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How we exposed Cricket Australia's double counting

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Most major sports recognise two sets of numbers when it comes to how many players they have. One is the participation rate, and the other is the actual number of players.

Cricket Australia has each year boasted a growing participation rate, which stretches credulity, because the number of clubs and teams has been falling for a decade and people involved in the cricket community at club and school level see registrations in decline.

Cricket Australia publicises an estimate of ‘participation’, which has been rising steadily to its current claim of a record high ‘1.65 million Australians’. It does not know the real number of players. This is to its advantage: it can tell its stakeholders that it has a rising participation rate and boost the value of its product.

The problem is, the participation rate is a fiction. Since last year, Cricket Australia has moved its counting in-house; it was previously calculated by the Victorian research firm Street Ryan, which devised the ‘Australian Cricket Census’ in 2002. Through that process, a database called MyCricket was set up, in which cricketers who registered either online or manually received a........

© The Age