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


In the present day, Jack Surtees dives deep into the numbers to settle an age-old pub debate. Be at liberty to specific your ideas within the feedback part and recommend every other statistical angles that could be fascinating…

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

To start with, there are some things to deal with: the primary being the confusion that arises when attempting to divide Britain right into a north and a south. In the event you have 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 doubtless discover solutions starting from the Tyne to the Thames, and presumably 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 following consideration is the way to quantify the place a participant has been ‘produced’. For some, that is easy. Ollie Pope, for instance, got here by the youth system at Guildford, went on to debut for Surrey and has up to now solely represented his dwelling county. For others, equivalent to Pope’s one time teammate Kevin Pietersen, it will get just a little 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 characterize three separate counties within the County Championship. To simplify these extra advanced conditions, I’ve determined to make use of the membership that every participant made their County Championship debut at because the county during which they have been ‘produced’.

Lastly, we come to the time frame to judge. I’m 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 crew 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 information). Between them, this group of gamers have racked up 2,393 Check appearances, scored 111,958 Check runs, taken 3,343 Check wickets, and depend amongst their ranks maybe 5 gamers with a declare to be England’s best fashionable Check cricketer. It’s actually 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 essentially the most debutantes, every offering simply sufficient gamers to area an XI by themselves. Maybe surprisingly, seeing as they’re the youngest county and have endured a couple of robust years in latest occasions, Durham are third within the checklist with ten gamers. Just one county hasn’t produced a single debutante since 2003. Glamorgan are seemingly not the membership to debut for should you’re a younger participant harbouring worldwide ambitions.

General, when it comes to the entire variety of gamers to earn caps since 2003, the south barely pips the north by 52 to 45. That order, nonetheless, 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 checklist of most Check appearances (for a mixed whole of 469 matches!) – however it does recommend that gamers from the north have been extra prone to earn an extended run within the Check arrange over the past 20 years. This bears true once we depend the variety of gamers with a minimal of 25 Check appearances (round a two-year stint within the Check aspect on condition that England are averaging 13 Exams a 12 months since 2003). 13 gamers from the north meet this standards combining for a complete of 1,077 appearances, whereas solely 11 gamers accomplish that from the south, combining for a complete of 762.

By way of roles, the south have produced extra batters (20 to 13), Middlesex main the way in which with six. The north simply pips the south on the subject of 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), nonetheless, they’re comfortably overwhelmed in terms of wicketkeepers, as Jonny Bairstow is the one participant of northern origin to have debuted and saved 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 previous adage {that a} robust Yorkshire means a robust England, and definitely on the subject of 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 actually is the bedrock of the present Check crew.

Unsurprisingly then, from our pattern, Yorkshire gamers have offered the England Check crew with over 3,000 runs greater than every other county, their whole nearing the 20,000 mark. Second on the checklist is Warwickshire (driving on the shoulders of Trott and Bell) and third comes Essex (primarily by the exploits of 1 Essex based mostly Knight of the Realm). Almost about 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 analogous story however with an much more pronounced distinction. Southern bowlers have taken a mixed 1,225 wickets between them, which is simply adequate 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 search 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 affect within the area. 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 regardless that he misplaced his place because the crew’s first selection keeper a couple of years in the past.

Affect on Successful

Lastly, we come to crucial figures: these within the win and loss columns. The general document 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 essentially the most attracts. Regardless of having performed in largely the identical period, on the time of writing Prepare dinner has performed in 39 attracts in comparison with Broad’s 37 and Jimmy’s 36.

Aggregated totals should not actually consequential right here, although. These three names sit atop the checklist courtesy of getting performed extra occasions for England than anybody else. What’s extra fascinating is a participant’s affect on successful – principally, how profitable the crew has been whereas every participant has been within the XI. There are two figures that we are going to take a look at to find out this…

The primary is solely their successful proportion (in what proportion of their matches did the crew win). The second is barely extra nuanced, nonetheless, taking attracts under 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 state of affairs the place Check matches have 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 very best successful proportion is Jack Leach with 19 wins from 34 matches for a stable 55.88%. One other cult hero left-arm tweaker is the proprietor of the worst document, nonetheless, with Monty Panesar successful solely 15 of his 50 matches for a determine of 30%.

With regards to common County Championship points-per-match we’ve two totally different faces on the prime and backside, although. In first place we’ve 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 checklist is, the quite unlucky, Rory Burns, who performed a big chunk of his Check profession by 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 very best successful percentages come from Somerset, Middlesex and Kent with 51.75%, 48.57% and 48.35% respectively. You most likely received’t be shocked to search out that these counties additionally occupy the highest three slots on the subject of points-per-match, though the order is just a little 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 accomplish that with 9.04.

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

To sum up, since Anderson made his England Check debut approach again in 2003, a budding worldwide prospect has been barely extra prone to earn a cap if they’ve been the product of a southern county. That being mentioned, it’s the northerners which were extra prone 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. With regards to successful, nonetheless, it appears that evidently the selectors have been justified of their negligible choice for the southern counties since their gamers simply edge the northerners on each successful proportion (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 crew? Hopefully, completely nothing. You’ll 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 absolutely believing that the scales would tip in favour of the northerners. I assume this has performed out on the subject of the sheer output of an elite group of northerners. However, when seen by the chilly lens of statistics, I need to concede that over the previous twenty years it’s been southerners, by a whisker, which have offered 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 all the time be gravy for me.

Jack Surtees


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