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.

Bess Heads North!

Somerset’s briefly England spin bowler Dom Bess has joined Yorkshire on loan in what seems like a smart move for all parties.

Bess is a talented young cricketer who just can’t get in the team at home county Somerset. He’s understandably behind the ever impressive Jack Leach in the county’s pecking order. Similarly to players such as county colleague Craig Overton, Bess more than hinted that he has the temperament and talent to succeed at the highest level when gracing the Test arena. Overton has been ripping it up on the county scene this year but is still some way off an England recall. Bess too, what with the aforementioned Leach as well as England’s no.1 Test spinner Moeen Ali present, Ali like Bess being an off-spinning all rounder, is a million billion trillion miles away from England’s Test side. Bess has failed to make an impression during the One-Day Cup this year but will hope to hit his straps pronto in the County Championship with Yorkshire. Extremely capable with the bat in hand as demonstrated during his two Test appearances, Bess could yet end up being a more batting-orientated player.

What Josh Poysden will make of this who knows?

Poysden was recruited by the white rose county last year when Adil Rashid’s future was uncertain. He’s done okay in the One-Day Cup this year (6w @ 50.50, 5.51rpo) but only okay. He possesses a reasonable First Class record but in truth has played little for a man of his age…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/464110.html

Yorkshire’s premier spinner, Adil Rashid, was informed by England Selector Ed Smith that he needs to play red-ball cricket in order to be selected for England’s Test side. It may be that following his one outing in the Caribbean earlier this year that that ship has already sailed. Come winter tours on the subcontinent however, Smith may still want to get funky and pick Rashid. In the short term of course, he’ll be at the World Cup.

I’m not a fan of transfers left, right and centre in county cricket but this is the sort of mutually beneficial deal that gets an immensely talented player on the field so should be welcomed. You wouldn’t want Bess to stand in the way of homegrown talent but in truth the likes of Karl Carver will benefit from more exposure to second XI cricket whilst James Logan is injured.

Mahmood Marches On!

At the commencement of the One-Day Cup, I posted about how pleased I was to see Lancashire quick bowler Saqib Mahmood in action…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2019/04/17/mahmood-to-deliver/

The twenty-two-year-old has gone on to claim a tournament topping (At the time of writing) 13 wickets at 19.46 apiece in the competition thus far…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/english-one-day/averages

This includes a career best performance of 6-37 against Northamptonshire…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/scorecard/ECKO45013

Hopefully Mahmood can continue his encouraging white-ball form as well transferring it to red-ball cricket. If he can fill the void when James Anderson is on England duty then the Lancashire faithful will be extremely grateful.

As well as Mahmood, it’s also been great to see the likes of Middlesex’s Tom Helm and Sussex’s George Garton as well as many other young bowlers getting game time and producing encouraging wicket-taking performances.

Mahmood, Helm and Garton have all represented England Lions and much has been expected of them. Technically Helm and Garton were even Ashes tourists, albeit briefly.

Messrs Anderson and Broad won’t be around for ever but England’s pace bowling cupboard is far from bare.

Footitt Hops It!

England nearly man Mark Footitt is hitting the motorway once again, this time in the direction of Old Trafford.

Why Lancashire (Anderson, Bailey, Onions, Mahmood, Lester, Gleeson, Hurt and some promising youngsters) need another bowler, a specialist First Class one at that, when the One-Day Cup commences after only two County Championship games is beyond me!

Were it not for an erratic performance in a warm-up match then Footitt may have earned a Test cap in South Africa. Having said that, Mark Davies took a five-wicket haul in a tour match and still didn’t make the England XI.

Back to Footitt and I’ve lost track of his career path. It goes something like Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Surrey, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire (Loan), Nottinghamshire, Lancashire (Loan).

Hopefully he can commence the campaign as he did for Surrey only a year or two ago. Hopes of winning full England recognition are surely long gone however.

Disclaimer: It turns out that half Lancashire’s bowling attack are injured which is why they require Footitt’s presence. Fair enough!

CricketXI: Sheffield Shield 2018-19 – Season Review (Or non-review!)

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Errr… ?

I’d provide a review but the scores have already disappeared from the website. I appreciate that I’m a few days off the pace what with hospital stays and the like but…

I guess that they’ve had a clear down as it’s all IPL/County Cricket now. Needless to say, I was as appalling in the Sheffield Shield as I’m set to be in the IPL! For the English domestic scene, I’ve been focusing on my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket teams (Cash prizes) but will endeavour to be competitive on CricketXI as some of you have kindly joined my league and I don’t want to be shown up!

Victorious Victoria!

Victoria have comprehensively defeated New South Wales in the 2018-19 Sheffield Shield final. For Vic, it’s a fourth title in the last five seasons!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8043/scorecard/1150138/victoria-vs-new-south-wales-final-sheffield-shield-2018-19

The star studded Victorians were simply too good for Moises Henriques’ New South Wales side. NSW have some good players but are more about the sum of all parts than their individuals. They simply failed to bring anywhere near their ‘A game’ to this season’s final.

I think that there’s real value in a final, ideally a more competitive one and would love to see English county cricket adopt one. My previous suggestion was for three groups of six consisting of ten games followed by semi-finals and a final at Lords. The best runner-up having joined the group toppers in the last four. I firmly believe that it could help bridge the gap between county and Test cricket.

Zim a Bad Way!

Play has been suspended in Zimbabwe’s First Class cricket competition. Such a move seems fair enough in light of the current situation in the troubled nation.

Civil unrest inspired by food and fuel shortages has led to beatings and abductions as well as a government enforced internet black out. At times like this, cricket just isn’t important. The practicality of players, officials and everybody involved being able to travel to matches safely just doesn’t exist.

Food and fuel shortages, civil unrest. Is this what we can expect in Britain when we do eventually rid ourselves of our European Union armbands and attempt to swim at the deep end, even though we haven’t attended all our lessons?!

Disclaimer: Yes I’ve used a variation of this headline before and yes I’ve brought the topics of politics and Brexit into my cricket blog. It’s my blog. I can do what I want!