Extras

Bye:

USA return to the fold. United States of America have had their member status restored…

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/sport/2019/jan/15/cricket-american-dream-usa-icc-status

Leg Bye: Revamp of the Minor Counties set up. From 2020 the Minor Counties will have a new name and new structure…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/46059647

No Ball:

England discard Dawid Malan has signed a new contract with Middlesex that will keep him at the club until the close of the 2021 campaign. Malan is currently skipper at Lords and is joined in committing his county future by former Glamorgan man James Harris. Harris, once a player seemingly destined to play for England, has at least developed into an important player for his adopted county.

Wide: A player you’d (Or I at least!) had completely forgotten about, has actually gone on to have a productive career… with a First Class average the right side of 40! The things you learn when scrolling through scorecards the world over…

http://m.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/336594.html

European Cricket Champions League

How about this?

To help spread the game, let’s create a European Cricket Champions League. Below I’ve selected twenty possible teams for the inaugural tournament. I’ve selected the countries first and foremost by population but with previous/current cricketing pedigree helping the likes of Jersey squeeze in ahead of for example: Austria. Of course there could be more groups with more teams from more countries. Maybe the format could be eight groups of four teams but this is a starting point. I’ve kept it simple by sticking to capital cities for the teams and I’ve then organised them into geographically practical groups. Obviously the teams in Group A don’t have as far to travel for a match Athens do when playing Moscow but something’s got to give.

Group A

Dublin – Ireland

Edinburgh – Scotland

London – England

St Helier – Jersey

St Peter Port – Guernsey

Group B

Amsterdam – Netherlands

Brussels – Belgium

Madrid – Spain

Paris – France

Rome – Italy

Group C

Berlin – Germany

Copenhagen – Denmark

Prague – Czechia/Czech Republic

Stockholm – Sweden

Warsaw – Poland

Group D

Athens – Greece

Bucharest – Romania

Budapest – Hungary

Kiev – Ukraine

Moscow – Russia

Let’s say that each team plays eight matches. They play the four other teams in their group home and away. The format is Twenty20 with 2 points for a win, 1 for a tie and 0 for a defeat. The top two teams from each group qualify for the quarter-finals. The team with the most points, or if tied then the team that has scored the most runs (Or taken most wickets, etc etc.) in the competition, has home advantage in the last eight. For the semi-finals, the two teams that won their QF by the largest margin gain home advantage for the semi-finals. The final is played at a predetermined neutral venue unless of course that team has qualified for the final, in which case lucky them!

This would be a great opportunity to help continental cricketers develop their skills in a competitive, meaningful and exciting environment. Now of course the teams could just end up being national teams but maybe this would inspire other cities to create teams. For example, Italy creates a four-team league with entrants from Rome, Turin, Florence and Naples. They hold their own qualifying tournament and the winner qualifies for the European Cricket Champions League. It wouldn’t even have to require a full season, just a short-term tournament but measures would need to be in place to ensure some squad continuity season by season and possibly even a local player quota in each team.

Of course this idea isn’t entirely original. It’s very much along the lines of European football but if it can make stars out of Polish or Ukrainian cricketers and get people in those nations playing the game then great. Teams could have the option of one or two non-European players to supplement their seventeen-man squad. The cricket calendar is already congested but the players likely to participate in this competition are unlikely to be playing in franchise leagues around the globe… for now anyway! If Copenhagen signed a Ugandan cricketer and he starred for them in the tournament then that would help cricket all around. Kids in Uganda would be inspired, pick up a bat or ball and want to play the game, on the street and possibly in Europe’s leading cricket competition. Denmark themselves would’ve obviously do well and the player in question might end up getting an IPL or Big Bash gig. All corners of the globe could be represented in the competition, European players could end up playing in the South American equivalent and these players could end up playing in the IPL etc… or maybe those competitions will have been superseded by such tournaments as the European Cricket Champions League!

I could suggest team names like London Lions, Edinburgh Royals or Dublin Shamrocks but the continental teams will of course posses native names. You wouldn’t expect teams to be called Berlin Bears of Stockholm Sixers for example but might find Les Chevaliers de Paris. Now of course London would be expected to win and English players deserve to play as much as anybody but maybe some sort of criteria could be put in place to limit the amount of full international or even professionals participating, at least in the early years whilst the other teams/nations evolve.

The same league concept could be implemented on other continents as well.

Could we see Tokyo versus Seoul or Pyongyang versus Beijing in the Asian version?

To open the game to the world could help develop it tremendously and highlight how stuck in time we are, even when we think that the game is constantly evolving. I can’t say that I’m a Formula One fan but when I caught a glimpse of maybe the Malaysian Grand Prix which was held on the streets at night, the variety made it more interesting. Maybe in Japan matches would be held on rooftops or in China be played in huge stadiums.

