Category: County cricket news (page 24 of 43)

Will Smith, Durham: first-class batsman to watch in 2010

Will Smith was the one batsman who didn’t score runs for Durham last year, which might not immediately mark him out as being worth watching, but the year before that he was arguably their best batsman.

We’re putting the mediocre batting down to his being made captain in 2009. It’s like when someone’s knocking at the door while you’re trying to write about Will Smith of Durham: it’s a distraction and you can’t deal with both at once.

Actually, maybe it’s a bit different. Judging from the fact that Smith hit 150 in his penultimate match last season, maybe you learn to cope with both. In the other situation, eventually the knocking just stops – as does the writing about Will Smith of Durham.

Adil Rashid, Yorkshire: first-class bowler to watch in 2010

The general feeling about Adil Rashid is that maybe everyone should just let him play a bit of cricket.

England helped his development no end last season by keeping him out of the majority of Yorkshire’s matches so that he could not play for them instead. Occasionally they let him bowl a single over before the captain, in keeping with English attitudes to leg-spinners, took him off and brought on someone to bowl flat, non-spinning finger-spin instead. Once in a while, he bowled well, at which point they dropped him.

Adil Rashid hit 387 runs at 77.40 last season, you know. Let him bat more. Let him bowl more.

Mark Davies, Durham: first-class bowler to watch in 2010

Mark Davies - a new life free of the King Cricket curse begins at 30Mark Davies’ 19 wickets at 29.57 last year was a woeful return by his standards, but an overall first-class record that reads 251 wickets at 21.68 is as good as it gets.

Mark’s 30 this year, so this will be his fourth and final appearance in our Ones To Watch. He’s as close to the England side as he’s ever been, so maybe this plot-free tale of one man repeatedly having his name published on an obscure cricket website during the month of April will have a happy ending for the protagonist.

Liam Plunkett, Durham: a first-class bowler for 2010

Liam Plunkett’s a bit of a batsman as well, but his bowling is what matters.

Of Durham’s many fine bowlers, Onions, Harmison and Blackwell all averaged less than Plunkett last season, but only Harmison took more wickets. Plunkett’s average of 24.83 was hardly shameful either.

Although Plunkett’s age seems to increase by the year, he’s still only 25. He’s probably getting to the point where experience and youth are sitting hand-in-hand, perhaps watching an Adam Sandler film and wondering whether it’ll seem funnier if they drink more wine. Next season experience will have a lot more to do but youth won’t really feel like helping any more.

Liam Plunkett will probably be quite happy to spend less time watching England play while wearing the High-Visibility Tabard of Squad Membership that the national side uses to help onlookers identify who’s not been picked for this particular one-day international.

Ashes on free TV could mean four counties going bankrupt

Sounds good to us. Can we choose which ones?

The ECB have felt it necessary to spend half a million pounds on some research that shows how badly off they’d be if the Ashes were put on free TV rather than Sky. We can’t help but think that an organisation that does that has no concept of the value of money.

The study also says that the ECB are ace because around a fifth of their expenditure is on ‘grass roots cricket’. The ECB think this is a large percentage. We don’t, because we don’t believe they should subsidise county cricket clubs so much. In our eyes, the ECB’s responsibilities are to grass roots cricket and the England team.

In other news, two more IPL franchises have been sold for jaw-dropping sums of money. For some reason, the IPL is awash with cash. It might be something to do with broadcasting matches on TV to as many people as possible at a decent, predictable hour.

Chris Schofield produces a little bit of magic

'Get Stowfield on'

All those who’ve had the privilege of watching the Lancastrian long-hop machine turn his arm over will be not in the least bit surprised to discover that this magic involves cards and not cricket balls.

There is a video of Chris Schofield doing a magic trick on Surrey’s website. It is perhaps unnecessarily long, so we’ll talk you through it.

  1. Chris struggles manfully in his attempts to shuffle some novelty, oversized playing cards
  2. Him and some other bloke put the cards on the table in a big, messy pile
  3. Chris separates them into a pile of black and a pile of red without looking at the faces of the cards

Chris comes across as being nicer than we imagined him. Judged solely on looks, he’s always struck us as being the kind of person you always see in the pub but who you never want to find yourself talking to.

We were right about his charisma though, we’ll say that much.

Worcestershire sign Avatar director, James Cameron

James Cameron looks forward to pre-season trainingAn exodus of playing staff has led Worcestershire to make some unusual signings. Their latest recruit is 55-year-old Canadian, James Cameron, who recently directed the hugely successful film, Avatar.

“I have always dreamed of being a professional cricketer and I am thrilled to take up this opportunity with Worcestershire.”

Cameron only bothers making a film about once every five years or so, so he should have plenty of time to work on his gentle outswingers.

Suggestions that the film director’s multi-million dollar wealth will create ructions in the changing rooms have been rubbished by the playing staff, including by batsman, Ben Smith:

“He may have amassed a sizable personal fortune through creating the two most successful films of all time, Titanic and Avatar, but we’ve dealt with these problems before.

“Last year, Alan Richardson got his loft converted and those skylights aren’t cheap, you know. But there was no jealousy from the other players. We just got on with it.”

Richardson himself concurs:

“He’s just an ordinary bloke. For every Titanic and Avatar, there’s been something relatively unsuccessful, such as Aliens, Terminator or, er, Terminator 2…”

It seems that so long as James Cameron gets his share of runs and chips in with a few tight overs, he will be welcome at New Road.

Incidentally, if anyone tells you that it is in fact a different James Cameron who Worcestershire have signed – one born in Zimbabwe, say – if anyone tells you that, just deck them.

Chris Hollins proves that cricketers still make the best dancers

Jo Fitz writes:

South Africa – pah – let’s concentrate on the real midwinter battle – Chris Hollins v Ricky Whittle.

When The Cat got knocked out in week 9, the inevitability that a cricketer always wins Strictly Come Dancing seemed to have been proved wrong.

But the best kept secret was that Chris Hollins is a cricketer – and tonight his destiny was fulfilled.

I rest my case.

ECB priorities – geraniums and counties

An ECB statement describes how they’re going to try and persuade the government that the Ashes should remain on subscription TV.

“In the coming weeks we will set out to them the hugely detrimental impact the panel’s recommendations would have on our successful community projects as well as the potential impact on international cricket, the England teams and the county game.”

Note what would feel the impact. ‘Community projects’ would come first, then international cricket, then the county game.

Currently, the ECB’s spending is £12 million on grassroots cricket, £17 million on England and £38 million on the counties. You’d think that maybe a reduction in income would come out of the ECB’s costlier outgoings, but no, those figures represent priorities, so in reality all the grassroots money would go before a penny of the spending on county cricket was withdrawn.

The ECB quote above is worded as if the Government are going to kill grassroots cricket, yet it’s the ECB who are in charge of where the money goes.

If there were a fierce drought, the ECB would conserve drinking water by killing all of their children so that they could continue watering the geraniums. Then they would accuse the water board of murder.

Mark Davies’ England call-up demands some new exclamations

One to watch veteran, Mark Davies, has finally been called into the England squad. If he plays a Test, it is not acceptable to use mundane exclamations like ‘well bowled!’

The obvious substitutes are ‘hammer of Thor!‘ and ‘great Odin’s raven!‘ but if you tire of shouting those, here are three more to add to your repertoire:

  • Heimdall’s trumpet!
  • Sons of Ivaldi!
  • Gullinbursti’s glowing mane!

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