Lockdown Cricketers

Hi guys

During Lockdown, I’ve watched my fair share of cricket highlights on YouTube.

There are a few players that have come to my attention whilst I’ve been binging on the Big Bash, West Indies Super50 and even succumbing to the Abu Dhabi T10. That’s not to say that I hadn’t heard of any of these cricketers. Some I was at least semi-aware of but their performances recently have peaked my interest.

We’ll start with…

Larry Edward

http://m.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/player/530816.html

Edward is a 26-year-old slow-left-armer who plays for Windward Volcanoes. He’s looked particularly good when bowling around the wicket to right-handed batsmen. He seems to bowl quite full with a side on action but gets bounce and has a habit of getting the thinnest of edges.

I’m not sure what standard of T20 is available in the West Indies beyond the CPL because Edward has only played First Class and List A cricket at professional level. He looks like he’d make a decent T20 bowler but with only six teams in the CPL, it isn’t an easy gig to get, particularly when you don’t have a history in that form of the game.

Also, it does seem unclear whether his name is actually Edward or Edwards. It varies on different sources. I like his style though. He’s enjoyable to watch.

Next up is Sohail Akhtar

http://m.espncricinfo.com/pakistan/content/player/532424.html

34-year-old right-handed middle order batsmen Akhtar has some First Class/List A experience but as the years have gone by, he’s thrived in T20 cricket.

The Pakistani player isn’t all about muscle. Yes he can clear the ropes but he’s a stylish player, particularly when flicking onto the leg-side. He’s a little different and was the leading run-scorer in the Abu Dhabi T10.

Maybe he’s bloomed a little late for international recognition but compatriot Misbah-ul-Haq went on into his forties so who knows?

Now for… Tim David

http://m.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/892749.html

24-year-old former Perth Scorcher David turned out for Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash this year and is a fully fledged Singapore international.

He can bowl off-spin but it’s his powerful batting that caught my eye. He tends to come to the crease in the middle/lower order but packs a punch and can really raise his team’s total. With so many players moving to the top of the order in T20, having players that can do the job later on in an innings, aren’t always easy to find.

David, who was supposed to play in Nepal’s T20 competition but for COVID, is a strong asset to the Hurricanes’ batting line up. To date, he’s never played First Class cricket.

Back to the Abu Dhabi T10 and another player that stood out was… Jamie Overton

http://m.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/510530.html

Long thought of as England material, injuries have hindered his cause whilst his twin Craig has won full international honours.

Overton was mightily effective with the ball at the Abu Dhabi T10.

He also performed better with the bat than many of the batsmen in the competition!

If England were selecting a T10 team then the 26-year-old would merit inclusion. Can he earn recognition in longer formats with the likes of Archer, Stone and Wood competing for places? He’ll have to stay fit at new county Surrey to stand a chance.

Who Should be England’s Goalkeeper at Euro 2020?

Should Euro 2020 (Or ’21 if you prefer) go ahead, then who should don the gloves, appear between the sticks, play in goal for England?

Everton’s Jordan Pickford is in possession but his form at domestic level is consistently erratic. Nick Pope rarely puts a foot wrong at Burnley but remains inexperienced in competitive internationals. Dean Henderson performed well for Sheffield United but is currently only a cup keeper at Old Trafford.

Incumbent Sheffield United shot stopper (Or not!) Aaron Ramsdale, destined to be relegated two seasons in a row, Karl Darlow, finally getting regular game time at Newcastle United or Southampton’s Alex McCarthy amongst others are left field options.

Many thanks for participating and look out for the results on Thursday.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that voting is only open for 24 hours!

Song of the Week #005

Hi guys

Welcome to Song of the Week #005. Ignoring the political reason for this song’s return to attention (Because I’ll talk about many things on this blog but will avoid politics!), please have a listen to… You Get What You Give by the New Radicals.

This band and song are the very definition of a one hit wonder. That said, there’s a few more than decent tracks on their album. Either you’ll remember this song and likely be glad to hear it prick your ears again or it’ll be new to you. Either way… enjoy!

