Monday, 6 February 2012

More Dead Than Alive?

Readers need not worry.  The title of this post is not a reference to the comment that is frequently applied to Fantasy Bob's efforts in the field.  They are thus spared a lengthy exposition on FB's once legendary but now sadly diminishing prowess square of the wicket.  A more serious subject arises and FB promises his readers yet more completely useless information.

Fantasy Bob had never previously heard of the Population Reference Bureau.  Apparently it is a Washington based agency which does lots of sums and makes lots of graphs about population growth and its impacts on the economy and the environment and, FB presumes, the implications for Doughty Groundsmen having to prepare cricket wickets. 

FB is led to understand that the the fact that world's population is now in excess of 7 billion means that the question as to whether there are more people alive now than have lived in the whole history of human-kind is the regular subject of discussion at polite dinner parties. Hostesses the world over are anxious that they may not have prepared sufficient canapies.  (FB does not understand this from direct experience since he is never invited to dinner parties, polite or otherwise).

However in a helpful act,  a recent publication by this Population Reference Bureau  investigated the question more systematically.  Hostesses will now know when they can safely stop wrapping the asparagus in prosciutto.

The Bureau has concluded that the total number of people that have lived since the emergence of homo sapiens 50,000 years ago is 107,602,707,791.

This is a splendidly accurate number - not 107,602,707,792, far less107,602,707,790 but 107,602,707,791, exactly.  This may seem a large number but it is only marginally fewer than the runs FB conceded off his bowling last season.

FB was unable to find the cricket section of the Bureau's report.  So he is left without an answer to the more pressing question as to whether there are now more Test cricketers alive than have lived since humankind found itself on the planet and the first hunter gatherer turned his arm over.

FB's own researches, unassisted by huge research council grant of any sort tell him that in the whole arc of human history there have been 2452 Test cricketers.  Those who were capped before 1960 number 1097, those before 1970 total 1402.

Jeff Stollmeyer - 32 Tests - 13 as captain
2159 runs @ 42.33
Statisticians do not suggest that being a Test cricketer gives a person a higher mortality than any other profession.  While 13 First Class cricketers are reported to have been murdered, only one, former W Indian skipper Jeff Stollmeyer, who died in 1989 at the age of 68 from wounds following an intrusion to his home, has Test status.  There are a number who have died young - Graham Dilley for example who died last year - or who have suffered tragic accidents - Ben Hollioake for example.  But applying normal mortality statistics allows FB to state with reasonable confidence that there are more Test cricketers alive now than there are who have gone before to the Pavilion in the sky.

He offers this information to his worldwide readership as yet another completely useless bit of information to be gleaned from his postings.  He is confident that this will result in a large number of invitations to dinner parties.

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