Cosmos Jos and Universe Boss

Winter is over. Five months of brutal hardship on the islands of Sri Lanka and the West Indies, has left the England cricket team homesick. Mind you, once they take a step onto the Britannic turf, they’ll more likely want to sprint back up the gangplank. A nation divided over Brexit. Storm Gareth wreaking havoc. Radio stations boycotting MJ. Oh let’s beat it Rooty will cry! Particularly when he reads our white ball player ratings from the Windies tour. With four ODI and three T20 matches, we’ve a thriller in store for you…

Let’s see how we make those Windies guys feel.

West Indies

Chris Gayle: Wine? Cheese? Nothing it appears, ages quite so formidably as the ‘Universe Boss.’ At 39 years of age he struck a whopping 39 sixes in four ODI’s, which (check this out) means a maximum every eight balls! As a result two half centuries and two centuries, with his glorious 162 in the fourth almost nudging Windies over the line. Classically cool Caribbean farewell. Consequently boy will he be missed! 9.5/10

John Campbell: Only missed one white ball encounter, yet arguably went missing in all his appearances. Lost confidence after an encouraging Test series, with a top score of just 30. In addition dismissed by pace every time. Brain as liquid as his namesake soup. 3/10

Shai Hope: A promising hope continues to dawn at the start of every series; hundred run partnership with Gayle helped Windies to 360 in first ODI. However the hopeful dawn was short lived as Shai’s totals depleted in every innings. It rained, it poured and Hope drained away with single figure scores in the three T20’s. Huge pressure on these padawan shoulders when Master Gayle retires. Therefore expect him to be expelled to the distant moon of Apatros to recover confidence. 2.5/10

Darren Bravo: Still not quite setting the Caribbean alight, Bravo failed to capitalise on decent starts. Four sixes in the first ODI were majestic, yet a plodding 25 from 37 followed in the next. Like a rickety roller coaster he then rose to 61 as Windies nearly chased 419, before plunging to stomach curdling depths in the T20’s. 5/10

Shimron Hetmyer: You can’t deny it; Shimron Hetmyer is a cool dude. He oozes swagger and those flicky wrists are as loose as a goose that’s been basted in white wine. It was his glorious 104* which lifted the hosts to a match winning score of 289 in the second ODI. Whilst in the T20’s he ‘flourished’ with a top score of… wait for it, 10! Although that turned out to be 25% of the West Indies total… Overall a very promising winter for the shimmering Shimron. 7/10

Jason Holder: Perhaps the responsibility of taking the captaincy from Brathwaite in the T20’s may have been a step too far. Unused to the format, Holder faltered as the Windies were undone by some scintillating Chris Jordan bowling. However ignoring the cloudy ending to this tour, during the ODI’s Jason was inspiring. Like Donovan in his multicoloured coat, Holder sparkled in his decision making.

Bringing himself on with the tourists requiring 100, he changed the ODI at Barbados with three quick wickets. (Including that dubious LBW against Curran) Whilst the confidence he places in youngsters such as Oshane Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell is achieving rewards. Holder believes the West Indies can do damage at this summer’s World Cup. And who could disagree with the imposing captain, after drawing the ODI series against the number one side in the world? We won’t… 8/10

Carlos Brathwaite: The pattern for Brathwaite’s white ball series was set from the moment Ben Stokes dismissed him for 3. Two ducks during the T20’s and Carlos’ memories of those sixes against Stokesy are distant. 2/10

Nicholas Pooran: A name which keeps on giving. Especially if your bowels are as loose as Nick’s! Kings XI Punjab may be wondering if they’ve flushed their money down the toilet… 1.5/10

Ashley Nurse: Unable to offer anything expect a teeny injection prick of 43 in the third ODI, Ashley isn’t the Nurse you need if living is a priority. ODI series figures of 1-189 and one wicket in the first T20 saw him dropped in favour of Fabian Allen. (Imagine the satirical scene if that name was Fabian Doctor…) 1/10

Devendra Bishoo: You know the saying; ‘Ring a ring a roses, a pocket full of batsmen. A-Bishoo, a-Bishoo they all fall down!’ No? Well neither have the England batsmen as they sent Bishoo around the park. Hence his four overs costing 43 runs in the fourth ODI may have contributed to him being dropped. Just speculating there. 1.5/10

