World Cup Judgement Day for Khan

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Afghanistan’s teenage spin sensation Rashid Khan is just one wicket and one match away from becoming the fastest player to chalk up 100 ODI scalps. If he achieves it in his next match then he’ll have shaved a whopping nine games off Australian quick Mitchell Starc’s current record of 52 outings required to reach the ton but…

40 of Khan’s wickets have come against Zimbabwe and 33 against Ireland. That’s 73 out of 99 whilst his best of 7-18 came against West Indies in St. Lucia. Contrary to some old fashioned opinions, the Caribbean is as much a spin bowler’s paradise as is India or Pakistan. That’s 80 wickets right there. In total, he’s claimed eleven victims against West Indies, a side perceived by many to be the weakest Test nation as backed up by the fact that they’ve been playing in the ICC World Cup Qualifier. For the record, the rest of Khan’s wickets have come against Bangladesh (7), United Arab Emirates (5) and Scotland (3). He averages 14.12 and has an ODI economy rate of 3.94. These are absurdly good figures. His First Class average is 15.05 and his highest figure is actually his domestic T20 figure of 15.14! He averages over 40 with the bat in First Class cricket (Admittedly a very small sample size) and is still only nineteen years of age.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/afghanistan/content/player/793463.html

Khan is clearly head and shoulders above his associate and latest Test nation peers. He’s also performed admirably well in the Big Bash and IPL amongst other global T20 competitions but at full international level and despite his stats, he is ultimately unproven. Given the fact that the ICC have limited the 2019 ODI World Cup to ten teams, it is against the supposed world’s best and in English conditions, not generally favourable to spin, that we’ll really find out how good Khan is.

This article is not meant to be a slight on Khan nor the opposition that he’s faced. As the old adage goes “You can only beat what’s in front of you”. It’s great to see Afghanistan cricket thriving, particularly during a competitive ICC World Cup Qualifier filled with promising associate nations. Khan is at the very heart of that.

Chapman Flappin’!

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Welcome to international cricket Mark Chapman! Well, proper and regular international cricket against Test opposition anyway. It’s all well and good scoring an ODI century against United Arab Emirates but having switched allegiance from the country of his birth, Hong Kong, to New Zealand and despite being in good touch at domestic level, the twenty-three-year-old left-hander has produced innings of 8, 1 & 0 in his three ODI outings for his adopted home so far. It’s been a pretty inauspicious introduction to New Zealand colours in the fifty-over format.

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Meanwhile his ex, Hong Kong, are at present attempting to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in England. They’re one of ten nations currently competing in the ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. What they would give to have Chappers in their batting line-up when competing against mostly other associate nations.

You can keep track of how the Road to 2019 is progressing here:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/_/id/8038/season/2018/icc-world-cup-qualifiers/

Given New Zealand’s small pool of depth, the country has a population of just shy of 4.7 million people and not all of them are cricketers (No really, not all of them are!), Chapman, who did at least make starts in the T20I matches, will likely get another opportunity but unlike against England in the past couple of weeks, he’d better seize the chance with both hands.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/newzealand/content/player/438563.html

Extras

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Bye: We provided Hong Kong cricket with a little promotion in a previous addition of Extras…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/extras-3/

… and now England speed merchant Tymal Mills is heading east to blitz any batsmen that come before him.

http://www.hkcricket.org/en/media/news/kowloon-cantons-add-speed-machine-tymal-mills-to-blitz-squad

Leg Bye: We provided Pakistan cricket with a little promotion (Because it needs it, it’s not like cricket is already big in Pakistan!) in a previous addition of Extras…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/super-duper-stan/

… and now England ‘speed merchant’ Steven Finn is heading east to blitz any batsmen that come before him.

https://psl-t20.com/steven-finn-replaces-russell-islamabad-united-squad/

No Ball: Liam Livingstone for England anybody?

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… or at least in your Telegraph fantasy team. Watch out for my article in April on who, why and how to pick a successful team!

P.S. Despite LLs 50, we lost the T20I against Zimbabwe in Boston, USA by nine wickets with none of our bowlers able to strike. Our solitary wicket was a run out.

