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  • Squad sizes

    To all those playing The English domestic leagues - how big are your squad sizes becoming? I have never had such a large squad and it can feel unwieldy and expensive.

    I now have a whopping 37 players in the squad.

    There are 4 international signings - three T20 and one main signing.

    I then lose three middle order batsmen to the England Test team with another batsman, a wicket-keeper opened and my first-choice fast bowler joining them for the LO matches.

    I then lose 15 players to the 100. It means that once you remove the 18 players unable to play in the OD matches I have a good sized squad to chose from for the OD matches.

    Are you accumulating the same sort of numbers?

    this squad is with Glamorgan who seem to have a far higher playing budget than in real life, which is a big bonus, but how are people getting on with less well financed counties?

  • #2
    I've reported back previously that a lot of the county budgets are ridiculously bloated leading to even more bloated squad sizes but not had a response from Sureshot.

    I suspect you're a victim of your own success with the Hundred reaping a merry toll. Perhaps the AI needs worked on to ensure it's somewhat spreading the contracts around slightly more evenly to keep things a bit more realistic.

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    • #3
      The selections for the 100 can be even more premature than for the national squads.

      Short of spin options I signed the only promising player who after one season was signed up for the 100 despite having played just 6 OD and 2 T20s, averaging 29 in OD and having not taken a wicket in T20s.

      Most players have one good T20 or OD season then get signed up the next.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have set myself a baseline budget then sign everyone else on one year contracts so if I don’t win the T20, for example, I don’t end up having to lose good players. How do others manage it?

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        • #5
          I just tend to play with whomever I have left, quite often I'll only have 12 or 13 players available for the One Day cup. I think you really just have to do an ECB and stop caring about it.

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          • #6
            I try to keep my Yorkshire squad to 30 although this takes some doing what with the regens coming in each year. That’s sort of my magic number, 10 bats, 10 bowlers, 3 keepers, 7 different type allrounders for all wicket types.
            Then I’ll normally go for 3 overseas, main, reserve, 1 T20 big hitter making 33?
            I've found the more players I have the more injuries I get, ok this could be a simple equation to percentage problem but it makes me wonder whether it’s worth having such a large squad? Would I have the same number of injuries with 20 players? Maybe not, but then I wouldn’t have enough squad to successfully compete..

            Comment


            • #7
              37 is the absolute maximum I have ever had but for the first time in CC20 I actually have a couple of options in the OD matches! I would grant that a few of the options are weak LO players and one almost elderly bowler.

              I have usually gone for a squad of 25-27 over past years, only swelling if I have centrally contracted players. I have had a template:

              2 aggressive / v. aggressive openers
              2 average agression openers
              1 defensive / v. defensive opener

              2 average aggression batsmen
              2 aggressive batsmen
              2 v. aggressive batsmen
              Two of these batsmen will be wicket keepers

              1 extra wicket keeper

              I find variety in the bowling leads to more wickets so look for:

              2 fast bowlers
              3 medium-fast bowlers
              2 fast-medium bowlers
              1 medium bowler
              2 off spiners
              1 leg spinner
              1 left arm slow

              I want as many of those to be all-rounders as possible, no less than three.

              The main international signing is chosen on which position I am most struggling to fill and I only sign a reserve if I’ve won the Championship.

              I sign two T20s, a high scoring opener and then a genuine T20 all-rounder. If I win the T20s I sign another player, usually another batsmen.

              So if I win both the Championship and T20 I will have a squad of 27. I don’t usually worry about injuries because there is already a no.2 in line to step in. If a player gets signed I look for an exact replacement.

              This can take quite a few seasons to build up but that’s part of the challenge.

              Comment


              • #8
                With this squad of 37 I have not signed a reserve overseas player, so I am essentially playing with 11 more in the squad to replace the 15 I lose to the 100.

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                • #9
                  I currently have 30 players in the squad which still feels on the small side.

                  I focus on the core of my County Championship team with 3 openers, 5 middle order batsmen, a second wicket keeper (the first is one of my openers), 2 spinners and 6 seam bowlers of varied speeds. That puts me at around 17 players as the core, all of which I consider to be starting quality and I'm happy to use when available - though obviously there are a few 'stars' I consider #1 choice in their position. I often have 2-4 batsmen and 2-3 bowlers picked for England (depending on the type of match) so some of them I actually don't get to use much, though only 2 are currently getting their wages paid by England which is a bit frustrating when others keep getting picked!

                  After that I then have some more aggressive batsmen for T20 (currently 4 of them), as I really don't want to use my defensive opener there and so on. So that's 21. They sometimes play in 4-day matches too if they're in really good form or if I have bad luck with injuries/International call-ups.

