Archer’s Eligibility?

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England were missing an all-rounder during the Ashes, somebody who could have made significant contributions with both bat and ball, somebody who has been playing in that region this winter. No not Ben Stokes, Sussex’s Jofra Archer.

I’ve held off writing an article regarding Archer’s eligibility whilst I tried to research and understand it but I don’t so here we go anyway!

Barbados born Archer’s father is English yet he won’t be eligible to represent England until 2022. Of course Kevin Pietersen’s mother was English and he had to live and work in England in order to qualify to play international cricket for his mother’s country. Football is a different sport but the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Alex Iwobi seem to have been able to switch/choose allegiance on a whim. When Jamaica rocked up at the 1998 World Cup in France with a load of Englishmen, had Robbie Earle and Deon Burton etc had to reside and work in the Caribbean for years before pulling on the Reggae Boyz jersey? Did Danny Higginbotham and the rest have to live in Gibraltar before playing for their national football team? Did they already have Gibraltar passports or walk straight in based on their parents or grandparents? Chris Birchall anybody… there are many examples but football is different and seems to have varying criteria.

It really annoys me that players like Ryan Campbell (Australia/Hong Kong) and Luke Ronchi (Australia/New Zealand) have played international cricket for more than one nation. I thoroughly accept though that the world is constantly evolving and the determination of nationality needs to be more fluid and flexible than may have been the case at previous times in history. I doubt Nat Sciver considers herself Japanese and whilst the West Indies may not like it, why shouldn’t Bajan Archer be able to play for England now?

There’s a whole can of worms to be opened here. Mahela Jayawardene is able to play in England as a non-overseas player because of EU laws and the fact that his wife is Danish! My wife’s French, our daughter has two passports so am I correct in saying that she could play football for France immediately but not cricket… though a call-up for a one-year-old is admittedly unlikely either way!

Archer lives and works in England, he’s got an English parent and seems to be under the impression himself that he has ‘English residency’. He’s not classed an overseas player when he’s turning out for Sussex. So why can’t he play for England immediately???

Hong Kong Sixes 2017!

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Having mentioned this previously, it’s only fair that I bring to attention that the Hong Kong Sixes tournament has commenced today. My interest in this competition is not as high as I’d anticipated because the ‘England’ team is flying under the flag of the MCC and not as England. This might seem petty but it only highlights the lack of seriousness with which this competition allows itself to be taken when it could be of great value. Ryan Higgins, Jordan Clark and company might never play for England but I’m sure that they’d gain pride and be motivated by wearing the England shirt in this tournament. It’s the sort of approach that confirms the hierarchy of English cricket maintain a stuffiness and desire to keep English cricket in a bygone era.

If you do want to follow proceedings then I think you can watch it all live (Assuming you have a licence of course!) right here…

http://www.hkcricket.org/en/media/news/hong-kong-world-sixes-day-one-live

Hong Kong Sixes 2017: England Squad?

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The Hong Kong Sixes tournament is back on the cricket calendar after a five-year absence. The pint-sized cricket competition will make a welcome return this October.

http://www.hkcricket.org/en/hk-sixes/hong-kong-sixes-2017

Historically the various cricketing nations around the globe have treated the tournament with a variety of seriousness and not so seriousness, with some teams sending amateurs or ex-pros. England normally send a reasonable bunch of fringe limited overs players.

Silly Point has composed an England squad and put forward one or two other possible candidates as well. Remember that every player bar the wicketkeeper must bowl.

My squad is as follows:

Tim Bresnan, Yorkshire (Captain)

He bats, he bowls, he captains, he’s my selection to lead the side. I find it difficult to comprehend that Bresnan’s England career is over. He required surgery and is no longer the spring chicken that rocked up for Yorkshire’s first XI aged 15 but in limited overs cricket at least, he could surely still have a role to play for the national side. He’s led Yorkshire this year following injury to Gary Ballance and the other squad members would learn from his international experience and professionalism.

Ben Duckett, Northamptonshire (Wicketkeeper)

Duckett just pips Joe Clarke for the ‘keeping gloves. It would be a good way to reintegrate Duckett into England colours following a difficult winter. After a slow start to the domestic season he has started to make significant contributions with the bat as well as keeping wicket on occasions. Sam Billings, more of a genuine gloveman option in T20I/ODI cricket could also come into consideration.

Lewis Gregory, Somerset

Gregory made the England squad a few years back for a one-off ODI against Ireland. Unfortunately for the Somerset man, he was the one squad member to miss out on the final XI leaving him cap-less. A series of injuries have meant that he remains so but when fit Gregory possesses the all-round strengths that make him an extremely tempting selection in this format.

