Please head over to:
… for, well… a new dawn!
Please head over to:
… for, well… a new dawn!
Around four and a half years ago, I started writing a cricket blog. Only last year, I commenced scripting a football (Soccer) themed alternative. My interests stretch beyond those two subjects however, so I am slowly winding down both sillypointcricket.com and leftbackfooty.com.
Thank you very much to anybody and everybody who has ever taken the time to view, let alone comment on either of my blogs.
I intend to start from scratch with a new blog that will of course feature cricket and football but also primarily film and book reviews regardless of the subject matter. I might also detail other things in life such as hiking or anything else that might pique my interest.
I enjoy writing and think that it’s healthy to get some opinions off my chest and share them. I’m particularly looking forward to sharing my thoughts on films. With two young children, one of whom has some additional needs and with neither of them currently in education, it’s been challenging to find the hours to watch movies. Last night, I finally got around to watching Loving Vincent on DVD (Yeah that’s right…DVD!). I’ve also got plenty of books to read.
Once again, thank you for viewing my blogs and I look forward to meeting you in a new guise sometime in the future.
Paul aka Silly Point aka Left Back Footy
Age 34, 510 First Class wickets at 22.81
Age 27, 356 First Class wickets at 24.02
Age 26, 157 First Class wickets at 19.93
Chris Rushworth will never play for England. Jamie Porter could do if James Anderson ever retires. Ben Coad might do in the years to come.
The above players are often dismissed as horses for courses. It’s said that they bowl well in England but won’t elsewhere. Well, England play half their games in England and James Anderson himself has shown that players can develop and perform overseas. Remember as well, that while James Anderson is considered great, he was selected at a young age and persevered with despite averaging over forty five years into his international career. He was allowed to become great. Toby Roland-Jones briefly displayed that a player who had honed their skills at domestic level could make a worthy contribution when selected at a slightly more ripe age.
Rushworth, Porter and Coad are not three-dimensional cricketers. They may not even be two-dimensional and tend to be pigeon holed as long format specialists… well, at domestic level anyway. They may actually be more than reasonable white-ball bowlers but are often preserved by Durham, Essex and Yorkshire respectively for four-day affairs.
Said players have not necessarily taken the usual route to first team regularity or potential England recognition. They have consistently performed however and in Porter’s case, similar to Anderson, have overcome serious injury hurdles. It’s unlikely that any of these players would let England down or be woefully out of their depth if at least provided a few games. Of course anybody can have a quiet debut.
As mentioned, for Rushworth, it won’t happen but for Porter and Coad, though they may seem way down the pecking order at present, the chance could yet come. Of course the opportunity to play any cricket would help their cause!
Most players can look good in highlights packages but watching Jhye Richardson bowl in the Big Bash only, errr… highlights how he can’t spend his career hiding away on the domestic circuit. Even the franchise circuit isn’t enough for the Perth Scorchers 24-year-old. If international cricket really is to remain the pinnacle then that’s where this lad needs to be.
An injury setback or two have, like so many, have hampered his progress but he’s steaming in now. Though he hasn’t clocked up many First Class appearances (Not an unusual thing for Australian cricketers), he has already played Tests. Yes T20 would seem the obvious avenue but I hope that we see Richardson playing in all formats… and I’m an England fan!
Australia and Perth Scorchers have historically produced a wide variety of pace bowling options (Have Australia tried too many?). Fingers crossed that Richardson can stay fit and push to the front of the queue because he really is a pleasure to watch.
Opening batsman Joe Burns has been dropped from Australia’s Test team… probably for the last time!
Aged 31, with 1442 runs including four centuries, Burns has been a little unlucky to be dropped and recalled on multiple occasions previously but this time it seems terminal. Despite an undefeated half-century in the first Test against India, he reverted to recent woeful form in the second Test. With Will Pucovski now fit, he’ll belatedly make his Test bow… well, unless David Warner really is fit, then Pucovski may still have to wait. Either way, temporary opener Matthew Wade will probably drop into the middle order with much criticised Travis Head being harshly axed.
