An international women’s day special, selecting an XI of the finest contemporary female cricketers, with a couple of extra features.
Today is International Women’s Day, and as a cricket fanatic I am commemorating it by selecting an XI comprising the finest talents from contemporary women’s cricket.
THE XI IN BATTING ORDER
Laura Wolvaardt – right handed opening batter. The 21 year old South African already has over 2,000 ODI runs at an average of 46. She forms one half of an opening partnership that blends youth and experience and could confidently be expected to function superbly. A career best 149 and one other hundred indicate that she can go big.
Tammy Beaumont – right handed opening batter. Just a few days short of her 30th birthday, the experienced England opener is in the form of her life at the moment, reflected by her status as the no1 ODI batter in women’s cricket. She averages a run per innings less than Wolvaardt, but has played rather more. Seven centuries in ODIs confirm her ability to go on and get big runs.
Smriti Mandhana – left handed top order batter. She normally opens for India, but should also go well at number three. An ODI average of 42, including four centuries at that level indicates a player of high class, and she is also one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all international batters, especially when driving through the covers.
Amelia Kerr – right handed batter, leg spinner. At the age of 20 she has a personal highlights reel at international level that includes a double century and a five wicket haul. In the one victory New Zealand recorded over England in their recent series she starred with 72 and four wickets.
Ellyse Perry – right handed batter, right arm fast medium bowler. The 30 year old Aussie is the most complete all rounder in the game. Her eight test appearances have yielded her a batting average of 78 and a bowling average of 18, in 112 ODIs she averages 52 with the bat and 24 with the ball, while in 120 T20Is she averages 28 with the bat and 19 with the ball. She has also found time to feature in the later stages of a football world cup along the way – she is an all rounder in more than one sense!
+Amy Jones – right handed batter, keeper. Her batting is improving, and her keeping at its best can be reminiscent of great predecessor in the role, Sarah Taylor.
Deepti Sharma – left handed batter, off spinner. She averages 38 with the bat and 27 with the ball in ODIs.
Katherine Brunt – right arm fast medium bowler, right handed lower order batter. She regularly bats seven for England, having massively improved that area of her game over the years, but it is her bowling that makes her worth her place.
Sophie Ecclestone – left arm orthodox spinner, right handed lower order batter. 106 international wickets at less than 20 each and she is still only 21. For more detail on her please visit Inside Edge Cricket’s post on her produced specially for today as this post is, by clicking here.
Poonam Yadav – leg spinner, right handed lower order batter. A complete contrast to her predecessor in the order, who is very tall, the leggie is the smallest member of the XI, and bowls very slow, high tossed spinners. She has many remarkable spells to her credit, perhaps the most outstanding being against Australia in a world T20 cup match, when the latter were seemingly cruising to victory when she was brought on and nailed on for defeat by the time she had bowled her four overs.
Shabnim Ismail – right arm fast medium, left handed lower order batter. The veteran South African is bowling as well now as she ever as and will be an excellent new ball partner for Brunt. She had a superb tournament in the most recent running of the Women’s Big Bash League.
This team comprises a stellar top five, two of whom are genuine all rounders, a splendid keeper/batter at six, a genuine all rounder at seven, a top quality bowling all rounder at eight and three superb specialist bowlers. Brunt and Ismail with the new ball, Perry as third seamer if needed and spin quartet of Ecclestone, Yadav, Sharma and Kerr provides a bowling attack that should be comfortably able to meet all eventualities. Below is the team in infographic form:
LINK AND PHOTOGRAPHS
Just the one link before my usual sign off, a tweet which fits the international women’s day theme – it is a list of rape prevention tips, which rather than being the usual victim-blaming c**p such things usually are actually addresses those who need to be told – the men. It was posted by Theresa Drennan, and can be viewed it’s original niche by clicking here.
A special ‘all time XI’ cricket themed post to mark my 45th birthday – the 45ERs, who all have a connection to that number, take on an Entertainers XI.
Welcome to the 45th birthday special edition of my ‘all time XI‘ series. I have selected one team with a specific eye to the landmark itself, and the second with an eye to entertainment value.
THE BRIEF IN DETAIL
The teams who will do battle for the aspi.blog trophy consist of an XI all of whom have associations with the number 45. In each case I explain the connection with varying degrees detail. The other side is a side picked for entertainment value, although of course class is not overlooked. The Gentlemen v Players match at Lord’s in 1898 was scheduled so that the third day thereof was WG Grace’s 50th birthday (see David Kynaston’s book “WG’s Birthday Party”), while eight years later WG again marked his birthday by batting against the Players at Lord’s, and played a crucial innings of 74.
Rachael Heyhoe-Flint – right handed batter. Her test average was 45.54, which tecnically rounds to 46, but I allowed myself this tiny degree of latitude. Her best test score was 179 against Australia. It is appropriate that as I listen to ‘retrolive’ commentary on the 2019 World Cup final there is a someone who won a world cup for England in action (she captained England to success in the 1973 Women’s World Cup, the first such tournament ever played).
Justin Langer– left handed opening batter. He had a test average of 45.27. His test best was 250 against England.
Tom Graveney – right handed batter. He averaged 44.91 in first class cricket, which to the nearest whole number is 45. His test average was a little less, a mere 44.38. His highest test score was 258 against the West Indies. He holds two niche first class records – he scored 200 in the lowest ever team score to feature such an innings, and he is also alone in scoring over half of his team’s score in each innings of a first class match.
Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji – right handed batter. He averaged 44.95 in test cricket, which to the nearest whole number is 45. His two test centuries were both 150+ scores – 154 at Old Trafford on debut and 175 at Sydney in the opening match in the 1897-8 series.
Ellyse Perry – right handed batter, right arm fast medium bowler. Her combined average across the three international formats is 44.66 (4,864 runs in total for 109 times out), which to the nearest whole number is 45. You may consider that using an all-format average is a slightly sneaky way of including someone, but I consider this to be entirely justified, especially given who it enables me to pick.
Brian Close– left handed batter, right arm off spinner, right arm medium pace bowler. He gets in because he played his last test series (against the West Indies in 1976) at the age of 45, a mere 27 years after making his debut at the highest level.
+Mark Boucher – wicket keeper, right handed batter. In total across tests and ODIs he made 45 stumpings, which qualifies him for this team (Bert Oldfield in many fewer matches, tests alone, made 52, while Eng;and’s Sarah Taylor made over 50 in each of ODIs and T20Is. Boucher did almost all of his keeping at the highest level to quick bowlers which is why his stumping tally is low for so accomplished and enduring a practitioner.
