Malan the Man!

England T20I batsman Dawid Malan looks certain to complete what may seem a slightly surprising move north to Yorkshire.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/sport/amp/cricket/50056801

Malan’s long association with Middlesex seems at an end with the burden of captaincy and the need for a fresh start possibly playing a part in the decision.

England ambitions may also be a factor with Yorkshire playing in Division One of the County Championship whilst Middlesex continue to languish in Division Two. Malan is part of England’s squad for the T20I series in New Zealand and was possibly unlucky to miss out to Joe Denly in the summer’s Test squads. At 32, age might hinder the left-hander’s international ambitions but then again he’s younger than Denly. To be fair to Denly, he fought hard and went onto make some vital contributions for England.

With a line-up assembled from the likes of Lyth, Fraine, Ballance, Malan, Kohler-Cadmore, Brook, Tattersall, possibly Bairstow and occasionally even Root, Yorkshire’s batting could look extremely strong next season. It’s to be hoped that young players such as Brook benefit from the experience of playing alongside seasoned professionals such as Malan and don’t just find themselves confined to the Second XI.

As well as adding ballast to the four-day side Malan would be a welcome addition to Yorkshire’s white-ball outfit. Yorkshire have relied heavily on their top three (Lyth, TK-C and Willey) and once those guys have been dismissed the rest of the batting line-up have failed to fire. Mystifyingly and speaking as somebody who’s played in amateur leagues in Yorkshire, there’s been few signs of destructive young batsmen coming through the ranks. With the aforementioned batters at the top of the order Malan may have to settle for batting at four in List A and T20 cricket despite a history of opening in the shorter formats.

I’m a big fan of Dawid Malan and would love to see him at Yorkshire.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/236489.html

I’m not a fan of a busy transfer market in county cricket but appropriate and logical transfers that enhance sides and provide players with opportunities are welcome. If all goes through as anticipated then I look forward to seeing Malan in a Yorkshire shirt in 2020.

Six to Watch: 2019 – Season Review

Hi all

Here’s the link to this season’s original Six to Watch…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2019/02/16/six-to-watch-2019/

… and here’s this season’s review now that the 2019 county campaign had concluded…

Daniel Bell-Drummond

Bell-Drummond has done okay (892 CC runs @ 35.68) this season and it’s particularly pleasing to see him move back to the top of the order for Kent. Of course his Kent teammate Zak Crawley has leapfrogged him in terms of England selection, a pick based on style over substance. Bell-Drummond has become a useful bowling option which makes him of even greater value to the team. Still only 26 the signs are encouraging and hopefully his most fruitful seasons can yet be ahead of him.

Danny Briggs

After a renaissance of sorts last year it’s now hard to see what the future holds for former England-man Briggs. Fellow slow-left-armer Delray Rawlins, a genuine all-rounder, has grasped his first team opportunities at Sussex whilst Will Beer has also had more game time this year thus limiting Briggs’ output. Briggs claimed only four County Championship wickets at 63.75 this term, did okay in one-day cricket but was largely ineffectual in the T20 game particularly when compared to many other spinners who thrived.

Jack Burnham

Burnham’s season has been far from outstanding (598 CC runs @ 27.18) but he’s been back on a cricket pitch and got some runs under his belt. This year was about getting back in the groove and though still only 22, Durham will need him to crack on in 2020.

Amy Jones

It seemed that everything had fallen into place for Jones with an excellent run of form in limited overs international cricket earlier this year. Disappointingly however, after a fifty (64) on Test debut her form tailed off dramatically against Australia. Still, after struggling to build on solid starts she produced some crucial performances late in the domestic T20 campaign and is good enough to come again for England.

Jack Plom

Plom has regularly featured for Essex 2nd XI and has appeared in the 1st XI squad in the latter part of the campaign. Technically he made a washed out First Class debut in 2018 but awaits a real opportunity for the current county circuit’s dominant outfit. Jamie Porter, Sam Cook and Aaron Beard don’t make Plom’s route to the first XI easy.

Issy Wong

Wong debuted for Southern Vipers this year in the T20 format having already turned out for Warwickshire Women in one-day cricket. She claimed figures of 4-25 against Yorkshire (Typical!) in May. She can also solve a Rubix cube!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/18253657

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: T20 Blast 2019 – Season Review

A disappointing T20 campaign with my best placed team only finishing as high as 2,228th place. The winner accumulated 12,566 points and won by a margin of 23 points.

