One Day

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Yorkshire duo Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid are an integral part of England’s plans for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Strong performances by the pace and spin combo will be vital if England are to succeed on home turf. Their domestic futures are somewhat uncertain however. What is certain, well almost at least, is that former Durham man Plunkett looks set to leave the White Rose county for pastures new. Middlesex are rumoured to be interested and the signing of Plunkett could be a great coup for the Lords dwellers. Whether or not northerner Plunkett will want to relocate to the bright lights down south remains to be seen. Plunkett will have turned thirty-four by the time the 2019 county campaign commences and it would be no surprise if, regardless of success, England move on from Plunkett after the World Cup. England seem to have abandoned any notion of him being an Test option and therefore Plunkett could provide Middlesex or indeed any suitor, an option across all formats. A patchy injury record means it’s unlikely that he’ll play every game of a season but he’d definitely be an asset to any side.

Onto Rashid, the thirty-year-old has opted out of First Class cricket for the time being at least and has only played a few List A games this campaign. He’s now missing Yorkshire’s One-Day Cup run because of his international commitments. It’s therefore arguable quite how much Rashid is worth to Yorkshire. Karl Carver has come back into the Yorkshire side this term although Azeem Rafiq seems to have fallen from grace again. Yorkshire may be in the market for an experienced spin option come next year.

As demonstrated by the table above, Plunkett should be able to rise as high as sixth on England’s list of all-time ODI wicket takers. This is even if he’s now going to miss some, possibly even all of England ODI series in Sri Lanka after the hosts flipped the schedule. Too much has been planned for Plunektt to rearrange his wedding! With Plunkett absent and Sri Lanka and West Indies certain to be spin friendly turfs, Rashid may fancy his chances of leapfrogging Plunkett in the above table. Having reached 100 ODI wickets in the second ODI against Australia, if Rashid were to continue on the international stage post the 2019 World Cup and improve with age as spinners often do, he may fancy his chances of breaking into the top five and possibly even reach as high as third on England’s list of all-time ODI wicket takers.

David Willey is another Yorkshire player who will hope to ascend the above chart. Willey is up to 37 wickets though his average is only just sub-forty. This is a crucial juncture in Willey’s international career, what with the likes of fellow left-armer Sam Curran having now been capped at international level. An encouraging contribution with the bat in the first ODI against Australia and with the aforementioned Plunkett unavailable come Sri Lanka, Willey will be keen to thrive on senior responsibility and pass fifty ODI career wickets. Like Plunkett, there’s seemingly been a little acrimony at domestic level for Willey with his jaunt to the IPL causing Yorkshire much angst. He has however made some significant contributions to their cause in recent seasons and is a gate bringer in the shorter formats. He’s also been keen to stress that he’s still very much up for playing the First Class format.

The modern era means that there are many ODI matches being played. Some cynics may suggest that the current ODI series against Australia is confirmation that too many matches are taking place. It is however an opportunity for, amongst other things, players to selfishly soar the charts that most of them claim not have any interest in but in truth they really, really do!

Six to Watch: T20I Status Team Special

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Following my article regarding players in the men’s game to look out for come T20I status being applied to all associate nations, here’s a Six to Watch Team Special…

Argentina

The South American side used to benefit from regular visits from touring MCC sides and therefore played First Class fixtures. They’ve appeared in the ICC Trophy but have slipped off the ICC World Cricket League structure so it’ll be interesting to see what route back to cricket recognition they can take.

Canada

The inaugural Global T20 Canada kicks off this month, complete with the usual T20 franchise brigade, Chris Gayle, Steven Smith and Shahid Afridi included.

https://www.gt20.ca

It’s to be hoped that the competition ignites interest amongst the local community in The Land of Maple Leaf. Canada have had their moments in cricket history, most notably when John Davison smacked a record-breaking century at the 2003 World Cup.

