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Cricket 19: EHTL – Round Four Preview and Team Selection

After our clinical winning performance away in the happy country of Denmark, we return to home soils and will take on the South Pacific country of Fiji 🇫🇯 . Our match at the Kia Oval will be the premier pink ball day nighter showdown for the EHTL League and one we will hope becomes more of a regular fixture in our calendars. With this is in mind, myself, Ed Smith and James Taylor have selected a squad, via a video call, that will be tasked with the job of first and foremost winning and secondly closing the gap to leaders Hong Kong.

Our 14 man squad to take on the Fijians:

Rory Burns

Luke Wells

Joe Root (C)

Jonny Bairstow (+)

Ben Stokes

Jos Buttler

Moeen Ali

Liam Dawson

Sam Curran

Mark Wood

Jake Ball

Stuart Broad

Dawid Malan

Haseeb Hameed

Chris Woakes has been rested as a precautionary measure due to his long term knee niggle and we feel we have the strength in depth to be able to afford the Warwickshire seamer with a welcome break. He has taken 9 wickets @ 26.67 and his heavy workload so far on generally flatter wickets means we are giving him the opportunity to be fresh for our German adventure.

His replacement in the squad is Nottinghamshire’s Jake Ball who has the ability to replicate Woakes’ imperious precision and accuracy. Ball has only played 4 tests in his career – the last coming in the dire 2017 Ashes but has been lighting it up in the County Championship and he will compete with Mark Wood for the third or fourth seamer spot. 

Our under pressure and under firing openers, Burns and Wells have been retained and will both test their ability against the pink ball. Both lefties will need scores of substances to preserve their spot in the side. A decision on whether we need two spinners in the day night clash or whether we will play an extra seamer will be taken on the eve of the toss. Liam Dawson performed admirably in the Danish game in a holding role (1-45 from 18) so he has a chance of holding down his position. 

We are very excited for our day night clash with our South Pacific friends and hope that we can put on a spectacle that will light up the night skies. 

Round 3 Review and Table: 

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Hong Kong 🇭🇰 recorded a mammoth 569 run victory versus the luckless Papua New Guinea. All rounder Tanwir Afzal (117), MOM Babar Hayat (169 +71) and Kinchit Shah (126) all scored centuries as they plundered 399 and 374-8 dec with good contributions with the ball all round. PNG 🇵🇬 were bowled out for 111 and 79 in reply with only Lakshman Som making respectable scores of 31 and 40 whilst Carlos Ahuja took 4-28. 
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At the Fiji 🇫🇯 home ground of Suva, a much tighter affair played out with the touring side Germany 🇩🇪 scraping home in a 3 wicket win in an entertaining chase. Amir Mangal scored a century for the away side to give them an initial first innings lead of 72 runs. Fiji responded in the second innings with 255 (highest innings score across the three days) thanks to Sevoke Ravoka ton (114) and Joesph Rika 50 – Asad Mohammed taking incredible figures of 8-67 with his swinging seam deliveries. Chasing 184 to win, Mangal made 60 and keeper Weston made a virtually run a ball 57 but the middle order produced a twist and turn with a mini collapse including a double wicket maiden from Viliame Manakiwai. However, Ollie Rayner steered the Germans over the line with 3 wickets to spare gifting the travelling fans a few bratwursts in the stands.


After an entertaining and record breaking Round 3, this is the current Table standings:

D0D7BD40-0881-495F-845C-894A54C911A1Hong Kong are top after three dominating performances with run scoring paramount to their success. We are second after some indifferent performances with Germany hot on our heels after their narrow win in Fiji. The Fijians and Denmark are both very tight in the standings and have produced some entertaining and exciting cricket as well as some personal milestones. Unfortunately, Papua New Guinea are bottom and the only side to not put together a series of wickets or runs. 

Stats Snippet: 

Batting
Babar Hayat 🇭🇰 532 runs @ 133 HS: 212* vs 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 
Joe Root 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 263 runs @ 52.60 HS: 125 vs 🇩🇰 
Tanveer Ahmed 🇭🇰 251 runs @ 50.20 HS: 117 vs 🇩🇪
Metuisela Beitakai 🇫🇯 242 runs @ 40.33 HS: 136 vs 🇵🇬 
Karan Kumar 🇫🇯 232 runs @ 58 HS: 88 vs 🇵🇬 
Craig Meschede 🇩🇪 228 runs @ 76 HS: 134* vs 🇩🇰 
Amir Mangal 🇩🇪 216 runs @ 43.20 HS: 101 vs 🇫🇯  Tanwir Afzal 🇭🇰 213 runs @ 71 HS: 117 vs 🇵🇬 
Sevoke Ravoka 🇫🇯 175 runs @ 29.17 HS: 114 vs 🇩🇪 
Jos Buttler 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 173 runs @ 34.60 HS: 67 off 22 vs 🇭🇰 

Bowling
Sam Curran 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 20 wickets @ 16.80 BBI: 7-55 vs 🇩🇰 
Viliame Manakiwai 🇫🇯 19 wickets @ 10 BBI: 5-25 vs 🇩🇰 
Stuart Broad 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 17 wickets @ 18.65 BBI: 8-75 vs 🇵🇬 
Mohammad Ghazanfar 🇭🇰 13 wickets @ 13.38 BBI: 5-17 vs 🇩🇪 
Ehsan Khan 🇭🇰 12 wickets @ 18.75 BBI: 5-11 vs 🇩🇪 
Ehsan Nawaz 🇭🇰 12 wickets @ 19.50 BBI: 5-53 vs 🇩🇪 
Nirav Acharya 🇭🇰 11 wickets @ 16.36 BBI: 6-82 vs 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 
Carlos Ahuja 🇵🇬 11 wickets @ 23.27 BBI: 5-71 vs 🇩🇰 
Yash Christian 🇩🇰 11 wickets @ 16.73 BBI: 3-13 vs 🇫🇯 Atticus Norris 🇵🇬 11 wickets @ 28.27 BBI: 3-35 vs 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 

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Lockdown Tournament Warmup Match

 

The Short Leg XI contested against Neptune Gaming in a warm up match and unfortunately we recorded our first and hopefully final loss of the tournament. 

