A Brand Spanking New Audiocast!

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Hi all

It’s been a while but here’s a brand spanking new audiocast. Not much prep went in to this but I thought that the Commonwealth Games merited a mention. What a great opportunity it could be to help provide more exposure to Associate nations and cricket in general.

Many thanks for following and bye for now.

Silly Point

Stone Certainty?

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Warwickshire’s Olly Stone is a player who featured in Silly Point’s Six to Watch feature this year…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2018/01/14/six-to-watch 2018/

https://sillypointcricket.com/2018/09/22/six-to-watch-2018-season-review/

He follows in the footsteps of another player from this year’s selection, Surrey batsman Ollie Pope, to have now graced the international stage.

Coming off the back of a productive domestic campaign, Stone made his international debut for England in the ODI series in Sri Lanka that started last week. Both matches were affected by the rain but after not getting an opportunity in the first (Due to the weather in Dambulla), Stone collected his maiden England wicket in the second match.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18602/scorecard/1140379/sri-lanka-vs-england-1st-odi-eng-in-sl-2018-19

Stone possibly owes his chance in part due to the hosts flipping of the tour schedule, leaving Liam Plunkett (Wedding arrangements already made) high and dry. If the pictures are anything to go by, high and dry is not something that many Sri Lankan cricket grounds are at the moment. The rain has been of biblical proportions!

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Stone could be a real asset for England come next year’s World Cup and future Ashes tours. He’ll need to remain fit and it could be that another player with a history of injuries, Somerset’s Jamie Overton, could help provide some healthy competition for Stone. Then there are also the likes of Saqib Mahmood, Zak Chappell, George Garton and in time, Jofra Archer.

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Another player that I’m delighted to see get further opportunities in an England shirt is Hampshire’s Liam Dawson.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/211855.html

I felt that he was badly handled during his stint as a Test spinner. He performed admirably against India and South Africa, dismissing Hashim Amla twice but the England management buckled under media pressure and dropped the slow-left-armer. As a fill-in player, he’s been victim to attack when playing limited overs matches for England before but performed superbly in last year’s edition of the Pakistan Super League. He’s a constantly evolving player and England could do a lot worse than stick by him.

Cricket Captain 2018: Personal Milestones

The year is 2032 and Alastair Cook need not sweat!

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The run-getting of captain Max Holden has been integral to England’s Test success. An unfortunate recent habit of getting run out, including twice in a sensational Ashes series victory in Australia, have contributed to his average returning to something near mortality. Not that long ago it exceeded sixty!

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Occasional gloveman Ollie Pope has been another reliable run getter. His conversion rate is particularly impressive and had until recently helped him maintain an average just shy of fifty.

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Sam Hain has also piled on the runs, not just in Tests but in ODIs and more recently T20Is as well. Like Pope, Hain’s Test conversion rate is outstanding as is the case for him in ODI cricket. Hain is England’s leading run-scorer ever in the fifty-over format.

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Joe Clarke, who like Pope has been known to don the gloves, has also chalked up plenty of runs if not quite finding the consistency he would’ve liked.

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Sam Curran’s averages might be a little disappointing but he’s been a crucial impact player and continues to improve with bat and ball in all formats of the game. He reached 200 Test wickets in the same innings as Josh Tongue who we’ll come to later.

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Spin-bowling all-rounder Brad Taylor…

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… and wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall, are two players who have been known to really step up to the plate when the chips have been down!

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After a woeful start to his international career, Matt Critchley silenced the doubters by going onto become one of England’s most reliable middle order Test batsman!

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Josh Tongue had to wait patiently whilst Jamie Porter (180) and Ben Coad (233) assumed the mantle from James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Now though Tongue has in excess of 200 wickets at both Test and ODI level as well as nearing 100 victims in T20Is. He’s some way ahead of second placed Jofra Archer (82) as England’s leading wicket-taker in the shortest format.

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Spinner Matthew Parkinson’s star had appeared to wane but he’s upped his performances once again to attain 665 Test wickets. That puts him ahead of James Anderson at the top of England’s all-time list of Test wicket-takers. He’s also performed effectively in white-ball cricket despite his workload been managed over the years. Parkinson has relegated the unfortunate Dom Bess (287 wickets @ 28.76) to the role of Stuart MacGill to his own Shane Warne.

