The Cricket Tier

 

Moeen Ali Keen to Return to International Cricket in the Near Future

Many cricket fans were left shocked by Moeen Ali's decision to take a 'short break' from cricket in August 2019, and although the all-rounder's recent form had been patchy, many believed that he still had an important role to play for England. The 32-year old has recently admitted that he has missed the thrill of the international game and that he is currently in talks with Chris Silverwood and Joe Root about the possibility of making his return in the spring.

Ali's hiatus was curtailed in December with the news that he'd been selected to represent the Multan Sultans in the fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League alongside James Vince and Ravi Bopara. However, he is yet to return to the International game and didn't feature in England's recent 3-1 series success over South Africa.

Although poor form led to the left-handed batsman being dropped for the second Ashes Test, he has represented his country in all formats of the game and is an incredibly useful asset to have in the squad. Since making his test debut against Sri Lanka in 2014, he's managed to take 181 test wickets and boasts a batting average of 28.97. He made 48 runs in the first innings and wowed England fans with his energy, enthusiasm and accuracy. His performance against India in 2018 was undoubtedly the high point of his International Test career with his 5-63 helping England mount an unlikely comeback in Southampton. He also played a key role in his country's World Cup success last summer. 

He has reportedly joined the limited-overs team in South Africa and is training ahead of the upcoming ODI series, which gets underway at the beginning of February. He will be hoping to work his way back into the fold ahead of a busy twelve months which includes a Test Series against the West Indies and the T20 World Cup in October. Ahead of the latter, England have been priced up at 9/2 in the latest cricket betting for success down under with the tourists ranked as third favourites behind India and Australia.

Although he's recently admitted that he considered quitting the long form of the game altogether, he now appears to be refreshed, revitalised and ready to return. Although the lifestyle of an international cricketer is often portrayed as a glamorous one, it does have 

the tendency to take its toll on a number of players and being away from your family for long periods of time is far from an ideal situation. Moeen Ali isn't the first England representative to self-exclude himself from the set-up, with Graham Thorpe, Jonathan Trott and Marcus Trescothick opting to take time away from the game over the last couple of decades.

It remains to be seen whether Moeen Ali can recapture the kind of form which saw him named as one of the Cricketers of the Year in 2015. Many fans are unlikely to begrudge the all-rounder being given a second chance and he has already confirmed that he has the backing of his captain. The Birmingham-born star is ready to return and admits that he is willing to fight for his place in the side. England will surely be the beneficiaries of his imminent comeback and many fans are understandably excited about the prospect of seeing him back in action later this year.

It started with a 'Free Hit'

Living only 5 miles from Old Trafford means I've got to watch a lot of cricket over the years, from domestic to international, from T20's, ODI's to Test Matches and Ashes Series. Now though a World Cup!                                               

Yes, yesterday was the fist time I'd ever been to a World Cup match and after a hour or so I got to watch Eoin Morgan on the charge and it what a privilege to witness his innings. Even more so, when Morgan was actually doubtful for the game after a back injury in England's last game against the West Indies.

It started with a free hit as well as Morgan hit his first six of the day off one as he faced just his eighth ball of the day. After that the Dublin born Irishman who qualifies for England because of his mum, went on the rampage.

You expect such an innings from the likes of Roy, Bairstow, Buttler, Stokes and Ali but not Morgan as much. His astonishing innings was just phenomenal to watch though and I was gutted in the ground when he finally got caught on 148.

He was so impressive throughout his innings with both his body and feet positioning for all his shots as near to perfect as you can. Apart from maybe just one shot where he didn't quite catch it right and if he'd been playing against one of the better teams, he surely would have been caught near the boundary rope. He wasn't though and the dropped catch actually then went for four.

After that he never looked back and yesterday's win for England put them top of the group overall via net run rate. It wasn't all Morgan, even though he rightfully takes all the plaudits. Vince got off to an okay start but was then caught in his twenties and he must know he missed a massive opportunity of getting a big score. He'll get another chance though with Jason Roy set to miss at least one more match through injury.

Bairstow and Root just missed out on centuries themselves, but both their innings were excellent as well, but all the talk was of course about Morgan and the various records that were broken:

  • Morgan's century was England's fastest ever in a World Cup
  • England total score of 397 was their highest ever in a World Cup
  • England's 25 sixes in an innings was the most ever by a team in ODI history
  • Morgan's 17 sixes was the most ever by an individual in ODI history

It's safe to say that the white ball game suits Eoin Morgan so much with his power hitting, but he is a very clever all-round batsmen. For me, even after his innings yesterday he is still not the best batsman in ODI cricket, although he's up there, he is though the best ODI captain out there currently.

