The county scorers are maintaining a diplomatic silence over the appointment of nine new analysts employed by Opta, the sports data specialists, who will circulate details of county matches to the media this coming season.
Scorers have previously supplied the information through the Press Association, and received a fee to supplement their arrangements with their county employers. So the deal that has been agreed with Opta by the England and Wales Cricket Board will hit them financially, although it is the logistical problems of the new arrangements that have caused the most concern.
“There just won’t be room at a lot of the grounds for the guys from Opta to sit with us,” said one scorer, after a pre-season meeting with Opta in Derby last week. “That means they’re going to be sitting somewhere else on their own, and scoring a match on your own is difficult verging on impossible. I can see there being a lot of teething troubles, put it that way.”
However the ECB point out that Opta will be able to provide a much more detailed and varied range of statistics than the scorers. The company, which was founded in 1996, now have nine offices worldwide, and their data on other sports is already widely used by newspapers and broadcasters in Britain and abroad, most obviously on Premier League football but also rugby union and rugby league.