100 Cricketers: The Sixth XI Opening Batters

Continuing my “100 cricketers” series with the opening batters from my sixth XI. Also features some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series, in which the focus is on the opening batters from my sixth XI. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the sixth XI is here and the most recent post here. Before getting into the main meat of my post there is one little thing to do.

DRAW IN DUBAI

In the end rain intervened in Dubai to consign the “champion county” match between MCC and Surrey to a draw. The MCC will have been relieved as at one point they were four wickets down in their second innings and only nine runs to the good. Surrey played this match like the champions they are, and were better in all departments save spin bowling (it was unfortunately not difficult to see why Freddie van den Bergh pays almost 45 a piece for his first class wickets, while Scott Borthwick who snared a couple is principally a batter. With due respect to Olly Pope for his 251 (his quality was already well known before this game) the biggest single positive for Surrey from a match that contained many was the performance of first-class debutant Jamie Smith, excellent behind the stumps and a quite magnificent first effort with the bat, starting with his side in a spot of bother at 144-4 and ending with them in complete control – expect to hear a lot more of this young man, and on bigger stages than this. All in all these four days have been an excellent curtain-raiser for the 2019 English season, and I look forward to the season proper with considerable anticipation. I would not expect anyone to be given an Ashes series as their first international assignment unless they were doing absolutely sensationally, but there could certainly be some new faces in the winter touring parties. Time now for the main business of this post starting with…

SANATH JAYASURIYA

6,973 test runs at 40.07, with a best od 340 v India at Colombo, 98 test wickets at 34.34 with his slow left-arm and a decent fielder. His ODI figures were 13,430 runs at 32.36 and 323 wickets at 36.75, economy rate 4.78 (he played no fewer than 445 of these games). He was past his best by the time T20s became a thing but his T20 record from 31 appearances was 629 runs at 23.29, with a scoring rate of 129.15 per 100 balls and 19 wickets at 24 a piece with an economy rate of 7.37.

His finest hours came in the 1996 world cup, when he was the player of the tournament, explosive as an opening batter, taking advantage of the fielding restrictions that applied at that time. The key to Sri Lanka’s success with these tactics was that Jayasuriya and his opening partner Kaluwitherana were both batters of genuine quality – England tried using offspinner and useful lower-order batter Neil Smith in this role with no success, Zimbabwe once promoted legspinner Paul Strang only to see him record a 17 ball duck and Pakistan tried the effect of promoting younf all-rounder Abdul Razzaq without achieving the desired effect. His 82 off 44 balls which showed England the exit door of that tournament after they had posted an inadequate 235-7 in their innings (England were shocking in that tournament, reaching the quarter-final only because they had two associate nations in their group, who they were just about good enough to beat) was in the nature of a mercy killing, providing a quick end rather than slow torture.

His 213 in the one-off test of 1998 at The Oval ensured that Muralitharan got a decent rest between bowling stints, and helped his side to a comfortable win.

Sanath Jayasuriya was for a few years the most exciting opening batter in world cricket, and for many years after that remained a redoubtable competitor who could influence a game with contributions in any or all departments. We now move on to his opening partner in this XI…

NAVJOT SIDHU

In the years after Sunil Gavaskar and before Virender Sehwag most of the players selected to open the batting for India were distinctly unmemorable and had records that were less than awe-inspiring. The exception was Navjot Singh Sidhu, who should have played a lot more than the 51 test matches he actually got (3,202 runs at 42.13). He also played 136 ODIs, scoring 4,413 runs at 37.08. He had finished before T20 started, but with his aggressive approach to batting he would probably have fared well at that form of the game as well. When England visited India in 1992-3 he used his feet against the spinners with devastating effect – both the aging John Emburey, recently restored after his second ban for going on a rebel tour to South Africa, and the erratic legspinner Ian Salisbury copped fearful punishment.

Given his fine record one has to wonder why he was not picked more often at international level. He was an eccentric character and this may well have counted against him, as it has down the years with a few others.

