Clarke Biting but Without the Bark!

I’ve scripted a few articles about batsman Joe Clarke. His previous indiscretions rightly leave him officially unselectable for England at present. Off-field misdemeanours are not the only reason why Clarke doesn’t merit international recognition. Scores of 48, 1, 29, 0, 7, 0, 6, 12 & 0 since the restart of the County Championship are pretty abysmal. His season average will drop into the mid-twenties at the conclusion of Nottinghamshire’s current match and even that is elevated by a debut hundred scored quite some time ago. Why Clarke continues to get a mention as a soon to be England player is beyond me. At the risk of repeating myself, he hasn’t committed a crime and we don’t know what every player gets up to behind closed doors but Clarke is not fit to represent his country at professional sport. In time, I have no problem with him displaying development both as a player and a person and winning England recognition but not now.

Are Clarke’s performances being affected by what is supposedly still an ongoing investigation on the part of the ECB into his conduct? Possibly and if so… tough! He has to deal with it. I don’t for one second believe that all England cricketers or footballers etc, male or female are saints and have never done anything wrong. It’s by doing wrong things that you learn. We don’t want perfect people around us because they’re probably less perfect than those who’ve messed up somewhere along the line. On that note, I wish that the tone of commentators following the Women’s football world cup would stop turning matches into X-Factor sob stories. We know that people have an agenda where they want to make out that women footballers are better idols than the men but it’s condescending, often inaccurate and painful to listen too. Just commentate on the action!

Clarke’s Case

I’ve previously written about Joe Clarke and how I didn’t want him in the England team anytime soon…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2019/01/11/first-class-cricketers-but-without-the-class/

This followed unsavoury revelations about his personal life in light of the Alex Hepburn rape trial. Fair play to Clarke though. What he needed to do was let his cricket do the talking and make his case for selection extremely difficult to ignore.

Clarke has not committed a crime or been accused of one. I previously said that given time and maturity then I’d have no qualms about him representing England.

He has commenced the 2019 campaign with scores of 112 and is currently 97 not out on his competitive debut for new employers Nottinghamshire…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8052/game/1166914/nottinghamshire-vs-yorkshire-specsavers-county-championship-division-one-2019

Should he carry on like this then an Ashes call, though he’d probably have to move up to three, could be almost certain.

As touched upon in my article posted earlier today…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2019/04/07/northeast-finds-direction/

English batsmen up and down the land are putting their hands up and demanding international recognition. It’s a welcome change to recent seasons.

Northeast Finds Direction!

Following a frustrating injury hit first campaign with his adopted county, former Kent captain Sam Northeast commenced the new season with an impressive knock of 169 for Hampshire against Essex.

It’s easy to assume that Northeast has fallen down the pecking order in terms of England selection but if he can back up his opening knock with more of the same then there’s no reason why he couldn’t gatecrash the Ashes. Incumbent Joe Denly is currently sat on the bench at the IPL. He is very much an Ed Smith selection however. Denly made 69 in his last Test innings but then James Vince made 76 in his. With Northeast performing at three and Vince opening, could the Hampshire duo both make England’s next Test squad?

Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth made runs too. He’s a very good player but the fact that previous Test shortcomings occurred against Australia in England will probably count against him. There’ll be a clamour for Joe Clarke who let his cricket do the talking when making a debut ton for Nottinghamshire meanwhile Haseeb Hameed registered a double century against the students.

Ultimately the early season signs are that unlike recent seasons, England might have some difficult selection choices to make but in a good way.

Predicting England’s Next Test Cap

Who will be England Test cricketer number 690?

Silly Point has a go at guessing who will be next to don the Test whites (Or cream!) of England.

Will it be a player plucked from the county scene, a franchise star or a groomed England Lion?

Silly Point predicts that England’s next new Test cricketer will be… Jason Roy!

Whilst we’re at it, we may as well do ODIs as well.

Silly Point boldly predicts that England’s next debutante in One-Day International cricket will be… Jofra Archer!

In the past, some of England’s selections have been…. boggling! The days of picking rabbits out of hats seem in the distant past however. As for the team’s next new blood in T20Is, how about… Jamie Overton?

Such is both the competition and make-up of England’s current squads in each format, that it’s difficult to see how and where new players can sneak in. A recall for an already capped player wouldn’t necessarily be the backwards step that it would’ve been considered in the past, only an acknowledgement of England’s current riches.

Players such as Joe Clarke (Off-field activities) and Matthew Parkinson (Injury) would’ve been serious contenders but I was dissuaded due to their current circumstances. Of course they may yet be England’s next new caps!

Disclaimer: Please note that I’ve ignored players such as Joe Denly and Olly Stone who are uncapped at Test level but in the squad for the West Indies series. My selections are based on further ahead or if any other players are to be called up during said tour.

First Class Cricketers but Without the Class!

