It’s Miller Time!

Jamaica twirler Nikita Miller has deservedly won a recall to the West Indies side on the back of consistently strong domestic performances. For now Miller remains a wicketless one-cap no wonder at Test level but he’ll add to his tally of 46 ODI appearances against New Zealand later this month. In doing so, the thirty-five-year-old can push for another opportunity at Test cricket as well. On the regional circuit, Miller’s stats are truly staggering. He averages a mind boggling 16.17 with the orb at First Class level and is rapidly approaching 500 victims. In the List A format, Miller averages a possibly disappointing 28.28 but at an economy rate of just 3.95! It does kind of beg the question: “Why hasn’t he won more international caps to date?”. Admittedly there are a few West Indies based bowlers, spinners in particular, possessive of some ridiculously low bowling averages. Miller hasn’t donned a Windies Jersey since 2015 and played his solitary Test against Bangladesh as far back as 2009 but his time has come once again.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/player/52622.html

It’s also good to see thirty-six-year-old Trinidad native Rayad Emrit earn a maiden T20I call-up. It’s more than a decade since Emrit won his two ODI caps in India and he’ll hope for far more productive performances against New Zealand having failed to take a wicket in his ODI outings. Like Miller, Emrit has been rewarded for consistent domestic showings and though some may criticise the need to call-up players well into their thirties, there are a number of young players currently around the West Indies side and Miller and Emrit’s experience could compliment those players well.

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Batting Mentality

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Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes currently find themselves at positions six, seven and eight in England’s Test batting order. If it weren’t for the absence of Ben Stokes then Moeen would be at eight not six and Woakes would drop to as low as number nine.

At domestic level, in First Class cricket Moeen would either open or be first drop, JB would find himself positioned at four or five and Woakes would come in at six. If England are to get a grip or at least be competitive in the 2017-18 Ashes then each of the aforementioned players must remember that they are top order batsmen, regardless of where they sit in the England line-up. They each have many a First Class century to their name. Moeen and Bairstow obviously have a few at Test level too and Woakes is capable of achieving such.

It’s this supposed strength in depth of England’s batting order that should be crucial in helping the team compete in Australia. England’s tail, in particular Stuart Broad, have regressed over recent times and are likely to be peppered with short stuff for the remainder of the series. For that reason it’s even more important that England’s engine room deliver. Of course it’s understandable that when there is less batting to come, a player will be more inclined to be extra aggressive and risky but Moeen and JB should be comforted by the knowledge that they’ve still got one (Woakes for JB) or two (JB and Woakes for Mo) quality batsman behind them.

Australia will be cocksure after their victory in the first Test in Brisbane but England were on top on more than one occasion during the series opener. If the visitors can put the home side under pressure again then they are there for the taking.

Switching to the home side’s batting, Usman Khawaja is under extreme pressure to convince otherwise his international career may become like Shaun Marsh. Marsh is another man who remains under pressure and unloved by some, that’s despite a vital half-century in Brisbane. Wicketkeeper Tim Paine is also part of the Ozzies’ batting line-up and his domestic record won’t fill any home fans with confidence. England may need to turn to the likes of Mark Wood, Craig Overton or more excitingly Tom Curran, if they are to exploit Australia’s weaknesses.

It’s quite simple then. Bat like batsmen and bowl better. That’s England’s tactical pep talk ahead of the second Test in Adelaide. Come on boys!

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Limited Overs, Limited Success!

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Following the decent start made to my career in the three-day game, I was looking forward to backing it up in the limited overs campaigns.

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However I endured a difficult time in the one-day matches. This was despite scoring my runs at a modern-day strike-rate of 164.28.

5, 6, 11, 16 & 31

No they’re not this week’s lottery numbers! They’re my 2018 fifty-over batting performances. In truth I just didn’t apply myself properly and only had myself to blame for finishing the season with a paltry average of 13.80.

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I did at least finish the campaign with an enterprising innings of 31 from just twelve deliveries against York, only succumbing in the final over when playing for the team and not my average!

My team Leeds finished a disappointing 5th place in the league.

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Having underwhelmed in the one-dayers, I found myself quite understandably demoted from position four to five in the batting order for the T20 matches. Though I again failed to record a half-century, I was pleased with my performances. Often coming in with only a few overs remaining, I registered scores of 32, 6, 31*, 24 & 4 at a whopping strike rate of 255.26!

In a repeat of the one-day affairs we finished in a disappointing fifth place in the league and so failed to qualify for the finals-day.

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Come the 2019 campaign, I’ll look to get back on the horse in the three-day season. I’ll need to readjust my mindset to batting for long periods of time and turning some of those 90s into big hundreds in order to gain selection for a professional outfit. Hopefully I can improve on my moderate start to limited overs cricket too.

