County Championship Round Up

An account of goings on the County Championship, a brief mention of physio at Tapping House and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The County Championship matches currently in progress are now on day 3 of 4. In this post I will look at all of them before sharing some more of my photos.

THE STATE OF PLAY IN
THE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP

This is what is happening around the country…

  • Nottinghamshire v Essex Nottinghamshire 187 and 157, Essex 241 and 81-1, Essex need a further 24 to win.
    The Nottinghamshire batting has failed twice, leaving Essex a fairly clear run to victory. No Nottinghamshire batter topped 50 in either innings. Nick Browne made 67 in the Essex first dig, while spinner Simon Harmer destroyed the Notts second innings with 6-50. Tom Westley is on the verge of only the second half-century of the match and is being staunchly supported by the only knight of the realm currently playing first class cricket. Joe Clarke of my “Five to Follow” made 48 and 1 for Notts.
  • Kent v YorkshireYorkshire 210 and 328-4, Kent 296.
    Kent took what would have looked a useful first innings lead, but Yorkshire have turned this one around in their second innings. They will now be eyeing up a declaration to give Kent an awkward period of batting before the close today and then the whole of tomorrow. 81 for Zak Crawley and 103 from wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson were Kent’s main batting efforts, while Gary Ballance is 143 not out in the second Yorkshire innings. Ben Coad and Duanne Olivier each took three wickets for Yorkshire.
  • Surrey v SomersetSurrey 380 and 19-2, Somerset 398.
    This one could go a long way to deciding the ultimate destiny of the title as it features the defending champions (Surrey) and the form side thus far this year (Somerset). So far this shaping up as Lewis Gregory’s match – three wickets in the first innings, a magnificent 129 not out, including 10 fours and five sixes to give Somerset a first innings lead and already has a second innings wicket (the other second innings wicket has gone to the Devonian giant Craig Overton). Somerset have quite a tradition of pace bowlers who love to give the ball a wallop – Sammy Woods, Arthur Wellard, Maurice Tremlett (grandfather of Chris, father of Tim), the one with whom we do not compare up and coming allrounders because it gives them an impossible benchmark and a few other lesser names, and Gregory with the development of his batting bids fair to join them. It would be a big ask for anyone to start out in an Ashes series, but I certainly hope that Gregory will be in the winter touring parties. George Bartlett failed in the Somerset first innings but may get a second chance, if Somerset bowl Surrey out.
  • Warwickshire v HampshireHampshire 354 and 186-3, Warwickshire 233.
    I suspect that Hampshire will be looking at batting until there is an hour to go in this day’s play before sticking Warwickshire back in to face a huge target in the fourth innings. The fact that they are going at over five an over in a four-day game tells me that they are looking very definitely at victory. Alsop made 150 in the first Hampshire innings, Sibley carried his bat through the Warwickshire first innings for his sixth century in as many matches. 23 year-old Oliver Soames scored 62 in the second Hampshire innings, 22 year-old Joe Weatherley 46, while Northeast and Rossouw are currently batting together.
  • Glamorgan v GloucestershireGlamorgan 250 and 184-1, Gloucestershire 463.
    Glamorgan are making a fight of this in their second innings, but probably need to bat until teatime tomorrow to save this one after conceding such a huge first innings deficit. Ryan Higgins matched James Bracey’s century in the Gloucestershire innings, while Hemphrey and Wagg made fifties in the Glamorgan first innings. Hemphrey has made another fifty in the second innings while Nicholas Selman is on 83 not out. 20 year-old offspinner George Drissell took 4-83 in the Glamorgan first innings.
  • Lancashire v NorthamptonshireNorthamptonshire 230 and 54-3, Lancashire 415.
    Lancashire are in control of this one. Jennings and Vilas each contributed 97 to the Lancashire first innings, while Luke Wood took 5-72. Temba Bavuma and Rob Keogh are batting together for Northamptonshire at present.
  • Middlesex v LeicestershireMiddlesex 349 and 147-8, Leicestershire 268.
    After taking a useful looking first innings lead Middlesex are making an utter Horlick’s of their second innings, giving Leicestershire a way back into the match. Sixties for Ackerman and Dearden were the principal scores for Leicestershire, while no one has reached 40 in the Middlesex second innings. Tom Taylor and Chris Wright each have three wickets.
  • Worcestershire v DurhamDurham 273 and 107-5, Worcestershire 390.
    Durham are deep in trouble in this one. A century for Wessels and 61 for 21 year old Some  helped Worcestershire to a substantial first innings lead. In the Durham second innings Burnham and Liam Trevaskis are together, the latter having picked up a wicket with his slow left-arm in the Worcestershire innings.

Essex have completed their win over Nottinghamshire. Westley fell for 49, but Dan Lawrence and the knight saw Essex home, the latter finishing with 40 not out. Jack Leach has just bagged a wicket with his slow-leftarmers, reducing Surrey to 43-3, a mere 24 runs on – defo looking good for Somerset.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Some of these photographs were taken at Tapping House where I had a physio session on Tuesday. All the exercises went well, highlighted by the arms only part of cycling, where I clocked up the equivalent of a mile in three minutes.

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These are the Tappin House shots…

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The last of the Tapping House shots.

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A moon in a daytime sky

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Another shot of the moon in a daytime sky.

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Some Thoughts About Possible England Cricketers

Some thoughts about the possible make-up of the England team against Ireland later this year.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I will be looking at the claims of some potential England cricketers and at the end I will list those who at present would featurie in my plans for the summer. There will be some new names, because although it is only one match I believe that the game against Ireland represents an opportunity to give people a start at test match level, and I would prefer not to have give someone a debut against Australia, who are next up. Before looking at ‘potentials’, it is time clear the decks by first listing the…

SPINE OF THE TEAM

This, given the recent international retirement of Sir Alastair Cook and the lack of success of certain others comprises four names:

  • Rory Burns – He deserves more time to show what he can do at this level (here today, gone tomorrow selections plagued the 1990s when England were an aboslute embarrassment), so one of the openers slots is still his.
  • *Joe Root – The captain and finest batter in the side (and one of the finest in world cricket), his place is assured
  • +Ben Foakes – The best wicketkeeper around and averaging over 40 with the bat in his brief test career to date, I would regard his omission as a disgrace.
  • James Anderson – England’s all-time leading wicket taker and the leader of the bowling attack. As well as his bowling he should be working with the younger bowlers in the squad giving them the benefit of his vast experience and knowhow.

