Application for Role of National Selector


Dear Andrew Strauss

Please find enclosed my application for the role of National Selector as advertised on

On the MAC version of Cricket Captain 2017 (Admittedly on Easy Mode!), I was responsible for the selection of the England side that won the 2017 Champions Trophy on home turf. Who can forget David Willey’s 8-58 against Australia?! That summer, I had already made the brave decision to recall batsman Ben Duckett to the Test side despite his tough baptism the previous winter.

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Duckett repaid the faith by averaging 82.89 in the respectable 2017-18 2-2 away Ashes series draw.

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In 2018 I introduced Yorkshire seamer Ben Coad to Test cricket and he duly struck with his first delivery against Pakistan. Coad went on to claim just shy of 200 wickets as well as surpassing 1000 runs during my time as selector. As was the case with the recall of Duckett, there was resistance from some quarters towards the selection of Coad. Some in the media believed that I was applying Yorkshire bias and only selecting Coad because we were born in the same town. Proving the doubters wrong, his performances with bat and ball throughout his career confirmed that I possess nous when it comes to identifying under the radar talent.

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Mason Crane’s dismissals of three Indian batsmen, all first ball on T20I debut was another highlight of that summer.

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Another spinner, Adil Rashid, excelled in Sri Lanka where he famously followed up figures of 7-66 with a monumental knock of 161. Again, there were those that campaigned against the selections of said spinners, at least in the respective formats in which they would go onto succeed. Again, those doubters were silenced.

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Following our Champions Trophy success in 2017, we promptly won the 2019 ODI World Cup. Once again the nation were euphoric in their celebrations of home soil success.

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My insistence that Moeen Ali replace Jason Roy at the top of the order was both ruthless and crucial to our success. Moeen’s blazing knock of 112 from 80 deliveries in the final against India will live long in the memory of many.

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Alongside Moeen, Ben Duckett totalled 562 runs at 80.29, again this demonstrates my ability to get the best out of mischievous players. Many would’ve left the Northamptonshire batsman on the international scrapheap but his performances in both the Ashes and ODI World Cup were immense.

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Chris Woakes claimed twenty tournament wickets at just 12.55 apiece and please don’t ignore the contribution made by left field selection Luke Fletcher. This included a vital wicket in the final at Lords.

Yes we lost the 2019 Ashes 3-0. Thirty-five-year-old Daryl Mitchell failed to back-up his debut knock of 73. He didn’t make another fifty before being dropped for the fifth Test and James Harris (0-102) had an ignominious introduction to Test cricket. The selection of thirty-nine-year-old Jimmy Adams’ (34 runs @ 8.50) in T20I cricket didn’t work either.

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Nor did the selection of Ross Whiteley (99 runs @ 9.90). However, there would be over 200 Test wickets for Jack Leach, a Test century for Max Holden and many Test tons for Will Rhodes as well as numerous ODI tons for Daniel Bell-Drummond during my time as Selector. Sometimes you have to sift through the dirt to find the diamonds.

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I would like to think that the T20I career of sometime captain Benny Howell…

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… and ODI career of Ollie Rayner, the latter also earning two Test caps, will reflect well on my ability to identify talent and think outside the box when selecting the composition of a side. Even if these players didn’t excel statistically, they were under rated efficient contributors to the side.

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Other highlights during my tenure included: In Bangladesh in 2021, having lost the first Test by just one wicket courtesy of Jofra Archer’s no ball, we chased down 431 in the second Test to level the series. Liam Livingstone (122 & 166) and Will Rhodes (111 & 128*) famously made tons in each innings.

Middlesex’s Harry Podmore claimed figures of 3-51 on ODI debut but disappointingly we failed to progress from the round robin stage of the 2022 Champions Trophy. Paul Coughlin (Two six-wicket hauls) though was for a time the number one bowler in the world in ODI cricket.

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In the 2022 T20I World Cup we reached the semi-final before we were cruelly defeated by India. Hampshire’s Lewis McManus, another shrewd selection, contributed 225 runs at 56.25 including a swashbuckling ton against Pakistan.

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Another gloveman, Sussex’s Ben Brown, registered fifties in his first two T20I caps.

Unfortunately by the time 2023 came around we were ranked as low as 8th in ODI cricket and 9th in both Tests and T20Is. We scored 447 in the fourth innings of an Ashes Test but still lost!

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On the plus side, Surrey all-rounder Sam Curran, originally bravely selected whilst still in his teens, passed 100 wickets ODI cricket. Another find was Nottinghamshire batsman Billy Root, who stepped out of his brother’s shadow to register an ODI century against West Indies. I’m extremely proud of his selection because both the media and public were extremely sceptical.

