Cricket Captain 2018: Test Hat-trick!

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 18.41.34

India, done! Ireland, done! Zimbabwe, done!

That’ll be three one-match Test series wins out of three then. Having previously benefited from an opposition bowler getting crippled in each of our first two Tests, this time it was ourselves who had the misfortune of going a bowler down. After an impressive World Cup, Rashid Khan finally won a Test cap but retired hurt having made 13 before even having a chance to bowl!

It mattered little though as yet again all our players contributed in one way or another. After losing both openers a little early, Nasir Khan, promoted to three after making 72 on debut, made 53 in an impressive partnership of 127 with another youngster, Waheedullah Shafaq.

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 17.06.17

Shafaq won his Test cap on the back of impressive performances at the World Cup and went onto make 102 in his first Test innings.

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 17.06.05

Captain Ashgar Stanikzai also picked up where he left off at the World Cup to make a national record 167. Zimbabwe spinner Graeme Cremer claimed a solitary wicket for all of 142 runs. Ouch!

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 17.06.25

Left-arm pacer Shapoor Zadran, who after an impressive start to the World Cup failed to take a wicket in his last six matches, repaid the faith with fantastic figures of 5-30. That analysis, as well as his match figures of 6-82, were, like his skipper’s knock of 167, a new Test record for Afghanistan. He was far too hot for Zimbabwe’s cool batsmen.

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 17.06.00

In the second innings, spin bowler Mujeeb Ur Rahman stepped up in the absence of Rashid Khan. Selected for the Test on the back of strong T20 form, Ur Rahman claimed figures of 3-31 to ensure that no batsman made forty let alone fifty in the entire match for the hosts.

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 17.06.42

Having defeated bottom placed sides Ireland and Zimbabwe, next we set our sights on hauling ourselves above Bangladesh in the Test rankings. We also play West Indies before long and will be seeking World Cup revenge as well as Test superiority. First though are some white-ball games against the Chevrons.

Mavuta’s Magic!

Zimbabwe.JPG

There are reasons for optimism amongst the Zimbabwean cricket following, certainly if the recent exploits of Rising Stars leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta is anything to go by. The 21-year-old claimed emphatic analysis of 8-38 against Mountaineers in the final of Zimbabwe’s Pro50 Championship in Harare…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8838/game/1122785/rising-stars-vs-mountaineers-final-pro50-championship-2017-18

img_2659

Mountaineers captain Tino Mawoyo probably regretted opting to field after winning the toss!

For a full tournament round-up, please click on the following link…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017–18_Pro50_Championship

IMG_7458.JPG

Kadoma born Mavuta now. averages just 17.27 with the ball in List A cricket. He’s already got 44 wickets in just a dozen First Class outings and is no mug with the willow either. The youngster has three half-tons to his name with a career high of 91.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/806239.html

With Graeme Cremer having been stripped of the national captaincy, it surely won’t be long before Mavuta dons national colours and wins his first Chevron cap.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Global Test League

img_3817.jpg

Top of the Global Test League… but for how long?

The Global Test League is here folks!

Unfortunately due to contractual issues neither Australia or Sri Lanka feature in the competition. There are eight teams (England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies and Zimbabwe) and each side will play each other home and away. That’s a total of fourteen matches per side to decide the best Test team on the globe.

As Team Manager and Chairman of Selectors of the England team, it’s my responsibility to keep you up to date with how the side perform during the competition. So here it goes…

IMG_3821

Liam Dawson (1-83 & 0-65) struck early in Zimbabwe’s first innings but was a juxtaposition of maidens and expensive overs from there on.

Our first match of the inaugural Global Test League was a home fixture against Zimbabwe at Old Trafford. Many observers rather disrespectfully suggested that the result was a formality. It turned out to be anything but!

IMG_3823

James Anderson (3-107) didn’t immediately find his groove but came back in sensational style, at one point being on a hat-trick!

