The County Championship returns tomorrow and not soon enough. I appreciate the skills required in white-ball cricket but just love the twists, turns and infinite possibilities that First Class cricket provides. Its return presents a great opportunity for numerous batsmen to make a case for an Ashes call given the indifferent form of some of England’s incumbent Test batters.
It also means keeping an eye on things in the hope of performing a late surge up the Telegraph Fantasy Cricket table.
Hopefully the weather will be kind up and down the land. Enjoy your cricket folks!
Whenever I participate in a fantasy cricket competition, even if it’s one that I forgot about, didn’t make any transfers and probably came not far off last, I feel obliged to provide a write-up.
Well, at least I finished in the top 10,000!
Here are my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket teams for the 2019 edition of the T20 Blast:
After a disappointing World Cup with Afghanistan, can spin bowler Rashid Khan lead Kings of Khan to glory?
Aside from Rashid, paceman Tom Helm is highly thought of while the likes of Steven Mullaney and Wayne Parnell should make all-round contributions. Wicketkeeper Ben Cox is another proven performer in the shortest format while teammate Callum Ferguson excelled in the latest edition of the Big Bash.
Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone will lead 2020 Vision and hope to catch the eye of the England selectors having fallen of the radar somewhat. It may be the last time that we see Michael Klinger in action and David Willey will want to prove that he should still be in England’s T20I squad having missed out on selection for the ODI World Cup. Pat Brown will also hope to back up some impressive performances in previous seasons having being touted as an England candidate while the likes of Laurie Evans (Prominent on the franchise circuit), Ryan Higgins and Ollie Robinson could also make a case for an England call-up.
One of the season’s stars in Somerset’s Tom Banton will skipper Ghetto Blasters. Tom Curran and Liam Dawson will want to put the frustrations of sitting on the sidelines at the World Cup behind them whilst the likes Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan as well as possibly Sam Northeast, the precociously talented Delray Rawlins and even Banton himself might hope to catch Ed Smith’s eye.
I’ll let you know how I got on come the competition’s conclusion.
Hi followers… and new visitors!
The 2019 ODI Cricket World Cup takes place this summer in sunny old England. The first match sees hosts (And favourites!) England take on South Africa on May 30th.
Please find my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket teams for the 45-day (!!!) tournament below:
I’ll be looking to captain Buttler to serve a treat!
I’ll be attending Afghanistan versus West Indies at Headingley, so I look forward to witnessing first hand the Caribbean trio of Gayle, Holder and Cottrell rack up the points for me!
In my second XI, HOPEfully Shai Hope won’t be SHAI of runs!
I’ll also be voyaging to Leeds to see Afghanistan take on Pakistan, so HOPEfully (It never gets old!) Lewis, Hetmyer, Hope, Shahidi and Zazai will fire!
I’ll let you know how I got on come the conclusion of this summer’s ten team tournament.
The graphic above displays my standings now that the group stage of the One-Day Cup has reached its conclusion. International call-ups, injuries and squad rotation have all played their part in scuppering my best laid plans. I’ve been reasonably aggressive with captaincy changes and have tinkered with transfers to get as many players on terra firma as possible. I’ve kept half my captaincy changes for the rest of the County Championship and for the most part have two thirds plus of my transfer allocation left. Now it’s about making sure that my XIs consist of long-term certain starters and saving transfers for the occasional uncontrollable. I do have to bear in mind players such as Marnus Labuschagne who won’t be around for the duration of the summer. Some players have arrived especially for the second phase of the County Championship (Bavuma/Rahane) or have returned from the IPL (Curran.S/Livingstone).
Livingstone is a batsman who bowls and a good catcher. Curran is listed as a bowler not an all-rounder and with him not being in England’s World Cup squad, both are worth consideration.
Leading points scorers
Across my teams my star performers have been Hampshire’s Liam Dawson (1027 pts), Sussex’s David Wiese (805) and Kent’s Matt Milnes (748).
Dawson is now the third most selected player and Milnes is now in 17% of people’s teams but I’ve had him in from the beginning when he was in few people’s XIs so I was gaining points that few TFC participants were. The aforementioned Labuschagne (Listed as a batsman) hasn’t always fired with the bat but has regularly chipped in with the white orb. That’s the advantage of selecting a batsman who bowls because even if they fail with the bat (Remember a duck scores -20) they can still break even or contribute positively with the ball. Yorkshire’s Jonny Tattersall, listed as a batsman but crucially keeping wicket regularly so claiming catches (10pts) and stumpings (15pts) has totalled 538 points. Some people have cottoned on but he’s still in only 5% of teams. Obviously some of my points scored have been doubled when said individual has been made captain, for example: Dawson has always captained for me when playing so has contributed 2054 points for me.
Most selected players
At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve always advised picking players that have been selected by few participants of the game.
Having returned from injury, I slotted Essex’s Matt Coles in to one of my teams. He’s been picked by only 0.3% of TFC participants but has gained 280 points for me (Some doubled) from only a few appearances. Dean Elgar (A useful bowling option come CC long summer days) and Mohammad Abbas are a couple of 1%ers that I’ve snuck in recently. Following his temporary relocation up north, Dom Bess is another player that I might transfer in before next week.
My minimum target is for one of my teams to finish in the top 1000 but disappointingly I’ve just slipped out of the top 1k! Hopefully I can get back up there and will keep you posted later this summer!
Never has a scorecard summed up my fantasy cricket efforts better than what you’ll find in the link below…
List A debutante Lyndon James (Transferred in today especially!) Jake Libby (A duck in the last match!) Steven Mullaney and Tom Moores (Made Captain for today so double minus!) all ducked!
All these players are in one of my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket teams.
Carter and Ball did at least contribute whilst Coughlin and Wood are actually players that I’ve removed from my teams. On the plus side I transferred Pat Brown in and he soon claimed a wicket whilst Wayne Parnell claimed a five-wicket haul. He gains bonus points for a four-wicket haul and sub 4 rpo economy rate.
When you’ve got a handful of teams and therefore have players across all the counties, there are so many ups and downs during match day. Sometimes you’re celebrating a wicket only to see that it’s one of your batsmen that have been dismissed… or are you celebrating a good knock (Ideally a score above forty scored at more than a run-a-ball containing lots of sixes. BONUS POINTS!) then one of your bowlers claiming a wicket?
What might seem like inconsequential catches can be celebrated with a fist pump for the points they bring.
Look out for my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket update at the conclusion of the One-Day Cup group stage late next week.
Adam Lyth will always hold a place in my heart, if not for the highest but for the best ever innings that I’ve played on a computer game…
His 120 in a ODI against the mighty Nepal on Don Bradman Cricket 17 may have been in a losing cause but was a mighty fine knock.
Unfortunately, having spent a Telegraph Fantasy Cricket captaincy transfer on him, I would’ve welcomed better than a duck (-20).
He better take some catches and wickets is all that I can say!