Summer’s Here: Our Wishlist For A Summer Of Cricket

11 04 2011

It’s that time of year again where suddenly hope dawns that all is not football swamping the papers, repeated rain deluges and wind – that life is once more about sun, bbq’s and cricket. It is, in short, the county cricket season once more and, as if on cue, the sun has come out although one suspects that the April showers are never too far away.

We are in fact about four days late heralding the start of the English Summer season as the first round of matches is due to finish today and, in some cases, has already finished. Already there have been some notable performances with young and exciting players such as Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid having excellent games.

As we have missed the very start of the season and have therefore missed the boat on a county season preview, here is instead a list of things that we would like to see happen throughout what should be an excellent Summer…

To start with, and in no particular order, the first thing on our wish list is to see Adil Rashid appearing regularly for England. Rashid is a highly talented player with both bat and ball and, quite frankly, should have gone to the World Cup. Yardy’s time has come and gone a little like James Dalrymples did a few years ago and Rashid should be there to pick up where Yardy left off. The challenges for the young leg spinning all rounder could not be more imposing considering that the two touring sides this year are Sri Lanka and India – the broad blades of Sangakarra, Jayawardene, Sehwag and Tendulkar to name but a few would be a tough baptism – yet equally you hold him back too long and you might miss the chance to develop a golden talent.

Similarly, there has been a space created by Paul Collingwood’s withdrawal from test cricket (and in all likelihood all forms of international cricket) and for us at the Compulsive Hooker, the man first in line to replace him should be James Hildreth from Somerset. Over the past year or two Hildreth has added consistency to what was always a highly capable talent and at 25 or so the time is right. In the shorter form of the game they are likely to stick with Ravi Bopara as he offers more of the Collingwood style variety with his bowling.

As Kent supporters we would like to see Kent rebound straight back up to the top division and their young guns bounce back after a difficult year last year. Talented batsman, Sam Northeast, is showing signings of this with a hundred in the first match of the season although we are not sure how much that says for division two bowling as opposed to division one bowling or indeed Northeast’s ability himself. Joe Denly is another who after a difficult 18 months needs to find his way again if he is going to justify his undoubted talent.

For honours in the top division we are again backing Somerset who came so close last year. With the addition of Steve Kirby to their ranks they look like they might have recruited the key component to make the difference to their title chase. Hampshire and Durham are our other tips.

Despite ominous signs after limping off with 9 balls bowled in his second innings spell we really hope that Hampshire’s new recruit, Simon Jones, makes it through an entire season this year. Jones looked like he would have been one of the finest bowlers of his generation for a short and wonderful period up to his injury at the end of the 2005 Ashes, but has since had an injury record to rival even Jonny Wilkinson. Fingers crossed for him.

With murmurings against Andrew Strauss and the ODI captaincy growing, we hope to see these quashed as soon as possible. Strauss is a fine ODI player and captain and England’s failings should not be left at his door.

Finally we hope to see Sachin Tendulkar score his 100th international century at Lords (although by then he could easily be on 102 or 103 perhaps) but for England to win the test series and so continue their growth in this format.  If England can beat both India and Sri Lanka in consecutive series it should make everyone in the sub continent who have previously been a little scathing of England’s abilities sit up and take notice that this is a side to be wary of. From where we sit there is no reason why they shouldn’t as, particularly under English conditions, the English bowling attack is substantially better than either of their oppositions.

One other thing – we would like to point you towards an excellent piece by Cricinfo’s George Dobell on the County Championship and the state of domestic cricket. In our opinion it sums things up perfectly. Click here for the piece.




4 responses

11 04 2011

“…the English bowling attack is substantially better than either of their oppositions.”
Small point – there is no cricketing logic to comparing a side’s bowling attack to its opponent’s. The opponent’s bowling attack has to be only as good as the capacity of the English batting to handle it. On the other hand, is the England attack, under any conditions, up to the task of taking on an Indian test batting lineup of Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Gambhir, Laxman, Yuvraj, Dhoni? Ha ha ha ha ha.

11 04 2011

We’ll have to see Yenjvoy! I think so… Think England’s batting won’t be scared or India’s either for that matter – by your logic we’ll have high scoring draws!

11 04 2011

Brad, we’ll have to see, but I feel other than Strauss, the English batsmen have trouble with Zaheer. I do wish that instead of letting them play carnival cricket in the IPL, the BCCI bought out the contracts for the next batch of India’s test match prospect bowlers and sent them to play county cricket. I think Ishant, Unadkut, Umesh Yadav, Dinda and RP singh should be playing county this season and join the India team in the WI and then England. No pace bowler ever got better bowling defensively in limited overs cricket, on Indian pitches to boot.

12 04 2011

Your sentiments about the bowling I heartily agree with and I think it is something that all sides who play alot of odi cricket need to consider. Can’t wait for the Summer’s tests – they’ll be brilliant and a great test for England (and hopefully India too).
Thanks for commenting.

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