Don Bradman Cricket 17: Career Heading North!

IMG_2972

Yes I designed that bat and yes it looks great doesn’t it? Thank you very much!

After nearly a decade on the T20 club circuit, the call finally came. Yorkshire County Cricket Club selected the Leeds captain Paul Morris in their County Championship side. No messing about with the pyjama stuff for me. They sent me straight in at the deep end without any armbands to take on Australian pace ace Mitchell Starc.

IMG_2968

Always happy to provide free promotion to my friends at UNICEF.

I made my way to 8 runs on my First Class debut before Starkers came onto bowl. Three deliveries later I was back in the pavilion. After safely negating his first two deliveries via solid defensive shots, I then pushed at the third, got a nick and the ball flew (And I mean flew!) to third slip.

IMG_2970

Wouldn’t wanna get sunburnt!

I went onto dismiss Pakistan Test batsman Umar Akmal in Leicestershire’s second innings, my maiden First Class wicket.

IMG_2971

Day One pre lunch strike rate: 170.0. Let that sink in for a minute!

Derbyshire didn’t have Mitchell Starc and so I promptly made hay against their attack. Having registered only four half-centuries in ten years on the club scene, I smacked 61 before lunch on the first morning of my second professional outing but was disappointed to be out in the last over of the session. I’d arrived signed, sealed and delivered as a First Class cricketer then promptly got out to the last ball of the day for a duck in the second innings!

After a quiet third match, I batted really well against former England Test spinner James Tredwell and co. in making 48 against Kent but again was out to the very last ball before an interval, in this case lunch. I did however settle things after a wobble in our second innings by striking a composed 33 not out in partnership with skipper Gary Ballance.

I hope to get a call-up to the one-day (List A) side soon. If my international ambitions are to be realised then I really need to make headway at domestic level pronto.

It’s been a long hard slog on the club scene for the last decade and though I’ve been sincerely honoured to represent and captain the city of Leeds, to have finally played First Class cricket for my home county of Yorkshire has fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition and to have made a small contribution to the team so far provides me with great pride. I still have work to do to cement my place at this level and to have a fulfilling career as well as chasing international ambitions but I’d like to take this opportunity to put on record my gratitude to all that have supported me in my career thus far. Many thanks to you all.

Paul Morris

Leeds and Yorkshire Cricket

Telegraph Fantasy Cricket 2017

IMG_2955

I’ve selected my team for this year with, once again, the ever reliable Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick as my captain hence the team moniker Roderick Brotherhood.

Tom Fell (Post cancer) and Aneurin Donald (A full season under his belt) are both capable of having productive seasons with the bat. Riki Wessels is destructive in one-day cricket but I might need an injury or two for him to get regular game time in the County Championship. Steven Croft, though listed as a batsman should chip in with the ball as well. On the flip side of that, at least three of my bowlers, Keith Barker, Jofra Archer and Ollie Rayner should make decent contributions with the bat and could all make a case for being considered all-rounders. It’s these sort of players (multi discipline/format) that you need to get into your team though first and foremost they need to be productive in their primary discipline. James Weighell could sneak under the radar though somebody seems to have being playing with his Wikipedia page…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Weighell

Ravi Bopara is a must in the all-rounder slot and Brett D’Oliveira made great strides with the bat last year and contributes with his spin-bowling.

I’ve intentionally picked a team of players that I expect to have uninterrupted county seasons. I haven’t picked temporary overseas players or players that are around the England squad. Only Ollie Rayner would currently be considered close to the national side but even he is probably some way down the pecking order.

If you wanna play then I’ve provided the link to the website below…

http://fantasycricket.telegraph.co.uk

But be warned, you might need to remortgage your house to do so, entry starts at £8.00 per team!

There is at least a ‘whopping’ £3,000.00 prize for the overall winner, I’m off to spend it already… !

P.S. I’ve helped my daughter select a team and my wife has selected one as well, so if I don’t provide many updates you’ll know that I’m in third place!

Crane Sticks Neck Out in New South Wales!

img_2601

Hampshire spinner Mason Crane is currently making his Sheffield Shield debut for New South Wales at the SCG. The leg-spin bowler, just turned twenty, has been tipped by many in the game to be England’s spin saviour. A First Class average of 40.75 suggests that there’s still work to be done but regardless of the results, Crane will surely be a better bowler for his southern hemisphere experiences this winter.

