More Cricket and Twitter

Phillip Hughes of Australia, New South Wales and Middlesex

In my earlier article, Accuracy, I compared the need for precision in cricket reporting to the verity of different types of breaking news on and closed by stressing the importance of accuacy in Business Intelligence. It’s generally all in a day’s work for me to make such connections; yesterday’s piece linked rock climbing, the car market, Business Intelligence [again] and IBM’s proposed acquisition of SPSS.

I am going to lay the blame for me continuing to blog about cricket firmly at the door of @JohnFMoore, who made the fatal mistake of encouraging me. However the current article will be rather shorter in duration than my last work in this area.

Aside from John, what has moved me to write today was the news that wunderkind opening bastmen Phillip Hughes has been dropped from the Australian team for the 3rd Test Match against England which starts today in Birmingham, England (inundated pitch allowing).

Phillip Hughes attacking the South African bowling on his way to scoring 115

Hughes is only 20 and has burst onto the international cricketing scene in a matter of months. Before the current tour to England, he had played just three Tests (the name given to five day cricket matches between different countries). However, these were all against South Africa, one of the strongest teams in the world at present. In his six innings (a team generally bats twice in a Test Match) he had made 415 runs at the eye-catching average of 69.16 [number of runs / (number of innings – times not out)]. By way of reference, this is higher than any other player in either of the current Australian and English teams.

Hughes built on these achievements by spending the early part of the season playing for English cricket team Middlesex. For them he scored 574 runs at a stratospheric average of 143.50. England cricket fans were beginning to be very, very worried at this point.

However, as can happen in many sports, some one can make an initial impact and then have their performances return to average or below. This has proved to be the case with Hughes who in three innings in the current Test Match series has scored 36, 4 and 17 for a rather less stellar average of 19.0. More important than these bald figures is the fact that the England bowlers seem to have detected and then exploited a deficiency in Hughes’ technique.

England's Andrew Flintoff testing Phillip Hughes' technique against fast, short-pitched bowling

It could be argued that Hughes clearly has immense talent and potential and the Australian selectors have been overly hasty in dropping him after two poor matches. Such things can severely dent a player’s confidence and I hope that he can rebound from this set-back. However for me the real story is not the unfortunate Hughes being dropped but the manner in which it was announced.

As a 20-year-old it is not perhaps surprising that Phillip Hughes has a twitter account – @PH408. What is surprising is that he used this to announce his axing from the Australian team today as follows:

Disappointed not to be on the field with the lads today, will be supporting the guys, it's a BIG test match 4 us. Thanks 4 all the support!

The general media had been speculating about what might be Hughes’ fate for this match ever since he failed twice in the preceding game. Articles suggesting that he may have been dropped began to appear last night, but his tweet preceded any official announcement about the make up of today’s Australian team.

A case of Twitter beating “old media”, of public figures interacting with the rest of us via social media and of nothing beating getting news straight from the horse’s mouth.

The two images of actual cricket matches above are drawn from the excellent web-site and are copyright Getty Images and AFP respectively.

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