*Ian Johnson– off spinner, useful lower order batter. He was literally the first name on tbis team sheet because he played precisely 45 test matches. In the 45th and last he took his tally of test runs to precisely 1,000, thereby completing the career double. He was captain of Australia in between Lindsay Hassett, who succeeded Bradman, and Richie Benaud, another spinner who could handle a bat as well.
Gubby Allen – right arm fast bowler, useful lower order batter. His last international appearances came when at the age of 45 he captained a tour party to the West Indies. He once scored a test century from no9 – 122 against New Zealand as he and Les Ames (137) put on 246 for the eight wicket, England rebounding from 190-7 to tally 454.
Harold Larwood – right arm fast bowler, useful lower order batter. Setting aside his 33 wickets in the 1932-3 Ashes series, in the rest of his test career he managed 45 scalps.
John Traicos– off spinner. The ultimate multinational cricketer, born in Egypt to parents of Greek descent, he turned out for South Africa as a youngster. Then, when Zimbabwe were promoted to test status he played for them at that level as well, and by the time the great moment arrived, 22 years after his last appearance for South Africa, he was 45 years old.
This team has a good top six, of whom two, Perry and Close, could also weigh in with the ball, a top of the range keeper, and four fine bowlers, of whom three are capable of contributing with the bat. The balance is not ideal, with both spinners being off spinners, but it is still a side that should give a good account of itself, and given the constraints around selection I am pleased with it. On the name 45ERS, USian readers will recognize ’49ers’ as the name of a famous sporting franchise, which reflects the 1849 California gold rush (they are, or at least were, based in San Francisco), and I adapted that name to suit my purposes.
THE ENTERTAINERS XI
Sanath Jayasuriya – left handed opening batter, left arm orthodox spinner. The star of the 1996 World Cup, his finest test batting display was probably the 213 he made at The Oval in 1998, which gave Muralitharan the opportunity to spin England to defeat, duly accepted.
Virender Sehwag – right handed opening batter, occasional off spinner. The only batter ever to score a 100+ runs in each session of a test day. He made a century on test debut, and he is definitely among his country’s all time top five openers (Agarwal and Sharma, the current incumbents would be there in most reckonings, Gavaskar’s record speaks for itself and Vijay Merchant, at a time when India by and large struggled had a test average of 47.
Graeme Pollock – a magnificent and all-attacking batter, with an average of 60.97 in test cricket.
Viv Richards – right handed batter, occasional off spinner. The man who gave cricket ‘intimidatory batting’.
Garry Sobers – left handed batter, left arm bowler of every type known to cricket. The most complete all rounder the game of cricket has ever known. In 1971-2 he scored 254 for The Rest of The World versus Australia, an innings that Don Bradman described as the greatest he evr saw played in Australia.
George Hirst – right handed batter, left arm pace bowler. One of the two subjects of the famous question and answer: “Who is the world’s best all rounder?” “He comes from Kirkheaton, bats right handed and bowls left, and that is all that can be saud for sure.” Hirst was more aggressive in approach than Rhodes, and was also noted as one of the most brilliant fielders of the day.
Leslie Ames – right handed batter, wicket keeper. The man who won the Walter Lawrence trophy for the fastest first class hundred of the season twice in its first three seasons. Over 400 of his 1,100+ first class dismissals were stumpings, a tribute both to his skill standing up and to the spinners who played for Kent at that time.
*Billy Bates – off spinner, useful lower order batter. Opposite number to Ian Johnson. He averaged 27 with the bat and 16 with the ball in his 15 match test career, which was terminated by an eye injury.
Frank Tyson – right arm fast bowler. My pick to ‘keep Larwood honest’ – how’s that for a tasty clash.
Sydney Barnes– right arm fast medium. His speciality was a leg break delivered at fast medium pace, and 189 wickets in 27 tests at16.43 each, 77 of them in 13 matches down under, is testament to his effectiveness.
William Mycroft – left arm fast bowler. He was the first ever to take 17 wickets in a county match (17-103 for Derbyshire v Hampshire in 1876 – Hampshire sneaked home by one wicket in spite of his efforts). He took his first class wickets at 12.09 each, but was in his prime just too early to play test cricket.
This team has a powerhouse top six, all attacking players by instinct, two fo them genuine all rounders, an aggressive keeper batter and wonderful depth and variety in the bowling department – right arm pace from Tyson, left arm pace from Mycroft, Hirst and Sobers, off spin from Bates, with Sehwag and Richards as back up, Barnes’ craft and guile which serves as a leg spin equivalent, and left arm spin from Sobers or Jayasuriya.
THE FIGHT FOR THE ASPI.BLOG TROPHY
Unsurprisingly given the selection constraints on the 45ERS, the Entertainers would start as strong favourites, but I would expect it to be a fine contest, well worth watching. I would hope for the curator to produce a pitch with pace and bounce that also offers turn for the spinners.
A QUIRK ABOUT THE NUMBER 45
45 X 45 = 2,025 and 20+25 = 45
45 x 45 x 45 = 91,125 and 9+11+25 = 45
45 x 45 x 45 x 45 = 4,100,625 and 4+10+06+25 = 45
The sequence ends at this point – there is a way of making the digits of 45 x 45 x 45 x 45 x 45 add up to 45 but involved a lot more in the way of ‘cooking’ than merely using a leading zero which would not normally be present. However, no other number has arrangemnets of this nature for its second, third and fourth powers.
My 45th birthday special post is at an end, so all that remains is to apply my usual sign off…
Today’s exploration of ‘all time XI’ territory celebrates some outstanding individual performances.
Welcome to my latest exploration of the ‘all time XI‘ cricket theme. Today the focus is on outstanding individual performances, in the main clearly defined match winners, although I allowed myself one exception whose outstanding individual performance came in a drawn match, but was frequently enough the key contributor to victories to qualify. (at least IMO). Our two teams, who will be competing for the ‘Stokes-Botham’ trophy to honour two famous match winners who I neglected to pick, are simply named in honour of their captains.
