For Whom the Bell Tolls!

Warwickshire stalwart Ian Bell will miss the first three months of the county campaign because of a toe injury sustained during the PSL. The 36-year-old’s chances of gatecrashing the Ashes now appear even slimmer than the own brand lasagne sheet that they already were!

If you were lining up Bell as a vital component of your fantasy cricket batting line-up then you’ll need to perform a rethink… James Hildreth anyone?

Yorkshire v Warwickshire T20 Match

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Yes that’s right, Yorkshire versus Warwickshire. I refuse to refer to them as Birmingham. If every other team can wear a county moniker then Warwickshire need be no different. Why on Earth would you want to alienate half your county?

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In truth the match was a rather one-sided affair. Adam Lyth does what Adam Lyth does, dispelling the notion of many have that he’s a dour First Class player. He has always been a superior white-ball cricketer. Tom Kohler-Cadmore confirmed that Ed Smith was right not to select Chris Woakes for the Tests against India. TK-C could yet be a white-ball (ODI/T20I) player for England, even if he can’t get anywhere near Yorkshire’s County Championship side. Chris Woakes will come good once he’s got a few more overs under his belt. Don’t rule him out of having an impact against India yet!

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David Willey scored a hundred the last time I attended Headingley. Last night he scored one minus the hundred. Kane Williamson displayed his class as did Gary Ballance briefly. Olly stone bowled eleven dot balls to keep him in those ‘Next time we got to Australia’ conversations!

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When it came Warwickshire’s turn to bat, Ed Pollock did what Ed Pollock does. He swung and missed, repeat, repeat, then mightily finely connected with a few before getting out to a ball he really needn’t have. 22 from 12 deliveries sums him up and scores of substance need to arrive soon. Ian Bell (42 from 33) and Adam Hose (43 from 31) laboured… and I mean laboured in the middle. There were some fine strikes to the boundary but too many failures to connect. Surely the midlands side would be better with the likes of New Zealand duo Colin de Grandhomme (38 not out from 19) and skipper Grant Elliot higher up the order in this format.

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Yorkshire ran out winners by 31 runs courtesy of the Duckworth Lewis Method.

I’ll be back next week to see Yorkshire host Northamptonshire so they’ll be another match report soon after.

No Easy Root Back!

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England Test skipper Joe Root has been dropped by England for what is essentially a final in the T20I series at home to India today.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18018/game/1119545/england-vs-india-3rd-t20i-india-tour-of-ireland-and-england-2018

This is a brutal and decisive but perfectly logical call by the England hierarchy. It’s delightful that they’ve had the guts to do it when in the past Root would surely have been persevered with. England stuck with the likes of Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell for too long in white-ball cricket but finally opened their eyes and made changes, bringing in the likes of Jason Roy and Alex Hales at the top of the order. The game is evolving at such a pace that Joe Root, a man who in the grand scheme of things has played so little T20 cricket, hasn’t been able to keep up. He’s a quality player, capable of adapting his game and coming back stronger but at the moment he simply doesn’t merit selection. Hopefully this will make him determine to excel in the red-ball arena for England and prove himself to be England’s best Test batsman of a generation.

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: CC/ODC 2018

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The above is my first XI. It’s in the all-rounder roles that I’ve gambled with Rhodes and Rawlins. Rhodes has moved from Yorkshire to Warwickshire so should see increased game time and will be keen to show what he’s capable of. Rawlins made an impression in the North v South matches and this should be his breakout season. Simpson is a reliable wicketkeeper and I think there is real logic in the stumper being captain. I’ve plucked for a possibly slightly under the radar bowling attack and expect Mennie and hopefully Hutton to contribute runs too. I’ve very deliberately selected batsman that will at least occasionally bowl and should get opportunities in both formats of the game.

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For my second XI, I’ve gone for the two all-rounders that I consider guaranteed runs and wickets. I’ve opted for a reliable batting unit and expect Fell to return to form this year. Though my bowling unit may not be guaranteed outings in both codes, Coad and Footitt are wicket takers in the First Class format. Mahmood is coming into the campaign off the back of impressive performances in North v South and Nijjar, a useful spin bowler, has been opening the batting for Essex pre-season. What happens to Alastair Cook with England may determine Nijjar’s opportunities. If Roderick is available throughout the season, he should be steady away behind the stumps and with bat in hand.

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Have I ever mentioned that I like Ben Duckett?

Mitchell is as consistent as they come and bowls too. Smith has returned to Durham and I expect plenty of runs from the experienced head back up north. Alongside him, Brook is primed for his breakthrough campaign after debuting last term. Kuhn may not keep wicket but is a solid performer at domestic level. My bowling attack may receive England and England Lions call-ups but have runs as well as wickets in them in both formats. Bresnan is as solid an option as Patel and Bopara and van der Merwe is a destructive player.

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In my fourth XI, I’ve gone Warwickshire and England veteran heavy in my batting line-up, messrs Trott and Bell leading the charge. Bell-Drummond will be looking to kick-on and fingers crossed for a run-filled renaissance from Nick Compton. Like Kuhn, Pope may not always keep wicket but will be playing regularly and in the runs this year. Berg is as reliable as anyone with the ball and Procter prospered last term having relocated to Northamptonshire. I want a bit more from Barker and Rayner this year. Fletcher is back from injury and if Overton, rated 3!, can stay fit then he’s a shrewd selection.

