England Potential Bowlers

A look at potential bowling options for England, a couple of links, a mathematical puzzle and some photographs.

Welcome to this post which features a few bonus features. The weather has ensured that developments in the County Championship do not warrant a post today, so I am looking at possible bowling options for England.

ENGLAND BOWLING PICKS

I am going to work through the options starting with out and out speedsters and ending with four players, two of them very much future rather than present prospects, who would not be picked purely for their bowling but might be used a few overs here and there.

The are four out and out fast bowlers who the selectors might well pick: Jofra Archer, Brydon Carse, Olly Stone and Mark Wood. Three of these have already played test cricket, while Carse has been making waves over the last couple of years. Personally given his injury history and his value in limited overs cricket I would be chary of picking Wood for test matches. Archer and Stone could both easily play, and Carse is an extra option. On home tracks I do not see more than one bowler from this bracket being warranted, but some overseas tracks may well warrant two or more out and out speedsters (Perth and Johannesburg spring to mind).

Right arm medium-fast/ fast-medium: There are many English bowlers in this bracket with excellent FC records, but to me six have definite England claims. The two veterans Anderson and Broad will probably rotate, though there may be situation in which both get selected. Oliver Edward Robinson and Craig Overton are both having storming seasons, have superb career records and would seem to be in a head to head for the no8 slot. With Stokes currently injured it is quite likely that an all rounder will be selected to bat at no7, and the two main candidates for that role in this bracket are Chris Woakes and Ryan Higgins. Woakes if definitely fit would be the first choice, especially with the first test taking place at his northwest London fiefdom, aka Lord’s.

Left arm medium to fast-medium: Sam Curran is the obvious bowler of this type for England to turn to, and could possibly bat as high as seven, though eight seems more realistic for him at present. George Garton is another promising talent in this bracket, and Sussex have him batting at no7 at the moment.

Spinners: Jack Leach is the man in possession, and it is wildly unlikely that a home pitch will warrant the selection of two specialist spinners. Matt Parkinson (leg spin), Jack Carson and Amar Virdi (both off spin) have all had big performances this season, and given the slim pickings England off spinners have generally had in Australia Parkinson is probably the current no2. Finally, there remains the possibility of offering Sophie Ecclestone who has an extraordinary record in women’s internationals her opportunity to perform alongside the men.

Batters who bowl: Obviously Stokes (LHB, RF) would if fit be preeminent in this category, but he is currently injured. Matt Critchley of Derbyshire (RHB, LS) is having a superb season with the bat and it is quite possible that England would select him and give him a few overs here and there in addition to using his batting. A couple of youngsters who will be on the radar in the near future are Lewis Goldsworthy of Somerset (RHB, SLA) and Luke Hollman of Middlesex (RHB, LS). Goldsworthy hasn’t yet bowled in FC cricket, but has scored 39, 41 not out and 24 in his three innings, and the last two were knocks played under considerable pressure on pitches that were not straightforward.

Myself given that the next test match is at Lord’s I would be going with Woakes and Oliver Edward Robinson at seven and eight, with commiserations to Craig Overton. My team would look something like: Sibley, Burns, Crawley, *Root, Pope, +Foakes, Woakes, OE Robinson, Stone, Leach, Anderson. Archer, Carse or Wood could take Stone’s place and of course Broad could play ahead of Anderson depending on form or fitness.

A COUPLE OF LINKS

The Lynn News are running a poll for who should be their Charity of the Year, and NAS West Norfolk, of which I am branch secretary, are among the nominees. Please read the article and vote for us by clicking here.

Phoebe has one again opened up her blog for people to promote their own blogs, and I urge you to visit and check out some of the blogs advertising themselves there. Please click here to do so.

A MATHEMATICAL PUZZLE

This is a fun problem from brilliant.org:

PHOTOGRAPHS

Leaden sky and persistent rain are not the best conditions for photography, but I do have some pictures to share with you:

County Championship Round Four Preview

A preview of the Championship games starting tomorrow and a bumper crop of photographs.

This post looks ahead to the county championship matches that get underway tomorrow. The competition is organized in an unusual way this year: the counties have been arranged in three groups of six, and will play an opening league stage of 10 rounds, after which there will be a split into three divisions, featuring the top two from each group, the middle two from each group and the bottom two from each group. For the teams who were in the same groups half points will be carried forward into this final stage, which will comprise four further matches. The leading side in the first division at the end of all this will become County Champions, and they and second place will play off for the Bob Willis Trophy.

