Evans Above & InVincible Encore!

In the past few days I posted about a couple of England qualified batsman going large on the franchise circuit and it turns out that they just can’t stop!

James Vince followed up seventy-odd for Sydney Sixers with another seventy-odd, this time undefeated…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8044/game/1152550/sydney-sixers-vs-hobart-hurricanes-40th-match-big-bash-league-2018-19

Meanwhile in Bangladesh, Laurie Evans followed his hundred for Rajshahi Kings with a firework filled fifty, a Vincesque seventy-odd actually…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8653/scorecard/1169405/chittagong-vikings-vs-rajshahi-kings-27th-match-bangladesh-premier-league-2018-19

It doesn’t stop there! Even Sam Billings (104 not out) has been amongst the runs, as were most of the batsmen to some extent, for England Lions in India…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/19084/game/1169338/india-a-vs-england-lions-1st-unofficial-odi-eng-lions-in-india-2018-19

These are the guys that can’t get in the England team! To be fair, Vince and Billings have never grabbed the chance with both hands. Maybe these experiences will spur them on to bigger things at international level.

InVincible!*

England’s most frustrating batsman of modern times, Hampshire’s James Vince, walloped 75 from just 46 deliveries for Sydney Sixers against Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash in Sydney today…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8044/scorecard/1152546/sydney-sixers-vs-brisbane-heat-36th-match-big-bash-league-2018-19

But what are England to do with him? Is he really going to find a place in England’s destructive white-ball teams? With so few places for specialist batsmen up for grabs, is he likely to get another chance at Test level?

In a world of T20 franchise cricket, does it really matter? Is international cricket still the pinnacle?

Regardless, today’s innings was a demonstration of how much value Vince can add to a team, of his skill and stroke-playing prowess. Maybe we’re yet to see the best of him in an England shirt. Maybe the soon to turn twenty-eight-year-old could yet gatecrash England’s World Cup and Ashes summer!

*Disclaimer: A completely unoriginal headline that I and many others have used before. Sorry!

Vince Voyages Trans-Tasman

James Vince played a typically James Vince-like innings today. The sometime England batsman made 28 from 25 deliveries for Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8044/scorecard/1152540/perth-scorchers-vs-sydney-sixers-30th-match-big-bash-league-2018-19

Vince has cut short his time with New Zealand side Auckland Aces to represent his second Sydney side and I have to say I’m disappointed in him. Having signed for the Kiwi outfit, you’d like to think that he would’ve fulfilled his contract but no! He got a better offer from a more fashionable side in a more glamorous league in the same city he’s represented before but for a different team and negotiated a way out. Maybe it was already in his contract that he could depart for the razzmatazz of the Big Bash.

We see these sort of short stints from overseas players in England and aside from T20s, Australians in particular have always had no qualms about representing a different county from summer to summer but even in a global franchise world, you’d like to think that there can be a place for some sort of loyalty and honour?!

Something in the Genes!

They’re not bad these Curran brothers are they?

I don’t actually think that most diehard cricket fans were surprised at how Surrey’s Sam Curran has taken to Test cricket. He’s an absolute star, capable of batting at six (Maybe higher) and opening the bowling for his country. His left-arm variety will be essential to England’s attack and compensates for any perceived lack of pace. I previously said that he is the axis around which England should build their team but given England’s abundance of all-round talent, just to be a cog will suffice. He’s already made his buck courtesy of the IPL (He’s been snapped up by Kings XI Punjab) but hopefully he’ll keep his feet on the ground and stay engaged with the longest form of the game as well as the pyjama affairs.

Brother Tom struggled for wickets in the 2017-18 Ashes series in Australia but displayed chutzpah with both bat and ball. He performed well in white-ball (ODI/T20I) cricket and it’s a shame that injuries limited his England outings in 2018. He’s been on absolute fire for Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash this winter, already claiming a hat-trick of three-wicket hauls and scoring a swashbuckling half-century. I still think he’s capable of being a viable Test option for England at least in home conditions. He and Sam clearly have attitude which I like. It’s not ugly but there’s a little bit of ‘In your face!’ and that’s healthy against some competitors.

Then there’s brother Ben. It would be easy to get discouraged by being a little behind his brothers or for him to be the butt of jokes but BC has won a contract with Northamptonshire on the back of an encouraging showing late last season. That included signing off with a match-winning 83 not out against Sussex in the County Championship and he’ll be keen to kick on this term for a side that have lost Ben Duckett to Nottinghamshire. How far BC can go remains to be seen. There’s no disgrace in having a solid county career without international recognition but whilst Sam and Tom might look destined for greatness, remember how compatriot Steven Finn as well as India’s Irfan Pathan sadly fell away. In the case of Ben, we might yet see a Mike Hussey style post thirty Test debut followed by thousands of runs!

Denly’s Destiny?

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England Test captain Joe Root has opted to take a break from international cricket during the upcoming T20I Tri-Series against Australia and New Zealand. With all-rounder Ben Stokes also likely to be unavailable, there could be a vacancy for a batsman who bowls a bit, someone who has been in form whilst playing in the Bangladesh Premier League and Big Bash recently, somebody who has improved dramatically since last floundering in international T20 cricket against Australia. Look no further than another Joe, Kent’s Joe Denly.

In last season’s T20 Blast, the former Middlesex man totalled a whopping 567 runs at an average of 43.62 complete with strike-rate of 150.80. Nobody aggregated more runs than the thirty-one-year-old. The Canterbury native averaged a decent 31.16 at 105.64 for Dhaka Dynamites in Bangladesh before Christmas and has just smashed 73 not out from 45 deliveries for Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash, leaving him with a tournament average of 72.00 from four games. He was only dismissed twice during his short Sydney stint. It’s not just the shortest format that Denly has improved at either, last season he averaged 55.48 in the County Championship. The right-hander contributed 1168 runs including four centuries and five half-tons. His domestic career stats aren’t great, generally averaging mid-thrities and neither are his international figures all too impressive: 20 runs in five T20I innings and an average below 30.00 in ODIs.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/12454.html

That was nine years ago however and Denly wouldn’t be the first player to reinvent himself and improve. He’s a useful spin bowling option too and if the England selectors fancied trying the same selection policy as Australia, i.e. picking players on BBL form, then Denly is well worth a shout. If Gary Ballance and James Vince etc can have recall after recall then surely Denly merits another opportunity. Having been included in the Test squad for New Zealand, it could be that Liam Livingstone earns a return to the T20I side and I’d have no qualms about that. Off the back of such form for Denly in Oz though, a recall for the Kent man seems like a no-brainer!

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.