This enabled him to take account of the impact of social background - which is known to influence longevity - by drawing a distinction between amateur "gentlemen" players and professional cricketers (a distinction that was scrapped in 1963), who tended to have more humble roots.
Overall, "gentleman amateurs" who played in many Test matches lived an average of 79.3 years, while those who played in just a few Tests lived to an average of 75.0 years. "Professional" players who made many Test appearances lived to an average of 76.6 years, but the average life expectancy of those who played in few Tests was just 71.5 years.
Previous research has suggested that people in low status jobs may be more likely to suffer from poor health, possibly due to stress and frustration (This was amply borne out in the Whitehall Studies).Professor Boyle said his findings suggested that the converse may also be true: success in a satisfying job may boost health. "Playing for the national side is the pinnacle of a cricketing career and is likely to have long-term benefits, both in terms of kudos and future working opportunities.” He said. "It seems reasonable to suppose that reaching such a privileged position would therefore have long-term implications for the person involved."
Professor Boyle said it was possible that the most-capped players were simply stronger and healthier than their colleagues, but he argued that the physical difference between players who played a small or large number of tests was likely to be very small.
However, he found no association between captaining England - which could be defined as the ultimate success - and longevity.
Dr Tarani Chandola, from University College London, has carried out research into the effect of stress in the workplace. "Most studies have investigated the negative health impacts of work stress. There are a few that suggest positive success at work has long-lasting positive health effects - and that it is not simply the lack of work stress that contributes to good health among high status groups."
So playing cricket at the highest level cam increase your longevity? As someone who emphatically failed Norman Tebbit’s cricket test there was never a chance of that! I can say, however, that watching cricket does seem to extend life – a five-day test match would pass more slowly than the Hundred Years War