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CA's over-inflated participation figures a bubble that had to burst

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Before the May federal election, industry-standard surveys, polls and sampling methods found Labor to be the likely winner. Election day brought another way of counting: people filling out ballot papers which other people counted by hand.

The analogy applies to the Herald’s work on cricket participation in Australia. Cricket Australia uses industry-standard methods and samples to estimate how many players there are. The Herald went another way: looking inside every ‘ballot box’ and counting them manually. Our number of unique players can never be absolutely correct, but the tally of 247,060 registered players is far closer to the truth than CA’s estimates, which they acknowledge contain an element of ‘guesswork’.

Cricket's over-inflated participation figures have done nothing for the game.Credit:AAP

Since the Herald broke this story on Sunday, there has been a flood of correspondence. What many people are asking is whether CA’s over-estimation of its numbers was deliberate, a pattern of systemic behaviour or a well-intentioned stuff-up.

It is not new. Back in 2013, the then-CEO of CA, James Sutherland, said: "[From] our annual independent and rigorous research, cricket ranked number one in 2011-12 with almost 900,000 participants, with AFL number two and soccer third. We’re preparing to announce another big participation increase... We’re confident that based on our extensive........

© Brisbane Times