The Lions Share

There are some exciting selections in the England Lions squad for a tour of Australia commencing in January that follows the senior side’s series in South Africa.

Incumbent Test opener Dominic Sibley and fellow full England squad member Zak Crawley both make the four-day squad.

Keaton Jennings, tipped for a recall for the senior squad’s tour of Sri Lanka in March due to his two Test tons on Asian soil has the opportunity to enhance his game on demanding pace friendly pitches, the sort that a lot of people have previously felt that he’d be eaten alive on!

Already capped but almost forgotten Dom Bess as well as Surrey’s Amar Virdi are in with a genuine chance of making the full side’s trip to Sri Lanka if they can impress in Australia. With uncertainty surrounding Moeen Ali’s potential return both could yet make the tour. Bess, like his Somerset sparring partners Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton, feature in both the four-day and one-day squads.

Overton seems to be Mr Periphery for England having been recalled for an Ashes Test but ditched for the full winter tours. Gregory was provided little opportunity by skipper Eoin Morgan to perform in the T20I series in New Zealand.

Sam Northeast’s international ambition flame still flickers with the thirty-year-old named in the four-day squad. Gloucestershire’s James Bracey, who the selectors really like, makes both squads.

Another interesting selection is that of Richard Gleeson in both squads. He’s been touted as England material before but at 32 and a late comer to domestic cricket, it may be that caution applied to fellow injury prone quicks Olly Stone and Jamie Overton have aided his cause. Don’t get me wrong though, Gleeson excelled for Lancashire last term.

Tom Abell is yet another Somerset player in the one-day squad and he fully merits recognition. It’s good to see Tom Kohler-Cadmore in there too following any indiscretions.

Laurie Evans is no young pup but has made a name for himself on the franchise circuit and fully merits a place in the 50-over party.

Matt Milnes has had more success in First Class than List A cricket but a place in the one-day squad will allow the coaching staff to have a good look at him. He took regular wickets for Kent during a breakthrough County Championship season in 2019 but leaked runs too.

Under appreciated but deceptively effective in one-day cricket Mason Crane makes the white ball squad. Of course it was playing Grade Cricket in Australia that helped win him a Test cap.

Ollie Robinson (Kent) and Ollie Robinson (Sussex) both make the four-day party… freaky!

Check out the squads in full here…

https://www.ecb.co.uk/england/men/news/1535797/england-lions-squads-confirmed-for-tour-of-australia

Ben Duckett, Liam Livingstone, Ben Foakes, Ben Coad and Jamie Porter are amongst the notable omissions. The selectors may feel that they know enough about Duckett, Livingstone and Foakes including knowing that they don’t need Duckett to be called up in spin friendly Sri Lanka! With an eye on Australia as well Coad and Porter are possibly pigeon holed as home condition bowlers only.

Potential England Lions Squads

Hi all

Please see below for my potential England Lions squads for any series in the near future. There don’t seem to be any fixtures listed but I understand that the Lions will be going on tour this winter. I’ve omitted fringe/new players that are in the full squad (Brown, Crawley, Gregory, Mahmood and Parkinson etc) who could yet be considered based on playing time and schedule. I’ve also omitted likely franchise players (Banton, Duckett, Livingstone and Evans etc) all of whom could come into consideration based on contracts and schedule.

Test

Daniel Bell-Drummond

Hassan Azad

Luis Reece

Sam Northeast

Tom Abell (Captain)

Ben Foakes (Wicketkeeper)

Ryan Higgins

Tom Bailey

Ben Coad

Jamie Porter

Amar Virdi

Chris Dent

Rob Keogh

Harvey Hosein (Wicketkeeper)

Liam Patterson-White

Ollie Robinson

Sam Cook

ODI

Daniel Bell-Drummond

Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Captain)

Nick Gubbins

Sam Hain

George Bartlett

Ben Foakes (Wicketkeeper)

Craig Overton

George Garton

Jamie Overton

Tom Helm

Matthew Carter

Dan Lawrence

Ryan Higgins

Ben Cox (Wicketkeeper)

Aaron Beard

Nathan Sowter

T20I

Tom Kohler-Cadmore

Will Jacks

Sam Hain

Daniel Lawrence

Tom Abell (Captain)

Ross Whiteley

Ben Cox (Wicketkeeper)

Liam Trevaskis

Toby Roland-Jones

Luke Wood

Richard Gleeson

Miles Hammond

Adam Wheater (Wicketkeeper)

Matthew Potts

Nathan Sowter

I’ve provided Tom Abell with the captaincy in Test and T20I formats but handed the role to Tom Kohler-Cadmore in the ODI format. I’ve avoided selecting players in all three forms of the game so this captaincy decision utilises Abell’s skill and expertise as well as Kohler-Cadmore’s potential but also allows the less experienced Kohler-Cadmore to not be burdened by the role in T20I cricket.

I think that my squads send out a message that if you perform at domestic level you’ll be considered for England. It’s not a development squad but a best of the rest. As well as omitting less experienced fringe first team players and possible franchise players I’ve ignored the likes of Gary Ballance, Dawid Malan and James Vince who England already know enough about. In the case of Malan and Vince they are in the full T20I squad and may well play franchise cricket this winter.

What are your thoughts and who do you think deserves England recognition?

