Cricket Captain 2020 – Six Seasons In!

The 2025 (I think!) campaign was by far our most respectable to date. In the County Championship we finished fourth for the second consecutive season. Once again Jon Baldwin (1242) and Sam Cook (47) topped the run scoring and wicket taking charts respectively in the First Class format

In the One-Day competition we placed a respectable 6th in our group. Jon Francis (642) and Ed Barnes (15) led the way stats wise, the former chalking up three tons and a 99 in a scintillating run of form at the top of the order.

We even performed a bit better in Twenty20 cricket by finishing 7th. Fred Albright (483) did alright and overseas player Scott Collins (21) earned his generous salary.

Harry Brook experienced a renaissance, scoring over 1052 County Championship runs including three hundreds. Brook benefited from an injury to James Wharton and didn’t look back!

As we look to ahead to 2026, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Jack Shutt and Scott Collins have not had their contracts renewed. Kohler-Cadmore has barely featured at all in recent seasons due to The Hundred and England duty. We would’ve liked to retain Jack Shutt but due to finances and lack of playing time it’s probably in everybody’s best interests if he moves on at this stage. Collins won’t be available for the whole of next season and his salary is a strain on our finances. We have limited coaching and physio resources for the upcoming season having had an abundance this year.

Disclaimer: Had I not made a selection cock-up I’d like to think that Baldwin would’ve scored even more County Championship runs!

Hameed Needs to be Greedy Indeed!

It’s great to see Haseeb Hameed make an encouraging start to life at Nottinghamshire. The twenty-three-year-old clearly needed a move away from Lancashire to start afresh. Peter Moores might not have been everybody’s cup of tea as an international coach but seems to get the best out of players on the county circuit.

Hameed has registered scores of 68, 52, 21, 1, 22 and 87 in the Bob Willis Trophy this season and whilst it’s a little early to be talking about an England recall, it’ll be great if he can kick on and breed competition. He was so woefully out of form at Lancashire that to come back from that displays the sort of character that England originally liked in Hameed. It’d be a great shame if he ends up been a what if? but the seeds of recovery have been planted and are starting to grow.

Having made three fifties this season though, Hameed needs to be greedy indeed to really press his case to add to his three Test caps.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/632172.html

Cricket Captain 2020 – Season Five

Finally, after five seasons in the job, things have started to progress. This season saw a fourth place finish in the County Championship but had we been able to turn a few frustrating draws into wins it could’ve been even better.

At the top of the order the combination of the stoic Matthew Revis and aggressive James Wharton complimented each other well.

Jon Baldwin topped the CC run charts with 1387 including a best of 277. Dennis Brindell came good too. He made four consecutive centuries in the latter stages of the campaign and fell only nineteen runs short of making it five. England Test cap Sam Cook claimed 51 wickets.

In the One-Day competition we finished fifth in our group. After a century in the opening game it was a huge shame that James Wharton missed the rest of the tournament through injury.

Jon Francis accumulated an impressive 547 runs with a best of 151, one of two centuries that he registered. Matthew Fisher, captain for the format in the absence of Jonny Tattersall (Playing in The Hundred) claimed a club best 16 wickets.

Sadly, we only mustered two victories in the T20 format. In an inglorious campaign we were even dismissed for 49!

Fred Albright did chalk up an encouraging 373 runs while Jared Warner made the most of a run in the side to claim 15 wickets.

All in all though, there was much improvement and much to build on.

Experienced duo Adam Lyth and Dawid Malan, neither of whom featured for the first team this season, have left the club. Getting said players off the wage bill has freed up funds for additional coaching and physio sessions.

Australian leg-spinning all-rounder Scott Collins, capped in both ODI/T20I cricket, replaces Rahkeem Cornwall as our overseas players. Sadly Scott will be unavailable initially as he’s been signed to play in the IPL. We’ve also added free agent Ken Wainwright, a batsman, to our squad to provide cover for The Hundred call-ups.

Meanwhile I’ve rejected offers to join both Durham and Otago. My heart lies with Yorkshire!

County Snippets!

A quick glance of the county scores this morning and a few names caught my attention.

James Killer Weighell, surprisingly underplayed then released by Durham, is turning out for Leicestershire. Meanwhile another all-rounder, Yorkshire’s Ed Barnes, is making his professional debut as a loanee at Derbyshire. Barnes was actually loaned out to Sussex last season but didn’t make it onto the field. Wicketkeeper Brooke Guest is also on loan at Derbyshire but his move will become permanent next season.

