Down in Tasmania!

Yorkshire and England batsman Dawid Malan has signed for Big Bash outfit Hobart Hurricanes.

33-year-old Malan currently tops the T20I batting rankings but still isn’t guaranteed a place in England’s XI if everybody’s fit. Malan has been unfortunate with injuries when it comes to ODIs and though he was rightly dropped, I still believe that there’s a Test player in him.

Malan’s chances of seeing a thylacine could yet be scupered or at least limited however. This is because England may yet be touring at the same time.

Disclaimer: Not my first Dawid Malan article. I do think that he’s a very good player!

Cricket Captain 2020 – Season Five

Finally, after five seasons in the job, things have started to progress. This season saw a fourth place finish in the County Championship but had we been able to turn a few frustrating draws into wins it could’ve been even better.

At the top of the order the combination of the stoic Matthew Revis and aggressive James Wharton complimented each other well.

Jon Baldwin topped the CC run charts with 1387 including a best of 277. Dennis Brindell came good too. He made four consecutive centuries in the latter stages of the campaign and fell only nineteen runs short of making it five. England Test cap Sam Cook claimed 51 wickets.

In the One-Day competition we finished fifth in our group. After a century in the opening game it was a huge shame that James Wharton missed the rest of the tournament through injury.

Jon Francis accumulated an impressive 547 runs with a best of 151, one of two centuries that he registered. Matthew Fisher, captain for the format in the absence of Jonny Tattersall (Playing in The Hundred) claimed a club best 16 wickets.

Sadly, we only mustered two victories in the T20 format. In an inglorious campaign we were even dismissed for 49!

Fred Albright did chalk up an encouraging 373 runs while Jared Warner made the most of a run in the side to claim 15 wickets.

All in all though, there was much improvement and much to build on.

Experienced duo Adam Lyth and Dawid Malan, neither of whom featured for the first team this season, have left the club. Getting said players off the wage bill has freed up funds for additional coaching and physio sessions.

Australian leg-spinning all-rounder Scott Collins, capped in both ODI/T20I cricket, replaces Rahkeem Cornwall as our overseas players. Sadly Scott will be unavailable initially as he’s been signed to play in the IPL. We’ve also added free agent Ken Wainwright, a batsman, to our squad to provide cover for The Hundred call-ups.

Meanwhile I’ve rejected offers to join both Durham and Otago. My heart lies with Yorkshire!

County Snippets!

A quick glance of the county scores this morning and a few names caught my attention.

James Killer Weighell, surprisingly underplayed then released by Durham, is turning out for Leicestershire. Meanwhile another all-rounder, Yorkshire’s Ed Barnes, is making his professional debut as a loanee at Derbyshire. Barnes was actually loaned out to Sussex last season but didn’t make it onto the field. Wicketkeeper Brooke Guest is also on loan at Derbyshire but his move will become permanent next season.

Tom Loten, George Hill and Jared Warner are among the reasons that the aforementioned Barnes has had to go out on loan. All are playing for Yorkshire, alongside more established young players such as Jordon Thompson and Harry Brook. Dawid Malan, fresh from a double ton but only just back from injury, joins Zimbabwe born Gary Ballance on the sidelines.

Fellow Zimbabwe born player Nathan Gilchrist is making his premier professional outing for Kent on loan from Somerset. Meanwhile Blake Cullen and Will Sheffield are also registering their professional debuts as Middlesex host Sussex.

Spinner Simon Kerrigan, infamously once capped at Test level for England, is representing Northamptonshire and the very best of luck to him and all the players mentioned above.

Isn’t it great to have some First Class county cricket to follow?

Malan Can!

Dawid Malan and Lewis Gregory are two players that I’m pleased to see have made England’s squad for the T20Is against Pakistan.

Both seem to have been given some tough love by captain Eoin Morgan and are by no means guaranteed to feature in what, despite a number of absences, is a strong squad. Malan was criticised for not running off the last ball of the innings and possibly protecting his average in New Zealand whilst Gregory was provided little responsibility and didn’t even bowl in a couple of his previous appearances. If I was Malan, I’d be watching the last delivery of all England’s white ball innings and bringing to attention any lack of a scrambled run or run out. The former Middlesex man only has himself to blame for his Test demise but has been unfortunate with injuries when it’s come to ODIs. As good a start as he made in the shortest format, failure in this series could be terminal for Yorkshire’s new recruit.

It’s a shame that Liam Livingstone only makes the reserves but competition for places is intense. At least the Lancashire man, who offers something with bat, ball and in the field, is on the selectors radar. James Vince is omitted, whilst the ship that never sailed has probably done just that but left late bloomer Laurie Evans behind.

Please see the link below for details of the full squad…

https://www.ecb.co.uk/england/men/news/1755234/national-selectors-name-squad-for-vitality-it20s-against-pakistan

Cricket Captain 2020 – Season Three

My third season in charge of my native Yorkshire followed a familiar pattern. We made a reasonable start to the County Championship before plummeting into the relegation zone. Last season’s star performer Nathan Ellis earning international (Australian) recognition didn’t help! We fought back however to stave off relegation and preserve our first division status once again.

