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Cricket 19: Career Mode – Twinning Half Tons on Debut!

Jamie Hamilton batting debut TwickenhamHello and welcome to Jamie Hamilton’s career – a batting all rounder with part time leggies. I am grateful of your support and I embark on the English club cricket scene where I will look to set a platform aiming towards the sky! All jokes aside the plan is to gain a county contract with my in game local side Middlesex maybe with some T20 franchise gigs along the way before chancing my arm at some international cricket.

Cricket 19 South East Cup Home Page.jpg

We begin our journey in the South East Cup of Middlesex where we battle Brent Park, Enfield, Hampstead, Richmond and Watford in the hope to bring home glory in all three formats. Unlike the previous career in Ashes Cricket 17, we entertain Enfield in a 3 day game before playing a 50 over game preceded by a 20 over game. The rest of the season follows suit in a carousel of matches which is a great new feature for the game and also an exciting proposition for the club cricketers in Middlesex. 

Hamilton 50NO 1st innings

To start off my career, I made my Twickenham debut in a 3 day encounter away against Enfield. Following the 1 hour and 40 minute journey (approximately) via the M25 and our legendary football kickabout, we were inserted into bat and found ourselves precariously hovering at 1-2. After coming in at 58-3, I slowly got myself in and found my first club cricket run from my 16th ball with a leg glance. Alongside opener Lucas Lawson 79 (from 195), we negotiated the tight and tricky bowling from Enfield and gradually acuminated runs as the overs ticked by.

Hamilton 50 (111) Wagon Wheel 1st innings.jpg

Once entering the frightening forties, I decided to increase the pace and put some pressure on the fielding side with a few drop and runs in order to bring up a happy moment with my debut half century. However, my gutsy knock was ended three balls later by spinner Tyler Pierce finding my outside edge.

Twickenham fielding drinks.jpg

One of many new cutscenes in Cricket 19!

After my dismissal we faltered to a satisfactory 203 all out which was disappointing after the 106 run partnership between Lawson and myself had put us in a strong position at 164-4. However, our bowling attack banished the disappointment ruthlessly bowling Enfield out for 75 led by off spinner Axel Dickson who took 5-12 from 8 overs including 5 maidens. 

Hamilton 50NO 2nd innings

Starting with a 128 run lead, I came to the crease at 46-3 and played with more positivity from the outset and looked to increase my runs to ball ratio from the very steady first innings. As regular wickets fell around me, I looked to shepherd the strike and add to our total with second top run scorer NO.8 Tristan Hunter (18) ably supporting me – in the process becoming the only man below NO.6 to make double figures! A beautiful off drive through the covers brought up my third boundary but more importantly a consecutive half century to match my first 50.

I went on to add 5 more runs before misexceuting an aggressive slog to the onside which caught the leading edge off spinner Sawyer Howell ending our innings with a poor 138. In both my innings, I have looked to value my wicket and be positive in defence and play myself in before looking to accelerate and increase the scoring rate.

Marking my Guard

Chasing an unlikely but still achievable target of 265, Enfield were 3-2 before collapsing from 70-3 to a paltry 108 all out. My leg spin attributed 10 overs 0-41 which was probably 5 overs too many with the hunt for my maiden club cricket wicket still truly on – left armer Ashton Kenny and Hunter sharing 6 wickets. Enfield’s dismal batting across both innings combined with our tight accurate bowling ultimately saw us gain a 135 run victory to commence the 3 day campaign. Personally, I was very satisfied to have made two half centuries in my opening two knocks and hope to continue my good form into the limited overs formats. 

Match Analysis: 

Twickenham 203 (Lawson 79, Hamilton 50, Leon 31/ Pierce 2-42, Fitzpatrick 2-35, Howell 2-51)

Enfield 75 (Graham 22, Dietrich 17, Pierce 16*/ Dickson 5-12, Kenny 3-24, Hunter 1-7)

Twickenham 138 (Hamilton 55, Hunter 18, Flynn 17/ Curtis 2-9, Perkins 2-24, Pierce 1-12)

Enfield 108 (Dietrich 48, Perkins 16, Curtis 12/ Hunter 3-7, Kenny 3-32, Leon 1-1)

Twickenham won by 158 runs MOM: Jamie Hamilton

Keep following the blog to see updates on how my player progresses through the low ranks of club cricket in the home of cricket!

Disclaimer: Playing on Veteran with batting and bowling on Hard, I have found a significant difference in the difficulty of batting on Cricket 19 as it has become harder to score more runs especially boundaries which makes for a fantastic contest between bat and ball!

