AuthorRob Stephenson

What next for England’s ODI side?

All eyes are obviously on the World T20 at the moment. But if England lose to Sri Lanka on Saturday, Matthew Mott and his team’s attention will immediately turn to 50-over cricket again. With that in mind, Rob Stephenson discusses how things are shaping up ahead of our World Cup defence in India next year. The side has, after all, lost both its inspirational skipper and the man-of-the-match in that memorable Lord’s final against New Zealand in 2019… Bizarrely, even for the...

Hales Back With A Bang

So after three and a half years, the prodigal son is back. Alex Hales, a brutal one-day batsman, has been recalled to give some much needed oomph to England’s top order in T20. His first T20 for 3 and a half years resulted in a welcome 53 to help England defeat Pakistan in the first match of a seven-match series. Hales used to be a bit of a pratt. He was involved in the fracas in 2017 which resulted in Ben Stokes being charged but then cleared in connection with the fight. Hales was charged...

Hildreth, Patterson & Stevens. Thank you.

The retirement of James Hildreth, and the likely enforced retirement of Steve Patterson and Darren Stevens, reminds all county fans of the contributions these fine players have made to their respective sides, and also how much the county game has changed throughout their careers. Most county players will aspire to international honours throughout their career, but of this trio only James Hildreth seemed close to selection on occasions. A record of 47 first class hundreds confirms...

County Stalwarts: Steven Croft

County cricket in many ways gets a bad rap nowadays. Many of the younger generation of players seem more interested in playing for some franchise side which no one in Lancashire has ever heard of than representing the county that developed them: the likes of Liam Livingstone virtually never appear for Lancashire, particularly in red ball cricket, due to his wish to play for every franchise going. Steven Croft, Lancashire’s longest serving player, is in some ways a throwback, as he has spent his...

Sam Robson: Hope Springs Eternal

Today, Rob Stephenson wonders whether the solution to England’s opening woes has been under our noses, plying his trade as a county stalwart, for years. England have tried an awful lot of openers since Andrew Strauss and then Alastair Cook retired. Most of them are pretty good red ball players at county level. The odd bolter was not – step forward Alex Hales and Jason Roy. Another player mentioned for a possible recall (before the squad was officially announced) was Sam Robson. I do...

County Stalwarts: Rikki Clarke

Last week, Rikki Clarke called time on his long and distinguished county career. A terrific player for three counties who played the odd game for England in his youth, but who became a much more mature, and consistent, player in his late 20s. It is ironic that England never tried him again after the 2009 retirement of Andrew Flintoff, as he would’ve been capable of standing in for Ben Stokes when needed, too. I say this not as a Surrey fan but an England fan – there are some players...

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