Sensational Sibley Sizzles… for England?

Warwickshire’s Dominic Sibley is making an almost irresistible case to be the next man to open the batting for England’s Test side. The twenty-three-year-old Epsom born bat has notched up six First Class tons in as many matches spread over this season and last. He’s currently averaging 83.00 in the County Championship having clocked up a total of 249 runs. Crucially those runs have been scored in Division One.

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

Right-handed Sibley hit the headlines early in his career when compiling an innings of 242 for home team Surrey but felt it necessary to seek new pastures in order to guarantee first team cricket. He set sail to Warwickshire and joined former Yorkshire player Will Rhodes at the top of the order. The pair didn’t quite hit it off at first but have developed into a reliable opening pair for the Edgbaston outfit.

England Selector Ed Smith should know as well as anyone that form doesn’t always translate to Test quality but Sibley has maintained his standards for some time now. If he can continue his run-glut then he could debut against Ireland at Lords later this summer.

Lancashire’s Haseeb Hameed has shown signs of a resurgence albeit in Division Two meanwhile Nottinghamshire recruit Ben Duckett is settling into life at new home Trent Bridge. Neither are getting anywhere near Sibley’s consistency however. Uncapped Middlesex left-hander Nick Gubbins could also come into the equation though like Hameed he’s playing in Division Two and like Duckett he’s often to be found batting first drop. Of course both positions are up for grabs in England’s Test side. Incumbents Keaton Jennings and Joe Denly could yet be saved if England are reluctant to blood or bring in from the cold, two batsmen in the top three one Test before the Ashes.

Sibley can only keep churning out runs on all pitches against a variety of opposition and await the call.

Salt in Pepper’s Wound!

Poor Michael Pepper!

The young Essex stumper will have known that he would be behind Adam Wheater when it came to first XI opportunities this season. Having his appendix removed would’ve meant missing some second XI games but he could live with that. Unfortunately for Pepper, Wheater injured himself on day one of the county campaign and so Pepper could’ve clocked up two months’ worth of first team outings. Instead, Middlesex loanee Robbie White gets some game time and the opportunity to enhance his rather appalling batting statistics.

Salt in the wound as they say!

Footitt Hops It!

England nearly man Mark Footitt is hitting the motorway once again, this time in the direction of Old Trafford.

Why Lancashire (Anderson, Bailey, Onions, Mahmood, Lester, Gleeson, Hurt and some promising youngsters) need another bowler, a specialist First Class one at that, when the One-Day Cup commences after only two County Championship games is beyond me!

Were it not for an erratic performance in a warm-up match then Footitt may have earned a Test cap in South Africa. Having said that, Mark Davies took a five-wicket haul in a tour match and still didn’t make the England XI.

Back to Footitt and I’ve lost track of his career path. It goes something like Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Surrey, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire (Loan), Nottinghamshire, Lancashire (Loan).

Hopefully he can commence the campaign as he did for Surrey only a year or two ago. Hopes of winning full England recognition are surely long gone however.

Disclaimer: It turns out that half Lancashire’s bowling attack are injured which is why they require Footitt’s presence. Fair enough!

CricketXI: Sheffield Shield 2018-19 – Season Review (Or non-review!)

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Errr… ?

I’d provide a review but the scores have already disappeared from the website. I appreciate that I’m a few days off the pace what with hospital stays and the like but…

I guess that they’ve had a clear down as it’s all IPL/County Cricket now. Needless to say, I was as appalling in the Sheffield Shield as I’m set to be in the IPL! For the English domestic scene, I’ve been focusing on my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket teams (Cash prizes) but will endeavour to be competitive on CricketXI as some of you have kindly joined my league and I don’t want to be shown up!

Victorious Victoria!

Victoria have comprehensively defeated New South Wales in the 2018-19 Sheffield Shield final. For Vic, it’s a fourth title in the last five seasons!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8043/scorecard/1150138/victoria-vs-new-south-wales-final-sheffield-shield-2018-19

The star studded Victorians were simply too good for Moises Henriques’ New South Wales side. NSW have some good players but are more about the sum of all parts than their individuals. They simply failed to bring anywhere near their ‘A game’ to this season’s final.

I think that there’s real value in a final, ideally a more competitive one and would love to see English county cricket adopt one. My previous suggestion was for three groups of six consisting of ten games followed by semi-finals and a final at Lords. The best runner-up having joined the group toppers in the last four. I firmly believe that it could help bridge the gap between county and Test cricket.

Stars in Their Eyes!

Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be… Matthew Kelly!

If Australia need another pace bowling option then they need look no further than the twenty-four-year-old.

In this season’s Big Bash, Kelly claimed eleven wickets at 19.00 apiece whilst tracking at under eight runs per over. In this season’s Sheffield Shield, he’s claimed thirty victims in ten matches at 28.53. That’s taken the former under-19 international up to 54 First Class career victims at 25.66 per scalp. Remember that due to the number of teams, many Australian players don’t get their break until a little later than in England and tend not to rack up as many career appearances.

Kelly has definitely displayed good temperament and ability during his career so far and could well make the step up. With state teammates Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jhye Richardson getting game time for the national team though, theory of numbers could cost him!

How to Select a Telegraph Fantasy Cricket Team

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Hi all

Please have a listen to my latest audiocast on how to select your Telegraph Fantasy Cricket Team…

Good luck in 2019 folks!

Disclaimer: I forget to mention, I’m not a fan of gambling in sport but believe that a bit of fantasy cricket, football or whatever can be healthy when played in moderation!