Tributes as Sheffield mathematician who invented pioneering cricket scoring method dies

Tributes have been paid to a former University of Sheffield mathematician who invented a pioneering cricket scoring method.
Cricket statistician Tony Lewis. (Photo: Getty).Cricket statistician Tony Lewis. (Photo: Getty).
Cricket statistician Tony Lewis. (Photo: Getty).

Statistician Tony Lewis, who invented the famed Duckworth-Lewis method to help decide the outcome of rain-hit limited overs matches with colleague Frank Duckworth, has died at the age of 78.

Mr Lewis studied maths as the University of Sheffield before going on to create the method which was adopted as part of the game’s rules across the world in 1999.

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The method calculates targets based on the batting team's remaining resources - wickets in hand, and overs in hand - via mathematical formulae.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement: "Cricket is deeply indebted to both Tony and Frank's contributions to the sport. We send our sincere condolences to Tony's family."

In an interview published before his death, Mr Lewis spoke about his time in Sheffield.

He said: “The University of Sheffield was the only one kind enough to offer me a place on a Maths course after A Levels. My first two years I was in digs in Norton Lees on the hill up to the sports ground.

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“My major extra-curricular activity was rugby union. I managed to get into the first team in my first year and was a regular member of the team for three years.

“Since finishing my MSc in 1966 I have not visited Sheffield very often but I note many changes on my visits which have made the city centre much more pedestrian friendly.

“I have stayed in touch since graduation receiving the periodic newsletter and so have always been aware of the alumni service and its predecessors. I think it’s very important to stay in touch.”

Born in Bolton, Lewis was university lecturer when he and Duckworth came together after South Africa's target in the 1992 World Cup semi-final against England was comically reduced from 22 runs off 13 balls to 22 runs off one ball.

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Duckworth said: "I recall hearing Christopher Martin-Jenkins on radio saying 'surely someone, somewhere, could come up with something better' and I realised that it was a mathematical problem that required a mathematical solution."