England’s men’s cricket team have accepted a 15% wage cut, a not insignificant amount when all things are considered. Good on the team for doing so!
English cricket is often described as elitist and recently there have been even more articles about class and accessibility. It’s great to see that the national team aren’t completely out of touch. They had already made charitable contributions since COVID-19 reared it’s ugly head. As many as 62 ECB personnel have lost their job this year. Hopefully this move might prevent more from doing so.
Fingers crossed that cricket will rise again. There’ll be a boom period and more jobs can be created, on and off the pitch.
I thought that it’d be interesting to take a look at the latest Twenty20 International rankings and see which teams have made an impact since T20I status was applied across the globe.
Obviously Test teams lead the way with the historically strong Associate nations next inline. I’ve touched upon Singapore’s progress before whilst the likes of Namibia and Canada are trying to make their presence felt in the global game once again.
In 22nd place sit Qatar. Ex-pats have made a crucial contribution to developing cricket in many countries but of course it’s always great to see national cricket teams have a strong local representation. Now Qatar’s population is a little unusual. It fluctuates based on season and there are actually few Qatari citizens. People from places such as traditional cricket strongholds Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh provide a healthy part of the country’s population. It’s no surprise then that they should provide a good foothold for Qatar and its cricket team.
The Arab nation have made an encouraging start to T20I life and are amongst the teams to have qualified for the 2019-21 ICC Cricket World Cup (50 over/List A) Challenge League.
Jersey, population less than 100,000 but with a history of being there or there abouts on the Associate circuit, sit 25th. Of course you would expect the very best players from the small island to make themselves available for England. The Channel Island side previously required special dispensation to name Jonty Jenner in their side after he made a substitute appearance in a Test match for England.
Italy, often on the fringes, lie in 27th with Saudi Arabia an unfamiliar cricketing name one place below.
Uganda, who have hinted at doing well in the past, are in 31st. That’s three places ahead of the shabbily run massive missed opportunity that is USA.
A number of teams are yet to win a game. They include China, who’ve lost all six matches that they’ve played while Gibraltar are winless in seven.
In the Women’s rankings, there’s a surprise name just outside the top ten. Thailand currently reside in a healthy 11th place. They’ve won 25 out of 39 T20Is and qualified for this year’s T20I World Cup (So maybe not such a surprise then!). Not unexpectedly they had a tough time in Australia but had it not been for rain, they would likely have given Pakistan a run for their money after posting 150 from 20 overs.
They appear to have a strong homegrown contingent with players recruited from a variety of sporting backgrounds. Their progress so far will hopefully inspire more Thai women to take up cricket.
Samoa are another ‘new’ name in 16th place. They’ve actually won 10 out 12 T20I matches played so far.
France sit in 30th and though the ship has probably sailed for my wife, I have high hopes that my daughters can push for selection in a few years time. That’s if they’re not playing for England of course!
Yorkshire and England batsman Dawid Malan has signed for Big Bash outfit Hobart Hurricanes.
33-year-old Malan currently tops the T20I batting rankings but still isn’t guaranteed a place in England’s XI if everybody’s fit. Malan has been unfortunate with injuries when it comes to ODIs and though he was rightly dropped, I still believe that there’s a Test player in him.
Malan’s chances of seeing a thylacine could yet be scupered or at least limited however. This is because England may yet be touring at the same time.
Disclaimer: Not my first Dawid Malan article. I do think that he’s a very good player!
Our first full international upon us, England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and chose to field in this one-off Twenty20 International.
Our top order, having batted safely in the practice matches, attempted to instil a little more gusto into our short form batting. That’s what the powerplay is for right? It didn’t work!
We were soon 34-5 with all the fallen batsmen failing to reach double figures. Left-arm pace bowler Sam Curran (4-14) was destroyer in chief. Teenager Maxwell Khan (30) and wicketkeeper Rhodri Thomas (26) batted admirably however to save face and lift us to 76-6. After Thomas was bowled by Ben Stokes (3-12), Cai Hughes (13) batted with aggression alongside the more measured Khan but also fell to Stokes. The score 98 at the time. Our tail couldn’t wag and we finished a disappointing 104 all out from 19.1 overs on full international debut. Still, having been 34-5 it was a score of sorts at least.
In each of the first two overs of England’s chase, we conceded boundary overthrows as the visitors blitzed their way to 43-0. However, from that point on, we went about providing England with a scare!
Osain Williams (1-18) had the honour of claiming Wales’ first ever T20I wicket. The right-arm medium pacer clean bowled a frustrated Jason Roy for 14. Express paceman Dylan Alexander did the same for Jos Buttler (30).
