Catching Commentary Standards!

“Oh what a catch”. “Wow, an amazing catch”. “That’s the best catch I’ve ever seen”.

It’s become a bug bear of mine this current penchant for cricket commentators to label ordinary run of the mill catches as something special.

Last night a commentator got carried away with a catch by Middlesex’s AB de Villiers to dismiss Somerset’s Eddie Byrom. I can’t find the particular BBC clip but the word used to describe this absolute dolly of a catch was something along the lines of “Outstanding” or “Sensational”. Maybe the commentator was simply in awe of an extremely talented player but he could still avoid using hyperbole in his work.

Later in proceedings, Somerset’s Max Waller executed a genuinely high quality catch to remove de Villiers but for the record the commentator described that catch incorrectly…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/cricket/49532155

Waller caught the ball in his right-hand not his left hand! There was also an error when identifying the coloured clothing of a catch held by a spectator. If you’re going to commentate please describe things accurately. On radio I guess that you can get away with it but when there are online clips you can be made to look incompetent. We all make mistakes (Heck, read my blog!) but this was poor and cricket desperately needs better from its professional and qualified media at the moment.

Back to my original point, please don’t describe something as “Great” or “Brilliant” when it’s only “Very good”. This is not meant to belittle anybody’s efforts but only to confirm that reasonably high standards should be maintained.

Please click the link below for match highlights but it’s not the same commentary. De Villiers’ catch barely gets a mention from the commentator here…

This attitude has become an all too familiar thing on BBC commentary. Oh and on that note, if cricket (In the form of The Hundred!) will be on the BBC next year, do we really want Jonathan Agnew fronting it?

Yorkshire vs. Derbyshire T20 Match

On Sunday I went to see Yorkshire Vikings host Derbyshire Falcons in the T20 Blast…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8053/game/1167204/yorkshire-vs-derbyshire-north-group-vitality-blast-2019

Yorkshire are so reliant on their top three of Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and David Willey that if those three don’t fire then they struggle to post anything near competitive totals.

The white rose side played three spinners in the form of South Africa’s Keshav Maharaj, loanee Dom Bess and young Jack Shutt. None of them impressed nor did pace bowler Duanne Olivier. Admittedly the South African England hopeful (!) had a chance dropped but figures of 3-0-47-0 are pretty painful.

Yorkshire don’t seem to understand what they want to be in white-ball cricket. Are there no young and modern minded attacking batsmen coming thorough the ranks? Still, soon it’s back to the four-day affairs where the Headingley outfit should be much stronger… I mean they do tend to actually select their best players for that one!

On Top of the World!

How great is it to see Reece Topley playing regularly and amongst the wickets?

Topley has eleven wickets at 12.64 in this year’s T20 Blast for Sussex including figures of 4-33 taken in his comeback match against former employers Hampshire. The Suffolk born left-armer has ten ODI and six T20I caps to his name but it would be foolish to be thinking about England consideration so soon after returning to first team action. It’ll be great if the twenty-five-year-old can go onto play List A and First Class cricket but if not then he could still make a healthy buck specialising in the shortest format.

It’s also encouraging to see another left-arm quick bowler in the form of Topley’s teammate Tymal Mills playing regularly and being amongst the wickets too. Mills may only have seven wickets but an average of 17.14 is healthy and most notably, his economy rate is just 6.32. This compares favourably against a career economy rate of 7.82.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/english-twenty20/averages

Looking through the averages another left-armer caught my eye. Nottinghamshire’s Harry Gurney has already committed to a white-ball world having made an impression at both the Big Bash and IPL. Soon he’ll be turning out in the Euro T20 Slam. In this year’s Blast he’s picked up 13 wickets at 15.85 including a career best 5-30 against Derbyshire. He’s leaking runs at an eye-watering 9.36 per over though so will want to temper that.

It’s not impossible that the above players could yet turn out for England again. David Willey has never dominated for England as would’ve been hoped and hasn’t (To be fair often hasn’t been able to) make his batting provide him with an edge. To say that he’s been ordinary in this year’s Blast would be an understatement as he comes to terms with his World Cup omission.

Yorkshire v Lancashire T20 Match

Firstly, please accept my apologies. The above image is a file photo (From my files!) because I neglected to actually take a photo at last night’s encounter.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8053/scorecard/1167147/yorkshire-vs-lancashire-north-group-vitality-blast-2019

Lancashire defeated Yorkshire by 9 runs with paceman Saqib Mahmood looking particularly impressive. Even when he went for boundaries he kept his head up and responded well. Mahmood was outstanding in the One-Day Cup earlier this year and will surely come into white-ball consideration for England though competition for places is extreme to say the least.

David Willey’s fielding stood out amongst a shoddy effort from Yorkshire, that international experience making the difference. Gary Ballance batted at six but there seems little logic in him being in the side. He used up seven deliveries for 4 runs before basically willingly being run out.