With these four names in mind we now have to decide on the rest, and the next section sets out what is…

REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THE SQUAD

We have two specialist batters and a wicket keeper, and to augment them we need three more specialist batters and an all-rounder or four more specialist batters, one of whom is a regular opener. Only one bowler is listed, and we need a new-ball partner for him, at least two further pace bowlers and two front-line spinners so that we can pick an attack to meet all conditions. With this in mind I am going to start with the…

OPENING BATTER

As far as I am concerned Mark Stoneman and Keaton Jennings have both been found wanting at the highest level, so I strike them straight out. Not many openers have done big things in the first two rounds of county championship matches. Three who merit consideration are Haseeb Hameed who fared well against India before he was injured, but who has had two successive very poor seasons before coming into some runs against Middlesex to start this season, Zak Crawley who has had a superb match for Kent against Warwickshire, although his overall average is only just above 30 and his century in the match just completed was only his second in first-class cricket (from 39 innings) and Dominic Sibley whose 132 for Warwickshire in that same match was fifth century in as many games. Also worth a thought is Middlesex’s Nick Gubbins, who averages 34.92 in first class cricket with seven centuries from 61 innings, and who was one of the few Middlesex players to fare decently with the bat against Lancashire. Of these four my pick would be 25 year-old Gubbins, but with a note to look out for the scores of Hameed, Crawley and Sibley – if any of these start producing big scores on a consistent basis they could still challenge. However, I am not massively convinced by any of these potential openers, and continue to espouse the radical solution I have suggested elsewhere of giving Tammy Beaumont a go amongst the men.

THE NUMBER THREE SLOT

There are fewer options here – not many people have been scoring big at number three. I see the following possibilities:

  1. Persuade Joe Root to go in at number three, enabling an extra middle-order batter to be selected, which could work, but may end up adversely affecting Root’s performances.
  2. Treating him principally as a batter who will sometimes bowl short spells at high pace see if the new, responsible Ben Stokes can handle the number three slot.
  3. Picking him as a specialist batter give Jonathan Bairstow this slot.
  4. Although he does not bat there for his county cross one’s fingers and pitch Joe Clarke straight in at number three.
  5. Gamble on youth by selecting Ryan Patel of Surrey, whose 100 not out was the sheet anchor of their first innings against Essex, guiding them from 75-1 to 395 all out. Fine performance though it was, it was also his first first class hundred, though he is only 21. 

My personal order of preference for these options is as follows: 3, 2, 5, 1, 4 – I regard promoting Root as too much of a gamble and think that expecting someone who is not a regular no 3 to start doing that job at test level would be a big ask, and I think Patel needs a few more big performances be can be seriously entertained, but he is on my radar. 

THE REMAINING BATTERS/ ALL ROUNDERS

With the top four slots filled and a wicket-keeper in place we need either two more specialist batters or a specialist batter and an all-rounder. My possibles are as follows:

  • Joe Clarke – averages over 40 with the bat, started this season splendidly with 112 and 97 not out against Yorkshire, although he then failed twice against Somerset. I believe a place must be found for him, and that number five would be a good position for him to begin his test career from.
  • Ben Stokes – A position in the middle of the order would probably suit him better than number three, and having an all-rounder if they are genuinely good enough is always valuable. 
  • Ollie PopeThe Surrey man’s 251 in the Champion County game showed that he is the form of his life and made his case all but irrefutable.
  • Tom Abell – The Somerset captain has played two valuable innings this season, the 49 in the first innings against Kent and the hundred against Nottinghamshire when his side looked in trouble, but ended up going on to win by an innings.
  • Kiran Carlson – A sparkling century to start his season against Northamptonshire, albeit on a featherbed of a pitch (there were over 80 runs per wicket in that drawn match), and it was only his fourth in 49 first class innings. The 20 year-old is clearly very promising but he needs to do more to earn a place.
  • George Bartlett – Twice in their two matches this season Somerset were deep in trouble and on both occasions Bartlett was instrumental in hauling them out of it. In the second innings of their opener against Kent his 63, backed by some hefty blows from Jack Brooks at number 11 gave them something to bowl at and they duly dismissed Kent, while against Nottinghamshire he came in after the top three had all been dismissed cheaply and with his team initially looking down both barrels produced 133, his maiden first-class ton (note that Carlson was cashing in after two of his team mates had already smashed tons). The fact that he has twice made runs when they were desperately needed suggests that he has the right temperament, so he is definitely in the reckoning.

PACE BOWLERS

We are looking for two or three guys to back up Anderson in this department. I see the following as especially worthy of consideration (in addition to Stuart Broad, whose claims need no amplification here):