In NSW’s match against South Australia, Crane has already snapped up the wicket of the useful Tom Cooper. The opportunity to see Australia’s limited overs specialist Adam Zampa twirling tirelessly for the opposition will be an education for Crane. There was outcry by some when Zampa was omitted from Australia’s squad for his country’s Test tour of India but it’s worth noting that for all Zampa’s ODI and T20I success that his First Class bowling average currently sits above Crane at 44.07 and at a less than desirable 4.05 per over.

To keep up to date with Crane’s travails then please click on the link below…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/sheffield-shield-2016-17/engine/match/1036419.html

Roy Morgan: Real International Cricket Book Review

img_2689

Warning! This article contains spoilers. It’s not so much a book review but a selection of highlights or/and lowlights from Roy Morgan’s exhaustively detailed and passionately presented Real International Cricket. Remember how at school you were told not to use Wikipedia as a source for your homework, well Morgan says ‘Howzat’ to that as he proudly uses Wiki to pool source information for his tables found in the latter pages of this 280-page epic. To be fair, he’s also scoured the archives of the Lagos Daily News, Saint Helena Telegraph and The Philadelphia Inquirer to name just a few!

img_2811

Five run outs. Steady on boys, you’ve travelled 345 miles from Toronto to New York for this!

img_2812

Poor W.L. Fraser of Scotland. Everybody else made double figures against Ireland but you quacked!

img_2813

Two bowlers, five wickets each, both 34 runs. Damn you Bannerman-Hesse for needing that extra delivery!

img_2818

Morgan informs us that Danish wicketkeeper Jorgen Holmen popped up once for the national team in 1973. He promptly conceded 13 byes, dropped a catch, made scores of 0 and 0 not out and never played cricket for his country again.

Where are you now Jorgen?

img_2819

A good indicator of how cricket has spread around the globe and prospered amongst indigenous or local populations, or not as the case may be, is the French line-up from 1997. Jones, Hewitt and Edwards et al, proper French names!

img_2820

6-1 for Maldives’ Neesham Nasir. A bit expensive conceding that run Neesham!

img_2821

A 510-run defeat in a 50 over match. New Caledonia’s Boaoutho’s 0-132 from eleven overs was so bad that the umpires even let him bowl an over more than he should have been allowed to!

img_2822

The priceless Pritchard Pritchard makes an appearance in 2011 and promptly clobbers 28 not out, including three sixes from just ten deliveries for Samoa.

Another warning! Unless you’re a cricket tragic, this book probably isn’t for you. If however you enjoy reading about obscure corners of the world, sympathising with numerous poor sods that voyaged for weeks to bat at eleven and not bowl or have a good old healthy obsession with the world’s number one bat ‘n’ ball game then this book is well worth a peruse.

Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket scores an undefeated…

83 not out

Living the Dream!

img_2741

Liam Livingstone hit the headlines in early 2015 when he struck 350 off 128 deliveries in a club match…

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/cricket/liam-livingstone-world-record-350-9078151

Then he hit the headlines again later that year when he got glassed in a fight…

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/cricket/lancashires-liam-livingstone-lucky-injuries-9875869

A few weeks later he didn’t hit the headlines when he was dismissed first ball in the Natwest T20 Blast final…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/natwest-t20-blast-2015/engine/current/match/804711.htmlhttp://www.espncricinfo.com/natwest-t20-blast-2015/engine/current/match/804711.html

He hadn’t exactly hit the ground running in the shortest format of the game and still averages below 20 but he didn’t half hit the ground running in the County Championship last year. Though his season tailed off slightly, he still finished with in excess of 800 runs at an average of just over 50. Having played a lot of club and second XI cricket and in an era where many players make their professional breakthrough whilst in their teens, I was hesitant to the idea of Livingstone being rushed into the England set-up too soon. The structure of the England Lions however provides great opportunity for he and others to acquire more experience and develop. Oh and how he’s developed! In England Lions current match against a decent Sri Lanka A outfit, LL has made scores of 105 and 140 not out…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/scorecard/ECKO41600

His First Class batting average has now soared to 54.52 and recalling England’s batting horror show in India, it’s encouraging to see a batsman prospering in the sub-continent. England head to Oz next winter for the Ashes but even if Livingstone doesn’t make the breakthrough to the full national side soon, it could be that he’s saved for the next time England head to spinning terrain.