 

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Cricket 19: Eastern Hemisphere Test League & Squad Selection

Cricket 19 Eastern Hemisphere Home Page

Hello and welcome to all fans of cricket around the world. Strap yourselves in this will be a good’un!

Following my recent appointment as Selection Drafter and Designer for the England men’s cricket team, in a freshly accommodated role, I am thrilled to announce our participation in the exciting opening of the Eastern Hemisphere Test League. The League has been created between the partnership of the MCC and the ICC with the aim to and advance and expand the game of cricket across all nations. Our team are enthusiastic and passionate to be the inaugural Eastern Hemisphere champions and can’t wait to contribute to a new era of international cricket alongside our fellow debuting nations. 

We launch the league against new ODI and T20I ranked nation Papua New Guinea and will follow up with Tests home and away against Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Hong Kong and of course PNG. These 10 Test matches will take place in the space of a couple of months and will transform Test cricket for the better including a headline grabbing Final which alongside the League, will definitely propel cricket in these lower ranked countries.

I am pleased to confirm that Joe Root will retain his Test captaincy and alongside him, myself and James Taylor have deliberated and decided of our playing squad for our first encounter.

The playing squad for our inaugural Eastern Hemisphere Test encounter against Papua New Guinea at Lords, the Home of Cricket, is:

Joe Root (Captain)

Rory Burns

Luke Wells

Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)

Ben Stokes

Jos Buttler

Moeen Ali

Chris Woakes

Liam Dawson

Sam Curran

Stuart Broad

James Anderson

Additional Travelling Squad Members: Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Mark Wood, 

England vs Papua New Guinea Opening.jpg

This squad has been designed to be flexible and bring variety to our cricket in the circumstance where the surface is unexpected or injuries crop up. We have the options available in our players to be as balanced as possible and adapt to a world of situations and scenarios. The opportunity to give Sussex opening batsman Luke Wells an international debut will remain the big question on many lips especially pundits whilst Dawson and Ali vie it out for the spinning all rounder spot. 

As we embark on an exciting adventure, be sure to follow our journey online and in person around the eastern hemisphere whilst we hope to make noise and sing songs with the Barmy Army!

There will be detailed match reports of all England games in the newly formed Test league on this website and match analysis from the other remaining matches, including Germany’s expedition to Hong Kong with three English domestic players: Ollie Rayner (Middlesex) Craig Meschede (Glamorgan) Dieter Klein (Leicestershire) and Denmark’s first ever 5 day game at the Hammerby Arena against opponents Fiji! We are thankful and grateful of the support and hope to deliver at the Home of Cricket against a competitive Papua New Guinea.

Jamie Hamilton , Selection Drafter and Designer, England 

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Under the Helmet

Gopal bowled

In my absence, the world of cricket awaits a major summer of cricket filled action as the World Cup kicks into gear on Thursday with pre tournament hosts and favourites England entertaining the South Africans at the Kia Oval. The inclusion of Jofra Archer, whilst highly inevitable, has created unknown realms of possibility with a gutted and determined David Willey exiled and sure to be playing some fierce cricket for Yorkshire.

With all 10 teams now in England for the highly anticipated World Cup, the numerous amounts of fans have rolled in, some booing the much discussed return of formerly banned Australian pair Steve Smith and David Warner. Players like Trent Boult, Virat Kohli, Andre Russell, Chris Gayle and Rashid Khan headlining, Cricket has never seen a more exciting year yet!

Cricket 19 is now officially out! I am really looking forward to getting my hands on this tomorrow when it arrives. Looking at initial videos, opinions in the enhanced and new game, I think we are in for a real treat. In terms of the blog, you can expect to see a variety of reports and posts about Cricket 19 including: (A rookie English career mode, Test World Championship (much like the Global Test Championship started on this blog under Ashes Cricket 17), A World Cup Mode, Scenario Modes and plenty of created Test matches, ODI’s and T20I as head coach of an international side…

Cricket 19 Plans

11 around the bat

Last ball of the Final Day in the Victoria – South Australia clash, hometown hero Hamilton finds the edge through to the keeper of the No.11 batsman to win and lift the Sheffield Shield! Make your own memories on Cricket 19 with an enhanced career mode, World Championship, Ashes modes and fully personal customisable competitions, tours and modes. What will you do?

