As England crashed out of the world cup, poor old Mooresy was widely lampooned for one particular comment, which now seems destined to become his cricketing epitaph:
"We need to look at the data".
This is all very unfair, of course, because apparently he didn't actually say that.
Which is a shame, in my opinion, because people should look at data. Data is great. It helps us to see through the fog of our biases, of the received wisdom of experts and the hyperbole of journalists, to get a glimpse of the world as it actually is.
There's an awful lot of received wisdom in cricket. Just listen to an hour of Test Match Special (just to be clear, I love TMS). You'll be told that one player has a weakness against left arm spin and another scores too many pretty thirties. A batsman has been 'found out' because he's gone three games without a fifty and that a bowler is going to bowl better because he scored runs when batting. You'll hear A LOT about momentum. You won't hear much backing up of claims with evidence.
Some of these things might be true. But I defy anyone who says that they know that, without having looked at some data. Without hard data all of our observations of the world are refracted through the lens of our preconceived ideas. We make our own narrative, but it may have nothing to do with what's really going on.
So I'm going to try and look into these things for myself. I want to take those things which commentators and fans assert as self-evident facts and see if they stand up to the evidence. I'm sure some will pass the test. I'm sure some won't.
Cricket has it's own beauty, which goes beyond what numbers can tell you. But looking at the numbers can give you a fuller picture and a deeper understanding. And in their own way, numbers can be beautiful too.
This is just a fun project for me to learn more about cricket, writing and maths- all of which are things I like. I'll be posting my findings on this blog, we'll see how it goes.