The Smith XI

Inspired by Jamie Smith’s batting at Bristol in the last round of championship games I have selected a team comprised entirely of Smiths (he is twelfth person). Also includes some of my photographs.

This post was inspired by Jamie Smith’s double century for Surrey against Gloucestershire in the last round of county championship fixtures.

THE XI IN BATTING ORDER

For reasons that will become obvious I am including a twelfth person on this occasion.

  1. Graeme Smith (left handed opening batter) – the South African’s record confirms him as one of the finest openers of the modern era. He was also a candidate for the captaincy which I have awarded instead to his opening partner.
  2. *Mike Smith (MJK Smith, right handed opening batter, captain) – The Warwickshire stalwart averaged over 40 in FC cricket.
  3. Robin Smith (right handed batter) – An excellent player of fast bowling but had the gloss taken off his test record when he was found badly wanting against Shane Warne. Still even with the deleterious effect of Warne on his overall record he finished with a test average of 43.
  4. Steven Smith (right handed batter, occasional leg spinner) – The best test batter of the modern era, and possibly his country’s second best ever behind Donald Bradman.
  5. Collie Smith (right handed batter, occasional off spinner) – killed in a road accident at the age of 26 but he had already achieved plenty of note, including scoring 168 in a test innings and racking up a triple century in a Lancashire League game.
  6. Sydney Smith (left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner) – West Indian born but primarily associated with Northamptonshire. He averaged 31 with the bat and 18 with the ball, figures that would probably equate to 46 and 27 on today’s more batting friendly surfaces. Three years after his arrival at Northamptonshire the county finished second in the championship, a position that they are yet to improve on 110 years later.
  7. +Ian Smith (right handed batter, wicket keeper) – A fine keeper and a good enough bat to have test centuries, including a top score of 173.
  8. ‘Big Jim’ Smith (CIJ Smith – right arm fast medium bowler, very aggressive right handed lower order batter) – still holds the record for the quickest 50 scored of genuine bowling, reaching the landmark in 11 minutes (overall innings 66 in 18 minutes). A good enough quick bowler to be selected for England at his peak.
  9. Peter Smith (leg spinner, attacking lower order batter) – his most famous performance came with the bat, for Essex against Derbyshire, when he came in at number 11 and proceeded to smash 163 out of a last wicket stand of 218. That innings helped him to achieve the season’s double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in first class matches for the first time in his career.
  10. Haydon Smith (right arm fast bowler, right handed tailender) – the Leicestershire quick will form a useful new ball pairing with ‘Big Jim’ in this team.
  11. ‘Razor’ Smith (off spinner, right handed tail ender) – over 1,000 FC wickets at 17.55 a piece. The Surrey and London County player completes a highly dangerous spin trio who all do different things with the ball (of the three Peter Smith the leg spinner is probably the least threatening, but even he took his FC wickets at 26.55 a piece.
  12. Jamie Smith (right handed batter, wicket keeper). The inspiration for this post. His double century at Bristol took his FC average north of 40, but he is not his county’s first choice keeper and I could not leave out Collie Smith to get him into the 11, so for the moment he is twelfthy for this team.

A LOOK AT THE XI

The team has a very strong top five, a genuine all rounder at six, an excellent keeper/ batter at seven, two useful hitters at eight and nine and only two out and out tailenders. The bowling his excellent variety, although it is short in the pace department. I would expect this team to give a good account of itself on most surfaces (only on a green seamer might they be in trouble).

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Given the lack of pace bowling I will start with that department. Gloucestershire left armer Mike Smith did not have a good enough record to merit selection, though he was a good county bowler. Warwickshire all rounder Paul Smith, who bowled fast medium, could only have been accommodated had I left out one of Collie or Sydney Smith, and I did not feel that I could drop either to make way for him.

There were two wicket keeping candidates other than Ian Smith, both with Warwickshire connections – ‘Tiger’ Smith and Alan Smith.

Off spinner Neil Smith, for all that he was briefly an England cricketer, was not of the same calibre as the spinners I have selected. Had Sydney Smith not had an ironclad case for inclusion as an all rounder I might have included a female in the shape of left arm spinner Linsey Smith.

Chris Smith might have had the opening slot I awarded to MJK. David Smith (Surrey, Worcs, Sussex, picked for the 1986 tour of the Caribbean) was a good county player but not (in spite of the fact that he attended a previous incarnation of my own secondary school) good enough to qualify for selection.

