Tag: Jake Ball

Jake Ball: first look in Test cricket

We don’t believe you can draw meaningful conclusions from debut performances – but we report on them anyway.

Google does currently appear to be conflating Jake Ball with the Welsh rugby player of the same name. The cricket one’s tall, but we’re pretty sure he doesn’t weigh 121kg. Our first impressions indicate that he will eventually be recognised in his own right, however.

We’ve already mentioned that Ball’s tall and assuming he’s not actually 121kg, that’s an advantage too. Other than that, he swung it a little, seamed it a bit, and didn’t really bowl any dross. He bowled at new-young-England-seam-bowler pace (87mph) and didn’t look particuarly arsed about being asked to open the bowling for England.

Ball doesn’t stand out as having any particular quality that would elevate him above all other bowlers, but then if you took one look at Stuart Broad you’d probably conclude much the same about him.

So, in summary: all good.


A veritable smorgasbord of draws in the latest exciting instalment of the 2016 County Championship

This week’s matches varied incredibly. We had fraught, tense, hard-fought draws; ambling draws that were obvious from a mile out; and everything in between. The 2016 County Championship is not yet proving to be a competition in which people win cricket matches.

The fraught, tense, hard-fought draw

Yorkshire gamely went after a tough fourth innings target after Chris Read had gritted, nurdled and punched a hundred from number seven. In so doing, they almost capitulated. But they didn’t. It was a draw.

The other three matches

In Surrey v Durham, Ben Stokes took seven wickets on a pitch where 457 was followed by 607-7 and then 244-6. It’s not really worth paying attention to who made runs because it was basically everyone. The match finished in a draw.

We presume it rained during Hampshire v Middlesex. Both teams batted at three an over, made moderate totals, but ran out of time to resolve things. It was a draw.

Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone made a hundred in his second match after making 70 on his debut the other week. Sadly, even The Great Neil Wagner couldn’t prevent quadragenarian Somerset opener Marcus Trescothick from batting out the match in partnership with the youthful tricenarian, Chris Rogers.

Draw.

Ballwatching

Nottinghamshire were on telly this week, so we got to see a bit more of Jake Ball. Just as we suspected when we read that he was ‘the brisk side of fast-medium,’ he actually appears to be ‘resolutely fast-medium’.

This is okay though. He’s tall and appears to swing and seam it without flitting between good balls and toss ones, so he’s still got plenty going for him. We were hoping he’d have everything going for him, but we hope for a lot of things and almost none of them come to pass.

One time we hoped that there was still water in the kettle and there was. That’s the only positive outcome we can think of off the top of our head.

Highlight of the week

With each passing replay, we had less and less of an idea what the actual balls Jonny Bairstow did to a delivery from Stuart Broad on the final day of the Notts v Yorkshire match. Dropping down on one knee, he seemingly wrist-swept an offside wide through midwicket. For six.

It was a kind of flat-batted flamingo shot played with entirely immobile arms. How he propelled it beyond the ropes is entirely beyond comprehension.

This seems a bit of a wishy-washy doubt-filled way to end proceedings, so we’re instead going to try and add a more definitive note of finality by writing ‘the end’.

The end.

Except it isn’t, because you never said who was top of the table

Nottinghamshire. By a point from Warwickshire, who are two points ahead of Middlesex. Lancashire are a further point back but with a game in hand.

We knew we’d forgotten something. Doing the top-of-the-table thing is a good way to finish as well. We really are going to have to start remembering it before we first click ‘publish’.


Let’s keep tabs on Jake Ball

There was a phenomenon in Premier Manager 2 where all of your team’s young players would improve by about 20 per cent over the summer break. If you stacked your side with teenagers and managed to avoid the sack, you were all but guaranteed promotion the following season.

Has something similar happened with Nottinghamshire’s Jake Ball? Has he gone from being Very Good ***** to Outstanding? Those five asterisks denote the highest level of Very Good, by the way. Don’t count them wondering whether we’re being filthy.

Ball’s said to have added the clichéd yard of pace over the winter (when will cricket go metric?) and has duly taken a five-for in the first match of the season. April is just about the worst time to judge a seamer though. It’s a little like judging an Olympic rifle competitor by how many barrel-fish they can shoot. Still, it’s all we’ve got to go off at the minute, so we might as well count the carcasses.

Five. Plus one in the first innings.

Fortunately, the modern world being what it is, we’ve more to go off than in days gone by. Nowadays we can get wrong-end footage of events in the County Championship.

Here’s some wrong end footage of Jake Ball’s five-for.


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