In truth I should probably have tinkered a little more early on. Leaving as many as three/four captaincy changes unused is just wasteful.

See below for the best performing players. Note how many are batsmen who bowl.

I remain optimistic of at least one top thousand finish in the CC/ODC competition and will update after the final round of matches this week.

County Lines

The County Championship returns tomorrow and not soon enough. I appreciate the skills required in white-ball cricket but just love the twists, turns and infinite possibilities that First Class cricket provides. Its return presents a great opportunity for numerous batsmen to make a case for an Ashes call given the indifferent form of some of England’s incumbent Test batters.

It also means keeping an eye on things in the hope of performing a late surge up the Telegraph Fantasy Cricket table.

Hopefully the weather will be kind up and down the land. Enjoy your cricket folks!

Yorkshire vs. Derbyshire T20 Match

On Sunday I went to see Yorkshire Vikings host Derbyshire Falcons in the T20 Blast…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8053/game/1167204/yorkshire-vs-derbyshire-north-group-vitality-blast-2019

Yorkshire are so reliant on their top three of Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and David Willey that if those three don’t fire then they struggle to post anything near competitive totals.

The white rose side played three spinners in the form of South Africa’s Keshav Maharaj, loanee Dom Bess and young Jack Shutt. None of them impressed nor did pace bowler Duanne Olivier. Admittedly the South African England hopeful (!) had a chance dropped but figures of 3-0-47-0 are pretty painful.

Yorkshire don’t seem to understand what they want to be in white-ball cricket. Are there no young and modern minded attacking batsmen coming thorough the ranks? Still, soon it’s back to the four-day affairs where the Headingley outfit should be much stronger… I mean they do tend to actually select their best players for that one!

Proposed England Test Squad

Hi all

Here’s my suggested England Test squad for the match against Ireland and ultimately the start of the Ashes…

Dominic Sibley

Rory Burns

Joe Root (Captain)

Dawid Malan

Jos Buttler

Ben Stokes

Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)

Mark Wood/Jofra Archer

Jack Leach

Stuart Broad

James Anderson/Chris Woakes

12th men

Moeen Ali

Sam Curran

The suggestion is that Archer and Woakes have injuries that need managing and may have to wait their turn. Of course Anderson is currently out of action and Wood is not going to play five consecutive Tests. Extremely good players are going to have to miss out and that may be the case for Sam Curran. I think that variety is essential in an attack but with slow left-armer Leach meriting selection ahead of Moeen that doesn’t help fellow leftie Curran’s case. I still believe in Moeen but he’s gone AWOL as a batsman and Leach should’ve played in West Indies. His batting and fielding have come on too. Moeen would be best served getting some county cricket under his belt. If somebody in the top/middle order fails after a few Tests then the others could be shuffled to accommodate Moeen as a second spinner or even allow Curran to come into the side. He himself is capable of batting at least as high as six.

On the batting front, Sibley merits selection. His ‘form’ isn’t just that. His sensational run started last year and included a hundred overseas. He clearly has a lot of ambition and concentration and could be just what England need. I’d have no concerns about tempo from the openers. Test matches last five days!

I also firmly believe that Malan is good enough to succeed at this level but his optimum batting position is number four. That’s why Root must move to three and embrace it. He might not like it but he’ll have a better team for it. Yes Malan has played before and averaged 27 like everybody else but he hinted at being good enough and is knocking the door down with an axe. You only have to look at the likes of Mark Butcher, Justin Langer and Marvan Atapattu, even Jonny Bairstow for players that came back stronger and age wise look at Mike Hussey, Kumar Sangakarra and Misbah-ul-Haq, even Andy Flower. Malan could yet have his peak years ahead of him. His inclusion helps maintain a good left-hand/right-hand balance throughout the batting order.

The likes of Gary Ballance and Toby Roland-Jones as well as Dom Bess could all be hitting form at the right time to keep incumbents on their toes. Sam Northeast is another one for whom a place in the XI is a genuine possibility. Like I say though, good players will have to miss out. That’s theory of numbers. Coad, Gregory, Porter, Denly and Roy etc, you cant squeeze them all in.