Finally, I deliberately did not pick the guy known in his Cambridge days as ‘Smith’ – KS Duleepsinhji, because I would have considered it hypocritical to avail myself of this “cheat code” given my own condemnation of the conduct of a certain county at which a senior overseas pro was referred to as ‘Steve’ by folk who weren’t prepared to pronounce his real name.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

Ashes Composite XI

My composite Ashes XI with reasoning and justification. Also some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

A common feature of final days of series is the selection of a composite XI based on performances in said series. This is my effort for the current Ashes series. I am going to name my team in batting order first and then explain/amplify/justify these selections.

THE TEAM

My team in batting order (England player names in dark blue, Aus in green):

  1. Alastair Cook
  2. David Warner
  3. Dawid Malan
  4. Steven Smith (Captain)
  5. Shaun Marsh
  6. Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)
  7. Mitchell Marsh
  8. Mitchell Starc
  9. Pat Cummins
  10. Nathan Lyon
  11. Jimmy Anderson

MY REASONING

The openers need no justification – the only major contribution from an opener not named Warner in the series was Cook’s monumental innings at the MCG. Number three is a thorny one. James Vince has demonstrated clearly that he does not belong there, and his huge score here at the SCG notwithstanding I remain skeptical about Usman Khawaja, hence my decision to promote England’s leading run scorer in the series to a position he occupies for his county. Number four, and with it the captaincy was the easiest selection of the whole lot. Shaun Marsh has not put a foot wrong since being called up to replace the inadequate Handscomb at number 5, and I regarded him as a must pick. Jonny Bairstow and Tim Paine have both had good series with the gloves, but I have opted for Bairstow as definitely the superior batsman. Mitchell Marsh has had a magnificent series, and was an absolute shoe-in at number 7, especially as Moeen Ali has had a terrible series – he has batted poorly in every match and his bowling average reads like a Bradman batting average. Of the specialist bowlers I have picked those at number 8,9 and 10 in the batting order are absolute stand outs. Number 11 was tricky, since Anderson with virtually no support has had a good series, and the better supported Hazlewood as also had a fine series. Accepting that even were it possible vivisection is not permissible (though ‘Anderwood’ is only one letter removed from a former test great!) I have opted for Anderson as I rate his the greater achievement. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Looking at the makeup of the team (and accepting that Hazlewood for Anderson and Khawaja for Malan would both be valid changes), Australian picks predominate in both batting and bowling, though it is especially the bowling, which in my team comes out at 4-1 (including all-rounder Mitchell Marsh) to Australia and is reality more like 4.3-0.7 (rating my selection of Anderson over Hazlewood as a 70:30 pick) which has split the sides. England have collected barely more than half of the 100 wickets that were available to them at the start of the series, whereas Australia assuming that they take the six England wickets that remain in this match will have managed 90, failing to take 20 opposition wickets only on the MCG pitch. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

I always like to include a few photographs in my blog posts, so I end with these recently taken pictures:

FW
The first five pictures were taken while walking to the Scout Hut on Beulah Street for Musical Keys yesterday.

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PW1
These last four pictures were taken in Fakenham on Thursday.

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Australia 2-0 Up In ODI Series

A mention of yesterday;s ODI, leading to an account of a controversial dismissal and some stories about other controversial dismissals. Some good pictures. Finally, some interesting and important links.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my title piece I have some links and some photographs to share.

AUSTRALIAN VICTORY MARRED BY CONTROVERSIAL DISMISSAL

Let me start by saying straight that the dismissal in question had no effect on the outcome of the match – Australia were already in control by then and thoroughly deserved their victory. England one the toss, put Australia in, and Australia ran up 309 from the 49 overs that the match was reduced to.

OBSTRUCTING THE FIELD

Ben Stokes was given out to one cricket’s most obscure modes of dismissal: Obstructing the Field. He deflected with his hand a ball that would have hit his stumps and run him out.  I quote from my copy of The Laws of Cricket the paragraph explaining the relevant law:

1. Out Obstructing the field

Either batsman is out Obstructing the field  if he wilfully obstructs the or distracts the opposing side by word or action. It shall be regarded as obstruction if either batsman wilfully, and without the consent of the fielding side, strikes the ball with his bat or person, other than a hand not holding the bat, after the ball has touched a fielder.