NEXT IN THIS SERIES

The next post in this series will look at the remaining specialist batters in my sixth XI, before I finish the account of this XI with the two all-rounders, and introduce my seventh XI. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

I conclude this post in my signature fashion…

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The first seven images here come from The Badminton Book of Cricket. Major Robert Montagu Poore taught himself to bat using the chapter on batting, and in two months of extended leave in the 1899 season scored 1,551 runs for Hampshire at 91.23, a season’s batting average not beaten until Bradman and Sutcliffe in the 1930s.

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A starling (three pics)

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The gull shots feature three different species (Herring Gulls, Lesser Black Backed Gulls and Black Headed Gulls, the first two of which are opposite ends of a ‘ring species’)

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These are Lesser Black Backed gulls – the main difference between them and Herring Gulls are the dark feathers that give them their name. Bottom right as you look as a lone Black Headed Gull – smaller and less solid of build than the others.

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Each bungalow iin my little set has a piece of patterned brickwork like this. 

 

 

100 Cricketers – The Sixth XI Bowlers – West Indian Pace Quartet

The latest post in my “100 cricketers” series, this one has some special features and happens to my 1,500th on aspi.blog.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. This post focusses on the bowling attack from my sixth XI, a West Indian fast bowling quartet. The introductory post to the series can be found here, and the most recent post, in which I introduce the sixth XI can be found here. I have three little bits to do before getting to the main meat of the post. In my last post I indicated that I wanted this one to be a bit special, and challenged people to guess why…

1,500 NOT OUT

No, not an actual score! This is my 1,500th post on aspi.blog, and that is why I hope it will be just a bit special.

ENGLAND WOMEN SEAL T20 SERIES V SRI LANKA WITH EMPHATIC VICTORY

First of all the England Women restricted Sri Lanka to 108-6 from their 20 overs. Veteran Katherine Brunt collected two wickets to go past 250 in all forms of international cricket, while Marsh, Sciver and Knight each took one and 20 year old legspinner Sophia Dunkley bagged her first international scalp. Young pace bowler Freya Davies was wicketless but went for only 15 in her four overs. They then took only 13.5 overs to knock the runs off, Amy Jones and Danielle Wyatt kicking off with a stand of 79, and after their departure Beaumont and Sciver did the rest for an emphatic eight wicket victory. England women are very well equipped with young spinners – as well as Dunkley and Linsey Smith (two overs for 19) who were in the side today Sophie Ecclestone and Alex Hartley are both faring well when they get the opportunities.

MCC FIGHT BACK BUT SURREY STILL FAVOURITES IN DUBAI

Jamie Smith achieved the highest score ever made by someone making a first class debut for Surrey, but fell quickly thereafter for 127.  Olly Pope went on to a mammoth 251, reaching 250 with three successive sixes, and Surrey were all out on the stroke of lunch for 520, a first innings lead of 255. The MCC side responded well, reaching the close on 221-1, Dominic Sibley, himself a former Surrey player, 102 not out and the other opener Will Rhodes 88. Given that they are still 34 in arrears the MCC side will need to bat until at least tea time tomorrow to give themselves a chance of saving the game. Should they gain a lead 150 or so and have that final session to bowl at Surrey there could yet be a good finish, because I imagine that in a one-off fixture Surrey would be inclined to have a serious go at chasing them. It is now time for the main meat of the post…

