The Penultimate ODI Between England and Pakistan

A look at the ODI between England and Pakistan and the County Championship, a few other things including plenty of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The current round of County Championship matches are approaching their conclusions (some being already finished), and the ODI between England and Pakistan is at the halfway stage. This post looks at what is going on, starting with…

THE ODI

England won the toss and put Pakistan in. Pakistan have just finished their 50 overs on 340-7. This might look a good total, but England at this ground have recently scored 481 versus Australia and 444-3 against Pakistan, and that 340 is the lowest total of the series to date. Thus I expect England to chase these down trivially easily, just as they did when facing 358 a few days ago (they got home with over five overs to spare). Babar Azam made a hundred for Pakistan, but was slow by modern day standards, being only just better than a run a ball. There were four wickets for Tom Curran, albeit at a cost of 75 runs from his 10 overs. Now we move on to…

THE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP

This is what is going on in the County Championship…

  • Kent v YorkshireYorkshire 210 and 469, Kent 296 and 207-9.
    A massive second innings by Yorkshire turned the tables on Kent, and the only question now is whether Yorkshire can get the wicket they need before time runs out. I fully expect them to do so. Ballance made 159 in that Yorkshire innings. The Kent second innings has been a tale of batting failure, with Bell-Drummond top scoring with 41. Ben Coad has 5-48 so far.
  • Nottinghamshire v Essex finished yesterday.
  • Surrey v SomersetSurrey 380 and 255-8, Somerset 398 – Match Drawn.
    A combination of bad weather and decent batting by Surrey saved the defending champions in a match dominated by Lewis Gregory who must now be firmly on England’s Test team radar. Somerset did not try George Bartlett’s offbreaks even though Jack Leach had three second wickets with his slow left arm. Burns made 78 in the Surrey second innings and Will Jacks 54.
  • Warwickshire v Hampshire Hampshire 354 and 302-5 declared, Warwickshire 233 and 109, Hampshire won by 314 runs.
    Hampshire made early inroads into the Warwickshire second innings yesterday evening and comfortably finished the job today. Only youngster Robert Yates topped 20 in a dismal second innings effort by Warwickshire. The wickets were shared around the Hampshire bowlers.
  • Glamorgan v GloucestershireGlamorgan 250 and 481-8 declared, Gloucestershire 463 and 103-5 – Gloucestershire need a further 166 with five wickets standing and 16.4 overs remaining.
    This looks like a marvellous recovery by Glamorgan thwarted by their unwillingness to risk defeat, which has led them to an overcautious declaration leaving insufficient time to get the wickets. Glamorgan’s recovery after being made to follow on was built on a partnership of 231 between Nicholas Selman (150) and Labuschagne (137), following an opening stand of 133 between Selman and Hemphrey (58). The fifth Gloucestershire wicket has just gone down, giving Glamorgan s shot at victory, although the draw is still favourite. Offspinner Kieran Bull has two wickets in this fourth innings.
  • Middlesex v LeicestershireMiddlesex 349 and 223, Leicestershire 268 and 226-5, Leicestershire need 79 runs with five wickets standing.
    It is raining in London at the moment, which may baulk the fans of what should be a fine finish. Ackerman is 70 not out for Leicestershire.
  • Lancashire v NorthamptonshireNorthamptonshire 230 and 200, Lamncashire 415 and 17-0, Lancashire won by 10 wickets.
    Lancashire claimed the extra half-hour to attempt to finish this yesterday, but could not quite do so. However, they finished the job this morning. Gleeson picked up his second five-for of the match in the Northants second innings.
  • Worcestershire v DurhamDurham 273 and 197, Worcestershire 390 and 84-5, Worcestershire won by five wickets.
    A fighting 47 from Liam Trevaskis was the only contribution of note to a poor second innings by Durham. Josh Tongue five wickets and Joe Leach three. Worcestershire managed to lose five wickets in knocking off a tiny target, all to Chris Rushworth.

THE EUROPEAN ELECTIONS

I have received my first European Election publicity – a leaflet from the English Democrats which I tore into tiny pieces and put in the recycling (they are absolute b**t**ds), and this from the Green Party:

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MOUNTING STAMPS

It being a dull day today weather wise I have spent some of this afternoon mounting stamps for display:

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OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Slowly Getting Better

An update on my slowly improving health, some of the recent cricket, a few interesting links and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post looks at my slowly but surely improving health and a few other things as well.

