Welcome to the latest in my “100 cricketers series“, featuring numbers 3,4 and 5 from the eighth XI. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the eighth XI can be seen here and the most recent post in the series here. Before I get to the main meat of the post there is something else to cover…
A NEW COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON
Yes, today is the start of County Championship season 2019. The first day between Somerset and Kent has been abandoned without a ball being bowled. All the other scheduled matches are in progress. The situation as I start this post is as follows:
- Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire – Nottinghamshire 204-3
Yorkshire paying more attention to the early April date than to the weather or the pitch took advantage of the playing condition allowing visiting sides to avoid the toss if they wanted to put their opponents in and so far it has not been working for them. Ben Slater made a fine 76 for Nottinghamshire, Ben Duckett played well for 43 but gave it away when well set and Joe Clarke is on 40 not out. Ben Coad, an England prospect as a bowler, has been economical but has yet to take a wicket.
- Hampshire v Essex – Hampshire 192-3
Another uncontested toss not working very well for the fielding side. Ex-england batter James Vince made 40 at the top of the Hampshire order, South African Aidan Markram scored 63, while Sam Northeast and South African Kolpak player Rilee Rossouw are currently going well on 37 and 35 respectively. Kiwi Matthew Quinn had taken two of the wickets for Essex.
- Derbyshire v Durham – Derbyshire 156-6
Derbyshire won the toss and chose to bat. Only wicket keeper Harvey Hosein, currently on 57 not out has fared well with the bat (England are so well stocked with keeper-batters at present that he would need to do something sensational to even enter the selectors thoughts), while Chris Rushworth and Ben Raine have taken two wickets each (at 32 the former is surely too old to be called up now, but Raine might be considered.
- Northamptonshire v Middlesex — Northamptonshire 182-4
A third uncontested toss, and it looks suspiciously like 0 for 3 on automatically fielding first thus far. Alex Wakely made 76, wicketkeeper cum opening batter Ricardo Vasconcelos 38, and Rob Keogh is 37 not out. All four wickets have been claimed by Ireland’s Tim Murtagh.
- Sussex v Leicestershire – Sussex 173 all out, Leicestershire 30-2
First up, a warning about reading too much in to seam bowler’s efforts in early April: most of the damage in the Sussex innings was done by Tom Taylor (6-47), who prior today had a very pedestrian looking record of 76 wickets at 32.80 from 27 matches. Three of the other four wickets went to 32 year-old journeyman Chris Wright. The two Leicestershire wickets have fallen to Ollie Robinson (who came into this match with 165 wickets at 23.92 in first-class cricket – stats that suggest a quality performer) and Mir Hamza, a Pakistani left-arm medium pacer who takes his first-class wickets at an eye-popping 18.34 a piece.
The other matches taking place at the moment involve university sides, and I question whether such games should be awarded first-class status and certainly pay them no attention when considering potential England picks. Now to the main business of the post, starting with…
Vaughan the batter had his finest hours against India at home in 2002 and then against Australia away in 2002-3, scoring six centuries (three against each opponent) in that period, the lowest of which finished at 148. He only made one major batting contribution to his greatest captaincy triumph, the 2005 Ashes, 166 at Manchester in the third test match, which finished with Australia clinging on nine down in their second innings. For people who traditionally despised draws (to quote Australian born Somerset captain of yesteryear Sammy Woods “draws are for bathing in”) their celebrations at having escaped were something to behold, and a sure sign of the destiny of that series.
At Lords in 1986 he scored 126 not out, his third century in successive Lord’s test matches. Then in a match at Headingley in which no other batter could manage even one fifty plus score, and England only just topped the 100 in both innings he contributed 61 and 102. Making runs in difficult conditions is particularly impressive, and especially given that Indian batters have by and large tended to struggle away from the subcontinent. These performances briefly had him rated the number one batter in the world.
164 test matches yielded him 11,867 runs at 43.11. His leg-spin bowling was hardly used (a grand total of nine wickets at that level). A wide-open stance and very ugly looking method did not stop him from making stacks of runs or from serious crease occupation – most of the current test records relating to long periods of survival stand to his credit. He spent a large part of his career as a cricketing equivalent of Casabianca, standing on the burning deck of the West Indies innings.
My usual sign off…