England Lose Twice In Under 24 Hours

Accounts of the Rugby World Cup Final, a WBBL T20 and England’s 2nd T20I v New Zealand. Also lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Most of my readers will be aware of what happened in Yokohama yesterday morning, but that was not the only fixture involving an England team this weekend, and before sharing some photographs I mention both matches.

ENGLAND RUGBY TEAM HAMMERED

England went into the men’s Rugby World Cup final as favourites, having downed the mighty All Blacks in the semi-final. I was listening to commentary on the Women’s Bag Bash League game while keeping an eye on developments in the Rugby. The best it got for England was when they were briefly level at 6-6. Thereafter South Africa were utterly dominant, the two tries they ran in near the end merely making the scoreline a realistic reflection of that dominance. The WBBL game was excellent. The victorious Melbourne Stars had spinners bowl 12 of their 20 overs, and those 12 overs went for a mere 51 between them. Lizelle Lee scored an astonishing century for the Stars to give them a very respectable total, which their bowlers as described above defended.

NEW ZEALAND LEVEL T20 SERIES

England won the first match of the five game T20 series in New Zealand, but the hosts struck back in the small hours of the morning GB time. Worcestershire’s Pat Brown got slapped for 32 off just two overs, while Lewis Gregory who mysteriously also only got two overs started his international bowling career by knocking a stump back with his very first delivery and finished with 1-10. England were not up with the rate at any point of the chase, and when their final wicket fell to the penultimate ball of the game the margin was 21 runs (substantial in this form of the game). Chris Jordan had a fine match for England, with 3-25 and then 36 off 19 balls (second top England score behind Dawid Malan with 39). Saqib Mahmood, picked without the domestic figures to suggest international quality, had 1-46 from his four overs, a very poor showing.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off (features a couple of spider pics near the end)…

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The “Impossipuzzle” – merely difficult when an autistic person who enjoys puzzles takes it on (total completion time aprrox three hours).

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At the autism friendly social group, King’s Lynn Library, next two sessions Wednesday November 13 and Monday November 25.

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Ths puzzle was much easier than the other featured here. Can you spot what is wrong with the track arrangement that forms a border?)…

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…As shown trains can get on to the circle of track but not off it.

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Spotted while out and about today, a small hedgehog near the Gaywood River (three pics)

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Autism, Elections, Cricket

Some thoughts on Autism, Elections and Cricket, a couple of interesting links and plenty of photographs.

INTRODUCTIONS

I have some excellent stuff on Autism to share, and it is no great secret that a General Election is looming here in Britain, and nor would it be a surprise to anyone that I have something about cricket to fit in.

AUTISM THREADS FROM TWITTER

I have two and a bit threads relating to autism to share with you. In all cases this is #ActuallyAutistic people talking about autism – I always prefer primary sources. First of all, “20 things you need to know about autism if you are not autistic“, by Pete Wharmby:

PW1

Next up, Sara Gibbs lists some things not to say to someone who has just told you they are autistic:

 

SG

Finally for this section the first 17 posts in another thread from Pete Wharmby on the subject of diagnosis:

PW2

That concludes this section of the post.

ELECTION THOUGHTS

Some time in the not too distant future there is going to be a general election. Boris Johnson, the lame duck Prime Minister, sees a general election as the only way out of the hole he is currently in, while the main opposition party, Labour, are also ready for one, as soon they have guaranteed the election period cannot be used as a means of forcing a no deal Brexit through. In my constituency the decision for anyone opposed to the Tories is a very straightforward one – only two parties in this constituency have a share of the vote even worth thinking about, the Tories who hold the seat, and Labour who polled 15,000 votes last time round. Support for the Greens is increasing in this area, as it should, and as shown by Michael De Whalley being elected a local councillor, but constituency wide they are building from too small a base, and would be well advised to sit this one out, leaving the field clear for Labour.

