Cricket Captain 2020 – Fourth Year

Four years into my tenure and still we haven’t added any silverware to the trophy cabinet. I know that the fans are growing frustrated but in 2023 there was some encouraging development of our project.

Once again we retained our County Championship division one status. Selection consistency was a huge part of our progress whilst having sufficient stocks to rotate our bowling attack appropriately. Jon Baldwin developed as so many had hoped by totalling 1220 First Class runs. Sam Cook led the way with 48 wickets to earn the former Essex man an England call-up.

Sadly it was the wooden spoon for us in the One-Day competition. This was despite Harry Brook (271 runs) grabbing a career lifeline and leg-spinning all-rounder Brett D’Oliveira (12 wickets) excelling on his new home turf.

We suffered heartbreak in the T20s as our experienced and youth composite so nearly got us to the knockout stages courtesy of six victories before falling away come crunch time. Again it was Baldwin (360 runs including a score of 99) who led the run-getting while Matthew Waite claimed 18 wickets.

All-rounder Waite captained the One-Day side, shorn as usual of The Hundred players. Wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall stepped into the role for the four-day format and led the side particularly well in Twenty20 cricket.

Sadly Gary Ballance has left us and I’d like to place on record our gratitude to our former skipper who wasn’t able to make a first team appearance this season. Jordan Thompson and Nathan Ellis (Due to lack of funds!) have also left the club.

Our fans will however be hugely excited by the arrival of West Indian icon Rahkeem Cornwall. The off-spinning all-rounder will add a new dimension to our team. We can’t wait to see him take to the Headingley field in 2024. See you then!

Cricket Captain 2020 – Season Review

After commencing the County Championship with a comprehensive win, we struggled to clinch more victories. Our batting was generally strong but a little slow and it was often when attempting to up the tempo and push for victory that we opened the door for our visitors to snatch the result away from us. Our bowlers struggled a little in the first half of the campaign too.

We won two out of our last three matches however to preserve our division one status. Off-spinner Jack Shutt (6-50) bowled us to victory against neighbours Lancashire and then made 44 not out alongside wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall (84*) to see us over the line against Hampshire when under huge pressure. Despite losing against Surrey in our final game, we survived!

The less said about our One-Day campaign the better. We were without as many as ten players due to England call-ups/franchise gigs but many of our youngsters gained experience. Teenage opener James Wharton (146) did at least register a maiden century while signing Matt Coles excelled when bowling at the death.

Though our T20 campaign was also ultimately fruitless, we did improve as the competition went on. Matthew Waite was a revelation with the ball.

Adam Lyth finished the County Championship with a competition topping 1573 runs including a top score of 199*. Jack Shutt’s aforementioned 6-50 against Lancashire was our best bowling effort whilst Ben Coad concluded the season well to top the club charts with 40 wickets.

Opener Will Fraine seized his opportunity due to numerous injuries/absences to clock up 380 runs in the fifty-over format. Matt Coles claimed a club best 12 wickets with a best of 6-36.

In the T20 format Tom Kohler-Cadmore registered an impressive 440 runs (And would earn an England ODI call-up) meanwhile Dawid Malan found form to make a high score of 110. Again Matt Coles excelled in white-ball cricket (That’s why we bought him!), claiming best figures of 5-22 but the effective Matthew Waite topped the club efforts with 15 wickets.

First Class captain Steven Patterson has retired and frustratingly talks with Toby Roland-Jones broke down. He opted to make the short move from Middlesex to Surrey instead. We would’ve like to have signed Chris Rushworth from northern neighbours Durham or re-sign Ben Sanderson but whilst we were failing to negotiate with Roland-Jones those players signed elsewhere. Jamie Overton was another who slipped by. 26-year-old Australia Nathan Ellis will therefore join us for 2021.

Close of Play for Meschede!

German international Craig Meschede has been forced to retire due to injury.

The South African born Glamorgan and former Somerset all-rounder is suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome.

Meschede made two First Class tons and claimed one five-wicket haul. His best List A bowling figures were an incredible 4-5 but he’ll be disappointed that his top score was only 45. His best figures in T20s were 3-9 and with the bat he scored over a thousand runs at a strike-rate of 134.08. It was in the latter format (T20I) that he earned international recognition with Germany, his father’s homeland.

He duly impressed with a top score of 67 and averaged 44.75 striking at a mighty 155.65! Throw in six wickets at just 19.16 apiece and the German selectors will be gutted that the 28-year-old won’t be donning the German kit again.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/362565.html

Meschede advises that he’s “… lost about 80% strength in my upper arm” and that he requires “… (a) procedure to improve my everyday life.”

