A post put together for England ace Tammy Beaumont’s 30th birthday.
Today is England Women’s cricketer Tammy Beaumont’s 30th birthday. I celebrate the day by drawing your attention to some of my previous writings about one of my favourite current cricketers.
A RADICAL SOLUTION TO ENGLAND’S OPENING WOES
This blog’s first mention of Tammy Beaumont was in August 2018 when Cook was nearing retirement and Keaton Jennings was proving not to be up to the task. I had noted that Beaumont had been scoring well for some time in international cricket, and that other than Rory Burns no one was making a really convincing case for themselves. I still think England would have been well advised to try out my suggestion. The post can be viewed here, with the featured image from it reproduced below:
THE OPENING POST OF THE 100 CRICKETERS SERIES
When I produced my ‘100 Cricketers’ series in 2019, I started with a post dedicated to Tammy Beaumont (the series also concluded with a standalone post dedicated to a female cricketer, Claire Taylor). This post can be viewed here. An overview of the entire series with links to all posts can be seen by visiting this page. I reproduce the complete list of those involved below.
TAMMY BEAUMONT IN ALL TIME XIS
During the first lockdown I produced a series of All Time XI themed posts which you can view by clicking here. The first of these to feature Tammy Beaumont was a contest in which an XI of Goliaths took on an XI of Davids. It can be seen here, with the feature image reproduced below.
The final post in my “100 cricketers” series, with updates from the County Cham;pionship and some of my photographs. Also features a complete listing of the 100 cricketers.
Welcome to the final post in my “100 cricketers series“, which completes the century of cricketers with a player who frequently completed centuries. The introductory post to the series can be found here and the most recent post can be found here. Before the big reveal it is time for a…
COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE
The second round of matches are now into their third day of four, and the situations are:
Hampshire v Yorkshire – Yorkshire 554-7D, Hampshire 223-5 Sam Northeastcontinues his fine start to the season, currently being on 85 not out, while he is getting support from Liam Dawson(39 not out). Ben Coad has taken two wickets for Yorkshire. If Hampshire reach 405 and avoid the follow-on this game will definitely be drawn. If they do not then Yorkshire should enforce the follow-on and hope to bowl them out a second time – failure to do so would be to accept a secon successive draw.
Nottinghamshire v Somerset– Nottinghamshire 263 and 111-7, Somerset 403 Nottinghamshire are in a spin, and it it is looking like a second straight victory for Somerset. Jack Leach, Somerset and England’s slow left-armer has taken 5-22 so far, the other two second innings wickets going to Jack Brooks. Will George Bartlett (one of my Five to Follow) get a chance to deploy his off-spin? Lewis Gregory(another of the five) augmented his first innings 6-68 with a quickfire 50 yesterday, but has not added to his wickets tally in this innings. Joe Clarke (the third of the five to be involved in this game) suffered a second failure, being out for 2 again.
Kent v Warwickshire – Kent 504-9 declared, Warwickshire 262-7 There are two results on the cards – a Kent win if they get Warwickshire out before the total reaches 355 (follow-on avoidance target) and enforce the follow-on and bowl them out a second time, or a draw if Warwickshire get to or beyond 355. Dominic Sibley, opneing the innings, is 128 not out, and Warwickshire’s hopes of escape rest largely on his shoulders. Matt Milnes has three wickets and Harry Podmore and Darren ‘Benjamin Button’ Stevens(he is now 43 years old) have two each.
Durham v Sussex– Durham 224 and 159-9, Sussex 202 A nailbiter in the making – Durham have fought back somewhat from 106-7 in their second kinnings. Liam Trevaskis could not follow up on his first innings 50, collecting a blob this time. This means that of my Five to Follow only Philip Salt, who will be batting before too long remains to contribute. David Wiese has five wickets for Sussex.
STOP PRESS! Somerset have made it two from two, beating Nottinghamshire by an innings and 14. Jack Leach took 6-36 and Jack Brooks 4-22, as Nottinghamshire sank for 126. This means two wins out of two as they go into a month’s break in the championship for a one-day tournament. Somerset are looking very strong contenders, although they will need their top order to score a few runs somewhere along the way. This effort in his first bowling spell of the new season has surely confirmed Leach’s place in the England squad. Now back to the regular updates…
Glamorgan v Northamptonshire – Glamorgan 570-8 declared, Northamptonshire 403-3 This one is being capsized by an overload of runs. Vasconcelos (South African) and Newton shared a triple century opening stand for Northamptonshire, the former making 184. The bowlers have had no chance on this pitch, so I will not quote a\ny figures.
Leicestershire v Worcestershire – Worcestershire 553-6 declared, Leicestershire 302 and 10-1 (following on) Another one that looks like the pitch is too favourable for batting for its own or the game’s good. Worcestershire have given themselves a chance by bowling Leicestershire out and enforcing the follow-on. Tongue (a 21 year old seamer who came into this match with a bowling average of 24) took 4-46 in the first Leicestershire innings, and was backed up by Barnard(a 23 year old who came into this match averaging 28 with both bat and ball) with 3-40.
Middlesex v Lancashire – Middlesex 265, Lancashire 333-4 Yesterday Haseeb Hameed claimed headlines with his 117 (196 balls, 298 minutes), today’s play has been disrupted by the weather. He had had two very quiet years prior to this season and I reckon he needs more than one century to earn a recall to the England side. Jones is currently 82 not out and Vilas 50 not out. If the weather does not win this one then Lancashire will.
Now we are ready for the…
All I have told you about the player who completes the century is that it is somebody who often did just that. So who is it? It is…
15 Test matches yielded her 1,030 runs in 27 innings, with four centuries (just better than one per seven innings) and an average of 41.20, highest score 177. 126 ODIs produced 4,101 runs at 40.20 with eight centuries and a best of 156 not out. She was also a history maker, being the first English female cricketer to have a professional contract (yes, this distinction was achieved by someone born as late as 1975!). Claire Taylor’s successes blazed a trail for others to follow, and all the top England Women now have professional contracts, as opposed to having to combine playing at the top level with earning a living doing something else, which used to be the case. Her great record would earn her a place of honour in any case, but her historic importance makes the case unassailable.
