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!
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…
… 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!
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.
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…
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?
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.
He’s been around the counties a bit having been on the books of Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire as well as representing Durham MCCU but at home county Yorkshire Will Fraine has finally announced himself.
Having recently replaced a struggling Harry Brook at the top of the order for the Yorkies, against an attack led by Morne Morkel and Sam Curran, Fraine has today recorded not only a maiden professional fifty but gone onto score a hundred in sunny Scarborough…
Having just turned twenty-three Fraine now has an opportunity to really go on and have a decent career in the professional game.
Yorkshire and the Headingley (And Scarborough… and York) faithful will be hoping that he does just that!
Our man Buster van Dunk will make his First Class debut for Centurion this week at the age of just 19.
Wickets haven’t been easy to come by for the young off-spinner but his economy rate has caught the eye of many domestic sides who desire some control in their bowling ranks.
The left-handed lower order bat also has five fifties to his name and averages just shy of forty with willow in hand at club level.
On top of his batting and bowling exploits, South Africa’s great spin hope has demonstrated his nous when captaining club side Emalahleni to great effect during the current campaign.
Centurion have signed van Dunk for the pro 50-over competition too.
We’ll bring you further updates as van Dunk announces himself on the professional scene.
Buster van Dunk
Slam dunk da funk
He’s funkE with a capital E!
Buster van Dunk
Slam dunk da funk
He’ll take a shedload of wickets, you just wait and see!
Will the famous Emalahleni crowd chant make it to the stands of Centurion?
To see a player as talented as James Weighell frozen out of Durham’s 1st XI and languishing in the second team is both frustrating and criminal. Durham have some good bowlers of varying age and experience. There’s the ever reliable old warhorse Chris Rushworth and the promising young gun Matty Potts amongst others. Weighell is a capable all-rounder though, a genuine wicket-taking threat who can also quickly take the game away from the opposition with the bat.
Ben Raine has made an ordinary start to his Durham career but has just begun to turn a corner with match figures of 8-90 against Derbyshire and and a knock of 82 against Northamptonshire. Maybe Franklin doesn’t think that he can accommodate both the weather and the animal kingdom in his XI. If he simply thinks that Weighell isn’t good enough then the former New Zealand underachieving bits and pieces cricketer is mistaken. Still only 25, Weighell has 51 First Class wickets to his name at a decent 27.94 apiece. He averages 25.25 with the bat and the sample sizes are big enough to make a judgment. His white-ball figures require a little enhancement but there’s enough there to know that he could contribute.
Given how many loan signings (Luke Wood, Ian Holland, Jamie Overton, Matt Coles and Jack Blatherwick) Northamptonshire have added to their bowling attack this season, it’s hard to fathom that Weighell hasn’t been snapped up for a game or two at Wantage Road!
It’s to be hoped that Weighell isn’t on his way out of Durham County Cricket Club. For whipping boys such as them that have lost the likes of Stoneman, Borthwick and Jennings in recent years, they’d be foolish to let such a talent leave. Durham’s loss would be another county’s gain however and I’m sure that James ‘Killer’ Weighell will tear it up wherever he lands.