A trawl through Cricket Archive five years ago gave a count of 126 county players qualified for England who had been educated privately, about 40% of the total. Last summer this number had risen to well over 50%; no great surprise given the general background, and if well over 50% was well over 60 five years from now that wouldn’t be a great surprise either.
Is there a ceiling to this and is it less than, say, 90%? The ages of those playing last summer is shown in the graphic, the 46 year-old Darren Stevens at one end, Hamza Shaikh at the other, who at the age of 16 played in four ODC matches for Warwickshire. He is the first county cricketer born the year after the ending of the game FTA.
Overall a lot of cricket is played by those who will have come to the sport in the early 2000s, the dependence on public schools for players now largely set by a declining playing base years ago. Cue then the criticisms of the ECB as being about concentration at the top, exclusiveness. Pragmatically, as long as Eastbourne College and Millfield School among others are producing enough talented players days at the Test will still be around, but the fact remains a lot of playing potential will have been missed.