With the likes of Jake Weatherald, Daniel Hughes, Nic Maddinson and younger players coming through too, it’s surely the end for Burns. That said, an insatiable run of form could earn him yet another recall. Shaun Marsh was famously in and out of the side and Australia haven’t hesitated in selecting older players. Chris Rogers was one whilst Moises Henriques featured recently.
For now, it’s back to Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash for beleaguered Burns!
Headlines around the world proclaim that India were dismissed for their lowest ever total in Test history when the visitors succumbed for a paltry 36 in the day/night Test in Adelaide!
However, Mohammed Shami retired hurt (Okay, they don’t call it that anymore!) but, and you’ll have to forgive me for being pedantic… that would usually mean that India’s innings would be refered to as 36-9. I mean you just never know. Maybe Shami and Umesh Yadav were poised to record India’s highest ever 10th wicket stand in Test cricket!
Following such a humiliating defeat, it’s not an ideal time for India captain Virat Kohli to leave his team but fair enough, particularly in the current climate. Many are now predicting a whitewash and already saying “I told you so”. I do hope that India can fightback with a win… that’s what sport and particularly in cricket, character is about!
Watching highlights from the Big Bash, I’ve been shocked at how bad much of the bowling is. I keep hearing complaints that cricket is becoming too much in favour of the batsmen. Well if bowlers keep bowling waist high full tosses, conceding free hits and throw in a few too many over pitched leg-side deliveries as well then yeah, it will be a batsmen’s game.
The lack of bowling intelligence applied is staggering. A bowler is failing to execute deliveries as he’d like so what does he do? Try and gain some control by shaving a bit of pace off and bowling straight, make the batsmen do the work… no! He tries even harder to bowl faster or add further variation only to cock it up!
Also, the PowerSurge is a glorious opportunity for bowlers to claim wickets as batsmen throw away theirs for the sake of a point. Shouldn’t these batsmen be allowed to concentrate on winning the game. Look how Dawid Malan paced a recent innings for England. T20 shouldn’t be about hitting baseball shots off full tosses for 6 every ball. There should still be a place for more workmanlike innings. The contrast of that alongside a big hitter can be aesthetically pleasing. Do we really want a situation where teams are qualifying for knockout stages because they got enough bonus points to finish higher than a team that won more games?!
And as for the indulgent hyperbolic commentary… Jonathan Agnew, all is forgiven!
Edit: Following the latest match, two spinners have experienced an expensive first over. In usual circumstances, they might come back stronger but now their captain might just think, “Well, I just won’t bowl them again. I won’t let them display character and learn as a cricketer. I’ll just sub them for a batsman”. That might be the rules but I don’t think it’s healthy for cricket, player development or the integrity of the result!
Following our semi-final heartbreak in Bangladesh, we’ve strengthened our squad by adding two new faces.
15-year-old Peruvian (Half-English) wicketkeeper and left-handed batsman Esteban Ramirez-Holmes and 30-year-old left-arm Spanish speed merchant Gaston Garcia, become Global XI squad members number 19 and 20.
We don’t believe in having an excessively large squad but with the volume of competitions on the horizon and challenging circumstances for everybody around the world at the moment, these two additions to our playing squad are vital. Beyond our two gloveman, who obviously spend a lot of time training together, what with COVID-19 on the scene, it was essential to acquire another wicketkeeping option. The modern and free-spirited Ramirez-Holmes will develop his glovework quickly alongside messrs Jiminez and Sigthorsson.
Also, with Cameroon’s Ambroise Anguissa the only out and out express pace bowler in our group, it seemed sensible to recruit a left-arm option. Gaston Garcia is no spring chicken but is fit as a fiddle and will combine skill and guile with venomous speed!