After winning the toss and batting first, we lost D’Arcy Short (5) early in the piece but it was his opening and diminutive batting partner Temba Bavuma who marshalled the troops up to a competitive total. His contrasting style with the aggressive, flamboyant batting displays of the rest of the order worked well as he ran between the wickets very well and hit boundaries right at the times we needed them. 

Despite the losses of Joe Root (24 from 18) and Glenn Maxwell (10 from 10) in quick succession, Bavuma was undeterred and powered his way to a 41 ball fifty. Captain Shimron Hetymer produced flashes of his potential with a quick fire 19 before being outdone by a Jimmy Neesham slower ball.

Keeper Alex Carey started fluently at the crease and was unfortunate to lose the rock of the innings Bavuma for a well crafted yet on the slow side 60 from 49 just on the verge of the final three overs. We made up for our lack of runs in the overs preceding the power play through Carey’s innovation (34* from 20) and Perera’s quick flourish (9* from 6) to lift us up to a par score of 166-5 from our allocated overs. 

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Despite our par score, we needed power play wickets which we got one of of through a terrible mixup between Janneman Malan and Chris Lynn which saw the end of Lynnsanity courtesy of a Bhuvneshwar Kumar direct hit. Tim Seifert and Malan however motored on and attacked our bowling in and out of the power play as we lost control with some misdirected bowling and fielding. Jhye Richardson (0-31 from 3) and spinner Qais Ahmad (0-32 from 3) were on the recieving end of some brutal batting in particular for Malan as he passed his half century. 

With the chase down to 67 from 10 overs, a change in attack proved vital. Sri Lankan Thisara Perera mixed up his pace through his superbly executed cutters which bowled Seifert for 32 and then deceived Travis Head who holed out to Kumar for a second ball duck. All of a sudden the game had turned on its head when at 140-3, Kumar ran out Ian Bell to end his 11 ball cameo of 22. Part time chinamen D’Arcy Short was bravely put on to bowl and captain Hetymer was rewarded with the scalp of Neesham (3) a few runs later. 4 overs remained in the match and 36 runs were needed with Malan still at the crease. Were we still in this?

Despite some spirited bowling, Malan plundered and thundered his way through the target to finish up on 84* from 59 enabling Chris Morris 10* from 4 to hit the match winning six with an over to spare. 

Our warm up loss will be a good check in our reality and will allow us to prepare better for our first pool Group A match against Trump’s Fringe who have Jason Roy, Jasprit Bumrah and Neil Wagner among their ranks. Changes will be pondered but faith will still remain in the current XI to bring home Lockdown glory!

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Cricket 19: EHTL – Pastry Party on Root to Perfection! -Denmark vs England

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With both teams one from two and sitting comfortably in the middle of the table, something had to give as we contested Denmark at the picturesque and stunning ground of Hammerby Arena. As part of the EHTL philosophy, a lot of money was pumped into Danish cricket for their premier stadium which was primed to host a good battle between a top quality opponent and their home faithful. We took the bold route of offering Denmark to have a bat first upon winning the toss in the sunny coated skies but the boldest decision made at the toss was the exclusion of Mark Wood for the inclusion of a spinner in Liam Dawson. The conditions seemed to favour seam and swing but the home spinner Yash Christian had performed well on his home turf in Round 1 prompting Root to go with the Hampshire twirler.

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BOWLED HIM! 
Openers Marcus Kent and county cricket pro Ricardo Vasconcelos strode out to an avalanche of relentless line and length bowling from Curran and Broad. The score had trickled to 16 when Curran’s swinging red orb brushed the top of Kent’s stumps. Next batsman Kobi Larson was immediately under the pump and he only contributed a single boundary in a torrid 24 ball knock terminated by a precise yorker from the Surrey youngster.

Hammerby Arena providing a good wicket and lunch too!
Curran had his tail up at the pavilion end getting the ball to curve and swerve down the slope which did for new man Ellison his poor back foot drive landing in the safe mitts of a diving Jos Buttler for a duck. The new bowling pair of Curran and Broad caused ample problems for the Danish hitters with the seamers appearing to bounce off each other brilliantly both inducing false shots and edges with beautiful seam and swing. Broad was very unfortunate not to pick up a wicket in the first session, on numerous occasions beating the outside edge. Vasconcelos and fellow county pro Jonny Tattersall negotiated the rest of the attack with relative aplomb and despite some tight lbw calls from Woakes, the former reached a determined half-century from 82 balls lifting his side to 79-3 before feasting upon some traditional Aebleflaesk.

After the break, Root handed the ball to Curran who broke the 51 run stand by executing a beauty of a leg cutter which grazed the edge of Tattersall’s (16) bat through to Bairstow. Only 6 overs later, Denmark had lost their anchor in Vasconcelos (59) through some superb tight bowling from Broad leading to a small inside edge knocking over the ship. Keeper Gino Schneider and all-rounder Carl Fredericks combined together to produce a mini fightback as the second change bowlers entered the scene. Their 34 run partnership included some impressive shots and decision making something the top order could learn from. Broad ended Fredericks’ fun for 21 sending the stumps cartwheeling before striking again on the verge of the tea break with the crucial scalp of Gino caught well at gully by Stokes for a well made 34. Victor Kuipers and Yash Christian survived a barrage of swinging balls from Woakes and Stokes to reach tea 160-7.

Not too shabby for a 21 year old!

Four deliveries into the post tea session saw spinner Christian (7) walking back after gifting Curran his fifth for the innings and his second five wicket haul in 3 matches courtesy of a magnificent diving cath by Stokes at point. Kuipers decided to take on the swing in order to gain some quick runs and as the old adage goes – fortune favours the brave. His bravery was rewarded with some stylish boundaries through cover and down the ground. Shortly after reaching a first class high of 34, the innings was unfortunately closed by the ever present Surrey speedster who removed Rohit (6) and debutant Lotter (0) within a couple of overs to end the Danes innings on 190.

