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  • Joe Root's England against South Africa is one of summer's highlights

    Posted on April 24, 2017 by Selby

    England's international summer begins with a showdown against Ireland in early May and ends with an ODI series against West Indies in late September.

    In between there are the not-so-small matters of the ICC Champions Trophy, the ICC Women's World Cup and four Tests against South Africa

    It's a cracking line-up on  and we asked our pundits how they think Joe Root will go, what they're most looking forward to and what they make of the ECB's T20 proposals…

    How will Joe Root fare as England Test captain and what type of skipper will he be?

    Mike Atherton: Everything suggests Joe is going to handle things pretty well - he's a fantastic young player who knows his game and he's been around the international set up for some time now.

    There's no reason why he won't cope with this step up, but captaining England is a whole different ball game; there are all the external pressures to deal with that he won't have had as a player depending on how the team goes. What kind of bowling attack a captain has at his disposal often determines what their captaincy record will be at the end and I don't imagine that will be any different for Joe.

    Joe Root - at home at Headingley and now in the England hot-seat
    Joe Root - at home at Headingley and now in the England hot-seat

    David Gower: I think he's going to be different from Alastair Cook. It would be madness if he wasn't! I think Alastair will give him a lot of support; having Alastair at the top of the order doing what he does best, scoring runs, will be good for him and he can tap into his knowledge and experience.

    He's got time to think about his role as Test captain - almost too much time in many ways - so he'll have time to prepare.

    Rob Key: I think he'll be a very positive, attacking captain. Generally, captains mirror the way that they play. He's got a good cricket brain and will lead a team with a very settled core. There is some inexperience in the batting with the likes of Keaton Jennings and Hameed. South Africa is almost as good a Test series as you could wish to see in England right now.

    Nick Knight: Joe will have his own style and method. I hope he captains how he plays - instinctively. I think he'll be quite a dynamic captain and will certainly have the support of the dressing room. They are a young group of players in there and they've grown up playing a lot of cricket together. I don't think being captain will affect his batting. The timing of the appointment is a good one in the sense that is has given him a little bit of time to play one-day cricket and be England's Test captain but not quite be under the microscope that he will be in July.

    What are you most looking forward to this summer?

    David: The South Africa series will be very exciting. They're a very competitive side and travel well; they compete hard everywhere. They are not going to come here thinking anything but positively. The fact that we had a good tour against them a year or two ago now will give them an incentive to raise their game again.

    Several interesting Pundit quotes:

    Rob: I love Test cricket, so have to agree. I can't wait to see South Africa's bowling attack against England's batting and vice versa.

    Nick: Test cricket was always the pinnacle for me but I've always loved one-day cricket and enjoy watching all formats, international and domestic. The Women's World Cup follows shortly after the ICC Champions Trophy; we've got two global events in this country in a matter of months, which is hugely exciting.

    I'd expect Alastair Cook to have a spring in his step by the time the South Africa series comes around. He's still motivated and has goals that he wants to achieve in Test cricket. Although he might not have been happy to give up the captaincy I think he'll enjoy just going out there and having that responsibility to score runs rather than the responsibility of looking after everybody else, because he looked pretty tired by the end of the India series. Captaincy gets to you in the end - when you've been doing it four or five years it's a burden to carry.

    What have you made of the ECB's proposals for a new T20 competition in 2020?

    Rob: I think it's a no-lose bet. If it goes really well that's going to be good for everyone and certainly the players are going to benefit more than anyone else from the cricket that they play and the opportunity to play in what could arguably one of the best domestic leagues in the world. If it doesn't work you can always go back to what you've got with a fair bit more money, which is what counties need.

    David: I think this should have happened earlier. We are definitely behind the curve. It needs to be right when it starts and all of the doubts need to have gone because if it flops, it's going to be one of the biggest flops in the history of the game.

    Mike: There will be safeguards built in for the 18 counties as regards the other competitions and then this new T20 tournament will be about driving growth for people who don't follow cricket at the moment.