A LOOK BACK ON THE SERIES
No two people attempting a project like this would come up with the same answers, and I expect that all the cricket fans among my readers have people in mind who I have omitted and they would have selected. The problem with these exercises is the embarrassment of riches that one faces – I could have selected many more than 100. A number of young players have stood up to be counted in the early stages of this year’s County Championship.
FOLLOWING ON FROM THIS SERIES
I have a few ideas for following on from this series, which I shall be thinking about while this round of Championship matches heads to its conclusion. I will finish this part of the post by presenting for the first time the whole 100 names in one place:
The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, with updates from the County Championship, some twitter finds and some of my photographs.
Welcome to the latest in my “100 cricketers series“, finshing the ninth XI by looking at three woman cricketers who feature in it. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the ninth XI is here and the most recent post in the series is here. Now before we get into the main meat of the post it is time for a…
COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE
We are into day 2 of the second round of county championship matches, and the current situations are as follows:
Nottinghamshire v Somerset – Nottinghamshire 263, Somerset 221-3 Following Lewis Gregory’s six wickets yesterday (he is one of my Five to Follow) the Somerset innings began with a sense of deja vu as the top three in their order were despatched for 10 runs reach, but George Bartlett(another of my Five to Follow, 91 not out) and Tom Abell (82 not out) have put together a fine partnership which has their team well on top. Still, Somerset will need runs from their top order somewhere along the line.
Surrey v Essex – Surrey 395, Essex 65-2 A patient effort from Ryan Patel (100 not out while the score rose from 75-1 to the eventual 395 all out was the sheet anchor of the Surrey effort. Ben Foakes (69) and Will Jacks(88) made significant contributions in more aggressive fashion. Both Essex openers are back in the hutch already, with the wickets going to Morne Morkel and Tom Curran.
Warwickshire v Kent – Kent 504-9declared, Kent 1-0 Kent are clearly having the better of the battle of the newly promoted sides, with Zak Crawleymaking a ton yesterday, and wicketkeeper Ollie Robinsongoing on to 143 today. We wait to see how the Kent bowlers fare.
Durham v Sussex – Durham 224, Sussex 84-7 Durham owed much to the shot in the dark among my Five to Follow, Liam Trevaskis, who battled his way to 54 for their modest looking total. Chris Rushworth and potential England man James Weighell (48 first class wickets prior to this magtch at 28 a piece) each have three wickets to their credit in the Sussex innings, as they are collapsing in a heap, sadly including a cheap dismissal for Philip Salt, another of my Five to Follow. Of course the trouble with Sussex faring so poorly with the bat is that Trevaskis has not yet been givena chance to deploy his left-arm spin.
Gloucestershire v Derbyshire – Derbyshire 291, Gloucestershire 81-1 Intriguingly poised. The Derbyshire wickets were shared around, and nobody made a huge score for them. Braceyat no 3 for Gloucestershire is 41 not out, and Dent has 25 not out. Sadly for those with a sense of history Miles Hammondat the top of the Gloucestershire order does not appear to be living up to his great namesake and fellow Gloucestershire batter of yesteryear, Wally – he was out cheaply.
Glamorgan v Northamptonshire – Glamorgan 570-8 declared, Northamptonshire 50-0 This one looks like being capsized by an overload of runs. Labuschagne, Will Root and 2o year-old Kiran Carlson all made centuries for Glamorgan, Carlson’s 111 coming off 126 balls. The Northamptonshire reply has been untroubled thus far, and some of the scoring thus far suggests that the playing condition allowing the visiting side to avoid the toss if they want to bowl first is flawed – it is leading to counties producing ultra-flat pitches so that visitors cannot gain an advantage from bowling first.
Worcestershire v Leicestershire – Worcestershire 553-6 declared, Leicestershire 16-0 Another one where the bowlers have been reduced to mere serfs, existing merely for the batters convenience. Daryl Mitchell and Hamish Rutherford had centuries yesterday, and wicketkeeper Ben Coxcompleted the third ton of the Worcestershire innings today. In the circumstances, although he like all the others took some tap, Ben Mike’s 2-119 from 23.5 overs was a creditable effort.
Middlesex v Lancashire – Middlesex 265, Lancashire 126-1 Two men at opposite ends of the experience spectrum, Tom Bailey (youngster, 5-67- is it possible that over 50 years on from the retirement of the original there will again be a fast-medium bowler called T E Bailey playing for England?) and Jimmy Anderson(3-41, veteran) took most of the Middlesex wickets. Eskinazi (75) and Gubbins (55) made the only significant batting contributions for Middlesex. Jennings made 52 for Lancashire (shoiuld not be sufficient to keep his England place) while Haseeb Hameed has followed his double hundred against a load of students last week by getting to 70 not out far in this match. James Harris has the one wicket to fall.
Further update from the Nottinghamshire v Somerset game – Abell and Bartlett both completed centuries, Abell has fallen for 101, but Bartlett (one of my Five to Follow, remember) is still there on 117 not out, and Somerset with six first innings wickets standing are already 16 in credit at 279-4. Now it is time for the main business of the post, starting with…
From news of one batter who bowls offspin on the side to another, 27 year-old Stoke on Trent native Danielle Wyatt. Her princiapl successes have come in T20Is, in which format she has twic reached three figures, with a best of 124, but of late she has begun translating that form to ODIs to as well, with a few useful efforts in India and Sri Lanka. Her 46 wickets at 15.34 in T20Is, with a best of 4-11 show that her offspin is not entirely to be disregarded (she would be sixth bowler in this XI). I expect to see more big performances from her in the next year or so.