In Scotland the SNP will clean up everywhere – the callous disregard shown for that country by the UK’s current misgovernment has all but ensured that Scotland will be an independent country before too long (and good luck to them – were it not for the necessity of travelling to and from Cambridge for some years to come I might well be looking at flats in Fort William or Inverness with a view to moving north post indepndence, and were I a Scot I would undoubtedly be voting SNP). Northern Ireland for different reasons is also an exception, but in England and Wales I would recommend that Labour and the Green Party operate as follows:

  1. Labour do not stand in Caroline Lucas’ seat, nor in any seat where the Greens came second last time round.
  2. The Greens do not stand in Labour held seats or in seats where Labour were second last time round.

Post election, in the event that the combination of Labour, Greens and SNP have enough seats to form a government (at least until Indyref 2 has been organised – which will be the SNPs condition for assisting) Labour should also offer cabinet places to people from these parties (e.g Caroline Lucas being put in charge of environmental policy, someone from the SNP getting the position of Secretary of State for Scotland etc.). Additionally, abolishing the outdated and flawed FPTP voting system should be high on the agenda.

My advice to people in England and Wales who want rid of the Tories is look at who in your area has more support out of Labour and Green (and possibly Plaid in Wales) and vote for that party. It is important to maximize the chances of turfing the Tories out by not giving them any opportunity to capture seats against a split opposition.

A COUPLE OF EXCELLENT VITALITY BLAST SIGNINGS FOR SURREY

One of the claims advanced on behalf of The Hundred, aka “Harrison’s Harebrained Have a Hit” (acknowledgements to The Full Toss blog for that excellent alternative name) is that it has attracted top overseas players, a claim that The Full Toss put to the sword here. There are two parts to exploding this claim: firstly no Indian players at all are involved in the new competition, and secondly that counties are in any case capable of attracting overseas players of real quality, which leads to Surrey’s recent overseas signings for next years Vitality Blast (T20) competition. Darcy Short has been the leading run scorer in the last two seasons of the Mens BBL (Australia’s T20 competition), and is a fine signing for Surrey. Pakistan’s young legspinning all-rounder Shadab Khan is if anything an even more impressive signing than Short. At 21 he already has 117 international wickets to his name, and being a legspinner he nicely complements Surrey’s existing slow bowling talent (Freddie Van Den Bergh, SLA, and Amar Virdi, OS), and his batting talent means that Surrey if so minded could certainly select all three, thereby giving themselves three spinners of differing types.

TWO LINKS AND SOME PICTURES

Greta Thunberg, the autistic teenager who has become the face of the international movement against climate change, has been honoured by having a new species named after her. Click on the picture below to read the full article about this on the Natural History Museum’s website:

New species of beetle named after Greta Thunberg

In a Darwin Award worthy piece of karma, a US hunter got himself killed by a deer he thought he had shot dead. Click on the picture below to visit the BBC website’s article about this:

Stock image of a whitetailed deer buck in the US

Now for my usual sign off…

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Some Thoughts on Transport

Mainly about public transport, but also features autism and cricket, and of course has the usual stack of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post was prompted to by events on Monday, when I had to journey to Cambridge and back – in the course of the post I describe that day in full. However, before I get to the main body of the post there is something else to attend to…

NINE HUNDRED THANK YOUS

Well actually 902 to be precise, since that is the number of you now following this blog. I am very grateful to all of you.

A DAY THAT WAS AN ARGUMENT FOR RENATIONALISING THE RAILWAYS

I was due to visit Addenbrookes for a check-up on Monday, and had to be there by 12:00. This meant that the last train to Cambridge I could catch and arrive there with sufficient time to get to Addenbrookes was at 9:44AM, since the next was the 10:44 due at Cambridge at 11:37, which would have meant that even if it was on time I would have needed Lady Luck to play ball to be at Addenbrookes by 12:00. Being excessively cautious when it comes to making journeys by British public transport I was actually ready to leave my flat by 8:40 and saw no grounds for not doing so. I thus arrived at the station just before 9:00 and with no queue at the ticket office was actually able to board the 09:10 train, and never one to object to having extra time to spare did precisely that. It was a few minutes late departing, and then had to wait at Downham Market for a train coming the other way to pass (there are single track stretches between Downham Market and Littleport). Speed restrictions between Downham Market and Littleport cost us further time. At Cambridge I got a bus to Addenbrookes, and was there just before 11AM, giving me time to consume an early lunch before going to the oncology reception and announcing my presence.