GROUP ONE

Derbyshire v Nottinghamshire: The ‘Brian Clough Way’ Derby. The main road linking these two east midland cities is now named in honour of Brian Clough who had his greatest successes as a football manager in the two cities concerned. Neither side are going particularly well this year, and Nottinghamshire are without a first class victory since 2018. Many eyes will be on Haseeb Hameed of Nottinghamshire to see if he can kick on from scoring twin centuries last time out, but someone else who definitely merits some attention is Derbyshire’s leg spinning all rounder Matt Critchley.

Worcestershire v Essex: Essex will be looking to rebound from their loss to Warwickshire, and Simon Harmer will have been stung by going wicketless on a fourth day pitch in that game. Dan Lawrence will be looking to score some big runs for Essex.

Durham v Warwickshire: Warwickshire will be looking to build on their success against Essex last time out. Robert Yates will want to prove that his unbeaten ton in that match was not a one off, and Sam Hain is also one to watch.

GROUP TWO

Gloucestershire v Leicestershire: Gloucestershire won their first two games and held out for a draw against Hampshire in the third and most recent. That game saw the last pair defy Hampshire for over an hour to secure the draw. Hassan Azad will be looking for runs for Leicestershire to further bolster his England credentials. With an all rounder needed for England Gloucestershire’s Ryan Higgins will be looking to to continue his fine start to the season.

Somerset v Middlesex: The Lee family clash (Harry Lee was a Middlesex opener of long ago, and his brothers Frank, later a test umpire, and Jack both played for Somerset, and there was one occasion one the scorebook feature all three brothers on one line – Harry was caught by Jack off the bowling of Frank). The reverse of this game was played in round one and Somerset won, a result they will keen to duplicate on their own patch. Tom Lammonby will be looking to continue the rehabilitation from a poor run that his unbeaten 70 in the last match started. Several Somerset bowlers have fared well this season. Ethan Bamber has been impressive with the ball for Middlesex, and Luke Hollman, a leg spin bowling all rounder who is just starting out could well be worth watching.

Surrey v Hampshire: The Phil Mead clash (the dour left hander failed to make the grade at Surrey but moved to Hampshire and set records for the most runs (48,809) and most centuries (138) made by anyone for a single first class side). Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes have both made runs to start this season and will be looking to continue that trend, while Amar Virdi will want to put down a marker given the successes other spinners have been having early this season.

GROUP THREE

Glamorgan v Kent: Indifferent starts for both of these sides. Zak Crawley will be looking to get among the runs for Kent. Kiran Carlson has had one fabulous match for Glamorgan this season.

Yorkshire v Northamptonshire: David Willey, who played for Northamptonshire earlier in his career may feature for Yorkshire. Dom Bess who took six wickets in the final innings of Yorkshire’s last game, in which they beat Sussex, will be looking to continue his revival. For Northamptonshire the obvious one to watch is Ricardo Vasconcelos, with two 150+ scores to his name already this season.

Lancashire v Sussex: First against third in the group. Matt Parkinson will be looking to continue his massively impressive start to the season. For Sussex Oliver Edward Robinson will be looking to underline his England credentials by producing something at a test match venue, and left arm pacer George Garton could well be part of England’s plans, especially if he plays well.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

It will not be possible for fans to watch these games at the grounds, although it is my understanding that we are only a few weeks away from that happening. Commentaries on all games will be available via www.bbc.co.uk/cricket – click the ‘live county cricket’ button and scroll across to select your commentary, livestreams are available via the county websites and youtube, and for extra detail you can keep a cricinfo.com tab open with your chosen game selected.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have lots of photographs to end this post…

Picking a Test Side Without Stokes or Woakes

A look at options for the England side for the first test and some photographs.

This post looks at the problems caused by the absences of Stokes (injured) and Woakes (at the IPL) for England. Another round of County Championship matches gets underway tomorrow and may provide more information.

FOUR BOWLERS OR FIVE?

Stokes and Woakes are the two best English all rounders currently playing, and without either the choice is between relying on four bowling options or accepting a weakened batting line up in order to have five bowling options. My choice, because one needs to take 20 wickets to win a test match is to have five bowling options.

