The Edge DVD Review

Do you dream of being an international cricketer?

Then this film probably isn’t for you!

The 90 minute piece taps into the minds of England cricketers past and present, mostly past as it focuses on England’s rise to number one earlier this decade.

There’s some artsy shots of Jonathan Trott in a sun laden field and later a dark cityscape provides a stark contrast. Trott also frolicks under water and like Kevin Pietersen and Steven Finn, opens up about the travails of being an England cricketer. There are of course those who will shut down these privileged souls bemoaning their hard lives. No they’re not down a pit but their work is dangerous, at times unsavoury and results in lots of time away from family but in the company of people that you might not even get along with!

Monty Panesar pops up too as do many others including ex-coach Andy Flower. A pre-Ashes trip to Bavaria gets a lot of focus as does, as already touched upon, the state of mind. The Edge is not all ‘Happy as Larry’ bat ‘n’ ball tales! If you followed England during the featured era then this is essential viewing.

The Edge scores… 78

The Brad Wadlan Conundrum

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Brad Wadlan for a county gig anybody?

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/295397.html

67 First Class wickets at just 18.98 apiece, coupled with a batting average of 31.26 suggest that English counties would be silly to ignore the Welshman’s credentials. A List A economy of 4.19 isn’t too shabby either.

Okay okay, so he’s achieved his impressive stats courtesy of performing for Mid West Rhinos in Zimbabwe. Sceptics may scoff but in whatever guise it’s been at various times, the Zimbabwean domestic circuit is is bristling with talent to the same volume that a beehive possesses honey!

Still only twenty-nine, young for a spinner, Wadlan could surely compliment a few county sides. He’s admitted to frustration at not being presented with a chance himself but there are other Minor Counties players who’ve gone on to grace the professional circuit in England. Richard Oliver is just one example.

Wadlan could even Captain a Welsh national side if it ever got off the ground!

Yorkshire are one side in desperate need of spin reinforcements, what with Karl Carver ineffective in the longer form of the game and Azeem Rafiq regressing in the T20 format. Monty Panesar has been canvassing for another chance in the English game. He’s one slow-left-arm option but Wales’ Wadlan is certainly another.

Panesar for Yorkshire!

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In my previous post, an audio cast about various things cricket, I touched upon Yorkshire’s necessity to acquire an experienced and quality spin bowler. England’s limited overs spinner Adil Rashid’s First Class future remains unclear, Azeem Rafiq seems to have fallen off the radar again and young Karl Carver continues to struggle. Whilst at work the other day, patrolling my stockroom as I do, a thought came to mind… Monty Panesar! That’s right, a romantic signing it would be but if Yorkshire were to snap up Monty and the fifty-Test veteran promptly spun a few county batsmen out during the second half of the County Championship, Panesar could then gate crash England’s tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies in one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/18655.html

On a serious note, it is often said that England lack depth in their spin bowling stocks however that simply isn’t the case. It’s such a shame that Jack Leach got injured and has now suffered concussion, meaning he’ll miss more Somerset matches. Following the original injury, he subsequently lost his England place to county teammate Dom Bess, who performed admirably in the Test series against Pakistan.

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Hampshire’s Mason Crane

Mason Crane had also been bowling well in limited overs cricket after missing England’s tour of New Zealand through injury. Remember that he displayed great temperament against South Africa in T20Is last year, keeping his head above water to dismiss AB de Villiers. Said injury returned however. When England tour this winter, they’ll ideally take all of Bess, Leach and Crane. That’s an offie, a leggie and a slow-left-armer. Moeen Ali (OS)and Liam Livingstone (LS) would then be sensible back-up batting options provided they bowl effective spin. Don’t forget Liam Dawson (SLA) who continues to perform well, whether it be in English county cricket, for England Lions or in the Pakistan Super League. Samit Patel (SLA) is another option but then just look at the genuine spinners England can consider in years to come… Matthew Parkinson (LS), Amir Virdi (OS), Matthew Carter (OS) (He’s very good!), Hamidullah Qadri (OS) and Ravi Patel (SLA), that’s on top of Bess, Leach and Crane, all of whom have more than ten years at the top remaining.

Moving onto pace bowling, I wonder if England are really looking into the injury situation. Many people wanted Oli Stone selected for England after one good game earlier this season but he’s hardly played since. Jamie Overton is another great hope but is always injured. Saqib Mahmood performed superbly in the North v South matches but hasn’t played all season. Experienced England internationals Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes are obviously missing the current ODI series against Australia off the back of rapidly trying to increase their workloads from four overs per match at the IPL to countless overs in Tests.

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Durham’s Mark Wood

Mark Wood is being rested from the T20I series, Reece Topley is limited to white-ball (List A/T20) cricket only, Toby Roland-Jones is a long-term absentee and particularly alarmingly, both Jake Ball and Tom Curran managed to get injured whilst with the England squad but not having actually played!

Toby Roland-Jones

Middlesex’s Toby Roland-Jones

It’s worth noting that TR-Js injury only came about post playing for England?! Other solid domestic players such as Jamie Porter, Liam Norwell and James Weighell have had their injury problems too. I really hope that behind the scenes some studies are being put in place to identify trends, manage player’s workloads and help keep players fit for England.

