Wade Riding the Crest of a Wave!

Matthew Wade’s Test record is ordinary. If you don’t believe me…

http://m.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/230193.html

He has however been tearing it up on the Australian domestic circuit in recent seasons and does appear to have genuinely improved as a player. The wicketkeeper by trade is focusing on his batting in order to get back in the national side and wielding the willow as high up the order as possible.

On the Australia A-team’s tour of England he’s made back to back hundreds (117 & 155) in the two List A games played so far…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/scorecard/ECKO44649

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/scorecard/ECKO44650

Admittedly the bowling attacks of Northamptonshire and Derbyshire aren’t comparable to England’s. It’s still not going to be easy for the thirty-one-year-old to force his way into Ashes reckoning but if he carries on like this then you just never know.

Clarke’s Case

I’ve previously written about Joe Clarke and how I didn’t want him in the England team anytime soon…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2019/01/11/first-class-cricketers-but-without-the-class/

This followed unsavoury revelations about his personal life in light of the Alex Hepburn rape trial. Fair play to Clarke though. What he needed to do was let his cricket do the talking and make his case for selection extremely difficult to ignore.

Clarke has not committed a crime or been accused of one. I previously said that given time and maturity then I’d have no qualms about him representing England.

He has commenced the 2019 campaign with scores of 112 and is currently 97 not out on his competitive debut for new employers Nottinghamshire…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8052/game/1166914/nottinghamshire-vs-yorkshire-specsavers-county-championship-division-one-2019

Should he carry on like this then an Ashes call, though he’d probably have to move up to three, could be almost certain.

As touched upon in my article posted earlier today…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2019/04/07/northeast-finds-direction/

English batsmen up and down the land are putting their hands up and demanding international recognition. It’s a welcome change to recent seasons.

Northeast Finds Direction!

Following a frustrating injury hit first campaign with his adopted county, former Kent captain Sam Northeast commenced the new season with an impressive knock of 169 for Hampshire against Essex.

It’s easy to assume that Northeast has fallen down the pecking order in terms of England selection but if he can back up his opening knock with more of the same then there’s no reason why he couldn’t gatecrash the Ashes. Incumbent Joe Denly is currently sat on the bench at the IPL. He is very much an Ed Smith selection however. Denly made 69 in his last Test innings but then James Vince made 76 in his. With Northeast performing at three and Vince opening, could the Hampshire duo both make England’s next Test squad?

Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth made runs too. He’s a very good player but the fact that previous Test shortcomings occurred against Australia in England will probably count against him. There’ll be a clamour for Joe Clarke who let his cricket do the talking when making a debut ton for Nottinghamshire meanwhile Haseeb Hameed registered a double century against the students.

Ultimately the early season signs are that unlike recent seasons, England might have some difficult selection choices to make but in a good way.

Rooted!

Why is Joe Root so comfortable walking out to bat at three for England in ODI cricket but so reluctant to do so in Test cricket?

If Root were willing to operate at three in Tests, it would make it so much easier for England to accommodate a promising middle order player… or James Hildreth!

It’s the sort of inconsistency that irks me and talking of things that irk me… I wish that England were playing a Test tomorrow and Jason Roy was playing because I can’t stand all these ‘clever’ sods claiming that Roy could be our saviour in red ball cricket any longer. I CAN understand the logic if he scores over six hundred runs at the World Cup and the England management want to go with the flow but after all the talk of needing batsmen to reign in their attacking instincts, people want a feast or famine white-ball dasher who is at best a First Class number five to open in Tests against Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon!

Oh and the Mark Wood bubble has burst already… 7-0-49-0!

Sorry, I’m being cynical (Or just joking) which is the reason why I stopped following 95% of all the other cricket blogs on WordPress!

Burns Extinguished!

Burns extinguished and England genuinely left without a clue as to who should bat in the top three come the Ashes!

Still, it should make for an exciting start to the county season and inspire England’s white-ball batsmen as well, not that they should need any further inspiration. The ODI World Cup precedes the Ashes and good form in big matches could result in a Test call-up.

It’s such a shame for Burns who has passed 1000 First Class runs in each of the last five seasons. Like many previous incumbents, he’s hinted at what he’s got to offer but certainly hasn’t nailed down his place.

It’s not even worth mentioning names and we’ve got one Test against Ireland to fix things! What if we pick a debutante and he gets a pair? Will he keep his place for the Ashes opener?

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, messrs Jennings and Denly are not out, so might cement their places for the Ireland encounter at Lords… might!

Starc Reality!

If fit, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc will lead the line for Australia against England come this summer’s Ashes series.

Which English batsman will be taking them on is anybody’s guess!

Up until only recently, it seemed as though Australia were in turmoil and that England were near-certainties for Ashes success. With home advantage and the returning Steven Smith and David Warner likely to be undercooked, at least in the longest format then England probably can still wear the favourites tag.

The identity of the England players and in which order they’ll walk to the wicket is somewhat uncertain and because of that, this summer’s Ashes encounter seems tantalisingly poised.

Australia had a few questions answered in their most recent Test. Admittedly there’s a lot of cricket (Though not Test) between now and the Ashes but Australia’s likely XI is as follows:

Warner, Burns, Khawaja, Smith, Head, Patterson, Paine (C&W), Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood, Lyon

England’s XI is not so predictable. At the very least, opening batsman, number three and first change pace bowler are places that are very much up for grabs, though Mark Wood might have just solved the latter and the top order have today to cement their places.