Slow left-armer Cai Hughes then dismissed Jonny Bairstow (15) with his first delivery in international cricket. He then accounted for England skipper Eoin Morgan (11) as well. Leg-spinner Eifion Williams had Moeen Ali (7) caught behind to complete a trio of catches for gloveman Rhodri Thomas. The efficient stumper had pouched the edges of Bairstow and Morgan for both of Hughes’ wickets.
Ben Stokes (18*) and Chris Woakes (10*) saw England home by five wickets with 6.2 overs to spare. However, we can hold our heads up high after a nervous start with bat and ball. Clearly though, we need to inject more power into our T20 batting in order to post competitive totals.
Next up is a three-match ODI series against England. I’m confident that in that particular format, our batsmen possess the skillset to bat time and produce decent scores. Our bowling attack are clearly capable of keeping opposition batsmen on their toes if our own batsmen can play to their potential.
Thank you for your support and look out for a report on how the fifty-over affairs panned out come the conclusion of the series.
Our first match, an unofficial T20, ended in a six wicket defeat.
We posted 106 from 19.1 overs. Five batsmen reached double figures but Dylan Roberts’ 16 was the top score. Though our batsmen displayed competence, an ability to find the boundary was almost non-existent. Opener Aled Edwards (13) struck our solitary six. The opposition wicketkeeper claimed 8 (EIGHT) catches… in a T20!
Despite defending less than a run-ball, our bowlers and fielders stuck to task. Three bowlers each claimed a wicket. Left-arm seamer Rhys Evans had the honour of claiming our first (Though admittedly unofficial wicket) by clipping the top of off stump, courtesy of a beautiful inswinging delivery to the right-handed batsman. Roberts, who dropped a straight-forward catch, also executed a run out. The amateur opposition eased home however with more than five overs to spare.
We fared a little better in our second game. This time we totalled 125, only losing our final wicket to the last ball of the innings. Once again Roberts (20) looked assured at number three, after both our openers had fallen for single figure scores. For the second game in a row, a number of batsmen made starts but it was fast bowler Dwayne Alexander (21 from 14) at number nine, that propelled us to 125.
Four bowlers each claimed one wicket but our opponents were able to find the boundary regularly enough. We did at least take the game a little deeper in the innings but once again succumbed to a six wicket defeat.
We then moved onto our first official match against Glamorgan. Inserted to bat, our opening duo of Stephen Shah (16) and Aled Edwards (27) laid the foundations with a healthy opening stand of 48. Sadly, in-form Dylan Roberts fell for a golden duck on professional debut whilst wicketkeeper Rhodri Thomas didn’t fare much better, registering the silver version. From 48-0 we slipped to 73-6, in the main because of the opposition’s star spin bowler.
Captain Ioan Powell (23) and Cai Hughes (16) combined for 33 to keep us ticking over and once again Dylan Alexander (14*) helped take us to a respectable 130-9.
We effected a run out early in Glamorgan’s chase before Rhys Evans claimed our first official (Having claimed our premier unofficial) wicket. We put Glamorgan on the back foot at 29-3 and soon had them reeling at 60-6. From 75-7 they recovered to 104 before we claimed the eighth wicket. Despite a dropped catch late in the piece to blemish an excellent fielding performance and a little wobble (Overthrows and a wide) in the final over, we sealed a ground-breaking victory by 12 runs. Leg-spinner Eifion Williams (2-19) and the aforementioned Rhys Evans (2-27) both claimed two wickets but all our bowlers maintained excellent economy rates.
The result was the… result of an excellent team effort as well as astute leadership. It’s provided the team with a huge morale boost ahead of our first full international against England.
Look out for a full match report from the big day!
Disclaimer: I’m playing on Hardest difficulty level. All Wales players, kit and stadium are my own creation.
Following the latest patch on Cricket 19, it is with regret that I have retired my French team. However, when one door closes another opens… and so, I invite you to join me as I lead a newly independent Welsh cricket team into the competitive world of full international cricket.
Our inaugural fixture will be a one-off T20 International against England at our newly constructed Wales Stadium. Well, actually, there’ll be a practice match or two, a T20 against Glamorgan then our first full international against our neighbourly rivals (Or rival neighbours). There will then follow three ODIs and a solitary Test as we face a baptism of fire against the might of England.
Look out for match reports soon, where new Welsh cricket fans will be introduced to players such as captain Ioan Powell, wicketkeeper Rhodri Thomas and exciting fast bowler Dwayne Alexander.
We’ll keep you updated regarding future fixtures/tours so that you can follow our young and exciting team across the globe.
Pakistan pace bowler Umar Gul has retired from all forms of the game aged 36.
A particularly skilful bowler, Gul’s later years were hampered by injury. The Peshawar born player was a perfectly respectable bowler in all formats but even by Twenty20 standards, an international bowling record of 85 wickets in 60 matches at 16.97 (Econ 7.19) is mightily impressive.
