A brief bit about England’s great start to the Super Six stage of the inaugural U19 Women’s World Cup, and some photographs.
Today the Super Sixes stage of the inaugural Women’s Under 19 T20 World Cup got underway. England were in action against Ireland first up. A dominant batting performance, headlined by Grace Scrivens scoring 93, while Liberty Heap backed her up with 42, and with Seren Smale and Niamh Holland providing late cameos to boost the final total saw England rack up 207-2 from their 20 overs. England were equally dominant with the ball, with Hannah Baker (leg spin) and Sophia Smale (slow left arm) each collecting three cheap wickets. Ireland limped to 86 all out, and England had won by 121 runs, giving them a net RR of +6.050 as well as the two points for the win. The longer this tournament goes on the stronger this England side look. Full scorecard here.
SOPHIA AND SEREN SMALE
In spite of sharing a surname and both having forenames beginning with S Sophia and Seren Smale are apparently unrelated. Sophia, the left arm slow bowler, hails originally from Newport, Monmouthshire, while Seren, a keeper/batter was born in Wrexham, Denbighshire.
Sophia Smale has already had some success in The Hundred, but it is probably Seren Smale who has the easier route to full international honours – as a keeper and a good batter she has two ways of gaining recognition, while unless England opt to play two left arm slow bowlers (unusual in the modern era to put it mildly) in the same XI Sophia Smale has Sophie Ecclestone between her and full international recognition. Nonetheless, I hope and expect that both will gain full international honours.
Even in the sub-zero temperatures that we are currently experiencing in King’s Lynn there are still plenty of opportunities for photography, so here is my usual sign off…
A look back at round one of the T20 World Cup currently happening in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Yesterday the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup in Dubai got underway, with Australia beating South Africa and England obliterating the West Indies. In this post I look back at the events of the first round matches, which provided four of the teams contesting the Super 12s. Before that, I have a small piece of business to attend to: Phoebe has once again opened up her blog for people to share details of their own blogs.
I covered the opening day in this post. The day after those events the second group got underway. Ireland beat the Netherlands, with Curtis Campher taking four wickets in four balls, only the third bowler ever to do so in an international match (Lasith Malinga has done so twice, in an ODI and a T20I, and Rashid Khan of Afghanistan did it against Ireland in a T20I). Max O’Dowd scored a fighting 50 for the Netherlands but had zero support from the rest of the order. Campher followed up his bowling by being there to see Ireland over the winning line. In the other match Sri Lanka beat Namibia.
The second set of fixtures in the other group saw Oman fight hard but ultimately lose to Bangladesh, while Scotland beat Papua New Guinea.
Sri Lanka beat Ireland, and Namibia got the better of the Netherlands, confirming the latter’s elimination with a round to go. O’Dowd once again batted well, but once again had no support.
With Bangladesh beating PNG the game between Scotland and Oman became effectively a straight fight for one qualification spot. Oman managed only 122 from their 20 overs, with Josh Davey bowling especially well. Scotland were in control throughout the chase, and Richie Berrington finished the match with a six. Scotland thus won the group with three wins out of three, Bangladesh were second and Oman third. The co-hosts have a couple of good batters and a number of good bowlers but they are a poor fielding side, and it was this that cost them qualification.
The final set of group games saw Ireland v Namibia and Netherlands v Sri Lanka. O’Dowd failed with the bat for the Netherlands, and the rest of the order went down like a house of cards. Leg spinning all rounder Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva (4-9) and right arm fast bowler Lahiru Kumara (4-7) were especially impressive with the ball, and off spinner Maheesh Theekshana also got among the wickets. Netherlands mustered a beggarly 44, the lowest total ever recorded in a T20 World cup. Ireland v Namibia was a magnificent match, going right down to the wire. In the end the vast experience of David Wiese told, as he steered Namibia over the winning line, and test playing Ireland found themselves eliminated at the first stage. Sri Lanka had dominated the group, winning all three matches and never really looking in trouble at any stage, Namibia deserve massive credit for getting the better of Ireland to join them in the Super 12s. The Netherlands’ awful showing was a sad way for Ryan ten Doeschate’s wonderful career to end.
A ‘MINNOWS’ XI
Many of the lesser nations involved at this stage had moments to cherish, and with the exception of one player from Ireland who can be considered their ‘given man’ (an expression dating from the days of professional touring XIs in the mid 19th century, when local teams sometimes had professionals to stiffen their ranks) the team I have selected is made up exclusively of players from non-test nations.