Sheldon Cottrell: Ah finally a Windies bowler we can give a high rating too! 11 wickets across both formats mean Sheldon is a happy turtle. Not least because of the inspiration he provided for the second ODI fightback, as England lost six wickets for 35 runs. Fast, accurate and deadly Cottrell was a sniper in action. Who dismissed the dangerous Roy for 2? Sheldon Cottrell. Who broke the promising partnership of Morgan and Stokes? Sheldon Cottrell. And not least, who had the best celebration of the tour? Sheldon Cottrell. We salute you sir! Although Jos did get his revenge in the next match… 8/10

Oshane Thomas: Sounding like an Irishman with his names the wrong way round, Oshane Thomas didn’t find his pot of gold until the final ODI. But boy was it full of wickets. Five in fact as Thomas steamed in, like a leprechaun with clovers shoved up his ass. Yes England played some dismal shots but Thomas was the ideal bowler on a bouncy pitch. Only five months into his international career this could be another serious pace bowler for the West Indies. Top o’ the mornin to ya. 7.5/10

T20 Specialists

Appearing as T20 specialists, Fabian Allen and Obed McCoy are anything but. Three wickets between them as Windies were utterly humiliated in the final part of the series. Mind you, that was mainly down to the hideous batting by the top order. Not even worth rating them.

And now for something completely similar. England player ratings.

England

Jason Roy: Whilst Roy is widely tipped to be the next clown on the circus of England opener’s, it is in the white ball format that he completely excels. Anything Gayle can do, Roy can do better and so it was in the first ODI. Chasing a record total of 364, Jason crashed 15 fours and three sixes in a blistering 123 off 85 deliveries. A partnership of 114 with Root ensured England cavorted to their target with all the bravery of a man being fired from a cannon. Moreover, that victory was essential in a closely fought series.

Returning home for the birth of his second child, Roy was unable to influence the remaining five matches. But there’s no doubt of his ability and importance to the ODI side. Therefore this summer he must lead from the front and tame the lion bowling. 8/10

Alex Hales: Squad depth will be crucial in 2019 and Alex Hales is quite the batsman to have in reserve. A ferocious 82 off 73 in the fourth ODI was overshadowed by the brilliance of Buttler and Morgan but it nevertheless helped England to a rapid start. Although his performances tailed off as the T20 series began, Hales could be the tipping point if any of England’s top order find themselves injured or out of form. Brazen yet liable against short pitched bowling. 6/10

Jonny Bairstow: One of only two players to feature in all Windies matches. Two half centuries proved Jonny must run on a special type of gas. For example the T20I career best 68, chasing down 161 was stunning, albeit riding his luck with two shelled catches. (See the gas/ petroleum pun there – honestly I should be paid for this wit…) 117 runs, averaging 39 in those T20’s is impressive. Although his weakness in leaving the stumps exposed, thus being bowled thrice, is reminiscent of Test form. 6.5/10

Joe Root: Perhaps England’s most important white ball player. No, scrap that. Definitely England’s most important white AND red ball player. The wham bam approach of Roy, Buttler, Morgan and Stokes is all very well, but Root’s measured attack is vital. If England lose an early wicket he is the lynchpin around which those big guns blaze. And if Root nabs a hundred, England invariably win; so it proved in the first ODI. Deserving of a rest after a winter of mixed emotions. 6.5/10

Eoin Morgan: The perfect white ball captain. Intelligent. Ruthless. Accountable. Holds his team to incredibly high standards. To think, before the winter Eoin commented how he would drop himself for the World Cup if his form failed! Not a chance. Even a misfiring Morgan with bat in hand does not matter; it’s the shrewd captaincy England requires. Mind you, he then went on a run of outstanding form in Sri Lanka and West Indies, scoring 256 runs at 64 in the Caribbean.

