No Easy Root Back!

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England Test skipper Joe Root has been dropped by England for what is essentially a final in the T20I series at home to India today.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18018/game/1119545/england-vs-india-3rd-t20i-india-tour-of-ireland-and-england-2018

This is a brutal and decisive but perfectly logical call by the England hierarchy. It’s delightful that they’ve had the guts to do it when in the past Root would surely have been persevered with. England stuck with the likes of Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell for too long in white-ball cricket but finally opened their eyes and made changes, bringing in the likes of Jason Roy and Alex Hales at the top of the order. The game is evolving at such a pace that Joe Root, a man who in the grand scheme of things has played so little T20 cricket, hasn’t been able to keep up. He’s a quality player, capable of adapting his game and coming back stronger but at the moment he simply doesn’t merit selection. Hopefully this will make him determine to excel in the red-ball arena for England and prove himself to be England’s best Test batsman of a generation.

Burns & the Blast!

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Good morning loyal followers.

Please have a listen to my latest audio cast. Bear with, it’s a little bit football dominated for the first couple of minutes!

Many thanks

Time’s up for Terry!

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Ireland batsman Sean Terry has announced his retirement from all forms of the game with immediate effect. The former Hampshire batsman had most recently represented Leinster Lightning in his adopted home and made fourteen in his final innings. That score summed up Terry’s campaign, often getting in but not going on. Aged 26, a top score of 73 with no century insight across all formats (First Class, List A and T20) is underwhelming, particularly for a specialist batsman. Terry played for Ireland in one T20I, scoring just four and averaged only 6.40 from five ODI outings. Like his father Paul who averaged just 5.33 from two Tests for England, son Sean will look back on his international career with frustration. Both had the honour of representing their county or a country however (Sean was born in England/Paul in Germany) and they should be proud to have worn their respective jerseys.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/467420.html

Immortal Batsmen: Revisited

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Following on from a quick little article that I posted the other day, here are some more English batsmen with healthy batting averages.

Ben Slater (Derbyshire) List A batting average: 51.84 (29 innings)

Derbyshire’s Slater has been in such good form this term that he’s courted the attention of Nottinghamshire, a club not shy of a signing and he looks likely to be at Trent Bridge next year. If Slater does have England ambitions then he’d be a fool not to recognise that moving from an unfashionable county to a fashionable one and a County Championship First Division side at that, will enhance his chances of representing the full England team.

Ed Pollock (Warwickshire) T20 batting average: 31.44 (9 innings)

Clearly it’s a very small sample size but Pollock has demonstrated a consistent ability to get his team off the a flying start. A strike rate of 174.69 confirms such. Pollock is averaging eighteen deliveries per innings which combined with his strike-rate equates to his average of 31.44 but just imagine if he could stay at the crease even longer without compromising his attacking nature. If he could bat for twice as long, which if he faced half the strike would take him into the twelfth over then he’d be up towards 70. Bat out the entire innings and he’d pass 100. The T20 Blast commences today and Pollock could be one of the stars!

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Michael Burgess (Sussex) First Class batting average: 47.56 (28 innings)

Leicestershire didn’t want him but Sussex have made the most of him… or have they? A wicketkeeper by trade, Burgess is having to settle for a Jos Buttler style specialist number seven batting role. He’s helping a strong Sussex tail eke out big totals and it’ll be interesting to see where Burgess ends up in the order and how his career progresses.

Varun Chopra (Essex) List A batting average: 44.12 (106 innings)

Chopra’s average is impressive as it straddles over a hundred innings however a career strike-rate of 76.08 highlights how the game has evolved in recent times and what levels of tempo are necessary at domestic level compared to the current international environment. Chopra is also closing in on 10,000 First Class runs complete with ten tons. A former England Under-19 captain, he’s never quite been able to put himself towards the front of the queue in regards to staking an international claim.

Immortal Batsmen… for now at Least!

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Here’s a quick look at the pack in terms of England’s preferred future batting options. All are very much on England’s radar and some have staggering statistics.

Sam Hain (Warwickshire) List A batting average: 67.59 (39 innings)

Hong Kong born, Ozzie Bred but an England Lion, Warwickshire’s Hain currently possesses an absurdly good average in the one-day format. Curiously though, Hain has underwhelmed in red-ball cricket over the past couple of seasons. This is despite an excellent conversion rate of 8:8 when it comes to converting half-centuries into three figures. This highlights how often he’s been dismissed cheaply given that his career average is less than half his List A figure at 32.25. Hain’s List A strike-rate is 88.22 but remember, that’s against domestic attacks. At international level, there’s no respite provided by facing mediocre bowlers. It may be that Hain has to up the tempo to keep up with the current crop of England’s white-ball willow wielders. It may yet be that he flourishes in Test cricket.

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Ollie Pope (Surrey) First Class batting average: 66.00 (19 innings)

Pope’s career is in its infancy and he’ll do well to maintain an average of World Cup winning proportions but it’s a heck of a start. As things stand, the twenty-year-old has twice as many tons as he does fifties, 4:2. The real test will come when he plays Test cricket. If he suffers a Tom Westleyesque start, a beginning where one technical flaw is identified, domestic bowlers will then prey upon his wounds. How will it effect him and will he bounce back? With Alec Stewart to provide guidance, he has at least got a proven international player to help him develop.

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Joe Clarke (Worcestershire) First Class batting average: 42.65 (92 innings)

Clarke’s average is more mortal than Hain and Pope’s but provides an insight into what is likely to happen to Hain and Pope’s figures over time. Clarke’s average of 42.65 is still more than respectable for a barely twentytwo-year-old spread over 92 innings. Like Hain, Clarke converts well, 12:13 at First Class level.