CRICKET UPDATE

My last set of predictions did not work out too well. I was right on one, and wrong on two, albeit the second wrong one (Scotland/Afghanistan owing more to a D/L calculation that gave the match to Afghanistan when rain intervened with them needing 57 off 31 balls with seven wickets standing (it was the latter that helped Afghanistan), a target that they would almost certainly not have succeeded in chasing down had the match gone the distance. Had Middlesex started less dreadfully they may have borne out my prediction of a successful chase, since even after slumping to 24-5 they finished up not far short of the target. In the semi-finals, which took place yesterday, Somerset thrashed Nottinghamshire while Hampshire won a closer game against Lancashire. Thus the final will be between Hampshire and Somerset, with the former starting as favourites.

In the first match of their ODI series England beat Pakistan by 12 runs in an extraordinary game which saw 734 runs scored in 100 overs – England 373-3 from 50, with a very rapid century from Jos Buttler, Pakistan 361-9. Left-arm medium pacer David Willey bowled superbly in the closing stages to save England from potential embarrassmAent.

There are County Championship games starting tomorrow, so watch this space!

HEALTH UPDATE

Yesterday I was feeling sufficiently good to venture somewhat further afield than for some time, although still not very far, going as far as the pond opposite Harewood Parade. Today I was again feeling good, and encouraged by the continuing sunshine did the same thing, although I had forgotten that BB Care were due to visit and missed them in my eagerness to get out. There is a long way to go, but things are definitely improving.

LINKS AND PICTURES

An article appeared in Saturday’s Times in which the head teacher of Stowe School (£38,000 per year to have your children educated there) had the cheek to complain about the fact that slightly more state school students are now getting into Oxbridge. Many have pitched into him, but the best evisceration of both him and the article came from Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK:

The headmaster of Stowe’s comments aren’t just vile: they’re eugenic

https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Screen-Shot-2019-05-11-at-10.13.13.png

As a non-driver who is deeply concerned about environmental issues I was delighted to see this story from The Guardian:

London to have world-first hydrogen-powered doubledecker buses

Exterior of the Wrightbus doubledecker hydrogen bus prototype.

Here, from the weekend, comes my regular sign off (I have more pictures on my camera, awaiting editing):

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The first 49 pictures are from Saturday.

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This is an unedited picture of a sparrow balancing on a wire.
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This is the edited version.

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Yesterday’s Predictions and Today’s Matches at Halfway

How yesterday’s predicitions fared, and predicitions for todays matches (one Royal London Cup match, one tour match). Also a few extras including two very important petitions.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I reveal how yesterday’s predictions fared and look at what is happening in today’s matches. I also have a couple of extras as you will see.

