What we talk about when we talk about luck

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What we talk about when we talk about luck

We chat with Karthik Krishnaswamy and Kartikeya Date about the role of luck in cricket and how we can better describe the game by separating actions from outcomes.

Talking Points:

  • Luck v skill – and why the two are not opposed to each other
  • The traditional method of describing cricket – by ascribing reasons for outcomes
  • Why it is hard for fans to accept ‘luck’ as a major part of a sporting contest
  • The luck component in different sports – and the ‘optimal’ luck cricket needs
  • The brief phase in each ball when neither batter or bowler is in total control
  • India’s loss to New Zealand in 2020 against an attack best suited for the conditions
  • England’s strategy v spin in the 2019 World Cup compared to their strategy in the 2023 World Cup
  • The model of the game that views contest without the layer of chauvinism
  • The post-facto analysis that accompanies most discussions around captaincy


Karthik Krishnaswamy (@the_kk) | ESPNcricinfo page

Kartikeya Date (@cricketingview) | Substack | ESPNcricinfo page

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee)


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  • What’s luck got to do with it: a control review of the World Cup – Kartikeya Date – ESPNcricinfo
  • Virat Kohli’s battle with himself – Karthik Krishnaswamy – ESPNcricinfo
  • The Virat Kohli century that was a trip back in time – Karthik Krishnaswamy – ESPNcricinfo
  • What we talk about when we talk about pressure – Podcast with Abhinav Mukund – 81allout
  • What we talk about when we talk about cricket – Podcast with Daniel Norcross – 81allout
  • Are some points in Tennis more important than others? – Kartikeya Date – Cricketingview substack
  • Luck and skill untangled: the science of success – Michael Mauboussin interview – Wired
  • Why it’s so much harder to predict winners in ice hockey than basketball – Vox – YouTube

Lead image from here.

2 thoughts on “What we talk about when we talk about luck”

  1. Is there a way to edit out the phrase “you know” from the recordings? 8 mins in and I feel I’ve heard it like 50 times already. It isn’t just this one, even in the earlier podcasts one of your regulars uses it obsessively

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