  • Lewis Gregory – 5-18 in the second innings of the first match to bowl Kent out, 6-68 in the first innings against Nottinghamshire and a quick fifty to help boost the Somerset total past 400 in that same match. The 26 year old now has 223 wickets at 27.03 in first-class cricket from 76 matches and seems to have stepped things up a notch this season, with a total of 14-145 from two matches, average 10.36 per wicket.
  • Sam Curran –  after the way he burst on the scene against India last year he should feature strongly again. He has not been involved in the early county matches because he is currently playing IPL cricket in India (and has some good performances there to his name).
  • Mark Wood – A bowler who propels the ball at over 90mph, though he is injury prone. I think England need at least one bowler of extreme pace in their attack, and after his efforts against the West Indies he is the prime contender. If he gets injured than my choice in this role would be…
  • Olly Stone –  The Norfolk born quickie takes his wickets at 24 each in first-class cricket, and has the kind of extreme pace that only Wood among the others can match. 
  • Tom Bailey – The Lancashire fast-medium bowler has 161 wickets from his 48 first-class games at 26.15 each, including 5-67 in the Middlesex first innings this season, when his illustrious tem mate Anderson bagged three. The fact that he and Anderson have experience of bowling in tandem could be useful as well. 
  • Henry Brookes – He is just 19 years old, and his seven first class matches have brought him 24 wickets at 26.08 although he has yet to record a five-for. Also hbis ten first class innings have produced three fifty-plus scores, including a career best 84 against Kent that saved his side from an innings defeat, although Kent did manage to chase down the 124 they needed to win, an average of 29.33. He could well develop into a genuine allrounder and definitely merits consideration as a potential no 8.

From the bowlers I have named in this section Stuart Broad, Sam Curran, one out of Wood or Stone and Brookes are the ones I consider serious possibilities. I would consider Brookes if the conditions were such that I thought no spinner was warranted, in which case I would be picking four front-line quick bowlers, otherwise the question would be who missed out in the toss-up between Broad and Curran, and that would be Broad for my money, because he and Anderson are both nearing the end of their great careers, and I think Anderson can support the younger bowlers on his own. I would expect Anderson and Curran to share the new ball, with Mark Wood (if fit) or Olly Stone (otherwise) coming on first change, and Henry Brookes as fourth seamer if the pitch was a green top.

THE SPINNERS

Jack Leach with his 6-36 against Nottinghamshire made his case, strengthened by a maiden test five-for in Sri Lanka, irrefutable. In the absence of any other spinners pulling up trees Adil Rashid who also produced a maiden test five-for over the winter is the choice for the second spinner should conditions warrant such (unlikely, but in July when the next tets match takes place not impossible). Moeen Ali misses out for two reasons – he is not good enough in either department, a bits and pieces player rather than a true all rounder, and he is an off-spinner, and Joe Root (who should be encouraged to trust himself more in this area) can bowl a bit of off-spin if needed. Meanwhile I will be on the look out for a serious option to replace Rashid. Dominic Bess may get himself back into the reckoning as the season goes on, but for the moment two front-line spinners remains enough.

THE FINAL RECKONING

My squad is as follows, starting with the likely first eleven assuming normal conditions:

  1. Rory Burns
  2. Tammy Beaumont
  3. Jonny Bairstow
  4. *Joe Root
  5. Joe Clarke
  6. +Ben Foakes
  7. Ben Stokes
  8. Sam Curran
  9. Jack Leach
  10. Mark Wood/ Olly Stone according to fitness.
  11. James Anderson

The reserves and circumstances in which I would consider picking them are:

  • Adil Rashid – plays if two spinners are needed.
  • Henry Brookes – plays on a green-top if no specialist spinner is deemed necessary.
  • George Bartlett – plays at no7 if Stokes is unavailable, on the understanding that his off-spin will come into the equation.
  • Stuart Broad – slots into his accustomed role as Anderson’s new ball partner if Sam Curran is injured, would also replace Anderson as senior bowler if he was injured, and may start if neither of our extra-fast bowlers is available.
  • Ollie Pope – in the event of injury to any of my suggested nos 3-6 he is the next cab off the rank.
  • Dominic Sibley – if one of my preferred openers is injured he gets the nod.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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The County Championship Second Round

Some thoughtd on the recently concluded round of County Champ;ionship matches.

INTRODUCTION

The second round of County Championship cricket matches of 2019 has just finished, with Kent completing an eight-wicket win over Warwickshire. In this post I will look at each match in turn for points of interest and singificance.

THE MATCHES

I will deal with the drawn matches first.

  • Glamorgan v NorthamptonshireGlamorgan 570-8 declared and 70-1, Northants 750
    A travesty of a game. 1390 runs for 17 wickets, an average of 81.76 runs per wicket tells its own story of a pitch that quite clearly never offered anything to any bowler of any description. Glamorgan should be slapped with a hefty points deduction to punish them for producing such a pitch. With a maximum of 24 points available from a single game I suggest a 50 point penalty, to make this offence worth slightly more than two maximum point victories. This sort of match is far worse than a low scoring affair that finishes early.
  • Gloucestershire v Derbyshire– Derbyshire 291 and 388-3 declared, Gloucestershire 350
    Slow batting here combined with a surface that offered little to bowlers saw a match that looked like a draw from a long way out. Wayne Madsen scored a double century for Derbyshire today and Alex Hughes reached a century.
  • Surrey v Essex Surrey 395 and 324-6 declared, Essex 448 and 0-0
    Surrey made the game safe, with 98 from Rory Burns, 69 from Ollie Pope and 54 from Will Jacks, before declaring to get in a quick over at Essex in order avoid being docked a point for slow over rates. There was some interference from the weather during the four days.

Now we have the games at which defnite results were achieved.

