Transfer Saga

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This guy only ever played for one club, in reality and virtuality. The same can not be said of others.

More than ever, domestic cricket in England seems to be following its football counterpart, particularly in regards to the transfer market. I believe that there was a time, long before I discovered an interest in cricket, in fact long before I was even born, that players remained loyal to one county for the entirety of their career. Of course some still do but it is no longer necessarily the norm. That’s not to say that transfers didn’t happen in the past, of course they did but they’ve become far more frequent in modern times. More than a decade ago now, Jimmy Ormond, whilst on tour with England, famously posed with his new Surrey shirt following his move from Leicestershire. I recall there being suggestions back then that the cricket transfer market was becoming like football’s and it’s certainly the case today.

Last winter we saw the likes of Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman depart Durham for Surrey. This season Angus Robson went on trial with Sussex whilst some mid-season transfers have tasted a little bitter. Tom Kohler-Cadmore agreed to depart Worcestershire for Yorkshire and though it wasn’t supposed to happen until next season, it was clear that Worcestershire had no interest in fielding TK-C when his future lay elsewhere and so the deal was brought forward.

Meanwhile one-time England squad member Mark Footitt has returned to Nottinghamshire from Surrey. He has also previously represented Derbyshire.

Former England cap Ajmal Shahzad must be one of the most serial county swappers. He can now list Yorkshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Sussex and Leicestershire as county teams for whom he has represented their first XIs.

Dominic Sibley, Will Rhodes and Adam Hose have all headed to Warwickshire while Rikki Clarke swapped with Sibley to go back to Surrey. Sibley wanted guarantees about batting in the top three in all forms of the game. Surrey’s Alec Stewart wouldn’t provide but Ashley Giles would and so Sibley arrived amid bitter frustration on Surrey’s part.

Jos Buttler of course moved from Somerset to Lancashire whilst my home county, Yorkshire, have acquired many players from other counties in recent years:

Gary Ballance (Derbyshire)

Jack Brooks (Northamptonshire)

Andrew Hodd (Sussex)

Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Worcestershire)

Liam Plunkett (Durham)

Ryan Sidebottom (Returned from Nottinghamshire)

David Willey (Northamptonshire)

Players such as six-hitter Ross Whiteley and England Lions spinner Ollie Rayner are among others to have migrated at one time or another during their playing days.

The midseason activity this term, complete with more than subtle hints of acrimony and contract squabbles seem to be taking the game of bat and ball firmly into football territory.

Should mid-season transfers be allowed at all?

Should loans be allowed?

Should squads have a maximum number of players like the Premier League?

Returning to Angus Robson, he was released by Leicestershire because they wanted play youngster Harry Dearden. After Dearden failed to set the County Championship alight he was firstly replaced by Arun Harinath who had arrived on loan from Surrey before another loanee, Michael Carberry arrived at Grace Road too. In a funny way, the domestic circuit is becoming like the England team with counties failing to invest in players and deciding it’s necessary to pinch from the competition… and don’t get me started on Hampshire! I’ve touched upon their South African acquisitions before and the effect it will have on local talent.

This is the point in the article where I’m supposed to provide some sort of summary but I’ll leave it to the cricket followers of the world to make of it what you will…?

… and who could forget Monty Panesar’s transfer sagas? (Errrr… Me!)

Another String to Australia’s Bowe!

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Liam Bowe will play for Australia.

There, I’ve said it. Based on three overs in a T20 game, I think that nineteen-year-old slow-left-armer Liam Bowe will represent Australia. I want to put this out there so that in five or even ten years time when I’m proved correct, I can direct people to this post dated 10th January 2017.

Just look at his Cricinfo profile page. It is a thing of beauty in that there is currently no information on there that I couldn’t have told you myself…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/1076852.html

On Big Bash debut today playing for the Melbourne Stars, bespectacled Bowe claimed figures of 1-21 from three overs, his victim was the Adelaide Strikers versatile Ben Dunk. Having bowled two overs early in the piece his only bad ball was the first one of his second spell. Bowe arrowed the ball in at the batsmen on the full but with varying pace and looked completely in control of what he was doing. I’ll say it again. Liam Bowe will play for Australia. Don’t let me down Liam!

