England Pinch Salt!

Following injury to the unfortunate Dawid Malan, England have called up Sussex’s Philip Salt for the one-off Twenty20 International against Pakistan tomorrow.

Salt has a top score of 74 in domestic T20 cricket, spent some time on the franchise circuit during the winter and regardless of format, has a habit of getting Sussex off to some brisk starts. Hopefully he can do the same for England if he makes the playing XI.

Archer Arrives!

Congratulations to England’s latest ODI recruits…

No. 252 – Jofra Archer of Sussex

No. 253 – Ben Foakes of Surrey, formerly of Essex

No. 254 – Dawid Malan of Middlesex

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_England_ODI_cricketers

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8b9ySlbdoec

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18956/game/1161014/ireland-vs-england-only-odi-england-tour-of-ireland-2019

England’s Alternative ODI Squad!

As we approach the business end of the One-Day Cup and England commence their international summer, here’s an alternative England ODI squad based on domestic white-ball performances so far this summer:

Playing XI:

Varun Chopra, Essex (263r @ 87.67)

Billy Godleman, Derbyshire (479r @ 95.80)

Sam Hain, Warwickshire (301r @ 60.20)

Steven Croft, Lancashire (375r @ 125.00)

Jonny Tattersall, Yorkshire – Wicketkeeper (205r @ 51.25 / 10c/2s)

Liam Dawson, Hampshire – Captain (232r @ 46.40 / 13w @ 18.00)

Craig Overton, Somerset (146r @ 146 / 11w @ 12.09)

Nathan Sowter, Middlesex (15w @ 18.13)

Matt Coles, Essex (7w @ 17.14)

Luke Fletcher, Nottinghamshire (14w @ 17.93)

Saqib Mahmood, Lancashire (20w @ 15.85)

Squad Members:

Tom Westley, Essex (295r @ 49.17)

Tom Moores, Nottinghamshire – Wicketkeeper (196r @ 49.00 / 6c/2s)

Alex Thomson, Warwickshire (215r @ 53.75)

Stuart Meaker, Surrey (5w @ 24.20)

What are your thoughts?

Are there any players that I’ve omitted that you think merit recognition?

About Duanne Olivier and my Wife!

As you well know, in-form South African paceman Duanne Olivier has packed his bags for the land of tea, water and Emmerdale… Yorkshire!

That move is disappointing in itself. I’m a Yorkshireman but maintain romantic notions when it comes to international sport. I’d like to see a top player want to perform for his/her country.

The quota system in South Africa probably requires a post of its own. Maybe I don’t even understand it properly.

Olivier, capped ten times at Test level, now says that he wants to play for England. Well I don’t want him to! Does that make me xenophobic and/or a hypocrite? Possibly.

My wife is not from England. She has come to this country and worked here, therefore potentially denying a willing English person that job. Regardless of Olivier denying an Englishman a place in the Yorkshire team or enhancing the quality of the league, he has represented South Africa as an adult. My opinion is that once you’ve made your bed then you must lie in it.

I can understand sportsmen and women switching allegiance from junior level. Nationality is not always as simple as people being born in one country to parents both from said country and being brought up there until adulthood. My daughters are English born to an English father but will still be exposed to a lot of French culture and language here in England before we even consider their visits to France. If they become athletes, I’d have no qualms about them representing France. Of course Jofra Archer, despite having an English parent (And see KP etc) has to qualify to play for England.

Of course there are many previous examples all with varying circumstances but I’m very uncomfortable with the possibility of Olivier pulling on an England shirt.

I have absolutely no problem with a person from any country living and working, including next door or alongside me, in this country but if they relocated as an adult then I wouldn’t expect them to represent our nation at international sport. If I lived in any other country, I wouldn’t say that I was that nationality just because I’d spent two thirds of each of three years living and working there.

There’s an argument that international sport needn’t exist. That we shouldn’t divide ourselves in such ways. There’s no balance between populations, it’s just politics and land grabbing. But if international sport does exist, I don’t think that you can change your mind in your late twenties and switch allegiance. My wife might gain British citizenship but she’ll have been here a lot longer than Olivier.

That’s my piece and I’ve said it.

2019 Women’s Ashes

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The Women’s Ashes takes place this summer and it’s certain to be hotly contested by two extremely talented sides. The multi-format series starts in early July with three ODIs before a single Test and a further three T20Is.