I decided to select an opening pair who provenly work well together, and the Oman pair of Jatinder Singh and Aqib Ilyas demonstrated in their 10 wicket win over PNG that they certainly can bat well together. The Netherlands had a horrible time, but Max O’Dowd scored 50s in their first two matches, which is enough to give him the number three slot. At number four is leg spinning all rounder Charles Amini of PNG (it was a choice between him and Assad Vala for the PNG representative, and I have gone for Amini). Number five and my choice as captain is Zeeshan Maqsood of Oman, who led his team to three wins out of three. Scottish wicket keeper Matthew Cross gets the nod at number six. A second Scot in a row, with Chris Greaves in at no7 (his Player of the Match winning performance against test playing Bangladesh is worth the pick on its own). At number eight is the given man, Mr ‘four in four’ aka Curtis Campher of Ireland. At number nine is a third Scot, seam bowler Josh Davey. At number ten, and not just because he possesses THE name of the tournament, is Pikky Ya France, Namibia’s off spinner. Rounding out the order, at his customary position of no11 is our fourth Scot, pace bowler Brad Wheal. For ease of reference:
This side features eight players who could make major contributions with the bat, a superb new ball pair in Davey and Wheal, every kind of spin bar left arm wrist spin – Greaves and Amini both bowl leg spin and could certainly bowl a four over allocation between them, Maqsood is a left arm orthodox spinner and Ya France an off spinner. Finally, there is the bowling wildcard that is Curtis Campher. Additionally Aqib Ilyas is a Liam Livingstone type, able to bowl both off and leg spin.
Some work related pictures for my usual sign off. These items will be going under the hammer on November 24th, and you can view a full catalogue and sign up to bid here or here.
A little look at the ODI between England and Ireland, and upcoming cricket development. Two mathematical challenges and some photographs, including some butterflies.
England are playing Ireland today in the first One Day International anywhere for 139 days. It is England’s first home ODI since the 2019 World Cup final.
BIO-SECURE BUBBLES AND SELECTION
A combination of the rules surrounding bio-secure bubbles and the need to make up for time lost to the pandemic means that England are without their multi-format players (yet another reason why Buttler should have been dropped from the test squad – he is much more valuable as a limited overs player than as a long format player), which means that six of the World Cup Final eleven are missing. Ireland are in transition, and two youngsters, Curtis Campher and Harry Tector (the middle of three brothers, in between Jack and Tim, the last named of whom is according to some the best cricketer) are making their international debuts.
ENGLAND OFF TO A FLYER
Ireland are batting, though whether they still will be by the time I have finished this post is open to question, since they have already lost five wickets, including one of the debutants, Tector. Campher is still batting, and is in partnership with the veteran Kevin O’Brien. This is also the first ODI to contribute to the new ODI League which will decide who qualifies for the next world cup. David Willey, left arm medium fast, and Saqib Mahmood, right arm fast, have done the damage with the ball so far, while Adil Rashid (leg spin) and Tom Curran (right arm fast medium) are currently in action, with vice-captain Moeen Ali presumably fifth bowler should such be required. Tom Banton of Somerset may get an opportunity to demonstrate his batting skills later in the game.
UPCOMING FOR ENGLAND
The ODI squad have another two matches in this series against Ireland, while the first test match of the second series of the summer, against Pakistan, gets underway on Thursday. Pakistan look a stronger combination than the West Indies, making a strong start very important. Australia are due to visit for an ODI series in September. Some steps have already been taken towards spectators returning to the grounds, and more trials will be conducted during the Bob Willis Trophy, the county tournament that is taking the place of the County Championship for what remains of this season. It is not just about making sure that numbers in the ground are safe, but also of ensuring that travel to and from the grounds can be conducted safely. O’Brien has just holed out off the bowling of Rashid to make it 79-6. Simi Singh and Andrew McBrine both have some sort of batting skill, McCarthy is definitely a tail ender and Craig Young is a genuine no11. Simi Singh has just been run out for 0 to make it 79-7. McBrine is next man in. Save for a memorable occasion in New Zealand 42 years ago when Boycott was the victim, courtesy of Botham who had been instructed to up the run rate by any means necessary, there has never been a good time to suffer a run out, but this was a more than usually bad time from an Irish perspective for such a thing to happen.
TWO MATHEMATICAL TEASERS
I have two problems from brilliant to share with you. I start with one officially rated at three daggers (I am showing you two stills from what is actually an animation), but which I consider very much easier than that:
My second offering is more difficult, but not nearly as difficult is the five dagger rating suggests:
This had multiple choice answers originally, but I am not offering them. It is considerably less difficult than the rating suggests, though I admit to spending a measurable length of time thinking about it before coming up with the answer (solving these problems is a ‘before breakfast’ activity for me, and I never spend hugely long on any of them). Solutions tomorrow.