Ramirez-Holmes and Garcia’s introduction to our squad is an exciting one. The duo will link up with their new teammates as we host England for what will be two fascinating T20 encounters. The reigning ODI World Champions were passing our way and were seeking practice matches in a bio-secure environment. We’re happy to provide and this will be a fascinating opportunity for our players to challenge themselves against the very best. It’s a huge honour and will be a great way to pick the guys up following our sad demise in Bangladesh.
Following the huge progress that we’d we made and fantastic form that propelled us to the knockout stages, so the semi-final greeted us!
We won the toss and had no hesitation in choosing to bat first at home to Khulna. Regrettably, Jamal Peters (5), Phillipio (8) and Moses Okocha (7) were all soon back in the hut. That left us reeling on 37-3. For the second match in a row, vice-captain Mario Kuntz (33) fell when well set. Kim Lee-Soo made a run-a-ball 12 but captain Norshahrul Rashid used up six balls for just 2.
Wu Xu foolishly fell first ball but wicketkeeper Javier Jiminez stroked 40 from 36 deliveries to at least help put a score on the board. Mohamed El Mohamedy (9*) and Ambroise Anguissa (2*) took us to 128-8 with the welcome help of 12 extras.
Slow-left-armer El The Pharaoh Mohamedy (1-26) then struck in the first over but Khulna were soon on course for victory at 44-1. Xu’s (2-18) off-spin claimed two wickets in two balls outside of the powerplay (8th over) to drag the visitors back to 44-3 and put us in the box seat.
Kim’s (1-20) slingy right-arm bowling accounted for Shafiq (22) but captain Rashid, who uncharacteristically conceded 31 from his four overs to go with his miserable batting effort, later dropped a catch of the South Korean. In between, Hammond (15) was run out but a couple of silly overthrows and fatigued fielding would prove costly!
Left-arm pacer Roberto Biabini (0-10) conceded just one run from an almost immaculate penultimate over. Tall right-arm fast bowler Ambroise Anguissa had 15 runs to play with to put us in the final but began the 20th over with a wide. Tiredness and possibly pressure set in but the Cameroonian wasn’t helped by the efforts (Or lack of) by some of his fielders. Despite that, top scorer Ingram (46) was run out off the penultimate ball of the final over when going for the win. Anguissa (0-22) regained his nerve to finish with a dot and send the game into a super over… the crowd couldn’t believe what was happening before their eyes and many couldn’t bare to watch!
Egypt’s El Mohamedy ,well versed at bowling under pressure in the powerplay, rocked up to the wicket. Despite conceding a boundary early in the over, he responded superbly to limit Khulna to just 7-1.
There was little time to think about who should open the batting. Our minds were occupied with how we’d only scratched our way to a semi-competitive total after performing so well recently, before letting the win and a place in the final, slip away. It was felt that sending out a right and left-hander made sense and so it seemed appropriate to allow regular openers Jamal Peters and Mario Kuntz to take responsibility… they failed spectacularly!
Against right-arm medium pacer Asad Hashim, Peters made 2 from 3, meanwhile Kuntz wafted away horribly outside off stump, failing to connect with any of the three deliveries that he faced, only running a bye. All this came after Hashim had offered up a wide first ball… it was a heartbreaking end!
The fact of the matter is that we didn’t deserve to win. Congratulations to Khulna who did. Our top order were tense and went chasing runs, not sticking to our recent successful (Albeit old-fashioned) gameplan. Old bad habits resurfaced as we failed to make the most of the last few overs and barely scratched out a competitive total.
We then had the game in the bag, we were in a good position well into their innings but skipper Rashid was uncharacteristically expensive and Anguissa fell apart. There were three unnecessary overthrows, two atrocious pieces of fielding late on, one that cost a boundary, the other an extra run in the final over… not to mention the captain’s dropped catch or our batsmen’s failure to execute in the super over! Hard to stomach would be an understatement. We may now have to break a tag of chokers!