In captain Heather Knight as well as the likes of Anya Shrubsole, Nat Sciver and Katherine Brunt, England possess genuine world class professionals throughout their side.

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Not to mention super stumper Sarah Taylor!

For Australia, Captain Meg Lanning and the ridiculously effective all-round star Ellyse Perry will be key to their chances but their strength goes far beyond those two. The likes of Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner and Megan Schutt will help the visitors pose a severe threat to the home side.

With the men’s ODI World Cup and Ashes series taking place in England this summer, it’s to be hoped that the women’s encounters gain the exposure that they deserve.

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Since the multi-format points system came into place, the urn has alternated between holders with home advantage playing a pivotal role. England won at home in 2013, Australia won down under in 2014, England again won at home in 2015 before Australia regained the title on home turf in 2017. England will be hoping that Australia don’t buck the trend this year!

Twenty20 Vision?!

England have named their squad for the T20I series against West Indies and I can’t say that I’m enthused…

https://www.ecb.co.uk/england/men/news/1058447/sam-billings-and-dawid-malan-named-in-england-s-it20-squad

I back whoever plays for England (Unless there’s a serious reason that I shouldn’t. We’ll come to that!) but some of the selections in this squad are puzzling.

I’m a huge Dawid Malan fan but he’s hardly been tearing it up on the franchise circuit recently. Yes his international record is outstanding but he’s in no form whatsoever to maintain that record. This opportunity, as with his previous ones, have only come about because of squad rotation. He fully merited selection when he replaced a ‘rested’ Eoin Morgan however, in what was effectively at T20I final. Contrary to his recent franchise efforts, he had been tearing it up for England Lions. I just don’t feel that he’s primed to perform at international level right this moment. I hope that I’m wrong though and that a strong showing can put him back on the Test radar.

The selection of Chris Jordan is a generous one for me. He struggled in the Big Bash this season but is part of the T20I fabric for England. He benefits from the absence of senior bowlers to get game time in this format and of course he does take wickets. Anybody should be able to keep tallying wickets when the opposition are slogging away at the end though. He’s a good fielder but needs to take more wickets for less runs… obviously!

James Vince was superb in the Big Bash, Harry Gurney was steady away and Laurie Evans has backed up strong white-ball seasons in England by becoming an in-demand player on the franchise merry-go-round. None of the above make the squad but…

… Sam Billings does! I can understand the frustration for and with Sam Billings. It’s not easy when you’re a fill-in player, particularly in T20Is when there’s often just one match in a series. This series has three matches though, so Billings will desperately hope to bat in the top four to have a chance to impress. If he can hit the ground running then he could make the most of the series but then again, he’s just filling in. Like Malan, he’ll likely then get dropped again to accommodate the returning Roy, Buttler and Stokes.

I understand the logistical reasons but did England really need to name their squad so soon?

Liam Plunkett could be letting his World Cup place slip away though knowing him, he’ll probably take four wickets in the next ODI. If he fails to take a wicket and gets dropped during the series though, will he still be what England want in the T20Is?

What if Vince hits a couple of hundreds in the PSL between now and the start of the series? Could he be drafted into the squad? Ed Smith is sending out very mixed messages regarding Vince. He was pretty curt when he originally axed the Hampshire man, despite Vince making 76 in his previous Test innings. He did recall him because of injuries for a One-Day International, only for Vince to run himself out… again! Now following sparkling form in the Big Bash, he’s been omitted again.

Another player that’s been mentioned on forums is Joe Clarke. I think that a lot of people don’t know or don’t care why he’s been ignored. My understanding is that he wasn’t dropped from England Lions because of what a teammate may have got up to in his bed. He was dropped because of the list of women on his phone and the competitive element of that. If he matures then I’m quite happy for Joe Clarke to play for England in years to come. As it stands however, I (And that’s just me. I’m not speaking for anyone else) don’t want him anywhere near the England cricket team. Clarke can argue that he’s unfortunate it all came out and of course we don’t know what all players get up to away from work but… tuff!

Another thing that I may have mentioned before. ODIs are ODIs so I call the T20 version T20Is not IT20s… so there!

