Charlie and Billy go Glamping!

img_4156

Glamorgan have added batsman Charlie Hemphrey to their batting ranks for the 2019 campaign. The Doncaster born bat has done okay on the Australian domestic scene and a stint in county cricket should serve him well. The Welsh county have already acquired fellow Yorkshireman Billy Root and as a result they should be more of a force this term.

Nottinghamshire didn’t really seem to know what to do with Root. You could check three scorecards in a week and find him batting at three, then at nine playing primarily as a spin bowler then batting at five. The opportunity to play week in week out should help bring out the best of a player who has demonstrated that he’s good enough to carve out a career at county level.

As a batsman who bowls a bit and likely to get regular first team opportunities, Root is a player to consider come the 2019 edition of Telegraph Fantasy Cricket. Look out for my YouTube video of how to go about selecting your team soon!

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: CC/ODC 2018

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 15.22.07

The above is my first XI. It’s in the all-rounder roles that I’ve gambled with Rhodes and Rawlins. Rhodes has moved from Yorkshire to Warwickshire so should see increased game time and will be keen to show what he’s capable of. Rawlins made an impression in the North v South matches and this should be his breakout season. Simpson is a reliable wicketkeeper and I think there is real logic in the stumper being captain. I’ve plucked for a possibly slightly under the radar bowling attack and expect Mennie and hopefully Hutton to contribute runs too. I’ve very deliberately selected batsman that will at least occasionally bowl and should get opportunities in both formats of the game.

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 15.22.24

For my second XI, I’ve gone for the two all-rounders that I consider guaranteed runs and wickets. I’ve opted for a reliable batting unit and expect Fell to return to form this year. Though my bowling unit may not be guaranteed outings in both codes, Coad and Footitt are wicket takers in the First Class format. Mahmood is coming into the campaign off the back of impressive performances in North v South and Nijjar, a useful spin bowler, has been opening the batting for Essex pre-season. What happens to Alastair Cook with England may determine Nijjar’s opportunities. If Roderick is available throughout the season, he should be steady away behind the stumps and with bat in hand.

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 15.22.45

Have I ever mentioned that I like Ben Duckett?

Mitchell is as consistent as they come and bowls too. Smith has returned to Durham and I expect plenty of runs from the experienced head back up north. Alongside him, Brook is primed for his breakthrough campaign after debuting last term. Kuhn may not keep wicket but is a solid performer at domestic level. My bowling attack may receive England and England Lions call-ups but have runs as well as wickets in them in both formats. Bresnan is as solid an option as Patel and Bopara and van der Merwe is a destructive player.

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 17.44.56

In my fourth XI, I’ve gone Warwickshire and England veteran heavy in my batting line-up, messrs Trott and Bell leading the charge. Bell-Drummond will be looking to kick-on and fingers crossed for a run-filled renaissance from Nick Compton. Like Kuhn, Pope may not always keep wicket but will be playing regularly and in the runs this year. Berg is as reliable as anyone with the ball and Procter prospered last term having relocated to Northamptonshire. I want a bit more from Barker and Rayner this year. Fletcher is back from injury and if Overton, rated 3!, can stay fit then he’s a shrewd selection.

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 15.23.20

In my fifth XI are the other players that I like who I couldn’t squeeze into my first four teams. Northeast has moved to Hampshire but is as reliable as they come with the bat. Wells is solid in the First Class game as is Burns. Dent is an under rated player too. McManus gets the gloves with the experienced Clarke, back at Surrey, and less experienced but quick Chappell in the all-rounder roles. Hopefully Norwell has shrugged off any injury niggles. Ball will be left to play county cricket this term whilst Patterson is another of my reliable picks. Qadri made an impressive debut last year and will look to back it up.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve avoided selecting players that will be on England duty. It’s steady away county pros that you need sprinkled with one or two yet to be discovered gems just primed to be this year’s Ben Coad.

Let me know what you think about my teams and which one is likely to win me the massive cash prize of……….. £3,000!

https://fantasycricket.telegraph.co.uk/county

Disclaimer: I’ve since been tinkering away, so my teams don’t look quite the same as above. I’ll keep you up to date once the campaign commences!

Application for Role of National Selector

IMG_2121

https://www.ecb.co.uk/news/642891/ecb-announces-new-approach-for-england-men-s-selection

Dear Andrew Strauss

Please find enclosed my application for the role of National Selector as advertised on http://www.ecb.co.uk

On the MAC version of Cricket Captain 2017 (Admittedly on Easy Mode!), I was responsible for the selection of the England side that won the 2017 Champions Trophy on home turf. Who can forget David Willey’s 8-58 against Australia?! That summer, I had already made the brave decision to recall batsman Ben Duckett to the Test side despite his tough baptism the previous winter.

