Tag: Ones to watch (page 1 of 5)

England’s next opening batsman

Nick Compton accidentally scores a run

We’d go for Nick Compton. He was born in Durban, so it would help Malcolm Conn be hilarious. Conn’s definitely a man abiding by our ‘repeat until funny’ rule when making jokes about England cricketers born in South Africa.

He’s not got there yet.

Another reason to go for Compton is that he’s a top order batsman who’s scored loads of runs in the last couple of years. We’re kind of old-fashioned – we like it when batsmen do that. It seems relevant, even if the person in question isn’t in some sort of development programme and is also over the age of 23.

They’ll probably go for someone younger who’s flavour of the month. That’s usually the way these things work. ‘Blood some young talent,’ people cry, as if talent fades by the year. Nothing against young batsmen, but we increasingly like our top order batsmen to be old and lumpen. Compton’s perfectly happy to hang around without really doing anything whatsoever. This is admirable.

Are you watching Nick Compton?

We knew he was worth watching this season. He’s currently 19 not out off 88 balls against Nottinghamshire, including a boundary which we damn well hope was an accident.

That’s the stuff. That’s why we picked him. Few players have the iron will required to be less entertaining than a rain delay.

King Cricket’s county players to watch in 2012

Right, let’s get this over with.

First, let’s restate the qualification criteria:

  • Qualified to play for England
  • No established internationals
  • Youngish
  • Playing in the first division of the County Championship

Think that’s it. There might be other things. Who knows? Presumably us, but we don’t like to scrutinise the workings of our own mind in case we damage it. We reserve the right to apply further criteria later on if we feel like it. Continue reading

2011 County Championship players to watch review

Suppose we should take a look at how our 2011 County Championship players to watch fared.

Adam Lyth, Yorkshire

553 runs at 26.33

Yeah, that’s pretty shoddy.

James Hildreth, Somerset

893 runs at 38.82

That’s okay.

Ben Stokes, Durham

628 runs at 48.30 and 17 wickets at 33.00

Three hundreds, five sixes in five balls against Hampshire and selection for England. We’ll have that one.

Adil Rashid, Yorkshire

556 runs at 24.17 and 39 wickets at 43.38

Less than amazing, but we’re not losing faith in him, even if we’ll have to ignore him next year because he’ll be in the second division. Life isn’t slow, steady progress, it’s fits and starts and going backwards and forgetting where your car keys are and having a pain in your knee and not knowing whether that hoummus is okay to eat or not – THAT’S what life is.

Adil Rashid is 23-years-old. Writing off leg-spinners or batsmen when they’re 23 is moronic. Shane Warne made his Test debut at 23 and took 1-150. Rashid still has a long career ahead of him.

Paul Horton, Lancashire

1,040 runs at 37.14

That doesn’t read all that impressively and nor did Horton hit any hundreds, but it’s worth looking at the context. Horton scored the most runs for Lancashire this season. Being as Lancashire won more games than anyone, clearly Horton was making runs that mattered, it was just that they were low-scoring games.

A run doesn’t have a set value, it varies depending on the match. Paul Horton had a good season, although that would be a bit more obvious if he’d managed to add a handful to any of his biggest innings. At various points this year, he hit 93, 94, 95, 96, 97 and 99.

Oliver Newby, Lancashire

Eight wickets at 32.50

Didn’t break either leg at any point this season.

Adil Rashid is getting worse

How much worse?

One worse.

Having taken 6-77 in Worcestershire’s first innings, Adil Rashid could only manage 5-37 in their second innings. This grave loss of form is deeply worrying.

Ben Stokes is getting better

How much better?

125 better.

Having scored 10 in Durham’s first innings, Ben Stokes then made 135 not out in their second innings. We’ve plotted this on a graph for you:

Ben Stokes' innings

You can really appreciate that this represents improvement when you see the data in this form.

Stokes took 6-68 in between those two innings, but we don’t know much about his bowling, so we don’t know how to feel about that.

We’re pretty sure that 6-68 is good, but without plotting it on a graph, we can’t be certain.

Adil Rashid has day one of the County Championship

Adil Rashid gives the pterodactyl a right hook

“Day one of the County Championship?” thought Adil Rashid. “I’ll have that.”

So he did.

Rashid has kicked off with 6-77 against Worcestershire. That’s called ‘being better than everyone else,’ that is. We recognise it well from all the millions of times we’ve been one small part of the ‘everyone else’.

The end.

This in-depth coverage of the County Championship is going pretty well. You won’t get insight like this anywhere else.

County Championship players to watch in 2011

County Championship only. First division only.

We’re also lumping them all together in one post this year, because multiple posts feels like quite a big commitment.

Adam Lyth, Yorkshire

Our reasons for picking batsmen to watch are invariably the same: they’re young and we’ve got a general sense that they score runs when other people don’t, even though we haven’t really looked into it properly.

James Hildreth, Somerset

Hildreth is a rare exception. He just scores a lot of runs.

Ben Stokes, Durham

See Adam Lyth to a greater degree, but with less evidence.

Adil Rashid, Yorkshire

We watch him every year. We reckon he could take one million wickets this year. Probably no more than that though.

Paul Horton, Lancashire

We had him as one to watch in both 2009 and 2010, so we’re sticking with him through thin-and-thin. He also averaged 70 for Matabeleland Tuskers over the winter and we enjoyed writing the start of this sentence, whatever it meant.

Oliver Newby, Lancashire

This has ball-all to do with cricket and everything to do with the fact that we just fundamentally like Oliver Newby. He hasn’t got broken legs this year and we are hoping we can spur him to great feats through sheer force of will.

We haven’t totally crippled Durham’s players

Philippe WasabiOur 2010 cricketers to watch list weighs heavily on our shoulders like a yoke of inaccuracy. It’s not been a vintage year, but thoughts that we had cursed the Durham contingent can now be banished. They’ve all come good in the same match. Well, not Will Smith. He’s not getting picked any more. The other three have done okay though.

Phil Mustard carved his second hundred of the season and then hit 51 not out and is therefore doing about a billion times better than his mates.

After 113 overs without taking a wicket, Mark Davies finally came good and finished the Nottinghamshire first innings with the frankly stupid figures of 2 for 10 off 15 overs. He then developed a sciatic nerve problem and won’t be bowling in the second innings.

And Liam Plunkett? Well, Liam’s not going to be wearing the High Visibility Tabard of England Squad Membership any time soon, but 3-66 means he hasn’t been shit in this match at least.

County cricket players to watch in 2010

We’re watching these guys when there isn’t an international match on, which is never:

Ravi Bopara, Essex: first-class batsman to watch in 2010

No-one calls him RavBop - yetThe plight of Ravi Bopara makes an interesting case study. He’s trying to establish himself as a Test cricketer and only Test runs will really persuade anyone that he’s ready.

He gets a series of ducks in Tests in Sri Lanka and gets dropped. He promptly makes a one-day double hundred. He has a bad run in the Ashes and gets dropped. He promptly makes a first-class double hundred in the second division.

Too good for one level of cricket, not yet ready for the next one up. Ravi Bopara is in limbo. At least now he’s batting in the first division. Is that more meaningful? We think it is and we’re intrigued to see how he gets on.

Maybe he can actually try and make his case by playing cricket rather than having to resort to public pronouncements about being keen, but not too keen.

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