It was Curran and Broad who snared the 10 wickets with Curran’s special 7-55 creating a new Hammerby Arena record as well as a brilliant personal achievement. He has had an exceptional tournament t so far with bat and ball and has been the shining light for Root and his men particularly with the absence of Jimmy Anderson.

Another start without going on for Rory!
A tricky hour session awaited batters, Wells and Burns, as the sunset dawned in Denmark. Debutant left arm swinger Tyler Lotter replicated the seam movement Curran gained and with the shining yet delicate rock in hand he executed a superb caught and bowled to remove Wells (1). Rooty accompanied Burns at the crease and the pair squashed any threat of further loss by batting with healthy intent. Despite some tight lbw calls going in our favour, the Danish struggled to combine sustained pressure which saw the boys head into Day 2 50-1 on a commanding day.

Spin played little part in the first day’s proceedings but that didn’t stop Yash Christian getting the ball in his hand and making a difference early on. Burns had begun to show signs of pulling together a fluent, stylish inning until he was faced with Christian’s off spin. Christian beat both edges on at least five times before finally reaping the reward for his consistency by spinning out Burns for 34. Burns’ dismissal caps another start without going on a current theme of our batting lineup. Christian secured his second a dozen overs later breaking the Yorkshire men stand for 39 – Bairstow nicking off to keeper Gino.

Classic drive from Rooty!
Ben Stokes arrived to the wicket to a barrage of short balls and wides as the Danish lost their line and control with spinner Christian being hauled off. He and Root capitalised on the variety of lengths and directions being served up by the home bowlers and powered towards the lunch session in a strong position just behind the lead.

Lunch had ended yet the Root and Stokes show had just kicked into third gear with the 100 run partnership brought up with a sublime stroke through the onside by Root. The skipper had reached the 50 milestone before lunch from 76 balls and continued his dominance with an array of shot making. Stokes played a second fiddle role to Root but still enabled the partnership to blossom.

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Second top EHTL run scorer behind Babar Hayat (532 runs @ 133) 

Root looked to be closing in on a first ETHL century and was given a life by some fortuitous umpiring. Lotter had wrapped Root deep in his crease seemingly adjacent to leg stump on 97 but was turned down by umpire Ross Symons. A Danish review was set to remove Root yet the third umpire’s intervention went in favour of the Yorkshiremen citing there was a small inside edge. Replays suggested the spike on snicko was from Root hitting his back pad and not the bat… It would leave the Danes infuriated with the umpiring decisions to follow and Root fuelled that fire by whipping Lotter later in the over for four to celebrate another century of the highest quality.

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Applauding a packed home and away support!
Denmark brought on medium pacer 
Ricardo Vasconcelos and instantly saw their fire stoked in the removal of the Durham man for a satisfactory 37 from 78 caught by the luckless Matt Ellison at second slip. Jos Buttler’s attacking arrival to the crease didn’t faze the Danes who managed to apply pressure towards Root and finally secured his departure via an instinctive reaction catch by Lotter. He then castled Moeen Ali (5) stumps sending us into the last session 292-6 with a 102 run lead.

The platform set through the hard graft of Stokes, Burns and centurion Root paved the way for Buttler and Curran to take it to the hosts. 3 balls into the session Buttler was taking it back to the pavilion – the Lancastrian innovator falling for a combative 35 from 30 holing a Victor Kuipers’ off cutter into the mitts of deep square leg. Chris Woakes counterattacked his way to a quickfire 27 only to be ended by a sharp return catch from Kuipers – the third caught and bowled in the innings.

The recalled Liam Dawson (23) crunched a couple of fours through the off side and looked in impressive form until he chipped a leg side half volley into the hands of leg slip. All the while Curran had built a mature innings lifting us over 400 helped by a total of 66 extras including 58 wides. With his sights set on fifty, he hesitated whilst going for a comfortable second to the boundary and found himself at the same end as Broad allowing star bowler Lotter the chance to whip off the bails and end our entertaining batting innings on 413.

A comical end to a batting performance of two styles that combined to reach a pleasing total. Burns and Root dug deep initially and played a session of attritional cricket before upping the tempo into the second day’s play. We were aided by some wayward bowling at times but it was the partnerships of Root and Burns and Root and Stokes which gave a license to our middle and lower order batters to play their natural expansive game to further the lead. A particular mention for Root who silenced the critics by converting to a wonderful Test ton

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Bairstow completing a deflected catch off the left arm spin of Dawson – his 16th catch of the tournament.

In addition to our encouraging batting display, we made an early breakthrough and a vital breakthrough. The top scorer from the first dig Vasconcelos (8) was the victim of a cracking catch by Moeen Ali, who flung himself to his left and stuck out one hand as the ball landed straight into his outstretched palm, the rampant Curran the beneficiary. Marcus Kent and Kobi Larson, however, managed to fight their way to the close of play without further loss leaving them 187 in the red. Could we take the remaining 9 wickets or would Denmark produce a fightback and force us to bat once more?

Denmark’s overnight pair commenced the day in true test match batting style grinding our opening bowlers down through patience, grit and at times a slice of luck. The pair reached an admirable 50 run stand but that was as far as the stand would go as the relentless Curran steamed in and wrapped Marcus Kent on the pads for 27 to make the crucial inroad. What would be more frustrating for the Danes other than the loss of a set batsman would be the ball barely brushing the top off the stumps on ball tracking? How does it go – by the barest of margins (being a Kiwi in England that’s been drilled into me)...

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Bruns holding onto to dismiss the dangerous Fredericks keeping us in with a chance of an innings victory.

