Accountancy firms have traditionally been full of cricket enthusiasts


Sport Personal File

After a controversial cricket world cup involving politics and

patriotism, is it possible to decipher the world' s number one

player? PwC thinks so. Chris Evans

PricewaterhouseCoopers has provided cricket ratings for over 15 years and now with the World Cup its popularity has soared as accountants all over the world are drawn to the crease.

Ted Dexter, former England chairman of selectors, approached PricewaterhouseCoopers back in 1987 to help develop a system for rating international cricketers. The original ratings were for test players only, but the growing popularity of one-day cricket led to the launch in 1998 of separate one-day ratings.

Robert Eastaway co-founded what was originally the Deloitte' s ratings, but later changed its name following a merger with Coopers & Lybrand of hits from cricket enthusiasts all over the world and is a fantastic magnet for drawing them to the PwC global website.

' It is the more educated and business minded, as well as students, that tend to read the website and so it would be sensible for the human resources departments of accountancy firms and big businesses to use cricket as a way of attracting the best workforce.'

First into bat

The ratings are based on a weighted average system, in other words taking into consideration a player' s career average as well as present form. Traditional averages only reflect players' standing over their whole career. The ratings, on the other hand, put more emphasis on what the player has done in recent matches.' The difficulty, and often where we face the most criticism, is finding a balance between the two,' Eastaway emphasises.

In the ratings formula, each innings counts as 4% less important as you go back in the player' s career. This weighted average system explains why players with poor career averages sometimes have high ratings, and vice versa.

Before calculating the weighted average, the ratings program evaluates each individual performance, taking into account factors such as the strength of the opposition. These factors differ for the test and one-day ratings.

Before the player' s weighted average is printed out, it is converted into points, on a scale of 0 to 1,000. For example, for a batsman, a

before finally settling as today' s PwC. Eastaway told that ' Deloittes was very committed to the idea of a rating system because accountancy firms have traditionally been full of cricket enthusiasts. The City is very cricket biased.

' There were lots of reasons why they should want to. But at the time it was unheard of for accountancy firms to sponsor things. There was very little high profile stuff done, except the occasional advertisement by Arthur Andersen. And in a way that is still the case today.

' But this rating system did get a phenomenal amount of publicity and a lot of internal enthusiasm and commitment. The cricket ratings website has received a huge amount weighted average of 60 will give him about 850 points. 900 points indicates world-beating form, and is rarely achieved by a player at any level. A player with over 700 is usually featured in the top 10 world rankings.

Fluctuations in form

Much like the stock market, a player' s rating can fluctuate up and down depending on performance. The higher a player' s rating, the faster it will fall if he loses form. It is possible to drop 100 points after a single game, but that is rare. Instead a player' s points usually change by about 30 points after a test match and 15 after a one-day international.

The cricket ranking system has faced some criticisms along the way, especially in the early days, and so some fine tuning was done to ensure that players who reached the top ten had got there on merit.

Apart from Michael Vaughan' s test rating (2nd), England does not fair too well in either one-day or test ratings. They will fair even worse now, having failed to even get into the super six stage of the World Cup.

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