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!
Glamorgan have added batsman Charlie Hemphrey to their batting ranks for the 2019 campaign. The Doncaster born bat has done okay on the Australian domestic scene and a stint in county cricket should serve him well. The Welsh county have already acquired fellow Yorkshireman Billy Root and as a result they should be more of a force this term.
Nottinghamshire didn’t really seem to know what to do with Root. You could check three scorecards in a week and find him batting at three, then at nine playing primarily as a spin bowler then batting at five. The opportunity to play week in week out should help bring out the best of a player who has demonstrated that he’s good enough to carve out a career at county level.
As a batsman who bowls a bit and likely to get regular first team opportunities, Root is a player to consider come the 2019 edition of Telegraph Fantasy Cricket. Look out for my YouTube video of how to go about selecting your team soon!
If England win this summer’s Ashes or/and World Cup, then we could have a host of new MBEs!
The chances of Keaton Jennings playing in the World Cup are slim. The chances of Rory Burns doing so are… even slimmer!
The likelihood of the pair playing in the Ashes and possibly earning knighthoods will be defined on the Test tour of West Indies. No disrespect to the current Caribbean collective but if you offered an opening batsman an away destination to cement their place in their own team then West Indies would currently be high on most player’s list.
Jennings was previously dropped on the eve of a home series against West Indies. He’ll hope not to be dropped post a Caribbean encounter this time. He played spin well in Sri Lanka and was razor sharp in the field but questions of his ability against pace linger. Based on the evidence and scars inflicted by South Africa, answering those questions against Australia won’t be easy!
Burns performed well in the second Test in Sri Lanka after a disappointing debut. He failed in the final Test however and his aesthetics aren’t to everybody’s pleasure. If he leaves the door even slightly ajar and some young gun plunders runs on the county scene or even Surrey teammate Jason Roy produces a run gluttonous World Cup then Burns will follow another Surrey man, his opening partner Mark Stoneman, back to the county game and with little chance of a Jennings style recall.
Should KJ and RB perform well in West Indies, help England regain the Ashes, go on to score a few thousand Test runs and even captain England (They’ve got experience) then maybe they could yet join Alastair Cook by having a new prefix!
They’re not bad these Curran brothers are they?
I don’t actually think that most diehard cricket fans were surprised at how Surrey’s Sam Curran has taken to Test cricket. He’s an absolute star, capable of batting at six (Maybe higher) and opening the bowling for his country. His left-arm variety will be essential to England’s attack and compensates for any perceived lack of pace. I previously said that he is the axis around which England should build their team but given England’s abundance of all-round talent, just to be a cog will suffice. He’s already made his buck courtesy of the IPL (He’s been snapped up by Kings XI Punjab) but hopefully he’ll keep his feet on the ground and stay engaged with the longest form of the game as well as the pyjama affairs.
Brother Tom struggled for wickets in the 2017-18 Ashes series in Australia but displayed chutzpah with both bat and ball. He performed well in white-ball (ODI/T20I) cricket and it’s a shame that injuries limited his England outings in 2018. He’s been on absolute fire for Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash this winter, already claiming a hat-trick of three-wicket hauls and scoring a swashbuckling half-century. I still think he’s capable of being a viable Test option for England at least in home conditions. He and Sam clearly have attitude which I like. It’s not ugly but there’s a little bit of ‘In your face!’ and that’s healthy against some competitors.
Then there’s brother Ben. It would be easy to get discouraged by being a little behind his brothers or for him to be the butt of jokes but BC has won a contract with Northamptonshire on the back of an encouraging showing late last season. That included signing off with a match-winning 83 not out against Sussex in the County Championship and he’ll be keen to kick on this term for a side that have lost Ben Duckett to Nottinghamshire. How far BC can go remains to be seen. There’s no disgrace in having a solid county career without international recognition but whilst Sam and Tom might look destined for greatness, remember how compatriot Steven Finn as well as India’s Irfan Pathan sadly fell away. In the case of Ben, we might yet see a Mike Hussey style post thirty Test debut followed by thousands of runs!
Here’s my YouTube debut. Enjoy…
Batsman Ben Duckett has been recalled to the England fold meanwhile there is also a fully merited call-up for Lancashire seamer Tom Bailey and an exciting selection in spinner Matthew Carter for England Lions’ tour of India this winter.
With an ODI World Cup and Ashes series on the horizon next year, this is as good a time as any to stand up and be counted for ‘The Pride’!
Firstly, please let me be clear. I don’t mind change. I’m grateful for change in the past and there are changes that I’d welcome in the future… but this is embarrassing!
The Big Bash is set to replace the coin toss with the Australian backyard tradition of flipping a bat. This is professional sport right?
I’m all for trying something different in cricket, as has been done in the English County Championship. Alternative methods could be that the away team, the team highest in the league or the higher run scorers in a tournament get to choose whether to bat or bowl first but a bat flip, seriously!
We’ve got The Hundred coming to English cricket and the bat flip to the Australian game. What next? A Kabaddi fight between the captains before an IPL match?