Weather has more of an influence on cricket than any other game, so it's surprising that it took until the end of the last millennium to devise a statistically sound – and fair – method of re-setting targets in rain-affected one-day games.
After a number of illogical results – most infamously the 1992 World Cup semi-final in which South Africa, needing 22 off 13 balls to beat England, found after a shower that the revised target was 22 off one ball – the game was crying out for a solution. Enter Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis.
Yet while their names have become well known to the extent that they have a horse and a rock group named after them, most cricket followers would be hard pushed to tell you much about them. Their biography reveals them to be Lancastrians who pursued careers in industry and education respectively and share a love of cricket and statistics. Their account of how they devised the method, then persuaded the authorities to accept it, is absorbing without being dramatic, unless your idea of drama is the revelation that Duckworth once lodged for three months with John Lennon's Aunty Mimi.
The meat of the story lies in the numbers. They say "you can easily pass over the mathematical bits without losing the plot", but to do so would miss the point, and as one who only staggered through O-level maths I was able to follow the thread.
It is fashionable to pretend that Duckworth/Lewis is impossible to fathom, and the authors chastise the commentators who adopt this pose, and in the case of Sky anchorman Charles Colvile exact mild revenge by mispelling his name. It will never be as memorable as Duckworth or Lewis.
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