Our captain has led us superbly upto this point and shouldn’t be judged on one night… but like too many of our players, he failed to bring his A game to the big occasion. We will learn as a group and be stronger for it. There are many bad things happening in this world and at the end of the day, this is just sport. It will take some coming back from however!
Oh… typically Khulna got rolled over for just 90 in the final as Rajashahi ran out 9-wicket winners. Saleem Rad claimed ridiculous figures of 4-0! He claimed a hat-trick to finish off Khulna who had actually recovered from 50-6 to 90-6 before, well, you know! Sheikh Hudson then struck 61 not out from only 29 balls as the team that topped the table deservedly won the competition.
Disclaimer: Celebratory image at the top of this article is probably a bit misleading!
Please see below for our statistical highlights from the competition.
Highest Team Total: 161-7 vs. Barisal at Comilla Cricket Ground
Highest Partnership: 121 (1st wicket) Jamal Peters (USA) and Mario Kuntz (Germany) vs. Khulna at Khulna Park
Leading Run-scorer: Mario Kuntz (Germany) 399
Best Batting Average: Moses Okocha (Nigeria) 37.60 (Shoya Soma (Japan) averaged 89.00 from only four innings that included three not outs)
Best Batting Strike-rate: Moses Okocha (Nigeria) 128.33
Best Batting Innings: Moses Okocha (Nigeria) 69 not out vs. Chittagong/Mario Kuntz (Germany) 69 not out vs. Dhaka at Dragons Oval
Leading Wicket-taker: Mohammed El Mohamedy (Egypt) 14
Best Bowling Average: Roberto Biabini (Italy) 20.33 (Three players averaged less but claimed a maximum of only three wickets)
Best Bowling Strike-rate: Roberto Biabini (Italy) 18.44 (Again, players that claimed less than a handful of wickets were not considered)
Best Bowling Innings: Roberto Biabini (Italy) 4-21 vs. Barisal at Global Arena
Most Dismissals: Javier Jiminez (Mexico) 15 catches/0 stumpings
Most Catches (Non-wicketkeeper): Wu Xu (China) 6
Starting the second round of fixtures, we posted a decent total of 149-3 at home to Chittagong. It was great to see Phillipio (63*) rack up his first half-century in a while as the Brazilian combined with Mexican gloveman Javier Jiminez (26*) for a combo of 67. The visiting side could only muster 138-4 and though a winning margin of eleven runs might sound close, fast bowler Ambroise Anguissa (0-24) and off-spinner Wu Xu (1-26) kept it tight in the last couple of overs to make it a relatively comfortable victory. Roberto Biabini (1-23) backed up his hat-trick and four-wicket haul in the previous match with some tight bowling too. The win elevated us to third in the table.
In the following game (And what a game!) we rested captain Norshahrul Rashid. Opening batsman Mario Kuntz (With a W1 L1 record) stepped into the role. Having lost the toss, the German endured a torrid time with the willow, being dismissed for just 5 from 14 deliveries. Fellow opener Jamal Peters (54) didn’t panic however and finally clocked up a half-century. It was an important chip off the American’s shoulder.
Nigerian Moses Okocha then came out with the right attitude, striking 31 from 21 deliveries before Phillipio (43*), backing up his fifty in the last match and Jiminez (8*) walked off at the conclusion of our 20 overs. We had lost only three wickets for the second game in a row as our top order continued their progression. We finished on 147-3… then for the bowling!
The opposition opener struck 28 from just 14 deliveries but El The Pharaoh Mohamedy (1-20) trapped him LBW with his slow-left-arm bowling. Part time slow-left-armer Okocha (1-19) then struck in the powerplay as young Kuntz displayed his brave captaincy.
Never out of the action Peters (1-2) effected a crucial and sensational direct hit run out then dismissed the other opening batsman for his first ever wicket as the match of his life continued!
Cameroon speedster Anguissa (1-23) and Chinese off-spinner Xu (1-5) both struck and kept things incredibly tight when under huge pressure. At one point, Dhaka had required 55 runs from 55 balls and plenty of wickets in hand. There was also a dropped catch from Kuntz off Anguissa which seemed to have handed the game to the team from the capital.
