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!

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!

Don Bradman Cricket 17: England v USA T20I: Trumped!

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There have been many dark days in English cricket. Today was one of those days. It was like being in the world’s longest tunnel without a torch or possibly with a torch but no batteries or the batteries had run out!

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Having seemingly had the Trumpeteers under control at 117-5, we ‘allowed’ Team USA to post a competitive target of 170. A recalled Ajmal Shahzad was the pick of our bowlers. He claimed figures of 2-25 from his full allocation as well as having a chance dropped. Tom Curran also claimed two wickets (4-0-31-2). Matt Coles figures were less impressive: 4-0-40-0 and he would go onto compliment these with a golden duck!

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We began our pursuit sedately, the intention to keep wickets intact and accelerate as the overs elapsed. We were aided early on by some wides and opening batsmen Ben Duckett and Michael Carberry posted a half-century stand to commence the chase. Duckett fell first, caught behind off a good delivery from the spinner having constructed a decent 30 from 24 deliveries. Captain Joe Root built a brisk 30 from 21 deliveries but was harshly adjudged LBW before the returning Michael Carberry was also dismissed in debatable fashion. By then, Carberry had grafted to 26 from 30 deliveries. His innings lacked fluency but did include one majestic leg-side flick for four. He was adjudged caught behind off the spinner though no edge was apparent. Why there were no reviews available in this T20 International remains unclear.

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Dawid Malan (7), Liam Livingstone (Run out for 2 to add to a dropped dolly!) and Liam Dawson (0 to compliment figures of 2-0-20-0) offered little to the chase. After Jos Buttler had struck a rapid 27 both Tom Curran and Ajmal Shahzad found the boundary on more than one occasion but ultimately Shahzad was unable to clear the ropes as required from the last ball of the match. Tom Curran (8) was run out and The Stars and Stripes ran out victors in Taunton by the small margin of just three runs.

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Maybe we got our tactics wrong. Possibly we should have attacked in the Powerplay but whilst we may have had more runs on the board early on, we would likely have lost more wickets too. To the loyal supporters of English cricket, the team offer their sincerest apologies for this result and promise to dig deep in the face of opposition to come.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: England v Uganda Test Match: Taking Route 166 to Victory!

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We opted to make numerous changes to our side for our first Test match in a while, having primarily played white ball stuff in recent times. The XI wasn’t far from our strongest team though with Jonny Bairstow rested, Gareth Roderick made his debut behind the stumps.

In our first innings, opening batsman Keaton Jennings led the way but having reached 50 exactly he fell to the very next delivery bowled by spin. El capitan Joe Root however ploughed on, ably supported by Scott Borthwick. Borthwick was making his first appearance during my tenure and his first Test match since his debut more than three years ago. The new Surrey recruit acquitted himself well in composing a… composed 37 before nicking behind off the quick bowler. Debutant Roderick came and went for 11 but as wickets fell, Root was relentless. He was chaperoned through the 90s by Chris Woakes who made a vital 27 in a partnership of 115 with his skipper. Root eventually fell for 166 before Stuart Broad clobbered 47 from just 24 deliveries to propel England to 398.

James Anderson then ripped through the Ugandan batting line-up on his way to figures of 10-1-24-4 as the visitors crashed to 36-5 and at 61-6 they looked destined to follow-on. Their lower order dug deep however to do just enough to make us have to bat again. Chris Woakes (2-23) and the recalled Mark Footitt (2-31) bowled well to restrict Uganda to 204.

In our second venture to the crease, Haseeb Hameed again fell cheaply. Scores of 16 and 3 leave him in need of runs come our next Test match. He will be given that chance. Consistency in selection is an important part of our genesis. Keaton Jennings recorded his second half-century of the match but was run out for 54 with skipper Joe Root at fault. Scott Borthwick again looked assured but this time fell for 43. Roderick (He did at least claim four dismissals in the match) and an out of sorts Ben Stokes again missed out before Adil Rashid (22) and Chris Woakes (29) again batted sensibly. Also again, Stuart Broad (38 from 22 balls) went on the rampage and James Anderson followed suit striking 36 from just 14 deliveries including 21 off one over!