Firstly, let’s be clear, neither Joe Clarke or Tom-Kohler-Cadmore are on trial but as soon as the former’s name popped up in Alex Hepburn rape trial articles, you couldn’t help but think it could cost him. It has! He and TKC have been dropped from the England Lions squad.

Consent is consent and not everybody settles down with a partner for life. Whether it’s in the clubs, online or wherever, people hook up for sex then move on to the next person. Clarke may consider himself unfortunate that this has all come out but the WhatsApp element of this story is particularly unsavoury. It’s embarrassing for Worcestershire even though Clarke and TKC have moved on. The suggestion is that a number of young Worcestershire cricketers are in the group.

Clarke has just relocated to Nottinghamshire and has long been touted for England honours by ex-skipper Michael Vaughan. He might have to try even harder to achieve such an honour now. For Yorkshire recruit TKC, a player who is a genuine top order white-ball option for England, he’s just fallen down the pecking order too.

Ben Duckett and Nelson Mandela in the same Sentence!

The last time that England’s cricketers were in Asia, batsman Ben Duckett was there. Despite scoring three fifties (ODIs/Tests) in Bangladesh, he had a torrid time of things in India then literally pissed off top brass the following winter in Oz. Whilst the senior team lap it up in Sri Lanka and the Lions travel to UAE, Duckett can be found playing in the Mzansi Super League in South Africa. It’s the latest T20 league to pop up on the global calendar (Yeah that’s right, Canada and Hong Kong had competitions before SA!).

Representing the wonderfully named Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, The stocky left-hander smashed 75 (5×4, 5×6) runs from just 45 deliveries. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come after some lean patches post that run-laden summer a couple of years ago. Next year he’ll join Ben Slater and Joe Clarke in an exciting new batting line-up for Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. He’s probably still quite some way off an England recall but the shoots of recovery have started sprouting.

Another left-handed batsman who’ll be hoping to use the Mzansi league as a springboard back to international selection is Dawid Malan. The discarded Middlesex stalwart will lead Cape Town Blitz while domestic colleague Eoin Morgan will turn out for Tshwane Spartans. Morgan is a left-hander who doesn’t need to work his way back into the England fold, he’s already there!

Cricket Captain 2018: Personal Milestones

The year is 2032 and Alastair Cook need not sweat!

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The run-getting of captain Max Holden has been integral to England’s Test success. An unfortunate recent habit of getting run out, including twice in a sensational Ashes series victory in Australia, have contributed to his average returning to something near mortality. Not that long ago it exceeded sixty!

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Occasional gloveman Ollie Pope has been another reliable run getter. His conversion rate is particularly impressive and had until recently helped him maintain an average just shy of fifty.

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Sam Hain has also piled on the runs, not just in Tests but in ODIs and more recently T20Is as well. Like Pope, Hain’s Test conversion rate is outstanding as is the case for him in ODI cricket. Hain is England’s leading run-scorer ever in the fifty-over format.

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Joe Clarke, who like Pope has been known to don the gloves, has also chalked up plenty of runs if not quite finding the consistency he would’ve liked.

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Sam Curran’s averages might be a little disappointing but he’s been a crucial impact player and continues to improve with bat and ball in all formats of the game. He reached 200 Test wickets in the same innings as Josh Tongue who we’ll come to later.

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Spin-bowling all-rounder Brad Taylor…

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… and wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall, are two players who have been known to really step up to the plate when the chips have been down!

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After a woeful start to his international career, Matt Critchley silenced the doubters by going onto become one of England’s most reliable middle order Test batsman!

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Josh Tongue had to wait patiently whilst Jamie Porter (180) and Ben Coad (233) assumed the mantle from James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Now though Tongue has in excess of 200 wickets at both Test and ODI level as well as nearing 100 victims in T20Is. He’s some way ahead of second placed Jofra Archer (82) as England’s leading wicket-taker in the shortest format.

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Spinner Matthew Parkinson’s star had appeared to wane but he’s upped his performances once again to attain 665 Test wickets. That puts him ahead of James Anderson at the top of England’s all-time list of Test wicket-takers. He’s also performed effectively in white-ball cricket despite his workload been managed over the years. Parkinson has relegated the unfortunate Dom Bess (287 wickets @ 28.76) to the role of Stuart MacGill to his own Shane Warne.

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Tom Kohler-Cadmore is England’s leading run-scored in T20I cricket and has been known to really turn it on at World Cups both in T20I and ODI cricket. Like the next man we’ll come too, his averages have dipped over time but a renaissance in the twilight of his career has been welcome..

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Alongside TK-C at the top of the order in limited overs cricket, Ed Pollock has had his moments but an ODI batting average that once exceeded forty has declined dramatically. He recently compiled a ninth ODI century to feast following famine!

Players such as Ed Barnard, Ryan Higgins, Saqib Mahmood, Feroze Khushi and Jack Plom are amongst those to have remained part of the squad over time and had their moments in the sun.