It must be very calorifically dense. Earlier in the year, we pointed out that Rory Kleinveldt’s nickname could never be Kleinsvelte, but the South African doesn’t appear to be an outlier. He plays in a muscular-yet-flabby team that appears to be getting most its protein from pork belly and fried chicken.
But great weight is better able to carry that most vital of all cricket commodities – momentum. Despite the efforts of the frequently-mentioned-on-this-website-this-season Keaton Jennings, they swanned to the T20 Blast title with aplomb. Shit trophy though. Seeing Alex Wakely hold aloft a big metal Natwest logo seemed odd in the extreme.
We missed much of the final. Our abiding memory of Finals Day will therefore be the contribution of Durham’s Mark Wood in the semi-final against Yorkshire. Joe Root – a handy batsman – was beaten multiple times, while his England colleagues Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance were both comprehensively dismissed.
Northamptonshire aren’t afraid of Wood fire though. Anything but. All it did was encourage them to think of their victory pizzas.
Some really important stuff to come on this site later in the week, so let’s crack on with this. First things first – what the hell are Surrey doing in third?
They beat Warwickshire
It’s not really happened for Warwickshire so far this year – and this with Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott playing nearly every match as well. Against Surrey, they cobbled together 247 in their first innings, which was fine because Surrey had made much the same, but then their cobbling skills departed and they were bowled out for 169 in the second dig. Surrey had made 390 in the meantime so that was nowhere near enough.
Sam Curran took 5-42 in Warwickshire’s first innings and made 62 in Surrey’s second. It was all a bit ‘everyone chipping in’ other than that.
Middlesex beat Durham
At Lord’s as well, which is quite unusual this season. Durham were oddly piss-poor and lost by an innings. Ollie Rayner took nine wickets, which is more than handy. Nicks Gubbins and Compton made hundreds.
Yorkshire drew with Lancashire
And in all honesty were on the receiving end insofar as that’s possible in a draw. The alphabet-straddling AZ Lees made a hundred but was comprehensively outdone by his Lancastrian opposite number, Haseeb Hameed, who made two. The lad’s obviously going to play for England at some point, but when? He wouldn’t be the first batsman to follow up a cracking debut season with a shonky second one.
Hampshire beat Nottinghamshire
Bad news for Notts who are now somehow bottom. They seem to have a lot of very good players who aren’t playing particularly well. Brad Wheal took six wickets for Hampshire in the fourth innings. He’s one of them Saffers with a British passport, like everyone else in county cricket.
There was a brief period when Jake Lehmann’s T20 record was nothing but hitting a six to win a match. His first ever innings for Adelaide Strikers coincided with the last ball against Hobart Hurricanes. He needed to hit a four. He hit a six, which was also acceptable.
Lehmann is well regarded as a batsman and will be more than welcome at Yorkshire being as he’s the son of their greatest-ever overseas pro. As far as the rest of us are concerned, Lehmann’s ludicrous moustache and foppish floppy hair are far and away his most important qualities.
Lehmann replaces Travis Head whose comedy attributes are largely limited to nomenclature.
This news also gives us a semi-credible reason to publish this picture of a teenage Darren Lehmann.
As you can see, Middlesex are still top. Somerset and Yorkshire aren’t a million miles away and the latter have a game in hand, as do Durham in fourth.
Middlesex drew with Surrey
George Bailey – remember him? He scored a hundred for Middlesex. Jason Roy, in his four-day middle-order guise, did the same for Surrey. Zafar Ansari took 4-63 in the fourth innings.
Yorkshire beat Warwickshire
In a low-scoring game, it’s probably worth naming all the batsmen who made fifties: Travis Head (who’s playing for Yorkshire), Rikki Clarke, the alphabet-straddling AZ Lees and Jonathan Trott. Adil Rashid took 4-29 in the fourth innings.
Somerset beat Durham
In an even-lower-scoring game, it’s certainly worth naming all the batsmen who made fifties: Mark Stoneman. Roelof Van der Merwe took 4-45 in the fourth innings. Jack Leach took 4-46 in the fourth innings.
Hampshire drew with Lancashire
Will Smith made a double hundred. We made him ‘one to watch’ once. Twice, actually, but the 2009 thing about him isn’t really worth linking to.
Okay, let’s hustle through this unsatisfactorily before another Test match starts. In fact it occurs to us that the daily email comprising this particular post will go out at almost exactly the time the match starts. We really should plan ahead.
Never mind. The headline’s written. County Championship it is.
You could start with the table?
No. It’s too time consuming to do all the cropping and uploading and we’re in a hurry. All you really need to know is that Middlesex are still top and that they’re 13 points ahead of Durham who have a game in hand.
Where did Durham come from?
Assuming that’s not a poorly-worded geographical question, they rose after positively beating Lancashire.
Lancs have foolishly allowed The Great Neil Wagner to slip from their grasp and so frankly deserve everything they get. Keaton Jennings was at the centre of Durham’s successful fourth innings chase of 247. He is having a nice season.
Middlesex beat Somerset
James Fuller’s 93 batting at ten stands out as the defining contribution from this match.
Somerset beat Nottinghamshire
Remember when Nottinghamshire were good? They were 196-0 batting first and lost. How? A Marcus Trescothick double hundred, partly.
Surrey beat Hampshire
Remember when Surrey were rubbish? Everyone made a hundred and then one of those centurions, Gareth Batty, took a bunch of wickets.
A couple of draws
Not even going to mention which sides were involved. Can’t be bothered typing it out. All we’ll say is that they were good matches for Adams, with Wheater and Lyth both making double hundreds.
We had a first look at James Vince in Test cricket and weren’t much impressed – but we did add the proviso that we don’t ascribe much value to debut performances anyway. We’ve had a few more looks now and we’re still not particularly impressed.
