An unrequited labour of love or yet another attempt by India to usurp the ICC’s supremacy? The rejection of Indian engineer V. Jayadevan’s system for managing rain-curtailed cricket matches at the ICC Cricket Committee’s recent meeting has been - with a little help from the fanners of the fire - imbued with a regional slant.
Jayadevan, an IIT alumnus, spent the better part of the past decade developing and perfecting his mathematical model for calculating target scores in interrupted matches, a methodology he feels is superior to the Duckworth-Lewis method currently in use in International cricket.
The Kerala-based civil engineer’s enterprise, however, was thwarted at the apex body’s latest meeting in London, which deemed that the new system offered absolutely no advantage over the D-L system presently in place, and thus a replacement was unwarranted.
“My system doesn’t adhere to an exponential increase of the scoring rate throughout an innings. Normally, the scoring is faster in the first 15 overs, plateaus out in the middle phase, and increases again in the slog overs. This pattern gives more reliable, sensible results, although for most games the target scores using the D-L method and the VJD system are similar. After several years of use in domestic matches, I have not received any complaints from anybody,” said Jayadevan.
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The VJD system was recommended for IPL-4, but eventually dropped in favour of the D-L method.
“The IPL working committee decided that since a lot of international players were involved it would be safer to stick with the D-L method,” said Jayadevan.
The outright dismissal of the VJD system from international reckoning, without so much as a trial phase in international fixtures, sparked prominent denizens of the online cricket universe into action. Sunil Gavaskar, on whose recommendation the VJD method is being tried out in India’s domestic matches, was forceful in a recent newspaper column.
“In all fairness, the ICC should have tried the method for a year, like they do with trial laws, and then decided,” he wrote. Harsha Bhogle came out strongly in support of Gavaskar’s stand, tweeting, “Good to see Sunil Gavaskar take up the cause of the Jayadevan method. The #ICC have been unfair and I'm sure they know it.”
Bhogle’s reaction brought forth a completely expected response from an old antagonist. There is no love lost between Tony Grieg and the India’s cricket community and the former England captain proved it once again with an acerbic Tweet in reply to Bhogle’s.
“Here we go again – @bhogleharsha accuses ICC cricket committee of being knowingly unfair on 'JVD v D/L decision. I'll back the experts” and “ICC committee unanimously agreed that there was no evidence of any significant flaws in the D/L method. Nor did the committee believe that any improvements could be offered by the VJD method,” said Greig.
“If the Indians don't get their way on these issues @bhogleharsha and co. start whingeing,” he added for good measure. A battle thus has been created out of nothing, its high-flying participants having pitched their tents purposefully on either side of the divide. But what does Jayadevan have to say on allegations of regionalism in the functioning of the ICC.
“I did not submit my work to the ICC as an Indian, but as an individual - so there is no place for all this (regionalism). If I had approached them through the BCCI it would have taken a long time, because the Board works in its own protracted way. I am now exchanging emails with Dave Richardson who has promised to look into the matter again when he returns to Dubai next week.”