Plenty Twenty20

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An article popped up on Cricinfo this week that highlights the difficulties in arranging international cricket around the many domestic T20 tournaments scattered throughout not only the Test playing nations but in countries such as Hong Kong too.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci-icc/content/story/1094746.html

I’ve proposed a restructured format that could be applied to international cricket before…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/a-complete-restructure-of-international-cricket/

… but am always open to amendments if the cricket world will be better for it.

How about this?

My combined league table that covers Tests and ODIs remains but T20Is are lopped off these tours. It could be that T20Is can be added on in agreement with both teams and if viable in the schedule. These matches would simply be friendlies and not count towards rankings, an opportunity for teams to get match practice in preparation for the major tournament. Quite simply, international versions of the many global T20 leagues are put in place. These could be played at the various tiers with the worst performing / winning team of the tier below, swapping places for the next tournament. This would solely be for the T20I tournament and not effect the Test / ODI league.

It’s a challenging environment. Each nation deserves to have its own annual domestic competition but international cricket should still be the peak and hold prestige.

Restructuring global cricket, it can all be a bit wearing. Here’s a cricket song to cheer everybody up… or maybe not!

Don Bradman Cricket 17: New York City Pioneers!

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I’m delighted to announce the formation of a new cricket franchise: The New York City Pioneers. As the owner of this new venture, I’ve worked tirelessly to compose a competitive squad. Earlier today, in the heart of the ‘Big Apple’, we played our first game against a visiting Mutare Peaks side from Zimbabwe. The following is a report of how our inaugural match panned out:

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We were invited to bowl first and whilst our pace bowling and fielding units maintained their heads above water, we struggled to find a breakthrough. Our Zimbabwean guests moved quickly to 95-0. In order to quell the run-scoring, skipper Robin Hunter, a native of Pallenville, turned to Dutch spinner Guy de Maan. After seeing Hamilton Masakadza reach his half-century with a four from de Maan’s first delivery, de Maan then followed up with a dot before officially becoming ‘The Man’ to claim NYC Pioneers’ first ever wicket, a smart caught and bowled to send Masakadza (50) back to the hut and leave Mutare Peaks on 99-1. Just six runs later, captain Hunter ran out Louis Klazinga following a horrendous mix-up between he and new batsman Vusi Sibanda. At first Hunter appeared to throw to the wrong end but he’d made sure to send the set batsman packing. After a good throw, stumper Lyon Cage finished the deed. Like Masakadza, Klazinga had made 50 exactly. De Maan would later double his wicket tally courtesy of a superb diving catch by Ali El Naany and opening bowler Jacques Dawes returned to snatch a maiden victim in the final over. The only blemish in the innings being that of a dropped catch by the skipper off the bowling of Brooklyn born Brotherhood Collins. Though both went wicketless, Chris Kasprowicz (4-0-34-0) and Woody Forrest (4-0-28-0) were our most economical bowlers.

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In pursuit of 177 for a famous victory, we were soon in trouble with Kuwaiti native El Naany out second ball of the innings with the scoreboard yet to get rolling. Fellow opener Independence Masakadza (No relation to Hamilton) laboured to 5 from 11 balls but did cobble together a partnership of 30 alongside his captain before being dismissed. Ozzie left-hander Mitch Djordevic was out for a golden duck when trying to go big on the leg-side first ball.

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Queens born Dean McQueen ventured to the crease to a rapturous applause but disappointed his local following when being caught having made just 5.

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Skipper Hunter, keen to make amends for his drop, batted with skill in compiling a top score of 23 on debut. Brotherhood Collins took out his disgust at his skipper’s dropped catch by blazing 4,4,4,6,1 before wicketkeeper Lyon Cage finished the over with a further four to provide the Queens crowd with some excitement and even a glimmer of hope. That hope soon evaporated as Collins ran himself out the first delivery of the following over. South African stumper Cage chopped on next ball.

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From the depths of 68-7, we raised ourselves to 90 with Ozzie pacer Dawes (10) joining Hunter and Collins in double figures. When he was out however we became the victims of an 86-run defeat.

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This performance was by no means a disgrace and our squad are better for the experience. We have a squad of sixteen that will breed healthy competition and we look forward to our next match with much anticipation. To our fans in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Pallenville and throughout both the USA and the globe, we offer our deepest gratitude for your support and we will strive to attain the success that you deserve.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: Career Heading North!

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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.

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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.

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Wouldn’t wanna get sunburnt!

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

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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

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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!

Roy Morgan: Real International Cricket Book Review

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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!

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

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

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

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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?

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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!

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

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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!

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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!

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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