similarly, in tournaments it's not really fair to share the points when a large chunk of the game has been played and one side is well on top of things.

    What the D/L method does is look at what both teams have done, work out who's in front and make adjustments based on average games. If you look at the results it has produced it is fair. It was devised pre-powerplay though, so needs a tweak.

  • Augustus on November 28, 2008, 17:28 GMT

    D & L is just bringing maths into cricket. Pretty soon a cricket captain would have to have a degree in Calculas. The system is presumptive, unfair, and beyond the understanding of an ordinary cricket fan. Either one should build special cricket stadiums that our fully covered for ODI's, or mathes that are stopped because of rain, etc, must be re-played another day. You dont get D & L in baseball, football,tennis etc.

  • kapilonly1 on November 28, 2008, 17:20 GMT

    Well, DL is not correct ! India posted 166/4 in 22 overs with 17 overs of powerplay, & England needed 198 of 22 overs with just 8 overs of powerplay !!

  • Ram on November 28, 2008, 16:56 GMT

    Andy,

    We all love to hate the DL method, don't we. I have actually read their technical paper and I think they have done a admirable job of it. Especially, considering the rubbish that was used earlier.

    But, in any case, nice and funny piece:)

  • Spinoza on November 28, 2008, 16:22 GMT

    The DL system has one thing going for it. It isn't understood well enough by most players and journalists who aren't, shall we say, well endowed up there inside the occiput.

    I for one wouldn't trust anything that cricketers came up with, or cricket journalist could understand. And I think I speak for all my personalities when I say that.

  • PD on November 28, 2008, 13:03 GMT

    You could, of course, use this perfect system to do away with any actual play at all. Just scan each member of the team on the morning of the match, let them go for a drink and have the machine provide the scientifically determined winner of the match. I foresee a situation where the technology advances to the point that players are, in fact, saved the bother of leaving their home countries (or even homes) in order to declare a winner of the series. Perfect use of technology to take the final human factor out of the game...

  • tonyp on November 28, 2008, 12:27 GMT

    We're still a fair way off complete numerical models of hypothetical matches. But the remoteness of that wonderful day needn't discourage us from early experiments.

    We already know cricketers can be convinced to play (and train) while wearing pyjamas & that incessant repetition of abrasively overconfident mantras is crucial to success.

    Anticipating the development of confidence-detecting headgear there remain some important questions:

    Exactly how stupid a hat would cricketers wear off the field if it improved their team's chances of winning rain-affected fixtures?

    Would they also wear brown corduroy Nehru suits or sing Bananarama songs if it helped reception or in return for bonus runs/wickets?

    There is potential here for an exciting new brand of "total cricket" based on rigid metrics of off-field commitment. Squads could be expanded to include wet-weather specialists whose life-styles would be ideally suited to reality TV shows - I can see the revenue streams now!

  • StJohn on November 28, 2008, 12:12 GMT

    I think the DL method is an abomination. Cricket already loses a lot of support because many people who might be interested in it don't understand it. But the DL method takes lack of understanding to an entirely different level - now even cricket fans can't understand it. Why does DL always seem to be harder on the team batting second, often producing bizarre targets? We'll probably see something like India 190-4 off 25 overs, England need 3,236 runs off 3 balls one of these days. And did DL allow for the fact that England would have had a harder time batting under lights in the 4th ODI, therefore the target was perhaps too high? There has to be a better way than the Black Arts of the DL method...a simpler, even if scientifically less fair, method would be better and less alienating (and less alien). Bring back relative run rates. Please.

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  • StJohn on November 28, 2008, 12:12 GMT

    I think the DL method is an abomination. Cricket already loses a lot of support because many people who might be interested in it don't understand it. But the DL method takes lack of understanding to an entirely different level - now even cricket fans can't understand it. Why does DL always seem to be harder on the team batting second, often producing bizarre targets? We'll probably see something like India 190-4 off 25 overs, England need 3,236 runs off 3 balls one of these days. And did DL allow for the fact that England would have had a harder time batting under lights in the 4th ODI, therefore the target was perhaps too high? There has to be a better way than the Black Arts of the DL method...a simpler, even if scientifically less fair, method would be better and less alienating (and less alien). Bring back relative run rates. Please.

