Tying Batsmen in Knots

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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.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/player/459508.html

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.

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

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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.

Denly’s Destiny?

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England Test captain Joe Root has opted to take a break from international cricket during the upcoming T20I Tri-Series against Australia and New Zealand. With all-rounder Ben Stokes also likely to be unavailable, there could be a vacancy for a batsman who bowls a bit, someone who has been in form whilst playing in the Bangladesh Premier League and Big Bash recently, somebody who has improved dramatically since last floundering in international T20 cricket against Australia. Look no further than another Joe, Kent’s Joe Denly.

In last season’s T20 Blast, the former Middlesex man totalled a whopping 567 runs at an average of 43.62 complete with strike-rate of 150.80. Nobody aggregated more runs than the thirty-one-year-old. The Canterbury native averaged a decent 31.16 at 105.64 for Dhaka Dynamites in Bangladesh before Christmas and has just smashed 73 not out from 45 deliveries for Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash, leaving him with a tournament average of 72.00 from four games. He was only dismissed twice during his short Sydney stint. It’s not just the shortest format that Denly has improved at either, last season he averaged 55.48 in the County Championship. The right-hander contributed 1168 runs including four centuries and five half-tons. His domestic career stats aren’t great, generally averaging mid-thrities and neither are his international figures all too impressive: 20 runs in five T20I innings and an average below 30.00 in ODIs.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/12454.html

That was nine years ago however and Denly wouldn’t be the first player to reinvent himself and improve. He’s a useful spin bowling option too and if the England selectors fancied trying the same selection policy as Australia, i.e. picking players on BBL form, then Denly is well worth a shout. If Gary Ballance and James Vince etc can have recall after recall then surely Denly merits another opportunity. Having been included in the Test squad for New Zealand, it could be that Liam Livingstone earns a return to the T20I side and I’d have no qualms about that. Off the back of such form for Denly in Oz though, a recall for the Kent man seems like a no-brainer!

Don Bradman Cricket 17: King Kong’d by Hong Kong!

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Following the debacles of both the Irish Test and Home Nations ODI tri-series, the boys looked to restore some pride to English cricket when we hosted Hong Kong at Scarborough. Test debuts were presented to teenagers Sam Curran and Mason Crane as well as county veteran Ollie Rayner.

After James Anderson made the early breakthrough, Hong Kong applied themselves well but we checked them with regular wickets. Though Stuart Broad found the going tough, Ollie Rayner tightened things up with back to back maidens to commence his Test career. He soon had his first wicket and went onto claim impressive debut figures of 3-93. However the less said about his batting (4 and 0, both run outs, the latter without facing) the better!

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James Anderson struck in consecutive deliveries under lights and Mason Crane was unfortunate to only claim the one wicket on debut as Hong Kong looked to attack the young leg-spinner.

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Frustratingly, a recurring theme occurred for us as we let the tail get far too many. Hong Kong’s Haseeb Amjad made 131 batting at number nine before we eventually dismissed the tourists for 498!

Our openers Haseeb Hameed (42) and Keaton Jennings (64) put on 103 for the first wicket but the loss of Jennings started a steady decline. Ben Duckett fell to the very next ball and only an assured 45 from Sam Curran helped lift the score to 268.

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Rather embarrassingly we were invited to follow on and soon lost KJ first ball.

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He could possibly have reacted quicker and cleared the ball away from his stumps!

Under pressure Duckett, having being dismissed for a golden duck in the first innings, looked comfortable in composing 18 but lasted only two deliveries against spin, missing a sweep and looking back to see his stumps shattered.

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With wickets tumbling around him, James Hildreth displayed the value of years of toil on the county circuit. However the right-hander was dismissed the very ball after reaching a maiden Test half-century.

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Tail-enders Stuart Broad (38) and James Anderson (38 not out) helped us make the visitors bat again.

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After a disappointing match with the bat (0 and 18), Ben Duckett was presented with a surprise opportunity to open the bowling and clearly surprised the Hong Kong batsman as Kinchit Shah fell in single figures for the second time in the match, caught and bowled by the off-spinning all-rounder Duckett!

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It was too little too late though as Hong Kong knocked off the mammoth eight runs required for victory to seal a humbling nine-wicket win.

P.S. The Share button on the PS4 controller has come to my attention so I hope to make use of this and possibly YouTube in the future rather than taking photographs of the computer screen!

Eire Exposure

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Ireland will take on England in two ODIs next year in what is not only a great move for Irish Cricket but hopefully for associate nations in general. Ireland, recently granted First Class, List A and T20 status at domestic level are seeking further exposure against Test playing opposition and as well as two matches against the Three Lions will also host a Tri-Series involving Bangladesh and New Zealand shortly after. Ireland have taken advantage of Bangladesh and New Zealand’s need to adapt to northern hemisphere conditions ahead of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.

The ODIs with England will take place at Bristol and Lords. This will save Ireland set-up costs but one match in Dublin followed by one at Lords could have been an innovative approach. If Ireland do gain Test status in the near future a bi-nation series with their neighbours, playing their first ever Test match in Dublin followed up by a match at Lords could be very special. It’s the sort of move that other nations could taken advantage of, for example Australia and Papua New Guinea playing series across both Northern Australia and PNG or India taking on Nepal across both nations. This development of both neighbourly support and rivalry could really help the game develop away from the well trodden path.

Ireland will wrap up the summer by hosting an ODI against West Indies in September.

Ireland Cricket’s Summer 2017 fixtures:

ODI Tour of England

England v Ireland, County Ground, Bristol, May 5th

England v Ireland, Lords, London, May 7th

ODI Tri-Series

Ireland v Bangladesh, Venue TBC, May 12th

Ireland v New Zealand, Venue TBC, May 14th

Ireland v Bangladesh, Venue TBC, May 19th

Ireland v New Zealand, Venue TBC, May 21st

ODI v West Indies

Ireland v West Indies, Venue TBC, Sept 13th

As mentioned, having been granted First Class status at domestic level and seeing a significant increase in ODI activity against Test level opposition, Ireland really do seem to be being groomed for a promotion to Test status.

International Duck Watch!

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Tests

Wahab Riaz (Pakistan)

Riaz was dismissed LBW fifth ball to New Zealand’s Colin de Grandhomme (1-29) in the second Test in Hamilton. Soon after, commencing their second innings with a lead of 55 New Zealand’s openers Jeet Raval faced one delivery without scoring and Tom Latham (Golden duck in the first innings) is yet to face!

Usman Khawaja (Australia)

How do you follow a first innings 145?

Drop down the order and fall LBW second ball to become Tabraiz Shamsi’s (1-49) second Test wicket however Australia (Warner 47, Smith 40, Renshaw 34 not out) won by seven wickets. South Africa though win the series 2-1.

Ajinkya Rahane (India)

LBW sixth ball to England’s in-form Adil Rashid (3-81) as England fought back before India fought back in the third Test in Mohali. India (Kohli 62, Ashwin 57 not out) trail by twelve runs with four wickets remaining.

ODIs

Brian Vitori (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe number eleven Vitori fell second ball to Sri Lanka’s Asela Gunaratne in the Tri-Series final. Vitori then dismissed Dhananjaya De Sliva with the very first delivery of Sri Lanka’s reply. Vitori finished with figures of 3-52 as Sri Lanka (Kusal Mendis 57) won the final by six wickets. Earlier on debut, Zimbabwe’s Tarisai Musakanda top scored for his side with 36 from 37 deliveries. Just making his debut in a final, as you do!

International Duck Watch!

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Welcome to Test cricket Nic Maddinson! One of three Australian debutantes Maddinson lasted twelve deliveries before falling victim to South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada in the third Test at Adelaide. For the record the home side’s other debutantes, Middlesbrough born opening batsman Matthew Renshaw and former Gloucestershire middle-order player Peter Handscomb faired little and much better, registering scores of 10 and 54 respectively. Let’s not forget that successful Test players such as Graham Gooch, Phillip Hughes and Marvan Atapattu all registered ducks on their Test bows so all is not yet lost for Maddinson though the state of the game could leave the twenty-four-year-old without a second innings opportunity.

In Hamilton New Zealand opening batsman Tom Latham fell first ball to Mohammad Amir in his side’s second Test against Pakistan. Latham made scores of 1 and 9 in the first Test so is currently averaging a mighty 3.33 in the series! New Zealand were 77-2 in their first innings when rain curtailed play.

Finally, in a crucial Tri-Series match in Zimbabwe the home team’s Sean Williams fell first ball to Ashley Nurse, caught by our man Shai Hope. As a result Williams will need nursing better! West Indies had their own goldie in the form of Johnson Charles. Charles was caught and bowled by Zimbabwe hero Tendai Chisoro. Chisoro scored 42 not out off 35 deliveries batting at number ten, putting on an unbroken stand of 91 with Sikander Raza before recording figures of 6-1-23-2 as Zimbabwe claimed a spot in the final.

International Duck Watch!

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A torturous 16-ball nought for Ben DUCKett probably means termination of his Test career, at least for now. An 11-baller for Zafar Ansari will likely mean the same outcome for him too. Also, spare a thought for James Anderson, he might bat at number eleven but he takes his batting extremely seriously. Unfortunatley he registered England’s first king pair in 110 years!

That all adds up to a 246-run Test match victory for India and a 1-0 series lead with three matches left to play.

Zimbabwe are currently taking on Sri Lanka in a Tri-Series ODI in Bulawayo so Silly Point will provide a further IDW update later today… if necessary.

International Duck Watch!

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Today’s Duckers are:

Tests

Todd Astle (New Zealand)

Recalled to the side after one Test way back in 2012. He didn’t bowl in Pakistan’s first innings and lasted five deliveries in New Zealand’s.

James Anderson (England)

After starting his career with 54 duckless Test innings, Anderson continues to make up for it, today recording his 20th duck in Tests and a golden one at that.

ODIs

Ashely Nurse (West Indies)

Run out without even facing a ball as West Indies imploded and ended up with a three run three wicket final over tie against Zimbabwe.

International Duck Watch!

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We have our first repeat offender and it’s none other than our very first International Duck Watch member, Sri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal. Lakmal is clearly taking IDW extremely seriously. Today, not content with helping West Indies’ Shannon (Two ball) Gabriel join the club, Lakmal was then dismissed by his own victim in half the amount of deliveries that it had taken him and thus went golden in all its glory.

Inaugural inductee, repeat offender and helping others join the club. Calm down Mr Lakmal!