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”

The rise of the T20 nomad

Cutting back appearances as the years advance has always been part of the arc of any sporting career. The inevitable toll of years of training and physicality spares no one and managing that decline is often the difference between maximising potential and wondering what could have been.

The last decade has seen a shift in the way most elite cricket players view the twilight years of their careers, with opportunities for players in their mid-thirties having increased exponentially since the explosion of the global T20 game. Continue reading “The rise of the T20 nomad”

Elegant Amla century not enough for Kings XI Punjab

In the last two days, we witnessed two special T20 innings from batsmen not regarded as archetypal T20 specialists. Kane Williamson made a commanding 89 off 51 balls in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s win against Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday. Hashim Amla struck a wonderful maiden T20 century (104* off 60 balls) on Thursday against Mumbai Indians.

Continue reading “Elegant Amla century not enough for Kings XI Punjab”

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”

Better late than never

The return of the Indian Premier League is a timely reminder of how ECB’s recent plans to implement a city-based T20 tournament can’t come soon enough.

We’re well underway. Six weeks of seemingly back-to-back T20 coverage, played out in front of arguably the most passionate fans in world cricket. Views on the impact of the T20 over the last 20 years are as diverse as this year’s rosters but there can be no denying that, when it comes to box office entertainment for the sporting masses, the IPL continues to blaze the trail. Continue reading “Better late than never”

The $2.1 million Gamble

Ben Stokes was sold for $2.1 million in this years IPL auction, which was an incredible sum and the most paid for an overseas player to date. Owing to his ‘X Factor’ status as one of the most exciting cricketers in the world, it didn’t come as a great surprise when the 8-team battle for his signature ended with him going to Rising Pune Supergiant’s for such a large figure. Continue reading “The $2.1 million Gamble”