Wish Wells Well!

I was surprised to discover that Sussex have released 29-year-old batsman Luke Wells. Predominantly a red-ball cricketer, Wells has eighteen First Class tons to his name as well as having made handy contributions with his part-time spin.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/350126.html

Left-hander Wells is Sussex through and through but it’s to be hoped that he can find opportunities elsewhere on the county circuit. He’d walk into quite a few teams and I’m stunned that Sussex have not renewed his contract!

Hameed Needs to be Greedy Indeed!

It’s great to see Haseeb Hameed make an encouraging start to life at Nottinghamshire. The twenty-three-year-old clearly needed a move away from Lancashire to start afresh. Peter Moores might not have been everybody’s cup of tea as an international coach but seems to get the best out of players on the county circuit.

Hameed has registered scores of 68, 52, 21, 1, 22 and 87 in the Bob Willis Trophy this season and whilst it’s a little early to be talking about an England recall, it’ll be great if he can kick on and breed competition. He was so woefully out of form at Lancashire that to come back from that displays the sort of character that England originally liked in Hameed. It’d be a great shame if he ends up been a what if? but the seeds of recovery have been planted and are starting to grow.

Having made three fifties this season though, Hameed needs to be greedy indeed to really press his case to add to his three Test caps.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/632172.html

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?

Zak Attack!

England have been desperately seeking a Test number three for some time. Someone with the resilience of an opener but enough stroke play and the right mindset to set the tempo. They want a player that can prevent the middle order stroke players from being exposed to the new ball and crucially leave Joe Root in his optimum number four position.

The player they’ve identified doesn’t have a bucket load of First Class centuries nor has he spent years being groomed in the England Lions. He’s been in and out of the England team, up and down the order but should now get a run at three where he’s already thriving. That’s particularly impressive given the lack of competitive preparation.

The player in question is not James Vince, Sam Northeast or any other celebrated or touted batsman… he’s Zak Crawley and he’s just struck his maiden Test ton…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/19495/game/1198243/england-vs-pakistan-3rd-test-england-v-pakistan-2020

It’s to be hoped that the tall twenty-one-year-old Kent player can score more Test centuries in front of packed out stadiums!

Cricket Captain 2020 – Fourth Year

Four years into my tenure and still we haven’t added any silverware to the trophy cabinet. I know that the fans are growing frustrated but in 2023 there was some encouraging development of our project.

Once again we retained our County Championship division one status. Selection consistency was a huge part of our progress whilst having sufficient stocks to rotate our bowling attack appropriately. Jon Baldwin developed as so many had hoped by totalling 1220 First Class runs. Sam Cook led the way with 48 wickets to earn the former Essex man an England call-up.

Sadly it was the wooden spoon for us in the One-Day competition. This was despite Harry Brook (271 runs) grabbing a career lifeline and leg-spinning all-rounder Brett D’Oliveira (12 wickets) excelling on his new home turf.

We suffered heartbreak in the T20s as our experienced and youth composite so nearly got us to the knockout stages courtesy of six victories before falling away come crunch time. Again it was Baldwin (360 runs including a score of 99) who led the run-getting while Matthew Waite claimed 18 wickets.

All-rounder Waite captained the One-Day side, shorn as usual of The Hundred players. Wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall stepped into the role for the four-day format and led the side particularly well in Twenty20 cricket.

Sadly Gary Ballance has left us and I’d like to place on record our gratitude to our former skipper who wasn’t able to make a first team appearance this season. Jordan Thompson and Nathan Ellis (Due to lack of funds!) have also left the club.

Our fans will however be hugely excited by the arrival of West Indian icon Rahkeem Cornwall. The off-spinning all-rounder will add a new dimension to our team. We can’t wait to see him take to the Headingley field in 2024. See you then!

Cricket Captain 2020 – Yorkshire

I’ve purchased Cricket Captain 2020 and have commenced a career with my native Yorkshire. Prior to the new season, we added out of contract all-rounder Matt Coles to the squad. He should help make us more competitive in white-ball cricket whilst also providing an option with the red-ball.

Our first game was a pre-season fixture against Leeds MCCU. We took the opportunity to blood a number of youngsters, allowing them to breed competition and make a case for first team selection. Pretty much all of them did just that, which bodes extremely well for the future. Tom Loten and Matthew Revis both notched tons whilst Jordan Thompson claimed a five-wicket haul. There were however contributions from the entire XI.

There’s now a healthy run of County Championship matches before any limited overs cricket. I’ll let you know how the season played out once completed!