We failed to buck the trend in white-ball cricket too. As usual we were stripped of nearly an entire playing XI come the One-Day competition as players sauntered off to The Hundred. We made an horrific start and genuinely looked like we’d struggle to win a single game. We did however as a number of young players displayed glimpses of quality and even hinted at consistency. Sadly though, we finished bottom of our group.

It was a similar story in the T20 format where, despite a few wins, we were left to dine using a wooden spoon!

Despite our white-ball travails, there were some hugely encouraging signs of progress from a number of our less experienced players. Our batting unit isn’t getting any younger (Lyth, Ballance, Malan) but we’ve already begun the transition phase and I’m confident that some players (Jon Baldwin & Jon Francis among them) can really push on next season.

Among this season’s highlights were match figures of 10-169 for rejuvenated off-spinner Jack Shutt who also notched a maiden First Class ton. All-rounder Ed Barnes scored a second County Championship century and claimed a maiden five-wicket haul in the same game while opener James Wharton produced a knock of 135 in a One-Day game.

We had to make some really tough decisions at the end of the season and I’m sorry to say that the following players have not had their contracts renewed: Will Fraine, Tom Loten, Adil Rashid, David Willey, Duanne Olivier, Matthew Pillans and Josh Poysden

We have however recruited Feroze Khushi, Sam Cook, Brett Hutton and Brett D’Oliveira who bring a strong skillset to compliment what we already have. Roll on 2023!

From the 55… Not Forgotten!

It was pleasing to see batsmen Dawid Malan and Ben Duckett in the runs in the County Championship yesterday, particularly Malan as he’s now playing for Yorkshire! The 32-year-old finished the day undefeated on 145 against an admittedly low-calibre Derbyshire bowling unit.

Duckett, another fringe England left-hander, made 116 against a slightly more formidable Lancashire attack.

Both were in the 55 but have a lot to do to gain further England recognition. Injuries have hampered former Middlesex man Malan’s chances, both last year on ODI debut and missing this summer’s 50-over games. His Test career is probably over and despite a stellar start, he’s by no means guaranteed to add to his T20I caps.

Duckett has far more time on his side but needs to relentlessly churn out big scores like he did a few years ago. He should be knocking the door down in all formats but at least the seeds of recovery have been planted. Despite the odd misdemeanour, he remains highly thought of enough to have made the 55.

Only time will tell if either Malan (An Ashes centurion/T20I batting average: 52.11!) or Duckett (ODI batting average: 41.00) will score another international run. As the divide between formats continues to grow, that might just aid their chances.

Cricket Captain 2020 – Season Review

After commencing the County Championship with a comprehensive win, we struggled to clinch more victories. Our batting was generally strong but a little slow and it was often when attempting to up the tempo and push for victory that we opened the door for our visitors to snatch the result away from us. Our bowlers struggled a little in the first half of the campaign too.

We won two out of our last three matches however to preserve our division one status. Off-spinner Jack Shutt (6-50) bowled us to victory against neighbours Lancashire and then made 44 not out alongside wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall (84*) to see us over the line against Hampshire when under huge pressure. Despite losing against Surrey in our final game, we survived!

The less said about our One-Day campaign the better. We were without as many as ten players due to England call-ups/franchise gigs but many of our youngsters gained experience. Teenage opener James Wharton (146) did at least register a maiden century while signing Matt Coles excelled when bowling at the death.

Though our T20 campaign was also ultimately fruitless, we did improve as the competition went on. Matthew Waite was a revelation with the ball.

Adam Lyth finished the County Championship with a competition topping 1573 runs including a top score of 199*. Jack Shutt’s aforementioned 6-50 against Lancashire was our best bowling effort whilst Ben Coad concluded the season well to top the club charts with 40 wickets.

Opener Will Fraine seized his opportunity due to numerous injuries/absences to clock up 380 runs in the fifty-over format. Matt Coles claimed a club best 12 wickets with a best of 6-36.

In the T20 format Tom Kohler-Cadmore registered an impressive 440 runs (And would earn an England ODI call-up) meanwhile Dawid Malan found form to make a high score of 110. Again Matt Coles excelled in white-ball cricket (That’s why we bought him!), claiming best figures of 5-22 but the effective Matthew Waite topped the club efforts with 15 wickets.

First Class captain Steven Patterson has retired and frustratingly talks with Toby Roland-Jones broke down. He opted to make the short move from Middlesex to Surrey instead. We would’ve like to have signed Chris Rushworth from northern neighbours Durham or re-sign Ben Sanderson but whilst we were failing to negotiate with Roland-Jones those players signed elsewhere. Jamie Overton was another who slipped by. 26-year-old Australia Nathan Ellis will therefore join us for 2021.

Double (Or Triple?) Trouble!

There’s a suggestion that if any international cricket is played in the near future that England could field multiple teams in order to play different formats on the same day.

