Duckworth-Lewis Rain Rules Fame Tony Lewis Dies at 78


Tony Lewis, the former university professor whose name will forever be synonymous with the Duckworth-Lewis cricket rain rules, died at the age of 78.

An improbable world cricket star, Lewis was propelled to stardom in 1999 when his complex formula, designed in collaboration with fellow mathematician Frank Duckworth, was officially adopted by the ICC to help calculate fair prosecutions in the event of loss. rain during this summer’s World Cup.

The impact the two men had on sport is best illustrated by the problems that the delayed rain caused until they presented their algorithmic solution in the mid-1990s. Their calculations may have confused generations of cricket lovers over the past two decades, but they have been universally recognized as the best solution to date for the most difficult problem to solve in sport.

While first-class cricket, with its acceptance of the draw, had never paid much attention to technical results after the rain delays, the growth of one-day cricket in the 1970s and 1980s the need to ensure a satisfactory finish, especially during knockout matches at World Cups.

The sport’s initial solution was to award the team with the highest average number of points in the overs played – an approach that did not take into account the lost wickets. However, the nadir was reached during the 1992 World Cup, when the decision to reduce the least productive overtaking of the batting team first resulted in a series of stuffed finishes, especially in the semi-final between England and South Africa to Sydney, where the goal for South Africa went from 22 of 13 balls to 21 of a ball.

After that, an appeal was made to cricket enthusiasts around the world, initially via Christopher Martin-Jenkins on Special Match Test – can anyone, anywhere, find a better solution?

Enter Duckworth, who had unveiled his prototype rain rule in the 1980s, but had been largely overlooked due to the complexity. However, his subsequent presentation at a 1992 conference of the Royal Statistical Society, “Fair Play in Foul Weather,” caught the attention of Lewis, then professor of management science at the University of West of England in Bristol.

The pair began to work together to refine the calculation, and after finding the new TCCB then receptive to the idea, it was first used in a game situation on New Years Day 1997, when the England was set a revised goal of 186 in 42 overs after taking Zimbabwe out for 200 in the second ODI – they failed by seven points.

While there is no simple way to explain how the formula works, it essentially treats overs and wickets in hand as “resources” available for a batting game, and makes proportional adjustments to the target in case of loss of these resources in case of rain interruptions.

The formula was not without criticism, especially after the advent of T20 cricket, when the wickets in hand – a less critical factor in the shorter format – were deemed to have received too much weight for the second-place teams .

In 2014, the name of Steven Stern, an Australian professor, was added to what is now known as the “DLS” method, after taking over the daily management of the formula and making its own adjustments to reflect modernity. rating rate.

MM. Duckworth and Lewis received MBEs in 2010 for their cricket and math services, and also lent their names to a cricket-themed pop group founded in 2009 by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy and Thomas Walsh of Pugwash.

“It is with great sadness that the ECB learned of the death of 78-year-old Tony Lewis MBE,” said a statement from the executive board. “Cricket is deeply indebted to the contributions of Tony and Frank to sport. We send our sincere condolences to Tony’s family. “

Geoff Allardice, Executive Director of the ICC, added: “Tony’s contribution to cricket is enormous. The current target reset system in international cricket is based on the one developed by him and Frank over two decades ago.

“We will remember his contribution to the game of cricket for years and we extend our condolences to his family and friends. “


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