James Hildreth (Somerset)
Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Yorkshire)
Ross Whiteley (Worcestershire)
James Hildreth (Somerset)
Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Yorkshire)
Ross Whiteley (Worcestershire)
To say that the selection of batsman Nic Maddinson in Australia’s T20 squad to tour England and Zimbabwe has been met with scepticism is to put it mildly. A brief flirtation with social media is all one needs to do to sense that the Ozzie fans’ vibes aren’t great. To put his selection into context, please be aware that despite a decent finish to the Sheffield Shield season, Maddo has actually been released from his state contract with New South Wales. He has however recently transferred and signed a three-year deal with Melbourne Stars on the back of good Big Bash form. His last T20I cap came over three years ago but to say that he looked like the proverbial young buck in extra strong car headlights when he graced the Test arena would be an understatement. In that form of the game, Maddo averages just 6.75.
After a seemingly traumatic time, Maddinson even took time out from the game. Hopefully the shorter format is where he can relax, excel and prove the doubters wrong.
England’s Alex Hales and Adil Rashid are focusing on white-ball cricket only and there are other players out there such as Maddinson’s compatriot Ben Laughlin who only play T20 cricket. The fact that Maddinson doesn’t have a First Class or List A contract shouldn’t really matter when it comes to T20I selection.
I’m an England fan but never like to see someone struggle as horrendously as Maddinson did in Test cricket. Fingers crossed that the still only 26-year-old can make a mark as he and Australia seek redemption!
Before you all suggest that I’ve gone completely bonkers, please let me draw your attention to the fact that Compdog has played both First Class and List A cricket for Sri Lanka Ports Authority as recently as March this year.
Don’t England tour Sri Lanka this winter?
Looking at his stats, it appears as though Compton acquitted himself well, even notching a 27th First Class ton in Colombo, sandwiched between two scores in the 90s.
Those scores in his final three innings propelled him to the top of SLPACC’s run charts with 411 runs at a team high average of 44.45.
Okay, so an England recall seems unlikely given that Middlesex don’t even seem to want him at the moment and his England career petered out rather miserably second time around but good on him for going and challenging himself in a different environment and doing well. In fact, given how some of England’s batting pretenders have started the County Championship, maybe a recall for Compton wouldn’t be such a foolish idea after all!
India skipper Virat Kohli has joined Surrey at The Oval for the month of June. Kohli will play both County Championship and One-Day Cup matches ahead of leading India on their Test tour of England.
Some people may moan about a player who will be opposing England being able to acclimatise to the conditions and I’ve previously shared that opinion. However, as Test cricket continues to become home team dominated, the opportunity to enhance the chances of an even contest is perhaps not a bad thing. England have had positive but one-sided results against Asian opposition when playing in almost winter conditions that are alien to the tourists, though admittedly this series is scheduled for summer rather than spring. England themselves have often been undercooked when touring and simply not been prepped to perform. Kohli, as well as others such as Yorkshire’s Cheteshwar Pujara, will hopefully be primed to provide even England fans with the sort of quality and contest that they pay for, whether that’s on telly or at the ground.
Kohli has committed for an entire month which I think is fair too. In light of an international cricketer’s schedule, it can’t be expected that the top players can participate for an entire campaign. I don’t like to see players signing for just a couple of weeks or representing multiple counties but First Class cricket in England desperately requires some aces to draw the crowds.
I might even sneak him into my Telegraph fantasy team!
The above is my first XI. It’s in the all-rounder roles that I’ve gambled with Rhodes and Rawlins. Rhodes has moved from Yorkshire to Warwickshire so should see increased game time and will be keen to show what he’s capable of. Rawlins made an impression in the North v South matches and this should be his breakout season. Simpson is a reliable wicketkeeper and I think there is real logic in the stumper being captain. I’ve plucked for a possibly slightly under the radar bowling attack and expect Mennie and hopefully Hutton to contribute runs too. I’ve very deliberately selected batsman that will at least occasionally bowl and should get opportunities in both formats of the game.
For my second XI, I’ve gone for the two all-rounders that I consider guaranteed runs and wickets. I’ve opted for a reliable batting unit and expect Fell to return to form this year. Though my bowling unit may not be guaranteed outings in both codes, Coad and Footitt are wicket takers in the First Class format. Mahmood is coming into the campaign off the back of impressive performances in North v South and Nijjar, a useful spin bowler, has been opening the batting for Essex pre-season. What happens to Alastair Cook with England may determine Nijjar’s opportunities. If Roderick is available throughout the season, he should be steady away behind the stumps and with bat in hand.
Have I ever mentioned that I like Ben Duckett?
Mitchell is as consistent as they come and bowls too. Smith has returned to Durham and I expect plenty of runs from the experienced head back up north. Alongside him, Brook is primed for his breakthrough campaign after debuting last term. Kuhn may not keep wicket but is a solid performer at domestic level. My bowling attack may receive England and England Lions call-ups but have runs as well as wickets in them in both formats. Bresnan is as solid an option as Patel and Bopara and van der Merwe is a destructive player.