CLEM HILL’S XI
Sanath Jayasuriya – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner. He was the player of the 1996 World Cup, and his test highlights include a 340 against India. However, the performance that gets him an opening berth here came at The Oval in 1998. Arjuna Ranatunga, one of the outstanding captains of my lifetime, won the toss and put England in on a flat pitch, and England batted decently to record a tally of 445 in the first dig. To give Ranatunga’s decision, taken in order to guarantee his bowling trump card, Muralitharan, got a decent break between what were going to be two long bowling stints Sri Lanka needed a big lead on first innings. Jayasuriya responded to this pressure situation with a rapid 213, the key contribution to a Sri Lankan tally of almost 600, which gave them both enough of a lead to be firm favourites and time to press home the advantage. A refreshed Muralitharan proceeded to slam home this advantage by twirling his way to 9-65 in the England second innings. Sri Lanka won very comfortably, with Muralitharan Player of the Match and Jayasuriya having to settle for an honourable mention (a joint award may have been appropriate on this occasion).
Graham Gooch – right handed opening batter, occasional right arm medium (and impersonations of more regular bowlers). His record breaking double act at Lord’s in 1990 (333 and 123 in a comfortable victory) might seem the obvious qualifier, but India on that occasion had a bowling ‘attack’ that barely merited the conventional descriptor, and the pitch was flatter than the proverbial pancake. In the Headingley test of 1991 by contrast the pitch was tricky to put it kindly, and the West Indies had a very hostile bowling attack (Marshall, Patterson, Ambrose and Walsh if memory serves). On a pitch which had seen first innings tallies of 198 and 173, and with Ambrose hitting his straps right from the start, Gooch produced an undefeated 154, as England scraped up 252 (Ramprakash and Pringle joint second top scorers with 27 each). The West Indies collapsed in the final innings and were well beaten. This innings by Gooch almost certainly did make the difference between victory and defeat.
*Clem Hill – left handed batter, brilliant fielder. It was a must-win game in the 1897-8 Ashes, the pitch was ordinary, and with one exception the Australian top order failed badly. The exception was Clem Hill, and with Hugh Trumble playing a stubborn supporting role for 46 in the only really substantial partnership of the innings. Australia reached 323, which put them in control of the match, and Hill’s share was 188.
‘Tip’ Foster – right handed batter. Foster played his first test innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground, at the start of the 1903-4 Ashes series. He responded to this initiation by producing an innings of 287 in an England total of 577. The ninth England wicket fell at 447, but Wilfred Rhodes, giving the first major indication of the batting skill that would see him play for his country as a specialist opener only a few years later, scored an unbeaten 40 from no11, helping the last wicket to add 130.
Garry Sobers – left handed batter, left arm bowler of every type known to cricket, brilliant fielder. When Garry Sobers walked out to bat against Pakistan after the loss of an early wicket at Sabina Park in 1957 he had a few decent knocks to his credit but had yet to go on to the three figure score that would confirm his claims to front line batting status. By the time the next wicket fell two days had gone by, and Comrad Hunte, the batter who was dislodged had scored 260, with the second wicket stand worth 446, just five short of the then test record held by Bradman and Ponsford at The Oval in 1934. Sobers, the century well behind him, continued on remorselessly, taking full advantage of a depleted Pakistan attack. Eventually he went past Len Hutton’s test record inidvidual score of 364 made at The Oval in 1938, and at that point the Windies declared at 790-3. Pakistan, thoroughly demoralized by Sobers’ ten hour display of dominance folded twice to lose to by a huge margin, and Sobers, having turned his first three figure test innings into a then record 365 not out was well and truly launched on the batting career that would ultimately bring 8,032 runs at 57.78 per innings with 26 centuries.
Amelia Kerr – right handed batter, leg spinner. At the tender age of 17 she belted 232 not out in an ODI, the highest ever by a woman in that form of the game. Thus far this effort remains her only major batting effort, but thanks to it her batting average is ahead of her bowling average (across international formats she averages 24 with the bat and 22 with the ball), and as she is still only 19 almost her entire career should still be ahead of her. Given the dearth of quality spinners in New Zealand if I was put money on a current female player becoming the first to play test cricket alongside the men my £1 would be on her to be the one to do it. I have argued elsewhere the batting does not depend on pure power, but on timing as well, and cited examples of successful batters of diminutive starure, and as a spinner she purveys a type of bowling that is all about craft and guile. In terms of the current Kiwi men;s team, the natural way to accommodate her would be to stick with Watling as keeper and no six batter, play her at no 7, and then bowlers at 8-11.
+Steve Marsh– wicket keeper, right handed batter. Wicket keepers scoring centuries has only become commonplace very recently, and wicket keepers making as many as eight dismissals in an innings remains a considerable rarity. To achieve both in the same match, as Steve Marsh of Kent did in the 1990s is therefore a truly remarkable double feat. In total during his career Marsh accounted for 737 dismissals and had a batting average of 28, which was very respectable for a wicket keeper in those days.
Stuart Broad – right arm fast medium bowler. Trent Bridge 2015 saw a combination of a little bit of late movement for Broad, some poor batting techniques from our ‘frenemies’ the Aussies and a couple of superb pieces of fielding which between them amounted to SCJ Broad 8-15, Australia 60 all out and match and Ashes settled on the first morning. The pinchhitter included video footage of this in their post this morning and I recommend you read the post and watch the video.
Jim Laker – off spinner. He qualifies several times over. At his native Bradford in 1950, for England against the Rest he took 8-2 on the first morning of the match as the Rest were skittled for 27 – and one of those singles was a gift to Eric Bedser, twin brother Alec having purposely moved back a few yards to make it easy for him to get off the mark! Fred Trueman scored the other single and was (no surprise here) unimpressed by the batting of some of his team mates. Then came 1956, with the prologue of 10-88 in the first innings of the Surrey v Australia tour match (2-42 at the second attempt, as Tony Lock came to the party with7-49) and the crushing final act at Old Trafford when his 9-37 and 10-53 (a first class record 19-90 in the match) won the match and the Ashes. England had run up 459 in the first innings, with Peter Richardson and David Sheppard, neither of them absolutely top ranking batters, scoring centuries. After Australia had slipped from 62-2 to 84 all out in the first innings, Colin McDonald batted five and a half hours for 89 in their second, with Jim Burke, Ian Craig and Richie Benaud all also showing fight, while there was a contest between Harvey and Mackay for the most embarrassing pair of spectacles in test history – Harvey bagged his by smashing a full toss straight to a fielder, while Mackay looked a complete novice, and although he survived a few deliveries he did not make contact with any. Four front line spinners operated in the course of this match and three of them had combined match figures of 7-380 for an average of 54.43 per wicket, while the other took 19-90, an average of 4.74 per wicket.
