Franchise Squad From The Before The White Ball Era

I name a franchise squad comprising entirely players from before white ball cricket was played – and challenge cricket fans among my readers to do likewise.

INTRODUCTION

I am deviating briefly from my coverage of my stay in Cornwall because mention was made of players from the past who would have been useful in franchise cricket during this morning’s BBL commentary on Test Match Special, and I got thinking about a franchise squad comprised of players who flourished before white ball cricket was played.

RULES

To be eligible for consideration under my rules players must have retired before the inaugural T20 cup took place in 2003. Also, unless a very good reason can be found players considered for this must have had some international experience. At least one recognized wicketkeeper must be in the squad.

THOMAS’S SQUAD

I have named 15 for my squad, an envisaged first XI and four reserves.

GILBERT LAIRD JESSOP

The most consistently fast scoring batter in the game’s history (he reached 100 in less than an hour at the crease 11 times in first class cricket, and in a career that included 53 centuries he only once batted as long as three hours in), a gun fielder (his credits include a direct hit run out of Victor Trumper in a test match) and a crafty pace bowler. If one had a time machine to fetch him in his prime into the present day he would send an IPL auction into meltdown.

GARFIELD ST AUBRUN SOBERS

Quite simply the most complete cricketer who ever played the game – a batter capable of hitting six sixes in an over and who averaged 57.78 in test cricket, three bowlers in one (left arm seam and swing, slow left arm orthodox and slow left arm wrist spin, the latter of which would be especially useful in T20) and a brilliant fielder.

ISAAC VIVIAN ALEXANDER RICHARDS

The best batter in the early days of ODI cricket and a brilliant fielder. In view of who else is available to bowl in this squad his off spin would be unlikely to be called on.

ROBERT GRAEME POLLOCK

He averaged over 60 in test cricket, and although he never played ODIs due to South Africa being in isolation by the time that form of cricket took off he averaged over 50 in List A cricket with a best of 222 not out.

FRANK EDWARD WOOLLEY

The only cricketer to have achieved the career triple of 10,000 runs (58,969 no less), 1,000 wickets (2,066 of those) and 1,000 catches (1,018) in first class cricket, and the only non-wicketkeeper to have pouched 1,000 catches.

BASIL LEWIS D’OLIVEIRA

An attacking middle order batter and the sort of medium pace nibbler who would be very useful in T20.

LESLIE ETHELBERT GEORGE AMES

The only recognized wicketkeeper ever to score 100 first class hundreds, and he won the Lawrence trophy for the fastest hundred of the season twice in the first three years of its existence.

GEORGE HERBERT HIRST

He achieved the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a first class season 14 times in his career, including the only occasion on which anyone managed the ‘double double’ (1906, 2,385 runs and 208 wickets). An aggressive right handed bat and left arm pace bowler, he was also like Jessop what is now termed a gun fielder.

JAMES CHARLES LAKER

Probably (sorry Nathan Lyon fans, I do not buy your claims on his behalf) the best ever at what he did, namely bowling off spin. In 1956 he took 46 wickets in the Ashes series, including 19-90 in the 4th match at Old Trafford), and also helped his county to beat the Aussies by taking 10-88 (off 46 overs on a good wicket in the first innings of the match) and 2-42 in the second Aussie innings.

ALFRED SHAW

He bowled more overs in first class cricket (no List A in his day) than he conceded runs (25,699 overs bowled, 24,873 runs conceded), and captured just over 2,000 first class wickets. His impeccable length and canny variations of pace would make him an excellent option in T20. I also choose him as captain – he proved himself good at the job at a time when few professional cricketers got the chance (most captains in his era were, nominally at least, amateurs who did not get paid to play cricket).

