The Cricket Tier

 

Kumar Sangakkara retirement

This week sees the final games of the 2016/17 County Championship in England & Wales and this is where Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara will retire from the first-class cricket. The 39-year-old Surrey batsman finished with Test cricket in 2015 but has continued playing here for the past two seasons.

Specifically he will retire Old Trafford has his team plays away to Lancashire in their final game of the season. When he finished his Test career back in 2015 though he was fifth in the list of all-time Test run scorers. Averaging more than 57 runs across 134 Tests, whilst making 11 double centuries.

"What a player. What a captain. What a man." is how we have described him.

On a personal note he has been the best player I have watched over the past decade or so and I will miss him in the world of cricket. I believe you may go on to play some T20 cricket and then possibly into commentary or coaching but I'm aware he has over interests outside of the game. I shall be doing a special blog on him in the coming months but in the meantime I'd like to wish Kumar all the best for this and his family's future.

The domestic scene here in England and Wales is coming to a close with some promotion and relegation positions still to be sorted. As for the International scene, he are the upcoming fixtures:

OCTOBER 2017

2 MON Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi, 1st Test - day 5
South Africa v Bangladesh at Potchefstroom, 1st Test - day 5

6 FRI South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 2nd Test - day 1
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 2nd Test - day 1 (day/night)

7 SAT South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 2nd Test - day 2
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 2nd Test - day 2 (day/night)
India v Australia at Ranchi, 1st T20I (night)

8 SUN South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 2nd Test - day 3
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 2nd Test - day 3 (day/night)

9 MON South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 2nd Test - day 4
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 2nd Test - day 4 (day/night)

10 TUE South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 2nd Test - day 5
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 2nd Test - day 5 (day/night)
India v Australia at Guwahati, 2nd T20I (night)

13 FRI Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 1st ODI (day/night)
India v Australia at Hyderabad (Deccan), 3rd T20I (night)

15 SUN South Africa v Bangladesh at Kimberley, 1st ODI

16 MON Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi, 2nd ODI (day/night)

18 WED South Africa v Bangladesh at Paarl, 2nd ODI
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi, 3rd ODI (day/night)

20 FRI Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, 4th ODI (day/night)

22 SUN India v New Zealand at Mumbai, 1st ODI (day/night)
South Africa v Bangladesh at East London, 3rd ODI

23 MON Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, 5th ODI (day/night)

T20 Blast finals day 2017 is coming soon

That's right on Saturday 2nd September the Natwest T20 Finals Day will take place once again at Edgbaston in Birmingham, but who'll be there to win it? With some big names already out of the competition like Lancashire, Yorkshire from the north group, along with both finalists from last year too in Northamptonshire and Durham.                

Then you have Kent and Essex who missed out from the south group, so there is everything to play for over the next week for some teams. There has been some big scores so far this season already and last night there was another one as Hampshire racked up 249-8 against Derbyshire to eventually win by 101 runs. The exact amount that Shahid Afridi (pictured below) himself smashed off just 43 balls.

Tonight is Glamorgan vs Leicestershire which I think will be a very close game but I'm going to go for a win for the Welsh outfit. Then two more cracking games tomorrow and Friday as north group table toppers Notts take on Somerset in Nottingham and then Surrey against the Birmingham Bears. With home advantage then I can see the full semi-finals line up as possibly:

Hampshire, Glamorgan, Nottinghamshire and Surrey

As well as the domestic T20 Blast coming to an end the International fixtures are still ongoing and for the next month you can find those fixtures here below. The Windies of course are currently touring in England but with the first Test Match between the two being pretty one sided we may have to wait until the one day games between the two teams.