Gideon Elliott – right arm fast bowler. He was born in Merstham, Surrey in 1828, but played his first class cricket for Victoria, between 1856-7 and 1861-2. In that short span he played a mere nine matches, which brought him 48 wickets at 4.87 each! His most remarkable analysis in this brief but spectacular period was 9-2.
Edmund Peate – left arm orthodox spinner. The founder of a great lineage – he was thr first of a series of left arm spinners from Yorkshire that continued with Bobby Peel, Wilfred Rhodes, Alonzo Drake, Roy Kilner, Hedley Verity, Johnny Wardle and the last such to play for England, Don Wilson. He began as part of a troupe of ‘clown cricketers’ run by Arthur Treloar but recorded some very serious bowling figures before he had finished, including the innings of haul of 8-5 that earns him his place here. In total he bagged 1,076 first class wickets at 13.43 – he was definitely not just the guy whose wild swing against Harry Boyle condemned England to the defeat that created The Ashes.
This team features an excellent top five, a hugely promising young all rounder, a keeper who can bat and a well varied foursome of bowlers. There are three top line pace/ seam/ swing options with Elliott, Broad and Sobers, while Peate, Laker, Kerr and Sobers represent an abundance of spin options. Now it is time to meet the opposition.
ALONZO DRAKE’S XI
Herbert Sutcliffe– right handed opening batter. His massively impressive CV includes two clear cut Ashes winning innings. In 1926 at The Oval, with the England second innings starting with a small deficit and on a decidedly unpleasant pitch he and Jack Hobbs each made centuries, Hobbs going for precisely 100, Sutcliffe scoring 161 in seven hours. Thanks to this effort England made 436 in that second innings, and another Yorkshireman, 49 year old Wilfred Rhodes, took 4-44 in the final innings as Australia slumped to 125 all out and defeat by 289 runs. Fast forward two and a half years to Melbourne 1928 and the third match of that Ashes series, with England two up. At the start of the fourth innings England needed 332, and the pitch was so spiteful that with their innings starting on the resumption post lunch there was speculation that England would not even last until the tea break. Actually, the opening partnership was still intact come tea, and as it endured Hobbs decided to send a message that Jardine rather than Hammond should come in at three if a wicket fell that evening (ironically it was Jardine who was despatched to find out what Hobbs wanted). When Hobbs fell for 49 to make England 105-1 Jardine emerged, with the wicket still difficult, and held out until the close of play. The following morning Jardine went on to 33, and by the time he was out the pitch had eased considerably. Herbert Sutcliffe held out until he had reached 135 and England were almost over the line. They stumbled a little in those closing stages, but George Geary finally cracked a drive through mid on to settle the match by three wickets.
Alastair Cook – left handed opening batter. By the time England and Australia convened at Sydney for the final match of the 2010-11 Ashes Cook had already amassed two big hundreds in the series (a match saving 235 not out at Brisbane and 148 to help set up the win at Adelaide) and had helped, in company with Strauss to ensure that Australia’s first innings collapse at the MCG would be terminal to their hopes, although Trott with a big undefeated century was the batting star of that match. At The SCG Australia had won the toss, batted first and amassed a just about respectable 281, helped by some lusty blows from Mitchell Johnson. Unfortunately, when it came to his main job, with the ball, Johnson was barely able to raise a gallop or indeed hit the cut stuff. Weather interruptions meant that the England response got underway just before tea on day 2. There was less than an hour of day three to go when Cook finally surrendered his wicket for 189, bringing to an end 36 hours of batting for the series, with Australia’s goose well and truly cooked. A first Ashes ton for Matt Prior and some lively hitting from the tail boosted England’s total to 644, ending just before lunch on day 4. By the end of that day Australia were 169-6, and it was all over bar the shouting (of which the Barmy Army provided plenty on that final day). Before Australia’s third innings defeat of the series was confirmed Peter Siddle at no9 managed to be part of Australia’s largest partnership of the match for the second time in successive games, a stinging commentary on the efforts of their ‘front line’ batters.
Dilip Vengsarkar – right handed batter. The tall Indian averaged 42.13 in test cricket, and especially impressive for a batter of the 1980s, his record was better against the West Indies than it was in general. His ability to handle tough situations was never better illustrated than at Headingley in 1986, on a pitch on which 21 players did not manage a single fifty plus score between them, and Roger Binny, not normally regarded as a frightening prospect with a ball in his hand, claimed seven cheap wickets. In among this low scoring carnage Vengsarkar scored 61 and 102 in a convincing win for his side, which meant that they had won a series in England, for the first time ever.
Steve Smith – right handed batter, occasional leg spinner. Yes, I know that has batting style, to put it very kindly lacks visual appeal, and there are some who would say that being captain for ‘sandpapergate’ should have finished his career rather than merely interrupting it. However, ill disposed to him though I am, I have to acknowledge the sheer strength of character he displayed in making two 140+ scores on his return to the firing line at Edgbaston in 2019. Moreover that great batting double undoubtedly won the match for his side, and gave them a position of control in the series that, the ‘Headingley Heist’ notwithstanding, they never truly lost.
Ellyse Perry – right handed batter, right arm fast medium bowler. I am picking her in this team as more batter than bowler, so the performance that officially qualifies her is one that came in a drawn game. However she contributed, often decisively, to a fistful of victories in other formats. The innings in question of course is her remarkable test double century, which overshadowed everything else in that match. Her recent seven-for in an ODI is just one example of an unquestionably match winning effort by her. I suggested Amelia Kerr as a possibility for playing test cricket alongside the men, and although I do not now see that happening for Perry, I refer readers to this postfrom 2015, in which I suggested an unorthodox solution to Australia’s then middle order woes.
+Adam Gilchrist– left handed batter, wicket keeper. The most explosive keeper batter there has ever been. His first major test innings, with everyone thinking Australia were beaten was a thunderous 149 not out to win the match for his side, and it is that innings which gets him the nod today – his 57 ball ton at Perth in 2006-7 was scored at the expense of a thoroughly demoralized England who never looked remotely capable of doing anything other than losing that match.
