T20I: Where in the World?

Hi guys

I thought that it’d be interesting to take a look at the latest Twenty20 International rankings and see which teams have made an impact since T20I status was applied across the globe.

Obviously Test teams lead the way with the historically strong Associate nations next inline. I’ve touched upon Singapore’s progress before whilst the likes of Namibia and Canada are trying to make their presence felt in the global game once again.

In 22nd place sit Qatar. Ex-pats have made a crucial contribution to developing cricket in many countries but of course it’s always great to see national cricket teams have a strong local representation. Now Qatar’s population is a little unusual. It fluctuates based on season and there are actually few Qatari citizens. People from places such as traditional cricket strongholds Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh provide a healthy part of the country’s population. It’s no surprise then that they should provide a good foothold for Qatar and its cricket team.

The Arab nation have made an encouraging start to T20I life and are amongst the teams to have qualified for the 2019-21 ICC Cricket World Cup (50 over/List A) Challenge League.

Jersey, population less than 100,000 but with a history of being there or there abouts on the Associate circuit, sit 25th. Of course you would expect the very best players from the small island to make themselves available for England. The Channel Island side previously required special dispensation to name Jonty Jenner in their side after he made a substitute appearance in a Test match for England.

Italy, often on the fringes, lie in 27th with Saudi Arabia an unfamiliar cricketing name one place below.

Uganda, who have hinted at doing well in the past, are in 31st. That’s three places ahead of the shabbily run massive missed opportunity that is USA.

A number of teams are yet to win a game. They include China, who’ve lost all six matches that they’ve played while Gibraltar are winless in seven.

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

In the Women’s rankings, there’s a surprise name just outside the top ten. Thailand currently reside in a healthy 11th place. They’ve won 25 out of 39 T20Is and qualified for this year’s T20I World Cup (So maybe not such a surprise then!). Not unexpectedly they had a tough time in Australia but had it not been for rain, they would likely have given Pakistan a run for their money after posting 150 from 20 overs.

They appear to have a strong homegrown contingent with players recruited from a variety of sporting backgrounds. Their progress so far will hopefully inspire more Thai women to take up cricket.

Samoa are another ‘new’ name in 16th place. They’ve actually won 10 out 12 T20I matches played so far.

France sit in 30th and though the ship has probably sailed for my wife, I have high hopes that my daughters can push for selection in a few years time. That’s if they’re not playing for England of course!

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

When it comes to Women’s cricket, it’s probably worth keeping an eye on this self-explanatory named website…https://femalecricket.com

Cricket 19: Practice Makes, Errr… ?

Our first match, an unofficial T20, ended in a six wicket defeat.

We posted 106 from 19.1 overs. Five batsmen reached double figures but Dylan Roberts’ 16 was the top score. Though our batsmen displayed competence, an ability to find the boundary was almost non-existent. Opener Aled Edwards (13) struck our solitary six. The opposition wicketkeeper claimed 8 (EIGHT) catches… in a T20!

Despite defending less than a run-ball, our bowlers and fielders stuck to task. Three bowlers each claimed a wicket. Left-arm seamer Rhys Evans had the honour of claiming our first (Though admittedly unofficial wicket) by clipping the top of off stump, courtesy of a beautiful inswinging delivery to the right-handed batsman. Roberts, who dropped a straight-forward catch, also executed a run out. The amateur opposition eased home however with more than five overs to spare.

We fared a little better in our second game. This time we totalled 125, only losing our final wicket to the last ball of the innings. Once again Roberts (20) looked assured at number three, after both our openers had fallen for single figure scores. For the second game in a row, a number of batsmen made starts but it was fast bowler Dwayne Alexander (21 from 14) at number nine, that propelled us to 125.

Four bowlers each claimed one wicket but our opponents were able to find the boundary regularly enough. We did at least take the game a little deeper in the innings but once again succumbed to a six wicket defeat.

We then moved onto our first official match against Glamorgan. Inserted to bat, our opening duo of Stephen Shah (16) and Aled Edwards (27) laid the foundations with a healthy opening stand of 48. Sadly, in-form Dylan Roberts fell for a golden duck on professional debut whilst wicketkeeper Rhodri Thomas didn’t fare much better, registering the silver version. From 48-0 we slipped to 73-6, in the main because of the opposition’s star spin bowler.

Captain Ioan Powell (23) and Cai Hughes (16) combined for 33 to keep us ticking over and once again Dylan Alexander (14*) helped take us to a respectable 130-9.

We effected a run out early in Glamorgan’s chase before Rhys Evans claimed our first official (Having claimed our premier unofficial) wicket. We put Glamorgan on the back foot at 29-3 and soon had them reeling at 60-6. From 75-7 they recovered to 104 before we claimed the eighth wicket. Despite a dropped catch late in the piece to blemish an excellent fielding performance and a little wobble (Overthrows and a wide) in the final over, we sealed a ground-breaking victory by 12 runs. Leg-spinner Eifion Williams (2-19) and the aforementioned Rhys Evans (2-27) both claimed two wickets but all our bowlers maintained excellent economy rates.

The result was the… result of an excellent team effort as well as astute leadership. It’s provided the team with a huge morale boost ahead of our first full international against England.

Look out for a full match report from the big day!

