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NZ to use numbers to select teams

Associated Press
Nov 24, 2011 at 10:18am IST

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Wellington: New Zealand cricket director John Buchanan reportedly plans to implement a system in which future national teams are chosen according to a mathematical formula rather than on selectors' hunches.

Selection manager Kim Littlejohn has confirmed that the selection of New Zealand teams from junior ages to Test level would be governed by a pie graph of performance "equation factors."

The "selection pie," leaked to the media on Wednesday, contains six criteria which will influence selection: significant performance (worth 35 percent), consistent performance (25), contribution to the team (15), fitness (10), fielding (10) and selectors' intuition (5).

NZ to use mathematical formula to select teams

John Buchanan wants the selection of teams to be governed by a pie graph of performance "equation factors."

Buchanan, a former Australia coach, was appointed director of cricket earlier this year and recently recruited Littlejohn. The previous selection panel, which had included former Test players Glenn Turner and Mark Greatbatch, was disbanded.

Littlejohn was not concerned that the selection formula had been leaked to the media. He said the new system had been created with input from national coach John Wright and New Zealand's six provincial coaches.

"What we are working towards is to have at least 60 percent of our decision-making backed up with objective data," Littlejohn said. "We are trying to move away from, 'We think he is a good player' to 'we believe he is a good player' based on this evidence."

"Where it is most useful is when we have to leave a player out of the team. We can point to one of those sections and pinpoint where they need to work. We can send constructive feedback with them back to their provincial coaches to go to work on their game."

Littlejohn said the "significant performance" criterion noted achievements such as centuries and five-wicket hauls. The "consistent performance" category would take into account batting and bowling averages, strike rates and economy rates.

"If your batting average has dropped from 50 to 35, your consistent performance will not be there," he said. "It is all about helping athletes be better athletes and giving themselves something tangible to work on."

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