CLARENCE VICTOR GRIMMETT

Clarrie Grimmett (aka Scarl, Old Grum or Fox) the New Zealand born Aussie leg spinner took 216 wickets in only 37 test matches (he had to wait until he was 33 to get the call), and a record first-class tally for someone who never played County Championship cricket (1,424, again at just about six wickets per game). He was exceedingly economical, commanded a range of variations (and was forever experimenting with new types of delivery), and as such would seem made for T20 bowling (although like Shaw above he would probably not have been best pleased at being restricted to four overs per innings).

WALTER REGINALD HAMMOND

A stroke playing batter with a formidable record (over 50,000 first class runs including 167 centuries), a superb slip fielder and a very capable bowler (and in T20, knowing that he would not be bowling more than four overs at any one time he may have been a little less unenthusiastic about this aspect of his game than he was in first class and test cricket). He once hit the first five balls of a days play, bowled by no less a personage than Ted Macdonald, for fours, and according to reports it was only a good bit of fielding that stopped being six fours out of six for the over.

MULVANTRAI HIMMATLAL “VINOO” MANKAD

A slow left-arm bowler, a fine batter (he regularly opened for his country in test cricket) and a capable fielder. He was the first bowler in test cricket to run out an opposition batter for backing up too far, causing a controversy that continues to flare up every time something similar happens (my sympathies are exclusively with the bowler – the batter who gets run out is trying to gain an unfair advantage). If he were to be in the team it would be fun to have Ashwin in the ranks of the opposition!

MICHAEL JOHN PROCTER

An aggressive middle order batter, a fine fielder and a fast bowler who could also bowl off breaks, Procter could come in for anyone save Ames without the side as a whole suffering.

WILLIAM JOSEPH OREILLY

A very different type of legspinner to Grimmett, bowling at around medium pace and generating extra bounce (he was tall, unlike Grimmett), O’Reilly (though he would be voluble in expressing his dislike of the format, and I am quite certain that what he would have to say about The Hundred/ Harrison’s Harebrained Have a Hit would be unprintable) would be excellent at this form of the game.

This squad gives me a plentiful supply of attacking batters, a huge range of bowling options including every style of bowling and plenty of excellent fielders.

CONCLUSION, CHALLENGE AND PHOTOGRAPHS

For ease of references here is my squad listed without comments: 1)Gilbert Jessop, 2) Garry Sobers, 3)Viv Richards, 4)Graeme Pollock, 5)Frank Woolley, 6)Basil D’Oliveira
7) +Les Ames, 8)George Hirst, 9)Jim Laker 10)*Alfred Shaw 11)Clarrie Grimmett, Reserves: Wally Hammond, Vinoo Mankad, Mike Procter, Bill O’Reilly.

For the cricket fans among my readers here is a challenge: name your own franchise squad comprising players from before T20 cricket started, either directly in the comments, or in a post of your own which you link to in the comments below.

Here are a few Cornish photos to finish…

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Two shots showing waves crashing over the breakwater that is visible from my parents living room.

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A few shots from Cawsand, the closest village to my parents home.

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Three views of Fort Picklecombe from Cawsand.

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A heron standing on the breakwater (two shots)

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The officers mess at Fort Picklecombe (permission for the building was given on condition that this part be modelled on Warwick Castle).

 

Cricket Hat Trick at Sports Personality of the Year

A cricket hat trick at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, the origin of the phrase hat trick and some photographs,

INTRODUCTION

This post looks at a great night for cricket, and also at the origins of the term hat trick and some of the more notable examples. There are also of course some of my photographs at the end.

SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR

First the ‘team of the year’ award went to England’s world-cup winning cricket team (only if the rugby team had beaten South Africa in the final of their tournament would this even have been a contest), then the ‘moment of the year’ went to Jos Buttler’s run out of Martin Guptill that sealed that victory, again not really a contest. Finally the Sports Personality of the Year went to Ben Stokes (with great respect to Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thomson who had strong cases – sorry Lewis Hamilton, being at the wheel of the best car out there does not give you a case). Ben Stokes is the fifth cricketer to be thus honoured after off-spinner Jim Laker (1956, 46 wickets at less than 10 a piece in an Ashes winning series, plus an all-ten – 10-88 from 46 overs in the first innings for Surrey against Australia), white-haired grafter David Steele (1975, brought in at the behest of new captain Tony Greig to stiffen the top order and responded with 365 runs in three test matches), Ian Botham (1981 – Botham’s Ashes) and Andrew Flintoff (2005, Ashes superhero).

