This was just a bit of fun for a media release. If I was to do the job properly (unlikely, since it is not the sort of thing that results in a peer-reviewed publication), this is what I would like to do:
- Do a Kaplan-Meier estimate of hazard rates out of batting as a function of runs scored, rather than assume that a constant strike-rate and poisson dismissal rate apply at all times.
- Do a monte-carlo simulation using McCullum's Kaplan-Meier estimates and other players' dismissal rates to find a combined probability of McCullum and at least one other player surviving until McCullum had scored 300 runs.
- Try to estimate a joint distribution of survival rates and strike rates across games to take into account statistical dependence.
Above all, I would love to work out a historically applied test cricket WASP in order to rank past innings not only by size, but importance in game context. What are the innings that have most changed the expected outcome of a match (2 points for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss). So many of the very high innings have been in matches that were clearly headed for a draw on a lifeless pitch, or where one team was totally dominant. The really great innings--Laxman (2001), Lara (2003?), Jessop (1902), Botham (1981) Astle (2002) if we had won--are the ones that change the course of the match.
I don't think this one qualifies for the "future Honours projects" label. Perhaps I need a label "if we had world enough and time".