Some of you may be aware that Big Ant have released a new patch for Cricket 19. Said patch has fundamentally changed the game. The batsmen’s movement is restricted and shot power/timing has been diminished. This seems to stem from people playing online getting frustrated at batsmen standing outside off stump and smacking predominantly spin bowlers for 6 behind square leg… yeah, like I did (Offline) and I enjoyed it!
Now I don’t necessarily take issues with the changes making the game harder and maybe more real (I was trying to score more on the off side) though some leeway needs to be provided regarding the batsmen’s ability to move across his stumps. Currently, he (Or she) is far too restricted. What I take issue with is that I’m now not playing the same game so all the effort I’ve put into my France career is compromised. I’ve bought all Big Ant’s cricket games, persevered through some shocking bugs, spent £40+ on this one, played it for over a year, enjoyed it… and now it’s been changed. I don’t mind the challenge but having seen my players improve and produce career best performances in my last match, I’m now starting again, effectively playing on a higher skill level. That ruins the fantasy of my players stats and career development. I like consistency. I’m happy to play the ‘new’ game but I’ll have to start a new team (And that is a big piece of work… for Big Ant to then undo or at least compromise on the patch). Like I say, I don’t mind the new challenge but it’s just ruined the purity of my players’ stats that I follow keenly. Christophe Martinez scored 182* in my last match and Maxime Bernard 31 on debut after a duck in the first innings. They both just got out for 6 which could well have happened anyway… but they got out and I didn’t score runs because of the changes. I don’t mind as such but it flaws the consistency and so I’ll have to start from scratch! I enjoyed playing as France but only played about a dozen matches in each format. I wanted to see my team develop over a lot more.
I absolutely love bowling on this game. Getting a nick to the keeper off a pace bowler, an LBW or a spinner knocking over the stumps. It’s so real! Yet that too is ruined by the catching lottery. Will we get the chance to catch the ball? Will the computer do it? Will they catch it or won’t they? And as for some of the overthrows, boundary fielding, run outs and quick leg byes while the wicketkeeper lies on the floor!
I’ve praised this game but by game five we should expect a marked improvement, in fundamental gameplay let alone Career content for example.
I’m not sure what I’ll do. Creating and playing as France made sense to me and I really aren’t sure who to create to start afresh. It’s a big ask creating all the players, kits and stadium. I expect Big Ant to revisit this patch but the game will still have changed and that has compromised my efforts. I might sound like I take this too seriously but… I do! It’s a little bit of fantasy and there are worse hobbies (I think!). For the makers of the game to just change the skill level/run scoring opportunity of a game I’ve enjoyed playing for so long isn’t on. I was playing this game full throttle in the past week… now I’m not!
Schedule:One Test, Three ODIs & One T20I (All matches to be played in Malahide).
Test Squad: Maxime Bernard, Enzo Petit, Christophe Martinez, Youssef Rizvi, Louis Petit, Zvonimir Pitko, Marwan Leroy (Wicketkeeper), Xavier Le Tallec (Captain), Anthony Toure, Louis Martin, Mehdi Qadri, Zidane Thomas, Alexandre Rivière
ODI Squad: Maxime Bernard, Jean-Luc Chevalier, Christophe Martinez, Zvonimir Pitko, Louis Petit, Zidane Thomas, Hugo Olivier (Wicketkeeper), Xavier Le Tallec (Captain), Paco Georges, Phillipe La Roux, Bruno Hernandez, Gilles Smith, Maurice Noe, Incroyable Mpenza
T20I Squad: Hippolyte Gregory, Jean-Luc Chevalier, Zidane Thomas, Matteo Phillipe, Louis Petit, Christophe Martinez, Hugo Olivier (Wicketkeeper), Xavier Le Tallec (Captain), Gabin Sauvage, Phillipe La Roux, Incroyable Mpenza, Gaspard Harris-Gourcuff, Thibaut Keller
Disclaimer: Big Ant have released a new patch that has fundamentally altered the batting dynamics. It probably isn’t going to be very pretty!
The first chapter of this book is a little simplistic and I was worried about how the read would turn out…
However, it developed into a thoroughly enjoyable and insightful read. I wasn’t completely blind to Afghanistan’s development as a cricket nation and the characters involved but it was fascinating to hear about some more. There were one or two trips over the border, or at least the return, that were skipped over a little briefly for what was presumably a big deal but still, the book provides added depth to the team’s history.
At less than 200 pages, it’s a digestible read whilst still informing the reader of numerous details.
Nihar Suthar’s The Corridor of Uncertainty: How Cricket Mended a Torn Natiom scores…