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Tom Kohler-Cadmore is England’s leading run-scored in T20I cricket and has been known to really turn it on at World Cups both in T20I and ODI cricket. Like the next man we’ll come too, his averages have dipped over time but a renaissance in the twilight of his career has been welcome..

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Alongside TK-C at the top of the order in limited overs cricket, Ed Pollock has had his moments but an ODI batting average that once exceeded forty has declined dramatically. He recently compiled a ninth ODI century to feast following famine!

Players such as Ed Barnard, Ryan Higgins, Saqib Mahmood, Feroze Khushi and Jack Plom are amongst those to have remained part of the squad over time and had their moments in the sun.

Cricket Captain 2017: 2019 Season Round-up… Wheels Come Off!

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Following the ODI World Cup win and Ashes defeat, England secured a 3-2 ODI series win against Australia to at least gain partial revenge for the 3-0 Ashes drubbing. Australia’s victories in the ODI contest both came with the series already lost. They did however claim the T20I series 1-0.

Once departed from home shores however, the wheels well and truly came off for new skipper Liam Livingstone and his men. Having ditched the old guard and promoted the likes of Dawid Malan and John Simpson to the first XI, a 4-0 Test drubbing in South Africa was followed by a 5-0 whitewash in the ODI series. This was despite two centuries for Kent’s Sam Northeast. A 2-0 T20I series defeat left England winless on their African jaunt.

Things didn’t get much better in New Zealand either. Despite posting 437 in the first innings of the first Test against the Kiwis, including captain Liam Livingstone’s maiden Test hundred (164), the series was lost 2-0. After losing the opening match of the ODI series, Daniel Bell Drummond’s magnificent 152 helped England draw level, only to lose the decider before a wretched T20I showing resulted in a 2-0 series loss.

The sum of all parts left England’s rankings looking pretty abysmal…

In Tests…

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Somehow England remain top of the ODI rankings however!

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The same can’t be said for T20Is…

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There were positives though, including the standout performances of captain Liam Livingstone. His efforts with the bat in all formats of the game leave his career stats looking none too shabby…

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As well as Livingstone, Sam Northeast was phenomenal in ODIs, striking three centuries on the winter tours but couldn’t replicate such form in Tests. The selection of Hampshire’s 39-year-old opening batsman James Adams (34 runs @ 8.50) in T20Is didn’t work out however and his selection is just one of many to have been brought into question by the media.

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Meanwhile Middlesex spinner Ollie Rayner kept his head above water in ODIs whilst his teammates desperately splashed whilst searching for reinforced armbands! Another spinner, Sussex’s Will Beer selection wasn’t quite as effective. After four matches, he averages a whopping 128.00 runs @ 9.85 per over. A dropped catch by wicketkeeper Joe Clarke in his first over in international cricket didn’t help his cause!

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2020 brings a T20I World Cup followed by home and away series against… South Africa, again, as well as a trip to Bangladesh. England will need to improve rapidly in order to compete and some tough selections calls lay ahead. The likes of Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan and Ben Coad are just some of those who’ll be sweating over their international futures.

Cricket Captain 2017: 2019 Ashes Review

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It turns out that we can forget those knighthoods after all!

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In the first Test of the 2019 Ashes series, Worcestershire’s 35-year-old opening batsman Daryl Mitchell made 73 on Test debut but was dismissed after adding only one to his overnight total. He failed to reach fifty again in the series and was dropped for the final Test.

Ben Stokes compiled a 77-run partnership with Ben Coad who made just two from 12 deliveries as England held on for a draw in the first duel of the series. Coad then put on an unbroken 51 with Chris Woakes in the second Test to save England again. This was after Australia delayed and delayed their declaration.

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Mitchell’s opening partner Mark Stoneman’s Ashes career record leaves a lot to be desired. His average of 21.29 is almost exactly half his overall career average. He needed eight Tests to register a half-century against Australia.

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Middlesex’s James Harris debuted in the fourth Test but finished with figures of 0-102 whilst Chris Woakes made a valiant 89 not out. The wholesale changes for the final Test, including nine debuts, offer confirmation of what England’s priorities were come the final Test… one eye on the future. Stand-in skipper Liam Livingstone as well as Kent’s Sam Northeast both made fifties. Left-arm-seamer George Garton claimed one wicket and bowled 26 dot balls, including four straight maidens before conceding a run. The Sussex man finished with impressive figures of 4-89.

