Sir Andrew Strauss’ review into how to improve the performance of men’s international and domestic cricket is nearing its end, and has released its consultation document to the public. This unusual transparency from the ECB allows us to consider data given to county chiefs before they vote on the issue, and also gives us an insight into the current decision-making process within English cricket.
The actual report itself was written by consultants Twenty First Group, who call themselves a “Sports Intelligence Agency” (I assume this is an allusion to the Central Intelligence Agency, although I cannot fathom how that would be a helpful comparison), with input from a panel of experts across cricket, other sports, and business.
This appears at first glance to be very open, transparent and collaborative, particularly compared to the ECB’s usual modus operandi. However, it should be pointed out that various tricks have been used to direct readers to what you might assume to be the authors’ preferred outcomes.
People Only Read The Title
One very simple trick is just to use the title or description to state the point you want to make, even if the evidence doesn’t necessarily support it. Take this, the first page of evidence in the review:
Now look at just the location of the black dots. According to this graph (and confirmed by a quick check on Statsguru), England have the fourth-best seam unit away from home. They travel better than New Zealand or Pakistan, for example, who both have the reputation of being very good pace attacks. If this graph was presented without comment, what would someone take from it?
I can easily explain why the difference is so great between England’s home and away bowling averages in two words: Chris Woakes. Despite having a very poor record away from home, he has played in 20 Tests abroad (The 4th most amongst English pace bowlers behind Anderson, Broad and Stokes) since 2014. He averages 51.88. No rational person would select him, and even Ed Smith would find it a stretch. The reason he has played so many games in conditions that don’t suit him is because there was often no alternative. Everyone above him on the ‘Test bowlers suited for bowling on a flat/dry pitch with an unresponsive ball’ list was injured. In the same period, Mark Wood, Jofra Archer and Olly Stone combined have played in 19 Tests. It’s not that England don’t have pace bowlers capable of thriving in foreign conditions, it’s that they are almost always unavailable due to injury.
By happenstance, one of the High Performance Review panel members is ECB Performance Director Mo Bobat. His job for the last three years has been to oversee the fitness of England players, the bridging between county and international cricket through the Lions and other development programmes, and the Loughborough academy. If talented cricketers are spending more time on the physio table than on the pitch, you could argue that he is the one to blame.
One trick the ECB likes to use, as I have covered in two previous posts regarding The Hundred (HERE and HERE), is showing very specific statistics but using it to present a broader point which the data doesn’t support.
Take this chart, for example:
On the face of it, this looks terrible. Spinners get fewer domestic opportunities in England than the other 8 cricket boards, so how can the England team be expected to develop spinners who can prosper in Asia? Except that this isn’t what this chart actually shows. Instead of (for example) total spin overs bowled, it is a percentage of total overs. To answer why the panel chose this specific measure to illustrate their point, consider this chart:
It is very simple to alter the appearance of a graph in order to accentuate differences between figures. All you have to do is start the numerical axis at a number other than 0. Here’s one example:
Notice how the chart begins at 30 rather than 0 days. This means that the shortest bar is 6 days whilst the longest (England) is 17 days. To a casual observer, it would seem like England played almost three times as much cricket as New Zealand and India. To compare, here is what the chart would look like if it began at 0:
Seen at this scale, the differences between countries seem far less pronounced. English players play 30% more days than those from India or New Zealand according to this data, or 10% more than in South Africa. It suddenly becomes a less obvious factor for why English players might underperform.
Another related trick you can use is taking advantage of the page orientation to maximise or minimise the variation in a chart. Take this example:
As well as beginning at 0 and having a title which calls the averages “consistent”, it is also one of just two bar charts in the report which the bars are vertical rather than horizontal. On pages or screens in landscape orientation, vertical bars are shorter than horizontal ones due to a lack of space. This reduces the apparent differences between two bars even more than before. Here is the same data, but presented as a horizontal bar chart and a shortened X-axis (most other charts in the report are shown this way):
All of a sudden, you would face an argument that first-class cricket cannot be held in August or September. Considering that the rumours are that this (and April/May) is the panel’s favoured time for the Championship to be played, you can see why they made their style choices.