68-2 turned to 125-6 as the floodgates opened in more than one way with a record number of fans capitalising on the EHTL Day 4 free admission programme. The new man in Matt Ellison was jived and foxtroted out by the spin of Moeen for to keep his miserable run going (18 @ 3) including 4 ducks!! Broad continued the obliteration of the middle order at the other end nicking off Larson two short of a deserved half ton. A couple of overs later Broad had sent Tattersall back to the sheds for 6 with a superbly executed leg cutter finding the edge through to Bairstow. Gino Schneider and Carl Fredericks reunited and much like the first innings, they were in desperate need of a partnership which had only reached six when cometh the minute before lunch, Liam Dawson found Gino’s inside edge which deflected up to a puzzled Bairstow who eventually found his bearing to complete the catch. This curtailed a clinical hour of play where we persisted against the early rearguard to take five important scalps.

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Runs and wickers for the skipper!
Denmark trudged off to tenderloin beef and schnitzel 125-6 a further 108 runs behind before evening anticipating making us bat again – food for thought for sure. Fredericks and Yash Christian withstood the pace trio of Woakes, Broad and Curran who in their short spells were negotiated comfortably without any danger. The fans cheered with the announcement of free beers and burgers for all and seemed to not recognise the personal high scores of Fredericks and Christian as both methodically passed 20.

There was little cheering though afterwards when part time Root fizzed one into Christian’s pole for a hard fought 21. Root, in fact, started and completed 14 overs from one end at an incredibly economy of 0.8 with 10 maidens. His economy was rewarded with two further wickets, first removing the last noticeable batsmen in Fredericks who was well caught by Burns under the helmet at short leg. His 24 whilst not huge displayed a great amount of courage and fight which was rightfully acknowledged by the boozed up fans. The second and Root’s third saw Victor Kuipers fall for 11 via a tumbling catch by Curran. NO11 Tyler Lotter seized the opportunity of trying to make us bat again by swashbuckling his way to tea 15 not out from 17 a direct contrast to Patrick Rohit’s stoic defence of 0 from 15. A remarkable session where the fans had a good time watching their side battle to scoring 68 runs inside 29 potentially frustrating overs for the loss of only 3 wickets.

Shortly after tea, Root brought himself off with figures of (17-10-18-3) and opted for Ali and Broad to attempt to finish off the job. Lotter swung to the hills and connected with three more boundaries moving the hosts within 30 of escaping an innings defeat. Meanwhile, Rohit unlike his Indian namesake plodded and prodded like a village batsman on a splodgy wicket seemingly indicating he believed the draw was still on the cards with two days and a session to play. With the new ball only a couple of overs left and Ali causing several problems, Broad switched to around the wicket and first beat the edge of an uncomfortable Rohit – would he survive this angle?

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Unfortunately for the hosts, he couldn’t resist a little flirt at a worn battered orb with the catch being pouched by Bairstow ending his 46 ball vigil amounting 3 runs and ending the game with an innings defeat. Lotter ended up second top scorer with an entertaining 29 not out.

The scoreline is not an honest reflection of how the match played out and it doesn’t do the Danes any justice. They recorded two fifty run stands as well as a two 30+ run stands across both innings however they failed to push on and make a big contribution which was the telling difference in between the sides mirrored with the gulf of batting class we displayed through the likes of Root and Stokes. On the bowling front the decision to play Tyler Lotter seems to have been a masterstroke and a real positive for them to take away from the encounter as he took 4 wickets with his left arm boomerangs albeit at an expensive rate of 6.75 an over (4-189 from 28). Whilst they couldn’t sustain pressure and bowled on the whole too many wides they are a young nation with room to improve.

Match Analysis:

Denmark 190 (Vasconcelos 59, Kuipers 34; Curran 7-55, Broad 3-57) 

England 413 (Root 125, Curran 40, Stokes 37 ; Lotter 4-189, Christian 2-60)

Denmark 210 (Larson 48, Lotter 29* ; Root 3-18, Broad 3-40, Curran 2-64) 

MOM: Sam Curran 

After the humbling loss to Hong Kong, we are very pleased to get back on the winning train. Joe Root’s 125 and better display of captaincy was a big plus for us as well as two clinical showings with the garnish red ball. Sam Curran has been instrumental in our bowling showings with 20 wickets so far backed up by messer Broad with 17 and Woakes’ 9. One blemish from our performance was the opening positions with Luke Wells (117 @ 23.4) and Rory Burns (90 @ 18) not scoring enough runs of substance. Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan are waiting in the wings should the runs continue to dry up.

I’m proud of the team for ignoring the negative press and pulling through in an almost complete performance with stick and rock
. Fair play to the Danes who played well in parts and gave us a good challenge over the three days of play. We would like to thank both sets of fans for their support and engagement in the match which put EHTL on the map. The Barmy Army and the England faithful have been brilliant and we would like to thank them extensively for their songs and support!

Next up, we will be facing the surprise packages of the tournament Fiji 🇫🇯 (W1 L2) who have contested in some tight and thrilling games. We will announce the squad for the Oval clash very soon.

 

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England Down Under 2021/22

Curran and Root pink ball

Whilst cricket is on the down-low and is not on the minds of many (understandably so), the Ashes 2021/22 will still remain at the forefront of England’s test teams’ planning when cricket eventually resumes when it is safe too.

After the excitement of the World Cup victory, the Ashes were disappointing especially from the position they were in at Edgbaston in the first test where Australia were reeling at 122-8 before Steve Smith stole the show and the Ashes. Ben Stokes at Headingley galvanised the country with his heroic and frankly world-class batting to keep us in contention of winning the Ashes but signs at Old Trafford of the old England crept back in with a demoralising loss before an encouraging yet insignificant win n the final test. In simple, Australia’s batting was catapulted into winning positions from the genius of Steve Smith, the courage of Marnus Labuschagne and the gritty nature of Matthew Wade skillfully supported by a pace brigade of Cummins, Hazlewood, Pattinson, Siddle to an extent Starc as well as the GOAT in the form of the top quality spinner Nathan Lyon. The bowling throughout the series was exceptional and there was little difference between the quality of each line up which highlighted the class and form of Smith and Labuschagne. England’s batting was certainly improved, showed through resilient and determined knocks up and down the order at Headingley and Old Trafford in particular, but other than Stokes’ incredible knock, England were outclassed in the batting department. 