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: CC/ODC 2019 – Season Review

I set myself the target of a top thousand finish and I’m pleased to say that I achieved it!

I can only repeat what I’ve said before: pick players who play, generally don’t pick England players and select batsmen who bowl or the reverse. Also, you need to find those gem cheaper selections that aren’t in everybody’s team. Look at Luis Reece below. Yes he’s ended up in 30% of people’s teams but he probably wasn’t initially. At a rating of 5 he’s been great value.

You must check team news, ideally fifteen minutes before the start of play, use your transfers but keep some in hand. Watch out for overseas players coming and going and injuries etc. These are my key tips.

If anything I tinkered a little too much during the one-day cup but still had transfers to play with come the season finale.

The above graphic displays the top points scorers. As you’ll see they’re generally all-rounders or bowlers who can bat. The highest scoring batsman was the next man on the list which is Marnus Labuschagne, a batsman who bowls. Remember that a bowler scores 25pts per wicket but a batsman only scored 1 pt per run (-20 for a duck). There are other caveats to the points scoring but clearly it’s a bowler’s game. Getting your captain right and changing him when appropriate is absolutely crucial.

I’ll be back next year (Depending on the domestic schedule I guess) with my sights firmly set on a top 500 finish.

County Lines

The County Championship returns tomorrow and not soon enough. I appreciate the skills required in white-ball cricket but just love the twists, turns and infinite possibilities that First Class cricket provides. Its return presents a great opportunity for numerous batsmen to make a case for an Ashes call given the indifferent form of some of England’s incumbent Test batters.

It also means keeping an eye on things in the hope of performing a late surge up the Telegraph Fantasy Cricket table.

Hopefully the weather will be kind up and down the land. Enjoy your cricket folks!

First Class Honours… Nope!

University matches are set to lose First Class status and rightly so. Such an honour should be reserved for competitive matches as well as some tour and A Team etc games. To have university matches hold First Class status compromises the integrity of professional cricket.

Don’t get me wrong, the university system has a part to play in the development of our cricketers and more should be done to put a competition in place…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2016/12/10/university-challenge/

… just like more could be done for those that don’t attend university.

Yes it’s a thrill for those involved to be able to look at their Cricinfo profile page in years to come but it’s without merit, untidy and illogical. This is a welcome move by cricket’s hierarchy though if history is anything to go by then they’ll probably flip it again in a few years!

Cricket 19: Career Mode – First Class Travel!

Our man Buster van Dunk put the negative press to one side this week and made his First Class debut for Centurion at the impressive Highveld Oval. Some pessimists in the media have criticised the teenager’s selection following some middling performances on the club circuit but the talent is clearly there in abundance.

BVD looked at ease against pace in his first innings, soon dispatching national spearhead Kagiso Rabada to the boundary but operated less comfortably against spin. He’d made 22 batting at 8 before an inauspicious end, out caught at slip when failing to execute a reverse sweep as intended.

The off-spinner then toiled for 34 fruitless overs. He traveled at only two per over before leaking a little when experimenting with bowling around the wicket to the left-handed batsman but figures of 34-7-77-0 were by no means a disaster. Hosts Highveld declared just shy of 500 having lost only five wickets in a chastening experience for the Centurion bowlers. Experienced internationals Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen were amongst the runs. Generally Buster bowled with control and whilst the threat wasn’t persistent he did at least beat the bat on a few occasions.

It was van Dunk’s 35 not out from only 26 deliveries in Centurion’s second innings that ensured Highveld would have to bat again. They wobbled somewhat losing three wickets when chasing only 16 runs for victory but the result was never in doubt.

Next up it’s a home debut against Bloemfontein as Buster goes in search of his maiden professional wicket in front of his home fans.

Logan’s Run… or not as the case may be!

You’re the leading wicket taker in the history of your club’s academy. You made your First Class debut last season and got a few overs under your belt but now you’re primed for first team action. You claim excellent second innings figures of 4-22 in only your second professional match…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8052/scorecard/1166938/yorkshire-vs-warwickshire-specsavers-county-championship-division-one-2019

What’s your reward? To get dropped and see your employers sign a South African for just three matches. Just when you thought that Yorkshire County Cricket Club couldn’t mess around another spinner… think again! To be fair, we understand that Adil Rashid has next to no interest in playing for Yorkshire. Azeem Rafiq got released, re-signed, did okay but got released again amidst personal pain and poor old Karl Carver. He’d actually done okay in a reasonable amount of first XI appearances but one bad day at the office in a T20 game was followed by a First Class fixture in which he batted at eleven and didn’t bowl. Stuart Broad got hit for six sixes once. Did it make hime a bad player? There was also the absolute panic and what has turned out to be disrespectful signing of Josh Poysden as well as a visit from Dom Bess. Bess is now back at Somerset and doing well so wouldn’t Yorkshire have been better investing in their own player?

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/767447.html

Will James Logan get a run in the team?

Let’s hope so but given Yorkshire’s track record of failing to develop spinners, it’ll be interesting to see where he is in a decade’s time.

Disclaimer: Is Logan injured? He doesn’t appear to have played any cricket at all since the Warwickshire match but there’s nothing on the club website or mention of his absence in the squad announcement for the following match.