YESTERDAY’S PREDICTIONS

  • Hampshire v GloucestershireHampshire 331-8 from 50 overs, Gloucestershire 246 all out from 46.5overs, Hampshire won by 71 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
    James Vince’s amazing innings looked to have put this one beyound Gloucestershire. A small rain delay reduced Gloucestershire’s innings to 47 overs and their target to 318. No Gloucestershire batter reached 50 (Ryan Higgins, primarily a memiud pacer, top scored with 45), and Hampshire were never anything other than in control, so this was a correct prediction for me. Mason Crane, a legspinner who had a brief but very unsuccessful time as an England player took 3-64, while Kyle Abbott, Brad Wheal and Liam Dawson all picked up two.
  • Northamptonshire v WorcestershireWorcestershire 254-9 from 50 overs, Northamptonshire 234 all out from 48.4 overs, Worcestershire won by 20 runs.
    In restricting their opponents to a modest score Northamptonshire seemed to have done enough, but their own batting misfired badly. Alex Wakely with 46 and Josh Cobb with 44 were the leading scorers, which tells you what the problem was. Wayne Parnell took 3-45, while Brett D’Oliveira was the most economical bowler with 1-28 from 10 overs. I got this one wrong.
  • Nottinghamshire v LeicestershireNottinghamshire 433-7 from 50 overs, Leicestershire 259 from 33.2 overs, Nottinghamshire won by 87 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
    Rain reduced the Leicestershire innings to 37 overs and their target to 347. They made a brave effort, but the target was always beyond them, bearing out my prediction. Harry Dearden made 74 off 70 balls and Mark Cosgrove 59 off 43. Luke Fletcher took 3-53 from eight overs, a notable achievement given the overall run rate on the day.
  • Warwickshire v DurhamWarwickshire 244-8 from 50 overs, Durham 211-3 from 33.4 overs, Durham won by seven wickets with 2.2 overs to spare under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
    Warwickshire’s total looked modest, and the Duckworth-Lewis adjustment to cater for Durham’s reduced allocation of overs did not help them sufficiently to put them back in the game. Alex Lees was 78 not out off 69 balls and Gareth Harte 51 not out of 49 when Durham completed their victory, Greg Clark having scored 66 off 62 at the top of the order. No Warwickshire bowler deserves to have their figures quoted. This was another correct prediction. 
  • Yorkshire v DerbyshireYorkshire 308-2 from 40 overs, Derbyshire 224-3 from 22 overs, tied under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
    Because Yorkshire had a lot of resources left when the rain came (20% of their overs and 80% of their wickets) the requirement for Derbyshire when the game could be resumed was, as it should have been, exceedingly stiff. Spearheaded by opener Billy Godleman running up his third straight List A century Derbyshire made this a pulsating contest, and actually came closer to winning at the end than Yorkshire, although the tie, the second that Yorkshire have been involved in in the competition was a fair result (though disappointing for my predictions, as I had called it in Yorkshire’s favour. Godleman (107 not out off 62 balls) was well backed by Leus Du Plooy (75 off 37 balls) and Matt Critchley (33 not out of 23 at the death). I will not quote any of the Yorkshire bowling figures. 

Thus I called three right and two wrong, making my overall record 21/34. In the day/night game Somerset comfortably beat Essex (353-5 off 39 overs, against Essex 154-6 from 17 overs, a margin of 36 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method). Peter Trego made 141 of 101 balls, Azhar Ali 110 off 93 and James Hildreth 40 off 18. Peter Siddle took 4-60 off eight overs. In the Essex Innings Dan Lawrence made 51 off 33. Tim Groenewald took 3-34 off three overs, while Craig Overton was notably economical with 1-9 from three overs. In the early stages of the Essex innings there was some blatant time wasting by their batters in the hope that the ten overs necessary for it to constitute a game would not be bowled, but fortunately they were, and thereafter there was little doubt that justice would be done. 

TODAY’S PREDICTIONS

There are two matches taking place in England today, and they are:

  • Middlesex v Sussex, Sussex 298 all out from 48 overs.
    When Sussex were 6-2, and even more when they were 102-5 this looked good for Middlesex, but Luke Wright who had opened thne innings and survived all the early wickets was supported by Ben Brown, captain and wicketkeeper for Sussex in a stand of 174, before both fell in quick succession, Brown for 55 and Wright for an amazing 166 (142 balls, 10 fours, nine sixes). The Sussex tail then did an impression of a house of cards, and Middlesex were spared having a 300plus total on the board against them. However this total should be enough to for Sussex to defend comfortably. Nathan Sowter took 4-48 and Ireland star Tim Murtagh 3-24 each from their full 10 overs,. while their colleagues had a combined 3-226 from 28 overs.
  • Kent v Pakistan (Tour Match) Pakistan 358-7 from 50 overs
    A formidable looking total from Pakistan. Imad Wasim scored 117 not out from 78 balls, Haris Sohail 75 from 71 and Fakhar Zaman 76 from 59. Only Imran Qayyum with 4-45 from his 10 did anything significant with the ball. I fully expect Pakistan to defend this. A point of interest is that Kent have been strengthened by the presence of James Harris of Middlesex in their ranks. 

LINKS AND PICTURES

First a piece from The Guardian titledLabour is right to reverse bus cuts. But it needs to go much furtherwritten by Manchester based campaigner Pascale Robinson.

Next a piece from Vox Political titledBenefit claimants are the modern equivalent of dogs to private landlords, say MPs

A piece from Cambria Jenkins titled “Take Care of Yourselves, Everyone – Especially You, Greta Thunberg“. This piece, written by an autistic person (as Greta Thunberg is as well), contains some good advice for those who struggle to take care of themselves and also some powerful but fair comment on the more neanderthal among Thunberg’s opponents, some of whom have publicly expressed the hope that she has a meltdown in public. For anyone who has experienced a meltdown (see here for an account of one) this is deeply offensive, and it should be outrageous to anyone.