Although the consultant was ready to see me promptly the people taking blood samples for testing were running behind, so I had to see the consultant first and then get that done. The consultation was exceedingly brief, since the scans done a week and a half earlier revealed nothing untoward (no news in this situation is most unequivocally good news). Once it came to my turn to be seen for them the blood samples were also to my great relief obtained without undue delay. Nevertheless, it was 12:45PM before I was finished at Addenbrookes. I got the express bus back to Cambridge (£2.20 instead of £1 for the regular bus, but in the circumstances worth the extra cost) and was there in time for the 13:36 to Lynn…

Cue more chaos. There was an out of service train occupying the platform from which the Lynn train was supposed to depart, causing a late platform alteration. The service was also delayed slightly (somebody had been hit by a train earlier in the day and the knock-on effects of that were being felt everywhere). However, once it got underway it ran fairly smoothly. Between them having the blood samples taken and the consultation took maybe ten minutes, maybe less, yet I left my flat at 8:40 and did not arrive back there until 3PM, and of that six hours and twenty minutes only about 40 minutes can be put down to Addenbrookes – the rest was a combination of my caution and the inadequacies of British public transport.

Although I fully accept that one cannot prevent incidents such as people being hit by trains from happening the rest, including the service pattern that meant I dared not run any risk being on a later train than 9:44 when I had an appointment at a hospital on the outskirts of Cambridge at 12:00 and the platform alteration due to an out of service train blocking the intended platform are wholly indefensible, and in the case of the platform alteration happen sufficiently often to be classed as regular occurrences on that line.

We need our railways to be fully publicly owned and fully publicly accountable. There only two groups of people in my opinion who should decide how railways are run – those who provide the service (railway workers) and those who use it (railway passengers).

Here are some photos from the journey:

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A NEW BOOK RELATING TO AUTISM

The book is to be called Your Life As I Knew It, and you can be part of making it a reality by visiting the funding site for it here.

EARTH XI TO PLAY MARS

This section was prompted by a post on the Full Toss blog comparing Virat Kohli and Steve Smith and inviting us to make a decision between them. My resolution to the conundrum was simply to avoid treating it as an ‘either, or’ situation. With Rohit Sharma and Mayant Agarwal shoo-ins as opening pair that left me only seven more players to find to make an XI. I have opted for Kane Williamson as the fifth specialist batter, Ben Stokes at six and as fifth bowler, Ben Foakes as wicketkeeper (he is the best currently playing, though as a controversialist I might be tempted to see if I could lure Sarah Taylor out of retirement for this one!), Rashid Khan the Afghan legspinner at 8 (a gamble, but I would love to see how he fares as part of an all-stars combo), Pat Cummins, Jofra Archer and Kagiso Rabada (Jasprit Bumrah is currently injured, otherwise he would be a shoo-in.). Thus the current Earth XI to take on Mars is as follows:

  1. Rohit Sharma
  2. Mayant Agarwal
  3. Virat Kohli
  4. Steve Smith
  5. *Kane Williamson
  6. Ben Stokes
  7. +Ben Foakes
  8. Rashid Khan
  9. Pat Cummins
  10. Jofra Archer
  11. Kagiso Rabada

As twelfth man I nominate Ravindra Jadeja, spin bowling all-rounder and quite magnificent fielder.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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One Year On From A Narrow Escape

An anniversary, some thoughts about autism, the London Mayoral elections and diplomatic immunity and a lot of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I have various things to mention besides the main subject of this post, and a few links to share. First up, in accordance with this blog’s “reverse tabloid” policy regarding such matters comes…

AN APOLOGY

I recently suffered a problem with my email settings that caused two things:

  1. I missed some of your posts because they were going to my spam folder.
  2. A couple of commenters waited longer than they should for a response from me because due to the same issue I did not initially see the comments.

