Bumble highlights top County Championship performers so far and reflects on the IPL postponement

In the latest Bumble’s Blog, David Lloyd reflects on some of the outstanding performers from the opening month of the County Championship season, the postponement of the IPL and hopes for a more ‘normal’ summer…

The County Championship streams seem to have been a raging success – and it is great that the Middlesex versus Gloucestershire game will be shown live on Sky Sports Cricket this week!

The only disappointment is that going back to when I played, we started in May and now they’ve already had four matches, they’re just cramming these matches in.

  • Sky Sports to show Middlesex vs Gloucestershire
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There have been some outstanding individual and team performances but weather-wise, they have just about got away with it.

We’ve had four matches in April and you wouldn’t think that spin bowlers would get a look in but Matt Parkinson has done excellently for Lancashire. That’s great for him going forward, not only getting a game in these seamer-friendly conditions but performing well. That’s a real plus.

It’s similar with Dom Bess at Yorkshire. That is two young spinners winning games for their sides, Bess and Parkinson are good news stories. At this time of year, counties might previously have thought ‘we don’t need a spinner, we’ll play a little medium pacer’ but no, they’ve played the spinner and the spinner has won the game – in April!

There have been some other outstanding bowling performances: Kemar Roach, who’s a wonderful bowler and a terrific lad, got eight-for and won the game for Surrey – that’s an overseas player who has earned his corn – and Jordan Clark, who moved from Lancashire, got a six-for.

Staying with Surrey, Ollie Pope has already scored a double hundred and a hundred – he is just a quality player. Adam Lyth has been in the runs for Yorkshire, too. I thought the place to bat would be at No 5 away from the new ball but opening batsmen have done all right.

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Speaking of which, you hope that Haseeb Hameed has now turned the corner. He moved counties from Lancashire to Nottinghamshire, whether that was the right thing to do I don’t know but he seems to be settled in his own form and that is so important.

When I’ve watched him, I’ve thought that he is far too fidgety at the crease and far too analytical. Sometimes you’ve got to smell the coffee and be a lot more relaxed at the crease than what I’ve seen from him.

It might be that the move has done him the world of good because you can’t get away from the fact that he moved from probably the best batting strip in the country.

His target now is to continue to score runs, to score centuries, and to have a target of an Ashes place. Anything else along the way is a bonus. He has the tools; I would question whether he has had the temperament in the past.

He needs to find his own feet and it looks as if he has by moving away from home. It’s no fault of his or of Lancashire’s and eventually the player will emerge.

The last county player I want to mention is Sussex’s Ollie Robinson. We’ve been talking about him for a while on Sky but the interesting thing is that the England players talk about him as well.

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He reminds me of Angus Fraser, a big strapping, strong lad, hits an awkward length, gets a bit of bounce, not that quick but accurate. He will play Test match cricket this summer.

‘IPL should have been cancelled weeks ago’

With the news that the IPL has been postponed, England get a massive boost in that a number of players who likely would not have been available are back in the mix.

I’m quite happy to say I think the IPL should have been cancelled weeks ago. Going back to the white-ball series between India and England, there was a game when they let 70,000 people in – ridiculous!

It should have been knocked on the head a long time ago. They were hanging on and hanging on and obviously there is player welfare but there is also people’s welfare – it’s absolute nonsense that it wasn’t cancelled earlier.

It is very difficult to social distance when there are billions of people in India. There are people who had to work at the grounds, behind the scenes and it just wasn’t fair.

The consequences are now being seen for the Australian players. They’re coming from a massive coronavirus hotspot, the biggest in the world at the moment. This is not a cold, they’ve not got the sniffles, this is killing people and so the consequences are there for everyone travelling home.

Hopes for a ‘normal’ summer

Thankfully, over here, we seem to be moving in the right direction. I’ve had my second jab; my level of immunity is now there, and I expect there will be another booster in the autumn – the NHS has been fantastic in getting people vaccinated.

Like everybody else, what I’m looking forward to is normality. I have ventured to the pub once so far and sat outside, it was just good to have a chat with a couple of mates for half an hour.

I’m looking forward to the normality of work if we can get back to that, getting to see and commentate on some matches and meet up with friends and colleagues. It’s a life-changer without a doubt.

Finally, we’re getting towards the end of the football season and at Accrington Stanley, we think we’ve had a fabulous season, we’re absolutely thrilled. We perhaps didn’t quite have the squad depth and injuries to key players has done us late on.

But we’re thrilled and the ground development continues apace and we’re going to have a lovely ground once it is finished – something to be proud of. Stanley fans are very keen on that because the whole essence of the football club is community.

Everything is geared towards community and we’re developing sport around the area through the community trust and so on. It’s been a great season for us in very difficult times.

We’ve got one game to go, against Portsmouth, and we’re on telly – and about time to!

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