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England's Winter of Cricket 2023/24

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Good Golly I'm Olly
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Post by king_carlos Sun 18 Feb 2024, 2:22 am

First topic message reminder :

I haven't seen a ball from today. Not sure I want to seeing the scorecard.

I woke up early for work, checked the score, saw the collapse, felt sad. Then didn't look again until after close.

It all looked so promising for a moment.

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Post by KP_fan Sun 24 Mar 2024, 7:18 am

Duty281 wrote:
Interview part one:

interview part two:

Interesting interview with Key in The Telegraph. Key (haha) points:

- Key wants England to have at least five fast bowlers for the Ashes, so is urging county bowlers to be able to sustain 85mph+ pace.
- There is no chance of Archer playing red ball cricket this year. The plan is for him to play white ball only, and hopefully return to the red ball in the 2025 summer for the India series.
- Robinson needs to take responsibility for his career.
- Tongue, Potts, Carse and Atkinson will all get test experience this summer, with Fisher and Turner* also in contention. As well as Mahmood if he regains fitness. Key also likes the look of 19 year old Josh Hull at Leicestershire, a 6 foot 7 left arm fast bowler.
- England's spinners will be taken for away days in the summer, so they can spend all day bowling at the academy, and working with coaches and specialists.
- Key is happy with the batting as it is, saying that was the main focus of the first two years, but now he wants to focus on the quick bowling.
- England need to tone down their overly confident public statements.
- The T20 World Cup is likely to be job defining for Mott, after a poor ODI World Cup.
- Flintoff will be considered for the head coach role of the limited overs side when it becomes available.

*Turner has barely played FC cricket, or indeed much cricket at all recently, due to injury.

Sounds like a summer of transition, with Key wanting to move away from the traditional 78-82mph seamer who nibbles it away, and into an arsenal of quicks, emulating what Australia do. This makes sense with the new approach of flat wickets at home, plus the Ashes (Rolling Eyes ) coming up in just over 18 months time.

So this summer could be quite experimental, and I wonder if the likes of Anderson and Woakes will fit into this new world. Certainly sounds like make or break time for Robinson. Archer, we've obviously heard it all before, and I don't think we'll see him play red ball again. Wood is currently 34, and it could be touch and go if he makes it to Australia, but certainly his fitness in the last year has been the best it's ever been...even if his form tailed off after the summer.

Could end up with Potts leading the attack in Australia. Of the eight names listed in point four, Potts is probably the best currently, but the others are mainly potential at this stage, and it'll be interesting to see which ones make it and which ones don't.

I would read this as a moment  when those embarrassed by Bazballing are opening up a bit.
Flintoff in consideration Head Coach even for White ball means Mcullum not guaranteed and indefinite run even in tests
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Post by Duty281 Mon 25 Mar 2024, 12:00 am

Yeah, McCullum's under pressure for the first time in the role. No series wins in the last three, and 7 losses in the last 11 tests (excluding Ireland).

Series wins have to arrive against both West Indies and Sri Lanka in the summer, or serious questions will start to be asked.

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Post by KP_fan Mon 25 Mar 2024, 5:02 pm

Lanka are an unpredictable team, with depth of batting, handy seamers and spinners.
If they turn up they could challenge Eng.
WI always raise their game vs. Eng

Anything less than a comprehensive win will indeed make Mccullum's position untenable
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Post by alfie Tue 26 Mar 2024, 3:37 pm

Nothing new about England's batting being a concern. Did a search of the stats since the demise of the last great England team - the Flower squad which finally fell apart in Australia 2013/14. So : in the last ten years :

Brook averages 62 Root 51 Cook 43 Duckett 40 . No one else over 40 (not counting Overton's 1 innings 97)

Next best : Ballance 38 Bairstow 37 Stokes 35 . No more over 35.

Those seven also account for 72 of the 103 centuries scored in the period.

Haven't done a comparative with other countries but I am betting several would have a fair few more at the upper end of the chart. Perhaps more alarming is the number (21) of under 30 averages among the batsmen tried and discarded...

However the encouraging part is that as well as the excellent start made by Brook and the more than handy re-start of Duckett , we see both Pope (34) and Crawley (32) at least climbing out of that sub-thirty range and offering suggestions that they might be able to push higher. So in fact it may be that the batting is currently more solid (at least in theory) than at any time since the exodus of Pietersen Trott Prior , and subsequent departure of Bell.

