Musings from Beyond the Boundary – 17 September

Musings from beyond the boundary – cricketing thoughts through the eyes of Trevor Auger, an Auckland Cricket Society and Supporters Club Member.

With the new season fast approaching, things are winding down in the Northern Hemisphere with the County Championship reaching its conclusive stages and the English home test series finished for another year.

The flood of New Zealanders who played in the County T20 competition receded rapidly at the end of that competition but there have still been a few Kiwis distinguishing themselves as the four day game returned, none moreso than Matt Henry.

Henry had that superlative start to the season with Kent and has returned to them for the season’s close, taking up just where he left off. In his latest match against Middlesex he picked up 1/42 and 4/40, and a game previous against Northamptonshire it was 7/42 and 4/72. Remarkably, this was his third ten wicket match haul in just 9 matches with the club this Northern summer.

Henry is currently the highest wicket-taker in the County Championship’s Second Division, with 66 victims (at just 14.96), one more than Sussex’s Ollie Robinson, who has three more matches under his belt.

Worth noting too, in equal fifth place amongst the Division’s most successful bowlers is the evergreen Jeetan Patel, with 53 wickets at a fraction over 21 each. This is the sixth season in the last seven when Patel has passed 50 first class wickets for Warwickshire, the team he has captained this year’s campaign.

Former Ace Matt Quinn had another run last week for his Essex side and enjoyed success with 3/37 from 19 overs’ work in Nottinghamshire’s first innings, while current Ace Lockie Ferguson helped Derbyshire to a big win over Glamorgan with a useful double of 2/34 and 2/28.

Another Ace in late season action for Yorkshire is Jeet Raval. Coming into the side to replace Kane Williamson, (who finished his three match spell with the county by scoring 51 against Somerset – his third fifty in those three games), Raval has battled a little for runs and hasn’t passed 15 in his pair of games to date.

When it comes to the Auckland Aces in England though, the big news was Sam Curran’s part in England’s test series victory over India. In spite of sitting out one match to accommodate the return of Ben Stokes, 20 year old Curran was named Man of the Series, alongside Indian captain Virat Kohli.

This accolade came less for the weight of his contribution (although 272 runs at almost 39 an innings and 11 wickets at 23 and a half emphasise his all-round worth) as for the value of his work. His runs and his wickets came time and again when they were most needed by his side and he demonstrated a capability to respond to pressure and to change the course of matches.

We saw a little of this last local summer in the Burger King Super Smash, when Curran turned out for the Aces – several times he was able to make a telling impact on the game, with bat, ball and on the field, although his overall statistics probably didn’t fully reflect his true influence when the going was tough. Objectively we wonder whether his bowling has either the pace or the consistent movement to be a significant on-going threat at the highest level, particularly outside England, but he is still learning and maturing as a cricketer and he will take great confidence and pride from this first flush of success.

And again from England, in the blaze of laudatory press acknowledging Alastair Cook’s retirement from test cricket, you may have missed Paul Collingwood’s retirement from the first class game at the grand old age of 42.

A Durham stalwart and a very valuable test cricketer, with a double century against Australia to his name and a test batting average of over 40 (almost 5 runs higher than his overall first class average), Collingwood has made a huge contribution to the game and earned much respect along the way. He is now being spoken of as a potential replacement for Grant Bradburn as Scotland’s coach, following Bradburn’s appointment to take charge of Pakistan’s fielding.

Meanwhile across the Atlantic, the CPL is also coming to a close, with the Trinbago Knight Riders to take on the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the up-coming Final. The Knight Riders made the cut thanks in no small part to a 71-run second wicket partnership between Colin Munro and Brendon McCullum which helped their side to 165/6 in their final Qualifier, twenty more than the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots could muster in response.

The New Zealand contingent have a made a big impact on this year’s competition, particularly with the bat. With the final still to be played, the Aces pair of Colin Munro and Glenn Phillips are the top two run-scorers amongst a glittering line-up of T20 players – they are both averaging over 40. Brendon McCullum is in seventh spot, while Ross Taylor at 15th and Luke Ronchi at 19th make it five Kiwis in the CPL Top Twenty. What odds on Munro adding to his five fifties in the tournament to date in that final match?

Back home work proceeds in preparation for cricketing action returning in the coming weeks. First in action are the White Ferns, who take on Australia at North Sydney Oval in less than two weeks’ time, under new captain Amy Satterthwaite. Satterthwaite takes the reins from Suzie Bates, who has captained the side since 2012 and now steps back to focus on her own already considerable game.

Photo Credit: Photosport