Bye: The upcoming World XI matches which are to be held in Pakistan have been granted full international status. Talk about devaluing international cricket. Aaaaargh!!!
Leg Bye: The Indoor Cricket World Cup which will take place in Dubai, UAE, is less than a month away…
No Ball: Nottinghamshire duo Billy Root and Luke Fletcher have both signed new deals with the county. England captain Joe’s brother Billy has rarely disappointed when been presented with first XI opportunities and Luke Fletcher (A star of my England ODI side on Cricket Captain 2017) is one of those underrated but throughly effective players plying their trade on the county circuit. Hopefully he’s well on the way to recovery following his nasty head injury.
Wide: Ashton (Or Ash98?) Agar is penned in for a return to Australia’s Test XI come the first Test against Bangladesh. Only an extremely capable ink eraser can deny him his first Test outing in over four years. Agar has been steadily developing on the domestic scene since his headline hitting international debut during the 2013 Ashes series in England…
He’s since made a couple of pyjama outings (T20I) and as well as his bowling and batting abilities, he’s an excellent fielder. Agar seems a phlegmatic character and the sort of player that international cricket will be better for having amongst its ranks.
South Africa have taken a 1-0 series lead in their home Test series against Sri Lanka with a comfortable win in Port Elizabeth. Dushmantha Chameera was the tourists’ sole second innings ducker but Sri Lanka still went down by 206 runs.
Meanwhile in Melbourne, Australia have assumed an unassailable 2-0 series advantage in their home Test series against Pakistan. Ducks from captain Misbah-ul-Haq, Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah didn’t help the tourists’ cause.
Moving onto the third and final Test, Australia have recalled Steve O’Keefe, who would have replaced a now rejuvenated Nathan Lyon against South Africa but for injury and have dropped Nic Maddinson (Test batting ave: 6.75), despite the young batsman registering a career best 22 in this match. Ashton Agar has also been recalled for the dead rubber third Test…
… meaning that I wasn’t so crazy after all! (Please see below)
Ignore any silly blogs calling for a recall for Ashton Agar!
Following defeat against South Africa in the first Test of a three-match series in Perth, Australia have recalled Joe Burns for the injured Shaun Marsh and have also granted a long awaited Test call-up for the extremely unfortunate Callum Ferguson for the second Test in Hobart. South Australia captain Ferguson will be 32 on November 21st and would surely have earned more than thirty ODI caps and three T20I appearances for his country if it wasn’t for a series of knee injuries. If CJ Ferg (That’s probably what his mates call him!) does debut, at 31 he’ll have a head start on some that have made their Test bows in recent times. Look no further than Australia teammate Adam Voges, 35 when he first wore the baggy green. In the last month Ferguson has made scores of 154 in a List A match and 101 in a First Class appearance. The possibility of a five year plus, few thousand runs international career could still be a possibility for the North Adelaide born right-hander.
South Africa have gained a 1-0 lead in their Test series in Australia with a 177-run victory at Perth. Australia had actually been 158-0 in their first innings response to South Africa’s 242 but suffered an Englandesque collapse losing all ten wickets for just 86 runs and so finishing 244 all out, a lead of just two. Dean Elgar (127) and Jean-Paul Duminy’s (141) partnership of exactly 250 helped South Africa soar to 540-8 declared against the Birdless Ozzies (See previous post: The Bird and the Lyon). Despite 97 from Usman Khawaja and 60 not out from wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, Kagiso Rabada’s 5-92 saw the hosts bundled out for 361.
Australia’s selectors will now surely ponder possible changes to the side for the second Test and might do no worse than to ‘Go West’ as the Pet Shop Boys would say. Western Australia’s Ashton Agar (Remember him?) was unlucky to finish on the losing side as his team were beaten by New South Wales in Sydney in the latest round of First Class fixtures down under. Agar recorded career best bowling analysis of 6-110 in the first innings and match figures of 10-141. He also registered scores of 15 and 35 batting at number five. The Australian selectors might be tempted to bring the twenty-three-year-old back into the fold though national selector Mark Waugh already seems to have confirmed that it won’t be at the expense of Mitchell Marsh.
The second Test of the three match series commences on November 12th at Hobart down in Tasmania, down in Tasmania!