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No Stokes. No Balance.

Just some quick thoughts about England’s Test squad for the New Zealand series. What did you make of the squad? At first glance I was pretty happy. Every single one of the players selected deserves their place. But when I started thinking about the makeup of the final XI, the concerns crept in. The problem, of course, is how on earth England are going to field a balanced XI from the 15 names selected by the Ed Smithless braintrust. It’s not really their fault, as it’s...

Middle Order Hopefuls

Today we welcome Toby Reynolds from The Sticky Wicket Podcast to TFT. He has some thoughts on England’s middle-order options for the challenges ahead … England have a fairly solid middle order but there will always be players knocking on the door, not just for this summer but for the tough winter ahead in Australia. Injuries and loss of form can strike at any time, in which case here are some of the candidates to step in. Current Middle Order England’s middle order has been fairly...

New Stars Emerging In The Championship

What fun the new-format County Championship is turning out to be. Covid has been horrid, but live streaming has saved the day, given us new pleasures. If your game of choice is not too engrossing, or has finished early, just fly over to Trent Bridge, or Southampton, or Old Trafford, as I did. At Trent Bridge, I watched an old favourite Tim Bresnan steer Warwickshire home in a tight finish. At the Ageas Bowl, I saw Craig Overton and Josh Davey swing it round corners to prise out determined...

Warriors At The Crease: Inside The Mind Of An Opener

The redoubtable commentator Henry Blofeld once observed one day cricket is an exhibition; a test match is an examination. If so its keenest students are the opening batsmen. The single minded, tactic driven obsessives who commence the innings. They face the new ball and a bowling attack designed to unsettle and probe for weakness. If the toss is lost there could also be the small matter of a turning wicket favouring the bowlers. An opener may have the full repertoire of shots in their locker;...

The Thrill Of The Chase

This year’s abandoned IPL involved a familiar procession at the toss. Meet in the middle, make your call, win the toss, bowl first (unless your name is Rohit Sharma in Chennai). It’s a well-rehearsed act in T20 cricket, almost automatic at this point. So established is the urge to chase that it takes little imagination to guess what the winning captain will politely opt for. With this familiarity, one would expect a matching level of competence. Surely, teams are so used to chasing scores...

The Championship’s Super Weekend

Raw numbers paint the picture. The viewership of Yorkshire’s live stream hovered consistently around 3,500. As the afternoon ticked along, so too did the flow of viewers.  The steady click of electronic turnstiles turned into a stampede, as people raced to view the climax of Northamptonshire’s visit to Headingley. As soon as Northants lost the ninth wicket, attendees arrived en masse.  The numbers whirring upwards like an odometer fraud in reverse. 3,981, 4,121, 4,333, 4,550, 4,670...

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