One batsman and a bit of pace bowling

Refreshingly manageable levels of information this week with very little of note happening with regards to candidates for the England squad.

Gary Ballance

This is probably the headline event. Gary Ballance made 174 against Northamptonshire. Reading between the lines written by better-informed people than us, it’s possible that England have decided Gary Ballance has some flaw or other and that they’d rather get Eoin Morgan into the Test team.

If this conclusion has been reached, it’s largely off the back of Ballance’s one-day international performances, which is fairly typical of the way players seem to be judged these days – in the wrong context. It also creates an issue. Even if the selectors don’t always respect first-class scores as much as you might expect, they still like to have a bit of something to support their case. The problem is that Eoin Morgan is famously underwhelming in first-class cricket, whereas Gary Ballance is dynamite and seemingly plans on continuing to be so.

Seam bowlers

Graham Onions took 4-65, which barely even qualifies as news. But is Onions even in contention any more? You get the impression that Chris Jordan has leapfrogged him. Mmm, frog and onions.

Elsewhere, Jimmy Anderson took 0-82. One poor performance doesn’t amount to much, but Jimmy usually waltzes into county cricket, picks up a five-for and then waltzes out again. This, however, is a clumsy, awkward dad dance made to look even worse by the sleek 5-63 stylings of Chris Woakes. Two of our county players to watch have also had an impact on the scorecard – 3-52 from Keith Barker and 4-67 from Tom Smith.

Elsewhere, Cricinfo have done little to dispel the notion that Surrey players will always be talked up long before those of other counties with their ‘Dunn gets people talking’ headline. As over-hyped team-mate Jade Dernbach fades into the background, Matt Dunn moves to the fore off the back of 3-53 in the second division of the County Championship. It’s all very exciting if you happen to go to all of Surrey’s matches and have to feel like something notable has happened during the long hours you’ve invested.

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8 Appeals

  1. I know the very chap you’re referring to in that last sentence.

  2. That new England Test Team Selection Matrix in full:

    Chap Rating (CR = score 1-10)
    Assessment of how decent a chap the candidate is (or appears to be at first glance)

    Background Check (BC = score 1-10)
    Same as Chap Rating, but of the candidate’s father

    Junior Cricket Experience (JCE = score 1-10)
    Candidate played at public school – score 10
    Candidate played at grammar school – score 2, and that’s being generous
    Candidate played at a local club because his school didn’t do cricket owing to lack of support from the ECB – score 0

    Senior Cricket Experience (SCE = score 1-10)
    Surrey – score 10
    Middlesex – score 9
    Essex – score 8
    Other county – What other county? Are you saying there are other counties?

    Cricketing Ability (CA = score 1-10)
    “Scored a few runs against Combined Universities last season” – score 10
    “The most exciting talent of his generation” – score 1
    “I seem to recall that his father bowled occasional off-breaks for his school. Decent chap, his father” – score 100

    Overall Selection Rating = CR + BC + oh I can’t be bothered adding any more up, I’m pretty sure that will do.

  3. Why is the England hierarchy filling up with wicket keepers?

    Downton, Moores and Farbrace?

  4. Clearly, Nick Compton hasn’t worked on being a good bloke and keeps stubbornly persisting with scoring runs, despite the evidence clearly showing that that’s not how you make it into the England team.

    • Endlessly re-tweeting other people’s messages saying how well he played probably isn’t helping

    • I can’t imagine there’s anything he could do that would help.

      If I were him, I’d tweet “Up Yours, Whitaker” once for every run I scored

    • Maybe the key to England selection is tweeting well. Or, as they’re calling it in job postings these days, “maintaining an active and positive social media presence”.

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