Tony Lewis, one of the the two persons behind the Duckworth-Lewis rule in limited-overs cricket, passed away Wednesday aged 78.
Very sad to hear of the death of mathematician Tony Lewis, who devised the Duckworth/Lewis method with fellow-Lancastrian Frank Duckworth.
Frank and Tony (the tall one on the right) addressed @ACScricket in 2011 and gave us a revised target to work out at the end of their talk! pic.twitter.com/YMdjo9xsI3
— Association of Cricket Statisticians & Historians (@ACScricket) April 1, 2020
The English Cricket Board (ECB) released a statement condoling Lewis’ death.
“It is with much sadness that the ECB has learned of the passing of Tony Lewis MBE, aged 78,” the statement read. “Cricket is deeply indebted to both Tony and Frank’s contributions to the sport. We send our sincere condolences to Tony’s family.”
The ICC too condoled the death of Lewis. “Tony’s contribution to cricket is huge. The present day system of resetting targets in international cricket is based on the one developed by him and Frank (Duckworth) more than two decades ago,” said Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager.
“His contribution to the game of cricket will be remembered for years to come and we send our condolences to his family and friends.”
Born in Bolton, Lewis graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in Mathematics and Statistics. He and mathematician Frank Duckworth were appointed MBEs in 2010 for their services to cricket and mathematics.
The D/L method
Prior to the D/L rule, Average Rain Rule method was used for ODIs. However, the rule did not take into account the number of wickets lost by the side batting second. Controversially, during the 1992 World Cup the rule was found to ignore the least productive overs of the team batting first. It also resulted in the infamous instance of South Africa missing out on a spot in the finals because they needed to score an impossible 21 runs off one delivery.
Lewis along with fellow mathematician Duckworth had devised the rule to decide the target in limited-overs games that were interrupted.
It was first used in an ODI match between Zimbabwe and England in 1996-97. The rule was eventually adopted by International Cricket Council from the 1999 World Cup.
However, further adjustments were made in the rule in 2014 by Steven Stern, a mathematician from Queensland, taking into account modern day scoring rates. The name was then changed to Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method and it was implemented from the 2015 World Cup.