Cricket 19: NWHTC R6 – Squad Announcement

Your England squad for the North Western Hemisphere Test Championship Round Six match against Scotland at Scotland Cricket Ground is as follows:

Dawid Malan

Haseeb Hameed

Ben Stokes

Joe Root (Captain)

Moeen Ali

Jos Buttler

Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)

Sam Curran

Chris Woakes

Stuart Broad

James Anderson

Liam Dawson

Jamie Porter

Dawid Malan returns to Test cricket after impressing in the first half of the Global ODI Invitational. Though not normally an opener in this format Dawid is a seasoned opening batsman in limited overs cricket, already has Test experience and we believe is an adaptable cricketer capable of thriving at the top of the order in Test cricket.

James Anderson returns to the squad having been rested for our last Test but Jamie Porter retains his place after performing well on debut. Liam Dawson provides another spin bowling option having performed superbly in the early stages of the Global ODI Invitational.

The team are looking forward to the business end of the inaugural North Western Hemisphere Test Championship and pushing for a place in the final. The players are extremely grateful for the continued support of our committed fan base.

We’ll see you in Scotland!

Cricket 19: GODII – Namibian Amphibians Flounder on Dry Land!

After four wins from four we headed south of the equator for the next stop on our global ODI adventure.

Hosts Namibia won the toss, chose to bowl and reduced us to 121-4 and 219-6 only to see Sam Curran (150) and Liam Dawson (125 not out) compile a record-breaking seventh wicket partnership of 284 (The previous record was 177!). The duo’s combo propelled us to a world record ODI score of 510-7!

The competition’s leading run-scorer Dawid Malan (54), Ben Stokes (54), Jonny Bairstow (53) and Moeen Ali (43) all scored quickly but blew golden opportunities to make a big score. Liam Livingstone (3) and skipper Jos Buttler (7) completely missed out whilst Test captain Joe Root was rested from the long voyage to Southern Africa.

Corben Cassim (1-119) set an undesirable new record for worst ODI bowling figures though Jayden-Lee Fitzpatrick (0-116) pushed him hard. Spinner Zaki George finished 0-99 from his ten overs (Would you like a flake on that?) but Magnus Mahomed (3-86) claimed 3 wickets. Rarely, all his dismissals were caught & bowled.

Namibia began their improbable run chase with all eyes on Lennox Larson. Larson had made two tons in the competition before this match and briefly displayed his ability before being clean bowled by Chris Woakes (2-22) for 13. Woakes then accounted for Mario Dollie for a duck. An example of the flow of runs well and truly running dry in the Namib Desert for the man they call Kart Sheep! (Kart Sheep, because of Mario Kart and Dolly the Sheep. Get it? Aargh forget it!)

Philip Yvonne (57) and Jayden-Lee Fitzpatrick (29) lifted the home side from 21-2 to 100-2 with a strong batting display. Stokes (2-26) accounted for Fitzpatrick however and Moeen (2-45) terminated Yvonne’s career best knock.

Stokes added another victim before it became the Tom Curran show for the second match running. The Surrey star ripped through the middle lower order to finish with figures of 4-17. Moeen then claimed the final wicket courtesy of supreme stumper Jonny Bairstow’s fifth catch of the innings. Though the match was played in Cheetah country, all wickets were taken legitimately!

154 all out was the sum total of Namibia’s batting efforts meaning an earth-shattering 356-run margin of victory. Their top order batsmen have talent but with such a weak bowling attack it makes it difficult for the likes of the imaginatively monikered Henrik Larson to prosper. For the record, all our players returned to England safely. We left no skeletons on the coast!

There were some competitive matches elsewhere in the competition with much improved run getting from the emerging nations. With five wins from five, we sit joint top alongside European rivals the Netherlands. They travel to Canada next whilst we host Nepal at Headingley. Will we both still be unbeaten when we meet in round seven, the final ODI before returning to the Test format?

Dawson and Vince Hard Done by ECB not ICC!

Following on from my latest audiocast where I touched upon the subject of Liam Dawson and James Vince being unable to represent Hampshire in the One-Day Cup final, I feel that it’s necessary to look into things a bit further.

It’s a huge shame that these two players, both of whom are likely to more often than not be sub-fielding and carrying drinks for England (But you never know what can happen?!) can’t play in the domestic season’s marquee showpiece. It is of course only appropriate in the interest of fairness that they can’t. It would be unfair for them to be getting match practice, keeping their eye in, staying in form and gaining confidence when the players of the other World Cup participants can’t do so. You do have to question the ECB’s structuring of the English county season though as it is they who should’ve seen this coming and prevented it from happening. The One-Day Cup was played in an exclusive block up to a couple of weeks ago so why on Earth did we then return to First Class cricket for a couple of weeks before the One-Day final randomly slots in to the fixture list?

