Who’d be a Selector?

WARNING: I’ve become the pessimistic cynic that I used to criticise!

Jason Roy won’t do any worse than those who have been chewed up and spat out before him but is he really going to do any better?

He’ll likely average 27 but is also likely to be more Aaron Finch than David Warner, in Tests anyway. Roy is a player with no recent history of playing First Class cricket let alone opening the batting. He was all at sea against a moving ball in the World Cup final and should he score a few breezy thirties will that really be of benefit? Will he score Test hundreds more often than Keaton Jennings (Once every 8.5 Tests!)?

Yes Ed Smith and co. have gone down this route before with Jos Buttler and credit to both because it’s worked so far. This selection however is even more cavalier. How will Roy approach it? Like it’s an ODI or will he cramp up like Hales and try to play a game he has no recent history of playing?

I consider myself a realistic optimist (Or optimistic realist) when it comes to English cricket but appreciate that I sound pessimistic regarding the selection of Surrey’s Roy. I’ll back nearly everybody who is picked for England but just like I put my head on the line by advocating my proposed selections of players that others would dismiss as preposterous, I’ll equally express my opinion when I’m not convinced by the ones that we have selected. I expect our Selection Panel to be practicing what they preach and analysing every potential selection in extreme detail.

Will Roy pull his hamstring, not be able to field then not be authorised to open the batting meaning that Joe Root has to move up to three anyway? If you’ve spent a career running 100 metre sprints then suddenly try to run a marathon then you’ll likely get injured. Roy has spent a career, or at least the latter part, playing One-Day and T20 cricket and has recently struggled to fulfil those requirements. Now we’re expecting him to last five days!

I sincerely hope that Jason Roy has a long and fruitful Test career averaging forty plus home and away and I’ll be the first to provide an honest assessment and say well done… but he wouldn’t be my pick!

England have also selected Lewis Gregory but what is the Somerset man’s point of difference? His selection seems reminiscent of recent eras where early season form precedes consistency over the years. Gregory might currently be doing a bit better than Ben Coad, Jamie Porter or even Chris Rushworth but is he really a long-term solution, is he really better than those players? It’s the same as picking Mark Stoneman because he averaged 80 one year in a career of averaging 30 but ignoring James Hildreth for only averaging 40 most years. The odd peak amongst troughs wins selection over year on year consistency. The Somerset man’s selection smacks of a token “Yes we value county cricket” by the selectors. They’ve rested the likes of Buttler and Ben Stokes and feel that they can get away with bringing in a bowling all-rounder who’s topping the domestic charts for one-match (Keep county fans happy) against Ireland. Don’t forget that Sam Curran is capable of batting higher than he has done.

Lewis Gregory is a fine player whose all-round abilities can be of use to England but I’m just uninspired by these unoriginal selections. England have also selected Olly Stone. If I’m questioning Jason Roy’s fitness then…

If these players perform against Ireland in home conditions does that tell us that they’re good enough to be Test cricketers? Will the same people that malign Woakes as a horse for a course celebrate these players as the finished article based on a fifty of fifer against a country that has just three domestic teams? What message does these selections send to opening batsman out there or domestic bowlers who perform year on year? They can only beat what’s in front of them!

I’m sorry. I’ve become the negative, cynical hypocrite that I never wanted to be but so be it. That’s what being an England cricket fan will do to you. It’s not by choice!

Logan’s Run… or not as the case may be!

You’re the leading wicket taker in the history of your club’s academy. You made your First Class debut last season and got a few overs under your belt but now you’re primed for first team action. You claim excellent second innings figures of 4-22 in only your second professional match…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8052/scorecard/1166938/yorkshire-vs-warwickshire-specsavers-county-championship-division-one-2019

What’s your reward? To get dropped and see your employers sign a South African for just three matches. Just when you thought that Yorkshire County Cricket Club couldn’t mess around another spinner… think again! To be fair, we understand that Adil Rashid has next to no interest in playing for Yorkshire. Azeem Rafiq got released, re-signed, did okay but got released again amidst personal pain and poor old Karl Carver. He’d actually done okay in a reasonable amount of first XI appearances but one bad day at the office in a T20 game was followed by a First Class fixture in which he batted at eleven and didn’t bowl. Stuart Broad got hit for six sixes once. Did it make hime a bad player? There was also the absolute panic and what has turned out to be disrespectful signing of Josh Poysden as well as a visit from Dom Bess. Bess is now back at Somerset and doing well so wouldn’t Yorkshire have been better investing in their own player?

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/767447.html

Will James Logan get a run in the team?

Let’s hope so but given Yorkshire’s track record of failing to develop spinners, it’ll be interesting to see where he is in a decade’s time.

Disclaimer: Is Logan injured? He doesn’t appear to have played any cricket at all since the Warwickshire match but there’s nothing on the club website or mention of his absence in the squad announcement for the following match.

Will Doesn’t ReFraine!

He’s been around the counties a bit having been on the books of Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire as well as representing Durham MCCU but at home county Yorkshire Will Fraine has finally announced himself.

Having recently replaced a struggling Harry Brook at the top of the order for the Yorkies, against an attack led by Morne Morkel and Sam Curran, Fraine has today recorded not only a maiden professional fifty but gone onto score a hundred in sunny Scarborough…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/scorecard/ECKO44763

Having just turned twenty-three Fraine now has an opportunity to really go on and have a decent career in the professional game.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/870785.html

Yorkshire and the Headingley (And Scarborough… and York) faithful will be hoping that he does just that!

Cricket 19: Career Mode – Lick a Stamp Please!

Great news!

Our man Buster van Dunk will make his First Class debut for Centurion this week at the age of just 19.