WEST INDIAN PACE QUARTETS

From their first appearances on the world stage the West Indies have been noted for producing fast bowlers. However, the use of a quartet of pace bowlers dates specifically from the period 1976-1995, when the West Indies bestrode world cricket like a colossus. In 1975-6 a West Indies squad captained by Clive Lloyd were beaten 5-1 in a six match test series in Australia, whose bowling attack featured Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Max Walker (righ-arm fast medium) and Gary Gilmour (left-arm fast medium and a handy lower middle order batter). This planted the germ of an idea that fully crystalized in the mind of Lloyd during a match against India in Trinidad, in which the West Indies equipped themselves with three spinners, Inshan Ali, Raphick Jumadeen and Albert Padmore, as against the Indian trio of Bhagwat Chandrasekar, Bishan Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna. The West Indian trio were a match for the Indian in terms of bolwing styles, but they did not have the same ability – in the fourth innings of that match, when the spinners should have been at their best India scored 406-4 to win by six wickets. Back in the dressing room Lloyd asked them just how many they needed to be able to defend, though he had no intention of finding out. He battled the selectors to get his way, and the pace quartet was born. In England in 1976, fired up by foolish comments from England captain Tony Greig, the first of these quartets, Vanburn Holder, Michael Holding, Wayne Daniel and Andy Roberts wrought aboslute havoc, and thereafter until the Aussies came calling in 1995 the West Indies lost only one series (a three-matcher against New Zealand in 1980) and a mere handful of matches.

The book “Real Quick”, by Michele Savidge and Alastair McClellan records the history of these great pace quartets in detail. David Frith’s “The Fast Men” a survey of fast bowling through the whole history of cricket features various West Indians, and C L R James in “Beyond a Boundary” and elsewhere writes about various West Indian bowlers along the way.

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Four fabulous books which all mention West Indian fast bowlers
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The definitive guide to West Indian fast bowling quartets
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The greatest of all cricket books, it sets itself to answer the question “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?”
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More from the great CLR
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A good starting point for reading about fast bowling.

INTRODUCING MY CHOSEN QUARTET

I could have chosen the first quartet, as the original history makers, or I could have gone for the best quartet to have played as such (a close call between Holding, Garner, Roberts and Croft or Holding, Garner, Croft and Marshall), but mindful of my desire to focus on players who I had at least some experience of seeing or hearing playing live I instead went for a quartet three of whom did play together (Holding had finished before the two most recent members of my quartet started), and who would have stood comparison with any pace bowling quartet you could put together. Now we turn to my quartet starting with…

MICHAEL HOLDING

60 test matches brought him 249 wickets at 23.68. He also scored six half-centuries batting down the order. His best match was at The Oval in 1976, when on a pitch on which no one else could do anything he took 8-92 and 6-57 to win the match for the West Indies. At Bridgetown, Barbados in 1981 he bowled on over to Geoffrey Boycott which is regarded by many as the greatest opening over of as test match ever bowled – check out the clip below:

He was nicknamed Whispering Death so silent was his approach to the bowling crease. 

MALCOLM MARSHALL

81 test matches yielded him 376 wickets at 20.94 each, and 1810 runs at 18.85 with the bat. He also got through a huge bowling workload for Hamphsire who he served magnificently as an overseas player. He was always quick, and as he matured he developed craft and guile to go with his speed, and became probably the most complete fast bowler in the game. At Headingley in 1984 he suffered a broken arm, went in to bat to enable Larry Gomes to complete a century, and then bowled with the left arm in a plaster cast in the England second innings – and took a then career best 7-53 – he would improve it four years later to 7-32 again at the expense of England.

CURTLEY AMBROSE

98 test matches yielded him 405 wickets at 20.99. He once destroyed Australia at the WACA with a spell of 7-1 in 33 deliveries. At Headingley in 1991 he took the first six wickets in the England second innings, before Derek Pringle stayed with Gooch, who was in the process of playing one of the great test innings, for over two hours, and England emerged victorious. At Trinidad in 1994 England were set a target of 194 to win, and had an hour in murky light to survive on the penultimate evening. By the time that hour was done England were 40-8, six of them to Ambrose, and the match was effectively over. Here, courtesy of youtube, is some footage of that latter occasion:

COURTNEY WALSH

He was the first bowler to take 500 test wickets (519 at 24.44), and among quick bowlers only James Anderson and Glenn McGrath have taken more. In 2,000, when Walsh was playing hnis final series against England, the latter brought Marcus Trescothick into their side to open the batting. On his debut he was 0 not out when Walsh was rested after his opening burst. He got under way off the first ball from Walsh’s replacement and went on to make 66 in that innings. Walsh was one of the 1991 quartet (along with Ambrose, Marshall and Patrick Patterson)  who made Graeme Hick’s introduction to test cricket such a personal nightmare (the England selectors who in their impatience to pick him threw him straight in against the West Indies quicks compounded their initial felony by then dropping him from the last match of the summer against Sri Lanka who possessed no bowlers of real pace – this is the match the should have been earmarked for his debut, to ease him in at the highest level). This completes my account of my West Indian pace bowling quartet – my next post in this series will deal with the opening batters from my sixth XI.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND LINKS

