100 Cricketers – Ninth XI, Nepal’s Magician

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.

INTRODUCTION

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:

  • Hampshire v YorkshireYorkshire 160-2
    A solid start by Yorkshire with the bat. Adam Lyth made 67, Gary Ballance is unbeaten on 51 and Joe Root has 34 not out. Both wickets have been taken by Fidel Edwards. 
  • Nottinghamshire v SomersetNottinghamshire 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 EssexSurrey 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 Renshaw have 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 Miles and Ryan Sidebottom, an Australian unrelated to the left-arm quick of the same name who played for Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.
  • Durham v SussexDurham 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).
  • Glamorgan v NorthamptonshireGlamorgan 198-3
    Looks like a solid start for Glamorgan. South African born Aussie Marnus Labuschagne is 86 not and Billy Root, younger brother of the England test captain is 33 not out. Jason Holder, Nathan Buck and Zimbabwean Blessing Muzarabani each have a wicket.
  • Derbyshire v Gloucestershire Derbyshire 159-3
    Given that Gloucestershire won the toss and chose to field Derbyshire are faring pretty well. Tom Lace has 74 not out. The wickets have gone to three young bowlers, Matt Taylor (24), Ryan Higgins (24) and Josh Shaw (23).
  • Worcestershire v LeicestershireWorcestershire 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.
  • Middlesex v LancashireMiddlesex 160-3
    A good start for Middlesex. Steve Eskinazi made 75 and opener Nick Gubbins 55, and two of the wickets have fallen to a young fast medium bowler named Tom Bailey (he shares a pair of initials with a right-arm fast-medium of yesteryear, Trevor Bailey, but is apparently unrelated to him).

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…

SANDEEP LAMICHHANE

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:

I hope that Ms Bouman gets the credit (including a Nobel Prize for physics) that this achievement warrants. Here are links to some good articles about this:

Next comes a piece from The Independent titled “Prehistoric autism helped produce much of the world’s earliest great art, study says” – picture link below:

Cave painting of lions drawn on the walls of the Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave in the south of France. It was painted about 30,000 years ago

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.org and decide for yourselves which looks closer):

Small White (underwing) by Jim Asher
Small White (click here for more information)
Wood White (male & female) by Peter Eeles
Wood White (click here for more information)

Now for today’s pictures…

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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 SomersetNottinghamshire 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 SussexDurham 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. 

 

 

100 Cricketers – Ninth XI Fast Bowlers

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.

INTRODUCTION

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…

FAST BOWLERS

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…

IAN BISHOP

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.

MITCHELL JOHNSON

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 Army to 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.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I sign off in my usual fashion…

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I was pleased to spot this butterfly while walking round the grassy area outside my bungalow this morning.

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I made two attempts to capture this helicopter on camera this afternoon…
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…and succeeded twice.

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

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

INTRODUCTION

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

SOPHIE DEVINE

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

ADAM GILCHRIST

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

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

INTRODUCING THE 5TH XI

Here in batting order is the fifth XI:

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

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some of my photographs to finish with:

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

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Tammy Beaumont and Women Playing Alongside Men

A radical suggestion for dealing with the England men’s teams top order batting woes…

INTRODUCTION

Having introduced my new series about cricketers in my last post I now move on to an opening batter who provides a springboard for plenty of other ideas.

VALE ATQUE AVE

The 2015 English cricket season started with the news of the dropping and subsequent international retirement of Charlotte Edwards after a long and illustrious career (she features later in this series). Who was going to fill the monster sized vacancy that her departure left at the top of the England women’s batting order? 

The first England women’s squad post the dropping and retirement of Edwards featured an opening pair of Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield. Beaumont immediately began making big runs in her new role at the top of the order, and remarkably a fairly seamless transition from one era to the next took place.