In my fourth XI, I’ve gone Warwickshire and England veteran heavy in my batting line-up, messrs Trott and Bell leading the charge. Bell-Drummond will be looking to kick-on and fingers crossed for a run-filled renaissance from Nick Compton. Like Kuhn, Pope may not always keep wicket but will be playing regularly and in the runs this year. Berg is as reliable as anyone with the ball and Procter prospered last term having relocated to Northamptonshire. I want a bit more from Barker and Rayner this year. Fletcher is back from injury and if Overton, rated 3!, can stay fit then he’s a shrewd selection.
In my fifth XI are the other players that I like who I couldn’t squeeze into my first four teams. Northeast has moved to Hampshire but is as reliable as they come with the bat. Wells is solid in the First Class game as is Burns. Dent is an under rated player too. McManus gets the gloves with the experienced Clarke, back at Surrey, and less experienced but quick Chappell in the all-rounder roles. Hopefully Norwell has shrugged off any injury niggles. Ball will be left to play county cricket this term whilst Patterson is another of my reliable picks. Qadri made an impressive debut last year and will look to back it up.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve avoided selecting players that will be on England duty. It’s steady away county pros that you need sprinkled with one or two yet to be discovered gems just primed to be this year’s Ben Coad.
Let me know what you think about my teams and which one is likely to win me the massive cash prize of……….. £3,000!
Disclaimer: I’ve since been tinkering away, so my teams don’t look quite the same as above. I’ll keep you up to date once the campaign commences!
Here’s a quick round up of the 2024 campaign.
In the One-Day Cup, I commenced the season with scores of 79 and a List A best of 174 from 86 deliveries at the top of the order. I then scored 27 and was promptly dropped to number four! I was pretty peeved at the demotion and some low scores then ensued. After only 21 runs in four outings, I then walloped 90 off 28 having reached 50 from 14 whilst passing 1000 career List A runs in the process.
I made a quick fire 46 in the quarter-final against Durham but that was as far as we got. I totalled 433 runs at 54.13 in the competition.
I finally got the call to the Yorkshire T20 side and after a slow start, made 76 from 43 against Sussex.
I dominated a rather one-sided partnership against Middlesex having equalled the world record for fastest fifty alongside Chris Gayle and Yuvraj Singh, just the twelve deliveries required. Later in the season, I went onto register a maiden ton from just 32 balls, two deliveries short of equalling Gayle’s record. I had a fantastic opportunity to smash the fifty record against Northamptonshire but having raced to 46 from nine, missed a free hit then failed to connect with the following two deliveries.
I would go onto record another hundred, a career best 115 from just forty balls against Somerset. I was dismissed in the forties in both the quarter-final against Essex and semi-final against Derbyshire. Despite being favourites, we failed to get past Derbyshire in the semi and so yet again, there was to be no big day out for us.
There were hundreds galore in the First Class arena. After a slightly slow start, I made 175 in a partnership of 209 against a Northamptonshire attack that included Australia’s Josh Hazlewood and my South African nemesis Tabraiz Shamsi.
Against Nathan Lyon and company at Worcestershire, I scored 175… again!
I made 99 against Surrey before being bowled around my legs. Having made 27 in the second innings I got dropped to four again. There must be something about the score of 27 and getting demoted from opener to four!
After a few low scores I was back to run-getting with 153 against Kagiso Rabada’s Derbyshire, then made 189 versus Leicestershire and 102 against Surrey. I reached fifty from twelve balls against Nottinghamshire and was then promoted back to opener. Against Glamorgan, I contributed my season high 216 having reached a century from just thirty deliveries. I fell for 95 in the second innings before scoring 92 in the final match of the season against Durham. I actually reached my half-century in a record breaking ten deliveries!
I was really satisfied with my ability to convert centuries into at least 150s more often than not. Unfortunately, as soon as the season finished, I was off to Australia and so couldn’t see the final County Championship standings or run charts! (Sort that out please Big Ant!)
I’ve signed as captain with Tasmania for the Sheffield Shield but then joined Auckland in the New Zealand T20 competition. This means that I’ll miss a load of Sheffield Shield matches. I’ve decided to sign up to as many T20 franchises as possible this winter to see how it works then review it and maybe be more selective next winter. I’ve signed for Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash and Khulna in the Bangladesh Premier League but it looks like I’ll only play snippets of each competition. I’m guessing that if I sign up for the Ireland T20 that I’ll miss some of the English county season. Like I said, I’ll sign up to every league possible this term then try and manage things better the following season.
For the record, my career record is as follows:
First Class: 3963 @ 66.05 incl. 14×50 & 12×100, TS: 325
List A: 1134 @ 59.68 incl. 4×50 & 5×100, TS: 174
T20: 757 @ 42.06 incl. 3×50 & 2×100, TS: 115
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