Flying in the Face of Unoriginal Opinion!

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Hampshire’s James Vince has been recalled to the England squad for this winter’s Ashes campaign and it’s not unreasonable to say that the reaction has generally been one of an underwhelming sensation.

I’m going to propose a radical notion in this world of scepticism… let’s back him! Let’s back him to do what many others including the likes of Justin Langer, Marvin Atapattu and Mark Butcher have done, to be a better player second time around.

Let’s back Ballance too whilst we’re at it.

All these people, whether they be pundits or fans, wanting players with First Class averages of 50+. Those players don’t exist and it doesn’t mean anything anyway, as past selections have told us.

We’d all select different squads but let’s stop moaning and back the players that are on the jet plane. There’s bound to be injuries and the like so I’m sure some people will get their wishes anyway.

Hopefully England’s lineup will be invincibly balanced come the first Ashes Test!

Patience Pays… Hopefully!

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This isn’t the first article I’ve written about Shai Hope and it probably won’t be the last. Here’s just one previous script about the Barbados born batsman.

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/hope-for-west-indies/

Before this Test, Hope had 391 runs in 11 Tests at an average of just 18.61. In the first Test against England he registered scores of 15 and 4 yet here he is unbeaten on 147 against England’s two leading wicket takers of all time (James Anderson & Stuart Broad) who have nearly 1000 Test wickets between them. Some may argue that opportunity has only presented itself because of lack of interest on the part of the T20 franchise globe trotters but West Indies’ selectors deserve credit for persevering with Hope. I thought that he was picked too early but it may be that those experiences gained are what have helped him reap the rewards at Headingley. England’s selectors should take note. Maybe had they stuck with any of Sam Robson, James Vince, Ben Duckett or pick from many others then those players would be scoring Test centuries right now. Something about Steve Waugh and 27 Tests, Marvan Atapattu starting with five ducks and a single, I know I know, I sound like a broken record. There is no better way to learn than failure. Tom Westley might be struggling now but international cricket is a step up and you have to adapt. Let’s provide our batsmen with the opportunity to do so otherwise we will continue on this merry go round of English willow men. One positive for England that stems from Hope’s Headingley run-fest is that it means Stoneman, Westley and Dawid Malan will have another opportunity to show that they belong on the Test scene and really step up when it matters.

Hopefully (Sorry!) England’s selectors will realise that there comes a time when a horse needs backing. I’ve moaned before about people wanting the unblemished. That’s why we keep moving onto another uncapped batsman. All these people campaigning for Stoneman, already he’s damaged goods and they want to move onto the next guy. That’ll be say Joe Clarke but the notion of recalling Vince or Duckett etc and the thought that they might be better for their tough experiences is beyond the comprehension of many. Imagine if Australia had not recalled Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn or Justin Langer or Sri Lanka had not recalled Atapattu, a man with over 5000 Test runs including five double tons and a ridiculously good conversion rate.

It may not get any better than this for Hope and he’ll continue to average around 20 but I believe that he’ll go onto average 30 plus and score a few Test hundreds. The West Indies now need to show the same sort of commitment to his brother Kyle and one or two others whilst England need do the same with their contingent… hopefully!

Cap Closer Than Ever for Klinger!

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Aaron Finch, check.

Moises Henriques, check.

Tim Paine, check.

Jhye Richardson, check.

AJ Tye, check.

Michael Klinger, check.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-sri-lanka-2016-17/content/story/1080449.html

That’s just the few names that Silly Point put forward for selection for Australia’s T20I party for the series against Sri Lanka that have indeed made the squad then.

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

I knew I should have listed Ashton Turner as well!

36-year-old run machine Michael Klinger is finally rewarded for his consistent run getting both in Australia and England in recent years. The stars have finally aligned for Klinger, what with the poor scheduling of this series meaning that it clashes with Australia’s Test tour of India, therefore opening a few vacancies in the squad as well as Klinger’s Perth Scorchers winning the Big Bash just a couple of weeks ago, thanks in no small part to Klinger’s quickfire 71 not out in the final. Scorchers coach Justin Langer is also involved with the squad to take on Sri Lanka and there’s no doubt that he will have vociferously campaigned for Klinger’s inclusion.

Though there were tears of joy for Klinger, there probably wasn’t such emotion for either this year’s Big Bash leading run-scorer, Ben Dunk (364 runs @ 52.00), or its leading wicket-taker, Sean Abbott (20 wickets @ 16.15). Abbott’s time will surely come but the proverbial ship has almost certainly long since left the harbour for Dunk, leaving him stranded on 3 T20I caps, won back in 2014. There are no doubt countless examples of why international selection isn’t as simple as picking the leading run-scorer or wicket-taker but with this series coming straight off the back of a Big Bash campaign, a little meritocracy might have been welcome.

There also wasn’t room for Cameron White following his recent criticism of the make-up/selection of the national side.

The three match T20I series commences on 17th February in Melbourne.