BUILDING THE TEAM

There are doubts over whether Sibley will be fit for the first test match, and the only potential replacement who is doing enough at the moment in my book is Hassan Azad of Leicestershire. Burns and Crawley will round out the top three. Skipper Root will be at four, the slot he has made his own. Number five is choice between Pope and Lawrence, but Pope has underlined his quality with a huge score in the last round of championship matches, so I select him. As readers of this blog know I consider that Foakes should be a shoo-in for the test wicket keeping berth, and with five bowlers needed I put him at six. Personally I would select Ryan Higgins at seven – he is a cut above Overton, Gregory or S Curran with the bat, and an FC bowling average of 21 suggests he could do a job at the highest level. No8, where also batting skills are not entirely irrelevant is for me locked down – Oliver Edward Robinson who underlined his credentials with a nine wicket innings haul a few days ago gets the nod. Archer is at the IPL, and current form suggests that of the other two out and out speedsters Olly Stone should get the nod. Parkinson’s fine bowling against Northants not withstanding Jack Leach is clear as England’s #1 test spinner. James Anderson is missing Lancashire’s next game due to a tight calf, which suggests that Stuart Broad has to get the final placed. Thus my provisional line up, assuming that availability is as it seems is:

  1. Hassan Azad
  2. Rory Burns
  3. Zak Crawley
  4. *Joe Root
  5. Ollie Pope
  6. +Ben Foakes
  7. Ryan Higgins
  8. Oliver Edward Robinson
  9. Olly Stone
  10. Jack Leach
  11. Stuart Broad

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

Championship Performances of Promise

A look at some of the more important success stories from this round of county championship games and a bumper crop of photographs.

As this round of county championship matches heads towards its conclusion (three are already settled – congratulations to Essex, Gloucestershire and Hampshire on their wins) I highlight several performances of potential interest to England.

While Ollie Pope dominated Surrey’s massive total against Leicestershire with his 245 there were also useful runs for Jamie Smith (119) and far more significantly for Ben Foakes (87), who should feature as England’s test wicket keeper.

For Leicestershire, Hassan Azad, mentioned as a candidate for an opening berth (Burns remains under some scrutiny after his winter, and Sibley is injured and may not be fit for the first test, while Lammonby is struggling horrendously after a fine start to his FC career) made a century in the first innings and is well on the way to doubling up. As things stand at the moment he is averaging 44.84 in FC cricket, while playing his 31st match at that level.

In the west country derby Ryan Higgins had a fine match, and with there being a possible vacancy for an all rounder with Stokes injured and Woakes playing in the IPL that could prove significant. Of more definite significance is the performance of James Bracey – a century and an 82 not out in the second innings. He has been part of the England set up but has yet to play a test match.

Finally, Matt Parkinson for Lancashire has produced a good bowling performance. He took 3-49 in the first innings, including a pretty good impression of the ‘Gatting ball’ and already has 2-23 in the second as Lancashire press for victory (Northamptonshire can do no better than a draw from here). His five wickets in this match have taken his bowling average in FC cricket below 25 (currently 67 wickets at 24.42). He remains #2 to Leach among current England spinners, although he is now paying less per wicket than Leach in FC cricket, because Leach has over 300 wickets to his credit at FC level and is faring respectably at test level, but he may well be earning himself a trip to Australia as an accredited member of the party rather than a ‘reserve’ as was over the winter just gone.

Oliver Edward Robinson of Sussex, definitely a candidate for elevation, has just recorded innings figures of 9-78, giving him 13-128 in the match. If England want five bowling options, Higgins at seven, Robinson at eight, one out and out speedster, Leach and one of Broad/ Anderson could work well, Higgins and Robinson have decent batting credentials.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have lots of photographs to share with you…

The Bob Willis Trophy and England v Ireland

A whistle stop tour of the Bob Willis Trophy as the first round of matches draws to a close, a look at the ODI between England and Ireland, some mathematics and photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The first round of Bob Willis Trophy Matches is into its final afternoon, and the third and last match of the ODI series between England and Ireland is underway.

