WASP the hell?

Sky Sports had a new gimmick in its T20 coverage this evening, the WASP percentage, which it kept wheeling out on the bottom bar (which is increasingly resembling the flight deck controls of a quad-engined airliner).

What’s the WASP percentage, you ask? We had no idea, only that it seemed to go down a bit as Ian Bell flailed and missed a ball. Was it perhaps the Weight Analysis of Samit Patel, adjusted ball by ball as Samit worked his way through a packet of crisps, sat on the sofa watching the game? Was it the Willow Accoutrement Smashing Potential, a real-time assessment of the overall state, composition and moisture levels of the batsman’s bat, trying to work out whether it’ll crack in two if he tries the Dhoni helicopter shot? Or maybe it was just a rough calculation of what proportion of the overweight, slightly sunburnt and increasingly drunk middle-aged men in the crowd were currently in danger of having a yellow-and-black buzzing insect land in their pint?

Who knows. Certainly no one watching, unless of course Sky Sports explained it whilst we nipped out to get a cup of tea. Turns out after a quick bit of research that it’s the ‘Winning and Score Predictor‘ (if you actually care, click the link). They also introduced the Batting Index, which they were at least good enough to tell us was the batsman’s strike rate plus average added together. Now that sounds like a moderately sensible idea, as it allows some sort of comparison between a slower batsman who scores heavily and a whirligig biffer who only hangs around for a few balls.

Anyway, back to the point. Do we really need all this gimmickery? We wish we could just go back to the old days where the only statistical analysis the average viewer would have to worry about was how many notches the scorer had carved into his stick (yes, really). The WASP seems like it would have been the idea of Nasser Hussain, the sort of man who measures his toenails daily to see how much they’ve grown. It’s very much at odds with the excitement of the format, so often characterised by David Lloyd’s increasingly hysterical caterwauling as the innings reaches its climax and the dancing girls reaching electricity-generating levels of gyration. What this form of cricket needs is more simplicity, not more complication. One can’t help feeling, either, that the WASP percentage is more ammo for shady subcontinental bookmakers to make a quick buck on.

Also, enough with the ****ing diddly trumpet thing!

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