A peition on wemove.eu to save the Ulcinj Dalina nature reserve.
Ulcinj

Also to counteract the one calling for him to be sacked there is now a petition in support of Chris Packham on change.org:

SupportPackham

My usual sign off…

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How My Second Set of Predictions Fared

A look at the conclusions of yesterday’s Royal London Cup matches and an analysis of my predictions at the half way stages.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday, when all the day fixtures in the Royal London Cup had reached their half-way stage I covered what was happening and made predictions for each result. Today I complete the story be revealing the results and mentioning noteworthy efforts from the second half of each game. 

YESTERDAY’S ROYAL LONDON CUP MATCHES

This is how it all unfolded:

  • Derbyshire v NorthamptonshireDerbyshire 268-6, Northamptonshire 215 (43.5 overs), Derbyshire won by 53 runs
    I backed Derbyshire to win this one because of the fightback they had made in the latter stages of their innings. This one was more one sided even than the margin suggests. At one point Northants were 112-8 before a lower order fightback gave them a hint of respectability. There were four wickets for young medium pacer Alex Hughes, three for Van Beek and two for Rampaul. Luke Procter scored an unbeaten 50, but no other Northants batter merits a mention.
  • Warwickshire v YorkshireWarwickshire 270-8 Yorkshire 270-9 TIED!!
    I got this one wrong, expecting Yorkshire to chase them down. At 112-6 it looked a certain win for Warwickshire, but Jonny Tattersall (79) and Tim Bresnan (89) staged a revival that very nearly won it for Yorkshire. England all-rounder Chris Woakes took 3-47 and the hugely promising teenager Henry Brookes took 3-50. Kiwi veteran Jeetan Patel was the most economical with 2-41.
  • Durham vLeicestershire  – Leicestershire 233-9, Durham 234-4 (45.3 overs) Durham won by six wickets
    This was an easy call after that poor Leicestershire innings, and an easy win for Durham in the end. Cameron Bancroft scored 118 not out, and received support from various of the Durham order. Dieter Klein and Gavin Griffiths each had a couple of wickets.
  • Hampshire v GlamorganGlamorgan 292-9 Hampshire 293-3 (41.5overs) Hampshire won by seven wickets.
    I had this down as a Glamorgan win. In the event Hampshire made it look very easy indeed, and Glamorgan’s future in this competition, even after just two matches looks bleak – they failed horrendously to chase in their first game and failed just as epically to defend in this one. Tom Alsop, a 23 year-old wicketkeeper batter opened the Hampshire innings and was 130 not out off 115 baals when they completed the win. Former England man James Vince scored 95 off 78 balls to put Hampshire in complete control of the chase. I will draw a veil over the Glamorgan bowling figures.
  • Nottinghamshire v Lancashire Nottinghamshire 417-7, Lancashire 406-9 Nottinghamshire won by 11 runs
    I called this one correctly. Lancashire made a tremendous effort, and until the dismissal of their captain Dane Vilas (166 off 100 balls) an extraordinary victory appeared to be on the cards. In the end that Nottinghamshire total was just enough. Steven Croft scored 110 off 82 balls. James Pattinson with 5-61 off his 10 overs was the star of the bowlers – if he had gone at the same rate as his colleagues Lancashire would have got home with time to spare (approximately an over and a half if you care to do the calculation).
  • Somerset v Kent Somerset 358-9, Kent 94 (27 overs) – Somerset won by 264 runs
    With that total on the board I called this one in Somerset’s favour, but even I was surprised by the margin of victory. AfterS had piled up their huge total Kent needed a good start to stay in the contest. Unfortunately for them they got the reverse, as Craig Overton followed his 66 by taking three early wickets (he would add two more before the end, finishing with 5-18) and Kent were reeling at 25-4. Thereafter Kent tried to salvage a hint of respectability and failed. The margin was a record for one first class county over another in limited overs cricket (various previous limited overs competitions featured minor county sides, so the distinction is needed). A detailed analysis of this match can be found here
  • Essex v Middlesex Middlessex 366-8, Essex 328 (49.2 overs) Middlesex won by 38 runs
    Again a big enough total to predict the final outcome with some confidence, but Essex put up a fine fight. Varun Chopra made 127 off 127 balls and Tom Westley 77 off 59 balls. For Middlesex Nathan Sowter, a 26 year-old legspinner with little previous experience of top level cricket took 6-62 from 9.2 overs