When it looked like it might really slip away from us as we missed a run out opportunity, we struck twice via run outs in the penultimate over bowled by the expensive Andryushkin (0-37). Roberto Biabini (0-14) kept it tidy enough in the final over though and when Xu, who earlier took an excellent catch at slip, kept his eye on the ball as it hurtled to the boundary then returned it to gloveman Jiminez, we’d won once again, by a margin of just two runs!
I’ve never been so proud of a performance as that one. Everybody contributed. Stand-in captain Kuntz led the side superbly despite having a poor match with the bat and in the field. And as for Jamal Peters, it’s been a long time coming but a first fifty, a first wicket and a direct hit run out made for an all action performance!
Moving on… another game, another win! We made 84-2 (Kuntz 36*/Okocha 32*) from 11.3 overs at home to Dhaka’s other team, before rain curtailed our innings, so another match with no batting for our lower order!
Dhaka were set 71 from 7 overs though peculiarly our bowlers could only deliver one over each. Anguissa (2-6) struck from consecutive balls in his as we eased home by 13 runs. That made it four wins on the bounce however it was a shame that the likes of Vito Vaga and Shon Solomon had so little opportunity when provided a rare outing.
Looking to make it five consecutive wins, we posted 141-3 at Khuna Park. Opening duo Peters and Kuntz broke their own record for the team’s highest 1st wicket partnership. After taking so long to get one, Peters brought up his second fifty in three matches before launching a vicious assault on Khulna’s Hannan. The American slapped the medium-pacer for back-to-back sixes before Hannan got revenge as Peters (65) threw the kitchen sink at finishing the over with a third, only to nick behind.
Kuntz (59) fell off the penultimate ball of the innings whilst Jiminez (2*) continued his healthy obsession of walking off undefeated. By only totalling 141 though, we hadn’t quite put the game out of reach, which was slightly disappointing given the opening stand had accelerated throughout after we’d been put into bat. Peters’ failure to execute a third six meant that still no batsmen in a Global shirt had ever reached 70!
El Mohamedy (1-19) and Xu (1-33) both struck in the powerplay before Anguissa (2-29) struck twice in two balls for the second consecutive match. Firstly, captain Rashid (0-16) made great judgement to appeal an LBW decision before Anguissa welcomed the new batsman by immediately bowling him around around his legs. It was a stunning delivery!
Khulna did fightback from 58-4 to 106-4 at which point Xu produced an outstanding piece of fielding to send opener and top score Handal (55) packing. Somehow, the Chinese all-rounder prevented a boundary before returning the ball to the bowler’s end. Then cue a couple more run outs, something we’ve developed a good habit of effecting and so the hosts fell 8 runs short on 133-8.
The win was our fifth in a row and fourth consecutive match where we’d batted first and won by thirteen runs or less. The start of the run was a 23-run win. It’s worth pointing out that we’d often been put into bat as oppose to luckily winning the toss in favourable conditions. We’ve got nerve and bottle!
Come the next game at home to table topping Rajashani, we were finally made to field first. The visitors compiled 141-6 despite a good all round bowling effort. Roberto Biabini (2-34) was struck for four off each of the final three deliveries of his third over but displayed great character to claim two wickets in his fourth.
Sadly, we were bowled out for a disheartening 99 in our chase. It’s important to be clear that Rajashani were deserved victors with the contrast of their change express pace and dibbly dobbly bowlers ripping through our undercooked batting unit. Remember that nobody lower than five had batted in our last four matches. However, the game hinged on a couple of decisions that didn’t go our way and it’s hard to fathom why. Having made 10 from 8 balls, Phillipio was adjudged LBW on review when replays confirmed that the ball had hit his bat. Then, the final wicket, the run out of Biabini (3) after Xu (5*) changed his mind about a single, was also a dismissal that compromised the integrity of the result. The Italian had clearly grounded his bat. Of course we’d still have required 42 runs from 24 deliveries with only one wicket left but those errors were frustrating for our team and cricket fans in general. For the record, in-form opener Jamal Peters (48) by far and away top scored but his dismissal began a terrifying collapse as we lost 6 wickets for a paltry 14 runs.
