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It's Just Not Cricket: The Uncontested Toss and the Gentleman's Game

Author

Listed:
  • Sarah Jewell

    () (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

  • J. James Reade

    () (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

  • Carl Singleton

    () (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

Abstract

Cricket offers a wealth of opportunity and potential insights for economists and other researchers. Focusing on the oldest domestic cricket competition, the English County Championship, we discuss issues of demand, home advantage, competitive balance and the importance of winning the pre-match coin toss to determine the playing order. Despite cricket being generally regarded as a sport for traditionalists, the County Championship is remarkable in how often the rule makers have altered its format. We study one recent major change, the replacement of the mandatory pre-match coin toss with an uncontested one, whereby the away team could decide whether to bowl first or face a toss to bat instead. In theory, this ought to have reduced home advantage, made the toss matter more when it was contested, and incentivised teams to prepare better pitches leading to longer matches. We found no evidence of the first or the last of these effects, but matches did become more predictable once the toss was decided. This suggests that the rule makers were right to abandon this experimental change after only four seasons.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Jewell & J. James Reade & Carl Singleton, 2020. "It's Just Not Cricket: The Uncontested Toss and the Gentleman's Game," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-10, Department of Economics, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2020-10
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    File URL: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/economics/emdp202010.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Home advantage; First-mover advantage; Decision making under uncertainty; Coin toss; County Championship; First-class cricket;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • Z22 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - Labor Issues

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