County Championship 2012

Consistency provides a path to success

ESPNcricinfo's statistical analysis showed consistency of team selection proved a factor in being successful in the County Championship in 2012

David Hopps and Neville Scott

November 8, 2012

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Wayne Madsen holds aloft the Division Two trophy, Derbyshire v Hampshire, County Championship, Division Two, Derby, September 14, 2012
Unfashionable Derbyshire found a settled XI that won them promotion © Getty Images
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Such was Surrey's traumatic season in 2011 as they tried to come to terms with the sad death of their England Lions batsman, Tom Maynard, it is no surprise to find that the turmoil is reflected in ESPNcricinfo's statistical study of the 2011 county season.

Surrey averaged nearly three team changes per game in the County Championship - by far the least consistent team selection among all the 18 first-class counties - as they pulled off a late-season recovery that avoided the threat of relegation.

Their captain, Rory Hamilton-Brown, took a period of compassionate leave after the death of Maynard, a close friend, in a dawn incident on the London underground, and he has since joined Sussex in an attempt to stabilise his life and his career.

Surrey also used as many as 24 players - a high also equalled by Somerset who, despite the disruption, managed to finish runners-up in Division One.

Warwickshire, as so often happens with Championship-winning sides, were one of the most settled teams in the country but consistent selection did not help Worcestershire, merely emphasising the lack of quality in their squad, as they headed inexorably towards relegation.

The statistics gathered by Neville Scott, a county cricket reporter and analyst, have consistently revealed Derbyshire's, well, consistency. They averaged fewer changes per match than any other county, their matches were quite evenly-fought, they had a sturdy reliance upon homegrown players and it even rained upon them less than most.

All that added up to promotion and another tilt at Division One for one of county cricket's most unfashionable counties.

Continuity - Division One: number of team changes per match (players changed mid-match 0.5)
                                Average
Warwickshire 1 1 0 2 0 1 2 2 3 2 1 1 1 1 3 1.40
Somerset 1 2 2 2 2 2 0 1 2 3 3 2 2 2 2 1.87
Middlesex 0 2 0 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 4 2 0 2 1.53
Sussex 2 1 1 1 1 0 1 2 3 2 0 0 0 2 4 1.33
Nottinghamshire 2 2 1 3 3 5 1 1 0 0 2 4 2 4.5 3 2.23
Durham 1 A 0 3 4 4 1 2 2 2 2 1.5 1 1 0 1.75
Surrey 2 2 A 4 3 1 2 4 3 2 3 2 4 1 5 2.71
Lancashire 1 1 2 3 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 2 2 1 5 1.47
Worcestershire 0 1 1 0 2 1 1 1 1 3 2 1 2 2 2 1.33
Note:Durham and Surrey did not name a teams in one abandoned match (A)

Continuity - Division Two: number of team changes per match (players changed mid-match 0.5)
                                Average
Derbyshire 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 3 0 2 1 2 0 0 0.93
Yorkshire 2 1 1 2 2 3 2 5 0 1 2 3 2 1 0 1.80
Kent 1 0 1 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 2 2 0.5 1 0.97
Hampshire 0 2 0 4 2 0 2 1 1 1 2 2 1 3 1 1.47
Essex 2 2 1 0 3 3 3 4 3 3 0 1 2 1 1 1.93
Glamorgan 1 2 A 1 4 2 3 2 2 0 1 2 1 2 2 1.79
Leicestershire 1 1 1 3 1 2 2 4 3 2 0 3 2 2 3 2.00
Northamptonshire 0 0 1 1 2 3 2 3 3 2 1 1 2 2 4 1.80
Gloucestershire 1 2 A 2 2 2 1 3 1 4 2 3 2 2 1 2.00
Note: Glamorgan and Gloucestershire did not name teams in one abandoned match (A)

The next table provides a further breakdown of team make-ups, looking at the number of matches played by each cricketer.

Settled and unsettled sides
Players used in 2012 Championship
County Total 13-16 games 9-12 games 5-8 games 14 games Debuts <10
1 Warwickshire 19 9 1 2 7 1 3
2 Somerset 24 3 8 5 8 3 10
3 Middlesex 19 8 2 4 5 2 4
4 Sussex 18 9 2 2 5 0 4
5 Nottinghamshire 20 5 7 4 4 0 3
6 Durham 21 8 2 5 6 1 4
7 Surrey 24 3 4 10 7 2 6
8 Lancashire 19 9 2 1 7 2 3
9 Worcestershire 22 5 5 5 7 4 7
10 Derbyshire 17 8 2 4 3 0 2
11 Yorkshire 21 6 5 2 8 0 3
12 Kent 18 8 3 2 5 1 3
13 Hampshire 18 6 4 4 4 1 2
14 Essex 22 4 3 11 4 1 4
15 Glamorgan 19 6 3 4 6 2 4
16 Leicestershire 22 6 5 4 7 1 7
17 Northamptonshire 20 8 4 1 7 2 4
18 Gloucestershire 21 4 4 6 7 2 7

Championship debutants excludes those with first-class experience abroad. <10 = number of players, including debutants, with fewer than ten competitive first-class appearance hitherto. Five players appeared for two different sides, one of them (Richard Johnson) after fewer than ten Championship games. Of 359 players, 79 (70 British-raised) had appeared in fewer than ten Championship or overseas first-class matches pre 2011. Of these, only 25 (23 British-raised) were debutants. Note that Durham. Surrey, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire each had one match abandoned - therefore no team was officially declared. These four sides played only 15, not 16, matches.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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