Antarctic T20 Ice Blast! (Silly Point Ultra-Exclusive Story!)

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Cricket’s administrators recently proposed suggestions to help preserve Test cricket. This was in part due to the potential risk of some billionaire creating yet another global T20 franchise tournament and stealing players. Well those moves may have come too late because an unnamed mogul is rumoured to be ready to inject millions into the launching of a new T20 competition. The Antarctic Ice Blast is believed to be prepped for launch as early and appropriately as 2020. Like the identity of the league’s founder, the potential franchise owners remain unknown though TV’s Jon Snow, former Netherlands footballer Arron Winter and New Zealand cricketer Tim Southee are all rumoured to have put down a deposit. Silly Point has however seen the names of the proposed teams and they are as follows:

Bentley Subglacial Trench EmperorsLake Vostok LakersMcMurdo Station PinnipedsMount Erebus MountaineersOnyx River NematodesRiiser-Larsen Ice Shelf IcefishRoss Island Seals and Vinson Massif Explorers.

Englishmen Samit Patel, Ravi Bopara and Joe Denly are all rumoured to have signed up for the inaugural draft as is Test captain Joe Root. There is even a suggestion that recently retired Kevin Pietersen may come out of retirement for one last Blast. English players are perceived to be a vital addition to the franchises because of their experience of playing in cold conditions. Northerners in particular, players from the likes of Durham, Yorkshire and Lancashire are particularly sought after. Franchise owners are rumoured to have been dialling the mobile numbers of Steve Harmison, Darren Gough and Andrew Flintoff in audacious bids to lure the former England trio out of retirement.

West Indies’ Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, Indian skipper Virat Kohli, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan and Australia’s Michael Klinger as well as former national skipper Steve Smith, are also rumoured to have put their names forward for the first draft. With Silly Point having seen exclusive advertising, we can advise that former Italy all-rounder Gareth Berg has already emerged as the league’s poster boy. Soon it’ll be hard to move around London Underground, Sydney Business District or the streets of Mumbai without seeing Berg’s flop of blond hair, his arms folded, in front of a mass of ice and a set of stumps… made of ice! That’s right, they’ll be replaced every time they’re broken or maybe they’re unbreakable ice!

It’s understood that the Blast’s benefactor is willing to contribute funds towards the building of renewable energy laden environmentally friendly stadiums for each franchise. These stadiums will have both training and accommodation facilities as well as purpose built wickets. Retractable roofs will come as standard.

Again, Silly Point has gained exclusive access to information and the names of the stadiums are set to be as follows:

Bentley Ballpark, Vostok Park, McMurdo Station, Erebus Arena, Onyx Bowl, Riiser-Larsen Cricket Ground (RLCG), Ross Dome and Vinson Field

The league’s creator is also set to launch their own airline, Antarctic Fantastic Air, to assist fans when travelling to matches.

Some in the cricket world are sceptical regarding the prospect of yet another T20 league in an already congested calendar, about the less than desirable cricket weather and how exactly fans will attach themselves to a team. For some though this is seen an excellent advert for spreading the global appeal of the game. Given the reduction of teams at the 2019 ODI World Cup, many cricket lovers as well as administrators are delighted to see cricket venture into an untapped market. The ICC are already lining up Antarctica as host for both an ODI World Cup and T20 World Cup as well as Champions Trophy venue post 2030.

One frustrating thing about the proposed tournament is that it’s expected to be played out behind a TV pay wall. Rumours are that the competition will have its own channel and will cost a one-off fee of around £250.00 before requiring subscribers to enter a 20 digit code followed by another 20 digit code on their remote control. Pommie Mbangwa, Michael Slater and everybody’s favourite insighter Graeme Swann, are tipped to be among the commentary and punditry team. Instagram and Dave are believed to have exclusive rights to highlights packages whilst if you sign up with the league founder’s rumoured planned new mobile phone company, Antarctic Connexions Mobile, you can gain exclusive access to almost immediate video wicket alerts! Continuing on the screen front, renowned film maker Werner Herzog is set to return to Antarctica and shoot a documentary about the competition’s inception, infancy and general learning to walk.

With some international teams still reluctant to travel to Pakistan for security reasons, Pakistan are rumoured to have already enquired about the possibility of playing home matches there following some disappointing results in UAE conditions. English county side Hampshire are said to be extremely frustrated to have missed out to Antarctica as an English Test venue. Because of the technicalities of Antarctic ownership, it’s understood that all nations could potentially play home games in Antarctica if they wish. Boyd Rankin, Ed Joyce and Johan Botha are believed to have already relocated to the southern continent in order to meet residency requirements ahead of rumoured bids to join the Antarctic national team. Peter Moores is slated as coach… slated, he will be if results don’t go too well! Essex are believed to have enquired about whether players, hell just people, could join them on Kolpak deals as soon as this summer.

Silly Point is delighted to present this exclusive story to you and will keep our loyal followers abreast of any further developments.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: Best Of!

