I write this post while listening to commentary on today’s game in the IPL between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, but as a ‘legacy fan’ of cricket to borrow a phrase from those behind a development in another ball sport that makes The Hundred look like a picnic I feel it important to focus on non-franchise cricket. However, before getting into the main meat of my post I have a small piece of business to attend to:
A CORRECTION TO MY PREVIOUS POST
Yesterday I said that the hundred that Hassan Azad was approaching as I typed, and did duly complete would be his second of the match. This was incorrect – Leicestershire’s first innings century was scored by his opening partner Sam Evans, Azad making 55.
THE CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER TWO ROUNDS OF ACTION
Two teams, Gloucestershire and Hampshire, have won both of their games. They are in opposition in the next round which starts on Thursday. One team, Middlesex, have lost both their games. Nottinghamshire with a draw and a loss (beaten late yesterday by a Warwickshire side with only 10 fit players. Sibley being injured) are on a winless streak that dates back to 2018. Not the longest – Northamptonshire once went without a win from 1934 to 1939 (their next win after the 1939 one was in 1946, but that gap was not down to bad cricket on their part, it was down to there being no cricket at all), but a long time to go without a win.
Hassan Azad took Leicestershire to safety yesterday, reaching a new career best 144 not out, and boosting his career average to just over 46. With Sibley injured, Burns under scrutiny and Lammonby having had a horror start to the season which has seen his FC average drop from 51.00 to 35.69, Azad (31 FC matches) is putting himself firmly in the England frame. Also in the mix is James Bracey, and a big score against Hampshire, whose bowling is led by current Pakistan test start Mohammad Abbas and former SA test star Kyle Abbott would be a big boost to his credentials. Somerset, after their loss in the west country derby face Leicestershire who have decent batting but as evidenced by successive teams topping 650 against them a calamitous lack of bowling.
DISTINCTIVE BOWLING ACTIONS QUINTET
This section is a nod to the game I am following at the moment, which feature Riyan Parag, whose bowling action is extremely unusual – he basically brings his arm round the side rather than over the top as is conventional. His action is not illegal as the laws stand, and as some readers of this blog will be aware I believe that more types of bowling should be encouraged. The Greg/Trevor Chappell against NZ situation can be got round by way of the fact that nowadays balls that bounce more than once are called no-ball – simply add a footnote to the effect that a ball rolled along the ground is considered to have bounced an infinite number of times and shall be called no-ball. In that spirit I offer a bowling sextet who all had very distinctive actions (in T20 one generally needs six bowling options, so that you have cover in the event of someone having a nightmare day), four of whom played test cricket and a fifth may yet do so, the sixth was not quite good enough but as an all rounder has value in a T20 context:
- Lasith Malinga, aka Malinga the slinger, Right arm fast. Before the recent emergence of Parag he had the lowest bowling arm of any modern era bowler.
- Digby Jephson, right arm fast (under arm). He never got selected at international level, but was a Surrye regular for some years in the early 1900s.
- Doug Wright – leg spin. He had one of the most extraordinary run ups ever seen, bowled at above medium pace and achieved sharp turn. Often his good balls were too good and beat everything, but on his day he was utterly unplayable. He still holds the record for hat tricks in a first class career, having achieved the feat seven times at that level.
- Paul Adams – left arm wrist spin. Possibly the most unorthodox action ever possessed by any left arm bowler, once likened to a frog in a blender.
- George Simpson-Hayward – off spin (under arm). He came on the scene a few years after Jephson, and unlike the former did get selected for England and had a good series in South Africa. He was the last bowler of his type to play top level cricket.
- Riyan Parag – leg spin. One of two genuine all rounders in the sextet, Jephson being the other.
PETITION & PHOTOGRAPHS
Before getting to my photographs, while I have not mentioned it directly I think I have made my opinions of the proposed European Super League fairly clear in my introduction, and I now included a link to a petition calling for it to be stopped: http://chng.it/BhmYY6nMNp Now time for my usual sign off…