                  The rest of the squad are a mix of youngsters with potential for the future and 'cheap' backup players who pretty much sit around doing nothing until the Challenge Trophy comes around and half my squad disappear to The 100. It varies year to year but usually 12-15 of my Core and T20 players are taken. I have a 3rd keeper included here as one of my main 2 always plays The 100 and the rest are a mix of batsmen and bowlers to plug the inevitable gaps. I try to keep this batch of players as good as they can be without paying too much on wages - most fall in the 20k - 24k range. I also don't waste training on them as they're usually signed on 1 year contracts (though the good youngsters I sign for 3 years when I can and give them technique training if I feel they need adapting).

                  Some years have been tougher than other years - I think my worst was having 12 players remaining for the Challenge Trophy, so I kept my fingers crossed for no injuries throughout that! Other years I might have a couple less core players taken away and still have 14-15 available for a little rotation and cover.

                  The biggest issue comes when core players need contracts renewing as it's impossible to keep them all. I then have to choose some to keep and some to let go, in order to still have the budget for those 9-10 Challenge Trophy backups. That's just the way it is I guess, but in previous years we didn't need quite so many backups. The 100 is a pain in the arse for this

                  The frustrating thing is seeing many other counties only having 5-6 players taken to The 100, and your backups are facing a significant portion of their regular starters in the Challenge Trophy. Though sometimes I do see 1-2 counties also having 10-11 players taken, if they have a really strong squad.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chris_ View Post
                    The biggest issue comes when core players need contracts renewing as it's impossible to keep them all. I then have to choose some to keep and some to let go, in order to still have the budget for those 9-10 Challenge Trophy backups. That's just the way it is I guess, but in previous years we didn't need quite so many backups. The 100 is a pain in the arse for this
                    I’ve mostly been able to keep hold of core players but it means taking on a lot of one year contracts. Mind you, the worst was when I had signed a youngster on a 30K three year contract who then got picked up by England with a year left on it. They had a seven year career during which I only received their 30K as compensation despite them being worth over twice that. When they were pushed out of the England squad they suddenly wanted 70K and although they were worth it (especially now I could pick them more!) I had to scythe through the squad to do so.

                    Part of the challenge is squad management and I think my next save will be with Derbyshire - the county with the lowest base income - to see how hard it is without the cash reserves.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cde View Post

                      I’ve mostly been able to keep hold of core players but it means taking on a lot of one year contracts. Mind you, the worst was when I had signed a youngster on a 30K three year contract who then got picked up by England with a year left on it. They had a seven year career during which I only received their 30K as compensation despite them being worth over twice that. When they were pushed out of the England squad they suddenly wanted 70K and although they were worth it (especially now I could pick them more!) I had to scythe through the squad to do so.

                      Part of the challenge is squad management and I think my next save will be with Derbyshire - the county with the lowest base income - to see how hard it is without the cash reserves.
                      I'd be keen to see you document the Derbyshire save. I've played them a bit and found the key is to try and sign players who you can squeeze good results from but whom won't trouble the hundred drafts.

                      The County Championship isn't too bad as you can find solid defensive batsmen for around 30k who can trouble the 1k runs mark.

                      White ball more difficult as anyone who has a good t20 season seems to end up in the Hundred. Overseas signings are key. If you have a couple overseas stars doing the heavy lifting in your t20 side you can have more solid or inconsistent players who are good enough to pitch in regularly or win you the odd game but won't deliver the rambunctious campaign that sees them bag a hundred contract.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I did some squad restructuring as I had enough of losing half my squad to various things. I realised that there were players I'd kept renewing for years despite barely getting to use them, due to a combination of international call-ups and The 100. It was time to trim some fat.

                        The first thing I did was discard any England contracted players from planning. They're typically my best players and it's great to use them for the first few games of the year but after that they spend more time away than they do being available, and even when they do return from international duty they more often than not have 0-1 star form. Previously I'd factored them in as options but realistically I needed to balance my squad ignoring them and treating them as a bonus.

                        After that I listed all the players I expected to be available for the Challenge Trophy. As I keep a spreadsheet to track performance year-on-year and have a record of who was called up it was simple enough to do (it's generally the same players every year going to The 100).

                        It was clear that I had too many players regularly away and lacked quality in some key areas when my stars were on international duty. There were some I had solely for white ball matches but they'd missed the 20-Over Trophy while on England duty and the Challenge Trophy while away for The 100. The only thing they were available for was the County Championship where I didn't use them anyway! So I let quite a few players leave when their contracts expired, which was a shame as I'd trained many from being youth signings, but it had to be done.

                        After discounting all England contracted players I knew I needed a couple of real quality bowlers who'd be available throughout the Championship and preferably for 20-Overs too. I knew it was unlikely to expect them to be available for the Challenge Trophy as anyone who's decent gets called away for that. Luckily there were a couple available domestically with good stats and I picked up a new gen Overseas bowler on 100% availability, so that covered that gap.

