Relative Age Effect in Women’s Cricket (England ODI selection)

Since 2001 Q3/Q4 England Women ODI players have played TWICE as many matches as Q1/Q2 players.

In Women’s cricket RAE appears to be reversed. Q3/Q4 players are selected more than Q1/Q2. Why is this?

Maturation in women happens earlier and has less of an effect on physicality than in men. In women maturation causes a change in body composition with fat mass increasing relative to muscle whereas in men it causes an increase in muscle mass. Therefore it is often found that girls that are late maturers and/or are born later in the sporting year are overly selected, in the development pathway, because they are/appear to be more athletic.

Before and after Isa Guha

Isa Guha made her ODI debut in 2001. Interestingly, before 2001 Q1/Q2 England Women ODI players played 3.5x MORE matches than Q3/Q4 players. From then on though things were very different.

Before Isa Q1/Q2 players dominated both in terms of numbers of players (57:43) but more so matches played (78:22) (Figure 1). Post 2001 selection has changed radically. Q3/Q4 players now dominate, slightly in terms of numbers of players (46:54) but more so by matches played (34:66) (Figure 2).


English Women’s cricket has become more professional. The administration of Womens’ cricket merged with Men’s cricket in 1998 and womens cricket has benefited from more resources (but not enough incidentally).

Selectors are looking for more athletic fielders reflecting the growth in T20 cricket.

The growth of women and girls participation means there is a larger pool of players to pick from.

What can we do about it?

MONITOR 5 Yr Rolling Averages for Age Groups to target a 25% Quarterly distribution for RAE.

MEASURE. Height/Weight Qtrly. Use % of Predicted Adult Height (Khamis-Roche method) to know Biological Age.

USE Biological Age & Chronological Age in assessing Fitness & Performance Data.

USE Age ordered bibs at trials to help coaches make better informed decisions.

Rob Reed
Rob Reed

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