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.

Andrew Strauss

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I’m a little late to the crease here because not surprisingly the first headlines that I read stated nothing more than family reasons. However it turns out that England Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss has left England’s Ashes tour to be with his wife who has been diagnosed with cancer. There’s no need for an in-depth article here, just some crossed fingers for the family of a man who has been an integral part of English cricket this century.

Matthew Wade, Yuvraj Singh, Michael Carberry and Tom Fell are amongst current cricketers who have managed to battle back from cancer. Let’s hope that Mrs Strauss can do the same.

Edit: It’s since come to my attention that one of my favourite players, Australian Michael Klinger, is also absent from cricket for the very same reason as Andrew Strauss. Fingers firmly crossed for the Klinger family as well.

Dernback!

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England are said to be seriously considering a recall for ‘fan’s favourite’ Jade Dernbach.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/12461.html

The South African born Surrey pacer has jumped to the front of the selection queue in light of injury concerns to various senior members of England’s bowling attack and could feature in a Three Lions shirt for the first time since 2014. It could be that the ODIs against Ireland are a perfect time to reintegrate the thirtyone-year-old.

Dernbach didn’t exactly set the world alight during his previous carnation as an international player but the England hierarchy believe that he’s matured, developed as a player and risen to the occasion. The most obvious example of Dernbach’s progress was in the 2015 One-Day cup final against Gloucestershire when, despite Surrey being beaten, Dernbach claimed figures 6-35 from 8.4 overs, including the prize scalp of Michael Klinger for a third ball duck.

If JD does get another look-in on the global stage, he’ll hope to haul that ODI bowling average of 42.19 and his T20I economy of 8.71 down just a little!

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.

Bell ‘n’ Brez Bash it Big!

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England discards Ian Bell and Tim Bresnan led from the front as Perth Scorchers claimed the 2016-17 Big Bash crown in resounding style.

Bresnan recorded figures of 4-0-40-3 as Sydney Sixers stumbled to only 141-9. Bell then saw the Scorchers comfortably over the line with a whopping 25 deliveries to spare, striking 31 not out from 25 balls.

No doubt Bresnan has had a little injury trouble but you would have thought given his experience and past performances in an England shirt that in the free spirited Trevor Bayliss era, England could still find room at least in their limited overs squads for a player possessing his all-round abilities. He seems, like Ravi Bopara, to be a player that having gained plenty of international experience, England just gave up on too soon and decided to start all over again with somebody else. Bresnan was only in the Scorchers squad as a replacement for current England squad member David Willey but the new Yorkshire vice-skipper made a positive impression on the west coast.

As well as Bresnan and Bell there was another Englishman that helped propel the Scorchers to victory. Doncaster born wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman clubbed 41 from just 21 balls including three sixes at the top of the order to jet start the Scorchers pursuit of the Sixers’ below par total. Whiteman moved to Oz aged three and has already represented Australia at various levels. He’s tipped to follow another Yorkshireman, Matthew Renshaw, into the Australian national side.

Another Englishman was involved in today’s final but for Sixers’ opener Michael Lumb, a former Yorkshire player of course, his 15-minute 5-run vigil at the top of the order, an innings that also included the run out of Nic Maddinson, helped the Scorchers more than it did the Sixers. Still, his ODI batting average of 55.00 is superior to both Bell (37.87) and Bresnan (19.79). It’s also higher than Nic Maddinson’s Test average of 6.75!

The Perth franchise’s other star performers in today’s final are at different ends of the playing career spectrum. 36-year-old Gloucestershire run-machine Michael Klinger carried his bat in making 71 not out from just 49 deliveries including five fours and an equal amount of sixes. It seems incredible that Klinger will finish his career without an international cap (We’ll come to that later), incredible but likely, in which case days such as these and 2015’s One-Day cup victory at Lords with Gloucestershire (Although Klinger ducked in the final after a monstrous tournament) will be days to saviour for a fine batsman.

Paceman Jhye Richardson is, at 20, nearly half Klinger’s age. He has just one First Class and only one List A appearance to his name but now has a grand total of nine T20 exposures under his belt. His 3-30 in the final saw him snap up the Man of the Match award and English batsman will surely have to face him at international level in the future.

Both Klinger and Richardson merited a mention in a previous article here at Silly Point about the possible make-up of Australia’s T20I squad for the Sri Lanka series that clashes with the Test series in India…

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

Performances such as those from Richardson and even no spring chicken Klinger, in a match of such magnitude must surely put them in with a chance of making the cut.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road!

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In a sign of the times, Australia’s cricketers have a T20I scheduled into their calendar less than 24 hours before the commencement of a Test match. Said matches will take place on different continents with the three-match T20I series being played in Australia and Australia’a Test side on tour in India.

Australia’s Test squad will be as strong as it can be so there will be opportunities for some unfamiliar faces in the T20I squad. The series will take place not long after the conclusion of the 2016-17 Big Bash so Silly Point thought it was worth having a look at some of the contenders for the vacancies in Australia’s T20I squad.

Please be aware that I’m not naming a squad as such and players like James Faulkner, Travis Head and Chris Lynn are amongst those that I consider almost certainties (Assuming that they don’t get a Test call-up of course). It’s more players that would be coming in out of the international cold that I’m listing here.

Those who’ve played before, whether it be T20I, ODI or Test:

Michael Beer: No I haven’t been drinking! Two Test cap Michael Beer has been consistently economical when opening the bowling in the Big Bash and a call-up would be well merited.

Ben Dunk: Slam funk da Ben Dunk. He bats, he bowls, he keeps wicket. Won three T20I caps in late 2014. Could a recall for versatile Dunk be on the cards?

George Bailey / Aaron Finch: Both only recently jettisoned from the ODI squad but this fixture clash could provide an opportunity for these two to make a swift return to the international fold and possibly for one of them, as captain.

Callum Ferguson / Moises Henriques / Nic Maddinson: All players that’ve failed miserably in the Test arena in recent times but who will be hoping to get chances to redeem themselves in the pyjama plays.

Brad Hogg: With senior members of the bowling unit in India, could a recall for Hogg, who’ll turn 46 before the series begins really happen?

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/5681.html

Tim Paine: A man with an ODI century and Test best 92 to his name, Paine previously couldn’t find consistency at international level (Injuries didn’t help) but has been prolific throughout Big Bash history.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/engvaus2009/engine/match/350048.html

Rob Quiney: Had a bit of a horror show during his brief Test career which included a pair in his second Test though he did bowl ridiculously economically. That Test batting average of 3.00 may well have cost him caps in limited overs cricket but his run-scoring in the current Big Bash demands selection.

http://www.melbournestars.com.au/players/rob-quiney

Cameron White: An unfulfilled talent at international level, White’s chances may depend on how keen Australia are to win or how much they see this as an opportunity to blood youngsters.

A few other names that may come into consideration: Sean Abbott, Fawad Ahmed, Scott Boland, Clint McKay, Marcus Stoinis and AJ Tye.

Those who haven’t played before:

Tom Cooper: Last played for Netherlands in March of last year. Surely wouldn’t say no to a call-up from the country of his birth.

http://www.bigbash.com.au/video#videoId=5278578932001

Michael Klinger: Yes he’s 36 but Australia aren’t opposed to selecting ageing debutantes and if they do select a number of uncapped players, Klinger’s experience albeit at domestic level may count for something.

Ben McDermott: Would be a selection basically based on one innings and he looked rather pot luck early on against spin but who knows?

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/engine/match/1023627.html

A few other names that may come into consideration: Ben Dwarshuis, Daniel Hughes, Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson and D’Arcy Short.

http://www.bigbash.com.au/#gender=men