Flying into Cricket.jpg

The pinnacle of cricket that is Test Cricket will feature quite heavily in this blog with Cricket 19 at the helm. However, there are 3 Ashes Cricket Global Test Championship reports needing to be released in the imminent future alongside the final standings from the 6 games played. Plans for another Test League and Test Championship are looking very good and plausible in my mind along with handing out lots of caps to young and inexperienced players and also some returning faces.

Ashes Cricket GTC (PS4): Storms and Gayle’s! – England vs West Indies

Disclaimer: Being at secondary school has some limitations to the amount of posts I can get out regularly and I have some Year 10 Mocks from the start of June until late June (oh dear I have revealed my age) so to begin with posts will be when I have time but following that the grind to play, enjoy and report will certainly be in full swing. Playing cricket as well quite frequently won’t help my cause but might feature in the blog.

Hamilton 29 Appealing

HOWZAT!!!!!! Probably going to miss all 3 as usual. Updates on the real world cricket will resume and be in full swing with a vast amount of games during a long English summer. Alongside the World Cup, the T20 Blast and 4 day County Cricket will still take place and my blog will possibly extend myself to opinions, previews, reports and predictions. 

Bow and Archer – England World Cup Squad 2019

Salt Vaults Towards England!

Auckland vs Wellington Result

Back to the virtual console and PC world and Cricket Captain 2019 is released on the commence of the World Cup on Thursday. I am very indifferent about the game and it might feature sparsely on the blog as I would like to focus on the real world and Cricket 19. 

https://www.planetcricket.org/forums/

As I end this “Under the Helmet” post, I want to thank and show my support for every single person that offers their help and hours to the XBOX and PS4 communities for these cricket games. They do an incredible job and the game would be nothing if it wasn’t for those guys – keep up the good work!

 


 

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Cricket 19 Plans

Hey Keaton

A rather late but important piece of news – Cricket 19 will be here with us on the 28th May!

Root 100

More Joe Root hundreds coming your way and the understated news that players will take their helmets off when scoring a hundred… very minor but exciting nonetheless!

Moeen Ali (2)

I think Cricket 19 will be my year for fielding but you can still guarantee the odd comical run out and dropped catches.

Jamie Hamilton 2nd innings

A delevoped career mode awaits us in fact as Big Ant CEO Ross Symons said: “Enhancements to the career mode build a story around your player; how you look in the news headlines affects your potential career trajectory.” In Ashes Cricket 17, I had completed a career mode which wasn’t posted due to my progress before I started blogging and I went from Canberra to New South Wales to Australian captain. Hopefully in Cricket 19, I will blog more often about my career mode from the outset.

Hamilton 466 (241) South Melbourne

Stand up out of chairs or your couch or sofa or whatever you are on and applaud this masterstroke genius of an innings from me taking a solid 4 hours but paying significant rewards. I’m pretty certain scores like this won’t be seen from any one individual again. A career mode where I begin in England as a batting all rounder with the handy leg spin or a quick bowler with lower order hitting – who knows?

Table after Round 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the real life Global Test Championship arriving to Cricket in 2020, I will be looking to continue my Test League into the new game with possibly two Test divisions consisting of 8 – 12 possible teams in it. As 80 nations have now been ranked in the T20I standings with plenty of new nations registered in status to play International T20 matches, I will explore the opportunity to have T20I and ODI leagues plus a World Cup mode. 

Run out sri lanka batting

So, will Cricket 19 be a six out of the park and a smashing success or will we be run out of ideas come August?! 

https://www.icc-cricket.com/rankings/mens/team-rankings/t20i

https://www.icc-cricket.com/rankings/mens/team-rankings/odi

https://www.icc-cricket.com/rankings/mens/team-rankings/test

https://www.planetcricket.org/forums/forums/cricket-19.316/

A link to the Planet Cricket website where most Cricket Academy creations and users of Ashes Cricket 17 discuss and play the game – check it out!

 

 

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Injury plagued Surrey turn to experience!

 

tom curran

It is safe to say that Surrey haven’t had the ideal start to the domestic season. After a long hard fought draw against Essex in their first County Championship match, they began the road to Lord’s in the Royal London One Day Cup with two away encounters to Gloucestershire and Sussex. The trip up to Bristol initially went well as they bowled out the hosts for 235 with England’s Tom Curran and experienced seamer Rikki Clarke sharing 7 wickets. With Jason Roy opening and plenty of fire power and excitement to come, Surrey faltered badly and were subsequently bowled out for 88, Roy incidentally top scoring with 19.