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In anticipation of the release of Big Ant’s latest cricket game titled Ashes Cricket, slated to hit PS4s and XboX Ones come November 16th, I thought we’d celebrate by looking back at some of the highlights from Don Bradman Cricket 17. There were some classic matches featuring England against a variety of opposition from all corners of the globe. Some matches ended with victory for England, some ended with defeat… and some neither!

A Lyth Less Ordinary!

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Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth wrote his name in the history books as England totalled in excess of 300 when chasing against Nepal in a One-Day-International but was it enough…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/a-lyth-less-ordinary/

Trumped!

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Cancer survivor Michael Carberry returned to England colours for a T20I against USA…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/don-bradman-cricket-17-england-v-usa-t20i-trumped/

Greece Frightening!

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Haseeb Hameed batted slickly against Greece but could his teammates back him up in Corfu…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/don-bradman-cricket-17-greece-frightening/

Thai’d in Knots!

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Hameed continued his fine form against Thailand at London’s Olympic Stadium in ‘The Test of the Century so Far’…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/don-bradman-cricket-17-thaid-in-knots/

Paper, Scissors, Stoneman!

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On his international debut in Liverpool, Mark Stoneman batted like Mark Stoneman as England’s ODI against Vanuatu went to the wire…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/don-bradman-cricket-17-paper-scissors-stoneman/

Oh and this guy scored a couple of First Class centuries…

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Dawson’s Creek’s Banks Haven’t Burst!

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File photo: Liam Dawson brings up his maiden ODI fifty against Scotland in Edinburgh.

That’s right, a headline announcing that something hasn’t happened!

Water gently meandering along a creek, a tranquil and serene scene. The water levels rise though and the creek’s banks burst. For Liam Dawson however, the banks haven’t burst, the water levels haven’t risen and there’s been no drowning. The water has consistently gently meandered along.

2-129 in India on debut got him up and running. There have been worse starts to Test careers. Figures of 2-67, 2-34, 0-26 and 1-42 against South Africa leave Dawson with a more than respectable bowling average for a spinner of 33.80 in Test cricket in England. Along with a penchant for dismissing Hashim Amla, that’s a decent start. Dawson is 27, an age where he’s gained experience but should have his best years ahead of him. England’s selectors however have regressed, pressured by the public and media, they’ve already ditched ‘Daws’ and moved onto Mason Crane. Should 20-year-old Crane be left with a bowling average of 42.57 after four Tests and average a healthy 33.80 in England will he too be ditched?

Dawson’s axing on the cue of social media opinion reminds of the time that Ian Blackwell was chipping in with wickets and Anthony McGrath was keeping things tight for England. They weren’t setting the world on fire but they were, understatedly, making a contribution. An article in a newspaper questioned their returns and they were ditched never to be seen in England colours again.

I’ll bore myself let alone my readers if I repeat previous sentiment about English fans always wanting the new and undamaged goods as well as how investing and persisting in a player is of value but to cut through the trees to get to the wood… I’m suggesting that Dawson, like many players, may have been given up on too soon. Still, if he’s lucky, he might earn an England recall and carve out a decent international career when Ashes Cricket arrives on the PS4 in November…

Disclaimer: For the uneducated, please be aware that the lines between reality and virtuality on my blog often become very blurred, so much so that I can’t remember if Haseeb Hameed’s twin centuries against Thailand at London’s Olympic Stadium were in real life or only in my living room!

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/don-bradman-cricket-17-thaid-in-knots/

Don Bradman Cricket 17: Thai’d in Knots!

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Some are already dubbing it ‘The Greatest Test Match of All Time’. Thailand’s first ever foray into cricket’s ultimate battle, played out in the surrounds of another Test debutant, London’s Olympic Stadium, a match that would go all the way to the proverbial wire.

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Haseeb Hameed (141 and 132) reaches his first century of the match.

England reached 330-9 (Hameed 141, Bairstow 85) in their first innings before declaring in order to attack the tourists with the new ball under lights. James Anderson (5-38) exploited the conditions as Thailand tumbled to 29-4. Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes claimed the first four catches in the evening session. Thailand recovered to 81-4 before Ryan Raina threw his wicket away to the final delivery of the premier day’s play. Raina’s 27 was the second highest score of the tourists’ first innings, making Mohammed Haque’s 112 not out even the more incredible. The Thai’s last wicket stand produced 51 runs as they trickled to 191 all out.

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Gloveman Ben Foakes snaffled Thailand’s first four wickets and would go onto double that total in the match.

England were 173-2 at one stage in their second innings and looked well set to put Thailand out of sight however the usual collapse occurred before the home side once again chose to avoid the ignominy of being bowled out, declaring this time on 280-9. Just like in the hosts’ first innings, all dismissals were exclusively via spin. Haseeb Hameed then followed up his first innings 141 by writing his name in the record books. The Lancashire willow wielder eventually succumbed for 132 this time around. An outstanding achievement on the part of the young Lancastrian, to have registered a century in each innings of a Test match. He probably wishes that England could play all their Tests at the Olympic Stadium. No other batsman passed 50 in England’s second outing.