Regarding Roy, he simply can’t be trusted to be fit enough to field long enough to be allowed, in accordance with the rules of the game, to open the batting thus rendering his inclusion pointless if everybody else has to move higher up the order than they want too.

One more thing. What a shame that the England Lions players as well as most county squads can’t watch the World Cup final. Who scheduled this?!

Logan’s Run… or not as the case may be!

You’re the leading wicket taker in the history of your club’s academy. You made your First Class debut last season and got a few overs under your belt but now you’re primed for first team action. You claim excellent second innings figures of 4-22 in only your second professional match…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8052/scorecard/1166938/yorkshire-vs-warwickshire-specsavers-county-championship-division-one-2019

What’s your reward? To get dropped and see your employers sign a South African for just three matches. Just when you thought that Yorkshire County Cricket Club couldn’t mess around another spinner… think again! To be fair, we understand that Adil Rashid has next to no interest in playing for Yorkshire. Azeem Rafiq got released, re-signed, did okay but got released again amidst personal pain and poor old Karl Carver. He’d actually done okay in a reasonable amount of first XI appearances but one bad day at the office in a T20 game was followed by a First Class fixture in which he batted at eleven and didn’t bowl. Stuart Broad got hit for six sixes once. Did it make hime a bad player? There was also the absolute panic and what has turned out to be disrespectful signing of Josh Poysden as well as a visit from Dom Bess. Bess is now back at Somerset and doing well so wouldn’t Yorkshire have been better investing in their own player?

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/767447.html

Will James Logan get a run in the team?

Let’s hope so but given Yorkshire’s track record of failing to develop spinners, it’ll be interesting to see where he is in a decade’s time.

Disclaimer: Is Logan injured? He doesn’t appear to have played any cricket at all since the Warwickshire match but there’s nothing on the club website or mention of his absence in the squad announcement for the following match.

Will Doesn’t ReFraine!

He’s been around the counties a bit having been on the books of Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire as well as representing Durham MCCU but at home county Yorkshire Will Fraine has finally announced himself.

Having recently replaced a struggling Harry Brook at the top of the order for the Yorkies, against an attack led by Morne Morkel and Sam Curran, Fraine has today recorded not only a maiden professional fifty but gone onto score a hundred in sunny Scarborough…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/scorecard/ECKO44763

Having just turned twenty-three Fraine now has an opportunity to really go on and have a decent career in the professional game.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/870785.html

Yorkshire and the Headingley (And Scarborough… and York) faithful will be hoping that he does just that!

Has Franklin got the Hump with Weighell?

To see a player as talented as James Weighell frozen out of Durham’s 1st XI and languishing in the second team is both frustrating and criminal. Durham have some good bowlers of varying age and experience. There’s the ever reliable old warhorse Chris Rushworth and the promising young gun Matty Potts amongst others. Weighell is a capable all-rounder though, a genuine wicket-taking threat who can also quickly take the game away from the opposition with the bat.

Ben Raine has made an ordinary start to his Durham career but has just begun to turn a corner with match figures of 8-90 against Derbyshire and and a knock of 82 against Northamptonshire. Maybe Franklin doesn’t think that he can accommodate both the weather and the animal kingdom in his XI. If he simply thinks that Weighell isn’t good enough then the former New Zealand underachieving bits and pieces cricketer is mistaken. Still only 25, Weighell has 51 First Class wickets to his name at a decent 27.94 apiece. He averages 25.25 with the bat and the sample sizes are big enough to make a judgment. His white-ball figures require a little enhancement but there’s enough there to know that he could contribute.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/571151.html

Given how many loan signings (Luke Wood, Ian Holland, Jamie Overton, Matt Coles and Jack Blatherwick) Northamptonshire have added to their bowling attack this season, it’s hard to fathom that Weighell hasn’t been snapped up for a game or two at Wantage Road!

It’s to be hoped that Weighell isn’t on his way out of Durham County Cricket Club. For whipping boys such as them that have lost the likes of Stoneman, Borthwick and Jennings in recent years, they’d be foolish to let such a talent leave. Durham’s loss would be another county’s gain however and I’m sure that James ‘Killer’ Weighell will tear it up wherever he lands.