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County cricket talking points: chilly start for the revamped

Ball one: Bartlett couple with Gregory for Somerset triumph

Somerset started the season by taking an action closer to their standard autumnal heartbreak with a wonderfully resistant win over Middlesex. After Sam Robson’s opening day 165, Middlesex’s bowlers appeared like making double aidings of triple sweaters till Marchant de Lange biffed a couple of while Jack Leach wiped the ice off his glasses at the other end to save the follow-on. The house side were still favourites after Josh Davey and Leach won a flurry of second innings LBW decisions to leave Somerset chasing after 285. Captain, Tom Abell, got his group over half way, however it was the unbroken seventh wicket stand of 98 in between George Bartlett and Lewis Gregory that got them over the line.

Gregory didn’t require his first-innings fivefer to validate his place in the bowling unit, but his performances at No 8 might be essential in more than simply this match. Usually in collaboration with the last recognised batsman, a No 8 must decide whether to dig in and turn the strike or lead the counterattack as type of auxiliary 7. Gregory picked the latter, 10 fours peppering his 62 while Bartlett, 23 last month, guided the ship to port.

Ball two: Crane flying through an English spinner’s advancement

As in the schlocky 1980s comedy, there were three daddies at Leicester, where James Vince (231 ), Liam Dawson (152 *) and Tom Alsop (119) brought the discomfort to Leicestershire, piling up 612-5 in 120 overs prior to the home side might collect round the radiators and warm bodies and souls. To their credit, Leicestershire made Hampshire work very hard for their rather inevitable win, withstanding for 77 overs in the very first dig and 96 following on.

Mason Crane– having already gone through the “could this be the one for England?”, the “no, it isn’t” and the “is he even good enough for his county” stages of an English spin bowler’s profession– is now going into the “trusted at this level really” stage, his match figures of 44– 8– 151– 6 a strong structure for a big season to come for the earliest 24-year-old in the video game.

Ball three: Surrey triggered on the wrong foot

Gloucestershire were the other victors in the preliminary of matches, brushing aside a Surrey XI shorn of the Currans, but still boasting six global gamers in a manner that is growing too familiar for the well resourced south Londoners.

With Ben Foakes’ 133 critical in setting a difficult but gettable target of 228, Surrey’s bowlers had no response to Gloucestershire’s captain, Chris Damage, and all-rounder Graeme van Buuren as they travelled to the win at better than 6 an over. Rory Burns used 5 bowlers, however they could manage only 12 wickets in the match. Furthermore, all 5 bowled a minimum of one no ball as 16 were sent down at a rate of one every eight overs, which made me wonder how the pre-season work (by which the county sets excellent store) had actually grooved bowlers’ actions if they couldn’t make sure where their feet were landing.

Ball four: England watch

Safeguarding champs Essex might not do what they have actually done so often over the last few years– transform an advantage into a win. Without any limitation on first-innings period, Tom Westley chose to bat into the 158th over, which felt too long to me, but he had invested nearly nine hours in the center assembling 213, so he was barely guessing about the state of the pitch.

He had actually relied on 2 aspects of the video game operating in his favour– his own attack’s shown ability to bag 20 wickets and the mental challenge of batting the best part of 7 sessions for a draw. With Worcestershire 43-4 at the end of the second day, his presumptions looked likely to flourish.

Jake Libby had other ideas and bedded in to bring his bat for over 11 hours, ultimately finding a partner in all-rounder, Ed Barnard, whose first century turned his ratio of batting to bowling averages favorable and protected the extra points now available for the draw.

Joe Root was pleased to see that change to the County Championship, as it would motivate batsmen to eliminate for each run and develop the concentration required in Test matches. After a stop-start profession, Libby had an excellent 2020 and has begun 2021 with a backs-to-the-wall impressive. With England’s packed schedule and a leading three lacking consistency, Libby might soon get a possibility to offer Root the luxury of a cup of tea in between the toss and going out to the middle.

Ball 5: Waiting on the present of noise and vision

I am loathe to criticise anyone involved in cricket at any level after the last 12 months they have actually sustained and the magnificent entertainment offered to us in times when we needed it more than ever. However … (and you could see that coming couldn’t you?).

Can you discover the reason Somerset’s 19 points for their win translates to 11 points in the Group Two table? I know it’s a charge carried over from last season, but an * and a line of description would assist. Certainly, aside from finding out that there are now 8 points for the draw, there’s no comprehensive declaration regarding points allotments, never mind penalties for sluggish over rates etc, that I might discover on any website. At the BBC, the County Champion appears to be objected to by simply six clubs, which might please some well up in cricket’s hierarchy– until they discover that Derbyshire are among them. On Groups Two and Three, the national broadcaster’s site looks like silent as it was for much of Friday afternoon.

Possibly I’m asking a bit excessive here, however the excellent YouTube streams provided by counties are attracting extremely good numbers, with pin-sharp HD images from several cams, onscreen real-time info graphics and quick replays, supported by a social media effort that likewise brings the video game to its audience.

So why do we have the BBC regional radio feed for audio? Not only is it too wordy for TELEVISION (completely fairly so given its primary function), but it can be a little parochial too– is Simon Harmer really contending with Rashid Khan to be the very best spinner in world cricket? Even in these straitened times, it shouldn’t be beyond the scope of counties to employ a number of commentators to ensure the audio lives up to the pictures, particularly when there frequently appears to be more people podcasting than not podcasting.

Ball 6: Disgrace Road

I’m going to leave the morality to commenters listed below the line and concentrate on a relatively narrow point raised by the rather anodyne scorebook entry “Hassan Azad baffled McManus bowled Dawson 18”. You can see what happened on your own here, as the appeal “for” a catch was suddenly promoted at square leg, after Lewis McManus, ball in his right glove, had whipped off a bail with his left.

Definitely it should not have been beyond the ken of two captains (Hampshire’s James Vince and Leicestershire’s Colin Ackermann), 2 umpires, a match referee and (if required) two scorers to work out an equitable solution for all parties? Errors do happen and ask any motorcyclist about how concentration dips when you’re cold and they’ll have a story or two.

And, for those who say that a recall isn’t possible under the laws once the next ball has been bowled, I posture a jurisprudential question: are the laws there to facilitate the game or is the video game there to exemplify the laws? If you register for the previous (as this writer does) Azad must have resumed his innings with an * in the scorebook, a brief explanatory note and Hampshire’s males looking rather larger than they do today.

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