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December 19, 2006

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AntiCitizenOne

Could it just be that the ECB is bad at it's job because it has a monopoly?

dearieme

Giles dropping one catch has something to do with it, perhaps. More generally: "the inbuilt opportunities for rent-seeking at the top of hierarchies" - you often allude to this. I guess that you must have written a big post on it in the past. Would you direct me to it, please?

P.S.: Merry Christmas.

dsquared

how about 4) non-explanations.

The UK actually produces a lot of very good cricketers per head of population - we'd never ever beat India otherwise. We also hold our own against every other cricketing nation and had our moments against Australia. We lose the Ashes because Australia is very good, not because England is bad.

Why is Australia very good? Because they started being good, more or less by chance, and the better you are, the easier it is to get even better.

tom s.

... in which case the question is "how come bad teams sometimes become good" and vice versa? It looked for some time in the '70s as if no one would ever beat the Windies, but look at them now.

So perhaps the correct (4) non-explanation is that it is all just noise. Someone has to win and it's a mistake to look too deeply for reasons.

Sports fans are always being fooled by randomness. Here in North America it is "hot hands" in basketball, hitting streaks in baseball - both of which have been shown to be purely statistical in nature. Why should the same thing not apply on a larger scale?

Scoop

Is there a chance the fact that Australia has invested millions of dollars in the physical, organisational and performance aspects of cricket over the last 20 years has been overlooked here?

Katherine

Wot Scoop said. Australia is mad for sport, in its schools, on its TV, the lot. More participation surely leads to a greater liklihood of digging out the greats.

tom s.

Randomness ramblings aside, I'd also have to vote for Scoop as the most likely answer. Follow the money.

Colin Campbell

Cricket is more central to Australian culture than in the UK. While the State Teams are not well supported, they are the training grounds for the national team, which is very well supported. While the tests are on you can follow it on television at the doctors office, your office, shops, schools, in the car. It is an obsession. That being said, one of the challenges in Australia is that there are only a very few kids who have a shot a reasonable money not least the big money of national contracts. They are generally losing much of their best talent to other sports, primarily Aussie Rules. That said, the cultural factors in favour of the success of cricket in Australia are cultural, which ensures financial support from major sponsors and the Australian Public.

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