Gilbert Jessop – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, brilliant fielder. Until the final innings of the 1902 test match at The Oval he had had a fairly quiet game, managing only 13 in England’s first innings, and his highlight in the field had been a lightning pick up and throw that ran out Victor Trumper at the start of the Aussie second innings. Jack Saunders and Hugh Trumble tore through the top England batting (four wickets to Saunders, one to Trumble to follow his eight in the first dig), and when Jessop emerged at 48-5, with England still needing 215 all most were hoping was that he would provide some fireworks before the inevitable end. 77 minutes later Jessop holed out with 104 to his name, having smashed the all-conquering Saunders out of the attack, although Trumble was still wheeling away at one end. The score was 187-7, meaning England still needed 76, but George Hirst was still there, and Lockwood stayed while 27 were added, then keeper Lilley helped the ninth wicket add a further 34, and the second ‘Kirkheaton twin’, Wilfred Rhodes, emerged from the pavilion with 15 needed for a famous victory. Gradually, amidst huge tension, they inched their way to the target, and it was eventually Rhodes who obtained the winning single. Jessop’s innings would not be approached either for speed or match turning quality in an Ashes match for a further 79 years, until Ian Botham twice took innings that Australia’s bowlers looked like destroying by the scruff of the neck.
*Alonzo Drake – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner. Before World War I abruptly terminated his career Drake achieved some astonishing feats. At Chesterfield in that final 1914 season he and Wilfred Rhodes turned a Derbyshire score of 64-2 into 68 all out, Drake capturing four wickets with successive balls along the way. Against Somerset that year he became the first Yorkshire bowler ever to take all ten in an innings, 10-35, that innings being the fourth successive first class innings in which he and Major Booth (given name, not rank) had bowled through unchanged.
Sarfraz Nawaz – right arm fast medium bowler. Australia, set 388 for victory, were apparently cruising at 305-3 when Sarfraz prepared to begin another spell of bowling. In his next 33 deliveries Sarfraz took the last seven wickets while conceding a single, and 305-3 had become 310 all out. Sarfraz’s total innings figures were 9-86.
Curtly Ambrose – right arm fast bowler. The WACA in Perth is not a venue that many visiting sides have fond memories of, though a side equipped with fast bowlers who manage to pitch the ball up rather than being lured into banging it in short by the bouncy nature of the surface are less likely than most to suffer there. In the 1992-3 series when the West Indies visited Australia reached the hundred with only one wicket down, and the script looked like being adhered to. Then Curtly Ambrose produced a spell of 7-1 in 33 deliveries, and Australia ended with a total of about 120, and the West Indies did not let this amazing spell go to waste – they won comfortably.
Arthur Mailey – leg spinner. During the 1920-1 Ashes, won 5-0 by Australia, he captured 36 wickets, becoming the first Australian to record a nine wicket haul in a test innings (9-121). Australia then travelled to England for the 1921 season. Their tour match against Gloucestershire seemed to be going fairly uneventfully, with Mailey having a couple of tail end wickets in the first innings, when in the second innings skipper and fellow leg spinner Armstrong tossed the ball to Mailey, saying “see what you can do against the top order this time.” Mailey responded by bowling right through the Gloucestershire innings, recording figures of 10-66, which gave him the perfect title for his autobiography “10 For 66 And All That”.
This team has a solid looking top four (that opening pair could certainly be expected to take a lot of shifting!), a couple of quality all rounders, a great keeper batter and a fine foursome of bowlers. It lacks an off spinner, but apart from that the bowling, with Sarfraz Nawaz, Curtly Ambrose, Gilbert Jessop and Ellyse Perry to bowl pace and Alonzo Drake and Arthur Mailey as spin options looks deep and varied.
AN EXCLUSION EXPLAINED
Many will have their own ideas as to who I should have included, and you are welcome to post comments to that effect. However, rather than doing a long list of honourable mentions I am going to explain one exclusion which will undoubtedly have upset some. Brian Charles Lara twice set world record test scores, 375 and 400 not out, ten years apart at Antigua, and scored a world first class record 501 not out v Durham. The problem is that all three of those games were drawn, and the Warwickshire performance and the second test performance were noteworthy for Lara’s obsessive pursuit of the record over and above all other considerations, to the extent that he actually asked Warwickshire skipper Dermot Reeve not to declare because he wanted the record.
The contest for the Botham-Stokes trophy looks like being a cracker. I would expect it to go to the wire, and I cannot predict who would emerge victorious.
AN APPEAL AND PHOTOGRAPHS
I have introduced my two teams for ‘Days In The Sun’, contending for the Botham-Stokes trophy, explained one high profile omission, and this post is already on the long side, so I am holding back a few things I intended to include until tomorrow. However, as some readers will be aware, my mother has recently started a blog. She has as yet no home page, and wants to rectify the omission. I have given her some advice on how to create one, and knowing how collaborative wordpress can be at its best I now ask people to visitmy mothers blog, starting with today’s post, and comment there with suggestions for her home page. Now it is time for my usual sign off…
This latest variation on the #all time XI’ cricket theme marks an aspi.blog landmark that you will have to read the full post to find out about!
Welcome to the latest variation on the ‘all time’ XI cricket theme. The current still slightly iffy state of my health precludes a serious attempt at doing a full blog post in one go, so I am aiming at publishing this one day after starting it, for a reason that I will make clear later in the post.
This post has a central aim celebrating a landmark which will be revealed later, and to that end I have created two XIs, one of whom have associations with the number nine and one of whom have associations with parties. As always class is by no means discounted even in these circumstances. The day on which I started work on this post, May 9th, was the day in 1895 on which WG Grace launched the first successful assault on 1,000 first class runs in the month of May, but I deemed that connection a tad too tenuous to include him.
THE NINERS XI
David Lloyd – left handed opening batter, occasional left arm orthodox spinner. He played nine test matches, in one of which he scored 214 not out, his only 50 plus score at that level (the record holder in this curious department is Karun Nair of India whose 303 not v England last time England toured there accounts for over four fifths of his tally of test runs).
Herbert Sutcliffe – right handed opening batter, excellent outfielder. Nine of his 149 first class hundreds were amassed in Roses matches – at one stage big scores in such fixtures were so common with Sutcliffe that Neville Cardus of the Manchester Guardian took ro describing him as “keeping his appointment with a century”. .
*Frank Worrell– right handed batter, left arm medium fast, occasional left arm orthodox spin. He scored nine test centuries (his conversion rate from 50s to hundreds was not especially good) in the course of a distinguished career that saw him become the West Indies first ever black captain.