Ryan Higgins, Middlesex

Higgins has contributed some brutal batting displays for Middlesex in limited overs cricket this term and has also dislodged Ollie Rayner from the County Championship side. The Zimbabwe born former England Under-19s player is one of a handful of capable all-round players that make my squad.

Benny Howell, Gloucestershire

A shrewd performer for Gloucestershire, particularly in the shorter forms of the game. French born Howell has cropped up in both the BPL and PSL. His experience and all-round capabilities would make him a valuable asset to the the squad.

Liam Livingstone, Lancashire

LL’s introduction to international cricket was slightly underwhelming but he’s an almost irresistible selection for this tournament. His destructive batting, much improved bowling and reliable fielding win him a place in my squad. Like Bresnan, Livingstone has gained captaincy experience this season and is capable of coming back stronger following his tough international baptism.

Ross Whiteley, Worcestershire

Whiteley hit the headlines this term when he struck six sixes in an over against Yorkshire in a T20 match (I was there, remember?). Yes it was an extremely short boundary and yes it was a third choice spinner but rather audaciously, Whiteley sits in the top ten of the sixes per (T20) match ratio, modestly and unobtrusively placed alongside the likes of Brendon McCullum, David Warner and Chris Gayle. He would probably be the weakest bowling option in the team but has clocked up 29 First Class victims.

Some other players that could come into consideration:

Adam Lyth

Riki Wessels (Wicketkeeper)

Brett D’Oliveira

Liam Dawson

Paul Coughlin

Craig Overton

Tymal Mills

Plenty Twenty20

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An article popped up on Cricinfo this week that highlights the difficulties in arranging international cricket around the many domestic T20 tournaments scattered throughout not only the Test playing nations but in countries such as Hong Kong too.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci-icc/content/story/1094746.html

I’ve proposed a restructured format that could be applied to international cricket before…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/a-complete-restructure-of-international-cricket/

… but am always open to amendments if the cricket world will be better for it.

How about this?

My combined league table that covers Tests and ODIs remains but T20Is are lopped off these tours. It could be that T20Is can be added on in agreement with both teams and if viable in the schedule. These matches would simply be friendlies and not count towards rankings, an opportunity for teams to get match practice in preparation for the major tournament. Quite simply, international versions of the many global T20 leagues are put in place. These could be played at the various tiers with the worst performing / winning team of the tier below, swapping places for the next tournament. This would solely be for the T20I tournament and not effect the Test / ODI league.

It’s a challenging environment. Each nation deserves to have its own annual domestic competition but international cricket should still be the peak and hold prestige.

Restructuring global cricket, it can all be a bit wearing. Here’s a cricket song to cheer everybody up… or maybe not!

Extras

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Bye: We provided Hong Kong cricket with a little promotion in a previous addition of Extras…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/extras-3/

… and now England speed merchant Tymal Mills is heading east to blitz any batsmen that come before him.

http://www.hkcricket.org/en/media/news/kowloon-cantons-add-speed-machine-tymal-mills-to-blitz-squad

Leg Bye: We provided Pakistan cricket with a little promotion (Because it needs it, it’s not like cricket is already big in Pakistan!) in a previous addition of Extras…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/super-duper-stan/

… and now England ‘speed merchant’ Steven Finn is heading east to blitz any batsmen that come before him.

https://psl-t20.com/steven-finn-replaces-russell-islamabad-united-squad/

No Ball: Liam Livingstone for England anybody?

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… or at least in your Telegraph fantasy team. Watch out for my article in April on who, why and how to pick a successful team!

P.S. Despite LLs 50, we lost the T20I against Zimbabwe in Boston, USA by nine wickets with none of our bowlers able to strike. Our solitary wicket was a run out.

Wide: Duckett delivers!

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It’s back to back wins for England’s Test side after victory in Sharjah. With Haseeb Hameed and Keaton Jennings rested, Ben Duckett made the most (Well, made something) of the opportunity to bat in his recognised position by scoring exactly 50. Duckett put on 47 for the first wicket with debutant Daniel Bell-Drummond, who made 8. Jake Ball recorded match figures of 12-62 as UAE were bowled out for just 61 in their first innings and courtesy of some generous bowling changes, a more respectable 163 in their second. Adil Rashid batted as well as anybody for England in recent times when making 59 batting at six in England’s second innings. Rashid shared a last wicket stand of 48 with a determined Jack Leach before Ball led England to a 175-run victory.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: England v Kenya Test Match

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After the Ireland and Hong Kong results the boys and myself had some pretty intense discussions about where we want to be as a cricketing nation. I’m proud to say that the team really stepped up in this match and displayed the sort of qualities that we hope will keep our supporters believing that the England cricket team can summit some huge peaks in the future.