Still work to do : don't think any team can reach the top without a couple of fifty and a couple more forty averages in their order. I have a good deal of confidence in Brook continuing ; but as yet Duckett , Crawley and Pope have to consolidate and improve a bit further ... but the signs are not all bad - despite the disappointing Indian tour results.

Bowling later.

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Post by Duty281 Thu 28 Mar 2024, 12:40 am

KP_fan wrote:Lanka are an unpredictable team, with depth of batting, handy seamers and spinners.
If they turn up they could challenge Eng.
WI always raise their game vs. Eng

Anything less than a comprehensive win will indeed make Mccullum's position untenable

Yeah, both teams have some good seam options. I liked the look of Rajitha and Fernando when they played NZ last year.

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Post by Duty281 Thu 28 Mar 2024, 12:49 am

alfie wrote:Nothing new about England's batting being a concern.  Did a search of the stats since the demise of the last great England team - the Flower squad which finally fell apart in Australia 2013/14. So : in the last ten years :

Brook averages 62 Root 51 Cook 43 Duckett 40 .  No one else over 40 (not counting Overton's 1 innings 97)

Next best : Ballance 38 Bairstow 37 Stokes 35 .  No more over 35.  

Those seven also account for 72 of the 103 centuries scored in the period.

Haven't done a comparative with other countries but I am betting several would have a fair few more at the upper end of the chart. Perhaps more alarming is the number (21)  of under 30 averages among the batsmen tried and discarded...

However the encouraging part is that as well as the excellent start made by Brook and the more than handy re-start of Duckett , we see both Pope (34) and Crawley (32) at least climbing out of that sub-thirty range and offering suggestions that they might be able to push higher. So in fact it may be that the batting is currently more solid (at least in theory) than at any time since the exodus of Pietersen Trott Prior  , and subsequent departure of Bell.

Still work to do : don't think any team can reach the top without a couple of fifty and a couple more forty averages in their order. I have a good deal of confidence in Brook continuing ; but as yet Duckett , Crawley and Pope have to consolidate and improve a bit further ... but the signs are not all bad - despite the disappointing Indian tour results.

Bowling later.

This was of course one of the main discussions before talk about Bazball took over - the fact that England haven't discovered a top-class test bat since Root made his debut, all the way back in December 2012!

Now Brook is probably going to be the first top quality one since Root. As you've noted, 62 average to begin his test career. That will most probably drop a little, but hopefully he will be a centrepiece of England's batting for the rest of the decade and beyond, averaging around 50 for his career.

But England still need to find some more. Agree that two options of tremendous quality in the top seven won't see England reach the peak of world cricket. Side note, I see Root is on 140 tests. He should make 200, provided his fitness holds for another few years.

I don't think any of the other options currently in the batting order will end up with career 40+ averages. Pope perhaps the closest, but he's incredibly weak against spin, and his third/fourth match innings average is shocking (21.22, a drop off of 22.5 runs from his first/second match innings average). I wonder for the reason behind such a drop off, it seems very extreme.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Thu 28 Mar 2024, 9:15 am

I can't quite work Pope out - it's evident the quality is there, you don't play some of the knocks he has, without it being so.
Just hasn't seemed to quite click fully for him yet. Obviously a couple of major injuries haven't helped. Sense he's gonna have a big series where things go his way, and he won't look back. Trying to think of a comparison (maybe Ian Bell in 08/09, before he really kicked on?)
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Post by king_carlos Thu 28 Mar 2024, 11:19 am

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:I can't quite work Pope out - it's evident the quality is there, you don't play some of the knocks he has, without it being so.
Just hasn't seemed to quite click fully for him yet. Obviously a couple of major injuries haven't helped. Sense he's gonna have a big series where things go his way, and he won't look back. Trying to think of a comparison (maybe Ian Bell in 08/09, before he really kicked on?)
Get him keeping, batting lower middle order and shift Stokes to 3.  Whistle

The batting stocks were grim for such a long time. The emergence of Brook, along with Duckett and Crawley having improved showings under McCullum-Stokes has definitely helped that. It's still a bare cupboard though.

No England cricket fan should ever forget Extras being the second highest run scorer in a calendar year whilst Sibley and Denly ground out dot balls. God it was s**t.