Clem Hill – left handed batter, brilliant fielder. In the 1901-2 Ashes series Hill had a unique series of test innings, 99, 98 and 97 in succession (he did amass eight centuries in his test career, and was at one point until overhauled by Hobbs the leading career run scorer at that level).
Jess Jonassen – left handed part, left arm orthodox spinner. Scored 99 in a recent test match, which is her highest international score to date.
Arthur Chipperfield – right handed bat, leg spinner. He scored 99 on test debut. Unlike Jonassen who has yet to do so he did eventually score a test hundred.
Richard Hadlee – right arm fast bowler, left handed attacking middle order bat. He has the best innings figures ever recorded by a fast bowler at test level, 9-52 vs Australia in the 1984-5 series.
+Gil Langley– wicket keeper, right handed bat. He was the first keeper ever to make nine dismissals in a single test match – he tallied 98 overall in 26 test matches (83 catches and 15 stumpings).
George Lohmann – right arm medium pacer, attacking right handed lower order bat. He has the cheapest nine-for in test history, 9-28 versus South Africa (in another match in that same series he took 8-7 as SA were rolled for 30, the joint second lowest innings total in test history, shared by the 1924 South Africans who were dismissed by Tate and Arthur Gilligan for that same score). He has the lowest average of any taker of 100 or more test wickets, 10.75, the best strike rate, a wicket every 34 balls and was joint quickest to 100 wickets in 17 matches). He once played an innings of 62 not out in a test match that only included one single!
Arthur Mailey – leg spinner. He took 99 test wickets in all, including the first ever nine wicket innings haul by an Aussie, 9-121 in the 1920-1 Ashes series won 5-0 by Australia (Mailey took 36 wickets in that series, a record at the time). He is one place above his regular batting slot, but I deemed a more worthy candidate for promotion than…
Devon Malcolm – right arm fast bowler and genuine no11. He has the best test innings figures ever recorded by an England fast bowler, 9-57 vs South Africa at The Oval in 1994.
This team contains a solid looking opening pair, a good 3 and 4, all rounders at 5,6 and 7, a great wicket keeper who was no mug with the bat, and three quality specialist bowlers. The bowling, with a front four of Hadlee, Malcolm, Lohmann and Mailey backed up by Jonassen, Chipperfield and if needed Frank Worrell looks even more impressive than the batting (sorry, Bumble, you are definitely eighth choice bowler). Even with my decidedly unusual selection criteria it is unquestionably a strong and balanced unit that should give a good account of itself.
THE PARTY XI
Jack Lyons – right handed attack minded opening batter. The Aussie had some remarkable high speed knocks to his credit, often opening the batting with Harry Trott. He is here courtesy of the ice cream makers Lyons.
Tim Robinson – right handed opening batter. The Nottinghamshire opener made an extraordinary start to his test career against India away and then Australia at home, before being found out in the West Indies in 1986, an experience from which Robinson the batter never fully recovered. His international involvement ended for good in 1989 when he signed up for what turned about the last of the rebel tours of South Africa. He is in this team courtesy of Robinson’s Barley Water.
Alf Dipper – right handed batter. A regular opener for Gloucestershire I have moved him one place down here.
Kevin Pietersen – right handed batter, occasional off spinner. He is here not just for his likely contribution with the willow, but also because his nickname, ‘KP’, is the name of manufacturer of snack foods.
Andrew Symonds – right han ded batter, occasional right arm medium pacer. He is here courtesy of Symonds Scrumpy Jack, a brand of cider that is not actually a genuine scrumpy – it is fizzy, but a less sweet than most such, as well as for his big hitting batting and fine fielding.
Ellyse Perry – right handed bat, right arm fast medium, brilliant fielder. The most complete all rounder currently playing the game in my book. In addition to her immense cricketing merit, perry is of course a variant of cider made from pears rather than apples.
*FHB Champain – right handed batter, right arm slow bowler. Full name Francis Henry Bateman Champain, sometimes shown as hyphenated but I have seen scorecards from the period with it not hyphenated. His first class career began in 1895 and ended in 1914, and he amassed 4677 runs at 24.61 with five hundreds and took 17 wickets at 24.58, the latter figure suggesting that his bowling was underused. I have named as captain as none of this team are full time captains, and I think that his performances are least likely to be adversely affected by the captaincy.
Will Beer – leg spinner, capable lower order batter. Although left arm spinner Michael Beer has a test cap and Will does not I remember how impotent Beer was in that match – other than Collingwood who holed out to ‘raging against the dying of the light’ type smear down the ground essayed when two metres from the pitch of the ball he got no other wickets, and I never sympathise with bowlers of no balls, especially slow ones, so for me his ‘denied wicket’ of Alastair Cook is an irrelevance, mentioned only to dismiss it. Will Beer, our chosen Beer, has played for Sussex for a number of years, and during the 2019 championship season they used him up the order when they were lacking options in that area.
Robert Crisp – right arm fast bowler, right handed batter. The only bowler to have twice captured four wickets in four balls in first class matches (the second instance occurring in an innings haul of 9-64). He was a very adventurous type, and a multiply decorated war hero as well as a top level cricketer.
+’Punch’ Phillipson – wicket keeper, right handed bat. Played for Middlesex and England the 1890s. Played the last four matches of the 1894-5 Ashes after Leslie Gay had a disaster in the first at Sydney.
Doug Bollinger – left arm fast medium, genuine no11. Had it arisen it would have been rather harder to decide who got the promotion out of him and Malcolm than it was in the actual case of Malcolm and Mailey. He had his moments at test level before his unqualified disastrous performance at Adelaide in 2010 when he was lacking in pace or threat and quite blatantly obviously not fully fit.
This team has a fine top five, a magnificent all rounder at six, Champain at seven is admittedly something of a punt, but the the keeper and the three guys selected as bowlers all have fine records. The big decision is whether your trust ‘Doug the rug’ with the new ball or open up with Crisp and Perry (my inclination would be the latter).
I would say that the ‘Niners’ are not quite as strong in batting as the ‘Party Themed’ XI but their bowling is unquestionably stronger. The ‘Party Themed’ XI would probably need Perry to ‘come to the party’ in a big way to have a serious chance, but of course that cannot be ruled out. My prediction, borne out by the evidence of cricket’s long history that sides with better bowling and somewhat less good batting are more likely to win (see Yorkshire in the 1900s and the 1930s and Surrey in the 1950s as positive examples and the bowler-light but batter-heavy and never close to winning Sussex of the 1900s as a negative example of this), is that ‘The Niners’ would win a five match series, with the most likely margins for such being in my book 3-2, 3-1 with one draw, 2-1 with two draws and 4-1 in that order.
