I was set the challenge to find some statistical evidence of NSW bias in the selection of Australian Test cricketers. I can’t seem to find a state-by-state breakdown of Test players, and couldn’t be arsed going through every one, so I’ve had to find a different way to establish it.
I decided to have a look at state players who have amassed significant figures at the first class level, but did not get much of a run at the higher level, and see how players from NSW compared with players from elsewhere. I’m not claiming that each of these players SHOULD have got a greater run in tests, merely comparing how much of a go high run-scorers and wicket-takers have received in test cricket.
Personally, I found the results surprising, and believe that they tend to support some sort of institutional bias towards NSW representatives. Even considering the factor of being the largest state with the most cricketers, I think that the statistical breakdown establishes a pretty convincing argument that playing for NSW helps your selection chances, or perhaps that NOT playing for NSW hurts your ability to get a sustained run in the senior squad.
Here are the figures:
State; Players with 4000+ runs; (4000+ runs, 8 or fewer tests); % missed out
NSW = 29 (2); 6.9%
QLD = 18 (9); 50%
SA = 28 (14); 50%
TAS = 10 (8); 80%
VIC = 24 (9); 37.5%
WA = 20 (10); 50%
State; Players with 160+ wickets; (160+ wickets, 8 or fewer tests); % missed out
NSW = 23 (5); 21.7%
QLD = 19 (12); 61.2%
SA = 17 (6); 35.3%
TAS = 5 (4); 80%
VIC = 24 (8); 33.3%
WA = 16 (12); 75%
Thus, the percentage of batsmen from NSW who have scored over 4000 first class runs who played 8 tests or fewer equals 6.9%. The percentage of all other state players is 50%. Tasmanians, and then Queenslanders, South Australians and Western Australians have received far lower international reps.
The percentage of bowlers from NSW who have taken 160 or more first class wickets and played 8 tests or fewer is 21.7%. The percentage of all other state players is 51.6%. Tasmanians, Western Australians and Queenslanders have traditionally received the worst deals.
Here are the players concerned:
4000+ runs AND 160+ wickets with 8 or fewer tests :
Graeme Watson; Tom Moody; Ian Brayshaw; Shaun Young; Trevor Hohns.
4000+ runs AND 160+ wickets with 8 or fewer tests for NSW : NONE
4000+ runs and 8 or fewer tests  (not including above):
Mike Valetta; John Inverarity; Ryan Campbell; Wayne Andrews; Greg Shipperd; Murray Vernon; Ken Meuleman; Brad Hodge; Dav Whatmore; Jack Potter; Paul Hibbert; Keith Rigg; Darren Berry; Simon O'Donnell; Mick Taylor; Jamie Cox; Michael Di Venuto; Dene Hills; Daniel Marsh; Danny Buckingham; Roger Woolley; Jamie Siddons; Neil Dansie; Glenn Bishop; Phil Ridings; Ken Cunningham; Paul Nobes; Ashley Woodcock; Ron Hamence; David Fitzgerald; James Brayshaw; John Lill; Ben Johnson; Jack Badcock; Stuart Law; Sam Trimble; Martin Love; Jimmy Maher; Trevor Barsby; Robbie Kerr; Phil Carlson; Cecil Thompson.
4000+ runs, 8 or fewer tests, minor career for NSW : [6.25%]
Jason Arnberger [NSW =1139/Vic = 4190]; Rod Tucker [NSW = 105/Tas = 4971]; Colin Pinch [NSW = 116/SA = 4090].
4000+ runs for NSW, 8 or fewer tests : [4.16%]
Dirk Wellham [NSW = 4297/TAS = 1629/QLD = 2736]; Steve Small [NSW = 4610/Tas = 397]
160+ wickets, 8 or fewer tests  (not including above):
Dirk Tazelaar; Joe Dawes; Ron Oxenham; Adam Dale; Peter Allan; Len Johnson; John Maguire; Mick Raymer; Ross Duncan; Malcolm Francke; Paul Jackson; Peter McIntyre; Geff Noblet; Geoffrey Attenborough; Frank Ward; Mark Harrity; Jack Wilson; Damien Wright; Mark Ridgway; Chris Matthews; Mathew Inness; Ian Harvey; David Saker; Alan Thomson; Ian Callen; Mick Lewis; Don Blackie; Jack Hill; Jo Angel; Brendon Julian; Ken MacLeay; Tony Mann; Des Hoare; Mick Malone; Ron Gaunt; Bob Massie.
160+ wickets, 8 or fewer tests, minor career for NSW :
Matthew Nicholson [NSW = 86/WA = 142].
160+ wickets for NSW, 8 or fewer tests : [11.62%]
Johnny Martin [NSW = 293/SA = 135]; David Colley; Wayne Holdsworth; Tom McKibbin; Alan Walker.