Up to the picturesque Hove on Good Friday and my home team Sussex snatched a two wicket win from the visitors largely thanks to a splendid 92NO from Koplak David Wiese as yet again Sussex showed their strength in depth and competition for places. This was definitely an improved performance from Surrey with Sri Lankan series star wicketkeeper Ben Foakes top scoring with 64 alongside T10 pre season centurion Will Jacks who scored 56. Tom Curran starred with the ball but was very much a lone hand with Liam Plunkett struggling for form and rhythm ahead of the upcoming World Cup!

In a whirlwind tournament which features the 8 group matches plus finals, time is not on Surrey’s side with their last match in just over 2 weeks. The short turn arounds including travel and training means for these county players it is the most intense and gruelling stage of the season where the hard graft starts. Surrey have an injury problem with talented all rounder Jordan Clark from Lancashire still out with a knee injury whilst all rounder Scott Borthwick and spinner Amar Virdi have side and back issues – seamer Matt Dunn is also down with illness. They have some higher profile unavailability’s with Sam Curran playing in the IPL and overseas star Dean Elgar not arriving until next week. 

Plunkett

Liam Plunkett has and is struggling from the winter with his form and rhythm in his bowling and has been very costly and expensive with the ball in the RLODC and in the last 5 ODIS. Stoneman and Burns have not had great records in List A cricket and with the injuries they occupy spots where they need to be aggressive and its perhaps not their natural game.

Its not all lost for Surrey (and I am only summarising in the opening month of matches) but they need their senior players to step up and make a difference for a side plagued with injuries and will be tested to the roots with their squad depth. Another injury plagued bowler Stuart Meaker will play a key role in his comeback along with all rounder Ryan Patel in all 3 formats. With the inclusion of Elgar next week and the returns of the injured players coming in the next few weeks, can Surrey revitalise and surge towards the qualification of the One Day Cup!

 

 

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Cricket 19 Release Date and Trailer!

Moeen Ali (2)

https://www.ecb.co.uk/england/men/news/1187136/release-date-revealed-for-cricket-19-the-official-game-of-the-ashes

Cricket 19 has announced its first item of information and it is the release date for the new game. Big Ant Studios has released a short snippet of a trailer which makes for interesting viewing with some new features included in the 17 seconds – check it out below!

https://twitter.com/i/status/1118817741207564289

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Bow and Archer – England World Cup Squad 2019

 

England ODI.PNG

England will name their preliminary 15 man squad tomorrow which will enter the 2019 Cricket World Cup with the expectation of home pressure and the favourites tag to lift the cup at the end of the competition. Led by captain Eoin Morgan, England have changed fortunes since their disappointing 2015 World Cup campaign and have played an exciting and attacking brand of cricket which has seen world records broke and wins increased. Since the ICC World Cup in 2014/15, England have won 14 out of 20 series including the famous 5-0 Aussie whitewash at home last summer following the 4-1 away series victory in Australia from the lacklustre Ashes series! Players like Joe Root, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler alongside Morgan have confirmed their places with some stellar performances across the last 3 years and with the strength of the batting, Hales is likely to start as a reserve batsman with an average of 37.79…

However, in the bowling department, England have built a nucleus of seamers alongside the two spinners of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, but they have all come under pressure from newly eligible Englishmen Jofra Archer, with his availability almost nailing down a spot in the squad.

Archer.PNG

West Indies born Archer was fast-tracked through the registration system after hailing in Sussex for the last few years. Whilst he has only featured in 14 List A matches, his stints with the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash and the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, has seen his hype increase and the pressure on the current incumbents as well. His most recent ongoing spell with the Royals has seen him wield 11 wickets including 3-15 against the Kings XI Punjab today!

These stints came from bursting on the scene at Sussex, most notably in club cricket for Horsham before he came Sussex’s star pace man and handy lower order batsman. Archer has seen lots of support for securing a spot for the World Cup adventure from pundits.  https://www.skysports.com/cricket/news/12080/11695248/jofra-archer-has-david-willey-liam-plunkett-and-tom-curran-in-world-cup-jeopardy-says-nasser-Hussain However, he hasn’t seen such public support from the current England bowlers which have guided England towards the World Cup as the favourites. 

Chris Woakes, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood and Tom Curran have been the players which have made up the core of England’s seamers attack over the last 3 years and all have different roles which they have all performed expertly. Woakes’ skiddy pace and bounce with his line and length makes him a strong candidate for the new ball alongside Willey’s left arm alternative which provides the opportunity for swing early on. Liam Plunkett has mastered the middle to death over spell with his height and his variations which have deceived many batsman aiming to score high off him.

