WASP has come under a great deal of stick since its introduction to our T.V screens. The cricket faithful have taken to twitter to express their discontent. Sky’s commentators have tried their very best to explain the winning and score predictor, to give the gadget its full title, but still people seem to be either against it or confused to what it’s use is. The main argument against the WASP is that it takes the unpredictability out of the game but I think this stance misses the point.
The reason WASP Sky included this new graphic is to give the viewer an idea of who is winning at any one time. This, as the commentators frequently tell us, answers the painful question, asked by non-cricketers, “who is winning?” This is a hard question to answer in cricket. Chiefly because the two competing teams have different objectives simultaneously but also because it’s difficult to tell if a score is good because of the pitch and weather conditions that may or may not change and the contrasting abilities of the individuals on both sides. Common knowledge for every cricket fan. However, a football fan who fails to understand the complexities of the amazing game of cricket, doesn’t know this. WASP then steps in. It calculates the percentage chance of a team winning to spoon feed the occasional cricket viewer the score, which has been translated into a bite size percentage figure so that they know who is winning at any one time.
Obviously, a cricket fan doesn’t need a vague figure to know who is on top in a match. Their years of watching and playing cricket has given them a bank of cricketing knowledge in the frontal cortex of the brain which allows them to read the game situation and make predictions of what is a good score and the chances of a team winning. So to a cricket fan, WASP is useless and I can understand the anger towards being treated like a football fan.
It’s clear that the WASP is a ploy by Sky Cricket to increase the audience of ODI and T20 cricket. By doing so it has annoyed a fair few of the cricketing faithful. However, arguing that it takes the unpredictability out of the game is ludicrous. WASP is based on past events, and by taking an average of these it predicts likely outcomes. It can never predict a capitulating collapse or one player blazing a fifty off twenty balls. Again, it’s no better than a cricket fans predictions, and therefore it can’t predict extraordinary occurrences that make the game of cricket so lovable.