Cricket in the Time of Coronavirus!

Ben Duckett and Liam Livingstone are two players that I’m glad England haven’t given up on having named both in a 55-man trans-format training squad.

A wide variety of personnel are involved, many of whom have performed well for England Lions in recent times. The likes of Dan Lawrence for example thoroughly merit recognition whilst Will Jacks is an exciting proposition.

Amongst the recalled (It is only a training squad) players are James Vince, David Willey and perhaps most surprising of all… Reece Topley!

In the uncapped bracket both young and old are represented. Batsman Laurie Evans fully merits recognition having performed well both in England and overseas whilst Richard Gleeson may be a surprise to some but has been admired by the England hierarchy for some time.

Sam Northeast, Ben Coad and Harry Gurney will be among the disappointed ones having been omitted despite pressing their cases either on Lions duty, in county cricket or on the franchise circuit.

Other than those mentioned above there are lots more exciting players who could be called upon. Please see the link below for the full squad…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/29239315/alex-hales-liam-plunkett-left-england-name-55-man-training-group

Cricket 19: Which Way? Zimbabwe

Only T20I: Corsica

France: 195-9 (Phillipe 81/Williams 4-??)

Zimbabwe: ???-?

Won by ?? runs

Errr, sorry, made a mess of saving the scorecard but we won… honest!

1st ODI: Corsica

France 252 (Chevalier 37, Phillipe 27/Raza 3-24, Mpofu 3-32)

Zimbabwe 203 (Ervine 66/La Roux 2-37)

Won by 49 runs… courtesy of an extreme volume of extras!

2nd ODI: Corsica

Zimbabwe 208 (Masakadza 59, Raza 53*, Burl 46*/Chevalier 2-31)

France 214-2 (Gregory 103*, Chevalier 55/Chisoro 1-43, Ngarava 1-51)

Won by 8 wickets

Nearly made a mess of getting Gregory to his nation’s first ever ton in a full international but with the scores tied he got there with a six!

3rd ODI: Nantes

France 333 (Bernard 112, Chevalier 49/Chatara 4-99)

Zimbabwe 313-6 (Burl 65, Kamunhukamwe 58*, Musakanda 53/La Roux 1-47, L.Petit 1-50, Toure 1-59)

Won by 20 runs

A century on ODI debut for Maxime Bernard. Like Gregory he nearly didn’t get there but an epic last wicket stand of 71 with Anthony Toure (22*) elevated his and the team score. Had Zimbabwe played their reserves in the first two matches then maybe the series would’ve been more competitive.

Only Test: Nantes

France 247 (Le Tallec 75, Thomas 73, Georges 30/Mpofu 3-32, Ngarava 3-82, Raza 2-16)

Zimbabwe 241 (Masakadza 120, Taylor 51/Qadri 4-37, Toure 2-51)

France 117 (Chevalier 41, Thomas 22/Mpofu 5-47, Mavuta 4-29)

Zimbabwe 125-1 (Masakadza 83*, Taylor 25*/Qadri 1-22)

Lost by 9 wickets

We recovered from 41-5 in our first innings and they collapsed from 146-1 in theirs. As for our second innings… don’t ask! Having performed a clean sweep in the white-ball games, it was disappointing not to complete the set by winning the Test.

Next we head to Afghanistan for one Test, three ODIs and a single T20I with serious question marks hanging over our struggling batting line-up!

Disclaimer: Apologies but I just needed a break from full on match reports of every game!

Double (Or Triple?) Trouble!

There’s a suggestion that if any international cricket is played in the near future that England could field multiple teams in order to play different formats on the same day.

Now whether or not that would be a crossover between red and white ball cricket or that ODI and T20I could clash obviously remains unclear. Let’s assume that each and every format was being played on the same day. Who makes which team? Oh, and for ease we’ll select for matches played in England… at the risk of being rather optimistic!

Test

Rory Burns

Dominic Sibley

Zak Crawley

Joe Root (Captain)

Ollie Pope

Sam Curran

Ben Foakes (Wicketkeeper)

Mark Wood

Jack Leach

Stuart Broad

James Anderson

Sam Northeast

Jamie Porter

ODI

Dawid Malan (Captain)

Tom Banton

James Vince

Sam Hain

Dan Lawrence

Sam Billings (Wicketkeeper)

Craig Overton

Lewis Gregory

Oly Stone

Saqib Mahmood

Matt Parkinson

Liam Livingstone

David Willey

Dom Bess

T20I (Which I’ve prioritised over ODI due to the impending World Cup)

Jason Roy

Jos Buttler (Wicketkeeper)

Jonny Bairstow

Eoin Morgan (Captain)

Ben Stokes

Moeen Ali

Tom Curran

Chris Jordan

Chris Woakes

Jofra Archer

Adil Rashid

Phil Salt

Joe Denly

Pat Brown

What are your thoughts on my selections? What would you do differently?