Mark Wood showed in the recent West Indies ODI series that he can also take the new ball and bounce out opponents whilst Curran’s T20 exploits have aided his variations with cutters and his death over experience is second to none. The question on everyone’s mind is who gets dropped for Archer to come in, if they want him??

tom curran.PNG

In my opinion, I would bring in Archer for Tom Curran. Archer is a three dimensional player who can bat and bowl well as well as his fielding. Archer also has the versatility that he can bowl at any stage in the innings and be as effective as he would be starting or ending. He has been potent for Sussex with the new ball especially but he can cover Plunkett’s middle overs role with aplomb as well as bowling his deadly yorkers come the back end of the innings.

The shoo-ins for England are Woakes, Wood and Plunkett who have all performed admirably and superbly to cement their places in the cornerstone of England’s bowling attack. David Willey has only bowled his full quota of overs in the last 2 of 14 matches but specialises very well with the swinging ball in the opening overs and with his left arm option, he is a better alternative for England.

Curran would be terribly disappointed to miss out but he lacks the consistency on the International stage to take wickets at a regular basis unlike his fellow seam bowling partners. Jake Ball, Sam Curran and Chris Jordan have also been touted and used as options for England previously — could they be the outsider in the squad.

Hales

With the strength in ability and calibre in England’s batting line up, Alex Hales’ fantastic ODI record will see him originally sitting on the benches of England and a more than adept replacement should Bairstow, Roy etc run into a bad spell or get injured. It is the second spare batsman/all rounder spot which is definitely up for grabs and could twist and change up until the May deadline for the official 15 man squad. https://www.icc-cricket.com/news/1172161

Joe Denly took up the mantle in the West Indies but didn’t feature during the drawn series with his selection based upon the fact of his leg spin option. Liam Dawson held that role in the spinney Sri Lanka and performed well before injury curtailed his series and possibly his World Cup squad with only a home series against Pakistan and a one off match against Ireland left.

Pitches and conditions will be suitable to spin so having a player that can bat and give you a 6th bowling option along with Joe Root will be more than handy. Sam Billings is also being touted as a back up keeper with his runs coming recently in the T20I with an 87 against the Windies. http://m.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/297628.html

Billings’ average of 22.58 with a high score of 62 shows his lack of conversions despite the potential being there. The spot is certainly up for grabs and I think it could be a spot if the ECB decide is best, that will change throughout the Royal London One Day Cup.

So with all my opinion made and my areas where I think England will be having some sleepless nights over – here are my squads for the World Cup, Pakistan ODI series and one off Ireland ODI.

World Cup Squad

Jonny Bairstow Jason Roy Alex Hales Joe Root Eoin Morgan (C) Jos Buttler (+) Ben Stokes Moeen Ali Liam Dawson Chris Woakes Adil Rashid Liam Plunkett David Willey Mark Wood Jofra Archer

Pakistan ODI 17man Squad

Resting Jason Roy + Adil Rashid

Jonny Bairstow Alex Hales Joe Root Eoin Morgan (C) Jos Buttler Sam Billings (+) Joe Denly Ben Stokes Moeen Ali Liam Dawson Chris Woakes Sam Curran Liam Plunkett David Willey Mark Wood Jofra Archer Jake Ball

Ireland ODI Squad

Resting Chris Woakes, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and Liam Plunkett

Jonny Bairstow Alex Hales Jason Roy Joe Root Jos Buttler (+) Sam Billings Moeen Ali Jofra Archer Adil Rashid David Willey Mark Wood Jake Ball Sam Curran

So with the upcoming World Cup approaching in under a months time, will England have a smooth preparation or will they be forced to change at the last minute. Comment below your thoughts on my squad preview and add your own squad as well and we will find out who is “top dog”!!

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

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Cricket XI CC Review after Round 2

Cricket XI CC after Round 2

After deciding not to participate in the Telegraph Fantasy Cricket, Short Leg turned his head towards Cricket XI and a bid to win the CC 2019 Morris Invitational launched by my good pal and other cricket blogger Silly Point. https://sillypointcricket.com/ link is here so please if you haven’t already check out the blog and give it a follow!!

Following the early start to the English domestic summer with the upcoming World Cup and Ashes in the centre of the summer, the County Championship began on the 5th April and two rounds have been completed in both divisions. In this post, I will wrap up how I fared and the details of my players and my trades that I have made for when red ball cricket returns in 28 days. 