Mark Footitt struck in the first over of Uganda’s pursuit of 460 and there was little resistance after that. Spinner Adil Rashid exploited the deteriorating pitch to claim figures of 3-39 from 13 overs and Mark Footitt finished with 5-35 from 13.1 overs of high quality left-arm pace bowling to record impressive match figures of 7-66.

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Despite the bowling exertions of Anderson, Rashid and Footitt, it was captain Joe Root’s 166 that set us on our way and so he claimed the Player of the Match Award. It was a thoroughly good team performance though with contributions from throughout the composition. Bring on our next opponents!

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The Cricket Wheel of Fortune

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You are selected to tour with England. You get injured so miss the tour. The following year you are again selected to tour with England. You perform well in a tour match but in the Tests things don’t really go your way. You’re dropped and many perceive your international career to have been and gone but hopefully you’ll be better for the experience, will perform solidly on the county circuit and knock the door down for a recall. Your county however spend big bucks on some new players and come the first match of the county season you’ve lost your place to another spin bowling top order batsman. Step forward messrs Zafar Ansari and Scott Borthwick.

Of course Borthwick himself is one of many that has made his way through England’s selectorial revolving door and who ultimately has reinvented himself and re-locationed himself in order to knock the international door down again.

That’s cricket’s wheel of fortune ladies and gentlemen. Another example and another Surrey / Durham one at that: Opening batsman Rory Burns gets injured. Opening batsman Arun Harinath comes in and hits some hundreds but a year or so later Durham opening batsman Mark Stoneman heads south and Harinath joins Ansari in the Second XI.

Will the omitted players respond by making and taking runs and wickets galore in the second XI or will they go all Fabian Cowdrey on us and we’ll next see Zafar Ansari playing piano on The Voice? (Not as ridiculous as it sounds, honest!)

Could Ansari pop up at Sussex next year or Harinath at Leicestershire?

Of course I myself have suggested that Mark Footitt should make England’s XI (Before his 6-14 against Warwickshire I might add) but he left both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in order to keep another ex-England man Stuart Meaker out of the Surrey team. Michael Carberry is another example of a player who moved counties and who without doing so might not have donned the Three Lions jersey.

Anyway back to the point. In the space of less than a year Zafar Ansari has gone from being bridled with joy at being selected for England to presumably being a bit peeved at losing his place in the Surrey team. The problem for Ansari is a lack of cricketing identity. He’s tended to bat between numbers one and four but only has three First Class centuries. Those are great achievements, that’s three more than a lot of people but not good enough for a top order batsman with 115 innings under his belt. His bowling average of 35.18 is respectable enough but comes at an average of less than two wickets a match. This actually suggests a lack of responsibility rather than ability. Question marks linger over Ansari’s desire but when any professional sports player suggests that their game isn’t the be all and end all it can sound worse than it should. Some players immerse themselves in their profession to such an extent that it limits them but for others, getting away from the game can help them to relax and prepare for competition so long as they haven’t completely abandoned practice.

It will be interesting to see where in a decades time Zafar Ansari sits in the history of English cricket. Maybe he’ll be the next Gareth Batty!

Welcome Back Michael Carberry!

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In January, we detailed how former England opening batsman Michael Carberry was building towards a return to professional cricket following successful cancer treatment…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/back-in-the-driving-seat-and-picking-berries/

Say what you like about the opposition but this is some way to announce your return to the First Class game after defeating the big C!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/mcc-university-matches-2017/engine/match/1068518.html

Dernback!

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England are said to be seriously considering a recall for ‘fan’s favourite’ Jade Dernbach.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/12461.html

The South African born Surrey pacer has jumped to the front of the selection queue in light of injury concerns to various senior members of England’s bowling attack and could feature in a Three Lions shirt for the first time since 2014. It could be that the ODIs against Ireland are a perfect time to reintegrate the thirtyone-year-old.

Dernbach didn’t exactly set the world alight during his previous carnation as an international player but the England hierarchy believe that he’s matured, developed as a player and risen to the occasion. The most obvious example of Dernbach’s progress was in the 2015 Royal London One-Day cup final against Gloucestershire when, despite Surrey being beaten, Dernbach claimed figures 6-35 from 8.4 overs, including the prize scalp of Michael Klinger for a third ball duck.

If JD does get another look-in on the global stage, he’ll hope to haul that ODI bowling average of 42.19 and his T20I economy of 8.71 down just a little!