County cricketers to watch 2017

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Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

We stopped doing this in 2014 because we always seemed to end up picking much the same bunch of players as the year before with perhaps one or two replacements. In short, it had become a bit boring and whenever we threw a leftfield selection into the mix to liven things up a bit, all we ever succeded in doing was making a mockery of the whole enterprise.

But after a couple of fallow years, we now feel like we can return afresh, so here’s a bunch of names to kick around.

Liam Livingstone, Lancashire

Has been pretty much monopolising the pre-season going-to-be-an-England-player-by-the-end-of-summer columns off the back of a strong Lions tour and the coaches’ knowing winks to journalists. Looks toss, but makes runs, which as you all know, is precisely what we look for in a batsman.

Nick Gubbins, Middlesex

Makes loads of runs.

Yorkshire’s opening batsmen, Yorkshire

The ALs – Adam Lyth and the alphabet-straddling AZ Lees – have taken different routes to nondescript competence. Lyth averaged 40.46 in the County Championship last year, Lees averaged 40.17. We can’t imagine either of them will play for England any time soon, but we’re interested to see them jockey for position. Surely someone has to nose ahead.

Tim Bresnan, Yorkshire

He made fewer runs, but a compelling case can be made for Tim Bresnan having been a more effective batsman than either of his top order colleagues last season.

Bres the Bat, who was last sighted before his England career even began, seemed to make a return in 2016 and if he only made the one hundred, we described his bonus point securing knock in the final match of the season as “a quite majestic innings of sturdy clomping.”

So yes, Tim Bresnan is one to watch in 2017 – on the basis of his batting. If he continues as he did last year and bowls as he can, we truly believe he could become a County Titan – whatever the hell that might mean.

Closer scrutiny means we may also be able to draw some sort of conclusion regarding whether or not he’s a bellend. We’re still erring on the side of ‘not’ – but let’s see.

Jack Leach, Somerset

We couldn’t for the life of us work out why we couldn’t find the article we wrote last year about how Leach isn’t some sort of saviour. Then we realised that it was because we’d for some reason decided he was called Joe. We’ve since reversed this decision as there’s already a cricketer called Joe Leach and things will only get confusing if we insist on calling Jack Leach by someone else’s name even though he’s got a perfectly serviceable one of his own.

Ollie Rayner, Middlesex

Rayner and Leach are both spinners who take sizeable hummocks of wickets at a decent average and may or may not be really good.

Mark Footitt, Surrey

England people don’t seem to think Mark Footitt is quite good enough for England, yet e bowls quickly using his wrong hand and his career average is 25.51.


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  1. Rayner’s recent defence of Leach makes him my new favourite cricketer

    (Enjoy the blog very muchly btw, well done)

  2. Second-division wickets for Footitt though, mostly. Although he seemed to do okay last season for The Wrong Londonish Team. Suspect (re. England) it’s that old chestnut, being old. (Cricket-old, which is still quite quite young actually.) Can’t bat, either, which seems to be a key criterion for an England bowler these days.

    Speaking of Londonish teams, Ged may or may not be horrified that I’ve renounced my Middlesex roots in favour of supporting Durham this season. Happily the two are unlikely to meet in any competition for a good while, so I can probably support both for the time being.

    1. This old match report from the MTWD days popped into my head overnight, Balladeer.

      In which Charley The Gent Malloy’s Durham roots fluctuated during the day, depending upon the match position as far as I could tell:

      No problem with the Durham empathy at the moment…but don’t be a Charley, Balladeer.

      1. Radio 4 Extra are currently dramatizing Mark Wallington’s ‘The Uke of Wallington. One Man and his Ukulele Round Britain.’ Might be of some interest.

  3. Unrelated, but our ongoing half-hearted attempt to… hmm, not exactly embrace Facebook, but to at least make it seem like it’s still worth posting to the page, now extends to allowing people to review us.

    Knock yourselves out. Say anything. Don’t even feel that you have to be nice about us.

    Suppose we could at some point put this kind of thing in an actual post so that the email-reading silent majority might actually see and act upon it too.

  4. Apropos of not very much, who are the oldest players in this year’s domestic season?

    Trescothick must be up there…has Chapple retired now? Darren Stevens. Any other contenders?

    1. 42 – Shiv
      41 – Tres
      40 – Collingwood, Stevens
      39 – G Batty, Sidebottom, Shreck
      38 – E Joyce, Grant Elliott, Read
      37 – Lumb, Voges, M Azharullah, I Tahir

      What a squad that would be.

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