Must prevent the moments of madness in the final ODI, which tarnished the series. For instance, England can afford to do that once in the round robin, yet in the pressure of a knockout match? Not a chance. This is his side. But is this his time? 8.5/10

Jos Buttler: During the 418-6 in Grenada, Buttler went from 50-150 in 31 balls. Need we say more? Fuck it. 9/10

Ben Stokes: By his standards a rather poor ODI series. One decent contribution with bat and ball; 79 runs in the second match and 3-37 in the first. Therefore rested for the T20 series, after his appalling dismissal in the lost fourth ODI. 5/10

Moeen Ali: Wasn’t required to bat in England’s two ODI victories, which is just as well. Dismal showing in the two losses reaching 12 both times. But he’s an all-rounder right? Surely Mo snaffled a few victims? Wrong. Zero wickets. 167 runs conceded. A worryingly out of form Moeen, who failed to impress in red and white ball formats. Playing like his Roald Dahl doppelganger. Mr Twit. 2.5/10

Adil Rashid: 14 wickets over the white ball series, with a measly economy rate of 4.5 in the T20 matches. When you factor in the game changing spell of three late wickets, as Windies came to within 32 of winning the fourth ODI, Adil performed perfectly. Despite having been dispatched for 89 in his previous nine overs, Morgan trusts him in tight situations. A match winner.

Ra-Ra-Ra-Rashid is rather ravishingly ravenous for rabbits (batsman), epically those who eat radishes. Unless he is a vegetarian. In which case that beautifully crafted line of alliteration is really repugnant. Rats. 8/10

Chris Woakes: Not quite found his rhythm since coming back from injury. To sum up, when that returns he is England’s best bowler. 4.5/10

Mark Wood: Aside from being flailed around by Chris Gayle’s 77 in the embarrassing final ODI, Mark Wood seems to be in the form of his life. For instance, a decent economy rate of 5.90 in the first ODI was followed by a superb 3.50 in the second. Returning for the last T20 with 3-9, as Windies were scuttled for 71 was the icing on his northern cake. Or gravy. Yeah, most likely gravy. 8/10

Liam Plunkett: Someone is required to undertake the back breaking work in a 50 over match and for England, Liam Plunkett is the guy. Above all aiming to keep it tidy in the middle overs, Plunkett generally plunks it down well. Yep I’ve been writing this for hours now, surely you ain’t shocked by the shocking puns?! Or should that be pluns?
Whitto’s puns: -1/10 Plunkett’s performance: 6/10

Tom Curran: With the resurgence of Mark Wood and the storm cloud of Jofra Archer on the horizon, Tom Curran’s place in this ODI squad is very much at threat. Consequently doing little to shift those worries, Curran’s only success was 4-36 in the first T20. 4/10

T20 Specialists

David Willey: Tugging hard on his experience, Willey pulled out all the stops. Despite not featuring in the ODI’s he peeped through with six wickets in the final fixtures of the tour. Standing erect with 4-7 as the Windies flopped to 71 all out. Offering something different with his left arm action, he’ll explode with anger if Jofra Archer or Tom Curran comes up behind and take his World Cup place. 7/10

Chris Jordan: A true T20 specialist, flying out purely for the final part of the tour, Jordan proves the air miles are worth it. Channelling his accuracy and pace with 2-16, 4-6 and 0-14. Moreover the filling in that sandwich being the best England T20I bowling figures. Decimating the Windies for 45. Likewise he’s handy in the field too. Yummy. 9/10

Joe Denly: Tidy 30 and couple of wickets, so Denly’s time abroad hasn’t been entirely in vain since the Test series. 6/10

Sam Billings: A coming of age performance for the Kent captain? Certainly 87 from 47 balls is not to be sniffed at, although he has been around this team since 2015. Perhaps a lack of opportunity though is more down to the brilliance of those players ahead of him, rather than any lack of talent on his part. In conclusion you’ve got to seize any opportunity you can. And Billings certainly has done that. 8/10

Thus we finally reach the end of our white ball player ratings. Whilst the T20 win was England’s only series victory over in the West Indies, they are undoubtedly still one of the favourites for this year’s World Cup. Before then we have a five match ODI series against Pakistan next month, where Jofra Archer shall make his debut. Who might, just might be the final piece of the jigsaw.

Not that we’ve ever completed one mind you.