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After a run of ten straight Test defeats, we did at least beat Zimbabwe 2-0 at home. Liam Livingstone and Ben Foakes’ partnership of 351 proving crucial.

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Somerset speedster Jamie Overton claimed nine wickets at just 15.56 upon his introduction to Test cricket.

Opening batsman Mark Stoneman went onto pass 4000 Test runs though we probably shouldn’t have allowed him so much opportunity to close in on 5000 when clearly past his sell by date!

Lewis McManus and Sam Northeast recorded a record-breaking partnership of 263 in an ODI and Sam Evans scored centuries in each of his first three Tests.

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Defeats against Namibia and Canada in the 2023 ODI World Cup was a disappointing way to bow out. Durham bowler James ‘Killer’ Weighell’s figures 0f 10-0-102-0 against the North American side were confirmation that I’d persisted with him too long.

I don’t think Hamidullah Qadri’s Test bowling average ever got below 60.00 and Mark Footitt (7 wickets in 5 Tests) was another one I probably got wrong. Don’t let those performances against associate nations, world rankings or runs of defeat after defeat deflect from my achievements though. A Champions Trophy and ODI World Cup win are not to be scoffed at, particularly when under the pressure of playing in front of the expectations of a home crowd. The selections and performances of Will Rhodes (Tests), Daniel Bell-Drummond (ODIs) and Lewis McManus (ODIs/T20Is) as well as Jack Leach, Ben Coad, Jofra Archer and Liam Norwell (Tests), Jamie Overton and Paul Coughlin (ODIs) demonstrate my ability to see beyond the obvious and identify players capable of succeeding at international level.

I’m extremely confident that I can transfer my success (Mediocrity, call it what you will!) in virtuality to reality and excel in the role of National Selector. I’m available for interview at any time and await your response with much anticipation.

Yours faithfully


Paul Morris


Could Gleeson Gleam?


Not making your professional debut until the ripe old age of twenty-seven has a distinctly Australian vibe about it but no, Blackpool born former Cumberland representative and now England Lions wicket-taker Richard Gleeson is English and pushing for what would be an inspiring national selection.

Gleeson averages sub-28 in all three formats (First Class, List A and T20) at domestic level and has claimed ten wickets in four outings for England Lions in West Indies on the current tour.

This on a trip where it’s been the spinners that have done most damage but right-arm-fast-medium bowler Gleeson hasn’t been able to help himself.

As raw as he was in senior cricket in 2016, Gleeson got a gig with Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League. There are some who may scoff at the notion of an England call-up for a thirty-year-old with less than sixty professional outings spread across the three formats to his name but it could be that having earned this chance, having waited so long that Gleeson wants it more than some, that in a way he’s younger than his years such will be his enthusiasm and passion to seize an opportunity that he may well have thought would never come. A full England cap for Gleeson would be an inspiring tale to all minor county cricketers out there and indeed to the equivalent in various countries the globe over. The likes of Chris Woakes, Tom Curran and Mark Wood etc won’t make it easy for Gleeson to win a full cap but given the injuries to the likes of Liam Plunkett and with some rotation likely in T20Is at least as England focus on the 2019 ODI World Cup, an England debut for Gleeson might not be as far fetched as some would have thought only a short time ago.

Chapman Flappin’!


Welcome to international cricket Mark Chapman! Well, proper and regular international cricket against Test opposition anyway. It’s all well and good scoring an ODI century against United Arab Emirates but having switched allegiance from the country of his birth, Hong Kong, to New Zealand and despite being in good touch at domestic level, the twenty-three-year-old left-hander has produced innings of 8, 1 & 0 in his three ODI outings for his adopted home so far. It’s been a pretty inauspicious introduction to New Zealand colours in the fifty-over format.


Meanwhile his ex, Hong Kong, are at present attempting to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in England. They’re one of ten nations currently competing in the ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. What they would give to have Chappers in their batting line-up when competing against mostly other associate nations.

You can keep track of how the Road to 2019 is progressing here:

Given New Zealand’s small pool of depth, the country has a population of just shy of 4.7 million people and not all of them are cricketers (No really, not all of them are!), Chapman, who did at least make starts in the T20I matches, will likely get another opportunity but unlike against England in the past couple of weeks, he’d better seize the chance with both hands.

Why Won’t Walton Win?


Another domestic hundred for West Indies’ wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton, in an important match too. In West Indies One-Day competition, Walton made 104 against Guyana, having made 169 against Leeward Island’s two matches prior. The Jamaica native previously recorded a List A century against England in a tour match but just hasn’t been able to transfer his domestic progress to the international arena.

