Home > Cricket Development > Opinion: Highest # of cricketers per capita

Opinion: Highest # of cricketers per capita

So if one were to think of Pakistan, and how many people out of 100 would be following or playing cricket, the number that would come to mind is around 65-75. I thought of building a similar list for the associate countries, the number given is the number of total players (junior and senior) per 100 people in that country. Naturally the tiny countries took the cake. This is strictly the number PLAYING cricket, as there is no way to accurately find out how many people are not playing but only following the game.

  1. Gibraltar (10.61 cricketers per 100 people)
  2. Guernsey (8.43)
  3. Jersey (3.55)
  4. Vanuatu (3.16)
  5. Bermuda (2.97)
  6. Cook Is. (2.15)
  7. Caymans (1.9)
  8. Isle of Man (1.60)
  9. Tonga (0.70)
  10. Samoa (0.67)

Well, the total combined population of all these countries is less than 878,000 !. So there is not much of expansion that we are talking about. In fact, the ICC would become a laughing stock, and I dont know why they dont realize it, if they present these countries as forebearers of cricket's global expansion. In fact, some of these are not even independent countries, but dominions of other cricket playing nations. Our friend Vanuatu features again on this list at 4, and is actually the largest of these countries with 200K population.  

For the purpose of satisfying myself, I then compiled another list of countries with highest number of players per 100 people, in countries that have a population higher than 2 million.

  1. Namibia (0.59 cricketers per 100 people)
  2. Scotland (0.37)
  3. UAE (0.33)
  4. Ireland (0.31)
  5. Kuwait (0.14)
  6. Uganda (0.10)
  7. PNG (0.09)
  8. Denmark (0.07)
  9. Oman (0.059)
  10. Singapore (0.0529)
  11. Canada (0.0528)
  12. Malaysia (0.046)
  13. Zambia (0.045)
  14. Nepal (0.0339)
  15. Netherlands (0.0336)

Those countries that I left in the normal font are the ones that I feel have only expats playing the game, so the numbers should not really tell a different story than what the reality is. Out of these, Uganda, Canada, Malaysia, Nepal and Netherlands are the only countries with a population greater than 10 million.

Categories: Cricket Development
  1. Ram
    June 2, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    Very good post that Nasir! I agree that population should be the major criterion in deciding which countries must get priority funding from the ICC and not just cricket-following numbers. Do you have any idea how countries not on the list like Afghanistan, Japan, Kenya stack up against the above mentioned countries?

    Just a small comment about your statement that about 65-75 people out of 100 follow cricket in Pakistan. Is this a statistic meant to be taken seriously because I don’t think you would get such a high percentage for any cricketing country except maybe WI owing to its small population! A 65% following would mean about 10 crore cricket followers in Pakistan alone. Are you sure Pakistan has such a wide cricket following?

  2. June 3, 2006 at 3:20 am

    Ram, perhaps 45-55 would be more accurate. But yes, it is a very very high number.

  3. Ram
    June 7, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    Why I questioned that number is because I felt that such a high following isn’t consistent with a financially bankrupt national board (if not now, I believe this was the case till early 2004) or the fact that most Test matches in Pakistan are played in front of empty stadiums, which made the PCB to give away free tickets to bring back Test match crowds.

  4. June 7, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    Are you guys forgetting that at any approximately stage 50% of the population will be women? Add to that another 15% who will be too old or too young to play cricket?

    Even 45 is a massive, massive overstatement.. !

  5. June 7, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    Ram…. PCB has a net worth of close to 300 crore Rs (thats about $50 million)….. even in 2004 they had a net worth of close to 150 crore Rs…. from the 2006 Pak-Eng series, they earned close to 9 million dollars, and about 7.1 million dollars from the Pak-Ind series this year.

    In the subcontinent, number of people coming in the stadium does not matter to cricket boards. The real money is made from television rights (and hence they need the people just for the creation of an atmosphere). PCB made 21 million dollars from the Pak-Ind series in 2004, and all the tests were played in empty stadiums.

    Ankur, the number is for people ‘following OR playing’ cricket, not just playing. ‘Following’ includes watching it on tv, watching it in the stadium, playing in the backyard, talking debating about the match etc. I mentioned in the post that it is NOT possible to get this number for associate countries, hence I only listed the registered playing numbers.

    And no, the 45-55 number is not unrealistically high. Women today in Pakistan also follow cricket quite a lot. People who consider themselves average followers of cricket in Pakistan also know who Andy Flower and Grant Flower were so I think thats a pretty high standard of average followers!

  6. Ram
    June 7, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    Nasir….What surprises me about Pakistan cricket despite enjoying such a passionate following is its relatively low commercial value!…I mean in terms of cricket following Pakistan must only be second to India given Pakistan’s population and the passionate following the game enjoys over there….Yet, Pakistani players earn peanuts compared to their English or Australian counterparts and sponsorship involvement in the game is lower compared to England or Australia..I’m fairly sure a bigger English/Australian economy can’t be the answer because that would be applicable to India too!

  7. June 7, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Ram, I am afraid that you have asked a question that I have been bewildered about as you are. But India’s cricket economy is the biggest, if you look at how much players make compared to the average household income in India.

    Pakistan players are under contract NOT to endorse products on their own. They can only endorse products through PCB. And PCB does not really care about making MORE money, as long as it is above a certain number PCB is fine. You can call it lack of professionalism or whatever. There was never a bidding process for the rights to sponsor the team shirt, or for the kit sponsor, and there never was an official sponsorship bidding for Pak cricket that I know of. I guess PCB is happy with the existing sponsors, whatever they are giving.

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