Hampshire Cricket History

World Test Championship
March 8, 2021, 6:54 pm
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BBC’s South Today have just announced they expect the Final between New Zealand and India to be played at the Ageas Bowl because it is easier to make it bio secure. It might mean Hampshire moving matches.

PS That last comment is not correct. From 18 June we have three T20 games, all away during the following week (Oval, Bristol, Taunton)

Go Home!
March 8, 2021, 9:23 am
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This morning, Nicola Sturgeon (BBC) has said the crowds celebrating Rangers’ title win were “infuriating and disgraceful” and could delay the end of the Covid lockdown. I believe Boris got grumpy too.

I’m not one of nature’s conformists but I have been very good throughout the past twelve months, doing pretty well everything asked or instructed. My wife and I are volunteers in the ONS survey as a consequence of which we’ve been tested eight times in fewer than six months – and when one of mine came back as (a false) positive, I was tested again and it was negative. I’m entirely supportive of the view that we should listen to the scientists and trust the experts although I don’t include (m)any politicians in that latter category. Their job is to interpret advice and manage things and they seem to have done that very well with regard to the vaccination programme.

But now I would like to see them responding to the evidence about people being outdoors, in a sensible and informed way because I fear that increasingly condemnation about people’s behaviour outdoors is not based on any clear evidence – and all of this has implications for the forthcoming cricket season.

Last month (19.2) The Guardian ran an article headed “Summer Scare: Why beaches were never an infection risk”, based on the work of Professor Mark Woolhouse, a university epidemiologist who sits on a government committee. He observed that despite the “outcry” by politicians, the media and the public “There were no outbreaks linked to public beaches (and) there’s never been a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a beach anywhere in the world, to the best of my knowledge”.

Another ‘Prof’, Dr Muge Cevik, added that “only about 10% of transmission events are linked to outdoor activities”, adding “there was pre-existing knowledge of transmission prior to Covid-19 that “everything points to the conditions in people’s homes and workplaces”. Prof Lucy Yardley from Southampton added that if you ban people from congregating outdoors, they are more likely to do it inside,

Then yesterday, in its sports section (page 1), The Observer ran a story of medical experts reporting “not a single case of on-the-field transmission of the virus, has been confirmed in football, rugby union, rugby league or American football during a full year of the pandemic”. This is despite all the condemnations by authorities, media, politicians, and the public of goal celebrations, huddles, scrums etc – the problem Professor James Calder confirmed comes “off the pitch, in the changing rooms, car sharing (not) social distancing” etc – while contact sports like rugby have “done very good work to identify the risks on the field”.

So there must come a point when political leaders like Sturgeon and Johnson have to consider all this evidence or face the charge that actually they are controlling and threatening control excessively, where it’s not needed. Open the gates! Let us in!

Now If I Were a SElector …
March 7, 2021, 9:58 am
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What would you do John?

Allowing for the current very difficult circumstances I might try to better sort out those who stayed, those who left, and those who came back, and there’s little doubt that team (as opposed to squad) selection was wrong in those last two or three Tests but was anyone left at home who should have been there? I doubt it. Maybe this is the best we’ve got.

Simon Wilde is good in today’s Sunday Times. Here are a few snippets:

(Against India) “The combined average of the top three, 14.2, was the lowest for England since 1905/6 … played on matting pitches. Truly this was the worst show on turf … English batsmanship was seen at its most inept in a generation”

“They used 17 players in four Tests … only twice in the past 35 years have England won a series using this many players … both … were at home”.

The IPL: “What is the point of central contracts if the players rate a franchise T20 tournament above a Test Match?”

In The Observer, Andy Bull points out that after Root’s mammoth first innings in India, “England’s batsmen made three fifties in 82 innings (and) none of them managed to press on past 55”. He added, the fact that Sibley, Bess and Crawley “are doing so much learning on the job speaks to a systemic failing in English cricket”.

And Joe Root? He said there are “areas of county cricket that can be improved quite easily … We need to find a way of making games last four days, and we need to give spinners the opportunity to learn to bowl at different stages of the game. But (also) you want batsmen to have a wealth of knowledge of what it’s like to go out in the second innings … and be able to ignore that scoreboard pressure”

Well who’d have thought that? Lucky then that we have the Hundred as well as the T20 – that should solve everything.

March 5, 2021, 6:38 pm
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England took only six wickets today, yet even with the extra half-hour they bowled only 82 of the 90 overs they were supposed to bowl – and that included 47 overs by their three spinners (approximately 60%).

March 3, 2021, 2:15 pm
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Yesterday, my newspaper of choice** featured an article by Tim Wigmore entitled “How English cricket can help bowlers master art of spin – and equip batsmen to face it”

It’s long been a favourite topic of mine – possibly second only to over rates which would of course improve with more spin bowling

The article included this: “Since 2016, 40% of overs at Taunton have been bowled by spinners, but that is still lower than in Tests in any Asian nation”.

I guess we would expect that Taunton figures most highly in percentage terms, although Somerset have some decent pace bowlers, so I wondered about the Ageas Bowl. I have some figures for the same period not for both sides but for Hampshire, remembering too that no overs were bowled there by Hampshire in 2020. So, for the four year period from 2016-2019 Hampshire’s spinners have bowled just 27.7% of all our overs – and it was broadly decreasing as follows:

2016: 38.65; 2017: 28.8%; 2018: 16.95% & 2019: 21.7%

It’s worth noting that the lowest figure is 2018 when Crane was injured. The Hampshire spinners who bowled at the ground over those years were Dawson, Crane, Smith, Taylor, Weatherley, Organ and Rayner.

**The Daily Telegraph of course

Old News
March 2, 2021, 11:59 am
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My school-pal Richard McIlwaine has been raiding his collection of memories and sent me these two from around 50 years ago (plus a few other bits). I didn’t recognise the name Malcolm Wiseman – he played more for Somerset 2nd XI and Minor County Dorset and at times seemed to be a batsman who also kept wicket.

New News
March 1, 2021, 1:45 pm
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From the March edition of The Cricketer:

Nathan Lyon is understood to have pulled out from a deal with Hampshire this year. Hampshire have been pursuing New Zealand’s all-rounder Kyle Jamieson.

Journalist Ivo Tennant is working with Rod Bransgrove on Rod’s biography.

Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl is still a possible venue for the World Test Championship Final if it needs to be bio-secure. Lord’s is the ICC’s preference.

If Hampshire need to vacate the Ageas Bowl they will probably return to the Isle of Wight. Both Basingstoke and Portsmouth require too much ‘upgrading’.