Hazratullah Zazai will have come to the attention of many by striking six sixes in an over for Kabul Zwanan in the inaugural Afghanistan Premier League earlier today. People should’ve seen it coming though as the youngster has form and recent form at that. Previously in the competition he swashbuckled a score of 124 from just 55 deliveries!
On the international stage Zazai hasn’t quite got going in the two ODI outings he’s had so far but has passed fifty twice in three T20Is. For the record his T20I strike-rate currently stands at a nose-bleed inducing 156.75!
It’s the attention as well as experience and confidence gained from such performances that not only confirm the changing landscape of domestic cricket around the globe but reiterate that T20 leagues merit their place in the cricket calendar. Hopefully more tournaments will sprout in as yet untapped markets but when they do, the game will reach a point, in fact it has already, where some competitions will be in direct… err, competition with each other.
For now let’s celebrate twenty-year-old Zazai’s recent performances and progress as well as the inspiration this will have provided to many young aspiring cricketers in Afghanistan. The only way is surely up still further for the national team and their domestic game.
Warwickshire’s Olly Stone is a player who featured in Silly Point’s Six to Watch feature this year…
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.
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!
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.
Another player that I’m delighted to see get further opportunities in an England shirt is Hampshire’s Liam Dawson.
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.
If you still need to furnish your 2018 England Cricket Trading Cards collection then please check out my eBay salesroom. There are reductions across the board…
Next year the card’s creators, TapNPlay, are expected to release 2019 Cricket World Cup and Ashes editions as a follow up to this year’s England cards.
Moving on, as http://www.sillypointcricket.com reaches two years of age and as we approach 5,000 unique visitors as well as 15,000 views (For the most part without the help of social media!), many thanks to everybody who has viewed, commented on and liked the site.
There have been many Ashes campaigns considered to be the greatest series of all time but surely none can trump the Ashes encounter of the summer of 2033 just gone! A series that ebbed and flowed until the last, that seemed in the firm grasp of Australian hands, only for them to lose grip in the very dying embers of the twenty fifth and final day’s flame!
With Australia 290-7 deep into the final session of the final day of the final Test and only seven runs away from victory, before then reaching 296-8 to tie the score, step forward Sam Curran.
The left-arm legend took two wickets in two balls to break Australian hearts and rescue the most incredible of results for England.
The often under performing Feroze Khushi had upped his game against the hosts’ greatest rivals and not for the first time it must be said.
After a disappointing campaign Sam Hain finally found form when it mattered with two fifties in the fifth Test. With Hain not quite at his best for most of the summer, it was Ollie Pope’s run-getting of biblical proportions that led the way for the hosts.
A recalled Matt Fisher and a rejuvenated Josh Tongue were a constant threat with the new ball throughout the series.
The two teams next series? An Ashes campaign down under. It’s got an awful lot to live up too!
One of England’s more complex characters of recent years has bowed out after failing to make a single first team appearance (First Class/List A/T20) for Middlesex last season. That is not meant as a criticism, more an observation that Nick Compton doesn’t appear like a Graeme Swann type one of the lads or to a lesser extent somebody such as James Anderson but that he comes across as an extremely insular character. It seems more a trait of batsmen but not all (Chris Gayle/David Warner) are reserved or appear as intense as Compton.
Compton seemed to thrive on an old fashioned approach: pitch a tent, occupy the crease as long as possible and pretend that the fate of mankind rested on his shoulders… sprinkled with the odd beautiful boundary. He seemed a player who exhausted so much energy, mental and physical, getting into the England team that, particularly second time around, he then had nothing more to give. Flummoxed by Trevor Bayliss’ comments Compton forgot how to be himself. This resulted in some unnecessary dismissals in South Africa and a limp international ending at home to Sri Lanka. He never recovered and took time away from cricket but good on him for going to Sri Lanka and adapting and performing well on their domestic circuit.
I hope that Compdog writes an autobiography. I anticipate it would be far more insightful and introspective than those of many cricketers.
Please find more 2018 England Cricket Trading Cards available from me at the link below…
There are players from the England Women’s team, England Men’s team (Test/ODI/T20I) as well as England Lions.
There are also Great England Grounds and National Pride cards available.
All cards are sold individually, out of the packet but in near if not perfect condition as per the relevant images. All cards (Except Fire and Ice/Portraits) have a starting price of less than £1.00 plus reasonable postage costs.
Be sure to look out for yet more cards going on sale in the near future.
At the start of the year I stumbled upon CricketXI, an alternative fantasy cricket competition. This game focused purely on the County Championship (First Class) campaign.
I selected a team of young guns and as you can see things went really well! It was great to see the likes of Jonny Tattersall, Zak Crawley and Will Jacks develop. Harry Brook, Ben Twohig (Love his name!) and Matthew Carter also made great strides.
Unfortunately Surrey pacer Matt Dunn got injured early in the campaign and disappeared from the professional radar once again. Wicketkeeper Lewis McManus lost his place in the Hampshire First XI. Teammate Asher Hart and Essex spinner Aron Nijjar (Who fooled me by playing in a pre-season university match!) couldn’t get near their respective first XIs. Neither could spinner Sukhjit Singh who was sadly released by Warwickshire at the end of the campaign. Warwickshire clearly have little interest in developing their own young players and much prefer to sign absolutely anybody. While that’s great for players like Will Rhodes and Olly Stone, it’s not for players like Singh and Andy Umeed.
As well as my outfit of kids, I also selected a more ‘serious’ side but following early season injury, Sam Northeast failed to really get going having relocated from Kent to Hampshire and has fallen way down the England pecking order. Disappointingly, Sussex batsman Luke Wells and Nottinghamshire’s Riki Wessels failed to back-up productive 2017 campaigns.
On the plus side, James Hildreth was amongst the runs as ever, meanwhile Tom Bailey, Ben Sanderson and everybody’s favourite ex-England cricketer Jade Dernbach, contributed with the ball.
Well, there’s always next year!