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

Sarah Jewell, J Reade () and Carl Singleton ()

No em-dp2020-10, Economics Discussion Papers from Department of Economics, Reading University

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.

Keywords: Home advantage; First-mover advantage; Decision making under uncertainty; Coin toss; County Championship; First-class cricket (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D81 L83 Z22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 33 pages
Date: 2020-05-18
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-spo
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