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Friday, February 09, 2007

England vs Australia, Word vs Excel

If the world can be divided into just 2 kinds of people - the ones who like Microsoft Word and the ones who prefer Microsoft Excel to Word, I would count myself amongst the later. At the job, people like me are often asked by our colleagues to look beyond numbers - at the softer, non-numerical aspect of things. They do have a point, or do they?
As i write, England is playing Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the first of the VB Series Finals. The scoreline reads 127/3, and it's the 28th over in progress. Two of England's more successful (recent) batters in Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood are at the crease. The last few overs have been particulary good, with England scoring at a rare 6+ rate, and the asking rate has been brought down to a very realistic 5.90. In modern day one-day cricket, that's not much of a ask as one enters the final 20 overs, with 7 wickets still in the bag. (you can actually check that by Duckworth Lewis, if the match is called off now, England might actually win the match)
Everything suggests that England should win the match, but when i say everything there's that slight problem - it's a very Excel Sheet summary of things. Bring in more subjectivity, and the analysis may change dramatically. England have a sudden way of collapsing, like they did a mini one at the start of this very innings. (they were 15/3 before the revival) Australia are the World Champions and England is especially vulnerable against the Aussies. A psychollogically scarred English team versus Ponting's super-confident men - and if you look at it like that, the odds would change. Little wonder then that the bookies are still giving you better odds for Flintoff's team than Ponting's.
That's where I wonder, how is Flintoff looking at things. Only a m-word analysis could lead to a loss. The more logical path suggests victory only. I don't think we would have given England any chance if Australia had been chasing - with the remaining data unchanged. All that Flintoff and the rest of the non-Aussie cricket captains across the world need to do is throw the damn word files and psychological discourses into the dustbin and pick up those spreadsheets. Cricket is ultimately a simple game of bat, ball and a little logic. If any captain can do that in the Caribbean, he will pick up the trophy - else Ponting will likely get Australia a hat-trick of World Cups and that won't be healthy for cricket.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Lovely analysis; in the end, England scraped home and, remarkably, won the second game too.

really like your site - would you like to exchange links with www.third-umpire.blogspot.com, my offering? I'll add yours asap.