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

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.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): England Women vs. Scotland Women Test Match – Scotch Job!

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England Women succumbed to an unflattering defeat in a one-off Test encounter against northerly neighbours Scotland. England were dismissed for a paltry 91 barely halfway through the first day’s morning session. Nat Sciver’s 16 was as good as it got for any of the home side’s willow wielders!

The visitors would then go onto post 363-8 before taking pity on England and declaring. Pace bowler Katherine Brunt bowled particularly well early on. She claimed figures 2-41 from 19 overs with eight of her overs being maidens. Anya Shrubsole (2-66) also collected two victims.

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England made a better fist of things second time around. Stumper Sarah Taylor led the way with a breathtaking counter-attacking 85 from just 31 deliveries. She attempted one reverse sweep too many however and was dismissed LBW to spin. Lauren Winfield (57) also batted well for a much deserved half-century. Katherine Brunt’s whirlwind 44 from just 16 balls as well as Nat Sciver’s run-a-ball 22 helped England total an improved 230. It wasn’t enough to make Sctoland bat again though as England lost by an innings and 42 runs.

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Scotland ran out deserved winners and England’s batsmen will need to apply themselves better and their bowlers provide added penetration if they’re to become successful in future encounters.

Panesar for Yorkshire!

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In my previous post, an audio cast about various things cricket, I touched upon Yorkshire’s necessity to acquire an experienced and quality spin bowler. England’s limited overs spinner Adil Rashid’s First Class future remains unclear, Azeem Rafiq seems to have fallen off the radar again and young Karl Carver continues to struggle. Whilst at work the other day, patrolling my stockroom as I do, a thought came to mind… Monty Panesar! That’s right, a romantic signing it would be but if Yorkshire were to snap up Monty and the fifty-Test veteran promptly spun a few county batsmen out during the second half of the County Championship, Panesar could then gate crash England’s tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies in one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/18655.html

On a serious note, it is often said that England lack depth in their spin bowling stocks however that simply isn’t the case. It’s such a shame that Jack Leach got injured and has now suffered concussion, meaning he’ll miss more Somerset matches. Following the original injury, he subsequently lost his England place to county teammate Dom Bess, who performed admirably in the Test series against Pakistan.

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Hampshire’s Mason Crane

Mason Crane had also been bowling well in limited overs cricket after missing England’s tour of New Zealand through injury. Remember that he displayed great temperament against South Africa in T20Is last year, keeping his head above water to dismiss AB de Villiers. Said injury returned however. When England tour this winter, they’ll ideally take all of Bess, Leach and Crane. That’s an offie, a leggie and a slow-left-armer. Moeen Ali (OS)and Liam Livingstone (LS) would then be sensible back-up batting options provided they bowl effective spin. Don’t forget Liam Dawson (SLA) who continues to perform well, whether it be in English county cricket, for England Lions or in the Pakistan Super League. Samit Patel (SLA) is another option but then just look at the genuine spinners England can consider in years to come… Matthew Parkinson (LS), Amir Virdi (OS), Matthew Carter (OS) (He’s very good!), Hamidullah Qadri (OS) and Ravi Patel (SLA), that’s on top of Bess, Leach and Crane, all of whom have more than ten years at the top remaining.

Moving onto pace bowling, I wonder if England are really looking into the injury situation. Many people wanted Oli Stone selected for England after one good game earlier this season but he’s hardly played since. Jamie Overton is another great hope but is always injured. Saqib Mahmood performed superbly in the North v South matches but hasn’t played all season. Experienced England internationals Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes are obviously missing the current ODI series against Australia off the back of rapidly trying to increase their workloads from four overs per match at the IPL to countless overs in Tests.

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Durham’s Mark Wood

Mark Wood is being rested from the T20I series, Reece Topley is limited to white-ball (List A/T20) cricket only, Toby Roland-Jones is a long-term absentee and particularly alarmingly, both Jake Ball and Tom Curran managed to get injured whilst with the England squad but not having actually played!