So that is the story of cricket’s hat trick at SPOTY 2019, which leads on to….

THE ORIGIN OF THE PHRASE HAT TRICK

In the early 1850s Heathfield Harman Stephenson (Surrey) travelled north with the All England XI (one of a number of travelling elevens that existed at that time and for some years after, a development that could have radically altered the way in which cricket was organized had the MCC not taken urgent action to get the biggest draw in the game, W G Grace, on side – his membership was proposed the Treasurer of the club and seconded by the Secretary, so desperate were they) to play a match at the Hyde Park ground in Sheffield. During that match he dismissed three of the opposition with successive deliveries (not the first to do so in a big match – Nottingham tearaway Sam Redgate had accounted for Fuller Pilch, Alfred Mynn and James Stearman in successive balls in 1840) and this feat so impressed the locals that someone passed a hat round to collect money to present to Stephenson, and hat and contents were both given to the player, and the phrase hat trick was born. It has subsequently come to be used in other sports for notable achievements involving the number three, but it is in origin a pure cricket phrase.

VIDEO AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Before the photographs, here is the moment that secured cricket’s hat trick of awards at SPOTY:

Just before my usual sign off, a shout out to Sarah Glenn, who after taking 2-38 on debut and 2-37 in her second match for England then starred in the weather ruined final gamed of that series by collecting 4-18, which means that three matches into her ODI career she has total figures of 8-93, for an average of 11.625 per wicket.

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Post Election Thoughts (And Other Stuff)

Some thoughts on GE2019, cricket, an autism related twitter thread and of course a few photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I am not going to relive Thursday night and Friday morning here. I am going to look to the future.

LOOKING AHEAD

After the carnage of the 2019 General Election Johnson has emerged with a substantial majority, Northern Ireland has a majority of non-unionist MPs for the first time ever and Scotland saw the expected SNP tsunami. Labour has fewer MPs than at any time since 1935 – 203 – but also more female MPs than any party has ever had (see here), the Liberal Democrats had a disaster relieved only by Sarah Jane Olney winning Richmond Park from Zac Goldsmith, and the Greens failed to increase their MP count, but did get 850,000 votes in total, in yet another election that showed FPTP in a terrible light. Those MPs who switched parties and were standing for a new party for the first time all lost, though the vile Tory masquerading as Lib Dem Sam Gyimah (aided by a mendacious article in the Observer on the Sunday before the election) did enough to cost Emma Dent Coad Kensington and Chelsea.

The Liberal Democrats and Labour are both looking for new leaders. The likely pick for the LDs is Layla Moran. Labour need to work hard to regain trust in the North, and for that reason I think they need to select a leader who is not London based. For me (although this is not a prediction) the obvious choice, given that Laura Pidcock was among the election casualties, is Angela Rayner, with another northerner as deputy (possibly Chi Onwurah, the first MP to be officially confirmed as such at this election, and a north-easterner to go with north-westerner Rayner). Among Labour’s few bright spots was the election of 23 year old Nadia Whittome in Nottingham – and she has immediately announced that she will be taking only £35,000 of her £79,000 salary, the rest going to local charities. As this piece in The Mirror makes clear she is doing this not to say that MPs are overpaid but to say that nurses, teachers and the like are underpaid.

Labour, LDs and Greens are going to have to get better at working together to do anything in the ‘lesser Britain’ comprising England and Wales that we are likely to see in the not distant future (Scotland will go independent one way or another, and a united Ireland is firmly on the cards – note that the DUP’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds lost his seat to John Finucane (son of murdered lawyer Pat Finucane).

