An Indian engineer will learn on Thursday whether his challenge to the Duckworth/Lewis method – a controversial but common system used for determining the winner of rain-affected matches – has been successful.
The system, developed by Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, was first introduced at the international level in 1996. It uses mathematical formula to calculate the winning target for the batting team, when rain reduces playing time in limited-overs matches. However, controversies have never been too far from the system. There is a general notion that the system favours the team batting second, especially when they have wickets in hand.
V Jayadevan, an engineer from Kerala, spent a decade working his 'VJD system'. It has been used in Indian domestic matches since 2007 following a recommendation from batting legend Sunil Gavaskar. The ICC is set to announce 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.
Jayadevan, a passionate statistician, calculates his chances of success in percentage terms. "I think there is 90 per cent hope if members read it patiently," Jayadevan said. "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% chance."
He believes 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. There is nothing wrong with the 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, back in 1992, 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, forcing the authorities to revisit the rain rules.