Under pressure batsman Ben Duckett was retained, as was spin bowler Ollie Rayner after an impressive debut against Hong Kong. The Old Trafford pitch caught us by surprise so unfortunately for left-arm seamer Mark Footitt, he missed out and a debut was given to another spinner, Somerset’s Jack Leach. From the Hong Kong match, Mason Crane also missed out.

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Our first innings followed a familiar pattern as wickets tumbled all around. Opening batsman Keaton Jennings batted defiantly until the very end when after debutant Jack Leach managed to eek out a single to get off strike, Jennings, rather than selfishly take an easy single to reach his half-century, was dismissed for 49 as he tried to clear the ropes, therefore narrowly missing out on carrying his bat through the entire innings.

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Positive contributions from lower order batsman Ollie Rayner (28) and an in-form Stuart Broad (34) helped us stumble to a disappointing 141 all out.

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Broad (2-106) then put in a much improved showing with the ball and debutant Jack Leach looked right at home in the Test arena, claiming figures of 3-81. Kenya declared on 394-6, rather cruelly leaving their not out batsman stranded on 93 and 82 with plenty of time still left in the game and little threat of rain.

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In our second innings we lost early wickets again, including that of Duckett for 3. His Test future will have to come under great scrutiny ahead of our next match. Our batsman committed to a positive brand of cricket however and despite an almighty close LBW call whilst in the 90s, captain Joe Root produced a magnificent 132 to lead us to a second innings total of 422.

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Haseed Hameed (75), Jonny Bairstow (61) and James Hildreth (54) also made half-centuries.

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That left Kenya with a target of 170 for victory. All our bowlers bowled well, particularly young Sam Curran who went at just 3.88 an over but ultimately our limp first innings effort cost us.

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Kenya sealed a seven-wicket victory but for the third match in a row we improved and if we can bat as we did in our second innings of this match twice in our next match then we will finally provide ourselves with a real chance of tasting success.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: King Kong’d by Hong Kong!

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Following the debacles of both the Irish Test and Home Nations ODI tri-series, the boys looked to restore some pride to English cricket when we hosted Hong Kong at Scarborough. Test debuts were presented to teenagers Sam Curran and Mason Crane as well as county veteran Ollie Rayner.

After James Anderson made the early breakthrough, Hong Kong applied themselves well but we checked them with regular wickets. Though Stuart Broad found the going tough, Ollie Rayner tightened things up with back to back maidens to commence his Test career. He soon had his first wicket and went onto claim impressive debut figures of 3-93. However the less said about his batting (4 and 0, both run outs, the latter without facing) the better!

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James Anderson struck in consecutive deliveries under lights and Mason Crane was unfortunate to only claim the one wicket on debut as Hong Kong looked to attack the young leg-spinner.

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Frustratingly, a recurring theme occurred for us as we let the tail get far too many. Hong Kong’s Haseeb Amjad made 131 batting at number nine before we eventually dismissed the tourists for 498!

Our openers Haseeb Hameed (42) and Keaton Jennings (64) put on 103 for the first wicket but the loss of Jennings started a steady decline. Ben Duckett fell to the very next ball and only an assured 45 from Sam Curran helped lift the score to 268.

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Rather embarrassingly we were invited to follow on and soon lost KJ first ball.

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He could possibly have reacted quicker and cleared the ball away from his stumps!

Under pressure Duckett, having being dismissed for a golden duck in the first innings, looked comfortable in composing 18 but lasted only two deliveries against spin, missing a sweep and looking back to see his stumps shattered.

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With wickets tumbling around him, James Hildreth displayed the value of years of toil on the county circuit. However the right-hander was dismissed the very ball after reaching a maiden Test half-century.

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Tail-enders Stuart Broad (38) and James Anderson (38 not out) helped us make the visitors bat again.

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After a disappointing match with the bat (0 and 18), Ben Duckett was presented with a surprise opportunity to open the bowling and clearly surprised the Hong Kong batsman as Kinchit Shah fell in single figures for the second time in the match, caught and bowled by the off-spinning all-rounder Duckett!

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It was too little too late though as Hong Kong knocked off the mammoth eight runs required for victory to seal a humbling nine-wicket win.

P.S. The Share button on the PS4 controller has come to my attention so I hope to make use of this and possibly YouTube in the future rather than taking photographs of the computer screen!