The 21 year-old off-spinning all-rounder has recently been batting up the order for the Sydney Sixers in the Women’s Big Bash League, while her bowling has been consistently effective. Being so young she is still definitely improving, and it is on future promise that she has really been selected in this XI.
The 27 year-old leggie is the smallest player in my 100, and makes use of her lack of inches to release the ball upwards, sending it in an arc that takes it out of the batter;s eyeline for much of its flight. She also bowls with extreme lack of pace (only about 60kph – 37mph) meaning that batters have to supply all the impetus themselves. As so often with the women she has not had sufficient opportunity to show her skill in test cricket, but she has 63 ODI wickets at 21.09 and 74 T20I wickets at 14.77, which are testament to the effectiveness of her methods. She has yet to achieve a five-for but has a best of 4-13 and a T20I best of 4-9. For a historic comparison involving dimunitive leggies I give you Alfred Percy “Tich” Freeman, the 5’2″ Catford born leggie, whose 592 first class appearances brought him 3,776 wickets at 18.42 (second to Wilfred Rhodes in the all-time list, and the Yorkshireman played over 1,000 first class games), including all ten in an innings three times (a record), and in 1928 a barely believeable 304 wickets in the season (again an all time record).
THE FUTURE AND A GUESSING GAME
I have one more post to do to complete this series, and will then create a page from which all posts in the series can be accessed. That post will feature the 100th cricketer in my list, and with the clue that it is somebody who was no stranger to completing hundreds I invite readers to attempt to guess who it is.
LINKS AND PICTURES
Before my usual sign-off I have some links to share…
A great twitter picture based on Branson daring to complain about the fact that Virgin/Stagecoach have been barred from bidding for rail franchises, courtesy of Michael (@PrinceJasper):
The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring a Nepalese legspinner, some thoughts on the elevation of minor cricketing nations and when it is warranted, some stuff about the county championship, some links and pictures relating to the photographing a black hole and some of my own pictures.
Welcome to the latest in my “100 cricketers” series. Today we deal with the most minor cricketing nation to be represented in my list and I have some extras features. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the ninth XI here and the most recent post here. Before getting to the main meat of the post it is time for a…
LOOK AT THE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP
A full programme of county championship matches got underway today. So far this is what is happening:
Nottinghamshire v Somerset – Nottinghamshire 188-6
Somerset have made a strong start with the ball. Chris Nash scored 58 for Nottinghamshire with the bat but no one else has made a significant score thus far. Lewis Gregory, one of my “Five to Follow” (see my previous post) has four of the wickets to fall, including getting Joe Clarke, also in that list, cheaply. George Bartlett’s offspin has not been called on yet (he is also on that list), but his batting will surely figure later in the game even he does not get used as a bowler.
Surrey v Essex – Surrey 168-3 Surrey have been helped to make a good start in this match by some ordinary Essex fielding (two chances have been shelled, one of which is now looking very costly). Openers Burns and Stoneman both got in but failed to go on, Ben Foakes is 60 not out (having beem dropped on 0) and Ryan Patel 20 not out. Peter Siddle who may well be involved for Australia in The Ashes later this summer has two wickets.
Kent v Warwickshire– Kent 169-2 Kent are batting well in this one. Dickson and Aussie Matt Renshawhave both got themselves in and got out in the 30s, while opener Zak Crawley is 89 not out. The wickets have gone to medium pacer Craig Milesand Ryan Sidebottom, an Australian unrelated to the left-arm quick of the same name who played for Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.
Durham v Sussex – Durham 93-4 Durham are struggling again, which given their abysmal choice of captain can only be regarded as good news. He is yet to be involved in the action (although his first innings should not be delayed too long) but Liam Trevaskis, a fourth person from my “Five to Follow” is in the Durham team. “Scameron“ Bancroft as I now call him is 33 not out, and currently batting in partnership wioth wicketkeeper Ned Eckersley. Ollie Robinson is staking an early claim for selectorial attention with three more wickets to add to those he took last week (he came into this match with 171 first class wickets at 23.52).
Worcestershire v Leicestershire – Worcestershire 203-2
Worcetsershire are going well against Leicestershire who got away to a winning start in their first match. Veteran opener Daryl Mitchell has just reached a century (now 101 not out), and Hamish Rutherford (New Zealand, nephew of former Kiwi captain Ken Rutherford) is 62 not out. Ben Mike, a 20 year old medium pacer who came into this match with 19 wkickets from four first class appearances at an average of 20.26, has one of the wickets. The other has been taken by Will Davis, a 23 year old medium pacer who pays just over 30 a piece for his first class wickets.
Now for the main business of the post starting with…
SOME THOUGHTS ON THE ELEVATION OF COUNTRIES TO TEST STATUS
Leaving aside the two original contenders, England and Australia, every country elevated to test status (this has not yet happened for Nepal, the feature country of this post, but one has to consider future possibilities) has started slowly at that level. In their early years in the late 19th and earlyy 20th centuries South Africa were regularly hammered by both England and Australia, twice being bowled out for 30 in test matches. The West Indies did not make any series progress as a test nation until the 1950s although they were promoted to the top table in 1928. New Zealand, India and Pakistan all had to wait until the 1970s to be taken seriously. Sri Lanka, elevated in the early 1980s took until the latter 1990s to be gain serious respect. Internal politics destroyed any chance Zimbabwe had of success at the top table, while Bangladesh’s elevation was badly mishandled, and their position is routinely questioned. Afghanistan won their second ever test match, the most successful start by a test-playing nation since 1877, when Australia and England each one match. Ireland were defeated but not disgraced in that game, and we will see how they fare against England in their next test match, although they were elevated about five years too late for the move to work to best effect.