There just weren't better options in the CC though. Hildreth had a great F-C record on the surface but a lot of it was weighted towards his home record on roads at Somerset - Pope cough cough. That was about it. Balance churned out runs but got found out against high pace. Bairstow would average 50+ in F-C cricket, get dropped from Tests for someone who averaged maybe 40, then Bairstow would get recalled when he averaged lots more than that for Yorks again.

Guys who even fleetingly scored F-C runs generally got tried. There just wasn't the talent.

Thinking about the endless openers discussions. Duty was so desperate to see the back of Crawley that he got a dangerously throbbing hard on for Ben Compton after he had 2 good months of cricket in 2022. I mentioned Hassan Azad at one point because he averaged in the mid-40s in Div 2 for about a week. Nick Browne had a decent average for a good few years, then his form utterly evaporated around the time Cook retired. There's been a proper dearth of options.

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Post by alfie Fri 29 Mar 2024, 5:47 pm

So I think all are agreed around the last decade being a thin one for batting stars and at least some hope that things might be improving...

So to the bowling.

Has generally been rather better- indeed has often helped the imperfect batting out - though unable to do so effectively in Australia or India.  (On a side note the "nearly all rounders" also helped out a lot with the bat : when only Root could be relied upon in the top order , it was often the keeper and one or two of Woakes , Moeen , Sam Curran who kept the score acceptable)

But that bowling was really dominated by Broad and Anderson . They bowled nearly as many overs between them as the next five on the list , and also took a huge percentage of the wickets. Had good backup from Woakes (chiefly at home) , Moeen , Stokes of course and Wood (rather on and off) , and more recently Leach and Robinson , with brief cameos from others. (A pity that some promising starts have been cruelled by injuries : Roland-Jones , Stone - perhaps Archer , alas ; all struck down after early success)

But looking at the above list we see that a bit of a rebuild is on now , like it or not.  Broad and Moeen are gone ; Anderson for all his amazing fitness and determination can't have many more games left ; and Woakes is no spring chicken. As for Wood he's been staying fit - and being well managed lately (can see why he has a three year contract : they are desperate to keep him going through to the next Ashes in Australia.) But one always fears he could be a casualty again at any moment...

Plenty of possibles about , at least.  Potts , Tongue - and even Mahmood and Fisher , have had a taste ; and Atkinson and Carse are on the fringes. Not sure any are looking likely to lead the line just yet though so I for one am still hoping Robinson can get his act together and start producing regular consistent performance , to accord with the quite brilliant bursts he has managed already - which account for his impressive average and strike rate. Worrying though that he has struggled recently to maintain acceptable fitness levels.

As for spin : well Leach is fairly reliable , if a little vanilla and prone to unfortunate injury/illness absences. But at least in Rehan , Hartley and Bashir some new talent has been unearthed : still some way to proclaiming a new Swann or even a Panesar ; but more candidates than have been seen for a long time so hopefully at least one of them will kick on . Hard to see England employing more than one spinner except on Asian tours so getting settled in the team is always a bit of an extra challenge for newcomers : will be interesting to see how this works out over the next few years. I also wonder if Dom Bess could yet come again ? Did show promise , but seemed to lose confidence and has fallen off the radar quite heavily : not unheard of for one young enough to eventually reappear after digesting early lessons , so an outside possibility perhaps.

That last does also point up one important side issue : it really helps if your spinner (s) can bat a bit. Not seeing a lot of batting expertise in the list of younger pace men so having the ability to bat eight might well swing the selection of a single spinner , notably for home Tests. If it came to a choice between Hartley and Bashir it might be strongly influenced by whether or not Woakes was present at number eight...

I understand there are a few other young quick bowlers that have attracted the interest of the management , though I can't claim to know much about any of them. They (the selectors) did well enough in plucking the two aforementioned spinners out of obscurity for India so perhaps a rabbit or two may emerge from the hat in the next little while ? Interesting times , no ?

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Post by Duty281 Fri 29 Mar 2024, 11:11 pm

Telegraph saying that Tom Hartley is set to be named in the T20 World Cup squad, despite never playing an international game in the format to this point. Looks like Rehan's curious descent is continuing.

England's squad needs to be named by the 1st of May, although England's next game in the format isn't until May 22nd, the start of a four game warm up series v Pakistan, so no chance to look at Hartley in the format before the naming of the squad. The first game of the World Cup for England is on June 4th.

