What can we learn from “…a fast slow-left-arm unorthodox orthodox bowler…”?

A fascinating look at Axar Patel’s startling bowling successes, from Jarrod Kimber’s presentation based on data analysis by Himanish Ganjoo.

I do enjoy this type of analysis, partly for the insight into exactly what is going on in the professional game (“we’d hit him all over the park if he bowled like that at us”…), but mostly for the opportunity to consider how the relevant skills might be coached, and how they might be counter-acted.

Continue reading “What can we learn from “…a fast slow-left-arm unorthodox orthodox bowler…”?”

Why does sport matter? It’s so much more than just a game.


This post is a much extended version of a 500-word assignment on why football is “more than a game”, written for an online course.
It has been edited to take account of some helpful comments from reviewers, and to include some slightly more coherent conclusions than could be accommodated in the original word-count.


I have just completed an online course with FutureLearn — Football — more than a game?, with University of Edinburgh. History, finance & governance, community engagement, just a little politics…fascinating!

The course provided lots of data on revenues and TV viewing figures, and reports of the social, economic, diplomatic and philanthropic activities delivered by, or in the name of, “football”. But I don’t think this evidence of the global reach of football really captures the essence of why football, or sport in general, matters to fans.

For me, the question seems to be more about “ownership” of the game, and that sense of “belonging” to a “tribe” — beyond being a fan of a particular team or national side, this is more to do with those who “get” sports, and those who don’t.

It really is so much more than just a game.

Continue reading “Why does sport matter? It’s so much more than just a game.”

What do expert batters look for before the ball is released? And how “incongruent information” might be the key to deceiving them.

Another fascinating webinar in Stuart McErlain-Naylor’s Science of Cricket series on YouTube — Oliver Runswick on anticipation and perceptual motor skill in cricket.

For me, two things stood out from Oliver’s presentation:

  • as a coach, what skills of the expert batters can we help novices to learn?
  • as a bowler (who could hardly buy a wicket last season), what is the role of “incongruent information” in defeating batter’s anticipation? 🏏🥧⁉️🤦‍♂️
Continue reading “What do expert batters look for before the ball is released? And how “incongruent information” might be the key to deceiving them.”