As the evidence keeps on mounting against the Pakistani cricket players, I am forced to look back at the week in a slightly bemused way. Before the much stronger evidence presented this weekend (05/09/2010), the scandal was everywhere in the newspapers and television. At week ago, all we knew was that the alleged match fixer had made three predictions that had turned out to be correct. This seemed to surprise people as highly unlikely. But how unlikely is it?
I will not bore you with the numbers, but I am sure there is some person out there who has done spot-betting and won three times in a row, for purely random reasons. What we should have asked was; how many other predictions did the alleged match fixer make? And how many of those predictions where correct as well? If he had made 20 predictions and three were correct, this would have caused a totally different reaction from us.
Imagine that you are rolling dice. How likely is for you to get three 6's in row. Very unlikely! Okay, but how likely is it for you to get three 6's in total if you roll twenty times? Aha, that changes everything! You can easily see yourself getting three 6's if you roll the dice 20 times.
So you see why the questions that should have been asked by the reporters should have focused on how many other predictions were made and how many of those were also correct. The answer to these questions would have provided us with more insight into the potential guilt of the named parties. Instead, we spent the whole week being 'impressed' by the three predictions from an apparently edited video. It’s not really rocket stats, it just takes a moment of reflection!