AUGUST 2017

24 THU Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 2nd ODI (day/night)

25 FRI England v West Indies at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 1

26 SAT England v West Indies at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 2

27 SUN England v West Indies at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 3
Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka, 1st Test - day 1
Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd ODI (day/night)

28 MON England v West Indies at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 4
Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka, 1st Test - day 2

29 TUE England v West Indies at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 5
Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka, 1st Test - day 3

30 WED Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka, 1st Test - day 4

31 THU Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka, 1st Test - day 5
Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (RPS), 4th ODI (day/night)

SEPTEMBER 2017

3 SUN Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (RPS), 5th ODI (day/night)

4 MON Bangladesh v Australia at Chittagong, 2nd Test - day 1

5 TUE Bangladesh v Australia at Chittagong, 2nd Test - day 2

6 WED Bangladesh v Australia at Chittagong, 2nd Test - day 3
Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (RPS), Only T20I (night)

7 THU Bangladesh v Australia at Chittagong, 2nd Test - day 4
England v West Indies at Lord's, 3rd Test - day 1

8 FRI Bangladesh v Australia at Chittagong, 2nd Test - day 5
England v West Indies at Lord's, 3rd Test - day 2

9 SAT England v West Indies at Lord's, 3rd Test - day 3

10 SUN England v West Indies at Lord's, 3rd Test - day 4

11 MON England v West Indies at Lord's, 3rd Test - day 5

13 WED Ireland v West Indies at Belfast, Only ODI

16 SAT England v West Indies at Chester-le-Street, Only T20I (day/night)

19 TUE England v West Indies at Manchester, 1st ODI (day/night)

21 THU England v West Indies at Nottingham, 2nd ODI (day/night)

 

Stoneman Must Seize England Chance

Mark Stoneman will become the 12th batsman to open alongside Alastair Cook since the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012.

England have named the Surrey opener in their squad for the first Test of their series against the West Indies at Edgbaston, with the 30-year-old replacing his former Durham team-mate Keaton Jennings in the lineup.       

Jennings endured a miserable series against South Africa, averaging 15.87 from his eight innings, failing to notch a score over 50 in the four matches. The 25-year-old had a bright start to his career in India, and although he struggled against the Proteas, if he returns to the county game and scores runs his time with the Three Lions should come again.

However, Stoneman now has the opportunity to come into the team and nail down his place for the Ashes. The 11 men before him have had their moments in early moments of their career, therefore it’s vital that the opener finds his feet immediately and more importantly is able to kick on.

Despite their issues at the top of the order England managed to overcome South Africa and will be desperate to brush aside the West Indies to build momentum ahead of the Ashes. Root’s men are backed at 1/16 in the latest cricket betting odds to win the series, with the Three Lions aiming for a 3-0 whitewash.

The Windies have struggled in Test series of late, losing their last six on the bounce. They will play without key players Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels, with Jason Holder leading an inexperienced outfit. Therefore the Three Lions will be confident of delivering a dominant series of performance to end their summer on a high note.

Edgbaston will host the first Test with a slight twist given that it will be the first day/night Test to be played in England. The players got a taste of the action in a round of County Championship matches, although a large portion of them were ruined by rain.

Making your England debut is hard enough, but in completely new conditions to the game, Stoneman will have his work cut out to establish himself. He made 30 for Surrey against Yorkshire in their day/night contest, and for the majority of his career played on one of the most challenging grounds in the country for batting against seam bowling in Durham.

The 30-year-old was an essential part of the north east side’s County Championship title win in 2013 and has been a perennial fixture at the top of the run-scoring charts in Division One.

This term following his move to Surrey he has taken his game to new heights, averaging 57.23 and scoring three centuries. Only his team-mate Kumar Sangakkara has scored more first-class runs than the opener this season, highlighting the form Stoneman enters the first Test with.

Previous men have come into the England side with form and have fallen by the wayside very quickly. The 30-year-old must ensure that he does not become the latest on the production line to fail to thrive alongside Cook at the top of the innings.

A great way to learn all about cricket

Cricket fans will love to dress the bowler, batsman, wicket keeper and fielders in their cricket gear, organise the players on the pitch and place their team in the perfect position to score a century in this brilliant sticker book. With over 450 stickers, including pages on the rules of cricket, this is a great way to learn about cricket. 