CRICKET

England Women have been playing Pakistan Women in Kuala Lumpur. In the two ODIs that had enough play for a definite result England won comfortably both times. In the first openers Dani Wyatt (promoted, as following the retirement of Sarah Taylor, Amy Jones is now first choice keeper and has dropped to no 5 in the order) and Tammy Beaumont both racked up centuries, Kate Cross took four wickets and debutant spinner Sarah Glenn took 2-38. In the second match Natalie Sciver scored 100 not out, Heather Knight 86 and Fran Wilson a blistering 85 not out off 49 balls in a total of 327-4 and Pakistan were all out for exactly 200 in 44.5 overs. Anya Shrubsole, Sophie Ecclestone, Knight, and once again Glenn (2-37 this time) each took two wickets.

Meanwhile, although it has been spoiled by rain, test cricket has returned to Pakistan itself for the first time in a decade, with Sri Lanka (it was an attack on their team bus in Lahore that led to the removal of test matches from that country) the visitors.

In blazing Perth New Zealand have become the latest visitors to discover that Australia is a tough place to go – the home side began by racking up 416, with Marnus Labuschagne racking up his third successive test century, and then dismissed the Kiwis for 166, and declining to enforce the follow-on had reached 167-6, a lead of 417 by the close. Labuschagne managed a beggarly 50 this time round, with Joe Burns making 53. Assuming that Australia do not declare overnight Messrs Wade and Cummins are in occupation.

AN AUTISM RELATED THREAD

Steve Silberman, author of THE definitive history of Autism, Neurotribes, has produced this twitter thread about Greta Thunberg, Time “Person of the Year” for 2019:

A thread on the historical significance of @GretaThunberg being chosen as the first proudly autistic @Time Person of the Year. The fact that autistic folks often speak the truth bluntly, even rudely at times, is often framed as a social deficit. [1/7]
In Greta’s case, her relentless reiteration of the facts of #climate change, and the importance of science, has made her a focus of incandescent hatred by the same pompous liars and paid-for buffoons who are selling the earth from under the feet of their own grandchildren. [2/7]
The “autistic” qualities of Greta’s war on the status quo – her visceral distrust of rationalizations and vacuous rhetoric – are precisely the qualities all humanity must emulate at a time when global political discourse is dominated by nonsense and gaslighting. [3/7]
As the author of a history of autism, I’ve said for years that gut-level loathing for unfairness and injustice could practically be added to the diagnostic criteria for autism. At this point in human history, when lies and denial of facts are dooming future generations… [4/7]
Greta’s monotropic insistence on “walking her talk,” and her impatience even for vacuous praise instead of meaningful action, are vivid demonstrations of the role neurodivergent people can play in the advancement of human civilization. In the case of #climatechange… [5/7]
the “social deficits” are all on the neurotypical side, on Greta’s opponents and critics, who use misogyny, ableism, and ageism against her. They lie for a living, deceiving millions of fellow neurotypicals in the process. [6/7]
The success of climate disinformation campaigns in sowing seeds of doubt about science is proof of a potentially fatal “truth dysfunction” in non-autistic people. Want to know the role of #neurodiversity in our collective future? We may not have one without it. Go, Greta! [7/7]

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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This giant monopoly board is in the foyer of the Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House (I went there on Monday to tell them my story for use in subsequent publicity materials).

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My favourite set on this board – note the Pall Mall equivalent, the seals at Blakeney.
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About the only time you will see this in Norfolk!

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Brisbane Heat Retain WBBL

A brief account of the WBBL final which took place early this morning UK time.

INTRODUCTION

This post looks at the final of the Women’s Big Bash League, which took place in the early hours of this morning UK time.