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After just clinging on for back to back draws in the first two Tests, England then suffered three straight innings defeats! Joe Root’s position as captain will come under severe scrutiny.

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The paltry record partnerships for each wicket in the series sum up how woeful England’s batting was. The bowling was even worse. England’s leading wicket takers in the series (Chris Woakes and Jack Leach) claimed just ten wickets each.

Following World Cup victory earlier in the summer and the nationwide euphoria that came with it, notions of knighthoods have been put firmly on hold. Following the Ashes debacle, England now have much to mull over in regards to selection for the ODI series as well as this winter’s tours to South Africa and New Zealand.

Cricket Captain 2017: 2019 ODI World Cup Review

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With an Ashes series on the horizon, England’s cricketers have laid down a marker by comprehensively and deservedly winning the 2019 ODI Cricket World Cup in their own backyard!

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Moeen Ali didn’t even start the World Cup in the England team but after dislodging Jason Roy at the top of the order, the Worcestershire man finished the tournament by blazing an express paced 80-ball 112 in the final and set the hosts on course for global glory!

Like Moeen, Surrey’s Sam Curran came into the team during the tournament and excelled in the latter stages. Like Roy however, David Willey’s inconsistency led to him missing out in the latter stages. For both Roy and Willey, their exclusions could be terminal to their international careers.

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In the runs stakes, Ben Duckett led the way with 562 runs @ 80.29 including three centuries. Liam Livingstone (405 runs @ 50.62) and Joe Root (344 runs @ 43.00) also formed part of England’s run-reaping middle-order. England’s numbers one to five all contributed at least one century during the tournament.

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On the bowling front, captain Chris Woakes topped the charts with 20 wickets just @ 12.55 apiece. Yorkshire Spinner Adil Rashid (15 @ 23.40) was next whilst Durham’s Ben Stokes and the aforementioned Sam Curran claimed 12 wickets each.

Stumper Jos Buttler’s impeccable glove work (17 catches) also merits more than just a fleeting mention… but here’s just a fleeting mention!

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The group stages, despite a defeat against India and scare against Namibia, were only a precursor of what was to come. The hosts just held off Australia in the quarters and got revenge against India in the semis. Having already defeated New Zealand in the round-robin, things went as expected in the final.

The decision to hand the ODI captaincy to Chris Woakes, a move criticised by many just two years ago, paid off handsomely. The Warwickshire man led the side superbly and has surely placed himself on the cusp of a Test recall.

The players are sincerey humbled by the kind suggestions that they should be knighted but maybe backing up World Cup victory with Ashes success this summer would be what truly merits such accolades and possibly make for English cricket’s greatest ever summer. No pressure boys!

For the record, England’s 2019 ODI Cricket World Cup squad was as follows: Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Ben Duckett, Joe Root, Liam Livingstone, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (w), Adil Rashid, David Willey, Chris Woakes (c), Luke Fletcher, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Jamie Overton

Cricket Captain 2017: SL & WI Tours Round-up

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Sri Lanka TestsWon 3-0

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In the second Test Adil Rashid recorded Test best figures of 7-66…

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then hit a Test best 161!

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Ben Duckett scored a career best 235 not out in the third Test.

Sri Lanka ODIsWon 3-2

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Surrey’s precocious young talent Sam Curran (89 not out) guided the side to victory and a 2-1 series lead in the third ODI.

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Come the end of the ODI series we were sitting pretty at the top of the ODI rankings.

West Indies Tests – Drew 1-1

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Mark Stoneman batted stoically for some of day four then all of day five (130 overs) of the third Test to rescue a series draw.

West Indies ODIs – Lost 3-2 (Having been 2-0 up! An exact reversal of what happened when we played them at home)

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Luke Fletcher has been a consistent performer in the ODI side (Unsung hero?). His efforts weren’t enough to prevent us surrendering a 2-0 lead in the ODI series though.

West Indies T20Is – Lost 2-0

We lost the T20I series as well, despite being in a great position in the final match of the tour.

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Our failure to win either the Test or ODI series ultimately cost us premier position in the world rankings in both forms of the game.

Next it’s back home for the World Cup then the Ashes and hopefully a return to form!