I can totally agree with this too, we got a copy of this book as soon as it come out and my seven-year old lad absolutely loved it. I had to stop him putting all the stickers in one evening. He's learnt so much from it as well though as we have kept the book in our front room, so whenever there is cricket on he has a look into the book to check on field positions etc. We have also taken it down our local cricket club and he has looked up different stood whilst down there and showed it to the cricket players as well.

There is so much stuff to learn with the game of cricket, it can sometimes take years to get all the knowledge but this book certainly help the younger generation from an early age. Only downside is that it shows him all the various cricket equipment for players that is used and he now wants that all himself hah. Nah just kidding, it's a fantastic book and have even looked through it myself.

As for the International cricket scene, here are August's fixtures:

AUGUST 2017

3 THU Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), 2nd Test - day 1

4 FRI Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), 2nd Test - day 2
England v South Africa at Manchester, 4th Test - day 1

5 SAT Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), 2nd Test - day 3
England v South Africa at Manchester, 4th Test - day 2

6 SUN Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), 2nd Test - day 4
England v South Africa at Manchester, 4th Test - day 3

7 MON Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), 2nd Test - day 5
England v South Africa at Manchester, 4th Test - day 4

12 SAT Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd Test - day 1

13 SUN Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd Test - day 2

14 MON Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd Test - day 3

15 TUE Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd Test - day 4

16 WED Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd Test - day 5

17 THU England v West Indies at Birmingham, 1st Test - day 1 (day/night)

18 FRI England v West Indies at Birmingham, 1st Test - day 2 (day/night)

19 SAT England v West Indies at Birmingham, 1st Test - day 3 (day/night)

20 SUN England v West Indies at Birmingham, 1st Test - day 4 (day/night)
Sri Lanka v India at Dambulla, 1st ODI (day/night)

21 MON England v West Indies at Birmingham, 1st Test - day 5 (day/night)

All Out for Cricket in the City

All Out For Cricket in The City is taking place on 4th September 2017 at the stunning Honourable Artillery Company in Moorgate, this is London’s only T6 cricket tournament. Six teams (featuring special guests Mark Ramprakash and Matthew Hoggard) will battle it out to win our coveted trophy.               

On-the-day commentary will be given by all-time cricket legend Henry Blofeld, whose recent retirement means that 'All Out For Cricket in The CIty' is a last chance to catch his live match commentary. Our cricket days are a lot of fun, and there’s always a real buzz around these events.

It should be a fantastic day of cricket once again and we here at The Cricket Tier are right behind the event for a third year running, that helped raised £63,000 for the families of children undergoing serious medical treatment.

All the money raised will go towards The Sick Children’s Trust. We provide free, high-quality ‘Home from Home’ accommodation to families with sick children who have serious and life-threatening illnesses in hospital. By allowing families to stay together, we are able to help alleviate just some of the emotional and financial strains at a traumatic and stressful time.

As mentioned: Six teams from across The City of London will battle it out in 6 matches to reach the grand final. Each team has the support of a star player (i.e. Matthew Hoggard or Mark Ramprakash), and each game has 6 overs. It’s quite a fun and fast paced tournament, and there’s always a real buzz around the event. Henry Blofeld is providing his legendary field-side commentary this year, in what will be one of his final appearances before retiring this September. On the day, there will be drinks, cream tea, a summer BBQ, champagne reception and evening gala dinner. Entry only tickets for the grounds are £20, and tickets that include the BBQ, cream tea and unlimited drinks (between 1pm and 5pm) are £95. For more information and to book tickets, please visit: The Sick Children’s Trust

Whole load of ODI & England v South Africa

Starting at the end of June is a couple of ODI series, followed then into July by the hugely anticipated England vs South Africa Test Series. Which of course is now known as the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy (title picture). Having already played each other in three ODI's before the Champions Trophy began, then three T20's just this week.                    

Both teams are already quite familar with each other but that all now changes though in the long format of the game. The captains and team managers however, will be making numerous squad changes in the four Test Series that starts at Lords on Thursday 6th July.

