Cricket: Indian engineer challenges English rain rule



An Indian engineer will learn Thursday whether his challenge to the English system for determining the winner of rain-affected cricket matches -- one of the most complicated rules in the sport -- has been successful.

The current method, devised by English statisticians Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis and known as the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) rule, was first introduced at the international level in 1996.

It uses mathematical formulas to calculate the winning target for the batting team when rain reduces playing time in limited-overs matches and was first adopted after World Cup rules made a mockery of the 1992 semi-final between England and South Africa in Sydney.

V. Jayadevan, an engineer in southern Kerala state, spent a decade working on his so-called VJD system, which has been used in Indian domestic matches since 2007 following a recommendation from batting legend Sunil Gavaskar.

The International Cricket Council will announce on Thursday if the VJD system will replace the Duckworth-Lewis method after discussions in London by the ICC's cricket committee, headed by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd.

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Jayadevan, a passionate statistician, calculates his chances of success in percentage terms.

"I think there is 90 percent hope if members read it patiently," Jayadevan told AFP from his office in Thrissur.

"I will not be at the meeting because I was not invited, so I cannot immediately clear any doubts which a member may have. That is why I have taken away the remaining 10 percent chance," he said.

Jayadevan insists his system of calculating revised targets is a vast improvement on the D/L method.

"Both are two different ways of approaching a problem, two different mathematical models," he said. "There is nothing wrong with D/L system, but many times the targets set by it are not reasonable or sensible.

"In my report to the ICC, I have pointed out the mathematical and statistical flaws in the D/L system and how that has been corrected in my method."

In the World Cup game that prompted the adoption of the D/L method, South Africa needed a gettable 22 runs off 13 balls before rain stopped play, but that became a ludicrous 21 off one ball when the match resumed.

In England, the challenge has been seen by some as another attempt by India, the game's superpower, to chip away at the influence of England, the former colonial power and inventor of the game.

"There could be no more symbolic example of India's challenge to surpass England in every aspect of cricket's world order," noted the Guardian newspaper.

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