The “Smaller city, Better health” Hypothesis

And (statistically insignificant) correlations on the future of Indian cricket

“Cricket in the time of smog”

Tying health to cricket

How to prove that people growing up in smaller Indian cities are fitter than their big-city counterparts? Obviously, a statistically sound survey would be beyond the budget of any individual. Studies of such scale can only be carried out by the government or a large and rich corporation. If anyone reading this has knowledge of such a survey, I would be grateful if they could share the results with me.

A micro-analysis of Indian ODI cricketers and their birthplaces

I made a list of the one-day-international (ODI) players for India from the last two World Cups (2019, 2015) and the last two Champion Trophies (2017,2013). This resulted in a list of 31 players who were born in between the years 1981 and 1994. We can safely say that the only truly large Indian cities when these kids were growing up, were Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata. Many other currently large cities will not have made the cut (for example, Bangalore, would not have been considered a large city before the IT enabled hyper growth of 2010-15).

India ODI cricketers by birthplace, birthplace population etc. Original data at https://github.com/ksens/indian-cricketer-origins/blob/master/data/odi-cricketers.csv
  • > 6 million: Large Indian cities
  • 1–6 million: Medium sized Indian cities
  • <1 million: Small Indian cities, towns etc.

How many cricketers came from each population category?

Let us start with a simple bar graph of the number of players per category.

Number of cricketers per population category. Interactive graph at http://kritisen.com/2020-08-06-map-of-indian-cricketers/.

Sum of population of cricketer birthplaces

Below, we sum the population of birthplaces in each population category.

Sum of population of cricketers’ birthplaces per population category. Interactive graph at http://kritisen.com/2020-08-06-map-of-indian-cricketers/.
  • For the 2 large cities in our list of cricketer birthplaces (Delhi and Chennai) the sum population is ~20 million.
  • For the 9 medium sized cities in our list, the sum population is 25 million.
  • For the * small sized cities in our list, the sum population is 4 million.
  • Large Indian cities —
    Total population: 20 million, Number of cricketers: 7
  • Medium sized Indian cities —
    Total population: 25 million, Number of cricketers: 11
  • Small Indian cities, towns etc. —
    Total population: 4 million, Number of cricketers 12

A map of Indian cricketers and their birthplaces

For the final set of graphic(s), we collected the latitude, longitude data for each birthplace and plotted each cricketer in our list at the location of their birthplace. Hovering over each dot gives details about each individual cricketer. The Cricketer dots are colored by the population category of their birthplace. To make the map more interesting, we sized the dot for each cricketer by their number of ODI’s played.

[Video] Map of Indian ODI cricketers by birthplace. Dots are colored by population of their birthplace, and sized by the number of ODI-s played. Zoom-able interactive map is at http://kritisen.com/2020-08-06-map-of-indian-cricketers/.
Map of Indian ODI cricketers by birthplace. Dots are colored by population of their birthplace, and sized by the number of ODI-s played. Zoom-able interactive map is at http://kritisen.com/2020-08-06-map-of-indian-cricketers/.
Map of Indian ODI cricketers born in and around Delhi. Interactive map is at http://kritisen.com/2020-08-06-map-of-indian-cricketers/.
Map of Indian ODI cricketers born in and around Chennai and Bangalore. Interactive map is at http://kritisen.com/2020-08-06-map-of-indian-cricketers/.

Conclusions (if any?)

Let us not jump to any conclusions from this data. The sample size is so small (31 players) that there is bound to be high statistical bias.

  • Code and visualization on a topic most Indians care about — cricket
  • … that hopefully will prompt some thoughts and discussion on a topic most Indians do not seem to care about — environmental sustainability and improved city life.

Follow up

The data and code is available online.

Project Contributors

  • The project was conceived and designed by Kriti Sen Sharma.
  • Code implementation was done in collaboration with Diana Ow.
  • Data collection work was done by Mrs. Hameeda Begum.
  • This report was written by Kriti Sen Sharma.

Disclaimer

As the project designer, I must declare that while I enjoy watching cricket, I am not an ardent follower. I used to follow cricket passionately as a child but got demotivated after the match fixing scandals of the Azharuddin era. I never really rejoined the worship of cricket after that.

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