Ireland Debut as Morgan Returns!

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There’s a certain irony or at least a coincidence that Ireland’s cricketers should play their inaugural Test match on the same day that former player Eoin Morgan should return to First Class cricket after a near three-year absence. Okay, we’ll ignore the fact that the first day got washed out!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8204/game/1127690/middlesex-vs-gloucestershire–county-championship-division-two-2018/

It’s not been a bad return for Morgan either, making 76 against Gloucestershire in the County Championship before falling late on the first day to former Middlesex colleague Ryan Higgins. Remember that Morgan of course does have a Test hundred to his name and there are some people who think that he was ahead of his time, that he could have been a successful Test cricketer. Maybe he still could! Morgan has been an excellent captain for England in ODI and T20I cricket and has been a good player. He seems to suffer from lengthy lean spells with the bat but if the team are winning (England are currently ranked number one in ODIs) then Morgan’s returns with the bat are irrelevant.

Will any part of Eoin Morgan wish that he was turning out for Ireland today? To be honest, there’s probably a little part of everybody that wishes they were being presented with a Test cap this morning. Many thought that Tim Murtagh would play Test cricket for England. It’s been a long road but he’s a Test cricketer now.

It’ll be a proud and emotional moment for Ireland’s debutants but for every Andy Ganteaume or Rodney Redmond there’ll likely be a Bryce McGain or Mike Smith. Hopefully Ireland’s batsmen can avoid the dreaded debut duck or wicketless outing. Who knows when their next Test will be and one sub par performance may be the beginning and the end of a player’s Test career. They’ll forever be Test cricketers though, having made their Test births when some feel that the format is facing certain death.

Keep track of the score in Ireland’s first Test at home to Pakistan in Dublin at Cricinfo…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18025/game/1127284/ireland-vs-pakistan-only-test-pak-in-ire-eng-scot-2018/

Meanwhile, Guerrilla Cricket, a controversial outfit in the opinion of many, provide the radio commentary…

https://www.guerillacricket.com

Maddinson Searches for Joy and Redemption!

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To say that the selection of batsman Nic Maddinson in Australia’s T20 squad to tour England and Zimbabwe has been met with scepticism is to put it mildly. A brief flirtation with social media is all one needs to do to sense that the Ozzie fans’ vibes aren’t great. To put his selection into context, please be aware that despite a decent finish to the Sheffield Shield season, Maddo has actually been released from his state contract with New South Wales. He has however recently transferred and signed a three-year deal with Melbourne Stars on the back of good Big Bash form. His last T20I cap came over three years ago but to say that he looked like the proverbial young buck in extra strong car headlights when he graced the Test arena would be an understatement. In that form of the game, Maddo averages just 6.75.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/333780.html

After a seemingly traumatic time, Maddinson even took time out from the game. Hopefully the shorter format is where he can relax, excel and prove the doubters wrong.

England’s Alex Hales and Adil Rashid are focusing on white-ball cricket only and there are other players out there such as Maddinson’s compatriot Ben Laughlin who only play T20 cricket. The fact that Maddinson doesn’t have a First Class or List A contract shouldn’t really matter when it comes to T20I selection.

I’m an England fan but never like to see someone struggle as horrendously as Maddinson did in Test cricket. Fingers crossed that the still only 26-year-old can make a mark as he and Australia seek redemption!

2019 Cricket World Cup Tickets

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The ticket ballot for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England is now open.

https://www.icc-cricket.com/media-releases/672392

When I read that about half the tickets were priced at £20 I got excited. Unfortunately an adult ticket to see England against Sri Lanka at Headingley will set you back £55.00 and that’s for a ‘cheap’ seat. This might be a major tournament but our game needs to reach out to both loyal and new fans. £55.00 might be on a par with other sports but even as a cricket fan, quite frankly, it just isn’t worth it!

I’d love there to be more countries participating at the tournament as I would definitely go and watch Papua New Guinea against Nepal or a match-up of that ilk. As it is, I’ve applied for tickets for two of the paltry four matches being played at Headingley. If I’m successful then Pakistan vs. Afghanistan will set me back £20.00 per adult whilst Afghanistan vs. West Indies will cost just £16.00 per adult and only £6.00 for a child.

Hopefully I’ll get my hands on some tickets, the rain will stay away and I’ll see some thrilling match-ups!

Compton Eyeing England Recall!

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Before you all suggest that I’ve gone completely bonkers, please let me draw your attention to the fact that Compdog has played both First Class and List A cricket for Sri Lanka Ports Authority as recently as March this year.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/11718.html

Don’t England tour Sri Lanka this winter?

Looking at his stats, it appears as though Compton acquitted himself well, even notching a 27th First Class ton in Colombo, sandwiched between two scores in the 90s.

Those scores in his final three innings propelled him to the top of SLPACC’s run charts with 411 runs at a team high average of 44.45.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/averages/batting_bowling_by_team.html?id=12184;team=3680;type=tournament

Okay, so an England recall seems unlikely given that Middlesex don’t even seem to want him at the moment and his England career petered out rather miserably second time around but good on him for going and challenging himself in a different environment and doing well. In fact, given how some of England’s batting pretenders have started the County Championship, maybe a recall for Compton wouldn’t be such a foolish idea after all!

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!

More Footsteps for Footitt!

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Left-arm pace bowler Mark Footitt is on the move once again. Footitt, who came so close to a Test cap on the tour of South Africa two winters ago, only left Surrey to rejoin Nottinghamshire towards the end of last season. Unable to break into a first XI that includes Stuart Broad, Jake Ball, Luke Fletcher and crucially fellow left-armer Harry Gurney, Footitt has rejoined another ex-employer, Derbyshire, on a 28-day loan. If Ball can join Broad in the England XI and finally transfer his county pedigree to international level then Footitt could be required for Notts upon his return.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/13247.html

During the off-season, another very good seamer in Brett Hutton, realised that opportunities at Nottinghamshire would be limited and has made an impressive start to life at new county Northamptonshire.

Back to Footitt, he did represent England in a tour match but was somewhat erratic and the likelihood of him wearing the shirt pictured above (Well not that actual shirt!) seem extremely slim. Still, if Cricket Captain 2018 ever gets released then, in my Ed Smith role, I’ll try my best to present Footitt with an England cap!