Can England go on to win it? Well they have every chance and this is definitely their best chance for sure and they've come a long way since their disastrous performance in the 2015 World Cup.

England have been three time finalists and three times runners up, but they have not been in a final since their defeat to Pakistan in 1992 at the MCG. This time around though they came into this tournament as one of the favourites, if not the outright favourite with them being the number one team.

That wasn't just because they are playing on home soil, form wise coming into it they had six wins out of their last seven ODI series. The best ever England one day side? I'd say so as they have all things covered, from fielding, quick runs and a vast array of bowlers to choice from.

Good powerful openers like Roy and Bairstow, with Root and Morgan himself who follow, then you back them up with the likes of Butler, Stokes, Ali and to a point Woakes, who all perform with the bat.

Anyway, it was an absolutely pleasure to witness such a wonderful England batting performance yesterday and to say I saw a World Record broken with seventeen sixes from Morgan just topped my day off. Can't wait for my next one!

India join the Cricket World Cup party

Two times winners of the Cricket World Cup, India, finally join the party today with their first game of this years tournament against South Africa at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire. Having won their first World Cup back in 1983 in England and then again eight years ago on their own patch against Sri Lanka in the final.                    

The Men in Blue will be itching to finally get going, having been in fine form in recent times, having won nine of their last eleven ODI series, including winning The Asia Cup in 2018. Their form then is not to be questioned and having the key experience of the best batsmen around in Virat Kohli, they'll be confident of a third World Cup win.

Not forgetting Rohit Sharma either, the vice-captain is a truly outstanding white ball batsmen with plenty of experience too having played over 200 ODI's. India are already right up there as one of the favourites to lift the World Cup trophy and if Sharma and his opening batting partner Shikar Darwan perform as we know they can, then a third trophy could just be around the corner.

India's batting will be their key and they are definitely best at chasing down a total with the likes of both the experienced ex-skipper MS Dhoni and wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik there too.

As for India's bowling, well they have plenty of pace with Kumar, Bumrah and Shami to go alongside the spin bowlers of Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja. Can they perform all together as a bowling unit though because they certainly have a good mix of players with various bowling actions. Although this time around they do look more reliant on speed than spin, but in England conditions that might not be a bad thing.

Do they have the full squad depth overall to perform in England though? We believe so and even though they will come unstuck in one or two games, they should still finish in the top four of the group stages.

India World Cup squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav.

As for this morning's game, well South Africa are already under a massive amount of pressure having lost to both England and Bangladesh in their two matches so far. Can their captain Faf du Plessis getting his troops going then, he's going to have to if they want to stay in this competition.

Lose today and they would then have to win all of their last six matches to have any chance of going through to the semi-finals.

South Africa World Cup squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Imran Tahir, Rassie van der Dussen.

ECB has launched #ExpressYourself

ECB and the England team have launched a new campaign – Express Yourself - to inspire fans across the country as England prepare to compete in the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, which will be hosted in England & Wales for the first time in 20 years.                       

Express Yourself is focused on engaging a young audience to grow fans’ connections with the England One Day International (ODI) team and maximise the impact of an incredible summer of cricket and beyond. The campaign brings to life the excitement and energy of world-class cricket and gives fans an insight into the lives of this diverse group of players - telling their stories, showcasing their skills and exploring their passions both on and off the field.  

The campaign has been co-created with England ODI captain Eoin Morgan to reflect his team’s values and capture the fearless, disruptive and innovative brand of cricket they have pursued under his leadership.

Eoin Morgan, England ODI Team Captain, said:

“The guys can’t wait to take part in cricket’s biggest tournament in front of noisy, passionate, sell-out home crowds. Over the past few years we have been determined to really express ourselves each and every time we go out to play. 

“We have players with the confidence, skills and experience to trust their instincts and play their natural games. A fearless approach is what this team is all about and it’s great to have a campaign which reflects that.”

Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said:

“Under the strong leadership of Eoin Morgan, this team has grown to embody what it means to believe in yourself and have faith that you can achieve incredible things, and they go into this tournament as favourites. The Express Yourself campaign celebrates the courage of self-belief as well as the ability to put your team ahead of individual success. It’s a powerful message that I hope will resonate with cricket fans and inspire the next generation to help grow the game.”

The campaign launches with the release of the bold Express Yourself film, which features a riot of sound and colour as cricket archive footage and visual effects are fused to celebrate the England team and showcase its strength, skill, character and personality.

The campaign launches ahead of England’s first official ICC Men’s World Cup warm up match against Australia. It will go out across owned, earned and paid channels – including YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. In addition to extensive digital amplification, the film will be shown in cinemas across the country.

