It’s the end of an era for Telegraph Fantasy Cricket!
The official line is that the demand just isn’t there, that interest in the county game has fallen so much that the competition isn’t sustainable/viable. I can’t help but think that the new structure of the domestic game, what with The Hundred and player availability (Or lack of) across four different competitions, will have made it quite complex for the Telegraph to create a fair competition.
It’s a shame because I really enjoyed it and you did need to use some nous but it’s over and out for TFF!
Meanwhile I’ve logged into CricketXI (www.cricketxi.com) but there’s currently no sign of any English cricket on there either. We’ll have to wait and see if it’s bitten the dust too or just not up and running yet. The county campaign commences on 19th April 2020 so there’s still time?!
I set myself the target of a top thousand finish and I’m pleased to say that I achieved it!
I can only repeat what I’ve said before: pick players who play, generally don’t pick England players and select batsmen who bowl or the reverse. Also, you need to find those gem cheaper selections that aren’t in everybody’s team. Look at Luis Reece below. Yes he’s ended up in 30% of people’s teams but he probably wasn’t initially. At a rating of 5 he’s been great value.
You must check team news, ideally fifteen minutes before the start of play, use your transfers but keep some in hand. Watch out for overseas players coming and going and injuries etc. These are my key tips.
If anything I tinkered a little too much during the one-day cup but still had transfers to play with come the season finale.
The above graphic displays the top points scorers. As you’ll see they’re generally all-rounders or bowlers who can bat. The highest scoring batsman was the next man on the list which is Marnus Labuschagne, a batsman who bowls. Remember that a bowler scores 25pts per wicket but a batsman only scored 1 pt per run (-20 for a duck). There are other caveats to the points scoring but clearly it’s a bowler’s game. Getting your captain right and changing him when appropriate is absolutely crucial.
I’ll be back next year (Depending on the domestic schedule I guess) with my sights firmly set on a top 500 finish.
The County Championship returns tomorrow and not soon enough. I appreciate the skills required in white-ball cricket but just love the twists, turns and infinite possibilities that First Class cricket provides. Its return presents a great opportunity for numerous batsmen to make a case for an Ashes call given the indifferent form of some of England’s incumbent Test batters.
It also means keeping an eye on things in the hope of performing a late surge up the Telegraph Fantasy Cricket table.
Hopefully the weather will be kind up and down the land. Enjoy your cricket folks!
Here are my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket teams for the 2019 edition of the T20 Blast:
After a disappointing World Cup with Afghanistan, can spin bowler Rashid Khan lead Kings of Khan to glory?
Aside from Rashid, paceman Tom Helm is highly thought of while the likes of Steven Mullaney and Wayne Parnell should make all-round contributions. Wicketkeeper Ben Cox is another proven performer in the shortest format while teammate Callum Ferguson excelled in the latest edition of the Big Bash.
Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone will lead 2020 Vision and hope to catch the eye of the England selectors having fallen of the radar somewhat. It may be the last time that we see Michael Klinger in action and David Willey will want to prove that he should still be in England’s T20I squad having missed out on selection for the ODI World Cup. Pat Brown will also hope to back up some impressive performances in previous seasons having being touted as an England candidate while the likes of Laurie Evans (Prominent on the franchise circuit), Ryan Higgins and Ollie Robinson could also make a case for an England call-up.
One of the season’s stars in Somerset’s Tom Banton will skipper Ghetto Blasters. Tom Curran and Liam Dawson will want to put the frustrations of sitting on the sidelines at the World Cup behind them whilst the likes Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan as well as possibly Sam Northeast, the precociously talented Delray Rawlins and even Banton himself might hope to catch Ed Smith’s eye.
I’ll let you know how I got on come the competition’s conclusion.
The graphic above displays my standings now that the group stage of the One-Day Cup has reached its conclusion. International call-ups, injuries and squad rotation have all played their part in scuppering my best laid plans. I’ve been reasonably aggressive with captaincy changes and have tinkered with transfers to get as many players on terra firma as possible. I’ve kept half my captaincy changes for the rest of the County Championship and for the most part have two thirds plus of my transfer allocation left. Now it’s about making sure that my XIs consist of long-term certain starters and saving transfers for the occasional uncontrollable. I do have to bear in mind players such as Marnus Labuschagne who won’t be around for the duration of the summer. Some players have arrived especially for the second phase of the County Championship (Bavuma/Rahane) or have returned from the IPL (Curran.S/Livingstone).
Livingstone is a batsman who bowls and a good catcher. Curran is listed as a bowler not an all-rounder and with him not being in England’s World Cup squad, both are worth consideration.
Leading points scorers
Across my teams my star performers have been Hampshire’s Liam Dawson (1027 pts), Sussex’s David Wiese (805) and Kent’s Matt Milnes (748).
Dawson is now the third most selected player and Milnes is now in 17% of people’s teams but I’ve had him in from the beginning when he was in few people’s XIs so I was gaining points that few TFC participants were. The aforementioned Labuschagne (Listed as a batsman) hasn’t always fired with the bat but has regularly chipped in with the white orb. That’s the advantage of selecting a batsman who bowls because even if they fail with the bat (Remember a duck scores -20) they can still break even or contribute positively with the ball. Yorkshire’s Jonny Tattersall, listed as a batsman but crucially keeping wicket regularly so claiming catches (10pts) and stumpings (15pts) has totalled 538 points. Some people have cottoned on but he’s still in only 5% of teams. Obviously some of my points scored have been doubled when said individual has been made captain, for example: Dawson has always captained for me when playing so has contributed 2054 points for me.
Most selected players
At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve always advised picking players that have been selected by few participants of the game.
Having returned from injury, I slotted Essex’s Matt Coles in to one of my teams. He’s been picked by only 0.3% of TFC participants but has gained 280 points for me (Some doubled) from only a few appearances. Dean Elgar (A useful bowling option come CC long summer days) and Mohammad Abbas are a couple of 1%ers that I’ve snuck in recently. Following his temporary relocation up north, Dom Bess is another player that I might transfer in before next week.
My minimum target is for one of my teams to finish in the top 1000 but disappointingly I’ve just slipped out of the top 1k! Hopefully I can get back up there and will keep you posted later this summer!
List A debutante Lyndon James (Transferred in today especially!) Jake Libby (A duck in the last match!) Steven Mullaney and Tom Moores (Made Captain for today so double minus!) all ducked!
All these players are in one of my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket teams.
Carter and Ball did at least contribute whilst Coughlin and Wood are actually players that I’ve removed from my teams. On the plus side I transferred Pat Brown in and he soon claimed a wicket whilst Wayne Parnell claimed a five-wicket haul. He gains bonus points for a four-wicket haul and sub 4 rpo economy rate.
When you’ve got a handful of teams and therefore have players across all the counties, there are so many ups and downs during match day. Sometimes you’re celebrating a wicket only to see that it’s one of your batsmen that have been dismissed… or are you celebrating a good knock (Ideally a score above forty scored at more than a run-a-ball containing lots of sixes. BONUS POINTS!) then one of your bowlers claiming a wicket?
What might seem like inconsequential catches can be celebrated with a fist pump for the points they bring.
Look out for my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket update at the conclusion of the One-Day Cup group stage late next week.