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Hain, Clarke and Pope would seem like an impressive middle order at numbers three, four and five for England, not that anybody’s writing Joe Root off just yet.

Aneurin Donald (Glamorgan) First Class batting average: 30.68 (71 innings)

When Welshman Aneurin Donald scored 234 off just 136 balls in a County Championship match aged just 19, there were high hopes that he would go onto represent England. There’s only been one ton since however and his white-ball efforts have been diabolical with averages of just 14.65 (List A) and 22.52 (T20). Constantly been shunted up and down the order probably hasn’t helped but its been Glamorgan Second XI cricket of late and not international matches. Like Hain, Pope and Clarke, Donald has the ability. Still only twenty-one-years of age, it’s to be hoped that Donald can come back stronger and compete for a spot in England’s middler order over the years to come.

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: T20 Blast 2018

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Here’s my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket team for the T20 competition.

Sticking to my tried and tested formula, I’ve selected batsmen that can bowl. Kent’s Joe Denly will surely contribute with the white ball and Ryan Higgins is definatley an all-rounder. He’s been opening the bowling for Gloucestershire in First Class cricket this year following his move from Middlesex. Ross Whiteley is a destructive T20 hitter who as broken into Worcestershire’s County Championship of late. He produced some strong innings in the One-Day Cup and has been collecting the odd wicket too. Sussex’s Harry Finch complete’s my batting line-up.

Tom Moores has seamlessly assumed Chris Read’s position behind the stumps at Nottinghamshire and he’s my gloveman this year.

Hampshire’s Liam Dawson has broke the record for England Lions One-Day bowling figures three times this year and fellow slow-left-armer Samit Patel performed superbly when opening the bowling in the Pakistan Super League last time out. With dry pitches all around the country these two should prosper and might be competing for a place on England’s tours of Sri Lanka and West Indies. Patel, with his all-round capabilities dons my captain’s armband.

AJ Tye didn’t have in easy against England in the ODI series or T20I but will come good for Gloucestershire at domestic level. Many county batsmen just can’t read what’s about to come out of his hand. Matt Coles has broke into the Essex XI and could actually be a useful option for England. He’ll take wickets and biff it with the bat too. Adam Zampa should enjoy the current Australian like English terrain Harry Brookes has broke into the Warwickshire side this year. He’s a capable willow wielder despite his listing s a bowler.

They’ll be an update at the end of the T20 Blast to see how my team performed.

Six to Watch: T20I Status – Women’s Special

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Following on from my men’s and team articles and ahead of the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier commencing next week, here’s a look at some women players to lookout for now that all associate cricket nations have been granted T20I status as of today.

Louise Little (Ireland)

Fifteen-year-old Irish girl Louise Little’s ODI bowling average currently stands at a whopping 358.00. This is a result of her mauling at the hands of a rampant and record-breaking New Zealand side earlier this year.

Little was actually five days shy of being fourteen when she made her international bow last year. It is to be hoped that the Dublin born medium-pacer will be better for the experience and soon come of age on the international stage. They’ll be no immediate opportunity for Little to prosper having been omitted form Ireland’s squad for the 2018 Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier. This may be the best thing for her and time is very much on her side. Hopefully the Dublin native can improve little by little!

Mariko Hill (Hong Kong)

Hong Kong’s Mariko Hill was just seventeen when she won the Hong Kong Women Cricketer of the Year trophy way back in 2013. The right arm-medium bowler was effective with the cork and leather at the ASEAN Women’s T20 Open Tournament in Bangkok earlier this year and Hong Kong will be seeking further fine contributions from Hill. Given her tender years, she’s far from over the hill!

Pauke Siaka (Papua New Guinea)

Siaka will captain PNG when the Women’s World T20 Qualifier commences in the Netherlands next weekend. Siaka previously led her nation at the 2017 ODI Cricket World Cup Qualifier where she claimed a team high eight wickets. PNG will be looking to their skipper for inspiration as well as contributions with both bat and ball.

Naruemol Chaiwai (Thailand)

Naruemol Chaiwai will turn 27 tomorrow and she’ll surely intend to celebrate her birthday with some stellar performances in the Women’s World T20 Qualifier having been named in Thailand’s squad last month. Chaiwai was Thailand’s leading run scorer at the 2018 Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup and will hope to transform that form the full T20 Internationals.

Rubina Chhetry (Nepal)

As seems to be standard on this list, Nepal’s Rubina Chhetry is a right-hand-bat and right-arm-medium bowler. Only twnetyfour-years of age, Chhetry made some handy contributions with the ball including figures of 3-11 and 3-12 at the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifying Series Asia Region last year. Nepal will look to Chettry to continue claiming wickets to help them progress as their male counterparts have done in recent times.

Cher van Slobbe (Netherlands)

Hermes DVS Women all-rounder Van Slobbe has made some handy contributions with the bat for the Dutch against the likes of Dorset and Cornwall in the Women’s One-Day Cup and will shortly win her maiden full international caps. She’ll also expect to contribute with the ball as 2018 Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier hosts Netherlands look to make full use of home advantage. Van Slobbe and her Dutch teammates Believe they’re Strong Enough to compete in a Woman’s World. They’ll hope that the opposition will be Moonstruck so as to Mask any mistakes from the home side and hopefully the home spectators will witness The Very Best of Cher!

Not all of the above will be at…

http://www.wikiwand.com/en/2018_ICC_Women%27s_World_Twenty20_Qualifier

… but there’ll be a follow-up article sometime in the future to see how messrs Chaiwai, Chhetry, Hill. Little, Siaka and van Slobbe have fared.

Disclaimer: Apologies to Cher and her fans but I just couldn’t resist putting DMA’s version on here instead!