I called five of these matches correctly and two wrongly, making my overall record of predictions in this competition now eight right and four wrong. As with the first round there was a “day/night” match which was not far enough advanced for me to make a prediction on at the time:

Surrey v Sussex Surrey 274-9, Sussex 278-8 (48.1 overs)
This was a humdinger of a match. Surrey’s problem in their innings was that no-one went to a really big score – Foakes led the way with 64 and Will Jacks managed 56, while Mir Hamza rook 4-43. Tom Curran (3-37 from 10) and Gareth Batty (2-39 from 10) bowled excellently for Surrey, Morne Morkel and Rikki Clarke were respectable, but the fifth set of 10 overs let Surrey down, as Plunkett (6 overs, 1-57) and Jacks (4 overs for 26) both bowled very poorly. Sussex’s matchwinner was David Wiese (92 not out), while Luke Wright scored 69.

The first set of fixtures provided a lot of very one-sided games, but no one could complain about the fare on offer this time round – fine cricket featured in most if not all of the matches and several were very close, including the incredible tie between Yorkshire and Warwickshire.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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The Royal London Cup Round 2 Fixtures

A look at what is happening in the Royal London Cup, complete with predictions. Also some of my photopgraphs.

INTRODUCTION

The seven daytime Royal London Cup Fixtures taking place today have all reached the halfway stage, and as in this post, where I was 3/5 on predictions I will be essaying predictions as to the outcomes of these fixtures, as well as drawing attention to noteworthy efforts within the matches. Wihtou further ado…

THE ROYAL LONDON CUP 19/4

  • Derbyshire v NorthamptonshireDerbyshire 268-6 from 50 overs
    This total represents a fightback by Derbyshire, as at one stage they were 137-5. This and the fact that the sides batting first all won their games last time out influences me to call this one in Derbyshir’s favour. Billy Godleman played the anchor role for Derbyshire with 87 off 124 balls, while Matt Critchley scored 64 not out off 51 balls, having come in at 137-5. Blessing Muzurabani picked up 2-54 and Jason Holder 2-62. 
  • Warwickshire v YorkshireWarwickshire 270-8 from 50 overs
    Various Warwickshire players got starts, but only Tim Ambrose (77 off 108 balls) made a really significant score. Matthew Pillans added another three wickets to the five he took in the opening game, while Bresnan and Poysden took two each. I would expect Yorkshire to make it two wins out of two – all it will take is two of their top order play significant innings.
  • Durham v Leicestershire Leciestershire 233-9 from 50 overs
    Leicestershire were 112-7 at the low water mark of their innings, so this score represents a fight back. However, although it runs contrary to my hopes given their awful choice of captain I expect Durham to win this fairly easily and make it two wins from two. Tom Taylor made 59 off 63 balls and Dieter Klein, also mainly a bowler, scored 46 off 71 balls in the latter stages. Brydon Carse took 3-58, while Liam Trevaskis had 2-37 from his full 10 overs.
  • Hampshire v GlamorganGlamorgan 292-9 overs
    This is a tough one to call – Glamorgan’s total looks quite good, but none of their batters got more than 68 (achieved by David Lloyd off 62 balls and Graham Wagg off 57 balls). Kyle Abbott took 3-47 and Liam Dawson 2-57. Bearing in mind the successes of sides batting first so far this season I am going to predict a win for Glamorgan. 
  • Notinghamshire v Lancashire Nottinghamshire 417-7 from 50 overs
    A monster score by Nottinghamshire. Cricket is a glorious game precisely because it is wonderfully unpredictable, but it will the story of the day if Lancashire chase these down. My prediction is therefore a Nottinghamshire victory. Joe Clarke made 139 off 99 balls at the top off the order, Ben Slater hit 74 off 82, Tom Moores 74 off 39 and Luke Fletcher 46 not out off 17 at the end. Graham Onions managed 2–70 from his 10, quite an achievement in such a huge score, and Saqib Mahmood, a young medium pacer, collected 2-88 from his 10.
  • Somerset v Kent Somerset 358-9 from 50 overs
    A big total for Somerset, and one that I confidently expect them to defend. Tom Banton, a 20 year old keeper-batter scored 107 off 79 balls at the top of the Somerset order, Lewis Gregory contributed 51 from 45, and Craig Overton scored 66 not out off 36 at the death. Stevens, Podmore, Klassen and Milnes each took two wickets, the veteran Stevens managing to go for only 50 from his ten overs.
  • Essex v MiddlesexMiddlesex 366-8 from 50 overs
    A great effort by Middlesex. Dawid Malan led off with 95 from 102 balls, and Nick Gubbins with 56 off 57 kept things going when Middlesex might have got into trouble, before George Scott, a 23 year old right hander, scored 63 off just 28 balls to give the total a late boost. Peter Siddle took 3-71 and Dan Lawrence’s leg spin brought him 2-63 – his batting will be needed later if Essex are to get anywhere near chasing this total down. I expect Middlesex to win this one, especially given that teams batting first have done so well so far this season.