Before finishing this post in my usual fashion I have a couple of interesting links to share:

  1. As an autistic person who finds the very notion of autism as something to be cured offensive I am delighted report that the Advertising Standards Agency has told 150 homeopaths to stop claiming that they can cure autism. The full story is available here.
  2. My interest in paleontology was enough to attract me to the story of a remarkable new bed of Cambrian fossils. I am delighted to be able to provide a link to coverage of this find on whyevolutionistrue, one of my favourite blogs.

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100 Cricketers – The Fifth XI Bowlers and Introducing The Sixth XI

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, with some comment on the MCC v Surrey macth and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series, which I type just as coverage of an IPL game between Rajasthan Royals and The Kings XI Punjab gets underway. Today I conclude the coverage of my fifth XI and introduce the sixth XI in batting order. I will start my coverage of that XI with the bowlers for a reason that will be explained when I introduce the squad. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the fifth XI can be found here and the most recent post in the series can be found here. Before I get into the main meat of my post there is a bit of cricket to report on…

POPE AND SMITH PUT SURREY IN CONTROL AGAINST MCC

Surrey finished day 2 of the MCC v Champion County match in Dubai on 389-4, 124 ahead with six first innings wickets still standing. The architects of this unassailable looking position were Olly Pope with a career best 183 not out and debutant wicketkeeper Jamie Smith who had already impressed with the gloves, who was 123 not out by the close. Their partnership was worth an unbroken 245, a record stand for any wicket for Surrey v MCC. Smith needs two more runs tomorrow to set a new record for someone making their first-class debut for Surrey. He is still some way short of the all-time debutant’s record, 240 by a South African named Eric Marx. Pope has already had full England experience and would appear likely to get more in the not too distant future, while Smith has a ton in an under-19 international to his credit, and on the evidence of his innings today against a decent attack who had started the day well (Sam Cook took two wickets early on, and MCC captain Stuart Broad – a man with over 430 test wickets to his credit – also bowled well early on) may well be a candidate for full international honours as well. What should Surrey’s plan be for tomorrow (day three of four)? I would say all out attack with the bat in the morning session, and if not all out by then declare at lunch with what would be a huge lead and get stuck in to the MCC second innings. It is now time to for the business part of this post, starting with…

THE FIFTH XI SPIN BOWLERS

My spin bowlers for this squad are an off-spinner and a leg-spinner respectively, giving good variation. One was a great of the early 2000s, the other is a late developer who has only recently begun to establish himself at the highest level. I deal with them in chronological order, beginning with…

HARBHAJAN SINGH

417 test wickets, albeit at a slightly expensive 32.46 each, are impressive bowling credentials. His performances against Australia in 2001, when he virtually won India a series against them were simply extraordinary, and when England visited India around the same time they were equally at sea against him. For a brief period in the early 2000s he was probably second only to the amazing Murali (mentioned in this post) among offspinners.

ADIL RASHID

Only 60 test wickets at an average of 39.83, although his ODI record (128 wickets at 29.74, economy rate 5.58) is good. However, his recent performances since his somewhat controversial recall to the test ranks have been good, including his first five-for at that level, as England’s spinners outdid Sri Lanka’s in the latter’s backyard. England have not produced many internationally successful legspinners down the years – among English bowlers of this type only Doug Wright has as many as 100 test wickets, and he paid 39 a piece for them. Scottish born leggie Ian Peebles’ 45 test wickets at 30.93 included that of Bradman on two occasions (Peebles went on to become one of the better writers about the game). Tich Freeman (he was only 5’2″ tall), second leading wicket taker in first-class history with 3,776 at 18.42 was only asked to play for his country on 12 occasions, capturing 66 wickets at that level at 25.86 each. Adil Rashid is therefore faring better than most English legspinners, and I believe that he still has a few good years left in him.

