I’ve purchased Cricket Captain 2020 and have commenced a career with my native Yorkshire. Prior to the new season, we added out of contract all-rounder Matt Coles to the squad. He should help make us more competitive in white-ball cricket whilst also providing an option with the red-ball.
Our first game was a pre-season fixture against Leeds MCCU. We took the opportunity to blood a number of youngsters, allowing them to breed competition and make a case for first team selection. Pretty much all of them did just that, which bodes extremely well for the future. Tom Loten and Matthew Revis both notched tons whilst Jordan Thompson claimed a five-wicket haul. There were however contributions from the entire XI.
There’s now a healthy run of County Championship matches before any limited overs cricket. I’ll let you know how we’re doing once we’ve completed the first block of First Class fixtures.
Disclaimer: Cricket Captain is available online at a cost of £19.99… and I play on easy!
Poor Liam Dawson. He did okay with the ball in Tests, providing something to build upon (Even if he batted abysmally after a strong start) only for England to go old school, succumb to media pressure and… drop him!
He’s thrived in the Pakistan Super League and performed well batting as high as five for Hampshire but… he only carried the drinks at the World Cup before doing the same in the recent ODI series against Ireland. Now he’s ruptured his achilles in his first game back for Hampshire and will surely miss the rest of this truncated county campaign. It’s such a shame for Dawson and a huge blow for the second White Rose County (Yorkshire being the first of course!).
Fingers crossed that Dawson can regain fitness as soon as possible and feature in whatever cricket is available upon his return, whether that’s next season or if any franchise jaunts are possible.
The 2020 County Championship isn’t how anybody expected it to be but that appears to be to the benefit of young cricketers up and down the country.
With a shortened campaign, many players away with multiple England squads and no threat of relegation, a number of unfamiliar names appear on scorecards on the opening day of the season. Whether it’s the likes of Ben Aitchison at Derbyshire, Durham’s David Bedingham or Lancashire’s Tom Hartley, it’s great to see. Feroze Khushi at Essex and Tom Lammonby at Somerset are also getting game time, as is Saif Zaib, so often on the fringes, at Northamptonshire.
I’m delighted that Harry Brook and Jack Shutt are featuring for Yorkshire and Haseeb Hameed has made an encouraging start to life at Nottinghamshire. This can only be good for English cricket. Whilst it may be the result of societal dark times and overseas contracts unable to be fulfilled, the next couple of months present a fantastic opportunity for young English cricketers.
Please find below the details of what promises to be our most demanding tour to date. Fixtures have been confirmed with the Sri Lankan board and squads finalised following the completion of two practice matches.
T20I squad: Jean-Luc Chevalier (VC), Hippolyte Gregory, Zidane Thomas, Matteo Phillipe, Louis Petit, Christophe Martinez, Maxime Bernard (W), Xavier Le Tallec (C), Paco Georges, Phillipe La Roux, Mehdi Qadri, Zvonimir Pitko, Leo Baptiste, Hugo Olivier (W), Anthony Toure, Antoine Dubois
T20 warm-up match: Dambulla
1st T20I: Dambulla
2nd T20I: Kandy
3rd T20I: Kandy
ODI squad: Jean-Luc Chevalier (VC), Hippolyte Gregory, Christophe Martinez, Maxime Bernard (W), Louis Petit, Zidane Thomas, Hugo Olivier (W), Xavier Le Tallec (C), Paco Georges, Phillipe La Roux, Mehdi Qadri, Matteo Phillipe, Zvonimir Pitko, Raphael Besson, Anthony Toure, Antoine Dubois, Bruno Hernandez
One-Day warm-up match: Colombo
1st ODI: Colombo
2nd ODI: Galle
3rd ODI: Galle
Test squad: Jean-Luc Chevalier (VC), Enzo Petit, Christophe Martinez, Yussuf Rizvi, Louis Petit, Zidane Thomas, Marwan Leroy (W), Xavier Le Tallec (C), Anthony Toure, Louis Martin, Mehdi Qadri, Zvonimir Pitko, Gabin Sauvage, Maxime Bernard (W), Antoine Dubois, Bruno Hernandez, Thibaut Keller
The time has come for England to move on from Joe Denly. Denly has fought hard and contributed useful innings but he’s also been extremely (And I mean extremely) lucky. You only have to count the amount of times that he’s been dropped (I mean by fielders) in his career.
With Joe Root certain to return to the England side the following batting line-up: Burns, Sibley, Crawley, Root, Stokes and Pope can not only hopefully be a top six for a number of years but have provided enough evidence to suggest that we can do more than hope.
As for Denly, the likes of James Hildreth and Sam Northeast amongst others will despair at the opportunities that he’s had. I’ll say it again though, Denly has contributed and he’s tried his best but with Dan Lawrence and co. waiting in the wings, it’s time to put a full stop on Denly’s Test career.