From that entertaining series, England has lost in a poor series in New Zealand and signs were looking similar in the first test in South Africa. However, thanks to the introduction of pace spearheaded by Anderson and an injury-free Wood and proper, brilliant batting in challenging conditions led to a 3-1 series win. The new look top order of Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley (Biunrs injured after Test 1) showed promise, courage and a willingness to score runs whilst keeping their wicket intact. Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope in the middle order time and time again built healthy partnerships and both players scored valuable centuries with superb flair, technique and style. This was all accommodated from a firing low order and an exciting bowling attack backed up by the youth of Dom Bess in a real breakthrough series for the off spinner. The series was fun to watch at home but for the England side, it portrayed a winning formula through batting long to make a shed load of runs before knocking the opposition out into sheer obliteration. This is hugely encouraging and welcoming for England fans and players alike as the faith in youth has paid dividend so far…

England Team

Welcome to November 2021. Coronavirus is free, life has somewhat returned back to normality and sport is back on the table. Next up for the English side is Australia down under in a mouth-watering contest. The big question is who will make the England squad to hopefully gain revenge on the Aussies after they retained the urn in 2019 and thumped England in 2017/18. Here is who I will predict to see in that England touring squad to contest back for the urn: (22 players bit like Australia’s inter-squad friendly last year)

Rory Burns

Dom Sibley

Zak Crawley

Sam Hain

Joe Root (C)

Tom Abell

Bairstow - Stokes fist bump

Jonny Bairstow

Ben Stokes

Ollie Pope

Ben Foakes (2)

Ben Foakes (+)

James Bracey (+)Sam Curran 101 vs HK

Sam Curran

Dom Bess

Stuart Broad

Mark Wood

mark wood article

Jofra Archer

Olly Stone

Chris Woakes

Ollie Robinson

Saqib Mahmood

Moeen Ali

Jack Leach

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Joe Root remains my captain for the Ashes 2021/22 series because of his improving skills and tactical nous as well as his sheer quality with the ball and improving quality with the ball. Ben Foakes displaces both Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow as my premier keeper due to his superb keeping record and his ability to score runs at the high level as well as at county level (Sri Lanka 2018 maiden century ion debut). The opening trio of Burns, Crawley and Sibley for me is the perfect set of batters to score runs and take on the new cherry at the highest calibre providing platforms for our more explosive middle order batters. At a push, I would have Burns and Sibley opening due to their current record of scoring half-centuries and centuries especially the Surrey man who despite a tough start has really nailed down his place through substantial knocks. James Bracey is a young and promising keeper who has the right technique and temperant to succeed at Test level with bat and gloves.

Warwickshire’s Sam Hain and Somerset’s Tom Abell will play as reverse batsmen as both have amazing potential on the biggest stage of them all. Hain (24) currently averages 37 in county cricket and his ability to score runs consistently is ideal for England whilst Abell (26) averages just north of 31 at some tricky wickets at Taunton. Seamers Ollie Robinson, Olly Stone and Saqib Mahmood also feature in this squad. Robinson has had two incredible years of wicket taking 74 and 63 wickets apiece in first class cricket and most recently starred in the Lions tour of Australia. He is not the quickest of seamers but his ability to maintain an immaculate line and length should suit Australian wickets. Stone has been very unfortunate with injuries but he can reach 90mph and more so he is a prime candidate to add to his only test cap. Mahmood is very similar and will be able to provide competition in the bowling ranks. The rest of the squad is fairly familiar and I have trust in the likes of Broad, Wood, Curran and Archer to lead the pace attack as well as having depth in spin with Bess, Leach and maybe even Moeen.

So there is my squad for the next Ashes down under. I hope you enjoyed reading this and it took your mind off the current situation whilst excitiing you with the depth in England’s batting and bowling. Thank you for reading and see you guys soon.

 

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Cricket 19: EHTL – Hong Kong Humilation!

England vs Hong Kong

Lords’ was the venue again as we returned to the Test arena against a jubilant Hong Kong side who made the long voyage to our Brexit turbulent seas after thumping the Germans. Durham’s Mark Wood travelled from the north to replace Lancastrian James Anderson in a five-man seam attack backed up with the turn of Moeen Ali. Spin would have a massive influence on the contest as the pitch offered intriguingarray of cracks s from the early indication.

Captain Root won the toss and our premier duo Rory Burns and Luke Wells strode out to the crease to safely negotiate the early bowler friendly conditions. Wells (18) had been lucky early on to Tanwir Afzal but his luck ran out as he miscued a pull shot straight into leg gully’s pouches. Root came out of the blocks with a hiss and a roar the fiery red orb flying to the smaller boundaries. Hong Kong’s bowlers strayed to short to the dismissive Root – jet lag maybe setting in for the visitors. Burns blocked and prodded enabling Root to move to his first EHTL fifty at a swift strike rate of 160. England’s confidence continued when Root overturned an lbw decision on the penultimate ball of the session leaving Hong Kong bemused walking off to their red pepper soup.

Root 87 vs Hong Kong.jpg

A change of session provided a change of fortune for the visitors as Burns curtailed his lengthy 101 ball stay for 27 nicking off to the left arm spin of Nirav Acharya falling just shy of a hundred partnership with the skipper. It was an odd innings for Burns as he failed to develop any fluidity leading to the rash shot. Jonny Bairstow (3) edged to the keeper soon after and Hong Kong smelt some fear when Root’s (87) fast-paced knock was ended by Acharya who extracted some extra bounce to remove the skipper.