Read The Fine Print
If there is some data which you want to include for completeness (or perhaps to cover your arse, so you can prove you told someone at a later date) but it doesn’t support your argument, you can just hide it using formatting or perhaps hidden in an appendix. If we take another look at the first graph from the previous section, you can see a set of figures written in grey to the right of the chart:
If you put these numbers in a chart, it looks like this:
I found myself utterly unimpressed with the outcome of this review. It’s light on detail and has very little in terms of actual recommendations from the panel itself. Instead, it largely seeks to ask the counties which changes they would make based on the information provided. Although the various manipulations which I have detailed above might point the counties towards certain proposals (fewer matches with greater rest, red ball games during The Hundred, a smaller Division 1), the actual suggestions from the panel are small and largely meaningless.
The one which makes me genuinely angry is ‘Understanding What It Takes To Win (WITTW)’. It say the ECB should “research into WITTW (red + white ball)” in order to produce a “Definitive WITTW report”. Maybe I was being naive, but I thought that was what the High Performance Review was supposed to come up with. Why would you have business leaders and people from other sports on the panel, including famed ‘win at almost any cost’ advocate Dave Brailsford, if not to provide an expert insight into how to succeed? I have to assume that this panel was not cheap to assemble, nor the consultancy firm who collated the report, and yet one of its key recommendations is that you should assemble another panel (and perhaps the same consultants) to answer the question that was basically the whole point of the original exercise? What utter nonsense. But nice work if you can get it.
There are three massive elephants in the room which the report has totally ignored. One is The Hundred. It is hand-waved through with the rather optimistic description of “The Hundred is committed through to 2028, and is a clear best vs. best competition”. How they square “best vs best” with the existence of Welsh Fire as a team is frankly beyond me. The Hundred apparently exists as a giant monolith in the middle of the English season, around which everything else has to fit. The cricket calendar in 2019 was far from perfect, but even the tournament’s biggest fans can’t deny that the domestic schedule is even worse now. The Hundred does aid the development of English cricketers, but almost exclusively towards entering other T20 leagues around the world rather than playing for England.
The second is the county youth system. Development of players ultimately depends on counties hiring those with the potential to play at international level, and it’s not clear that this is currently happening. I’ve written previously about how counties often seem to ignore talented youngsters if their face doesn’t fit or they can’t afford to fund their own training. You can see the almost immediate success of the ACE Programme and the South Asian Cricket Academy in identifying multiple cricketers outside the county system who are arguably better than those currently with contracts as evidence of this. Comparing schedules between countries does not matter if English clubs aren’t capable of identifying the best players available.
The third is how players improve (or don’t) whilst under the direct care of the ECB. It is a tale as old as time: A promising player has a breakout season in county cricket, gets called up to play for England, or a training camp at Loughborough. They start well, but over time their form declines. If they’re a batter, it’s usually their technique which is changed by the specialist coaches into a mess of neuroses where they now can’t keep out a delivery bowled by a twelve year old. They re-enter county cricket as a broken husk of a human being, and are never heard from again. If they’re a bowler, they are typically transformed from a colossus who bowls 90mph thunderbolts to someone with the skeletal structure of a 90 year old with osteoporosis who has trouble tieing his shoelaces. Ironically, this often occurs because the coaches want to alter the bowling action to ‘prevent injuries’. A lucky few become T20 specialists, more or less able to handle 4 overs every few days. Those less fortunate are chucked in a pile behind the bike sheds at ECB’s training centre in Loughborough.
All in all, the report is almost entirely without merit. How it took three months or more to come to this point when the data used in the charts would take an A Level Statistics student about a day to compile and the resulting ‘evidence’ is a mess of conflicting numbers which don’t really suggest any clear ‘solution’ to the problems at hand. As worthless a use of time and money as I can imagine, in all honesty. A fitting tribute to the end of the Tom Harrison era at the ECB.
