England’s Alternative Batting Options

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James Hildreth (Somerset)

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/15348.html

Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Yorkshire)

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/470633.html

Ross Whiteley (Worcestershire)

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/288617.html

In the Land of Maple Leaf

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It seems a shame that the inaugural Global T20 Canada, should be tainted by potentially having cheat and former Australian skipper Steven Smith take part in the ICC sanctioned tournament. The fact that the ICC have sanctioned the competition though, confirms that these are exciting times for cricket across the globe. Coming of the back of T20I status being applied to all 104 associate nations, Ireland and Afghanistan’s elevation to Test status and even though it’s not perfect, the Test Championship.

The Global T20 Canada is a great opportunity to help promote the game in a nation where potential has yet to be maximised. Though I love First Class cricket, T20 is, for reasons of practicality, the logical way forward in emerging cricket nations. The cities of Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg are those to be represented as well as an all-Caribbean outfit.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Global_T20_Canada

Many have suggested that Smith and co’s suspensions were harsh but they misunderstand. Though the cheat crew (Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft) were in part banned for their offence, they were for the most part banned for, as somebody eloquently phrased it… brand damage. Of course, like an ex-con being reintegrated into society and provided a chance to contribute value then Smith and collaborators deserve the opportunity to redeem. They say that all publicity is good publicity and for cricket in Canada, having Smith in the mix will help court attention.

It’ll be interesting so see which other well known cricketing figures from across the globe rock up in North America. Could Nick Compton, who recently finished a successful campaign playing in Sri Lanka but currently unable to get a gig at Middlesex, head to another far flung destination in the quest for runs?

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/11718.html

Fingers crossed that Global T20 Canada can help spur cricket on in  the ‘Land of Maple Leaf’ and as well as international stars, we see some local talent on show too.

England Uncapped XI

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Imagine that England’s cricketers have gone on strike. They’re upset about that car sponsorship deal ending or they all want to play in the new Kazakhstan T20 league. England’s selectors are reluctant to return to players that’ve failed to produce the goods at international level before. They decide to select an extremely experienced squad so ignore the likes of Ollie Pope, Joe Clarke and Sam Curran amongst others. The below is what an England Test squad might then look like.

First XI

James Adams

Daryl Mitchell

Sam Northeast (Captain)

James Hildreth

Darren Stevens

Keith Barker

John Simpson (Wicketkeeper)

Ollie Rayner

Luke Fletcher

Steve Patterson

Chris Rushworth

12th Man

Steven Mullaney

Tourists

Luke Wells

Riki Wessels

Ben Brown (Wicketkeeper)

James Harris

Stand By

Chris Nash

Joe Leach

I’ve selected Northeast as captain so as not to burden either of my openers, Adams and Mitchell who make for a strong left-hand/right-hand combo. Hildreth is at four ahead of Stevens and Barker who provide all-round options with Barker’s left-arm variety essential. Simpson dons the gloves meanwhile Patterson and Rushworth take the new ball backed up by Fletcher as well as Barker and Stevens. Spin options are a bit limited but Luke Wells makes the touring party as spin back-up to Ollie Rayner. Steven Mullaney makes the squad as 12th man, providing strong all-round cover with bat and ball.

As well as Wells and Mullaney, Wessels and Harris provide a good variety of cover. Brown backs up behind the stumps whilst Wessels is also an emergency ‘keeping option.

Top order bat Chris Nash who can bowl decent spin and dependable all-rounder Joe Leach are officially on stand-by.

Disclaimer: The likes of Rory Burns, Benny Howell and Tom Bailey are among the unfortunate omissions. Daniel Bell-Drummond, Sam Hain, Liam Norwell, Lewis Gregory, Jamie Porter and Ben Coad join that list but I was generally plucking for the most experienced players.

Maddinson Searches for Joy and Redemption!

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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.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/333780.html

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!

Spare a Thought for Karl Carver!

Having been despatched for six sixes in an over by Worcestershire’s Ross Whiteley in a T20 at Headingley last season, Yorkshire spinner Karl Carver is once again trying to prove his county credentials this term.

With the White Rose county having headed to Hyderataunton (AKA spin friendly Taunton) to play Somerset in the County Championship over the last few days, Carver not only made the squad but the XI. The hosts were bowled out twice but KC didn’t so much as turn his arm over. The Northallerton native batted at number XI in both innings but did at least manage to avoid being dismissed each time!

The match is hardly going to have furthered Carver’s development or enhanced his confidence.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/639148.html

Does captain Gary Ballance have beef with Carver?!

T20 Death Bowling: Anyone Can Do It!

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I appreciate that there will be a quite a few professional cricketers around the world who will feel that I’m belittling them and am quite simply, incorrect but let’s be honest, anyone could be a T20 death bowler!

Imagine that somebody, anybody, was employed purely to bowl the 18th and 20th over of T20 matches. Whether it be your ninety-year-old grandma or your four-year-old grandson, as long as they were taught to bowl with a legal action and remember that for a lot of people, not necessarily the extremes that I’ve mentioned, they wouldn’t even need that, then they could and would take wickets. The fact of the matter is, at that stage of a match, batsmen are just having a go and trying to clear the ropes. Those batsmen might be lower order folk. Joe Bloggs off the street might not bowl with much pace and so it’s left to the batsmen to generate the power. Some of them won’t have that power and will fail to execute their attempted shot properly, they will be caught out and also be susceptible to being bowled or LBW. Just the fact that the batsmen would be expected to smash an amateur out of the crowd is a risk to them in itself.

Maybe everybody could take Test wickets too but they’d average a few hundred per wicket however in T20, though random amateurs plucked from the street might have poor economy rates and high averages, ultimately they would clock up a fair few wickets and do so with the sort of regularity that highlights that T20 just isn’t cricket. The shorter the format, the easier it is to take wickets.

When we watch sportspersons on TV or at an event, we expect them to be performing in a superior manner to which we ourselves can. When I know that I and you could genuinely take wickets in T20 cricket then that devalues the game immensely.

If we conducted an experiment where I bowled the 18th and 20th overs of one T20 team’s entire season then I would take at least a couple of wickets. The only reason that I wouldn’t would be if batsmen chose to eliminate the risk to prove me wrong, in which case my economy would become respectable.

Soon we’ll have 100-ball cricket (Do these matches even have official status?!) to go with zing bails and pom pom dancers so why not just pick somebody out of the crowd every game, let them bowl the ten-ball over and see what happens!