Another player that I’m going to back for international honours for the Ozzies is twentytwo-year-old opening batsman Jake Weatherald. Eleven runs from nine deliveries and a pretty ugly shot to get out might not seem like the sort of thing to get the pulses racing but based on what I saw this morning I’d put Jake Weatherald in the same category as somebody like Sam Curran. I think that he’s too good for T20 cricket. That’s not to say that I have a total disdain for T20 or that the best players in that format aren’t skilled but you should know by now that I’m a purist. Weatherald is a touch player and ran some good ones and twos today but due to the format he felt it necessary to attempt a big shot. Without the need to do so, he looks to me like a player that, if he can occupy the crease for extended periods of time can construct innings of magnitude. A quick glance at his Cricinfo profile page appears to back me up…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/781285.html

In nine First Class outings the left-hander already has a century to his name and a healthy average of 44.06 complimented by a strike rate of 60.75. In List A cricket he averages 47.33 with a top score of 141 at a strike rate of 108.81. That strike rate suggests that Weatherald can put his foot on the gas when he’s in and though I’m not expecting consistency in the T20 game in the immediate future, I still think that he’s capable of adapting and becoming a player of value in the shortest format, like I did for my team last year!

You may be wondering why I’m randomly putting forward a couple of names for international selection for Australia. Well the big flaw in my whole cricketing blogosphere is the lack of cricket that I actually see but what better way to spend a week off from work than watching some Big Bash action. Commercials appear after every over and after the fall of a wicket, not in-between every delivery like that time I watched the IPL on ITV4.

A word of advice to Ricky Ponting. When playing the cut shot, no I’m only joking. Don’t say things like “I texted him in the car last night” on global TV without specifying that you were either a passenger or parked!

Another player that I’m going to tout for an Ozzie call-up or a recall even is Marcus Stoinis. Yes he plays with his hair a lot, chews his gum voraciously and looks disturbingly like Jade Dernbach (Whose night out in Wellington buddy Evan Gulbis didn’t look too shabby either!), oh and only scored 1 run after recording figures of 0-28 from four overs but I saw enough in his bowling (First Class ave: 49.13, seriously, where are you going with this Paul?!) to think that with the right words in his ear, he could have something to offer. At 27 now though, he needs to get a move on and put together contributions of substance.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/325012.html

On to Gulbis, his stats are solid but unspectacular…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/381183.html

… and he kind of looked like a guy you’d play with in your local league who just rocked up to the Big Bash and said, not in a nasty way, “I’m playing tonight guys, alright?”.

He bowled effective bouncers without looking like he was trying too and his six off the immensely impressive Ish Sodhi was as cleanly struck shot as you’ll see, even if he did run out Kevin Pietersen the next ball. To be fair to Gulbis, the two was just about on and he made it there and back.

Back to his stats, his First Class career best of 229 is his sole hundred and a batting average of 24.35 is just weird for someone that has a double-century to their name. He suffers from the usual Australian domestic cricketer syndrome in that despite being thirty years of age, he just hasn’t played that much top-flight cricket (Career Apps: FC: 20, LA: 33, T20: 30). A quick scroll down on the ever reliable Cricinfo tells us that he didn’t debut domestically until the age of 25 and the pros of a club to state system have been seriously questioned in recent times as the national side continue to provide debuts to thirty somethings.

Wes Agar had a tough baptism for the Strikers (3-0-36-0) and in truth, his captain Brad Hodge should have had the courage to take him off, even after he only conceded a single in his second over, having gone for sixteen in his first.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/959833.html

He should however be a better player for the experience and has done well in the few List A games that he has played.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/959833.html

Ben Laughlin (3-19) looked like a player who could have won more than five ODI and three T20I caps but at the time when he was in the international mix the competition was a lot fiercer. A First Class bowling average of 60.45 probably didn’t help. You do wonder what players like Laughlin, who last played First Class cricket as far back as 2012 when aged just thirty, would be doing without the Big Bash.

Well there you go Australia. There’s some hunches from an unqualified talent identifier who thought that Jimmy Ormond was destined to take 200 Test wickets for England!