(Disclaimer: Inexplicably, I failed to take out Dimuth Karunaratne out of my team after he withdrew from his Hampshire stint at least a week before the season began. I also then haven’t checked between rounds for players that were playing despite being quite keenly eyed on both divisions over the last two weeks, hence Dom Bess, Tom Helm and Mason Crane registering 0 points.)

Overall, I scored 1249 points which puts me last so far in the 2019 CC Morris Invitational League however you can only get better from here. Having 3 players in the XI, not playing over the 2 rounds hampered my point scoring total as well as the poor early form from the likes of Jake Ball and captain Matt Renshaw.

Zak Crawley, of Kent, top scored with 326 points aided with the century against Warwickshire. Liam Dawson proved a good pick as well with 319 points for his all round contribution. Dawson scored 64 in their opening round win against Essex whilst also bowling 31 wicketless but highly economical overs. In their innings loss against Yorkshire, Dawson toiled hard bowling 60 overs for 3-184 and then backing that up with 57 and then 92 in his two bats which has showed his red ball credentials or the season admirably… hint hint England!

Steven Mullaney performed respectably in the opening encounters alongside Tom Haines who scored points for his part time bowling over his opening batting. Coming into the next rounds, switching players out from trade and the bench will be beneficial in my quest to win with Critchley and Pope doing quite well!

Cricket XI CC changes R2

In disappointment with the early round showing, Short Leg has opted to make all the 4 allowed trades for the team shaping up in 4 weeks. 

In: Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Tongue, Will Davis and Amar Virdi. 

Out: Dimuth Karunaratne, Dom Bess, Tom Helm and Mason Crane

Australian overseas Labuschagne piled on 121 with the bat in the mammoth run scoring match for Glamorgan against Northans which saw Glamorgan score 570 and Northans responding with 750. With 10 bowlers on show for Glamorgan, Labuschagne’s part time leg spin recorded figures of 44 overs 6 maidens 122 runs 3 wickets. He will be keen to pour on the runs in order to be selected for the Ashes. http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8204/report/1166973/day/4/undefined  Josh Tongue took 6 wickets for Worcestershire with his pace and bounce disturbing the Leicestershire batsmen. Will Davis was on the receiving end of Tongue’s pace but took a wicket and has joined the Short Leg team for a cheap money buy not on form. Amar Virdi hasn’t featured for Surrey yet this season but has proved his selection at the back end of the last season with lots of wickets as spin becomes more important as the summer goes on!

The upcoming Royal London One Day Cup side has been shown on the site but will be changed up until the deadline as I will be checking all (yes each team) teams websites for the squads, which I will then align to my team in the bid for victory. 

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Cricket Captain 2018: Pakistan – Australia Test 1

1st Test Line ups

After defeating Pakistan in the International T20 Tri Series final, we embarked a two match test series in the UAE against Pakistan in Short Leg’s first coaching role for a Test match. Coming into the series, speculation was rife concerning who would make the squad and who would be missing out including the injured. The squad decided by the Chairman of Selectors and assistants Ricky Ponting and Mark Waugh would be the team tasked with winning overseas without the big names: 

1. Matt Renshaw 2. Joe Burns 3. Usman Khawaja 4. Peter Handscomb 5. Marnus Labuschagne 6. Travis Head 7. Tim Paine (C) (+) 8. Matthew Wade (+) 9. Glenn Maxwell 10. Mitchell Marsh 11. Steven O’Keefe 12. Nathan Lyon 13. Mitchell Starc 14. Josh Hazelwood 15. James Pattinson 16. Jhye Richardson 17. Jon Holland 18. Peter Siddle

Aus 1st innings scorecard.jpg

When a Hafeezless Pakistan won the toss and opted to bowl first, their decision was looking good early on with Hasan Ali completing a superb caught and bowled to dismiss Burns. Pakistan used their home expertise to their advantage with the selection of 4 seamers and a batting all round spinner which they would hope would prove crucial at the conclusion of the match. Their seamers troubled the Australians initially but the Queensland pair of Renshaw and Khawaja battled defiantly to see the tourists through to Lunch and then Tea on Day 1. Khawaja was the aggressor of the pair and showed some fine form in his shot making vindicating his selection. His 84, including 9 fours and 1 six, kickstarted a remarkable Australian collapse losing 8 wickets for just 91.

