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January 03, 2005


Scott Campbell at Blithering Bunny

It would be interesting to compare the toss records between home and away series. Presumably the coins aren't bent in England. How much of the bad luck is taking place overseas?

But then, isn't it the case that the visiting captain gets to call? So how would a bent coin help then? One of the Sky commentators reckoned that the other captain puts the coin heads or tails up, depending on what is called. But can you rig a toss so easily? And why does it only happen when England are playing?


There was an article recently in (I think) New Scientist, which cited a study of coin tossing that concluded that you should pick the side that is face up when the coin is being tossed, to gain some slight statistical advantage. Perhaps Vaughan and past England captains are doing the opposite.


Isn't McCloskey's point that one shouldn't confuse statistical significance with economic (or, here, sporting) 'importance'? The former in no way implies the latter.
However, the poorness of Vaughan's tossing does seem 'important', although this is a subjective opinion about a magnitude. If one accepts this, statistical testing _is_ then useful in judging whether Vaughan is unlucky or is being cheated (or indeed has poor tossing technique).

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