They’ve also had some shockers though, including being dismissed for 36 by Sri Lanka in the same tournament. They were also routed for 45 against England in 1979. Canada will be relying on expats for now but hopefully native Canadians will be inspired to take up the game and break into the national side.

Denmark

Not that long ago Denmark were one of the there or there about nations beyond the Test world. Their place on the cricket scene was somewhat akin to how Netherlands have been in the past couple of decades. Players such as Ole Mortensen and Freddie Klokker appeared on the county circuit with Mortensen averaging just 23.88 with the ball in the First Class game. When Demark defeated Israel by all ten wickets at the 1994 ICC Trophy, Mortensen claimed figures of 7-19! They’ve somewhat fallen away since, though former England Test player Amjad Khan has helped them return to prominence in recent years. Expats are almost vital to developing cricket in the associate nations but it’s great to see some young local talent in the Denmark squad. Danish born Klokker who was on the books of both Warwickshire and Derbyshire tends to don the gloves these days and his county experience complete with First Class hundreds will be vital if the Danes are to be great again!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederik_Klokker

Fiji

In bygone years Fiji benefited from their proximity to Australia. They even toured Oz and hosted New Zealand as well as been regulars in the ICC Trophy. In recent years they’ve been well down the ICC World Cricket League spectrum, falling as low as division seven. Their squad is full of indigenous talent including many players still in their teens.

When Fiji defeated Wellington in a First Class fixture in 1948, it was the man with the longest name (IL Bula) in cricket history who led the way with 88 in Fiji’s second innings to set the Pacific islanders up for a heart-pumping one-wicket win…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/review2012/content/player/24046.html

Rwanda

Rwanda have put a lot of effort into raising the profile of cricket in their country and if for no other reason than their cricket ground is so beautiful then it’s to be hoped that they can join the African forces to be reckoned with.

Captain Eric Dusingizimana famously broke a world record with an epic fifty-one hour net session.

http://www.rcsf.org.uk

South Korea

South Korea have played at the Asian Games but looked like they’d have made a good ODI side ten years ago. Technically correct they’ll need to adapt their skills to T20I cricket. The talent and hunger is there and it’d be great to see a side from the Far East come to the fore in the cricket world. Maybe some of their players can have great Koreas (Careers!)… sorry!

On the subject of Associate Cricket, Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket: A History in One Hundred Scorecards is well, well worth reading. Tim Brooks’ Cricket On the Continent as well as Second XI: Cricket in it’s Outposts by Tim Wigmore and Peter Miller are also essential reads for the Associate fan.

InKerredible!

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New Zealand’s teenage prodigy Amelia Kerr has today smashed the record for the highest individual score in Women’s ODI cricket. She also took a five-wicket haul just for good measure too.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18508/game/1145893/ireland-women-vs-new-zealand-women-3rd-odi-new-zealand-women-tour-of-ireland-and-england-2018/

Once again the experienced tourists have anhialated their Irish hosts, a side that has amongst it a number of teenagers, including a fifteen-year-old opening bowler who now averages 341.00 with the ball in ODI Cricket. This leads to some serious questions regarding the validity of the records, the futures of Ireland’s teenage bowlers and how they handle such drubbings as well as how much New Zealand actually gain from these matches.

Are such encounters like those in Dublin today, really good preparation for playing stronger opposition?

A counter argument of course, particularly in today’s match will be that Kerr herself is only seventeen-years-old. New Zealand shuffled their batting order in a way that some might describe as disrespectful. New Zealand clearly saw it as an opportunity to present responsibility to players and provide potentially confidence boosting chances to members of their squad. It’s understandable that New Zealand felt the regular top order had little more to gain and that this was a good opportunity to challenge lower order batsmen who hold ambitions of batting higher up the order on a regular basis. They’d earned the right to do this.

Fingers crossed that the likes of Louisa Little, Lara Maritz and Cara Murray can learn from their brutal initiation to international cricket and blossom in the seasons to come.

Flying Scots Scorch England!

