Would You Rather?

Hi all

Here’s my latest poll. It’s a chance to have your say on something extremely relevant happening in cricket right now. Please share with your friends so that we can really get a feel for public opinion on this…

 

Many thanks for voting and be sure to look out for the results in a week’s time.

Silly Point

The Hundred! (Not even bothering to come up with a title!)

2020. What a fantastic year to launch a new Twenty20 cricket competition. It’s a marketing dream but wait, here in England, where we’re led to believe that cricket was invented, they’re not launching a new Twenty20 competition. Eh?! They, the cricket hierarchy geniuses and marketing supremos that’ve been drafted in are launching an unofficial (*), overly-complicated, snack food sponsored tournament.

* By unofficial I mean that the matches won’t have T20, List A or First Class status. Are Cricinfo going to create a new row in the Player Statistics section? I doubt it!

https://www.thehundred.com/

THEY told us that they wanted to simplify cricket and just count down from one hundred balls. I can handle that, it’s not actually a terrible concept but how is having varying lengths of overs and different opportunities to bowl from one end or the other, sometimes halfway through an ‘over’ simpler than allocations of six alternating from each end every six deliveries?

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cricket365.com/the-hundred/the-hundred-kits-ranked-and-rated/amp/

AND THE KITS! If you thought that it was bad in Australia with KFC sprawled on the front well look out for Joe Root (Will he actually play?) wearing a Skips packet. They may as well have put gambling companies on the front!

People can spout unoriginal opinions such as “You’re just scared of change” but what I’m scared of is inconsistency and our sport embarrassing itself. The fact that it’ll be on terrestrial television could be great but not if the product is compromised and therefore of poor quality. Of course it’ll be the same players hitting, picking and throwing the ball so at its core, it will still be cricket. The fact that Jonathan Agnew could be presenting it certainly won’t help attract the untapped market the ECB head honchos would like. Hopefully they and the BBC will have the foresight to get Ebony Rainford-Brent or heck, even Graeme Swann at the forefront.

Franchise sport and drafts bring an end to the already dying concept of player loyalty in sport but they do, in theory, help keep teams even and prevent the sort of Barcelona and Real Madrid dominance that you’ll find in La Liga as just one example. The financial aspect if relegation is involved in a draft selected team sport is probably for a whole other post.

Let’s be clear, this tournament is not about creating history and legacy like our game has leant itself too so magnificently. It’s about forgetful entertainment to compete with X-Factor and Dancing on Ice etc that you’ve forgotten about by the following afternoon at the latest.

The Hundred is nearly here folks and I don’t like it. Give me Test Cricket, ODI Cricket, T20 Cricket even T10, Beach, Indoor and Cage but the inconsistency of this format bites away at me. Can you tell?!

Will I be watching? Of course. It’s an opportunity to see some cricket. Will I purchase a Northern Superchargers shirt? Maybe. The shirts are kind of cool in a tragic way and may be a collector’s item in a few years.

This is a muddled article. Even as I write I’m coming around to part of it. The draft and kit launch etc should and are exciting but the adjustment to the rules irk me. Roll on 2020 for our new Twenty20 comp… er, I mean The Hundred!

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: T20 Blast 2019 – Season Review

A disappointing T20 campaign with my best placed team only finishing as high as 2,228th place. The winner accumulated 12,566 points and won by a margin of 23 points.

In truth I should probably have tinkered a little more early on. Leaving as many as three/four captaincy changes unused is just wasteful.

See below for the best performing players. Note how many are batsmen who bowl.

I remain optimistic of at least one top thousand finish in the CC/ODC competition and will update after the final round of matches this week.

Catching Commentary Standards!

“Oh what a catch”. “Wow, an amazing catch”. “That’s the best catch I’ve ever seen”.

It’s become a bug bear of mine this current penchant for cricket commentators to label ordinary run of the mill catches as something special.

Last night a commentator got carried away with a catch by Middlesex’s AB de Villiers to dismiss Somerset’s Eddie Byrom. I can’t find the particular BBC clip but the word used to describe this absolute dolly of a catch was something along the lines of “Outstanding” or “Sensational”. Maybe the commentator was simply in awe of an extremely talented player but he could still avoid using hyperbole in his work.

Later in proceedings, Somerset’s Max Waller executed a genuinely high quality catch to remove de Villiers but for the record the commentator described that catch incorrectly…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/cricket/49532155

Waller caught the ball in his right-hand not his left hand! There was also an error when identifying the coloured clothing of a catch held by a spectator. If you’re going to commentate please describe things accurately. On radio I guess that you can get away with it but when there are online clips you can be made to look incompetent. We all make mistakes (Heck, read my blog!) but this was poor and cricket desperately needs better from its professional and qualified media at the moment.

Back to my original point, please don’t describe something as “Great” or “Brilliant” when it’s only “Very good”. This is not meant to belittle anybody’s efforts but only to confirm that reasonably high standards should be maintained.

Please click the link below for match highlights but it’s not the same commentary. De Villiers’ catch barely gets a mention from the commentator here…

This attitude has become an all too familiar thing on BBC commentary. Oh and on that note, if cricket (In the form of The Hundred!) will be on the BBC next year, do we really want Jonathan Agnew fronting it?

