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