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Jon Lewis: England head coach using AI to help with borderline selection decisions

Watch England Women face Pakistan in IT20 and ODI series live on Sky Sports Cricket, beginning on Saturday May 11 from 2pm; white-ball squads named as batter Freya Kemp returns, while left-arm spinner Linsey Smith is again selected; head coach Jon Lewis admits to using AI in selections

Jon Lewis (Getty Images)
Image: England Women head coach Jon Lewis has revealed he has used an AI tool with regards to some selection decisions

England head coach Jon Lewis has revealed how he is using AI as a selection tool and credits the technology with helping his side draw last summer's Ashes series.

Lewis was first exposed to the work of London-based PSi when he took charge of the Women's Premier League franchise UP Warriorz in India and now uses the company to bolster the decisions he makes about squad make-up, team balance and in-game match-ups.

Explaining the system, which plots projected outcomes depending on the composition of each side, he said: "I can send multiple different line-ups to the PSi in London and they run, I think, about 250,000 simulations per team that I send, with all different permutations that could happen through the game.

"We are able to run simulated teams versus the simulated opposition to give us an idea about how those teams may match up against each other. I came across it during my time at UP Warriorz and it's something I looked at and thought it could add some value to the England Women's cricket team.

England Women T20
Image: Off the back of a T20 series victory over New Zealand, England now host Pakistan, live on Sky Sports

"I always go with a people-first approach: understanding people, understanding players, understanding where they are at in their own minds, then be supported by data and information.

"What data can do is give you a really objective view of what could happen and what has happened previously. I think it will help with borderline decisions in terms of selection and match-ups."

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Lewis, who has spoken to England's rugby union coach Steve Borthwick about his own use of the PSi model, feels he has already seen the benefits after leaning on the data-set at a key moment during last year's series against Australia.

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"It played out really last summer...we used it very successfully in the Ashes," he said.

"There was one selection particularly last year, one period of the Ashes that we targeted as a team. There were a couple of selections where AI really helped because both players I was thinking about picking were both in really good form and were both really selectable and it did help with those selections.

"We saw a real strength in Australia and we matched up our strength to that. That worked really, really well and it helped us win the T20 series in particular, which got us back in the Ashes."

Women's Vitality IT20 Series vs Pakistan fixtures - live on Sky Sports

May 11: 1st Women's IT20 - Edgbaston, Birmingham, 2.30pm
May 17: 2nd Women's IT20 - The County Ground, Northampton, 6.30pm
May 19: 3rd Women's IT20 - Headingley, Leeds, 1pm

Women's Metro Bank One-Day International Series vs Pakistan fixtures - live on Sky Sports

May 23: 1st Women's One-Day International - The Incora County Ground, Derby, 1pm
May 26: 2nd Women's One-Day International - The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, 11am
May 29: 3rd Women's One-Day International - The Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford, 1pm

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