Last week’s selection (Oh, sorry! We skipped a week for a one month blog update) can be found here…

https://planetpaul.blog/2021/02/08/song-of-the-week-004/

Homemade Flapjack

Hi guys

My nutoka topped flapjack consists of 250g of porridge (Thus convincing me that it’s semi-healthy/energy providing!), 100g of butter, 50g of brown sugar and a generous amount of Golden Syrup, plus the chocolate obviously… so not very healthy then!

Does it look okay in the photo above? It’ll likely crumble to pieces when I slice it but can be swept up with a spoon.

It’s a handy snack when on a hike but like I say, I usually either end up with crumbs… or a jaw breaker!

Oh, about twenty minutes at 180.

Fold Drybag

Hi guys

I’ve had this fold drybag for a good few years now and it’s really handy when hiking.

The one pictured above is classed as XXS and allows me to put my keys, phone and wallet inside to prevent them from getting wet. I put the drybag in my rucksack where I also have a much bigger drybag that can keep a spare fleece for example as well as my lunch box dry.

It’s not nice when your wallet gets wet and maybe your phone could lose functionality if it gets soaked. I know that there’s the option to buy a plastic cover to go over the rucksack but I’ve always found my drybags to work perfectly for me.

Whether you’re able to do some hikes at the moment or in the near future… enjoy!

Malan King!

It’s great to see that England batsman Dawid Malan has been snapped up by Punjab Kings for the 2021 IPL season.

Left-hander Malan currently sits at the peak of the T20I rankings but is by no means assured of a place in the England XI. Representing Hobart Hurricanes at the Big Bash, the adopted Yorkshireman did okay, despite being in quarantine for the early stages. Such is the competition for top order places in England’s XI though, that he can’t allow his standards to drop.

The T20I World Cup will be held in India so the opportunity to gain experience and perform in that environment will be welcome… as will the salary! Malan didn’t set a ridiculous base price (Around £150k) and Punjab Kings aren’t historically the most successful IPL team but that’s not the point. Malan just needs to knuckle down against a variety of opposition, whether it be international stars or homegrown unknown spinners… and score runs!

It’s a great shame that Malan let his place in the Test side slip away (Literally as he kept dropping slip catches!) but he remains a high class player. Despite his advancing years, this is a great opportunity to further his horizons.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

As promised, here are my thoughts on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. You can find my write-up on the first film here…

https://planetpaul.blog/2021/02/12/the-amazing-spiderman/

I touched upon some of the similarities and differences to the Raimi/Maguire trilogy in my first post. When I started watching the second one, my wife asked, “Is he still a photographer?”, to which the answer is “Yes” but it’s not really something that features heavily in the Marc Webb/Andrew Garfield films. It’s used as a tool but we’re never introduced to a Mr Jameson character or visit the Daily Bugle.

I was slightly flummoxed by the introduction of senior Oscorp characters in this film. It seemed a strange continuity thing to me that they weren’t in the first films. Also, a couple of American actors play Eastern Europeans with fake accents. That’s fine (Contrary to what some people think!) but if it sounds like a cheesy fake accent then that’s what it is… and that’s not good acting!

Spoiler Alert! This film features the death of a significant character. Now obviously characters die in Spider-Man and I don’t know if this one is true to the comics but I found it very unHollywood that this character died… which is good! It made it a better film.

The film has the whole Spider-Man not being Spider-Man phase but I find Aunt May’s possible knowledge of Peter Parker being Spider-Man a little inconsistent throughout both films. There are multiple hints that she knows but then she also displays complete ignorance. That said, I do think Sally Field excels in a smallish but vital role.

Jamie Fox (Electron) and Dane DeHaan (Harry Osborn) star as villains and I like them both, though again on the continuity front, we have reference to Parker and Osborn’s previous friendship. To be fair, it was seemingly before their teenage years which is the film’s main focus, time period wise.

I’ve just remembered the plane crash scene (Sorry, another spoiler!) and it’s ridiculous that somebody managed to download a computer file whilst spiralling to Earth!

