Six to Watch: T20I Status – Team Special

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Following my article regarding players in the men’s game to look out for come T20I status being applied to all associate nations, here’s a Six to Watch Team Special…

Argentina

The South American side used to benefit from regular visits from touring MCC sides and therefore played First Class fixtures. They’ve appeared in the ICC Trophy but have slipped off the ICC World Cricket League structure so it’ll be interesting to see what route back to cricket recognition they can take.

Canada

The inaugural Global T20 Canada kicks off this month, complete with the usual T20 franchise brigade, Chris Gayle, Steven Smith and Shahid Afridi included.

https://www.gt20.ca

It’s to be hoped that the competition ignites interest amongst the local community in The Land of Maple Leaf. Canada have had their moments in cricket history, most notably when John Davison smacked a record-breaking century at the 2003 World Cup.

They’ve also had some shockers though, including being dismissed for 36 by Sri Lanka in the same tournament. They were also routed for 45 against England in 1979. Canada will be relying on expats for now but hopefully native Canadians will be inspired to take up the game and break into the national side.

Denmark

Not that long ago Denmark were one of the there or there about nations beyond the Test world. Their place on the cricket scene was somewhat akin to how Netherlands have been in the past couple of decades. Players such as Ole Mortensen and Freddie Klokker appeared on the county circuit with Mortensen averaging just 23.88 with the ball in the First Class game. When Demark defeated Israel by all ten wickets at the 1994 ICC Trophy, Mortensen claimed figures of 7-19! They’ve somewhat fallen away since, though former England Test player Amjad Khan has helped them return to prominence in recent years. Expats are almost vital to developing cricket in the associate nations but it’s great to see some young local talent in the Denmark squad. Danish born Klokker who was on the books of both Warwickshire and Derbyshire tends to don the gloves these days and his county experience complete with First Class hundreds will be vital if the Danes are to be great again!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederik_Klokker

Fiji

In bygone years Fiji benefited from their proximity to Australia. They even toured Oz and hosted New Zealand as well as been regulars in the ICC Trophy. In recent years they’ve been well down the ICC World Cricket League spectrum, falling as low as division seven. Their squad is full of indigenous talent including many players still in their teens.

When Fiji defeated Wellington in a First Class fixture in 1948, it was the man with the longest name (IL Bula) in cricket history who led the way with 88 in Fiji’s second innings to set the Pacific islanders up for a heart-pumping one-wicket win…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/review2012/content/player/24046.html

Rwanda

Rwanda have put a lot of effort into raising the profile of cricket in their country and if for no other reason than their cricket ground is so beautiful then it’s to be hoped that they can join the African forces to be reckoned with.

Captain Eric Dusingizimana famously broke a world record with an epic fifty-one hour net session.

http://www.rcsf.org.uk

South Korea

South Korea have played at the Asian Games but looked like they’d have made a good ODI side ten years ago. Technically correct they’ll need to adapt their skills to T20I cricket. The talent and hunger is there and it’d be great to see a side from the Far East come to the fore in the cricket world. Maybe some of their players can have great Koreas (Careers!)… sorry!

On the subject of Associate Cricket, Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket: A History in One Hundred Scorecards is well, well worth reading. Tim Brooks’ Cricket On the Continent as well as Second XI: Cricket in it’s Outposts by Tim Wigmore and Peter Miller are also essential reads for the Associate fan.

Hong Kong Sixes 2017!

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Having mentioned this previously, it’s only fair that I bring to attention that the Hong Kong Sixes tournament has commenced today. My interest in this competition is not as high as I’d anticipated because the ‘England’ team is flying under the flag of the MCC and not as England. This might seem petty but it only highlights the lack of seriousness with which this competition allows itself to be taken when it could be of great value. Ryan Higgins, Jordan Clark and company might never play for England but I’m sure that they’d gain pride and be motivated by wearing the England shirt in this tournament. It’s the sort of approach that confirms the hierarchy of English cricket maintain a stuffiness and desire to keep English cricket in a bygone era.

If you do want to follow proceedings then I think you can watch it all live (Assuming you have a licence of course!) right here…

http://www.hkcricket.org/en/media/news/hong-kong-world-sixes-day-one-live

Six to Watch: 2017 – Revisited

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Please find my original article entitled ‘Six to Watch’ by clicking the link below…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/six-to-watch/

Here’s an early season follow-up on the players that were identified in that piece.

Jofra Archer, 22, Sussex, All-Rounder

If Archer is eligible to represent England now, then he could be an outside bet for an Ashes trip though he hasn’t graced the Lions squad yet and provided England’s penchant to have a look first, it might be that he has to settle for England’s bench squad for the time being.

Archer has 18 CC wickets at 24.56 including two five-wicket hauls. Couple that with two half-centuries to help him total 223 runs at 55.75 and you’ve got a very destructive all-rounder. After a slightly expensive start there were wickets and runs in the List A competition too and Archer  is surely a player that spectators and selectors will be following closely.

Daniel Bell-Drummond, 23, Kent, Right-Handed Opening Batsman

DBD started the First Class campaign with… starts but went on to make back to back hundreds in the One Day Cup. He then followed up a duck blip with 90 and totalled 443 runs at an average of 63.29 in the competition. His strike rate was a healthy 87.38. That’s good but the very top batsman are striking at 100% as a bare minimum. He’ll look to the England Lions games to press his case and could make the ODI squad this season if England choose to experiment and rotate ahead of an Ashes tour.

