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Posts Tagged ‘yorkshire’

Yorkshire’s decision to release Matthew Hoggard (if it was indeed their decision rather than his – reports so far tend to take one side or the other) is surprising, to say the least. He took more First-Class wickets than any other Yorkshire bowler (although admittedly he didn’t do too well in the shorter formats), and for such a long and distinguished spell with the county to come to such a rancorous end is sad and unexpected.

Leicestershire are already interested in signing up the most sheepdogesque of England’s 2005 Ashes winners, and no doubt there will be other counties who will be keeping an eye on developments as well, but for Hoggard to be playing for anyone other than Yorkshire just seems wrong, even through my own Red Rose-tinted spectacles.

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  • Durham surprised a lot of people with their Championship win last year, and with Steve Harmison out of favour with England once again, their bowling attack looks just as strong as it was in 2008. Ian Blackwell has come in to bolster the middle order and add a spin option, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul returns in June following the World Twenty20.
  • Hampshire arguably owe last year’s survival, let alone their eventual third place, to the spin bowling of Imran Tahir, who returns from June. In the meantime, Australian Marcus North comes in as an overseas player to add runs, and Dominic Cork also arrives following his release by Lancashire. Chris Tremlett will also be key for the attack, whilst Mascarenhas’ England and IPL commitments will drain the Rose Bowl’s resources for much of the season.
  • Lancashire have released Dominic Cork and Stuart Law, whilst Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson are likely to make very few appearances for their county, so the Red Rose lineup will be somewhat unfamiliar in places. Mark Chilton and Francois Du Plessis need to improve on last year’s performances with the bat, or relegation may threaten to make Peter Moores’ 2009 even worse.
  • Nottinghamshire may spend the majority of the season watching their three best bowlers ply their trade for England, so the likes of Shreck and Pattinson will be key. If Samit Patel gets fit enough to be called up as well, the side could look a little thin in the middle order, but if newlywed Adam Voges can translate his limited-overs form to the four-day game then the prospect of a title challenge isn’t too far-fetched to consider.
  • Somerset continue to have an incredibly strong top order (especially with and Marcus Trescothick as an opening pair), but with Ian Blackwell moving to Durham and Andy Caddick into his 40s, the bowling attack looks worryingly thin. Unless a young gun steps up to take wickets, a proliferation of draws may ensue.
  • Warwickshire face the step up from Division Two without Ian Salisbury, but Jeetan Patel should be a strong addition to their four-day side. If Ian Bell stays out of the England team long enough to feature regularly, then the Bears can reap the benefits. Similarly, Tim Ambrose will be a force in the County game even he doesn’t cut it at Test level.
  • Worcestershire enter the post-Hick era in 2009, which puts a lot of pressure on Vikram Solanki and the likes of Stephen Moore. Gareth Batty’s recent England call-up underlined his quality with the ball, but the pace attack is relatively weak, especially given Simon Jones’ continuing injury problems. If Solanki and Kabir Ali find form, then the side can look for more than just consolidation in their return to Division One.
  • Yorkshire came uncomfortably close to relegation last year, but players of the quality of Michael Vaughan, Anthony McGrath, Matthew Hoggard and Adil Rashid should see them improve in 2009 (assuming England call-ups don’t intervene). A championship challenge may be asking too much, and adjusting to life without Darren Gough will be difficult, but there is enough class (especially with Jacques Rudolph in the side) for a top-half finish.

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Strangely for a player trying to find form, Michael Vaughan has played very little cricket over the winter. It may be that his central contract prevented him from playing in a Southern Hemisphere domestic competition, or that he ‘needed some time away from cricket’, but his last First-class match was way back in September, when he made a whopping 14 for Yorkshire against Somerset.

In any case (and leaving aside the question of whether the rest has done the trick, or the pitches out in Abu Dhabi are merely flatter than Norfolk), he’s finally back in the runs. The former England captain tonked 115 from 113 balls for his county as they beat Surrey in their opening match of the pre-season Pro ARCH Trophy out in the UAE.

There was more good news for the expert proponent of the textbook forward defensive with cartwheeling stump recently, when Duncan Fletcher came out in support of Vaughan returning to the Test side at number three. Whilst this is about as newsworthy as ‘Man drinks Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day‘, I’m sure Vaughan was pleased to see his name appear in a newspaper other than the Yorkshire Post.

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Adil Rashid had a pretty good day today, making 111 and taking 1-8 from two overs in Yorkshire’s potentially decisive match with Sussex. In fact, he’s likely to finish as the County Championship’s leading all-rounder for this season.

With Monty Panesar‘s place in the England side arguably the least secure it has been for some time, and a tour to India (a two-spinner tour if ever there was one) just around the corner, Rashid‘s time seems to be coming. If he isn’t selected in this winter’s touring party, he may never get the opportunity that many feel he deserves. That would be a real shame, both for the young spinner himself, and for England’s lower-middle order.

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I’ve never played cricket for England. I’ve never taken part in a cricket match knowing my future could be on the line. In cricketing terms, you could say I know nothing of The Crunch.

Michael Vaughan is about to find out all about The Crunch. He’s about to make it his new home. Because Vaughan, following another failure with the bat during Yorkshire’s game against Somerset at Scarborough, now has a maximum of three innings to make his case for inclusion in England’s winter touring squad.

On current form, there is no way he merits a place. Yet the past indulgence he has enjoyed from the selectors, as well as the fact that he was awarded a central contract mere days ago, suggest he might be included anyway.

If he is selected, perhaps in place of batsmen who have been making runs all summer, then it will strengthen the case suggesting that an “old boys’ club” mentality continues to exist in the dressing room.

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Mark Ramprakash has finally done it – making his 100th century for Surrey against Yorkshire.

Ramprakash fans may be interested to know that Mark now joins such cricketing luminaries as WG Grace, Donald Bradman and Geoffrey Boycott in the hundred 100s club.

Congratulations Ramps, that’s one heck of a monkey off your back.

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As one young ‘mystery spinner’ got a lot of people (although not everyone) very excited, another one was causing chaos of a type much less welcomed by his team.

Some at Yorkshire were able to make a wry joke about Azeem Rafiq’s missing paperwork, but, given that Rafiq was ineligble for the game which he took part in against Nottinghamshire, the whole competition is in a state of confusion.

The ECB has convened a panel to decide whether or not a replay will be required.

Darren Gough, who struggled to remember the young lad’s name little more than a week ago, probably knows it now.

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