Cricket 19: GODII – Final Statistics

Having reached the conclusion of the inaugural Global One-Day Invitational here are our statistical highlights…

Highest Team Total: 510-7 vs. Namibia at Windhoek

Highest Individual Innings: Dawid Malan – 163 vs. Hong Kong at Edgbaston

Highest Batting Average: Liam Livingstone – 45.29 (Minimum 250 runs)

Leading Run-scorer: Dawid Malan – 425

Most Catches: Jonny Bairstow – 31

Best Bowling (Innings/Match): Tom Curran 6-9 vs. Papua New Guinea at Port Moresby

Best Bowling Average: Tom Curran 10.00 (Minimum 10 wickets)

Leading Wicket Taker: Tom Curran – 22

Additional notes: Perversely, my leading run-scorer, best batting average, leading wicket-taker and best bowling average were all out of favour by the time we reached the semi-final. My leading catcher was also no longer my wicketkeeper. Maybe I’m not such a good selector after all!

Chris Woakes was named England player of the competition (20 wickets @ 13.65) for his consistent threat and penetration with the new ball.

Cricket 19: GODII – Semi-final

Only days after defeating the Dutch on home turf in London we jetted to neutral territory in the form of Perth, Australia to take them on once again in the first Global One-Day International Invitational semi-final.

We made one alteration to the playing XI that prospered in match 14 with Jofra Archer replacing the unfortunate Tom Curran. Archer’s inclusion ensured that we had all bases covered in terms of speed, swing, right and left-arm bowling for what looked an intriguing deck in Western Australia. Contrary to perceived wisdom we opted to bat first after Netherlands called incorrectly at the coin flip.

What followed was a haphazard batting performance that undermined all that we had achieved upto this point. Jonny Bairstow was run out for 3 which begun a procession of wickets and left us in peril on 77-7 on Perth’s unpredictable surface. Only an eighth-wicket partnership of 56 between James Hildreth (36) and Jofra Archer (38) lifted us to an ugly 136 all out. Paceman Paul van Meekeren claimed 3-40 while spinner Pluto Schmidt registered figures of 2-7.

Netherlands reached 28 without loss to put themselves firmly in control but slipped to 39-4 in a passage of breathtaking cricket. Chris Woakes fed the hands of James Hildreth twice and Moeen Ali had the thinnest edge in history pouched by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler from his second delivery after the skipper had dropped one off the bowler’s first. There was also a run out courtesy of a sensational throw from the boundary by Jofra Archer. The Dutch recovered somewhat but when Pluto Schmidt (22) needlessly fell to Liam Trevaskis attempting an unnecessary and unorthodox shot they looked in trouble again at 86-6. Bryan Long (26) and Suman Engels (23 not out) steadied the ship but Joe Root of all people prized out Long before Lewis Gregory returned to claim the eighth wicket with Netherlands on 121. Fred Klaassen (5 not out) saw them home alongside Engels however to take the Dutch to the inaugural Global ODI Invitational and send us packing.

Having won the North Western Hemisphere Test Championship to lose at the semi-final stage of the GODII was a bitter pill to swallow but we only have ourselves to blame for not applying ourselves better with the bat. Congratulations to the Netherlands who although we pushed them hard thoroughly deserved to win.

Netherlands, led by Bryan Long’s 98 not out, would go onto thrash an insipid Hong Kong in the final.

Disclaimer/Excuse: A recent patch has made the game harder. With a wife and children constantly walking around the room and clambering all over me I didn’t apply myself with the bat as I needed to. I’m going to play the game in shorter more committed chunks in future in order to post competitive totals. I also intend to take more control over field placings and possibly play on the hardest level. Having concluded my custom Test/ODI competitions I just need to decide how I’m going to play the game going forward.

Cricket 19: GODII – Matches 8-14 Scorecards

Match 8 – Port Moresby (Won by 10 wickets)

Papua New Guinea 59 all out (Ahuja 22/Curran.T 6-9, Archer 2-17)

England 60-0 (Gubbins 30*, Livingstone 28*)

Match 9 – Colwyn Bay (Won by 97 runs)

England 317 all out (Buttler 71, Curran.T 54*, Archer 50/Klein 5-65)

Canada 220-8 (Anderson 50/Woakes 2-30, Stokes 2-61)

Match 10 – New York (Won by 4 wickets)

United States of America 167-6 (Suarez 42*/Moeen 3-27)

England 168-6 (Hildreth 51*, Bairstow 36, Root 30/Kennedy 2-47, Jeffries 2-47)

Match 11 – Kowloon (Lost by 140 runs)