Yorkshire vs. Derbyshire T20 Match

On Sunday I went to see Yorkshire Vikings host Derbyshire Falcons in the T20 Blast…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8053/game/1167204/yorkshire-vs-derbyshire-north-group-vitality-blast-2019

Yorkshire are so reliant on their top three of Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and David Willey that if those three don’t fire then they struggle to post anything near competitive totals.

The white rose side played three spinners in the form of South Africa’s Keshav Maharaj, loanee Dom Bess and young Jack Shutt. None of them impressed nor did pace bowler Duanne Olivier. Admittedly the South African England hopeful (!) had a chance dropped but figures of 3-0-47-0 are pretty painful.

Yorkshire don’t seem to understand what they want to be in white-ball cricket. Are there no young and modern minded attacking batsmen coming thorough the ranks? Still, soon it’s back to the four-day affairs where the Headingley outfit should be much stronger… I mean they do tend to actually select their best players for that one!

On Top of the World!

How great is it to see Reece Topley playing regularly and amongst the wickets?

Topley has eleven wickets at 12.64 in this year’s T20 Blast for Sussex including figures of 4-33 taken in his comeback match against former employers Hampshire. The Suffolk born left-armer has ten ODI and six T20I caps to his name but it would be foolish to be thinking about England consideration so soon after returning to first team action. It’ll be great if the twenty-five-year-old can go onto play List A and First Class cricket but if not then he could still make a healthy buck specialising in the shortest format.

It’s also encouraging to see another left-arm quick bowler in the form of Topley’s teammate Tymal Mills playing regularly and being amongst the wickets too. Mills may only have seven wickets but an average of 17.14 is healthy and most notably, his economy rate is just 6.32. This compares favourably against a career economy rate of 7.82.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/english-twenty20/averages

Looking through the averages another left-armer caught my eye. Nottinghamshire’s Harry Gurney has already committed to a white-ball world having made an impression at both the Big Bash and IPL. Soon he’ll be turning out in the Euro T20 Slam. In this year’s Blast he’s picked up 13 wickets at 15.85 including a career best 5-30 against Derbyshire. He’s leaking runs at an eye-watering 9.36 per over though so will want to temper that.

It’s not impossible that the above players could yet turn out for England again. David Willey has never dominated for England as would’ve been hoped and hasn’t (To be fair often hasn’t been able to) make his batting provide him with an edge. To say that he’s been ordinary in this year’s Blast would be an understatement as he comes to terms with his World Cup omission.

Yorkshire v Lancashire T20 Match

Firstly, please accept my apologies. The above image is a file photo (From my files!) because I neglected to actually take a photo at last night’s encounter.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8053/scorecard/1167147/yorkshire-vs-lancashire-north-group-vitality-blast-2019

Lancashire defeated Yorkshire by 9 runs with paceman Saqib Mahmood looking particularly impressive. Even when he went for boundaries he kept his head up and responded well. Mahmood was outstanding in the One-Day Cup earlier this year and will surely come into white-ball consideration for England though competition for places is extreme to say the least.

David Willey’s fielding stood out amongst a shoddy effort from Yorkshire, that international experience making the difference. Gary Ballance batted at six but there seems little logic in him being in the side. He used up seven deliveries for 4 runs before basically willingly being run out.

Debutante spinner Jack Shutt snapped up a couple of wickets but was expensive in his last. West Indian Nicholas Pooran just about kept the home side interested with some huge sixes but even he needed time to get going. Harry Brook looked good for 30 but you still sense that the shorter format won’t be his best. It was also good to see the extremely talented Liam Livingstone back from injury for Lancashire.

The crowd was good natured for what can sometimes be a raucous affair. The thunderstorms stayed away but the less said about the sweaty train journey there the better and as for the woman who preferred her bag to have a seat than any of the people stood up on the return journey, don’t get me started!

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket: T20 Blast 2019

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Here are my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket teams for the 2019 edition of the T20 Blast:

Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 11.05.47

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.

Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 11.06.11

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.

Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 11.06.39

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.

Six to Watch: T20I Status – Women’s Special Revisited

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Hi all

Please find listed below six women’s international players that I suggested keeping an eye on when T20I status was dished out all around the globe. Firstly, here’s the link to my original post…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2018/07/01/six-to-watch-t20i-status-womens-special/

Louise Little (Ireland)

A tough time for the still only sixteen-year-old but hopefully she’ll be stronger for it.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ireland/content/player/1094718.html

Mariko Hill (Hong Kong)

Has shown glimpses of her ability but will want to make more significant contributions.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/343129.html

Pauke Siaka (Papua New Guinea)

A name synonymous with cricket in PNG, her games played are a small sample size on which to make a judgement.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/333936.html

Naruemol Chaiwai (Thailand)

Quite a few games under her belt now and performing well. She’s averaging 27.29 with the bat and has a top score of 64 not out scored against Malaysia in Bangkok last February.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/486944.html

Rubina Chhetry (Nepal)

Has produced some encouraging displays with both bat and ball including figures of 4-2 against Indonesia last January.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/500726.html

Cher van Slobbe (Netherlands)

Has chipped in with some wickets in her few games played.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/netherlands/content/player/577360.html