My usual sign off:
PS Well done to Ireland – after that awful start they are still batting, now on 124-7, Campher now on 46, and McBrine 23.
Today is ‘international Monday’ in my all time XI cricket series, and I honour some of the finest cricketers to hail from countries who do not dine at cricket’s top table.
Today is Monday, and our ‘all time XI’ series of cricket posts usually covers an international set up on that day. Today varies the theme by acknowledging various countries who have produced the odd fine player but never a top ranking team. Some of the countries from whom I have selected players have or have had test match status, others aspire to such. I have included one player who actually did play for a major nation over a century before the land of his birth gained test status. The two XIs I have selected are named after their captains.
SHAKIB AL HASAN’S XI
Freddie Fane – right handed opening batter. He played for and captained England in the early part of the 20th century, his international highlight being an innings of 143 against South Africa during the 1905-6 series. He was born in Ireland and is proof that that country has been producing talented cricketers for a long time. He is part of the select group of people to have read their own obituary – his cousin Francis Luther Fane – same initials, middle name and surname, had died, and somebody dug out the wrong obituary. Other members of this club include Mark Twain (“reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”)
Tamim Iqbal – left handed opening batter. A man who currently averages 38.64 at test level, probably the classiest batter that Bangladesh have yet produced. Bangladesh’s elevation to test rank came too soon for them, and their record shows this only too clearly. They may eventually become a force to be reckoned with.
*Shakib Al Hasan – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner, captain. I have awarded him the no3 slot from where he had such a marvellous 2019 World Cup. He is currently serving a suspension for failing to report an unathorised approach from a bookmaker, but there is no suggestion that he has actually been involved in any sort of fixing, he appears to have accepted his punishment with good grace, and he had done enough before his fall from grace to earn his place.
Andrew Flower – right handed batter, occasional wicket keeper. The only Zimbabwean to ever be ranked world no 1 batter, he averaged over 50 in test cricket. He subsequently had a very successful career as coach, including guiding England to the world no 1 test ranking, a position they achieved in 2011.
Steve Tikolo – left handed batter, occasional off spinner. His country, Kenya, have never had test status, but they rank fairly high in ODI cricket. Tikolo’s first class average of 48 is far in excess of his record in short form cricket, and suggests someone with the class and the temperament to succeed at the highest level.
Alec O’Riordan – right handed batter, left arm fast medium bowler. His first class record looks modest, but his mere 25 appearances at that level were spread across 15 years. He was the first, and for many years, the only person to have both scored 2,000 runs and taken 200 wickets for Ireland. His finest hour came at Sion Mills in 1969, when he combined with his skipper Doug Goodwin to dismiss the West Indies for 25 (and 13 of those runs came for the last wicket!) Ireland overhauled this total for the loss of one wicket, declared later in the day and took a few more West Indies wickets, Goodwin finishing with match figures of 7-7. It was scheduled to be a one innings per side match, so the result appears in the book as Ireland beat West Indies by nine wickets – everything that happened after Ireland had reached 26 was merely to give the crowd their money’s worth.
+Mushfiqur Rahim – wicket keeper, right handed batter. He averages 36.77 in test cricket and is excellent behind the stumps. If a world XI of current test players was being picked he would be in the mix for the gloves – BJ Watling of New Zealand also has a good claim, and were he the incumbent Ben Foakes of England would be there as well.
Mehidy Hasan – off spinner, right handed batter. Another Bangladeshi, and provenly capable of match winning performances – just ask England.
Bart King – right arm fast bowler, right handed batter. The greatest cricketer ever produced by the US. His 415 first class wickets came at 15.66 each, and he also averaged 20 with the bat. He was one of the pioneers of swing bowling. At one time, thanks to the efforts of King and his fellow Philadelphians the US was not all that far from test match status. WG Grace toured North America in 1872-3 and was favourably impressed, though he expected bigger things from the Canadians than from the US.
Rashid Khan – leg spinner, useful lower order batter. He has already experienced some success in the test arena (23 wickets at 21 each in four matches) although most of the cricket he plays is short form – I would applaud any county who had the courage to offer him a contract as their official overseas player for a whole season. He is the finest talent to emerge from Afghanistan to date, although as we shall see not the only one.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza– right arm fast medium bowler. He went on a little too long at the top, but in his prime he was decidedly sharp, and remains the best pace bowler to have come from Bangladesh.