It'll be a 15 man squad, as per the curious limitations of the ICC.

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Post by king_carlos Sat 30 Mar 2024, 5:24 am

It's a curious squad to call after the debacle of the 50 over CWC.

With Stokes' fitness improving, I'd expect him to be there and hopefully bowling a couple of overs.

Will Malan and Bairstow make the same 15-man squad? I'd be surprised. But then, Will Jacks missed out on a central contract entirely. Vitally after the dismal fielding at the CWC though, Jacks is way better in the outfield than Jonny is now or Malan has ever been.

If they're expecting spinning conditions then I reckon Duckett will be penned in to the middle order.

1.Buttler (wk) (c)
2.Salt
3.Jacks
4.Bairstow
5.Duckett
6.Stokes
7.Livi/Mo
8.Woakes/Surran
9.Wood
10.Dilly
11.Topley

Do we think those 13 seem likely? Probably with a lot of flexibility in the batting order if so.

That would leave room for...

Another pace bowler: Jofra? Luke Wood? Atkinson? Carse?

Another spinner: Hartley just ahead of Rehan by the sounds of things

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Post by Duty281 Sat 30 Mar 2024, 9:57 am

I think 10/11 of those names should be pretty sure fire bets. The ones I'd question are Jacks and Duckett, not 100% sure about their involvement. Possibly Livingstone too with his recent struggles.

You appear to have missed out Brook from your list, I imagine that's just an oversight! I think he'll be in. Crawley might have a chance as a late bolter, but that tight 15 player limit doesn't leave much room.

Atkinson is probably narrowly ahead of Carse, once Jofra's inevitable injury is taken into account. Tongue might have an outside chance. I think he's been named in the last couple of T20 squads, but withdrawn due to injury. The door has closed on Jordan and Mills.

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Post by Duty281 Tue 02 Apr 2024, 9:48 pm

Ben Stokes has opted out of the T20 World Cup, and has confirmed he will be playing in the County Championship. He's hoping the break from the T20 World Cup will enable him to bowl in the upcoming test summer.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 02 Apr 2024, 10:15 pm

Ah, yes, Brook was just a mistake on my part. I felt like I was missing someone!

Basically switch Brook in for Stokes there then.

I think England will back Livi and Jacks if they can for their all-round skills. They don't have a seam bowling all-rounder to replace Stokes with. Whilst Livi has flattered to deceive in ODIs, his T20i stats are reasonable. Particularly if he's in a finisher role down the order. Whilst being able to spin the ball both ways is valuable for a part timer. Especially so if they are looking at Hartley instead of Rehan as the backup spinner. On the downside, Livi hasn't had a good winter. I'd expect at least 2 from Livi, Jacks and Mo to be in the 15-man squad though. If not all three.

If the later stages weren't due to be played in the Windies on potentially used wickets then I wouldn't be as big on Duckett. I feel he will be there if they are expecting spinning conditions though. He's also a lefty in an increasingly RH batting group. Which is also useful. I think that will play into Mo's advantage too. Whilst seeing Surran batting up the order in the IPL is really promising in that regard. Bairstow being good against spin turning away from him might help the chunky fella too. If those guys can't get the ball off the square, then taking them for those reasons is of course pointless. It is valuable though.

1.Buttler 2.Salt 3.Crawley 4.Brook

That top 4 is extremely powerful for instance. I'd expect any decent coach-captain pairing to just to load their bowling with leggies or SLA that turn it away from the right-handers though. Then tell their seamers to bowl leg cutters. We basically saw that in the India series a couple of years ago.

It's the old discussion around Mo's utility. It can be a team with a lot of RHBs that are best against pace and often like to play themselves in before they hit out. Whilst Mo's a LHB, who can smash spin and will hit from ball 1 if required.

It's the bowling more than the batting that will be the concern though. There's a shortage of death bowling and spin is so reliant on Dilly. Whilst Surran has gone from player of the tournament and a gun death bowler at the last T20 World Cup, to increasingly looking like a batting all-rounder who needs the newest ball to get through overs. The novelty factor of slower balls into the wicket from 5'9" may have been rumbled...