We generally find people’s decisiveness about relatively new players unsavoury and hasty, so let’s just say that we’re politely awaiting an innings that will persuade us of his worth. We hope it arrives. Don’t keep us waiting too long, Jim.
So with our non-judging position established, this is nevertheless the situation as it stands. After five innings – which is very few – Vince is averaging 14 in Test cricket. More worryingly, this fits a trend where he seems to average less in higher standards of cricket.
In 2013, Vince averaged 64 in first-class cricket. Very impressive. In 2014, he averaged 61. In both of those seasons, he was playing in the second division.
In large part thanks to those 2014 performances, Hampshire were promoted. Last season Vince averaged 33 in first-class cricket.
To be fair to him, this year he’s averaging near enough 40 in the first division (although he’s only actually passed 50 the once).
Moral of the story? How about three?
The first and second divisions of the County Championship are different standards of cricket
Batting averages only tell you what’s already happened, not what’s to come
Does this make it the most resultsive week yet? Is this as much winnery and lossery as we’ve had? Has the staggering impact on the County Championship table bespoilt our internal dictionary?
Middlesex beat Yorkshire
This was the big result. Middlesex’s wise decision to finally play a match outside the South-East led to only their second non-draw of the season. Even better for them, they were the non-losers.
A Gary Ballance hundred for Yorkshire was matched by one from South African vessel, the SS Eskinazi, while James Franklin made 99. You rather suspect that Franklin got out deliberately because he still clings to the belief that he’s primarily a bowler.
After that came the important stuff as Yorkshire were bowled out for just 167 in their second innings. Who did the damage? Everyone. Tim Murtagh, Steven Finn, Toblerone Jones and Ollie Rayner shared the ten wickets out as evenly as could be expected considering there were four of them.
Middlesex are now top of the table, having won one game more than Hampshire, who are bottom.
Which means they’re second. Haseeb Hameed – who is just desperate for people to get his name wrong somehow – made another hundred, while pretty much every single Nottinghamshire player made between 40 and 70 runs.
The Great Neil Wagner put a proper shift in.
Durham drew with Hampshire
Another Keaton Jennings hundred, plus some other stuff.
We’ve missed a couple of rounds of the County Championship because (a) the matches took place after a big slab of shorter format stuff, (b) pretty much all the matches were draws so there wasn’t much to say, and (c) we’re feckless and unreliable.
Last time around, Lancashire had gone slightly top; equal on points with Yorkshire, but ahead on either wins or because of the alphabet – we’re not sure which.
Lancashire are now a bit more top. They thrashed Warwickshire 11 bonus points to 10 with Steven Croft, Haseeb Hameed and Liam Livingstone all making hundreds and then went down to Lord’s for that ground’s increasingly traditional rain delays. The marvellously-named Nick Gubbins made a double hundred for Middlesex and The Great Neil Wagner played both matches.
Yorkshire only played once (and drew) which means the table now looks like this.
The only match to end in anything other than a draw in the last fortnight was Surrey v Nottinghamshire. Utterly bizarrely, Surrey won. Their two spinners, Gareth Batty and Zanzibar Fan Arsey shared 12 wickets in the match, which is quite a nice thing to happen in this day and age and seems a perfectly reasonable return for a team that’s willing to pick two spinners in the first place.
As for Nottinghamshire, they seem to have turned into one of those teams that’s good on paper but not on grass. This weekend they host Lancashire while Yorkshire will play Middlesex (and at Headingley, so they might actually get a game in).
An inadvertently topical but quite possibly inaccurate-by-the-morning headline for UK readers.
Anil Kumble’s… well, he’s not exactly back. He’s back in the public eye, we suppose. He’s India’s new coach.
Kumble is a hard, smart and determined man. Coaching India demands more than those qualities, but it’s a fair start.
Poor Nick Compton. For 20-odd years he’s worked towards being an England cricketer. Last week he was just such a thing. This week it seems rather obvious that he is not – and nor shall he ever be again.
That kind of thing is not easy to take. It’s the nature of top level sport, but to have played and been found wanting is nevertheless a crushing blow for the individual. Understandably, he isn’t quite sure what he’s doing any more. He’s taking a break from the game and who knows whether he’ll find a reason to return.
Earlier this season, we mentioned that Durham’s Keaton Jennings might have been one to watch this year if we still did such things. Today he denied Yorkshire what had seemed a highly likely win by making 221 not out in the second innings.
In fact, that score was sufficiently large that it was actually Durham who were pressing for victory towards the close, despite having conceded a sizeable first innings deficit.
Fortunately for Yorkshire, Tim Bresnan and Jack Leaning remained not out. Wonder whether the nation will follow their lead.
As you may well have seen, Michael Lumb and Riki Wessels shared a 342-run partnership in a one-day game last night. Even more dispiritingly for the opposition, they did it as openers while batting first.
You could easily have been forgiven for thinking that the game was essentially over even before the fall of that first wicket, but Northamptonshire bounced back well, even if they couldn’t ultimately chase down Notts’ final total of 445. After falling to 206-5, Rory Kleinveldt came in and made 128 off 63 balls. He was batting with a runner due to a calf injury – although with 10 fours and nine sixes, there wasn’t an awful lot of running to be done.
Rory Kleinveldt is very, very South African indeed. If we try and imagine the archetypal South African county pro, he is in his early thirties, a solid seam bowler and capable of lower order batting that demands the description ‘muscular’. Muscular means fairly sloggy but somehow not suicidally so – enough to average about 20.
You’d expect such a player to have played a small handful of international fixtures and while you may sort of remember them being in the team, you won’t recall any specifics.
The ageing South African pro is also liable to be carrying a bit of extra heft. You would never call him Rory Kleinsvelte.