A SPLENDID FINAL

Sophie Devine had had a dream season for the Adelaide Strikers but had a personal nightmare in the final. The Kiwi fell for just five, before her compatriot Suzie Bates and Tahlia McGrath righted things with a good second wicket stand. Both were out close together and Bridget Patterson and Kayleigh Mack both went cheaply, but AmandaJade Wellington whose previous competition best score was 23 made a splendid 55 off 33 balls to give the strikers a final total of 161-7 from their 20 overs. Maddy Green managed only 11 for Heat in the reply, but then SammyJo Johnson blasted 27 off just 11 balls (including four sixes off Sophie Devine) to put Heat well ahead of the rate. Jess Jonassen made 33 off 28, and Laura Harris was unbeaten on 19, in partnership with player of the final Beth Mooney who anchored the innings with an unbeaten 56, Heat having 11 balls to spare (and six wickets, including Kiwi all-rounder Amelia Kerr, due to come in next) when they completed the chase. To win a big tournament is a fine achievement, but to do so twice running is particularly impressive because on the second occasion everyone else knows that you are the team to beat. Sophie Devine was player of the tournament, but in the final she could only produce five and figures of 1-46 from three overs. It was a highly enjoyable final, but ultimately Brisbane Heat were simply too good for Adelaide Strikers.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Thoughts on England Squad for South Africa

My thoughts on the England squad selected for South Africa.

INTRODUCTION

The main focus of this post is the England squad for South Africa, announced today. The first test match of the 4 game series gets underway on Boxing Day.

THE SQUAD

The full squad can be seen below, ourtesy of cricinfo:

Image

Original here.

I am disappointed only in the continuing blind spot re Ben FoakesJonny Bairstow should not be in a test squad at the moment. I am glad that Moeen Ali did not get recalled – I would have regarded such a move as absolutely shocking, rating him as a spinner to be behind not just Leach and Parkinson, but also offspinners Bess and Virdi plus (inexperience notwithstanding) slow left-armer Liam Patterson-White, without venturing on to controversial territory such as selecting women in men’s squads (see various of my earlier posts, especially this one,for more detail on this if you wish).

Given that Mark Wood is still not fully fit, I do not consider it likely that a South Africam pitch will warrant two specialist spinners, and I prize variety in my bowling attacks my team for the first test would be: Burns, Sibley, Denly, Root, Stokes, Pope, +Buttler, Curran, Archer, *Leach (I have not given up even temporarily on all of my controversial notions!), Anderson. I would like to see Wood and Archer both in the same team later in the series, and would not at this stage of their careers pick Broad and Anderson together. Later in the series when Wood is fully fit I might consider gambling by dropping Buttler, handing the gloves to Pope and having Curran bat at seven followed by Archer, Leach, Wood and Anderson (or Broad if Anderson is not fit), or in the unlikely event of a surface in that part of the world justifying two specialist spinners in the team, Curran, Archer, Leach, Wood, Parkinson forming nos 7-11. The idea behind these later series selections is that Archer and Wood would both be used in short, fiery bursts, with the others plus contributions from Stokes doing the bulk of the bowling work.

This is a decent selection by England, and as South Africa are in disarray at present I expect England to collect the D’Oliveira Trophy at the end of the series.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Labour candidate Jo Rust’s leaflet (three images) – she is the only one of the four candidates I have actually met, and will be getting my vote.

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My England Line Up for the Second Test

My suggested England team for the second test match at Hamilton in view of the injury to Buttler.

INTRODUCTION

England have to change their line=up from the first test because Jos Buttler is injured, meaning that Ollie Pope will don the gloves (England risked this eventuality with their original selection of the tour party), and someone has to come into the side. In the rest of this post I explain my reasoning and arrive at my XI from the available players.