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Post by Duty281 Wed 03 Apr 2024, 1:21 am

Cricinfo are talking up the possibility of Jamie Overton making the T20 squad. Apparently England have kept a close eye on him, T20wise, and he will now be discussed seriously as an option. His T20 batting has come on strong in recent times, and he has a T20 batting SR of 166.9, which is apparently the third highest in T20 cricket. He wouldn't be a direct replacement for Stokes obviously, but might bat at 7?

While there are a few certainties in the squad, it seems there are going to be a few left-field selections also!

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Post by king_carlos Wed 03 Apr 2024, 1:45 am

I hadn't even thought of JOverton to be completely honest. IIRC, he had the highest career SR in all of T20 cricket after the summer. So it must've come down during the winter. I'd be a bit sceptical of him doing it against top attacks. Whilst quick, his bowling is a bit rudimentary at times. I can certainly see why England would interested even if I'm sceptical though. Could they get enough overs from him to justify being at 7 or 8 will be the question?

It's the same problem they've had since Jof has been crocked. They've no bowlers who excel in all three phases. Which severely limits flexibility in a T20 attack. I'd take a 5 man attack with one bowler who's elite in all three phases over a 6 bowler attack of pick and mix options he need certain circumstances.

That's why Atkinson is alluring. Swing (PP), decent pace (middle overs) and a knuckle ball (death). The raw skills seem to be there. It's very raw though.

They Houdini'd themselves out of the bowling hole at the last World T20 through a mixture of sneaking Stokes in during the PP and most vitally Surran just magically deciding he'd be a death bowler because they had no other option.

Do we think they'll go down the route of stacking the batting depth more akin to the early Bayliss-Morgan days? Mo, Jacks and Livi as potential batting all-rounders. Surran and JOverton as seamers who can whack a long ball. Woakes is less destructive but a quality lower order stick. Wood will just swing at anything these days. Sadly, I think Dilly's eyes are painted on at this point regardless of his F-C centuries - 10 of them in case you haven't heard.

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Post by Duty281 Wed 03 Apr 2024, 4:11 am

Yeah, I hadn't thought of Overton either, but I suppose it makes sense. He can hit a good long ball down the order, can bowl with high pace (which Key loves), and England's bowling has really struggled in recent times, so why not give someone else a go?

I think England are more likely to stack the batting if it's possible to do so.

Anyway, it's also time for the annual go on the 'this-time-Jofra-will-be-fit-to-play' train, courtesy of Macpherson in The Telegraph.

Jofra Archer appears on course for a place in England’s T20 World Cup squad and is bowling with “exceptional pace”, according to his Sussex coach, Paul Farbrace.

Archer, who turned 29 on Monday, has been dogged by injury since 2019, his breakthrough summer in international cricket, and has not played a competitive fixture for 11 months following a recurrence of his long-running right elbow injury.

He joined Sussex on their pre-season tour to Bangalore and got involved in a friendly fixture, and has continued bowling in training with the likes of England’s Ollie Robinson and the West Indies’ Jayden Seales since returning.

Archer remains centrally-contracted by England, so is under directives from their medical staff and Rob Key, the managing director. Farbrace says Archer, who has not played red-ball cricket since 2021, will be shielded from Championship action after the T20 World Cup - which is in June - as his workloads are managed. James Kirtley, Sussex’s bowling coach, says Archer is bowling at similar speeds as he was three years ago.

“Last week in practice there was a spell where Oliver had bowled, Jayden bowled and then Jofra came into the middle and bowled - and he came marching out and bowled exceptionally quick,” said Farbrace.

“Oli Carter, it went viral him [Archer] breaking his stump in the pre-season game, unfortunately he had his stump knocked over again by Jofra last week and he will testify that he’s bowling quick.

“At the moment the plan is very clear from Keysy that they’re getting him ready for the T20 World Cup. All I can say is what I have seen, he came with us to India and from what we’ve seen in pre-season so far, he’s bowling with exceptional pace, he’s batting really nicely.

“He was brilliant in India, to have on the trip was fantastic, he joined in and did everything as well as you could have expected and was an excellent role model around the team. But my understanding is they are looking to get him ready for the T20 World Cup, we won’t see him in a red-ball shirt before the World Cup but let’s see what happens when that’s been played.”

Archer could make a comeback for Sussex in second XI T20 matches ahead of the Vitality Blast, before playing for England against Pakistan in May in fixtures that represent final preparation before their World Cup defence.