OPENING WOES IN THE MENS TEAM

Meanwhile in the ranks of the England men’s team a gaping hole was emerging at the top of the batting order. Alastair Cook, so long an absolute rock in that position, seemed to have gone into irreversible decline and none of those selected to partner him looked remotely good enough. Mark Stoneman went after a sequence of test matches that brought him four 5o plus scores but never saw him get as far as 60 (and he had several lives in the course of his top score of 59). He was replaced by Keaton Jennings who has scored two test hundreds but who is also looking at an average of 25.86 after 16 test matches (at least 15 runs per innings light for a specialist batter at that level). 

When Cook announced that he was retiring from international cricket the problem became greater still. Rory Burns of Surrey was an obvious candidate for one slot at the top of the order, having scored far more runs than anyone else in the English season. For the the other England faced a difficult decision between the following:

  1. Stick with the underachieving Jennings and hope for miracles.
  2. Revert to Stoneman with even less chance of success
  3. Bring in a second brand new opener and hope that (at least) one of the newbies hits their straps right from the start.
  4. Faced with an assortment of unappealing options as listed above go for someone who has been making stacks of international runs at the top of the order and give Tammy Beaumont her chance to play alongside the men.

In the event England took option one, and one big score for him in Sri Lanka apart it has not worked out either for them or for Jennings. In the test match currently under way at St Lucia England are doing well, but they have not had many top order runs to work with, although Burns batted a long time in the first innings. In the first two tests of this series England were roundly defeated, and the less said about their batting efforts, the better. 

COULD A WOMAN PLAY ALONGSIDE THE MEN?

The short answer is yes. I would not expect a female fast bowler to be able to hold their own as power is so important in this department, but in batting, fielding, wicketkeeping and slow bowling, where there is less of a premium on pure power I see no reason why a female could not hold their own with the men, and my suggestion relates specifically to an opening batter. 

If some new opener makes a succession of centuries in the early part of the English season , thereby forcing themselves on the selectors my current thinking may be modified, but at the moment I remain convinced that the best solution to the England Mens team’s opening woes is to give Beaumont her chance and see what happens.

THOMAS SQUAD FOR 1ST ASHES MATCH

I have misgivings about someone who is almost 33 starting a test career from fresh, but Joe Denly’s 69 in St Lucia would seem to have earned him an extended run, so it is on that basis that he features in my squad for the first Ashes Match. I will list the names, and then append some explanations:

  1. I Beaumont
  2. Rory Burns
  3. Joe Denly
  4. Joe Root*
  5. Joss Buttler
  6. Ben Foakes+
  7. Ben Stokes
  8. Sam Curran
  9. Adil Rashid
  10. Jack Leach
  11. Mark Wood
  12. James Anderson
  13. Olly Stone

I have named 13 because the exact make up the bowling unit will depend on the nature of the pitch and the conditions. I regard Anderson, Wood and Stone as essential for the seam attack (two outright quicks, and England’s all-time leading wicket taker), with Leach and Rashid in that order of precedence as spin options should conditions warrant it, and Curran as a fourth front-line seamer (possibly batting at 7 in place of Stokes) should conditions warrant that option. Bairstow at no 3, as a specialist batter, is also an option but would seem shockingly inconsistent given the Denly has produced a significant score in St Lucia, which is why he is not there in my list.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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A recent acquisition, which has also featured on my London Transport themed website.

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Will The 2019 Aspi.blog Calendar Be All Cornish?

Presenting an idea for the next aspi.blog wall calendar and inviting suggestions in response.

INTRODUCTION

Those of you familiar with this blog will know that a photographic wall calendar has become something of a tradition – the 2019 effort when I finally do it will be number four. I have started thinking about and this post is intended to show one possibility.

A CORNISH THEMED CALENDAR

Those of you who saw my “A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall” series (you can access them all from here) will be aware of the amazing scenery I saw while I was down there. Since it was obvious that a number of those pictures would have to feature I then started thinking about how a Cornish gallery calendar might work, and this is where I have reached so far.