Wide: Duckett delivers!

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It’s back to back wins for England’s Test side after victory in Sharjah. With Haseeb Hameed and Keaton Jennings rested, Ben Duckett made the most (Well, made something) of the opportunity to bat in his recognised position by scoring exactly 50. Duckett put on 47 for the first wicket with debutant Daniel Bell-Drummond, who made 8. Jake Ball recorded match figures of 12-62 as UAE were bowled out for just 61 in their first innings and courtesy of some generous bowling changes, a more respectable 163 in their second. Adil Rashid batted as well as anybody for England in recent times when making 59 batting at six in England’s second innings. Rashid shared a last wicket stand of 48 with a determined Jack Leach before Ball led England to a 175-run victory.

Desert Anybody!

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A T20 tournament in the desert. Sounds a bit dodgy. Don’t worry, Allen Stanford is nowhere in sight!

There’s nothing we love more on this site than seeing the game make progress on the global stage. An eight-team associate tournament is surely an example of that.

Group A

Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Namibia

Group B

Netherlands, Hong Kong, Scotland, Oman

Hold on a minute. Two groups of four, teams play each other once, top two teams go through to semi-finals, semi-finals and final played on the same day. This is far, far too logical. What have the ICC been drinking?!

Afghanistan have been pencilled in as favourites by many and with rumours circulating that they’ll be applying for full membership complete with Test status soon, a strong showing here could be crucial.

It’s good to see Namibia back on the scene but there’s no place for the likes of Nepal, Papua New Guinea or USA.

The first matches will take place in Abu Dhabi tomorrow.

Disclaimer: Apologies to Hong Kong and Scotland re: the pic but Flags of the World doesn’t recognise you as independent nations!

Getting Sentimental on New Year’s Eve!

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A few months ago I started writing a blog about cricket. If you’ve found your way here then you probably already know that. The idea was to occasionally write an in-depth article about one or two theories, ideas or proposals I have about the game and to compose the odd book or DVD review.

However I struck upon the idea of International Duck Watch and due to the incompetence of batsmen around the world the said gimmick has kept me rather busy.

In the new year I intend to continue providing my thoughts, crap headlines, nursery school standard drawings and general ramblings about our sport and Shai Hope that any readers out there appreciate my attempt to strike a chord between seriousness and humour (No really, I have attempted to be humorous on this blog!), between being a professional journalist (Which I’m not!) and an amateur blogger (Which I am).

Please accept my double-century of thanks for the time that anybody has taken to even leg glance at my words, particularly the guy from Russia who in one viewing helped me colour in almost half my visitor map!

Wishing all my followers and occasional visitors the very best in 2017, a year in which we can expect the landscape of cricket to continue to evolve with such things as:

Due to unprecedented monsoons in United Arab Emirates, the first ever Test match is played on the Moon. Though the pink ball is easy to see, England’s batsmen still fail to reach 200 in the series as Pakistan’s spinners run riot on the turning pitches!

On Jane McGrath day, Australia’s batsmen all use a pink bat!

Peter Moores is made coach of England… again!

Silly Point himself bludgeons 99 not out from just 20 deliveries in the dizzy heights of division six of his local T20 league!

Boyd Rankin and Ed Joyce make themselves available for England again and are immediately recalled to the side to play against Ireland in the Emerald Isle’s first ever Test match. However the match is a complete washout so Rankin and Joyce return to Irish colours for a winter jaunt to an even newer Test nation… Ibiza!

Peter Moores is sacked as coach of England… again!

Umpires are replaced by robots.

England return to the Moon for a triangular ODI series with Pakistan and Venus and recall 218-year-old spin bowler Shaun Udal in the hope that he can repeat his Indian heroics!

