Solving Australia’s Batting Woes!

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Will Pucovski (243) and Josh Phillipe (41 & 104) were amongst the runs in the opening round of 2018-19 Sheffield Shield matches. It was good to see young batsman such as Sam Heazlett and Will Bosisto in their respective state XIs as well, even if they didn’t quite churn out Pucovskiesque innings. Question marks still linger over much of Australia’s batting line-up, what with Shaun Marsh’s inconsistency, Mitchell Marsh batting far too high at times and Usman Khawaja (Now injured) and Aaron Finch both needing to back-up encouraging performances against Pakistan in UAE, Pucovski could well have put himself to the front of the selection queue. With Peter Handscomb having fallen away horribly after a promising start to his Test career and Glenn Maxwell clearly not fancied by the selection panel, the twenty-year-old Victorian’s path to the national XI is being cleared of obstacles.

Another player that peaked interest in the opening round of this year’s Shield was leg-spinner Lloyd Pope. Not all that long ago, Pope terrorised England at the Under-19 World Cup with an eight-wicket haul that went viral. In truth, aside from that match-winning performance he had a quiet tournament. His maiden First Class wicket, trapping Steve O’Keefe LBW, saw him go viral again even though his two wickets cost in excess of a hundred runs. It was extremely alarming however to see the reaction of the Australian media. Labelling Pope as the “New Warne” is surely both unnecessary and unoriginal.

Back to batting and another player who could possibly solve Australia’s batting problems… Meg Lanning. There are some that say there’s no need to suggest women cricketers aim to play in men’s teams and that women’s cricket is a good enough sport on in its own right. I’m not necessarily suggesting that run-express Lanning represent her country’s men’s team but it’s worth pointing out just how good she is. Still only twenty-six, she has in excess of 3000 ODI runs from just 68 matches. She averages north of 53 with twelve tons and eleven fifties. She’s fresh off the back of another hundred against Pakistan in Kuala Lumpur.

It’ll be interesting to see just how much Lanning can achieve in her international career and who lines up for Australia’s men’s team come next year’s Ashes encounter in England.

Chewin’ the Fat Over Chewing Gum

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Victoria batsman Will Pucovski recently retired hurt from a Sheffield Shield match after being hit on the head by a delivery from New South Wales quick bowler Sean Abbott.

https://www.cricket.com.au/video/will-pucovski-concussion-sean-abbott-bowler-victoria-nsw-blues-sheffield-shield-junction-oval/2018-03-04

Pucovski has a bit of a track record for getting hit and of course for Abbott, the bowler of the delivery that tragically terminated Phillip Hughes’ life, it must have been particularly distressing.

Former England batsman Mark Ramprakash would chew gum when batting and if he was not out overnight, he would stick the gum to the top of the bat handle then carry on chewing it the following morning. I’ve previously written about why I think all players should where a helmet when batting even if the spinners are on.

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/have-to-have-a-helmet/

At the risk of drawing you to the obvious, I don’t think any athlete should chew gum when playing sport.

Imagine a batsman is at the crease and is chewing gum, they get hit by the ball or even when diving for the crease they accidentally allow the gum to fall down the back of the throat. It could become lodged and they could choke. The other players and medical team might not be aware that the player was chewing gum. It may seem like one of those once in a blue moon scenarios but it could happen and it’s just not worth the risk.

In football (Soccer), a player chewing gum may jump for the ball, get a knock to the head from an opposition player and choke on their gum. It’s just not worth the risk. Is the gum enhancing the player’s performance? No!

Extras

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Bye: I can’t keep my eyes off the Kookaburra Ghost. Marcus Harris used it to good effect in compiling 120 for Victoria in the first innings of the 2016/17 Sheffield Shield final…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/1036431.html

If somebody came up to me and provided me with around £90.00 and said “Go and spend it on a cricket bat” then the Kookaburra Ghost is what I’d spend ‘my hard earned‘ cash on!

