When Big Data number crunching is of little use

I love stats and a good data visualisation can have me hooked. However there are times when you simply don’t need them, when their place in the world becomes irrelevant . A little like Baseball, Cricket is a game where stats matter and have done for a very long time. For many lovers of Cricket it is not only about going to watch the game but also keeping score, they find the idea of putting a HB pencil made dot on their scorecard during a rain interrupted game somewhat therapeutic. A Cricket scorecard is more that just about the final score , but the bowling and bowling stats as well as the fall of wickets can paint a better picture of the ebb and flow of the game.

It was only a matter of time before someone in the Cricketing world decided that it would be a great idea to use Big Data and modern computing power to try and dumb down the game a little. You know predict results, possible scores and potential future events all without going into an underground Delhi spread betting shop. I am sure it seemed like a clever idea in the meeting when the broadcaster for the T20 World Cup decided it would be great to interrupt coverage of the game by having it overlaid by huge graphics telling the viewer what they could except to happen by the end of the innings. All this in a format of the game where no one should be predicting anything beyond the next ball.

Is this why all teams have laptops with people constantly starring at the screens throughout the 40 overs? So the broadcaster can make predictions such as “Pakistan win 100% of games when Ahmed Shehzad scores more than 40″  and Eion Morgan of England claiming “82% of games are won by the side who hit the most fours” (Both stats taken from Cricinfo). None of these make any sense because Shehazad like most of the Pakistani team are a law onto themselves and Morgan maybe hasn’t watched Virat Kohli bat, T20 is about more than just smacking the ball everywhere. 

I remember growing up watching Liverpool play and the stat that Liverpool never lost when Ian Rush scored was always banded about. It was true until one day he scored and they lost, that stat was rendered useless, and thus never used again. An oft quoted fact now forgotten forever.

Are we only capable of digesting information if it given in a bite sized , purple hue that covers half the TV?


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