I sincerely hope that the procedure goes to plan and that Meschede is able to find fulfilment away from playing cricket.

Cricket 19: Signing Off in Style!

In the one-off T20I against Australia in Sydney, we started in a way that encapsulated the hit and miss nature of our tour. Following a double mis-field off the first delivery off the match, we ran David Warner out without facing a ball! Australia had opted to bat but for the second Sydney innings in a row, Warner blobbed having made 140 in the first Test in Perth.

From 0-1 Australia hardly got going as we effected three run outs in the innings. Captain Xavier Le Tallec set astute field placings as we reduced the hosts to 82-8. A stand of 40 between McDermott (34*) and Behrendorff (21*) lifted Australia to a potentially competitive 122-8 from their 20 overs. Skipper Aaron Finch top scored with 38 meanwhile Le Tallec was outstanding with the ball, claiming figures of 3-17. Georges (1-26) and Petit (1-15) also struck.

Petit was unfortunate to have a chance dropped by wicketkeeper Maxime Bernard but the gloveman redeemed himself with a run out and catch soon after. The luckless Phillipe La Roux finished with figures of 3-0-23-0 that included 8 overthrows… would they prove costly? Zidane Thomas’s (3-0-25-0) struggles with the ball continued but Christophe Martinez’s leg spin was a revelation. The Reunion Islander conceded just 15 runs from three overs. We required just over a run-a-ball to claim our first ever limited overs victory and end a tough tour on a huge high note…

Jean-Luc Chevalier and Hippolyte Gregory started sensibly before Gregory feasted on Adam Zampa’s vegan leg-spin. Gregory struck each of Zampa’s first three deliveries over the ropes for 6 as Zampa conceded 31 from his first over. Credit to Zampa, who only conceded 34 from his next three overs but his performance was costly! Having helped compile 49 for the first wicket, Chevalier (15) top edged a pull off Jhye Richardson to wicketkeeper Alex Carey. It hasn’t all been roses on this tour for Chevalier but he’s got enough about him to be better for it.

Gregory went onto make a career best 35 from 28 deliveries before being bowled by Coulter-Nile with the score 90-2. The run flow stymied somewhat as Matteo Phillipe batted sensibly but possibly got a little bogged down. He’d made 7 from 17 balls when he reviewed an LBW against Glenn Maxwell. Phillipe, like the rest of us on the balcony, was spewing his supper when he was given out. This was despite the video evidence clearly confirming that he’d got bat on ball before being struck on the pad. He’d flown a long way for just 7 runs and desperately wanted to be there at the end.

From 108-3 the supremely composed Zidane Thomas finished a tough winter by edging the ball… time stood still as everybody turned their gaze… for four to seal our first ever white-ball win. Thomas finished 49 not out from 44 deliveries with Zvonimir Pitko undefeated on 3 alongside him. The Iceman Pitko was of course at the crease when we won our first Test. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Australia’s bowlers: Behrendorff (4-0-10-0), Coulter-Nile (4-0-13-1), Richardson (3.1-0-14-1), Maxwell (2-0-8-1)and Short (1-0-2-0) all of whom keep things tight but Gregory’s onslaught on Zampa won us the match. That’s not to undermine what was a consummate team performance with contributions throughout.

Australia skipper Aaron Finch was humble in defeat but didn’t regret choosing to bat first. We struck immediately and never let Australia get away from us then batted sensibly without a hint of panic when chasing an historic victory.

The home fans were superb and for our supporters who’d travelled all the way from Europe, it was a special moment to be shared by all. President Macron was on the phone immediately… he’s never shy to share any glory!

This winter hasn’t always been easy but we’ve won a Test in India and a T20I in Australia. We’re ahead of where we expected to be. Bring on the summer!

Cricket: A Global Game? – Getting There!

Singapore have soared up the T20I rankings since full status was applied to pretty much all international T20 matches. The Asian island have even defeated Test nation Zimbabwe during their meteoric rise.

https://www.icc-cricket.com/rankings/mens/team-rankings/t20i

Now it’s the turn of another Asian island (Or four islands) to make headway in the cricketsphere. Japan’s U-19 side might not have performed sensationally on the pitch but their progress hasn’t gone unnoticed. Diehard sports fans love an underdog and for the time being at least even big nations like Japan are such when it comes to cricket.

