Cricket Captain 2017: Victory at Last!

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9th June 2023. Remember the date people!

Following ten consecutive Test match defeats, England’s cricketers have won a series for the first time in nearly five years. A thumping win in the first Test against Zimbabwe was followed by a nail-biting three-wicket series clincher for Nick Gubbins and his men in the second.

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Ex-skipper Liam Livingstone and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes’ record-breaking partnership of 315 laid the foundation for England’s hoodoo-terminating victory in the first Test at Lords.

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Despite huge pressure from the media as well as the public to drop Toby Roland-Jones from the side, England persisted with the Middlesex veteran and were rewarded as the 35-year-old seamer returned career-best figures of 4-25 to decimate Zimbabwe in the visitor’s first innings of the second Test.

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After Liam Livingstone (104) had recorded his 12th Test century, gloveman Ben Foakes slowly carried England to back-to-back Test wins and a morale boosting series victory. Under such pressure, a successful run-chase on a deteriorating fourth and fifth day pitch is no mean feat.

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After an encouraging if unrewarding Ashes campaign, Jamie Overton well and truly arrived as a Test match bowler. The express paceman snared 9 victims at just 15.56 apiece and also had the honour of scoring the series clinching run.

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During the series, opening batsman Mark Stoneman passed 4000 Test runs and Liam Livingstone ascended to the peak of the Test match batting rankings.

England’s schedule now sees them entertain their Test scalps in five ODIs and one T20I. With both limited overs captains Ryan Higgins and Benny Howell without a county this year, England have some huge decisions to make when selecting their squads. After the pyjama affairs, England host the might of Pakistan for five Tests, as many ODIs and a T20I.

MA 2 3 + JB 2 5 = EV

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I’ve done it. By Jove I’ve done it. I’ve done it I say. I’ve discovered the formula to solve England’s batting order equation. With the benefit of hindsight it really does seem oh so simple. I can’t believe that I didn’t solve it sooner, or that anybody else did for that matter. The solution is as follows:

MA 2 3 + JB 2 5 = EV

Moeen Ali batting at three added to Jonny Bairstow batting at five equals victory for England.

This formula not only acccomodates the likes of Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad and James Anderson at interjas 6-11 but also for any two of Toby Roland-Jones, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran or Mason Crane amongst other probabilities.

Like any good mathematical equation, we’re working backwards and by doing so we find messrs Cook, Stoneman (He rocks!) and Root positioned at interjas 1,2 and 4.

The simplicity of this formula is in the proposal that MA and JB bat in the very positions that they do at domestic level. The logic applied is located at the greatest extremity of the logic scale.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Morris’ Theorem.

Cricket Captain 2017: South Africa, South Africa!

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Following England’s early exit from the 2020 T20I World Cup, it was South Africa all the way for Liam Livingstone’s men. From the darkest seeds of cricketing despair grew firstly the shoots of competitiveness before blossoming into fully blown victoriousness… before a couple of T20I defeats at the end!

Having lost the opening dual of the summer, England secured a rare Test win in the second battle, thanks in no small part to Toby Roland-Jones’ 49-ball 75 to compliment captain Livingstone’s masterly knock of 147. Middlesex’s Roland-Jones recorded a tenth-wicket stand of 76 with number eleven Jack Leach (0 from 13 deliveries) to help the hosts square the series but the home side were unable to back that performance up. Two more defeats were followed by a draw in the fifth and final Test thus ‘The Proteas’ claimed a 3-1 series win.

In the ODI matches, England were 2-1 up and headed for series victory before making a ‘right pig’s ear’ of a run chase and therefore conspiring to lose the fourth ODI by 16 runs. The home side didn’t recover from letting a golden chance slip and rather predictably failed to win the deciding match as South Africa claimed the series 3-2. The visitors also won the sole T20I match.

England vs. South Africa series results:

Tests: Lost 3-1

ODIs: Lost 3-2

T20I: Lost 1-0

Encouraged by their increasing competitiveness though, England followed South Africa home and experienced what can only be described as a renaissance or resurgence or redemption or…

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While in South Africa, Somerset spinner Jack Leach reached 100 Test wickets!

Going into the third and final Test 1-0 down in the series, England recorded a famous victory to seal a more than respectable away series draw. Persisted with young opening batsman Max Holden produced a career best maiden Test century (121) in the tourists’ second innings while debutant Will Rhodes was one of a trio of players to have scored 54 in England’s first venture to the crease. One of the others to do so was Ben Coad. The recalled quick bowler claimed two four-wicket hauls (8 wickets @ 18.75) in the series and registered a valuable maiden fifty in his 23rd Test. The bold decision to ‘drop’ Sam Curran was justified with the aforementioned Rhodes also claiming match figures of 4-73 with the ball.