If you have any comments about the post, England’s Test win, or anything else, please leave them below.
This blog has another example of Strauss teaching the stupid masses how to think: https://nottsview.blogspot.com/2022/08/strauss-proposes-smaller-division-one.html (interesting that one of the questions arising in some instances is “do we agree with this in principle?” but it’s not given as an option for the “emerging idea” that the Hundred is immoveable!)
What struck me most strongly was the total lack of logic in the proposals even if you accept that they were supported by the data. There are too many playing days, so let’s create not one but two new red-ball competitions. It would be fine in principle to play the Championship alongside the Hundred because most red-ball players are not involved in the Hundred….but what we actually need is a new regional red-ball competition in August to keep the integrity of the Championship. The Championship changes (if any) won’t be implemented till 2024 at the earliest, but the white-ball ones (the most likely of which is a reduction in the number of group games in the Royal London by approximately half–which I’m not sure is a terribly bad idea in itself) can start next year, despite there being a 50-over World Cup (possibly the last one where 50-over cricket is still a big thing worldwide) in the autumn. There could be a North vs South red-ball competition as a “best vs best” thing (he likes those two concepts almost as much as each other doesn’t he?!)–played on a different continent (hello, climate emergency anyone?) and at a time when there will be both overseas franchise competitions and England games (that is, it will turn out to be like the last North vs South games, where half the invitees told him to sod off because the money in the PSL was better). He’s happy to suggest a reduction in playing days, possibly by as much as 30%–but in a cash-strapped/tied-to-the-one-big-paying client-sport, not a reduction in players’ pay.
Reading your post too Danny, two other things jump out. First is quite how smug Strauss is, and the gap (maybe it could have blue and black dots) between how clever he is and how clever he thinks he is. The second is how much damage–inflicted, like most of that done by the current faceless-middle-manager obsession, quietly, unobtrusively and unattributably–has been done to recent English cricket by Mo Bobat. If there’s one person left standing in the wreckage of the old ECB who needs to be run out of English cricket, it’s Bobat, the man who’s been theoretically responsible for creating many if not most of the systems which have led to the failing test team and who has taken absolutely no accountability for that process.
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Having been a partner in a “Big 4” consultancy, I can confirm that the report has the stamp of obfuscation all over it, suggesting that its authors determined their cliens’ desired messages and wrote accordingly. Also evident is the “land & expand” technique of securing additional work during the engagement. I can only hope the county chairs see through it and are not bullied nor bribed into compliance.
When an organisation has no clue what to do, they pay someone else huge amounts of money to tell them. Which of course begs the question… why are they paying so much money for their own existing executives in the first place?
Or alternatively, you want some quasi official “experts” to spin, with glossy charts and waffle what you have already decided to do anyway. You can then hide behind glinting eyed people with clipboards, spreadsheets and fatuous mission statements (who have miraculously come to the same conclusion) as you.
This outfit claims they are “Driving sporting success and unlocking commercial value.”
Notice “Unlocking Commercial value” is in bold.
We must get our priorities right…
They claim they are “shaping sport”
“We are Twenty first group, global leaders in bespoke B2B sports intelligence. We specialise in generating value by improving performance, enchanting sporting ‘product’ and igniting the passion of fans.”
Which translated into English is complete meaningless waffle.
Their “purpose” according to them is….
“We love sport and recognise the extraordinary impact it can have on peoples lives. That’s why we are working with our forward thinking partners to drive sporting success and ignite the passion of fans. Together, we’re on a mission to make a lasting, positive impact in sport.
Again complete meaningless waffle. Why are clients now always referred to as “partners” these days? The self congratulatory circle jerk is laced with saccharine and fake sugar. Their clients, (sorry, partners) are not just partners they are “forward thinking partners.” Nothing like buttering up your clients for potential new contracts.
(If they were that forward thinking they wouldn’t need outfits like you would they? ) This is just Janet and John corporate slogans. Puffed up using expensive graphics to say absolutely nothing.