Leg Bye: Just like the CC/ODC competition, Telegraph’s T20 fantasy cricket will set you back £8.00 per team or £15.00 for three teams. At least the overall winner receives a whopping… £1,000 prize!

https://fantasycricket.telegraph.co.uk/twenty/select-team

Shrewd selectors will notice that Worcestershire opening batsman and part-time spin bowler Brett D’Oliveira (Listed as an all-rounder in the CC/ODC comp) is listed as a bowler. Get him in your team! Meanwhile, Essex’s Tom Westley’s seven career wickets in 54 T20 outings get him listed as an all rounder! There are a few players with generously low ratings based on their efforts in last year’s comp/career T20 records. Obviously the Telegraph can’t rate people on potential but players such as Liam Livingstone (5), Paul Collingwood (3) and Mason Crane (1) are the surely the sort of candidates to sneak into your XI… if you can afford it/if you can afford it (If you know what I mean?)!

No Ball: The Women’s World Cup is on the horizon. Just like the Champions Trophy, there are no matches taking place anywhere near my abode. Come on the White Knights! (England’s flag is white and the team are captained by Heather Knight!?).

Surely the best cricket player that Japan has ever produced, errr, England’s Natalie Sciver…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/515905.html

is Silly Point’s player to look out for during the tournament, as well as New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/white-ferns-call-on-kerr-to-curb-run-flow/

Wide: 14.74, 14.35, 13.25, 14.74 and 15.00. Afghanistan’s 18-year-old leg-spinner Rashid Khan’s bowling averages in each form of the game!!!

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

First Class Americans

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Last week Durham debutant Cameron Steel got a mention here at Silly Point…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/cricket-randoms/

The Cali born bat put in a more than respectable showing against Gloucestershire on County Championship debut, producing scores of 31 and 17 not out with the willow. He also claimed figures of 1-34 with the ball.

Today, Wisconsin born Ozzie Ian Holland made his List A debut for Hampshire against Kent in the One-Day Cup. ‘Dutchy’ as he’s known (I don’t need to explain why… do I?) claimed the wickets of Sam Northeast and Adam Rouse on his way to figures of 10-0-57-2. The twenty-six-year-old has arrived late on the professional circuit. He has one First Class appearance for Victoria to his name, an outing that only came earlier this year. He was actually the winner of the 2012 Australian reality TV show Cricket Superstar but has had to wait or more precisely work hard in the cricketing backwaters in order to register First Class and List A outings.

Sri Lanka’s Jehan Mubarek was born in Washington DC. He failed to record a fifty in 17 Tests and averaged only early twenties in ODIs and T20Is.

Bart King is America’s most celebrated cricketer. He claimed 415 First Class wickets at just 15.66 apiece and has a FC century to his name.

Here’s a great little article about another American born First Class cricketer, Charles H Braithwaite…

http://www.cricketcountry.com/articles/charles-brathwaite-the-american-first-class-cricketer-who-lived-a-hundred-years-471354

Steel and Holland seem to be available for England and Australia respectively but if that doesn’t happen they might follow the examples of players like Bermuda’s David Hemp and represent the country of their birth and maybe, just maybe, provide USA cricket with some heroes to help inspire a nation!

Finiched?

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What do you mean that I’m ripping off a headline that I’ve used before?

Me, never!

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/17/finnished/

Okay, in the words of The Warren Brothers “Guilty”.

It seems like only yesterday that Australia’s Aaron Finch was expressing his desire to earn a Test cap. After a long drought a Sheffield Shield century soon followed but his axing from Australia’s ODI side is unlikely to be because the selectors are providing him with a little rest ahead of some demanding Test fixtures.

2520 ODI runs at exactly 35.00 including seven centuries at a strike-rate of 89.07 isn’t bad but that integer special was the result of some batting average plummeting during the Victoria native’s most recent outing on the international stage. Finch totalled just 22 runs in three matches against New Zealand and it is that performance that has ultimately cost him his place.

Is Finch finiched?

Quite possibly. There’s been a clear changing of the guard in Australian cricket recently and at the age of thirty the proverbial ship may have set sail and deserted Finch on an uninhabited island, or an inhabited one with just over 23 million people.

Still, there’s plenty of T20 leagues around the world and I’m sure that a player who has represented Delhi Daredevils, Gujarat Lions, Melbourne Renegades, Mumbai Indians, Pune Warriors, (Still with me?), Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad will still be able to get some game time even if it’s not whilst donning the green and gold of a land down under.