Acharya (6-82) was the shining light for the visitors in the premier innings first unravelling Ben Stokes (18) and then removing Moeen Ali for 11. Seamer Ghazanfar (1-83) claimed an expensive wicket of Jos Buttler for an attacking yet unsubstantial 18 completing the second session subsidy. It was a disappointing hour for us succumbing to the opposition twirlers despite amassing 140 runs in the session. Sam Curran’s talent after his breakthrough performance with the ball against PNG started to show with the bat with boundary shots racing into the Lords pavilion. His 45 not out at tea provided food for thought about a promotion up the order and with Chris Woakes (23*), we were 280-7 scoring at over 4 and a half an over.

Sam Curran 101 vs HK.jpg

Chris Woakes (32) batted maturely to compile an 85 partnership with Curran propelling us to 298-8, seamer Afzal enticing the Warwickshire all-rounder into a lazy drive catching the outside edge through to the keeper. Curran raced to his fourth Test half-century off just 27 balls and dominated a 60 run partnership with Stuart Broad (21*). Curran had advanced through the eighties for a new high score thanks to bizarre field placements and overthrows and he entered the nervous nineties with consecutive nerveless slog sweeps of spinner Eshan Khan (0-112), who endured a chastening 15 overs with the ball.

Surely, could he reach his ton? The field setting was strange and offputting: 3 slips, a leg slip, a silly point with no mid-on. Curran, on 97, faced up against chief tormentor Acharya and defended the first four balls with aplomb. Then the moment came! A worn red orb kissed the sun stroked surface met by the ferocious blade of Curran agonisingly sueezed over cover which then sprinted off the surface one bounce into the rapturous crowd to claim his maiden Test century. Jubilation swiftly followed to dismay in the space of a ball when Curran skied his attempted sweep to the keeper to depart for a wonderful 101.

Wood was the final one dismissed (4) but it was the Surrey man’s 101 which would earn lavish praise in propelling us up to a more respectable total of 370 on a batting favoured pitch.

Woakes 5 for vs HK

Our swift run rate presented us the freedom to have an hour barrage of hostile bowling in order to gain some early wickets in the late diminishing daylight. Initially, openers Scott McKenchie and Tanveer Ahmed had provided a strong rearguard against the swing and seam of Curran and Broad until Curran’s change of angle to around the wicket paid instant dividend trapping Ahmed in front (13). Captain Root made an instinctive switch to Woakes from Broad and his skiddy seamers ignited into flames for McKechnie (23) whose edge narrowly carried to Bairstow. Woakes soon doubled his tally when he bagged Shahid Wasif at gully for 3 approaching the end of the day. Skipper Babar Hayat (16*) and Kinchit Shah (5*) guided the away side to close on 63-3 from 17 pulsating overs in a highly enthralling first day.

Immediately on the second day, Hayat led the response for his side driving through the covers convincingly on two separate occasions. His partner Shah (9) however couldn’t replicate instead falling over plumb in front off the jubilant centurion Curran (3-45). Hayat had an incredible aura that was felt around the ground and in the Hong Kong faithful who rested all their faith on their skipper as he intended to be the glue to their batting. However, as fifty loomed in the sunny summer skies of London, Hayat was undone six short of a half century by a ripping delivery from Moeen Ali – pundits alike rejoiced at the off spinner’s success.

We then pressed on in our attempt to force Hong Kong to follow on – Curran and Ali picking up one apiece at 144-7. No 8, Tanwir Afzal, decided to switch on the motor and attacked against the sluggish Wood and Broad proving that his average of 30 in first class cricket was not to be ignored. Fresh off his brace the night before, Woakes returned to the stage and saw early joy in removing Khan (13) at the other end. Afzal released the shackles and his attacking mentality purchased a stylish fifty to put his side clear of the follow on target.

Metronomic Woakes (5-47) cleaned up the ultra aggressive Afzal (55) through the deception of a slower ball before a stroke of brilliance at gully by Ben Stokes ended the innings exactly on 200. Stokes, as shown above, proved his remarkable abilities as a fielder flying himself to his right before holding onto a screamer which gifted Woakes his 4th five for.

After recording a 171 run lead, we were guilty of being naive and a tad complacent in our stroke play especially our openers. In a short yet high quality 12 over burst, Hong Kong had us stumbling at 37-3. Wells (11) highlighted his vulnerability against the short ball fending a rising Nawaz delivery to Hayat at slip. Root (3) succumbed to a beauty from Mohammed Ghanzafar before Burns (12) skied a pull on the stroke of tea gifting the seamer a simple return catch.

Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes led a recovery and both had contrasting experiences against the spin duo of Khan and Acharya. Stokes and the spinners enjoyed a battle resulting in an absorbing period in the final session. Sweeps and reverse sweeps were counteracted by some tight lines from the twirlers who valiantly hung in the contest. They were rewarded with the scalp of Stokes (45) who tried one too many sweeps and was trapped adjacent to the stumps ending a pulsating knock and opening up another one.

Jos Buttler looked in excellent touch from his first ball and combined with fellow keeper Bairstow (who passed 50 shortly after Buttler) for a swashbuckling 96 run partnership. Buttler’s half century became the fastest ever test fifty providing the fans a unique and special moment and proved his credentials as a Test batsman. His maximums inside out over cover and a slog sweep took the sting out of the toiling bowlers who were spell blinded by the Lancastrian Freak. Unfortunately, approaching the close of play, Buttler couldn’t resist another chance for a six and holed out at cow corner for 67 off just 25 balls. Mark Wood was promoted to night watchmen and he comfortably saw out the day at 219-5.

The next morning we collapsed in true English style. Wood (4) set the tone nicking off to the premier delivery of the day before Bairstow (60) and Curran (13) succumbed to spinner Eshan Khan (4-49). Khan also picked up Woakes for nine and helped to effect the curtailing run out when Mo failed to ground his bat summing up our innings efforts and his fortunes with the bat. Not all was doom and gloom though with the insurmountable 438 left for Hong Kong to chase on a degrading Lords’ pitch with one and a half days left- right…..

