Sensational Sibley Sizzles… for England?

Warwickshire’s Dominic Sibley is making an almost irresistible case to be the next man to open the batting for England’s Test side. The twenty-three-year-old Epsom born bat has notched up six First Class tons in as many matches spread over this season and last. He’s currently averaging 83.00 in the County Championship having clocked up a total of 249 runs. Crucially those runs have been scored in Division One.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/county-championship-division-one/averages

Right-handed Sibley hit the headlines early in his career when compiling an innings of 242 for home team Surrey but felt it necessary to seek new pastures in order to guarantee first team cricket. He set sail to Warwickshire and joined former Yorkshire player Will Rhodes at the top of the order. The pair didn’t quite hit it off at first but have developed into a reliable opening pair for the Edgbaston outfit.

England Selector Ed Smith should know as well as anyone that form doesn’t always translate to Test quality but Sibley has maintained his standards for some time now. If he can continue his run-glut then he could debut against Ireland at Lords later this summer.

Lancashire’s Haseeb Hameed has shown signs of a resurgence albeit in Division Two meanwhile Nottinghamshire recruit Ben Duckett is settling into life at new home Trent Bridge. Neither are getting anywhere near Sibley’s consistency however. Uncapped Middlesex left-hander Nick Gubbins could also come into the equation though like Hameed he’s playing in Division Two and like Duckett he’s often to be found batting first drop. Of course both positions are up for grabs in England’s Test side. Incumbents Keaton Jennings and Joe Denly could yet be saved if England are reluctant to blood or bring in from the cold, two batsmen in the top three one Test before the Ashes.

Sibley can only keep churning out runs on all pitches against a variety of opposition and await the call.

Cricket 19: Padding Up!

Big Ant’s latest cricketing effort titled Cricket 19 is due for release later this month, tuesday 28th to be exact. Button pushing fingers at the ready!

https://sillypointcricket.com/2019/04/18/cricket-19-release-date-confirmed/

https://sillypointcricket.com/2019/03/16/cricket-19-what-will-you-do/

Now if I was a single, unemployed, rich man, I’d be looking forward to dedicating a lot of my days (And nights!) to hunkering down, stockpiling on snacks, never leaving the house and dedicating as much time as possible to the game before I got an immense headache. Sound familiar!

Unfortunately, no not unfortunately but realistically I have a wife and two children, work 32-40 hours per week and am not rich. I can’t dedicate every second of every day to Cricket 19. That’s a problem because there’s a heck of a lot to do in the game. What I do have is one morning per week whilst eldest daughter is at nursery and possibly friday and saturday nights to chase cricketing glory. So what am I going to do?

Obviously I’d like to pursue a career. First up as on previous Big Ant cricket games, I’d like to do an as true to life career as possible. By that I mean as a virtual me, the player has my name, looks like me, has my real life batting and bowling handedness/arm and style and commences his career somewhere local whilst trying to gain a contract at Yorkshire and ultimately play for England. That in itself is a big dedication to go all the way to regular international player over a ten or fifteen year period. I do think that in Career Mode I will be a batting orientated player. It’s just too much to be bowling as well and I find it harder to get in the groove and maintain form when batting. I haven’t played Ashes for sometime so will do some net practice before commencing my career. If the difficulty levels are similar to previous games (Rookie, Amateur, Pro, Veteran, Legend) then I’ll probably look to play on veteran level. Pro can be just a little too easy but Legend too hard. The new Perks system implemented on Career Mode looks extremely promising. I’d love to do some careers as my daughters, one of them I’ve got down as a spin bowler or my fast bowler nephew but I don’t want to end up with a few unfinished careers.

The other thing that I’d like to do is create Test and ODI leagues as I’ve done previously. I’m really not fussed about T20I. I prefer to be able to bat for long periods and make big scores as well as enjoying bowling long spells and having to work hard for wickets. That’s been the real beauty of previous Big Ant games, the realness of having to dig deep to earn your rewards. Though I won’t bowl in Career I enjoy doing so in Tests in particular. As with Career I don’t want to end up with unfinished leagues so I’ll keep them small, maybe just five or six teams, home and away followed by a final. I like to select some lesser nations so Canada and Nepal etc, bring it on! I should probably mention that I’ll be playing as England and will likely call up players such as Rob Keogh, Harry Brook and Will Jacks amongst others to compliment to England regulars. That’s another huge asset of Big Ant’s games, The customisation and fantasy elements, you make the England (Or whichever) team as you like personnel wise, as well as kit and stadium wise.

I can’t say that scenario mode holds great appeal to me. I’d rather just play Test and ODIs and therefore arrive upon my own scenarios in those matches.