This is so depressing. And comes under the heading…A fool and his money are easily parted. The ECB obsess about every penny of income and revenue they can generate, and then piss it up the wall with abandon.
We can conclude that the governing body of cricket is run by morons who have not the foggiest idea what to do to improve performance. So they plough on into tearing the sport apart in search of some Utopia.
Every one at the top of sport now is a partner. The sports rights are flogged off to a tv company that immediately becomes a partner. A consultants agency who rubber stamps your ideas becomes a partner. A group think develops of chin wagging back scratching self interest. The loser is the fan who is asked to pay even more to watch this nonsense.
The reality is like most in the entertainment industry they are secretly waiting like Mr Mcawber for “something to turn up.”
Well, exactly. No one writing a report for someone is going to produce one saying “this is a terrible idea, don’t do it”. It’s always about generating something that fits with the aims of the client. It’d be crazy to do anything different.
A waste of time and money. Two dray horses Key and Strauss pulling on opposite directions. Complete confusion.
Has anyone done the Cricket Supporters Association survey? I thought it was a dreadful survey and told them so in my comments – leading questions and it seemed carefully designed, like the HPR, to get the answers they wanted.
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I did it because it was going to be included. But you’re right, it was every bit as leading in its construction. I suppose you could argue it’s fighting fire with fire, but whether deliberate or otherwise, it was less than balanced.
I did it too. I didn’t think it was always terribly well constructed (why do some questions have a “neither agree nor disagree” option but others don’t, for example?) or worded (what constitutes entertaining cricket?), but I struggle to see that it was any more leading than most other surveys.
There was always a “not sure” or “other” or “strongly disagree” option–if you thought it was bollocks you could say so; if you thought the Hundred and the ECB were the greatest things since sliced bread you could tell them. That’s the real difference for me between the CSA one and the Strauss one–there’s no apparent option in the Strauss one for departing from the script, and the range of stakeholders to whom it’s directed is very limited: essentially fans are only included because the Lancashire Action Group has (rightly) browbeaten one or two counties into taking them into account.
I can’t remember it exactly but i think one of the questions was along the lines of ‘would you like to have fewer counties (might have been matches) played in Championship so you could see more of the England players in action?’ as if the two are mutually exclusive.
the other one i thought was a bit below the belt was the one about the Hundred and one possible answer to the questions about have you been to a game etc was ‘I’ve never watched it because i don’t like it’ or that implication, like the Guinness advert. Which in my case is true but if you tick that one, then it’s easy to conclude that as i haven’t given it a chance, my opinion may be pretty worthless!
Those were the two i remember specifically but i think there were others.
Maybe I’m being dense, but I’m still not sure I understand what the answers the CSA wanted were. What was the agenda that comes out in those questions?
Forgive me if I’m barking up the wrong tree here, but are people getting confused between the (independent) Cricket Supporters’ Association (which is the group that George Dobell chairs) and an ECB survey that has been doing the rounds recently?
I might well be the one getting confused, but I filled in a survey that sounds remarkably like the one being discussed here, but it was definitely sent to me by the ECB as part of a survey that they themselves (not the CSA) are doing on men’s cricket.
Sorry if I’ve got this wrong, but I completely agree with the agenda-driven nature of the questions, just that the agenda is the usual ECB one, rather than anything set up by the CSA (who are altogether more reserved, I feel)
Thank you Nicholas–I wasn’t aware that there was an ECB one before.
However, judging from the questions, I think Maggie is talking about the CSA one though. I don’t, however, think that your memory of the questions is that accurate, Maggie. The number of matches one was only one of a range of possible answers to the question “If the review announces a proposal to reduce the number of first class county matches from 14 to 10, how would this make you feel?” Other options, including extremely negative ones, were available. The Hundred question is about general attitude, not attendance–and again, there are other options available which say more about your reasons for liking/disliking it.
But I still can’t see how the survey generally is trying to direct respondents into particular views–why did you have that impression, TLG?–much less that they’re trying to get an excuse to ignore their views about the Hundred. That’s pretty much the opposite of the kind of organisation the CSA is!
