HAris Aziz is not the man to let a problem pass. Born in Pakistan, he completed a Bsc at Lahore University of Management Sciences, an MSc in Mathematics at Oxford, a PhD at Warwick and is now an Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales. There he specialized in computational social choice and algorithmic game theory. So far, so on a higher level.
He also enjoys cricket. So when, in the recent T20 Men’s World Cup in UAE and Oman, the draw became more and more problematic and the advantage of winning it and lining up first, when a very heavy dew fell at dusk, became more and more evident – particularly in Dubai where 12 of the 13 matches were won by the pursuit team – Aziz applied his considerable intelligence. How, in his own words, “to ensure that the toss continues to have meaning but does not unfairly affect the outcome of the match”.
“One of the main issues I work on is that a lot of decisions are made by computers or computer algorithms and one of the main themes is how those decisions are made fairly,” he says. “And that’s the angle I took in looking at this issue: fairness. “
For Aziz, the draw isn’t inherently unfair over a long streak of games, as both teams also have a chance to win it, but that’s if you consider it game by game. For example, in a one-time match such as the ICC Test World Championship final, the last match of an Ashes series, or a T20 World Cup final. The problem is not only the advantage of the winning team due to factors such as state of the field and weather conditions, but also the perceived advantage, which can make the losing team appear as if it is. feels uncomfortable and disparages the achievements of the winning team.
Aziz’s solution is to go from a two-step formula – toss the coin, the winning captain chooses – to a three-step formula: toss, propose, choose. Here, the coin is tossed as usual, then Captain Malchanceux (loser on the throw) chooses a running handicap to pin the more favorable option in order to equalize the two choices, before handing over to Captain Chanceux (winner on the pitch). throw) to make the final beating or sweeping decision. The beauty of the division is that Captain Unlucky won’t overestimate or underestimate the runs needed to tie the decision, as Captain Lucky makes the final choice.
“The reason why I proposed this method is that it also has a very solid mathematical foundation,” Aziz explains. “It is inspired by a rule called divide and choose which has been used throughout history to make a very different type of allocation decision regarding dividing a divisible resource. Steven Brams and Alan Taylor have written an excellent book on this subject called Fair Division. Here we don’t have a divisible resource, but we do have tracks, which are almost a divisible resource, and which we can use to balance things out.
For non-mathematicians, this is a variation on the age-old bickering solution: let one child cut the cake and the others choose the slices.
I like the peril aspect of how many extra points might be worth giving for the Opposition captain to go for what you would like him to do – but it certainly adds extra complications to a game. which is already subdivided up to Law 42.7. .2.2 (bad behavior of a rider). But Aziz thought about it too.
“Cricket already has so many rules such as Duckworth-Lewis and this [the three-step toss] is pretty straightforward in this regard. How does a captain make the decision? It can be estimated by a very simple thought experiment. Would you play the pitch or bat first, then play the pitch or bat first if five, 10, 15 more points were added? At one point you would say that I am indifferent between the two options. By doing this, the losing captain cannot say that he was at a disadvantage.
There must be a possibility, however, that this ends up being another data-driven decision in a game that sometimes seems to be plagued by its own analytics. Can a computer ape intuition? “Careful analysis gives a pretty good idea of bowling with two teams on the same pitch at a certain temperature, but I think the rules of sport should be elegant and simple, so my method does not depend on any computer calculations. . I think the beautiful rules of sport are those that are timeless and do not depend on technology. “
While concerns have been raised during and after the T20 World Cup by voices as prominent as Sunil Gavaskar, the issue of the toss has been on the minds for some time. The ICC cricket committee considered removing the 2018 World Test Championship draw, but instead decided to urge member countries to produce better pitches. The county championship went even further between 2016 and 2019, giving visiting teams the opportunity to start the draw first. It was an attempt to prevent clubs from preparing too wet, seam-friendly pitches and encouraging spin bowling, but after four years the England and Wales Cricket Council decided that it hadn’t worked.
In limited cricket, the captain had to become something of a player, deciding what over-allotment to keep for the crucial final, the penultimate final, that last key to the power play. Batters have had to re-evaluate their risk calibration, and the DRS means that even in tests, captains have to choose when to play their joker. The reform of the raffle proposed by Aziz is a continuation in the same direction: more risk, but more integrity. Television companies would love this. Heads, he’s an amateur.
Illingworth’s fate adds to surge in medical assistance in dying
The bill on assisted dying introduced through Baroness Meacher, who aims to legalize physician-assisted end of life for patients with terminal illness and six months or less to live, recently passed its second reading in the House of Lords.
Many different voices were spoken, from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby who worried about vulnerable people left “open to very, very intangible forms of coercion and pressure” to former Labor MP Frank Field, who is terminally ill. He asked a friend to read his speech, in which he said he changed his mind on the matter after watching a friend die a miserable death.
Baroness Meacher received unexpected support from former England captain Ray Illingworth, who spoke fondly to the Daily Telegraph about the care of his wife Shirley, who died earlier this year from cancer.
“I don’t want to have the last 12 months that my wife has had,” he said. “She had a hard time going from hospital to hospital and in pain. I believe in assisted dying.
“The way my wife was, there was no fun in life for the past 12 months, and I don’t see the point in living like that, to be honest.
A lot of doctors are against it, but if they were to live like my wife for the past 12 months, they might change their mind.
Illingworth, 89, had two daughters with Shirley and is now a great-grandfather. He himself is currently undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer, but is hoping for promising news after the last treatment ends.
Quote of the week
“I would have thought they were either available again, and we’ve all evolved, and we’ve put that in the past, and you can be captain or vice-captain again, or you can’t… I don’t think so. not that you can pick a player or not Shane Warne accuses Cricket Australia of double standards by appointing Steve Smith as Australia’s vice-captain but leaving David Warner out.
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