  • tonyp on November 28, 2008, 12:27 GMT

    We're still a fair way off complete numerical models of hypothetical matches. But the remoteness of that wonderful day needn't discourage us from early experiments.

    We already know cricketers can be convinced to play (and train) while wearing pyjamas & that incessant repetition of abrasively overconfident mantras is crucial to success.

    Anticipating the development of confidence-detecting headgear there remain some important questions:

    Exactly how stupid a hat would cricketers wear off the field if it improved their team's chances of winning rain-affected fixtures?

    Would they also wear brown corduroy Nehru suits or sing Bananarama songs if it helped reception or in return for bonus runs/wickets?

    There is potential here for an exciting new brand of "total cricket" based on rigid metrics of off-field commitment. Squads could be expanded to include wet-weather specialists whose life-styles would be ideally suited to reality TV shows - I can see the revenue streams now!

  • PD on November 28, 2008, 13:03 GMT

    You could, of course, use this perfect system to do away with any actual play at all. Just scan each member of the team on the morning of the match, let them go for a drink and have the machine provide the scientifically determined winner of the match. I foresee a situation where the technology advances to the point that players are, in fact, saved the bother of leaving their home countries (or even homes) in order to declare a winner of the series. Perfect use of technology to take the final human factor out of the game...

  • Spinoza on November 28, 2008, 16:22 GMT

    The DL system has one thing going for it. It isn't understood well enough by most players and journalists who aren't, shall we say, well endowed up there inside the occiput.

    I for one wouldn't trust anything that cricketers came up with, or cricket journalist could understand. And I think I speak for all my personalities when I say that.

  • Ram on November 28, 2008, 16:56 GMT

    Andy,

    We all love to hate the DL method, don't we. I have actually read their technical paper and I think they have done a admirable job of it. Especially, considering the rubbish that was used earlier.

    But, in any case, nice and funny piece:)

  • kapilonly1 on November 28, 2008, 17:20 GMT

    Well, DL is not correct ! India posted 166/4 in 22 overs with 17 overs of powerplay, & England needed 198 of 22 overs with just 8 overs of powerplay !!

  • Augustus on November 28, 2008, 17:28 GMT

    D & L is just bringing maths into cricket. Pretty soon a cricket captain would have to have a degree in Calculas. The system is presumptive, unfair, and beyond the understanding of an ordinary cricket fan. Either one should build special cricket stadiums that our fully covered for ODI's, or mathes that are stopped because of rain, etc, must be re-played another day. You dont get D & L in baseball, football,tennis etc.

  • D.V.C. on November 28, 2008, 22:45 GMT

    It is to cricket's great credit that it embraces a mathematical system of relative complexity. As a scientist I know there are many things in our society that are underpinned by complex mathematics, we use them everyday, it's just that the D/L method is visible to those watching matches.

    There are many things we take for granted without stopping to think of the rules that underpin them. If people stopped thinking about the maths of D/L and considered only the tables produced, I don't think there would be an issue.

    The international calendar is too crowded for rain days so that's not an option. Similarly, in tournaments it's not really fair to share the points when a large chunk of the game has been played and one side is well on top of things.

    What the D/L method does is look at what both teams have done, work out who's in front and make adjustments based on average games. If you look at the results it has produced it is fair. It was devised pre-powerplay though, so needs a tweak.

  • Krishna on November 29, 2008, 2:38 GMT

    Andy Zaltzman-modification of the D/L rules is pure genius! One could add such skullduggery to chairmen of the Cricket control boards and the chief selectors too to predict who will win future matches. Winning matches without playing would leave enough time to brush up on higher maths!

  • ND on November 29, 2008, 11:02 GMT

    St John - The English would have anyway batted under lights - D&L did not influence that - besides, it's a lot harder to field under lights and bowl in the evenings. KapilOnly1 - D&L adjusts for the fact that England only needed to bat 22 overs, not the full 50, with all 10 wickets in hand - so even if India had more powerplay overs, they could not have capitalised on them as well, as they were batting to a 50-over gameplan, not 22 overs. Does anyone here think that the 5-0 scoreline was not an accurate reflection of the gap between the teams?