    Tune up, tune in and let Sky Sports' cricket coverage be the soundtrack of your summer
    Tune up, tune in and let Sky Sports' cricket coverage be the soundtrack of your summer

    The one area of concern I'd have is that there is an awful lot of cricket planned to go on at the same time and it's guess work to know how that will all fit in together. The Big Bash is the kind of model tournament for the ECB rather than the IPL, which is franchises owned by private investment. The Big Bash is owned by Cricket Australia and has driven growth and different types of attendances.

    Nick: I guess it's natural to have some reservations because it's such a big decision but I think it's the right decision; I agree with what the ECB is trying to do. In order to stay in touch with the rest of the world and the development and enhancement of the game at T20 level.


    This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia

  • New England Test skipper Joe Root

    Posted on April 24, 2017 by Selby

    New England Test skipper Joe Root will thrive on the pressures of captaincy

    Root, 26, succeeded Alastair Cook in the role in February but has to wait until early July to lead the team out - firstly against South Africa and then West Indies, before taking on Australia on their own patch this winter.

    England are currently fourth in the ICC Test team rankings behind India, South Africa and Australia - with Root one place higher in the Test batting table - but Botham expects the Yorkshireman's appointment to lead to improvements in both standings."I think he'll relish the opportunity to continue climbing the ranks and competing for number one in the world," said Botham, who captained England 12 times.

    Cook will be able to have a word in Root's ear, when necessary
    Cook will be able to have a word in Root's ear, when necessary

    "I think the captaincy might just spur him on to greater things. I don't see any problems for Joe - I think he'll be perfect.

    "He'll get plenty of help; he's got Alastair Cook in the ranks, and other senior players all around him. I'm sure he'll call upon them whenever he needs to. He's very level-headed. I think he'll be absolutely fine."

    England's first fixtures of a packed summer come in May when they contest two one-day internationals against Ireland before a three-match ODI series acts as a prelude to the Champions Trophy.

    After finishing as runners-up in 2004 and 2013, Botham believes that this could be the time for Eoin Morgan's side to lift ICC silverware.

    England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan 'could lift silverware this summer'
    England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan 'could lift silverware this summer'

    "We're due to win a 50-over tournament and I can't see why they can't this summer," he said. "I think it's going to be a really interesting tournament.

    "England are starting off as favourites and have a realistic chance but, believe me, anyone of the eight sides playing in this could win it.

    "England have played very good white-ball cricket since the debacle of the last World Cup; playing at home will be a big advantage.

    "The ICC takes control of the pitches so we will be a little bit in their hands but I think the pitches will be good."

    Botham was formally appointed Chairman of Durham CCC in February following the county's relegation from the top-flight of the County Championship last year - punishment for accepting a £3.8m financial aid package from the ECB.

    The team also incurred a 48-point deduction, so Botham feels the players have a point to prove when they begin their Division Two campaign on Friday.

    Botham explains why he'll assist Durham in their recovery
    Botham explains why he'll assist Durham in their recovery

    "The mood at Durham is very positive," he said. "I spoke to a few of the players on Tuesday. They basically want to get the season going now. They fell they are in good nick and are playing well.

    "They accepted the relegation because that tends to go with finanical problems and clubs. They are a little disappointed that they were penalised 48 points as they've done nothing wrong, but they feel they are good enough and if they get off to a start, we'll be up there and competing.

    "There are a lot of very good players and some good young players coming through as well. I'm quite excited and I know the players are."


    This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia

  • Posted on September 24, 2016 by Selby

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    This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia

  • It is underestimated how hard it is to bat fourth in Tests Back England from 1.70

    Posted on August 4, 2016 by Selby

    England are shorter than they were (1.58) before the off and although we expect them to win, any sort of resistance in the second innings from Pakistan could see the price drift. Indeed, as we move towards a fourth-innings chase we would hope that there could even be some flip-flops.

    That is, of course, dependent on Pakistan showing resilience with the bat. These will be the toughest conditions they have faced so far on tour. The skies are overcast and there is plenty off the pitch and through the air. James Anderson, Chris Woakes (on his home ground), Stuart Broad and Steve Finn are a potent line-up.

    The portents are not good. Pakistan were rolled for 72 in 2010 with Anderson (four wickets), Broad (four) and Finn (two) a three-man wrecking crew. Granted only Azhar Ali, of the batsmen, survives but it is personality rather than personnel which is key. The character of the batsmen in this Pakistan team is similar, not to mention the culture.

    As we have said many times before players from the sub-continent are not used to seaming and swinging wickets. They are alien. So it is a mighty steep learning curve, even for the likes of Misbah-ul-Haq, who rather surprisingly is on his first tour of England.

    Pakistan made a better fist of batting in the second innings in that match. They notched 296 thanks to some unexpected grit from Zulqarnain Haider, the wicketkeeper. A repeat of that should put the game finely in the balance.

    Historically, tourists who have bowled first have scored well in the second match innings. Totals of 314-308-336-576-397-343 suggest a ding-dong affair awaits.

    Those are numbers we shouldn't get too excited about, however. The timeline is a ten-year one from 2008 to 1998. Likewise the toss bias. In the last six Tests that have produced results five have been won by the team bowling first. Four of them by England.

    We will be looking to get with England at prices from 1.70 and up because of the difficulty Pakistan should face having to make a score batting last. They might be able to hold off England's bowlers once, but twice is surely an Everest in these conditions.

    It is underestimated how hard it is to bat fourth in Tests. The psychological pressure is often intolerable for batsmen, who play injudicious shots in the fear that, sooner or later, they will get one with their name on.

    It is underestimated by cricketers themselves, oddly. Time after time we see captains bat on too long in the third innings so they set an improbable target instead of focusing on the number of overs they need.

    Cook, in this regard, can a threat to a bet on England as we have discussed here. He has cost England victory before and will do so again. In favour of a wager on England here, though, is the fact that the hosts are level in the series.

    At Old Trafford when he failed to enforce the follow-on Cook feared defeat - and almost certain series defeat - that he took overs out of the match instead of getting on with the job.

    The worry of a chase in the fourth innings preyed on his mind on that occasion. That fragility is caused by the pitch, a worn, crumbling surface which has often had upwards of 200 overs. Uneven bounce, footholds and the two-paced nature of such wickets make batting hard.

    Pakistan, although they would never admit it, would fear a chase of anything of 250 or more. So their second innings is pivotal.

    If they achieve parity then we have the potential of a fourth-innings thriller with favouritism swinging this way and that. If they don't, a 50-run lead for England should ensure victory. That is five runs fewer than that first-innings average. It wouldn't be a surprise if they won by a 50-60 runs gap, too.

    Recommended Bet

    Back England from 1.70

    Fourth-innings chases at Edgbaston

    124-2 Eng v Australia 2015
    118-1 Eng v Pakistan 2010
    283-5 SA v Eng 2008
    81-4 Eng v SL 2006
    279 Aus v Eng 2005 (target 282)
    222 WI v Eng 2004 (target 479)
    211-3 Eng v NZ 1999
    Pakistan fourth innings averages

    Hafeez 43.06
    Azhar 24.8
    Asad Shafiq 48
    Misbah 42.28
    Yoiunis 59.17


    This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia

  • Posted on July 31, 2016 by Selby

    Australia v England 1920/21. Official 'Orient Line S.S. Osterley' card with centre colour image of the ship at sea in colour. With titles to top border 'Visit of M.C.C. team to Australia 1920/21' and dates of voyages from London and Australia in 1920/21. The top border has been titled in ink, to the left border 'England' and to the right 'Australia' with columns and scrolls beneath. Signed in ink to columns and scrolls by the full seventeen members of the M.C.C. touring party and by fifteen members of the Australian team including both managers. Rarely seen in such excellent condition. A scarce item.


    This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia

  • Nicholas 'Felix' Wanostrocht. Kent & Surrey 1834-1852.

    Posted on July 31, 2016 by Selby

    Small two page handwritten letter, headed Blackheath, from Felix to W. Smithson, Secretary of Kent C.C.C. dated Saturday 9th 1849. 'Dear Sir, I shall have much pleasure in playing in the Gentleman's match at Lord's on Monday July 2nd and the return match at Canterbury in the August week commencing the 20th. Will you oblige me by letting me know if you wish me to play in the Kent v England at Lord's and at Canterbury- as soon as you can- as if not I have the opportunity of accepting other invitations which I ought to answer soon. Pray remember me to all friends- and to the ladies my profound devotions and...believe me as ever Yours sincerely N. Felix'. Nicely signed by Felix. A rare letter


    This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia

  • Australia v England 1920/21. Official 'Orient Line S.S. Osterley

    Posted on July 31, 2016 by Selby

    Australia v England 1920/21. Official 'Orient Line S.S. Osterley' card with centre colour image of the ship at sea in colour. With titles to top border 'Visit of M.C.C. team to Australia 1920/21' and dates
    of voyages from London and Australia in 1920/21. The top border has been titled in ink, to the left border 'England' and to the right 'Australia' with columns and scrolls beneath. Signed in ink to
    columns and scrolls by the full seventeen members of the M.C.C. touring party and by fifteen members of the Australian team including both managers. Rarely seen in such excellent condition. A scarce item.


    This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia

  • Start winning on Betfair Cricket

    Posted on July 5, 2016 by Selby

    We are well aware England are superb chasers but this might be one of the rare occasions they could come unstuck. A little complacency could be ok

    Recommended Bets
    Back Sri Lanka if they bat first at 3.60
    Back S Prasanna top Sri Lanka bat at 17.00 (Half stakes)

    Tuesday July 5 18.30
    TV: live on Sky Sports
    EnglandEngland have shuffled their pack for the T20 after their comprehensive 3-0 ODI series success over Sri Lanka. Dawid Malan, Liam Dawson and Tymal Mills could all make their international debuts.

    Malan was big news in 2008 when he smashed 103 off 51 balls against Lancashire for Middlesex in the T20 quarter-finals. He was promoted to the England performance squad the same year before losing his way. Only in the last couple of years has he found consistent form again.

    Dawson is a batsman who bowls useful left-arm spin and is a tenacious player. Of the three -included in a supposed pool of strong England reserves - Mills is the most interesting. He has genuine left-arm pace and has restricted himself to limited-overs to prolong his career.

    Eoin Morgan will lead, Jason Roy and Jos Buttler will blast but there is no Alex Hales, Joe Root or Moeen Ali.
    Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka will have to make do and mend with the personnel who were thoroughly outplayed in ODI. Everyone must surely hope they prove to provide more competition in the shorter format.

    They should certainly be troublesome to contain with the bat. Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal has superb series while the strike rates of Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka and Seekkuge Prasanna suggest they will be more suited to the thrash and bash.

    Mathews, however, is likely to be the only bowler capable of containing England. Suranga Lakmal was pretty tight but there's not much to get excited about with the ball.
    First-innings runs

    The T20 scores at the old Rose Bowl since 2015 are the following: 158-1/143-1/186-1/181-1/157-2/172-1/172-2/173-1. Those are some consistent scores and 165 should really be breached.
    Match odds

    Sri Lanka haven't managed a win yet. There best chance came last time out in a Cardiff on a wicket which had proved helpful to bowlers and they had the crucial advantage of the chase. But they blew it.

    So one could be forgiven for feeling agitated at the prospect of betting them here. They are 3.40with England no fun at all at 1.39. But we're going to have to swallow hard and get on with it.

    A toss bias of seven wins from eight for the side batting first means we have to take on the favourites. And we can at least console ourselves that they are a little weaker without Hales and Root.

    We are well aware England are superb chasers but this might be one of the rare occasions they could come unstuck. A little complacency wouldn't go amiss, either.
    Top England runscorer

    Openers Roy and Vince are 4.00 and 5.00 respectively. Malan is 5.00 with Buttler looking great value at 7.00. Sam Billings is probably also overpriced at 15.00.
    Top Sri Lanka runscorer

    Mathews and Chandimal dominate at 5.50 and 4.50 respectively. But the big hitting Prasanna has to bet at 17.00. He should be half that.
    Recommended Bets

    Back Sri Lanka if they bat first at 3.60
    Back S Prasanna top Sri Lanka bat at 17.00 (Half stakes)


    This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia

  • Fast bowling at its best

    Posted on July 5, 2016 by Selby


    This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia

  • Betting at Lords

    Posted on June 14, 2016 by Selby


    This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia

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