rss

Author Archive for Gary Naylor

0

County cricket talking points: Kent and Hampshire to meet in cup final

Kent will play Hampshire at Lord’s on 30 June, making this year’s Royal London One-Day Cup final an all-southern affairBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogWhat makes a good team a bad team for just one match? As Kent hammered Nottinghamshire in th…

0

County cricket talking points: Ravi Bopara’s runs require more respect

Only six players have scored more runs than Ravi Bopara in the last decade. And he hit another century for Essex this weekBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogEssex, who know a bit about winning cricket matches, disposed of already qualified Kent t…

0

County cricket talking points: Royal London Cup throws up a few surprises

Worcestershire and Derbyshire are leading the north group, with Hampshire making the early running down southBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogThe Royal London Cup north group table is beginning to take on a shape and it’s something of a surpris…

0

County cricket talking points: One-Day Cup spoils the plot for the season

Why disrupt the season just as the County Championship had started to take shape and build some momentum?By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogI review theatre elsewhere and, inevitably, the worlds of cricket and stage occasionally overlap. To succe…

0

County cricket talking points: Surrey’s youngsters see off Joe Root

Sam Curran and Amar Virdi put on a show at the Oval and they gave the England captain the best view in the houseBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogSurrey flogged 20 wickets out of the Oval square in smashing a strong Yorkshire side by an innings …

0

County cricket talking points: Notts are threatening to emulate Essex

Newly promoted Nottinghamshire are top of the table after their third win of the season. Will they ‘do an Essex’?By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogNottinghamshire’s third win of the season puts them 17 points clear at the top of Division One, as…

0

County cricket talking points: Luke Fletcher’s return helps Notts go top

Luke Fletcher missed half of last season due to an awful head injury so it is great to see him back on form for NottinghamshireBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogNottinghamshire sit atop Division One after a second win of the season, blowing away…

0

County cricket talking points: Essex back to winning ways in title defence

Jamie Porter was the main man for Essex against Lancashire and he could do a job for EnglandBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogEssex won 10 of their 14 Division One matches last year and six of 16 in their promotion season (2016), so it shouldn’t…

0

County cricket talking points: Olly Stone deserves an England call-up

The Warwickshire bowler was brilliant against Sussex in the first week of the season. Why not play him against Pakistan?By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogWarwickshire’s Olly Stone is the fastest English bowler right now – and probably the fastes…

0

County cricket talking points: six questions before the new season

Essex are defending champions and Middlesex are aiming to return to the top flight. Will we witness an historic summer?By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogApart from 1947’s Denis Compton inspired sun-soaked, run-soaked season, perhaps every spring…

0

The art of watching dull cricket

Do you ever find yourself bored by too few (or too many) runs? Here is a handy guide to keep yourself entertained in those uneventful stretchesBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkIf the Big Bash League isn’t you…

0

Three memories of cricket in 2017

Continuing on from his reviews of 2014, 2015 and 2016, Gary picks out a few moments to savour from 2017 – including an all-time great batting performanceBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkThe three moments belo…

0

Steve Smith: the man who hides his genius in plain sight

Steve Smith is no longer vying to be saluted as the best batsman in the world. His challenge is now to be recognised as the second best batsman in historyBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkI was at Lord’s in 20…

0

The five county cricketers of the year

It’s time to salute the County Championship’s standout players this season: Kumar Sangakkara, Alex Hales, Alex Davies, Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer

• Fans from all 18 counties review the year
Will Macpherson’s verdict on the season

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

It was said that Barry Richards, his career coinciding with South Africa’s isolation, became bored with batting that notch below international as it came so easily to him. Well, it can’t have come much more easily to the South African champion than it came to Kumar Sangakkara, an all-time great of the game, whose powers, at almost 40 and in his last season of first-class cricket, seem not so much undiminished, as enhanced.

Continue reading…

0

County cricket talking points: Essex are still unbeaten with one game to play

The side that won promotion a year ago and won the title a fortnight ago looked as if they would suffer their first defeat of the season. But they just keep winning

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Whenever the scoreboard ticked over to 76, the late Brian Johnston would announce that it was “Trombone Time”, so how he would have enjoyed Essex’s win over Hampshire at the Rose Bowl. The hosts’ Aussie captain, George Bailey, un-Pontingly enforced the follow-on after the wheels had finally come off in the champions-elects’ annus mirabilis, dismissed for 76 in their first dig. Cue 20-year-old Dan Lawrence’s century, backed up by the old hands, James Foster and Neil Wagner, who posted 82 for the ninth wicket to set an awkward fourth-day target of 185 for a suddenly nervy and much-needed win. The victory fanfares were soon blaring again for Essex, as Sam Cook led the attack with 5-18 to despatch Hampshire for (you guessed it), 76 stretching Essex’s lead at the top of the table to 69 points. They’re just trolling their opponents now.

Continue reading…

0

County cricket talking points: Imran Tahir proves worth and Adam Lyth revitalised by record

Derbyshire reach T20 Blast quarter-finals while Yorkshire miss out despite a milestone but can separation by net run rate be made less opaque?

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Fifteen of 18 counties eyed scoreboards anxiously on the last day of the T20 Blast group stages as, after all those weeks of matches, only three (including Durham) had no chance of making the quarter-finals. Is that a testimony to the competitiveness of the format or a condemnation of the foolishness of hijacking high summer for a lot of sound and fury that ultimately signified nothing? Soon we will have two chances to consider that conundrum. Leicestershire won’t be too bothered about such musings as they secured their spot in the last eight with a victory over the team of the season (so far) Nottinghamshire, who had already topped the North Group. The most fantastic Mr Foxes proved to be Cameron Delport and Matt Pillans, the former making a century, the latter defending seven off the last over. Both are South African-born, somewhat nondescript (for this level) players, whose faces will not be screaming out of the knockout stages marketing posters. Good on them but also, I’m afraid, as the young people say, meh.

Continue reading…

0

County cricket talking points: Ross Whiteley hits six sixes … and loses

Ross Whiteley scored 37 in one over for Worcestershire but David Willey’s 118 helped Yorkshire win the match and climb to the top of their T20 Blast group

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Kevin Pietersen’s Surrey (see what I did there) top the South Group after a couple of strange matches at The Oval. On Wednesday, a raucous (but not too raucous) capacity crowd saw him almost single-handedly get Surrey up to 150, a score that proved good enough on a slow pitch exploited with Yorkshire nous by Gareth Batty, whose four overs brought him 2-19. But back to Pietersen, as always seems to be the case. Having been badly dropped at cow corner by Dan Lawrence and “running” like a stiff Alastair Cook, he appeared to decide to hit sixes and five of the match’s eight flew off his bat. In more ways than one, he played like a right-handed version of Chris Gayle – whether that is a good look these days remains to be seen. It worked in this match, no other batsman crossing 30, as Essex fell 11 short of their target.

Continue reading…

0

County cricket talking points: Essex lead Lancashire as season hits halfway point

Six observations from the week’s action, including praise for Simon Harmer, Dane Vilas, Paul Stirling, Samit Patel, Joe Clarke and Barry McCarthy

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

At the halfway point of the season, Essex are top of Division One. Even with Alastair Cook available, few expected that sentence to be written when Ryan ten Doeschate’s side planned this season, back in the top flight and without the services of old pros Graham Napier and David Masters. But the batting keeps coming at you – nine centuries shared between six batsmen in seven matches, the latest from Ravi Bopara (192) and James Foster (121) setting up the win over sorry Warwickshire, rock bottom and 40 points from safety. It’s a different story among the bowlers though, with just three crossing double figures for wickets in 2017: Jamie Porter (31); Neil Wagner (23) and Simon Harmer (33). The South African off-spinner relished the heat at Chelmsford, setting records with match figures of 66–24–128–14, proving that not every Kolpak is focused on the pound-rand exchange rate.

Continue reading…

0

County cricket talking points: Kumar Sangakkara’s season average hits 109.50

Sangakkara has now hit 876 runs this season; Somerset need to wake up; Kent have to be more ruthless; and Paul Collingwood’s declaration deserves an ovation

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Essex and Surrey started their match separated by one point at the top of Division One and finished it in identical shape, the draw not really helping either in a tight race for the pennant. Inevitably, Surrey were indebted to Kumar Sangakkara, who “failed” in his bid for six consecutive centuries, falling for 86 as the match meandered to a draw on the last afternoon. Having registered a round 200 in the first dig, the ageless Sir Lankan scored 47% of Surrey’s runs off the bat, but will have to wait for that hundredth senior hundred. He has now scored 876 runs for Surrey this season at an average of 109.50 – so one suspects he will not be waiting for very long. Contributions were more spread among the Essex players, but teenager Dan Lawrence caught the eye again with a ton. He, like fellow teen Sam Curran (who made 90 in Surrey’s first dig), can only learn from the honour of sharing a cricket field with an all-time great of the game.

Continue reading…

0

County cricket talking points: Kumar Sangakkara eyes a century of centuries

Kumar Sangakkara hit two brilliant centuries for Surrey against Middlesex over the weekend. If he does retire at the end of the season, he is going out in style

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

The early abandonment at Wantage Road handed Nottinghamshire the point they needed to join Worcestershire and Yorkshire in progressing from the North Group of the Royal London One-Day Cup. It also took the wind out of the sails of Durham, Leicestershire and Lancashire, all of whom might have squeaked in as the last round of matches started. It’ll be scant consolation for him, but Lanky’s Jordan Clark ended the group stage with the best strike rate of batsman scoring over 250 runs (143), a sentiment that might be shared by rock-bottom Warwickshire’s veteran spinner, Jeetan Patel, whose economy rate of 5.12 was the lowest among bowlers taking at least 10 wickets.

Continue reading…