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.
To look at Nottinghamshire’s team, it’s hard to fathom that they’ve failed to win any of seven County Championship matches this season.
They’ve got genuine young talent in Matthew Carter, the recently acquired Ben Duckett and coach Peter Moores’ son Tom behind the stumps. They also posses proven internationals like Stuart Broad and James Pattinson, granted they may not play every game. In addition they have thoroughly decent county pros, the likes of Chris Nash, Steven Mullaney and Luke Fletcher. Not to mention Samit Patel and Jake Ball! But they’re bottom of the County Championship and sometimes struggling to post 100 let alone 200. Is their coach to blame? Twice England coach Peter Moores wasn’t Kevin Pietersen’s cup of tea and didn’t have a glittering career let alone an international one. We’ll save ourselves the trouble of listing great sporting coaches who hadn’t had amazing playing careers mind. Let’s not forget that Moores has coached two separate counties to County Championship success and basically in two separate eras.
Perversely, defending champions Surrey, led by England great Alec Stewart are also winless. Yes they’ve had injuries and lost players to both England and the IPL but they’ve still fielded a near full international side (Burns, Elgar, Foakes, Meaker, Morkel etc) sprinkled with high quality young players such as Ryan Patel. Don’t forget the wise old heads of Rikki Clarke and Gareth Batty in amongst those international players either. Though not as successful or prolonged at international level as they would’ve liked they are serious contributors at domestic level.
So what’s going wrong?
This is where I should summarise and explain why but… who knows? I certainly don’t. What do you think I am? Some sort of cricket expert!
What are your thoughts on how two such talented teams have failed to win in thirteen matches between them in 2019?
I’ve scripted a few articles about batsman Joe Clarke. His previous indiscretions rightly leave him officially unselectable for England at present. Off-field misdemeanours are not the only reason why Clarke doesn’t merit international recognition. Scores of 48, 1, 29, 0, 7, 0, 6, 12 & 0 since the restart of the County Championship are pretty abysmal. His season average will drop into the mid-twenties at the conclusion of Nottinghamshire’s current match and even that is elevated by a debut hundred scored quite some time ago. Why Clarke continues to get a mention as a soon to be England player is beyond me. At the risk of repeating myself, he hasn’t committed a crime and we don’t know what every player gets up to behind closed doors but Clarke is not fit to represent his country at professional sport. In time, I have no problem with him displaying development both as a player and a person and winning England recognition but not now.
Are Clarke’s performances being affected by what is supposedly still an ongoing investigation on the part of the ECB into his conduct? Possibly and if so… tough! He has to deal with it. I don’t for one second believe that all England cricketers or footballers etc, male or female are saints and have never done anything wrong. It’s by doing wrong things that you learn. We don’t want perfect people around us because they’re probably less perfect than those who’ve messed up somewhere along the line. On that note, I wish that the tone of commentators following the Women’s football world cup would stop turning matches into X-Factor sob stories. We know that people have an agenda where they want to make out that women footballers are better idols than the men but it’s condescending, often inaccurate and painful to listen too. Just commentate on the action!
Fair play, a man who was playing when cricket was still on terrestrial television, who I vividly remember watching on Test debut when my passion for cricket was still in its infancy, is still playing domestic cricket.
However for a man who scored 5825 Test runs at an average of 43.8 (That’s right youngsters, English batsmen used to average that much!), 86 runs at 10.75 with a top score of 23 isn’t really what’s required from a County Championship Division One opening batsman.
If Marcus Trescothick is nearing the end then respect to the man. He faced his demons, scored runs around the world and opened up to help others. He’s not standing in anybody’s way, that wouldn’t be his way. He’s still opening for Somerset because he’s the best man for the job.
He’ll probably score a hundred next week but it’s been tough so far for a man whose age has caught up with his batting average.
During a campaign where a star studded if sometime injury hit Surrey side have serially struggled, there’s a bright shining star among the dark night.
Matt Dunn’s figures of 5-43 against table topping Somerset must’ve provided Alec Stewart with a great deal of satisfaction…
If it weren’t for international call-ups and injuries then it’s unlikely fans at The Oval would’ve seen much of Dunn in action this year. Having said that, if it weren’t for injuries then they may have seen a lot more of the right-arm pacer in recent years.
Dunn has represented England at youth level as well as making his sole List A outing for an England Development XI. It’s believed he’s eligible to represent Ireland but at 27 would probably need to leave London and drop anchor in the Emerald Isle. That’s a big sacrifice, to abandon a county career given the paucity of Ireland’s international schedule.
If twenty-seven-year-old Dunn can keep fit then he could yet help Surrey rescue what has so far been an abysmal campaign.
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.
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.