  • Nottinghamshire v SomersetNottinghamshire 263 and 126, Somerset 403, Somerset won by an innings and 14 runs
    Somerset’s victory was created principally by the efforts of four players. Lewis Gregory with 6-68 in the first Nottinghamshire innings and a quickfire 50 with the bat, George Bartlett and Tom Abell came who came together after Somerset had lost three quick wickets in their innings and put on 223 together, Bartlett making 133 and Abell 101, and Jack Leach with 6-36 in the Nottinghamshire second innings did the business for Somerset. Joe Clarke failed twice for Nottinghamshire, and although there were some decent scores in the first Nottinghamshire innings no one looked capable of making the sort of runs that Clarke can when he gets going. Somerset go into the one-day tournament with two wins from two, the only team to have managed that. 
  • Hampshire v Yorkshire Yorkshire 554-7 declared, Hampshire 302 and 208, Yorkshire won by an innings and 44 runs
    This was nearly even worse for Hampshire than the actual result – at one stage they were 59-8 in their second innings before Liam Dawson (92) and Keith Barker (64) staged a resistance act that put the pitiful efforts of the Hampshire top order into perspective. 
  • Warwickshire v KentKent 504-9 declared and 124-2, Warwickshire 346 and 280, Kent won by eight wickets.
    Warwickshire were probably nine first innings runs short of escaping with a draw – that being the margin by which they avoided the follow-on. At one stage an innings victory for Kent looke likely, when Warwickshire were 121-7 in their second innings, but Tim Ambrose (107) and 19 year old Henry Brookes (84, a new career best), put on 144 together, which meant that Kent had a run chase to finish the game, something they never looked like failing to do. Opener Zak Crawley had a fine match with scores of 108 and 45 for Kent, and Warwickshire opener Dominic Sibley scored 132 in their first innings, his fifth hundred in as many games. Brookes is selected for his bowling (now 24 wickets at 26.08 from seven first class games), but this 84 was his third fifty in ten first innings, and he now averages 29.33 with the bat as well – a more than handy second string to his bow.
  • Durham v Sussex Durham 224 and 189, Sussex 202 and 212-4, Sussex won by six wickets
    Stian van Zyl scored an unbeaten century to guide Sussex to victory in this match. Liam Trevaskis made 54 in the first Durham innings, and South Africa Gareth Harte 74 not out in their second, while Luke Wells hit 98 not out in the first Sussex innings. 
  • Leicestershire v WorcestershireWorcestershire 553-6 declared, Leicestershire 302 and 233, Worcestershire won by an innings and 18 runs.
    After Worcestershire piled up a huge total Josh Tongue with 4-46 and Ed Barnard with 3-40 did most of the damage in the Leicestershire first innings, and then Charlie Morris took a career best 7-45 in their second. 
  • Middlesex v LancashireMiddlesex 265 and 200, Lancashire 427 and 39-3, Lancashire won by seven wickets
    Middlesex were flattered by this result – two of the three wickets they took before Lancashire completed victory fell to the rarely used bowling of Sam Robson. A target of 39 presented no opportunities for big scores, but Haseeb Hameed followed up on his first innings hundred by remaining unbeaten. Glen Maxwelwas the destroyer in the Middlesex second innings, the Aussie’s off-spin snaring five victims. Haseeb’s return to form has generated considerable excitement because he did well for England before an injury interrupted his progress, but he has had two successive very poor seasons before starting this one well, and it needs more than one big performance to earn an England recall – I certainly put Zak Crawley ahead of him in the pecking order, and regular readers know that I have my own unorthodox solution to England’s top order woes as well, so Hameed is definitely not above third in my personal pecking order for opening options.

I will look tomorrow at some players who could be considered for England (and bear in mind that the next test match is not until July, and is against Ireland, surely an opportunity to blood some new players) and will pick out a suggested squad.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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100 Cricketers – Bringing Up the Century

The final post in my “100 cricketers” series, with updates from the County Cham;pionship and some of my photographs. Also features a complete listing of the 100 cricketers.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the final post in my “100 cricketers series“, which completes the century of cricketers with a player who frequently completed centuries. The introductory post to the series can be found here and the most recent post can be found here. Before the big reveal it is time for a…

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE

The second round of matches are now into their third day of four, and the situations are:

  • Hampshire v YorkshireYorkshire 554-7D, Hampshire 223-5
    Sam Northeast continues his fine start to the season, currently being on 85 not out, while he is getting support from Liam Dawson (39 not out). Ben Coad has taken two wickets for Yorkshire. If Hampshire reach 405 and avoid the follow-on this game will definitely be drawn. If they do not then Yorkshire should enforce the follow-on and hope to bowl them out a second time – failure to do so would be to accept a secon successive draw.
  • Nottinghamshire v Somerset Nottinghamshire 263 and 111-7, Somerset 403
    Nottinghamshire are in a spin, and it it is looking like a second straight victory for Somerset. Jack Leach, Somerset and England’s slow left-armer has taken 5-22 so far, the other two second innings wickets going to Jack Brooks. Will George Bartlett (one of my Five to Follow) get a chance to deploy his off-spin? Lewis Gregory (another of the five) augmented his first innings 6-68 with a quickfire 50 yesterday, but has not added to his wickets tally in this innings. Joe Clarke (the third of the five to be involved in this game) suffered a second failure, being out for 2 again.
  • Surrey v EssexSurrey 395, Essex 368-6
    A massive fightback by Essex has them almost on terms. Dan Lawrence made 93 and Essex skipper Ryan Ten Doeschate is 124 not out. Tom Curran has three wickets for Surrey and Morne Morkel two. 
  • Kent v WarwickshireKent 504-9 declared, Warwickshire 262-7
    There are two results on the cards – a Kent win if they get Warwickshire out before the total reaches 355 (follow-on avoidance target) and enforce the follow-on and bowl them out a second time, or a draw if Warwickshire get to or beyond 355. Dominic Sibley, opneing the innings, is 128 not out, and Warwickshire’s hopes of escape rest largely on his shoulders. Matt Milnes has three wickets and Harry Podmore and Darren ‘Benjamin Button’ Stevens (he is now 43 years old) have two each.
  • Durham v Sussex Durham 224 and 159-9, Sussex 202
    A nailbiter in the making – Durham have fought back somewhat from 106-7 in their second kinnings. Liam Trevaskis could not follow up on his first innings 50, collecting a blob this time. This means that of my Five to Follow only Philip Salt, who will be batting before too long remains to contribute. David Wiese has five wickets for Sussex.