Zimbabwe won the toss and batted first. At 344-4 early on the second day, the visitors seemed destined for a huge score. James Anderson (3-107) had other ideas however as the Lancashire quick found another gear on his home ground. Zimbabwe lost their last six wickets for just 38 runs to subside to 384 all out (Masakadza 106, Raza 88). A still decent total but not as imposing as they would have liked given their position before Anderson’s exploits.

In our first innings, we seemed guaranteed to claim a first innings lead when a 126-run partnership between Mark Stoneman (77) and James Vince (71) took us to 162-1. Both batsmen were naively run out though and there then followed what can only be described as kamikaze batting by the home side. 162-1 rapidly became 239 all out. A loss of nine wickets for just 77 runs. This included the fall of captain Joe Root for a golden duck. Part-time spinner Sean Williams (4-31) was the chief destroyer, backed-up by seamer Chris Mpofu (3-61).

IMG_3825

Craig Ervine survived a clear glove behind as Zimbabwe set England a mammoth 471 to win the Test match.

Zimbabwe then maintained the pattern of the batting side laying a strong platform and had reached 167-1 before Dawid Malan (2-32) intervened. The part-time Middlesex spinner struck with his second delivery immediately after the interval and went onto claim a further wicket as well as effect a run out and take a catch. Malan’s success with the ball only served to highlight Liam Dawson’s lack of penetration. England then took regular wickets but not in clusters as the away side totalled 327 (Mire 90, Broad 3-75) second time around. Not wanting to be bitter, we were frustrated by some of the umpiring decisions during Zimbabwe’s second innings, not least the clear glove behind by Craig Ervine (See image above) that was given not out.

IMG_3827

James Vince, having been run out for 71 in the first innings, posted a maiden Test hundred in the second.

Ultimately that left us needing to score a world record 471 to win the Test match. At various intervals including when positioned on 127-1, 221-3 and 375-6 we had high hopes of making history. James Vince (107) led the way with a maiden Test century at a little over a run-a-ball but the Hampshire man was dismissed not long after reaching his hundred.

IMG_3828

Moeen Ali smashed the record for Test match cricket’s fastest ever half-century in a thrilling demonstration of clean hitting entertainment for the loyal but bedraggled England following.

Alongside Jonny Bairstow (71 from 45), Moeen Ali had the home crowd struggling to believe their eyes as we dared to pull off cricket’s greatest ever heist. The Worcestershire all-rounder clobbered 58 from just 17 deliveries. Though it was part-timer Sean Williams that dismissed Moeen, it was Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer who held his nerve as we went on the attack in our quest for victory. In regards to field placements, the away side’s bold skipper didn’t panic in the face of Moeen and JB’s onslaught. Cremer would finish the innings with sensational figures of 7-105 and deservedly claim the Player of the Match award!

img_3829.jpg

Our tail were soon back in the pavilion as Zimbabwe claimed a deserved victory, one that has sent shockwaves around the cricket world. The margin of defeat a mere 78 runs. We’re obviously disappointed to have lost but I’m proud of the team for sticking at it with the ball in each of Zimbabwe’s innings and restricting them to sub 400 totals on both occasions. I’m also proud of the boys for scoring nearly 400 on a worn and degrading pitch in the fourth innings of a Test match. It was our inept batting display in our first innings though that has cost us the match. Things won’t get any easier next up against India at Lords, as we go in pursuit of  our first Global Test League points. Despite the loss we don’t anticipate wholesale changes to the side. A squad for that Test match will be named in due course with Toby Roland-Jones possibly coming into contention on his home ground.

Disclaimer: The simulation of other teams’ matches crashed when Australia featured and the on-disc Sri Lanka team has not yet been complimented with genuine players, hence their absence from the Global Test League. As the old adage goes: “You can only beat what’s in front of you”, or not as the case may be!

Wind in Their Sails!

img_2721

West Indies are currently taking on Zimbabwe in the first Test in Bulawayo and it’s great to see the tourists displaying faith in the team that narrowly lost 2-1 in England.