What was this little exercise all about (apart from obviously some fun)? Well today, my envisaged day for publishing this post is a landmark in aspi.blog’s history. It is my ninth ‘blogiversary’ (hence the team with the associations with the number nine). Click here to view the first post that ever appeared on this site way back in 2011. Since then this blog has truly gone global, which as an internationalist I am delighted by, with a follower count just topping the thousand, and visitors from the majority of our planet’s 192 recognized countries, as the map below shows – only the completely unshaded countries have yet to provide this sit with a visitor:
Incidentally for a real life example of XIs marking a special occasion I refer you to David Kynaston’s book “W.G.’s Birthday Party”, referring to the scheduling of the 1898 Gentlemen versus Players match so that its third and final day coincided with “The Champion’s” 50th birthday. On that day, WG, carrying an injury, took part in a last ditch resistance with Charles Kortright ‘the Demon of Leyton’ which almost saved the game for the Gentlemen. Precisely eight years later in 1906 WG playing in the same fixture marked his 58th birthday was last major innings in top level cricket, a match saving 74.
Finally, although I have avoided honourable mentions I must explain one omission: Mohammed Azharruddin played 99 test matches which I could have used to include him, but I took note of the reason why his tally of test caps did not reach the century: he was embroiled in a match fixing scandal.
Our two ‘blogiversary’ XIs have been introduced, the topped and tailed by explanations of the brief and the reason for the choice of theme. There is of course one last ingredient needed to complete an aspi.blog post – the signing off flourish…
Welcome the latest installment in this series. So far there has been the introduction, a post about Tammy Beaumont, and a post about the other specialist batters from my first XI. This post now deals with the all-rounders from that list, of whom there are no fewer than four (including the wicketkeeper)…
He took a long time to really establish himself at international level, but then had a couple of years when he could seemingly do no wrong, which included the fantastic 2005 Ashes series. Later on injuries took their toll, but even at the very end of his career his last involvement in the action was a direct hit on the stumps to run out Australian captain Ricky Ponting.
His performance at Edgbaston in 2005, when he scored 73 and 68 and took four wickets in each innings was outstanding, and helped to turn a series that very nearly died a premature death into one that nobody will ever forget. His 18 overs off the reel at the Oval in that same series to give England an unexpected first innings lead was incredible. In the second match of the 2009 series at Lords he bowled England to their first victory over Australia at that venue since 1934 when Hedley Verity took advantage of a rain affected pitch (remember, they played on “ooncoovered pitches” in those days) to record match figures of 15-104).
England were rather more sensible about Flintoff’s departure than they had been about Ian Botham’s in the early 1990s, when many young cricketers had promising careers effectively strangled by having the “next Botham” label draped round their necks. This time they realised that a straight replacement for Flintoff was, to put it mildly, unlikely, and set about building a different kind of team.
Flintoff had two and a half really superb years (2004, 2005 and 2006 before the tour to Australia at the end of that year which was an unqualified disaster for him and most of the rest of the squad) and produced flashes of brilliance both before and after that period.
She started out as a specialist bowler, batting low in the order. At one point she dropped out of the game but then made a comeback. Subsequently she has remained the England Womens team’s first choice opening bowler and has improved her batting to the point that she can be regarded as an all-rounder (she now habitually bats at no 6 or 7 in tests and ODIs, and often comes in higher than that in T20s when quick runs are wanted).
So long as her back holds out (she has been plagued by problems in that area down the years) she will be wanted by England (in the final ODI against India recently she took 5-28, her wickets being those of the top five in the Indian order, and was on 18 not out when England completed their victory).
I saw a very young Ellyse Perry live at the Adelaide Oval in 2009, playing in an ODI for the Australian Women versus the New Zealand Women. In those days she bowled fast with new ball, batted at no 8 (it was obvious that she would be moving up the order in the future) and had a superb throwing arm.
She still bowls fast with the new ball, remains a brilliant fielder, and is now just about the best batter in the women’s game (a test-match double century being her career highlight, along with her recent dominance of the Women’s Big Bash League – three individual centuries in the most recent tournament).
If you were selecting an Earth Women XI to take on Mars Women she would undoubtedly by the first name on the team sheet and it would go down in ink, not pencil.
She should still have a few years ahead of her at the top, and my advice would be: enjoy it while you can – talents of this magnitude do not come along very often.
One of the best wicketkeepers in the game, he has played five test matches for England and averages 41.50 with the bat as well as having demonstrated his skills as a keeper. Yet ridiculously his international future is in doubt because of the difficulty (in the minds of the current England selectors at least) of fitting him and Jonny Bairstowinto the same England team. If they do not want to use Bairstow as a specilaist batter, filling the no3 slot, then as far as I am concerned he, and not Ben Foakes, should be the one to miss out.
Providing the England selectors see sense Foakes should go on to have a stellar international career.
THE NEXT POST IN THIS SERIES
My next post in this series will feature the specialist bowlers from my first XI and introduce my second X1 preparatory to posting about them.
An account of Super Sunday at the womens World Cup.
Today featured no fewer than four matches in the womens cricket World Cup. I have been listening to radio commentaries and following the action on cricinfo.
SOUTH AFRICA V WEST INDIES
This was about as conclusive a victory as I have ever witnessed. First of all South Africa blew the West Indies away for 48. Marizanne Kapp took four wickets, but the most remarkable performance came from Dane Van Niekerk who matched Kapp’s four wickets, but took hers without conceding a run. South Africa then took a mere 6.2 of their possible 50 overs to knock the runs off. Cricinfo have recently started providing video clips, and below is a two minute video showing the West Indies collapse.
This was the damp squib of the four matches – India limped to 169-9 from their 50 overs and then Pakistan were bowled out for 74 in response, only getting that many courtesy of a 23 run last wicket stand.
ENGLAND V SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka batted first, and managed 204-8. Fran Wilson took an amazing catch along the way (see link below). Laura Marsh returning to the England side took 4-45 from her ten overs, while Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole both bowled well without picking up wickets.
