2017/18 Big Bash League Update

Table so far

Team Matches Points NRR
Adelaide Strikers 6 10 1.21
Perth Scorchers 7 10 0.02
Melbourne Renegades 6 8 0.61
Brisbane Heat 7 8 0.3
Hobart Hurricanes 6 8 -0.39
Sydney Thunder 7 6 -0.22
Sydney Sixers 6 0 -0.65
Melbourne Stars 5 0 -1.12

Adelaide Strikers

Assessment: Being at the top of the table with 4 matches to go and having a superior net run-rate, the Strikers look to be strongly placed for a home semi-final. Their bowling attack is now comfortably the best in the tournament with the Scorchers losing two of theirs to ODI duties: Rashid Khan is bowling with wicket-taking verve, Billy Stanlake’s stock continues to rise and Ben Laughlin and Peter Siddle are using their experience very effectively. However, their batting will be a worry with Travis Head certain to feature heavily in the ODI series. This will mean that they will rely on Alex Carey and Colin Ingram to continue their form.

Key player: Rashid Khan has played with remarkable consistency this BBL with 11 wickets in 6 matches so far (5 two’s and 1 one). As such, his parsimonious bowling and knack for taking vital wickets in those middle overs has been a constant for the Strikers and will be needed to push them onwards.

Path to the finals: Scorchers (H), Hurricanes (H), Renegades (A), Scorchers (A)

Changes: Travis Head (ODI leave)

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Record Watch (Jan 2018)

Monthly update on upcoming Test records/milestones and ones achieved this month

As the Test series roll on, record and milestones tumble for players from all sides. While these might seem like statistical oddities, they often say quite a lot about the longevity of a player or the rapidity of their rise.

Players featured 

  • Australia: Steve Smith, David Warner, Nathan Lyon
  • England: Alastair Cook, James Anderson, Stuart Broad

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2017/18 Big Bash League Preview

Table prediction (batting + bowling ratings)

  1. Melbourne Stars (9.5 + 8.5 = 18)
  2. Melbourne Renegades (8 + 9.5 = 17.5)
  3. Perth Scorchers (7.5 + 9.5 = 17)
  4. Sydney Sixers (8.5 + 8.5 = 17)
  5. Adelaide Strikers (7.5 + 9 = 16.5)
  6. Brisbane Heat (8 + 8 = 16)
  7. Sydney Thunder (7 + 8 = 15)
  8. Hobart Hurricanes (6.5 + 7.5 = 14)

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India All-time Eleven (decisions explained)

In any Indian all-time eleven, some players will always be guaranteed a spot, given their heroic status in the history of the sport. Such figures like Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev are deservedly fixed in the minds of Indian cricket followers for their lofty achievements. But, one of the nice by-products of this theoretical exercise is that it shines a light on those players who have contributed so much to Indian cricket but are not necessarily given the column inches they deserve. Players like Anil Kumble, who is third in the list of Test history’s greatest wicket-takers, recede into the memory of the middle-aged as his spearing legbreaks did not have the same sex appeal as Murali’s doosra or Warne’s flipper. Zaheer Khan, the key component of India’s rise to the number one position, can be recognised as one of the great Indian bowlers through this activity as time confers weight and heft to his achievements. In this article, I will explain the logic behind my decisions – something I have not done in previous such posts – and produce what I believe is a worthy eleven to represent India’s Test cricketing history.

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QuickStat: ODI Batting Records

In cricket, knowing who holds the various records is like knowing the capitals of the world in geography: if you cannot name the main ones, then you are bound to look a bit silly; if you don’t know the other ones, it does not matter one iota. As such, QuickStat is just an effort to include the blue chip records in an easy to digest list. In the categories, where the records are aggregated over the history of cricket, I’ll also include (where possible) the highest current player along with their age: usually with the constant cycle of retirements, it’s difficult to keep track of who might be able to overtake the record holder. Continue reading

Why the Australian selectors should want to pick Cameron Bancroft

During their decade of dominance in the 2000s, Australia’s batting machine was fronted by two stroke-playing aggressors in the form of Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer. One towered over opposition bowlers, belligerently clubbing the ball back whence it came. The other had reinvented himself as a swashbuckler, playing his shots as if to atone for his previously grafting innings. Together they hunted down pacemen and their domain was the first twenty overs of an Australian innings.

As such, with the success of the Hayden – Langer days in mind, the Australian selectors have gravitated towards this model of “positive batting.” Since that point in time, each sustained opening partnership for Australia has included an aggressor, but – to the reluctance of the selectors – an accumulator. Shane Watson had Simon Katich. David Warner had Ed Cowan and later Chris Rogers. It reveals much about the attitude of the selectors (and the press) that, of the pairs, the accumulator was the batsman who came under the most selectorial pressure.

It wasn’t until the 2015/16 Tests against New Zealand that the National Selection Panel got the Christmas wish they so thoroughly desired with the chance to pick Joe Burns, an attacking Queenslander, along with David Warner. To their delight, the young man hit his way to consecutive sixes to reach a second innings hundred in the first Test of the summer. Two more tons would follow with similar verve against the West Indians and the Kiwis. All was well.

Then came Sri Lanka. The signs were clear from the start: prior to the first Test, according to cricket.com.au’s “Unplayable Podcast”*, Muttiah Muralitharan, consulting for Australia, chose to have a bowl against the Australian batsmen and, although Steve Smith “worked him out alright”, Joe Burns “had no clue.” Embodying Australia’s struggles against spin, Burns ended up producing scores of 0, 2, 3 and 29.

Although Burns was dropped for the third Test against Sri Lanka, it seems likely that he will return for the home series against South Africa and Pakistan. Now, this is probably justified given that he scored three hundreds in eight Tests the previous summer. But, with a view to the future and, more specifically, the tour of India in February – March 2017, the more inspired option for the National Selection Panel must be to pick Cameron Bancroft. (My previous preference would have been to pick Ed Cowan, but it seems that both he and the Panel are heading in different directions.)

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QuickStat: Test Batting Records

In cricket, knowing who holds the various records is like knowing the capitals of the world in geography: if you cannot name the main ones, then you are bound to look a bit silly; if you don’t know the other ones, it does not matter one iota. As such, QuickStat is just an effort to include the blue chip records in an easy to digest list. In the categories, where the records are aggregated over the history of cricket, I’ll also include (where possible) the highest current player along with their age: usually with the constant cycle of retirements, it’s difficult to keep track of who might be able to overtake the record holder. Continue reading

Five Great Performances from David Gower

Since the advent of televised cricket, no batsman has been able to surpass David Ivon Gower in their ability to make batting seem like an art form. Deep within every cricket follower’s brain a pulse of sensory pleasure is released whenever you see one of his effortless cover drives. Such is cricket’s regard for the aesthetic features of his batting that, like Bradman-esque is over-used to describe copious run-scoring, the term Gower-esque is the cliché attached to attractive strokeplay. Although most cricketing videos on YouTube are high-definition highlights of domestic Twenty20 matches, there are indeed a few videos that provide a brief snapshot into his abilities. Hand-in-hand with his elegance, Gower will also be remembered for his devil-may-care attitude – something that was at-odds with his hard-headed contemporary Graham Gooch – that seemingly led to his dismissals at inopportune moments in Test matches. In the end, however, his approach was a successful one: 18 Test centuries and 8231 runs is a remarkable output, regardless of the manner in which they were scored. Below are five of his greater performances, laid out for your perusal. Continue reading