It wasn’t something that I thought was particularly a big deal, and I can understand the approach. But it did feel very pro county in the way the questions were set out. I don’t blame them a bit for that, not least because we know how the ECB tend to slant their questions too.
I wonder if the county chairman have twigged yet that there is now quite clearly a determined effort to eliminate county cricket clubs in the long term. This will of course be denied, however a gleaming, shinny new tank of franchise cricket has been plonked on the counties lawns.
Nothing must interfere with this tank, (at least until 2028) and every other form of cricket must take a back seat. Including test cricket it would appear. (Sky prefer Premiership football in August.)
Now it seems the governing body wants to eliminate even more county cricket in the laughable disguise of improving performance. It also wants to substantially reduce or I suspect eliminate county 50 over cricket.
WAKE UP COUNTY CHAIRMAN. The only thing they want is your facilities and infrastructure. No doubt you will be given another bribe. (Sorry compensation for this) But what will you have left soon? County cricket in the pouring rain in April, May and September? little to no 50 over cricket? and the Blast?
I may be wrong, but it looks to me as if they want a Franchise only future model for English cricket. (completely controlled by the governing body of suits getting fat of franchise cricket.) Counties will be gone, red ball county, and 50 over will be gone, and the Blast will not be required.
This not an improvement of cricket, but a corporate hostile take over, salami slice by slice by the very organisation who is supposed to be the governing body. Conflicts of interest abound. It stinks.
I should add, some counties and their chairman would very much like this process to happen. County grounds like Bristol, Worcester, Taunton, Northamptonshire, perhaps even Chelmsford and Canterbury should prepare to become Tesco car parks or luxury flats.
Oh and don’t underestimate the the self interest of certain players in this. Less cricket and more money for an elite few, playing Mickey Mouse hit and giggle 12 months off the year, or as they fancy.
I agree and find it very saddening that the players seem to be more concerned about their own financial future than about the game itself. Looking at the injury list as a result of playing in the Hundred, (Livingstone, Buttler, Jordan and Mills to name a few), you wonder how interested they really are/were in playing for England. Okay, they may be fit by the autumn and there’s always a chance they could have been injured whatever they were doing but it does make me wonder what their priorities truly are, whatever they say.
I agree with Mark about some players’ self-interest, but to claim that getting injured in the Hundred proves that is absurd (in addition to which, Mills exacerbated an exisitng injury and it’s the only format he plays for health reasons–what else is he supposed to do, retire?)
Archer picked up his injury during rehabilitation for a different injury, Woakes and Wood in a test series, Carse in a ODI series playing for England, and Stone in a 2nd XI match. Are they more committed to playing for England even though they’re equally (and in most of these cases, a lot more) unlikely to play in the World T20?
And as you say, it’s the middle of the season and they’d have been playing for England or their counties if not in the Hundred.
Excellent analysis – well done.
Yes, it is difficult to see what these figures really represent, and what conclusions can be drawn.
It seems to be just window-dressing, perhaps even a distraction.
I don’t trust Strauss – he’s the Rob Andrew of cricket – given all the resources and access, and carte blanche to…….write what they want. Giving over a test match to his charity also really bugs me.
Plausible deniability masks the expediency behind their plans.
It is rather depressing to watch cricket traditions sink in a bog of wokery and commercialism……..look at this shower that is directing the game – https://www.ecb.co.uk/about/who-we-are/our-board
I am so very grateful for your work on this.
What the report also seems to ignore and I would argue is so vitality important are these three points, amongst others
1. What the public would like to watch? I know this wasn’t its remit but by heavens it is rather important.
2. The co-existence of the T20 and The Hundred. This seems to me to be the elephant in the room and what is stuffing everything up.
3. If Franchises took over or, if some counties such as Leics, Glos, Somerset, Sussex, Nhants, were forced into Minor Counties status, what would happen to the grassroot development of the game.