Usman Khawaja 1st innings.jpg

Hasan Ali made two breakthroughs at 202 Handscomb falling for a second ball duck after Khawaja. Opener Renshaw had batted patiently and intelligently before a lapse in concentration ended a 249 ball knock and his chances of a second Test match hundred. Travis Head was the next highest scorer behind the Queensland duo with a solid but unspectacular 28 whilst Glenn Maxwell (19), on his return to Test cricket, and captain/keeper Tim Paine fell to Mohammed Abbas. The double A’s Amir and Abbas removed Pattinson and Lyon respectively leaving Australia 291-9 before a sharp Amir bouncer prematurely ended the innings of Australia and resigning fast bowler Josh Hazelwood to the medical table, where he stayed for the rest of the match.

Matt Renshaw 1st innings

The typical Matt Renshaw innings with a strong presence on the offside. 

Pak 1st innings scorecard.jpg

With the added blow of losing fast bowler Josh Hazelwood, Australia had to turn to James Pattinson on his long awaited return to 5 day cricket to take the new ball with Starc and both started unconvincingly. Off spinner Nathan Lyon also began poorly as openers Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali capitalised on a sluggish start until the score was 67 when all rounder Glenn Maxwell found Ali’s edge caught by Renshaw. Aslam pushed on towards the final session of Day 2 with support by the talented Babar Azam – it was going to be a long field day for the tourists!

Sami Aslam 1st innings

Sami Aslam struck his 16th four consequently bringing up his impressive ton but he soon fell for 112 with Starc swinging the old ball into the pads at 190-2. Azam and Shafiq guided Pakistan to the close of Day 2 but the latter was soon dismissed by Lyon early into the morning finding more bounce which clipped the back pad. Bowling in pairs, Maxwell shortly removed Azam’s off stump for a well made 74 and had Pakistan 232-4. Debutant Hussain Talat began in fine form wonderfully caressing the ball to the boundary despite losing partners. Mitchell Starc removed Sohail (16) with Joe Burns taking the catch before seaming partner James Pattinson took a remarkable caught and bowled of Captain Safaraz Ahmed (13).

Glenn Maxwell 1st innings bowling

Talat and Ashraf extended the hosts lead with a 47 run partnership and Hasan Ali provided lower order runs in a 33 run partnership with Talat. Glenn Maxwell took the crucial wicket of Talat for 83 shortly after Ashraf played a wild slash to Renshaw at leg slip for 24. Highlighting Lyon’s lack of profligacy, Maxwell wrapped up the innings with figures of 6-100 Ali (15) and Abbas (0) falling in successive balls but left the hosts 103 runs ahead.  

Aus 2nd innings batting scorecard

With a large deficit in front of them the Aussies needed a solid start and had a comfortable opening before at 36-1 Burns was caught and bowled again this time by Amir. The reunion of Renshaw and Khawaja caused problems for the Pakistan as they looked to settle into their innings albeit some poor fielding and dropped catches. As reverse swing became a factor, Renshaw on 38 succumbed to Abbas’s in dipper and left the Australians 2 down and still behind their lead. Peter Handscomb quickly got himself of a pair and showed great maturity and composure. The ominous partnership reached 84 before Abbas this time held onto one from Khawaja (61) off his own bowling. Travis Head endured a tricky Test debut falling for 1 to Amir before a counter attacking knock from Maxwell was swiftly complete compiling 32 from 37 but exiting as the Aussies reached 207-5.

Peter Handscomb batting 2nd innings.jpg

Cometh the hour when Australia needed a big and vital partnership, Handscomb and leader of men Tim Paine joined together in a 156 run stand prompting Pakistan frustration and disappointment in the field. Handscomb completed his ton with a splendid on drive and soon Paine had his half century, knocking the ball around expertly. Paine’s resistance was ended by Hasan Ali for 75 which was added by the departure of Handscomb for 134 to Ashraf completing the Pakistan fightback as Australia were 373-7. A valuable 41 runs were added between Starc, Pattinson and Lyon therefore pushing the score beyond 400 and leaving a 312 run chase on a degrading Day 5 pitch. 

 

Amir’s 4 wicket haul giving Pakistan a strong chance at successfully chasing down 312 after Captain Paine’s hard fought resilience. 

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Encountering a difficult but manageable chase in home conditions on the final day, Pakistan set out their stall with aggressive but calculated batting from the openers against Starc and Pattinson’s pace and swing. Soon after an early 50 partnership, first inning centurion Sami Aslam (34) provided a thin edge for Paine to hold on to for Nathan Lyon’s first wicket. Another 50 run partnership between Azam and Azhar Ali had put Pakistan in a commanding position but were swiftly pegged back as Maxwell and Renshaw combined for the dismissal of Ali (39). Approaching 50 himself, Azam was at a loss to explain his decision to slog Pattinson which saw his stumps dismantled.

