Don Bradman Cricket 17: Best Of!

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In anticipation of the release of Big Ant’s latest cricket game titled Ashes Cricket, slated to hit PS4s and XboX Ones come November 16th, I thought we’d celebrate by looking back at some of the highlights from Don Bradman Cricket 17. There were some classic matches featuring England against a variety of opposition from all corners of the globe. Some matches ended with victory for England, some ended with defeat… and some neither!

A Lyth Less Ordinary!

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Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth wrote his name in the history books as England totalled in excess of 300 when chasing against Nepal in a One-Day-International but was it enough…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/a-lyth-less-ordinary/

Trumped!

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Cancer survivor Michael Carberry returned to England colours for a T20I against USA…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/don-bradman-cricket-17-england-v-usa-t20i-trumped/

Greece Frightening!

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Haseeb Hameed batted slickly against Greece but could his teammates back him up in Corfu…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/don-bradman-cricket-17-greece-frightening/

Thai’d in Knots!

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Hameed continued his fine form against Thailand at London’s Olympic Stadium in ‘The Test of the Century so Far’…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/don-bradman-cricket-17-thaid-in-knots/

Paper, Scissors, Stoneman!

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On his international debut in Liverpool, Mark Stoneman batted like Mark Stoneman as England’s ODI against Vanuatu went to the wire…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/don-bradman-cricket-17-paper-scissors-stoneman/

Oh and this guy scored a couple of First Class centuries…

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Hong Kong Sixes 2017!

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Having mentioned this previously, it’s only fair that I bring to attention that the Hong Kong Sixes tournament has commenced today. My interest in this competition is not as high as I’d anticipated because the ‘England’ team is flying under the flag of the MCC and not as England. This might seem petty but it only highlights the lack of seriousness with which this competition allows itself to be taken when it could be of great value. Ryan Higgins, Jordan Clark and company might never play for England but I’m sure that they’d gain pride and be motivated by wearing the England shirt in this tournament. It’s the sort of approach that confirms the hierarchy of English cricket maintain a stuffiness and desire to keep English cricket in a bygone era.

If you do want to follow proceedings then I think you can watch it all live (Assuming you have a licence of course!) right here…

http://www.hkcricket.org/en/media/news/hong-kong-world-sixes-day-one-live

Dawson’s Creek’s Banks Haven’t Burst!

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File photo: Liam Dawson brings up his maiden ODI fifty against Scotland in Edinburgh.

That’s right, a headline announcing that something hasn’t happened!

Water gently meandering along a creek, a tranquil and serene scene. The water levels rise though and the creek’s banks burst. For Liam Dawson however, the banks haven’t burst, the water levels haven’t risen and there’s been no drowning. The water has consistently gently meandered along.

2-129 in India on debut got him up and running. There have been worse starts to Test careers. Figures of 2-67, 2-34, 0-26 and 1-42 against South Africa leave Dawson with a more than respectable bowling average for a spinner of 33.80 in Test cricket in England. Along with a penchant for dismissing Hashim Amla, that’s a decent start. Dawson is 27, an age where he’s gained experience but should have his best years ahead of him. England’s selectors however have regressed, pressured by the public and media, they’ve already ditched ‘Daws’ and moved onto Mason Crane. Should 20-year-old Crane be left with a bowling average of 42.57 after four Tests and average a healthy 33.80 in England will he too be ditched?

Dawson’s axing on the cue of social media opinion reminds of the time that Ian Blackwell was chipping in with wickets and Anthony McGrath was keeping things tight for England. They weren’t setting the world on fire but they were, understatedly, making a contribution. An article in a newspaper questioned their returns and they were ditched never to be seen in England colours again.

I’ll bore myself let alone my readers if I repeat previous sentiment about English fans always wanting the new and undamaged goods as well as how investing and persisting in a player is of value but to cut through the trees to get to the wood… I’m suggesting that Dawson, like many players, may have been given up on too soon. Still, if he’s lucky, he might earn an England recall and carve out a decent international career when Ashes Cricket arrives on the PS4 in November…

Disclaimer: For the uneducated, please be aware that the lines between reality and virtuality on my blog often become very blurred, so much so that I can’t remember if Haseeb Hameed’s twin centuries against Thailand at London’s Olympic Stadium were in real life or only in my living room!