STOP PRESS! Somerset have made it two from two, beating Nottinghamshire by an innings and 14. Jack Leach took 6-36 and Jack Brooks 4-22, as Nottinghamshire sank for 126. This means two wins out of two as they go into a month’s break in the championship for a one-day tournament. Somerset are looking very strong contenders, although they will need their top order to score a few runs somewhere along the way. This effort in his first bowling spell of the new season has surely confirmed Leach’s place in the England squad. Now back to the regular updates…

  • Glamorgan v NorthamptonshireGlamorgan 570-8 declared, Northamptonshire 403-3
    This one is being capsized by an overload of runs. Vasconcelos (South African) and Newton shared a triple century opening stand for Northamptonshire, the former making 184. The bowlers have had no chance on this pitch, so I will not quote a\ny figures.
  • Gloucestershire v DerbyshireDerbyshire 291, Gloucestershire 350-9
    Gloucestershire’s advantage in this match stems from three significant innings – Wicketkeeper Roderick making 98, Higgins 74 to follow up his bowling efforts and Bracey 65. For Derbyshire Luis Reece has 3-65. 
  • Leicestershire v WorcestershireWorcestershire 553-6 declared, Leicestershire 302 and 10-1 (following on)
    Another one that looks like the pitch is too favourable for batting for its own or the game’s good. Worcestershire have given themselves a chance by bowling Leicestershire out and enforcing the follow-on. Tongue (a 21 year old seamer who came into this match with a bowling average of 24) took 4-46 in the first Leicestershire innings, and was backed up by Barnard (a 23 year old who came into this match averaging 28 with both bat and ball) with 3-40.
  • Middlesex v LancashireMiddlesex 265, Lancashire 333-4
    Yesterday Haseeb Hameed claimed headlines with his 117 (196 balls, 298 minutes), today’s play has been disrupted by the weather. He had had two very quiet years prior to this season and I reckon he needs more than one century to earn a recall to the England side. Jones is currently 82 not out and Vilas 50 not out. If the weather does not win this one then Lancashire will.

Now we are ready for the…

BIG REVEAL

All I have told you about the player who completes the century is that it is somebody who often did just that. So who is it? It is…

CLAIRE TAYLOR

15 Test matches yielded her 1,030 runs in 27 innings, with four centuries (just better than one per seven innings) and an average of 41.20, highest score 177. 126 ODIs produced 4,101 runs at 40.20 with eight centuries and a best of 156 not out. She was also a history maker, being the first English female cricketer to have a professional contract (yes, this distinction was achieved by someone born as late as 1975!). Claire Taylor’s successes blazed a trail for others to follow, and all the top England Women now have professional contracts, as opposed to having to combine playing at the top level with earning a living doing something else, which used to be the case. Her great record would earn her a place of honour in any case, but her historic importance makes the case unassailable. 

A LOOK BACK ON THE SERIES

No two people attempting a project like this would come up with the same answers, and I expect that all the cricket fans among my readers have people in mind who I have omitted and they would have selected. The problem with these exercises is the embarrassment of riches that one faces – I could have selected many more than 100. A number of young players have stood up to be counted in the early stages of this year’s County Championship. 

FOLLOWING ON FROM THIS SERIES

I have a few ideas for following on from this series, which I shall be thinking about while this round of Championship matches heads to its conclusion. I will finish this part of the post by presenting for the first time the whole 100 names in one place:

100 cricketers100 Cricketers Full List

LINKS, PICTURES AND OTHER STUFF

From The Pileus on twitter, a great quote on rail privatisation:

 

Chakraborty.jpg

Now comes a mathematical teaser from brilliant.org:

trickshot q

We end with my usual sign off…

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100 Cricketers – Ninth XI Women

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, with updates from the County Championship, some twitter finds and some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest in my “100 cricketers series“, finshing the ninth XI by looking at three woman cricketers who feature in it. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the ninth XI is here and the most recent post in the series is here. Now before we get into the main meat of the post it is time for a…

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE

We are into day 2 of the second round of county championship matches, and the current situations are as follows:

  • Yorkshire v Hampshire Yorkshire 446-6
    Yorkshire are piling on the runs in this one. The big innings came from Gary Ballance (148), and there have been solid contributions all the way down the order. Fidel Edwards, Gareth Berg and bits and pieces player Liam Dawson each have two wickets.
  • Nottinghamshire v Somerset Nottinghamshire 263, Somerset 221-3
    Following Lewis Gregory’s six wickets yesterday (he is one of my Five to Follow) the Somerset innings began with a sense of deja vu as the top three in their order were despatched for 10 runs reach, but George Bartlett (another of my Five to Follow, 91 not out) and Tom Abell (82 not out) have put together a fine partnership which has their team well on top. Still, Somerset will need runs from their top order somewhere along the line.
  • Surrey v EssexSurrey 395, Essex 65-2
    A patient effort from Ryan Patel (100 not out while the score rose from 75-1 to the eventual 395 all out was the sheet anchor of the Surrey effort. Ben Foakes (69) and Will Jacks (88) made significant contributions in more aggressive fashion. Both Essex openers are back in the hutch already, with the wickets going to Morne Morkel and Tom Curran.
  • Warwickshire v KentKent 504-9declared, Kent 1-0
    Kent are clearly having the better of the battle of the newly promoted sides, with Zak Crawley making a ton yesterday, and wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson going on to 143 today. We wait to see how the Kent bowlers fare.
  • Durham v SussexDurham 224, Sussex 84-7
    Durham owed much to the shot in the dark among my Five to Follow, Liam Trevaskis, who battled his way to 54 for their modest looking total. Chris Rushworth and potential England man James Weighell (48 first class wickets prior to this magtch at 28 a piece) each have three wickets to their credit in the Sussex innings, as they are collapsing in a heap, sadly including a cheap dismissal for Philip Salt, another of my Five to Follow. Of course the trouble with Sussex faring so poorly with the bat is that Trevaskis has not yet been givena chance to deploy his left-arm spin.
  • Gloucestershire v DerbyshireDerbyshire 291, Gloucestershire 81-1
    Intriguingly poised. The Derbyshire wickets were shared around, and nobody made a huge score for them. Bracey at no 3 for Gloucestershire is 41 not out, and Dent has 25 not out. Sadly for those with a sense of history Miles Hammond at the top of the Gloucestershire order does not appear to be living up to his great namesake and fellow Gloucestershire batter of yesteryear, Wally – he was out cheaply.
  • Glamorgan v NorthamptonshireGlamorgan 570-8 declared, Northamptonshire 50-0
    This one looks like being capsized by an overload of runs. Labuschagne, Will Root and 2o year-old Kiran Carlson all made centuries for Glamorgan, Carlson’s 111 coming off 126 balls. The Northamptonshire reply has been untroubled thus far, and some of the scoring thus far suggests that the playing condition allowing the visiting side to avoid the toss if they want to bowl first is flawed – it is leading to counties producing ultra-flat pitches so that visitors cannot gain an advantage from bowling first. 
  • Worcestershire v LeicestershireWorcestershire 553-6 declared, Leicestershire 16-0
    Another one where the bowlers have been reduced to mere serfs, existing merely for the batters convenience. Daryl Mitchell and Hamish Rutherford had centuries yesterday, and wicketkeeper Ben Cox completed the third ton of the Worcestershire innings today. In the circumstances, although he like all the others took some tap, Ben Mike’s 2-119 from 23.5 overs was a creditable effort. 
  • Middlesex v LancashireMiddlesex 265, Lancashire 126-1
    Two men at opposite ends of the experience spectrum, Tom Bailey (youngster, 5-67- is it possible that over 50 years on from the retirement of the original there will again be a fast-medium bowler called T E Bailey playing for England?) and Jimmy Anderson (3-41, veteran) took most of the Middlesex wickets. Eskinazi (75) and Gubbins (55) made the only significant batting contributions for Middlesex. Jennings made 52 for Lancashire (shoiuld not be sufficient to keep his England place) while Haseeb Hameed has followed his double hundred against a load of students last week by getting to 70 not out far in this match. James Harris has the one wicket to fall.