Dom Bess, 19, Somerset, Off-Spin Bowler

Bess was nowhere to be seen in the early stages of the county season and had a quiet introduction to the County Championship. He didn’t make the one-day games either but has this afternoon just snapped up a maiden 2017 County Championship victim. Hopefully he can now kick on.*

Jack Burnham, 20, Durham, Right-Handed Middle Order Batsman

With Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick gone to Surrey, it looked as though Durham would be looking to Burnham to pile on the runs. He scored 150 against Durham MCCU in April but followed it up with only 15 and 4 in the opening round of County Championship matches against a strong Nottinghamshire line-up. He doesn’t appear to have played any second XI games so may well be injured. In the meantime the likes of Graham Clark and Cameron Steel have had their chance in the first team and progressed steadily.

Nick Compton, 33, Middlesex, Right-Handed Middle Order Batsman

Injuries and poor form have combined to mean that Compton just hasn’t got going this term. He’s got runs in the second XI including a century and against MCC in Abu Dhabi but hasn’t reached 40 in competitive cricket this season. In truth he’s probably struggling to hold down a spot in the Middlesex first XI at the moment.

Mark Footitt, 31, Surrey, Left-Arm Fast Medium Bowler

Footitt went viral when he kicked off the campaign with 6-14 against Warwickshire. Since then he’s continued to claim victims but has gone at around four an over on occasions. With Test series against South Africa, West Indies and in Australia on the horizon, alongside the quality of Anderson, Broad, Woakes and Stokes, Footitt could be a great weapon to slot into the side for the odd Test from time to time. He’s not in the Surrey line-up for their current match though and constant injury niggles may cost him an international career, as might the ability of fellow left-armers, county teammate Sam Curran and Sussex’s George Garton, both of whom have made the Lions squad though admittedly that squad is specifically for limited overs matches.

For the record, Footitt has 20 County Championship Division One victims in four matches this term at 23.65 apiece but at a leaky 3.77 runs per over.

Here’s Footitt on his way to his 21st First Class five-wicket haul earlier this season, Lancashire the victims.

We’ll catch up with the six later in the campaign to see which players seasons have flourished, which have faltered and which had pressed their case or even reached international honours.

*Bess would actually go on to claim match figures of 10-162 including second innings career best figures of 7-117!

No Ball, No Luck?

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Is a batter the recipient of an element of fortune if they are ‘dismissed’ off a no ball?

Me thinks not, hence this article!

I previously scripted an article titled ‘Score Assumptions and Naivety in Sport’. I’m sure that you all remember it well but if the fine details have slipped your memory…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/score-assumptions-and-naivety-in-sport/

… as you’ll have read, that article touched upon things such as dropped catches and even missed chances in football matches and how people interpret their effect on subsequent passages of play.

This article, ‘No Ball, No Luck’, addresses a similar theme. A batter may be caught off a no ball when on 15 and go onto score 140. The commentator may say something like “The batsman was lucky. He would have been out for 15 if the bowler hadn’t overstepped”.

But would they, would the batter have been out?

Firstly, there’s the possibility that the batter only played the shot because they heard the “No ball” call or saw the umpire raise their arm. It may seem unlikely but top quality batters’ reaction times are superior to us mere mortals.

Secondly, if the delivery is illegal because the bowler has overstepped the mark then the whole trajectory of the subsequent delivery and bat connecting with ball is different to what would have been if the ball had been bowled legally. The part of the pitch that the ball has hit, different by only a few millimetres, may have quite feasibly effected the bounce and swing of the ball. The length of it’s pitch, again varying in millimetres, maybe even centimetres, may have effected whether or not the batter chose to defend, drive, cut, pull, hook, helicopter or whatever.

I don’t perceive that a batter is lucky if they’re ‘out’ to a no ball. The bowler has delivered an illegal delivery which has resulted in a completely different voyage for the ball and result for the batter.

No ball, no luck? Correct, for me there is no luck involved when it comes to a batter being dismissed off a no ball.

Disclaimer: Take note MCC. I’ve gone all Ozzie and gender neutral and have applied the term batter when referring to the wielder of willow!

Have to Have a Helmet!

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When batting, why wouldn’t you wear a helmet?

When a spinner’s bowling, batsman can be tempted to stride to the crease helmet less. However the threat of being struck on the head isn’t merely from the absent pace bowler. Imagine that the helmet less willow wielder sets off for a sneaky single and a desperate dive is required to preserve their wicket. The fielder collects the ball and hurls it towards the stumps but only connects with the intercepting temple of the despairing batsman. Cue an ugly and potentially terminal scene.

Is the cricket world going to wait for this to happen before implementing mandatory head protection rules?

Maybe it already has happened. There have been all kinds of cricket related accidents, injuries and most tragically deaths both in the recent and throughout time. These days, we’ve even got umpires wearing armour!

Next time the ICC, MCC or ABCCC are drafting new legislation, Silly Point proposes that the donning of helmets by batsman be made obligatory for whenever, wherever and however they are at the crease.

Extras

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Bye: Napoleon Einstein!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/279540.html

Leg Bye: England outcast Ben Duckett is amongst those named in an MCC squad to play the annual county season precursor in Abu Dhabi. The MCC side will take on 2016 County Championship prevailers Middlesex in a match that commences on 26th March. With the North v South fixture also now part of the season, there are plenty of opportunities for fringe England players to put forward a case to the national selectors. Uncapped spin bowlers Mason Crane and Jack Leach are also amongst those in the MCC squad. For the full party please refer to the link below…

https://www.lords.org/news/2017/january/hameed-and-duckett-to-feature-for-mcc/

… and on the subject of the MCC, if anybody’s looking for a job…

https://www.lords.org/news/2017/january/chief-executive-and-secretary/

No Ball: A little precursor to our review of Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket (Which won’t be for a while due to the small font size!)…

 

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Poor Fraser, out for a duck when absolutely everybody else made double figures!

Wide: Tune into this YouTube channel from a fellow cricket blogger…