AOTM July 2014: How we misunderstand risk in sport, by Ed Smith

We say that winning “justified the decision”, a classic failure to distinguish between ex ante and ex poste thinking. Instead, the real question should be: would I do the same thing again, given the information I had at the time? Coaches and captains often make the right calls and lose. And they often make the wrong calls and win.

The prestigious Raging Turner Article of the Month award for July 2014 goes to Ed Smith, for his ESPNCricinfo article How we misunderstand risk in sport. Smith challenges our common, clichéd views, including, for instance,  failing to appreciate that the right decision can lead to the undesirable outcome.

History, therefore, applies when the events described cannot readily be made sense of; or, the interpretation of those events through the lense of contemporary assumptions would create serious misunderstandings. […] I would argue that the results and the action from the past 100-130 years are clear enough to the modern viewer so as to not require the intervention of an historian.

Highly Commended: If the past is a foreign country, cricket’s history is an overseas tour, by Chris Smith, who debates what constitutes cricket history; is there less history than we realise?

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