Selections for England Men’s Lions. It’s all about the journey.

If you are one of the 21 man squad for the upcoming England Lions training camp how did you get there?

The 3 week camp, for red ball skills, has a mix of players, from Rehan Ahmed at age 19 to Brydon Carse at 28. 10 players are younger than age 23 with 11 players older, with more bowlers than batters.

This is a relatively large group with 10 players new to the England Lions.

RAE Profile

Q1 19%, Q2 38%, Q3 24%, Q4 19% (S1 57%, S2 43%), n=21

This is more S1 biassed than the 48:52 average from 2011 to 2020 (Ref 1), mainly from a S1 (first half of the year) bias within the older half of the group, 64:36, compared to a 50:50 split in the younger half. This may be influenced by the batter/bowler ratio. For batters RAE is 40:60 and for bowlers 63:38.

The RAE profile is lower than that found at England U19s but higher than that found within the full England team and reflects the slow decline of RAE as players age. Players from over-selected birth quarters fade from the system at a higher rate than the under-selected birth quarters. 

It’s all about the journey.

The England pathway begins at U15 with a 4 region tournament, the Bunbury Festival. Another regional tournament, the Super 4s, follows at U18 with selection then for the England U19s.

Discounting those players with South African and Northern Irish upbringing, of 18 players, only 3 of these players played Regional U15s, 17/18 and England U19s (accounting for Covid). 4 players were not selected at any of these stages, 3 of whom were later born. Perhaps also late maturation is a factor for some/all of these ‘late bloomer’ players too.

# of players selected at U15, U17/18* & U19.

15s 58%

17/18s 53%

19s 47%

So perhaps quite a mixture of journeys, with only very few obvious ‘talents’ on a linear path. Most of these players have had moments of non-selection and some are only just reaching these levels at around 25 years of age, bowlers and batters alike. 

Perhaps this also shows the mismatch between the over selection of early born (and probably early maturing) players earlier in the pathway, who are simply not required at those percentages once you get to England and England Lions?

* Until recently the Super 4s was an U17 competition (with some over age U18s playing) but has recently changed to U18.


  1. Kelly, A.L.; Brown, T.; Reed, R.; Côté, J.; Turnnidge, J. Relative Age Effects in Male Cricket: A Personal Assets Approach to Explain Immediate, Short-Term, and Long-Term Developmental Outcomes. Sports 2022, 10, 39.
Rob Reed
Rob Reed

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