It’s a shame for the players in question and a kick in the teeth for devoted fans of a county game that in most people’s eyes is seriously struggling as a spectator sport. Remember that Vince is Hampshire’s captain and Dawson has been their star player this year.

Regarding Dawson, there are rumours that he’s been courted by Warwickshire but also that he may have hinted to Hampshire that he only wants a white-ball contract in the future. I’m disappointed to hear that but realistically he’s probably struggling to play Test cricket again. He’s been mightily effective in the PSL for a couple of years and if he can get IPL and CPL gigs as well as playing One-Day and Twenty20 cricket in England then there’s just about enough cricket to occupy him in the summer. This is before we consider the PSL, BPL and Big Bash etc in the winter time, not to mention the Hong Kong Blitz, Global T20 Canada and whatever pops up next! The riches of these gigs are far greater than the county game and a lot less gruelling so the appeal is understandable but it’s also confirmation that the standard of the four-day game in England in particular will continue to decline. If the best players desert it when still in their twenties, we could be left with only young players pre peak and old players post peak to fill the teams.

As for Vince, his appearances in an England shirt this summer have been exactly what everyone expected of him. Pretty but unsubstantial. Not out of his depth but not excelling. How will bench warming for England help him press his case for a top three Test vacancy come the Ashes?

Hopefully Dawson and Vince will get some game time at the World Cup. I’m a big fan of involving the whole squad when it comes to major tournaments but whether or not the structure of the 2019 competition and England’s results will allow it only time will tell.

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: CC/ODC – Post ODC Update

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Hi followers

The graphic above displays my standings now that the group stage of the One-Day Cup has reached its conclusion. International call-ups, injuries and squad rotation have all played their part in scuppering my best laid plans. I’ve been reasonably aggressive with captaincy changes and have tinkered with transfers to get as many players on terra firma as possible. I’ve kept half my captaincy changes for the rest of the County Championship and for the most part have two thirds plus of my transfer allocation left. Now it’s about making sure that my XIs consist of long-term certain starters and saving transfers for the occasional uncontrollable. I do have to bear in mind players such as Marnus Labuschagne who won’t be around for the duration of the summer. Some players have arrived especially for the second phase of the County Championship (Bavuma/Rahane) or have returned from the IPL (Curran.S/Livingstone).

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Livingstone is a batsman who bowls and a good catcher. Curran is listed as a bowler not an all-rounder and with him not being in England’s World Cup squad, both are worth consideration.

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Leading points scorers

Across my teams my star performers have been Hampshire’s Liam Dawson (1027 pts), Sussex’s David Wiese (805) and Kent’s Matt Milnes (748).

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Dawson is now the third most selected player and Milnes is now in 17% of people’s teams but I’ve had him in from the beginning when he was in few people’s XIs so I was gaining points that few TFC participants were. The aforementioned Labuschagne (Listed as a batsman) hasn’t always fired with the bat but has regularly chipped in with the white orb. That’s the advantage of selecting a batsman who bowls because even if they fail with the bat (Remember a duck scores -20) they can still break even or contribute positively with the ball.  Yorkshire’s Jonny Tattersall, listed as a batsman but crucially keeping wicket regularly so claiming catches (10pts) and stumpings (15pts) has totalled 538 points. Some people have cottoned on but he’s still in only 5% of teams. Obviously some of my points scored have been doubled when said individual has been made captain, for example: Dawson has always captained for me when playing so has contributed 2054 points for me.

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Most selected players

At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve always advised picking players that have been selected by few participants of the game.

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Having returned from injury, I slotted Essex’s Matt Coles in to one of my teams. He’s been picked by only 0.3% of TFC participants but has gained 280 points for me (Some doubled) from only a few appearances. Dean Elgar (A useful bowling option come CC long summer days) and Mohammad Abbas are a couple of 1%ers that I’ve snuck in recently. Following his temporary relocation up north, Dom Bess is another player that I might transfer in before next week.

My minimum target is for one of my teams to finish in the top 1000 but disappointingly I’ve just slipped out of the top 1k! Hopefully I can get back up there and will keep you posted later this summer!

England’s Alternative ODI Squad!