Thus my calls in these games are: Derbyshire, Yorskhire, Durham, Glamorgan, Nottinghamshire, Somersert and Middlesex. The Surrey v Sussex match is at too early a stage for a prediction as it is a day/night game. Surrey are 206-4 in the 40th over. Will Jacks made 56 for Surrey, Foakes has 41 not out and Pope, just starting to hit the launchpad, is 32 not out. None the Sussex bowlers have really noteworthy figures. If Foakes and Pope keep going and propel Surrey to something in the vicinity of 300 they will be favourites, while if Sussex keep Surrey below about 270 they will have a good chance. Update – Pope has just gone for 33, making 209-5, swinging things back towards Sussex. Rikki Clarke has joined Foakes. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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All-Time Squads – England

I select an England squad from players I have witnessed and a true all-time England squad.

INTRODUCTION

This is the start of a new series which will appear on this blog periodically in between posts about other things. I will pick two squads in each of these posts – one restricted to players whose performances I have witnessed live and one true all-time squad, using my considerable knowledge of cricket history. I will also be including a few other things after the main body of the post. We will being the main part of the post with…

ENGLAND SQUAD FROM PLAYERS I HAVE WITNESSED LIVE

To begin with we need an opening pair. I refuse to consider those who went on the two English rebel tours to South Africa. The serious contenders left are:

  • Mike Atherton – 7,.728 runs at 37.69 from 115 test matches. A fine record, though that average was reduced by his encounters with Glenn McGrath who seriously had the wood on him. 
  • Alec Stewart – 8,463 test runs at 39.54 from 133 test matches. These already impressive figures conceal the fact that Stewart the specialist batter (the role in which I would be using him) averaged 47, while Stewart the keeper averaged 34. 
  • Marcus Trescothick – 76 test matches produced 5,825 runs at 43.79. An attack-minded left hander, Trescothick hit the ground running at Test level with 66 against the West Indies on debut, and until mental health issues caused his premature retirement from international cricket he went from strength to strength.
  • Andrew Strauss – 100 test matches, 7,037 runs at 40.91. An consistent opener who did even better as captain than he did in the ranks. 
  • Alastair Cook England’s all time leading test run scorer, with 12,472 at 45.35, he started his test career with a fifty and a century against India and ended it 12 years later with a fifty and a century against India. 

Of these five I can accommodate three in my squad (an opening pair and a reserve opener), and my choice, with due respect to Messrs Atherton and Trescothick is to go for Alastair Cook and Alec Stewart (mainly defensive left hander and more attacking right hander) as my first choice opening pair and Strauss as the reserve opener. It is a close call between Strauss and Trescothick, but Strauss’ captaincy experience gives him an edge.

My designated number three bat and captain is Michael Vaughan. Number three has traditonally been a problem position for England, but Vaughan was magnificent there – his only rival in my lifetime is Jonathan Trott, but since I want Vaughan as captain he gets the nod. When it comes to picking three middle-order batters there is an embarrassment of riches to choose from. There are two left-handers, David Gower and Graham Thorpe and a phalanx of right-handers including Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Joe Root and Paul Collingwood who all did fine things at test level. I can only select three, two to be in the first XI and one as cover, and my choices are Joe Root, David Gower and Kevin Pietersen. 

