Why Not Wales?

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Ireland have their own cricket team and so do Scotland, so why are Wales silently tagged on with England?

It’s the England and Wales Cricket Team you know?

ECB stands for England and Wales Cricket Board but surely Welsh cricketers deserve the right to represent their home nation at international level, not just play for their big neighbours.

Should New Zealand’s cricketers have to scrap to get a gig for Australia?

Wales performed well at the 1979 ICC Trophy then between 1993 and 2001 played against Ireland and Scotland in the British Isles Chmpionships. Of course Ireland and Scotland joined the elite (Well almost!) and Wales were left to fend for themselves… so on themselves that they haven’t played competitively since. The Dragons (Maybe they’re called that?) played a few one-day games against England in the early 21st century and courtesy of former England opener Steve James they actually won the first meeting in 2002.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/2062244.stm

A couple of years later they beat Denmark in the C&G Trophy. A quick Google search suggests that the question of an independent Welsh cricket nation is often brought up, particularly at http://www.walesonline.co.uk. Of course the notion opens a can of worms regarding Glamorgan’s existence or at least their place in the English county structure and whether or not domestic cricket in Wales needs ramping up a level. Only recently and with only three teams were Ireland granted First Class status.

Maybe one day we’ll see some Welsh willow wielders wearing the Wales name!

Don’t Just Catch the Ball, Hold it!

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Can’t bat, can’t bowl, can’t catch. Well, in the words of Meat Loaf…

Hold on, that makes absolutely no sense! Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that despite my ineptitude with the bat and as a bowler, I have been known to take more than my fair share of catches. The notion of me providing cricket tuition to anybody is almost laughable. It’s kind of like me telling Bear Grylls to “Lean horizontal and just abseil down that 500ft precipice”. However, here are my thoughts on fielding:

When fortunate enough to play on a saturday, we play 45 overs per side. That’s 270 deliveries plus a few extras in the field. For every single one of those 270 balls that are bowled, I’m anticipating that the ball is coming my way… in the air. I don’t think that most people do that. They’re just fielding and will react on the occasional occasions that the ball comes their way. My method may seem taxing but doesn’t a batsman focus on every delivery possibly for hour upon hour? When the ball does come my way and I’ve caught it, it is in that moment the really important bit happens. You do not relax! The job is not done. Catching the ball is only part of the process. You must HOLD onto the ball, you must prepare your body for landing without losing grip of the ball despite elbows thudding the ground or a foot straying over a boundary rope. You’ll see so many amateur, even professional cricketers catch the ball. Anybody can catch but can they hold onto the ball? Can they hold onto that spherical cork and leather combo like it’s the love of their life?!!!

I am of course destined to now spend the summer months spilling chances left, right and center!

Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, John Nash. These men all had theories. Well I too have a theory… Don’t just catch the ball, hold it!

No Ball, No Luck?

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Is a batter the recipient of an element of fortune if they are ‘dismissed’ off a no ball?

Me thinks not, hence this article!

I previously scripted an article titled ‘Score Assumptions and Naivety in Sport’. I’m sure that you all remember it well but if the fine details have slipped your memory…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/score-assumptions-and-naivety-in-sport/

… as you’ll have read, that article touched upon things such as dropped catches and even missed chances in football matches and how people interpret their effect on subsequent passages of play.

This article, ‘No Ball, No Luck’, addresses a similar theme. A batter may be caught off a no ball when on 15 and go onto score 140. The commentator may say something like “The batsman was lucky. He would have been out for 15 if the bowler hadn’t overstepped”.

But would they, would the batter have been out?

Firstly, there’s the possibility that the batter only played the shot because they heard the “No ball” call or saw the umpire raise their arm. It may seem unlikely but top quality batters’ reaction times are superior to us mere mortals.

Secondly, if the delivery is illegal because the bowler has overstepped the mark then the whole trajectory of the subsequent delivery and bat connecting with ball is different to what would have been if the ball had been bowled legally. The part of the pitch that the ball has hit, different by only a few millimetres, may have quite feasibly effected the bounce and swing of the ball. The length of it’s pitch, again varying in millimetres, maybe even centimetres, may have effected whether or not the batter chose to defend, drive, cut, pull, hook, helicopter or whatever.

