Chocolate Declares!

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Zimbabwe 200 all out & 440 all out

England 600-7 declared and 41-2

England win by 8 wickets

Really? Don’t they actually win by 11 wickets?

I propose a subtle change to the cricket scorecard for First Class and Test matches… and a busy afternoon for someone changing the history books!

Disclaimer: Sorry but this article has nothing to do with chocolate!

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Cricket Captain 2017: Victory at Last!

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9th June 2023. Remember the date people!

Following ten consecutive Test match defeats, England’s cricketers have won a series for the first time in nearly five years. A thumping win in the first Test against Zimbabwe was followed by a nail-biting three-wicket series clincher for Nick Gubbins and his men in the second.

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Ex-skipper Liam Livingstone and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes’ record-breaking partnership of 315 laid the foundation for England’s hoodoo-terminating victory in the first Test at Lords.

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Despite huge pressure from the media as well as the public to drop Toby Roland-Jones from the side, England persisted with the Middlesex veteran and were rewarded as the 35-year-old seamer returned career-best figures of 4-25 to decimate Zimbabwe in the visitor’s first innings of the second Test.

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After Liam Livingstone (104) had recorded his 12th Test century, gloveman Ben Foakes slowly carried England to back-to-back Test wins and a morale boosting series victory. Under such pressure, a successful run-chase on a deteriorating fourth and fifth day pitch is no mean feat.

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After an encouraging if unrewarding Ashes campaign, Jamie Overton well and truly arrived as a Test match bowler. The express paceman snared 9 victims at just 15.56 apiece and also had the honour of scoring the series clinching run.

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During the series, opening batsman Mark Stoneman passed 4000 Test runs and Liam Livingstone ascended to the peak of the Test match batting rankings.

England’s schedule now sees them entertain their Test scalps in five ODIs and one T20I. With both limited overs captains Ryan Higgins and Benny Howell without a county this year, England have some huge decisions to make when selecting their squads. After the pyjama affairs, England host the might of Pakistan for five Tests, as many ODIs and a T20I.

Ashes Cricket!

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Well well well. Having switched to Cricket Captain 2017 on the MAC and just when we’d all given up hope on Big Ant Studios and the future of console cricket, just look what’s coming out in November this year…

https://www.bigant.com/fully-licensed-ashes-cricket-video-game-to-launch-this-summer/

Don’t be put off by the Ashes tag either. Details released advise that the usual customisation elements of Don Bradman Cricket games are there: Career mode, unparalleled customisation and women amongst other elements. Let’s hope the bugs that were prevalent in Don Bradman Cricket 17 have been well and truly ironed out for the PS4, XboX One and PC release but this is extremely welcome news for the cricket gaming community.

Here’s a a teaser trailer on YouTube…

Just look at the pockmarks on Mitchell Starc’s visage. The realism! This is actually now the main reason why I wouldn’t want to be a professional cricketer, to have my ‘unblemished’ skin on the big screen. Oh and a cork and leather combo coming at me in excess of 90mph!

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Hopefully England’s batsmen can produce a few more innings like this one by captain Joe Root come Ashes Cricket’s release!

On Strike!

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When a batsman is dismissed caught in the field, if the two batsmen at the crease have crossed whilst the ball was in the air then the new batsman is not on strike. This rule irks me. My opinion is that the new batsman should always be on strike, unless of course it had been the final delivery of the over, in which case the already not out batsman should, in my opinion, be on strike to the first ball of the next over. When such a dismissal occurs, no run has been scored. If the ‘Out’ batsman had been dismissed bowled or even caught behind then the new batsman (Unless it was the final delivery of the over) would be on strike, so why should it be any different when caught in the field? It seems an odd rule to me and one that if I were chairman of the ICC (Or would I need to be chairman of the MCC?) would seek to change. That’s right, not content with changing the structure of international cricket, I’d like to implement a rule change to one that’s probably stood for a century or more.

Cricket Captain 2017: 20??-20something Season Review – Australian Pie/The Day the Cricket Died!

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After a quinquennium in charge of the England cricket team, it’s fair to say that things haven’t gone as well as had been hoped…

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2022 I think it was. The year of back-to-back 5-0 Test whitewashes at home to West Indies (Having batted first every time!) and away to Australia. This included scoring 447 in the fourth innings of the first Ashes Test and still losing by 35 runs! At least there was a four-fingered handful of ODI victories and two unbeaten T20I series.

Other positives?

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There was that time only two of two kinfolk captured any wickets!

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Adam Glichrist prototype Lewis McManus reigned supreme in ODI and T20I cricket. The Hampshire opener recorded a 64-ball hundred against Australia.

Does that scorecard say 186-0? We probably lost that game!

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A rejuvenated Sam Curran (I know I call him that a lot!) reached 100 ODI wickets and rediscovered his Test form. Still aged only 24, he’ll look to double if not triple both his runs and wickets tally in both Tests and ODIs but we’ll continue to keep him out of the T20Is. Only proper cricket for Sam!

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Oh and another Sam, Sam Northeast, rather appropriately joined Durham. Fellow Durham man Paul Coughlin claimed an ODI hat-trick against Australia and Billy Root stepped out of his brother Joe’s rather large and imposing shadow by scoring an ODI century against West Indies.

Next it’s home series against Zimbabwe. It’s a great opportunity for England to achieve almost guaranteed series victories against the minnows of world cricket/move ever closer to the basement of the world rankings in each form of the game. (Delete as appropriate)

Cricket Captain 2017: 2022 T20I World Cup Review – McManus Magic Not Enough!

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Lewis McManus’ 225 runs @ 56.25 including 104 not out in England’s opening game set the tone for an encouraging tournament for the hosts.

Following McManus’ feat, county teammate Mason Crane claimed the almost absurdly good figures of 4-12 as Pakistan, not surprisingly, struggled to get to grips with the required run-rate.

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Further victories over both Australia and Zimbabwe then followed and despite defeat against South Africa in the final group game, England joined ‘The Proteas‘ in the semi-finals.

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Though England had India in peril at 44-3, having themselves posted 172, the home side contrived to lose a semi-final they had looked almost certain to win.

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The loss came despite Sussex’s Ben Brown backing up his debut fifty with another.

On the back of such a run-filled tournament, Hampshire’s McManus soared to a career high sixth place in the T20I batting rankings.

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T20I veteran Benny Howell has now accumulated 35 caps in the shortest format of the game and has been a vital cog in England’s recent development.

It’s now time to readjust to the grind of Test cricket however as England host West Indies for a five-match series.

MA 2 3 + JB 2 5 = EV

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I’ve done it. By Jove I’ve done it. I’ve done it I say. I’ve discovered the formula to solve England’s batting order equation. With the benefit of hindsight it really does seem oh so simple. I can’t believe that I didn’t solve it sooner, or that anybody else did for that matter. The solution is as follows:

MA 2 3 + JB 2 5 = EV

Moeen Ali batting at three added to Jonny Bairstow batting at five equals victory for England.

This formula not only acccomodates the likes of Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad and James Anderson at interjas 6-11 but also for any two of Toby Roland-Jones, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran or Mason Crane amongst other probabilities.

Like any good mathematical equation, we’re working backwards and by doing so we find messrs Cook, Stoneman (He rocks!) and Root positioned at interjas 1,2 and 4.

The simplicity of this formula is in the proposal that MA and JB bat in the very positions that they do at domestic level. The logic applied is located at the greatest extremity of the logic scale.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Morris’ Theorem.