Express Yourself will then run throughout the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and beyond - with original content and innovative partnerships designed to build buzz and excitement about the England ODI team.


 

 

Cricket World Cup competition

As the official Equipment Supplier of Cricket World Cup 2019, Gray-Nicolls are delighted to present the CWC England Season Ticket competition.       

SEE IT ALL

You could win tickets to every single England game at CWC19, including the semi-final and final if they make it.

THE MATCHES

If England are in it, you'll be there watching! The Three Lions are playing some incredible matches at CWC19, including against the oldest enemy Australia, South Africa and India.

HOW TO ENTER

To enter the competition, all you have to do is spend £50 at Gray-Nicolls.co.uk or on Gray-Nicolls product at your local cricket retailer. This can be on one product or multiple Gray-Nicolls items. As long as your total is £50 or over, you'll be entered into the draw.

The competition runs from March 1st to April 30th.

If you make a purchase in store you’ll need to send us a picture of the receipt to marketing@gray-nicolls.co.uk with your name, address and phone number and you'll be entered.

So go ahead and make your purchase, and we'll be announcing the winner on May 1st 2019. See full terms and conditions by clicking here

26 degrees in Barbados for England

It may be snowy, icy and very cold here in England, but that is certainly not going to stop me enjoying watching England this afternoon as they take on the West Indies in the First Test at the Kensington Oval, Barbados. That's right, England take to the field for the first time today in a Test Match, since walking off a victory in Colombo.

As ever the whole series is live on TV here in the UK, and I'll be tuning in to watch as much as possible. If you're planning to do likewise, you can check https://livesport.center/live-cricket-on-tv/ which is my usual site for like cricket on TV. Use it to keep an eye on the schedule, broadcast times and channels.

Yes, it has been exactly two months since a series whitewash win in Sri Lanka when England walked off the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground for first Test Series win in 17 years.

The expectation is that England will win this series too, some even suggesting this could be a whitewash too, but I'm not so sure. Although the odds are stacked against the West Indies, but they're a proud nation and with the way some of the pitches play over in the Caribbean, England will certainly have to concentrate whilst batting.

Although, things have gone well so far, with Burns, Root and Stokes all finding runs in the first warm up game last week against the CWI President's XI. Along with six of the seven bowlers used all picking up a wicket or two in twelve-a-side warm-up game.

The second warm-up game went even better with England scoring nearly 400 runs, with Burns again finding a score along with Bairstow, Woakes, Curran and Rashid. Woakes was also the stand-out bowler picking up three wickets, but once again all the other six bowlers chipped in with at least one wicket each.

Onto today then, well this Caribbean tour starts a huge year for English Cricket, with the Test Series being the last competitive one before England face Australia in the Ashes in the summer. Before all that though, there is the small matter of a home World Cup, that many believe England can finally go and win their first one after so many failed attempts before.

The biggest question for me and probably you as well, is whether England and cut out these momentous collapses they keep having. Avoid those and they do have every chance of a 3-0 Test Series win, don't and they could be in trouble. Burns is looking good at the top of the order so far though, but both he and Jennings need to be scoring regularly to give England a good start. If they can then that will give the likes of Bairstow, Root, Stokes, Moeen and now Foakes following every chance of a big score.

I'm excited to see what the West Indies have to offer as well, years gone by it was always a pleasure to watch them both at home and away when they could tear teams apart. Not so much these days though of course but hopefully things are change and although there is still turmoil with certain players and the board, there should be enough talent out there, like Shimron Hetmyer and Shai hope, to make this an interesting contest.

West Indies vs England 2019 Tour Schedule

Wednesday 23rd January 2019 INTERNATIONAL TEST MATCH SERIES
14:00 Venue: Kensington Oval, Bridgetown

Thursday 31st January 2019 INTERNATIONAL TEST MATCH SERIES
14:00 Venue: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound

Saturday 9th February 2019 INTERNATIONAL TEST MATCH SERIES
14:00 Venue: Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet

Sunday 17th February 2019 ONE-DAY TOUR MATCH
14:00 Venue: Three Ws Oval, Cave Hill

Wednesday 20th February 2019 ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL SERIES
15:00 Venue: Kensington Oval, Bridgetown

Friday 22nd February 2019 ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL SERIES
15:00 Venue: Kensington Oval, Bridgetown

Monday 25th February 2019 ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL SERIES
13:30 Venue: National Cricket Stadium, St. George's

Wednesday 27th February 2019 ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL SERIES
13:30 Venue: National Cricket Stadium, St. George's