Now whether or not that would be a crossover between red and white ball cricket or that ODI and T20I could clash obviously remains unclear. Let’s assume that each and every format was being played on the same day. Who makes which team? Oh, and for ease we’ll select for matches played in England… at the risk of being rather optimistic!

Test

Rory Burns

Dominic Sibley

Zak Crawley

Joe Root (Captain)

Ollie Pope

Sam Curran

Ben Foakes (Wicketkeeper)

Mark Wood

Jack Leach

Stuart Broad

James Anderson

Sam Northeast

Jamie Porter

ODI

Dawid Malan (Captain)

Tom Banton

James Vince

Sam Hain

Dan Lawrence

Sam Billings (Wicketkeeper)

Craig Overton

Lewis Gregory

Oly Stone

Saqib Mahmood

Matt Parkinson

Liam Livingstone

David Willey

Dom Bess

T20I (Which I’ve prioritised over ODI due to the impending World Cup)

Jason Roy

Jos Buttler (Wicketkeeper)

Jonny Bairstow

Eoin Morgan (Captain)

Ben Stokes

Moeen Ali

Tom Curran

Chris Jordan

Chris Woakes

Jofra Archer

Adil Rashid

Phil Salt

Joe Denly

Pat Brown

What are your thoughts on my selections? What would you do differently?

Six to Watch: 2020 – Transfer Special!

Paul Coughlin, Durham

Following an injury hit couple of years at Nottinghamshire former England Lions all-rounder Paul Coughlin has returned north to home team Durham. It appears to be a sensible move to help reignite his stalled career. Coughlin is a bowling all-rounder and Nottinghamshire’s bowling attack has extreme depth so chances at Trent Bridge would be limited Durham have some useful all-rounders with the likes of Ben Raine and James Weighell so Coughlin will be a further assett.

Josh Shaw, Gloucestershire

Shaw has almost existed as a co-owned player switching between Yorkshire and multiple loan stints at Gloucestershire in recent seasons. Opportunities have been few and far between at home county Yorkshire what with Coad and Olivier etc but Shaw’s seemed at home in Bristol and now being a fully fledged Gloucestershire player should make their bowling attack stronger.

Jack Leaning, Kent

Following the theme of players seeking fresh challenges Leaning, like Shaw, has departed the ‘White Rose County’ for pastures new at Canterbury. Leaning previously featured in the North v South series, has been highly rated for some time and at 26 could yet come good. He’s an underused spin-bowler and a fresh start could be just what he requires.

Luke Wood, Lancashire

Wood has grown frustrated at Nottinghamshire where he’s often found himself down the pecking order amongst a strong attack year after year. The left-armer is a capable First Class bowler, can bat and made great strides in the T20 format. He’s had useful loan stints at Northamptonshire and should be a great asset for Lancashire. For me, he’s a dark horse for England selection in the shortest format particularly if Sam Curran were to get injured.

Dawid Malan, Yorkshire

A player who has travelled in the opposite direction to Shaw and Leaning, Malan has ended a long association with Middlesex to try and regain an England place. Yorkshire, particularly in the shortest format, desperately need more firepower though Malan may have to settle for a place at number four behind Lyth, Kohler-Cadmore and Willey. He and Gary Ballance help provide ballast in the four-day game and should help the likes of Harry Brook, Matthew Revis and Tom Loten develop.

Haseeb Hameed, Nottinghamshire

Another batsman hoping to reignite an England career… but one step at a time, is Haseeb Hameed. Hameed has suffered an alarming fall following early success with England and there’s no doubt that a fresh start is what’s required. Coach Peter Moores might not have had great success at international level but he could be just what Hameed needs. Nottinghamshire have the likes of Ben Duckett, Ben Slater and Joe Clarke, all batsmen who’ve voyaged to Trent Bridge, are competing for top order spots and England recognition so it’ll be interesting to see where Hameed fits in both in the order and in each format.

Cricket 19: GODII – Final Statistics

Having reached the conclusion of the inaugural Global One-Day Invitational here are our statistical highlights…

Highest Team Total: 510-7 vs. Namibia at Windhoek

Highest Individual Innings: Dawid Malan – 163 vs. Hong Kong at Edgbaston

Highest Batting Average: Liam Livingstone – 45.29 (Minimum 250 runs)

Leading Run-scorer: Dawid Malan – 425

Most Catches: Jonny Bairstow – 31

Best Bowling (Innings/Match): Tom Curran 6-9 vs. Papua New Guinea at Port Moresby

Best Bowling Average: Tom Curran 10.00 (Minimum 10 wickets)

Leading Wicket Taker: Tom Curran – 22

Additional notes: Perversely, my leading run-scorer, best batting average, leading wicket-taker and best bowling average were all out of favour by the time we reached the semi-final. My leading catcher was also no longer my wicketkeeper. Maybe I’m not such a good selector after all!

Chris Woakes was named England player of the competition (20 wickets @ 13.65) for his consistent threat and penetration with the new ball.