THE FAST BOWLERS

It is now time to focus on my new-ball pairing, an Aussie combo featuring serious pace from one end and unrelenting accuracy from the other. We will start with…

BRETT LEE

310 test wickets at just over 30 a piece. At Trent Bridge in 2005 he caused nerves in the England camp after a match that the latter had largely dominated. England got home on that occasion, the margin being three wickets, but Lee’s bowling in the final innings with only 129 to defend certainly caused a few nerves. In the final match of that amazing series at The Oval he came off second best when a blistering post-lunch spell to Kevin Pietersen was met with spectacular and very successful aggression from the batter. 

GLENN MCGRATH

In the only Ashes series on which he was part of a losing combination Glenn McGrath (563 test wickets at 21.64) was out injured for both of the matches that his team lost, and this is no coincidence. In the first match at Lord’s England bowled Australia out for 190 and things seemed to be looking good for the home side. McGrath produced an opening burst of 5-2 to make things look very different, and Australia ended up winning by 239 runs, although Pietersen made two fifties on his test debut for one English positive. When Australia went to the Caribbean in 1995 (The West Indies were still a mighty fine side then) McGrath said before the series started that the Australian fast bowlers needed to give their West Indian counterparts a hard time, which was a brave statement from a genuine no 11 who knew he would be a sitting duck for any retaliation on their part. Australia, due in no small part to regularly dismissing the West Indies lower order cheaply went on to take the series, the first side to do that against the West Indies since 1980. From then until the end of McGrath’s career in the 5-0 whitewash Ashes of 2006/7 Australia dominated the world game, and he was one of the chief reasons why.

INTRODUCING THE SIXTH XI

Here in batting order is my Sixth XI:

  1. Sanath Jayasuriya
  2. Navjot Sidhu
  3. +Amy Jones
  4. *Virat Kohli
  5. Harmanpreet Kaur
  6. Chloe Tryon
  7. Deepti Sharma
  8. Malcolm Marshall
  9. Michael Holding
  10. Curtley Ambrose
  11. Courtney Walsh

This is my XI that features a West Indian pace quartet – an intention that I have mentioned previously. My next post will feature them in detail and will (I hope) be just a bit special – I have a reason for wanting that specific post to be somewhat special, see if you can guess before I reveal why at the start of it. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here is my usual reward for those who have made it through to the end:

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100 Cricketers – The Fifth XI Allrounders

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, dealing with the all-rounders from my fifth XI, mentioning a couple of matches from today and incljuding some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series, in which we shall look at the two all-rounders in the fifth XI. The introductory piece to the whole series can be found here, the piece in which I introduce the fifth XI here and the most recent piece here. Before I get to the main meat of the post there are two items of business to attend to.

ENGLAND WOMEN START T20 SERIES V SRI LANKA WITH BIG WIN

Having bowled Sri Lanka out for 94, with two youngsters, Linsey Smith (slow left-arm, 3-18 from her four overs) and Freya Davies (right-arm fast medium, 2-28 from her four) doing exceptionally well and the experienced Anya Shrubsole taking 2-20 from here four, England reached the target in 14.2 overs, for the loss of only two wickets, Tammy Beaumont unbeaten on 50 at the end. 