The termination of our hot streak and victory for Rajashani left them top of the pile with ourselves and Khulna two wins behind. We both remained two wins ahead of the next three teams but a lot could happen in the last four rounds (One a bye for us) as the race for semi-final places hotted up!
Following the humbling defeat, we made a few changes to the XI for the next game. French batsman Xavier Robert and Icelandic gloveman Ogmundar Sigthorsson came into the side. The pair couldn’t make much of an impression though… both being caught behind first ball!
South Korean Kim Lee-Soo also fell for a duck whilst four batsmen were dismissed between 12 and 18. Those dismissals left us 42-5 then staring down the barrel at 71-7. Wu Xu (38*) and Ambroise Anguissa (28) both made career bests however in a hugely mature eighth-wicket partnership of 56. We’re well aware that both players are capable batsmen and it was great to see them seize the opportunity to rescue the team. We finished on 137-8 which was a respectable total given that three figures seemed out of reach at one stage.
Despite having been under the cosh early in our innings, it turned out to be a case of back to batting first, back to winning!
Israeli medium-pacer Shon Solomon (2-30), who had only bowled one over in the competition before this match, dismissed both openers. He should’ve had a third wicket but, not for the first time recently, vice-captain Mario Kuntz dropped a catch. To be fair to the young German, he later held one and effected a run out.
The unheralded Kim (2-13) also claimed two wickets whilst renaissance man Biabini (1-21) and a run out accounted for the other. Robert (0-17) responded to his golden duck by holding a catch under the lights and bowling tightly. Rangpur closed on 119-6, a match deciding deficit of 18 runs.
The win elevated us to joint second in the table, three wins clear of four tied teams and almost certainly secure of a place in the semi-final.
Results then went our way so we made wholesale changes for our next match at home to Sylhet. Abdulfattah Al-Owaishir (3-27) claimed his first ever wickets, each one courtesy of the gloves of Ogmundar Sigthorsson. At one stage, the Saudi-Arabian was actually on a hat-trick. We’ve lost count of how many times that’s happened during this competition! The visitors could only compile 109-9 with all our bowlers keeping things tight.
Jamal Peters and Shoya Soma then showed the way in an undefeated 110-run partnership to record our second ever ten-wicket win. Peters (42*) was a little scratchy early on but has the experience now to keep his head. Soma (62*), who had a previous highest score of just 21, led the way as we ran out victorious with more than a couple of overs to spare.
The players that came in did exactly what we asked, which is to breed competition and make selection decisions extremely difficult.
In our final league match, we posted our highest ever score of 161-7. This was after hosts Barisal surprised everybody by choosing to field first. Ahead of the semi-finals, it turned out to be really useful batting practice as lots of batsmen made twenties and thirties at a decent rate. Kuntz (36), Okocha (31) and Phillipio (28) laid the platform before captain Rashid smoked 24 not out from just ten balls!
We then limited Barisal to 132-6. To be fair, they responded well having slipped to 13-3. Four of their batsmen were run out and their top scorer retired hurt. Wu Xu (1-26) dismissed their opener for a golden duck, caught the other and effected three direct hit run outs! It would’ve been nice to have bowled them out but we couldn’t complain about a 29-run win!
That victory, our eleventh of the campaign and eighth in our last nine matches, propelled us to a second place finish in the table. It meant that we would entertain third placed Khulna in the semi-finals.
In the first semi-final, table topping Rajashahi chased down a whopping 182 with one ball to spare in a thrilling encounter at home to Rangpur. A 51-ball 82 from their opener proved vital.
And so… onto our semi-final!