Maybe this time? Didn't realise he's already 29! If Jofra can play, I wonder who has to make way? Wood might be under threat after a torrid winter, but I suppose it depends on how highly they rate Atkinson.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 03 Apr 2024, 7:51 am

It's the odd side effect of Anderson and Broad going on forever. The next batch of seamers are sneakily old too. Woakes and Wood are 35 and 34 respectively. Robinson is only 6 months younger than Cummins - lol, yeah. Jof is a couple of months older than Rabada!

I just really hope he plays international cricket again. Even if red ball, be that domestic or Test, is unlikely. He's just such a magnificent talent that I loved watching play. His range of skills make him constantly exciting. Elite in all three phases of ODI and T20. Capable of bowling 96mph bumpers, then dialling it back to med-fast and taking an Ashes fifer with beautiful seam bowling. Just incredible talent. He was rapidly becoming one of my favourite cricketers to watch. Then he was gone for years. It simply makes me sad.

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Post by guildfordbat Wed 03 Apr 2024, 10:21 am

Duty281 wrote:Yeah, I hadn't thought of Overton either, but I suppose it makes sense. He can hit a good long ball down the order, can bowl with high pace (which Key loves), and England's bowling has really struggled in recent times, so why not give someone else a go?

...

If JOve's batting and bowling does have him in contention for a WC place, his fielding won't hold him back. He has a safe pair of bucket hands and for such a big lad is surprisingly nimble across the ground.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed 03 Apr 2024, 7:05 pm

I quite like the Overton shout - as Guildford will attest, I am a fan of his lower order biffing across all formats, but in T20 he has a great ability to go from ball one, which when coming in (hopefully) with 12-18 balls to go can be really handy.
Like others, unsure how well his bowling would go - but if he'd only be needed for a couple of middle over spells, maybe ok?
Guildford rightly notes he is also a very handy fielder.

Haven't really given the T20 World Cup much thought - hoping Stokes's stand down means Jacks gets a proper run...very surprised he was seemingly shunned from the red ball stuff this winter.
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Post by Duty281 Wed 03 Apr 2024, 9:11 pm

Just thinking what other possible outside shouts could make it into England's T20 squad, alongside the likes of Hartley and J Overton.

Tom Abell? Very strong effort in the SA20 recently, with 286 runs, average of 48 and a strike rate of 153.

Benny Howell? Howell had a very good stint in the Bangladeshi franchise league this year, with 229 runs at an average of 57 and a strike rate of 145, backed up with a bowling economy below 7 and 10 wickets at 22, plus I think he's done decently in the Hundred.

Ravi Bopara? VTR's favourite player, and managed one double digit innings in his last seven attempts on the franchise circuit. More effective as a bowler these days, it seems, with a 4/15 in Sharjah.

Liam Dawson? Actually, never mind.

Sam Billings? Decent showing in the International T20 league this winter, with 320 runs at a strike rate of 140, averaging 32. Franchise regular.

Samit Patel? Suffocated everyone in this season's Bangladeshi Premier League, with 10 wickets @ 16 and an economy below 5, from 35 overs bowled.

James Vince? The leading run scorer in this year's International T20 League, but a strike rate of 120 probably isn't what England want.

Dom Sibley? A selection that could shock the world of cricket, but would be the ultimate vibes choice. Last seen on the T20 circuit in the T20 blast of 2020, where he collected four runs in three innings, getting all four runs with a single shot, at a strike rate of 57.

Dan Lawrence? England's greatest nearly man, who had a storming year in The Hundred last season, with a strike rate of 164, and has kept his hand in with some franchise cricket, mostly in the Big Bash where he has opened the batting.

Joe Clarke? T20 career strike rate sits at 145, a regular on the franchise circuit.

David Payne? Offers a left arm angle and was a prolific wicket taker in the Big Bash recently, albeit quite expensive.

Robin Das? Not very experienced, but blasted 266 runs at a strike rate of 158 in last year's T20 blast.

Olly Stone? Back to fitness and took regular wickets in the International T20 League, including a 4/14 in one game.

David Willey? Could he be lured out of retirement after an outstanding stint in this year's Pakistan Super League, where took 15 wickets @ 20, with an economy below 7.5, and ended up in the team of the tournament?

