27 Tests

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27 Tests. That’s how long it took Australia’s Steve Waugh to record his maiden Test hundred. That’s Steve Waugh, a man who has 10,927 Test runs at an average of 51.06 to his name. Oh and the century tally… 32!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/8192.html

Do you think that any England batsmen debuting in the near future will be provided 27 Tests to score their first century?

Keaton Jennings scored one on debut just four Tests ago but already many people seem to want rid of him. Sam Robson then Adam Lyth each recorded a century in their seven (Not 27) Tests but it wasn’t enough to provide them with an extended run in the team.

England don’t really seem to know what they want at the moment, stoic resilience or explosive attacking? The selectors, coach and captain don’t appear to be singing from the same hymn sheet. Captain Joe Root campaigned for Gary Ballance, Dawid Malan clearly appeals to coach Trevor Bayliss, Tom Westley has demanded selection but needed injury to another to receive it and all the while the likes of Mark Stoneman and Daniel Bell-Drummond await their turn, not to mention Ben Duckett, Haseeb Hameed and… Sam Robson, again!

Unless somebody rocks up and averages 65.00+ from the get go and maintains those numbers then the England batting merry go round looks set to continue. I can’t help but think England’s Test summer isn’t structured in the best possible way to get the country’s premier batsmen on the plane to a land Down Under this winter. English willow wielders are currently struggling against a strong South African attack. If they’re dropped then newbies will come in against (No disrespect) a less threatening West Indies attack and surely have an increased chance of doing well but though they may gain confidence from doing so, will facing the likes of Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph and Miguel Cummins (No disrespect) really prepare them for the Ashes?

We’re five Tests away from the Ashes (If they go ahead?!) and the identity of Alastair Cook’s opening partner and the number three position remain anything from certain. Throw in an injury or some other misfortune to messrs Cook or Root and cue panic among the England selectorial Gods!

International Cricket Captain 2017: Test Squad Announcement

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England squad for the first Test against Pakistan at Lords:

Squad in full: Mark Stoneman, Rory Burns, Ben Duckett, Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Jonny Bairstow (w), Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Ben Coad, Jack Leach

Despite difficult Ashes series, opening batsmen Mark Stoneman and Rory Burns retain their places in the squad. Yorkshire bowler Ben Coad wins his first call-up to the senior national team. Stuart Broad and James Anderson have not been selected for this Test however they remain available for selection in all forms of the game. Due to IPL commitments and therefore not having played any First Class cricket this season, Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes were not considered for selection as England attempt to maintain their unbeaten Test series record under the leadership of Joe Root.

International Cricket Captain 2017: ODI/T20I Series Review

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In the ODI series we thoroughly thumped Australia 4-1, losing only the fifth and final match. The series victory was thanks in no small part to Alex Hales’ 304 runs @ 60.80. Surrey teenager Sam Curran claimed figures of 6-27 in the 4th ODI before his older brother Tom recorded impressive numbers of 3-48 on debut. Essex’s Tom Westley (25 & 53) also won his first cap and looked at home in the international arena.

Onto the T20I series that not only involved Australia but New Zealand as well. The structure involved playing Oz twice then New Zealand twice. We defeated the Ozzies 2-0 including a two-run win in the second match courtesy of Adil Rashid’s last ball wicket. However we then got torn to pieces by New Zealand, losing the two group matches then being defeated by them again in the final.

In the second T20I against New Zealand, Middlesex batsman Dawid Malan made 75 on debut but having reverted to our ‘strongest’ line-up for the final, Jason Roy promptly lasted just one delivery!

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Gloucestershire’s Benny Howell made 43 and took 2-7 against Australia on debut but failed to back up that performance. Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone claimed 3-38 in his only match of the series and there were also a couple of wickets for Somerset’s Jamie Overton on his sole outing of the tour.

Having gone unbeaten throughout the year, the 3-0 whitewash dished out to us by the Black Caps was a disappointing end to the campaign.

Extras

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Bye: Former England opening batsman Michael Lumb has been forced to retire at the age of 37 due to an ankle injury. He’ll surely be grateful that the ankle has only given up on him having reached the age of 37 and the question is, if he was 27 could he have played on?

The Nottinghamshire left-hander  was an integral part of England’s 2010 T20I World Cup winning team and crucially effected the run out of Australia’s David Warner in the final. The former Yorkshire and Hampshire player also played three ODIs when England used the T20I squad to play against West Indies. He was in part lucky to get the ODI chance but having scored a century on debut…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/11778/scorecard/636533/West-Indies-vs-England-1st-ODI-England-tour-of-West-Indies-2013-14

followed by a fifty next up, he was somewhat unlucky not to get further opportunities.

He was also one of the early English trendsetters by getting in on the global T20 franchise act. He represented Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash.

Silly Point wishes Lumb the very best in whatever future endeavours lie ahead.

Leg Bye: England have gone west with their latest batting solution. Essex’s Tom Westley has received the call to replace the injured Gary Ballance in the third Test against South Africa. Westley should be safe in the knowledge that given Ballance’s injury, he’ll get at least two Tests to prove his value. He’s consistently stepped up for England Lions and when Essex have faced touring sides in the past. It did seem as though he was one that the national selectors weren’t ever going to turn to but he gets his thoroughly deserved chance now.

No Ball: Cricinfo have changed their website. It’s become quite, well… bloggy. Let’s just say that it’s going to take some getting used too!

http://www.espncricinfo.com

Wide: Moving away from Extras, please be aware that in the future there will be articles other than International Cricket Captain 2017 themed ramblings but for now you will have to make do with my fantasy come reality efforts at making English cricket great again making up a high proportion of the articles!