Edit:

James Vince next PSL innings: 84 off 41

Dawid Malan next PSL innings: 1 off 6

Six to Watch: 2019

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The 2019 English domestic cricket season is nearly upon us, beginning as it does as soon as April 5th. The campaign consists of the County Championship (First Class), One-Day Cup (List A) and T20 Blast (T20) competitions. Players will be pushing for international recognition in the Test, ODI and T20I formats or if not that then at least England Lions places. County players should be spurred on by the knowledge that a spectacular start to the season could see them gatecrash England’s (Or other nations’) squads for the 2019 ODI Cricket World Cup or Ashes series. England Women have their multi-format Ashes encounter this summer too.

This is the last season of English cricket as we know it because next year we’ll have The Hundred… yay! I know that we all can’t wait for some unofficial exhibition cricket in 2020!

Here are this year’s http://www.sillypointcricket.com’s Six to Watch:

Daniel Bell-Drummond, Kent

Daniel Bell-Drummond featured in my 2017 edition of Six to Watch. Two years on, he’s earned a recall!

It was against a touring Australia side a few years past that DBD scored a hundred and seemed a shoe-in as a future England opener. It was in Australia this past winter that the right-hander popped up in club cricket and hit the headlines hitting a hundred when David Warner and Steven Smith faced off. In the intervening years DBD hasn’t spectacularly failed but neither has he made an insatiable case for national recognition. Too inconsistent for Tests and possibly unfairly perceived as not quite destructive enough for ODIs, he even spent the end of last season in the middle order for Kent. With players such as Haseeb Hameed hoping to rediscover their golden touch and push for an England recall, Bell-Drummond needs to plunder runs and make himself the next cab off the rank. Given the all-round abilities of England’s current squad, opportunities for specialist batsman are few and far between but top order vacancies are there for the taking.

Welsh Willow Wizard Aneurin Donald, having relocated from Glamorgan to Hampshire as well as Ben Duckett, who has journeyed from Northamptonshire to Nottinghamshire and dispatched some demons on England Lions’ tour of India, are other batsmen worth keeping an eye on this year.

Danny Briggs, Sussex

It’s been a while since slow-left-armer Briggs donned England (ODI/T20I) colours but he was a surprise selection for England Lions this last winter so maybe National Selector Ed Smith has seen something he likes in the former Hampshire man. It’s hard to see Briggs knocking Jack Leach off his perch but if his white-ball competition is Liam Dawson then a strong campaign could see Briggs earn a romantic recall ala Joe Denly. Briggs has been generally economical and got plenty of overs under his belt for England Lions this winter even if he hasn’t taken a bucket load of wickets.

On the spin front, hopefully Mason Crane and Matthew Parkinson can put injury problems behind them and create a cluster of competition for England places.

Jack Burnham, Durham

I’m not being lazy, honest, but like Bell-Drummond, Burnham has featured before. He missed the entirety of the 2018 campaign having failed a hat-trick of drugs (Recreational) tests.

In 2019 Durham need Burnham to come out from the cold and warm the hearts of their most loyal supporters with a run-laden summer.

Amy Jones, Warwickshire

Jones has displayed hints of her talent at international (ODI/T20I) level, particularly behind the stumps but her batting continues to cause frustration. She’s got over fifty international caps to her name now so must kick on with the willow at international level. She made some really encouraging contributions in the latest edition of the Big Bash but it’ll be interesting to see how things play out at England level when Sarah Taylor’s around. Taylor is unarguably first choice with the gloves and though she may seek respite due to her health on occasions, if Jones isn’t pulling up trees with the bat then she’s at risk of not being in the first choice XI. That’s not where she’ll want to be during an Ashes summer!

Jack Plom, Essex

After seeing that Plom had taken a few-wickets in an England Under-19 game, I picked him as my protege in my England career on International Cricket Captain 2018. If not exactly a regular, he was reliable and never let me down. In truth, 2019 might be a bit soon for first team action but Plom might surprise me, get selected and bowl with… aplomb!

Other pace bowlers who’ll hopefully see more action this year include Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood, Middlesex’s Tom Helm and Sussex’s George Garton.

Issy Wong, Worcestershire

The women’s game continues to go from strength to strength and to be honest, probably merits a Six to Watch of its own. For now though, having already mentioned Amy Jones, Worcestershire’s Issy Wong was one of just thirty-nine 13-20 year-olds selected for the 2018 ECB School Games National Finals. She’s already contributed some significant performances for Worcestershire and could well have England honours in her sights! A bit of a wildcard selection but it’ll be interesting to follow her progress.

Look out for my follow-up article once the season is complete.