Last term, even if he wasn’t making runs, his name was all over the scorecards as he claimed catch after catch (31 in 17 FC outings to date) and his leg-spin bowling has some potential.

Elsewhere for England Lions, Toby Roland-Jones has led the line and contributed with the bat whilst the Curran brothers (Tom and Sam) have continued to enhance their reputation. It’s been a bleak winter for Jack Leach however. The Somerset man has struggled with the required adjustments to his action and was left out of the Lions side because of those struggles. Upon his return, his first innings figures of 18-1-97-1 don’t make for pleasant reading. The winter has not been so bleak for the consistently penetrative Ollie Rayner however. The German turner has surely usurped Leach in the England spin queue.

It’s been good to see that the Lions set-up hasn’t just been for the kids and that seasoned county players such as Roland-Jones and Middlesex colleague Rayner have been presented with the opportunity to press their case for international selection. If they did so, they wouldn’t be the first players to have successful international careers having only entered the stage around the age of thirty mark… Mike Hussey, Chris Rogers, Adam Voges and Misbah-ul-Haq amongst them.

Update: Jack Leach immediately responded to my bleak assessment of his winter by claiming figures of 2-3 as England Lions nearly pulled off a marvellous heist in Dambulla. Stumper Ben Foakes also claimed ten dismissals (8c / 2s) and contributed scores of 30 and 54 in this match.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/1080255.html

Beau Casson: Tetralogy of Fallot, Heart Surgery and Meeting Ajmal Shahzad!

img_2528

Spin bowler Beau Casson played a solitary Test for Australia in West Indies back in 2008…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/319141.html

… bouncing back to claim three second innings wickets after a chastening first innings experience. Three years later however, at the age of just 28, Casson was forced to retire from the game after collapsing during what turned out to be his final First Class appearance. That collapse was a consequence of the congenital heart condition that terminated the Perth native’s career, the condition is called Tetralogy of Fallot. It happens to be the same condition that my six-month old daughter suffers from and having already undergone heart surgery aged just six weeks, she’ll be undergoing open heart surgery in around two to three months time. Just over a week ago, she went to hospital for what was supposed to be the ‘in-between’ surgery. Unfortunately the operation didn’t go smoothly, hence my absence from the blogosphere for the past week or two. Fortunately the Silly Pointettes and I are now back home and catching up with PSL dramas and other cricket Jazz!

Back to Casson, I’ve read contradictory articles regarding Beau Casson, one that stated he underwent three open heart surgeries by the time he reached his first Birthday and another that advised he wasn’t diagnosed until he was twelve. If the second is true then he’s extremely fortunate to be alive, especially provided the life expectancy we were informed our daughter would have if she hadn’t undergone her first surgery.

It’s obviously a shame that Casson had to retire probably ten years earlier than could be expected for a spinner but given his condition, I’m sure that his rise to play professional international sport can serve as an inspiration to many.

Please see the links below for further information on Beau Casson and Tetralogy of Fallot.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/4825.html

http://www.chfed.org.uk/how-we-help/information-service/heart-conditions/tetralogy-of-fallot-fallots-tetralogy/

In amongst all the dramas of last week, my path unexpectedly happened to cross that of Sussex and former Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and England bowler, Ajmal Shahzad.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/21431.html

Needless to say, it wasn’t an appropriate occasion to request an autograph or selfie but it was, for a cricket fanatic like me, a bizarre experience at a ridiculously random time. We spoke about the difficulty of catching the train after a late night Yorkshire T20, Sussex hosting women’s internationals and fielding on the boundary in Adelaide. He seemed like an easy going guy, though whilst I myself exhausted the menu, I’m not sure what effect a week of dining in Costa all day every day will have taken on a professional sportsman.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Shahzad’s performances come the county season with added interest and he might even sneak into my fantasy team, as that’d be just the sort of sentimental, heart over head selection that I tend to go for but always let me down!