I am in favour of new countries being elevated when they are actually ready, and think that Afghanistan’s elevation has been a success. I do not think Nepal are yet ready, on the strength of one splendid cricketer, for elevation, but I hope to see it happen eventually, assuming they continue to make progress. It is now time to look at that one fine player they already have…
He is an 18 year-old legspinner and has yet to play any long-form cricket. His records for the cricket he has played are as follows:
6 ODIs, 15 wickets at 14.80 (4-24 best) , 4o runs at 10.00, 5 T20Is, 5 wickets at 24.40, 6 runs, with as yet no average, 27 List A games, 57 wickets at 17.08 (5-20 best), 40 T20 games, 50 wickets at 20.00 (best 4-10). A lot of his T20s have been played in the IPL among the big names.
If any county who do not have a legspinner of their own are bold enough to sign him as an overseas player I will applaud them for their courage – I believe that given the opportunity he would fare well in the longer game, as well in the limited overs stuff where he has already shown himself to be a fine performer. One of the reasons why Bangladesh found test cricket such a struggle when they were elevated is that their players started playing that form of the game with no background in long form cricket, and one should learn from mistakes – unless and until some Nepalese cricketers have experience of long form cricket they should not be elevated.
If Nepal do get elevated to test status both they and their star leg-spinner Lamichhane will have my good wishes, but unless their players have some long form experience before that happens I do not believe that it can be successful.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND LINKS
I have several things to share before we come to my usual sign off, starting with some stuff about the first image of a Black Hole and links to related articles:
Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun pic.twitter.com/AymXilKhKe
To lead into today’s photos I revisit yesterday’s featured image:
I have done some digging of my own to locate the species and there are two possibilities – it is either a Small White or a Wood White (see pictures from butterfly-conservation.organd decide for yourselves which looks closer):
Now for today’s pictures…
UPDATES ON THE “FIVE TO FOLLOW”
Since I wrote about what was happening in the County Championship matches, the following has happened in games involving my “Five to Follow”:
Nottinghamshire v Somerset – Nottinghamshire 263 all out
Three of the five are playing in this match. Joe Clarke failed with the bat this time around, but Lewis Gregory took 5-68. George Bartlett’s offspin was unsurprisingly not utilised, but he will bat at some stage.
Durham v Sussex – Durham 122-5
The other two of my “Five to Follow” are involved in this match. Liam Trevaskis, the outsider of the bunch, is currently batting with Ned Eckersley, more good news for those opposed to Durham’s choice of captain being that that unworthy has been sent on his way for 33, and is on 9 not out. Philip Salt, the other in my “Five to Follow” has yet to be involved, but may well be in action with the bat before the end of today, and I would be surprised if tomorrow morning does not see him at the crease.
The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring the fast bowlers from the ninth XI, some thoughts on the Wisden Five Cricketers of the Year and of course some of my photographs.
Welcome to the latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring the fast bowlers from the ninth XI. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post which introduces the ninth XI can be found here and the most recent post in the series is here. Before getting to the main meat of the post today saw the announcement of…
THE FIVE CRICKETERS OF THE YEAR
No one can feature in this list more than once, which has to be borne in mind when considering those who got the nod this year, revealed in this tweet from Test Match Special:
Rory Burns scored huge numbers of runs for Surrey in a season that saw that county win the championship, Sam Curran burst on the scene for England with a cracking series against India, Jos Buttler has been superb in white ball cricket and has has his momets in test matches and the only surprise about Virat Kohli is that he has not already had the honour. Tammy Beaumont (see this post for more about her) is also thoroughly deserving, having had a fine year at the top of the order for the England Women. All in all therefore I think these are good selections and that Wisden has done itself proud. Now on to the main business of this post, those…
This XI has the most unorthodox bowling attack of the nine, featuring only two front line quick bowlers and three wrist spinners. However, my three wrist spinners are all quite different in style and approach, and the two quicks bowl with different hands. We will start with the right-armer…
His career was wrecked by injuries, but nevertheless 43 test matches saw him take 161 wickets at 24.27. When he first emerged on the scene it seemed likely that he would keep the great West Indian tradition of fast bowling going into another generation, but his injury problems prevented that from happening. After his playing days finished he became one of the better commentators on the game.
73 test matches brought him 313 wickets at 28.40 and 2,065 runs at 22.20 but these figures tell only part of the story because there were at least two Mitchell Johnsons. In the 2009 Ashes in England, and with the exception of Perth in the 2010-11 Ashes down under he was an embarrassment, leaking runs at 4.5 an over and rarely looking threatening. At Sydney walking out to play his final innings of that series he got what must be the most hostile reception anyone has ever had from what was supposedly a home crowd (in truth most of the Aussies had deserted by then, leaving the Barmy Armyto enjoy their final triumph, so it was principally an English crowd).
In the 2013-14 Ashes, having missed the 2013 series which England won 3-0, he spearheaded 5-0 whitewas, capturing 37 wickets as he found accuracy to go with his huge pace. He had the lower half of the England order feather-legged in that series, exemplified by the end of the final England innings of the series when Kevin Pietersen blocked out an over of his in a way that said as clearly as if he had uttered the words “don’t worry about this guy, I will deal with him” and two wickets were promptly surrendered to the workaday spinner bowling at the other end.
I saw him in the Australia v West Indies match at Adelaide that I have mentioned previously on this blog, and he was outdone for sheer pace on that occasion by Kemar Roach of the West Indies, though he definitely looked more impressive than either Peter Siddle or Doug Bollinger.
Mitchell Johnson was a cricketer of extremes, and when the force was with him he achieved things to make him famous for as long as the game of cricket is played and to earn him his place in one of my XIs.
The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring two county stalwarts who I considewr unlucky not have had higher honours, Tony Cottey and Colin Metson. Also features some thoughts on the first round of county championship matches of 2019 including a “Five to Follow” feature that I shall be revisiting.
Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series. In the spotlight today are two of my most controversial selections. Before getting into the main meat of the “100 cricketers” part of the post I am going to look back briefly at the first round of County Championship matches in the 2019 season. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the ninth XI hereand the most recent post in the series here.
COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND ONE RETROSPECTIVE
Six matches were played, four had definite reults and two were drawn (see yesterday’s post for more details). Here I am going to pick out what I consider points of interest from each game and pick out five players who I shall be looking out for through the season.
Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire – Nottinghamshire 408 and 329-5 declared, Yorkshire 291 and 277-2, match drawn The second innings batting efforts of Root and Ballance for Yorkshire notwithstanding this match was dominated by the performance of Nottinghamshire’s Joe Clarke (112 and 97 not out). In the end the pitch won this contest comfortably, but Nottinghamshire were right to give themselves a whole day to attempt to bowl Yorkshire out a second time, even though Clarke was close to his second hundred of the match – the team counts for more than the individual. Neither of these sides impressed me overall, and with Joe Clarke clearly a probably for England selection in the near future Nottinghamshire in particular are likely to find this season a long, tough one.
Somerset v Kent– Somerset 171 and 243 beat Kent 209 and 131 by 74 runs Listening to the commentary on the closing stages of this match was a privelege and pleasure – the tension was palpable as Somerset pushed for victory and Kent did their best to resist. The first day was lost to the weather, and Kent had the better of both the next two days. 21 year old George Bartlett, helped by veteran Jack Brooks in a substantial last wicket stand gave Somerset something to defend on the final morning, and Lewis Gregory did most of the rest. It is great news for Somerset that they are off to a winning start, and the fact that they have never won the champtionship inclines me as a natural supporter of the underdog to root for them somewhat, but they will need runs from the top order if they are to maintain their good start – the middle and lower order cannot rescue you every time. Kent seem likely to struggle – facing a target of 206 in this match they responded to being under serious pressure for the first time in the contest by slumping to 48-6 from which position it was only a matter of time.
Hampshire v Essex – Hampshire 525-8 declared beat Essex 164 and 274 by an innings and 88 runs.
An injury prevented Adam Wheater from batting in either innings for Essex, but this cannot be dressed up as anything other than a thorough thrashing for them. Sam Northeast had the star performance of the game with 169 in the Hampshire innings. West Indian Fidel Edwards and South African Kolpak player Kyle Abbottbowled well for Hampshire. Hampshire seem likely to fare well, while Essex along with Nottinghamshire and Kent seem booked for a struggle to avoid relegation.
Sussex v Leicestershire – Leicestershire 252 and 232-3 beat Sussex 173 and 308 by 7 wickets
Full credit to Leicestershire for what was in the end a comfortable win. The feature performance of the game came from young Sussex opener Philip Salt who made 80 in his team’s second innings. Neither of these teams showed enough for me to venture predictions regarding their promotion chances, although Leicestershire having got away to a winning start have more to be happy about than Sussex.
Northamptonshire v Middlesex– Northants 445 and 10-0, Middlesex 271 and 317-4 declared – match drawn
Northants did the right thing enforcing the follow-on and attempting to squeeze out a victory, but Middlesex got themselves out of trouble, largely thanks to their captain Dawid Malan (160 not out). All the evidence from this match suggests that these sides have batting aplenty but lack strength in bowling, and that is likely to mean a tough season – by and large to win a first class match you need to capture 20 wickets.
Derbyshire v Durham – Derbyshire 197 and 334 beat Durham 171 and 235 by 125 runs. A comfortable win for Derbyshire, and good news for those of us (including me) who think that Durham’s decision to give the captaincy to Cameron Bancroft of ‘sandpapergate’ infamy was an appalling one. Until and unless Durham repent and find someone else to captain I for one will be rooting for their opponents every time. I expect as well as hope that this will be a difficult season for Durham, while Derbyshire may yet do well. Now it is time for…
FIVE TO FOLLOW
Most of my five nominations are speculative in nature, in some cases very speculative, and I go through them from least to most speculative.
Joe Clarke (Nottinghamshire) – I will be very surprised if he is not an England player before the end of this season. At the moment his record stands at 4,174 first class runs at 40.92, with 14 centuries and that 97 not out in the second innings in 112 visits to the crease, and he is still only 22. He was obviously a class apart from any of his team mates in the match against Yorkshire.
Lewis Gregory (Somerset) – There will soon be vacancies for pace bowlers in the England team, and the 26 year-old has 217 first-class wickets at 27.31 from his 75 matches, with a best of 6-47. He is also not the worst lower order batter, with an average of 20.57. After his team dug themselves out of a big hole against Kent he bowled thgem to victory with 5-18.
Philip Salt(Sussex) – The 22 year-old had a couple of headline making innings last year, and has 80 against Leicestershire in the first match of this season may well have impressed some in high places. I would like to see him score a few more centuries before he is seriously considered, but England do have problems at the top of their order at the moment, which can only be good news for a youngster who is scoring runs up top at present. I do not expect him feature at international level this season, but a really strong showing might earn him a winter tour spot, and would be surprised if he does not play for England somewhere along the line.
George Bartlett (Somerset) – He holds the record innings score for an England under 19 player abroad with 179. He is now 21, and started this season in a match that he had not expected to be playing in by scoring a crucial 63 to help give his side something to bowl at, and it proved to be enough. His off-spin has hardly been used in first-class cricket, but he may possibly develop it in time. He needs an extended run in the first team and some big scores to be seriously considered for England, but the way he responded to his team being put under severe pressure in the match against Kent augurs well for the future – he clearly has the right temperament.
Liam Trevaskis(Durham) – This one is a complete flyer on my part, picked with eyes focussed fully on the future. The 19 year old slow left-armer played just his second first class match against Derbyshire, had match figures of 1-59 and contributed 42 runs for once out in a losing cause. April is not usually a kind month to spinners of any kind, so even one wicket represents an achievement, and his second innings 27 not out, when most of his team mates surrendered tamely showed character as well. I will be in the sort of position Neville Cardusfound himself in about Victor Trumper – Cardus used to pray that Trumper would score a century in an Australian total of 137 all out! I fo not pray being an atheist, but will be hoping that Trevaskis gets among the wickets and runs but that his team Durham get beaten.