Disclaimer: I’m playing on Hardest difficulty level. All Wales players, kit and stadium are my own creation.

Cricket 19: Wales – A New Dawn!

Following the latest patch on Cricket 19, it is with regret that I have retired my French team. However, when one door closes another opens… and so, I invite you to join me as I lead a newly independent Welsh cricket team into the competitive world of full international cricket.

Our inaugural fixture will be a one-off T20 International against England at our newly constructed Wales Stadium. Well, actually, there’ll be a practice match or two, a T20 against Glamorgan then our first full international against our neighbourly rivals (Or rival neighbours). There will then follow three ODIs and a solitary Test as we face a baptism of fire against the might of England.

Look out for match reports soon, where new Welsh cricket fans will be introduced to players such as captain Ioan Powell, wicketkeeper Rhodri Thomas and exciting fast bowler Dwayne Alexander.

We’ll keep you updated regarding future fixtures/tours so that you can follow our young and exciting team across the globe.

In anticipation of your support… thank you.

Goodnight Gul!

Pakistan pace bowler Umar Gul has retired from all forms of the game aged 36.

A particularly skilful bowler, Gul’s later years were hampered by injury. The Peshawar born player was a perfectly respectable bowler in all formats but even by Twenty20 standards, an international bowling record of 85 wickets in 60 matches at 16.97 (Econ 7.19) is mightily impressive.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/pakistan/content/player/43524.html

We’ll await and see whether Gul remains prominent in the game following his retirement from playing.

Malan Can!

Dawid Malan and Lewis Gregory are two players that I’m pleased to see have made England’s squad for the T20Is against Pakistan.

Both seem to have been given some tough love by captain Eoin Morgan and are by no means guaranteed to feature in what, despite a number of absences, is a strong squad. Malan was criticised for not running off the last ball of the innings and possibly protecting his average in New Zealand whilst Gregory was provided little responsibility and didn’t even bowl in a couple of his previous appearances. If I was Malan, I’d be watching the last delivery of all England’s white ball innings and bringing to attention any lack of a scrambled run or run out. The former Middlesex man only has himself to blame for his Test demise but has been unfortunate with injuries when it’s come to ODIs. As good a start as he made in the shortest format, failure in this series could be terminal for Yorkshire’s new recruit.

It’s a shame that Liam Livingstone only makes the reserves but competition for places is intense. At least the Lancashire man, who offers something with bat, ball and in the field, is on the selectors radar. James Vince is omitted, whilst the ship that never sailed has probably done just that but left late bloomer Laurie Evans behind.

Please see the link below for details of the full squad…

https://www.ecb.co.uk/england/men/news/1755234/national-selectors-name-squad-for-vitality-it20s-against-pakistan

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.

Six to Watch: 2020 – Transfer Special!

Paul Coughlin, Durham

Following an injury hit couple of years at Nottinghamshire former England Lions all-rounder Paul Coughlin has returned north to home team Durham. It appears to be a sensible move to help reignite his stalled career. Coughlin is a bowling all-rounder and Nottinghamshire’s bowling attack has extreme depth so chances at Trent Bridge would be limited Durham have some useful all-rounders with the likes of Ben Raine and James Weighell so Coughlin will be a further assett.

Josh Shaw, Gloucestershire

Shaw has almost existed as a co-owned player switching between Yorkshire and multiple loan stints at Gloucestershire in recent seasons. Opportunities have been few and far between at home county Yorkshire what with Coad and Olivier etc but Shaw’s seemed at home in Bristol and now being a fully fledged Gloucestershire player should make their bowling attack stronger.

Jack Leaning, Kent

Following the theme of players seeking fresh challenges Leaning, like Shaw, has departed the ‘White Rose County’ for pastures new at Canterbury. Leaning previously featured in the North v South series, has been highly rated for some time and at 26 could yet come good. He’s an underused spin-bowler and a fresh start could be just what he requires.

Luke Wood, Lancashire

Wood has grown frustrated at Nottinghamshire where he’s often found himself down the pecking order amongst a strong attack year after year. The left-armer is a capable First Class bowler, can bat and made great strides in the T20 format. He’s had useful loan stints at Northamptonshire and should be a great asset for Lancashire. For me, he’s a dark horse for England selection in the shortest format particularly if Sam Curran were to get injured.

Dawid Malan, Yorkshire

A player who has travelled in the opposite direction to Shaw and Leaning, Malan has ended a long association with Middlesex to try and regain an England place. Yorkshire, particularly in the shortest format, desperately need more firepower though Malan may have to settle for a place at number four behind Lyth, Kohler-Cadmore and Willey. He and Gary Ballance help provide ballast in the four-day game and should help the likes of Harry Brook, Matthew Revis and Tom Loten develop.

Haseeb Hameed, Nottinghamshire

Another batsman hoping to reignite an England career… but one step at a time, is Haseeb Hameed. Hameed has suffered an alarming fall following early success with England and there’s no doubt that a fresh start is what’s required. Coach Peter Moores might not have had great success at international level but he could be just what Hameed needs. Nottinghamshire have the likes of Ben Duckett, Ben Slater and Joe Clarke, all batsmen who’ve voyaged to Trent Bridge, are competing for top order spots and England recognition so it’ll be interesting to see where Hameed fits in both in the order and in each format.

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.