We’re mostly talking about Ollie Pope again this week, with maybe a dash of James Hildreth and a soupcon of Keaton Jennings

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Ollie Pope (via ECB)

A combination of (a) the current state of the England cricket team and (b) the nature of early season cricket means that we’ve almost exclusively been talking about batsmen so far this summer.

This isn’t actually all that great for those of us who consider batsmen necessary impediments to the progress of cricket matches. Maybe later in the year, we can focus on fast bowlers and spinners. Please let that happen.

But priorities are priorities and England need people who can make runs, or at the very least avoid edging to slip while someone else makes runs from the other end. (Hard to justify having excessively lofty standards at the minute. We’d definitely settle for prolonged runless crease occupation from a number three.)

A few weeks ago, Ollie Pope made a hundred for Surrey and we took notice because not very many people have been making hundreds, let alone children. (How High by The Charlatans came out a year before Pope was born. We still think of How High as being one of the “new” Charlatans songs. (We went to the same school as Tim Burgess, incidentally, although he is quite a bit older than us.))

This week Ollie Pope made another hundred. In fact he made 158 not out in Surrey’s 414 all out against Yorkshire. That is a good knock – and not just because three of Kevin Pietersen’s first six Test hundreds were 158.

Oddly, just as it did last time, Pope’s hundred again coincided with one from James Hildreth, who made 184 for Somerset.

Finally, Keaton Jennings made 126 in Lancashire’s innings victory over Nottinghamshire and that too seems significant.


Nope. Draw your own.


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  1. 158 is a properly boring number. About the only interesting property it has is that it is exactly 31 more than the 31st prime number (and every prime has a corresponding such number, so it’s hardly a big deal). I reckon that’s why KP chose it so often, so it wouldn’t distract people’s attention away from him.

    If I’d have been batting at the Oval on that day, I’d have got myself out on 153 (*), which is far and away the most interesting number there is.

    (*) or 0, probably.

  2. 158 along with 551/6 turned out to be pretty cursed scores for KP and England after that glorious day at The Oval, did they not? Except that I can’t remember exactly because I’ve blocked certain of these events from my memory.

  3. Certain numbers in cricket are more interesting by what they lack – 87 being 13 away from a century is one of the better known examples of that which I touch inexpertly upon.

    158 is less obvious but rather more revealing as it is of course 42 away from a double ton, and 42 is, as any fool no, the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything” in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

    *And in Japanese culture, the number 42 is considered unlucky because the numerals when pronounced separately—shi ni (four two)—sound like the word “death”. Which is synonymous in some people’s minds with getting out in cricket.

    So there you are. 158. No wonder KP liked it so much.

    *This I copied from Wiki.

  4. I recently tried to convince Mrs daneel that Jr. should be given a Tim Burgess haircut but I lost that argument.

    1. Bit special, wasn’t it? Even better than when he managed to twat it against England.

      I think it’s ace that they’ve managed to fight their way back into the game. I suppose they’re a fair way from being out of the woods yet, but another twenty or thirty and who knows.

      C’mon the Micks!

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