I have now resolved the issue, and all should be back to normal.

THE NARROW ESCAPE

Exactly one year ago, on October 8th 2018 I was so ill that I had to be given a half-size saline drip and a lot of further assistance to get from the flat I was then living in to an ambulance that took me to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I will be visiting that hospital under my own steam today for a hearing appointment. I have written various posts about the illness that nearly killed me and my subsequent gradual return to health and fitness.

COFFEE MORNING

There is a coffee morning taking place at King’s Lynn Library tomorrow between 11AM and 1PM. At this time of year various shops and businesses have an “autism hour” during which they make particular efforts to be more accessible to autistic people. Of course many of the changes they make could and should be made permanently anyway – are such things as ultra bright lights and loud “music” really necessary to attract allistic customers?

Talking of which, Pete Wharmby, an #actuallyautistic autism advocate, posted a splendid thread on twitter last night about employing autistic people.

LINKS AND PICTURES

Just a couple of links before the pictures…

  1. The London Mayoral election campaign is now in full swing. There has been much entirely unmerited excitement about the decision of Rory Stewart, who knows precisely nothing about London, to stand. If I lived in London my vote would unquestionably go to Sian Berry, once again the Green Party candidate, with a second preference for the incumbent Sadiq Khan (they use STV for the London Mayoral elections). Here is an article in inews inwhich Ms Berry takes aim at Mr Stewart with (IMO) deadly accuracy.
  2. Autistica have produced an excellent guide to writing about autism, which I recommend you to read in full.
  3. Jerry Coyne at whyevolutionistrue has put up a post about Anne Sacoolas’ abuse of “diplomatic immunity” after she killed Harry Dunn in a hit and run accident. She is very probably going to escape unpunished for killing someone because neither of the two countries has a leader who can even be hoped to do the right things. For those who use social media look up #JusticeForHarryDunn. My own view is that diplomatic immunity should be waived, she should be done for causing death by dangerous driving and hit with the maximum possible punishment for that offence (on the grounds that her attempted use of diplomatic immunity counts as the absolute reverse of co-operation).

PHOTOGRAPHS

First up, a warning to arachnophobes – there is a spider coming up. Now, my usual sign off…

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A bug of some description exploring my spectacles (four pics)

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The first of a load of pictures during a journey to and from Addenbrookes

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Walking home from King’s Lynn station post Addenbrookes…

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…this poster produced by school students impressed me (sadly the weather overnight was dreadful, and I had to pick up a couple of badly damaged copies the following morning when on my way into town).

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Autism Related Events

Some recent autism and disability related events and a farewell to wicketkeeping legend Sarah Taylor.

INTRODUCTION

There have been two significant events in as many days for me, and I mention both of them in this post.

NORFOLK DISABILITY PRIDE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION

On Sunday I travelled to Norwich for the Norfolk Disability Pride event, which included the photographic exhibition at which I won third prize (£25 voucher for WEX Photography, which I discovered to my chagrin that I cannot redeem online), for this photograph:

Carbis Bay II

This photograph was taken through a train window while travelling between St Erth and St Ives in the far west of Cornwall.

A big screen was set up on the ground floor of the Norwich Millennium Library displaying this and other photographs for the exhibition (the above was not the only one of pictures to feature, and several others got appreciative responses from viewers), while a variety of groups connected with disability had stands in the foyer of the Forum building, immediately outside the library. In the Auditorium, off to one side of the foyer, was a #ToyLikeMe exhibition (a campaign to increase the number of toys that feature disabled people).

Not wishing to be overly late home I caught the 3:10 bus back from Norwich (as well that I did, since by the time it got to Lynn the rain was coming down in stair rods, and it being Sunday the last no 2 bus to enable me to avoid walking all the way home from the town centre left just after the ExCel bus from Norwich had arrived at the bus station, so I only got a bit wet rather than thoroughly drenched).

