Dawson and Vince Hard Done by ECB not ICC!

Following on from my latest audiocast where I touched upon the subject of Liam Dawson and James Vince being unable to represent Hampshire in the One-Day Cup final, I feel that it’s necessary to look into things a bit further.

It’s a huge shame that these two players, both of whom are likely to more often than not be sub-fielding and carrying drinks for England (But you never know what can happen?!) can’t play in the domestic season’s marquee showpiece. It is of course only appropriate in the interest of fairness that they can’t. It would be unfair for them to be getting match practice, keeping their eye in, staying in form and gaining confidence when the players of the other World Cup participants can’t do so. You do have to question the ECB’s structuring of the English county season though as it is they who should’ve seen this coming and prevented it from happening. The One-Day Cup was played in an exclusive block up to a couple of weeks ago so why on Earth did we then return to First Class cricket for a couple of weeks before the One-Day final randomly slots in to the fixture list?

It’s a shame for the players in question and a kick in the teeth for devoted fans of a county game that in most people’s eyes is seriously struggling as a spectator sport. Remember that Vince is Hampshire’s captain and Dawson has been their star player this year.

Regarding Dawson, there are rumours that he’s been courted by Warwickshire but also that he may have hinted to Hampshire that he only wants a white-ball contract in the future. I’m disappointed to hear that but realistically he’s probably struggling to play Test cricket again. He’s been mightily effective in the PSL for a couple of years and if he can get IPL and CPL gigs as well as playing One-Day and Twenty20 cricket in England then there’s just about enough cricket to occupy him in the summer. This is before we consider the PSL, BPL and Big Bash etc in the winter time, not to mention the Hong Kong Blitz, Global T20 Canada and whatever pops up next! The riches of these gigs are far greater than the county game and a lot less gruelling so the appeal is understandable but it’s also confirmation that the standard of the four-day game in England in particular will continue to decline. If the best players desert it when still in their twenties, we could be left with only young players pre peak and old players post peak to fill the teams.

As for Vince, his appearances in an England shirt this summer have been exactly what everyone expected of him. Pretty but unsubstantial. Not out of his depth but not excelling. How will bench warming for England help him press his case for a top three Test vacancy come the Ashes?

Hopefully Dawson and Vince will get some game time at the World Cup. I’m a big fan of involving the whole squad when it comes to major tournaments but whether or not the structure of the 2019 competition and England’s results will allow it only time will tell.

Half-Century by David Gower Book Review

David Gower’s Half-Century: The Fifty Greatest Cricketers of all Time, is an essential read for the cricket enthusiast. It’s a great opportunity to familiarise yourself with details of players from bygone eras, ones that you may have heard of and have some knowledge of but for whom acquiring more information on would be healthy. Isn’t part of being a cricket fan having strong knowledge of the achievements of those in the past, of those who helped shape our game and the success that the current crop of players strive for?

Not surprisingly the book is in bite-sized chunks, overs if you like. Each player gets about four pages and a photo, allowing you to pick up and put down the book at convenient stages.

I’m often appalled at the numerous spelling and grammatical errors that modern publications are riddled with but I’m pleased to say that they are few and far between in this book, just the odd play and miss but no losing your wicket!

I know David Gower more from They Think it’s all Over than anything else and he writes well, in the style that I’m led to believe he provides in his commentary. He had some help from Simon Wilde and provides strong statistical analysis as well as crucially going beyond the numbers including recalling first-hand experience. He does this without sounding above himself.

I read this book in a matter of days. That’s unusual for me but when you’re reading about something that you’re interested in it’s more easily done… than if you weren’t interested. Like I say, the bite-size reading chunks helped!

Get your hands on a copy and you shouldn’t be disappointed.

David Gower’s Half-Century: The Fifty Greatest Cricketers of all Time scores…

95 not out

Well batted!

Cricket 19: One Week to Go!

In just one week’s time we can all have our hands on a copy of Big Ant’s latest console cricket game… Cricket 19! Could you get a more self-explanatory title?

I’ve scripted a few articles about the game before it’s even been released but now is nearly the time to get playing again. I stopped playing Ashes Cricket sometime ago and had stored my monitor and PS4 away. Big Ant cricket games are literally the sole reason for me having such items and have been a core of my blogging efforts. Quite where in my tiny house I’m going to set up game central remains uncertain!

I’ve been there from the beginning. From Don Bradman Cricket 14 to 17 to Ashes Cricket and now Cricket 19. I’ve played some great matches and really enjoyed the realness of the game. I’ve also been there submitting bug reports at ridiculous o’clock. Not this time eh Big Ant?!

I only wish that I could devote more time to the game but family, work and fresh air are required in small doses at least.

Will I finish the career that I commence?

Will I finish the Test league that I start, let alone ODI and T20I leagues?

Probably not!

Whatever I do though, come acing an epic successful run chase as England or being run out first ball in Career Mode, you can read all about it here.

Stay tuned folks because I’m padding up and putting my gloves on!

Cricket Captain 2019: Out Soon!

Cricket Captain 2019 will be released on May 30th to coincide with the ODI Cricket World Cup!

You can read about the new features here…

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1076640/Cricket_Captain_2019/

With Cricket 19 released on console just two days earlier, it’ll be a busy gaming time for cricket fans.

We’ve got to get out of the house and look after our families sometimes though, so I’ll be giving Cricket Captain 2019 a miss, for now at least.

If you buy it then good luck and enjoy!

Sensational Sibley Sizzles… for England?

Warwickshire’s Dominic Sibley is making an almost irresistible case to be the next man to open the batting for England’s Test side. The twenty-three-year-old Epsom born bat has notched up six First Class tons in as many matches spread over this season and last. He’s currently averaging 83.00 in the County Championship having clocked up a total of 249 runs. Crucially those runs have been scored in Division One.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/county-championship-division-one/averages

Right-handed Sibley hit the headlines early in his career when compiling an innings of 242 for home team Surrey but felt it necessary to seek new pastures in order to guarantee first team cricket. He set sail to Warwickshire and joined former Yorkshire player Will Rhodes at the top of the order. The pair didn’t quite hit it off at first but have developed into a reliable opening pair for the Edgbaston outfit.

England Selector Ed Smith should know as well as anyone that form doesn’t always translate to Test quality but Sibley has maintained his standards for some time now. If he can continue his run-glut then he could debut against Ireland at Lords later this summer.

Lancashire’s Haseeb Hameed has shown signs of a resurgence albeit in Division Two meanwhile Nottinghamshire recruit Ben Duckett is settling into life at new home Trent Bridge. Neither are getting anywhere near Sibley’s consistency however. Uncapped¬†Middlesex left-hander Nick Gubbins could also come into the equation though like Hameed he’s playing in Division Two and like Duckett he’s often to be found batting first drop. Of course both positions are up for grabs in England’s Test side. Incumbents Keaton Jennings and Joe Denly could yet be saved if England are reluctant to blood or bring in from the cold, two batsmen in the top three one Test before the Ashes.

Sibley can only keep churning out runs on all pitches against a variety of opposition and await the call.

CricketXI: IPL 2019 – Season Review

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 14.23.04

What can I say?

I don’t follow the IPL all that closely but as a self confessed cricket nut who regularly hands out fantasy cricket selection advice… ¬†I should probably try harder next time!

Disclaimer: Not sure about the winner’s team name. Should’ve been disqualified if you ask me then I’d have finished in a far more respectable sixteenth place!