Aussies tend to do well at Ashes in El Nino year: Study

Less rain and increased temperatures might spell trouble worldwide but they end up benefitting Australian cricket.

updated: August 24, 2009 11:18 IST
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Less rain and increased temperatures might spell trouble worldwide but they end up benefitting Australian cricket as a study has revealed that the side tends to do well at the Ashes, when played Down Under, in an El Nino year.

El Nino, which has currently halted the progress of monsoon in India, is a condition in which the pacific ocean around Australia warms up by about one degree centigrade for a few months, leading to lesser than normal rains and higher surface temperature.

Researchers say this weather condition brings down the moisture content in the pitches, making the fast bowlers more effective.

"The drier pitches, common for the duration of the El Nino period, are conducive to the faster style adopted by the Australian bowlers. English bowlers tend to bowl with less speed and more swing as the wetter and cooler climate of English summers favours this technique," says a study conducted by NRI meteorologist Manoj Joshi for journal called 'Weather'.

"This study shows it may be possible to tell by next winter whether England has a better chance of success in the following Ashes series than previous tours," said Joshi.

In case, it is a La Nina year, the English have a better chances to lift the coveted trophy. During La Nina more rains, wetter conditions and lesser land surface temperature make the pitches conducive for swing bowling.

The analysis of Ashes results from 1882-2007 revealed that during El Nino years, the Australian team won 13 of the 17 series played while in La Nina years they could only won five of the 13 series, lead author Manoj Joshi said.

Joshi, a meteorologist with the Walker Institute at The University of Reading, said England could muster only won one Ashes series following an El Nino year which was the infamous "Bodyline" series played under Douglas Jardine in 1932-33.

"However, it must be emphasised that this climatic effect is small compared to the human element, so whoever loses in 2010/11 can't use El Nino as an excuse." Joshi said.

Vice President of the Royal Meteorological Society, Philip Eden said the findings of the research are interesting.

"It is rare to find a piece of meteorological research directly related to professional sport. There should be more work like this."