Cricket: ICC weighs new rain system

By David Leggat

It has become an accepted part of limited-overs furniture, if not universally liked, but tonight the International Cricket Council will study an alternative to the Duckworth Lewis system.

The D/L method, used to recalculate targets in rain-hit one-day matches for 12 years, was designed by Englishmen Tony Lewis and Frank Duckworth.

They devised their system after cricket's most ludicrous climax to an ODI - in the 1992 World Cup semifinal, in Sydney, when South Africa's target of 252 off 43 overs became 22 in one ball after a short rain break.

Several other systems were tried and found sorely wanting. Duckworth Lewis may not be perfect but is seen as the best alternative.

Now an Indian engineer, Vasanathan Jayadevan, has proposed an alternative. It has already been assessed by the ICC, whose cricket committee, headed by former West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd, will study it at Lord's when their meeting starts tonight (NZT).

Named the VJD system after its creator, Jayadevan's report on it runs to 20 pages and he has been assured by the ICC's general manager of cricket, Dave Richardson, that it will get a fair hearing from the ICC.

"I've clearly pointed out the mathematical and statistical flaws in D/L method and the superiority of the VJD system in the same circumstances of a match," Jayadevan said.

"The D/L system comprises several silly mistakes.

"But somehow it has managed to create an impression in the entire cricket community that it's highly scientific."

Jayadevan said that, as in the game where "the ultimate result of a stroke is more important than how it is played, the most important point regarding the acceptability of a method is its reasonability to adjust targets in a truncated match, and here my system is far ahead".

Richardson should have vivid memories of that semifinal in Sydney.

South Africa needed 47 runs off seven overs; Richardson and Brian McMillan got 25 in the next three, but the calculators robbed the South Africans, chopping the target back and turning the match into a farce.

The ICC cricket committee, of which New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White is a member, will also assess the future of the contentious Decision Review System, the legality of the switch hit shot, the volume of T20 cricket and growth of domestic competitions in the shortest format.

- NZ Herald

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