This team has a solid batting line up, two genuine all rounders, a top keeper who can bat and lots of variety in the bowling: Right arm pace from King and Mortaza, left arm pace from O’Riordan, leg spin from Rashid Khan, off spin from Mehidy Hasan and left arm orthodox spin from Shakib Al Hasan.
MURRAY GOODWIN’S XI
Jeremy Bray– left handed opening batter. He was of that generation who put Ireland firmly on the cricketing map but for whom test cricket came just too late. Am average of 52 in first class cricket suggests that he would have fared well at test level.
Hazratullah Zazai – left handed opening batter. A first class average of 38, yet to get his chance in the test arena. His aggressive approach should complement the more old school approach of Bray nicely.
Dave Houghton – right handed batter. One of Zimbabwe’s best, he once scored 266 in a test match, and averaged 43 in that form of the game.
Mominul Haque – left handed batter. One of the few Bangladeshis to average over 40 in test cricket.
*Murray Goodwin – right handed batter, captain. He played for Zimbabwe, once scoring a century against England in a test match. He retired early from international cricket, and proceeded to churn out bucketloads of runs for Sussex, including a county record 335 not out which secured them their first county championship (a feat they repeated twice in the following three seasons).
Manjural Islam Rana – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner. He died in a road accident at the age of 23, but even at that young age he was averaging 36.26 with the bat and 25.97 with the ball in first class cricket – figures that suggest that had he survive Bangladesh may have had two Shakib Al Hasan type cricketers available to them.
+Niall O’Brien – wicket keeper, right handed batter. Ireland’s elevation to test status came too late for him, but a first class batting average of 35.51 and 540 dismissals in 176 matches are some testament to his skill.
Heath Streak – right arm fast medium bowler, useful lower order batter. Zimbabwe’s finest test bowler, with 216 wickets at 28 each at that level. He played county cricket for Warwickshire, once combining a half century with a 13 wicket match haul.
Dawlat Zadran – right arm fast medium bowler. So far the only pace bowler of indisputable class to have come out of Afghanistan.
Sandeep Lamichhane – leg spinner. Almost all his cricket has been played over limited overs, but his record in both List A and T20 is outstanding, and I would love to see him gain first class experience – I would applaud any county who signed him as their official overseas player. Nepal are not currently in the running for test status, and it takes a lot more than one player to make a case. Bangladesh and Ireland have both suffered from mistimed promotions – in Ireland’s case the promotion was confirmed just as the generation who had really earned it were bowing out, while Bangladesh’s came without sufficient scrutiny of their domestic structure. On overseas players I would add that is unlikely that a top player from really top ranking nation will be available for a whole season as they will have other commitments, and I would prefer a calculated gamble on a youngster who may well improve such as Rashid Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane or indeed the chap I will be mentioning next to the signing of someone who is established as not quite being top drawer. I would also say that an overseas player should not be signed just to tick that particular box – one should be certain they are bringing something to the squad that is not already available.
Zahir Khan – left arm wrist spinner. We end with another Afghan (not be confused with Zaheer Khan, the Indian former left arm quick bowler), and another who has had little exposure to long form cricket and is still well and truly young enough to learn. Afghanistan’s promotion to test status appears to have been managed very well, and they recorded a victory in their second game at that level, the earliest time of such an achievement since 1877, when Australia won the first ever test match and England the second. Although they were winless in the 2019 World Cup they had their moments along the way, and I shall not be unduly surprised if in years to come we see an Afghanistan side that is truly a force to be reckoned with.
This side has a solid top six including a genuine all rounder, a keeper who can bat and four varied bowlers. There is no front line off spin option, but there are three very distinctive and different styles of spin represented. Heath Streak and Dawlat Zadran should make a good new ball pairing.
LINK AND PHOTOGRAPHS
Richard Murphy of Tax Research UKhas produced a brilliant diagram comparing outdated beliefs about money with modern understandings of the same. I urge you to view the full post in its original setting by clicking on the screenshot below.
Celebrating the inclusion of Lewis Gregory in the England squad for the game against Ireland.
Some of my recent posts(particularly those about England test teams accommodating two spinners) have taken the inclusion of Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory as read…
IT IS NOW
Today on cricinfo I was delighted to see that on this occasion at least what is obvious to me has also proven obvious to Ed Smith (whose opinions matter rather more in the current scheme of things!) and Gregory is in the squad announced for the one off test match against Ireland next week. True, given what he has been doing for Somerset recently this was a totally obvious call, but anyone who has followed English cricket as long as I have knows that that does not necessarily mean that it will happen!