The emphases in the body text of the above quote are mine – in the space of time that it took for  the incident to occur it is hard to see how Stokes could have wilfully obstructed the field – and also the hand that struck the ball was not holding the bat and is therefore specifically exempted by the above. Steven Smith, the Australian captain earned few friends by allowing the appeal and dismissal to stand, and even fewer by the arrogant, unthinking post-match interview in which he refused to even countenance the possibility that he might have been wrong.

Of course controversies are nothing new when it comes to clashes between crickets oldest international foes – the first great controversy over a dismissal in an England – Australia match was the one in 1882 that led to the creation of the Ashes, when W.G.Grace ran out Sammy Jones after the latter had left his crease to pat down a divot. Fred Spofforth was particularly incensed, and proceeded to vent his anger by running through the England second innings to win the match. The first post World War II Ashes match featured very controversial moment when Bradman, then on 28 and having looked very unconvincing, sent a ball shoulder-high to Jack Ikin at second slip, and was given not out after England initially thought they had no need to appeal (normally for a high and clear catch you don’t). England’s captain Walter Hammond gave Bradman a pithy summary of his thoughts, saying “A fine bloody way to start a series”. Bradman went on to 187 and Australia to an innings victory. Other more recent cases of controversy include the Dyson run out that was not given at Sydney in the 1982-83 series (when the batsman was so far out of his ground that he was not even in the frame when the wicket was broken), the Wayne Phillips dismissal at Edgbaston in 1985 that ended all hope of Australia saving that match (caught by Gower after he had chopped a ball on to Allan Lamb’s boot and it rebounded up and across to the skipper) and the Ponting dismissal at Trent Bridge in 2005 and that worthy’s subsequent verbal firework display.

PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERLUDE

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LINKS

I have quite a few links to share today, and they divide into three sections…

SCIENCE AND NATURE

Five pieces here:

  1. Cosmos Up have produced one of their quirky compilations, in this case “10 facts about Mars your probably didn’t know
  2. The remaining pieces in this section all come courtesy of whyevolutionistrue, starting with this light-hearted “Saturday Hili Dialogue
  3. Next, this piece about a very brave woman who saved a fox from bloodthirsty, law-breaking hunters.
  4. Next, Lawrence Krauss exposing the xenophobia inherent in religion.
  5. Finally, this one, in which a chimpanzee takes out a drone.

AUTISM RELATED

Again, five links here…

  1. A new find via twitter, and a site I wish to encourage is nextstepacademy (I acknowledge that they are not strictly autism related, but that is where the connection arose).
  2. A report provided by the National Autistic Society on Special Educational Needs.
  3. A very promising looking site called interactingwithautism
  4. From perfectltyfadeddelusions, a new blog that I thoroughly recommend, comes this reblog of a post by an autistic person.

Also on the sharing theme, and accompanied by a pic to make things clearer for you, CricketNews have for the second time in quite a brief period shared something from an autistic blogger.
CL shared

GENERAL POLITICS

A total of six links in this section:

  • I begin with a link to what is in actuality a report of a theft committed brazenly and in broad daylight by a Jobcentre security guard. Having read the post, from samedifference, I have already stated in their comments section the “security guard” who thought it was alright ro behave in this manner needs to be arrested and charged. If I was handling the case, I would run him down to the Police Station, and tell him that either he yields up the phone so that I can be returned to its owner or he goes to court and when he is convicted, as on such ironclad evidence he would have to be, a custodial sentence will be called for. PLEASE READ AND SHARE THE FULL POST
  • julijuxtaposed takes on Scam-eron’s leadership attributes in this post.
  • Next courtesy of the Mirror comes this about David Cameron coming under pressure to abolish the bedroom tax, even from his own side. This piece contains a poll asking readers whether the bedroom tax should be abolished, and when I voted the records showed 92% had got the answer right and only 8% had clicked the no button!
  • perfectlyfadeddelusions are back, with this piece about WRAG workshops being a waste of time.
  • dwpexamination have produced this piece about who are being labelled as extremists (Anti-fracking protesters as a group and Caroline Lucas by name were mentioned in this context).
  • Finally, in an effort to finish on high note, this piece from Tina Savage, already widely shared on social media, about why she chose to vote for Jeremy Corbyn.