Wickets haven’t been easy to come by for the young off-spinner but his economy rate has caught the eye of many domestic sides who desire some control in their bowling ranks.

The left-handed lower order bat also has five fifties to his name and averages just shy of forty with willow in hand at club level.

On top of his batting and bowling exploits, South Africa’s great spin hope has demonstrated his nous when captaining club side Emalahleni to great effect during the current campaign.

Centurion have signed van Dunk for the pro 50-over competition too.

We’ll bring you further updates as van Dunk announces himself on the professional scene.

Buster van Dunk

Slam dunk da funk

He’s funkE with a capital E!

Buster van Dunk

Slam dunk da funk

He’ll take a shedload of wickets, you just wait and see!

Will the famous Emalahleni crowd chant make it to the stands of Centurion?

Has Franklin got the Hump with Weighell?

To see a player as talented as James Weighell frozen out of Durham’s 1st XI and languishing in the second team is both frustrating and criminal. Durham have some good bowlers of varying age and experience. There’s the ever reliable old warhorse Chris Rushworth and the promising young gun Matty Potts amongst others. Weighell is a capable all-rounder though, a genuine wicket-taking threat who can also quickly take the game away from the opposition with the bat.

Ben Raine has made an ordinary start to his Durham career but has just begun to turn a corner with match figures of 8-90 against Derbyshire and and a knock of 82 against Northamptonshire. Maybe Franklin doesn’t think that he can accommodate both the weather and the animal kingdom in his XI. If he simply thinks that Weighell isn’t good enough then the former New Zealand underachieving bits and pieces cricketer is mistaken. Still only 25, Weighell has 51 First Class wickets to his name at a decent 27.94 apiece. He averages 25.25 with the bat and the sample sizes are big enough to make a judgment. His white-ball figures require a little enhancement but there’s enough there to know that he could contribute.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/571151.html

Given how many loan signings (Luke Wood, Ian Holland, Jamie Overton, Matt Coles and Jack Blatherwick) Northamptonshire have added to their bowling attack this season, it’s hard to fathom that Weighell hasn’t been snapped up for a game or two at Wantage Road!

It’s to be hoped that Weighell isn’t on his way out of Durham County Cricket Club. For whipping boys such as them that have lost the likes of Stoneman, Borthwick and Jennings in recent years, they’d be foolish to let such a talent leave. Durham’s loss would be another county’s gain however and I’m sure that James ‘Killer’ Weighell will tear it up wherever he lands.

Can Notts Take any Moores?

To look at Nottinghamshire’s team, it’s hard to fathom that they’ve failed to win any of seven County Championship matches this season.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/county-championship-division-one/table

They’ve got genuine young talent in Matthew Carter, the recently acquired Ben Duckett and coach Peter Moores’ son Tom behind the stumps. They also posses proven internationals like Stuart Broad and James Pattinson, granted they may not play every game. In addition they have thoroughly decent county pros, the likes of Chris Nash, Steven Mullaney and Luke Fletcher. Not to mention Samit Patel and Jake Ball! But they’re bottom of the County Championship and sometimes struggling to post 100 let alone 200. Is their coach to blame? Twice England coach Peter Moores wasn’t Kevin Pietersen’s cup of tea and didn’t have a glittering career let alone an international one. We’ll save ourselves the trouble of listing great sporting coaches who hadn’t had amazing playing careers mind. Let’s not forget that Moores has coached two separate counties to County Championship success and basically in two separate eras.

Perversely, defending champions Surrey, led by England great Alec Stewart are also winless. Yes they’ve had injuries and lost players to both England and the IPL but they’ve still fielded a near full international side (Burns, Elgar, Foakes, Meaker, Morkel etc) sprinkled with high quality young players such as Ryan Patel. Don’t forget the wise old heads of Rikki Clarke and Gareth Batty in amongst those international players either. Though not as successful or prolonged at international level as they would’ve liked they are serious contributors at domestic level.

So what’s going wrong?

This is where I should summarise and explain why but… who knows? I certainly don’t. What do you think I am? Some sort of cricket expert!

What are your thoughts on how two such talented teams have failed to win in thirteen matches between them in 2019?

Clarke Biting but Without the Bark!

I’ve scripted a few articles about batsman Joe Clarke. His previous indiscretions rightly leave him officially unselectable for England at present. Off-field misdemeanours are not the only reason why Clarke doesn’t merit international recognition. Scores of 48, 1, 29, 0, 7, 0, 6, 12 & 0 since the restart of the County Championship are pretty abysmal. His season average will drop into the mid-twenties at the conclusion of Nottinghamshire’s current match and even that is elevated by a debut hundred scored quite some time ago. Why Clarke continues to get a mention as a soon to be England player is beyond me. At the risk of repeating myself, he hasn’t committed a crime and we don’t know what every player gets up to behind closed doors but Clarke is not fit to represent his country at professional sport. In time, I have no problem with him displaying development both as a player and a person and winning England recognition but not now.

Are Clarke’s performances being affected by what is supposedly still an ongoing investigation on the part of the ECB into his conduct? Possibly and if so… tough! He has to deal with it. I don’t for one second believe that all England cricketers or footballers etc, male or female are saints and have never done anything wrong. It’s by doing wrong things that you learn. We don’t want perfect people around us because they’re probably less perfect than those who’ve messed up somewhere along the line. On that note, I wish that the tone of commentators following the Women’s football world cup would stop turning matches into X-Factor sob stories. We know that people have an agenda where they want to make out that women footballers are better idols than the men but it’s condescending, often inaccurate and painful to listen too. Just commentate on the action!