I am delighted that Lewis Gregory has been given the call-up and I seriously hope that he plays rather than winding up as drinks waiter. A second of my calls – Jason Royinto the test team off the back of a tremendous World Cup – has also been made by a higher authority. My biggest call of all has yet to be made, but ever the optimist I am not prepared to abandon it just yet.
A look at the cricket world, especially the England v Pakistan ODI, an all-time England ODI team and lots of photographs.
The final ODI between England and Pakistan has reached its halfway stage. I will look at that and other stuff in this post.
England departed from their usual practice and decided to bat first after winning the toss at Headingley. They have amassed 351-9 from their 50 overs, a good but by no means unassailable total. Big scores from Joe Rootand Eoin Morgan were at the heart of things, and there were contributions all down the order. Shaheen Shah Afridi took four wickets but paid dearly for them (82 being hit of his ten overs). The real bowling star was Imad Wasim with 3-53 from his 10 overs. This is a close one to call, but I think England have just enough on the board and will defend this total.
Pakistan Women have won a T20 match against Pakistan with four wickets and two balls to spare. Tazmin Brits made 70 not out for South Africa and had support from Nadine De Klerk(36) and Sune Luus (28 not out). Offspinner Rameen Shamim took 1-20 from her four overs and while medium pacer Aliya Riaztook 1-26 from her four. Pakistan lost their top three cheaply but Iram Javed (55) with good support from all-rounders Nida Dar(32) and Riaz (30) did the job. South Africa’s opening bowlers Shabnim Ismail(2-12) and Mosaline Daniels(3-13) were outstanding but none of the other bowlers did anything.
Update: I am now rather more confident of England’s ability to defend their score as Chris Woakes has bagged three quick wickets, thus far without cost.
Continuing my “100 cricketers” series with the openers from my 4th XI. Also features mentions of Afghanistan vs Ireland and the womens game between Sri Lanka and England.
Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. Last time I took the bowlers from my fourth XI out of position because one of them was in the news that day, so now I move on to the opening pair. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, and the post introducing the 4th XI can be found here. There are two other bits of business to attend to as well…
CONGRATULATIONS AFGHANISTAN AND COMMISERATIONS TO IRELAND
Yesterday I outlined ways in which things might get tense in the test match between Afghanistan and Ireland. In the event, none of those possibilities eventuated as Ihsanullah (65 not out) and player of the match Rahmat Shah (76 to go with his first innings 98 – he now has a test batting average of 48 from two matches) took Afghanistan to 144 before the second wicket fell, and although a third fell in the dying embers of the game as well, there was no way back for Ireland and the final margin was seven wickets. In winning their second ever test match Afghanistan have made a better start in this form of the game than any side since 1877, when the original combatants Australia and England each won one match (Aus the first, Eng the second). Ireland can also take plenty away from this game, having fought hard all the way. They now travel back to more familiar climes, and their next test match assignment is against England, which will be very tough for them, but I do not expect them to simply allow themselves to be steamrollered by their much more experienced opponents. A full scorecard can be viewed hereand a match report here.
ENGLAND WOMEN SEAL SERIES IN SRI LANKA WITH A MATCH TO SPARE
Sri Lanka won the toss and batted, but that was about all that went right for them in the second game of this three game series after they had been walloped in the opener. England restricted them to an inadequate 187-9 from their 50 overs, spinner Alex Hartleytaking 3-36, while Anya Shrubsole was parsimony personified with 2-21 from her full 10 overs. Amy Jones then blasted 54 off 39 balls to put her team in an unstoppable position, Lauren Winfield following up with 44 off 41, while Tammy Beaumontplayed the anchor role with 43 off 60. Heather Knight was unbeaten on 20 and Danielle Wyatt13 when England coasted home with six wickets and 99 balls to spare. Even in the absence of Brunt, missing with a back problem, the England women were simply too strong for their opponents. It is hard to see this series finishing anything other than 3-0 to England, so dominant have they been in both matches so far. A full scorecard can be viewed here and a a report here. Now on to the business part of the post, starting with…
Many years ago the England Women were playing against their Australian counterparts and being given a thorough beating (as I recall, Lisa Keightley had contributed a century to what was by the standards of women’s cricket at that time a huge total of in excess of 250), but one person did not surrender tamely, battling on with virtually no support, and the age of just 17, to make 74 and given England one positive to take from the match. This was Charlotte Edwards and that was merely the first of many big performances she would produce over many years.
