On Top of the World!

How great is it to see Reece Topley playing regularly and amongst the wickets?

Topley has eleven wickets at 12.64 in this year’s T20 Blast for Sussex including figures of 4-33 taken in his comeback match against former employers Hampshire. The Suffolk born left-armer has ten ODI and six T20I caps to his name but it would be foolish to be thinking about England consideration so soon after returning to first team action. It’ll be great if the twenty-five-year-old can go onto play List A and First Class cricket but if not then he could still make a healthy buck specialising in the shortest format.

It’s also encouraging to see another left-arm quick bowler in the form of Topley’s teammate Tymal Mills playing regularly and being amongst the wickets too. Mills may only have seven wickets but an average of 17.14 is healthy and most notably, his economy rate is just 6.32. This compares favourably against a career economy rate of 7.82.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/english-twenty20/averages

Looking through the averages another left-armer caught my eye. Nottinghamshire’s Harry Gurney has already committed to a white-ball world having made an impression at both the Big Bash and IPL. Soon he’ll be turning out in the Euro T20 Slam. In this year’s Blast he’s picked up 13 wickets at 15.85 including a career best 5-30 against Derbyshire. He’s leaking runs at an eye-watering 9.36 per over though so will want to temper that.

It’s not impossible that the above players could yet turn out for England again. David Willey has never dominated for England as would’ve been hoped and hasn’t (To be fair often hasn’t been able to) make his batting provide him with an edge. To say that he’s been ordinary in this year’s Blast would be an understatement as he comes to terms with his World Cup omission.

Duckett’s Despair!

Hello loyal followers.

Please find my latest audio cast regarding one of England’s forgotten men and a little about the upcoming ODI against Scotland right here…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/521637.html

Hong Kong Sixes 2017: England Squad?

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The Hong Kong Sixes tournament is back on the cricket calendar after a five-year absence. The pint-sized cricket competition will make a welcome return this October.

http://www.hkcricket.org/en/hk-sixes/hong-kong-sixes-2017

Historically the various cricketing nations around the globe have treated the tournament with a variety of seriousness and not so seriousness, with some teams sending amateurs or ex-pros. England normally send a reasonable bunch of fringe limited overs players.

Silly Point has composed an England squad and put forward one or two other possible candidates as well. Remember that every player bar the wicketkeeper must bowl.

My squad is as follows:

Tim Bresnan, Yorkshire (Captain)

He bats, he bowls, he captains, he’s my selection to lead the side. I find it difficult to comprehend that Bresnan’s England career is over. He required surgery and is no longer the spring chicken that rocked up for Yorkshire’s first XI aged 15 but in limited overs cricket at least, he could surely still have a role to play for the national side. He’s led Yorkshire this year following injury to Gary Ballance and the other squad members would learn from his international experience and professionalism.

Ben Duckett, Northamptonshire (Wicketkeeper)

Duckett just pips Joe Clarke for the ‘keeping gloves. It would be a good way to reintegrate Duckett into England colours following a difficult winter. After a slow start to the domestic season he has started to make significant contributions with the bat as well as keeping wicket on occasions. Sam Billings, more of a genuine gloveman option in T20I/ODI cricket could also come into consideration.

Lewis Gregory, Somerset

Gregory made the England squad a few years back for a one-off ODI against Ireland. Unfortunately for the Somerset man, he was the one squad member to miss out on the final XI leaving him cap-less. A series of injuries have meant that he remains so but when fit Gregory possesses the all-round strengths that make him an extremely tempting selection in this format.

Ryan Higgins, Middlesex

Higgins has contributed some brutal batting displays for Middlesex in limited overs cricket this term and has also dislodged Ollie Rayner from the County Championship side. The Zimbabwe born former England Under-19s player is one of a handful of capable all-round players that make my squad.

Benny Howell, Gloucestershire

A shrewd performer for Gloucestershire, particularly in the shorter forms of the game. French born Howell has cropped up in both the BPL and PSL. His experience and all-round capabilities would make him a valuable asset to the the squad.

Liam Livingstone, Lancashire

LL’s introduction to international cricket was slightly underwhelming but he’s an almost irresistible selection for this tournament. His destructive batting, much improved bowling and reliable fielding win him a place in my squad. Like Bresnan, Livingstone has gained captaincy experience this season and is capable of coming back stronger following his tough international baptism.

Ross Whiteley, Worcestershire

Whiteley hit the headlines this term when he struck six sixes in an over against Yorkshire in a T20 match (I was there, remember?). Yes it was an extremely short boundary and yes it was a third choice spinner but rather audaciously, Whiteley sits in the top ten of the sixes per (T20) match ratio, modestly and unobtrusively placed alongside the likes of Brendon McCullum, David Warner and Chris Gayle. He would probably be the weakest bowling option in the team but has clocked up 29 First Class victims.

Some other players that could come into consideration:

Adam Lyth

Riki Wessels (Wicketkeeper)

Brett D’Oliveira

Liam Dawson

Paul Coughlin

Craig Overton

Tymal Mills

Extras

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Bye: We provided Hong Kong cricket with a little promotion in a previous addition of Extras…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/extras-3/

… and now England speed merchant Tymal Mills is heading east to blitz any batsmen that come before him.

http://www.hkcricket.org/en/media/news/kowloon-cantons-add-speed-machine-tymal-mills-to-blitz-squad

Leg Bye: We provided Pakistan cricket with a little promotion (Because it needs it, it’s not like cricket is already big in Pakistan!) in a previous addition of Extras…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/super-duper-stan/

… and now England ‘speed merchant’ Steven Finn is heading east to blitz any batsmen that come before him.

https://psl-t20.com/steven-finn-replaces-russell-islamabad-united-squad/

No Ball: Liam Livingstone for England anybody?

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… or at least in your Telegraph fantasy team. Watch out for my article in April on who, why and how to pick a successful team!

P.S. Despite LLs 50, we lost the T20I against Zimbabwe in Boston, USA by nine wickets with none of our bowlers able to strike. Our solitary wicket was a run out.

Wide: Duckett delivers!

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It’s back to back wins for England’s Test side after victory in Sharjah. With Haseeb Hameed and Keaton Jennings rested, Ben Duckett made the most (Well, made something) of the opportunity to bat in his recognised position by scoring exactly 50. Duckett put on 47 for the first wicket with debutant Daniel Bell-Drummond, who made 8. Jake Ball recorded match figures of 12-62 as UAE were bowled out for just 61 in their first innings and courtesy of some generous bowling changes, a more respectable 163 in their second. Adil Rashid batted as well as anybody for England in recent times when making 59 batting at six in England’s second innings. Rashid shared a last wicket stand of 48 with a determined Jack Leach before Ball led England to a 175-run victory.

International Duck Watch! An England 8-8 Special!!!!!!!!

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Basically half the England team!

England’s best with bat ‘n’ ball collapsed from 119-2 to 127 all out to lose the T20I series against India by 2 goals to 1. That’s a collapse of 8-8 and is bloody brilliant even by England’s standards!

There were gloriously gleaming goldens for Roy and Plunkett and stunningly shining silvers for each of Buttler, Jordan and Mills.

I’m just going to publish this now and if Sri Lanka have any duckees in their chase against South Africa we’ll honour them later. England deserve to stand alone, for a time at least.

20:05pm: For the record… Lakshan Sandakan, fourth ball to Imran Tahir.

Super Duper Stan!

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The 2nd edition of the Pakistan Super League commences on 5th February…

http://www.psl-t20.com

Silly Point takes a look at the English brigade that will be turning out for the five franchises:

Islamabad United

Sam Billings

Ben Duckett

Billings will look to further enhance his reputation on the franchise stage and help cement his England place. Duckett will aim to put his spin pains behind him after a difficult winter in India.

Peshawar Zalmi

Chris Jordan

Eoin Morgan

Samit Patel

A resurgent Chris Jordan joins England skipper Eoin Morgan at Peshawar Zalmi. Samit Patel will fly in as cover for Bangladesh bat Tamim Iqbal (International commitments) come the latter stages of the tournament.

Lahore Qalanders

Jason Roy

England’s Mr Consistency at the top of their limited overs teams will be the sole Anglo representative in Lahore.

Karachi Kings

Ravi Bopara

The forgotten man of English cricket, Bopara is vastly experienced on the franchise circuit and will surely be a useful member of the Karachi Kings party.

Quetta Gladiators

Tymal Mills

Kevin Pietersen

David Willey

Luke Wright

T20 franchise brothers Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright will turn out for the Quetta Gladiators for a second year, after recently representing their loyal Big Bash side, Melbourne Stars. Left-arm duo Tymal Mills and David Willey will help form a strong English quota in Quetta.

Duckett Dropped!

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No wonder he looks surprised!

How exactly do you think that the conversation went?

England Management: Ben. You know how you scored a career best 63 in only your third ODI in challenging and alien to you subcontinental conditions to help us chase down 277 and win the deciding ODI and ultimately the series in Bangladesh?

Ben Duckett: Yeah.

England Management: Well your reward is that you’ve been dropped. We’re bringing back the guys that were too scared to come and haven’t played any cricket recently.

Ben Duckett: !^*/~’^(/<**!

Let’s hope that Duckett was seething. Okay, there’s some logic in that he’s struggled in the Tests in India and will be facing the same bowlers in the same conditions but he could quite conceivably, having got shackled in the Tests, have gone out there with a bit more freedom and regained confidence. He definitely won’t have regained confidence by being told that he was “desperately unlucky” to miss out. What he must do now is start the 2017 domestic campaign with the sort of glutinous run-scoring that he maintained throughout the 2016 season. He is also only one injury (Or birth of Joe Root’s child) away from a recall.

Whilst Duckett’s absence is surely only temporary, Steven Finn’s time may be up. The Middlesex man misses out on both limited overs squads. Nottinghamshire’s Jake Ball has clearly leapfrogged Finn in the pecking order in all forms of the game following his strong showing (7 wickets @ 19.85) in the Bangladesh ODI series.

Chris Jordan also makes the T20I squad with Chris Woakes rested.

For the record the squads are as follows: (Players in bold match Silly Point’s predictions as per yesterday’s post)

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/england-to-name-squads-for-india-odist20is/

ODI Squad:

Eoin Morgan (Captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Liam Dawson,  Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes

Silly Point’s selections that didn’t make the cut were as follows:

Tom Curran, Ben Duckett, Steven Finn

T20I squad:

Eoin Morgan (Captain), Moeen Ali, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales,  Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey

Silly Point’s selections that didn’t make the cut were as follows:

Steven Finn, Dawid Malan, James Vince, Chris Woakes

That’s a reasonable strike rate when it comes to our predicted squads.

ODI Squad: 12/15 correct

T20I Squad: 11/15 correct

In the actual squads named today there wasn’t much in the way of rotation / resting players and maybe we (I) got a little too experimental with call-ups for Tom Curran and Dawid Malan.

England to Name Squads for India ODIs/T20Is

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England will name their squads for the post Christmas ODI and T20I series’ against India, both three-match affairs, on monday. England are likely to avoid too much experimentation and save that for the matches against West Indies and Ireland in February and May. That’s not to say that there won’t be a little squad rotation.

Captain Eoin Morgan as well as opening batsman Alex Hales will come straight back into the side after opting out of the Bangladesh tour because of security concerns. Joe Root, rested for the limited overs leg of that tour will also return. That means that for the ODIs at least, perennial starter James Vince will pay the price for not going onto makes scores of substance. England will be keen to persist with many of their limited overs specialists and provide opportunity to those that have mostly sat on the bench during the Bangladesh / India Test tours. That means Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow, both of whom are burdened with great responsibility in the Test arena may be amongst those that have earned a respite.

Adil Rashid’s continued progress may grant him further responsibility in the ODIs without the safety net of Moeen to back him up. Liam Dawson, who has been playing T20 in the Bangladesh Premier League and was this week added to the Test squad, will be in the party and Joe Root can provide an occasional off-spin option.

Sam Billings recorded a maiden ODI fifty (62) in the deciding match in Bangladesh but will have to drop down the order to make way for the return of Hales and Jason Roy who was injured for that match. Both deserve to recombine at the top of the order for England. Billings of course provides wicket-keeping cover for Jos Buttler as does Ben Duckett who despite his travails in Test match cricket merits retaining his place in the ODI side. He made scores of 60, 0 and 63 in Bangladesh and like Billings will hope to avoid being dropped the match after registering a career best. All that adds upto Jonny Bairstow sitting out. Scores of 0,35 and 15 in Bangladesh didn’t quite make Bairstow demand a regular place in the ODI side as ridiculous as it might seem to omit him.

England will be keen to provide Jake Ball (5-51 on ODI debut Bangladesh) and Steven Finn with game time as well as Liam Plunkett. Plunkett was injured for the first two matches of the Bangladesh series and didn’t have a game to remember (0-51) in his sole outing in the third but merits retention in the squad. David Willey (15-2-82-0 in the series) is another one who didn’t have an outstanding time against the Tigers but his left-arm provides variety in the attack and again he is one who England will feel it is worth further investment. England may also be tempted to rest Chris Woakes and that could benefit Surrey’s Tom Curran. The Surrey man recently took 5-16 as well as scoring 40 with the bat for England Lions against UAE in Dubai.

For the T20Is summer debutant Tymal Mills, currently playing in New Zealand and like Dawson having played in the BPL last month will come into the squad and could simply be an addition rather than sending anyone home. If England do decide to tinker then Dawid Malan who made the squad but not the XI in the summer and has produced a couple of match winning innings in the BPL could also come in. Moeen and Woakes would likely come back in for Duckett and Curran with the likes of Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes taking a rest. James Vince might also sneak back into the T20I squad.

What was I saying about avoiding too much experimentation?!

Predicted ODI Squad:

Eoin Morgan (Captain), Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Ben Duckett, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey

Predicted T20I squad:

Eoin Morgan (Captain), Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Liam Dawson, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Tymal Mills, Liam Plunkett, Joe Root, Jason Roy, James Vince, David Willey, Chris Woakes

Malan Mauls Vikings

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England hopeful Dawid (AC) Malan smacked 78 not out from just 48 deliveries to guide Barisal Bulls to a seven-wicket victory over Chittagong Vikings in the Bangladesh Premier League earlier today. Middlesex’s Malan struck three fours and seven (Yes seven!) sixes. He shared a partnership of exactly 150 with Sharhriar Nafees (65) after his fellow opener, another Englishman, Leicestershire’s Josh Cobb had been dismissed for just six. Malan had made starts in his previous outings for the Bulls (16, 26 and 13) but crucially went big today. Malan was included in England’s T20I squad to play Sri Lanka earlier this year but didn’t make the final XI. The twenty-nine-year-old will be hoping that the England management are keeping an eye on any Englishmen that are plying their trade in the various T20 tournaments being played across the globe this winter. Given the competition bread by the performances of players like Ben Duckett and Sam Billings during the ODI series in Bangladesh last month, Malan may be reliant on England resting some players come the ODI / T20I series’ against India at the conclusion of the five-match Test series if he’s to have any chance of making either squad.

Tymal Mills is another Englishman currently plying their trade in Bangladesh. Limited overs exclusive Mills, who did make his T20I debut against Sri Lanka earlier this year has picked up wickets in both of his appearances for the Vikings so far but was absent from the match against Malan’s Bulls.

Ravi Bopara, Matt Coles, Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, Benny Howell, Samit Patel and Riki Wessels are some of the other England qualified players signed up in Bangladesh though some of the less experienced players on that list are still awaiting their first outing.