Flying in the Face of Unoriginal Opinion!

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Hampshire’s James Vince has been recalled to the England squad for this winter’s Ashes campaign and it’s not unreasonable to say that the reaction has generally been one of an underwhelming sensation.

I’m going to propose a radical notion in this world of scepticism… let’s back him! Let’s back him to do what many others including the likes of Justin Langer, Marvin Atapattu and Mark Butcher have done, to be a better player second time around.

Let’s back Ballance too whilst we’re at it.

All these people, whether they be pundits or fans, wanting players with First Class averages of 50+. Those players don’t exist and it doesn’t mean anything anyway, as past selections have told us.

We’d all select different squads but let’s stop moaning and back the players that are on the jet plane. There’s bound to be injuries and the like so I’m sure some people will get their wishes anyway.

Hopefully England’s lineup will be invincibly balanced come the first Ashes Test!

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Cricket Captain 2017: Complacent Against the ‘Chevrons’ (No really, the ‘Chevrons’!)

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After the 2-0 Test series success, England comfortably claimed the ODI series against Zimbabwe as well. After three matches England had assumed an unassailable 3-0 lead and went onto win the fourth courtesy of a record breaking partnership (More about that later). Up to that point England were only truly tested in the third match however Zimbabwe deservedly won a tight final encounter of the series.

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England’s 4-1 win made their ODI ranking a bit more respectable.

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Durham’s Paul Coughlin averaged just 7.71 with the ball in the series and is currently the tenth best ODI bowler in the world according to the rankings. Jamie Overton, Toby Roland-Jones and Sam Curran are also currently placed amongst the top twenty. Newcomer Matthew Taylor endured a tough time however, claiming just two wickets at 79.00 apiece.

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In the fourth ODI, Lewis McManus (167) and Sam Northeast (142 not out) recorded England’s highest ever ODI partnership. McManus fell just four runs short of equalling England’s highest ever individual ODI score but does now hold the record for the highest ODI and T20I innings during the current management reign.

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Will Beer, an average Don Bradman would’ve been proud of!

In the sole T20I, an at best England second team suffered a final over defeat as Zimbabwe finished the tour with back-to-back victories.

Chocolate Declares!

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Zimbabwe 200 all out & 440 all out

England 600-7 declared and 41-2

England win by 8 wickets

Really? Don’t they actually win by 11 wickets?

I propose a subtle change to the cricket scorecard for First Class and Test matches… and a busy afternoon for someone changing the history books!

Disclaimer: Sorry but this article has nothing to do with chocolate!

Cricket Captain 2017: Victory at Last!

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9th June 2023. Remember the date people!

Following ten consecutive Test match defeats, England’s cricketers have won a series for the first time in nearly five years. A thumping win in the first Test against Zimbabwe was followed by a nail-biting three-wicket series clincher for Nick Gubbins and his men in the second.

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Ex-skipper Liam Livingstone and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes’ record-breaking partnership of 315 laid the foundation for England’s hoodoo-terminating victory in the first Test at Lords.

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Despite huge pressure from the media as well as the public to drop Toby Roland-Jones from the side, England persisted with the Middlesex veteran and were rewarded as the 35-year-old seamer returned career-best figures of 4-25 to decimate Zimbabwe in the visitor’s first innings of the second Test.

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After Liam Livingstone (104) had recorded his 12th Test century, gloveman Ben Foakes slowly carried England to back-to-back Test wins and a morale boosting series victory. Under such pressure, a successful run-chase on a deteriorating fourth and fifth day pitch is no mean feat.

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After an encouraging if unrewarding Ashes campaign, Jamie Overton well and truly arrived as a Test match bowler. The express paceman snared 9 victims at just 15.56 apiece and also had the honour of scoring the series clinching run.

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During the series, opening batsman Mark Stoneman passed 4000 Test runs and Liam Livingstone ascended to the peak of the Test match batting rankings.

England’s schedule now sees them entertain their Test scalps in five ODIs and one T20I. With both limited overs captains Ryan Higgins and Benny Howell without a county this year, England have some huge decisions to make when selecting their squads. After the pyjama affairs, England host the might of Pakistan for five Tests, as many ODIs and a T20I.

Ashes Cricket!

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Well well well. Having switched to Cricket Captain 2017 on the MAC and just when we’d all given up hope on Big Ant Studios and the future of console cricket, just look what’s coming out in November this year…

https://www.bigant.com/fully-licensed-ashes-cricket-video-game-to-launch-this-summer/

Don’t be put off by the Ashes tag either. Details released advise that the usual customisation elements of Don Bradman Cricket games are there: Career mode, unparalleled customisation and women amongst other elements. Let’s hope the bugs that were prevalent in Don Bradman Cricket 17 have been well and truly ironed out for the PS4, XboX One and PC release but this is extremely welcome news for the cricket gaming community.

Here’s a a teaser trailer on YouTube…

Just look at the pockmarks on Mitchell Starc’s visage. The realism! This is actually now the main reason why I wouldn’t want to be a professional cricketer, to have my ‘unblemished’ skin on the big screen. Oh and a cork and leather combo coming at me in excess of 90mph!

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Hopefully England’s batsmen can produce a few more innings like this one by captain Joe Root come Ashes Cricket’s release!

On Strike!

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When a batsman is dismissed caught in the field, if the two batsmen at the crease have crossed whilst the ball was in the air then the new batsman is not on strike. This rule irks me. My opinion is that the new batsman should always be on strike, unless of course it had been the final delivery of the over, in which case the already not out batsman should, in my opinion, be on strike to the first ball of the next over. When such a dismissal occurs, no run has been scored. If the ‘Out’ batsman had been dismissed bowled or even caught behind then the new batsman (Unless it was the final delivery of the over) would be on strike, so why should it be any different when caught in the field?┬áIt seems an odd rule to me and one that if I were chairman of the ICC (Or would I need to be chairman of the MCC?) would seek to change. That’s right, not content with changing the structure of international cricket, I’d like to implement a rule change to one that’s probably stood for a century or more.