                        After that it was mostly down to filling out numbers for the Challenge Trophy - I had 7 batsmen I expected to have available but only 3 bowlers, so had a look through the players available and signed a few average bowlers. No one I plan to use in the Championship matches but decent One Day stats to bowl in the Challenge Trophy if the primary bowlers go to The 100 as expected.

                        That leaves me with a smaller squad of 27 but it should leave me with around 14 available for the Challenge Trophy (8 batsmen, 6 bowlers). The other 13 should be away during that time.

                        3 Opening Batsmen
                        • 2 starters, 1 new youth to try.
                        • Should be available for all 3 formats.
                        • One of the starters and the new youth are the 2 keepers in my squad.
                        Here I favour Strong or Slight Pace preference and either Neutral for foot/side or Slight Back / Slight Off.

                        10 Batsmen, of which:
                        • 3 are contracted to England and expected to be away a lot.
                        • 6 should be my main middle order batsmen for the Championship, all capable. I'll likely use 4-5 depending on who is in form.
                        • 1 is a reasonable backup.
                        • 5 of them should be around for the Challenge Trophy.
                        Most of the batsmen are AVG aggression with 3 of them AGG. The more aggressive batsmen will likely play when conditions are better, and in the shorter formats when available. Preference-wise I prefer mostly balanced players without extremes so I train Strong preferences away. I tend to favour Slight Pace or Neutral bowling preference with foot and side being Slight Back / Neutral and Slight Off / Neutral, as looking through the batsman analysis the majority of balls seem to be on the off side and pitched short to be hit off the back foot. I'm not a big fan of batsmen with Spin preference as most bowlers in English matches are seamers.

                        14 Bowlers
                        • 2 contracted to England and should be away a lot (a RF and RFM).
                        • 2 F bowlers (1 a great overseas player to use all year, 1 likely to miss most on ENG duty).
                        • 3 MF bowlers (2 with good stats, 1 purely backup for white ball matches.
                        • 6 FM bowlers (1 mostly away with ENG, 3 others still good, 1 an all-rounder for white ball and 1 purely a backup/white ball player).
                        • 3 Spinners (all good quality).
                        • 8 bowlers total should be away at The 100, leaving 1 F, 2 MF, 2 FM and 1 SLA for the Challenge Trophy).
                        Any bowler I'm keeping on high salary needs to be available for the Championship and have the numbers to be starting quality. After ENG contracted players are discounted that gives me 1 F, 2 MF, 3 FM and 3 Spinners for 9 total I consider good enough as primary bowlers. As I use either 4 or 5 depending on conditions that gives me some flexibility in rotating for form and conditions. I then have a few who should only see play during the Challenge Trophy or 20 Overs.

                        Hopefully the restructuring works

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Chris_

                          Keeping a better track of who is actually playing enough to keep on is something I should do more. I’ve just let some players who are good but not available enough go.

                          First FC match of the season a bowler who has been in and out for a few years without doing much and averaging in the low 30s took 11-106 against me!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a spreadsheet where I record my players' 2nd XI stats (as that's always been an indicator of their ability), preferences and performances in my first team. Along with keeping track of how they perform each year it gives me a quick visual of who isn't available for different formats. Here's a screenshot of my batting tab:

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                            The greyed out cells in the 20 Ovr section at the end show my players who miss most of that competition on international T20 duty and the black cells under the One Day (OD) section show players called up to The 100. I had more batsmen with blacked out OD sections before I cut them this past summer.

                            The averages over on the left after the player names are all from 2nd XI and the main performance averages are from the domestic competitions - I make sure to grab the stats for ENG FC etc. as soon as a competition ends so it doesn't include Internationals. For the 20 Over Trophy batting average I factor in the strike rate along with their underlying average as it's rare for me to be all out in an innings so rate of runs is a major factor. For FC and OD averages I just stick to their normal batting average as rushing the runs is less of an issue.
                            Last edited by Chris_; 10-22-2020, 11:14 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, the planning was almost right. I do have the 3 openers and 5 batsmen available for the Challenge Trophy, so yay for that! I can rotate 2 of the spots for form.

                              Where it didn't quite work is that 10 of my 14 bowlers are away leaving me 4 for the whole Challenge Trophy. I guess we'll see how well my batsmen can bowl I really didn't expect youth bowlers with no first team record at all to get called up in their first year...

                              I didn't get a youth bowler promoted mid-season this year either, just a wicket keeper with terrible 2nd XI averages which is a shame.

                              Ah well, I guess I need to let one more good player go so I can afford a couple more budget bowlers for the silly part of the season next time (though I'll probably just end up with 12/16 going to The 100 then...).

                              Click image for larger version

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                              Last edited by Chris_; 10-22-2020, 03:26 PM.

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