With all due respect to Andrew Flintoff and Ben Stokes who have both had great achievements at the highest level there is only one candidate for the allrounders role in my view and that is Ian Botham

There are four potential candidates for the wicketkeepers slot, of whom I need to select two since I do not intend using Stewart in that role. My four candidates are:

  • Jack Russell – a magnificent keeper, but his test batting average of 27.10 was a little on the low side.
  • Matt Prior – there was never a question about his batting skills, but his keeping took a while to develop, though he became very good indeed.
  • Jonny Bairstow – A fine attacking batter and a good keeper, but rarely able to combine the two at test level
  • Ben Foakes – A magnificent keeper and averaging over 40 in his brief test career so far.

It will be considered controversial in some circles to give the nod to someone still in the early stages of their career, but my choices are Ben Foakes as first choice keeper and Matt Prior as reserve. 

I have now selected a total of ten players, and a regulation squad would be 16, so I have six places available to fill the squad. For quick bowlers I go for James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Simon Jones and Steve Harmison. Phil Tufnell was too inconsistent and Ashley Giles not really good enough, so my choices for the spinners slots are Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann.

Thus my squad of sixteen is:

Alec Stewart
Alastair Cook
Andrew Strauss (reserve opener)
*Michael Vaughan
David Gower
Kevin Pietersen
Joe Root
Ian Botham
+Ben Foakes
+Matt Prior
James Anderson
Stuart Broad
Steve Harmison
Simon Jones
Graeme Swann
Monty Panesar

The likely first XI, assuming a pitch that does not favour any particular type of bowling would be: Stewart, Cook, *Vaughan, Root, Gower, +Foakes, Botham, Swann, Broad, Anderson and Harmison, with Kevin Pietersen just missing the final cut in favour of Root (Gower’s lefthandedness works to his advantage).

THE ALL TIME SQUAD

For this one I start with the greatest of all opening pairs, Jack Hobbs and Herbert SutcliffeIn addition to being one half of the greatest of all opening pairs Herbert Sutcliffe’s averages suggest, as does everything ever written about him, a big match temperament par excellence – 52.02 in first class cricket, 60.73 in all test cricket and in the cauldron of The Ashes, 66.85. As reserve opener I select W G Grace, reckoning that his test batting average (32.29) was reduced both by the pitches he played on and the fact that he was already 32 when he played his first test match in 1880, and his career at that level lasted until within a couple of months of his 51st birthday. My remaining choices for batting slots are Joe Root (captain), Denis Compton, Walter Hammond and Frank Woolley (the latter two more than handy bowlers as well as great fielders, and Woolley a left-hander). For the wicketkeepers I opt for Les Ames as first choice and Ben Foakes as reserve. Ian Botham retains his place as designated all-rounder. For the bowlers I retain Anderson, and augment his presence with Fred Trueman, Syd Barnes (189 wickets at 16.43 from just 27 matches) and George Lohmann (112 wickets in 18 test matches at an eye-popping 10.75). My two players selected as spinners are Hedley Verity (slow-left arm) and Jim Laker (off-spin).

Thus my squad list reads:

Jack Hobbs
Herbert Sutcliffe
W G Grace (reserve opener)
Denis Compton
*Joe Root
Walter Hammond
Frank Woolley
+Les Ames
+Ben Foakes
Ian Botham
Fred Trueman
Syd Barnes
George Lohmann
James Anderson
Jim Laker
Hedley Verity

The first XI in batting order, assuming the pitch does not justify either two specialist spinners or an all-seam attack is: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Compton, *Root, Woolley, +Ames, Botham, Lohmann, Laker, Trueman and Barnes. I select Laker ahead of Verity as the lone specialist spinner because Woolley was a good enough slow-left armer to have taken 10 wickets in a test match and Compton could bowl slow left-arm wrist spin.

A BIT OF NEWS

Today as part of my continuing recovery from cancer I attended a physio session at Tapping House, and it went very well. I handled all four of the exercises I did today reasonably well, and my breathing behaved itself. It is a nice small group, and the setting is good.

PICTURES

My usual sign off…

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The first 11 pictures here are from Tapping House.

