University lecturer warns cricket One Day Internationals must engage with fans

By Ben Housam @benhousam

A University of Sheffield tutor has carried out extensive research which may shape the future of One Day International cricket.

Dr Ian Gregory-Smith, of the Department of Economics, has produced findings which show that cricket fans are more likely to watch closely-fought matches than one-sided affairs.

He has worked with two colleagues from the University of Nottingham and is looking to use his tools as an economist to understand more about how cricket works.

He said: “The latest report is on the demand for One Day Internationals and the role that competitive balance has and how much that matters for attendance demand – how much does that matter for my decision to go and watch the cricket.”

One Day International cricket has come under scrutiny in recent years, largely because of the development of the Twenty20 format of the game.

Dr Smith added: “People are a bit worried that the introduction of T20s is having a downward effect for the traditional 50 over games. So maybe one of the things that should be looked at is to see how many games are scheduled between teams that are too far apart in terms of the strength.”

The shorter form of one-day cricket has thrived recently, with domestic T20 competitions generating huge audiences and attracting the world’s top players.

The report will be a concern for the International Cricket Council, who will need to balance reducing one-sided matches with encouraging cricket to develop in countries not usually associated with the sport.

Dr Gregory-Smith has learnt to combine both his love of cricket with his work in economics.

He said: “We like cricket and care about the game but from a more professional side it’s about  seeing what tools we are able to bring to the analysis of cricket that maybe other disciplines wouldn’t be able to do.”

Dr Ian Gregory-Smith
Dr Ian Gregory-Smith



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