It was 31-0 again when déjà vu struck, Curran’s left arm boomerang catching the snippet of McKechnie’s bat through to a gleeful Bairstow. This brought in crowd favourite Babar who along with opener Tanveer Ahmed seized upon some wayward bowling to mount a hefty partnership. Both played with flair and sophistication highlighting a growing belief that they could force a positive result. Ahmed, in particular, executed a series of stylish boundaries in his progression past half a ton mainly off the lacklustre Wood and Broad. The partnership was, however, terminated through the one and only Ben Stokes, whose sharp bouncer hurried Ahmed who could only watch in despair as the ball clipped his bat face to Bairstow. Ahmed (77) may have departed but he had set a template to how the remaining batters should play.

Stokes, (who had already had two caught behinds wrongly rejected by the third umpire) maintained his hostile bowling in the penultimate over of the session and he was rewarded with the scalp of Wasif (0). Wasif looked troubled at his short stay at the crease by Stokes’ ability to change up his lengths and lines accurately which resulted in a third snaffle for Bairstow. Maybe the bread and butter pudding was too tempting!

The question on many members lips at tea was whether Hong Kong could sustain their run scoring freedom and keep their wickets intact as their lord and saviour Babar remained at the crease. By the end of play, Hong Kong had racked up 105 runs in only 29 sunsetting overs for the loss of a singular wicket.

Despite the early wicket of Shah (16) courtesy of a Stuart Broad out-swinger, Babar spearheaded the battering and the bruising of our bowlers slowly caressing boundaries at aplomb. He gained the support of left hander Narinder Karpe who thwarted our fatigued bowling attack. Captain Root tried to mix and match his bowlers to produce a wicket but we struggled to find any penetration on a lifeless strip. A combination of overturned decisions from the third umpire, mainly off Mo, and some excellent batting from the pair put Hong Kong on 254-4 at the close of play. Babar reached his hundred in the final over to complete a pleasing and positive day for the opposition.

Joe Root came under some fire at the close of play for his decision to not bowl Stokes at all in the last session and only giving leading spinner Ali 15 out of 70 overs so far. He would look to make amends on the next day with Hong Kong still requiring 174 runs to pull of a mindblowing chase.

Babar and Karpe picked off where they left on Day 4 punishing more seam up bowling and nullifying the effect of swing or spin. Karpe had flown under the radar for much of his innings but was rewarded for his patience and stoic batting when he celebrated a well crafted 50. An inspired decision from Root followed briefly afterwards to hand the ball to the economic Woakes who duly responded with the scalp of Karpe (60) pouched well by heavily criticised skipper Root. Another leg cutter fooled the resilient leftie giving Woakes his sixth victim of the match. Ghanzafar (4*) joined Babar (140*) at the crease and guided the side to roasted lamb without any further loss. Pressure had suddenly been mounted onto us rapidly and there was an increasing belief that Hong Kong could pull this off especially if Babar was at the crease.

The resumption after lamb saw Mo take the ball and extract some unbelievable turn and bounce yet none inducing a false shot or providing a crucial wicket. He was not backed up though at the other end as Root alongside his seamers were releasing pressure when shots off Babar’s bat motored towards the rowdy away support.

The target steadily kept reducing like the hands on a clock and with it seemingly went our small hopes and thoughts. Ali continually racked up maiden after maiden unfortunately without any breakthrough until he produces an almighty swipe from Ghanzafar which caught the inside edge bobbling up to leg slip. Yet Stokes had already moved himself to slip during the delivery and the edge landed safely to the despair and frustration of many in the arena. A couple more half chances were presented by the relentless Ali but eventually to no avail.

Numerous records were smashed when Hong Kong reached 400 for 5 but captain Babar remained intent on seeing the job through. He needed partners with him to guide them home and worry surely would have flooded his mind when Broad delivered an in-swinging seed to trap Ghanzafar lbw for a gritty 27 from 90 balls,. Maybe there was a chance for England – maybe the floodgates would open…

img_0597

It wasn’t to be though as Babar first reached 200 with a helicopter six off Stokes warmly received by all sections of the ground. First innings top scorer Afzal came together with Babar and whacked a quickfire 18 not out putting the tourists a boundary away from a mesmerising win. Ali (0-64 from 33) delivered two maidens to ramp up some late pressure but it was off the bowling of Curran where Babar seized the moment and caressed a half volley into the Lords’ advertising to send Hong Kong into euphoria.

Hong Kong had done it!  Every field tactic,  bowling combination, change of angle were all dispatched in a ruthless and incredible display of batting from the tourists duly led by their amazing skipper Babar Hayat who finished 212 not out.

After effectively being 171-0 at the start of our second innings our collapse was frustrating but definitely not match-defining. Our lack of potency and attack with the ball coupled with an abysmal fielding effort, poor decision making and genius batting from Babar meant we were resigned to a shocking loss in our backyard. Moeen Ali and Joe Root were very unlucky to not pick up a wicket in the second innings after extracting fruitful turn and bounce on the final day. Our main seamers and strike force were largely ineffectual in our second dig with Wood only completing 12 expensive and wicketless overs in the match.

Full credit though must go to the Asian side who applied themselves in a perfect manner to stun the cricketing world and chase down a world record total at the Home of Cricket. Babar Hayat as captain marshalled his troops well in their bowling comeback but importantly led from the front with the blade in hand in an unbelievable knock that will go down in history no doubt as one of the greatest innings ever.

Match Analysis: 

England 371 (S Curran 101, Root 87, Woakes 32; Acharya 6-82, Afzal 3-36)

Hong Kong 200 (Afzal 55, Babar 44, McKenchie 23; Woakes 5-47, S Curran 3-41)

England 266 (Buttler 67, Bairstow 60, Stokes 45; E Khan 4-49, Ghanzanfar 2-45)

Hong Kong 440-6 (Babar 212*, Ahmed 77, K Shah 60; Stokes 2-48, Broad 2-84)

Hong Kong win by 4 wickets MOM: Babar Hayat

The result is going to haunt us for a while and will hopefully provide a learning curve so we can improve and put in substantially better performances in order to put ourselves back in contention for the EHTL title. Despite the loss, there are positives to take from this game most notably the explosive nature of Jos Buttler, the all-round talents of Sam Curran demonstrated via a wonderful maiden century and the reliability of Chris Woakes with the orb.