Anyway, as I was saying… Panesar for Yorkshire!

Transfer Saga

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This guy only ever played for one club, in reality and virtuality. The same can not be said of others.

More than ever, domestic cricket in England seems to be following its football counterpart, particularly in regards to the transfer market. I believe that there was a time, long before I discovered an interest in cricket, in fact long before I was even born, that players remained loyal to one county for the entirety of their career. Of course some still do but it is no longer necessarily the norm. That’s not to say that transfers didn’t happen in the past, of course they did but they’ve become far more frequent in modern times. More than a decade ago now, Jimmy Ormond, whilst on tour with England, famously posed with his new Surrey shirt following his move from Leicestershire. I recall there being suggestions back then that the cricket transfer market was becoming like football’s and it’s certainly the case today.

Last winter we saw the likes of Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman depart Durham for Surrey. This season Angus Robson went on trial with Sussex whilst some mid-season transfers have tasted a little bitter. Tom Kohler-Cadmore agreed to depart Worcestershire for Yorkshire and though it wasn’t supposed to happen until next season, it was clear that Worcestershire had no interest in fielding TK-C when his future lay elsewhere and so the deal was brought forward.

Meanwhile one-time England squad member Mark Footitt has returned to Nottinghamshire from Surrey. He has also previously represented Derbyshire.

Former England cap Ajmal Shahzad must be one of the most serial county swappers. He can now list Yorkshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Sussex and Leicestershire as county teams for whom he has represented their first XIs.

Dominic Sibley, Will Rhodes and Adam Hose have all headed to Warwickshire while Rikki Clarke swapped with Sibley to go back to Surrey. Sibley wanted guarantees about batting in the top three in all forms of the game. Surrey’s Alec Stewart wouldn’t provide but Ashley Giles would and so Sibley arrived amid bitter frustration on Surrey’s part.

Jos Buttler of course moved from Somerset to Lancashire whilst my home county, Yorkshire, have acquired many players from other counties in recent years:

Gary Ballance (Derbyshire)

Jack Brooks (Northamptonshire)

Andrew Hodd (Sussex)

Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Worcestershire)

Liam Plunkett (Durham)

Ryan Sidebottom (Returned from Nottinghamshire)

David Willey (Northamptonshire)

Players such as six-hitter Ross Whiteley and England Lions spinner Ollie Rayner are among others to have migrated at one time or another during their playing days.

The midseason activity this term, complete with more than subtle hints of acrimony and contract squabbles seem to be taking the game of bat and ball firmly into football territory.

Should mid-season transfers be allowed at all?

Should loans be allowed?

Should squads have a maximum number of players like the Premier League?

Returning to Angus Robson, he was released by Leicestershire because they wanted play youngster Harry Dearden. After Dearden failed to set the County Championship alight he was firstly replaced by Arun Harinath who had arrived on loan from Surrey before another loanee, Michael Carberry arrived at Grace Road too. In a funny way, the domestic circuit is becoming like the England team with counties failing to invest in players and deciding it’s necessary to pinch from the competition… and don’t get me started on Hampshire! I’ve touched upon their South African acquisitions before and the effect it will have on local talent.

This is the point in the article where I’m supposed to provide some sort of summary but I’ll leave it to the cricket followers of the world to make of it what you will…?

… and who could forget Monty Panesar’s transfer sagas? (Errrr… Me!)

Cricket Captain 2017: Monty @ Morgan!

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Having started a county career as Glamorgan on ICC2017, I snapped up former England legend Monty Panesar to bolster our spin stocks and help us push for promotion to Division One of the County Championship.

It took the ‘Sikh of Tweak’ no more than ONE delivery to make an impression, dismissing Northamptonshire’s Alex Wakely with his premier delivery in Glamorgan colours (Or whites!). I can only hope that he doesn’t earn an England recall off the back of his formidable start to the campaign.

Extras

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Bye: Tempted, very tempted!

http://www.allroundercricket.com/new-balance-tc-560-cricket-bat

Leg Bye: Monty Panesar will act as a spin bowling consultant for… Australia!

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/tennis/monty-panesar-hired-as-spin-doctor/news-story/2297b92bc206b9babffe8298ef2c8293

Supposedly Monty is to help fellow spinner Steve O’Keefe ahead of Australia’s tour of India. Obviously Monty has more international experience than O’Keefe but SO’K averages about eight runs less with the ball than Monty in First Class cricket!

What’s Panesar doing helping the Ozzies anyway?

Shouldn’t he be working on earning an England recall?

No Ball: Desert T20 Challenge

I’m sure that like me you’ve been wondering why Papua New Guinea aren’t present. A fellow blogger told me that they wanted to save costs and didn’t think that the tournament was relevant, hence Namibia’s presence. Surely some competitive matches against their fellow associates would have been worth the investment.

Are the PNG players happy with not actually playing international cricket?

Oh and Owais Shah is coaching UAE!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/desert-t20-challenge/content/series/1074956.html

Wide: Ouch! Australian wicketkeeper Peter Nevill isn’t having much luck at the moment. Dropped from the national side, hit on the head first with a ball and now with a bat!

http://www.bigbash.com.au/news/peter-nevill-hit-face-cricket-bat-hodge-concussion-ruling-renegades-strikers-highlights-big-bash/2017-01-16