Now on to the “100 cricketers” part of this post, starting with…
277 first class appearances brought him 14,567 runs at 36.69, with 31 centuries and a best score of 203. I saw him live when Glamorgan took on Somerset at the St Helens Ground in Swansea in 1995 (for the record I was sitting at the town end of the ground, looking straight down the wicket towards to sea). Glamorgan were three down for about 80 when he came out to bat, and could have found themselves in trouble on what was a decent pitch. Cottey, with his team needing runs, reached a century in almost exactly three hours, being out for 115 in just under 200 minutes. It was a superb innings, and the only chance he offered was the one that was finally taken to end it. Glamorgan reached just over 300. Somerset headed this, but not by a signifcant amount, as Andy Hayhurst snailed his way to 96 in almost six hours on the second day, and the second top score came from Peter Bowler (73), not exactly known for entertainment value either. Somerset paid for their slow scoring on day 2, when Robert Croft spun through them in their second innings on day 4 (6-78 in the innings). The performance that made it all possible for Glamorgan though was Cottey’s on the first day when he took the match by the scruff of the neck with that innings – from that time on Glamorgan were right in the game.
Given some of the people who did get selected for England in the 1990s and given England’s record at that time (which varied between poor and downright dreadful depending on the year) I feel that Tony Cottey, a battler who tended to score his runs, as on the occasion I have mentioned, when they were most needed, was unlucky to miss out, and I had no hesitation in naming him in my 100 cricketers.
232 first class matches yielded him 4,,032 runs at 17.43 with a best score of 96 and saw him take 561 catches and effect 51 stumpings. He was at his best just as selectors were starting to look first and foremost and what keepers did with the bat and put their keeping skills in second place. Although he was undeniably a modest practitioner with the bat Metson did tend to score such runs as he made when they were most needed (earlier in the 1995 season mentioned above it was he, together with left-arm slow bowler Neil Kendrick, who rescued Glamorgan from 140-8 on a green top against Sussex, getting them up to 212, which was sufficient for a first innings lead, although the game ended up a draw due to the weather). As a keeper he was excellent, making very few if any mistakes. Most of the wicketkeepers I have named in the course of this series of posts have been genuinely front line batters as well, but I wanted to feature a specialist keeper as well, and my thoughts turned naturally to the perenially unlucky Colin Metson, who saw a succession of inferior practitioners selected on the basis of supposed batting skills that most of them failed to deliver on at the highest level.
I have three more posts lined up for ninth XI and a stand alone post to complete the hundred (have a guess if you dare at who will feature in that one), in which I will also publish the entire list in one place – that last post will tie the whole series together. I will then have to decide on a new project for this blog to replace the “100 cricketers” series. The “Five to Follow” named in this post will feature again through the cricket season as I look at their performances. That leaves me one more thing to complete this post…
Yes, we are at the end of another post, and for those who have made it all the way, here is my usual sign off…
The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring updates from the County Championship and of course some of my photographs.
Welcome to the latest piece in my “100 cricketers” series, in which we look at the three big name batters from the ninth XI. The introductory post to the series can be found here, and the most recent post in which the ninth XI is introduced is here. Before getting to the main body of the piece, it is time for a…
COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE
Two of the six county championship matches have been settled and a third is on the cusp of producing a result.
Sussex v Leicestershire – Leics 232 and 252-3 beat Sussex 212 and 308 by seven wickets Paul Horton, Hasan Azadand veteran Aussie Mark Cosgroveall made runs as Leicesterhsire ended up making light work of what had looked like being a fairly tough run chase. The feature of this match was the 80 made by Philip Salt in the Sussex second innings – if he can go on to a few centuries in the near future the England selectors may just take note.
Hampshire v Essex – Hamsphire 525-8 declared beat Essex 164 and 274 by an innings and 87 runs. A century by veteran Ravi Bopara kept this game going longer than some expected, but Hampshire had been in control most of the way, and once they got through Bopara the rest came quickly, with Adam Wheater absent hurt for the second time for the match. South African Kolpak signing Kyle Abbott took five wickets for Hampshire, to back Fidel Edwards who had done likewise in the first Essex innings.
Derbyshire v Durham – Derbyshire 197 and 334, Durham 171 and 207-8
Many will be glad that Durham seem to be headed for defeat in their first match after they chose to award the captaincy of their side to a proven cheat in Cameron Bancroft.
Somerset v Kent– Somerset 171 and 243 beat Kent 209 and 131 by 74 runs
This result is just in, and it did not look likely this morning, but a last wicket stand between 21 year-old George Bartlett(63) andJack Brooks (35) gave Somerset something to bowl, Lewis Gregoryripped out three quick wickets before lunch (he went on to finish with 5-18) and Kent never looked like getting to the target. This match turned on the morning session of today, with Kent having had the better of the previous play by far. I commented on this post on Toby’s Sporting Views that if Somerset could eke out a further 50 this morning they would give themselves a chance, they actually managed 70, and ended up winning comfortably.
Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire– Nottinghamshire 408 and 329-5D, Yorkshire 291 and 181-2
This one looks set to end in a draw (although a dramatic Yorkshire collapse remains possible). Nottinghamshire’s overnight declaration with Joe Clarke97 not out, following his first innings 112 provided an early talking point. My view, expressed on this site yesterday and on twitter this morning is that Notts were right to give themselves a full day in which to bowl the Yorkies out a second time – the needs of the team have to come first. Joe Rootis currently 87 not out for Yorkshire and Gary Ballance is 52 not out.
Northamptonshire v Middlesex – Northants 445, Middlesex 271 and 294-4
This one looks like petering out as well. Full credit to Middlesex captain Dawid Malan who is 151 not out in their second innings, and would appear to have saved his side.
It is now time for the main part of this post, starting with…
112 and 83 on test debut, centuries on his debuts against two further countries (and he nearly made four), a Compton-Miller Medal winning performance in the 2009 Ashes and captaining England to Ashes success down under in 2010-11. Exactly 100 test match appearances brought him 7,037 test runs at 40.91.
