Cook to Come in from the Cold?

img_7180adjhhhh

120, 32, 98 & 70*. That’s what opening batsman Stephen Cook scored for South Africa A in their competitive series against India’s second string recently. I closely analysed Cook’s performance in Australia in a series of previous articles…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/28/cook-in-command-no-not-that-one/

and despite registering a century in that series, ‘The Proteas’ selectors soon lost patience and initially replaced him with Theunis De Bruyn in New Zealand before bringing in Heino Kuhn against England. Kuhn was selected on the back of an undefeated double hundred in a tour game but made only 113 fifty-less runs at a paltry average of 14.12 in the series. As we’ve seen from the efforts of West Indies batsmen, big runs against second string county sides don’t always translate into international runs.

Prior to the England Test series, Cook had been playing in England for Durham and had been steady in the County Championship without quite being outstanding but surely that experience and acclimatisation would have served him well. It was an odd decision to replace him with non-opener De Bruyn in the first place, only to then move onto another elder statesman in Kuhn. Kuhn (33) and Cook (34) are about the same age. Having invested in Cook it may have made more sense to have persevered with him. All this chopping and changing will sound familiar to England followers. Judging by his response in the A series Cook is, as we already know, a determined fighter. Back to De Bruyn, South Africa don’t really seem to know what he is (opener, middle-order bat, all-rounder?) and mucked him around during the Test series in England.

South Africa host Bangladesh next this September. They may see this as an opportunity to blood a young gun, the likes of Aiden Markram who was back-up in the summer and has struck a couple of 70s in the India A series. They may also decide that it’s worth sticking with Kuhn and good luck to him if they do. Having said that, if Cook is in the A squad then he must be in with a serious shout of a recall. He’s a gritty non-showy type of player, my type of player. I’ve always had a thing for stoic opening batsmen and would love to see Cook win a return to the international fold. He’d surely back his chances of closing in on 1000 Test runs at home against Bangladesh.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/44656.html

Four Day Test Matches

img_1407

Four days, four innings, one innings of 100 overs per day, as simple as that… or is it?

You know about my plans to restructure world cricket…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/a-complete-restructure-of-international-cricket/

Well maybe to aid this, chopping a day off Test matches wouldn’t be a bad idea.

In the third Test between Australia and South Africa in Adelaide last November, centuries were scored in the first three innings of the match. Usman Khawaja used up 308 deliveries and 465 minutes in his first innings before the perceived to be rather attritional Stephen Cook, scored at a strike rate of 43.33 in compiling 104. Following that, debutant Matthew Renshaw faced 137 deliveries in making 34 not out to get Australia home… on the fourth day!

In conclusion, results can still be achieved and there would still be room for ‘old-fashioned go-slow’ players.

Say for example that in the first innings of a Test between England and Zimbabwe that England are 300 all out in 75 overs. Spectators who have paid their money deserve near enough a full day’s play, so Zimbabwe could acquire England’s lost 25 overs and therefore have 125 overs in their first innings, 25 of which would begin on day one. The exception to this could be that if a team only acquires 10 overs or less, they could have the option not to take them because of the risk of losing wickets late in the day and start with the standard 100 overs, not for example, 110 overs, the following morning. If England made 355-8 in 100 overs then so be it, wickets not lost would not be carried forward in any way. Innings could still commence at any point during the course of the day as we enter the third and fourth innings but the slate is clean at the halfway point. For example: England 300 all out in 75 overs, Zimbabwe 280 all out in 66, England would start their innings the 42nd over on day two but would not acquire Zimbabwe’s lost overs or if they did they would only acquire 34 not 59… or maybe they could acquire all 59, these are all possibilities to be considered.

Rain. Bloody rain! Why can’t things be simple?

Would it be only fair that both sides lose an over for every five minutes lost?

There’s definitely room for thought but as a starting point for trimming Test matches to four not five days, I don’t think that my idea’s that wide of the crease.

International Duck Watch!

img_1813

You big him up and what does he go and do?

South Africa’s opening bat Stephen Cook failed to brew.

All he could do…

… was head back to the dressing room and stew.