Tom Loten, George Hill and Jared Warner are among the reasons that the aforementioned Barnes has had to go out on loan. All are playing for Yorkshire, alongside more established young players such as Jordon Thompson and Harry Brook. Dawid Malan, fresh from a double ton but only just back from injury, joins Zimbabwe born Gary Ballance on the sidelines.

Fellow Zimbabwe born player Nathan Gilchrist is making his premier professional outing for Kent on loan from Somerset. Meanwhile Blake Cullen and Will Sheffield are also registering their professional debuts as Middlesex host Sussex.

Spinner Simon Kerrigan, infamously once capped at Test level for England, is representing Northamptonshire and the very best of luck to him and all the players mentioned above.

Isn’t it great to have some First Class county cricket to follow?

Zak Attack!

England have been desperately seeking a Test number three for some time. Someone with the resilience of an opener but enough stroke play and the right mindset to set the tempo. They want a player that can prevent the middle order stroke players from being exposed to the new ball and crucially leave Joe Root in his optimum number four position.

The player they’ve identified doesn’t have a bucket load of First Class centuries nor has he spent years being groomed in the England Lions. He’s been in and out of the England team, up and down the order but should now get a run at three where he’s already thriving. That’s particularly impressive given the lack of competitive preparation.

The player in question is not James Vince, Sam Northeast or any other celebrated or touted batsman… he’s Zak Crawley and he’s just struck his maiden Test ton…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/19495/game/1198243/england-vs-pakistan-3rd-test-england-v-pakistan-2020

It’s to be hoped that the tall twenty-one-year-old Kent player can score more Test centuries in front of packed out stadiums!

Cricket Captain 2020 – Fourth Year

Four years into my tenure and still we haven’t added any silverware to the trophy cabinet. I know that the fans are growing frustrated but in 2023 there was some encouraging development of our project.

Once again we retained our County Championship division one status. Selection consistency was a huge part of our progress whilst having sufficient stocks to rotate our bowling attack appropriately. Jon Baldwin developed as so many had hoped by totalling 1220 First Class runs. Sam Cook led the way with 48 wickets to earn the former Essex man an England call-up.

Sadly it was the wooden spoon for us in the One-Day competition. This was despite Harry Brook (271 runs) grabbing a career lifeline and leg-spinning all-rounder Brett D’Oliveira (12 wickets) excelling on his new home turf.

We suffered heartbreak in the T20s as our experienced and youth composite so nearly got us to the knockout stages courtesy of six victories before falling away come crunch time. Again it was Baldwin (360 runs including a score of 99) who led the run-getting while Matthew Waite claimed 18 wickets.

All-rounder Waite captained the One-Day side, shorn as usual of The Hundred players. Wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall stepped into the role for the four-day format and led the side particularly well in Twenty20 cricket.

Sadly Gary Ballance has left us and I’d like to place on record our gratitude to our former skipper who wasn’t able to make a first team appearance this season. Jordan Thompson and Nathan Ellis (Due to lack of funds!) have also left the club.

Our fans will however be hugely excited by the arrival of West Indian icon Rahkeem Cornwall. The off-spinning all-rounder will add a new dimension to our team. We can’t wait to see him take to the Headingley field in 2024. See you then!

Malan Can!

Dawid Malan and Lewis Gregory are two players that I’m pleased to see have made England’s squad for the T20Is against Pakistan.

Both seem to have been given some tough love by captain Eoin Morgan and are by no means guaranteed to feature in what, despite a number of absences, is a strong squad. Malan was criticised for not running off the last ball of the innings and possibly protecting his average in New Zealand whilst Gregory was provided little responsibility and didn’t even bowl in a couple of his previous appearances. If I was Malan, I’d be watching the last delivery of all England’s white ball innings and bringing to attention any lack of a scrambled run or run out. The former Middlesex man only has himself to blame for his Test demise but has been unfortunate with injuries when it’s come to ODIs. As good a start as he made in the shortest format, failure in this series could be terminal for Yorkshire’s new recruit.

It’s a shame that Liam Livingstone only makes the reserves but competition for places is intense. At least the Lancashire man, who offers something with bat, ball and in the field, is on the selectors radar. James Vince is omitted, whilst the ship that never sailed has probably done just that but left late bloomer Laurie Evans behind.