Debutante spinner Jack Shutt snapped up a couple of wickets but was expensive in his last. West Indian Nicholas Pooran just about kept the home side interested with some huge sixes but even he needed time to get going. Harry Brook looked good for 30 but you still sense that the shorter format won’t be his best. It was also good to see the extremely talented Liam Livingstone back from injury for Lancashire.

The crowd was good natured for what can sometimes be a raucous affair. The thunderstorms stayed away but the less said about the sweaty train journey there the better and as for the woman who preferred her bag to have a seat than any of the people stood up on the return journey, don’t get me started!

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: T20 Blast 2019

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Here are my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket teams for the 2019 edition of the T20 Blast:

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After a disappointing World Cup with Afghanistan, can spin bowler Rashid Khan lead Kings of Khan to glory?

Aside from Rashid, paceman Tom Helm is highly thought of while the likes of Steven Mullaney and Wayne Parnell should make all-round contributions. Wicketkeeper Ben Cox is another proven performer in the shortest format while teammate Callum Ferguson excelled in the latest edition of the Big Bash.

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Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone will lead 2020 Vision and hope to catch the eye of the England selectors having fallen of the radar somewhat. It may be the last time that we see Michael Klinger in action and David Willey will want to prove that he should still be in England’s T20I squad having missed out on selection for the ODI World Cup. Pat Brown will also hope to back up some impressive performances in previous seasons having being touted as an England candidate while the likes of Laurie Evans (Prominent on the franchise circuit), Ryan Higgins and Ollie Robinson could also make a case for an England call-up.

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One of the season’s stars in Somerset’s Tom Banton will skipper Ghetto Blasters. Tom Curran and Liam Dawson will want to put the frustrations of sitting on the sidelines at the World Cup behind them whilst the likes Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan as well as possibly Sam Northeast, the precociously talented Delray Rawlins and even Banton himself might hope to catch Ed Smith’s eye.

I’ll let you know how I got on come the competition’s conclusion.

Dawson and Vince Hard Done by ECB not ICC!

Following on from my latest audiocast where I touched upon the subject of Liam Dawson and James Vince being unable to represent Hampshire in the One-Day Cup final, I feel that it’s necessary to look into things a bit further.

It’s a huge shame that these two players, both of whom are likely to more often than not be sub-fielding and carrying drinks for England (But you never know what can happen?!) can’t play in the domestic season’s marquee showpiece. It is of course only appropriate in the interest of fairness that they can’t. It would be unfair for them to be getting match practice, keeping their eye in, staying in form and gaining confidence when the players of the other World Cup participants can’t do so. You do have to question the ECB’s structuring of the English county season though as it is they who should’ve seen this coming and prevented it from happening. The One-Day Cup was played in an exclusive block up to a couple of weeks ago so why on Earth did we then return to First Class cricket for a couple of weeks before the One-Day final randomly slots in to the fixture list?

It’s a shame for the players in question and a kick in the teeth for devoted fans of a county game that in most people’s eyes is seriously struggling as a spectator sport. Remember that Vince is Hampshire’s captain and Dawson has been their star player this year.

Regarding Dawson, there are rumours that he’s been courted by Warwickshire but also that he may have hinted to Hampshire that he only wants a white-ball contract in the future. I’m disappointed to hear that but realistically he’s probably struggling to play Test cricket again. He’s been mightily effective in the PSL for a couple of years and if he can get IPL and CPL gigs as well as playing One-Day and Twenty20 cricket in England then there’s just about enough cricket to occupy him in the summer. This is before we consider the PSL, BPL and Big Bash etc in the winter time, not to mention the Hong Kong Blitz, Global T20 Canada and whatever pops up next! The riches of these gigs are far greater than the county game and a lot less gruelling so the appeal is understandable but it’s also confirmation that the standard of the four-day game in England in particular will continue to decline. If the best players desert it when still in their twenties, we could be left with only young players pre peak and old players post peak to fill the teams.

As for Vince, his appearances in an England shirt this summer have been exactly what everyone expected of him. Pretty but unsubstantial. Not out of his depth but not excelling. How will bench warming for England help him press his case for a top three Test vacancy come the Ashes?

Hopefully Dawson and Vince will get some game time at the World Cup. I’m a big fan of involving the whole squad when it comes to major tournaments but whether or not the structure of the 2019 competition and England’s results will allow it only time will tell.

CricketXI: IPL 2019 – Season Review

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What can I say?

I don’t follow the IPL all that closely but as a self confessed cricket nut who regularly hands out fantasy cricket selection advice…  I should probably try harder next time!

Disclaimer: Not sure about the winner’s team name. Should’ve been disqualified if you ask me then I’d have finished in a far more respectable sixteenth place!