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The day after a monumental occasion in Scottish cricketing history, please have a listen to my latest audio cast for a firsthand vocal review of how the epic day played out…

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Just over a week after being mentioned in a Silly Point article as a player to watch, Calum MacLeod was the star of the show as Scotland’s cricketers turned the tables on England at The Grange in Edinburgh.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18513/scorecard/1124639/scotland-vs-england-only-odi-england-tour-of-scotland-2018/

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After MacLeod led Scotland to their highest ever total of 371-5, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow seemed to have put England on course for a remarkable run-chase. The pair compiled a 129-run stand for the visitor’s first wicket on a beautiful day in the Scottish capital.

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A special mention for Bairstow, whose 59-ball 105, his third consecutive ODI ton, I shamelessly neglected to mention in my audio cast!

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After that excellent start however, England ultimately fell six runs short. Scotland claimed a thoroughly deserved victory and in doing so, contributed to a seismic day in cricket history!

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Scenes!!!

Ashes Cricket (PS4): England Women vs. PNG Women ODI

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Following the trouncing at the hands of New Zealand, England’s Women hosted Papua New Guinea, in what turned out to be a thrilling encounter on the south coast.

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Lauren Winfield was tamely dismissed first ball but fellow opener Tammy Beaumont (67) and wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor (37) set about rebuilding for the hosts. Taylor, who was dismissed for a golden duck against New Zealand, was controversially adjudged run out however captain Heather Knight (61) carried on the good work alongside Beaumont. Unfortunately for England, after their two half-centurions departed, there weren’t many more contributions. From 154-2, England subsided to an underwhelming 222 all out.

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Natalie Sciver, who made a scintillating 115 against New Zealand, was the victim of an appalling LBW decision when on 16. England had already wasted both of their reviews, much to the frustration of Surrey’s Sciver. From then on, nobody from numbers six to eleven managed to reach double figures.

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World Cup hero Anya Shrubsole was the pick of the home side’s bowlers. She claimed the first three PNG wickets and later added a superb caught and bowled (See image above) to finish with excellent figures of 4-51.

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Papua New Guinea recovered from 53-3 though and at 196-5 looked set for an easy victory. Spinner Sophie Ecclestone (2-41) was amongst the wickets though, as was Beth Langston (1-12) having been drafted into the side. With the visitors requiring just two runs for victory, there was a needless run out before spinner Danielle Wyatt claimed the 9th wicket courtesy of an excellent catch from skipper Heather Knight. Knight then tried to gee on the crowd (See image above) but PNG snuck home by the skin of their shiny white teeth!

This was a much improved performance from England and they displayed real character to take the match to the wire. They were certainly the victim of a couple of rough decisions but will be disappointed with their middle order’s inability to build on the foundations laid by the likes of Beaumont, Taylor and Knight.

Six to Watch: T20I Status Special

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From 1st January 2019, all Associate cricket nations will have full T20 International status. These are really exciting times for cricketers as well as fans throughout the globe. As I do each year when the county season comes around, I’ve identified six players to keep an eye on as T20 Internationals start to be played out across the world.

Simon Ateak (Ghana)

24-year-old Ghanaian Simon Ateak was Player of the Tournament at the 2018 ICC World Twenty20 African Sub Regional (North-Western) Qualifier. Ateak notched back-to-back fifties against Sierra Leone and Nigeria in Lagos. Ateak had actually been in poor form in ICC World Cricket League Division Five prior to the T20 Qualifier but delivered when needed to help Ghana reach the finals. Simon’s younger brother Vincent also chipped in with the ball during the Qualifier.

Harrison Carlyon (Jersey)

Still only seventeen-years-old, Jersey’s Harrison Carlyon made his international debut against Oman in Los Angeles at the tender age of just fifteen. The off-spinner’s father and uncle have both represented the island’c cricket team and injuries even meant that father and son turned out for the same side. Carlyon has since appeared for Jersey U-19s and made some useful contributions in ICC World Cricket League Division Four. He’s also been in and around the youth set ups at Sussex CCC.