I’ve always enjoyed the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire and co. trilogy and this was a decent reimagining. Also, I belatedly realised that the director’s name… Marc WEBB, is extremely appropriate!

If you have seen the films or intend to then I hope that you enjoy them too.

Newts

I have a standard size garden pond. What I don’t think is standard is the amount of newts that live in it. I would estimate that there could be as many as one hundred!

We have a reasonable size garden and the pond is situated at the far end from the house. Either side are similar gardens and behind is a school field. When I was young, many small frogs would voyage through the long grass near the house and in an old stone wall at the far end. This was despite there being no pond. I think that there was the occasional newt too.

I have Smooth and Palmate newts. Depending on age and gender it’s not always easy to distinguish between the two and I often confuse myself. That said, Palmates (Possibly adult male) have webbed hind feet and a distinguishable filament at the end of their tale. I did once witness a full on courtship dance. The dark coloured newts contrasted against the light stone just below the surface of the water. The male was waving its tail in the direction of the female. It was amazing to watch, to see such raw nature occurring in my pond.

I’ve sighted about eight to twelve adult newts at one time though it’s not easy to count as they move around the pond. What I really clocked last year though was the sheer volume of young newts and that’s where my figure of one hundred comes from.

The pond has lots of vegetation that can be used as cover, no fish and crucially… no running water. I think that this is a big part of the reason that I have lots of newts in what is a clearish but mud-bottomed pond. My neighbour though, who has a more ornamental and flowing pond, also has newts.

It’s February and I’ve already seen some prominent newt activity in the pond. I hope that I haven’t disturbed them when breaking ice. My dad lost an absurd amount of frogs when not breaking the ice one winter. My understanding is though that the newts are more land based during winter before returning to breeding grounds.

Hopefully there’ll be much activity soon. If the weather’s good then they’re usually out in force from March until June so I look forward to sharing some insights in due course. Interestingly, I can’t claim to have had much success when looking for them at night as is often recommended. They’re are are reasonably prominent during the daytime but often dive below the surface when they notice my shadow.

For the record, the Great Crested Newt is the third type of newt that resides in the UK but it’s much rarer… bigger, and rarer. You wouldn’t expect to find this protected species in a pond such as mine. I believe that one or two other species (Alpine and Italian Crested) have made their presence felt in the UK as well.

Death in the Grizzly Maze

If you’re a Timothy Treadwell fan then this may not be the book for you… as he spends most of the 170 pages being bashed, criticised and having all his wrongs brought to attention!

Mike Lapinski is a writer and photographer who firmly disapproved of Treadwell’s conduct around bears. Whilst Lapinski may well be right in everything that he says, I’ll admit that reading such a one sided account wasn’t always welcome. To be fair, around half way through the book the tide does turn, slightly at least.

However, Lapinski uses the final pages of his book to detail how he reluctantly retracted comments on Treadwell in a previous publication and felt it necessary to correct that by scripting Death in the Grizzly Maze.

If you’d like to see Treadwell getting close to Alaska’s bears in the way that so annoyed Lapinski and the Katmai National Park employees (Who come in for some criticism in this book) then check out Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man. You can find the trailer linked in a previous post of mine…

https://planetpaul.blog/2021/01/16/five-documentaries-to-watch-during-lockdown/

Blog Update

Hi all

It’s been exactly one month since I started my brand new blog.

You can find my historical cricket content here…

http://www.sillypointcricket.com

And my old football posts here…

http://www.leftbackfooty.com

I just wanted to thank everybody for stopping by and viewing my content. I hope that at least one of the themes, be it film recommendations, sporty thoughts or books to read etc have been of interest to you. Many thanks for liking and commenting and a special mention to the 31 of you (None of whom appear to be spam!) who have followed my latest effort.

For those of you that missed my first and introductory post, you can find it by clicking on the link below…

https://planetpaul.blog/2021/01/15/a-new-dawn/

I’ll continue to post daily content every morning at 8am.

Once again, thank you for viewing and take care!