Saturday, 31 January 2009

Bill Frindall

The Times
The Telegraph
The Guardian
(The Independent hasn't put one up yet.)

Two people alerted me promptly yesterday to the passing of Bill Frindall, scorer to the stars of Test Match Special on the BBC.

Frindall seemed a permanent part of the cricket landscape, in a furtive kind of way. That's the lot of scorers - always in the background yet, like historians, the authors of how events will be remembered.

The word scorer describes Frindall's work better than would the term statistician. In no way would I associate him with the ideas of sabermetrics, performance analysis and forecasting. His forte was the far more important work of accounting for what had happened. Indeed, from the obituaries his scoring system sounds not only comprehensive but innovative.

Without meaning to sound dismissive, I don't think I ever once heard him mention sabermetrics. I wonder if anyone else did? I suspect he believed the sample sizes for cricket were too small for any such work to be meaningful. But it would be interesting to know if he ever considered what was going on in other sports. That's not meant to sound negative about him, but about those who think that all statistics are the same. It is a shortcoming of people's way of looking at the world.

Frindall and I may have started from the same place, a cricket match, but we were travelling in different directions. Sadly, one can no longer wish him 'bon voyage'.

'The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed is the name of the Lord.'

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