The One Day International series' that are taking place are Zimbabwe in Sri Lanka and India in the West Indies. Both these tours should be easy victories for Sri Lanka and India so they may give the chance to some of their younger players as they both prepare for the future.

Bookies Favourites

Looking at the odds, England are starting as slight favourites to beat South Africa. There are good offers on both teams to win the series at the moment. That suggests that the odds compilers are expecting a close encounter and it should be an inriguing warm up to the test series.

I'm not saying that the bookies always get things right but it's a fair indication of what we can expect. The conclusion is that based on the odds this is too close to call.

Enjoy the fixtures then, but of course I cannot go any furher without congratulating Pakistan are their recent Champions Trophy triumph. Fully derserved as they were excellent in both the sem-final against England and then even better against their old rivals India in the final. Very well done indeeed.

JUNE 2017

30 FRI Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Galle, 1st ODI
West Indies v India at North Sound, 3rd ODI

JULY 2017

2 SUN Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Galle, 2nd ODI
West Indies v India at North Sound, 4th ODI

6 THU Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Hambantota, 3rd ODI
England v South Africa at Lord's, 1st Test - day 1
West Indies v India at Kingston, 5th ODI

7 FRI England v South Africa at Lord's, 1st Test - day 2

8 SAT England v South Africa at Lord's, 1st Test - day 3
Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Hambantota, 4th ODI

9 SUN England v South Africa at Lord's, 1st Test - day 4
West Indies v India at Kingston, Only T20I

10 MON England v South Africa at Lord's, 1st Test - day 5
Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Hambantota, 5th ODI

14 FRI Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Colombo (RPS), Only Test - day 1
England v South Africa at Nottingham, 2nd Test - day 1

15 SAT Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Colombo (RPS), Only Test - day 2
England v South Africa at Nottingham, 2nd Test - day 2

16 SUN Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Colombo (RPS), Only Test - day 3
England v South Africa at Nottingham, 2nd Test - day 3

17 MON Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Colombo (RPS), Only Test - day 4
England v South Africa at Nottingham, 2nd Test - day 4

18 TUE Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Colombo (RPS), Only Test - day 5
England v South Africa at Nottingham, 2nd Test - day 5

 

Eng VS SA and the ICC Champions Trophy

With less than two weeks to go until the opening game of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy here in England, more specifically London, Birmingham and Cardiff where the games will be played. We look at England's preparation and build up, starting with a three series ODI warm up against the visiting South Africans.                        

Yes, in just seven days time from now we will have a better idea of how well prepared both England and the Proteas are. It'll be a good battle between them for sure but obviously with it being on home territory I believe England will win.

I'll be betting on a 2-1 victory for England with both Joe Root and Kane Williamson being the key factors for their teams. I will bet with a bookie that lets me take my profit early just in case things look like they might not pan out as I expect. It'll be a great spectacle though. If they can go well in the next week and take their natural class into the tournament we'll certainly be in for a treat. 

Batsmen entertain and get runs on the board but with more variant and teams packing their teams with more bowlers, who can still bat, it could well be the bowlers that win this tournament. With Kagiso Rabada being the one to watch for me. Either way, over the 17 days of the tournament there are some absolutely cracking fixtures coming up.

MAY 2017

24 WED Bangladesh v New Zealand at Dublin, 6th Match
England v South Africa at Leeds, 1st ODI (day/night)

27 SAT England v South Africa at Southampton, 2nd ODI

29 MON England v South Africa at Lord's, 3rd ODI

JUNE 2017

1 THU ICC Champions Trophy, England v Bangladesh at The Oval, Group A

2 FRI ICC Champions Trophy Australia v New Zealand at Birmingham, Group A
West Indies v Afghanistan at Basseterre, 1st T20I (night)

3 SAT ICC Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka v South Africa at The Oval, Group B
West Indies v Afghanistan at Basseterre, 2nd T20I (night)

4 SUN ICC Champions Trophy, India v Pakistan at Birmingham, Group B

What a fixture this is and always will be, with I'm imagining over a billion people watching world wide. Edgbaston will be packed too with around 25,000 in there on the Sunday morning. We'd love it to be a classic game of course but India should be winning this and will be the overwhelming favourites ahead of the game. There is always a chance of an upset and if that was to happen it could throw open the whole tournament. We here as neutral fans just want a brilliant but close game.

