Mathematician Tony Lewis, one of the men who devised cricket’s famous Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method, has died at the the of 78. Also Read - England vs West Indies 2020 Full Fixtures Announced: International Cricket Set to Return in UK From July 8
Lewis, alongside, fellow mathematician Franck Duckworth, created the formula which helped in calculating fair run-chases in weather-affected limited-overs matches. It was officially adopted by the ICC for the 1999 ODI World Cup in England after the pair introduced it in 1997. Also Read - Coronavirus Break May Have Added 'a Year or Two' to my Career: James Anderson
“It is with much sadness that the ECB has learned of the passing of Tony Lewis MBE, aged 78,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement on Wednesday. “Tony, alongside fellow mathematician Frank Duckworth, devised the Duckworth-Lewis method which was introduced in 1997 and adopted officially by the ICC (International Cricket Council) in 1999.” Also Read - ECB Working Closely With UK Government to Resume Cricket
The formula, often criticised for its complexity, was later renamed as Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method in 2014 after an Australian statistician Steven Stern helped revise the formula to reflect the modern scoring-rate
“Renamed the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method in 2014, the mathematical formula continues to be used in rain reduced limited overs cricket games across the globe. Cricket is deeply indebted to both Tony and Frank’s contributions to the sport. We send our sincere condolences to Tony’s family,” the ECB said.
The need for a methodology to decide rain-affected matches came to a head during the infamous 1992 world cup semi-final between England and South Africa. Needing a manageable 22 from 13 deliveries for a win, South African camp was left devastated after their target was revised to an impossible 21 from one following a brief rain interruption.
An public appeal was made by commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins to general public to come up with a better methodology.
Recalling the moment, Duckworth had said in an interview, “I recall hearing (commentator) Christopher Martin-Jenkins on radio saying ‘surely someone, somewhere could come up with something better’ and I soon realised that it was a mathematical problem that required a mathematical solution.”
An academician, Lewis received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to cricket and mathematics in 2010.