Our next battle will see us venture across Europe where we will be entering the heart of cricket in Denmark at the Hammerby Arena. We will be pondering some personnel changes off the back of this defeat and the uncertain conditions that we will encounter in the happiest country in the world. Thank you for the continued support and we will endeavour to return emphatically to winning ways very soon.

Jamie Hamilton (Coach and Selector of England)

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Predicting England’s Squads for the Winter Tour of New Zealand

England Team

The World Cup, the Ashes and the Vitality T20 Blast Finals have all concluded, the biggest summer of cricket has come to a close! Amazing life long memories were made including Ben Stokes and Jack Leach’s heroics at Headingly as well as the World Cup Super Over drama against New Zealand.

New Zealand in fact will be the opponents when England begin their winter tour in November. 5 T20I’s and 2 Test matches have been scheduled with a chance for the uncapped to stake their claim as rotation will be paramount for the selectors of the World Cup winning and Ashes players. A new interim or permanent coach could be in place for the Kiwi tour and it will be interesting to see which way England will go with the focus – white or red ball cricket. My predicted squads are listed down below:

T20I 

Jason Roy

Jonny Bairstow 

Tom Banton

Phil Salt

Dawid Malan

Eoin Morgan (C)

Sam Billings (+)

Moeen Ali

David Willey

Sam Curran

Tom Curran

Tymal Mills

Toby Roland Jones

Pat Brown

Matt Parkinson

In Tom Banton and Phil Salt, we have two of the most exciting and talented modern day openers who deserve a chance at higher honours after exceptional eye catching performances in the T20 Blast with the latter going to play the Big Bash for the Adelaide Strikers in the winter. Also rewarded for brilliant T20 blast form are Lancashire’s leg spinner Matt Parkinson who plays instead of Rashid (injury) with 21 wickets at an average of 14 in this years blast as well as slower ball specialist Pat Brown who impressed yet again on Finals Day.

Roland Jones has starred with the ball this year ( 19 wickets at 19 a piece) and is also a Test candidate after showing glimpses of potential in 2017 versus South Africa. Mills is a fast skilful bowler who guided Sussex to the top of the group table before injury and has demonstrated amazing ability in the shortest form.

I have rested a lot if not most of the England World cup Squad and Ashes team to give them an extended break and recharge them for the Test series and then the Test Championship fixtures.

New Zealand Team

Test

Rory Burns

Dominic Sibley

Joe Denly

Joe Root (C)

Ben Stokes

Jonny Bairstow (+)

Jos Buttler

Chris Woakes

Jack Leach

Jofra Archer

Stuart Broad

Ollie Pope

Ben Foakes (+) 

Sam Curran

Craig Overton

Dom Bess

England ODI

Warwickshire’s Sibley must be a shoo-in after his fantastic season amassing 1575 runs with 6 centuries including last week’s 215 not out against Notts, carrying his bat. Burns and Sibley have great Test futures and their ability to stick around at the crease striving to score big runs is an ideal platform for England. Denly deserves to keep his spot following his determined half century knocks in the Ashes and can bat anywhere in the top 4. 

The middle order conundrum is still out for jury but I have decided to stick faith with Bairstow and Buttler as both have run scoring talent and will have a point to prove to the selectors down in New Zealand. Ben Foakes is in the squad as a reserve keeper batsman who can fill the void if needed.

Foakes’ teammate Ollie Pope is in as a reserve batsman who has played some consistent (221 not out) innings for Surrey and needs a chance to show his talent on the international stage. Dom Bess has played for Yorkshire and Somerset this county season and has replicated the sort of form that saw him make his Test debut in 2017. Overton will pip out any other county seamers due to his knack of taking partnership breaking wickets and overall consistency.

A lot of players can fill these roles more than adequately and I am sure that both of these squads would give the Kiwis a big test. English cricket needs people to be pushing constantly for positions or else the standard drops. It will be intriguing to see who is selected when the squads are released on Monday…


 

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Cricket 19: EHTL – Round Two Squad Selection

Bairstow - Stokes fist bump

Following our opening round victory at the hands of Papua New Guinea, we return to a familiar venue, the Home of Cricket, to entertain Hong Kong with the aim to win consecutive games on the bounce.

After consulting with Ed Smith and James Taylor, we have decided to alter our squad slightly with the aim of using home advantage and knowledge of conditions to bring a winning formula. Test great and our stalwart James Anderson has retired following the PNG match and we would like to take the chance to congratulate Jimmy on his fantastic record breaking career and note he will be sorely missed in our future plans.

The playing squad for our EHTL math against Hong Kong 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

Mark Wood

Additional Squad Members: David Malan, Ben Foakes, Jake Ball

Fast bowler Mark Wood makes his eagerly anticipated return to Test Cricket in place of Anderson. Wood’s hostility and extra pace/bounce will make him a valuable asset to our bowling group as Lords is quite two paced. The Durham man is a dynamic player who provides a different point of attack which could be crucial against a strong Hong Kong outfit should he make the XI. 

Hampshire’s Liam Dawson retains his place and provides healthy competition for incumbent spinner Moeen Ali and should Lords take a twist towards spin favouring conditions, Dawson is more than capable of stepping up.

The team look forward to gracing the field again in the inaugural Eastern Hemisphere Test League and are excited by the competition created for spots which should push our players to their best. We are extremely grateful and thankful for the support shown in the opening match and hope the fan base can deliver once again whilst we hope to have two wins on the bounce.

Jamie Hamilton, Selection Drafter and Designer, England

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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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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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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 🙂