5 MON ICC Champions Trophy, Australia v Bangladesh at The Oval, Group A (day/night)
West Indies v Afghanistan at Basseterre, 3rd T20I (night)

6 TUE ICC Champions Trophy, England v New Zealand at Cardiff, Group A

7 WED ICC Champions Trophy, Pakistan v South Africa at Birmingham, Group B (day/night)

8 THU ICC Champions Trophy, India v Sri Lanka at The Oval, Group B

9 FRI ICC Champions Trophy, New Zealand v Bangladesh at Cardiff, Group A
West Indies v Afghanistan at Gros Islet, 1st ODI (day/night)

10 SAT ICC Champions Trophy, England v Australia at Birmingham, Group A

11 SUN ICC Champions Trophy, India v South Africa at The Oval, Group B
West Indies v Afghanistan at Gros Islet, 2nd ODI (day/night)

12 MON ICC Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Cardiff, Group B

14 WED ICC Champions Trophy, England v Pakistan at Cardiff, 1st Semi-final
West Indies v Afghanistan at Gros Islet, 3rd ODI (day/night)

15 THU ICC Champions Trophy, India v Bangladesh at Birmingham, 2nd Semi-final
Scotland v Zimbabwe at Edinburgh, 1st ODI

17 SAT Scotland v Zimbabwe at Edinburgh, 2nd ODI

18 SUN ICC Champions Trophy, Pakistan v India at The Oval, Final

England to go further in Champions Trophy

The next instalment of the ICC Champions Trophy is quickly approaching and is set to begin on June 1st, running until the final on June 18th. England and Wales are preparing to host the tournament for the second consecutive time and will be hoping home advantage plays it's part.                          

This will be the eighth chapter in the history of the Champions Trophy, the most recent of which was also co-hosted by England and Wales. This is the third time England have hosted the event and they have managed second place on both occasions. India won the tournament for the first time back in 2013, beating England by just five runs.

The tournament comes just a month after the announcement of the updated ICC ODI rankings. South Africa remain top of the pile with England's old enemy, Australia, just behind them in second, whereas England remain in fifth place ahead of the tournament.

England open the competition against Bangladesh at the Oval on June 1st and despite having four nations above them in the rankings, England are 3/1 favourites in cricket betting to win the competition. Looking back at previous tournaments, England have done well and overcome doubts about them in the competition. They have finished as runner-up on two occasions when they hosted and made the semi-final back in 2009.

They narrowly missed out last time as India beat them by just five runs but, a lot of people are very confident that this time they can go one further and win the trophy. Home advantage will certainly be a key element to their success, the England fans will attend in mass numbers and it's sure to give the England squad an extra push in every game.

England are likely to win their first fixture when they play Bangladesh - who are ranked 7th and are the big outsiders for the competition. The last time the two side's met, England won by 4 wickets, eventually defeating Bangladesh 2-1 in a 3-day series in Australia, and are expected to manage the same result at the Oval.

The next two fixtures aren't as kind to England as they have been placed in a very tough group with Australia and New Zealand. The latter are ranked just one place above them with the Aussies ranked in second. England face New Zealand on June 6th before facing Australia four days later.

However, England's primary source of success is likely to come through their batsmen. Joe Root is on top of his game currently, and was recently named the new captain of the test side, replacing Alastair Cook. Root is confident in his side ahead of the tournament, saying he is 'encouraged' by the amount of strength the squad has.

England have two tests warmed up prior to the tournament, they will play Ireland in a two-day fixture that commences on May 5th and then a week before the Tournament they face South Africa as the final test before the ICC Champions Trophy.

by Tom Wilson

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