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In my fifth XI are the other players that I like who I couldn’t squeeze into my first four teams. Northeast has moved to Hampshire but is as reliable as they come with the bat. Wells is solid in the First Class game as is Burns. Dent is an under rated player too. McManus gets the gloves with the experienced Clarke, back at Surrey, and less experienced but quick Chappell in the all-rounder roles. Hopefully Norwell has shrugged off any injury niggles. Ball will be left to play county cricket this term whilst Patterson is another of my reliable picks. Qadri made an impressive debut last year and will look to back it up.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve avoided selecting players that will be on England duty. It’s steady away county pros that you need sprinkled with one or two yet to be discovered gems just primed to be this year’s Ben Coad.

Let me know what you think about my teams and which one is likely to win me the massive cash prize of……….. £3,000!

https://fantasycricket.telegraph.co.uk/county

Disclaimer: I’ve since been tinkering away, so my teams don’t look quite the same as above. I’ll keep you up to date once the campaign commences!

Bell ‘n’ Brez Bash it Big!

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England discards Ian Bell and Tim Bresnan led from the front as Perth Scorchers claimed the 2016-17 Big Bash crown in resounding style.

Bresnan recorded figures of 4-0-40-3 as Sydney Sixers stumbled to only 141-9. Bell then saw the Scorchers comfortably over the line with a whopping 25 deliveries to spare, striking 31 not out from 25 balls.

No doubt Bresnan has had a little injury trouble but you would have thought given his experience and past performances in an England shirt that in the free spirited Trevor Bayliss era, England could still find room at least in their limited overs squads for a player possessing his all-round abilities. He seems, like Ravi Bopara, to be a player that having gained plenty of international experience, England just gave up on too soon and decided to start all over again with somebody else. Bresnan was only in the Scorchers squad as a replacement for current England squad member David Willey but the new Yorkshire vice-skipper made a positive impression on the west coast.

As well as Bresnan and Bell there was another Englishman that helped propel the Scorchers to victory. Doncaster born wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman clubbed 41 from just 21 balls including three sixes at the top of the order to jet start the Scorchers pursuit of the Sixers’ below par total. Whiteman moved to Oz aged three and has already represented Australia at various levels. He’s tipped to follow another Yorkshireman, Matthew Renshaw, into the Australian national side.

Another Englishman was involved in today’s final but for Sixers’ opener Michael Lumb, a former Yorkshire player of course, his 15-minute 5-run vigil at the top of the order, an innings that also included the run out of Nic Maddinson, helped the Scorchers more than it did the Sixers. Still, his ODI batting average of 55.00 is superior to both Bell (37.87) and Bresnan (19.79). It’s also higher than Nic Maddinson’s Test average of 6.75!

The Perth franchise’s other star performers in today’s final are at different ends of the playing career spectrum. 36-year-old Gloucestershire run-machine Michael Klinger carried his bat in making 71 not out from just 49 deliveries including five fours and an equal amount of sixes. It seems incredible that Klinger will finish his career without an international cap (We’ll come to that later), incredible but likely, in which case days such as these and 2015’s One-Day cup victory at Lords with Gloucestershire (Although Klinger ducked in the final after a monstrous tournament) will be days to saviour for a fine batsman.

Paceman Jhye Richardson is, at 20, nearly half Klinger’s age. He has just one First Class and only one List A appearance to his name but now has a grand total of nine T20 exposures under his belt. His 3-30 in the final saw him snap up the Man of the Match award and English batsman will surely have to face him at international level in the future.

Both Klinger and Richardson merited a mention in a previous article here at Silly Point about the possible make-up of Australia’s T20I squad for the Sri Lanka series that clashes with the Test series in India…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/follow-the-yellow-brick-road/

Performances such as those from Richardson and even no spring chicken Klinger, in a match of such magnitude must surely put them in with a chance of making the cut.

International Duck Watch!

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Silva by name, golden by nature. Sri Lanka’s Kaushal Silva was caught behind first ball as Sri Lanka went down by an innings in the third Test in Johannesburg. Lahiru Kumara later followed for a silver duck as South Africa wrapped up a comprehensive 3-0 series victory.

Dislcaimer: Please accept my apologies but due to a lack of resources here at Silly Point and despite my desire for the game to spread globally, I’m unable to commit to International Duck Watch incorporating the Desert T20 Challenge. Having said that, Hong Kong opener Aizaz Khan was run out without facing a ball and that surely merits a mention. Also, If I was doing Big Bash Duck Watch, Perth Scorchers Ian Bell would get a shiny, golden mention!

Christmas XI

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Jacques Rudolph (Captain)

Sylvester Joseph

Ian Bell

Marcus North (Pole!)

Cyril Merry

Tony Frost (Wicketkeeper)

Paul Wiseman

Bart King

John Snow

Joe Partridge

Jo Angel

Admittedly the side is a bit light on the batting front so if I’ve missed any quality willow wielders called Gold, Frankincense or Myrrh then please let me know!