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/don-bradman-cricket-17-thaid-in-knots/

Ashes Cricket (PS4): New Trailer/Release Date!

A world where Mark Footitt might claim a Test wicket for England…

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A world where yours truly might register a First Class century…

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A world where the likes of Adam Lyth might notch an ODI century against sides such as Nepal…

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A world that exists… or will do come November 16th!

Disclaimer: Clearly it already exists as the above photos showcase but it’ll exist in an even better way soon!

World Cup Equality

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You’ll have to forgive me for committing the ultimate sin on a cricket blog but I’m about to ramble on (For quite some time!) about football. This is of course my blog so I can do what I want!

Qualification for the 2018 football World Cup in Russia has well and truly reached the business end. All that remains are the heartbreaking play-off matches to determine which counters join the likes of Panama, Iceland and Iran in Russia next year. I’ll hazard a guess that Iceland will find acclimatising to the Russian climate just a bit easier than Panama. It’s also safe to say that none of the three nations mentioned above will be qualifying for the cricket World Cup anytime soon.

Back to the footy, here’s a breakdown of the percentage of teams from each continental region that will qualify for the football World Cup:

South America: 4 out of 10 teams = 40%

Europe: 13 out of 54 teams = 24%

The Americas: 4 out of 35 teams = 11%

Africa: 5 out of 54 teams = 9%

Asia: 4 out of 46 teams = 9%

Oceania: 1 (And maybe not even that) out of 11 teams = 1%

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the above calculations are based on a couple of assumptions regarding who qualifies via the intercontinental play-offs. Oceania are not guaranteed a World Cup representative and for the record, Australia qualify through the Asian pathway because they got bored of thrashing Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa time and time again.

Referring to the percentages above, the tournament title of World Cup starts to lose some of its credibility. There’s clearly a disproportionate amount of teams that qualify from the historical footballing hotbeds of Europe and South America. That historical bias is of course something that is extremely prevalent on the international cricket stage too.

Back to the three nations mentioned earlier. Iran qualified for the football World Cup as far back as 1978 but for Panama and Iceland, 2018 will be their first time at the tournament. That variety of nations on the big stage and the novelty of seeing virgin World Cup competitors is part of what makes the tournament so special. USA beating England in 1950, North Korea beating Italy in 1966 and Senegal beating France in 2002. Without these results the football World Cup just wouldn’t be what it is. Admittedly there have been a few thrashings as the likes of Saudi Arabia (8-0 against Germany in 2002) and Zaire (9-0 against Yugoslavia in 1974) will attest too.

The 2019 Cricket World Cup is unlikely to see such a variety of international representatives or virgin teams as Russia will next year. There will only be ten teams, yes just ten teams at the ‘World’ Cup. Eight of these teams will have qualified as the highest ranked ODI nations. It’s great that the ODI rankings comprise more nations than just Test teams but no promotion/relegation profile is in existence at the upper echelons of international cricket. Referring to the historical bias detailed in football earlier, little scope is left for a changing of the guard as the years go by. The head honchos eat at the main table with one or two varying visitors from time to time.

I’ll be honest, every time I try to get my head around the meritocracy of lower division international cricket and World Cup qualification, I end up closing the page out of sheer bewilderment. From what I can gather, it’s possible that teams in ICC World Cricket League Division Two can qualify for the 2019 Cricket World Cup but some teams from Division One may not. Don’t quote me on that though! In all likelihood none of them will anyway, such is the convoluted qualification process.

Feel free to put me to shame and figure the whole thing our for yourself…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Cricket_World_Cup_Qualifier

Teams such as Papua New Guinea and Ireland could be there though the likes of West Indies and possibly Afghanistan will be favoured to qualify for the ten team tournament. Surely a straight forward main tournament of sixteen teams comprised of four groups of four followed by quarter-finals etc would be logical. Yes there have been some horribly one-sided encounters at cricket World Cups, think Namibia at the hands of Australia in 1970 and one or two Canadian performances (36 & 45 all out in 2003 and 1979) but there has also been Zimbabwe beating Australia in 1983, Kenya beating West Indies in 1996 and Ireland beating Pakistan in 2007.

There are so few teams at the Cricket World Cup that a comparison with football for regional disproportionateness is completely irrelevant. In fact to be fair, there isn’t really a geographic disproportion, just a lack of global representatives in general.