MCC V SURREY

The traditional curtain-raiser for the English first-class season, although it now takes place in Dubai, the MCC v Champion County fixture got under way today. It is the MCC’s (Marylebone Cricket Club) last remaining first-class game, and this time they picked the team from five county squads who were already out in Dubai. MCC reached 265 in their first innings, Daniel Lawrence (for whom international recognition must surely not be long away) top scoring with 58, while Will Rhodes (46) and Tom Abell (41) made significant contributions as well. South African born quick bowler Conor McKerr and the more locally born left-arm spinner Freddie van den Bergh each picked up three wickets. Surrey’s debutant wicketkeeper Jamie Smith took a catch, made a stumping and finished off a run out. In reply Surrey were 20-0 from three overs by the close. Now to the main business of this post, starting with…

+JONNY BAIRSTOW

An attacking batter and a good wicketkeeper, Jonny Bairstow earns his place at no 6 in this squad. Those who follow this blog closely will know that I have advocated that England play Bairstow as a specialist batter at no3, although at the moment, with 69 last time out Joe Denly is the man in possession, and unlikely to be dropped just yet. My reasons for this are twofold:

  1. England have problems at the top end of their order, with Cook having retired afvter an illustrious career, Stoneman recently been dropped for not being good enough, and Jennings obviously (to all save those so blind that they will not see) not up to the job at international level – a test batting average of 25.19 after 17 matches is practically down in the Brearley bracket without him having the captaincy skills to compensate. As you will see from this post, the second part of my solution to England’s top order problems is even more radical and features someone mentioned earlier in this piece.
  2. England have an even better wicketkeeper who is averaging over 40 so far in his brief test career in Ben Foakes, and it is he who should be donning the gauntlets for them.

In other words, England’s current needs dictate (at least to me) that Bairstow play as a specialist batter, but for the purpose of this series of posts I acknowledge his skills as a wicketkeeper by nominating him in that role. That leaves the number 7…

KAPIL DEV

The only player to have both scored 5,000 test runs (5,248 at 31.05) and taken 400 test wickets (434 at 29.64), Kapil Dev also captained India victory in the 1983 World Cup. For much of his career he had little or no recognized pace support in the Indian attack (even Manoj Prabhakar, his longest serving new-ball partner, was never much above medium). In 1990 at Lord’s Kapil Dev produced one of the most astonishing displays of hitting ever seen in a test match. England had made a massive 653-4 declared (Gooch 333), and in reply India were 430-9, and Narendra Hirwani, a legspinner who had taken 16 wickets in a remarkable debut against the West Indies, but was one of the most genuine of genuine number 11s was at the other end. India needed 24 to avoid the follow-on, and it was widely expected that getting them would save them the match. Kapil Dev rose to the occasion by htting off-spinner Eddie Hemmings for four successive sixes. As it happened, England made rapid runs in their second innings, Gooch scoring another century to rewrite the record books – his match aggregate of 456 remains a test record – and India failed to bat out time in their second innings, so the first innings rescue act was all in vain. 

In the next post in this series it will be the specialist bowlers from our fifth XI in the spotlight, and I will introduce the sixth XI in batting order.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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100 Cricketers – The Fifth XI Numbers 3, 4 and 5

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, dealing with numbers 3, 4 and 5 in my fifth XI. Also features some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series. We are now moving on to look at numbers three, four and five in my fifth XI. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post which introduces the fifth XI is here and the most recent post is here. Now into the main meat of our post…

RAHUL DRAVID

The man who became known as “The Wall” because he was so hard to dislodge and scored over 13,000 test runs down the years for India. Most of the people who opened the innings for India while he was batting at no 3 were distinctly unmemorable, and he did not all that often get to spend huge amounts of time in the pavilion before starting his innings. However, as he often had Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman following him in the middle order he could certainly never complain about not having support. He played county cricket for Kent as well, and once almost single-handledly won them a match against Hampshire because while the latter’s overseas star, one S K Warne, had the rest of the Kent batting at his mercy, Dravid made a century in the first innings and 73 not out in the second.

I recall his test debut innings against England in 1996, when he made 95. In 2002 in England he was in sensational form right through the summer, rivalled only by Michael Vaughan for England who was warming up for a winter in which he would relieve the Aussie bowlers of 633 runs.