77 test matches yielded him 5,444 runs at 45.36, with a highest score of 299, made against Sri Lanka when New Zealand were initially in a lot of trouble. He was one of the finest batters ever to come out of New Zealand, although the likes of Stewart Dempster (average 65.72 in his very brief test career), Bert Sutcliffe (holder of the two highest first class scores by New Zealanders – 385 and 355, the 385 coming out of an innings total of 500, while his opponents, Canterbury, managed 382 off the bat in their two innings combined) and Glenn Turner (the only Kiwi to have scored 100 first class hundreds) would all have their advocates. His first test century came against England in 1983-4 and helped to save his side after they had been over 200 adrift on first innings.
I mentioned in my county championship update section that Derbyshire were closing on victory over Durham. They have now completed the job, the result being:
Derbyshire 197 and 334 beat Durham 171 and 235 by 125 runs Openers Harte and Lees made half centuries, but apart from them only Burnham (32) and Trevaskis, the 19 year-old slow left-armer (27 not out) who I have marked as one to watch offered any significant resistance as the wickets were shared round.
The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring the bowlers from the eighth XI and introducing the ninth XI in batting order. Also contains an important link and some photograp;hs.
Welcome to the latest in my “100 cricketers” series. This post features the bowlers from my eighth XI and introduces the ninth XI in batting order. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post in which I Introduce the eighth XI is here and the most recent post in the series is here. Before I get to the main meat of my post it is time for a quick…
COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE
There has been play in all matches today, and the current situations as I type are:
Hampshire v Essex – Hampshire 525-8 declared, Essex 164 and 15-1
Only bad weather (of which there has been some in this game) can now deny Hampshire, especially given that Adam Wheater did not bat in the Essex first dig, and woiuld presumably only do so in the second if there is a serious chance to save the match. Sir Alastair Cook made exactly 50 in the Essex first innings, but had little support. Nick Browne has already had his second failure of the match, and Cook and Tom Westley are currently batting together. West Indian quick Fidel Edwards picked up a five-wicket haul in the Essex first innings.
Somerset v Kent – Somerset 171 and 53-4, Kent 209 After a poor batting effort yesterday Somerset needed to bowl Kent out quickly today, and did a fairly decent job of doing so, Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton(who already has some England experience) each taking three wickets. However, they are struggling once again with the bat, with Tom Abell once again digging in but finding little support. Somerset somehow need to conjure up another 200 runs from somewhere to give themselves a serious chance.
Derbyshire v Durham – Derbyshire 197 and 308-8, Durham 171
Derbyshire have taken control of this one, with wicketkeeper-batter Hosein contributing his second fifty of the match, and Tom Lace scoring 62 as well. Matt Critchley, a bits and pieces player who would appear from his record to not be quite good enough in either department made 51. A 19 year old slow left arm orthodox bowler, Liam Trevaskis, has taken one of the wickets – and April is not usually a great month for slow bowlers, so I am going to take a punt and say “watch this space”.
Northamptonshire v Middlesex – Northamptonshire 445, Middlesex 271 and 45-2 My congratulations to Northamptonshire on enforcing the follow-on even though they only just had the requisite lead – many teams would have taken the cowards option of batting again, but as far I am concerned going for the quick kill is the right thing to do. They may yet be baulked by the weather, which his halted this game for the moment. Nathan Buck took five wickets in the first Middlesex innings, and also has both the second innings wicket to fall so far. James Harriswith 61 not out was the only Middlesex batter to make a major contribution.
Sussex v Leicestershire – Sussex 173 and 308, Leicestershire 252 and 99-1 If the rain eases off (play is currently suspended there as well) it would seem that Leicestershire have a fairly straightforward route to victory – 131 with nine wickets in hand should not be too difficult. In the second Sussex innings Tom Taylor picked up four wickets, giving him ten in the match, while Colin Ackerman, a South African who is mainly a batter picked up five. Paul Horton has 53 not out for Leicestershire.
Now to the main business of the post, starting with…
THE FAST BOWLERS
In addition to Richard Hadlee, featured in my previous post in this series I have two other quicks, and of those I see one as third seamer, and one sharing the new ball with Hadlee. I will start with Hadlee’s new ball partner…
The only bowler to have taken 40 or more wickets in a test series on two separate occasions (both in England, 42 in 1981 in a losing cause and 41 in 1989 in a winning one). He is also unique in my 100 cricketers, in being the only one of my selections to have been on a rebel tour to South Africa. In general, since I reckon that players who participated in such tours should have been banned for life I have refused to include them, but Alderman would have been worth a pick purely for his 1981 efforts, so I have made am exception for him. He took a longish run-up, but was no more than medium-fast in pace. However, he was exceedingly accurate, and in English conditions he swung it significantly. Had he been available for the 1985 Ashes (he was banned for his South African excursion) it is likely that Shane Warne would not have been the first take 100 test wickets in a country other than his own, and that series would almost certainly have been much closer than it was.
The third seamer in this XI, he is second in the all-time list of England test wicket takers behind James Anderson. He, Alderman and Hadlee are three different types of pace bowler, which gives this XIs attack lots of variety, especially when one factors in…
THE SLOW BOWLERS
I have two of these in the XI, plus Chanderpaul’s occasional legspin (see this post for more details). I will start with the offspinner…
255 test wickets at 29.96 (he also averaged 22 with the bat by the way) from 60 matches is a fine record. Even on occasions when he did not take many wickets, such as Australia 2010-11, he bowled economically – and his 15 wickets at 39.80 in that series looks magnificent when put alongside the truly beastly combined analysis of 5-666 recorded in the same series by Australia’s spinners. Among England slow bowlers only Derek Underwood took more test wickets. Swann was a genuine spinner who gave the ball a real rip. We finish our eighth XI with a slow left-armer…
She has recently turned 24, and her international experience is limited to eight T20Is, but her record in those stands at 11 wickets at 15.09 a piece, with a best of 3-18. England Women are currently very well stocked with young spin bowlers (there are at least four aged 24 or younger who have shown signs of serious skill), but she should continue to get opportunities, and is definitely young enough to still be improving.