Ahmad Faiz (Malaysia)

How about this for form: 50, 86, 20, 47, 45 & 50. Those were the batting contributions of Malaysian skipper Ahmad Faiz in ICC World Cricket League Division Four earlier this year. The right-handed batsman clearly enjoys the surface in Kuala Lumpur. Admittedly those were one-day matches and his T20 form beforehand wasn’t quite as strong but Malaysia will be relying on their former U-19 World Cup captain when it comes to run-getting.

Andrew Mansale (Vanuatu)

Andrew Mansale is Vanuatu’s experienced leader, having debuted for his country when just fifteen years of age. Now 29 and having gained experience of playing club cricket in Australia, Vanuatu will be looking to Mansale’s leadership as well as his right-hand batting and off-spin to help them rise to prominence in T20I cricket. Joshua Rasu, another right-hand bat who has played for the same Australian club as Mansale is another Ni-Vanuatu worth looking out for.

Calum MacLeod (Scotland)

Scotland’s Calum McLeod already has 28 T20I caps as well as double that amount of appearances in ODI Cricket where, for the record, he’s notched an impressive six centuries. His attacking nature was imperative in Scotland qualifying for the 2015 ODI World Cup and there were glimpses of his talent at the ICC World Cup Qualifier in March of this year. As with many Scots, he’s been around the English county second XI circuit, most recently representing Hampshire.

Carl Sandri (Italy)

34-year-old Carl Sandri’s experience will be vital if Italy are to develop as a T20I nation. Australian born Sandri, a right-hand bat and off-spin bowler represented Sydney Thunder in the 2013 edition of the Big Bash. He was Italy’s leading wicket taker in the most recent ICC World Cricket League Division Five. Peter Petricola, who has played alongside Sandri in Ozzie club cricket, is another old head that Italy will look at to spearhead their efforts.

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Elsewhere, could county players such as Middlesex’s Ollie Rayner (Germany) and Gloucestershire’s Benny Howell (France) be eligible to represent the countries of their birth?

Could Hampshire’s Gareth ‘Ice’ Berg return to the Italian side alongside Sandri and Petricola having played with them six years ago? Berg claimed figures of 4-20 against Uganda and scored 47 against Namibia in 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in UAE. He’s been an underrated performer on the English county circuit (First Class, List A, T20) for a number of years.

If USA can sort out their political infighting, could Durham’s Cameron Steel or Hampshire’s Ian Holland represent the Stars and Stripes in T20I Cricket? It seems inconceivable that USA aren’t a cricketing nation to be reckoned with.

Once T20I status has really taken ahold, look out for future posts to see how Ateak, Carlyon, Faiz, Mansale, McLeod and Sandri have got on… and who I should have previewed!

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In the near future, I’ll also be compiling a Six to Watch for the T20I Women’s game as well as a team special. Be sure to look out for those posts soon.

Mavuta’s Magic!

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There are reasons for optimism amongst the Zimbabwean cricket following, certainly if the recent exploits of Rising Stars leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta is anything to go by. The 21-year-old claimed emphatic analysis of 8-38 against Mountaineers in the final of Zimbabwe’s Pro50 Championship in Harare…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8838/game/1122785/rising-stars-vs-mountaineers-final-pro50-championship-2017-18

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Mountaineers captain Tino Mawoyo probably regretted opting to field after winning the toss!

For a full tournament round-up, please click on the following link…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017–18_Pro50_Championship

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Kadoma born Mavuta now. averages just 17.27 with the ball in List A cricket. He’s already got 44 wickets in just a dozen First Class outings and is no mug with the willow either. The youngster has three half-tons to his name with a career high of 91.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/806239.html

With Graeme Cremer having been stripped of the national captaincy, it surely won’t be long before Mavuta dons national colours and wins his first Chevron cap.