Happy Cricket!

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If like me, you’re in the habit of trawling through cricket blogs, then you’ll have become accustomed to an awful lot of cynicism, pessimism, scepticism and delusion. It appears that anything can be blamed on the ECB’s Tom Harrison or possibly Andrew Strauss. I mean anything! Your wife didn’t buy you those new shiny white cricket socks that you wanted for your birthday, then it’s probably Tom Harrison’s fault!

Nineteen-year-old Sam Curran can be written off as a 77mph trundler, three overs into his Test debut. Any uncapped England qualified player is the next best thing until they play. Anything less than fifty on debut, no wicket in their first over or simply that they bowl at less than 90mph, well they’re damaged goods now. Move onto the next cab off the rank! Any genuine fast bowler should play for England regardless of whether or not they can actually take wickets at domestic level and irrespective or any ability to play consecutive matches. This is the general ideology of bloggers and those who bother to post comments at the bottom of the internet!

All Stars Cricket has got kids playing bat ‘n’ ball but let’s slag it off anyway! If women are outside socialising and playing softball, then let’s slag that off for good measure too!

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Well, I’d like to break the mould. I’d like to write about happy cricket: Last night I scored my first run in nearly two years… YEY! I enjoyed getting some exercise and challenging myself in the fresh air and outdoors on a lovely summer’s evening.

Morne Morkel finally made his debut for Surrey and got me some Telegraph Fantasy Cricket points… YIPPEE!

All associate cricket nations will soon have full T20I status. That means players can regularly check their Cricinfo player profile page and look at their stats… WHOOPEE!

Tomorrow, cricketers up and down the country will be outside playing cricket. Some will be keeping communities together. They’ll be competing, learning, improving, breaking personal, team or league records, getting exercise, visiting new places, and living new experiences. Some people will even be playing for the first time. Said people will enjoy the company of their teammates, the weather and a drink or two (Doesn’t have to be alcoholic) post match… GREAT!

Spectators will enjoy watching and listening to international, county and village cricket, both at grounds and at home as well as in the car or anywhere else for that matter. They’ll be inspired and impressed by lots of what they see… YESSS!

Cricket. It’s fun, it’s hard, it’s rewarding if you put the effort in. The bigwigs get slagged off like any politicians do, regardless of whether or not they care, try or are any good. Moan, criticise, whinge… I’m sorry, this was supposed to be happy cricket! I’ve been blogging for nearly two years now. I write my own stuff (Of course I take inspiration from headlines and articles) and take my own pictures. I don’t just copy and paste. I don’t illegally use photos that I don’t have the rights too. I may write or say some rubbish but at least it’s my rubbish. This is probably (Possibly!) my first rant article.

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Some patronising and condescending advice to everybody (I’m being hypocritical aren’t I?): Support the England cricket team. Support cricket. SUPPORT!!!

Upcoming Articles

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With the recent addition to the blog of audio casts to compliment the written word and with lots of cricket being played at all levels around the world, there’s much to look forward to at Silly Point throughout the rest of 2018.

Topics for future posts may include but not be limited to: The inaugural edition of Global T20 Canada, T20I status provided to all Associate Cricket nations, Telegraph Fantasy Cricket updates, the release of Cricket Captain 18, further Ashes Cricket (PS4) reports, book reviews, the author’s own efforts on the village circuit, first hand accounts of men’s and women’s ODI cricket (Trips to The Grange, Edinburgh and Headingley are booked!) and thoughts on England’s Test side’s continued woeful run of form (For the pessimists!)/renaissance (For the optimists!).

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Next year Silly Point will bring you match reports from the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and there’s sure to be many posts to keep readers and listeners occupied in the meantime.

The Kohli Conundrum

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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.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/253802.html

I might even sneak him into my Telegraph fantasy team!

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: CC/ODC 2018

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

https://fantasycricket.telegraph.co.uk/county

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!

A Maiden Century!

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Many thanks to all who visited my blog yesterday. For the second day in a row, a couple of career bests were recorded. I had my most visitors and passed 100 views in one day for the very first time. I also had visits from more individual countries than ever before. These included clicks from Hungary, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nicaragua and… Vietnam. I’ve never had to click on the ‘Show All’ countries tab before!

I’ve avoided commenting on the ball tampering episode but people searching for Telegraph Fantasy Cricket seem to be arriving at my blog in their, well… hundreds!

https://fantasycricket.telegraph.co.uk/county/

CricketXI – County Championship 2018

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Just incase Telegraph Fantasy Cricket 2018 isn’t enough (Or is too expensive!) for you…

https://cricketxi.com

You appear to be able to play a traditional fantasy format as well as head to head leagues. They’re also set to have an IPL (T20) version of the game having already run an Australian Sheffield Shield (First Class) tournament.

For now at least, I’ve avoided selecting a proper team for the 2018 County Championship (First Class) and have selected the above side. My team’s moniker is The Kids Are Alright. I’ll probably compose another team along the lines of my Telegraph outfit in due course and on that note…

https://fantasycricket.telegraph.co.uk/county/mobile/

10,000 Runs!

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Yesterday, I joined Alastair Cook in surpassing 10,000 runs (Views) for England. I reached the milestone whilst registering a career best 83 (Views) not out from 51 deliveries (Visitors).

Many thanks to all that have taken the time to look at my blog, whether it be by accident or design! Recently I’ve received maiden innings (Visits) from Albania, Brazil and Israel. To quote ICC speak, countries such as Algeria, Bolivia and China remain untapped markets.

Loyal and new followers alike can look forward to upcoming articles on subjects such as Telegraph Fantasy Cricket 2018, more Ashes Cricket Career Mode updates and probably further suggestions regarding a restructure of international cricket!

Retiring not out… Silly Point.