Test Cricket returns tomorrow when England host West Indies at Southampton. Whether or not it should really be classed as Test status is debatable. Yes, Test cricketers will be playing but they’ve prepared by playing intra-squad matches and there’ll be no spectators in the ground. It is of course arguable that fans could attend and maintain social distancing however it’s more the getting there (Unnecessary risks on public transport etc) and getting in and out of the ground that are the problem.
West Indies are short of a few players. It’s perfectly understandable that some players, at least one of whom has suffered tragedy in his life, doesn’t want to tour England. Two of the absent players hail from Guyana where until recently at least, there hadn’t been many deaths. That may have changed as Coronavirus gains a grip on the Americas but it’s easy to comprehend that they didn’t want to visit a country where there’ve been thousands upon thousands of deaths, even if a little digging might suggest that a lot of those deaths have been in care homes. Of course BAME personnel do seem to be more vulnerable.
England will also be deprived of a player in the shape of their captain Joe Root. That possibly earns Joe Denly a reprieve and means that England’s batsmen will be competing against each other. Ben Stokes will lead England against a West Indies side who have some exciting young players in and around their squad.
West Indies have been written off before, only to show England up. Let’s hope for some competitive cricket to feast upon once again. Whether or not there’ll be artificial crowd noise like in the football we’ll have to wait and see.
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German international Craig Meschede has been forced to retire due to injury.
The South African born Glamorgan and former Somerset all-rounder is suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome.
Meschede made two First Class tons and claimed one five-wicket haul. His best List A bowling figures were an incredible 4-5 but he’ll be disappointed that his top score was only 45. His best figures in T20s were 3-9 and with the bat he scored over a thousand runs at a strike-rate of 134.08. It was in the latter format (T20I) that he earned international recognition with Germany, his father’s homeland.
He duly impressed with a top score of 67 and averaged 44.75 striking at a mighty 155.65! Throw in six wickets at just 19.16 apiece and the German selectors will be gutted that the 28-year-old won’t be donning the German kit again.
If you were struggling to stomach The Hundred then 3TC is likely to make you choke on your cornflakes! But do you know what? Having watched the little explainer video on YouTube… I actually quite like the idea!
Yes it’s another South African cricket competition that isn’t going to get off the ground as anticipated and how practical three-team international matches outside of a major tournament would be is debatable but it seems like it could be really exciting.
One thing the video doesn’t make clear but is presumably easy to figure out is that if a batsman is left on their own then they have to keep walking back to the other end to be on strike even if they ran a single or a three.
Excuse my laziness but please watch the video presented by Mark Nicholas via the link above that does a better job of explaining it than I would. It seems really dynamic and like I say, I like the idea… though it’s probably not desperately necessary to rush to commence it in a coronavirus hotspot in the middle of the South African winter!
Test Squad:Enzo Petit, Jean-Luc Chevalier (Vice-captain), Christophe Martinez, Zvonimir Pitko, Louis Petit, Zidane Thomas, Marwan Leroy (Wicketkeeper), Xavier Le Tallec (Captain), Paco Georges, Anthony Toure, Mehdi Qadri, Timothee Clement, Maxime Bernard (Wicketkeeper), Aymerric Gautier, Louis Martin, Thibaut Keller
Only Test: Abu Dhabi
France 220 (Thomas 59, E Petit 35, Leroy 26/Ahmad 3-37, Khan 3-22, Ahmadzai 2-43)
Afghanistan 150-4 (Alikhil 62*, Shah 39, Nabi 21*/Le Tallec 1-23, La Roux 1-29)
Lost by 6 wickets
Lost the series 2-1
T20I Squad: Hippolyte Gregory, Jean Luc Chevalier (Vice-captain), Zidane Thomas, Matteo Phillipe, Maxime Bernard, Christophe Martinez, Marwan Leroy (Wicketkeeper), Xavier Le Tallec (Captain), Louis Petit, Paco Georges, Phillipe La Roux, Zvonimir Pitko, Maurice Noe, Anthony Toure, Mehdi Qadri
Only T20I: Dubai
France 245-9 (L.Petit 65, Phillipe 54, Gregory 38, Martinez 26/ul-Haq 3-30, Ur Rahman 3-53, Khan 3-61)
Ben Duckett and Liam Livingstone are two players that I’m glad England haven’t given up on having named both in a 55-man trans-format training squad.
A wide variety of personnel are involved, many of whom have performed well for England Lions in recent times. The likes of Dan Lawrence for example thoroughly merit recognition whilst Will Jacks is an exciting proposition.
Amongst the recalled (It is only a training squad) players are James Vince, David Willey and perhaps most surprising of all… Reece Topley!
In the uncapped bracket both young and old are represented. Batsman Laurie Evans fully merits recognition having performed well both in England and overseas whilst Richard Gleeson may be a surprise to some but has been admired by the England hierarchy for some time.
Sam Northeast, Ben Coad and Harry Gurney will be among the disappointed ones having been omitted despite pressing their cases either on Lions duty, in county cricket or on the franchise circuit.
Other than those mentioned above there are lots more exciting players who could be called upon. Please see the link below for the full squad…