Edwards came into women’s cricket when it was still regarded by most as something of a joke, and then players still wore skirts. By the time of her retirement the game was being taken properly seriously.
As well as being a heavy scoring opening batter and a magnificent captain (note that asterisk against her name in this XI) she also bowled occasional spin, on one occasion in an ODI effectively enough to take 4-30.
6167 test runs at 41.95, and a record as an ODI opener that included the rare feat of six sixes in an over (Daan Van Bunge of The Netherlands was the victim), his achievements speak for themselves. He suffered from the fallout around the disgraced Hansie Cronje, being one of two players (medium pacer Henry Williams was the other) who had been suborned by Cronje into underperforming in a match. When it came to it neither actually did so – Gibbs scored 74 in the game in question.
Perhapos Gibbs’ most remarkable innings came at Johannesburg after Australia had scored 434 from their 50 overs. South Africa knocked them off, Gibbs scoring over 170. Medium pacer Mick Lewis for Australia had in the indignity of being butchered for 113 from his ten overs.
The next post in this series will look at numbers 3, 4 and 5 from my 4th XI, but now it is time for…
Continuing my “100 cricketers” series, starting the fourth XI with the bowlers for reasons that should be self-explanatory. Also features some of my photographs.
Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series. I am taking the my 4th XI in a different order from usual, starting with the bowlers, for reasons that should become clear during this post. The series will continue with the opening batters, then nos 3,4 and 5 and then all-rounders, which post will se my fifth XI introduced in batting order. The introduction to the whole series can be found here, and the most recent post in it, listing the 4th XI in batting order at the end, can be found here. Before getting into the meat of my post I have a but of related business to attend to…
AFGHANISTAN VERSUS IRELAND DAY 3
Ireland, helped by a substantial last wicket stand for the second time in the match did just enough to keep interest in this match alive. They brought their second innings tally to 288, setting Afghanistan 147 to win in the final innings. By the close Afghanistan had reached 29-1, needing a further 118 to win with nine wickets remaining. If either:
a) Ireland pick up wickets early tomorrow morning or
b)Afghanistan score score slowly in the morning and then lose wickets immediately before the lunch interval
Or both of the above happen, nerves could set in leading to a very close result. Whatever happens tomorrow, one team will have its first test match victory on the board and the other team, though defeated will not have been disgraced.
It is unfortunate for Ireland that as I acknowledged in response to a comment yesterday their elevation really came five years too late for them, with the result that most of the players who had earned it had either finished their careers or were finishing their careers, while Afghanistan were elevated as they hit the crest of a wave.
The official close of play report can be read here.
It is now time to look at those bowlers starting with…
My four selections who are in this XI purely as bowlers (there is also a seam bowling all-rounder to back them up, plus an occasional off-spinner) comprise two spinners and two quicks. We start with the person who caused me to take the bowlers first when dealing with this XI…
The 20 year old legspinner is already rated the world’s number one bowler in T20, and has just a very successful season in the Australian Big Bash League, but today he made history by becoming the first Afghan to take a five wicket innings haul in a test match. His 5-82 followed 2-20 in the first Ireland innings, meaning that in the two test matches his country have now played he has total figures of 9-256, a bowling average of 28.44. I can see this improving considerably as he gains more experience (before his 1993 visit to England which really set him on his way Shane Warne had been cuffed around at test level, notably by Ravi Shastri on his debut test), and especially if he gets to bowl second and fourth rather than first and third as he did in this game (pitches which have had more use tend to help spinners a bit more). The match now approaching its denouement will be remembered for many things – Tim Murtagh’s two remarkable efforts from no 11, the second innings batting of Andrew Balbirnie and Kevin O’Brienand Rahmat Shah’seffort in the Afghanistan first innings that came up just two short of being their first ever test century, but probably the single most important individual achievement in the game will end up being Khan’s five-for. As the saying goes – watch this space! On which note we move on to our second spinner…
The 19 year-old left arm spinner has only played in one test match (the women play far too little of this form of the game), but her records in ODIs (25 wickets at 18.96 each) and T20Is (24 wickets at 20.04) show that she is already a very fine bowler, and at her age she will still be improving for a number of years. Although she has yet to record an international five-for she has a 4-14 in ODIs to her credit and a 4-18 in T20Is, and I for one will be surprised in 2019 does not see a five-for to her credit somewhere. Note that once again I have a pair of spinners who do different things with the ball, and a part-time spinner who purveys yet a third variation. Now it is time to move on to the…
My two specialist pacers are a genuine speedster, who recently rattled the Aussies on their own pitches and someone who started out quick before slowing down later in his career and becoming pretty much unhittable, such was his accuracy. I am going to start with…