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Daniel Bell-Drummond has excelled in ODI cricket but will have to wait for a Test recall.

In the ODI series, England maximised momentum and raced into an unassailable 2-0 lead. Opening batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond maintained his excellent form in fifty-over cricket since his debut last year. Having recorded back to back centuries in the home ODIs, the Kent batsman struck his fifth ODI career hundred in the first match of the series before Middlesex’s Dawid Malan blitzed 87 to help England win the second.

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Benny Howell has become an essential member of England’s T20I outfit, even captaining the side on a couple of occasions.

The T20I series was lost 2-0 but England still showed increased signs of competitiveness. Despite falling short of their target, England passed 200 in the second match, courtesy of two career best performances: Ryan Higgins’ 79 not out and Benny Howell’s 58 not out. The Zimbabwe/France born duo manufactured an audacious unbroken partnership of 128.

South Africa vs. England series results:

Tests: Drew 1-1

ODIs: Won 2-1

T20Is: Lost 2-0

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Tom Curran has started to look the part in the international environment whilst his brother Sam should return a better player after being ‘rested’.

Next for Liam Livingstone and his troops, it’s onto Bangladesh for a tough assignment. England supporters will be hopeful that the likes of Tom Curran and company can continue to display their improved showings. The selectors however have some tough calls to make in all forms of the game when selecting the Bangladesh touring party.

Cricket Captain 2017: 2020 T20I World Cup Review

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… or 2020 2020 Review if you prefer?

By the time England secured victory over Bangladesh in their final match of the Caribbean staged tournament, their fate had already been sealed.

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The welcome rare win had been preceded by defeats against India, South Africa and Pakistan. At least all the island hopping allowed England’s players to enjoy the sights and sounds of the West Indies! England’s batting throughout the competition was at best woeful. Only captain Liam Livingstone (101 runs @ 25.25) and Zimbabwe born Ryan Higgins (91 runs @ 22.75) walked away from the tournament with their reputations in tact. The likes of Dawid Malan, Riki Wessels and Joe Clarke all failed to really get going during the competition.

On the bowling front, Toby Roland-Jones repaid the optimistic faith (He averaged 167.00 not long ago!) shown in him by the selectors by claiming 11 scalps @ just 10.36 apiece including two four-wicket hauls.

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Having performed well on the tour of New Zealand winter past, the Middlesex man now looks set to be presented with the opportunity to lead England’s Test attack against South Africa this summer.

For others however, their international futures are uncertain. Ross Whiteley arrived on the international scene with a reputation for frequent six-hitting. The left-handed bat has however only mustered a paltry return of 99 runs in ten T20I innings to date. In truth, given that he can’t even get a game for his county side, he probably shouldn’t have been included in the World Cup squad at all.

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The likes of Matt Coles and Lewis Gregory will also be sweating over their international futures though Toby Roland-Jones’ redemption may help provide others with further opportunities.

Next for England it’s demanding back-to-back home and away series against South Africa before a challenging trip to Bangladesh. After an abysmal last twelve months for a beleaguered England side, it can only be hoped that the selectors make the right calls and the players apply themselves better than has recently been the case.

Batsmen Brett D’Oliveira, Aneurin Donald and Sam Hain as well as bowlers Tom Helm and Jamie Porter are among some of the players who could force their way into the international reckoning this season.

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Possible Test squad for the first Test against South Africa: Luke Wells, Max Holden, Tom Westley, Liam Livingstone (c), Riki Wessels, Sam Curran, John Simpson (w), James Harris, Jofra Archer, Toby Roland-Jones, Jack Leach, Hamidullah Qadri

Cricket Captain 2017: 2018 Test Tour to Sri Lanka Squad Announcement

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England head to Sri Lanka shortly for a tough tour consisting of three Tests, five ODIs and curiously … no T20Is.

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Opening batsman Rory Burns returns to the squad after injury whilst there are also recalls for batsman James Hildreth and spin bowler Ollie Rayner, both of whom debuted last year. Dawid Malan, Toby Roland-Jones and Tom Curran, all capped at either ODI or T20I level, earn their first call ups to the Test squad. Uncapped John Simpson provides wicketkeeping cover for the second successive winter but disappointingly the in-form Liam Livingstone is unavailable through injury.

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The full Test squad is as follows:

Mark Stoneman, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Ben Duckett, Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (w), Adil Rashid, Liam Norwell, Ben Coad, Jack Leach, Rory Burns, James Hildreth, Dawid Malan, John Simpson (w), Ollie Rayner, Toby Roland-Jones, Tom Curran

Maiden Test Wicket for Roland-Jones!

