100 Cricketers – The Fifth XI Opening Batters

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, dealing with the opening batters in my fifth XI and a couple of other bits of business. Also features some og my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. Having spent most of the afternoon getting care arrangements sorted I now have time to attend to this and am delighted to do so. My introduction to this series can be seen here, and the most recent post, in which I introduce the fifth XI in batting order can be seen here. First however there is a bit of business to attend to…

ENGLAND MAKE IT 3-0 IN STYLE

The third and final match of the ODI series between Sri Lanka Women and England Women took place this morning. After a clinical bowling and fielding effort had restricted Sri Lanka to 177 from their 50 overs thbis modest total was made to look positively risible by Amy Jones (76 off 58 balls, her third successive fifty plus score), Tammy Beaumont (63 off 66 balls), Lauren Winfield (29 not out off 28 finishing the chase with a six) and a walk-on for captain Heather Knight (3 not out at the end), the target being chased down with 23.5 of a possible 50 overs unused. The wickets had been shared around, with Cross (2-25 from her full 10 overs – another fine effort in what has been a good recent run for her), Shrubsole (2-30 from nine) and Hartley (2-39 from eight) each picking up two and three run outs being achieved (Sciver, Wilson and Winfield being the successful fielders, the work of the latter two being completed by keeper Jones). A full scorecard can be viewed here and an official report here.

A PARTIAL APOLOGY RE DUANNE OLIVIER

When I mentioned Duanne Olivier while covering “Kolpak” players in a piece devoted to Jonathan Trott I implied based on the fact that he had already played for the full South African side that he did not intend to make his skills available to England. It appears that I was wrong about this (though not about Jacques Rudolph or Kyle Abbott, the other two players I mentioned in that context) and if he really means it about wanting to play for England I hope he succeeds in attaining that ambition. I still stand by what I said overall regarding “Kolpak” players, and especially those who do not intend to make their expertise available to England, but it appears that Olivier has the right intentions whatever one might think of someone who has already played for one country seeking to do so for another, hence this little section.

PUNAM RAUT

Two fine innings against England in the 2017 Womens World Cup (90 in a winning cause in the first match of the tournament, 86 in a losing cause in the final, when she eventually became one of Anya Shrubsole’s six victims) showed how good a player she is. Her approach suggests that had she had the opportunity (like so many of the women she has not) she would do well in test cricket as well. Although Harleen Deol has done little to impress in her brief tenure as opener, Jemimah Rodrigues looks to pose a stronger challenge to Raut’s continued presence in the team (Smriti Mandhana – see this post for more – has one opening berth absolutely nailed down but I expect to hear and read more of Raut before she is finished.

LAURA WOLVAART

At 19 years of age she has already played 41 ODIs and averages 43 in that form of that game, with two centuries (best 149). Her 13 T20I appearances have been less impressive, and is so often the case with the women she has not as yet had the opportunity to show what she can do in the test arena. I for one believe that even more than in the case of most of the others in her current position she would fare well there given the opportunity – the fact the she sppears to positively relish playing long innings points success in that arena. 

With a strong middle order (subject of the next post in this series) to follow the opening pair she would have every opportunity to bat for considerable periods of time. 

I expect plenty more big scores from her in the not too distant future.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual finish to a post…

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100 Cricketers – 4th XI Opening Batters

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.

INTRODUCTION

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 here and 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 Hartley taking 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 Beaumont played the anchor role with 43 off 60. Heather Knight was unbeaten on 20 and Danielle Wyatt 13 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…

CHARLOTTE EDWARDS

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. 

HERSCHELLE GIBBS

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…

PHOTOGRAPHS

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These four mosaics are on the walls opposite the lifts used for transferring bed bound patients between floors at Addnenbrookes (down on level two, the entrance level to the hospital)

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A New Venue With Old Connections

The start of my personal coverage of the second Test Match between India and England at Visakhapatnam, with a mention of some old connections of this new venue, also a mention of Sri Lanka Women v England Women in Colombo, and a little mathematical teaser.

INTRODUCTION

Just like the first match of the India v England series at Rajkot, this match is happening at a new Test Match venue, Visakhapatnam. This is the 111th test match venue overall and the 24th such in India (more than any other country).

OLD CONNECTIONS AT A NEW VENUE

One of the two ends at this ground is called the “Dr Vizzy End”. The Dr Vizzy of that designation was the Maharajkumar of Vizianagram, captain, administrator and briefly late in his life a Test Match Special summariser. He also ran a private team for which he got both Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe to play, which led to a bit of controversy over statistics.

WISDEN VERSUS THE
ASSOCIATION OF CRICKET STATISTICIANS

When Jack Hobbs retired at the end of the 1934 season his record stood at 61,237 first class runs with 197 centuries, although in some sources you will see him credited with 61,760 runs and 199 centuries. The Vizianagram XI matches and a desire to get Hobbs to 200 centuries are the reason for this. Hobbs himself was deeply opposed to any retrospective alteration of players records, and rightly so in my opinion. In 1925 Hobbs had had a nervous period when he had 125 centuries to his credit, with W G Grace according to his official record having 126 which at that time was the record. It was against Somerset at Taunton (a frequent combination for the setting of new batting records over the years) that Hobbs equalled the old record in the first innings and then beat it in the second. However, the revisionists in the ACS camp who have revised Hobbs’ record upwards, have revised W G Grace’s downwards, from 54,896 runs and 126 centuries to 54,211 runs and 124 centuries. This makes a mockery of the events of 1925 described above and the celebrations that accompanied the Taunton match.

My own view is this: Players records should be given as they were recognised at the time, but if you are so inclined certain records of those who played long ago can be footnoted to the effect that “if current definitions of first class status had prevailed when X played their record would have read Y”. This acknowledges the problems with some of the old records without changing them.

BACK TO THE PRESENT

India having won the toss and chosen to bat are 134-2 in the current game, with Jimmy Anderson in the England side after injury. For India Gambhir and Mishra have been dropped, replaced by Rahul and Jayant Yadav (there was already one Yadav, Umesh, in their squad). Meanwhile, in Colombo the England Women have staged a remarkable recovery in the final match of their ODI series against Sri Lanka from a low water mark of 58-6 to a current position of 218-8, Natalie Sciver making 77 off 74 balls and Danielle Hazell a career best 45 off 64 balls. Laura Marsh is on 29 and Beth Langston on 6.

A TEASER TO FINISH

I have recently acquired a mathematically minded follower of this blog, and being mathematically minded myself this seems a good moment to set a problem which consist of two parts:

I am going to set out two pairs of simultaneous equations, and your task is first to select one and then to solve it (nb, both parts of this teaser have clear cut right and wrong answers):

73X + 43y = 211                                                                 685,463X + 314,537Y = 2,685,463
31x + 83y = 199                                                                  314,537X + 685,463Y = 2,314,537

I will provide the answer in my next post.

The England Women have just finished their 50 overs in Colombo at 240-9, Laura Marsh ending on 36 not out, Beth Langston being run out for 21, and number 11 Alex Hartley being at the on-striker’s end for the last ball of the innings.