Maybe we could discover new grounds like that in Rwanda…

https://www.cricketbuildshope.org

I’ve previously written about how I can’t believe that America doesn’t have a successful T20 competiton…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2016/11/06/stateside-smash/

Canada got one first. Hong Kong have one as well. Let’s have a Europe wide cricket competition to bring the game to the continental masses, to the amphitheatres of Rome, the Streets of Amsterdam, the bars of Greece and beyond!

What do you guys think? Is there a place for a city based European Cricket Champions League? Could such a tournament help steal some of the sporting monopoly from football? Could such an idea work in other parts of the world?

Many thanks for reading and keep following, keep liking and keep blogging yourself if that’s your thing!

Disclaimer: Apologies for the appalling image at the top of this post. I might try and source another one later!

China’s Batting as Brittle as Porcelain… or Fine China Even!

China Women succumbed to a record-breaking defeat at the hands of UAE in a T20I encounter in Bangkok today. Both the margin of defeat (189 runs) and their brittle batting effort (14 all out) mean the players enter the record books for all the wrong reasons!

With T20I status now applied all across the globe, it’s to be hoped that such humbling defeats don’t discourage players from emerging nations and that cricket continues to evolve into a truly worldwide sport.

It was Kings of Convenience who said that “Failure is always the best way to learn”…

Looking forward to China posting competitive totals in the future.

Cricket Books Worth Reading

Hi followers

Here’s are some cricket books that I’ve read that I’d thoroughly recommend you do too. Some books I read before I started this blog but where I’ve already reviewed a book, I’ve provided the link.

Ed Smith Playing Hardball

There’s a great line in this book that explains the fundamental difference between baseball and cricket. It’s one that’s really good to have a handle on to understand the one of the two you’re less familiar with.

Tim Lane and Elliot Cartledge Chasing Shadows: The Life and Death of Peter Roebuck

A book bound to stir discomfort amongst some, this seems a fairly written effort of a delicate subject, a delicate life. I can’t claim to have been overly familiar with Roebuck before reading this book recently. Of course I knew the name but as I wrote in my review… I judged the book and not the man.

https://sillypointcricket.com/2018/09/22/elliot-cartledge-and-tim-lane-chasing-shadows-the-life-and-death-of-peter-roebuck-book-review/

Christopher Lee Howzat

An insight into Kerry Packer and how he changed the face of cricket. It’s all very apt given the so many changes occurring on the global cricket horizon right now and in the not too distant past. Traditionalists may despise him but cricket would look a lot different if it weren’t for Packer or certainly wouldn’t have progressed at the same rate.

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/06/29/christopher-lee-howzat-book-review/

Peter Obourne Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan

What’s great about this book is that you don’t just learn about the history of cricket in Pakistan but about the history of Pakistan in general. Not surprisingly, it’s an exhaustive read but one that makes me long to discover written histories of other cricket nations.

The following three books are essential reading for fans like me who long for the game to blossom outside of the Test circuit.

Tim Brooks Cricket on the Continent

https://sillypointcricket.com/2016/11/20/tim-brooks-cricket-on-the-continent-book-review/

Tim Wigmore and Peter Miller Second XI: Cricket in its Outposts

Roy Morgan Real International Cricket: A History in One Hundred Scorecards

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/03/03/roy-morgan-real-international-cricket-book-review/

There are others, some that I’ve enjoyed, others that I haven’t. You can find all my book reviews here…

https://sillypointcricket.com/category/book-reviews/

I’ve currently got a stash of more bat ‘n’ ball themed books waiting to be read so look out for more reviews in 2019!

4-3-1-5: Doctor Who?

Doctor Zhivago… maybe he’s not a doctor but Zhivago Groenewald claimed amazing analysis of five wickets for just one run from four overs complete with three maidens… obviously, for Namibia against Swaziland (Or is it eSwatini?) in Botswana’s capital Gaborone earlier today.

Swazi opening bat Alexander Nicholas actually carried his willow to make an undefeated 17 from 52 balls as Swaziland accumulated 72-6 from their full allocation. It took the Namibians only twenty-two deliveries to complete the chase as detailed by clicking on the link below…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/19010/scorecard/1163048/namibia-vs-swaziland-2nd-match-icc-world-twenty20-africa-region-qualifier-c-2018-19

img_2659

For the record, ‘The Doctor’ only had three career Twenty20 wickets prior to his 5-1 epic. It’s just a shame that these matches don’t have full T20I status until next year.

Keep up to date with what’s going on in ICC World Twenty20 Africa Region Qualifier here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018–19_ICC_World_Twenty20_Africa_Qualifier

Cricket is a global game and these matches matter. There aren’t only ten international teams and let’s hope that developing cricket nations such as these continue to progress by playing meaningful and competitive matches like the ones currently being played out in Botswana.