Although Dravid is quite rightly remembered for his skill at the long form of the game, at which he was certainly one of the all-time greats, an ODI average of 39.16 shows that while it was not his preference he could handle shorter formats as well. We have given out batting order a very solid start, and it is now time to introduce some extra aggression, beginning with…

VIV RICHARDS

The only West Indian ever to score 100 first class hundreds (and given the reduction of county champsionship games to 14 per season, the infrequency with which overseas players are available for full seasons and the small number of first class games played in the Caribbean this record is highly likely to stand unchallenged), and until it was beaten a couple of years ago by Misbah-ul-Haq the holder of the record for the quickest test century in terms of balls received, a 56-ball effort against England in his native Antigua to help his country to a second straight 5-0 series victory over the inventors of the game.

As well as his amazing batting Richards was an exceptionally fine fielder, running out three Australians in the inaugural mens World Cup final in 1975 to help win that match after Clive Lloyd had set the Windies up with a century (in 1979 Richards scored 138 not out against England in the final to make it two out of two for the Windies, but in 1983 against India he and his team came unstuck against Kapil Dev, Madan Lal, Balwindersingh Sandhu, Roger Binny and Mohinder Amarnath losing that final by 43 runs). Finally, although it would be an exaggeration to describe him as an all-rounder his part time off-spin was sometimes useful for the West Indies.

DARYLL CULLINAN

Still the holder of the highest first-class score by a South African (337 not out), Cullinan also held their record individual test score (275 not out, beating Graeme Pollock’s 274) until first Graeme Smith (captain of the “so left handers are naturally more elegant are they?” team – possible subject of a future blog post on a quiet day!) with 277 and then Hashim Amla with 311 not out beat it. He struggled against Shane Warne (he was not alone in that respect), but one occasion at least he got the better of him:

Warne: I’ve been waiting two years for another opportunity to humiliate you.
Cullinan: Looks like you spent it eating.

One on occasion against England Cullinan gave so much strike to the number eleven batter that Darren Gough, never a shrinking violet, made a symbol in the air implying that Cullinan was playing for the ‘not out’ and subsequent boost to his batting average.

The presence of Richards (especially) and Cullinan at nos 4 and 5 give us some middle order aggression before we get to the all-rounders who feature in the next post in this series.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I took a lot of photographs at the session I attended this morning which was the subject of my previous post and was cunning enough to withold a few to end this one..

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In the room where the session was taking place there were pictures of various landmarks on the wall.

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Even if this had not been a morning session it was an event that would not have warranted opening up this part of the room!

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100 Cricketers – The Fifth XI Opening Batters

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, dealing with the opening batters in my fifth XI and a couple of other bits of business. Also features some og my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. Having spent most of the afternoon getting care arrangements sorted I now have time to attend to this and am delighted to do so. My introduction to this series can be seen here, and the most recent post, in which I introduce the fifth XI in batting order can be seen here. First however there is a bit of business to attend to…

ENGLAND MAKE IT 3-0 IN STYLE

The third and final match of the ODI series between Sri Lanka Women and England Women took place this morning. After a clinical bowling and fielding effort had restricted Sri Lanka to 177 from their 50 overs thbis modest total was made to look positively risible by Amy Jones (76 off 58 balls, her third successive fifty plus score), Tammy Beaumont (63 off 66 balls), Lauren Winfield (29 not out off 28 finishing the chase with a six) and a walk-on for captain Heather Knight (3 not out at the end), the target being chased down with 23.5 of a possible 50 overs unused. The wickets had been shared around, with Cross (2-25 from her full 10 overs – another fine effort in what has been a good recent run for her), Shrubsole (2-30 from nine) and Hartley (2-39 from eight) each picking up two and three run outs being achieved (Sciver, Wilson and Winfield being the successful fielders, the work of the latter two being completed by keeper Jones). A full scorecard can be viewed here and an official report here.

A PARTIAL APOLOGY RE DUANNE OLIVIER

When I mentioned Duanne Olivier while covering “Kolpak” players in a piece devoted to Jonathan Trott I implied based on the fact that he had already played for the full South African side that he did not intend to make his skills available to England. It appears that I was wrong about this (though not about Jacques Rudolph or Kyle Abbott, the other two players I mentioned in that context) and if he really means it about wanting to play for England I hope he succeeds in attaining that ambition. I still stand by what I said overall regarding “Kolpak” players, and especially those who do not intend to make their expertise available to England, but it appears that Olivier has the right intentions whatever one might think of someone who has already played for one country seeking to do so for another, hence this little section.

