January 29, 2012

Stats

Brad Pitt wouldn't win a cricket match

Dustin Silgardo

Watching the movie Moneyball got Stuart MacGill thinking about how much use statistical analysis has in sport. Having worked with John Buchanan, a notorious statistics boffin, MacGill says computers and stats have a role to play in sport, but the basic principles of the game are more important. The only statistics that matter in cricket, MacGill writes in the Sydney Morning Herald, are: make more runs than the opposition and bowl them out twice.

John excitedly told me that whenever I pitched the ball on off stump, the batsman wasn't scoring. He generally took half an hour to make a point and, considering the tea break at a Test match is only 20 minutes, we were already walking back onto the field at the time. I turned to him and replied that the reason they weren't scoring when I bowled that particular delivery was because the ball had been turning half a metre and they couldn't actually reach it. I thanked him kindly for his input and asked him whether or not he thought I should concentrate instead on getting them out. His blank face indicated that he would have to go back to the laptop before he could respond.

Dustin Silgardo is a former sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Keywords: Stats

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