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Unlike some buses used for PR purposes this one had no lies printed on it!

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The prize winning picture on the big screen.

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small ‘sesnory; donkeys outside the Forum building

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This was a good feature…
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…especially this part of it!

AUTISM FRIENDLY SOCIAL GROUP

The first of these took place last night at King’s Lynn Library, London Road, between 5PM and 6:45PM, and it is intended that they will become a regular event, with two more sessions, for Wednesday 16th October, 5PM to 6:45PM and Monday 28th October 5PM to 6:45PM already confirmed. Various games and puzzles are available for those so inclined, and refreshments are provided. We had a few people come last night, and I hope that more will get involved as word spreads, but the important thing is that the group runs – even if only a few benefit, that is better than none.

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The official flyer for the social group.
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One of the games they have – I am hoping in due course to play it (did not happen last night).

SARAH TAYLOR’S RETIREMENT

A top class batter, and for my money the best wicketkeeper of either sex to have played in the 21st century, Sarah Taylor has hung up the gloves after an international career that spanned 13 seasons and much of the cricket playing globe. She has made the decision on mental health grounds, and I hope all would wish her well for the future. Those involved with the England Women’s set up deserve credit for their efforts to help her over the years since her mental health issues first came to light, and she deserves credit for being open and honest about them, as well as for her deeds as a player, shown below, courtesy of cricinfo:

Full name Sarah Jane Taylor

Born May 20, 1989, London Hospital, Whitechapel, London

Current age 30 years 134 days

Major teams Adelaide Strikers Women, England Development Squad Women, England Women, Rubies

Playing role Top-order batsman

Batting style Right-hand bat

Fielding position Wicketkeeper

Sarah Jane Taylor
Batting and fielding averages
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 10 17 1 300 40 18.75 605 49.58 0 0 50 0 18 2
ODIs 126 119 13 4056 147 38.26 4927 82.32 7 20 462 4 87 51
T20Is 90 87 12 2177 77 29.02 1967 110.67 0 16 241 6 23 51
Bowling averages
Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Tests 10
ODIs 126
T20Is 90

Note especially the number of stumpings (most of them slick leg side efforts) that she executed in her career – wicketkeepers are often colloquially referred to as ‘stumpers’, but increasingly few of them truly merit the term.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Two attempts to capture swnas from the road bridge over the Gaywood near Kettlewell Lane on a dark and rainy night (on my way home from the Librrary yesterday).

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A Bit of Everything

The conclusion of the county championship season 2019, a busy week and a photography prize.

INTRODUCTION

I will be covering a lot of ground in this post, hence the title. As well as stuff about this week I will be looking ahead a couple of days. Before moving on to the main body of the post I start with…

THE END OF THE ENGLISH CRICKET SEASON

The last round of County Championship fixtures was largely spoilt by the weather. Somerset managed to keep things interesting in the championship decider in spite of more than half the match being washed away. Having managed 203 themselves they bowled Essex out for 141 and forfeited their second innings (only a win would do for them, so they had to go all in) leaving Essex 63 to get in 65 minutes of playing time. Essex, with no incentive to go for the runs, played time out quietly, finishing on 48-1. Elsewhere Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire secured promotion to division one in a match in which less than one whole innings was played, Gloucestershire reaching 220-7 (having at one stage been 67-6). The experienced Graeme Van Buuren made 93, and 18 year old Ben Charlesworth was on 77 not out, having not ever looked like being dislodged – expect to see more of that name in the future. The decision to abandon the final day’s play without a ball being bowled may very well have denied him a maiden first class hundred.

Had the big match at Taunton been allowed to go the distance I suspect that Somerset would have won it and claimed their first County Championship, but as it is their wait for a title extends into its 129th year. Essex too would probably have preferred matters to be settled on the pitch rather than by the weather, as they will know that this title, their second County Championship in three seasons, will always have an asterisk against it in people’s minds due to the ruination of this final game. Somerset meanwhile will rue the way they collapsed to Kyle Abbott at Southampton in their penultimate match, which allowed Essex to move to the top of the table, leaving Somerset needing a win in the last game.

