[What Is] The Underdog Effect

A number of research articles have shown that those players born in Birth Quarter 4 (Q4 June-August) and to a lesser extent in Q3 (March-May) are more likely to reach higher levels within cricket (and other sports such as Rugby and Ice Hockey) than those born in Q1 or Q2 (between September and February). It is proposed that the sole reason for this is the Underdog Effect. Namely younger, smaller, weaker, players have to work harder to survive than their relatively older counterparts.

For example, Q3/Q4 players have longer England ODI careers (+30%) than Q1/Q2 players, yet more Q1/Q2 players are selected.

Tim Wigmore and Mark Williams in their book ‘The Best - How Elite Athletes Are Made’ give the example of more later born players play 50+ Tests for England than early born.

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Rob Reed
Rob Reed

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