Both openers were out fairly cheaply, Tammy Beaumont for 12 and Lauren Winfield, returning from injury, for 26. A big stand between Sarah Taylor and Heather Knight then took England to the brink of victory, before Knight was out for 82. A crunching boundary straight down the ground from Taylor completed the job, leaving her with 74 not out off 67 balls, and England winners by seven wickets with almost 20 overs to spare. At the other end, not having faced a ball, was Natalie Sciver, fresh from scoring 137 off 92 balls against Pakistan.
AUSTRALIA V NEW ZEALAND
Half centuries from Bates and Perkins got New Zealand to a total of 219-9. For Australia Mooney and Bolton were out fairly cheaply, before Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry shared a good partnership. 16 year old legspinner Amelia Kerr created a bit of excitement when she accounted for Lanning and Elyse Villani in successive deliveries to make it 143-4, but Alex Blackwell was her usual unflappable self, and New Zealand gained only one more wicket, when with the scores level Ellyse Perry holed out for 71. Perry, having started out as a fast bowler who gave it a whack down the order has developed into the most complete all-rounder of either sex currently playing the game – she bats at number four, averaging over 50, and takes the new ball and (in limited overs matches) bowls at the death.
None pof the four matches were especially close, but three of them featured quality cricket from various players, and I was pleased to see matches being played concurrently, because one reason why mens world cups always seem so interminable is that in deference to the TV people this does not happen.
My composite Ashes XI, with a controversial choice at no 5.
This post, which is purely and simply what the title says will be followed by one of more my more usual posts.
AN END OF SERIES TRADITION
One of the things that people do as an Ashes series approaches its conclusion is pick a composite team. A team is not simply the 11 players who have had the best series – to be properly selected it has to be capable of functioning as a team, so it needs sufficient batting and bowling resources and a genuine wicket-keeper. Having set out my criteria I will now begin selecting:
None of the openers in this series will remember it with especial fondness, but with Warner now established as the Caddick of batsmen (much better in the second innings than in the first), and Lyth having not had a big score at all, the selection is quite straightforward: Chris Rogers and Alastair Cook (Captain).
THE MIDDLE ORDER
Number 3 is clear cut – Stephen Smith is a flat track bully, not to be trusted if the ball is doing anything, whereas Ian Bell produced two fifties in the third match to help restore England’s lead in the series. Verdict: Bell by the proverbial country mile.
Number 4 is even more of a no-contest – Michael Clarke has barely scored a run in the series while Joe Root has been superb. Verdict: Root on a walkover.
Number 5 is a difficult one. There have been no convincing performances from anyone at number 5. I am going to resolve it by thinking outside the box, to someone who regularly bats no 5 and has been in superb form recently. It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that my choice for no 5 goes to … Ellyse Perry.
Number 6 takes us back to no-contest territory – it is Mr X Factor himself a.k.a Ben Stokes who stands out like the proverbial sore thumb for this position.
Number 7, and wicketkeeper is a bit tough – I have no doubts that Jos Buttler is the superior cricketer of the two keepers, but Peter Nevill has had a fine series whereas Buttler has not. Final verdict: Nevill, on ground of faring better in this particular series.
Number 8 and we are in the territory occupied by folk who are in the side for their bowling, and England’s domination in this area over the series is indisputable. Hence, this position and nos 9 and 10 are all occupied by England players. In the position of No 8 itself is Stuart Broad.
At Number 9 I have given James Anderson a promotion on his regular position in order to fit in my remaining two bowlers.
Number 10, back to his best after a couple of years in the wilderness is Steven Finn, probably third seamer behind Broad and Anderson but possibly sharing the new ball with Anderson.
We are at Number 11 and there is no recognized spinner in the side. In this area, and this is why the tail of my composite side is so long, there is no proper contest since England’s designated “spin option”, Moeen Ali, is in my humble opinion nothing of the kind (though a fine cricketer), so this slot goes to Nathan Lyon.
Here then in batting order is Thomas’s Composite Ashes XI 2015: (nb an asterisk next to a player designates captaincy, a plus sign having the wicketkeeping gloves)
A heretical suggestion for the Australian Mens team selection for the fifth ashes test, some photographs, a section on the Labour Party leadership contest and a section on Carl Sagan.
My title piece is about the current woes of the Australian Mens side, and I also have links (though not on this occasion a dedicated links section), infographics and photographs to share.
DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES
With the destiny of 2015 Mens Ashes safely settled I am going venture a very radical selection suggestion for them. At the Oval, on what is usually a flat pitch both sides would be well advised to ensure that they have five genuine bowling options available. Australia’s batting having failed in four straight innings they also need some depth there. Watson (although he is playing in a tour match at Northampton today) is out of favour, neither Marsh brother has been convincing and that is all Australia have in terms of batting variation available to them in their official squad. However, there is an Australian all-rounder in England at the moment who is in the form of their life: Ellyse Perry, fresh from playing a starring role in the Aussie Womens team victory in the test match.
I admit that this is a stretch, especially given that Perry’s stock in trade as a bowler is pace, and in the men’s game she would not be especially quick, but in the state that Aussie men are in at the moment the move could hardly make things worse – and maybe even if she proves unable to do much herself against the men the presence of someone with current winning experience will be a boost in and of itself.
Do I really believe that a woman could mix it with the men? Yes – there are plenty of aspects of cricket that are not all about brute strength and although, in spite of the premise of this piece, I would not particularly expect a female to be able to bowl at 150KPH I could see a specialist batter, a spinner or a wicketkeeper being able to mix it with the men.
I have a purely watching brief on this, since I am principled enough not to have taken advantage of the “register as a supprter for £3” trick. This infographic is revealing about the voting patterns of the three long serving MPs in the contest (Kendall has only been around long enough to have voted on two of the issues covered, and utterly unsurprisingly to anyone who knows anything about she is 0 for 2):
My second offering in this section is a headline about an open declaration of intent to sabotage. If this is telling the truth those two MPs (no surprise that they are Blue Labourites Umunna and Hunt – and I’ll bet that the dishonourable Danczuk is in cahoots with them) should be expelled from the party – this is TREACHERY:
I end this section with link to a piece by Molly Scott Cato MEP (as an aside born in the same town – Stroud, Gloucestershire – as me although a little earlier) which talks about one potential consequence of a Corbyn victory – a red/green coalition.
The late legendary Carl Sagan was a superb writer and populariser of science. I was motivated to produce this section when I stumbled on a thread on twitter that had developed from a Turin Shroud picture overlaid with a great summing up of the religious approach, and then a Sagan quote – which led to me to extract some Sagan books from my shelves and photograph them…