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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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India and The Toss

Lots of statements from commentators (both paid and unpaid) about the value of winning the toss and batting first in India.  Universally held, winning the toss is a big advantage and quite a few comments along the lines of, "once we lost the toss, we'd lost the game." And I can see why people say this, logically if batting becomes harder over time, you want to bat earlier in the game. But looking at the statistics there is very little support for this.  Using cricinfo's stats guru function it is possible to see what happened to the side batting first in each game played in India for the period from 2000.  There's a nice round 100 games in the period (doesn't include current test) and the stats for the 21st century are. Bat 1  = Win =      32 Bat 1  = lose =      41 Bat 1 = Draw =    27 So across a decent sample size the evidence seems to suggest, in complete contrast to intuition, bat second. Do I believe this? Wellllll  ..... Not really. A few things to put o

Warwickshire County Cricket Club 2020 Accounts

Warwickshire's accounts for the year to 30 September 2020 are available  here These are the first county cricket club accounts I've seen which cover the period of the coronavirus pandemic.  I've covered previous Warwickshire accounts, 2019   2018   2017 This post continues the analysis and considers whether there's a future for the counties in general and Warwickshire in particular.  As it's quite a long post I'm starting off with a summary. Summary Given the  pandemic, Warwickshire's 2020's results weren't too bad.  The board is confident the club can navigate 2021 and as I believe Warwickshire is one of the weaker counties financially I'm increasingly optimistic most counties will get to 2022, perhaps a little battered, but basically intact.  But if the virus results in reduced crowds for 2022 (and beyond?) continued financial hardship will take a toll.  Problems may be particularly marked for test match staging counties who have budgeted on si


This post is an update to this, longer post on viewing figures for cricket shown on Sky.   I had a look at the  barb figures figures for the three weeks up to the IPL final on the 10th November 2020.  An audience of 252,607 watched Sky's coverage of the final, pretty good going seeing the programme went out at 1.30pm on a Tuesday, UK time. Figures for other games were a bit lower, generally in the 250k range for the peak Sunday afternoon slot, more like 100k for weekday afternoons and early evenings.  So are these good figures? I'd say it depends on your perspective.  Viewing figures for the IPL on Sky are broadly comparable with those watching England's domestic 20 over competition, "The Blast" (It's a bit hard to compare like with like, as Blast and IPL games go out at different times). That's pretty impressive for the IPL and I imagine the games bring Sky additional revenues from a UK based South Asian heritage audience. Whereas, I suspect, quite


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 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