Reflection on the IPL

I didn't post any articles on this site during the IPL season. That is entirely because I was contracted with RCB. To me, it seems like an eternity since I visited my own blog but, in reality, only two months has past. This post comprises a quick reflection on the season and what I learned in those two months travelling the IPL with RCB... hopefully some people find it interesting

Firstly, travelling with an IPL team is a mad experience. There are a lot of cricket fans in India (you might have known this already) and they are happy to hound the team wherever it goes. As a man who rarely musters an emotional response that can be described as anything more than "muted", I found their enthusiasm baffling. Clothed and branded with team kit, I was asked for more than 50 selfies by cricket fans. Those fans who are passionate enough to know that they love RCB, but not knowledgeable enough to realise that I am one of the few white men who isn't actually important



There was a recent article about Virat that explains the depth of his hero worship in India. I have been fortunate enough (if that is the right word) to witness the phenomenon first hand. Everywhere he goes, police, security, and fans follow. It was no surprise to me... but to watch it unfold every time we left the hotel gave me an inkling of how claustrophobic he must feel at times

Aside from the madness, I learned a vast amount over the two months. I had the opportunity to work with exceptionally talented individuals who have more knowledge and experience in cricket than I am ever likely to acquire. The questions the coaches asked frequently tested and exposed my assumptions. The psychology and politics of managing a team were constantly changing as we hit various highs and lows throughout the season. I knew that managing a team would be more complex than it seems from the outside, but to live through it was an enlightening experience

As much as I learned... I also came away convinced that analytics has a place in T20 and that teams have a long way to go. My professional expertise is in helping organisations to implement analytics as much as it is to build statistical models. Keeping information as simple as possible, finding ways to remove subjective biases, stimulating conversations in which arguments are backed by evidence not conjecture. Even my simplest models (flawed as they are) are more sophisticated than they need to be to take the decision-making process to the next level. It is a cultural shift that needs to happen... not the introduction of more advanced machine learning

But ignoring that, the season is over now, and I plan to get back my numbers. Hopefully, I will have some new proper stat-nerdery to share soon