Disclaimer: Cricket Captain is available online at a cost of £19.99… and I play on easy!

New Faces

The 2020 County Championship isn’t how anybody expected it to be but that appears to be to the benefit of young cricketers up and down the country.

With a shortened campaign, many players away with multiple England squads and no threat of relegation, a number of unfamiliar names appear on scorecards on the opening day of the season. Whether it’s the likes of Ben Aitchison at Derbyshire, Durham’s David Bedingham or Lancashire’s Tom Hartley, it’s great to see. Feroze Khushi at Essex and Tom Lammonby at Somerset are also getting game time, as is Saif Zaib, so often on the fringes, at Northamptonshire.

I’m delighted that Harry Brook and Jack Shutt are featuring for Yorkshire and Haseeb Hameed has made an encouraging start to life at Nottinghamshire. This can only be good for English cricket. Whilst it may be the result of societal dark times and overseas contracts unable to be fulfilled, the next couple of months present a fantastic opportunity for young English cricketers.

Please see below for the scores…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/scores-fixtures

Close of Play for Meschede!

German international Craig Meschede has been forced to retire due to injury.

The South African born Glamorgan and former Somerset all-rounder is suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome.

Meschede made two First Class tons and claimed one five-wicket haul. His best List A bowling figures were an incredible 4-5 but he’ll be disappointed that his top score was only 45. His best figures in T20s were 3-9 and with the bat he scored over a thousand runs at a strike-rate of 134.08. It was in the latter format (T20I) that he earned international recognition with Germany, his father’s homeland.

He duly impressed with a top score of 67 and averaged 44.75 striking at a mighty 155.65! Throw in six wickets at just 19.16 apiece and the German selectors will be gutted that the 28-year-old won’t be donning the German kit again.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/362565.html

Meschede advises that he’s “… lost about 80% strength in my upper arm” and that he requires “… (a) procedure to improve my everyday life.”

I sincerely hope that the procedure goes to plan and that Meschede is able to find fulfilment away from playing cricket.

It’ll Never Rayn Again!

Middlesex off-spinner Ollie Rayner has bid farewell to the professional game following his release from the London club.

Rayner claimed 313 First Class wickets and flirted with England selection but it wasn’t to be. He was also there or there abouts with Germany’s international side.

There certainly seems to have been a degree of animosity regarding his exit but the impression of Rayner remains that he was steady and reliable but only very occasionally spectacular.

He was an integral part of a County Championship winning outfit and as well as those 313 wickets chalked up two First Class tons. A career with pen (Or keyboard) in hand may await the thirty-four-year-old.

Cricket 19: Competition sur la Menu!

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Having now completed five (Winless!) unofficial warm-up matches I’m delighted to announce the details of our first competitive games…

We’ll be playing against England in a ground-breaking two-match binational multi-geographical Test series. Eleven French cricketers will make their Test debuts at the historic Lords cricket ground in England. We’ll then host the second match, our first ever home Test in our new stadium located in Brittany. Our newly constructed Stade de France Cricket is a modest but inviting stadium in keeping with our nature and philosophy. All energy is renewable, all food packaging on sale is bio-degradable and all staff are paid above the national living wage.

The team are extremely grateful to the England squad for agreeing to be our premier opponents at the highest level and are eagerly awaiting the challenge. A fourteen-man squad for the trip to London will be announced following the completion of two final warm-up matches. The first of those matches is against Yorkshire and will be staged at Stade de France Cricket and the second will be against Middlesex at Lords. Both these matches against English county sides will have First Class status. It’s free entry for the friendlies but limited entry while tickets for both Tests are on sale now. There’s 20% off all merchandise at the team website for this week only, so grab your shirts and get ready to support Les Cricket Bleus!

Our squad for our First Class debut is: Jean-Luc Chevalier (V-C), Enzo Petit, Gilles Smith, Gabin Sauvage, Christophe Martinez, Zidane Thomas, Marwen Leroy (W) Xavier Le Tallec (C), Patrick Pierre (2), Alexandre Riviere (1), Mehdi Qadri, Paco Georges (12th man)

Omar Sissoko simply couldn’t be retained at the top of the order following his alarming loss of form. It’s sad that he’s been on this journey with us but misses out at this stage. It’s also unfortunate that middle-order batsman Timothee Clement drops out after only one match but we felt that it was necessary to recall all-rounder Gabin Sauvage. Despite a frustrating time with the bat so far he provides experience and critically another bowling option. Aymerric Gautier and Anthony Toure also drop out from the side that narrowly lost in New Zealand but their time will come.