Australian cricketers perform better in Ashes played on their home turf when the El Nino weather system dominates, and worse when its opposite prevails, said a British study published on Friday.
The findings could help England when the Ashes are next contested Down Under, in 2010/11, said the authors of the study by Reading University in southern England, and the Royal Meteorological Society.
Risking the charge of “whingeing poms” looking for excuses for English defeats, researchers noted a striking correlation between the Pacific Ocean climate phenomenon and Australian Ashes wins. In Ashes played in Australia from 1882-2007, the Aussies won 13 out of 17, or 76 percent. When the opposite, La Nina system was prevalent, they won only five out of 13 series, or 38 percent. El Nino tends to make Australian weather hotter and drier, favouring for example fast bowlers, while La Nina triggers rain and cold, which England cricketers are more used to.
“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 Dr. Manoj Joshi of Reading University.
“The study could even influence whether the England touring team should include more fast bowlers or more 'swing' bowlers,” he added.
England have only won one series in Australia in the last 100 years following an El Nino event.
El Nino is a shift in ocean temperatures and atmospheric conditions in the tropical Pacific. Its effects are generally felt around Christmas. It is a periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean that leads to extremes of weather.
It follows an El Nino. La Nina, also called the Little Girl, is anti-El Nino, or simply ‘a cold event’ or ‘a cold episode’. La Nina is the cooling of water in the Pacific Ocean.
How they assist bowlers
Because of El Nino, Australia weather gets hotter and drier due to which the pitches get dry and harder. It assists fast bowlers with bounce and pace.
La Nina triggers rain and cold which suits swing bowling. England cricketers are adept in this condition more than hot and dry weather.