Big Ant Studios have added added depth to their career mode in this, their latest cricket game. In Don Bradman Cricket 17 you only played T20 matches at club level. On Ashes Cricket once again you find yourself playing in a regionalised league, in my case Northern England but the structure is no longer three rounds or so of exclusive Twenty20 cricket. With six teams in our league we played each team once in the three-day stuff, then again in both one-dayers and T20s with finals-days in place for both the one-day and T20 tournaments. It’s a much better way of structuring things. The three-day encounters allow you to potentially construct big scores and can have exciting climaxes as teams do seem to play to win and not just settle for what might seem easy draws. Not just slogging away in T20 matches is both far more enjoyable and provides extra layers of immersion to the game.

Regarding statistics, the club level stuff is all lumped together so that when you walk out to bat for your maiden one-day appearance the stats on screen show your three-day figures then combine from that moment forward. It’d be great if the three formats were separated but that is the case once you make it to professional level with individual statistics for First Class, List A and T20 as well as Test, ODI and T20I so it’s not the end of the world whilst plugging away on the amateur circuit.

I’ve found the Northern Cup a little spin dominated but I guess that’s fair enough, particularly in the shorter formats of the game. There’s added delicacy and realism to hitting some of the shots. A dabbed guide through gully or a straight six feels so rewarding as does occasionally playing through the shot too soon, getting underneath the ball and being caught. I’ve been bowled and edged behind to spin when I probably changed my mind during the delivery’s flight and whilst it’s frustrating to get out it feels genuine! I’ve performed better against pace bowling but the movement of some of the deliveries is awesome. The opposition have held every catch I’ve offered.

Yes I experienced a dodgy stumping, fell victim to a back-to-the-ball catch and the statistics could do with a little cosmetics but my experience of Ashes Cricket so far is an encouraging one. I do hope that it takes me only two or three years to get a professional gig though and not five or six! Offering a reminder, I’m playing on pro level, medium difficulty and medium selection difficulty. Oh and not forgetting the new buttons, yes they’re simpler but do still provide enough variety to retain depth and skill to batting in the game. I haven’t yet bowled outside of nets/training.

Disclaimer: I’m currently working on creating Test, ODI and T20I leagues in which to play as England and provide reports on but am waiting for some of the on-disc international teams to be complimented with real players.

Goodness Gracious Jake Ball’s on Fire!

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Well he might be if he plays in the first Test of the 2017-18 Ashes series but one can’t sit on a headline that good!

It seemed as though Craig Overton had displaced the injury stricken Ball for the first Test but JB3 is now fit for selection and primed to return. Overton’s wicketless display in England’s final warm-up game combined with his three ducks in a row when he could have pushed his case mean that Ball may be presented with the opportunity to shave his Test bowling average of 114.00!

Back to Overton, there have been recently written articles about the Somerset man in relation to an incident that happened two years ago. There are some that believe Overton to be racist. Does ‘that’ one comment make him a racist? Has he made any other similar comments in any walk of his life? Was he actually raising an astute point regarding a non-English/non-international cricketer not classed as an overseas player taking up the place of local talent? Of course if I approached a Pakistan-born man on the street and advised him to “F^*k off back to your own f^*king country” then I’d be charged with racism, no doubt about it!

Onto the cricket, it’s brewing nicely. England have had a decent pre-series workout with the likes of Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan registering First Class hundreds (That’s First Class not 15-a-side nonsense!) and James Vince recording some very James Vince-like scores! Australia on the other hand have made six changes to their team and upset a few people in doing so but if they win the Ashes then the selectors will be considered ruthless and shrewd geniuses.

We’ll see how it all plays out soon…

Can Tim Take the Paine Away?

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He’s 32-years old, has only one First Class century to his name (More than a decade ago!) and has not been keeping wicket regularly at domestic level in recent times. Meet Australia’s Ashes wicketkeeper ladies and gentlemen!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/7252.html

I like Tim Paine. He still looks eleven-years-old and didn’t fair that badly during his previous existence as an international career. A horror show of injury misfortune has cost him more caps but he performed effectively behind the stumps when recalled for a T20I series against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

His selection though is truly fascinating. To earn a recall for a series of such magnitude when in possession of a rather underwhelming domestic record, in an era of glovemen must be first and foremost batsmen once again raises questions regarding the depth of Australia’s six-team domestic league. Matthew Wade and Peter Nevill have more handsome domestic batting records but neither have translated that to international level. If the Ozzie selectors think that Paine is the best gloveman then they’re right to pick him, especially if as seems they’re going to select six specialist batsmen. What that means regarding the workload of the home side’s bowling line-up remains to be seen. Like England, Australia’s back-up brigade, the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins and Darren Pattinson’s brother James are pretty fragile!

Paine will turn 33 during the Ashes. We’ve seen many players before him ripen well into their thirties. Though he only has the one First Class hundred (Actually a score of 215) that is in part a consequence of batting down the order, as is having a few not outs combined with a few dismissals when batting with the tail. In List A cricket, where Paine has tended to bat much higher including as an opener, the Tasmanian born stumper has as many as eight hundreds (Including one against England at ODI level) and twice as many fifties. That’s a pretty decent conversion rate.

Come the 2017-18 Ashes series, will Tim wear a pained expression? Will he cause pain for the England bowlers? Will he hit a six through a window pane at the Gabba?

We’ll find out soon…

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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