What does he know?

My cricket playing was typified much more by enthusiasm than ability. I played for about 17 years in which my three highlights were opening before Tim McIntosh in under 10's (who batted at 3 - and was in first over every time I was ahead of him), scoring 13 in an unbeaten partnership of 110 in 8 overs including only one boundary (lots of running, the guy at the other end was into athletics - I was stuffed afterwards) and taking a hat-trick with my loopy legspin, in an over that also included 2 wides, a no-ball for a full toss above shoulder height and 3 fours.

(The hattrick was a beautiful delivery that pitched on leg, turned to about off stump and was edged to the keeper, a wrong 'un to a very tall batsman that bowled him through the gate, and then a short top spinner on leg that was hit directly to short fine leg.)

While this occasionally qualifies me to talk about cricket (comments like - "he'll be disappointed by that, it's a bad feeling to get out for a duck hit wicket, twice in a row" and "you do start to get tired bowling your twelfth delivery of an over"), I generally do not draw on my playing experience when I comment on cricket games.

I realised very quickly that, like most good sports people, I needed to specialise. And so I decided that I would specialise in watching cricket. I determined to become an expert in watching cricket. I have discovered things like "it's a bad idea to eat a whole catering pack of corn chips while watching a ODI game, because you miss the last few overs while in the bathroom being sick" and "if you eat 3/4 of a tub of ice cream while watching a game, it's a good idea to finish it off, and the go up to the shops to replace it so nobody knows what you've done."

As I started watching cricket I learned about a few things that increased my enjoyment. The first lesson was from listening to Jeremy Coney on the radio (excellent radio commentator, average TV commentator). He was talking about how to watch a test match, and to look for what the captain was thinking, and what the plan was.

I then noticed that the commentators often looked at records, and were aware of when a partnership, or a batsman's score got close to a major (or minor) milestone. I got addicted to trying to find these records, and it was with great delight the time that I noticed before the commentators that Bilgnaut and Price's partnership of 53 against Australia in 2003 was a new record for the 9th wicket for Zimbabwe against Australia.

I also started dabbling with betting. Now understand me on this. I hate losing enough that I don't need to bet big to get extra enjoyment from betting. The joy of beating the book-makers was sufficient. So I got an account with Bet365.com, because they had lots of cricket options, and took bets of 20c.

Once I started betting I realised that I needed to be able to make good predictions. Fortunately I am a maths teacher, and so I spend lots of time playing with numbers, and making predictions is quite natural to me.

So this blog is me combining my love of looking for patterns in numbers, watching cricket and making predictions about it. I hope you enjoy it.