All that equated to Thailand requiring 420 to win their first ever Test match. Achieving it would be the third highest Test run chase ever. At 62-4 the visitors looked dead and buried but had reached the halfway point, 210 before losing their fifth wicket. Captain Joe Root deserves great credit for the move as part-timer Keaton Jennings it was who claimed the vital scalp of Daniel Jacobs (107) and in doing so, possibly gave himself one more match to save his Test career. Mason Crane (Match analysis: 38-6-146-2) then doubled his match wicket tally as Thailand slipped into the abyss at 226-6. They made their way to 267 late in the day before Stuart Broad (5-84) struck to provide England’s players with a more comfortable night’s sleep than would have been the case with only six wickets down.

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Unusual suspect Keaton Jennings (7-1-20-1) terminated a 148-run partnership.

England were made to work hard on the fourth day but no sooner had Thailand accumulated 300 they lost their eighth wicket and at 318-9 were being read the last rights. By the time they posted 400-9 English hearts were a flutter. Lower order batsman Pengkumpta (106 not out), wicketless and run less in the match prior to the fourth innings, brought up the fifth century of the match, the fourth batsman to score one and the third for Thailand. With his side on 410, just ten runs short of arguably the most astounding result in the history of Test cricket and with England skipper Joe Root possibly regretting both declarations, Pengkumpta’s partner, number eleven Sungnard, who fought hard with both bat and ball in the match, went for one big shot too many and as a nation, two nations, even the world held its collective breath… Gary Ballance held the catch on the boundary. England running out victorious by the minor margin of just 9 runs.

Haseeb Hameed aggregated 273 runs in the match, James Anderson (6-105) and Stuart Broad (6-132) both claimed a fifer and stumper Ben Foakes totalled eight victims. We did drop a few too many catches, including the Anderson/Crane slip combo that went viral but there were contributions throughout the composition with Ben Stokes (3-111) and Sam Curran (2-77) backing up a rejuvenated Anderson and Broad.

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James Anderson and Mason Crane combined to squander a chance in the slips.

On behalf of the England team, I’d like to congratulate our guests Thailand, on being part of an epic few days in the history of Test cricket. I’m proud of our side for coming through though, particularly after the difficult results of recent times. I’m pleased to say that we don’t expect wholesale changes to the side come our next outing as we head off on the quest for consistency.

We can even laugh about moments such as these…

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Err… boys. Some interesting running between the wickets!

Maybe our new kit was part of the reason for our inspired performance. We’ll be sure to don it again next time we take to the crease.

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Don Bradman Cricket 17: How Not to Take a Catch!

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How not to take a catch, courtesy of James Anderson and Mason Crane. At least the new kit looks snazzy!

England have put themselves in a commanding position at the end of the premier day’s play in the inaugural Test match to be played at London’s Olympic Stadium.

England made a cheeky declaration having reached 330-9 (Hameed 141, Bairstow 85), providing themselves with the opportunity to claim some Thai wickets with the pink ball under lights. The hosts soon had the tourists in trouble and by the close of play Thailand had subsided to 81-5 (Anderson 3-17). Stumper Ben Foakes snaffled the first four victims and after the shoots of recovery having been 29-4, Thailand lost a wicket to the final delivery of the day. It could have been even better for England had they not dropped three catches, the most spectacular being the Anderson/Crane slip combo pictured above.

Look out for a full match report in the coming days as England desperately bid to return to winning ways. Of course we have a habit of blowing good starts so we won’t count our chickens just yet!

Warriors DVD Review

Cricket and Female Genital Mutilation. Not necessarily a combination that you might think would go together and possibly the last subject matter you’d have considered for your next movie night!

This isn’t so much a film review but more just an advice that I’ve watched it and an invite for you to do the same. The film follows the Maasai Warriors cricket team from their homes in rural Kenya to their attempt at the Last Man Stands World Championship just a few years ago.

The team are not just out to play bat and ball but to lead a crusade against the female genital mutilation that takes place in Kenya.

There is a saying in Maasai culture that goes “The eye that leaves the village sees further”. For the Maasai Warriors their trip to London not only provides them with the opportunity to visit Lords and play cricket but means that they return to their village with greater authority, respect and voices to be heard.

Can they get their elders to end the practice of female genital mutilation in their community?

Silly Point provides Warriors with a score of…

91 not out

Derby England’s New North!

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I’m looking forward to attending some cricket in 2017.

Maybe I’ll go and watch some matches at the Champions Trophy.

Oh wait, all matches will be played in either Birmingham, Cardiff or London.

Maybe I’ll go and watch some matches at the Women’s World Cup then.

Oh wait, all matches will be played in either Bristol, Derby, Leicester, London or Taunton.

That’s a minimum four-hour round trip for us Yorkshire folk. Pity any Durham fans that would like to see some major tournament action!