Mad as a Hatter!

There’s something about failure that appeals to me!

When a batsman rocks up on debut and is out for a duck or a bowler concedes over a ton of runs without taking a wicket, the thought of their Cricinfo profile page displaying those stats for eternity genuinely eats away at me. When others write them off and say “Never pick them again” or “Not good enough” I say “People learn from bad experiences”, “They’ve got imperfection out of their system” or “Marvan Atapattu”!

Why am I telling you this?

Step forward Nic Maddinson. Test average 6.25… and if you thought that Marcus Harris looked like a village cricketer when playing in the Ashes this year then Maddo wasn’t far behind when taking on South Africa a couple of years ago. Few players have looked so perfectly designed to fit the phrase ‘A rabbit in the headlights’ as the Victoria opening bat did against Kagiso Rabada and co. Redemption though could be on its way.

The 27-year-old has been named in the Cricket Australia XI to take on Pakistan in a three-day match and should he outscore incumbent Harris could realistically play in the first Test. Maddinson wasn’t an opener in his previous existence as a Test cricketer but with no time to stew on the balcony and things really not able to get much worse could the Nowra native make a belated impression on cricket’s greatest stage?

Sliding Doors!

Joe Denly was dropped on 0 in this innings…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/19430/game/1152850/england-vs-australia-5th-test-icc-world-test-championship-2019-2021

Having been reprieved by the woeful Marcus Harris, a player so out of his depth that it’s almost unimaginable that he’s here, Denly went onto make 94. The drop was a sliding doors moment if ever there was one. Denly actually had a second sliding doors moment when Australia opted not to review an LBW decision when he’d reached 54. Ultimately he didn’t quite make it to a ton and yes he benefited from some fortune but so did Brian Lara when making his famous 501! Many batsmen have benefited from drops and incorrect umpiring decisions during the history of cricket. They’re nothing to feel guilty about.

There was some chirp during Denly’s knock from the likes of Matthew Wade and Steven Smith. Smith apparently suggested that the pressure was off Denly (Some England fans made the same accusation) now that Australia had retained the urn. That suggests that Smith isn’t too bothered about the result of this match which is both odd and unprofessional. It also suggests that he’s got little understanding of the consequences of this innings on Denly’s future prospects. As for Wade, he’s surely in the same boat as Denly was, one innings away from the end of his international career. The boisterous left-hander would be best served learning from Denly’s attitude and application to find a way to prolong his own Test lifetime.

Like many players adapting to a higher level, Steven Smith included, former Middlesex man Denly needed time to adapt but has now made fifties in each of the last three Tests. Despite National Selector Ed Smith’s fandom, a double failure here could’ve been terminal. As it is the Kent veteran remains the man in possession ahead of tours to New Zealand and possibly South Africa. That’ll frustrate the likes of Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and some England fans but at the age of 33, Denly could still have a useful year or two alongside an increasingly assured Rory Burns at the top of the order. The right-hand/left-hand contrast of England’s incumbent opening pair is particularly welcome. Sceptics may use the term stop gap about Denly but many players have bloomed post thirty years of age and if it allows others to develop further before gaining selection then that’s great.

Denly will likely continue to get worked over and look uncomfortable at times yet sprinkle his innings with glorious strokes and somehow find a way. He’ll certainly be brimming with confidence now following his recent run. To axe him after he’s strung together a string of scores superior to any alternative England have tried in recent times would be idiocy. Sibley, Crawley and company will have to wait for now.

Well played Joe!

The Edge DVD Review

Do you dream of being an international cricketer?

Then this film probably isn’t for you!

The 90 minute piece taps into the minds of England cricketers past and present, mostly past as it focuses on England’s rise to number one earlier this decade.

There’s some artsy shots of Jonathan Trott in a sun laden field and later a dark cityscape provides a stark contrast. Trott also frolicks under water and like Kevin Pietersen and Steven Finn, opens up about the travails of being an England cricketer. There are of course those who will shut down these privileged souls bemoaning their hard lives. No they’re not down a pit but their work is dangerous, at times unsavoury and results in lots of time away from family but in the company of people that you might not even get along with!

Monty Panesar pops up too as do many others including ex-coach Andy Flower. A pre-Ashes trip to Bavaria gets a lot of focus as does, as already touched upon, the state of mind. The Edge is not all ‘Happy as Larry’ bat ‘n’ ball tales! If you followed England during the featured era then this is essential viewing.

The Edge scores… 78

2nd Test – Day One Round-Up

A fantastic day for England’s cricketers at Lords as they batted throughout its entirety without losing a single wicket. Opening batsmen Rory Burns and Jason Roy looked untroubled against the Australian bowling attack in reaching the close of play undefeated and will hope to build tomorrow.

Alternatively:

A chastening day for England’s cricketers at Lords as they bowled throughout its entirety without claiming a single wicket. The likes of debutant Jofra Archer and spinner Jack Leach never looked like taking an Australian wicket so will desperately hope to come back stronger tomorrow.

Take your pick!

Snippets!

It’s great to see Reece Topley back in action and amongst the wickets again. The England man is making a comeback with Susssex and the early signs are promising. Fingers crossed that he can stay fit.

It’s not so great to see England’s Women struggling horribly against Australia in all formats of the game. In particular Amy Jones’ game (A Test fifty aside) has regressed horribly with ducks becoming an all too familiar story once again.

Those Australians that didn’t make the cut for Australia Men’s Ashes party are now turning up up and down the country for various counties. Alex Carey is at Sussex whilst Peter Handscomb is the latest to sign up, in his case making Durham the third county that he’s represented.

Disclaimer: Yes this is a lazy version of an Extras post!

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.