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It took three attempts…
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to get a decent picture…
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…of this bird which I saw crossing the carpark at Tapping House.

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Tapping House’s youngest visitors!
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Back home.

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Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination

My response to being nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award.

INTRODUCTION

Thank you to simpleillusionblog for the nomination. This post is my response to that nomination.

SBA

I hope that learnography will get something close to an answer to a question they raised in a comment recently:

Will you share how you feel before, during or after the writing? In fact, writing is the motor knowledge of brain circuits which deals with the finger mapping of cerebellar learnography. Your therapeutic experience is valuable in the development of cerebellar basal ganglia circuitry. Thanks

First up for the rest of thist post…

THE RULES

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.

MY ANSWERS TO SIMPLEILLUSION’S QUESTIONS

  1. How dedicated are you as a blogger? pretty dedicated – in just under eight years since I started I have produced just over 1,500 posts, and whenever possible I like to put something up most days. I also read a huge number of blogs, posting likes and where appropriate comments.
  2.  What do you love most about blogging? Interacting with a community, something that I struggle with except via the medium of a computer.
  3. Do you collect anything when you travel and if so, what and why? I collect maps to remind of me of places I have visited and I also collect photographs to share so that others can see things that have caught my eye.
  4. Do you speak any other languages? No, I am sadly monolingual (my efforts to learn other languages have all been failures).
  5. Are you a tea or coffee drinker? I am a coffee drinker. These days I drink filter coffee, and my method for producing the perfect brew is: Two heaped scoops of coffee grounds into the pot, cover with enough boiling water to produce two cups of coffee, place the top over the pot and leave to stand for not less than five minutes (I check my emails while filling in this time), then press the plunger down and pour. The result looks like black muck and drinks like liquid velvet.
  6. How did your blog get its name and why did you start it? My blog got its name from a shortening of my official 2006 diagnosis – Asperger’s Syndrome – although these days like most autistic people I simply use autism and refer to myself where appropriate as an autistic person. I started the blog because I hoped that people would be interested in reading about an autistic person from their own point of view. Also, I find writing to be therapeutic – I always feel better for having created a blog post.
  7. What post are you most proud of on your blog? The one I wrote about going through a melt down, because it was a difficult and sensitive subject and if I had misfired with such a post I could have copped some serious stick, while in the event it was very well received.
  8. Name one thing you didn’t expect to happen with your blog that has. That I would acquire as many followers as I have done – almost 800 of you now follow this blog.
  9. What is your typical weekend like? I can no longer claim to have a typical weekend, but unless something (usually an unscheduled hospital trip these days) prevents it Sunday lunch with family remains a regular feature.
  10. What is your greatest inspiration in life? My inspiration comes from the natural world – I love to get outside in to green spaces and see what the beasts and birds are doing.
  11. What advice would you give someone wanting to start a travel blog today? I would say start by picking a title for your blog and creating a wordpress site, then continue by searching wordpress for travel blogs and see what kinds of stuff they post, also leave a few likes and comments to advertise your presence (I spent my first three years or so as a blogger failing to do this), then think about what you want your first post to look like and set about creating it. Once you have created the post make sure it is categorized and tagged properly (no more than 10 tags for a post or you could fall foul of various spam filters) and that you have a good feature image. If you do other forms of social media (not all bloggers do) then post links there to maximise exposure of the blog.

MY QUESTIONS

  1. What inspired you to become a blogger?
  2. How do you promote your blog?
  3. What has been your greatest recent challenge?
  4. Do you ever set yourself to do muli-post blogging projects (e.g my “100 cricketers” series, which occupied 40 posts)?
  5. How do you go about creating a blog post?
  6. Which of your posts did you most enjoy creating and why?
  7. Where in the world would you most like to visit and why?
  8. What is your favourite meal?
  9. What kind of music do you most enjoy? If you fancy expanding on this one you could do a “Desert Island Discs” style selection of eight pieces and finish by pickinf one from that list.
  10. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  11. Do you have an idea that you think you could turn into a book? If so what is it?

MY NOMINATIONS

I have nominated the following, who I present as a bulleted list to avoid any suggestion of a ranking order:

If I have not nominated you but you fancy taking on my questions anyway, please feel free to do so.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I sign off in my usual fashion…

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