PUNAM RAUT

Two fine innings against England in the 2017 Womens World Cup (90 in a winning cause in the first match of the tournament, 86 in a losing cause in the final, when she eventually became one of Anya Shrubsole’s six victims) showed how good a player she is. Her approach suggests that had she had the opportunity (like so many of the women she has not) she would do well in test cricket as well. Although Harleen Deol has done little to impress in her brief tenure as opener, Jemimah Rodrigues looks to pose a stronger challenge to Raut’s continued presence in the team (Smriti Mandhana – see this post for more – has one opening berth absolutely nailed down but I expect to hear and read more of Raut before she is finished.

LAURA WOLVAART

At 19 years of age she has already played 41 ODIs and averages 43 in that form of that game, with two centuries (best 149). Her 13 T20I appearances have been less impressive, and is so often the case with the women she has not as yet had the opportunity to show what she can do in the test arena. I for one believe that even more than in the case of most of the others in her current position she would fare well there given the opportunity – the fact the she sppears to positively relish playing long innings points success in that arena. 

With a strong middle order (subject of the next post in this series) to follow the opening pair she would have every opportunity to bat for considerable periods of time. 

I expect plenty more big scores from her in the not too distant future.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual finish to a post…

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100 Cricketers: The 4th XI All-rounders and Introducing the 5th XI

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series – features the all-rounders from my 4th XI and introduces my fifth XI in batting order. Also includes some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. In this post we complete the examination of our fourth XI and present the fifth in batting order. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, the post in which I introduced the 4th XI is here, and finally the most recent post in the series is here.

SOPHIE DEVINE

Her averages in ODIs are the wrong way round (32 with the bat and 37 with the ball), but in T20Is she averages 27.92 with the bat and 16.75 with the ball. She has had no test match experience to date, an issue in women’s cricket that have animadverted on before. I saw her as teenager, bowling fast and batting down the order, in the same series in which I saw a similarly young Ellyse Perry in action. As with Perry I suspected at the time that she would be moving up the order, and although she has not progressed as remarkably as he Aussie counterpart she has indeed moved up the order, and five ODI centuries with a best of 145 show that she has the capacity for big scores. She also makes big hits – in total across the formats in international cricket she has hit 121 sixes. Why have I got her at six and not seven in this batting order? The answer follows…

ADAM GILCHRIST

Although the search for wicketkeepers who could provide serious runs predated Adam Gilchrist he completely transformed the notion of what was possible in a wicketkeeper batting wise. For much of his test career he averaged over 50, and he ended at averaging 47.60. He always refused to move up from number seven, saying that playing there gave him licence to bat the way he did, and since I would want him to bat the way he did I am keeping him at number seven.

England suffered as brutally at his hands as anyone, notably when he scored a century off just 57 balls in Perth in 2006, helping to ensure the Ashes would change hands as rapidly as possible. However, in the previous Ashes series in 2005 England, chiefly through Hoggard and Flintoff, had so restricted him that he did not even manage a half-century. 

INTRODUCING THE 5TH XI

Here in batting order is the fifth XI:

  1. Punam Raut
  2. Laura Wolvaardt
  3. Rahul Dravid
  4. Viv Richards
  5. Daryll Cullinan
  6. +Jonathan Bairstow
  7. *Kapil Dev
  8. Adil Rashid
  9. Harbhajan Singh
  10. Brett Lee
  11. Glenn McGrath

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some of my photographs to finish with:

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The first of four shots taken early yesterday evening which feature a remarkable full moon.
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Full moon and bird.
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First attempted close up of full moon
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ducks outside my window
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Second close-up of full moon
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The first butterfly of 2019 – captured through the window
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The remaining pics, including this one were taken during the two short walks I did this afternoon (each one being a circuit of the grassy area outside my bungalow).

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