What’s Your Favourite Format of Cricket? The Results!

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Many thanks to those of you who voted in my first ever poll. The results are in and we have a clear winner. It’s safe to say that ODI Cricket holds little appeal to people. I actually quite like the format. I think that having to construct a total in a limited but not too short amount of overs and manage a run chase require great skill and can be slow burning and exciting matches. Maybe ODI Cricket is everybody’s second favourite format.

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Twenty20 placed second in the poll but by quite some distance. The shortest format received 17% of the votes.

Test cricket was the clear winner receiving 83%. What I love about Test cricket is the limitless potential of the possibilities. The twists and turns as the days go by are amazing and rarely can a team be considered truly out of the contest. A record last wicket stand is always there to be broken.

Clearly it was a small sample size but please share the link to my next poll with your friends and family.

Many thanks once again. I hope that the results are of interest to you and look out for my second poll soon…

P.S. Maybe next year we can do the same with The Hundred as an option!

Proposed England Squads for Tour of New Zealand

England tour New Zealand this winter with five T20Is and two Tests scheduled.

My squads are listed below roughly in batting order followed by reserves but particularly in the Test format Sibley or Pope could slot in whilst a bowler is rotated/rested. I’d also anticipate some workload management for players such as Stokes, Woakes and Archer in the T20Is and particularly Stokes and Broad in Tests.

T20I

Jason Roy

Jos Buttler (Wicketkeeper)*

Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)*

Eoin Morgan (Captain)

Ben Stokes

Moeen Ali

Sam Curran

Tom Curran

Chris Woakes

Jofra Archer

Adil Rashid

Tom Banton

Liam Livingstone

Liam Dawson

Saqib Mahmood

*Can both be deployed as wicketkeeper during the series.

Test

Rory Burns

Joe Denly

Joe Root (Captain)

Ben Stokes

Ben Foakes (Wicketkeeper)

Jos Buttler*

Sam Curran

Chris Woakes

Jack Leach

Jofra Archer

Stuart Broad

James Anderson

Dominic Sibley

Ollie Pope*

Dom Bess

Jamie Porter

*Jos Buttler and Ollie Pope can both act as wicketkeeping cover for this two-match series.

Jonny Bairstow would be dropped from the Test side. Players can be rested/rotated where necessary during each series as oppose to being omitted entirely.

Some extremely good players (Too many to mention) miss out. A variety of spin bowlers have made cases particularly in the T20 format but Dom Bess remains a better back-up option for now in Tests despite a less than stellar domestic season. Numerous other players pushed for selection in both formats and those players would be selected for England Lions in the appropriate format.

Predicting England’s Next Caps: Revisited

A while ago, I predicted England’s next caps in each format of the game…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2019/01/12/predicting-englands-next-test-cap/

Here’s how my predictions fared…

Test: Prediction: Jason Roy, Actual: Jason Roy and Olly Stone

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18774/game/1152839/england-vs-ireland-only-test-ireland-tour-of-england-2019

ODI: Prediction: Jofra Archer, Actual: Jofra Archer, Ben Foakes and Dawid Malan

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18956/scorecard/1161014/ireland-vs-england-only-odi-england-tour-of-ireland-2019

T20I: Prediction: Jamie Overton, Actual: Jofra Archer, Ben Duckett and Ben Foakes

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18664/scorecard/1152840/england-vs-pakistan-only-t20i-pakistan-in-eng-2019

As you can see, there were multiple debuts in each instance but ultimately I got two out of three correct and we all know that “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad”!

Who’d be a Selector?

WARNING: I’ve become the pessimistic cynic that I used to criticise!

Jason Roy won’t do any worse than those who have been chewed up and spat out before him but is he really going to do any better?

He’ll likely average 27 but is also likely to be more Aaron Finch than David Warner, in Tests anyway. Roy is a player with no recent history of playing First Class cricket let alone opening the batting. He was all at sea against a moving ball in the World Cup final and should he score a few breezy thirties will that really be of benefit? Will he score Test hundreds more often than Keaton Jennings (Once every 8.5 Tests!)?

Yes Ed Smith and co. have gone down this route before with Jos Buttler and credit to both because it’s worked so far. This selection however is even more cavalier. How will Roy approach it? Like it’s an ODI or will he cramp up like Hales and try to play a game he has no recent history of playing?

I consider myself a realistic optimist (Or optimistic realist) when it comes to English cricket but appreciate that I sound pessimistic regarding the selection of Surrey’s Roy. I’ll back nearly everybody who is picked for England but just like I put my head on the line by advocating my proposed selections of players that others would dismiss as preposterous, I’ll equally express my opinion when I’m not convinced by the ones that we have selected. I expect our Selection Panel to be practicing what they preach and analysing every potential selection in extreme detail.

Will Roy pull his hamstring, not be able to field then not be authorised to open the batting meaning that Joe Root has to move up to three anyway? If you’ve spent a career running 100 metre sprints then suddenly try to run a marathon then you’ll likely get injured. Roy has spent a career, or at least the latter part, playing One-Day and T20 cricket and has recently struggled to fulfil those requirements. Now we’re expecting him to last five days!

I sincerely hope that Jason Roy has a long and fruitful Test career averaging forty plus home and away and I’ll be the first to provide an honest assessment and say well done… but he wouldn’t be my pick!

England have also selected Lewis Gregory but what is the Somerset man’s point of difference? His selection seems reminiscent of recent eras where early season form precedes consistency over the years. Gregory might currently be doing a bit better than Ben Coad, Jamie Porter or even Chris Rushworth but is he really a long-term solution, is he really better than those players? It’s the same as picking Mark Stoneman because he averaged 80 one year in a career of averaging 30 but ignoring James Hildreth for only averaging 40 most years. The odd peak amongst troughs wins selection over year on year consistency. The Somerset man’s selection smacks of a token “Yes we value county cricket” by the selectors. They’ve rested the likes of Buttler and Ben Stokes and feel that they can get away with bringing in a bowling all-rounder who’s topping the domestic charts for one-match (Keep county fans happy) against Ireland. Don’t forget that Sam Curran is capable of batting higher than he has done.

Lewis Gregory is a fine player whose all-round abilities can be of use to England but I’m just uninspired by these unoriginal selections. England have also selected Olly Stone. If I’m questioning Jason Roy’s fitness then…

If these players perform against Ireland in home conditions does that tell us that they’re good enough to be Test cricketers? Will the same people that malign Woakes as a horse for a course celebrate these players as the finished article based on a fifty of fifer against a country that has just three domestic teams? What message does these selections send to opening batsman out there or domestic bowlers who perform year on year? They can only beat what’s in front of them!

I’m sorry. I’ve become the negative, cynical hypocrite that I never wanted to be but so be it. That’s what being an England cricket fan will do to you. It’s not by choice!