As we approach the business end of the One-Day Cup and England commence their international summer, here’s an alternative England ODI squad based on domestic white-ball performances so far this summer:

Playing XI:

Varun Chopra, Essex (263r @ 87.67)

Billy Godleman, Derbyshire (479r @ 95.80)

Sam Hain, Warwickshire (301r @ 60.20)

Steven Croft, Lancashire (375r @ 125.00)

Jonny Tattersall, Yorkshire – Wicketkeeper (205r @ 51.25 / 10c/2s)

Liam Dawson, Hampshire – Captain (232r @ 46.40 / 13w @ 18.00)

Craig Overton, Somerset (146r @ 146 / 11w @ 12.09)

Nathan Sowter, Middlesex (15w @ 18.13)

Matt Coles, Essex (7w @ 17.14)

Luke Fletcher, Nottinghamshire (14w @ 17.93)

Saqib Mahmood, Lancashire (20w @ 15.85)

Squad Members:

Tom Westley, Essex (295r @ 49.17)

Tom Moores, Nottinghamshire – Wicketkeeper (196r @ 49.00 / 6c/2s)

Alex Thomson, Warwickshire (215r @ 53.75)

Stuart Meaker, Surrey (5w @ 24.20)

What are your thoughts?

Are there any players that I’ve omitted that you think merit recognition?

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: CC/ODC – Early Season Update

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After two rounds of the County Championship and before we hit the One-Day Cup trail, I thought that I’d provide an update of how I’m getting along.

The main graphic at the top of this post details my current positions in the table and I’m optimistic that I can build on a respectable if not sensational start. Having said that, my top ranked team is placed in an encouraging 524th position.

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Based on where one of my team’s were sitting at one stage, there are at least 7,500 entrants in the game. For the record, the 100th placed team has 2,410 points. 1st place has 3,096 though I’m only around 500 points off being placed in the top ten! As you can see, there’s only about 400 points separating my top two teams but nearly 3,000 positions between them.

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Remember that some teams didn’t play in the first round of matches so have only played once not twice. This was critical to my team selection thus far. I’ve managed to ensure that I’ve had at least ten if not all eleven players playing and have only made one (Out of 30) of my transfers in any of my teams. That could change though as I potentially tinker a little for the One-Day Cup. The fact that the cup is played in a block means that I accept making a couple of transfers to commit to the One-Day competition.

Will players like Harry Brook, Jack Burnham and Matt Milnes play the white-ball games?

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Milnes has been one of my good left-field picks. I selected him off the back of claiming some wickets in a university warm-up match. He’s only ever played First Class cricket but I fancy that we’ll see a white-ball debut soon.

Wicketkeeper Ricardo Vasconcelos (Selected by 5.5%) who produced a knock of 184 against Glamorgan, Durham’s Gareth Harte (2%) and a sneakily snuck in Marnus Labuschagne (1.5%) who scored a ton and claimed three wickets on debut, are other slightly under the radar players that have contributed well for me. Harte and Labuschagne are both listed as batsmen but have contributed with the ball. That was no fluke but a significant part of why I selected them. It’s my team that has a batting line-up of specialist batsman that has particularly struggled but I’ll maintain the faith for the start of the One-Day Cup at least.

Getting your captain (They score double points) correct is vital.

I’ll stick with Liam Dawson and David Wiese who’ve made vital contributions for me as well as Steven Mullaney who should be effective in fifty-over cricket.

I’ll almost certainly change Toby Roland-Jones though as I think I need captains who are more certain of getting a bat in the One-Day Cup. Based on his performances in the County Championship thus far, Roland-Jones is clearly still re-discovering his groove. He may well stay in one of my team’s but not as captain.

Roland-Jones’ Middlesex skipper Dawid Malan has made vital contributions with both bat and ball for me, as he bids for an England recall and another shot at Ashes glory.

Keaton Jennings is captain of my wife’s team that she selected though I’m providing transfer consultancy during the course of the campaign. Typically at this stage she’s ahead of three of my teams! I anticipate that KJ will bowl a bit in the one-dayers so could rack up some points. I really do think that your captain must be some form of all-rounder. If you’re skipper is purely a batsman and they score 0 (-20=-40) and 4 ala Ben Duckett this week then you’re relying on catches to get said player back in the black. As for Gareth Ice Berg who made a pair against Yorkshire… I’m glad that I didn’t provide him with the captain’s armband!

Should I bring players like Alex Hales, Luke Wright or Ross Taylor, signed by Middlesex exclusively for the One-Day Cup, into my team?

The New Zealander is a specialist batsman so won’t take any bonus wickets. He’s normally a good catcher though, so I’ll see how many people pick him. I don’t want to select him if everybody else does. I want to get points that other participants in the game aren’t getting. Hales, Wright and Taylor are currently selected by next to nobody but that could change over the course of the next couple of days as participants tinker for the One-Day Cup. Of course transferring these players in will cost two out of thirty season transfers because they’ll need transferring out again.

What about this guy?

Come tuesday night, I’ll be scouring the club website’s (All of them!) for squad news.

I’ll provide a further update of my progress after the group stages of the One-Day Cup are complete.