Stats January 29, 2012

Brad Pitt wouldn't win a cricket match

Watching the movie Moneyball got Stuart MacGill thinking about how much use statistical analysis has in sport

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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