Introducing the French national cricket team!
L’equipe Francaise de Cricket are currently participating in some non-official practice matches before entering some as yet decided competitions and possibly even going on tour.
Any matches featuring France will be played at the hardest level. There will be no hiding place for this enthusiastic band of continental cricketers. 26-year-old off-spinning all-rounder Xavier Le Tallec will captain the side with wicketkeeper Maxime Bernard acting as vice. Players who herald from celebrated cities such as Paris, Marseille and Nantes are represented as are some less well known towns and villages. Virgin cricket fans from all corners of the country have had their interest peaked and sales of shirts have been off the richter scale even before the team have played a competitive match.
Meet some of the players…
Maxime Bernard, wicketkeeper and vice-captain
Alexandre Riviere, right-arm medium-fast bowler
Matteo Phillipe, middle-order left-handed batsman
Unfortunately our first match ended in defeat by a mammoth margin of an innings and 277 runs. At home we lost the toss against an amateur works side but despite dropping an early catch we posed a consistent threat with the ball to dismiss the opposition for 452. The pick of our bowlers was right-arm sling bowler Zidane Thomas who claimed figures of 3-68. Medium-pacer Gabin Sauvage (2-56), left-arm express paceman Paco Georges (2-81) and right-arm medium-fast bowler Alexandre Rivière (2-90) all bowled well at times. Young leg-spinner Mehdi Qadri (0-64) beat the bat on numerous occasions however all the wickets that we claimed (Excluding a run out) came courtesy of some form of pace bowling.
After 120 overs spread over a day and a bit in the field and with the opposition’s tail having wagged to the tune of over a hundred runs, we then floundered with the bat in both innings. In our first dig we recovered from appalling positions of 39-6 and 50-8 to at least reach 92 before last man Thomas fell for an innings top score of 32. 18 not out from last man Qadri was critical to us totalling as many runs as we did. Our batsmen were caught by surprise when the visitors opened the bowling with spin and their premier bowler promptly ripped through us with figures of 6-34.
I had hoped for better in our second innings but despite an encouraging 29 from Senegalese born opening batsman Omar Sissoko we crumbled to just 83 all out. Our spin foe from the first innings added four more wickets to his day’s tally to finish the match with analysis of 10-94. Sissoko’s opening partner, Jean-Luc Chevalier, contributed scores of just 5 and 1 however they were scores that middle order batsman Matteo Phillipe, who suffered the ignominy of registering a king pair on debut, could only dream of. Both batsmen will be retained for our next match however as we aim to have a good look at players before rushing into changing the playing personnel. I’m confident that the current playing XI will be better for their tough baptism.
With little money provided by the ICC and no sign of a millionaire benefactor, we’ve created a GoFundMe page to help raise costs to cover everything from player contracts, travel and kit manufacturing. Many thanks to those of you who have helped raise €20.00 so far. We’ll also be holding a coffee morning in Rennes later this month and washing cars in Grenoble in January.
Look out for further updates from the squad soon as eleven Frenchmen make history and look to take to the field at Test, ODI and T20I level for the very first time.
Paul Morris, Coach and Selector, France Cricket Team