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Saturday, April 20, 2024

North Versus South: Who Actually Produces the Most England Check Gamers?

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At present, Jack Surtees dives deep into the numbers to settle an age-old pub debate. Be happy to specific your ideas within the feedback part and recommend every other statistical angles that is perhaps fascinating…

It’s the everlasting debate. One outlined by contentious, subjective, impossible-to-answer points similar to cod vs haddock, ketchup vs gravy and the proper time period for the little chunks of batter that fall off a fried fish – ‘batter bits’, ‘scraps’ or one thing else fully? In fact, there are cultural variations that exist outdoors of the native chippie, however to me that’s the place the good ‘north versus south divide’ turns into most obvious within the UK. Fortuitously, as we speak we might be reducing by way of all of the furor, all of the accents and varied names for sandwiches, to take one small however vital step in direction of definitively proving who really are larger: northerners or southerners. Properly, close to producing English males’s Check cricketers, anyway.

To start with, there are some things to handle: the primary being the confusion that arises when attempting to divide Britain right into a north and a south. Should you had been to finish a tour of the pubs discovered between John O’Groats and Land’s Finish asking the place to put that line of division you’ll probably discover solutions starting from the Tyne to the Thames, and probably much more excessive. Fortuitously, the ECB have already determined which counties they take into account northern and which they take into account southern, by way of their T20 Blast teams, so I’ll be utilizing their reckoning for the article.

The subsequent consideration is how you can quantify the place a participant has been ‘produced’. For some, that is easy. Ollie Pope, for instance, got here by way of the youth system at Guildford, went on to debut for Surrey and has to this point solely represented his dwelling county. For others, similar to Pope’s one time teammate Kevin Pietersen, it will get somewhat extra difficult. KP was reared within the Kwazulu-Natal province of South Africa the place he made his first-class debut, earlier than taking part in within the Birmingham Premier League after which occurring to symbolize three separate counties within the County Championship. To simplify these extra complicated conditions, I’ve determined to make use of the membership that every participant made their County Championship debut at because the county wherein they had been ‘produced’.

Lastly, we come to the time frame to guage. I’m taking a look at this from a contemporary perspective, so it made sense to take a look at the careers and the origins of all of the gamers to have made their debuts for the reason that first match of the present squad’s longest serving participant – which takes us again a good 20 years, to a world earlier than Bazball, English World Cup triumphs, Mitchell Johnson, and Warne’s 40 wicket sequence. Extra particularly, we’ll be wanting again to the twenty second of Could 2003, when a tearaway younger fast with blonde highlights made his debut alongside Anthony McGrath in a workforce led by Nasser Hussain.

Between the beginning of that match and the extraordinary 1 run(!) defeat in Wellington, England have handed out 98 caps (together with an honorary cap to the Glamorgan wicketkeeper Alan Jones, who performed predominantly within the 70s and 80s and has subsequently been omitted from the info). Between them, this group of gamers have racked up 2,393 Check appearances, scored 111,958 Check runs, taken 3,343 Check wickets, and rely amongst their ranks maybe 5 gamers with a declare to be England’s best fashionable Check cricketer. It’s definitely not a bunch missing in expertise, so let’s see what the numbers inform us.

Gamers and Matches

Throughout this timespan, Yorkshire and Surrey sit degree because the counties with probably the most debutantes, every offering simply sufficient gamers to discipline an XI by themselves. Maybe surprisingly, seeing as they’re the youngest county and have endured a number of robust years in current instances, Durham are third within the listing with ten gamers. Just one county hasn’t produced a single debutante since 2003. Glamorgan are seemingly not the membership to debut for when you’re a younger participant harbouring worldwide ambitions.

Total, by way of the entire variety of gamers to earn caps since 2003, the south barely pips the north by 52 to 45. That order, nevertheless, is reversed if we take a look at the entire variety of matches performed. The north main the way in which with 1299 in comparison with the south’s 1094.

Clearly these numbers are inflated by the longevity of messrs Anderson, Broad and Root – who, on the time of writing, sit 2nd, eighth and twenty second respectively on the listing of most Check appearances (for a mixed complete of 469 matches!) – however it does recommend that gamers from the north have been extra more likely to earn an extended run within the Check arrange over the last 20 years. This bears true once we rely the variety of gamers with a minimal of 25 Check appearances (round a two-year stint within the Check aspect provided that England are averaging 13 Exams a yr since 2003). 13 gamers from the north meet this standards combining for a complete of 1,077 appearances, whereas solely 11 gamers achieve this from the south, combining for a complete of 762.

When it comes to roles, the south have produced extra batters (20 to 13), Middlesex main the way in which with six. The north simply pips the south close to bowlers (21 to twenty), Lancashire and Durham being the 2 entrance runners with 5 every. The north additionally leads the way in which with all-rounders (10 to five), nevertheless, they’re comfortably crushed relating to wicketkeepers, as Jonny Bairstow is the one participant of northern origin to have debuted and stored for England since 2003. The southern counties have seen seven keepers earn caps in that very same timespan.

Batting, Bowling and Fielding

There may be an outdated adage {that a} robust Yorkshire means a powerful England, and definitely close to run-making this appears to carry true. Simply take into consideration the batters which have pushed the Bazball machine: Bairstow, Brook and Root are absolutely the primary three that pop to thoughts, and for good purpose too.