International Cricket Captain 2017: Limited Overs Squads Announcement

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England Squad for five-match ODI series vs. Australia.

Squad in full: Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Ben Duckett, Joe Root, Liam Livingstone, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (w), Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, David Willey, Chris Woakes (c), Tom Westley, Tim Bresnan, Luke Fletcher, Tom Curran

Please note that Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow are being rested following the Ashes series. Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran, having both come into the side against the West Indies retain their places. Essex’s Tom Westley and Surrey’s Tom Curran earn their maiden call ups whilst there is a recall for Yorkshire’s Tim Bresnan.

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England Squad for T20I series vs. Australia and New Zealand.

Squad in full: Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan (c), Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Benny Howell, Jos Buttler (w), Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Liam Livingstone, Dominic Sibley, Dawid Malan, Jamie Overton

Please note that Ben Stokes is being rested following the Ashes and ODI series. Gloucestershire’s Benny Howell and Middlesex’s Dawid Malan earn their maiden call ups.

International Cricket Captain 2017: SmAshes, ThrAshes and CrAshes!

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2-1 up with two Ashes Tests to go. What could possibly go wrong?

A word of advice. Never let one player’s personal glory compromise the team goal!

We (England) were 2-1 up in the Ashes and had Australia one wicket down (Target: 490!) at the close of play of the fourth day of the fourth Test. Earlier in the day, when pondering a declaration, I allowed Joe Root to equal and then surpass his previous career best score of 200 not out. The skipper eventually declared with himself undefeated on 213. The only problem was that he spent quite a long time getting through the 190s but we backed ourselves to bowl Australia out with little more than a day to do so. How wrong we were! We got the hosts eight wickets down but Australia resisted to seal a draw. We then fell apart in the fifth Test, putting in our weakest batting performance (284 & 259) of the series capped off by our worst fielding display when it really mattered. We still managed to set the hosts 283 to win but claimed only four wickets and thus surrendered the Ashes.

The 2-2 series result was particularly harsh on Ben Duckett. The Northamptonshire batsman finished the series with 746 runs at an average of 82.89.

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As you’ll see from the images below, opening batsmen Mark Stoneman and Rory Burns failed to back up their impressive first summers in international cricket. Stoneman failed to reach 50 in the series whilst Burns reached 98 in the fifth Test but his dismissal without adding to his overnight total complimented by two dropped catches significantly contributed to us not winning the Ashes.

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On the bowling front, senior pacemen James Anderson (17 wickets @ 35.76) and in particular Stuart Broad (11 wickets @ 55.00) struggled throughout the tour, though their new ball spell did win us the third Test.

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The squads for the ODI/T20I series will be announced shortly.

Borthwick vs. Stoneman

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Scott Borthwick380 County Championship runs @ 31.67

Mark Stoneman761 County Championship runs @ 58.54

I detailed in a previous post how many so called ‘experts’ have been crawling out of the woodwork claiming that they’ve been campaigning for ‘Stoneman for England’ for years…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/short-term-memories/

I’ll try to avoid ranting about them again but let’s be honest, it was Borthwick that people thought was relocating down south in order to enhance his England credentials, Stoneman was just tagging along for the ride. Oh how it’s transpired differently. If it wasn’t for the fact that Joe Root used to houseshare with Gary Ballance or even that Alastair Cook resigned the national captaincy then Mark Stoneman would be a Test cricketer by now. For Borthwick, his chances of an England recall seem as far away as ever. He seemed close to a Test spot last year but then had a horror show in a match against Yorkshire (4 & 0 including being run out). Of course it could all soon tick for the man Graeme Swann (One of those experts!) touted as England’s great spin hope to replace Swann himself. The runs may flow in the second half of the campaign or it could be that SB comes good next term. He is barely 27 so time is on his side. Middlesex’s Sam Robson was recently recalled to the England Lions so Borthwick shouldn’t give up hope but as pleased as he’ll be for Stoneman he must be a little bitter.

Two County Championship wickets at over 100 apiece for Borthwick suggest that he isn’t even going to knock the much maligned Liam Dawson off his perch.

Maybe it shouldn’t be Borthwick vs. Stoneman. They’re teammates after all but when it comes to national reckoning it appears that England have room for no more than four specialist batsmen. Ben Duckett, Haseeb Hameed and James Vince are good enough to come again. Joe Clarke, Daniel Bell-Drummond and Tom Westley crave a chance too. Jimmy Adams, Nick Browne and James Hildreth will probably never get close.

Hopefully Borthwick can turn on the run show in the near future but theory of numbers means that England can’t and shouldn’t pick everyone. Durham bred Borthwick has had the honour, privilege and presumably amazing experience of representing England. There’s no shame if carving out a productive domestic career at Surrey is as good as it gets from here on in. Many many players have become more complete upon the termination of their international careers.

In regards to Stoneman, I touched upon aspects of his credentials in the article linked towards the top of this post. Is he just in form or is he primed to become an international cricketer having just turned thirty? He’s been dropped in the field a few times this season but maybe the likes of Ballance and Vince have too. MS looked particularly unruffled in the One-Day Cup Final but it will only take a Test or two without significant run scoring for his technique to be torn to shreds by the ‘experts’ and non experts for that matter.

Experts, rubbish commentators, unoriginal and lacking insight pundits… there’s an article in that isn’t there?