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World Cup Sundries

Chris Gayle 203 (2)

Bye: Chris Gayle has dusted off the cobwebs from his whites it seems as he has reversed his retirement decision and will continue on after the World Cup. He has hinted at a future Test match against the imperious India and will be looking to add to his two triple centuries in a Test career where his last appearance came 5 years ago – however he might want to inform his captain.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/27058640/chris-gayle-says-definitely-playing-odis-maybe-test-post-world-cup

south africa win by 4 wickets

Leg Bye: South Africa have been a well talked story in the World Cup but for all the wrong reasons as their talented side crashed miserably out of the World Cup with games to spare. Losing Dale Steyn to injury was a blow but it has been the incumbent players that have not delivered with only Rassie Van der Dussen and Imran Tahir having a  successful time. 4 fifties and no hundred alongside key players not performing as (wickets) Rabada (6) and Ngidi (7) haven’t adjusted to the conditions. Back to the 4 year drawing board!

Gopal bowled

No Ball: Previously banned David Warner leads the tournament currently for most runs scored with 500 followed by Australian batting partner Aaron Finch (496). Warner holds the highest score (166) whilst Shakib Al Hasan has been in super form becoming only the third player to score a hundred and take a 5 wicket haul in the tournament. 

Wide: We have some amazing cricket matches with some nail biting matches including New Zealand’s pair of brilliant chases against South Africa and Bangladesh led well by Captain Kane Williamson! England’s collapses against Sri Lanka and Australia as well as a poor showing against Pakistan have had an old era about them. Cricket is on the up and it is a sensational sport!

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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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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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Salt Vaults Towards England!

Phil Salt
After Sussex conceded a 79 run lead, 22 year old opener Salt sprinkled and smashed the ball to the boundary which alongside other opener Tom Haines gave Sussex a brilliant platform before he departed for 80 from 67 against Leicestershire.

It isn’t the first time that the aggressive, modern day style batting of Salt paid dividend for Sussex, this time in the 4 day format. Last year, Salt followed up a trailblazing 66 from 25 balls against Middlesex in the T20 competition with a sensational knock of 148 from 138 balls in the 4 day match against Derbyshire. Following Salt’s burst on to the scene worldwide, he was signed up for the PSL and the T10 league in Dubai where he performed well but not with the same kind of substance that saw him signed up. 

Salt is a traditional modern day batter who can play admirably 360 degrees (his switch hit against South Africa in 2017 was incredible) but unlike many he has not curved his aggressive and counter attacking style in the longer format which has produced enough runs to see him flirting with the opportunity of an England call up. Now it may look unlikely especially with Salt batting in Division 2 and his lack of exposure to facing a higher calibre of bowling that he may contend with on International duty, but the young batsman is one of few currently around rubbing salt into the opening bowlers wounds!

His record of 2 hundreds and 4 fifties in First Class cricket will no doubt need to be improved to be in serious contention of higher honours but he has shown in glimpses that he is capable of producing consistent high scores at a quick rate. With Sussex currently leading by 219 runs at Lunch at eight down, it will be interesting to see how Leicestershire cope in a tricky chase – will Salt add to his single First class wicket?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/scorecard/ECKO44819

 

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Dawson Dawning on the World Cup!

Liam Dawson

Liam Dawson. Since his surprise selection in the Twenty 20 World Cup squad in 2016, he has been in and out of the team and used sparingly by England over the past two or so years. But, with the World Cup approaching could some a late burst of form stand him in with a chance or will he continue to be the fringe player of England. 

The Hampshire spinning all rounder has featured in 3 Test matches for England where he featured twice away in India (2016) taking 2-129 and then featuring at the start of Joe Root’s  (2017) reign against South Africa where he took four key wickets but made a pair. His home Test debut was too be his last one up until now and unless he shows improvement in 4 day matches, England will look to him as a back up One Day player. His last T20I was February 2018 against New Zealand in the Tri Series and has played 6  T20I matches for England. Dawson recently featured in the opening 2 Sri Lankan away ODIS where he showed good form with the ball in the rain affected matches taking 1-26 from 6 overs. This couldn’t be his transformation into the side as a side strain ruled him out of contention for the rest of the series and seemingly the World Cup out with him.

