Cricket: The Sound and Numbers Game

Thank God for the Web. How else could I have done what I did a few minutes ago?

It all started this morning. I was doing my snooze-awake thing, a critical technique practised and refined over years of really important business meetings. You know the one I mean. When your eyes are open, one ear is cocked attentively and tuned to the right channel, and the rest of you is fast asleep, ready to spring into action as soon as your name is mentioned. That’s what I mean by snooze-awake.

So there I was. Snooze-awake, with the cricket on in the background; India versus Pakistan at Eden Gardens; there was nothing really happening, India had just declared, and Pakistan had yet to come out. The expert commentators were out in their droves. And then someone said something.  He said that it looked like VVS Laxman had scored a century consisting solely of ones and boundaries.

I sprang awake. And a part of me went “wow, could that be true?”. So I resolved to check it out, which, thanks to the web, I can now do. Easily. So I went to Cricinfo, got to this page containing ball-by-ball text commentary for the entire Indian innings, and laboriously went through every ball Laxman faced, all 178 of them. And it was true. VVS Laxman scored his 112 all in ones and fours.

I wonder how often that has happened before. And how I would find the answer to that question. Any budding Bill Frindalls or Wendy Wimbushes out there?

Incidentally, I understand that India managed to achieve an unusual sequence in this innings: 111/1, 222/2, 333/3, 444/4, 555/5.  Again, I wonder just how often that has been done.

For those of you who don’t follow cricket, all I can say is it’s never too late. The sound of willow on leather. The sound of harrumphing moustaches and gentle snores. The sound of the Barmy Army and of calypso cricket. The sound of Eden Gardens in full cry.

Cricket. A game of sounds. And numbers.

8 thoughts on “Cricket: The Sound and Numbers Game”

  1. Sounds,numbers

    and smells.
    Of cut grass, linseed oil, shoe white, leather, cold tea and warm beer.
    hmm the German winter must be getting to me already.

  2. Call me cynical…
    The sequence makes me wonder if there is some kind of match fixing ‘practice’ going on.

    BTW, there is live score XML feed from circkinfo. Maybe someone in your circle( with information, cricket obsession and financial industry background) will be mashing it to detect match fixing patterns.

  3. Yup, you’re cynical. Although there is some apocryphal stuff around connecting information technology, cricket match-fixing and high finance, if you can consider the US President to be a figurehead for high finance. Secret Service eavesdropping of mobile transmissions during a Clinton trip to Mumbai resulting in discovery of a Test cricket betting ring.

  4. Interesting stuff.

    Maybe some of you statistically-minded sports fans can explain to me how poor, unfortunate Aston Villa can manage to draw Manchester United four times in seven seasons in the third round of the FA Cup.

    During that time, they have also played each other in the fourth round. And there would have been an additional match-up in 2000 as well – had United not opted out of the FA Cup and been replaced by ‘lucky loser’ Darlington’. In the 2000 draw, the Villa, unsurprisingly, drew United.

    The odds for drawing each other so many times in a 64-team draw must be mind-blowing.

    Oh, for the record – the Villa have lost every match – and as a Villa fan, I am sick to the back teeth of playing United now….

  5. Loved your post, JP. I was amazed by the VVS innings too. His century had 15 boundaries.

    I came across some stats. which may interest you . Posted in my blog. as “Chasing World Records”.

    Since I posted that, Murali has broken Shane Warne’s record of the most Test wickets.



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