THE BOB WILLIS TROPHY

Late yesterday afternoon Sussex became the first team to win a Bob Willis Trophy match when they bowled Hampshire out for 150 in the final innings to win a low scoring match by 94 runs. Oliver Edward Robinson, the right arm medium fast bowler, was Sussex’s star player, following 3-36 in the first Hampshire innings with 5-29 in their second. Jack Carson, a 19 year old off spinner had 3-37 in that final innings as well, following 2-15 first time round. Felix Organ, an off spinning all rounder (mentioned in this post in my all-time XIs series), and Mason Crane, a leg spinner, each took three wickets in each Sussex innings. Somerset joined Sussex in the winners enclosure this morning, bowling Glamorgan out in the final innings for 160 to win by a colossal 289 runs. The Overton twins got among the wickets in both innings, while Jack Brooks, better known as a bowler, had some fun with the bat for Somerset with 72 in the first innings. Tom Abell, a young batter looking to stake a claim to an England place, made 119 in Somerset’s second innings. I will pay Glamorgan the courtesy of making no reference to their efforts in this match. Yorkshire have just become the third team to record a victory in the competition, having been delayed by rain this morning, but getting the better of Durham by six wickets. All of Yorkshire’s seamers got among the wickets, and Dawid Malan and Harry Brook scored runs in the final innings. Northamptonshire look to have turned the tables on Warwickshire after a disastrous start. Northants were rolled for 142 in their first innings, and Warwickshire scored 369-8 from 120 overs in response before their first innings had to be closed. Northamptonshire are 453-6 in their second innings and all but safe from defeat. Surrey and Middlesex is interestingly poised at The Oval. Middlesex declared their second innings at 248-6, setting Surrey 314 to win in 71 overs, and Surrey lost three wickets early in their second innings and are currently 76-3 in the 27th. Daniel Moriarty, a left arm spinner on first class debut took five wickets out of the six Middlesex lost in their second innings. Ryan Patel and Jamie Smith are currently batting well. Smith, Surrey’s keeper in the absence of Ben Foakes, scored 80 in the first innings, while Patel has some long innings to his credit in the past (he also bowls medium pace and holds the record for taking five first class wickets earlier in his career than any other bowler in terms of balls bowled to get there). Martin Andersson (no, this is not a typo, his surname is spelt the Nordic way with a double s, as opposed to veteran England seamer James Anderson, although he was born in Reading, Berkshire) bowled a crucial spell in the Surrey first innings, and also scored 50 in Middlesex’s second innings. Lancashire managed 322 in the first innings against Leciestershire, who responded with 409-8, while Lancashire are now 181-6 in their second innings. Callum Parkinson, twin brother of Matt who when not injured is part of the England ODI setup, has bagged five wickets in this match, two in the first Lancashire innings and three more in the second. Gloucs and Worcs looks like going the way of the latter. Gloucestershire made 267 in their first innings and are now 244-9 in their second, with Worcestershire having scored 428-5 in their first innings. Josh Tongue has bowled well for Worcestershire in both innings. Notts and Derbyshire is going Notts’ way but only just – they have set Derbyshire 365 to win and the latter are currently 212-5. Joey Evison, a young all rounder,  has made two scores of over 30 for Notts and picked up four wickets, while Haseeb Hameed formerly of Lancashire is showing signs of resurrecting his batting having scored 68 and 52 in this match. Finally, the ‘Dartford Crossing Derby’ between Kent and Essex looks likely to go Essex’s way, although they have just lost another wicket, making it 148-5 and 54 needed to win. Kent made 387 first up, Essex 298 in response, but then Kent folded for 112 in their second innings. Jamie Porter took four wickets in the first Kent innings, while Heino Kuhn scored 140. Matt Milnes took four wickets for Kent in his turn, while Marcus O’Riordan, an off spinner, took three. Simon Harmer in turn took four wickets with his own spin, while Essex’s opening bowlers took five between them, three for Sam Cook and two for Porter. Hamidullah Qadri has a wicket with his own off spin in the Essex second innings.

ENGLAND V IRELAND

England have lost three early wickets, but are now fighting back, having just got 100 up. Morgan the skipper is doing most of the scoring at present, while Tom Banton is playing the support role. Roy and Bairstow were both out in single figures, and Vince yet again looked impressive for a short period before getting out, this time with 16 to his name. As a senior top order batter Vince must be running out of chances – he has produced seemingly numberless elegant miniatures but no full fledged masterpiece as yet.

SOLUTION AND NEW TEASER

I set this one in my last post:

Fractal

These were the possible answers:

a)

Below is a screenshot of Vinayak Srivastava’s published solution – click on it for more:

Vinayak

This one was today’s daily challenge on brilliant, although I am making it a little tougher than they did (the four daggers is a ludicrous overstatement of the difficulty of this one):

disease

My change is that where they gave a list of options for what was closest the the probability that someone testing positive actually has the disease I simply ask: To the nearest whole number what is the percentage chance that someone who has tested positive for the disease actually has it? Answer in my next post (my own explanation, plus a particularly impressive published solution).

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off:

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PS Kent have turned things around against Essex and now have them 172-8 needing to score 30 with only two wickets left. Tom Banton is starting to blossom in the ODI, having now reached 50, his first such ODI score.