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 09.46.51

Duckett repaid the faith by averaging 82.89 in the respectable 2017-18 2-2 away Ashes series draw.

Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 19.03.26

In 2018 I introduced Yorkshire seamer Ben Coad to Test cricket and he duly struck with his first delivery against Pakistan. Coad went on to claim just shy of 200 wickets as well as surpassing 1000 runs during my time as selector. As was the case with the recall of Duckett, there was resistance from some quarters towards the selection of Coad. Some in the media believed that I was applying Yorkshire bias and only selecting Coad because we were born in the same town. Proving the doubters wrong, his performances with bat and ball throughout his career confirmed that I possess nous when it comes to identifying under the radar talent.

Screen Shot 2017-07-29 at 20.53.31

Mason Crane’s dismissals of three Indian batsmen, all first ball on T20I debut was another highlight of that summer.

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 13.17.12

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 13.17.37

Another spinner, Adil Rashid, excelled in Sri Lanka where he famously followed up figures of 7-66 with a monumental knock of 161. Again, there were those that campaigned against the selections of said spinners, at least in the respective formats in which they would go onto succeed. Again, those doubters were silenced.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 21.51.39

Following our Champions Trophy success in 2017, we promptly won the 2019 ODI World Cup. Once again the nation were euphoric in their celebrations of home soil success.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 21.50.28

My insistence that Moeen Ali replace Jason Roy at the top of the order was both ruthless and crucial to our success. Moeen’s blazing knock of 112 from 80 deliveries in the final against India will live long in the memory of many.

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 17.44.06

Alongside Moeen, Ben Duckett totalled 562 runs at 80.29, again this demonstrates my ability to get the best out of mischievous players. Many would’ve left the Northamptonshire batsman on the international scrapheap but his performances in both the Ashes and ODI World Cup were immense.

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 17.47.05

Chris Woakes claimed twenty tournament wickets at just 12.55 apiece and please don’t ignore the contribution made by left field selection Luke Fletcher. This included a vital wicket in the final at Lords.

Yes we lost the 2019 Ashes 3-0. Thirty-five-year-old Daryl Mitchell failed to back-up his debut knock of 73. He didn’t make another fifty before being dropped for the fifth Test and James Harris (0-102) had an ignominious introduction to Test cricket. The selection of thirty-nine-year-old Jimmy Adams’ (34 runs @ 8.50) in T20I cricket didn’t work either.

Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 19.30.41

Nor did the selection of Ross Whiteley (99 runs @ 9.90). However, there would be over 200 Test wickets for Jack Leach, a Test century for Max Holden and many Test tons for Will Rhodes as well as numerous ODI tons for Daniel Bell-Drummond during my time as Selector. Sometimes you have to sift through the dirt to find the diamonds.

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 20.48.52

I would like to think that the T20I career of sometime captain Benny Howell…

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 20.26.40

… and ODI career of Ollie Rayner, the latter also earning two Test caps, will reflect well on my ability to identify talent and think outside the box when selecting the composition of a side. Even if these players didn’t excel statistically, they were under rated efficient contributors to the side.

Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 20.11.27

Other highlights during my tenure included: In Bangladesh in 2021, having lost the first Test by just one wicket courtesy of Jofra Archer’s no ball, we chased down 431 in the second Test to level the series. Liam Livingstone (122 & 166) and Will Rhodes (111 & 128*) famously made tons in each innings.

Middlesex’s Harry Podmore claimed figures of 3-51 on ODI debut but disappointingly we failed to progress from the round robin stage of the 2022 Champions Trophy. Paul Coughlin (Two six-wicket hauls) though was for a time the number one bowler in the world in ODI cricket.

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 19.48.04

In the 2022 T20I World Cup we reached the semi-final before we were cruelly defeated by India. Hampshire’s Lewis McManus, another shrewd selection, contributed 225 runs at 56.25 including a swashbuckling ton against Pakistan.

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 20.47.01

Another gloveman, Sussex’s Ben Brown, registered fifties in his first two T20I caps.

Unfortunately by the time 2023 came around we were ranked as low as 8th in ODI cricket and 9th in both Tests and T20Is. We scored 447 in the fourth innings of an Ashes Test but still lost!

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 21.28.24

On the plus side, Surrey all-rounder Sam Curran, originally bravely selected whilst still in his teens, passed 100 wickets ODI cricket. Another find was Nottinghamshire batsman Billy Root, who stepped out of his brother’s shadow to register an ODI century against West Indies. I’m extremely proud of his selection because both the media and public were extremely sceptical.

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 22.05.14

After a run of ten straight Test defeats, we did at least beat Zimbabwe 2-0 at home. Liam Livingstone and Ben Foakes’ partnership of 351 proving crucial.