Further update from the Nottinghamshire v Somerset game – Abell and Bartlett both completed centuries, Abell has fallen for 101, but Bartlett (one of my Five to Follow, remember) is still there on 117 not out, and Somerset with six first innings wickets standing are already 16 in credit at 279-4. Now it is time for the main business of the post, starting with…

DANIELLE WYATT

From news of one batter who bowls offspin on the side to another, 27 year-old Stoke on Trent native Danielle Wyatt. Her princiapl successes have come in T20Is, in which format she has twic reached three figures, with a best of 124, but of late she has begun translating that form to ODIs to as well, with a few useful efforts in India and Sri Lanka. Her 46 wickets at 15.34 in T20Is, with a best of 4-11 show that her offspin is not entirely to be disregarded (she would be sixth bowler in this XI). I expect to see more big performances from her in the next year or so.

ASH GARDNER

The 21 year-old off-spinning all-rounder has recently been batting up the order for the Sydney Sixers in the Women’s Big Bash League, while her bowling has been consistently effective. Being so young she is still definitely improving, and it is on future promise that she has really been selected in this XI. 

POONAM YADAV

The 27 year-old leggie is the smallest player in my 100, and makes use of her lack of inches to release the ball upwards, sending it in an arc that takes it out of the batter;s eyeline for much of its flight. She also bowls with extreme lack of pace (only about 60kph – 37mph) meaning that batters have to supply all the impetus themselves. As so often with the women she has not had sufficient opportunity to show her skill in test cricket, but she has 63 ODI wickets at 21.09 and 74 T20I wickets at 14.77, which are testament to the effectiveness of her methods. She has yet to achieve a five-for but has a best of 4-13 and a T20I best of 4-9. For a historic comparison involving dimunitive leggies I give you Alfred Percy “Tich” Freeman, the 5’2″ Catford born leggie, whose 592 first class appearances brought him 3,776 wickets at 18.42 (second to Wilfred Rhodes in the all-time list, and the Yorkshireman played over 1,000 first class games), including all ten in an innings three times (a record), and in 1928 a barely believeable 304 wickets in the season (again an all time record). 

THE FUTURE AND A GUESSING GAME

I have one more post to do to complete this series, and will then create a page from which all posts in the series can be accessed. That post will feature the 100th cricketer in my list, and with the clue that it is somebody who was no stranger to completing hundreds I invite readers to attempt to guess who it is.

LINKS AND PICTURES

Before my usual sign-off I have some links to share…

A great twitter picture based on Branson daring to complain about the fact that Virgin/Stagecoach have been barred from bidding for rail franchises, courtesy of Michael (@PrinceJasper):

Continue reading “100 Cricketers – Ninth XI Women”

100 Cricketers – Ninth XI, Nepal’s Magician

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring a Nepalese legspinner, some thoughts on the elevation of minor cricketing nations and when it is warranted, some stuff about the county championship, some links and pictures relating to the photographing a black hole and some of my own pictures.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest in my “100 cricketers” series. Today we deal with the most minor cricketing nation to be represented in my list and I have some extras features. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the ninth XI here and the most recent post here. Before getting to the main meat of the post it is time for a…

LOOK AT THE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP

A full programme of county championship matches got underway today. So far this is what is happening:

  • Hampshire v YorkshireYorkshire 160-2
    A solid start by Yorkshire with the bat. Adam Lyth made 67, Gary Ballance is unbeaten on 51 and Joe Root has 34 not out. Both wickets have been taken by Fidel Edwards. 
  • Nottinghamshire v SomersetNottinghamshire 188-6
    Somerset have made a strong start with the ball. Chris Nash scored 58 for Nottinghamshire with the bat but no one else has made a significant score thus far. Lewis Gregory, one of my “Five to Follow” (see my previous post) has four of the wickets to fall, including getting Joe Clarke, also in that list, cheaply. George Bartlett’s offspin has not been called on yet (he is also on that list), but his batting will surely figure later in the game even he does not get used as a bowler.
  • Surrey v EssexSurrey 168-3
    Surrey have been helped to make a good start in this match by some ordinary Essex fielding (two chances have been shelled, one of which is now looking very costly). Openers Burns and Stoneman both got in but failed to go on, Ben Foakes is 60 not out (having beem dropped on 0) and Ryan Patel 20 not out. Peter Siddle who may well be involved for Australia in The Ashes later this summer has two wickets.
  • Kent v Warwickshire Kent 169-2
    Kent are batting well in this one. Dickson and Aussie Matt Renshaw have both got themselves in and got out in the 30s, while opener Zak Crawley is 89 not out. The wickets have gone to medium pacer Craig Miles and Ryan Sidebottom, an Australian unrelated to the left-arm quick of the same name who played for Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.
  • Durham v SussexDurham 93-4
    Durham are struggling again, which given their abysmal choice of captain can only be regarded as good news. He is yet to be involved in the action (although his first innings should not be delayed too long) but Liam Trevaskis, a fourth person from my “Five to Follow” is in the Durham team. Scameron Bancroft as I now call him is 33 not out, and currently batting in partnership wioth wicketkeeper Ned Eckersley. Ollie Robinson is staking an early claim for selectorial attention with three more wickets to add to those he took last week (he came into this match with 171 first class wickets at 23.52).
  • Glamorgan v NorthamptonshireGlamorgan 198-3
    Looks like a solid start for Glamorgan. South African born Aussie Marnus Labuschagne is 86 not and Billy Root, younger brother of the England test captain is 33 not out. Jason Holder, Nathan Buck and Zimbabwean Blessing Muzarabani each have a wicket.
  • Derbyshire v Gloucestershire Derbyshire 159-3
    Given that Gloucestershire won the toss and chose to field Derbyshire are faring pretty well. Tom Lace has 74 not out. The wickets have gone to three young bowlers, Matt Taylor (24), Ryan Higgins (24) and Josh Shaw (23).
  • Worcestershire v LeicestershireWorcestershire 203-2
    Worcetsershire are going well against Leicestershire who got away to a winning start in their first match. Veteran opener Daryl Mitchell has just reached a century (now 101 not out), and Hamish Rutherford (New Zealand, nephew of former Kiwi captain Ken Rutherford) is 62 not out. Ben Mike, a 20 year old medium pacer who came into this match with 19 wkickets from four first class appearances at an average of 20.26, has one of the wickets. The other has been taken by Will Davis, a 23 year old medium pacer who pays just over 30 a piece for his first class wickets.
  • Middlesex v LancashireMiddlesex 160-3
    A good start for Middlesex. Steve Eskinazi made 75 and opener Nick Gubbins 55, and two of the wickets have fallen to a young fast medium bowler named Tom Bailey (he shares a pair of initials with a right-arm fast-medium of yesteryear, Trevor Bailey, but is apparently unrelated to him).

Now for the main business of the post starting with…

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE ELEVATION OF COUNTRIES TO TEST STATUS

Leaving aside the two original contenders, England and Australia, every country elevated to test status (this has not yet happened for Nepal, the feature country of this post, but one has to consider future possibilities) has started slowly at that level. In their early years in the late 19th and earlyy 20th centuries South Africa were regularly hammered by both England and Australia, twice being bowled out for 30 in test matches. The West Indies did not make any series progress as a test nation until the 1950s although they were promoted to the top table in 1928. New Zealand, India and Pakistan all had to wait until the 1970s to be taken seriously. Sri Lanka, elevated in the early 1980s took until the latter 1990s to be gain serious respect. Internal politics destroyed any chance Zimbabwe had of success at the top table, while Bangladesh’s elevation was badly mishandled, and their position is routinely questioned. Afghanistan won their second ever test match, the most successful start by a test-playing nation since 1877, when Australia and England each one match. Ireland were defeated but not disgraced in that game, and we will see how they fare against England in their next test match, although they were elevated about five years too late for the move to work to best effect. 

I am in favour of new countries being elevated when they are actually ready, and think that Afghanistan’s elevation has been a success. I do not think Nepal are yet ready, on the strength of one splendid cricketer, for elevation, but I hope to see it happen eventually, assuming they continue to make progress. It is now time to look at that one fine player they already have…

SANDEEP LAMICHHANE

He is an 18 year-old legspinner and has yet to play any long-form cricket. His records for the cricket he has played are as follows:

6 ODIs, 15 wickets at 14.80 (4-24 best) , 4o runs at 10.00, 5 T20Is, 5 wickets at 24.40, 6 runs, with as yet no average, 27 List A games, 57 wickets at 17.08 (5-20 best), 40 T20 games, 50 wickets at 20.00 (best 4-10). A lot of his T20s have been played in the IPL among the big names.

If any county who do not have a legspinner of their own are bold enough to sign him as an overseas player I will applaud them for their courage – I believe that given the opportunity he would fare well in the longer game, as well in the limited overs stuff where he has already shown himself to be a fine performer. One of the reasons why Bangladesh found test cricket such a struggle when they were elevated is that their players started playing that form of the game with no background in long form cricket, and one should learn from mistakes – unless and until some Nepalese cricketers have experience of long form cricket they should not be elevated. 