Throughout the Stokes-McCullum reign, these three have performed 42 innings between them, throughout which they’ve scored 2,549 runs at a mixed common of 71 and a strike-rate of 87. In simply 12 Exams and 5 sequence, they’ve racked up 12 centuries, 8 fifties, 6 Participant of the Match awards and 4 Participant of the Collection awards. Yorkshire really is the bedrock of the present Check workforce.

Unsurprisingly then, from our pattern, Yorkshire gamers have supplied the England Check workforce with over 3,000 runs greater than every other county, their complete nearing the 20,000 mark. Second on the listing is Warwickshire (driving on the shoulders of Trott and Bell) and third comes Essex (primarily by way of the exploits of 1 Essex based mostly Knight of the Realm). With reference to the north vs south debate, the north is once more sitting fairly with 62,491 runs or 54% of all of the runs scored by this group of gamers.

Bowling is an identical story however with an much more pronounced distinction. Southern bowlers have taken a mixed 1,225 wickets between them, which is simply ok for 37% of the entire. The north’s 2,118 wickets are, once more, in fact boosted by the presence of possibly England’s best quick bowling partnership and so it’s no shock to seek out Lancashire and Leicestershire (the place Broad made his debut) atop the wicket taking lists with 712 and 583 apiece, adopted by Northamptonshire, Durham and Warwickshire.

Final, however not least, let’s take a look at either side’s influence within the discipline. Right here the south leads the way in which having taken 53% of the catches and 67% of the stumpings with 1,261 and 26 respectively. Credit score to Jonny Bairstow once more, although, as he’s managed to assert a 3rd of England’s stumpings by himself although he misplaced his place because the workforce’s first alternative keeper a number of years in the past.

Influence on Successful

Lastly, we come to an important figures: these within the win and loss columns. The general report for our pattern gamers reads 1,064 wins, 525 attracts and 804 defeats. Anderson sits atop the pile for many wins (81) and most losses (62), though not probably the most attracts. Regardless of having performed in largely the identical period, on the time of writing Cook dinner has performed in 39 attracts in comparison with Broad’s 37 and Jimmy’s 36.

Aggregated totals usually are not actually consequential right here, although. These three names sit atop the listing courtesy of getting performed extra instances for England than anybody else. What’s extra fascinating is a participant’s influence on profitable – mainly, how profitable the workforce has been whereas every participant has been within the XI. There are two figures that we’ll take a look at to find out this…

The primary is just their profitable share (in what share of their matches did the workforce win). The second is barely extra nuanced, nevertheless, taking attracts into consideration. I’ve chosen to make use of the County Championship factors system for this (16 factors for a win, 8 for a draw) and imagined a situation the place Check matches had been performed in such a league to then calculate every participant’s common factors per match.

With a minimal of 25 matches performed (to provide an affordable pattern dimension) the participant with the best profitable share is Jack Leach with 19 wins from 34 matches for a strong 55.88%. One other cult hero left-arm tweaker is the proprietor of the worst report, nevertheless, with Monty Panesar profitable solely 15 of his 50 matches for a determine of 30%.

Relating to common County Championship points-per-match we have now two completely different faces on the prime and backside, although. In first place we have now the BBC’s latest member of Check Match Particular, Steven Finn, with a mean of 10.89 factors from his 36 matches (20 wins and 9 attracts). Whereas rounding off the listing is, the quite unlucky, Rory Burns, who performed a big chunk of his Check profession by way of the final stretch of Root’s captaincy when the aspect infamously had just one win in 17 makes an attempt. His 14 defeats in 32 matches resulted in a mean of solely 7.5 factors per match.

When wanting on the figures from a county perspective, we discover that the best profitable percentages come from Somerset, Middlesex and Kent with 51.75%, 48.57% and 48.35% respectively. You in all probability received’t be shocked to seek out that these counties additionally occupy the highest three slots close to points-per-match, though the order is somewhat jumbled with Middlesex main the pack at 9.87, adopted by Kent (9.58) and Somerset (9.33). Leicestershire are the one different county (and the one northerners) to interrupt the 9 level mark and even in order that they solely simply achieve this with 9.04.

Which brings us to the conclusion of this statistical deep dive…

To sum up, since Anderson made his England Check debut means again in 2003, a budding worldwide prospect has been barely extra more likely to earn a cap if they’ve been the product of a southern county. That being stated, it’s the northerners which have been extra more likely to safe an prolonged run within the Check aspect and, in consequence, the majority of England’s Check runs and, particularly, their Check wickets have come from northerners. Relating to profitable, nevertheless, evidently the selectors have been justified of their negligible desire for the southern counties since their gamers simply edge the northerners on each profitable share (45.43% to 43.63%) and point-per-match (9.07 to eight.69).

So what does all this imply for England and the way forward for their Check workforce? Hopefully, completely nothing. You’d hope that any disparity within the availability of alternatives is the results of pure coincidence quite than a systemic give attention to one set of counties. Fortuitously, the figures are shut sufficient that this appears to be the case.

It’s a shock, although. Being a northerner (at coronary heart) myself, and having spent the final decade plus cheering on the exploits of Stokes, Root, Anderson, and Broad – absolutely the 4 best English match winners of the period – I began this evaluation totally believing that the scales would tip in favour of the northerners. I assume this has performed out close to the sheer output of an elite group of northerners. However, when considered by way of the chilly lens of statistics, I have to concede that over the previous twenty years it’s been southerners, by a whisker, which have supplied England with their more than likely path to victory.

I don’t reckon I’ll be altering my order from the chippy anytime quickly, although. It’ll at all times be gravy for me.

Jack Surtees



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