Hong Kong 279-2 (Karpe 155*, Char 64*/Curran.S 1-48)

England 139 all out (Bairstow 33, Jacks 23/Kadakia 5-27)

Match 12 – Durham (Lost by 81 runs)

Namibia 230-7 (Larson 108/Stokes 3-64)

England 149 all out (Buttler 32, Stokes 23/Cassim 7-69)

Match 13 – Kathmandu (Won by 336 runs)

England 401 all out (Stokes 82*, Root 82, Hildreth 72/Kohli 3-67)

Nepal 65 all out (Murthy 31/Woakes 3-22, Trevaskis 2-6)

Match 14 – London (Won by 4 wickets)

Netherlands 141 all out (Long 40/Curran.T 2-8, Gregory 2-23)

England 142-6 (Moeen 49, Bairstow 22/Klaassen 1-27)

What’s Your Favourite Format of Cricket? The Results!

img_8060

Many thanks to those of you who voted in my first ever poll. The results are in and we have a clear winner. It’s safe to say that ODI Cricket holds little appeal to people. I actually quite like the format. I think that having to construct a total in a limited but not too short amount of overs and manage a run chase require great skill and can be slow burning and exciting matches. Maybe ODI Cricket is everybody’s second favourite format.

Screenshot 2019-10-05 at 11.24.34

Twenty20 placed second in the poll but by quite some distance. The shortest format received 17% of the votes.

Test cricket was the clear winner receiving 83%. What I love about Test cricket is the limitless potential of the possibilities. The twists and turns as the days go by are amazing and rarely can a team be considered truly out of the contest. A record last wicket stand is always there to be broken.

Clearly it was a small sample size but please share the link to my next poll with your friends and family.

Many thanks once again. I hope that the results are of interest to you and look out for my second poll soon…

P.S. Maybe next year we can do the same with The Hundred as an option!

Cricket 19: NWHTC – By the Skin(ner) of Their Teeth!

Brexit uncertainty continues, power outages frustrate and flooding wreaks havoc. Food prices go up as does fuel but protestors are shot down. TV shows reach their season finale, VAR prevents a goal and people find themselves unemployed after years of dedicated service. House prices go up as does the cost of your holiday but trees still fall. Promiscuous youngsters are considered role models, endangered animals go extinct before our very eyes and uncontacted tribes become contacted and face the possibly deadly consequences. Despite all this, cricket continues…

After seven ODIs on the bounce we returned to the Test format in the territory of arch-rivals Scotland. The players survived the treacherous voyage north of the borderline but found re-adapting to the game’s longest format challenging. Maybe we need to rethink our selection policy and have fewer players straddle dual formats.

Dawid Malan (25) displayed promise at the top order in an opening stand of 49 with Haseeb Hameed but committed the schoolboy error of not having a look when part-timer Roman Bruce came onto bowl and immediately became only Braveheart’s second Test victim.

Ben Stokes, who you might have anticipated would be a little more at home in the alien conditions provided his familiarity with northern surfaces, was bowled when opting to leave having made only 8 (My wife walking up to me with our youngest daughter in hand contributing to the Durham man’s demise!). Leader of men Joe Root was caught at slip for 11 before Hameed and Moeen Ali set about repairing the damage. Hameed (67) was needlessly run out however when a century beckoned and Moeen (51) was caught behind the very delivery post posting fifty.

Jonny Bairstow was bowled first ball but an under pressure Jos Buttler (75) alongside Sam Curran (56) batted maturely to propel us from 180-6 to 295-7. Chris Woakes was less mature when caught behind for 6 which left last men standing Stuart Broad and James Anderson to extend the score. Coming together at 301-9, Broad was dropped just three runs later and Scotland were made to pay somewhat. Our opening bowlers lifted us to 329 with Anderson falling for 18 and Broad left not out on 10.

It was a rather juxtaposed innings with a number of batsmen looking in glorious touch and executing some majestic shots but only Moeen and Curran can really say that they were got out. Spin duo Martin Law and Mark Watt astonishingly claimed identical figures of 3-57.

In Scotland’s first venture to the crease, Stuart Broad soon dismissed opener Mahdi Clay (5) to leave the home side 9-1 before the ultra-aggressive Kyle Coetzer (150) alongside a more steady away Caden McCarthy (81) batted for the rest of the day. Possibly distracted by thoughts of a century, McCarthy soon fell to Broad the following morning. The impressive Broad then claimed a third victim when he trapped Burke (6) LBW before Chris Woakes stoked the fire further by claiming three wickets of his own. Coetzer was roughed up by Sam Curran bowling around the wicket before Woakes terminated his expansive innings. Out of nowhere Warwickshire’s Woakes was suddenly bowling at his peak. Curran himself as well as Stokes then both got in on the wicket taking action as Scotland collapsed from 195-1 to 302-8 at the end of day two.