His 421 test wickets at 23.11 each are testament to his class as a bowler, while a batting average of just over 32 makes him a good person to be coming in at number 8. His father Peterwas a magnificent fast bowler for pre-isolation South Africa, and until the recent career of AdamVoges (average 61.87 from 20 test matches) his uncle Graeme was second among those who had played enough innings to qualify behind Bradman in the test batting averages with 60.97. In his early days when he bowled seriously fast and his temperament seems to have matched his red hair Shaun Pollock is reckoned to have hit the helmets of over 30 opposition batters, but his career had a second phase when he mellowed, the pace was down, but replaced with intense accuracy to the extent that along with Glenn McGrath he was among the last ODI bowlers to have an economy rate below 4 runs per over. Playing as an overseas player for Warwickshire he once took four wickets in four balls, a very rare occurence in top-level cricket. In this XI of mine I see his accuracy as a counterpoint to the sheer pace of…
His recent effort at the MCG, when his nine wickets in the two innings, including a career-best 6-33 in the first, sent Australia reeling to the defeat the saw India wiin the Border–Gavaskartrophy is a performance (I listened to it on the radio) which I will remember for a long time to come. His ten test matches so far have brought him 49 wickets at 21.89, though with a current batting average of 1.55 he is heading for the title of “Number 11’s Number 11”, being 0.45 of a run per innings below current holder Mpumelelo Mbangwa of Zimbabwe. The fact he is only 25, and my spinners are 20 and 19 respectively is why I want specifically the Shaun Pollock from the latter part of his career – as well as steadiness he will bring experience to the bowling attack.
As usual, I finish by showing some of my recent photographs…
Continuing my “100 cricketers series, with a look at nos 6 and 7 from my third XI. Also features some of my photographs.
Welcome to the latest post in my “100 Cricketers” series. The introduction to the series can be found here, and the most recent post can be found here. Before I get into the main meat of this post, as it is cricket themed I will briefly mention…
AFGHANISTAN V IRELAND
The inaugural test match between these two newly elevated nations is taking place in Delhi at the moment. After one day’s play Afghanistan are 90-2 in reply to Ireland’s 172 all out. At one stage it looked like being a lot worse for Ireland – they were 69-8 at one point and then 85-9 before George Dockrell and Tim Murtagh performed a rescue act, the latter top scoring with 54 not out from number 11. Whatever happens over the next four days one of these sides will make the best start to their test match involvement since 1877 when the first two test sides, England and Australia each one won match – each have only played once before, so the winner will record a success in their second outing. Now onto business, with the man at no 6 in my third XI…
Normally I would have an all-rounder at no 6, but Steve Waugh can hardly be so described, even though when he first got the call-up in the mid 1980s he was seen as a bowling all-rounder. He seemed to positively relish difficult situations, such as the occasion at Manchester when 21 players failed to achieve anything of significance with the bat due to a difficult pitch and perpetually overcast conditions, while he chiselled out a century in each innings to win the game for his side.
He really arrived as a test match player in the 1989 series in England when he made big hundreds in the first match at Headingley and the second at Lord’s, both times being supported by lower order batters who were inspired to play above their usual station (Merv Hugheswith 71 at Headingley, Geoff Lawson with 74 at Lord’s), and scored over 350 runs before being dismissed for the first time in the series.
Time again through the 1990s and in to the early 2000s Australia would look be struggling and then Steve Waugh would come to the crease, and right when it was most needed would make sure he was still there at close of play, with Australia firmly back in control. Teams often tested him with bouncers because he rarely played the hook and often looked less than comfortable against short stuff, but I cannot recall him ever losing his wicket to it.
He was the third in the sequence of long-serving Aussie captains that started with Allan Border and ended with Ricky Ponting. Earlier in this series when I covered BorderI rated him the best captain of the four, based on the fact that he turned the fortunes of Australian cricket around when they had been in the doldrums. Steve Waugh, who made a team of champions even stronger, so that they became as near as any team in history to be absolutely unstoppable is for me number two in that ranking, with Mark Taylor a respectful distance back in third and Ponting a poor fourth.
Teams were just starting to take seriously the need for wicketkeepers to have potential as runmakers when Dujon came on the scene. Alan Knott’sEngland career was just coming to a finish, and many matches therein had been influences by his ability to contribute runs from the lower middle order, and England were frantically looking for a replacement (it would take the emergence of Matt Prior some quarter of a century later before they found someone who was good enough in both departments, since when there have also been Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes). Other countries also started requiring regular runs from their wicketkeepers.