A Complete Restructure of International Cricket

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Some teams play each other twice, some three, four or even five times. The team with the most points isn’t top of the table and the team at the bottom doesn’t get relegated. Well that makes a lot of sense! I could go on but I’m going to assume that if you’ve come this far and you plan on going any further that you share my opinion and what appears to be the general consensus that international cricket requires a complete overhaul or as the players themselves call it: context. Here are my plans:

International Championship

10 teams

Test, ODI and T20I status

Australia

Bangladesh

England

India

New Zealand

Pakistan

South Africa

Sri Lanka

West Indies

Zimbabwe

 

International Division One

10 teams

First Class, List A and T20 status

Afghanistan

Hong Kong

Ireland

Kenya

Namibia

Nepal

Netherlands

Papua New Guinea

Scotland

United Arab Emirates

 

International Division Two

10 teams

First Class, List A and T20 status

Bermuda

Canada

Denmark

Italy

Jersey

Malaysia

Oman

Singapore

Uganda

Unites States of America

 

Please note that the selected countries are based on various status and rankings not all of which seem in sync thus highlighting the need for such drastic restructure in the global game. Whether or not further divisions would merit First Class, List A or T20 status would require additional research and consideration.

All teams in any one division play each other in either one or two Super Series (explained later) consisting of the following:

Three Tests (The middle one is always a day/night match)

Three ODIs

Three T20Is

All tours are structured in the order listed above.

Points are awarded as follows:

Test match win: 5pts

Test match draw: 2pts

Test match loss: 0pts

Test series win: 10pts (On top of match points)

Test series draw: 5pts (On top of match points)

Test series loss: 0pts (On top of match points)

ODI match win: 3pts

ODI match draw: 1pts

ODI match loss: 0pts

ODI series win: 5pts (On top of match points)

ODI series draw: 2pts (On top of match points)

ODI series loss: 0pts (On top of match points)

T20I match win: 2pts

T20I match draw: 1pts

T20I match loss: 0pts

T20I series win: 3pts (On top of match points)

T20I series draw: 1pts (On top of match points)

T20I series loss: 0pts (On top of match points)

If each team were to play each other home and away they would each be required to play 54 matches in each format meaning a five or six year cycle. At a stretch four years may be achievable but would not help guard against injury and in-turn product quality. Alternatively teams could play five home series and five away series providing a total of 27 matches in each format. This would mean that a three-year cycle is achievable. This shorter cycle would help maintain the interest of players below International Test Championship. Please consider hemispheres when entertaining the idea of teams playing more regularly. I would also like to make clear that I’m completely opposed to the notion of some journalists in world media that have suggested the possibility of teams playing just one match against each other. I think that this is unethical and that international cricket would be a stain (literally!) on the global environment if this were the case. Squad members would also soon lose interest and head for the T20 leagues.

At the end of the cycle the team in tenth place in each division would be relegated and the team in first place of the division below be promoted. Obviously for teams moving between International Championship and International Division One this means the gaining of or losing of Test, ODI and T20I status. To prevent mid to latter cycle stagnation it could be that two teams are promoted / relegated or even that a play-off between teams placed in positions IC9 and IDO2, consisting of one match in each format is put in place.

One Day and T20I World Cups could each be held once every three years. The ten teams (incl. relegated team) in International Championship would automatically qualify. From International Division One the six teams with the most points in the respective format at the end of the cycle would also qualify for the respective tournament. Each tournament would consist of a straightforward four groups of four with each team playing each other once and gaining football style points (as per ODI series points proposal). The top two teams from each group would progress to the quarter-finals and the rest of the tournament would follow a self-explanatory format. The winner would host the following tournament. A measure would need to be put in place for a team winning a major tournament and subsequently finishing in for example eighth place in International Division One at the end of the following cycle. Also if a smaller nation won it may not be practical for them to host a whole, or even part of a tournament.

Long term these changes to world cricket would provide players, support staff, fans and media etc. the opportunity to experience parts of the world and cultures that previously cricket wouldn’t have allowed. It would also be a structure that provides consistency, equilibrium, meritocracy and a necessity for equal importance to be placed on each format of the game. Ultimately it would also make cricket a truly global game complete with the current buzz word… context!

Believe it or not this was supposed to be a trimmed down version of a previous attempt at writing this post. I could go on (No really I could!) and detail who would play who home and away (Odds and evens) in the 27 match cycle etc. etc. but I’ll stop there and will attempt to answer any questions if any uncertainty is identified… or take this post down if someone explains that it just wouldn’t work!

Many, many thanks if you made it this far!