Scotland’s tail wagged a little the following morning before Watt (21) and Abdulrahman Egan (12) fell to the excellent Broad (4-59) and Anderson (1-51) respectively. The home side’s efforts equated to 318 meaning that we effectively commenced our second innings on 11-0.

Dawid Malan (37) and Haseeb Hameed compiled 63 second time around before Malan edged a tame chance skyward when trying to deflect to leg. The Middlesex man had once again laid the foundations but only produced a promising not substantial innings. Ben Stokes made a brisk 31 whilst compiling 67 with Hameed before Hameed himself, who’d gone over the top a few times, inside edged when attempting another grand shot and looked rather ugly in falling for 76. 175-3 was the score come the respite.

The evening session’s premier delivery resulted in Root (13) edging behind and Jos Buttler (14) didn’t last much longer. The unheralded medium-pacer Roman Bruce (3-111) was chief-tormentor yet again. Jonny Bairstow should’ve been out to the next delivery but Scotland’s close fielders inexplicably failed to attempt the catch despite replays confirming that the ball had deflected off the Yorkshireman’s glove. As a result, YJB avoided the ignominy of a king pair but it mattered little as he soon succumbed to spin for just 2.

Just as Scotland sniffed a serious chance of making their run chase more manageable, Moeen Ali and Sam Curran (60) combined for an exhilarating 104-run partnership to seemingly take the game away from the hosts. Chris Woakes fell for a breezy 11 when attempting a maximum but to the next delivery Moeen Ali performed something possibly unique. The left-hander reached a century from only 56 deliveries courtesy of an all run 5!

Stuart Broad (14) briefly entertained before becoming Martin Law’s (4-76) fourth victim of the innings. Moeen (120 not out) and James Anderson (12 not out) lifted the score to 399-9 before we declared. Bizarrely, spinner Mark Watt wasn’t called upon to bowl during our second innings. Scotland were set 410 for victory with a few overs to negotiate at the end of day three.

Scotland’s chase got off to an inauspicious start when Clay was comically stumped by Bairstow of the bowling of Anderson to the last delivery of the first over. 0-1 soon became 13-2 when Anderson struck again. This time it was was key man Coetzer trapped LBW for only 7. McCarthy and Bruce resisted despite Stokes originally winning an LBW appeal before it was overturned however Moeen Ali struck first ball to dismiss McCarthy (40). Bairstow pouched the edge to end the 74-run combo with Scotland still a mammoth 324 runs shy of victory. Unbelievably, Moeen then repeated the trick with the first ball of his second over. Left-hander Gene Moore was caught behind without scoring to complete a disappointing Test match for the left-hander and another dismissal for Bairstow.

On the fourth morning the home batsmen saw off James Anderson but Dorian Burke perished to the Moeen/Bairstow combo having crafted an elegant 29. Roman Bruce then converted form with the ball into form with the bat by compiling a magnificent career best 148. Bruce compiled a 167-run stand with Martin Law and really opened up having passed the century mark. However, with 104 still runs required for victory, Bruce was bowled by Moeen off the second ball of day five. Captain Joe Root, whose captaincy on day three was heavily criticised in the media, deserves huge credit for starting the day with Moeen when the ball was only ten overs old.

Law then added an immensely frustrating 70 runs with the resolute Saul Skinner as Scotland closed in on victory. Eventually, having switched to bowling around the wicket, Sam Curran got Law to play on to his stumps via an unnecessarily excessive forward defensive shot. Law (127) had finally fallen having contributed a superb maiden Test ton to put his side within touching distance of a famous win.

James Anderson soon snapped up Mark Watt for 1 courtesy of Joe Root in the slips with Scotland still 30 runs shy of victory and suddenly we looked like favourites. It wasn’t to be…

With Scotland requiring 7 runs for victory, Moeen Ali and James Anderson bowled back to back maidens before we gifted the home side four overthrows. More maidens followed but Scotland went onto win by two wickets with a composed Saul Skinner (39 not out) and Abdulrahman Egan (18 not out) seeing them home. Huge respect to Skinner in particular who endured a chastening game with the ball but faced 119 deliveries to seal an amazing run chase.

To say that Moeen Ali didn’t deserve to be on the losing side would be an understatement of epic proportions.

For us, it’s back to the drawing board after another defeat against a Scotland side that we failed to defend a total in excess of 400 against for a second time in this competition. That’s six wins from six for the Scots and, with us level on points with Ireland, means there’s little room for manoeuvre if we hope to make the final where we’ll almost certainly take on Scotland once again. Next up we host Canada (W3L3) at Lords. Our squad for that match will be announced soon.

Cricket 19: NWHTC Round Six – 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!