Silly Point’s long-retired gimmick has today come out of retirement to celebrate the astounding ineptitude of Pakistan’s Sahibzada Farhan’s introduction to international cricket. The international virgin managed to get himself stumped off a wide from the very first delivery that he faced in Harare today. That’s right, the opening batsman’s inscription in the scorebook reads: Out 0, Balls Faced 0!
I can emphasise with Farhan as I once did the same thing myself. It wasn’t quite on the same scale, the Harrogate and District Evening League probably isn’t comparable to international cricket! In my defence, I’d only played a handful of matches at the time and unlike Farhan, I’m not a professional cricketer who has been practicing day after day for a number of years!
All joking aside, congratulations to Farhan on representing his country and fingers crossed for him that they’ll be opportunities in the future to put things right.
Whilst Cameron Bancroft does okay opening the batting for Australia’s Test outfit, his predecessor Matt Renshaw is sniffing for a recall at the earliest opportunity. Since the turn of the year the nearly twentytwo-year-old has reeled off First Class scores of 56, 32, 170, 0, 112, 12, 3, 143* & 8. If the opposition get him early then fair enough but if they don’t then the Middlesbrough lad cashes in. Remember that he’s got a Test high of 184 and averages just shy of 37.
Back to Bancroft. He produced one good knock during the 2017-18 Ashes and under huge pressure for his place, has made starts and got one fifty in South Africa. It’s a good little battle for the Australian selectors to have being played out. Western Australia’s Bancroft has three or four years on Renshaw and experience of opening at county level in England for Gloucestershire that will serve him well. Queensland’s Renshaw is clearly made of tough stuff though, even if he recently rather naively conceded five penalty runs!
Don’t forget Renshaw’s domestic partner Joe Burns either. He had a bit of a stinker in his last Test but he’s still only 28 and has three Test tons to his name. South Australia’s Jake Weatherald is another one to keep an eye on, though he’s failed to convert starts this term. Travis Dean is another who despite not backing up the absurdly good start to his First Class career, has recently notched up a couple of hundreds. His average is a disappointing 34 exactly but six tons seven fifties is a good conversion rate. Remember that opening the batting isn’t easy. I should know because I’ve done it in Division Seven of the Nidderdale League and Division Five of the Harrogate and District Evening League!!!
Like Renshaw, another player from the north of England worth keeping tabs on is Charlie Hemphrey. Despite a duck on First Class debut, the Doncaster native registered a century early in his Australian domestic career and following a difficult time thereafter, has made hundreds in each of his last two outings. Twentyeight-year-old Hemphrey has produced these performances batting at four for Queensland. Burns, Renshaw and Hemphrey helping contribute to a strong batting order.
Current Test incumbent David Warner is only thirty-one so there’s life in the old dog yet and unlike some, he seems committed to the Test cause and not yet seeking a purely T20 franchise existence.
Competition for the opening slots for Australia’s Test side is scorching hot and the selectors will be chuffed at the tough decisions to be made.
This article is about something I hate. It’s about something that I detest seeing when playing village cricket and came to my attention again whilst reading Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket…
This article is about those players that open the batting and the bowling… in the same match!
I find it so rude that a player would accept doing it, particularly at amateur level. You’ve got eleven guys or probably some guys and boys, or gals and girls even, they’ve all paid to play but it’s a one-man show. Players should be presented with opportunity and responsibility, it’s no good hiding them.
Every year we receive a survey from the ECB asking us why participation in our game is declining?
Maybe it’s because the players who are filling in for those that have already abandoned the sport are left to bat at number eleven and not bowl. I play in the Nidderdale League and the Harrogate and District Evening League. The following would be my suggestions for some rule changes:
- No player shall open both the batting and the bowling. A player may open the batting and bowl from the third over or alternatively they may bat at three and open the bowling.
- Any player scheduled to bat at numbers nine, ten or eleven must bowl at least one over. (Specific leniencies would be put in place for weather affected matches as well as those that don’t go the distance)
- In the Nidderdale League we play 45-overs per side with a bowler allowed a maximum of 12 overs. Either play 50 overs with a ten over cap or if playing 45 overs then have a nine over cap. This would initially level the playing field whilst at the same time developing players and making competition stronger in the long term. A necessity to use five not just four bowlers would also help rule 2, i.e; kids not making up the numbers just to field and losing interest in playing cricket altogether.
Of course there are those players that turn up every week under the impression that they have a divine right to bowl 12 overs. These players wouldn’t vote to stop that and neither would their clubs. The club sides want their best players to have as much opportunity as possible to help them win but surely it’d be better to get more players involved and by involved, I mean involved. Otherwise teams will continue to fold, we’ll end up playing seven players per side in a small league with small divisions and be playing against the same teams every few weeks.
I am not a very good cricketer but even if I was the main man at a club, I’d like to think that I’d have enough about me to channel Meat Loaf and say “I would do anything for you skip, but I won’t do that, no I won’t do that”.