County Championship 2018 - Players to Watch

12th April, 2018.

Email: Sportsanalyticsadvantage@gmail.com

The 2018 season of the English County Championship begins tomorrow, and as with all formats of cricket in all countries, a number of players are under-rated and frequently haven't been given a regular chance by team management.

An effective data algorithm will be able to establish these players, which has multiple benefits.  

Firstly, team management at other clubs will be able to look at these players as recruitment solutions, and in addition, player agents can look at recruiting these players as prospects who are likely to develop into first-team regulars, whether they are at their current club or elsewhere.  With the English cricket scene in relative turmoil given the uncertainty of the proposed 2020 T20 league, as well as losing a number of players to the IPL or signing white-ball only contracts, player transfers seem likely to be more commonplace in the future, and astute users of data will be able to exploit such an issue. 

There are a number of players in both Division One and Division Two of the County Championship who, for various reasons, have had little exposure to first-team red-ball cricket, when both their limited number of performances in the County Championship and also in the Second XI indicate that they are very capable of being strong first-team performers.  

We filtered our county database for players who played the majority of their 4-day cricket in the second XI in recent years, and also were at an age where further improvement is likely to come - in short, they were yet to reach an age where players peak.  In addition, these players also needed to have strong expected batting or bowling data in their relevant division, according to our unique algorithm.

Division One:

Matt Fisher, Age 20, Yorkshire, Right-Arm Fast-Medium Bowler, Expected Bowling Average in Division One: 22.33
Sam Cook, Age 20, Essex, Right-Arm Fast Bowler, Expected Bowling Average in Division One: 23.12
Ian Holland, Age 27, Hampshire, Right-Arm Medium Bowling All-Rounder, Expected Bowling Average in Division One: 23.53, Expected Batting Average in Division One: 38.43
Saqib Mahmood, Age 21, Lancashire, Right-Arm Fast-Medium Bowler, Expected Bowling Average in Division One: 24.33
Amar Virdi, Age 19, Surrey, Right-Arm Offbreak Bowler, Expected Bowling Average in Division One: 24.51
Matt Milnes, Age 23, Nottinghamshire, Right-Arm Medium-Fast Bowler, Expected Bowling Average in Division One: 26.09
Matt Parkinson, Age 21, Lancashire, Legbreak Bowler, Expected Bowling Average in Division One: 26.76
Ollie Pope, Age 20, Surrey, Right-Hand Wicket-Keeper/Batsman, Expected Batting Average in Division One: 44.02
Rob Jones, Age 22, Lancashire, Right-Hand Batsman, Expected Batting Average in Division One: 39.64
Calvin Dickinson, Age 21, Hampshire, Right-Hand Wicket-Keeper/Batsman, Expected Batting Average in Division One: 30.29

Division Two:

Ravi Patel, Age 26, Middlesex, Slow Left-Arm Bowler, Expected Bowling Average in Division Two: 21.58
George Scott, Age 22, Middlesex, Right-Hand Batsman, Expected Batting Average in Division Two: 46.16
Harvey Hosein, Age 21, Derbyshire, Right-Hand Wicket-Keeper/Batsman, Expected Batting Average in Division Two: 38.09
Grant Stewart, Age 24, Kent, Right Hand Medium-Fast Bowler, Expected Bowling Average in Division Two: 26.93
Sukhjit Singh, Age 21, Warwickshire, Slow Left-Arm Bowler, Expected Bowling Average in Division Two: 16.51 (Small sample size of data)

These players listed above are likely to be among the biggest prospects in English red-ball cricket.  Interestingly, they have better expected data than a number of prospects who higher-rated by the media and selectors, and if given the chance, I expect these players to impress in the coming season and in the longer-term future as well.

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