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Middlesex’s Toby Roland-Jones

It’s worth noting that TR-Js injury only came about post playing for England?! Other solid domestic players such as Jamie Porter, Liam Norwell and James Weighell have had their injury problems too. I really hope that behind the scenes some studies are being put in place to identify trends, manage player’s workloads and help keep players fit for England.

Anyway, as I was saying… Panesar for Yorkshire!

Malan Scammed… and Other Cricket Snippets

Dawid Malan

Hello and welcome to Silly Point. Please have a listen to my latest audio cast by clicking the play button just below…

England ODI/Lions Squads: https://www.ecb.co.uk/england/men/news/742530/sam-curran-and-craig-overton-added-to-england-odi-squad-and-chris-jordan-added-to-england-lions-squad

England T20I Squad: https://www.ecb.co.uk/england/men/news/738367/england-name-squad-for-it20s-against-australia-and-india

Dawid Malan: http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/236489.html

Jonny Tattersall: http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/517247.html

One Day

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Yorkshire duo Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid are an integral part of England’s plans for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Strong performances by the pace and spin combo will be vital if England are to succeed on home turf. Their domestic futures are somewhat uncertain however. What is certain, well almost at least, is that former Durham man Plunkett looks set to leave the White Rose county for pastures new. Middlesex are rumoured to be interested and the signing of Plunkett could be a great coup for the Lords dwellers. Whether or not northerner Plunkett will want to relocate to the bright lights down south remains to be seen. Plunkett will have turned thirty-four by the time the 2019 county campaign commences and it would be no surprise if, regardless of success, England move on from Plunkett after the World Cup. England seem to have abandoned any notion of him being an Test option and therefore Plunkett could provide Middlesex or indeed any suitor, an option across all formats. A patchy injury record means it’s unlikely that he’ll play every game of a season but he’d definitely be an asset to any side.

Onto Rashid, the thirty-year-old has opted out of First Class cricket for the time being at least and has only played a few List A games this campaign. He’s now missing Yorkshire’s One-Day Cup run because of his international commitments. It’s therefore arguable quite how much Rashid is worth to Yorkshire. Karl Carver has come back into the Yorkshire side this term although Azeem Rafiq seems to have fallen from grace again. Yorkshire may be in the market for an experienced spin option come next year.

As demonstrated by the table above, Plunkett should be able to rise as high as sixth on England’s list of all-time ODI wicket takers. This is even if he’s now going to miss some, possibly even all of England ODI series in Sri Lanka after the hosts flipped the schedule. Too much has been planned for Plunektt to rearrange his wedding! With Plunkett absent and Sri Lanka and West Indies certain to be spin friendly turfs, Rashid may fancy his chances of leapfrogging Plunkett in the above table. Having reached 100 ODI wickets in the second ODI against Australia, if Rashid were to continue on the international stage post the 2019 World Cup and improve with age as spinners often do, he may fancy his chances of breaking into the top five and possibly even reach as high as third on England’s list of all-time ODI wicket takers.

David Willey is another Yorkshire player who will hope to ascend the above chart. Willey is up to 37 wickets though his average is only just sub-forty. This is a crucial juncture in Willey’s international career, what with the likes of fellow left-armer Sam Curran having now been capped at international level. An encouraging contribution with the bat in the first ODI against Australia and with the aforementioned Plunkett unavailable come Sri Lanka, Willey will be keen to thrive on senior responsibility and pass fifty ODI career wickets. Like Plunkett, there’s seemingly been a little acrimony at domestic level for Willey with his jaunt to the IPL causing Yorkshire much angst. He has however made some significant contributions to their cause in recent seasons and is a gate bringer in the shorter formats. He’s also been keen to stress that he’s still very much up for playing the First Class format.

The modern era means that there are many ODI matches being played. Some cynics may suggest that the current ODI series against Australia is confirmation that too many matches are taking place. It is however an opportunity for, amongst other things, players to selfishly soar the charts that most of them claim not have any interest in but in truth they really, really do!