An even bigger country that has also shown up on the U-19 World Cup stage is Nigeria. Like Japan it’s been tough at the tournament but they’ll stronger and more hungry for it. Both sides have a healthy amount of indigenous or dual heritage players in their teams which bodes well for the future. That’s both for the future of their respective teams and cricket in general.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Under-19_Cricket_World_Cup

What’s the ceiling limit though? Will they have to apply for Test status? Will it even be relevant for nations that are being groomed on Twenty20 or One-Day Cricket to try and function in longer forms of the game?

It’ll be fascinating to see how the international cricket landscape evolves over the next decade or two. Hopefully nations from all corners of the globe will be playing against one another.

2020!

A huge thank you to those of you who’ve viewed, shared, liked, commented, followed or interacted in any way on my blog in 2019. I’m extremely grateful and the odd like or comment from time to time really does make it that little more worthwhile.

2020 seems like an appropriate year for a cricket blog and I intend to keep going strong. It’ll be more of the same from me with polls, quizzes, lots of Cricket 19 content and maybe even some thoughts on real cricket… it does happen from time to time!

Like I say, 2020 is a fitting year for our sport and it’s great that England is launching a new domestic Twenty20 comp… oh no, wait!

Happy New Year to you all wherever you are in the world!

Emily Smith Ban – The Results

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Hi folks

Thanks for voting on my latest poll. Let’s take a look at the results…

Screenshot 2019-11-27 at 13.20.45

Well it’s unambiguous then. 83% of voters feel that the one-year ban (Nine months suspended) applied was appropriate.

Numerous people have had their say on the matter and I do have some sympathy for Smith but ultimately naivety, casualness or lack of professionalism (Call it what you will) can’t be used as an excuse. That may seem harsh but once again please don’t forget the extreme monetary value that rides on WBBL matches. Women’s cricket may still be playing catch-up to that of their male counterparts in regards to many aspects of professionalism but Smith is old enough and experienced enough to have avoided all this.

I think that there’s little doubt that there wasn’t any sinister motive related to the Victorian born’s actions and ultimately I’m sure that we all want to see Smith back on the cricket field as soon as possible, ban considered. I know that I do.

Is Emily Smith’s Ban the Appropriate Length?

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An hour before the official release of the team sheet for what would ultimately be a rained off match, Hobart Hurricanes wicketkeeper Emily Smith posted an Instagram video displaying her side’s playing XI. It’s unlikely that there was any sinister corruption related motive to this and only that Smith was killing time and boredom when drawing attention to her lowly position in the batting order.

In Ed Hawkins ‘Bookie, Gambler, Fixer, Spy’ he alludes to a seemingly innocent conversation in the pool with Ian Bell that could ultimately have been perceived as the England batsman revealing information that could be abused by match-fixers. This highlights how careful players must be. Don’t under estimate how much money rides on Women’s Big Bash matches either!

Hurricanes’ Smith seems to have been naive rather than sinisterly motivated but the words of Cricket Australia when banning her…

“We have been working with Emily throughout the process and Emily now understands the mistake she made”.

… suggest that she’s struggled to grasp the severity of the situation. Why Smith had her phone on her at the time is another question given the current protocol. Team management should already have confiscated it. However, despite the excuses provided by some, let’s be clear that Smith is not a kid but 24-years-old and has been playing regularly at the top level of domestic women’s cricket for some time. She also can’t say that she wasn’t warned. Corruption education has been exhaustive. If it were a male non-Australian cricketer would the likes of Andrew Symonds be offering a defence?

Smith has received a year-long ban but nine months of that are suspended. She’ll miss the remainder of the Women’s Big Bash League and Women’s National League. Ultimately she can’t play any cricket, not even amateur cricket, for the remainder of the Australian summer.

What do you think? Is this ban the right amount? Should she have been let off or suffered an even more severe punishment?

Would You Rather? The Results

What’s been created?

The Hundred

What do the public want? (By public I mean the six people including myself that voted on this poll!)

Not the Hundred!

Screenshot 2019-10-30 at 15.18.24

Interestingly, 67% of voters would like to have just kept the T20 Blast in its current county form. I thought that more than 33% might have plumped for a T20 city based franchise competition but like a batsman’s average the stats don’t lie!

If you haven’t already then please vote on my latest poll on the subject of coin tossing in Test cricket. You can find the Polls section of my blog by clicking on the Menu & Widgets tab at the top right of my home page then selecting Batting Order then Select Category then Polls.

Come to think of it, why don’t I just provide you with the link to my latest poll?

https://sillypointcricket.com/2019/10/27/stop-being-tossers/