I don’t perceive that a batter is lucky if they’re ‘out’ to a no ball. The bowler has delivered an illegal delivery which has resulted in a completely different voyage for the ball and result for the batter.

No ball, no luck? Correct, for me there is no luck involved when it comes to a batter being dismissed off a no ball.

Disclaimer: Take note MCC. I’ve gone all Ozzie and gender neutral and have applied the term batter when referring to the wielder of willow!

Cricket Randoms

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There’s nothing we love more here at Silly Point than seeing our game gain global appeal, reaching out to untouched corners of the big blue and green. No pressure on Durham debutant Cameron Steel then! The California born bat has racked up appearances for Western Australia’s youth sides and has already tasted First Class cricket on half a dozen occasions when representing Durham MCCU. To date he has three First Class fifties including one against Durham last year. We’ll see how he gets on when it comes his turn to wield the willow, probably tomorrow.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/county-championship-division-2-2017/content/player/633301.html

On the subject of USA, Kieron Powell is back in West Indies whites. The man who gave it all up for baseball is currently holding the fort as WI slide into the abyss against Pakistan in Jamaica. Powell is undefeated on 33 at lunch with Windies precariously placed at 71-4.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/west-indies-v-pakistan-2017/engine/match/1077953.html

In another corner of the world, well maybe not a corner but another location. Come to think of it, unless the world is flat then there probably aren’t really corners on the globe… are there?

Where was I going?

Zimbabwe!

Natsai M’Shangwe’s 8-91 for Mountaineers against Mid West Rhinos merits a mention. Performances such as this might provide the twenty-six-year-old with the opportunity to bring his Test match bowling average of 62.14 down to something a little more respectable in future. Opposition bowler James Bruce snapped up five wickets on First Class debut, suggesting that he might be better in real life than he was when I led Zimbabwe on International Cricket Captain!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/1070906.html

One more for you, regarding my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket team that goes by the name of Roderick Brotherhood. Things could have been going a bit flat in the absence of my captain and moniker inspiration Gareth Roderick. Rodders is still suffering from his ‘mystery’ pre-season illness but fortunately… step forward Mr Riki Wessels. 202 not out from 177 deliveries including 22 fours and 7 sixes, thanks in no small part to the supporting act of Nottinghamshire’s lower order, has surely propelled me to the top of the table… at least in my family!

Other County Championship performances worth noting today:

James Vince: 143 not out. Pencilled in for an England recall against Ireland?

Haseeb Hameed: A duck… again!

Sam Robson: 144 not out. Anything you can do Vincey, I can do one better! Set for a recall against South Africa at the expense of Hameed?????

Liam Livingstone: 68 out of a total of 109 all out for Lancashire’s stand-in skipper. Penned in in permanent marker for a full international debut against Ireland!

Harry Dearden: 87 for Leicestershire’s teenage opener. His first fifty in his eleventh First Class innings. Not quite set for an international call-up!

Adam Barton: 11-0-81-0. Like Durham’s Steel, he’s making a proper debut having previously played Uni stuff. With Sussex currently 7-3 following Wessels double hundred, Barton might need to enhance his Chris Martinesque batting average of 2.12 from ten innings! There’s no sign of Silly Point favourite Ajmal Shahzad in the Sussex XI.

Ian Westwood: 153. Westwood for England anybody?

Ben Duckett: 45 not out out of a total of 102-6 and needing to go big given the performances of the likes of Vince, Robson and Livingstone. Penned in in biro for a recall against Ireland.

Tom Abell: 1 to follow 1 & 0 in Somerset’s opening match of the 2017 campaign for the new young skipper.

P.S. Powell’s just fallen second ball after lunch!

Extras

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Bye: Delivering on disability:

https://www.ecb.co.uk/news/368655

Leg Bye: Twenty-year-old Derbyshire stumper Harvey Hosein finished the 2016 county season with scores of 83 not out, 53, 108 and 59 yet he’s nowhere to be seen at the start of the 2017 campaign. He’s been replaced by thirty-one-year-old former Surrey and Ireland gloveman Gary Wilson. Meaning no disrespect to Wilson but unless Hosein is injured or otherwise unavailable it’s a huge shame if homegrown Hosein has simply been usurped following such strides last term.