THE SITUATION

England are one down in a two match series, meaning that they need to win in Hamilton to share the spoils. Although the batters cannot be happy with their performance in match 1 it was the bowlers who really struggled. I have heard that there is a possibility that Woakes will replace Leach, giving England an all-seam attack, but that in my opinion is daft. Knowing that a win is needed I would stack the bowling, replacing the injured Buttler with Parkinson (I would also consider selecting Saqib Mahmood in place of Stuart Broad) and relying on the top six plus Curran, Archer and the adhesive Leach to provide enough runs for what would be a deep and varied bowling attack – Stokes being number 6 in the pecking order. Thus my team (and I will be gobsmacked if the selectors actually pick this side) would be:

  1. Burns
  2. Sibley
  3. Denly
  4. Root
  5. Stokes
  6. +Pope
  7. Curran
  8. Archer
  9. *Leach (see my previous post)
  10. Broad
  11. Parkinson

PHOTOGRAPHS

Just a few this time…

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RIP blackbird – I do not know how it met its end, there being no obvious clue, but this was a sad sight.

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England Humiliated in New Zealand

An account of England’s calamitous surrender in the first Test match in New Zealand, and a radical suggestion for Joe Root’s replacement as England test captain.

INTRODUCTION

This post looks back at what happened during the last three days of the first test in New Zealand and then at a possible new England captain.

A SPECTACULAR REVERSAL

Those who read my last post will recall that England were extremely well placed after two days of the first test match – they had made 353 and New Zealand were 144-4 in reply. How then did this turn into a humiliating innings defeat for England? Well the tale of the tape is this…

Day 3: B J Watling batted all day at one end, well supported by De Grandhomme (55) and Santner who defended stoutly after De Grandhomme fell, and New Zealand by the close were 394-6, already 41 to the good.

Day 4: Watling and Santner first consolidated their overnight position and then opened out, Watling completing a double century while Santner reached his maiden test century. Eventually, with 615 on the board, New Zealand declared and England had 27 overs to get through before the close of day. They looked to be managing this when Sibley fell to a poor shot. Then Burns, troubled by Santner, played an injudicious shot trying to get to the other end and was caught off a top edge. Finally, to leave England looking down both barrels, Jack Leach got hit on the grille by one from Santner that rose unexpectedly and two balls later lost his wicket. That left England with seven wickets standing and needing to bat the final day out to save the game.

Day 5: England looked adequate for the first hour, but then Root fell to a poor stroke and a collapse set in, only alleviated to an extent by a late flourish from Archer and Curran who delayed the inevitable and provided a bit of late entertainment. Once their partnership was broken it did not take Broad long to extend his record of ducks scored for England, and the final margin was an innings and 65 runs. Of the seven members of the England team (Burns, Sibley, Denly, Root, Stokes, Pope, Buttler) who were there either principally or solely for their batting six in this dismal second innings contributed to their own downfalls.

Not only is this another horrible defeat for him as captain, there is no longer any denying that Root as captain is incompatible with getting the best out of Root the batter, and it is in the latter capacity that England have most need of him (as a captain he is very average, whereas at his best he is one of the finest batters in the world). While acknowledging that Burns has demonstrated for Surrey that he can combine being captain with scoring big runs I feel that it is time to look away from batters for this role. While fast bowlers rarely make good captains, there is some history of slow bowlers enjoying success in the role, including among slow left armers the likes of Tony Lock (Leicestershire and Western Australia), Daniel Vettori (New Zealand) and Bishan Singh Bedi (India). So, my choice for England’s next test skipper is Jack Leach – he is established in the side, has demonstrated that he has an excellent temperament, and is still young enough to hold the role for some years. The fulltoss blog has looked at some potentials here, but I think they missed the best call. A full scorecard of the debacle can viewed here.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Some festive pics here as well as a few of my more usual type…

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The Elves getting ready to help in Santa’s grotto at Dobbies on Friday evening.

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Immediately outside the grotto (I was there in my caapcity as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary, and got to walk through after the children had received their presents)

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The one obvious howler in the set up – polar bears and penguins do not co-exist as they reside at opposte ends of the Earth)

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