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Mo Bobat and County Cricket

Cricinfo has this  interview with ECB "Performance Director" Mo Bobat.  Bobat makes an interesting claim about county cricket, "Take something like county batting average. We know that a county batting average does not significantly predict an international batting average, so a lot of the conventional things that are looked at as being indicators of success - they don't really stand true in a predictive sense."  And later in the article there is a graph, showing county averages plotted against test averages for 13 English test batsmen.  This is reproduced below. better than random? raw data suggests no meaningful link between championship and test averages 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 Test County Championship Sam Curran England players' batting averages
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CRICKET ON TV

The Broadcaster's Audience Research Board (BARB) publishes weekly reports on TV viewing in the UK.  These provide details of the audience for cricket on Sky .  This post looks at cricket viewing figures for 2019 and 2020 taken from https://www.barb.co.uk/viewing-data/four-screen-dashboard/. Results are for weeks commencing 29 April 2019 to 26 September 2020, and, if I have understood correctly, viewing figures are for all the viewers who watched a particular programme.  (So if person A watches a test match from start to lunch, B from lunch to tea and C from tea to end that's 3 viewers although only 1 person was watching at any point in time.)  I have combined figures for Sky's Sports, Cricket and Main Event Channels.  Some Context    Matches in the IPL have viewing figures of around 100m.  The 2019 Men's Cricket World Cup final had a  unique UK audience of 15m (8m maximum audience at any point).  Once behind Sky's pay wall viewing goes down sharply, an EPL football

Leicestershire County Cricket Club Accounts for 2019

2018 was a bad year for Leicestershire cricket.  The usual poor on field performance was matched by financial worries, with the club falling 6 places to 11th in the prestigious  Bentley Forbes Consulting rankings. The financial statements for the year to 30 September 2019 showed more losses.  A loan from the county council has bought some time, but even before Covid 19 Leicestershire faced significant financial problems. The county are unfortunate in being assailed both by specific financial issues as well as the more general issues faced by the cricketing counties.     It's always been hard work trying to grow cricket in Leicestershire's stony soil.  When I was researching my book on  1930's cricket I found there were counties who were only getting by thanks to their share of the revenues from English test matches and MCC overseas tours.  Leicestershire were generally included in the ranks of the struggling counties and, in that respect, not much has changed.  The count

ECB 2019 - 2020 Financial Statements

This is a post on the ECB's financial statements for the year to 31 January 2020.  Previous posts on the ECB's accounts are   2017    2018 2019   The Mystery of the W orld Cup Payments  The 2020 accounts show a profit for the period of £6.9m.  This is disappointing, for a year that included an England World cup and an ashes series.  You'd expect a substantial surplus to fund other, less profitable, years.  But the strategic report for 2020 provides a (partial) explanation for the lack luster performance. " The group's administrative expenditure at £164m was an increase of £22m as compared to the prior year at £142m, the increase was largely due to the £1m paid to each of the Counties in respect of CWC 19. " That's a pretty good reason isn't it?  The ECB has distributed a share of its revenues from the cricket world cup to the first class counties, explaining the low profit for the period.  It's such a good reason the ECB have used it twice.  The 2

Bentley Forbes Consulting Rankings 2019

The prestigious Bentley Forbes Consulting rankings for 2019 are here!  Sixteen of the 18 first class cricket counties ranked by financial strength.  For those interested in the basis of the calculation please see the first set of rankings I did here.  The rankings for 2018 are here .   This years rankings are a bit late, largely due to the counties being very slow filing their accounts with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  In theory this has to be done within seven months of the financial year  - end but some counties are habitual late filers.  Some are years in arrears.  In theory there are sanctions for late filers and I raised this issue with the FCA.  They were very sweet, but clearly rather horrified by the suggestion they might like to do something.   It's been a tumultuous two years for county treasurers.   First the feast of 2019 with a home cricket world cup and ashes series, then the famine  of covid 19.  In the past I've always based the table on the most rece

Lancashire County Cricket Club 2019 Accounts

Introduction I've never followed Lancashire very closely but I have the impression they an underachieving county. One county championship plus one shared since the end of World War II is a meager return, given Lancashire's large population with an interest in cricket (especially those with a south Asian heritage) and the famously competitive and high standard of cricket played in the Lancashire leagues . Similarly treasurers and, more recently, chief financial officers of the other seventeen counties spend their winters looking at empty stands and car parks thinking, "if only there was some way to use all these assets when there's no cricket."  But at Lancashire the other Old Trafford just across the road is an obvious source of off season revenue.  As with playing resources Lancashire have seemed unable to take advantage of their financial leverage, and, with the ground growing increasingly tatty, test match crowds and county membership dwindled. Plann

Can The Counties Survive?

I was just reading back this post about Warwickshire's 2019 accounts.  Written in February, without a single reference to coronavirus, events make fools of us all.  This post is a collection of musings about the financial position of county cricket given the certainty the coronavirus will, at best, significantly reduce the amount of cricket played in 2020 and might mean we lose a year (or two, or three or five) of cricket in the UK. With UK deaths from the disease in the tens of thousands and thousands of new cases a day none of this really matters, but sport is supposed to be a distraction.... Introduction The starting point for this post is this  cricinfo review of the steps each county was taking in response to the pandemic.  What is interesting is one or two of the smaller counties indicate they think the financial burden of the cessation of cricket will fall on the test hosting grounds.  Durham chief executive, Tim Bostock said the following: " They'

Rating Shane Warne and Sydney Barnes

As I mentioned in this post a good use of your compulsory CV - 19 lock down is to read https://redballdata.blog/   It's a bit geeky, which I like, and Mr RedBallData has some interesting ideas on how to predict and select, cricket and cricketers, an area which I find fascinating, although I don't have the maths to do anything other than cheer on from the sidelines. Something that really appealed to me was his list of the best bowlers of the last 50 years.  The approach used to compile the list was, rather than  look at average, to order the bowlers by their impact on the averages of the batsmen they played against (you can get a bowler's career broken down this way on cricinfos stats guru.).  So, for instance,  let's say we have a bowler who has only ever bowled to two batsmen, A&B.  A has a career average of 50 but our bowler gets him out for 25; B has a career average of 10, our guy though has a bowling average of 15 against him.  The reduction in averag