Regards number 3, my view is they won’t need very much grass root cricket. If they reduce the number of first class counties to say 10-12 they won’t need as many players. In addition, said players will be coached and their skills honed for 20/20 franchise cricket. Plus you will have more overseas players coming into the Franchises. So the standard of Test cricket will fall in time as there is a dearth of players who have the required skills to play it.
International cricket has in my lifetime always been the pinnacle. Which I found a nice contrast to football. Outside of a World Cup every 4 years international football is a bit of a joke. Club football, at the elite level is where both the money and the best players ply their trade.
Quite frankly that is where cricket seems to want to go. Well, the administrators and players seem to want that. At the end of the day it all comes down to money, and that money is dictated by tv companies and tv audiences. So these fans surveys are a bit meaningless. The audience is not your typical county member, but TV eye balls, often in India. That’s the jackpot they all want to tap into.
I agree that 2) is also important–not least because it provides somewhat of a window into what people will want to play–but I rather fear the results! I would have thought that it is apparent largely from crowd sizes/rivket sales–which suggest that people want to watch Important Matches (England, Cup Finals), T20 and the Hundred.
Toryesque tactics. Keep lying to the plebs until they believe you. Strauss should enter politics he’s a superb bullshitter.
“I found myself utterly unimpressed with the outcome of this review. It’s light on detail and has very little in terms of actual recommendations from the panel itself. Instead, it largely seeks to ask the counties which changes they would make based on the information provided.”
That is actually what is most impressive about the document. It’s consultative rather than prescriptive. You would no doubt have moaned even more if it wasn’t transparent and consultative and Strauss and Key had already made their minds up what they want to do. Let’s be honest. Nothing is ever going to please a certain cohort of professional moaners among cricket supporters who only breathe so they can complain. Relax and just enjoy the cricket. Our game’s future is in safe hands with Strauss, Keysy and Thompson in charge.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I typically consult with experts so that they can tell me the best course of action rather than them asking me. When I go to the doctors, I wouldn’t want them to just hand me my chart and ask me what treatment I should have.
What a slur on the counties who are the ultimate experts on county cricket.
In which case, Sir Andrew Strauss has just spent a large amount of money to tell them what they already know.
Make your mind up. You were complaining that Dr Strauss hadn’t told the counties what he wants to do but had asked them what they want. Now you’re complaining that he’s telling them what they already know? You are one of the game’s great professional moaners and that’s fine; it’s all part of the rich tapestry. But let’s not pretend there is any logic or consistency to your moaning other than your desire to be permanently disaffected!
My previous comment began with “In which case”, making it a conditional sentence. This means that it was contingent on whether you were correct when you stated “the counties […] are the ultimate experts on county cricket.”
Here is a website which might help you.
I don’t read Danny’s comment at all as “complaining” that Strauss is telling the conties what they already know (which of course is different from telling them what to do). He’s responding to a point that you made by suggesting that IF that is so, then the review is rather a waste of money.
In passing, there’s an awful lot of moaning in your posts for someone who’s complaining about people moaning!
Keep squirming , keep patronising, keep moaning and carry on. Meanwhile what a great summer of cricket we’ve had and still another month of it to come. Personally, after the misery of the lockdowns I feel blessed to have spent so many wonderful days at Lords this summer, watching Test cricket, county cricket, The T20 Blast and The 100 . You prefer moaning. As said, that’s fine if you prefer to be “outside cricket” and it’s being so cheerful as keeps you going!
I don’t think I’m alone in noting a period of poor performance in test cricket, and frankly the status quo of our domestic game is not working for the majority of our players, supporters, or counties.
“ That is actually what is most impressive about the document. It’s consultative rather than prescriptive. ”
Did you read or even understand the points Danny made about how they have distorted statistics to so obviously lead the reader towards the desired outcome?
How do you know Strauss and Key haven’t made up their minds? If they genuinely have no opinion why pay out huge amounts of fans money to a ludicrous company to present a glossy, fatuous set of misleading statistics?