I will be tackling this XI in a slightly different way from they way I have tackled previous XIs due to the nature of some of my picks. Also shrewd observers will have noted that 9 x 11 = 99, and I have called this series “100 cricketers”. I am not prone to basic mathematical howlers, and I will be finishing the series with a stand alone post about a cricketer who completed quite a few hundreds in their playing days – if you fancy a guessing game see if you can identify the mystery 100th player.
The latest addition to my “100 cricketers” series, featuring the all-rounders in my eighth XI. Also includes some of my photographs.
Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series, with the spotlight on the allrounders from the eighth XI. The introductory post to the whole series can be seen here, the post in which I introduce the eighth XI can be seen here and the most recent post in the series is here. Before I get into the main meat of the post it is time for…
COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE
All matches are now underway, Somerset v Kent having finally started at 1:10PM today. Here is a match by match update:
Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire – Nottinghamshire 408, Yorkshire 136-2 Joe Clarke reached the first championship hundred of the new season yesterday, but not go on long today, being out for 112. Duanne Olivier, Yorkshire’s somewhat controversial new signing collected five wickets and Stephen Patterson four. Adam Lyth is on 70 not out for the tykes.
Hampshire v Essex – Hampshired 525-8 declared, Essex 24-1 Only bad light yesterday evening prevented Sam Northeast from being the first to three figures in this years championship, and today he went to 169. There were solid contributions all the way down the Hampshire order, and no Essex bowler distinguished themselves. For Essex Nick Browneis already out, but Sir Alastair Cook is still there, in the company of Tom Westley. The sole wicket has gone to West Indian fast bowler Fidel Edwards.
Somerset v Kent – Somerset 147-8 Somerset have struggled badly in this delayed match, with only Tom Abell (49) doing anything remotely significant with the bat. 24 year-old Matt Milnes who has struggled for first-team opportunities thus far in his career has 3-36 (prior to this match he was paying almost 43 a piece for his wickets) , while veteran ex-Yorkshire seamer Mitchell Claydon has 4-30.
Derbyshire v Durham – Derbyshire 197 and 45-2, Durham 171 Two promising young bowlers, Ben Raine and James Weighell took three wickets each in the Derbyshire first innings, a 28-year old who has played little first-class cricket by the name of Luis Reece bagged five in the Durham reply, and Raine and Matt Salisbury, a 25 year-old who has done little previously to suggest stellar quality have each picked up a wicket in the Derbyshire second innings.
Northampstonshire v Middlesex – Northamptonshire 445, Middlesex 79-3 No centuries in the big Northamptonshire total, just solid contributions all the way down the order. Ireland star Tim Murtagh took 6-80 for Middlesex, while former and possibly future England quick Steven Finn bagged three. The top three in the Middlesex order have been dislodged, two to West Indian all-rounder Jason Holderand one to Nathan Buck, a 27-year old seamer who has pulled up few trees in his career.
Sussex v Leicestershire – Sussex 173 and 140-2, Leciestershire 252 At one point it looked like Sussex may have a first innings lead, but stout lower-middle order resistance led by wicket-keeper Hill(67) and also featuring Harry Dearden (40) and Tom Taylorwho had already taken six cheap wickets (33) reversed this. Ollie Robinsonfinished with 4-46. For Sussex in their second innings Philip Salt made 80, but has just recently lost his wicket. Maybe if he can go on and make some centuries he could claim on opening spot for England (there are vacancies at the top of the England order as I have pointed out in previous posts, including this onewhere I make a radical suggestion). Now to the main business of the post starting with…
63 Test matches for Zimbabwe brought him 4,794 runs at 51.94, with a best of 232 not out, and 151 catches and nine stumpings. For most of those 63 matches he was carrying a very weak batting line-up and captaining as well as keeping wicket. His international playing career ended when he joine Henry Olonga in a protest against ‘the death of democracy’ in Zimbabwe, the two players turning up in symbolic black armbands. He went on to become one of the world’s leading coaches, guiding England to number one in the world test rankings. He and his brother Granthold the test record for the highest partnership between a pair of brothers.
He played county cricket for Essex, which is where he first encountered Alastair Cook who subsequently flourished when he was England coach.
86 Test matches yielded him 3,124 runs at 27.16 and 431 wickets (all-time record back in the day) at 22.29. The West Indies lost one series in the whole decade of the 1980s – to New Zealand spearheaded by Hadlee. Hadlee also starred in New Zealand’s first series victories over England (in NZ in 1983-4 and in England in 1986), and took 34 wickets in the three match series that saw their first triumph over Australia. In 1984, for Nottinghamshire who her served as overseas player for many years, he achieved one of only two season doubles of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in English first-class cricket since the reduction of first-class cricket in 1969 (the other was by Franklyn Stephenson in 1990). With the season now reduced to a mere 14 games it will take someone extraordinary to achieve the feat now (although W G Grace scored over 1,000 runs and took over 100 wickets in his last 11 first-class fixtures of the 1874 season and George Hirsttopped 2,000 runs and 200 wickets in 28 matches in 1906), although one should never be over-dogmatic about stating that something is impossible. The performance that made him favourite to complete his coveted double in 1984 was against Middlesex when he scored a career best 210 not out to take his season’s aggregate up to 880, and thereafter it was never in any great doubt. He subsequently wrote an account of that season titled “At The Double” (yes, I have read it, although I do not own a copy – I had it out of the library once).
Richard Hadlee was a quite magnificent bowler and a useful lower-middle order batter, and in this XI he is part of a varied and strong bowling attack. Next in this series the spotlight is on the specialist bowlers from this XI and the ninth XI is introduced in batting order.
The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, also marking the start of the new County Championship season.
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 Rushworthand 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.