A BUSY FEW DAYS

Here is what I have been doing since I last posted here:

  • Tuesday – Yes I Can 2 at the Corn Exchange. I was there for the duration of this important event, and the NAS West Norfolk stand attracted plenty of interest.
  • Wednesday – Drop In Centre at the 7th Scout Hall, Portland Place. It was also on this day that the 2020 aspi.blog wall calendars arrived.
  • Thursday – physio session at Tapping House in the morning and CBT with Dr Daglish in the afternoon.

BIG NEWS

On Sunday I will be journeying to Norwich for the Disability Pride Photographic Exhibition, having just been notified by the organizers that one of my photos has won third prize – yes folks, I am now officially a prize winning photographer. I have not yet been told which the prize winning photograph was, but it was one of these:

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PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Calendars set out for sale on Wednesday.

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Thoughts for New Zealand and a Calendar Preview.

A few thoughts about the upcoming tour of New Zealand and a preview of the 2020 aspi.blog Wall Calendar.

INTRODUCTION

The England squad for New Zealand is due to be named soon, and I have some suggestions here. I also use this post to offer aspi.blog readers a sneak preview of the aspi.blog 2020 wall calendar, currently in production and due to arrive with me early next week.

SQUAD FOR NEW ZEALAND

It is unlikely that any surface in New Zealand will warrant the selection of two front line spinners, so for this tour I am selecting fewer spinners than I normally would. Seam and swing tend to be important in NZ just as they are in this country, so I do not regard a second out and out super quick alongside Archer, who should be used in short bursts. Finally, I do not think that even if both are fully fit England should be thinking of using Broad and Anderson in the same squad, so only one of those makes the trip. Batting wise I think the experiment of picking white ball specialists to play test cricket has been tried and found seriously wanting. I have argued for some time that Tammy Beaumont deserves her chance alongside the men and I continue to believe that this experiment is warranted, however uncertainty over Stokes’ ability to function as a full-time bowler in test cricket at present leads me to temporarily shelve that idea. Dominic Sibley has made an iron-clad case for selection as a test match opener, and Rory Burns has done sufficient to hang on to his own place, which leaves Ben Stokes my envisaged no 3, Root back at 4 where he scores much more heavily than at 3, Ollie Pope in at 5, Ben Foakes wicketkeeper at six, Lewis Gregory coming at seven (there could be few better places for a seam bowling all-rounder to begin a test career than New Zealand), Sam Curran at 8, Jofra Archer at 9, Jack Leach at 10 and Stuart Broad at 11 (unless Anderson is fully fit, in which he case he replaces Broad). My reserves would be a top order batter (Beaumont – see above), a middle order batter, possibly Dan Lawrence of Essex who has played at least one major innings recently or if you want someone grittier Somerset’s Tom Abell, an out and out fast bowler (Stone or Wood depending on fitness) and a second spinner (Matt Parkinson would be my choice, his lack of skill with the bat not being a serious issue since I am not expecting him and Leach to figure in the same XI). Note that with both Burns and Pope having some experience of the role a reserve wicketkeeper is not needed.

On the radar for the future I would have Josh Bohannon, the young Lancashire batter, if more spinners are required offspinners Bess and Virdi are immediately in the equation and Patterson-White of Nottinghamshire (who have collectively been utterly dreadful this season, making his small success all the more impressive) may develop into a replacement for Jack Leach when the time comes. In the seam bowling department Ollie Robinson and Jamie Porter will warrant consideration, and the emerging fast bowling talent of Worcestershire’s Josh Tongue should also see him being talked about in the right places. Finally, opener Zak Crawley has attracted favourable notices at times, but at the moment he needs to increase the number of major innings on his CV before really meriting consideration as a test opener.

THE 2020 WALL CALENDAR PREVIEW

13 pics here, the front cover and one for each month: