Trent Bridge debacle exposes another of England’s deficiencies: Conversion rates

“We’ve had a shocker.” Trevor Bayliss.

That pretty much sums up England’s abject performance in the second test against South Africa. The England batsmen dug themselves into a huge hole on day 2 that they weren’t able to recover from. That being said, the way they fell apart  inside two sessions on Day 4 was equally as disappointing, especially for those who paid good money to watch. Continue reading “Trent Bridge debacle exposes another of England’s deficiencies: Conversion rates”

My childhood eleven – The players who shaped my cricket education

I’m often struck when I read about cricket history about the great players that were playing the game in the early 90’s when I was getting into cricket that I just had no idea about at the time. My attention was limited to the players I had access to, whether on TV or at my local club, Somerset CCC. As I got into my early teens I began to appreciate the wider global game but I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of the players who captured my imagination before that, when I first started watching cricket. Continue reading “My childhood eleven – The players who shaped my cricket education”

England vs South Africa Test series: Another chance for Gary Ballance?

With the Champions Trophy and limited overs part of the South Africa Tour done and dusted, attention turns to the test series. South Africa are always a formidable challenge for England. In fact, England have not won a home test series against South Africa since 1998. To add even more weight to the occasion, it falls only 5 months before an Ashes tour. The management will therefore want to get the selection spot on in such an important year.

So, who could get the nod and who could miss out this summer?   Continue reading “England vs South Africa Test series: Another chance for Gary Ballance?”

Why County Championship wickets aren’t enough for England

Just like one wouldn’t anticipate an Adam Sandler movie receiving an Oscar, it would be foolish to expect many changes when it comes to the England test team these days.

This is especially true in the seam bowling department. In the 2010’s thus far, only Jake Ball received a test cap without first playing for the one-day international team. This sort of circumspection was not always the case. Indeed, several great bowlers who debuted in the 2000’s (such as Mathew Hoggard, Simon Jones and Graham Onions) began their England careers in the test team. In addition, the sheer number of seam bowling debutants in the 2010’s so far (7) is considerably lower than the same period in the 2000’s (13) or the 1990’s (18). Continue reading “Why County Championship wickets aren’t enough for England”

County Championship week 3: Gary Ballance saves Yorkshire

County Championship Division One:
Best batsman – Gary Ballance (108 and 203* vs. Hampshire, Ageas Bowl):

This was a difficult decision this week. Apart from Ballance, there were centuries from Vince, Robson, Gubbins, Eskinazi, Livingstone, Elgar, Davies, Westwood, Sangakkara and Stoneman.

For Vince, Ballance, and Robson, it was a timely reminder of their talents, with squads about to be picked for England. For Livingstone, however, there are many making a case for an England debut after an excellent performance against Somerset (see Paul Edward’s cricinfo article: “Livingstone makes irresistible case for England call-up”). Continue reading “County Championship week 3: Gary Ballance saves Yorkshire”

County Championship Report

There were plenty of standout moments in the County Championship this week, making it difficult to pick our top 5 best and worst. Neil Wagner and Kyle Abbott continued their impressive starts by picking up 8 and 7 wickets, respectively. The young Scottish seam bowler Brad Wheal took 7 wickets for Hampshire against Middlesex, combining well with Kyle Abbott to force their second win of the season. Further, veteran bowler Darren Stevens produced an inspired spell of bowling that helped Kent beat Sussex at home. Continue reading “County Championship Report”

Now or never for Footitt

Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm – Hippocrates.

This quote comes to mind when pondering the relationship between the ECB and the County Championship. The apparent double-standards in allowing certain players to play in the IPL, whilst forcing counties to rest others, in particular Stuart Broad and James Anderson, has baffled and irked many cricket observers. Continue reading “Now or never for Footitt”