The Caribbean stumper’s international batting stats make for horrific reading:

Tests: 13 @ 3.25

ODIs: 53 @ 6.62

T20s: 160 @ 12.30

Walton’s domestic batting stats linger in the twenties but have been progressively on the up. His four List A hundreds have all come since the start of 2017. However, at the age of 32, the proverbial ship, at international level at least, has surely sailed for Walton. He opens the batting in limited overs cricket, so you would think that he is used to facing the best bowlers that opposition have to offer. The step up to international cricket can be a big one though. Meaning no disrespect to those named but does facing the likes of Romario Shepherd, Paul Wintz, Mervin Matthew and Nino Henry really prepare you to face the likes of Trent Boult and co.?

Walton can continue to shine in the CPL where Guyana Amazon Warriors snapped him up for $110,000 last term as well as dominating for Jamaica in the Regional Super 50. Whether or not he could earn one last chance to crack the highest level remains to be seen…

Tying Batsmen in Knots


Andrew James Tye is 31-years-old and has played only eight First Class matches. He’s not played many more List A matches but is closing in on 100 wickets in the T20 format. He’s been a consistent performer in both the Big Bash and IPL. Oh and he’s now a vital cog in Australia’s limited overs’ sides. If it weren’t for the Big Bash, AJ Tye probably wouldn’t exist.

Tye’s a player I’ve really liked since watching him represent Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash last season. He looks relaxed but not arrogant. When watching the latest T20I, I was surprised at how pessimistic the Australian commentators were about the Perth native’s future. Because of Tye’s penchant for a slower ball, they were insistent that he’ll need to bowl faster in future or risk going the same way as James Faulkner. Tye duly dismissed England’s James Vince with an immaculately executed… slower delivery!

There’s a skill in being able to resist bowling fast and Tye possesses that ability. In his first couple of ODIs against England he went wicketless but was economical. Then he claimed a five-wicket haul before bagging a four-for in a T20I against Tasman rivals New Zealand. Taking pace off the ball and making the batsmen have to generate power themselves puts the onus on them. As well as the bowler getting the batsman out, they might well get themselves out when trying to hit big shots only to find that they don’t actually have the strength to do so.

It seems logical that Tye will be less effective in the longest format and so far the stats back that up. His First Class bowling average is 36.81 compared with mightily impressive figures of just 21.29 and 19.64 in List A and T20 cricket.

It’s par for the course that most bowlers have lower averages in the shorter formats but there’s a hefty gulf in Tye’s figures. The First Class measurement is admittedly a small sample size and of course he may learn, adapt and lower his average. His measured approach should mean he stays fit as permanently semi-injured quicks, the likes of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile are rotated around him.

Tye’s one of those non-superstar but effective players that I like, similar to Grant Elliot and I look forward to seeing how many international wickets he can claim.

Malan Captaincy Conundrum

Dawid Malan

Only a few days ago, I posted an article regarding the fact that Sam Billings has been appointed as captain of Kent. This is despite the fact that he’ll miss a substantial chunk of the early season due to IPL commitments and probably further chunks because of England call-ups.

Now Dawid Malan has been named captain of Middlesex. AC may score four ducks in the Test series in New Zealand and never play for England again but as things stand he’s part of the Test XI as well as ODI and T20I squads, so is it really practical to appoint him captain of a domestic side. Sam Robson will deputise in the First Class (County Championship) game. Wouldn’t it have been more sensible to make Robson the sheriff not just the deputy?

Summer of Sam.. but Hopefully not Actually Like Summer of Sam!


Occasional England gloveman Sam Billings has replaced his namesake and the likely departing Sam Northeast as captain of Kent, then gone and earned himself an IPL contract meaning that he’ll miss the first five County Championship matches of the 2018 season!

So who will captain Kent after all and should they win their first five games, will Billings actually walk straight in as skipper off the back of some T20 games in a foreign land and with little captaincy experience to his name?

I guess that the argument will be that Billings’ selection in the role is a long term one but he’s likely to spend some time bench warming for the national side in limited overs cricket too, so will probably miss some more cricket. Would it not be better to have a captain who will likely be available to perform the role throughout the entirety of the season?

This episode also brings to attention Billings’ role in the England squad as well as one or two others, David Willey for example. Is Billings able to do himself justice and prove himself by filling in for the odd game? Is rotation worth it or would England be better served just picking the strongest team and not resting players. Hopefully Billings can have a run in the T20I side in the upcoming triangular series against Australia and New Zealand. It’s an opportunity for teams to actually play a few T20I matches in succession rather than odd games splattered about the year.

Regardless of who captains Kent, the seemingly inevitable loss of Northeast will be a huge blow. It will surely be time for Daniel Bell-Drummond to step to the fore, for Joe Denly to continue his renaissance and for Sam Billings, whenever he plays, to deliver.