If Nepal do get elevated to test status both they and their star leg-spinner Lamichhane will have my good wishes, but unless their players have some long form experience before that happens I do not believe that it can be successful.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND LINKS

I have several things to share before we come to my usual sign off, starting with some stuff about the first image of a Black Hole and links to related articles:

I hope that Ms Bouman gets the credit (including a Nobel Prize for physics) that this achievement warrants. Here are links to some good articles about this:

Next comes a piece from The Independent titled “Prehistoric autism helped produce much of the world’s earliest great art, study says” – picture link below:

Cave painting of lions drawn on the walls of the Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave in the south of France. It was painted about 30,000 years ago

To lead into today’s photos I revisit yesterday’s featured image:

I have done some digging of my own to locate the species and there are two possibilities – it is either a Small White or a Wood White (see pictures from butterfly-conservation.org and decide for yourselves which looks closer):

Small White (underwing) by Jim Asher
Small White (click here for more information)
Wood White (male & female) by Peter Eeles
Wood White (click here for more information)

Now for today’s pictures…

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UPDATES ON THE “FIVE TO FOLLOW”

Since I wrote about what was happening in the County Championship matches, the following has happened in games involving my “Five to Follow”:

Nottinghamshire v SomersetNottinghamshire 263 all out
Three of the five are playing in this match. Joe Clarke failed with the bat this time around, but Lewis Gregory took 5-68. George Bartlett’s offspin was unsurprisingly not utilised, but he will bat at some stage.

Durham v SussexDurham 122-5
The other two of my “Five to Follow” are involved in this match. Liam Trevaskis, the outsider of the bunch, is currently batting with Ned Eckersley, more good news for those opposed to Durham’s choice of captain being that that unworthy has been sent on his way for 33, and is on 9 not out. Philip Salt, the other in my “Five to Follow”  has yet to be involved, but may well be in action with the bat before the end of today, and I would be surprised if tomorrow morning does not see him at the crease. 

 

 

100 Cricketers – The Ninth XI Three Main Batters

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring updates from the County Championship and of course some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest piece in my “100 cricketers” series, in which we look at the three big name batters from the ninth XI. The introductory post to the series can be found here, and the most recent post in which the ninth XI is introduced is here. Before getting to the main body of the piece, it is time for a…

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE

Two of the six county championship matches have been settled and a third is on the cusp of producing a result. 

  • Sussex v LeicestershireLeics 232 and 252-3 beat Sussex 212 and 308 by seven wickets
    Paul Horton, Hasan Azad and veteran Aussie Mark Cosgrove all made runs as Leicesterhsire ended up making light work of what had looked like being a fairly tough run chase. The feature of this match was the 80 made by Philip Salt in the Sussex second innings – if he can go on to a few centuries in the near future the England selectors may just take note.
  • Hampshire v Essex – Hamsphire 525-8 declared beat Essex 164 and 274 by an innings and 87 runs.
    A century by veteran Ravi Bopara kept this game going longer than some expected, but Hampshire had been in control most of the way, and once they got through Bopara the rest came quickly, with Adam Wheater absent hurt for the second time for the match. South African Kolpak signing Kyle Abbott took five wickets for Hampshire, to back Fidel Edwards who had done likewise in the first Essex innings.
  • Derbyshire v Durham – Derbyshire 197 and 334, Durham 171 and 207-8
    Many will be glad that Durham seem to be headed for defeat in their first match after they chose to award the captaincy of their side to a proven cheat in Cameron Bancroft. 
  • Somerset v Kent Somerset 171 and 243 beat Kent 209 and 131 by 74 runs
    This result is just in, and it did not look likely this morning, but a last wicket stand between 21 year-old George Bartlett (63) and Jack Brooks (35) gave Somerset something to bowl, Lewis Gregory ripped out three quick wickets before lunch (he went on to finish with 5-18) and Kent never looked like getting to the target. This match turned on the morning session of today, with Kent having had the better of the previous play by far. I commented on this post on Toby’s Sporting Views that if Somerset could eke out a further 50 this morning they would give themselves a chance, they actually managed 70, and ended up winning comfortably.
  • Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire Nottinghamshire 408 and 329-5D, Yorkshire 291 and 181-2
    This one looks set to end in a draw (although a dramatic Yorkshire collapse remains possible). Nottinghamshire’s overnight declaration with Joe Clarke 97 not out, following his first innings 112 provided an early talking point. My view, expressed on this site yesterday and on twitter this morning is that Notts were right to give themselves a full day in which to bowl the Yorkies out a second time – the needs of the team have to come first. Joe Root is currently 87 not out for Yorkshire and Gary Ballance is 52 not out.
  •  Northamptonshire v MiddlesexNorthants 445, Middlesex 271 and 294-4
    This one looks like petering out as well. Full credit to Middlesex captain Dawid Malan who is 151 not out in their second innings, and would appear to have saved his side. 

It is now time for the main part of this post, starting with…

ANDREW STRAUSS

112 and 83 on test debut, centuries on his debuts against two further countries (and he nearly made four), a Compton-Miller Medal winning performance in the 2009 Ashes and captaining England to Ashes success down under in 2010-11. Exactly 100 test match appearances brought him 7,037 test runs at 40.91. 

STEPHEN FLEMING

111 test matches yielded him 7,172 runs at 40.06, he also scored 8,037 ODI runs at 32.40. In addition to his attacking batting he was a fine captain of New Zealand. He is a worthy captain of this XI.

MARTIN CROWE

77 test matches yielded him 5,444 runs at 45.36, with a highest score of 299, made against Sri Lanka when New Zealand were initially in a lot of trouble. He was one of the finest batters ever to come out of New Zealand, although the likes of Stewart Dempster (average 65.72 in his very brief test career), Bert Sutcliffe (holder of the two highest first class scores by New Zealanders – 385 and 355, the 385 coming out of an innings total of 500, while his opponents, Canterbury,  managed 382 off the bat in their two innings combined) and Glenn Turner (the only Kiwi to have scored 100 first class hundreds) would all have their advocates. His first test century came against England in 1983-4 and helped to save his side after they had been over 200 adrift on first innings. 

HOT OFF THE PRESS – DERBYSHIRE SECURE VICTORY OVER DURHAM

I mentioned in my county championship update section that Derbyshire were closing on victory over Durham. They have now completed the job, the result being:

Derbyshire 197 and 334 beat Durham 171 and 235 by 125 runs
Openers Harte and Lees made half centuries, but apart from them only Burnham (32) and Trevaskis, the 19 year-old slow left-armer (27 not out) who I have marked as one to watch offered any significant resistance as the wickets were shared round. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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