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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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.

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…

It’ll be Alright on the Sylhet Night!

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Ross Whiteley playing for Worcesterhsire Rapids against Yorkshire Vikings at Headingley last summer.

The 2017 instalment of the Bangladesh Premier league is under way and there are a few England players, some more household names than others to keep an eye on.

England limited overs regulars Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett are both there. Of course there are many who would have had at least one of the Yorkshire duo in their Ashes Squad.

Joe Denly and Sam Hain are amongst some of the other England qualified players to be participating in the tournament. Denly has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in English county cricket though an international recall still seems rather unlikely. Hain has long been touted as an international prospect but some underwhelming domestic campaigns have left him well down the pecking order.

It’s Worcestershire’s Ross Whiteley who could benefit most from the exposure however. I was at the match against Yorkshire where he took spinner Karl Carver to the cleaners. Truth be told it was a ridiculously short boundary but Whiteley, despite a modest career record, possesses a fearsome reputation for clearing the ropes. Even if he doesn’t regularly make massive scores, if his twenties and thirties are scored at 200% plus then he can be of real value to his side. A good showing for Sylhet Sixers in the BPL could earn him gigs in the Pakistan Super League or Big Bash. Come the end of a long Ashes tour and five-match ODI series, there’s some T20Is in the shape of the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series that involves New Zealand as well as England and Australia. If he can pull the trigger to effect on the global franchise scene then left-hand-bat Whiteley could be in with a realistic shout of winning a T20I cap.

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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Selection, Transfers, Drafts and Other Cricket Ramblings

Gareth Southgate selects the England football team… all by himself.

“Football again. I thought this was a cricket blog!”

England cricket coach Trevor Bayliss doesn’t select the team but definitely has an input from time to time. In cricket it’s the norm, certainly in England, for a selection panel to choose the national squad. There’s normally three or four people that spend their days scouting the domestic circuit before getting together to decide if changes to the first XI (Test/ODI & T20I) are necessary and if so, who’s good enough to step up. There’ll normally be one selector who is in position to have the final say. They’ll possibly be referred to as the ‘chairman of’ or ‘chief’ selector(s).

Would such a set-up be beneficial in football?

The main difference between football and cricket, at least in England, is that our national football coach does actually have the time to watch all the domestic players perform. Gareth Southgate can spend a whole weekend watching all of the Premier League matches (Not live obviously) then watch the English teams in Europe during the week. However for the person at the helm of a side such as Australia, where the national side’s players are playing throughout various leagues across the globe, it actually becomes much harder. It’s in these instances where the notion of a selection panel could be worthwhile. On the cricket front, one person would struggle to watch all four days of each of the eighteen English county cricket teams’ County Championship matches, let alone limited overs encounters. That’s even if they were on the telly! Watching selected highlights packages would definitely not be a very good way to go about selecting a national cricket team. This is why a panel of selectors as opposed to just one lone selector is essential in cricket.

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On the subject of the eighteen counties: Only once in a blue moon will Gareth Southgate select a second tier player for the English football team, so should County Championship (First Class) second division players even be considered for England’s Test side?

If they aren’t, we’ll continue to see the Premier League style transfers that are now common place in cricket. Just like in football the supposed better players will join the first division teams but they won’t always play. The second division will get the cast offs, also-rans and not quite good enoughs. At this point it’s worth contemplating what’s more important: The national side or the quality of the product (Sorry, ICC marketing speak!) at domestic level. Loyalty from player to county will also near non-existence and on that subject…

Could county cricket follow the trend of the global T20 leagues and the history of American sport (Including Baseball, Basketball and Ice Hockey) by becoming a drafted league?

Returning to the Premier League but staying on the subject of drafts: Can you imagine the owners of Manchester City, United or Chelsea thinking “Let’s try and make the league a level playing field and have a draft system?”

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At the moment, it’s easy to imagine the likes of Durham, Leicestershire and Derbyshire welcoming a draft system. The likes of Nottinghamshire, Essex and Surrey would likely be less keen. The upcoming city based franchise system will have a draft pick. I’ve mentioned before how this will impact counties as players from the weaker teams will enjoy the better coaching and facilities at other grounds before possibly seeking a transfer in county cricket. To implement a draft system in county cricket would be radical and anything but traditional. As with my proposals for a restructure of world cricket (Or what I’m now referring to as the Global Cricket League or GCL for short), sometimes potential changes to what has been for many years are worth exploring. I’m not suggesting that a draft pick is the way to go in county cricket but it’s a thought and not beyond the realms of possibility in the future.

This isn’t one of those articles that’s going to be rounded off with a conclusion or whatever formal ending an article should have but as the title indicates, I hope that you enjoyed rambling with me!