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From 140-3, Talat and Shafiq gave Pakistan a fantastic platform to win from with an aggressive and quickfire 103 run partnership which took with it the diminishing hope of an Australian victory. Talat played a heavily off sided game in contrast to Shafiq’s leg side game ultimately creating a harder task for the tourists. However, the ever reliable Mitchell Starc through the game up in the air with back to back dismissals. Shafiq played on for 56 at 243 before 19 runs later Talat departed for 70 after being pinned on the pads. A mini lower order collapse was caused with Sohail (8) and Ashraf (1) falling to the deadly duo of Lyon and Starc. Hovering at 269-7 still requiring 42 to win in the final 11 overs, Lyon took the key wicket of the last remaining “batsman” in Safaraz Ahmed (10) at 280-8. However, Mohammed Amir and Hasan Ali remained strong in defence and resiliently blocked out the remaining half a dozen overs to end this classic Test match in a well fought out draw. 

Pak 2nd innings batting scorecard

Almost but not quite for Pakistan who couldn’t get over the line! 

 

Lyon and Starc were the key bowlers in Australia’s quest for a win ending in a draw.

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Usman Khawaja produced two defiant, determined and profitable innings assisting Australia to a well earnt draw. In general, we played some fantastic cricket and the 156 run stand between Handscomb and Paine was crucial for setting Pakistan a total with the hope of bowling them out. As a team, we stood together firmly and strongly and helped to provide a spectacular Test match which ebbed and flowed. The loss of fast bowler Josh Hazelwood before he had bowled a ball hampered our chances but our main bowlers were ably supported by Glenn Maxwell and part time options which all contributed to a pleasing performance. 

Heading into the final Test match of 2 in the series, it is likely that Hazelwood will miss the match supplying an opportunity for seamers Jhye Richardson and Peter Siddle to deputise or alternatively spin with Steve O’Keefe and Jon Holland waiting in the wings. Mitchell Marsh could come into contention as a bowling allrounder meanwhile Travis Head’s poor debut showing puts pressure on his spot in the side. Revisit the site to see the outcome of the second test match between Pakistan and Australia which will be a mouth watering contest to decide the victor of the series! The team are overwhelmed by the support.

 

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Ashes Cricket PS4 (GTC): To change or to not change? Afghanistan vs England preview

Table after Round 3

With a rather bleak and disappointing looking table following our three consecutive losses in the Global Test Championship, England travel to Afghanistan looking to beat the rising and potentially great test side containing spin aplomb.

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Whilst we will not name the official XI to encounter 3rd placed Afghanistan, we can confirm that Somerset’s left arm spinner Jack Leach will add to his caps gained in New Zealand and Sri Lanka (real life) and make his GTC debut. His left arm off spin gives us a different dimension to our line up which will be boosted by Leach’s consistency and variety with the pink ball. 

Broad 50 (2)

His definite inclusion means that a change at least will occur in our bowling attack with experienced seamer Stuart Broad at risk ,after taking two wickets @ 180, of losing his place if we decide the pitch favours spinners over seamers. Alternatively, the option to replace a batter remains on the table with both openers under pressure with the certainty that both Moeen Ali ( 11 wickets) and Adil Rashid ( 10 wickets) will feature heavily with the ball. 

Denly

Reflecting on our first innings struggles with the bat (winning the toss and bowling would be preferred), Joe Denly is yet again included and could replace either Jennings (93 runs @ 15.50 ) or Burns (99 runs @ 16.50) as a predominately opening batsman but also the option of some handy leg spin. He joins Sam Curran, who was incidentally picked as a batsman and fast bowler Mark Wood in the 15 man squad touring to Asia. 

With pressure certainly increases on all concerned in the England setup, a win wouldn’t go a miss but will no doubt be very tricky against a capable Afghanistan who have already shocked Australia so far in the GTC. The imminent threat of spin trio Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will definitely not be an exciting prospect for our batsman but we will need to be on top of them to ensure victory. Left arm seamer Ahmed is also a threat with the new and old ball whilst opening duo Inshullah and Ahmadi will be hoping to continue their imperious form. Stay tuned for Game 4 of the Global Test Championship and the round up of the other fixtures right her eon the website in the short future.