A hundred

The Hundred is a camel designed by a Horse Committee. A Horse Committee specially convened despite all the perfectly fine thoroughbreds grazing the paddock. 

A contrivance, built on the run by an organisation that got it right sixteen years ago, with what we now call the T20 Blast, but decided they wanted more. And a contrivance that had to be different for the necessity of it being different if it was going to exist. 

A development process that looks from the outside like it was written for a Project Management How Not-To Manual. A program in which participation by female cricketers seems to have been an afterthought which still hasn’t been fully fleshed out. 

There are many reasons why I believe The Hundred should never have happened. But it is happening. The teams are created, the coaching staff hired, many of the players drafted. The sponsors – all brand names of one “snack food” manufacturer – have been announced, as have the team kits which look deliberately like said snack food wrappers.  

The rules of The Hundred may or may not be so simple that “mums and kids” (shorthand, presumably, for “Grocery Shopper With Child”) can understand them. I am sceptical that they will be. Every aspect of The Hundred can almost be visualised by the scribble on the whiteboard upon which they surely were invented. 

I am sceptical about The Hundred’s entire Reason For Being. But now it’s time to move forward. The ECB has staked so heavily on The Hundred that it is entering the Too Big To Fail category. But even if this brave new Cricket-As-Game-Show is a success, and by whichever metric is convenient on the day it surely will be, will the rest of English cricket flourish along with it? 

What of the eighteen-team major county system? What of equal playing opportunity for women at county level and above? What of the T20 Blast? What of England’s competitiveness in fifty and twenty-over World Cups? What of the kids? 

I look forward in the coming years to new and exciting creations from the ECB’s Horse Committee. 

Steve Smith wins the 2019 Midwinter-Midwinter

Australia’s Steve Smith is the winner of the Midwinter-Midwinter for 2019.

Smith accumulated the most points during the 2019 Ashes for the Best-on-Ground awarded on each day of each of the five Tests as announced on the @rickeyrecricket Twitter account.

Smith, playing his first Test series since his twelve-month suspension for a Cricket Australia Code of Conduct breach, scored 774 runs in four Tests at an average of 110.57, with a top score of 211 among his three centuries. In only one of his seven innings did he fail to reach 80.

The first player in Test history to be substituted because of concussion, Smith missed one-and-a-half Test matches yet was still rated Best On Ground on five separate days during the series.

With the best three players ranked each day on 3-2-1 basis, Smith amassed an exceptional 19 points for the series. This was Smith’s second victory in the Midwinter-Midwinter, having come first in the 2017-18 Ashes with a score of 17.

There was a three-way tie for runner-up between Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Jofra Archer, who each scored 11 points.

Full tally:
19 – Steve Smith;
11 – Jofra Archer, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins;
8 – Joe Root;
7 – Stuart Broad, Joe Denly, Ben Stokes;
6 – Rory Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon;
5 – Matthew Wade;
3 – Mitchell Marsh;
2 – Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tim Paine, Chris Woakes;
1 – Sam Curran, Travis Head, Jack Leach, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, David Warner;
0 – Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Peter Siddle.

In total, Australians scored 67 points to England’s 54.

The full spreadsheet of the daily scores can be seen here.

The Midwinter-Midwinter is the @rickeyrecricket BoG (Best on Ground) award given for the most valuable player of each Ashes Test series.

There is no physical award as such, and the Midwinter-Midwinter is not endorsed by any cricket board, advertising agency or anti-doping authority. But most importantly, it’s not the Compton-Miller Medal.

Points are awarded for the best three players on each day of a Test match in the series, on a 3-2-1 basis. 

The Midwinter-Midwinter is named for Billy Midwinter (1851-1890), the only person to have played Test cricket for both Australia and England in Test matches against each other.

Further explanation of the Midwinter-Midwinter, its background, the scoring system and past winners can be seen here.

Don Bradman’s eleventy-first birthday, a thread

On the occasion of the 111th anniversary of Donald George Bradman’s birthday – August 27 2019 – I searched up a number of unusual non-cricketing items about The Don from contemporary newspapers, with thanks to the National Library of Australia’s glorious Trove database:

Dennis Lillee at 70, a thread

A thread I posted to Twitter to commemorate Dennis Lillee’s 70th birthday on July 18 2019:

Sunil Gavaskar at 70, a thread

A thread that I posted to Twitter to commemorate Sunil Gavaskar’s 70th birthday on July 10 2019: Continue reading “Sunil Gavaskar at 70, a thread”

Sydney Thunder pre T20 era XI

As part of a debate that developed downstream from a team listing put together by Brad Hodge and tweeted by @7cricket a few days ago (see below), I have assembled a hypothetical Sydney Thunder squad of players from the pre-T20 era.

Criteria for inclusion:

  1. They must have played for a club (or a predecessor) that competes in the Thunder Conference of the 2018-19 Kingsgrove Sports T20 competition in NSW Premier Cricket (that is: Bankstown, Blacktown, Campbelltown-Camden, Fairfield-Liverpool, Hawkesbury, Northern District, Parramatta, Penrith, Sydney University, Western Suburbs, ACT, Central Coast)
  2. They must not have played in a major T20 tournament since the birth of the format in 2003. (I have included the ICL in this definition, which disqualifies Michael Bevan)

Continue reading “Sydney Thunder pre T20 era XI”

The Seventh Test Sydney 1971

On Wednesday August 1 2018 at Edgbaston an England team walks on the field to begin a Test match for the 1000th time.

Among the reflections, the listicles and the shallow on-line polls, people have been choosing their greatest and/or favourite Test matches of the previous 999 (actually 1004 if you count washouts and cancellations). Headingley 1981 and Edgbaston 2005 are both, quite rightly, very popular selections. Lack of television footage and eyewitness recollections from The Oval 1882 have prevented it from polling as high.

I’ve chosen a different Test as a personal favourite, an eventful match that occupies a seminal place in England’s Test cricket history. I give you 1970-71’s Seventh Test against Australia.

Continue reading “The Seventh Test Sydney 1971”

Moments on the #BBL08 fixture announcement

A moment from Twitter AU in which no less than five of my tweets get a quote: Continue reading “Moments on the #BBL08 fixture announcement”