The online feedback from the demo has been extremely positive particularly around the visual aspect as well as the added depth to Career Mode. There’ll always be a bit of hesitancy from me as Big Ant have had their problems when it’s come to polishing previous titles. “Brilliant but broken games” is the phrase that I’ve used. Fingers crossed that this time they’ve had pest control in early and rid themselves of any bugs!

I’ll be sure to post match reviews and Career updates complete with images as with previous games here on my site so keep your eyes peeled.

https://sillypointcricket.com/2018/03/30/ashes-cricket-ps4-career-mode-2024-season/

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/12/24/ashes-cricket-ps4-global-test-league-like-a-rash/

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/11/18/ashes-cricket-ps4-slogmaster-from-zero-to-ninety-in-a-matter-of-seconds/

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/10/28/don-bradman-cricket-17-best-of/

Please let me know what you intend to do on Cricket 19.

Stoneman’s Struggles!

Since slipping away from England’s Test side, Surrey opening batsman Mark Stoneman has hardly made an insatiable case for a recall.

Last year was ordinary (660 CC runs at 33.00) though there were encouraging signs as the season progressed. This year the former Durham man made scores of 45 and 35 in his one and only County Championship outing to date. Those are the kind of knocks that he had a history of producing at Durham before one century laden summer at Surrey propelled him into the England team.  In this season’s One-Day Cup, Stoneman has struggled to even get started and has totalled only 79 runs at an average of 15.8. Now Stoneman is no bish bash bosher but does possess a List A average that until not long ago was north of forty…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/229954.html

The fact that number is in decline may tell us everything we need to know!

I understand that Stoneman had a son born with a heart defect. Without meaning to be rude, I’d be interested to know specifics just incase it happened to be the same condition as my daughter. If indeed the child has had or been waiting to have surgeries, it’s understandable how this could’ve affected the thirty-one-year-old’s focus.

In terms of furthering his Test career, Stoneman’s fielding performances during his England stint didn’t exactly aid his cause, not to mention getting to fifty five times but not surpassing sixty. In fact in his final innings in New Zealand, having reached fifty he almost looked intent on getting out rather than knuckling down and registering a maiden Test ton…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/10883/scorecard/1115781/new-zealand-vs-england-2nd-test-eng-tour-of-aus-and-nz-2017-18

There then followed a torturous outing at home to Pakistan…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18025/scorecard/1119535/england-vs-pakistan-1st-test-pak-in-ire-eng-scot-2018

The fact that England lost the match meant that he couldn’t be afforded another chance in a two-Test series. Lack of runs combined with age mean that he’s unlikely to get another.

Wright Wronged!

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.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/23460.html

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:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/big-bash-league-2015-16/engine/records/batting/most_runs_innings.html?id=158;type=trophy

Highest individual Big Bash innings:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/big-bash-league-2015-16/engine/records/batting/most_runs_career.html?id=158;type=trophy

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!

Northeast Finds Direction!

Following a frustrating injury hit first campaign with his adopted county, former Kent captain Sam Northeast commenced the new season with an impressive knock of 169 for Hampshire against Essex.

It’s easy to assume that Northeast has fallen down the pecking order in terms of England selection but if he can back up his opening knock with more of the same then there’s no reason why he couldn’t gatecrash the Ashes. Incumbent Joe Denly is currently sat on the bench at the IPL. He is very much an Ed Smith selection however. Denly made 69 in his last Test innings but then James Vince made 76 in his. With Northeast performing at three and Vince opening, could the Hampshire duo both make England’s next Test squad?

Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth made runs too. He’s a very good player but the fact that previous Test shortcomings occurred against Australia in England will probably count against him. There’ll be a clamour for Joe Clarke who let his cricket do the talking when making a debut ton for Nottinghamshire meanwhile Haseeb Hameed registered a double century against the students.

Ultimately the early season signs are that unlike recent seasons, England might have some difficult selection choices to make but in a good way.

Footitt Hops It!

England nearly man Mark Footitt is hitting the motorway once again, this time in the direction of Old Trafford.

Why Lancashire (Anderson, Bailey, Onions, Mahmood, Lester, Gleeson, Hurt and some promising youngsters) need another bowler, a specialist First Class one at that, when the One-Day Cup commences after only two County Championship games is beyond me!

Were it not for an erratic performance in a warm-up match then Footitt may have earned a Test cap in South Africa. Having said that, Mark Davies took a five-wicket haul in a tour match and still didn’t make the England XI.

Back to Footitt and I’ve lost track of his career path. It goes something like Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Surrey, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire (Loan), Nottinghamshire, Lancashire (Loan).

Hopefully he can commence the campaign as he did for Surrey only a year or two ago. Hopes of winning full England recognition are surely long gone however.

Disclaimer: It turns out that half Lancashire’s bowling attack are injured which is why they require Footitt’s presence. Fair enough!