Please see the link below for details of the full squad…

https://www.ecb.co.uk/england/men/news/1755234/national-selectors-name-squad-for-vitality-it20s-against-pakistan

Cricket Captain 2020 – Season Three

My third season in charge of my native Yorkshire followed a familiar pattern. We made a reasonable start to the County Championship before plummeting into the relegation zone. Last season’s star performer Nathan Ellis earning international (Australian) recognition didn’t help! We fought back however to stave off relegation and preserve our first division status once again.

We failed to buck the trend in white-ball cricket too. As usual we were stripped of nearly an entire playing XI come the One-Day competition as players sauntered off to The Hundred. We made an horrific start and genuinely looked like we’d struggle to win a single game. We did however as a number of young players displayed glimpses of quality and even hinted at consistency. Sadly though, we finished bottom of our group.

It was a similar story in the T20 format where, despite a few wins, we were left to dine using a wooden spoon!

Despite our white-ball travails, there were some hugely encouraging signs of progress from a number of our less experienced players. Our batting unit isn’t getting any younger (Lyth, Ballance, Malan) but we’ve already begun the transition phase and I’m confident that some players (Jon Baldwin & Jon Francis among them) can really push on next season.

Among this season’s highlights were match figures of 10-169 for rejuvenated off-spinner Jack Shutt who also notched a maiden First Class ton. All-rounder Ed Barnes scored a second County Championship century and claimed a maiden five-wicket haul in the same game while opener James Wharton produced a knock of 135 in a One-Day game.

We had to make some really tough decisions at the end of the season and I’m sorry to say that the following players have not had their contracts renewed: Will Fraine, Tom Loten, Adil Rashid, David Willey, Duanne Olivier, Matthew Pillans and Josh Poysden

We have however recruited Feroze Khushi, Sam Cook, Brett Hutton and Brett D’Oliveira who bring a strong skillset to compliment what we already have. Roll on 2023!

Cricket Captain 2020 – Second Season Review

After a bright start in the County Championship we lost our way but once again dug deep in the final weeks of the season to fend off relegation. In the penultimate match of the campaign captain Gary Ballance (327) and bowling spearhead Ben Coad (Match figures: 9-86) all but secured our top flight status. Ballance (1430) topped the First Class competition run charts whilst Coad totalled 48 wickets.

Sadly we finished second last in the One-Day competition. With many players participating in The Hundred, a number of youngsters gained great experience including winning two matches and also thrillingly being involved in a tie. Teenager Jon Baldwin (101) registered a List A ton, Tom Loten racked up 301 runs in the competition while Matthew Waite (15 wickets) set the standard with the ball when captaining the side.

Despite winning five matches we placed last in the T20 tournament. For the second season running Matt Coles (21 wickets) excelled in the shortest form of the game but frustratingly retired at the end of the season.

Australian Nathan Ellis wasn’t our first choice signature before last season but grew into his role. The 27-year-old produced consistently excellent performances with bat and ball in all formats to become a firm favourite with the Yorkshire fans. So much so that we’ve burst the bank to keep him with his salary rising from 27k to 81k!

It’s with a heavy heart that Jonny Bairstow has left the club. The combination of salary/lack of availability just didn’t add up. George Lavelle joins from Lancashire to compete for wicketkeeping duties.

We’ll see you in 2022!

From the 55… Not Forgotten!

It was pleasing to see batsmen Dawid Malan and Ben Duckett in the runs in the County Championship yesterday, particularly Malan as he’s now playing for Yorkshire! The 32-year-old finished the day undefeated on 145 against an admittedly low-calibre Derbyshire bowling unit.

Duckett, another fringe England left-hander, made 116 against a slightly more formidable Lancashire attack.

Both were in the 55 but have a lot to do to gain further England recognition. Injuries have hampered former Middlesex man Malan’s chances, both last year on ODI debut and missing this summer’s 50-over games. His Test career is probably over and despite a stellar start, he’s by no means guaranteed to add to his T20I caps.

Duckett has far more time on his side but needs to relentlessly churn out big scores like he did a few years ago. He should be knocking the door down in all formats but at least the seeds of recovery have been planted. Despite the odd misdemeanour, he remains highly thought of enough to have made the 55.

Only time will tell if either Malan (An Ashes centurion/T20I batting average: 52.11!) or Duckett (ODI batting average: 41.00) will score another international run. As the divide between formats continues to grow, that might just aid their chances.