It is time once again for the biannual Ashes. A long-standing tradition between England and Australia since 1882 is set to happen once again in August. The famous five-game series where the former British colony contests the Motherland. During these five days, many great moments in cricket history has been created, but what will the two teams deliver this year?
The English cricket fans have been significantly spoiled this far this year. Not only did they host the Cricket World Cup on British soil, but they also walked away as winners. Now only two weeks later the Ashes is upon us, and this might be met with a disappointing anti-climax. Even though the English World Cup team delivered significantly, their test team is nothing but mediocre. Statistically speaking, the opposing side of Australia is also nothing but that. For the first time in 15 years, it seems that the quality of the teams competing at the Ashes is back to a level last experienced during the 1990s.
The Elo Algorithm
It might be challenging to make a forecast when it comes to cricket since in test cricket annual leagues doesn’t exist. In cricket though, a mathematical solution which was developed for the game of chess can be used to make specific forecasts. When it comes to team sports, both teams start with a set amount of points. In cricket’s case, it is 1 500 points. The more the teams compete against each other, the more points are awarded from the losing side to the winning team. Cricket writer, Devashish Fuloria have thoroughly tested this algorithm. Every single test cricket result since 1877 was used to determine the accuracy of the algorithm, which makes provision for home advantages and more. The importance of Fuloria’s testing is set in the fact that it decided that both teams competing in the Ashes, has reached their all-time Elo peak about ten years ago. At that stage, the Aussies stood at 1 805 points, and the British team managed a 1670 score. Since then they both went downhill and suffered a continuous decline to a position where both sides are once again set around 1 500 points.
The decisive point to which fans can take from this is that both teams, even though mediocre, are a perfect match with no chance of one dominating the other the entire series. England does have the home advantage, but for them to take the Cup in England, they would need to win the series outright. In the case where the best they could to deliver is a 2-2 tie, then the Cup is going back to Australia until next time.
Both teams are bringing some second-rate players, and both sides haven’t been this weak since 1995. Hence cricket fans can expect a balanced game of low scores and mediocre moments — an enormous letdown, especially for the British after being on top of the world for a while.