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 22.06.17

Somerset speedster Jamie Overton claimed nine wickets at just 15.56 upon his introduction to Test cricket.

Opening batsman Mark Stoneman went onto pass 4000 Test runs though we probably shouldn’t have allowed him so much opportunity to close in on 5000 when clearly past his sell by date!

Lewis McManus and Sam Northeast recorded a record-breaking partnership of 263 in an ODI and Sam Evans scored centuries in each of his first three Tests.

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 23.25.29

Defeats against Namibia and Canada in the 2023 ODI World Cup was a disappointing way to bow out. Durham bowler James ‘Killer’ Weighell’s figures 0f 10-0-102-0 against the North American side were confirmation that I’d persisted with him too long.

I don’t think Hamidullah Qadri’s Test bowling average ever got below 60.00 and Mark Footitt (7 wickets in 5 Tests) was another one I probably got wrong. Don’t let those performances against associate nations, world rankings or runs of defeat after defeat deflect from my achievements though. A Champions Trophy and ODI World Cup win are not to be scoffed at, particularly when under the pressure of playing in front of the expectations of a home crowd. The selections and performances of Will Rhodes (Tests), Daniel Bell-Drummond (ODIs) and Lewis McManus (ODIs/T20Is) as well as Jack Leach, Ben Coad, Jofra Archer and Liam Norwell (Tests), Jamie Overton and Paul Coughlin (ODIs) demonstrate my ability to see beyond the obvious and identify players capable of succeeding at international level.

I’m extremely confident that I can transfer my success (Mediocrity, call it what you will!) in virtuality to reality and excel in the role of National Selector. I’m available for interview at any time and await your response with much anticipation.

Yours faithfully

 

Paul Morris

Cricket Captain 2017: 20??-20something Season Review – Australian Pie/The Day the Cricket Died!

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 08.19.17

After a quinquennium in charge of the England cricket team, it’s fair to say that things haven’t gone as well as had been hoped…

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 21.32.27Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 21.32.32Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 21.32.37

2022 I think it was. The year of back-to-back 5-0 Test whitewashes at home to West Indies (Having batted first every time!) and away to Australia. This included scoring 447 in the fourth innings of the first Ashes Test and still losing by 35 runs! At least there was a four-fingered handful of ODI victories and two unbeaten T20I series.

Other positives?

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 19.54.25

There was that time only two of two kinfolk captured any wickets!

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 20.12.56

Adam Glichrist prototype Lewis McManus reigned supreme in ODI and T20I cricket. The Hampshire opener recorded a 64-ball hundred against Australia.

Does that scorecard say 186-0? We probably lost that game!

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 21.28.24

A rejuvenated Sam Curran (I know I call him that a lot!) reached 100 ODI wickets and rediscovered his Test form. Still aged only 24, he’ll look to double if not triple both his runs and wickets tally in both Tests and ODIs but we’ll continue to keep him out of the T20Is. Only proper cricket for Sam!

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 21.34.05

Oh and another Sam, Sam Northeast, rather appropriately joined Durham. Fellow Durham man Paul Coughlin claimed an ODI hat-trick against Australia and Billy Root stepped out of his brother Joe’s rather large and imposing shadow by scoring an ODI century against West Indies.

Next it’s home series against Zimbabwe. It’s a great opportunity for England to achieve almost guaranteed series victories against the minnows of world cricket/move ever closer to the basement of the world rankings in each form of the game. (Delete as appropriate)

Extras

img_2143

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…

http://www.worldindoorcricketfederation.com/news.html

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…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/12088/scorecard/566932/England-vs-Australia-1st-Test

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.

Family Roots

IMG_1731adj

Some people say that it’s not easy to be the younger sibling of a superstar. Fortunately I don’t have a younger sibling so no poor sod has to carry that burden!

Billy Root however has to try and carve out a career of his own in the shadow of his elder brother, England Test captain Joe Root. Billy hit the headlines last week when brother Joe smacked him for six to win a one-day game but actually Root Jnr. is starting to scratch out a decent career for himself at Nottinghamshire.

Will he make his home county Yorkshire curse the fact that he’s not on their books?

Maybe being away from home territory and his elder brother isn’t a bad thing. He’s already got a First Class hundred to his name, made for Leeds/Bradford MCCU against Sussex and today he tonked 107 not out from 93 deliveries (10 fours, 2 sixes) against a Warwickshire attack that included Rikki Clarke, Keith Barker and Jeetan Patel. Root compiled more runs than Michael Lumb, Riki Wessels, Samit Patel and Brendan Taylor combined.

Whether or not Billy can become the Mark to Joe’s Steve remains to be seen (That’s a Waugh reference by the way!) but regardless, he’s at least hinted that a decent domestic career could lay ahead.

Don’t get carried away Billy. Stay grounded or… rooted you might say!