Following a difficult tour of the UK, the likes of Kieron Powell and Kyle Hope as well as gloveman Shane Dowrich have been presented with further opportunity to showcase their international credentials and with Zimbabwe benefiting from the return of some experienced players, it should be a competitive series.

Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis are back in the international fold for the hosts and that should bode well for Graeme Cremer’s team. There is part of me that feels these guys had turned their back on the global game and shouldn’t just waltz back into their national side however it can be seen as an investment. They should be better players for having played regular professional cricket in England for a few years and if that contributes to Zimbabwe’s matches against any side being close encounters then that is good for the game. They’d displayed strong strides against a regressive Sri Lanka outfit and the addition of Taylor and Jarvis as well as a reimagining of Zimbabwean domestic cricket provides an optimistic horizon for ‘The Chevrons’.

Keep up to date with how things play out between the two sides @ http://www.cricinfo.com

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18076/game/1122886/Zimbabwe-vs-West-Indies-1st-Test-wi-in-zim-2017-18-2017-18

The All-Rounder Index

img_1770

Cricket is a sport that brings with it endless statistics but endless isn’t enough for Silly Point.

Introducing the All-Rounder Index.

Career runs ÷ Career wickets = ARI

E.g. Jason Holder’s All-Rounder Index in Tests is:

801 ÷ 31 = 25.84

This means that for every wicket Jason Holder claims in Test cricket he himself scores 25.84 runs.

By contrast Australia’s Mitchell Starc’s Test ARI is as follows:

839 ÷ 129 = 6.50

But what does this mean and which player is better?

Here are some more past and present player’s Test ARI in descending order:

Martin Guptill: 2586 ÷ 8 = 323.25

Mark Butcher: 4288 ÷ 15 = 285.87

Steven Smith: 4311 ÷ 17 = 253.59

Shahid Afridi: 1716 ÷ 48 = 35.75

Graeme Cremer: 411 ÷ 37 = 11.11

Ajit Agarkar: 571 ÷ 58 = 9.84

Zafar Ansari: 49 ÷ 5 = 9.80 (Which coincidentally is his batting average!)

Chaminda Vaas: 3089 ÷ 355 = 8.70

Liam Plunkett: 238 ÷ 41 = 5.80

Chris Martin: 123 ÷ 233 = 0.53

Is Martin Guptill a better cricketer than Steven Smith or Chaminda Vaas?

Was Mark Butcher of more value to his team than Shahid Afridi or Chris Martin?

Is Martin Guptill’s Test ARI of 323.25 better than Chris Martin’s 0.53 or is Martin’s (That’s Chris’) lower number better?

Answers on a postcard please!

Sri Lanka Go One Up in Zimbabwe

img_1773

Following on from yesterday’s post, today Sri Lanka gained the upper hand in their Test series in Zimbabwe. With only forty-five minutes left in the final session of the match the tourists claimed the wicket of Zimbabwe’s last man Chris Mpofu to secure a 225-run victory. Captain Graeme Cremer was again the hosts’ top scorer (43) but Sean Williams was the only other batsman to reach forty. One major positive to come out of the match for Zimbabwe was the performance of debutant Carl Mumba who registered figures of 4-50 in Sri Lanka’s second innings.

The second Test will like the first be played in Harare and commences on November 6th.

Captain Cremer’s Century

img_1787

Congratulations to Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer who yesterday recorded his maiden Test Match century in his country’s 100th Test. Cremer finished unbeaten on 102 as his side were all out for 373 in response to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 537 (Perera 110, Tharanga 110 not out / Cremer 4-142) Sri Lanka are currently 247-6 in their second innings (Karunaratne 110 / Mumba 4-50) and therefore lead by 411 runs. Zimbabwe will have to dig deep in their second innings to avoid defeat but if their batsmen can record yet more scores of 110 then they might have a chance!