Saturday 2nd March 2019 ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL SERIES
15:00 Venue: Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet

Tuesday 5th March 2019 INTERNATIONAL TWENTY20 MATCH
20:00 Venue: Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet

Friday 8th March 2019 INTERNATIONAL TWENTY20 MATCH
20:00 Venue: Warner Park, Basseterre

Sunday 10th March 2019 INTERNATIONAL TWENTY20 MATCH
20:00 Venue: Warner Park, Basseterre

The Cricket Social

The Cricket Social will stream on the BBC Sport website and app, and feature the likes of Jonathan Agnew, Michael Vaughan, James Anderson, Ebony Rainford Brent, Phil Tufnell and Andy Zaltzman discussing the latest news, action and results from Sri Lanka.                                                        

The Cricket Social: a new online show from TMS
TMS is launching a new online-only show during England’s tour of Sri Lanka.

 

Beginning on Wednesday 10 October as England take on Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the tour, The Cricket Social is an interactive show that will complement BBC Sport’s regular live text service and allow the audience to get directly involved in the coverage.

The Cricket Social is just one of the ways fans will be able to follow England’s tour to Sri Lanka across BBC Sport. There will also be live updates from reporters at the matches in Sri Lanka on BBC Radio 5 Live and other outlets.

Each day’s action will then be rounded up in the definitive TMS Podcast with Jonathan Agnew and Michael Vaughan.

Ben Gallop, Head of BBC Radio and Digital Sport, said: “We know how popular the BBC Sport website is as a way for fans to follow the cricket. We want to build on that and we’re delighted our new show, the Cricket Social, will give fans a chance to hear their favourite TMS broadcasters, like Aggers and Michael Vaughan, give their expert view on England’s tour of Sri Lanka and take part in discussions around all the big issues in the sport.”

Test Match Special is the home of cricket on the radio. It has exclusive commentary rights to all of England’s home internationals through until at least 2024 and all ICC events until at least 2023, including the Cricket World Cup next summer.

TMS also has rights for the next three Ashes series, both home and away, and England’s 2019 tour of New Zealand.

Every ball of the County Championship is broadcast on the BBC and Test Match Special provides extensive coverage of women’s cricket including the ICC Women’s World T20 in November, the Women’s Ashes next summer and the KSL.

The Cricket Social will stream on the BBC Sport website and app from Wednesday 10th October. Download the TMS Podcast here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrsl2/episodes/downloads

 

Basil D'Oliveira receives Freedom of City

When I saw the headline below that Basil D'Oliveira was to receive the freedom of the city it brought a smile to my face. Ten years ago it wouldn't have. As ten years ago I had no idea about Basil D'Oliveira's history and what he'd been through, but then six or seven years ago I read Peter Osborne's brilliant book.              

Cricket legend Basil D'Oliveira to receive posthumous Freedom of City

I lent Oborne's outstanding biography off my friend's dad and reading how Basil D'Oliveira's life brought together sport, politics and race was extraordinary. Along with how a black South African defied incredible odds to play cricket for England against racial prejudice, both in South Africa and right here in England. Now I here the below:

"The Freedom of the City of Worcester will be posthumously awarded to local cricketing legend Basil D'Oliveira CBE, at a red carpet ceremony to be held at the Guildhall (High Street, Worcester, WR1 2EY) on the evening of Friday 14 September.

The Mayor, Cllr Jabba Riaz, will present the Freedom of the City Certificate to Shaun D’Oliveira, son of the legendary cricketer – and a permanent inscribed plaque will be unveiled in the Guildhall.

The accolade will be made 50 years after the so-called D'Oliveira Affair, which prompted a sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa.

Cllr Riaz said: “Basil D’Oliveira became a symbol of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, linking Worcestershire cricket to international politics in the process.  Millions of people around the world owe him a debt of gratitude – it will be a great honour to posthumously award the Freedom of the City of Worcester to his family.”

Basil D’Oliveira was of Indian-Portugese descent and was born into a Catholic family in South Africa in 1931. A keen cricketer from an early age, he played in South Africa’s national non-white team before emigrating to England in 1960. He joined Worcestershire County Cricket Club in 1964 and was first selected for the England team in 1966.

In 1968 the England team was due to play in a tour of South Africa. D’Oliveira was initially not selected because of South Africa’s apartheid rules. However, there was national outrage in the British press and D’Oliveira was then called up to the England squad. South Africa responded by cancelling the tour.

The D'Oliveira Affair was a watershed in the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa. It led to a dramatic turn in international opinion against the South African regime and is credited as being a landmark on the road to the eventual fall of apartheid in the early 1990s."

 

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