The Ultimate Cricket Word Search Collection

The Ultimate Cricket Word Search Collection, a self-published effort by James Adams, is currently keeping me occupied. If you forgive the spelling mistakes (A bit disappointing in a word search!) then it’s a good way to pass the time.

It’s very current in terms of player names that you’re searching for as well as having historical figures feature too.

Any product that’s out there promoting cricket is great to see. Why not pick up a copy to make those train rides, plane flights or slow afternoons pass a little quicker?

Disclaimer: I’ve still got plenty to do but there were a couple of spelling mistakes on the current New Zealand page, that’s all. Hopefully there won’t be anymore!

England Uncapped XI

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Imagine that England’s cricketers have gone on strike. They’re upset about that car sponsorship deal ending or they all want to play in the new Kazakhstan T20 league. England’s selectors are reluctant to return to players that’ve failed to produce the goods at international level before. They decide to select an extremely experienced squad so ignore the likes of Ollie Pope, Joe Clarke and Sam Curran amongst others. The below is what an England Test squad might then look like.

First XI

James Adams

Daryl Mitchell

Sam Northeast (Captain)

James Hildreth

Darren Stevens

Keith Barker

John Simpson (Wicketkeeper)

Ollie Rayner

Luke Fletcher

Steve Patterson

Chris Rushworth

12th Man

Steven Mullaney

Tourists

Luke Wells

Riki Wessels

Ben Brown (Wicketkeeper)

James Harris

Stand By

Chris Nash

Joe Leach

I’ve selected Northeast as captain so as not to burden either of my openers, Adams and Mitchell who make for a strong left-hand/right-hand combo. Hildreth is at four ahead of Stevens and Barker who provide all-round options with Barker’s left-arm variety essential. Simpson dons the gloves meanwhile Patterson and Rushworth take the new ball backed up by Fletcher as well as Barker and Stevens. Spin options are a bit limited but Luke Wells makes the touring party as spin back-up to Ollie Rayner. Steven Mullaney makes the squad as 12th man, providing strong all-round cover with bat and ball.

As well as Wells and Mullaney, Wessels and Harris provide a good variety of cover. Brown backs up behind the stumps whilst Wessels is also an emergency ‘keeping option.

Top order bat Chris Nash who can bowl decent spin and dependable all-rounder Joe Leach are officially on stand-by.

Disclaimer: The likes of Rory Burns, Benny Howell and Tom Bailey are among the unfortunate omissions. Daniel Bell-Drummond, Sam Hain, Liam Norwell, Lewis Gregory, Jamie Porter and Ben Coad join that list but I was generally plucking for the most experienced players.

Cricket Captain 2017: 2019 Season Round-up… Wheels Come Off!

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Following the ODI World Cup win and Ashes defeat, England secured a 3-2 ODI series win against Australia to at least gain partial revenge for the 3-0 Ashes drubbing. Australia’s victories in the ODI contest both came with the series already lost. They did however claim the T20I series 1-0.

Once departed from home shores however, the wheels well and truly came off for new skipper Liam Livingstone and his men. Having ditched the old guard and promoted the likes of Dawid Malan and John Simpson to the first XI, a 4-0 Test drubbing in South Africa was followed by a 5-0 whitewash in the ODI series. This was despite two centuries for Kent’s Sam Northeast. A 2-0 T20I series defeat left England winless on their African jaunt.

Things didn’t get much better in New Zealand either. Despite posting 437 in the first innings of the first Test against the Kiwis, including captain Liam Livingstone’s maiden Test hundred (164), the series was lost 2-0. After losing the opening match of the ODI series, Daniel Bell Drummond’s magnificent 152 helped England draw level, only to lose the decider before a wretched T20I showing resulted in a 2-0 series loss.

The sum of all parts left England’s rankings looking pretty abysmal…

In Tests…

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Somehow England remain top of the ODI rankings however!

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The same can’t be said for T20Is…

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There were positives though, including the standout performances of captain Liam Livingstone. His efforts with the bat in all formats of the game leave his career stats looking none too shabby…

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As well as Livingstone, Sam Northeast was phenomenal in ODIs, striking three centuries on the winter tours but couldn’t replicate such form in Tests. The selection of Hampshire’s 39-year-old opening batsman James Adams (34 runs @ 8.50) in T20Is didn’t work out however and his selection is just one of many to have been brought into question by the media.

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Meanwhile Middlesex spinner Ollie Rayner kept his head above water in ODIs whilst his teammates desperately splashed whilst searching for reinforced armbands! Another spinner, Sussex’s Will Beer selection wasn’t quite as effective. After four matches, he averages a whopping 128.00 runs @ 9.85 per over. A dropped catch by wicketkeeper Joe Clarke in his first over in international cricket didn’t help his cause!

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2020 brings a T20I World Cup followed by home and away series against… South Africa, again, as well as a trip to Bangladesh. England will need to improve rapidly in order to compete and some tough selections calls lay ahead. The likes of Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan and Ben Coad are just some of those who’ll be sweating over their international futures.