Linear Thinking Watch

This is an old hobbyhorse of mine: You can’t assume that a match result would have been different if a particular incident during the match didn’t occur. For example: Rajasthan Royals lost by one run against the Deccan Chargers. In the last over, the umpire didn’t call a wide. Ergo, the Royals owner tweets, if we had that wide (an extra run, an extra ball), we would have won. Not really, as I wrote before:

This logic assumes a linear narrative — that is, batsman is dropped, batsman goes on to score runs, therefore, drop led to defeat. But it’s also entirely possible that different realities are created with each ball.

Who knows what would have happened if that wide was called? The batsman, calmed by an extra ball, may have reacted differently to the next one. The bowler, angry that he had given away an extra at such a crucial point, may have found the inspiration to pull off an in-swinging yorker. It’s silly to focus one missed chance and view it as the “cause” of the loss; if anything, I’d blame the Royals for losing from a position of 15 off 12.

If anyone wants to use this post as an opportunity to teach me about chaos theory, please go ahead. Otherwise, I’ll be hosting a viewing of Sliding Doors later. You’re all invited.

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One thought on “Linear Thinking Watch

  1. Rizwan says:

    Well written, people think that the extra delivery would get that one run but that delivery could be a dot or even bring a wicket!

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