THE FRONT COVER

To provide a clue of what is within this is my envisaged front cover pic if I go the “pure Cornish” route:

Christopher Saxton's Cornwall

OTHER POSSIBLE PICTURES

January would be this one:

Fort Picklecombe

The other pictures that I have identified as possibles, in no particular order are these:

The Brunel bridge
This bridge is so iconic that my shot of it would have to feature.

Heron, Lelant SaltingsCarbis Bay IIOld phone box, St IvesOld GWR clockCrabseal waves a flipper IIswimming seal

St Michael's Mount panorama
After a number from St Ives, we move on St Michael’s Mount and its surroundings.

Harbour, causeway and Marazion from aboveSeaside garden IIFarewell to the cannonsCornish flagRed Admiral IV

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Do you think the “pure Cornish Calendar” idea works? If so do you have any other of my Cornish pictures that you would like to see featured? If not feel free to suggest others of my pictures that should be there.

 

A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall 9: The Top of St Michael’s Mount and the Descent

Continuing my account of a visit to St Michael’s Mount.

INTRODUCTION

This is the third to last post about the day at St Michael’s Mount, and the ninth in my series about my summer visit to Cornwall. The next post will be all about the vast collection of antique maps that are on show here, and then a final post about the last stages of the day. I then have the journey home to cover to complete the series.

THE REMAINDER OF THE SUMMIT

At the end of the previous post in this series were about to head indoors for the second time in our exploration of St Michael’s Mount…

The mainlandStained glass VIIRoseCarving and stone inscriptionTrio of miniaturesShepherdEagle and windowangelthree in one frameSeptetRose II

Organ
This organ looks splendid.

Organ close-up 1Organ close-up 2DedicationAngel and windowMemorial and windowMemorials and windowPainting and windowTrio and window panelsText and windowThe second Lord St LevanArchitectOrgan and windowLiving roomPortrait XPortrait XIMantel clockbusts and windowCupid

At this point we entered the map room. As an appetiser for the next post I offer one picture from there…

Christopher Saxton's Cornwall

After the maps came a display featuring large amounts of weaponry…

remains of spiral staircase
The remains of a spiral staircase

hornDollArmour IgunsTruncheonstruncheons and gunsMore gunsWeapons VSpearsWeaponryWeaponry IIShield IIHorses Head

Cornish map with extras
A final map, separated from all the others.

girls armourbreastplates and helmetsGiant clock IClockfaceClock case18th Century mugMug provenanceUniformCapShoulder plate

That ended the indoor stuff until lunch time.

THE DESCENT

The descent takes past an emplacement of mini-cannons which are of French Revolutionary origin…

mini cannonsMini cannoncannon markings ICannon markings IICannon markings IIIMini cannon emplacementCannon markings IVCannon markings VCornish flagCannon markings VICauseway from the cannon emplacementFarewell to the cannons

Just beyond this I encountered a Red Admiral butterfly:

Red Admiral I
At first it had its wings folded making ID difficult…

Red Admiral II

Red Admiral III
…but when it opened them out there was little room for doubt.

Red Admiral IV

Not long after this we could see our next destination, where we would be having lunch.

Nearly back at sea levelsea level buildings

A Couple of Puzzles and Some Butterflies

A couple of easy problems on brilliant.org that have generated considerable controversy, and some butterfly pics of my own.

INTRODUCTION

A couple of this weeks puzzles on brilliant.org have generated considerable controversy, so I am going to share them with you as a prelude to the butterfly pics. Both puzzles are actually very simple, and I will provide solutions and explanations some time on Friday.

PUZZLE 1: DR FRANKENINE

Here is a screenshot of the first puzzle:

Dr Frankenine

PUZZLE TWO: FUEL TANK

Here it is:

Fuel Tank

BUTTERFLIES

These are from Saturday and Monday. In addition the ones I have photographs of I have seen one other species, mainly white but with flame coloured wingtips but not yet been able to photograph it.

Small Tortoiseshell IIISmall Tortoiseshell IIWhite butterflySmall Tortoiseshellgreen and white butterflyveined white butterfly