Chris Jordan? Has the door really closed on Jordan? Like J Overton, he can bowl quick and hit a good long ball down the order. Also ended up in the Pakistan Super League's team of the tournament. Gave the ball plenty of distance in the Big Bash, too.

Laurie Evans? This guy was absolutely mental in this year's Big Bash, with 292 runs at a strike rate of 190. That was the highest strike rate in the competition.

Will Smeed? Not much of a franchise winter for white-ball-only Smeed, but struck 30 sixes, the joint highest, at last year's T20 Blast. Career T20 strike rate is 0.5 away from 150.

Max Holden? Offers a left handed batting option, and had the highest strike rate of anyone in the T20 Blast last year (min. 10 innings) with an eye watering 185. However, didn't do much for the Dubai Capitals this winter.

(The seriousness of some of these choices may vary)

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Post by VTR Wed 03 Apr 2024, 10:53 pm

Luke Wright selecting Bopara for the World T20, someone make this happen!

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Post by guildfordbat Fri 05 Apr 2024, 9:04 pm

alfie wrote:...

As for spin : well Leach is fairly reliable , if a little vanilla and prone to unfortunate injury/illness absences. But at least in Rehan , Hartley and Bashir some new talent has been unearthed : still some way to proclaiming a new Swann or even a Panesar ; but more candidates than have been seen for a long time so hopefully at least one of them will kick on . Hard to see England employing more than one spinner except on Asian tours so getting settled in the team is always a bit of an extra challenge for newcomers : will be interesting to see how this works out over the next few years. I also wonder if Dom Bess could yet come again ? Did show promise , but seemed to lose confidence and has fallen off the radar quite heavily : not unheard of for one young enough to eventually reappear after digesting early lessons , so an outside possibility perhaps.

That last does also point up one important side issue : it really helps if your spinner (s) can bat a bit. Not seeing a lot of batting expertise in the list of younger pace men so having the ability to bat eight might well swing the selection of a single spinner , notably for home Tests. If it came to a choice between Hartley and Bashir it might be strongly influenced by whether or not Woakes was present at number eight...

...

Season not starting well for Bess. Although apparently fit, he's not in Yorks' 13 man squad for their Championship opener against Leics. Moriarty, signed from Surrey, is the only frontline spinner in their squad. Odd as spin not expected to play much of a part in this game and Bess is surely the better batter.


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Post by king_carlos Sat 06 Apr 2024, 1:16 am

Duty281 wrote:Benny Howell? Howell had a very good stint in the Bangladeshi franchise league this year, with 229 runs at an average of 57 and a strike rate of 145, backed up with a bowling economy below 7 and 10 wickets at 22, plus I think he's done decently in the Hundred.
Ah, Benny. For a long time one of my favourites. It's harsh to say that it was poor selection to not try him in T20is during the Bayliss-Morgan era. They got so much right. I do think Howell was misunderstood though. He was often thought of as a poor medium pacer with a few tricks. Whereas in reality he was a quick spinner. He did the middle overs job of a spinner, set fields like a spinner, had a ton of variations like a modern wrist spinner and his numbers were superb.

Realistically, I think his best is past. He's starting shifting back towards selling his batting as well as his bowling. Which is useful on the surface of course. Multi faceted cricketers are vital in T20. It's likely a sign that he isn't quite the bowler he once was.

Having that many slower ball variations must put such strain on the body. Back of the hand slower balls are basically a googly with a seamers arm speed. We've seen many of those bowlers be successful in T20. It also causes injury though. Tymal Mills and Pat Brown being ideal case studies. Mustafizur Rahman being the best of them. The Fizz was basically bowling left-arm off-spin at mid-80mph at on point. It looked unplayable. Then his shoulder buckled.

Given many early bowlers were 'mixture bowlers' who utilised seam and spin, I find it fascinating to see that coming full circle though. Seamers trying to get enough revs on their slower balls to get genuine dip and deviation off the pitch.

Had Howell come a few years later, then I suspect England would have got more from him. Bowling in unison with Dilly in the middle overs could've been lethal. It also would've freed up Dilly's wrist-spin for use in the PP and death as needed. Ah well, what might have been.

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 06 Apr 2024, 2:46 am

Yeah, I think Howell's England ship has sailed. It's a matter of public record that he has ADHD which may have previously counted against him.

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