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Middlesex legend Toby Roland-Jones, aka Toblerone has snapped up his first Test victim in the third Test against South Africa. Dean Elgar had the honour of being TR-J’s maiden Test scalp and at the time of writing Roland-Jones has added Heino Kuhn and Hashim Amla to his list of Test dismissals. His figures currently read 3-8 to add to the 25 runs he posted in England’s innings.

Start as you mean to go on Toby!

Westley, Malan & TR-J Debut at The Oval!

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England have handed out Test caps 677, 678 and 679 today.

Middlesex duo Dawid Malan and Toby Roland-Jones as well as Essex’s Tom Westley have donned the Baggy Blue for the very first time.

Prior to today, Malan had one T20I cap and Roland-Jones a solitary ODI outing but for Westley, this is his premier outing for the full national side.

Keep up to date with how they get on against South Africa on Cricinfo…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/10718/game/1031441/England-vs-South-Africa-3rd-Test-South-Africa-tour-of-England-2017/

Roland-Jones to Debut at Lords?

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Middlesex all-rounder Toby Roland-Jones is primed to make his Test debut against South Africa at Lords next week.

https://www.ecb.co.uk/news/425248

R-J made his ODI bow against the same opposition on the same ground, his home of course, earlier this summer and didn’t look out of place. He hasn’t been firing on all cylinders this season but has been a consistent performer at domestic level for a number of years and performed admirably for the England Lions during the winter.

If he does debut on thursday, he’ll be Test cap no. 677 for the home side.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/370535.html

Don Bradman Cricket 17: Paper, Scissors, Stoneman!

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Debutant Mark Stoneman’s ‘Monkey Jive’ catch celebration has since gone viral!

Earlier today, England hosted Vanuatu for a 50/50 dual on Merseyside, the first ever international contest to be hosted at Liverpool Arena.

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International newcomer Mark Stoneman compiled 77 from 81 balls.

After the early departure of Adam Lyth (3), debutant Mark Stoneman (77) and captain Joe Root (51) put together a stand of 110. Stoneman looked untroubled by the early loss of his partner or the build-up of any dot balls. All in all, he looked at home in the international arena and did his claims for a place in the Test side no harm whatsoever.

Dawid Malan (25) got going as usual but also got out as usual! / Liam Livingstone struck 44 from just 37 deliveries.

Dawid Malan (25) and Liam Livingstone (44) both looked in good nick but will be disappointed not to have really kicked on. Sam Curran (35) also batted well before England, with notions as lofty as 350 in their sights, derailed drastically. Some late bludgeoning from Liam Plunkett (25) got them to 298 with 32 deliveries unused!

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Mason Crane (2-60) celebrates finally breaking the visitors’ opening stand.

Set all but a run a ball for victory, the tourists were steady away. After dropping no less than four catches (No really!) and missing a run out chance, England eventually made the breakthrough with the score on 98. The wicket came courtesy of young spinner Mason Crane. Crane didn’t have the best of times in the thrilling Test match victory over Thailand last week but displayed great character in the ‘Pool Arena today.

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Liam Livingstone effects a crucial run out.

Not content with his positive batting, Liam Livingstone picked up a wicket and effected the run out of Vanuatu’s top scorer (Mansdale, 80) to swing things in England’s favour.

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Adam Lyth prepares to take a vital catch late in the piece.

Chris Woakes (8-2-35-0) and Sam Curran (8-0-55-1) bowled with guts before Toby Roland-Jones (7-1-30-0) and the luckless Liam Plunkett (7-0-55-1) kept things tight at the death. Keeper of the wicket Jos Buttler also contributed with a stunning diving catch. With the Ni-Vanuatuans requiring just 7 runs to win from the final over, Plunkett delivered four dots before conceding a six. He followed that up with another dot however, resulting in a thrilling and extremely rare tie.

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It’s hard to decide whether to see this as a good or bad result. Ultimately the dropped catches early in Vanuatu’s innings were critical to our chances of success. The performances of debutant Stoneman with the bat and the all-round exploites of Liam Livingstone who is still finding his feet at international level, were extremely encouraging. I guess you could say that “The stones are rolling”. The bowling of both spinner Mason Crane as well as all our pacers in the final throws of this match combine to present many positives. Despite a seemingly quiet match on paper, Adam Lyth’s efforts in the field shouldn’t go without mention.

We remain undefeated in any of our newly designed kits and just like after the Thailand Test, we don’t anticipate many changes to the XI for our next ODI. Our gratitude for your support remains as humble as ever. Forever England, forever the fans!!!