Cook lasted all of four deliveries against Sri Lanka in Cape Town, with the ever reliable IDW attention hogger Suranga Lakmal the bowler responsible.

Join us next time an international batsman is dismissed without scoring for more International Duck Watch.

Brooming Marvellous!

img_2124

A couple of weeks ago we advised followers of Neil Broom’s return to New Zealand national colours (See previous post: Room for Broom)

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/15/room-for-broom/

… and whilst I may have previously gloated a little about my confidence in South Africa’s Stephen Cook, you may have detected a little scepticism about my thoughts on Neil Broom’s ability to succeed at international level. However, credit the man, as having made a Silly Pointesque 22 in the first ODI on Boxing Day, today Broom struck 109 not out from 107 deliveries (8 fours, 3 sixes) to set-up New Zealand’s series clinching victory against Bangladesh in the second match of the series in Nelson.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/new-zealand-v-bangladesh-2016-17/engine/match/1019975.html

In the space of just two innings Broom’s batting average has soared from just 17.52 to a far more respectable 23.20 and his strike rate has also risen from 70.10 to 75.57.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/new-zealand-v-bangladesh-2016-17/content/player/36581.html

Of course his performances in this series don’t guarantee that he’ll go on to have a far more fulfilling international career than had seemed the case only a few weeks ago but whatever happens in Neil Broom’s life he’ll have a ODI century to his name and in the grand scheme of things not many people have one of those, so let’s celebrate that for a moment and not just sweep it under the carpet!

Cook in Command (No not that one!)

img_7180adjhhhh

Remember that time South Africa’s opening batsman Stephen Cook and his technique were getting torn to shreds by the Australian commentary box but he went on to score a hundred?

If you’ve forgotten then please have a perusal of the ‘just a few’ posts that kept you updated at the time below…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/anatomy-of-trying-to-save-a-test-career-3/

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/11/26/anatomy-of-trying-to-save-a-test-career-revisited/

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/anatomy-of-trying-to-save-a-test-career/

… then have a look at this scorecard…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-sri-lanka-2016-17/engine/match/936147.html

… that’s centuries in back to back Tests and against 33.33recurring% (Eng, Aus and SL) of the opposition Test nations then. I’m not bragging (Really I’m not!) but I’ve got an eye for talent!

Anatomy of Trying to Save a Test Career: Re-Revisited

img_7180adjhhhh

Name: Stephen Craig Cook: Mins: 368 Balls: 240 Runs: 104

Stephen Cook scored a hundred on Test debut and now he’s scored one in what many would have suggested could well have been his last Test innings. In-between Cook hasn’t completely disgraced himself (One fifty against NZ) but neither has he set the world alight. His two centuries suggest that he is a player, a man that can dig deepest come the big occasion. His 104 in Adelaide may not have been the most aesthetic and some may argue that he put pressure on his teammates by scoring so slowly but that simply isn’t true. The third Test finished with more than a day to spare, if the likes of Jean-Paul Duminy and Temba Bavuma got out playing rash shots because they felt that their team were getting bogged down then that is their fault, not Cook’s. For now at least Test cricket still lasts five days and whilst many spectators wouldn’t pay to watch Cook but would rather see De Villiers and the like batting in a more aggressive (Attractive?) manner if all players were the same that wouldn’t be very interesting.

There is still a place in Test cricket for players like Stephen Cook.

International Duck Watch!

img_1813

Well if we thought that Australia’s Nic Maddinson had arrived on the Test scene in style then we hadn’t seen anything. Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan went golden in his maiden Test innings against New Zealand as his side slipped to 76-5 in pursuit of New Zealand’s first innings total of 271 in Hamilton. Neil Wagner (2-15) the bowler responsible.

Meanwhile down under South Africa’s opening batsman Dean Elgar fell for a duck which ties in nicely to our piece on fellow opener Stephen Cook…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/11/26/anatomy-of-trying-to-save-a-test-career-revisited/

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/anatomy-of-trying-to-save-a-test-career/

… and nightwatchman (Or not as it turned out!) Kyle Abbott also joined the illustrious International Duck Club today.