But, after re-joining the Peshawar Zalmi for this year’s Pakistan Super League, Dawson began to find that performance level from the recent Sri Lanka ODIS. The 29 year old featured more heavily with the bat and showed his all round ability scoring 169 runs in 8 innings including a match winning 52NO. His bowling was tight and economical with 3 wickets @ 55.56 but at an accurate 7.26 economy rate, helping Peshawar make the finals. 

 http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8679/report/1168840/islamabad-united-vs-peshawar-zalmi-21st-match-pakistan-super-league-2018-19

Dawson is clearly behind the leading two spinners in Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid and is unlikely despite good PSL form to obtain a World Cup Spot. However, with his T20 reputation growing, will England take their chance with the all rounder who has shown (at times) that he can be valuable to the International side?

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/sport/amp/cricket/45861329

What if Moeen Ali or Adil Rashid get injured and are ruled out, is Dawson the shoe in? Will he make big strides in the early first class season? Can he make the T20I World Cup squad for Australia? He has shown he has the potential but he needs to maximise it and quickly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cricket 19

Root bowling

Following last week’s teaser of a new console Cricket game, today England Cricket Twitter page confirmed the new game with the title of Cricket 19 with Big Ant Studios. This game is subjected to be released in May of this year, so well before the Ashes start and just before the beginning of the Cricket World Cup. Just the fact there is a new Cricket game to spend hours playing is simply fantastic and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I will link in the two videos with some analysis and the link of the information from the England Cricket website. Enjoy your days and week and I will be back at some stage next week.

https://www.ecb.co.uk/news/1087746/big-ant-studios-to-deliver-cricket-19-the-official-game-of-the-ashes

 

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Express pace Wood to chop down some stumps in Windies?

Mark Wood. A promising player that so far his international career hasn’t taken off due to predominately longer term injury and less match time in 4/5 day formats. He has pace – 90mph+ to be precise and has bounce that can frighten any top order batsman around the world. He has 156 first class wickets at an average of 27.83 and 8 five wicket hauls. His impact for England has come mainly in shorter formats with ODI being his stronger suit. Yet, going into 2019 his place at the Cricket World Cup looks in doubt due to his lack of match time and the better form from the likes of Tom Curran, Olly Stone and David Willey. Speculation before and during the 2017 Ashes series didn’t prove to be the case as he didn’t feature. At the age of 29, Wood’s playing days are shortening due to his various injuries and something needs to click for such a promising player.

His call up to the West Indian Test Series comes as Warwickshire’s Olly Stone flies back home with a stress fracture in his back. Stone has had limited opportunity on the International stage with his debut series coming in Sri Lanka (October 2018) and impressed with his pace and heavy bounce in the ODI series. Wood comes in as a like for like replacement but his lack of match practice in the Test arena might mean he plays as a back up seamer.

However, Wood brings a new dimension to West Indies which England should take advantage of with his old and new ball skills alongside his quick pace which will test the inexperienced West Indies batsmen. Whilst, England might not use Wood to change a winning formula, this will be Wood’s chance to show he can be an England Test fast bowler in a permanent position. He has the attributes but not the performances in the arena to show his worth to the side.

Away from Wood, England will be faced a tricky challenge with West Indies making wholesale changes to fix a losing team. But, England’s impressive form in Sri Lanka most notably with their spinners leaves them favourites in similar away conditions to make it 2 on the bounce.

Wood’s chance has come and he will be sure to make the most of it as his International selection hangs in the jungle. To read more articles cricket related, revisit the site and comment below whether Wood will start in West Indies?