How to Build an England Cricketer

Warning: This is a little ‘tongue-in-cheek’.

  1. Be born in the last half of the year, preferably August.
  2. Be a late maturer.
  3. Probably best not to join a pathway too early - too much formal/boring practice.
  4. Be dropped and rejoin the pathway to build resilience? (Rocky Road)
  5. Be there at the end of the pathway (U19).
  6. Have success quickly at each level you reach.
  7. Play lots of different sports from an early age.
  8. Engage early with cricket but not too seriously.
  9. Explore through lots of informal play.
  10. Have a great deal of Inner Drive to succeed.
  11. Live in a mid-size town.
  12. Live close to your County Ground.
  13. Be part of a thriving club.
  14. Have lots of opportunities to play.

Plus some of the things you need to be a professional cricketer:

  1. Have taller than average parents.
  2. Have older siblings that play cricket.
  3. Go to a top cricketing independent school.
  4. Be white and wealthy.
  5. Have a parent who played cricket.
  6. Have a parent who is a coach, preferably Level 4.
  7. Be Left handed.
  8. Give up some school subjects to do more cricket.
  9. Have 1:1 coaching, preferably from a coach in the pathway.
  10. Pray you don’t get any overuse injuries.

Super-elite players are more likely to be later born (Q3/Q4) and late maturers. Why? Because they get better through being constantly challenged to a high level (optimum challenge point). This phenomenon is (partly) explained by the Underdog Effect.

Early specialisation can lead to burnout and overuse injuries, thus reducing your chance of becoming an England cricketer. Playing a broad range of sports will be more fun, give you a wider set of movement skills, increase your tactical awareness and ability to adapt. You probably should engage early with cricket but it should be through lots of informal play and exploration.

The Rocky Road is a tricky one. Yes, setbacks can build resilience and be a motivator but it can also have the opposite effect. It is likely that for every player that overcomes a significant hurdle a number of players don’t.

To be an England cricketer you must be a professional cricketer first. Here is the conundrum. Some of the factors are opposite. An early born and/or early maturer is more likely to be a professional cricketer but less likely to be an England cricketer. A late born and/or late maturer is less likely to be a professional cricketer but more likely to be an England cricketer.

To be a professional cricketer you have to be in a First Class County Academy in the final year U19. Very few players join later. Some do after they have played for University teams (MCCUs) and fewer still through success in club cricket.

Rob Reed
Rob Reed

Interested in Relative Age Effects & Maturation in Player Id & Development 🏏 #OneMoreSummer