Thursday, March 29, 2012

Run Away D/L. You have no business in Cricket – Part 2

Click here for Part 1

I’m sure most of you must be wondering why a part-2 for this subject, when there are not many takers for the first one in the first place. Interesting or not – the subject did stir some debates and sharp reactions from friends and readers. Thought I shall compile those thoughts in a QA session.

a) D/L is too complicated to understand and implement (in minor leagues) because of too many calculations and formula involved in it.
Yes, I agree that it involves a formula or two & few calculations as well to arrive at the target. But, cricket itself is a complex sport. It is only a surprise if it does not have a complex formula associated. Never mind. For now, we don’t have to understand the theory behind D/L. Let us assume we are in the process of learning to drive a car. It will be very challenging in the first place. But we still learn it, then master the art of driving and then begin to comprehend the mechanism too. I know it’s a poor analogy, so please spare me. All I mean to say is, let us start using the method for revised target calculations.

b) D/L is a projection and hence calculating manually could be error prone (by umpires) as there is not system to validate what the umpires do?
I repeat, all we have to do is look up the D/L log book, determine the values, apply it in the formula and calculate result. Any player/ coach involved in the match can validate the revised targets calculated by umpires. 

c) Ambiguous projection might be of bad interest to teams which hold a superior position in a given contest. A team is playing well and on the verge of winning could suddenly discover they are losing because of D/L.
By any means when the game is disrupted it is obviously not even play field (for a batsman the momentum is lost, for the bowlers the rhythm is lost, even the surface is not same as before). But a method to provide fair projection of total is not bad idea to consider.
d) All rules changes (in Leagues) are done at the start of the season and most of the teams and its management are not involved in decision making. May be, few club secretaries give opinion on the new rules added for the year. In reality, the rules changes are passed to players via umpires during match days. For example, a bowler can bowl maximum of 15 overs (TNCA) against 25 earlier. This is communication is easy to understand & follow by players even when communicated at the last moment. But if umpires need to explain D/L to players it will be a challenge. So in a nutshell educating the teams is a hassle which leagues might not want to do.
I understand completely the point behind the argument. This is the reason I wish awareness is created among public.

e) Generally principles and practices cascade from higher to lower level be at any field. So 1st Division (TNCA) does not accommodate D/L so why lower divisions?
1st Division matches cannot accommodate D/L because they are not limited over games. Higher Division or Lower Division - it is the league that implements rule. It is the umpires (working in the league) responsibility to understand the same and follow them in the matches they officiate. It is also important that the secretaries, coaches, players put little effort to gather adequate knowledge.

f) As an instance in a crucial international match we have rain and whole world is watching it, D/L comes up with the number. Audience will be more interested in the score and not how this is calculated.
True. I don't deny. But what is that we will see during the rain break? Few more Ads. How often people sit and actually watch these ads? Usually the target will be revealed well in advance (the least 5 minutes) before the resumption of play. Instead of spending the 5 minutes in Ads probably the broadcasters should help sharing the information about the calculations to create awareness among public. The probability of somebody watching this part of the cricket show would be more than somebody watching the ads in the break. I recommend commentators/hosts will play a crucial role in creating the awareness.

g) For a commentator to share his thoughts, the ideal way would be post match to see how the number was derived and calculated but how many people watch post match interviews and thoughts
I agree. People these days don't stay tuned to TV for post match conversations. That is why it is important to talk during the match and take up for another round of discussion in the post match show. I'm only trying to emphasize the importance of understanding D/L and the method of creating awareness. Again, not sure if I or D/L got the the acceptance in the first place. To me, explaining these calculations would not take a long time as we think it is. Probably absorbing the content as an audience would take some time. That is why repetitive discussion of the subject is important.

h) As an alternative we could have programs in cricket channels to explain D/L calculation
We can do that too. Probably we can leave that to media.

i) But people's mind set has changed. Nobody wants to do lengthy calculations. Everything has to happen quickly and that is why we have 20-20 games flourishing.
The reason for 20/20 to flourish is totally a different subject. I will probably need an article to explain this phenomenon.

j) How many times have MEDIA brought D/L to limelight for even rain affected match?
I'm arguing the same too. The Media, Broadcasters, Commentators, Cricketers all perceive it is too difficult to understand. Hence everyone neglects it. People perceive it is the computer job to do the D/L calculations or started believing that you need a computer to do D/L calculations. Because of this poor perception - minor leagues don't attempt to implement it (is my humble opinion)

k) As an instance, assuming India lost a crucial match virtue of D/L, do you think MEDIA bring to limelight the validity of the score and its calculations. They only criticize the result that India were unable to achieve the target.  
To validate D/L one has to start using D/L. Only when we start using D/L (importantly the minor leagues and professional leagues) the true intuitiveness begins. After that, even a common man will be able to analyze its validity. Until then D/L will remain statisticians delight while the media & public can continue criticizing the results. It is as sample using a product. Unless you start using it you won’t be able to appreciate the
positive and negative side of it.

l) If MEDIA does a postmortem in there sports section decoding D/L, then their TRP rating would go down because audience want only the final end result and not how it is calculated.
It will work the other way. If Media starts decoding D/L, public would want to listen more of that media simply because they took that extra effort.

m) Only the cricketing fraternity might want this information.
I was thinking all along that public is equally intellectual. I thought people always thrive for knowledge. Did not realize until now that people have so much hesitency. Of course not all are going to get it. But there will be some section sure to be benefitted learning D/L.

n) May be time would bring a change but there are other key aspects which needs to be cascaded to amateur and professional leagues before going to D/L because D/L happens once in a while, whereas the frequency of something like free hit is relatively more.
The common man out-numbers the professionals in terms of playing cricket. And the common man play cricket for convenience only. He does not want to follow rules but play the sport for entertainment purposes only. This is the reason tennis ball cricket, tape ball cricket, one pitch out, under-arm cricket, terrace cricket, double wicket, French cricket and even book cricket are popular in its own way. And then there is another category of common man who takes the enthusiasm to another notch by playing amateur leagues. Even at this level, cricket is predominantly played for entertainment with allowance of convenience (strictly not abiding all rules). Hence we have challenges in implementating D/L, 30 yard circle, free hit etc. So if we go by this yard-stick, I agree D/L will never find its acceptance. It will continue to rule cricket because some genius solved the puzzle and some genius approved the method while we are not even a brawn to question it.

Bottom line: I'm not here to prove a point. I wish people have awareness of D/L and don’t treat it as rocket science.

Cricket Lover

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