All they had to do was write a letter to the county’s asking how they would like the cricket season organised? More red ball, or less, and when? More or less Blast? Keep or scrap a 50 over competition? And Keep or scrap the hundred? Why employ, at vast expense, a bunch of nerdy laptop geeks to do it for them?
But this is always a site that encourages different opinions so please enlighten us with your wisdom as to how you think English cricket should be restructured and why? Because so far I’m not very impressed with your one and only proposal…. which amounts to nothing more than utopian blind faith….
“Relax and just enjoy the cricket. Our games future is in safe hands with Strauss Keysy and Thompson in charge.”
What could possibly go wrong with such well thought out, in depth analysis!
If only you were in charge instead of know-nothings like Struass and Key… Did you read or even understand what I said? Chill out. We’ve seen some great cricket this summer – and will do next, too. And the summer aftetr that and after that. What a shame the professional moaners and patronising know-it-alls cannot enjoy it!
You haven’t said anything of significance that I need to understand. According to you everything is going swimmingly and apparently your crystal ball tells you that everything will be going swimmingly for the “summer after that and after that. “
You are happy with what they are providing you which I’m sure will please them. But if everything is so fantastic why do they need to make massive changes?
Anyway, I think we get the drift of your world view. Everything is tickety boo and we should just blindly follow Strauss and Key where ever they take us with a big gormless grin on our faces singing …”happy days are here again.”
The report seems to be angled towards proposing six divisions of three in the championship with 10 matches per side and perhaps a shorter blast as well.
The pushback on reducing the championship below 14 has however deferred any shrinkage until 2024. At the same time, one understands that the ECB would like a 50 over competition that does not clash with the hundred in 2023 to aid preparation for the World Cup.
What then gives? The only options would seem to be shortening the blast (which the counties would undoubtedly oppose) or playing some championship games alongside the hundred in August. I suspect that we will see the latter. We would then hear complaints that this devalues the championship and this feeling could be leveraged by the ECB to push through a reduction to 10 games after all.
On their website the company Strauss has used makes a fairly bold claim that they helped Danny Willett win the Masters all those years ago.
Obviously they had the old mind trick to cause Jordan Spieth to choke that one up at the 12th, but hey, they supposedly told him the perecentages on going for the Par 5s in 2 or 3 (clue, hit the fairway on 13 and 15, go for it – 8 is a bit long, but try to get as close to the green or leave yourself a full wedge depending on pin position, and 2, well again, depends on the drive).
I notice that the same firm don’t quote their ability and skill when Willett’s game fell off a cliff, so that when that year’s Ryder Cup came around, he was a disaster. I presume they didn’t have Hazeltine on their computer. Or could remedy his game going to pot.
I am surprised anyone falls for this school project dressed up as high-fallutin’ analysis, but while there are fools with money, they’ll always pay someone to tell them what they want to know. They aren’t the first and won’t be the last.
Finally, here is what happens to “professional moaners” (note, no-one bloody paid me, so I’m strictly a gentleman and not a player) when it comes to this sport. They walk away. They don’t “relax and enjoy the cricket”, they foxtrot oscar. They leave. They don’t buy tickets. They don’t pay TV subscriptions. They don’t watch. I wish these consultants, the brains of the outfits that employ them, the people prepared to bat for them, all the very best in replacing them. Because judging by what I am seeing, it ain’t going very well.
Oh dear, when laptop geeks start trying to claim credit for on field success you know the smell of bullshit in the morning is rising up from the freshly cut grass or manicured greens.
And as you say they never factor in the opponents, and what they did.
Remind me again how large the England cricket teams back room staff are and how successful they have been in recent years? Remember when the England one day team worked on a principle in which the laptop would come up with the required number of runs to win on each ground?
If this outfit is so expert at predicting sporting outcomes they should raise some venture capital and then invest it down at Ladbrokes on each up and coming sporting event. Then retire the whole staff to the Bahamas on the profits.
Pot, meet kettle.
Stop moaning, N!
YJB managing to break his leg while walking to a teebox.
Clearly Strauss has spent that little bit extra for that press release.