Following on from my latest audiocast where I touched upon the subject of Liam Dawson and James Vince being unable to represent Hampshire in the One-Day Cup final, I feel that it’s necessary to look into things a bit further.
It’s a huge shame that these two players, both of whom are likely to more often than not be sub-fielding and carrying drinks for England (But you never know what can happen?!) can’t play in the domestic season’s marquee showpiece. It is of course only appropriate in the interest of fairness that they can’t. It would be unfair for them to be getting match practice, keeping their eye in, staying in form and gaining confidence when the players of the other World Cup participants can’t do so. You do have to question the ECB’s structuring of the English county season though as it is they who should’ve seen this coming and prevented it from happening. The One-Day Cup was played in an exclusive block up to a couple of weeks ago so why on Earth did we then return to First Class cricket for a couple of weeks before the One-Day final randomly slots in to the fixture list?
It’s a shame for the players in question and a kick in the teeth for devoted fans of a county game that in most people’s eyes is seriously struggling as a spectator sport. Remember that Vince is Hampshire’s captain and Dawson has been their star player this year.
Regarding Dawson, there are rumours that he’s been courted by Warwickshire but also that he may have hinted to Hampshire that he only wants a white-ball contract in the future. I’m disappointed to hear that but realistically he’s probably struggling to play Test cricket again. He’s been mightily effective in the PSL for a couple of years and if he can get IPL and CPL gigs as well as playing One-Day and Twenty20 cricket in England then there’s just about enough cricket to occupy him in the summer. This is before we consider the PSL, BPL and Big Bash etc in the winter time, not to mention the Hong Kong Blitz, Global T20 Canada and whatever pops up next! The riches of these gigs are far greater than the county game and a lot less gruelling so the appeal is understandable but it’s also confirmation that the standard of the four-day game in England in particular will continue to decline. If the best players desert it when still in their twenties, we could be left with only young players pre peak and old players post peak to fill the teams.
As for Vince, his appearances in an England shirt this summer have been exactly what everyone expected of him. Pretty but unsubstantial. Not out of his depth but not excelling. How will bench warming for England help him press his case for a top three Test vacancy come the Ashes?
Hopefully Dawson and Vince will get some game time at the World Cup. I’m a big fan of involving the whole squad when it comes to major tournaments but whether or not the structure of the 2019 competition and England’s results will allow it only time will tell.
What can I say?
I don’t follow the IPL all that closely but as a self confessed cricket nut who regularly hands out fantasy cricket selection advice… I should probably try harder next time!
Disclaimer: Not sure about the winner’s team name. Should’ve been disqualified if you ask me then I’d have finished in a far more respectable sixteenth place!
Following injury to the unfortunate Dawid Malan, England have called up Sussex’s Philip Salt for the one-off Twenty20 International against Pakistan tomorrow.
Salt has a top score of 74 in domestic T20 cricket, spent some time on the franchise circuit during the winter and regardless of format, has a habit of getting Sussex off to some brisk starts. Hopefully he can do the same for England if he makes the playing XI.
Former England player Luke Wright recently signed a white-ball only contract for Sussex, putting an end to a First Class career that earned nearly 8000 runs and in excess of 100 wickets.
Remember that Wright was extremely close to winning a Test cap in South Africa some years ago but England plumped for Ian Bell.
If anything Wright was rather perversely both ahead of his time but also picked too soon. At a time when England, despite inventing it, had no idea how to play T20 cricket but belatedly attempted to select a squad somewhere near resembling a T20 outfit, Wright was sent out to swashbuckle from ball one and promptly scored a paddle of ducks at the World Cup.
Strip away ODI and T20I career bests against then Associates Afghanistan and Netherlands and his stats make for even grimmer reading than they already do. A lack of a consistent defined role may not have always helped him. Was he an all-rounder or just a batsman who bowled? He bowled that last over against New Zealand alright!
Despite his international struggles, Wright was making a name for himself on the franchise circuit long before many of his compatriots. His performances in the Big Bash were record-breaking and over a sustained period of time, confirmed his ability. It’s a shame that it had been lost on England by then.
All-time Big Bash leading run-scorers:
Highest individual Big Bash innings:
Wright could still have a few years in him yet and let’s hope to see some boundary laden innings from the now 34-year-old, wherever in the world he shows up!
Imagine that you were playing village cricket and the batting side’s captain walked into the middle to contest an umpiring decision. You’d think that the player in question was pathetic and their actions unacceptable. You’d think that they were setting a disgraceful example to kids wouldn’t you!
MS Dhoni did such a thing in a recent IPL match and bar a small and utterly meaningless fine, got away it. Whether or not the umpiring decision was correct is irrelevant. It’d be fascinating to know what the reaction would’ve been had the player in question not been Indian.
Cricket has been played for over 150 years and players have been getting ‘rough’ decisions all over the globe everyday. Few players anywhere at anytime have likely acted with the lack of grace that MS Dhoni did.
Nothing about our game should make anyone angry or disappointed, with the performance maybe but certainly not with conduct.
Has MS Dhoni apologised? Is he embarrassed or is he revelling in the attention? I have no idea but what I do know is that his lowest of the low actions were totally out of place at all levels of our beautiful game.
Don’t worry Dawid. If I get my hands on Cricket Captain 2019 for the Mac or dig out my PS4 and buy Cricket 19, I’ll provide you with another England cap!
It’s safe to say that England’s T20I series in the West Indies hasn’t quite been what DM was hoping for…
On another positive Dawid, with first team England appearances err, appearing unlikely, I might find a place for you in my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket Team. Clouds and silver linings and all that!
The Big Bash could be set to expand come the 2020-21 campaign but which cities could adopt new franchises and assume a place in the league?
How about Canberra and Darwin?
Canberra is the capital city of Australia but the state of New South Wales already has two Sydney based franchises. Canberra technically lies within the Australian Capital Territory which is entirely encompassed within New South Wales. To complicate matters, current BBL participants Sydney Thunder, actually play at Manuka Oval which is located in Canberra. For a team moniker, how about Canberra Centurions, Canberra Cricket Cosmos or just Canberra Cosmos, Canberra Conventional Swingers, Canberra Cover-Drivers or Canberra Cyclones.
The Northern Territory isn’t currently represented in the Big Bash so state capital Darwin could fill the void. Marrara Oval has hosted international cricket matches before. There’s a whole host of team names the city could choose from: Darwin Ducks, Darwin Dot-Ballers, Darwin Drifters, Darwin Diamonds, Darwin Drivers or Darwin Drinks-Breakers. Darwin needs a Big Bash of its own!
Cairns, Launceston and Alice Springs are other possible locations for new franchises. Oh and how about the Norfolk Island Knights?
Disclaimer: Whilst writing my article, I became heavily distracted by this one…