Anyway, I guess what I’m getting at is that regardless of sport, a World Cup should be exactly that, a tournament that has a fair and even distribution of teams from across the globe. The football World Cup isn’t perfect but hopefully in the future cricket will allow for the Senegals and North Koreas of the footballing world to have the opportunity at least to produce some shocks that will reverberate around the cricket world.

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Cricket Captain 2017: 2023-24 – Namibian Desert and Canada Dry!

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The 2023-24 campaign culminated with back-to-back ODI World Cup defeats against associate nations Namibia and Canada. Against Namibia, England’s skill set simply deserted them, whilst against Canada, their quality ran dry.

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James Weighell’s figures of 10-0-102-0 against Canada, summed up a selection policy that has been found out and confirmed that competitiveness is a trait long since departed from England’s cricket team.

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Following the World Cup exit in India, Middlesex legend Toby Roland-Jones retired at the end of an injury hit campaign. TR-J had his moments in an England shirt, most notably his 49-ball 75 against South Africa in a Test match and strong Test and ODI series against Zimbabwe at home at the start of last year.

England finished the season placed 9th out of ten in Test, ODI and T20I rankings, superior only to Zimbabwe, another team that defeated them in the World Cup.

Among few positives, young batsman Sam Evans scored centuries in the first innings of his first three Test matches. Those matches were in South Africa and it is the same opposition that England will entertain in the summer of 2024. Such is England’s fall from grace that in the 2024 T20I World Cup they will face the might of Nepal, USA and once again, Canada. The days of such encounters being ‘walk in the parks’ for England’s cricketers are long, long gone!

A Complete Restructure of International Cricket: Revisited

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Following my previous proposals for, in the words of David Bowie…

I have decided to make, in the words of you know who, ch, ch, chan…

You get the idea!

Here’s the link to my original article…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/a-complete-restructure-of-international-cricket/

I have now decided to expand the International Championship to 13 teams. This is to provide anxious current Test nations with the security required in order to vote for ch, ch, chang….

I have trimmed the First Class, List A and T20 divisions from two to one and have limited the second and third tiers to nine teams. This is due to the financial restraints that are present on lesser nations. The notion of these sides jetting around the world as many times as the top tier teams is for the time being at least, in-practitcal. I’m ditching any suggestion of a play-off and am proposing that one team alone is relegated from the International Championship and therefore one team alone is promoted from International Division One. Again, this provides security to current full member nations including the minnows, they simply have to avoid finishing last to avoid being relegated! That may seem a long slog, a four year worldwide cycle for just one spot but the prize is Test match cricket as well as full ODI and T20I status. It should not be given away easily.

Tours remain three matches of each format (Yes that’s right, the Ashes as we know it is dead!) scaled back to one match per format in International Division Two and beyond. Again, this is for financial and practical purposes for less equipped nations.

Here’s an update and a recap of the league breakdown:

International Championship

Test, ODI and T20I status

13 teams

4 year cycle

6 home series / 6 away series

All series consist of three Test matches, three ODI matches and three T20I matches

1 team relegated (But guaranteed four years of consistent and structured FC, LA and T20 cricket)

International Division One

First Class, List A and T20 status

9 teams

4 year cycle

4 home series / 4 away series

All series consist of three First Class matches, three List A matches and three T20 matches

1 team promoted

1 team relegated

International Division Two

Other status

9 teams

4 year cycle

4 home series / 4 away series

All series consist of one four-day match, one one-day match and one T20 match

1 team promoted

1 team relegated

The points system would of course be crucial and in truth I need to do a few more calculations. I think that the points system put forward in my original article seemed fair in terms of getting the balance right for each format however some freak results could possibly lead to, for example: A team winning all their T20I matches but losing all Tests and ODIs and finishing bottom of the overall table. As a result said team would not only concede their Test and ODI status but their T20I status as well. I guess I’ll clarify the points system in the article ‘A Completer Restructure of International Cricket Re-revisited’!

I know what you’re thinking: What about hemispherical control?

It’s a very good question but I don’t think it matters. If maybe twenty years down the line the entire top tier consisted of southern hemisphere sides then there’s enough time to schedule all series. There would be lengthy periods of no top flight cricket but would it really matter? Committed and passionate fans will be following their nation in the division that they are in. It would be ideal though possibly not practical if the final round of T20I matches could be played simultaneously.

Imagine winning International Division One. The players would be…