The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears at 99.94.
Ball One – As this season staggers and squelches through the showers, I can barely recall cricket feeling less relevant. So it’s not just the rain radar that should be the subject of county cricket administrators’ thoughts, but the public’s radar too; from which county cricket seems to have disappeared. Spectators and followers of the game need a narrative to be maintained throughout the county season. The weather provides disruption enough without administrators slicing and dicing T20, 40 overs and championship matches with rest and recovery. County cricket is, to use a young person’s word, too random – something we’ve known for a while, but driven home this (soi disant) summer.
Ball Two – The T20 group stage concluded with the country convulsed by Murray mania and the British Grand Prix. Down in the small print, you could read that Somerset, Yorkshire and Sussex topped their groups and will be joined in the quarter-finals by Essex, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire and Hampshire. Those matches take place on 24 and 25 July before an entire month passes before finals day rolls round on August 25 in the cricketing hotbed of Cardiff.
Ball Three – Up at the top of the T20 strike rate charts are Matt Prior, James Foster and Luke Wright – all, of course, England limited overs rejects. Foster and Wright might just have been picked too early for the national side – the Essex keeper is still only 32 and a craftsman behind the stumps as well as a hitter in front and the Sussex smiter is a mere 27. With Craig Kieswetter still not entirely convincing behind the stumps and an ODI team that includes Cook, Bell and Morgan (none of whom offer a bowling option) Foster and Wright may yet play international cricket in the future.
Ball Four – The top five wicket takers in T20 included Reece Topley, Moin Ashraf and Adam Ball – 18, 20 and 19 years of age respectively. While a wicket-taking ability in T20 doesn’t necessarily translate into a wicket-taking ability in 40 overs cricket never mind four day stuff, it does speak of confidence, imagination and temperament – three of the building blocks every coach looks for in a young player. Watch out for these three.
Ball Five – There were, inevitably, no results this week in the LVCC (only two third innings wickets were lost – an incredible stat over five matches none played further north than Worcester). If you can find an edge to the cloud that has smothered the the season, there is a silver lining in the fact that both divisions are tight and every team (except poor old Glamorgan) have much to play for in the second half of the LVCC season.
Ball Six – A couple of years ago, Yorkshire produced what the fevered football press would no doubt have dubbed a golden generation of young players expected to bring glory to the White Rose. It didn’t turn out quite like that – it seldom does – but Joe Root, still only 21, did himself no harm by scoring 222* from 350-9 dec, with the other specialist batsmen contributing just 38 between them. That’s a performance that catches the eye, even if overshadowed by KP hitting the ball from Guildford half way back to The Oval in making 234* vs Lancashire.
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