No Ball: We’ll follow up my article…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/six-to-watch/

… in more detail as the season progress but here’s a very early term report.

Jofra Archer – A seven-wicket haul and 60 not out from number eleven!

Daniel Bell-Drummond – First ballers, starts. Must convert in order to push for full international honours.

Dom Bess – Nowhere to be seen?!

Jack Burnham – Batting at three for Durham, scored 15 and 4 to kick off his campaign.

Nick Compton – Made 5 and 59 against MCC in Abu Dhabi but now injured.

Mark Footitt – Went viral with 6-14 in Surrey’s rout of Warwickshire. Continuing to take wickets but has found himself going at around four an over at times.

Wide: Progressive news for Don Bradman Cricket 17 followers:

http://www.planetcricket.org/forums/threads/patch-4-release-update.107111/

Don Bradman Cricket 17: New York City Pioneers!

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I’m delighted to announce the formation of a new cricket franchise: The New York City Pioneers. As the owner of this new venture, I’ve worked tirelessly to compose a competitive squad. Earlier today, in the heart of the ‘Big Apple’, we played our first game against a visiting Mutare Peaks side from Zimbabwe. The following is a report of how our inaugural match panned out:

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We were invited to bowl first and whilst our pace bowling and fielding units maintained their heads above water, we struggled to find a breakthrough. Our Zimbabwean guests moved quickly to 95-0. In order to quell the run-scoring, skipper Robin Hunter, a native of Pallenville, turned to Dutch spinner Guy de Maan. After seeing Hamilton Masakadza reach his half-century with a four from de Maan’s first delivery, de Maan then followed up with a dot before officially becoming ‘The Man’ to claim NYC Pioneers’ first ever wicket, a smart caught and bowled to send Masakadza (50) back to the hut and leave Mutare Peaks on 99-1. Just six runs later, captain Hunter ran out Louis Klazinga following a horrendous mix-up between he and new batsman Vusi Sibanda. At first Hunter appeared to throw to the wrong end but he’d made sure to send the set batsman packing. After a good throw, stumper Lyon Cage finished the deed. Like Masakadza, Klazinga had made 50 exactly. De Maan would later double his wicket tally courtesy of a superb diving catch by Ali El Naany and opening bowler Jacques Dawes returned to snatch a maiden victim in the final over. The only blemish in the innings being that of a dropped catch by the skipper off the bowling of Brooklyn born Brotherhood Collins. Though both went wicketless, Chris Kasprowicz (4-0-34-0) and Woody Forrest (4-0-28-0) were our most economical bowlers.

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In pursuit of 177 for a famous victory, we were soon in trouble with Kuwaiti native El Naany out second ball of the innings with the scoreboard yet to get rolling. Fellow opener Independence Masakadza (No relation to Hamilton) laboured to 5 from 11 balls but did cobble together a partnership of 30 alongside his captain before being dismissed. Ozzie left-hander Mitch Djordevic was out for a golden duck when trying to go big on the leg-side first ball.

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Queens born Dean McQueen ventured to the crease to a rapturous applause but disappointed his local following when being caught having made just 5.

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Skipper Hunter, keen to make amends for his drop, batted with skill in compiling a top score of 23 on debut. Brotherhood Collins took out his disgust at his skipper’s dropped catch by blazing 4,4,4,6,1 before wicketkeeper Lyon Cage finished the over with a further four to provide the Queens crowd with some excitement and even a glimmer of hope. That hope soon evaporated as Collins ran himself out the first delivery of the following over. South African stumper Cage chopped on next ball.

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From the depths of 68-7, we raised ourselves to 90 with Ozzie pacer Dawes (10) joining Hunter and Collins in double figures. When he was out however we became the victims of an 86-run defeat.

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This performance was by no means a disgrace and our squad are better for the experience. We have a squad of sixteen that will breed healthy competition and we look forward to our next match with much anticipation. To our fans in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Pallenville and throughout both the USA and the globe, we offer our deepest gratitude for your support and we will strive to attain the success that you deserve.