Dujon scored four test centuries, averaged over 30 when that was unusual for a wicketkeeper (and generally made his runs when they were badly needed) and was an excellent keeper standing back to the fast bowlers. There is no way of knowing how we would have handled keeping to top class spinners, as the only person picked as a front-line spinner by the West Indies during his time as keeper was Roger Harper (who was also a fine middle-order batter and one of the greatest fielders the game had ever seen), but the fact that I have named in this XI rather than holding him back for the XI featuring a quartet of West Indies quicks tells you what I think – he would have been as good keeping to spinners as he was keeping to quicks.
NEXT IN THIS SERIES
We cover the bowlers from this Third XI and introduce the Fourth XI in batting order.
Welcome to the next post in my series about Marxism 2017. The event finished with the Closing Rally last night, after which I travelled back to King’s Lynn. I have quite a few more posts to do before this series finishes however.
I was staying in a room in a University hall of residence about a 15 minute walk from the event, which suited me very well. I set off at about 9:20AM (the first meeting session started at 10AM, and I wanted to be early because the meeting I had chosen was likely to be very well attended. I arrived at Student Centralat about 9:30 and took the stairs to the third floor as the meeting was scheduled for the Upper Hall (I am old enough to have attended meetings there when it was still called the Badminton Court).
FAKE NEWS: MEDIA, TRUTH AND POWER – SIMON BASKETTER
This was a splendid way to start the day. There was some very entertaining stuff, with serious purpose. The events of June 8th showed everyone who was not already aware that there are limitations to the power of the media – our mass media were universal in predicting (and in most cases wanting) a huge majority for Theresa May and the SelfConservatives and of course she ended up with no majority, dickering with the foul bigots of the DUP to hang on to the power. Of course she is now so desperate that she is asking Labour for ideas (Jeremy Corbyn’s response: “I’ll give you a copy of our manifesto”). Here are some photographs to help tell the story:
MARXISM AND MENTAL HEALTH – BETH GREENHILL
I will be giving this meeting a full post to itself in due course – it deserves it, and I have asked the speaker to email me all her slides, including those she did not get to use because of the importance I attach to this subject. For the moment here are a few pictures:
MARXISM, NATURE AND SOCIETY – MARTIN EMPSON
Following the lunch break (picnics are something of a tradition at Marxism festivals, and I participated in the Norwich and East Anglia picnic) I headed to room 3E for this meeting. I would have preferred this talk to have been assigned a bigger room because the topic is so important. It was well attended, as it should have been. There were many outstanding contributions, including from those fighting against fracking (a particularly destructive method of extracting fossil fuels from shale). A woman who was born in Australia and whose father works in mining talked about her arguments with him and how she explains that she does not want people in mining to be jobless – she wants them to have jobs helping the environment, such as developing renewable energy sources etc. Here are some pictures:
IRELAND AND THE RISE OF THE RADICAL LEFT – GERRY CARROLL
Gerry Carroll is one of two members of People Before Profit elected to the Stormont Assembly in the days when that body still functioned. The other was Eamonn McCann. One of Stormont’s less charming features is a register that requires you to state whether you are Nationalist or Unionist – McCann and Carroll both wrote the single word Socialist in this space. People Before Profit are a cross-border organisation and they also boast three members of the Dail (the Irish Republic’s parliament), two of whom, Richard Boyd Barrett and Brid Smith were also at Marxism 2017. Gerry Carroll won his seat in West Belfast – Gerry Adams’ stamping ground. For an avowed non-sectarian to win in the very heartland of Sinn Fein is particularly remarkable. Carroll talked about both his success and that in the Republic. In the Republic much of the radicalism developed around the attempted imposition of water charges (yes – in Europe’s wettest country), but also of course the Republic became the first country in the world to vote in favour of equal marriage.
After Carroll finished his inspiring speech various people in the audience talked further about some of the points he raised, filling out the picture. Here are some pictures…
DID LENIN LEAD TO STALIN? – PADDY NIELSEN
After the second long break of the day it was back up to floor 3, this time room 3B for me. This meeting dealt with one of the more persistent accusations flung at the left (note, until the mid 1990s Socialist Worker retained its masthead stating “Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism”). Nielsen set out the counter arguments excellently. Stalinism was a product of the isolation of the Russian Revolution – it did not spread elsewhere as the revolutionaries hoped, and it was separated from the revolutionary movement by a river of blood. Most of the old Bolshevik leadership who were alive when Stalin took power died at his hands. Here are some pictures: