A few weeks back we highlighted some of the English cricketers who have opted for a winter in sunnier climes than dear old blighty. Frankly, as the entire country is placed under flood warnings, nauseating Christmas-related adverts plague the television and pubs get filled up with prats in ironically naff jumpers, who could blame them?
The Big Bash has certainly caught our attention, not least the illuminating bails and an inept performance from David Warner. Melbourne Star Luke Wright certainly started the competition well, with a score of 53 against the Melbourne Renegades. His next knock was perhaps even more impressive, blasting 23 from 11 balls against the Perth Scorchers to secure victory in weird, Duckworth-Lewis related, circumstances. He also picked up the all important wicket of Michael Beer. His final outing before heading to India was less successful though, being dismissed for one by Doug Bollinger. This match, versus the Hobart Hurricanes also featured Owais Shah. Listeners to the 51allout podcast will be aware of our committed and ongoing admiration for Shah, only some of which is sarcastic. Although he scored just one run against Wright’s mob, his first appearance saw him make 36* against Brisbane Heat. The unbroken partnership with Travis Birt of 95 won the match, no doubt just before Shah would have started cramping up.
Over in New Zealand, Chris Woakes got off to a slow start with the ball, taking 0/95 for Wellington against Auckland (who scored an eye-watering 658/9d). He did however score 47 in his sole innings. Things went better in his next match in the Plunket Shield, snaffling two wickets in each innings and making 41 in a seven-wicket victory. In between these games, he shone with 3/27 in a T20 match against Central Districts. With question marks over Stuart Broad and Steven Finn’s medium-term fitness, one wonders if the England selectors are paying attention.
Also in New Zealand, Peter Trego is appearing for Central Districts – something which entirely passed us by when we started this Globetrotters series. The research assistants have been lined up against a wall and forced to read Stuart Broad’s autobiography as punishment. His fortunes have been mixed thus far: 5, 2/30 and 21 in the T20 competition and 30, 3/57, 23, 0/96, 59 and 1/29 in the Shield. An England call-up seems as far away as McLean Park is from Weston-Super-Mare.
Meanwhile, Lancashire’s Steven Croft is starring for Northern Districts and contributed to their run of three victories with 81, 59* and 29. Even in defeat to Otago he scored 30. The 51allout Australasian correspondent Matt Larnach has asked us to point out that Croft’s team-mate is the wonderful, exceptional and funky Tim Southee.
Finally, to Zimbabwe. At the time of writing, both Moeen Ali and Mark Pettini are doing very well. The former has 299 first-class runs at 42.71, the latter 392 at 65.33, including two centuries. The Worcestershire man also has a handy 12 wickets to his name. The campaign for him to replace Samit Patel in the England squad starts here.